RJ Bosch has never been someone who settles for mediocrity: the Eastern Cape native is always looking for ways to challenge himself. He finds that constantly challenging himself allows him to grow in everything he does.
Age: 26. Height: 180cm. Weight: 92kg. Instagram: @rjbosch1
RJ was 17 when he first started working out. He participated in athletics and rugby at school. Wanting to be a better athlete is what drove him to exercise. Soon, working out was more than a way for him to improve his fitness for sport – it became part of his lifestyle. “It helped me refocus and clear my mind after a busy day. The feeling of challenging myself and seeing results was rewarding.”
When he first started working out, RJ followed a bodybuilding type of programme. He thought that weight training would work best for his goals. Throughout his years of training he contemplated entering bodybuilding competitions, but was always hesitant to step out onto the stage.
Last year two of his friends convinced him to compete in a PCA show in Port Elizabeth. Since his goal for the year was to step out of his comfort zone, competing seemed like the perfect way for him to achieve this. His brave decision to leave the safety of his comfort zone paid off. He was rewarded by placing 3rd in the muscle model category. “It was a really tough process,” he says.
“It required a lot of dedication and self-discipline. But reflecting on the journey, I’m proud – not only of placing third, but mostly of being mentally strong, trusting the process and staying committed to the goal.” Throughout this journey he had the support of his friends and family, something he remains grateful for.
Although RJ still includes bodybuilding in his training, his focus has changed. No longer satisfied with just aesthetic rewards, he wants his training to be functional. “I became more interested in CrossFit, so I incorporated functional training methods with the weight training. I like how CrossFit challenges me with every workout. The improvement and progress are endless.” It helps that the community is uplifting. They give him that extra push when things get tough.
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
Depending on his work schedule, RJ pushes himself to train twice a day – before work at 5am and after work at 6pm. “Training in the morning keeps me focused during the day, while training in the evening helps me clear my mind,” he explains. In the morning he trains at a conventional gym, where he can focus on specific muscle groups. He works according to a three-day split so he can train specific muscles twice a week. His days are split into chest and shoulders, back and biceps, and then legs. In the evening he trains at The Grind, a strength and conditioning training facility.
But the 26-year-old isn’t all work and no play. On rest days he spends time lazing at the beach, snorkelling, or hiking up Lady’s Slipper, near Port Elizabeth. The same applies to his meals. While RJ believes fervently in fuelling his body for the day’s activities, he also believes in treating himself occasionally. “I eat clean most of the time; but I have a really sweet tooth, and sometimes indulge in caramel macademia cheesecake, chocolate brownies and speckled eggs,” he admits.
The dedication RJ gives to his training translates to all areas of his life. The 26-year-old has always been interested in how things are put together; the detailed structure of how things work. It’s what led him to become an architectural technologist. He first became interested in the technical aspect of architecture at school, in his technical drawing class. Architectural design appealed to his creative side, and his passion for the field grew from there.
After years of studying and putting in the hours, he qualified as an architectural technologist – a moment he remembers with joy. The thought of being able to pursue something he’s passionate about and that keeps him challenged fills him gratitude. What does he love most about the field? Everything. “Starting from the concept design phase, to resolving technical detailing and on-site issues throughout the project, and lastly, taking a step back to see the end results – it’s always so satisfying,” he explains.
RJ’s desire to work hard regardless of the task at hand is a lesson he learnt from his father. “Till this day, he still works hard and takes pride in what he’s doing. He always puts his family first, no matter what the circumstances.” His father’s work ethic and life skills are not the only things RJ admires about his old man; he also appreciates the way his father treats his mother and sister with love, care and respect.
Throughout RJ’s life, his father has always been there to support him. When life threw him a curveball, whether it was a sports injury, a break-up or even just a bad decision he’d made, his father was there to get him through it. The architectural technologist thinks of him as not just a father, but as a friend, too. “He’s my best friend. I can talk to him about anything, and always rely on him,” he explains. The pair share a love for the outdoors and hunting. One of RJ’s favourite ways to unwind is sharing a beer with his father around the fire and talking about the day’s activities.
Over time he’s learnt to always listen to the advice his dad doles out. “When you get advice from your dad at a young age, you always think you know better; but you always end up thinking, “I should’ve listened to my dad!” he explains. When RJ got into trouble, there were always consequences to his actions, but his dad treated him with fairness. “He’s a great role model, a great example of how a father should be to his son in life. I’m grateful for the way he has raised me and the lessons he’s taught me. He has moulded me into the man I am today and for that I will always be truly grateful.”
And that man is someone who is humble, and who always shows up for others, whether just to listen to their problems or to help raise funds for a good cause. In previous years RJ has raised money for the Movember movement. “Cancer is a reality that almost every household has to deal with in one way or another. We all know of someone who’s been affected in some way.” That’s why RJ didn’t hesitate to grow his mo while assisting in raising awareness and funds.
RJ continues to be thankful for the opportunities that life has blessed him with. Acknowledging the privileges he’s had, he vows to make the most of these opportunities. For now, he’s focusing on his career and fitness journeys. “I have just started my new job at an architectural product company, as a design manager, and I’m excited to grow and excel in my new position,” he says.
When it comes to his fitness, he’s continuing to find ways to challenge himself. This year those challenges include entering a few CrossFit competitions, the first of which is the Eastern Cape CrossFit Championships this month. If past form holds true, RJ is going to crush that challenge too.
Take a lesson from the man on our cover, and find what challenges you.
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