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Last modified: 02 May 2024
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Balancing iron and duty – The grit of a law enforcement bodybuilder

09 May 2024

KOUGA – In the world of bodybuilding, dedication is paramount.

The regimen demands unwavering commitment to training, nutrition, and rest.

Now imagine layering upon this demanding lifestyle the responsibilities of a law enforcement officer – long shifts, nights, weekends, and public holidays.

It seems implausible, yet Dehan de Bruyn (23), a competitive bodybuilder and a dedicated law enforcement officer at Kouga Local Municipality since January 2021, defies the odds with remarkable resolve.

Bodybuilding, often hailed as a 24-hour sport, intertwines the intricacies of nutrition, energy expenditure, and sleep.

For De Bruyn, navigating through these elements while juggling the rigors of law enforcement is a feat in itself. Yet, he lives by a simple mantra: “You can have excuses or results, not both”.

World of fitness

De Bruyn took his first steps into the world of fitness in January 2020.

Armed with little more than determination and a thirst for transformation, he embraced the challenge head-on. It was a daunting endeavour, filled with setbacks and doubts, but De Bruyn refused to be deterred.

“Slowly but surely, I began to carve out a new path for myself,” said De Bruyn.

“The once dormant muscles stirred to life under the guidance of a dedicated training regime. Every rep, every set, brought me one step closer to my goal of gracing the body building stage as a competitor.

As weeks turned into months, De Bruyn’s physique underwent a remarkable metamorphosis. The soft contours of his body gave way to chiselled muscles, a testament to the countless hours of sweat and sacrifice poured into his training.

Bodybuilding competitions

Encouraged by his progress, De Bruyn set his sights on a new horizon: bodybuilding competitions.

“Stepping onto the stage for the first time at the PCA Provincial Championship in September 2022, where I secured two podium finishes and earned a spot in the PCA South African Championship, I felt a surge of adrenaline coursing through my veins – an intoxicating blend of nerves and excitement after months of hard work and determination,” said De Bruyn.

More competitions followed.

Training regime

De Bruyn described the path to competition day as arduous, filled with gruelling workouts, meticulous meal planning and unwavering dedication.

Six-days-a-week training already starts at dawn for De Bruyn – pounding the pavement at 04:00 for cardio in Da Gama Road. “With my gym unlocking its doors at 05:00, I must make the most of every minute before my 06:00 shift begins,” he said.

As an operational officer, De Bruyn’s duties are unpredictable.

Access to amenities like a microwave is a luxury he often foregoes. Cold meals consumed on the go become the norm, a testament to his unwavering commitment to nutrition and timing – crucial pillars of his training regimen.

His typical meal plan before a competition consists of oats, eggs, fish, rice, and vegetables, as well as a lot of water.

According to De Bruyn, he never completely eliminates carbohydrates from his diet.

Support system

Yet, De Bruyn finds solace in his support system. He credits his coach, Jaques du Preez, for his unwavering belief since day one. Additionally, the camaraderie shared with law enforcement officer, Schalk Burger, a partner during previous competitions, provided a vital backbone during challenging times.

However, it is De Bruyn’s family and friends who serve as his pillars of strength. “In the realm of bodybuilding, where the mental fortitude required can often rival the physical demands, their unwavering support becomes a lifeline,” he said.

As De Bruyn reflects on his journey, he extends a hand of encouragement to all who may read his story. It is a call to action, urging individuals to cast aside excuses and fears, and instead, set their sights on ambitious goals.

“Through perseverance and unyielding dedication, even the most daunting obstacles can be overcome,” he said.