South Africa’s Best Personal Trainers

If you’re looking for the best personal trainers in South Africa, look no further than Roark Gyms  in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Founded by James White in 2012, Roark Gyms specialises in high intensity hard core training to transform your body into the body of an athlete.

James White Personal Trainer

James earned a law degree at Cape Town University, but after just 2 years in the legal profession he made a radical career change into the world of fitness, and hasn’t looked back. He is the head coach in the Cape Town location of Roark Gyms, and Africa’s very first Gym Jones certified personal trainer.

Reinhard Nel Personal Trainer

Reinhard is the head coach at the Johannesburg gym, and holds a Level 2 Crossfit Coaching Qualification.

Airdyne Bike

Roark Gyms uses the Airdyne Bike for its high intensity cardio workouts. Those of you who have used this piece of kit will know that it’s far tougher than your standard exercise bike. Due to its fan system, it builds resistance the faster you go, so in effect the Airdyne fights back.

One of the favourite workouts of the Roark  Gyms personal trainers is Airdyne Hell, which is a high intensity interval workout where you burn 50 calories going as hard as you can, then rest for as long as it took to burn those 50 calories, then repeat the process with 40 calories, 30, 20, and finally 10.

The Airdyne is a bit like a seated cross-trainer which has bred with an exercise bike, it is powered by pedals and push/pull arm power on the moving handles.

Tom Hopper of Black Sails fame

One of Roark Gyms’ most famous clients is Tom Hopper, who plays the ripped pirate Billy Bones in the Amazon Prime mini-series Black Sails. Standing at 6ft 5ins and weighing in at 220lbs, Tom has an incredible physique, particularly his upper arms.

His body was sculpted at Roark Gyms with a combination of heavy barbell squats, bent over rows, bench press, pulling sleds, plyometric box jumps, pullups, medicine ball slams (another Roark Gyms favourite), and pushups.

One of the most gruelling exercises Tom’s personal trainer put him through was the 17 supersets of 10 pushups and 3 pullups. Try it for yourself and see how many supersets you can achieve. Make sure you perform the exercises to full range of motion with slow and controlled form.

Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and author of the blog.