Entrepreneur and hybrid athlete Jesse Sebastian loves to challenge convention with his challenger mindset.

Whether that’s redefining conventional ideas about the traditional workplace paradigm and career paths or rewriting the rule book on how to train for the best body and superior health, Jesse keeps tearing down perceived boundaries and limitations and reshapes perceptions through his words and actions.

From a business perspective, Jesse is a successful entrepreneur in the marketing and communications industry, running a marketing company and a podcast rental studio business.

He is also the charismatic founder and host of the Jesster Radio Show, a podcast that aims to inspire, educate and inform listeners through stories and first-hand experiences from some of South Africa’s most influential guests.

Since launching, this well-known lifestyle, sport and fitness podcast has rapidly become a popular download for many South Africans and in 2023, attracted Dis-Chem Living Fit as a presenting sponsor.

READ MORE | Dis-Chem Living Fit Powers The Jesster Radio Show Podcast

4 convention rules Jesse wants you to reconsider:

  1. Who made the rule of working 9-5?
  2. Who made the rule that you can’t build muscle and do endurance sports?
  3. Who decided we should work Monday to Friday and covet weekends?
  4. Who made the rule that a safer career is the better option?

Stage success

In his personal life, Jesse lives an extremely active lifestyle, feeding his passion for sport, fitness and broader wellness with a thirst for adventure and a seemingly insatiable desire to push his physical and mental limits.

As a teenager, Jesse competed as a bodybuilder, tasting success early in his career with wins in multiple federations at both provincial and national levels, across multiple categories. He reached the pinnacle of the sport at the age of just 19 when he earned a WBFF Pro Card in 2014.

Competitive bodybuilding achievements:

  • 1st Nabba Provincial Championships 2013
  • 1st Nabba National Championships 2013
  • WBFF Pro Card 2014
  • 1st NPC Provisional Championships – Men’s Physique and Classic Physique.

“I decided to train and compete as a physique athlete because I wanted to see how far the human body can go and wanted to test myself and see how far I could push myself,” explains Jesse.

This time in his life also served as a testbed for Jesse, allowing him to try different approaches to find what worked best for him.

“I used to think red meat was bad, so I would diet on hake and egg whites and cut out carbs. Now, I would include red meat in my entire prep and would never cut out carbs.”

3 supplements Jesse includes in his show prep plan:

  1. Essential Amino Acids while training.
  2. ZMA in the evenings.
  3. Omega 3 for joint health.

Jesse now eats around 2,500 calories a day, focusing on quality foods and willing to spend extra money on quality meats.

“My diet now consists of a large amount of ostrich, venison and beef, along with white rice, couscous and potato. I rely on avocado as my main fat source, sometimes eating two whole avos a day.”

Jesse follows this approach to eating throughout the year but takes Saturdays to enjoy some variety and a treat.

The hybrid athlete

Jesse has relied on a tried-and-trusted push-pull-legs split routine to build his muscular physique and still trains in the gym 4-5 times a week.

However, after achieving so much in such a short timeframe as a physique athlete, Jesse looked for new mountains to climb, literally and figuratively.

“I also got bored of competing, and wasn’t willing to go to the extreme measures some athletes follow to sustain muscle growth,” says Jesse.

His training has drastically changed as he incorporates ultra marathons and stage race cycle events in his competition calendar.

Preparing for these events takes Jesse out on the trails and roads around Johannesburg, running 50km a week on average and cycling up to 100km on weekends.


Ultra-marathon muscle

After transitioning to ultra-endurance training and racing, Jesse maintains his contrarian approach by continuing to train in the gym to build and maintain his physique, despite the trade-off athletes experience when carrying the extra muscle mass, especially when ascending steep mountain paths.

“When I am out on a ride or long run, I sip on a fast-acting carb drink and use amino acids to limit muscle loss. I also eat a banana and date bar every 45 minutes.”

But it’s more than just the physical challenge that draws Jesse to ultra-endurance events like the RMB UTCT 55km, which he completed in November 2023.

“I came first in the male division for a 65km run and completed 15 races in 2023. These experiences and the preparation required have taught me the value of discipline and sacrifice.”

Through the process, Jesse says he learnt that temperance from what is easy was actually a form of self-love.

“Saying no to bad food and inactivity, although sometimes difficult, was a gift I was giving my future self.”

With his new outlook, Jesse equates success in life with the ability to wake up every day feeling excited and positive.

“Ultimately, I want to be someone who, despite the worldly possessions they own, continues working on bettering themselves for the greater good of their families, friends and community.”

In this regard, Jesse says that he will continue to invest his time, energy and resources in working on his passions, which include his business, running, riding and travel.

“My next big goals include completing the Run the Berg 65km and RMB UTCT 100km trail races in 2024.”

Quick facts:

  • Favourite music to train to? Rock or hip hop
  • Favourite exercise? Pull-ups or dips
  • Favourite cheat meal? Pizza
  • What do you do to relax? Watch series, read or play with my dogs
  • What’s in your gym bag? Headphones and a water bottle