The Sunday Mail
FOR Crofton Murombo, just being on stage is as sweet as victory.
Going on to compete at the Arnold Classic Africa and win several competitions, like he has done regularly, is a bonus for the South Africa-based Zimbabwean bodybuilder.
Murombo cannot take supplements that are considered basic, neither can he drink much water when working out lest he ends up in the intensive care unit.
Dieting is never easy, bodybuilders can testify, but for Murombo it can turn out to be the difference between life and death.
The multi award-winning athlete is diabetic and he estimates that he has gone through 7 400 jabs of insulin since his condition was detected a decade ago.
On Monday last week Murombo, celebrated his 33rd birthday and took time to reflect on a sporting journey that started off with so much promise but hit turbulent waters when good times appeared nigh.
“Today’s celebration is broken down as 33 years of life: 10 years of living with diabetes (about 7 400 insulin injections with no complications), 17 years of fitness lifestyle (seven years of full contact fighting), and seven years competing on the SA fitness forums.
“God has been good all the way and I am grateful for the journey thus far. I shall celebrate this birthday in His Grace,” Murombo posted on his Facebook page.
With a decent job as restaurant manager in Cape Town, one wouldn’t expect Murombo to expend so much time on bodybuilding – which doesn’t pay much – and focus on living healthy and taking care of his young family.
“As a diabetic, diet mode is the most difficult. I have passed out after training a couple of times because the calorie intake is not sufficient to sustain both the insulin and the training.
“It’s not easy but I might as well die doing what I love the most. It really is a passion and lifestyle for me. I have no financial benefits to speak of,” Murombo told The Sunday Mail Sport over the phone.
“I have to do it the hard way. I cannot eat like anyone else; I wake up in the middle of the night to snack otherwise I may fail to get up at 6am for training.
“I cannot train for too long as sugars drop with exercise. I cannot drink too much water while training as again sugars drop even faster. However, if you ask me if it’s worth it, I will give you a big yes because I love this sport,” said Murombo.
Bodybuilding was never his first love. Kyokushin was.
However, just when his trainer Tawanda Mufundisi was about to unleash the diamond he had been polishing for years at the 2007 annual championships, diabetes struck.
“After diagnosis I had to be on insulin as it was pretty serious. I managed to fight in two South African tournaments that year but the strength wasn’t the same. As I didn’t have sufficient knowledge on the setback I didn’t know how to prepare then.
“Shihan Hennie Bosman then invited me and four others to Cape Town and I can say this is this was the best move I have ever made,” Murombo said.
Blessed with the right frame, Murombo would have been a natural heavyweight bodybuilder; but he cannot eat as much or down Whey protein that much either.
“For one to be a bodybuilder, they need to put on mass which means more eating. This triggers high sugar levels and defeats lean muscle gain.
“As a diabetic you can’t drink the majority of supplements because of the sugar content as well…pre workout especially! And with hypertension that usually tags along, as in my case, it is very important to control that too,” Murombo explained.
With such complexities, Hennie advised his latest protégé to compete in the fitness category.
Murombo made his debut stage appearance at the Fitness SA pageant in 2010 and placed third. Over the years the lanky athlete has scooped several awards and remains hungry for more.
“The day I will stop wanting more is the day I will retire,” he said.
Last year Murombo competed at the inaugural Arnold Classic Africa competition in Sandton, South Africa and has once again made the team for this year’s edition.
“Being on the Arnolds Africa stage was a great achievement and taking Battle of the Titans Muscle Model two weeks after Arnolds was the best.
“But I usually like to point out that my career has always been a highlight knowing that my daily challenges are bigger than most athletes,” he said.