Dr. Habib Noorbhai (Mr South Africa 2017) is a Researcher in Sports Science, a presenter, speaker and humanitarian. He completed a BA in Sport Psychology (UJ), Honours in Biokinetics (UKZN), MPhil in Biokinetics (UCT) and a PhD in Exercise Science at UCT.

In 2013, he was among South Africa’s top 100 brightest young minds and in 2015, he was nominated among Mail and Guardians top 200 young South Africans. He was also included in Fast Company South Africa’s Top 30 creative people in business for 2017.

Habib has been featured on a variety of television shows, both as a professional and as Mr South Africa. Some of these included: Top Billing, Mela, thrice on Expresso, eNCA and SABC News. In 2015, he had his own sport and health show on OpenViewHD and a radio show on Hashtag Radio. He is also a frequent expert guest on Cape Talk and Radio702 discussing relevant topics on sports science, exercise, health, community engagement and leadership.

Habib also founded a non-profit organisation in 2013 called The Humanitarians, a volunteer-based organisation, whereby various community projects and programmes are conducted through sport, health, education, sustainability and innovation. These programmes are also conducted through Habib’s current reign as Mr South Africa 2017 to spearhead change and making a difference in society.



Habib Noorbhai - Top Quote

Listen to your body, not the pack!


A healthy lifestyle is based on two focal aspects: consistency and individualism

For a number of years we have been governed by various theories in the sciences of Nutrition, Physical Activity, Exercise and Health. Key concepts have been taught to us utilizing the ‘what’ and ‘why’ but failing to answer the questions of ‘how’ and ‘what if’. We have however come a long way since the inception of health sciences and now reside in a modern era of where research into lifestyle diseases and ill health are at its prime and rapidly evolving.

It is paramount for us to challenge the way we have been taught and to think smart yet differently. Instead of always correcting our lifestyle habits, we need to rather look at what is different and see how one can enhance that particular factor(s). Often, we impose a generic approach to what should be the norm or scope of practice to each individual. However, with health and human movement sciences, there is no ‘quick-fix’ nor a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Rather, the concept of individualism is key and often ignored due to critical constraints such as time, effort and funding.

Look at the example of group classes that was put in place to affect a greater number of individuals at the same time and place. Despite the fact that certain people enjoy training within a group, this is an example of a generic approach to exercise that provides better business leverage. Therefore, we need to choose very carefully the approach we want as part of our lifestyle since our genetics, metabolism, demographics, environment, and body processes all vary. 

group exercises      individual exercise         

Group Exercise Classes                                       Individual training

We need to understand that we are all different in how we respond to training, eating, meditation and physiological processes. Our metabolism in particular is different just like any of our other body processes. It is a general and scientific rule of thumb for your metabolism to be faster in your earliest days than when you are in your 50’s for example. However, a person’s metabolism will be different to another even if they are both 30 years old.

Verily, our lifestyle choices lie in our own hands and our goals and targets are also different. What do I do if I want to lose weight? What do I need to do to control my blood pressure more effectively? What training should I do to increase my muscle bulk? These are the kinds of questions that one would ask, amongst others.

In return, we are given a bunch of different answers, “I heard this worked for you, why don’t you also try it?” Is this not generic?

“I was on the paleo diet for 8 weeks and I saw no difference but John was on the diet for only 4 weeks and he already saw a difference” How come?

“I was on the resistance training programme for 6 weeks and I did not shed as much body fat % and increase in muscle mass, than what David had.” Have we truly experienced the benefit of this resistance?

Yes you are probably thinking that it has something to do with metabolism, but there are also other factors, i.e. genetics, environment, age, demographics and health status or medical histories that we need to consider when answering the above questions. Ultimately, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach in the health, fitness and sporting fraternities.

Dr. Habib Noorbhai (Mr South Africa 2017) is a Researcher in Sports Science and a Health and Wellness consultant. He is also a speaker and presenter. He completed a BA in Sport Psychology (UJ), Honours in Biokinetics (UKZN), MPhil in Biokinetics (UCT) and a PhD in Exercise Science at UCT.

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  • It was a great pleasure to supervise Habib Noorbhai. He has unique abilities that I have not previously experienced in any of the PhD students I have assisted. I have not ever experienced this combination of personal abilities and drives in any other student. Other characteristics that I appreciated are his ability to be fearless – he is not daunted by any task he sets himself – and his desire to push the boundaries of knowledge, regardless of the personal consequences.

    ~ Prof Tim Noakes, Emeritus Professor, University of Cape Town

  • Habib was warmly welcomed by the Redbacks team and staff and fitted in well. He carried out his duties diligently and efficiently. The players and staff had only had praise for his experise and enthusiasm during the CLT20 tournament and this was much appreciated by all. Habib also showed initiative outside his core duties by assisting the support staff on training days and always doing this to the best of his abilities. During this time, Habib had been well-organised, reliable and responsible.

    ~ Simon Cain, South Australian Redbacks Cricket, 2010

  • The service that I received from Habib Noorbhai was more than satisfactory. Habib was considerate about the fact that I had limited assistance with very limited time. He was more than helpful in terms of structuring my work, checking the content, and all other features of my work. I would recommend his assistance to any other person who needs guidance in similar tasks. Mr Noorbhai was patient, understanding and encouraging at all times. I would like to thank Mr Noorbhai for his assistance with my thesis completion.

    ~ Nicholas Christelis, University of Cape Town student, 2014.

  • Whomever Habib speaks or presents to, he does so with such enthusiasm, practically and is highly adaptable to his audience and the genre. It is a pleasure to listen to his unique insights and perspectives. One can't help but feel inspired to do and be more after interacting with him.

    Taahira Goolam Hoosen, University of Cape Town, 2016