Sleekgeek Cuan Richards is a 31 year old specialist clerk at the City of Cape Town. In the last 9 months he has lost 33kg starting at 117kg. He is engaged and loves to “just hang with friends having healthy braais”
He says, “Since changing my lifestyle the Sleekgeek community inspires me tremendously. Seeing so many people transforming just makes me want to do more myself.”
This is his story in his own words…
Growing up I was always into sport. I started from a very early age and at the age of 5 I started playing football and played up until the age of 17. In that time I played football, rugby and cricket. Football was my passion and I lived for it. If I could have played soccer the whole day I probably would have. I was so active that I ate whatever I wanted. However in Matric it got in the way of my schooling. My mother said either you start studying after school or you can forget about the soccer as well. Me being a smart (dumb) immature kid said fine I am done with soccer and that’s where that ended.
Once I finished Matric the sport stopped. However little did I know that I needed to change my diet up because I wasn’t being active and therefore I could not eat like I wanted to anymore. Before I knew it, everything was about clubbing, alcohol and cigarettes. Gatsby’s at 4am or KFC, McDonalds, Burgers and chips. The list is endless. This practically went on for the whole of my 20’s.
In that time I played indoor soccer for about 2 years and indoor cricket for about 3 years. I even joined a pool club playing in a pub league. Then from about ages 26 – 30 I did nothing and that is when the weight really piled on.
The reality check
I remember the last weigh that I did was about 105kg and I told myself that it is okay you still fine and I actually believed it. And then after that I just went about my normal stuff of clubbing, drinking, smoking. Until one day I was at my cousin and I saw his industrial scale and I was amazed at how big this scale was! All I wanted to do was get on it – and that is exactly what I did and BOOM 117KG
You won’t believe me if I told you but I stood about 30 minutes on that scale and not being able to move it was so disgusting and such an emotional roller coaster ride. Being that “Active guy” I always said I would never get to that and I stood in disbelief. It hurt, seeing that number and the truth is I always knew and that is why I was afraid to get on that scale. I got off that scale and my girlfriend, now Fiancé, was sitting inside with my cousin and I told them “this can’t go on anymore I cannot do this, this is insane and bloody disgusting”.
“From Monday I am on a diet” – their response was the best ever. They looked at me and said “well let’s do this together”. My cousin Jody said to me, “Cuan I have all the equipment here so let’s start Monday and do this”.
Little did I know how hard it was going to be because it was not like any of us had the know-how, or should I say we thought we knew how.
Monday came and breakfast was 4 egg whites and lunch was tuna-no mayo and then the much anticipated training routine. We ran about 1 km and then we would start training. I then also bought a fat burner at the Sports Nutrition shop in Canal Walk as well as a Gold Standard protein. I ate the same thing every day for the 4 weeks with only 1 cheat meal on a Sunday. And we would train every night Monday – Friday one muscle group a night and always warm up with a 1km jog/walk.
After March the training ended – my cousins work picked up and we could no longer train there. That was also the end of the fat burner that I bought as well and the end of the protein shake. Then we started running every night on the promenade green point from the lighthouse to Sea Point Pavilion and back. Ok it was more like run/walk. I then did this and about 15 – 30 minutes of abs workouts most nights. Sometimes we would skip because laziness would kick in. In this time I had moved on from the eggs and tuna. I still can’t believe that I starved myself and I thought I was going about it the right way. I moved from that and started eating the whole egg. I then started eating jungle oats for breakfast and lunch would normally be left over supper, which would usually be steak and egg, chicken and vegetables or something like that.
Then July came and I eventually joined boot camp with my friend because he had been hassling me for months on end and I tell you that guy is persistent. He doesn’t stop. July, August boot camp Mondays and Wednesdays and Saturdays I would do parkruns. In September I joined another boot camp, so I would then boot camp Monday – Thursday and Saturday the parkruns.
In late September I met up with my best friend from my childhood Byron Morris, He is a personal trainer at Planet Fitness. When he saw me he was like “wow dude I have been following your progress and you know I am truly amazed by your transformation”,- he invited me to come train with him on the Saturday. When I got back to work I thought let me check Groupon because I remembered seeing a Planet Fitness deal for 2 months at R 399.00 so I decided “what the heck!” – let’s just do this. I bought it and joined the gym that Saturday.
I then started going to the gym at 5am to get a 45 minute cardio session in and then I would go to work. Breakfast was a Futurelife shake and for lunch I would have protein and some vegetables. After work it is straight back to the gym for weight training which is anywhere between 1 – 2 hours. Then depending on how I felt boot camp as well. However I only go to the one boot camp in Goodwood now because two is too much. I actually wanted to leave both boot camps but the people were so insistent on me staying that I felt bad and stayed and decided the extra training session couldn’t hurt.
I started using a pre-workout/vitamin as the training in the morning was making me tired by 10-11am. I also took amino acids as well. Other than that I don’t take anything else. I don’t use protein shakes anymore as I feel that I eat more than enough protein. I mean I basically live off protein. It has worked for me thus far.
The support I had through this journey was amazing and as I ventured further on and as time passed I got more and more support. However not everyone is supportive. I had friends that told me in the beginning I give you 2 months or I give you 1 month and I am not going to lie it would break me down to a point where I felt like I wanted to eat unhealthy or not go to training. And I would just stand there smile and laugh with them just to not let them see that they actually getting the better of me.
In about my 3rd/4th month Sleekgeek Olivia Swail Adriaanse gave me great ideas about what I should be eating and she introduced me to the Sleekgeek Facebook Group and encouraged me a lot. I joined the Group on Facebook and saw so many inspirational transformations and that inspired me even more to get to the “best version of ME”.
However my biggest supporter was and still is my fiancé. She was always there to put me back on track. We started this journey together and she is still doing it. Not that she really needed to but she did it with me for the support always encouraging me to be better, do better. I am not going to lie it hasn’t been an easy journey. I lost people along the way when I stopped drinking and then I stopped smoking I lost even more people. I don’t know if it is because they don’t understand my journey or if it is because they just don’t want to. This really makes me sad to think that I have lost people because I want to change my life for the better and do better, but hey life goes on and at the same time I have gotten a lot closer to a lot of other people on this journey.
If there is one thing that I have learnt from this journey that the key to success is CONSISTENCY, dedication and hard work. For me in the beginning it was all about weight loss. As I moved on it became about my health. Last week for the first time in as long as I can remember I went for a wellness assessment and all my results were positive. Blood pressure, glucose, sugar, etc were all normal. That for me was my proudest moment on this journey hearing that my health is 100%! It made my journey all worth it. Changing my lifestyle was definitely for the better.
I CHOSE LIFE! I truly believe that after receiving these results.
I must say that there were no serious challenges along the way. I have never been this dedicated and motivated to do something this badly in my life. Unless you want to call winter a challenge then winter was the challenge but the cold couldn’t get the better of me, as much as I wanted to crawl into bed because of the cold weather my will to live a better life and be healthier was way stronger.
If I could give people that want to start some tips or advice:
- Take each day as it comes – simply one day at a time.
- Remember that this isn’t a sprint – it is a marathon
- Be Consistent!
- Never give up.
- You are worth it.
- Weight-loss is important but remember to focus on your health.
Good luck with your journey!