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Jacques amazing 4 month journey – The gentle Giant

YOU-CAN_LOGOI’ve never been a small person, even in school, always the tallest biggest guy around. I can’t remember a time that I’ve exactly been in good shape, the baby fat around the stomach has always seemed too hang around.

I tended to avoid photographs, always looking out of place next to the other smaller, thinner people.

November 2013 I was diagnosed with yet another gout attack, this time the worst I’ve ever had, in both legs and I was quite immobile and confined to bed. During this period I had nothing else to do, but surf the web.

Somehow I came across the Sleekgeek Facebook Group, and after spending days just following the stories, reading up on all the transformations I came across Ed Young’s story, that just resonated with me. [Join Group]

I could identify with where he started and what he achieved. There and then I decided, from the first of December 2013, I would start the Sleekgeek Reboot program and get the shape and active life I’ve never had.

This switch was quite a 180 degree in lifestyle for me. Before then for last 5 years I’ve spent approximately 90% of my day sitting in front of computer at office, laying on couch in front of TV, or sleeping.

Very little activity or social interaction took place, I preferred solitude and my make believe PS3 gaming worlds above socializing. My eating habits at that stage was to only eat take away meals –  KFC, McDonalds, pizza – and all family meal sizes for me alone plus 4L of Pepsi Max a day.


It seemed a daunting task to change this, but my mind finally seemed to have found the point where it had enough, and wanted a change.

On 1 Dec 2013 the change happened, overnight I cut out all the junk I’ve been eating, and started the Reboot.

PaleoMonkey daily food delivery service was my lifesaver here, so convenient and easy, the correct meals and nutrition with little effort from my side, I just had to eat what they delivered. For the first 3 months it is the only food I ate.

Activity wise I threw myself with gusto into the deep-end, attempting Lion’s Head on day 1 of my new lifestyle, dragging at that stage 191.4 kg up there. I only made it to the first ladder, but felt liberated.

On that trip I met Celeste, and got my first SG armband. Up to that point all the stories were just that, stories, peoples photo’s on a web page, but meeting her in person, made it real for me, showed me what could be achieved, from there it was plain sailing so to speak.

I started attending Parkruns, though Park crawls would be better description, and ended over the festive season losing 13.2kg in my first month. And to be honest, it felt easy. I got a personal trainer for sessions at home, still to embarrassed to be seen in a gym.

Screenshot 2014-04-10 10.24.04

Month 2 – January 2014

During January 2014 I kept on doing Parkruns, but also added trail running into the mix, Spur Summer Trail Series and Dirtopia, and actually got medals. For me 2014 became a year of participation, not competing, but participating in every damn event I could find.

Full medical exams found nothing wrong with me, all tests normal, so I had no excuse not to throw myself into everything. And I enjoyed every moment of it. During this whole process the SG community were outstanding! They were the cheerleaders that were missing in previous attempts.

Failing became an unavailable option, not with so many eyes upon the journey. During January 2014 I also joined the Comeback Kid SG challenge, the 360XBT program and started gymming at 360 Specialized training.

From being the perennial poster boy for couch potato living, my life just changed 180 degree’s. 

At the end of January 2014, another 11.9 kg had disappeared. During this period I also became friends with my Challenge Buddy, Francois Steyn, and huge inspiration to me.

Screenshot 2014-04-10 10.24.37

I’ve met more Sleeks during this period, and the Promenade walks were highlights of the month. The eating became second nature, counting on PaleoMonkey to provide the nutrition my body lacked for so many years. I also finally conquered Lions Head on my second attempt.

February 2014

February 2014 the weight started dropping slowly, only losing 6.6kg’s, but this wasn’t an issue, it took years to gain, overnight it wasn’t going to disappear. I’ve always maintained I’m a bodybuilder that got stuck in the bulking phase and the time has arrived to start sculpting. LOL! J

During this journey my solitude preference also changed and I started enjoying the socializing with fellow Sleeks.

Screenshot 2014-04-10 10.24.48

Every aspect of my life just became better, bit by bit, more energy, better sleep, more activities, meeting more diverse people.

I think I might have gone a bit overboard on the SG page with constant posting of updates of my journey. Though it seems that years of hiding in the shadows found a place  to come out, and yes, I talk way too much.  – But if it inspires just one person to do the same, it’s all worth it.

March 2014

Another slow month with only 7.9kg lost. But a loss is a loss I say, and the centimetres have been melting, clothes fit so much better, to the point where I could actually buy 3XL T’s at Woollies that fit.

This month I did 3 different 10km races. Now the “couch potato” was getting out there and finishing races! – And every time I did it, it felt great, it was all worth every step of that 10km’s.

April will be my 5th month in my journey, and I finally broke the 150kg mark.  A weight I haven’t seen since 2006. And every step of this journey the SG community has been there, supporting.

I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve seen any negative feedback or comments. This has also been an eye opener, the support of the already fit people, the people classified as beautiful by society, all of them being supportive of the journeys of our larger specimens.

I would never have dreamed I would do the Impi Challenge, but I did it, though the 6km “dash”, I still did it.

Screenshot 2014-04-10 10.25.19


I feel absolutely privileged to be called a Sleekgeek, to be part of this amazing community started as a dream by Sleekgeek founder Elan.

If it wasn’t for this, I would probably still be a hermit, playing my PS3 games and living a life of solitude.

This community has opened my eyes to the possibilities, has been the gateway to so many other amazing experiences that I would never have had. And the best is yet to come.

Another 40kg’s need to go, and then the even harder work starts to define this body.

Picture 291

I’m now in my “Naughty 40’s”, and as I was a few months ago, it would never have been enjoyed, but where I’m heading, it will be best time of my life.

I also have to mention fellow Sleekgeeks Etienne De Bruyn and Attie Herbst who two people I look up to and are part of the core motivational members for me. Their stories inspired and showed me what is possible. My journey still an embryo, but if they can, I know I can.

To everyone out there, believe in yourself, take that first step, and don’t worry whether you’ll finish a race or not, whether you’ll be last, just do it. Every step brings you closer to your goal, everyone has to start somewhere.

You’ll be surprised of how many people out there will support you when participating, experienced fit athletes that has encouraging words in passing. Do it for yourself first, do it for your loved ones, do it for a better quality life.

And to me, it all starts with nutrition, yes, I’ve had activities, exercise, but none would have been possible, the loss would have been far less without the correct nutrition. And here I can definitely recommend PaleoMonkey, they make it easy to switch, to start on the correct path, to lay the foundation.

Sleekgeek for Life!

Jacques Conradie, Cape Town

Screenshot 2014-04-10 10.25.30


SUBMIT YOUR STORY AND WIN R500 Wellness Warehouse Voucher


Jacques wins a R500 voucher courtesy of our sponsor for the “YOU CAN live life well” series Wellness Warehouse to be spent on their online store with free delivery nationally.

I believe very strongly that ordinary every day people like you and I derive great inspiration from the achievements of people who seem similar to us. If they can do it.. damn.. so can I! Right?

So through this program we will continue to tell people’s personal stories.

I want to great an archive of hundreds of stories of people who have changed their lives while others believe they cannot.


Submit your story to with the Subject line “You can live life well”

We require:

  • Your story in your own words covering at least (How you got to a point of change, how you made the change, tips and advise for others)
  • A selection of before and after photos
  • As many words as you need to tell your story

In advance, we regret that not all stories may be published. Your story is as important as anyone’s story but we can only publish one a week and the editor will make decision on this.

If your story is published you will receive a R500 voucher to the Wellness Warehouse online store with free national delivery.

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Over R100,000 worth of prizes up for grabs

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