I’ve been overweight my whole life, I never participated in any sports at school because of my lack of fitness and physique. At 96kg and a record low in self esteem I decided something needed to be done.
The first “diets” I pursued were the typical government approved, low fat, whole wheat grain disasters. I would start out with a big bowl of seemingly innocent Muesli and fat-free milk, followed by a low fat yogurt and would skip lunch entirely, the result of which was being ravenous at dinner and eating a huge plate of whole-grain pasta or something similar, always with low fat condiments and sides.
Needless to say, I gained weight and felt worse than ever, I had to drag myself to the gym about once a week for an hour of cardio on the dreaded treadmill, sore knees and nausea were my reward, along with feeling decidedly judged by everyone there.
A dietitian gave me an eating plan that needed at least a BSC degree to understand and spending an hour calculating how many calories would be lurking in my rapidly cooling slice of “diet pizza” was just too much for me.
Fitness magazines threw around phrases like “Burn Fat, Gain Muscle! and Abs in just 4 weeks!” The workouts were difficult to perform and as I had never been in the weightlifting part of the gym, it was like reading “Greek”. Personal training at almost R300 an hour was also out of the question.
It was around this time that a friend of mine was regularly posting pictures of some new fitness craze called “CrossFit”.
She was scrambling up ropes, pulling weighted sleds around and lifting relatively large amounts of weight above her head, it looked really fun. I thought to myself, surely if she can do it, I could give it a shot? A little bit of research was all I needed and the very next day I found a local affiliate CrossFit box (Gym).
My first impression of the “box” was very quickly over-ridden by the hordes of people who immediately came up to greet the new face as I walked in looking utterly confused, were they expecting me? With all the years of pointedly avoiding eye contact with everyone at the gym and not uttering a single word to a soul during the entire workout, this was baffling to me. Everyone introduced themselves with friendly smiles and questions.
My second impression was of my acute awareness of my lack of fitness. CrossFitters seemed to never tire, and moved faster with every round. What struck me was that after the workout, these super athletes reverted back into very normal people, real people, not airbrushed, photo shopped fitness models. They all had stories of transformation and growth.
That was how my journey started that would change my life forever. A couple of people introduced me firstly to Paleo, then to Banting. An incredible diet that took everything I thought I ever knew about nutrition and weight loss, and turned it upside down. High Fat, low carb and no sugar with lots of green veggies and nuts. All they had to say was “Bacon” and I was sold!
Immediately I started seeing results, sustained energy throughout the day combined with rapid weight loss and muscle growth. I was now making omelets with full fat butter, full cream milk in my coffee and eating all the crispy chicken skin that was previously vehemently avoided. Cutting bread out my diet proved easy as I had to cravings thanks to the full fat diet that kept me satisfied. Steamed veggies and fruit now replaced wholegrain carbs.
I cannot remember the last time I was actually sick, I’m at a healthy 83kg now with a body that I’m proud to show off. I have boundless energy and I wake up every morning excited for life, I also found an incredible girlfriend that now also does CrossFit with me.
SleekGeek provided a community on the nutrition and diet side of the fitness spectrum and following the transformations of the other Sleekgeeks in the Facebook Group just motivated me further. [Join Group]
In January this year, I attended the Level 1 CrossFit Trainer seminar in Cape Town and am now a certified trainer and intern coach at CrossFit Brooklyn in Pretoria. You make friends incredibly quickly at the box and we have entered and participated in multiple Warrior Races, Rock climbing excursions and Cycling challenges. CrossFit prepares you for anything life can throw at you and gives you general physical preparedness so that you can partake in and excel at most things.
The coaches and the team of trainers are some of the most supportive, passionate and professional trainers out there. The community is amazing and there is no better feeling in the world to have all of them shouting their support at you when you gasp through the last reps of a brutal workout. I’ve also been fortunate to be able to compete in multiple CrossFit competitions ranging from the United We Stand games in Durban, to the CrossFit Open and the Pretoria Throw-down Crossfit competition.
CrossFit is also infinitely scale-able and anyone can do it no matter their level. We have men and ladies from 18 to 60 at the box, with everyone completing the same workout at varying weights and speed, but with exactly the same support and intensity. I would recommend CrossFit and Banting/Paleo lifestyles to anyone.
Thanks to all the CrossFitters and Sleekgeeks who believed in me!
Jean Pierre Lombard, Pretoria.
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