One of the things that makes Sleekgeek great is the awesome extended team of people who volunteer their time. One of those is the inspiring Raquel Floris who is a Sleekgeek Facebook Group Moderator and role model.
She volunteers her time to help make sure that our code of “Respect, Uplift, Inspire” is upheld. We are very grateful for her contribution and today we chat to her to find out more about the woman behind the posts.
Name: Raquel Floris
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
What do you do? [Job]
I work on a survey that produces retail trade sales statistics.
What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]
I do yoga, go to theatre and I run half marathons.
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
I joined the Sleekgeek Group on Facebook in June 2016
How did you find Sleekgeek?
I posted a transformation photo on my personal Facebook page and a friend commented that my transformation reminded her of her Sleekgeek journey. I was curious to find out what she meant and looked up Sleekgeek on Facebook.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
The supportive community. The community has been great at cheering for each other.
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
I was unfit. I did not exercise. I did not know what to cook or so I told myself. Buying takeaways for breakfast, lunch and supper was normal. I loved sugar and there was always tubs of candy in my cupboards.
I stopped exercising when I moved to Pretoria after varsity, two years later my son was born and I guess the stress of being a young mother and taking care of a household made me care less about anything else.
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
I felt like my weight was spiraling out of control. I was very unfit and it frustrated me to be out of breathe when I walked up flight of stairs. I always thought if I had to ever run from danger, whether our building at work caught on fire or being chased by criminals that I would not be able to save myself. I would often feel guilty and disappointed in myself before I even ordered junk food. I would lie awake at night feeling bad about my weight but I knew it was my lack of exercise and choice in food that got me there. I knew I could do better. I knew I was once fitter and I knew I could make healthier food choices.
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I always take meals with me to work. I meal prep.
I make it a priority to stay active. Whether I go to the gym, run or do yoga, I am active. I am surrounded by friends who are active too.
My weekends consist of fitness or physical activities.
I strive to improve my relationship with food and not live a life where I feel guilty when I’m eating anything.
What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
Getting enough sleep.
If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
Go to bed earlier.
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
I had an injury last year, does that count? I’m currently building fitness and my physique again. Keeping a positive mindset is key.
What is better since you got healthy?
I think socially I am so much better off because I am more confident. I try to stay motivated and thus I am ready to be supportive and help others stay motivated too.
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
I opened a gym membership in January 2015. By September that year, I had only attended gym four times and decided to open an account for my then 5 year old son too as I did not know what to do with him while I was at the gym. He loved the kid’s area at the gym and he would often say, “let’s go to the gym, Mommy.”
I remember watching an episode of The Ellen Show and Terry Crews said, “Just go to the gym, relax and have fun. The habit of working out is more important than the workout.” So my first goal was just to make it a habit of going to the gym. I tried to improve my attendance each month. And with my sons encouragement I created the habit of going to the gym.
What does your typical workout look like?
If I am not road running or attending a yoga class, I am weight training at the gym or doing an hour HIIT workout. I do a combination of these activities in the week.
Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Deadlifts, Burpees & Mountain Climbers with gliding discs.
Least favourite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
How does exercise make you feel?
Powerful! Strong! Amazing!
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
On the road, I prefer to train with my running club for extra motivation and support.
In the gym, I love weight training on my own, I am in my own world and I can push myself.
In the studio, I enjoy a group yoga class and group HIIT workout. I am still learning yoga and functional training is a workout that is fun to suffer with other people (haha).
Most embarrassing training moment?
I have fallen while running before haha!
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
- My Sleekgeek gym towel – Get your own at www.sleekgeek.co.za/shop
- My Sleekgeek “BE YOUR OWN HERO” wristband.
- Water bottle
Bonus item: My iPhone for selfies.
Your next training goal?
Currently trying to get to a 6 minute running pace and with that I want to improve my Two Oceans Half Marathon time. Last year I did it as my first ever half marathon in 2 hours and 37 minutes.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
Since I have started road running I don’t train with music much. But these remain on my Gym Playlist for when I need motivation:
- Put your hands up for Detroit (Fedde Le Grand)
- She Wolf (by David Guetta)
- When love Takes Over (by David Guetta)
- In My Mind (Dynoro & Gigi D’Agostino)
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
I have a more positive outlook to life. I am much friendlier and approachable. I RUN!
What’s your favourite meal?
Give me Boerewors and slap chips any day.
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Grilled chicken and roasted vegetables.
Favourite protein? Steak.
Favourite fat? Cashew nuts.
Favourite carbohydrate? Potatoes.
What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]
I keep the mindset, “I can eat anything but just not right now.” I know that I am not depriving myself from eating anything I absolutely want to but it also means I choose to eat healthier right now.
I feel like growing up, we were so greedy and always saying “yes” when people offered us something delicious and I want to break away from the idea that I must have it now. There are restaurants and confectionery stores all over the country, if I want cake later, I can always buy it later.
I don’t have to eat it because it’s right in front of me. With that said, don’t be a “giemba” is one of my philosophies too. It means, don’t be “greedy” in English. Basically, know your portion sizes whether healthy or cheat meal.
How many meals a day do you eat?
Typically, I eat three main meals and 2-3 snacks in between.
Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?
If I am in the mood for something less healthy I would just replace a meal with it and not over eat. But I also try to keep my snacks tasty so a muffin could be part of my daily meals too.
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
Running my first half marathon. I have always said “I don’t like running” but I ran my first 10KM in October 2017 to celebrate my two year weight loss transformation anniversary and then decided to enter the Two Oceans Marathon 21.1KM event. Although I was not chosen in the draw, I was blessed with a substitute entry and ran my very first half marathon on 31 March 2018.
Just being there at the start line, after the first gun went off, listening to Chariots of fire playing was probably the most amazing feeling ever. I felt like a real athlete.
What inspires and motivates you?
The ability to do all these amazing things with my body motivates me. I love being fit. I love being able to run. I love challenging my body. And I really want to grow old and be a fit granny. This lifestyle has made me look forward to maturing. I was once someone afraid of getting old, not anymore.
The people who are differently abled and making the best out of their bodies really inspire me so much. I run road races and I get inspired by runners who are amputees and physically challenged. People, are making NO EXCUSES, and making the best of their ABILITIES, so why would I be sitting on my couch at home with this body that is able.
My motivation to eat healthier stems from the fact that I need to nourish and fuel my body to do all these things. And most importantly, go to bed every night and feel proud of the decisions I have made with my body.
For what are you most grateful?
The opportunity to start over. I was fit in university and then unfit and unhappy in my twenties and I am just really grateful I have this second chance to be happy and healthy again.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
It is never too late to be the person you have always envisioned yourself to be. Fit, strong and people with amazing physiques work hard to be where they are. They are not special. They are not better than you. They are just people determined to reach and obtain certain lifestyle and training goals. Just try one little thing that could make a difference.
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
1. Focus on creating habits. Exercise regularly. If you only have two free afternoons to go for a walk or run per week, USE IT. As long as you are doing it regularly, your health will improve.
2. Plan what you are going to eat for the day in the morning or night before. Before you go to a restaurant, plan what you are going to eat, “chicken and salad anyone?”
3. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Find people who will support you on your journey, talk to them, hang out with them, and in turn be supportive to them too. Thank goodness for the Sleek Geek community! Need to meet likeminded individuals? Attend Sleekmeets and events.
4. Ignore negative talk. I have learnt that people will always have comments to make. When you are overweight people make comments, when you are trying to lose weight people will make comments and when you are living a healthy lifestyle people WILL have comments to make. Let them talk. They have the right to speak. You don’t have to listen to them. Just be committed to your healthy lifestyle and your goals.
5. Learn as much as you can and make decisions based on your own findings. There is a lot of nutritional and fitness information on the internet and in books and it can become overwhelming. Find a fitness professional you can trust and consult with them. But most importantly, trust your own instincts and see how certain foods and exercises make you feel. If it works for you, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to change something. Just stay active and eat healthy. All the best!