Francois Steyn has been a Sleekgeek for many years. We’ve witnessed his highs and lows and with his desire to attain health he has never given up.
In celebration of his 100kgs loss, we talk to the man.
Name: Francois Steyn
Location: Cape Town
What do you do? [Job]
I am a building contractor.
What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff etc]
Swimming, I absolutely love swimming. I take weekend road trips with friends – Cape Town has so much to offer and most are just a short drive away. Playing golf and being on the shooting range.
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
I joined Sleekgeek in October 2012, and haven’t looked back since.
How did you find Sleekgeek?
Via a random search on Facebook. Sleekgeek was still a small group. I think they had completed only 1 or 2 challenges.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
The respect the members of Sleekgeek have for each other. You will never be broken down in the community. Sleekgeeks inspire each other daily.
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
It’s a strange feeling looking back at pictures and seeing how morbidly obese I was.
When I was 230Kg I still never thought that I was “that” big. The old me wasn’t motivated, didn’t exercise at all, binge ate every few days and had a really bad relationship with food.
I was healthy and living life, and before I knew it I was 230Kg and a ticking time bomb.
I still see the old me when I look in the mirror now, but that doesn’t worry me because it keeps me motivated to continue with my journey and reach every single goal I set for myself.
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
It sounds cliché but I woke up one day and decided enough is enough. You get to a point in life where you fear that you might get a heart attack just walking around. That’s not a life worth living.
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I have a completely new respect and relationship with food. We need to eat to live. Don’t live to eat.
I had lifesaving gastric bypass surgery last year. In the beginning, I was so embarrassed by it but there is nothing embarrassing about asking help especially at that weight. Thinking back, I should have gone for the operation sooner.
Life post bypass is a lot different and you can’t enjoy food choices like you always did, but then again, it’s those old choices that made me get to 230Kg.
What are some of the things that the new you still struggle with?
Motivation, getting out of bed at 04:30 am and going to train when it’s cold and dark outside, or only getting home late at night and going to gym from 20:30 till 22:00.
Prepping healthy meals. We don’t always feel like cooking every day and will then settle for something unhealthy to eat, so having healthy prepped food always available is key.
If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
If you know you have a bad relationship with a certain food type, don’t eat it. Don’t even take a small bite. Out of sight, out of mind.
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
Absolutely! Small changes to your diet, changes to your exercise routine over a period of time helps a lot especially if you reach a plateau.
Just continue doing your absolute best and the results will follow.
What is better since you got healthy?
Everything about life is different and better, including the way I look at life, and the way people look at me. Let’s be honest, being 230kg in today’s society means you get judged in every store, in every restaurant – doesn’t matter where you go.
Now I can confidently go for a run, do races, go out and enjoy myself with friends. I can go out dancing (Sokkie because I am a very Afrikaans haha) and I can, at last, enjoy life.
Many people take for granted being able to go to the mall, walk around and do some shopping. I couldn’t do that at my biggest weight, never forgot how privileged you are with good health.
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
Weight training and anything cardio. I really don’t mind cardio – weird I know.
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
At my biggest I couldn’t exercise a lot due to the associated risks so I started with walking 1km at a time.
1km became 2 and now I can comfortably do a parkrun on a chilled Saturday morning. I have got my eyes on a few 10km races and want to do a half marathon before the end of the year.
What does your typical workout look like?
On cardio days I will start with 20 minutes cycling just to get my heart rate a bit up, then move over to 40 minutes on the treadmill
While on the treadmill I will walk/run at various speeds to get the heart rate up nice and high. I end my session with 100 steps.
Some days I just go and do 5 km on the treadmill, other days I will go and do a cycle of 40km +. It depends on how much time I have and my mood
Favourite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Deadlifts. I LOVE them!
I started off light with 100Kg deadlifts and worked myself up to 200Kg +.
Least favourite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Burpees…Just kidding. I love them.
Least favourite exercise will be cancelling my gym session. Any exercise is good exercise for me.
How does exercise make you feel?
Exercise gives me the feeling of complete freedom. Our bodies can achieve anything we set our mind to.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others?
Cardio – I prefer to train alone. Weight training – I prefer with others.
Most embarrassing training moment?
Virgin Active Table View.
You get the idea where this is going.
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
A proper gym towel as I sweat a lot during training.
Headphones as I can’t train to my full potential without some good beats in the ears and definitely something cold to drink to rehydrate myself.
I also always have a spare pair of pants in my bag after the squat incident.
Your next training goal?
Get back to doing Triathlons. There is no greater feeling than finishing a Triathlon. One day I want to complete an Ironman.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
- Eminem – Lose Yourself
- Eminem – Till I Collapse
- Alan Walker – Faded
- Ava Max – Sweet but Psycho Nightcore Remix
- Bad Wolves – Zombie Remix
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
Training has given me the confidence to go out in life and achieve anything I want to.
Just like exercise, what you put into life, you will get out!
What’s your favourite meal?
Lasagne without a doubt!
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Fat-free cottage cheese, no jokes! One of my best friends even gave me Woolworths cottage cheese as a birthday present!
Other than that, I good fillet steak remains the best.
Chicken breasts cooked on the braai and good matured steak.
After my bypass I don’t handle fat very well at all but if I had to choose: butter. Garlic and butter over a steak will always be amazing.
Good old oats. I used to love bread but now I stay far away from it.
What’s your nutrition philosophy/approach? [If you have one]
Eat to live, don’t live to eat. Eat healthy, wholesome food. A healthy body is a healthy mind.
How many meals a day do you eat?
3-4 meals during the day.
Do you have a cheat meal/treat strategy?
Not really. I get really sick if I cheat so it helps me stay away from “cheat meals” which contains high amounts of carbs, sugars and fats.
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
Recently reaching a huge goal I had set for myself of losing 100Kg. I worked so hard towards this goal and it still feels so unreal!
“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.”
What inspires and motivates you?
Seeing results, there is nothing that motivates me more.
For what are you most grateful?
Having my health back under control. Healthy is a good feeling.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
Take that first step, don’t be afraid because the future isn’t clear. Start now and 6 months from now you WILL thank yourself.
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
- Do what works for you. What works for friends and family might not work for you.
- Small daily changes add up to huge changes over a period of time.
- Believe in yourself!
- Start walking, get out and get in some fresh air. You will be surprised how much better you will start feeling.
- Eat something healthy with every meal, eating healthy will start to become a habit. It’s a proven fact.