Name: Chantelle Smuts
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
What do you do? I am a Financial Administrator at Hi-Tec Sports SA and I am busy completing my CIMA studies, on a part-time basis to become a Chartered Global Management Accountant.
What else do you do?
Studies keep me extremely busy, but I try to maintain a balance between my gym schedule, seeing friends and studying.
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
I joined the Facebook group just over a year ago.
How did you find Sleekgeek?
A Facebook friend added me to the group.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
Everyone is very supportive of any progress you make. There is no negative feedback about anything.
It is a very positive, motivational, informative platform for anyone looking to make a lifestyle change.
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
The old me was a social butterfly. Always going out, having drinks, eating junk food, and putting others first.
Once I started studying, I just realised that I need to make changes if I want to give my best. I had to become a little more selfish to not lose myself while trying to make other people happy. Having more than one goal to work towards, gave me the fuel needed to change a lot of things.
I might have lost a lot of people down the line, but you realise that life is about the quality of the people you surround yourself with, not the quantity.
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
I lost my father to cancer in 2013. He was only 45 at the time of his passing. At that stage, I was at my heaviest and just decided that I really must make an effort to look after my health. He was generally a very healthy person, but it still felt like a wake-up call.
We tend to forget how important our health is. No amount of money can buy it for you. You have to look after yourself. I tried many different things and then just spiralled back, but just after starting my new job last year I started seeing my coach, Bernadette Beyer.
Having proper guidance made a world of difference and that is why I am still going strong for almost a year and a half.
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
I think twice when going out and I always keep in mind how what I choose to eat, or drink will affect me the next day.
I’ve had a complete mind shift, and my body really doesn’t like junk food anymore. I also make sure I only have healthy things to snack on at home, and I don’t go grocery shopping when I am hungry!
What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
I’ve always had a sweet tooth. Cravings for cupcakes or chocolates haunt me quite often.
If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
If I’ve been sticking to my training and eating plan properly, I will reward myself with a little something sweet. One cheat won’t make you fat.
I always just remember that I have a goal to reach, so I shouldn’t overdo it. Always in moderation. There are also so many healthier alternatives to snack on, that feels just as rewarding as a cupcake.
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
Many times, life doesn’t always work out as the way we want it to, but then you just need to work through the hard times and not give up.
The biggest mistake I always made, was just giving up when things got hard. It doesn’t do you any good. You just have to push through it. Having a great coach, made all the difference in the world. If I hit a plateau, she always stays positive, makes a few changes and then we just keep trying, it never lasts forever.
What is better since you got healthy?
Everything is just better when you are healthier! I have more confidence, I sleep better, I have more energy and generally, I just feel happier. It has improved my concentration too.
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
I really enjoy weightlifting and how it completely changes your figure if you stay consistent. A very good stress reliever after a tough day.
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
It’s been quite a few years, but when I started the journey with my coach, I stepped it up. Originally, I started training to cope with the difficulties of life but then I just really started enjoying it. It is so part of my routine, that a day feels incomplete if I didn’t train.
What does your typical workout look like?
I start off with a quick 10-minute warm-up (incline treadmill walk, etc) then I start weight training. I enjoy having between 3-4 exercises that I do directly after each other before taking a break. Usually 3 to 4 sets of between 10-15 reps each.
Depending on how I feel after weight training (or the amount of time spent on weight training), I would do additional cardio afterwards.
Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
I enjoy training the upper body the most. (biceps, triceps, shoulders, etc) I do not split them over a few days, I train them together.
So, no specific favourite, all of them together are my favourite.
Least favourite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Cardio, hands down, but I still make sure I do it. I know it is necessary.
How does exercise make you feel?
Happy. I feel so much better after a good session. It’s easy to feel demotivated after a rough day when you feel you just want to go sit on the couch and do nothing. That is when I force myself to go train because I know it will make me feel good.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I prefer to train alone. My training time is my “me time”. I feel more focused and forget about the world around me during that time. I have trained with people before, but I just feel I get more done on my own.
Most embarrassing training moment?
That moment when you are walking at a brisk pace on the treadmill, and you fall over NOTHING. I always just recover quickly and pretend that it didn’t happen. Luckily no bad falls yet. Just a little embarrassment when you know you could have fallen on your face.
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
- My earphones
- Sweat towel
- Water bottle.
Your next training goal?
My next fitness goal is to compete in a bodybuilding competition. I would like to get on stage for the first time ever in 2020.
It is a very personal goal, that many don’t understand, but it is something I want to do just to prove to myself that I can. It has a lot to do with just getting out of my comfort zone and trying something that scares me, at least once.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
- Imagine Dragons – Machine
- Martin Garrix feat. Usher – Don’t look down
- Sia – Unstoppable
- 391 & Alan Walker – Ignite
- Tones and I – Dance Monkey
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
It has made me stronger, mentally and physically – the best coping mechanism.
The effect it has on your mental health is astounding. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
What’s your favourite meal?
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
A healthy wrap with chicken and a little cream cheese
What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]
Too much of anything isn’t good for you. I always check my portion sizes and make sure my meals are balanced the way they should be.
I like my coach’s motto – “to be in shape tastes far better than cake tastes”
How many meals a day do you eat?
6 meals a day.
Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?
At the beginning of my journey, I was allowed a cheat meal a month, now I am allowed at least one cheat meal a week. I usually have my cheat meal or treat over the weekend.
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
I have achieved many things that I am proud of, but my most memorable is becoming a homeowner at the age of 23. It was something I dreamed of, and even though I am starting small, I have started somewhere. Following that would be my studies and fitness achievement to date.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”
Charles R. Swindoll
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
What inspires and motivates you?
To be a better person than I was yesterday.
Constantly setting new goals is what keeps me going. I’ve never been a person that wants to stay in one place for too long. If I set my mind to something, I make sure I achieve it, no matter how long it takes or how difficult it is, or how many times I may fail before I get there.
I also believe that it is impossible to always be motivated. Being persistent is what gets you there.
For what are you most grateful?
Every opportunity I have had in my life so far, as well as my friends and family. I have a great support system and they always believe in me, sometimes even more than I do at stages.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
Start off small, everything starts with small changes. When you start seeing how the small changes are adding up and the results show, you will keep going.
Always keep in mind that you have to make the change for yourself. A lifestyle change is a personal journey and if you do it for the right reasons, you will definitely succeed. Don’t listen to negative people telling you, you cannot do it. Use their negativity as fuel to succeed, because you know what you are capable of.
Making healthier choices will only benefit you. Would you rather pay a little more for proper fuel for your body, or pay with your health for the rest of your life?
You can do anything you set your mind to, just believe in yourself.
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
- Start with small changes, for example cutting down on the sugar in your coffee, eating smaller portions, etc. every little change you make, adds up.
- Remember that everything takes time. Set small attainable goals during the journey and don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake, just try again. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Taking longer to achieve your goal, makes it easier to maintain.
- Be proud of yourself and celebrate every small goal you achieve. Do not compare your progress to the progress of others. The only person you are allowed to compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday.
- It is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix so that you can go back to your old ways once you achieved your goal. Make sure your mindset is in the right place. You have to know that you are doing it to change your life for good.
- You won’t always feel motivated, but you have to be persistent, even if it feels that you aren’t making progress. Persistence is key. You can make it fun. Try different things until you find something you enjoy!