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QA: Fitness enthusiast Cherise shares her 36,5kg weight loss story


Cherise Potgieter





How much weight have you lost on your journey so far?

I started at 100kg, and got down to 63,5kg.
When I’m at stage I go down to a 63,5 kg (36,5 kg loss) . When I’m living my best life, I weigh roughly 70kg at the moment (30 kg loss).

What do you do?

Online Coach, I co-own Reforma Elite with Owen Dunderdale

What else do you do?

I love my dogs, so I work with them. I have a border collie that I’m training.


How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

Roughly 5 years, I think.

How did you find Sleekgeek?

I came across it on Facebook.

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

How people back each other up when someone is being nasty. I have actually had first hand experience with people standing up for me when someone was trying to belittle my results. In a nice way though, things like this are handled so well and I like that it just works against cyberbullying.


Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation.
How did you get there and what were you like?

The old me wasn’t a happy girl. She had a really unhealthy relationship with herself. She ate terribly, partied and drank a lot. I got there by adopting habits that I was brought up with, my family’s cooking was super unhealthy, and I ate and drank sugary drinks in excess which led to me being obese. This caused my health to decline. I wasn’t into physical activity at all, I actually hated it to be really honest. I spent a lot of my free time on the couch leading a very sedentary lifestyle. I don’t want to use the word lazy, but if I’m honest that word best describes who I used to be.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

Health problems. I had a lot of joint issues, depression, pre-diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?

I have one rule, never stop training. I eat intuitively, so very conscious of not overdoing my calorie intake. The reason for my never stop training rule is because it is extremely hard to get back into it, so the most I will do is 2-3 days off but never more than that.

What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?

Body image, I have good days and bad days. However, after watching love island SA it’s apparent all women/men go through this. We tend to really underestimate ourselves and compare ourselves to the other people around us.

If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?

Enjoy your body, it works and functions optimally, you only have one. Give it the praise it deserves. It wasn’t created to just lose weight, there is more to life. Goals are good but it’s not the end-all and be-all of your existence.

Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?

No, I feel there is a huge misunderstanding on what plateaus actually are. Usually when someone feels that they have plateaued they actually aren’t being 100% consistent on their plan. Yes, metabolic adaptation occurs during long stints of dieting and it’s important to take a break and allow your metabolism to recover but it is very rare that what a person thinks is a plateau is actually a plateau. Every transformation will have ups and downs, most of the time it will zigzag and not be a straight line down.

What is better since you got healthy?

Everything. Mental health, my physical health, my ability to move more. My legs don’t chafe anymore like they used to. I just feel that my quality of life is a lot better.


What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]

I do cardio and weight training 6 days a week.

How long have you been training and how did you get started?

Since 2014 (7 years)

What does your typical workout look like?

Cardio warm-up about 20 – 40 minutes and then 30 – 50min weight training. I do an upper-lower split. When I first started I only did 20 minutes of walking, so I really don’t want people to be overwhelmed by the amount of exercise I listed.

Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]

Hip thrust for the glutes.

Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]

Hip flexor work eg. Banded lateral walks (ouch), my hips are weak so I have needed to start working on it.

How does exercise make you feel?

Happy, I used to hate it and now I love it. This is why I say if you are starting out go slow, if you go too hard too fast, you will hate it and you will most likely stop and fall off track. A training plan needs to be just as sustainable as a diet plan in order to work long term.

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?

Alone, I like to just get it done. It’s my alone time and break away from the stress of life. However, I don’t mind doing a session now and then with a friend.

Most embarrassing training moment?

I don’t have one.

Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?

Fit farm girl bands, kickback straps and a hip thrust pad. BEST investment you can make especially if you want a nice peach.

Your next training goal?

I’m prepping for an IFBB which is show later this year.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

  • Survivor – 2WEI
  • Castle – Freya Ridings
  • Dance for the hell of it – LOVA
  • Zombie – Miley Cyrus cover
  • Champion – Bishops Briggs

A lot of the fearless motivation tracks on Spotify, they are really good to get you into the mood for training.

How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]

I am a lot happier and healthier.
I didn’t like being overweight, I found it very uncomfortable. Whenever I went away my legs would chafe until they bled, this would ruin most of my holiday as I was in pain and it burned. This doesn’t happen any more. My periods have regulated which is great for my polycystic ovarian syndrome. My blood sugars are always normal, and so is my insulin levels, which means I am no longer pre-diabetic. I also do not suffer from depression any more. So I’m a much happier person overall.


What’s your favourite meal?

I really just love food in general so any meal.

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Pretty much whatever I make. I don’t eat gross food. I’m creative in the kitchen so it’s all tasty.

Favourite protein?

Chicken or bacon

Favourite fat?

Flora extra light (margarine)

Favourite carbohydrate?

Jungle Taystee wheat

What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]

Balance and sustainability. I don’t track macros. I make sure I get enough protein in but these amounts fluctuate on a regular basis.

How many meals a day do you eat?


Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

Cheat is a negative word, I don’t like surrounding negativity around food as it’s not good for a person’s relationship with food and promote post food guilt. I do re-feed days where my calorie consumption is higher, this is done when I feel drained. I usually have a higher carbs intake on these days. I eat out 1-3 times a week, I’m really good at sussing out a menu for good health options and no it’s not always a salad e.g. a chicken burger / Prego could be a great option to go for I would personally get it without the mayo as that can be really calorie-dense.


Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?

I have won a bikini contest, I have been featured in fat loss magazine, I have been featured in a fitness magazine and I made it as a semi-finalist in a modelling competition.

Favorite quote?

What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. If you can dream it, you can do it.

Favourite book?

I don’t have one, most of what I read is articles and not really books.

What inspires and motivates you?

Me, myself and I. Not in an arrogant way. I just strive to become a better version of myself and I try not to compare myself to others as its not good for a persons body image.

For what are you most grateful?

My mom and Owen Dunderdale, these two humans have gotten me through the worst of time in my family life. I have had some really difficult stuff happen in the last few years and I don’t think I would’ve made it through had it not been for them.

What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?

Time waits for no one. Time is the one thing we cannot put a price on and is therefore priceless, so stop wasting time and get going.

What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?

  1. Don’t wait for Monday.
  2. Learn as you go.
  3. Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 10.
  4. Be prepared, it will take you much longer than what you hope for.
  5. Don’t give up, the end goal is 100% worth all the sweat and tears.

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