Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape
How much weight have you lost on your journey so far?
Starting weight of my journey – 175kgs, I now weigh in at 119kgs. So that’s a whole 56kgs lost.
What do you do? [Job]
I am a Carpenter by trade. I build and manufacture furniture at Beachyfide here in Plett. I have worked there for collectively around 9-10 years.
What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]
I am a big PC gamer! (I know, what a geek, right?) No, but honestly it is a hobby and a love that I have had since I was in school. I just enjoy being able to have fun with mates and just unwind after a hard day’s work. I would also say that a little side hobby that I picked up during lockdown was making biltong! Yum
Otherwise, in Summer it’s time at the beach, either surfing or snorkeling. And Wintertime it’s a bit less water and more family time coupled with a few beach days here and there. Always love it!
YOU AND SLEEKGEEK
How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?
Not too long at all. This Summer 2021 challenge has been my first real challenge and now I am into my second challenge to date. So around 5 or 6 months as a Sleekgeek?
How did you find Sleekgeek?
I knew about Sleekgeek from when I was younger. I tried a challenge when I was a young lad but I just never stuck to it and finished it. So I’ve known about it for a long time, I even introduced my sister to Sleekgeek and she is now into her 2nd challenge as well.
What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?
I think that question pretty much answers it for me, “The Community” is what I love about Sleekgeek! The fact that there is no right or wrong, no bad or good, no shame or any kind of ridicule amongst one another in the community. Everyone understands that each person is on their own journey, and they are super supportive and behind one another no matter what the next person is going through.
Along with the Team side of the Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge, man oh man what a boost that is! I am in a team now that gives me such hype and excitement to want to go out and give it my all! Having that communication between fellow teammates is something so important and just a massive boost in the right direction.
Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?
Hmm, the “Old Me”, you could say I was just that big, always laughing, lovable bear that everyone loved being around. I knew that I was a lot larger than all my friends, but I thought, “Ag I’m just big and buff”. But deep down I knew that I was battling with my self-confidence and self-image. I struggled with what I felt was depression, I went to see a few counselors and went to several OA meetings, but nothing I tried could answer what I was needing to be answered. I struggled mentally with my health and how it affected me, I cried many tears thinking to myself that if I don’t turn my life around, I was not going to make it past 40 years old.
The old me was also battling with bad gynecomastia, which I had since I was in grade 5. I was teased and made fun of because of what I had, so I never showed my body not even to my own family. I hated sports because I had to wear clothes that made me feel so embarrassed to walk around in, the days of wearing a belt across my chest under 2 shirts to just try and have a flat chest to do sports, or swim in. This affected me right up until last year when I had it removed. So it only took me up until the age of 28! But since then my self-confidence has shot up and my transformation has begun!
What ignited your initial motivation to change?
My initial motivation was the idea that I would want to be able to walk my daughter down the aisle one day. Thinking that the more I stayed and continued to be the way I was, the less and less chances I have of doing that with my daughter and family all together. I knew it had to be NOW!
What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?
- Eating Healthy! Just for starters! I would hate to see the total amount of money I’ve spent on takeaway’s goodness me!
- Staying active is another thing that I do differently now. My body tells me when I’ve been away from the gym for too long!
- Not being afraid to show some skin now and then! Haha (the wife still has a good chuckle when I walk around the house without a shirt on.)
What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?
I think like a lot of people, “Consistency” is the word that comes up a lot for me, and I know others go through the same. Look, I’m no perfect person who does everything right and is as fit as anything Boy, oh boy, I’m the opposite. So sticking to a routine can be hard and sometimes it slips.
Something that the new me struggles with is not being able to just go and munch on yummy hot food from the shops! Crumbed chicken wings, I’m looking at you!
If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?
“Stop, Think, Is it worth it”?
We all have the choice, we all know what happens when you decide to go against what is good for you. So my advice would be to just stop and think about whatever it is you are doing, feel how it is affecting you, and then rectify it.
Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?
Haha, you ever slide backward down a supertube as a kid, remember that feeling? Yeah, me too!
I think I only really slid backwards after my journey with the first 8-Week challenge ended. It wasn’t a terrible one, but it was almost as if (and I know so many people get this feeling) “Oh, the challenge is over now, I can go eat whatever I want!” No! Naughty!
What is better since you got healthy?
After finding out while on my Sleekgeek challenge that I was gluten intolerant, I changed a whole of things. Now that I am healthy and gluten-free, things are so different.
- Energy levels are high
- Allergies are non existent
- Asthma is hardly an issue
- Muscles aren’t sore or aching (well, after gym some days they do ache a tad)
- My self-confidence is finally around since getting healthy
And just so many more things !!
What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]
Hmm, I would have to say weightlifting and swimming. Like I mentioned before, I’m no athlete, I’m just your average Joe. But my body is built for weightlifting and swimming, that much I do know. But, like with any training the longer you do it for the better you become at it and the easier it gets, so I have slowly been starting to run which helps in the long run (no pun intended).
How long have you been training and how did you get started?
Since the start of the first challenge, I would say around 5 or 6 months at least? I got started basically because of the challenge, it was a boost to get started!
What does your typical workout look like?
I’m still in the learning phase in terms of sets and what muscle groups to focus on and when to focus on them. So for now I generally work everything that I possibly can.
I either start with lots of stretching coupled with squats, sit-ups, push-ups, planking, and the occasional lunge or 2. That’s then followed by hitting the weights, doing a mixture of arm training, leg training, and strengthening my back. And I end off with a jog or in the summer it’s a jog then swim.
Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Does doing a calf raise on the machine count? Because I enjoy doing them. Most people who meet me always comment on my calves and it’s honestly just in the genes, but being able to do 180kg calf raises has a little to do with it.
Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]
Planking, without a doubt, who even likes planking? Time stands still, I shake more than a twig in a hurricane and I only gain pain!
How does exercise make you feel?
Good actually. I come out feeling a lot more focused, a lot more awake, and ready to tackle the day.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I am a bit of a lone ranger when it comes to training. I’m not sure what it is, but being alone and when it’s only you and those weights you feel more involved if I can put it that way.
Most embarrassing training moment?
Mmmm, nothing recently, but going back to my school days I did get thrown off of a speeding treadmill that malfunctioned and flew back into a stair-master and blacked out for a few seconds… Fun times.
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?
In the Summer: Bottle of water – swimming goggles – towel
In the Winter: Bottle of water – swimming goggles – towel
No, I kid, I kid.
I would say a water bottle, a towel, and spearmint Fisherman’s Friends. (I like having something minty while I work out)
Your next training goal?
To run 5km nonstop, to do 100 squats nonstop, and to at least do 1 pull-up (lifting 119kg’s is tough work, take it from me).
Top 5 songs on your training playlist?
Hmm, that is a tough one because I chop and change a lot.
- Woman – by City and Color
- Sunday Best – by Surfaces
- Instant Destiny – Tame Impala
- Helicopter – Bloc Party
- Eat, Sleep, Wake – Bombay Bicycle Club ( I probably sing all their songs out loud when I’m in the gym)
And then when I jog I listen to a DJ called Kap Slap. He does great workout and running mixes.
How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]
I would say that exercise, even the littlest of it has made such a huge impact in my life. It feels like I have brought years back and even helped extend it by a couple as well. From general body movements to the simplest of things, exercise has helped immensely. I used to struggle to put my shoes on in the morning, I had to use my asthma pump twice a day, I couldn’t run 100 meters without gasping for air or having a sore lower back.
Everything has changed now. My body still has a little way to go, I have my goals to get to, but so far exercising and training has put me on the right path to reaching those goals.
What’s your favourite meal?
A Big ’ol Steak with potato salad and lots of sweet chili sauce! Or maybe a bacon, feta, avo and fig pizza, or how about a whole platter of sushi…. Okay, I need to stop now !!
OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?
Homemade ostrich burger patties on (my take of a bun) garlic and cream cheese stuffed portobello mushroom, with yoghurt and cream cheese mushroom sauce and homemade sweet potato wedges. Is your mouth watering yet? I know right? And it’s 100% gluten-free which is the winner for me!
At the moment I have to say “Ostrich”.
Avocado for sure !!
Hmmm, I would say “Oats”. But luckily I have my gluten-free oats to suffice.
What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]
Nah, don’t have one.
How many meals a day do you eat?
3 main meals and then small snacks in between.
Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?
Funnily enough, I don’t. The way my wife and I have planned our cooking and eating, we have lush and amazing meals without it having to be a “cheat”. But because I’m gluten intolerant all my cheat meals would cause me to have such a horrible time that it just isn’t worth it. But if I have to think of anything… it would be Meringues 100%!
Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?
Running 2km without stopping was one of the more memorable things that I achieved. Going from not running at all, to achieving that is a big step in my mind. Yes, I’m not a crazy fit person, but nobody is when they start. Back in the summer challenge, I pushed myself to do 50 laps in the pool which was also a big milestone for me.
“Be who you want to be, not what others want to see” – Unknown
Don’t have one, not a big reader.
What inspires and motivates you?
My wife and daughter and the arrival of our second little one. It pushes me in the direction that I need to go. My wife has been such a pillar in my journey, I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for her. She is honestly the best thing since gluten-free sliced bread!
For what are you most grateful?
That I get to wake up in this beautiful town of mine, have the ocean 3 minutes away, have the gym 2 minutes away, and a family that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?
There are lots of things that I could say in reply to this, all I can say is: “Take the leap, you might enjoy the ride”.
Take it from someone who scoffed at the idea of gyming, eating healthy, being in a community, all of that. Now that I am seeing the results, seeing and feeling the progress, having the support, and sharing and encouraging people and being encouraged on their journey, it’s exciting!
To anyone thinking of starting, you can only go up from here. Take the leap and do the Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge, it’s an amazing journey. Yes, there is a lot of information to take in, but once you peel it all back you have such a vast amount of helpful information and team members who are ready to encourage you and just praise you on your progress! It’s incredible!
What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?
- Don’t beat yourself up if you crumble in the first week – you are going to break habits, and habits aren’t easy to get rid of.
- Give yourself reachable goals and reward yourself when you reach those goals – be it buying some new training clothes, or even getting a small sweet treat. Whatever it is, savor it and smash the next goal.
- Don’t compare your progress with someone else – All too often society makes us compare ourselves to a supermodel or famous chiseled actor/actress. But in reality, our body is all we got so no matter how small your progress may be, praise yourself and carry on with YOUR body goals.
- Food management – Depending on what you can and can’t eat, it is helpful to sit and work out your weekly meals so that you know what you are going to have in your cupboards at all times. Having loads of things that you know you can’t eat won’t help you break the habits because you will be tempted. Work out a meal plan, shop for what you need, and cook accordingly.
- Have fun with it – as the saying goes “ you are your own hero” so don’t be bogged down and worried about what others think of your journey. Have fun with it, cook things that you never would normally have, be creative and you might find that you have a hidden chef talent.