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Q & A : A mom of 3 reveals how she lost 10kgs just 5 months after birth

Name:

Zena Vorster

Age:

33

Location:

Keetmanshoop, Namibia

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

My weight has always been a rollercoaster. I have always felt overweight. But the most I’ve weighed while not pregnant or postpartum was about 70kg in 2016. I am currently weighing between 58-60kg, 5 months postpartum with my third baby in five years.

What do you do? [Job]

For the last nine years, I have been a gym manager and a personal trainer. For the four years before that, I studied sports science and management. I also studied education, so when I’m not with a client, I homeschool my children. And I also make sweets as a side hustle.

What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]

My family is my life, and my clients are like family to me. Some of my clients have been training with me for eight years.  If you do what you love you never work a day in your life. 

I don’t really have time to do anything else. But when I do have time I love running, researching programs, and workouts. And also love researching things to do with my kids. And then also spending individual time with my kids.

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

Since 2013 – 8 years

How did you find Sleekgeek?

In June 2013 at my friend’s daughter’s 1st birthday party, my friend’s sister from Australia told me about Sleekgeek.

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

The encouragement, the accountability, the recognition.  And I love the Sleekgeek 8-Week Transformation Challenge.

YOUR TRANSFORMATION

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

I have always been sporty and very active, but my biggest struggle is my diet. We were brought up in diet culture, and exposed to an endless supply of junk food and later alcohol. We were brought up in a takeaway café, in a coffee shop, and a pub and grill restaurant.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

On my 19th birthday, a friend who I was very fond of came home for a holiday. When I saw him, he said to me on my birthday, ‘wow look how fat you got…’ that was a Sunday, and the Monday that followed I started eating healthy and exercising.

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

I prioritize exercise and I know what foods work for me.

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

I don’t always feel like exercising and I don’t always feel like making food. And if I do what I feel long enough it becomes a habit.

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

Keep on prioritizing exercise and eating healthy food, not just for yourself but for your whole family.

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

Well in 2014 I was in tip-top shape, I was training for the Comrades and also completed the Two Ocean’s Ultra. But I was still drinking on the weekends and in the week sometimes so I didn’t get in my long runs over the weekend. After I didn’t complete the comrades I just let go. And this went on for a while, being a personal trainer I still have to have a certain level of fitness, strength, and look the part. 

We got married in April 2016 and I had my 1st baby in May 2017 and when he was 3 months I put my foot down, again. After a few months, I was on my goal weight and got pregnant again.

What is better since you got healthy?

I have found a balance between eating healthy and enjoying treats. And I don’t go overboard with the training unless I’m training for something. I don’t have to overcompensate for bad habits.

TRAINING

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

I love running, HIIT, and weight-lifting.

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

I have always been active and participated in sport from school. My parents were very active, my dad played sports and my mother went walking for exercise and took us swimming with her in summer, and she always did aerobics. 

I did the photography for our town rugby team and one day one of the guys said I would be good at being a team manager. The next year I was off to Centurion to study Sports Management, but I fell in love with the Sciences for sport, nutrition, and fitness. While I was studying I worked in the Academy’s sports performance center. And it was while I was studying I started running, spinning, and gymming.

What does your typical workout look like?

I mostly do strength endurance, because I weight train to improve my running performance.  I do an upper body circuit of 3 – 6 exercises, a lower body circuit of 3 – 6 exercises, and an abs&core circuit of 3 – 6 exercises. The resistance needs to be heavy enough for me to be challenged by 8 – 12 reps for 3 – 5 sets. Minimal rest between exercises and sets.

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

I love running half marathons, doing burpees variations, and plank.

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

Pull-ups… because I can’t do them and I don’t like them enough to practice to get strong enough to do them.

How does exercise make you feel?

Strong, in control of my body, empowered.

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

Both I love running alone, but I also have people who I love running with because they challenge me. And I love weight training with a gym buddy because of the accountability, but most of the time I spend in the gym is with my clients and then the focus is on them.

Most embarrassing training moment?

While I was still living in Centurion I had bronze tights and when I started sweating it looked like I peed myself and when I saw it in the mirror I took my stuff and went home. Once, I also quickly popped into the gym to fetch something in my office and I saw someone doing something dangerous, so I demonstrated a decent ass to the grass squat and then I tore my pants in 2… luckily I keep an extra set of clothes at the gym.

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

Eeek… I don’t have a gym bag and I’m not needy I don’t need anything to gym. But what I do advise my clients to keep at hand is a water bottle, a sweat towel, and gym gloves. 

Your next training goal?

I need to run 100km per week, by next year April.

So that I can work towards running a sub 2:29 marathon, to qualify for the 2024 Olympics.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

I don’t listen to music while training. When I go running I download sermons to listen to while running because it is the only time nobody can bother me and distract me. I love listening to HopeCity sermons, especially by Pastor Jeremy Foster.

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

It has provided me with a platform to improve other people’s lives and change their idea of health and wellness. It has provided me with a job and income that still allows me to be a full-time mother. I have built meaningful relationships with people over the years, with people who share my passion for fitness and also people who I can in turn learn so much about life from. Like parenting, marriage, and finances. 

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?

Steak with garlic butter and greek salad.

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Tuna salad

Favourite protein?

Egg

Favourite fat?

Salted garlic butter

Favourite carbohydrate?

Potato

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

There is a time a place for everything. And entertaining and socializing with food is part of our culture. You cannot avoid food, but you can develop a healthy relationship with food.

How many meals a day do you eat?

Typically 2

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

I never say no to my cravings… I just tell myself not now, this weekend, or once you have completed or accomplished this or that. I don’t see it as a cheat I see it as a deserved treat.

What we do is we eat healthy throughout the week and then on weekends we relax a bit and we are allowed to buy that chocolate, chips, ice cream, cookies, cold drinks that we still feel like indulging in, but only 1. Not as much as you like non-stop all weekend. 

MINDSET

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

Last year I wanted to run a sub-4-hour marathon, with covid-19 most marathons were cancelled, so I found a virtual marathon for a good cause and ran it a sub 3hr45min. I had pace keepers run the different legs with me. And a support team on the road, it was amazing, I know it wasn’t official marathon conditions, but I didn’t think I was going to make it. 

Favorite quote?

What you allow today becomes your standards tomorrow.

Favourite book?

The Bible

What inspires and motivates you?

When world records are broken it inspires me to break my own records. And when peoplel doubt what I’m capable of it motivates me to prove them wrong.

For what are you most grateful?

I’m grateful for my good health and strong body.

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

Do you know what the best day is to plant a tree, start saving, or exercising is? YESTERDAY… time will pass where you work toward your goals or not. So a month or year from now the slightest change could make a big difference.  

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

  1. Set goals and record your current standings, so that you always know where you started and how far you have come. And if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.
  2. Find a way of eating foods that suit your lifestyle and budget, otherwise it won’t be sustainable, but also know that growth starts outside of your comfort zone.
  3. When it comes to exercise, balance is important. And variety is the spice of life. So some cardio, do some resistance training, and work on your core daily. Try to be more active throughout the day, there are more benefits to being active all day than 1 hour a day in the gym. You cant use exercise to make up for bad eating habits.
  4. Make sure you drink enough water, water is so important for so many bodily functions like getting rid of waste products and toxins.
  5. Rest, recover and reflect. Rest is just as important as being active, if you don’t rest enough you will fall off the wagon. Without rest, you cannot recover and this means you cannot reap the benefits of all your hard work. By reflecting on your progress you can learn from your mistakes and know what is working for you and what you need to change.

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