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Q & A : Belinda transforms her body and life by changing her habits

Name:

Belinda Nel

Age:

33

Location:

Witbank, Mpumalanga 

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

I have lost 6kg when I started the Sleekgeek 8-Week Winter Challenge, thereafter and with the Summer challenge I wanted to gain in muscle mass, I love to do Inbody assessments so I can keep track of my fat % and Muscle mass.

What do you do? [Job] 

I’m a Personal trainer (Studied through Trifocus fitness academy)  at BFIT Studio in Witbank, also started my own Detox Juice (cleanse your body) Business this year. 

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

I love to be outdoors, and as a family, we will go for off-road trips. Fishing with my two boys, and I love to run so over weekends, I will go and clear my head with a nice 4/5 km jog. 

Also recently started to paint and I love making really good healthy food for my family! 

YOU AND SLEEKGEEK

How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

Ever since the Sleekgeek 8-Week Winter Challenge in 2021.

How did you find Sleekgeek?

Social Media 

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

The accountability for sure and to see how everyone is so committed in the Sleekgeek 8-Week challenges.

YOUR TRANSFORMATION 

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

I was always someone that did not exercise, I was not really committed, I had my own Baby Store in Witbank after the birth of my second boy. I was always focused on everyone around me and my business, I never made time for myself.  I never had any interest in eating healthy food or training. 

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

In lockdown 2020, I lost my business and for some mental health I started to train with my husband on a daily basis, it helped to keep my mind off negativity and covid. I challenged myself by setting small daily and weekly goals. I also mentor and coach others.

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

Never loved to make any type of food, and when I started with my healthy lifestyle I started to learn how to cook healthy food and love prepping for the week in advance.  

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

Time management.

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

Create a daily schedule—and stick with it.

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

Yes sure, I think everyone does, but I also learn to stay focused on my fitness journey and remind myself of my WHY!! And in my position as a personal trainer, I can not really afford to have a setback as I have so many people to keep motivated and focused on being healthy and fit. 

What is better since you got healthy? 

My energy levels, I sleep better and it manages many health problems like my Asthma.  A gym session or a quick run helps boost my mood. As I have learned physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that leave me feeling happier, more relaxed, and less anxious about my daily tasks as a businesswoman and mother.

TRAINING 

What’s your favourite form of exercise?

Weightlifting and HIIT Training. 

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

January 2020 I was “forced “to start with a serious training program with my husband at a local gym,  all went really well slowly but surely I was getting there and then Covid hit us, so I started to train myself with home-based exercises, with more and more research to make healthy food. In November 2020 I decided to take my passion to the next level and start with my studies to become a personal trainer, I now have a few ladies that train in my female studio. Coaching them now and helping keep them motivated, is really something I will not trade for anything else. 

What does your typical workout look like?

  • Monday: Upper-body strength training (45 to 60 minutes).
  • Tuesday: Lower-body strength training (30 to 60 minutes).
  • Wednesday: Cardio & Abs (45 Min) and (15 Min) stretching. 
  • Thursday: HIIT (45 Min) and (15 Min) Stretching / (sometimes Glutes and Legs again).
  • Friday: Total-body strength training.

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

I love burpees!!!! 

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

Lunges. 

How does exercise make you feel? 

Super happy!! 

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

It depends on my training and how I feel on the day, but I do prefer to train alone. It’s “ME” time. 

Most embarrassing training moment?

When I was training one of the ladies in a group, I twisted my ankle in doing jumping jacks with them.

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

In my gym bag:

  1. Towel
  2. Gym gloves 
  3. Resistance band

Your next training goal?

Get leaner and gain lower body muscle.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

  1. Shivers – Ed Sheeran
  2. She doenst mind –Sean Paul
  3. Unstoppable – Sia 
  4. Fight song Remix- Rachel Platten 
  5. Cold Heart – Elton John and Dua Lipa 

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

Fitness for me is part of my daily routine, by being fit and active, improving my performance daily, I will only rest on Sundays, to stay fit and healthy is not just a phase it is a big part of my lifestyle and my household. I discovered that exercise benefits my mental health and wellbeing. By helping keep other women motivated and giving advice in health and fitness, as well as pushing myself and others to the best we can be every day!

I currently train 6 days a week for 1.5 hours a day, I like doing all types of exercises. Being fit and strong is my passion, and learning new techniques. My most favourite is doing weight training during the week and on Saturdays, I like to go for a 4/5km morning run with a few trainers, thereafter cycling with my family by keeping those lungs and heart healthy.

NUTRITION

What’s your favourite meal?

Chicken wrap.

OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Love my breakfast protein smoothies.

Favourite protein?

Lean beef.

Favourite fat?

Avocados.

Favourite carbohydrate?

Fruits and Nuts.

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

Make small changes that turn into habits and you will transform your entire life! 

Making a major overhaul in life all at once is generally unrealistic and unsustainable. I remind myself it’s about progress, not perfection and the journey to better health is never a straight line.

Educate myself daily because knowledge is power. Learn to trust my inner wisdom or intuition as your body is usually telling you everything you need to know. 

I believe in nourishing every cell in your body with foods from the earth that are minimally processed, mostly plant-based, and naturally packed with essential nutrients and powerful antioxidants to help you look and feel your best.

To love, enjoy and share delicious food and food rituals. Food is not meant to be feared or be the cause of disease or suffering. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and connectors — it’s meant to nourish every aspect of your life!

Learn to balance your food choices, make the right choices when planning and prepping so that you get a healthy and satisfying mix of protein, carbs, and fats. Learn to eat until you are comfortably satisfied and not mindlessly stuffed. Choose foods that taste good when you eat them and feel good in your body after you eat them.

I always say to think outside the box and cook simple, delicious foods that “lighten your load” to wellness. We all have a different level of interest, skillset, and time availability when it comes to cooking and for more fun and less hassle in the kitchen.

How many meals a day do you eat?

5 Meals (3 main and 2 snacks).

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

Sundays are our cheat days but not a specific meal strategy.

MINDSET

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

To train for two hours a day.

Favorite quote?

“You’re going to have to let it hurt. Let it suck. The harder you work, the better you will look. Your appearance isn’t parallel to how heavy you lift, it’s parallel to how hard you work.”

– Joe Manganiello, actor and one of the 100 Fittest Men of All Time

Favourite book? 

Currently – 

The Fitness Mindset – Eat for energy, Train for tension, Manage your mindset, Reap the results

What inspires and motivates you?

When I see results on myself and my clients. 

For what are you most grateful? 

To have a healthy mind and body, I’m grateful for a healthy family and most of all my husband that always believe in me and encourage me every step of the way! 

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

Just start, set your mind on your goals, focus and I promise you will never look back again, once you see results you will want more, but always remember it does take time, so take it day by day, reaching daily goals will add up by reaching your main goal! Through slow processes and through challenges and by caring for yourself, you will learn to look at yourself differently, and more positively! You will discovered that exercise benefits your mental health and wellbeing and as health is considered the most valuable and precious for every individual.

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

  1. Focus on whole foods. 
  2. Think before you drink (or eat)
  3. Make time for yourself 
  4. Set daily goals and by reaching your daily goals you will easily reach your main goal.
  5. Find your WHY (you have started/ you want to be healthy).

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