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Q & A : Mariska sheds over 35kgs! Busy mom tells us how.


Mariska Potgieter 




Gauteng, East Rand 

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

Lost a total of 35.8kg so far.

What do you do? [Job]

I am a credit controller.

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

I am a mother and a wife. I have two side jobs as well, selling supplements and Avon. I also have a new addiction, gym! I do weight training and cardio. 


How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

Not long at all, only found out about this awesome group a few months ago. So glad I joined.

How did you find Sleekgeek?

Suggested groups on Facebook and Instagram. 

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

I love the fact that we can post progress photos and all the achievements we reach, not only that, we can also post our bad days and our failures. You will get motivation and pep talks in return. Share your goals and you get a huge group of cheerleaders! I love the spirit and the friendliness of the group. No judging or hate, which we get all over. 


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

I was 25 in 2017, got married in 2014, and then I “let go”, in the sense that I did not watch what I ate. Baked and cooked all these yummy meals and delights for my husband because we were newly married and happy. Fast forward to 2017, I climbed on the scale one morning and I nearly fell off again. 112KG!! I had never been this heavy in my life! Look, I have never been a supermodel and had some curves. But this was just the next level. I then started to look at photos and saw how bad it got. 

Between 2014 and 2017 I did a crash diet here and there and I thought fat burners were an “instant cure” but when I saw my weight, I knew a change needed to be made. 

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

It was number 1, the scale, and number 2, my marriage. It was unfair towards my husband because he married me one way and I became someone completely different in a bad way. I know everyone will say, “he needs to accept you for who you are”, and I know that. He accepted me with all my flaws and loved me endlessly, however, I wasn’t happy with myself. 

I know I let myself down and I fell out of love with the idea of me. I felt the need to change for myself first, but also for my husband and for our marriage. I felt I owed him more, I owed myself to be healthier and happier. 

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

  • I exercise regularly, I make time for it. My biggest excuse for avoiding it was “I am just too busy to exercise”. If you want it bad enough you will make time 
  • I say no more often to things that won’t benefit our new lifestyle. 
  • Love myself more and more everyday 
  • There is confidence, I never had that and I love it!

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

The one thing I battle with, like a lot of others – cravings! Every now and then I get a craving for something “lekker”, sometimes I can resist but sometimes I give in to my moment of weakness. 

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

It is okay to have a weak moment, it is okay to have a fall but get back up and work harder. Never stay down. 

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

Oh yes, when the lockdown hit in 2020 March. I ate because I was stressed and did not exercise like I had. I felt “what’s the use” I gained about 10kg again and almost fell off the wagon completely. Luckily, I found my motivation again, and I remembered why I started. 

What is better since you got healthy? 

So many things!

  • No more heartburn 
  • I have energy 
  • So much happier
  • I use to get sick easily and since I lost all that weight and I am healthier, I do not get sick as I use to
  • My whole outlook on life is more positive than ever
  • My marriage is so much better! (In ALL aspects)


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

Weight training no doubt! Especially leg day.

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

Joined the gym in 2018, the new planet fitness opened in our area. My husband came home one afternoon while I was on maternity leave and he said he joined the gym, I answered him with “well let’s get back in the car and sign me up as well”.

What does your typical workout look like?

I work according to a training plan that changes every 4 weeks. Depends on the muscle group we are working that day. I gym from 17:00 in the evenings after work till about 17:50, I have a toddler at home so my time is limited meaning my sessions are pretty intense.

Cardio happens every morning for about 20/30 minutes. 

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

Leg presses!! I have stubby legs so I love the fact that I can move the proper weight with them. 

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

Lunges! Haha hate the movement but hey, think about the gains and get to it!

How does exercise make you feel? 

Super energized and happy! 

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

I prefer training alone because my time is limited and I love zoning out and listening to my tunes. 

Most embarrassing training moment?

I use to do Pilates, one session we were all in a very compromising position with legs in the air and our bum in the air. Needless to say, in a moment of complete silence my bum decided now is a good time to fail me and a loud fart ripped through the small little space we were in! I was so embarrassed.

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

  • Makeup wipes, some days I put a little more makeup on but I can’t gym like that I would look like a zombie when I am done, eyeshadow and mascara all over!  

Your next training goal?

I want to gain muscle and compete towards the end of the year.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

  1. Korn – Coming Undone 
  2. Five Finger Death Punch – Jekyll & Hyde 
  3. Da Professor – Ready 
  4. Trampsta – Chunky 
  5. Bounce & Bass mixes 

I love high energy, intense music when I train. Rock and Dance make me push harder because when you listen to good music your workout is also good. 

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

Weight training made me stronger. I can do things and lift things I never dreamed off. My husband calls me ‘Mrs strong and independent’ when I do things he used to.  Weird enough I am more organized, have a better routine, and function better overall in the basic things of my day-to-day tasks. My sleep is even so much better, with no restless nights (unless I take the wrong pre-workout for my evening session).


What’s your favourite meal?


OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

At the moment it is my breakfast wrap made from brown tortilla wraps, egg, and mayo with tabasco. 

Favourite protein?

My whey protein powder is made into a moose with a bit of sugar free peanut butter. Hot out of the microwave.

Favourite fat?


Favourite carbohydrate?

Basmati Rice 

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

I always say watch what you eat and how much you eat.  So I always weigh my food according to my meal plan. 

How many meals a day do you eat?

4 – 5 meals a day. 

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

Yes, I have a cheat meal, usually on a Saturday and then I get back on track the next day. However, now that I am going into prep for a competition it will get less and less. 


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

My most memorable moment was the first time I could do 120kg leg presses. I started with only 3 reps, but now I can do 15 reps with ease. If I push it I can do 20 reps.  

Favorite quote?

Strive for progress, not perfection. I see that as a perfect quote for beginners and pros because perfection for every person is different, but if you see the progress it is perfect for you and not someone else. 

Favourite book? 

I don’t have 1 specific favorite, I love thriller and suspense (fiction) books. My books are a way of escaping and living into the book. Nothing like a bubble bath and a good book after my little one went to bed. My favorite writer at the moment James Patterson 

What inspires and motivates you?

My husband and my son, motivate me to live a healthier life. In doing that I get to be present when spending time with them. I can run around and play with my son which would have been difficult at 112kg. 

For what are you most grateful? 

The fact that I am now healthy and always blessed. 

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

“If you set a goal that scares you, you are on the right path”.

We are all human and being nervous to start a new journey is normal, but when you start the journey take it day by day. Do not rely on just motivation, be dedicated. Dedication lasts longer than motivation. Think of where you want to go, what you want to achieve, and do everything from there based on that. 

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

  1. Follow pages like Sleekgeek and other motivational pages on Instagram and Facebook, although motivation comes and goes, seeing people post about their transformations and achievements will help and motivate you at the moment to make good choices. If you have a fitness goal to build muscle follow pages that have content for that. Look for athletes that represent your vision and follow them. If your goal is running a marathon look for pages and athletes in that field. 
  2. If you have a bad day, remember it is just one moment where you failed. It is not all lost. Just get back up and try again tomorrow. Bad days will come but do not let it define the way the rest of the journey will be.
  3. Take photos! If you take photos of yourself every 2-4 weeks and compare them, you will see the results. You will get pumped for the next few weeks to better the previous photos. 
  4. Don’t count on just the scale as a measurement of progress because muscle gain will show on the scale, write down your measurements every few weeks. You will see and feel the results. Get your trainer to do a body fat measurement and compare them each time you go for the assessment 
  5. Enjoy each moment! You need to enjoy the food, the exercise and the whole idea of living healthy. If you hate the process it won’t last. Take each day as it comes and give it your all.   

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