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The Beginning of A New Me!

By 20th July 2012 No Comments

Pics of me as a kid. The pics are from a scrapbook I made when I was about 12 years old!

Born to be on TV

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Fishing, swimming, playing the fool…mostly with my dad! 🙂

Hey!!

Thanks for joing me on this journey of transformation….Here is my story, I’ve tried to condense it as much as possible! Enjoy….

In the Beginning There Was Sport

I have always been somewhat of a fitness fundi, since the age of five when I started my first karate class at the Seido Dojo in Fordsburg. In fact, it probably goes back earlier than that to when I was winning sprint races at nursery school! From this tender age I was constantly surrounded by male company: climbing trees with my cousins, going fishing with my dad—who loves the outdoors, constantly surrounded by male friends I was always up for a challenge. The numerous scars on my legs serve as a reminder of this tomboy-like childhood. I recall writing a bucket list as a teenager and one of the items on my list included taking part in the South African version of Gladiators! (Palm Face) Em-bah-rah-sing!!!

I LOVED sports in school. I never came home before 4pm on a weekday. I was always involved in some form of extra-curricular activity: swimming, karate, netball, athletics and a bit of volleyball. Attempts were made to include some debating and public speaking where my sports activities would allow and I even dabbled with a little bit of rhythmic gymnastics at some point. Yes, “Sporty Stace” is what most would call me.
To be honest, I cannot think of my life having ever been separated from some form of physical exercise. In fact as student – when I entered the wonderful world of part-time work – one of my first expenses was a gym contract!
I suppose I owe much of this mindset to my parents who were always fitness orientated. Both my mom and dad played sport in school—athletics, swimming, football and hockey—and I remember going to the gym with them from a very early age. I guess you cannot expect your kids to be active if you’re not. My mom loves to share the story of how she was still attending aerobics classes two weeks before I was born, and how her body ‘snapped back’ into shape after giving birth!
I was never a bad eater either. My parents always ensured that accompanying lunch or dinner was a salad or a serving of veggies. We never skipped breakfast and it was obvious to any visitor that chocolates and sweets were an exception rather than a norm in our household. So you could say that I’ve pretty much been in shape for most of my life, barring my stint in Belgium of course—where I picked up 20kg from indulging, okay— over-indulging in chocolate, croissants, frites and other Belgian delicacies.
So why the need to embark on a fitness challenge then?
Well, to answer that we have to fast forward to my first year in university. I had joined a Day House at UJ called Annirand and as per tradition in the house, first year students attend a mid-year camp and, to make a long and funny story short and succinct and perhaps less humorous for the sake of this ‘serious’ post, whilst taking a brisk walk to meet my group one evening I fell off a small bridge and fractured two of my lower vertebrae! Ok I just burst out laughing so I don’t expect you not to! So much for the attempt to be serious!
Anyway…It took about three months for the injury to heal before I was told that I could return to gym which I I did and everything seemed fine until about a year later, when I fell asleep behind the wheel of my dad’s car after coming home late from a braai. The car was almost a write-off, yet I walked away with nothing more than whip-lash…or so I had thought.
Once my neck brace came off and I was given the ‘OK’ to head back to gym, I found myself in excruciating pain when I attempted any form of exercise. After months of dealing with what became a dull ache in my lower back— that would escalate to a sharp, stabbing pain if I attempted any cardiovascular exercise —I became too demotivated to continue working out. I couldn’t understand the concept of not pushing hard in the gym and the resulting pain was too much to deal with.
I went for physiotherapy and even saw a biokineticist, and both of them were negative in their diagnosis: “your back is in such bad shape,” or “there’s not much you can do besides improve the condition a little but you’ll have to endure the pain”. Yay! Whoop whoop! Thanks for the positivity guys…I was only 21 at the time.
They both prescribed rehabilitation programmes but for some reason I could never stick to them for longer than two to three weeks. Again, the despondency and a reduced desire to exercise set in and I slowly began picking up weight. It wasn’t much because as I mentioned earlier I wasn’t a bad eater but no exercise and the lack of a strict eating plan meant that those extra pounds would inevitably make their home around my hips and waist.
About two years later I decided to try and get back into a regular training regime, I wasn’t at school after all and could no longer rely on after-school activities to keep me in shape.
Earlier attempts at gyming were thwarted by the back pain I experienced after a gym session but being a person who had enjoyed sport/exercise her entire life meant that I could no longer rest on my laurels – I HAD to do something, anything!
I found a bio named Jan, located at the Fourways Virgin Active and for the first time since my accidents I met a professional who wasn’t a prophet of doom. He re-ignited my desire to start training again and helped me believe that with some hard work I could get back into shape again. He conducted quite a few assessments and assured me that my pain was purely mechanical, meaning it came as a result of muscular weakness, during the time that I stopped training I lost much of my core strength.
I loved Jan’s positivity but more than anything else, I loved the exercise programme he put together for me- it didn’t involve just stretching and pilates type exercises which the previous professionals had prescribed. Don’t get me wrong, these forms of exercise are crucial to regaining core strength and stability and improving general flexibility however, for someone who was used to running, jumping and sprinting, lying on a mat without breaking a sweat—being told to contract the ‘muscles I use to pee’ with— slow and easy did little to inspire me to stick to the programme!
Jan’s programme got my heart rate up again, it got me breaking a sweat! Oh how I missed being able to beak a sweat! LOL! Under his watch and a carefully controlled and tailored programme I started to run again, something I was told I should “never” do. I started out walking and after a few weeks progressed to running at around 45% of my max heart rate at a slight incline. Sure it wasn’t extreme but it got me feeling that awesome muscle ache the next day—something I also missed. He included Pilates and stretching exercises into my routine but upped the ante by including weight training and certain cardiovascular elements as well. After a month of working with Jan I was looking and feeling 100 times better!
But Jan cost R450 a session and initially my medical aid paid for it but after a while other expenses and a busy lifestyle meant that I started seeing him less and less. I followed his first programme alone and went back to see him once I sensed I was plateauing. He drew up a new, more challenging programme however, I found it difficult to stick to it without him by my side. It was hard to push myself without the motivation of a trainer and to be honest I was also fearful of doing so, scared that I would overdo it and somehow hurt my back again.
So, over four years on I find myself embarking on a new journey: a fitness and lifestyle challenge which was spearheaded by an amazing woman I interviewed on our show, Lauren Leigh-Porter: personal trainer, fitness athlete and owner of Body Beautiful SA. She introduced me to Carol Anthony, a woman who in her fifties is in better shape than most twenty hear olds. She is the owner of Innergize Personal Training based at St Stithians.
“To be fond of learning is near to wisdom – Confucius”
The most important thing I’ve learnt after all these years of trying to get back into tip-top condition is that when it comes to sticking to a fitness routine you need to remain accountable to someone. You need someone walking alongside you, motivating and pushing you on. You also need to surround yourself with like-minded people, people who are excited about your desire to change your life, people who will keep you inspired on the days when you don’t feel like making the sacrifice.
You also have to learn to value your body and health. Had I realised the value of my body years ago I might never have got to this point, I might have stuck it out with Jan, making the financial sacrifice for the sake of my health and general well-being.
Lastly, I have to say that I am motivated by and find my foundation for this challenge based on the following scripture:
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2 NKJV)
Embarking on any type of physical transformation begins with the transformation of your soul. That’s the foundation that a lifestyle change should be based on. I by no means wish to impose my spiritual beliefs upon anyone reading this blog but I would do no justice to the sharing of the process if I do not include all facets of my transformation. Transformation must be holistic and I wouldn’t be honest with you nor myself if I never shared the spiritual aspect of that journey.
I look forward to receiving your feedback and hearing about your own lifestyle challenge. Let’s inspire one another! Here’s to the beginning of a new and exciting journey of healthier living. Remember, every day is the opportunity to start afresh!
Stace!
Remember:
It’s not what you get for it, but what you become by it ~ Unknown
Challenge Details
Duration: Around 8-12 weeks
Start Date: Monday 9 July (I was supposed to start at the beginning of July but fell I’ll and pushed the start date out by a week)
End Date: September 2012
Nutritional Supplementation:
I consult my trainers on all the supplements I use and the more I read up on supplementation, the more I learn. I’ll do a post with more info on the products but check out www.betancortnutrition.co.za. So these are the supplements I currently use:
  • Big Blend Proteosynthetic: Multi-Stage, Slow-Release Protein Blend
  • Ripped Juice REV-PEA: Advanced fat-loss, fat burner
  • Micro Chewies Glutamine; BCAA: ILOVE these chewies! Here’s why:
—They are 100% sugar free but you can also use them as a treat when the craving attacks hit. I must warn you—it’s not the same as eating a chocolate or pack of skittles but they are better than denying yourself and they help avoid the dreaded binge! According to Betancourt they are brilliant ‘when you are trying to keep your calories and health in check! This way when you have a sweet craving, you can still have a guilt-free treat that caters to whatever goal you are currently working towards.’ They also say that the chewies help if you are trying to pick up lean muscle mass and if you are dieting down for a lean and toned physique. They also assist in recovery.
I also like to make high-protein waffles and for these I use whey-protein powder. I like the Evox Lean Pro as Betancourt doesn’t have one as yet. Evox do consider themselves protein specialists though.
Training: Graciously provided by the awesome Carol Anthony and her company Innergize. She is phenomenal! Attend one of her kettle bell classes and you’ll see what I mean. She has so much knowledge and competes in the fitness competitions.

I took these pics last week. My first assessment. I started training with Carol at the beginning of the year so I have lost quite a bit of weight since then, at the end of the 8 weeks I’ll post my before and after pics20120721-133656.jpg

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Big Blend Proteosynthetic

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Ripped Juice REV-PEA

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Micro Chewies Glutamine

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