Kevlyn Nightingale, Durban
"Where do I begin? I first saw Fitness Maniacs advertised in the Highway Mail, and then a few days later my husband came home from the gym with one of their flyers. I had become very unhappy with the way I looked and the clothes I was wearing, even though I went to gym every day and worked hard (well I thought I worked hard!), by then my self-confidence was low. I weighed 73kg and felt and looked like an over-baked muffin in the mirror. Everybody said that I looked just fine, but it still bothered me. I think it must be a girl thing. So I decided that it was time to make some changes and that I was going to do whatever it took to transform my body back to the body I once loved. With my very supportive husband and sons at my side, I decided to take up the Fitness Maniacs challenge and I signed-up with Fitness Maniacs in May 2010.
The Fitness Maniacs team are something special. I think I only missed one session if I remember correctly. They guided, taught and drilled us, and we had many a hearty laugh whilst sweating buckets at the Saturday sessions. We were given strict diets, which I am proud to say, I stuck to for the whole twelve weeks. Some of my friends couldn’t believe how strict I was on myself, but I was determined to lose that weight and nothing was going to stop me. What the hell, it’s only twelve weeks of my life and nothing is impossible. I suppose it just depends on how hungry you really are to achieve and accomplish your goals in life. It wasn’t easy but I enjoyed every minute of it. My instructors taught me how far I could actually push myself and I reached a fitness level I would never have achieved training on my own.
I achieved second place that year. It was the best feeling ever. I was much more confident, happy to look in the mirror and wearing all those clothes that I used to take off again and throw into the cupboard! I felt like a million bucks!
Debbie Brein, Durban
"The eating was tough especially with always being so busy. But the shakes became a standard part of what I carried in my car to replace missed meals when I was rushing. Another valuable lesson I learned in these 12 weeks is that it is all about keeping the balance and not making excuses. So yes, I sometimes travel and stay in hotels and can’t always plan my meals, but then I must make the best choices. At times I also battled to make all the training sessions due to kid’s commitments and travelling, but I made sure I was committed and made up for it when I was available to exercise. Life has to go on and is not going to get less hectic. But then don’t make excuses and do what you can. I told myself this repeatedly.
On the note of balance I think part of my success was not falling into the trap of deprivation. There were times when I compromised but with the support around me, I enjoyed some pleasures and worked hard to work them off. Right in the middle of the challenge I went to England for a week to watch my son play cricket. I thought I was escaping for a week but alas, Wendy’s emails still found their way to me in the UK asking me if I am doing my exercises in my room and keeping an eye on my eating! It was a good reminder that I could still enjoy myself and have my strawberries and cream at Wimbledon with my Pimms and lemonade, provided I went for a run the next day!
Even now that The Challenge is complete and the hectic lifestyle makes me want to lie on the couch in each free moment, I can still hear Wendy’s voice ringing in my ears “Stop Making Excuses!” and that is what it boils down to. But we all need to be reminded and have that support of those around us to keep on track when we start to go off track. I am so grateful to the FITNESS MANIACS team, and my husband for the constant support he has given me on my transformation journey. How worth it the 12 weeks of hard work were, to now be enjoying a happier, more confident and less stressed slimmer me once again. I am back!".