I live between Johannesburg in South Africa and Northamptonshire in the UK (most of my time is spent in SA) and have a huge passion for rugby – I am a Northampton Saints, England, Springbok and Blue Bulls supporter – my team shirt collection is quite impressive! I also have a deep love of most things motorsport.
My journey to today and the creation of Six Pack for Girls is, both, relatively short and long all at the same time; to understand it, come back with me quickly to the beginning.
As a kid I was active and always on the go; horses and water sports were a big part of my childhood – riding, canoeing and snorkelling filled my days. However, the further into my teenage years I got, the less I did these things.
But it was ok, no matter what I did (or didn’t do) or ate (or didn’t eat) my weight and dress size stayed the same – I was one of those ‘lucky ones’ and didn’t need to worry.
In 1994, pregnancy soon put a stop to that! It quickly became apparent I wasn’t destined to be one of these women who stay slim during the whole impending motherhood journey – I ballooned up to about 12 stone (168lbs or 72.6kgs), 4 stone heavier than my normal. I’ve still got photographs of me at that time and they are horrible.
The following year saw the arrival of my daughter and not having had much time in between doing my dual bit for the continuation of the human race, I hit 13 stone (182lbs/82.6kgs) – 5 stone heavier with even more terrible photos to treasure.
In a bid to get back into shape I bought my first fitness video – this was the time when Step Reebok was THE thing so I had the video and a step which took up residence behind my sofa. Not all the time, I did use it, but the times were sporadic.
However, somehow, I eventually found my way back to about 9 stone (57.2kgs/126lbs) and a UK dress size 10-12; life ticked along.
After a diet of stress, black coffee (no sugar) and cigarettes in late 1998, my weight and dress size went down (UK 6/8) and whilst I was the size I had always wanted to be this really wasn’t the ideal way of doing it (and not one I’d recommend!).
Needless to say, when the stress was gone I didn’t stay that size and within the 18 months that followed I found my way back to a size 14.
The Millennium; the year 2000! I was in a big department store one day and fell in love with a pair of non-stretch Nike gym trousers (I know! Non-stretch! I must have temporarily lost my mind!), they only had one pair left in a UK size 6 – 8…I knew they wouldn’t get much past my knees but I bought them anyway.
During 2001/2002 – I went down to a size 8 from a 14 and back up again to a 10.
2003 – what a year!
It was one of the hottest and longest summers on UK record and I loved it. I went back to the stables where I learned to ride, when I was four years old, to teach stable management and riding – it was like going ‘home’ and was fantastic; out in the sun every day and working hard with my beloved horses.
Before I knew it my little shorts were being hauled out of ‘retirement’, everything big was shipped out and for the very first time since I’d bought them, three and a bit years previously, I could easily fit into those Nike trousers– life was good!
Then Christmas paid me a visit and instead of being responsible with all the Christmas goodies I was reckless; extending the holiday eating habits by a good few months I rapidly went back up to a size 12 and the Nike trousers went back in the drawer.
Baby number three (the mini teenager!) arrived in 2006, I would have easily have been tipping the scales at more than 14 stone (196lbs/88.9kgs). I gave up getting on them towards the end as I just didn’t want to know what hideous number they were going to shout at me.
Between 2006 and 2009 my weight went up and down, up and down then up and down some more just for good measure due, mainly, to a combination of getting seriously obsessed and focused for six months then falling off the wagon.
What I was doing simply wasn’t sustainable (and I didn’t really know what I was doing – just guessing) – eating as little as possible being the main culprit, even though I at least knew that really wasn’t the way to go about things.
In February 2008 my closest friend told me she was getting married and I was going to be a bridesmaid, I had eight months to go from fat to fit into a size 10 dress (that’s the size I told her to order it in).
On 24 August 2008 I Googled something like ‘how can I get a six pack fast?’ and after sifting through a lot of ‘I can tell you how to get a six pack in seven minutes, without having to get off the sofa, in return for your credit card number!’ I eventually came across a man called Tom Venuto who seemed to know what he was talking about.
I skimmed through a lot of all there was to read but I didn’t buy anything. I mean, these internet things that promise great results yet only charge you a little bit, when in reality should cost a lot more, end up being a bit of ‘con’ right….right? But I did sign up for his free newsletter.
That bridesmaids’ dress taunted, and haunted, me from February to October but I ‘won’ and I wore it; I was back at 9 stone and a size 10.
Christmas 2008 – you already know what’s coming, you’d think I’d have learned wouldn’t you – I let my hair down, after all I was back in shape and I deserved a break, everything would be ok, and I carried those festive eating habits w-a-y past the New Year…into April 2009 in fact.
On 19 April 2009 a newsletter from Tom Venuto arrived in my inbox titled ‘The most effective motivation technique of all?’
Now I hadn’t opened any of Tom’s newsletters in months, they just got binned (sorry Tom!), but the title of this one caught my eye so it didn’t get deleted; three days later I eventually opened it.
I read it, I clicked the link at the bottom that took me to more information; I read that too. Properly. All of it. About half way down the page there was a YouTube video that showed a guy’s amazing 84-day transformation in 48 seconds – I watched it. I watched it again. And again.
I abandoned work for the day and carried on reading more and more about this fat to FIT guy, Adam, and how he’d made his amazing transformation.
Mid afternoon; I was done reading, had discovered that an 84-day transformation contest was about to start; now it was decision time.
Could I do it too? Could I REALLY do it and get the body I’d always dreamt of having – slim AND toned not just slim, and done the right way – in just 12 weeks? There was only one way to find out!
I didn’t win, but I was a finalist. I won in other ways, everything had changed for me, not just my appearance, and that August I flew to New York where I met Adam and Tom (and a lot of other people who’d become friends through the contest) and did some photographic work with them in the gym.
I’d been bitten by the training and contest bug.
In November 2009 I took part in Tom Venuto’s inaugural 50-day Christmas Challenge – with the history of my previous festive relationships this was EXACTLY what I needed, my family and friends thought I was mad.
The point was to emerge from the madness of the festive season looking better than when you went into it…I think I did that!
I didn’t win the main prize but I was a finalist, again, and part of the team that scooped the team prize too.
I did, however, earn myself the title of Most Ripped 2009 out of both the male and female entries; I’m rather proud of that.
In a combined total of 124 training days, I’d gone from being fat, tired and dead on the inside to being Tom Venuto’s Most Ripped 2009 , energetic, feeling fantastic and full of enthusiasm for life and what was ahead.
I went on to found Six-Pack for Girls which has grown, and evolved, into something I never dreamed I’d be part of – a comprehensive and trusted, free online resource for all things Health and Fitness.
And so…a little bit about me has turned into rather a LOT about me; I wanted to tell, and show, you that I haven’t always looked the way I do now, that it hasn’t ‘always been alright‘ for me, and that YOU can do it too!