Previous USN Makeover Challenge winner, inspires Marietha to start her own transformation
Unlike many transformation stories, Marietha Strampe didn’t grow up overweight. Her transformation story doesn’t mention growing up with low self-esteem or a big wake up call. Infact, her weight gain had started by making a healthy choice. She had stopped smoking but began to eat a lot more as the appetite-suppressing effects of nicotine were no longer keeping her hunger at bay. “I craved and ate all the wrong foods. I knew I was picking up a lot of unwanted weight because my clothes didn’t fit anymore and I felt uncomfortable. I thought it was just a phase though, so I shrugged off the feelings of tiredness and the lethargy I felt all day.”
Then, one day a cleaner who worked at her office burst her bubble. While walking behind her she said: “Sjoe Marietha, but you picked up a lot of weight”. “I was totally shocked to hearing,” recalls Marietha. “No one ever wants to hear those words from someone who isn’t a trusted friend or family member, but that was the moment I realised that my weight had become a serious problem.”
A decision had to be made
She was faced with a decision – do something about her weight or buy new clothes. “The latter was not an option because I refused to believe that this was the best I could be. I knew I could look better. Also, living in a coastal town meant going to the beach during summer and I wanted to look good in a bikini and feel proud of myself again. I was tired of feeling ashamed.”Marietha already had a gym membership at her local gym and started by doing a few aerobics classes and played around with weights, but she never really got the results she was after. “Then I met Riaan Koekemoer, a personal trainer and the owner of the gym. I spoke to him about my weight problem and my goals. He then introduced me to Lisl Windt, someone who he was training at that time for the 2011/2012 USN 12–Week Body Makeover Challenge. They showed me what she already achieved, which is when I realised that I too could reach my goals.”
After Lisl, who went on to win the USN Body Makeover Challenge, told her more about it, Marietha went home and got more information about it off the Internet. “I immediately knew that this would be a life-changing event so I entered the 2013/2014 edition of the challenge. I went back to the gym the next day, which was when Riaan and I sat down and discussed my training and eating plans. I bought the USN Body Makeover Challenge starter pack and my 12-week transformation started.”
During the initial stages Marietha followed a high intensity training programme five days a week, with cardio sessions in between. Riaan also continued to play a pivotal role in her transformation. “He knew exactly what exercises would work best for me, which made such a difference to my ultimate success.”
Marietha also started to follow a healthy, lower carb diet. “That meant cutting all the sweets, pasta, and sugary drinks from my diet, which was extremely hard, especially the pasta dishes as they’re my favourite.” She also had to learn how to prep healthy food, which proved to be challenging initially.
“My daily routine had to change as well so that I could get to the gym every day, but since implementing these changes I’ve come to realise that healthy eating and living is not as difficult as I once thought. And once I adapted to my new daily routine it actually became a lot easier and much more enjoyable.”
Since completing the USN Body Makeover Challenge, Marietha says she has gained all her self-confidence back and she is a happier person. “I feel alive and no longer feel ashamed of my body. I enjoy helping others who come to me for advice, and people I have never met now contact me to ask questions. As a consequence I’ve made many new friends and have met the most amazing people.
Today, She really feels like I has a whole new life, and have even started competing in CrossFit competitions. “My entire outlook on life has changed for the better, and I’m loving it.”
Favourite healthy dish: Tuna and green salad, or grilled chicken with steamed vegetables.
Favourite training routine: I love to squat. I also enjoy doing HIT workouts and CrossFit.
Must-use supplements: USN Phedra-Cut Hypercore, USN Waterslim sachets, USN BCAA Amino-Lean, USN Whey protein, USN CLA, and USN Diet Fuel Ultralean bar.
Marietha’s top diet tip: Don’t starve yourself. Follow a healthy eating plan and eat 5-6 small meals a day. And don’t forget to drink enough water – at least eight glasses a day.
Marietha’s tips for starting a transformation: Accept the choice you’ve made and don’t give up, no matter how difficult it gets. When you have a bad day, just remind yourself why you decided to make the change and reaffirm your commitment to building a better life. Feeling and looking good is extremely satisfying. Lastly, never allow anyone to tell you that it’s impossible and that you won’t reach your goal.
“Always remember, what the mind believes, the body can achieve.”
Lives: Mossel Bay, Western Cape
Weight before: 61kg
Body fat before: 21%
Weight after: 52kg
Body fat after: 13%
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.