Weight loss can be tough. But focusing on one goal, having a great fitness coach and managing your expectations can really make all the difference. It did for Alicia-Ann Williams, who had gained a bit of extra padding during her travels. “I was working on secondment in Toronto in 2014, which led to a trip around the States. [With] the exotic fast food being so accessible and cheap… this led to a slight weight gain.”
Alicia-Ann’s initial goal was simply to feel comfortable in her clothes again, rather than focusing on “a goal weight,” she says. Here’s her story…
Name: Alicia-Ann Williams
City: Cape Town
Occupation: Financial Analyst
Weight before: 60kg
Weight after: 56kg (also lost 3% body fat and gained 1kg muscle)
Time required to reach goal: 6 months
The secret weapon to your fitness journey: Awesome coach and small milestones.
Getting started: teaming up with a fitness coach
Alicia-Ann teamed up with fitness coach Carmen Casteling mid-2014. “[I] started training with her on a one-on-one basis three times a week. This then turned into a nearly [two and a half] year training relationship and an awesome friendship,” she tells us.
“Since starting my fitness journey I’m a lot more aware of my body, conscious of what I put into it and so much more grateful for what it can do,” says Alicia-Ann. Her CrossFit training routine has also been refined over the years. “I still stick to the same type of training I did when I initially started training with Carmen; the weights have just gotten heavier and the movements a bit more complex as my confidence and abilities have grown.”
Alicia-Ann has worked hard to achieve a work-life balance. “Embarking on my fitness journey has helped me find a space where I can be myself and let off the stresses of the day,” she says. Her fave workouts? Kettle swings, double unders, box jumps and power cleans.
So, was it about the gains?
“I don’t believe in weighing myself, so the scale was never a factor. It was about how I felt,” says Alicia-Ann. She admits that her eating habits were initially pretty unhealthy. “Before training with Carmen, I went through a period of eating take-outs more than three times a week. I ditched that when I started training and started making more conscious choices about what I was putting into my body,” she explains.
“At the start of my journey, I made a deliberate effort to eat less fast food and introduce more home-cooked meals and started taking a protein shake,” says Alicia. And she’s sticking to it. “I still eat loads of fruit and veg now, and make an effort to meal prep and set myself up for a nutritionally successful day.”
Check out Alicia-Ann in action
Keeping that focus
Alicia-Ann went from doing zero training to going it alone at a gym – but she just didn’t feel motivated. It took a fitness coach to really kick-start that drive. “When I began training with Carmen, I did one-on-one sessions three times a week. I started off with simple bodyweight and kettlebell exercises. This gradually evolved into more HIIT classes with a bit more weight, as well as group classes.” She now tries to train at least five times a week, sticking to a similar routine each time.
Alicia-Ann stays motivated by setting manageable goals for herself. She also finds group sessions rewarding. It helped that she was able to “find a space and coach who keeps [her] motivated.” Her real secret? Progressing from solo training to group sessions. “I felt healthier and a lot more energised. After a few months training with Carmen, I entered my first 10km road race and finished it in just over 60 minutes!” How’s that for a little motivation?
Advice for those starting out
- Be proactive: Get moving as soon as you can.
- Motivation is key: Find a space and coach that works for you.
- Have patience: Slow progress is better than no progress.
- Manage your expectations: Don’t try to make too many changes too quickly, as this could lead to setbacks, which may demotivate you.