Losing It

My mad, crazy journey to health and beyond

How to lose 15kg in 8 weeks



  1. Stop drinking alcohol. Have minor nervous breakdown. Get talked off the ledge by sister, friends, and life coach on an almost daily basis. Drink enough sparkling water to sink the Titanic.
  1. Train every day. Squeeze into gym pants that are two sizes too small but refuse to buy new ones because A) you don’t have money, and B) YOU WILL NOT BUY LABELS THAT SAY XXL! Start weightlifting again. If 40kg squats can ever be considered weightlifting. Go back to Adventure Boot Camp. Wear black T-shirts so no-one can see how drenched in sweat you are after the warmup. Sign up for trail runs. Reconsider the run part about 30 seconds in. Do trail walks instead. Push, push, push. Don’t stop. You can walk slowly, but you can’t stop.
  1. Eat actual food. KFC, McDonald’s and Mr D do not count as actual food. Go grocery shopping. Buy stuff that expires. Eat it before it does. Cook meals. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables, complex carbs. Make the best choices you can when you go out for meals. Say no to dessert. But eat the chocolate cupcake that your boot camp buddy gives you, because life is short and chocolate is sent from the gods.
  1. Talk to life coach. Your head is a fucking mess. Adulting is hard. You need help. Remember that survivors ask for help; victims sit back and blame everyone else for their mistakes. So go get some help. You badass surviving bitch you.




  1. Get out of the house and do things. Apparently there’s stuff to do in Cape Town other than sit in bars every night and get hammered. So go do it. Play bingo, take part in pub quizzes, go to the cinema, paint clay pots, go for hikes, cook dinner for friends, sing, dance, go to plays, concerts, parties, eat out in restaurants, say yes to anything that gets you out of the house and gets you living again. And then come home exhausted to a big comfy couch and a hard drive full of series. Because, balance.
  1. Connect. With family. With old friends you haven’t seen in ages. With new friends who are now part of your posse. With acquaintances who become friends before you know it. With women in your Facebook group. With yourself. Not with Tinder. Good Christ.
  1. Track your progress. Take before pics. Take before measurements. Try to fit into jeans. Think ‘fucking hell’, and pretend that you’re wearing a skirt because you want to, not because your tubby butt is now too chunky to even fit into your fat jeans. Keep at it, keep tracking and weighing and measuring, and keep remembering that even though it feels like a waste of time and effort, you will get to wear jeans again. Track your progress after 8 weeks and realise that you’ve lost 15kg, 50cm, and that your smallest pair of fat jeans is now too big for you. High five everyone you possibly fucking can. Feel like a rock star, because you are. Write this blog post, and get back to it. Life is too good to miss out on.




5 life lessons I’ve learned from trail running


I am a trail runner. You wouldn’t think it to look at me though. I’m not fast, my form is non-existent, my breathing sounds like a cross between a stampeding rhino and a hippo in labour, and most of the time I have to push just to finish. But I can run for a few metres, and do so on a trail, which automatically makes me a trail runner.


If I’d had any sense, I never would have taken up this sport. It is HARD. But when I started almost 18 months ago, I was completely clueless, blissfully ignorant, and heavily overweight. I had also stopped drinking in an effort to shift some poundage, and needed something other than lifting a glass to fill my time. I entered my first trail run without a notion of what I was getting myself into, with no clue that many experienced road runners would rather fake an injury than run trail. I didn’t know that it was hard, I didn’t know about injuries, I didn’t know about your lungs feeling like they were on fire, your legs feeling like lead and molasses at the same time, I didn’t know about grass and sand and dirt and mud and water crossings and single track and switchbacks. And most of all, I didn’t know about HILLS! But what I did know was that at 108kg, with very little cardiovascular fitness, something needed to change. And slowly, one finish line at a time, something did change. Not just me on the outside (since starting trail running I’ve lost 28kg), but me on the inside as well – as the more I hit the trails, the more a number of realisations started to hit me right back. Five, to be exact.


  1. Live in the moment


On any given trail run, my thought process usually goes a little something like this.



“Everything hurts. Like, everything.”

“Surely I must have done at least a kilometre by now. ONLY 600 METRES??? WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY???”

“Ok so I’ve done 2km and the race is 8km long. So I only have to do what I’ve already done another three times and I’ll be finished!”

“Five kilometres left? I can’t, I seriously can’t.”

“I’m dying. I am actually dying right now.”



“The hills are so NOT alive with the fucking sound of fucking music.”

“Why am I doing this stupid race in the first place?!! I hate my life and everything in it!!!!!”


Anxiety, stress, pain, exhaustion, irritation, and sometimes anger. Pretty much part and parcel of my trail running experience. When I’m in a race and I’m thinking about how few kilometres I’ve done, how many there are still to go, the insane elevation I have to look forward to, how hot/cold/rainy it’s going to be soon, I become overwhelmed with negativity. And thankfully, after many, MANY runs, I finally realised why. Because I was too preoccupied with the past, and too focused on the future, to be able to fully embrace the present. As soon as I sloughed off the worries about having covered so few kilometres, and having so many more to struggle through, I was immediately able to find comfort and pleasure in the present. In appreciating my surroundings, in becoming fitter and stronger, in enjoying the beauty of nature, and in getting to my goal one single step at a time. And the minute I began to live in the moment, the more fulfilling each of those moments became. The finish line is still a challenge to get to, make no mistake, but the getting there is now infinitely more rewarding.




  1. The bigger the struggle, the sweeter the success


Ask any trail runner what they hate most about trail running, and they’ll reply “Hills!” (At least I hope they will, otherwise I’ll look like an idiot.) That’s what my answer would be anyway – particularly as I’m still incapable of running up hills, so I have to walk them every step of the way. Ridiculous elevation, usually 1,500 degree heat, huffing, puffing, burning, dying. Hills. Like seriously, what the F man???


By contrast, my absolute 100% favourite part of trail running is going downhill – particularly after a nasty, backbreaking uphill. The sweet release, the air in your lungs, the sensation of flying, the claws of Satan finally retracting from your screaming quads – there’s nothing quite as freeing, or as blissful. But one day as I was revelling in the awesomeness that is the downhill run, I asked myself, would it be quite as stupendous if I hadn’t just come off a blistering uphill? If trail runs, and life, were all downhills, wouldn’t bliss eventually become the norm, and one day even the mundane? Aren’t the downhills, the successes, the pleasures we experience made all the greater by the struggles we go through to achieve them? And don’t we need the struggles to make us resilient – to build our fitness and strength on the trails, and our power and confidence in life? Forcing myself up a strenuous uphill isn’t fun, but it damn sure makes me a better runner – just as successfully working through challenges makes me a better person. So while I may not like the hills, I’ve learned to appreciate them for the learning experience they are. And man, do those downhills feel good afterwards.


Mont Rochelle 

  1. Happiness is in the quiet moments


It’s easy to find happiness in the big, bold moments – in celebrating a birthday or an anniversary, in buying a new home, in being promoted, in driving a new car. But I’ve found that the purest form of happiness lies in the spaces between – the calm, quiet, often overlooked moments that whisper, rather than shout. Like when you’re drinking the perfect cup of coffee. When your favourite song suddenly comes on the radio. When you finally get the hang of winged eyeliner. Or when it’s just you and the trail, your feet crunching against the dirt, the sun rising over the vineyards, the wind at your back, the cool, crisp air your companion, and you realise that maybe, just maybe, this being alive thing isn’t so bad after all.


Bastille Day


  1. Always be grateful for what you have


I am an extremely slow runner. I wish this was false modesty, but it’s the truth. If I’m ever in a race against a tortoise, I advise you to put your money on the tortoise, because it’ll be a safe bet. When I started trail running at 108kg, I was literally the slowest runner at every single race – crossing the finish line last, coming in with the sweeper, sometimes so far behind everyone that the organisers had packed up and left. I hated it, and I was mortified. I found it beyond embarrassing that I was so slow, and so bad at running that I was dead, stone, absolute last every single time. I didn’t want to come first (hahahahahahahahaha chances!) but just coming in somewhere in the middle would be enough. Please, just for once!!!


And then during one race, something strange happened. For some bizarre reason unknown to man, at the beginning of the race, I found myself in the middle of the pack, able to keep pace with the other runners for a bit (ok, two minutes). And I absolutely hated it. I hated being caught in a huge bunch of people, I hated the noise, I hated having to move aside every two seconds for faster runners, and I hated the frenetic claustrophobia of it all. That’s when it struck me. That all those times I had been right at the back, I hadn’t been losing – I’d been winning. I’d won freedom from the chaos at the front, I’d won the chance to complete my race at my pace in blissful peace and quiet, I’d won the opportunity to work on my technique, and I’d won valuable advice and insight from the sweepers as we finished together. Lightbulb. Always, always give thanks and be grateful for where you are at any given time – because chances are, it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be. I’ll get to the middle of the pack when I’m good and ready, but until then, as long as I’m grateful for what I have and where I am, I’ll be winning at running and at life.




Speaking of the sweepers…


  1. Don’t fight the slide


Without a doubt, this is the most valuable piece of advice I’ve ever been given, and it came to me via the sweeper on the second trail run I ever did. Don’t fight the slide. At the time, it made absolutely no sense, and given that it was said to me as I was busy careening 400 metres down a muddy hill on my backside, I think my reply went along the lines of “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCKING FUCK??”


After I had recovered from my minor aneurysm and he had recovered from his laughing fit, he explained. Don’t fight the slide. If you feel yourself falling, don’t correct yourself, just go with the flow. The same way you’re supposed to steer into the turn if your car skids. If you let the slide take you, the worst that can happen is mud, dirt, and some bumps and bruises. But if you fight against it, that’s when you run the risk of real damage – sprains, breaks, snaps and potentially months at home in casts and rehab and traction. It’s the same with life I’ve found. If you go with the flow, go with ease, go with positivity, you’ll get to where you need to be far more quickly, far more safely, and usually with a laugh as well. But if you flail and flounder, caught in a storm of negativity and unease, you may just fall down and never be able to get back up again. That’s why since that day, I don’t fight the slide anymore. I ease into it, I fall down, I get up, I wash my muddy clothes, and I come back for more. Because that’s how you fight, and that’s how you win. Every single time.


La Capra


The school of life. Now open at a trail run near you.


Seven days

No, this is not a Craig David song. No-one was making love by Wednesday, and on Thursday, and Friday and Saturday. Although we did chill on Sunday.

Monday: Taking a break from civilisation. Up early to train. Healthy meals all day. Work till 9:30pm. TV. Bed. Watch stuff on laptop. Know I should really be going to sleep. Watch more stuff anyway.

Tuesday: Up early to train. Healthy meals all day. Work till 7pm. TV. Bed. Watch stuff on laptop. Big Fat Quiz of the Year cracks me up. Even though I’ve seen every episode 3 times now.

Wednesday: Up early to train. Healthy meals all day. Work till 4:30pm. Watch The Cutting Edge. For the millionth time. TOEPICK! Bed. Watch stuff on laptop again. Starting to develop a crush on Jimmy Carr. May need to return to civilisation sooner than I thought.

Thursday: Up early to train. Healthy meals all day. Work till 5:30pm. TV. Bed. Watch stuff on laptop. I like Noel Fielding’s hair. And his dress. That was a weird sentence.

Friday: Up early to train. Healthy meals all day. Work, then return to civilisation. TV. Bed. Watch stuff on laptop. Wishing the year would hurry up and end so they would bring out a new episode of Big Fat Quiz of the Year. Obsession with Richard Ayoade is now at an 11 out of 10.

Saturday: Up at 4:30am. What in the name of all that is holy??? Eat breakfast half-asleep. Drive 500 miles (ok, 50km) through to Landskroon Winery. Not to drink. To run. Because I am mad.


Run 10km in 1:16. Not quite last, but almost. Eh, don’t care – was a beautiful run. Realise that left arm is in an immense amount of pain, with almost zero mobility. Drive home, shower. Carefully. Drive through to hair salon. Changing gears is excruciating. Yay for me. Sit in chair and wonder if everyone looks revolting in those awful hairdressing capes, or if it’s just me. How come I never noticed I had so many chins??? Drive home. Ow. OW! Healthy lunch, watch tv, take drugs given to me by pharmacist. Drape hot pack over arm. Pray for slow death. Realise that getting dressed for function later will be almost impossible. Call friend over to help. Drink bubbly, get dressed very slowly. Bubbly helps. So does friend. Call Uber. Thank fuck I don’t have to drive. Get to Pigalle (fancy!) for freelance Christmas party. Have super awesome time with friends!



Eat healthy food. DRINK ALL THE DRINKS! Move on to some other clubs. Not feeling it. Some weird-ass dude is trying to feel my face. Dimly recall there’s some sort of song about that. Realise that when I am in a club surrounded by 25-year-olds on E, it’s probably time to leave. Pour myself into an Uber and go home to pass out. Getting undressed doesn’t hurt quite as badly. Thank you alcohol.

Sunday: Why am I asleep on my couch? Remember moving there in the middle of the night. Don’t question it. Headache. Arm still hurts like a mother bitch. Yay Myprodol and Rehidrat! Healthy breakfast. Shower, Cavendish, Mockingjay Part 2. Biltong snacks. Home after decent movie and appalling Point Break trailer. Crave pizza. Have a chicken and salad wrap instead. I would high five myself but it’s too much effort. So traumatised by previous trailer, watch real (and only!) Point Break to calm myself down. Snooze on couch. Wake up to Keanu yelling “I AM AN FBI AGENT!” Yes you are baby, yes you are. Skype parents, watch random crap on TV. End off day with a healthy dinner and half of Ghost. Apparently I’m in a Patrick Swayze kind of mood. He would never put me in a corner.

Monday: Up and at ’em, go go GO! Drive through to Clifton, climb a fucking ridiculous amount of stairs (whatever 280 x 14 is). Die.


Home. Breakfast. Doctor. Cortisone and anaesthetic. Bliss. Work till 6:30pm. Healthy meals all day. Perve new intern on Grey’s. Again. Assessing whether or not this means I am in need of a life. Bed. More Big Fat Quiz. Wonder if Eddie Izzard is straight or gay. Google. Straight apparently. You learn something new about transvestites every day.

Tuesday: Step on scale.


Realise that after a week of regular training, healthy eating, positive thinking and doing a lot of what I love, I have managed to lose 3.7kg in one week. Because I am a fucking legend.

And that, my friends, is balance.


An ode to my feet

Terrific tootsies, fabulous footsies, plates of meat that take me down the street – this one’s for you.

Thank you for getting me out of bed at 4am every day (yay for freelancing!).

Thank you for taking me to the gym and back again.

Thank you for standing strong through deadlifts, bench presses, squats, farmer’s walks and more.

Thank you for dragging me up the fucking mountains of hell (otherwise known as Alto wine estate) and back down again safely.

Thank you for taking me up every one of the 280-something Biskop steps, three times up and down. (I may not look like I’m saying thank you, but I really am.


Thank you for digging yourselves in the couch every evening and staying there.

Thank you for skipping the aisles in Pick n Pay full of chocolate and ice cream and sin on tap.

Thank you for taking me home instead of to the pub.

Thank you for leading me away from the takeaway menu and towards a fridge full of healthy food instead.

Thank you for running me round Century City for 10km on Saturday. It may have been epically boring, but that wasn’t your fault.

Thank you for looking so pretty in your gorgeous Rouge Day Spa pedicure (in ultra-black Orly Goth – high five for feet with attitude!).



And most of all, thank you for standing on either side of this today.


Awesome, fabulous, fantastic feet, thank you for walking me through a week full of healthy choices – let’s see where the next seven days take us!

(It’s not Shakespeare, but it’ll do.)


You want a hot body? You better work bitch

Much to my surprise, the reaction to my last blog was overwhelming. I guess semi-nudity is always a hit, no matter how many back rolls you have (will bear this in mind for future blog posts). So to those of you who read it, connected with it, and took the time to share your thoughts with me, a huge thank you!

What was most gratifying was seeing how many people agreed with my point of view – how having an obsessive attitude towards healthy eating and fitness is completely unsustainable, and how we need to focus on the bigger picture of making healthy choices for the rest of our lives, and not just for the immediate future.

That said, there was some feedback that worried me a little, and made me think that some people had missed the point either accidentally or on purpose. What I was trying to say was, don’t get so bogged down in the tiny insignificant details, and if you’ve worked hard, don’t let a ridiculous scale reading bother you. It’s for the rest of your life so keep on trucking. What I wasn’t saying was spend all week on the couch eating takeaways and thinking, ‘meh, it’s for the rest of my life, I still got plenty of time to eat right and work out’.

No. Just… no.

While I’m all about the bigger picture, and being relaxed, and not letting a pathetic loss like 200g (i.e. this week) get me down, I’m all about working my ass off too. Literally. There is a pair of size 36 skinny jeans in my cupboard that I am looking forward to CRUSHING at some point. Which is why over the past week I:

1. Logged all my food like a macro-loving fool


If it was going in my tummy, it went into MyFitnessPal first. Much as I would love to gorge on pizza and Lindt balls, it just ain’t happening. In fact, there are more carbs in a large Debonairs Tikka Chicken pizza than I’m allowed EVER, even on a carb refeed day (trust me, I checked). Mama just don’t have the macros. And I can’t order a regular pizza, because please, who does that?

2. Entered a clusterfuck* of runs

(*Official collective noun)

Night run, parkrun, trail run, I did them all. I ran, I walked, I swore, I complained, I faceplanted like a motherfucker and hurt my hand badly, I came last, I got a PB on my 5k, and I finished every one of them. Because that’s how I roll.

Constantia Trail Run

Grabouw trail run

Parkrun PB

It also has to be said that in the moment I tripped over a tree root, went flying, hit the deck like a sack of potatoes  and bent all the fingers in my right hand back, literally the first thought that went through my head was “how am I going to lift on Friday??”. I don’t know if that’s sad or awesome – I’m gonna go ahead and say a bit of both.

3. Did Satan’s workout

On top of my two PT sessions a week, I also go into the gym once a week for a conditioning session on my own. The one I’ve been given at the moment I have lovingly (??) dubbed Satan’s workout. Because only the Devil himself (or at a push, Lord Voldemort) could have come up with this hellfire on earth.

My trainer. Satan.

My trainer. Satan.

I would love to tell you exactly what it involves, but it mostly passes by in a haze of kettlebell swings, ball slams, assault bike fuckery, and medium-grade nausea. All of which result in me looking like this afterwards:


Now that’s attractive.

4. Rested

I am not one of these people that works out twice a day, six times a week.  Like, who’s got the time? Four to five times a week is enough for me thanks very much. Bob Harper said it once on The Biggest Loser and it’s still true today. Rest is a weapon. Watch me wield this bitch.

Rest trail run

5. Had me some spoils

This is where the bigger picture thing comes in. Because while I did all the work, I gots to have me some of the play too.

Like for starters, a well-deserved pedicure for my tired, trail running feet. Thanks Rouge Day Spa, you’re the best! And because I like me some unusual colours, I didn’t go for a red or pink – instead I went for this off-beat what-the-heck grey-blue colour, called Pretty Ugly. Which actually I think is pretty awesome. Don’t worry Pretty Ugly – my tootsies and I will show you some love!

Pretty Ugly toes

Pretty Ugly

Then because as of 1 February I’ve given up takeaways for the next 100 days (which means no more “I’m too lazy to cook, let’s get some Simply Asia up in here” evenings) I celebrated my last day of laziness with this:

The most awesome curry in the world.

The most awesome curry in the world.

That there is the chicken vindaloo from Bibi’s Kitchen in Wynberg, and it is without a doubt the most awesome curry in the world. Since I’ve forced myself to stay away from it for the past eight months (!), I figured my last night of takeaways was the perfect time to smash one in my face. Fuck it was good! And before you start wagging your finger at me, it was all worked into my macros. I basically lived on water and hugs just so I could eat this in the evening. And it was totally worth it.

And finally because I’m nothing if not patriotic, I had myself a little biltong orgy courtesy of Meat Locker – a delicious new butchery service I recently discovered. I of course made the fatal mistake of saying, “oh I’ll just have one slice”.

Meat Locker

Bam, that sucker was gone within 24 hours, and it took a lot of higher grade maths and hair pulling to get my macros back on track. But again, totally worth it. And now I’m hungry.

So ja, that was my week – a lot of hard work, a lot of fun, and a lot of dedication. I have no idea if the biltong was cured with sugar, or if it was grain-fed or grass-fed. I have no idea what kind of oil was used to make my chicken vindaloo. I have no idea why I stuck to my macros, trained 5 days out of the week, got enough rest and water, and only lost 200 grams. And I don’t care. Because worrying about things like that takes up too much energy and I don’t have any to spare. Britney and I are too busy working, bitch.


Pictures of me in my underpants!

WW Winner

No false advertising here baby. That is me, in all my black underwear glory, large and in fucking charge. But don’t feel too sorry for me though – the reason I’m standing there like a half-naked boss is because in 2013, I won the SleekGeek Winter Warrior ladies’ weight loss challenge, and banked R10 000 in the process. Uh-huh, 10 big ones baby. It helps block out some of the embarrassment. It also helps pay off debts, fatten up your savings account, buy a bunch of treats, and pay it forward too – all of which I did.

But more than a big fat bank account (which is always good), entering the SleekGeek challenge did something more for me – it helped kickstart a wellness programme that I’m still on to this day, it helped me focus and get my priorities right, and it helped me realise that it was possible to go more than one week without drinking (who knew?).

I’ve done more SleekGeek challenges since then (all of them actually) but that was the one that started it all – and it’s why, if you’re looking for the motivation you need to get off the couch and into some gym pants, I always recommend challenge as a starting point. It worked for me – no reason why it couldn’t work for you too.

Which is why I’m issuing you a challenge (yes, a challenge – you didn’t think this was all just going to be you staring at me in my knickers did you?). And that challenge is this – to buddy up with me for the upcoming SleekGeek New Year Challenge and take your life back! I’ve got one free entry to give away, and damn, if you win that entry I am going to ride your ass like Zorro to make sure we win. Because R10 000 doesn’t last long, and mama needs more free cheddar in her life.


So if you’d like to enter the Losing It draw to win one free entry into the SleekGeek New Year Challenge, then leave your name below, or some sort of thing that lets me know you want to enter. I’ll do the draw over the weekend, and let you know who the lucky winner is (or not so lucky, because trust me, Team Nicola is going to work like a motherfucker).

But even if you don’t get the free entry, you still have the chance to get a discounted one. The regular price for challenge is R599, but if you enter in January 2015, you’ll get it for just R399 – and you’ll get a fantastic set of discounts, eating plans, training plans and motivation and inspiration too. Everything you need to finally tick that sad “must lose weight” resolution off your list. As well as R500 000 worth of prizes to be won too (did I forget to mention that?).

So that’s it peeps – me in my underwear, issuing you a challenge. If you’ve got what it takes enter below to win your free entry now, or enter in January and get a 33% discount off the regular price. 2015 is going to get crushed so hard, I almost feel a little sorry for it.

SG 1

PS: If you’re wondering if I got a kick-back out of this, the answer is yes, I did. How’s that for transparency?


I’d HIIT that


So to complement the brand-new eating plan that I’m now on (more about that later in the week), I have a new training plan too. Instead of two sessions a week of throwing balls, lying down and getting up, and crawling like a drunken bear, I have to do two sessions a week of HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training. Or as I prefer to think of it, Hell In Its Totality.

According to Wikipedia, High Intensity Interval Training is “an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods”. Hahahaha! Love how they make it sound so innocent.

Perhaps this is true for elite athletes, or even for people who can touch their toes. But for someone who only just stopped breaking a sweat while putting on her gym socks, I can tell you that HIIT is an exercise strategy alternating periods of sweat and pain with periods of vomit and near-death. Wikipedia can kiss my ass.



HIIT it 3


Of course I didn’t know this at the time. Last Thursday I was blissfully ignorant and childlike in my naiveté. Oh how the exercise gods must have laughed.

Jump right into my nightmare with me why don’t you? The water’s still warm.


Virgin Active Claremont, 6am. Inside Nicola’s head.

La la la la. A new workout routine, what fun! Now, what machine should I use for my HIIT? Oooh, I haven’t been on the spinning bike in a while – let’s use that. Fun!

Hmm, haven’t been on this in a while – completely forgotten how to set it up. Hope no-one’s staring at me wondering why I’m twiddling all the wrong knobs. Blind.

At last! Managed to do that without embarrassing myself too much. Let’s do this!

This seat is a bit small… I’m sure I’ll get used to it though.

Okaaay – 5 minute warm-up, no problem.

It must have been 5 minutes already, come on. No, only 2 minutes? Strange…

Shit. Bike seat is too low. My knees are not happy. Oh well I’ve started now, will just have to grin and bear it.

Finally, warm-up done! I wonder if I’m supposed to be sweating this much. Okay, onto the first interval. 2 mins 30 seconds of cycling at 50% of my max. I have no idea what 50% of my max is, but let’s pick up the pace a bit.

Okay not that much. Let’s take it down a bit there Armstrong.

La la la la. I can do this, I don’t know what everyone complains about.

First sprint coming up, 30 seconds at 100%. Easy peasy. And gooooo!

I must have done 30 seconds already surely? 12 seconds WHAT THE FU–?

And I have to do FOUR MORE of those? There is no way, there is absolutely no way. Whoever thought of this must be sick in the head.

Interval number 2 here we go. No no no, there is no way 2 minutes and 30 seconds is up already. I only just got finished with my last spri—-aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggg!!!!

Interval number 3. Am I supposed to be seeing spots?

Interval number 4. I wonder, if you vomit next to the bike, do they throw you out of the gym?

Interval number 5. <No data. Subject blacked out.>

Cool down. Can’t sit down anymore. Ass too sore from bike seat. Also too tired to speak in full sentences. Or breathe.

5 minutes of cool down over. Time to disengage from the bike seat. And go die.


Permission granted.

Mission accomplished.


Apparently doing HIIT regularly gives you a whole mess of benefits. You burn more fat and calories after an HIIT session than you would after an ordinary cardio session, your heart gets healthier, your metabolism gets faster and you lose weight without losing muscle. Blah blah blah. All I know is that after one session I was ready to sell my first-born so I would never have to do a second session. Oh, and the fun part is, it never gets easier either. If it does get easier, you have to go faster. So I guess nausea and I are destined to become best buds. Whoop de doo.


HII it 2


So I can’t get out of doing HIIT, and I can’t look forward to one day getting used to it. But I can look forward to the benefits, like losing weight, getting fitter and healthier, and getting into a smaller pair of jeans. So that’s what I’m going to have to focus on instead of how much I want to die while doing it.

I’ll have plenty of time to put this to the test when I do my second session tomorrow morning. If you want to join me, you’re very welcome. Claremont Virgin Active, 6am. I’ll be the one dry-heaving on the bike in the corner.









Weight training – it’s not for pussies

I am a girly girl. I like to look nice, wear makeup and paint my nails. If it’s pink, I want it. If it’s a handbag, I crave it. And if it dissolves in the bath I’ll buy it faster than you can say ‘Body Shop’.

Unfortunately for me, weight training isn’t soft or sparkly or bedazzled. It is bumps and bruises and broken nails and carpet burns. Not the interesting kind either.

Yes, it burns fat, builds muscle and turns you into a lifting badass. But it turns you into someone else as well.


1. The Girl Who Has To Wear Bandages On Her Hands

Why do I have to wear bandages on my hands? This is why.


Torn callouses. Eina!

Torn callouses. Eina!


Oh you couldn’t see that properly? Let’s go in for a closer look.





That is what comes from doing 400 kettlebell swings with questionable form and zero care and attention paid to your callouses. It was exceptionally fucking sore, and an experience I have no intention of repeating. Which is why I have now become:


2. The Girl Who Shaves Her Hands

Just typing that sentence made me lose about 100 attractiveness points. Between this and everyone having seen me in my underwear after Winter Warrior last year, I’ll be lucky if I can get laid again sometime this century.

Sorry, why do I have to shave my hands? Because picking up heavy shit on a regular basis will leave them looking like this:


So pretty!

So pretty!


Which means that to stop the dry skin from eventually tearing off (see excruciatingly painful pic above), you have to use a special razor, or sandpaper, or nail file to shave those buggers down. And I’m sorry, but it doesn’t matter how much blimming moisturizing cream you slather on, it still looks like you soak your hands in battery acid. Which means that you eventually become:


3. The Girl Who Can Never Shake Hands With Anyone Again, Ever

Callouses, shaved hands, ripped skin – how much worse can it get? Allow me to demonstrate:





Yes, that is a blister. On my HAND! I’ve had blisters on my heels before (life’s way of laughing at me for trying to run) but by Zeus’s beard I’ve never EVER had a freaking blister on my hand. I didn’t even know that was possible. That’s what you get for bear crawling across the gym floor from 6am TILL INFINITY.

Blisters. On your hands. Because life thought you needed more of a challenge.

However, put all these three girls together and you get:


4. The Girl Who Is Stronger, Fitter, Thinner and Healthier

Because no matter how many nails you break or callouses you rip or pieces of sandpaper you go through, lifting is the shit. It has given me gains in muscle, losses on the scale, and a sense of pride and personal achievement. So it doesn’t matter that I have the hands of a lumberjack, because each of those callouses tells a success story that continues with every weight I pick up. And that’s way more valuable to me than soft hands.




Rise and shine – it’s training time!

Getting up at 5am every morning sucks balls. Just because I don’t like sleeping doesn’t mean I spring out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off and burst into song like a Disney princess. Oh no, when that Forest Walk melody starts burbling at way-too-freaking-early AM, I would happily sell my left kidney for an extra 10 minutes in bed.


The number you have dialled is not available.  Please try again later.

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But since the organ harvesters are tucked up in their own beds at 5am, I have to come up with some pretty creative ways of getting myself out of bed before the birds are even up. Sometimes I resort to pleading, sometimes to bribery, and sometimes to good old-fashioned yelling.


Presenting: A Week in the Life of Nicola



Inner Voice 1: Wakey wakey it’s Monday, how exciting.

Inner Voice 2: Shut up and go back to sleep.

IV1: But we only have to work out for 20 minutes today – just 20 minutes! Then we can come back, shower, chill and have breakfast. Super relaxing!

IV2: Just 20 minutes?

IV1: Yup, promise!

IV2: Ok fine, let’s get this show on the road.

IV1: Hurrah!



IV1: You know what day it is today?

IV2: My birthday?

IV1: No silly, haha. It’s weigh-in day today. Whoop whoop!

IV2: Not always necessarily a good thing.

IV1: Yes but no shush. Come on, get up, let’s go train and then you can see just how brilliantly all your hard work has paid off.

IV2: Arg! Alright fine, I’m coming.

IV1: Wait, did you paint your toenails for the picture?

IV2: Fuck.



IV1: It’s 5am! Time to get up!

IV2: Blerag’iaweg aigh ijs;fbn

IV1: Come on – who’s a good girl? Who’s a good girl?

IV2: Me?

IV1: That’s right – and good girls deserve a nice big cup of coffee. Come on, let’s get up and go get you some coffee.

IV2: Gknfa’eigj aoief;as rg



IV1: Woohoo, it’s conditioning training today, super amped!

IV2: I am going to smack you.

IV1: No it’s going to be awesome, you’ll see. Plus the sooner you work out, the sooner you get to drink your yummy post-workout chocolate whey. Mmmmm!

IV2: I remember chocolate. I have fond memories of chocolate.

IV1: Well get up, let’s go train, and then we can have some. Yippee!

IV2: It’s really not natural for you to be this chipper so early in the morning. Do I need to get you professional help?


IV2: I’ll make the appointment today.



IV1: Hey hey it’s Friday!


IV1: Aah come on, don’t be like that! It’s Friday, end of the week, and end of your training too. Just today to get through and then you have two blissful days of rest ahead. How does that sound?

IV2: It sounds lovely for you. I, however, am going back to sleep.

IV1: No you can’t go back to sleep! George Clooney’s in the kitchen!

IV2: No he is not.

IV1: No, seriously, I’m totally telling the truth. I heard him sneak in last night, and now he’s waiting for you there as a surprise! You have to get up now and go see!

IV2: This feels like a trap.

IV1: Come on now, would I lie to you?

IV2: Yes.

IV1: Arg, I’m not lying! Just get up now, go to the kitchen and give Georgie a big hug and a kiss. So romantic!

IV2: Ok fine, I’ll get up. But I still think you’re lying.

IV2: What the fu-?! I thought you said George Clooney was here?!

IV1: You took too long. He got bored and left. Oh well since we’re here now we might as well make coffee and get ready for training.



Times that by infinity and you have my life. I’ll get better at getting up, but for now pleading and bribery are my methods of choice. Plus who knows – one day I could walk through to my kitchen and George Clooney could totally be waiting for me. I’ll just have to keep checking to see.


Where have you been all my life dear sweet Nicola?

Rise and shine baby. 


Setting goals for 2014 or: Nicola, you dumbass

Goals, I thought to myself. It’s good to have goals! This year we shall have goals a-plenty. Let 2014 be lousy with goals! (I didn’t have a drop to drink on New Year’s Eve so I can’t even blame this minor psychotic break on alcohol. I’ve learned my lesson.)

Nicola of 1 January 2014 was on a mission this year. Losing weight and marrying George Clooney wasn’t enough for this bird. Oh no, we had to have plans and targets and a whole bunch of other rubbish, all designed to make me feel guilty for spending even 5 minutes on the couch watching Masterchef. I am not happy with Nicola of 1 January 2014, and here’s why.


1. Get strong enough to do REAL pushups



As I type this, I am lying flat on my back in traction, with my computer suspended a few inches above me in a contraption I cleverly managed to finagle together with duct tape and string. Oh no wait, I’m not. What I am doing is trying to figure out who ripped my chest and triceps out of my body overnight and replaced them with THE FIRES OF HADES!

I am in a state of pain right now that defies description and all because I made the colossal mistake of innocently saying to my trainer at our first session , “oh so ja it would be cool if I could do real pushups sometime this year”. You stupid, stupid woman.

Why do I want to do real pushups as opposed to the ‘ladies’ pushups* I’ve been rocking for the past 6 months? Fuck knows. On 1 January it had something to do with a sense of personal achievement. Now it’s just nonsense. All I did on Friday was 3 sets of 8 negative pushups and today I want nothing more than to curl up in the foetal position and weep gently until the pain subsides.

If that’s what negative pushups do to my body, I am in mortal fear and dread of the suffering that real ones are going to inflict on me.

*I cannot ABIDE the fact that half pushups are known as ladies’ pushups and full pushups are known as men’s pushups. The gender stereotyping makes me want to vomit. So from here on out I will be referring to them as half and full pushups. Is that fully understood?


2. Run 5km without stopping

I cannot run. Even in high school when I was an average weight, I sucked at running. I got lapped by little old ladies in walkers. It was not pretty. So you can imagine that now, nearly 20 years later and 40kg heavier, I’m not exactly giving Usain Bolt sleepless nights.

So why in the name of all that is holy did I decide to set a 5km running goal for myself? Your guess is as good as mine. I think it has something to do with the fact that I think it’s pathetic that I’m 36 years old and I can’t run more than a kilometre with collapsing in a sweaty heap of pain and recrimination.

Literally I cannot run more than a kilometre – I am not exaggerating for comic effect.

Yes, my scoliosis is a big part of that, as even the act of walking sends shooting pain radiating out of my back that would make Rambo cry. But the fact that I’m overweight is an even bigger part of that. Which is why I’m hoping that the fitter I get, the more fat I lose and the more I strengthen my core, the better I’ll become at running.

Everyone’s got to start somewhere, which is why I signed up for parkrun this year, and did my first one on Saturday at Green Point.


Are those Fit Girl Fab clothes you’re wearing Nicola? Why yes they are!

Are those Fit Girl Fab clothes you’re wearing Nicola? Why yes they are!


I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t exactly set the parkrun on fire. I walked the whole way in a highly impressive (waahaahaa) time of 52:13, coming 90th out of about 94 people. Look out everyone – that Comrades record is in serious jeopardy!

But you’ve gotta walk before you can run – literally. So I’ll keep at it and who knows – by 2025 I could be ready to run my first 5K. Watch this space!


3. Deadlift 100kg




The most I can deadlift at the moment is 60kg. Which isn’t that bad considering I’ve only really been doing deadlifts for the past 4 months. Plus a couple of my friends are excited to know that if they pass out dead drunk I can pick them up and dump them in their car. That’s one new skill that’s going on the CV.

I’ll keep plugging away at this one over the year, and perhaps by December I’ll be able to lift some of my guy friends out of the gutter.

Like I said, it’s good to have goals.




I’ll check back in regularly with progress updates on my three goals (and I’ll let you know how I’m getting on with the marrying George Clooney thing too). If you don’t hear from me for a while, please can someone do a quick recce round Green Point? I may just be collapsed along the fanwalk somewhere.