Until my early thirties I’d remained actively involved in competitive league cricket and hockey, as well as regularly playing squash, running and going to gym, even up to six days a week.

My priorities changed drastically, though, with the onset of parenthood and becoming a partner in a business at the age of 32. I’d also developed a lower back problem, which hampered my flexibility. My physical activity had dwindled to a weekly game of masters hockey. Long hours, plenty of local and international travel and poor dietary habits resulted in my weight ballooning from 88kg to 111kg by the age of 40.

I’d suffered from asthma as a child, but my condition had fortunately improved in my late teens. I started developing chest problems once again in my late thirties and, at the age of 37, was read the riot act by my pulmonologist: lose weight and improve your fitness levels, or don’t expect to reach 60. My brother-in-law introduced me to the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA). I started out with the eight-week Healthy Weight Programme, a beginner fitness and weight-loss programme, with both training and dietary guidance. Unfortunately, during week five, I suffered a stroke, which resulted in a week in hospital. This setback only served to make me more determined to complete the course and follow up with the intermediate programme. By then I’d lost 12kg, was following an eating plan and was fitter than I’d been since my twenties.

The Result

I ran the Surfer’s Challenge, a sub-two-hour Knysna Half Mara-thon (my first) and, with the help of the SSISA Tri-Fit programme, completed a triathlon. My total weight loss is 16kg – a drop from a size 40 to 36.