At the age of 35 Elan Lohmann realised he was living a very unhealthy lifestyle. He was overweight, he smoked too much and did no exercise. But a year later that’s all changed and he is in the best shape of his life and has even quit his job as a high-flying executive in the world of Digital Media to dedicate his time to his new passion – helping transform the lives of ordinary South Africans to become fitter and healthier.
“It has been a journey. At first my weight-loss goals were underpinned by aesthetic concerns but now eight months later I am focussed on health and fitness and creating a sustainable lifestyle from here on in. When you decide to want a healthy life as opposed to a short term goal such as losing weight it is harder to walk away from,” he says.
Check out this video of Elan in action at Cape CrossFit and talking more about SleekGeek:
After joining Cape CrossFit gym and embarking on a fitness regime with them as well as an eating plan, he came up with the idea of SleekGeek, “a social community to activate, support and motivate members to achieve their healthy lifestyle goals”.
It began with a simple six-week challenge between friends to get beach ready, a Facebook page and driving on Twitter. Lohmann used his personal base of over 3 000 followers on Twitter to drive the health and fitness agenda. Three Challenges and a ton of results later the community is rapidly growing in the thousands. Sleekgeek is “a social community to activate, support and motivate members to achieve their healthy lifestyle goals”.
The 8-Week "Winter Warrior" has just ended and "Summer Body" is now open.
After joining Cape CrossFit gym and embarking on a fitness regime with them as well as an eating plan, he began to accelerate his personal results after giving up smoking and not able to train for eight weeks after pneumonia.
“My objective is to help 100 000 people transform to a healthy lifestyle. I am declaring war on unhealthy living. We have lovely diverse people and everyone in the community supports others. There is a fantastic spirit. People are in there by choice so we are a bottom up community as opposed to top down. We get amazing results which speak for themselves and our champions manage to sustain. I think the magic is that it is probably less important what you do and more important that you stick with it. That is where we are strong,” he says.
Keeping fit and eating right
Lohmann definitely walks the talk and having just turned 36 he is in the best shape of his life and says he feels “much younger and mobile and vibrant”. When he is not at CrossFit he is rallying his troops to climb Lions Head or to run on the Sea Point promenade.
He follows a “Paleo diet” – similar to the much publicised eating plan followed by Professor Tim Noakes.
“Essentially I eat no wheat, no grains, no starch, no sugar, no dairy. I live on fish, chicken, meat and veg/salad and eggs. I do that 80% of the time at least. I cheat when I feel like it and have no regrets. Since I have been eating this way I have never been leaner, have tons of energy and never felt better. I believe the real evil is sugar and not fat.
Advice for others
“My advice is to eat as much whole non-manmade food as possible. Man has made it very difficult to make healthy choices, but you can do it. I also like this style because I don't need to do portion control. My primary snacks are raw almonds and my body weight in biltong,” he says.
His advice to others is to first of all join Sleekgeek , but also to “make a start”.
“I believe you need to give yourself 12 months of work to make a major change. People think they can turn what they caused over 10 years in a month and get upset and give up if they cannot. That makes no sense. Slowly but surely if you ‘keep on keeping on’ you will get there on aggregate. Find what you enjoy in terms of physical activity as well as nutrition plan. If it is not enjoyable it is not sustainable.
“You may need trial and error and that takes a time investment to discover the right things. It is also important to understand that the fitter you get the more fun it becomes but you have to push through the initial parts which are hard. People love to give up. Don’t.”
Visit SleekGeek’s Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @SleekgeekSA. Check out the SleekGeek website for some inspiring images of ordinary people who have completed the Winter Warrior 8-week Challenge and to sign up for the Summer Challenge starting soon.
Sources: Elan Lohmann, founder of SleekGeek; video shot at Cape CrossFit gym.
(Amy Froneman, Health24, August 2012)
Tim Noakes on carbohydrates