NPL-sponsored athlete Samantha Naude was extremely active during her time at school, participating in numerous sports including swimming, gymnastics and hockey.

She maintained her active lifestyle after school by training regularly but as she got older, a growing disconnect emerged between her exercise regimen and her diet.

I didn’t really know what I was doing and my diet was misaligned with my training. Weekends were particularly bad when it came to what I ate.”

Emotional trigger

As a consequence, Samantha eventually realised that she could no longer keep trying to out-train a bad diet.

I saw myself in a swimming costume and felt really uncomfortable. Seeing my reflection evoked a powerful emotional response in me.”

Samantha recalls feeling disappointed for letting herself go, and she also felt a little concerned.

There is a history of obesity and heart disease in my family, so I was very cognisant about my genetic predisposition for these lifestyle diseases.”

Samantha decided that she no longer wanted to feel or look the way she did. And as someone who consistently set academic and professional goals for her life, she decided that it was time to set a physical goal to chase.

Finding her motivation

Samantha printed out that swimsuit photo and used it as a source of motivation to create meaningful change in her life.

Taking to social media for inspiration, Samantha realised that many people achieved amazing transformations and most of them had no sporting backgrounds.

I thought if they could do it, so could I! This realisation and the success of others proved were such powerful motivation and kept me pushing forward.”

At first, Samantha adopted the conventional approach to dieting and weight loss with a restrictive eating plan. “However, I soon realised that counting calories and restricting carbs was the wrong mindset.

A guided approach

Samantha’s husband Wayne previously completed a transformation challenge and achieved great success. At the time, he was preparing to compete in a bodybuilding competition.

While I wanted to become more involved in his new lifestyle, I wanted something that was more realistic and maintainable than a stage-ready physique,” explains Samantha.

Guided by her husband’s experience, Samantha chose to enter a 12-week transformation challenge at a private gym in her area.

I chose to follow a 12-week challenge because I wanted to go through the process and prove to myself that I can commit and see it through to the end.”

Under the guidance of experienced professional bodybuilder and personal trainer, Hennie Kotze and his wife Adri from Body Guru Montana, Samantha launched herself into a high-intensity weight training programme.

The workouts consisted of conventional weight lifting exercises with in-betweeners – explosive or metabolic conditioning-type exercises like burpees and jump lunges or intense bursts on the spinning bike.

Samantha’s training split:

  • Monday: Legs/lower body
  • Tuesday: Back and biceps
  • Wednesday: Glutes
  • Thursday: Triceps
  • Friday: Shoulders
  • Saturday: Full body
  • Sunday: Rest

The Body Guru team also put me on a higher protein, lower carb diet plan. I didn’t cut out carbs, though, but rather focused on eating good quality low GI options.”

Wayne had also secured a role as an NPL influencer, which convinced Samantha to incorporate the NPL brand and products into her transformation challenge and make them part of her new lifestyle.

Samatha’s NPL supplement stack

As someone who comes from a corporate marketing background in the skincare industry, I understand how important it is to convey and communicate technical jargon to consumers in an understandable way. And that is something the NPL brand does really well,” explains Samantha

The NPL brand proposition really resonated with me – it is very approachable and the products are easy to understand and incorporate into my life.

Finding balance

While the supplements made following her new eating plan more convenient, Samantha says it was still a challenge balancing the demands of two different diets in their household.

Wayne was following a contest diet, which is very different to my diet. Prepping different meals and buying different foods created unique challenges.”

Quick stats

  • Lives: Pretoria
  • Career: National Account Manager for Medicated Skincare at L’Oreal
  • Weight before: 60.6 kg
  • Weight after: 57.3 kg
  • Body fat before: 23 %
  • Body fat after: 19.4 %
  • IG: @sam.naude

Overcoming challenges

Samantha also struggled at first to wake up at 4 am to train before work. “I prefer training in the morning because the day tends to run away from me in my corporate job role. Plus, I was juggling the final year of my degree at the time, which imposed additional time constraints on my day.”

To fit everything in, Samantha recalls days when she studied while she performed her cardio sessions. Travelling for her job also threw in a few curveballs, especially when it came to maintaining her diet.

I travelled to Cape Town and Durban during the last four-week period of my transformation, but preparation and knowing what is acceptable and what is not from a diet perspective ensured I stayed on track.”

She also booked hotels that had a gym whenever possible or took her running shoes with her to do her cardio.

A foundation of education

Samantha credits the education she received from her husband, the Body Guru team and her own research about eating, food selection and the common misconceptions about diet and exercise that pervade the industry.

I changed my viewpoints around carbs and now understand that there is no generic one-size-fits-all approach to training and dieting. We all need some trial and error to see how you respond and react, but getting professional advice can certainly speed up that process.”

Between Samantha and her team, she made minor tweaks while keeping to the fundamentals, which eventually yielded the results she wanted.

It so important to realise that results are never instantaneous and there is no shortcut. You need to see the 12-week plan through to the end, follow it step by step and trust the process. Ultimately, you need to keep pushing through, even when you don’t see results or progress. It sounds simple and cliched but never giving up is the key to transformation success.”

Real-world application

Samantha says her transformation has helped to change her views on exercise and fitness and thrust into focus the importance of balance and sustainability.

Eating and exercise can become obsessive. It is also easy for this lifestyle to develop into a vain pursuit or create a self-absorbed approach. The ability to relax in social settings and indulge within reason on days like my birthday helps create balance and break the rigidity that can often complicate normal life.”

Since achieving her transformation goals, Samantha has joined her husband as a brand ambassador and influencer for NPL.

I want to empower women and show them that anybody can transform their body and their lifestyle. It just takes commitment, the right education and advice, and the right decisions daily.”

More importantly, this dynamic fitness couple wants to show people that they can achieve and maintain a healthful and active lifestyle even if they don’t work in the health and fitness industry.

We both have full-time jobs in different corporate fields, so we don’t spend all our time in the gym. We feel this makes our story more relatable, which will hopefully resonate with more people.”

And best of all, Samantha says sharing similar journeys has brought the couple closer together. “Even though we have different diets and workout plans, we share the experience and support our new lifestyles together.”

Quick facts

  • Favourite training routine: Back and biceps.
  • Favourite exercises: Lat pull down or seated rows and hammer curls
  • Favourite healthy dish: Egg white omelette
  • Favourite cheat meal: Homemade naked burger
  • Top diet tip: What you eat in secret shows in public