Name: Cassandra Veldtman
Height: 1,61 m
Competition weight: To be honest I didn’t weigh myself during my last comp and you are probably thinking that’s so strange but I sent progress pictures to my coach and he adjusted my diet plan where necessary. It was a very balanced competition prep and it was my first comp so I just went with it. I used to have an eating disorder so I don’t believe in scales at all but for my next comp that’s coming up in August, I will be very specific with my progress by going by weight and body fat to get better results.
Current weight: This is something I don’t know as I haven’t weighed myself in months but it is probably around 53 kgs/ 54 kgs which is my normal weight.
Current city: Cape Town, South Africa
Occupation: Personal Trainer at Buc Fitness Club
It seems you had a bit of a rough childhood and dealt with bullying. Tell us a bit about it and how did you eventually decide to say no and stand up to it?
When I was a kid, I used to be bullied for being a tom boy. I used to wear a spider man outfit to school *laughs* and the other kids would laugh and tease me. I also used to hate the frilly lace on girls underwear, so I would wear the boys underwear. *hand on face.
Girls would also throw my birthday invitations away before I could even get my hands on it. There were plenty more incidents where I was bullied but another big one for me was where I was cyber bullied by a “friend” where she created a questionnaire on facebook about me with the most horrific questions and sent it to everyone on facebook.
At the end of my primary school career, I went through a change where my self-confidence grew a lot and eventually I took a stand for myself and wouldn’t tolerate the bullying anymore.
Tell us a bit about your high school experience and a bit about bulimia?
It felt so good to be in a new school with new friends and a new experience. It was a new chapter in my life. I was definitely happier in the new environment I was in. I think my bulimia stemmed from my childhood experiences at primary school as well as family issues that I had. Due to those experiences, I felt like I was never good enough for anyone or anything and being bulimic was a sense of control that I had in my life.
I hated myself so much and went through such a bad patch of depression in my high school career. I had bulimia for about 4 years until eventually one day while I was purging I had this epiphany, and realized what I was doing was destroying me. It was destroying my health, my performance in the sport I was playing, my relationships and my life.
I then met my boyfriend in matric where he changed my perception of everything and I have never been as happy as I am in my life since.
I love food and have a very balanced diet where I have completely overcome this disorder. Of course I have those days where I look in the mirror and am not happy with what I see BUT I look past all of that, and have come to accept each and every one of my so-called flaws.
The toughest part is making a change and coming to a realisation that change is needed. How did you mange to come to this realisation and actually act on it to make your life better and let go of the self doubt and anxiety?
I knew that I was destroying myself. One day while I was purging, I had this realization. I realized that what I was doing was self-destruction. It was destroying me mentally and physically and knew that if I didn’t change what I was doing, I would end up seriously ill and go down a path that I may never come out again.
What made you enter your first show and how was the experience?
I was training 5 times a week and I was training to improve my physique and not only for that but also to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. I am competitive by nature as in school I participated in nearly all sports such as athletics, swimming, hockey and soccer where I excelled in all. I used to also play club hockey but after school I stopped all my sports and felt like something was missing and it was competing in something or working hard towards a goal where you will be rewarded.
A few of my close family friends were into fitness competitions and it took me about 2 years into weight training to decide that I wanted to compete. By the help of my coach Steven O’Shea at the time, he helped me reach my goal of stepping on stage and making my dream come true. The experience was by far one of the most amazing and indescribable experiences. Stepping on that stage made me feel like all the hard work had paid off.
Who has been your biggest influence/support in your life and how did they affect you?
I would say my mom, my boyfriend and the rest of my family. My boyfriend was the one who introduced me to weight training back in 2013. He taught me everything about weight training and supported me through all of my dreams.
My mom, well she is my absolute rock in this world. No matter how crazy my dreams seem, she has believed in all of my dreams and always helps me to achieve all of my dreams no matter what.
What are some things newbies should be aware of, going into their first prep?
I see so many girls going into a prep not knowing anything about preparing for a competition. They need to understand the sacrifices that need to be made but they also need to understand that competitions can be done in a very balanced way.
I see so many newbies rebound after their comp due to their coaches putting them on steroids and other harsh substances which I don’t believe in. I believe that one can do a prep extremely balanced and maintain most of what you get from comp and that is exactly why I am doing these comps. I want to inspire and help girls who compete, to show them you don’t need to be so extreme where it can be detrimental to ones health.
I fully believe in a balanced lifestyle.
Did/do you ever have to deal with negativity from other women in the gym regarding the ‘fitness’ sport?
To be honest, I didn’t experience anything negative from women regarding the “fitness” sport. If anything women were friendly, paying kind compliments on my physique.
What are your future plans?
In 2018 I am wanting to compete at the Shameen Classic in the hopes of qualifying for the Arnold Classic in 2018 which will be a dream come true.
Take us through an average day of yours:
- First thing that I do when I wake up is make food. I don’t know how some people can’t eat first thing in the morning. I am so hungry when I wake up (laughing). I normally make cooked oats/ overnight oats and have some green tea with my breakfast. I make sure all my food for the day is prepared and packed in my lunch box.
- I then quickly hop into the shower and throw on my favourite gym clothes. I make sure all my bags are packed for the day and then hop in my car and head through to train my morning clients.
- After training my morning clients, I either do a Sweat 1000 class or do some admin on my laptop.
- I will train some more clients and then train myself where I will do a HIIT weight training session followed by 20 minutes of cardio.
- After my session, I will eat a post workout meal, shower, train more clients and then head home and prepare my meals for the following day.
- I usually either like to watch an episode of a series on my laptop before bed or read a book to wind down.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet:
My diet is extremely balanced. I do not track my caloric intake or macros. However, after my competition, I did a day of full-tracking to see how much I eat when I don’t follow my comp diet to make sure I eat enough and get enough of all the macros. So, it depends on the day but I go by my training days and make sure I eat every 3 hours to regulate my metabolism.
A rough idea of what I eat when I’m not on prep:
- Meal 1: Cooked oats, sweetener and whey protein.
- Meal 2: Rice cakes and peanut butter.
- Meal 3 (pre-workout): Protein flapjacks and strawberries.
- Meal 4 (post-workout): lean beef mince and green beans.
- Meal 5 (dinner): Chicken and vegetables.
My diet varies from day-to-day. But I eat clean 100% of the time except for weekends where I’m not as strict on myself. I will enjoy a cheat meal such as a burger or pizza and besides that, my diet is pretty clean over the weekends.
What are your top Nutrition tips for losing fat?
- Eat a balanced diet (remember carbs aren’t your enemy).
- Eat less dairy such as milk and cheese (I still include low-fat yoghurt here and there as a snack for a quick meal).
- Drinks lots of water to flush out any water your body may be holding.
- Drink 3-4 cups of green tea per day to speed up metabolism.
- Have ½ grapefruit in the morning with a luke warm glass of water mixed with 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar and lime.
What process do you follow when its time to start getting ready for a competition/photoshoot?
I keep my cheat meals to once a week and slowly start cutting carbs but I never cut my carbs completely as my body needs some kind of energy when depleting and training so hard. I follow my coaches protocol which varies.
What supplements do you use and think are necessary for a beginner?
- Whey protein isolate
- BCAAS and L-glutamine
- CLA +3
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training/training schedule and on average how long do you workout for?
I train 5 times a week.
- Monday: Legs (HIIT), abs & cardio.
- Tuesday: Shoulders, calves & cardio.
- Wednesday: Legs (hammies dominant), abs & cardio.
- Thursday: Back, arms, calves & cardio.
- Friday: Legs (glute dominant), abs & cardio.
My cardio sessions are 20 minutes long and are either HIIT or kept at a moderate intensity. I do my cardio straight after my weight training session.
Does your training change much when you start preparing for a competition?
Always changes, depending on how I’m looking.
What are your essentials that are always in your gym bag?
- Skullcandy wireless headphones
- Nutritech Metcon gloves
- Sweat towel
- Nutritech shaker cup with BCAAS
- Nutritech water bottle
Do you have any fit fashion tips for the ladies?
I always wear my long gym tights and just a sports bra to show off those abs that I have worked so hard for (Joking/ laughing).
And for the guys?
My boyfriend wears vests and gym tights and I think he looks pretty damn fine 😛
What are your 3 favourite exercises?
Squats, squats and more squats (JOKES – but not really).
1. Sumo goblet squats
(Because I’m all about trying to cap those shoulders right now)
3. Lat pull down superset with lat pull overs to hit those lats
4. Leg raises and single leg raises on bar
Which body part is your favourite to train and what are some of your tips to training it and favourite exercises?
Legs are my favourite body part to train.
- Make sure your form is good when performing leg exercises and remember it doesn’t matter about how heavy you are going.
- Form comes first and then you can start increasing the weight. You don’t need to lift extremely heavy to build muscle.
- Make sure you are focusing on the concentric and eccentric phase so concentric phase should be 1 second and eccentric phase 3 seconds to make sure you are getting the muscle to mind connection.
What are some of the myths many girls fall prey to when it comes to trying to get a flat tummy and abs?
I eat carbs everyday and lots, and my abs are still there. You just gotta make sure the diet is clean and train abs at least twice a week. Also, make sure that when training other body parts such as legs, engage your core.
What other forms of exercise do you enjoy and incorporate?
I love to include HIIT type of training to my workouts. I also love doing HIIT sprints for my cardio.
Favorite female fitness icon(s):
Lauren Simpson, Courtney King, Stephanie Marie.
“I love who I have become, because I fought to become her.”
What is the most common question you get asked?
“How do you get those abs?”
- These abs weren’t built overnight, they were built over a few years with a balanced diet and lifestyle.
- I train them at least twice a week and try to do 3 times per week.
- I keep my diet clean and balanced and that’s how I maintain them.
- When training one must engage in their core at all times e.g squatting – and this will help build them too.
Advice for someone wanting to get in shape and unsure where to start and a bit afraid of the gym?
I would recommend someone starting out with some home workouts, google some exercises either on pinterest but my favourite is bodybuilding.com as they have every single exercise you can possibly think of. They also include videos to show you how to execute the exercise.
What competitions have you competed in?
- IFBB WP Benfatto Classic 2016 | Bikini Fitness u/163cm | 4th
- IFF WP 2017 | Bikini Fitness u/160cm | 3rd
Where can people get hold of you?