Shedding for the wedding? You might want to swap the treadmill for a pair of dumb-bells. Angelique Daubermann of the Lean Girl brand explains why – and gets real about the war between muscle and fat.
It’s difficult to imagine that Angie and her Michelle Obama biceps have ever had even a passing acquaintanceship with unwanted kilos – but not so. ‘As a kid, I was the opposite of athletic! I weighed 83kg by the time I was 13.’
Angie blames those kilograms on a love of food. ‘We didn’t eat a lot of junk, but we had very big appetites. My attitude was that as long as it was healthy, it was fine.’ That changed when, in her mid-teens, she and her sister (who shared her weight issues) decided to take action. It wasn’t long before Angie had shed a substantial amount of weight and, basking in the feedback she received, decided to keep trying to lose more. ‘But that’s just not sustainable. Inevitably, I got caught in the yo-yo diet trap.’
This is a phenomenon she believes most women can identify with. We want to live our best lives, sip gin and sleep in – but we also want a six-pack. That’s what starts the vicious cycle, Angie maintains – galvanised by weekend excesses, we set entirely unrealistic goals that, we promise ourselves, will kick in on Monday. Yes, we know the fads don’t work, but still we tell ourselves it’s perfectly possible to live on nothing but cayenne pepper and lemon juice water for months.
It’s the desire to understand what motivates this behaviour that spurred Angie to sign up for a course in nutrition at Precision Nutrition, a US-based nutritional institute. What she learned blew her away. ’Like most people, I thought I could undo the damage of a pizza with an extra session on the treadmill. But fat loss doesn’t work like that.’ The truth is actually a lot more straightforward – it’s a simple equation of calories in, calories out.
She reached another turning point when she realised the impact of weight training. Angie’s thought revolution was catalysed by her sister’s wedding, where the entire retinue had been instructed to wear white – a challenge for most women! She decided to mix up her usual cardio regime with high intensity interval training and, fuelled by the epiphany that she’d started to enjoy exercise rather than seeing it as a penance for her indulgences, moved on to weights.
‘The results were beyond anything I could have imagined. I felt I needed to share everything I’d learned – it was as if I’d been given the weight loss manual I’d always dreamed of, and I wanted to give others the same!’ she enthuses. That signalled her entry into social media. She learnt about how to formulate a course and committed to posting one informative video each week. It was frightening, she admits – there’s a certain vulnerability in making yourself a public figure and opening up to the trolling that comes with it. But her desire to empower other women dwarfed that fear, to the extent that by January 2019, she was ready to take the next step – launching the Lean Body Lab programme. To date, several hundred women have lost weight and built lean, feminine muscle through her programme, leaving Angie more inspired than ever. ‘There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone change their body. It impacts on all areas of their lives. Imagine the woman who’d love to stand up in a meeting and share her ideas, but doesn’t feel she has the guts to do it, suddenly feeling strong inside herself because she’s developed the grit, determination and perseverance that’s part of getting yourself into shape.’
The Lean Girl brand has evolved, with its second programme (called Flourish) introduced this year. This provides a detailed meal plan for women who’ve completed the first course and therefore understand the basics of nutrition. It’s the practical application of all that knowledge, making meal prep easier, faster and more convenient.
How does this Lean Girl live her brand? ‘I’m up at 5am every morning to meditate, because clearing my thoughts before the day starts really brings the zen. Then I have a cup of coffee [black, because I practise intermittent fasting] before heading to gym.’ Six days a week, she devotes an hour to an intense weight training session – weights, rather than cardio, because although many women fear bulking up, she’s adamant that it’s impossible for the female body to gain more than between three and five kilos in an entire year, even using heavy weights. You will, however, see a marked difference in firmness.
Recently engaged to Gilan Gork, Angie says she’s not planning to lose a lot of weight before the wedding, although she wouldn’t mind putting on some more muscle. ‘I just want to feel my fit, lean, strong best!’ she says.
Top tips for wedding shedding
- Start as soon as possible to eliminate the last minute pressure. Instead of opting for an extreme ‘get thin fast’ scheme, invest time in building a lean lifestyle which will get results while allowing you to enjoy the process of getting there. This is the sweet spot, where getting and staying lean becomes effortless.
- Don’t restrict your diet too much before the wedding. ‘Most brides either take the diet too far and end up looking gaunt, or regain all the kilos they lost while on honeymoon. Besides which, there are so many celebrations happening around this time – do you really want to go without bubbles at your hen party?’
- Opt for weights over cardio. Weight training is like buying a house rather than renting, Angie says – the results are far longer lasting.
- Don’t skip carbs! Firstly, why would you want to, when they’re so damn delicious! But more importantly, they’re an important source of energy and make meals more filling. ‘Understand the role of each food group and how they can actually contribute towards your results,’ Angie advises.
- Don’t try and figure it all out on your own! There’s a reason why people follow a map to get to their destination – it eliminates roadblocks and wrong turns. Similarly, find someone who can take the guesswork out of your nutrition and training and allow you to focus on what really counts.
Angie has created a downloadable guide with 10 Lean Girl Lifestyle Hacks to get you wedding ready! Get your copy here: leangirlguide.com/get-it