Blake Andrew

My Comrades & Training Journey 2016/2017

Phoenix Strength & Fitness - Gym Member (Blake Andrew 2)

Training Background

I’ve always been very active participating in many sports as well as being an avid gym goer.

My love of running started many years ago but I only competed in my first of 6 Comrades marathons in 2010.

I negotiated my way through four comrades on my own but then disaster hit in 2014. I had a serious knee op after Comrades that year and was told to rest for 3 Months. Three Months led to six Months and the wheels seriously came off after 18 Months of doing nothing.

I started training again at the end of 2015 17kg’s heavier than before my op and with a total lack of motivation. I wanted to run the 2016 Comrades but didn’t know how it would be possible. That is when I met Alex and Jay and decided to see if Alex specifically could perform a miracle.

Alex did an extremely impressive and professional assessment on me – testing everything from flexibility to weak areas, strengths, fitness and mobility.

Based on the results, he tailor made a program for me to reach the start line of Comrades. We had little time (approximately 5 Months) to lose the weight and gain the strength and fitness required. What I loved most about Alex’s approach was how conservative and sensitive he was to the weak points, totally avoiding any injuries.

I did make it to the start line – 17kg’s lighter, a body fat percentage of 8 and stronger legs than I’d ever had, even as a much younger man. I ran a 8h42 for the down run only, 15 minutes slower than my best with half the time to prepare.

2017 Comrades Marathon

At the end of 2016 I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma on my arm and lower back. I had an op to remove the cancer as well as lymph nodes from under my arm. The recovery was painful and slow and I once again had become very unfit.

I went back to Alex in Feb 2017 with roughly only 4 Months to prepare for the 2017 up run at Comrades. With fantastic new innovations added to my training regime I was ready to run although I’d done very little mileage on the road.

I’m happy to report that a week ago I ran a 9h31 and never felt any difficulty during the race. My legs were strong, my weight was right and all the nutritional tips from Alex were spot on.

Carrie Minnaar

Rock Climber

Phoenix Strength & Fitness - Gym Member (Carrie Minnaar 2)

My Goal To Get Stronger

My journey with Phoenix began with the goal of improving my rock climbing skills and grip strength and has evolved into the journey of personal strength and growth.

Growing physically stronger under the professional and skilled coaching programme and advice from Phoenix showed me my own personal strength. As my physical abilities grew, my confidence grew and I was able to tap into a personal power that I never thought I had in me.

After only a year of training with Phoenix, I entered one of their in-house Phoenix Challenges.  I went from never having deadlifted before to pulling a 130kg deadlift (more than double my body weight), followed by 4 pull-ups and 105 x 16kg kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes.  I realised that I had the strength in me to overcome any obstacles that life threw at me. 

Becoming stronger was the best thing I could have done for myself. I could not have done it without the wealth of knowledge and experience and the personal motivation and support from Phoenix staff and from the amazing humans I train with at Phoenix every day.  My training at Phoenix has become an essential part of my everyday routine and it's an awesome experience training with people with similar goals and all supporting each other.

Dani Pengilly

Phoenix Body Transformation Challenge

Phoenix Strength & Fitness - Gym Member (Dani Pengilly 2)

My New Beach Body

Having trained 4 days a week, minimum an hour a day, for 25 years, I had tried everything from spinning to aerobics, sometimes 2 classes a day but was bored with gym, seeing little or no results and had no motivation.

I signed up for bi-weekly sessions with Jay in Jan 2013 and became motivated. With focused training and a balanced eating program, I was seeing results and quickly. I trained with Jay for the next 4 years but had started to slip back into old eating habits and probably didn’t yet understand that you can’t out-train a bad diet.

December 2016 holidays were fast approaching and I needed my beach body – enter the Phoenix Body Transformation Challenge – a six-week training challenge complete with nutrition coaching – I signed up, added a Saturday group class to my training and embraced the nutrition coaching. Six weeks later I had lost 8kgs, 22cms and my body fat were down to 17% (I am 54 years old and my weight and body fat was down to the same as when I was 25) – I had my beach body and in just 6 weeks!!

Now 6 months later, having continued training with Jay, without the Saturday classes but embracing the nutrition coaching as a way of life, I have maintained my weight and fitness, and am now also training for the 94.7 Cycle Challenge, road cycling twice weekly, with conditioning and strength training for the event being incorporated into my training sessions with Jay.

Linda Hall

Victorious Over Back Pain

Phoenix Strength & Fitness - Gym Member (Linda Hall 2)

I No Longer Suffer...

As an active and independent person who is interested in health and fitness,  it was debilitating to have constant back pain and not know why or how to treat it.  My mother lived to a ripe old age of 87 years and was very healthy except for her posture.  She suffered from scoliosis and back pain from her mid 50’s.  I thought this was my fate too!!   Except I was in my early 50’s when I started living with constant back pain.  Thinking this was just hereditary, I started doing pilates to strengthen my core and manage my back pain.  I also went to countless Physiotherapists and Chiropractors and other holistic therapists, always trying to find the ultimate solution.  I honour them all in their efforts and their fantastic services, but I actually could not move forward until I determined the cause.  After consulting an Orthopaedic surgeon (who was prepared to operate on my spine) and a Neurosurgeon (who was not), and undergoing an MRI in 2009, I was diagnosed with lower spine degeneration.  This causes the collapse of the spine (Lumber 4/5 and S1) and results in constant sciatic pain.  At this time I was unable to get a full night’s sleep due to the excruciating pain running down my leg.

After a couple of years of doing pilates and some general sessions at the gym, I regained some strength in my body.    I decided it was time to get more focused and improve my strength by taking my exercise regime further.  I enlisted the help of Alex Dias.

If anyone remembers the Personal Trainers of old….. please don’t confuse them with the likes of Alex.  Alex is patient and very well informed and will not push you to do anything more than what your body can deal with at the time.   After a full assessment with Alex and lots of patience on his part, and I suppose mine too, because I was impatient, wanting to get stronger and do more, I settled into personal training twice a week.   I began my journey with Alex 4 years ago, in 2012, when I was 54 years old.  I have just turned 59 and I can attest to the fact that I no longer suffer with any back pain whatsoever, at any time of the day or night.  I do weight training and have even deadlifted up to 1.25 x my body weight. 

Alex and Jay are continually improving their knowledge and services.  In August 2016 they proposed a fitness challenge, encouraging all their clients to join and profit from a 6-week programme which would help us all to choose correct nutrition and plan our meals and workouts to improve our body shape, our exercise outcomes, and improve our diet.  This was extremely successful and I was pleased with my results, losing some unwanted cms around my waist and the 6kgs of “midlife” weight gain.

Alex has a holistic approach to how the body works and incorporates the different corrective exercises that I have needed over the years into our workouts.   I am so grateful to have found Alex and am in awe that the correct exercise can produce such amazing results. 

Sunet Hansen

Lost 19kg’s

Phoenix Strength & Fitness - Gym Member (Sunet Hansen 2)

My Journey

When I started training with Jay I was very unfit.  My original goal was to lose weight however over time I also noticed that I was getting stronger and feeling healthier.  Through all his determination and motivation I was even able to swim 36km’s over 6 days last year. 

I was still struggling to lose weight but Jay was patient and kept on motivating me.  At the start of this year we set goals (that I was conveniently avoiding before) that I would like to achieve and I have now lost 19kg’s and I am in better shape than what I have been in years.

He is always up to date with the latest training techniques and diet trends and will always give me tools and ideas if I feel that I am not losing weight.  Training sessions are never boring and Jay always do a variety of routines.  He is also very professional and personable and I always look forward to my next session. 

Thank you for everything that you are doing and will be doing for me for a long time to come.  I still must lose a lot of weight but I know with Jay as part of my support team I will accomplish it.

🔥Thandeks Transformation Story🔥

I was tired of being overweight as it was affecting my self- esteem. weighing 89kg.

I started medication for High Blood Pressure and this put a lot of stress to me and my family as I was the first person to have High Blood Pressure in the whole family.

I was looking for a Healthier lifestyle, not another “DIET”.

I came to Phoenix and it changed my life change.

I wanted to be fit, healthy and have my self- confidence back

The Phoenix Team taught me to focus on my portion control, eat slowly and that I don’t have to finish all the food on my plate.

I’ve had many ups and downs but the team and Phoenix members have always been there to pick me up when I fall.

The Dr asked me to stop taking High Blood Pressure medication as my blood pressure is normal for the last 2 months, and he asked me to keep on doing the good work. But he will be monitoring my blood pressure every 6 months.

My clothes that were too tight for me are fitting me now, my body is much lighter and I am full of energy- “I think I can pull the wheel for a big truck”

My self -esteem is back and I walk with confidence in front of people.

I love what I see and feel.

I’m Feeling great.

I am still on my journey as I still have some more Kilo’s to lose from this body but that’s not my main focus now. I want to get back to running 10km and I feeling more confident to do it now than ever.

I know that I have the best coaches at Phoenix and they will do the best to walk with me on my journey and meet my goals.


Helan’s Transformation story 🔥

Been training with Phoenix for a little over a year now and it has helped me get through a lot of personal issues in my life...

At 38 years old and after having 3 children, I am the strongest and fittest I've ever been! 😮

Deep gratitude, as always, to the Phoenix family and the Phoenix team, especially Jaco Naude and Kreson Pillay for making me stronger - physically, mentally and emotionally 💓

💥Steve’s Dad Bod Transformation Journey 💥

My journey with Phoenix started in November 2018. I had not done a single exercise in 3 years.

Jay did a full assessment on me and it was determined I was extremely weak in a few areas but my lower back was very vulnerable.

Thinking I was stronger than I actually was I pushed myself ignoring the coaches advise to take it slow and inevitably injured my lower back.

Jay then sat me down and gave me a month of stretching/strengthening exercises (which turned into 2 months due the holidays).

I came back in February feeling much stronger I was encouraged by the coaches and the people around me at the gym.

My motivation, strength and fitness started to grow. I changed my eating habits and followed

Jay's 80/20 rule, allowing myself to fall off the wagon every now and again.

Its been 9 months training 3 times a week and I have missed a total of 9 days of gym.

The Before picture was actually taken about a year before I joined Phoenix.

I was even more out of shape probably 5-8kgs heavier in February 2019. Thank goodness I don't have a picture of that.

This is huge thank you to Jay, James, Alex, Darryl and everyone else that has motivated me at Phoenix. It has been truly life-changing!

At the age of 41 I came to the realization that I needed to start living a healthier lifestyle.

I am a father of 2 boys and as they say, your children will follow in your example not your advice.

My boys were the biggest motivation behind my healthier lifestyle.

I felt the need to loose body fat and increase my lean muscle mass.

Historically I have not been a big fan of commercial gyms and found the hardest part of the goal was to stay motivated.

Although I did mountain biking I found my biggest struggle to be bad eating habits and lack of knowledge in health and nutrition.

I approached Phoenix Strength and Fitness in January 2019 and I weighed 130kg with a body fat % of 33.2.

I started my journey on the 1st of March and have not looked back.

With the support of the Phoenix team, they provided me with the correct nutrition and exercise plan.

Within 2 months I started to see a difference and was feeling much stronger.

Today I weigh 104kg and my body fat % dropped to 25.1%.

I have never felt better and more motivated to continue with this lifestyle change.

Both my boys are now joining me at the Saturday kids class and I feel that I have achieved my goal to lead them into a healthy lifestyle.

A very big part of my motivation to continue with my journey comes from the owners, trainers and people that work out at Phoenix Strength and Fitness.

It is a welcoming environment with good music, where everyone feels like they belong

Thank you Phoenix team,this is not the end!

I appreciate you helping me achieve my goal.

Jeanette Story

I started with Phoenix Strength and Fitness on the 9th of September 2019. Being someone who wasn't motivated and determined to go to gym I wasn't expecting to be so determined as I am now. The strength training program and the correct eating has helped me enormously.

I am more motivated, determined and excited to be on this journey. I have seen the results and my Family and friends have as well. I even have muscles I never knew existed 😂

Thank you to Jaco, Alex and James for their Training, effort and dedication to help enrich my life.

Some before and after pics....

🔥Devens Transformation Story🔥

The Phoenix team's persistence keeps me focused and committed to a three-day weekly gym schedule.

This, in turn, has helped develop a new attitude in me and build up my confidence to stay healthy and motivated.

The pep talks and motivation takes me to another level. The coaches are able to use customized techniques for each individual in each class.

I make the right diet choices in line with the PSF nutrition coaching system to support progress in the gym as well as in my day to day lifestyle.

I’ve discovered new self-confidence as I lost 3kg’s, 6% body fat (now 19% total fat), my waist went from 104cm to 98cm over a couple of months.

To mention a few more stats – I have started rack pull deadlifts on 60kg’s and have quickly progressed to 200kg’s, Squats from 50Kg’s to 140kg’s…

But most importantly I have reduced my cholesterol levels from 5.8 to 3.6 (around 40%)

Now I look forward to each amazing session with the best team of professionals anybody could ask for.

In addition, I have has felt a difference in the following areas as well:

A massive improvement in my cardiovascular fitness as well as my strength & muscle size.

I'm recovering faster

A Improvement in my skin appearance

I sleep much better at night

I find it easier to manage daily stress

I would like to thank Alex, Jaco, James, Kreson and Terrence for all their hard work and dedication to their members.

Well done and let's continue reaching for the stars.



🔥 Deons Testimonial 🔥

Before i started with the Phoenix team i weighed 110kg. I had enough and decided to cut out processed foods and sugar in 2018 and lost a considerable amount of weight.

I had hit a wall with my current program and wasn't seeing results.

In May 2019 i saw the ad on Facebook for the phoenix transformation program and decided to join.

By mid august 2019 my body toned up remarkably thanks to the PSF strength training,nutrition & coaching plans.

Throughout my journey since 2018 i have lost 31kgs and since being with the PSF family i have seen more results in 7 months than ever did at the gym before.

A massive thanks to Jay,Alex and James and the phoenix family for all the hard work, support in keeping me going.