The Dubai-based life coach Nadine du Toit helps women lose weight through a specially formulated programme that includes DNA and health screening, instruction in dieting and even food-shopping supervision.
After overcoming her own "tendency towards obesity", Nadine du Toit founded Glorygirl Fitness so she could help other women fight flab, too. It wasn't long after coming to work for Emirates in 2004 that the South African gained not only the dreaded Dubai stone but also about 30 kilograms.
Watching herself put on weight was horrifying and, in 2006, du Toit took action. After three months of online coaching, dieting and exercising, she "got down to a beautiful weight". Getting ready for her wedding was her next big goal. From there, she began to train for fitness qualifications. In 2010, she entered her first bikini modelling competition in South Africa and last year came first in the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation's bikini model category and fourth in the fitness model category in Denmark.
Somewhere along the way, she became a life coach. "I was also looking for my purpose," she says. "I knew there was more out there. I wanted to help people and I especially had a heart for women."
Under du Toit's Glorygirl Fitness programmes, women undergo DNA screening for eight genes that affect metabolism and fat loss. She also assesses their body type and considers any diseases they may be prone to and, based on all the information, designs a fitness plan and coaches each client through it. "I know how hard that journey can be," she says. "But if I can do it with my DNA, anyone can do it."
Her programme includes restaurant evenings (where she helps her clients through the ordering process), cooking classes and food-shopping supervision.
"It's all about education," says du Toit. "My clients are asked to take on new habits and challenges."
Her clients, who come from all over the world including the UAE, South Africa, the UK and Bahrain, are coached regularly via Skype or one-to-one sessions.
The 14-week programme has each client (the minimum age is 21 years) undergoing DNA tests, with diet and lifestyle instruction and an exercise plan. There's even a "genetic brain organisation profile" to find each person's natural strengths.
"It's easier for me as a coach when people do these profiles because then I can understand them better and know how they need to be approached. For example, some respond to tone of voice while others are sensitive to body language."
So far, du Toit has counselled 60 women through her programme.
One of them is Monique Robinson, 32. Though she has always been active, Robinson wanted help to "define her body and learn to eat better".
"I'd never been into weight training," she says. "I'd keep going on yo-yo diets and needed a lot of direction with things such as what kinds of foods are right for me, and getting help in terms of preparing healthy meals. I wanted to pick up good habits for life.
"I changed my entire diet. I forced myself to eat six times a day and the quantities changed. I was eating relatively healthily but the portion sizes weren't what they should have been or I ate fruit at the wrong time of day. I was learning about how and when to eat the right foods and in the right quantities, and it made a big difference.
"The whole point of the programme is to become your own nutritionist and trainer," explains Robinson. "It wasn't easy at all, especially since you have to do most of it by yourself and have to push yourself. Nadine is there as a life coach but the whole thing was a lesson in discipline.
"The first two months were tough. I was working out a lot and spending a lot of time preparing meals, but the weight was slow to fall off me. It was frustrating - you're doing a lot of work but the results are slow to come. Only in the last month did I really start seeing the results."
- For more information on Glorygirl Fitness packages, visit www.glorygirlfitness.com