The real test is when you get back after the break (Source: Getty)
So last year I got ripped. Not quite Cristiano Ronaldo ripped, but close enough. I even had the Cristiano Ronaldo tan, courtesy of a nice woman at London Bridge who set about me with a spray can. It’s a shame journalism doesn’t offer the same opportunities as football for taking your top off – I feel I didn’t take full advantage.
I wrote about it in a column for this newspaper: is it really possible to significantly change the way you look in 10 weeks? It sounds like a question from a dodgy ad in the back of a cheap magazine, but it turns out turns out you can. There’s no short-cut, though – you just have to squeeze six month’s worth of exercise into 10 weeks. You have to give up booze and carbs and sugar (which are all really the same thing), and you need someone shouting at you to lift weights four mornings a week.
This was back in June – since then I’ve gone through exercise peaks and troughs, had weeks where I’ve hit the gym five times, and others when I haven’t so much as looked at a dumbbell.
By December I certainly didn’t look like I did in June, but I was still in pretty good shape. But Christmas and new year – they’re the hard part, right? Well, yes and no. All but the most draconian personal trainers count the Christmas break as a write-off, or at very least an exercise in damage limitation. There’s no point getting in shape if you then have to live like a monk.
Steve before and after
I have since discovered that the real test is when you get back after the break. Routine is key – if your body is used to waking up and going straight to the gym, it will grudgingly accept its lot. If it’s used to waking up at noon and cracking open a six pack of Red Stripe, it will do everything in its power to convince you to skip the gym and get another few hour’s kip.
I managed one session in my first week back; a light, body-weight session (no heavy dumbbells), and it left every muscle in my body aching for days. Did I really do this every day? Last week I managed zero sessions. Too much like hard work.
This is why I was out of shape in the first place – breaking my sedate routine feels like an insurmountable task. So I called my trainer.
Steve trains with Harry Thomas from No1 Studio Training. Visit no1studiotraining.co.uk or call the Tower Bridge studio on 020 7403 6660 or the City studio on 020 7621 1312.