Our City Fit challengers get off to a flying start

City A.M. has teamed up with Danio, the high protein yogurt of substance from Danone, to launch the City Fit Challenge. We have selected three men to undertake a four week programme of exercise, combined with the 5:2 diet, to see who can meet their personal fitness goals. Nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker has devised meal plans for the three challengers to help them manage their calorie intake. Meanwhile personal trainer Christian Finn has worked out a personalised exercise regime to make sure the pounds drop off and they feel fit and healthy. City A.M. Life&Style editor Steve Dinneen finds out how they’re getting on so far:

Challenger one: Neil Somauroo, business owner
Age: 33
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 20 stone 7
Waist size (widest point): 51”
BMI: 34.4

Neil stopped smoking around 18 months ago and has “piled on” weight since. He travels a lot for work which makes it hard to get to the gym and eat healthy meals.

Neil’s diary:
I cancelled a trip abroad in light of the challenge and spent my time exercising instead. In the past week I squeezed in 16 miles of biking and jogging. I’ve managed the dieting well, eating things like soft-boiled eggs with asparagus spears, inspired by a recipe in Sarah’s book. The food suggestions are great, so I’m feeling optimistic.

Sarah’s analysis:
Neil is highly motivated and focused on achieving the targets. I think he thrives off the competitive element of the challenge. The fasting days haven’t caused him much trouble, so we discussed how to manage his portions on his non-fasting days. I’ve also banned him from snacking on foods that don’t have much nutritional value.

Christian’s analysis:
Of all three contestants, Neil will find this challenge the easiest – he’s naturally a big guy, but I think we’ll see him losing weight and getting healthier. I’ve got him doing strength training at the gym twice a week for 40 minutes, including lots of free weights to give him a full body workout. So far he seems to be coping well.

Challenger two: Jeremy Slattery, sales director, City A.M.
Age: 47
Height: 6’
Weight: 17 stone 6
Waist size (widest point): 40”
BMI: 33.49

Jeremy is sales director of City A.M. The job involves regular lunches with clients and media agencies. Otherwise, he enjoys healthy foods and an active lifestyle.

Jeremy’s diary:
At the end of my first week, I’ve not found the hunger on my two fasting days too difficult to handle as I’m a big guy with a slow metabolism. It’s the other five days when I’m out with clients for lunch that are challenging as I tend to go overboard on carbs. Fitness wise, I’ve been working out using weights almost every day.

Sarah’s analysis:
Jeremy’s challenge is really work-related – he entertains clients a lot so these tend to be the times he’s stocking up on calories. He’s going to plan his fasting days around client lunches and I’ve suggested he switch from starchy carbs to vegetables on non-fasting days and curb the glasses of wine, which can be a big hit to successful dieting.

Christian’s analysis:
Jeremy is a former rugby player so he’s got a solid core even though he’s gained a bit of weight. He’s hit the gym three times this week and he’s very motivated. It will come easily to him as he has that grounding in sports so once he gets into the routine I think the exercise element of the training should arrive naturally.

Challenger three: Ryan Orton, IT recruitment manager
Age: 38
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 13 stone 7
Waist size (widest point): 39.2”
BMI: 29.9

A knee injury stopped Ryan playing football, and he has since gained weight. His long hours in the office give him little time to prepare freshly cooked food at home.

Ryan’s diary:
I’ve been thinking of lots of ways to fit in extra exercise. My goal is to get back to match fitness so I can play more football and this week I managed to play a full match without any problems. I’m coping pretty well with the food aspect, too – even on my non-fasting days I’m eating less than usual. I’ve already managed to lose five pounds, which is great.

Sarah’s analysis:
Ryan has been doing particularly well. He is very motivated and he seems to know what he’s doing. Ryan has tried fasting in the past because his weight fluctuates a lot but he says this challenge has given him a reason to really go for it. He’s been eating a lot of protein-based foods and salads so he’s managing not to feel too hungy.

Christian’s analysis:
Ryan was worried about a knee injury he has sustained so I’ve been getting him to focus on low-impact exercises at the gym so he can burn calories without putting pressure on it. This will help him to get out on the football pitch at the weekend. He can usually only manage 70 minutes, but this week was on the field for a full 90 minutes.