As we enter week two, our challengers are trying to fit regular gym visits and salad-making into their busy lives
City A.M.’s City Fit Challenge – in partnership with Danio, Danone’s high protein yogurt of substance – has entered its second week and our contenders have been trying to stick to their health regimes while carrying on with their busy working lives.
The competition pits three City workers against one another on the 5:2 diet, with help from nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker and fitness expert Christian Finn.
Life&Style editor Steve Dinneen caught up with the trio and their trainers. This week, Neil has been travelling up and down the country for work, Ryan has taken on another game of football and Jeremy tried to resist temptation at the City A.M. Awards.
Challenger one: Neil Somauroo, business owner
Weight: 20 stone 7
Waist size (widest point): 51”
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.
I’ve been travelling a lot more this week on business, so it’s been much harder to get to the gym, but I’ve been sticking to Christian’s regime as best I can. I've also planned my meals for the day ahead, by preparing salads the night before. Since, I don’t feel as lethargic or tired and I’ve got a lot more energy during busy periods.
Neil’s really pleased with his progress. He doesn’t feel as heavy and it proves that there are other health benefits to the diet besides losing weight. He has been travelling a lot, but that’s where the 5:2 diet works well because he can choose his fasting days really carefully. He just needs to continue to plan his meals in advance.
Neil’s feeling a lot more energetic since he started the challenge. Although work has been busy this week, Neil has still made the time to exercise regularly by planning his fitness regime around his work life. He’s made the decision not to weigh himself until the end of the challenge though, so he doesn’t become a slave to the scales.
Challenger two: Jeremy Slattery, sales director, City A.M.
Weight: 17 stone 6
Waist size (widest point): 40”
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.
I ran 5k on the treadmill on Monday and lifted kettlebells for 45mins on Tuesday. The high intensity weight lifting means I’m building muscle rather than losing weight. I went to the City A.M. Awards on Wednesday night and my dinner jacket definitely felt a lot looser – but then it felt tighter again by the end of the night.
Jeremy told me he had a few drinks last week, but the good thing about the 5:2 is that you can counteract overindulging and breaking your diet by making up for it on your fasting days. This way, you can still enjoy everyday life. As it happens, Jeremy ate normally the day after the awards, but fasted on Friday, which is great.
Jeremy is training hard in the gym 3-4 times a week. He's including a couple
of resistance training workouts, which is important as that's going to help him preserve muscle mass while he drops fat. He also trains with kettlebells weekly, which is a highly effective way to burn off calories in a short amount
Challenger three: Ryan Orton, IT recruitment manager
Weight: 13 stone 7
Waist size (widest point): 39.2”
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.
Over the past week I've continued to lose weight, coming in around 13 stone. I’ve increased the amount of football I’ve been playing, adding a five-a-side on a Wednesday to my Sunday 11-a-side. The balance of eating well and exercising has given me lots more energy and I’m finding it easier every day to pick healthy food choices.
Ryan sounds like he’s really focusing on his exercise and it's great that he's enjoying choosing healthy food choices. Although he's trying out high protein recipes from my book, I've reminded him he needs to keep his diet balanced on non-fasting days. If he doesn't eat more fat on these days, Ryan may find he's just on another failed diet.
Ryan has lost six pounds already, so he’s making really good progress but he would like to have lost more. The reality is, the rate at which you lose fat depends on how much you have to lose in the first place. So the fatter you are, the faster you lose it. It also means that as Ryan gets leaner, he can expect his rate of fat loss to gradually slow down.