Get Fit Diary: Balancing newfound fitness with Christmas indulgence

@AlexDymoke

WHEN I tell people I’m doing a 12-week Get Fit challenge, everyone always asks the same thing, “What about when it finishes? Are you going to carry it on?”

Short term at least, the answer is simple: no. Christmas is around the corner, and if you think I’m going to spend the party season sipping green tea and slogging it out on the rowing machine, you’ve overestimated my newfound commitment to fitness (I was a committed and discerning judge in the above mince pie taste test). Christmas is the only time of year we get to overindulge and I don’t intend to be the only one knocking back sparkling water.

Longer term, though, I do hope to continue. Maybe not with the same intensity, but I’m a stone lighter now and it would be depressing if all gym work and diet control ended up being for nothing. I’m pretty confident it wont be; I’ve realised that before the challenge, a large part of my lack of fitness was down to a lack of knowledge.

In the past, the few times I gathered reserves of will-power and attempted to do something about my expanding midriff were short-lived because of the sneaking suspicion that whatever I was doing – a short run around the common, 30 press ups before bed – wasn’t actually going to make any difference. I would counteract periods of excess with token bursts of exercise that were more about salving my conscience than taking pragmatic steps to address my total lack of fitness.

Working with a personal trainer helped me understand how to train effectively. I now know precisely what is and isn’t helpful. One of the half-formed ideas I had before I started was that long bouts of monotonous cardio are your best bet if you want to lose weight, a misconception I am delighted to have corrected.

The gym I’ve been training in, No 1 Fitness on St Mary Axe, specialises in body transformation and the only cardio equipment they have is a couple of rowing machines, which are used for short bursts of intense interval training rather than marathon endurance tests. The rest of the space is devoted to weight training of one sort or another. The best way of burning fat, my trainer tells me, is to incorporate weights into exercises involving the largest muscle groups because “you’ll never see great results on your top half if you don’t work on the legs.”

Revelations like these are invaluable because knowing that your training is working, as well as working you hard, is essential to staying motivated.

Visit no1studiotraining.co.uk or call Tower Bridge studio on 0207 403 6660 or City studio on 0207 621 1312.