10-Week fitness challenge the get-fit diary of an out of shape office worker

Steve Dinneen
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Steve is undertaking a 10 week “total body transformation” programme with No.1 Fitness, which involves four sessions at the gym a week, a strictly controlled diet and absolutely no alcohol under any circumstances whatsoever (not even a little bit, just to take the edge off...). Here’s how it’s going:

BEFORE I started I thought giving up booze would save me a fortune – imagine waking up on Saturday and Sunday mornings and not having to mentally tot up how many times you visited the cash point the night before, or wondering if you really spent £70 on a bottle of champagne/round of tequila shots.

But it’s had the opposite effect on my wallet. For every £1 saved on beer I’m spending an extra £4 on food. I knew that that getting fit was 80 per cent diet and 20 per cent exercise, but putting that into practice really shows how much junk I was putting away.

The first two weeks I was on a strict no sugar, no carbs diet, which means loads of fish, seafood, white meats, a bit of red meat, avocado and other things that cost a lot of money in the supermarket. The stodge you usually fill up on – the potato and bread and pasta – was all banned, so I had to eat far more of the other stuff to satiate my appetite. And when you’re working out four times a week, you have the appetite of a lion.

Although the total amount of food I’m eating has gone up, I’m already noticing changes in my body. Before week one, despite being naturally pretty lean, I had a burgeoning paunch and a fine set of miniature love handles. Within days my stomach and face were looking thinner and after two weeks you could see abs taking shape. My trainer Harry reckons this is most likely down to a mild gluten intolerance, which most people have and live with without great detriment, apart from some swelling around the abdomen, which isn’t a great look.

Reintroducing some carbs (sweet potatoes, parsnips, quinoa) and certain sugars (coconut and sour berries like raspberries) after the second week made things much easier. Suddenly everything tastes great. When you haven’t eaten any sugar for a couple of weeks, sweet potatoes are mana from heaven.

It’s still costing me a fortune, mind. After one particularly brutal session I sat and ate three slabs of smoked salmon, just as a pre-lunch snack. Do you know how much a slab of smoked salmon costs these days? You don’t get much change out of a fiver...

Cutting out booze is proving easier than I’d thought, given it was an integral part of my social life. Abstinence, it seems, is far easier than moderation.

As far as the exercise goes, it’s hard work, but squeezing in a session before work most mornings puts a different spin on your whole day. The first week was hell – constant pain in every major muscle group, trouble walking, dressing, sitting, standing etcetera, etcetera – but that passed. Now I feel far more alert; I actually miss working out on my day off. I even went for a run at the weekend. And this is coming from someone who loathed the gym and the type of people who hang out there.

It’s not all cause for celebration: I’m still not very strong. Lifting the bar-bell is embarrassing, and there are people there at least twice my age who are far, far fitter than I am. Still lots of room for improvement.

Visit no1studiotraining.co.uk or call Tower Bridge studio on 020 7403 6660 or City studio on 020 7621 1312.

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