Steve is undertaking a 10 week “total body transformation” programme with No.1 Fitness, which involves four sessions a week at the gym, 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:
The last fortnight has been tough. I’m six weeks through the program – or is it five, or seven, I’ve lost count – and it feels both very old and like there is still an awfully long way to go. It’s lost the original excitement but hasn’t yet reached the home straight. The pattern has gone something like this:
The first couple of weeks felt like I was waking up parts of my body that had lain dormant since the days I used to climb trees as a kid, or play football for 12 hours at weekends. Even the pain was pleasant in a masochistic sort of way – it felt like progress.
The second two weeks my body started to catch up; I looked slimmer and healthier. The weights I could lift and the number of reps I could manage increased exponentially. I started to adapt to the routine of earlier mornings, regular intense exercise and a protein-heavy diet.
But the last two weeks represented something of a backlash. My body started to rebel against the routine – getting up in the morning became harder, and motivating myself for the punishing sessions has been increasingly difficult. While I’m still improving in terms of fitness and recovery time, the physical improvements – after all, this is essentially a vanity project – have been more subtle; marginally higher traps, slightly more defined abs. My nadir came last Wednesday when I came close to walking out of a session. I was working on my legs – lots of lunges and squats – which, as any regular gym goer will attest, is the most exhausting muscle group. If I’d been with my regular trainer, I might have actually left. As it was, I did the typically British thing of grinding through the pain and discomfort out of a fear of embarrassment in front of a stranger. At the weekend I had the closest to a big blow-out as I’ve had since I started the regime. I managed to stick to the no-alcohol rule, but I didn’t get much sleep, and didn’t eat nearly enough the following day.
Then last Friday I got a much needed boost: my chest – the area I’m keenest to improve over the 10 weeks – was noticeably bigger. This probably has something to do with introducing creatine into my diet, a supplement that increases water-retention in your muscles, therefore making you look bigger. But seeing a tangible return for a fortnight of hard work was more than welcome.
Visit no1studiotraining.co.uk or call Tower Bridge studio on 020 7403 6660 or City studio on 020 7621 1312.