10-week fitness challenge | The get-fit diary of an out of shape office worker

 
Steve Dinneen
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The end is in sight - I have four weeks to go in my fitness challenge (with a week added on to mitigate for missed sessions). Knowing it will soon be over is great for refocusing your mind - the last fortnight has been a slog but having had a few days off I feel fresher than I have in weeks. However, today I'm not going to look forwards, I'm going to take a look back at what I've learned so far.


OUR DIETS LEAVE MUCH TO BE DESIRED
It's amazing how quickly your body adjusts to better food. Two weeks without carbs and another month with very limited carbs, not to mention cutting out sugary drinks and desserts, changes your body faster than you'd imagine. When the challenge is over, I don't plan on shirking apple pie for the rest of my life, but I will stop eating two portions of pasta a day.


YOU DON'T NEED CARDIO TO BURN FAT
One of the most surprising things about my fitness regime is how little cardio I do: virtually none. Before I started I thought cardio - treadmill, cycling machine etc - was vital to overall fitness, and this put me off going to the gym because I loathe running.


To get my heartrate up I sometimes start a session with a sprint on the rowing machine but that lasts for around two minutes. Then it's onto free weights and body-weight exercises. Working certain muscle groups gets your heart pumping anyway - leg sessions tend to have you sweating like you've run a 10K - but everything I do has building muscle at its heart. And despite the lack of cardio, my body-fat ratio has plummeted. I won't know my how much until the programme is finished but you can see the difference.

HAVING A TRAINER IS CRUCIAL
I've never been particularly fit and a big reason for that is a lack of motivation. I don't excel at any particular sport and therefore exercise has always seemed like a bit of a bind. Having a man standing there telling you not to stop doing that really, really painful thing you're doing is crucial for people like me. Without a trainer I'd have given the whole thing up.

SO IS HAVING A TRAINER YOU LIKE
I'm going to the gym four times a week for 10 weeks - that's 40 hours. I have close friends with whom I don't spend that much time in a year, let alone 10 weeks. My trainer Harry Thomas, one of the owners of No.1 Fitness, strikes the right balance between being matey - talking down Man United and trying to get me to buy into his conspiracy theories - and being tough enough to keep me lifting weights even when it feels like my legs are on fire. If you're looking for a trainer, especially if you're undergoing an intensive course like mine, bear in mind how much time you're going to have to spend with the person. If you don't get on, keeping motivated is going to be all the harder. You'll end up missing sessions, and it's you that will suffer for it in the end.

A BEER IS GOING TO TASTE SERIOUSLY GOOD
Really, you can't even imagine.

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

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