I never thought I’d say this, but I’m going to miss going to the gym every morning. I’m going to miss being shouted at to lift really heavy stuff until I’m perspiring and weak and bad tempered. I’m even going to miss not being able to go to the pub, or eat dessert; or at least having a tightly defined period of time in which I have to eat really healthily. I’m already slightly amazed I used to survive on twice-daily bowls of pasta, supplemented by sandwiches and chocolate bars.
Getting fit is something of a revelation. You start to notice how much your friends and family complain about how much they drink and how they don’t do enough exercise – I used to do it all the time. Complaining about not going to the gym is far easier than going to the gym. Moping about having a hangover seems like a good trade-off for having enjoyed a night at the pub.
So basically, I’m turning into a complete bore. And it’s rubbing off on people – friends who have never set foot in a gym have started booking sessions with personal trainers of their own.
My original goal was to look better naked, and, egotistical as it sounds, it’s working. After slow progress during weeks four through seven I’ve started to bulk up, especially across my chest, an area that has doggedly refused to grow any muscle in the past. One of the benefits of an intensive programme like this is that you see results quickly – I’m not eking out incremental changes over the course of a year; week on week I look different (I have photographs taken every Thursday to prove it). At the start of the 10 weeks, I was the weediest bloke in the changing room – the one that made all the other guys feel like all those hours in the gym had been worth it. Now, after almost 30 hours with my trainer Harry, there are other poor saps just starting out who make me feel better about all the sacrifices.
It’s also having a beneficial effect on the one form of exercise I undertook before this programme: climbing. A couple of years ago I really got into it, going a few times a week, but I hit a plateau. I’ve started going again and I can already feel the difference. Before I’d have to take breaks every half hour – now I can now climb straight through a 90-minute session. My technique is still sadly lacking but with a bit of dedication I think I can make some real progress.
With this in mind I’m confident I’ll maintain the exercise after the 10 weeks are up. I won’t be getting up four times a week but if a year from now I’m not visiting the gym twice a week I give Harry permission to slap me across the face.
If I can keep up the exercise, the dietary aspect should be fairly easy. That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to relaxing in the sun with a beer or five, but I plan on choosing my battles – Friday OR Saturday rather than Friday AND Saturday. And fewer “accidental” nights out, where you plan on having a quick beer on the way home from work and wake up in Devon three days later wearing nothing but a party hat. Because nobody wants to see that, especially me.
Visit no1studiotraining.co.uk or call Tower Bridge studio on 020 7403 6660 or City studio on 020 7621 1312