Get fit in 8 weeks

Switching it up

Words: Tom Cunningham 
Photo left: Taz Darling

Think getting the body of a god takes too much time and effort? In this weekly blog, our man is out to prove that a couple of months of hard graft can be revolutionary. It’s the penultimate week of Tom’s regime, and with his back causing him problems he needs to mix things up to push harder! 

I’m Tom, I’m 29 and in terms of lifestyle I’m what I consider a fairly average guy – I spend a lot of time sitting down in front of a computer in an office, don’t make it to the gym much (twice in the last six months!), enjoy a drink and give in to the temptation of a takeaway a couple of times a week. Like everyone I’ve tried making a decision to eat healthily and do more exercise many times before, but Friday night comes calling and I’m back to square one. For my willpower to stand the test of time I need to see real results, fast. Is it possible to seriously change your physique in a couple of months? London-based transformation specialists Embody Fitness say it is, so I’ve decided to put it to the test. This is the story of my quest to become fit, healthy and, most importantly, buff as hell in just eight weeks*. 

*In week 7, Tom found out the news that Embody Fitness were recommending he put in two extra weeks of hard work, and of course, he accepted the challenge. 

Week 9 – Switching it up  

Get fit in 8 weeks

Done right, the path to fitness can make you feel awake, alive and stronger than you’ve ever felt. Done wrong, it can make you feel like you’ve aged four decades in a week. After I managed to hurt my back last week when I lost form during a deadlift, I’ve definitely been feeling the ache.

Tim, my trainer, has taken a look, as has Embody’s in-house physio Sophie, and both agree it’s a muscular injury rather than anything spinal. So there’s no need to lie on the sofa – in fact, inactivity just makes my back stiffer.

Instead Tim devises a new workout regime for me that avoids putting any strain on the affected area (no more deadlifts, leg presses or – and this is music to my ears – walking lunges) but that doesn’t mean I’m in for an easy ride.

Tim has substitutes ready and waiting, to ensure I keep progressing and don’t lose any of the muscle I’ve worked to gain so far. First, I use a seriously hardcore foam roller to help break up the knot in my lower back. Then Tim gets me rolling on a hockey ball, which is an even more specific way to loosen the muscle. 

“Before this process there’s no way I’d have motivated myself to go to the gym when I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent”

Get on up

Knowing how to work around minor aches, pains and muscular strains is key to ensuring you not only maintain a good level of fitness, but build strength up to avoid them in the future. Firstly, visit a physio to understand exactly what your issue is, and how you can help alleviate it without aggravating it. When a muscular knot builds up like the one in my lower back, for example, a hockey ball is an invaluable – if ruthless – companion. As much as it may hurt, applying pressure to knotted or tense muscle will really help to release it in time. 

Then there are split squats – a fresh hell to replace the walking lunges, and hamstring curls instead of the leg press, among several other more familiar exercises I get through in the hour-long session.

Tim watches my form like a hawk throughout, and constantly checks in with me about how my back’s feeling to make sure it’s all manageable. Though a session at Embody is never a walk in the park, I actually leave feeling much better than I did when I went in. Result.

Before this process there’s no way I’d have motivated myself to go to the gym when I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent. But, like I say, when it’s done right, working out can be the secret to feeling better than you’ve felt before. But I’m definitely going to lie on my sofa now. I’ve earned it. 

Proof is in the pudding

Embody Fitness aim to deliver outstanding results whilst providing a client experience that is as professional and enjoyable as possible, and they have many success stories to prove it. Find out more on their website: embodyfitness.co.uk

Before and After: Adam is one of Embody’s many success stories

© Embody Fitness 

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