Tough BreakThink 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. Holidays and strict fitness regimes do not usually go hand in hand, so how did our man in the field cope in week 3?
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.
Week 3 – On Holiday…kind of
If there’s one thing harder than revolutionising your diet and embarking on a tough new training regime, it’s doing it while on a week’s holiday with your girlfriend and her family. In Cornwall, home of clotted cream, fudge, cream teas, pasties and great cider. I’m going to need to find a hefty amount of strength to resist all that.
Chris at Embody Fitness says a holiday is a good chance to test yourself away from the gym, and to find new ways to stay on track. But for me, holidays have always been joyful times of shameless gluttony. Will three weeks of healthy living prove enough to erase that?
At home I’ve emptied the fridge of anything that isn’t on The List of allowed foods. But my girlfriend’s family enjoy a drink and can turn out delicious dinners too, meaning the fridge is now a treasure trove of sins. Lesson one: avoid being alone in the kitchen.
After a long drive from London (minus my usual road trip treat of a McDonalds), the first thing I notice as I walk into the living room is a bar of chocolate left casually on the mantelpiece. Why is there chocolate on the mantelpiece? It seems it’s going to be harder than I thought to avoid potential downfall. I turn my back on the Dairy Milk with difficulty and head out to collect the rest of our things from the car.
We stopped en route to purchase a set of weights from Argos, which collectively weigh enough to now make speed bumps impossible to take in my Skoda, a factor that made for an interesting last leg of the journey. Now getting them into the house proves to be a workout in itself. It’s a good incentive to make lugging them up here worth it.
Workout number one takes place in the morning on the large balcony in glorious sunshine and feels tougher than it does at Embody’s gym. The value of having a personal trainer is proved to me once again. At the gym I’ve learned to go into robot mode, doing what I’m told without question. But here that little voice pipes up after a few reps with the dumbbells: ‘You’ve done enough, they’re too heavy.’ Keeping my future Adonis body in mind, I push through. Though it would really help if I couldn’t see my girlfriend and her sisters watching and waving at me from their sunbathing spot on the beach below.
But then something amazing happens: I realise it’s Day 15 of the diet, which is carb reefed day! The theory is that my low carb diet will have made my body more sensitive to the uptake of glucose, meaning carbs I eat today should go to my muscle cells to be used as energy rather than to my fat cells, fuelling me for a week of hard workouts. I’m allowed a handful of either sweet potato, brown rice or quinoa. I choose to roast some sweet potato with a nice bit of beef, and for the first (and what proves to be the only) time that week, I wouldn’t want to swap my dinner with anyone else’s.
The Science of Sleep
Turns out getting my eight hours a night was also beneficial to my quest for bodily perfection. When you don’t sleep for long enough (seven hours should be the minimum), your body releases cortisol, known as the ‘stress hormone’ designed to keep you up and functioning.
But the downside to this is that your body then stores more of your food intake in your fat cells – which makes burning fat and building muscle even harder. So quality sleep is vital. If you’re increasing physical activity and taking it easy on the alcohol, you’ll find it’s never been easier to get a decent night’s kip.
I discover having such a beautiful setting and good weather to work out in also pushes my motivation levels. I add a couple of runs and long walks to my usual three workouts during the week, and stay more than on track.
But I’m not a complete angel. By the end of the week, I’m ashamed to say I have succumbed to temptation a few times. My list of wrongs consists of: two squares of Dairy Milk, four small whiskies and four crisps. Then again I don’t think that’s too bad considering what I would usually have eaten.
Chris says that 80 per cent compliance is the minimum requirement, and I should have hit that. And the week’s been a great way to catch up on much-needed sleep – turns out it’s hard to stay up too long if everyone’s drinking wine and you can’t. That’s the ultimate answer to surviving a communal holiday while on a diet: do plenty of physical activity by day, and by night be unconscious for as long as possible.
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