Week 2: Stronger Fitter Leaner project
Week 2 of the Stronger Fitter Leaner project has gone well. This 4 week paleo, pilates and strength training program is all about fitting in a workout routine around a busy work schedule. Dan M is a radio producer who works hectic hours, has a busy social life and wants to get fit - here's how he's got on in his second week:
You’ve been at it for two weeks now Dan, are you starting to adapt to the routine?
I think the main thing about any lifestyle change is the normality of it. It's starting to feel normal to walk into the supermarket and just pick up a packet of blueberries and a big bottle of water.
My body and mind are now fairly conditioned to take the odd punishing session throughout the week. Aside from one day at the start of this week, where Patrick really pushed my lower body and I was left almost numb for a day or two, it's getting easier all the time.
How does it fit into your social life?
I've actually taken friends to the gym which has been nice. They're all trying to learn techniques off of me as if I'm some sort of specifically qualified personal trainer now - I'm clearly not! I suppose it has been tough to fit it all in, but with the support from everyone involved, it's been fine.
I suppose whenever I go and socialise in the evenings, the fact that I'm not drinking and eating my own meals has been a really obvious talking point, on one hand it's nice being the centre of attention, and on the other it's getting a bit repetitive explaining what I'm doing. I suppose it must be like that for anyone following a fairly strict plan like this. Usually I'd be going out and seeing gigs and meeting up with mates in the pub after work I'm not doing that at the moment, but you can't have everything!
Has anything been affected by your adherence to the plan?
Aside from that social activity, I wake up nice and early with a clear head and I'm getting way more done in the day. Whether that's just no booze or a combination of all these health factors I can't be sure! I make time to have a bath every day to help my muscle recovery, whereas normally I would just have a shower.
What are the trainers saying:
Pat F: "I have been thoroughly impressed with Dan's adherence to the Challenge. He has so many new habits to form and old ones to break. I have been most impressed by Dan's improvement in technique of exercises and work ethic during our sessions. It is very clear to me that Dan has been following my program in his own time, and that he is benefiting from Bootcamp Pilates. From my experience, it does not always matter how well a program is put together, it is the effort and mental application applied. I have seen guys get amazing results from poorly designed programs, and others get poor results on a perfectly put together program. It’s all attitude! Dan has the right one!"
Have you noticed any significant gains in strength or flexibility from weight training and pilates?
Yes! I think I've always had a tendency to be better at the strength side of things rather than flexibility, but recently I've been able to touch my toes without bending my knees! That’s a huge achievement for me.
I think because they lead quite quickly to visible results, my favourite moves have to be the arnold press and bench press. You can see the muscle working, so it's a great incentive to keep going. Barbell Squats have been a revelation, I'm surprised how they work your core along with lunges. Planks are the worst. Pilates is just an incredible all-over-the-body workout. The Reformer is such a versatile machine, they are constantly switching it up so you can't get used to it. The stretching at the beginning and end of a session is amazingly relaxing too!
What are his trainers saying:
Korin: Having seen Dan at his first Bootcamp Pilates class and then not again until his 9th ( he's road tested all the other trainers in between!) I can safely say that I can see a difference.
Dan is already beginning to gain in core strength, as he is able to hold positions such as 'the plank' for longer and he doesn't tire quite so quickly in other exercises either. His overall technique and alignment has improved and it's visible to see, that all that constant reminding from us trainers about posture, pulling in our navel to spine and breathing correctly, hasn't gone in one ear and out the other!
I can see that Dan is particularly starting to show muscle definition in his chest and upper body - man boobs are quickly becoming a thing of the past! And although he's still got some way to go till we see a 'sixpack' his tummy is definitely shrinking!"
Any physical changes you can see in the mirror yet?
I've definitely slimmed down in the face and waist which is nice. Starting to see definition, largely from strength training, which is awesome. Hopefully having starved the belly of beer we'll start to see more progress there next week with all the abdominal work I've been doing in Pilates!
Check out the specific Fat loss muscle building workout created by Pat F for Dan
How have you been coping with the diet, is it any easier than week 1 or is it more difficult?
Way easier. As Niall suggested, in Week 1, it was really tough giving up a lot of foods like crisps or chocolate or cereal, regardless of how nice the food is. Now, I don't really crave those things as much, although I do miss a milky coffee.
Having to skip my mum's roast dinner on Sunday was tough but managed to resist!
EvolvePrimal's Lamb Korma I can't recommend enough. It feels like you're totally cheating but apparently, it's really good for you when prepared paleo! Also the paleo sausages are awesome, and I don't normally like sausages.
I am definitely going to take on board some of the ideas, like pumpkin noodles instead of normal noodles, ingenious! And I never would have used chopped carrots as a base for any kind of meal, but there's a surprising amount of flavour in there.
What has been the most difficult aspect of the Challenge so far?
I think muscle recovery and time constraints. I'm taking vitamin supplements (Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin D3) to help with muscle fatigue but it's pretty intimidating going to a brutal Pilates class a day after you've exhausted your upper body in the gym! Inevitably, my job takes up a lot of my time, so I have to be really careful and proactive organising my regime around my funny long hours. Turns out late night gym sessions are pretty fun and relaxing though - you wouldn't believe how many people are working out at 11pm on a Sunday night.
Are you ever tempted to quit or cheat?
Never tempted to quit, definitely been tempted to cheat. I've told way too many people about this though, and there are quite a few people relying on me succeeding with all the work they've put in, so I'm being a faithful subject! Everyone's saying I should have a blowout drinking and eating session when I finish, but I genuinely don't want to!
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