THE TRAINING: 2 hours of weights and 3x45 mins of reformer pilates
THE MINDSET: You know that motivational tip that says put your fitkit on first thing in the morning, so you can’t help but workout? I’ve got to the point where I’ve got no choice. The only things in my wardrobe that fit have a generous degree of Lycra or belong to my husband.
What’s so frustrating about this state of affairs is that when I’d finished breast-feeding the now six-year-old Bibi, I’d lost all my baby weight and then some. Having been a steady size 14 for most of my adult life, running and carb-cutting had got me down to a 10. I wore shorts, had a spray tan without apologizing for my too-big body, eyed all fashion able to decide whether I liked it, rather than whether it would hide my hips and trunk-like legs…
I think it was a slow return to takeaway curries (I favour paneer, I mean seriously. Cheese curry! Is it any wonder I chubbed up?), no time to exercise (the long hours and endless supply of sugary treats sent in by PRs to the staff at Grazia meant the mag has the moniker Fatzia among journos – and it was certainly true for me) and the habit of drinking most nights that did for my diet.
I am MISERABLE. My back hurts, I’ve got no energy and the way I look has given my self esteem such a shoeing, that I can’t even bear to look at myself in the mirror.
So, no pressure Jon, but my happiness and my health are in your hands…
THE SESSIONS: Jon is a believer in HIIT (high intensity interval training) which means that warm-ups are fast and hard. He had me competing against myself on the rowing machine with five bursts of 250 metre sprints. The last one has to be balls out, as Jon describes it, and why it works is you’re so focused on nailing your previous time, you forget how much you’re grunting and panting to get it done.
For the rest of both sessions, he takes me painstakingly through the set-up for major moves, like squats, lunges and chest presses. Almost everyone squats incorrectly meaning your, ahem, ass, never gets the workout it needs. My and the J-man have made a video, see below, so follow it if you want to polish your squat to perfection.
Lunges and the chest press get just as much attention, but finally at the end of the second session the penny drops that if I want to start lifting heavier weights, my technique has to be absolutely on point, or I’m going to get injured (and then even fatter which cannot happen!).
To finish this week, I registered on the Virgin Active Boditrax machine, which analyses your body composition in glorious detail. While some information I know only too well - most of my fat is carried on my legs (like, chur), my visceral fat (y’know, around your organs) is on the low side and my metabolic age (some complicated metric that measures BMI, fat mass, muscle mass and I dunno, how well you applied your mascara) was 39, three years younger than I actually am! I’ll take it. Now, while I appreciate if you don’t have access to this piece of gym techno-whizzbangery, none of this is terribly useful, but I will offer you this. I was so upset with myself and how much weight I’d put on, I’d avoided the scales, the mirror and facing up to my reality for months. But things weren’t quite as bad as I thought. And while I’m heavier than ever, I’m not 100% blob as I’d suspected. And even if I was, burying my head in the sand about it wasn’t helping. So, get measured would be my advice. And keep measuring. Because good or bad at least you are handling the truth (insert your own creepy Tom Cruise reference here).