Remember that bit about crawling out of the gym on my hands and knees? Well it happened yesterday. I’d been over at IgnitePT on Thursday doing squats, walking lunges, overhead presses, bent-over barbell rows and stiff-legged deadlifts so my legs were feeling about and strong and powerful as two bags of sand. Roll onto Friday and Gavin asks me where I’m aching most as per usual. “My legs mainly,” I say, “my upper body feels alright at the moment.” I say this assuming the reply will be something sensible like “Ok well let’s do some upper body work today,” but instead he says, “Alright then, five minutes on the bike and then join me upstairs.” I know what this means immediately and secretly roll my eyes as soon as his back is turned. There are no weights upstairs you see, only kettlebells, swinging hoops, treadmills and other objects of torture that only barely missed getting delivered to the London Dungeon by mistake on account of the pretty colours in which they are painted. “Look at me,” they scream, “I’m bright blue and red so I must be fun!” but they don’t fool me, oh no. I take one look at the assault course he’s laid out for me and briefly consider turning around, running down the stairs and munching through a box of twelve Krispy Kreme doughnuts while sobbing and mumbling that I knew I wouldn’t be able to cut it. Only for a second though. Instead, I bravely march forth.
For the next 40 minutes I was sprint-pushing a heavy sled back and forth across the length of the gym, jumping on and off a box as high as my thigh, squatting and pressing kettlebells above my head, doing press-ups and deadlifts on a heavier set of kettlebells, lifting a heavy bag above my head and putting it down again and finally, holding the plank position for as long as I could before my whole body finally filled up with lactic acid and I shuddered to the floor in pools of my own sweat. I did this four times and then I ate a kebab in protest.
Despite this, I can already see a difference. Only three weeks in and my waistline is noticeably trimmer. I have more energy in the afternoons and the diet really isn’t that bad at all; I’m even, dare I say, actually quite enjoying it. Cutting out rice, potatoes, bread and pasta means that I never, ever get that stuffed-to-the-brim I’m-going-to-sleep feeling that I often get after a curry loaded with rice or a foot-long Subway sandwich at lunch. I have 4 eggs for breakfast, a tin of tuna for a mid-morning snack, left-overs from last night for lunch, protein shake and some cashew nuts for an afternoon snack and meat and vegetables for dinner. Not only am I saving obscene amounts of money on lunches during the week but I’m getting back into cooking varied and healthy meals – something I used to love but stopped doing when I was living in Japan on account of the weather being so hot you could barely move; I would have rather stuck pins in my eyes than turn on a hot stove and start chopping vegetables. That and having a ramen shop on every street corner meant that I very rarely cooked indoors at all, a habit that unfortunately carried on after I was back in sunny old England.
Today my legs are screaming in pain but incredibly, I’m looking forward to my next session on Tuesday. When people say they’re addicted to the gym they’re lying. No-one actually likes the pain and monotony of pushing heavy weights around (with some exceptions obviously) but you definitely get addicted to the changes in yourself. As soon as you start to see the fruits of your labour you want more, and you stick to the diet with even greater vigour, and put more effort into each workout knowing that the more you put in, the more you stand to gain.