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May 15, 2019
Steve, our Marketing & Communications Officer, has joined our latest fitness and weightloss course Choose To Lose, to learn more about one of our most popular classes and hopefully feel the benefits for himself.
Every week he’ll be writing about his experiences as a self-confessed ‘fat 40-something’ ventures back into the gym…
My last gym membership, which expired almost 15 years ago, was notable only for my lack of attendance. I think I set a new record for the gap between visits.
Having only occasionally played squash and badminton since then – and dragged an old exercise bike out from the corner of my bedroom whenever I got round to it – my exercise has mainly come from chasing my dog around a field every evening.
So it was with a degree of trepidation that I approached Choose To Lose – coupled with the reluctant admission that it was something I had to do.
The 10-week, 20-session course starts with a fitness test to assess your starting point – a five-minute blitz on a bike, 60-seconds of squats and press-ups, and a ‘plank’ for as long as you can last. No, I didn’t know what they all were, either, until I was shown.
For the record, I weigh 100.4kg. I managed 2.73km on the bike, 37 press-ups (with my knees down), 27 squats, and lasted 62 seconds in the plank position. These numbers will be important, as I will repeat the tests at weeks five and 10, to see how far I’ve progressed.
There is also an excellent nutrition workshop, combining advice on healthy eating and a balanced diet. Like most people, I thought I knew what this meant, but to have it explained step-by-step, portion-by-portion across each food group will be very helpful to someone who loves cheese, chocolate and chips a bit too much!
Then, on day one proper, it was a series of four 40-second circuits, each punctuated by a 20-second breather – on their own, none seem too tough, but in quick succession they were a short sharp shock to my entirely unprepared core.
My muscles were burning, yet as soon as I thought about slacking off, course leader James was there with encouragement and reassurance. My fellow ‘Losers’ are also a great source of inspiration; one circuit involves holding the plank or leg elevation positions for as long as it takes your partner to complete a certain number of press-ups or squats, and the knowledge that your colleague is in increasing discomfort is very motivating!
There is no judgment, either from your colleagues or the trainers – just an expectation that you will do slightly more than you thought you could.
Just one week in, I already know that my own goals were set far too low.