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Mens Health Challenge



Sam Winkworth at Evolution Bootcamp offered what can only be described as one amazing opportunity! This opportunity was to train with him for 12 weeks and receive support and nutritional advice so as to achieve maximum results, for FREE! This was born from a campaign that Mens Health Magazine are running to find the best personal trainer in the UK. 

I am 37 years old now, have 2 young children and run my own company. I am extremely unfit preferring the pub to the gym and very rarely ordering off of the healthy menu when we go out if you know what I mean. So I emailed Sam and put my story forward in order to be considered for this opportunity. To cut a long story short I have been accepted!

So what happens now? Well at this time I think its safe to say I am full of excitement and anxiety, very nervously excited! The challenge will be running for 12 weeks from the 11th March 2012. This blog will be a diary of what I am doing, how I am feeling and what I am eating. I am under no illusions the training is going to be tough, very tough! In Sam's own words 'I'm not gonna sugar coat this!!! These guys are gonna be working their butts off in the gym to get the best transformation as humanly possible for me'.

Wish me luck, roll on March 11th!!
Friday 8th March 2013
Well D Day is approaching fast! So what I have I been up to?

Joined the gym! This was the first step to becoming fit again. It was a little daunting walking in after so many years of not training in any way shape or form but it felt reassuringly familiar once I had a look around.

Supplements. This was an area I had literally no idea about whatsoever. Sam was good enough to provide us a list of what we should be taking to increase brian health, digestive system well being and the building blocks for reducing fat and increasing muscle. I wont even start to explain about what and when should be taken, Sam wrote a very good article that you can read if interested What I will say is with my very limited knowledge is that without a healthy balanced diet, any supplement will be pretty much useless.

Photo's. I have taken photos of my starting point, the naked truth so to speak. I wont sugar coat it, I am overweight and very unfit! I hope the photos will be a good motivator but more so a great way to track my progress.

Thats all for now guys, looking forward to Monday with a certain amount of trepidation I have to admit.

Week 1
Well, the training is fully underway now, here are my thoughts for days 1-7.

We currently train 6 days a week with 2 workouts per day. A short intensive workout out in the morning before breakfast and a gym session in the afternoon. The morning workouts seem harder to motivate myself for, I think this is just a routine thing and once the body gets used to the new routine the motivation will increase. The gym workouts however I look forward to, for me personally I seem to get in the right mind set quicker when entering the gym as opposed to training at home.

Day 1- Enjoyable, it felt great to get back in the gym after many years avoiding it like the plague. Aching and a little sore but it felt good.

Day 2-5 Mixed feelings as the days went on, a bit of a roller coaster really. Some days I felt raring to go and great whilst others I felt down with little motivation. One thing that helped with the not so good days was looking at my before pictures.

Day 6- Day Off Training!! This was very welcomed and needed. Lots of water and complete rest, bliss!!

Day 7- Back to it and this is the first day it all seems to be falling into place. Not saying I am a seasoned pro in the gym but the aches and pains have subsided and I can complete the various exercises without stopping every 5 minutes. This mentally helps allot, whether it's using a lighter weight or a lower resistance, to be able to complete a set really helps build confidence in what you are doing. Now the key is to build upon this increasing weight and resistance!!

After years of eating crap, its no surprise that my body was holding on to more than a few toxins! So to combat this we are currently all detoxing are bodies. This means cutting out sugar, dairy, wheat, caffeine, gluten and alcohol. Eating lots of organic protein rich foods like meat and fish whilst ensuring lots of fresh organic vegetables are consumed. This I have learnt so far, I really enjoy rice milk and coconut oil is not only good for you but very tasty!! Do I get cravings? Sometimes but the frequency is getting less and they don't last long.

The biggest shock with the eating plan/detox so far is that you really can eat as much as you like, you are never hungry! Odd concept I know, eating as much as you like but I suppose it makes sense. A healthy balanced organic diet means you don't have to count calories or weigh out food, do people really do that by the way!?!?! Dishes this week included lamb curry, roast pork, chilli con carne, salmon, chiken stirfry and of course, healthy smoothies!! :)

Water, I never really drank water unless it was to dilute my Robinson's squash but since starting the detox we have to consume litres per day. This was the easiest lifestyle change to be honest and to think I was dreading it! Just seems natural now and I don't miss squash at all.

Results- My tummy is a little flatter, muffin tops Aka love handles are going down, legs are firmer and my double chin is now a 1 1/2 chin. With the results I have achieved so far I am feeling positive for the coming weeks.

This is only the first week of 12 and I am under no illusion, things are going to get tougher, allot tougher but sat here typing this I am looking forward to the challenges ahead. Please don't quote me on this if you see me in a puddle of sweat gasping for breath in the gym but at the moment things are good and I am feeling great. 
Where to begin? Week 2 had allot more highs than lows, my body seems to be getting used to the new routine and food intake. My body shape seems to be changing on a daily basis.

Cravings are very few and far between, I still have the occasional dream about toast :) On the food front it has surprised me how quickly not eating crap has become the norm. I was expecting this to take weeks if not months. Don't get me wrong, walking down the biscuit aisle in our local supermarket still needs will power but not nearly as much as I thought it would.

I don't feel full of energy just yet but I definitely feel healthier. I think thats down to not feeling bloated after eating junk and my sugar levels resembling a roller coaster at Alton Towers! 

The routine for week 2 has been the same as week 1, 2 workouts per day. A short burst in the morning and the gym work in the afternoon. We are given the exercises the night before to give us time to familiarise ourselves with them. What often seems like a very 'simple' exercise the night before, undoubtedly will have you begging for mercy the following day when put into practice.

The stand out meal this week would have to be the chicken and mozzarella salad. Basically basil, chicken, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and olive oil all thrown together. 




This week has been brilliant. I am starting to feel allot more energetic, sleeping like a baby (when our 7 month old allows it) and everything just seems to be falling into place.

Feeling more confident in the gym as well, definitely starting to feel allot like a second home! I can see a progression and improvement in my fitness and the weights I can lift.

Learnt allot this week about nutrition and the importance of eating the right fats along with a good balance of protein and vegetables.

The routine is definitely in place now from a food and workout perspective. I am sure in another month the thought of eating crap and not excercising will seem like a distant memory. 

The format for week 3 was the same as the previous 2. Two workouts, AM and PM but the intensity this week definitely stepped up a notch. Just as I seem to get into a comfort zone, good ol' Mr Winkworth turns the dial up a notch or two!

Amazing news as well, next week (week 4) is a rest week!!! I feel like the first mini challenge has been met and overcome. 

Great news on the measurements front as well, below are my week 0 and week 3 stats. Hips are 4cm down and my belly has lost 9cm!!

Week 0
Arms: 35
Shoulders: 125
Legs: 56
Hips: 100
Naval: 106
Chest: 109
Neck: 42

Week 1
Arms: 36
Shoulders: 126
Legs: 56
Hips: 96
Naval: 97
Chest: 110
Neck: 42

This weeks article (which I think I will be reading allot in month 2)

Now for a weeks well earnt rest!!

Gentle exercise letting our bodies get ready for the mayhem that will be month 2!!!
Ill be doing my updates every two weeks now to prevent it becoming repetitive :)

Week One Month 2
Last week was our rest week which sounds great and don't get me wrong it was but I actually started to miss the gym! Thats something I didn't think I would be typing when we started this programme 4 weeks ago!

Weight- Although I am not interested in weight, more shape. I weighed myself at the end of month 1. I don't know my weight at the start of this programme but a few months ago I was just over 14 1/2 stone, this would of only gone up between that point and the start of the workouts. Down to 12 1/2 stone now! So 2 stone lost with 5 weeks on the nutrition plan and 3 weeks in the gym, was a little shocked to say the least.

The first month was really about weight loss and loosening/stretching ligaments that hadn't been used in some! Month 2 is all about building muscle. So gone are the 2 workouts a day and in their place, one body building type workout. Don't get me wrong, 2 workouts to one sounds great but believe me they are tough, some days very tough.

All in all feeling better than ever, next to no cravings for sugar. The first day back after the break was like hell on earth but the rest of this week has been allot better.

Foods I have found this week include protein cookies, taste amazing and are actually good for you! 

Week 2 Month 2
Lots of gym workout, still one workout per day. I m definitely starting to see and fell a difference in body. My work rate is increasing along with the weights I am using.
I am also having sports massages once every 2 weeks to try and reduce to the risk of injury. Steve is a top guy and highly recommended

Feeling on top of the world, eating as much as I want and sleeping like a baby!

Food- Love chicken and rice noodle soup!

Couldn't resist taking a few photos to compare myself to when I started this journey and here they are. This is 6 weeks in and of those 4 1/2 weeks in the gym.

I am absolutely mad up with the progress so far and the photos have given me another boost to keep going with even more enthusiasm!

Stay tuned for my next diary entry.



Only 5 1/2 weeks in, 6 1/2 weeks left nearly halfway!!!




Week 3 and Week 4 Month 2

What a couple of weeks! Training once a day still with lots of weight training. The body transformation is definitely moving on the right track.

GVT had never been in my vocabulary prior to starting this journey and I am not sure it's a good thing I now know what it is through doing it, what GVT is! :) Basically German Volume Training consists of 10x10, so 10 reps and 10 sets. One exercise set will see you busting out 100 bench presses and 100 bent over rows, thats just the warm up!

What I am loving is the variation in the type of exercises and the way in which we do them, super sets, GVT and holistic. Really helps keep up the drive when the workout is mixed up a little. Some of the workouts I wont lie are long, a way in which I have trained my brian is to look at them as lots of little workouts and goals. Doing it like this rather than looking at it as one big list seems to be allot more effective, for me anyway.

Food, still eating as much as I like :) Stand out dishes are the big boy salad, tomato/mozzerella salad and good ol' fashioned meat and veg. No cravings now and don't seem to miss sugar as much as I thought I would when starting this. Not saying I will never eat a chocolate bar for the rest of my life but I can now walk down the choccy aisle and know that I wont feel the need to put a cheeky pack of something in the trolley.

The other guys doing this challenge with me are going great guns. We have a little group set up which helps immensely, sharing the highs and lows but more importantly recipes. Did I really just say sharing recipes?!?! What has my life become!!!

Sam from Evolution Bootcamp, the man behind the torture, I mean body transformation is holding a seminar on Monday 20th May 2013 in Sevenoaks. A rare opportunity to hear his philosophies straight from the horses mouth, did I also mention its free!!

On the home straight now, 4 weeks left! This month will be structured completely different yet again so stay tuned to see what we get up to in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading