I took on this challenge because I wanted to bulk up and look better in what I wear. Fashion is my life and I enjoy looking good. I decided that it was high time to add some meat to these stylish bones. There was one problem, though: I hadn’t seen the inside of a gym in five years. A friend recommended City Bowl Fitness – Strength and Conditioning ( www.citybowlfitness.co.za ), so I went for it and met with personal trainer Nicholas Caracandas.
In between our chats I confessed: I’ve got thin arms, I’m not active, I’m probably the weakest of the bunch and I’ve been hiding the fact that I’m a chain smoker. I was hoping that honesty would mean he’d understand my situation and go easy on me. Man, was I wrong!
The new diet plan was the hardest element for me: I was put on a diet high in kilojoules and protein. It was a huge challenge inhaling five to six meals, plus downing three protein shakes daily. It meant no more skipping breakfast (and sometimes lunch). I have a fast meta-bolism and I eat fast. In the eyes of the #MHTeamFit wolf pack, my diet plan was ideal, because I could eat so much. I had trouble stuffing all the food down at first, not to mention the added pressure of the protein shakes. Soon I realised I couldn’t wolf down all these meals at the agreed times, so I adapted, broke them up and ate smaller portions throughout the day.
Each week I worked out three to four times, each session lasting an hour. In my first month back at gym I focused on the getting the basic movement patterns right and ensuring a good technique and range of motion. I also focused on targeting the specific muscle groups I wanted to improve (my arms, chest and shoulders). I began each session with a heavy compound movement (like dead lifts, barbell cleans, barbell front squats and back squats), and those moves made me work.
In month two Nick moved away from isolating specific muscles and incorporated multi-planar movement, working my body as one unit rather than having isolated muscles working alone. My biggest obstacle in the second month was constantly feeling nauseous during workouts. It was a psychological barrier and partly because I was pushing myself so hard. It was tough, but all I could do was focus on finishing the sessions. In month three I did all of the above by alternating between isolation, functional movements and boxing each week.
Three months later, I feel stronger, fitter and healthier than ever. Best of all, it’s a great excuse to invest in a new wardrobe.