Lifestyle editor Adrian Collins is hoping to go from regular guy to cover model ripped in the space of a few weeks, and you can keep track of his progress here on the Man-Cave.
This is week two of an eight week challenge where, along with Raw Condition Gym in Dublin, I’m aiming to get in the best shape of my life, and hopefully end up ripped like a cover model on one of those fancy magazines. I’m over ten days in to this transformation program and although these first weeks have been incredibly difficult, they have been worth it. The results which you’ll see a little bit further down, are pretty amazing at least from where I'm standing.
This week presented some unique challenges (travelling with work being one) and a couple of particularly long days, but thanks to the guidance of the folks at Raw, I’ve been able to keep on target, and they’ve been there for advice and encouragement when I needed it.
Being able to see what I’m doing have an effect so quickly has been key, as there have been a few times when I thought I was going to crack. The problem is not really the quantity of food (although you do need to eat a lot) but rather the quality of it: nothing I’m eating tastes of anything. As exciting as it gets in terms of recipes was fiddling around with the spices that can be added to the meat. The best combination I could find was chili powder, chili flakes and lime on the turkey with rocket and plain rice on the side. That’s about as good as it got.
What I miss most are not burgers and chips and takeaways (I always tried to eat healthy) but a good home-cooked meal. When I do get a cheat meal, it will be a Bolognese that I make myself with garlic bread and bruschetta to start, all washed down with a large glass of cold milk. What is really lacking in this stage is flavour, and with the promise of a few changes come next Monday where my competition Peter Cooney and myself can eat vegetables again, we can see the finish line just ahead.
What this stage has shown me is that I’m not different to everyone else. I’d always found (or looked for) some excuse as to why I couldn’t shed the last few pounds, convinced that someone hadn’t discovered what would work for me, when the real answer was simply in diet and exercise. While this is an extreme change to get results as quickly as possible, it has hammered home the importance of keeping an eye out for how much sugar is in certain foods, portion control, and hidden calories, as well as timing - the meal plan involves cycling carbohydrates as outlined in week one.
So let’s get to those results I was talking about. Firstly, yes, these photos are taken in a different spot to the first lot, but we couldn’t get access to the same room again. The only real difference is the lighting, and there was no funny business with the computer. From my standpoint, they are dramatic changes, but perhaps they’re not as visually striking as they will be at the end.
There are pros and cons to this whole process, as with pretty much anything. The pros are that I look and feel better – without any sugar in my diet my sleep pattern is much more regular than it used to be and with what I’m eating I don’t get that bloated and uncomfortable feeling. The jeans that I bought just two weeks ago are also now too big for me, so that’ another sign that this is working. However, I’ve been more irritable too, and although it normally takes a lot to rile me, my fuse has been shorter this week for sure. This also seriously cramps your social life, and I’ve had to cancel plans that I had in place for weeks as a result of such a restrictive diet. Saturday was a day where normally I’d meet up with friends, but seeing as I can’t drink or eat out, this week I went for a seven mile run instead, as I couldn’t think of anything else to do. It was a nice evening for it, mind.
The workouts themselves are gruelling, but you should always look to be pushing yourself past your limits in the gym, and this week I have definitely done that properly, for the first time in a while. In particular, one session with Anthony in Raw was seriously difficult. It was a high intensity circuit, and just a few minutes in, I needed to step outside and get some air, because I thought I was going to get sick. I didn’t, however, as Ant pointed out that wasn’t the aim, but rather the goal was to really push myself as much as I could. Here’s what I had to do, with little or no rest in between sets:
Warmup: interval sprints on the cross trainer
Pull up and knee raise combo 3 x 8
Medicine ball pushups 3 x 20 (until failure)
Burpees x 20 (with the threat of ten more if I stopped at any stage)
Kettle bell thrusters 3 x 15
Kettle bell goblet squat 3 x 15
Flat bench leg pull in 3 x 20
Step ups (on to a bench) x 50
Every day, I’ve been sticking to the previous workout outlined in week one, and am trying to get slightly heavier on the weights, in small increments. That keeps it as difficult as day one, and in particular the squat/lunges superset is where I tend to really feel the burn.
That has been week two, and I can look forward to more of the same before next Monday, when human food gets reintroduced into my diet, and hopefully less complaining...I really have talked about food a lot since this started!