Welcome to Week 1 of my 'Find my Abs (21-Day Challenge)'!
This journey isn't just about transformation; it's about discovery. For the first time ever, I'm on a mission to see if my abs can make an appearance. Yes, you heard it right – I'm chasing the elusive goal of uncovering my abs, a feat I've never achieved before. Why this intense push, you ask? Well, on December 18th, I have the exciting opportunity to launch a new fitness programme on national television. And what better way to step into this role than being in the best shape of my life? Follow along as I dive into rigorous workouts, meticulously track my health metrics, and pay strict attention to my diet to achieve what I once thought impossible. Let's see what lies beneath!
Day 1 – Monday
I arrived in Switzerland last night, to catch some early snowboarding runs this morning and to get our house cleaned up and ready for Christmas.
Exercise Log: One hour of snowboarding and then some outdoor weight training (unfortunately, I didn’t log it into the Health Results app).
Diet Log: I was going to fast until the evening but got hungry in the afternoon, so I had some sardines. Then, in the restaurant, a Swiss treat of tuna tartar starter and then steak tartar main.
Things that didn’t move me towards my goal: 3 glasses of Swiss red wine
Day 2 – Tuesday
Driving back from Switzerland took 14 hours. I managed to do a short outdoor frosty weightlifting workout before we left, and when we got onto the channel tunnel, to the amusement of other passengers, I did 200 press-ups during the 25-minute ride!
Other than supplements and a protein shake, I had a total fasting day.
Day 3 – Wednesday
I got up early after a poor night's sleep and took Noggin, which is our natural energy drink, to wake up. I had a big gym workout, a few hours in the office and then went for a muscle sculpting session at YouSanctuary Regenerative Wellness Centre. Rucked for 3 miles with a 30kg jacket and 10kg dumbbells. My wife, daughter and I went to see Ann Marie in concert at the O2, and while I ate some reasonably healthy snacks on the train, as we had a hospitality box I ate some fried chicken and 3 glasses of wine.
Things that didn’t move me towards my goal: Fried chicken and 3 glasses of wine.
Day 4 – Thursday
Very early out of bed in London to get the train back to Warwick. Took delivery of a new ice bath machine for my home, and as we were carrying it, dropped it on my foot. Total agony! I ate nothing all day except a protein shake and a pack of sliced beef.
Did a full Health Results Metabolic test (will show results in summary) and felt fairly happy with the results.
Weight training in the gym for an hour, rucked with a 30kg jacket and one 12kg dumbbell, alternating arms doing one-armed bicep curls as I walked for 3 miles. In the evening I went with my kids to watch our favourite football team, Aston Villa.
Day 5 – Friday
My tennis coach cancelled my lesson because the court was too iced over, so I had a dilemma as I was going to use it as my cardio session. I hadn’t got time to go and get my rucking vest, so I instead went for a 5-mile jog. Now, that’s really unusual for me, as I vowed never to run again after the London marathon in April, which damaged my knees. However, my body handled it way better than I expected.
I got home from work, but by then, my legs were starting to ache from the run, so I jumped in the jacuzzi with my son Louie. Then, in the evening, my son Tom, who had turned 18 the week before, had his friends and family over for a belated celebration. James is a semi-professional mixologist. Now, while my family were getting a lesson in making cocktails, I first abstained and just sat there and watched and learned. But then, I succumbed and joined in. One drink led to two, two led to three, and before I knew it, I had gotten myself drunk! The disaster got worse, as we then ordered a Chinese takeaway. Complete failure. Total derailment of my programme.
Things that didn’t move me towards my goal: Loads of alcohol and chemically laden Chinese curry.
Day 6 – Saturday
Woke up really disappointed with myself. The only thing I could do was to train even harder today, to try and recover some of my lost momentum. So I put on my rucking vest, loaded it to the max, picked up two heavy dumbbells (total weight 50kg – well over 100 pounds) and set off to walk as far as possible. I managed 6 miles before I could no longer grip the dumbbells, by far the biggest ruck I have done to date.
I got home, dropped off the dumbbells, threw a jacket over my ruck, and went to the local market to buy some meat, tuna and vegetables to cook dinner for some of our friends who were coming around in the evening.
When I got back, my sons wanted to go and kick a ball around in the park. I quickly prepared the dinner, put it in a slow cooker, and with my ruck still on, went and played with them.
While I didn’t have time to weight train, my Garmin watch reported that I had done 29,574 steps, certainly a personal daily best (other than, of course, when I have done hiking adventures).
Day 7 – Sunday
I had a poor night’s sleep, but I am unsure why. At 8 am I walked up to the tennis club, only to find all the courts totally frozen over. Unplayable, I returned home and started a weight training session, but after a multiset of triceps and deadlifts, my body felt terrible, so I decided to announce to myself it was a rest day! Now, resting was never part of the 21-day challenge. It was supposed to be all in, hard, at times painful, at times stressful, but today, I began to realise that if I didn’t rest a little, the next two weeks might be a disaster.
Week 1 Health Metrics
This week's health metrics show a promising trend. My blood triglycerides have improved, and my blood pressure has noticeably decreased. Monday's blood test revealed an elevated blood sugar level, but I think that is caused by what is known as the “dawn phenomenon”, as I hadn’t eaten anything. My overall HRM Score is heading in the right direction, and if it continues to improve, I might get an HRM Score of 100 for the first time.
Body weight on day 1 was 84.25kg (185.7lbs) and on day 7 82.1kg (181lbs) , that’s 2.1kg loss.
|Waist to Height Ratio
|Tri to HDL Ratio
|Day 8 (am)
For a full explanation of these measurements, visit my website Health Results:
Reflections and Learnings
This week has taught me the importance of discipline and how weak my willpower is at times. It has also taught me the importance of listening to my body.
Preview of Next Week
Stay tuned for Week 2, where I'll be experimenting with new protein-rich recipes, upping my cardio game and trying to get more hours in the gym!