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Mark’s new year challenge blog

Week 1

Ok, so my average Christmas, like so many others, involves over indulging and too many Christmas parties! But this year it’s going to be different, or that’s my plan. I’ve made my new year’s resolution early this year, with a little help from my friends in the office at Touch FM, that I will become a lean, mean, fitness machine in 2015.

So to help me on my way, Touch FM have hooked me up with a Premier Fitness Membership at Meadowside Leisure Centre........and not one to turn down a challenge I hit the gym this week for my welcome induction.

I was greeted in the newly refurbished gym by a friendly team who are going to help me shed the pounds this new year. Instructor Keith showed me the ropes, got to know my aims and objectives, and made sure I was comfortable on the equipment before I’m let loose.

Pic of mark on Equipment

As my welcome induction comes to a close, and Keith explains how he will draw me up a programme ready for January, I’m left thinking what all the fuss was about, this gym lark is easy. But maybe Keith has other ideas.............

Keith said: ‘Mark isn’t a regular gym goer, but he seemed at home on the equipment today, like all our members we will write Mark a programme to follow and we’ll be on hand to help him on his journey, just to ensure he’s getting the best results from his workouts. I can’t wait to put him through his paces in January...

You can find out how I’m getting on with my challenge, by following my progress on Touch FM, the touch FM website and social media channels.

Or better still, come and join me for a workout this January at Meadowside Leisure Centre.

Week 2

Today is the day.....my first proper session in a gym for about 3 years or maybe that’s 4 years!..... Heading across to Meadowside Leisure Centre, I’m not looking forward to what instructor Keith has in store for me! In my welcome induction Keith showed me all their new equipment from Matrix Fitness, and my personal favourite, the dip and chin assist, or the torture chamber as I will be calling it! Plus I got firsthand experience of the very tech Bodytrax machine which took all my measurements, and generated my age based on these measurements.........34!! This is motivation if you ever needed it.

First task was to get back on the Bodytrax machine to see how my Christmas diet had affected my weight and fitness age.........not good news, the machine showed I had put on weight and my age had gone up to 37!

So, working from my personalised programme Keith had written for me since my induction, I set to work in the gym..... looking to tone up my physique!

14 minutes into my first sessions and warm up on the cross trainer and rower completed......and I feel done! But Keith says I’m doing ok for my first time back in the gym.

Next up.....upper body exercises and the torture chamber, 12 dips later and my arms are burning, and I get an honest assessment from Keith..... ‘you’re a bit weak’! So knowing this he wants 12 strokes on the rower, after a couple of strokes I soon realised I can’t cheat this machine, this cleaver bit of kit will only register full strokes....so I grit my teeth and blast out 12 strokes!

After a cool down, I have a review of the session with Keith, where he admits he impressed with my core strength!

‘Mark did really well for his first session in the gym in a while, he worked hard and responded well to my programme, but I’ll be looking for improvement in his next session!’

Ok, so its Thursday 8th January and I’m back for my second workout of the week, I must admit at this point I’m still feeling the effects of Tuesdays session with Keith.

But I didn’t let that stop me putting in another hard but fun session! Much to the surprise of Keith,

‘If I’m honest I thought Mark wouldn’t be able to even get half way through his programme this evening, but to be fair to him he got stuck in and did better than last time’.

‘We changed exercises and the order of them this weak which probably helped Mark complete the programme, just showing how a versatile programme can help keep your gym sessions interesting and fun, improving people’s results.

I’m looking forward to seeing Mark next week, as his programme becomes a bit more functional!

Follow my progress daily on my Touch FM breakfast show, where we will also be giving away a three month premier membership to use at Meadowside or Uttoxeter Leisure Centre.

Week 3

Two weeks in and I’m feeling great! Despite Keith stepping up my workouts this week, and me feeling totally shattered by the end of the week, he insists he’s starting to see some progress.....

Keith say’s ‘Mark has now become very smooth on the rower and finds it comfortable keeping his strokes a 35per minute, he has become stronger in the upper body and his over cardiovascular fitness is much improved since he joined us in early January’.

‘With these progressions Mark has made, it’s time to shock his body again for the next couple of sessions; this will help mark reach his goals quicker. I’m not about to let Mark get use to a similar routine, plus it will give him something to talk about on the radio’!

My session today has seen me working out on the all new Matrix X-Cube for the first time, despite its intimidating appearance, Keith soon has me working hard, completing mountain climbers, which for anyone who isn’t familiar involves strapping your legs to a cable and in the press up position, bring your knees to your elbows..... Literally like climbing a mountain.....but harder of course!

After 15 reps on each leg, Keith had me straight into squats with a powerbag, he’s taking it easy on me I’m thinking...how hard can it be standing up and down with a little bag on your shoulders?!! At which point Keith brings out the bag, which to me looks more like a suitcase!

Despite me trying to talk my way out of this one, Keith is soon putting my legs through their paces, with what seems an endless amount of squats to me......although Keith ensures me it was only fifteen!

Workout nearly over and it’s time to cool down, at which point Keith drops the bombshell that my workouts next week will be even harder! Something which really lifted my sprits ahead of the weekend! But in all honesty I can feel my level of fitness already starting to improve, and you know what.....I’m quite enjoying it!

See how I get next week, by following my blog on eaststaffsbc.gov.uk/Meadowside-leisure-centre or by tuning in my Breakfast show daily on 101 Touch FM.

Week 4

I’m back for more! With Keith ramping up my workouts last week I was feeling well pleased that after my previous workout, I had no aches or pains when clambering out of bed to present my breakfast show! So I guess that was Mark 1 – Keith 0!

So when I arrive at Meadowside for my workout this Monday, my smugness was short lived....as Keith didn’t take kindly to my overconfidence! This was going to be an even tougher session!

With Keith thinking that my overconfidence was some sort of come-on to up my workouts, we started my session as usual with a warm up, once I was up to speed, it was payback time for Keith as I hit the pull up bar! With all my effort I managed................1 rep! So think that’s Mark 1 – Keith 1!

Firmly back down to earth, I set about my workout with a whole new level of intensity, and as the end neared my whole body was feeling exhausted. Despite this Keith seems pretty impressed with how I had worked and that by hitting my mini targets for each session will help me achieve my ultimate goal.           

Back for my second session of the week and feel ok, I was ready to get stuck into my work out! From someone who never used to visit a gym, I must admit I’m actually quite enjoying working out with the guys at Meadowside!

Today’s session was about starting off where I had left off on Monday, whilst improving my techniques. 20 minutes in...........and I’m really starting to feel the effects of Mondays intense session, with Keith’s motivation I solider on, perfecting techniques to work my upper body, I even mange to squeeze out an impressive 1 and a half pull ups! Well its progress! 

At the end of my penultimate week Keith says he seeing a real improvement in my general fitness.

Keith Says, ‘Mark has improved on a number of aspects this week, for example his press-ups are becoming allot smoother, and he is noticing a big improvement in his general fitness, although he only managed squeeze out just one and half pull ups!’

I’m looking forward to my final week in the gym, although the instructors at Meadowside keep encouraging me to extend my stay into February!!......watch this space!