First up on my list for the week had nothing to do with going to the gym. Come to that, neither did the second thing I needed to get done. Going to the gym was definitely third on the list though, so at least it was in the top 5.

The first thing that I wanted to get done was sort out my diet. I am piss poor at eating healthily. It’s not what I eat, but when I eat that’s always been the problem. I am not a breakfast kind of chap and as every person in the civilised world knows: It’s the most important meal of the day. People in third world countries think that this is both stupid and greedy. As far as they’re concerned ANY meal is the most important meal of the day, but in Britain if we don’t get our Shreddies in the morning it’s as if we’re going be malnourished by mid-afternoon.

spiderman-sandwichSo no breakfast for me. I also don’t eat during the day. This is down to me being lazy and tight with money. I can’t be arsed to make food to take in and I will very rarely spend money on a KFC, MacDonald’s or a Boots meal deal. I might order a sandwich if everyone else at work is having one and also because the place that delivers does an awesome double BLT. A colleague of mine that goes by the name of “Angela” (I’ve worked with her for 5 years or so, but I’ve always had the sneaky suspicion that she’s actually royalty that is doing a long term “Secret Millionaire  type thing) will often play mother hen and bring a sarnie in for me. Damn good sammiches they are too. Other than that I tend to eat once a day, after work. Which means I’m scoffing down food at 9 or 10pm.

If you’re going to the gym and expect to see any improvements then you can’t starve yourself like I do. By the time I get there after work it’s usually about 20 hours since I last ate. That has to change if I want to get anywhere. The main ingredient for building muscle is protein (chicken, eggs, tuna, that sort of stuff) so, after doing a little research, I ordered 2.5kg of protein powder from a website. I got a good deal but the delivery service was appalling so I think I shall refrain from advertising for them right now. I will say that it tastes lovely (banoffee flavour) and I look forward to telling my kids that they’re not allowed it. That should be a fun conversation as all they’re going to see is a milkshake.

Marvel-and-DC-Superhero-Easter-EggsThe general idea is to have a protein shake in the morning (I can handle that) to kick start the metabolism, take a couple of breakfast bars with me for mid-morning and afternoon snacks, a chicken and rice thingy for tea and another shake after work to help with the muscle repair. My aim was to not binge-eat when I got home, but after the trial-week that I’ve just done I don’t seem to be able to stop myself from having a meal when I get home. It’s usually something simple and small (an egg sandwich, that kind of thing), but after my Thursday night session I wolfed down 2 chicken breasts on muffins. All I can say is that I lurve my George Foreman Grill. It could so easily have been called the Hulk Hogan Grill and that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Next on my list for the week was my clothes.

mr__chav_by_vurtpunkI am not a typical shopper, or perhaps I am a typical male, but I just don’t like shopping for clothes. The downside to being single is I now don’t have anyone to say “just pick me up a pair of jeans, will you?” to. Previous shopping expeditions have seen me walk into the place, find the nearest pair of ‘normal’ black jeans in my size, maybe grab a t-shirt that I like and get the fuck out of there. Start to finish between me walking in the shop and back out is usually about 10 minutes. After that I head to the pub for a pint and to congratulate myself on a speedy shopping experience.

Because of the weight I’ve lost I needed a few things other than gym gear, but I took myself to Sports Direct. I pretty much exclusively wear canvas shoes when I’m not at work. These are also known as “Converse Knock Off’s” that cost me about £8 from Asda. They’re comfy, cheap and I like the look of them. Unfortunately, whilst looking for my last pair of trainers my criteria was “how cheap are they?” which led me to buying what can only be described as a pair of clogs disguised as trainers. Those have now been relegated to the position of ‘decorating shoes’ so that, should I ever decide to do some decorating, I have something to wear. It’s not likely to happen, but they’re in the cupboard with the ‘zombie apocalypse axe’ and the condoms.

New trainers, a pair of trackies, a sports bag and a hoodie later I wandered out of Sports Direct sure in the knowledge that if any of the staff at my store acted that way they’d probably get fired. Considering that I work with a bunch of lazy layabouts that pick their noses and scratch themselves whilst talking to people (not to mention the flatulence) this is not a good recommendation. But they sell cheap shit, so who am I to argue?

To my detriment I have only been to the gym twice this week. I spent more time shopping for the place than actually there. I had the kids Monday to Thursday and that is a MUCH better use of my time than anything else. Friday and Saturday were Gym days, which one enjoyed and despised with equal measure.

SkinnyNerd1Friday was my upper body day: biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest and stomach. I wanted to get as much done as I could since it’d been so long since my last visit, but I don’t think I did any of them properly. I need to split the days a little better. The tendency is to work the arms because, y’know, they’re cool. Every bloke loves doing ‘that’ pose in front of the mirror. The point is to work the muscle to fatigue, which will promote growth, but when you’re running on a timetable it’s hard to fit everything in.

I think, for the next week, I’ll split them a little more evenly. Being a working bloke with responsibilities has its drawbacks.

smith-machineOn Saturday, however, I managed to go to the gym with my Gym Yoda (aka Jamie Hale), who seems ecstatic to put me through as much pain as possible. I tend not to go to the Big Boys section of the gym where they Pump Iron and grunt like porn stars, but with Gym Yoda it’s not avoidable. The pain that man put me through makes me wish that I hadn’t started this in the first place. A particular mention has to go to the leg press, which involves you sitting in a contraption similar to the pilot chair in Alien. Gym Yoda piles on the plates at 20kg intervals and politely requests 4 reps out of me. By “politely” I mean that he screams at me to DO IT and smacks me around the head if I don’t. The last time I did the leg press with him I managed 160kg, starting from 80kg and again moving up in 20kg increments. That time he only made me do 2 reps per increment. I am proud to say that I managed to do 4 reps of 180kg this time. I attempted 200kg and managed 4 reps but Gym Yoda had a firm grip on the weights bar so I don’t think that one counted.

Unfortunately my glee was somewhat ruined when Gym Yoda did his set. This involved removing all of the 20kg weights and piling on the big bastard 25kg weights. In all 16 of these weights were loaded on the machine: 400kg. Now, to me, that was a feat of superhuman strength that I cannot comprehend.

We unloaded the leg press, piled the weights in the corner of the room and moved to the Smith Machine, which was next in Gym Yoda’s plan of agony. The Smith Machine can be used for various things like a Bench Press or Squats, but because the bar is supported by two vertical columns it means that it’s more controlled and there are less likely to be accidents. Gym Yoda had us doing “Jeffersons” although, quite honestly, I think he’s making up names because I don’t have a fucking clue what he’s talking about. There’s something that he calls “skullcrushers” (which I will NOT be attempting any time soon). I’m fairly certain that this is not the correct term as, y’know; it’s not very friendly.

towelThe best way that I can describe Jeffersons if you’re a bloke (I doubt ladies would do this) is to imagine that you’re standing in front of a mirror after getting out of the shower, swing a towel between your legs as if you’re going to whip it back and forth in time to 80’s music and then start doing squats. It also fucking hurts. A lot.

I go to the gym after work so you tend to get people that work there tidying up before they close. As Gym Yoda and I were doing our Jeffersons a middle aged lady who was about 5 foot fuck all came in and started putting the weight plates back on their racks. I’m sure she was quite happy in her job until she came over to us… and spotted the 400kg that we had left in the corner. She stopped in her tracks and physically deflated. “Aww, no,” she said with a heavy sigh. “I’ve been here all day,” she whimpered.

Now; this is the point that a decision needed to be made and I enjoyed watching Gym Yoda make it. I watched him sipping on his water and could see him trying to decide what to do. Leave her to shift the weights herself, or offer to do it himself? His brow furrowed. He did this little thing where he tightens the corner of one side of his mouth because he’s thinking (which sounds a bit of a gay thing to notice, I admit). You could see him looking at her and then glancing away as he tried to work out what he was going to do. It was funnier than I am managing to write it. You could see the resignation on his face when he realised he didn’t didn’t have a choice and he wasn’t happy about it. We ended up moving the weights.

YodaThere’s only one reason that Jamie punishes me so hard on the leg press. It’s because afterwards, when the muscles have been worked beyond endurance and the lactic acid is coursing through my thighs, I have to walk down 2 flights of stairs. Just for kicks he also filmed it this time. I tried my best to go down them normally but it didn’t happen. On the first step my knee went out from under me. I had to hold on to the hand rail all the way down. It’s now Monday night and although it’s nowhere near as bad as it was the first time I’m struggling to walk properly and sitting on the toilet is a feat of endurance that’s impossible to describe.


Weight: 12st 8lb / 79.9kg
BMI: 24.4
Body Fat: 24.1%
Body Fat Mass: 19.2kg

Apparently this means I am at the top end of my ideal weight, I’m at the top end of my ideal BMI and my body fat is “good” although, if you ask me, it just means I’m 24% fat.

Many thanks to Jamie Hale (aka Gym Yoda) for helping me get my shit together and push me further than I think I can go.

Stay tuned for more GEEK IN THE GYM next week!