Getting into shape is a big enough battle, maintaining your size and fitness level is even harder. For my wedding last year I managed to hit my target weight and reduced my body fat to 18 per cent. However, in less than a year my eating habits have slipped somewhat and my willpower to hit the gym as often and as hard has waned.
With my subsequent weight gain making me feel sluggish, I knew it was essential for me to up my game, and to do so, I needed help. Enter 360 Synergy, an eight-week programme with professional athlete and personal trainer Jon Ashwood at Smart Fitness.
The 360 Synergy programme is a 360-degree overhaul of your diet, fitness and lifestyle. Jon explains: “The programme not only increases your awareness of the importance of health and fitness, but will also show you that it is crucial in our lives.”
During the programme me and the 360 Synergy Elite group will be put through our paces three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) as a group and following a healthy diet plan designed to boost metabolism.
Over the course of the next eight weeks I will be giving you an honest account of my progress – how it’s going, if it’s working and if I’m cheating. Hopefully it will inspire you to improve your fitness and wellbeing.
Before the programme starts Jon does a body assessment measuring my body fat percentage (I’ve gained three per cent), my weight (I’ve gained 4kg) and BMI as well as taking the measurements. He is confident that if I follow the programme I will improve my fitness and reduce my body fat percentage.
Part of Jon’s plan is to make us aware of what we are eating. We were put on a juice, smoothie and soup diet to help speed our metabolism.
I managed two days of the plan. The first day was the hardest, feeling hungry throughout the day. I also actually missed the process of eating so I was delighted when I had my first sweet potato soup – a delicious recipe that I will definitely continue to make after the programme.
Unfortunately, I cheated twice – a pre-booked wine and cheese affair at The Ivy on Wednesday and a leaving party on Thursday. While I did follow the diet during the day, I ate meat and popcorn and consumed a few too many drinks on the cheat days.
Feeling guilty, I decided to continue juicing in week two, even though the juices do take a better part of the day to make. While I haven’t followed the plan to a tee, I have been feeling healthier and less hungry, which means less snacking – one of my worst eating habits and no doubt the contributor to my weight gain.
Mon: Three gruelling fitness tests: bleep test, get-ups shuttle runs, ViPR circuit and a 2k sprint. I haven’t done the bleep test since school and it’s something I don’t remember fondly. Though I was happy to beat my school record, which was reaching level nine. I got to level 11 – albeit with gritted teeth, heavy breathing and loud panting.
The tests were exhausting, hard and slightly painful but I felt great after the session – it was the good kind of post-workout pain.
Weds: Due to my prior plans at The Ivy, I missed Wednesday’s evening session. Instead I went on an early morning RPM class.
Fri: Jon educated us in the importance of looking after your body and conditioning it. We started the session with work on the foam grips – painful! I definitely need more massages. The gentle start of the session was all a ruse, Jon quickly got us working hard with a series of circuits followed by gruelling tabata training (three sets of 30 seconds of squat jumps followed by 30 seconds of burpees).
Red-faced and sweating buckets (which petrified many on walk back home through JLT lakes), I could feel the burn in my thighs and bum.
Extra: As well as the two days of training, I ran 5k and did a body pump and a RPM class.
360 Synergy programme costs Dhs3,000 and includes a two-month membership at Smart Fitness gym, including classes. For more information visit Smart Fitness, Cluster M, HDS Business Centre, JLT, (04) 4385055