The Atlas Gym Challenge – Chris

Over the next few months two ‘forty-something’ individuals will be taking on the Atlas challenge. We believe that if they both give it 100% then they can reach their fitness goals in 3-6 months – with a little help from their friends at Atlas Gym!

Meet Chris

Hi, I’m Chris.  I’m a former gym-goer (ok, it was twenty years ago..) and over the last few years have succumbed to the dreaded middle-age beer gut.  I love my food and at the age of 42, still eat whatever I want, and as much as I want, just like I did when I was 18.  The trouble now is that my body is far less forgiving of this kind of lifestyle.

Back in the day (before family life etc.) and, I used to train every day.  I wasn’t particularly fit, but at that point my goal was to put on some muscle.  I’d even take weight-gain shakes to put on bulk I could turn into muscle.  No need for that now!   I have the bulk, and I’m just generally unhealthy.  I’m known at home and at work as a human dustbin, and as someone who does pretty much no exercise.  I look in the mirror and it’s not great, but what should I expect when I treat myself this way.  I feel like it’s time to get my act together, and get fit and healthy.  I have kids now, and it would be great to have as long as I can with them – and do my best to keep up with them in the park!

On the face of it, my goals are simple: lose some bulk around the stomach, improve my stamina, and be able to put my socks on without getting out of breath. :-/  Sounds straightforward but I know it won’t be.  I need to make this part of my general routine.  I have a busy life, with a high pressure job, kids to look after, spending quality time with my partner and playing guitar when I can fit it in.  The gym needs to fit in and I need to build a realistic routine – and stick to it!

My stats:

Date: Thursday August 8

Weight: 13 stone 10lb

Plan:  It starts tonight at Atlas Gym.  PT Jason has sent me a training plan which he will take me through next week.  Tonight will be sticking to things I know – old school training, but who cares, I’m doing it, and not putting it off a few more days.  I know I need to look at my diet too, but today, it’s all about the exercise.  Let’s do this!

Keep up with Chris’ progress on our social media:

Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

How has it been going?

So the journey has begun and I’m a few weeks into my transformation at Atlas Gym in Park Gate, Southampton.

I had a couple of sessions on my own before my consultation with personal trainer Jason (Jason runs Mofitness, a Southampton personal trainer based at Atlas Gym) and did my best to do the training plan he’d sent to me.  It’s fair to say I took longer than normal to get through the sessions because I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what I was doing.  A lot of the exercises are part of super-sets (one thing immediately after the other), so even just familiarising myself with where things were and mapping out the transitions were important.

It’s all about technique!

In the main, I got on pretty well, though there were a few things I’d never heard of (one-legged Romanian deadlift?!), so I substituted those with things I knew or took a look at trusty Google for help.  When I had the consultation we went through the techniques I wasn’t sure about.  Jason is a stickler for technique, but that’s what I needed.  When I trained years ago, I’d compromise the technique a bit to be able to lift more weight.  That’s not important to me now.  I just want to make sure I’m doing things right.  I seemed to pick things up quickly and he was pleased with my technique.

The joy of a 24 hour gym

So that was the start, but how has it gone since?  Mixed, but generally really good.  I only say mixed because I haven’t been quite as often as I’d hoped, for various reasons.  As for the training, I’ve really enjoyed it.  The exercises are HARD, but each time I do them, I feel more comfortable and I’ve been able to either increase the reps or the weight.  The gym is great (see list of equipment here).  One of the things I love is that it’s always open.  Sometimes there is so much going on and I work in the centre of Southampton so I can’t get down to the gym until late, but that’s all good as it’s totally flexible.  It’s much quieter late at night, which I have liked, particularly whilst getting a feel for things.  That said, now I’m comfortable with the routine, the busier times have a great atmosphere.  There are a really nice bunch of people there doing a wide range of things.

Has it made a difference?

Have I noticed a difference in myself?  Well I wasn’t exactly expecting to be ripped after a few weeks, but I have seen an improvement.  After week one, I was keen to weigh myself and see what difference it had made.  I gained two pounds…  I put that down to muscle being heavier than fat.  That’s fair right?!  What I did notice, even in the first couple of weeks was a change to my body shape.  A bit less flab and a bit more tone.  It’s going to take time, but that was good to see.  The shame I felt previously when I looked in the mirror was starting to turn to encouragement.  Also, the weight has started to come down too and I seem to be less susceptible to junk food binges.  Less….

What next?

My focus for the next few weeks is to be more disciplined in going three times a week.  It’s so easy to make excuses, but I always kick myself the next day knowing I could have gone.  Summer holidays are over now, so everything is a bit more routine.  There is no reason I can’t do it.  Onwards and upwards!

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