An alternative look at life in the Land of the Rising Sun, coming from its southernmost prefecture, the island of Okinawa.
Posted By Dave on July 8th, 2014


Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying.  It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though!  But after a couple of months of being back in England […]


Getting healthy in Leeds with V Physique – Body By Design

Posted By Dave on July 8th, 2014

Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying.  It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though!  But after a couple of months of being back in England I decided to notice some changes.  Sitting at a desk all day compared to walking around while teaching, combined with being home in a country with lots of delicious but not very healthy snacks downstairs was taking its toll, and making me look even more of a wreck normal.  So I did something I’ve not done for a while: I decided to go out and do something about it.

First of all I signed up with the South Leeds branch of Pure Gym – a no-frills chain of gyms.  I started doing some running, general messing around with weights and going to some of the classes there.  Despite (or possibly because of) usually being the only guy in the gym classes, I did enjoy them.  My fitness levels weren’t great but I in a class I felt I was pushing myself more than if I was working out on my own.  If I was alone and got tired then I’d stop.  There’s no way I was stopping with others around me carrying on.  After a month I was feeling better, but needed something a little more.

I talked about it with a friend from the gym and she said I should think about getting a personal trainer.  I’d never thought about it, but the chance of a V Physique - Body by Designfree taster session with Ant Varenne of V Physique – Body by Design was enough to make me give it a chance and see what I thought.  Did the taster and was absolutely shattered at the end of it – just how I wanted to be!  The next day I was aching all over and could tell that I’d had a good workout.  And I was being pushed in just the right way by someone who knew what he was doing.  He’d got a new client!

I signed up for an initial block of 10 classes, the first of which involved taking various body measurements, asking about my dietary habits (“shocking”), and what my goals were (“To get into some sort of shape”).  One of the most interesting initial questions was how he should talk to me during workout sessions.  Should it be like a drill instructor, motivational, relaxing etc.  As a teacher who knows that every student responds to different methods and different attitudes, it was nice to be given that choice.

Within a week I was given a dietary plan (lots more calories, lots more protein, much fewer carbohydrates), meal guide and workout plan for when I was working out on my own.  My personal training sessions were booked weekly, but I had to put in a lot more work outside classes if I wanted to start seeing results.  But the main work would be done in the personal training sessions themselves.

And work was certainly done.  Training sessions were leaving me drained, but smiling by the end of them.  Partly because of the masochist in me and partly because I know that when I’ve left everything I’ve got in the gym, it’s been a session that will really reap benefits.  The training I do focuses mainly on weights, but there will always be some cardio work involved in the 60 minute session to keep things mixed up a little.  Ant likes to vary the classes a lot so things never get boring in the class itself or from week to week.  And he likes to push you hard, with a, “Never say you can’t” attitude.  I’ve taught my own students that if you fail it doesn’t matter, as long as you try, so have to do the same.  If you’re looking for a trainer just to to a couple of little weights so you can have that feel-good attitude, then he’s probably not the person for you!  If you’re looking for someone who’s going to leave you a sweaty mess at the end of your hour, then you’ll like him!

Within a month I was starting to see visible changes in my body, and feeling much better.  After 10 sessions I had my second weigh-in and measurement taking.  Drum roll please…

Height 177cm -> 177cm (Thank god – was hoping that wouldn’t change!)
Weight 76.9kg -> 75kg
Hips 97cm -> 95cm
Waist 88cm -> 84cm
Biceps (relaxed) 30cm -> 32cm
Biceps (flexed) 32.5cm -> 34cm
Quads 49cm -> 49.5cm
Chest 100cm -> 96.5cm

I can do press-ups now.  Still hate them but love the fact that I can do them!  I guess the only downside is that now most of my jeans and trousers are falling off me and need replacing!  I’m mid-way through my second block of personal training and Ant has made a new training regime to accompany it and build on what we’ve done.  I’m upping the weights but have to confess my diet hasn’t been great due to a few things over the past month or so, so we’ll see how I get on at the next weigh-in.

I give credit where it’s due, and it’s definitely due here.  I’ve had big gains in how I look and how I feel over the past 3 months, and want to keep up the good work and push on from where I am now.  Is a personal trainer the best thing for everyone going to the gym?  I’d honestly say no.  It’s not cheap and if you get a good trainer like V Physique – Body by Design then it will wear you out and leave you aching for a couple of days to come.  Yup – I’ve just checked and my biceps are still hurting from two days ago!  But if you are looking to improve your fitness and have the chance of a free trial then I’d say go for it as you’ve nothing really to lose.  You might hate it, you might love it.  If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

Finally, if you want a trainer in the Leeds area then definitely do yourself a favour and check out Ant Varenne’s V Physique – Body by Design.  He’s an excellent trainer and all-round good guy.  Mention this site and get a free trial session!

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