Over the next two weeks, I'll be reporting on a new fitness trend that, for once, sounds intelligent, realistic and sustainable. It's called Educogym: in a nutshell, a 15-minute hard-core weight-training session that gets you great results fast.
The idea is that short, intense bursts of machine-based exercises activate muscles and build them more efficiently than lengthy 'cardio' workouts. The better and stronger your muscles, the better they burn fat, ergo you lose weight and improve your body shape. Sign me up!
Zana Morris, the head of Educogym in Harley Street, gave me an excellent analogy when I popped in last week for my consultation: "Just look at the difference between a sprinter and a marathon-runner. A sprinter has a toned, strong and incredible figure with short, defined muscles .. while a marathon-runner has long, thin muscles and a shapeless frame." Yup, I know which I'd rather be.
Even though Educogym is a long-term gym plan, I'm kicking off with their 12-day programme designed to do all sorts of wondrous things, namely lose body fat, increase muscle mass, speed up my fat-burning metabolism and generally make me want to punch the air when my alarm clock rings every morning (we'll see about that!).
I'll be doing my 15-minute one-to-one sessions every day for 12-days and following a very strict diet plan. Strict, but for a good reason. It's a high-protein and high-fat diet, with absolutely NO sugar/carbs (glucose is what the body uses first for fuel, therefore everything else gets stored as fat). The ratio of protein-to-fat is very precise because they work symbiotically to fuel the body and keep one feeling full. It's also crucial for balancing one's hormones, which makes sense to me: any time I have pasta, bread, chocolate, wine, rice etc, I feel rubbish. I have mood swings, I have no get-up-and-go and I have that glass-is-half-empty attitude. When I cut out carbs, I feel fantastic. There's integral science behind this, which I'll mention throughout my diary.
There are several reasons why I'm embarking on the Educogym plan, and I'm sure you can relate to at least one of them in the run-up to your wedding.
- My long-term goal: I want to feel fitter. I genuinely started huffing and puffing the other day when I speed-walked to the train station. Errr, WHAT? That's not supposed to happen! I'm 31 years old. I don't smoke, I don't eat ready-meals, I only drink at weekends, I don't have a sedentary lifestyle… but all these self-righteous excuses are clearly getting me nowhere. The truth is I don't exercise enough. This needs to change.
- My short-term goal: In 14 days I'm going away on a weekend with friends and, to put it bluntly, I want to look slimmer than the last time they saw me. Who doesn't, right?
- My clothes are feeling tight, and there's NO WAY I'm going out shopping to buy new items. Like a wedding dress that's finished, hemmed and sewed to perfection: I need to work around it. I have to lose weight to accommodate my clothing, simple as that (because the alternative means wearing tents with elasticated waists. No thanks!)
- I'm short of time. I work long hours and at the end of the day I want to see my husband, not a gym receptionist. I need an exercise routine that's very quick and very effective, doing the things I like (believe it or not I really do like weight-training machines).
- I'm a herd follower. Several beauty industry friends have done the Educogym plan and have seen amazing results. These are intelligent women who can sniff out a fitness gimmick like a cheap celebrity perfume so if they're convinced, I am too.
So wish me luck and check back in a couple of days when I'll be detailing my diet plan, how the gym sessions are going and whether or not I've made a terrible mistake! Here we go!