Wednesday 7 December 2016

'I now have all the self-motivation I need' - Independent.ie takes the eight-week MaxiNutrition transformation challenge

Published 26/11/2015 | 15:21

When I was first approached and asked if I’d partake in the eight-week MaxiNutrition transformation challenge, it seemed like a no-brainer.

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Despite playing sports from an early age, I’ve never been much a gym goer so the opportunity to be put through my paces by a personal trainer for two months was something I thought would be interesting if nothing else.

Aside from the three to four sessions in the gym a week, my diet changed drastically over the same period, or at least I tried to change it as much as I could.

I wouldn’t have a poor diet by any means but I was certainly not eating near as many meals or getting as much protein if I wanted to see any kind of results.

Throughout the transformation, I found it amazing how quickly I managed to get into the routine of going to the gym every morning before I started work but admittedly the toughest part was the level of food intake.

Not only did I find if difficult to find the time to cook the required amount of meals but I struggled to get into the rhythm of eating four large meals plus two MaxiNutrition supplements per day.

My main goal was to put on as much mass as possible, which as Gareth Nicholas, expert nutrition manager with Maxi, pointed out from the word go, was always going to be difficult given that I was coming from basically nothing.

In week one, Gareth took my skinfold measurement, weight etc. and the idea was to go back to him after the eight weeks and see what the results were.

When I began the process, my weight was 63.5kg with a body fat percentage of 16% while the sum of my skinfolds was 92.6mm. None of these figures made a huge amount of sense to me in terms of building mass, because as I said, it’s not something I’ve ever been conscious of but as per Gareth’s mantra, ‘it can always be better’.

So after eight weeks of working with the guys in Energie Fitness in Ballsbridge, who by the way, made a complete gym rookie feel right at home in their gym, it was time to get my results.

I never missed a gym session but as I mentioned earlier, I did struggle with the diet side of things, which is why the MaxiNutrition helped me in particular so much.

I went throw several tubs of their Progain protein powder while their protein shakes and bars were ideal for when you were on the go.

Going back into meet Gareth, I was very unsure of what kind of results I was going to get. Sure, I felt better about myself after eight weeks of going to the gym so often and eating healthy but I wasn’t exactly after transforming into Conor McGregor overnight.

I found that the sum of my skinfolds had reduced to 86.9mm (a reduction of 5.7mm), my body fat was down to 14.9% (a reduction of 1.1%) while my weight had increased to 66.9kg (increase of 3.4kg) – which I’m told was a result of the increase in muscle.

So while I didn’t exactly transform my entire body, the results were encouraging enough to suggest that if I kept at it on my own, I would see further results.

A five-week stint working at the rugby World Cup didn’t exactly help my plans to maintain my programme and there’s no doubt that I’ve taken a couple of backwards steps because of it.

But throughout the programme, I learned enough about how to properly use certain machines in the gym, about eating right and perhaps most importantly of all, I learned a lot about my own body.

I may not to challenging McGregor to his next fight but from a mental point of view, I found that by going to the gym most days before work, led me to being far more productive and feeling generally better about myself. Never underestimate the power of that.

It’s time now to get back into the swing of things. I may not have a trainer to motivate me but I’ve seen and learned enough in such a short period of time to give me all self-motivation I need.

If I can do it, there’s nothing stopping anyone else from doing the same.

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