Friday 23 February 2018

Six-week dad bod challenge: Punished for gaining one pound

Pat Henry continues to put our writer through his paces

The right stuff: Dave Robbins at his local farmer's market in Rathgar. Photo: Caroline Quinn
The right stuff: Dave Robbins at his local farmer's market in Rathgar. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Dave Robbins

Dave Robbins

After a fantastic start to his weight-loss regime, week four brought unexpected challenges for Dave Robbins.

There are certain things that make one doubt the existence of a caring god. Wars, obviously, the rise of Donald Trump, and the fact that I have put on one pound during Week Four of the Dad Bod Programme.

Yes, I actually gained weight. Increased in mass, if you will. Despite eating like a hermit monk (or is it hermit crab?) and exercising six days out of seven. How is it possible? How can a sympathetic deity allow such unfairness to exist in the world?

"It happens," says trainer Pat Henry, who is unfazed by this development. "Your body gets used to the diet and the exercise. I wouldn't worry about one pound. We're still on course to lose a stone by the end of Week Six."

While I drape myself over the weighing scales and sob, Pat is thinking. "We're going to change the diet up a bit," he says, advising only raw food salads every second day. "And we'll increase the weights a bit."

So that's what's coming in Week Five. Less food and more weights. All during the opening week of the Six Nations rugby tournament. I pry my arms from around the weighing scales and cast my eyes heavenwards. "Why me, Lord?"

Week Four was tough. That's what makes the weight gain even harder to take. I was up to three sets of 20 repetitions of each of the 18 exercises. I was at 130 rpms of the cross trainer and 85rpms of the exercise bike.

I even survived last Wednesday, when Pat decided to "change things up", a phrase I have come to dread. Next thing I knew, I was in a shed at the back of the gym doing three by three-minute rounds of boxing with a large red punch bag.

Doesn't sound much, does it, three rounds of three minutes each? That's what I thought too. In fact, it's the most exhausting thing I've ever done. I have a new admiration for Kate Taylor.

"Keep hitting it," says Pat, who is timing me on his phone. "You can't stop. If this was a fight, your opponent would have knocked you out about three times already."

We break up the boxing with some kicking. I get to kick Pat 20 times with each leg. Admittedly, this has some cathartic value, but it's nearly as exhausting as the boxing. Plus, he's holding a protective pad, which takes some of the fun out of it.

Just when I think he's going to let me crawl on my hands and knees to the showers, he starts fiddling with the roof harness again. This is a kind of brace suspended from the ceiling. You dangle down, and then pull your knees up to your chin (or chins, in my case).

I somehow manage to compete three sets of 20. Surely, now, I will be allowed to stop. "Hit the deck," instructs Pat. After a few sets of crunches, he picks up a ball and stands over me. "Lift your legs about three inches off the ground. Tense those abs."

I look up at him through the sweat and the pain. He looks a bit like Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge. And I'm the ridge. I guess he's going to drop that beach ball thing on me.

Yep. Except it's not a beach ball thing. It's a 10kg medicine ball. He throws it at my solar plexus. It's like being punched hard in the guts. I groan and curl into a protective ball.

Pat Henry says: 'Don't feel defeated by a small amount  of weight gain - simply change your diet up'

For the first time on our Dad Bod programme, Dave has gained weight. We will need to tighten the diet a little bit and up the tempo of training. He may have been eating too large a quantity of food on the diet plan. It's wise to monitor measurements as you follow the programme. When taking measurements, start with the neck, chest, arms, waist, hips, thighs, calf - at least you can get a clear picture of what way the body  is losing inches.

With men, the last fat level to go will be from the tummy and waist. This is where, genetically, men store fat, as when our ancestors went hunting, belly fat would sustain them for days and in Victorian times, a large tummy was a sign of wealth. Thankfully, that's not the case now.

With the ladies, fat stores tend to be legs and hips, again genetically fat accumulated in these areas as the body's way of preparing for pregnancy. So there is a lot going on with this wonderful machine we call a body.

This week we included some work on the punch bag. We made Dave do 3 x 3 minute rounds of non-stop punching as hard as he could, and after each set squat kicks on a kick bag - 20 reps each leg.

We added hanging leg raises for the tummy, which Dave really felt. If you have access to a punch bag, give it a try. It's a fantastic workout.

While checking Dave's stats for last week, I noticed a slight drop in muscle mass, so we recommended to increase the weight for any exercise that's too easy and possibly eat a little more protein, like fish, chicken, meat or complete veg protein. This will keep the muscle tone.

The more solid muscle you have, the more body fat you will burn and inches will be down. If you try cutting out good proteins and use low calorie diets, you will get soft all over, especially as we age. We need to eat good sources of protein to stay firm and train with weight to stimulate muscle cell growth and repair. Stay focused. Read labels.

Irish Independent

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