I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the gym and by love/hate, I actually mean hate/hate.
The only time I’ve ever joined one was six years ago and even at that, I only last about two months because I became disillusioned by not seeing any results.
What I probably should have realised is that it takes more than one session per week while knowing the correct technique of how to use each machine is key.
The atmosphere in gyms has never appealed to me; lads wearing t-shirts that are four sizes too small for them and the type who walk around the place tensing so much that they look like they are about to go into cardiac arrest. Not for me.
But when I was offered the chance to take on the Maxi Nutrition challenge (thanks to the lads at WHPR), I didn’t think twice about it.
Firstly, because it was an eight-week summer challenge and secondly, I was genuinely fascinated to get a small glimpse into what it’s like for professional sports players who work closely with Maxi.
I’ve always been one for a challenge and knew once I signed up, there was no going back. I was however braced for the gruel and pain that lay ahead.
My programme began a month ago when I met Gareth Nicholas, expert nutrition manager with Maxi Nutrition.
We had a brief chat about what I wanted to get out of the programme, what my diet was like and subsequently what supplements were best for me to take.
That discussion came after Garth measured my Body Mass Index. The intricate detail in how he did that was intriguing and the results certainly gave me a something to aim for.
My main goals are to try and get in better shape and develop some muscle on my upper body as well as developing a routine whereby after the eight weeks, I would continue to go to the gym. I have never had a personal trainer before but again, I was looking forward to seeing what it was like.
The most surprising thing that I took away from my meeting with Gareth was that, in order for me to put on any kind of mass, I had to start eating double the amount of food that I eat on a daily basis.
My diet has never been that bad. Like most people, I would have the odd takeaway every now and then but to be told I had to eat between 5-6 meals a day was a real eye opener.
Thankfully the products from Maxi Nutrition are helping to bridge that gap. For starters, I was given three tubs of Maximuscle size and strength progain (2400g) 16 bottles of Promax milk (30g protein) and 24 progain flapjack bars (24g protein & 3g creatine).
The use of all these products was all very much new to me but like going to the gym, it’s amazing how quickly you get into a routine and habit of using them.
I was given my choice of any gym in the city and naturally, I chose the one closest to where I live.
The guys at Energie Fitness Ballsbridge have been great since the first day I walked in. The little things like the receptionists calling you by your first name make a newbie feel very much at home.
The man charged with trying to help me achieve my goals is Steven Foley. Coincidentally, Steven is a former professional footballer who had his career cut short by injury so naturally we have plenty to talk about during our sessions, which is also invaluable in making me feel more comfortable.
I have just completed the second week of the programme and I haven’t been scared away yet and to be fair to Steven, he has been very patient with me.
The sessions are getting tougher but there is an insatiable desire inside of me making me wants to return for more pain.
We concentrate a lot on the upper body and the core but as Steven regularly points out, leg weights are the key to building any type of mass.
I have been doing three sessions a week in the gym while outside of that, I try and do my own exercises like core work as well as going for jogs.
The six weeks that lie ahead are sure to be even more tough but after every session I’m learning more about my body and how to look after it correctly.
Maybe, just maybe, gyms aren’t that bad after all!