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The Confidential Challenge: for him

Follow Chris Grimes' 16 week summer fitness challenge, to take him from fat to fit

Written by . Published on June 22nd 2010.

The Confidential Challenge: for him

The Big Man
'Fatty', 'big man', 'look at your gut', 'you’ve put on weight', followed by the ultimate: “I don’t care what you look like, I love you no matter what” from The Wife, all equated to the fact that I could do with losing weight.

In four months my aim is to get my body fat down from 31 per cent to sub 14 per cent. As if that wasn't a tough enough job, I am also aiming to get on the cover of Men's Health magazine. Oh and raise a load of money for Forever Manchester charity in the process.

Let me introduce myself. I'm Chris Grimes, a 31 year old husband, dad and sales manager at Manchester Confidential.

I came across Darren Casey, my personal trainer, by chance as he was challenging a ranter on Body Confidential. I did my research on him and came across one of the premier personal training companies in the north. I decided to arrange a meeting to discuss my challenge and the rest is history, as they say.

At 15 and a half stone, I'm an over weight, out of shape, portly chap. My body fat is 31 per cent and my BMI, tips the chart at 29.8. Given that I'm a positive person with the will to put in the hard work and time, this should be a simple process, right?

Not quite. Having been on hundreds of diets, joined and donated thousands of pounds to most gyms in Manchester , it's no wonder everyone- including me- is sceptical.

Food and drink make up the majority of my social time; everything from fine dining to ten pints and eat a kebab on the way home in fact. I've stood in front of the mirror on many occasions and been upset with the way I look, but having my shirt buttons burst on me in public was the final straw. Time for action...

The Challenge
In four months my aim is to get my body fat down from 31 per cent to sub 14 per cent. As if that wasn't a tough enough job, I am also aiming to get on the cover of Men's Health magazine. Oh and raise a load of money for Forever Manchester charity in the process.

The Diary
I've already completed the first four weeks in advance, to be sure of my staying power, but from here on my diary of food and exercise will appear on Body Confidential for you to track my progress, on a weekly basis. As we've already established that I'm unable to lose weight alone, I've enlisted the help of Darren from Elite Fitness Training. His thoughts on my progress plus hot health topics and tips, will also be included week by week. As well as the written diary, you will also be able to listen to my daily thoughts via Audioboo. You can click here to follow my audio entries here.

The Diet
I thought I would find this very hard, but it’s actually been quite easy so far as you get a treat day every week which you really look forward to. My typically eating day now looks like this:

9am – Porridge and honey
11am – Protein shake or fruit snack
1pm – Chicken or tuna salad
3pm – Protein shake or chicken/tuna wholemeal pitta
5pm – Chicken/fish/steak with veg and brown rice
Plus plenty of water, all day, everyday.

I can’t drink alcohol unless it’s on a treat day (more about them later). Working for Confidential involves lots of networking in the evenings at various client events that don’t include eating salad and drinking lime juice. I can deal with early morning workouts, not eating pizza and chocolate, but drinking is a different story. In four weeks I have had two pints and two glasses of wine on my treat days and that's it. It's been tough.

Boozy nights out have contributed to Chris' weight gain (pictured left)

Going out and not drinking with work and friends has made me feel very boring at times and sometimes a little insecure. On one occasion out of many in the last four weeks the wife commented “I feel like I’m out with my dad” because it was 2am and everyone was hammered, yet I wanted to go home.

Unhealthy Chris, aims to shed pounds

Quite sad then, that I felt I couldn’t have a good time without drinking. The fact is you feel on a different planet to everyone else. This will be one of our hot topic discussions which you can ask questions, give your views and get involved in, during the four months.

The Personal Trainer
Before I started this I don’t think I had ever taken the gym seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I have joined most gyms in Manchester and had personal trainers in all of them. I can honestly say that PT’s (Hannah Thomas at David Lloyd- this doesn’t include you) in most gyms are awful and many are actually in bad shape themselves.

After four weeks I’m now in a routine of training five to six days a week. It actually has now become part of my daily routine. Of course it helps to have Darren pushing me but when left to my own gym sessions I have pushed myself really hard to achieve my goals. The 4 weeks base training has now finished and everything is being stepped up 2 or 3 levels so next week I might be saying something very different.

Darren Casey works as a master personal trainer at Elite Fitness training in Manchester and has 10 years of experience.

He said: “Chris admitted that he was totally new to exercise and his lifestyle was not of any help (he drank a lot and ate rubbish). In reality I was rather keen to demonstrate to him, how much he could achieve with 100 per cent commitment. I not only wanted to help Chris become more healthy and loose weight for life, I also wanted to demonstrate how much he could achieve by following my correct training advice.

“After a full consultation, the reality set it: 31 per cent body fat, high blood pressure, high resting heart rate and a pretty unfit and unhealthy person. We had to take care to progress his training using common sense and gradual, regular exercise.

“There is no way that you can safely go from an inactive, unhealthy individual who is 3-4 stone overweight to a primed physique in three months and keep it off. People in the industry are lying to get you to believe this is true. We had to see what would fit in and work of Chris over time.”

Lets get a few things clear:

- We have to make sure exercise is safe.
- We have to give your body time to adjust to new exercises.
- We have to give it time to adjust to new eating patterns and also time to recover from regular bouts of exercises.
- You will need time to adjust your lifestyle

Darren added: “We went through a period of time completing specific exercises to give his body opportunities to adapt and recover. These were complimented by some recover sessions and harder intensity session more regularly. His diet was the same principle. Educating him mainly. A change over a period of a few weeks was a good way to get him used to replacing his rubbish choices with better ones.”

The First Four Weeks
This so far has been the most rewarding but mentally challenging thing I have ever done. Its a good job my colleague, Helen Ramsbottom, is doing it with me otherwise I would have buckled a few times.

I was 31 per cent body fat and 15 and a half stone when I started this journey, but by following Darren's advice, I’m now 23.8 per cent body fat and 14 stone 11pounds. In total I have lost 23 pounds of fat which is nearly two stone and gained 9 pounds of lean muscle (not bad for four weeks). I have dropped a jeans size already plus half an inch on the collar.

Darren added: “After four weeks we are now getting into the hardest section of their training programs. The training up to this point has been getting their bodies and minds ready for this.”

Read next week to see how Chris has been keeping up the hard work....

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