Sticking to a Dubai workout

There’s no faking this exercise plan, discovers fitness blogger Holly Sands

Week two: the routine
If you had any concerns this blog entry was going to be as sanctimonious as the last one, I hope you will be able to breathe a sigh of relief by the end. After a couple of tough weeks, including tearful strops over the weekend and severe Dorito withdrawal, I have been forced to step down from my soapbox and admit that trying to look ahead to the long-term results just isn’t enough to keep me on the straight and narrow.

While some of you may find group workouts boost your morale, I view them as an opportunity to slope off to the back and see how little I can get away with doing (hint: groaning and cursing through gritted teeth makes for a more convincing illusion). With one-on-one training, there’s no room for me to put my excellent exercise fakery skills into practice, and thanks to the intensity of the workouts, these gritted-teeth-groans are real (though, despite my fondness for expletives, I leave out the cursing in case my trainers take it personally – they’re a nice lot, it’s not their fault I have no verbal filter).

Each week, I’m put through four intense training sessions, which last anything up to 50 minutes. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings after work are the most enjoyable, but Thursday morning is a killer, not least because the tissues in my arms are akin to the consistency of a quivering panna cotta after my last session, barely 13 hours before.

It seems to be a fairly balanced process. While my arms are destroyed by weights, press-ups and medicine balls one day, the next day’s routine will involve lunges, jump squats and bear crawls (it would not surprise me if this particular exercise is used to interrogate inmates at Guantanamo) to make sure my legs don’t feel left out of the full-body annihilation process.

After the first session in week one, my legs were so stiff, I was convinced I would never be able to sit again without helplessly dropping myself into seats like a rag doll. But Amir, my encouraging (if sometimes a little rib-ticklingly serious) trainer promised me I’d feel fine after the next session. He wasn’t lying. He also wasn’t lying when he said the best way to fix cramp is by standing on it. During one particular pull-up-type situation, my right foot seized up in cramp and, after much hopping around in an ultimately futile bid to shake it out, he promptly stood on it and all was right in the world again (apart from the fact I still had 10 more pull-ups to go).

Cramp, reps in double figures and bear crawls aside, I’ve left each session feeling good about myself and sweating profusely. I can’t claim to have stuck religiously to the diet, because sometimes a girl just needs bread (and the odd tub of ice-cream – hold the bowl, just hand me a spoon, thanks) but I’m finding a balance. It also helps that my mum, the best psychotherapist in the world (familial-bias aside), strongly discourages the idea of being abstemious. It’s not natural to be in a state of extremes and if we are, after a while the result tends to be that we ping off in the other direction. So while I will continue to do my best, if the odd slip into a bread basket means I’m less likely to catapult off course into a gloriously calorific mid-week binge, face down in a giant chocolate cake Bruce Bogtrotter-style, I think I’ll take those odds.

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