IF A job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
THERE are 65 stairs up to my office.
Before today there was also a lift – a wonderful contraption – but now all that matters are those 65 stairs, a further 104 paces that take me from the entrance of the building to my desk on the third floor.
Considering most days I make this round trip around four times, that’s an extra 832 steps – nearly half a mile – of exercise a day.
I assure you this nugget of seemingly useless information is actually relevant... as this is the week I’ve decided I’m officially getting fit for summer.
It only takes the rain letting up for 10 minutes to trigger the panicked realisation that warmer weather is just around the corner and our bikinis and shorts are waiting impatiently to be promoted from the back of the wardrobe.
The problem is that, like every woman I know, I’m currently paying the price for a winter of stodgy foods and dark nights with no motivation to go the gym. The relaxed seasonal attitude to food that I adopted over Christmas has overstayed its welcome and five months later – as the long winter draws to a close – my once ‘favourite’ jeans have started producing an unflattering muffin shape.
You see, I truly love food – chocolate, cheese, sweet, savoury – I don’t discriminate.
Christmas is right up my alley with its buttery turkey, crisp roast potatoes and dishes of Quality Street on every counter top.
But after months of hiding beneath wool dresses and fashionably oversized jumpers, the sight of my skimpy summer wardrobe is starting to taunt me.
In the end it was flipping through a magazine in the queue at the newsagents and seeing all the celebs on the Caribbean beaches that made me return my Twix reluctantly to the shelf.
That night I dug out my trainers (buried way in the back of my wardrobe) and went for a steady jog around the block.
Half a mile down the road I was forced to stop, gasping for breath and my stomach swimming with nausea. Not my finest hour.
Of course I blamed the fact I hadn’t yet eaten dinner, coupled with not having slept much the night before. I even nodded knowingly to myself as I recalled the cup of tea I’d had half an hour before setting off – what was I trying to do to myself?!
Finally though, I was forced to admit the obvious.
I’d simply allowed myself to get woefully out of shape.
“They say it takes 12 weeks to transform your body and get in shape,” my friend told me confidently the next day.
“Who’s ‘they’?” I asked, bemused.
I was met with a blank stare and a nonchalant shrug.
“I’m not sure,” came the eventual reply. “But they do say that...”
This ‘they’ character has a lot to answer for in my opinion. For one thing 12 weeks is no good – whatever glimpse of warm weather our British summer allows is sure to be long gone by then.
Why is it that when it comes to getting fit, everybody has conflicting advice and a different opinion?
It’s all well and good if you’re a rich celebrity who can afford the time and money to dedicate to your mission, but what about us mere mortals?
After all, we can’t afford personal training sessions six days a week.
And working for a living gets in the way of morning yoga.
“I don’t have the energy to work a 10-hour shift and then hit the gym,” another friend complained recently.
“Even if I do manage to get there I’m starving by the time I’m done and can’t be bothered wandering around the supermarket figuring out what I can cook that’s healthy.
“The idea is all so exhausting that I usually end up just kicking off my shoes, ordering a takeaway and collapsing on the sofa.”
So is it possible? Can any of us get the body we want, if we don’t have Cheryl Cole’s money or Paris Hilton’s free time?
Do we late starters still have time to get fit for summer in between a full-time job, family, friends, housework, hobbies and all the other millions of things regular people have to deal with on a daily basis?
There’s only one way to find out.
Most of us can’t afford to make fitness our priority with hour-long cardio workout six days a week, so instead it’s about figuring out how it can fit into our lives.
With eight weeks to go until the height of summer that, my friends, is the mission – no fad diets, no insane gym schedule and, I’ve assured my mum, no liposuction.
I’m going to be spending the next two months consulting the experts and getting to the bottom of some of the biggest healthy eating and exercising myths.
Are carbs our friends or our foes?
Is snacking between meals good or bad?
How much water should we be drinking?
Does daily body-brushing really help cellulite, and what vitamins should we be arming ourselves with?
I will also be trying my hand at every new exercise craze from hula-hooping to zumba; looking at what tips we can steal from the stars and finding out what essentials should be on your weekly shopping list to prevent the takeaway temptation.
You can follow my weekly column in The Star every Tuesday, and my regularly updated online blog at getcelebfit.wordpress.com
Better yet, why not join me in the ‘Get Celeb Fit’ challenge and get yourself beach-ready in eight weeks?
I’d love to hear from you and find out the answers to your food and fitness questions.
So ditch the takeaway menus and start thinking about sashaying down that beach.
After all – why should the celebs have all the fun?
FIVE things to start today to kick-start your fitness programme:
For the next eight weeks, bid farewell to lifts and escalators. Opt for the stairs instead. Every little helps.
Wherever possible, opt for brown and wholemeal instead of white bread, pasta and tortilla wraps.
Drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated. This will boost your energy and also improve the condition of your skin and hair.
Always eat breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day – it kick-starts your metabolism to get your body burning calories for the day ahead.
Give chocolate and alcohol a miss during the week and save them as a treat for the weekend.
How do I measure up
IF A job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
That’s why Day One of the ‘Get Celeb Fit’ challenge involved a visit to my local DW Fitness gym for a full body measurement with personal trainer Colin McCurdy.
It’s a bit scary climbing on to weighing scales with a muscly trainer standing next to you, narrowing his eyes at the numbers that pop up.
Apparently, at 9 stone 12 pounds, I’m comfortably within my ideal weight for my height (5ft 6½ins) and age (27), which should be between 8st 4lbs and 11st 3lbs.
Likewise my BMI, Body Mass Index, at 22 fell between the ideals of 18.5 and 25.
I explained to Colin that as a performer – I sing and dance in a band at the weekends – I prefer a more athletic build and had been more comfortable before Christmas at around 9st 5lbs.
My priority, we agreed, was addressing my general lack of fitness and tone.
In a nutshell: I want to be able to walk around in a bikini on the beach in August and to be able to jog around the block without having to be resuscitated.
“Getting all your measurements done is a good way to start any fitness programme,” Colin explained.
“It shows you where you’re at and what your goals should be.
“Plus it’s an important boost later to be able to see that what you’re doing is working.”
Most gyms will perform these two-minute tests free, or have machines that carry them out for a minimal price.
Determined to be thorough, my next visit was to a company called Tailored For You that offers 3D body scans, which show your exact body shape.
“You have what I would call a slightly out-of-shape hourglass figure,” explained bodyscan expert Alex Hudd.
“Because your waist is a little thicker than usual right now, it’s come out to meet your shoulders and hips, almost transforming you into a rectangle shape.
With a little more tone around the waist,” she assured me, “you’d be a comfortable hourglass.”