Two weeks into our 3 month gym programme and the heat is being turned up

In his second fitness diary, Ryan Bailey outlines what this week’s programme involved.

AS THE CAPITAL’S plushest hotel, and one which is steeped in history and characterised by opulence, The Shelbourne is associated with pleasure and refreshment - so there’s been something anomalous about these past few weeks. 

DOTS4580 Simon watching over me to make sure I maintain my form. Source: Peter O'Doherty

The atmosphere inside the hotel’s spa and leisure centre is one of tranquillity where the cacophony of noise from the outside world is dimmed by the prevailing sense of relaxation.

Alas, it doesn’t quite extend into the gym. The robed hotel guests filter in and out to make use of the facilities and must wonder what form of torture is taking place inside those walls.

Of course it’s far from punishment but a penny for the thoughts of those on the outside looking in, sipping champagne as they gaze into the gym from the sauna or steam room.

It was actually in the pool area during the week where I had a chance conversation with a member. He knew I had embarked on this 12-week programme and recognised my face from the picture at the bottom of this article.

I was genuinely flattered but it was also one of those galvanising moments.

He spoke of his own personal journey and how he himself had accomplished something he never thought was possible after joining the gym.

The stifling heat of the sauna was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, particularly after a session with personal trainer Simon, but there was just enough time for this man to offer a parting piece of advice before I bailed to the pool.

“Enjoy it,” he said. “Because if you don’t it does become torture and you’ll do everything within your power to avoid this place.”

It wasn’t revolutionary but words of wisdom which ring true. As someone who signed-up for this programme as oppose to being pushed into it, I relish it.

I relish the prospect of pushing myself physically and hopefully reaping the rewards in the form of discernible results.

But you can never fully appreciate the extent of the challenge until the real legwork begins. Already the intensity level has been raised and this week’s session, on Monday, was certainly demanding.

But it’s exactly what I needed.

It’s still early days but I’ve already learnt a great deal in the three sessions I’ve had with Simon. This programme has been designed with the sole intention of hauling me out of the training plateau I’ve found myself in of late.

For example, I had been chest pressing 14kg dumbbells but it turns out I should have been using 22kg ones. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone and convince yourself the results will come.

And now the results need to come.

It’s remarkable how publicising a challenge of this nature leads to people taking a genuine interest in your progress. In such a short period of time, countless colleagues and friends have asked me about the programme and how I’m faring.

It all acts as great motivation and certainly infuses you with a certain level of encouragement for the tough work which lies ahead.

After Monday’s session, I hit the gym on both Tuesday and Wednesday of last week knowing I wouldn’t have access to one for the following two days.

A quick trip to the south of Spain, with the An Post Sean Kelly cycling team, offered a nice break but by the time I returned to Dublin on Friday evening, I was keen to get back into the gym.

Although living like a cyclist for two days certainly helped my diet. The buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner was perfect for someone trying to up their calorie intake and although I filled my boots as much as I could, it was all wholesome, nutritious food.

Chicken, fish, veal, pasta, rice, salad, omelettes, eggs, yoghurt and fruit. Without getting carried away, it was heaven.

But unfortunately it won’t be that easy every day and the onus is on me to ensure I eat the right foods and at the right times.

DOTS4615 Picking Simon's brains and trying to digest all the information. Source: Peter O'Doherty

As I eluded to last week, it’s not always as easy to bulk up as people think but already I’ve upped the ante in the food stakes to correspond with the training workload.

It is a way of life but something I’ve always enjoyed and while results are an indicator of progress , once you relish the idea of a tough session or making sure you fuel your body correctly then that’s the most important thing.

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It’s only week two but already I feel I’ve made strides in the right direction. Onwards and upwards from here.

Week 2

Each exercise is to be performed from set one to three before moving on to the next exercise. The rest period between each set is 40 seconds.

  • Warm-up – rowing machine

To get the body warm, spend a couple of minutes on the rowing machine and aim for between 800 metres to 1000 metres at a good intensity.

  • Jumping lunge – 30 seconds per set

Assume a lunge stance position with one foot forward with the knee bent, and the rear knee nearly touching the ground. Ensure that the front knee is over the midline of the foot. Extending through both legs, jump as high as possible, swinging your arms to gain lift.

  • Upright row (14kg) – 8-15 reps per set

Pull dumbbells to front of shoulder with elbows leading out to sides. Allow wrists to flex as dumbbells rise upward. Lower and repeat. I started out with 8kg dumbbells and worked up to 14kg for the final set.

  • Goblet squat (34kg) – 15 reps per set

Standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, grab the head of a dumbbell with both hands and hold it vertically in front of your chest. Keeping your back straight, squat down until the crease of your hip drops below the knee and the tops of your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Extend your hips and knees to return to the starting position.

  • Weighted press up (20kg) – 10 reps per set

DOTS4621 If press ups weren't hard enough. Source: Peter O'Doherty

Get down on the ground and place your palms flat on the floor at chest level. Make a plank so that only your toes and hands are touching the ground (push-up position). Bend at the elbows and lower your chest all the way to the ground. Lift both hands off the floor, place them back on the ground, and then push yourself back up.

  • Burpee – 30 seconds per rep

Begin in a standing position. Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back, while keeping your arms extended. Immediately return your feet to the squat position. Jump up from the squat position.

  • Swiss ball plank – 30 seconds 

Using a swiss ball, get into the plank position and hold for 30 seconds.

  • Dumbbell bench step up (14kg each hand) – 12 reps per leg per set

With a dumbbell in each hand simply facing a bench, take a step up onto the bench standing fully upright at the top. Then step backwards and repeat on the opposite leg.

More details on The Health Club at The Shelbourne can be found here. Facilities include an 18-metre swimming pool, sauna, steam room, dance studio and gym furnished with modern equipment.

Read: Week 1 of Ryan’s training diary

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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