If you ask me on any normal day what I think of leading fat loss expert and PT Dave Fletcher, I'll tell you what a thoroughly nice man he is and how good his training sessions are. Ask me on hill sprint day and I'm afraid I won't be so complimentary. That's because the interval ascent work he has me doing once a week is truly horrible. Just watch the video above and you'll see what I mean.
But where hill sprints are concerned, horrible is a good thing: after four weeks of powering up Primrose Hill as fast as my legs have been able to carry me, I'm reaping the rewards. As well as feeling more explosive, I've got through each session a little bit faster – that's hard evidence that this programme is working.
The toughest thing to deal with during these session is the build-up of lactic acid. When you're hammering through a running rep, your oxygen levels drop. This causes you to stop using stored glycogen for energy and instead start breaking down your body's supply of carbohydrate. Lactic acid is a by-product of this, and that’s what leads to the painful burning sensation you get in your muscles when you’re really going for it. The more of this type of training you do, the better your body becomes at absorbing the lactic acid and the longer you can go at higher intensities. For me that should translate into to faster race times, which, as well as getting ripped, is a key part of the programme.
On the eating front, the last four weeks has gone pretty well. I've stuck to Sharmain Davis's guidelines while also following eating advice from Dave (below). I've let myself slip once - I had a over-priced bottle of Shiraz and the dirtiest of burgers - but other than that I've been fairly dedicated. That's not really been too hard though because I'm still getting to eat a lot of the stuff I love, such as steak, eggs and delicious peanut butter.
Here's my workout programme again and that nutrition advice from Dave. Before I finish, the all-important stats: my body fat is down to 9.5% and my weight is 84.9kg. So as well as getting stronger and faster, I'm losing fat too. I hope the same is happening for you. See you next week for the first video blog from phase 2 of the programme.
Weeks 1-4 workouts
In each superset, do six reps of the first move, then 12 of the next. Repeat this three times with no rest, then rest for two minutes before repeating.
Move on to the next superset until you've got through the workout. If the move requires you to work each side independently, do half the reps on one side and half on the other.
Tempo - 3010 (the eccentric contractions should take three seconds so they recruit more fast-twitch muscle fibres)
Day 1 - Chest and back
Barbell bench press, gym ball press-up push
Jumping chin-up knee raise, dumbbell lateral shoulder raise
Power press-up, dumbbell explosive turn and press
Dumbbell press-up row, inverted row
Day 2 - Interval training
10x10sec hill sprints (10sec rest between sets)
5x30sec runs (60sec rest between sets)
3x60sec runs (90sec rest between sets)
Day 3 - Rest day
Day 4 - legs and abs
Barbell deadlift, explosive lunge chop
Bodyweight roll-out, explosive oblique twist (band)
One-leg assisted squat jump, dumbbell lunge jump
Hanging straight leg raise, gym ball forearm roll-out
Day 5 - kickboxing*
2x3min rounds (90sec rest between sets)
3x2 minute rounds (60sec rest between sets)
4x1 minute rounds (30sec rest between sets)
5x30sec rounds (15sec rest between sets)6x15sec rounds (10sec rest between sets)
*If you can't do this for whatever reason do treadmill or rowing intervals
Treadmill - adjust the incline to 5˚
3min run, 1min walk
2min run, 1min walk
1min run, 1min walk
Rest for 3 minutes and then repeat
10x50m sprint, aiming to complete each in under 10sec, with a 20sec rest between sprints.
Day 6 - Rest day
Day 7 - Legs and arms
Barbell stiff-leg deadlift, gym ball hamstring curl
Explosive dip, dumbbell biceps curl
Dumbbell lateral lunge jump, box jump
Dumbbell shoulder turn and press, Dyna-band biceps curl
Dave Fletcher's nutrition advice
1. 175-200g of meat/fish per main meal. Stick to chicken, turkey, salmon and any fish with white flesh.
2. Snack on coconut chunks, unsalted nuts, dark fruits and oat cakes with almond butter.
3. On training days, consume 50g of whey protein (ideally with glutamine and no carbs) five minutes after a workout. 4. On training days, consume up to 50g of carbohydrates with your post-workout meal. Stick to sweet potato, brown rice, rye bread and quinoa.
5. Eat steamed green veg and lemon juice with each meal.
For more on Sharmain Davis, go to maxitone.com/asktheexperts
For more on Dave Fletcher, go to theodysseyway.co.uk
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Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.