If you’ve ever tried to change your lifestyle, you’ll know there are a million and one plans out there that claim to help you get fit and healthy. With busy work lives, home lives and more social events than we can keep up with, it can be tough to fit everything in – and you’re especially vulnerable to the 4 o’clock oh-my-God-are-those-Krispy-Kremes-in-the-kitchen moment if you work in an office.
As a team, we’ve tried everything. Gymming before the sun’s up, lunchtime classes, only having healthy snacks in the office and even some weird health smoothies and shakes, but still many of us are left feeling sluggish, bloated and definitely don’t feel like we’re treating our bodies the way they should be treated.
Reaching for easy, carb-loaded food and only doing 3,000 steps a day is a lot more appealing than eating like a rabbit and dragging yourself into the gym every morning when you feel that your free time is limited – but long-term, it’s not good for us at all.
Like most people, we want being healthy to be easy (because we’re really lazy, if you hadn’t already guessed), so when we were offered the chance to take a 12-week Afitterme course which has people up and down the country raving about it, we jumped at the chance.
Created by Darren Glenister, Afitterme is a plan that focuses on making small changes in your lifestyle and training your body to fuel and burn. After leaving the military, Darren worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years so he knows a thing or two about creating food plans that work. Darren believes that eating the right food groups relative to the time we need to use it as energy is the key, along with getting your body moving more in simple ways that can be easily added into your day.
What does it involve?
It’s really quite simple: tick off everything in the list each day and you’ll start to have more energy, feel less bloated, your fitness will improve and you’ll lose fat and gain muscle. The 7 key factors include things like drinking 2/3 litres of water, drinking 3 cups of green tea, walking 12,500 steps and completing specially designed circuits. And the best part? Unlike many lifestyle plans, there’s no cutting out carbs – you just tweak when you eat them so your body starts burning fat. After all, your body needs all food groups to function. Sounds simple, right? And to always feel supported, there’s a huge group chat with everyone who’s doing the plan with you (and Darren, too) which you can turn to for advice, tips and motivation.
We’re all about body positivity at GLAMOUR and feeling happy in your own skin, so in a bid to get off our bums and feel better in our bodies, we put it to the test.
Who’s taking part?
Camilla Newman, Publishing Director
About me: “As a working mum, I am very time poor and haven’t found a way to get sustainable exercise into my lifestyle. I’m a gym and exercise-phobe, apart from my beloved netball which I play weekly, but this has been part of my routine for 5 years now and so won’t help me lose weight. Over the past year, my work/life balance has been incredibly very stressful with starting a new role at work, both children starting new schools and moving house as well as losing my nana. I just ate my way through the stress and misery and I’m at the heaviest I have ever been.”
Goals/Concerns: “It’s time to take control back and look for a long-term solution and something that will fit into my crazy schedule. My concerns are caring enough about my appearance to make the necessary changes, I’ll often fail a diet because I don’t care enough, and chocolate tastes so gooood.”
Nish O’Connor, Account Manager
About me: “Fitness has been a priority for me ever since my third year of Uni, when I decided that the “fresher’s 15” needed to go and that the boy I fancied, who also conveniently went to the gym I joined, would fall in love with me and we would have beautiful athletic babies (side note: this didn’t happen). My current routine includes around 3 HIIT classes a week with a yoga sesh thrown in for good measure. Food-wise, I’m pretty health conscious and eat well most of the time but I have a massive appetite, often eating as much as my 6”5 boyfriends, and I do also love a night out.”
Goals/Concerns: “I would love to be more mindful of what and how much I’m putting in to my body. I’m only small, but my eyes are definitely bigger than my mouth! I want to be the happiest, healthiest version of myself and am hoping that this challenge can help me to achieve that.”
Jade Moscrop, Social Media Manager
About me: “I used to be very healthy and active but I’ve stopped prioritising it over the past couple of years and I don’t feel good for doing so. I go to the gym a few times most weeks and eat reasonably well, but I definitely don’t do as much activity as I used to and I’ve fallen into a carb-only-meals hole which I desperately need help with.”
Goals/Concerns: “I want to feel fit again and not get out of breath going up a few flights of stairs! It’d be great to lose a few inches to get into some of my old favourite outfits, get more organised with my food prep to avoid the last minute carb-grab and have more energy to get me through my long commute without feeling the need to nap every day.”
Jen Garside, Engagement Executive
About me: “I am terrible at committing myself to any kind of fitness or gym routine, and without fail always resort to potentially lazy at-home practice. I’m lucky to be naturally quite slim, so have developed some extremely bad snacking habits and a mild office-based sugar addiction (I am ALWAYS up and down getting snacks, this is my main exercise in life). Whilst I eat relatively healthily for my meals, I LOVE going out for dinner and splurging, and convince myself that this is a healthy balance. I have been told by a series of doctors that I have NO MUSCLE – that’s right, none.”
Goals/Concerns: “Now that I’m in my mid-twenties my bad habits are all beginning to catch up with me, and I have problem areas where I never had them before. It’s really time that I got my act together fitness-wise and started moderating my so-called ‘balanced’ diet to reduce processed sugar snacks.”
Lottie Winter, Beauty Editor
About me: “I have slipped into an almost entirely sedentary life. I sit on a train to work, then sit at my desk, then get home and sit on the sofa. It’s not good – and although I eat relatively healthily (bar the odd bag of chocolate buttons and my daily Diet Coke) I’ve noticed my fitness and energy levels have taken a severe hit because of my lack of movement.”
Goals/Concerns: “I’m hoping A Fitter Me will provide long-term lifestyle changes, enabling me to move more and form positive healthy habits – without having to ever set foot in a gym. Plus, I have a big beach holiday coming up in December that I would love to feel more confident for.”
Laura Saleh, Senior Advertising Manager
About me: “I have a healthy relationship with my body (I have not always). I am a well-balanced and health conscious individual. I exercise regularly and eat really fresh and wholesome food, most of which I prepare. I still go out on the weekends to eat and drink and I never deprive myself of anything I have earned.”
Goals/Concerns: “For me ‘A fitter Me’ is about taking my body that extra mile. Every now and then I like to push my body out of its comfort zone and really test its ability to respond to different forms of exercise and eating habits. In doing so, over time I have been able to make small tweaks here and there to ensure that I continue to positively manage my overall wellbeing.”
Our journey to becoming fitness influencers has begun, and we’re all feeling enthusiastic about the plan, and trying our hardest.
“I went gung-ho into the programme and made my husband join up too, so we will either get divorced because of competing over targets or encourage each other to stay on track. The main struggle was fitting 12,500 steps into my day. I drive to work, get the lift up to the 6th floor, sit at my desk, drive home and was averaging under 3,000 steps a day. I had to look at my work diary and find days where I could take the train to work, get out a stop early and do my steps as part of my commute rather than as an extra thing, which would happen. I managed 4 days out of the 7, just under the 5 day a week target. My mindset is determined and enthusiastic, I’m loving the FB messenger group for constant updates of how the rest of the community is doing, albeit on mute and being a bit of a “lurker” rather than joining in. I’m energetic and enjoying it.”
“Adjusting to the programme was hard initially, as my favourite carb-heavy breakfast of overnight oats were an immediate no-go. However, after finding an alternative in the form of full-fat yoghurt with all of the same (naturally sweet) toppings and peanut butter that I was used to, I soon settled into it. Then came the 4pm slump where I swapped my usual oatcakes/Nakd bar for fresh fruit and nuts. I was determined and having a community of people working towards the same goal made it easier. By day 6, I felt energised, my jeans felt a little looser and my bank a little fuller (bringing in lunch every day is a win-win). One week down and feeling great.”
“The first week was tough for me as I was off work unwell with a lovely infection – not how I’d planned to start, boo! Despite being unable to leave the house much, I did still manage to eat healthily and quite liked the designated carb window (it feels like a treat, but every day). I did do the circuits most nights, which was tough while low in energy. Majorly upping my water intake has done wonders for my skin and I’m feeling much more alert and in a much better mood in the evenings. Come the weekend, I could feel that my jeans were a little looser, but I can’t be sure if it was from the plan, or from throwing up all week. Excited for the next week to give it my all!”
“As I used to be vegan and eat a lot of vegetarian meals, I’ve found myself eating a lot more meat where I would normally have a vegetable and carb based dinner. Swapping my usual lunchtime salad for nighttime and prepping longer meals for lunch has proved tricky in time schedule this week, so I’ve ended up buying out a couple of times but hoping to do food prep for week 2! Doing this whilst going through a break-up was both the best and worst idea possible. I desperately wanted to seek comfort in refined sugars (mostly in the form of ice cream), but instead, I helpfully channelled my energies into using the program as something to focus on and control. Getting up in the mornings for circuits proved NOT to be a thing, so I do them when I get in. I usually only do 8,000 steps on a good day so adapting has meant getting off a tube stop earlier, and also included a couple of night time walks. My body was very tired and craving sugar for days 4-7, but I went ahead and filled it with green tea instead.”
“My key learning from the first week is that it’s all relative. Before Monday, my average daily step count was around 7000 and bumping it up an extra 5,500 felt like an uphill struggle – for about three days. Now I fly through my 12,500 steps and have normally hit 6000 before lunchtime, simply due to small lifestyle changes. My other main takeaway was that my energy levels didn’t suddenly plummet at 4pm, most likely thanks to cutting out most sugars and drinking green tea throughout the day, offering a smoother supply of caffeine than my usual black morning coffee.”
“The hardest challenge was finding a balance between the good habits I already have in place and those of that underpin the program. The level of training I already do is quite extensive and I had been given an even tougher goal of doing 14,000 steps a day. I managed to hit all five days but I did feel quite exhausted by the end of the week as I was layering both my usual intensive training with that of Afitterme.”