Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Getting M.A.D.E

As much as Sarah and I love eating and drinking our way around SW6, all in the name of producing an excellent local blog of course, our supposed ‘altruism’ has been wreaking minor amounts of havoc on our waist lines. We’ve tried yoga, hell, I’ve even tried the Dukan (effective, but short-term and painfully dull), but with summer holidays approaching, it was really time to bring in the big guns.

And what big guns they were...  Ladies and Gents, let us introduce Karl Williams of M.A.D.E  (@MadePtLondon).

Karl offers a service that is bespoke and also pretty darn efficient. He’ll assess your diet, lifestyle, objectives and body fat ratio and his 30 minute sessions use abbreviated metabolic training to make sure you get the same results as you would from a full hour – whilst you retain an extra half hour of your social life! He is also a big believer in getting the techniques right, as there’s no point congratulating yourself on your 100th squat if the way you’re squatting has made them all only 10% as effective as they could be! He also whole heartedly believes in the importance of building a community to help people achieve their goals. M.A.D.E aims to offer online services and hubs that help people share their achievements, top tips and motivate each other to make sure you keep on going, improving and surpassing your own expectations even when he isn’t there to stop you slipping!

When we met with Karl last weekend, he not only devised us a doubly efficient work-out regime but also gave a very educated, and diplomatic, analysis of our frankly shambolic food diaries from the previous week. Glossing over the several flapjacks, cocktails and total lack of vitamin C (it was a tough week in the office, OK!) Karl explained a little more about his philosophy towards food. He encouraged us to work with what we’re all already doing, and avoid absolutes. If someone is a total coffee fiend, there’s no point banning it completely, as it simply won’t happen, and they’ll get demoralised. Naturally, I have since gratefully applied this principle to my abhorrently large chocolate intake. He believes everybody is different and so you’ll need to experiment with your diet and find what works for you – hence our food and mood diary. That said, he’s a firm believer that the modern diet simply doesn’t work with the way our bodies were designed. The original human (and sadly, we don’t seem to have evolved much since) was designed to eat meat, fish and vegetables. Refined carbs like white pasta and white bread are harder to digest and hence lead to sluggishness and weight gain. Still, not all carbs are bad, and my favourite sweet potatoes were given a thumbs up (thank god!)
Diets and philosophy well analysed, we moved onto our introductory training session. Karl invited us to train at the wonderful 37 Degrees club in Kensington Olympia, and after an introductory tour filled with loads of oohs and aaahs (they have a sweet roof terrace which has been used to film many ads) we got to see just how efficient one half hour could be...

...The answer, for all you gym marathon loving sceptics, is pretty bloody efficient. The abbreviated metabolic training method means you do not stop! Whilst you rest your legs you’re pumping iron with your “guns” (*ahem* bingo wings) and whilst you’re not lifting barbells, doing planks and impersonating Usain Bolt on the cables, Karl will have you doing squats, the dreaded burpees (guys there is no escape, we really did beg!) and step ups. He also introduced us to a fairly ruthless Japanese method of interval training, called tabata, which involves working at a well-enforced 100% on the cycling machine for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds gentle cycling, repeated four times. This may sound short, but even the resident “Spinning Queen” Sarah admitted she found it quite a struggle. All I’ll say is, if there was ever a way to maximise your workout in the shortest amount of time possible, tabata is it! The net result is, your heart rate is raised (in my case, verging on cardiac arrest) very consistently for the whole half hour, even when you are “resting” one part of your body. Half an hour was definitely enough to wash away the sins of a chocolate-flapjack breakfast (told you the food diary was dire) and a little more –Sarah are I were very grateful for the steam room and pool at 37 degrees afterwards!

The best news is, initial consultations with Karl are free (for the ladies, the next best news is that Karl is pretty easy on the eye). Karl really does place emphasis on the bespoke elements of his programme and so we heartily encourage you to find out what he can do for you. He’s totally accessible, and always available to his clients via email to give extra advice, motivation and tips: everything from how to negotiate the breakfast buffet on your next holiday to “Help! I need something I can do at home to get rid of my bingo wings!” (guilty!). We reckon we’ve found a real gem here, so we’ll definitely be going back.

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