Those marketing chaps at Maximuscle do a fine job. You can’t read a rugby magazine or browse a website without noticing images of a rugby-playing adonis, as lean as an Ethiopian marathon runner but as strong as an Eastern European discuss-thrower.
It all makes you wonder…could that be me? The team here at The Rugby Blog is by no means overweight, but probably not unlike many amateur rugby folk, there’s the odd layer of excess fat and endless stories of that six pack hiding beneath ten years-worth of weekend Guinness.
So when Josh Lewsey is staring back at you clenching his washboard stomach and suggesting that all you need is some protein, a fat-burner and a spot of exercise, we tend to pay attention. After all, we already do some exercise and the calendar is telling us that summer is here (even if the weather isn’t) and surely we aren’t the only ones that dream of turning heads on the beach.
Our curiosity got the better of us and we got in touch with Maximuscle, who were so confident that we’d be impressed with their products that they sent us some without charge. As a thank you, we joined their affiliate programme, (so if you want to buy any of their products, please use our links) and we set an 8-week challenge to one of our team, and this is what he found…
The first warning that comes with the products is that you need a steady exercise regime to see the benefits – I’ve always been a member of a gym, so didn’t see this as a problem, but it turns out that you also have to go quite regularly to make the supplements work.
The second important factor is that you need a sensible diet, so sinking twelve pints at the weekend will undo any hard work you’ve put in during the week and probably take you back to square minus one.
So taking all of this on board, I vowed to do it properly – after all, it’s only 8 weeks and I had always thought that I’d never fully realised my significant potential for that sculpted look. Adding to the incentive was my 10-day diving holiday in Egypt in a couple of months’ time and my mental image of my rolled-down wetsuit and glistening six pack!
In consultation with a fitness trainer, we put together an 8-week plan that I could realistically keep to, fit around my numerous existing time commitments and factoring in a course of Promax and Thermobol.
Promax is a whey protein supplement, which you could probably do without if you only ate egg whites, but is essential for building lean muscle. Thermobol is a fat-loss supplement that simply speeds up your metabolism so that you digest foods more quickly before they are stored as fat.
Broadly speaking, the exercise regime consisted of three gym sessions per week, which we felt was just about achievable. In addition, I had to go for a twenty-minute run nearly every morning, making up for the fact that I simply couldn’t get to the gym every day by doing some form of cardiovascular work. I normally get quite bored of running and gym work, but taking the supplements reminded me that I had to keep it up.
I consumed three protein shakes per day after exercise and in between meals, and took three tablets of Thermobol just before a meal. The effect of the increased metabolism was that I was often hungry just before mealtimes despite all the intake of food and protein, and as long as I avoided any temptation to snack, it meant I was encouraged by the effects of what I was doing.
After following the weights programme (the key is to do both cardio and weights, apparently), I felt my strength begin to increase and although the mirror was only suggesting a slight improvement halfway through the programme, I certainly felt physically fitter. This might have had as much to do with significantly reducing alcohol intake, but the improvement incentivised me to carry on.
There were certainly some dark times and some early mornings, but by the final couple of weeks, I was loving it. Mixing up my gym exercises, swapping the dull running for swimming and cycling and continuing to take the Promax and Thermobol, I actually started to see the results and count down to the holiday.
It took a little while to show, but my layer of fat certainly reduced a little and my pumped up muscles were starting to show and I couldn’t wait to get through to the holiday. I wasn’t quite at Josh Lewsey levels after 8 weeks (to be honest, nowhere near), but it seemed to me that the more seriously you take it and the harder you work, the greater effect the products will have.
As it happens, I was so excited about my improved look that I whipped off my shirt and then got sunburnt all over my stomach on the first day and had to wear a t-shirt for the rest of the trip – even when I was swimming, which shot down any hopes of looking remotely cool!
Nevertheless, I’ll be investing in some more of these products, not just to change the way I look, but also to improve how fit I feel, to keep those endorphins flowing and to encourage me to make the most of that unnecessarily expensive gym membership.
I can’t promise to keep off the beers, but a programme like this a couple of times a year will hopefully negate the effects, and might do wonders for my pre-season training.