The Programme, week 1: Alex Nisbett

'I'd like to lose my love handles - but I'm not giving up the beers without reason'
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The Independent Online

Alex: I really love participating in sports. I ran the first two London Marathons and played a lot of softball and baseball in the Eighties and early Nineties. I don't believe I'm unfit now, but I would like to improve my core strength. My legs are fine – I cycle 17 miles to and from work each day – but I have got a bit of a belly. I guess I'd like to lose the love handles and tone my upper body without decreasing my energy levels. I think we're going to have to be quite realistic about the nutrition side of the programme. We eat quite healthily already – and I'm not willing to give up the beers without reason.

Matt Lovell, nutritionist: Alex begins his day with a bowl of muesli, an apple juice and a coffee. Alex then cycles just under nine miles to work. At work Alex has two or three pints of water, another coffee. Lunch is bought in – usually a chicken-salad sandwich with mayo. Alex then won't eat until dinner-time, unless he's had to work late – in which case he has a Mars bar or a can of cola. We will be looking at the ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrate in Alex's diet. We will reduce the starchy carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta and potatoes) and increase his fibrous carbohydrates (above-the-ground vegetables) and protein intake.

Neal Chamberlain, trainer: Alex has been no stranger to vigorous exercise in the past, participating in many sports and athletics in particular. But he has now got an ongoing knee ligament problem which is inflamed by loading of the knee, which therefore rules out jogging as an exercise option. Alex cycles to work every day – a 17-mile round-trip. He would like to increase muscle tone from the waist up, lose a bit of weight, and it was agreed that he would also benefit from a core-stability program. Due to time constraints and having a one-year-old, a local gym is not an option.

Exercises

Aerobic – every day
Cycling: To work – 2 days at faster pace; 2 days with intervals – 2min fast, 2min moderate

Strength – twice a week
Press-ups 2x12, on incline
Shoulder press with dumb-bells 2x12
Triceps dips 2x12
Bicep curls 2x12
Jump lunges 2x15

Flexibility – every day
Hamstring stretch 30sec hold
Gluteal stretch 30sec hold
Quad stretch 30sec hold
Calf stretch 30sec hold
Lower back stretch 30sec hold

Core – twice a week
The plank on feet 2x1min hold
Bicycle crunch (elbow to opposite knee) 2x12
Crunches on gym ball 2x12

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