The Programme, week 5: Alex Nisbett

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Alex: I rode into work before breakfast for the first time last week and it was absolutely fine. It's about finding out how my body will react to burning up every last bit of energy and then having it replenished. The diet is working, although we've had a few too many salads. The non-essential exercises are still the weak link because I have to create time to do them. The good news is that my knee has repaired itself.

Matt Lovell, nutritionist: Alex has just started cycling into work on an empty stomach and has found that this isn't as difficult as he was anticipating. As winter arrives, salads and colder foods lose their appeal; the natural tendency is to increase the winter-warming carbohydrates in our diet. We've switched to hot dishes with roasted vegetables, stir fries, steamed and grilled veggies and warm salads. Soups really come into their own, providing warmth and taking the edge off the appetite for the following courses.

Neal Chamberlain, trainer: This week Alex's knee is much better; by being cautious and knowing how hard to push himself the problem seems to have sorted itself out. He has also reported changes in the tone and shape of his upper body. As a result his strength programme has been modified. We have introduced "supersets" into his strength training, so Alex will be doing two different exercises for the same body part without a break, to maximise muscle fatigue.


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 and dumb-bell flies: 2x12 each
Shoulder presses and lateral raises: 2x12 each
Tricep dips and bicep curls: 2x12 each
Squats and jump lunges: 2x12 each

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