One man’s quest to lose weight. Fast!

In a bid to get ready for the summer, we sign up with Ultimate Performance Dubai. Here’s how much we’ve progressed.

Meryl D'Souza April 17, 2017

In my 27 years, I’ve been to only a handful of gyms. Not one of those visits was for more than a day. For the longest time, I didn’t need to go to one but when I needed to, I wasn’t motivated enough. 

In March this year, I decided I needed to do something about the protruding planet I call a belly – not to mention the sagging moobs. With this epiphany, I signed up for a three-month transformation session with Ultimate Performance Dubai - the swanky gym from London that specialises in body transformations opened its doors on March 20.

Before my first session, I was asked to fill out a Pre-Exercise Appraisal form. It’s essentially a form with over 50 questions that asks you to explain your lifestyle in great detail. I take my time filling up the form, but I know it’s just a redundant formality. At least, I thought it was.

Day 01: The initiation

A couple of days after filling out the form, I was called into UP fitness’ Dubai headquarters at the Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC. I walked through the glass doors and was surprised to find that the gym didn’t smell like sweat. From what I heard, most gyms did. 

A smiling, jacked up young man greets me at the reception. He’s shorter than I am but looks more than capable of lifting me with just one hand. “Hi, I’m Nathan. It’s Meryl, right?” he says extending his hand. Still taking in the popping veins from his bulging biceps, I only manage a nod.

There isn’t any time for pleasantries here. Nathan ushers me into the changing room. Before he does, I notice a wall-of-fame of body transformations. I make a mental note to check it out in detail later. 

After I’m done changing, Nathan takes me into a little room where we start taking body measurements. I say body measurements, but it’s actually fat measurements with a caliper. At this point, my dignity is on the floor, threatening to go lower.

"Being embarrassed is good,” Nathan says as he continues to clip on the fat. “Remember this moment when you start feeling like you want to cheat or quit.”

Not cheating is a big part of the transformation. Not because I’m going to slack off on the workout – Nathan makes sure that doesn’t happen – but because the diet is what makes the whole thing possible. 

And that is my Achilles heel: diet. A quick insight into my daily routine: Get up, skip breakfast so that I can sleep a little longer, get to work, order something for lunch, eat nothing until dinner, gorge when dinner comes. My lunches or dinner would include junk food at least twice a week. Of course, Nathan already knows that thanks to the appraisal form. In fact, the man has studied it and checks on me at least twice every day to ensure I don’t stray. Don’t you just hate WhatsApp?

Since this is my initiation, today’s session will only be drills to gauge my (non-existent) fitness levels. We start with squats. Nathan corrects my posture as I struggle through – but finish – ten. I was quite proud of myself until he introduced me to the Pendulum. For those of you who have had the good fortune of never meeting this abomination, it’s a piece of equipment that makes you do squats but with weight because apparently doing squats wasn’t enough.

We do a couple of more different exercises before we call it a day. It’s only been 30-minutes, but I’m winded and paralysed. Still, it’s a start. 

Day 03: The struggle is real

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” That’s a line from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Truer words were never spoken. Two days into my diet and I find myself craving comfort food. The universe conspired for me to have it too.

In the two days since I started, we had a tiramisu cake brought in for a colleague’s birthday. Life was teasing me. I think I cried a little when I declined to have a piece and sat with my broccoli and chicken in front of me. Besides, Nathan kept checking up on me every day. I could not let him down. 

To his credit, Nathan gave me a whole list of things I could make, but chicken and broccoli were the easiest. Plus, I had never even heard of some of those ingredients on the healthy menu. 

Day 07: The first week

Friends or relatives who have ever been to a gym will tell you that your first day at the gym is the worst. Don’t believe them. The first day is relatively easy to what follows. Since I have another twelve weeks to write about and explain what goes into transforming your body with UP fitness, let me simply show you a glimpse of what my first week was like: