Phil's three month personal training programme

Three months, 36 hours, one goal...TOTAL FITNESS

Some might question the sanity of anyone embarking on a serious fitness regime during advent. Pip Loach's latest Personal Training recruit, Phil, takes a different perspective, laughing in the face of festive temptation, "I'm after the gift that keeps on giving - a healthy body, so why wait?!" And in the three month programme Phil is starting with Pip, he is confident he will achieve just that.

It's true, Christmas brings with it fitness obstacles neatly wrapped in the shape of office parties, family feasts and gift shopping to name just a few. Former counsellor turned Personal Trainer, Pip Loach is well-placed to provide the advice and support Phil will need to keep him on target. It's Christopher and Madeleine, Phil's children, heavily into football and gymnastics though, who are providing the greatest motivation right now, "My kids are setting me the good example with health and fitness at the moment - isn't it meant to be the other way around?"asks Phil.

Forget body-building…

If you've not been in a gym for a while the first goal has to be building your confidence, which is what Pip and Phil have spent the first two weeks of the programme working on. "With so much choice of equipment, gyms can appear intimidating places for beginners. So for the first couple of weeks, Phil and I are ignoring the glistening machines and concentrating on functional fitness, stretching and strengthening techniques using the free weights and the floor area. Only then will we progress to machines for part of Phil's workout," explains Pip.

All the colours of the rainbow

Pip is also advising Phil on the nutritional changes he needs to make to achieve his three stone weight loss target. Trying to eat a varied selection of colours on your plate is her advice - sadly this doesn't include the Quality Street. "Calorie counting is hard work, instead my three tips to Phil, or anyone trying to eat more healthily, are to eat colourful fruit and vegetables - this will maximise vitamin and mineral uptake. It's easy to reduce your portion size by using a smaller dinner plate. Finally, keep an honest food diary - then it's easy to check you're getting a good balance of the food groups."

Brother Phil

So, does this mean that Phil needs to act like a monk over Christmas? "No! What's the point if we can't enjoy ourselves every now and then?", says Pip, "But if Phil wants to survive the silly season without doing too much damage he needs to keep up the exercise, control the portion sizes and make sure he treats himself, otherwise it's all too easy to binge - have a couple of chocolates, not a couple of boxes!"

New Year targets

When the decorations are down and the tinsel tidied away, what are the targets Phil can look forward to in January?

"Phil has lost 5lbs in the first week and his exercise stamina is getting better all the time - when he first joined he would manage 25 minutes - and we are up to 50 minutes already. I want to see Phil progressing to the full 60 minute session by week six with vastly improved core stability," says Pip.

And does Phil have any advice for others thinking about dusting off the trainers in 2013? "Go for it", says Phil. "If I can do it, anyone can! It doesn't matter what size or shape you are - everyone can go to the gym to work out and make a difference."

Remember, your new body is for life - not just for Christmas!