And so the challenge really begins. After two weeks / five sessions with Giles, work-related travel means I'm on my own for the next 10 days. It is then a test of willpower, resolve and my own smiling abilities to make myself hurt quite a lot.
As if to leave me a reminder of what I'm missing - and probably to show me the levels required to actually fulfill this (ridiculous!) project within the "official" six months - Giles broke out some new exercises yesterday: a slightly different abdominal crunch; and the first of, I suspect, several involving dumbbells.
To his credit, Giles did admit that the latter - lie back, hold 2 x 20kg dumbbells together over my head, move apart, rotate wrists, take dumbbells down wide to the side, repeat - might leave me "a little bit stiff tomorrow morning". So far, so good, although I did notice the effort when I attempted to pick up a bag yesterday. And, on second thoughts, carrying anything heavier than a gerbil above shoulder height might be a little tricky today. What's that word I'm thinking of? No, not that one, I would never call Giles that (well, only under my breath when he makes me do this exercise again). No, I meant that other word. What is it again? Oh yes, that's right. It's "ow".
Will I keep it up? I have to. There is some incentive here - the last couple of weeks have toned things quite dramatically and, if I remember our first, secret, "tale of the tape" correctly, I've also shaved four or five pounds off the frame. The muscle is still generally protected by a layer of cake, but the results are noticeable. I've also got no excuse not to keep the fitness heading north and the scales heading south as at least two of the three hotels I'll be in between now and Monday 27th, have fitness suites, and the second of the press trips is to promote healthy eating. In, er, Las Vegas. It will, frankly, be a test of my resolve. It's all very well going to restaurants to see how you can eat at sensible calorie levels and have salads demonstrated. It's a very different thing actually sticking to the programme and not saying "cool, noted, but that 32oz T-bone over there. I believe it has my name on it..."
Actually, with regard to the layer of cake, I would just like to point out the one thing guaranteed to wind me up: the dismissing of this excess weight as a "beer belly". How insulting. There's a lot more time and effort and money been spent on this flab than just beer, I can tell you. I don't mind the odd joke about my size. Hell, I can hardly deny the bulk, can I? You've got eyes. I'm also generally happy - possibly too happy, according to the Mrs - to be self-deprecating about it. Current faves on that score include "What do you mean get in shape? Round IS a shape" and "My body is a temple. Right now, it's St Paul's Cathedral." But call it a "beer belly" and prepare to feel my wrath. I'd rather you dismiss it as "foie gras flab" or "wine wobbles". At least that shows some thought, originality and, frankly, more historical accuracy...