You know when you pick up Men’s Health because it says “completely tone up within the next 4 days and be summer body ready by next Tuesday” on the front cover? And then you thumb through it to the page it’s on and try and memorise the complete exercise and dietary regime so that you don’t actually have to buy the magazine? And then you go home and try to master a backwards plank and force yourself to drink quinoa blended with carrot peelings and expect to see at least one abdominal muscle by the end of day 1?

Right, well that isn’t realistic, as I’m sure we’ve all realised.

What we may have also realised is that I am writing about health and exercise. Not my usual wheelhouse. But – my blog will be taking a slightly different direction over the next 8 weeks, thanks to a project I have taken on.

Via my Made In Chelsea circles I met James Sandford. He’s a personal trainer, a pro rugby player, 17 times my height and was the guy who basically said ‘hi’ to Louise Thompson on the latest season of MIC and riled up her pedantic boyfriend because of it. Well, who needs THAT?


James has taken me on as a protégé of sorts. I have always tried to be healthy and fit, took up running a few years ago, have done some half marathons, starved myself in the lead up to holidays, etc etc. My personal fitness ‘behaviour’ has been self-taught and probably massively misinformed. I’m busy, with a life, a job, and a genetically normal make-up. In other words, I’m interested to see whether someone who doesn’t have time to spend 12 hours a day exercising or cooking organic, free-range, antibiotic-free chicken can go through the kind of Men’s Health transformation that the media often promises, with success.

So… with James as my sherpa, I’m doing an 8 week programme, during which I will be charting it on my blog and social media; this will result in a big article that will be a retrospective at the end of the 2 months. Along the way, we’ll team up with a few special ‘guests’; and I’ll be following a diet regime courtesy of FreshFitnessFood over the final 30 days.

Right now, I’m sat on my sofa having done my first totally strict day on the plan. Last week was sort of Week 0, where I began some of the programme and eased into the diet. I’d actually recommend this method – it means you’re not quitting bad foods cold turkey, and you’re getting your body used to intense exercise. There were points during Week 0 when I literally begged for the sweet relief of death. But once my life stopped flashing before my eyes on Tuesday evening after I did a bleep test (and had already given up in my head), I realised how energised I felt and how motivated it made me.

Given that I am a writer by profession, I plan on charting this honestly, and accurately (and with no grammar mistakes). I’m not going to lie – if in 2 weeks I’m feeling depressed because I’m panicking that it’s all for nothing, then I’ll write it down. If I’m suddenly hating James because he shouted at me, I’ll vent on here. I’m HOPING that the outcome will be a retrospective in which I can be all smug and ‘Yes We Can’ about it. Ultimately this is about transformation, fitness, lifestyle and health – but from a real POV. When reality stars and fitness personalities post online, it’s often un-relatable, condescending and either motivates without realism or demotivates overall. I, basically, will tell it as it is.

Follow my Instagram if you don’t already @drewjbullock

And check out James’ too @jamessandford4

More to come soon…

– A

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