Harley Young goes on a fitness kick with Corporation street gym The Olympus Projects

Working in the Food & Drink Journalism industry is good craic. You’re the first to know about any exciting new openings, meet some of the most talented, influential foodie entrepreneurs and chefs, and you’re invited to try all their wonderful dishes. 

But, like all things that are done in excess, constantly eating rich and plentiful dishes starts to take its toll on the body and, before you know it, you’ve piled on a few extra pounds (or stones, in my case) than you’d accounted for.

In order to improve my relationship with food, grow muscle and get back to a position I’m happy with, I’ve teamed up with The Olympus Projects’ PT and strength & conditioning coach AJ to take part in a 12-week intensive course designed to help me kick the gluttony and tone my body. Alongside this, I’ll be periodically checking in with nutritionist Oliver to manage protein goals and keep my healthy eating habits on track. 

For reference, I’m 5ft3 and my starting weight is 78kg. 

Now the spiel is out of the way, let's get down to business. 💪

This article documents weeks three and four of the 12-week course. If you haven’t already, read weeks one and two here. Check back in two weeks time for another progress update. 

2024 05 08 Olympus Projects Thumbnail

Week 3

Monday 13 May

The eagle eyed amongst you will realise that, between my last check-in and this one, there’s been a gap of a week or so. That’s because I was recovering from my Allurion balloon insertion and had to take a few days of downtime to adjust to my new diet. 

(I’ll be writing a separate article about the Allurion balloon soon so keep your eyes peeled for that one.)

I’ll be totally honest. This first day back after a week off was a STRUGGLE. My muscles were feeling weak from not being able to eat an awful lot for the first few days of having the gastric balloon, so this session was a lot like starting back at square one. 

Thankfully though, I had the knowledge from AJ this time and, even though my body felt like giving out at points, I was familiar with the routine and able to correctly lift weights without causing any injury. 

AJ took my medical procedure into consideration and was patient with getting me back up to speed, acknowledging that it might take a few days to do just that.

Wednesday 15 May

After a day of rest in between, my strength was slowly coming back to me and I managed to push myself a little further during the ‘Labours of Atlas’ session along with my peers who had also joined the class. 

What’s refreshing about Olympus Projects is that each member of the gym is at different stages within their fitness journey, yet we’re all able to work together and motivate each other, using the same technique but with different weights and exertion levels. 

My biggest fear before joining a gym was being part of a class - feeling embarrassed or awkward because I ‘wasn’t as good as someone else’ or ‘didn’t know how to use the equipment’. But after almost three weeks of training, I was beginning to really enjoy the group sessions and getting to know my classmates.

To ease me back into the routine, we started off with just two sessions this week. All the while I was working on my nutrition; upping my protein intake, lowering the carbs and cutting out the fizzy drinks and sweets.

2024 05 08 Olympus Projects Chin Press

Week 4

Monday 20 May 

After a long weekend of resting and adjusting to my new diet, I was ready to get back to work on strengthening my body and becoming a better version of myself. 

I arrived for my one-to-one session with AJ and we got cracking, picking up where we’d left off with conditioning and posture with a full body workout, mainly focusing on my triceps, quads and core. 

By now, the warm-up exercises had become muscle memory (literally) and I was becoming more familiar with the gym’s equipment and how to use it. I began taking to the squat rack like a duck takes to water - a piece of equipment that I feared before joining Olympus Projects. Despite my legs being a little wobbly from being out of the game for four days, I powered through and kept good form. 

I finished the session full of promise for the next.

Tuesday 21 May

My alarm chimed at 6am. I got straight up out of bed and changed into my gym gear. 

At this time of morning I’d normally be fearing, if I lazed about too long, that I might talk myself out of going, but I seemed to have gotten past that. It was chucking it down with rain, but I didn’t really care. I have my weight loss goal in mind and want to smash it, so I tried not to let the weather get me down. 

The gym was fairly quiet today, so we got cracking with some high intensity core exercises that got the heart rate up. I quickly felt knackered, but reminded myself that its mind over matter on days like these and I am capable of getting through a 50 minute workout - it might not feel like it at the 45th minute, but by that point, you might as well see it through.

Lucozade sport has been my best friend recently, giving me those much needed sugary little hits to get up and take on another set.  

Wednesday 23 May

Third day on the trot, I woke up bright and early and made my way into the gym, starting with my usual warm-up exercises. Me and another member then got stuck into the class, working on circuits that revolve around lifting and pull/push motions.  

As my last session of the week, I gave it my all and pushed myself as hard as I could, hitting a new personal best with my deadlifts and upping my barbell weights beyond what I’d lifted with before.

It felt good to achieve something, even if I did feel absolutely knackered afterwards. But the exhaustion soon passed and in its place the buzz of endorphins remained, carrying me through the day and rest of the week. I was beginning to see change; not only in my body and physical ability, but in my mindset, too.    

A barbell weightlifting class at the Olympus Projects in Manchester

Week 4 weigh-in

Impressively, and much to my surprise, after four weeks of training and roughly three weeks with the Allurion balloon, I’ve dropped another 4kg down to 71.7kg. That’s a total loss of 6.3kg - one whole stone down. I’m feeling fitter, my clothes are fitting me better (some even baggy) and my face shape has begun to slim down. I can’t wait to see what the next four weeks hold.

Interested in reaching your body goals? Enquire at The Olympus Projects.  

  The Olympus Projects, 109 Corporation St, Manchester M4 4DX

Read next: Strength training at The Olympus Projects: Weeks 1 & 2

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