When I received an email claiming that on the “first 12 days of a programme people lost on average 7.5lbs of fat and gained 3lbs of muscle, training just 20 minutes per day”, it’s fair to say I had my doubts.
The Clock has opened recently on Marylebone’s Wimpole Street, the new sister location of The Library in Notting Hill and situated in a beautiful Marylebone town house. Despite the big claims, I agreed to meet for a quick tour of the building and an introduction to how things work, and eventually I agreed to take part in a 1 month blitz split across 2 weeks on a high fat diet and 2 weeks on a high protein diet, with the 20 minute work outs happening each morning.
The background is I’ve always tried to stay fit, and considering I spend about 8 hours a day sat in front of a computer I consider myself in good shape. But nutrition has always been the hardest part for me, and I know that without good nutrition I never really see great results – so I was glad to see nutrition being such a key part of The Clock experience, not just the exercise – no doubt stemming from founder Zana Morris‘ nutritionist roots.
Weeks 1 & 2 – High Fat
The high fat diet is fascinating in itself – and a diet that sounds completely contradictory. With every meal I needed to consume 85g of fats in the form of avocado, walnuts, pumpkin seeds or full fat cream cheese. Yes, in order to burn fat I had to eat full fat Philadelphia in near industrial quantities… Smoked salmon, omelettes and sirloin steak with a healthy amount of greens made up the rest of the meal plans. Along the way there was zero alcohol, zero sugar and zero carbs. I was warned that if I broke any of these rules, the results could be really limited. Fortunately with a trip to the South of France planned for the end of the first 2 weeks, there was light at the end of the tunnel the whole way and I somehow managed to find the focus to behave – I didn’t put one foot wrong, although it took a lot of focus and there were times where I was really craving sugar or carbs.
Now, believe me when I say I still can’t look at an avocado without feeling a bit sick, but boy were the results effective. I’ve personally always struggled the most around my waste – it’s where fat quickly builds up around the belly, and it’s the hardest part for me to lose no matter how hard I work. But in the two weeks on the plan, belly fat quite literally dropped off me, to the point I had to buy a new pair of jeans and a tighter belt after 10 days. The science is that the morning workout gets the body burning, and eating high quantities of fat encourages that fat burning to keep happening. We’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that fats are bad for us, but it’s just not the case, and I actually found that my appetite was suppressed a lot too – apparently a result of eating lots of good fats.
Check out Zana’s book “The High Fat Diet” for more information.
Weeks 3 & 4 – High Protein
The high protein diet was, fortunately, a bit easier than the high fat diet. Breakfast usually consisted of fat free yoghurt (500g) with more sour fruits such as raspberries and blueberries. The challenge was really getting enough protein – 12og at lunch and about 480g at dinner in the form of chicken, tuna, haddock, cod and lean beef to name a few. Again, plenty of green vegetables were on the list too – think spinach, broccoli, peas, green beans.
The goal here was to keep the fat off that I had lost before, but now to gain some muscle mass.
Again, the results spoke for themselves. The work outs continued as normal, each day working on either legs, chest & back or shoulders & arms. I noticed a visible size increase around my arms and chest, as my arms and legs also became much more defined and even signs of the previously non-exist abs started to appear.
By the end of the process I had gone from 20.3% body fat to 13.9% whilst losing 10lbs of fat and gaining 4lbs of muscle. If those numbers don’t make you consider getting in shape at The Clock this summer, nothing ever will!
The facilities at The Clock are second to none – it’s like visiting someone’s luxury Marylebone home each morning – and you can even wonder in to the kitchen, take a seat at the kitchen table and The Clock’s chef will cook you a breakfast that fits with your meal plan. The team behind The Clock really define the experience – friendly and helpful faces are everywhere, whilst the trainers in particular take the time to really understand your goals and what else is going in your life, aside from just training.
There’s no question that The Clock can get staggering results in a relatively short period of time. It takes drive and focus from your end, but as with most things in life you get out what you put in. Work hard at the gym and stick to the meal plans and you will be amazed at what can be achieved in limited timeframes.