MANY of you will be celebrating the end of Dry January ... for another year at least!
January, of course, has always been one of the most miserable months in the calendar – post-Christmas lull, decorations coming down, gloomy weather, no money, credit card bills, tax returns, etc, etc.
Not having alcohol to help soften the blow has always seemed like a step too far as far as I was concerned.
However, after a particularly over-indulgent festive period, this year I thought: ‘Why not? Let’s give it a go.’
But why stop there?
Why not combine that with trying to make a more lasting impact on my overall diet and lifestyle?
Which is why I came to also sign up for an eight-week crash course in health and nutrition, to try and make a real difference to the way I think about food and drink as well as consume it.
The beauty being, if I can do it, anyone can do it.
Still in my 30s (only just, but still), I still like to consider myself physically active – although I know I could and should do a bit more.
I play 5-a-side most weeks, and can be found pounding the streets of Wigan during August and the first week of September to ensure I hand colleagues Phil Wilkinson, Greg Farrimond and Tom McCooey their annual beating in the Wigan 10k (there’s always next year fellas...).
Diet-wise, I’d consider myself pretty average – as long as the average man enjoys pasta, pizza, pies, poached eggs and the odd glass of wine too many at the weekend.
But the chance to educate myself on what I’ve been (mostly) doing wrong and, more importantly, finding out what I can do to put it right was too good to turn down. So for the next couple of months, I’ll be guided through the process by a couple of experts in the field.
Mission Nutrition is a professional family-run sports nutrition brand based in Appley Bridge.
The team there, led by local man Jack Yates, has more than 25 years of production and manufacturing experience – with 12 of them in the sports nutrition sector.
Frustrated with poor-quality proteins flooding the market – and with the help of mum Valerie and sister Jodie – Jack decided he wanted to “shake things up”.
He admits: “I was always hunting for products with high protein, low carbs at a good price, never really knowing what I was getting in the giant tubs coming through the door.
“So I decided if I really wanted to know, I’d have to create it myself.”
With a quarter of a century’s worth of experience in the sports supplement industry, the team create unique formulas using a giant blender with ingredients approved by Informed Sport – the world anti-doping agency – which is all labelled, boxed and shipped from their Wigan base.
“Starting a new brand from scratch and taking on major industry players may seem like a brave move,” recognised Jack. “But we believe, with a lots of hard work – much like the customers who use our supplements – the results will follow.”
Also in my corner is Ryan Garnett, a fully-qualified Personal Trainer based at the GymWorks facility in Euxton.
Ryan’s put together a meticulous diet that I’ll be following over the next eight weeks, along with the supplements from Mission Nutrition, which he says – along with a couple of gym sessions a week – will guarantee I shed pounds and increase body definition and fitness.
Well that sounds good – even if the absence of most of my favourite meals for the foreseeable certainly does not.
My opening conversation with Ryan was something an eye-opener – to him at least – as I talked him through my regular diet.
Apparently a couple of cups of coffee does not constitute ‘breakfast’.
And my two meals, at roughly 1pm and 8pm, was a recipe for disaster in terms of (lack of) digestion and (unavoidable) fat storage.
“A lot of people don’t think their diets and routines aren’t all that unhealthy until they sit down and talk it through,” reveals Ryan. “Then they’re like: “Wow,” – which I have to say was my exact same reaction some moments earlier.
Thankfully I’m going to be looked after by people who know what they’re doing, providing a weekly update on how I’m getting on and hopefully the benefits I’m reaping!
Next week’s column will include a detailed run-down of what I’ll be eating and drinking over the course of the eight weeks, as well as the nutritional supplements to assist my efforts.
Wish me luck!
For more information, go to missionnutritioneurope or visit Facebook and check out ‘Mission Nutrition Europe’ as well as ‘Ryan Garnett Personal Training’.