Business, Life, Travel, Productivity

My Fitness Challenge – Getting Back in Shape!

I’ll be honest. The few months I spent in Thailand were great, it was a very rewarding experience for me and Alyona, but it also had a dark side.

To put it bluntly, I came back to Malta in the worst shape I ever recall being in. I had piled on a few kilograms and was feeling totally inflexible. The mirror spoke back to me very clearly: I had to get my ass off the chair and start training hard.

I’ve always been into sports and fitness, playing two or more football matches a week with my friends, as well as hitting the gym frequently, plus swimming in summer. Cycling was also part of the routine. With regards to food I’ve always been a healthy eater too, apart from binging on buffets every now and then (I love eating!).

So what happened in Thailand?

Well, having a scooter meant I did very little walking, the gym at our condo didn’t exactly have the best machines, and the only exercise I ended up doing was swimming at the condo’s pool. Evidently this wasn’t enough to keep me in good shape. The myriad Thai foods I tried probably didn’t help the cause either. Towards the end of my stay in Thailand, I was regularly on the receiving end of jokes about bellies.

Time to do something…

Andrew Farrugia

Andrew, my trainer

I hate feeling unhealthy, it really demotivates me. Moreover, I want to run at my weekly football matches, not lug my body around at a snail’s pace.

So as soon as I landed back in Malta, I got in touch with my good friend Andrew Farrugia, whom I’ve known since we were kids.

Andrew has always been an extremely dedicated athlete, competing as a sprinter (one of the best in Malta) before turning to body building a few years ago. He’s the type of guy who trains properly and gives health a priority in his life. Just the type I needed to help get me back on track.

Most importantly, Andrew is a clean bodybuilder who strongly opposes the use of steroids and other similar substances. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell where you can arrive because many of the big guys at the gym are taking some substance, which I definitely don’t want to do. All I want is to have a healthy diet and be strong and fit.

When I met Andrew, I declared that I wanted to get fit and that I would do anything he tells me to in order to make it. Which is why after my first week of training, I’m feeling like I’ve just been hit by a truck :)

So it’s been exactly one week since I’ve started training under Andrew’s guidance, and while practically my whole body aches, I already feel much better and am looking forward to the rest of my programme. A proper diet is also essential to achieving results at the gym.

Many people are not aware of this and just concentrate on lifting weights. But the body needs the proper fuel to grow. Andrew has therefore given me a low carb, high protein diet to start with. This will help me reduce the extra fat, while giving my body the necessary protein to recover and build muscle. Drinking lots of water every day is also part of the diet, I only drink water usually anyway so I just need to continue doing that.

I’m keeping track of my progress and I’ve set a time period of 2 months at the end of which I will show my results here on this blog.

Curiously, I just found out that fellow blogger Tom Ewer is also starting his own transformation program. He will be using the P90X system which is very famous, although it also has its fair share of critics. It will be interesting to compare our results. Like I said, I’m not using any publicly available training program, but Andrew’s custom programme, which is based on his own workouts.

I’m keeping a simple Excel sheet to track my measurements from week to week, and I will be sharing these on Fit for Blogging every Monday.

For now, here’s a screenshot of the BMI test, which is not a totally accurate thing, but it does give a good indication of where one stands. In my case, I’m clearly overweight for my height, so my focus will be on losing the fat, improving my stamina and of course building some strength.

BMI Calculator  Body Mass Index Calculator

BMI Calculator results – I’ve got some fat to lose

I started my training program on the 20th of April, and here are some other readings from my Excel tracking sheet after one week. The measurements are in centimetres. I’ll be updating this table every week and will post the results. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a change in the numbers.

 Week 0Week 1
Biceps (right)3232.5
Thighs (right)6566
Weight (kgs)8888
Training with a smile

Training with a smile

There aren’t any big changes after one week of training, which was expected. My weight also remained stable, my cardio training was probably countered by a lavish dinner and lunch I had to celebrate my birthday. Together with Andrew, we agreed to increase intensity slowly since I’ve been away from the gym for almost a year. The body needs to be eased into new activity or else it will be much more prone to injury, which we obviously don’t want.

Together with cycling and strength training in the gym, I will also be doing my best to fit in a yoga session or two, since I find it very relaxing and also helps me improve my flexibility. At the moment I’ve got a niggling strain in my groin which is preventing me from playing football (I miss it immensely!), but I’m hoping that this will be gone soon and I’ll be back on the pitch with my friends. I find football to be an excellent cardio workout.

Ok, that’s it for today, stay tuned for my progress reports!

About Jean

Jean Galea is an online entrepreneur focusing on the WordPress niche. He is the founder of WP Mayor and WP RSS Aggregator.


  1. Best of luck Jean! I’m on first ever 2 months training!
    let’s get fit

  2. Andrew Farrugia says:

    Way to go Jean – no pain no gain! Looking forward to some nice fresh figures on your excel sheet next week :)

    • Indeed!

      Note: Andrew has sworn to wipe that smile off my face by increasing the training intensity. Oh dear! :)

  3. Good luck Jean! It will indeed be interesting to see how our results compare as it seems we’re in pretty similar shape. I’m hoping we’ll both be very successful :-)

    • Thanks and good luck to you too mate. Lets see how it goes! It’s an added motivation to be able to compare my results with yours since as you say, we’re probably at the same level at the start point.

  4. Hey Jean,

    I’m surprised to hear that Thailand was bad for your health. I had the opposite experience. Eating all the fresh fruits and vegetarian meals, combined with walking everywhere and taking yoga classes got me in shape very fast. I lost 10kg in about 6 weeks. I find it much easier to stay healthy in Chiang Mai, than any other city I’ve lived in.

    • Hey John, I probably should have been clearer about that. It’s not that Thailand itself was bad for my health (apart from the issue of pollution, which is another topic altogether).

      As you say, if you want to eat healthy it’s a wonderful place to be, and there’s plenty of things you can do to stay fit (gym, yoga, hiking, cycling, etc.). It was more a question of myself not keeping a proper diet and wanting to try out many different types of food which were new for me (some of which weren’t that healthy).

      As you say, in Chiang Mai you can eat out and healthy every day without breaking the bank, and they do have some wonderful fruit shakes which I terribly miss.

      Moreover, as you know I got a bit too addicted to riding that little scooter :) Meaning less walking. Here in Malta I play football twice a week and I didn’t do that in Chiang Mai either. So all this combined led to my putting on some weight.

      So in a nutshell, Chiang Mai is a nice and healthy place, especially if you are a vegetarian (good meat is hard to come by), but when moving residence and changing routines there’s always the risk of getting a bit lazy.

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