Forgive me team, it’s been a while.

I broke my own rule of a weekly update, but I have a really, really good excuse… I was in the gym. Well, it felt like it anyway.

So, 12 weeks down and with our retest and “after” pics complete and results pending, it seems there shouldn’t be much to say. Did I reach my goals? In a word, yes. The details of which I’ll leave to the report back feature in the July issue.

It’s been quite a journey and to be honest I feel a little sad it’s over. The Staff Challenge was one hellova way to kickstart a fitness programme. I haven’t been more motivated, amped and passionate about getting fit since making the 2nd XV in 1987. Ja, that long.

No doubt the Women’s Health and Runner’s World teams that sit within earshot of us are relieved to know the kilojoule-counting and pull-up comparisons are officially over. But from the amazing results and team spirit built up over the last three months, I suspect it’s only the beginning. Well, for me anyway.

Something happened during the Staff Challenge… I forgot I was doing it and just went to gym every morning. It became part of my routine and has continued to be so. I guess that’s the whole idea, I hear you say, but how many workouts have started with good intentions but fallen by the wayside after the final whistle?

I entered the challenge with the goal of finding a gym and a training method that I’d want to continue with well after it was all over. So besides the weight lost and strength gained, I feel the biggest achievement for me has been getting into a routine that is a realistic and enjoyable part of my lifestyle.

I’ve been getting my butt kicked for 12 weeks and I didn’t expect an easy workout, but jeez it’s been fun. Shouldn’t all exercise be that way? Of course I had some injury niggles, a few weeks off for business travel, one or two diet slip-ups and more than a couple of bad workout days, but nothing to put me off.

Key to my enjoyment has been the camaraderie and work ethic at Roark Gyms. Walking into gym just before 7am I feel like Norm as he entered Cheers bar, except I’m pulling in for squats, not shots. If you’re not enjoying gym or seeing results in 12 weeks, something’s wrong. It’s your time and your money, find an activity or gym that suits you. The no-frills, garage gym suits me.

I think all the guys on the team got results because they enjoyed their chosen exercise. And I’m sure you’ll agree, the results are fantastic. It’s truly living the brand and I’m super proud of the team who – with vastly different body types, challenges and fitness goals – all came through with a smile (and a bit of flexing) at the final shoot.

What’s the take-out? If we can do it, so can you.

* Credit and big thanks to James, Ross and all the boys at Roark Gyms. See you tomorrow.
** Thanks to Senior Editor Arthur Jones who co-ordinated it like a pro – look out for the full report back in the July issue.
*** Also thanks to Kathy McQuaide-Little and the team at the Sports Science Institute who made it all legit.