Journeyman Jones: Swapping kebabs for keepy-uppy

WHOEVER told you that honesty is the best policy is well....lying. If ever anyone asks me about my dietary habits, exercise regime or general level of fitness, there s always a half-truth to be found somewhere in my response. I ve just received my assessm

WHOEVER told you that honesty is the best policy is well....lying.

If ever anyone asks me about my dietary habits, exercise regime or general level of fitness, there's always a half-truth to be found somewhere in my response.

I've just received my assessment back from personal trainer Oliver and it's littered with lies. Positively replete with fabrications.

"Your dietary habits are very good," it claims. Ahem. While it is true that my fruit intake has increased over recent weeks, "very good" would be stretching it a bit.

What's more, according to the assessment, I only consume five units of alcohol per week. I feel a cough coming on...

Even the cold, hard facts I can't bring myself to believe. I have a healthy heart rate (83 beats per minute) and good blood pressure (133/99).

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Yet, I am not lying out of spite, more out of embarrassment. Who, when questioned on well-being, doesn't adroitly kick the kebabs into touch and proudly boast instead about the number of satsumas they've consumed that day?

"I was late for work because I was on my third bowl of bran flakes, boss," I can almost hear myself saying. "And that after my seven-mile run."

I have always thought, however, that it would be nice to embrace the benefits of fitness. Because, let's be honest, we all want to look good naked.

So, personal trainer Oliver Langford has offered to put me through my paces and see if any benefit can be gleaned.

Oliver is a member of REPS - the Register of Exercise Professionals - an internationally-recognised body for those in the training profession.

He's young (27 is young, I can assure you) and he radiates health. He gave up his job as an analyst for a pharmaceutical company firstly to teach football in America and then to become a PT.

His goal is firstly to ascertain what kind of lifestyle you lead and then devise a fitness regime which is tailored to the needs of that particular person.

He asks me what my goal is. Hard to say. I suppose "get fitter" fits the bill, but how long can I maintain it?

I should mention, too, that I hate gyms. Firstly there's 'induction', a process of telling us, in a roundabout way, that we're all idiots and we can only use the equipment after a two-hour monologue.

Then it's a question of going often enough to justify the (often exorbitant) fee which the gym commands.

Then, if you're really hard-core, you have to drink that powdered stuff in tins and walk around with a heart monitor on.

All of which does not make an afternoon's personal training seem over-promising. After completing a lifestyle questionnaire, and having my blood pressure, heart rate, lung function (250 litres per minute) and body fat (12.5 per cent) measured, it's time to go to work.

First, the rowing machine. Five minutes of this, just to warm up you understand. Co-ordinated pain.

By the end of the stretching warm-up, I want to go home. To start, there's the 'wide grip bent over row', which works the back muscles.

This is followed by the lateral pulldown (don't ask), squats (self-explanatory), multi-directional lunges (enough already), bicep curl (strictly for the show-off) and tricep pushdowns (thank God that's over).

Actually, it's not as bad as I'm making out and as little as one 45-minute session is enough to make me feel better. All Oliver's explanations for each exercise are comprehensive and easy-to-follow, and the rationale behind a strict regime as opposed to mindless reps for hours on end is clear.

Oliver will also feed you handy bits of information to impress your friends with, like how Michael Owen's persistent hamstring problems were caused by the accelerator pedal in his Ferrari (poor love) and other such morsels.

I am now the office fitness guru and have taken to arriving to work in positively indecent Lycra bodystockings, Mr Motivator style.

Well, perhaps I haven't taken it quite that far. We have done some work on my own hamstrings though. I was experiencing some tightness in my right leg, and I'm pleased the tension has dissipated.

If you have aspirations to be like me, best give Oliver a call. He'll sort you out. I'm off to eat 18 cereal bars and to play keepy-uppy with a medicine ball. Take it to the max!

INFO: Oliver can be reached on 07967 208280 or