WHAT better way to fight the festive flab than in the very capable hands of a world champion and Olympic medallist?
For Doncaster’s own sporting superstar Sarah Stevenson is doing her own bit for the legacy of London 2012 by getting us all fighting fit.
Tae kwon do world champion and Beijing bronze medallist Sarah, 29, is spearheading The Fitness Project, a new website that anyone can log onto and get one to one video tutorials in the comfort of their own home.
And what’s more, its all free. No expensive gym memberships, no gimmicky cash-in celebrity fitness DVDs – in short, no excuses.
And yours truly agreed to be put through my paces by Sarah in among the occasional tables and scatter cushions of my own home.
“It is for everyone,” she said. “Most people say they have no time – well everyone has got a few minutes in their day, no matter who they are or how busy they are to do this and get fit. There’s no feeling self conscious in the gym – and I’ve done this at home in my pyjamas!”
So, with the sofa pushed back to make some space, Rudimental’s Feel The Love pumping from the iPod speakers and Sarah looking toned and lithe in lycra and me more akin to a beached whale and armed only with a towel and a glass of water, we got down to business.
“You’ll be fine,” Sarah reassured me as we began with drop squats. “Stick your bum out more,” she urged, mindful not to ram my posterior into the TV or our photographer’s face.
Easy. Bring on the next step. “Press-ups,” says Sarah. Gulp. Now this is something I’ve never been good at. I’ve seen my own children do better at “forefeits” at football training.
Now I’m up against a trim, toned four time Olympic athlete at the peak of her fitness. As my sweat-drenched nose crumples into the fabric of the sofa and with Rudimental demanding to know if I “can feel the love” I feel I know the answer.
But there’s still the cross jumps and plank to press exercises to contend with – and that’s not to mention a flurry of punches to finish with. Olympic types can pack a lot into just eight minutes.
By the end of it, Sarah has barely broken a sweat. I, on the other hand have developed the complexion of a boiled beetroot and am making a noise like an 80-a-day smoker on a treadmill being run on cheap batteries.
“I reckon you could do that again,” she says. My aching frame suggests otherwise. But, jokes aside, I know I can and will. For its a simple idea and one that each and everyone of us can fit into our day.
But the old adage “no pain, no gain” rings true.
The website offers top tips and advice from Sarah, nutrition and recipes as well as video workouts you can watch through your PC, tablet or smartphone, so if you’ve got the time, space and inclination, there’s nothing to stop you.
Sarah is now taking an extended break from tae kwon do and she admits: “I am loving it. Its nice to lead a normal life for a bit. If I feel I’m missing tae kwon do I’ll go back to it, but at the moment, it’s good to do other things. I am hoping this will inspire others and get in shape. I’m not saying they’ll become Olympic athletes but it’s good to pass on something that will hopefully help others.”
* You can visit the free website at The Fitness Project