AFTER being away on a friend’s hen weekend, and only fitting in one session the previous week due to work commitments, it was time to get serious.

Monday started with an 8am session with Stephen (very early after two days of serious eating, drinking and merry-making).

To get the weekend’s excesses out of my system, Stephen treated me to a cardio-workout.

This consisted of:

1) 12x Barbell (BB) push press

2) 2 x 20m backward sled drag with 100kg

3) 12 bent over BB Row (I had 5kg each side and the female training bar which is 15kg - 5kg lighter than the male training bar and with a narrower grip)

4) 1 x low handle Prowler push, with a total of 50kg on 5)

20 x Slam ball (about 7kg)

The Slam ball – a weighted ball with no bounce that I lifted above my head then "slammed" back down onto the floor - was a new one on me, and great for getting out any pent up aggression.

Once through was fine, twice through was okay, third time through – getting tough and needed a water-stop, fourth time through – heart pounding out of chest.

I didn’t think I’d make the fifth time through. But lo and behold, I survived and completed it all for a fifth time, albeit a lot more slowly.

This session certainly made for less chit chat, but despite what my grumpy-morning face looked like, I really enjoyed it - possibly because cardio-type training is more what I’m used to, so I was slightly more in my comfort zone.

Wednesday’s session with Ian started on a high point with the best of Will Smith playing as I walked through the door.

To the strains of Summer-Summer-Summertiime, we started by loosening off my calves (tight, as ever) and doing some walking lunges while holding a barbell with no weights above my head. No mean feat when your brain hasn’t quite clicked into “on” mode yet. The aim of this was to warm my legs up a bit before we got onto the squat lifts with a heavier weight than I’ve done before.

Because I’m a bit soft, Ian suggested I use strapping for my hands, which made a real difference to my grip.

Five lots of these, and then we alternated three lots of split squats (this time with my front foot on a much lower step) with 7kg hand weights, and a new manoeuvre - a good morning.

So called because that’s how we’re meant to pop up from our beds in the morning, helpfully demonstrated to me by Ian, it involved sitting with a barbell across the back of my shoulders, leaning as far forward as possible, then sitting back up to work my pelvis area and lower back.

I could feel this working into my groins. At the time that was all, but over the next two days I could tell my glutes and hams had had a severe going-over. My glutes especially felt like little angry lumps of almost-set cement.

To finish off we alternated 15 reps on the glute-ham machine with walking lunges carrying 7.5kg hand weights.

I don’t know what was the hardest bit, trying not to dissolve into a fit of giggles when James Brown’s Sex Machine started playing half way through a set on the glute-ham, or dragging my leaden legs up and down the astro-strip.

Friday, and the end of the week is in sight. It’s an arms day, and Ian starts me off with some barbell action, finishing with a total of 15kg – a lot by my standards.

After this it’s onto a 6kg hand weight, lifted above my head, left hand then right hand, alternated with seated arm-pulls. I’m struggling with the weight at first, but eventually get myself into a rhythm and it’s more manageable.

The next pair of exercises are lifting dumbbells above my head while seated, laid back at a 60 degree angle, and then a rowing-type rope pull where my hands end up near my ears.

We started with the 7.5kg dumbbells but soon realised they were far too heavy, so it was back to the 5kgs.

Conversely, we started with 5kg on the rowing machine but that was too easy, so we changed it to 12.5kg on the next set.

And to finish my week’s training: farmer’s walks. Bearing in mind I live on a farm, and I can walk, these should be second nature. But blimey, I could tell it had been a long week. The frame was heavy enough before we even put the weights on it. My hands were struggling, and I had to grit my teeth, but I managed three times up and down the strip – I may almost have been jogging the last bit though mind.

I survived my three sessions in five days, plus a game of indoor hockey, on the back of a weekend of drunken silliness. If that isn’t the sort of training that will make me stronger, I don’t know what is.