Major fit


He took part in Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and is a self-confessed health and fitness fanatic. We’d like to introduce you to Q&C’s new fitness expert, handsome Welshman Glenn Mainwaring. Get ready to push your mind and body to the limit with Glenn's help, and without the need of an expensive gym membership.

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I’d like to introduce myself. I’m not a personal trainer and I’m not a body coach. What I am is a fitness fanatic with a passion for the outdoors and good healthy living. So what the hell do I know about fitness?

I recently volunteered myself to undertake the most physical and mental challenge of my life when I took part in the third series of SAS: Who Dares Wins on Channel 4. For anyone unfamiliar with the programme, the show recruits 25 civilian men and puts them through a very gruelling - albeit shorter - version of SAS selection. It's the ultimate endurance test. The course is run by ex-Special Forces soldiers, including celebrity hunk and chief instructor Ant Middleton along with his team of SAS colleagues, Jason Fox (Foxy), Ollie Ollerton and Mark Billingham MBE (Billie).

The recruits are flown out to an unknown location and subject to various high risk challenges like jumping out of moving helicopters, running the Sahara desert in 45 degree heat, abseiling Moroccan dams, hiking the Atlas mountains with 40 kilos in our bergen and a 24-hour interrogation with no food or sleep. It was the most traumatic but overall the best experience of my life!  

I was stripped back to basics, sleeping on uncomfortable bunks with no pillows, eating limited amounts of tasteless food, with rationed water and medical supplies, supporting and encouraging each other to push on and then there was the showering and lavatory situation. Yes, a bucket and a hole. Well, you can imagine. So each day was a huge accomplishment for me and as the days went on I learned so much about myself, and what I’m capable of. In fact, it proved what we are all capable of, provided that we have the determination and courage.  

Glenn Mainwaring (right) in Channel 4's, SAS: Who Dares Wins

Glenn Mainwaring (right) in Channel 4's, SAS: Who Dares Wins

The biggest learning experience doing this show is how much stress we can put our body through and still survive. It’s astounding how I initially felt before each challenge. At the foot of the Atlas mountains with the heaviest bag on my back, I thought there is no way I can do this:  “This bag is too heavy and that mountain is too high”. But somehow I put one foot in front of the other and didn’t stop.

I faced every challenge with the same negative attitude: “There’s no chance of me doing that, I can’t do it.” But somehow I overcame the fears and doubts and came out the other side smiling. The accomplishment was overwhelming.

These challenges are, of course, not the same as an everyday workout, but what it does tell you is that as humans we are capable of anything we put our mind to provided we focus on the task ahead.

I have a view when it comes to fitness, and its this; keep fit to feel good, and if you feel good, you look good too.  I know you can all relate to that, so whether it’s a high intensity gym workout or a brisk Sunday walk, you will ultimately feel better for it. I know any form of exercise can feel like you’re about to take on Mount Everest but trust me, you’ll feel better after it.

If you already do that bit of exercise daily or even weekly, your intentions are already in the right place and you’re off the starting block, so well done! If not, it’s a case of finding the right types of exercise and a training plan that works for you, then you’ll get more from it if you’re enjoying it.

Glenn Mainwaring, after an outdoor workout

Glenn Mainwaring, after an outdoor workout

I want to highlight that expensive gym memberships are not the key to getting fit. We can all stay fit and healthy, whether outdoors or even in the home. And while the weather still isn’t showing any signs of improvement, new research shows that working out in cold weather can enhance performance and accelerate weight loss. So there's no excuse.

So spend some time thinking about what you enjoy doing. If it’s walking, then start with that and move on to see how a brisk jog feels. Perhaps then try an uphill hike? You can be creative using what’s already in your current routine but start off with something easy so it works for your fitness levels and lifestyle.

Personally I try and vary my exercise regimes. I work out four times a week, a mix of weight training and classes such as HIIT as well as pilates at the weekend to keep a good balance of body and mind. Being from Wales, rugby was always a big part of my life too. My parents taught dance, so it was a requirement that I competed as a youngster. Dancing gave me a level of discipline from an early age and ensured my body was ready for other forms of fitness.

I do get bored though quickly, so it’s essential I mix it up, and keep things interesting. I like to challenge myself so I can break through any plateau and trick my body into progressing. If I kept doing a bench press every time I went to the gym, my chest will grow in size but eventually would stop growing and remain the same.  So I have to mix it up and continue to shock my body with new ways of working out my chest. The same goes for any sport if you want to improve.

I’m excited to be on the Q&C team so watch this space as I’ll be bringing you some full-body workouts for both outdoors and in the home, along with some useful health and nutrition tips over the coming months. And remember - Keep fit, feel good!

Follow Glenn on Instagram: @gmainwaring