How living like a soldier won the battle of the bulge

16 December 2009

A HENGROVE man, whose brother sent him on a military-style weight loss camp, has come back fighting fit and 11lb lighter. Louis Alexander, who works for school inspector Ofsted, began his battle of the bulge after his fiancee called off their wedding. Although he says he had always been “a big guy”, the end of the relationship drove him to a lifestyle of heavy drinking and eating binges. It was only when his brother Matt heard about boot camps run by Clifton-based company Prestige, that things changed. Matt, 35, who runs The Brunel Wine Bar, on The Mall, Clifton, offered to stump up the cash to send Louis on the week-long camp, and it was there that he tried activities such as circuit training, boxing, abseiling and coasteering, with the aim of improving his health and fitness levels. Waking up at 6am and being put through his paces by ex-military instructors might have been a shock to the system but the 24-year-old said it was definitely worth it when the final measurements showed his waist had shrunk by six  inches. Louis said: “It was seven tough days but they were also really good. I was really nervous beforehand but quite excited too. “In the beginning I was struggling to keep up with everyone and I couldn’t sprint at all. “It also took me a long time to get my breath back after doing any exercise, but as the week progressed it was amazing how fast my recovery time become. “The highlight of the week for me was circuit training towards the end of the week. “The first circuit training we ever did I was really struggling but towards the end I was able to keep up with everyone, even though it was still tough.” As well as changing Louis’s attitude to exercise, the camp also taught him better eating habits. “We had three meals a day and two snacks, which have all been really tasty,” he said. “The chef explained to us how we can cook with better ingredients and how to fuel our bodies. “I lost 11lb and 11 inches in total – from thighs, waist, arms and legs. From this six inches was from my waist, which is obviously where the bulk of the weight was. It’s fantastic and I feel I’ve built up a lot more muscle too.” The challenge did not end there and Louis put his pain to good use, asking people to sponsor him to complete the boot camp, while his brother showed his daily video diary to all his supporters in the pub. “I was raising funds for Help for Heroes,” said Louis. “On the camp we did a day of military exercises, and five minutes leopard crawling with a toy gun was enough for me. “I know guys out in Afghanistan are doing that day in day out with heavy packs on their backs – it’s amazing. I’ve raised more than £1,500 so I’ll be round now to collect in the money.” Prestige managing director Iain Reitze said: “Louis is a young lad with a lot of potential. “He’s found some days really tough but he’s pushed himself all week and seen some great results. I hope he continues this now and it marks the start of a real change for him.”