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Our well-read team tries fitness (part 1)

In mid-April, 2015 Bachelor and fitness expert Sam Wood has his first book being published. It’s called 28 by Sam Wood, and it is the book counterpart to his online training program of the same name.

The upcoming book pulls together the best of the 28 by Sam Wood training program, and includes 100 of Sam and nutritionist Steph Lowe’s popular recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. In addition to the recipes, the book includes a monthly meal planner, a regime of tough but achievable exercises for every fitness level, and advice on taking control of your health for good.

It’s no secret that we see lots of health and fitness books each year, so we decided to put Sam’s program to the test. Five staff members in the Dymocks head office enrolled in the March intake of 28 by Sam Wood online, and we’ve been documenting our journey as we’ve sweated and cooked up a storm.

We’re halfway through, and here is a look at how we’re feeling about it so far.

Alexandra, Category Manager
I have never been much of a breakfast person, always rushing last minute and stuffing a piece of toast in my mouth or just having a coffee (oops!) but this program has introduced me to the delicious and convenient dish that is an omelette.

Each day I have just been choosing different veggies to include and none have disappointed, from kale and tomato one day to a super greens omelette the next! Because I hate eating too early in the morning, I pack these babies up and bring them to work; I eat at my desk and they are still delicious.

My favourite dinner so far has been the warm satay bowl – it was delicious and satisfying and has my favourite ingredient in the world: peanut butter. Delish! It also reheats very well the next day for lunch.
I also made the Traditional Spag Bol, and didn’t really pay attention to how many people it served.

Being a single gal it meant that I was eating bolognaise for days! I didn’t want to eat pasta with it every day so I began experimenting and had it in a Mexican dish one night and with sweet potato another. It’s fair to say that I don’t think I’ll be eating bolognaise again any time soon, so I definitely recommend paying close attention to the serving size for each recipe because it does differ each day.

Overall, the meals have been leaving me feeling really full and I haven’t felt the need to snack, which is making a huge difference to my day!

Rhys, Digital Manager
Week one = done.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been heavily into exercise, and the past week has ungently reminded me of that fact. My legs are lethargic from lunges, my core is sore from planks, and my arms ache. Despite that, I’m feeling okay.

The food was a shock to the system for the first couple of days (I’ve never eaten this much beetroot in my life), but the portion sizes no longer seemed ridiculously small and I’ve already started to break some bad long-time work habits. While there are still challenges – I miss Coke, and Vegemite, and Doritos – I’m starting to see a significant enough change in my body shape to make it seem worthwhile, as some of the flab fades and the muscle tightens. That’s more than I expected after a week, so it’s a great start.

Week two = into the rhythm now!

The exercises that were leaving me limping the next day are still intense, but physically I am moving more easily and feeling the stress less. I am also starting to see definite results around my torso from the program, which after only two weeks is outstanding. Food is still the biggest challenge, but it’s more the prep time and organisation than anything else. If was more organised I'm sure it would be much easier!

P.S. I still miss Doritos.

Sharyn, Category Manager
I am really enjoying the 28 minute workouts. The thing I like the most is the variety and that you don’t need lots of equipment, plus 28 minutes goes so quickly!

I’ve spent most of the past fortnight travelling interstate for work, and I was still able to do a workout each day in my hotel room. The active recovery yoga session for Sunday was just what I needed at the end of a busy week and also a bit of fun as my three year old daughter decided to join me.

I’m looking forward to challenging myself again this week!

Sue, PR Manager
My muscles are killing me but initially I was rather overdoing it! Having signed up as Rookie which requires only 20 seconds of each exercise, I’ve been trying to do the full minute. Evidently this is the highest level, and it’s called maniac… So I’ve been a tad overambitious. I’ve since scaled it back and now aim for 30-40 seconds on and 20-30 seconds of rest, which should even things out.

Overall the exercises have been great and I’ve mostly managed to do them daily. I really like the variety in the exercises and that over the course of the week you get a full body workout. Love that there’s a yoga routine on the weekend because who has time to fartlek then?! We did our own active recovery – swimming and cycling over the weekend.

Honestly, I’m surprised that I’ve found it relatively easy to incorporate 28 minutes of exercise into my day – what on earth was stopping me previously?

The meals have been great (and much better than I expected!). The best thing is we’ve managed to make them work for the whole family with only a few small tweaks for the 9 year old. Love that we’ve doubled our veggie intake, and the portions are really generous (more than I would normally eat) so I haven’t felt tempted to go back for seconds or snack in between.

Tonile, Digital & Community Coordinator
Oooh boy I needed this plan. In just under a year I’ve managed to gain nearly 10kgs and despite my best efforts, fitting into some of my favourite clothes was becoming a real challenge. My energy levels were painfully low, and I knew I needed to make a change.

This whole plan to get a group of us onto the 28 program was 100% my idea, and in a strange way that motivated me the most initially, particularly on days when my motivation was so low it was dead and buried underground. Now, two weeks in, my clothes are slightly looser and I have loads more energy, and the motivation is far easier to find.

The first week was HARD. I signed up as a Player, which means I do 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 28 minutes. It sounds easy, but when the fourth round of high knees comes around and you’re already sweating buckets it’s actually awful. I went from exercising maybe once or twice a week to doing what is essentially high intensity interval training (HIIT) five days a week, and my body was in a state of shock by the end of the first week. Don’t let this deter you, though, because by then I’d started to notice very small changes in my body shape and that spurred me on to week two. The best part about the workouts is that you can access the video anywhere, so I've been doing the workouts from the comfort of my lounge room.

The smartest thing I’ve found about the plan so far is that the meals are directly linked to the intensity of the exercise that day. So, on days when exercise is light (Sam, you wonderful merciful man) the food is also light, but on days when my heart rate goes up and stays up for nearly half an hour the food is a bit heavier. My body is responding really well to this, and that makes me less tempted to swap all meals to the simple chicken curry because that is an absolute winner.

I’m into a good routine now and each day the exercise feels less and less like a chore. The plan is showing results very quickly, and I have no doubt this will keep me motivated over the coming fortnight.

Check back in with us in early April where we’ll reveal our final thoughts on the program, plus show off our before and after photos. 

Weekly grocery snapshots


Brilliant breakfasts (tomato and avocado toast topper + bircher)



Lean lunches (leftover homemade schnitzel with salad + ham and salad wrap)



Some of our favourite dinners (burger salad + warm satay bowl + pumpkin and spinach risotto)





Posted by Global Administrator on 21/03/2017