The ‘Jason Le Page’ files 2 – a lesson in muscle and fat-loss.

Jason Le Page is a Downhill Mountain Biker who lives on Guernsey (one of the Channel Islands for those of you who may be geographically challenged). I’ve been coaching Jason for the best part of two years now and being a very sporting kind of chap, he has very boldly agreed to ‘Go-Live’ with his progress on a monthly basis as a matter of interest to all of you. Every month you’ll be able to log-on to the TORQ site to see how Jason’s getting on.

Jason writes:

Whallo me ol mucka!

Hopping along, still chirping a song are we? (Ed. A completely unnecessary skit on my broken leg, but alas yes – still hopping).

Life has been a little up and down this past coupla weeks. Training has been passed over in favour of the ‘Playstation’ (wet weather exercise, or a hot mug of tea. tough choice really!) I did venture onto the turbo recently, but after it started hurting I slowed down to a more sedate pace, couldn’t bear to sweat over a brand new M5 frame!! Mon Dieu!! Still, back to the update!

In addition to your neat and practical, informatively laid out training schedule, and your sage-like dietary advice (Ed. Well done Jason, the folding stuff’s in the post – try to make future accolades for my fantastic sevices a little less of the ‘brown nose’ variety, or we’ll be rumbled), I have taken it upon myself to do a couple of extra things in order to facilitate the loss of weight. The main one was to take up swimming at lunchtimes again. So for the past four weeks I’ve been legging it down to the local bathing pool for a half hour non-stop session of swimming. The results have surprised me! After the initial shock of exercise, my body has responded by becoming slightly lighter, to the tune of 9 pounds over the past month!! 9lbs! I can fit into my trousers again (well, some of them!). I did also take up crack cocaine and necking litre bottles of single malt whisky, but that’s just a minor thing!

Food wise I’m eating smaller amounts and have cut out most of the crap, such as crisps, chocolate and fatty fried foodstuffs, not that I ate too much before. Up to 4 litres of water a day instead of coffee and tea (milk 2 sugars!) More fruit, more brown rice and homemade foodstuffs. My main vice these days seems to be a few pints of lager and a Chinese once every couple of weeks! Sad isn’t it!

No photo this time, something to do with me not getting off my fat arse and finding a suitable one (Ed. Hence I use someone elses perfectly formed bicep instead). I seem to be the sort of person who spends most of the time behind the camera, pointing it at others. I thought the cheeky Polaroids weren’t of the right subject matter for your website either!!!

Laters mon vieu, I’m off to the pool!

The lard boy


Matt Hart of TORQ replies:

Dear Jason,

Well, I’m chuffed to bits with this. It just proves how a little attention to the diet and some regular exercise hath bestoweth upon thee some results of a truly dramatic nature (sorry, I was momentarily and inadvertently drawn towards ‘olde england’ – must get out more).

Anyway, through my experience as a fitness instructor and personal trainer, I’ve kinda worked out that if you avoid eating too many fatty foods, graze on small portions regularly (rather than having the standard ‘three meals per day’), don’t eat too late at night and combine this with regular daily exercise, you can’t help but loose weight. The secret is to eat sensibly and try to do a little bit of exercise every day.

Although you haven’t exercised every day of the past month Jason, you’re doing much more than you used to. The exercise doesn’t have to be tough, or intense either for weight loss, just regular. In addition to this, 9lbs is a sensible amount of weight to loose over a month (roughly 2lbs per week). Any more would be too rapid and you’d risk loosing lean body mass (muscle), leading to a reduction in metabolic rate.

This phenomenon is tightly linked with so-called tradition of ‘yoyo dieting’, because people who abruptly reduce their calorific intake to extreme levels loose weight very quickly initially, but this is almost entirely muscle. Muscle is a living tissue, which requires energy for it’s basic maintenance, so in its absence, the body naturally requires less calories. In this situation, your weight will remain pretty stable, whilst your diet continues to be low in calories, but problems arise when you start eating more again.

If all the wheels come off in spectacular fashion one day for instance, and you start eating pies, which those who have dieted in the past will fully appreciate, all of the extra calories you consume (surplus to your ‘new’ basic metabolic rate) will immediately be stored as fat. Have a few more days like this during your 6-week diet and you’ll be building up your fat stores nicely. For a short time you may still weigh less than when you started the diet due to your reduced muscle mass, but once you start eating normally again, which to be fair is inevitable, the muscle slowly returns, along with your metabolism. When all’s said and done though, you’re actually heavier than when you began the diet, because of the extra body fat you picked up along the way. So what do you do? You begin another diet and start the whole sorry process all over again!

The moral of this story is:

Eat sensibly, exercise regularly, keep the muscle and loose the fat.

Sorry Jason, you became the subject of a lesson to the masses – hope you don’t mind. For those of you that read the first installment will notice that Jason didn’t provide any measurement data for this episode, but I think we can let him off. After all, he’s been a jolly good sport.

I can’t wait to see what little gems the March edition of the Jason Le Page files brings us. Again – no pressure Jason, but we wait with bated breath.

Until next time,


Written by Jason Le Page/Matt Hart