Are you bored of McDonald’s yet? Me too.
It’s all I’ve talked about for the past month and it’s all anyone’s talked to me about. Let’s put this thing to bed and never speak of it again (until Thursday.)
The First Breakfast
My Final McWorkout Diary
Thursday 22nd May (Day 25)
6:00am: Every morning for the past month I’ve followed the same ritual: wake up, brush my teeth and cross the car park, side-stepping the discarded trash left by drive-thru customers in the night. I enter my office, produce a Spree voucher, purchase my discounted breakfast, photograph my food, resize the image, tweet a pic from the McWorkout account, enter the cost of the meal into the diary notes on my phone, connect my laptop to McD’s wifi, update the previous night’s calorie total using McDonald’s nutrition calculator, screen cap the page and finally tuck in to my breakfast.
That’s a lot of fucking around before you can taste a breakfast that isn’t even that great. It’s a ritual I certainly won’t miss when this thing’s over. I’ll be tracking calories during The Workout (The McWorkout’s healthier cousin, which starts next week), but otherwise I’ll be freed from the strictures required to prove I was adhering to The Rules, as laid out in Part II.
As I ease into the final days of The McWorkout, there’s a sense of quiet accomplishment. I haven’t raised money for charity, improved lives or made the world a better place. Still, I’ve made a plan and I’ve seen it through, which is uncharted territory for me.
The worst is over, while the best – a month of clean eating – is yet to come.
8:00am: My mate shows up at the office, hands me a coffee and promptly demolishes his usual: two hash browns, two rolls and a large Fanta.
While he eats, I reflect on how my month of fast food has panned out.
My mate pauses between mouthfuls and scrutinises my complexion. “You don’t look as bad as I thought you would”.
Having lamented the fact that no one sends me no0dz any more – only fast food porn – it is with great relief that I open an email bearing the words “Have moar bewbs”.
The unexpected glimpse of skin must have affected me subconsciously: it’s not until I set off for the P4 swimming lessons that I realise my top depicts a man patting a girl’s pantie-clad derriere. It’s too wet and cold to ditch the jumper however – the P4s will just have to deal with it.
My plan for the last week of The McWorkout is the same as my plan for every week: to eat lots of McDonald’s and train like a motherfucker.
The dietary part is going fine, but the training is having to be squeezed in around an increasingly demanding schedule.
Welcome to life.
6:30pm: I take my mate to Tesco so he can re-up on groceries. As I accompany him around the store, it occurs to me that it’s the first time I’ve looked at normal food in ages. I’d forgotten there was so much variety.
In the electrical section, I encounter the George Foremans. Last time I checked, everyone had one of these, though no one seems to use them any more. Are they any good? I was thinking of using a GF to grill chicken and veg next month. Has anyone got a Foreman they’re not currently using?
As we traverse The Word’s Biggest Tesco, our conversation turns to paralysis of choice. Take the milkshake section: there are dozens of different milkshakes all vying for your attention. Some will taste great. Others will be rank. Consider Jelly Belly shakes for example, which are available on a two-for-one. Their jelly beans are damn fine. Milkshakes though? I suspect they’ll taste crap, but there’s only one way to find out.
Back at the flat, we open our respective shakes; my mate’s gone for Top Banana while I’ve chosen Dark Chocolate.
We grimace. They taste awful.
My mate tosses his carton in the bin. “I just wanted it to be over with.”
Dat taste and 270 calories I could have done without. Choice paralysis is a bitch.
I haven’t had much money with which to Hack My Mac, but there’s still time for one final burger improv. Take a 99p cheeseburger and throw in some chilli sauce and beef jerky. The bun is still as tasteless as the burger, but at least it now has some texture and spice.
9pm: I arrive at my mate’s, where the plan is to spend the rest of the evening ignoring one another save for when there’s a joint to be passed. She’s got games to play, while I’ve an article to write on the World’s Greatest Outdoor Cinemas.
1am: Yay, my article is finished.
Boo, I haven’t made it to the gym.
Fuck it, there’s still time to make amends.
1:30am gym sesh? It’s a ridiculous end to a ridiculous month. Precisely what The McWorkout is all about.
Still, there is one good thing about visiting at such an ungodly hour: at least the weights rooms will be deserted.
1:30am and there’s still some prick on the Smith machine.
Still, it’s not all bad: the handful of gym bros who are there actually acknowledge me. This never happens.
I’m finally one of them.
2am: At last I have the place to myself. So this is what having your own private gym must feel like.
3am: Elated but exhausted, I pull into my car park. A brown McDonald’s bag rolls past like tumbleweed. My stomach is telling me to go inside and fuel those gains, but my daily calorie total is telling me I can’t.
By 4am I’m asleep, but not before setting my alarm. Save for the Barcelona weekend, I haven’t missed a McDonald’s breakfast all month. I’m not gonna start oversleeping now.
Thursday 22nd May
Total spent: £10.33
Total calories consumed: 3,329 (inc. 860 ‘other’)
Total calories burned: 370
Friday May 23rd (Day 26)
1pm: It’s rush hour in McDonald’s Union Street and the freaks are out in force. Midgets, lard-asses and single mums (aka lard-asses) compete for floor space with a man on a mobility scooter which turns into a lorry and beeps when placed in reverse.
1:30: I’m in Forbidden Planet, killing time before I go for a haircut.
“Oh smeg!” exclaims the assistant, muttering away to himself as he stocks shelves. Downstairs, two customers discuss the role play meetings they attend, concluding “At least we’re not bronies.”
I love comic book shops for many reasons – the fantasy, the escapism, the mystical worlds they conjure – but mostly I love them for their geekiness. No gym bros with quiffed haircuts, fake tans and half sleeves here.
With an A1A t-shirt purchased for my mate and a haircut purchased for my hair, it’s time to record a five-minute interview for Radio Forth.
3pm: I may have minimised my alcohol consumption this month, but I’ve drank way too much coffee. Due to rapidly plummeting energy levels (junk food and exercise does that to a man), it’s been the only way to focus on work. The empty coffee cup and cardboard wrap wrapper (McD’s like to wrap their wraps in wraps) are carried to my car and stashed in the boot of shame.
At the start of the month, my mate suggested keeping all my McDonald’s packaging as a record of my fast food consumption. So that’s what I’ve done. What am I going to do with all this cheese-encrusted rubbish? You’ll find out in Thursday’s blog.
5pm: I take my girls to the cinema to watch Rio 2. They snack on sweets while I chow down a packet of beef jerky. Dat protein.
6pm: My mate PayPals me a tenner for blogging services rendered. The gesture hits me right in the feels.
This seems a good point at which to thank everyone who’s helped out this month, both financially and in less tangible ways: Elwood, Dave, Coralie, Jessie, Carrie, Bex, ZA, Patrick, Tommy, Ron, Kaiga Design and errbody else. You made this thing a lot more bearable.
7:30: My next meal is the same as my last – a Crispy Chicken & Bacon Wrap – but I’m not just buying for me: I also have to get dinner for my girls (hey, it’s the first McD’s I’ve bought E this month) and their mum. When I’ve dropped off her meal, I have to go see my mate, who’s requested an apple pie.
I feel like a housing estate mum nominated to make the fast food run. I feel bad man.
Despite declaring the McDonald’s menu to have been completed on Wednesday, I’ve since realised that there’s one item I haven’t tried – the fish fingers that are only sold as a Happy Meal.
E offers me one, and with a bite, the McDonald’s menu is finally complete.
10pm: I didn’t get home from the gym till 3am last night, I’m operating on five hours’ sleep and I just smoked two joints. It’s the perfect time to go for a run.
Why have I left it so late in The McWorkout to take a run along the beach? Oh yeah, because all that cardio was hampering my ability to build muscle. It’s a shame – beach running feels great.
I set off with a vague plan to run 5k – 10 if I can manage it.
2km in and I can tell I’m going to last the course and then some. I’m going to run a 12k.
The tide is coming in and as the waves surge against the beach, I develop a new fitness game – Chicken. The waves scurry against the shore and then break into a sprint upon hitting the sand. This is also my cue to break into a sprint and save my feet from a soaking. The sudden bursts of acceleration work my calves and keep the run entertaining. Most of the time I beat the sea, but it catches me twice. I shriek as the water fills my trainers and keep running.
By the time I get back to my mate’s, after an hour spent chasing the sea, daylight has faded to black.
“How did you get on?” she asks.
“I just ran 13k.”
“Well I played World of Warcraft and killed a huge eagle thing so I think you’ll find we’re both battling our own demons.”
I pick up a small square of caramel shortbread. “I’m gonna eat one of these because I’ve just burned off 914 calories and I can.”
This week I’ve completed my fastest 10k and my longest run to date. Aside from missing two days of McDonald’s while in Barcelona, I have few regrets about this month, come to think of it. Actually, there is one…
The Snow White sticker on the back of my laptop, which depicts the princess clutching the Apple symbol, is a constant source of fascination to the kids and neds who pass through McDonald’s.
It’s a cool sticker, but I wish I’d spotted this one sooner:
Or maybe this one:
That would have sent them scurrying back to their Happy Meals.
Next month it’s the World Cup, which means I’ll be blogging my quest to get fit while living off these:
Friday 23rd May
Total spent: £18.56
Total calories consumed: 3,140 (inc. 300 ‘other’)
Total calories burned: 914
Saturday 24th May (Day 27)
1pm: I’ve been spending a lot of time in McDonald’s Union Street lately. I’m not proud of it. Today I’m joined by a mate who’s kindly offered to get lunch. I still have Spree vouchers to use; producing one grants me a free McFlurry to accompany my extra value meal. My mate doesn’t want the ice cream and so I’m forced to eat it. It tastes as awesome as McFlurries taste, but I could have done without the carbs. Spree vouchers can save you money. They can also make you order shit you don’t need.
16:30: Following a 45-minute gym sesh, I stop en route to Edinburgh to fuel those all-important gains. I’m in better shape than I was a month ago, but the visible improvement could best be described as ‘modest’, as you’ll see on Thursday. I’d love to have UKIP’s gains, but I’ll settle for what I got. For the second time today, a mate dips into his pocket, treating me to a Sweet Chilli Crispy Chicken Wrap.
Exercise follows McDonald’s as sure as McDonald’s follows exercise, which is why my first move, upon reaching Edinburgh, is to hit the gym.
18:30: I’ve been to three different McDonald’s and two gyms today. The spirit of The McWorkout is very much alive.
1:00am: I’m at a party and everyone is on mandy. Everyone is having earnest conversations with me that they won’t remember the next day. Or even the next second. There’s nothing wrong with getting fucked up, but I can’t be that guy right now. I smoke some joints and drink some wine but then I say my goodbyes and by the time I’ve reached the bottom of the stairs the party people have forgotten I was ever there.
Saturday 24th May
Total spent: £8.66
Total calories consumed: 3,364 (inc. 500 ‘alcohol’)
Total calories burned: 588
Sunday 25th May (Day 28)
My 28th and final day of The McWorkout comes bearing a bag of mixed feels. I’m excited that it’s coming to an end and am looking forward to the healthier chapter that comes next. At the same time, I’ll miss my ritual of waking up and letting McDonald’s feed me while I focus on work and internet.
The best thing about setting an alarm is knowing that you’ll invariably be awake before it goes off. Don’t set the bastard? You’re guaranteed to sleep in till 12.
By 10:45, I’m approaching the counter for the second of what will prove to be six visits today. I order a coffee to follow the one I washed down with breakfast an hour ago.
I hand over my £1.50 and await the penny change.
“It’s £1.59,” corrects the girl. Noting my expression, she continues “Different McDonald’s have different prices.”
It may be the last day of The McWorkout, but I’m still learning.
12:30: A hungover Patrick meets me at the gym and helps to record my bench press and bicep curl maxes. These will be published on Thursday and compared to my starting stats for the month.
1:45: God doesn’t want me to visit McDonald’s.
I sit in the car, my gains diminishing by the second.
3:30pm: The heavens open once more and I jump inside the office for shelter and sustenance. I finish my Snack Wrap and then, with the downpour still in full flow, order a coffee to pass the time. God doesn’t want me to leave McDonald’s.
As I watch a middle-aged couple snapping selfies of their super sized meals, I conceal a wry grin.
Then I learn that they’ve just finished running the Edinburgh marathon and I wipe that smile off my face.
K-keep fighting the good fight guys. You’re an an inspiration.
17:30: Outside Starbucks, the world’s largest puddle has formed. Inside, the world’s worst team are playing on my laptop. I watch Hibs get relegated and laugh all the way to the Meadows, where I join Patrick in whacking a golf ball around the sodden links. I’m better at hitting the turf than the ball and by the time we call it a day, my right arm is aching.
19:30: I’ve been looking forward to this moment all week. What should I have for The Last Supper? Choosing your favourite McDonald’s burger is like choosing whether you’d like to be gassed or strangled. In the end, I elect for a lethal injection of spicy salsa inside a Chicken Legend followed by a deli wrap, purely so I can tweet this…
20:30: With The McWorkout officially complete, I celebrate in the only way I know how: by going to the gym.
22:15: I’m supposed to be staying at my mate’s but I can’t get hold of him. I’ve no phone battery and no wi-fi either. Oh well, back to McD’s it is…
11:00: Gorgie Park Road is the ninth McDonald’s I’ve visited during The McWorkout (four in Aberdeen, two in Ed, one in Glasgow and one in Forfar). Today doesn’t just mark the last day of The McWorkout: it also marks the highest number of McD’s visits I’ve made in a day (six) and the most I’ve spent – by the time my Grilled Chicken & Bacon Salad is consumed (a healthy end to an unhealthy month), my spend is nearing £26. Jeepers.
11:30: I click on the open McDonald’s tab in my browser, add my salad to the nutrition calculator, take a screenshot for the last time and walk out. I’m done.
Sunday 25th May
Total spent: £25.94. Ooft. You could buy a lot of steak and broccoli with that.
Total calories consumed: 3,700 (inc. 750 ‘other’)
Total calories burned: 500
7 Days of Eating Filthy
Click on the day of the week for a complete breakdown of the filth I’ve shovelled into my body.
7 Days of Feels
Read My McWorkout Diary for the corresponding day to link the feels to the activity I was performing at that moment in time.
In Thursday’s blog:
I get my kit off
How much fat was lost? How much muscle was made?
Best/Worst: Highlights and lowlights of the challenge
10 Ways: “How to get fit while eating shit” and other listicles
The Greatest Infographic The World Has Ever Seen
28 days done. 0 to go.
Missed any previous episodes of The McWorkout? Catch up here.
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McWorkout logo & graphics: Kaiga Design