Becoming Catherine: a 12-week guide

MacTodd solicitor Tanya Surrey atop Queenstown Hill recently. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
MacTodd solicitor Tanya Surrey atop Queenstown Hill recently. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
MacTodd solicitor Tanya Surrey has taken on the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival 12 Week Challenge and in our first of weekly updates she explains how she went from Friday night drinks to the gym ... and hopes to end up with a figure similar to Catherine Zeta Jones.

I'm not sure how I ended up in the Winter Festival Fashion and Fitness Challenge. One minute it was a joke at Friday drinks in the MacTodd board room, the next I was fronting up to Lakes Leisure for the initial meeting and weigh-in with personal trainer Richie Lambert.

Somehow I got caught up in the madness of it all and when my boss offered to pay the fees, I ran out of excuses. With my 40th birthday looming, friends have questioned whether some kind of early mid-life crisis has hit me.

Exercise and I have never been friends. I didn't walk until I was nearly 2 - my parents thought I had something wrong with my legs, but an orthopaedic surgeon put it down to laziness.

My first foray into serious exercise was at age 8, when a friend took me to gym at the Trentham Army Camp Hall. In those days, gym meant gymnastics. We were told to run around the hall ... I fell over within seconds and after that I stuck to piano lessons.

The challenge officially started on a Wednesday. I had spent my lunch hour with Eli at The Shoe Clinic on account of not owning a pair of sneakers. Eli threw in a complimentary T-shirt, the colour of a goldfish.

At least, if I collapse from exhaustion I'll be easy to find.

The first group training session involved running around the room - I'm pleased to report there has been some progress in 31 years; I can, in fact, run around the room without falling over. That first session also involved press-ups. I demonstrated the caterpillar.

After training, I could barely walk down the stairs, let alone to the car. Just over 48 hours (and one RPM class) later I was at the Queenstown Primary School fund-raising quiz.

My muscles were so sore that every move across the school hall was painful.

At that stage I hadn't attended my first mini-group session with Richie. I thought I knew the limits of pushing my body after the press-ups, but I hadn't met the rowing machine. The biggest shock was discovering that "the plank" is not a move where you lie on the floor taking deep breaths. Week One also involved a climb up Queenstown Hill ... it's not what I'd choose to do at 8.30 on a Sunday morning. Still there was something to celebrate - Week One was almost over.

Week Two was a blur.

I turned up to Aqua Aerobics twice. I had concerns about revealing 83.8kg to the world. Being rubenesque in day to day clothes is a different kettle of fish to being rubenesque in ill-fitting togs. Still, when you're half asleep you don't have the energy to worry about it.

We're now into Week Three and I don't know myself.

There were no hot cross buns or Easter eggs this year. My mind is occupied with gym schedules and meal plans. The humble chickpea is my new best friend.

A treat is defined as one square of dark chocolate.

I told Richie at the weigh-in that I have no intention of turning myself into a stick insect.

I said Catherine Zeta Jones was not thin, yet she was gorgeous. I want to be fit and healthy - and if that also includes being voluptuous, I won't complain.