how he lost that four stone

For anyone wanting to emulate Humphries, he advises a mixture of shorter, faster bursts and long, steady cycling. “I’d recommend four rides in a week (between five and six hours in total). Monday could be a session with intervals – four minutes at a hard, sustained pace with four minutes easy in between – repeat that five times. Wednesday should be an easy hour at a pace where you could talk comfortably while riding. Thursday I’d say do repeat sprints – 20 seconds at a really hard pace, followed by 40 seconds’ easy cycling. Ten of those. Take a ten-minute break and do another ten. Finally, Saturday should be two and a half hours of steady pace riding.”

None of this will work without a parallel effort to maintain a healthy diet. Humphries says he has been “eating clean”. There is no clear definition of this but “clean eating” is generally taken to mean choosing natural foods over anything that has been through a complex and chemical-laden manufacturing process. 

London-based nutritionist Lily Soutter says the right proportion of vegetables, protein and carbohydrates is the absolute key to a successful weight-loss programme. “There is no one set diet that’s a magic bullet for everyone. Look at your plate. Most people’s are full of beige foods, but lack vegetables, which are lower in calories, higher in fibre and leave us feeling full for longer.”

Soutter recommends that half your plate is made up of a variety of vegetables, a quarter is protein (meat, fish, beans) with some fats such as olive oil, and the last quarter is healthy carbohydrates like whole-grain rice.

She says mindless snacking is responsible for a lot of needless consumption and advocates “mindful eating” instead, slowing down and becoming more aware. “Be a little more present when you eat. So instead of eating in front of the TV or laptop, focus on what you’re consuming, notice the flavours and textures.” This puts you more in touch with your sense of fullness, so you know when to stop.

She also advises that anyone wanting to emulate Humphries should think about sleep. Sleep deprivation makes us hungry; it is this, she says, that is often at the root of late-night bingeing. “When we lack sleep, we are 40 per cent more likely to reach for sugary, starchy snacks.” She also suggests buying smaller sizes of the unhealthy foods we tend to crave. It’s hard to eat something that’s just not available. Only the most dedicated snacker would change out of their loungewear and head out into the cold night for some chocolate biscuits. The experts confirm that simple measures like these can have dramatic results.

Humphries’ high-profile victory and extraordinary new body is the perfect inspiration for those who cannot relate to action stars and six-pack-wielding track and field athletes. But as well as his physique, the darts star is transforming the reputation of a sport that was once a byword for a pints-and-pies approach to health. It is just possible that a darts champion will change habits in a way that no influencer or health campaigner ever could.

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