Its Monday morning and Im wearing a tight rubber vest and straps across my arms and thighs, and Ive been rigged with electrodes. Every four seconds a surge of electrical stimulation pulses directly into me as I squat, causing my butt muscles to light up like spark plugs.
Its a strange, exhilarating sensation, and after 20 minutes Im left sweaty and shaky but with pumped-up, glistening muscles. And why am I doing this? All to cheat my way to a buff Love Island body in as little time as possible.
When I began my journey 12 weeks ago, I wasnt totally out of shape. My diet was fairly healthy and I worked out five times a week, but I did enjoy a takeaway and the occasional pint or two. As a result, my stomach muscles were shy, preferring to hide under a stubborn layer of flab, and my biceps were like Kia Picantos small and functional, but lacking power or flair.
As I knew the new winter series of the hit reality show was on its way, I decided Id had enough of looking pasty and saggy. I wanted to watch my fave show while sporting the sun-kissed Casa Amor look so that I wasnt left feeling insignificant in the Islanders presence. However, I didnt have the time to spend my days flitting between the gym and the salon, I also needed my Love Island bod quick and with as little effort as possible, because Im lazy.
Its a prerequisite that all male Love Island contestants have abs, pecs and ripped arms that look like condoms filled with walnuts. To achieve this I need professional help, so I enlist elite endurance athlete trainer Paul Roberts, who assures me that with the appliance of science, it wont take hours bashing out crunches.
Instead, Paul signs me up for 12 electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) sessions, which cost 350 for 10 classes at his Surrey gym. These sessions involve applying electrical stimulation to my muscles, causing them to contract. The science is simple: the stronger the electrical impulse, the more the muscle works and the stronger they become. The sessions are by no means easy, but at just 20 minutes each, they are quicker than a normal gym class.
I also get hold of a Silkn Lipo device, which combines EMS with low-level laser therapy to target stubborn fat. At around 450 it isnt cheap, but it simply straps around my waist and buzzes away while I lounge on the sofa binge-watching Love Island re-runs. My wife watches with raised eyebrows as I grunt and jerk every few seconds as my muscles are zapped with electrical pulses.
After four weeks, I start to see changes. A rib appears, so does one ab. My jeans are looser around the waist. However, my wife doesnt notice, no matter how much I flex my one ab in front of her and sadly, my love handles still cling on to my sides.
So, with eight weeks remaining, I decide more technology is needed. After some research I discover Coolsculpting a non-surgical treatment that freezes and kills fat cells, allowing them to be naturally absorbed and processed by the body. Theres no surgery, no anaesthesia, no downtime and no dieting. I book in for a 90-minute, 600 session at Londons Karidis Clinic.
A few days later I find myself lying on a comfy bed with a large suction cup attached to my flabby flank. After my fat is secured, the freezing starts and a dull pain gives way to numbness. Half an hour later the machine is removed and my side thaws, while practitioner Maxine pummels it to get the blood flowing again, then the whole procedure is repeated on the other side.
By the end Im feeling pretty tender, but Maxine assures me the discomfort will be worth it in two months when my love handles literally melt away.
While I wait on tenterhooks for my slim hips to magically appear, I decide to launch phase two of my transformation. Its makeover time. All Love Island geezers have a specific look. Theyre hairless and silky, with white teeth and perfect matte complexions as uniform as their personalities. I, on the other hand, have a pelt of coarse hair, wonky coffee-tinted gnashers and the memory of a faded summer holiday tan.
A visit to the dentist sorts my smile with a 300 custom-made home tooth-whitening kit, which I have to leave on for between two to six hours several times a week. Within seven days, my teeth are bleached white.
Next, my body hair needs to go. There is too much to Veet or shave, so with the help of a Treatwell beauty voucher, I book a 175 all-over body wax at a London clinic. They specialise in Boyzillians, which I take to mean young men from Brazil and they always look well groomed.
After I strip naked, my arms and chest are epilated and my pants beard gets a coating of warm wax. The rest is a haze of embarrassment and awkward small talk, but at one point Im asked to roll over and pull my bum cheeks apart. Innocence lost, yet smooth and hairless, I walk away feeling like a plucked chicken but with renewed respect for Tommy Fury and co.
The last piece of that Love Island look is the tan, and for this I turn to the best. Tanning supremo James Harknett has decades of experience, having created bespoke tans for the likes of Kylie and David Gandy. As I allow him to spray me from head to toe in Fake Bake at his London studio, I know Im in good hands. A few hours later, Im sporting a natural glow.
When my 12 weeks are up, I strip off in front of the mirror and grin. Im no longer a pale, hairy Mr Average, but have a chiselled Love Island bod. My waist looks narrower, and my muscles are leaner and more defined, while my teeth are gloriously white and theres not a stray hair in sight.
But instead of eating clean, quitting booze and sweating it out in the gym, Ive taken short cuts, choosing to be electrified, frozen, thawed, lasered, pummelled, waxed, bleached, plucked and spray-tanned.
Youre unlikely to ever see me in Casa Amor Im a bit too old and bald, and my wife wouldnt let me. But the experience has opened my eyes to the amount of effort that goes into getting the Love Island look and I cant help being pleased with the results. Call me a melt, but it is what it is.