Archive | June 2013

Day 9: fitness tests and dancing on a step machine

Good evening

Today I decided that a somewhat calmer and more restful day was in order after yesterday’s activity extravaganza. So I got up at 6:15 so I could have breakfast and coffee before leaving for a car boot sale at 7:30 am. I know in the project rules it states that going shopping will not count towards activity;  it should, more specifically, read that activities such as supermarket shopping won’t count, but 2.5 hours of walking around in an uneven field at a car boot sale could count.  For that is what we did this morning,2.5 hours of continuous walking at a slow pace with added agility tests in  avoiding push-chairs being rammed at your ankles and unexpected children and dogs from all angles. It was activity, most definitely.

In addition to that, just in case I decide that doesn’t count after all because its link to activity is tenuous, I carried out my fitness test.

I started with a warm up of 10 mins on my ubiquitous mini stepper followed by…as many press-ups as possible, as many sit-ups as possible in 1 minute, as many squats as possible, 3 mins of stepping up and down and some reaching as far past my toes as possible.

my results were:

Press-ups 22, sit-ups 35, squats 33,

my heart rate after 3 mins stepping up and down was 118bpm and I can reach 16.5 cm beyond my feet.

All this told me that my legs are strong and I am above average at body weight activities and relatively flexible. My cardio fitness, however is only average, mind you…I am quite pleased with average! For full details of how this fits in to the standard results so the fitness test page at the top.

The other thing I discovered during this set of activity is that to the right music, it is perfectly possible to dance while on a step machine…well…I say dance I actually mean jig about somewhat while waving my arms about and stepping in time to Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine ;-D

This fitness test with the warm up and stretching at the end too about 35 mins so that counts as activity even if the long amble this morning doesn’t!


Day 9 complete 😀


Day 8 training and dancing and sunsine

Good evening


This is exactly what I looked like…

Today started early, far earlier than a Saturday morning should, but with a busy day ahead I needed to start early to get everything prepared!
Exercise wise my first challenge of the day (after getting up at 6:30 on a Saturday of course!) was a 9am personal training session. It was an excellent session, every one of these is fun and involves a mixture of Thai pad work and seemingly weird and wonderful ways to use gym equipment that I have never heard of before, mind you that is why i have a personal trainer..I can do all the stuff I have heard of on my own…although with less motivation. Anyway, today’s confusing new exercises were things called spiderman crawls, they are pretty much what they sound like…you crawl along the floor on hands and feet using the opposite arms and legs at a time, you basically progress along the floor in a similar way to spiderman ascending a wall, although in my case with considerably less finesse. To make this even less finesse-full and considerably trickier I was attached at the waist to a big pulley machine. We also did some other work on this machine only with a bar attached to one of the pulleys which i had to wave around like it was a weapon, this is more sensible and harder work than I have made it sound! there was a brief kettlebell interlude because there are always kettlebells which is a good thing. we also spent half an hour doing Thai boxing pad work, punches, combinations and defense as normal, adding in kicks between each combination because it is fun…and harder that way! The other significant development today was i got to kick with both legs, this indicates that my previous hip / thigh injury is very well on the way to recovery 🙂 This all happily occupied 1 hour of my PT session!

On leaving the gym, I (after showering and changing of course) went to today’s Mythago dance out at the rather lovely location of Amberley working museum for their arts and music festival. It was a generally lovely day, a really nice location beautiful sunshine to dance at and as always lovely people to talk to! we did 2 stands (chunks of dancing) and a procession…although this actually turned int to 3 stands and a procession but that was something of an accident. As the above mentioned hip / thigh injury is well on the way to recovery and i don’t want to exchange that for a re-injury, I didn’t do quite as much dancing as i normally would. However, with the dances, and the walking around in between I managed to clock up 2.6 miles of moving around…all in very heavy (but awesome) boots and some in a rapid, high impact-y border bedlam morris style of dance. This dances I did were:
Maiden Castle, Our Henry, Triskelle, Avebury Ring, Fanny Frail and Thor’s Hammer. This was not quite as many as I really would have liked, and I felt somewhat guilty at the beginning of the day for dancing less than other people, however I went with the majority and rested in between dances. It was probably the right thing to do…but it is very frustrating! Did I mention it was lovely and sunny…and hot and we were all dressed in black tatter covered jackets…it was a very warm day.

So I would say, Day 8, well and truly complete 😀

Day 7 the gym on a Friday night

Good evening

The gym on a Friday evening is busier than I would have expected. I would have thought that on a Friday at 4:45 pm the gym would be fairly empty. In fact it was full of grumpy looking men picking up unfeasibly heavy objects and putting them back down again. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of exercise and people keeping fit is never a bad thing but the demographic of my gym seems to have changed somewhat in the last 6 weeks or so since I have not been there. There seemed to be fewer smiling people than I remember and more very serious types who looked a little bit confused at best that a short rounded girl had invaded their free-weights area and was having the nerve to use them.

Never mind about that though, I deep down know that they were probably more concerned with their own workouts than what i was doing…but the odd smile wouldn’t go a miss.

As you may have gathered, today heralded my return to the gym without a personal trainer for the first time since early may. I went through the program given to me by matt the trainer and I remembered something

I remembered that bike sprint intervals get you very tired very quickly! this is an exercise whereby you do 20 seconds at about 70rpm followed by 20 seconds at 120rpm, repeat for up to four minutes. Matt the trainer said I should work up to four minutes and that this is a more effective work out than a longer slower cardio session. I believe him. Today I managed 3 mins 20 seconds and i was surprised to get that far!

After that I carried out my free weights sets amongst the large men and the aspiring large men in the gyms new free weighs area. Grabbing my mere 10kg dumbbells from the rack of monstrous weights I carried out, bench presses, squats, one arm rows and arnold curls (ok…i switched down in weight for the arnold curls…they are too hard to do with 10kgs…yet) before switching to a barbels for a straight leg dead lift or two. Yes that’s right giant weight lifting men I am short and rounded but I know how to use both dumbbells and barbels and not only teeny tiny girl weights. I may now be being slightly unfair to my fellow gym goers, but they should have at least smiled once.

last stretch was core work and stretching…the usual bridge and plank and crunches before leaving the gym after 45 mins in favour of dinner

The other thing I have been thinking about today as I reach the end of week one is that if I am going to do this properly I am going to need a way of measuring my fitness. So today’s side project was to devise a fitness test to carry out at the end of each week to monitor my progress. I have done this and I will post further details of it once i have done the first round. This will probably be Sunday as tomorrow is looking like a busy one.

All in all pretty pleased as Day 7 complete and week 1 complete and I am still smiley and enthusiastic.

Day 6: possible kettlebell addiction

hello people 🙂

Just a quick update today to mark the completion of another day of the challenge.

What with one thing and another, this morning i awoke feeling like I had been hit by a truck…I was wiped out! This lead me to the decision that a gym class was not for me today. I chose instead to resort to my mini-stepper / kettle bells / core +stretching combination. Today I did 15 mins on the stepper followed by 15 mins of kettlebells (all the usual suspects, clean and press, high pulls, straight leg dead lift and a between the legs figure of eight thing the name of which i have no idea) then 15 mins of core work and stretching.

This being the third time this week my work out has involved kettlebells, it makes me wonder if I am becoming an addict…although it might take a few more goes than 3…

All in all not too bad considering the general disinclination I felt today…

so despite the odds Day 6 complete 🙂


Day 5: wicked wacky stick wednesday

For those of you who don’t already know or haven’t gathered from reading day 1, day 2, my about page or the project title….I am a member of a morris dancing side.  An excellent amazing group of people with whom I spend a considerable amount of my spare time dancing around in a jacket covered in tatters and a mask. This, as i have mentioned is the reason (well one of the reasons along with the general desire to be fitter) that i am doing this project!

Why am I telling you this now? well…Wednesday night is practice night, so Wednesday’s activity is dancing, and lots more dancing than i have been doing recently as i have (more or less) only just recovered from an injury caused by a very tight hip flexor muscle…have I mentioned that before? probably…oh well 🙂

Mythago practice…not tonight’s mind you…but an indication 🙂
noone mention the ears…

do dancing was today’s exercise and the dances i did were:

Triskelle, Maiden castle, Spank the monkey, raggle taggle gypsy (x2), our henry, witch hunt and standing stones.

There was walking through dances as well as dancing dances and all in all it added up to about 1 – 1.25 hrs of exercise… this was actually slightly more dancing than I probably should have done as my leg was starting to hurt towards the end of the last dance. However, some 15 mins of stretching when i came home has gone some way to remedy this…

Day 5 Complete 😀

For more info about Mythago Morris Dancers go here:

Day 4: a narrow escape from burpees

Good evening 🙂

I made it with 10 mins to spare…it is actually day 4 of the challenge an I am blogging on day 4, so I have now caught up with myself.

after a very slow start to the day, that involved a lot of extra sleep in an attempt to return myself to normal human status, I had a personal training session this evening. I was excellent…I always walk out of these sessions feeling better than i did when i walked in…this has got to be a good sign.

Todays session started with complicated lunge stretching to loosen up my quad and hip flexor which involved one of those machines with pulleys, a bar attached to both sides of it and me in lung position pushing the bar in various different directions…I suspect that this exercise has a more technical and accurate description than that one, but that was what it was.

The next part involved the words plyometric and explosive and body weight exercises. It was here that I had my narrow escape from the craziness that is burpees! This part of the session was in a squash court as it involved throwing a ball around as hard as possible in between exercises such as press ups and squat jumps…as luck would have it…just as i was getting to the bit when Matt the trainer said…”next do 8 burpees then…” some people turned up to play squash 🙂 that is what i call a narrow escape. I am enjoying exercise, and i don’t mind if they are hard work…I just hate burees!

In lieu of the most hated burpees there were kettlebells…I do like kettle bells…it would seem that they are my new favorite piece of exercise equipment. They are hard work and I had to do double bottoms up cleans (by double I mean on in each hand) and double high pulls.

The last part of the session was dedicated to MMA practice. In the middle of a busy gym this  does get me some funny looks! I have it on good authority that I am an aggressive fighter.  As always this was fun, lots of punch and defence combinations and this week for the first time since I injured my hip flexor,  we reintroduced kicks.

This lot and some stretching to finish took 55 mins  🙂

Day 4 complete 😀

Day 3: of rest and kettlebells

good morning,

ok…i am still behind in my blog days but in my defense I tried to blog last night but my ipad crashed and it was too late to start again!

so I awoke in the morning all set to have a productive day at work followed by a circuits class which i haven’t been to for 6 weeks…however as the day progressed I realised two things…one…my legs ached a lot from dancing over the weekend and  two…anyone who puts the coffee bag in the bin and tried to make a drink with the wrapper is too tired for circuits. So i decided to have a rest day…with some kettlebells in it after all in accordance with project rules i have to do something 🙂

My Kettlebells :-)

My Kettlebells 🙂

I had a 5 min warm up on my mini stepper, followed by 20 mins with my kettle bells. I did two arm swings, clean and press, straight leg dead lifts, snatches, bottoms up cleans and reverse lunges…I love kettlebells…they are hard work mind you. i then did core work and stretching.

All in all about 35-40 mins of exercise which did not feel like enough, but it is better than nothing and even a small amount every day will add up. I also realised that as tired as i was, 30 mins of exercise was completely doable.

So Day 3 complete 😀

Day 2: 2.25 miles of dancing…

Hello people I am still a day behind in my blogging…I promise i will catch up soon, I will do today’s today!

anyhow…day 2 23rd June

Todays exercise was more dancing…there is probably going to be a lot of dancing…but that is not a bad thing 🙂

Mythago Morris had a dance out to celebrate midsummer at the Weald and Downland Museum, it was lovely and lots of fun as we got to dance amongst all the historic buildings in a generally lovely setting with an appreciative audiance…what more could we want…

So exercise wise I did 9 dances and some walking around. out of interest I put my “runtastic app” on my phone to see just how much movement is involved in this…it seems to think that the dancing covered 2.25 miles and that I was active (so moving…it has gps and pauses if you stop) for 3 hrs 33 mins and 30s…if i had only known I would have moved for an extra 3s.

So some of that time was probably spent not moving about enough to count but a lot of it was 🙂

So Day 2 complete and here’s a picture of it… I am in orange

Day 1 of Project Fit Enough to Dance in a Mask

Good day and welcome to my 365 project blog…

a 365 project, I hear you cry…but it is june…what is more it is the 3rd week in june…isn’t this an odd time to start a 365 project? don’t most people start these things in january?

well…the short answer to that is…yes

the medium answer to that is yes most people do…but I am not most people…

the long answer is that a 365 project has only really one stipulation…it should run for 365 days…in order to do this successfully people generally start at a “milestone date” which is frequently the 1st January  as it fits in with the new years resolution thing. However I don’t see why you can’t start one at any time and I came up with this idea just before midsummer and I thought why not do a mid year to mid year 356 project. So that is what I am going to do.

My challenge is, to do some form of exercise every day for the next 365 days. I will do at least half an hour of something exersisey…it could be dancing, it could be circuit training, but it also could be a half hour walk (as long as it is an actual walk…doing the shopping will not count.)

so there it is in black and white (or what ever colour scheme I have chosen for  this as I can’t actually remember..) now I have to do it. That is also the reason why I have chosen to write a blog about it. I can’t promise it will always be interesting, but I will attempt to find interesting forms of exercise to keep the challenge going 🙂

on a last note…the title at the top of the page is fit for dancing in a mask…and that is what this project is about, i want to be fitter and healthier and able to dance about all day wearing a mask…this is not a challenge in the “I want to be skinny at all costs” vein…

so day one of the challenge was Saturday 22nd June…i did the challenge on the right day…i am just blogging late.

on the 22nd June I took part in a dance out with Mythago Morris. It was the midsummer walking tour of Lewes, I danced five dances and walked backwards and forwards between stands.

So day 1 complete 🙂

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