Archive | July 2013

Day 40: Dance Practice 6.0: with a vengence

Good evening πŸ™‚

Ok…so the die-hard film that the title was loosely ripping off was 4.0, but this is the 6th post that refers to a Mythago practice night…and what a practice night it was πŸ™‚ Lots of fun and LOTS of dancing…mind you that is the point of practices. Β But it signaled my return to completely hip flexor stiffness free dancing, back in boots, back in every dance that I possibly could be in πŸ˜€

After a day og secret office work outs and waking about as much as I could, including my new policy of parking a long way away from things and always going the long way round (this fitbit has a lot to answer for…I am finding it really hard to even stand still now!) The time to up sticks and go to Mythago Practice arrived. I have been in an exceptionally good mood today and I can only assume the impending dancing is to blame.

It was an evening of learning dances in new places, which was slightly more confusing than it really should be but there are subtle (and in some cases really not subtle) differences. which did mean I did the same dances several times over and there were walk throughs in between, but that is all good after all…it is a practice πŸ˜€

The dances I did tonight were:

Maiden castle (for 12 :-S) Raggle Taggle Gypsy, Avebury ring (x2 in a different place with a very confusing walk through), Summerland (3rd time ever), standing stones (x2 once in a different place, once not, Β with a walk through) and of course Fanny Frail πŸ™‚

Excellent fun all round, and what with dancing and extra stepping and walking up and down the garden when i got home, I hit my 10,000 steps target today πŸ™‚

So in a dancy, steppy, jigging about obsessively-y sort of way, Day 40 is complete πŸ˜€


Day 39: wakefulness through exercise

Good evening πŸ™‚

I started today very tired, my early morning attempts to drag myself out of bed to go for a run started promisingly but soon after that went awry when I put myself back into bed and slept for another 45 minutes!

However during the day I made a concerted effort to become awake, I started with my normal caffeine boost but as well as that I continued my stealth office work out policy. Approximately every 1 – 1.5 hours today I went for a little walk around the office, did some dancing in the loos and some squats and stretching…I think it woke me up…it definitely got me moving during the day and exercise wise, every little helps. And looking back, I actually got through the day on only 2 cups of coffee.

All of this lead me to being awake enough to attend my personal training session this evening with more enthusiasm and energy than I thought I would at 6 am! So today’s main exercise session was personal training. We did the usual mixture of MMA combined with strength, coordination and core exercises. In the MMA we added in a new parry and a shoulder roll Β defence. lots of speed defence work and punch kick combinations.

Strengthwise, we did bench presses, 30 kg and straight leg deadlifts, 25kg. This made me happy, when we started this personal training saga, I found straight leg deadlifts very tricky with only 17 kg so I am definitely improving. We did complicated bodyweight lifting , core and balance exercisesΒ  with the trx and then some stretching. All very good fun and hard work. But I walked out feeling more awake and, I noticed today that there is no left over twinges at all in my hip flexors. So all very good results and…

Day 39 complete πŸ˜€

Day 38: Does anyone remember Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure?

Good evening πŸ™‚

Does any one remember Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? More specifically the mall scene with Joan of Arc? it looks a little like this…


Joan of Arc doing Aerobics from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

for those of you who haven’t seen it, in a nutshell, Joan of Arc is brought forward into the present (well the 1980s), sees aerobics going on then takes over as the instructor. This is relevant I promise…

Today, Monday, it is normally circuit training day but, as my circuit training partner in crime Graham couldn’t attend this evening so I thought I would have a change. So I found a class that took place slightly earlier in the evening. It was aerobics, and it was very much like a traditional aerobics class from the 1980s but with less pink lycra. Β Now you will see the relevance of the above reference, the instructor was petite with short brown hair; she was very enthusiastic and there was a lot of arm waving. I spent at least half of the class thinking “she reminds me of Joan of Arc from Bill and Ted” it was somewhat distracting!

It was quite a different class to what I am used to, it was good heart rate raising cardio. We have become used to “body xxxx” with classes split into 3 or 4 minute tracks with a water break in between each, this one was much more continuous, the whole continued moving with only one official water break, from a stamina point of view this made a nice change. From a hard work point of view, it was not a patch on circuits so, it was a bit of fun for a change, but in general I think…return to circuits next week πŸ™‚

However in a 1980s style, Day 38 complete, be excellent to each other πŸ™‚


Day 37: long overdue fitness test results

Good morningΒ 

Sorry for the slightly late posting of yesterday’s activity, but I did my usual trick of falling asleep, never mind though it is here now πŸ™‚

So yesterday morning, I decided that I would forgo the Pilates class in favour of being able to go out for the day without loosing most of the morning to a gym class. This is a shame, because I like Pilates, however it is not the end of the world and it allowed us to have a good day out…but i will come to that later.

In lieu of Pilates I decided that it was about time that I did mt fitness test, you know the one I promised to do regularly but haven’t done for 2 weeks…

So I carried out the fitness test, in accordance with the rules of scientific testing, I did my best to keep most of the parameters the same as the last times. I Carried out my 10 min warm up on the stepper then went through the exercises in the same order, Press-ups, sit-ups, squats, step test, sit and reach. With the following results:

Press ups – 30, Sit-ups (in a minute) – 49, Β squats – 51, HR after 3 min stepping – 90, sit and reach – 16 cm.

As I have said previously, I am not actually sure how accurate a test of fitness this is, especially administered at home on my own, but by doing Β the same thing once a week (ish) that is repeatable and measurable it at least gives a ball park indication πŸ™‚

As i have 3 sets of results…I am starting to get graphs the look interesting now so here they are…


Fitness test results after 6 weeks of project

Fitness test results after 6 weeks of project

the rest of Sunday was spent visiting Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, where we spent all day walking and climbing up and down terrifying spiral staircases! this also counts as activity πŸ™‚

Bodiam Castle

So day 37 complete and I am getting fitter!

Day 36: the comfort zone and beyond

Good evening πŸ™‚

Apparently this weekend it is a year since the Olympics were in full swing in Britain…well…that has gone by fast! There are all sorts of anniversary celebrations going on including Billingshurst leisure centre best of British day which was today. This lead to two things…1) there being a whole range of free taster sessions as well as the normal classes and b)the instructor wearing a union jack tutu…

photo (4)

Possibly not the best photo of the instructor and her union jack tutu…

this instructor is the same person who took my Pilates class last week, she is a non intimidating believable instructor. She is obviously very fit and all the things that go with being a fitness instructor, but not in an unapproachable uber skinny sort of way, but in a fit, short funny sort of way that makes you feel better about tricky gym classes!

Tricky gym classes…what tricky gym classes…so far I have only hinted that I went to one Β but not in any way mentioned which one it was…well..this morning I decided it was time to return to Body Pump. A class I have attended many times before but not for quite a long time. I did enjoy it but had trouble getting my weights right, I have got quite a lot fitter and stronger since last time I did this class so found myself underestimating the weight in some cases, but most of the time not too bad…none of the tracks were easy with the weights i chose, I just think that for some of them I could have pushed a little bit harder…ahh well! I will know for next time!

Highly colourful body pump class...

Highly colourful body pump class…

The other mildly disconcerting thing about this body pump class was all the colour. All classes in the past have been serious looking black weights and the like but this time I found myself surrounded by a riot of colour coded weights. I know, this is not the main thing I should have taken away from the class but shhh! It was body pump, it was what I expect from a body pump class, hard work, but slightly funnier than normal which is definitely a good thing.

After this class came a taster for a class called fit steps. It was not (as the name might suggest a step class of the up down on and off and step liable to break an ankle type of class. It was instead an exercise class based on the strictly come dancing moves, it was dancing, but not in the style of the ubiquitous Zumba, it was definitely more ballroom. This, I hasten to add did not make it any easier! In the past dance style exercise classes have normally been beyond my comprehension and left me feeling slightly self-conscious.(that is where the beyond in the title of this post comes from…) Today however I found myself enjoying this class a great deal, it was run by the same instructor, which helped a lot…and I suspect, I am a lot more used to dancing on public then I used to be! We did cha cha cha, jive and waltz, apparently there are more, but this was only a taster. It was definitely exercise class dancing, I doubt very much that it would actually earn you a place on strictly anything but…it was great fun, interesting and definitely good and cardio! and…on top of all that…and this is a big bonus, I got to wave my arms about a lot in a pretty dramatic fashion πŸ˜€

So day 36 complete πŸ˜€

PS…I also got to my 10,000 steps goal according to my fit bit so that is another bonus πŸ™‚

Day 35: Early morning PT wake up

Good evening πŸ™‚

due to a combination of yesterdays lack of motivation, and Tuesday’s postponement of my pt session, I decided to have a pt session early this morning to get it out of the way. It was a shock to the system and quite an abrupt way to wake up. I have to say, it was a very successful way to wake up. We started with Thai boxing and MMA training, all carried out in a dance studio, which has Β highlighted a special talent of mine (apart from rapidly speeding up reflexes and good punches…I have the ability to do 1/2 an hour of MMA in a room with one wall made entirely of mirrors, and not see my reflection once! I am choosing not to assess the psychological implications of this talent just at the moment πŸ™‚

The other thing about MMA in the dance studio, is there is a lot more moving about, there is more space than in the gym so Matt the trainer makes the most of it! Once we had done the first half hour, we adjourned to the gym and spent some time doing trx training and balance and strength exercise using the pulley machine with a bar attachment. It is surprising how tricky it is to balance when doing a lunge then a shoulder press with a bar attached to pulleys so the whole thing is trying to pull you over…apparently it is good for you and balance is a useful thing to cultivate. Then a return to the trx for some exercises the involved me holding my own body weight still in different positions, this is harder than you think!

Photo: TRX Challenge - try out the new TRX equipment and see if you can get your name on the leader board.  Challenge 1 (beginners) Suspended Press Ups.  Post your results here.  If you haven't used the TRX before ask an instructor for a demonstration.

Matt the Trainer demonstrating TRX

this was followed by more MMA punching and kicking and defence and general fighting combinations, this time in the gym…i quite like doing this in the gym because despite being small and not the skinniest person in the world, I am good at it, and I get to do really aggressive looking , fast and complicated things. (nope…no psychological assessment of that either) This set was harder, the addition of extra kicks between every combination certainly keeps you working hard!

once the aggressive looking training was done, we finished off with some weights using the large heavy bar…and weights totaling 30 kg… I can bench press 30kg…which is an improvement as 2 weeks ago I could only do 25 woohoo more improvement! the other thing we did in this strength part of the session was things prefixed with “plyometric” the first one was with the barbell…a plyometric chest press…this means…really slowly on the down part of the exercise, and explosively as fast as possible upwards. the other plyometric thing we did was a plyometric box jump…for some reason i had to have my Β knees tied together with a stretchy band then keep my legs shoulder width apart, then jump followed by a squat to bench level…and repeat 10 times..then 10 more times…

I have discovered that plyometric means “deceptively hard odd exercises that seem to be effective” I can see why they use the term plyometric..the other one would be a bit of a mouthful in front of exercise names…

“deceptively hard odd but effective box jumps”…no I can’t see that catching on!

any way 1hr20 mins of PT later I was free to get on with my day πŸ™‚

day 35 complete πŸ™‚

PS: I weighed myself this morning, and am 2lbs down on Monday’s weigh in. all this activity coupled with my new healthy eating efforts are beginning to pay off. The focus of this blog is not weight loss as such, but the road to a fitter healthier me is easier to travel with a lighter me πŸ™‚

Day 34: Thursdays are always tricky…

Good evening πŸ™‚

today has been a very sleepy day, a fact that thwarted my plans of early morning running and morphed them into evening shuttles and hula hoops.

I awoke early, the fitbit silent alarm is an interesting feature, and I am getting used to it. It does mean I can get up earlier than Mark without waking him up which is a good thing. Anyway, I awoke and arose at 6am as planned, in plenty of time for my run around the park…however, I also awoke with only 5.5 hrs sleep under my belt and very achy legs from the dancing last night. So instead of running greatness, I descended into sofa snoozing for another hour before dragging myself to work.

I spent a large proprtion of the day a) feeling bad about not going for my run 2) discussing new exercise routines for my friend Rachel and c) figuring out ways to wake myself up and fit more exercise into my day at work.

So here is what I did…every hour more or less, although I didn’t start until just before lunch, I went to the toilets and carried out a mini workout, I did some steppy aerobic style dancing, stretched my arms, shoulders, hamstrings, quads and calves, then I did 10 squats and 10 wall press ups, then I did a bit more jigging about before transforming back to a non dancing office person for the trip back to may desk. I managed 50 squats, and 50 press ups before the end of the day πŸ™‚ I figured every little helps and it got me moving.

So, where this is and interesting way of adding extra movement into my day, It doesn’t constitute 30 mins of exercise. At work I made grand plans to go for a run or a swim or try out a Zumba class, by the time I left my weary status had been restored. I should know, Thursdays are not good days for exercise! When I used to climb, I was never very good on a Thursday. However I really wanted (and according to project rules had to) get something done, so this is what I did:

I did shuttles up and down my garden, running up and walking back, I did 9 there and backs, which adds up to about 1 km and took 15 mins (my garden is about 60 m long). I then got my hula hoop out in the garden and spent the next 15 mins huling in the garden…I have improved from the first time, I can hoop for longer and the process doesn’t hurt as much as it did last week! I have no idea what that means really in terms of fitness but it is a good thing as far as I am concerned πŸ™‚ once the hoopyness was done i did 2 sets of squats, press ups, crunches and leg raises then some stretching.

So not as originally intended, but day 34 complete πŸ™‚


Day 33: Rhapsody in Orange

Good evening πŸ™‚

Guess what today’s activity was…welll yes…it was dancing…it is Wednesday…it is in fact Wicked Wacky Stick Wednesday πŸ™‚ However today was a Morris practice with a difference, we spent this evening entertaining the general public I the quiet village of Maplehurst at the White Horse pub.

The White Horse, Maplehurst

Small quite village it might be 99% of the time, but just occasionally the peace is shattered by a bunch of stick clashing, whooping, yelling jangling Border Morris dancers commonly known as Mythago. Tonight was one of those times. We descended on the place instead of out normal practice hall and, as we were in public we were in full kit and masks. AND…this was the very exciting bit for me…we got to wear coloured kit! So I looked like this:

Orange Kit πŸ™‚

I love my orange kit! It is so orange…and moves so well…it is so swishy πŸ™‚ and exercise wise, the mask and about 50 tonnes of material on the kit, and the boots that weight 2kg each, all make all the aerobic dancing so much more…exercise-y

I did, Our Henry, King of the Fairies, Standing Stones, Avebury Ring, Maiden Castle, Fanny Frail, and possibly more that I have forgotten. It was lots and lots of fun and, have I mentioned that I love my orange kit πŸ˜€

Just in case, Β all the dancing was not enough…I decided to up my fitbit steps and activity points buy running up and down the garden a couple of times…to use up the extra energy πŸ™‚

So…that means…

Day 33 Complete πŸ˜€ and completely orange!

Day 32: smile at the runners

Good morning πŸ™‚
To the man who gave me a nice friendly smile on my last running interval of my (Day 1 week 1) c25k today I say thank you, you made me happy and run a tiny bit better because of it!

As you might have gathered, I did my first training run for my 5k, I decided that as the run is about 9 weeks away, I would do the c25k which takes…yes…9 weeks! and hopefully if I get my self properly organised I can do the c25k quicker than 9 weeks and have a few extra 5k practices πŸ™‚
I am doubly pleased with myself today, I managed to do my first run and I managed to get up at 6 to do it πŸ˜€ mornings are hard…but actually the extra hour in bed doesn’t really make them any better. I just need to remember to go to bed at a sensible time…by which I mean before midnight, even if only just!

So today’s run was not to bad, it was run walk intervals really, and there was more walking than running but I am aware that this is how you start off these things and then improve on it from there. I am doing exactly what the c25k app tells me so hopefully I will improve reasonably soon, especially considering all the other stuff I am doing at the same time. Well…not exactly at the same time but at other times on the same day for example of in between the runs. Ok…you all probably got that without the explanation didn’t you?

Well here are my run stats…

Total Time: 30 mins, Total Distance: 2.93 km, Average run pace 8.08min per km, average walk pace 11.28 min per km.

in the grand scheme of running statistics they are not the best in Β the world, but that is not important. It is my starting point and all I have to do is improve on them. I am not a natural runner (I think I am a natural boxer but that is a different story) I have never been very good or very quick but I can improve with work so that is what I intend to do πŸ˜€

the other thing that came to mind when I was running/walking/jogging around the park, being overtaken by and meeting other runners and meeting people on the way to work is that people do not smile at each other enough. So many people this morning seemed like they were deliberately trying to avoid eye contact. I know it is morning, I know you might be on your way to a dull or possibly very important job but it costs nothing to smile at someone who it trying to make themselves fitter. Don’t look away quickly and pretend you haven’t seen the tired looking dumpy runner, smile (even if you are secretly smiling because it is not you running). and if you are a really good runner, there is nothing in your running training plan that will be damaged by smiling at another person who is trying to become the same.

Smiling at people, in general, whether they are running and look like they need encouragement or not, make you feel better, and it makes them feel better. No matter how good or bad you feel, a smile from someone else makes your day a tiny bit happier. I know because the other runner who smiled at me in a big friendly grin sort of way, made my last interval a tiny bit easier!

Day 32 (although technically the project requirements are fulfilled) not complete yet as I have PT later πŸ™‚

edit: Matt the trainer texted and rescheduled my session tonight due to him sustaining a Spider-Man related injury…technically a Spider-Man push up but Spider-Man related sounds better πŸ™‚ so PT will now be on Friday morning so running was it for today, but I am still pleased with my running achievement πŸ˜€


day 32 complete πŸ˜€

Day 31: extra dancing in kitchen

Good evening πŸ™‚

It is Monday so officially it is circuit training day, but  first I have to mention that this fitbit thingummy  has had a peculiar effect on me! Because I now have this little gadget on my wrist reminding me how active (or not active) I have been, I am attempting to find more ways to increase my activity! today I have been dancing and jigging about in the work kitchen and the toilet every time I go and make a drink / go to the loo (respectively)…I am just pleased that no one has walked in on my while I am doing grapevines in the ladies! It did increase my number of steps but somehow I can’t manage to get to 10000…possibly because my office is quite small. Tomorrow I am going to park at the opposite end of the carpark to the building…then maybe dance on my way between the two…

any way…circuits

Running track at Broadbridge Heath leisure centre

today’s circuit class started with a warm up which (for me at least) was one lap of the track, one lap because we were slightly later and took slightly longer getting our equipment out. However, for me, who has not run in months, one lap of the track was plenty. I managed it slightly better than i thought I would too, I only stopped and walked twice and only for a very few seconds. the vast majority was running πŸ™‚ the rest of the circuits was a little bit body pump styled, as the circuits class is soon going to be cancelled and replaced with body pump. It was more intensive than body pump and I used heavier weights than I ever use at body pump though so I have a sneaky suspicion that my arms especially will ace in the morning πŸ™‚ It was good to focus on a lot of strength training, but it does mean i should try to get some extra cardio in this week, probably in the form of running…

why running I hear you ask? Well…I have signed up for a 5k race, in 6 weeks time! I am doing the colour run in Brighton which is a 5k run mixed with a large powder paint fight πŸ™‚ so I need to get training…hopefully starting in the morning πŸ™‚ as with all good 5k paint fights, this one is for a very good cause, the charity involved it Stand up to Cancer, so if anyone fancies sponsoring me then please feel free…

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Day 31 Complete πŸ™‚

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