Archive | October 2013

Day 131: Wednesday is the new Thursday

You know how I have said on more than one occasion, that Thursdays are tricky, and that Wednesdays always include dancing…well this week things changed :-S

Change is confusing…this is a confusing week a very odd Tuesday followed by a Wednesday with no dancing left me all unclear about what day it was! So this week Wednesday was tricky…

I started off the day’s exercise with a walk at lunchtime, just a little one for some fresh air and to finally get around to calibrate my stride length so I can correctly enter it into my fitbit (this will be important for an upcoming challenge…no spoilers just yet!)

walk autumn

View on my walk (same as many previous…only autumner)

It was only a little 1.5km walk but not too bad as a little lunchtime breath of fresh air πŸ™‚

I noticed that it is definitely Autumn now, although, considering it is the end of October…there are still a remarkable amount of green leaves about! It was quite a nice little walk, and when I did the maths, I discovered that my stride length was 1cm shorter than I had guessed at…which makes it not a bad guess really πŸ™‚

This wasn’t it mind you, nice walk it may have been, it was neither long enough or brisk enough to count as my daily workout! It was Wednesday (as I have mentioned) and I was confused) as I have also mentioned, and I had done two days of strength workouts in a row, so I decided against another Body Pump class. Instead, I went home, and did some supersets, mainly consisting of strength exercises…

yes I know, this makes no sense, I said I was confused…shhh!

So here is what I did:

A warm up consisting of some jogging and fast jogging and what not on the spot, followed by some mobility exercises stolen shamelessly from Matt the Trainer.

Press ups (using the press ups trainer) Sets of 10, 6, 10, 8, 6 with sets of 10 squats in between

orange KettlebellSquats (using the squats trainer) sets of 15, 10, 8, 5 with 10 x kettle bell clean and press, 10 x kettle bell snatches, and the walking up and down with a kettlebell over your head exercise that I learned yesterday in between (one exercise in each break…not all of them in all breaks…)

Sit ups (using the sit-ups trainer) sets of 14, 10, 8, 6, 6, 4 with sets of 10 x hip bridges in between.

The addition of kettlebells into this round of supersets made it slightly more challenging, although I might need some heavier ones soon…

Day 131, confusing, but complete πŸ˜€

Day 130: Exercise can improve any day…even a tuesday

Ok…It is official…Tuesdays are the very worst days of the week! I am not stating anything anyone doesn’t know by saying that, the Greeks and the Spanish both think it is an unlucky day and if yesterday is anything to go by, they were right! I broke bits off my car by accidentally clashing wing mirrors with a motorhome, who then shouted at me for not stopping…when I was stopped :-S and was therefore 1/2 hour late for work. I lost my documents on the whims of MS word and all sorts of craziness….however…this is not a doom and gloom post because…

Despite my stupid crazy day, my workouts were awesome and made me feel much much better πŸ˜€

The first one occurred at lunchtime, I pulled myself out of my grump, went and got changed and went for a run πŸ™‚ I had no plan for the run, I had no intervals set I was just going to go out and go around my circuit with no detours to make it longer, and just run as much as I could and walk if I needed to πŸ™‚

29octrun

Lunchtime run

It was quite a short run, and not the fastest average time I have had recently, but I am quite pleased with how it went. I was paying attention to my form, where and how my foot was landing and remembering to push off behind me which meant my run intervals were actually pretty quick, I just slowed down on my walk intervals. I was pretty happy with is as I said and it cleared my head and took away some of the Tuesday-ness!

The second mood enhancing work out was my regular Tuesday PT session (you know the one that has been on a Friday and Thursday recently…)

To be honest…it was awesome πŸ™‚ I know I say that every week, but that is because it always is!

We started with mobility Β because mobility is always handy (or something) including an oddly titled exercise called the groiner O_o

Groiner

Groiner

This is (possibly obviously) done with alternate legs and is good for hip mobility (which I need as mine have become rubbish from years of desk working!). Apparently I am improving as I can now get my foot further forward than my hands…It gets easier with every one you do, which I suppose is the point.

We then moved on to TRX, because we were next to it, and also it was on Matt’s list. He had a list, which from my fleeting glimpse at it was very long. on the TRX we I did rows and muscle ups, then Power Cleans with a core bag and on to the not as scary as it once was free weights area. In here we did strength and power training.

front squat

Front Squat

Starting with front squats (with 19kg) and then for an initially confusing reason, front squats with my heals on little weight plates. It became clear (because I asked) that this addition was to take the strain off my calves and back onto the muscle groups that were supposed to be being used. We then did bench presses…lots of them, well 3 sets of 5 adding extra weight each time until I couldn’t do more than 5, which turned out to be 35kg.Β Then power bench presses with only the bar (20kg) which is down slowly, then explosively up as fast as possible. We then moved on to Power presses, lat pulldowns, and multiple kettlebell exercises including snatches, clean and press and bottoms up clean and, walking around with my arm above my head, locked out and my core engaged to make sure I didn’t tip over. This last one is harder than you might think, and there was probably no danger of my dropping a kettle bell on my head!

Once my arms and shoulders were good and tired, we moved on to Thai boxing, at which point I was made to use my brain! MY BRAIN… ON A TUESDAY…oh well…it proved to be interesting and fun! It also produced some new combinations which were even faster and more effective than our previous ones!

I didn’t know it was possible to do these things any faster…apparently it is!

The changes once I had forced my brain to remember them, brought about much more effective combinations, which lead into kicks quite naturally, and now I think about it, kick combinations too πŸ™‚

Then there was stretching lots of stretching…

all in all I walked out in a considerably better mood than I walked in…and with more energy at the same time as being tireder, which on the face of it makes no sense…but if you think about it you will know what I mean πŸ™‚

I have to say…I am really liking all this strength training…I really need to add more in to my other days workouts πŸ˜€

Day 130 complete πŸ™‚

and do you know what else happened today? W

Well probably not… I will tell you

When I was on the side of the road trying to figure out how to deal with this broken mirror altercation, I actually had the thought, I can’t wait to run and train to clear my head. Not a single thought of chocolate, not one!! πŸ˜€

Day 129: I upped my weights

Guess what I did at Body pump last night…

Ok…it wasn’t too hard to guess because I told you in the heading, but shhh!

Yes, that’s right, I upped my weights on most tracks πŸ™‚

the tracks I stayed the same on were the ones that use single plates (because I already use 5kg and that is the biggest) and the ones that use dumbells (because I already use 3kg and they are the biggest) and the ones that use bodyweight…for obvious reasons πŸ™‚ and lunges, because argh!

001 weight plates

ok…i didn’t use quite that many… I only had one bar…

Even with the upped weights it was quite doable. I struggled more towards the end of the tracks, but that is only to be expected when you up the weight πŸ™‚ The class was pretty small last night, there were 6 people in it, and I noticed that I am now using the highest weights in the class ( and two of them were men!) I know it is not a competition, but I can’t help secretly feeling a tiny bit proud. So secretly, that I wrote it on here for everyone to see πŸ˜‰

Day 129 complete πŸ™‚

Extra: Crazy back to front media stuff and things

Ok…I really couldn’t come up with a sensible title for this post!

I have been thinking a lot about this for about the last 128 days…or possibly even more but mainly for the duration of this project. I decided to post something on it today because of something I spotted in the magazine section at the supermarket this lunchtime, which made me remember how annoyed I am with the mainstream media in Β general when it comes to fitness and health.

magazines

 

This is a photo of the magazine rack in the supermarket, it was the “women’s home interest” section for a start which makes no sense but that is not the main point! This was the section set aside for “fitness and health” magazines.

Closer inspection shows that nearly every one (I didn’t check the yoga ones to be honest) of these magazines has a cover headline along the lines of “winter slimdown” “burn 300 calories in 3 moves” “get more energy and lose 5 lbs this week” “flat tummy in 1 week” not to mention the WW magazine implying that the best way to be happy is to be slim. Every one of these magazine offers a quick fix or an easy option, no mention of the weeks/ months/ years possibly of hard work and re-education it will take to make a permanent change. Every one of these magazines focuses on the weight loss and the outward looks before the inner health and overall fitness. It seems to me that this is the backwards way of looking at things!

The thing that brought all the craziness home was the “cosmetic surgery guide” just sitting there happily amongst the health and fitness magazines! The ultimate in quick fix vanity over health

(yes I know there are people who have plastic surgery for medical reasons…they are not the ones I am talking about)

My point is, it is very hard to find really good advice on how to be healthy and get fit, without being bombarded by ways to lose weight at all costs! Yes, I am losing weight, actually more pleasingly I am losing size, and I am very pleased about this but I want to do it in a healthy way and above all, my goal it to become fit. And by fit I mean properly fit, enough to dance all day in hot conditions. The weight loss comes hand in hand with this but the fitness comes first.

It is worrying to me that there are so many media outlets (magazines, tv adverts etc) that sell quick fixes and sometimes downright dangerous advice to allow you to be thin, but not necessarily healthy, as is this is the only thing that people are bothered by. This is not even getting started on the misleading advice handed out by some “weight loss” companies who want to keep you coming back and don’t educate you on how to make good choices.

All I wanted was some sensible advice on actual fitness. I did find it in the end, but I had to abandon the hopes of mainstream magazines helping me out. I found a lot of excellent advice on many different blogs and websites and a lot of my own knowledge.Β In addition to that, the same supermarket puts the Runners World magazine in the Computing section…is there any wonder people are confused.

Sorry if that was a little bit of a rant, I am not trying to tell anyone what to do, I just wanted to express my annoyance.

 

 

Day 128: sticking to the plan…

Despite feeling like I could do more, I decided to stick to my plan of making Sundays “rest days” and only doing Pilates on them.

So on Sunday I did Pilates. I was happily energetic because for the first time in a long time I had had enough sleep (thank you clock change :-)) and I really needed a bit of a stretch out and realign. I enjoyed my class, and you can really feel it working on your core, I seem to be capable of doing the more advanced moves now which is pleasing and it make it a worthwhile experience.

My new favourite move is the swan dive (i can’t remember if I have described it before). From lying on your front, you raise your head shoulders and upper torso off the floor using your back muscles, when you get as high as you can you use your arms to push yourself up further.

swan dive

swan dive

Now for the fun bit πŸ™‚ at this point you take away the support of your arms and rock and reach forward while maintaining your curved spine.

I am pretty sure I do not look as graceful as the person in that picture and my legs do not go that high…but Β I can do the move πŸ˜€

So in a rest-y pilates-y way, day 128 complete πŸ™‚

Day 127: great south 5k completed

Good morning πŸ™‚

Saturday was the day of the great south 5k, (challenge 4) we arrived at the event in plenty of time and had something of a walk around to see what was going on…and the answer was not a lot, so we ambled about a little more, then went to stand near out start flag and jig about a bit as it was a cool day but (so far) it was dry so we were quite optimistic…

gs5k start

before the great south 5k

so we were happily lining up waiting for the start, in our designated area learning new dance steps (what else would you do while waiting for a race..) when the heavens opened and the wind was picking up…

by the time we got to start the race we were already soaked! the race went along the seafront in Portsmouth, around a park at one end then back along the sea front. Now, I don’t know if any of you have ever been to a coastal town in the UK in October in torrential (and sideways) rain with winds of 15-25 mph (depending on which website you read) winds, but it is not a pleasant experience when you are not running. When you are running it is definitely a challenge! The wind was side on and slightly diagonal, which meant it was a headwind for the last 2k on the way back along the front. But…and this is the important thing…despite the horrendous conditions, the atmosphere was awesome and we had a lot of fun!! I ran with my friend Lisa who has more energy and enthusiasm then I previously thought humanly possible

lisa

Lisa

She ran and skipped and dance and twirled her way around the course staying with me despite the fact that she could have definitely run off and completed it much faster than me. She definitely cheered me up, as without her the weather would have made this race something of a slog!

As it was I am really pleased with the run! I did have problems with my calves which had been playing up since step aerobics on Wednesday, but thanks to the magic of compression calf sleeves these were not as bad as I anticipated and they loosened off towards the 2nd half which was good πŸ™‚

gs5k

Race stats

as you can see, my first km was amazing, I was taken along by the enthusiasm and atmosphere, then it went down hill a little bit, my calves hurt a little and the weather was bleugh for the 2nd and 3rd km. then for reasons completely beyond me, I started to feel better, and despite kms 4 and 5 being into the wind, I actually went quicker and felt better! but overall time 39min 49s was a pretty good result for the conditions.

I did have to walk some of it, but I did notice that when I was running (which was more than walking) I was faster than a few people around me but not as consistent, I ran faster then walked then ran faster (repeat until the end). Maybe this is because I have don a lot of interval training in my time…who knows. By the end of the race, we were soaked through, I was going squish with every step because my shoes were full of water, but I against all odds, was still smiling!

end of race

Soggy but smiling!

All in all a pretty awesome day, not the fastest time (but at least I didn’t come last) but it has given me something to work on. The main positive I can take from this race is that I felt much better both during and after the race than I did when I did the colour run. I felt fitter and better andΒ succeededΒ despite the horrible weather!

The other thing I noticed….

progress

Progress πŸ™‚

I am not normally one for doing weight loss pics etc but I jut noticed when I was looking through the pics from the event, since the 14th September when the colour run was I have shrunk a little bit! This changed happened in 42 days. it is not a huge huge change, but it is noticeable. So what I am doing must be working πŸ™‚

And with that…day 127 complete πŸ˜€

Day 126: its Friday, its 7am…it is time for training :-)

Good morning and welcome to Friday!

The idea of personal training always seems like a good one, when you organise it a week in advance…however the reality of getting up at 5:30 to get to the gym after 5 hrs sleep was considerably less appealing! (and yes I do have to get up 1 hr before I leave the house or nothing functions at all)

I did get up, or course, and was it worth it?

of course it was worth it! PT was awesome!!

We spent the first half hour doing strength and power training in the form of olympic lifting…with explosive plyometric jumping bits… (there is possibly a better way to describe these, but that is what I am going with at the moment!) We started with deadlifts using the cable machine, ordinary dead lifts with no jumping, possibly to lull me into a false sense of security.

power-clean-techniques

power clean techniques

We then moved on to power clean and press, only we worked up to it, with the clean first. I had to dead lift the bar, then as I came up, jump upwards while bringing the bar up into a clean position then sit back into a deep squat all in one movement (x8) . The next stage was to come up from the squat and jump as I pressed the bar overhead and locked the arms (x8). Then putting the two stages together, I did power clean and presses (x8). Apparently I have good technique, Matt made me move in front of a mirror so I could see this, it did look like good technique, but seeing my self in the mirror is off putting, I can’t get over how short I am!

This was not the end of it, I then did Barbell rows, and plyometric bench presses (slowly down and as fast as possible up again) and wood chops (fast downwards and slow back up again) with the cable machine.

Then, once I was nice and tired, Matt took the opportunity to beat me round the head…

Ok, that is not strictly speaking true. But he did hit me on the head during our thai boxing session. I was completely by accident (he says) I was ducking down for a body shot, to the actual body as he had his armour on, and he forgot and went put his focus pad out at body level, in the process colliding with my head. There is an argument that says if I had had my guard up more and not been looking at the floor I might not have been hit…but shhh!

We finished off after 25 mins or so of thai boxing, with some core work and stretching of my horribly tight calves!

I am really enjoying my PT sessions at the moment, the Thai boxing is awesome, and I am really starting to like this lifting up and putting down of heavy stuff, it is hard but I seem to love it. My new plan is to do more strength training next week πŸ™‚

For now, day 126 complete πŸ™‚

Day 125 Today would have been a good day to check the temperature…

Before I left the house!

If I had, I could have worn my thermal leggings, instead of looking at them and not putting them on because i was too warm in them last week…same goes for my berghouse winter baselayer…

But no…I set off at 6:50 am in my normal running trousers and long sleeved – short sleeved star trek running top comboΒ which i have become quite used to and noone actually sees the resemblance until I point it out! As soon as I set foot outside I knew i was going to get the kind of cold that sticks to you and doesn’t leave for hours. I also knew that if I went back in the house I wouldn’t go back out again…so I carried on!

01aa

 

Freezing coldness aside, I am pretty pleased with my running today, and I learned a thing or two while I was at it πŸ™‚

I discovered that when I get into a ploddy stride with out many walk breaks but without very much thought to my running stride (like I did in km 2) I am much slower than when I am actually concentrating on where my feet land and pushing off behind me I go much faster for not too much more expended effort!

A few years ago when I used to run (ish) I read about efficient running form being where your foot strikes the ground around the midfoot more or less directly underneath your body, so that you only have to push back with your leg to propel yourself forward. Rather than when you heel strike in front of your body your front foot brakes you and you have to drag yourself over the top of it before you can push off. Now…when I read that I tried it out walking and running and I do seem to go much faster when i do it. So now it had more or less become my default running stride, but i do have to remind myself once in a while, ad today I did just that πŸ™‚

I haven’t actually read up on good running form recently so I may be remembering some of that wrong, but it seemed to work this morning πŸ™‚

All in all, pleased with my run, even though it was shorter than I would have liked due to me starting later (as usual) and having to cut it short to get to work!

Day 125 Complete πŸ™‚

Day 124: an injury free step class

Good morning πŸ™‚

body-step

Body Step

in the interests of trying yet another new exercise class to add to the varied and random fitness regime of mine, I tried Body Step last night! It was a lot like most other step classes I have been to, the Les Mills treatment didn’t really make any great leaps forwards in step class content. This is possibly because, great leaps forward would cause you to miss the step altogether and this could cause untold problems. Anyway, back to step class…

It is a good cardio workout, it does really get you moving and using your legs (ok…that bit is obvious) the main drawback of it is the immense confusion and state of bafflement that ensues during the class. Β I seemed to have two states…complete understanding and working out to my maximum, and complete inability to make my brain and legs connect at all! these two states seemed to coincide with the orientation of the step…when the step was in landscape mode in front of me everything went according to plan and when it was in portrait mode and I had to work across it everything went haywire! I feel sure I was actually making my own routines up in some of the tracks!

However, the most positive thing to come out of the class last night was I got through it without injury…this is exactly the 4th step class I have been to and in 2 other ones I have injured myself and had to leave the class early. It seems to alternate mind you, so I am not sure if I can go to another one…

and the best thing about the whole step experience, I got to see my friend Girl Sam (yes…I am a girl too and a Sam…but I am Real Sam…obvious really…) she was much better at most of it than me, but I put that down to her doing many step classes in the dim and distant past which is another country that I can’t remember!

That was Wednesday madness part 1

Wednesday madness part 2 was the fact that I drove straight from said step class, to Mythago practice and spent 1.5 hrs dancing my heart out and waving sticks about πŸ˜€ As always, dancing was enormous fun and incredibly energetic πŸ™‚ The dance I did were:

Maiden Castle, Star of the County Down, Triskelle, Standing Stones, Raggle Taggle Gypsy, Broomstick, Witch Hunt, Out Henry, Foul Mouthed cat (+walk), Spank the Monkey and Fanny Frail (+walk)

to make up for the lack of pictures, I will leave you with a video of us dancing something awesome… (this one is witch hunt πŸ™‚ )

Day 124 Complete πŸ˜€

Day 123: 4 down 8 to go!

Good afternoon πŸ™‚

I just realised that I am now 1/3 of the way through this project! as it says in the title, 4 months down, 8 to go! but I know already that this is not going to be a 1 year only project for me! Even now I can’t imagine stepping off this path in 8 months time saying…right that’s me done and doing nothing more! This project is a stepping stone to a complete new lifestyle and I can’t wait to see what I can achieve if the first 4 months are anything to go by!!

Anyway…enough of all that πŸ˜‰ on to yesterday’s workout!

First things first, I woke up yesterday morning with a small dose of Monday’s tea not agreeing with me so Tuesday had to be an easier day than I planned. I spent a good deal of the first part of the day sleeping and postponed any workout until the evening when I felt better!

When I eventually got on with it, I decided that I have a repeat performance of Friday’s supersets. I really enjoyed them (in a hard work sort of way) and they are a nice efficient way of working out.

red pushup

Superset fun!

I did most of the same sets as Friday (after a warm up of course):

Press ups (using my press up app) sets of 8, 8, 6, 7, 6 with 4x 10 reps of squats in the breaks between press ups.
Squats (using the app) sets of 13, 9, 6, 5 with 2 x 15 reps (each arm) kettlebell 1 arm rows in the breaks.
Sit ups (using the app) with bridges in between
Followed by some stretching πŸ™‚

It was a good work out especially for an under the weather day!

Day 123 Complete πŸ˜€

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