Archive | January 2014

Day 221: The PT that wasn’t…

It was Tuesday yesterday wasn’t it?

Yes…I know…How could it have been any other day with a start like that one!


I may have mentioned before that Tuesdays are rubbish…well yesterday had a few characteristics that made it without a doubt…a Tuesday!

(yes…ok…it wasn’t actually that bad, I just wanted to post the I hate Tuesdays cat again because I liked him! shhh!)

Ok…so what was bad about this Tuesday…well it started with PT…

No, of course I didn’t have a bad PT session, and I haven’t started disliking hard work all of a sudden…

alright sorry, I’ll get to the point!

There was a slight miscommunication based around the inability of iPhones to send messages properly, or the network around my house being crappy or something. I am unsure about the actual cause of said communications breakdown, but it transpired that I thought I had confirmed PT but Matt didn’t get the confirmation text I sent until after the (non)PT session had ended…

what ever the reason, it resulted in me standing around at the edge of the gym looking lost, confused and slightly worried for about 15 mins before going and getting on with what turned out to be a pretty good work out πŸ™‚ which consisted of this:

000stuff10 mins warm up amt
3 x 10 trx mountain climbers
5 x battle rams
5 x dive bomber press ups
3 x 5 trx baby muscle ups
3 x 5 trx plank pikes (1 x 5 with hip abduction)
1 x 5 trx jack knifes
2 x 10 vipr squats (20 kg)
2 x 10 vipr Romanian deadlifts (20 kg)
20 x plank jacks
2 x 5(per side) plank rows (9kg)
2 x 10 alternating trx chest fly / chest press
2 x sets of alternating 1 armed planks (10s both, 10s R, 10s L, 10s both)
2 x 20s tripod headstand ( I am getting good at headstands now πŸ™‚ )

These things were done as super-sets and circuits as I remembered so as not to sit about resting at all. For example the mountain climbers and muscle ups were a super set and the vipr squats and deadlifts were a super sets…you get the gist of it I am sure πŸ™‚

And that was Tuesday…the plus side of this is that I (accidentally) achieved my goal of getting up in the morning to go to the gym.

shhh yes I know it wasn’t purely self motivated…shhh!

The other thing that happened on this Tuesday was that at 4:30 pm I caught a cold. well I probably caught it a couple of days earlier, but that is when the symptoms began to manifest! I was really glad I had made it to the gym in the morning πŸ˜€

So day 221 complete πŸ˜€

PS Tuesday didn’t really turn out so bad after all πŸ™‚



220: Body pump release number 88

Monday evening heralded the long awaited arrival of the new body pump release.

pump 88And it was good to have a change from the last one! I do like this release better, even though some (all…maybe) the tracks are harder. The music is better, which helps and I can see more opportunities for improvement than with the last one…

More opportunities for improvement because I was rubbish at some of the tracks first time through?

well maybe that yes…maybe!

But also because none of the tracks are limited to dumbbells only (which isn’t always a problem but they tend to be limited sizes in my gym) you can adjust your weights as and when necessary πŸ™‚

I kept my weights to levels I know I was comfortable with, approximately the same as last week, with the exception of the bicep track which went up from 3kg/hand to 3.5kg per end of the bar.

I am not going to give you a track by track breakdown…I can’t remember them well enough! πŸ˜€ but the abridged highlights are as follows:

Squats: this actually seemed easier than the last one. I am sure it isn’t, but something felt easier…so maybe I need to up my weights on the squat track next week…to be honest I have been using the same weight for squats for ages, mainly because it has been hard with that weight. I’ll let you know next week…

chest and lunges, you have heard about before…as we have been doing them for a couple of weeks…

Biceps harder than last release and less boring…

no extensionsTriceps…Oh my gods my arms are going to fall off why are you doing this to me!! how many tricep extension thingies are really necessary?

Really, how many? Because I think there might be a law against doing as many as this track calls for!

Back track…who thought it was a good idea to put Β power presses (clean and press only with 3 presses) in the last third of the track…this is a new and crazy way to break me!

Shoulder track…do you les mills people realise this is the last track? and do you realise that my shoulders are always weakest…and that I am doing a lot of shoulder work at the moment…and taking all this into account you thing it is a good idea to do 32 shoulder presses in a row?? Honestly!

Ok…It is a hard release and I don’t think that is just because it is new…but…I am happy with that! I would rather be challenged than bored and I am starting to feel like I am getting something out of the class again which is awesome!

Body pump does have a place in my training plan πŸ™‚

Day 220 complete πŸ˜€

Day 219: Sunday reset…then its undoing…

It really was a weekend of doing good then undoing the good…

Well, sort of, both of the things I did were good, they increased fitness and strength and all of those good things…

But a pilates class, isn’t really meant to be followed up with a lifting heavy things and putting them down again session… It would probably have been better the other way round…



I had better start from the beginning… On Sunday, I went to Pilates.

Pretty normal sunday so far.

I met my friend Jen there.

<—- there she is, jumping about… she wasn’t jumping like this on Sunday, just in case you were confused…

We pilatesed away with the best of them, and I even had to demonstrate an “open legged rocker” I think I explained this before…but it went slightly further this time…

Start sitting with legs bent, hold on to the back of you legs and lean back while taking you feet off the floor and balance there. Then straighten you logs and hold it there. Then rock backwards until your legs are parallel with the floor over your head, then back onto your bum and balance again. Like this:


I looked just like that too, and not in any way like a weebleΒ which wobbles but doesn’t fall down…
(it’s a toy…shaped like an egg, read the link)

As we left the class, all stretched and calm and appropriately exercised in a calm sort of way, Jen says that she is going to go to the gym as she doesn’t know when she will get there this week. So I thought “oh why not” and went a long too πŸ˜€

So we headed into the gym (thwarted only briefly by a seemingly incomprehensible door card swipe arrangement) and warmed up for 10 mins on the treadmill…

yes…you heard it first here…I went on a treadmill…for 10 whole minutes

10 mins, no falling off nothing,

technically only brisk walking, but I was (still) breaking in my vibrams.

It still counts as facing my fears a tiny bit!

Once that was done, I made Jen do free weights…well I didn’t force her but she was going to use the weights machines and I suggested strongly that this wasn’t allowed so we did the following:

thred th eneedle

Thread the needle

3 x 10 Dumbbell chest press (1 2kg each hand) worked in with 3 x 10 (per arm) 1 arm rows (12 kg)
3 x 10 vipr squats (16 kg) worked in with 3 x 8 vipr overhead press (16 kg)
1 x 10 vipr thread the needle 8kg
3 x 30 s each side cable machine core thingies… (core presses see here)

ANd that was just about it πŸ™‚ Note these are my weights, not Jen’s weights…she is much tinier than me and new to free weights therefore used different ones πŸ™‚

Day 219 Complete πŸ™‚

Day 218: The large man who gave me a massage at a knitting show

Well…there was this man, hanging out at the knitting/craft show, and he was after a challenge…so I made him massage my shoulders…

What? that is not enough information for you? Really?

Ok then…
There is a company that provides freelance (qualified) massage people to provide massages to people who have attended an event, in this case the knitting and stitching show.

mobile massageAs we walked by, a very tall man asked if we wanted a massage, I considered it, as my shoulders / neck ect were very stiff after everything I have been doing recently. But we said we would come back later. My friend Sally talked me into it, because she has, in the past, witnessed a person try to massage my shoulders only to give up declaring that I am made of rock…

So after a while and some deliberation we returned and asked if he wanted a challenge…he said yes but didn’t look like he believed I would be that much of a challenge.

He was wrong!

After 10 mins of poking and prodding and things that involved him putting his whole weight on me (according to my friends who were watching in amusement) and generally putting in a lot of effort… He conceded that I was a challenge, and also mentioned that I was very strong and had good core strength…I have no idea at all how massage people know these things…but yeay anyway!

I walked away feeling much better which lasted until I got home…

when I ruined the whole thing by doing the level 2 work out of the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred (with the previously mentioned kettlebells).


I might have mentioned level 2 before, I don’t know that it is actually harder than level 1, it is just different… there are different compound movements and different moves to master. This may be a side effect of all the other stuff I am doing. Don’t get me wrong, I know I have worked out when I do this, it is not *easy* by any means. I may just have been doing a lot more planks recently than I ever thought I would and consequently the high plank content of level 2 is not so much of a shock to the system!

It was a good work out nonetheless and it fitted nicely in between, walking around the show for a couple of hours and going to a Burns Night celebration and eating (vegetarian) haggis and watching some good friends get very dunk on whiskey πŸ™‚ (I was the driver…)

No…I am not a vegetarian…but my brain was not having any of it when I tried to make it allow me to eat meat haggis…

Day 218 complete

Day 217: Fun on a Friday

good morning people πŸ™‚

Friday…the day of the early finish, is also (as I may have mentioned before) the day of the getting into the gym before the hoards!

This Friday was no exception…

After work I made my way to the gym, where my tendency to faff about and check my messages / facebook etc before I leave the car saved me from a parking fine πŸ˜€ (ok…I did have to pay for parking but it was cheaper than a fine!). The parking ticket checking man came round when I was still sitting in the car and asked me if I had just arrived…I said yes, went and bought a ticket and all was well πŸ˜€

Woohoo…no fine!

The gym was empty enough not to be unpleasant so that was ok..and the two girls who appeared to be doing nothing but sitting chatting by the trx had gone by the time I had finished my warm up so I didn’t have to get cross…

This was all very good…then I learned that my “why is this trx all twisted and tangled” face is easily mixed up with a “I have no idea what I am doing face” I got accosted by a member of staff while I was attempting to sort the trx straps out and asked if I was ok, and if I needed any help with anything…

for some reason I took this as an insult and started to get annoyed…

Then I remembered that I was being ridiculous and just said no thank you and got on with my program…

You remember my program…

the one with a trx / core /shoulder blitz craziness…

program2<———Β Β you know the one that has all these things in!

My indignation (possibly only in my head) atΒ being confused with a gym newbie soon evaporated in the face of the hard work!

I went through my program 3 times…it is still a killer! and I haven’t been for a week so I think my shoulders forgot about the pain! They have remembered now!!
I added on to the end of my program again, because as I think I have mentioned, my shoulders and upper body (and core) have just about had it at the end, but there is still life in my legs, so I added on:

single leg squat2×10 trx squats
2×10 (per leg) single leg squats
1x 10 baby muscle ups

It was all good fun πŸ™‚ and a nice way to round off a Friday πŸ™‚

It is amazing how quickly you forget about your working week when you are concentrating on staying vertical and upside down πŸ™‚

Day 217 Complete πŸ˜€

Day 216: Who knew I could do plank jacks…

Good afternoon πŸ™‚

Yesterday’s activity started off with a good brisk march…I mean a leisurely lunchtime walk…

ok…I mean a brisk lunchtime walk πŸ™‚ It was a good walk, I managed to go further than the last tome in the same time, so this is progress, not that I am particularly looking for progress and improvements in my lunchtime walks, but it is nice anyway!


I am slightly running out of pictures to take on my lunchtime walks as I always go in the same couple of places, however I took some anyway because it was a nice day, and you get the opportunity to see my awesome red hat and scarf with rhinos on.

Rhinos, not,as I thought (and asked for) when I bought it…dinosaurs.

still awesome though πŸ˜€

Anyway, moving on…I went 3.2 km in 42 minutes πŸ˜€ and in my heavy heavy boots πŸ˜€

The second part of yesterdays, exercise underwent a last minute change when I drove to the gym, looked through the window and saw that it was still suffering from “January after work” syndrome…possibly Jaw Syndrome…maybe that will catch on..who knows

Anyway… when I saw that virtually every cardio machine and weight bench was already occupied, I couldn’t face a session of waiting about so I went home.

I went home, and decided to do another round of Jillian Micheals 30 day shred, and I decided that I was quite capable of moving up to the level 2 workouts. I was right, the level 2 workouts are much more worth doing, with more compound movements and suchlike.

In the process of this work out, I discovered a thing called a Plank Jack.

plank jack

like this, but not on a cool rock

This is an exercise which makes planks both harder, and into cardio! Basically, hold a plank, then jump your legs in and out wide apart then close together and repeat πŸ˜€ I was surprised I could do them…I thought I would fall over, but (again) I am stronger than I thought! πŸ˜€

Weirdly…I actually love them!

and yes…I did do the level 2 work out with my 7.5kg kettlebells too. Β It was tricky!

Day 216 Complete πŸ˜€


Day 215: Excess energy

Good morning πŸ™‚

I was unexpectedly burdened with excess energy yesterday evening πŸ™‚

I say unexpectedly because yesterday morning started out with a considerable amount of “oh goodness why am I so tired I can hardly move”! Thankfully this went away and the dancing could commence πŸ˜€


Learning Hunting Dance

Dancing that looked like this, although technically this is standing as we were learning a new dance (well new to me). But there was dancing…very soon after that. Also note…a picture that actually has me in it for once, and a lovely back view, which only serves to remind me that I still have a way to go. Don’t get me wrong, I am still very proud of my achievements but it is good to remember occasionally that I am not there yet! I so much fitter than I look now it is annoying!
OK…Positive head back on again…Dancing was awesome! I got to learn some new dances; Hunting Dance, which is one of the dances that always comes up in a story but there is not quite enough time for me to learn, and Changeling, which is a dance I tried once before and couldn’t get the hang of the sheepskin reel…which yesterday seemed a lot simpler than I remember πŸ˜€ make me wonder why I hid from this dance for so long! So all in all this was an excellent practice πŸ˜€ I like learning new things, especially new things that seemed hard once and now are not so hard πŸ˜€

There were a couple of dances I wasn’t in this evening because we needed to sort out a couple of things for the dance out I unfortunately won’t be at. I did not let this deter me mind you, I twizzled about and did shuttle runs up and down the side of the hall

no, not where the dancers were dancing…that would have been distracting πŸ˜€

yes, people did think I was odd…but no odder than they already thought I was, and they are pretty tolerant of oddness πŸ˜€ (thank goodness!)

The dances I did were:
Hunting Dance (+walk)
Raggle Taggle Gypsy (+walk x2)
Maiden Castle
Avebury Ring
Our Henry
Changeling (+walk + extra ending reel x2)

The running I did was…round and round the hall in between dances and up and down the side like a crazy person πŸ˜€

yes…running up and down like a crazy person is a valid form of exercise!!

It was all good fun and…

Day 215 Complete πŸ˜€

Day 214: A lot of Tuesday morning was spent upside down…

Well…not *a lot* I suppose, but certainly more than you might expect!

Well…possibly not more than you might expect if you have read about my PT sessions before, but more than you might expect for a “normal person” who does “normal things”

Yes…the quotes are definitely warranted…normal is a very subjective thingywhatsit and I am not sure most people would believe it includes doing handstands and headstands at 7am on a Tuesday… Β However a discussion on the perception of normal is not what I set out to write…

I set out to write a description of this morning’s awesome PT session!

We started off with a warm up…we always start with a warm up especially when it is as freezing as it was this morning! then all this happened:


we didn’t actually do all of this…

well not all of it, some of it didn’t fit in to the time available…

firstly on the mat two rounds of 5 of each, dive bombers, which I managed to do all on my toes, not on my knees at all (woohoo for progress) then side to sides…which things in which you hold plan position and move your self from side to side (sounds obvious really when put like that…) I did these on my knees, with my arms slightly bent…because it was harder that way!

Then battle rams (we all know what they are by now don’t we…)

Next press up into 1 arm extensions…basically, on you toes (and arms obviously) do a press up then twist to one side and put one arm up in the air. Then repeat on the other side…like

1 arm thing

<—- this, only with a press up in between the plank bit and the one arm up bit…

I was relatively surprised that I could so this without too much collapsing, in fact no collapsing at all just doing the exercise as requested πŸ˜€

Then some trx craziness ensued… awesome things like:
Baby muscle ups (where you still use your feet a little to help…albeit less than my arms would like) with your feet and body directly under the trx,
Chin ups, from squat position, on tiptoes again so you don’t use your legs too much.
Seated leg raises, which are a bit like a v sit only you hold on to the trx at the same time…although the trx didn’t seem to help at all…


Crow hold: like this but less elegant and successful!

Then more things on the floor (and some on the trx), including:
The crow hold, or actually, one rep of almost a crow hold followed by two instances of me not believing I could take my feet off the floor and not fall over!
Handstand as stated before, to increase my awesome quota..and I held it for about 30s this time, which is ages longer than before πŸ˜€
trx pikes, 5x normal, 5x with hip abduction at the same time, and then a variation which involved having 1 foot in the trx and going up into a pike, then bringing your other leg over your head so you start to have split legs… only this proved unsuccessful with the trx, but more successful with Matt holding the foot that should have been in the trx strap!
Either before, or after all that I did a tripod headstand again, I found it easier again than last week…this must be that progress thing that people talk about!

(I quite wanted to spent the rest of the morning doing headstands after all this but decided that my office thinks I am strange enough is it is)

and a forward roll, i did a forward roll, a body hollow hold and some bridges.

that was it for floor/trx work it was time to balance up my front shoulder work with some kettlebell thoracic extensions and some external rotations on the cable machine and a small amount of confusion over what the many tying some elastic to the trx was doing…

that last bit wasn’t technically an exercise…and it turned out he was doing assisted pull ups…

Just in case you think this is enough for one session, we rounded off the day with a short session of thai boxing πŸ˜€ We worked on a long combo…well a longish combo it was early and we didn’t want to get confused and end up getting hit. Matt also made me practice punching while going backwards… backwards!! honestly backwards, not a natural thing at all for an aggressive inside fighter such as myself! Coming forwards, now that I can do πŸ˜€

Did I mention this was an awesome PT session? Well it was…

Day 214 complete :-D…well complete apart from the walk I went on at lunchtime, which was very pleasant and looked like this:

Day 213: Tricep Triumph!

At Body Pump last night I had a minor triceps triumph! I managed to do all of the tricep dips for the first time ever!! I also did half of the tricep press ups on my toes! This both pleased and surprised me πŸ˜€

Now, I am aware that it i only the 21st (or the 20th yesterday when I made this observation…) but it would seem that the first flush of new years resolutioners have already dwindled…


I am (or course) not judging at all…It could just be a conincidence…people might be back next week…

I hope they are…It is no good to give up after 2 weeks! I really want to believe people will be back!

But as I said, yesterday it was back to the hard core participants who never (or rarely) miss a week.

Anyway back to the point…

the point is I went to Body pump and I enjoyed it as far as you can enjoy something that makes you do 100s or reps of things! I didn’t go crazy on my weights this week, I made sure I had a weight that I can do all the reps in a track properly. I pretty much reverted to what I was using 2 weeks ago before I put them up last week. It is against my general principle but I could do so little last week that I decided I would be better off concentrating on form and reps for a week and then put the weights up gradually. I will start next week by putting them up on one track but carefully as it is the new release next week!

I feel slightly like it was a cop out…but I know it wasn’t really, I still use more weight than most of the class so it was definitely a good work out. I am starting to enjoy body pump more again which is good, and I am looking forward to the new tracks next week πŸ˜€

Day 213 Complete πŸ™‚

Day 211 & 212 A tale of quilts and apples…

The title will become clear shortly I promise…yes it is still to do with exercise!

Firstly Day 211: Saturday.
On Saturday, I had to teach my friend Karen how to do quilting, despite the fact that I had never done any quilting before. Luckily she only wanted to learn the basics so I could impart knowledge hastily gleaned from Wiki how the day before.
TO be fair…she knew full well that this was the case…I wasn’t passing myself off as a quilting expert just before any of you think I was being duplicitous!

Anyhow…quilting was not the point of this blog…but is was the reason I was short of time on Saturday!

combo_side_frontBefore the onset of quilting, and related walking about (which is more than you might think) I fitted in another go at Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. I did the level 1 work out again, mainly because I was still using the kettlebells as weights! It is a pretty good way to start the day off and If I can drag myself out of bed in the morning I will attempt to fit more in before work! Β I added a few stretches of my own onto the end of the work out and I have to confess that a I modified one of the strength exercises to accommodate the kettlebells… I just couldn’t do side lunge anterior raises with one in each hand, so I had to use only one kettle bell held with both hands; my shoulders think it still worked!

Day 211 Complete πŸ˜€

Day 212 Sunday with wassailing and mud and dancing in ruins!


Mythago Wassailing (thanks to David Poole for the photo)

On Sunday Mythago had been invited to lead a Wassail ceremony at Herrington’s Field Community Orchard in Arundel West Sussex. I explained a Wassail in this postΒ but basically it is a ceremony to bless the apple trees and ward off evil spirits in order ensure a good apple harvest for this year. Β We adapted a traditional Sussex ceremony (well researched by one of our members Martin) and incorporated some of our dances into the ceremony its self to make the whole thing more unique to us. With all the rain we have had recently, the prospect of dancing in a field was somewhat daunting and we approached it with more than a little trepidation, however, once we had convinced the musicians that slower rather than top speed was better, the dancing was doable πŸ˜€ and the audience seemed very appreciative! They wassail danceeven joined in one dance…

yes…we asked them too…they didn’t just invade the dancing, that would have been strange!

We did an audience participation Β version of one of our dances called the Broomstick dance, and much to our surprise every person in attendance joined in! I have never seen a broomstick dance for 50 people before…it was an experience (yes…a good one!).

Once we had wassailed the heck out of the trees, and planted a few trees of our own (they asked everyone too…we are not just a rogue tree planting morris dancers) we decided that the day was too nice not to do a bit more dancing… So we headed into Arundel and spent a very pleasant hour dancing at the Priory next to the river!
arundel prioryImagine this, full of Mythago Morris dancers and surrounded by an appreciative audience.

Yes…there was an appreciative audience…

No..we did not knock it down!
it was like that when we got there…honestly!

So, the dances that I ended up doing were:
Maiden Castle, Broomstick (ish + walk), Our Henry, Standing Stones, Spank the Monkey, Witch Hunt,
plus a (short) procession to the orchard, and a lot of tooing and froing between cars and venues πŸ™‚
It was lots of fun and made for an excellent Sunday πŸ™‚ I rounded off the weekend with a few hours of studying towards my anatomy and physiology qualification for the gym instructor / personal trainer course πŸ˜€

Day 212 Complete πŸ˜€

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