Archive | February 2016

Week 2 of this yoga thing…

I have just finished week two of my 30days of yoga challenge, and it is going well so far!

I am starting to notice tiny differences, tiny improvements I should say πŸ™‚ a lot of them are indefinable and boil down to feeling better whilst holding or moving between poses πŸ˜€

I am not very good at balancing, but my arms are slightly twistier!

I am not very good at balancing, but my arms are slightly twistier!

This pose is awesome for your hips...even if you feel like you are falling over!

This pose is awesome for your hips…even if you feel like you are falling over!

The wrist twisting thing is exactly what I need to fix my inflexible wrists (apparently this will help with my front squat!)

Sun salutation-y goodness

Sun salutation-y goodness

Day 9 was very twisty, which is good for me even if I am not very good at it!

Day 9 was very twisty, which is good for me even if I am not very good at it!

This squat is nearly impossible if you are me!!

This squat is nearly impossible if you are me!!

Things I have learned so far:

  • If you do yoga in socks you slip inside them and you nearly faceplant the yoga mat!
  • Yogic squats are really really hard!!
  • I can now sit cross-legged without wanting to cry…it is still not my comfy seated position of choice, but there is improvement!
  • My heels are closer to the floor in downward facign dog than they were…slightly…and this might be due to the sports massage i had on my calves…
  • I actually look forward to this yog-ing now
  • this thing is worth doing!
  • Yoga is hard on your shoulders

PS…if you are looking at the number up there and thinking I am behind a day well, I am I missed Saturday due to extreme falling asleep…

I did two lots on Sunday to make up for it…one of them was an actual yoga class run by Matt my trainer so it doesn’t have a number or pictures…

yep…I even did yoga in public!!


The “easy pose” is misnamed

Or week one of my 30 day yoga challenge…

The easy pose involves sitting cross legged and being upright and grounded and such. (I am still not aufait with the yoga terminology) as j discovered on day 1 this pose is not as easy as described and caused my ankles to hurt a lot!

On day 7 I discovered I can do this pose a little bit better, it is still not the most comfortable thing in the world, but my ankles didn’t feel so bad so that has got to be progress, right?

   My arms do not twist like that!

 This one was very core focused, hard but I could at least do all the moves (thank you Pilates πŸ™‚ )

  Day 5 was watched intently my Mia cat πŸ™‚

These things are much harder than the lovely Adriene makes them look! The twisty one was good though πŸ™‚

   There was a lot less graces hen I attempted that and a lot more nearly falling over!!
The socks were the real star of day 2!


So, what have I learned from a whole week of yoga?

  • Anyone who says yoga is not a real workout is wrong. It is hard and to achieve and hold some of the poses needs real strength as well as superhuman flexibility!
  • People who are good at yoga make the impossible look effortless…but I appreciate that they didn’t get that way without a lot of work!
  • I may not have improved physically yet, but I can definitely see how I will if I keep this up!
  • I have discovered that if I feel restless physically or mentally, the act of doing the yoga, concentrating on breathing and attempting the movements helps me feel a lot calmer! (This was a surprise to me but I suspect won’t be to anyone who actually does yoga!) 
  • I am actually enjoying this challenge, it is hard but I am liking it! 

You never know, I might become a yoga bear yet…


    February Challenge…

    Yes, I know it is past the middle of February, but who says I have to start things at the beginning of months :-p it will be partly a March challenge too!! πŸ˜€

    A couple of posts ago I told you I was going to incorporate more yoga into my exercise endeavours, and since I said that I have done practically no yoga because time got away from me. However that is going to change. Even my calendar is telling me that yoga is the thing for bears in February…

    feb bear yoga

    this is genuinely my calendar for this month!

    Even my calendar is trying to tell me I should become more flexible!

    So yesterday I looked at my new favourite yoga you tube channel

    Yoga with AdrieneΒ 

    and in the process of browsing, I discovered a series she did last year called 30 Days of Yoga.

    Now, it didn’t take me long to realise what would be involved in this…

    yes, you got it too…yoga, every day for 30 days! So, I thought,. well what harm could it do, and you never know, int 30 days I might actually see an improvement and want to carry on! It might be just the thing to start to flexible up my inflexible bits!!

    presumably it will take longer than 30 days…but it is a start!!

    30 days

    I did day 1…it seemed logical…

    So once I had decided to do the whole 30 days, there was no point in waiting, so I started then and there with day 1.

    Starting with any other day seemed silly…

    Yeay 30 days of yoga…lets go…

    Ok…pose one…sit in a position which is a bit like cross legged but with one foot in front of the other…easy right…


    apparently this is not possible if you have my legs :-/

    apparently this is not possible if you have my legs :-/

    oh…ok…apparently not!

    Apparently this hurts many parts of my legs and ankles! This in its self is an indication that I need this yoga! Quite a lot of the first part of the video (apparently it is called practice) was in this position, I was not a comfortable bear!!

    Oh well, there is no point in challenging yourself to do something you are already good at!!

    I will keep you updated on my progress (I really hope there will be progress…) and if you want to join in go here and have a look:

    30 days of yoga with Adriene πŸ˜€


    Dear the world, trust your kidneys!

    And your liver.

    In general, trust your body’s mechanism for removing waste products and toxins from itself.


    Your body has evolved over thousands of years to be really efficient at getting rid of things that are toxic to it.

    It cleans blood and produces waste products and in extreme cases reacts violently against toxic substances by making you sick.

    If you have toxins in your body that your body can’t get rid of in a day (or 2) then you are ill…get to a doctor. Juice and smoothies and fancy green tea will no help you!

    Don’t believe me? Consider this…

    Have you ever had a hangover? you are sick and you feel awful, that is your body’s reaction to toxins. Have you noticed that hangovers rarely last more than a day and generally only a few hours. This is true even after periods of over indulgence like christmas. That thing where you feel better after a day is your body getting rid of toxins and getting back to normal functioning! The only thing extra juice will do in this situation is help you be hydrated and give you some sugar which will generally make you feel better.

    Companies that are producing juice cleanses, detox diets and such like are quite simply after your money. You can’t use a juice diet to reset anything…apart from your bank balance and toilet paper supply…

    They claim you will lose weight… probably will…

    This is because you are not eating food. You are severely restricting your calorie intake and essentially starving yourself. On top of that, the effect of a considerable increase in fruit and vegetables in your diet has a well documented effect…and not a pleasant one! There is a very real possibility that  you will gain it all back again mind you …


    doesn’t that look pretty and appealing? Perfect marketing!

    If you do a juice cleanse or a fancy tea thingy cleanse or a cleanse that involves you drinking water with cayenne pepper in, it is very similar to saying ” I am not going to eat solid food for 3 days, I am going to drink water /fruit juice and take laxative…”

    If  you put it like that is sounds a little different doesn’t it?

    What would your reaction be if someone said that to you?

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that people who do cleanses have eating disorders, that would be alarmist and a little on the rude side. I am saying that taken in its rawest form, these cleanses have a lot of similarities with eating disorders and can promote an unhealthy attitude to weight loss. The fact that this sort of extreme diet works in the sort term can lead people to extending the process and doing these things again and again. In the long term, this is not a healthy approach to eating, and in extreme cases can be a stepping stone to other disordered eating patterns. Taken to the extremes these diets lead to the same side effects as any severely restrictive starvation diet

    I am not the only one who thinks this:

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that juice can’t have a place in a healthy diet because it can. I am not saying that more fruit and veg (mainly veg…because sugar!!) and less processed crap won’t make you feel better and be healthier because it will, but it would if you ate it in solid form too!

    What I am saying is don’t believe the hype and take these things with a giant pinch of (metaphorical) salt! Be conscious of what you are trying to achieve. They won’t kick start your metabolism, they won’t remove toxins any better than your body can, they won’t give you more energy long term, they won’t do the majority of the magic they claim on the box.

    After saying all of that, there is one thing that these “cleanses” might do for you. They might well serve as a psychological kick start. They could help you break a pattern of unhealthy eating and mark a change in lifestyle. They can be the mental full stop you need before starting on a new healthier path.

    Just be aware of their limitations that is all πŸ˜‰


    An unusual thing has happened

    I find myself in a slightly strange state of being…

    A state in which I have slept well for the last few nights…

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am getting enough sleep according to recommendations, but the 5-7 hrs sleep I am getting is constant deep sleep. Well not all of it, but an appropriately sensible proportion to fit with what I have read about sleep cycles!


    yes it is!!

    I am finding that I don’t have to fight top stay awake during the day. I am finding that I am actually cheerful, so cheerful in fact that people are commenting! I wasn’t aware of how grumpy I was when sleeping badly until people mentioned the new found cheer!

    I am finding that while I am still drinking 5 or so cups of coffee a day, these are making me feel lively rather than just barely human!

    I am not saying I am not tired at all these days, I am quite tired today, I got up at 5:45, so that is understandable! I am simply saying that I am not feeling so tired that I don’t know how I will make it through the day!

    I am not so mind-numbingly tired that I can barely lift the kettle. Not so crazily worn out that I threaten to kill people who get between me and my coffee! (yes really!!)

    I am resisting snacking easier, and not having to justify replacing energy with sugar :-/

    There is an outside chance that all of these internet infographics that tell me sleep is a good thing are not lying!

    The really strange thing is…i don’t really know why I am sleeping better :-/

    I am having more coffee, and more coffee particularly in the afternoon, so it isn’t caffeine related, unless I react in the opposite way to caffeine than most people…

    the only other thing I can think of is that I have been making a conscious effort to stop my calves (mostly and the rest of my legs a bit) being so ridiculously tight that moving them hurts. I have been using an overnight foot brace thing that is supposed to fix plantar faciitis Β to stop them cramping up over night. There is a chance that this is helping regulate my restless legs and it may be helping!

    What ever the reason, I am happy that it is working! And all I can say is…

    believe the hype…get more sleep, it really seems to help!


    Insane in the Membrane

    Insane in the brain!

    If you follow my Real Fitness Sussex blog, you will know that I totally stole the title of this blog from there but it is appropriate and I am not one to let go of a good pun or 90s music reference!

    (Mind you…I have just read the lyrics to the song Insane in the Membrane, they make no sense!)



    Time to get back to the point…

    what was the point?

    Oh yes the craziness that wasΒ the day that contained my Insanity Instructor workshop!

    The madness began with me being woken by my alarm at 4:30 am (yes really 4:30!!) and me rebelling against itΒ and not getting up for another 15 mins! But still dragging myself out of bed at 4:45 on a Friday morning is definitely lunacy of the highest order!

    I banged around and floundered my way through cat feeding and coffee making and threw together a Skyr, chocolate protein and orange smoothie for breakfast and somehow managed to leave the house without forgetting anything! After only a small amount of getting lost I picked up my friend and fellow certifiable instructor, and set off for Southampton!

    The reason for this inhumanly early start was that it takes 2 hours at least to get to Southampton, and the workshop was set to start at 8am!

    8am?? They expected me to be energetic at 8am?? This did nothing to ally my fears about the possibility of my dying on this course! Or, if not actually dying, then looking very stupid and being told to go away and come back when I was fitter and looked more like an insanity instructor should!!

    Apparently I was not the only one…Sarah has similar (totally unfounded) fears and it turns out the way to forget about these fears and just get on with the course is to take a friend with you…a policy I shall be employing as much as possible in future!!

    Ok…back to the point…(I nearly used the anyway gif again but am showing restraint…honest)

    We arrived without major incident at EasyGym Southampton and even found a parking space near the door in case of serious jelly legs after the course.

    easygym southampton

    This is Easy Gym Southampton, it shares a building with the post office, they are separate inside though, don’t worry you don’t have to run on the conveyor belts leaping parcels and whatnot! I didn’t even know that the Easy people did gyms, I learned something even before my course kicked off!!

    Once we had found our way through the giant gym to the relatively small studio where we were having our course, we met our fellow participants, who were a mixture of Yoga practitioners, body builders, strength training aficionados and insanely bouncy PE teachers. We also met our improbably pretty, enthusiastic and Australian Insanity Instructor and Beachbody Master trainer! Much to the annoyance of those out there who want to write people off as stereotypes, the participants and the trainer were lovely people who didn’t seem to be judging my lack of typical trainer looks at all πŸ˜€


    Here is my trainer, and the other course people, and my feet…obviously!

    At least if they were, they didn’t show it which was nice of them πŸ˜‰

    The other interesting thing about this course was not everyone on it had done Insanity before! At least I knew what I was letting myself in for a little bit!

    Predictably, the very first thing we did was a whole Insanity Live Round 16 class πŸ˜€

    I was dreading it, I thought I would be the worst in the class, and collapse and not be able to do it…

    I forgot 2 things,

    1. I have done Insanity and Insanity Max 30 and have coped with both f them…

    b) I am much fitter than I used to be…

    iii) I LOVE Insanity!!

    Ok…that was three things…shhhh!!

    About half way into the first block of the workout, so about 8 mins in…I remembered that I wanted to do this course because I really enjoy the workouts!! I wasn’t forced into it, I knew what I was getting into and I blooming love the workouts even thought they are hard…

    …Possibly because they are hard!!

    After I remembered this, the whole course was a lot more fun and a lot less scary!

    And what is more, I wasn’t noticeably less fit than others, I was less bouncy than some and less bendy than others but not ridiculously out of my league πŸ˜€

    After we had gone through the whole class, we were taught how to break the class down and teach it. The class has a warm up, 4 blocks, a dig deeper challenge and a cool down/stretch. Each of the blocks consists of a set of 4 exercises which you do for 30s each three times over with a power move at the end of the block. We were taught how to teach the blocks effectively and safely, and we were shown what to focus on in each repetition.Β We were also given pointers on how to take legitimate breaks in the blocks (by giving modifications and moving round checking on form etc) so we could look like we weren’t broken at the end!

    It is important, as an instructor to look like you can at least complete the class πŸ˜‰

    I am going to have to channel my inner Shaun T :-/

    I am going to have to channel my inner Shaun T :-/

    We practiced each of the moves individually and teaching the blocks to each other in groups. I was very much fun, but I feel I lost the plot a little (a lot…) towards the end when we had to do the second round of the block where we have to say what we want them to do, how we want them to do it and why: I actually used the motivational phrase ” go deeper for some reason!”

    I suspect I am going to have to come up with something better than that when I do this for real!

    All in all it was a fun day, despite getting soaked on the way to find coffee…

    coffee is essential, no mere rain will stand in my way!!

    and the most important outcome of the day was we all passed πŸ˜€ we can now call ourselves Insanity Live Instructors and teach actual people the actual work out πŸ˜€ woohoo!!!

    Note to self, look forward while jumping not down!

    It was, as I have said, and awesome day, and another one of those “If you told me I 3 years ago that I would be doing this I would have laughed…” moments!

    The down side of the day was the fact that my car broke down on the way home and left the two of us stranded on the side of the road…twice…for 5 hours… I am trying not to focus on that though!!

    February, time for some balance…

    As I have mentioned in recent posts, I have had a dodgy quad on my right leg, and it has been brought to my attention that my general flexibility has gone down hill!

    So, I have been concentrating on being less crazy and attempting to bit fix my leg. At least I have this week…so far I have walked every day but done no other exercise (until tonight when I went dancing) and believe it or not, my leg is feeling a lot better already! 

    These are my photos from this weeks walks πŸ™‚

    I have also decided to add yoga in to my exercise regime regularly in February. I shall reevaluate this at the end of Feb and see how I am doing! After all I have found a yoga you tube channel presented by a teacher that I don’t hate so that is quite promising!!

    The lack of crazy may not last, but fingers crossed the yoga will πŸ™‚

    (OK…the lack of crazy is already fading…there was a lot of dancing and I have a 6:30 am PT session in the morning…but I have been trying!!) 

    Janathon day 31

    Last day of January, last day of janathon but of course it isn’t the last day of exercise πŸ™‚

    I just may not tell you about it every day!

    It was Sunday, so of course Pilates happened πŸ™‚

    I was a participant today, not the teacher πŸ™‚

    Tomorrow, I will make a no plan for February and beyond πŸ™‚

    Janathon 2016 done 

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