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Happy New Year!!

Or to put it another way, happy 5th Birthday to Midsummer 365 Projects!

5'th birthday wishes

That is more than 5 candles…

5 years is quite a milestone, especially when you consider that when I started this blog I was sporadic in my blogging history to say the least! I wasn’t sure what would happen when I started out on this endeavour, I really just wanted to be fitter and do more exercise!

I am trying hard right now not to just write the same post I wrote last year. Last year I told you how I had let some stuff slide (diet, blogging, cardio) and promised you I would start again and get it all back on track and fix everything. It was the best plan ever… go look!!Β Β However…as with even the best laid plans of mice and men, things went awry…

06-11-2013-13-58_your-plans-universe-plans

yes, it was a bit like this…

There were a great many unforeseen circumstances this past 365 days and things absolutely didn’t go according to plan! I am not going to say I have failed because I have achieved a great many things this past year, just not necessarily the ones I originally intended!

There was no way that, this time last year, I could have predicted that I would spend the year in a fight with my own brain. Sometimes even an all out war with it to be honest! I couldn’t have predicted that my brain would make me believe that all my friends couldn’t care one way or the other whether I was there or not. That it would make me believe that I was a great big lump who shouldn’t be doing any of the things I am doing and that everyone knew it! I had no idea I would threaten my own brain with flame throwers in an attempt to get it back on my side, and in the end I would have to start taking anti anxiety medication, and stop taking it again in the space of 6 weeks. I really really had no idea that this anxiety could have such a physical effect. It makes it hard to even walk when it is at its worst, and I mean physically hard not just mentally hard to motivate yourself. Anxiety does something odd to muscles!

To be quite honest I am still having this fight, but it has receded now into an intermittent falling out rather than an all out war which is better, but I am still working on ways to counter the psycho in my own mind as well as overcome the weight gain that cam along with thinking that chocolate was the solution.

Chocolate is not the solution. Its yummy and not evil in moderation, but it can’t fix your brain no matter how many kilos you eat!!

Anyway, despite the war, and despite the MRI scans and suspected brain tumor (i don’t have one yay!) and unexplained dizziness, I have not given up the overall plan. I have recommitted again and again to different exercise based challenges. I have trained for a half marathon (until I stopped) I have run 10k races and lifted 100kg again for the first time in years! Giving up is not a thing I can do. Although I have learned that having a rest is not actually giving up!

I have somewhat belatedly remembered I need to eat well too in order to be fit, so I am in the process of retraining myself to stop all of the snacking.

Over the last year I have discovered a need for balance, I have been attempting to rediscover my creative side, and discovered a love for writing Japanese poetry. In english…Japanese style poetry in english! I have also, and this is huge for me, been accepted by a local art gallery, and given a space for a month to have a photography exhibition. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

buffy-fighting-faith-o

fighting…like this, only with myself…

So, although the last year didn’t go according to plan, I have come out of it fighting.So that was last year, but what of the last 5?

5 years is quite a milestone for a blog written by a person who has never kept a blog going for more than 5 weeks before this one!
In all honesty I love this blog and my others, I am hugely pleased about what blogging has brought to my life. Most of it quite unexpected! I have new friends, a new (part time) profession, an art exhibition and, I have realised, a new love of writing! I have even discovered that when push comes to shove I can write in the style of an aristocratic male otter!

My aim for this blog and the original 365 project was to get fit enough to dance in a mask. Which I did. I still am, but only just. I have lost weight, and gained some back, I have got fit and lost some fitness again. But, these ups and downs are just to be expected as part of life. The main thing, as far as I am concerned is I am learning things about myself and my capabilities all the time. What I have gained from doing this far outweighs anything I have had to overcome!
It has become abundantly clear that this is far more than just a 365 day challenge. This is a 365 day of the year lifestyle. Exercise and blogging is now as much a part of me as Morris dancing, hat wearing and a penchant for giant boots! Because of all this, I was considering a blog name change. I was thinking of attempting to come up with something more catchy and exciting…
However…
After some consideration, I have decided that Midsummer365projects is here to stay. It is (as has been pointed out to me by a friend) used 365 (ok 365.25) days a year. It is focused now not only on the next 365 days but all of the 365 days of the year, then all of the 365 days of the next year. It is full of adventures and shenanigans and projects and challenges, some are 365 days long some are longer some shorter but it is undoubtedly a year round blog!

Also I can’t change the URL so I may as well have a title and a URL that match…

So what now?

Well, now I am going to carry on doing what I do best. I am going to carry on exercising every day (barring extreme unexplained circumstances), challenging myself on a regular basis and telling you all about it to keep myself accountable! (I have a new challenge waiting in the wings…I’ll tell you about it soon I promise!)

Buffy-The-Vampire-Slayer-I-have-the-best-plan-ever

It is the best plan ever!! It must be, it has been working by and large so far!!

The one extra thing i will commit to now is adding more cardio into my regime. I need it to regain my peak dancing fitness and after all, I need to remain Fit Enough to Dance in a Mask!!

Here’s to the next 5 years πŸ˜€

male-hand-holding-glass-gin-lemon-ice-cubes-cheers-toast-lettering-vintage-vector-color-engraving-illustration-79934021

 

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Intermittent fasting experiment, initial thoughts…

Well…I have been doing this fasting thing for 10 days. It feels less to be honest, which is probably a good sign…

In general I haven’t been super hungry, and in general, what hungry I do have I can ward off with water and coffee.Β  There have been a couple of times when I have been really hungry but they balance out…

The first couple of days were challenging because I was thinking about it a lot, which made the whole thing worse. Generally it is not too bad because I am at work and doing things so get distracted until food time. I think this could be why people say they are more focused when fasting…they have to do more to distract themselves from food! I did spend the first couple of mornings checking my app to see how long i had left to wait before I could eat…

029c6419-374a-4a5f-a72a-5bb0b5b67adbYes, of course I have an app for this…I have an app for everything πŸ˜€ it is handy because it stops me having to remember times…

So, what are my findings so far, well…I have noticed a couple of things:

  • Working out in the morning is harder with no food in me! This is especially true when I have exercised the night before also within the fasting period.
  • I think about food a lot. I get the urge to eat a lot. Most of these times I am not really hungry, I am just looking for something to do.
  • Having no food in the mornings seems to make it more noticeable when I haven’t had enough sleep. Which is most of the time…
  • I am having to be much more organised in order to make sure I can get all food and exercise and suchlike dealt with in the allotted time.
  • It is not as hard as I thought it would be.

The other burning question is, does it work for fat / weight loss… well… It is pretty hard to tell in 10 days, but after 1 week I weighed myself again and I had lost 0.6kg and my fat % had gone down 0.3% which is not a lot…but it is a step in the right direction.

A step in the right direction that could be complete coincidence, I won’t know really until I have done this for a month (yes that is an arbitrary length of time…).

hipstamaticphoto-544552838.212389

The main thing is I feel like I am more in control of what I am eating which is important. So it is definitely worth keeping going with it πŸ™‚ I have to now anyway…I have written it in my Bullet Journal!

As well as all this eating experimentation, I have been doing my utmost to do activity every day. A couple of days this involved cleaning the house and pruning apple trees, but believe me these things are definitely active πŸ™‚

I have done exercise exercise too… I have even (believe it or not) done some running O_O I found a new running app (of course) I’ll tell you more about it when I have done more than 2 workouts from it πŸ™‚

 

I am starting again and trying a new thing.

Yes…

Starting again…

Again…

:-/

I know I have restarted this 365 project over and over and failed…every time since the first time but I have to face the fact that I need to start agian

I could load up the excuses, from leg injuries, to bereavement, to brain scans, anxiety and depression, but I am not going to. It is time to let them go and move forward with new ventures and old ventures, and generally looking after myself better than I have been. All of these things boil down to one thing, I made a lot of really bad food choices, repeatedly and in a sustained way. Or to put it another way I have eaten my bodyweight in chocolate and sweets and ice cream and the like on top of not particularly great food choices for meals.

There is no excuse. I knew I was making bad choices, I knew where it would lead, yet I did it anyway and here I am, starting again, again…

I am not making any giant promises to run all the time and add yoga in, and gym every day and fly around the room because this isn’t how I work. I will be as active as I possibly can and commit to 30 mins of activity a day. activity can be walking or jumping up and down or kettlebells…no limits, no rules.

To be honest however, activity is not really the problem. I am active. I am less active than I was mid 365 y1 but I am still active. The problem is, as it always has been, food. I eat when I am angry, I eat when I am sad and I eat when I am bored. I have always done this, but recently I forgot to stop… I have eaten myself back to a weight which is close to where I started all those years ago.

I am not the same shape as I was then.

I am not the same size as I was then

I am not as unfit as I was then

I am sure my body composition is better than it was then (this is a guess because I didn’t measure it then)

me? a control freak?Β  well yes for a while…

But I am not close to where I want to be on any front. I am not sure I am really fit enough to dance in a mask, at least not as well or for as long as I’d like. All of this means that I must do something. Not just talk about doing something, not just write about it, but actually do it. It is OK I have done it before, and I can do it again.

So, what is this new thing I mentioned?

What is the thing I am doing now which is going to make me turn back around and run towards health and fitness and sensible eating?

It is Intermittent Fasting.

This is not me back tracking and falling back into the world of fad diets and diet industry tricks I promise! It is a way of me gaining control back over my eating habits. It seems, from what I have read, to be medically sound and a good way of gaining control over blood sugar and energy levels as well as calorie intake.

The basic schedule that I have decided to follow is 16:8 which is 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours where I can eat.

It sounds bad but it is really the equivalent of skipping breakfast and eating dinner at a sensible time in the evening coupled with no mid morning / late evening snacks / extra meals / staggeringly large amounts of chocolate.

As with everything it actually relies on people sticking to the plan and eating sensibly. After all, a cycle of fasting for 16 hours and then stuffing down 6 take away pizzas and 1kg of chocolate is not going to help weight loss or control of sugar levels or anything…

As I have said I am using it as a means of gaining back control of myself. After all, if I am going to keep training (which I am) I am going to need to think very carefully about what I eat when I am allowed to eat. It will have to be real healthy food with all of the required nutrients and suchlike or I am not going to be able to maintain the training and I am not going to be able to maintain the dancing.

And after all, If I can’t maintain the dancing this is all pointless anyway….
(which sounds quite dramatic, but it wasn’t meant to, I am sure you know what I mean)

There is a huge amount of information out there about how to do IF (as apparently it is referred to). There is a lot about the 16:8 schedule I have chosen but also a lot about a lot of other versions. If you want to know more about it I would suggest looking here:

Nerd Fitness

The Renegade Pharmacist

or, if you don’t want to read all of that here is a handy info graphic that I have “borrowed” from the Renegade Pharmacist site

Fasting-Infographic-Hi-Res-768x512

I have been doing this for 3.5 days so far, and I do feel more in control but I am still in the adapting phase where my body has no idea what is going on. Consequently I am not feeling any of the benefits yet… but itΒ  has only been 3 days so this is hardly surprising!

I will, of course keep you posted, because part of my taking back control process involves me documenting more of what I do. In other words, I am going to stop neglecting this blog.

 

Reboot days 104 – 105: Two days of walking and rehab…

Day 104: Monday

Monday morning brought an unexpectedly early start followed by some leg and hip prodding and poking and stretching…

I think the official term is sports therapy with some sports massage in there too… but basically it boils down to poking and prodding and pushing on bits that hurt…

Still, it is effective and I felt better when I walked out than I did when I hobbled in!! I also learned exactly what is wrong with me. Well…exactly what is wrong with my hip at any rate πŸ˜€

tfl itbI have an overuse injury in my apparently super tight TFL and ITB. The ITB (illiotibial band) is the long band of stuff that runs down the ouside of your leg from hip to knee and the TFL (Tenser Fascia Latae) is the muscle that attaches it to the pelvis.

Apparently it does more work than it is meant to when your glutes are not doing what they should while you are running.

This is quite common when you suddenly increase the amount of runnign you are doing, in fact Matt had predicted it before the appointment!

So apparently my left glute is not working very well…or to put it another way, I have an unbalanced bottom O_O Still at least I know that now and can fix it…

Because of all this prodding and injury I was advised by Matt not to run for a day or two. So, like a good patient I didn’t run on monday, I went for a walk in my luchbreak instead!

Look a picture of my feet, that proves I was walking… or something.

Day 105: Tuesday

Tuesday started as is has every week in living memory (well 4 years) with a PT session. The benefit of your personal trainer and your sports therapist being the same person is they can do rehab exercises with you in your PT session and they know exactly which ones you have to do…

Miraculously, by Tuesday morning I had no hip pain at all! woohoo!

However, I still had to do crazy (effective but crazy) rehab exercises and still wasn’t allowed to run!

PS-supine-sl-lock-bridge-4-e1426720809248PT consisted of Squats with elastic bands around my knees…but not in the way I normally do these. The elastic band anchored me to a post there was on loop of the band around each knee and it pulled me forwards so I had to resist and pull back while squatting… this was tricky to say the least. It also contained single leg bridges with the leg not on the floor held tucked in so that it cant help. I had to do these on both legs…because of balance and such… there was also time on a recumbent bike, which is a wierd thing but designed for rehab so seemed appropriate…

I decided, to follow instructions too…I didn’t run eve though I felt like I possibly could… I walked again πŸ˜€

As you can see there were quite a lot of leaves!

Pretty ones too πŸ™‚ you get to see some good things when wandering around πŸ™‚

Reboot days 25: Susie made me do it!!

Run that is…
My friend Susie made me run! Mostly because I asked her to…
and I asked her to because she is a blooming awesome (if crazy) runner!

I know she is she is awesome and crazy because she has just taken part in stage 1 of Tribe's Run For Love, which means she has just run 210 miles in 6 days through Bosnia and Croatia…

As crazy as this is it does mean she knows a thing or two about running… so I asked her if she would help me train and she agreed.

Look at me doing a sensible thing and actually doing proper training where someone pushes me out of my comfort zone! I decided if I am going to do this, I had better do it the best I can!! Which means running, and not stopping just because it is a bit hard!

So we met up and Susie told me when to run and wen to walk and ran with me… and sort of around me herding me on like a sheep… and generally not letting me stop before the allotted run interval had passed. And it was hard because I am still starting over but actually the intervals were short and I managed all of them! It has made me realise just how much cardio fitness I have lost mind you…but I will get it back just wait and see 😁

I know something else…I went further and faster (even with short intervals) than I have yet in this iteration of running training😁😁


This was my run πŸ™‚


And this is Susie 😁

So with a little help from my friend day 25 done πŸ™‚

Reboot day 16: a(nother) narrow escape from a murderous sports bra!

Happy rainy tuesday everyone!!

At 7am this morning I had PT it was a good session filled with mainly accessory Ian pull work for shoulders, chest and back and the like. 

It involved the Viking press… which is odd as I haven’t done the Viking press in ages then I get to do it twice in the space of a week!! It has not got any easier since I last told you about it πŸ™‚ one of my new ambitions is to actually add weight to this machine!

One day I will (hahahaha)

The session was good…but it was followed by a time where I feared for my very life! I was nearly killed by my sports bra…again!! It trapped me and caused me to do some very odd wriggling g to escape from its clutches!! 

It is ok though… I am free 😁


Day 16 done 😁

Reboot Day 2: lulled by deadlifts…

Hello and welcome to day 2…

Have I told you about my not new any more new trainer Matt 2? Well I know I have as i just looked it up, but it was back in May last yearΒ (here…just in case you wondered)Β so I’ll let you off if you have forgotten. Well anyway, I had training this morning with Matt 2 (who will henceforth be know as Matt because that is his name). If you are a regular reader if these ramblings you will not be surprised by this, Tuesday has been my PT day for almost as long as I have been writing this!

training-tuesdays-header-1200x480

This is a thing apparently…

So this morning I turned up at the gym bright and early (only minutes late) ready and raring to go…

well…ready and resigned to the fact that I was there and someone had planned me a work out so I had better do it… but that’s ok…I was there at least πŸ˜€

Todays session started well, after the warm up we headed down to the lifting racks…

Yeay lifting…

Even more yeay we were doing deadlifts (and by we were I mean I was). Deadlifts are my favourite thing (well one of them…) woohoo 5 x 5 deadlifts at 70kg πŸ˜€ fun times!! It turns out this was just to lull me into a false sense of security…or as I think it was put, get me back into it gently after my week away from the gym climbing mountains…

This deadlift fun was followed by cardio/kettlebell/trx circuitry!! Which is aeswom because well…kettlebells but also because I asked to incorporate more cardio into my workouts despite hating it… but also awful because rowing sprints…250m rowing sprints…bleuch! Good for me, I know but bleuch because they are hard work!!IMG_0852

The other things were single sided 10 reps per side…which is 20 reps really…which gets Matt a look because everyone knows Sams don’t like high reps… I don’t think he cares though and I do them anyway because I know they are sometimes beneficial!

And that was day 2…well the before work morning part of day 2 anyway…

yes…that does mean there is more!

I am holding tight to my current wave of motivated enthusiasm and attempting to make some things a habit…

Things like running at lunchtime πŸ™‚

It was raining, and thundering, and I had worked out once already so I didn’t technically *have* to go, but I went anyway.

I got changed and ventured out into the rainy but still warm and annoyingly humid outside world and ran around again!

I am doing the 10k trainer programme app thingy that I have used before and starting at the very beginning due to my year long hiatus from running and I am up to week 3 today was week 3 day 1 and involved some 1.5min run intervals and some 3 min run intervals.

Strangely, despite the rain and the fact that I was running, I actually had fun…

Just maybe I don’t hate running any more!

IMG_0859

And that is day 2 done πŸ˜€

willow yeay

Yay!!

I dance better when I am running!

Well…not actually when I am running, that is complete madness and I should probably reword the title to avoid confusion.

But I am not going to!

What I mean is, running training makes me a better dancer. So…I have yet again restarted running.

If you have been reading this for a while you will know by now that I have an love-hate relationship with running. Actually no, that is not strictly true, it is more like a mild affinity / don’t hate too much / hate relationship to be honest…

But the one thing I can say is that in 2014/15 when I was training to run a half marathon I danced better than I feel like I dance now.

Another thing I can say is that last year when I was still doing more kickboxing and plyometric type training, I danced better than I feel like I do now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still considerably fitter than I was, but I have been concentrating too much on lifting and neglecting the cardio. I need to do both, I need to have a variety of exercises in my routine otherwise I will not be Fit Enough to Dance in a Mask and that was the point of this whole project!

So, first thing I have done is start running again. I think I mentioned it, but then I mention it a lot so I can’t remember whether it was recently or ages ago…

Yes…I could go back through some posts and have a look…shhh!

anyway…here is some running!

It has been not awful for the most part! I have started using one of the couch to 10k apps of which I have a veritable plethora from all of my different try to run attempts!

I will keep you posted because, as normal the only way for me to keep up doing stuff is to tell you all about it!!

I am going to incorporate some more cardio stuff too, possibly Insanity or Insanity Max 30 but I haven’t decided yet so I will let you know as soon as I do πŸ˜€

And no…I am not stopping lifting, that would be madness…I am just going to do both!!

Exploring the wilds…

Or an awesome walk in Northern Scotland…

We are currently mis grand ad-van-ture, and a couple of days ago we went in a walk…over some hills in between mountains to a beach which was inaccessible any other way (apart from the really wet way). 

The beach was Sandwood Bay and if you are ever in the area you should go on an expedition!

It was a windy cold not quite raining day in Scotland and it was totally worth it!!! The place was amazing!! 

And not only that it counted as 14km of walking training up and down some hills 😁


The pictures don’t really show the awesomeness of the whole thing… and my head is not 15tines as large as everyone else’s! 

More grand ad-van-ture news to follow 😁

Mountain bike mayhem

It has been a while since I have told you about a new thing I have been doing, so I am going to do just that now.

OK…technically this isn’t a new thing… it is an old thing that I haven’t done for a while…

By a while I mean about 8 years…

SoΒ it totally counts as new! Β especially when you take into account the shiny new toys that have had to be purchased to make it happen! In case you hadn’t guessed by the title, I got a new bike. I had a bike but it was too big for me and I was quite scared riding it… I was ok going in a level straight line but any bumps, lumps, hills, corners or other sudden change in direction caused a lot of squeaking and squawking and on one occasion crying and getting off to walk…

Consequently, once I had decided that mountain biking had the potential to be fun, and decided that it would be fun to do mountain biking with Mr Mark without being scared at him and shouting, we thought it was time for a new bike πŸ˜€

Looky look new bike πŸ˜€ I love it! It has lovely wide handle bars and is not super massive so I can actually reach the floor…yeay!!

Not all the time…I still have to lean my bike to the side a little to put my foot down when I stop, but that is ok because that no longer makes me feel like i am going to land on the floor in a heap when I do it πŸ˜€

Since getting my new bike, I am able to go up and down lumpy bits and through muddy bits without feeling like I am taking my life in my hands, so that is an improvement…

I haven’t tried it on a really hilly ride yet so I am not sure how that will be, but on the short hills I have done so far it seems ok if glad that i have a) gears and 2) strong legs from all the lifting πŸ˜€

We have been on quite Β few rides now, some of them featuring my Brother in law, Sister in law and my awesome (crazy) nephews :-D, some of them featuring cake, some featuring both.

Some of them also featured my awesome comic book superhero leggings and my dubiously coloured 1980s looking mountain biking jacket, which looks odd…but is very comfortable and doesn’t end up around my middle when I am riding πŸ˜€

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