Sunday, 27 February 2011

C25K W1D1

In an uncharacteristic move I woke up early this Sunday morning (instead of lolling around in my PJs until Midday). I weighed myself (STS), made some porridge, got my gym kit on and hauled my arse down to the gym.

The reason for my excitable start to the day was the prospect of starting the first day of my C25K plan. Running has always been something that has scared me - honestly - at school, whenever the cross country was mentioned in P.E I'd often end up in tears just at the thought of it. After reading up on the C25K plan, which aims to get people off the couch and running a 5k, I decided I was going to try it and try and overcome my ridiculous fear.

So this morning I got to the gym before 10am and it was bloody well full! Did these people not know it was Sunday and the day for rest?! I could feel a sense of panic rising as I made my way up the stairs to the treadmills. I started to plot out in my mind alternative exercises I could do - but I was here to run, stick to the plan I kept telling myself. I picked out a treadmill that only had a few blokes nearby and as I looked at my reflection in the glass I said to myself "no one is looking. No one cares. Stick to the plan!"

The first day of the first week training starts with a 5 min brisk walk warm up. No problemo. I started striding along easily but as soon as the timer ticked over 4:30 seconds my heart rate shot up. Not from exertion but from pure fear that in 30 seconds time I would have to start the first of eight 60-second jogging intervals. I started to panic - what if I could only jog for 10 seconds and had to stop? I imagined those blokes next to me thinking to themselves "ha! She tried the C25K and could only do 10 seconds. The loser!"

5:00 flashed up on the timer and there was no going back, it was time to step it up. I sped the treadmill up and started to jog. It took a few fiddles with the speed to get it right but eventually I was into my first 60-second interval and it felt good. Before I knew it the 60-seconds was up and it was time for a 90-second walk before my next interval. Easy. I started to feel really confident and even though my jog wasn't particularly fast it still got my heart rate up and I concentrated on my running action - making sure my head was up and my heel was rolling through to the ball of my foot.

Half way through my calfs started to burn during the intervals and the 90-second walking breathers were becoming extremely good ideas. I praised the creators of C25K for the pure genius of the 90-second walk to get rid of the lactic acid building in my legs. All hail the 90 second walk! I started counting off the intervals and when I got down to my last jog I had a big smile on my face and put all my energy into the last run. Then it was all over and time for a 5 min cool down.

I checked my HRM and for the 30 minutes I had burnt 341 calories. Not bad!

I felt like I was walking on air when I'd finished - I practically floated out of the gym. It may not seem a great deal for most people but for me it was a real accomplishment to get over that fear of running and I really can't wait for my next session (which will be Tuesday as you are supposed to leave a rest day in between).

Is anyone else doing C25K? Let me know how you're getting on! : )

Thursday, 24 February 2011

I like to Move it, Move it

I'm doing as Madonna once requested and getting into the groove. The old adage of "doing little and often" has been the theme of this week. I have kept telling myself "just do some exercise tonight." It doesn't matter if I'm tired, feeling a bit full from my tea, I'm in a bad mood - just do something. Even if it is ten minutes of a DVD, just something, anything.

So I have. Each night this week I've picked out a DVD from my extensive fitness DVD library (I will post a pic of it one day!), popped on my HRM and got to it.

I'm trying to make a point of always wearing my HRM when exercising but sometimes, when I'm in a hurry to get started before I change my mind, it does get left behind. Anyway, from the two times I wore it this week these were the figures:

Exercise: Zumba Cardio
Duration: 45mins 34sec
Calorie Burn: 448
Average HR: 146
Max HR: 168

Exercise: 30 Day Shred - Level 1
Duration: 26mins 56sec
Calorie Burn: 244
Average HR: 141
Max HR: 171

I do love some cold, hard facts!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Bananas in Pajamas

Two posts in one day? Yup *nods head * I can barely make one a month sometimes, but my WW blog's cup runneth over today.

Last Friday I had a complete urge to make Banana Bread. Never made it before. Never eaten it before. But I could not ignore the urge! So after some nifty googling I stumbled upon this recipe and after literally being ASTOUNDED that I actually had all the ingredients I rolled my sleeves up and set about making it on Saturday afternoon.

The recipe is really simple - moosh up some bananas (they are supposed to be ripe, but mine weren't - just requires more elbow grease) add in the egg, cinnamon and sugar. The mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, baking powder - I added in some walnuts too) - add the wet banana mixture to the bowl and stir as if your life depended on it (dramatics can be left out!) pout into a loaf tin and bake for 40-50 mins gas mark 4.

Et voila

I tried it warm (as I couldn't wait to get my piggy hands on it) and was a little 'meh' about it. Then I had a piece the next day when it had cooled down and I really, really liked it. The banana flavour comes through and the walnuts are a nice surprise.

The recipe I used works out at around 5 pro points per slice (based on 12 slices in a loaf) but next time I make it I'm going to half the amount of flour and sugar, use less bananas and add a few more walnuts - which together should make a smaller loaf and work out around 3 pro points per slice. Will post B-Bread mark II next week!


Last week's shopping spree doth maketh me a happy soul, and now I'm back to being a miserable sod, ha!

My heart rate monitor arrived (Polar FT4) on Thursday. I do love coming home from work to a parcel!

In my excitement I set it up immediately (which took just a few mins to key in my vital stats) then I strapped the chest strap on and set about working up a sweat to one of my exercise DVDs. I decided to to just one section of my 10 Min Solution Hip Hop dance mix. Here is the recorded info the HRM gives you:

Duration and Calories burned

Maximum and Average heart rate

Total time in your ideal heart rate zone

I was so impressed with how easy it was, literally press a button when you start to exercise then press a button when you have stopped and check out you little report.

I went off that same evening to the gym to test out how many cals I actually burnt in my Zumba class. I was dead excited to be all scientific-like and guess was bloody well cancelled! I was really miffed! So instead I trudged onto the treadmill and bike and did a couple of weights totally half-assed as I was annoyed I wasn't getting my sweat on to some Latin beats. I used my HRM and my half-hearted exercise attempt yielded just over a 200 cal burn, so hardly worth getting in the car for really but there you have it.

So I had a really nice weekend meeting friends and having a few drinks and food...and having a few drinks! So I haven't actually used my HRM since as I haven't done any proper exercise, but when I do I shall report back here. Captains log and all! *salutes you*

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

SAD and Snap Peas

The sun is shining and I feel like I've got my mojo back!

I read through all my posts since I started this blog last summer and was a bit disappointed that my bright, positive attitude to weight loss/exercise/life in general had started to deteriorate in the Winter. I really think I suffer from SAD as my doom and gloom 'I hate my life' mood has lifted considerably since we are having light mornings and lighter evenings.

I feel suitably motivated and chirpy again - hallelujah, amen!

My PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) has co-incided with some purchases...ahem. I just thought what the hoo - I work hard for the money goddammit! So went about my merry way in ordering a printer (FINALLY), a dress I loved off ASOS for a forthcoming wedding (not mine), some mineral eyeshadows and possibly my best purchase: a heart rate monitor (HRM).

I recently bought the Jillian Michaels book: Winning by Losing as it was only a few quid on Amazon, and in it she recommends using a HRM. I really wanted one myself so I know how hard I am actually working and to get an accurate reading of the calories I have burnt (rather than going off the grossly inaccurate gym equipment readings and having a blind guess of the APs on WW). After reading a post on the WW message board and consulting this Heart Rate Monitor website I decided to buy the Polar FT4 - quite pricey at just under £60 but it is a well renowned range and has got great reviews - hopefully that should be arriving tomorrow so I want to wear it to my Zumba class and see if the 500-800 cal burn is accurate (methinks not!)

In other news, I have found a new snack (or lunch accompaniment I should say) Sugar Snap Peas! I've seen them all over other people's blogs, and I like them in stir frys, so attempted them raw. They ain't half bad! I prefer to have them with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar over the top and for 0 points they been great at being an extra kick at lunchtime to help fill me up. I take a handful of them to work with me every day now - a nice change from carrot sticks.


Saturday, 12 February 2011


I am an exercise DVD-buying addict. That is all.

...I lie, that isn't all. After falling in love with my most recent exercise DVD purchase (10 minute solution Target Toning) I realised that I have a helluva lotta exercise DVDs. I almost took a picture of them all then backed out as it would have taken half an hour to dig them all out!

There are plenty that I don't like and will probably never use again but I now have a decent collection of effective and almost enjoyable DVDs. Feeling slightly guilty that I've ignored these, I dusted off my Zumba DVDs and did that one this afternoon. I really must aim to do home exercise at least four times a week.

Anyways the real point I wanted to make was about the certain areas I concentrate on when exercising. For me, my huge arms remain my constant focus. I never wear short sleeves and it is so annoying buying a beautiful dress then having to cover it up for the sake of hiding my fudubahah's (as Kath Day-Knight would say).

My recent 10 min solution DVD has a great arm workout with a resistance band and I want to do this short routine at least twice a week - these arms are going to be toned!! I almost begrudge exercising any other muscles as nothing annoys me as much as my flabby arms (although my belly and legs need totally need focusing on too!)

Now, that really is all. :)

Sharon and her sis don't care about their fudubahdah's!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

What makes me happy?

I have been asking myself this question for the most part of this week. What does make me happy? Because for the past few weeks, and quite honestly months, I have been feeling increasingly unhappy.

This week has seen me at my lowest point. Feeling like a robot just mechanically drifting from one day to another not finding anything exciting, joyful or just generally good. I put it all down to my current job - but in reality it is an alright job, just boring for the most part and not what I really want to do. No, the job isn't it. It is me I am unhappy with.

I feel really directionless and not having any answers only pushes me further into a state of 'dunno' and not gona even try.

So, again what makes me happy? Instead of focusing on what I don't like - what do I like?

I like:
  • Being creative.
  • Feeling healthy.
  • Doing dancey-fun exercising.
  • Watching films and innovative TV (and some crap TV).
  • Music, music, music - listening to oldies, finding out newies, going to gigs and festivals.
  • Celeb gossip.
  • Aspirational fashion magazines.
  • Reading blogs - I have two folders dedicated to my fave weight loss/healthy living blogs and fashion/style blogs.
  • Retail therapy.
  • When I make an effort to paint my nails.
  • Beautiful views.
  • Dreaming about travelling Europe and America.
  • Nights out with the gang.
  • Rare moments of when independence, confidence and opportunity collide.
Hmm, so there we have it. A bit off topic but I needed to get it off my chest. Will post my weigh in result tomorrow.