Tuesday, 2 February 2010

My own hands would throttle me [if only they could reach]

I’m all recovered from my back injury and was just itching to get back into the gym this week, so I hit it with vigour and a new respect for proper technique.

The kettlebells will be resting for a few days, well at least until my appointment with the super cute personal trainer at the gym, where I hope he helps prevent me from sustaining another muppet injury [I’m sure Kermit NEVER has these problems] and can ‘improve my technique’ [stop sniggering at the back you lot]

So I checked out some body weight training routines [ via the lovely Anna @ pathtofatloss and zuzana @ bodyrocktv]

So this is what I’ve done over the last two days:
This workout [oh to have a butt like this woman!]
This workout [this was slightly improvised, as I aint quite ready for gymnastic rings quite yet]
assisted chin ups
assisted tricep dips
these ere both done on a machine like this

3 x 15 hip extensions
3 x 15 kneeling press ups
skipping x 200
3 x 15 squats + raised knee to chest
3 x 15 weighted squats
1 x 15 clean and press
1 x 15 assisted chin ups
1 x 15 assisted tricep dips
3 x 30sec plank on the power plate
20mins interval training on treadmill [5 mins warm up 5 sets of 60sec spint/60sec rest, 5 mins cool down]

My chest and arms are right in the huff with me right now, I’ve been struggling to type all day. Bloody press ups! I swear, one day I’ll break my nose when my arms fail during a press up set but I'm hoping I'll be able to console myself with my sculpted, gorgeous arms!

Friday, 29 January 2010

Injury, Injury, oh how you mess with me

Had my first serious injury this week, since starting my regime in earnest. From what the experts say, I should probably have taken more notice of the causes of injury in the first place, so I would not be here, sitting on the sofa, unable to go to the gym and in pain.

The things I should have been doing to prevent injury were the following:

• Have a good 10-15 minute warm up, this could be on the treadmill, cross trainer or stationary bike

• Keep a good posture

• Maintain a good technique. If you are not sure how, have someone show you, like a gym instructor.

• If anything starts to hurt, stop.

• Always finish your workout with a good stretch [10-15mins involving all the major muscle groups]

Now I did all of those things apart from maybe the technique and stopping when it hurt [because I am a muppet]. I was doing a Kettlebell workout and I thought that looking on the internet at instructions would be sufficient in turning me into an expert, er, well, no not exactly and because of it, I really hurt my back. So much so I’ve had to not go to work, to avoid sitting at a desk all day and making it worse.

The best I can do just now is rest it, which involves not sitting about too much or my back just stiffens up on me and makes me walk like a special case of ‘riding legs’ [if you have ever been a horse for an extended period of time, you’ll know what I’m talking about]. When I do get back to the gym, I have an appointment with one of the personal trainers, so he can give me some pointers on how to not make the same mistake again.

And in the meantime, I’ll not be quite so ill prepared when taking on a new workout!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Don’t call it a diet

As you know from previous posts, I am making a concerted effort to watch my food intake as well as kill myself at the gym exercise regularly.

I have been tracking my food intake on Weight Watchers for the last year and would highly recommend it. There has been a lot written online and elsewhere, noting that tracking what you eat every day in a food diary or online, really helps with weight loss. When Lazy makes an appearance in my life all notions of tracking my food intake go right out the window and even when I've thought to myself ‘my god I am not eating THAT much each day, why the hell am I still not losing weight?’ it takes a real shock to get me tracking things again. It is ironic that actually tracking what I eat and how many cals etc I consume, is the way to SHOCK me into better eating and better choices.

Now I would stay with WW if it was a little better at tracking the nutritional values of food and had a better exercise list to choose from[ for instance there is no choice of resistance or weight training, which must mean us dainty little lady folks couldnt possibly wants to lift big, manly weights, could we??!!!??] but I have to say I have found a better FREE online resource that does all I need and more. It is a site called Spark People. I used the site a couple of years ago when I could not afford WW and I have to say it has got better and is without a doubt the best there is online. It really helps me keep track of my carbs, protein and fats consumed daily, which is more important than ‘points’ for me just now as I am trying to up my protein intake and lower my carbs. WW has worked for me, after all it got me to where I am today since last January and if you aint that fussed about the individual nutritional elements or the exercise options, then I would say go for it. However is you would prefer a free resource, that covers everything you need with lots of motivation, tips, recipes and forums, then Spark People is the way forward. Come join me!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Burning fat [without the nasty smell]

I've been reading quite a bit lately about food, what to eat for optimum weight loss and how to work out and burn fat. Now as I have several tons of excess stores of fat[ I may be exaggerating but you get the picture] I would like to know that my workouts are going some way to burn the nasty little globules of yuck. From what I have read so far, it would seem the best way to burn fat in the body is to force your body to burn the fat stores for energy, rather than use the sugar/glucose provided by carbohydrates.

So the ideal way to do this is to restrict the amount of carbohydrate [just restrict, not eliminate completely] and exercise at a good/moderate intensity regularly to burn the fat. There is a wealth of science and knowledge out there, so do some good research if you want to know more. My resources have been Science of Sport, Mark's Daily apple and Fitness Black Book. Leo at Zen Habits just posted a great guide on how to stay lean, which is also worth a read.

I have worked out that I need the following nutritional intake in order to achieve fat burning and weight loss:

Calories: 1500 per day - of which I need the following:

Carbs = 80g
Protein = 130g
Fat = 30g

Surprisingly, or not as the case may be, that is not a lot of carbs and so some serious good food choices have to be made. Consider that half a wholewheat bagel = 43g of carbs means a hardcore limit on all the things I love but will need to say bye-bye to. Now this is not too much of an issue for me as it means I can eat a LOT of veggies to fill me up, which being vegan suits me down to the ground but the bigger issue is getting the protein without an increase in carbs/fat. One such way of increasing my protein intake is via soya protein powder, from which to make shakes/smoothies. I had one this morning with soya milk and blueberries and it was perfectly tasty and filled me up.

I have trawled the internet for the nutritional values of all the things I like to eat and made myself up a handy little spreadsheet to consult, when planning my meals. This is what my meals look like today

Protein shake with soya milk and bluberries
Carbs = 17.9
Protein = 52.6
Fat = 7.6
Cals = 317

130g apple + 40g peanut butter + 100g blueberries
Carbs = 53
Protein = 9
Fat = 16
Cals = 370

Coffee with soya milk + 2 sugars
Carbs = 4
Protein = 2
Fat = 0.2
Cals = 52

total carbs so far = 74.9
total protein = 63.6
total fat = 23.8
total cals = 739

All that and I have not had my dinner yet, which needs to be high in protein to meet my daily amount and low or non-existant in carbs. Hard work aint it? I'll manage though as I know what veg to have and I'll have some tofu to up my protein. The key to all this is to do a little homework, plan meals in advance and make a handy guide, so you can make better food choices, Personally, I'm starting to see just how I managed to accumulate the amount of fat I have and I'm more determined than ever to burn it off!!!

small victory

Three weeks in to my new lifestyle change / exercise regime [or torturous punishment, whichever way you wanna look at it] and I thought I would give you a bit of an update before I rush off to my yoga class. I’m planning a post about how I have changed my eating habits and some examples of what I am eating daily to keep the calorie deficit in place but just wanted to share my current success.

Since starting [in earnest] on the 4th Jan 2010 I have lost the nasty 6 pounds I managed to accumulate during my three month ‘back to my lazy ways’ period, so woo hoo for me!! [I always think in terms of 500g bags of sugar to represent each pound, so think 6 x bags of sugar!!!]. I found some measurements from Sep 2008 and compared my tussle with the tape measure this morning, means I’ve lost 10inches lost across my body as well, so another woo hoo for me!!!

In summary, from Jan 2009:
Weight lost so far = 26lbs
Inches lost so far = 10

I’m feeling pretty chuffed with that, will certainly help motivate my lazy ass this week, to keep doing what I’m doing, because it is clearly working! I may post some before and after pictures when I come back from yoga [my zen state may well make me do it, so be warned]

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Pain is the name of this game

After a long, exhausting Wednesday last week, which involved a 5am rise to go to the gym, work all day and then college till late, I realised getting outta bed the next day, all fresh as a daisy was gonna be nigh on impossible [For the record, I’m not fresh anyway, more like a moaning, groaning Paleolithic pot plant, all dragging knuckles and scratching my butt while trying to not fall down the stairs on the way to the loo]

So this week I adjusted my schedule slightly to take my rest day on a Wed and train the rest of the week incl Sunday. Because most of my workouts are quite structured, in the form of a spin, body pump or dance class, for instance, at least 1 or 2 days out of 6 I like to make up my own little circuit in the gym or do my own thing in one of the studios [such as dance about like a demented badger in pink sweats and matching headphones. What?!? It’s fun!!]

I have been looking online, at you tube mostly, for specific workouts and training to incorporate into one of my ‘special McTofu workouts’, today it was resistance band training and sprints. So my workout went like this:

I started off with a 10min hill climb [gradient at 9] on the treadmill to warm up my legs [my effin left hamstring is determined to ping into injury any moment now so needs thorough warming up]

Then onto the mats with a 10kg bar weight to do some weighted squats, I did 2 sets of 15. I used the same bar for another 2 sets of 6 ‘clean and press’ lifts.

And then the resistance band, which, from now on will be referred to as the ‘Spanish Inquisition’. I did 2 sets of each of the exercises demonstrated in these helpful videos and sweet mother of the baby jeebus but my arms and shoulder may go on strike tomorrow, in fact, they are making placards and planning a picket line as we speak.

I then went on to do some ballet type plies [without the plinky plonky piano music or leotard] on the vibrating thingy, what’s it called, the Power Plate, that’s the thing and also did my 3 x sets of the plank on that as well.

As if all this was not torture enough, I decided to take some advice from a few other health and fitness bloggers and try out some sprints on the treadmill. I read that if you do not feel like vomiting right after your sprints, then you aint doing it right. I am pleased to say, I’m pretty sure my green, extremely sweaty face indicated I was indeed doing it right much to the horror of the pretty gym bunny doing a slow jog on the treadmill next to me ☺

So yes, all in all a good hard workout but I suspect my body is gonna shout at me tomorrow, well only long enough for me to drag it to the gym and put it through 45mins of body pump. That’ll teach it!

**Apologies for the numerous cheese-tastic demo videos, once I'm past the 'hippo in spandex' stage, I may create some of my own video demonstrations, for now though, you'll have to suffer it

Monday, 18 January 2010

Dante's inferno

Monday morning 7am spin class = 7th circle of hell.

That is all.