Saturday, 27 June 2009

In The Company of (rude) Friends?

I have just read JAG's blog and feel I have to post on mine my response to her post that a few of her friends/colleagues had made negative remarks about her 'new shape'.

What is the phenomena of friends, colleagues, associates, people you don't really know that well etc etc thinking it is perfectly ok, once you start to loose weight/change body shape, to make really quite personal comments. I've had:-
"oh, poor your, you've lost your boobs"
"don't you think you've done enough now"
"you're beginning to look like Dot Cotton" (this was an 'ex-husband' comment JEALOUS:-))
"honestly, you look so skinny you look awful" - can you BELIEVE this one.

Now my question is - would they say the equivalent negative comments to someone who had gained weight. e.g. "oh, poor you, your boobs are massive" or "Don't you think you've put on enough weight now".

Just a tip for these people - don't be so RUDE and as my mother would say - if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

JAG - you look amazing and most of all I bet you feel amazing and that is what counts - go girl!

Must also share a funny conversation I had with a colleague on Thursday. She was asking me why I was still 'bothering' (she was the one that made the boob comment above). I told her that I may have lost weight but I want to be strong and healthy into my old age and that resistance training is particularly beneficial for women (I happen to know she is just beginning to go through the menapouse). She said to me, "oh, there is no need for me to do that - I have massive muscles". Now, I don't wish to be rude (see above) but maybe she has, you just can't see them as they are covered by a layer of fat - she obviously does a lot of dusting as according to her the housework she has to do is the reason she can't exercise :-)

Saturday Satisfaction and Very Sore Thighs!

I knew before I went that going to the gym Friday night and then again on Saturday morning was a bit silly but I don't like my routine going off track and so I went Saturday anyway. I knew it would be nice and quiet in the free weights section and wanted to try some new exercises (and make a fool of myself in private!). I went on to ExRx.Net and looked up the 'Muscle Directroy' to find muscles to target my thighs - my target muscle group 'of the moment'. I had no idea there were so many versions of the squat and lunge:
Barbell front squat
Full squat
Barbell hack squat
Safety squat
Barbell single let squat
Barbell lunge
Barbell rear lunge
Side lunge
and more........................

So in my enthusiasm I tried a few! A FEW! am I mad. My thighs were so sore afterwards I could barely walk down the stairs - still, I have to admit - don't you just love that burn :-)

I woken this morning (Sunday) and everything seems back to normal so I'm off to the gym again to practice some new moves :-) This afternoon I'm off to buy a lovely dress for 'Speech Day' on Friday - I'm very excited as shopping now is such a pleasurable experience as I'm a standard size and can fit into anything I want to - even if it looks blinking stupid on me :-)

Friday, 26 June 2009

A Quiet Friday at the Gym

Great gym session tonight. I don't usually go on a Friday but missed out yesterday as i was in Birmingham with youngest daughter looking at the University for next year. The gym was so quiet I did my usual thing and started looking at other machines and trying new things. I decided, as I am not pleased with the progress on my legs, to do some lunges along with my squats and I'm off in a mo to look it up on the webiste.

I have been very tired and thought I was struggling with my squats and then noticed that I had accidentally upped the weights without realising it so I'm pleased with that. I also found that my shoulder press was easier and I could actually complete the whole set of 3 x 10 reps without having to resort to mini reps to get me through.

All in all a good session - I am pleased :-)

Thought I'd upload this pic from yesterday - just because it is a rare one of me I actually like and it is showing my progress to date:

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Fred Perry Sweat Patches and White Van Man

Great gym workout last night. All weights and exercises stayed the same but it just felt sooooo good. It might have been the gym bunny music mix I had made for my ipod - nothing like Run DMC 'It's like that' for getting you pumping those bars! Might also have been my delivery from 'My Protein' that arrived yesterday. I had a choc/nut shake before my weights and a vanilla after (before cardio) and I really felt the benefits. Eldest daughter's BF said I'd ordered enough to last for 80 days - he obviously thought I was mad, but you have to have an assortment of flavours don't you?


I also think I might have done my first GRUNT whilst doing a shoulder press - WHAT HORROR. I couldn't actually hear myself because I was listening to 'Buttons' at the time by the Pussy Cat Dolls but I definately felt vibration in my throat. Nobody looked over but probably because they were all grunting louder than me!

When doing my cardio stuff I was behind a woman who had sweated a patch on her shirt that was exactly the same as the Fred Perry logo - no joke. I tried to take a photo on my mobile but was jiggling around to much and it was blurry so I thought I'd post this instead and you can imagine!

5am Run

Nothing much to report on the 'nature watch' of my 5am run this morning though I did observe some common creatures - WHITE VAN MAN - they were everywhere this morning. I think a lot of these guys leave their homes at 5.30am because proportionately there were more of them than cars on the road today.

I have also become a road side 'bouncer'. I always thought joggers who couldn't just stand still whilst waiting to cross the road were rather silly - and now I do it. This morning I had to do it 3 times and all 3 times the cars waved me across - bless them!!!

Monday, 22 June 2009

New Jogging Buddy and shall I buy him a cup?

Ok, so he's not really a buddy but I have a new jogger that I have started 'nodding' to in the morning. Though not a word is said I think we all have a kinship of being the mad morning runners who truly revel in this beautiful time of the day. I might try smiling on Wednesday - if I'm brave enough.

Nature watch

Nature watching so far I have seen, on my early morning runs, a deer, many foxes, 2 kingfishers and this morning a duck. Ok, so ducks are two a penny but this one was walking down a residential street without a drop of water in sight - I wonder if she was lost?

Car safety and a coffee dilemma

Everyday, at the same time, in the same road a blue cinquecento car. I first noticed it because the 2 men in the front are rather large and for those than know the cinquecento is a VERY small car. I digress from my main point. The driver always has a cup of coffee in his hand - a proper one, white china with a handle and I can't help being concerned for his, and his passenger's safety. I am thinking of buying him a proper 'car' coffee mug and flagging him down one morning to give it to him - do you think I should tie a ribbon around it?

Adding a bit to my 'Abs' workout.

I tried to move my weight schedule on a bit this weekend. I upped a few of my weights but also - shame, shame - had to decrease the weights for my shoulder press - I just couldn't lift it without seriously loosing form and arching my back. I was about to give it up, on Thursday, and go home v disappointed (I HATE not completing things) when Trainer Terry arrived - I didn't even let him get his jacket off and I hot footed it over to the 'coach stand' and asked him to help. He said I should bring the weights down, even use a 'naked' bar and then build up. I felt better and decided to have a go at the weenkend.

Its been a funny old weekend. I couldn't do my Saturday weights session due to work so I had to do it on Sunday. Being such an 'anally retentive' person, I felt 'all over the place'. Used Saturday as a rest day instead, as I don't get enough of these. The gym was empty at 7.30 on Sunday morning so I took the opportunity to try out a couple of new exercises. My routine went as follows:

Warm Up
Cross trainer - 15 minutes forwards
Squats - 25kg bar - 1 set (3 x 10 reps)
Flat dumb bell press - 10kg dumb bells - 1 set (3 x 10 reps)
Deadlift - 22kg bar - 1 set (3 x 10 reps)
Shoulder press - 5kg bar - 1 set (6 x 5 reps)
Crunch/Leg raises - body weight - 1 set (3 x 10 reps)
Bicep Curl - 6kg dumb bells - 1 set (6 x 5 reps)
Inclined situp - body weight - 1 set (3 x 10 reps) *new*
Lat pull down - 30kg - 1 set (6 x 5 reps)
Leg raises - body weight - 1 set (3 x 5 reps) *new*
(Lat pull down and leg raises done as a mini-circuit)
Seated cable row - 22kg - 1 set (3 x 10 reps)
Tricep pull down - 5kg - 1 set (6 x 5 reps)
Push ups (lady) - 1 set (3 x 10 reps) *new*
Treadmill - 20 mins - 15 incline (heart rate 70%-80%)
Stairmaster - 20 mins - level 7 (heart rate 70%-80%)
Treadmaster - 20 mins - 4.5 (heart rate 70%-80%)

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Leaping into the Lion's Laire

I have never felt less like going to the gym as I did last night. I arrived home from work and found every excuse under the sun NOT to get my gear on and go. I was just suffering from the fear of going where only the brave female has been before - the free weights section of the gym. In the end I gave myself a swift talking to and before I could find one more 'essential' job to do at home I jumped in the car and drove off.

O M Gosh - the gym was packed. Nothing was free in the weights section and there were so many grunts and groans I could practically taste the testosterone. Intimidated is an understatement of how I was feeling. I warmed up for 15 mins on the cross trainer hopefully scanning the room for a lull in activity. I spotted Terry and went over and asked him if it was essential that I do the weights in order and he said no so I went for the easy ones first - basically the weights I could pick up and move to the quiet corner (and you thought they only had those at primary school!). As I moved through the programme the weights section quietened down and my confidence grew. The biggest error was on the seated row. I couldn't remember the correct handle to attach and the whole exercise felt a little uncomfortable. It was only when I spotted someone later on doing it properly that I realised I hadn't set up my mat and foot support correctly and noted for Thursday the correct handle to use!

The hardest exercise to complete from the shoulder press with the 17kg bar. I really struggled and my face pulling was so off putting in the mirror I think I shall wear a terrorists scarf type face cover next Thursday or a balaclava Les Dawson had nothing on me. Does anyone else find that they can't control the muscles of their face when straining - I was horrified :-)

Thursday's gym outfit!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Swimming in the Fast Lane and George Foreman came to tea

So I stopped off at the gym on the way home from work yesterday evening and did an hour's swim to make up for my missed running in the morning (not the same but better than nothing). I used my Polar 7F underwater for the 2nd time and it was great. I had set my HR for 70%-80% and managed to stay within it burning 50% fat which is great for swimming.

The latest thing I am pondering is does everyone feel under as much pressure as I do when choosing a lane to swim in. Am I really fast or just medium? On Sunday when I went to a grotty public pool I joined the fast lane as I assessed the speed of the other two and they were relatively slow. In the end I had to ask a gentleman to move out of the fast lane as he was doing no more than floating whilst wiggling his legs and he was a bit of a liability. I felt a bit embarrassed but when I'd done it someone else thanked me so that made me feel better.

Any hoo, at my gym I couldn't decide as on the whole people seem to be taking their swimming more seriously as a form of exercise. There were only 2 lanes open - fast and medium and in the medium were several ladies desperately trying to keep their hair out of the water so I thought I'd join the fast lane again. Initially I was alone but as others arrived I started to feel intimidated about not being fast enough and pausing for too long after each 2 lengths - honestly I'm far to obssessive about things. I even follow people who are doing breast stroke to see their stroke underwater hoping to improve mine - I think I may be weird :-)

George Foreman

When I got home my George Foreman grill had been delivered. Hurray! I'm looking forward to grilling all my lean proteins on it - also secretly hoping the kids (sorry, young adults) will be encouraged to use it and cook for themselves occassionally! I live in hope.

Weight Regime

If you look at yesterday's post, I have updated it to add links to mini clips of the weights I am due to start today - more to help me visualise what I have to do as Saturday now seems so far away and all trainer Terry's tips are fading in my mind - I'm going to study these before I go to the gym to ensure I get my form correct.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Feel the Fear and do it Anyway

So i've been learning all about creatine this weekend as Trainer Terry said I should take it as did my daughter's OH (and they both have good physics so I'm going to listen to them :-)). The most helpful article I found, particularly directed at women was on one of my fav websites, figure athlete and you can read it
here. My new weight regime begins tomorrow now I have my new routine and so today I shall start taking creatine at a dose of 5g per day - I'll let you know if I think I feel the benefits.

Terry had given me an initial full body plan and in 6 weeks will update it to split sessions but he said I need to build up some upper body strength first - I think he thought I was a bit puny - particularly my triceps apparently! My workout will go as follows (excuse the fact that I don't yet know the proper names!)

All exercises sets = 3 x 10 reps

Squats - down for 3, hold for 2 up for (1.5 minute rests) 10kg

Flat dumb bell press - push up for 1 hold for 2 lower for 3 (1.5 minute rests) start with 8kg
Deadlifts - 22kg bar
Leg raises on bench

Seated cable row pull for 1 hold for 2 release for 3 (1 minute rests) 22.5kg
Tricep pull down (1 minute rests) 2.5kg (I do this standing though the link shows the seated version)
Lat pull down again, 1,2,3 (1 minute rests) 30kg
Shoulder press - 1,2,3 (1 minute rests) 17kg bar
Bicep curls - 4kg dumb bells

I didn't get up for my 5am run this morning. Had some family stuff to deal with and got to bed gone 12, seeing as I ususally go to bed at 9 before a run I thought I'd not have the energy. Will swim at the gym for an hour tonight as a (poor) substitution.

I am anxious about my first session on the weights tomorrow. Tuesday is always really busy and the weights section will be full of beefy guys. But I will feel the fear and do it anyway - wish me luck!

Friday, 12 June 2009

I did it, I did it, I did it.

Well I haven't been this proud of myself in so long. Today I ran for 40 minutes, non stop and covered a distance of 3.79m which is 6.1k. My first running goal was 5k and so I have well and truly gone through that barrier. It was a beautiful morning out there at 5.15am and I just felt elated when I got home. I can't tell you how chuffed I am - believe me, the achievements I make it running far outway any figures on the scales. My next goal, of course, is 10K.

To add to the excitement I also took my Polar 7F Heart Rate Monitor out for a trial. It worked really well except that I was running in over 90% zone most of the time, which I shouldn't have been (and didn't feel like I was). When I go to the gym tonight I will ensure I keep in the 70% to 80% zone. I ready all about heart rate zones on a new website I found called 'Brian Mac Sports Coach' - see my list on the left. It was very imformative and having read it through a couple of times I understand it and can now put this information to use in my gym programme.

Did I mention I was excited today :-)

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Disappointment, Distance and Deprivation

Well after attending a fabulous conference in London yesterday, I was all excited about my session with Terry at David Lloyd. I arrived at the gym at 5.30 and did 2 hours workout - felt great, waiting for Terry and he didn't arrive - apparently the time sheets had been changed and the admin person who switched the diaries over didn't transpose them properly (I was very disappointed). I have rebooked for Saturday at 8am. At least by then I should have my diet sorted. I've been sticking very rigidly to my new protein enhanced diet and I really felt the benefits during my workout yesterday - I just felt energised and stronger. Did a great abs work out and even under my horrible stretch marks (yes I have loads from pregnancy) I can see a huge improvement. Looking for ways to make the workout harder now.

To help me over my disappointment I really did a push to run for 30 mins this morning and I achieve it. I have mapped it this morning on Map My Run and it was a distance of 2.69 miles - I'm chuffed. My run went like this:

5 minute warm up walk
8.5 minute jog
2.5 minute walk
30 minute run
Total : 46 minutes

I'm so pleased with myself. I'm going to run this for my next few sessions until I'm really comfortable with it and then push for longer.

The deprivation I mention is that my HRM monitor has arrived. No time to check it out last night so I have it in my bag at work - I'm itching to open the box but am depriving myself of the pleasure. I have so much work to do as I had a day out yesterday. Better get on..........

Monday, 8 June 2009

Protein Muffins Disaster!

Well I give my self points for trying - and the picture looks good but my protein muffin #1 experiment was a disaster. They are dry (edible but v dry). They are too high in calories and too high in fat so I won't bother posting the recipe here. What I will do, is try again and update with protein muffin #2.

I did make a successful mackerel egg white omlete. I just nibbled the crumbs as it is really for breakfast tomorrow but initial testing is making me look forward to having it, on the train, tomorrow. I'm off to London for a conference so the day will probably be difficult food wise but I'm going armed with my omlete, some nakd gear and some bottled water so I should be able to feel that I've made an effort - especially as I have my gym session with Terry in the evening - can't wait :-)


Today I'm learning about water. I know we all need to drink more and infact, should make it our main beverage (and no that's not mixed with squash, tea, coffee, hot choc etc). The Body Sculpting Bible says "in order to determine how much water your body needs each day, multiple your lean body weight by 0.66. This indicates how many ounces (remember this is an American book) of water your body needs in a day for optimum function. Here goes.....

I weigh 128 llbs.
My body fat is 24.3%.
So if 128 is 100% then 1.28 is 1%. 24.3 x 1.28 = 31.104
Take away this number from 128= 97.
My lean body weight is 97lbs.
Multiply this by .66 and you get 64.02.
This is the number of ounces of water I should be drinking a day.
Convert that to litres = 1.89 - so in reality, 2 litres a day minimum.

A rather long winded way to find out I'm drinking enough - but I'm glad I know now :-)

First Day of Food Trials and NAKD delivery!

Today I weighed myself and I am now 9st 2lb which is 128lbs or as 1 pound = 0.45359237 kilograms, I weigh 58 kilos. This is useful in that I can now work out by daily calorie allowance so that I ensure I eating the correct amount for training. According to WLR I have 24.3% body fat and my bmi is 22

Didn't run this morning as I stayed up late (for me!) to watch The Apprentice Final (Yasmina won - boo hiss) and I just wouldn't have got enough sleep getting up at 5. I'm just treating today as a rest day as I haven't had one in a couple of weeks.

Food trial

Today I am beginning to experiment with different foods to begin my new eating regime starting properly next Monday. I thought I'd play around this week so that by next, I will have it down. This morning I made a Cod and Cottage Cheese omelet. It tasted nice. The ingredients were:

1 large egg
1 large egg white
88g cottage cheese (what was left in the pot)
80g cod
1 tsp olive oil
Teeny bit of salt

After looking at the nutritional make up of it using WLR I have now decided to remove/change some of the ingredients as it is too high in fat so tomorrow it will be:

2 large egg whites
80g cod
Teeny bit of salt

Doesn't sound as appetising but you never know. Not having enough time to consult my 'body sculpting bible' book before work I was not sure what carbs I should be eating with this omelet so I grabbed 100g cherry tomatoes. Now having looked, I was right. Because I did not workout this morning my meal should have been:

1 serving of protein (omelet)
1 serving of complex carbs (tomatoes)


Yummy - I have just had my nakd delivery - nibbling on pineapple infused raisins as we speak - according to my latest readings I should keep these for post workout, but as they have just arrived and today is my rest day, for scientific purposes I'm trying them :-). I am assuming they are a serving of simple carbs

Friday, 5 June 2009

Trainer Terry and Twenty Two Minutes


I bit the bullet and have booked in a coaching session at the gym next Tuesday. Josh, my original coach has handed me over to Terry who, apparently, is a lot more knowledgeable about weight training. I'm really looking forward to it even though he did say 'so whose arse do you want to kick' - I hope he hasn't got the wrong idea bout me :-) He also went on and on about eating more protein and taking 'creatine' (must find out what this is). Had a good session at the gym on my current, and soon to be old, routine. Really built up a sweat and lifted heavier weights than last time - though now I know, according to Terry, not heavy enough!!


Really, really happy this morning. I ran for 22 minutes without stopping. I mapped it on Map My Run and it was 2.1 miles. This is a massive achievement for me and I really felt like a 'runner' this morning. I could have gone on as well but my 45 minutes were up and I had to get readly for work (boo hiss). My schedule this morning was:

5 minute warm up walk

5 minute jog
1 minute walk
5 minute jog
1 minute walk
5 minute jog
1 minute walk
22 minute jog

Total : 45 minutes.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

2 New Books and I'm nearly ready to go (protein samples on the way!)

Today i have received in the post 2 new books from Amazon. 1) The New High Protein Diet Cook Book - and 2) The Body Sculpting Bible for Women - I'll review them once I have had a chance to read through them and heed (hopefully) some of the advice.

I have also placed an order for some samples of protein drinks from 'My Protein' as recommended by JAG (see my blog list). Can't wait to try them. I also got a tip about NAKD products and I have ordered some treats from them to try.

I struggle to eat enough protein as I'm not a big meat fan and now I am consciously trying to increase my protein intake I'm getting in a frustrating 'pickle' about how much I need in grams or calories and percentages - its all such a muddle at the moment. But I WILL LEARN.

My gym coach

Something else I must do is book a new session with my gym coach. He isn't a PT (personal trainer) just someone who does the induction and then checks up on you every so often. I want him to show me some weight lifting stuff in the free weights area of the gym - I've not wandered over there yet - too many huge men making very odd grunting noises!

I always start with books!

Where I am before I REALLY start to reshape my 40s?

4th June 2009
Age 41 and 8 months
Height 5ft 4in
Weight 9st 5lb
UK Size 10 (top) and 10/12 (bottom - depending on shop!)

Books, books, more books and websites

On January 5th 2009 I gave up smoking after reading Alan Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking. I can't recommend this book enough. I was recommended it by a lady I met at a exhibition - Kit (thank you Kit) and I read it through, had my last cigarette and that was it - I am now officially a non smoker - and don't I feel great. Available from Amazon -

After badly spraining my ankle whilst 'gently' playing badminton I thought - MY goodness, I am SO unfit (I sit all day!) and even the smallest amount of exercise has managed to knock me off my feet. How will I be in 5 years, 10 years........ So, whilst giving up smoking I thought 'in for a penny in for a pound' and decided to radically change my life by seriously looking at my diet and fitness.

I started running using the beginners system in the Zest book 'Running Made Easy' (note the 'easy' reference again :-)) and I have now reached, through much trial and error, the last week of the program and only yesterday managed to run the following :

5 minute warm up walk
3 minute run
1 minute walk
4 minute run
1 minute walk
4 minute run
1 minute walk
10 minute run
2 minute walk
15 minute run
(Total 46 minutes)

Again the book is available from Amazon -

From the beginning of January I listened to the podcast 'Inside Out Weightloss'. I listened to it every day, sometimes more than once and it really hit home that the only way to become slim for ever was to think and eat like a naturally slim person. I also watched the repeats of Paul McKenna's 'I can make you thin' and followed his advice to the letter. I completely changed the way I ate and improved on what I ate. You can find the podcast at - Not suprisingly I read another book called 'Shrink Yourself' as I thought an element to my eating was emotional - no deep dark secrets just boredom and occasionally frustration - This was also a useful and inspiring book and I would recommend it for anyone who emotionally eats for any reason.

I came across the website and signed up to a monthly subscription for £9.95 - very useful for tracking your nutrition and using their calculators. The forums are a bit of fun too and I have even received some answers to perplexing problems I have encountered from other members.

The weight started going down (I started at just over 12 stone) and the fitness going up and I signed up to David Lloyd Gym at the end of May spurred on by my renewed confidence. I had my 'session' with a coach who put together the following programme;

10 minutes warm up on cross trainer (5 minutes forwards, 5 minutes backwards)
Core strengthening : 20 crunches (x2) 20 side crunches (x 2 each side) 20 marches (x 2) and the 'bench' x 2 working up to 30 seconds.
10 minutes on the stairmaster
10 minutes walking on treadmill at 15% include
10 minutes on exercise bike
3 x 15 bicep curls
3 x 15 tricep lifts
2 x 10 chest press on stability ball
2 x 10 lateral raise on stability ball
3 x 15 chest press machine
3 x 15 should pull down machine
5 minutes cool down on cross trainer.

I have since added to this programme and also swim, step and do pilates and of course I am back playing badminton on a Sunday jut for fun!

I love cooking and get a lot of my recepies from Good Food website and I have recently purchased 'Food for Fitness' - And where would I be without Tesco online shopping - ok so they are not perfect but they save me so much time and I've been using them for so long now I'm a whizz at it (ok so the 6 packs of bananas that came last week was my fault :-))

My next step - and, this is why I want to blog my progress, is to get from a normal middle aged women who has successfully lost weight, got fit and given up smoking in 5 months to someone who is SERIOUSLY fit and healthy and educated in nutrition and exercise.

I have big plans (but will keep them to myself for now).

I know nothing about weights, real nutrition, physiology, sport etc. I plan to educate myself through trial and error and reading lots of my favourite things - BOOKS. I will also use websites and the advice of others.

I want to inspire others to get fit by being a normal, honest women with 2 kids a dog a mortgage a job, a restriction on what I can spend and a very ordinary life. I do however possess a great deal of will power, determination and dedication. I am quite organised and I LOVE to get up early in the morning (which really helps with time management). I couldn't do without my ipod on to which I download audible books from I get through several a month, and my very supportive partner who encourages me all the way and puts up with me going on and on and on about it.