Working out

I decided to look about getting a gym membership.

I’ve done this before, but not in the recent past – I think that the last time I did something like this was in 2007, and that lasted about eight weeks before it got too difficult to keep up (mainly down to the logistics of getting to the gym).
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Working out

Cold hands

Losing a lot of weight is having some unexpected side effects. First of all, there’s the gradual enjoyment of clothes shopping which I just didn’t get beforehand. Clothes weren’t something that I liked shopping for particularly, but I’m gradually starting to warm to it, particularly as I’m now able to fit into more and more, and because I’m now able to go into many of the higher end shops and find things that will fit me!
Continue reading “Cold hands”

Cold hands

Skinny git

I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I’m turning into a skinny git. It dawned on me yesterday – my wife suggested I go try on some clothes while we were in Southampton, and so we wandered down to the Superdry store to look around. I found the coat that I’m going to buy in London , and it still fits really well. As I walked up to the mirror, I had to smile as I look really good in it. The wife then pointed to a hoodie-cum-knitwear pullover and said that I should try it on. I wasn’t sure as it definitely wasn’t the kind of thing that I would normally buy for myself.

Grabbing it, I pulled it up and over my head and put it on. It was a slim body fitting pullover and when I looked in the mirror it made me look really skinny and also really tall at the same time. Trouble was, it was £110 to buy! That said, it’s a great feeling to be able to walk into a shop like that and be able to try most of the clothes on and look good in them.

What’s more, even my mum commented on how well my new jeans fitted me. That was unexpected, but no less appreciated for it.

Another thing happened while I did my planking on Saturday evening – my wife pointed out my shoulder muscles to my mum, so I decided to take my t shirt off and do a few push-ups just to show them properly. I could see the smile on my wife’s face as I went through the motions, and I felt good.

This getting healthy lark is a good feeling, and I’m more determined than ever to stay at the weight I reach.

So – the weight loss. Well, I had an Indian on Friday night and a small dinner on the Saturday night, as well as some chocolate biscuits (although I didn’t go mad). I stepped on the scales this morning with a bit of trepidation as I thought I would have put on some weight since last week. To my surprise, I had actually dropped 5lbs so I’m now just a sliver under 12st 13lbs – I actually started typing 13st there rather than 12at, which goes to show the disbelief I have that I’m actually at that weight!

My goal is to get down to 12st 7lbs – if I end up a little lower then that’s no bad thing, but that is my target. At that point, I’ll be well within the ideal banding for my height and BMI, and will be able to give myself a buffer when I start the refeed process – a slight weight gain is inevitable, so I want to give myself as much slack as I can. In all honesty, if I can level out at 13st then I’ll be very happy indeed – that’s a good healthy weight for my height, and I’ll be in a good place as I approach my forties.

I also hadn’t exercised over the last few days on account of having very little space at my parents house. I made up for that last night when I did 153 sit-ups, 27 push-ups, 47 squats and all of my weights routine. By the end of all that I was definitely feeling better for doing it. My biceps and shoulders are starting to see results, while I can feel my legs burning a bit after the squats meaning that it’s working. The last piece to the puzzle will be to get to the doctor to see about my shoulder – although I’m able to do push-ups and my shoulder presses, I do still feel that my right shoulder isn’t moving as well as it should do. I’ll give it another month as by then I should have completed at least one milestone on my push-ups journey, and be nearly there on my sit-ups journey.

Things are definitely looking up – I’ve kept all of this up for over a month, so the habit should definitely be forming.

Skinny git

Slipping

I have a confession to make. The last few days have not been good, in that I’ve started to slip in my diet. Shamefully, to boot.

I guess this is part of the problem when you spend a short amount of time off-diet and then try to restart. Watching the forums I’ve seen a load of people complain how difficult it is to get back on track when they’ve had a blip, and now I’m experiencing that for myself. My primary issue is one of hunger – I’m trying to do what I did previously and follow the diet in its purest form, eg total reliance on the food and shake packs, with no added extras (apart from a daily jelly).

What in finding is that my stomach is rumbling continually from just after midday. This is driving me nuts, and making it very difficult to concentrate and get things done. I’ve got to try and push through it as I’ve got another fortnight before we have our anniversary and the point at which I totally come off plan for good and start to live at my new weight.

I can do this – I have been doing it for large chunks of this year. It’s will power, and I am able to push through this.

My exercise regime continues, although I skipped last night because I was out fairly late and needed to pack for being away a couple of nights. I did 38 squats this morning, along with my regular dumbbell weights routine. I will complete 60 consecutive sit-ups by the weekend, and then start on the path to 100 consecutive sit-ups.

I want a six pack. I want clearly defined muscles. I want to be able to do 20 consecutive push-ups without breaking a sweat.

I am tired of being a relative weakling. I am better than this.

2015 is going to be my best year yet, and I want it to be the year in which my health gets onto the best footing.

Slipping

Too much

When I first started using the Runtastic sit-ups app, I misunderstood what I was doing and ended up doing the routine every day without fail. It was only after the first week or so that I noticed that I was supposed to have break days in order to allow my body to rest. I definitely didn’t realise this, and tried it for about a week.

The thing is, giving myself a break, even if just for a day, have me a reason not to carry on and that’s precisely what I wanted to avoid. So I’ve gone back to exercising every day at least for the sit-ups.

The squats are also something that I can do each day, but the press ups are something that I do struggle with.

Part of it is getting the app to work correctly – I have to be within a certain distance of the iPhone for it to register a rep, and sometimes it misses. Of course, that means I’m effectively doing more press ups that I should be, which is then knocking me a little. I’m up to 25 press ups which is nothing short of impressive given that I struggled to even do one a few weeks ago.

However, the agony I feel when the sensor misses my push up is real – I struggle to do them, so any wasted effort is a significant loss for me. The only way to make sure is to not use the app at all, but then I would lose my motivation as I quite like seeing progress over time.

So I dwell on correct form – attempting to ensure that I’m doing each push-up correctly. It’s my way of telling myself to keep going – the reason I’m not getting the sensor reading is because I’m not doing it correctly, therefore I’m not getting the most benefit from my exercise. It’s a weird kind of reinforcement that I set myself, but it seems to be working for the most part.

I don’t know at what rate I should see progress – I’m not expecting it to happen overnight, but it would be good to understand what the overall benefits are from doing all of this exercising. As I’m gradually increasing my intensity, I’m sure that I’ll see gradual results so will be less likely to see a dramatic change unless I avoid all mirrors for a few weeks at a time.

I could really do with joining a gym, if only for a short period of time – that way I can get measured and assessed on a regular basis.

Too much

Pushing it

The Runtastic apps have been useful to me so far. I started off with the sit-ups app, and spent a couple of weeks following the programme as set out. Then I realised that there were other apps available that complemented it, namely the Push-ups and Squats apps. Happily they were available as part of a bundle, so I downloaded them along with the pull-ups app for £1.50 figuring that it was cheap enough to try out.

It’s had an interesting effect – the squats app is fairly straight forward and I’m having no real difficulty with doing my daily routine, although my balance isn’t quite right just yet. The more interesting one is the push-ups app as I’ve never really been able to do push-ups as far as I can remember.

The first few days were pretty awful – I could only just manage three push-ups at a time, but yesterday I managed to complete 20 push-ups in total as part of my session, with a one off record of 5 consecutive push-ups. This doesn’t sound like much, but I could really start to feel things getting a bit easier. That said, the last set of three that I had to do were a struggle, but I was determined to complete them. What’s more, my arms are definitely improving – I’m able to do a lot more arm exercises than I used to. The only concern I have is around my shoulder as it’s still not moving as much as it should do. By that, I mean that sometimes I have to manipulate my shoulder to get it to turn or move to a specific angle. I think a doctors appointment is going to be necessary to try and get things going again, but I’m not looking forward to that one.

My initial embarrassment factor over exercising in front of my wife has now evaporated – she largely doesn’t pay me any attention while I’m exercising, so I’m just carrying on. What this has meant is that I’m now only doing a round of arm exercises in the morning, with the remainder of my exercising being done in the evening.

Typically I’m doing at least 40 dumbbell curls, 40 dumbbell rows and 20 dumbbell shoulder presses, sometimes 40. On top of that, I’m doing at least 25 squats, 20 push-ups and at least 140 sit-ups. All of that takes me around 30 minutes or so, and I don’t need a gym to do any of it as I have all the equipment I need at home.

Perhaps the biggest thing I need now is some extra weights. The ones I have are on loan from my Dad, and I’m starting to reach the limits of what I can do with them. I’d rather have more weight and do fewer reps, than end up doing 60 or more reps across three sets. My goal is to bulk up my arms so I’ve got some muscles rather than the flabby arms I used to have. I don’t necessarily need a barbell as just the dumbbell are proving useful. I guess it’s something to add to my Christmas list!

Pushing it

Maintaining

I haven’t blogged for a couple of days – I’ve been away and actually quite busy, and just haven’t had the time to sit down and let my usual brain dump take place.

I’ve also been away from home and not near a microwave or a kitchen to be able to maintain my diet. Instead I’ve been eating regular meals, including a meal at Pizza Express and a takeaway from Nacho Cheese. I’m pleased to be able to report that that I put 2lbs on, only to lose it straight away when I did a day of Slim & Save.

Some of the information I’ve read on their site indicates that past members have chosen to go on the 5:2 diet, where they have Slim & Save days on the two fasting days. Based on a single day, I can appreciate how that would work. However, I’ve got another ten days or so to shift the remainder of the weight before I can move onto a maintenance regime.

I now fit comfortably into my new clothes – they were never tight beforehand, but just a little too figure hugging for my liking. Now, they fit me really well and I’m getting into the whole shopping thing now that I have clothes that fit me well. I’m looking forward to going to London at the end of the month when I can do some more shopping and hopefully buy a coat that I’ve seen and which fits me really well. That, and a scarf will do me!

The final piece in the puzzle is a suit – all my other suits are now too big for me. I’m going to need one before long as I may be going on a business trip at the end of November, and I need to look smart for it. I’ve seen a few at Marks and Spencer, but I really need to go and try some on.

Ideally I want to be able to spend around £200 a month on clothes, at least for a couple of months so I can build my wardrobe back up. Beyond that, then I’d like to be able to buy things if I like them. I’m not far off this – there’s just some hard work I need to do to clear debt once and for all.

Once that’s gone, then we will have a lot more freedom and we will be able to do a lot more together as a family.

For now, I’m really happy to be able to fit into clothes and to feel good about myself.

Maintaining

Day away

The last 36 hours or so have been a little different for me – I’ve had to stop my diet temporarily while I attended a conference and exhibition in London.

It’s not been a bad thing – I’ve actually eaten rather sensibly all told, having meals at the right times, not snacking with the exception of a slice of cake with a coffee at Starbucks while I waited for my train.

I’m currently on my way back to Bath, and I don’t actually feel that hungry at all – I will still likely eat when I get into the City, but there’s nothing like the rabid hunger that I would have experienced in the past.

I’m more thirsty at the moment than hungry, so the first thing I’m going to do is buy a large bottle of water and make my way through it. I’m not too sure what I’m going to do for food, as I don’t want anything too much ahead of band practice tonight. However, I don’t want to starve myself either – the only thing I can think of is that I perhaps grab some protein from Sainsburys – cooked chicken or the like.

Although I’ve eaten more than I usually would, I’m pretty confident that all the walking and talking I’ve done today will have been worth it. I covered the majority of the exhibition and had some really interesting conversations across a wide range of topics including hosted communications, big data, collaboration, communication links, storage and security. I’ve come away with plenty of information and quite a few contacts, and will be feeding a lot of it back to the team for further conversations and discussions to be had.

I like going to shows and conferences – there is actually quite a lot to pick up, and there’s always the chance that you’ll find one or two gems – that definitely happened today for a few different things, not least because I got a free years subscription to Crashplan for all our home computers (in reality, just our iMac for now).

I’m going to keep an eye out for other opportunities to go out and get information. It’s a relatively low cost thing to do and can have some major benefits. The next time I do something like this, I’ll spend more time preparing for it. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but now I know, I can crack on and get even more from it.

Day away