Week 4 – The Power of a Massage

So I’m 4 weeks in and I can safely say this has been the hardest yet. I thought last week would be tough as work had so much that I needed to give in regards to hours and mind power, but that was a breeze compared to this week.

Starting with Monday I wasn’t too bad, did my PT session and got through it – though it was commented that I was pulling A LOT of unhappy faces and I was told to go home and get some sleep ASAP! By Wednesday I was exhausted and took a day off from training! – Something I felt incredibly guilty about as I’ve been doing so well, but my body was just crying out to STOP. I’ve been told by a few people that for successful training you must include REST days, so reminding myself of there wise words I lay on the sofa and watched ‘The Notebook’, home alone and sobbing into am cardi. I defiantly rested, and was able to take on the rest of the week with pride.

Something else that has held me back this week has been my legs. They have been uber painful, crying out for me to go easy on them. At boot camp on Tuesday I could really feel it as we were doing our time trial, getting tighter and tighter as we went on, and for cardio circuit yesterday they felt like they were going to tear. I got up and headed for a massage this morning and it really, really hurt, 30 minuets of hell if I’m honest, well, it got easier for the last 5, but it was hard to stay lying on the bed – I wanted to run for cover (and I’m normally someone who would –in an ideal world – receive a daily massage!). I explained to the lady that my legs were tight from training and she really went to town on me. Once finished though, I had the best sense of relief. My calve muscles have been like rocks all week, now there back to been wobbly again, now, I’m not 100% happy with that as they were looking very toned, but at the risk of injury it was so worth it. I’m ready to run again, catch me if you can (insert loud laugh here).

I’m defiantly into the swing of this exercise malarkey now, not even thinking of it been a chore having to pack my gym kit, though I do feel like I live in it and miss showering in my flat (I need my own cubicle shower reserved for me at the gym!). Though getting ready there is easy, so there really is nothing to complain about. I can’t believe I used to FEEL I had no time for exercise. One of my favourite times that I’ve begun to include in my week is my Sunday treadmill session. It’s great, though it probably does take the most effort to get to – but I think I’ve got it sussed out now. I worked out that the X Factor is shown on a Sunday at 1pm, so I’ve been making sure I’m there by then and then watching the whole episode on the treadmill instead of at home on the TV. I’ve also enjoyed watching the breakfast TV shows while on it too – something I don’t have time to sit around watching on a morning.

Now I’m into a bit of a routine ill share it with you:

  • Monday – 45min PT Session – with the hubby
  • Tuesday – 30min PT / 30min treadmill in the morning and 1 hr outdoor boot camp in the evening
  • Wednesday – 1 hr treadmill followed by a nutritional class
  • Thursday –30min tread mill followed by 30min PT session – alone
  • Friday – Group fitness class (changes each week)
  • Saturday – Rest day
  • Sunday – 1 hr treadmill

Something else I’ve really struggled with this week has been Food – not what to eat, but making sure that it is all prepared. We have stopped buying anything we ‘shouldn’t’ so luckily, if I’ve wanted to rummage for a snack I’ve had no choice but to each some cucumber or a can of tuna as that’s all that there has been (as opposed to crisps/bread etc) but its made the week feel more like a chore than a lifestyle. This said, hubby (bless him) asked what he used to eat for snacks today! I took that as a good sign as there isn’t a particular food that he is deeply craving to bring back into the flat. We have also been able to greatly reduce the amount of money we spend on food shopping, by returning to our old habits of shopping at fresh food markets (Victoria Market is our favourite), just going to the supermarket for a few items. This has actually made shopping more fun for us too.

I’m looking forwards to next week, I’m going to prepare better, get to sleep earlier and give all the training I do 110%.

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Week 3 – Do something different

            This week I have been very dedicated. With it been the last week of the month work has been super busy for me – and with that came the worry that I wouldn’t keep up the good work, that I would feel under too much pressure to be able to spare time for exercise. It wasn’t easy, and the week was long, but I got there in the end – with more exercise sessions than even the week before!

I honestly never thought that I would look forwards to getting on a tred mill! I’m still sticking with it for my cardio exercise that I do on my own (I do a bit of boxing and running upstairs with my PT too, to make sure there is a good mix). The reason being (not only is it the best form of cardio for fat burning), but I have set this flipping goal at the beginning of my challenge – to run on a tred mill, non stop, for a minimum of 30 minuets. To achieve this goal I have to work towards it – so this week I’ve upped the anti a little on it – one min 9km, one min 7km, one min 9km, one min 7km, one min 9km, one min 7km and so on and so on… I managed this for about 20 minuets before I got too puffed and stuck with 7km for the remaining 40 minuets on the tred mill. YES – I stayed on a tred mill for an hour!… up until this challenge I could think of so many other things to do that stay on a tred mill or an hour – but now I look forwards to it. I get out of bed early, go to work with my hair pulled back and no make up on, spend an hour on the tred mill and then get ready for work – and it feels brilliant.

Anyone (and I was defiantly a big offender) who says they haven’t got time to exercise, doesn’t see the value in it, and that is why they make the excuse. I defiantly had this mind set! But now, I wake up, don’t want to snooze, feel fitter, have more energy, and sleeping better, loosing weight and even been able to stay up later in the evenings due to having more energy. My skin has even cleared up and is pretty much glowing again!

I was really tempted not to weight myself this week – but curiosity n all that – I did. Boy o Boy was I glad I did as i’ve dropped again – i’m now at 78kilos (12.3 stones) – i’m super happy with it and can really feel it too. I’m halfway through the first 6 weeks, a third of a way through the challenge. However you look at it, its going well and a joy to do.

I’m going to start a boot camp this week – one of the girls at work is going to be running it for 5 weeks, so I figured ‘why not’ – i’ve rescheduled one of my Pt sessions so that it all fits in, and I’m excited to begin – especially since yesterday was the first day of spring, the temperature has heated up and people were wearing shorts… look out legs, your going to need to be looking good on show soon!

Along with mixing up my work outs, i’ve been using an app on my phone which is called ‘My Fitness Pal’. You set your details and then load into it all the food / exercise that you have each day – and once each day is complete it lets you know what your weight will b e in 5 weeks if you live every day like today – wow is it motivating! My tip for the week is choosing to do an exercise you haven’t tried before, and give my fitness pal a go too!

Onwards and upwards!!!

Week 2 – Dont count the Caolries – Make the calories count!

I feel brilliant! That’s all I really want to say this week! I FEEL BRILLIANT! I went to work on Monday, 1 week into our 12 week challenge and couldn’t help getting onto the scales. The official weigh in’s are at the beginning, 6 weeks and 12 weeks… but just one week in I really wanted to know how I was doing, especially as I had been on holiday from work. I walked over, not telling anyone that I was getting on (through fear that the figure would not be one I wanted to publicise), once on you have to wait for about 5 seconds for it to process the correct number – flash – flash – flash – flash – flash – 80.4kilos!!! Woohooo… 1.9 kilos in a week (3 pounds).  This is right where the nutritionalist and my personal trainer have said I can aim – 1.5 to 2 kilos a week is a healthy and sustainable amount to loose (and keep off!!!) per week. Now this was a particular WIN – as last week was my birthday so I had been for Devonshire tea, drank alcohol and 3 x slices of chocolate cake in one day! With that knowledge, you must be thinking – well how did you loose the weight?

It was by making the choices at the right time of the day, being considered in the other things I ate, and by getting on the tred mill – not just pointing at it from afar when showing prospective members around my gym. For example, the day I had a cream scone with jam, I first of all had a lentil soup (a healthy choice) and it filled me up so I only had one scone (I would normally have been more than happy to polish off the 2 they serve on a plate- all cream and jam included!). When I had the chocolate cake (soo yummy) I went on the tread mill for 30 minuets to work it off and when I did drink alcohol I had vodka, fresh lime and soda water – the worst thing in that glass was the sugar in the lime juice. So healthy eating and loosing weight is not about missing out on the things you love, but being considered in how you eat them and what you do to ‘earn’ them.

I really expected that I would be board of this by now, wanting to give up over being a moody cow, feeling cranky, having low energy and fluctuating moods due to having it invest so much time and simply feeling deprived from what I love– as this is what has happened in the past when I decided to change my eating pattern/style.  However I can’t advocate this enough though, that I truly don’t feel like I’m on a diet – I just feel like I’m slowly improving my life and I feel proud of myself for doing it. This is a ride I DO NOT want to get off!

I have never seen a nutritionlist before, never even considered it. It asked to have an opinion on it I would even have said I thought it was a bit ‘stuck up’ to go to someone who can dictate to you what you can and can not eat, wrong! Going to the nutrition talks has really helped dispel some of the food myths that I think we all live surrounded in, not really knowing what is truly good or bad, and thinking we are making healthy choices – when actually we are not. She hasn’t told me I can never eat anything – however she has taught me a lot about how to make the right choices.

I touched on last week, how sugar is the devil, and it makes so much sense. We have both been really conscious of this while doing food shopping and we cleared out our cupboards of anything that was too high. I think this was a great starting point for healthy eating – as if we don’t have it in the house we don’t eat it, as I am far to lazy to go to the shop specifically for chocolate, or tomato sauce to put on my dinner.

I also had the belief that if you are healthy eating ‘you should not eat carbs’. Well that too is wrong, having some rolled oats at breakfast is a brilliant way of getting carbs, at the correct time of the day. I most certainly would not be eating them at any other time of the day. Other ‘good carbohydrates’ are brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa, fruit, grainy bread/rye/sour dough and whole grain rice crackers. These are complex carbohydrates. When you eat complex carbohydrates, they get converted to glycogen and either used immediately for energy, providing a steady dose of blood sugar, or they are stored in the muscles and liver for energy at a later time. Simple carbohydrates, by contrast, cause a spike in blood sugar that quickly dissipates. Examples of simple carbs are pasta, white rice, white bread and wholemeal bread (whole meal bread is dyed white bread), white potatoes and cous cous (made from the same ingredients as pasta). For sustained energy we should only eat foods rich in complex carbs, and completely rule out simple carbs.

How often do you eat? As a child we are always taught that there are 3 meals to each day – breakfast, lunch and dinner. These habits are instilled in us while we are very young; having breakfast before school, lunch at school and dinner when we get home. This however, is a really bad way to eat once we are adults. We really should be eating every 2-3 hours a day. Now, you may think ‘I don’t have time for that’, well my response is that we all do. It just takes some planning and preparation. Now, it doesn’t have to be a sit down meal every 2-3 hours, but a good nutritious snack will be great. These can be along the lines of

  • 2 x tsp 100% natural peanut butter on 2 x rice cakes or with celery
  • Hummus with carrots
  • Celery and lite Philadelphia
  • A banana and some raw almonds
  • Tuna on rice cakes
  • Greek yogurt and berries
  • Low fat cottage cheese on multi grain ryvitas

All of these have 2 ingredients that can easily be chucked into a lunch box and taken out and about with you. You could also go for a chopped up capsicum, an apple, a hard boiled egg or small handful of raw nuts as your snack. There should be a snack mid morning and mid afternoon too… making it at least 5 times a day that you eat. The first time should defiantly be within at least an hour of you waking up. I’ve stuck to these simple principals for 2 weeks now and I can actually FEEL my metabolism working, quite literally, if I haven’t eaten by the time it gets to 3 hours I feel hungry, where as I used to be able to go for hour upon hour and not eat a thing. Speeding up our metabolism and having YOUR BODY WORK FOR YOU is a brilliant way to loose weight.

What is your metabolism? If you actually think about that question – do you know what it is?

It’s not an organ or a ‘system’ like the veins or the arteries or the capillaries that can be physically seen. It is a chemical reaction that happens in every single cell in your body. Did you know that the more muscle you have on your body, the quicker your metabolism is! It is due to the construction of a muscle and how it works for your body, but the more muscle you have on your body, the quicker you digest food. It actually has a metabolic rate that is 3 times faster than fat – now if there was ever an incentive to increase our muscle mass, I’ve just found it. This is one of the reasons, why when people get older they say there metabolism has slowed down, its because they have become less active, so meaning that the body now has less muscle on it and more fat. We really need to eat regularly and have muscle on our body for this process to take place effectively.

After all this talk about food, I’m starting to get hungry, so I’m going to head and do our food shop. I’ve compiled a list of key ingredients that ill be sure to buy, that when compiled together is going to keep both myself and hubby happy for a week!

  • Bananas, Strawberries (other GOOD fruits are Kiwis, Melon (one slice), a small apple or pineapple)
  • Berries
  • Raw almonds
  • Cans of tuna and Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast (no skin)
  • Kangaroo
  • Fish (depends what looks good in the counter on the day)
  • Spinach, celery, carrots, asparagus and broccoli
  • Avocado
  • Pumpkin (great substitute for potatoes at dinner time)
  • Natural Greek yogurt
  • Skimmed Milk or Almond Milk (naturally sweet so don’t need sugar on cereal)
  • Danish Feta (if you must have cheese)
  • Coconut oil – for cooking meat in
  • Quinoa – a super grain (great replacement to rice and couscous)
  • Red Capsicums
  • Earl grey tea – tastes great with no milk or sugar
  • Green Tea
  • 100% natural peanut butter
  • Multi grain ryvita
  • Multi grain bread (if bread is too hard to give up)
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • Spices – spicy food also speeds up metabolism and will make dinners interesting
  • Cinnamon – for on breakfast yogurt and berries
  • Chick peas – for home made hummus

Remember if I can stick at this for 2 weeks already and feel so excited, maybe you can do it too. Ill be back next week to share what I’ve learnt and how I’m going – and except for feeling quite stiff at the moment I feel liberated and excited.

Week 1 – Strong is the new Beautiful

It gets to that stage in your life, when you realise that unless you work hard, the direction your body is going in is not one that you look forwards to. Now don’t get me wrong – I was never a bean pole, that job was defiantly left for my sister while I was growing up. Lovely long legs, ‘crickets legs’ people used to call them if I remember correctly. No, I was always the sister that was told I had pretty eyes and great skin, but never a good waist line. So it is with that, and the start of the new 12 week challenge beginning at my work this week that I am going to embark on a new me!

I have always been quite comfortable in the thought that I ‘eat healthily’, but there is so many misconceptions out there that eating really is a mine field! The challenge began on Saturday with us all going in to be weighed and measured. Everyone congregated at work in the coffee area. There are 22 of us in total – all different shapes and sizes with one thing in common. We have a place where we want our bodies, were not there right now, but were willing to give it a good shot to get there within 12 weeks.

For the photographs some people did them in their gym tights and crop tops, I however went the whole hog and did it in my bikini. I decided that I may hate the photos now – but if there was ever motivation it was what I saw on the camera screen. Since returning from Thailand in March I have to admit, I did ‘relax’ a bit on the food front and I regret it now. There was just such a build up to the wedding, that when we got home and didn’t have to plan for it, it was just so nice to eat what ever I wanted, as much as I wanted etc etc etc…. REGRET!!!!!

So I had the photos taken, my measurements, skin folds and weight – which I better tell you to make this all worth while – 82.3kilos (12.9 stones) – more than I have ever weighed in my life basically! I also did some fitness tests, which were ‘how many can you do in a minuet’. So for Squats I did 38, Press Ups 18 (on my knees) and 8 Burpees – Burpees are HELL. Now, I’m not exaggerating as everyone in the group felt this was the case, and if you don’t know what they are – put the name into Google, watch a video and please do give them a go!

I should also tell you at this point, that my ever supportive husband is also doing the challenge with me. He has completely different expectations for the challenge – as he is trying to increase his upper body strength and create muscle definition in his body. He has to now eat endless amounts of protein to increase his muscle mass. He is the only person in the group wanting to work towards muscle gain, but he has really taken to the challenge – not complaining about eating brown rice or having to drink his tea with no sugar (big changes for him!)

As I’ve started out on this journey I’ve been doing loads of research on the internet in regards to food and nutrition, along with attending nutrition seminars too. I feel I want to share with you some of the information…

Has anyone ever heard the phrase ‘Clean Eating?’ … it’s a brilliant concept – that is pretty much what it says on the tin. Good bye Atkins, See-ya later Dukan, Adios Cabbage soup diet, Sianara weight watchers, lets let Clean Eating into our lives. It’s (to risk sounding like all the diet blurbs) not a diet, but a life style. It’s amazing to learn some basic principals about food though and I feel it’s important to dispel some of the myths that surround food and the ideas we have re. what is good for us?

At the nutrition talk that we had on Wednesday, the woman did begin to sound like a broken record, but the 2 main points she made this week were: Fat does not make you fat, sugar does. This then ties into the second point of the evening – which was SUGAR IS THE DEVIL. Now some of you may of known that – but it was quite an ye opener for Dave and I. we spend our lives watching the amount of fat we eat – be it the oil we cook in to the oil in our salad dressing, however we never look at the sugar content on labels. I think part of the reason we don’t look at the sugar content is due to not really knowing what were looking for… anyone else feeling the same? Well, what we learnt is to look at the nutritional content table on food – at the 100g column. The reason we look here, is all the content figures equate to a percent. For example if it says 22grams of sugar, the item is 22% sugar! Again, this may be obvious to some – but it was an epiphany to us. We were advised that if you are looking at this on labels – you should aim for a maximum of 10% sugar content in anything we eat – especially if we are looking to either maintain or loose weight. Even for someone like my husband, who is trying to put on weight, it is advisable for him to stick to less than 10% sugar too, as his body needs protein to turn to muscle – not sugar.

We have also learnt recently about the benefit of protein. Now, when I started working at my gym and I saw people taking a ‘shake’ before training, and then a ‘shake’ after training I had no idea what the benefits were and why they were doing it. The fact of the matter is that the body needs protein to repair itself after training and to grow. Muscles are effectively made from protein, so while on a health eating plan or muscle shaping program in the gym you should defiantly increase the level of protein your body is receiving.

With the food basics covered this week, i’ve also hit the gym 5 times – three of the times ON MY OWN!!!  And then twice to take part in the 12 Week Challenge classes. The first, as I have mentioned was the nutrition and goal setting class, with the second being a ‘Super Circuit’ at 6.15am on Friday morning. Oh my, we couldn’t believe how busy the gym is at 6am… so that’s where all the cars on the roads were heading to, it’s all the healthy people who go to the gym before work. It felt so good to actually do it at that time of the day. By 10am we had been to the gym, don’t the weeks food shopping, had breakfast too. Amazing. We did however fall asleep on the sofa at 11am, so it’s going to be interesting to see how we go with being awake by lunch time this Friday coming – as we will by that point be back at work. I am also intrigued to see how we go with making it to the gym this week coming, as so far week 1 has been quite good fun. We have learnt more about food in the last 7 days than we have in years, been to the gym 5 times, worked out where my fitness currently sits and set some really tangible goals that I honestly feel can be achieved.

Wish me luck, as I honestly feel the only way is up … as I’m not giving up! (not only for myself – but as I have publicly made a commitment to everyone at work too!).