Tag Archives: exercise

20 minutes and counting…

Since identifying that I might actually enjoy running, I’ve started going to the gym without a dread of ‘I can’t do it’, more a wonderment of ‘Wow, this running lark is getting a little bit easier!’ After completing my cardio, I jumped onto the treadmill for the 20 minute rolling hills program (still thinking ‘eek, gradients!’) Annoyingly, I had forgotten to pack my headphones so could only watch the tv screens ahead of me and listen to the gym soundtrack which luckily, was pretty good. I did a steady 5 minute walking warm up and then started to jog.

The usual routine consists of me telling myself not to look down at the time/distance for as long as possible, because once I have, the countdown to finishing starts in my head and I seem to be checking every minute before I get to the end! This time, I decided to jog and only look at the time when I got to the point of tiredness and wished it would stop. Now, I can only guess but after about 10 minutes, I was still running on changing gradients and feeling comfortable, it was really strange as over the past 6 weeks, I could only identify with running for a few minutes and then really wanting to stop! I kept jogging and didn’t check the time because by now, I had made a pact with myself that I could get to the end of 20 mins without stopping.

Curiosity about the remaining time was killing me but, I refused to look as I needed to proudly tell Nick the Trainer and Other Half that I ran 20 minutes and it wasn’t a struggle. Suddenly, the treadmill slowed down and that was the end of my programme, woo hoo! I can genuinely say the first 18 minutes were comfortable and, it was only the last two where I could feel the familiar pain of the DREADED STITCH starting and I was breathing more heavily.

After many weeks of complaining to Nick the Trainer that I wasn’t making any progress, out of the blue, my running gene has finally kicked in! Next step; getting fitted with real runners shoes (cause I’m a proper runner! :o)

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Getting back into the old (exercise) routine…

While waiting for the temping / permanent job of my dreams to come along, I thought it’s about time I got back on the fitness wagon! Last week, I’m sure the gym trainers nearly died of shock when I actually turned up to work out. I was close behind them as I logged into my workout programme and saw my last session had been on 11th October 2009 – hmm so I hadn’t exactly taken a ‘Christmas break’ from the gym..! 

There were 3 messages waiting for me, sent by my appointed trainer which basically read ‘I notice you haven’t worked out for a few weeks! Do you need a new programme? You haven’t worked out for a while, take it easy during your first few sessions to avoid injury! Do you need a new programme? Don’t forget, if you need encouragement or a new programme, contact me!’ Ok, ok I get the hint, it’s time to get back into the old routine!

Half an hour on the treadmill and I felt a bit sick. A token 20 reps on the Lat Pulldown and a few sit-ups wrapped up my first session. Just before I left, I jumped on the scales to assess the damage of Christmas excesses – many, many chocolates, cheese, crackers, no exercise… the scale showed I am 12 st 4 lbs (with shoes on, very important detail!) and the last time I got on in October after my hols, (I don’t believe in weighing yourself regularly, go by the feel of your clothes), I was about 12 st 2 lbs, so not a bad result after 2 months off the exercise and many tasty treats consumed over the festive period!

Since then, I’ve managed 3 water aerobics classes and 3 gym visits, I’m hoping this means I’m firmly back on the exercise bandwagon because it’s so easy to roll back off…

Just say NO to New Years resolutions!

I hate New Years resolutions!

Why? Because the moment you say something rash like I’m going to diet/exercise/stop smoking/become vegetarian out loud, your friends and family lie in wait for the very moment you eat one chip/sit down for five minutes/walk past a smoker/see Burger King so they can shout, “I knew you wouldn’t stick to it!” Why do we take so much pleasure in seeing people fail? Is it because, deep down inside, we have the feeling we aren’t going to make it through the whole of January without someone saying the same to us?!?

Of course I have resolutions that I whisper to myself, for instance:

  • I’m going to get so fit I don’t have to breathe in when wearing a bikini on holiday
  • I’m going to eat a more varied diet (we literally ate about the same 10 meals for the whole of last year)
  • I’m only going to apply for jobs that really interest me so that I have a fulfilling career for the rest of my days
  • I’m going to find a dentist and brave myself for the injections for my fillings in waiting
  • I’m going to get ‘brave’ glasses (rimless is heading out, tortoiseshell frames in!)

So, the pact is this: You know my secrets and I am happy to learn yours. Let’s not judge each other, only encouragement is allowed! If we don’t manage to conquer all (or any) of our own wish list, lets put it down to our busy lives and meet here, same time, same place, next year!

Come on, tell me what you are going to do differently this year..!

Have you fallen victim to warmth over style?

Let me start by saying that I love being 34. I think I’m ageing well in the wrinkle department (thanks to my self-imposed put-a-hat-over-your-face-when-sunbathing rule), I don’t feel the need to hide behind a mask of make-up before I leave the house and, I have self-confidence gathered from all of my life experiences to date. However, it seems that no matter how much you promise not to think or say any of those things that ‘old people’ say (ie anyone over 21), it eventually occurs to you that they might actually be on to something!

For the past 6 weeks, I have had to park my car and walk half a mile to work. It was during this journey of ‘accidental exercise’ (quote from The Biggest Loser!) every morning and evening that I realised a pair of trainers would be much more comfortable to wear during the walk, despite the fact they don’t look ‘bang on trend’ with a skirt or leggings. When it’s raining and windy, it’s actually easier to pop the hood up on my coat than fiddle on with an umbrella. I started wearing black socks with a pair of ballet pumps while a blister healed but it turns out, socks keep your feet warm and stop you getting another blister! Not so long ago, I would have grimaced at the thought of comfort over style yet I seem to be slipping into this without much resistance on my part. Being warm and comfortable suddenly seems like an obviously great idea and it’s not like it was a well-kept secret – parents and grandparents have harped on for years about the benefits of wearing a coat on a Friday night out or wearing a pair of long johns under your trousers… Aaaaargh, nooooooo!

Phew, my 34-year-old, not 84-year-old self has just kicked back in..!

So what’s your guilty warmth over style secret?

Welcome to Trip Advisors top hotel in America

The Desert Riviera Hotel

The Desert Riviera Hotel

After we collected our luggage (first off the aircraft – what are the chances?!?) and picked up our hire car, it was a 10 minute journey that took us to the Desert Riviera Hotel. By this time, we had been up and about for a whole 24 hours and so must have looked pretty rough. We were hugged and greeted like family by owners Larry and Patty who escorted us

Larry and Patty

Larry and Patty

straight to our room, accompanied by a beer, diet coke and two huge slices of pizza in case we were hungry and just left to collapse. A huge bottle of champagne in a cold ice bucket greeted us along with a handwritten note to let us know how pleased they were to see us. I’m sure you can see already why we love this place so much, there are so many personal touches dotted throughout your stay that it really feels like a second home in a parallel sun-shining-no-work-worry-free kind of world!

Hotel Pool and Sun Loungers

The gorgeous poolside

With 10 sun soaked days ahead of us, we alternated between lazy days by the pool and trips out to sights we didn’t see during last years holiday. Being outside in weather over 100 degrees most days, my hours spent sunbathing were in and out of the shade in order to last the whole day. I punctuated the day with a light smattering of chick lit reading as well as random thoughts that popped into my head. I wondered if all those people who live in the houses we flew over, used their pool everyday? Do they get time in the real working world to take advantage of it or, is it like that old exercise bike or multi-gym back home – we used it a couple of times and then lost interest?

Scenic Mountain Roads

Scenic mountain roads

Driving round Palm Springs is so easy. No traffic jams, no Boy Racers, just people going about their business in a steady fashion, ready to gently toot you if you don’t turn right on a red light when the coast is clear. This is one of the weird driving differences between our countries that means at present, Other Half is the only one with confidence to drive us around on the wrong side of the road…!

Judy and Stephen

Judy and Stephen

After a couple of days, Desert Riviera Manager Judy and her husband Stephan were back on duty and it was time for another round of hugs and handshakes. Judy is a complete Weight Watchers inspiration, She has lost over 10 stone in weight in the last year. She not only looked amazing on the outside but the lovely, bubbly (urgh, such a fat persons word cliche I know but she is just sooooo bubbly!) woman we met last year has found an inner glow that can blind you if you stare at her in amazement for too long. She radiates happiness and oozes with new found joy of water aerobics and gym sessions. Having been a very unhappy size 18 myself in the past, I could identify with the pleasures her changing body is bringing her. I broadened my book reading to some inspiring non-fiction Judy was keen to lend me and gobbled up ‘The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl‘, ‘Ruby’s Diary‘ and ‘Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir‘. Each of these women’s stories detailed their real life struggles to lose weight and, whilst pound for pound I lost a lot less than them six years ago, essentially, we all share the same feelings of depression and elation along the way. Judy has created her own website called ‘TooMuchGirls‘ to which she constantly adds loads of yummy healthy recipes and keeps you up-to-date with her new fun fitness finds, why not take a peek?

Anyone who has lost weight knows how difficult it is to keep it off, what’s your secret? The only way I have managed to stay a size 12 for the past six years has been to eat right 80% of the time, not feel guilty about treating myself 20% of the time and finding different kinds of exercise I enjoy. What helps you stay on track?

How do you lose those extra bikini inches?

Other Half and I both went exercise mad in the six weeks before our late September holiday – having discovered and consequently becoming quite addicted to ‘The Biggest Loser USA‘ (Sky is currently showing the Australian version), I decided that my newly acquired free time during the day was a sign I should start my own pre-holiday boot camp. This consisted initially of an 80-minute morning session in the gym, six times a week. With four weeks left to go, I added water aerobics or a 45-minute swim after the gym five times a week, then also added a 3 mile walk in the afternoon (admittedly, weather dependent!) With two weeks to go, we both ate salad for lunch and soup for tea everyday whilst constantly reminding ourselves of all the amazing American food we were going to eat for 12 whole days!

Five days before we went away, I injured my leg and had to stop exercising. Yes, all of you sighing and tutting that I was obviously overdoing it were right, but I just wanted to lose a couple more of those extra bikini inches before we got on that plane! Other Half also had to take it steady, as he has stiff hips and dodgy knees, but he got through unscathed and even managed a final workout the day before we left (show off!)

Despite all this effort, my weight was stuck between 12 stone or 12 stone 2 lbs (depending which scales I stood on,) which, at 5ft 11″ and a size 12 keeps me in the healthy BMI category but still, it was a bit disheartening given all the favourite food cutting down I was doing! However, on the upside, my belly had also magically flattened down a bit (as in the exercise-everyday-like-a-mad-woman type of magically!) Even Other Half thought I was doing the old ‘breathing in while trying on a bikini’ trick, but no, although I’m in no position to rival Britney, my overall toned size 12 body was feeling great!

The biggest compliment for me came from a casual comment Other Half made. We were pottering around Debenhams when I found a bikini top I loved but they didn’t have any of the matching bottoms left. “You could just wear the bikini top with a pair of shorts while we are away,” Other Half said, and my heart soared out of my chest; I have always wanted to feel brave enough to do that without feeling self conscious about my tummy and my lovely boyfriend was assuming I was at that stage. It’s funny how important the little things are and although I doubt he will remember even saying it, for me, it was a great start to our holiday…

So, do you have any pre-holiday fitness rituals? Do you go cold turkey on the chocolate, give up the booze or try a new fitness routine? Give me some tips and maybe a few laughs! 😮