Tag Archives: weights

Something Profound Happened….

The past week or so things have thwarted me in one way or another from training as much as I’d like. Some sound like awful excuses; so I’m not going in to it. It’s made me feel quite shitty & I’ve had to get back on the codeine.

I’ve been looking in to my diet & have made some changes- hopefully I’ll get to blog about it in greater detail later.  For now, I’ve added BCAA’s to my morning routine & have had some minimal success with Beta Alanine pre-gym.

Today, once I’d finished my set I weighed myself.  It’s not really something I want to make a habit of, but I do like to know where I am.  I’ve lost 3 kilo’s (6lb) this is the most I’ve lost for a long time.

Anyway, while I walking to work I was thinking about that 15kg – I use 14kg kettlebells to do squat warm-ups.  I used to carry that weight EVERYWHERE.

Although my journey to being fitter has never been about weightloss, I find it quite profound that what I lift (& couldn’t a few months ago) was the extra I used to weigh. I’ve never looked at it like that before.

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Motivation Requires Sacrifice

Whilst I was walking home from the school run my mind wandered to my Instagram post from this morning, I’m a massive convert to TimeHop; I find it fascinating to read over my posts from years ago – talk of cookies, eating whole tubs of ice-cream, being overwhelming tired & having pain that excruciating I needed steroid injections to stem it. Along with many, many rage posts.  It’s strange to read them sometimes & others have me instantly flashing back to the precise moment that they happened.

Anyway. Back to Instagram…..I walked past the mirror mid-getting dressed & I was pretty fucking pleased with my reflection.  My other half reckons I can’t walk past a mirror without looking in it & he’s right. I make no excuses for my narcissism, and have no intention of changing. I don’t make it a habit (much) to take photos of my reflection; in fact a massive pet peeve of mine is those who snap selfies in the mirror & look at their reflection instead of the camera lens.

I’ll admit, changing has not been easy – there are still days where I don’t want to cycle to work, let alone the gym and sometimes I will allow the want to be “lazy” and get the bus. I always pine for my bike when I do though.  However, the point in this post is to give some of my tips to stay the course & become the person you’ve only ever been able to dream about.

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TIPS:

  • Invest in a Personal Trainer – I know this may seem like a major expense, but even if you see them once a month & then follow a programme they have set for you will help!  In my early weeks going to the gym I only went if I felt like it. Paying to see Andy meant that I had to go, he sets me things to do without him & I know the next time I see him, he will ask if I’ve been to the gym since the last time we met.
  • Stay the course – It sounds easy enough; Go to the gym, train, ???, PROFIT. It really isn’t that simple though. We have, as a human race become so dependant on machines to do things for us. Yes, technology has advanced so we don’t have to hunt for our food or walk miles to get to places but does that mean we should be complacent with our health?  Training requires effort, it’s hard graft – if it was easy then everyone would do it.
  • Nutrition. Nutrition. Nutrition – Food!  Glorious food!  Anyone who reads this regularly will know I love food.  What you eat is tantamount to what you do in the gym, if not more so. Reduce the carbs & increase the protein is a good starting point.  I didn’t realise what a negative effect not eating correctly could do.  Seriously.  All that effort put in to training to lose it from eating poorly? Don’t forget to stay hydrated too!  I’ve seen what dehydration during sports looks like & it does not look like a pleasant experience.
  • It will hurt – After my first leg day I wondered if I’d ever be able to walk again properly. I wish I was joking, but I’m really not. When I was much, much younger I used to run cross-country at school & my legs never hurt to the degree a proper leg day gets you. It’s not just your legs either; ever tried to take a sports bra off after doing a silly amount of skull crushers & chest presses? No? It’s almost impossible.  How about laughing after crunches?  I’ve done it, it gave me muscle cramp in my abs which I couldn’t stretch back out for ages!
  • Weights! – If there is another reason to invest time with a Trainer, I can’t think of a better one than learning to use weights effectively. When I started going to the gym I spent most of my time on cardio machines, wishing I was fitter or dead….whichever was gonna come faster!  Cardio has its place, but I now believe it should be for warming up as opposed to the reason you go to the gym. Lifting heavy shit is awesome & with the right guidance is really, really awesome.  The feeling of beating a personal best? Incredible!  I did 90kg the other day – a good 20kg more than my body weight.
  • REST! – I know I’ve said stick at it, eat well, train hard but all of that work & effort is worth nothing without looking after yourself. I have two rest days a week – my days off work & Saturday is an “Only cycle” day, as the gym opens too late for me. The most important thing is to give your body the recovery time it needs, if that’s 4 rest days a week to begin with then so be it.  However, never drop them entirely. They are vital!

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A Detailed Progress Post – Number 1

So. 5 months in from when I vowed to stop being a lazy/easy option out/take all the painkillers kinda person. Let’s see where we are….

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Me. August 2014 First day back at the gym. So happy!

Wow.  I’ve not looked at my “starting” images for a long, long time.  I’ve mostly used the “month 1 progress” image, I’ve just looked.  Wow.  Er, wow.  I know I’ve progressed, but wow.

I’m gonna attempt some detail about my progress, but I’m not sure what I’m going to add, so I may ramble.  Anyhoo, first up I thought it’d be good (read: heinous) to have a starter image with a recent one, so here you go:

Holy Shit! I mean, I know I’m smaller than I was, but O_o  I’m kind of appalled with myself for accepting how I was for as long as I did.

*A quick calculation gives me around 13″ total loss – but I’ve gone up in certain places due to muscle growth*

I’ve been told to be more accepting of praise, positive comments & to accept that I am actually an inspiration.  I’m gonna try to accept it, my before & during snap shot is probably gonna help me to take the encouragement head on instead of shirting around it.

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Possibly the most surprising about my “fitness” journey is how much has gone from my hips; around 5″ so far.  The trousers I’m wearing in the above images I bought in April 2014 & when I did they fit just below the natural waist line.

I never actively sought weight-loss, but it is a pretty big side effect of lifting weights & cycling over 100 miles a week, most weeks.  However, I guess it’s kinda contradictory in terms as I *did* change my eating habits, which then has helped the weight loss.  Although that might be a little weird as I eat more now than I have in years! Don’t get me wrong; there are days where I won’t have prepped food, or I’ll give in to a craving. However I can reign it back in….I’ve never really been “overweight” not in the morbidly obese sense anyway.

Part of my desire to change my eating habits was down to being told that under eating can have a worse effect on your muscles and can in-turn make you flabbier than you were.  That was new information to me, I’m not sure how I thought it worked, but I never thought of working out could lead to less definition – but this is why there are trained professionals out there to be able to guide the clueless………..

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Perfect examples of what I eat, steak with grilled courgette & Teriyake Chicken with cauliflower “rice”. Most of our food is prepared on the day, but I will make things in advance – especially for work as rushing out to find something to eat can be disastrous, even if you think you’re choosing the healthier option, you might not be.

*I think I’m losing my point….hang on*

Oh, yes.  Here we are:

IMAG0838One of my favourite images of me, I use it as my profile pic on Fitocracy & The Neila Ray Forum – both insightful, and both extremely different websites; worthy of a look though.  I’m not overly active on them, but they’re there, as well as xxfitness on Reddit.

What I adore about that image is the way the lighting in my bathroom seems to capture the new definition in my back.  It’s pictures like this that help me to get up at 05:30 every morning & cycle to the gym….I say every morning; 3…sometimes 4 mornings a week.  Mostly three, but it’ll get to 4 more regularly.

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My PT commented the other day that my progress pics are usually of my back, but I do sometimes take pics from other angle, however I hate them.  This post is supposed to detail my progress though, so I’ve added them. Er, Images with grey leggings are from about September, black leggings images are November.

Today (February 2nd) I whacked the leg press on 93KG & managed a decent amount of reps, I remember it wasn’t too long ago that I struggled to do 50KG….I *did* try to go over 100KG, but I didn’t move! Then there’s also the fact when I started cycling I could just to say cycle stood up – cycling today was predominantly stood up.  I have to keep stopping to blow my nose though cos me & cold weather don’t get on.

I *think* that is it for this post……………..


Either You Do It, Or You Don’t.

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Well, today has been a rest day BUT a rest day like no other!  Today, despite my thighs screaming at me every time I move (can I get a “Hell Yeah!” for walking lunges??) I decided to do a few standard squats at home. I took pictures.  Wanna see?

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So, first thing about this, image on the left is the first squat I did, image on the right is how I corrected it.  I also noticed today I do this little foot wiggle before I squat; I should film it & show you on day.

I don’t normally notice stuff like this as my PT corrects me, so had I not have taken the picture I’d have not noticed and continued with my little set in the incorrect form. There’s some conflicting info on-line; some say “Do It & Do It Properly” and others say “Doing it badly, is better than not at all” So, which is it?  Or could it be both?

Begin, but it might be wrong.  That’s okay because as you get fitter, you get better & you do it properly?

I’d have to choose do it right, or don’t do it, especially seeing as how I’m still in the process of strengthening my core; they have to be correct or I could quite probably hurt myself.

So!  FORM CHECK! Make sure your move is correct before you continue.  If you’re in the gym, go with a buddy if you’re without a trainer, or use the mirrors – be a narcissist! Watch yourself in the mirror (Be careful of joins in the glass though, one of those can be off-putting if they’re not flush to the wall) if you’re unsure, Google the correct posture for whatever move it may be. Photograph or film it & adjust as necessary.

Doing it right all the time also stops you from picking up bad habits, like as we grow we forget about squats but toddlers can do them so well!

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My youngest making it look easy in Spring 2011

It’d probably be hard to remember it for your entire life though.  Clearly something happens to children for them to forget this.  It is school? Is it?  I don’t know & I’m not up for debating that!


Progress. Detailing The Last Six Months:

I promised to detail what I do & how I’ve achieved my progress.  So, here we go.  Feel free to TL;DR if the history is boring…..

History

OK, so I won’t go too far back.  Er, about 2 years ago I was told I had a crushed L4 & a crumbling L5 disc in my spine – they’re the two bones right above your sacrum.  It was also causing nerve issues at my SI joint, I was asked if I wanted surgery (I said yes) to be told, No. Surgery might not be the best option, lets try Cortisone injections.  Fast forward to February 2014 & I got my injection.

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MRI of my spine. Blue line shows where the damage is.

Prior to this I’d had SPD during pregnancy, two lots of physio as well as Diclofenic, Ibruprofen, Naproxen, Codeine, Tramadol, Gabapentin & Amitriptyline. Mmmmm!! That was over the course of around 5 – 8 years. 

Everything was fine, until July.  I went to move from a seated position at work to standing & I have no idea how I did it, but I caused myself a pretty intense injury; which resulted in me being immobile for the better part of a week. I was miserable, I relied heavily on my Husband to do everything & I promised to do something about it.  I’d gotten nowhere with Physio, so decided I needed a trainer, someone who was versed in strength as opposed to micro movements that may, or may not help.  I already had a gym membership (OK, it was *quite* dusty from non-use, but it was there)

TL;DR: Back hurt a lot, needed to do something.

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Going back to the gym. Happy Face.

So, I went back to the gym.  Met Andy, a Trainer at the gym.  I told him what had happened, gave him a brief history about my back & that I wanted to improve my core.

If I’m completely honest, I’m not really able to detail how we’ve done it (I say we, because without Andy, I wouldn’t have progressed to this level) most sessions I’ve had with him have varied AND we’ve moved to a new gym (He got a new job, my membership was up so I went with him) what I can tell you is we’ve gone from resistance machines to more free weights.

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Left – August. Right – September.

Spending time with Andy helped me to learn that my left hand side was weaker than the right – we’re still in the process of attempting to get them to a similar, if not same level but I have progressed with it.  Some things are now easier with my left than they are with my right.

A lot of our sessions have focused on different muscle groups.  I’ll *never* forget our first leg day.  Never known pain like it! I hated warm up & cool down as well though because cardio.  Cardio can do one, I hate cardio.  When I first met Andy, I smoked – around 10-15 a day, I knew there’d become a time when I knew I’d have to stop, as I’d lose out on a lot of the benefits of exercise due to my smoking. It took me 6 months to stop, but I did.  Finally.

I now do my cardio outside of the gym, it maximises my time with Andy, but it also helps me boost my fitness.  I cycle to the gym, I cycle to work – from home to work is 9KM, from home to the gym is 8KM. I hated that too, but I pine for my bike when I’m not on it.  Even if I’ve smashed my face up, I *do* still miss it.

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Left- August. Right – November

**Important Information**

When I started, I mostly hated it.  There was always something new, a stronger weight, a longer run time, circuits, spinning, squats, lunges, back extensions, kettlebells, assisted pull ups.  EVERYTHING was hard. Everything has been a struggle.  I’ve wondered if it was worth it, why I was doing it, how long it was gonna take to enjoy it/feel better/get stronger.  Then I had a week off as I was healing from getting tattooed.  I went back and had lost so much progress.  I’d gone from 35KG on the pull-down to 20KG, 5 minutes on the Vario machine instead of 8-10.  I was angry.  Angry at myself, I’d come so far & lost so much really quickly.  It did make me see how far I’d come though, which spurred me on to get back to where I was.

I still hate parts, but I do them as I know there is a method in the madness.  One of the best things though?  There are things that I LOVE doing.  I’m not overly bothered with PB’s but there are things that I’d happily do over, and over, and over again.

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December