Category Archives: Finding Fitness

A moonwalk with a difference!

Long time no post – lots has been happening. I’ve qualified as a personal trainer & am now 31weeks pregnant & still continuing to train. This last weekend saw (probably) my last event before baby number 2 arrives & it was my sister and I taking on the London moonwalk, but this time the half moon, at 15.1miles.

Saturday and Sunday, our Halfmoon Challenge!

Saturday and Sunday, our Halfmoon Challenge!

Our fundraising page has reached £290.50 & we’d obviously LOVE to break that £300 barrier! You can find our page here!

Here’s how the story goes:

Good evening all!
I think we are both on the road to recovery today, but obviously very tired! It’s amazing what a huge impact missing one night of sleep can have on you. Having said that, being able to watch the London sky transform from a deep, deep blue to a wonderful & beautiful baby blue is such an awesome sight & it really helps you push along the last few miles!
Our training for the event started right back in January. Taking in long routes and trekking the Sussex coast and countryside. It’s certainly not an event that you can just rock up to & do, your actual skeletal system just won’t allow it. It isn’t the distance, or muscle power that is the limiting factor in these events, it is the mental obstacle & the bone-on-bone grinding of the latter stages.
The event was enormous, thousands and thousands of people had turned up. Some of the bras were outstandingly decorated & some groups of people had entire costumes & makeup based around the ‘carnival’ theme. I’ve got to say, the atmosphere is wonderful & a whole heap of careful planning makes the event village buzz with energy (& the smell of pasta – which you get  to eat before you walk!).
The walk itself was very hard work. We were both so surprised at how tricky it was, considering that we did an extra 11.1 miles on top of the distance last year. We figured that part of it is that mental barrier, your body instantly responds to the enormity of a challenge, once it knows the end point – so 15.1miles became our new 26.2. This was evidenced by how long it felt to reach the first mile marker, last year, it appeared after what felt like a few steps!
The walk was made slightly more tricky (& a lot longer) by the fact that we hit quite a few bottle necks between miles 1&2 – we were stood still, or shuffling for a good 30minutes, followed by a few more bottlenecks along the rest of the route – usually on the run up to big crossings. This was something we didn’t hit last year, so I’m not sure if the route was busier, or that we were walking faster, or that we left earlier, but it did make keeping a pace quite difficult.
Thanks to having a 31week baby hugging my bladder, we did have to make 2 toilet stops, both of these added 20-30minutes on to our time – we managed the full distance last year without a single stop, so again, keeping a good pace was difficult.
A couple of other issues we faced were joint and muscle discomforts. Not surprisingly, carrying out the same motion (like walking) over and over for hours at a time, leads to some insanely uncomfortable areas. Nic was getting shooting pains from her glute, right down through the hamstring, we both had aching lower backs & hips & feet. We made a few stops to stretch out, instant relief to move your self in a slightly different pattern, but the relief is then instantly removed once the walking starts again! These little stretch stops added a little time on to our route again, as did our little 5 minute snack stop at mile 10, where we sat on a bench, over looking the river & the lit-up London eye. Beautiful, but still 5.1miles to cover!
We seemed to find more of a pace once we had cleared mile 11 & although we were tired, aching & desperate to finish, your body allows you to slip in to almost a robot state, where you kind of unconsciously continue walking, driving one foot in front of the other, only conscious of the mileage left & the various aches & pains coursing through your body. Everything else is almost a blur, as though you are in a little bubble. This really helps towards the end, you just concentrate on that dropping mileage, the support from friends and family thorough our donation page & that glorious feeling of crossing that finish line.
In total, the entire 15.1miles took is just over 6hours – crazy to think that we managed the full 26.2 in 7.5hours last year! However, until you have walked continuously for hours at a time, it really is difficult to imagine how grueling it can be. Add in some shooting pains, burning feet and the enormous additional weight & discomfort that already comes with being over 30 weeks pregnant & I guess even just finishing the walk is an achievement in itself.
We were both so worried that we might not finish. We really really didn’t want to let our sponsors down. We knew that we had to get the course done, not just for us, not just for our wonderful sponsors, but for every single person that will be helped by our efforts.
The money raised is for such a wonderful cause. To be able to move ourselves in order to help those touched by the evils of breast cancer, is truly humbling. We are both so happy that we are in a position to be able to help. For each ache, pain, sigh & expletive uttered under our breath, we feel blessed that we are physically able to pound the pavements to raise money to help those who wish they could even stand, walk more than a few hundred metres, see London by night or even just still be with their friends and family. For you guys, we did it, for you guys, we’ll always do what we can. Without our sponsors and supporters, we would be nothing, so we send enormous thanks to each and every one of you. You have each helped someone in need & collectively will be making a huge difference to so many. As the reverse of our medals say:
“We can be heroes just for one day – David Bowie”
So, time to pin our medals up, wash our clothes, slip back in to a ‘normal’ routine & look forward to our next challenges… I’m guessing my next big hurdle is labour, but you don’t need to sponsor me for that, haha!!
Thanks once again & for those that forgot/missed our event, there is still time to add a donation to our page!
Ta ta for now!

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Race for Life – One Year On

Around this time last year, I wrote about taking part in my first ever 5k race and how I had literally gone from the couch to 5k, with the enormous help & encouragement from Emma Rogers. So, it was only right that I should do the very same race again this year – a one year on check in report, I guess.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

I absolutely had no desire to ever run again after doing the first 5k race for life. I found running to be long, boring & bloody painful hard work. The 5k was just to prove to myself that I could do it, then I’d hang up my running shoes & move on to something else.

Who’d have thought, that a year later, not only did I come back to replay the race, but that I had also done so many other runs & events in the time between. I’m pretty proud of my medal board, I really, honestly NEVER expected my life to change so much in such a short time.

My growing medal collection.

My growing medal collection – 5ks, 5miles, OCR events, half marathon & full marathon medals.

What started out as a weight loss plan, has become a new life, an obsession, something that I think about all day every day. Not only did I lose over 5stone, but I have kept it off. I’ve met a whole load of great new friends, both through running & through going to the gym. I’ve been retraining and am now qualified as a weight loss specialist, a nutritionist, a sports nutritionist & am *almost* a qualified fitness instructor – just the last assessments to go!

I get asked what the “secret” is, probably every other week. In all honesty, there is no secret. There is no quick fix & there are no short-term answers. The way I have trodden my path, may not suit others, but you need to find what works for you & your lifestyle. It also needs to be your own decision. Nothing will work unless you whole-heartedly want it to. You need to change your mindset, it isn’t a diet, it is a lifestyle.

I totally recommend signing yourself up to something like a 5k fun run, it gives you a tangible goal, something that you will have to work for & something that will become easier with training. In turn, the training will help you to love exercising & will usually help you shift some stubborn lbs too – assuming that you don’t congratulate yourself on your exercise with a chocolate cake! You can’t outrun a bad diet. The key is to find enjoyment in the process, and the results will follow!

So, my sister and I took a stroll down to the park for our run yesterday morning. We could have decided against it as we are both sporting slight injuries from our moonwalk marathon – my knee has given in when I run & Nic has a pain in her foot & shin-splints. But, hell, we were going to take this on.

The run was fairly smooth, we learnt from last year to get near to the front at the start, it’s no fun trying to get past a load of walkers when you want to run, so we had a pretty good & not too busy route. Nic’s shin-splints meant that we had to stop/slow down a few times, but we STILL took time off of last year’s race. My first ever training 5k was 39:42, last year’s race for life was 35:57, this year’s time was 32:49. Considering our injuries, our stopping & our less than speedy pace, we were pretty pleased with that time.

All finished!

All finished!

Next year, I’m aiming to get it under 25mins, because I KNOW I can do that pace, but I need to be injury free.

If you would love to be able to run a 5k race, but don’t know where to start, just get out there and get going. Try running for a minute at a time. You’ll be surprised how you grow to love it. The freedom, the ability for your own body to take you places. The surprises you’ll see that you usually miss when driving about in a car. The rush of good feeling that you’ll get when you come home, sweaty, out of breath & pink in the face.

Why not join your local running club, the guys you’ll be surrounded by know their stuff. You will be supported and encouraged. I run with Hastings Runners & they are an awesome bunch. Or try checking out to see if you have a local parkrun – a no pressure 5k weekly race. If you’re not up to running one yet, go and volunteer – I can bet that by being surrounded by runners, you’ll want to get in on the action too!

Go, get out there, enjoy running & enjoy life – find your happy!

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Dear Santa, I’ve been ever so good…

Now, I’ve been pretty committed to being good this year, so I reckon that Santa should take note of my ultimate Christmas list. Some of these will most definitely NOT be under the tree this year, because my Santa is a bit of a tight-wad, but hey, it’s worth asking for a Christmas miracle, right?!

Dear Santa,

Pretty please may I have these things??

  1.  A TRX home suspension trainer:

trxI started using this back in the Summer & you just wouldn’t believe how amazing, effective & difficult it is. Working out using your own bodyweight is amazing on so many levels. Helping to build strength and mobility in a million, bajillion different ways. If you’ve never tried this out before, you are really really missing out. Venture out in the cold, find a gym that has one and get someone to show you what to do with it. I promise, you will be hooked!

2. A new, bigger kettlebell:

kettlebellI’ve already got an 8kg kettlebell (in a rather attractive purple colour), but as I progress with using kettlebells, I’m beginning to need a slightly heavier one for certain moves. It is actually best to have a variety of kettlebell weights as different weights are better for certain moves, but they are kind of expensive, so treating yourself to one every few months is cool. I personally like the vinyl coated kind. Not only do they look pretty awesome, but the vinyl cushions your forearms a little and it allows a little extra grip when your hands start to slip. I like these Fitness-Mad Kettlebells, which I found on amazon, but try a few out & see which you prefer!

3. Quest Bars:

quest barsI just can’t get enough of these. Sure, you can buy quest bars, by the box, nearly anywhere, but you’re stuck with just one flavour. The awesome guys at Protein Pick & Mix have got a ‘Not so dirty dozen’ mix – pick 12 different flavours if you like – totally up to you what you go for. This is genius because I find I like most of the flavours, but I don’t want a whole heap of one kind. Also, the dudes behind protein pick & mix are brilliant, super friendly & possibly the fastest dispatchers of protein laced goodness ever! Check them out for all your protein needs! (P.S. I’ve just seen that they do gift vouchers now too, so, you know, they are just perfect for a stocking…!)

4.  Omron BF511 Scales with Body Fat Monitor:

omron scalesTo be honest, my 10 year old crappy digital scales that I bought from a supermarket are just not cutting it for me any more. Whilst they occasionally can provide me with my rough weight (I say rough, because the reading depends on where I put it on the floor, where I stand on it & which day of the week it is), they can’t give me the information that I really need. I’m less interested now in what my overall weight is, and more interested in what is making up my weight. The Omron BF511 Scales with Body Fat Monitor gives me readings and classifications in: body fat, BMI, skeletal muscles, visceral fat, resting metabolism. I found this set on Newitts website.

5. The Tom Tom Runner Cardio GPS Watch:

tom tom cardioAs far as I’m concerned, this watch is the mecca of all GPS watches.  Take all the good things associated with an average GPS watch, like run tracking, times, auto sync-ing, water resistance etc, then add in the fact that it has a built in cardio monitor – yes, built in, no stupid chest band – win win. It is easy to use and navigate through, it has a slim design and it looks pretty awesome too, but at over £200, Santa has gotta realllllllllllly love you! 😉 Grab this awesome watch from Tom Tom.

6. A pair of Nike Free Flyknit 4.0 Trainers:

nike freesI’m becoming a bit of a trainer collector. I’ve gone from having one pair (that I’d owned since I was 15 – now got rid of!) to 4 pairs; a pair of crosstrainers, a pair for natural style running, a pair for gym work & a pair of trail shoes for OCR events. These flyknits would make an awesome addition to my spring running collection – lightweight, flexible & comfortable. I found these on startfitness.co.uk – I use this site lots for brilliant bargains!

7. A ticket for Tough Mudder 2015:

tough mudderIf the phrases ‘OCR’ or ‘Tough Mudder’ mean nothing to you, then either read ahead & find out all about it, or quit now & let it remain a mystery. These mud filled obstacle course races (OCRs) are a bit more than your average run in the park. Think river walking, mud swamps, tunnels, walls, bars, ladders, ropes, fire pits, logs, tyres, electrocution, cuts, bruises, sprains, blood, sweat & tears. I took part in my first OCR event earlier this year at mud monsters run & it was AMAZING! I’m also signed up to the Dirty Dozen Races next year. But everyone knows that Tough Mudder is the king, so I want in!

So Santa, if you are reading, please take note! I reckon this beats last year’s list that consisted of chips, wine, crisps, cheese, wine, cake & wine…?!

Cheers,

Charlie *kissy kissy kissy*

 

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My Top 10 Tips for Fitness and Weightloss

I’m no expert, or fitness/nutrition professional (so, clearly, these are just my opinions & observations of my own journey), but I have managed to shed over 4stone and drop almost 4 dress sizes, since January – and you know what, it really hasn’t been that difficult!

Here are my top 10 tips on how to get fit and lose/maintain weightloss:

  1. Get in the ‘zone’;

There is absolutely no point you reading any further if you are not 100% ready to do this. You need to look at your end goals and how you want to achieve them. If you want to starve yourself for 3 days and hope that it works, it won’t, you’re doing it wrong.

Look at yourself like a car – you need fuel to function, so starving or heavily restricting your diet is rubbish, you will just eat away at any muscle you have & store fat, so it’s a lose lose situation. Work out why you want to lose weight. For me, I was fed up of looking like a lard meatball, a flabby, unrecognisable heap of my former self (for the record, I have NEVER been ‘skinny, but I could at least shop in the high street stores before!).

You also need to move to keep working. Think of the last time you saw a car that has been parked up for an age – rusty, bits fallen off, won’t start – yup, you want to avoid that scenario where possible! My goal has never been to be ‘thin’ it is to be healthy, and that is where the difference lies.

2. Be time efficient;

“I don’t have time to exercise”

“I’m too busy”

“It’s too hot/too cold”

“I’m tired”

I definitely used to say these, there was always a good ‘reason’ as to why I was fat and why I didn’t do any exercise. Well, here is the answer to those ‘reasons’:

“Those that really want to do something find a way; those that don’t, find an excuse”

Occasionally, I find myself trying to think of excuses to get out of running, doing a workout or cycling, but you know what? Nothing is MAKING me do any of it, I CHOSE to do it, so I don’t have to get up and move my ass, but if I don’t, what would make me get up the next time? I find that excuses lead to excuses. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to have rest days, you don’t have to kill yourself every day, but think of even walking to the shops as a mini workout – just get moving a bit every day.

Get up half an hour earlier and do a workout. Do a mini workout whilst watching the TV in the evening. Do some weights or squats when you’ve got 5minutes spare (& yes, EVERYONE has at least 5 spare minutes in a day – even ‘very busy’ people). Ride a stationary bike whilst reading a book.

Find. The. Time.

3. Fuel yourself;

It is so important to eat right if you want to change & if you want to see any kind of results. I do do quite a bit of exercise now (you wouldn’t have read that from me last year!!), but if I was still drinking a bottle of wine a night and eating take out every day, I wouldn’t see much change. You need to take a holistic approach to it, so food and fitness go together.

Don’t restrict your foods or calories drastically, you will fail, or make yourself ill. The biggest annoyance for me is when people say, “oooh, which diet are you on?!” – well, I’m not on any diet. I can eat whatever I want, I just eat less & I try to make good food choices, for example:

WANT CRISPS – have some popcorn

WANT CHOCOLATE – have a cocoa nakd bar

WANT WINE – have sparkling water

WANT CHIPS – make carrot chips, or, just have a half portion of chips if you really really want them.

I also give myself ‘cheat days’ – typically at the weekend, because we usually see friends or family, so I can have wine, I can eat chips, I can have dessert, I can have cocktails and cheese, but you know what, I just eat less than I would have done when I was bigger and I try to offset it with exercise.

I also try to really focus on eating more protein – I’d rather have 2 helpings of protein and then either none or a half helping of carbs – I’m not on a low carb scheme or anything, but I KNOW that protein will help to keep me full and will help with building and retaining muscle tone, in combination with exercise. (I ADORE QUEST & CLIF BARS!!)

4. Gear yourself up;

If you are totally serious about getting fit, then there are a few things that I would totally recommend buying or downloading:

  • myfitnesspal app (free) – allows really easy tracking of foods and nutrition, tailored to your weight and goals
  • fitbit (£) – I have a flex, it is BRILLIANT – read my review here
  • 30 day shred DVD (£) – I CANNOT recommend this highly enough
  • freeletics app (free version) – for when you have been working out for a little while!!
  • a piece of gym equipment (£) – I have a stationary bike and a crosstrainer. I would totally recommend getting a little fold up exercise bike, not too costly (especially if you grab it in a sale, or secondhand)
  • get some hand weights (£) – you’ll need these for 30 day shred anyway, but you can use them independently, you know, for your 5minute workout.
  • enter a race (£) – set yourself a real challenge. Race for life is a good starting point. I completed my first last month – read about it here.

5. Hydrate;

Water. Just drink lots of water. You don’t need energy drinks, you need good food & lots of water (and sometimes a berocca tablet!).

6. Dump the Car and Move it;

Quit driving everywhere. Use your legs to walk. Walk to the shops, carry your shopping back in a rucksack!

My 3 year old can walk pretty far now as we traipse about everywhere, plus, we get to have silly chats on the way.

If you have to drive to work, park further from the building, use the stairs. Get off the bus a few stops early etc etc. See everything as a possible challenge. Do it. Move it.

7. Donate or sell your ‘fat clothes’;

Every time I try on some clothing that is too big, I put it in a charity shop pile. When I get a nice little stack of clothes together, I take them round to our local charity shop. This takes away my safety blanket, I can’t get bigger again, because I’ll have no clothes & I really really don’t want to have to buy bigger sizes again. Plus, it’s always good to give to charity, much better than chucking them out or hoarding them in the loft! 😉

If they are fancy or expensive clothes, you could also try your hand at selling them, then using the money you make to buy new, smaller clothes.

8. Involve your friends and family;

It is much easier to stay on track with your new lifestyle, if everyone around you is involved. I’m not suggestion that you get Grandma up and running a marathon with you, but she might like a stroll (or push, if she is in a wheelchair) around the park.

Feed your family whatever you were planning to eat – my hardened carnivore of a husband, now actually likes ‘meat-free meat’ and tofu, my 3 year old will eat fruit and vegetables till the cow comes home!

Get outside as much as you can. See if your sister or brother want to come with you to a race, even if it is just to spectate.

The more you all move about, the easier and more natural it becomes 🙂

9. Don’t Beat Yourself Up;

Remember, YOU are the one that is choosing to do this, NO ONE is forcing you. If you choose to have a day off, then do. If you choose to eat an entire chocolate bar, then fine – your choice. But try to look at things in the long-run. If having a rest, or eating something a bit naughty & delicious will stop you from reaching your end goal completely, then don’t do it, but, hey, we’re all allowed a day off here and there.

This is a lifestyle, NOT a temporary diet.

Which leads me on to…

10. Never, ever, ever quit;

Progress is progress, no matter how slow. But quitting will stop you from reaching your goals, always.

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St. Michael’s Hospice Moonlight Walk

Confession: I’m becoming an addict.

medals

From essentially being a total couch potato last year (unless lifting crisps or wine to my mouth was exercise…?!) to now, I have developed a bit of an obsession with exercise and, especially event exercise.

It started with getting out of my chair, stepping away (a little bit) from my wine glass & getting some training done.

My first event came in the shape of a race for life & I was determined that I was going to run the whole thing – which I totally did btw, yay me! You can read about that here. The second event took place on Saturday and was a 6mile moonlight walk in aid of raising money for St. Michael’s Hospice.

The route took us – us being my sister and I and a bunch of other people, suitable dressed in pirate wear – from Bexhill, right along the coast, past rows and rows of beach huts, up on to the promenade in St. Leonards, straight along in to Hastings, down to the really, very beautiful old town & circling back up to the White Rock Hotel.

SMH

1. Start Point, Bexhill. 2. Turning Point, Old Town. 3. End, White Rock Hotel. [credit: google maps]

The walk was great. Not too hard, not too fast & not too long. We did get split from the group a bit as a couple were further ahead and lots were far behind, so we did look slightly  very amusing to everyone we passed, dressed in our pirate wear!

I managed to grab this very fuzzy shot of Hastings in the distance - I refused to break my stride to take a better pic!

I managed to grab this very fuzzy shot of Hastings in the distance – I refused to break my stride to take a better pic!

We managed to slam the 6miles down in just 90minutes, score!

There was a little buffet waiting for us at the end point and lots of water, which was very much needed. We got a little medal, which I’ve added to my tiny, but growing collection. Then we walked home*.

*Note to self, don’t walk the half hour home after a 6mile walk.

Next event on my radar is a dirty dozen 6k military obstacle race – this may just finish me off!

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Freeletics – High Intensity Workouts

Good grief! Now THIS gives you a workout!

freeletics

I totally stumbled across freeletics, by chance, on twitter. It is a free workout plan that can be accessed via an app on your phone – at least, that’s how I use it. The basis of freeletics is that you can complete various high intensity plans using nothing more than your own bodyweight – no high cost equipment, win win!

Don’t make the assumption that by not using weights, resistance bands, or any machines, that it will be a walk in the park. It WILL try to kill you!!

I’m relatively new to fitness still, only really starting in January of this year, so I’m certainly not one of the crazy fit, flexible, beautifully toned & ripped people that you see doing the exercise demos on the app. So maybe it is tough work for me and my fitness level – BUT, the beauty of these types of workouts is that you get out what you put in. There are hard and easy versions of each move & the only restriction is your own ability – you can go as fast or as slow as you like (looking at my scores up there, I’m pretty freaking slow!!).

The planned workouts are pretty bloody evil. Don’t expect to be able to walk/move/breathe for a little while after doing one (p.s. you will also be feeling the pain the day after!). There are also ‘Max’ workouts, which I love – this is essentially you against you, trying to beat yourself to do more sit ups or squats, etc. There are leader-boards available to view and you can get your friends to sign up too, for added competition.

There is a premium service available – this is obviously one that requires payment, but it is apparently tailored to your needs. I’ve not tried this, so I can’t comment on it, but the free app version is great!

Search ‘freeletics’ in your app store and feel free to add me if you can find me (I’m the slow one, at the bottom!) Who wants a squat-off?! 😉

*This is not a sponsored post, I just loved the app!*

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Race for Life – 5K of pink

Had you told me in January that I would be running a 5k race for life in June, I’d have laughed at you and shaken my head. I’m not a runner, I don’t do any distance running…

photo 3 (2)Since maybe March-time, I’ve been attempting to be able to run a 5K race. Up until 2 days before the race, the longest I had ever run for was a 4minute burst, using the race for life training plan.

The Friday before race day, I decided to shove myself out the door, abandoning the interval jogging scheme & just see how long I could run for without stopping. I was hoping to be able to run for 5k, but to be honest, I didn’t really expect to be able to go for longer than the 4 minutes I had achieved previously.

I managed just over 5K, non-stop in 39:42 – not bad, for a non-running tortoise!

On race day (Sunday 15th June), I headed down to the park – we (my sister & I) were running the Hastings race for life, around Alexandra Park – a beautiful place to run, gorgeous rose gardens, lovely trees. We met up with one of my sister’s work-mates & joined the sea of pink to start the run.

Parts of the run were very busy, so there were patches when we had to walk a bit, but as the race progressed, it thinned out a bit, so it was easier to move around and keep going.

I’m not gonna lie, the last km was TOUGH! I was definitely slowing down, but still going  – we went in for a nice sprint finish at the end & scored a time of 35:57! Pretty good for only my second ever 5k run!

At the end of the race, we were given a bottle of water, a medal & a chocolate chip brioche (the last of the two were very quickly adopted by my little lady, who had been waving at me from the sidelines at various race points.

So, would I do it again? Yup. Was it hard? Oh yes. Would I recommend running it? Definitely. Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can (& you get to feel smug for the rest of the day & eat lots of food!).

Fancy dropping us a sponsor for our hard work and helping us to kick cancer’s butt? Well, that would be just amazing, thanks! Our just giving page is here:

http://www.justgiving.com/jolly-joggers750

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Fitbit Flex – My Fitness Guardian

This little dude never lets me sit on my ass (well, most of the time…)

photo 3 (2)If I’m totally honest with you, I bought this on a bit of a whim. ‘This’ is my fitbit flex. I’d seen them plastered about all over social media & I wanted to find out what the big deal was. I did a bit of research, read a few reviews, asked a few people if they were worth getting &, really, almost everyone I know that has one said it was awesome. Right, gotta get me one!

When the little guy arrived in the post, I jumped up and down a bit with excitement & ripped open the box to get it set up. The flex comes with a large and a small wrist band, in a variety of colours – I’m a sucker for blue, so this petrol-blue kinda colour got my vote. I found that I needed the smaller band, so got it charged up, set up and downloaded all the software and apps. The band adjusts too, so I’m finding that, as I lose weight, I need to tighten it.

photo 4If you use myfitnesspal, good news, this syncs automatically to it via a bluetooth connection, so it will automatically deduct calories as I move.

So, anyway… what IS a fitbit flex? On paper, it is kind of a very fancy pedometer (but much more). It senses steps; the number of steps & the intensity of the steps. It knows, for example, if I am running, or dawdling & it will colour code your steps in either red, yellow or green based on the intensity of the activity. It also tracks distance, calories burned & sleep (this is a bit scary if you are a parent of a non-sleeping child!!). This information is all based on your own stats too, so it is tailored to just yourself.

photo 1

On the flex wristband, you can tap it during the day to see how close you are to hitting your target. You can set which target you’d like it to display, mine was initially set up with steps, but I changed it to calories. Once you hit your target, you get a little vibration and some dancing lights – honestly, I’m like a small child getting a pat on the back when that happens *cue proud face*.

In order to get the fitbit to track your sleep, you tap in repeatedly and set it in to sleep mode, then just tap repeatedly again in the morning, once you have woken – then check out what the app shows. Nine times out of ten, I forget to set it, so you can manually add the info the next day on your phone or computer – or not, if you’re not bothered!

The one slightly annoying thing about the sleep mode, is that if you are doing anything that involves short, sharp vibration going through your wrist e.g. pushing a shopping trolly across a carpark, it tends to put it in to sleep mode, but you can just undo it again, it usually won’t count it if you are still moving, if it does, you can manually delete the record later.

You can either have your fitbit account set as private, or you can link it with your friends. I have my sister linked with mine, so you get a bit of extra motivation by trying to beat each other each day. This acts a little bit like a silent, wrist-based, emotional fatness bully! It is a little voice telling me to get of my butt and move it (ESPECIALLY if my sister takes the lead!).

Fitbit have got a variety of different products on offer, the flex sits on your wrist & can be worn all the time, even in the shower, so I chose that for convenience. I know a few people that have the fitbit one, which can be worn on clothes – though I personally would probably forget to put it on every day (scatterbrain!). One of my friends has got the fitbit scales, which automatically sync with other apps and devices too – these are SO going on my Christmas list!

So, there are heaps of advantages to having a fitbit. I’d say, that if you are serious about getting moving, tracking your activity, then get one. If you think you might be having a bit of a fitness or diet fad, then, I’d look out for something a bit cheaper as it is a little bit of an investment at around £80. However, by making the decision to spend the money, it does make you more aware of it & encourage you to stick to a plan.

If you are set on buying one, but stuck making a decision between a fitbit flex, or a fitbit one, just remember that a flex will pretty much always be with you, where as a one tends to get taken off more often. The flex, being a wristband, picks up a little less motion if you are doing an activity like cycling, or, as I found out, if you are walking pushing a buggy, as your wrist remains more still. The one, can be worn on clothing, so can be attached to a hip pocket or waist band, so I think tends to be a little more aware of leg movement. If you’re anything like me, however, you’ll base your choice on ease of use & what it looks like – the band won out for me!

Have you got a fitbit product? How do you find it?

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On the road to better…

When I started my ‘new life’ in January, I was fully expecting to have given up and gone back to my old ways by March.

After having a baby in 2010 (and subsequently eating and drinking the world for 3 whole years), I rocketed from 10stone to 15, yes, FIFTEEN!! I had gone from a size 10 to almost a size 20 in just 3 years.

Whilst I spent a lot of this time trying to justify to myself that it was fine, because I was happy & I could eat and drink what I wanted. The reality was, that I was a bit miserable. I looked absolutely awful. Clothes didn’t sit right, I could no longer look thinner by trying to hold my stomach in. I had to live in black clothes to help disguise my figure. The awful, flabby, saggy, stretched sight that met me in the mirror every morning made me look like I was a pensioner, not the mere 30years that I was.

It really was a case of ‘enough is enough’. I was fed up with looking awful. With waking every morning feeling awful after too much wine the night before… every morning. I knew I had managed to diet successfully in the past. I’ve been a constant up and down with my weight since my early teens. But this, this was a challenge and a half. I had 5 stone to lose. I’m still not there yet.

I knew I had to approach this in a different way. From previous experience, I knew that I could cut out loads of food groups or types of food and cut way back on calories & lose a fair amount of weight quite quickly. But, I also know, from previous experience, that this makes me miserable. By denying myself things I really enjoy, I know that I’ll be grumpy & that the weight will fly back on as soon as I reached my target weight.

The plan this time was a lifestyle change. Something that I can actually stick to. Something that doesn’t put me in a food prison & make me miserable and snappy.

I chose to work with a personal trainer once a week. I use Emma Rogers Personal Training, who is fairly local to me. I also wanted to work with someone who wasn’t going to push me so hard that I give up, someone who would listen and be supportive.

Alongside once weekly PT sessions, I also used the 30 day shred DVD from Jillian Michaels. I know this seems to be a bit of a ‘marmite’ type of workout. People either love it or hate it. I knew it would be tough and figured I’d fall in to the hater category, but you know what? If you stick to it (I do it usually 2/3 mornings a week), you really really do see results. I have so much more tone than before. I can actually feel limbs changing. I love it.

I also bought a cheapy fold up exercise bike & have set myself a goal of doing 1200km this year – I’m currently set to go way over that, but I know I need to keep going till the end of the year!

On days that I’m not doing PT, the shred or cycling, I try to walk as much as I can. Luckily for me, it is impossible to park near my house, so I barely ever take the car anywhere – this forces me to walk to the supermarket & to carry all my shopping home.

I also recently scored a total bargain of a cross trainer on ebay  – but I’ll write about that another time – it is awesome!

I have also begun to really enjoy gardening – the end of our garden is a little allotment & it is bloomin’ hard work to keep that going – lots of digging, lifting, carrying. So, I’m not only growing lovely fresh, healthy food, but also burning a whole bunch of calories too.

My diet has become more focused. I don’t drink during the week now & I limit how much I can drink over the weekend. I am using myfitnesspal to help track my calories and also to check that I am eating the right amounts of carbs, fats and proteins. I have really concentrated on upping my proteins to help with all the additional exercise I am now doing… hence my very obvious addiction to all the protein snack bars I keep finding!

Anyway, I stepped on the scales this morning & I have just broken the 12stone barrier. I am now sitting at 166lbs, that’s 11stone 12lbs. Still a long way to go (1stone 12lbs), and I’m sure this will be the hardest and slowest bit of the loss so far. I am determined to reach 140lbs and to be able to comfortably wear size 12, or even, maybe size 10 clothes again.

I know I’m never going to look super hot, nor be able to strut about in a bikini – I have got totally ruined skin from pregnancy and breastfeeding – my stomach, chest and thighs are beyond gross, but I’ll be happy if I can at least look good in some nice clothes.

No excuses this time, it’s fit or fat. I’ve done fat & it sucks, so let’s go with fit.

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Gymboss Interval Timer

OK, I got this Gymboss timer to help me with my interval training. I’ve decided to take up running (sort of). I suck, but I’m enthusiatic.
gymboss

I’m following a 5k plan that I downloaded from the race for life website. It involves running for increasing amounts of time, in the first instance, interspersed with brisk walking.

I’m not gonna lie, it is HARD work (especially when coupled with an apparently slightly dodgy heart… another story entirely). But this gadget makes it so so much easier.

The timer can either work as a standard stopwatch type timer, or you can program it to do heaps of circuits of varying times and repetitions. The best bit is that it counts down each individual circuit, but also the number of reps too, so at any point (usually when you feel like your legs can’t carry you for another second), you can glance at it and see exactly how many seconds of running and how many reps you have left. Genius. It also beeps VERY LOUDLY at you, should you miss any of the intervals!

Yup, yup, I’m sure there’s an app that will probably do it for free for you, but I don’t like to take my phone out when I’m running, so this handy dude just straps on to my wrist for hands free freedom.

*This is not a sponsored post, I just really really love it!*

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