Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Under The Weather

I feel like I've been waiting to get properly ill for .... like forever now!

Instead I've been just miserably on the verge of being ill instead. Random mornings of sore throats, aching necks, earache, pressure headaches and miscellaneous chills, shivers and general meh.

If I'm going to be ill I'd just like to get it over with now please .... this halfway house SUCKS.

Still in just 7 (relatively) short working days I shall be done with the office for the year and can sit back to enjoy a gloriously selfish 3 and a bit weeks of me-time. I'm hoping that lots of sleep and relaxation, along with finally having time to cook properly and look after myself will have a positive effect on my current state of health and enjoyment in life!

In other news, I went to the gym last night to have a new gym program designed for me. It's approximately an age and a half since I last spent time in the gym proper, as I've moved to a constant reliance on gym classes instead, and the program I've been set is a bit of a shock to say the least. I did say to the Nick-the-muscle-bound-gym-man that I hadn't been in the gym regularly for at least a month now and so wasn't feeling at peak fitness, but he's come up with e devil's own routine to kill me anyway. In between a 2.5km steady state run "to be completed as quickly as possible" (so not quickly then) and HIIT rowing intervals he left with an assortment of weights exercises designed to kill me, sorry, strengthen my core and activate the deep muscles. I'm hurting this morning after just trying the exercises last night to set my starting weights, never mind actually doing the whole program end to end..

Oh well, if it all goes quiet on here, could you please send an ambulance crew to recover my unconscious body from the gym floor? Cheers.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Weekly Weigh-In

Well, the news from Friday's weigh in was surprisingly good - mostly I suspect because I was off work sick on Thursday and didn't eat too much which always helps - but it was 2.75lbs off taking me back to 13st 2lbs. That's the lightest I've been in a very long time .... pretty much since the beginning of the year, so it was a cheering result.

Of course, then life resumed as usual and I had dinner out on Friday night, takeaway on Saturday night and a weekend of my dad attempting to feed me up, as he usually does on my visits home, to contend with. Perhaps not the best follow-up to such a good result, but if I can stabilise my eating this week hopefully I won't lose too much ground.

Overall the weekend was totally laid back and relaxing and exactly what I needed. I can't up with friends, spent a bit of time with dad, and even managed to get in some Africa planning with my friend Ben. He used to live in Cape Town and practically planned a total itinerary for the couple of free days I've got there. Always so useful to get an insider's view on the best things to do with your precious time.

Champagne sunset boat tour, Table Mountain, dinner at Karibu at the Waterfront, the Old Biscuit Mill food market and Chapmans Peak tour .... I'm so excited to go there already!!!

Allow me to be excited about one other thing too ..... I only have 8 and a bit working days left this year ..... yeeeeehaaaaaa! Lots of exciting plans for Xmas this year ... details to come soon :-)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Health Shake-Up

Hey peeps - long time, no writing.

Aren’t I just the worst blogger at the moment?  Real life seems to keep getting in the way, which is good, but means my poor little blog gets a little neglected.

Lots going on at the moment, other than Africa obviously, although sadly I write to you this evening from my sick bed.  Boooooooo.  Not something that happens to often thankfully, because I’m not at all good at being sicky, but I’m taking a little time to feel sorry for myself this week.  Slightly sad really, as it was 32nd birthday yesterday, and I in fact spent a large part of it in bed, after leaving work early.

Anyhoo, as the title suggests, things in my fitness routine are getting a big shake-up this month.  It was inevitable really, as my gym told suddenly told us that they are closing at the end of the month.  It’s been a possibility that’s been hovering on the horizon for a couple of months, but nothing was said for ages, and then suddenly it was all happening. 

Time to start shopping for a new gym. 

I’ve been at my old gym since I moved to Bristol two years ago, and it’s been pretty damn convenient as it’s right next to my office and I can therefore work out on my lunch break.  On the downside though, that’s ended up meaning that I only work out on my lunch break, so short classes only, and if it’s not convenient at lunch then it doesn’t get done.  And since I moved from my old flat to my new house, weekend workouts weren’t really an option as it was now a half an hour walk down the hill rather than the 10 min stroll on the flat it used to be …. let’s face it, I’m not in town much on the weekend, but if I am them going to the gym has to be convenient to make it an option.

When I started looking, I had specific criteria the new gym had to meet – it needed a good class schedule (which put my work gym out of the equation), it needed to be convenient to get to otherwise I’d never use (which cut it down to two gyms on my way to work), and it had to be affordable.

The two options left are polar opposites (and literally opposite each other as it happens) – one cheap and cheerful, one a proper full-on health-club.  You can guess which one I went to look round …. I’ll give you a clue – despite recent budgeting manoeuvres it wasn’t the cheap one.  In my defence, it turned out there were little or no classes at the cheap one.

I was sorta sold the moment I walked in my new gym …. sorry club.  It’s so damn pretty in there.  Their class timetable is to die for; mostly because they’ve got three class studios.  Yes three!!  And a 20 metre pool with steam room, sauna and relaxation area.  And onsite physios.  And a nutritionist, physiologists and sports masseur which are all cheaper for members.

Be still my beating heart!!

The absolute best bit though, was that having fallen thoroughly in love, I was waiting with bated breath to hear the price for a membership, praying it wasn’t out of my price-range.  Full-price membership was just about in my price range ….. buuuuuuuuut ….. my employer is there biggest corporate sponsor locally, and I get a whopping discount.  It’s only £20 a month more than my cheapy Fitness First membership.  Done!!!

On Saturday, I went and got my ass kicked at an hour-long spin class that certainly revved my heart-rate right up – according to my heart monitor I worked harder than I do on most runs (and then I went and booked Africa – kick-ass day!).  On Tuesday I had my first health MOT.

Ummmmmm – not quite the results I expected.  Nuffield run a Health MOT programme for all members;  it’s a 12 point test you (can) take every 3 months, you get a score out of 100, and if you maintain or improve your score you get all sorts of goodies as a rewards.  Actual, real goodies too – free membership for a month, free personal training type goodies.

So I sort of thought I’d get an average to good score.  After all, I’ve lost weight, run a half-marathon and a Royal Marines designed trail race this year, and I consider myself pretty fit and active.

My score was 56.  Which apparently puts me in the bottom 20% of people.  Only just above the bottom 10%.  Yep, really.

I was pretty shocked.  A definite wake-up call.  Sure, I’m healthier than I used to be, but I guess I’m not anywhere near where I thought I was.  as I’ve put some weight back on, I’m squeaking back into Obese on the BMI scale again (although as Nick the gym-bunny who was testing me pointed out, so would he.  But then he’s muscle-bound with an approximate body fat of 0.5% and I’m not).  My hip to waist ratio is too high (indicator of unhealthy abdominal fat).  More worryingly (and annoyingly, as every other time I’ve had it tested it wasn’t), my blood pressure was higher than normal, although still just about healthy (aforemention muscly gym-bunny raising my blood pressure?  Too much stress at work recently?), my sleep quality was only average, my cholesterol was apparently raised (what the fuck??  Damn – that did not make my happy), although my blood sugars were fine.

It makes me want to sort myself out.  I knew I wanted to get back to my comfy weight (at least a stone off), but now I’m thinking I need to pay more attention to what goes in my gob and my sleep / relaxation routines for other reasons.

Ok, so being positive – this gives me lots of room for improvement (and free stuff from the gym!).  It gives me renewed motivation to look after myself (I went out and did a 2nd spin class in 3 days straight afterwards – after being out of the gym for most of the month, I find I’ve missed it), and having a whole new range of classes and new instructors to used to makes things a bit more fun.  My new gym has tons of circuits and spin to get stuck into, but also a butt-load (technical term for you there) of yoga, Pilates and Body Balance on offer – yay!!!  Including a full-on 90 yoga class – woohoo!!  There’s also dance classes (hello Body Jam) and although the pool is currently being refurbished it’ll be open again in a couple of weeks, and you can even get swimming coaching!

Time to try and get my ass in gear and moving a little more.  Or even just stretching and relaxing, and let’s see if I can’t improve that 56 a little.

Monday, 19 November 2012

African Awesomeness!!!


Oh my goodness - where do the days and weeks go?

Life has been such a whirlwind recently, that I barely know what month I'm in, never mind which week.

Finally though, I have some exciting news to impart. Something I've been dying to be able to say for ages now: Africa. Is. Booked.

Oh yes - the amazing, awesome, fantastical caper that is a month (and a little bit) long jaunt to Africa in February 2013 is all booked.

Excuse me a minute ....


I've been waiting aaaaaages for the Kenya bit to get confirmed, as that's being booked directly by the charity, and last week on Thursday it finally was. Of course, I've been researching possible tours etc for months now, but without confirmation of the group's return flights I couldn't do anything for sure, as I didn't know when we'd be returning to the airport.

Flight confirmations came on Thursday and by Saturday lunchtime I'd wrapped up all the arrangements for the remaining three weeks.

31 days, 7 flights, 5 countries, 1 charity project, 3 weeks of overland touring in a big truck and more unforgettable adventures and sights than I can shake a giant stick at.

On 21 February I'm flying to Kenya with the Maasai Heritage Preservation Foundation, helping to build a new classroom at a school in Magadi and working with the kids for a week, as well as soaking up the amazingness of the area and seeing what the charity does. After that I fly to Cape Town for a few days of solo relaxing and exploring, then I'll be working my way up to Livingston in Zambia, via the western Cape, Namibia and Botswana.

It's going to be freaking awesome!

I'm so excited to see all the beautiful landscapes and rich history and culture in these incredibly diverse areas I'm visiting. I'm going from cosmopolitan cities to deep arid desert, from coast to huge wetlands, and from Table Mountain to Victoria Falls.

So yes, I'm very excited. I've also now got a further list of things-to-do a mile long - it seems booking the trip was the easy bit, as I now have visa applications, medical forms, insurance and kit lists to sort. Oh, and a list of optional activities which never seems to end, and which I have to make some kind of sense of so that I can attempt to prioritise and work out what I can afford.

Stay tuned for what will likely be an annoying number of posts concerning the Awesome Africa Adventure as it unfolds!

- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


I'll be honest - right now, I'm annoying and disappointing myself with my lack of commitment to my health. I'm letting stressful situations, a hectic lifestyle and changing routines become an excuse.

I don't have to though. I can choose to make them irrelevant. And I do.

Tomorrow I want to sit here at this time and reflect on a job well done.

Apologies for the lack of posts recently - lots going on (most of it boring but definitely some cool things of interest too) and I promise to get on here and update soon on stuff other than my constant whinging!!

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, 9 November 2012

Giving Up

It all seems a bit circular at the moment. Last week I lost. This week I gained. Giving up will not help either way.

It's a new day, a new week, and a new opportunity to get it right.

It was a busy week, filled with altogether too much drinking, some most excellent surfing, a few too many food treats. Work is still crazy. I'm tired.

This weekend will be unwinding with my girls Jo and Lissa at Li's house and trying to find normal again.

Keep on keeping on, my lovelies.

- Posted from my iPhone