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.

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