Disqus for Where Are My Knees

Guest Post - The Cost of Fitness by Jamie

Saturday, 30 June 2012

I make excuses for not exercising all the time. With the exception of “I just haven’t got enough time!” my favourite one is “it’s so expensive to get fit, I can’t afford it”. Well, that’s a lie. If you want to compete at a certain sport then you’ll need professional gear that will cost a fortune, that much is true. But if you’re looking to get rid of the beer belly and tone up for the summer, getting fit without paying through the nose is a piece of low-fat, low-carb, sugar-free cake. Take a look at these tips before you max out your credit card buying stuff you don’t need.


Getting fit usually means a lot of cardio, which means you’ll need a good pair of shoes to go with it. I speak from experience when I say that walking shoes and Converse trainers are not suitable for running or jogging (my foot blisters and shin splints can vouch for that). A good pair of trainers or running shoes should be your biggest investment, but even here you can get good gear at a decent price.
First of all, find out your foot shape and do a ‘wet test’ by wetting your foot and looking at the shape that your footprint makes on the floor. This will show you if you have high or low arches, which will need a specialist shoe to maximise comfort while exercising. Also, when you look for running shoes, don’t believe in the myth that they need to be ‘broken in’. If a shoe is comfortable, it should be comfortable as soon as you put it on. You might look silly doing so, but do a few laps of the shop before you commit to buying a pair of trainers. Getting a good pair of shoes straight off the bat means they’ll last longer so you won’t have to fork out again in a month’s time for new ones.

Feel the burn

You don’t need to hire a personal trainer in order to get a good workout. There are a number of exercise programmes available online that you can follow, and you can also download free podcasts that help you to work out. Useful (and free) places to look are the NHS Couch to 5k podcast, a series of audio clips that gradually build you up to running 5km without stopping, and the 100 pushups challenge, which builds up your muscle over a period of weeks until you can do 100 consecutive pushups.
The combination of these gives you a balance of cardio and strength training that build you up gradually and for which you won’t have to pay a penny to use.

Homebrew fitness

Worried about how much the gym is costing you every month, especially because you only go twice a month? Cancel the subscription and you can build your own gym with everyday items. Soup cans and bottles filled with water make for great makeshift dumbbells, and you don’t need to use a cross trainer when you can just climb your nearest hill. There are a number of recreational parks that have installed fitness stations where you can do pushups, chin ups and other resistance training while you do your daily run. Fresh air? Check. Cardio? Check. Strength training? Check. What more could you want?
So the next time you try to tell yourself that you can’t afford to get fit, stop. All it takes is the willpower to slip on those running shoes and step outside.
This guest post was written by Jamie Gibbs, the resident blogger for Confused.com. He keeps his old heavy metal T-shirts in the hope that one day he’ll be able to fit into them again.

Sunday Summary 61

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Gemma - 2.5lbs off this week, hurrah! No lasting damage done over the bank holidays and weeks of not tracking properly. I've been to the gym a few times this week and have sat down with the instructor and worked out a programme to follow. He suggested that if I start training a lot BMI won't mean much for me and I should measure my waist instead. I'm a little worried that I wont see the results at the scales because of the weight training that has been included in my work out programme but health and measurements should really mean more to me than what it says on the scales.

Do any of you work out? How has it affected your weight loss?

Workout Clothing

Thursday, 21 June 2012

What do you wear to work out?  Do you go for proper sports wear or just grab any old t-shirt and hope for the best?  Gemma and Sarah have picked their favourite items from JD Sports, hope you find some inspiration!

Gemma - I've recently joined the gym and the school P.E. kit trainers, leggings and old band t-shirts that I've been wearing really aren't that stylish or practical. I'm still convinced that I'm allergic to activity (I'm so lazy) so I wouldn't want to spend a fortune on kitting myself out for the gym in case I don’t stick with it.  I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to sportswear and these are my top picks for women's sportswear this summer for beginners like myself:

A good sport bra is an investment you need to make because they give the support you need to prevent sagging, stretching or pain related to exercise and the right trainers are important too. I’m in the process of losing weight and will need to replace my gym kit regularly so my picks are great if you are on a budget. Brookhaven hoodies and trousers are affordable and stylish. I've gone for mostly pastels which look great for summer.

Sarah - I have quite a decent selection of sportswear already.  I am incredibly brand loyal to Nike, everything apart from my sports bra is made by Nike.  I find their clothing both practical and comfortable whilst still looking good.  The fabrics help keep me cool and they wash really well.  My sports bra is by Shock Absorber and I cannot recommend them enough, as Gemma said above a sports bra is really important regardless of your bra size.  I cannot believe the number of ladies I see at the gym without one.  That must hurt!
I've gone for purples and my favourite black bottoms.  These are the ones I actually own and they are so comfy, I usually wear them with my Zaggora Hotpants hiding underneath (I am not brave enough to wear those alone!)  I usually go for black trainers so they blend in with my bottoms more but the purple on these Nike running trainings was calling my name.  I still like to make an effort when going to the gym, if I feel like crap in my workout gear I don't feel motivated to actually put it on and go in the first place.

Where do you usually buy your sports wear? J D Sports have a great selection of Women's hoodies, trainers and bottoms and if you can't bring yourself to step foot in a sports shop they have a great selection on their website!

*This post was written in collaboration with JD Sports*

A Day in the Life of Weight Watchers #6

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

It seems cruel that as I lose weight my daily Pro Points limit goes down. What kind of reward is that?
I'm finding it increasingly tricky to not go over my points and still be satisfied. I now get 31 ProPoints a day and I started on around 40. You can read the rest of my 'Day in the life of..' posts here.

Weight Watcher sausages  - 3 points
Egg - 2 points
Weight Watchers bread - 1 point
Ketchup - 1 point
Mushrooms - 0 points

Weight Watchers Bagel - 4 points
ASDA Lighter cream cheese - 1 point
Smoked Salmon  -  2 points
Banana - 0 points
Walkers French Fries  - 2 points

Rice - 6 points
Curry paste - 1 pro point
Peppers, cauliflower, mushrooms  - 0 points
Quorn chicken style pieces - 1 point
Piri Piri Prawn Skewers - 2 points

Milk for tea -  1 pro point
Fry light spray oil  - 1 pro point
Fudge  - 3 points
Cherries - 0 points

31/31 daily ProPoints used.

How do you use your points?

Sunday Summary 60

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Gemma - Had another work event on weigh in day this week which meant that I couldn't go to weigh in AGAIN. Term is over now though and I won't be missing any more classes. There were so many buffets and tea break treats in work this week but I managed to restrain myself and not go too mad. I did have an afternoon yesterday with the girls from work to celebrate then end of term but I only had a little clotted cream ;) I joined the gym today and intend on going loads this summer as I will only be working four days a week until October. I'm feeling really motivated!!

Weight Watchers Twitter Party

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

I'm hoping to take part in this on Thursday, any of you going to get involved?

Sunday Summary 59

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Gemma - The bank holiday meant that my class was cancelled and was held on a day that I have work so I couldn't attend. I put about 2-3lbs on from the Friday-Tuesday from all the calorie filled punch and cakes I consumed. I had a lovely weekend and I regret nothing! I'm back on track this week and have been to aquafit to help shift a bit of weight. I'm going away to a conference over night on Monday and I'm a little worried about the food because it is all prepared for me. I'm going to take some fruit with me and sweeteners for my tea and try and make sensible options.

Sarah - I can happily say I maintained this week.  We went away for the Jubilee Celebrations and I have been off work and on holiday for the rest of the week so I am pretty pleased to have maintained especially when holidays include cake ;)  I have been back on track since WI on Thursday and am hopeful for a good result this week.  Back at the gym tomorrow and on my 6 week count down til my bikini gets an airing... eeeekkk!!

Guest post by Gem from Gem Seren

Saturday, 9 June 2012

I have always been overweight. I think from the age of 10 I  noticed that I was bigger than all of my friends and it used to bother me a lot. I used to dance ballet and tap and love it, but gave up when I was 13 as I thought I was too fat to continue. I could never wear the same clothes as my friends and had to wear adult size clothes. By the time I was 16 I was a size 14/16 and after I met my first boyfriend my weight went up and up and I was a size 16/18 by the time I was 18. My diet was terrible and I was having takeaways at least 2 times a week. 

I always used to tell myself that I was overweight and there was nothing I could do about it, even though looking back my diet was terrible. I was never happy with the way I looked and was quite unhealthy. 

At 23 and after my second baby I was pushing a size 20. One day I decided that enough is enough; I wanted to loose weigh and get to a healthy BMI. I finally accepted that it was my fault and there was something I could do about it. I wanted to set a good example to my children by being fit and active with a healthy diet. 

I knew I couldn't do it by myself as I had tried and failed many diets, including calorie counting and slim-fast. I looked into the Cambridge diet but found that to be too costly, and wanted to do a diet where I could eat the same meals as my family. 

I joined a local Slimming World group in August 2011, and found the plan great to fit around my busy family orientated life. The whole family could eat the same meals as me as the plan is based on a healthy low fat, high fibre diet. The amount of food you are allowed on the plan means that there is no need to ever get hungry. 

Going to the group every week is really motivating, and I have met a lot of lovely people who are all so friendly and supportive. I am quite an introverted person and it was very hard for me to join the group but I am so glad I did it has truly changed my life. I know without the group I would have given up by now but going every week and seeing how well my friends have done really motivates me.  

I always have a treat once a week, usually on a Thursday after weighing. I love Mexican food so have Fajitas or Quesidillas I don't go too crazy. Once in a while I will have a take away but honestly I have gone off them so much now and prefer chicken and rice. 

It hasn't been plain sailing and I have had quite a few weeks where I have had a gain, my biggest being 3lbs. But I know that its not easy and I have to keep going.  

I have lost 34 pounds to date, which is 2 Stone 6 pounds. My BMI has gone from Obese at 32.6 to overweight at 26.6. I was pushing a size 20 before I started and now I am a comfortable 14, sometimes a 12. 

I still want to loose at least another 21 pounds, and have a way to go as my weight loss has slowed down a lot. I seem to have hit a bit of a wall at the moment with my weight fluctuating, but I am confident that I will do it, I know if I stick to the plan 100% I will loose weight. 

I have just started doing a weekly weight loss update post every Thursday over on my blog, and plan to do posts on some of my favourite slimming world friendly recipes. 

Gem x

Helping You Find Healthy

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Bupa knows that it's important to look after yourself, so they've created a number of apps and tools to help you on this quest.

Bupa have created a range of fantastic tools, apps and devices that help you to find healthy. Wellbeing is really important and there aren't many resources to check your own health. But with Bupa’s free tools you can look at aspects of your health in the comfort of your own home through a range of interactive applications. You can be safe in the knowledge that the information is from a trusted health source. There are a wide range of services covering many aspects of life, giving you advice for exercise programmes and providing fitness regimes that help to improve fitness levels - leading to better health.

There are loads of tools that can help all of you who are doing the 'Couch to 5k' challenge and starting to run like the 'New runners advice' section and training programmes suited to all abilities. There is also a smart runner app which helps you add fun and variety to your runs. You simply replace one of your normal runs every week with a 'smart run' and you can sync your run with your iTunes library to create running playlists. Bupa apps like this one would be a good way to shake up your running routine.

I was most interested in using the BMI calculator, Health Age calculator and reading the information on drinking.

My BMI has dropped greatly since losing 6 stone but I still have a long way to go before I am in the healthy range. I will be using this tool along my weight loss journey to help set my goal weight and keep track on my progress. The calculator was really easy to use, you only have to put in a few details and there is lots of great advice and information for you to read once you calculate your BMI.

I used the health age calculator and I was pleasantly surprised. I came out at 25 and I'm 24. The tool said I can lower this by up to 10 years by consuming a little less alcohol and increasing my exercise by a couple of sessions a week. The information on drinking reinforced what I already know. I drink a little too much on weekends, indulging in far too many cocktails and need to address this. I'm young and having fun but switching to a few glasses of wine instead of cocktails at the weekends could reduce the risk of a lot of alcohol related illnesses.

I also played around with the Cost of smoking calculator (even though I don't smoke) you would spend over £34k smoking over 15 years, that's staggering! It could be a really useful tool to help persuade a loved one to stop smoking. I'm very impressed with all the Bupa content. There are so many apps that you are sure to find the right one for you, try them out and find healthy!

Will you be checking out Bupa find healthy?

Sunday Summary 58

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Gemma -  I couldn't go to weigh in this week because I had to attend a conference but I weighed at home and I lost at least 1lb. I'm having a weekend off from Friday-Tuesday and consuming as much cake and Pimms as I can. All my friends have finished their exams and we are going to party! I've lost nearly 6 stone now and one weekend off wont hurt. I promise to be extra good next week to make up for a weekend of excess.

Hope you all enjoy the long weekend!


Friday, 1 June 2012

Thought it was time to give you a little update on my Weight Watchers journey. I've never really told anyone my start weight apart from my Weight Watcher leader Pat but I don't mind sharing it now and I'm hoping it might inspire you with your goals. I started off at the end of last January as 19 stone 7.5 lbs. I have lost nearly 6 stone and I now weigh 13 stone 10. I can't believe that I ever carried that much weight around with me, does anyone know how many bags of sugar that is?

I still have a long way to go and a healthy weight for my height ranges from about 9-11 stone.

Here I am at the beginning of my journey

This is me now

Losing the weight has meant gaining so much confidence. I even took part in a fashion show, wore shorts for the first time in years and have been enjoying a far more active social life. My only regret about the weight loss is that I didn't start sooner!

I have struggled to enjoy my weight loss but not go too off the rails. I get a little carried away at weekend and should probably limit the number of cocktails and hangover breakfasts but you're only young once.

If you have any questions about my weight loss, joining Weight Watchers or anything else feel free to ask in the comments or on twitter. You can contact me on @wherearemyknees or @Gemma_DS