Disqus for Where Are My Knees

Sunday Summary 68

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Another week, another Sunday Summary! 

Rosie - This week has been a particularly difficult one in terms of my ability to keep my level of exercise up and eat healthily. I've been on a course during the day and then in the evening there's been several hours of coursework so although I managed three morning runs I didn't manage to do my exercise DVD or get on the bike at all.  I normally eat my cereal at my desk in the morning so not being at work has meant I've plumped for hot chocolates or Diet Cokes in the morning to stave off hunger rather than my usual bowl of granola - not good! I've managed to increase the distance I run however and all in all I've had a fairly healthy week so I've still managed to lose a lb which I'm pleased about.  I'm off to a festival on Thursday so planning a few good healthy days with lots of exercise before then.

Sarah -  I've really gotten into the swing of Slim-Fast and am actually enjoying it! Now that my body has adjusted to the lower calorie in take I do not feel hungry at all.  I find it really easy to stick to the plan during the week but the weekends are where I usually struggle so I am using myfitnesspal in conjunction to keep track of my calories if I do go a little off plan.  Thankfully this has worked for me and I have lost 2lbs this week.  I am really happy with this as I usually struggle to lose more than a pound a week.

Gemma - Is at Reading festival this weekend.

Lauren - I finally managed to get a gym membership sorted out this week and it has been my saving grace as I've managed to lose 1lb despite eating rubbish all week! I've been really struggling to get my head into the healthy eating game over the last couple of weeks - I think hormones and high-stress levels are the culprit - so thats my focus this week. My best friend is home from Australia for a week and there will be lots of eating out and boozing so I'm going to make healthy choices where I can and try to squeeze in a few runs as I won't be able to get to the gym. Hopefully I won't do too much damage and will be able to start September in a better frame of mind where eating is concerned!

How has your week been? How do you cope with a change of routine? Any tips gratefully received!

Slim-Fast 3 2 1 Plan - An Overview

Monday, 20 August 2012

The basics of the Slim-Fast 3 2 1 plan are simple - you have three snacks, two meal replacements and one 600 calorie balanced meal a day.  Sounds simple enough!

The ready made shakes are my favourite, especially the banana

I start the day with a Slim-Fast shake, have a mid-morning packet of one of the Slim-Fast savoury snacks, have a Slim-Fast Meal bar for lunch, a chocolately Slim-Fast treat mid afternoon which sees me through to the meal I look forward to the most, the 600 calorie dinner.  After this I have another Slim-Fast snack and the day is done.  My approx. calorie intake a day is 1325.

The Slim-Fast mixer makes sure you don't get bits of unmixed bits of powder in your shake!

Slim-Fast is a relatively cheap diet to follow, all products are currently on a 3 for 2 offer in Sainsbury's so one shake, one meal bar and three snacks works out to under £3 a day.  I know I was easily spending more than £3 a day on just lunch alone!

The Chocolate Peanut are my favourite of the meal bars, they are like a filling cereal bar

You don't need to buy the snack bars, you can replace them with fruit or even another snack as long as it is under 95 calories.  They are not nutritionally balanced and really are just to help you stay on track.  Personally I really like the Slim-Fast treats and would buy the chocolatey ones even if I wasn't on a diet.  Especially the Chocolate Caramel Treat, it's heavenly!!

 Slim-Fast snacks are all 95 Calories

These Slim-Fast snack bars are so good! They are unlike any diet snack bars I have had before, they do not taste at all artificial or have any strange sweetener aftertaste. YUM!

The first few days were hard.  Adjusting to a lower calorie intake is always a struggle but it was especially hard this time round as I had just come back from holiday where I had definitely over indulged.  I am really enjoying having the milkshakes for breakfast.  Breakfast is one of those meals I tend to skip if I don't have something to hand and the ready mixed shakes are perfect to take to work and drink at my desk.  The snacks don't feel at all like diet food (except maybe for the portion size but I really need to get used to controlled portions anyway!) and I like having a meal bar at lunch time as it gives me something to chew.  I think I would quickly get fed up if I was just drinking my calories each day.  

I really, really look forward to the evening meals and have been trying to make my plate as full as I possibly can with my 600 calorie allowance.  It goes further than you may think and just the thought of it keeps me motivated throughout the day.  It really does suit me to have the freedom to be flexible with my evening meal and helps keep me on track.  And I have just realised that most of Wagamama's main dishes are under 600 calories.  Helloooo!! I know where I am eating out from now on ;)
I have been following the plan for 8 days now (and I am counting my 600 calories to the exact calorie!) and have lost 3lbs so far.

Have you tried the Slim-Fast plan before? How did you get on with it?

You can find more information on the Slim-Fast plan along with meal suggestions, a community forum and some fascinating Slim-Fast stats at www.slimfast.co.uk

**Slim-Fast have sent me a months worth of product to trial but all views are my own

Sunday Summary 67

Sunday, 19 August 2012

We have been overwhelmed by both the sheer amount of applications for our final WAMK team member, as well as the amazing and inspiring stories you've shared with us in your entries.  It really is going to be an incredibly difficult task to narrow it down. We just wanted to let you know that the closing date for entries will be this Monday (20th).  It'll take us a little while to sort through your applications but we promise we'll share the news with you as soon as possible!

Rosie - A very lovely blogger got in contact with me recently on Twitter when I was feeling a bit disillusioned with having not lost as much weight as I'd hoped through the exercise that I'd been doing.  Her boyfriend is a personal trainer and has been helping me with my diet and fitness goals which is absolutely amazing.  I'm going to be blogging some of the tips and tools I've picked up this week.  My objectives this week were to do four morning cardio sessions, four evening cardio sessions and start cutting out all the naughty, sugary food from my diet.  I managed to go running four times, and also did some sessions on my exercise bike and with my new DVD (which I'll be reviewing here shortly) so I feel really good about the work I've put in this week.  Birthday celebrations have also rolled into this week, meaning a meal out at Pizza Express last Saturday and a dinner out on Thursday so keeping my healthy eating up has been trickier.  I've lost a lb this week; I thought I'd have lost more but it's really just the beginning of my new exercise regime so I'm trying not to feel too disheartened.

Gemma - I had such a good start to the week with a 1.5lb weight loss on Tuesday but I'm afraid I'm away with the girls in Torquay this weekend which means pub lunches, fish and chips and lots of wine. I'm going to try and have a great few days before I go to Reading Festival on Thursday but when I'm there I'm not really going to worry about my diet. I've packed plenty of Weight Watcher cereal bars in my rucksack and I've got some dried fruit and nuts but it is going to be very hard to track everything I eat. I'm going to take my own advice from the Festival Survival Guide post that I wrote last year and will try and stick to healthy and filling food and opting for spirits and mixers instead of beer. My weight loss is really slowing down at the moment which is becoming an issue but I'm 3 stone lighter than I was this time last year and 6 stone lighter than I was at Reading Festival two years ago so I'm trying to be positive.

Lauren - I gained 1.2lbs this week, which needless to say I'm not thrilled about. I put it down to a booze and BBQ filled weekend last week and the fact that the dreaded 'time of the month' is looming. Fortunately I haven't got any big social events lined up this week so I can focus on eating healthily and sticking to my points. I'm also hoping to get a gym membership sorted out some time this week. The gym is right next to the train station so I can go either before or after work and I'm hoping to fit in at least 4 workouts a week, which is the same as what I was doing at uni at the peak of my weight loss. I know that at this stage in the game the weight isn't going to come off quite as quickly, but like Gemma I'm focusing on the positives - I've suffered through the last few summers covering myself up and looking forward to winter when I could hide under layers, whereas this year I'm enjoying being able to wear dinky summer dresses and shorts. Hopefully this time next week I'll have some better news to report! :)

Sarah - I managed to lose 1lb this week which I am actually okay with.  I had a team building day on Thursday which ended with a curry and beers and unfortunately put pay to any further loses.  This week is a clear week though so I am going to go for it!  I really enjoyed following the Slim-Fast this last week, the shakes are tasty and I enjoy both the meal bars and the snacks.  The highlight is definitely the 600 calorie evening meal which goes really far is you choose wisely.  I've just had oven cooked battered cod, chips and mushy peas which felt really naughty.  Those 600 calories are my favourite of the day.  I've also discovered that most of my favourite meals at Wagamama's are under 600 caloriesm so I know where I will be heading even more to eat out. YUM!

How has your week been? Make sure you let us know how you've been getting on.

Guest Post - Lori from Miss Lori Loves

Saturday, 18 August 2012

This weeks guest post is brought to you by Lori from Miss Lori Loves.

I've always
struggled a little bit with my weight, when I was in school and a lot younger although I wasn't what you would call fat I wasn't slim either. I was always the chubbiest one of my friends even though I didn't overeat or have too many sweets etc, quite the opposite I was always a really healthy eater but I wasn't into sports so I think that avoiding PE was my downfall. 

The same goes for nowadays, I still eat quite healthily although I'd say now portion control is not one of my strong points which meant that I've always remained a little on the chubby side as an adult. 
I'm by no means huge however I am a very petite person, I'm 5'2 in height so any extra weight really shows up on me and makes me feel absolutely massive. Clothes wise, I normally wear a size 10 however I'd say that this is mostly down to my height as usually anything above a this size drowns me in the arms or legs or is too tall in the torso. Recently I’ve been feeling my jeans can be a little tight so I’ve wanted to lose some weight and tone up more so I can comfortably fit into my clothes. 

I’d like to lose 10-14lbs roughly which would put me around the 9 stone mark which for my height would be my ideal weight.  I’ve lost around 6lbs in the past few weeks and I’d like to share with you a product which I’ve felt has helped me more than any others in the past. 

Skinny Sprinkles Appetite Control and Energy Drink is a new type of weight loss supplement. They are different to a lot of weight loss drink aids as they are a supplement rather than a meal replacement. These are taken 3 times a day in the place of a snack 15 min before a meal to help you feel fuller for longer and therefore less likely to have the urge to snack. They are a little sachet of strawberry flavoured powder which is mixed with water to make a smoothie type drink. The taste isn’t unpleasant but it isn’t delightful either however strangely enough I was craving the taste of these after a few days.  They work because the active ingredient Glucomannan is a special type of dietary fibre (which is scientifically-proven by the EFSA to aid weight loss reduction as part of a calorie controlled diet.) this slowly thickens when added to water. 

When you have a drink you don't feel full afterwards but if you have a meal you do – yes we all know this! The reason why is down to what is called 'gastric emptying'. When you have consumed a meal your stomach knows you have eaten and the 'trap door' between the stomach and intestine closes so that the stomach can digest the food. When you consume a drink the stomach does not need to digest the drink so the trap door does not close. That is why drinking water for example does not make you feel full. Because Skinny Sprinkles thickens into a gel like consistency in your stomach, the stomach responds to it like it would to food and delays gastric emptying – giving a feeling of fullness.
Skinny Sprinkles  also contains guarana and caffeine which is great for a little energy boost, although the caffeine content is minimal so won’t leave you with the shakes and insomnia like some weight loss supplements have, just enough for a pre workout boost. 

The packaging is also gorgeous and really discreet to pop in your handbag and not embarrassing like some weight loss products look. I take these to work with me and people are always asking what they are because they could be anything, at first look I wouldn’t have thought they were a weight loss drink.

The photos I’m sharing in this post is after 6 days of taking Skinny Sprinkles, I had to have ear surgery last week so I’ve had to stop my diet and exercise regime at the moment but as soon as I’m back on the mend I’ll definitely be using Skinny Sprinkles again to help me shift any lbs I’ve put on from being stuck in bed.

I’ve lost around 6lbs since I started and feel much less bloated which I think is amazing as I’ve tried loads of other diet supplements with varied degrees of success but this has been by far the best for me. I was really surprised how full I felt and how little of my normal (probably huge) portions I was eating and I’ve not been reaching for my mid-morning or afternoon snacks like I usually would. I think that even after taking these for a few weeks and stopping the snacking habit has been broken for me which is great as these “little snacks” probably were adding large inches to my waistline.

You can buy these in packs of 21 which should last 1 week from the Skinny Sprinkles website. They come in a great “letterbox friendly” pack so you don’t have to collect them from the post office if you aren’t home for delivery.  

For more information about ingredients and how they work please see Skinny Sprinkles website. 
Remember: Drinking these alone will not make you super skinny overnight these are to aid weight loss alongside a balanced diet and exercise, which is the only real way to lose weight healthily and keep it off. 


Thursday, 16 August 2012

I’ve always thought of yoga as a yummy mummy thing to do or for chanting hippies. But since there are classes everywhere now at local community centres and gyms all across the UK and millions of people go there, I thought I'll try and shake off my worry of super nimble old ladies warming up and doing downward facing tree in the time it takes me to unroll my yoga mat.

Also, when you look at Jennifer Aniston or Madonna, who are among the famous yoga enthusiasts, it's easier to believe that multiple scientific trials are actually true and a good yoga workout will increase your physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance. And aside from helping you to keep fit, regular yoga practice can do a lot of good for people with high blood pressure, heart diseases, aches and pains, including low back pain, which has become one of the most widespread problems for most people who work in the office. It also seems to help fighting the depression and stress. There really is no reason not to give it a go, right?

 My ultimate aim is weight loss and yoga alone will not help me achieve that but it will help to tone and strengthen my body. It’s not going to get me red faced and collapsed in a heap on the floor like running does but combined with a cardiovascular workout it will  help me reach my goals. Yoga exercises, meditation and postures also improve your balance, strength and overall flexibility which would help me with the other forms of exercise I currently do.

From my research there seems to be five main types of yoga (although many other types exist). Hatha, which is slow-paced, gentle and focused on breathing and meditation. Vinyasa, which focuses on the sun salutations, a series of 12 poses where, movement is matched to breath.
Ashtanga, which is a kind of power yoga with lunges and push-ups. Lyengar, where standing poses are done for long periods of time and Bikram which is ‘hot yoga’ practised in a hot room.  People taking a hot yoga class experience more fatigue, a higher heart rate, and a significantly greater amount of exhaustion so maybe this is the right one for me? My research has also led me to the discovery that people take part in naked yoga. Yes, you read that correctly NAKED YOGA! I’m all for trying new things but getting naked in a room full of people will not help me ‘accept my own body with all its imperfections and open my heart’ I don’t want anyone’s ‘bits’ in my face thank you very much…. 

I am a complete novice and have no idea where to start with yoga so I need your help! Where should I try first yoga fans? (and don’t say naked yoga!) 

There aren’t many classes in my area so do you have any DVD recommendations for me?  Whatype of yoga music do you use? I can’t stand any really naff music like the sound of waves, I tried a Pilates DVD with that music once and it just made me giggle…

Can’t wait to read your tips and get started!

Lauren - My Experiences At The Gym

Monday, 13 August 2012

There are few words in the English language that can strike fear into the hearts of many so effectively as the word ‘gym’. I am no stranger to this fear – in fact for the first 19 years of my life I never once set foot in a gym. The first time I went I very nearly turned around and walked straight back out. In my mind, I had escalated the gym to some sort of Mecca status – a haven for all the fit, healthy, skinny people to go hang out and run 10 miles on the treadmill without breaking a sweat. For the majority of my adult life – and most of my childhood too – I was not fit and healthy, and I most definitely was not skinny. In my mind, the gym was not the place for me.

Even after joining Weight Watchers I continued to avoid going to the gym – or, indeed, doing any kind of exercise beyond walking the two miles to and from town a few times a week. Predictably, after the first few months of having the weight fall off me like chocolate from a melting Magnum (what!? It’s a warm day! If I want to fantasize about ice cream then I will!), my weight loss slowed down and I became disheartened. I fell off the wagon for a few months and regained just over 1 stone of the 3 stones that I’d lost. Stepping on the scales on the 1st of January and realizing, to my horror, that my weight had crept back up from an embarrassing 16st 11lbs to a mortifying 18st 2lbs was the kick up the butt I needed, and a couple of weeks later I rejoined Weight Watchers and got myself a gym membership.

And I can honestly say that I have never looked back.

I have lost weight consistently since then, mostly due to having completely over-hauled my eating habits, but also thanks in no small part to my regular gym sessions. I won’t pretend that I immediately started working out for two hours five days a week (even as a Literature student with only 6 hours of classes a week I didn’t have that sort of time!), and I won’t say that I loved every session. What I definitely won’t say is that it was easy to motivate myself to go, because it wasn’t, and there were plenty of days when I thought to myself ‘screw it, I’ll go tomorrow instead.’ What I will tell you is that every time I sacked off the gym for coffee with a friend or a lazy day in front of the TV, I regretted it. Not just because I wasn’t getting in any exercise, but also because there was this nagging voice in the back of my head (that incidentally sounds a lot like my mother) which kept telling me that I was wasting my money on a gym membership that I wasn’t using enough. Weirdly enough, I never bailed on the gym for two days in a row…I always got myself back in there the next day to start it all over again.

After a while (quite a long while, if truth be told) I somehow found myself in a routine of gym, studying and socializing that really worked for me. Without making the conscious decision to do so, I had arranged my other commitments (which admittedly aren’t many when you’re an unemployed student) around four trips to the gym every week. Yes, it was still hard to get out of bed some mornings, and yes, I did spend most of my time on the treadmill gasping for breath and cursing my inability to say no to dessert. But I went, and in a perverse sort of way, I actually found myself enjoying it. There is a sense of satisfaction to be achieved from a decent gym session – much like the one that Rosie gets from running. Not only that, but I find that I work harder in the gym than I do when I’m exercising alone. When you’re in a room full of people all pushing their bodies to go that bit further, you don’t want to be the first one to quit. Even if you don’t know the people around you, there is still that inherent competitiveness in all of us that pushes you to go that extra few minutes on the treadmill, to up the resistance a few more notches on the cross-trainer. And you soon find that actually you’re capable of a lot more than you thought you were – all because you didn’t want to stop before the girl next to you did. Human nature is a funny thing.

And while pitting yourself against your fellow gym-goers can be both rewarding and effective, there are also plenty of other ways to maximize the effectiveness of your workouts. A lot of gym memberships include a complimentary induction session with a trainer – a fully qualified professional who can show you the correct way to use the machines and work up a program suited to your individual needs. You can also ask for follow-up meetings with your trainer to assess how you’re getting on after a few months and tweak your program to suit your increased level of fitness – making sure that you continue to push yourself whenever you go.

And then, there are the classes. Oh fitness classes – how I dreaded them. It took me over a year of being a member at my gym to work up the courage to go to a fitness class. The thought TERRIFIED me. I was sure that everyone would be watching me and laughing. Reality is…nobody is taking a blind bit of notice of what you’re doing – they’re too busy making sure they don’t fall off their Step platform or slide of the bike seat in Spin. Classes are great way to really push yourself – particularly high-intensity classes like Body Combat, Body Pump and Spin, which are high cardio and muscle toning classes. All the classes I ever went to had a kick-ass soundtrack and the instructors were all fantastic. My favourite is Spin – something about being on a stationary bike is extremely appealing to someone with no rhythm or co-ordination – but if you’re looking for something slightly lower intensity then there are LOTS to choose from. Most gyms offer a free trial for classes, so you can go along for free and see if it’s for you before committing to do them. Just ask at the reception in your gym and they’ll give you all the information you need.

There is no doubt in my mind that working out regularly at the gym was instrumental to my weight-loss, and its no coincidence that since I left university and haven’t had access to it my weight loss has hit something of a plateau. To me, working out and eating right go hand in hand – if I’ve sweated my guts out in the gym that morning I’m more likely to eat well because I don’t want my hard work to go to waste. And I know that its intimidating and unnerving and a little bit overwhelming for all you gym-virgins out there, but believe me when I say that it can also be extremely motivating and effective as well. I spent years telling myself that the gym wasn’t for me, only to find out that actually its where I do best, where I push myself hardest and get the best results. It might not necessarily be the same for you, but you never know until you try. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find waiting for you on the other side of those doors.

Post written in collaboration with Fit Space Gyms

Sunday Summary 66

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Hello all, how has your week been? Share your highs and lows with us!

Rosie - This has been a tough week for me to stay focused on improving my diet as it's been my birthday week so there has been cake and champagne! I have started a food and exercise diary to try and evaluate my weaknesses and noticed that I tend to stray away from healthy eating when I forget to bring my lunch to work so I've bought lots of soups and healthy lunches to take with me next week.  This week I went for four runs, one long walk and did a belter of a session on my exercise bike so I managed to cancel out the birthday indulgences and lose 1lb.

Lauren - as I write this I am reclining on a sun lounger in my back garden, slathered in sunscreen, with a glass of (pointed) vodka and diet lemonade in hand. Bliss. I was really pleased to have lost 2.4lbs this week after my first week back on the wagon in a few months. I had initially hoped for more but I had something of an indulgent weekend so 2.4lbs was a great result. This week has been another week of pointing and tracking, and I managed to squeeze in three runs too (thanks in no small part to Rosie's inspiring post)! Things got a little out of hand last night when I went for dinner and drinks with my three best friends from university, and I also have another family BBQ to contend with today but I'm hoping I can keep things under control. I won't be weighing in til Friday this week, which will hopefully give me a chance to repair any damage the weekend might have caused! I've also had a fantastic non-scales victory this week, as I am currently lounging around in a BIKINI. This is something I have never felt comfortable doing so its a huge victory for me to finally be brave enough to bare some flesh!

Gemma - I couldn't go to class this week, I'm very dependant on lifts from my brother as class is a few miles away and he was busy but I know I would have put weight on after a week of birthday cake and alcohol. I've been much better this week, I've not had a single drop of alcohol and only one sweet treat in the form of a iced bun in work on Friday so I have my fingers crossed for a small loss on Tuesday. I plan on trying out Becca's sit up challenge over the next few days. I bought a playsuit with lace around the waist and I need to work on my midriff before I will be confident enough to wear the playsuit in public. I'm pretty happy that I reached one of my goals that I set when I first started my weight loss journey. I can now wear size 14/16 clothes from Topshop. You wouldn't believe how great it feels to be able to walk into Topshop and buy what I want and not just what fits me!

Sarah - I have been really good this week with only one deviation (a slice cake instead of lunch & snacks & wagamamas for dinner on Saturday) I have only lost 1lb this week but it is *that* time of the month (TMI?) so I am happy with this.  I need to increase my exercise levels and generally move more but am happy with the way my journey is currently headed.

Over to you guys, inspire us with your progress!

Guest Post - Becca from The Friendly Film Fan

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Ok so I was asked to do a guest post because I had commented I had been doing a sit up routine every day until my dancercise teacher went on holiday…. I know totally mixed up right – I should have been the one going on holiday!

By way of introduction then my name is Becca, I’m 25 and am studying for an MA and normally blog about films or books. I’ve known Gemma since I visited my friend at Cardiff Uni about seven years ago and we got horribly drunk and danced like loons. Ever since joining Twitter I have followed her weight-loss progress and been so inspired every time I see her. My own personal battle with weight is more about exercise than losing pounds, of course I am technically ‘overweight’ but meh, it is all on my waist and I’d rather tone what I have for now.

Hence the sit-ups challenge.

It has actually been a great motivator, we get to class on a Monday and Lana asks “whose been doing the challenge?” and, most Mondays, we do a guilty shuffle (Lana included) and make our excuses. However since deciding trying to lose weight during my dissertation (I am in the final stages of an MA to become a fully fledged librarian) was totally silly – who can write essays without biscuits? – I have decided to become dedicated to this sit-up routine.

What we do each week in dance class is a warm up (to Beyonce’s End of Time), Cardio (to whatever Zumba routine Lana has recently made up), and then sit-ups which are currently to the Snoop Dogg/David Guetta track ‘Sweat’.

I apologise now for not getting the right terminology for the moves in this routine. Obviously the music is optional but I have included it in the routine in case people prefer to work out to a rhythm.

So just in case anyone wants to try it, this is how it goes: 
  • (when the vocals kick in) do four, controlled crunches.  
  • Then do one sit-up (so move yourself right up off the floor and stretch your arms to the ceiling, don’t worry if you have to move your legs to do this) 

  • Once back down pull your legs and arms in together so elbows come close to knees then push out with your legs, keeping them as horizontal to the floor as possible (at first its easier to push out with your legs in a more vertical position but soon you’ll be able to get more parallel to the floor). Do this twice. 
  • Repeat the crunches, sit-up and leg squeeze. 
  • The chorus should kick in as you keep your head on the floor and raise your bum, Eric Prydz ‘call on me’ stylee (leotards optional), raise and lower for 8 counts in a controlled way then do 16 rapid (try not to touch the floor with your bum the whole time) 
  • In the break in the music before the vocals start again you have the option to do as many quick crunches as you wish, or have a rest! 
  • Then the cycle starts again! So: 4 crunches, 1 sit up, 2 leg squeeze, then repeat. Chorus kicks in for 8 slow bum lifts and 16 rapid. 
  • Then shift yourself up on to your hands, feet flat on the floor hip width apart in front of you, hands facing your bum, and do 16 triceps dips. Make sure your elbows are bending and you’re not just shifting your bum up and down – this is all in the arms and you’re gonna feel it but push through! 
  • Then, I’m sorry, shift yourself on your front to do 10 push ups. Doesn’t matter how difficult you make these but ladies shouldn’t do the full length up on the toes version as this isn’t great for your insides. So, for the girls, stay on your knees and either stretch out your back with hands facing forward underneath your shoulders raising and lowering above the knees, or stay in a steady box shape and just raise and lower your upper body. 
  • Finally as part of our routine we do the plank for 30 seconds. This is totally optional for beginners as it will last beyond the end of the song (so have another one lined up maybe to distract you) and is a pretty tough yoga move. Basically you want to prop yourself up on your arms, and push your toes into the floor keeping your back and legs in a straight line. Lana likes to say imagine you have a glass of really expensive wine balanced on your back.
And there you go! Honest it works, your shape improves so much, I found out I actually had a waist when I started doing these classes. This routine also helps you to be able to hold yourself in without even realising what you are doing, it becomes second nature to keep it all sucked in which is so lovely!

So, I hope that all made sense. Best advice I can give people who aren’t keen on exercise but do enjoy a night out clubbing is to get yourself to a dance class, whether it’s Zumba, dancercise, salsa, or line dancing it is actually my favourite form of exercise because more often than not you are having too much fun to care if you’re sweaty and red (I go purple).

If you’d like to read my ramblings about films go to friendlyfilmfan. Otherwise good luck with all your weight loss journeys! I’d best go do my sit-ups…

Running | A Beginner's Story

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

I'm willing to bet that we all had a similar experience of running in school.  For the first 16 years of my life, running was: watching the popular girls' ponytails swing like glossy pendulums in front of me as their athletic legs took them off along the track and into the distance.  Being forced to wear musty PE kit from the lost property box because I feigned forgetting mine to try and get out of it.  Hiding behind trees and gossiping about boys during long distance running because we were supposed to be running five laps of the local sewage farm. Being diagnosed with 'sports related asthma' because I couldn't run further than ten metres without my lungs burning and being bent double gasping for breath.  As a result, when I left school I hung up my trainers and filed 'running' away into a section of my brain entitled 'not for me'.  This is where it lived, quite happily, for the next 18 years, nestled amongst 'sushi' and 'any sports that involve getting my face wet'.

This is not a story about how one day I discovered that running had always been calling my name and that I just wasn't listening hard enough and now I spend my weekends clocking up the miles in marathons.  This is not the story of someone who one day had to run for a bus and never stopped running.  When I mentioned on my own blog recently that I'd just started running, someone commented and told me that they'd been running for a year but still wouldn't describe themselves as a 'runner' - so this isn't even the story of someone who started off as a couch potato and blossomed into a 'runner'.  (Incidentally, I am excited for the day when I can call myself a runner.  I kind of imagine that there is some kind of initiation process and that one day, when I'm at my lowest; maybe I'm coiled up in a ball in a ditch with a twisted ankle and a stitch, or crawling the last mile of a race with a broken ankle, Roger Bannister will jump out of a hedge, pat me on the back and give me a badge that says 'Congratulations, you're a runner'.)

Anyway, I digress.  A few months ago I read a book called 'What I Talk About When I Talk About Running' by Haruki Murakami.  I read this not because of an interest in running, but because he's my favourite author and I'd read all of his other books!  But I really enjoyed it.  And I started to really enjoy the idea of running.  There's something quite poetic about be-trainered feet pounding through a forest or along a road, crushing gravel and pine needles underfoot.  There's something quite primitive about doing something that doesn't require fancy equipment or expensive membership.  And for me, there's something very appealing about something that gets you out in the fresh air, with only your legs and your heart taking you where you want to go.  But the draw I felt to running was equivalent to me being drawn to weightlifting or gymnastics - I admired those who did it, but my body wasn't capable of it.  And more than that, I knew that, in reality... I didn't have the motivation to running. I could never see myself hopping out of bed at 6am, excited to sprint out of the front door like I imagined seasoned runners must do.  So this meant I would never be a runner.  (Or a gymnast, or a weightlifter).

In reading the book, however, I learned something valuable.  There's a part where Haruki Murakami is interviewing the Olympic runner Toshihiko Seko and he asks him, "Does a runner at your level ever feel like you'd rather not run today, like you don't want to run and would rather just sleep in?" The book says 'He stared at me, and then, in a voice that made it abundantly clear how stupid he thought the question was, replied; "Of course! All the time!" Murakami says "When we lace up our running shoes early in the morning, we feel exactly the same."  If someone had asked me why I didn't run I could reel off hundreds of excuses, but the simple fact is that the only thing stopping you from running a 10k this time next year is you.  When you climb into bed tonight and set your alarm, the only person stopping you from setting it half an hour earlier and going for a run, is you.  Just imagine for a second what that would be like, to go into work and say, "I went for a run this morning."  (Trust me, it feels great.)

On July 23rd of this year I had a day off from work and was about to head out of the door to walk the dog when it occurred to me; "What if I ran with the dog instead of walking him."  I suppose I am lucky in that I already own a pair of running trainers from when I dabbled in going to the gym, but I did exactly that.  It took me 28 minutes to run (with long sections of breathless walking - only able to run a few metres at a time) 1.34 miles. When I got home I was hot, sweaty and utterly exhausted.  But it felt good.  It felt good to have done something.  To have pushed my body and made it do something it found difficult.  And to know that this time next week, and the one after that, I would be better.  Since then I've run ten times (I really am a complete beginner to this).  On Thursday I did the same distance in 15 minutes -  half my first time - and ran an 11 minute mile - three minutes less than my first mile time.  And if I keep running, there are things that I know.  I know that I will get faster, stronger and fitter.  I know that the more I run, the longer distances I'll be able to run, which means I'll be able to burn more calories.  I know that, coupled with a good diet and regular training, running will be my ticket to the body I've always wanted.  I know that I always regret not going running but I never regret going.  It always feels good afterwards.  Every person is built the same and is capable of anything.

To anyone out there who has thought about running but told themselves they can't, I want you to know that you can.  Buy yourself a good pair of trainers, have a good stretch and a warm up, and go.  Run and then walk for a bit, run and then run slower, run around the block and then come back home, but run.  I promise it will be worth it.  Every time I lace up my trainers at 6am the 15-year-old inside of me having a minor asthma attack tells me not to, but to everyone still in bed, or sat on the sofa, I am that girl striding ahead, my ponytail swinging away in the distance.

Running is a great form of exercise and key to keeping a healthy body.  Sometimes injuries can occur from doing running such as a sprains or muscle tears and you may need to visit a specialist injuries clinic. There are a number of these clinics located in local private hospitals in Birmingham.