I initially started these monthly posts as a bit of personal accountability, to track my own progress (as I was going from pretty much a standing start and was really unfit doing no exercise) but I’ve been overwhelmed with messages from people telling me how they’ve been inspired to try new fitness routines, such as weight lifting, running and new healthy eating recipes. I love getting these messages and it would be great to share your stories and pictures of what you’ve been eating on the blog – so please keep them coming!
So what’ve I been up to?
Improving my deadlifts
9 months ago, I’d never even heard of a deadlift and then when I did I thought ‘nahhh those aren’t going to be for me…’ as I’m only a weedy 5ft 3 and also didn’t want to bulk up, but I gave them a go. At first I was nervous of adding weight and I was trying to carefully pick up the bar and then lower it back down without sticking my bum out as that just felt weird! Now I’ve got use to it, it’s one of my favourite exercises as it works all your major muscles, flattened my stomach and maybe given me the start of some abs. I’ve worked up slowly from the 15kg womens training bar to 3 reps at 85kg and multiple sets at 75kg (although this did result in ‘gym hands’ in the picture above. Aside from the physical results, it’s a great stress reliever lifting something that’s way more than your body weight and it makes you feel mentally stronger too. If you haven’t tried a deadlift yet – give it a go! Get some professional coaching on the technique, work up gradually with the weight and I’m sure you’ll get addicted like me!
Snowy hill sprints
Last month we swapped one of our usual ‘Suicide Saturday’ gym sessions for a trip out to Rivington Pike to run up and down some hills. Like that didn’t sound bad enough, the day before it decided to chuck it down with snow and knowing that it would take a lot more than that for it to be cancelled I braced myself for a brutal training session. We ran up and down a load of snowy steps, sloshed through icy mud and puddles before finishing at the summit (1191ft). It was bloody freezing, it hurt, I still hate running and my lungs were aching but it was also a lot of fun and the views were pretty awesome from the top. (The photo of Rivington Pike above is c/o Meg McWhinney).
Winning the March burpee challenge
So this was a bit of a surprise… I remember the first time I attempted a burpee last summer, I was shattered after the first 2 and was a sweaty wheezing mess after 10. This month the gym challenge was to do as many burpees as you could in 90 seconds – girls v boys. My first attempt was 27 and on my second attempt later in the month I managed 29 before collapsing and throwing out some expletives not suitable for this blog! I literally staggered home and lay on the balcony in the rain for about half an hour to recover. Being a competitive little so and so I was still frustrated at being 4 away from the mens top score of 33. I still find burpees horrendous but they do get easier over time, except on your birthday, if anyone ever suggests birthday burpees – make sure you lie about your age! Haha!
Battling the bingo wings
For years I’ve hated my upper arms and had kind of accepted that there was always going to be a bit of wobble there. It was only when I looked back at some old photos I realised that they have been slowly shrinking and firming up and I’ve started to replace the bingo wings with ‘baby biceps’. I’ve shared a cringey comparison photo below from a few years ago to show that I haven’t always been fit (far from it) and it is possible to blitz bingo wings with a bit of hard work! I’ve done this gradually eating healthier to lose weight and incorporating some heavy weighted arm exercises including bench presses, kettlebells/dumbells and pressups. Every time I’m struggling with the bench press I just think of Jennifer Aniston’s toned arms and it usually gets me through another rep.
Building my upper body strength to be able to do chin ups, trying some carb-cycling to see if I can get some proper abs to show through for summer and I’ve signed up to the Great Manchester Run (even though I still hate running)!
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