I’ve signed up for the ‘Ab Challenge’ which is, as the name suggests, a challenge to overhaul your abs. It was a bit of a last minute decision but I’m really pleased I signed up (despite it involving sending a picture of myself half naked to a total stranger – my “before” shot!). I used to have demon abs, and at the moment I’d say they were far from it. Very far. Here’s my ‘Before’ picture, taken a few days ago…(deep breath)
Training this summer has been a bit of a conundrum for me. Unlike most other girls, I love weight training. It’s challenging and fun, and is the fastest way to a better looking body. Usually I strength train 3-4 times a week, and I love the way it makes me look and feel. However, this summer I have been half marathon training, which has involved running around 30 miles a week. This was quite a big rise in mileage for me and the effect on my body has been quite profound – I’m always achey! The problem is, if I strength train I’m often too tired to run well, which means strength training has fallen by the wayside a bit. The result has been overall weight loss, and much less definition – in short, I’m not loving my body at the moment.
I’m hoping the Ab Challenge will change this. Although I think I’m going to have to leave the compound squats and weighted lunges until after the half, I’m excited about bringing more strength training back into my routine. I’ve been a bit lazy on the plank side of things…
I’m also excited about introducing more protein, and overhauling the carbs I use to fuel training. I was working away from home this summer and living with my parents, and there’s nothing like living at home to make you a bit lazy with your diet! Who can refuse a lovely Mummy offering you roast potatoes and yorkshire puds? Only those with hearts of stone, that’s who! Now I’m back in my own place I’m ready to take control of my own diet again. This morning was fasted HIIT sprints followed my protein pancakes and a core strength routine.
Looks like the Ab Challenge was just what I needed.
Other cool stuff:
Yes, I’m still putting off the five thing you love about yourself one. It’s too hard and I can’t write it. So, today, we’ve got five people you love. Equally hard. To narrow it down to five seems ridiculously hard, but then when I started thinking about who (outside of family) did I really love – it was quite hard to get up to five. That’s sad isn’t it? This ‘Five Star Challenge’ is supposed to make me feel all positive, but this particular one made me feel a little sad. Ah well, here’s my five;
- Family. I love all of them in every single way, and I couldn’t possibly pick just five. Also, it’s boring to just go with family.
- My amazing boyfriend for the past 9 years – he asked me out at the disco in Wales while we were on year 8 camp and I haven’t looked back since. Best life pal ever.
- My best friend. We’ve known each other for years and years and I don’t see her as much as I used to or as much as I should, but it’s always like we’ve never been apart.
- My uni flatmates. We lived together for three years and I miss them all the time. We went through a huge amount together and I love them so much. We did a lot of growing and it was a difficult time for me, and I’d have never seen the other side were it not for their support.
- My Mum (I know she’s included in family but she’s special) Mother of 5, grandmother to 6, amazing cook, bestest friend. She is the strongest, most inspirational lady I know and I feel so grateful to have her love and support.
Have a lovely day!
Other cool stuff:
Just saw this on twitter via www.allouteffort.com and thought it was amazing.
It really makes you appreciate the amount of strain excess weight puts on your body. Obviously, this is an extreme example, but it definitely made me stop and think. What did it make you think, I hear you ask?
I think it’s horrible.
Is it PC to say fat is horrible? I don’t really care. Society sees no harm is chastising size zero models and hounding celebrities for being willowy waif like slips of skin and bone, but seems to skirt around the issue of obesity using euphemisms like “heavy frame” and “solid”. A celebrity weight loss or a candid shot of a model looking bony on a beach will make headlines, with harsh and merciless accusations of eating disorders and vanity. It’s far, far less often you see celebrities who are overweight being given the same treatment, as if it’s OK to accuse someone of not being able to feed themselves but heaven forbid you’d accuse someone of eating too much cake in case you hurt their feelings. I know there are exceptions – Tyra Bank was dragged through a media circus when she gained weight, and there have been odd soap stars who’ve been snapped and splashed all over the tabloids looking a bit worse for wear. Clare Nasir springs to mind…
Before and After (Source:www.bigpicturesphoto.com)
I digress. My point is, being underweight and being overweight are just as dangerous as each other. Yes, bodies are different, and no, I’m not saying everyone should look like Demi Moore or David Beckham at the beach (I definitely don’t), but obesity is a growing problem that needs to be addressed. It’s all too easy to say “It’s the way I’m meant to be” or “I’m big boned” and to carry on doing the easy thing – eating shit and doing shit all.
Excessive body fat is not OK. A sedentary lifestyle is not OK. Society needs to promote these messages, rather than tiptoeing around the subject. I’m not saying we should start hating obese people, or that anyone who is overweight should start to hate themselves – you should love yourself, and have confidence in who you are. Part of this is loving yourself enough to treat your body with respect and nourish it properly – do not underfeed it, do not overfeed it, provide it with minerals, nutrients, vitamins. This is the message that needs to be sent out.
Other cool stuff:
Here I am with part 2 of the Five Star Challenge! In case you missed my first post, my new objective is to be healthier in the mind as well as in the body. I realised that I never think positively, especially about myself, and that positive thinking is half the battle. Since I started this ‘challenge’ last week, my running has really improved and I had a great week, taking on my first track session and running 12 miles – a PR for distance! So here I am with part 2, which is Things For Which I Am Grateful…
- Health. I feel so grateful to have a body that works with no ailments or disabilities, and to be (mainly) in my right mind!
- Family. My family are amazing. We’ve always been close and they’re my greatest support network; I feel very lucky to have been born into such a good clan. Love, love, love.
- My boyfriend. He’s bonkers mad and snores a bit, but is otherwise as close to perfection as boyfriends get. He’s caring, gentle, generous, supportive and quite a babe. He also tidies up all the mess I make. Thank my lucky stars…
- Coffee. I know it’s not quite as profound as the others, but I genuinely love coffee. It warms me up (I’m always cold), gives me a kick and is generally very comforting. It’s also amazing iced in the summer, and I love it with syrups (hazelnut, vanilla, caramel, cinnamon…). It might sound silly, but I genuinely love it.
- The sun. Yes, it’s a bit of a stranger in this country but a rare day in the sun makes me feel at peace in a way nothing else can. When we get surprised with a clear sunny day, I feel a totally different type of happiness – for this, I am infinitely grateful.
Happy Monday! Have a brilliant week x
Other cool stuff:
So I was recently looking through some other health and fitness s and came across this ‘Five Star’ affirmation exercise. There are five headings, and for each you have to list five points. The headings are as follows;
- Five Things You Love About Yourself
- Five Things Your Body Can Do
- Five Things For Which You Are Grateful
- Five Things That Make You Happy You’re Alive
- Five People Whom You Love
This appealed to me as I never, ever think positively about myself. I’m one of those people who cannot take a compliment, never puts myself forward for things and generally feels the likelihood of me achieving anything is rock bottom. Looking back, these thoughts are unfounded. I was a Music Scholar at my Sixth Form and came out with three A’s at A-Level, was an Academic Scholar at my university and graduated with a first in Classics and Philosophy, I bagged myself a training contract with a top global law firm within weeks of graduating (in a recession) and have just been awarded a distinction in my law conversion. I’m a reasonable runner – my first 10k time was 54 minutes and 20 seconds, and I’m currently on course to finish my first half marathon in under 2. I have had an amazing boyfriend for the past 9 years, and a lovely flat in London. So, WHY do I doubt myself so much?
In truth, I have no idea. What I do know, however, is that sadly I’m not alone. I often feel sad and isolated, but when I talk intimately with friends about this, so do many of my friends. Most women I know will never admit to feeling confident or self assured, but will only ever admit self doubt and worry. My sister is a successful barrister in London, yet admitted to feeling it was all just luck and one day she would be “found out”. This is ludicrous.
So, this is the first of my five star series. Positive thinking can have a profound effect on your body, and the mental battle is half the battle. Once you’re winning in the mind, your body will follow. So, my new project for this year is to think positively. Having faith in yourself can be the difference between some success and great success, so..here goes!
You’re meant to start with the things you love about yourself, but I (sadly) found that too hard. Instead, here are the five amazing things my body can do. Have a think yourself and see what you would say – learn to love and appreciate yourself, body and soul. You cannot change who you are, so embrace yourself and be the best version of YOU possible.
Five Things My Body Can Do…
- RUN! My body can run, and it never ceases to amaze me. It can keep going, summon up a sprint and sometimes it doesn’t even feel like that much hard work. I love how my body adapts to my trainings and learns to go further, faster and stronger.
- Recover. I spent a few years abusing my body, not feeding it, feeding it the wrong things, bombarding it with excessive exercise and (I’m ashamed to say) daily laxatives. It was a huge strain. However, since healing my mind my body has followed, and it amazes me that it’s bounced back so well.
- Function. Everyday bodily processes fascinate me (think digestion and healing cuts – how?!). I once saw a programme on how the body fights infection and have never felt so in awe. When you realise how hard it works, you realise how important it is to look after it.
- Adapt. As I increased my mileage, my body adapted until it felt as if I’d always run 30 miles a week. When I increase me weights or reps in the gym, my body learns and adapts. When I retrained it to expect frequent smaller meals as opposed to three large ones, it adapted. I love feeling as if I’m getting stronger and fitter, and I have my body to thank for that.
- Hug, kiss, cuddle, snuggle, pat on the back… Contact with the people you love is the best cure for anything. When I’m miserable, a cuddle from my boyfriend will always make me feel better to some degree. When I’m holding it together and ‘being strong’, a hug from my Mummy is likely to make me cry and share and generally stop being such a mug who tries to cope on their own. For these reasons, cuddles will be the final amazing thing my body can do.
What five things can your body do that amaze you?