. .

Sunday, August 28, 2016

How to Lose a Belly When You're 42 (part 2)

Monday
Up early to eat an orange and then to stagger around the block for 1.5 miles. I actually ran it at 9m27s pace which is quite fast for me!
Home for cornflakes.
Back to work!
I cycled the 4.5 miles to work.
It's enrolment week at the college so staff went in to help out and enrol some new students.
I was very healthy until about 2:30pm when I cracked and headed to the canteen for armfuls of unhealthy food! I left work at 7pm and cycled back.
At home, it was all about relaxing with Mouse, Tilly and Lucy. We were glued to the TV, enjoying lots of naughty food, and I had a few drinks (I only had lager in the house but it's pay day tomorrow!)

Exercise
Run: 1.5 miles at 9:27 pace
Cycled to work and back (9miles)

Booze

2 x lager (300ml bottles)
A whisky

Food

Orange
Cornflakes with semi-skimmed milk
Cheese salad sandwich on brown bread
Kitkat
2 x coffee
Bounty
Bag of crisps
Two huge bowls of Lucy's homemade beef chili with rice
Garlic bread
Profiteroles with chocolate sauce.


Tuesday
Resting Heart Rate: 46
Today was hot! Unfortunately, I had to go in to work for enrolment in the morning but was able to get out of there at about 1:30pm (after loads of tea and biccies!) The cycle home in the sunshine involved a stop off at Scotts cycles to investigate a loud creaking sound on my 70s Raleigh Carlton bike.
At home, I got the tools out and worked on the bike following the instructions that Pete had given me at the shop. It was great feeling working with my hands outdoors in the sunshine. The creaking has stopped and now the bike sounds super (almost silent!)
Next, I did a bit of housework, and then promptly fell asleep in the backgarden while reading comics.
I woke up in time to get showered and changed ready for Karate. Martha and I attended a fast-paced sweaty session that covered basics, kata and kumite.
Back home for more TV and beer...

Exercise
Cycled to work and back (9 miles)
One hour of Karate training

Booze

2 x lager (300ml bottles)

Food

Peanut butter on 2 wholemeal toast
Cup of Redbush tea
2 x cups of Earl Grey tea
6 biscuits
1 peanut cookie
A tube of Smarties
Leftover beef chili with wholewheat pasta


Wednesday
Cycled in to work and managed to resist the junkfood. I had an apple instead! Cycled home in the glorious sunshine for a light lunch of chicken and vegetable soup (from a tin.) The lanes were calling me so I jumped on the road bike and set off to do my original Snitterfield 36 route. I didn't take any food with me and only picked up one bidon...

Calm, confident, doomed.


Everything was going well until I'd cycled about 24 miles. I was averaging 16mph for the first 5 miles and then the climbs chipped away at this until I was going at 14.5 mph. Not too bad. But at 24 miles I first noticed how very hungry I was. I don't think there are many calories in a small tin of soup. Then the legs started to complain...
At this point I wasn't too far from Jane and Eric's house. I nearly turned around and headed over to them for cake and tea but I was determined to avoid the junkfood today. So I carried on.
At about 28 miles I was starting to suffer. I was having difficulty holding the bike at 12mph even on the flat! This was bad.
I decided I'd call in at the Winged Spur in Ullenhall and see what they had on their menu. But when I got to Ullenhall, the pub was closed and advertised for sale!
I only had a dribble of water left in the bottle.

"I'm fucked," I whispered to myself.

Spinning a tiny gear to get home, I was overtaken by another rider who shouted hello at me.

"Got any food?!" I shouted after him. He braked and rode along side me while I explained my situation. He didn't have any food but he asked me how far I had to go. When I told him I had 7 miles to travel, it looked like he was going to ride it with me. I explained to him that there was nothing to be done and that he should carry on and enjoy his ride.
So off he went. Nice chap.

By the time I got to Tom Hill I had no water left and my mouth was so dry it was hard to swallow. I almost threw up on the climb. I span the gears in the little ring and eventually made it to Jonnie's house where I drank an ale with him and told my tale of woe.
Back at home, I chomped on a banana and set about making a healthy dinner for the family.
Later, I tried to watch the Vuelta but I started nodding off. I poured the last half of my beer away and made myself a coffee instead.
No junkfood today.

Exercise

Road ride: 35.8 miles at 13.2mph
Cycled to work and back (9 miles)

Booze

2 and a half bottles of ale

Food

Pink grapefruit juice (100% not from concentrate)
Cup of redbush tea
2 x peanut butter on wholemeal toast
Coffee
Apple
Chicken and vegetable soup (tinned)
Banana
Homemade Mexican scrambled eggs (with peppers, onions, wholemeal tortilla, mushrooms, tomatoes) and homemade potato paprika wedges.
Coffee



Thursday
Got up early to take the lad next door to the coach station. Back at home for about 8:15am so I took the opportunity to do some light weight training. It was a very warm day so I got very sweaty during the hour's lifting. However, I didn't strain any muscles and my back felt okay.
Martha made cake...
In the afternoon, the family went for a walk around the Lickey Hills. We covered 4 miles and got a bit wet and muddy.

Lickey Hills: I miss mountain biking here.

In the evening, I had a big dinner, watched some TV, drank some beer and ate some pudding!

Exercise:

100 press ups
100 triceps dips
100 leg raises
Deadlift (54kg) 5 sets of 5 lifts
Barbell Shrugs (48kg) 5x5
Squats (30kg) 5x5
Barbell curls (29kg)
Side raises (6.5kg) 5x5
Dumb bell curls (17kg) 5x5

Booze

1 bottle of stout
1 bottle of black IPA

Food

Pink grapefruit juice
Cornflakes and cheerios with semi-skimmed milk
Peanut butter on 2 wholemeal toast
4 peanut cookies
2 x Earl Grey tea
Lucy's homemade tomato soup with wholemeal tortilla
2 slices of homemade lemon drizzle cake
2 burgers with mushrooms, onions, potatoes, rice, homegrown green beans and salad
3 fancy chocolates
1 bowl of chocolate ice cream.

Friday
I got up far too early this morning so I went for a run with Tilly.
After that, I joined Sensei Gary Beggan of Ruach Karate for a cycle ride in the country lanes. We headed down to Lowsonford in the glorious sunshine. We headed back on much the same route taking in a detour through Packwood House along the way. It had been quite a while since Sensei Gary had been on a bike and he showed his strength and determination to keep going even when it was apparent that he was in quite some discomfort.
In the afternoon, the family went for a walk along the Grand Union and Stratford-Upon-Avon Canals.
A little later, Martha and I headed off for an excellent Karate session at Tudor Grange leisure centre. Sensei Mark placed the emphasis of the lesson on correct stance and technique. A thoroughly enjoyable basics workout.
In the evening, Lucy and I indulged in lots of tasty food and watched The Night Manager on the BBC.
No alcohol tonight.

Exercise

7 minute run
15.8 mile bicycle ride at 9.5mph.
3.2 mile walk
Karate lesson

Booze

None

Food

Cup of redbush tea
Glass of pink grapfruit juice
Peanut butter on 2 wholemeal toast
Banana
Homemade lemon drizzle cake
Cup of Earl Grey tea
5 fish fingers with noodles and salad
Homemade sausage casserole with wholewheat pasta and homegrown green beans
2 fancy chocolates
Bowl of chocolate ice cream

Saturday

I got up late. I made breakfast for Lucy and myself and then set about lifting some weights. Again, I'm keeping it light for now but I was still aching after an hour and the overhead presses were really hard for some reason. I did some stretching afterwards too.
This afternoon, Ruach Karate club took part in the I am Team GB event by promoting our club at Stratford Leisure Centre and inviting people to take part for free. Sensei Gary asked if I would help out and, of course, I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, not many people took us up on our offer of free training, but at least I got a good work-out at Stratford this afternoon!

Free Karate at Stratford Leisure Centre


I drove back home to help out Lucy doing some jobs around the house and then kicked back with homemade curry, some ales and quality TV (including The Night Manager and highlights of the Vuelta.)


Exercise:

100 press-ups
100 triceps dips
100 leg raises
Barbell Shrugs (48kg): 5 sets of 5
Barbell curls (30kg): 5x5
Dumb bell curls (17kg): 5x5
Side raises (6.5kg): 5x5
Front raises (8kg): 5x5
Overhead Press (29kg): 5x5

One hour Karate training


Booze:

1 bottle of dark ale
1 bottle of stout

Food:

Glass of pink grapefruit and orange juice (100% not from concentrate)
Cup of redbush tea
Bacon, eggs and homegrown tomatoes on wholemeal toast
Banana
2 cups of Earl Grey tea
2 slices of homemade drizzle cake
Homemade chicken curry with homegrown tomatoes and green beans served with naan, basmati rice and onion bhajis.
Bowl of chocolate ice cream.
2 fancy chocolates


Sunday
Up at 7:20am for a healthy breakfast. Then I leaped on to the race bike and headed off to call for Jonnie. We steamed off into the lanes towards Honiley. It wasn't a bright day but it was dry and warm and by the time we got to Wilmcote at 15.0mph we were both quite sweaty! We refuelled on homemade cake and tea before launching ourselves towards Aston Cantlow and the lanes home.
Back at Jonnie's, enjoying a recovery lager, we looked at his Strava results: We had covered 40 miles at 14.9mph which I thought was decent but Strava disagreed. Apparently our time today was rather slow compared to our usual performance.
Oh well, must try harder.
I cycled home to enjoy the remains of last night's curry.

Jonnie flying up a hill (but not as fast as we thought) towards the end of today's ride.
In the afternoon, the gang headed over to Nigel's to experience the full barbeque and beer treatment at the Snooty Fox - his garden bar. We had a lovely time and I got to chat with Andy - another keen cyclist friend of Nigel's whom I've ridden with once before. Nigel asked if I fancied a ride in the morning and of course I said yes!
I spent the rest of the time at the party eating and drinking lots with Jonnie! Lucy was kind enough to drive us home!
Back at base, I drank tea, ate cake, sipped water and watched the last episode of The Night Manager.

Exercise:

Road bike ride: 41.5 miles at 14.9mph.

Booze:

1 bottle of lager (300ml)
2 bottles of ale
2 small glasses of red wine

Food:

Peanut butter on 2 slices of wholemeal toast
Orange juice
Cup of redbush tea
Banana
Homemade lemon cake
Cup of tea
Homemade chicken and veg curry
Hotdog from the barbeque
Key lime pie with strawberries
Cup of Earl Grey tea
Homemade drizzle cake


Weekly Summary
I exercised for 7 of the 7 days
I ate healthily on 1 day
I stayed sober on 1 day
This is just a tiny improvement on last week but at least I'm heading in the right direction. Next week I'll continue to exercise every day and I'll try to improve the diet!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

How to Lose a Belly When You're 42 (part 1)

It was all going rather well.

I started my "fitness" blog at the start of the year as a way to motivate myself to adopt a healthier lifestyle and hopefully shift the beer belly that has plagued me for almost all of my adult life.
Over a period of 5 months I stuck determinedly to my diet and exercise plan and I saw my weight steadily come down and my fitness increase.
I went from staggering around the block in January to eventually running a 55 minute 10K for charity with my brother in May.

It all started to go wrong in May. The problem was my workload at college. The exams department had messed up royally and nearly all of our students had been entered for the wrong exam levels. I had too much to do and too little time to do it in which meant I had to stay longer hours at work. The first thing I had to cut was circuit training on Wednesday evenings. Then I found that I simply didn't have time to do my usual Monday night run or weight lifting session before dinner. Eventually, both Lucy and I found ourselves marking papers and coursework folders late into the evening, sometimes past 11pm.
This amount of pressure leads to lazy habits (it does for me anyway!) and to keep me going I often resorted to the sugary junkfood in the staffroom. I chose the unhealthy options in the canteen.
I let myself down.
And then there's the booze. After an 11 hour day with the prospect of another couple of hours of marking to go, a local pale ale or bitter with my dinner was very welcome. Oh, and I might enjoy another one while I get on with my paperwork...

Looking back at my training diary: I tried to restart my program three times in June and once in July. Each time it failed because I was too tired to complete the exercise properly or just couldn't resist a glass of red when I eventually flopped on the couch.

This summer has been one of cycling, beer and unhealthy treats! I did manage to cycle a 100 mile ride for charity with good mates Nigel and Lloyd but that was about it for accomplishments this year. I've ridden my bike in Wales and in Cornwall (the hills!) and attended the occasional Karate lesson but I didn't stick to a structured training plan this summer.
The most depressing thing about all of this is how it affected my two holidays: this has been the first year when I've been too embarrassed to take my shirt off on the beach. My stomach looks like a hairy white blancmange that's been stuck on the front of me. I hate it and it's got to go.

How I spent my summer: Hoodie on the beach.

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I'm now ready to give the healthy lifestyle another go. I'm determined to get back into running, weight training, martial arts and cycling and to shift the flab. The main problem is that, when I get back to work, I'm facing the worst timetable I've ever had: teaching a mix of Supported Learning, pre-16 students and ESOL learners spread over two campuses, I'm going to have to be more organised than I've ever been before. I'm dreading it and how it's going to affect my training. This is why I've decided to start off my training program VERY gently and then gradually increase the intensity until Christmas when I should be training at the same level I was at the start of May. This will then set me up to hit it really hard in the new year.

So it's going to be a long journey but one I'm going to see to a successful end this time.

Monday
So, here I go again.
This year, I'm going to keep a record of everything I eat, mainly so I can monitor it myself. I'll put the list of food at the end of each day's entry so you can easily skip past it if you're not interested in that bit.

Last night was a late one and I woke up with a bit of a fuzzy head. I also had a sore throat which I know is normally the beginning of a cold so I drank a Lemsip for breakfast. For the rest of the day I lounged about in the backgarden to enjoy the sunshine with Lucy and Debbie and we ate loads of junkfood (even a visit to McDonald's was involved!) I took the dogs for a couple of miles walk in the park.
In the evening, my belly and I went for a very slow jog and managed to stagger 1.2 miles at 10:21 pace. Oh well, it's a start!
For dinner I made my famous Mexican Scrambled Eggs with vegetables and potatoes which is the only healthy thing I ate all day.
I stayed up to cheer on Cav and Laura Trott in the Olympics (while eating all the time!)

Exercise:

Run: 1.2 miles

Booze: 
none

Food:

Cornflakes with semi-skimmed milk
Cup of Earl Grey tea
Homemade coffee cake
McFlurry!
Chocolate digestive
Bag of crisps
Homemade Mexican scrambled eggs (including wholewheat tortilla, peppers, mushrooms, spring onions and Lucy's homegrown tomatoes) with homemade potato wedges.
Another bowl of cornflakes with semi-skimmed milk
An ice-cream Magnum
Muller Corner


Tuesday
Weight: 10st 5lbs
I slept for 9.5 hours last night!
I still had a sore throat when I woke up but I didn't bother with a Lemsip.
Today, after I took the dogs out for their walk, I washed and lubricated three of my bikes in the sunshine. This evening, I went to my first Karate lesson in a while. We trained with Sensei Gary and he used the class to help get three of our members ready for a kumite competition. I got a bit sweaty and found that I've slowed down considerably over the last couple of months.
At home, Lucy had created a marvelous homemade curry. I had two huge bowlfuls with a glass of cava. Then I sat up to cheer Trotty and Jason Kenny to cycling victory!

Exercise:

Karate session

Booze:

One glass of cava

Food:

Peanut butter on two slices of wholewheat toast
Cup of redbush tea.
Five sultana and oat cookies.
Four cod fish fingers with noodles and Lucy's homegrown runner beans.
Homemade chicken curry with green beans, tomatoes, brown rice, naan and poppadoms.
Ice cream Magnum
Three squares of organic milk chocolate.



Wednesday

The only healthy thing I did today was to ride my bike in the sunshine. I headed out into the country lanes down to Norton Lindsey. I cycled 28.5 miles at 14.1mph. My right pedal (antique!) feels a bit wobbly so I'll have to give it another service soon.
The rest of the day involved lots of driving and then sitting outside in the warm night feeding wood into Eric's chiminea.

Exercise:

Road bike: 28.5 miles at 14.1mph.

Booze:

1 can of ale
1 bottle of ale

Food:

Redbush tea
Peanut butter on two slices of wholemeal toast
Earl Grey tea
2 Sultana and oat cookies
Leftover chicken and vegetable homemade curry with wholewheat pasta
Banana
2 beef burgers with onion, potatoes and salad.
Cup of tea
Slice of homemade coffee and walnut cake.
140g of chocolate covered brazil nuts.
6 squares of organic milk chocolate.

Thursday
Another warm sunny day.
I decided another ride out in the country was in order. Unfortunately, when I wheeled the Specialized out of the garage and checked the wobbly pedal I discovered that it wasn't a wobbly pedal at all. It was a loose bottom bracket...
I drove the bike down to Scotts Cycles. I know I swore that I wouldn't go there again but there's something about the place...I even drove past Red Kite cycles to get there! Yesterday, when I was driving to New Street Station, I drove past Scotts Cycles and noticed that they had a "Hope Supplier" sticker in their window. It was probably this that inspired me to go back.
When I got to Scotts Cycles today I discovered it wasn't Pete behind the counter but the friendly guy with a limp who is probably gay. He agreed that my bearings were shot and I needed a new BB. We discussed the climbs in Cornwall for a while (I've recently got back from a holiday in Cornwall where I rode a 34 mile route with 3000ft of climbing!).
He produced a Shimano bottom bracket and priced it at £20. Then he offered me an upgrade - a different Shimano one for £25.

"I notice you're a Hope supplier,"  I said casually.
"We have been for a long time," was the reply.
"British made aren't they?" I inquired.
"British made and handbuilt. They take a bit more care and use stainless steel bearings. When it becomes faulty we'd just replace the bearings not the whole bottom bracket. We have them in stock and can supply them in whatever colour you want. They're a bit of a step-up form the mass produced Japanese ones."
With this, he whipped out a catalogue and showed me beautifully made components in an array of supercool colours. I decided that red would look awesome on my black bike.
"How much are these?" I asked.
"£85," came the reply.
"Ah."
There then followed a pause where two men, in love with bikes and beautiful British bike parts, stared in silence at a colourful catalogue dedicated to such things.
"I'll have the Japanese one," I said eventually.
I may have cried a little on the way home.

To cheer myself up I jumped on the mountain bike and rode down to Wilmcote and back on the canal. I was supplied with homemade cake and a cup of tea at the halfway point. The ride was over 30 miles but Strava only shows 20 because I forgot to restart it when I stopped to text Lucy.

Exercise
30+ off-road miles at 11+ mph

Booze

2 whiskies
1 bottle of stout

Food

Peanut butter on 2 slices of wholemeal toast.
Peanut cookie
Cup of Redbush tea.
Banana
Homemade coffee cake
Cup of tea
6 squares of organic milk chocolate
Lucy's homemade shepherds pie with oven chips and loads of peas and green beans.
Ice cream Magnum


Friday

Weight: 10st 6lbs
I did some weight lifting this morning. I'm just starting off light again to get used to the techniques. My back was hurting after the first 5 minutes!
After lunch I walked the dogs in the rain and then went to a karate lesson. We practised kata, fighting and basics today.
I went home for loads of food and to watch GB win the women's hockey in the Olympics!

Exercise:
Warm up - 
triceps dips:100
press ups: 100
leg raises: 100

Weight training - 

Overhead press (29kg) 5 sets of 5 reps
Squats (29kg) 5x5
Bar curls (28kg) 5x5
Dumbbell front raises (8kg) 5x5
Dumbbell side raises (6.5kg) 5x5
Dumbbell curls (17kg) 5x5 

1 hour of karate


Booze:

1 bottle of ale
1 double whisky

Food:

Peanut butter on 2 slices of wholemeal toast.
Cup of Redbush tea
Banana
5 peanut cookies
Tin of tuna with noodles
2 fried fresh plaice fillets (and half of Lucy's cod) with green beans (from Lucy's garden) and savoury rice.
Homemade blackberry desert


Saturday
This morning, I went over to help out at the Walsall Road Allotments who were holding a Summer Fayre in honour of my father and raising funds for the Macular Society. My mother is a plotholder at the allotments and she was selling lots of vegetables. My brother and I manned the front gate.
Mom had packed a lunch for us and, after the fayre had finished, we visited the local Harvester for a well-earned rest and loads of grub.
By the time I got home it was almost 9:30 and I simply couldn't muster the energy to do any exercise.
A very enjoyable day, but a terrible one for my "healthy" lifestyle!

Exercise

None!

Booze

2 pints of Doombar beer
1 bottle of ale
1 small whisky

Food

Peanut butter on two slices of wholemeal toast
Cup of Redbush tea
2 x chicken on white roll
Bag of crisps
Leafy salad with cucumber and tomatoes
2 mini pork pies
2 mini sausage rolls
Cup of tea
Grilled salmon with peppers, rice, lettuce, cucumber and pineapple, 
Rocky Horror desert (ice cream, cream, chocolate brownie!)


Sunday
After waiting unsuccessfully for Nigel to come over to the house (he overdosed on 80s music last night) I went out for a solo ride at about 9:15am. I didn't have much of an idea of where I was going. I started off on the Shrewley Route and then turned off onto a part of the Honiley Route. Then onto the Stratford 48 for a while (the Langley bit) before trying out some new lanes and finding myself back in Lowsonford. All in all, an enjoyable, slower ride.
After lunch, I took the dogs out to the park. I didn't use the car so I added an extra mile or two by walking there and back.
Karate was excellent this afternoon. We worked with 6th Dan Ronnie Christopher who stressed the importance of training at home. In fact, he said that the work we do at home was the most important part of training.
We started off with some sparring, then kata and finally some kicking techniques.
After dinner I drank beer and watched TV with Lucy.
I didn't have any junkfood today.

Exercise
32 miles of cycling at 14.2mph
1 hour of karate training

Booze
2 bottles of ale
1 whisky

Food
Peanut butter on 2 slices of wholemeal toast.
Tin of tuna with cucumber and plain noodles
Chicken dinner with potatoes and vegetables and Yorkshire pudding.

Weekly Summary
I exercised for 6 of the 7 days
I ate healthily on 1 day
I stayed sober on 1 day
Obviously, this needs to improve dramatically if my fitness is to increase and I'm to lose the beer belly. Still, it's a start, and next week I will improve on this.