Sunday, 12 August 2012

Fitness update and some recent inspirations

OK, so no food waffle today (pun not intended).

My exercise life has been going strong for the last couple of weeks since having to pull out of the 10K event. I am still following my weight-lifting plan and just coming to the end of my fifth week. Strength has been gradually increasing and my recent successes include squatting 55kg (plus the bar) on the Smith Machine and bench pressing a 25Kg barbell, both completed to 3 sets of 10 reps without failure. When/If I ever get a training partner or spotter (James) I will focus more on training heavier and to failure.

This time next week I'll have a think about where I can change things up, taking up the things I have enjoyed about the workouts and mixing in some stuff I have researched. I enjoy keeping my body guessing as this helps to avoid plateau and it keeps my interest in keeping fit alive. I can't imagine the gall of 'having' to keep up with a regime that bored me, life is too short to spend hours doing things that you hate.

I went to another combat class yesterday and I'm pleased to report that though I can feel a little soreness in my back, it's nothing like the sensation of having had a stampede trampling on my back that I had last week! I have also been working on flexibility and core strength through practising yoga poses, both in and out of class. It's so refreshing to take some time to really get to know how your breath and body feels and the sensation of relaxation and energising afterwards.

I haven't done any proper distance running (over 30 minutes) for a couple of weeks, though I have done interval training on the treadmill, working at 1minute:1minute intervals of 8km/h and 15km/h (10 repetitions)  in my last session which I was very happy with, and of course hour long spinning classes do well to build cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

So that's the fitness side of things. I also love reading other food and fitness blogs on my google reader and it's the many blogs I read that inspire me to blog myself. Here are some recent highlights for me - it's a mixed bag of health, food, fitness posts - but I hope you find something here to inspire you too.

This looks like an awesomely simple yet versatile recipe that I would love to try once I get my hands on some split peas!

I'd love for BBQ season to come around again to make up one of these and make up some Tzatiziki to smother it with!

Some great tips that I will be considering when revising my workout plan next weekend

The creativity that goes into every single recipe on this blogs just wows me every time. Those shells are made from Cauliflower?! What the?! I love to think that I would get round to making these but in the meantime I will just gawk and wait for someone to make them for me!

Did you see this documentary on the BBC? "Eat, Fast and Live Longer" explored the impact of fasting on prevention of preventable diseases like cancer and cardiovascular illness, based on the effect that fasting has on cellular activity. The 5:2 (5 days a week eating however you want and 2 days at a low calorie intake) was deemed the most preferable way of getting these life-enhancing benefits. Jacqueline has written about how she has been inspired by the programme. I must add, though, it's not something that I will be dabbling in, at least not for a while.

There has been a lot more on my reader that has made me drool inspired me later but at risk of this becoming another foodie post I guess I should hold back :-P

My last couple of weeks have also been dominated by coverage of the London Olympics. Haven't team GB been doing so well?! In fact, each and everyone of the competitors are inspiring - I thought that I train hard but their schedules are mind-bogglingly intense. The fact the team GB have been doing so well proves interesting to me from a Psychological perspective - that bridge between body and mind, the way that the motivation of a home crowd can help you tap into that extra 10% of exertion to get that medal. This has clearly been at work and the athletes are quick to observe and mention this when they reflect on their medal-winning performances. Here are my stand out performances:

  • Jessica Ennis - Won gold in the heptathlon, including event performances that would've been medal-worthy in their own right. The dedication of training yourself in seven disciplines for one medal, rather than one event like most other!
  • Nicola Adams - Winning the first ever women's boxing Olympic gold. A historic moment in women's sports and will be sire to inspire interest and uptake in the sport for other women. And such a lovely lady too!
  • Laura Trott - Double gold at the velodrome and after all the injury/medical trauma she has been through, at just 20 years old????!!! A real inspiration (I may or may not have pretended to be her in my last spinning class...)
  • Mo Farah - Double gold in 5 and 10Km races at a pace that I could only dream of sustaining for about a minute...just incredible.
  • Oscar Pistorias - The South African's participation in the men's 400m semi and 4x400m relay final has broken boundaries in this Olympics and his no excuses, no boundaries attitude is what everybody could do with remembering once in a while. I think this picture which has been storming the online world sums it up well

Hope this has given you something to chew over (oh, fine, yes that food pun was intended...) and that you're able to take some inspiration from this Olympics, just as I am.

Hannah xx

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