All the Small Things

Training went very well yesterday. I made some important personal progress. I’ve also applied to be a Media Champion, so we’ll see how that goes.

And now, Progress News:

As it transpired, there’s still some work to do on this, but no matter. It’s gonna be finished today, as is the other stuff I planned to do. However, there’s a 5k Run to put in first, as we are getting close to the end of REDJanuary, and I still have some fundraising to do. The plan is to take a day off on Saturday and just do my daily yoga, and then start again on Sunday except this time rest days get scheduled in.

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I reckon it will happen again next year, assuming the planet survives that long and we’re not eaten by mutating viruses. Overall, it’s been a massively helpful learning experience, and I’m all for those in my life. There’s also an almost fully formed plan for February as well, which we’ll finish off sometime next week: i’d planned to try and do some video work this month too, but quite honestly there has simply not been the time.

We’ll fix that going forward.

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I have often ascribed to the slogan ‘slow is the new fast’ and never was that more appropriate than right now. However, the momentum is all forward, where normally after an event like Thursday’s I’d either never acknowledge it happened, or just go backwards. So in that respect, this is new and potentially quite interesting. I thought about locking my ‘main’ Twitter account but nah, it can stay as it is for now.

We’ll do the discussion elsewhere.

Right, let’s get going.

Different Class

I am behind, but only notionally. It’s an indicator of progression that I realised this yesterday and have therefore made today a stay at home one, with all the stuff that needs to be done ‘outside’ tackled tomorrow. Assuming I can edit this pamphlet submission to my liking and have that plus another piece ready for husband to look at this evening, everything else is eminently completable.

Much has improved this month, and undoubtedly exercise is at least in part responsible. However, there is a downside, which doesn’t matter so much now when I’m busy, but will really begin to bite when I’m not. After all, part of the wider plan last year was to drag my sorry arse out and become more sociable. It was working very well too, right up until yesterday when everybody appears to have decided they’ve had enough.

I can’t make anyone else like exercise as much as I do right now, that’s not how this works. I also get that these people have lives which are not comparable to mine. Trying to fit everything in becomes an increasingly precarious ask, and as a result it might be time at the end of the month to rethink my exercise position in terms of what is done where. I may well go down to two classes a week instead of three.

The rest therefore can be done on a bike, in the mornings instead of evenings. It occurs to me I need to set a notional goal for February as has been the case in January, and it might be a plan to do so now rather than panic and scrabble about to do so the week before, especially as classes are organised so far in advance. In fact, whilst I’m having that crucial third cuppa, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

Time to move exercise to the next level.

One Week

I should be finishing work posts but hey, it’s Friday night and maybe it is high time I cut myself a break. Relaxing is never something that’s been easy or simple: increasingly, that will involve a treadmill and headphones. That’s how my fitness journey began, years ago… walking around the local streets, listening to music that helped me escape the issues that often threatened to overwhelm completely.

Now, everything is easier. Tonight’s Treat Night would normally have been Chinese, but the local’s just too much sugar and too much fat on everything. Instead, plans were changed, and the Chicken Pad Thai that’s just been consumed was one of the most enjoyable things eaten for quite some time. I suspect, in it’s own way, it will have been just as bad as the old stuff, but there are crucial differences.

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White rice is now off the menu for good, as is most forms of white bread. The bloating that accompanies is not simply an inconvenience but increasingly uncomfortable: that makes sushi choices a bit more limited, but having proved to myself in the week that Japanese food is still a good call, especially with oily fish a must-eat food… it is all part of my adaptive process.

I will do the exercise write up tomorrow after my Mental Health Champion stuff: needless to say, right now, this is the strongest I’ve felt for quite some time.ย How that now translates into exercise going forward will largely depend on the refuelling, realising that traditional means of a quick energy fix can no longer be used or indeed relied on. It’ll all work itself out in the end.

There’s confidence in myself to make these changes stick.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

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Once upon a time, two hours walking was my limit. It was a massive achievement to be able to do so and not stop for a rest, yet at the end be so tired that I’d need a lie down. Yesterday, it flew by. I was full of energy, really wasn’t aware I’d been out for so long. The key however, to showing a largely grey workout at this point is to stateย that I burnt nearly 500 calories on this task.

That’s the equivalent of a 45 minute Blaze class.

How it affects each individual body is different, of course, but this is a heart rate monitor recording and NOT your wrist. I stupidly managed to delete the Fitbit record of this walk, but it very much erroneously recorded it via a heart rate glitch at nearly 800 calories.ย The only truly reliable means of confirming effort is using a chest strap, for obvious reasons. The fact remains, however, two hours active is a bunch of work.

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I’ll be off to the Gym shortly: probably gonna do a HIIT run, lift weights and do core work. It is only by the process of continued effort that this level of fitness can be maintained, and I certainly have no desire to let anything drop going forward. Understanding that ALL exercise is beneficial however is the biggest takeaway from the last two months, and that my wrist monitor has other uses.

It may not be an accurate indicator of heart-rate, but the step count feature is what keeps errant brain on the straight and narrow. Knowing I need to move, completed 12k steps a day, got up once an hour and at least done something… those basics are the building blocks of long-term fitness. It stops distraction in other tasks, reminds that there needs to be thought and choices during your day.

The Fitbit really has been a life-changer, all told.

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However, right now I’m not wearing it. It’s charging, and occasionally it is liberating not to do a class with the perennial thrall of progress on your wrist. Here’s where wearable tech ultimately falls down: being permanently beholden to your step count can put some people off the benefits of being fitter by their own design. Learning to let go does happen over time, however: once you know you’re the one in charge…

It also helps that I’m not proving anything to anybody but myself when exercising.

Asleep in the Back

We are pleased to present the last 24 hours in Tweet form:

Donation #7 is new territory, all told. This is undoubtedly the fittest I have ever been. It is probably the tiredest I’ve ever felt post donation because of the amount of work done yesterday. However, this morning, I am definitely feeling more aware and focused than has been the case for some time. In fact, I am giving some quite serious thought to walking to counselling today.

Intense physical exercise is off the books until Thursday: I’m not doing Blaze 55 on Wednesday night, it is literally too soon. So, it will be brisk walking (could even wear the HR belt, thinking about it) and probably some cycling until Thursday, then we’ll try and get back into it. Undoubtedly however, today is a big change. Not only because of the physical changes, but mental ones too.

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I’d better go and get myself ready for a walk, then.

Love What You Do

This is one of many lines in the sand, drawn because I’m absolutely fed up of growth being used as a means to make money, and not betterment as a person. I have no desire to share my posts and improve likes by sticking a hashtag on the end. However, I’ve included one that will get me picked up when posting this by a particular group of people for a very good reason. This is a cautionary warning to those I began to follow using said hashtag because, rather naively, there was an assumption people would form relationships based on mutual interest and not simply for self-promotion.

At 52, there’s still an awful lot left to learn.

What matters far more than the number of people who follow each without thinking are those who do and then realise that looking to themselves for answers is a better use of time and effort. It is the complete antithesis of growth in a material sense, because to truly grasp the lessons required to survive as a person needs introspection, not a legion of similar followers. The single-minded pursuit of wealth and success is not the answer, and whilst such a small proportion of the worlds’ population holds the most money, it never will be. Praying at the Church of Consumerismย is driving the planet towards self-destruction.

This is not what I want to be a part of, and it’s not the future ascribed to.

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If success is measured by volume, then follower numbers need to keep dropping. I’d rather sit in a virtual room with those who care and listen, and those who can help me improve than ever be associated with bling and noise. If I am going to make any cash from this endeavour (and at some point, not gonna lie, that remains an ambition) it will be from actual material output: my words, my pictures, that’s it. Their carbon footprints will be small, and I’ll know exactly how they were generated.

Therefore this needs stating: at some point in the next 12 months,ย you willย be asked if you wish to buy stuff I make and do.ย However much I may malign consumerism, these websites cost a fixed amount each year to maintain. It would be lovely to earn a modest living as a freelancer. I’m not after massive success and adulation either. Nothing is further from my mind at this point. What matters is to be successful on my terms, confident in my space, whilst producing things that make me happy. It’s not a pipe dream either, other people can and still do this. My issue, such as it remains, is redefining a career path in my fifties.

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Those who support and nurture me are known and loved. These people provide a foundation moving forward. The next stage, undoubtedly, is the push towards making total strangers sit up and listen. There are shoots, first flush of new growth, and that’s my plan moving forward. Build a name for myself using honestly, humour and pictures.

Yup, that will mean video. It will happen, trust me, and probably before Christmas.

You Wear It Well

I was in the Gym at 9am this morning. There’s the first changes to air quality which, I suspect, is the beginning of cherry blossom and daffodils making my hyper-sensitive lungs splutter and strain their way to the end of July. Ah, hayfever.ย My weight’s up again but not by much, so, we’ll keep on with the food monitoring and driving myself into the ground under the auspices of Fitness (TM) Don’t get me wrong, I still love all this shit, but on days where my brain is trying to process all the mental stuff that is going on above the priority of physical relaxation… it gets tough.

I managed a significant step forward on the exercise front yesterday, as it happens.

Twenty-six seconds faster is MAHOOSIVE, people. It shows a considerable strengthening of leg muscles and improvement in stamina. There needs to be more hills in my training now and tomorrow an FTP test is scheduled. Improvement is not just about doing the same thing over and over, after all. I struggled a bit with heavier weights this morning so went down a bit to complete maximum sets of everything. It is the hangover from last week’s negatives, but there is strength there which didn’t exist before. It would help if I’d have managed more than six hours sleep last night, but that’s what happens when you decide to change everything pretty much overnight.

It’ll take a while to sort out all the changes I instigated over the weekend, but today is a decent start. I have to hope that fatigue won’t completelyย scupper everything by Friday, but am already cautiously hopeful. It’s when something unexpected happens that everything goes tits up, so *fingers crossed* the next seven days can be as stress-free in that regard as possible…