This is It

I walked to the Gym this morning for the first time in a while: pavements were slippery and required some thought, sky was the Winter Blue of post-storm optimism, and my hip and back were not happy. However, after an hour of exercise, and some heavy weights, things have definitely improved. It has taken a few days to grasp the transformation that has taken place since August: it is also apparent that to make the next step forward, it will be diet that has to change.

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On considered research, I’m going to replace lunch every day with a Huel shake. This will continue to provide a protein hit, but reduce my normal food intake (hopefully) enough to kick-start the fat burning processes. This also appeases that part of me which knows only too well that to save the planet I need to be eating less meat and more plants. I’ve enough cash left after Christmas to afford 4 week’s supply, which means January’s food intake is sorted.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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It was genuinely scary getting on the scales on Friday. I’ll do it again after Christmas, but not before. Food logging’s about to get very serious indeed, because to lose what needs to vanish, there’s gotta be a whole lotta hard work. I’m ready for all this.

This has become the most unexpected of transformations.

The Comfort of Strangers

This article appeared at an apposite moment this morning, after a night of Blaze which was, for the first time, questioned as being worthwhile.

I went to Blaze without any kind of body monitoring: Fitbit was left at home, no heart rate belt was borrowed. The freedom this gave was, it must be said, quite considerable, and that’s the first point to make. This class’ main selling point is showing you  EXACTLY how much work you’ve done. I’ve monitored my exercise via heart rate monitors for seven years in January. SEVEN YEARS. I don’t need to know sometimes. It’s just more liberating not having the silent judgement there as an ever-present, waggling finger. If I am only in competition with myself, last night giving my mind a night off was a very sound idea.

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The second point is the notion of ‘enjoyment’: my husband asked last night if the class was fun. No, it wasn’t. I was so tired at the end everything hurt, struggled doing every exercise and even the running/jogging was, quite frankly, horrendous. At the end all that was wanted was sleep, and I couldn’t, because brain frankly refused to ramp down from the stress that was generated. However, this time around, that manifested far less externally and considerably more internally.

So, why bother if this is the result? Well, there’s been an important realisation overnight, meaning I am glad that the effort was made. This isn’t about the exercise, or the heart rate recording, or indeed around the other people that are taking part. Last night’s class was only seven people, and even with the reduction in numbers there was no change in the level of internal panic. This really is about how my brain processes information, and the translation of that into action.

My stress generates from what I’m being asked to do.

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I’ve been taught by three people thus far, all of whom have been informed in advance  about my comprehension issues. They all have been faultless in not only support but encouragement, but all of this is irrelevant. My frustration is the translation of what is seen into what needs to be done, and that it takes so much mental effort to transform that into the associated physical actions. So, this week in Blaze class I learnt that enjoyment may never ever happen if brain takes everything as an exercise in accuracy and perfection.

The biggest problem, it appears, is trying to achieve what subconscious considers as perfect.

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I’m booked for next week, and in the intervening period there’ll be some thought given to how enjoyment can be obtained, or whether it is in fact obtainable at all. The amount I have learnt since this journey was begun has far exceeded expectation, and makes a push out of the comfort zones more than worthwhile. Maybe if this were a younger me there could be the thought of being less harsh on myself… Life has become worth living thanks to the constant reminders just how miserable I was in the days when nothing was ever done that was frightening.

I was the problem, back then. Sure, there’s lots of other stuff that can be blamed, but ultimately had I know realised that it was up to me? We’d not be here at all. So, when you are capable of not only accepting shortcomings, but prepared to push past them… that’s what has to happen. Eventually, if the time is taken to listen to your own mind and soul, there are solutions.

The biggest problem of all, of course, is explaining this rationally to other people.

Do I Do

WordPress have introduced an upgrade to their editing pane. Whether I like this or not remains to be seen: a user can still edit raw HTML, so that’s fine, and we’ll see how it goes as time goes on. However, I’m not here to complain about change [inevitable, unstoppable] but how I react to it. Right, how does one stick a horizontal rule in now…?

[EDIT: The new Editor won’t let me specify Twitter posting options. Until it does? We’ll stick with actual flexibility and not showy cleverness :D]


Witness the Fitness

I weighed myself yesterday on the home scales, which has not happened since mid-October. Part of the plan was to get myself out of the daily habit of micromanaging rise and fall, and that’s worked really well. In 25 days, I’ve lost no weight. I’ve not gained any either, which should be the bigger takeaway, but what has happened is a fairly drastic alteration of body shape.

So, tomorrow I’m gonna go do the bio-metric weight scale at the Gym, which will show a weight gain, as there is considerably more muscle than fat on me right now. The problem, going forward, is how the latter gets shifted from areas it has been stuck to for the last 18 years. The current health regime will have an effect, it already is. I haven’t ached this much for at least a year.

Five times a week on the bike as well as PT was doable for a few months last year before the arm was injured and it all fell apart. HOPEFULLY the same problem won’t present this year, though there have been a number of unexpected aches and trapped nerves as muscles grow beyond their normal dimensions. The key of course, is to make sure there is rest (Saturdays has no exercise at all, I’ll probably skip Gym training Tuesdays too after PT which now happens on Monday.

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Time to stop typing and get on with it, then.

Look Up

Sleep is not for the Weak, but for Winners.

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Once upon a time, there was a scepticism about knowing too much about my body. After all, the more details possessed, the easier it becomes to obsess (see: weighing myself daily) and that’s never going to end well. However, there are undoubted benefits to understanding what is normal and what isn’t. I’m also beginning to reconnect with the whole of myself: this began after the Mindfulness course, and has now extended to bodily control itself. Believe it or not, this is something that is struggled with, especially when tired.

My sleep patterns have undoubtedly suffered in the last twelve months from a combination of menopause, mental stress and physical exertion: that situation is slowly improving. The immediate and obvious consequence is an increase not in productivity, but physical co-ordination, and to capitalise on this I’ve been doing rehab therapy on my left hand side which (at various points this year) has suffered as a result of that clumsiness. The benefits are considerable, and add that to my physical training for the Ride London 46, and there’s an awful lot to be happy about.

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However, it isn’t weights or biking that’s affected the physical change, but the Bosu. I will be asking for one of these for Christmas, because the benefit of relaxing on one has become the most surprising part of my entire journey into fitness thus far. Yes, that’s relaxing, because standing on one now is the perfect means by which mind and body connect and stay focused. ‘Getting in the zone’ isn’t just about physical attainment either, it has mental benefits that are only now becoming apparent.

The importance of Mindfulness in reconnecting body and mind is more important than anything else that has happened for some time. The benefits are far-reaching and hugely significant, and only now is that becoming apparent. Every day, I am becoming physically stronger. With that basis, more is possible, and is happening.

The future becomes mine to shape with confidence.

Holiday

The lunchtime pickup is done. The eldest has already been off since Tuesday afternoon. It is that glorious time of the year where there is nothing to worry about on Monday, and in 10 days I’ll be on holiday in another country. To say I’m looking forward to this is the mother of all understatements, but there are two bike rides to get through first.

I did my last bit of exercise earlier, and yes, my legs still work, now there’ll be a test to see if fitness is sufficient to get me to the end without incident. I know the hill I’m not looking forward to already, too. We’ll see how it goes, and assuming all is well, I’ll be doing extra PT on Monday. The good news, of course, is that Ride London’s a shorter distance, and on closed roads.

There’ll be pictures at the weekend, of course, but for now I have a backlog of work to catch up on…

Run to the Hills

The biggest single problem I possess right now in terms of exercise ability is stamina. HIIT routines are now just that, but anything over 90 minutes and I will summarily wilt. What is required is an understanding of what my limits are, how to play to them and then finally exceed them.  Fortunately for me, Zwift has the means by which I can deal with this issue, and still keep myself sane.

Welcome to the Alpe du Zwift.

It’s a bloody big hill, when all is said and done, and I can’t climb it in two hours… but one day, I will. This morning was the reconnoitre to see how far up I could get without busting a gut. I paced myself, bought snacks and extra water and for 110 minutes it was doable. Those last 10 minutes lasted about three lifetimes.

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Before on long rides my brain has stopped me, or my legs and (on a couple of occasions) a combination of both. Today was different. I needed to get used to the heat, and how body operates when energy is low. It was a massive learning experience, and slow realisation that, for many years, it has been my brain which prevented any kind of tenable progress. Now that’s under control, the only obstacle to progress is my own ability to put in the effort. That’s slowly getting fixed. I’ve been at this before Christmas, and only now is progress becoming apparent.

One day I will climb the Alpe du Zwift, but with England v Sweden imminent? It will not be today.

You Wear It Well

DAY FIVE of the Exercise Regime. Wednesday was a rest day, because exhaustion. That means today fitting in both a Gym and Cycling session. The changes to body are already obvious, and yes, having got on the scales this morning, there is a weight change. It isn’t much, but is undoubtedly there. Yesterday’s session in the Gym was so tough I was sick afterwards. This was not planned, but does show there’s effort being expended.

Low carb is as horrendous as was remembered, but the results when it was adhered to  last time were significant. That took ten days to kick in. I can do this.

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Tea (normal and green) has become my unexpected saviour. I drink not to eat, and it is working surprisingly well. However, today I get a treat, even if it is only 150 calories. Once everything is written and scheduled, it’ll be the Gym, followed by the second half of the England game as cycling accompaniment. I’m beginning to look forward to it, oddly, the effort is now equalling reward whereas before, it was all a slog. If the future of existence is heat and sweat, there needs to be a body capable of coping with those changes. Getting fit now is becoming a necessity and not a priority.

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Okay, less procrastination and MOAR WERK.