Lover of make-up, good food, fine wine, heavy weights and sleeping…

Tagged in: workout

Taking the First Step

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here. I often get motivated to write a post but every time I do, I feel a pang of shame about how long it’s been and I feel bad. Then I’ll probably eat another Malteaser and watch another episode of Gossip Girl. This is called being stuck in a rut. But I refuse to be stuck anymore. I want to get rid of the ass shaped groove on my couch.

Since moving to Leeds two years go, I’ve become very complacent. Don’t get me wrong, when I first moved here and I didn’t have a job, I was pumping the kettlebells every day and I built lots of sexy lean muscle. But when I started my job in an environment where ‘food days’ are a regular thing, I got out of the habit, and the muscle turned squishy.

So where am I now? Well, I’ve gained almost two stone. Yes, two stone. I said it! And truth be told, I’m miserable. I think about how far I have come and I feel very ashamed. All that hard work, and for what? This year I have tried various ‘diets’ to get me going. Slow carb, no carb, calorie counting and Slimming World. None of these have worked for one simple reason; I love food. As soon as I get restricted, I fail. I have managed to find an eating plan which is working for me and that is the 5:2 eating plan. I use the words ‘eating plan’ because diet suggests a temporary change, and I want this change to be permanent. I’ve dabbled in intermittent fasting before but after watching Michael Mosley’s programme Horizon on BBC2 last summer, I decided to give it a bash. I won’t get into it now, that will come in another post. But the long and short of it is, it works for me. The only problem is, although my eating has improved, the only way I’m going to get my muscle back, is to fight for it.

Today the sun has been shining and it’s amazing how much a little vitamin D motivates me. At work, I decided I was going to do a leg and bum workout when I got home. As the day wore on, the less enthused I felt about the idea. By the time I walked in the door at 6pm all I wanted to do was chill
with Stevie the Teevee. But I knew deep down if I didn’t do it, it would make me feel like I’d failed and put me on a down mood. So I didn’t let myself get comfy. I marched up the stairs and threw on my Lycra. I jotted down a basic workout and I did it. I did it from start to finish. Every rep, every burpee- the lot. I really challenged myself and had to crawl up the stairs afterwards, but I did it and I enjoyed it and I even had time to write about it before my chicken and quinoa salad.

Tomorrow my glutes and hammies will struggle to function but at least I’m going to bed tonight knowing I did what I set out to do. And it feels bloody good!

For anyone who is interested, here is the workout I wrote and completed tonight. I completed two sets of the following exercises with a 14kg kettlebell unless otherwise stated and I did it in 30 minutes, 22 seconds. The first set took me 17 minutes 12 seconds and the second 13 minutes and 10 seconds.

30 x Double handed swings with a 20kg bell
20 x Goblet squats
20 x Tactical lunges
20 x Burpees
20 x Romanian deadlifts
20 x Stand-Kneel-Stands (10kg, ten racked in the left arm, and ten racked in the right)

Until next time…

Aim to Succeed

You know when you waken in the morning and the sun is beating through the windows, and it gives you the urge? You know, the urge? When you wake up feel that… feeling. It’s so overpowering, the need to just do it. You know…?

No; not that feeling. The feeling you get when you wake up and you want to be healthy.

Today I woke up with that feeling. I was bouncing off the ceiling, scratching round the fridge for some power food which would make me radiant! Unfortunately we haven’t done a shop for a week so I settled on a small wholegrain roll toasted and spread with Coconoil and peanut butter. Not terrible…

I’ve been so bad this year. My job is manic, and working close to fifty hours a week takes its toll on your energy levels. I find it so difficult to fit in exercise and find the time to make healthy foods. But this morning, I decided that I’m not happy wearing leggings every day because my jeans are too tight, and I don’t like the new tyre around my middle. My shape is still there, it’s just got some extra padding which seriously needs to jog on.

I failed when I put my gym gear on. I hate the way I look. I used to be taut and, not slim, but you could see the definition. Right now I look soft and squidgy, like a nectarine past its use by date. Not a good look in lycra. But it was seeing myself this way which was the first domino in the fall. I decided that because I was so horrible looking that I needed to punish myself, therefore I flipped through my little book of workouts and picked out a challenging one; a 500 rep kettlebell strength number. I grabbed my 20kg and got to work. After my first 50 double swings I dropped to my 14kg to do 25 single arm rows on each arm, and 50 goblet squats. After this, I gave up. 150 reps in and I gave up. I sat down and felt useless. But then I realised I had set myself up for a fail. I haven’t properly exercised in a few months and I set upself up to do a pretty challenging workout with a heavy kettlebell. It was really never going to happen. If I had I set myself up to to 50 double swings, 25 single arms rows on each arm and 50 goblet squats and leave it there, I would have ended on a high; proud of myself for setting out to do something and achieving it.

I guess the lesson here is to set yourself up to succeed. Set realistic fitness goals and when you achieve the goal you’ll feel fantastic. In other words, don’t pull a Lissa.

Until next time.

Introduction to Kettlebells

My Kettlebells

A Standard Russian Kettlebell and a Competition Kettlebell

Whenever I begin raving about kettlebells to people, I never know what reaction I’m going to get. It varies depending on the person and their knowledge of what a kettlebell is.

Folks who don’t know what a kettlebell is tend to laugh and ask me if I’m some kind of tea making guru. People who know what they are but haven’t used them before tend to say something along the lines of ‘Are they the scary balls on the gym floor?’ And then you get your fitness buffs who immediately start questioning your technique and asking what you snatch, which to someone eavesdropping might sound hugely inappropriate.

So, for anyone who doesn’t know what a kettlebell is, here goes nothing.

A kettlebell is a type of weight known to have originated in Russia in the 1700′s. Made from cast iron which is moulded to look like a kettle, they are made up of a round base which resembles a canon ball with a handle on the top. To someone who has never used one before, they can look very intimidating, but once you start training with them you will be amazed at how quickly you increase your weight. Kettlebells give your a cardiovascular and strength workout all in one. The compound, explosive movements which you use when working out with a kettlebell, raise your heart rate whilst also blitzing your muscles. Trust me, you won’t be able to walk straight for a week following your first kettlebell workout. But pain equals gain.

Without making too many assumptions, people who don’t use kettlebells often reveal how they have an intense regime where they run intervals for ten minutes, bench press 50 reps then jump on the rower and repeat. Or perhaps you do your weights first using the standard machines in the gym followed by a half hour run to rid yourself of the lactic buildup? While there is nothing wrong with these techniques, kettlebells incorporate all of these techniques and allow you do do an all over body workout in only a fraction of the time. I am beginning to sound like a commercial on the shopping channels, but I mean when I say that these bad boys work!

In a nutshell, kettlebells work by:

  1. Building endurance and fitness
  2. Shedding fat and building muscle creating definition (yay!)
  3. Optimising calorie burn
  4. Increasing flexibility and strength


So what do you do with a kettlebell? Well, kettlebells are so versatile, you can incorporate them into virtually any regime either as the main focus of your training, or as a way of bringing in weight training. I’ve also heard that a lot of runners use them as the explosive movements build power.

Kettlebells can be used for strength training, conditioning, and even aerobically. In my workouts, if I focus on strength so I will use a 20kg (approximately 45lbs) kettlebell and focus on fewer reps and good technique. But if I’m feeling a little less focused, I’ll go for a slightly smaller weight (14-16kgs or 30-35lbs)and focus on maximum reps. For example, I’ll set my gymboss to 40 seconds effort and 20 seconds rest and select 6 exercises which represent a full body workout and repeat the set 2-3 times. Once you’ve mastered the basic techniques of the main exercises, you will find it easy to create your own workouts.

Please be aware that I’ve never had any formal training, and therefore cannot be held responsible for any injuries or holes in the floor. I’d always recommend going to a trained professional to teach you the basics before you throw your kettlebell through the TV.

Until next time…