Monthly Archives: August 2015

It’s Been A Year

As you know I am a fan of timehop (I have no shame) and recently, it told me it’s been a year since I started training with Andy.  So, what have I learned over the past 12 months?

(FYI, this blog post was gonna go a different way, but I’ve settled on this route)

OK, so you all know by now the reason behind me training.  If not, it’s in my about section.  Anyway, let’s get on with it;

Progress is not A to B

If the main thing I have learned over the last year is that getting to where you wish to be isn’t as simple as drawing a straight line & walking it.  It’s more like a spirograph pattern; or it has been for me.  I knew it wasn’t going to be the easiest thing I’ve done but I probably wasn’t ready for how many zigs, zags and loop-de-loops I was gonna have.  Some were my own doing, others were pit stops that were not by choice.

  1. I got a pretty large tattoo on my thigh that was two sittings – total time away from the gym: 2 weeks
  2. Fell off my bike, broke my nose – Total time away: erffh, a week then my training dipped when my confidence was shot
  3. Fell of my bike (again) smashed my cheek & eye – Total time away: Honestly, cannot remember.
  4. Tired/Lacking dedication/Pissed off – More times than I’d like to count
  5. PT off – Not often, but I tended to be quite lackadaisical if I knew Andy wasn’t in in the earlier stages
  6. Hospital appointments – Because of my spine, I go to Spinal Clinic every few months & it always tends to be on a training day, then I wasn’t allowed to train after my most recent spinal.

So, if you took out all the time off, I’ve not been training for a year but lets not be pedantic; it is how it is. I’ve stopped beating myself up for the times I’ve not been to the gym.

Food is extremely important

I’ve not really been one for diets, I did keto/Dukan a few years back but the weight I lost whilst doing it came back once I stopped. I’d also not really thought about what I was eating, then started cycling and Andy told me to be more aware on my food intake (I’m not gonna repeat too much, there’s plenty of posts on my blog about food)  it’s still a delicate balancing act, but now I know what I need to eat if I’m feeling a certain way.  Lack of veggies as an example seems to make me incredibly tired.

The media tells us that weight loss can only be achieved with eating “weight watchers” garbage & exercising; what they don’t explain is the more energy you’re expending, the more calories you need – eating too little can be as bad as eating too much & you’ll stagnate.  It really, really is a delicate balance – it took me 9 months & trying a few different things before I found a way of eating that works for me.

I’ve also stopped feeling awful if I’ve had “bad” food, one cookie or yoghurt or whatever isn’t going to make me gain back all the weight loss & I’m human, some days I just want a chunk of rocky road & goddamnit, I’m gonna eat it & it’s gonna taste FUCKING AMAZING!  (on a side note; it’s a mission of mine to somehow make something higher in protein/lower in sugar RR variation)

However, remember: There is no way to outrun a bad diet

My way is not your way

(this was the original point of this post)

There is no hard & fast correct way to train.  The person training for a marathon isn’t going to need to do the same thing as the person training for a physique contest. A lot of cardio is good for some & terrible for others & you are a dick for belittling someone else’s way of training (I will admit, I was a “cardio is for chumps” kind of person a few months ago, but I actually do an hour’s cardio a day, 5 days a week) the most important thing though, is to make sure you do whatever it is you’re doing correctly.

Learn. Learn. Learn!

It’s more than just going to the gym & using the machines, lifting weights, or whatever it is you’re doing.  I like to know why this method is better, or why I shouldn’t do certain things, and the names of the muscles I’m working, not just that feels weird on my shoulders, or whatever.  In the last year I’ve gained a massive amount of experience; I can look after a bike fairly well (ish, no comment!  😛 ) I know what types of food to eat, I can cook! sometimes, really fucking well. I’ve read up about muscle growth, bone formation, learned about correct footwear, posture and so on.  I’m only on the tip of the iceberg too!

Keep going!

If anything, this year has taught me that I am more capable of doing things than I thought. I’ve often thought of myself as broken.  The pain I endured most days was tiring, upsetting and most of all, frustrating.  Yes, I have had epidural injections to help stem the pain but I no longer want surgery (I actually met someone recently who had metal rods in her spine & was wheelchair bound due to the pain she was in, it was extremely humbling to know that I had once begged for similar surgery and the surgeons had decided an epidural was a more viable option for me)

I am. I can. I will.

A year’s progress in back images

I’m Assuming My Superpowers Are In The Post….

It’s been over two weeks since I was in hospital for another dose of cortisone; during the procedure there is an x-ray machine over you taking images so that the surgeon can see where he is putting the needle to make sure everything gets to where it needs to be.

My last dose resulted in zero special abilities, so I was hoping that this time round all those x-rays would help me achieve some super powers; alas…this has not been the case.  So, I’m guessing that they arrive at a later date.  However, in the mean time, I was given a sexy dress & paper pants for the procedure & afterwards; my own room along with copious amounts of coffee & some cold toast.

The actual procedure went as follows:

  • Niopam to confirm entry point
  • 20ml of 0.25% bupivacain & 8mg of kenalog into epidural space

Afterwards was different to my first time; previously I was tilted on a gurney for an hour then had to wait for feeling to return as my legs were completely dead. This time round, I had to lay on my side for 45 minutes whilst moving my legs occasionally, this meant my total time in hospital was about 4 hours compared with the 6 or so previously.

Recovery has been different – for about 5 days afterwards i had excruciating pain in my right foot whenever I did any walking & now, 2 weeks later I can still feel my SI joint rubbing; however I know that it can take 6 weeks or so for it to fully kick in, so for now i’m slowly weaning myself off codeine once more. the headaches are getting less frequent now, so that can only be a good thing, can it not?

Intermittant Fasting: A Definitive Post PART 2

Week 7:

Weight loss plateau’d however, I’m not doing this for weight loss….I’m guessing it’s down to water weight or something.  I’m not complaining.  Hunger seems to have sorted itself out for most days, I’m no longer wanting food at half eleven every day!

Still need to remember to drink protein shakes though as that’s still something I don’t do as often as I should.

week 8:

kinda feeling completely used to it now, however have had the odd day where I’ve been spectacularly hungry before my feeding window – I’ve succumbed to wanting food before 2pm perhaps twice (maybe three times) this week, however my veggie intake dropped this week, so I’ve felt a little more tired & wanted sweet things more than usual.

Week 9:

IF is definitely part of my life, I get a little peckish from time to time but not so much as i did a few weeks ago.  Training is going well, weights going back up after a few falters in the first few weeks.  My weight has stablised too after the inital few weeks were I was losing the water weight.

I’ve been off work this week, so no meal prep & have mostly been eating on an evening, after 6pm

Week 10 & 11:

I don’t really feel like I’m IF’ing now.  I’m quite used to it, i’ve been more tired recently, but I seem to have cycles of extra tiredness every few weeks.  If it gets too much I’ve been having a light snack at around 1pm & then eating properly a few hours later.

Still waiting for the “I’ve totally forgotten to eat” thing to kick in though!

Week 12:

Well, week 12 didn’t really happen.  2 days in to the week I had minor surgery on my spine, resulting in 4 days with limited movement afterwards & I figured that IF whilst trying to recover may have been a terrible idea.

Anyhoo, final thoughts:

  • Intermittent Fasting is NOT for everyone.  It takes a fairly high amount of willpower to keep up initially.  People will tell you “it’s just one biscuit” and if you do that; you’ve broke your fast & need to start your feeding window
  • Everyone works a different feeding window – some eat immediately after training & others don’t. You may have to try a few different ones to see what suits you best.  I did an 8/16 split, with the odd day of a 10/12 split.
  • Weight loss can be relatively rapid to begin with as you shed water weight, this does slow down once your body stabilizes to the new plan
  • My results were satisfactory, not blow out of the water spectacular however I wasn’t following IF specifically cut, if I did – I’d have tracked my macros religiously.
  • Moving forward, I’ll continue to IF as I like the way I *know* the difference between hunger and hunger & I can train pretty well now fasted, which means I don’t have to stress about eating before setting off to the gym
  • I didn’t really experience any hormonal craziness, however I was listening & if my stomach felt like it was turning inside out before my eating window, I’d start my eating sooner to abate the pangs.

On a side note – I’ve learned that I need to continue cooking my high protein cakes & things as I still crave sweet foods & without them the lure of chocolate is all too tempting.

Now I’m about to do a 12 week strength training programme as I’m acclimated to fasting