Speed Bump = Lost Mojo!

So, it happened….. I hit a speed bump into my fitness journey and lost my mojo!

Annoyingly, rather than just correcting myself and getting back on track, I did what I know lots of people have done and went off track for a little while.

  • I stopped going to the gym,
  • stopped drinking water,
  • didn’t watch as closely what I was eating,
  • didn’t think about the ‘empty calories’ I was consuming in my drinks,
  • stayed away from Instagram,
  • stopped blogging

I’m irritated at myself that I started out really strong and was full of energy and drive but couldn’t quite maintain it and because of a few birthday lunches, some busy weeks at work and just general pressure, it was easier to sacrifice the gym and workout time instead of working through it and pushing myself.

Having said that, with every annoying negative there is a happy positive and, whilst I’ve lost a few weeks on my journey, I did, on reflection have the following epiphanies which granted, you probably all already know:

  • I need to drink water – these last few weeks my energy levels and focus generally have been a bit sporadic. When I was drinking more water I was certainly more focused and it seemed to impact the energy I had too. Generally, I hate drinking water so it’s not usually my go to drink and I definitely have to work at making myself drink enough of it during the day.
  • I need to eat more healthily – lots of eating out (a downside of the work I do is that I do a lot of networking which usually has a lunch or a dinner element!) and then being too tired to make proper meals means I’ve been reaching for the convenience and snack foods. Definitely making me feel more bloated, tired and craving more sweet treats!
  • Planning is a must! – with the hectic lives we all lead, finding time to plan meals and then the shopping can seem like a laborious task but when I was doing this properly, my meals were better, the snacks in the house were healthier and I wasn’t going for the naughty treats as frequently.
  • Working out is a great mood lifter – 100% my mood has been massively impacted by these last few weeks. I didn’t realise just how much of a mood lifter working out actually was! I felt so much better about myself for a start but if I’d had a bad day I could go and take it out on some weights in the gym. I also felt like I was getting somewhere and I could start to see (small) gains happening! … clearly these last few weeks has had an impact on all of this.

The biggest thing as well as the above though is that what I had used as a motivator I stayed away from; Instagram and my blog! Seeing other people on their fitness journeys, getting inspiration for meals and workouts and connecting with like minded people as well as sharing my own journey had had a positive impact on me. But, these last few weeks I was telling myself that I was just ‘too busy’ to check out Instagram or update my blog.

In reality, I knew that I could have found the time if I wanted to but I was hiding because I actually felt like a failure. The thought of posting a picture on Instagram of the chocolate cake I’d eaten at my Dad’s 60th birthday made me feel guilty and equally writing in my blog about what I’d NOT achieved made me feel even worse, so, I did the cowardly thing and hid from it. That was, until today.

Today I’ve made a choice, rather than continuing to hide and hoping that my mojo would find me at the bottom of a box of Cadburys Celebrations (other snacks are available), I’m going to suck it up, straighten my ponytail and get back on track, happy in the knowledge that yep, I’ve messed up a bit but I’ve learnt a few things too 🙂

So…. time to get my workout gear on and get my ass to the gym!!

Thanks for reading my blog 🙂

IckleMax

Second time

 

 

10 years younger!

Well, what a week (and a half) it’s been!

I’ve got to the end of week 3 (week ending 13 August), am now well into week 4 and I’m only just updating this blog today!

I think that’s a clear indication of just how manic the last few weeks have been but in spite of that it was a great week.

My goal last week was to do 4 lots of exercise and to make the sweet potato brownies….I hate to say it, but I failed on one of them  ☹️…. Although it might not be the one you’re thinking

So.. this is my week in a nutshell:

Exercise

Tuesday Night: after a really stressful day and feeling pretty wound up and stressed (otherwise known as hormonal…hey, I’m being honest) I carried my ‘feeling sorry for myself’ backside to the gym and pulled myself through my lower body session. I’ve got a sheet that I work through and each time I go I look to increase the weight from last time, not always successfully but sometimes I surprise myself. Actually, that’s not fair, most times I surprise myself which either means I’m getting stronger or I’m not doing it right…..?

My lower body work out is leg extensions, leg curls, goblet squats  (which I absolutely love), reverse lunges (which I absolutely hate), leg press (love), lateral lunges (hate and didn’t do) finishing up with the abductor and adductor which lets face it are just awks when you’re sat facing someone …. Kill me now!!

I don’t know about you but I think that the order that I do these in affects how well or not I can do them, like I couldn’t get to the leg press so I did the abductor, adductor’s instead and then went back to the leg press. I was a machine on the abductor, adductor’s and whereas I normally struggle but achieve the leg press, this time I actually wanted to die!! … True or just in my head that it makes a difference what order you do it in?

Friday Night: Yeap, you read that right …. Whilst 99.9% of the population were out having a life, I was hitting it up in the gym,  I did my upper body workout and just like above, I have a sheet I work through and look to increase the weight each time.

My upper body workout is overhead press (love), pulldown, bench press, bent over row, pec fly and reverse fly (hate), bicep curl and tricep push down.

Tonights session I didn’t feel 100% present at so I definitely feel like I went through the motions … perhaps working out on a Friday night isn’t the most motivational time of the week to go?

Saturday Morning: PT day! OMG today was awesome … we broke away from the usual barbel sessions that we do (which I love) and did a workout almost entirely of kettle bells! .. Holy Moses I didn’t know how much you could actually do with a kettle bell AND how much it takes it out of you!! Really fab session which got me thinking about how else I can work out at home on my own if I can’t get to the gym.

Sunday Morning: Yes!! I made my 4th session of the week! …. I was absolutely done in from the day before so today’s session was a bit of walking and running on the treadmill, low impact and not much to think about but it was nice to do something at a slower pace and less intense to finish my week off 😊

Food

I’m afraid that I’m disappointed in myself this week, for 2 reasons:

1. I didn’t make my sweet potato brownies which is a goal that I’d set myself

2. I didn’t plan my meals for the week like I did the week before

The sweet potato brownies wasn’t such a big issue but the meal planning I definitely felt was a bit of an own goal and I’ve realised that to be able to eat healthy meals all week, that I need to actually plan it. Not just for the ease of knowing what I’m making each day but for the ingredients… or lack of in my case… because I didn’t write out my list of what I needed and didn’t organise myself enough to go shopping.

I did still manage to eat healthily (just) but it wasn’t as easy as the week before, so this week, we’ve done a menu planner again and normality has been resumed. 💪🏻

One thing I’ve also started doing is tracking what I’m eating in my bullet journal too. There’s something about writing down ‘chocolate’ or ‘crisps’ etc in my journal that stops me from eating it in the first place (and to be fair admitting that I’ve sabotaged my own efforts here on this blog too is an added motivator to stop me).

I even managed a night out to the cinema with my girlfriend this week, we had dinner at Prezzo and again, managed to eat the healthier options as opposed to the pizza or huge bowl of pasta I’d normally go for 😊

Results

Well, I’m really impressed with my results this week, I track my measurements and weight in my bullet journal (see awesome pic attached lol.)


And I also use the bodytrax machine at the gym … I know that you can overdo the measuring and weighing but for me, I need to see how I’m progressing each week because that’s what helps me learn whether what I did (or didn’t do) this week has had a positive or negative impact. It also feeds my competitive appetite and pushes me to do more and do better 🙂

I maintained my weight (annoying) but I did lose half an inch all over on my top half …Yay!!!!!!! My bottom half stayed the same though (again, annoying, especially as this is the part of me I actually want to shrink lol..) Boooooooo.

The bodytrax machine tracked that I’d gained 2 lbs of muscle and lost 2 lbs of fat, pretty pleased with that! … I’ve also got a metabolic age of 28!! (10 years younger .. get in!!)😜🤓😳


So all in all, a good week 😊

Goals

This week is a pretty hectic one and I’m all over the place including going to Wales this weekend so I know that squeezing in sessions at the gym is going to be tougher this week. So my goals this week are:

* Walk the dog every morning

* Get to the gym or do 3 lots of exercise this week

I know they might seem really simple but this week I’ve deliberately set myself goals that I hope I can achieve and if I do more then that’s a bonus.

The End

Thank you again for reading my blog, if you have any comments or suggestions, tips or tricks then please feel free to contact me and let me know. This can be a lonely journey at times and I often feel out of my depth especially when it comes to inspiration for healthy meals and exercise routines so honestly, any help or advice is always much appreciated.

The same goes for my blog too, I know reading this you might think that I’m a seasoned professional and you’re probably surprised I’m not an award winning writer but this is all new to me too. Blogging, or writing anything other than a diary is well outside of my comfort zone so any advice in that regard is really appreciated too. 

Thanks again for reading 😊

IckleMax xx

 

 

 

 

The End……of week 2

Hey there,

I can’t believe this is my third blog already! When I started this I was setting down a marker for the beginning of my new ‘journey’ and I’ve already come to the end of my second full week.

Thanks to some awesome feedback from my friend Anne, I’m going to tell you about what exercise I’ve been doing as well as what kinda stuff I’ve been eating…the good, the bad and the ugly!.

So, here’s how my week went……

Exercise

I only managed to get in 3 workouts this week:

Tuesday night – I went to ‘HIIT The Beach’, the first time I’ve ever done anything like that. Literally working out, on the beach! It was a bit daunting going to meet up with a group of people I didn’t know, working out in public and being open to the elements! But I Gotta say, once I got over my initial panic it was actually quite cool and good fun. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming, it was a small group so a nice number and not too scary lol….  There was definitely something about dragging a tyre up the pebbly beach, smashing a sledge-hammer into another tyre and doing squat pushes with a .. yep, you’ve guessed it .. another tyre, that unleashed my inner trainee soldier mentality. We did 5 sets of 5 different high intensity exercises (actually not all involving tyres, ropes and press ups featured), mainly working the arms, with short rest breaks in between. I definitely felt it the next day and I went home feeling better for having met some nice people and doing a different workout outdoors. HIIT The Beach/Park is on Instagram and Facebook if you’re interested in the sessions.

Thursday Morning – was a cheeky little day off so I managed to get to the gym and do an upper body workout which my PT gave me to work through. It uses a nice mixture of some of the machines and some free weights. I realise now though (stupidly) that the reason I found some of the weights a bit tougher (particularly the bench press’ .. I have weedy arms lol.) was because my workout out on Tuesday was mainly upper body!!… shoulda done my lower body workout instead, doh!… it was still a good workout though and the way I figure .. I was still burning fat and calories 💪🏻

Sunday Morning – was a session with Ben, my PT at the gym, he’s leaving at the end of the month so I realise that I need to cram in as much knowledge from him as I can within the next 4 sessions! This week was hilarious, not because he’s a funny guy, although he actually is, but because we’ve been client and trainer for about 4 months now and he knows how to push me, when I’m just being feeble and actually when my body is much more capable than I tell myself.  We’re working to get me to not only a leaner version of myself but to be able to do a ‘clean and jerk’ weightlift (I think that’s the phrase!). So, this week was lots of straight back dead lifts into trying to get the bar up to my chest in one movement… really need to start remembering the proper terms.  

This video perfectly shows what I’m aiming for and what I was doing this week 😊 Weightlifting VideoThese sessions are my favourite because it makes me see that I’m capable of so much more than I realise, but in 4 sessions time (well, now 3) I’ll need to have that confidence and strength in myself. 

Food – The Good

This week has been really good food wise, on Wednesday I managed to carve out some decent time to work out what food I was going to have for the rest of this week and I even found a cool little menu planner online at ‘Life with Munchers’ blog I just scribbled out the ‘recipe reference’ and changed it for ‘snacks’ and TaDa… here’s what I made:

FullSizeRender 9I find this really handy because it’s so much easier to see the arrows in this layout of what will be used for 2 meals or more and also it’s a nice way to quickly see what you’re having for the week.

I love my two trusty recipe books that I’ve got – one is called Feed your Fitness and the other is the The Lean Machines. Both of them have the nutritional information for each of the recipes in the books too; it still surprises me just how many of these so-called ‘healthy’ cook books don’t publish this important info.

These two books have become my food bibles! So far I have loved everything that I’ve prepared from them and my favourite from this week was the beef stir fry, something which I don’t usually like. Check out my little food collage … I feel like a child again making these pics 😜

IMG_4290

I also managed to make some breakfast bars which are pretty damn awesome too… although I had set myself the goal of finding two healthy snacks for this week, I only managed to find time to do one – being the breakfast bars.

Food – The Bad 

What’s that saying “with the good must follow the bad”?! …. well, I’d like to think that my ‘bad times’ this week weren’t as bad as they previously would have been. Wednesday it was “Him Indoors'” birthday so we went to a little pub for lunch, instead of having the naughtiest thing on the menu I went for the healthier and still tasty option of spiced chicken, it came with salad and skinny fries so I had a couple of the fries, but not all of them (safe in the alleged knowledge that I’d already banked some burnt calories the night before at my HIIT class). Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get rid of my desire to have something sweet and amazingly a slice of cheesecake found its way onto my table …. well, it’d be rude not to, right?

… you’d have thought that should have been enough cake but, it was a birthday after all….. enter the Marks and Spencer Hedgehog chocolate birthday cake, complete with chocolate finger spikes!! …… well, it’d be rude not to rig ….. ok, I know, I should be able to control myself, so I did.. and I only had a small piece……

FullSizeRender 10

The Ugly 

So that was the summary of the good and the bad, the ugly actually isn’t ‘that’ bad, but I know that it added to my overall result this week. Whilst cake is my downfall, so too is prosecco…. I know, I know, you shouldn’t drink your calories but when you’ve been invited over to a friend’s house and it’s been a really good friday, the bubbles are nicely chilled and the company is great, well, I couldn’t help myself and I might have had 1 or 2…… To be fair, I don’t actually drink that often but it really was a great evening and lets just say that I’m glad I’d moved my PT session from the Saturday morning.

Results 

Despite all of the above I managed to maintain my weight and even lost half an inch off of my waist. Granted there’s work to do and now I need to focus but I realised this week that you can have a little bit of what you fancy every now and again as long as it’s in moderation and you’re prepared to put the graft in to earn it or burn it… (wait, I totally just made that phrase up … ooooh I need to check no-one else has thought of that before….

damn you Mr Motivator!!!)……

IMG_4293

Goals for this Week

Food – My goal this week is to make my second healthy alternative snack of sweet potato brownies and to stick to my healthy food regime, there are no birthdays this week so, no excuses!

Exercise – My goal is to exercise a minimum of 4 times this week and if I can’t get to the gym, to work out at home and video it so I can not only check my technique but also put it on my blog too.

Whilst I can laugh at myself and appreciate that everything in moderation is ok, I know that I want to start seeing the results in inches being lost and getting toned up so now it’s down to the hard work!

The End

Thank you for reading my blog, if you’ve got any comments, suggestions, tips or tricks them please feel free to leave me a comment below.

Thank you so much

IckleMax xx

Well .. what exactly was I expecting?

Hey you guys..

Thanks again for checking out my second blog :0)

It’s been a full week since my first post and my first full week of my new regime .. I say ‘regime’, I didn’t exactly have a plan other than do more, eat less and monitor my progress. 

Last time I posted I mentioned about having an overall SMART goal as recommended by Nerd Fitness, my SMART goal for 6 weeks time is to fit into a particular dress and after talking to Ben (my awesome PT) he suggested I put a picture of the dress on my blog as well as hanging it in the house for me to see every day and to motivate me to carry on.

So, here is my goal dress:

FullSizeRender 8

….it’s a dress that’s been in my wardrobe for about a year, determined that I’d fit into it ….. Jason (him indoors) reckoned that I could definitely fit into it already … so, in a bid to prove him wrong I donned the dress … well, I saw ‘donned’ … I put both legs in and promptly pulled the dress up towards my derrière, only to be greeted with the sound of material ripping ….. yeap, definitely not ready to get into the dress yet lol!!…  thankfully the tear was along the zip and is easily sorted with a needle and thread ..phew!.

Anyway, that’s my overall SMART goal to reach by 2nd September 🙂

So, how did this week go? … I’m not going to lie, it’s definitely had its ups and downs but overall it’s been a good week. Following inspirational people on instagram has definitely been motivating and someone suggested posting about my food and workouts etc to keep my motivation up (as well as boring friends and family no doubt lol.)

I’ve managed to work out 4 times this week, once at home, twice by myself at the gym (upper body and lower body) and finally with my PT at the gym.  My workout at home I posted on instagram, I’d signed up to go join a HIIT session but after a long day at work I wasn’t able to get there so instead of giving up and doing nothing I did a workout at home instead. Recording it was good too because I could use it to check my form as I went along 🙂

I definitely went into this week full of vigour and determination about what an awesome week I’d have, how I’d totally shake up the kind of food I’ve been eating and that I’d be smashing it up in the gym….. I didn’t completely fail at this attempt but it’s not been as easy-going as I’d hoped.

My breakfasts have definitely been healthier this week, before now I would generally have skipped breakfast or if I did have some it would usually be toast or cereal which I now know isn’t actually that great for you.  So, my breakfasts for the most part have been scrambled egg related mixing it up with spinach, tomatoes or mushrooms. I found that I had more energy to keep me going through the day whereas before I’d have slumped very early on.

Lunches have definitely been harder, trying to find ‘healthy’ choices when you’re out for lunch isn’t actually that easy (any suggestions please do send them to me).

Dinners though was a different story, I’m super lucky that him indoors lurves being in the kitchen so we’ve had some really healthy dinners. I found a book in The Works shop called ‘Feed Your Fitness’ that was on sale for £3!! … Absolute bargain and it’s got some great recipes, our favourite so far has been the beef stir fry.

Snacks is 100% my downfall and is definitely (as well as pre preparing lunches) what I need to work on. A few times when I’ve got in from work and been starving (poor lunches ya see) I’ve succumbed to the snack-a-jacks or the sunbites that have been in the cupboard … this has definitely hindered me this last week so next weeks SMART goal is to the sort the snacks out and find at least 2 healthy alternatives that I can have on hand to stop me diving into the naughty cupboard. 🙂

I know I’ve made healthier choices this week and I’m 100% thankful and appreciative to this blog, knowing that I was going to update this and that I’ve publicly put my goal out there has pushed me to get my butt to the gym and to make better food choices.  We had a cheeky night away this week, before I would have totally gone in for the full 3 courses, as well as tucking into a bottle of fizzy goodness but instead I went for just one course and held myself back with only 3 glass of the fizzy stuff lol… the bread basket though … well, that was a toughy, bread is also my downfall!!

So, my results this week … I’ve managed to maintain my weight at 10st 6lbs (not bad given the bread basket shenanigans), I’ve also lost half an inch on my right arm and the same on my right leg … clearly the left hand side of me is the weaker side and it needs to get its butt in gear to catch up!! lol…

So this week i’m going to:

  • do the HIIT session on the Beach
  • get in a minimum of 3 gym sessions and work to increase the weights
  • sort out my 2 healthy snack alternatives

Anyway, that’s it from me, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my second blog. Any comments, suggestions or helpful advice is always gratefully received and appreciated.

Thanks again and see you soon.

IckleMax

@Icklemaxfitness (instagram)

Fitness again, but this time for good…

Hi there,

Well, I guess as this is my first ever blog I should probably start my saying “Hey, welcome to my awesome page (well, it will be awesome by the time I’ve figured this out lol..) and thank you so much for taking a look” and then by explaining who I am and why I decided to start doing this at the grand age of 38.

So: Hey, thank you …. no seriously …. thank you for taking a look. This might end up being a blog that only I and few of my friends that need some bedtime reading end up reading but thank you…. there’s a reason behind this madness, as I shall explain…..

I have a job that’s mainly office based and other than walking to meetings/visiting clients, i’m primarily sat in a chair or the car all day. I work long hours and struggle to get the energy to go and run or do any other form of activity.

I’m 5ft 7′ and at my heaviest I was about 11.5 stone. I honestly know that in the grand scheme of things it’s not that bad but I wanted to get myself into shape  so I started running a few years ago and the weight came off but then running became a fairly sporadic activity. I’d managed to get myself down to 9st and about 10lbs and then the weight crept back on. I tried the Ducan Diet, Slimming World and a host of other things and then I was given a book by a friend of mine, written by Michael Matthews called “Thinner, Leaner, Stronger”. I read it when I was on holiday last year and it was weird how the penny finally dropped that I needed to be looking at more of a healthy diet, my calories and the quality of food I was putting in as opposed to different dieting schemes, as well as the type of exercise I wanted to do to target certain areas.

So, I came back from holiday and did what hundreds and thousands of other people across the globe did and I joined a gym (again) with the definite goal this time of getting myself some of those ab thingamys that I keep seeing on my pinterest pages, shifting these  bingo wings that have started appearing and generally, just taking better care of myself.

So, with my new found knowledge from ‘Thinner, Leaner, Stronger’ I went to the necessary inductions at the gym and even had the session where a PT tells you what things you need to do to reach your goals. I measured myself, weighed myself and off I went with great energy and gusto….. aaaaanyway a very long story short, I had an amazing time for the first few months (about 2-3 months), then I moved house, Christmas arrived and the yoyo’ing started… I’ve been going back to the gym in fits and starts and when I go I really enjoy it but trying to fit it all in with the travelling, work and everything else that life needs you to do and be, it just gets hard … and I know that i’m not the only one in the world that feels this.

So, this week whilst trying to find yet more inspiration for getting my backside back into the gym I stumbled upon a page by Nerd Fitness, entitled ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Getting in Shape’ https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/get-in-shape/.. which… if you’ve not read it before, I can highly recommend. The post is written in a really humorous but serious way and isn’t at all condescending. It also includes pictures of various lego people as you go through lol….. what’s not to love.  The post is written in 4 sections and looks at how you go about setting goals and making sure it’s a goal that can be measured, some educational bits about diet etc, a bit about inspiration and then talks about support.

The Support heading covers exactly that, what you can do to make yourself stick to your goal and says “Once you decide to get in shape, want to know the best way to guarantee success? Make it public. Tell all of your friends, start a blog, and/or inform your co-workers and ask them to keep you accountable! Unless you like being called a quitter, you’ll probably think twice about skipping out on your workouts.” 

Not that i’m competitive at all 😉 …. but for me, the idea of writing a blog seemed like a fab (if not daunting) idea and so, here it is .. my blog.

Here I intend to share what my SMART goals are, updates about how i’m getting on (or not), will most likely include some sweaty post work out pics (they’re obligatory right?) and, if I can figure out how to do it … some vids of the routines that i’ve been doing.

Since reading the Nerd Fitness article 3 days ago i’ve already been to the gym twice, one of which included a super evil session with my PT this morning.  Having not been to the gym at all in the last 3 weeks I’m preeeeetty sore this afternoon, so much so that doing anything, other than typing or laying down is painful … I hate to know how i’m going to feel tomorrow but I definitely feel really chuffed with my efforts 🙂

So, that’s who I am, that’s why I’m doing this and I hope that you enjoy following me on my journey 🙂

See you soon

IckleMax