A show of hands then… who has been watching the Olympics and feeling inspired? Inspired to get off the couch? I have been. One of the things about exercise that I love is the feeling of strength. I can’t say I’ve ever been athlete standard of fitness of course, but at my best and certainly since taking up BMF (British Military Fitness), my fitness and strength has rocketed. I started BMF in January, just like many others, full of new years resolutions. I went ski-ing in February and noticed a vast difference in fitness, my legs held out so much longer, I could ski harder and faster for longer without feeling the burn. By the time I went on holiday in May I was positively antsy because I missed the exercise. Trust me when I say that has never happened before. Then came the rain. I kept going in April, then the weather changed, the rain came and every single opportunity I had (my usual sessions for BMF are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday,) it was literally tipping down. At first it was easy to put off, I was about to go on holiday and gave myself time to prepare the blog and pack. I came back to more foul weather and through much of June the rain continued, day after day, night after night. Come July, I attended the odd session, whenever I could between work, Florence Finds and the weather. My fitness went through the floor. I never thought that returning to exercise would be so hard but when I started, I had nothing to miss. Going back after the best part of six weeks away and I was astounded at how much slower I was, how much harder every sprint was. The worst thing was that I started to hate it. The fitter I am, the harder I try. I spurs me on, I feel like I can take on anything. Instead, I left every session exhausted, I let the rain deter me. Last week was a turning point. For the first time in months I’ve been to a full three sessions. For the first time I’ve felt my feet wanting to fly, I’ve enjoyed pushing myself. On tuesday it was warm but drizzling and I loved every second despite the rain because I started to feel the benefits again. So what is the point of this waffle? Well, I thought I’d open the discussion up to hear about how you have been exercising through the poor weather this summer? Pre-BMF, normally come summer I’d be out running a couple of times a week if not more. The pull of BMF is always stronger and I know I would have exercised even less if I hadn’t had that and Pete dragging me there to motivate me. Have you been like me and totally skipped out on exercise or have you managed to stay motived? Have you tried BMF since hearing me talk about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts… Love, Rebecca xo
Well good afternoon readers! I hope you’re all feeling chatty this afternoon because I’m looking forward to a good catch up. On what you might ask? Well, It’s almost 4 months since the start of the year and my first post on my weight and being comfortable in my own skin. Since then, I’ve been going to British Military fitness usually two, sometimes three times a week, and initially it was all going well. I even got into the jumpsuit for Pete’s birthday. Shortly after that weekend of excess, I went ski-ing and it was game over for the unwanted pounds and since then, I’ve been hovering all over the upper end of my usual weight, going down to 9st 11lbs at one particularly pleasing point, or, back up to 10st 2 or 4lbs (like now).
I have definitely toned up. A few of you have made comments on the blog about my arms (in this dress,) and my stomach is flatter, but I do still feel that there’s a layer of blubber hiding my hard work. The weather this month hasn’t really helped, as I’d normally be out running now, but it’s all I can do to brave the cold for BMF, never mind extra runs. I’ve also got a bit of a problem with my foot at the moment, due to recently diagnosed collapsed arches so they are sore which doesn’t exactly encourage me to pound the pavement. And although I’m often pleased with the outfits that I wear and share with you all via the What-to-Wear posts, it’s definitely not a good thing having to scrutinise yourself on such a regular basis and decide which images are less blubbery looking!
When I wrote that first post I was determined not to diet. I love my food too much, and I hate the social restriction a diet causes – having to turn down dinner out with friends or to go along and not drink because you’re ‘being good’. Of course I also know I’m hardly obese, I’d just like to be able to see the results of my hard work at BMF!
As a medic, the thought of sending my body into a feast or famine panic by restricting my calorific intake terrifies me, as I’ve seen friends and patients with ruined metabolism due to faddy dieting and constant starving themselves. Right now however, with a holiday (and bikini) looming, I feel like I’m going to kick myself if I don’t do something about my extra pounds.
I’ve had more than a passing interest in the Dukan diet recently but I really can’t decide if it’s healthy or not, placing such a protein load on your kidneys and basically inducing a ketotic state to burn fat cells. My sister recently embarked on it for 7 days and lost a hefty 6lbs but admitted it was gruelling and more than a little nauseating at times. I can see the medical reasoning behind it, but I haven’t yet had the time to research any real downsides or risks properly.
Image from Pinterest
So today, I’m wondering how you guys have done since January. Quite a few of you were looking to lose weight or shift a couple of extra pounds post-Christmas, and some of you were getting in shape for your wedding. I also wondered if any of you had done the Dukan diet or if you had any other tips or tricks to recommend and help me deal with the bikini fear!
Lot of female ‘why do we do this to ourselves?‘ love,
Disclaimer: I do not endorse the Dukan Diet in any way and anyone embarking upon a serious weight loss plan should consult their GP.
It’s only the 29th but it’s time to share a bit of behind the scenes action with you from my month, captured on Instagrid.me. I’ve been working so much this month that I haven’t had as much to share with you, but I hope you enjoy them all the same.
- How I spend my Saturday mornings… Yes, I’m still going to Brit Mil Fit. Yes, it’s still great No, I haven’t lost any weight. Hmph.
- My lap cat (not the one who pees on the carpet.)
- Planning our trip to London on the back of a kitchen mag on the train down.
- Nail trends a la Florence: Paint your ring finger a contrasting (or toning) colour and last weekend’s lilac tips.
- Summer sunshine brings salad in our house. This one was BBQ-ed chinese marinated chicken, with orange pieces and lemon creme fraiche. I think it needed some pine or walnuts…
- My new sex-pert status as Laura Lawson said on Twitter
- Have you had a creme egg yet?
- Cupcakes for Mother’s day on Beech Road, Chorlton. Possibly the prettiest I’ve ever seen and easy to DIY I reckon!
- Tulips, with pink popping against my grey walls.
- The Red trousers are out again…
How has your month been?
Now it’s February, it’s a month since I first wrote about wanting to shift a bit of weight, tone up and get fitter. I reckon it’s about time I shared with you all how it’s been coming on.
The truth is, like many of you I guess, there have been ups and downs. In terms of tangible weight loss, I’m not sure I’ve made that much progress. I think the term ‘yo-yo-ing’ would be fairly accurate. After a good first couple of weeks, I relaxed one weekend and gained back a couple of pounds, then lost it, then went away to Wales, then lost it, then had this weekend of birthday celebrations and the whole thing went totally to pot. I feel like my mindset is six of one and half a dozen of the other… on the one hand, I still really want to get a couple more pounds off, then I’m more than happy yo-yo-ing around a couple of pounds either way. But on the other hand, I’ve had a great last 3 weekends and I will never be a slave to my weight at the expense of my life. Bonus points for anyone who can solve that problem for me then!
However, when it comes to exercise, I’m seriously hoping that eventually all the good work will pay off and I’ll start to see results. I’ve been to my BMF class twice weekly since starting at the beginning of January and am still loving it. I took my first fitness test last weekend (they suggest you do one every 3 months to assess your progress) and I was really pleased with the results. I get to wear a Red bib (the middle group) and having been back this morning for my first session since, not only am I still a physically broken woman(!) after giving my all for the test, but I now know that my cardiovascular strength is way below my muscular strength and I worked my ass off at the running with the next fitness test in mind as motivation. I’m not sure I can truly see a cosmetic difference in my shape just yet, (Pete says he can, but bless him, he’s always been the encouraging type!) It’s only been 4 weeks though so I’m not losing hope yet.
I think motivation is a massive thing when it comes to exercising and I am the worst for giving up when it hurts my chest to breath or my legs start wobbling or I want to actually puke from the effort (sadly a little too often at the moment!) Probably my biggest achievements have been running the Manchester 10K, not just because of the distance but the effort involved, particularly on the day. Whilst I can recommend having a goal to help you train, I’m naughty and when training for a run, often stop and have a little walk when it gets hard. With all eyes on you in a run you can’t do that and so I have to say to myself over and over again, be grateful you have legs and can actually do this. Being physically able to run is such a great feeling when you place the value of it in context like that.
And after sharing my day job with you all yesterday it seems an apt time to share this with you too… a video Pete actually showed me after an educational session he attended a week or so ago.
It’s a long one, so watch it later this evening or at the weekend, but it’s a fascinating insight into how exercise affects your long term health and mental well being, and reduces the risk of chronic disease. It certainly made me think about how much I sit down, even though I’ve mentioned it before. I wish I could walk to work. Maybe I’ll have to start walking to my home visits!
Now it’s over to you. How is your diet/exercise/healthy lifestyle regime going now that the New Year call to action has faded a little? Share your successes and slip ups with us here and lets all motivate each other a little bit more to keep going.
Well, it’s time to check in on January health and fitness plans with you all and update you on my efforts. This week I thought I would focus on the exercise aspect of what I’ve been doing after we talked weight loss methods and food last week.
I’m a bit militant when it comes to exercise once I start doing it and I also think that dieting alone is a really counter-productive way to lose weight. It can also ruin your metabolism by starving your body and encouraging it to store fat as soon as it gets its hands on excess calories again, because it’s in feast or famine mode.
You might remember me saying that I love food and I love both eating and drinking socially – its just not practical for me to say that I will forever be careful, not have that extra drink, or refuse the cake on offer with coffee. It’s never going to happen. Although I’d like to make my healthier diet a long term change, moderation, not denial is key.
With that in mind I needed to find a new method of exercise. Pete and I cancelled our gym membership with a three month notice period and it finished on the 31st of Dec. We must have been the only people cancelling at this time of year! The membership had gone up and up and up and we weren’t going anymore as It wasn’t as convenient for my new job.
Thinking back, my favourite exercise ever was a circuits class I attended there, loosely based on military fitness by the instructor and a mix of cardio and weights or strength work for toning. I was physically exhausted after every session but saw fast results and it was addictive. I wanted to replicate that and was also aware that exercise doesn’t have to be expensive. I’m fortunate in that despite living in Manchester, I live ten minutes from a vast stretch of waterpark with miles of running tracks through woodland, around lakes and fresh air that feels miles from the city. So I wanted to get back to outdoor exercising too.
All that lead me to British Military Fitness. I’d known of the classes for a while but never been and I won’t deny being nervous. The classes are based upon the kind of training the military use and particularly rely on when they’re out on tours of duty. They have to maintain their fitness without equipment and sometimes in limited space so the exercises are an intense combination of cardio (sprints and short runs) interspersed with all manner of total body exercises ranging from star jumps and air boxing to the dreaded burpees and more traditional sit ups, push ups, tricep dips and squats. They do all this in parks or open spaces all over the country and for a bargain price. it’s £35 to join and the class I attend is £28 for 1 class a week or £36 for as many as you like, at any location in the country. (I know that it’s higher in the South East and London – Gemma C-S has confirmed she paid £50 per month for unlimited classes in Hyde Park, but she agrees it’s worth it even at that price)
I admit I couldn’t face it in the dark during the first week of January when the gales were blowing and rain lashing, but I got to my first on on Saturday the 7th, anticipating a gruelling session due to my miserably diminished fitness levels.
Was it hard? Yes. Definitely.
Will I be going back? Without a shadow of a doubt. (I’ve done three sessions since writing this and am now wandering round under a black cloud as due to work commitments I can’t attend until Thursday, it’s that good!)
It was great fun, the instructors were unfailingly supportive and encouraging and the sense of achievement at the end was fabulous. Even better, you can expect to burn around 500 cals an hour and I immediately recognised that it was going to make a massive difference to both my cardiovascular fitness and general strength and tone. I joined at Sale Water park and you can try your first class free by downloading a voucher on the BMF site.
Get Fit with Florence!
I have a had a thought for those of you who are more goal orientated and looking for a fitness aim for 2012 to motivate you. There are still a few places for the Manchester 10K which I have done a couple of times before and will be doing again. It’s a fantastic atmosphere on the day and I can highly recommend the sense of achievement you gain from completing it. I could even be persuaded to arrange a mini-meet up for lunch after the race if anyone is interested?
Just drop a comment in the box below
So, have you done BMF? Will you be giving it a go now? Do share what your exercise goals are and how you’re going to get there, team sports or head clearing runs, I’d love to hear more.
*Credit to Glitter Guide for the title phrase, a rather affectionate way I thought, of referring to the extra pounds we’re all working on shifting post-Christmas!