Operation Get Off My Fat Arse Monthly Report #3

The weather has improved and my knee is feeling stronger, so I recently got back onto the Thames Path. I’m cycling to Greenwich, then catching the Thames Clipper to Embankment. It’s awesome. I highly, highly recommend commuting by boat. I had a week off work, I wasn’t hugely lazy but I wasn’t that active during my week off.

Anyway…

Total Distance Cycled: 159.46km
That’s 140km more than last report. Loving being back on the Thames Path.

Total Steps: 270,070
I have stopped walking from Barnehurst for the moment as I’ve increased my time on the bike, I’m using my non-bike days as recovery and to do all the little jobs I need to do on the way home…like buy food.

No swimming or gym. Will definitely get back on that ASAP! Badminton is going well and I’m giving serious consideration to booking myself a squash court. I’ve always wanted to play squash but finding someone to play with and more importantly, find the time to play is difficult so I’m thinking about having a solo session.

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Operation Get Off My Fat Arse Monthly Report #2

Right, monthly report 2! April hasn’t been a fantastic month for doing exercise. I had two weeks off being healthy because it was my 30th birthday, my mum was visiting and there was Easter. I ate an awful lot of cake! (I bought a cake, mum bought me a cake and friends bought me a cake!) I intend to make up for it though, don’t worry 😉

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Total Distance Cycled: 19.3km
Not fantastic. The two weeks off my bike put a dent in my momentum. I’m determined to fix it, I cycled today (Mon 26th April) and I intend to finish off my week cycling (I can only cycle Mon, Tues & Wed this week).

Total Distance Walked: 33.5km
Total Steps: 245, 624
I decided that all the days I didn’t cycle, I was going to walk home from Barnehurst. It’s just over 3km, walking it’s around forty minutes. It’s actually quite a nice walk, straight line and you go past some very lovely houses. Incidentally, loving my Garmin Vivofit! I’m thinking of saving up for the newer one which counts stairs, partially because I’m really curious to see how many stairs I walk up and down at work during the week 😛

No gym, swimming or Superhero Workout. My phone camera is too poor to really cope with Superhero Workout, it makes it a little frustrating to get through the missions and find that it’s only counting half of what I do. I’m going to make some time this week to do work through a couple more missions but I might have to hold until I get a better phone.

I have started going to a drop-in badminton club. I used to play badminton before I moved to London and as with fencing, it’s been difficult to find a drop in social session which meets on a day I can actually go. My local leisure centre does have social badminton sessions but they’re during the week at 10am, which is not always a great time for me.

 

Operation Get Off My Fat Arse Monthly Report #1

As I promised myself last month, I’d start taking myself to account for my inactivity and post a monthly round-up of how things are going. I bought a Garmin Vivofit to replace my dead FitBit (and I have to say, it’s much, much better…might do a comparison post at some point) and bought ‘7 Minute Superhero Workout‘ (from the guys who make ‘Zombies, Run!’).

activities

Distance Cycled: 18.98km
Not fantastic. Towards the end of last year I was regularly cycling around 90km a week, but it’s early days and I have had the excuse of technical rehearsals (and the weather). My commute will be cut short this year by about 10km as I no longer want to cycle through central London but I figure I can make this up in the gym.

Times went to the Gym: 2
Er…yeah…. 😦
As I’ve said, I don’t have a lot of time between shows so I was only able to manage to a quick 20mins on an exercise bike. This is why I’ve added the ‘7 Minute Superhero Workout’ to my toolkit. If running was something I was capable of doing, I could always run to the gym but not going to happen. The matinee show time will be changing in October which will give me more time so that’s something 🙂

Distance Swam: 1000km
Went swimming for the first time since last October and felt pretty good about it. I made sure I mixed up my strokes and varied my pace. I can’t swim between shows because there isn’t enough time so I’m going to make 1000km my minimum on the day I have plenty of time to swim.

Other: up to Mission 4 on the Superhero Workout
It’s pretty fun, although my phone doesn’t have a very good front facing camera so sometimes it doesn’t detect everything I’m doing. That’s okay though, I know I did 15 star jumps even if it thinks I only did 6 😛

The Bike Ride – SUCCESS!

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Setting out just after 10:30am, I made good time and reached Woolwich in 50minutes (11km) where I had my first snack break of the day. Refueled, I headed off on the final stretch which took me to the Thames Barrier. Have to say, brilliantly signposted for cyclists and there were cycle lanes and clearly marked cycle routes. Richmond might want to think about something similar…just sayin’ 😉

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I reached my first waypoint at the Thames Barrier in 1hr 18mins (15km from my flat). At The View Cafe I had a nice sausage sandwich and topped up my water bottle. The way to Greenwich is beautifully sign posted as well and you pass some lovely scenery on your way!

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A slightly dramatic picture of The City, taken with my potato.

I finally reached Greenwich just under an hour after I left the Thames Barrier. I cycled a total of 21km in 2hrs, which I think is pretty good going. I ended up spending more time in Greenwich than I’d originally intended because after 10km into my ride my chain started squeaking so I had to find a bike shop. Which was actually more complicated than it should have been.

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After doing a bit of bike maintenance and having a nice sit down, I turned round and headed back home. In total, I cycled 42km in 3hrs 21mins. During my ride, I had my bluetooth headset in one ear and followed the first four missions of Zombies, Run! I used Zombies, Run! when I was trying to talk myself into enjoying running but never quite succeeding. It’s great fun on a bike, particularly if you live somewhere post-apocalyptic like me! I turned off the playlists so between the voice overs, I just had silence which I enjoyed very much.

I’m already planning my next Big Ride as this was great fun.

You can check out my Strava profile for this ride if you want 🙂

Preparing for Pain: Nutrition

In preperation for The Big Ride, which I’ve decided should be to at least the Millennium Dome as I’ve ridden up to Thamesmead already (6km/4miles) and the Thames Barrer is only a further 3km (2miles) from there Greenwich is just over 17km (11miles), I’ve been trying out some sports energy snacks.

I’m already a fan of nakd & Trek bars so they are a definite in my Big Ride refueling kit, but the sheer amount of choice out there is a bit overwhelming. None of it is particularly cheap! I stumbled across a subscription box serivce called ‘Fuelify‘ which promise to provide you with a range of energy products tailored for you workout. I wasn’t prepared to take out a subscription to simply get some sample products but fortunately they offer a ‘one-off’ box for £8 which is pretty reasonable when you take into account the cost of each of the indivdual items.

In this one-off box, I selected ‘cardio’ as my main workout profile and this is what they sent me:

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As you can see there’s a decent variety in the products and I’m particularly interested in the drink tablets & the recovery powder as I have been taking along some Lucozade in my bottle for the sugar kick (I’m not sure it serves any other purpose than to provide a sugar kick) but I’ve reading about the benefits of isotopic drinks during workouts. I must admit that post-swim I have to stop myself going mad buying sweets as I obviously have some sort of sugar crash and I think that my starting to understand my bodies needs during exercise I’ll be able to make bigger steps towards fitness.

I want to keep a bit of a record of which sports snacks & drinks I’ve tried so I’m going to periodically update my Review page so if anyone is following this and interested, keep an eye on that.

This is going to be uncomfortable…

With the change in the weather my usual swimming pool has become unbearable so I bit the bullet and joined the YMCA Central which has a very nice indoor pool. I’ve also started using the gym (well, the bike & rowing machines…everything else scares me a bit even though I’ve had an induction!) which is a huge first for me. School PE put me off any sort of physical activity and it’s only as I’m entering my 30th year I’ve started to actually care about my physicality.

I also remembered that I own a bike, and not only do I own a bike, I live alongside the Thames Path. There’s literally no excuse for me not to go out and exercise (I’ve accepted I hate running). I’m the type of person who needs a goal to aim for so I’ve set myself the challenge of cycling from Erith to the Thames Barrier (and back, if I don’t die) – a grand total of 12KM (24KM if I cycle back). To some people this might not sound like a huge distance but this is big for me. I’ve also set a date – Friday 14th August is The Big Cycle Day, Saturday 15th August is “kill me now” Day and Sunday 16th August is “shit, I can’t walk” Day.

I’m also planning to go out to Richmond Park soon. I’ve bought a camera rucksack so I can take my camera with me as it would be a shame to get all the way out there and only have my shitting phone camera.

You can follow me on Strava if you so wish.

erithroot

En Garde!

no attribution givenOne of my more positive memories of primary school was a 4-day trip we took when I was 10yrs old. I can’t remember where, but what I do remember is one of the scheduled activities was fencing.

Four years later I managed to talk my mum into letting me try fencing again. Unfortunately costs eventually prevented me from becoming a full member of the club so I never went beyond the summer workshop they offered.

This was one of the rare physical activities I found enjoyable (the others being swimming, badminton and cricket…I was an odd child) so I was eager to continue at some point. Moving to London gave me access to the world of fencing clubs but alas they were all (a) really expensive and (b) never on a Sunday.

Browsing Groupon I found an offer for a 3hr fencing workshop at Fighting Fit Fencing in Islington which offered Sunday’s. I immediately bought the offer and had that “night before Christmas” anticipation feel about it. The session was hard work, particularly as despite the swimming I’m still not particularly fit but really, really fun. Afterwards I joined up as a member.

I’ve also found a nearby swimming pool which is part of my gym membership. Depending on how dead I feel my intentions are to fence then head over to the pool for a nice swim before finally heading back home each Sunday.