Archive for the ‘gym’ Category

Conserve Cash October

In book, cinema, food, gym, shopping on September 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm

So, it’s the end of September. It’s been a great month – not least because of the amazing weather we got to see the month out. I’ve caught up with a ton of friends I don’t see enough of and it’s been wonderful. I don’t realise how little I see them until I do start seeing them, and then I realise how much I’ve missed them. From catching a chick-flick with Marv, to dinner with Donna, to Sunday coffee with Nicky to a networking-cum-free-champagne-turns-into-cocktails event with the girls and a night of crazy dancing to live music at the Jam House, I’ve gone out more over the past month than I normally do in three, particularly when you count the fact that Adam and I go to the movies and for dinner every week as a matter of course.

Plus, obviously, I’ve had a birthday, which means I went out for even more meals, and of course had my fantastic weekend away with more cocktails, fab food and posh afternoon teas. And I have loved it. It’s been brilliant to let my hair down and remind myself how many fantastic friends I have and how lucky I am. But, on the down-side, well, I have spent a bit. I’ve not been too bad on the shopping front (though I did get the gorgeous coat I was coveting. And the evening bag to match the birthday shoes. And some new gym stuff. And bedding. And candles and stuff to match. And a bit of jewellery. Okay, I take that back…) but I’ve spent a fortune on food and drink, generally being a social butterfly, and it’s made me take a pretty stern look at my finances.

I’m not going to dwell on it, because it’s been an awesome month and one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, but I’m going to endeavour to make up for my loose purse-strings over the next four weeks. In fact, I’m going to take a leaf out of the book of Helga Henry. Helga’s coming to the end of what she dubbed No Shop September – which entailed exactly what you’d expect – and I am going to nick her idea and launch Conserve Cash October.

Less pigging out, more piggy bank

That’s with the obvious exception of two key direct debits – I can’t default on previously agreed commitments, they’ll send me to prison – which I’m going to really maximise to help me achieve my goal: my monthly gym membership, which I plan to step up a notch (I need to go some to shift these scones and daiquiris, believe me) and my unlimited cinema card.

The last movie I went to see was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and I’ve gone a decent amount this month, watching the Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Friends With Benefits and I Don’t Know How She Does It (not on my cinema card but as part of a treat from Marverine so that doesn’t count), but with a host of new ones I have my eye on, including Abduction, In Time, The Three Muskateers and The Help, being due for release, I should be able to keep busy, and I’ll have to strive to ignore the lure of the various pizza places, bars, tapas restaurants and, naturally, the sweet counter, that stand between the car park and the screen.

Adam’s currently training for the BUPA Great Birmingham Run, which takes place in three weeks time. In theory, he’ll be on a mission not to eat too much before that to make sure his efforts are worthwhile, so with that in mind, I plan to work out a home-cooked menu (I envisage a lot of home-grown tomatoes playing a part) to boost energy levels and have him fighting fit, leaving both our wallets and waistlines thanking us for our dedication.

It’s only 31 days after all. From then on, with Christmas – so sorry to use the C word this early – skateboarding ever closer, it’ll be a case of going back to my common sense approach – always choosing somewhere to eat with a voucher code offer, or treating ourselves to a posher restaurant after a tough week, but making the most of our Gastrocard subscription to save some pennies.

My final cutback – and one I had never envisaged would be so out of hand – is that I WILL STOP BUYING E-BOOKS IN THE AMAZON KINDLE STORE. I’ve had my kindle for 16 days and I’ve spent getting on for £100 on books. happily, there’s a good 12 or so I’ve yet to read, so I figure if I spend the whole of October working, watching movies, working out and reading my way through my Kindle library, then it should be November in no time.

I suspect the harder part will be keeping those pennies somewhere sensible, rather than somehow hemmorhaging them elsewhere, as I am wont to do…

So there you go, I have announced an intention, and I shall try to fulfil it. However, there’s one more day of September left, and luckily for me, one more afternoon tea to be had. This one’s in aid of Acorns Hospice though, so my conscience, for once, is clear.


Gym’ll fix it?

In gym, health on August 23, 2011 at 9:26 am

Oh, my poor aching limbs.

It’s been a week since I started at my new gym of choice. The delight of only being 20 minutes away, compared to my previous 25-mile drive each way is beyond compare. I’ve joined Virgin Active at Solihull, and I am extremely pleased – incredibly well equipped, fancy indoor and outdoor pools, saunas and gubbins (not that I’ve tried them yet), and an extensive class table, I’m just dying to get stuck in.

I’ve been a bit of a maniac on the cardio front for the past year or so, I get a real buzz watching all the calories I’m burning notch up, but I’m all for change, so I booked an appointment with Dan yesterday, tasking him with helping me tone up my thighs, stomach and arms. I was pleasantly surprised – I’d expected him to draw me up a programme of reps on the various resistance machines and mix in a few pec flies, lat raises and so on with free-weights, but instead, he drew me up two different programmes – one centred around the PowerPlate, which I really like, and one focussed on the TRX system, the likes of which I’ve never come across before…


Basically, it looks like some kind of adventure playground, with pulleys and cables and straps hanging down. The idea is that use use these straps and pulleys to create resistance and work against them. I was set a combination of tricep exercises, squats, lunges and leg raises.


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The leg raises were my undoing – with one foot hooked into a dangling stirrup and my weight supported on my palms, I had to then raise the other leg 12 times. I felt like a monkey and after losing my balance and almost breaking my jaw, decided that it might not be my bag.

This morning, though, the screaming muscles in my thinghs suggest that the effort, and the feeling foolish, might well have been worth it, so I shall persevere.


Bikini ready

In diet, food, gym, health, Holiday, Italy, Travel on July 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Well, it’s finally arrived. My summer holiday’s been booked for six months and this time tomorrow I’ll be basking beside the pool in Tuscany. Blissssssss. The past six weeks have been very tough – a strict eating regime (with a few lapses, I confess), trying to service all of my clients, do the holiday packing and do the 200km a week I told myself I’d do to achieve my goal weight.

And what do you know? I’ve done it – jobs all finished, invoices sent, suitcases packed, suncream bought, and a stone in weight lost – admittedly half my holiday clothes are now too big but I’ve been delighted at the  ‘new clothes buying’ part of it all, there’s a definite thrill to having to put back all the 10s and enjoy slipping into the 8s rather than squeezing into them.

Of course, two weeks of bread, pasta, cheese and oceans of wine will no doubt see the pounds pile back on a damn sight faster than they shifted. I’ve made the provisions – I’ve handed in notice at my gym, much as I loved it, because 25 miles is too far to travel there and back – 40 minutes each way, blus the two-hour workout, is taking its toll – and have signed up to a new one, so that when I get back with the post-holiday blues, I’m set to get right back on track.

I have packed my trainers and some gym gear – I’ve pledged to attempt some running with The Boy while I’m on holiday – but given that he’s in training for his third marathon and I despise running with a passion, I fear it may not end well, and will more likely see me lying on a lilo waiting for him to return from his all-terrain adventure.

Nontheless, it’s been all too long in coming, and I’m looking forward to ditching the scales for a fortnight and concentrating on which cheese to try.


Lay off Claire!

In gym, health on January 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I was annoyed to see a vicious newspaper report today attacking Claire Sweeney for putting a little weight on. I’ve met and interviewed Claire a couple of times and a more pleasant, friendly and down-to-earth lady you could not wish to meet.

Claire Sweeney - lovely as she is

Claire bravely took part in a TV experiment a couple of years ago where she ate whatever she liked for six weeks and assessed the damage done to her figure, her health and her self confidence. I caught up with her after the experiment as she struggled to shift the last half stone, and she was shocked at how awful she’d felt, and the way the press had gleefully reported on her shape as she conducted the diet investigation.

She admitted how disciplined and strict she has to be with herself regarding her exercise and her portion control, and it bothered me that someone so gorgeous and talented could feel so judged and bullied. We live in a pretty vicious society and much as I, and other women, feel rubbish when we’ve put a couple of pounds on, at least we haven’t got to worry about some snapper hiding nearby, keen to grab a shot of us oiling ourselves up on the beach or tucking into a burger once in a lifetime.

Claire’s just lovely as she is. Lay off.


In fashion, gym, health on January 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Losing weight? Losing motivation.

In gym, health on January 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm

So my great intentions of January have been scuppered by some kind of ear infection. Instead of spending days pounding the cross-trainer and cycling, I have in fact spent days lying on the sofa with a hot water bottle strapped to the side of my head.

I’ve successfully binned any remaining Christmas chocolates and the too-tempting cheese plate has almost depleted now, so I’m hoping that the second half of January will see an improvement.

As it is, I’ve managed a tough body conditioning class and a few sessions with my fit-ball at home – ridiculous as I may look, wobbling around on top of it, there’s no arguing that the squats, crunches and push-ups do help. But I’ve not managed the body pump and body combat classes I’d signed up for with my friend Donna, nor have I managed to stick to the 40k distance training sessions I managed throughout December.

As a result, I’ve managed to put on four lbs in a week, after managing not to put any on over Christmas!

Such depressing stats immediately make me want to have a sandwich to cheer myself up, there’s nothing to make you more inclined to eat for comfort than discovering you’ve put weight on while not eating much!

Thankfully, I’m now able to stand up without holding on to something and I’ve managed not to take any painkillers today, so I’m hopeful that I’ll squeeze a couple of classes in before the end of the week and get back on track. I’m going to need to see some major results fast though to reignite my motivation.

I’m still determined not to buy any new clothes until March so I have plenty of time to focus on toning up and looking good so that when I do hit the shops, I’m spoiled for choice.



In cinema, gym, health, shopping on January 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I’m not going to bore you with my repetitive list of resolutions – they’re the same as last year’s. But they’re more serious this time – I always say I’m going to try and spend less and be a bit more savvy, but this year, thanks to the hike in VAT, I have another reason to tighten my purse strings.

I read a few days ago that Starbucks have increased the price of a cappuccino by more than double the 2.5% VAT increase, so my occasional vanilla latte/hazelnut hot chcolate treat is bound to have leapt up in price – so I shall try and leave it alone for a while.

I was spoiled rotten this Christmas, with jewellery, shoes and clothes, so I’d like to think I can stay away from the shops for a few weeks and have a little splurge before I go on holiday (yet to be booked, God knows what that’ll cost now).

The one really sensible thing I’ve done is invest in an unlimited access card for my local cinema. We go to the cinema a lot – usually three or four times a month and half the time we still manage to miss some of the movies we want to see. I’m hoping we’ll manage to go at least once a week now – starting tonight with The Next Three Days (or Burlesque, but my money’s on The Next Three Days.) The key is that we’ll have to break the habit of going out for a meal before or after, or the whole plan will go awry.

Add to that my plan to quit drinking and avoid bread during January, along with my good intentions to make my £50 gym membership work harder, and I should see in February a little richer, and a little slimmer.

Famous last words?