Day 9 – Arms Workout

Not too much to report today. For today, I got my arm workout from an unexpected source – the NHS! At least I know their advice will be medically sound, haha. The website was a little less pretty than previous pages, with pictures being clear and accurate, but not necesarilly that interesting to look at.

Also, the workout itself seemed a little short. Although the page stated that it was a 10 minute workout, I realized that with just one set of 10-15 reps for each exercise, there was no way it would take 10 minutes. However, with my muscles still ahing from yesterday’s workout (ironically I think my abs workout worked my shoulders and lower body more than my abs!), I was thankful for an easier day.

The workout itself had some parts that seemed pretty tricky (e.g. 15 pushups!), while others seemed overly simple (e.g. tricep kickbacks with no weights). I modified the triceps kickbacks by adding weights, and also added in 15 bicep curls with 5 kg weights.

I also did 5 of my 15 pushups in the easier knee position, as I found that my arm muscles aren’t yet developed enough to allow me to do a proper, deep pushup.

I wouldn’t rate this workout too highly. It was way too short, and I’m not sure it’ll do much for my arm muscles.

Anyway, until tomorrow. Stay happy and healthy.

Advertisements

Day 8 – Abs Workout

Simply put, a solid core is sexy.

Dan Cohen

I was a bit iffy about whether or not I should use today’s workout. It wasn’t the source of the workout, or that the workout sounded too difficult. Runner’s World tends to have great resources. You see, my issue was that the page I clicked on actually had four workouts, with all the same base moves but in different orders. I don’t want to use the same webpage multiple days in a row, so I wasn’t sure what to do.

For each workout, the description states ” Repeat each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest between moves, for a 5-minute circuit.” The four workout options were the ones below, with the hub exercise being the one you do most often, based on your training goals. And, as you can see below, each workout has a different focus – Strength, Power, Stability, or Balance.

Ultimately, I decided to do all four, but over the course of the day. I figured that a five minute workout isn’t too hard to fit in, plus doing it this way means I get the benefit of all the exercises, haha.

However, I went for a walk with my corgi and my husband this evening, so my third and fourth workouts ended up being done at around 10.30 pm. Not exactly ideal! By the fourth workout, my abs and arms were a bit worn out too. However, for such short little workouts, they really worked my muscles!

I also lost another 300 grams today, meaning my weight is at 67.6 kg – 12.6 kg away from my ultimate goal. Slowly but surely, I’m making my way there!

Until tomorrow – stay happy and healthy.

Day Seven – Legs Workout

A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander

Roman Payne

Today, I agreed with my husband that we’d do a legs workout together. However, that completely slipped my mind until about 9.30 pm. Even worse, the workout required jump squats, so there was no way I could do it inside – we live in an apartment building, and I’d be risking the wrath of our downstair’s neighbours. Reluctantly, I got back out of my pyjamas, put on my workout gear, and headed out into our shared garden.

However, once we got out there, we had a lot of fun. This workout comes courtesy of 8fit, and is another workout requiring you to do everything non-stop. You do each exercise for 30 seconds, for a total of 8 minutes (i.e. 4 sets), but with no breaks.

While this is a fast way to get your workout out of the way, the downside of this, of course, is that over time my form began to suffer. I kind of prefer longer, slower workouts, because at least you can focus on getting the form right.

For our workout, there were just four exercises:

  • Lunges
  • Squat jumps
  • Skater lunges; and
  • Calf raises

By the time we were done, my husband and I had both worked up a sweat, despite him being considerably fitter than me. Even better, we had laughed and had some fun together. I always find that spending time getting outside with my husband, whether that is walking, running, cycling, or working out, always ends up being a great time.

On another note, I’ve made some exciting progress. My current weight is 67.9 kg, meaning I had 12.9 kg left! I’d stalled a little over the past few days, so it was reassuring to see the weight coming off.

Until tomorrow – stay happy, stay healthy.

Day Six – Arms Workout

Life is very interesting. In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.

Drew Barrymore

My arm workout for today was devised by Mallory Creveling for Prevention.com. All it required was a set of dumbells, which was perfect as, other than a yoga mat, that’s basically all the gym equipment I own at my house!

Thankfully, my arms have had time to recover, and while they were still a little achy, I was ready for today’s workout. Going in, it also seemed a little more gentle than my last arm workout, with fewer exercises, and an option of fewer sets (although I opted to still do three!)

Today my workout consisted of three sets of the following exercises:

  • Dumbell Bench Press – 12 reps
  • Bent Over Row – 12 reps
  • Dumbell Side Raise – 12 reps
  • Tricep Kickback – 12 reps
  • Bicep Hammer Curl – 12 reps

For each exercise, I opted to do all three sets at once, so I could reduce the amount of time I spent messing about changing the weights on my barbells. For the Tricep Kickbacks and Bent Over Rows, I also moved to the hallway so I could look into the bathroom mirror to check my form and make sure my back stayed straight.

There were two things that were (minorly) frustrating with this workout. Firstly, the pictures for the workout didn’t always match the actual exercise. For example, they had a picture of a woman doing dumbell bench presses on a bench, when they told you to do it on the floor, and they had a picture of a woman doing a tricep kickback on a bench, one arm at a time, when you were meant to do it standing up and with both arms at once. For a relative newbie like me, this led to me having to do Google image searches to make sure I had the correct form.

Secondly, each exercise had a little description underneath it, explaining why it was a good exercise. While some of these had good explanations (e.g. for Dumbell Side Raises the article states “This exercise enhances shoulder stability, which can help you sidestep injury”, other exercises had descriptions that felt pretty condescending. For Dumbell Bench Presses the article states “You’ll strengthen the same muscles that help you with push movements, like opening doors or pushing your cart around the grocery store”, and for Tricep Kickbacks, the articles states ” Your triceps are tiny but mighty muscles that help you pull doors open”.

As this article is targetted at women, it did feel a bit like it was saying women, with their tiny, tiny arm muscles usually struggle with basic tasks such as pushing a trolley or opening a door. It just seemed so out of place for an article explaining to women how they can strengthen their bodies…

On a different note, I’m genuinely excited for tomorrow. It’s going to be another leg workout, although a pretty intense one. I’ve also managed to rope in my husband, so we’ll be doing it side by side.

Until then, stay happy, stay healthy.

Day Five – Abs Workout

If you think a minute goes by fast, you’ve never done a plank before.

Kris J Simpson

Yesterday, I took the day off from working out. My muscles were aching, and I realised that there was no way I would have a productive workout while they hurt so much. However, today is a new day, and it involved a new workout devised by 8fit – this time a nine-minute workout devised for my abs. I also got my husband to workout (and struggle) alongside me.

8fit made this workout seems easy – just a nine minute workout, with no traditional crunches or sit-ups. However, they’re a bit cheeky – no breaks were allowed.

So, if I didn’t do any crunches or sit-ups, what did I do? Well…

  • Forearm plank – 1 minute
  • Sidekicks – 15 seconds right, 15 seconds left
  • Isometric V-ups – 30 second hold
  • Plank hip dips – 30 seconds
  • Walking lunges – 30 seconds

For my first plank, I completed the minute completely on my toes. However, my abs were still aching from last week’s workout, so for my second and third I modified the plank and did them on my knees. Similarly, I switched between knees and toes for my plank hip dips.

I’m not sure about how much my abs will really be strengthened by a nine minute workout – last weeks workout seemed much more intense. However, it does feel great to be sticking to a workout routine (even if it’s just my 4th real workout since starting – not counting cycling).

On a slightly different note, one thing I have really liked with all the workouts I’ve used so far is the pictures and/or gifs that are provided alongside. They really help me to quickly figure out what I’m meant to be doing, which saves me from having to Google what an exercise is.

Till tomorrow – stay happy and healthy!

Day Four – Lower Body Workout

Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride.

Eddy Merckx

Another day, another workout. However, this one was a little different from usual, as I had been planning a bit of an excursion. I haven’t mentioned this before, but for context sake, I live in London.

This month (on the 22nd), London is becoming the first National Park City in the world. What that actually means is London is looking to make the city even greener than it already is (and it’s already very green for a major, european city) and to help people enjoy the green and blue spaces more.

One of the things that has been done to support this goal is the production of a map showing all of London, with all the green spaces, zoos, BBQ-friendly areas, places to go kayaking, a number of walks, and more. I had to have it!

If you live in London, I can’t recommend this map enough! As the organisation that produce it are an NGO, you can choose how much to donate to get the map, and then within just a few days, a beautiful, detailed map arrives at your door.

My husband and I regularly take trains out of London to see the countryside. However, being able to take out our map to see the greenspaces in London encouraged me to explore our own city a little more. More specifically, my husband and I, together with our corgi, decided to cycle the London section of the Lea Valley Walk.

Today, we started the day by hiring bikes from Liverpool Street station and then took the train out to Waltham Cross Station before cycling our way back towards Greenwich via the towpaths next to canals. All in all, it was a 30.4km ride, with our corgi riding in her backpack. (For part of the ride she was on my back, but I’ve got to be honest and confess that for most of it, she was on my husband’s.) With my arms, abs, and leg muscles still hurting from previous workouts, this was quite a challenge.

My parents never let me have a bike when I was growing up. They were a bit scared that we would cycle out into the road and would get hit by the car. I now do cycle fairly regularly, but usually just for short distances such as when I take my dog to the park. Because of that, however, I can definitively say this was THE LONGEST bike ride I have ever completed. And boy, oh boy, does my bum feel it!

There were so many highlights and neat parts of our walk. We saw horses, sheep, and belted galloway cattle. We had lunch at a little café next to the canal (just £4.00 each for a sandwich with three fillings of your choice and crisps), we stopped at a café for a drink and a popsicle (we really didn’t bring enough water), and we lay out under the trees in Greenwich Park.

Overall, it was a great day out. And despite the “workout” not being sourced from google, it certainly worked muscles that hadn’t been worked in a long time, and it was fun to have a mini adventure!

Anyway for anyone reading this, I sincerely hope you had a great day too. Keep healthy, keep happy!

Weight today: 68.5kg. Weight left to goal: 13.5kg

Day Three – Arm Workout

Biceps for show, triceps for go.

Adam Peaty

According to a study from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, women naturally have 80-90% of the lower body strength that men do, but just 50-60% of the upper body strength.

So what does that translate to? More pain for me during arm workouts! More seriously though, I don’t tend to look forward to arm workouts. However, this one, for whatever reason, felt different. I enjoyed today’s workout, although that may be down to something as simple as enjoying being in a new routine.

Today, I used 8fit’s workout for stronger, toned arms, and I did both their bodyweight and free weight exercises. They say to do the program 3-4 times so, as a minimalist, I did 3. However, the sets for each exercise varied, like so:

  • Inchworms – 5 reps
  • Plank to push-ups – 10 total reps, 5 each side
  • Tricep dips – 10 reps
  • Incline push-ups – 8 reps
  • Bicep curls – 12 reps
  • Overhead tricep extensions – 12 reps
  • Lateral raises – 8 reps
  • Bent over rows – 10 reps
  • Standing tricep kickbacks – 10 reps

The image for the standing tricep kickbacks was wrong, so I referred to the instructions, and did a quick Google image search before starting the kickbacks, to make sure I was doing the exercise correctly.

Today, I decided to do each three sets in a row for each exercise, so I wouldn’t have to go back to exercises I enjoy least (i.e. inchworms and plank to push-ups). The only exception was for the bicep curls and overhead tricep extensions, where I did a set of bicep curls, followed by a set of overhead tricep extensions and repeated the process three times.

I was really careful to take my time with the exercises, taking a break if my form started to suffer. I’ve learnt from experience that exercising with bad form isn’t worth the injuries it can cause.

If you care about the weights I used, feel free to read this part, otherwise feel free to skip ahead to the next paragraph. For the bicep curls, I used both of my dumbells, which each had 2.5 kg worth of weights, along with the metal bars from the dumbells (which weigh about 2.3 kg), and I used just one of the dumbells for the overhead tricep extensions. For the lateral raises, I used just the metal bars, and for the bent over rows and standing tricep kickbacks I used the metal bars with just one 1.25 kg weight on each.

Despite my arms still being tense (and a little shaky) post-workout, today was really good, and I think this was my best workout so far. I noticed myself taking much shorter breaks between exercises, which I think was more due to having built some mental resilience than anything else.

So, how are my muscles feeling after my first three days of working out? Sore mainly. I must have been fairly out of shape, as my leg muscles still haven’t recovered from their workout two days ago, and my ab muscles tense every time I move position! I can only imagine my arm muscles are going to follow suit tomorrow. Good thing it’s my legs being worked tomorrow!

Weight today: 68.7 kg – 13.7 kilos left to goal weight!