Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Free booze and free cake, dagnammit.

Week 5

Last week I left you with a determination to double down and stay focussed and since then it's maybe been the best week yet on this program.  Here's your blog reading music for the week, Run the Jewels new album is out as a free download and if you have even a passing interest in hip hop you'd be a fool to pass it up, the first album is classic.

The diet's been really good this week.  I keep a food diary and send it to Kat every week and this week she said she didn't know how she could improve on it.  Nice.  Kat has warned us that this is the point, a month in, where motivation is likely to start slipping so it's really time to make sure that doesn't happen.  This is supposed to be a 12 week commitment after all, be a shame to start flagging 1/3 of the way in.   Food's really important to me (like it is for a lot of us, what with all the metabolism and that) so I'd hate to be on "diet", something that makes me miserable because I'm constantly denying myself or, horror of all horrors, going hungry.  As it is I find the healthier I eat, healthier I want to eat so it's massive salads-a-go-go, lots of protein and veg and I don't really miss bread and pasta (that much).  Had a craving for a burger Saturday night so while I toasted buns for my girlfriend I made a salad of all the stuff I'd usually put in a burger and made baked sweet potato chips.
90% of a burger is still awesome.

Just a couple of substitutions and I had a super healthy meal which still scratched that burger itch.  I'm smashing through that recommended 5 a Day, drinking lots of water (man, I piss A LOT), eating often during the day (fresh & dried fruit, nuts, boiled eggs, rice cakes with peanut butter - my new favourite thing) and I'm never hungry,  Not being hungry means I'm not getting cravings.  Winning!

The gym's been good too, slowly but surely but I'm definitely getting fitter.  Kat has us doing deadlifts and it'super satisfying upping the weight every week, and having the Dropkick Murphys in my head one morning doing a bag session had me seriously fired up.  Getting up before 6 and
This is pre-gym in the morning. THE MORNING!
heading out in the dark and the rain is actually fun,  well 'fun' might be pushing it but it's legitimately motivating, though as a result I don't have the option to stay up all night playing GTA as often these days but hey, got to make some sacrifices eh?  It's not like I'm not writing this on a day off which I'm mostly using to get a massage and play the newly remastered GTA San Andreas while eating a bit of healthy cake (HEALTHY CAKE!) prepared by my fellow 12 Weeker Laura, so don't feel too bad for me,

Speaking of fellow 12 Weekers we had a meal out together at the end of last week.  We're all chatting and sharing meals on our facebook group but was good to be able to met up outside the gym environment to talk about how we're all getting on.  The fact that we're all doing this along with other people I think is a big help.  If you're reading this and thinking you should make more of an effort I'd really recommend trying to get someone on board with you to share the experience, it's supportive and also gives you something to be accountable to.

Another night out this week with free booze and free cake, dagnammit. This time at the legendary Prince Charles Cinema (a place I've spent so much time in it feels like my living room) for a screening of a new Breaking Bad documentary, so blue meth cocktails and Heisenberg cupcakes were deftly avoided on not even missed to be honest.

So all in all a very positive week, not even the realisation that I'm developing Reed Richards hair could get me down this week.  Another 7 lbs lost this week can only be a good thing.

Thanks for reading, thought and comments always appreciated,.  Here's your reward for getting to the bottom of this post, a kitten noisily eating a corn on the cob.

Follow me on twitter @savageless

Check out 12 Rounds Boxing here
Twitter @12_roundsboxing

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Slapping down the Chimp.

Week 4

It's been a different one this week. it's important for me to remember this is the 12 Week Transformation Program, not the 3 Week Transformation Program.  Here's your blog reading music for this week, new Devin Townsend double album out next week.   Sweeeeet.

Still loving getting in the gym 3 mornings a week.  Getting a workout in early on a Monday morning is a great way to feel superior to all the mouthbreathers going to work on the Waterloo & City line. The diet has mostly been super clean too, Kat (check out her blog too) set us a theme of 'Green
Mostly green
Week', lots of green tea as much green in our meals as possible, quite a lot of my weeks prior to starting the program tended to be 'Brown Week' and I certainly feel better doing it this way.  For the first time since we started I had alcohol this week and framing that in my mind was important.

Also green
Couple of nights out this week, one to a screening of a very silly b-movie by the name of Wolfcop (it's about a cop who's a werewolf, obviously, which you should definitely check out if like me you're a fan of cheesy, gory, b-movies) and another to the Whitechapel Gallery where a friend works and kindly invites me along to exhibition openings.  The problem here is that both of these events provide plenty of free booze which I avoided a Wolfcop but at Whitchapel I literally had a beer pressed into my hand before I could refuse by my boy Luke.
Green breakfast

 Now, drinking too much was one of the main reasons I put on a tonne of weight while I was festering at home unable to get in the gym so this needed to be dealt with properly.  One beer down and Luke and I had had enough of pretending we understood art and I retreated to the pub where I made a sensible choice,  Luke's always been my drinking buddy so I wanted to enjoy a night in the pub talking crap but without the traditional million calories and a weeks worth of carbohydrates that beer provides so I looked at the beer tap and ordered a vodka and tonic.

Includes green
A few of those down and a good night was had, although plans were made for a weekend get together which as usual ended with our girlfriends heading to bed and Luke and I sitting up 'till the early hours drinking rum and watching this awesome amateur Robocop remake. I cooked for the four of us and sticky toffee pudding was had (I made it, I had to have a piece!).  The following day I was off to a child's 3rd birthday party.  Surrounded my tiny sandwiches, bowls of crisps, marshmallows and cake and there was me drinking water and scanning the room for gluten free party snacks.

The important part of all this is to remember this
Worth it
is an anomaly, not a regression.  I'm NOT going back to boozing apart from these 2 nights and I'm NOT making a habit of making pudding even if the ones I make are spectacular.  So I was feeling great when I jumped on the scales after my workout Monday morning.  7lbs loss last week and this week and they reported no further loss at all.

Fuck it.

No weight lost this week after all that (mostly) good eating and exercise and yoga. 7lbs pounds last week wasn't really that big a deal as I have plenty more than that to lose than that but everyone does say "oh well done, that's really good" and for a miserable git such as myself a little positive reinforcement goes a long way, so getting off the scale in the gym and heading to the shower I was pissed off and disappointed.  Part of this 12 week program is taming what Kat calls 'The Chimp', the base part of our brain that controls our fight or flight response, the part that's kicking in with the emotional behaviour defensively or with anger and recognising when we are reacting to things using this response rather than our logic.  So in the shower I started to think about The Chimp and why I was so pissed off.  I know I'm feeling happier generally on this program, I know my clothes are starting to fit better, I know my stamina is improving and my back pain is lessening off so why was I pissed off at the number not moving?  I even know that the body reacts in different ways when you start making changes to it and slowing down of the weight loss on a diet is totally normal. That number doesn't really matter beyond me reporting it here. By the time I got out of the shower I'd slapped that Chimp down.  You're not the boss of me Cheetah.

This isn't the time to be discouraged, this is one third of the way into my 12 week commitment and it's time to double down and refocus.

Thanks for reading.  This week's cute cat is my own cat Bambo who was helping me work from home.

Adorable, right?

Follow me on twitter @savageless

Check out 12 Rounds Boxing here
Twitter @12_roundsboxing

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

"You need a lot of work"

Week 3

This is when I GET UP! Madness.
It's 6 o'clock Monday morning, it's dark, the autumnal chill has kicked in, it's been raining constantly since last night and still it's hammering down and I'm actually keen to be leaving the house.  Packed my bag and laid out my clothes last night so it's up, dressed, brush teeth, rub the cat's head, banana on the way to the tube and before I've even woken up I'm back at 12 Rounds Boxing with Kat for 12 rounds on the bags along with fellow 12 Weeker Laura and a handful of other brave souls.  So full of enthusiasm that I knocked the bag off the chain it hangs from with my first punch and proceeded to beat seven bells out of the damn thing in the first two rounds and find myself utterly knackered by round 4, that's fine, only 8 more rounds to go, the trick is not to count them, take deep breaths and just keep going, just keep going.  What a stark contrast to a few weeks ago when I was totally sedentary, lazy and miserable.  Who'd a thought that this being healthy lark actually feels good! When we sat down to a Walking Dead marathon on Sunday I kinda felt like I'd earned it.  Bag sessions Monday and Friday, weight training on Wednesday and all starting at 6.45am, I'm enjoying this, looking forward to getting in the gym rather than forcing myself to go.

Got a massage this week to try to loosen up some of the discomfort caused by all my little injuries and months on the sofa (see Week 1) to be told "you need a lot of work", tell me something I don't know.

No booze, still! (Saw this, if I do want to have a drink I'm going to have one, not some horrendous monstrosity, same with food, if I want it I'm going to have it, the key is to not want it). I've been eating gluten free, no coffee, and very little carbs. Kat said to cut down on coffee but I've cut it out which is weird as I lived on the stuff, green tea fills the gap.  Kat told us it's OK to have a cheat day one day a week but haven't felt like I've needed it yet, eating well and getting the exercise in really does boost the motivation to keep eating well and exercising.  It's just getting the wheels rolling in the first place that was the problem, now I'm up and running I'm not craving the junk food or the booze.  So without the usual drinks in hand this week Diana and I went to another stand up gig Laugh for Leukaemia (featuring the peerless Daniel Kitson who doesn't do internet and Nick Mohammed as Mr Swallow which is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, the man's a wonder), and also an amazing concert by Hans Zimmer at the Apollo with band, orchestra & choir.  Diana was literally moved to tears.

Apple, yougurt, berries and seeds.  Delish.
Fallen in love with mackerel this week
So a big part of eating healthy is being organised, making sure I've got plenty of the right kinds of food in and knowing when I'm going to eat, plenty of protein, salad and veg available at work and at home. Like most of us I've got a sweet tooth so got some dried figs and dates in (no added sugar), Kat told me to have nuts too when I eat these to level out my insulin which is OK cause dates and brazil nuts in combination turned out to be just about the BEST THING EVA (this week). Fruits like apple, pear and melon are better generally because they are lower GI, apparently. I'm still a bit confused about the whole GI/insulin thing.  Like some kind of tiny, driven, slightly scary Scientologist, Kat is only revealing the secrets of her method piece by piece as we go along with the process (we only just found out why we've been skipping precious coffee) and she asks only our utter and complete obedience in return.  I'm sure it's fine and not at all some kind of mind control cult.  Probably.

Work colleagues are so supportive.  I did not have one of these delicious looking bastards.

Still doing yoga, Erin Motz provides a daily dose of calm along while at home Diana is channelling the 12 year old me by taking up the yoga system developed by former pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, he's her favourite new person in all of the internet.

2nd weigh in this week so the first time I can record a change, 7lbs off.  I'll have my ideal body shape before I know it.

Thanks for reading, comments appreciated, here's your reward kitten for getting this far.  Make sure your speakers are on to appreciate how incredibly adorable/utterly terrifying this is.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

None of your pretentious pseudo-spiritualist bollocks

Week 2

What a difference a week makes, here's some blog reading music for you.  Last Monday morning was my first day back in the gym, and I hadn't officially started what Kat's calling her 12 Week Transformation Course.  That night my beloved Diana and I went to a stand up comedy gig in at the Amersham Arms in New Cross (Rob Delaney, David Cross), so we head out straight from work, have a few beers and a frankly amazing burger and a fine evening.  A couple of days later and I'm officially on The Course and we're heading out to another comedy gig.  This time at Aces & Eights in Tufnell Park (one of my favourites, Andrew O'Neill, plus Daniel Simonsen, Ari Shaffir and others), and Aces & Eights is home to some of North London's finest pizza.  This time though we head home after work and make our own food (quick veggie chili), then get to the venue just as the gig starts and settle in with a tonic water and lime, and another fine night was had.  The important part of this for me was the the second gig wasn't any less fun that the first, I didn't feel like I was sacrificing anything by making healthier choices (beers and pizza are still obviously awesome, I'm not insane) but for the first time in months I was feeing motivated to be healthy in a way that made me actually WANT to make better choices rather than forcing myself to do so.  This, I think, is key.

So, I've been in the gym 3 mornings a week hitting the bags and as we finish each session Kat's been asking us to focus every day on what we want to achieve, how we want to feel and how we're going to do it, that little refocus is helpful.  Taking a minute to think about your day and focus on how you want it to go seems to help.  We've also been given our nutrition guidelines, the basics are that we should attempt to have protein with every meal as well as green vegetables, and avoid gluten and cut down on coffee so it's been green tea, kale shakes for breakfast, kale and eggs at the weekend, pumpkin mash with braised cabbage and quorn sausages, jacket sweet potato with steak (yeah I eat both quorn and steak, wanna make something of it, hippy?!), fish, chilli, brocolli, mountains of salad, plenty of fresh fruit, and dried figs and dates (without added sugar) for my sweet tooth. Already I'm feeling better than I have in ages.
Might look like wallpaper paste but tastes a lot better. 
 Yes, I know what wallpaper paste tastes like, don't judge me.

We've now got a Facebook group for our 12 Week Transformation group so we've all been sharing what we've been eating and I'm keeping a food diary too, keep me accountable eh? Damn, I've been eating a lot of kale. The fear is that I'll start with all this enthusiasm but will I be able to keep it up for 12 weeks?

Delicious - needed bacon

You'll be able to tell in a while.  Diana took my 'before' photos for me last week, urgh. I do my best not to even look in the mirror so to have to have shirtless pictures taken from every side was not fun for me.  Also this week I weighed myself and took measurements, none of it pleasant but this is the starting point so it was never going to be, my discomfort is at least offset by the fact that I'm looking forward to having some much better looking 'after' pictures to go next to them at the end of this.  This is telling from a mindset perspective too, if you read last week's entry you'll know I was miserable and basically hiding from myself and this week I've faced up to it, "OK, I'm a fat piece of shit, time to actually do something about it".  It feels good I must admit.

One other thing this week is that I've been doing yoga, just a little but it feels good to get stretched out, concentrate on breathing and just take a little quiet time for yourself, it's a free online course and I'd recommend having a look, especially if you've never done any yoga before.  None of your pretentious pseudo-spiritualist bollocks either, but be aware that this is likely to happen.

Thanks for reading, any comments are appreciated and as your reward for getting this far, here's a video of a rabbit bathing in a sink.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Getting off the sofa.

Week 1

An introduction, bear with me while I set the scene, most of my posts won't be this long but this one needs to be some manner of a confessional to get the ball rolling.  Here's some music while you read, Rancid finally have a new album coming out and I couldn't be more excited!

So, on Sunday I was sitting at home, watching the previous night's UFC event, (UFC 178 Demitrious Johnson vs Chris Cariso, great event start to finish) I'm a huge MMA fan and I was feeling envious.  Not of the brave men and women beating seven shades of out one another for my amusement but of how well they moved, their fluidity and speed.  I, on the other hand, feel like I'm moving under water most of the time, a great, fat, lumbering mess, always in pain and often out of breath.

Now the reason I felt so bad on Sunday is that I didn't always feel that way, not long ago I felt great.  Early this year I was in the best shape of my life, I was training at 12 Rounds Boxing in Clapham with Kat & John "The Bomb" Bryson 3, 4 sometimes 5 times a week, eating really well and even hoping to have an amateur match in the early summer.  Then I developed a problem in my shoulder (Bursitis) and the whole thing went to pot, the pain was too much for me to be able to train and I went through some medical treatment and started physiotherapy.  The shoulder injury made it very hard to sleep, awkward sleep led to a long term back problem flaring up worse than ever, which made it difficult to walk and in turn exacerbated another old injury in my ankle, out of nowhere I pulled a muscle in my calf.  FFS.

Now I've got a long history of being a right miserable bastard with a tendency to wallow in it (not a professional diagnosis you understand) and this was frustrating, depressing and I hurt all the time.  Comfort came in the form of junk food, booze and inactivity (being still being the only time I wasn't in pain).  Before I knew it my shoulder was mostly healthy but I'd spent 4 or 5 months piling on the weight, fallen into a rut of bad habits, not doing any exercise, and making occasional guilty half hearted attempts at cleaning up my diet. I was feeling generally terrible about myself.

So, back to watching the fights on Sunday, feeling envious, so decided to do something I'd been putting off.  A few weeks previous Kat from 12 Rounds had reached out to check how I was doing and saying when I was ready I should get in touch with her to talk about getting back to business.  Now, the idea of getting back in the gym was daunting, I knew it  would be difficult & I knew I wouldn't be able to do nearly as much as I could previously, I felt embarrassed about how I looked and felt and how I wouldn't be able to keep up with classes.  I couldn't run up the stairs without huffing for breath.

Kat had another idea though. We talked for a while about both how I was doing physically and where I was emotionally so rather than me just jumping back in to the gym where I was before, she suggested (on the condition that I had to commit to it) to doing a 12 week course where she's going to plan when I work out, what I do, as well as helping with nutrition, motivation, weigh ins, measurements and other bits and pieces and I'm going to keep a blog about the whole experience.  There's a few others doing the course too, the idea to keep us all accountable.

So here we go.  At the time of writing I've worked out twice, felt a bit nervous wrapping my hands for boxing but my shoulder was OK with some light bag work and getting in the gym early morning, before work, without lots of people there stopped me feeling quite so awkward.  Another good talk with Kat about how this is going to go and I'm feeling ready for the challenge. It's easy to forget that great feeling you get after working out, it felt great to finally get off my arse off the sofa and I'm looking forward to the next session.  It's 12 weeks 'till Christmas, 12 weeks at 12 Rounds and I'm planning on feeling great for the New Year.

Thanks for reading this far, future posts will be a bit more concise.  As a reward and because this a blog on the internet here is a kitten being adorable