Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Countdown to Christmas

So, the world and his wife have been talking about how it's only a month to Christmas. Two things: I KNOW. And, it's my mum's birthday first! I'm not thinking about Christmas until after that! Sheesh. Everybody just calm it with the Christmas business already...

That said, I've nearly finished my shopping as I've been doing it gradually (I feel smug). Also, I've got the month of December off from teaching (aside from my private students), and I finish my CELTA on Thursday, so I have plenty of time to ride and gym and look fabulous for all the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

I searched on www.bodybuilding.com for a 3-day split programme and found Lee Labrada's 12-week Lean Body regime. I have plenty of ideas and programmes from The Smiling Assassin, but I've never done a 3-day split before so needed an imprint. I also think doing 3 days a week is more realistic, as I want to ride a lot this month, and also need to prep for the 4-week seasonal school I'm teaching on in January.

Today I did chest, shoulders and triceps at home. Day 1 is supposed to be back and biceps, but I want to add more back exercises for this workout, and for those I'll need to go to the gym to use the machines. As I've had a cracking headache all day, I decided I'd rather work out at home so I could stop straightaway if I felt worse (I get migraines)

I really wanted to work out but probably only gave 75% today. I still felt like I pushed myself and benefitted from exercising, though - after focusing for so long on the half marathon, I'm building my strength back up, so using 5kg for shoulder press felt heavy! I know it's not. Shut up. I also use 2kg for lat raises... I FIND THIS EXERCISE REALLY HARD OK?!?!

Here's the breakdown of what I did:

weight lifting, lee labrada
Chest, shoulders, triceps
Christmas is often a time when people let themselves go, but I have a January goal of 19% body fat to reach so can't afford/don't want to stuff myself. I think setting a goal for after Christmas and New Year helps you stay focused on what you're aiming for. I know many people will inevitably start diets and life changes in January, but why wait? I'm not going to abstain from treats and the occasional glass of Prosecco over the holidays, but I know that a month's worth of this diet isn't going to help me achieve my goals either.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Why I Clip Ernest in Winter

Ernest was clipped last Friday and since then, understandably, I've had lots of questions as to why I've had his luxuriously fluffy coat shaved off mid-November. 

Firstly, Ernest gets hairy. And I mean, sheep / mammoth hairy. Within 15 or 20 minutes of exercise he is uncomfortably sweaty, so I'm not able to hack or school for very long. I love riding in Winter, and unlike a lot of other sports there are plenty of competitions throughout this season to practice for, so it's not very helpful to only be able to ride for such a short time. Being clipped means we can work or amble for as long as we please, without Ernest needing to be bathed afterwards (which then risks him getting a chill as his hair takes so long to dry when it’s that long).

Ernest having the bot scratch of his life

Secondly, it's hard to keep him clean when he's 'full fur'. Maxx and I groomed Ernest for 90 minutes on Thursday, and I'd groomed him for an hour on Wednesday. Even after that he wasn't sparkling, and he wears a turnout rug so most of his body was clean, but it still takes forever to get thick, dried mud out of a thick coat. Not keeping him clean means he gets very itchy.

Finally, it’s very hard to tell if Ernest has any cuts or bumps which need attention with long fetlocks (the hair on his lower legs). For breeds with even longer fetlocks, I’m sure their owners are adept at doing this, but I find it difficult to keep this area really clean. When Nadine was clipping she noticed he had little scabs around his feet. They weren't anything serious, but I'd still prefer to know if he has any scratches or cuts.

I have plenty of rugs to keep him warm when riding, in his field or in his stable, and I always check his temperature (behind the ears and under the 'arm' pit). I hope that's answered any questions you had as to why Ernest is clipped!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Body Fat Update: joy at last!

Just a quick post to say...

I've finally lost some body fat! Hurrah!

I really wasn't sure if I had and was feeling conflicted whether I should get it measured or wait until I felt sure I had lost some, but decided the curiosity would kill me.

So, I went from 23% to 21.39%. That's the same as I was a year ago.

Although I'm still aiming for 18%, I want to start focusing on enjoying exercise, rather than always doing it to reach this or that goal. I hack out on Ernest to keep him fit, but we also go for an amble just to enjoy the countryside - I want to pass this attitude over to working out. I'm still going to push myself, but focus on why I like weightlifting instead of only thinking about what I'm aiming for.

My next body fat check will probably be in January now. 19% would be brilliant, as would continuing to tone and get stronger. I'm really seeing some good definition in my triceps, shoulders and back, which is heartening!

Fear. Pure fear.
In other completely unrelated news, I went on my first rollercoaster on Sunday. It was terrifying and exciting and nerve-wracking and... actually not too bad. Maxx, blogger friend Becky, her bf Andy and I went to Alton Towers for Maxx's birthday (which is actually tomorrow) - it was nice to go on a big boy's ride with them, instead of just watching fearfully as they queue up for increasingly scary rollercoasters!