Sunday, 26 April 2015

Bikini Guide Version 3

So a year ago in January, I blogged about having bought the LDN Muscle Bikini guide version 2. I'd hit a nasty plateau (both mentally and physically) and needed some new motivation.

I completed the guide but due to my lack of consistency and hectic work schedule my results weren't so great. My strength definitely improved and is still improving but my diet still needs some serious work and my hatred for cardio means I'm not burning much fat. My butt has lifted and my shoulders have a good definition but the troublesome bits in between have made very little change.

Still being an active member of the LDNMLadies and LDNMFamily on Twitter, the next natural step was to move onto the Bikini Guide V3.

I'm three weeks into the Bikini Guide. It's an 18 week plan. It's got a 4 week rotational training programme that keeps things really mixed up and targets all the right types of movements in a contact cycle and, so far, it's not been even a little bit dull. The great thing is that there's a huge emphasis on weightlifting, which I absolutely love. The amount of cardio you do is recommended in the guide but dictated by you. Naturally, your results show which you pick. If you're not looking to cut fat but just to add muscle tone, then you can scale the cardio down, and vice versa.

I've done plenty more research on body types and discovered that of the somatotypes, my body is definitely an endomorph. This means I gain muscle easily but I also retain fat. Endomorphs tend to have long torsos (check), short limbs (check) and gain fat easily (check). Lots of reading (and stressing) has helped me to discover that carbs are not my friend.

I realised that I need to work a lot more on my diet and I need to learn a lot more about macronutrients and what to eat and when. I've reached out to a couple of absolute gems that I've met on Twitter and they're helping me slowly figure this macro business out. My nearest and dearest will all tell you that it's ridiculous how bad I am at maths for a supposed intelligent person; this food maths is going to take me some time to crack but I'm sure it's a big piece in this puzzle so I must be determined and get through.

My learnings over the last few months, mixed with this guide, mixed with common sense has lead me to conclude that I definitely need to incorporate more cardio into my training regimen. Luckily, the guide gives you a ton of options so it doesn't only have to come in the form of an hour bashing away on a treadmill, thankfully!

So, I have my 6 week, 12 week and 18 week alarms set to take progress pictures. I don't expect a huge amount of difference at the 6 week mark due to my diet but I'm hoping to make up for it by week 12.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

One year on....

The last time I posted a blog was one year and two weeks ago. I cannot believe that for two reasons. Firstly, I can't comprehend how quickly the last year has gone and how much has changed. Secondly, I can't believe I haven't found time to write; I really love writing.

I've made a promise to myself to post at least once a week. Not only is it a good way to keep track of what's happened in my life, it will do me good to take time out to organise my mind and release a little.

This new phase of the blog will most likely just be focussed on fitness and the gym but it's me writing so I'm sure it'll go off on very many random tangents.

My last post was a bit of a round up of my week so I'll follow on with that. I mentioned before that I went spinning before work successfully. Sadly this no longer is an option. I have to be at work for 830am and my gym doesn't offer classes early enough for me to spin, shower, dress and commute to work. Occasionally I get up early enough to go for a little jog before work and I treat it like the rebirth of Christ; it's a miracle and I harp on about it on twitter for at least 4 days after. Soz.

A year on and I'm definitely still a gym addict, with a strong focus on weightlifting still. My problem is that there's not much difference in how I look. I have more muscle for sure but I haven't really changed in terms of inches or pounds lost. The last year was about finding my feet in my new career (I'm an estate agent, please don't hate me). Learning to coordinate my new life and schedule with the gym, I was just keeping my head above water. Time and finances were a big restraint for me so I couldn't afford in either time or money to workout like a lunatic and eat endless amounts of chicken and superfoods.

This year, I'm organised, budgeting better with both my time and pennies and I'm ready to make some real progress with my body. I don't want a dramatic 90 day change. I know it would be far harder than it's worth for me and I would be sad along the way. I just want to be consistent with my diet and training while still allowing time for guilt-free indulgences that life may bring along the way.

I've actually had a whole new bout of motivation in the last fortnight and am fully back on the gym rat life. I work damn hard during the day. I love what I do but between 8 am and 730pm, my job demands every single second of my focus commanded upon it. The second I leave that job, I want to put it behind me and go and focus on earning the body I deserve and improving my health and future self. I want to see the difference month on month and feel myself getting stronger, leaner and healthier. I'm certain I will fall off the bandwagon again but what I do know is that as time goes on, each relapse is shorter and I find it easier to regain control.

I could ramble on here for hours but I must go to bed as I have an early meeting. How riveting my life is nowadays. I promise with all my heart that my future posts will be much more entertaining with many more pictures and links and less waffling. Until next time...I'll leave you with this image that I posted on Twitter a while ago that has made a big difference to my mentality.

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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Workout Wednesday... Where did February go?

Time is disappearing before me lately. It feels like no time has passed since Christmas. On Tuesday next week, I start my new job; quickest months' notice ever! So here's a little update on what I've been up to.

Firstly, I went spinning! At 7am. On a Monday morning. Three times. I'm so proud of myself. I never thought I would even go spinning three times in my life, let alone before work! Somehow, it gets me super pumped and awake and ready to face my working week.

I'm finding that this whole fitness business is spreading across my life. Like on Sunday, the beautiful sunshine came out to play. Instead of going to the river & sitting by a pub consuming endless calories, I decided to take to Richmond Park with a friend and stomp around for a couple of hours. We saw stampeding deer, pretty flowers and generally skipped about while loving life. I always feel so refreshed after a nice afternoon burning off some energy in the park!

I also realised in the last week that I am most definitely a gym addict. Not a bad thing to realise. Positively brilliant, actually. I may not quite have the body yet but it's definitely in progress. I no longer have any hesitance in heading into the weights area. I know what I'm doing, what I need and go at it like there's no tomorrow. I claim my space, shred my muscles, tidy up and go. I feel safe and strong there and I love that.

One of my happiest moments in my journey so far is this picture below. Yes, lots of filters are added on but that's to emphasise the shadowing; I took the pictures in awful changing room lights. I have never had muscle definition anywhere except my calves before. I've always been really weak in my upper body and never loved my arms. But now they're shredding fat, growing muscle and looking swole. Obviously they don't look like that all the time but the shoulder / arm workout I did that day gave me a super pump. I was so impressed that I just had to document it.

If any of you have progress pictures, I'd love to see them. I spot a few on twitter and it gives me another bout of determination to keep up my hard work and watch my own progress develop!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Worst Blogger of the Year Award goes to... Me!

I have been so lazy at blogging lately. As in I haven't done ANY. Since Valentine's. Shocking behaviour, I know.

But I do have a valid reason. I'm in the middle of a total life overhaul.

I finally got a new job! YAY x a trillion. I'm joining an estate agency in Wimbledon (London) as a Lettings Negotiator and I'm super happy about it. I've felt stagnant and bored in my job for a long time and need a new challenge and a lot more money!

It's going to be a tough few months, learning everything (and earning no commission) but I'm geared up for the challenge and can't wait to start reaping the rewards of my hard work! I did a taster day already and everyone I met at my new company is lovely.

I also attempted to move house myself but my landlord won't let me out of my contract so we'll leave that till August.

I got my hair cut and hated it with a very sad passion but I'm learning to like it. It's less than half of what it was before; a big change. I feel like a lot of my personality is in my hair; the size and volume and shape. So I feel a little lost.

I'm just at a place where everything that needed to change is slowly moving forwards and my life is looking up a lot.

Obviously all of the rest of my spare time is taken up by the gym! I have almost no time for the social life that I don't have. I so prefer being busy so I'm in a good place at the moment!

To make up for my lack of posts, here's a picture that says a thousand words. Mostly that SpiderMan is my nephew, he's the best thing ever and apparently costumes are also comfy pillows.


Friday, 14 February 2014

Fashion Fridays... Happy Valentines!

Erm so this isn't really about Fashion. It's about Valentines. Kinda.

I've always believed that boyfriends / girlfriends come and go, but that are friends are our true soulmates. I have a few friends in my life that I love endlessly. They give me love and hope, don't cause me pain. They make me laugh until I cry and wipe away my tears. I do hope I'm not single forever but, should I be, at least I know I will always have love in my life.

In vaguely fashion related news, my nephew LOVES dressing up. When I see him, 80% of the time, he's dressed as SpiderMan and refuses to answer to his actual name, will only respond when you call him SpiderMan. So cute!
Today, his mum sent me this picture. He decided to be my knight today and send me this valentines pic because "I luvs Aunty Oyee". I nearly died of cuteness. 

Who needs a boyfriend in their life? This little man gives me all the love I ever need!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Workout Wednesday...Gloves and gasps!

Last week I realised that I have NEVER washed my weightlifting gloves. I've been using them for at least 6 months now, several times a week. When I think of how unhygienic that is, I shiver.

So I decided to wash them. The label claimed they can be machine washed but my washing machine is a little crazy so I decided to hand wash them, to be safe. I only used a touch of fabric condition and lots of warm water. After lots of gentle massaging and rinsing lots of black water out (hopefully dye from the leather!), I laid them to dry on my airer.

The next day, I was in a rush to get to the gym after work. I grabbed the gloves, threw them in my bag and trotted off to the gym. After my warm up, I got out my gloves, ready for some super heavy deadlifts. I put on my gloves and disaster struck. They had dried into this strange crunchy texture. When I put them on, the seams split on 4 different fingers! I tried to lift my bar but had no grip and feared it would slip. I had to sigh and move on with my workout and get blisters on my hands.

This was how impressed I was with my latest disaster.

To some, breaking a pair of gloves might not seem like a big deal. They were relatively cheap (less than £20) and I've definitely had more than my money's worth out of them. However, these were the first item I bought when I decided to get serious about my training. They were the starting point of my love of weights. I based all of my subsequent fitness attire around them (black and shade of dark pink). They're a solid part of my gym 'uniform'. When I put them on, I feel ready to face the rack.

It's safe to say I've grown attached to them! But I decided to pick myself up and move on. Nothing lasts forever. I'm taking this as a symbolic gesture from the universe that it's time to start my new training phase; heavier, harder, and happier than before.

At the end of January, I posted this post of all the lovely gloves I'd like to buy and how I'd like to expand my glove collection. Unfortunately, at the moment, I'm not in a financial position to spend tons of money of various pairs of fancy gloves.  I needed to be practical and frugal.

So the following day on my lunch break, I made my friend come to Sports Direct with me in the hunt for new gloves. By some magical miracle from the Gym Gods, we found what we needed almost immediately and at half price!

I got these beauties. Somehow, I paid £5.99 for them in shop and they're only £4 online but I'm trying not to dwell on that!

I really like these gloves; They're a good fit, have added wrist support and fit into my colour scheme. They do have an annoying downside - the inner seams which hold together the leather and velcro are SUPER itchy on my wrists! I'm going to have to either man up or hunt through the interweb for a magical solution.

Either way, I'm happy my problem is solved and can carry on with my lifting mission!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Fashion Fridays... Sizing needs to Shape Up!

I'm afraid today's post isn't going to be full of pretty pictures and happy things. This is quite a rant and I understand if you don't read it but... 

Why is there no standardisation of sizing in the clothing industry in the UK?!

This is something that has been bothering me for a long time. I used to think it was just me that had an issue with it but after moaning away to various unfortunate friends, I have discovered it is a common stressor amongst women in the UK.

I recently tried to buy a formal business outfit. For the sake of keeping costs low, I hit the high street in the search of a simple plain suit, under which I could put a nice bright top to personalise it. Never did I think it would be the hardest task of my adult life. 

My first though was Primark; cheap and easy. However... They didnt have any actual suits for women! They had separate trousers and jackets which didn't match and were awful. 

The first pair of trousers I tried on were kind of stretchy, with a nice gold button and tapered down to the ankle. I tried on a 16 and couldn't even come close to doing the butting up. I tried on an 18 and barely squeezed myself in. This in itsel had me almost in tears. I've been working so hard in the gym & eating right; there's no way I could have gone  UP to a size 20! 

Distraught and angry, I left the shop without trying anything else, went home and sulked into my protein shake. 

Two days later I went back, picked up a different - but very similar - pair. Unbeknownst to me, I had picked up a size 14. They were well fitting in the waist but about a foot too long and baggy in the legs. 

When I realised my mistake, I was shocked. How could I have gone DOWN three sizes in 48 hours?!

Deciding that, if I wanted something of a better fit and quality, Primark was not the place to be. I wafted through the town in a cloud of confusion until I somehow found myself standing in front of Next. 

Clearly my subconscious had been at work. I often see adverts for Next's clothes and think they're too formal for my every day wardrobe - the perfect place to be for more sophisticated dressing! 

I compiled an outfit of printed trousers, a simple white silk camisole and a nice navy blue blazer - all in a size 16. On the hangers, this was the perfect outfit. The colours and combinations represented my personality visually; the materials gave an air of sophistication and the complete look was suitably serious but still fashionable and not ageing. 

It was a totally different story when I put it on. The waist just fit. My bum was attempting to burst out the back seam. My ankles were drowning in material in supposedly tapered trousers. The camisole was baggy on my torso but seriously straining over my [medium at the very biggest] chest. The blazer was about 3 inches off the top of the trousers and was pulling right across my back. 

None of this made any sense. I do have thin ankles but I dont think the average woman has ankles 3 times the size of mine. My bum is on the larger side but no disproportionately so to my waist. I do not have a large chest. I do have an hourglass figure but I do not have the shoulders of a rugby player. 

That not one of these pieces fit as it should was beyond frustrating, especially as I was looking at spending £100 on it! 

I could carry on this story for hours. The same result happened in several shops. In the end, I bought a teal shift dress in the M&S sale but it wasn't what I wanted and I don't feel confident in it, despite my mum telling me how lovely I look in it. 

What I want to know is - how is it allowed that sizing can vary so much from shop to shop? I saw an online bikini retailer who advertise a Large as being a size 10-12! I was disgusted. 

With the prevalence of the media, the upward surge of people being diagnosed with eatin disorders, why is there no regulation of sizing requirements in the fashion retail industry of the UK? 

Ranging between a 14 and a 20 in one day is not physically possible. Having to buy something 3 sizes above your actual size is enough to destroy the self-esteem of even the most confident of people - I can't imagine what it would do to someone who has negative issues with their body image. 

If only I could afford tailored clothing!