Friday, 15 April 2011

Completely forgot to blog....was out running.

Nike + GPS is rocking my world.  I get times, pace, distance and encouraging words.  Makes the iphone 4 this weeks most useful training aid.  I have managed 4 runs in a week and I have lost 4 pounds.  I should point out that there has been some pretty lean eating going on.  Tuna salad, no mayo, minimal olive oil dressing and no additional carbs.  Target weight is 16 stone.

So joy of joys I am starting to fit back into clothes that I had always thought I was hoarding never to wear again.  Don't get me wrong I still have what i believe the ladies call muffin tops (lads call them love handles) but I am getting there.  Todays run was my first 5k run in a while and I managed 6 minute kms which is not bad as there was a big ole hill right in the middle of the route.

I will change route to see if I can get a decent 5 k time down but the hill stays in the training program at least once a fort night to try and strengthen up my running.  In other good news the bike is fixed and we'll probably be doing a 30 miler once a week...who know I might start swimming and enter a triathlon.  Summer is not so far away and it could be a bit of a giggle.

Monday, 4 April 2011


Well I am back on the horse, not a literal horse of course as my sturdy 112kilo frame would do said stead absolutely no good.  Part of the reason for me being absent was a quick trip to Haiti for work, this is not a place of great fitness opportunity although in the mountains of Cange I see a potential run or two. Anyway enough of this nonsense.


Bazza is the septagenarian who trained beside me at my first ever body pump class.  I have decided that gym classes are the way forward, as being supervised by an adult is always wise.  Now I don't know Bazza's reasons for staying in shape whether he likes to keep mobile or he likes the ladies in lycra but he has obviously got this body pump thing taped.

Yes you guessed it I got my ass handed to me by the old guy.  He was pumping more weight than me with better technique with fewer breaks in form.  Bazza is a hero and I regret suggesting he may just like ladies in lycra as he is for seventy odd an accomlished gym athlete.  Qudos to Bazza.

In other news

Belt news, i am now four holes in on the old belt test which is confusing as I have not actually lost any weight.  I am perfectly happy to be heavy and lean but it surprised me.

Core news, all core stability is gone!!!!  I don't know where or when but it is bust, gawn, dissappeared just not there which suggests this is a long road back to fitness.

Mike-the-Bike, today completed a personal best to Tetbury knocking ten minutes off his time only to find he had had a 20 mile an hour tail wind assisting him, the ride home was 'tiring'.

Diet going well, eat sensibly all week and blow out at weekends a little - I am hoping the pounds will start to drop off.  I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Funny things, backs.

People say things they don't really think through the sense of, like "it is too cold to snow" or "he won't get there any faster by speeding".   Both of these statements are balderdash*, the Arctic and Antarctic both regularly see snow and we invented cars in order to speed past horses and get to places sooner.

Another thing people will say to you when you are suffering with a back injury is "funny things, backs".  NO.  Sorry did I shout, it's just that there is nothing humorous about backs at all.  They are amazing and when you have injured one you find all the things that you use your lower back for which you had no idea about, these include such mundane things as going to the toilet, sneezing, coughing and well pretty much everything.  I have been prescribed a number of drugs to assist the rehabilitation of the facet joint more recently identified in the post "injury" but a short lived attempt to walk briskly to the post office highlighted we are some way off.

Backs just aren't funny, I even googled to find jokes where backs are funny and they aren't.  They are the straight man, the Ernie Wise, the Tommy Cannon, Sid Little of body parts.  So please don't say "funny things, backs" unless you really do have a rip roaring tale of hilarity involving a back.

*Balderdash interestingly has no known etymology it is a word that exists on it's own, unlike poppycock, an alternative for senseless speech, which is derive from old german for "soft dung".  Please season your conversation and writing with this apparently original word.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


I have been away and not updated I am sorry.  Now, don't laugh but I managed to inflame a facet joint (it's in your lower back ....the doctor said so) by tying a shoe lace.  Crazy eh?  Now I could cuff it and say that such a highly tuned athlete is susceptible to such injury but pretty much everyone I have told has said it is a sign of getting older.  I reject this wholeheartedly, why do we fall for this baloney about getting older being some excuse for injuries happening to us.  The truth is that I have for the last eighteen months neglected my body in terms of diet and exercise and now that I have started again a few of the nuts (no smut please) and bolts are loose and need tightening. Offending joint pictured below:

This however leaves me with a dilemna, because now the principle means of me losing weight is going to be diet which is a weaker suit.  I know the science of dieting and I can avoid many of the pitfalls but cake is nice!!!  As are crumpets, tea and toast and a host of other nibbly things.  So this week or so that I am taking to recover is an exercise in self control, which I guess is like any other muscle the more you exercise it the stronger it gets.....or so the theory goes.  This doesn't account for the fact we are living with my in laws at the moment and ma in law is a great cook and serial cake buyer, all well and good for her as a dog walker and for Mike the Bike with his 40 mile rides but for Mr Sleeping on the floor because bizarrely it is more comfortable this means temptation.  So in attempt to be accountable to someone.....I only have 2 followers, (neither averse to a bit of cake or a pint so perhaps unlikely to criticise) but I may as well blog about it or else I would get to talking about what is happening in Libya, or Bahrain or the Earthquake in NZ; and to be honest after years of working overseas in disaster zones and conflict zones I am now just a little quietly uninterested.  I think I may be going post colonial.

Anyways breakfast has consisted of:

1/2 sachet of Quaker oats porridge
1 pot of Activia Kiwi fruit youghurt
1 pint of tea (worng in so many ways probably)
1 small glass of apple juice

Salad is ready in the fridge with my own personally concocted salad dressing, ingredients are as follows

2 fl oz Extra virgin olive oil
1.5 fl oz balsamic vinegar
0.5 fl oz lime juice
1 tspn cayenne pepper
1 tspn black pepper
1 tspn mustard powder
1/4 tspn ground ginger
pinch of salt

It has a kick like a mule but if like me you find salad a little bland this baby will sort it out with a minimum of fuss, much better than these shop bought numbers. Anyway toodle pip for now.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Practicality and lunch with the vicar.

Now in the battle to shed pounds of fat with out shedding pounds in cash (see what I did there) there is a certain amount of practicality that can be entered into, such as the 9 mile round trip into Chippenham can be done on a bike, burning a sizeable 777 calories.  Notionally a rest day I manage to include some level of activity that brings about positive change.

The the local vicar invited me for lunch and one pint of flanker and two sausage and mash later, it is all undone!!! Pants.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Training Partners

Training Partners come in many shapes and sizes, todays was four legged and small. I took Pickle the Jack Russell Terrier running with me. Pickle is 7 months old and full of energy, she can pull me round the 2.5 miles quicker I thought...... but no. Running with dogs is not easy for the following reasons:

1. They don't appreciate the route you want to take.

2. You don't appreciate how interesting that field of sheep is.

3. They have no idea that a ten minute mile pace should be even and consistent.

4. You have no idea how good the faeces of other species smells.

5. They don't keep to the unspoken agreement that humans have to not suddenly fling themselves at your ankles on a slippery downhill section.

6. You don't appreciate that hosing down a muddy terrier at the end of a run is a miserable task.

Pickle kept up a good pace and thankfully did not need carrying although I have been practising the over the shoulder "sheep carry" with Joel, my son. That said I feel fairly sure she would have bitten my ears. Other than the Pickle factor the run went quite well. I felt a little sore after yesterdays weight and I think I may substitute some kind of circuit training in until all these muscles get used to the new regime. I am however feeling up beat about the whole process, I almost want to run again tomorrow despite it notionally being a rest know I must just do it crazy though it sounds.

I had a sneaky interim weigh in before Saturday and I have lost .9 of a kg (2lbs) which is the notional healthy weight loss speed so no bad thing there a few days before the weigh in. Other positives are better sleep, general well being and a better head space, you have to love those endorphins!!!!

Today's run is at mapometer -

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


I used to be a personal trainer and the hardest thing to do was convince both men and women that weights won't turn you into Arnie over night. Men used to believe that after two weeks they should be seeing massive growth and women couldn't seem to get that the beanpoles walking around their local gym had been pumping iron for months and still looked like Nicholas Lyndhurst in the build department.

Weights are a great means to lose weight and get in shape. The rules for not bulking are about high repetitions with reasonably low weights just so you start to struggle to do the exercise between 10-12 repetitions. The other up side of weights is that they tone the muscle and pull the bits in and up that need to be. Opinions vary but for every kg of muscle built you burn an extra 60 - 70 calories a day. If your aim is only weight loss then this is perhaps not for you, but if you are more interested in a healthy bodyshape, health benefits, better posture, stronger bones, better balance and co-ordination then weights are for you; don't drop cardio but season it with weights. I didn't go out and join a gym, because frankly I don't have the money for it but I scouted around the garage and attic and found enough kit to carry out a decent work out.

Equipment needed:

1 x Stability Ball (bought at argos for my wife when she was pregnant)
1 x Barbell set (also bought at argos when I was younger but hanging around in the loft for a while)
1 x Dumbell set (bought as above)
1 x IPhone
1x Ipod dock

The Workout:

Bench press on the stability ball making sure that the weight of the bar is over my shoulder which are centred on the ball. 2 x 3 sets of 12 at around 30kg

Shoulder Press on ball, sitting square on the ball pushing upwards 3 sets of 12 at 20 kg

Concentration bicep curls sat on the ball 1 set at 10 kg

6 Burpees, 3 press ups with hands either side of the ball (this was mostly experimentation for the next session)

3 sets of 10 crunches on the stability ball.

Why use a stability ball? Straight answer because I don't have a bench but there are real benefits to using stability balls. The requirement to balance pulls all that tummy bit in and the stabilising muscles also work to keep you level burning more calories bringing more tone. Can't be bad can it.


Well the latest from Mike the Bike is that he has stepped up distances to a massive 32.13 see his route at mapometer - - This is a 30 percent increase in distance but he is going to need it if he is to make the 97 miler in June.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Curry and day.

OK so I had soup and a cheese sarnie and still went for the curry. I guess what i am trying to say is that it may take longer to reach my goal than I intended but if my whole objective is slim then I am probably quite dull. I can't get hung up on an unsustainable diet because I will quit, a curry with mates is good once in a while; tuna and salad at home is also pretty good. There are lots of fit people with a belly, Jason Leonard comes to mind, Mad Dog Metcalfe who I used to trog up and down the Himalayan foothills with the man was superfit but always carried lunch.....maybe it was the weight of lunch that made him fit. So anyway I had a curry, Chicken Dhansak, Chicken Korai, Palak Badami (spinach and butter beans) but Jef and I skipped the rice and the naan because .....well the don't add alot to the flavour of the meal and they fill you up and you end up leaving vital curry. So we went the chapati and popadom route. Thinking about it curry isn't so bad if done in moderation, chicken is good protein, chilli will speed your metabolism and I feel sure all those other ingredients must contain some trace elements.

Anyway about flexibility, I am not talking about the type of flexibility which allows you to touch your toes or put your head under your left knee. I am talking about a flexibility of mind; today was supposed to be a weights day but it was a late night with a couple of Guinnesses and frankly what with dropping Jef off, going to look at rental properties with my wife and looking after Junior it just wasn't going to happen. So I am doing weights tommorow, you see I have been training less than a week and I am already more flexible. The rule in my head is don't flex more than a day if it is rest but swap freely with weights, cardio or sport to keep the whole process fresh and happy.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Variance - Monday's Run

This morning is another run this one a little bit longer, about 2.5 miles done in about 23 or so minutes which means i am doing roughly ten minute miles. Now this isn't going to break any olympic records but it is the starting block for another target: 7 minute miles or less. So targets to date are -

95 Kg
7 minute miles or less.

The rain persisted this morning and it was colder than the last run and whilst that doesn't really make you want to get out of the door once you are on the move it is much nicer to run in the cool. I titled today's entry variance because I have been looking to make the route a little longer and a little more challenging but also to stop me from getting bored. I cut across the bridleway between West Yatton and Long Dean and was rewarded by seeing a deer bobbing across my path; moving a fair bit faster than I was. There were consideraby more uphills than in the previous run tough on the legs but in only two runs I feel stronger. - this tool has been so valuable in not kidding myself about how far, how fast and how many calories I am burning, (444 calories today) - it can even tell me how many feet of ascent and descent. 138 up and 131 down for the altitude focused out there. It is perhaps at this point that i should introduce Mike-the-Bike. Mike-the-Bike is my 62 year old father in law who has decided this year that he wants to complete this years London to The Bell Pub ride (all 97 miles of it). We went out and bought a good bike, a Trek.....erm thingummy, and he has graduated over the last few weeks from 7 mile runs to the all new 32 mile long run scheduled for Wednesday. Periodically Mike-the-Bike will be making appearances on The "F" the mean time Jef my bezzie mate is down from sunny Dundee so it may be a curry night to night, so I will probably balance that with a salad for lunch. Tomorrow is a weights day!!!

Sunday, 20 February 2011


Rest days are important and whilst it seems crazy to have a rest day the day after I start this thing, it allows me to assess just how hard that run was, and the truth is it wasn't too bad. I mean it left me panting at points but it was manageable.

More importantly about rest days it allows you to ponder the important questions of life like why do sportsmen eat bananas? Allegedly it is for carbohydrate and potassium, the truth is that it is unlikely that you will digest a banana quick enough to get the energy before the end of an activity. The reason they wan't potassium is as it stops them cramping. Apparently mashing the banana helps to break down some of the complex digestible material, my one year old son Joel would probably not agree he loves his 'nana" pure. I on the other hand quite enjoy a mashed banana on toast for breakfast.

Saturday, 19 February 2011


....oh and I might have snuck a little bit of macaroni cheese and a glass of sparkling rose wine slipping in those extra calories just where I don't need them.

Saturday's Run

This morning was miserable weather, overcast and wet. It is almost as though someone was working against me but the truth I is he is working with me as I pulled on my kit and headed out. Now I am not one of those lycra monkeys that insist because they are running it makes it perfectly acceptable to have the family jewels outlined "a la Linford Christie" circa 1992. I wear a day glo t-shirt courtesy of Vermont Medical Response Team, combat pants courtesy of the US Army Rangers and Brooks Fusion trainers, this not only protect my modesty but also limits the expectation of onlookers. I look as though I can manager a reasonable trudge even with a pack on. The only pack I carry is my North Face - Sports Hiker which has my Ipod in. Playlist: Third Day - Offerings ii (favourite track ....hmmmm it is a toss up between Creed and Offering)

My wife was positive and said it didn't look that bad, the truth was that I was drenched by the end of the road. I kind of liked the drenched look and it keeps me cool. Now according to I covered 2.29miles in 25 minutes burning a meagre 401 calories. Kind of a lot of effort for 401 calories.

Now if I add that 401 to my standard 2500 calories that gives me a grand total of 2901 calories about calories in.........

Half a bowl of porridge
1 apple
1 bannana
2 boiled eggs
5 slices of pizza hut pizza (BBQ Deluxe...thanks for asking)
1 pizza hut salad
2 cokes
Smoked mackerel salad.

hmmmmmmm......probably should have dropped the pizza!

Friday, 18 February 2011

The "F" File

The "F" File

The obvious question is what is the "F" for? In some sense that remains to be seen it could be "fit" or "fat" depending on the outcome of this little project. I am 37 years old and once upon a time I was fit and lithe and .......well just in shape. Now I am 112kg, (or 247 pounds or 17 stone 9 pounds). To put that into perspective I am the same weight as, Nick Easter, England No.8 to the left here (picture courtesy of Now Nick is no fatty, well not that anyone would tell him to his face if he was, but he spends a lot of his time breaking tackles and 112 kg is useful tool. A J Hawk the linebacker for Green Bay Packers is also 247 and has a similarly physical job. I am in fact 2kg heavier than John Cena WWE wrestler.

18 months ago I foolishly tried to catch a 1/4 tonne barrel and my back went pop, since then I have done little or no fitness training partly through the injury partly because of travel. Now my weight is mostly obsolete, I retired from rugby 3 years ago but continued to eat biscuits and drink Guinness as if I still played. So now I am 112 kg of reasonably inactive weight, my aim is to get down to a reasonable 95kg, still the size of a good rugby club blindside but carrying less in the area of belly, chin, and hips and more in the chest, legs, back and butt. This Blog is the journey from 112 to 95, with notes of the training I am doing, the food I am eating and the mistakes I am making. I can't currently afford a gym so this is making the most of the great outdoors and some reasonably cheap training kit I have lying around. This isn't designed to be a training guide as I have no idea of what your base fitness is, what you are capable and I have no way of correcting any bad technique you may have, this is just a record of what I am doing to regain my health and if it inspires you so much the better.