Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

The final few

I had a pretty good week, after feeling really awful the week before.

On Sunday morning I decided to go back to Week 4 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app (after a long break):

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 4 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 4 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I needed to start with something manageable, to ease myself in!

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. I did a 1 km warmup on the treadmill (8.26) and some stretches. I then did the following superset:

  • Chest fly x 14 (10-lb weights)
  • Front fly x 14 (10-lb weights)
  • Abdominal scissors x 20
  • Rest and repeat two more times

I had some water and moved on to the next group of exercises:

  • Pushups x 10
  • Bentover row x 14 (10-lb weights)
  • Russian twists x 20
  • Rest and repeat two more times

I had some more water and did the final group of exercises:

  • Romanian deadlifts x 14 (10-lb weights)
  • Goblet squats x 14 (15-lb weight)
  • Reach-through crunch x 20
  • Rest and repeat two more times

I did a few stretches afterwards and was done for the day.

My hamstrings and upper body were quite sore on Tuesday! I went back to the gym for Week 4 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I had another session with Pete on Wednesday. I started with a 10-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and some stretches. I then did the following group of exercises:

  • Kettlebell swings x 3 (8-kg kettlebell)
  • Combined squat/upright row x 2 (8-kg kettlebell)
  • Shoulder press x 1 (8-kg kettlebell)
  • Repeat x 6 (no breaks)
  • Jumping jacks x 30
  • Repeat the whole thing two more times (no breaks)

Oh God, it was awful. I did three circuits of that in 5:21.

Pete usually gets the worst exercises out of the way first, so when he told me I’d be doing burpees in the second group of exercises, I wanted to cry. The second group went like this:

  • Deadlifts x 10 (20-lb weights)
  • Burpees x 8
  • Combined bicep curl/shoulder press x 6 (10-lb weights)
  • As many sets as possible in 6 minutes

It was worse than the first set of exercises! I had some water while Pete told me I’d be doing a 4-minute Tabata set next. Then he pulled the dreaded ladder out of his bag. I wanted to lie on the floor and have a tantrum. It was almost as if he’d chosen all my least favourite things and put them all together. The ladder circuit went like this:

  • Jumping in and out x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Stepping side to side x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Scissors x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Salsa x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat one more time

I know I’d been dreading the ladder but it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. The burpees were definitely much worse. I had some more water and did three sets of the following on the lateral pulldown machine:

  • Pull down and hold x 20 s
  • Lateral pulldown x 10
  • Rest and repeat two more times

After some more water, I did an abs set:

  • Hip rolls x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Scissors x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • T-raise x 30 s
  • Rest

I did some stretches after that and was done for the day. Yippee!

My hamstrings were still sore on Thursday, but I went to the gym for Week 4 Day 3 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Cool down

I managed to do that – and that was my week. I didn’t work out over the weekend.

Total distance covered this week?

2016-05-30 18.28.49

Low point of the week? I can’t think of anything.

High point of the week? Working out five times 🙂

Weight loss? It started to go in the right direction but I’m not sure what happened towards the end of the week. According to my Libra weight tracker app, I’ll reach my goal weight by February 2017.

2016-05-28 07.04.34

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The final few

I had a terrible week. I was so tired on Sunday after a really busy weekend (I’d been out for lunch and dinner every day since Thursday)… Pete texted me on Sunday evening to see if I was ready for some heavy lifting the following morning. I replied that I was!

But I woke up at about 6am on Monday feeling really queasy. I cancelled my session with Pete and by 9am it was clear to me that I had some king of tummy bug. It couldn’t have been anything I’d eaten as I had my meals at home on Sunday, so I asked some friends via WhatsApp if they knew if there was a tummy bug doing the rounds in Dubai. One friend replied that both her parents had had the same thing the week before and another friend replied saying she had the same symptoms. I guess the only consolation is that at least I knew the cook wasn’t trying to poison me. I could barely eat on Monday, I missed my Arabic class, I couldn’t focus on anything and I slept for 2 hours on Monday afternoon/evening.

I felt a bit better on Tuesday, but nowhere near 100%. I cancelled my session with Pete on Wednesday as well.

Basically, I did nothing all week.

Total distance covered this week? Big fat zero.

Low point of the week? Doing nothing.

High point of the week? Was there one?

Weight loss? A bit! But what an awful way to lose it. And once I start eating normally again, it will go right back up!

2016-05-21 04.39.55

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The final few

So, April was a disaster – and I decided it was time to get back into my gym routine.

I went to the gym on Monday and decided to ease myself in gently. I decided to do Week 4 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 4 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 4 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

And I managed to do that, listening to my Prince playlist.

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. I began with a warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 1 min
  • Run to 500 m
  • Walk x 1 min
  • Run to 1 km

I got to 1 km in 8:31. I did some stretches and Pete told me I’d probably hate him by the end of the session as I’d be working my legs mostly. He said there were three sets of exercises, each one beginning with pelvic lifts (x 20). So, the first set of exercises went like this:

  • Pelvic lifts x 20
  • Bulgarian squat hold x 20 s
  • Bulgarian squats x 20 (10 on each side)
  • Rest x 40 s
  • Bulgarian squat hold x 20 s
  • Bulgarian squats x 20 (10 on each side)
  • Rest x 40 s
  • Bulgarian squat hold x 20 s
  • Bulgarian squats x 20 (10 on each side)

I hate Bulgarian squats! And the squat hold was torture – my legs felt like jelly by the end of that set.

I had a water break and moved on to the next set of exercises:

  • Pelvic lifts x 20
  • High knees x 20 s
  • Romanian deadlifts x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Rest x 40 s
  • High knees x 20 s
  • Romanian deadlifts x 10
  • Rest x 40 s
  • High knees x 20 s
  • Romanian deadlifts x 10

I had some more water, and did the next set of exercises:

  • Pelvic lifts x 20
  • Semi squat hold x 20 s
  • Combined in/out jumps/squat x 1 length of the ladder
  • Rest x 40 s
  • Semi squat hold x 20 s
  • Combined in/out jumps/squat x 1 length of the ladder
  • Rest x 40 s
  • Semi squat hold x 20 s
  • Combined in/out jumps/squat x 1 length of the ladder

Oh. My. God. Those ladder squats killed me – I’d jump into the ladder and squat, jump out of the ladder and squat, all the way to the end of it. My legs were on fire. And not in a good way.

I did a 3-minute walk on the treadmill after that, at 5.2 km/h – just so my legs wouldn’t seize up later. And during my stretches, Pete told me to hold each one for at least 20 seconds to make sure I got a really good stretch.

I wasn’t as sore as I thought I’d be on Tuesday, although both my knees were aching a bit. My glutes and hamstrings were a little sore, but nothing like I’d imagined. I went back to the gym to do Week 4 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app. One of the ladies in the building was there with her daughter and she asked me how often I had my trainer and what else I did in between sessions and then she told me she could really see a difference in my shape. Well, that was nice! We chatted for a bit and after enough procrastinating I got on the treadmill:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

Phew, I was glad when that was over.

I had another session Pete on Wednesday morning. I began with an easy 3-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then went through the stretching routine.

I began with 12 minutes on the cross-trainer, alternating 20 seconds of sprints and 10 seconds of an easy pace. It was exhausting!

I then did the first group of exercises:

  • Lateral pulldown hold x 20 s
  • Lateral pulldown x 10
  • Hanging knee raises x 10
  • Rest 20 s and repeat two more times

I had a water break and did the next group of exercises:

  • Pushup hold x 20 s
  • Pushups x 10
  • Side crunches x 20 (10 on each side)
  • Rest 20 s and repeat two more times

After some water I did an abs set:

  • Side plank with reach through x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Bicycle crunches x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side plank with reach through x 30 s (the other side)
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Double crunches x 30 s
  • Rest

I did another 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, alternating 20 s and 10 s. And after that I finished off with some stretches and went home.

Thursday was a holiday and Eco Yoga Sanctuary was closed so I went to the gym to do Week 4 Day 3 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Run x 3 min
  • Walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I managed to do that without stopping and went home.

And I didn’t work out again over the weekend.

Total distance covered this week? 9.46 km – although the run that I did on Thursday has disappeared from my Nike+ app although the total distance covered in May (so far) includes the 3.04 km. That’s weird – and annoying!

Low point of the week? I can’t think of anything

High point of the week? Feeling like I’ve got my groove back!

Weight loss? Hmm – I think I’m moving in the right direction. And when will I hit my goal weight of 65 kg? According to the Libra weight-tracking app, it will be December this year.

2016-05-08 05.53.17

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The final few

After two really bad weeks at the gym, I really struggled to get back into my routine.

I went to the gym on Sunday and decided to start slowly – so I went back to Week 6 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Walk x 5 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I struggled. After not running for days, I found it hard. I walked for 1 minute at 10:00 (after 5 minutes of running), and again at 25 minutes (after 5 minutes of the second run), and once I hit 3 km I walked until I got to 30 minutes. I was supposed to do a cool down after that, but pressed the red ‘Stop’ button by mistake!

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. I began with a warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 1 min
  • Run x 400 m
  • Walk x 1 min
  • Run x 400 m

I usually end up running until I hit 1 km and managed to do that in 8:42. I did some stretches and Pete told me I’d be lifting weights, doing three sets of each exercise with an ‘active rest’ in between each set (this usually means no rest whatsoever). The first exercises were:

  • Sumo squats x 12 (25-lb weight)
  • Abdominal toe touches x 20
  • Rest x 20 s

I did that three times, had a quick water break and moved on to the next exercises:

  • Chest press x 12
  • Knee in/out x 20
  • Rest x 20 s

After three sets of that and some water, I did the next pair of exercises:

  • Single dumbbell row x 12 on each side (15-lb weight)
  • Sidebend crunches x 20 (alternating 10 on each side)
  • Rest x 20 s

After some more water, I did the last two exercises:

  • Hamstring curl x 12
  • Front raise and lateral raise x 6 (3 kg weights)
  • Rest x 20 s

And that was it. I thought there would be more, but it wasn’t too bad. I did some stretches and went home. I also wasn’t in as much pain the following day as I thought I’d be.

I woke up on Tuesday and wasn’t in the mood to do anything. But I forced myself to get to the gym and did Week 6 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

Ugh, I just couldn’t be bothered. Again, after 5 minutes of running I walked for 1 minute. And after 5 minutes of the second run I walked for 1 minute. And when I started again, I ran until I got to 3 km and then walked the rest of the time. Why am I so unmotivated??

I had another session with Pete on Wednesday morning. I started with a treadmill warmup:

  • Walking x 1 min
  • Running x 400 m
  • Walking x 1 min
  • Running x 400 m (to 1 km)

I managed it in 8.38. I did some stretches and Pete told me it was going to be a sweaty session. I began with 4 minutes on the cross-trainer (alternating 20 seconds sprint, 10 seconds easy).

After some water, I did the first Tabata set:

  • Split squats x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Combined side raise/front raise (5-lb weights)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • High knees x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Alternating reverse lunges x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

After some water, I did an abs circuit:

  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Flutter kicks x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Plank side raise x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Bicycle crunch x 30 s
  • Rest

I then went back to the treadmill for 4 minutes, alternating walking at 5.5 km/h and running at 8.5 km/h for 30 s.

Then came another circuit:

  • Combined squat/side kick x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Tricep dips x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Butt kickers x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Tricep kickbacks x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s

That was followed by another abs circuit, which Pete said was the last thing I’d be doing:

  • Groiners x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Double crunch x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Macarena plank x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situp clap x 30 s
  • Rest

Just as I finished the situp claps, Pete decided I’d do another 4 minutes on the cross-trainer (alternating 20 s spring, 10 s easy). He was right about one thing – it was a very sweaty session! I did some stretches after that and went home.

I felt fine the next morning and went to a Hatha Flow class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. I thought I’d work out at least once over the weekend but was just too tired.

Total distance covered this week?

2016-04-17 08.41.51

Low point of the week? I still don’t feel very motivated.

High point of the week? Managing five workouts, even though I didn’t feel like it.

Weight loss? Ugh. None. And when will I hit my goal weight of 65 kg? According to the Libra weight-tracking app that answer is still ‘NA’.

2016-04-17 04.22.21

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The final few

What a terrible week – in terms of eating and the gym. I was still recovering from my birthday party/weekend on Sunday morning and my feet still hurt from wearing heels for two nights in a row. My sister was also visiting Dubai so there was a lot of eating out.

I skipped the gym on Sunday.

I went to the gym on Monday (Pete was on holiday), intending to repeat Week 7 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app, but really I did my own thing:

  • Walk x 1 min
  • Run x 4 min
  • Walk x 1 min
  • Run x 4 min
  • Walk x 1 min
  • Run x 9 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

And it wasn’t too bad. And it was my fastest 3 km time so far.

I went back to the gym on Tuesday but I decided I’d just walk for 3 km.

And I did nothing for the rest of the week. Unless you count traipsing around the Dubai Mall for endless hours exercise.

Total distance covered this week?

2016-04-04 11.08.04

Low point of the week? Only working out twice – and eating and drinking far too much.

High point of the week? Enjoying my birthday celebrations!

Weight loss? Well, I made a terrible discovery. I noticed that depending on where I stood on my scales, my weight varied – sometimes by up to 1 kg or more. Those scales are ancient so I decided to invest in a Withings body analyser – and they connect to the WiFi at home and are very high tech, etc. But when will I hit my goal weight of 65 kg? According to the Libra weight-tracking app that question is now ‘NA’.

2016-04-03 06.42.37

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The final few

I went to the gym on Sunday morning. I did some stretches and did Week 7 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app (again):

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 20 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I’d been struggling with Week 7 for the last three weeks. I almost managed to run the whole 20 minutes this time, but I stopped in the 16th minute and walked for a little while before running again. It’s still such an effort.

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete. I started with a warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 1 min (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 400 m (7.5 km/h)
  • Walk x 1 min (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 400 m (or to 1 km) (7.5 km/h)

I did 1 km in 8:38. I did some stretches and then did the first set of exercises:

  • Deadlifts x 12 (25-lb weights)
  • Abdominal knee in/out x 20
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Repeat two more times

I thought the 25-lb weights would be too heavy but the only place they really felt uncomfortable was in my grip.

I had a break and then did the next set of exercises:

  • Shuttle runs x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Jumping jacks x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat for 4 minutes

Ugh, that was tedious. After some more water, I did the next set of exercises:

  • Bulgarian squats x 12 (6 on each side)
  • Butterfly situps x 10
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Repeat two more times

After that, I did 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, alternating 20 s of fast speed with 10 s of easy speed.

There was one more set of exercises after that:

  • Overhead tricep extensions x 12 (15-lb weight)
  • Tricep extensions x 12 (machine)
  • Wood choppers x 10 on each side (10-lb weight)
  • Rest and repeat two more times

I did some stretches after that and was done for the day.

My hamstrings were sore on Tuesday, but I was fine everywhere else. I went to the gym to do Week 7 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 20 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

And guess what? I finally did it! I ran for 20 minutes, no stops. I actually ran for 20 min 50 s as I told myself I’d stop when I got to 3 km. So – I walked the first 500 m and then ran non-stop for 2.5 km! This is quite a breakthrough for me! I was thrilled for the rest of the day.

I had another session with Pete on Wednesday. I began with a 10-minute uphill walk on the treadmill, starting with an incline of 1% and increasing it each minute until I was at 10% in the last minute.

I did some stretches and then did three sets of the following exercises:

  • Jumping jacks x 30
  • Fly press x 12 (10-lb weights)
  • Pullover tricep extensions x 12
  • Combined squat/kickback x 12 (alternating 6 on each side)

After that I did 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, alternating 20 s at a fast speed with 10 s at an easy speed. After a break, I did three sets of the next group of exercises:

  • High knees x 20 s (with my hands pressed against the wall)
  • Lateral pulldowns x 12
  • Tricep dips x 12
  • Combined reverse lunge/straight leg kick x 12 (6 on each side)

I finished those off with another 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, and finished off our session with an abs set:

  • Hanging knee raises x 10 (x 3)
  • Elbow to knee crunches x 10 on each side (x 3)
  • Abdominal toe touches x 10 (x 3)

I did a few stretches and went home. Pete would be travelling the following week, so I’d have the week off…

I went to a Hatha Flow class on Thursday morning. It was a different teacher and there was just one other person in the class.

I decided to take the day off on Friday. I probably should have gone to the gym, but I didn’t want to be tired that evening at my own birthday party! And of course Saturday was a write-off too.

Total distance covered this week? The 1 km on the 21st of March was my warmup in my session with Pete.

2016-03-28 11.01.30

Low point of the week? I did a lot of eating and drinking over the weekend…

High point of the week? I still managed five workouts this week, even though I skipped Friday and Saturday. And most people told me I’d lost weight when they saw me on Friday evening – I never get tired of hearing that!

Weight loss? Nice to see more of the 75 kg weights this week. I did notice, however, that my scales are probably wrong. My weight varies depending where I stand on the scales (they are really old), and sometimes my weight can go up or down by 1 kg or more in a matter of minutes. I think it’s time to treat myself to some new hi-tech scales. The Libra weight-tracking app now tells me I’ll hit my goal weight of 65 kg by December this year.

2016-03-28 11.02.12

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The final few

I began the week with Week 7 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app. I’d tried to do it the week before but found it so hard – I thought it would be a good idea to get comfortable with it before moving to the next level.

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 20 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I alternated between 6 km/h and 7.2 km/h and struggled again.

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete. I started with 1 km on the treadmill – walking at 5.5 km/h for 1 min, running at 7.5 km/h for 400 metres, walking for 1 min and then running until I got to 1 km. I did it in 8:40. After some stretches, he told me I’d be doing another version of the ’30 workout’. Ugh. I think he was expecting that reaction from me! It went like this:

  • Pushups x 30
  • Lateral pulldown x 30 (wide overhand grip)
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories
  • Tricep dips x 30
  • Lateral pulldown x 30 (narrow underhand grip)
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories
  • Incline pushups x 30
  • Seated low row x 30
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories

I was supposed to do all that without official breaks. I did stop for water a couple of times though. After that, I did a different set of exercises:

  • Combined squat/kickback x 30 (alternating 15 on each side)
  • Hanging knee raises x 30
  • Combined squat/side kick x 30 (alternating 15 on each side)
  • Elbow to knee crunches x 30 (30 on each side)
  • Step ups x 30 (15 on each side, stepping on/off a stationary treadmill)
  • Butterfly situps x 30

And that was it. I did some stretches and went home.

I went back to the gym on Tuesday for Week 7 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app. I struggled again and thought I might have to repeat the week again the following week! Does running ever get any easier??

I had another session with Pete on Wednesday. I’d been out at Art Dubai on Tuesday night and told him I was feeling really tired, hoping he would go easy on me – but that was not the case. I started with a warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 30 s, walk x 30 s (x 4 min)
  • Run x 3 min

Pete told me I wouldn’t be using the treadmill again after that. I did some stretches and began the first Tabata circuit:

  • Combined squat/shoulder press x 20 s (3-kg weights)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Knee in/out x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Combined reverse lunge/straight leg kick x 20 s (on one side)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Combined side raise/bicep curl x 20 s (3-kg weights)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat (using the other leg during the combined reverse lunge/straight leg kick exercise)

I had some water and then did 4 min on the cross trainer (alternating 20 s at a fast pace and 10 s at a slower pace). I had a break and did the next Tabata circuit:

  • Mountain climbers x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Crunches x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • ‘Macarena’ plank x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Scissors x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

Well, the ‘Macarena’ plank is nowhere near as fun as it sounds. In a plank position, on my hands I would have to lift one hand and touch the opposite shoulder and do the same with the other hand. I’d then have to lift the first hand and touch my hip on the same side and then do the same thing on the other side. I could actually hear the song going round in my head as I was doing it.

I had a break and did the next circuit:

  • Shuttle runs x 20 s
  • Rest x 40 s
  • Repeat for 4 min

After another break I did another Tabata circuit:

  • Pushups x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Side hip raises x 20 s (on one side)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Side hip raises x 20 s (on the other side)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Butterfly situps x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

Oh God – I was ready to go home. I had another 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, alternating fast and slow speeds and I was finally done. I did some stretches to finish and went home.

On Thursday morning I went to a Hatha Flow class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. They had a special offer on – 40 classes for AED 1999, valid for a year. I decided to buy it – I like going there and most of the teachers I’ve had are good.

I took the day off on Friday. I’d been working until really late on Thursday night and hadn’t slept very well that night.

On Saturday my friend and I made it to the beach for our evening walk. We started a little before 6pm – it was such a beautiful evening.

2016-03-19 17.46.45

We did our 6 km in just under an hour. And because we weren’t trying to improve on our time, I think it was easier on my knees than previous weeks.

Total distance covered this week?

2016-03-20 09.13.01

Low point of the week? I didn’t get to Day 3 of Week 7 in the 10k Runner app.

High point of the week? Doing six workouts this week, including the 1-hour walk on the beach. I also met a friend on Tuesday evening after almost three months – he told me I’d lost a lot of weight!

Weight loss? It was nice seeing 75 kg a few times this week. My Libra weight-tracking now tells me I’ll hit my goal weight of 65 kg by the end of November this year!

2016-03-20 09.13.30

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The final few

I went to the gym on Sunday morning. I started with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer, did some stretches and then did Week 7 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 20 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

Week 7! How did I get here! And running for 20 minutes! I’d been dreading this ever since I peeked ahead after my last run the previous week. I warmed up at 6 km/h and began running at 7.2 km/h. I made it to 10 minutes and took the speed down to 6.8 km/h for 20-30 seconds, and once I did that I found it hard to take the speed back up again. In the second half I carried on at 7.2 km/h but reduced the speed for 15 seconds three times in those last 10 minutes. And when I got to 25 minutes, I hit the big red ‘Stop’ button instead of the ‘Cool down’ button, which was annoying! So I restarted the treadmill and walked at an easy pace for a few minutes… I have a feeling I’m going to be repeating this week because I found it soooo hard!

On Sunday evening I decided to try a Vinyasa Flow class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. The teacher is great – she said each person could go at their own place and rest at any point during the class. It wasn’t easy, and I was the sweatiest person there by the end of the class, but I enjoyed it. I think she is fast becoming my favourite teacher at the yoga studio.

I had a session with Pete on Monday. He asked what I’d done over the weekend in terms of exercise, and I told him I’d done something every day. He said that I wouldn’t be doing any running at all in the session – and to warm up I did 10 minutes on the treadmill followed by some thorough stretching.

The first set of exercises consisted of me squatting using the resistance band which was attached to the lateral pulldown machine:

  • Squats x 10
  • Side squats x 10 (with my left side facing the lateral pulldown machine)
  • Side squats x 10 (with my right side facing the lateral pulldown machine)
  • Squats x 10 (facing away from the lateral pulldown machine)
  • Combined lunge/knee raise x 10 (10 on each side, facing away from the machine)

I had to keep my core engaged throughout those exercises – I relaxed at one point during the combined lunge/knee raise and almost fell over.

I had a break and then did the next set of exercises using an 8-kg kettlebell:

  • Kettlebell swings x 3
  • Upright row x 2
  • Shoulder press x 1
  • Repeat 5 more times, no breaks
  • Butterfly situps x 20
  • Repeat all two more times, no breaks

Ugh. All that took me 8:56. I had a water break and then did the next circuit:

  • Reverse wood chopper x 10 (8-kg kettlebell)
  • Standing knee to elbow twist x 10
  • Reverse wood chopper x 10 (8-kg kettlebell, on the other side)
  • Standing knee to elbow twist x 10 (on the other side)
  • Repeat two more times, no breaks

I say ‘reverse wood chopper’ because I can’t remember the real name of the exercise. Holding the kettlebell at my right hip with both hands, I’d have to lift the kettlebell diagonally across my body so that I ended up holding it above the left side of my body. Does that make sense? I did all that in 5:30.

I had another break and then did the last set of exercises:

  • Sumo squats x 20 (15-lb weight)
  • Abductor machine x 20
  • Crunches x 10 (low arms)
  • Crunches x 10
  • Reverse crunches x 10
  • Long-arm crunches x 10
  • Rest and repeat

So by the end of the session, I’d done 116 squats. Would I be able to walk the next day?? I did some stretches and was done for the day.

I was a little sore on Tuesday but I went to the gym to do Week 7 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app. It was exactly the same as Day 1: warmup for 5 minutes, run for 20 minutes, cool down for 5 minutes. And again, I really struggled. I did the first 10 minutes at 7.2 km/h and in the second half of the run I kept reducing the speed for short periods of time.

That afternoon I went to a Hatha Yoga class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. That afternoon, I’d suddenly developed a sharp pain in my shin, just above my ankle, and I wasn’t sure what was causing it. I thought it might have been the sandals I was wearing for lunch, but I really don’t know what it was. After yoga I went home and just took it easy for the rest of the day.

And the following morning it was much better (thank goodness). I had another session with Pete. This time my warmup consisted of 3 minutes on the cross-trainer followed by the 1-to-5 warmup:

  • Squat x 1, situp x 1, pushup x 1
  • Squat x 2, situp x 2, pushup x 2
  • Squat x 3, situp x 3, pushup x 3
  • Squat x 4, situp x 4, pushup x 4
  • Squat x 5, situp x 5, pushup x 5
  • And gradually working my way back down to 1 rep of each

I did some stretches after that and went back to the cross-trainer for 4 minutes, alternating 20 seconds sprint with 10 s easy). I then did the first set of exercises:

  • Single leg pushup x 12 (6 on one leg and then 6 on the other)
  • Overhead tricep extensions x 12 (10-lb weight)
  • Tricep extension x 12 (machine)
  • Repeat two more times

For the single leg pushup, I did these at an incline, not on the floor. I leaned on the bars of the chest press machine, raised one leg and did six pushups, then raised the other leg and did six more pushups.

I went back to the cross-trainer for another 4 minutes of alternating 20 and 10 seconds, fast and slow intervals. The second set of exercises consisted of:

  • Lateral pulldown x 12 (underhand narrow grip)
  • Bicep curls x 12 (machine)
  • Hammer curl x 12 (3-kg / 5-lb weights)
  • Repeat two more times

For the hammer curls, in the second set Pete reduced the weight to 5-lb dumbbells because I found the 3-kg weights too heavy. In the third set, I did six reps with the 3-kg weights and then Pete handed me the 5-lb dumbbells. But by that stage, even the 5-lb dumbbells seemed so heavy!

I went back to the cross-trainer for another 4 minutes, alternating fast and slow intervals. The last set of exercises was all abs:

  • Hanging knee raises x 20
  • Wood chopper x 20 (10 on each side, using the Swiss ball)
  • Prisoner bends x 20 (alternating 10 on each side)
  • Abdominal toe touches x 20
  • Repeat

And then I did some stretches and went home. It was only Wednesday and I’d already done four gym sessions and two yoga classes. I was on a roll!

I went to the gym on Thursday, but when I got there the thought of running for a prolonged period of time made me want to weep. I decided I was going to have to redo Week 7 anyway so decided I’d alternate walking and running on the treadmill for 20 minutes. After a 5-minute warmup I alternated 1-2 minutes of running with 30-60 seconds of walking for 20 minutes, depending on how I was feeling. I ended with a 5-minute cool down. So at least I’d done something!

I didn’t work out on Friday and on Saturday I went to the beach for a walk. My friend couldn’t make it so it was just me – and I went earlier than the week before, at about 6pm.

Total distance covered this week?

2016-03-12 16.56.27

Low point of the week? I’ve noticed that after my walks at the beach, my knees start to ache. I don’t know whether it’s the surface of the running track or whether I should slow down a bit, but my knees ache for a couple of days afterwards.

High point of the week? Doing eight workouts this week, including the walk on the beach. I met some friends on Thursday and one of them told me I was looking ‘particularly skinny’ these days. I can tell you for a fact that I’m nowhere near skinny – and after thinking about it, I don’t really want to be skinny, just stronger and more toned.

Weight loss? I stayed fairly constant this week, apart from a huge drop on Friday morning! The Libra weight-tracking app now tells me I’ll hit my goal weight of 65 kg by the December this year. That seems doable, doesn’t it?

2016-03-12 16.56.08

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The final few

I went to the gym on Sunday morning. Someone was already using my favourite treadmill so I started with a 10-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then did a few stretches while I was waiting for her to finish. I did Week 6 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Walk x 5 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I alternated between 6 km/h and 7.2 km/h. I managed to do the first 10 minutes without slowing down but I struggled with the second run. I reduced the speed to 6.8 km/h a couple of times, but for no more than 30 seconds each time, just so I could catch my breath. I was so happy when it was over!

I keep reading conflicting information about how to breathe while running. Some articles say it’s best to breathe through the mouth so then your jaw is more relaxed, while others say that breathing through your mouth causes your throat to become dry and you’ll need to keep drinking water… Which is best??

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. I warmed up on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run/walk for 30 s each x 4 min
  • Run x 3 min

As I was stretching Pete told me I’d be doing the ’30 workout’ again. Nooooo! I wanted to run away. The exercises went like this:

  • Burpees x 30
  • Pushups x 30
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories
  • Combined squat/upright row x 30 (10-lb weights)
  • Overhead tricep extensions x 30 (10-lb weight)
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories
  • Combined deadlift/shoulder press x 30 (3-kg weights)
  • Bicep curls x 30 (3-kg weights)
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories

There were no ‘official’ rests or water breaks but if I need to stop I could – and it took me 24 minutes to do all that. The burpees and pushups were definitely the hardest part of that – I could feel my legs burning by the time I got to the end of the burpees! I had a long break after that and then did the following abs exercises:

  • Hanging knee raises x 30
  • Prisoner bends x 30 (alternating 15 on each side)
  • Crunches x 30
  • Single leg lifts x 30 (15 on each side)
  • Elbow to knee crunches x 30 (15 on each side)
  • Butterfly situps x 30 (3-kg weight)

The ‘prisoner bends’ are basically side bends, but kneeling on a bench with my hands behind my head (as if I was doing a situp). I did some stretches after that and was done for the day.

My hamstrings were sore on Tuesday but I felt fine everywhere else. I went back to the gym. After a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and some stretches, I did Week 6 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app on the treadmill:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

Again, I managed the first run without slowing down and found the second one utter torture. I slowed down a couple of times, but not for long… but I managed to do it.

On Wednesday morning, Pete told me he was going to change my warmup a bit. Instead of walking uphill or the walk/run warmup, I would walk for 1 minute and then run for 400 metres – twice. He said he wanted to reduce the amount of time it takes for me to get warmed up so we could move on to the ‘fun stuff’ quicker. So:

  • Walk at 5.5 km/h x 1 min
  • Run at 7.4 km/h x 400 m
  • Walk at 5.5 km/h x 1 min
  • Run at 7.5 km/h x 400 m

I didn’t press the ‘stop’ button as soon as I’d finished the 400 m – I walked for about 20-30 seconds until I got to 1 km. I did the 1 km in 8 min 48 s. Pete said he wanted to get that time down to 7 min over the next few weeks. This should be interesting!

As I was stretching, Pete told me I’d be lifting some heavy weights in our session. After stretching I did another 8 minutes on the treadmill, alternating walking and running every 30 s. I was very warmed up by then and did the first weights circuit:

  • Chest press (machine) x 12
  • Seated row (machine) x 12
  • Rest followed by two more sets

I had a break and Pete gave me a choice for the second set: leg extensions and deadlifts or squats and hamstring curls. I heard the word ‘squats’ and immediately chose the first option! I did the second weights circuit:

  • Leg extensions (machine) x 12
  • Romanian (straight leg) deadlifts x 12 (20-lb weights)
  • Rest followed by two more sets

My legs were burning after those leg extensions! I had another break and did the next weights circuit:

  • Upright row x 12 (10-lb weights)
  • Overhead tricep extensions x 12 (15-lb weight)
  • Rest followed by two more sets

I had a water break and did a series of abs exercises:

  • Abdominal knee in/out x 20
  • Russian twists x 20 (10-lb weight)
  • Abdominal toe touches x 20
  • Hanging knee raises x 20
  • Standing elbow to knee twists x 20
  • Abdominal toe touches x 20

I was done after that. I did a few stretches and went home.

On Thursday morning I went to a Hatha Flow class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. When I signed in I noticed a few names above mine – there are usually only one or two other people in the class – and by the time the class started, we were 10 in total. Where had all these women come from? It was the highest number of people I’d seen in any class there. It was a really good class though – focusing on hip openers and legs. It was just what I needed after spending all that time on the treadmill.

I went back to the gym on Friday morning. Someone was using my favourite treadmill so I did a 10-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and a few stretches, wondering how long she would be. When I finished stretching, I decided I’d use my second favourite treadmill and began Week 6 Day 3 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 15 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

Just as I got to minute 4 of my warmup, the other treadmill became free so I moved over. I did a further minute of my warmup and began with the run. I managed to do the 15-minute run, I slowed down twice but not for longer than 30 s – and I did the last 5-minute run without stopping. This was the furthest I’d come with the 10k Runner app – and I never imagined I’d be able to run (or shuffle) for 15 minutes at a stretch!

I didn’t go to the gym on Saturday but I did go to the beach for a walk that evening. My friend couldn’t make it and I went a bit later than usual – at about 6.30pm, just as it was getting dark. I did 6 km in under an hour. I noticed that the weather is changing – it’s still a bit breezy at the beach but the breeze is much warmer than it was a couple of weeks ago. I’m going to have to ditch my hoodie soon and find some other way of carrying my phone with me… I also noticed that I didn’t feel particularly safe once it was dark – and I’ve never felt like that before in Dubai. There were other people around, and most of the track is well lit – not every lamppost is on but most of them – but there’s one stretch of the track which has no lights at all, and there are groups of men just hanging about in the dark. It was weird. I would go back, but not in the dark…

Total distance covered this week?

2016-03-05 16.02.11

Low point of the week? My knees have started aching – I’m not sure why. They were quite sore on Saturday evening.

High point of the week? I did seven workouts this week, including the 1-hour walk on the beach. I also had a very quiet weekend – no drinks, no junk food. All my pajama bottoms are loose for me – unless the elastic is gone in all of them!

Weight loss? I seem to be stuck at 76 kg, and according to the Libra weight-tracking app, I’ll hit my goal weight of 65 kg in July 2017.

2016-03-05 16.02.28

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The final few

I was not in the mood for the gym on Sunday morning.

After a really heavy Friday night, I still hadn’t recovered – my ears felt blocked and I had a slight headache (which oddly enough I didn’t have the day before). I didn’t think I could run without falling over so I decided to just walk on the treadmill. I did a few stretches, skipping my usual 5 minutes on the cross-trainer, and got on the treadmill. I started at a speed of 6 km/h, but increased it to 6.2 km/h after about 5 minutes. And once I got to 15 minutes I increased the speed again to 6.4 km/h until I got to 30 minutes and then I stopped. That was all I did, but I still think it was better than nothing. I noticed that I was a bit sweaty by the end of the 30 minutes but I wasn’t out of breath.

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. The gym was quite busy that morning – two of the treadmills were being used so I did a 10-minute warmup on the cross-trainer instead. As I was stretching, Pete told me I’d be doing what he called the ’30 workout’ that morning: basically exercises in multiples of 30. Oh no, I had a vague recollection of doing that a few weeks ago and being sore for days afterwards.

I did the first set of exercises:

  • Combined squat/shoulder press x 30 (10-lb weights)
  • Lateral pull down x 30
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories (I think it was roughly 4 minutes)

I had some water and noticed that one of the women in the gym was taking selfies as she was using every machine. It was quite entertaining to watch and Pete was quite amused. I then did the second set of exercises:

  • Romanian (straight leg) dead lifts x 30 (10-lb weights)
  • Pushups x 30
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories

I had a bit more water and then did the third (and final) set:

  • Combined reverse lunge/bicep curl x 30 (10-lb weights, alternating 15 on each side)
  • Combined front raise/side raise x 30 (3-lb weights)
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories

After some more water I did the first abs set:

  • Hanging knee ups x 30 s
  • Side bends x 15 on each side (15-lb weight)
  • Butterfly situps x 30 (3-kg weight)

After a break came the second set of abs:

I did some stretches after that and was done for the day. It wasn’t as bad as the similar session a few weeks ago – because by the end of that session I’d done 90 squats with weights!

My hamstrings were sore on Tuesday – I felt fine everywhere else. I went to the gym but someone was using my favourite treadmill. I warmed up on the cross-trainer for 5 minutes and did some stretches and eventually decided to use my second favourite treadmill. I did Week 6 Day 1:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Walk x 5 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I really struggled. I don’t know if it was the treadmill or if I was tired or what else could have happened, but I struggled from the very beginning. Five minutes into the first run I walked at 6.8 km/h for 30 seconds and then took the speed back up to 7.2 km/h. I almost didn’t even begin the second run – I thought I might just walk fast for 10 minutes – but then eventually alternated between walking and running for 10 minutes. I was disappointed but I just couldn’t do it that morning.

That afternoon I decided to go a hatha yoga class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. It was quite a gentle class but I noticed at the beginning that it wasn’t just my hamstrings that were sore from Monday’s workout – my sides were quite sore too!

I had another session with Pete on Wednesday morning. He said we weren’t going to use the weights much but I’d be out of breath for most of the session. Oh God. I began with a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 30 s, walk x 30 s (4 min)
  • Run x 3 min

I walked at 5.5 km/h and ran at 7.5 km/h. I did some stretches after that and then Pete put two dumbbells on the floor – about 5 metres apart. The first exercise would be shuttle runs:

  • Shuttle runs x 20 s
  • Rest x 40 s
  • Repeat for 4 minutes

Pete told me the point of the exercise wasn’t to cover a great distance but it was all about controlling the pivot and change of direction.

After a water break, I did an abs circuit – which he calls the ‘Holy trinity’:

  • Hip raises x 10
  • Knee to elbow crunch x 10 on each side
  • Crunches x 10

Whenever Pete mentions hip raises I think of glute bridges, which is wrong. The hip raise is lying on the floor, my legs straight up and raising my hips. It’s not a big movement but it’s effective.

Then came a 4-minute Tabata circuit:

  • Split squats x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Overhead tricep extensions x 20 s (with one 15-lb weight)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • High knees x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Bicep curls x 20 s (with one 15-lb weight)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

I had some water after that and did 4 minutes on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 30 s (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 30 s (8 km/h)
  • Repeat for 4 minutes

I did the same abs circuit after that, followed by the earlier 4-minute shuttle run, another abs circuit as before and another 4 minutes on the treadmill. At least, I think that’s the order I did everything in. I definitely finished with the treadmill! I did a few stretches after that and was done.

I went back to the gym on Thursday morning. I did 5 minutes on the cross-trainer as a warmup followed by some stretches. I then began Week 6 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 10 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

It was painful. I managed the first run – I took the speed down to 6.8 km/h twice but only for 15 seconds each time. The second run of 10 minutes was much harder – I alternated the speed between 6.8, 7.2 and 7.5 km/h but I really struggled with it. I think I might have to repeat Week 6 – is there any point in carrying on to Week 7 if Week 6 is such a struggle?

I didn’t work out on Friday.

On Saturday evening my friend and I went to Jumeirah Beach for our evening walk. We managed 6 km in just under 1 hour – but we didn’t manage to improve on our time. We were both quite tired (she’d already done 14 km that morning and I hadn’t slept much over the weekend).

Total distance covered this week?

2016-02-27 16.26.05

Low point of the week? I’ve been feeling so tired and forcing myself to exercise. I also didn’t manage to finish Week 6 of the 10k Runner app – I’ll have to redo that next week… I’ve been working a lot this week and even though I was out on Thursday and Friday nights I ended up working when I got home – until 3.30am on both nights. And because I knew I had work to do, I only had one drink on Thursday night and none on Friday.

High point of the week? Doing seven workouts this week, including the 1-hour walk on the beach!

Weight loss? My weight somehow dropped to 75.6 kg this week – but just for a day – and then it crept back up again! The Libra weight-tracking app now tells me I’ll hit my goal weight of 65 kg in mid August this year. It also tells me that my lowest recorded weight is 75.6 kg (I’ve been using this app since August 2014)!

2016-02-27 13.16.59

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