Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

The final few

I went back to the gym on Sunday morning for the first time since Tuesday the week before. I’d had flu and took it easy for a few days. I began with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and some stretches. After that I began on the treadmill. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to pick up where I left off with the 10k Runner app, so I went back to Week 5 Day 1:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run 5 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 6 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I alternated between 6 km/h and 7.2 km/h. I managed to do the first run, and struggled with the second and third ones. I think I was just tired, but in the last run I just wanted to walk really fast at 6.8 km/h, but in the last 2 minutes I put the speed back up to 7. 2 km/h.

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete. He said the session wouldn’t be too bad (ha!) and my only cardio would be at the beginning as I was warming up on the treadmill. I walked for 10 minutes at a speed of 5.6 km/h, starting with an incline of 1% and then increasing it each minute by 1% until I was walking at an incline of 10%. I did some stretches while Pete told me about the circuit I’d be doing:

  • Chest press x 12 (with 10-lb weights)
  • Tricep pullovers x 12 (with 10-lb weights)
  • Tricep dips x 12
  • Abdominal knee in/out x 12
  • Bent over row x 12 (15-lb weights)
  • Sumo squats x 12 (20-lb weight)
  • Deadlifts x 12 (15-lb weights)
  • Side bends x 12 (10-lb weight in the first set, 15-lb weight in the second and third sets)
  • Lateral pulldown x 12
  • Shoulder press x 12 (10-lb weights in the first set, one 15-lb weight in the second and third sets)
  • Glute bridges x 12
  • Abdominal toe touches x 12

I found the tricep pullovers quite hard. And the tricep dips after the pullovers were quite hard too. In the first set, I found the 10-lb weight for the side bends too light, so Pete gave me heavier weights in the subsequent sets. On the other hand, I found the 10-lb weights for the shoulder press too heavy in the first set, so Pete gave me lighter weights in the second and third sets. On the whole, though, it really wasn’t too bad.

I did a few stretches after that and was done.

I woke up on Tuesday with really sore triceps. I was fine everywhere else! I went back to the gym – I warmed up on the cross-trainer for 5 minutes, did a few stretches and then carried on with Week 5 Day 2 of the 10k runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 8 min
  • Walk x 5 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I struggled again – in the last 5-minute run, I walked (fast) some of the way, but not for long.

My triceps were still sore on Wednesday morning and I had another session with Pete. I started off with a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill:

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

When I finished, Pete said it looked like ‘a piece of cake’. ‘Not a very tasty one,’ I responded. After some stretches, I began with this circuit:

  • Jumping jacks x 50
  • Farmer’s walk x 8 lengths of the gym
  • Rest x 1 min
  • Repeat two more times

The farmer’s walk was simply walking holding a dumbbell in each hand. I started with 15-lb weights, but moved up to 20-lb weights in the second and third set. It doesn’t sound difficult but after 50 jumping jacks I could feel it in my legs. What I did notice was that I didn’t have to stop at all while doing the jumping jacks – I did all 50 straight through each time!

After a water break, I did a Tabata circuit:

  • Combined squat/shoulder press x 20 s (3-kg weights)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Combined reverse lunge/bicep curl x 20 s (3-kg weights)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Heartbeat squat x 20 s (one 3-kg weight)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Side lunge x 20 s (one 3-kg weight)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

When I was doing the heartbeat squats, I had to really control my abs so I didn’t fall over! After some more water I did an abs circuit:

  • Single leg raise x 10
  • Russian twists x 10 (10-lb weight)
  • Abdominal toe touches x 10

I then did a Tabata circuit on the cross-trainer:

  • Sprint x 20 s
  • Easy x 10 s
  • Repeat seven more times (4 min total)

Ugh – that was horrible! Another abs circuit followed:

  • Hanging leg raises x 10
  • Kneeling side bends x 10 on each side (alternating)
  • Abdominal toe touches x 10

I did another Tabata circuit on the cross-trainer:

  • Easy x 30 s
  • Sprint x 30 s
  • Repeat three more times (4 min total)

It was easier than the earlier cross-trainer circuit! I thought I was done after that last cross-trainer circuit but I had another abs circuit to do:

  • Abdominal knee in/out x 10
  • Standing elbow to knee twist x 10 (on each side)
  • Abdominal toe touches x 10

Yay! I was done! I did some stretches and went home.

On Thursday I went to a Hatha Flow class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. There were three other people in the class and it was a teacher I’d never had before. I hadn’t been to yoga in 3 weeks and I was feeling quite tight, especially around my hips. It wasn’t too strenuous but I really enjoyed it and I felt so much better afterwards.

I did Week 5 Day 3 of the 10k Runner app on Friday morning. I did a 5-minute warmup on the bike first (someone was using the cross-trainer) and some stretches. Week 5 Day 3 consisted of:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 8 min
  • Walk x 5 min
  • Run x 8 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

During the second run I took the speed down to 6.8 km/h, but just for 30 seconds. I varied the speed the rest of the time between 7 and 7.5 km/h. While I was on the treadmill, there was a woman in the gym who was using the weights machine – and each time she would finish a set, she would release the weights with a huge clash. It was so irritating!

I didn’t do my regular beach walk on Saturday evening – I was so hungover and I just wanted to get into bed after I’d come home from lunch at Purobeach with some friends.

Total distance covered this week? I also included my 10-minute warmup from my Wednesday session with Pete. That’s a run too, right?

2016-02-20 15.56.38

Low point of the week? I had a lot of vodka on Friday night and felt like crap on Saturday – which led to me having a Coke and a hot dog with fries for lunch.

High point of the week? Doing six workouts this week. Also, I was at a friend’s place on Friday afternoon and she told me my legs were looking amazing! In fact, she was inspired to go for a run on the beach the following morning…

Weight loss? My Libra weight-tracking app now tells me I’ll hit my goal weight of 65 kg by the end of August this year.

2016-02-20 15.57.40

Read more updates here.

1 Comment »

The final few

I woke up on Sunday and noticed that my legs were finally back to normal after my session with Pete a few days before – they were no longer sore. I went to the gym on Sunday morning. I started with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then moved over to the treadmill. 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 minute-run at a speed of 7.2 km/h, without decreasing it (who knew I could run for 10 minutes??). I struggled during the second run – and a couple of times I reduced the speed to 7 km/h and 6.8 km/h for about 30 seconds or so, just to catch my breath, but then put the speed back up to 7.2 km/h again. But once it was over, I was so amazed that I ran for almost 20 minutes!

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete. He said I’d be doing a lot of Tabata training! I started with a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill:

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

After some thorough stretching, I began the first Tabata circuit:

  • High knees x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Side to side jumps x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Butt kickers x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Jumping jacks x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

For that set of exercises I had resistance bands around my hips and Pete was pulling me back so I really had to engage my core to stop myself from falling over. I had rest for 1 minute and then began the next circuit:

  • Step-ups on the stationery treadmill x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Halo x 20 s (10-lb weight)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Alternating forward lunges x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Semi-squat jump x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

I had some water and then did 4 minutes on the treadmill – alternating 30 seconds of walking at 5.5 km/h with 30 seconds of running at 7.8 km/h. I had another water break and did the following circuit:

  • Wood chopper x 20 s (10-lb weight, one side only)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Abdominal knee in/out x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Wood chopper x 20 s (10-lb weight, the other side)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Russian twists x 20 s (10-lb weight)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

I had some more water and did the next circuit:

  • Combined squat/side raise x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Combined reverse lunge/forward kick x 20 s (one side only)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Combined squat/kickback x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Combined reverse lunge/forward kick x 20 s (the other side)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

I had some more water and then did the final circuit:

  • Crunches (arms at my sides) x 20
  • Crunches (arms above my thighs) x 20
  • Reverse crunches x 20
  • Crunches (arms overhead) x 20

I could really feel that in my upper abs area by the end of that! I did some stretches after that and went home. That was my 30th session with Pete!

I woke up on Tuesday with sore glutes and slightly sore abs. I also felt I was getting a cold, but I’d been feeling like that for days. I put it down to the weather and/or air-conditioning at home because every time I left the house I felt fine! I went to the gym anyway. I did 5 minutes on the cross-trainer followed by a few stretches. I then did 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

I walked at 6 km/h and managed to do all of the first run at 7.2 km/h. I found the second run tough. I started at 7.2 km/h, but after a couple of minutes I reduced the speed to 6.8 km/h (a very fast walk for me) to catch my breath for 30 seconds. I then took the speed back up to 7.2 km/h for a couple of minutes. I kept alternating between the two but for the last 3 minutes of the second run I stuck to 7.2 km/h. It was tough and I was so glad it was over. I also wasn’t feeling great. My nose was running and by the time I got home I was sneezing continuously.

But I managed to do two sets of 10 minutes – and there’s no rule that says my speed has to be constant, is there? Even if I’m ‘shuffling’ at a low speed, I’m still running, right?

By the time Tuesday evening came round I was feeling pretty dreadful. I texted Pete to cancel my session on Wednesday as I didn’t want to wait until the morning and cancel at the last minute. Just as well, because I woke up on Wednesday sneezing and feverish. What a drag! I was so disappointed as I’d had such a good streak at the gym this year, and now this.

I was in bed all of Wednesday and some of Thursday. I did a bit of work, watched a bit of TV, but generally felt like rubbish. On Friday I felt almost human, but I stayed in anyway. And on Saturday I felt pretty good.

I decided I was going to do some form of exercise on Saturday but I couldn’t decide between yoga or a walk on the beach. In the end I decided to do the walk because I thought some fresh air after 4 days of being at home would do me good. I also thought it would be better in case I got tired and just wanted to slow down and/or go home.

I got to the beach shortly after 5pm. The friend I usually walk with couldn’t make it so I went on my own, but a few minutes into my walk I bumped into another friend and we walked together for about 4 km. After she left, I carried on until I got to 6.1 km. I did that in just over 1 hour (1:01:40 to be exact). It felt good to be outside and active, and I thought it would warm me up nicely for the following morning when I would go back to running on the treadmill.

Total distance covered this week?

2016-02-15 16.53.06

Low point of the week? Getting the flu. And ordering a pizza on Tuesday evening. And not going to yoga for the second week in a row.

High point of the week? Being able to run for 10 minutes at a stretch – twice!

Weight loss? Up and down as usual, although my Libra weight-tracking app now tells me I’ll hit my goal weight of 65 kg by June 2017.

2016-02-13 06.31.06

Read more updates here.

2 Comments »

The final few

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

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 6 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I alternated between 6 km/h and 7.5 km/h. I can run for 6 minutes at a stretch! I had intended to do the Great Butt and Great Abs apps but was running late for lunch. I thought I’d do it at home later in the day and totally forgot.

I took the day off on Monday. Pete was still away and I thought about going to a yoga class but when I checked the schedule the only class I could do was being taught by the annoying teacher I’d had a few weeks before.

On Tuesday morning, I went back to the gym. I started with 5 minutes on the cross-trainer and then did Week 5 Day 2 of the 10k running app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 8 min
  • Walk x 5 min
  • Run x 5 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I have to admit I panicked a little when I saw the 8 minutes! I thought it would be more like 6 or 7 minutes, but 8 minutes! But I managed to do it. It was a slow speed of 7.2 km/h but I did it. I don’t think I’ve ever run for 8 consecutive minutes in my life. I even managed to switch off and think about other things so that it didn’t feel too much like torture. I think I need to focus on my breathing more too. I was actually amazed when I got to the end of the last 5-minute run. I’d managed to do the whole thing. And again, I intended to do the Great Butt and Great Abs apps but I totally forgot.

I had a session with Pete on Wednesday morning – he got back the day before and told me I looked like I’d lost weight while he was away. Perhaps I’m looking more toned – because the scales are moving in the wrong direction this week!

I started with a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill:

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

After some thorough stretching, I did the following exercises:

  • Combined squat/shoulder press x 30 (10-lb weights)
  • Pushups x 30
  • Cross-trainer x 500 m
  • Combined squat/upright row x 30 (10-lb weights)
  • Bicep curls x 30 (10-lb weights for the first 10 reps, 3-kg weights for the next 20 reps)
  • Cross-trainer x 500 m
  • Combined squat/side leg raise x 30 (no weights)
  • Lateral pulldown x 30
  • Cross-trainer x 500 m

I was supposed to do all that without a break, but clearly that didn’t happen. After each cross-trainer set I’d have some water. The first set of squats were the hardest and by the end of all that, I’d done 90 squats and could really feel it in my legs. I told Pete that he’d just ruined my weekend! But I wasn’t finished. After a longer water break, I did the following abs exercises:

  • Hip raises (similar to reverse crunch) x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Russian twists x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • T-raises x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Glute bridges x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Double crunches x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Back extensions x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 30 s
  • Rest

I did a few stretches after that and was done for the day. Hurrah!

My quads were really sore on Thursday morning. In fact, both my upper legs were sore all over – hamstrings, inner thighs, quads. Those squats really affected me! I went back to the gym though – and did Week 5 Day 3 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 8 min
  • Walk x 5 min
  • Run x 8 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

And I actually did it. I walked at 6 km/h and ran at 7.2 km/h. During the second run I reduced the speed to 7 km/h towards the end, but just for 1 minute, and then I put it back up to 7.2 km/h for the final minute. If someone had told me in December that I’d be able to run for 8 minutes I’d have laughed. But I did it… Twice! I peeked ahead to what was in store for me the following week and immediately wished I hadn’t!

My legs felt even worse on Friday and I was really looking forward to my massage that afternoon.

On Saturday evening a friend and I went to Jumeirah Public Beach for our walk. We went a bit later than usual – we started walking at about 6pm and did 6 km again – this time in 58:16. I was hoping we’d beat our time from the previous week but we were 30 seconds slower. We still saw a lovely sunset though…

Total distance covered this week?

2016-02-06 15.43.58

Low point of the week? I was out for lunch on Sunday and Tuesday, and was also out at a friend’s birthday on Thursday evening and had a lot of vodka (but no dinner). I also didn’t make it to yoga this week…

High point of the week? I did five workouts this week, including the 1-hour walk on the beach. Also, four people told me I’d lost weight this week! My mum, Pete, my friend whose birthday it was and the massage therapist (‘You’re getting thinner and thinner!)…

Weight loss? Not a great week for weight loss – but more people have noticed I’ve lost weight. According to my Libra weight-tracking app I won’t hit my goal weight of 65 kg until 2049! Hopefully next week will be better.

2016-02-06 15.43.18

Read more updates here.

3 Comments »

The final few

I went to the gym on Sunday morning. I started with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then moved over to the treadmill. I did Week 4 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Run x 4 min, walk x 3 min (x 2)
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I alternated between 6 km/h and 7.5 km/h. I can run for 4 minutes at a stretch! I struggled, but I did it. I did a few stretches after that and went home.

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete. He said the session would be mostly weights-based as I’d done a lot of cardio over the last few days. I started with a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill:

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

And then I did three sets of each of the following supersets with a rest in between each set:

  • Chest press x 14 (weights machine), bent over row x 14 (with 15-lb weights)
  • Lateral pulldown x 14 (weights machine), shoulder press x 14 (with 10-lb weights)
  • Leg extensions x 14 (weights machine), deadlifts x 14 (10-lb weights)

The weights were bloody heavy and I really struggled – especially with the machine exercises – and it seemed to take most of the session to get through them! I could feel my quads burning each time I did the leg extension exercise and knew I wouldn’t be able to walk the next morning. After that I did two sets of the following:

  • Russian twists x 20 (alternating 10 on each side)
  • Side hip raises x 10 on each side
  • Rolling plank x 20 (alternating 10 on each side)

I did some stretches after that and was done for the day. Pete told me he had to go back home to the Czech Republic on Wednesday so I wouldn’t have another session until the following Wednesday…

I was sore on Tuesday, but not as sore as I thought I’d be. I thought my quads would ache more, but my hamstrings were aching more. And my pecs were pretty sore. I thought I’d feel better after some cardio. I got to the gym and one of the Lebanese guys in the building was there. He’s often in there at the same time as me – we started chatting about work (he recently opened a sushi restaurant but his main business is perfume) and he asked me if I’d be interested in writing the content for his website! Gosh, you never know where work will come from, do you?

After he left, I did a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then did Week 4 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5
  • Run x  3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Run x 5 min, walk x 3 min (x2)
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

And I actually managed to do it! I ran for 5 minutes. Twice! Admittedly, I went a bit slower than usual – I did the 5-min runs at 7.2 km/h and in the walks after the 5-min runs I did the first minute of the 3-min walk at 5.5 km/h to catch my breath before taking the speed back up to 6 km/h. But I think I did well on the whole! I’m still avoiding the Great Butt and Great Abs apps. I’ll start those again next week.

As Tuesday went on I could feel my hamstrings getting more and more sore. When I woke up on Wednesday I was really sore. As Pete was away I decided to go to a Hatha yoga class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. The class was at 10.30am and apart from me there was just one other person there. It was a really good class and I’d go back to that teacher again, but she teaches at 8.30am on Sundays and Tuesdays (really early!) and 6.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays (which clash with my Arabic class at the moment).

I woke up on Thursday and my glutes were really sore after the yoga class on Wednesday! I went to the gym and did a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer. After that I did Week 4 Day 3 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Run x 5 min, walk x 2 min (x2)
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 2 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I managed to do it again! And I was so happy when it was over, but at the same time I was dreading Week 5 Day 1! I should probably mention that after the last walk, just as the ‘cool down’ begins, I press the ‘cool down’ button on the treadmill – which reduces the speed by 0.8 km/h per minute for 5 minutes, so it really is a cool down. Also, I don’t take those last 5 minutes into account when calculating the distance I’ve covered.

I decided to take the day off on Friday. I’d worked out for 12 consecutive days and thought I could do with a break.

On Saturday, a friend and I went to Jumeirah Public Beach for our Saturday evening walk. It had been cold and windy on Friday and on Saturday it was cloudy and grey to begin with. By 4pm the sun was struggling to make an appearance and by the time we got to the beach at 5pm, we were treated to a beautiful sunset.

2016-01-30 17.37.15

And again, we decided we’d improve on our time from the week before and aimed to walk 6 km. We managed to do it in 57 min and 38 s. I noticed that I wasn’t as out of breath as I had been when we first started walking together two weeks ago – and we were getting faster too. It was cold and windy though – and when I got home I wanted some comfort food so I had a big bowl of pasta in tomato sauce for dinner. Oh well.

Total distance covered this week?

2016-01-30 15.11.42

Low point of the week? I was out at a concert on Thursday and had two glasses of red wine, but that was mainly to keep warm! I did have my first big night out in ages on Friday and had a lot of vodka (I managed to avoid the tequila shots which were circulating and didn’t mix any drinks). I also had a huge bowl of pasta for dinner on Saturday with a slice of garlic bread.

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

Weight loss? Down and then back up again! For some reason, my Libra weight-tracking app is now telling me I will hit my goal weight of 65 kg by the end of May this year. I really doubt that though!

2016-01-30 15.11.15

Read more updates here.

2 Comments »

The final few

Well, I had a pretty good week at the gym. I worked out eight times. EIGHT! (I’m including my yoga class as a workout.)

I went to the gym on Sunday morning. I started with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then moved over to the treadmill. I did Week 2 Day 3 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 1.5 min, walk x 2 min (x 6)
  • Cooldown x 5 min

I walked at 6 km/h and ran at 7-8 km/h. I didn’t do the Great Butt or the Great Abs app that morning as I just wasn’t in the mood – and I was also planning to go to a yoga class that evening.

I got to Eco Yoga Sanctuary in time for the Hatha Prana class at 6pm. I’d checked the schedule earlier on and the teacher was the same lady I had on Thursday morning. But… when I got there it was a different teacher – I noticed that at the top of the sign-in sheet the original teacher’s name had been crossed out and replaced with the terrible teacher I’d had two weeks before. I asked what had happened to the teacher and the receptionist said she was ill. I decided that I couldn’t bear to spend one hour in a class I wouldn’t enjoy so I went back home!

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. The weather was nice so we had an outdoor session. My warmup consisted of running around the pool twice, high knees, butt kickers, side-stepping and stretching. I then began the first set of exercises:

  • Jumping jacks x 50
  • Combined squat/kickback x 2
  • Jumping jacks x 40
  • Combined squat/kickback x 4
  • Jumping jacks x 30
  • Combined squat/kickback x 6
  • Jumping jacks x 20
  • Combined squat/kickback x 8
  • Jumping jacks x 10
  • Combined squat/kickback x 10

Ugh – it was awful! There were no official rests in that set but I did have to stop and catch my breath a couple of times. I managed to do that in 4 min 30 s. I used the 8-kg kettlebell for the next set of exercises. These consisted of:

  • Kettlebell swings x 3
  • Combined squat/upright row x 2
  • Overhead tricep extension x 1
  • Repeat 5 more times, no breaks
  • Rest

I did that circuit three times in total. Then came an abs circuit:

  • Standing side bends x 30 s (8-kg kettlebell)
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Standing side bends x 30 s (on the other side)
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Abdominal in/out x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 30 s
  • Rest

After that came an awful set of exercises:

  • Burpees x 10
  • Pushups x 2
  • Burpees x 8
  • Pushups x 4
  • Burpees x 6
  • Pushups x 6
  • Burpees x 4
  • Pushups x 8
  • Burpees x 2
  • Pushups x 10

It was worse than the jumping jacks/squats exercise and took me 4 min 38 s to finish. I then did the same abs circuit I did before.

The next set of exercises used the TRX cable:

  • TRX bicep curls x 10
  • TRX tricep extensions x 10
  • Rest
  • Repeat two more times

I did one more abs circuit – which was the same as the previous sets and then did some stretches. It was a good session though – and Pete said people should be able to tell I’d been working out regularly.

On Tuesday my triceps were so sore! I went back to the gym and did a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then did Week 3 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 1.5 min
  • Walk x 1.5 min
  • Run x 2.5 min
  • Walk x 2.5 min
  • Run x 2.5 min
  • Walk x 2.5 min
  • Run x 1.5 min
  • Walk x 1.5 min
  • Cooldown x 5 min

I walked at 6 km/h and ran at 7.5-8 km/h. After that I did Week 4 Day 3 of the Great Butt and Great Abs apps. I did some stretches after that and went home. That evening Pete texted to say I’d be going back to Egypt again – which could only mean another pyramid workout.

My triceps were still aching on Wednesday morning. I warmed up with 10 minutes on the cross-trainer:

  • Walking x 3 min
  • Run/walk for 30 s x 4 min
  • Running x 3 min

I walked at 5.5 km/h and ran at 7 km/h. After stretching, Pete listed the nine exercises:

  1. Deadlifts x 10 (20-lb weights)
  2. Wood choppers x 10 on each side (10-lb weight)
  3. Abdominal in/out x 10
  4. Upright row x 10 (10-lb weights)
  5. Bench squat/twist x 10 (10-lb weight)
  6. Situps x 10
  7. Combined side raise/bicep curl x 10 (3-kg weights/5-lb weights)
  8. Abdominal toe touches x 10
  9. Glute bridges x 10

Like the last time, I was to do the circuit nine times without any breaks. Each set would start with 200 metres on the cross-trainer and then after every set the exercise at the top of the list would be cut out. So in the first set I did all the exercises, in the second set I started with the wood choppers, in the third set I started with the abdominal in/out, and so on. I only took one water break between the first and second sets, but that was it. For the seventh exercise, I started out with 3-kg weights but after three sets, Pete reduced the weight of the dumbbells and gave me two 5-lb weights). I did some stretches after all that and was done!

On Thursday morning, I went back to Eco Yoga Sanctuary for the Hatha Flow class – there was just one other girl there and the regular teacher. It was a good class – I’m really enjoying going there (depending on the teacher of course!)…

On Friday morning I did a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then did Week 3 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 1.5 min, walk x 1.5 min
  • Run x 2.5 min, walk x 2.5 min (x2)
  • Run x 1.5 min, walk x 1.5 min
  • Cooldown x 5 min

I did a few stretches after that and went home.

On Saturday morning I went back to the gym. I did my usual 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then did Week 3 Day 3 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 2 min, walk x 2 min
  • Run x 3 min, walk x 3 min (x2)
  • Run x 2 min, walk x 2 min
  • Cooldown x 5 min

I pretty much ignored the Great Butt and Great Abs apps this week – I just wasn’t in the mood to do them. But at least I’m being consistent with the running. I did four sessions with the 10k Runner app this week because I didn’t do one last weekend and I wanted to catch up so that I could begin with Week 4 Day 1 on Sunday morning.

On Saturday evening a friend and I went to walk on the track at Jumeirah Public Beach. We got there at around 5.30pm – and once again we were treated to a beautiful sunset. I suggested we try and improve on our time from the week before, and we ended up doing 5.83 km in 57 min 35 s. We also managed a steady pace of 9:50 per km (more or less).

I was shattered when I got home though and could barely keep my eyes open for the rest of the evening.

Low point of the week? I can’t think of anything… I did have a couple of glasses of wine on Thursday at Wine Club but I think I’ve gone off wine a little. I had a few drinks on Friday night too, but I didn’t go overboard. I also had pasta for dinner on Saturday night (which I rarely have), but I was cold and tired and wanted some comfort food.

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

Weight loss? I think it’s easier if I just do this (bear in mind that when I got back from Bali I weighed 81.4 kg – even after all that yoga!):

2016-01-25 03.10.30

So, according to my Libra app, I will reach my goal of 65 kg (which I realise is quite unrealistic) by early January 2017.

Read more updates here.

3 Comments »

The final few

I went to the gym on Sunday morning. I started with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer and then moved over to the treadmill. I did Week 2 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 1.5 min, walk x 2 min (x 4)
  • Run x 1 min, walk x 1 min (x 2)
  • Cooldown x 5 min

Again, I alternated between 6 km/h and 8 km/h. I did Week 4 Day 1 of the Great Butt and Great Abs apps after that, followed by some stretches. I was done!

Pete sent me a text on Monday morning, asking how I was and telling me that today he’d be taking me to Egypt. ‘Pyramids?’ I replied. I assumed it was some kind of pyramid workout he had up his sleeve. And I was right.

I started with a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill, starting with an incline of 1% and gradually increasing it by 1% every minute until I was at 10% in the last minute. I did some stretches after that and then he rattled off a list of nine exercises:

  1. Bulgarian squats x 5 on each side
  2. Combined knee-up and twist x 10 on each side
  3. Tricep dips x 10
  4. Combined squat/upright row x 10 (10-lb weights)
  5. Bicep curls x 10 (10-lb weights)
  6. Situps x 10
  7. Mountain climbers x 10 on each side
  8. Overhead tricep extensions x 10 (10-lb weight)
  9. Split squats x 10

He explained that I was going to do that circuit nine times, without any breaks. If I wanted to stop for water, that would be fine, but there would be no ‘official’ breaks. He said each set would start with 1 minute on the cross-trainer (no resistance, speed 7-8 km/h). I thought he’d gone mad. He then explained that after every set, the top exercise would be removed. So in the first set, I did 1 minute on the cross-trainer and all nine exercises. In the second set, I did 1 minute on the cross-trainer, skipped the Bulgarian squats and started with the combined knee-up and twist. In the third set, I did 1 minute on the cross-trainer, skipped the first two exercises and started with the tricep dips. And so on, until the last set which consisted of 1 minute on the cross-trainer and just split squats. It was exhausting. I was sweating. And I’d only had three short water breaks.

The hardest part for me was going straight from the combined squat/upright row to the bicep curls. By the time I got to the bicep curls I really struggled with the 10-lb weights. In the fifth round, when I started with the bicep curls, I could do them without any trouble! I found the split squats tough too – and by the end of nine rounds of that, I’d done 90 split squats. I knew my legs would be aching the next day.

I did some stretches after that and went home. I was so tired the rest of the day – I just wanted to go to sleep!

My quads and glutes were in so much pain the following morning! I went back to the gym and did Week 2 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app. It was the same as Week 2 Day 1, but I took it a little easier. I walked at 6 km/h and ran at 7-8 km/h, depending on how I was feeling. After that I did Week 4 Day 2 of the Great Butt and Great Abs apps.

I was still aching on Wednesday. Pete said the session would consist of ‘easy’ cardio and abs. It didn’t sound too bad. I began with a 10-minute uphill walk on the treadmill at 5.5 km/h, starting with an incline of 1% and increasing it every minute until I was at 10% in the last minute.

I did the usual stretching routine after that and then went back on the treadmill for 4 minutes, alternating 30 s of walking and 30 s of running.

The first abs circuit consisted of:

After that I did 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, alternating 20 s of sprints with 10 s of an easy glide. Then came another abs circuit:

I then did another 4 minutes on the treadmill, alternating 90 s of walking and 30 s of running. After that I did another abs circuit:

    • Wood chopper x 30 s (10-lb weight, on one side)
    • Rest x 30 s
    • Knee in/out x 30 s
    • Rest x 30 s
    • Wood chopper x 30 s (the other side)
    • Rest x 30 s
    • Kneeling side bends x 30 s

Rest

I had another 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, alternating 30 s of an easy pace and 30 s of an easy sprint. I did some stretches after that and was done for the day!

I went to the Hatha Flow class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary on Thursday morning. Thankfully, there was no sign of the teacher I’d had the week before – it was the same teacher I’d had two weeks earlier. I was the only person in the class again – it was a good class and she’s a really good teacher.

I didn’t work out on Friday. I was tired on Saturday morning and didn’t go to the gym but that evening a friend and I decided to walk on the running track at Jumeira Open Beach. She picked me up at 5pm and we got there at around 5.15. I’d never been there before but it was so nice to be outside in the fresh air and the lovely sea breeze and walking while the sun was setting.

2016-01-16 17.26.21

We walked and talked and managed to do 5.55 km in 58:28. Hopefully this will become a regular thing while the weather is like this, and hopefully we’ll walk more and talk less next time!

Low point of the week? I can’t think of anything… I did have my first drink(s) on Friday night after three weeks of no booze – not because I was consciously abstaining but because I had so much work to do I didn’t really have time to go out and meet anyone…

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

Weight loss? I thought my weight would carry on dropping this week but it stayed more or less steady throughout the week.

2016-01-04 16.38.54

Read more updates here.

2 Comments »

The final few

New year, new me, right? Right?? It certainly felt like the old me when I sat on the sofa on Sunday morning, trying to muster up the motivation to get to the gym. I did manage eventually, I’m pleased to say!

I decided to restart with the 5K Runner app from Fitness22.com. It had been at least a month since I’d done any running and I thought it might be best to start at the beginning again. So, back to Week 1 Day 1:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 1 min, walk x 1.5 min (x 6)
  • Cooldown x 5 min

So, 25 minutes on the treadmill. I alternated between 6 km/h and 8 km/h – it was manageable.

I carried on with Week 3 Day 1 of the Great Butt app:

  • Reverse leg lifts x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 6
  • Rest

I then finished off with Week 3 Day 1 of the Great Abs app:

  • Crunches x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 8 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 7 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 6
  • Rest

I did a few stretches after that and went home.

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. I did a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 3 min (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 30 s (7 km/h)
  • Walk x 30 s (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 30 s (7 km/h)
  • Walk x 30 s (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 30 s (7 km/h)
  • Walk x 30 s (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 30 s (7 km/h)
  • Walk x 30 s (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 3 min (7 km/h)

I did the stretching routine after that. And then I did this circuit:

  • Pushups x 12
  • Combined squat/shoulder press x 12 (10-lb weights)
  • Combined bentover row/fly x 12 (6 of each) (10-lb weights)
  • Combined lunge/twist x 12 (alternating 6 on each side (10-lb weight)
  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Dumbbell single leg raises (alternating) x 30 s
  • Cross-trainer x 4 min (30 s slow, 30 s fast)

Yes, the cross-trainers have been fixed too! It was a tough circuit – and then Pete told me I’d be doing it three more times. Whaaaat? But, he said, I’d reduce the reps for the first four exercises – I’d do 10 reps in set 2, 8 reps in set 3 and 6 reps in set 4. OK, that seemed much more manageable (but it was still tough – especially the squats).

When that was finally over, I did some stretches and that was it!

On Tuesday I was a bit sore, especially my thighs and glutes, and I also had a headache which I’d had the day before. I couldn’t seem to get rid of it. I thought I might be dehydrated and drank as much water as I could all day. I went back to the gym on Tuesday morning and started with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer. I then did Week 1 Day 2 of the 5k Runner app:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 1 min, walk x 1.5 min (x 8)
  • Cooldown x 5 min

I alternated between 6 km/h and 7.5-8 km/h. I then did Week 3 Day 2 of the Great Butt and Great Abs apps. They’re the same exercises over and over again, just increasing the number of reps each week. It’s a bit dull, if I’m honest, but it keeps me going.

I had another session with Pete on Wednesday morning. He told me we’d do the session outside by the pool – and I was fine with that. It wasn’t too hot and it was a little overcast as well. Pete told me his client before me had told him he was in a ‘devilish’ mood that morning. Oh, crap. He lay out the shuttle run cones (he’d forgotten the ladder) and my warmup consisted of stepping, hopping and jumping in and out, imagining the ladder there. I also did two lengths of butt kickers and high knees and some side steps in both directions. I then did some stretches and moved on to the first circuit with an 8-kg kettlebell. Pete told me I’d do the circuit six times without any breaks.

  • Kettlebell swings x 3
  • Combined squat/upright row x 2
  • Overhead tricep extension x 1
  • Lap around the pool x 2 (in one direction and then the other – without the kettlebell)

Ugh – it was awful. Each time I’d come back to the kettlebell, I’d be just about to catch my breath when it was time to go running again. I had a 2-minute rest once that was done.

I had a quick abs circuit after that:

  • Crunches x 10
  • Toe touches x 10
  • Reverse crunches x 10
  • Long arm crunches x 10

While I had a quick rest, Pete set up the TRX cable. I did three sets of the following circuit:

Then came another abs circuit:

  • Side bends x 10 on each side (8-kg kettlebell)
  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Situps x 10
  • Plank x 30 s

Then came another TRX exercise:

  • YTX x 3
  • Shuttle runs (2 forward, 1 back) x 1 length
  • Run back

I did that circuit three times. I couldn’t find a video of YTX so I’ll try and describe it: starting in the position at 0:57 in the video, lift your arms into a Y shape (think ‘YMCA’!) and then back; T is a reverse fly (0:58 in the video); and X is moving your arms so they make an X-shape – first in one direction and then the other (so my right hand is up and my left hand is down, then back to the start position and repeat on the opposite side). The shuttle runs were exactly as they sound – I’d run to cone 2, squat, run back to cone 1, squat, run up to cone 3, run back to cone 2, and so on. I think there were six cones. Once I’d finished that I’d run back to the first cone.

I thought I was finished after that but there was one more abs circuit!

  • Hip rolls x 30 s
  • V ups x 12 (I was supposed to do 20!)
  • Elbow to knee crunches x 10 on each side
  • Long arm situps x 10

It felt like the longest session I’d ever had! I did some stretches after that and went home!

On Thursday morning I went to a Hatha Flow class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. It was a different teacher to the one I had the week before, and I was the only person in the class. As soon as we started I knew it was going to be one of *those* classes, where the teacher was going to be annoying. The warmup consisted of jumping jacks, jumping on the spot, high knees, butt kickers… there was nothing yoga-like about it. The warmup also seemed to go on for almost half an hour. The teacher didn’t know any of the names of the poses – she kept referring to ‘child’s pose’ as ‘rabbit pose’. And when she showed me a pose, I said, ‘Oh, that’s camel pose.’ She said, ‘No, this is camel pose,’ and proceeded to do the cat/cow pose. I resigned myself to an hour of nonsense. When I left, I asked the receptionist whether the other teacher had left, and she said she’d be back the following week. Thank goodness!

I took the day off on Friday – I’d done five workouts in the week so far. I was chatting with a friend of mine and we both decided we were going to train for a 10k run. She’d already downloaded the 10k Runner app from fitness22.com, which I’d told her about before, and I decided to download it as well. The first few weeks were the same as the 5k Runner app so I just switched over to the 10k app. It claims that by running three times a week, you’ll be able to get to 10k in 14 weeks. I reckon it might take me a bit longer though!

I went to the gym on Saturday and started with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer. I then did Week 1 Day 3 of the 10k app, alternating between 6 km/h and 8 km/h:

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 1 min, walk x 1.5 min (x 8)
  • Cooldown x 5 min

I then did some upper body exercises:

  • Bicep curls x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Upright row x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Shoulder press x 10 (3-kg weights)

I finished off with Week 3 Day 3 of the Great Butt and Great Abs apps and some stretches.

Low point of the week? None!

High point of the week? I worked out six times in the week (including the weird yoga class)! I also treated myself to a 90-minute massage on Saturday evening. I’d earned it!

Weight loss? I haven’t put on any weight – and the general trend does seem to be lowering. Let’s hope this lasts!

2016-01-04 16.32.26

Read more updates here.

2 Comments »

The final few

After almost two weeks of doing no exercise whatsoever, I decided I needed to do something. I was back in Dubai after a great trip to Bali (including a yoga retreat) and wanted to get back into a routine.

I tried a new yoga studio on Sunday evening – Eco Yoga Sanctuary at The Village Mall. I’d popped in to see it the day before and decided to give it a go. I signed up for the Vinyasa Flow class with Edita at 7.15pm. I was there a bit early as I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get there during rush hour – not long at all! Although I think the traffic has been light since I got back as a lot of people are away for the holidays. It was a good class – although I found it weird seeing myself in the mirror, especially during the balancing poses. I found it really distracting! There were only two other women there (it’s a women’s only yoga studio) – although the studio is big enough for 10-12 people to fit comfortably, I’d say. I didn’t have to take anything with me – mats, towels, napkins, water are all provided. After the class, I decided to buy a package for AED750. The package was normally for 10 classes but they had a special offer of AED750 for 15 classes – and valid for three months. Perfect!

Funnily enough, the day before I’d mentioned to my cousin that I was going to find a new yoga teacher. I thought I’d ask around and see what people had to say and then decide what to do. Later on that same day, as I was leaving my flat, I opened my front door and there was a business card on the floor in front of me. It was the card for a yoga teacher! What is it they say? When you’re ready for something, it will find you (or something like that). I plan to call him too (eventually).

I did nothing on Monday and Tuesday. I was feeling lazy and starting to panic about how I was going to catch up with all my work! Pete sent me a message on Monday evening – he was back from his holiday and wanted to know if I was ready to start training again. Oh yes, please!

I had a session with him on Wednesday morning, after a four-week break. I was looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I also wondered how low my fitness level had dropped while I’d been away. He told me the session wouldn’t be too difficult, but it wouldn’t be easy. As usual, then!

We were back in the gym and it looks good! New floor, new lights, new coat of paint, the treadmills all have new running belts and some of the padded areas of the machines have been reupholstered (if that’s the right word to use!).

2015-12-30 10.59.25

I started with a 10-minute warmup on my favourite treadmill. The speed remained constant at 5.8 km/h and I started with a 1% incline, increasing it each minute until I was walking at an incline of 10% in the last minute. I had some water and then we did the whole stretching routine.

After that I did the following circuit:

  • Treadmill x 200 m at 7.5 km/h
  • Combined deadlift/shoulder press x 6 (15-lb weights)
  • Treadmill x 200 m at 7.5 km/h
  • Combined deadlift/shoulder press x 8 (10-lb weights)
  • Treadmill x 200 m at 7.5 km/h
  • Combined deadlift/shoulder press x 10 (3-kg weights)

I was ready to go home after that, but Pete had other ideas. I had some water and then did the following circuit on the weights machines:

  • Bench press x 12
  • Lateral pulldown x 12
  • Chest press x 12
  • Rest
  • Repeat

I felt like the weights I was lifting were much heavier than I’m used to and really struggled with that – apart from the lateral pulldowns. I had some more water and went back to the treadmill for 4 minutes – alternating walking and running every 30 seconds.

I had some more water, wondering what further torture Pete had in mind. Thankfully, all that was left were two abs circuits:

I had a short rest and then did the second set of abs exercises:

And I was done, yay! I did some stretches after that and went home, pretty sure I’d be aching the following morning.

For some reason, I was up at the crack of dawn on Thursday morning. I even managed to get a great photo of the sunrise from my balcony.

I wasn’t aching as much as I thought I’d be after my session with Pete the day before. My pecs were a bit sore but that was all. I went to a 10am Hatha Flow class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary and really enjoyed it. There were only three other people in the class and the teacher was good. I think this could become my new weekly yoga class…

I didn’t work out again over the weekend, but I did decide to treat myself to some new workout clothes. I’d heard there was a new shop open at Jumeirah Town Centre so I went to check it out – it’s an Australian brand called Lorna Jane. They had some really cute clothes… but nothing really suitable for me. I don’t like wearing tank/vest tops to the gym, I also don’t like very loose T-shirts that gape at the top when I’m doing pushups or burpees, or gape at the bottom when I’m doing a shoulderstand. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of ‘active wear’ brands assume that women like to exercise half naked. Is that true?? Anyway, I realised I’d need to be a flat-chested stick insect if I was going to fit into anything in the store. I tried on a couple of yoga pants but balked at the price of AED395. That’s over US$100!

I went to Mercato after that, looking at New Balance and Nike. They were both on sale and I managed to pick up very similar training pants for AED69 and AED79 from both places as they were on sale. Bargain!

Low point of the week? I can’t really think of anything, so that must be good…

High point of the week? Finding a new yoga studio, back to training with Pete and being back in a routine of sorts. Also, on Saturday I realised I’d been smoke-free for an entire year!

Weight loss? I’d put on a bit of weight over the last few days in Bali, but it seems to have dropped off since my return. I lost about 1.5 kg this week!

167c630e3df70196b914779992e4d271

Read more updates here.

4 Comments »

The final few

I spent the week at Bali Goddess Retreats in Seminyak (Sunday to Saturday). I’d booked it several months earlier while I was in Jamaica and had really hoped to progress in my yoga practice before going, but that didn’t happen. Instead I’d been getting more and more fed up of yoga and my teacher in Dubai, knowing exactly what each class would entail and I was getting bored. So in the end, this retreat was going to make or break my relationship with yoga.

I was a bit nervous – I wasn’t even sure what kind of yoga we’d be doing or if I’d be able to keep up with the rest of the class. It turned out that there were only four of us on the retreat this week (they usually have between eight and fifteen women each retreat) so we all got a lot of attention in class. We had two teachers for the week – Ailise (pronounced ‘Aleesha’ – it’s Irish but she’s English) and Santi (an Indonesian from Java). They were both excellent teachers and after just two classes at the retreat I realised I was going to have to look for a new teacher (or yoga studio) when I got back to Dubai.

On Day 1, we had our first yoga class at 4pm. The yoga shala was outdoors (it had a roof but no walls) so it was pretty hot. Ailise explained that she was going to take us through one chakra in each class, starting with the root chakra or muladhara. I enjoyed the pace of the class and was able to keep up although ten minutes into the class I had to spray myself with mosquito repellent as I was being eaten alive. I really liked Ailise’s style of teaching – she explained what certain poses did for us physically and emotionally – it was nice to have some explanation rather than moving from one pose to the next without knowing why. The only drawback to the insect repellent was that it made my limbs slippery! Trying to twist one arm over the other, or one leg over the other, or even clasp my hands together was twice as hard as I kept slipping out of the poses!

On Day 2, we had our first class with Santi at 6.30am. The first thing that struck me was how ridiculously toned her body was! Her arms were so defined. It was almost intimidating actually – seeing as I’ve given up on having anything toned! It was a vinyasa flow class and it was tough. There was a lot of moving from one pose straight into the next, which I’m not used to – but it was good to do it. At one point she said, ‘Just kick up your legs and float back’. Erm, floating implies a certain amount of strength (and grace) which I don’t have!

Our afternoon class was at 5pm with Ailise. She covered the second chakra or swadisthana. It was a 90-minute class and we went through many hip opening sequences and several poses involving lunges. I had sprayed my arms and legs and exposed areas with mosquito repellent before the class, but by the time we’d finished I had three mosquito bites on my left hip/butt cheek and one on the right. The little f***ers had bitten me right through my clothes! Damn nyamuk!

On Day 3, we had an hour of yoga at 7.30am with Ailise. She went through the third chakra or manipura (solar plexus). We did some breathing exercises, including kapalabati breathing, to get that fire raging in our bellies. She also didn’t switch on the fan so we were really feeling the heat and were all sweaty by the end of the class.

That afternoon we had a class with Santi at 5pm. We told her we were all quite tired so she went a little easier on us (I still found it difficult). It was a 90-minute class – after a warmup of stretching, we did two rounds of sun salutation and then the rest of the class was active stretching. The second half of the class was so relaxing that I even dozed off during savasana.

On Day 4 we were supposed to have yoga at 7am – and we were all ready – but Ailise thought our class was at 7.30am and so we started late. We ended up having a 45-minute class focusing on the heart chakra or anahata. It was mostly a gentle class but I got really sweaty during garudasana (not to mention slippery from the insect repellent while trying to twist my limbs)!

That afternoon we had a yin yoga class at 5pm. I’d never done yin yoga before but I loved it. It was a very slow, relaxing class. It’s definitely not something you would do if you wanted a workout but for deep stretching it’s amazing as you hold each pose for about 5 minutes, if not longer.

On Day 5, we had yoga at 7.30am again. Ailise took us through a meditation for love and kindness, and we then covered the throat chakra or vishuddha. We did some chanting, fish pose, plough pose and shoulderstand (and other poses).

Our class with Santi was at 2.30pm that afternoon as we were all heading out early that evening. We did a vinyasa flow class and it was bloody hard. By the end of it I looked like I’d taken a shower with my clothes on. I suppose having the class at the height of the afternoon heat didn’t help matters much. Even though her classes were hard, she was an excellent teacher.

On Day 6, our yoga class was at 5.30am as two of the girls were leaving for their SUP class at 7.30am. Ailise covered the third eye chakra or ajna. I can’t even remember what we covered during this class – probably because I was so tired! I ended up going back to bed after breakfast for a couple of hours.

In our evening class, Ailise covered the crown chakra or sahasrara. We began with a meditation and a gentle warmup and were then put in pairs. I was paired with SS, who is only 5 feet tall. When I had to sit on her while she was in child’s pose, I was really worried I’d crush the poor girl! That was our last class with Ailise – she was such a good teacher and I really learned a lot from her.

On Day 7, our last day, we had yoga with Santi at 8am. It was a really good class. She taught us about nauli – an internal cleansing technique which tones your abs. She didn’t think her English was good enough to explain it (her English was fine!), so she showed us this video:

She said that nauli is what gives yogis their six-packs. We then tried to do it ourselves – it’s so hard! I can only do the first part – and not for very long… It’s like creating a vacuum in your stomach. I’ve been doing it every morning since I got back to Dubai but no sign of a six-pack yet (I think that’s a long way away)!

Santi also gave us tips about what we were doing wrong and what to focus on while we were practising yoga. I know that when I’m in chaturanga, my elbows come out like I’m doing a pushup rather than staying close to my sides. She picked up on this and gave me tips on how to correct it. Now why couldn’t my regular yoga teacher point this out to me? I feel like I’ve wasted time with her as my teacher.

Once I’d moved to the Sofitel, on the Saturday, I wanted to carry on doing yoga (or anything) and found out that the gym at the hotel had yoga classes every morning at 7am. I intended to go on Sunday morning but was so tired and I felt like having a lie in. I did make it to the gym though – and spent 30 minutes on the treadmill and then did Week 3 Day 1 of the Great Butt app:

  • Reverse leg lifts x 7 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 7 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 7 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 6
  • Rest

I also did Week 3 Day 1 of the Great Abs app:

  • Crunches x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 8 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 7 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 6
  • Rest

On Monday morning I made to to the yoga class – the yoga teacher was called Mustika. The first half of the class was hatha yoga and the second half was swing yoga!

2015-12-14 06.52.39

Even though I’d tried it once before in Dubai, I still found it difficult. Also, there were three people in the class and only two hammocks so we had to take it in turns which interrupted the flow of the class.

At the end of the class I asked Mustika what kind of yoga they’d be doing on Tuesday. He said they usually did hatha yoga but someone had requested a swing yoga class – I asked him if I could join that class and he said it was fine.

I’m glad I tried it again, because I really managed to do some of the things I couldn’t do the day before! The other girl in the class and I were quite enjoying it – although the friction of the hammock against my skin really hurt at one point (and I later had bruises under my arms!). It was an extra long class – we didn’t finish until 8.30am as nobody was keeping track of time (in true Balinese style)!

And then once my parents and sister and grandmother arrived, I didn’t make it to the gym for the rest of my trip!

Low point of the two weeks? Once my cousin’s wedding started, there was a lot of eating and drinking. Not as much drinking as you might think – I hadn’t had a drink for two weeks before the wedding and was quite proud of myself. I stuck to vodka and soda during the wedding – no wine or champagne – and no hangovers!

High point of the two weeks? It was all amazing. I only felt sore one morning during the yoga retreat – and that was on Day 3. I really learnt a lot while I was there too…

Weight loss? I didn’t weigh myself while I was away, but I’d put on 1 kg by the time I’d come back home, even after all that yoga!

2015-12-08 10.52.05

Read more updates here.

1 Comment »

The final few

I skipped the gym on Sunday. It was my last day of having the place to myself and I wanted to make the most of it!

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. We had our session at the pool again as the gym is still being renovated. They’ve laid the wooden floor down and painted the walls. I hope they upgrade the machines as well though.

My warmup consisted of jogging around the pool five times. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it without stopping every now and then, but I managed it. I think I was going really slowly though! We set up the mat, shuttle markers and kettlebell in the shade.

2015-11-30 11.36.15

After some thorough stretching, I did three sets of the following exercises:

  • Shuttle runs x 30 s
  • Side squats x 10 in each direction
  • Rest x 20 s

In the first set, I touched the markers 9 times. In the second set, Pete told me to go a little faster and touch them 10 times. And in the third set, he wanted me to touch them 11 times, but I went 2 s over the 30 s. The side squats were considered ‘active rest’ (which is just BS as it’s no rest at all) and I had exercise tubes around my knees to make it a bit harder.

I had a longer water break and then did the following circuit with an 8-kg kettlebell:

  • Kettlebell swings x 3
  • Combined squat/upright row x 2
  • Overhead tricep extension x 1
  • Repeat five more times, no breaks
  • Rest x 1 min

I did that three times. After a longer rest, Pete told me the next circuit would work my upper body:

  • Pushups x 12
  • Low row x 12
  • Rest
  • Repeat two more times

I managed to do the pushups without stopping each time, until the last set where I struggled with the last two or three. For the low row, Pete passed the exercise tubes behind his back and I had to hold the handles and pull the ends towards me.

After that, I had another short break followed by an abs circuit. Pete told me we’d do two sets, possibly three, depending on how I was feeling. He told me what the exercises were and I really thought I’d be able to manage three sets.

  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Double crunches x 20
  • Plank x 30 s
  • Situps x 20
  • Rest

After the first set, he pulled me up and told me to walk around during the rest. Why couldn’t I just lie on the mat?? I told him it was actually harder than I thought it would be, but I still thought I could do three sets. In the second set, I did it all but struggled with the plank – and even the double crunches and situps were tough. He said I’d worked very hard in the session so I’d only do two sets.

I did a few stretches after that and went home.

My abs were so sore on Tuesday, and my hamstrings were a bit sore too! I woke up and struggled to get into a sitting position (pathetic, I know). I hadn’t felt this sore in a long time. I decided not to go to the gym – I had errands to run and work to finish off before travelling on Friday.

I had my 20th session with Pete on Wednesday (time flies)! We stopped to look at the gym – the floor had been done and all the machines were back where they used to be. All three treadmills have new running belts, but I didn’t check out the cross-trainers. There was still a sign on the door that said the gym was out of use so we carried on outside as we had planned. At least I wouldn’t have to renew my membership at the Shangri-La when I got back – yay!

I started with the 1-to-5 warmup:

  • 1 squat, 1 pushup, 1 situp
  • 2 squats, 2 pushups, 2 situps
  • 3 squats, 3 pushups, 3 situps
  • 4 squats, 4 pushups, 4 situps
  • 5 squats, 5 pushups, 5 situps
  • 4 squats, 4 pushups, 4 situps
  • 3 squats, 3 pushups, 3 situps
  • 2 squats, 2 pushups, 2 situps
  • 1 squat, 1 pushup, 1 situp

My abs were still sore so those situps were painful. I then did some stretches and we started with a Tabata circuit:

  • High knees x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Ski slides x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Butt kickers x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Ski slides x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat immediately, no rest

Pete added some resistance by putting me in a harness of sorts. Well, not really a harness, more like a band that went around my hips that he held on to and pulled on so I’d have to keep working. It reminded me of the pool at South Fork when I visited Dallas many years ago – on the show it always looked like they were swimming furiously but in fact they were all tethered to the side of the pool and going nowhere. Also, the pool was the size of my bathroom!

After the Tabata circuit, he laid out the shuttlerun discs in a zig-zag route.

2015-12-02 11.19.57

He told me the zig-zag run would start with the disc in the bottom right corner of the photo, then run to and around the disc in the bottom left of the photo, then run to and around the middle disc on the right, then to and around the one on the top left and then to the disc on the top right. Once I got to the last disc, I would do walking lunges in a straight line back to the first disc. And once I got to the first disc, I would run one lap around the pool. So:

  • Zig-zag run
  • Walking lunges
  • Lap around the pool
  • Rest

He said he would time me. In the first set, I did it in 45 seconds. In the second set, I managed to shorten my time by half a second! I told Pete that at least I was consistent. In the third set, I did the circuit in 43:08! And in the fourth set, I did it in 41:something (I can’t remember what it was).

I had some more water and did three sets of the following exercises

  • Back extensions x 12
  • Pushups x 12

And then came an abs circuit. I did two sets of these four exercises:

  • Leg slides (aka ‘the breakdancer‘) x 30 s
  • Abdominal toe touches x 20
  • Plank x 30 s
  • Combined single leg raise/crunch x 20
  • Rest

Oh. My. God. My abs were on fire after two rounds of that! On the plus side, at least I know I have abs somewhere deep inside me, even if I can’t see them!

I did some stretches after that and we were done! It was my last session with Pete before my holiday and I wouldn’t see him again until after Christmas.

Low point of the week? Just two workouts this week… and even then having such sore abs!

High point of the week? Heading off on holiday!

Weight loss? Still going up and down!

2015-04-26 17.57.23

Read more updates here.

1 Comment »