Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

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

Read more updates here.

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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

Read more updates here.

2 Comments »

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

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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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