Airhead….

Have you ever done something undeniably dumb but then couldn’t stop giggling about it afterwards? You know you should probably be embarrassed but you just can’t help but see the funny side? I think of it as brain fog; one minute your thoughts are progressing through your brain in a perfectly orderly fashion then the fog descends and they start stumbling around and bumping into things…….

Have you ever done something undeniably dumb but then couldn’t stop giggling about it afterwards? You know you should probably be embarrassed but you just can’t help but see the funny side? I think of it as brain fog; one minute your thoughts are progressing through your brain in a perfectly orderly fashion then the fog descends and they start stumbling around and bumping into things…….

machineI had a moment like that yesterday. I was in the gym with my best friend and we’d just finished using a piece of equipment which works out pecs on one side and biceps on the other (it looks a bit like the machine that Sigourney Weaver climbed into in the film Aliens). Anyhoo, when you’re done with said machine you have to take off the weights and put them back where you found them; feeling in an uncommonly helpful mood I decided to take on that task myself.

Now, in my defense, the rack where the weights are stored is right next to the bench press machine; the significance of this will become clear….

“What are you doing”? My best friend asked

“Putting the weights back”

“They don’t go there”

I should explain that my friend is one of those who believes the old adage ‘a place for everything and everything in it’s place’ whereas I’m more of a ‘there’s a place and it fits’ (I apply the same logic to crosswords).

“I know but I can’t see any other 5kg’s, that’ll do”

I was mildly miffed that he was telling me off for not putting things back in exactly the right place when he could, in fact, be helping. I calmly carried on replacing the weights with a martyred sigh.

“It’s not that” he said, grinning “You’ve just added 7.5kg to the bar on the bench press machine”

“What?” Brain fog still swirling but beginning to dissipate….

“Look!”

He pointed to an extremely bemused Frenchman who was obviously trying to figure out why the airhead English bird was adding weights to the machine he was using rather than putting them back on the rack where they belong.

It took several uncomfortable moments for the brain fog to clear during which time I was getting slightly annoyed and everyone else was looking at me and waiting for the penny to drop………

“Oh merde!” the sound of a penny dropping (in French)

Once I’d stop giggling at my own stupidity, I apologised profusely to the poor man who took it rather well considering. Mind you I couldn’t help but wonder why he didn’t say anything instead of calmly watching me do it…….

Have you ever had a complete airhead moment or has brain fog ever descended at an inappropriate moment? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you

Lisa x

 

DOMS!

Anyone who works out or just strenuously exercises will have experienced this at some point or another; the pain usually creeps up on you 2 or 3 days after the event and, I must be honest, depending on the muscles you’ve overworked, it’s not pleasant.

“Oh God that hurts!!”

“I know and you asked for it”

“But I enjoyed it at the time”

“You should have said stop when I told you to…..”

Yep, that’s me having a conversation with myself when I’m suffering from DOMS, a self-inflicted pain brought on by having too much fun at the gym. If you’re wondering what the hell goes on at my gym and how you can get membership, I should explain that DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. So why the picture? Well 1. I love the boots and 2. it got your attention didn’t it? ;O)

Tired gymAnyone who works out or just strenuously exercises will have experienced this at some point or another; the pain usually creeps up on you 2 or 3 days after the event and, I must be honest, depending on the muscles you’ve overworked, it’s not pleasant. The worst, for me, is DOMS in the stomach muscles (Abs and obliques); that is an absolute shocker and can leave you feeling really uncomfortable and even a little sick for a few days. I suppose that begs two questions:

  1. Why does it happen?
  2. Why put yourself through that?

The first one is tricky because no-one is entirely sure. When we really work our muscles hard they will grow bigger and stronger as a result of the changes that happen at cellular level. Not to get too scientific about it – the cells throw a wobbly, the body panics a bit and sense pain signals up to the brain.

Planks
In case you were wondering about the Pilates planks….

Why put yourself through it? Personally I love the challenge of pushing my muscles to the point where I just can’t do any more. Collapsing face down, sweaty and out of breath on a mat is not pretty for anyone watching but, if its as a result of getting through a complete plank series for the first time, you will feel amazing. It’s the same as going up a weight when you bench press; the fact that you have the power in your body to do what you couldn’t a few weeks ago is a real buzz!

Anyway, if you get DOMS, what can you do about it?

  • First thing and probably the most important is not to stress about it – accept it for what it is, know it will go away and try to keep your muscles in the surrounding areas relaxed.
  • Keep moving and stretch. Sitting in the same position for hours will not make the pain go away, in fact it could make it worse. Try some light yoga exercises to keep everything moving; these are especially useful if your abs are suffering.
  • You can use both heat and ice on the affected area which will give you some relief but neither will take the pain away – only time’s going to do that I’m afraid.
  • You can take pain killers, specifically anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen, but, as these will mask the pain for a while don’t be fooled into thinking that your muscles are ready for another bashing. In fact, if you can, avoid taking pain killers and try natural anti-inflammatories such as leafy greens and ginger (great juice idea right there!)
  • Massage will also help and, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good massage.
Cobra pose
Cobra pose is a great way to stretch out sore abs…

There you have it – DOMS in a nutshell – that just brings a whole other picture to mind :O)

Have a great day everyone x

What is it with Women?

All of this exercise may leave me a sweaty, unkempt mess when I’ve finished but a quick shower and a bit of make-up soon sorts that out and, far from making me feel self-conscious or less feminine, knowing that my body is as healthy and in shape as it can be is nothing short of empowering. So, ladies, stop worrying about how you’ll look when you exercise and concentrate on how you’ ll feel ;O)

I’ve just come across an article in the Guardian which refers to a recent study undertaken in Australia; it concludes that fear of judgement is stopping women from exercising. Apparently they are worried about how they will look when they exercise (red in the face, sweaty and disheveled) but they are also worried about becoming overly muscular and less feminine! I really cannot understand the former as everyone gets hot and sweaty when they exercise be they male or female but the second could be, I suppose, a legitimate concern for some women if they don’t understand the forms of exercise that are available to them.

woman body builder

There is a great difference between building muscle and having good muscle definition. If you start going to the gym and gradually lift heavier and heavier weights and eat more and more to compensate then of course you will bulk up. 2b1c4b9de49c2c40bbc3301946cf06f5 I speak from experience here; when I was in my late twenties and early thirties I started going to a gym that was mainly used by people who were they to body build and to weight train. I have a massive competitive streak and so I started to train with weights in order to compete at the same level as the most experienced women there; after about 9 months I was beating them. At this point I will readily admit that it became something of an obsession and I was in the gym 4 nights a week for 2 hours at a time and, after a few more months, I was pushing myself to be able to compete with the men. As I was so dedicated (or perhaps, looking back, slightly unhinged) the owner of the gym started to train me personally as he wanted me to compete. I was more than happy to go along with that and the weights continued to go up and up and up. At my peak I was dead lifting 125kg, bench pressing 70kg and leg pressing 340kg which was more than some of the men. I was also doing cardio and was burning huge amount of calories which meant that I was eating more than I ever had. However, as I was working out so much and my diet was tailored to my work outs (lots of protein, fresh fruit and veg with controlled carbs) I had very little fat on my body and amazing muscle definition. The down side was that I had really bulked up; I weighed around 11 stone (70kg) and was wearing a size 14. That said, in no way did I feel unfeminine, not that I’ve ever been a frilly, lacy kind of girl; I felt empowered, strong and sexy. I was probably at my most healthy at this point in my life and I loved it. A series of events in my personal life meant that I had to stop going to that particular gym and so I lost my personal trainer. However, I carried on alone and, over time, I learned how to keep the muscle definition but also how not to bulk up too much.

Best-Protein-Foods-1068x566High weights and low repetitions will build muscle and strength but lower weights and higher numbers of repetitions will give you muscle definition and stamina. You will also find that the more muscle you have the more easily you will burn fat, so it’s great to work out if you want to lose weight, but that doesn’t mean that you need to end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Protein is very important so you need to be eating plenty of chicken, eggs, milk, cheese and lean red meat. Accompany these with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and not too much bread, rice or pasta. You need a certain amount of carbs to fuel your body but excessive amounts will pile on the pounds.

Before you go to the gym make sure that you eat something about an hour before; some people swear by weight training on an empty stomach but I just find that I tire more quickly and struggle to finish my workout. I find that a small handful of almonds or a banana give me plenty of energy to do what I need to do.

After I lost my husband I dropped about 2 stone in weight and I’m now a size 10; I’m happy with that and all my clothes are a size 10 so I don’t want to start bulking up again. For this reason I stick with 3 sets of each exercise with 10 repetitions per set but I will do 30 minutes on the treadmill before I start and I will keep the weights heavy enough so that I know my muscles are working but not so heavy that I have to drop down to 4 or 6 reps.

IMG_4186In addition I also do Pilates for an hour twice a week and yoga 2 or 3 times a week when I feel the need to relax or to stretch tired muscles. Both Pilates and Yoga create long lean muscles and shape the body – bum and boobs are lifted, the stomach is flatter and the waist more defined.

All of this exercise may leave me a sweaty, unkempt mess when I’ve finished but a quick shower and a bit of make-up soon sorts that out and, far from making me feel self-conscious or less feminine, knowing that my body is as healthy and in shape as it can be is nothing short of empowering. So, ladies, stop worrying about how you’ll look when you exercise and concentrate on how you’ ll feel ;O)

Pump it Up

This wonderfully inspiring man shows how building strength in our bodies can help to keep our minds and our spirits strong. He has cancer but he is determined to keep it at bay by working out. He trains with and motivates a guy who is 87 years old and, as he says, “It’s never too late to start working out”

 

A big shout out to all the guys who want to trade their family pack for a six pack:

What puts you off going to the gym? Is it the fact that you’ll be sharing it with lycra clad beauties and hunks who obviously don’t need to be there? Do you feel that the gym is only for twenty somethings? Maybe it’s just the fact that it looks like bloody hard work?

Well, yes there are going to be people there who look like they don’t need to be but that’s simply because they have spent so long there in the first place; to create a toned and muscular body takes time and dedication but the results that you can achieve are certainly worth it.  Don’t forget, we don’t just build muscle when we work out, we also strengthen our hearts and bones as well as keeping down our weight and body fat. Exercise that tests us and pushes our bodies is also a great way to relieve stress which means that we will then worry less and sleep better which will, in turn, give us a greater sense of well-being.

gym equipmentSaying that, the first time in a gym can be intimidating, you might feel as though everyone is looking at you as you go round with your instructor who introduces you to machines that, at first glance, look like instruments of torture. There will be a lot of information to take in and you might feel a little bit overwhelmed by it all but, it’s like anything else, you will learn over time. In my experience, because gyms are places where everyone is there because of a common interest, it’s really easy to get help if you need it; people are usually more than willing to give you the benefit of their experience if you ask. Consequently you very quickly get a sense of belonging and will probably make new friends too.

You will also find, if you combine your workouts with a healthy diet, that you’ll see results pretty quickly; you’ll notice that your body changes shape and you’ll begin to develop muscles where you didn’t even know you had places ;O) For this reason alone it’s easy to keep motivated and to keep working towards improving your physical condition. If you chose to work with a personal trainer you’ll find that you’ll see any even more rapid change as they will work out a programme tailored especially for you.

As for gyms just being a place for twenty somethings, check out the guy in this video; he looks a hundred times better at 50 than he did at 40! The hard work that he has obviously put in at the gym has paid off big time – at age 49 he was adopted as the ‘poster boy’ for the MegaGym Group. His dedication to transforming his body is proof that you don’t need to be a teenager to start working out.

Maybe you used to work out when you were younger but just reached a point when you decided that you were too old to continue? Forget that, have a look at someone who started training young and just carried on – a 69 year old Arnold Schwarzenegger show us that you don’t have to stop when you reach a certain age. His body still looks incredible and yours could too if you stop reading this and get yourself off to the gym!

This wonderfully inspiring man shows how building strength in our bodies can help to keep our minds and our spirits strong. He has cancer but he is determined to keep it at bay by working out. He trains with and motivates a guy who is 87 years old and, as he says, “It’s never too late to start working out”

Many in the medical world are right behind the idea of working out to help reduce the risk of illness but also to reduce the symptoms of chronic illness. There is also research to show that regular exercise can reverse the aging process. The author of a recent study, Larry Tucker, claims that there is a definite link between physical activity and aging at a cellular level so if you want to live younger it’s time to get off the couch and get in the gym….