Friday, 26 February 2010

challenge progress

No 1 - kettlebells
Day 12 25 Feb 250 swings

Total: 6,250 swings

Nos 2, 3 and 4
All progressing well

Last night's classes

Braved the rain to head out to chi kung and Shaolin kung fu classes last night. Due to various concerns around work etc, I was very distracted during chi kung class and probably didn't get everything out of it that I could. I certainly didn't have the mental focus required.

Kung fu class was really good though. I'd obviously managed to absorb some of the learning from last week.

We started with standing meditation and moved onto practicing golden bridge. We then moved onto stance training, practicing bow and arrow and false leg stances. From there we worked onto our attacking and defensive footwork, using the gliding step to move forward and backward.

We also looked at palm strikes and worked at incorporating these with our footwork. From solo training we then started working with our partners on footwork and strikes. Then it was back to solo training, working on blocks and then kicks. Once we were confident working these solo, we started practicing with our partners.

It was a fun class, with an emphasis on practicing slowly so that we truly learn the skills.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

challenge progress

No 1 - kettlebell swings
Day 11 24 Feb 500 swings

Total: 6,000 swings or 3/5 completed

Nos 2 ('Lent') and 3 (mobility and chi kung exercises)
Still on track.

No 4 - 100 reps
24 Feb - 100 bodyweight squats

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Official announcements

1 It is snowing.

2 I am thoroughly BORED with snow!!!

Monday's krav maga

It was a toughie on Monday.

As part of the warmup, we were 'benchmarked' on pushups and bodweight squats. I hit 55 for pushups and 140 for the bodyweight squats. I was happy with both of these, despite being accused of 'half-reps' on the squats lol. Middle-aged knees only go so far!

We then did lots of lovely 'bounding' exercises. My body seriously hates these - I'm not really built for lots of jumping - but that's every reason to keep doing them. At least I'm finding that my recovery is better every time I do them, even if I feel like I'm dying during them.

After a short break, we moved onto our krav work. We started with our core strikes, working combinations of palm heels, elbows, knees and kicks. Then the class split, with the ladies moving onto defending front and rear bear hugs, arms trapped and arms free. These are always lots of fun to do. The guys on the other hand were officially defending against multiple attackers, unofficially it sounded more like a rampaging free-for-all. I'm sure there were many bruises afterwards!

Very glad to get home afterwards and hit the shower.

challenge progress

No 1 - 10,000 kettlebell swings

Halfway there now!
Day 9 Mon 22 Feb 250 swings

Day 10 Tue 23 Feb 1,000 swings

Total: 5,500 swings

No 2 - 'Lent'
Still haven’t wavered. Tempted but haven’t given in yet.

No 3 - Mobility and chi kung exercises
I confess that I forgot about the chi kung exercises and didn’t remember until after I’d gone to bed. I shall make up for that tonight. Otherwise I am still keeping up with these.

No 4- 100 reps
I am choosing to count the ‘benchmarking’ exercises which we did in krav class on Monday as my 100 reps!

Mon 22 Feb – 55 pushups, 140 bodyweight squats
Tue 23 Feb - 100 crunches

I will be very glad with the KB swings are done – my hands are becoming well ‘shredded’ now, despite using liberal amounts of chalk!

Monday, 22 February 2010

challenge progress

No 1 - 10,000 kettlebell swings
Day 6 Fri 19 Feb rest day
Day 7 Sat 20 Feb 750 swings
Day 8 Sun 21 Feb 750 swings

Total: 4,250 swings

No 2 - 'Lent'
Haven't wavered!

No 3 - Mobility and chi kung exercises
have maintained these as well.

No 4- 100 reps
Also kept going with these.

Sat 20 Feb - 100 alternate lunges
Sun 21 Feb - 100 crunches

Friday, 19 February 2010

something different

So I'm currently trying something a bit different on a Thursday night.

I saw an advert a while ago for chi kung and Shaolin kung fu classes and I finally got round to going along last week.

I really like the chi kung class. Obviously I'm aware of the many and varied claims made about and for 'chi' energy. As a beginner I have no real opinion of the validity of any of these, but I will keep an open mind. If nothing else it is a very relaxing and therefore healthfull class. I particular like the standing meditations.

My first kung fu class was last night. It is - different. It was certainly challenging to try and set aside prior hardwired skills. As I get older, I'm finding more and more that I am a 'slow' learner, particularly when it comes to acquiring new physical skills. I used to find this desperately frustrating, which actually made me even slower! Now I'm learning to accommodate this slowness and to have patience with myself. I know that I will get there in the end. The only problem I find now is that other people can become quite irritated with me, which is unhelpful.

I did enjoy the class though. The teacher is relatively young, but seems very knowledgeable and approachable.

We worked initially on something called 'golden bridge'. This is the Shaolin version of horse stance. With eyese closed and arms extended in front, it was harder than it looked at first! Then we moved on to footwork, practicing the attacking 'bow and arrow' stance (similar to the 'long walking stance in WTF tae kwon do) and the defensive 'false leg' stance. This false leg stance is probably most like a cat stance, with 95% of the weight on the back leg and the front leg bent at the knee with the toe pointed.

I found it harder to apply these with a partner than practicing solo. This is where previous training kicked in and I found myself doing other things!

We then worked basic palm strikes and practiced integrating these with the footwork. Then we looked at a basic defence to the palm strike. It's a block but not as we know it. Rather than striking the opponent's arm, the block is softer. It moves on a diagonal across your body and 'threads' over your opponent's arm. Again I found myself reverting to previous learning!

From there we moved on to a the first kick - the organ seeking kick. This is basically a front snap kick which is kept fast and low. With our partners we practiced using footwork to evade this kick. Then we added in a 'chopping' defence to the kick. I found this much easier thankfully lol.

Finally we finished off with some chi kung exercises.

I liked the class despite my hard of thinking moments which were several.

challenge progress

No 1
Day 5 Thu 18 Feb 250 swings (had 2.5 hours of classes so no time!)

Total: 2,750 swings

No 2 - 'Lent'
Going really well so far. Really fancied a nice cold bottle of Coke yesterday afternoon but didn't give in. Had a bottle of water instead.

No 3 - Mobility and chi kung exercises
Did the mobility drills before the kettlebells yesterday. Bypassed the chi kung exercises as I had a class later on that evening and they advise not doing too much.

No 4 - 100 reps
100 bodyweight squats interspersed with the kettlebell swings.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Challenge progress

No 1 - 10,000 kettlebell swings

Day 4 Wed 17 Feb 750
Day 3 Tue 16 Feb 750
Day 2 Mon 15 Feb 500
Day 1 Sun 14 Feb 500

Total: 2,500 or 1/4 complete

No 2 - 'Lent'

Going well. Have consumed no rubbish. Some of the guys have cracked already ("I never said anything about crisps / fizzy juice / biscuits ...." etc)

No 3 - Mobility drills and chi kung exercises

Nearly an oopsie last night - so keen to get on with swinging I nearly forgot. Completed though.

No 4 - 100 reps

100 bodyweight squats in between kettlebell sets.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

that went well

So badminton went really well this morning. My colleague eventually rocked up to the Sports centre to tell me that she couldn't play as she wasn't feeling well. The Sports guys reckoned that since I was all changed and ready and the court was all set up that I could play one of them instead!

Great - so instead of a gentle wee trot round the court it was all guns blazing v a really fit sports guy! Is good thing Derek hadn't played for a while lol.

That was a harder work out than I expected. But good fun.

And at least I didn't try shutting my head in the car boot this time.

classes and stuff

Spin was a toughie yesterday, I can feel tightness from my hip down to my IT band. All those kettlebell swings won't help of course. Probably neither will playing badminton in about 30 mins. Och well ....

Giving spin a miss today as I have an appt immediately afterwards and timing wld be tight if I went.

Oh and I somehow manage to clonk myself on the head with the car boot this morning. Retrieved my bags when I got to work and went to shut the boot obviously neglecting to remove myself from the path .... That certainly woke me up! Good thing I didn't really slam the boot.

Challenge progress

No 1 -
10,000 kettlebell swings update:

Day 3 Tuesday 16 February 750 swings
Day 2 Monday 15 February 500 swings
Day 1 Sunday 14 February 500 swings

Running total:
1,750 swings or about 17.5%

No 2 -
Giving up eating and drinking rubbish (eg crisps, chocolate, fizzy juice etc) for Lent:

Good start - have just binned the bottle of Irn Bru I found in my desk to remove temptation. Have bottle of water and fruit.

No 3 -
Do mobility drills and chi kung exercises every day:

Going well so far - do these before the kettlebell swinging.

No 4 -
100 reps as per Rannoch:

Strictly speaking I could count the kettlebell swings as part of this. However, I wanted to make sure I got some variety in my practice, so I've been interspersing lower body drills such as bodyweight squats and lunges in between kettlebell sets.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Challenge 10,000 kettlebell swings in 30 days

Day 1 Sunday 14 February 500 swings
Day 2 Monday 14 February 500 swings

Running total: 1,000 swings or 1/10 completed

I'm back!

I made it to my first krav maga class in a while last night. It was kind of a quiet class so there was no hiding place during the mad 10 min constant movement exercise burst at the start. That was a real toughie, and I'd pretty much slowed to a crawl (as opposed to running) by the end of it. I did it though, and managed not to stop. I was glad when it was over!

mad mental challenges

2 of them to be precise.

A friend from krav class mentioned on Saturday that she's taking part in the 10,000 kettlebell swings in 30 days challenge and suggested I might like to have a go ....

Being totally *daft* that way I thought well if she's doing it, so will I!

So here I am, 1,000 swings into the challenge - 1/10 of the way there. I did 500 swings on Sunday and 2 lots of 250 swings last night.

The 2nd challenge is that a lot of the guys in the dept at work have decided to give up crisps, chocolates, fizzy drinks etc for Lent and I was asked if I wanted to join in. I don't think it's that any of us are especially religious, it just seemed like as good a reason (and time) as any to pack in eating and drinking rubbish. It's also a good protest against the prices in the campus shop lol. So that all starts tomorrow.

last week's stuff

So, I played badminton with my friend from work last Wednesday.

It was good. I really enjoyed it. She's a good player, even though she's been a bit out of practice recently. We both had so much fun we're making a regular Wednesday morning thing of it. Having fun whilst moving about is probably ultimately more important that "exercise".

I went to spin class on Wednesday and Thursday, so that made 4 spin sessions last week.

Then Saturday morning it was circuits class along at the Combat Ready gym. Now *that* was a tough session! We started out with various kettlebell drills, then we did various "bounding" drills - jumping over obstacles - with sets of different exercises at the far end. Then we finished off with pad work. It was a really good session.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Congratulations Sensei

I did it!!

Last night I did the 2 hour aerobathon in aid of the NSPCC. I thought it went really well, and there was a good turnout (14 in my group).

I did the spin / boxercise combo, so it was an hour's spin to start off followed by an hour's boxercise / circuits. I'm really glad I did it that way, as I was nice and warm for the next class! There were a few people who were either new to spinning or boxercise, or even both so the instructors kept it fairly light. Certainly spin was a lot easier going than I'm generally used to. Boxercise was more about padwork and circuits than normal, again that was to accommodate those who hadn't trained this way before.

As ever, I was really glad of my 'fast hands' - they really make up for me being a slow runner lol! Boxercise often uses a combination of shuttle runs and padwork. I'm generally one of the slowest runners, but I find I can really make up for this by being fast on the pads. I ended up 'winning' the last shuttle combo:

10 squats
run out
10 jabs
run back

10 lunges (5 each leg)
run out
10 jabs
run back

10 squats
run out
10 jabs
run back

10 lunges (5 each leg)
run out
10 jabs
run back

Simply by being really fast on the squats and punches lol.

After that little joy, it was onto the circuits. 10 stations - and how I got stuck with the shuttle runs to start is a *mystery* to me .... I largely focused on my own performance on the way round rather than what anyone else was up to, but I did manage to notice that I was one of the few that actually did the burpees. Most people opted for star jumps instead which I guess is fair enough if you're not used to burpees.

Overall, a good night and good money raised for the NSPCC.

Thank you to everybody who sponsored me.

Given that I really haven't trained much over the last 4 to 6 weeks - I've basically just kept myself ticking over - I was very pleased at how well I performed. It made me think that I maybe I have a reasonably decent base level of fitness. Okay, so maybe I'm not fast but at least I have some endurance! It also made me very glad for the hell that the krav maga instructors put us through on a regular basis! It certainly made those circuits a lot easier last night.

Spin today, badminton and spin tomorrow. If I feel ok tonight, maybe krav tonight.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Nae spin today

Spin class was cancelled again this morning - I'm beginning to see a bit of a common theme here! This time however I was a good girl and I went to the gym intead.

20 mins on the cross-trainer. Normally I set the cardio machines on manual and do my own thing. This time I thought I would see what their "fat burning" programme was all about. I have *no* idea what level this machine was operating at, but it was high. The cooldown level was level 6, so that will maybe give you some idea lol. I must have set the heartrate level too high, cos I only hit it twice in the 20 mins (and I was still working hard) and only sustained it once. I don't think I'm that fit, so I must have done it a wee bit wrong.

Did my 100 reps for the day - 100 bodyweight squats, plus 25 pushups and 50 crunches.

Really need my breakfast now.

Snow and spin

Since I'd finally worked most of the kinks out from Sunday's workshops, I was glad to see that spin class was on. Although we were minus one or two regulars, it was still a pretty full class. Derek (he of the long l-o-n-g sprints) was class leader and excelled himself with a *55 second* sprint. He also offered some 10 second sprints. Now, either the man can't count to 10 or those were way longer than 10 seconds lol. Good class and it blew some cobwebs away.

As for the snow, well it stayed away until the predicted time of 2100. I was coming back from my friend's house and it was certainly snowing (and lying) then. Got up this morning and it had largely gone, esp from the roads. It certainly feels a lot warmer today as well.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Nae snow, nae spin

The snow has largely gone which is great, panic over etc. Unfortunately I got over to Sports to find that spin was cancelled due to folks not turning up. I could have gone to the gym I suppose, but I wasn't in a gym mood. Just wanted to spin ....


Snow has stopped - yay! I didn't get lost in any snow drifts when I went over to the other building. And I have spin class at lunchtime, which is good.

Oh and I've also been invited to a work-related online webinar, for which I get an Amazon gift voucher. Since I have a ton of stuff in my Amazon basket, this is no bad thing.

Weather is happening. Again

It's only flamin' well snowing. Again. I don't see that predicted on any of the weather sites (Met Office, BBC Weather, etc). Well, ok they've got it down to snow this afternoon. Why we had to build a campus out by the A1, I will never know! Roads were fine till I hit the A1, then it was fun fun fun all the way.

Speaking of fun, it looks like the person who arrived immediately before me had loads of fun making their car 'fishtail' all the way down our slip road and into our carpark. It wasn't actually bad enough to slide so they were obviously just entertaining themselves ....

I hate driving in snow and I actually debated working from home today. I'm probably now going to fret about going home in the snow all day today :=(

Monday, 1 February 2010


Forearms and adductors are now out in sympathy.

It's safe to say ....

.... that I don't think I'll be doing any kind of training today or tonight.

Much though I would love to, I don't think I will be able to move later. I've just been over to our other building and I could barely get my coat on or off again. I think all I will be doing is going home and lying in a v hot bath.

Today I hurt!

Thanks to Rannoch and his KB1 and KB2 workshops yesterday.

6 hours of mobility work, bodyweight drills and kettlebells later I was totally burst by the time I got home. This wasn't helped by the fact that I hadn't slept brilliantly the night before. I got woken about 0355 and didn't really manage to get back off to a good deep sleep again, so I was pretty shattered by getting up time. I definitely had a good night's sleep last night though!

So, the KB1 workshop started off with the usual mobility work - neck rotations, tilting the head forward and back then tilting the head from side to side. Then it was on to thoracic mobility. I can manage the individual forward and back and side to side movements ok, but for the life of me I cannot put them together to move my upper body in a circle! Same with the hips - I can do the individual side to side and forward and back movements, but again find it difficult to put them together. Still, I wasn't the only one with that issue!

Rannoch likes pushups! Rannoch likes many pushup variations. Rannoch is good at many pushup variations. I am mince at many pushup variations .... KB2 was far heavier on the pushup variations.

I am, on the other hand, good at squats. Bodyweight squats, wall squats, barbell squats - I likes my squats. Except maybe hindu squats - thems sore ones lol.

After we'd worked our bodyweight drills we started working with the kettlebells. I teamed up with a lady bodybuilder from the Shetlands and we really encouraged each other. We started with the swing, two handed and one. We also did the clean, the clean and press, the push press and the Turkish getup.

I am mince at the Turkish getup. I'm strong enough to do it with the kettlebell but I lack the confidence to make it work for me, esp with my dodgy left arm. I gave it a go though.

We finished off with a 6 minute timed set (30 secs swing and 30 secs of movement).

We had an hour's break between the workshops, so I used the time to have some lunch and some chill time. And chill was the word for it - it was pretty cold in the Energy Gym yesterday. Rannoch soon got us warmed up for KB2 with some 'bounding' drills. Didn't take me long to start regretting lunch!

Once we were all out of breath, we revisited the mobility drills. I was no better at moving things in circles lol. Then we moved on to the pushup variations. I am trying to blot my inadequacies out at this point.

Then we broke out the kettlebells for clean and jerks, snatches and double kettlebell drills. I astounded myself by being able to clean and press *two* 16s. I also managed two *20s* but for one rep only. My bodybuilder friend got all the way up to the 24s and I think only stalled on the 28s. She was pretty awesome.

We did timed rounds of snatches, 2 minutes each. My left arm basically said "no thanks" on the second round lol.

One of the other CKT instructors finished us off with a set of killer kettlebell and bodyweight circuits.

I finished myself off by lugging myself, my bag and a 16kg and 12kg kettlebell upstairs in a oner!

Today my lats, my delts, my biceps, my abs, my quads and my *feet* are all wondering what the hell hit them! I couldn't understand why my feet hurt so much this morning - then I remembered. That would be the hindu squats and the hindu squat and hold ....

However, despite all my whining I would recommend Rannoch's workshops to anyone: Not only do I always learn something new and good, I always meet really great people at the workshops.