My weeks at the moment start with an early Monday morning trip to Darley Abbey, Derby – leaving the studio at 6.30am for a 2hr ‘drive’ – generally a slow crawl in traffic. Thankfully the lighter mornings are on their way and I’m now able to enjoy the sunrise for part of my journey rather than driving in the dark most of the way! I’m actually only there for around 75mins so it’s a long morning of sitting around. This week it was a beautiful day as I walked to the venue so I walked a bit slower on the way back to the car! Then it was straight back to work – arriving back in half the time it takes to get to Darley at rush hour!
I mix up my nutrition on a Monday due to the travelling. I find I’m quite hungry after the driving and theory & practical session. So a ‘snack’ before I set of back to work doesn’t really fill the gap for me. Therefore I have Meals 1 & 2 as shakes (normally it would be a shake for breakfast then a snack as Meal 2 before my lunch which is Meal 3). I then have lunch back at the studio around 1.30pm plus 2 snacks over the afternoon and early evening, leaving my main meal at around 10pm. This works for me on a Monday.
I’m still tracking my calorie intake roughly throughout my challenge and find using my chosen app really simple. I am able to easily see my daily calorie and macro intake as well as average daily intake over the week too, which is really useful. Using the app to calculate my RDI (recommended daily intake) of calories in order to maintain weight, it puts me at 2100cals. This is a rough guide only and is quite low for me. I therefore aim more for 2300-2500 as I’m generally working and/or active for around 16hrs a day. As I’m not looking for weight loss (fat loss), if I only consumed 2300cals of food over a day and used up 400cals on a run say, that would put me in a calorie deficit. If I did this daily, I would end up losing weight. By tracking my intake before I have it, after I have had it and across the week, I can easily monitor what’s happening. This alongside a weigh and measures and how I feel generally, means I’ve got plenty of information to keep me on track.
My week so far is averaging 2157 per day. I’m not concerned that it’s slightly below my daily goal as I know I will be having some extra calories over the weekend so it will even itself out through food choices and activity levels. Saturday night we are having home made curry and sharing naan bread and chinese chips plus I had a scone with jam and cream…so we’ll see later in the blog how that all pans out!
The app also enables me to easily see what my macro breakdown is like. I’m not focusing on this too much – it’s literally just a rough guide for me. I haven’t got the time or the inclination to track my macros tightly! As long as I’m getting a good balance of carbs, fats and proteins, it works for me! Where it would help though is if I found that I was struggling with my training, not enough energy, tired etc. I could then track back through my macros and see where I could make some changes. But without this data, I’d just be guessing.
There are many ways of working with your nutrition for different goals, be it weight management, healthy eating, medical reasons, sports performance etc. There’s research that advocates calorie deficit for weightloss; research about eating certain foods for hormonal balance to aid fat loss; blah blah blah… I’m doing what works for me. I know that if I don’t eat enough, I lose weight (muscle & fat) due to my activity levels. I don’t like that look. It’s that simple. What’s important is I’m eating foods that I enjoy including chips, chocolate and cake! I’m not restricting myself and I’m not making changes that are not sustainable long term. That includes the coffee that SO often comes up in conversations! As I said in Week 1, I’m not aiming to stop drinking coffee, not aiming to move to black coffee, not aiming to de-caffinate my life. All I’m aiming to do is to change a habit – a habit where I just have coffee for the sake of it, whether that’s socially, solitary, at work or at home. It’s just a habit and I’d like to break it. No other reason than just ‘because’.
Training this week has been a little sporadic but I’ve managed to do something most days and prioritised getting my bigger compound lifts and key sessions completed on the days where I knew I had time. Leaving the days where training opportunities are a little ‘bity’ to play around more. Training doesn’t need to be full-on 2 hour gym sessions or hours of cardio. As long as you are doing something consistently.
On Saturday morning, I tried out the new strength kit. I used the T-Bar for my back squat which proved much more comfortable compared to using the Olympic bar. It also meant that I got a much better technique and was able to feel my legs and glutes working more, even though I’d dropped the weight slightly as I learnt how it felt. I’ll progress over time to developing the technique using the standard Olympic bar.
I also used a hex bar for the first time with my dead lifts. I’m liking that a lot! So easy to get the technique right and certainly felt muscles working that I’ve not felt before. It’s now Sunday afternoon and I can feel the DOMS starting! But I did complete a knee-pain-free run this morning, including running up Station Road, past the Greenwood Centre. I’m pleased to say I managed to run the whole 6miles. Happy days! Strength work is paying off! Progress = happy days!
My training week has been:
MONDAY – Gym (back, chest, legs, abs) 30mins.
TUESDAY – 5mile run, abs, chest, glutes. 1hr run + 30mins gym.
WEDNESDAY – Gym- legs, back, abs, glutes. 1hr.
THURSDAY – Wattbike (intervals), legs, back, chest. 1hr + 40min gym
+ 45mins gym (split in the day)
FRIDAY – Gym – arms, abs, glutes. 90mins split with work.
SATURDAY – Gym – legs, abs, chest. 90mins
SUNDAY – 6mile Run, abs & stretching/rehab. 1hr + 45mins.
I’ve had a few comments this week on my ‘progress’ and several asking what my goals are. As I said at the start, it’s more than an end goal. I don’t have a specific end goal. But I do want to be stronger than I am today. What I am focusing on is building strength to support my training and daily life and maintaining my weight through strength training and my nutrition. A 70kg female can change body shape and dress size through training and nutrition but stay the same weight. Or they can change body shape through nutrition alone which would see a loss of muscle tone and possible loose skin – especially around the face, neck and chest areas. This is the look I want to avoid at all costs as I approach 45! I don’t want to become a smaller, skinny me. I want to be a stronger, healthier me. So this is probably the right time to introduce my girl crush. My visual motivation…Chloe Madeley (now Haskell). It’s important to highlight here that I don’t ‘want her legs’…I don’t aspire to look like her. But I do aspire to have her strength, her health, her kind of look. She’s strong not skinny. You may have grasped by now that I don’t like to be ‘skinny’!
As I end another week, I can see my daily average for calories is spot on. Around 2300 cals. That’s still borderline for me though as that is intake before allowing for any energy burned through exercise and daily life. After an increased intake on Saturday, I certainly noticed a difference on my run on Sunday morning, as I had much more energy and my pace had increased. Always operating close to a calorie deficit will affect my training for both cardio and strength as well as my overall results. Something I will continue to monitor.
So I’m starting Week 8 with a revamped strength plan from Mark and some new focus! And at a consistent 50kg. Onwards!