Category: Fitness

The Drugs Don’t Work

OK, I’m not talking hard core drugs here.

So, in my previous post, I vented about my migraines. Well, as part of that treatment, I was prescribed beta blockers (which did work to some extent, until I suffered the migraine mentioned in the previous post). After that, I was prescribed a higher dosage, which is when I started to join the dots on a few things.

Those who have read back further will know that I was doing the Insanity workout program. Prior to that, I had been doing the 30 Day Shred on a daily basis, with some 3 mile jogs mixed in.

I should have been losing weight. As you can probably imagine from this post, that wasn’t happening.

I was working out harder than I ever have in my life, and I wasn’t only gaining weight – I was gaining inches as well. I know my own body – and this wasn’t normal.

So, I checked my heart rate monitor (I’m now using a Garmin Connect, after my Mircosoft Band died its final death).

My heart rate was not getting into the fat burning zone at all. In fact, my heart rate stats whilst exercising looked like those of an incredibly fit person. Except I’m not. The beta blockers capped out my heart rate. While working out really hard, the highest I could get my heart rate was 115bpm. It wasn’t through lack of effort on my part.

God knows how much I would have ballooned if I hadn’t been exercising really hard. In the 3 months I was working out, but on the beta blockers, I gained half a stone in weight and an inch around my belly.

In addition, I could feel the beginnings of what I know from prior experience to be depression.

So, I am now off the beta blockers (following doctors advice, before anyone worries about me just going cold turkey!), and I’ll be starting the Insanity workout from scratch next week. The reason I decided to restart it after a break was to get the beta blocker heart rate cappage out of my system, and to also be able to get more scientifically fair results. I like having pretty graphs of data to look at with these things. Being able to measure my progress when I’m not being hindered by another factor is also more rewarding.

So, there you have it. Although I did initially read the side effects of the beta blockers, I missed the heart rate zone issue. I suspect that a result of that is a lower metabolism, so following the meal plan for Insanity was a double whammy on my poor belly.

Always read the label, folks.

Still Alive!

Howdy, readers!

It’s been a while. My apologies!

It’s not that I’ve disappeared – or even that I haven’t had stuff going on. I tend to write about stuff that interests me, and in recent months, the main thing that has held my interest is politics – both UK and world wide. Given how contentious these subjects can be, particularly online, I just didn’t feel compelled to write about it here. There are many political blogs out there, and I have no intention of this becoming another one of those! Love it or hate it, I’m pretty sure that these are the most interesting times politically that I will see in my life time.

That said, I have been up to rather boring adult shenanigans – I’ve started decorating my new house, and I’ve decided to start my adventure into being fit once again.

I’ve started doing the Insanity workout. I’m on day 2, and I hurt. I suspect that this is going to prompt a series of blog posts which will generally query why I thought putting myself through this kind of torture is necessary. After one bout of a fitness test and the plyometric cardio circuit, I think I hurt in my everything. With any luck, when I get to the end of the 60 days, I may actually be brave enough to post before and after pictures. With further luck, the after picture will actually look better than the before picture.


So, I didn’t meet last weeks goal of going running 3 times and doing my exercise DVDs twice. I did get part way there though, so its not a complete wipe out. I ran just over 3 miles twice, and I did one DVD.

Go me, I guess? The next goal is to build up on that next week. I’m not going to beat myself up on this week too much, since I feel that I got to over half way to the original goal. To celebrate, I am making cake.

Ok, that’s a lie. I’m not going to make cake to celebrate failing to meet my goal for last week. I’m making cake mainly because I want to make cake, and I don’t have any real reason to be making it beyond ‘I like cake’.

Adulting is hard because cake is delicious.

Naked! :O

Ok, so not exactly naked.

The day arrived where my Microsoft Band broke, and I have had to remove it from my wrist and send it back for a repair/replacement.

I now have to endure the next 8ish working days without being able to track my sleep, daily calorie burn, exercise, getting reminded to put on sunscreen, and also getting reminded to get up and moving.

I haven’t had the band all that long, but it’s almost scary how much I am missing it already. I am already sad that I won’t be able to see my pretty graphs.

I feel naked. Though as first world problems go, it’s not the end of the world. I’m betting when I get my band back again, it’ll take me a while to once again get used to it.


Exercise vs Sleep

I recently purchased a Microsoft Band, as a way to track my new found lunch time activity of running. And to be part of the techno ‘in’ crowd at the office.

I love anything that allows me to chart progression and see pretty graphs.

Anyway, I’m quite enjoying it so far – it tracks all sorts of interesting things, prompts me to get up and get moving if I’m stationary for too long, the quality of my sleep, etc.

Because I have a Windows phone, I can pretty much get the most out the band also. I have it all hooked up to the Microsoft Health app, which gives me access to more detailed statistics about myself if I go through the Dashboard online.

I just wanted to share my main observation of the day from this (because no doubt I’ll have other observations to share when I’ve been wearing it longer). Here’s a screen shot of my average calorie burn since I’ve been wearing my band.


My take on this – I burn more calories sleeping than I do actually exercising. Why am I torturing myself, getting all sweaty and achy when I could be burning more just sleeping?

I am possibly kind of sneeped about all this. I could take this to mark the beginning of a new golden age of lots of sleep for me, though. That is what the data is telling me to do, after all.

Think I’ll be sleeping on this while I figure out what this means.

I miss the playground.

One thing that I’ve been thinking about since my post Cardio – Playground Style is that being a child on the playground was fun.

Loads of running around, playing games such as Tag, Kiss Chase, Stuck in the Mud, British Bulldog, etc. Not only was it active, but it also appealed to the part of me that just likes to run.

Now, one of the reasons I don’t bother going to a gym is that it is a very boring experience for me. I cannot justify paying money to do an activity that bores me – even if it is good for me. Many of the people who are signed up to more competitive activities are so far ahead of me in skill level, that I’d affect their workout by wanting to play with them.

But you know what? If a gymnasium was to schedule adult playground sessions, I’d definitely go. Give me the opportunity to play the old playground style games with other adults, and I’d be there in a flash.

I’ll probably just have to send out a hopeful invite to my facebook friends to see if they’d be up for coming out to play. I suspect that for the most part, we’re all too busy being adults and stuff though. 😦

Cardio, Playground Style.

Part of this last weekend saw me re-living my playground days as I took to the back garden with the bloke and his children.

First off, we played Masked Stranger, which is a game that my own father used to play with my older sister and I (and our friends). The underlying purpose of this game is that it has a lesson (namely, Stranger Danger!). Someone takes the role of the stranger, and hides in the garden. While the stranger is hiding, the ‘children’ hide at ‘home’ (in this case, in a natural den made from the drooping boughs of a large tree in the garden). After an amount of time, the children loudly* come out to play. After this point, the stranger will then attempt to capture the children. Sneakiness is encouraged here. The children can escape by running back home.

As you can imagine, this all involves lots of running and screaming.

We all took it in turns being the stranger. The kidlets both got a bit too excited at the prospect of being the stranger, and had a tendency to jump out when the ‘children’ were ‘playing’ half way across the garden. I suspect that the gleeful trepidation of imminent jumping out on people is hard to bear when you’re younger! I also found out the hard way that the bloke has a real turn of speed on him when he decides to sprint. I think I took the sneakiness crown by sneaking behind them into ‘home’ after they had run out to play, and surprising them all from behind.

After we got bored of this, we ended up playing the game that I’m calling ‘Virus’ in my head, mainly because I can’t remember what I used to call it when I was little. It’s like ‘tag’ on steroids. One person starts off as ‘it’. That person then needs to infect the other players by tagging them. When a player is tagged, that person is also also infected, and must help to tag the other players until everyone has been tagged. I guess I call it Virus in my head due to how you spread the epidemic of ‘itness’ to all players. The last person standing becomes the new ‘it’ on the next game.

Playing Virus gave me first hand knowledge of how exhausting it can be attempting to evade a fully grown man and two rather speedy girls. The former was into it enough that I had a genuine concern about being rugby tackled. This morning, my legs hurt. Lots. But yesterday was hands down the most fun cardio workout I’ve had in a while – and I kept it up for a few hours, to! I’d recommend it.

* Traditionally, my sister and I used to come skipping out singing the following (to the tune of Boys and Girls Come Out To Play):

Boys and girls come out to play! The stranger’s not around today!

Of course, you can make whatever noise you want. But I have passed this tradition on to the Blokes kidlets. I’m sure my Dad will approve! He was an awesome Stranger. 😀