Archive for January, 2010

How Not To Sell in the Gym

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

I don’t want this blog to become a series of angry rants however last night I witnessed a prime example of how not to sell something in the gym.

Every 6 months or so my gym has a local chiropractor come in. Him and his assistants set up a stand in the soft mat area along with some crazy “alignment checking” tool (which I suspect is more about grabbing attention than anything practical). Which is all fine and dandy. Except when they start interrupting peoples work outs to offer a posture check.

Mid ab session I was approached by a sales lady who, while polite, stopped me in the middle of my workout and then wouldn’t go away. She’d lost any potential sale the minute she interrupted me and killed it 30 seconds later when she was still talking.

Seriously, if you’re selling something in the gym don’t interrupt peoples workouts. Its just plain rude.

Categories: fitness

Quick Berry Boost

January 29, 2010 Leave a comment

A favourite quick snack / drink of mine is to throw a banana, a couple of handfuls of mixed berries, and about 300ml of soy milk into a blender and blend into a delicious smoothie. If I’m short on protein for the day then I also add a couple of scoops of protein powder.

Frozen berries are fine as is dairy milk, though I find if I’m putting it in a flask then soy milk travels better.

Give it a try – it’s very tasty!

Categories: food

Kit Review: Endura Air Defence Jacket

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

I don’t own a car and make all my regular daily journeys (work, shops, gym) on a pushbike so its important to me to have a reliable jacket that can cope with the full range of UK weather (rain, drizzle, gloom, wind, more rain, spot of sunshine – blink and you’ll miss it, and then more rain now with added gusting wind).

Much to my delight I was given an Endura Air Defence Jacket for Christmas. Lucky me!

I’ve been wearing it every day for just short of a month now through one of the coldest winters in the UK for years and, frankly, this jacket has blown me away. I’ve mostly been wearing it with a t-shirt or gym top as a base layer with just the jacket on top and even in temperatures as low as -4 centigrade I’ve been comfortable and warm while moving. Equally impressive as things have warmed up, cue sweat, I’ve found the jacket to be breathable and I’ve stayed dry and comfortable.

The secret to the jackets success seems to be its soft outer shell. This feels almost rubberised to the touch and keeps out all wind while still letting your body breathe. I’ve been caught out in a few showers and the jacket has kept me completely dry. That said if I thought it was going to rain heavily I’d still wear a more heavy duty waterproof.

Within the shell is a thin fleece layer for insulation. There are side vents for ventilation which you can unzip if you find yourself getting too hot – though its still winter here so these are still unused on my jacket.

Sleeves are long enough to cover you fully even if you have to stretch on your bike and there is a rear pocket and a mesh type pocket and also a small pocket for your phone or keys.

Without a doubt this is the best jacket I’ve worn for Winter cycling and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Woooo! My first kit review! I’m not sure how regular these reviews will be but I’ve got a Polar RS100 heart rate monitor on the way and am just starting out with a new pair of trainers for my cardio so at least two more!

Full disclosure: This jacket was purchased for me as a gift by my family, neither myself, or any of my family and friends, have got connections with Endura, and no animals were harmed during the writing of this review.

Categories: kit review

Open Source Site Release

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

A few posts ago I spoke of my intention to release the source code for the Activate Your Glutes site under an open source license.

This morning I did so and if you’re curious you can find it on CodePlex.

In the end I plumped for the MIT License which is a very permissive license – you can do nearly anything with the source as long as you retain the copyright notice.

Categories: site, tech

Taking Stock

January 22, 2010 2 comments

Another year older today. 34. But compared to how I felt a year ago I feel 10 years younger.

Last January I was drinking too much beer, eating too much curry and take-away, and generally wallowing on my ample backside. As a consequence I weighed 101 kg (220 lbs), to give that perspective I’m 6ft tall (1.82m).

Now I weigh 81.8 kg (180 lbs), look athletic, and carry much more lean mass. I can run again, work out with weights at a high intensity, monster press ups (I could barely do one a year ago), have more flexibility, better balance, and best of all I have far more energy and confidence. I even feel smarter! And I’m immeasurably happier.

So its been a hell of a year for me. Its hurt at times and has been hard work both mentally and physically but I’ve loved it and can’t wait to see the progress I’ve made when I reach 35.

Categories: fitness

High Intensity Interval Training

January 20, 2010 2 comments

One of my favourite least favourite things, pain and pleasure in equal amounts.

Basic idea is that you alternate between working at a high intensity and at a medium intensity for between 10 and 20 minutes taking care to warm up and cool down either side. So for example you might jog for a minute, then sprint for 30 seconds, jog for a minute, sprint for 30 seconds, …

There are all sorts of theories about the best ratio of high intensity to medium intensity but I just like to mix it up a bit: usually 2:1 or 1:1.

You’ll know if you’re doing it right from the level of fear you feel when you step on that treadmill. If your knees aren’t knocking you’re not doing it right!

Its challenging, it hurts, but when you’re done its a hell of a rush. And if you’re interested in fat rush its meant to be the most effective way of doing your cardio.

Give it a go!

Categories: fitness

A Quick Pat on the Back

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m feeling rather pleased with myself – despite the dreadful weather and transport conditions over the last week or so in the UK I still managed to make it to all my scheduled gym sessions (and to work!).

It involved some lengthy walks, early starts and a couple of cabs but I stuck to my schedule and can now bask in the smug warm glow of self satisfaction.

In other good news every workout since my Feeble post on the 5th has been a cracker. I’ve taken advantage of the enforced early starts to shift my body clock so these become regular – it means I can get my weekday sessions in either before or after work and can dodge the January gym crowds.

Couple of rest days now and then start again. Its all good 🙂

Categories: fitness