Archive for February, 2010

1st Year Anniversary

February 28, 2010 3 comments

Its a year ago this week that I decided to get off my backside, get myself back in shape, and fix the damage done by 3 years of living lazily and, frankly, badly. What really kicked me into gear was getting measured for a dinner suit and discovering that my waistline had expanded to 40″. I was horrified.

So how have I done?

Well I started out weighing 101kg and as I said above a waist of 40″ (I’m 6ft tall). I struggled to run as it caused me pain in my knees and a circuit training session would leave me crawling on the floor. And I drove everywhere. I had no energy and slept poorly.

And now… I weigh 80kg, have a waist of 30″, have no problems with my knees and can run for as long as I have the patience, and circuit training is a great start to my week that leaves me feeling tired but energised. I’ve sold my car and now commute to work and do my weekly shop on a pushbike. I’m nearly always bouncy and perky and usually sleep soundly and deeply.

Getting fit has quite literally changed my life in so many positive ways that its a journey, that although tough at times, I would recommend wholeheartedly to anyone and everyone.

As an aside – I picked up a new commuter bike today, a Trek T7200. Expect a kit review soon but first impressions are good – its very comfortable.

Categories: fitness

Kit Review: Polar RS100 Heart Rate Monitor

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

I bought myself a Polar RS100 heart rate monitor at the end of January and have been wearing it for most sessions in the weeks since. I mainly bought it out of curiosity: I was intrigued at what my resting heart rate would be, how my heart rate changed during different kinds of exercise and for a rough approximation of how many calories I was burning.

The gadget itself was fairly cheap (I paid about £50 for it from Amazon) and the wrist unit feels pretty cheap! Its got quite an unpleasant plastic-y feel about it and the wrist strap doesn’t give me much confidence that it will last long.

On the other hand it does all that you’d expect of it with a minimum of fuss. Its fairly easy to set up, has a nice big button on the front which you can stab at when moving to mark off laps and by holding one of the side buttons down you can lock the unit so that you can’t accidentally stop and start it or otherwise interfere with it by mistake. It will also beep audible cues at you to help you keep within target heart rates, out the box it will also beep about everything else it does too but thankfully you can turn that off.

Calorie calculation seems reasonable – it was roughly in line with my own and my trainers estimates which I know are fairly accurate as I’ve planned my weight management around them successfully for some time now.

One thing I’ve never got to grips with is the “file” functionality. I gather its supposed to store 1 summary of your training (as well as totals since you last reset it) but after my first couple of outings I don’t seem able to find this summary. User error maybe?

The monitor comes with an excellent quality strap which you fix round your chest – as opposed to the old style plastic straps this one is all fabric and is very comfortable. A handy bonus is that its also compatible with the cardiovascular equipment in my gym at least. It seems to stay in place even when you’re dripping in sweat and trust me I’ve done my best to try this out!

All in all if you want something basic and cheap this monitor is a good buy, just don’t expect the world.

Full disclosure: This heart rate monitor was purchased by the reviewer using his own hard earned cash and I have no affiliation with Polar or any of its competitors (do they even have any?).

Categories: kit review

The Aftermath of Food Poisoning

February 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Turns out that my bout of food poisoning took more out of me than I’d thought. I started training again with circuits last Tuesday and made it through that ok but by the end my energy levels had really bombed.

Same for the rest of the week – got through my sessions and even managed to improve on my arm training but never felt right and after legs on Thursday was shaking as I was so tired (and not in that nice “I’ve given it my all” way). There’s been a permanent drained feeling and no sense that I had any power.

So yesterday I decided to try a new tactic – cram in the calories. Made sure I got at least 10% more than my maintenance requirements, and same today. I think its already making a difference – shoulders this evening went a lot better and I actually felt like I had some energy.

I’m going to keep this up for a few days, then drop to my maintenance level, then drop back to my 15% deficit level – still got some body fat to shift 🙂

I’ll end this post with a tip based on my experiences – food poisoning will take more out of you than you may realise, give yourself time to recover properly and make sure you eat plenty as soon as you can.

Categories: fitness


February 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Been laid out with food poisoning for the last couple of days. Not a recommended method of weight loss. Just about over it now and hoping to resume training and fitness blogging on Saturday.

Is it wrong that the first thing to enter my mind as the unpleasantness began was “Damn, I’m going to miss training tonight”.

Categories: fitness

The Benefits of Early Morning Gym

February 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Since Christmas I’ve been working on adjusting my body clock so that I can get up early and head down the gym before work.

Originally I did this to avoid the normal January newbie gym crush but I’ve found all sorts of benefits to working out early in the morning. (For me early in the morning is out of bed at 6 and training by 6.45).

Compared to an evening, even a sunny mid summers evening, the gym is empty. Most people simply lack the commitment, will, and desire to get up a couple of hours earlier and work out before they head to their jobs. But you’re committed to your goals right? Right?

The lack of people in the gym is huge. You can get through your routine quickly and without waiting for any kit. Taking this morning as an example I was able to surround my bench with all the dumbbells I needed for my shoulder workout and simply crack through my supersets. Perfect.

If you search around some people say that you burn more fat in the morning too – maybe this is true but I’m sure any benefit here is dwarfed by that of being able to maintain high intensity through your workout.

Another benefit, for me at least, is that I sleep better. Whenever I train I end up buzzing for 4 or 5 hours afterwards, particularly if I’ve done something like interval training or circuit training. Getting my training in early guarantees that I’ll have a great bouncy morning and when the evening comes round I’m starting to slip into shattered mode and usually fall asleep instantly and deeply.

A downside of exercising shortly after waking up is that your body will be cold and stiffer than later in the day. So make sure you warm up well and stretch properly, add a few minutes of walking and jogging on before you start to push it. Or try what I do – cycle to your gym.

If you’re not used to this kind of routine (and I wasn’t) then the key to pulling it off is preparation. When you get in in the evening make sure your gym bag is cleaned out and prepped for the next day. Make sure that all the bits and pieces you’ll need for breakfast are ready and any food prep you can do the night before get done. Then sit down, not until!

Categories: fitness

Tech is Dead, Long Live Tech

February 2, 2010 Leave a comment

There’s a whole bunch of stuff I’ve wanted to write about in relation to the development of the Activate Your Glutes site, particularly since releasing the code as open source, but its all rather boring to the 99% of the population who don’t write code for fun or for a living.

To that end I’ve set up a new blog imaginatively titled Activate Your Glutes Tech where I’ll post anything of that nature.

Categories: tech

Site Update

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Last night I updated the Activate Your Glutes website. As a user there are two things you might notice:

  • A bug in the display of data in the body measurement grid has been fixed.
  • You can now add your own things to measure. Previously you couldn’t measure your neck – but now if you want to you can add it yourself. To do so go your account page and click the “Manage Measurement Types” link at the right.

If you’re following the project on CodePlex then you might have noticed that under the hood there has been a lot of change primarily to beef up the quality of the codebase and make it easier to add new features going forward. Which hopefully means it won’t be long till I’m posting the next Site Update blog entry!

Categories: site, tech