Goals for Spring 2015

Goals for Spring

After taking the month of March to seriously reflect on my goals, I have made time to move things forward and define what I want to do over the next three months.

fitness

nutrition

Fitness and Nutrition

1) Have a weekly cooking session with girlfriend and do a low impact fitness class together.

2) Get race fit for the Spartan Sprint and Super races in July.

3) Build up to doing 10 miles of cycling per week.

4) Find a new gym to fit round work

5) Run two 5k races and a 10k race

6) Find a duathlon race for Autumn and train for it

7) Reduce sugar, alcohol and bread consumption

creativity

Creative

8) Make more cards over the summer – focus on developing skills.

9) Develop craft activity ideas for visits by niece and nephew

10) Continue to write a short book – aim to complete first draft 10,000 words

11) Begin research, set plan and set a location/venue for an event

relationships

Relationships

12) Be more assertive by reading self-help books, studying people, writing a rules list and saying no more often

13) Always make time for my loved ones

14) Learn basic Portuguese – (this includes: Introductions, Basic discussion, ordering food and ordering train tickets) 

money

Money

15) Develop knowledge to attain promotion by the end of 2015.

16) Start a side business to make additional income.

self

Self-Improvement

17) Watch less than two hours of TV a week.

18) Limit Internet usage to 1 hour per night

19) Maintain positive and negative action diary

20) Review goals in month of June

Thoughts for the next three months:

I have set a lot of goals over for the Spring months.  A part of me knows I should be cutting back and focusing on particular areas.  But the problem is I want to do too much.

In my June review – if I find that I struggling I will seriously cut down what I am doing.

I am quietly confident about some as they are a small daily/weekly routine and others are quick task to complete.

Some are quiet ambitious – these are my biggest risk of failure.

So here goes, time to get to work.


GOALSETTING

Manifesto of Perfection Goal Setting Month

They say to follow your passion…

passion

But when I was 3, I wanted to be a cat.

When I turned 5, I was more realistic in my career aspirations and wanted to be a fireman.

When I was 11, I wanted to save all the animals.

When I was 12, I wanted to save the world.

When I was 13, I just wanted to save myself. Continue reading

The Failure: Moving out and on

This is the continuation of a long story.

Read part 1 – The Failure: the first relationship here

Read part 2 – The Failure: Downstairs is not for thinking here

Caught up?  Then keep reading


Moving to Leicester was not easy – I was sad and lonely.  I spent half the week focused purely on my job to distract from my personal life.

The rest of the time I was sad and lonely.

I was like Jekyll and Hyde – a young enthusiastic graduate during the day and a sad lonely man who played video games at night.

I knew the latter was making me a worse person.

Continue reading

Starting an Emergency Fund

moneyLast year I was struggling financially.

It is not that I am a spender, it just seemed that suddenly I had a load of costs that came out of nowhere –

I dropped my phone down the toilet and had to buy a cheap replacement, a friend was getting married at an expensive hotel, I had just bought a car and I was still in the early days of a relationship so had spent a lot of money going out on dates.

If one more tragic emergency occurred I would be in dept and have to rely on savings – which I did not want to do as that is for my future.

Therefore I needed to start planning for any future potential emergency’s.

So every month I got paid I put away 1/20 of my wage into an account I specially created.

On my financial spreadsheet (yes I keep track) I called it ‘The Emergency Fund’

The purpose of this fund was to cover any accidents – such as electrical goods breaking and needing replacement/repair, payments for car repairs or house maintenance costs.

And if I was lucky enough to not need to use it, it would be handy to cover my car insurance which is very expensive as I have only been driving a year.


 

I have been doing this for nearly a year and I feel relieved because I know if a problem does happen money in the current account won’t be wiped out and I won’t be desperate for my next pay day.

What are the benefits to an emergency fund?

  • You don’t need to waste money on any ‘insurance’ offered by electrical purchases you have money to cover costa if anything happens.
  • If you have a car accident which is your fault then the money from the emergency fund could be used to pay any damages instead of insurance, which would effect any ‘no claim’ bonus.
  • The emergency fund soon adds up, part of this sum of money could be used to treat yourself to something (as long as the fund does not get depleted!)
  • In the event of emergency, there is no need to work additional hours or cut back on regular living until next pay day
  • This teaches the habit of saving and thinking ahead, instead of waiting to react.  If you are young it will teach you how to be sensible with your money and get you used to prioritising how you handle your money.  Yeah you want that iPhone now, but when you stop living at home you will have other things to worry about.
  • It can be as much or as little as you want dependent on your wage and lifestyle.  Base it on what you can afford – but make it realistic.  I think 1/20 of the wage is the minimum to pay in, but this may need to be more depending whether you need the money to spend on the best or if your happy to settle for average.
  • This gives you a sense of responsibility – no more asking for handouts from friends and family to cover your problems.

So I advise everyone to start any emergency fund – even if you are in dept I feel you should channel a little bit of money to one side, otherwise you may have some more debt to contend with.

Back to the gym

Out with the old…

  1. I first noticed signs of a foot injury in August.
  2. I started my new job in January.

These were my two main reasons I decided to quit my old gym two months ago.

Before that my gym workouts had been quite sporadic.

Because of being lazy and the time off I have lost a lot of strength, cardio fitness and my body fat percentage has gone back up.

With getting back into the race calendar, I decided I need to find a new gym.

Where to go?

I was looking at a gym down the road from my work.  It was 24 hours, I could walk to it in two minutes and it was relatively good value.  In that sense it was perfect.

But when I went to sign up, there was no staff on – there was a number to call in an emergency and members got in by putting in a key code and going through the type of secure door you normally see in parliamentary buildings.

I looked through the glass and saw a pathetic, but packed free weights section.  That sealed it for me,

I do believe that it is the quality of the workout and not the quality of the equipment that make a good gym session.

However I hate overcrowding – where you have to drop what you are doing to get on the popular equipment – if you leave it 30 seconds someone else has got on it!

The Second Choice

This was a council run gym, which with a slight detour is on the drive home from work.  It is a bit expensive and it doesn’t quite have the space for functional fitness.

So I left it two weeks.  To think about it.

I realised that I was delaying the issue here, the time not having a gym meant that I was losing out on valuable training time.  So I decided to take the hit on the wallet and join this gym.

And its pretty good.  Over priced for what I am paying, but okay:

  • It has decent opening times so I can sneak a quick workout in before work
  • There are some bars for pull-ups so I can get a bit of bodyweight exercise routines going
  • Reasonable free weight section – so it won’t be a fight for the squat rack
  • Lots of cardio machines which will help rehab my cardio fitness
  • And a swimming pool which will be good if my body is feeling a sore.

Future workouts

  • My plan is to do 4/5 workouts a week.
  • There will be at least two gym weights sessions – which are split into key areas (eg deadlift, benchpress, squats) and functional fitness
  • Will swim once a week
  • Will try and implement a class into my schedule
  • Any other sessions are a bonus
  • This will be supplemented with running, cycling and outdoor obstacle race workouts at home.

Aims

  • My aim is to drop 1 stone in weight by my first Spartan race in July.
  • Be able to have an intense workout for 1 hour 30 minutes so that I feel that I have worked hard – but not dieing!
  • Regain bodyweight strength.
  • Use sessions to help lower impact on my body after hard runs.
  • Maintain a nutrition plan to help meet these needs.

Time to get back to the gym!

backtothegym

 

The Failure: Downstairs is not for thinking

This is a continuation of long story I started writing about last week.

Read part one: The Failure: the first ‘relationship’ here.


The Failure

We had half a dozen more meet ups which usually ended up with us having sex in the most unclassy places.

The one I hated myself for was in a shop I had been working at where I had been given responsibility for the keys.

I felt like I had betrayed my managers trust. But I guess that was further proof I was letting my dick do the thinking.

That same night she lost her pass for the train in the shop, which she blamed me for. We went back and had a quick look round but could not find it. So she blamed me for seducing her and made it sound like I had forced her to have sex with me. Continue reading

Drunken talk

money Around five weeks ago I went out on a work colleagues leaving do.

It overwhelmed me slightly as it was the most drunken affair I have experienced with people I work with.

I don’t drink as much as I used to so it quickly went to my head, fortunately everyone seemed to be in a bit of a state.

During the evening a pair of intoxicated managers surrounded me and told me what a great job I was doing and that if I wanted, they would be delighted to help with my professional development by getting involved in working for them.

The next morning my head was sore, but also big headed from all the compliments I had received. Continue reading

Sketch Dashboard: Race Schedule 2015

Thanks to @tisquirrel whose sketch noting work inspired me to display my training ambitions and race schedule for 2015 in this fun way.

plan15

 

I have also added my planned Race Schedule for 2015 – I will add more as time goes on.  There are a few other new fitness challenges I want to have a go at this year.

It’s going to be a fun year for me and hopefully my best race year yet.

Is the Seven Minute Workout Bullshit?

Through fitness blog browsing I came across a workout called:

“The Scientific 7-Minute Workout”

7minworkout

Naturally my cynical brain thought that a workout that claims to have  be only seven minutes must be bullshit.

In this article from Ask Well, Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida is quoted as saying

“the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10″

Or as Ask Well Say the workout should be “unpleasant”

From my own effort giving the workout a go, I wouldn’t use that word.  I wouldn’t even score the intensity as an 8.  Perhaps I’m fitter than I think and I did go all out….

Hold on, calm down a minute…

Upon further reading of the seven minute workout, I looked up the original academic article and felt slightly silly.

Ask Well and other fitness blogs all thrive on the fact that we – people are lazy and are looking for quick fixes to all of life problems.  I could forgive them if they had got the misinformation from another blog – but they even linked to the academic journal it was published in!

The most obvious observation is the title of the journal article

“HIGH-INTENSITY CIRCUIT TRAINING USING BODY WEIGHT: Maximum Results With Minimal Investment”

Nothing is suggested that this is a seven minute workout!  Ask Well even added ‘scientific’ to the title to try and give it legitimacy!

Upon further reading I noticed in Klika’s and Jordan’s article the following paragraph:

“Our approach combines aerobic and resistance training into a single exercise bout lasting approximately 7 minutes. Participants can repeat the 7-minute bout 2 to 3 times, depending on the amount of time they have.”

So not really a 7 minute workout then, which the writer conveniently ignored.

The article also has a number of moments of suspicious editing – bit quoting one of the authors and bringing up a statement from another study – which has not even been referenced.

“There’s very good evidence” that high-intensity interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,”

From Ask Well article “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout”

The article makes it sound like the author is claiming that doing a 7 minute HICT exercise has similar benefits to endurance training!  I wish someone had told me this when I trained for the Spartan race!

On reading the ACSM article, you clearly see that the authors have never claimed this.  But I did find this in the article in relation to endurance:

“Although HICT can be an efficient means by which to improve health and decrease body fat, it may be inferior to creating absolute strength and power, specific endurance, and other specific performance”

So although the authors do not dismiss the benefit of HICT exercise, they are not really saying that the exercise has the same benefits as the blog article claims.

In conclusion I came here quite cynical about the ‘scientific’ seven minute workout and few basic research I realised I was right.

It is not a seven minute workout and it does not guarantee improvement to strength, endurance or specific performance needs!

So sorry guys it does appear the workout is bullshit and is just some lazy journalism designed to get lots of hits and links and downloads of a shitty app.

Rant over, what did I think of the workout?

At best doing one circuit gave me a mild pump up – I did’t feel tired, my muscles didn’t need to rest and I don’t have a breathless feeling like I would from other workouts.

To be honest I can’t see how doing two more circuits would be any better.

The advantage of the workout is that it is always handy to know I want a quick workout in a hotel room – but it is not a replacement for a good workout.

For this moment in time I will not be substituting my weights and running shoes just yet.


 

Try the workout below and judge for yourself.

What did you think of the workout?  Do you think I am wrong?

Let me know what you think.