The Fit Writer’s pick of 2010

December 31, 2010

Me and Richard of Richard’s Transrockies 2011 blogging amidst the New Year beer…and wine….and Bailey’s…and whatever else you can spot there in the background 😉

How was your 2010? I’m not hugely into resolutions (I prefer to make them as I go along, regardless of the date) but, as it’s the final day of the year, I wanted to look back at 2010 and pick out some highlights for you. A kind of a New Year’s Honours list, if you will. Without the royalty.

So here are The Fit Writer’s picks of the year gone by:

Favourite commission
Ooh, well. Most of my commissions are favourites (how’s that for diplomacy?), because I just love writing. But some stand out for being a little more unusual. How about a week in Croyde in August, training with the RNLI Beach Lifeguards to get a taste of what their qualifications consist of? (Hint: really hard work) That was for an article which appeared in Coast magazine. I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting, swimming with and getting some swimming advice from Liam Tancock later in the year. Judging by the search terms which lead to this blog, it would seem that many of you would like to do the same! You can find Liam on Twitter and he’s a jolly good sort of chap. Did I tell you that I tweeted I was on the way to meet him, and someone who follows me on Twitter said how much of a fan his daughter was. I told Liam, who was happy to pose for a photo for the guy’s daughter, and then said hello to her on Twitter. Nice guy 🙂

Favourite race
Another tough one. I really enjoyed getting into road cycling this year, completing several sportives having never done one before. But I think the Favourite Race gong has to go to the Folkestone Half Marathon: it’s in my home town, I was cheered on by my new nephew and I got a PB. What’s not to like?

Favourite event
Speaking of new nephews, event of 2010 has to go to the birth of my nephew Henry. Nothing to do with sport, I realise (although, a few weeks later when I was struggling through the Little Woody half Ironman triathlon, I did draw on the strength I’d seen my sister demonstrate during labour!) Nephews rock, particularly mine.

Favourite bit of fitness kit
Although I’ve been asked to review lots of lovely bits of kit and gadgetry this year, the award for favourite bit of fitness kit has to go to my kettlebells. You saw me using them during my 10,000 swing kettlebell challenge, and I use them regularly for both strength and CV work. So handy!

Favourite training session
I’m a bit of a hermit. So it takes someone fun to persuade me to give up training solo for once. And when I end up crying with laughter, I know I’ve found a good training partner. So props to Kat Millar, PT and now a good friend, with whom I trained a month or so ago. Second place goes to one of the many beautiful road bike rides I did back when it was burning hot and sunny: just lovely.

Favourite sporting moment
I watched as much of the Commonwealths as I could, and cheered as loud as any of you when Rebecca Adlington won both the 400m and 800m freestyle. Whadda woman!

Well, that’s it. I can’t bear this super-slow internet connection any longer! I will bid you a very happy New Year’s Eve, a great evening and a fantastic start to 2011 – and I’ll see you on the other side. Thanks for reading!

The Fit Writer’s Pick of 2010 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Away for New Year? Keep training!

December 30, 2010

Every year, we go away with a group of friends to a big old house somewhere for New Year week. In many ways, it’s a bigger deal than Christmas (there’s certainly more food and drink!) In the face of all the beer, wine, port (and cheese), nibbles and massive portions of dinner, you could be forgiven for thinking we might give up on exercise altogether for the week. Not us!

Amongst our party, we have two mountain bikers, one runner-turned-mountain biker and one Personal Trainer. Oh, and me. So I thought it might be useful to show you how we keep a balance (a kind of “detox/retox”, if you will) and keep training whilst we’re away from our respective gyms and out of our routine.

1: Bring bikes, running kit and other outdoorsy stuff

Even if all you want to do is go on long walks with the dogs, make the most of the fact that you’re somewhere different. We always end up somewhere pretty remote and very beautiful, and running/cycling/walking is a pleasure. So it would be a shame to find yourself with no kit. Pack the running shoes!

2: Pack indoors exercise kit

I brought my kettlebells, Personal Trainer friend Jo brought her Z-Trainer (a suspension trainer – review to come soon) and more kettlebells, and Gliders. I put a few exercise DVDs in my bag I’d been asked to review. It’s all stuff we’d rarely use at home, but being away from the gym and running a totally different routine is the perfect time to experiment with other bits of kit. And, of course, having a Personal Trainer on hand is too good an opportunity to pass up!

3: Plan your exercise

I know, this sounds terribly dull. After all, we’re away for the week with friends and meant to be enjoying ourselves. But our group of friends do enjoy training, so it’s no hardship. We have all day to do whatever we want whilst we’re here, so 30 minutes here and there making up a new routine with kettlebells is all part of the fun. The rules are there are no rules, just the opportunity to train if you want. Two of our party don’t exercise and really aren’t interested. That’s OK, we still love them 😉 Every day, one or more of us will be heading out for a run or a bike ride, or heading to one of the larger rooms to do some indoor training. Anyone can join in, but no-one has to. It works for us! (And it makes that first beer of the evening taste all the better….)

My friend Jo (one of the group I’m away with for New Year) is a Personal Trainer. Here’s her advice on training whilst you’re away from home (she’s the PT):

“Keep it simple: you really don’t need a lot of time, space or kit to stick to an exercise routine whilst you’re away. Don’t forget that you carry the best bit of gym with you all the time – your body! Put together a routine of simple, compound bodyweight exercises (any kind of full or modified squats, lunges, press ups, planks, triceps dips, step ups) and work hard – job done!

“Write down what you want to do every day so you have a plan to stick to which can become part of your day. That way you’re less likely to find that the day has flown past without you getting your exercise session in.

“If you’re training for something, don’t panic that you might not be able to get your regular training session done. You won’t lose any fitness or strength in just one week. It’s far better to do something than nothing at all, however short and however different to your normal training it might be.”

I’ll do reviews of the various bits of kit and DVDs we do whilst we’re away this week.

Oh, and a note to all the burglars reading: yes, we’re away from home but neighbours are keeping an eye on the house and popping in from time to time! 😉

Away for New Year? Keep Training! is a post from The Fit Writer blog

10,000 kettlebell swings

December 24, 2010

Phew! Made it 🙂 It was close for a minute, and I’m aching now, but I managed my 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge in December – with a few days to spare 😉 Let the festivities begin!

I’d already done 7750 swings last time I posted. Somehow, in amongst the Christmas drinks, meals out, shopping, food prep and present wrapping (and snow-shovelling), I’ve swung that bell 2250 more times.

Let me break it down for you:

20th December: 150 as part of gym warm up
21st December: 850 at home, 100 later as gym warm up
22nd December: 800 at home (really aching by this point)
23rd December: 200 (callouses and blisters…)
Which left me with just 150 to do…..which I duly did (using my heaviest kettlebell, just to end on a strong note) this morning:
24th December: 150 (aaaaand breathe)


Merry Christmas from The Fit Writer

10,000 kettlebell swings is a post from The Fit Writer blog

Kettlebell challenge: will I make it?

December 19, 2010

Gosh, there’s a lot to do before Christmas isn’t there? Finishing up at work, shopping, planning, present-wrapping and kettlebelling.

You know I have my priorities straight.

So, we left off with me having done 5,500 swings of my 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge. The deadline is Christmas Day.

Amusing as our guests may find it, I really don’t fancy this kind of scenario:

nor this

and especially not this.

(Note to self: this much kettlebelling can make a person look really tired, evidently…)

So I’ve been swinging my bells (sounds kind of festive?) every opportunity I get. Bearing in mind I’m currently lifting some pretty heavy weights in the gym, this has been a challenging goal. My muscles have sometimes tried to persuade me to give it up, but I’m nearly there:

14th December: 500 at home
15th December: 100 as part of my gym warm-up
16th December: 300 at home, 100 later on as my gym warm-up
17th December: 150 as part of my gym session
18th December: 150 as part of my gym session
19th December: 200 as part of my gym session, then 750 at home later (yes…a mild sense of panic setting in!)

Total=7750 (I think? Maths never my strong point)

So, 2250 with 5 days to go. Hm.

Are you kettlebelling with me? How are you getting on?

By the way – just a quick funny – blogging does make me laugh sometimes. Here are some of the search terms people have put into Google (other search engines are available) and then ended up at my blog. I genuinely can not fathom how some of these pointed to my blog. Hope they give you a giggle:

– speedo dads
– train routs from camberley to bournemouth
– good dog, bad husband
– black and white devils hand
– guy taking ice bath
– hairy torso
– images of giants with serpentine legs
– open girdle
– weather report 1971
– chafing groin swimming
– pictures of ice cream van at dorney lake
– is it common to be so hungrty three days after running a half marathon
– words with ow that fit with happens in water (…what?!)
– elderly people on a picnic

Kettlebell challenge: will I make it? is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

10,000 kettlebell challenge: nearly there!

December 14, 2010

(This pic obviously has nothing to do with me, I just liked it)

Getting there with the 10,000 swing kettlebell challenge! I do love kettlebells and like the fact that setting challenges like this one reminds me how great they are.

With so much else to choose from (gym, classes, cardio outside), I can go weeks without picking up my ‘bells. I shouldn’t neglect them! They are ideal for Winter (I am of the view that – as a channel swimmer – I’ve spent enough of my life being unbearably cold. So nowadays I refuse to be any colder than I have to, and that extends to running or cycling outside when it’s sub-zero). They deliver a fantastic full-body/cardio/resistance workout within a very short space of time. And then can be done in a small space.

So, how am I getting on? When I left off, I was at 4,100. Since then I’ve done:

6th Dec: 50 swings at the gym as part of my warm up
7th Dec: 350 swings at home (done as sets of 50s with upper body exercises between) then 500 swings at home at the other end of the day (done as 50s and 75s, with lower body stuff between)
8th Dec: 50 at gym as part of warm up
9th Dec: 50 at gym as part of warm up
12th Dec: 100 at gym, 300 at home

So that brings me to 5500 with 11 days to go. I’m aiming for 800 today as my cardio session. How about you?

Are you joining me on this challenge? Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you. My ladies Jo and Viv, how are you getting on?

PS Sorry for lack of pics but there’s a limit to how exciting I can make pictures of kettlebells!

10,000 kettlebell challenge: progress

December 6, 2010

Afternoon, kettlebellers! How’s your 10,000 KB swings challenge going?

A quick, image-free post from me just to keep up-to-date with the 10,000 kettlebell swings by Christmas challenge.

I’d already done 1,800 swings when I posted last. Since then, I’ve done:

Nov 30th: 50 swings at the gym as part of my warm-up, 600 swings at home in a separate session.
Dec 1st: 50 swings at the gym, 300 swings at home later.
Dec 2nd: 600 swings at home: I did this as 6×100 swings, and did stuff between each 100, namely some sort of jump, some sort of kick, some sort of lunge, some sort of squat, some sort of balance and then finally some core. (Apologies to PT Kat Millar for the “JKLST” type of workout on which this was based).
Dec 3rd: 100 swings as gym warmup. As an aside, I think I must be about the only person in the gym who uses the KBs. I was getting some funny looks (and I know my form’s good).
Dec 5th: 600 swings at home in a heart-pumping session which went a little something like this:
50 swings, then kicks
50 swings, then lunges
50 swings, then squats
50 swings, then balance
100 swings, then kicks
100 swings, then lunges
100 swings, then squats
100 swings, then balance
Phew! This all took me about 40 minutes, and was done at home with the heating on…so I could definitely tell I’d worked! 😉

Total to date: 4,100

How is your 10,000 swings challenge going? Think you’ll be done way before Christmas, or will you be doing one-handed swings whilst basting the turkey*?

*The Fit Writer can not condone and does not advise mixing exercise equipment with kitchen utensils, sharp knives or hot ovens.

10,000 swing kettlebell challenge

November 28, 2010

Do you kettlebell? Want to join me on a little challenge? It will keep us occupied on these cold, icy days and nights leading up to Crimbo.

The 10,000 swing kettlebell challenge isn’t my idea. I can’t remember who came up with or, nor where I first read about it. If anyone knows, please let me know in the comments so I can give credit where it’s due!

10,000 kettlebell swings before Christmas Day

Anyway, it’s really quite simple (if you have access to a kettlebell). You simply need to complete 10,000 swings within a set timescale – normally 30 days and, in this case, before Christmas Day. Unless you want to be swinging a kettlebell with Bucks Fizz in your other hand. I don’t. I want to keep my other hand free for a devil on horseback.

So, who’s in? I started my 10k swing challenge a few days ago but no matter, you can catch up I’m sure. I have kettlebells at home (thanks Mum and husband!) but you could just as easily use them at your gym if they have them there. Just make sure you know how to use them. I was taught by the very lovely and wonderful Charlotte Ord of Phoenix Pro Fitness in Godalming, but there are good kettlebell-trained trainers in most towns.

I’ll be tweeting about this challenge with the hashtag #10kswings, and I’ll update here from time to time. Do let me know if you’re going to join in by leaving a comment, and then let me know on Twitter using the hashtag.

Here’s where I’m up to:

Nov 24th: 300 swings
Nov 25th: 300 swings, 450 swings
Nov 26th:
Nov 27th: 750 swings
Total so far: 1800 of 10,000

You can do ’em two-handed, one handed or combine the two. You can do what I tend to do, which is 100 swings, and then a “something”, 100 swings, then a different “something”, and so on. (My somethings tend to be plyo exercises – like squat jumps, bodyweight exercises – like chin-ups or press ups, or stuff with the kettlebell – like rows or weighted lunges or whatever.) Get creative, or just do the swings: as you like!

Kettlebells rock. I hope you join me on this challenge. One of the selling points for me is that it’s a fantastic way to get some cardio in without leaving the house. I mean, come on, have you tried going for a run or a bike ride over the past few days?

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