Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Detox

So, the exercise continues apace and taking a step back every week with these posts makes me realise how much fitter I am now than at this point last year. But the fact of the belly remains.

It is rather annoying, frankly. Yes, I get to eat out a lot and that doesn't help. But when you look at the blubbery folk they drag onto TV shows and scare them with a week's typical eating, my table wouldn't be covered in ready meals and takeaways. Mine would have lots of vegetables, good homemade soups, fibre, fruit, all the stuff that usually forms the "after" bit of the show. So what am I doing wrong?

One thing I need to do again is cut out some stuff as, for the first time in about 14 years, I've got a little eczema developing again. So I'm currently psyching myself up for a proper detox, a month or so of seriously healthy eating. The downside of this is having had to build up a supply of restaurant reviews so I can keep various outlets serviced while I'm necking lettuce smoothies and such like. It sort of undermines the whole thing really, doesn't it?

So we shall see. I wish I could just declare "today is the start of the detox" and run with it. I don't want to sound whiny and ungrateful about the eating out - hell, I know it beats work, believe me - and I'm aware how many of you are swearing under your breath at the moment, but this burst of health fascism needs some planning.

The positive side of that, of course, is it gives me lots of time to do some research, fill the cupboard with lentils or carrots or whatever, and ask you lot: when you've overindulged and need to pull things back, what's your preferred solution? I'll be having a word with the professionals over the next few weeks, but all suggestions gratefully received...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Not A Good Week

So, I come back to the blog with a vengeance - if two posts in seven days can be considered "a vengeance" - and the second post has to be a confession. Forgive me, readers, for I have slipped - it's been a week with no exercise.

Actually, I say that, but when I consider what I used to do, and what I now do quite happily, it's not an accurate statement. No, I've not visited Giles and his instruments of middle aged torture this week, but that got me thinking about the other exercise I do. The brisk walking to the tube most days. The ludicrous laptop bag I cart around most of those days. The regular crossing of the West End on foot. The other day, I had a meeting in Marylebone and then cheerfully yomped to Soho for a light lunch, before jumping off the train a stop early to go and buy some fruit.

They're only small gestures, but they add up. In the few months since I've been doing this, I have taken a more responsible attitude to what I eat, and how often (and how quickly) I walk. Hell, I've even been known to run up an escalator. It might not be quite as sweaty and targeted as an hour with Giles, but it all adds up. More importantly, the fact that I'm more capable of doing such things - particularly the escalator runs - speaks volumes. Exercise, and a better diet (although it's not easy when you do what I do for a living), gives you more energy... A statement that's blindingly obvious, of course, but it's worth stopping every now and again to remind yourself of that fact.

I also buggered up the dodgy ankle with a long sesh on the allotment, so that's had a slight impact on my activities. I've also decided that I need to kick start the weight loss and, having chatted with a nutritional expert of vague acquaintance, I'm looking at a July-into-August detox. The eczema has been flaring up again, which usually means I've eaten too much bread. I think it's time to start the day with the green smoothies recommended last week and, while I'm not going the Full McKeith (because she's an unqualified harridan), I think a little flushing out is needed. Any suggestions, chaps?

Friday, 4 June 2010


Well, there's nothing like a positive comment in The Daily Telegraph to make your day. And there's also nothing like a comment on that feature to remind you that you've been utter crap and not updated the other blog for blooming ages.

So, lots to fill in? Well, not lots, just one big comment. Clearly The Tough Guy wasn't run. Late last year, on medical advice, it was strongly suggested that my grisly mess of a right ankle and eight miles across mud, grass and an enormous variety of poo would not a happy Fat Bloke make. So I had to pull out.

The intention is to still run the race, but there's got to be a big chunk of weight loss first. The exercise continues apace though, and I'm definitely fitter and a little leaner than this point last year. I need an incentive then and perhaps this blog - and the new found pressure! - can be the push I need? Let's see how we go.

I'll try and get a "tale of the tape" kicking off this month - be afraid, be very afraid - and let's go from there...

Friday, 2 October 2009

Four Months To Go

One thing that's become clear over the last couple of weeks - yes, aside from the need to blog more regularly - is that I'm getting fitter.

Yeah, I know that's kind of the point, but it's still quite a surprise when you realise what's happening. Giles is particularly good at pointing out the smaller achievements as they happen. This week it was the completion of 7.5km on the bike in 15 minutes. That was pretty satisfying - and even more satisfying to beat it by 700m in the next session - but the important thing was what happened after getting off the bike and before lying down for the century plus of stomach exercises. A conversation.

It doesn't sound like much, but in those first sessions I'd come up with a decent (if slightly sarcastic) tag line for Giles. "Webster's House of Pain: where you lose weight AND the ability to talk." Just a couple of months later though and I'm rattling through longer sessions of CV stuff and still able to converse. There's still some way to go, of course, but it's good to have someone point out the milestones as they occur.

Next week I think it's time for the piccies and the full tale of the tape. I know I've promised / threatened before but it's long overdue. Those of a sensitive disposition may wish to block the site now...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

One Month Down, Five To Go...

Following the last posting, Giles let slip some of his longer term plans. By the time the Tough Guy comes around, it looks like you'll be able to witness some of the preparation. If watching a sweaty chunky bloke fall off monkey bars is your particular "thing", that is.

Apparently, up at Primrose Hill, a place positioned annoyingly conveniently between home and Webster's House of, well, you know, there's a small assault course-y adventure playground. Come January, just as it gets really cold, I'll be warming up as per usual in Harley Street, and then jogging through Regents Park to the aforementioned and having a good old clamber about. And then jogging home.

Here's the thing though. After a month (and the extra bit) of regular work outs, while it sounds horrible, I think that's my couch potato / film critic / historic-self speaking. The key thing is I believe that, by December / January, I'll actually be able to cope with it. The difference in strength and basic fitness in a month has been remarkable: it seems very feasible that a further five months could get me running from the West End to Finchley and throw small children off their playground en route.

The last week has been an interesting one. With Giles away, my mission was to walk briskly as regularly as possible. Typically, that was hampered by the old ankle injury flaring up a little - walking boots, uneven earth on the allotment and a stupid lack of concentrtaion on my part - and some nasty bug that appeared over the weekend. Instead, I had to focus on watching what I ate. Yes, I know, that seems to contradict the original non-adjustment-of-lifestyle plan but, frankly, I really can't eat what I used to. Not that I actually ate that much. I know I look like the sort of bloke who has 14 bacon sandwiches for breakfast, 93 packets of Hob Nobs and a pantry that would make Gillian McKeith have a heart-attack (oh please...) but I didn't. Part of my frustration was going out with much slimmer friends, watching them polish off eight pints, their own dinner and assorted leftovers, and never putting on a pound. I'd eat lots of vegetables, walk a good couple of miles a day, keep a check on alcohol consumption... and the middle aged spread just kept coming.

That though seems to have been arrested. I'm not breathing in when I do up my jeans. I'm getting into shirts I've not worn for a year and the target outfit - a very slimfit, funky shirt Angela brought me back from Florida this year and some really nice Timberland trousers I could never do up - looks like an achievable target. And looking on the bright side, the nasty bug of the last couple of days has, er, been quite good for weight loss...

Anyway, it's back to the gym this morning and I'm raring to go. And I never thought I'd be saying that a couple of months back.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Catching Up. Again.

Eek. Another fortnight goes by at a pace considerably greater, I imagine, than I'll manage next January. No doubt some of you are thinking the radio silence means I've dropped the training and picked up the spoon. Well - small fanfare please - I haven't. After the self-control of Vegas, it's been back to "Webster's House of Pain". Although I must stop calling it that. "Couldn't you call it Webster's House of Gain?" suggested Giles the other morning, not entirely seriously. My own reasons for finding a new name are Twitter-based: it's genuinely scary how many new followers you can get just for mentioning "pain". Eek.

So, what to report? Well, things have been quite painful but that's mainly self-inflicted. As I've mentioned before, the plan is to do this training, complete the race and drop the pounds without dramatically adjusting the lifestyle / career. The reality though, as I've also mentioned, is that after doing the work, you just don't feel like consuming empty calories. For the most part, the drinking has been greatly reduced - and matched, as per instructions, with glasses of water - and the dining has tended to be of the healthier / smaller portioned variety. There have been a couple of notable exceptions, with last weekend's chocolate mousse (thanks again Charlotte) and a Tuesday afternoon spent running through, er, 18 of the ice creams available at the excellent Freggo in Swallow Street. Argentinean ice cream might not be as famous as Italian but this stuff rated amongst the best I've eaten in London.

Sadly, despite my nigh-faultless logic - chocolate is made from a bean and is therefore a vegetable, cream comes from cows so is effectively made from grass and is therefore a vegetable - by the time I arrived for Monday's and Wednesday's sessions, I was feeling slightly guilty. Giles provided his usual encouragement but probably didn't need to. That guilt drove me to extra efforts and, annoyingly, those extra efforts paid dividends. From this point on, I'll try and keep a record of the weight-based achievements, but by the Wednesday I managed to beat at least one of my "records" on the nightmarish shoulder press device, did 23 leg extensions in 20 seconds and got into three figures on the sit-ups / crunches. "Oh good," said Giles. "Now you're fitter I can start getting really nasty."

Oh joy.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Catching Up...

No, I haven't died in a bizarre treadmill accident or worked out so much I've lost the use of my typing fingers. I've just been snowed with a need to find paid work.

With the recession / credit crunch / complete global meltdown sponsored by RBS in full effect, those tough times are starting to bite a little. You'd be forgiven for thinking I've not been affected by it given the recent travels, but it's clear budgets are down in terms of freelance work. Still, while the lure of salary is looking more appealing by the week, I am pleased to report that the exercise has continued. Indeed, even in the face of footlong hot dogs, sundaes the size of Smart Cars and entire halves of cow that had been grilled and sliced and served for my dining pleasure in Las Vegas, the exercise continued.

While I'm 90% convinced I'd have done it anyway - I'm an endorphin addict now, me - I owe a little acknowledgement to jet lag. A 10 hour journey, eight hour time difference - actually nine, given I'd gone there virtually direct from Denmark - and a strange bed contributed to a very disrupted first night's kip so, after tossing and turning and sleeping in 60 minute bursts from 2am (or anywhere between 2am and 11am according to my body clock), I decided to call it a night / morning and hit the gym. It's not often I've found myself on a treadmill at just past 5am, but that's how I greeted my first full day in Vegas. A good brisk inclined walk and a thorough use of the resistance equipment later, I finished with an ankle-saving burst on the cross-trainer and ventured back up to my room around two hours later, feeling good and loose and sweaty and smug.

The following morning I dozed in a little longer and couldn't face the gym again so soon. Before you start crowing though, I did go for a walk which, according to a Vegas resident on the trip, was probably around seven or eight miles. "Things in Vegas are further apart than you think," she added sagely and was she ever right. I'd been heading towards a building I could see in the distance. After two hours of walking down the strip, I didn't seem to be any closer so I yomped back for a shower. And yes, more smugness.

And you know what? That pattern was repeated for the rest of the trip. More gym sessions, some swimming... As a result, even in the face of such excellent food in such outsized portions, I came home some two, three pounds lighter. Mind you, it probably helped that I was working out when I'd normally have been wolfing my bodyweight in hotel breakfast. Also, as I've mentioned before, when you've done the tough sweaty work, you feel way less inclined to consume the calories. I ate a lot of vegetables, drank a good three litres or more of water daily and not once did we order a bottle of wine. Bottles are way too easy to polish off. Ordering by the glass probably helped reduce my alcohol consumption greatly: a policy I hope to carry on with to some extent. Yes, I know I said my intention was to do this training without having to adjust my lifestyle but the interesting thing is I don't feel I have to adjust it. The difference is I'm just doing it because it feels better.

Oh dear god. Am I turning into one of "those" people?