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?