May body progress

Fitterstrongerbetter body

Dear readers,

You have no idea how happy I am to finally see some definite changes in my shoulders. The past few weeks I have been focusing on strengthening my upper body when weightlifting and it’s coming along nicely. My lats and deltoids are getting more defined (and stronger).

The definition that is developing in the top of my abs has also been a recent change and I feel alongside targeted training, my change of protein and increasing intake has been helping exponentially.

Another positive from drinking Sci-MX regularly I’ve noticed is that I have a lot more energy; I’m not suffering with cravings, moodswings or lethargy since I’ve started having a minimum 2 servings per day.

Yesterday was my last weights day of the week and it was a gentle one because I still had DOMS from Monday.

Upright rows 10kg – 25 reps in 5 sets of 5.
Bicep curl 10kg (5kg each hand) – 15 reps in 3 sets of 5
Hammer curl 10kg (” “) – 15 reps in 3 sets of 5
Side lat raise to overhead press, 5kg – 3 reps, 2.5kg – 5 reps

And that was enough for me to end the training session on. After a nice relaxing long weekend in Wales (with an Insanity work out if I get the exercise itch), I will be back to kicking my own ass on Tuesday!

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Like a kid at Christmas!

So the day came a lot earlier than we’d planned but I am now in possession of Dan’s weights! With his labour-intensive job he doesn’t have the time or energy to work out currently – much to his frustration – so he asked if I wanted to bring the weights to my house early; is the Pope catholic? Does a bear crap in the woods? Okay… I think you get what I’m trying to say.

I bundled them in my car and when I got home I said to my mum, “I have great news, I can finally weight train at home!!” to which she replied, “The fact that you get excited about this is somewhat disturbing, if the hallway starts smelling like a gym i.e. your pits, I will be revoking your membership to this house” which made me laugh.

Even though it was the evening and I’m more of a morning work out person, I figured I wasn’t patient enough to wait to use them, so I thought to myself “I’ll just pick 3 simple exercises and do 3 rounds, it’ll be quick and easy”. Somehow, a supposed quick and simple session turned into an hour long routine, whoops. It is now apparent not only was I impatient, I also find it difficult to curb my enthusiasm.

The jelly arms weights work out

Bicep curls – 5kg, 10 repetitions, 2 rounds
Tricep extension – 2.5kg 10 repetitions, 3 rounds
Alternating deltoid raises – 5kg, 10 repetitions, 2 rounds
Upright row – 12.5kg, 10 repetitions, 2 rounds
Arnold presses – 5kg, 10 repetitions, 2 rounds
Core busters, 10 repetitions, 3 rounds (one for each arm movement variation)
Shoulder presses – 5kg, 10 repetitions, 2 rounds
Military press – 15kg, 10 repetitions, 2 rounds
Squats – 15kg, 10 repetitions, 2 rounds

Boy, are my arms gonna be mad at me tomorrow. Hope you’ve all had a good Easter, I ate far too much chocolate. 🙂

A shift in attitude and a lot to thank fitness for

Last time I was in St Ives was 2010 and I was here for a week with my family and Thom. I was going through a really tough time back in my home-county, I’d had my dreams of being a natural horsemanship instructor shattered, had already sold two of my three horses and at this particular point (June 2010), I was so devastated by months prior to the holiday that I had even advertised Lily because I couldn’t cope with her. I was at an all time low, I had no money, no career and thought I wanted to take a break from horses completely for a few years. I still loved Lily with all my heart but she was being far too difficult and I couldn’t afford the tuition I needed to work through our problems together and was still petrified of her explosions of fear which had injured me a few times.

I’d gained all the weight I had lost from working as a horseman’s apprentice over the winter and spring, I had a horrendous tattoo on my chest that I couldn’t get covered until October and I had bad acne that I had tried to treat naturally to no avail. My confidence was dwindling and the week in St Ives was almost painful because doing nothing meant I had too much time to think about things I was trying so hard to ignore and keep buried. I tried to enjoy myself but besides an afternoon on the beach and a day at a small local bird sanctuary, I was going stir crazy in this little town. St Ives’ calmness was the complete opposite of how my heart, mind and soul felt and it just drew attention to the fact I was a mess.

On the left is a picture of me taken in St Ives in 2010, hiding away in baggy clothes, with a weight-of-the-world-on-my-shoulders slouch, a book in my pocket to hide behind and a forced smile. On the right is a photo of me taken on Monday 11th June 2012. I was standing in the waves, wearing a huge smile while facing out to sea, watching the swell. My mum said, “Turn around, Lucy!” and this was taken a split second after. I didn’t have time to do the usual womanly thing of mentally checking my stomach muscles are tight, doing my photo ‘smile’ and tilting my head ever so slightly to soften my facial features so this was exactly how I looked before the photo was taken, just relaxing and enjoying my holiday.

I can’t compare my weight because of the baggy clothes in the 2012 photo, but I can see a huge difference in my body language which is reflecting my state of mind. I may not be where I want to be yet with my career and I’m still pretty penniless because I’ve spent a lot of time off ill since November with problems with headaches and my eyes, but this doesn’t often bother me. I realise these problems are transient, and despite it being irritating now, things will work their way out so long as I know I’m trying my hardest to be the best ‘me’ I can be. My acne is barely visible now I’ve cut out dairy and my self-confidence has gone through the roof since I’ve become fitter. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a holiday before properly, I’ve always been too anxious at the thought of doing nothing. Now I am in St Ives, completely happy with planning my day as I go along, buying my food when I need it instead of doing my usual elaborate food plan and only working a little when the internet permits it. I’m not relying on my laptop to entertain me, I’m meditating a lot, I’m only listening to music when I want to hear a specific song or album and not as a distraction tactic and most importantly, I’m listening to myself. I think nothing of just going for a walk around the beach on my own with no phone and no iPod and before that would have been inconceivable.

My meditation has been going really well apart from missing a day yesterday, I was busy until my surfing lesson so I figured I’d meditate when I got back from dining out. After surfing, I had 20 minutes to shower thoroughly, dry my hair and put a little bit of make up on before running out the door to catch up with my family. The restaurant we went to was severely under-staffed and though they were trying their best, we waited 1 hour and 15 minutes to get our food and when my pizza came out, they had put cheese on it, despite seeing the waitress write down “Provencial, no cheese” and underline the no cheese bit. So for another 15 minutes, my family enjoyed their pizzas at 8:30pm and I was staring at the table, recalling my last bit of food at 1pm. When they righted the mistake, the pizza was very tasty so I was happy. By the time I had eaten, let my stomach settle and walked back to the house, I was too tired to meditate and after 5 minutes of attempting to, my head started bobbing as I was nodding off so I left it be.

However, I had a fantastic experience the day before yesterday, I meditated in two 30 minute sessions and my second 30 minute session of the day I felt an intense wave of happiness wash over me and my body started tingling. I was a bit intimidated by the tingling sensation as I was wondering whether I was cutting off my blood supply with my knees crossed but I quickly opened one eye to check and my skin showed no signs of the sort. I had a huge smile on my face because it felt so good and between moments of rogue thoughts I had to quell, I felt completely calm and quiet internally. I’m still not at the point where I’m looking forward to meditating, I have to remind and persuade myself to do it but it is getting much easier and there is at least one point in the meditation where I’m really enjoying it instead of getting caught up over trying to do it perfectly which is great!

Today meditating was tough, I’m feeling very tired and even though I was sat up without back support, I was still falling asleep which is relaxation to the extreme! Hopefully tomorrow will be better. A huge storm is meant to be hitting the UK, starting in Cornwall and we’re apparently going to receive a month’s worth of rain in one day. That’s my surfing lesson cancelled because the lifeguards will probably close the entire beach if the storm makes the swell too risky to be in. Still, it’s a bit disappointing but can’t be helped. There’s always the weekend and next week, I’m hoping to cram in as many lessons as my body will let me before I head home because I am loving surfing way too much not to take advantage of having a surf school a 5 minute walk away.

Oh and some great news, Thom will be getting here tonight within the hour and I can’t wait to pretty much rugby-tackle him with a huge hug. 😀

A huge thank you!

thank you

I started Fitterstrongerbetter on March 10th of this year and had no idea that it would become a success in such a short time. I’ve overtaken my number of followers on my Tumblr that I’ve had for 3 years and doubled that figure on WordPress in just three months. The support, encouragement and feedback I’ve had from readers, followers and the WordPress community has been wonderful and I am grateful for all the friends I’ve made on here who are going through the highs and lows of fitness with me.

Today marks a my first milestone for this blog as I just passed the 10,000 total blog views mark. I’m already ranking on google for a few search terms and if I keep it up with my knowledge of SEO, this could even become an extra bit of income, which is awesome considering the competition.

As I learn more and more fitness and nutrition, I hope I will be able to share this knowledge on Fitterstrongerbetter and have it become a valuable source of trusted information for my fellow exercise fanatics. I’ve got some big plans for this blog and, as always, have plenty of ideas for blog posts that people will find of use so stay tuned!

So thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who checks out my blog, comments and enjoys reading my posts, even if they are often essay length and I waffle on a bit!

I’m very happy that I’m able to share my fitness journey with you all, but even happier that people are actually interested enough to check out my little ol’ blog. 😀