Saturday 31 July 2010

New variety fuel bars

I've been fiddling with the recipe for the fruit&nut&seed bars again and today's version has coconut in it.  Something that's clear now on the 6th iteration is that when they go in the oven they need to be quite thick.  The last 2 batches in the new baking tins have been too thin and come out a bit too crispy for my liking, so I think I may have to make 16 bars' worth instead of 12 and have them come out thicker, but smaller footprint.

However, this recipe makes 12:-


  • 50g Oats
  • 120g Clear Honey
  • 100g Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 40g Puffed Wholegrain Rice
  • 50g Raisins
  • 40g Pecan Nuts
  • 40g Dried Cherries
  • 40g Cashew Nuts, Plain, Average
  • 35g Desiccated Coconut
  • 50g Mixed Seeds, Omega Sprinkle, Neals Yard Wholefoods


Pre-heat oven to 140-150C and line a baking tin with greaseproof paper.

Weigh oats, coconut and rice into a bowl. Weigh and chop fruit and nuts into the bowl and add in the seeds.

Weigh peanut butter and honey into a separate bowl. Microwave for 30s, stir and microwave for a further 15s.

Mix all of it together thoroughly and dollop into the baking tin. Press down firmly (use a bit of greaseproof paper and your hands which I find easier than a spoon which the mix just sticks to).

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool until hard. Then turn out and chop with a sharp knife into portions.

Per portion:-
Calories (kcal)215.6
Carbohydrate (g)22.1
Protein (g)4.9
Fat (g)12.2
Fibre (g)2.8
Fruit & Veg0.1

Doing well

Second weights session of the week and my groin strain appears totally gone - woo!  So I did my current routine in full and have a bit of DOMS in my legs today, which should be fine for tomorrow as I won't be using my legs all that much.

Weighed in slap bang on target weight today despite being pretty much on maintenance all week and only doing two weights sessions.  So, it hints at when I get back to cycling that I should make sure that I'm eating enough.  Anyhoo, carb loading day today and it's started with a bagel with Marmite *nom*  Feeling really strong and reasonably well rested so far today, though I have a bit of vacuuming to do in a bit and I always go at that really hard, so I'll see how I feel after that ;o)

B - toasted Food Doctor wholemeal seeded bagel, with butter and Marmite
B - banana and strawberries
L -2x Discovery wholemeal tortilla wraps; 1 with houmous and lettuce and one with Waitrose spinach falafel, Philadelphia extra light, tomato relish and lettuce
S - Hovis wholemeal granary bread with mashed banana and Nutella
D - wholemeal pasta with roasted red peppers and chicken breast

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 90.4 (49.8%)
Carbohydrate (g) 234.2 (20.5%)
Fat (g) 58.0 (29.6%)
Fibre (g) 36.0
Fruit & Veg 6.8

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Quick check-in

Unload week is going well.  I feel a whole lot better so far and the 1 full-body weights session I've done since Friday has resulted in some gentle DOMS which is helping to stave off the guilt at not doing much.  Also, I did a body fat check a bit early (not due until Sunday, but given the carb loading on Saturday, that won't work very well) and I'm now under 25%.  Started at 31% in June last year and I'm now 24.9% after a couple of blips around Christmas and then skiing injury.  Yeah, I could have worked harder and got there faster, but I'd rather have done it the way I have done it; slowly and carefully (mostly).

Massage day tomorrow and a second weights session on Friday then the swim on Sunday.  That's it for this week :o)

Sunday 25 July 2010

Weekly roundup and sensible planning

This week was a complete mess, as you can see.  If I'm going to cycle this much, I have to work out how to sort out my nutrition to match it properly.

Last week:-
Exercise count: 10
Exercise time: 07:41
Exercise kcals: 4,408
Kcals difference from loss for the week: +2594
Kcals difference from maintenance for the week: -906
(+ is excess vs. quota, - is deficit below quota)

Day Quota Exercise Total Consumed Difference Difference for Week
1285 1214 2499 2890 391 391
1289 1289 1564 275 666
1296 1155 2451 2147 -304 362
1295 733 2028 2018 -10 352
1292 762 2054 1959 -94 258
1285 1285 3318 2033 2291
1296 1296 1599 303 2594
Total 9038 3864 12902 15496 2594

Since 15th June 2009:-
Exercise count: 312
Exercise time: 212h
Exercise kcals: 115,881

What's weird is that my lovely blue M&S silk&linen dress was pretty loose yesterday even though the scales are saying "umm... you're eating less than you're expending are you? really?".  I can't do a body fat measurement to see if there's something else going on because I'm retaining water like a so-and-so today.  Everything is just totally in flux, too many changes at once, I need to look after myself in order to take part in the Thames swim next Sunday, and I need to re-think how I approach the next 5 weeks.


Next week I'm focussing on the Thames swim on Sunday.  This means the following:-
  • winding back the cycling to probably zero (over 100km in a week is a bit much right now)
  • -IF- my groin feels OK on Monday I'll do a weights session
  • on Tuesday, I shall take the 3rd open water training session
  • -IF- my groin feels OK on Wednesday, I'll do a weights session
  • I have a deep tissue massage on Thursday at which I shall ask for focus on my thighs
  • -IF- my groin feels OK on Friday, I'll do a weights session
  • I will aim for roughly maintenance kcals throughout the week
  • I will carb load on Saturday, which -will- involve going over maintenance kcals for that day
  • I will enjoy late lunch out on Sunday after the Nokia Thames swim in the morning
  • I will be 1lb heavier on Sunday and Monday than I am on Friday, mostly due to carb loading
 Then from the week after, I will wind up the cycling again, keep the weight training in place, but aim for roughly maintenance kcals over the week for the following 4 weeks, trying to keep it even throughout the week rather than bulges and holes.  The 4th week, I will taper exercise down for the final Thames Turbo Triathlon of the year.  Once that's over I can start to re-focus on fat loss.

Over the top and taking it easy

Having had a really hard and tiring week, including sticking to 500kcals under maintenance every day on average, yesterday's marriage blessing day resulted in going well over and feeling rough as hell today.  It was a reasonably early start and a longish day with only one really bad food choice towards the end of the day when we got to the B&B and I had a croissant with ham and lots of cheese.  Very little fruit and veg during the day as well.  The food at the celebrations was lovely and the wine was really nice...

  • Roasted tomato and shallot tart with goats cheese and pesto
  • Sausages and mash with mixed vegetables and onion gravy
  • Banoffee tart with butterscotch sauce and a brandy snap tuile of toffee cream
 The sausages were three different flavours which, I think, were; pork and apple, Lincolnshire, and pure pork.  They were certainly really tasty and the white wine on offer was perfectly able to stand up to the flavours of the sausages, which was really nice.

The ceremony in the morning was in a lovely old church, built in 1215 and was the family church of the Nightingale family.  In the church itself there's a plaque dedicated to Florence Nightingale and the family tomb in the graveyard is where Florence was buried in 1910.  Lots of history and some amazing original friezes on the church walls inside as well as an ancient rifle attached to one of the beams over the choir section of the church which was placed there after it played a part in the accidental shooting of a servant girl in one of the local manor houses.

We actually came home last night rather than stay at the B&B.  Which resulted in me having toast and boiled eggs with tea just before bed.  I'm really not very with it right now and could do with some serious napping this afternoon.  Given that it's the Thames swim next weekend, I have to wind it right back this week and probably aim to go onto maintenance and forget about any body fat loss goals.  I can't do a body fat measurement today seeing as I had some wine yesterday and my hydration levels will be all over the place for at least 24 hours.  More than anything, I need the sleep and not to be trashing my legs completely - I also have a strain in the right side of my groin which I want to be gone by the weekend.  So.  Perhaps only gymming this week, maybe one or two cycling days if any, I don't know.  Problem is... cycling is nicer and faster than going in by tube :o/

Friday 23 July 2010


Really very tired.  I'm getting an hour less sleep on the nights before I cycle to work (I have to get up at 06:15 to miss the worst of the traffic on the way in) and have tripled the expended energy due to exercise compared with a previous "normal" week.  So, no wonder I'm tired, I'm not used to it.   I've put in 120km cycling this week, up from pretty much zero, for crying out loud!

Thankfully I have the whole weekend off and it's enforced.  Also, thankfully, I've got only two sessions of my current weights routine left.  I don't like it.  Really.  There aren't enough compound exercises so whilst it's hard, I don't get as much benefit as I'd like.  And as it's legs-hard it's the worst thing while I'm starting out with cycling commuting.

Hopefully I'll be back to journalling more regularly next week.  We'll see.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Having a bit of a relax

My god I needed a rest today.  That run on Sunday was nice, but a bit of a mistake if I'm honest; 8 days in a row with no rest from exercise is the most I've ever done and my body was telling me to take a break now please.  It was lovely to run with Mr TOTKat while we're both roughly at the same pace level - he'll start running training again soon and be back to being a lot faster than me so I can't keep up any more.  So anyway, rest day very much needed and to round it off, I decided to finish off the chocolate ice-cream that's been lurking in the freezer for weeks.  Mmmm :o) - Available from Ocado for home delivery enjoyment!  It's made with really good ingredients and is by far the nicest chocolate ice-cream I've ever had.

I'm pretty tired due to lack of sleep last night.  It was so hot and humid.  Ick.  So, early to bed tonight and up bright and early for the cycle in to work.

The new southern cycle Superhighway is turning out to be a lot better than the impression the media is giving.  It -isn't- pointless at all!  There are huge swathes of the A3 now that you can sail along through the traffic like a bus on a bus lane.  It -is- better than it was before.  The road surface is so much nicer.  The lane is wide enough for two cyclists abreast easily so overtaking is possible even in heavy traffic and the cars pretty much stay out of the cycle lane as much as they obey traffic lights, which is no more than you can ask and makes a huge difference to the perception of safety.  I have no idea how many cyclists were using that route before, but there are loads using it now and for the most part, people seem confident and happy with the route.  The really great part is being able to avoid Elephant and Castle roundabout going south in the evening rush hour.  That was the only part of the journey I was apprehensive about before I tried the CS7 by-pass of that junction.  8 journeys on the Superhighway so far (including a trip in and back at the weekend) and I'm enjoying it.  Being back on the tube on the way home today was a far less pleasant experience than cycling.  The only thing about cycling in the morning is that it has to be early as my route starts beyond CS7 and that part gets very blocked up beyond about 07:15, so I have to leave by 7am - which gets me in to the office at 07:40, 5 minutes to put my bike away, 10 minutes to shower and change and I'm logged on and ready at 8am.  40-42 minutes to cycle in, 48-50 to get home.  Same route both ways just in different directions.  Go figure.

B - greek yogurt with 1 scoop MP Max, Yeo Valley fruit compote and flaked almonds
S - banana
L - cold beef chilli with fresh sweet peppers
S - greek yogurt with fresh mango
S -beef jerky
D - prawnychilligarliclimething with couscous, followed by chocolate ice-cream

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 142.0 (37.5%)
Carbohydrate (g) 161.1 (39.9%)
Fat (g) 37.9 (22.5%)
Fibre (g) 21.1
Fruit & Veg 11.6


I did have a sneaky run on Sunday and then yesterday cycled into work, had a weights session during the day and cycled home again.  So, after 8 consecutive days of exercise, I've decided it's a good idea to rest today rather than cycle in, do open water training and cycle home again.  My body is complaining at me.  It doesn't help that Mr TOTKat and I spontaneously went for dinner at our local Italian last night and the 1/2 bottle of wine (or less, I just didn't seem to be able to drink much of it) hit me quite hard again.  I really enjoyed the evening, but made a bad choice with my main course of lasagne.  Nothing wrong with lasagne per se, it was just mostly pasta and not a lot of filling so it was stodgy and heavy.  The scales have been surprisingly kind this morning!

B - MP Total Breakfast with skimmed milk and blueberries
S - greek yogurt with mango and Dorset Cereals fruity muesli
S - 1 scoop MP Max in skimmed milk
L - lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, celery and chicken breast
S - cottage cheese on 2 oat cakes
S - banana and strawberries
S - fruit, nut and seed bar
D - calamari, lasagne, white wine and a latte

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 169.0 (24.4%)
Carbohydrate (g) 291.4 (39.5%)
Fat (g) 88.8 (28.8%)
Fibre (g) 22.5
Fruit & Veg 9.7

Sunday 18 July 2010

Weekly roundup

(as inspired by Laura)

It's been a while since I posted the weekly numbers roundup, probably since before we went skiing and I had a couple of months of enforced rest and wasn't feeling like shouting about it.  So, given that my current crusade is still to get back on track from when my weighing scales broke back in June of last year it's time to start finding more ways to help keep myself on the path.  That problem with the scales was quite a blow to my maintenance and getting back the 5kg that I'd put on without knowing it (mm, that's how much the old scales were under-reporting by!) has been slow work with a couple of set-backs along the way.  I'm almost back to where I thought I was before I discovered the scales were broken, but I want to finish getting there and work on body fat loss so the last remaining wobbly bit stops being quite so wobbly.

Here goes...

Last week:-
Exercise count: 8
Exercise time: 07:14
Exercise kcals: 3,856
Kcals difference from loss for the week: +185
Kcals difference from maintenance for the week: -3315
(+ is excess vs. quota, - is deficit below quota)

Day Quota Exercise Total Consumed Difference Difference for Week
1291 286 1576 1602 26 26
1285 821 2106 2388 282 308
1291 482 1773 1867 95 402
1289 374 1663 1427 -236 166
1290 850 2140 1880 -260 -94
1290 502 1792 2128 336 242
1288 1288 1231 -57 185
Total 9024 3316 12340 12525 185

Since 15th June 2009:-
Exercise count: 301
Exercise time: 204h
Exercise kcals: 111,160

It's been a slightly disappointing week.  I've not seen the results I should have given the numbers above.  I have been honest (god knows, I know how important that is, go see my article on how to lose weight)  and I've actually done more exercise than I'd usually do.  Normally, I'd do 3x weights, 1x swim or run during the week and something at the weekend.  This week I've done 3x weights, 1x big swim and 4x cycles.  So, the lack of loss may well be due to the fact that I've been eating more (still keeping pretty much to the quota allowed for loss, including the kcals earned through exercise) so there's more in transit when I'm weighing in the morning.  this means I -should- see a comparitive loss next week of the correct amount (i.e. 500g or 1lb) as there'll be roughly the same amount in transit but I should have lost the right amount of fat.

Today goes like this (a rest day, the only one this week!):-
B - toasted wholegrain seeded Food Doctor bagel with Marmite and a poached egg
L - salad; tuna, mango, chilli, lime and iceberg lettuce
S - half a banana and strawberries
D - salad; chicken breast, new potatoes, plum tomatoes, romaine lettuce and  boiled egg

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 111.1 (35.1%)
Carbohydrate (g) 143.1 (42.4%)
Fat (g) 31.7 (22.6%)
Fibre (g) 16.6
Fruit & Veg 7.1

Saturday 17 July 2010

1151 kcal dinner :o)

Ohyes.  Curry.  1151kcal dinner :o)  Home made lamb korma (with a buttload of chilli in it) and curried vegetables (chick peas, spinach and mushrooms) with home made peshwari naan (with flaked almonds, raisins and dessicated coconut).  My belly is sooooo full!  The only improvement would have been had I used tomatoes in the vegetable curry.  The two curries were very differently flavoured but could have done with a bit of tanginess in one of them.  Just what I needed after a pretty good gym session today of my current routine with added cycle there and back, pressups (3x10) and negative motion pull-ups (3x5x4s).

Still under maintenance for the day and happy with how the week has gone.  I'll be cruising for 0.5-1.0lbs fat lost, but we'll see when I do the body-fat measurement tomorrow.

B - toasted wholegrain, seeded bagel with butter and Marmite
L - Discovery wholemeal tortilla filled with Philadelphia Extra Light, ham and lettuce
S - 1 scoop MP Max in semi-skimmed milk
S - strawberries and banana with Elmlea Single Light
D - lamb korma with curried vegetables and peshwari naan

If anyone wants recipes, just shout!  (though the naan needs refining as the filling was a bit dry)

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 132.8 (25.5%)
Carbohydrate (g) 193.2 (34.8%)
Fat (g) 91.5 (39.6%)
Fibre (g) 30.3
Fruit & Veg 6.8

Friday 16 July 2010

Bit Windy

I went sideways a few times on the way home tonight, it was that windy.  Also, saw 4 cyclists pulled over by the rozzers for jumping red lights.  Pretty much every journey into or back from work so far, I've seen Police pull over cyclists for failing to stop at red lights.  The thing is, cyclists may think it's OK to do it but apart from it being illegal, it's really stupid, dangerous and rude.  Cyclists -are- now getting a lot of extra help with taking a proper place on London's roads and throwing that new respect and help back in the face of the establishment is just plain ungrateful and ill-mannered.  And cyclist number five who was being yelled at by the police as he scarpered off down a side street... I hope they caught you in their Range Rover 'cause you need to learn.

Harsh?  I don't think so.  Jumping red lights is utterly stupid and more dangerous for the cyclist themselves or any pedestrians that might be legitimately crossing on a green man than waiting patiently for the lights to change.

Anyhoo, I'm enjoying the cycling.  Lots.  Even with the phenomenal wind on the way home that at one point was blowing me backwards up a hill...

B - MP Max Total Breakfast made with skimmed milk and blueberries
S - banana
L - salad; spinach falafel, quail's eggs, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers and lemon juice
S - carrot and houmous
S - cottage cheese and oat cake
D - prawnychillilimetomatothing with couscous
S - MP Max in skimmed milk

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 143.7 (31.5%)
Carbohydrate (g) 220.3 (45.3%)
Fat (g) 47.0 (23.2%)
Fibre (g) 30.0
Fruit & Veg 14.4

My name is TOTKat and I'm an addict

So.  I decided to have a go at cycling in to work this week.  And having cycled in on Tuesday, home on Wednesday and in and back again today, I want more.  This always happens when I find something I enjoy; I want to do it -all- of the time.

The problem with doing it every day is work-related.  When I cycle, I get in at about 07:45, so I want to go home at 17:00.  This does not fit well with my job.  There are 3 options: I carry on only cycling in two days a week, which is acceptable to shift my day a bit; I try cycling in a bit later and see what the traffic is like later; or I suck it up and just put in longer days 3 days a week.


Thursday 15 July 2010

First run through

My new routine is only set for 3 weeks and today was the first full run through.  Of course my trainer gave me 2 sets of everything and the first thing I do is up it to 3 sets of everything.  It's a leg-heavy routine which is why I didn't want to be cycling anywhere after doing it, though I will be cycling tomorrow.  It's pretty disappointing with respect to kcals burned for the routine, despite the rowing intervals at the end; the lower number of compound exercises is to blame this time, there's really only a couple of those.  Anyway, I'll see how my legs feel in the morning, but it was hard going on the single leg squats and the leg extensions.  Cycling in to work may have to be gentle.

B - greek yogurt with 1 scoop MP Max, Yeo Valley fruit compote and flaked almonds
S - banana
S - 1 scoop MP Max in skimmed milk
L - salad; lettuce, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, celery, chicken fillet
S - carrot and houmous
S - greek yogurt with strawberries and agave nectar
D - Waitrose pork and plum tomato sausages and butternut squash mash

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 112.7 (34.2%)
Carbohydrate (g) 127.7 (36.3%)
Fat (g) 43.3 (29.5%)
Fibre (g) 27.1
Fruit & Veg 15.3

Getting home again

Wednesday, I needed to get my bike back home again and it took pretty much as long to get back as to get in, hitting every single red light all the way back, pretty much.  Competitive cycling was the order of the day as I tried (and succeeded) to keep up with a pretty nippy guy in a London to Paris pair of cycling shorts.  Didn't feel too dead at all when I got home, so it bodes well for doing both directions in one day.  Hopefully I'll remember to use my bike computer trip meter properly on the next rides so I'll get the actual distance for the journey.  TfL says 15km dead on for each direction (apart from it getting a bit confused about a non-existent one-way street on the way back, suggesting a weird spiral around Clapham Common at the bottom and thus adding 0.6km to the route).

Lovely omelette cooked by Mr TOTKat for dinner, this time with smoked salmon, mushrooms and some sweet onions to counter the salty salmon.  A couple of slices of toast on the side as I was quite low on carbs for the day (even for me) and I had a reasonable amount of glycogen to replace.  I wish I could cook omelettes but I always end up with scrambled egg, I just can't do it!

As dinners go, it's nice and light, if a little short on veggie variety.  I liked it though.

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 145.3 (31.8%)
Carbohydrate (g) 181.0 (37.1%)
Fat (g) 63.1 (31.1%)
Fibre (g) 25.3
Fruit & Veg 9.6

Open water swimming

I've only ever really done it once before, in a lake in Ireland and not in a wetsuit.  So, with 3 weeks to go to the Thames swim, we went to the first of a set of 3 open water swimming training sessions on Tuesday night.  The training is very geared towards triathlons, which was a bit annoying for me as I'm not doing an open water triathlon swim and I'd really rather not be bothered with things like how to turn around a buoy quickly or how to get a wetsuit off quickly, but given that the training is designed for triathlons and I was the only one just doing an open water swim I just had to suck it up and get on with the same training as everyone else.

I cycled in to work on Tuesday, so that plus the swim earned a few kcals and given that the training session had us in Hyde Park at 1/4 to 9 at night and it would be an hour 'til we got home and had food on plate I cracked and we had dinner in a pub nearby.  2 pints of lager and a steak and chips and I was still cruising in under my maintenance kcals for the day.  OK, so alcohol will knock me off my fat loss goal a bit, but overall it's not the end of the world.

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 196.2 (33.4%)
Carbohydrate (g) 206.1 (32.8%)
Fat (g) 60.4 (23.1%)
Fibre (g) 35.3
Fruit & Veg 8.8

Monday 12 July 2010

New Routine!

Sunday was another rest day after being a tiny bit tired out on Saturday.  Lots of sport on the telly and I napped through at least some of it; just crashed out on the sofa after my yummy ham, lettuce and Philadelphia wrap (looks so clean and simple and it is!).  Then it was lots of cooking... a big batch of chilli to last a couple of weeks of quick dinners when it's too much like faff to cook something long; a roast chicken for Sunday dinner; and a batch of fruit, nut and seed bars.  This was iteration number 4 of the fruity ones and the latest recipe has cherries and cranberries in it.  It's less proteiney and fibrey than the last iteration and I think that's because there's less peanut butter in this one.  And they certainly turned out a lot thinner and darker than the last lot but that's probably because I have a new baking tin that's actually metal this time instead of the ceramic dish I was using before.  So, I may need to drop the temperature and keep the cooking time the same.


  • 50g Oats
  • 100g Pure Clear Honey
  • 80g Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 30g Soft Dried Pitted Dates
  • 40g Wholegrain Brown Puffed Rice
  • 40g Raisins
  • 40g Natural Cashew Butter
  • 40g Walnut Pieces
  • 40g Pecan Nuts
  • 15g Pumpkin Seeds
  • 25g Hulled Sunflower Seeds
  • 25g Dried Cherries, Dried
  • 25g Dried Cranberries


Pre-heat oven to 140-150C and line a baking tin with greaseproof paper.

Weigh oats and rice into a bowl. Weigh and chop fruit and nuts into the bowl and add in the seeds.

Weigh nut butters and honey into a separate bowl. Microwave for 30s, stir and microwave for a further 15s.

Mix all of it together thoroughly and dollop into the baking tin. Press down very firmly (use the back of a spoon or a bit of greaseproof paper and your hands which I find easier).

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool until hard - press it down again as soon as it come out of the oven if the dried fruit has swollen up and pushed the mix apart a bit. Then turn out and chop with a sharp knife into portions.

Nutrition Data Per Serving
Calories (kcal)209.4
Carbohydrate (g)21.9
Protein (g)4.9
Fat (g)11.5
Fibre (g)2.3
Fruit & Veg0.1

So, today I can has new routine!  And it's a leg-thrasher :oD
  • Warm up on the cross-trainer or rower for 4-5 minutes
  • One leg squats (pretty much ATG) - 10x2 at 20kg
  • Hamstring curl on the Swiss Ball - 15x2 with bodyweight
  • Leg extensions with slow negative motion - 10x2 at 35kg
  • Superset - Leg raise with press using Vipr - 15x2 at 10kg
  • Superset - Walking lunges with side-swipe with Vipr - 10x2x2 at 10kg
  • Reverse lunges with row using Kinesis α - 20x2 at L4
  • Crunches with leg cycles using Kinesis δ - 10x2x2 at L2
  • Intervals on the rower - 4x30s with 60s recovery at L5
  • Cool down and stretch
I'm not sure what to substitute in for the Kinesis δ jobbie in my local gym to home, but I'm sure I'll think of something for that one.  It's only a 3 week routine and today counted even though I did only one set of everything.  Obviously I'll try to up the sets to 3 across the board as my first progression before thinking of upping the weights (apart from the Vipr which felt really rather light).

Low kcal burn at the gym today so slightly lightish foods...

B - greek yogurt with Yeo Valley fruit compote, 1 scoop MP Max and flaked almonds
S - cottage cheese spread on a Dr Karg crisp bread
S - 1 scoop MP Max in skimmed milk
L - salad; leftover roast chicken, sweet pepper, cherry tomatoes, celery, beetroot and lettuce
S - greek yogurt with strawberries
S - carrots and houmous
D - stir-fried roast chicken, chorizo, wholegrain rice, baby corn and peas

Actual leftovers dinner tonight with the roast chicken pan fried up with chorizo, wholegrain rice and some veggies... looks quite pretty I think :o)

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 128.8 (32.7%)
Carbohydrate (g) 148.9 (37.3%)
Fat (g) 52.3 (30%)
Fibre (g) 21.4
Fruit & Veg 10.6

    Saturday 10 July 2010

    Whacked out

    But back on track for the week, unintentionally too which was nice.  We cycled into town to the gym I got to near work, did a full weights session and then cycled home again via a more scenic route through Parliament Square.  Having had only 320kcals for breakfast and a 190kcal protein shake after gymming, I ran out of energy a bit on the way home I think, but also my legs were a little bit knackered too.  Given the heat today it was a bit tricky and dry on the way home and Mr TOTKat did offer several times to stop off at a pub, but I declined.  Even a little stop for a fizzy water would have meant that I didn't want to get back on my bike again, my butt was really rather battered by the potholes in the roads.  2 pints of squash later after we got in and I felt a lot better!  Nice little 19.7 miles of cycling felt good.

    1550kcals of exercise earned a lot of extra eating today, but I've only had half of them so I can claw back the little oops on Thursday night and be on track for the week.  I had a lovely frappuccino after lunch, made with a really good quality chocolate ice-cream (dark chocolate, milk, cream, egg yolk and sugar), milk, ice-cubes, a bit of coffee and fruit compote.  Deeelicious and creamy! And made me fall asleep right afterwards so I slept through the end of the F1 qualifying and the interviews afterwards.  Later this evening we had a fabulous salad: chicken breast, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, baby new potatoes and mayonnaise.  625kcals of heaven!  (all layered up here, so you can't really see much bacon or tomato)

    B - greek yogurt with 1 scoop MP Max, Yeo Valley fruit compote, Dorset Cereals muesli
    S - 1 scoop MP Max in semi-skimmed milk
    L - ham, Philadelphia Extra Light and lettuce on granary bread
    S - frappuccino; chocolate ice-cream, coffee, Yeo Valley fruit compote, semi-skimmed milk, ice
    D - salad; lettuce, tomato, new potatoes, bacon, avocado, chicken and mayonnaise

    Calories (kcal)
    [kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
    Protein (g) 159.4 (34.5%)
    Carbohydrate (g) 165.4 (33.5%)
    Fat (g) 65.8 (32%)
    Fibre (g) 16.5
    Fruit & Veg 5.8

    Friday 9 July 2010

    Slight diversion

    Wednesday was good.  I had another go at my current weights routine as my trainer needed to reschedule but I wasn't properly recovered from the bad-ass negatives I've been doing.  Another prawn dinner, only this time I put in 1.5 chillies as the 1/2 chilli I had last time wasn't enough.  Heh.  *sweat* *pant*  ohyes it was good :o)

    Exercise - 54 minutes gymming
    Calories (kcal)
    [kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
    Protein (g) 133.7 (32.7%)
    Carbohydrate (g) 176.8 (40.6%)
    Fat (g) 48.5 (26.7%)
    Fibre (g) 33.8
    Fruit & Veg 16.8

    Thursday was a rest day and dinner out.  I had sparkling water in the pub before dinner, then a nice Bellini and some wine during dinner.  2 bottle between 4 of us and I didn't keep up with the boys, so I definitely had less than 1/2 a bottle through the meal.  However, this morning... hangover.  Not headachey, just really tired, a bit sick-feeling and constantly hungry.  *sigh*  Dinner was really nice though.  I had beef tartare with toasted bits of bread to start (see! looks gorgeous, doesn't it?) and Sea Bream with chicory and fennel for my main course.  No dessert and still not too badly over maintenance kcals for the day.  And a quite impressive protein grammage for a non-exercise day too!

    Calories (kcal)
    [kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
    Protein (g) 155.2 (31.2%)
    Carbohydrate (g) 144.2 (27.1%)
    Fat (g) 66.7 (30.1%)
    Fibre (g) 22.1
    Fruit & Veg 12.1

    Tuesday 6 July 2010

    A little extra effort

    Today is another good day for keeping it real and hauling ass into exercising.  Though I love going to the gym, I'm not so enamoured of functional swimming.  As I did weights yesterday, however, it had to be a swim or a run today and it's way too hot for me to run any time after about 8am, so swim it was.  Intervals make it a little bit less boring and as I'm stronger, I'm feeling stronger in the water too.  It's not translating into extra speed though as it does require more than just the bare strength itself so this is where the intervals come into it.  And then, once I've done the Nokia Thames Swim, I'll dial in some proper structured sets, e.g. of 8x200m with 20s rest in between sets at a pace of 01:45 per 100m (i.e. 18s lengths - which is pretty achievable given that my 200m time trial time is 03:15 or so).

    Dinner tonight was a really nice one... take one chicken breast (125-150g), lay it on some kitchen foil enough to wrap comfortably and loosely with some to spare.  Smear cream cheese on one side really really thickly (30g).  Grind some black pepper onto the cheese and press chorizo slices (x3) onto the cheese.  Wrap the whole lot up in the foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 190C for 15 minutes then 150C for 15 minutes.  Serve on a bed of mashed butternut squash.  NOM!

    The cheese goes soft, mixes a bit with the chicken and chorizo juices, so make sure you pour that liquid over the top as it's really flavoursome.  That little bit of extra effort with tonight's dinner was really worth it.  I'm glad I bothered :o)  Really nice flavour and I'm feeling nicely full and almost clean too! (though the cream cheese is a bit on the processed side as it's an extra low fat one with added thickeners)

    Nutritional info (including 400g butternut squash):-
    Calories (kcal)339
    Carbohydrate (g)29.3
    Protein (g)41.5
    Fat (g)6.8
    Fibre (g)5.5
    Fruit & Veg4.4

    B - greek yogurt with 1 scoop MP Max, Yeo Valley fruit compote and flaked almonds
    S - strawberries with greek yogurt and a small squirt of agave nectar
    S - 1 scoop MP Max in skimmed milk
    L - lettuce, celery, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, sweet pepper and a chicken breast
    S - mango and single cream
    S - Frijolemole with carrots
    D - chicken stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in chorizo, with butternut squash mash

    Exercise - 33 minutes swimming (315kcals before background tax)

    Calories (kcal)
    [kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
    Protein (g) 152.5 (42.1%)
    Carbohydrate (g) 141.4 (36.6%)
    Fat (g) 34.1 (21.2%)
    Fibre (g) 23.5
    Fruit & Veg 16.5

    Weight Loss: How to do it!

    I'm currently featured as a weight loss "success story" on the Weight Loss Resources web site.  And as a result of that I've had a few questions, mostly around "how did you do it?"  and "I've tried and tried and I can't seem to get the weight to come off and stay off, how did you manage it?".   So I wrote a little piece on it.  (It's a permanent article for reference in the articles section down the side for future reference.)

    This is pretty much how I did it...

    It's both very simple and really difficult at the same time.  The real keys are brutal honesty with yourself and planning.  The final bit is maintenance; the changes you make to lose weight must be sustainable as you will need to hang on to those changes to keep the weight off forever.
    • Logging - very very very important that you brutally honestly log absolutely everything that passes your lips, having weighed it to be certain of how much you've had.  That last couple of spoons of yogurt from the kids' dessert at dinner -does- count; that bite out of your best friend's hot-dog while you're out at the cinema -does- count; but it is -so- easy to forget that you had them, forget to log them and then wonder why the numbers seem to add up but the weight loss isn't happening.  It is a well known phenomenon that people almost never log everything they eat, not because they want to lie or cheat, but because they actually do forget things because their brain doesn't see it as important at the time.  So, if you're out and about and don't have access to your online logging resource (in my case Weight Loss Resources - WLR), keep a notebook, write things down and then enter them into WLR when you can. And weigh everything. Portion sizes do matter.  Seriously, take a look here.
    • Exercise - can make it harder to be sure of staying inside your allowance; the calorific value of food is a reasonable guess, based on burning food to see how much heat it gives off.  Not exactly the same way your body processes it, but near enough for an estimate.  The same is true for exercise; the effort required for two different people of the same size, weight, height and age may differ based on so many other factors.  The estimates in WLR for exercise are quite variable and if you want to be closer to a more accurate estimate, invest in a heart rate monitor if you can.  But -do- exercise as it will help to maintain your existing muscles while you're losing weight; it's no good losing lots of weight that's muscle as you won't get any definition in your shape and it's less "good" for you to be losing weight through muscle loss than fat loss.
    • Snack.  Regularly.  Seriously.  If you don't allow yourself to get hungry during the day, by eating little and often, you end up eating less overall to feel satisfied and lower the likelihood of splurging.  Or to put it another way, if you leave it too long between meals you will most likely eat bigger portions and with less careful choice in those meals.
    • Planning - Plan your food and exercise at least a day in advance, if not for the week.  If you plan, it's harder to have little "oops" moments and you can plan in for treats to keep you from straying too far off the path or help you make informed choices when spontaneous things happen.
    • Eat enough - It can be worth trying for a slower pace of weight loss as you may not be getting enough energy to keep your metabolism working properly.  Many people have switched from 2 or 1.5lb loss rates to 1lb loss rate and suddenly the weight starts coming off properly.  It varies a lot from person to person and giving it a go for a few weeks is really the only way to find out what will work for you.
    • Have a "down" day/week every now and then.  I was lucky that I never really needed to do this, but very many people find that their bodies are clever and cotton on to the fact that they're getting less food/more exercise and adjust your metabolism to deal with the reduced intake vs. output.  Keeping your body guessing (but do stay on or under maintenance kcals) can help break out of that learning behaviour and kick your metabolism back to where it should be.  If you're doing heavy exercise 3/4 times a week, maybe take a week off from it every 10-12 weeks.  Or plan in a "cheat" day every week or fortnight where you do eat up to or even a bit over maintenance kcals rather than sticking to loss. 
    • Weigh everything.  Unless you have the most amazingly accurate estimating skills, your portion sizes WILL drift.  And usually upwards.  It will start to add up to a few more kcals every day than you're logging and again you'll wonder why the kcals seem to add up but the weight loss isn't doing.  In effect, you're kidding yourself.  Stop it.
      • Don't rely on the scales for the measure of success.  Take body measurements periodically, maybe once a month, and keep track of that as well as weight.  You may find there are times when the scales don't shift, but your body changes shape and you lose a few cm around bits of yourself.
      • Patience - with yourself and with the people who will try to, knowingly or not, sabotage your hard work.  You are only human; you will have off days and that's OK.  Just as long as they're not every day ;o)  And other people may not understand what you are trying to do, how or why and they can in a well-meaning way end up trying to sabotage your efforts by offering you food, tempting you out of exercise or saying "oh come on, you're not fat!".  It's down to you how you deal with it; I wasn't very good at that part, to be honest, I just hid and didn't go out!

      There -will- be hard times; I remember many many tantrums and fits of tears during my main weight loss period.  The forums on WLR can really help with that and with advice and support when the going gets tough or you have questions.

      So remember... plan,  Log EVERYTHING and be honest with yourself.  Losing weight isn't rocket science but it isn't easy either.  You can do it.  You will get there.  But you have to really want to change your lifestyle and keep it changed for life.

      Monday 5 July 2010


      Good gym today.  I upped the reps on my clean and press to 3x12 with the 25kg bar-bell, which was pleasing for my final run through that routine.  I wanted to get to 3x8 with 30kg but I've just missed that target I think.  Not down about it at all though, I've made some great progress with this routine and it's time for a new one.

      Favourite home-alone dinner tonight, even though I'm not home alone :o)  I'm trying to shift a bit more fat %, get it down a bit lower so I'm on a lower calorie intake drive for a little bit and that means Prawnychilligarliclimething!  It does exactly what it says on the tin; it's strongly flavoured, packed full of great nutrition, is wonderfully filling and warming, and takes almost no time at all to make.

      God, I love this stuff and I love it with enough chilli to make my nose run and my eyes water and make me a bit sweaty :o)  So, here's the recipe... (serves 1):
      • 200g large, cooked, peeled prawns
      • 50g dry couscous
      • 5ml good olive oil
      • 1 decent chilli, with the seeds
      • 300g-350g fresh plum tomatoes
      • 45ml lime juice
      • 2-3 large cloves of garlic
      Finely chop the chilli pepper, peel and crush garlic and add both to the heated oil in a non-stick pan.

      While that's fizzling, chop the tomatoes into small chunks then add those to the pan with a little bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a sizzling point, add the lime juice and bring to a fierce bubble. Leave bubbling for 7-10 minutes, then add the prawns for another 4-5 minutes until the prawns are well heated through and the tomato mix has gone very soft. Serve with the couscous (cooked as per instructions on the packet - I usually sit 50g of couscous with a bit of seasoning in 120ml boiling water with a plate covering it for about 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork).

      Calories (kcal)433.5
      Carbohydrate (g)52.8
      Protein (g)38.3
      Fat (g)7.8
      Fibre (g)6.1
      Fruit & Veg4.8

      And today went like this:-

      B - greek yogurt with fruit compote, flaked almonds and 1 scoop MP Max
      S - banana
      S - 1 scoop MP Max in skimmed milk
      L -chicken salad with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, celery, sweet pepper and roasted chicken breast
      S - Frijomole (cannelini beans and chick peas mushed with chilli, coriander and mayonnaise) with Ryvita Thins
      S - Fruit, nut and seed bar
      D - Prawnychilligarliclimething with couscous

      Exercise - 60 minutes gym (573kcals before background tax)

      Calories (kcal)
      [kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
      Protein (g) 147.3 (38.2%)
      Carbohydrate (g) 157.2 (38.2%)
      Fat (g) 40.6 (23.7%)
      Fibre (g) 21.0
      Fruit & Veg 11.0

      Saturday 3 July 2010

      Think I'm back on track

      Lovely gym on Friday.  I did try to use the 30kg bar-bell for my clean and press now that I'm nearly comfortably doing 10x3 with 25kg but, well, it didn't work very well.  Not even one :oD  Maybe Monday!

      Today I had a reasonable cardio/intervals session with a teensy bit of core work, plus having a go at pull-ups on the easier (where I can get my hands closer together) apparatus and if I jump into it a bit so I'm not starting from completely hanging down, I can actually do it.  Nearly there!

      Nice foodz and dinner on its way:- rose veal escalope in garlic and lemon sauce with roasted sweet potato wedges and mushrooms.

      Rest day tomorrow I think; my shoulders are saying Hello! quite a bit still from yesterday.  Hope youse are all having a great weekend, lots of (interesting) sport on now with Wimbledon and Le Tour :o)  Who's following and who do you want to win?  I'm rooting for Bradders (Wiggins) for sure!

      Thursday 1 July 2010

      Long weekend

      Not honestly feeling up to a long post, but we'll see how it goes.

      We started off on Friday afternoon going for lunch at a surprisingly great restaurant in Victoria called Bumbles where I ordered steak with mushrooms and cauliflower for lunch, after a smoked salmon starter which was so cute and sweet but I forgot to take a photo.  Given that we'd be having sarnies for dinner on the plane, I thought it was best to get something solid down me for lunch.  And ohboy was it lovely!  It wasn't huge.  It wasn't cooked in lots of fat.  It was cooked exactly as I'd asked; blue :o)  And it tasted absolutely lovely!   We shared a bottle of wine (of which I had about 2/5ths) and that's where I think the weekend started to go wrong...

      One of the things we'd been wondering about, since I booked this weekend away, was how rich people get to Valencia.  Only EasyJet seem to fly there from anywhere sensible in the UK and they have just one class on their flights.  We'll our question was answered on the flight out as in the "speedy boarding" queue was one Eddie Jordan.  So.  They fly EasyJet too.

      Fast forward... taxi from Valencia airport to the hotel along the scrubby marshland strip that seems to define the boundary between the older part of the city and the new, re-developed part and the port and marina.  Swift glass or two of beer in the bar, shared a toasted sandwich and off to bed.

      Saturday we walked to the Marina to the VIP terrace, which was -amazing-.  Right on the chicane, on a rooftop with awnings, 6 bars, lots of different seating areas etc.  Bar and food open from 11am to 6pm Friday to Sunday.  Saturday, we hid under the awnings from the sun, watched some cars go around (with ear-plugs in 'cause it's f'ing loud!) for free practice, GP2, GP3 and Porsche Cup, drank lots of wine and water and ate lots of nibbles.  Went back to the hotel for a nap at around 4pm and woke up at 7pm!  The guide book had some recommendations for dinner so we walked down to the amazing new developments of the Oceanographic (aquarium) and Science and Arts Park...

      There was apparently the nicest bar in Valencia under one of the walkways, but we couldn't find it.  Then we hunted down the restaurant in the aquarium after a lot more walking than I'd bargained for (and as such was wearing utterly inappropriate shoes), but... despite both the guide book and the city guide published for the Grand Prix this year saying the restaurant in there was open for dinner we were shooed away by a security guard who said the place was all closed.

      Thankfully there was a backup plan of an Italian place back across the bridge, near the hotel and that was open and nice and had people who were lovely working there.  I had a lovely, tiny but rich, portion of ravioli with mushrooms and truffles in a cream sauce which filled me right up.  Then, as the guide book said the place we renowned for its desserts, we had to have one and I had the lightest, darkest, tangiest chocolate mousse ever.

      (Parade lap of all of the drivers on the F1 bus)

      Sunday we walked back to the terrace and started again.  Watched and listened to the cars go 'round, drank and ate the nibbles and stayed until 6pm when the lounge party closed.  Then back to the hotel for a little nap before we'd planned to go back to the terrace for the night party.  However, we woke up at around 9.30pm and I felt -awful-.  Absolutely dreadful.  Both instantly drunk and hung-over at the same time.  So we hauled our dressed-up asses down in the hotel lift and across the road to the restaurant there, where the menu was incredibly badly translated and despite some lovely bread nibbles the food was horrible and vastly over-priced, and the staff were almost horrified that we only wanted water to drink.  45 minutes after heading out, we were back in the hotel, crashing into bed.

      Mr TOTKat had intended to buy me lunch at a lovely restaurant in one of the new hotels on the Monday, but despite being told it opened at 2pm when we went back to the hotel at 2pm we were then told it was closed on Mondays.  *sigh*  So we headed into the old part of the city to find another place in the guide book which was -also closed-!  At this point we'd had enough, so headed into the nearest cafe and had a really nice lunch.  To be honest, it was probably a good thing that the nice restaurant in the hotel was closed as I was feeling pretty horrible still/again and needed a couple of hours of sitting quietly in the shade, sipping water and moaning a bit to get anywhere near the point I felt able to do anything.

      On the flight back we were as lucky as on the way out and got exit row seats, then co-incided with lots of handy transport options culminating in getting the last tram from East Croydon back home.

      Not feeling great

      Will attempt a proper update later.  Yesterday I gymmed after the 5 day long weekend off and it was tough.  Given how I feel today, I don't think I'd recoverd from whatever happened on Sunday that made me feel terrible.  It was alcohol related but given that I did exactly the same thing on Saturday and felt fine...  I hit the weights with the same intensity as my last routine last Wednesday and it was horrible, but I managed the whole routine, including the intervals at the end.

      Maybe more later with weekend photos.  Rest day today.