Janathon Day 20 – powered by CherryActive Concentrate and baby penguins

Did you know The Montmorency cherry has been discovered to be a rich source of powerful antioxidants and flavonoids which promote a host of health and recovery benefits including healthy joint function, normal uric acid levels, a healthy cardiovascular system, regular sleep patterns, and muscular strength & recovery? No, nor me (I don’t know what uric acid levels – normal or otherwise – are either).


Still, it all sounds like a good thing, so I gave some CherryActive Concentrate a go. It contains 100% cherry juice (over 3,000 cherries in a bottle – that’s a lot of cherries), so no preservatives, flavourings, sugars or colours and stuff.

Because it’s a concentrate, you don’t need much – a 30ml serving provides one of your five a day. I originally tried some in water but I didn’t like it. It was sour and bitter – maybe I used too much, but I tried it again in a banana and blueberry smoothie and it worked well.

It worked so well in aiding muscular strength and recovery, I’ve got the beginning of a bicep. That could, of course, just be the effects of doing body pump every other day during January. Who knows – body pump, or magic cherries?

If you’d like to buy some CherryActive Concentrate, you can order it online from the link above, or from Holland & Barrett.

After drinking this morning’s smoothie, I went to the gym. My Monday mornings are usually reserved for hangovers and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the inside of the gym on a Monday morning before but because I haven’t had a drink for a few weeks (don’t worry, I haven’t gone tee-total or doing that stupid ‘I’m-an-alcoholic-please-sponsor-me’ dryathlon thing; I’ve just had other things to do and find hangovers not particularly conducive to a) getting out of bed for long bike rides; or b) getting assignments done on time), I was up bright and early and raring to go(ish).

The gym was flipping packed. I’ve never seen it so busy. All three treadmills were in use, as were both rowing machines, so I had to start my workout on the cross-trainer (my usual routine is rowing machine, then the cross-trainer and I was mightily miffed at having to do them back to front). When I’d finished on the cross-trainer though, the rowing machines were still being used. I tried standing there staring at the people on them but that didn’t work so I got on the stationary bike and kept turning round to see if the rowing machines had become free and after five minutes, yay, one became empty so I got off the stationary bike and did some rowing.

Oh and by the way, today is Penguin Awareness Day, so here’s a baby penguin for you.


Janathon day 4 – a haiku and humiliation

Here’s a stationary bike haiku for you:


Stationary bike
Why are you so crap? Station-
ary bike, you git.

Before I’d got on the stationary bike, I’d been happily cross-training on the cross-trainer when Mr Coach Driver Man decided to park his coach outside the window a foot or so from my face. Nope, 50 people staring through the window at me while I’m on the cross-trainer wasn’t embarrassing at all, oh no.


In case I haven’t humiliated myself enough yet today, here’s a photo of me planking in my PJs to make up for the penguin onesie plank I did wrong.


Model (ahem) wears:

Grey and pink soft brushed cotton pyjamas by DKNY (cheap from TK Maxx)

Slippers by Tesco

Cabinet by Ebay

Vase by Homebase

Floor by don’t know, ask Shaun

Hair by Toni & Guy about 2 years ago and needs a bit of a trim

My deputy HelsBels has lined up a prize for the best plank (hopefully more prizes will be arranged so we can have prizes for different categories), so keep posting them on your blogs, Twitter and on Facebook. We want them all – in your pyjamas, in your onesies, or just blatant exhibitionism, it’s all good.

Janathon 2014 Day 2 – unfit for purpose

Slightly misleading title; my main purpose in life at the mo is to finish the final year of my degree and as students are known for being idle layabouts, I’m allowed to be as unfit as I jolly well like.

Still, after I looked at SportTracks yesterday and saw I’d only exercised on ONE day in December (Tuesday the 17th, when I did 40 minutes at the gym, if you really want to know), I thought it was probably time I got back down the gym. I don’t usually sweat much at the gym (unless I’m on the treadmill) and thought that was down to me not putting much effort in but today I was a right old Sweaty Betty after just a few minutes on the cross-trainer at minimal effort, so I’m putting that down to unfitness.


Anyway, tomorrow, I’m going to let YOU decide what I do. You can choose from:

Run (minimum 3 miles but I haven’t run for weeks so it’ll probably be more of a walk but I promise to get out there even if it’s raining)

Bike (minimum 10 miles but if it’s raining I’ll do it in the gym instead and believe me, I really don’t want to do 10 miles on a stationary bike)

Body Pump DVD at home (I promise to do the full hour and not skip the bits I don’t like; I’ll even do the stretching bit at the end)

Gym (30 minutes rowing machine, 30 minutes cross-trainer)

Okay, over to you! Let me know what you want me to do and I’ll see which has the most votes in the morning.

Plan A, Plan B, Plan… oh forget it…

I’m off to Amsterdam on Friday and haven’t done a thing about it yet apart from buy the plane tickets and book a hotel (which is very grown up for me – I usually just turn up there then look for somewhere to stay). For some reason, I like to buy new clothes if I’m going away, even if it’s only for a couple of days.

So, today I had planned to sod the exercise and go into town and do stuff like take back some books to the library, get my hair cut, buy some clothes, toiletries and make-up and get some Euros from the Post Office (grown up holiday thing no. 2).

But it was raining. I got up at about 7:30am and it was still raining at 9:30am and so I thought sod it, I’ll go into town tomorrow instead and today I’ll do some exercise at home then crack on with my playwriting essay.

Hmm. That was the plan, anyway. What actually happened was that yes, I did start exercising at home along to Erin O’Brien’s Strong Body Fit Body DVD that I enjoyed last week or the week before or whenever it was I used it but today, I really couldn’t be bothered with it and so I sacked it off after thirty minutes.

Back upstairs to work really hard on my essay then. Yeah, right. What actually happened was that I decided to do two lots of washing, make a red bean, cashew and spinach curry for dinner and then it was lunchtime so I made some mushroom and lentil soup. After logging my meals into myfitnesspal, I was over calories for the day so after lunch (okay… two hours after finishing my lunch and finishing dicking around on the internet and not doing my essay) I did a rare thing – I got changed and went to the gym. Yeah, in the afternoon and everything.

Ouch, that was hard. I was bloated from lunch and it took forty minutes of exercise to stop feeling like a lead balloon. After I’d finished, I had a look at the classes on offer. As it’s a tiny gym, they don’t have many and the only thing I’d possibly do is circuit training but then I thought, maybe in Juneathon, I’ll force myself to do some of these classes. But not Zumba. There is NOTHING in this world that would make me do Zumba. Just the thought of it terrifies me.

Speaking of Juneathon – it’s only a couple of months away – yippee!

The essential piece of January running kit

A t-shirt was delivered yesterday. Two t-shirts, in fact. And not just any t-shirts but Janathon t-shirts, yay!

Ideally, I’d have had them sorted way before Janathon started, so I could buy one and check the quality before letting you all know they were available. But because Cafe Press took an absolute age to approve the design (72 hours? Pah!), I didn’t get the chance.

But, I am 100% DELIGHTED with these t-shirts. I was worried that they’d be that cheapy, thick cotton that’s uncomfortable to wear but these are gorgeous. They fit beautifully, the cotton is just the right thickness and weight and I proudly wore mine to the gym this morning.


This is a normal cotton t-shirt but performance dry ones are also available (along with lots of other styles, like the baseball top below).

janathon 019 

If I’d have thought about it, I’d have saved wearing it until tomorrow when I’ll be doing my first Parkrun but I’m going to do a white wash today especially and hope it dries in time.

T-shirts, hoodies, bags, mugs, dog t-shirts, slankets, stickers, badges and all sorts of stuff are available in the Janathon Cafe Press shop.

If you’ve bought a t-shirt, I’d love to see a photo on your blog of you modelling it!

Rowing machine: 20 minutes
Cross-trainer: 20 minutes
Treadmill: 10 minutes
Stationary bike: 10 minutes
Janathon t-shirts: 2

Janathon Day 8: The first week of jogging, slogging and blogging is over!

I set my alarm for 7. I woke up at 8:30. Damn, there was my plan of getting up early and getting out for a run by 8 scuppered. And it meant I’d lost 90 minutes of my day but then I thought, if I spend 90 minutes fewer on Facebook and Twitter, that means I’ve clawed back those 90 minutes, hooray!

I decided running could wait until tomorrow though, when I WILL get up at 7am and go for a run and this morning I went to the gym instead.

My gym isn’t very far away and my running-to-the-gym PB is currently 2:42 and today I thought I’d try and beat my PB and, wahoo, I SMASHED IT, I AM BADASS, I NAILED IT, I TOTALLY OWNED IT, I BLEW IT OUT OF THE PARK*, etc. with a new running-to-the-gym PB of 2:36.

Then I did some gym stuff like go on the rowing machine and cross-trainer and, to finish off, I did 20 minutes of the Audiofuel turbo trainer track (that I reviewed here) instead of the treadmill as I’m just a crazy, reckless, carefree, spontaneous kind of girl who likes to mix it up, as The Damned would say (if they were singing the wrong words).

So, now we’re into the second week of Janathon – well done everyone keep up the good work!

Run: 0.28 miles
Rowing machine: 20 minutes
Cross-trainer: 20 minutes
Stationary bike: 20 minutes
Minutes spent in bed ignoring the alarm: 90
Minutes of the day clawed back by not going on Facebook or Twitter: 90

*If I EVER use phrases like that on my blog again, please feel free to ask for my address so you can come round and give me a slap.

Audiofuel Powerblast: Turbo Training


The stationary bike is what I hate most in the gym. It’s rare for me to go on it, I usually stick to the rowing machine and the cross-trainer. I do like spin classes though and so I thought, how can I make the stationary bike more fun? And then I thought, I know, I bet Audiofuel’s bike tracks will make it fun and so today I took the Audiofuel Powerblast session to the gym with me to try out.


Audiofuel’s bike sessions are designed for use with a turbo trainer or spin bike (not to be used outside on the road). I have no access to a spin bike at my current gym but I thought it’d be fine on a normal stationary bike. And fine it was. This track goes on for an hour – I thought how the hell am I going to stay on a stationary bike for an hour without dying of boredom? But then I thought, ho hum, I’ll just stay on until I get bored. There was no boredom. It was all fun. In fact, it was absolutely great – Sean (founder of Audiofuel who does the coaching on the track) talks you through what you’ll be doing and tells you what cadence (RPM) to ride at (80rpm in the recovery bits and 95rpm in the speedy up bits).

Sean also tells you what gear to put it in, saying things like big back cog and little cog. Proper cyclists will probably understand this, I just changed the resistance on the bike according to how I felt (mostly by cruising on the recovery bits and making myself work harder by upping the resistance on the sprint bits).

It’s like a spin class but without an annoying instructor trying to make you wave your arms in the air or getting off her bike and ramping up the resistance on yours to full as she thinks you’re slacking.

The impossible has been made possible. Stationary bikes can be fun.

Audiofuel’s Powerblast is available on the Audiofuel website along with other tracks for the turbo trainer or spin bike, including ones coached by Chrissie Wellington (Ironman champion and spit of FitArtist).

p.s. Still plenty of time to sign up for Janathon!