Workout To The Beet

Did you watch Food Unwrapped last night? The girl with the bad hair (okay, so I’m not going to be offered a part in a Timotei advert any time soon, but I wish she’d sort that bale of hay on top of her head out; it’s worse than that restaurant critic woman on Masterchef’s hair) checked out the benefits of beetroot by checking out the muscles on some rugby types and also by having her stamina checked on a stationary bike – once with having beetroot before and once without. The results showed she had far more energy after having the beetroot and so I put it to my own scientific test this morning by having some beetroot juice (I would have gone for the checking-out- the-muscley-rugby-types method but, alas, we were all out of those and, to be honest, rugby players just don’t do it for me anyway).

No, it's not vodka and cranberry juice.

No, it’s not vodka and cranberry juice.

This juice is made of 2 apples, 1 beetroot, 2 carrots, 3 celery sticks, 1/2 a cucumber and 1″ ginger and it really energised me. It energised me so much I lifted heavier weights while doing body pump this morning, despite me not having done any strength-training for weeks, if not months (if you don’t count the 20 minutes of kettlebells I did the other day).

Beetroot works!

10 Minute Solution–Kettlebell Ultimate Fat Burner


Here’s a curious thing. A DVD that clearly says ‘Kettlebell’ in the title, has a girl holding what is definitely a kettlebell (although it’s so small, it’s more of a travel kettlebell), but doesn’t actually contain any kettlebell work outs.  Oddness, indeed.

Still, utter misleadingness aside, I do like the 10 Minute Solution Kettlebell Ultimate Fat Burner DVD. Although the instructor uses dumbbells throughout, she does say you can use a kettlebell – I own both dumbbells and kettlebells but some of the exercises are definitely more comfortable using dumbbells.

The DVD contains 5 x 10 minute workouts (maximum fat burner, upper body power sculpt, thigh & buns blaster, total body sculpt, and accelerated ab toner) – so it’s great if you want a quick blast if you’re pushed for time/can’t really be arsed to do anything, but it also means the more hardcore amongst us can do the whole 50 minutes.

I haven’t been hardcore enough to do the whole 50 minutes yet but I’ve done a couple of 10 minute workouts (which include a warm-up and cool down) and definitely felt it afterwards.


Janathon Day 23: Multi-tasking

Thought I’d stick my PC Fitness DVD on today and do some weights. Couldn’t be arsed with all that step touch/march/kick step warm up rubbish though so emptied the cat litter tray during that bit and put stuff to be recycled in the recycling bags during the rest bits and did general faffing about in the stretch bits at the end. I did the weights bits in between all the cat litter tray emptying/recycling/faffing bits though, honest.

And I’ll be doing my uni cycling commute in a bit, too. (That’s a commute to the station, not a commute on a unicycle.)

Weights DVD: 15 minutes
Cat litter trays emptied: 1
Stuff put in recycling bags: Some
Faffing: A bit
Cycling: 6 miles

Janathon Day 14: Almost cheated

I cycled to the station in the snow. I cycled back from the station in the rain. Would this count as Janathon, I wondered. A little voice in my head nagged at me, no it bloody doesn’t count, you know the rules. Janathon exercise is extra exercise, not something you’d do anyway. So, I listened to the little voice and when I got in, I did 15 minutes of weights in the conservatory with the lights off, in case next door saw me exercising in the cow socks and penguin pajama bottoms I’d got changed into.

Cycling in the snow: 3 miles
Cycling in the rain: 3 miles
Weights DVD: 15 minutes
Pairs of cow socks: 1
Pairs of penguin pajama bottoms: 1

Weigh too tired for weights

Terrible pun, sorry.

I had planned to do an hour of weights today and put the PC Fitness DVD on and told it I wanted 30 minutes upper body strength but after five minutes I was knackered. I was so knackered, I thought I’d just do 15 minutes and I lightened the weights and lightened them again and I was still knackered but then I thought I won’t wimp out after 15 minutes but I will do 30 minutes and although 30 minutes is half what I had originally planned to do it’s still twice as much as I was going to do when I wanted to wimp out and so it’s not really wimping out, is it?

Upper body weights: 30 minutes
Lower body weights: 0 minutes
Terrible puns: 1

A sore bum and a Janathon run

I had a sore bum this morning. That lower body weights session I did yesterday must have worked. But Janathon doesn’t take sore bums as an excuse for slacking, so I had to go and do my run today. I pulled out a short sleeve t-shirt, then asked iliketocount if it was cold outside and he said no, but he’d be wearing long sleeves, short sleeves, tights, shorts, a hat and gloves because he wanted to burn his cold out. I see… that’s how to cure a cold, is it? It won’t surprise you to learn (and you’ll be pleased to hear), he’s not in the medical industry.

My run was uneventful. I saw some dog walkers and that was about it really. And now that I’ve Janathoned and showered and hair washed and lunched and blogged and dicked about on Facebook and Twitter, I have to write 1000 words on the difference between radio and stage. Travelling Hopefully helpfully said on Twitter: “One you can see stuff, the other is just in your ears. Job done.” This, from a girl with a first class degree. Almost as bad as iliketocount’s medical advice.

One thing I keep forgetting to say on here is that, in the spirit of Janathon, I’ve set myself some mini-challenges. They are very mini and you’ll probably wonder why I’m even calling them challenges, but I am set in my ways and so they are challenges to me.

1. I always run in the morning after I get up. I can’t stand the thought of putting on normal clothes, then changing into running gear, then changing back again. I can’t be bothered changing clothes all the time, hence the comment ‘you’re early’ from iliketocount on New Year’s Eve when I got up and put on the dress I was going to wear that evening. So, this Janathon, I’m going to do a run in the afternoon and a run in the evening. I reserve the right to either a) stay in my dressing gown until the afternoon/evening; or b) run in my normal clothes.

2. Cycle four miles down to the woods for a run.

3. Do a trail run (not really a challenge but not something I do often in the winter).

Anyone else got any mini-challenges?

Janathon Day 4: Cut short by a chainsaw

A run had been planned for today but then I remembered it was Saturday tomorrow (damn you Christmas and your I-know-what-day-of-the-week-it-is gene remover) and Saturday is traditionally my long run day, even if my long run is only about a mile and a half.

So, I decided to do some weights instead using my PC Fitness DVD. I wish I had remembered that, because I can exercise in the smiley room now with its high ceiling, I was going to finally use my Strong Body, Fit Body DVD that I bought a while back but haven’t been able to use yet as some of it involves jumping and in an 18th Century ex-bakery with ceilings made for munchkins, jumping isn’t a good idea.

But, because I had decided to do my PC Fitness DVD, that’s what I had to stick to and so I did half an hour of upper body strength, then half an hour of lower body strength. When I was half way through the lower body strength bit, I could see the fence next door moving. Then I saw the tree behind the fence next door moving. Then I heard a chainsaw. Then I saw the top of someone’s head and I thought pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease don’t look over the fence and see me exercise, I will die of embarrassment and I had 14 minutes left and I thought, well, what’s the worst that can happen? The man next door will see me exercise and maybe tell his wife and she’ll think so what? and then I remember I don’t think his wife’s there anymore and so maybe he’ll tell his big barky dog but I don’t think his big barky dog’s there anymore and he can’t tell anyone over the pub because he barred himself from there and he can’t tell the people in the Chinese takeaway because he’s banned from there and then I thought oh no, he’ll tell the postman and then I thought so what? I’m sure the postie has seen worse things than someone exercising and anyway, the postie has seen me out running and knows I go to the gym and has had the door opened to him when I’ve been in my gym gear and then I’ve run out of people the man next door might tell who might laugh and point at me in the street and so I carry on doing my squats and lunges and stuff and he carries on doing things with a chainsaw.

Low ceilings made for munchkins: lots
Ceilings high enough to do jumping around bits: 1
Next door neighbours with chainsaws: 1
Next door neighbour’s wives: 0
Next door neighbour’s dogs: 0
Places next door neighbour is banned from: Most of them
Upper body strength: 30 minutes
Lower body strength: 30 minutes

RUNSportsShoes event, Brighton, 14 September 2012

Outside the pub opposite Preston Park station is a sign that says ‘don’t walk past, pop in’. Tempting, but I was on my way to pretend to be sporty and athletic, and alcohol wasn’t on the day’s agenda.

The venue for the RUNSportsShoes event was the Preston Park Velodrome in Brighton and as I was wondering if I was in the right place, I spotted a black van with SAUCONY written on the side in giant red letters. Aha! I thought, mustering up my finely honed detective skills, this must be it. I went over and was greeted by the organiser – Sophie, the PR from Propellernet, and the SportsShoes team.

A run was on the itinerary, but I thought the rest of the day would be us being given advice, followed by lunch, followed by a talk, followed by a BBQ. Oh no, just after I’d got there and changed into my running gear, Neilon Pitamber – a personal trainer based in Brighton – gave us hands-on strength, gait and agility training advice. 

Here’s me grabbing hold of Lesley’s (who writes the LilB blog) ankle. I was supposed to grab the other one too but she collapsed in a heap before I could.


After the exercises, the Saucony team analysed my gait, declared it neutral and gave me some Saucony Progrid Ride 5 running shoes, then told me off for being pleased they were pink (yeah yeah, I know it’s not all about the colour but a cool colour is a bonus).


Then it was the bit I wasn’t looking forward to – the group run. I’m not a social runner. I love the atmosphere of races, but running with other people? No thanks. Not wanting to look like a killjoy though, I joined the rest of them.


This was a ‘Kin Run’ (Yes, I did ask if they’d left some letters off) which meant that, theoretically, no one gets left behind as whoever’s in front, turns round and goes to the back so everyone gets a go at being in the front (so much for me skulking at the back on my own then, dammit).

Not looking like a killjoy didn’t last long as, more than I hate running with a group, I hate running on grass and the run consisted of running round in circles on the grass*.


So, I sloped off back to the clubhouse, hoping no one noticed I’d gone (I think I got away with it, yay).

After the runners had finished their kin run, they did some stretching that involved laying on top of each other


and group hugging.


Then we had lunch. Vegetarian sandwiches (as well as meat ones) were provided, including the rather random potato salad sandwiches.

After lunch we went back outside to hear a talk from Lucy McCrickard from LGM Nutrition. Before the talk, she’d given us all a questionnaire to fill in where we had to tick on a scale of 1 to 5 questions like ‘I still feel tired 20 minutes after getting up’, ‘I often have energy slumps during the day or after meals’. The ideal target was 16 and after I’d added mine up, it came to 31. Oops. I felt better though when I peeked at Kim’s (who was there to write about the day for Yahoo Lifestyle) score and saw she had 37. Ha! Even more ha! was Lesley’s score of 39.

Lucy talked about our questionnaires and about keeping our blood sugar levels stable, to ward off any sweet cravings or tiredness. At the end of the talk, she gave us all a booklet full of nutrition advice.

As the sun went in, so did we to meet the expert panel of [left to right in the photo] Mike Scholes (Mike only has 15% vision but this hasn’t stopped him getting a marathon PB of 3:18. I went off him though when he said people who race with MP3 players are selfish), David Bradford (who has a marathon PB of 2:38 but doesn’t think he’s fast), Kevin Betts (who ran 52 marathons in 2011 but didn’t enjoy any of them and with 27 of them being run on a treadmill, I’m not surprised) and John Shippey (an ultrarunner – not pictured).



After a fascinating and inspiring insight into their achievements, there was a Q&A. Then we all headed up to Yellow Wave for some volleyballing. Well, some people volleyballed, I sat down with a mug of hot chocolate. I also bailed out of the BBQ and headed off to get my train after what had a been a long, but fun and interesting day.

Thanks to for putting on the event, Saucony for providing the shoes and gait analysis, and Sophie from Propellernet for organising it – I had a great time.

For more about the day, SportsShoes have posted a video that I and others appear in.

*The run didn’t consist solely of running round a tree. So I’m told, anyway. I’d buggered off by then.

PC Fitness–Your Personal Trainer

pc_fitness_DVDI’ve got a new personal trainer. She’s called Maya and lives in my PC. As you know, I love my body pump class at the gym but there’s only one class a week that’s at a time that suits me (first thing Monday morning – no thanks) and I want to do weights on other days of the week too. Weights in the main gym on my own don’t appeal; partly because I’d be too self-conscious to use the free weights in front of everyone (although I know no one actually gives a toss what anyone else is doing) and partly because I wouldn’t know what I was doing, and I get bored doing weights at home. So I got myself a DVD.

The PC Fitness: Your Personal Trainer DVD is cool. It’s not just weights – you can choose your workout from 500 exercises including Pilates, yoga, cardio fitness, flexibility, strength training and weight loss routines. You set up your profile and control the music, setting, length of workout, what days you want to workout and how tough it is. It even has meal plans worked out based on your personal info, although I haven’t used any meal plans yet as it was a bit of a hunt for any vegetarian recipes.

I’m loving this DVD; so far I’ve done Pilates and yoga for the first time (blimey, that was hard), lots of cardio (I’ve finally got star jumps sussed – yay, me), and strength training. If you’re like me and get stuck and can’t follow the routines, there are tutorials to talk you through the moves. Also, you can tell it which equipment you own from a choice of hand weights, stability ball, heart rate monitor and step, and the workout will incorporate these. Although the equipment isn’t necessary, I like buying things, so I bought the Biosync Fitness Set which comes with two hand weights (useless really at 0.5kg each but hey ho), a stability ball, step and resistance band.

I can’t fault this fitness DVD – it’s so much fun. Maya even says good morning to you when you log in and says she missed you if you miss a session. She’s pretty cool for a CGI chick (was almost tempted to say ‘pretty fly for a CGI’ but stopped myself).

One of the best things about it is that you don’t have to leave the house to do your workout. I would advise getting dressed in your running/gym gear though, as it is a proper workout and you will sweat and, as I’ve found out, doing it in jeans and normal bra isn’t a great idea – so get that sports bra on, girls! (I fancy this gorgeous purple one); also wearing some light trainers such as some New Balance Minimus will stop your feet from hurting during the jumping up and down bits.

This DVD can’t be used on your TV, you have to use it on a computer and you do need a bit of space, so I’ve been using it on the laptop in the front room instead of on my main pc in the small room I work in. 

I bought PC Fitness: Your Personal Trainer from Amazon for the bargain price of £3.99 including postage and totally recommend it (although it’s turned me into even more of a hermit doing my exercise indoors instead of going out running, cycling or going to the gym).