The 16 Week Plan

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I literally had a whole different post written to go up today and then I talked to my brother for hours last night and it got thrown into a whole new light and I realised it was kind of bullshit and the fact that I was struggling all day to write the post in the first place should have been a damn sign. So this post is happening instead.

There are now 15 weeks left of the year. I know this because I counted and for some reason I keep seeing a countdown to Christmas on my Twitter and that’s indicating how much time is left of the year. The point is there’s 15 weeks left of the year and I’ve got myself an accidental 16 week plan (because this started last week), which is what this post will now be about.

1) Gain Weight

This was gonna be the post then the more I wrote it the more I realised I was borderline risking falling back into some old habits just for the opposite problem that I’ve had before. I’ve started tracking my food intake again, just so I can have a genuine understanding of my day to day food intake so that I know for sure that I’m hitting a surplus because that’s what I need. Hitting a surplus eating clean(ish) is fucking hard. I didn’t hit what I was supposed to be hitting once last week. Which is sign enough that I need to adapt my approach and go soooo slow and steady instead. It’s easier to do and means that I won’t fall back into some shitty old habits because I don’t actually have to do anything differently for the most part. I have my current weight, I have my goal weight, I know how much I need to gain over a certain period of time (this also came from that conversation that I mentioned earlier). I’m not weighing myself religiously in fact to be honest I’ll probably only do it once a month just as an FYI for myself. I’m not really making any huge changes with this, but I am going to focus it a bit more for the last part of the year.

2) Tweak my skincare

A little. I’ve said it beofre that for teh most part this is under control. And it is. However winter is coming and so some adaptation is needed. The funny art is that I’m adding a regular exfoliator to my skin care routine once a week, as well as a detoxifying something or other. Probably a mask. Just small things to really give my skin the best chance of living its best life. I’m in a really good place with my skin now, but just want it to be tad more.

3) FINISH THE THING

I know that this is an overall goal of mine. However Novemeber is rather terrifyingly fast approaching and that can only mean one thing. Nanowrimo. Which I am kinda of gonna cheat with this year. I have The Thing. I’ve started The Thing. I’m feeling like I’ve got something going with The Thing. And so I’m going for that first draft. It should be roughly 70-80,000 words by the end of it. November especially seems like the best time to wrap that up, so then I have the rest of the year to take a damn break from it.

4) Other Writing Shit

This is ambiguous here, but to me this makes perfect sense.There is some other writing shit that I want to get done.

5) Self Care

I’m not bd at this. I have no choice but to be mostly on top of it. I’ve kind of let if slip a little bit and I’ve noticed the difference in myself My anxiety exists at about 2 usually these days, but the past couple of months it’s been at an 8 and I’ve just kind of stopped using the methods that I learned in therapy and instead have buried my head in the sand. But I need to buckle down with it and get it back under control. I know what I need and should do and I need to get better at doing it again.

And that’s my 16 (15) week plan that will work in conjunction with my other goals for the year (which are mostly under ‘control’). I feel oddly motivated right now for the first time in a while to actually kick my ass into gear and own the next few months.

Parentheses count: 5. See you tomorrow!

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What’s In My Gym Bag?

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For whatever reason I’ve found myself drawn to the idea of doing this post for a while, and well you gotta follow those instincts sometimes.

I workout on the weekends now. I mean I have for months but they used to be afternoon classes, now they’re morning (kinda, Sunday is 12:45). This basically means that I have the rest of day to mooch around and I don’t wanna do that a sweaty, sweaty mess so as such I have acquired myself a weekend gym bag full of all the essentials.

Which is what will now come below:

Body Wash – Let’s just start with the basics. I am currently all about foaming body washes because they require less product, I don’t have to worry about them lathering properly and they work just fine with just my hands. I used to use a Nivea one, but my current one is a Dove one with argan oil and all that good stuff in it and that has quickly become my favourite. The only issue I have with these is that if for whatever I somehow drop them on the shower floor then the whole canister is fucked if it breaks. This happened to me with one that I had used a grand total of twice. The pain was real. But shout out to a Glamour magazine trial for introducing me to this total game changer of a gym bag staple

Face Wipes – I am a sweater. It’s gross. It literally drips off me sometimes, even in workouts that you don’t think are going to be that bad (this happened to me last night, it’s usually my least sweaty workout of the week, but it was weirdly really hard and hot yesterday and I was doing standing kickbacks watching the sweat fall off my face and drip into a puddle on the floor. All that oversharing to just basically say that following a workout where I still have the rest of the day to live I want to make sure that I don’t have sweat clogging my pores. I do my full morning skincare routine before I leave my house, but then I just clean it again with a face wipe to make sure that the sweat doesn’t do my skin so dirty. I’m currently using Garnier Micellar Oil ones, but to be honest I use any, but I do like these. They might get a repeat buy.

Moisturiser and Sun Screen – I just pop these in there after I’ve finished my full routine before I leave. To compensate for the fact I’ve cleaned my face and also because I’m all about that sun protection.

Deodorant – Duh. Again, I just chuck my day to day one in there. Still using Native (just about finished the Fig and Honey one, which I think I hated all things considered). Still not caring about the fact that in a relatively full changing I do have to rub any excess in to minimise the whiteness under my arms.

Leave-In Conditioner – This is a new addition because I continued to keep doing my hair dirty by just ignoring it for days. I talked about my fave new gym bag essential in this post here.

Body Lotion – Again, I talked about my current one in this post. It’s pretty much coming to an end, so I will replace it but currently I haven’t done that and so I will need to switch it out temporarily. Which I will do with a Frank’s Body one that I have just acquired. Which I have only used once so far and really like because it’s super thick and creamy and to be honest my skin desires that kind of hydration so hard after I’ve showered post-workout.

Protein Shake – So this is in my bag any time I work out because I am still trying to get on that gains train. Which means that obviously it would be in that weekend gym bag of mine.

Tiger Balm – Again this exists in my bag almost all the time because I got weak ass wrists and they hate me. This stuff does work wonders.

And that’s what is in my weekend gym bag.

Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!

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Two Thirds In

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What up, we are at it again with another little new year resolutions catch up because the past two months have sped all the way by. Anywho, let’s just get to it because the way I know deep in my soul that some of these now need to be changed/removed entirely.

1) Learn how to fuck with eyeshadow

I have not given up hope with this one yet, but like I’m holding off for as long as possible before the eyeshadow obsession really hits.

2) Learn how to do a full pull up

Hmmmmm, I reckon I could maybe pull at least one of these off if I tried. I just haven’t tried.

3) Be able to a full push up

Look I can do this. To the point where I feel like I can remove this from the list. I didn’t specify that I had to be able to multiple in one go (go me of January) because I can’t. I have weak wrists and really tight shoulders. I can manage like 5 max and 2 of them go deep and then I gotta reset and just drop my knees. But I can do a full push up. That’s it. This is a success. Don’t get me wrong, I’m gonna keep working on it to get those reps in. But on the whole, this is tick.

4) Read 70 books

I’m at 46. I’m just off track by a single book. This is still looking good.

5) Lift heavier

Remember that breakdown that I’ve done? Yeah, it’s all bullshit now because a new release arrived and it threw everything into chaos. So now, it is basically me just going with what my body can do and also challenging it when necessary, So my chest weight has gone up, as well as my bicep weight (although that’s messing with my right wrist so I might need to reassess this…). I am so close to actually being able to squat 20kg, so that’s coming. I’ve also gone up in deadlift weight and that’s gonna go up again soon, however it burns my forearms so much come the end of it that it is ridiculous. I do this twice in 72 hours now which means that one class always goes better than the other, however the difference that it has made in the composition of my body is actually kind of impressive. The two sessions a week was initially just randomly going to be a summer thing, but to be honest, I’m gonna keep doing it for as long as I feel. Weights are a game changer.

6) Eat more fruit and veg

My eating habits over this summer have been questionable. So I am going to get back on track as of next week. And the reason that it is going to be next week is because I am going to go back off whey because it has been wreaking havoc with my skin and stuff because I bought a shit ton of protein bars that were non-vegan and I need to finish them first, which will happen this week. I am doing myself a disservice tbh because a lot of my fave fruits have been in season recently and so I have been eating a lot of fruit and also more veg, but it’s just been counteracted with the fact that ice cream is really good and the only thing that would do when it was regularly 32 degrees.

7) Cook More

Hahahhahahahahahaha. No. Not happening. I might just accept that this will not happen and call it a day. I am cooking, but it’s still the same stuff that I have cooked before.

8) Finish the damn book

Okay, this resolution was actually about a different book, but that kind of has hit a wall that I can’t quite write myself out of right now, but a different idea presented itself to me that I am actually making some headway with that I can work with. So it is unlikely that I will finish it, but I will get some of the way through a first draft I hope…

9) Write for half an hour a day

And because I have been feeling inspired for something different I have actually been quite good at this recently. It’s not every day yet by any means, but it is a lot more than I used to. It’s becoming more of a habit than it was at the start of the year which I’m not mad about.

10) Get better organised

I feel like at this point I might also write this off. Because it’s just not going to happen in the way that I envision it is going to happen. I am not going to be the kind of person who actually uses a planner and organises my diary, I’m just not. And I’m fine with that. I am organised enough for me and to be honest that is all I need.

11) Get my Peak score to 800

Okay, I lost my streak and then my interest kind of fizzled out and then it just stopped. However, I am getting back to it this month. I want that streak back up. It’s still currently at 834 and I’m going for that 900 by the end of the year.

12) Meditate more

This is also kind of going in the same way as the above. I’m getting back into this as of this week. I’m going to make it a daily practice.

13) Save, save, save

There is money in my savings account. I am considering this progress. I’ve made a lot of changes that are feeding into this one and it’s currently baby steps, but whatever. That’s better than nothing.

14) Put more effort into blogging

Okay, I have found my new schedule is actually so much more manageable (she says after a week where I posted twice…). It has just alleviated so much pressure that I had put on myself. It also means that I have some time to myself to really work on things that I want to and also means that I can have some guilt free nights where I just do nothing more than lie on the sofa and watch various actress singing Defying Gravity

15) The Masters

Not happening. Removing it from the list. I have thought about it long and hard and it’s just not for me at this moment in time.

Right there we go, another check in done. And some removals from the list which means the next one of these will be a little bit shorter, but also means that I don’t have to worry about them and feel guilty about the fact that I’m not working on them. Also, this year has gone by so fast it’s kind of gross…Just me?

Parentheses count: 3. See you tomorrow!

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Halfway There

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If someone wants to tell me how we’re bloody July already that would be greatly appreciated. Seriously.

Also June was a mess. I fully acknowledge that. Life got to me in a really big way and so I just kind of fell into some bad habits that I am trying to slowly break but might not be fully there yet. And speaking of which, we are at the halfway point for the year and so that means that we are do another one of these check ins. So let’s all find out together where I am at with this (because I will not lie, I have kind of forgotten what some of these even are anymore).

1) Learn how to fuck with eyeshadow

I am still pretty much hardly ever wearing make up. I live a very boring life and am hardly going out all that much. And now that we are in summer I imagine that I will be wearing make up even less because these past couple of weeks in London have just been straight sun and the sun loves to catch me and so I have now accidentally tanned out of all my base products and I don’t wear make up enough to justify buying new shades for the summer (and also they won’t even last because I will just keep tanning while the sun keeps shining)

2) Learn how to do a full pull up

I feel like on some level I have done some groundwork with this one that means that at some point if I really did actually try I could probably do one of these. But the problem is, again, I have really not even tried. Not even a bit. Who knows when I will actually attempt it..

3) Be able to a full push up

I’ve said this before and I will say it again. I have shit wrists. Also I am really quite tall and my legs are very heavy I have really learned these past couple of months (the heavy legs thing, not the height thing, I am very aware of my height). This makes some things feel like a mountain to climb. I have hardly even tried to do a full push up with decent range of motion since I last wrote one of these because I just know that I don’t have it in me. I barely have half ones in me right now.

4) Read 70 books

I’m at 33 now. Of 70. I am currently always at least a book behind schedule because War Storm took so damn long to read with its near 700 pages. I’m not too worried about it or anything because I know that there are some books in my list for the year that aren’t that long and so should take less than my standard week to read.

5) Lift heavier

Okay, so I broke this down a little in March and well we are now in the July that I mentioned in that very breakdown. So let’s assess it against that shall we. I am not at 20kg, 10/12kg and 15kg. Not yet anyway.

I am nearly at the 20kg. I’m at 17.5kg still. But I am getting deeper into my squats with it now and so currently that is what I am focusing on. I have only JUST gone up in chest/arms weight because it has continued to remain a blind spot for me and then one day I just realised that the only way that I was going to get the weight up is if I just have to put the weight up. And so I am suffering through the early stages of that right now. Everything else is still at 12.5kg because I am tired for those two final tracks and in this heat right now they have been particularly problematic for me because le sweat is real. Whoever decided that summer was a good time to strength train more and try and go up in weights was a real dumb person…

6) Eat more fruit and veg

I am coming off of a week where it was almost like I forgot what a vegetable was. And fruit. My fave fruits are in season right now and so in theory I should be eating them way more. But for some reason I keep forgetting they’re a thing. So this remains hit and miss and what is more annoying is that I know that I am being bad with it. So yeah, July goals are to try and actually live that summer fruit and veg life.

7) Cook More

The problem with this one is that my dad just does it automatically and I’m out of the house and get home later than everyone else and he always wants to make sure that I’m fed. It’s not a bad problem to have, but it just makes the motivation to do it myself almost non-existent.

8) Finish the damn book

I have not looked at this damn thing since I went back to work after my holiday. Towards the beginning of April. We are however in the early stages of Camp Nano and so I am hoping to get something to do with this accomplished this month. I’m not setting any kind of targets though because they stress me out and I then feel the pressure of them.

9) Write for half an hour a day

This is not happening. I mean I am writing for half an hour or more when I’m writing for this blog, but externally of that I am not that disciplined with that yet.

10) Get better organised

I so wanna say this has happened. But deep down we know that it hasn’t and that in itself is kind of embarrassing.

11) Get my Peak score to 800

This just hangs in the 830’s and I have missed more than I used to because once I lost my long ass streak I kind of lost a bit of my spark for it. I mean I still hit most days, but there are some when I just genuinely forget.

12) Meditate more

I meditated for the whole of May and then only once in June and so I am trying to get back to it again this month because I think it did a lot to the way that I handled my life overall and well I didn’t have any panic attacks in May and I had two in a week in June…

13) Save, save, save

Let me tell you a thing, I have money in my savings account that I actually forgot about. I was just walking into work one day and was like ‘wait, I don’t think I ever cancel that direct debit into my savings account’ and then when I checked, it turned out that I hadn’t and so there was money in there. That I am trying to leave in there. I am basically trying to forget it exists all over again.

14) Put more effort into blogging

Talking about this one seems really weird given that I kind of just stopped caring for most of June about this blog. It just became the last thing on my list of things to do (that isn’t a real list because, hello, I am not that organised) and so it kind of became something that I sort of stopped caring about for a bit. I haven’t reached peak apathy yet, and I don’t think I will, but yeah I defo need to get my mojo back for it.

15) The Masters

Right, this is defo not happening. I realised not that long ago that I have no desire to go back into education. It tore me to shreds by the time I left it and honestly, right now, I don’t think I’m strong enough to go back to it. And so for now, I am not.

Parentheses count: 3. See you tomorrow!

 

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Squats

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Why, yes I have named a post after a fitness move. And there is a reason for it.

I’m doing a lot of squatting this year. I mean I do a lot of squatting because it’s a pretty great body weight exercise and also is good when you chuck weights in, it works a shit ton of muscles so I do them in almost every single session that I do during the week.

And then in my boredom I found myself in a YouTube vortex in I watched a video where a bunch of people did 100 squats every day for 30 days and it planted the seed in my head.

That I was going to do it. And well there are months that just have 30 days in them and so I waited until April and then found myself going in. For 3000 squats in a month.

Fitting them in for some reason was harder than I thought it would be and also I decided to make a real smart decision and make them independent from workouts, just because I won’t count them when I’m working out, I’m too focused on other things, like breathing properly. So on some days I did an awful lot of squatting. My legs were never quite recovered and my hip flexors (and then my right knee for a little bit) were always just  a little bit on the wrong side of tight, but I did them. There was a 5 day period where I had to do 110 each day because I missed 50 because I was at Harry Styles and I just missed a train and by the time I got home it was nearly 1am and I couldn’t be bothered. Which meant that for 5 days everything felt that little bit harder.

Can I also just say that I had no way of measuring whether this actually did anything, other than make some things a little bit tighter than normal. I have no idea what I looked like before in comparison to after. I don’t know if that as dumb or not.

I do know that come May 1st when I switched personal challenges for myself I found myself feeling weirdly at a loss when I didn’t find that I had to snatch a quick 10 squats in the middle of the day. It was weird. But apparently it takes 21 days to form a habit or something and I guess after 30 days I had formed a habit of sorts.

 

It was a habit that I have now broken because it broke me.

I didn’t really think about it at first, but then when I stopped doing it and just went back to my normal training weeks everything settled back to relative normality and it felt sooo good. Oh lord did I carry a lot of tension in my upper legs.

For some reason though when I finished doing this challenge I kind of fucked with the idea of doing it for every month with 30 days in. We are in a month with 30 days and I am not doing it. Partly because I forgot on the 1st. And then when I remembered I had already done a weights session and my legs felt so heavy. Then on the 2nd I went out and on the 3rd I had the full rest day that my body craved. And so it’s not happening. And to be honest, it probably won’t happen again.

I will tell you what the exercise was useful for. It helped me get better range of motion in squats. If I’m just using my bodyweight then I can almost go ass to grass now and it doesn’t feel like the worst. When they’re weighted the range of motion comes and goes especially when I’m front racked.

But seriously, never again.

Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!

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Representation

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This post is probably not gonna go in the direction that you think it will mainly because this whole topic is a clusterfuck and I am not about to try and unpick that tangled mess that it is in its entitreity. Or really at all. This is just a thing that is very personal to me and it relates to that lovely little category at the top of this post.

Fitness.

So let me set the scene.

All the way back in November 2016 I was looking for something that was going to be a bit more hardcore then just stretching (I was such a yoga and pilates girl once I phased spinning out of my life) and I decided to do something that was literally called Body by Frame.

I showed up to the class and when it started I discovered that the instructor kinda looked like me.

I had been kind of low key working out for about 8 months at that point and honestly I hardly ever saw anyone who wasn’t white anywhere. But whatever you kind of just get used that anyway, so to be honest as usual I didn’t really think all that much of it.

So it was confusing to me that I was surprised by this development as it always is when I’m confronted by someone who looks like me in a place where I’m just to being the exception and not the rule.

Anyway her class that night kicked my ass and also finally gave me the shake up that I needed. It was pure cardio. It made me move my body in a way that up until that point it hadn’t really done before. It created my love/hate relationship with squats. It planted the seed that is now this monster of a flower (but I love it).

The way her classes challenged me changed the game for me and I finally got the hype around exercise and how it can make you feel really good. I basically just really loved her and found myself drawn to classes which I saw she was teaching. It meant that I tried new things just because I knew that she would deliver a great class.

It may seem like a small thing, but it turns out that it was the thing that I needed because here I am. It became an accidental motivation for me to keep at it

It’s not that I needed to see someone who looked like me in order to keep exercising because at this point I’m used to there not being, but it turned out to be the thing that pushed me out of my comfort zone. And that in turn allowed me to push myself out of my comfort zone in other areas and it means that for the most part when it comes to exercise there aren’t a lot of things that I am not afraid to try at least once (unless it involves a treadmill and then I am all the way out).

It was just one of those things that some part of my brain needed to happen just so that it didn’t feel like it was a completely pointless battle for me (the use of the word battle there is maybe a tad aggressive…)

So yeah, that’s what’s to blame for all of this…

Parentheses count: 4. See you tomorrow!

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Body

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I have tried to write this post like 3 times and each and every single time I have gotten like halfway through it and then just highlighted and deleted it.

Because I don’t even really know what I’m trying to say about it.

What I do know is that for some reason when this letter presented itself to me this word would not leave me alone. It’s like I thought it and the any other word that begins with B just went away. It’s like there were no others.

I guess I could try and trace it when I got hit by this idea.

I was in my boxing class and I threw a punch and I noticed actual muscle definition. And then in that same class I finally found myself actually jumping out in my burpees (I have a dodgy knee, jumping out in a burpee makes me nervous, it still does, I don’t always do it). I also then held a high plank for like a whole minute. And only felt like crying for the last 15 seconds.

And I started to realise that I need to get better at appreciating the little things.  And the little victories that my body can now do.

It can do cardio twice a week and it is hard don’t get me wrong, but it’s doable and I feel mostly really good about it as opposed to like I want to crawl into a corner and not deal with anything. It actually enjoys cardio these days where like a year ago I tried to avoid cardio like the damn plague.

It can lift now. And it can lift heavier than it used to be able to. I had a weird irrational fear when it came to weights but I conquered that and actually kind of really love it.

I both equally love and hate muscle soreness. Because it’s hella annoying for it to hurt whenever you go to sit down (especially when you work at a desk) and whenever you have to push yourself to stand up, but it also feels kinda good to know that your muscles are working properly and that there might be some kind of change going on in it.

I kinda like finding new weakness that I have and then working to make them stronger (I’m looking at you front racked squats and at a certain time of the month lunges). I kind of hate the fact that my shoulders insist on being tight as fuck and sometimes my hip flexors just do not know when to quit. My lower abs are always gonna be a tricky thing for me to target because my lower back just loves that hyper extension and also my legs are super long and therefore super difficult to control. At the moment. I’m working on it.

Everything is just basically a work in progress these days. And I didn’t even imagine that I would be that person but over the course of the past 18 months specifically I have been.

It’s become my safe place.

The place where I can just channel my emotions and energy of the day and let it go into endorphins. Where I can push myself and just when I think I can’t cope anymore I prove myself wrong and get through the reps. Where I actually quite like the burn sometimes and the huge heaves of oxygen that I have to take in order to get myself prepped for the next part. Where water is literally like elixir (and I pretty much only drink water and coffee on a day to day basis, mostly water).

I’ve come to really love those 45 minutes (for the most part now as I have ditched the only hour long class that I do for the time being) where I just push myself and shake off the energy of the working day. It really proves just how much the mind can play with you because it always thinks that the body doesn’t have it in you, but then the body always proves the mind wrong and there is something really rewarding about that.

Something rewarding about shutting that voice out and proving it wrong.

Something rewarding about looking at the situation of your life and realising that the anxiety that borderline ruined your life for a lot of last year, while not gone completely, is not sitting there at the base of your throat threatening to tear you apart every single minute of every single day anymore.

To look at things and know that just a few months ago you would have fallen apart but now it is easy to just take things in your stride and keep going. It’s never really all that deep. And finally being able to accept that is freeing.

And exercise has a lot to do with that. Pushing myself to what I think are my limits and then exceeding them has helped a lot with that. It’s helped me rationalise a lot more. It’s helped me remember that I am a lot stronger than I think I am in a better way than I have ever done so before and in a way that is actually proving itself to have long term benefits.

And the aesthetics part is just a bonus.

I finally feel truly comfortable in my skin and like I am looking at it in a rational way. I can appreciate it in all it’s ups and downs and I’ve talked about this a little bit before but that’s always been hard for me.

But it’s getting easier almost everyday.

And I’m feeling stronger everyday.

Which I’m loving.

Maybe that’s why this word wouldn’t leave me. A part of my brain wanted me to appreciate that.

(Also tiny update on the summer plans thing, last night I had to live and suffer through my decision to choose the shoulder track over the ab track because even though the shoulder one is a killer I hate the ab one and well…it’s the road to a sexy back…)

Parentheses count: 6. See you tomorrow!

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