It’s been 3 weeks since I last wrote and now I have a few things to write about. First up an update on the physical training programme I began 3 months ago. Most people wait until after Christmas, ever one to buck the trend my new schedule began on Christmas week. I’m a person who needs physical goals to get the most out of each year.
In 2007 it was the 3 Peaks, in 2008 it was Hadrian’s Wall, in 2009 it was the Paras 10, this year I have two physical goals. The first is to do the Paras 10, but this time in the Paras Qualifying time of 1hr 50 mins, last year I did it in 2hrs 30 mins, half an hour inside the cut off time. The challenge this year is to knock 40 minutes off a 10 mile race time; oh yes, by the way, the race is done with a 35lb Bergen on your back.
My other goal is purely aesthetic, but one that makes me feel better about myself. I want to get into my best shape ever, at the age of 47; coincidentally I also want to be the most improved physique in the gym I attend in 2010. Vanity can be a terrible thing, but it can also be a driving force. If you ask most people what they want more of they will say money; what they mean by this is the things that money can buy from ‘things’ to holidays to peace of mind ie the ability to pay the bills. In other words, poverty can be a massive driving force. Being in poor shape can work the same way.
The week before Christmas 2009 I knew I was putting on weight. Since the Paras 10 challenge in September I’d been letting things go and I could see it. I decided I wanted less belly and more chest, shoulders and arms. I spoke to my good friend Vince Vasilou of Ultrabodies in Finedon, Northants and he devised a programme for me. Chest and back on Monday, shoulders Tuesday and arms on Thursday. I also decided to run 3 days a week to get me ready for the Paras challenge. After that first workout I thought I’d been run over. It was the toughest weights workout I’d ever done and I had been going to the gym for 7 years before that. The intensity, the exercises and the variety wiped me out. That night I woke up and thought I was sprouting wings, that was my back muscles twitching.
After 3 weeks I decided to measure myself so I could tell the improvements. The initial tale of the tape wasn’t inspiring. Chest: 41″; Waist: 36″; Belly: 39.5″‘; upper arm: 14″, weight 12st 13lbs. I take the measurements every two weeks and yesterday’s inspired me no end. Chest: 42″; Waist: 35″; Belly: 37″; Upper arm: 14.5″, weight 12st 13lbs. When I began the gap between my chest and my belly was 1.5″; now it’s 5″. My longest run was 9 miles and I’m now running 3 times per week between 4 and 9 miles. I’ll be increasing the distance now.
I’m also taking whey protein and taking much greater care of my diet. Some days it is tough to get your arse out of the chair and train, but feeling good, and looking good, make me want to keep on improving.