Week 4 

One month in!

I’ve been officially following the Nike Training Club workout plan for one month so now it’s time for a progress report and weigh-in.

Pre-plan stats

  • 103kg
  • 38% body fat

Current stats

  • 101kg (-2kg)
  • 37% body fat (-1%)

While it’s not quite as much weight as I’d hoped to lose, it’s still positive progress and given the amount of treats I’ve had this month it’s a miracle I’ve managed to lose anything. My goal has always been to make small sustainable changes and so far I’ve managed to do just that. Although I haven’t stuck to my goal of not eating chocolate apart from on weekends, I’ve managed to avoid diluted juice entirely. Given there’s roughly 20g of sugar in a small 200ml glass of Ribena, this month I’ve avoided 600g of excess sugar. 

In terms of exercise I’ve noticed a big difference between how I felt when I first started working out and how I feel now. That’s not to say the workouts are any less challenging but I do notice that I recover quicker. This week again I managed to knock another minute off my benchmark workout.

Although I’m still struggling to get out of bed to make it to the gym on time to get a full 45 minute workout, I’m pleased that I’ve managed to be in the gym everyday doing some sort of activity. 

All in all, I’m pleased with my progress so far. Pro-athletes talk about the theory of marginal gains and I feel it’s something that even a rookie like me can apply to our health plan. Even though it’s slow going, Im confident that those little changes to my diet and exercise regime will eventually add up to make a major difference to my overall health. 

Moving forward into Month 2

This month I will be continuing on with the Nike Training Club App to complete my 8 week Gym Strength Programme. 

I’ll also be starting a FODMAP diet plan which I will explain in more detail in another post. 

Until next time.

Mr Teacher

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Week 2/3 Progress Update

‘Cheat Weeks’

So here we are again, at the end of another fortnight. These weeks have been a bit of a struggle on several fronts; a busier couple of weeks at work has meant that I’ve had to sacrifice some of the time that I would have spent in the gym. Adding to this was my wife’s birthday and family visiting which meant eating out more than usual and then topping it up with leftover birthday cake. 

 ‘A body’s rebellion’  

These weeks have also been difficult as it seems my body is rebelling against this new found exercise regime. Although I’m not over-exercising by any means, my body has been suffering all the symptoms of being pushed past it’s normal limits. Here are some of the issues that I’ve been dealing with;

  • Hyperhidrosis – otherwise know has an inability to regulate body temperature and  stop sweating. This week I’ve found myself still sweating heavily over a hour after exercising which always makes assembly and the first lesson of the day a little awkward. Not to mention some questionable looks from my colleagues as I try to pretend that sweat isn’t running down my forehead. 
  • Weakened immune system  – a common sign of over exertion is a drop in the body’s immune system thus making you more prone to all the nasties that get passed around the germ factory (aka school) at this time of year. In my case, I’ve been battling a cold for the past week in addition to a barrage of mouth ulcers including for the first time one on my uvula (the dangly thing at the back of my throat).

Despite this I’ve managed to keep exercising 5 times a week, though I must admit I have been hitting the sweet aisle more often than I should to give me that extra sugar rush to make it through the day. Nonetheless I feel that when I get through this initial discomfort and as my body gets accustomed to the increased levels of physical activity it will mean that I can continue to push myself without suffering these negative side effects.

‘Reward at the end of the tunnel’

All this doom and gloom makes it sound like I’ve made no progress whatsoever of the course of the past two weeks and nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly I’m enjoying the workouts more and look forward to the next challenge. Secondly the Nike Training Club App is still proving useful at giving my workouts some structure yet providing enough of a variety to keep me interested. At the very start you may remember I completed the ‘Benchmark strength’ workout. I completed the same workout yesterday and managed to cut over 3 minutes off my time as well as having to resort to less modifiers.

 

All in all, although I don’t think I’m any thinner yet (my shirts are still a little too tight around the collar) I feel like the progress that I’m making is sustainable in the long term and I’m confident that going forward it’s only a matter of time before I start to see some more obvious physical changes. 

Check out next week for the first month’s weigh-in and to find out about some exciting new diet changes that I’ll be implementing next month. 

Until then,

Mr Teacher

Week 1 Progress Update

So I have reached the end of my first week using the Nike Training Club App and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. 

I started the week completing a bodyweight benchmark workout. What was supposed to take just 14 minutes took me well over 20 minutes and that was with various modified exercises to make it slightly easier. Pull-ups are an essential skill which I haven’t yet mastered. 


Although it took me longer than expected I was pleased that I managed to complete it and it set the tone for the rest of the week. 


On Tuesday it was more of the same.  A tough gruelling workout but one which again focused on primarily on a range of bodyweight exercises targeting the major muscle groups. 

On Wednesday it was time for a bit of a break in the form of a light cardio workout. According to the plan I was supposed to run for 30 minutes however given my levels of fitness I decided to cycle instead. 

Thursday and Friday were back to a range of largely body weight exercises of varying difficulties (see ‘The Decathlete’ and ‘The Game Changer’) before resting at the weekend. 

All-in-all I’m pretty impressed by Nike’s App. It’s very easy to use and shows clearly what you need to do for each exercise. While it’s only been a week I’ve been happy with the range of exercises, altough time will tell if these get repetitive or not. 

Diet success

I’ve had varying success with the diet changes I made. School inset meant that instead of having a prepared lunch I ended up with crisps, a sandwich and chocolate for dessert. That combined with having a friend over for the weekend meant that I was probably a bit more generous than I should’ve been. That being said I’ve decided that I’m not going to beat myself up for these minor slips as I feel it reflects a real-life healthy diet I could stick to rather than something more extreme (I.e no carbs before marbs) that would only be feasible in the short term. 

In summary

I’m excited to see what week 2 has in store for me and it’s comforting knowing that there is a plan in place so I’m not wondering what to do every morning when I step into the gym. 

Until next time,

Mr Teacher

Month 1 – Nike Training Club App

So as term starts up again we finally begin. At this time it’s important to give you a little bit of background information about where I’m at and what I’m going to be doing this month. 

Current stats (3/9/17) 

  • Weight          – 103.3kg
  • Body fat %   – 38%

These stats make for pretty depressing reading however as I often tell my pupils; it’s important to know where you are to allow you to set realistic goals and track your progress.  

What is the Nike Training Club?

Nike Training Club is an App which allows you to follow semi-personalised workout programmes designed by a range of professional trainers and even some sports stars. You can choose the type of workout programme you would like to follow based on your goals; strength, endurance or mobility. 

For this month I’ve decided to complete their Gym Strong plan. You can further personalise the plans based on the amount of workouts you wish to complete during the week (5 for me), your experience level (intermediate), the amount of equipment (full gym) and whether or not you want to include running (yes) as part of your programme. 

Gym Strong
Nike Training Club

Each workout comes complete with a video demonstration of the exercises so if you’re like me and don’t know your Russian twists from your Romanian deadlifts, this tells you everything you need to know. 

Diet Changes

As I mentioned in my previous post I’ve tried a lot of the fad diets with little to no long term success so this time I’m trying something different. Each month I’m going to make a number of small healthy changes to my diet. 

This month I’ve decided to cut out the diluted juice. This may sounds easy to many of you but being lifelong teetotal and having already given up fizzy drinks last year, diluted juice has become a bit of a (sugar) crutch. However like a nicotine patch it’s not exactly good for me so it’s bye bye Mr Robinsons and Miss Ribena and hello water and milk.

Other changes this month include; no more oven chips. This golden fingers of deliciousness have become a staple of steak night in recent years but they are being transferred out to be replaced by boiled baby potatoes and its slightly more hipster cousin, sweet potato mash. 

Chocolate in any form will be a reserve of the weekend and crisps
will be a Saturday night movie treat. 

Bread has escaped this months cull although after a summer back in the land of breaded goodness and a few more episodes of GBBO it won’t be long before I need to address my love of all things doughy. 

So that’s the plan in brief for this month. Check out my weekly progress updates to see how things are going and if you’ve any tips please feel free to comment below. 

Until next time,

Mr Teacher

Planning a fitness programme

Before I begin my fitness programme there are a few things I needed to do in preparation. Having tried a wide variety of exercise regimes and diets in the past this is something that I have, to my peril, tended to neglect. Like many people in my situation I’ve dived straight into the exercise routines in the past without any real thought as to how I would make it work in the long term. I start off well enough but before you know it, my busy lifestyle kicks in or I pick up an injury and I start having to make compromises. In my line of work; a set of books that needs marked for a book review means I skip the gym or I’ve got to stay late at work for a parents’ evening and miss dinner so end up stuffing my face with Dominos on the way home. These are all things that with a little extra planning I could have avoided, for example; on days when I know I’m going to be extra busy at work, carving out a little more time by waking up 30 minutes earlier or prepping an extra meal so that I don’t resort to the nearest take away when I’m coming home late from work. 

As I mentioned at the start; I’m not a fitness expert so rather than offer tips for planning the perfect exercise regime I’m just going to talk you through what I’ve decided to do this time and hopefully you might find it interesting. 

  1. Work out a timetable based around work and family commitments. What is the maximum amount of time you can dedicate to working out each day? I’m lucky to have access to a gym at my school so for me working out an hour before school is ideal. I’ve decided that in order to find a workout that works for me, I’m going to try a different programme each month. This month I’ll be starting with a programme from the Nike Training Club app (Free from App Store) 
  2. Choose between minor diet changes or major diet plan. Having tried various diets over the years I’ve decided that it’s more sustainable for me to make a number of small changes to my diet rather than follow a major diet change. Over the past year I’ve cut my fizzy drink intake from one can a day to about only drinking fizzy drinks abroad. This year I plan to keep making healthy changes on a monthly basis. 
  3. Plan/Prep meals in advance. I tend to go grocery shopping after work when I’m tired (and most likely grumpy thanks Year 9!) which leads to the inevitable binge down the chocolate and crisps aisle.  In order to make healthier choices throughout the week and avoid those late night takeaways, I’m putting in place a simple meal plan, more details to follow soon. I’m hoping that by doing this and going grocery shopping at the weekend I will be able to manage my sweet tooth and limit the amount of junk I put into my body (you know what they say; prevention is better than cure). I’ve also got a range of Tupperware boxes to help prep my meals in advance for those nights when I know I’m going to be late. This is something that I learnt from trying Joe Wicks’ ‘The Body Coach’ meal plans. 
  4. Get on the scales and work out a target. If you haven’t got them already buy yourself a Set of body fat scales. When I was at school I got into the bad habit of weighing myself every night. It was driving me crazy seeing my weight fluctuate on a daily basis. What I failed to understand was that your raw weight is influenced by a range of factors such as the amount of water your body is storing and the amount of muscle you have. It was only after working with a personal trainer and buying myself a set of body fat scales (I use Salter Bodywise scales) that I learnt not to worry about the kg on the scales and instead focus on the body fat (BF) %. Therefore rather than saying I want to lose half a stone, my short term (monthly) goal is actually to get my BF down by 4%. After an indulgent summer, this is something that I feel is realistic and achievable for me. 

So there it is. I’ll be including more specific details of the monthly plans and updates on my progress in the coming posts. If you have any tips or suggestions, please let me know. Likewise if your in a similar situation and starting a fitness plan, I’d love to hear about your progress.

Until next time,

Mr Teacher 

New term, new trainers… (The beginning) 

So here it goes; new term, new trainers but same old story – “This will be the year I finally get fit and change my life for the better”… Like many people who plan their lives around the school calendar this time of year always brings about these new (school) year resolutions and this year is no different. My goal, as ever, is to get fit. More specifically to get fitness to fit around my life and all the demands and stresses of working as a teacher. 

Past failures

Many times in the past I’ve made the same resolution; trying everything from hiring a personal trainer to Insanity DVD workouts and crash diets but with little long term success. Although each method I’ve tried has had some short term success the problem is that as soon as (school) life gets busy the wheels come off and I’ve struggled to get the fitness routine to fit my life. Any weight I lost comes piling back on with a vengeance leaving me worse off health-wise than I was before but with a pinch of added guilt and a sprinkling of depression. Over the years this has meant that I’ve gone from a reasonable 12 1/2 stone for a 5ft 7″ guy to a whopping 16 stone and on the verge of diabetes and any number of other obesity related issues.

So why is this year going to be any different?

This year I’m determined that several things are going to be different;

  1. What’s different this year is that for the first time, I’ve decided to document my fitness journey, not in the vain hope that someday I’ll have Men’s Health Cover Model abs and this would be used as an ‘expert guide’  but more simply, that by writing this blog it might keep me accountable. When the intrinsic hopes become extrinsic goals there’s an added pressure which I hope will give me the added incentive to carry on even when things get stressful at work. In real-life terms; No more Dominos pizza after a late night at school or binging on chocolate and crisps while I’m report writing.
  2. Turning 29 was a shock to the system and I realise that if I’m ever going to gain a reasonable level of fitness that now is the time to do it. I’m tired of saying “I used to be fit when I was at school”. It’s time to stop living in the past and start making a better future for myself. I’ve got a good job, a great wife, there’s no reason why I can’t have a fit body to go along with it. 

So I invite you to join me on this journey. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation where your best years of fitness are a distant memory and you’re struggling to fit exercise around the demands of a busy job or family life. Maybe you want to get fit but don’t know where to start. Whatever brings you here I hope that by sharing my experiences (and failures) it will inspire you to start your own fitness journey. 

Until next time, 

Mr Teacher

#newtermnewtrainers 

#teachersintrainers

#everydayfitness

Coming up on Wednesday 30th August- creating a plan that works around your lifestyle.