Get Fit QUICK!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m attending Mick Coup’s Knife Management course in September. Back when I wrote it, I had the luxury of 6 months to get into shape. It’s now only about 2 months away and my cardio fitness is still terrible. I’ll admit that I’m having a minor panic.

I’ve done the “100 days of handstands” challenge and can now rock out sets of 10 handstand push-ups (to about half way to touching the floor). I’ve also worked on my regular push-ups; very strict form, elbows tight to my sides and nice and slow. I built up to two sets of twenty, then started bringing my hands closer and closer until I eventually made it to diamond/close-handed. I now can bust out sets of  15 close, followed by strict to round up to 20, finishing with very wide-handed push-ups working toward 25 reps in total. Once I get to 20 diamonds, I’ll start working on a second set.

As for lower body, I’ve been trying on and off to work on my pistols: one-legged squats. I’ve not been as consistent with these as with the press-ups, so I’m still working toward a set of 10 on each leg. Buying a TRX/suspension kit has helped circumvent the initial lack of balance and poor form (front leg raise, low squat etc.) I was lucky to find a good quality one at a really low price from Aldi… the word went out on the C2 group that they were available, so I rushed out and bought one.

So… all of that. Strength getting better. We’re converting the guest bedroom into a home gym with a fold-out sofa bed, rather than wasting a whole room on a permanent double bed just on the off-chance that someone will come to stay a few nights a year. I’ve got my old heavy kickbag up now – the hanging frame also has pull-up bars and a handy loop to clip the TRX onto. Our collection of kettlebells is up there, the barbell and weights will end up in there too. Beats paying nearly 20 quid a month for a gym membership I’ve not used for about 6 months.

It’s not just laziness that has kept me away from the gym; back in September I began to have a severe flare-up of psoriatic arthritis, which seriously limited my mobility and range of motion. I suffered constant pain across my chest and back, and found that I couldn’t turn my neck or spine to look behind me. I’ll write a full post about it at some other point, suffice it to say that my recovery is a true “science miracle”. All that remains now is an achy lower back, most likely due to inactivity rather than P.A.

My main concern, as I mentioned above, is cardio fitness. Every seminar I’ve attended has pushed my limit of endurance and fitness, I know this one will be no different. That’s why I’ve chosen to take the bull by the horns and attempt the “Couch to 5K” program, since it takes about 8 weeks and that’s about all the time I have left.

I tried the “Cool Runnings” C25K program years ago, back before phone apps took the hard work out of things. Back then I only had the stopwatch on a digital wrist watch and a list of daily programs printed from the internet… this meant you had to work out the next start/stop on the move, or work them out in advance and carry a written list. I think I got about half way through the program before I ditched it. I hated running, it was painful, uncomfortable, I couldn’t see the point as I didn’t want to take up running as a hobby. I was basically doomed to failure right from the outset and complained incessantly until we eventually gave up.

Starting again, I recall how painful running is to start out, how I can hardly breathe come the end of that one minute of pounding asphalt. The last 15 seconds are a killer, I have to override my body’s urge to stop and keep pushing til the beep. And that’s the big difference.

This time I have an app – 5K Runner – to take the brainwork out of things. All I have to do is make time for 3 sessions per week over a total of 8 weeks and the app does the rest. Just watch the clock count down and start/stop on the beep (it even gives you stats, encouragement and progress updates as you go). I’ve managed the first two sessions and am absolutely determined to complete the course this time… maybe even keep up the running habit to maintain fitness.

For now, however, I’m dealing with the aches and pains associated with any new training program: the tops of my calves, the outsides of my glutes and the upper inner thighs are all complaining about the sudden change from no activity at all – as a jeweller and goldsmith, I spend most of my day sat down at a bench. Suddenly run/walking 2km three times a week is more than my poor sedentary body was prepared for!


[EDIT: I didn’t know when I installed it, but the 5K Runner app only gives you the first week free, with a price tag of £9.99 for the full version. Instead of paying, I have deleted it and installed the free NHS app – NHS being the UK’s National Health Service. I used their free Stop Smoking service years ago, which worked where nothing else had]



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