Well I'm afraid this blog post is going to sound very much like the one I made last week. I can't state enough just how pleased I am with the progress being made and the hours I'm able to put in to training. This week, for example, should see me get over 10 hours of exercise in with a mixture of running, Spinning, Body Pump and interval sessions in the gym.
5 weeks ago I started with a basic level of fitness on the back of a good number of sessions on the beer in August. And with beer there's always Kebabs and Takeaways! I could never have imagined the transformation that is starting to take place. And I'm not just talking about a physical transformation either.
My attitude towards food (eating the right types and at the right times) remains solid. I'm now into the 4th week of healthy eating! This must be the longest period of healthy eating I've managed in years and, despite being very early days in the training schedule, the results are starting to show. Last Thursday, I had a good session in David Fairlamb's gym with coach and mentor Mark Fleming (pictured with me blinking! I wasn't asleep! Honest!). This was a session, primarily designed to show me what I should be doing on my own in the time spent at the Northern Rock gym. It was a very tough workout indeed! I also took another body composition test.
In the 4 weeks since the last test I had lost 3% body fat. Now down to 25.5% Brilliant! Muscle mass was up 3 kg to 74.2kg. Total Body Water % (which I know David is keen on improving) was up 1.5% to 51%. Visceral fat rating (the fat around major organs) was down 2 points to 10. The one stat that I was quite pleased with was my metabolic age (in simple terms that's the age your body thinks it is). I had lost 3 years and was down to 49 from 52! Remember that in real life terms I'm 37, so there is a long way to go on that one.
And in response to these stats Mark (pictured right) said the following "All improvements! You have only lost 3 lbs in overall weight but you have lost a good percentage of fat and gained muscle. The efforts you are putting in with the diet and exercise are paying off already". That was music to my ears and was an echo of the encouragement given by David who said he could see a difference already when I turned up at the gym.
Now the challenge is going to be to show David and Mark another similar improvement over the next 4 week period (I might even get down to my mid 40's in metabolic age!).
This is an example of how I'm able to cope with the enormity of and pressure that is running 3100 miles across the USA in 100 days. If the penny hasn't dropped yet then please let me explain. I'll never think of that run in it's entirety. Or indeed think of the thousands of miles I've got to run in training either. I'll always look to break it down into as many manageable milestones that I can.
At the moment, I can't see past the next body composition test at the end of this month. Everything I do between now and then is geared up towards that test and recording another improved set of stats. This will only achieved by a similar or even better effort than I've given in the first 4 weeks of training. It's up to me to put that effort in but there are a number of people helping me along the way.
Obviously, David and Mark are to thank for the advice and inspiration given so far. My missus, Katy is instrumental in preparing and making all of the healthy food. For example, I had a lovely warm chicken salad last night and I've just been informed that I've got a ham and pasta salad for my bait tomorrow! Then there are the staff at the Northern Rock gym. The spinning and body pump classes are second to none. I always leave feeling that they've managed to get the most effort out of me that is physically possible.
Also worth a mention are the various people I run with on a lunchtime. Carl Hudson and Julie Symonds seem to be my latest regular running buddies. They are training for various events themselves (including the Edinburgh Marathon). Today, with their help, I managed an 8.4 mile effort in 01:17:36. This was especially pleasing in the context of what I'd already done this week. Monday was a 5 mile run, 45 minutes gym and spinning class. Tuesday was a 6.5 mile run, spinning class and body pump. What makes it even more pleasing is the fact that I'm doing all of this training while eating smaller quantities but the right quality of food. I rarely feel hungry at all now. Figure that one out!
Anyway, as I said at the top of this blog post, I'm very pleased with the progress made so far. I'm getting more and more determined to succeed as each week passes. There is no sign yet of that determination wavering. Surely, I'm on for 46 metabolic years old at the next test!