Shake it off…

Well I wasn’t sure about writing this post but to quote Taylor Swift “haters gonna hate” so stuff it.

(NB: Let me start by saying this is not an advert, I could go down the route of trying to sell this stuff but I’ve enough going on in my life at the mo! People choose what works for them. As with everything on this blog I’m giving you my experiences.)

I’ve blogged recently that I’ve been struggling to focus with my nutrition and because of that I’ve had zero motivation with exercise. I mean I know “what” to do but knowing and doing have become two very different things. I know cleaning eating works but when you’re rushing out the door to drop kids at childminder at 7.30am you just don’t eat breakfast. Because realistically you’re rushing to get everyone else ready. You can’t get up earlier than 6 because you’ve been woken up several times  by the smallest person so you sacrifice breakfast. But then by 8am you’re starving so you rely on drive-thru fast food and the cycle becomes impossible to break. And then it becomes a cycle of “well I screwed breakfast up, might as well have something quick for lunch” and you start eating rubbish for lunch and then you start down the route of “I’ve eaten crap for breakfast, crap for, let’s have a takeaway for tea whilst we watch some celebrity eat a kangaroo bumhole while two Geordie lads stand about wetting themselves laughing”.

“What are you having for tea” mum would say “oh just grilled chicken and potatoes” I’d say, which was code for chicken kebab and chips, I wasn’t lying as such, more bending the truth! And you know it’s wrong because the food is shocking and unhealthy and expensive but you start visiting different outlets so the same staff don’t recognise you and that’s when you know enough is enough. (I’d love to pretend I was exagerating but actually I’m embarrassed to admit it had got THAT bad!)

So I’d been talking to my lovely colleague Cathie about my lack of energy, crap eating, sore joints, zero exercise and Cathie, who is a total Herbalife nut said “try our shakes for breakfast, I reckon just changing your breakfast you’ll notice a huge difference in your energy levels” Now, l fobbed her off for a few weeks 1) I’ve always been told Herbalife is a source of evil 2) I don’t like milk, why would I want a shake? 3) I did Slim-fast once 13 years ago and decided it was lovely with icecream in which kinda wasn’t the point!

So after a few weeks of fobbing Cathie off she said “just try the 6 day breakfast trial, 6 days a shake for breakfast, £10, it will change your life”. So I thought “well I’m not getting anywhere myself, I need to break the cycle, it can’t be any worse then what I’m eating now, I’ll try it, just to prove to myself it’s not for me”.

I have to admit I was a little excited when the pack arrived, maybe it was the whole “fresh start” I mean after all Cathie has had brilliant results, she looks amazing! She is fit and doing running and all sorts, so it could be the kickstart I need right?

So in my pack was 3 sachets of vanilla and 3 sachets of cookies and cream. Brill they sound like do-able flavours. So next morning I got up and tried Vanilla. I sniffed the powder, it smelled like a vanilla biscuit, ok I can do this. I mixed the shake with milk. Took a sip. “ok it’s not amazing but not awful, I can do this.” I had a bit more “ugh this isn’t going down to well”, I got a third of the way through the shake before I threw up (I mean literally!) Not the best start. “How did it go, did you love it?” said Cathie, “er not exactly” LOL

No matter I’ll give the other flavour a try tomorrow I thought. So it took me a few days to build up the courage to try Cookies and Cream and whilst not quite the disaster of barfy vanilla, it still wasn’t great. “Mix it with chocolate soya milk” said Cathie. So I dutifully bought some UHT Alpro and it was better but still not amazing (for me).

But something was telling me if I could make it with chocolate shake powder and the milk, I’d be ok. So bizarrly despite the dodgy trial I thought I’d give chocolate F1 shake a go. I also switched to fresh chocolate alpro soya milk. Well ladies and gents, COMPLETE GAME CHANGER. I can only describe it as like drinking unset chocolate angel delight (which I think I probably have done at some point in my life!)

I’ve also been drinking the Herbalife tea (initally I tried the lemon flavour which is ok, just tried raspberry this morning and LOVE that) I’m not normally a hot drink drinker but I have to say these are giving me an energy boost. I don’t claim to know what is in them BUT they are making a difference to me and giving me a kick and for now that is what I need.

So with this Herbalife (and I’m not revealing any secrets you can find this all out on their website) for weight loss you have 2 shakes (breakfast, lunch, 2 protein based snacks and then a healthy dinner.  Yes it sounds very similar to another well known shake brand but for whatever reason I am finding this more sustainable. I originally thought I’d just do breakfasts but actually for me it is turning out to be so easy  I’ve decided this week to switch to the full program and so far I’m loving it.

Cathie had some special scales she weighed me on which did strange calculations and told me I was 50 years old! (I’m only 35 LOL!) I’m not sure I totally believe in the accuracy of such things BUT I’ll let you know (TBF I had been feeling more like an 80 year old!)

I’ve tried the mint chocolate shake this week too (again made with my beloved chocolate soya milk) and it is BEAUTIFUL! Like  unset mint choc angel delight LOL I think straight chocolate is my favourite but the mint makes a lovely change too. (Theres also vitamins and fibre etc but I’ll blog about that another day) There are clever things you can do like adding other ingredients to change the flavours etc but for now I’m keeping it simple LOL

I am well aware that some people maybe “disappointed” in me that I have gone down the Herbalife route, I mean afterall I was such a champion for clean eating before and I still am, I mean I know that works and my evening meals still centre around that but for me at this point in my life it wasn’t working, not because the food wasn’t working but the logistics of making it fit in. I needed to break that cycle of bad habits and I was ordering lots of fresh nutrious food to make lovely clean breakfasts & lunches then not using it because it was just too time consuming. I probably will go back to that at some point in the furture but for now I need my choices to work for me.

Herbalife isn’t cheap but then takeaways and crap fast food are not cheap either.

Have I noticed a difference? Yes even in this short space of time, I have lost some weight and I feel more “zingy”. I have found I feel more motivated to do the school run and whilst it is very early days, I feel I have just a little spring in my step which wasn’t there a few weeks ago. Placebo or genuine reaction? who knows, I guess time will tell but for now I will take it.

So there you have it, my little secret is out!! Like I said at the top, this isn’t me trying to push you to try it, but I wanted to share my experience.

And if you’re sat there reading this and feeling disappointed in me for going down this route then as I said at the start “haters gonna hate”.

H x



Ok I’ve ummed and ahhd a lot about writing this post. You see, to write this post is to admit that things haven’t entirely gone to plan recently (that is the world’s biggest understatement!)

See 3 years ago, I was on it. I was eating clean, in the gym 5 times a week, sometimes 6. I was smashing it. I was fit, healthy, I had goals, I was focussed and whilst it was far from easy I was enjoying what I was doing, I had no intention of going back.

Fast forward 3 years and here I am back at square one. I could quite easily describe this as a failure (more like a massive fuck up). I’ve put on all the weight I’ve lost, I’ve returned to virtually no exercise and my eating habits are at best terrible, if not diabolical.

I’ll be honest I am worried, in the back of my brain is “what if I go through all that again, then return to this and it is an ongoing cycle?”

But, that said, I am a great believer that good fitness and good nutrition only happens when you are truly ready. I can’t tell you why the last 2 years since Alexander was born I’ve not been ready, I mean I could give you a billion reasons but all sound like lame excuses, I mean its just a case of (wo)manning up right? I wish it was. For whatever reason the last 2 years has not been my time. There have been occasions where I’ve thought it was the right time, but deep down I knew it wasn’t.

Last week I was part of a charity challenge at work. Between us we had to swim the equivalent of the English Channel in our PJs , 2000m each. I’ll admit, I was thinking of ways to skip it (dodgy knee, dodgy wrist) because I was daunted about how unfit I was and whether I’d actually be able to complete my 2000m. I mean surely not even starting would be less embarrassing than starting and then admitting you weren’t up to it?

(We completed our challenge btw, I completed my 2000m, if you’d like to donate then visit this page )

But I realised 2 things

1) I am unfit, but if I can just get past the mental block I seem to have then I can do whatever I want.
2) Now is the time to crack on, I can’t keep making excuses.

The second thing that has happened. This weekend my lovely friend Hannah has completed a Monster Race (thing cold muddy wet obstacle course!) to raise money for the brain tumour charity. Hannah has her own amazing story and you can check it out and donate here

She is an amazing inspiration. She has been dealt a blow by life and after a wobble, she has taken the bull by the horns and is smashing her goals. She makes me feel embarrassed for myself because actually she is doing what I was once doing, yet I have somehow I have gone well and truly off the boil, stone cold in fact.

So I have  decided enough is enough. I am done having my wobble. Now is time to sort myself out. I’ve got a plan of action until Christmas, then I can re-evaluate.

I’ve also set a goal, just a small one. But I think half my problem is I’ve been too focussed on losing baby & postnatal weight. I need something more tangible. So I am saying here now, this time next year I want to complete a 5k Poppy run. It isn’t a huge distance but it is something for me to aim for.

Lets do this.

H x

Motivational Quotes…

2015-02-fitness-motivational-quotes-21-jpg-fitness-motivational-quotes-IbOkhi-quoteWhen I started training just over 3 years ago, I had a bit of a habit of scouring Pinterest for fitness related motivational quotes. You know the ones, pictures of far flung beaches at sunset with a profound quote over the top. I liked them, I found a lot of what they were saying rang true with how I was feeling at the time and I found them strangely comforting and.. well… motivational.

Gradually as the time went on someone said to me that motivational quotes were rubbish, the time spent looking for them could be spent actually getting off your bum and doing something. This made sense to me. “yeah what good is a quote, just get on and do stuff” I told myself.

bannerWell what I have realised today is whilst that all made sense in theory, I actually liked the quotes, they made me feel positive. I am quite a negative person, hmmm maybe negative is the wrong word, maybe realist is better. I am quite good at over-analysing and thinking what is wrong/has gone wrong and what the worst case scenario is and then I am really good at beating myself up over things.

So actually I have come to realise I need a bit of positivity in my life and if that comes from quotes on the Internet so be it.

3d23a-you-cant-out-exercise-a-bad-dietThe other thing I have come to realise is you can’t let anyone tell you what to feel with this fitness lark. What works for one person, might not work for you. If you want to look at motivational quotes, do it. If you want to do spinning, great. If you want to train in a nice shiny gym with a sauna and Jacuzzi, fab. If being out doors, running up a hill and getting coated in mud is more your thing then go and smash it. There is, as they say, more than one way to skin a cat.

Ultimately no one can tell you what to do and how to feel about it and sometimes it is ok to try things and then say “do you know what this isn’t for me”. Find what works for you, don’t feel compelled to fit in to someone else’s vision of “ideal”.

H x

Times are changing…

Wow, not posted in ages. So much has changed since I last posted.

Over May half term I attended my Puddle Ducks Baby & Preschool training course. 5 intensive days with 2 fab tutors and 7 brill trainees. Then when I got back 2 weeks of super intense co-teaching (aka on the job training) followed by a rigorous assessment. (I got through the assessment so I am now qualified to teach Puddle Ducks baby and preschool swimming lessons. The following day I undertook my first solo classes. So it has been a manic old time. It is fair to say fitness and health has not even been on my radar. I’ve skipped training sessions, eaten rubbish and generally put all my energy in to getting through the Puddle Ducks assessment.

And now it has all died down I’ve taken stock of finances and realised I am skint, like super skint. So I’ve taken the very tough decision to part ways with my trainer after 3+years. To say I am gutted is an understatement. It has been an epic journey but life changes and I’m not in the same financial position I was 3 years ago.

That said, maybe this isn’t a bad thing. After all, they say a change is as good as a rest! I have come to realise how much knowledge I have acquired and also I now know that I do love fitness and eating healthily an I CAN do it. It has given me an opportunity to realise that whilst I might not be where I want to be, I have come a very, very long way.

So now I need to take charge of my own health & fitness. I wish Jason all the best for the future, it has been an epic journey, I’ve changed a lot and learnt heaps, I definitely couldn’t have done that without him. But for now I need to find a different way of working on my health & fitness that fits with how my life has changed.

Onwards & upwards.

H x


24kg_1My god. 24kg is bloody hard work. I knew I had to do a kettlebell session tonight. I didn’t do it last night and I like to do 2 sessions minimum on my own each week. Last night was an unmitigated children’s bedtime disaster, so it just didn’t happen. So I knew I had to do the work tonight and I really didn’t want to. I mean, I’d had a less than successful morning co-teaching for my new job, so realistically all I wanted to do was cry in to a bowl of macaroni cheese and then eat chocolate torte, an entire one to myself,  whilst watching the demise of Peggy Mitchell. It wasn’t made any easier by the fact a 24kg kettlebell swing is now part of my routine. 24kg is really bloody heavy! So I wasn’t relishing the idea of this particular routine, at all.

You see that is what is different to when I joined a gym many years ago. Back in about 2006 I joined a gym. I used to arse about on a few machines, walk on a treadmill, yep walk, not even run! I never even broke a sweat. If whilst using the crazy weights machines I felt even remotely uncomfortable, I’d stop, telling myself it was my body’s way of saying slow down. I mean seriously any slower and I’d have been going backwards. After a while the gym became a boring place and I sacked it off, told myself I was way too busy anyway.

But now I know aside from seeing results, if I want any kind of satisfaction & sense of achievement, I have to push beyond my comfort zone (sorry, I IMG_20160517_202054042hate that phrase!) I have to sweat, get out of breath, feel nauseous, feel burning and aching muscles. And do you know something I might feel like I am about to die but I do take a lot of pride in knowing I am making progress, more reps, heavier weights, shorter rest periods, more sets. So yes, I did feel a little smug swinging 24kg about in the gym while other gym goers eyed me up suspiciously, yes I actually do know what I am doing, I’m focussed and I can do this shit. (NB I didn’t feel quite so smug doing squats with 2 x 12kg  kettlebells in the rack position because that is really hard work!)

So yeah, I don’t always feel like it, but once I drag my arse off the sofa and I do my thing, I feel frickin awesome! Who’d have though, little me swinging about heavy things, getting sweaty and loving it!!

H x


Post-Tabata sweaty face 

Had a training session tonight, tonight it was Tabata. I’ve not done any proper Tabata in forever, probably since before I got pregnant with the boy so over 2 yrs! (bloody hell where has that time gone!)

So for those of you who don’t know, Tabata is a Japanese High Intensity workout, created by Izumi Tabata. It is short, sharp and fast. You have

  • 8 exercises, you spend 20 seconds on each exercise
  • 10 seconds in between each exercise

So each set takes 4 mins. I then had a 1 min rest between each and did a total of 4 sets. Doesn’t sound much does it? 20 seconds per exercise, 8 exercises. But it is surprisingly a great workout. I love it. I was sweating heaps, literally it was dripping off me on to the bench we were using. (In the picture, if you look carefully you can see how soaked my hair was! )

What I love about Tabata though is, it is simple and effective. I have been known to do Tabata workouts while on holiday in Cyprus, the one and only time I’ve ever been on holiday and came back with no weight gain!

Tabata is great if you are stuck for time. Today my session was bodyweight Tabata (a great workout given the extra bodyweight I seem to have LOL) but Saturday we are looking at kettlebell Tabata too, which I am excited about!

Anyway I really enjoyed my session tonight, I defo feel like I am back on track with my training, it has been a long time coming but I feel more like I used to before I got pregnant. This post-natal fitness lark is defo harder than I thought it would be, but I am getting there.

H x

Hill sprints…

Stupid post training face 

February 2015

Jason – “Soon enough you’ll be doing hill sprints up this hill”
Me – “hahahahahahahaha yeah right”

May 2016
3 hill sprints with not much stopping and some actual running and keeping going even though my calves felt like they were going to explode.

I NEVER thought I would do that. Swinging kettlebells about, no problem, even burpees and press ups but running up a hill seemed very unobtainable. But I did it. It hurt. But I did it.

My strength is getting there but my cardio is defo something to work on, but there is a little bit of me that now believes.


H x