Day 89 of 90: What I Learned (training)


As I come closer to finishing my 90 days I thought I’d write a quick blog on some of the most important things I’ve learned about training (I’ll do nutrition tommorow and then do results on day 91)

1. Lifting weights helps you lose weight: Muscle is active tissue which helps speed up your metabolic rate which helps you lose weight and keep it off (it’s unfortunate that most women’s magazine ignore weight training – you’ll only get big if your hitting big weights and consuming a few thousand calories – seriously).

2. Lose fat and not muscle: I wish I would have chucked out the standard scales as all weight loss is not all equal, sometimes your losing muscle and water but you need to be losing fat. So get a scale that tells you or do a health assessment at a gym.

3. It’s better to lift BIG than to lift more: Multiple reps with small weights burn fewer calories and produce fewer muscle gains. So for strength hit 1-5 (reps) heavy, for muscle 8-12 (medium) and for endurance 15-failure (below medium but not light) but make sure you get some burn. DO NOT do a set of a 100 reps on 2kg (your better off hitting 3 sets of 10 with 60kg).

4. Rest is important as training: Now I know I’ve been training every day but Sun is light and I will probably just train 5 to 6 days when I’m finished this challenge. Rest, particularly sleep, helps repair your body, I’ve neglected it sometimes.

5. Slow-state cardio is crap: I love cardio so I still do it on Sundays but if you want the fat loss do it on an empty stomach, do it after other training and/or get some high intensity in. So today I hit chin-ups and tri-dips, 29 mins cardio and then 1min sprinting.

6. You don’t need to do abs to get abs: Now I still do them but the bigger muscle groups are much more important though (back, legs, chest)… Having said that my obliques are just showing and I’ll have to shred more fat to get the abs out but there coming, first time in years.

7. Keep it old school: The classics like the bench press, squat, deadlift and the military press are the bread and butter of training. So although a magazine might say that you can get ripped in 2 days by standing on one leg whilst swinging a cat around you head there probably making it up….Probably.

8. Everyone has to start somewhere: I didn’t have a clue about weights but the truth is the internet is filled with great info and if you speak to enough people you will find that they are helpful and willing to talk. If people keep saying the same things then this might be a clue that it’s a truism, watch out for bro-science though.

9. Everyone makes gains if they work hard: When I started training I could do 2 or 3 chin-ups now I can hit 5 sets of 10 (50) unassisted and 12 sets of 10 (120) assisted (on a machine)… That’s after a training session. Miraculous? Maybe, or just persistence and hard work.

10. It’s worth it: Not only have I enjoyed it but I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, I weigh what I weighed at 18, am sleeping better and eating more.



(Fresh sardines and king prawns with dried chilli, lemon and coriander)


(I had a good few portions of it with smoked salmon and a avocado salad)

Cutting phase (day 5)



Day 70 of 90: 24/7 – The Rise of the 24hr Gyms


I’m a member of a 24hr library, shop at a 24hr supermarket (though to be honest, I seldom make use of the opening hours) and am now a member of a 24hr gym. Having said all of this, there is no doubt that the upheaval of moving from one gym to another can be a little disorientating – not to mention the loss of friends, however, the opening hours mean that I cannot only train longer and have access to more kit but it means that regardless of the busyness of my schedule I will still be able to train even at unusual hours. This is particularly important as I move towards the final 20 days of logging my training. I mean today it meant that rather than training from 7am-8:15am I was able to train from 6.30am-8.15am, something that I plan doing more regularly. So if time constraints are hindering your gains then maybe you need to up your training time, one way of doing that is by looking to join a 24hr gym like me.

Pre-Workout: a banana with a tablespoon of honey and peanut butter
Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: porridge, banana and mixed nuts
Snack 1: tangerine
Snack 2: grilled mackerel
Lunch: tomato soup, boil ham and veg and apple strudel and custard (tried to say no but it was forced on me – hence why I need to up my training)
Snack 1: boiled egg
Snack 2: a tablespoon of peanut butter
Dinner: a low fat mozzarella salad with mackerel (in tomato sauce) and tuna
Desert: 3 figs with a drizzle of honey
Snack: a kiwi
Evening Shake: whey

Day 47 of 90: How to Snack Between Meals


If your anything like me you were told not to snack between meals now not only does this misinformation leave you hungry (if your anything like me) but it also means that your metabolic rate will not be working at its optimum rate. You see smaller meals more often keep your body burning nutrients which in turn uses more calories and keeps your metabolic rate high. The key, however, is that you should you should be snacking well.

Well, I used to be a fan of beef biltong/jerky that was until I saw the amount of additives and preservatives that were in it – not to mention the salt. However, I have begun getting meat, cooking it in the griddle pan and adding my own seasoning. What’s great is that it’s cheaper, healthier and, because I can add what I want, tastier. I’ve done turkey breast and maggi, prawn, lemon and chilli and today I did beef (by itself). So why not give it a try – cut it small and it cooks in minutes.



TODAY’S FOOD LOG (no food from 7pm till after training)
Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: porridge with walnuts and almonds
Snack: fruit salad, almonds and Greek yogurt
Lunch: tuna and egg salad followed by a kiwi
Snack 1: prawns pieces (as above)
Snack 2: handful of walnuts
Dinner: soy shepherds pie (minus potato) with salad
Snack 1: half a mango
Snack 2: beef pieces (as above)
Evening Shake: whey shake

Day 38/39 of 90: Jog On


Ok I admit it I didn’t blog yesterday…Ok AND today, my rest/cardio day, when I was going to drop my carbs and calories down I let my nutrition slip. Anyway, that’s why I hit some back on my rest day but life must go on, hey?

So the purpose of today’s blog is to talk about cardio – well, jogging in particular. Now I know how it works most people either hit weights or do cardio and the lifters among you if you do HIT cardio it’s normally High Intensity Training. Now I’m perfectly aware that too much cardio will rob you of your muscle gains if your not eating enough, that is, which has never really been a problem for me ;-), but here’s why some cardio will do you good peeps.

1. Apart from the fact that it breaks up the monotony of training and the fact that some lifters sound like a chain smoking version of Darth Vader when they walk up the stairs it is cheap and you can do it with minimum kit. Which is brilliant! Particularly when you don’t have access to a gym or when you aim to train daily.

2. It’s great for weight loss, ok resistance training with HIT is way better, but running also strengthens your heart and lungs so that they can work under increased pressure and so you can up the intensity of your HIT.

3. Jogging can also lower your risk of major illnesses (like various cancers and high blood pressure), has been proven to relieve depression, improve your quality of sleep and increase bone density.

4. And, finally, it helps aid your body’s glucose tolerance (how you breakdown sugar) and insulin sensitivity (how you control sugar levels).

So here’s how to do it: stretch (I don’t stretch when using a treadmill as it is less intense than road work) and then start by walking for the first 30-60 seconds (2 mph) and then break into a light jog for a few minutes (4 mph) before beginning to run (6 mph). I normally do 30-45 minutes and then 1 minute of HIT at 11.1 mph (this is great for fat burning and lean muscle building). I then warm down in the reverse order that I warmed up.

I always do my cardio after weights and do not have anything to eat at least a few hours before. This means that when I train I am burning fat and not the nutrients from my food. I’d also aim to do more than 20 minutes per session, otherwise, this form of training (low intensity cardio) is going to be of little value.

Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: porridge with banana, mixed seeds and goji berries followed by a poached egg
Snack 1: mixed nuts and a sheet of seaweed
Snack 2: a peach
Lunch: lean beef and vegetable chilli with salad
Snack 1: a red apple
Snack 2: a packet of chorizo ham (believe it or not it was the healthiest thing I could find in a local shop on the way to Wales)
Evening shake: whey shake
Dinner: half a roast chicken, with chilli sauce and salad (we went out and I replaced the chips with salad

Early morning snack: all the biscuits in the hotel room (I was up at 4am finishing an essay from my MA course and got the munchies)
Morning Shake: whey shake
Breakfast: muesli and a cooked breakfast (it was an all you can eat buffet and I’d paid for it…So the more I ate the more I saved)
Lunch: beef carvery
Snack: a toffee sundae (ok I was on a roll…I should have had a beer while I was at it)
Evening Shake/Post Workout: whey shake (I skipped dinner because believe it or not I was full)
Snack: 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

Note: Ok I would normally limit the carbs and healthy fats (the peanut butter I mean) to the first half of the day and try and eliminate them on rest/cardio day, particularly as I was carb-loading on Friday. But today was an unusual day for me because I pigged out.
carb-cycling blog

Day 25 of 90 – A Healthy Curry Recipe on Rest Day


Physically and psychologically training can take is toll. Not only does your body need rest, repair itself and build muscle but a mind which is always in self-denial mode will take the enjoyment out of life and training. So sleep a little extra on your rest day (I mean an hr not a whole day), train a little lighter (walk, jog, swim or do some sport…I just do something different from what I do Mon-Sat) and eat a little ‘better’ (your body needs more fuel on rest days to repair so it’s a great time to have some of what your missing). For this reason I have included a recipe for a healthy beef and vegetable curry I had today.

1. Fry 2 finely chopped onions in a little olive oil or low calorie spray until brown (I didn’t have any so I used spring onions. After this is done I’d fry a finely chopped red pepper too but I’d run out).


the food chopper is from Pampered Chef

2. Fry 0.5kg of finely chopped beef for 2/3 mins (cutting it small helps keep the cooking time down – don’t overcook beef or it goes tough)


3. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of low salt tomato paste (a tin of tomatoes will do but I prefer the paste) and your salt and spices.


A healthy teaspoon of cumin, tumeric, garam masala and paprika.

Salt and chilli to taste (you can add a teaspoon at a time or just chuck it in as the mood takes you like me BUT easy on the salt). HINT: I pre-mix my spices and salt and put them in together (keep them out just cause you might need a little later – I’d leave any modifications to the end).

A healthy tablespoon of minced garlic and ginger (if you use fresh garlic and ginger, put them in after the onions are fried and fry before the spices are added).

4. Cook to boil and then simmer

5. To keep the healthy theme going I added mushrooms, chopped spinach (I used frozen – just deforest it and add), tablespoon of dried fenugreek (a tablespoon), handful of fresh and finely chopped coriander, a tin of garden peas and before it was finished some fresh tomato (they were going soft but they taste great when in curries, especially cherry tomatoes, and so does fresh chilli, sliced garlic or a little lemon juice. Put them in just at the end and then stick a lid on. If you add peas do not keep stirring or they’ll go to mush)


6. Ok now serve with salad, and whilst I would keep my starchy carbs in the first half of the day, brown rice or what I did low calorie naan bread and a tiny bit of lime pickle. Notice that even though it is a rest day I still keep the portion small. Less and often is better than huge and less often but with all that salad and a desert (half a cup of frozen raspberries) I didn’t need any more.


As you can see, this is a fantastically tasty meal and while I would not normally go for naan bread (except at lunch and on a rest day) even this is a relatively healthy option compared to the ‘anything goes cheat meal’ that some propose (and the naan was a bargain at 84p for 2 from the co-op).

Today’s Food Log

Breakfast: porridge with mixed seeds and goji berries followed by an all-in-one shake

Snack: beef biltong (it’s like jerky) and a teaspoon of peanut butter

Lunch: curry, diet naan and salad followed by half a cup of frozen raspberries

Snack: plum and apricot

Dinner: tuna salad with chilli followed by a pear and a whey protein shake

*no food after 6pm

Day 23 of 90 – Fitness Classes


Ok day 23 of recording my training and nutrition log and it seems to be going well although time constraints have meant that I have had to choose the morning gym sessions over the evening fitness classes (I did both in the first 2 weeks and am hoping to pick that up again at the end of August when I’ll have more time on my hands). However, today I have been able to do both – I did boxercise this morning and weights this evening.

Fitness classes, like bodypump (a weights class), boxercise (does what it says on the tin), kettle bells (a weights class) and circuits (it’s in the name dummy) (these are the ones I enjoy but there are loads more), can be a great form of high intensity cardio. That means they get your heart rate pumping and are fantastic way of burning body fat whilst gaining muscle (which is needed for body tone). Believe it or not low intensity cardio, training done at a slow speeds for medium to long periods of time, which seem very popular in the gym, are great for building endurance or stamina but are poor for losing fat or gaining muscle.  Personally, I would avoid LIC unless you are starting out and want to build a foundation, your training for a sport or, like me, you do it on rest days (it’s also good for warming up and cooling down). Instead, I would try out some fitness classes, which can complement gym sessions, help add some variety to your routine or make up the bulk of your training – depending on your goals or training needs.


Breakfast: porridge, mixed seeds and goji berries followed by a poached egg.

Post- Workout: all-in-one shake

Snack 1: beef biltong (it’s like jerky)

Snack 2: 2 small plums and a pear with mixed seeds

Lunch: large chicken breast, cooked spinach and salad

Snack 1: a tangerine with mixed seeds

Snack 2: 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

Dinner: seafood and veg in a oriental sauce

Snack: pineapple and Greek yogurt with mixed seeds and goji berries

Post-Workout: all-in-one shake

*no food after 6pm

Day 21 of 90 Log – Bodybuilding on a Budget


Although, I have trouble believing that we are in the worst recession since the great depression, I do realise that good nutrition (and training) can be rather expensive that is why I thought I’d share where I get the bulk of my food from… It is, none other than Macro.

And Here’s what I got:

£9.99 2kg of diced beef (it was a little fatty, I should have gone for the steaks in hindsight – great prices)

£19.99 5kg of chicken breasts (these have no added water or salt, it’s just pure chicken) (I got one for a mate, hence the 2 boxes in the picture above)

£9.99 2 large octopuses (they’ll clean them and cut them for you, if you ask) (boil for about 50 mins and then stir fry for 15 mins or it can be like rubber)


£10.95 12x25g beef bilitong (it’s like beef jerky – basically a high protein meat snack)

£1.99 1ltr of chilli sauce

£1.49 1kg of chopped spinach

£0.80 cherry tomatoes

£0.75 bag salad

Cheap as chips right? Well at least cheaper than most health food shops, supermarkets and websites but here’s what you need to know.

1. You need a Macro card – it’s free but you need to have a business, work in a business or have a mate who does. You can have a number of cards per business so there’s no restrictions on cardholders (a charity or club or group can also get cards). You don’t need a card to shop online though

2. There is no vat on any of the above because it’s food but you’ll pay vat on non-food items. Watch out for this.

3. It is only cheaper if you buy in bulk, singular items can be expensive.

4. They give out free tea and coffee, at least they do at the moment but you have to bring your own bags (save the planet one bag at a time I guess), something you might want to know before you go.

5. Don’t go mad as you might struggle for places to put all the stuff you buy – you might need a pantry and a chest freezer eventually.

6. The one in Halesowen (Pitcairn Drive, Halesowen, B62 8AZ) can be awkward to find – if you go, you might think the site resembles the kind of locationing you’d expect from a top secret military base (translation: it’s quite far off the road). macro website

That’s that, now for my food log:

Breakfast: porridge, mixed seeds, goji berries, mixed nuts and banana followed by a poached egg.

Post- Workout: all-in-one shake

Snack: beef biltong followed by strawberry yogurt (it was an organic, pro-biotic, low fat, Greek yogurt – I normally stay away from desert yogurt but this was fantastic)

Lunch: 3 chicken thighs, spinach, salad and chilli sauce

Snack: banana, apricot and mixed seeds

Dinner: octopus and vegetable rendang curry with a little octopus and vegetable soup.

Snack: a tablespoon of peanut butter

Evening shake: whey protein shake with almond milk and another whey shake and oat mix (I wouldn’t of hit this but I went round a mates and he got the round in).

*no food after 6:15pm