Feb 042013

I finally decided to rejoin Pure Gym, the gym I signed up with about 3 years ago when it was just opening.

When I first signed up, I made an effort to go to the gym regularly – probably 3 or 4 times a week. I would do some cardio, mostly on the elliptical trainer, and then do a circuit of the weight resistance machines. Since I wasn’t really changing my duet at the time, I wasn’t losing any weight and I didn’t feel I was getting any fitter. When I moved house, I couldn’t get to the gym for a couple of weeks. That broke the habit and I didn’t go back.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that in the last 6 months I have lost a heap of weight by dieting. That’s let me do more exercise and I’m noticing that my fitness is improving steadily. I had read about El Diabolo’s 666 Bodyweight Course online and decided to give it a try.

One of the progressions requires a pull-up bar which I don’t have at home, and its too cold at this time of year to use an outdoor one, so I decided to join the gun again.

Pure Gym has changed quite as lot since I was last there. There are a few new machines, but the biggest change is the number of free classes which they are running now. On my first day back, I signed up for the ‘Pure Bodyweight’ class which I thought might be similar to El Diabolo’s. There were supposed to be another 7 people booked on, but none of them turned up so I got a free one-on- one session with Stuart MacEwan, one of the personal trainers.

The class was excellent. I found it very hard work and, if I had been doing it on my own, would have probably stopped half way through. Stuart pushed me just enough to get through it. The class consisted of a mix of cardio exercises and some bodyweight exercises – sit ups, pushups, squats etc. We had a bit of a chat afterwards and he gave me some good tips. He is also putting together a duet plan for me to improve my nutrition. At some point, I’ll ask him to put together a tailored exercise plan and maybe have a few personal training sessions.

Today, I can feel all the muscles was exercising, but I definitely feel better for having done it and am looking forward to booking another class soon! There are lots to chose from – I think I’ll try the Pure Spin, Pure Kettle Bells and Pure Core classes over the next couple of weeks.

If you fancy trying Pure Gym, you can find out more and sign up using my referral code D92C2C at www.puregym.com – let me know what you think and which classes you find most interesting.

Jan 122013

I’m now about 6 months into my diet and fitness challenge and I’m continuing to make good progress!

Since starting on July 23rd 2012, I’ve lost about 25kg, my weight at the start was 95kg, I’m now 69.6kg. My body fat percentage when I started was >33%, it’s now 18.6%.

On the fitness side, things are better too. When I started the diet, I could only run for 2 or 3 minutes on the treadmill before my calves would tighten and I had to stop (although I could use the elliptical trainer for 20-30 minutes with a bit of effort).

I started the Couch to 5k program near the end of September 2012 and managed to work through it without any serious injuries, finishing my last session on 26th December. At that time I was running about 5.8km in the 30 minute session. As an incentive, I signed up for the Bupa Great Winter Run which was held in Holyrood park on 5th January. I completed the 5k in 25:14, although I had a PR of 24:24 during training on a flatter course. I raised £650 for Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland at the same time.

I’m continuing to do runs, every 2 or 3 nights at the moment, and did a 10k last night in a time of 56:44 – still a long way of my teenage PR of 43′, but I’ll get closer! I managed to draw a giant shark, too.

I’ve also signed up for the Edinburgh Spartan Sprint which happens in September, it’s a 5k with obstacles and should be a fun challenge!


Nov 182012

10 weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about my diet progress.

I am now 16 weeks into my diet and have made great progress.

I have continued to use the myFitnessPal Android application which I can’t say enough good things about – it has let me monitor how many calories I am eating each day and how many calories I’m burning through exercise. It also lets me compare foods so I can decide what to eat each day. I don’t feel like I’m skimping on food – last night, I went out for a meal with my girlfriend and had a delicious ribeye steak and a dessert. As long as you balance what you are eating, you don’t need to skimp or only eat rabbit food…

I decided to try to get fit as well as losing weight, so I enrolled in the Couch to 5k (C25K) programme which is a structured training program which takes you from doing no exercise to running 5km (30 minutes) in 9 weeks doing 3 runs per week. I’m currently at the start of Week 6 and did a 4km (20 minute) run a couple of nights ago – that’s the furthest I’ve run since high school. To help with the training, I have been using the Rundouble Android application which has been excellent – it tells you when to run and when to walk, it tracks your speed and distance via GPS and gives you a map of your run and statistics about your pace and distance at the end. While the NHS podcasts are good, I prefer the extra features offered by Rundouble. I also bought myself a Garmin Forerunner 410 GPS Sportswatch with Heart Rate Monitor which gives me more information including my heartrate – this satisfies my inner geek. You can see how I’m doing on my Garmin Connect profile.

I’m so confident that I will be running 5k soon, I have signed up for the Bupa Great Winter Run on January 5th 2013. This is a 5km run through Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, around the base of Arthur’s Seat. Although it’s not a long run, it is hilly and it’ll be very cold!

To give my self more incentive to keep training, I’m asking for sponsorship from friends and family at JustGiving – all the money I raise will go to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland who do some great work.

So, in the past 16 weeks, I’ve lost 19kg (42lbs) – exactly 20% of my original bodyweight and it’s been easy!

If you doubt you can lose weight and get fit, don’t – get out there and do something about it – it’s not hard. If you’re not going to do that, ease your conscience by sponsoring me  at JustGiving *g*

Created by MyFitnessPal – Nutrition Facts For Foods

Sep 042012

When I was a teenager, I was slim and sporty – I was a keen member of my local swimming club and swam at Scottish Schools level, I ran cross country and track at lunchtimes and evenings, I played squash for a while and competed in a few biathalons. When I was 18, I went to university and bought a flat right round the corner from “Scotland‘s Fish and Chip Shop of the Year 1989, 1990, 1993″.

After going undercover as a fattie for nearly 20 years, I’ve decided it is time to remove my disguise.

I’ve tried dieting before, but I’ve never stuck with them for very long. This time it’s been different, I signed up with myFitnessPal and downloaded the mobile application for my phone. During the sign-up process, you give various information about yourself; your age, sex, weight, height etc. and it gives you recommendations of what your ideal weight is, and how many calories you should be eating in order to lose the excess. The mobile application lets you track everything you are eating and drinking so you always know whether you are on target or not. If you are eating prepackaged food, you can scan the barcode and all the nutritional information is automatically recorded for you – I haven’t found many items which are not in their database.

I’ve only been on the diet for 6 weeks, but I have found it really easy to stay within my calorie target each day and have seen great results.

Before I started watching the calories, an average day would have consisted of:


  • Bacon roll with back pudding and brown sauce (at the weekend I might have a fry up)
  • Small bottle of fresh orange (gotta be healthy!)


  • Fish and chips or Lasagne or whatever was on in the canteen
  • Bottle of diet coke


  • Macaroni cheese or Pizza or some other microwave meal
  • Bottle of diet coke


  • Chocolate bar or crisps or biscuits

It’s no wonder I was overweight.

My diet now is much better, and I don’t feel hungry as I have with other diets. I also don’t feel guilty about anything I am eating because I know how many calories it has and can ‘budget’.


  • Small bowl of All Bran or Bran Flakes with Skimmed Milk


  • Salad or Soup
  • Bottle of sparkling water


  • Low calorie microwave meal / Steamed chicken & vegetables
  • Bottle of sparkling water


  • Fresh fruit or Cereal with skimmed milk

6 weeks ago, I weighed 95kg (209lbs), this morning I was 87.6kg (193lbs) so that’s 8kg(18.5lbs) lost so far. This tracker should show any progress which I have made since making this post.

Created by MyFitnessPal – Nutrition Facts For Foods

 Even though this is not a huge amout of weight lost so far, I have noticed huge changes to how I look and feel.

The first thing I noticed was that my face, neck and arms were slimmer. I didn’t initially see any difference in my waist size, but it is now comfortably 2 inches smaller than it was and I have bought new trousers as the 0ld ones were just too loose.

It’s not just my size which has changed. When I tried jogging recently, I found I could only run for a few minutes before my calves cramped up – I actually tore the muscle due to this – I wasn’t tired or particularly out of breath when this happened, I just couldn’t run longer than a few minutes. Even if I walked briskly, I found my legs getting tight and sore. Now I have none of these problems and I am enjoying walking 40 minutes or so fairly briskly to get home from work each night and have no pain in my legs. I used to get regular headaches too, but since changing my diet I have had none – I can only assume that they were caused by the foods I was eating, or a lack of water (I am now drinking much more water).

So, if you are a bit overweight, or unfit, give MyFitnessPal a try for a few weeks – dieting isn’t as difficult as everyone makes out and I have had real results in only a few weeks. Let me know in the comments how much you like the new you!



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