Lift the shit out of everything! (Or how I lost 2 dress sizes)

Back in October of last year (feels weird saying that; happy new year!) I told you about how I’d started lifting weights — and some other soppy shit about being in luuuurve — and how because of it (the weight lifting, not the love part) I’d managed to finally lose two dress sizes. Well, in December I finally plucked up the courage to post a progress pic on Facebook. This progress pic (caution: features me in my undies and a badly fitting bra).

Since I posted that I’ve had a ton of people asking me how I got started, what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, what I’m eating, etc etc so I thought it’s probably about time I blogged about it properly.

First: diet

Or not diet, because I still eat exactly the same as I have for years. I eat plenty of veg, meat most days, I don’t skip carbs, I occasionally eat junk food, I love my ice cream and I don’t pass on cake or biscuits. I still drink wine but generally opt for vodka (straight) if I’m out. I love food and it’s important to me that my new lifestyle doesn’t force me to compromise on the things I enjoy. Life’s too short to be eating lettuce 3 times a day and counting calories depressed the shit out of me.

As you can clearly see in the progress picture, this enjoyment of food isn’t preventing me from losing fat. (Although obviously if I were to cut out the crap altogether I imagine my results would have been faster and more pronounced.)

Second: equipment

I can’t afford to spend a shit ton on equipment or gym membership or anything like that and I need to workout at home. I bought the York 20kg cast iron dumbbell set from Amazon for £30. You can get cheaper options made from plastic, but plastic weights deteriorate and split so you’re not saving any money long term. I also bought a pull-up bar because my aim is to be able to achieve a pull-up (sod the weight loss, I want to be ninja strong!)

Third: routine

Obviously I have two children, two jobs, housework, my various animals and a boyfriend to juggle in my schedule, so I needed to find the time to fit this stuff in that wasn’t going to be compromised by other things. I picked Tuesday and Thursday evenings because a) these are the days I don’t typically see Gaz, b) once the kids are in bed I can easily fit in a 30-40 minute workout and still have time to tidy, feed the pets etc. It is worth noting that I don’t have a TV licence and don’t watch TV, so if that’s your bag you’re probably going to be compromising screen time to fit workouts in.

Fourth: lift, baby

(Or what the hell I’m doing with this stuff.) I spent a *lot* of time reading articles on everything from what weights to use, what lifts to do, how many reps, how many sets, what to eat before and after workouts, how much or how little you should rest etc. Lift heavy and slow, lift fast and light, lift lots, lift a little, don’t eat carbs, eat carbs, do this don’t do that *brain explodes* Save yourself the time: don’t do that, because everyone disagrees with everyone else.

That said, I’m not an expert so I figured I’d pick some exercises, stick with it for 6 weeks and if it made a difference I’d keep going, and if not I’d change it up a bit. I vary the weight on my dumbbells depending on how tired I am, and add in additional exercises on good lift days but here’s my standard go-to workout, based upon advice from Nerd Fitness (I highly recommend this site, even though they’re paleo nuts):

Warm-up
30 star jumps (aka jumping jacks)
30 high knees
15 bodyweight squats
30 seconds arm circles
10 incline push-ups
15 sit-ups
10 front leg swings (each leg)
10 side leg swings (each leg)
30 second plank

Lifts
8 goblet squats
8 one arm dumbbell rows (per arm)
8 bicep curls

Repeated x 3 with a 30-60 second break between each round, depending on how knackered I am

Cool down
Various static stretches – here are some good examples

I occasionally mix it up a bit by adding in/replacing the bicep curls with something else, e.g. dumbbell bench press (and by bench I mean sofa, because I’m limited in my equipment!) or some triceps extensions. The whole thing usually takes around 30 minutes. If I’m feeling really energetic I do half an hour on my exercise bike too but this is a recent thing and not a factor in my fat loss.

Fifth: lose inches

Yay!

It’s worth noting that:

  1. as well as reading loads, I spent a lot of time watching youtube videos to ensure my form was as good as it could be.. please don’t go fucking up your back or knees off the back of this post, I can’t afford to be sued :P
  2. I still haven’t lost weight (lbs) because my muscle gains are making up for the fat loss. If you’re into tracking numbers and want to weigh yourself every day you’re probably going to be disappointed. Still, I’d rather weigh 170lbs and know I’m strong than weigh 120lbs and be “skinny fat”, weak and unfit.

TL;DR? Lift the shit out of everything!

The not-a-year-review new year post

At this time of year I traditionally write a post about the year prior and come up with some arbitrary goals for the year ahead. I can’t be arsed this year because a) you’re all fed up of me moaning about last year as it is and b) I have enough shit to be worrying about coming up this year than whether or not I have crossed stuff off a list. And I still have my 30 before thirty list to do anyway.

So, the no-list / no-resolution “goals” for 2015? Lift heavy. Run again. Do stuff. See friends. Laugh lots.

That’ll do, I think.