Saturday, December 29

I want to get my fat arse back in the gym!

After a week of no exercise whatsoever, luckily without resorting to eating more food than Fatty Arbuckle could ever eat, I can't wait to get back into the gym and to my classes - I've even resorted to searching for Spinning classes on YouTube, which led me on to this gem of a video.

Think I work you hard? Check out this guy! And don't worry, I won't be so sadistic... until after Easter hehehehe

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Tuesday, December 25

Bahia - the most beautiful place in the world?

Not only is Brasil full of probably the nicest people in the world, when I was there in 2005 I saw this advert that summed up why Bahia is the best place in Brasil. I have to agree, as it has none of the grey of Sao Paulo, none of the crime of Rio de Janeiro; Belo Horizonte came close but it doesn't have the sea or the beach. If you've been there, you'll be sighing and wishing you were there right now!

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Saturday, December 22

Spinning class: Christmas Party

I make no excuses for this one, although I limited my use of cheesy Christmas songs - much to the relief of my classes! The profile is fairly simple but it can be quite hard if not using the flat road as a recovery, as it means keeping a high level of effort going for the whole ride.

There are different options for the first part of each loop: either as a rest (to recover), a seated flat (a moderate effort) or a standing flat (keep the effort level high). The second part is a fast climb, so needs added resistance, but it works more on the heart rate than the legs. Again, in or out of the saddle are options. Finally, the climb gets heavy with yet more resistance, with the same in/out of saddle option. This climb gives the heart rate a bit of a respite but the legs will take much of the workload.

After doing this loop four times, we finish off with the token Christmas tune - the first minute is a recovery, as it's nice and mellow; then Mariah kicks in and it's time to start climbing. In or out of the saddle, it's three minutes of fast climbing; the final minute is the time to muster up every tiny remnant of energy left in the body and channel through to the pedals for an all-out effort.

Warm up
Party loop x 4
Flat road
Fast climb
Heavy climb
All-out climb
Cool down

No profile for this ride, as it doesn't follow a particular road and HR will be up each individual. Another option is to gradually increase effort level with each loop, e.g., first loop at 70% MHR, second at 75% MHR, third at 80%, then 85%, with the final fast climb taking HR above threshold at 90% and maybe even as high as 98% MHR in the final minute.

Come home - Lil' Devious
Down under - Men at Work
Maniac - Michael Sembello
Moving on up - M People
That's the way I like it - KC and the Sunshine Band
Take on me - A-ha
Together in electric dreams - Philip Oakley & Giorgio Moroder
Walking on sunshine - Katrina and the Waves
Footloose - Kenny Loggins
Atomic - Blondie
Tiger feet - MUD
Can-can - Jive Bunny
Get the party started - Pink
All I want for Christmas - Mariah Carey
Antarctic echoes - Vangelis

Tuesday, December 18

What a month!

So much has happened in the past month that it's hard to know where to begin...

Well, starting with the biggest event, my Department (for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) was offering voluntary redundancies as a way of cutting its staff headcount (but not necessarily its budget!). I've been so disappointed with work and the way in which sycophants were rewarded, with those who dared to question the lack of wisdom of a certain action being told they were not "team players". More importantly, I've come to see that the Department is doomed to be taken over by those interested only in furthering their careers, fiddling while the Earth burns.... Anyway, long story short, I looked at many options for getting out and the money offered was too good not to accept. So, as of the end of this week, I'll be a free man (aka unemployed!). I'm going to give the health & fitness thing a go and, if nothing comes of it, look for a job where I feel I'm making a difference.

What else has happened... ... oh yes, I went to a 3-hour Christmas Spinning Ride, where the UK's Master Instructors took turns is taking us for a challenging and varied ride. Sounds daunting but it was done so well that it was an hour before we had our first hill climb. That's not to say that the flat road was easy... far from it! It was good to be on the "other side" for a change, especially so when led by such good instructors (we are a rare commodity! Hehehehe).

The inevitable Christmas parties have mostly come and gone but I've managed to stay relatively sober and stop myself from eating a month's rations in one sitting! Which is good for me, as I almost always put on weight over the holidays. I have a few more drinking sessions ahead and I'll need to be disciplined, especially now that I'm in the mood for celebrating my new-found freedom from work!