Fitness Diary #4: Weeks Three and Four

Welcome back to My Fitness Diary series. Click to catch up on My Fitness Diary #1, #2 and #3. This Fitness Diary entry details the third and fourth week of my training programme. Having spent the latter half of the fourth week on holiday in Kerry, I decided to join week three and four together into one comprehensive entry.

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My Fitness Diary: Week Three

Thankfully week three saw another good week of training. I did my weights programme Monday, Thursday and Friday with two additional HIIT sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. I continued to see improvements in strength throughout week three.

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This week I swapped my usual black coffee for some fresh warm lemon and ginger tea in the morning. Staying hydrated has been important for sticking to my macros.

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Week Three Meal: Rosemary and parmesan chicken wrapped in parma ham, with roasted carrot, kale and courgette.

Saturday of week three was a rest day for me but it involved a little too much indulgence to be honest! I went to the Belfast Pride festival and although I only had one glass of red wine while everyone else enjoyed a few more, I ended up getting a tub of Nobó salted caramel ice-cream (Oops!). Probably not the best thing to buy while trying to cut a few pounds so I’ll try not to let that happen again. I did do a lot of walking around the city during the festival so I suppose that might have counteracted some of the excess calories I consumed on Saturday.

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A low carb aubergine and tomato dish I came up with in week three

My Fitness Diary: Week four

Instead of having my usual rest day on Sunday I was straight back to day one of my training programme. I knew I would be leaving for Kerry on Wednesday and wanted to make sure I had the three days of my training programme complete before then. So I headed straight into week four of the programme on Sunday and reached a new personal best on my squat! I’m delighted to be edging closer to body weight with my squats so fingers crossed the strength gains keep coming! (Maybe all that Nobó ice-cream made for some good pre-workout fuel?)

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Week 3&4 Snack: Cookies! Find the recipe here.

I also weight-trained on Monday, completing day two of my programme. I was a little bit bold again on Monday and had some gluten free Lemon polenta cake with my post-workout lunch, although according to my estimates I was still within calories for the day overall. It was so good! Holiday mode was definitely beginning to creep in early this week as you can see!

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I have been doing my weigh-ins on a Tuesday as part of this programme so my weight for the end of week three/start of week four was 63.4kg. Again not a huge difference on the scales yet. However, I am really happy that I’m still getting stronger and I am definitely a lot more toned than I was when I started!

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I made some spelt sourdough bread in week 4 – I’ll do a blog post on how to make it very soon.

On Tuesday I travelled home for a special family lunch. I didn’t make it to the gym for my usual HIIT session as I didn’t have time. I wasn’t counting any macros that day.  I enjoyed a slice of my flourless chocolate cake and a glass of red wine as part of the celebrations. I should have stopped at that but there may have also been some more chocolate and sweets later in the evening…

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Wednesday morning I trained again – finishing out day three of my programme before heading to Limerick. I kept my diet much cleaner on Wednesday, although I wasn’t tracking macros. We stayed in Limerick overnight and got up early Thursday to train in the University of Limerick sports facility. This was an adhoc training session and I decided to use the opportunity to try out a leg press for the very first time and to do some hip thrusts (the benches in my Belfast gym make them really hard to do safely and I miss them!). I also did a superset of an incline bench press and a seated row. It was a quick and fun session full of exercises that aren’t on my current programme. So, whilst I didn’t do any HIIT for week four, I did squeeze in that extra weight-training session.

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After training in UL Sport we went for a lovely healthy brunch in Delish across the road. I had eggs florentine on a flat cap mushroom and an almond milk matcha latte.

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We hit the road for Kerry and arrived there on Thursday afternoon. It is safe to say that macros and calorie counting went completely out the window at that point! I wanted to relax and really enjoy the few days away and certainly wasn’t going to be worrying about calories while on holidays. One might say I jumped straight off the wagon!

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On the plus side we did do lots of walking on our first day in Killarney. We went to see the beautiful Killarney National Park, including Muckross Abbey, Muckross House and Torc Waterfall and took in the views of the stunning lakes, gardens and surrounding scenery. We were so lucky to have had great weather for our trip.

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On Friday we attended a fabulous wedding – what a day we had! On Saturday we visited the gorgeous Muckross Park Hotel Spa and enjoyed the outdoor hot tub and all the lovely spa facilities. Another late night followed on Saturday as the wedding celebrations continued! We had so much fun in Killarney, it is such a beautiful place. We will most certainly be back!


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We got home late on Sunday and I began easing myself back onto my plan on Monday. After four days of pure indulgence my Tuesday morning weigh-in (today) was bang-on 65kg. Of course I expected my weight to go up, to be honest I thought I would have done more damage! I will be getting straight back on track now with my programme. I begin week five today and I am once again tracking macros.

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Balance is so important and depriving oneself 365 days a year isn’t realistic. There are definitely times when training and macros can take a backseat in my opinion. This weekend was one of those times for me and I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of it! That said, I am more than ready to get back on track now with my motivation fully restored.

The Clean Coconut x

P.S. I had to pause My Fitness Diary entries after my doctor ordered me to undergo a gluten challenge and testing for Coeliac Disease, have a read about what happened next here.  Fitness Diaries will be back soon!

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Fitness Diary #3: Week Two

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Welcome to week two of my fitness diary. Catch my introduction here and week one here.

Training

This week I hit the gym five times, Monday-Friday. A golden week if you will! I completed the three weight-training days of my new programme on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, I did cardio. Saturday and Sunday were rest days.

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Oats – My new fav pre workout!

I’ve been pleased to have increased my strength on most lifts this week. I’m really enjoying my new programme. In terms of cardio, I tried a thirty minute “Fat Burn” class at the gym on Tuesday but unfortunately didn’t find it to be nearly as tough as the HIIT session I did in week one. I had hoped that doing a class would push me harder than I push myself but alas that particular one wasn’t for me. On Thursday I did my own HIIT session which I was happier with. My HIIT sessions are handy in that they are short (but by no means sweet!). They only take about 20 minutes. If you’d like me to share some of them as part of my weekly fitness diary let me know!
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I’ve also been trying to get out and about doing things that don’t revolve around alcohol or eating rubbish. I visited Crumlin Road Gaol and went for a walk around Belfast Castle over the weekend. It was so nice to get out and about in the fresh air and to be hangover free at the weekend!

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Diet

I’ve been fairly good with my food this week, staying around my calories and macros for six days out of seven. I have definitely started to notice an increase in appetite from Thursday onwards, but I’ve been able to manage well on the calories I’ve set myself so far. I wouldn’t like to be in any more than a 15% deficit though!

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A delicious vegan caramel slice from 5a was one of my treats this weekend – check out my post on the best places to eat clean in Belfast for more ideas!

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On Saturday I went for a delicious cheat meal which you may have seen on Snapchat! Of course this would have certainly brought my calories up for the day, likely into a surplus. I want this to be an enjoyable and balanced process though so I’m happy to include a cheat meal once a week as long as its not hampering my progress too much. 

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This week I also posted the recipe for the above chicken curry on the blog. It was one of my meals this week. Macros are included in the recipe!

Weigh in

As I said in week one, I don’t intend to use the scales as a sole marker of progress. I am however weighing in once a week. This week I weighed in on Tuesday morning again. I was 63.6kg. Basically my weight on the scales hasn’t changed at all yet in these first two weeks. It will be interesting to see at the end of my programme whether my progress pictures look any different! I’m not going to adjust my calories or training until I’ve completed a few more weeks of training and eating well.

I intend to do a comprehensive blog post when my initial strength programme is complete. In the meantime, I’ll be back next week with my update for week 3!

The Clean Coconut x

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Fitness Diary #2: Week One

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Last week I shared my very first Fitness Diary in which I opened up a little more about how I changed my lifestyle. Now I’m taking things back to the present and blogging my progress as it happens (fingers crossed!).

I confess; this is a mutually beneficial blog series. Tracking my progress on my blog is sure to motivate me while simultaneously ensuring accountability and consistency. I also hope that sharing my journey might motivate you to join me in achieving your goals too – we can do this!

New Programme

Its July 2016 and I am starting a brand new training programme. The programme will last four weeks and focuses on strength. At the same time I’m loosely tracking what I’m eating using the My Fitness Pal app. I tried counting macros before and its safe to say I learned a lot from doing so! I’m ready to give it another shot now for the duration of my four week programme and then regroup.

I fully intend to share my progress, warts and all. If I mess up you will know about it! I’m not perfect and I break the rules the same as everyone else. However, I do feel very determined to get myself into my best shape yet and that journey starts now.

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Goals:

I should state at this point that my goal is not to get super “shredded” or to have a six-pack. I simply want to tone up and lean out a bit while getting stronger. As clichéd as it sounds my only competition is myself and my real goal is to push the boundaries and get myself fitter. When I’m at a body-fat that I’m happy with I will then be upping my calories and attempting to put on a little more muscle! One step at a time…

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My Starting Point

I weighed in on Monday 18th July at 63.6kg. This marked my starting point. I do not base my progress not the scales, rather I prefer to go by how I look and feel, how my clothes fit and by progress pictures. That gives a far more accurate account of how I’m doing. I intend to do a weekly weigh-in just to keep track of things.

Back in the spring I had my body fat measured and my weight checked. I came back six weeks later weighing more on the scales but I was in fact down 4% body fat. For this reason I do not allow myself to get dismayed by the scales. I do not weigh myself daily to get an accurate weekly average as some people advise. There is certainly nothing wrong with doing so but I personally can’t help but find the fluctuation disheartening. I know this would probably frustrate me if I used it as a sole marker of success and it wouldn’t necessarily portray my level of progress towards my goals.

Week One: Training

My current strength programme involves three weight-training days per week. I completed these on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. These sessions are all full body workouts and take between 60 and 90 minutes (including warm-up/activation and stretching etc).

I also planned to do 2 days of cardio on Tuesday and Thursday on top of my weight training. Tuesday was the hottest day of the year so I decided to skip the gym in the end and stay out enjoying the sunshine. I did fit in a tough HIIT session on Thursday though. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is usually my cardio of choice; if I’m doing cardio! I definitely prefer weight training to cardio but needs must!

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On Tuesday I went for a Walk in the Sunshine and a Picnic in the Park

Week One: Diet

I’m not following a rigid nutritional plan but I am roughly tracking my macros for the duration of this programme. I’ve been keeping an eye on my protein intake to make sure its sufficient. I’ve also been staying within the calories set out by my macros (More on macros here).

Because I am trying to cut fat I have calculated my macros/calories with a 15% calorie deficit. I stayed within my calories for 6 days out of 7. On Saturday night, having gone out for dinner, I was probably up around maintenance calories rather than at a deficit.

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Intermittent Fasting

This week I have also been trying out intermittent fasting, or put more simply; eating all my calories in a smaller window of time rather than across the entire day. I find in the morning I’m not as hungry and at the moment I’m just having a black coffee until I feel hungry. If I’m training in the morning however, I definitely eat beforehand. Again this is not something I’m rigidly sticking to, it is more so something I’m experimenting with for a few weeks. When I counted macros before I mentioned that I began to feel really hungry after a few weeks. I suppose by trying out intermittent fasting I’m hoping to feel fuller while still remaining in a calorie deficit. So far I haven’t felt hungry or deprived at all on the calories I’ve been working off. It is obviously early days though so I’ll keep you up to date on how this is going for me as my Fitness Diary series continues.

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My ‘Clean’ Seafood Chowder with Sourdough Bread

Fitness Diary #2: Conclusion

It is now Tuesday 26th of July and one week on I’ve weighed in at 63.5kg. That’s 0.1kg lighter than last my starting point. I’m not going to make any drastic changes to my plan yet though. My body and my metabolism are still adjusting to the new programme and the calories I have set for myself so I will continue following the same plan of action for another week and see how it goes.

For me, this is not a quick fix or a race to lose weight. I’m taking my time and gradually making changes that I can maintain in the long run. I’m probably looking to get to 60kg as a rough goal weight but again I’m more interested in how I look and feel than in the number on the scale so this is a very fluid goal at the moment.

Let’s see what the next week will bring! You can keep up to date on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Clean Coconut x

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