Beer Hour in Canada & a weekend away

Beer Hour in Canada & a weekend away

This is not actually a post about fitness. It is about beer. How quickly I have crumbled from a fitness blog to something about booze. Bear with me! I have not gone off the rails. I just had a weekend break with my wife in Grand Bend/Goderich and I indulged a little. Sitting on the beach relaxing, going for lunches and eating out, it is hard to stick to the healthy life style. So the trick is to relax a little, after all it is a holiday, but don’t go mad. So this weekend I allowed myself one plate of chips (Fries) and one desert. I did not really watch what I was eating because, well, i could not be bothered. But I did limit the damage by watching my sides (Salad instead of fries – that kind of thing). And I allowed myself to drink a little. Three days away totalled two pints of beer, one bottle of beer and one large glass of whine. Again, I enjoyed myself, but I was careful with it. If you stray to far, even if it just on holiday, it hard to get back on track. We have all had a moment of thinking  ‘Well, i have had one so I may as well have another two’. Don’t! Savour the one drink at lunch, wine at dinner or desert you really want. Really enjoy that one plate of chips. I told my wife that unless I see apple pie/crumble on the menu I wont have desert. Being picky meant only one place had it, and I enjoyed it greatly.

I have to be honest. I like a good beer. I don’t drink a great deal but every now and again its nice to have a pint – on a hot day it is something to savour. And some of the beers now in Canada are damn good. They have real taste, depth and variety. I also find that the light beers are very easy to drink to the point it is like sparkling water – all to easy to have more and more. A nice, darker ale will take longer to drink and also make it easier to resist that second pint. I tried ‘flying monkey’ ale and very good it is to. I highly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and trying some of the really good craft varieties that are popping up all over Ontario and in Canada and US.

I also need you to know that despite the indulgence I still made use of the hotel pool and gym. Once you get past the point of not liking the gym it become something you want to do. So doing it while away was easy.

Summer is here – keep relaxing!





A distinct lack of flexibility

A distinct lack of flexibility

Use it or lose it. I am not old. At least to my eyes I am not old – almost 34. And I am in better shape than I was at 32 and I think we don’t have to accept that age means more weight, less fitness and more health problems. It is possible to keep fit, stay slim and enjoy active life as we get older, we just have to put a little more effort in. The thing is, once you start, and get over the initial effort of keeping fit, it should not be so hard to maintain it. If anything it is a mental exercise at this point rather than a physical one.

One thing I never paid much attention to is flexibility. I have never been particularly flexible. And I suddenly realized  last week that I am not just lacking in flexibility, I am totally and utterly inflexible. And I think it affects me more than I realized. It certainly makes me feel older than I did before because I cant move with the same degree of fluidity that I could before. So today, by chance, I had my fitness assessment at the new (well, rejoined) gym – they have in-house trainers that are affiliated with a physiotherapist practice – and I said I can work out on general fitness things myself but I am most concerned with my lack of flexibility. If I am to continue trying get fitter I need to build on a body that can move properly. I am happy enough with the way I look – although I need to loose a little more – but I really want to be as functional a person as possible.

So out came all the flexibility test. And I failed. The only upside it that I can at least say the saying ‘know thy self’ applies to me. So I am starting a slightly different regime. My general fitness, while not what you would call athletic, is good enough that I don’t need to focus on cardio at the moment (by not focusing, I don’t mean not doing!). My new plan also means forgetting about how much weight I can lift. No point lifting 100 lbs if you can only move it 5 inches. I am starting on low weigh, big range and slow movement. And it is quite hard! It should do two things. By maximizing my movement for each rep I should start improving my flexibility because in many ways it is a hybrid between weight training and stretching. It also seems – and I have done some looking into it – that this type of weight training can lead to quite a big build up of muscle. So I need to be a little careful as I don’t want too get to big. Still, a change is as good as a rest they say so let’s see how it goes.

I also bought myself a skipping rope this weekend. And it is HARD! Seriously, I can can do a fair amount of time on the cross trainer, bike and even treadmill but after a few minutes of skipping rope I am shattered. My heart is thumping and I am eating. No wonder boxers do it. I am going to try and build up my stamina doing this so I can focus on the flexibility and weight training at the gym. This might me hard. I need to buy a fitness map with some padding on it otherwise I will pop a knee doing this.

I’ll keep you posted!

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Well I have started again to look after myself. To be fair I did not drop the ball for long as the journey started a couple of years ago and I am eager to maintain my gains (Losses).

When I moved to Canada from England I made it a mission to lose weigh and get in to shape. I had, slowly over the course of almost a decade let myself slide. And it was a slow slide. At uni I went the gym and was very active – while I was never ‘Buff’ I was slim, fit and great shape.

After uni I still eat fairly well – I was never much into junk food – but I tended to eat a lot and I enjoyed going out with colleges for a drink which turned into a bar food dinner.  I enjoyed life. I stopped going to the gym as it seemed like to much effort in the working world. I was still active – I am generally a busy person, always moving, and I started playing squash with colleagues after work. But it was not enough. And from the age of 21 to 31 I went from  about 185lb (Good weight despite my shortish height – I am wide even when slim!) to over 220 lbs when I got to Canada and I would imagine there was some drop in muscle mass and a gain of more than 35lbs of fat.

I used to sit on the train to work everyday – my wife always says that I cant help but observe the world around – and I observed middle aged people whom I had no wish to emulate. They where normal people, family people with 9-5’s, getting on with life for better or worse. And many of them, while not miserable or unhappy, had a look like life has taken control of them and they are just along for the ride. After my son was born, my wife became extremely ill and I felt at mercy to the winds of life. I sat there one morning after deciding to move to Canada (with the wife and kid!) and I said NO. I did not want to live that life. I may be a normal guy. A family guy. With a great wife, an amazing son and 9-5 Job. I am mostly the same as everyone else. But I want to be in control. And I decided to start in Canada by joining a gym and looking after myself.

I moved Canada and I knew I would not be working for a while. It was time to get fit and start the process of getting some control. My dad paid for the first year of the gym. And I stuck to it. I eat a lot as I have mentioned. I just do. And while I did not binge on fries and fatty foot I did eat too much of the wrong foods. So as well as joining a Gym I started to watch my calories and more importantly my macros. I not a very concise person so I am sure I was always a little vague but I boosted my meat – veg – salad – fruit intake at the expense of Pasta – Rice etc. And I said no to almost all Junk (unless it seemed rude to not take the cake. I don’t even like cake that much) And it worked. I found I could eat more than enough to feel satisfied and still keep my calorific intake in check. I dropped to under 190lbs in well under a year. And I had dropped my body fat percentage from about 23 to 17%. I dropped 4″ on my weist. I was happy!

I had plans to do better but I was beginning to get fed up with not being able to work. I joined a cheaper gym that I did not like so much. I still tried to be careful and I still went to the gym but I felt more and more out of control and unable to justify spending more on food or going to a better gym. At first, with my gym going I was able to maintain my weight. I hovered around the 190 lbs mark for nearly a year. But I was paying less attention that I had been and there was very slow decline in process. And then, finally, I got a job nearly four months ago.

It is great to be at work but I was faced with finding a new routin that would include my keeping healthy. I had to try and find a work – family life – fitness balance and I was failing miserably. I am not so dedicated to the cause as to get up at 4.30am to work out. I actually like to see my wife and son in the morning. And I never make latter in the day. I struggled to go to the gym. I did not like my gym before I was working, but now it felt worse. I occasionally went on my lunch but I always felt dirty and grimy afterwards and almost dreaded going. Well, I am working so I forked out a little extra this week and re-joined my previous gym – a different branch but the same chain. It is Anytime Fittness. It is not lux. But it is clean and the people are nice. I like it. And I go on my lunch break happily. Sure my workout are shorter but I think they will be enough.

But if you are dedicated to the cause you can not blame the surroundings. It is to easy to do that, we all do, it is a terrible habit. I am now trying hard again to get back into that healthy living mantra – I watch what I eat (what – not how much!) and I use an app to log it so I can keep some track.

So I am getting back on track. I get the feeling it not that easy to stay on track, but in some ways it is like muscle memory, once you start, as long as you don’t leave it to long, you get get back into the routine quickly.   That is what I am hoping. I’m going to start using this blog, and try and fill it with thing other might find useful. Like I said at the start – it is a mental exercise maintain a physical body.

Good Day,