Hello again, strangers!
OK, so I didn’t manage to beat my overall distance covered from last month, but I did pretty well! 119.3 miles vs. May’s 152.8 miles. Breaking that down, it was:
- 74.3 miles of cycling
- 11.2 miles of running (just have not felt up for it lately… )
- 1.6 miles of swimming (heehee)
- 25.4 miles of hiking (i.e. cross country walking)
- 7 miles of walking (not counting walks <1mile, such as to the shops etc.)
My barbell lifts personal bests to date:
- Barbell Squat: 95lbs (previously 65 lbs)
- Deadlift:130lbs (previously 108 lbs)
- Pendlay Row: 90lbs (previously 75 lbs)
- Barbell Bench Press: 70lbs (previously 55 lbs)
- Overhead Press: 65lbs (previously 50 lbs)
I managed the first 4 weeks of Strong Lifts 5×5, then had to pull out of that (at least for the time being). Because I’m on a calorie deficit, I think the rapid increase in weight for the lifts was too much for me to keep up with. Instead, I’ve started with New Rules of Lifting for Women – Week 1 is done, and whilst it was hard work, it was manageable! I continue to mix in the odd run, some nice countryside cycle rides, punching heavy bag, and lovely yoga I swim a couple of times a month, so I’ll try to keep that up.
I had a look at my local gym (Mike’s Gym, “Suffolk’s no. 1 Powerlifting Gym”, ulp…) as I really need a squat rack to use. It’s fairly small, but really well equipped, and just down the road. However, because it’s a powerlifting gym, the majority of regular customers are big, muscly grunting men, and at the moment, I think that’s a little too intimidating for me. Plus, there’s no pool (which is a big thing for me if I’m paying a monthly set fee). So I’ve not decided yet – I’ve got a couple of gyms I want to look around near my new work place (3 weeks to go! hang on, I haven’t blogged about New Job. Should do. Later.), so we’ll see.
I’m also finally into a healthy BMI range (24.98!) at a weight of 155lbs (11stone 1). So, so pleased with this. That’s a total loss of 19lbs since the start of the year. Plus, I fit into all my clothes now, and I even got rid of quite a few as they were REALLY too big.
- Weight: 155lbs (May was 160lbs)
- BMI: 24.98 (no record for May)
- Body fat (estimate): 26% (May was 26.6%)
- Waist: 30.5″ (May was 33″)
- Hips: 37.5″ (May was 40″)
Intermittent Fasting continues to go well – some days are harder than others, but overall it is a lot easier to keep on top of my calorie intake by “skipping” breakfast. It has taken incredible will power, but it works out really well for me.
I’m still calorie counting (some might call it obsessive, I call it diligence) with MyFitnessPal. One thing that has become clear is that I need to plan better for my macros and my vits & minerals – especially since being of a (mostly) lactose free diet, I need to up my calcium intake significantly. Other than that, things are going well!
And finally: I like my own back now. Please excuse the underwear, but really it’s necessary to be able to appreciate my awesome back.
Right, I’ve just come off a 14.5 hour shift at work, so this’ll be a short one. Just a quick wrap up of my exercise happenings in May (more for me than for you lot, I’ll admit).
I ran a total of 47.8 miles
I cycled a total of 92.4 miles
My barbell lifts, personal bests to date:
Barbell Squat: 65 lbs
Deadlift: 108 lbs
Pendlay Row: 75 lbs
Barbell Bench Press: 55 lbs
Overhead Press: 50 lbs
For next month, I hope to blow these records out of the water. I also hope to do more swimming, more hiking (I managed a measly 12.3 miles this month), and keep up punching the heavy bag. It would be lovely to be able to run 10k in a single session by end of June, but I won’t hold my breath on that one. Stamina in cycling needs to improve – I want to do a 60 mile cycle at the beginning of August.
The lifts WILL be epic by end of June – just you see.
I have also been doing Intermittent Fasting (16/8) for the last week or so. It really works for me.
Oh, and did I mention I’ve lost weight? I never fit in these shorts before – they’re a size 12, just in time for summer:
Kennedy’s are arguably the best fish and chip shop in Streatham. I would happily argue this until blue in the face.
Last night, I got myself some post-surgery celebration chips – with cod, onion gravy and mushy peas. You know how you have to fast before surgery, even if it’s minor? Well, by the time I got home at 8pm, I was famished. Kennedy’s made it all ok. Kennedy’s are WONDERFUL. Not only is the fish superbly white and fluffy, in a crisp, golden batter, and the chips fat and plentiful, but the service is efficient. Long live properly FAST food.
The mushy peas were nothing to write home about (not bad, but not amazing like the fish and the chips). But the onion gravy? Om nom nom.
I ended up stuffed after just half a plateful – I guess that comes from fasting all day. But leftover chips for breakfast? Thank you very much…
What on earth is larb, please?
I got this bad boy as a belated Christmas present from my big brother (see here why it was late), but I can confidently proclaim: it was well worth the wait.
This weighty tome from Jeff Potter looks like a text book, but dear lord, if all my text books were this readable, I would have read them all cover to cover by now.
Cooking For Geeks is made up of some science, some “hacks”, some interviews, and tonnes of little nuggets of fascinating facts.
Maybe you’ll love it for the recipes (whilst I haven’t yet tried any, they all sound amazing). Maybe you’ll love it for the miracle berries, or many of the other weird and wonderful additives (which sound AMAZING and I must experiment). Maybe you’ll love it for the stupidly dangerous over-clocked oven (pizza cooked in 45 seconds, anyone?).
If you’re me, you’ll surprise yourself by finding the section on pathogens the most interesting.
The only annoying thing is probably the fact that this book is written by an American, for Americans. Broiling? Seriously? It’s a grill. Also, the references to the FSA make you wonder about our own, British food standards. Must…do further research…
But the problems presented by that fact are minimal. Far too small a problem to detract from the pure joy that is getting immersed into the strange and wonderful world of geeky cooking. Yay!
There is also a Cooking For Geeks website to accompany the book. Double win.
Ben and I had marvellous designs to escape London before the royal wedding. We’re not big on royalty or crowds or any of that, so we thought we’d run away to the coast. There is a cave at Broadstairs that Ben has wanted to sleep in for years, and now seemed as good a time as any.
We left London at 6:50 yesterday morning. We got to Margate around 9. It was frigging freezing. We stopped at Angela’s Cafe (no customer toilets? Hmm.) by the seafront for some breakfast, then made our way to the supermarket for supplies. We decided to buy some burgers to cook on the little camping stove for dinner, as well as getting a lot of biscuits and so forth.
We then headed on the Joss Bay. It was super cold, so on went the winter coats (cry – I thought I was done with mine until October).
We went for a wander down the beach – aside from us, the only brave souls out and about were dog walkers. There were some insane surfers at about 9pm that night, but little during the day.
A walk up to the intended cave showed us a not so promising start: the chalk roof over the entrance had caved in, leaving a massive pile of rubble and a foreboding sign. Of course, Ben pays signs no heed…
And after a hell of a lot of convincing, I am helped up to the cave, too (good photo opportunity). It was clear we weren’t the only ones that ignore notices – there were signs that someone had recently been up there for a drink and a little campfire.
We weren’t so insane as to hop into the sea at this point – the wind was quite something, and it was overcast. Instead, we thought we’d head back to Margate for a dander. A bit of shopping (including Primark – it just seemed right, in Margate), and then the all-important fish and chips at Beano’s (we were by the sea, afterall). Well, I say fish and chips. I had scampi and chips (with gravy, om nom) whilst Ben had chips and a battered sausage.
Then (because outside London, shops SHUT at unreasonably early times) we wandered down the seafront to look at the old amusement arcades (Ben loves arcades – yay for arcade games!). We shot a few things (House of the Dead 2 is good fun) and had a laugh at the lameness of the prizes available.
After this, we drove back to Joss Bay. And it started raining. And it was still cold. And we wussed out. Fine, there, you win. It was just too bloody miserable for sleeping on the beach, even in a cave (which gets tide-locked). And London (and home) was just too temptingly close. So here we are, in London, on D-day.
I have so far managed to not watch any Royal Wedding stuff on the telly (I really have no interest – I bear the lovely couple no ill will, but they are just people… I don’t know them or anything). In fact, I stayed in bed until about 10 – yay for Bank Holiday Friday.
We’re still thinking about driving out to the country side this afternoon to make those burgers.
Everyone loves pizza (not true actually, I have a couple of friends who have declared a hatred of the stuff). OK, pizza is a good fall-back meal. But some pizzas are better than others. We all have our favourite toppings (I LOVE capers and the odd anchovy. Ben is a meat fiend).
And is it just me, or are takeaway pizzas getting really expensive? Hmm.
There is something really satisfying about making your own pizzas (from scratch, I mean, dough and all). You can control the thickness of the base, load on whatever and as many toppings as you like, and get creative with stuffed crusts if you’re feeling brave.
Pizza is REALLY EASY TO MAKE. Please don’t be afraid – don’t be fooled, it’s really straight forward. Here, I’ll show you…
You will need:
- 250ml warm water
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried yeast
- 375g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Whatever toppings your heart desires
MAKE IT, GODDAMNIT!
- In a small jug, mix the water with the sugar an yeast. Yay, yeast! It stinks like stale beer, but it’s aliiiiive. Let the mixture stand in a warm place (in the sun, or on top of the tumble dryer (on) are good ones) for about 10 mins to let it froth a bit
- Pour the yeasty water into a bowl with the floor and salt, and hand mix until combines. Splat the dough out onto a clean, floured surface, and knead it for another 10 mins. This is very therapeutic. Imagine it’s someone’s face (someone you don’t like, ideally).
- Pop the dough into an oiled bowl, and cover with a damp tea-towel. Leave in a warm place (airing cupboard? Above a radiator? Just not under a cat) for about an hour. It’ll double in size – very exciting!
- While the dough is expanding and expanding in all of the directions it can whizz, prepare your toppings. Certain things will need pre-cooking – mushrooms, onions for example. But peppers, capers, cheese, deli meats, sweetcorn will all be fine. Use your intuition
- When the dough is nearly ready, preheat your oven to about 200 degrees C.
- Your dough will make two decently sized pizzas (or one ENORMOUS one). So out onto a tray it goes (half or all of the dough, depending on how many pizzas you want), squish squish til it’s your desired thickness. There is little science to this.
- Put on your toppings! I advise a base of tomato purée or something similar – passata, pesto are both good too. But why not try gentleman’s relish, or Marmite if you’re brave (it’ll be damn salty)? I like to put cheese on last of all, as it goes all melty over the top and prevents some of the other toppings from burning.
- In the oven for 15 mins
Other topping ideas -
- Try different cheeses – not just mozarella, but how about feta, brie, or your other favourite cheese?
- PEAS. I <3 peas so hard.
- Olives, ofc.
- Try different cured meats - pepperoni is not the only option. Parma ham, thinly sliced chorizo, sliced bratwurst all work well.
- Sun-blushed tomatoes make a nice change from “normal” ones.
- Pineapple isn’t the only fruit. Srsly. Try figs.
- CRACK AN EGG ON IT. OMG this is one of my favourites. But please be aware that you may have to bake the pizza a lot longer (and in a less hot oven) to cook it nicely through. Maybe you want to fry the egg in a pan and just dump it on the cooked pizza?