life, photography, workouts

Keeping it up

Halloween Jack at The Barfly Camden

I had a post ready for Friday, but I needed to add a few things and proof read it before publishing. I was planning on doing that at lunchtime, but I was busy all day, and then I had to leave early to go to Secret Cinema, so I never got to finish it. Here it is now.

I really don’t do middle ground… It’s always all or nothing, it seems. I don’t do the whole trying stuff a little bit and see what happens. What’s the point of that?

First things first. During the past few days, I’ve noticed another #nonscalevictory from the Whole30 programme. For the past… how many days has it been now? 47 days! Amazing… Anyway, yeah, so for the past 47 days there’s something that has changed in me, and it’s not my weight (which it has, of course). My attitude.

A couple of people have told me that I look genuinely happy these days and the truth is, I feel happy. I’m not sure if mood swings are one of the issues listed on their website, but the truth is that I haven’t had any dark day during this whole period. And that’s weird. Regarding my energy levels, I’m much more tired than I used to be, but that’s because I’ve been doing more things, I’ve been walking more (not only from home to the station in the morning, but also on my way back from work). My step average is now about 9,000 steps a day. I haven’t been going to the gym during that period, mostly because of laziness or being busy, and I wanted to see if the results of weight loss and similar were really due to the programme, or the gym.

I think the improvement on my mood and happiness is thanks to all the things I’m changing in my life, from de-cluttering, to all the nights out I’ve been doing lately. Whenever I stay at home, sitting in front of the TV, I just feel terrible about myself, so I’m quite happy to be out and about everyday.

So, why the stuff I wrote above? Well, I’m back in full force, it seems.

This week, as you know, I did Freeletics on Monday and then I went swimming on Tuesday (see here). Wednesday was supposed to be my day off, but I made plans for Thursday, so I decided to swap the two days around and go swimming one day earlier.

I finished work, and went back home. I still had the blocked sink to deal with, but I wanted swimming pool first. I ate meatballs and boiled potatoes as a snack, and I walked to the gym (you know, about 16 minutes), even though it was drizzling a bit. When I got there, I realised the Swim Saver membership was much cheaper than what I was planning to do for payment, so I got one for this month. I changed into my swimsuit (even took a selfie!) and went to the pool. It was packed.

There was a slow lane, two medium and two narrower fast ones. I went to the farthest medium lane because it seemed empty (or rather, emptier) at the time. There were some guys on the fast lanes swimming freestyle beautifully, and one guy that kept on slapping the water hard. I don’t know what the water had done to him, but every time he came close to me, I ended up showered in water (yes, I realise I was already in the water, but you know what I mean). After a few lengths swimming breaststroke, I decided the medium lane was too fast for me too focus on my kick so I moved onto the slow lane.

So, what’s the deal with my kick?

Well, I’ve always known I don’t kick properly when swimming breaststroke. This is something that, back home, we used to call la patadita (the little kick), which basically consists in doing the correct breaststroke kick (which looks like a frog swimming) with my right leg, but doing something very weird with my left leg, resulting in this leg ending the move vertically, and usually breaking the surface of the water and splashing a bit. Over the years, I’ve managed to lower the kick so that I don’t splash everyone around me, but the bad habit is still there.

After searching on YouTube, I discovered this is called scissors kick and it’s caused by not swimming with your hips levelled. One side or the other is lower, and so you can’t swim like a frog. I saw a video in which they’re trying to teach a kid how to do it properly, and it gave me a pretty good idea of what to look for and how to fix it, minus the flotation devices.

Once I was swimming in the slow lane, I could focus on keeping my hips levelled and move like a frog. Swimming with goggles behind someone swimming the same technique as you is also helpful, because you can see how they’re doing it, if they’re kicking right. I was struggling a bit, because both my hips were quite low anyway, so when trying to do it right, I would get pain on my lower back. I figured if I brought my hips up, and swam more parallel to the surface, maybe my back wouldn’t be arched in a weird way and it wouldn’t hurt. I tried, and it worked, but then I was worried maybe my bottom was sticking out of the swimming pool… I didn’t want to ask for feedback, just in case!

I had to be focused on what I was doing, and thinking in my head about breathing, about not overarching, about levelling the hips… And from time to time, I would do it wrong, but hey, that’s normal, it’s only the first time I’m working on it.

There was an older man swimming relatively fast for that lane, and he was getting annoyed when people were on his way, but on the same lane there were two girls who couldn’t swim very well, and a lady who was swimming very slowly, trying not to wet her hair! I saw on another lane an elderly lady swimming freestyle that reminded me of how my nan used to swim when I was a kid, she was using the same gentle arm movement, almost caressing the surface on contact. It was so cute.

Anyway, 45 minutes and 20 lengths later, I was done. And tired. For some reason, I decided to walk back home. Luckily, my brother had worked on the sink while I was out, and I didn’t have to do it, because I really wasn’t feeling it.

Yesterday (so Thursday), my shower broke and I couldn’t stop the water coming from it. It was a mess and chaos, and I had to stay at home in the morning so the guy would come and fix it, which meant I would need to catch up when I got to the office, so I cancelled my plans because it wouldn’t have worked, time-wise. Instead, when I finished work, I ended up going out for dinner with Amit. That was a funny thing because he’s eating a vegetarian diet at the moment, and I’m still doing Whole30, so we struggled to find a place where we could both eat something that wasn’t a lettuce leaf. In the end, we opted for Nando’s, and I ordered a plain chicken and sweet potato wedges, no sauce, no nothing. To be honest with all of you, I’m not convinced the plain chicken was entirely compliant, after all, it’s marinated in Peri-Peri sauce, and I bet that’s not compliant at all. However, I’m doing reintroduction and I decided to wing it, because I plan on doing Whole30 most of the time. I thought if I woke up feeling weird, I would postpone gluten day, but I was actually fine.

It’s weird, because so far, nothing has really given me any reaction. I don’t want to return to bad habits, but you know, it’s easier to stick to things when you see the consequences first hand!

So I finally had my day off (exercise speaking) yesterday. It’s a good thing Amit suggested dinner, because I was tempted to go swimming again rather than being stuck at home (see, this is what I meant by no middle ground).

This morning (Friday), I did another session of Freeletics (for my first session ever, check here). I woke up at 6am, on my own (another non-scale victory, I sleep like a log these days, and I’m waking up just a couple of minutes before my alarm is due) and by… hmmm, I’m going to say 6.40am I was out of the door.

I did two different workouts, Krios and Athena. The first one consisted of doing three sets of exercises, pull ups, squats and sit ups, a set number of times each (10-10-10/25-25-25/10-10-10). Athena was a bit harder this time, doing five rounds of mountain climbers, sit ups and squats as 25/20/15/10/5. I was suffering by the time I finished.

Friday Freeletics Workout

It worked well because since I didn’t have a working shower at home, I could shower at work instead.

I left work early to go to Secret Cinema (come back on Wednesday for an account on that experience), and got home late. My gluten day was quite cool, because I had a raspberry muffin for breakfast (which was horrible, by the way), and a beer in the evening. So far, none have caused me any visible reactions, so my guess is that I was just overdoing it before.

The muffin was horrible, but I don’t normally have raspberry ones, so that made me want to try my usual lemon and poppy seed muffin, which I didn’t remember tasting that bad. I had one today, but just lemon (no seeds) from Costa Coffee. It was quite good, but afterwards, I felt a bit nauseated. I don’t know if it was the muffin or something else, but I’m definitely not going to eat muffins in a while, just in case. Not worth it.

On Saturday night, I attended the launch of Halloween Jack’s first album at The Barfly in Camden. As you know, I took photos for the album cover, so I had to be there for the gig. I was super excited to see the poster displayed on the venue, and had to take a photo next to it (all dignity and self-composure out of the window!):

Even though I had a night off in terms of photography, I couldn’t resist trying to take some photos with my iPhone, and although some of them aren’t as sharp and crisp as I would have liked, I ended up with yet another awesome photo of Nigel.

See? It looks great! The best part is that I actually saw the photo and tried to capture it, so it wasn’t just a lucky shot, but I consciously took it, and then crossed imaginary fingers while I was checking if I had managed to get it. I felt so smug when I confirmed I had it! Haha! I felt very accomplished.

I still think he knows where to position himself to get the best photos, because I never get that sort of lighting for any of the other guys.

The gig was great. The album sounded awesome, and their drummer was amazing (especially since he hadn’t had that much time to learn all the songs, he was impressive!). Overall, I had a great night! I came back straight after the gig, because I didn’t want to miss the tube back home.

Today (Monday), I’m off again. Unfortunately, I’m spending half of my day on hospital appointments, but I’m meeting Sean for dinner tonight, so that will make it up!

So yeah, as I mentioned above, I will be writing about the whole Secret Cinema experience on Wednesday, so be sure to pop by then (as long as you don’t mind a lot of spoilers, that is!)

How was your weekend? Did you do anything interesting? I missed all the sunshine on Saturday morning because the guy came to fix my shower, so tell me how you spent the good weather, make me jealous!!