health, paleo, well being

You lift weights?

Good morning all, its 08:33am and I am sitting in my kitchen looking out on another rainy Belfast day…. but all is well as I am having my favourite breakfast – roast beef, spinach, nuts and a coconut and cashew cream, and of course… tea.  I actually made a whole teapot of tea for myself and Sean this morning.  Delightful.

So in this blog I am going to chat about exercise.  In order to control my IBS, its not just about eating right and cutting out the grains and processed food that give my poor little gut a hard time, its actually about also treating your body right and exercise is a big part of that for me.  Sometimes when my IBS flares up, I will take an extra long walk to try and settle it down, as the movement really seems to help. When the cramps start and your belly balloons out, I had kinda programmed myself just to go put on my pj’s and get a hot water bottle and curl up in a ball and let it takes it course. Looking back at it now, that wasn’t the right thing to do…. now I drink a peppermint tea and head out for a walk to soothe it.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes if your feeling extra sorry for yourself, a hot water bottle and curling up with the dogs is a lovely option that I enjoy taking.

So I am actually writing this blog because a good friend of mine, Kristy McFall, asked me what I do in the gym. After reading my last blog, she had a few questions –

  1. Do you eat regularly through the day – 100% yes I do.  I don’t have set times for eating, I eat when I am hungry. Some days that’s every few hours or what feels like every few minutes, some days its only 2 or 3 times, especially over the weekend when you aren’t in a routine. My body will dictate to me when I eat, and I don’t force it. I am currently reading the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, and he states that our hunter gatherer friends of a time past, eat when they were hungry and ate until the were full – and that seemed to work out not too bad for them!
  2. What do you do in the gym? – short answer… whatever Fionn tells me to do. This is fact. I have very little knowledge of exercises and what exercise to do for what muscle. I told you before that the gym I Previously went to, I literally spent half an hour on the treadmill and another half an hour fixing my hair after the treadmill and then went home, pretending I did a great workout.   The fact of the matter is, I need someone who knows what they are doing, and I have blindly followed Fionn’s instruction for the last 8 months (thank god it has worked out or I would feel pretty dumb)

When I think of a gym, I think of lots of machinery (treadmills, bikes, rowing machines, Stairmaster – the very thing created by the devil himself) and a weights section – that’s were the men hang out and look at their muscles in the mirror whilst making weird grunting sounds. That is not the appropriate area for us Lycra clad women. This was genuinely my perception of a gym. Now, since going to Zenith Strength and Mobility in Belfast, that perception has been blown out of the water. There are no treadmills, no Stairmaster (thank the baby Jesus), and even better – no mirrors. Just wall to wall kettlebells, weights, bands and all sorts of simple contraptions that I haven’t worked out yet.

What I am trying to say is, as a woman, theres no reason that weight lifting (I’m not talking Arnie style) and strength work can’t be for us. We aren’t gonna get bulky, we are gonna get lean and quite frankly, nice and defined. So don’t be afraid of the kettlebells or weights. Go find someone who knows what they are doing, get some sort of programme to follow and swing that kettlebell like theres no tomorrow, and don’t look at yourself in the mirror whilst working out, if your doing it right you are not looking pretty, so I figure looking at yourself in a mirror at that point is quite frankly damaging to your self confidence.

I promised Kristy I would write up what one of my workouts looked like, but unfortunately sometimes I don’t know, cus Fionn likes to keep me on my toes and change it up in order to get the best results. I don’t argue with him, he’s the expert. But for talks sake here we go:

ALWAYS warm up…..I always do some sort of flow and mobility workout, usually:

  • Pumps
  • Zenith (arm/shoulder stretches)
  • Cat/Camel
  • Glute bridges
  • Get up… this usually accounts for 5-10 minutes of the 1 hour session

Then comes the weights…..

–  Hip Thrusts – usually 10 reps, then 1 minute break then 10 again, for 10 sets (anything up to 60kg). Like I said Fionn changes it up, so it might be a lighter weight but more reps

  • Plank/push up plank/side plank – up to 30 seconds
  • Press with an 8 or 10 kg (lifting it above head)
  • Rows
  • Bat wings (8 or 10 kg)
  • Weighted negs (tried 20kg and it felt soooo heavy)
  • Flex arm hold for 30-35 seconds
  • Lat pull-down
  • Prowler
  • Air bike (my arch enemy, I really hate that thing)

Our sessions never really run over the hour, and thank the lord, because after 1 hour, you really are done for! I am currently trying to work towards doing a chin up, so wish me luck with that!

Tonight is a gym night, so looking forward to my Hump Day Work Out!

If anyone has any questions, just ask! I ask More than happy to chat!


FYI – coconuts are still awesome.  My coconut and cashew cream this morning was a triumph. Happy Wednesday y’all.


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