Tag Archives: kettlebell

Adventures in Blunderland

BlunderlandI am about to start the third week of my New Me regime, i.e. ELF (Eat Less, Fatty).

My lovely trainer has shown me some exercises to boot my metabolism out of its lengthy hibernation, and amazingly, it appears to be working.

Combined with snacking on Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds rather than Cheez-E-Puffs or Curly Wurlys, I am feeling a tad virtuous.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. I bought one of those resistance band thingies, with two (pink) handles. The trainer showed me some smart moves I could do at home. Easy, no? The plan was to sling the band round the pillar in my living room and use that as resistance, pulling away to tackle my burgeoning bingo-wings. 15 reps, rest, 15 reps, rest, 15 reps, rest.

Who said exercise was hard work? This would be a doddle. I could watch telly from the pillar, catching up with my favourite junk programmes, i.e. ‘I Wanna Marry Harry’. Fabulous time management and I duly gave myself a pat on the back.

First problem, pillar is actually quite large, so I ended up hugging the darned thing to wrap the band round it, just as The Teenager came downstairs, rolled his eyes and seeing me incapacitated, made a break for the fridge.

Right. handles sorted, move forward a bit and….I was off. Did my reps, felt a little bit of a ‘burn’, rested, started again. Meh. Adverts. I always fast forward, so I reached for the controller, trying to put both handles in one hand. Almost there……thwack. Couldn’t do it, the resistance band thingie flew backwards, one handle whacking me smack in the eye. The Teenager rolled his eyes and darted back upstairs.

I kicked the stupid band thingie around the floor a few times (it’s still exercise) and decided to try on my new sports bra instead. Well. Whoever invented this Medieval torture device deserves to be pelted with soggy rugby socks. I ended up with one arm stuck in the air and the other attached to my thigh. After struggling to free myself from the evil contraption for over five minutes (and bouncing over to the window to close the curtains), I flopped onto my bed, limp, weak and exhausted.

I will not be beaten by these sporting accessories, although my kettlebell is still being used as a doorstop after I dropped it into the cat’s food bowl by mistake. Fear not, she’s still with us – she wasn’t eating at the time. The ELF Challenge continues…

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We’re Bang On Trend

socialising liteI’m chuffed to share with you that something most of us with MS have been doing, like forever,  has now been designated a zetigeisty trend – socialising lite.

Driven by impossibly busy New Yorkers/Londoners, this involves combining two or three activities to fit more into your life.

Or in our case, to ensure that we can still keep up with our friends/hobbies/interests despite fatigue and other pesky physical symptoms getting in our way.

The secret of socialising lite is to make your free time work for you. For people with MS, this translates as making those rare pockets of energy work harder for us. Even before I knew this was an actual trend (ooh, get me, chuck me a copy of Elle), I’d already started to do this – like combining catching up with a good friend and a shopping trip to town or asking my mum to help me in the garden, having a natter and putting the world to rights over a glass of wine afterwards. Killing two birds with one stone, but in a good way.

I miss doing what I used to do spontaneously, so this is a great compromise. Plus there’s an added bonus of still feeling that I’m part of life, of society. Spending so much time at home has made me more aware that I need to get out, even just for a short while.

A more extreme form of socialising-lite is time-capping friends, which at first glance might seem rude, but with all of us juggling busier lives it’s much more acceptable. Long gone are the days I’d go out for whole evenings, so rather than become a hermit (tempting), I say to my friends that I’d really love to see them, so how about we try that new wine bar/cafe/restaurant/exhibition and catch up for an hour? I get to see a good friend and try a new experience.

Time-capping doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy spending time with my friends, it just means that I don’t want to wait for both of us to be free for a couple of hours/when I’ve got energy/when I’m not pinned to the sofa with fatigue.

My next plan is to combine exercise and friends. So if anyone would like to pop over and join me in staring at my kettlebell (aka the doorstop), willing it to move by telekinesis, you’re more than welcome. You bring the biscuits, I’ll put the kettle on…

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Stumbling Vs Kettlebell – The Smackdown

Cardiff-20130627-00217After weeks months of staring each other down, I finally decided to pick up my kettlebell, even though it was a very handy doorstop.

On my fridge I have a printout of a nubile, semi-clad, skinny female (not jealous) doing all manner of strange exercises with one of the blasted things and the write up was suitably encouraging – ‘kettlebell training is fun and varied, never boring, safe for any age, shape or size.’ Not only that, it also promised me ‘explosive power.’

Last night, with nothing left to lose except my dignity and a good few pounds, I put down my Walnut Whips and tentatively picked it up. Then swiftly put it back down again and attempted to unscrew two of the weights to make it a tiny bit more manageable. Exhausted from the effort, I rested long enough to watch the last episode of Mad Men and finish the last Whip before trying again.

I hid myself in the kitchen as The Teenager is fond of rushing downstairs yelling out sports results at regular intervals throughout the evening and the humiliation would be too much. Ok, squat and lift. Creakily I lowered myself downwards holding the much-lighter kettlebell. And stopped. Just had to stand up straight again. My calf muscles, one of which was fully-cramped with MS pain, protested loudly. I down-scaled the reps from 10 to 5, then 3.

Next exercise, I just had to swing the thing round my body, switching hands halfway through. Easy. I happily did this for a while, feeling smugly in the rhythm until disaster struck. My dodgy MS hand decided to simply let go. The kettlebell flew towards the cat food bowl, scattering crunchy biscuits across the floor and landed with an almighty thud. Luckily the cat wasn’t eating at the time or we’d be holding a memorial service today.

The Teenager rushed downstairs. I stumbled out to stop him in his tracks.

‘Muuuuuuum! What’s wrong with your face? Why are you all sweaty and red?’

‘Oh, you know. Just washing up. So what’s the latest score?’

I tried one last exercise. This ball of fear was not going to get the better of me. I raised it above my head, slightly to the left just in case my hand decided to play another joke and I knocked myself unconscious. Not bad. I could feel my muscles stretching. Three reps and I was done.

Amount of exercise? Two and a half minutes. Time spent clearing up the mess and cooling down? Half an hour. Not bad for a first attempt. We will meet again tomorrow, same time, same place.

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Definitely Not Britain’s Next Top Model

next top modelI hate having my photograph taken. I’m always the one at social gatherings who pulls funny faces or hides behind the nearest pillar (see my classic  fish-face, left<-).

So it was a strange experience to be photographed on the steps of the Welsh Assembly building on a sunny Bank Holiday Saturday, being gawped at by hordes of passers-by.

The MS Society is writing up my experiences in work for their magazine and unfortunately they want my mug-shot next to the article. There was no escaping it. The best thing about the day was the photographer, Eiona, a Twitter friend I hadn’t yet met in the real world. The worst thing was my round face. The Teenager doesn’t call me The Chubster for nothing. Personally, I blame the steroids.

Anyway, we had lunch and a natter first plus a cheeky glass of wine to steady the nerves. I badgered  Eiona to pull out every Photoshop trick in the book – make me drop two three stone, sculpt some cheekbones, add eyeliner (dodgy hands won’t let me anywhere near the stuff) and generally make me into a passable Kate Moss lookalike.

There was no putting it off any longer. Luckily I only had to stand on the steps, looking into the distance. Thinking serious thoughts (how can I get rid of the slugs in my garden?) I struck a pose. People stared. They were no doubt thinking, ‘who on earth is that chubby-faced woman being photographed – didn’t she play a corpse in Casualty?’

It actually went very well. I had chosen my Sara Lund jumper to wear, hoping to channel some Nordic gloominess and before long. it was a wrap and I was back home, making the most of the peace and quiet as The Teenager was away. After dinner, I noticed my exercise kettlebell staring at me accusingly. It does make a lovely door stop, but maybe I should pick the thing up now and again…

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