Session no 2

Somebody might complain if I don’t post this. Wait… somebody already complained. 😉

So let me tell you how my family spent their Saturday this weekend. First of all, I should mention my aunt was visiting us. She travelled all night by train, but she was brave enough to join our morning training session.

This is what we did:

Split Squat
Sumo Deadlift – dumbbells
Standing Shoulder Press – dumbbells
Bent-Over Row – dumbbells
Front Plank Hold
Side Plank Hold

My mother struggled on the split squats. No surprise here, considering she was in a lot of pain from the previous session. However, it was so bad that I’ve decided to replace them with goblet squats after the 2nd set. She didn’t give up that easily and she returned to split squats on the last set and completed the exercise.

The rest was rather easy, she was surprised how fast the workout was going. Part of it was because I didn’t have to explain every single bit, she already knew a lot from the previous session. Also, I didn’t force her to lift heavy weights. We worked with 4-6 kg dumbbells which was rather light for her, but enough to create some damage to muscle tissue.

What made me really happy – she did much better on the side planks. I was really worried last time, but the improvement was surprising.

My aunt seemed to get along just fine with the split squats. I couldn’t tell from the exercise, but the next day she didn’t feel any pain in her glutes, which makes me think she wasn’t doing them properly. It was just for fun and to keep her busy, so I wouldn’t worry too much. She refused to try the rest of the exercises due to some injury and jumped straight to planks. I’m not sure that was a wise decision or not, but since I’m no doctor I just let her do whatever felt comfortable. In fact, she’s now going regularly to the gym. I was very interested in her programme, but from what she mentioned it didn’t seem worth detailing it here. I simply told her to avoid crunches.

The rest of the day was spent chatting about diets and supplements. My aunt is very into Herbalife products and I had the chance to check a few labels.

Although I’m happy the trend of shake diets is taking off, I can’t seem to agree that their products are the best choice. First of all, they use the same products for both fat loss and weight gain diets. The only thing that changes is how much solid food you’re having. Which means their shakes contain grains and a fair amount of carbohydrates. They have only one formula based on peas protein which is gluten and dairy free. However, it does contain sweetener AND sugar. Also, marketing is almost brutal. The shake base contains very little protein because they sell the protein powder separately. Unfortunately, they only have one type, 75% soy – 25% whey.

What also stroke me were the daily amounts they were recommending. My dad was completely baffled because the charts suggested he should weigh 63 kg at 1.70m. That is one skinny dude! In my case, it turned out I don’t need to lose weight, but to lower my fat percentage. I was recommended a diet with 60-70 g of protein and about 900 kcal per day. During the V-diet I was on 1200 on non-workout days, 1600 on workout days and about 200 g of protein. That was a very tough diet, so you can imagine how shocked I was when I heard their recommendation. I partly understand these numbers because they suggest a solid meal per day, similar to the transition phase of the v-diet. In order to get spectacular results in this situation you need to seriously starve those poor people.

My aunt lost 6 kg in 4 weeks, 4 of them in the first week, which is a normal weight loss rate. My cousin, who is also on this diet,  lost 11 kg in about 2.5 months. None of them trained seriously. Overall, the programme is working, but that’s just the simplicity of a shake-based diet. You can’t go wrong if you stick to it.

The annoying bits don’t end here, though. They have strict rules, it’s almost like a ritual. Drink water only half an hour before and after your meal! Have a fruit snack at 11 am! Don’t prepare your shakes with water (it’s not tasty, there aren’t enough nutrients)! Use fruit juice or soy milk! Are you kidding me? More soy?? Their protein bars are based on grains and they talk very little about nuts.

Not to mention, the products are insanely expensive, only to convince you to join their network of distributors and get more discounts.

At least they got the amount of fibre and vitamins right, which is enough to improve the well-being of their customers. With this illusion in mind, the rest is a complete mess. There’s no lesson about proper nutrition, no difference between calories and very little information for athletes. They sell some energy boosters mostly based on caffeine and that’s about all.

In conclusion, they’re promoting a strict diet with a touch of sugar and they designed everything for the average consumer, fussy and lacking will-power. The distributors are encouraged to call their customers and check if they’re taking all the pills correctly, if they drank their water and, probably, pooped every day. They even invented the concept of “cheat pill” which is a fibre supplement you’re supposed to take if you eat something unhealthy. I’m not sure what falls into this category – cake, maybe? The reason behind it must be the slow absorption of nutrients, I don’t see any other logic.

I bought mom a huge bag of total protein and 1 kg of psyllium husks that will last forever. She’s having a shake every morning, instead of breakfast and one in the evening, with 50 g of hazelnut paste. Simple and effective. Also, she’s taking Thermopure which contains caffeine, green tea extract and raspberry ketone. Unfortunately, she is now ill and she won’t be able to train this week. I really hope she recovers soon. I am convinced that although the exercises are making more harm to her weak body at the moment, on long term she would actually benefit from them and her health will greatly improve.

A bit of adventure

I do feel that today’s morning needs to remain in the history of this blog. I was supposed to pick up about 10 kg of protein, 6 kg of egg whites (crazy, I know), a small bag of walnuts (400 g) and some Thermopure pills. And I was stubborn enough to cycle with all that.

I’ve stuffed the protein in my backpack – no easy task, I can assure you – and put the rest of the things on my bike rack. I didn’t have anything to secure it with, so I relied mostly on luck. As I was leaving I let another cyclist pass and while I was cursing and swearing I’ve began to pedal slowly to my destination. The guy stopped and stared at me, but I didn’t care much at the time.

I was nearly home when he showed up again so I tried to leave him as much space as possible since the extra 17 kg were quite a burden and i was pedalling slowly. Right after he passed me … it happened. I heard a snap, a slide, a crash. All my egg whites bottles were in a pile on the cobbled stone. The wrap was completely damaged so there was no way those were getting back on the bike. He was kind enough to stop and ask me if I needed help. He said that he was impressed, and I pointed out I’m also impressed that I got so far. As a result, all the bottles have now a layer of white foam. Anyway, I swapped one of the protein bags in my backpack with all the bottles and rode carefully for the rest of the journey.

Unfortunately, the bag got punctured and I probably left a small trail of chocolate protein behind me. Also, my bike was covered in powder and although it wasn’t raining, it simply stuck to everything. My waterproof jacket and my backpack are covered with the same stuff, but that was just from handling all the packages. The next rain is going to be interesting.

I should mention that after this I had to return a dress and I ended up shopping for food here and there. Once I got home I realised I had forgotten my bike somewhere…in town…

Buying jeans – Mission Impossible!!!

I love watching my body reshape itself. It’s changing its shape, its structure, its mechanics. I walk differently, the muscles are pulling my bones in a slightly different way. I can keep a correct posture, I can carry my groceries without feeling that my forearms will be torn.

However, this is an ongoing process and at the moment my body is just weird – somewhat slimmer, somewhat still very fatty. Nature is tricky. You don’t lose fat uniformly. I’ve started with my upper body and belly. Basically, during the diet I’ve lost no fat from my legs while I built up some serious (?!) muscles. Today I did my v-challenge (26 min – woohoo!!) and realised that my legs are probably the strongest bit of my body. Which means that my legs are actually larger and my waistline was trimmed down a bit. This makes shopping for clothes a horrible burden. In spite of all the “curvy” labels, there are no jeans in this place that would suit my waistline and not stop the blood flow in my legs. Getting new jeans in a smaller size is a treat that I really want to enjoy soon. Meanwhile, I still have the old jeans, kinda floating around me. I’d better get back to the gym, I guess…