Return To The Circuit

Post By @IPAOfficer

It has been a while since I last published a blog but I am back. I wrote in my last post how I had started my journey and managed to bin off a shed load of weight in my first week. Some of that weight was excess water which is usual when you first start and I have had a really naughty two weeks however I am still 6 pounds lighter than I was when I started so I am happy.

I write this blog sat in my armchair as yesterday I made an aggressive return to circuit training and this morning my body has that aching feeling you get after a heavy workout so today I am taking it easy. I do like this feeling as I feel as if I have worked for it and know that my body will be better for it.

Last Friday I was sat at my desk in the office losing my mind over my workload. I had an outburst of bad language and I heard laughing coming from behind me. It was a colleague who works on the response team. “Stop moaning. I haven’t seen you in the gym for two weeks. Get your arse in there on Monday as you are circuit training with me” he says. I laughed at him and told him that I will be there but I am sticking to my usual weights and cardio.

So Monday arrives and I walk into the gym to find my mate and three colleagues waiting. They had already done 9.7 on the bleep test as a warm up so I was pleased I was late. I still maintained that I was sticking to my usual workout as I had not been training for a while but no! I gave in to four colleagues insisting I get on the mat and do the circuit.

Then it is explained what the workout involved and I nearly died. On the board there was a list of ten exercises. We started by running two lengths of the bleep test route then did thirty seconds of exercise one. Then it was run another two lengths of the bleep test route before going straight back into exercise one immediately followed by exercise two. After that it was running again followed by exercise one, two and three and so on.

The last time I did any training like this was when I was in the T.A and given that length of time and the fact I hadn’t been in a gym for two weeks it didn’t take long before I started to struggle. At exercise five I was pouring with sweat and starting to feel tired, very tired. As a group we took a one minute break as two others who were also new to this were flagging too. Having got back into it I finally crashed out at exercise seven.

The circuit had beaten me but I was not ready to give up yet. I got on the bike and struggled through a twenty minute fat burn cycle. Now my face was like a river and my T shirt absolutely wringing wet. It was time to stop and get ready for work. Although absolutely battered I felt good.

If you want a good solid workout this style of training is very good as it works all of your body muscles. I won’t lie it is HARD work but very rewarding! I have committed to this style of training at least once a week as I still like lifting weights.

Another decision that I have made this week is to get back on the rugby field. Watch this space.

 

 

Supplementation basics – Protein Powder! 

Supplementation – Protein Powder
I’ve been taking protein powder on and off for about 14 years now, and I’ve heard it all – “isn’t that basically steroids?”, “but your not going to the gym at the moment”, “it all comes out in your urine anyway” and the classic “I wouldn’t do protein powder as I don’t want to get huge”. 

Say the last one to any body builder or athlete and when they finish laughing they will probably explain that supplementation will only work in that way when combined with correct nutrition and a workout programme focusing on hypertrophy (muscle growth).

Firstly to dispel a few myths – protein powder doesn’t make your grow muscles (on its own) you’re not going to look like Arnold if you take protein powder, just as you wouldn’t grow his muscles if you ate a lot of steak and chicken. 

It won’t make you look manly if you are a woman! It doesn’t contain testosterone and will not alter your hormones.

It IS as much use when losing weight as it is when gaining it! There are plenty of “diet protein powders” on the market, some containing other fat loss ingredients such as CLA or green tea extract. You may have noticed that even Slim Fast has cottoned on to the protein buzz and now advertises itself as a high protein drink – or protein shake. You don’t even need to be going to the gym and lifting weights to get results from it, just don’t think that adding it to your diet instead of using it as a meal or snack replacement will help as it still contains calories!

Protein is probably the most important macro of any healthy diet, with most diets from Paleo to Atkins and The Abs Diet to the Lean in 15 suggest a marked increase in protein consumption and reduced fat or carbs. Protein powder is a simple and easy way to get that increase without having to be eating tuna from the can 3 times a day whilst also keeping your other macros at the correct levels.

It really doesn’t come out in your urine! In fact if you’ve ever had your pee tested in a hospital they tend to get very concerned if there is protein present! Your body will naturally filter out stuff it doesn’t want, need or your taking too much of to an extent anyway, so anything you eat or drink you will never get the full benefits of. 

Protein helps repair muscles. Your body needs protein particularly after exercise to help repair the muscles. If you are weight lifting your body you will often suffer from delayed often muscle soreness and protein powder plays a big part in helping reduce this. 

Another big advantage of the protein shake on a diet is that it comes in some delicious flavours, and can help curb your cravings for chocolate and other sweets by giving you a chocolate milkshake taste without the full calories! 

If your not already taking a protein shake as part of your diet, I would highly recommend it. Regardless of your end goal be it weight loss, or muscle gains it will help support them. For those who struggle to eat a breakfast within an hour of waking it’s a great way of getting the metabolism fired up. 

If you have any concerns with the legality of supplements, or job policy the simple rule of thumb is that if you can buy it off the shelf in a store or a reputable website it’s likely to be legal. If it’s ok for tested athletes it should be ok for police officers. There should be nothing in protein powders for sale in the UK that should be any cause for concern. But if your taking one with additives I would advise checking your force policy. Better to be safe than sorry! 

September’s 30-Day Challenge with PMP

For September, I’m going to change things from August, but still target our abs and get a little bit of a cardio workout too.

To start, here’s one I find tough How to do Side Plank Lifts

Next, let’s get out hearts beating with Plank Jacks

Time to recover and work on our legs with Reverse Lunges

Let’s do some Burpees for heart and the whole body, but choose the variation that works for you.

Whilst we get our breath back, let’s do Wall Sit for the  number of seconds for each day.

Next, we’ll get the abs going with Bicycle Crunches

Time to finish off with Leg Outs and work the lower core.

Remember, move rest days if you need to and modify the exercises so they fit your needs. Above all, keep going and enjoy the satisfaction of having done them each day. Please share your progress on Twitter with @fitblueline or me @HQCInsp & stay positive to encourage everyone else.

As with all the challenges, they follow this basic pattern:

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SBL’s Cardio programme

As I have eluded to in my first blogs, the initial phase of my training to get back in shape was all cardio. I also had to get my score on the bleep test from an uncomfortable 6.3 to finding 10.2 easy and so cardio was the highest priority.
Whilst there is a lot to be said for resistance and weight training for losing weight (more muscle burns more calories) the cheapest and easiest way of getting in shape doesn’t require a gym membership – you just needs a pair of trainers. 

I break my training down in to; 

Steady state runs – going for a jog / run at a steady pace for a set distance or time. 

HIIT Sprint training – Fartlek (Speed play) training that mixes short bursts of high speed with recovery jogs.

HIIT cardio circuits – I used Insanity for this, it’s a great mixture of Plyometrics, cardio and body weight exercises.

A usual weeks training would look:

Monday – steady state – 70% effort for 6.4km

Tuesday – Insanity 

Wednesday – steady state – 85% effort for 5km

Thursday – Rest day – walk 10km

Friday – sprint session

Saturday – steady state – 70% effort for 10km

Sunday – Insanity – recovery session

Whilst this may seem a lot, it’s around 45 minutes exercise a day with stretching and cooling down. I would also aim to patrol on foot for at least 10-15km a day but we all know how that plan can go! 

The session that really improves your bleep test result is the sprint session. My favourite was a hideous session I learned in the army, it’s hard, it will make you want to vomit but at the same time it’s only as hard as the fort you put in.

Find your local football pitch – this is around 100m. Once you’ve warmed up by jogging around the pitch a couple of times go to the goal. Sprint as fast as you can to the other end, I recommend doing this in either the goal or the sidelines so you have something to keep you in a straight line. When you hit the other end, simply jog or walk back depending on your fitness level. As soon as you reach your start point sprint back. Do this 10 times, so you sprint for 1km and jog 1km. Then have a cool down by jogging or walking around the pitch again. When you reach the start point sprint out again, but this time sprint 2 lengths of the pitch and jog 2 lengths. Do this 5 times each, so another 1km of each. Then it’s back to the recovery jog, if needed go twice around the pitch. Then guess what? It’s back to sprinting! This time it’s 4 lengths, done twice so only 800m each. These last ones will seriously hurt, but it’s all about finding the determination to keep going. 

The session is hard, and if your just starting out and not used to that level of training you can adapt it easily – try sprinting to the half way line instead of the full length, adjust the numbers of lengths or walk instead of jog etc. The key is to remain in a pattern of sprint, jog, sprint, jog etc. You will notice a very quick improvement to your cardiovascular fitness levels after a few weeks of doing this. 

If you fancy getting into running, I highly recommend getting an app like runtastic or similar. It will tell you every km or mile your pace, time and heart rate if wearing a monitor. I love using this to challenge myself, always trying to run every mile faster than the last. It also keeps track of your routes and allows you to see your progress as you speed up, or go further each week.  

If you struggle with running due to bad joints, try it with swimming or cycling. Exercise is all about listening to your body. If you find something hard, it’s probably the exercise you need to do the most, if you find it genuinely painful then stop. It’s never worth creating or worsening injuries.   
Most of all: have fun and share your results with the Fit Blue Line community! 

SBL

@IPAOfficer – Training Week 1

It has been a few days since I wrote my intro where I said that I would try and write a weekly post. I am late in doing this first training and I can thank a CRAZY week dealing with the great British public which has meant long hours. Anyway I am here now!

So in my intro I explained what kicked me up the backside to get training. The evening before kick off day I cleared out all of the badness from the kitchen. I took my last six cans of beer out of the fridge and I put them in a cupboard under the stairs. I will not drink warm beer so that temptation for a cheeky can after a late turn shift was taken away. I had been shopping that day for food to prepare to to take to work. That takes away the temptation to pop across the road from the nick for a dirty kebab or bit of fried chicken.

21 6

I started my journey at 21st 7lbs. i carried it well being 6ft 7in but clothing was getting tight and some movements became a bit harder so enough was enough! It was time to do something about it.

The day after was day 1. I was working a late shift due to start at 3. I hit the gym at work.The gym is not inside my police station but another building on the borough so I arrived at half past twelve. This gave me enough time to train for an hour, travel to my station, shower and get dressed for work.

I have heard SO many different theories about how I should get fit and lose weight. There is the calorie counting mob, the ignore calorie counting and eat clean mob, the lift weights only as more muscle burns fat mob and many more. Which mob do I listen to? I had no idea that day so just got stuck in. I decided on half an hour of weight lifting followed by half an hour cardio. That way I can tone and bin body fat.

I did this for four days that week. It nearly killed me but I stuck in there! It did get easier after workout three. Meals at home are healthy and work wise the kebab/fried chicken is long gone and its chicken and rice with veg.

20 10

So a week after starting did I see any results? DAMN RIGHT I DID. I ended on 20st 10lb. I know that some of that will have been excess water but it is a step in the right direction!

I have met some good people who contribute to this blog and their support has been outstanding.

 

 

Mid-August Update from PMP – Pasta!

So, we are over half way through the first 30 day challenge  I have posted and I know some people are giving it a go. I thought I would share a couple of things I have come across during the last couple of years I have been doing them.

I hope you are enjoying it or considering having a go.

Pasta – I eat it and count with it! I know it seems odd, but  there are always some exercises that are harder than others in each month’s challenge and it can help to achieve your goal by being realistic. I am really impressed by Martyn’s honesty and openness about finding press ups impossible. I’m sure he can get to them in time. I have always found chin ups or pull ups really difficult too. What has this got to do with pasta?

I like pasta and it became a low fat staple in my house when a family member had a medical condition requiring them to eat very low fat meals. I’m no nutritionist, so this is just my unqualified opinion, and whilst pasta and carbohydrates in general provide energy for a workout I understand that if you take in carbs and don’t use them they turn to fat.

So, don’t follow my advice on nutrition and I am pretty sure I’ll be learning lots from Medic Cop and Tall Bird about eating well.

Alright, enough blathering on and I’ll tell you how I used pasta to help with chin ups. I count with them. To be clear I am really a chief inspector and can count over twenty without taking my shoes and socks off, but I used the pasta to keep track of the sets I had completed. For really tough exercises (or all of them when you start out) I had to do them five reps per set. When you get to day 30 and 120 reps, I was doing 24 sets of five!

To help I had 24 pieces of pasta in a pot (penne, but that’s not really important, I won’t use Lol in a blog, but hope you realise I’m joking). Every time I finished a set I put one piece of pasta back in the pot until I had moved all 24. Simple. Why do I need to do this and not simply remember how many sets I had done? Two reasons: 1. my memory is ok, despite being 48, but I really like to zone out when I exercise and I find the counting of each rep quite relaxing and I sometimes lose track of the sets; 2. more importantly, just like when you tick something off a ‘to do’ list, it helps reinforce the activity and build good habits. I read somewhere (forgive the lack of research, and if you find a journal article to confirm or refute this please let me know) that ticking something off a list releases endorphins and that makes you feel good.

So, if you don’t want to eat pasta, at least you can make good use of it!

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Pasta – eat it or count sets with it!

 

Introduction for Medic Cop

Well here goes….
I’m @MedicCop, a PC in my ‘mid’ 30s, until recently on a response team on a busy inner city BCU. I’ve been there for just over 11 years having driven desks before that. On top of the response work I’ve been Level II PSU trained for 10 years and a Public Order Medic for the last 6; this is the driver behind my keeping fit.

Before I joined ‘the job’ I was never really into fitness. I’d joined gyms, gone for a month and then just watched the direct debits go out every month until I could cancel! It was only really when I decided to apply that I started training ‘properly’ and when I finally started police training I managed to hit a mighty 13.2 on the bleep test, even though the requirement had just dropped from 8.2 to 5.4!

As time progressed in the job my phys dropped off, I knew that I could run after people if needed and could happily keep up on a PSU. That was until the Medics application went in! I had to do an assessment day before the course, 10.2 on a bleep test, a 500m shield run, 80kg deadlift and then a carry circuit. There was even a first aid exam thrown in for good measure! I kick started the training again & brought my diet radically under control; the course was two of the most physically demanding weeks I’ve had and I still insist that had I not been so ‘on top’ of the medicing side of things, there’s no way I would have passed and was definitely at the lower end of list in terms of physical ability.

I passed the course determined to keep up, and more importantly build on, the level of fitness I had gained and that’s pretty much my mantra to today. I was lucky that a friend on my team had just passed an EG course too so between the two of us there was a healthy rivalry (The medics course remains harder than the EG’s !) and a load of enthusiasm & ideas for keeping training entertaining. We were spoilt with the gym facilities at work and soon found that we were running circuits for 15 or so people before or after every shift – we’d mix this up with road running and trips to climbing walls and it all worked really well.

Due to the numbers we’d tend to stick to HIIT circuits, 20 seconds on, 10 off repeated 8 times on each exercise and then change. Normally this would be an 8 station set up and would give a great split of CV, resistance and at times some hellishly dreamt up challenges!

People have since moved on but my training remains generally the same; a mix of HIIT, running with the odd weights circuit thrown in for good measure. Diet is a huge part and, when I’m being ‘proper good’, I’ll often spend an hour of an evening prepping the next days food; trust me, it’s worth it!

I’ll try and keep a record of what I get up to each week, along with diet, and update on here!

Introduction From @IPAOfficer

Where do I start?

I am Martyn, 32 and work in a very busy CID office. I tweet as @IPAOfficer.

I have always been a big lad in terms of height. At 16 I was standing at over six feet tall but was skinny and very quick on my feet. That changed and after leaving school I filled out and became more in proportion. You hear the phrase being big boned and in my case I genuinely am. For all of my working life I have worked shift work that has been across a 24 hour period. I started off in the security industry and went on to go into policing. I remain in policing to this day.

My downfall over the last few years has been booze, takeaways (I love a good Indian or a Kebab), shift work and lack of drive to get in the gym. I grew up around booze. My dad ran pubs and was always a drinker and I suppose it brushed off on me. I do like a good pint or two and a curry afterwards. This combined with work pressures meaning a healthy meal during a proper break (which does not happen very often) meant the quick fix was always a cheeky kebab sat at your desk whilst writing up a case which was only going to result in one thing – weight gain!

So what changed? I have been said by some to be the best dressed person in our CID. This was because I would be found wearing a three piece suit. Here comes a confession that has never been told – I stopped wearing waistcoats two months ago as they got too tight! I have NEVER been able to do press ups, NEVER. You may have seen the Facebook/Twitter press up challenge to raise awareness for PTSD. I have been nominated six times now and am being shown up by people older than me. That was the final straw so I said enough is enough and I am going to bin some weight, get the waistcoat back on and I will do this push up challenge!

My journey started last week when I weighed in at 21st 7lb. I am six feet seven inches tall and carry it well. Today marks my first week of training & dieting and I have seen results.

I intend to write a weekly post about my journey but for now this is my introduction. I have a busy couple of days at work coming up but will try to publish my first week at some point in the next few days.

 

 

 

SBL – my weight loss


When it finally dawned on me that I needed to lose weight I had reached 105kg or 16.5 stone. I was at least a 38″ waist if not more and my thighs rubbed together meaning any trousers I wore eventually wore holes in them. It was the heaviest I’d ever been, it came with its health problems too, I snored like a freight train, I had regular sinus infections and I was constantly lethargic. I had been the guy on the team that would buy 2 sandwiches from tescos, the biggest full English breakfast, a large kebab and a large iced coffee with cream. 
When friends saw old pictures of me in my army days they look surprised, when old army friends saw me they would comment how I’d “filled out”. I was at a point where 6.3 on the jobs bleep test was achievable but I was very glad it when it was over. Something needed to change. 

I came into work in January to an email from my guv’nor: “you are my nomination for a place on EG selection, don’t let me down” to become a public order evidence gatherer in my force means 10.2 on the bleep test, a kit up circuit, a shield run and all just for starters. I had 16 weeks.

That evening I dug out my old trainers and trackies and went for a jog. I just wanted to last 30 minutes and not stop. I managed… Just. I went out the next 2 days but my knees were too painful to run for more than 10 minutes. It was obvious that the extra weight was going to damage my joints if I did extended high impact training. So I found a route of 3km and ran it every other day. In between days I would do insanity, for those who have never tried it I would highly recommend it. I love it and still use it a lot when I have limited time or am house bound for a good workout. 

The next and probably most important thing was my diet. I am a firm believer in the body builder mantra “your body is built only 20% in the gym but 80% in the kitchen” I had heard a lot of good things about Paleo eating. Also referred to as the caveman diet it basically consists of only eating meat, fish, eggs, fruit, vegetables and nuts. It sounds dreadful I know, but it’s surprisingly easy when you get into it, and there is a lot of tasty food on it – you can still eat in nandos! 

Overnight I had given up dairy, gluten, potatoes, most carbs, sugar and processed food. I felt better within days of eating like that. I had more energy, my snoring calmed down and I felt generally healthier. I will add that I don’t stick to this diet religiously: I do use protein shakes made of whey, I’m not a breakfast person when I wake up and a protein shake in the morning is my preferred start to the day. 

The combination of diet and exercise worked quickly, I lost a minimum of 3lbs a week. I was still eating plenty and not going hungry I was just eating healthy. I replaced lattes with green tea, coke with water and crisps with cashews. 

In future blogs I shall try and put my training into some sort of plan for people, should they wish to try it. I kept it simple: no expensive gyms, no expensive equipment. Apart from the insanity DVDs all I used was a pair of trainers and a old tracksuit. I believe in training the way I did in the army – often when deployed we had nothing, our gym in Afghanistan was made up of ammo tins filled with sand. You don’t need to spend a fortune, you don’t need the most expensive trainers or compression running tops. You just need dedication and the drive to become a better you. I let others negativity fuel me, drive me on, whilst being grateful for everyone cheering me on. You can do it to, just stop finding excuses and stop putting it off. 

Always remember it’s about progress, slow progress is still progress. It doesn’t happen overnight. 

SBL

PC Tallbird

Hi all! @PCTallBird checking in for my first attempt at ‘blogging’

A bit about me, I’m a 32 year old mum of one. I’ve been a police officer for 8 years. Fitness has always been a big thing to me and I came from a sporting background before joining the job but a knee injury and shift work put a stop to competing and training how I wanted to.

So I missed out on the first ‘edit’ deadline didn’t I! Thanks for this goes to a gruelling week at work and family commitments now I do have a few days off.

So what HAVEN’T I done this week … Well I’ve not graced the gym with my presence at all, this saddens me! Juggling 67 hours in 6 days with my hubby’s shifts and childcare in the school holidays I’m sure no one will disagree is really tough. Then I go and try add into that equation eating well, I can’t deny, convenience foods are usually what I end up turning to … I dread to think how much I’ve spent while on duty on food but I have made (am making) a change to that. I have always been lucky being so tall that I could easily carry a few extra pounds without much issue but now I’m in my 30’s and being a mum I can see that I needed to start making some different decisions. So this week I did some decent meal prep, grilled teriyaki chicken, vegetable brown rice and steamed broccoli all packed up neatly in several Tupperware boxes … I got called OCD because they looked so neat!

The verdict … They were tasty, healthy and very filling and comparatively so cheap compared to a usual shifts spending! A win win for me! I will be doing it again and ‘Amazon’ got an order for some fresh boxes and a cool bag to take to work too! I’ll let you know how that goes!

My Twitter journey so far … I started doing an ab challenge and sharing my progress on here back in March this year. My anonymity and getting others involved motivated me so much to work hard for myself and the thought that I was helping and motivating others to achieve was amazing too! There’s been some awesome results posted!

I’m no qualified professional by any means but I’m happy to try help other #team999 members out with ideas for food prep, exercises and motivation for all starting points! No matter what your ‘starting point’ is and what you want to achieve if you’re prepared to make a change I am happy to help where and how I can! #thiscopcan

TallBird signing out 😊