I haven’t blogged in a while, but to be quite honest, I don’t have much to blog about. One thing I’ve never fully realised until now is how “safe” weight lifting is – it’s not as death defying, bone crushing or as painful as other exercises. There aren’t new machines or forms of weight lifting introduced every session and the aim isn’t to push yourself to the point of breaking. I can only imagine how painful a barbell falling on your chest can be. Don’t get me wrong though – I’m enjoying the routine and habit aspect of it and for someone who loves routine and order, that’s a good thing. I also don’t have much of an adrenaline pumping lifestyle, so it suits me.

This is the final month of the staff challenge and I’m aiming to work harder. I’ve been going to gym three to four times a week and I’ve maintained relatively healthy eating habits, something I can think I can carry on doing even after the challenge. Sometimes a hangover gets in the way (someone has to enjoy the free wine at launches and First/Third Thursdays) or I “accidentally” swipe my morning alarm to snooze and this week I’ve come down with flu. The goal is to go at least five days a week and to stay motivated. Exercising constantly requires so much discipline – not just when it comes to waking up or forcing yourself to brave the rain to go to gym, but also when you’re there. Taking the time to do each rep properly and in the right form, resting enough, completing your set programme for the day, and so on. It takes a lot of dedication.

Time and the gym capacity are my problems. For the first few weeks, when I’d go in the mornings, I’d sometimes skip one or two exercises because I have to get back home, shower (I refuse to use gym showers), get dressed, have breakfast and make my lunch. Luckily, this is when the gym is the emptiest so I don’t have to do much waiting around. When I’d go during the day or in the evenings, I’d be less motivated and in more of a rush to get out of there because of how full the gym can be. If that isn’t a sign that I’m destined to have a personal trainer in my own home gym, I don’t know what is. These things shouldn’t be getting in the way, or at least not that much, but I can’t help but beat myself up for slacking a bit.

To go back to the diet side of things, I’m still cooking a lot and I’ve tried to keep eating healthy. A few weeks ago, I had dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in a while and he said I look bigger, which is always nice to hear when that’s what you’re trying to do. I haven’t noticed much of a difference in my appearance apart from my arms and abs getting more toned, so I’ll hold out for the “after” pictures.

Halfway during the challenge, we all attended a dietary workshop at the Sports Science Institute. We went around the room, talking about our progress and our difficulties with eating on the right path. Most of us had the same struggle – weekends. They’re the one thing that kick our good eating habits out the window. Fortunately, Sarah Chantler, the dietician who drew up our eating plans for us, gave us some helpful tips. For starters, she encouraged us to not deprive ourselves of food we actually enjoy and to not be afraid of indulging on days where we need the energy (when you go to gym or plan to move around a lot, etc). She also encouraged us to have our protein shakes them with milk instead of water and that’s how I’m going to take them from now on – they’re a lot tastier and the milk obviously ups the protein intake. And there’s nothing more satisfying than the swishing sound you hear when you’re shaking a bottle of whey juice after gym.