Bodyboss Pre-Training Week 2

So I’ve made it to the end of the second week of pre-training for Bodyboss. I’m still going. It’s been a little harder – the middle workout this week was the toughest so far, I think, but the hardest day was the second day, when I had my first go at the Bodyboss Challenge.

This is a series of exercises which you time yourself doing, and then at the end of the Bodyposs program you repeat – the idea being that your time should improve. Well. I hope it does because I was pretty rubbish. It took me 6:15:18 (that’s 6 minutes… not 6 hours!). It was hard. There were pushups. Real ones, not ones on your knees or an incline. There were half burpees. There were V situps. And bench hops, which I thought would be OK but which were hard.

I had to remind myself that this is the start. That it’s OK to find it really hard, and to take ages – there is no way I’m doing push ups anything other than slowly. But that’s why I’m doing this: so I can get better and, hopefully, in a few months, it’ll be easier.

I did also extend the cardio day beyond 30 minutes. I’m taking part in a 10k run next Friday, so need to be training for that. Yesterday I ran 10k. I wasn’t crazy about my time: 01:08:04. I want to do it next week in under an hour, which feels a bit of an ask based on that. Having said that I didn’t feel like I pushed myself that hard, and I always get a bit of a boost from running with other people. Still, I think a sub 60 minute run is going to be a huge ask.

Now I get two rest days. One of them will need to be a run day, but it won’t be another 10k! It’ll probably be a 5k where I try and push for a bit more speed, I think. Onwards and upwards…

Fish Pie

Tonight I made us a fish pie for dinner. I love this – it’s my go to winter comfort food and, even though I’m living in Oman, where winter is the pleasant time of year (summer being ridiculously hot), I really fancied some this week. It seems like it’s going to be hard, but really this is an easy recipe to make, especially if you batch cook mash like I do: every so often I’ll cook off a big sack of potatoes, mash them up, and freeze it in portions.

Ingredients

  • 150g any white fish, skinned and de-boned
  • 150g salmon, skinned and de-boned
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, shelled and chopped
  • 500ml milk
  • 40g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • handful chopped parsley
  • 400g mashed potatoes
  • 150g frozen peas
  • handful grated Cheddar cheese
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the fish (both kinds) in a saucepan with the milk and bring to the boil. Simmer gently until the fish is cooked. Drain, keeping the milk aside and allow the fish to cool.
  2. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Heat the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Add the milk that the fish was cooked in, a little at a time, beating it in each time. This should form a smooth white sauce.
  4. Flake the fish into the sauce. Add the eggs, parsley, peas and pepper. Stir in and allow to cook through.
  5. Pour the fish mixture into a pie dish. Spoon the mashed potato over the top. Bake in the oven for twenty minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese over the top then place under the grill for 5 minutes, until the cheese is crispy and turning golden brown.

Serve in a bowl, for proper comforting food. I like the way this mixes both fish and egg as protein sources. My daughter normally despises peas and resists easting them but she wolfed this down barely noticing them.

BodyBoss End of Week 1 Pre Training

So I made it to the end of my first week of BodyBoss Pre-Training. I mixed it up a bit in the end. I did the 3 days of HIIT but swapped the cardio day and “gentle movement” day so I wasn’t trying to do a run while I was camping in the desert. I also added in an extra run today, as I’m training for a 10k run in a few weeks, so I did 8.6k but with a monster hill in it. Unsurprisingly my descent was a lot faster than my ascent:

The BodyBoss plan seems to be going well. I’m getting used to it. I can now do the warmup and cool down stretches without constantly referring to the manual, which means it feels more natural. The exercises vary. Some are OK and not too hard, some are really quite tough, but nothing unmanageable… so far. I took a sneak peek ahead to week 2 and I can see some proper pushups coming up (as opposed to ones on an incline, or ones on your knees which is what it’s been in week 1), and some burpees. I find both of these exercises really hard so I’m not really looking forward to that, but a tough workout is what I signed up for so I’ll just have to crack on and do it.

Here’s looking forward to tomorrow, a rest day, which, as it’s New Year’s Day, I fully intend to spend lazing about, chilling, reading and giving my muscles a good rest. Happy New Year!

Sharqiya Desert Camp

Over the weekend we had a night away in our tent. We went off to the Sharqiya Sands, an area of desert about two and a half hours’ drive South of Muscat. Now, most of Oman is, to be fair, pretty much desert. But this particular area is sandy desert, as opposed to the kind we have nearer home, which is basically rocks. Sharqiya, however, is famous for its rolling dunes of soft orange sand. There are a number of tourist camps in the area, where you can stay in various kinds of yurt, chalet etc however we like proper camping, so packed the car up with our tent and all our camping gear and set off with a few of our friends. Number one desert rule: go with friends. We had 3 cars, and we all got stuck at least once and had to pull each other out! Driving on sand is not easy!

Once we’d found a suitable spot, we soon had our tents up and the kids (we had 5 between us) were having a marvellous time running up and down the dunes, rolling on them and generally enjoying the fact that they had so much space to play in.

We did, of course, have a campfire. One of the best things about Oman is that you can, more or less, camp anywhere that isn’t obviously someones’ garden or similar. And you can light fires. It’s a world away from camping in the UK, where you have an assigned pitch in with a load of other people and you can’t have a fire. We not only had one, we used it to cook chilli over.

There was an amazing sunset and an amazing sunrise. In between, there were SO MANY STARS. By the time the fire had burned low the sky was just full of them. I didn’t take any pictures of them because I’m not that great with a camera and I suspect it would take hours to capture that kind of shot. I just sat back and admired them.

We only had one night away but it was just lovely. I want to do a lot more camping over the next few months, including a road trip we want to do at Easter. This has really whet my appetite for that, as well as being some lovely time with family and friends, away from all our gadgets and screens and stresses. There’s something very simple about being in the desert and I loved it.

Tomato, Avocado and Feta Salad

Avocado, Feta and Tomato Salad

Last night we were invited to a party at our friends’ house; it wasn’t a big party, just a nice group of friends getting together. We didn’t stay too late as our daughter was getting tired, but we did enjoy a really great meal and a few drinks. My friend asked me to bring a salad, so I made this.

Ingredients

  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 200g feta cheese, cubed
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, de-stoned and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, in rings
  • generous handful flat leaf parsley, finely shredded
  • 40ml olive oil
  • 15ml red wine vinegar (I use red grape vinegar as I live in Oman, a “dry country” in more than one sense!)
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the chopped tomatoes, cucumber, feta and parsley into a bowl. Mix together.
  2. Make dressing by whisking the olive oil and vinegar together, and adding the black pepper.
  3. When you’re ready to serve, add the avocado and mix into the other vegetables and feta. Don’t add the avocado in advance as it doesn’t keep well.
  4. Arrange the onion on top as a decoration (you could mix it in if you prefer but I know a lot of people who dislike onion, so I put on the top so it’s easy to not have any).
  5. Either drizzle the dressing over, or serve in a jug on the side – I went for a jug on the side, again, so people could choose if they wanted it or not.

If you wanted you could do quite a lot of this in advance i.e. chopping all the vegetables and feta, and making the dressing; it’s just the avocado that you need to do just before you serve it.

BodyBoss Day 3

Today was day 3 of my BodyBoss program, which means I’m back on the HIIT but doing different exercises to those on the first day. They’ve clearly put some thought into the plan as I could feel different muscles being worked today – the first day was more core and abs focussed whereas today felt like my leg muscles and glutes were being used more. The pattern is the same:

  • 4 minute warm up jog (outside)
  • 6 minute warm up stretches
  • 17 minutes of HIIT (includes a 3 minute rest in the middle)
  • 4 minute cool down jog (outside)
  • 6 minute cool down stretches

I burnt 202 calories according to my watch. Again, I don’t feel broken at the end of it, but I do feel like I’ve had a good workout, am very sweaty and I can tell by how my muscles feel that I’ll probably feel it later. There’s a lot of warming up and cooling down built into the program, which is great. I’ve done the odd circuit class before though never regularly, and sometimes felt quite sore for several days afterwards, but there’s been nowhere near as much warming up and cooling down – I’m starting to see the benefit of doing that.

I’ve realized I got it wrong yesterday in going for a run. It’s a 5 day program with 2 rest days at the end, and I thought the 5 days were 3 HIIT days with 2 cardio days in between. I was reading the instructions again today and I realized yesterday was meant to be gentle exercise e.g. a walk or yoga. Not, in fact, an almost 4 mile run! This works out OK as I doubt I’ll get a run in tomorrow as we’re going camping in the desert tonight. But a half hour walk along the sand dunes? Yes, that seems inevitable!

BodyBoss Day 2

It’s the second day of my BodyBoss program and I’m feeling good. I came away from yesterday’s HIIT session thinking it wasn’t too bad however when I went to bed last night I could feel a bit of a burn in my abs. While a bit annoying when I was trying to get comfy and go to sleep, this felt like a good thing as it means my abs – the bit of me I most want to improve the appearance of – have been worked. I can still feel it this morning, so it’s probably a good thing that today was a cardio day.

The program allows you to choose any cardio activity, and do it for 30 minutes. For me, this is probably always going to be running. I’ve signed up to run a 10km race in a few weeks, so I need to be doing a bit more than 30 minutes, as preparation for that! Today I ran for 6.3km, but pushed myself a bit on the speed to make up for this not being the full distance I should be running. For my second cardio day later this week I’ll try and do a hill run and then next week get a bit more distance in.

I feel good for going out and having a run – I’ve definitely slacked off over Christmas – and eaten too much! In the spirit of trying to be a bit more healthy, my breakfast when I got back was a smoothie made of bananas, natural yogurt and oats. Feels like I’m making a good start on the program so far!