Challenge Betsy, Health

Shin splints…

Gah! The dreaded shin splints have returned. Damn you, Jillian Michaels and your high impact cardio. It’s my own fault really. So, I suppose I shall have to forfeit the 30 Day Shred Challenge, and return to the old swimming, which I was loving anyway. I think I’ve decided to swim the length of Loch Ness this time, which, surprisingly, is further than the Channel! Who knew?!…




Challenge Betsy, Health

Getting shredded…

Yesterday was my first day of the 30 Day Shred. Now, if you tell most people that you’re doing a home exercise DVD then you might forgive them for assuming that you’re not really doing that much. A bicep curl here, a squat press there, a swig of water here, a sit down and have a breather there. But if you know who Jillian Michaels is, then you might reassess that assumption.

Jillian Michaels is scary. She’s a trainer on The Biggest Loser, which, if you don’t know, is an insane American show where morbidly obese contestants compete to lose the most weight each week. Jillian is known for her catchphrase, ‘Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going.’

I like to think I look like this when I work out...

I like to think I look like this when I work out…

Oh yeah.

Anyway, so she released this home DVD in 2008 and it’s still on the bestseller lists. The idea is to do intense exercise for 20 minutes each day which replaces an hour or so of cardio. There are three levels, and you go up a level every 10 days. Each level consists of cardio, strength and ab exercises. The dvd case claims you could lose up to 20lbs in the 30 days. I guess that’s only the case if you don’t eat a tub of ice cream in one sitting like I do on a regular basis…

This is what I actually look like..

This is what I actually look like..

While losing weight is always a nice bonus, I’m actually doing this as another personal challenge to get me off my arse. So back to yesterday, and Day One. I guess the swimming meant my fitness levels are a bit higher, which is fortunate else I might have puked, fainted or died. As it was I simply ended up dripping in sweat and prostrate on the floor for half an hour afterwards. No exaggeration. But it sort of felt good. And then, as the day went on, and I could feel my muscles beginning to ache in recognition of some exercise, it felt better.

This morning, I persuaded Mr T to do it with me. So there we were, both in our gym kit, beach towels on the floor as temporary gym mats, windows open for a breeze, as we squatted and lunged to Jillian’s dulcet tones. I was thrilled to see he was just as red and sweaty as I was. Huzzah!

I won’t bore you with daily (or even weekly) updates. But if I manage to make it to Level Two, you’ll definitely be hearing something – probably a demand for cake!…

Have a lovely weekend all! x


Challenge Betsy, Health

Don’t pee in the pool, people!

So, I’ve been swimming a lot over the last month. And it’s been fun, mostly. I’ve lost 8lbs (woop!), but also gained some fun facts. Here you go:

  1. First up, and it’s a biggie and a no-brainer – don’t pee in the pool, people! We know this, it’s obvious, it’s also gross if you do. Why would you want to be swimming (however diluted) in someone else’s pee? Just because Olympic champion swimmer (and professional dumb ass) Ryan Lochte says swimmers always pee in pools, doesn’t mean you have to join in. And despite his thoughts that ‘[t]here’s something about getting into chlorine water that [makes] you just automatically go’, he’s wrong, ok? Chlorine water does not make you do that. That’s what bladder control is about, Ryan.
  2. Never wear a white swimming costume because it will go see through, and people will see your bits.
  3. Never wear a nude swimming costume because it will look like you’re naked and people will assume they’re seeing your bits.
  4. It is always an awesome day when locker number 007 is free.
  5. For a few hours after a swim, when you sweat you will always release a slight eau de cologne of chlorine.
  6. You will be nicknamed by your fellow swimmers. While I don’t know mine, I do know that regulars at my pool are known as Happy Slapper (slaps his hands down rather than dips), Naked Guy (see No.3), All The Gear (and presumably no idea, this swimmer has all the gadgets and still swims like a dying dog). I imagine my nickname must be something like Mesmerising Mermaid or Graceful Water Goddess. Certainly not The Hippo or The Manatee. God, I hope not!
  7. Skinny jeans are even harder to put on than usual. Not because of new bulging thigh muscles, but because of the clammy sweaty residue that clings to your body even after a cold shower and ten minutes of downtime.
  8. It is not acceptable to shave any parts of your body in the communal showers.
  9. Ditto getting naked in the communal showers.
  10. Water Zumba for the Over 60s looks like a blast!
  11. Goggles are annoying little buggers – the lenses get scratched, the straps get loose, and inevitably they let water in at some point. Also, they steam up. Ugh.
  12. You will probably find yourself goggling ‘swimming workouts’. Stop it.
  13. You find yourself racing people in the ‘slow’ and ‘medium’ lanes, because, apparently, you’ve turned into a competitive douchebag.
  14. You get righteously annoyed when you’re stuck behind someone slower than you, but feel your own steady pace is perfectly acceptable when there’s a faster swimmer up your butt.
  15. You can’t hear children scream underwater. Wow! That sounds sinister. But really, put your head (not a child’s) underwater and it’s incredibly peaceful.



Betsy Loves, Challenge Betsy, Health

I swam the Channel!

I did it. I totally 100% did it. I have swum the Channel (in a pool, over a month). Phew! Tomorrow, I will be sharing my wisdom regarding pool etiquette, a.k.a. Do not pee in the pool.

Now I have to find a new challenge. Thoughts? Suggestions? If I carry on with the swimming, I could escape from Alcatraz, say hallloooooo to Nessy or paddle in the Nile. Currently, I’m dabbling with the idea of picking a less intense swimming challenge and throwing in Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. I may live (or not!) to regret this…

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Challenge Betsy

That awkward moment

We’ve all been there, unless you’re extraordinarily lucky. You know, that moment when someone waves to you, and you wave back, and then you realise that they were waving to someone behind you.

Ugh. That moment. That moment that happened to me this morning at the swimming pool.

I’d chatted briefly to this one guy while my body recovered from the unexpected exercise I’m putting it through, then off I went again, trying not to drown.

A few minutes later, I was at the deep end. Recovering. Again. Have I mentioned I’m pretty blind? And I don’t wear contacts. So when I saw some guy wave to me as he left the pool, I stupidly thought it was the chap I’d been chatting to. I waved back. I’m polite like that. Then, on an instinct, turned my head, and realised this guy was waving to the very pretty young blonde lifeguard sitting high up behind me. She sniggered a bit (I don’t blame her; I probably would have), I sank as low as I could in the pool, took a deep breath and tried to regain my confidence with a far too fast length of front crawl.

I have to go back tomorrow. I still have 15 days of channel swimming left. Sigh…

Challenge Betsy, Health

That time I swam the Channel (not really, but sort of!)

Sometimes it’s healthy to realise you have enough going on in your life to not add any more complications, and sometimes it’s a great idea to challenge yourself a little.

This month, I’m being challenged; and it’s proving tough. I’m a good(ish) swimmer. I never mastered butterfly, but I can hold my own in frontcrawl, breaststroke, and backcrawl; I once swam a mile in Lake Windermere to raise money for charity; I used to swim on various school teams. But that’s as far as I go.

A few weeks ago, Mr T’s brother (T3) told me he was thinking about swimming the Channel. ‘The Channel?’ I replied. ‘The actual Channel?’ I was reassured that ‘no’, not the actual Channel, but in fact, 22 miles in a swimming pool spread out over the period of three months.

Now I know I could NEVER swim the Channel. There are many reasons for this. Number one, big bodies of open water scare me; if I can’t see the bottom, I begin to have issues. Number two, sharks; don’t try to tell me they don’t come into the Channel because I know they do, ok? Number three, continuously swimming for 22 hours would probably kill me and I’m not that strong.

So, the actual Channel aside, I thought this sounded like a pretty cool challenge, except, in my infinite wisdom (and arrogance?…) I decided I’d do it in a month. So this means swimming a mile Monday to Friday in my local pool, which takes me about 45 minutes. I’m on Day Four, and I’m tired. So very tired. I also carry a lingering scent of chlorine.

One of the things keeping me going is this awesome app from Speedo where you can log in your challenge, and then it shows you your progress in the actual Channel; admittedly at the moment I’m bobbing depressingly close to Dover still, but I’ll get there!

Was it a great idea to challenge myself? Who knows, but I do know it’s going to be a very tough month!