Thursday, 31 December 2009

JackaNinja (aka Storyteller Ninja)

If you are reading this the day it was posted, then you too are staying in this New Year? Gym Ninja hopes you have a relaxing end to the decade & are ready to see what lies in store for 2010.

If you are reading this on 1st January, then Gym Ninja will blog quietly so as not to aggravate your pounding head. Apparently your pounding alcohol-induced headache is due to dehydration which means that the body has drained the water from the brain, causing the brain to shrink. Once the brain shrinks, it pulls on the membrane surrounding it (the membrane that is attached to your skull), hence the pain....

By the way, the hangover story is NOT a made up story. It is fact. She learned it from the 'Stuff You Should Know' podcast on iTunes. Fact!

The next story JackaNinja will tell you is also fact.  Get comfy with your glass of whatever (Resolve if 1st Jan) and allow GN to continue.....

There was once a little girl who was chubby. A fairly big heffalump when born (something her mother has mentioned to her more than a few times over the years), who grew, and expanded, into a chubby toddler and a bit of a fat kid. Let us call her 'Chunk', for the sake of the story.

Now Chunk recalls loving her food. REALLY loving her food. She was more than able to eat and eat and eat until she was full to the top. She would then continue to eat, purely because she loved the taste. She recalls  visiting her grandparents and telling her Nanna than when she was a grown up the first thing she'd do would be to buy a whole cheesecake and eat it all to herself. She would then scoff caramel toffees from Marks & Spencers (the ones with the blue wrappers), and fill up on Ginger Cake with hot custard as she watched her Nanna bake.

When Chunk was full yet wanted to eat more (such as the time she was bought a box of Maltesers aged about 7), she would lie face down on her tummy to relieve the discomfort and carry on. By 'carry on', she meant until they had all gone. Chunk did not understand that you could have a few sweets then put the rest away until next time. She ate one after the other with no break. Sweet or savory, it made no difference. Chunk had been known to eat sugar lumps straight from the  bowl, demolish an entire chocolate swiss roll at her older sisters birthday party, eat an entire M&S white chocolate snowman from her Auntie Jenny without being sick,  buy huge bags of rainbow sherbet and eat it with her finger until her finger turned a funny shade of purple and went all shrivelled from her sucking on it (funny how some skills transfer into adult hood eh....but that is a FAR different story). Fizz bombs and white mice chocolates were also yummy to Chunk. In fact, pretty much everything was. Do you see the problem?

Combined with this ability to eat anything that wasn't nailed down, Chunk was inherently lazy. Her mum had to prize her out of the pram when she was old enough to walk, & she'd rush home from school to sit in front of the TV whilst she scoffed lumps of cheese, biscuits (whole packets of ginger thins) and sweets.  PE was a nightmare to Chunk! She was embarrassed that her chubby thighs rubbed together as she walked, so donning a skimpy PE kit as a Primary School child was not enjoyable, nor was the painful feeling she got as her body protested about her attempting to run or climb. In fact, poor Chunk was never to learn how to do a forward roll properly, as her tummy got in the way and she'd roll off to the side.  Always one of the last to get picked for teams at school too, she was embarrassed to try and join in. Luckily for Chunk, she was academic and creative, so she simply ignored the hatred of exercise and concentrated on other things....

Into secondary school, Chunk slimmed down thanks to her growth spurt. But she quickly put the weight back on. Never so huge that she'd become a documentary subject on Channel 5, but big enough to get the occasional comment thrown at her, plus she hated her fat legs.   A few hurtful comments/situations that stuck in Chunk's mind and still do to this day:

1.  Being picked to be 'Fairy Liquid' at the Primary School Play, aged about 8, Chunk was brought into a classroom of older children where the headmistress was teaching, so that the headmistress (who was making her fairy costume) could measure her up for her dress. Something she did in full view of the older  children and then got someone to write her measurements down on the blackboard as the older children sniggered......

2.  Getting stuck on the top of the A Frame during PE class aged 5 because she was too tubby to climb properly....

3.  Sitting in Art aged 11 as her friend tried to draw her. The Art Teacher came over to her friend and said "No, you haven't done it right, Chunk has a big round face and a big round mouth", before promptly drawing in two huge circles on the paper...

4.  Always pretending to 'help look after the asthmatic kids' during cross country or PE (which meant hanging back and not having to move fast), then being burnt up by the kid with asthma, leaving Chunk panting and choking for air as she tried to catch up.

5.  Aged 9 going round to her friends house to play after school, and asking to borrow some jeans to change into, then not being able to do up the zip, much to her friend's mum's amusement....

6. Aged 14  during class just before lunch break, telling her friend that she was 'starving', to which her friend replied "You're no more starving than my sister Charlotte". (Charlotte was another fat kid).

Of course there are many more stories...feeling hugely embarrassed every time she had to get changed before or after PE.  Noticing her friend had hip bones that jutted up when she lay down, something Chunk never ever knew she had and certainly couldn't feel let alone get the drift, no?

Chunk was finally fed up of being overweight. She wanted to do something. She was fed up with trying to dress up and look nice aged 15 and then crying when she saw her reflection in the mirror.  So aged 15 she began her first 'diet' and counted calories and lost the weight. Of course, she was 15 so didn't appreciate that forgoing some foods so she could blow calories on a slice of cake was healthy, but who thinks of their health aged 15?  This coincided with her recalling the ONLY PE module she'd ever enjoyed a couple of years ago that had involved them being taken to the local Gym and trying resistance machines. So on and off, she went to the gym too (when brave enough to go, taking her friend for moral support), and marvelled at the toned women and wondered if she would be like that one day?   Soon, Chunk was what we now know as 'skinny fat'. Slender on the outside but not really toned, and still eating junk, but less of it.

The Chunk became a student, 'lived the lifestyle', and then had a revelation aged 21...a friend of her parents died.  She thought "No point studying at University and getting my brain to a peak if my body goes and packs in is there?". So that was that! Chunk (no longer Chunk by this point btw) joined the gym and so began her love affair with the weights! So much so, she studied to become a Gym Instructor and worked in leisure for 7 years, helping those who hated their figures/hated exercise, to learn how to enjoy it and see the results...

A cute story no?.....

You'd have to be a bit 'blonde' to not realise that Chunk is actually Gym Ninja.  Now it wasn't all happy ever after.  The weight crept on again when she left the fitness industry and she had to drop 2 stone (gained thanks to her new love of chocolate, Haribo and Peach Schnapps)  to get back to where she needed to be.  Also, her diet wasn't anywhere near perfect! In fact, Gym Ninja would say that it is only the past year that she has finally worked out her demons (sweet tooth!) and in the end gone cold turkey with her love affair with sweets. It was only this year that she finally realised that organic is the best route where possible to keep pesticides and chemicals low. It was only this year that she learned why she needed to eat every 3 hours or so to prevent muscle breakdown and sugar peaks and troughs. It was only this year that she stopped dallying with supplements and got the most out of them by combining it with a very healthy diet and exercise programme, whilst ensuring she spent money on the decent brands and not the cheaper yet less effective stuff that floods the market. Hell, it was even this year when she finally realised long slow aerobic training plus weights isn't the best combination, and that she needed to throw in High Intensity Intervals too.

So you see? Hope for us all, in a cheesy 2010 type inspirational blog moment. Now Gym Ninja does not insinuate that you all need to aspire to be like her, as she knows not many of you do, plus many of you are probably people she aspires to be like herself and could teach her a thing or two. That is not the point. The point is, she now 'values' her body and health. She has seen many people she loves fall sick and suffer; sometimes through their own lifestyle choices. She knows she can help prevent similar illnesses or injuries by taking care of what she eats and how she exercises. Nothing crazy. No fads. Just simple cooking, healthy lean meats, fish, dairy and plenty of vegetables. Limit the processed foods as much as possible. Cut out completely those foods she knows she can never say no to and eat in 'moderation' (Chunk won't allow her to eat in moderation even today).  This is why Gym Ninja is moving back into the fitness industry. She 'belongs' there. She knows every excuse out there for not eating properly or for not exercising as she (aka Chunk) has used them all herself! She also knows that when she tells you that you will soon love exercise and learn to eat healthily and feel oodles better, she KNOWS this to be true as she felt these changes herself. She guarantees it. But only you can decide if you are worth taking care of. You are. Everyone is. So do something about it. summerise...a new decade. A new year. Lots of health and fitness related 'resolutions' being bandied about. But do not rush into it only to falter. Do not try and change everything in one go. Start  with one thing. Get into a habit (regular exercise or cooking from scratch). The start to add something else. if you fall off the wagon (oh you will-we all do), start again the next day.  Now bugger off, as Gym Ninja has indulged in her woe -is-Chunk moment waaaaaay too long and needs to go get the braised organic steak with mushrooms and shallots out of the oven (yum!).....

*tries to hold back Chunk, who still lives inside Gym Ninja and wants feeding like ALL of the time...*

Happy new YOU Ninjarettes...

Much love

Gym Ninja xx (& Chunk)

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Bargain Ninja

Sorry about yesterday's lack of blog.  Gym Ninja had to get some revision done. Spent hours studying for it all to fall right back out of her head the moment she closed her books.

So...yesterday? Yesterday Gym Ninja took delivery of her fitness sales bargains. Purchased online on Boxing Day from JJB Sport (sorry about that-GN is not normally so chavtastic). A new pair of trainers as her old ones were neither use nor ornament, and a pair of Nike Running Tights (aka lycra sausage skins).  As she no longer does the mileage she once did with running due to discovering the merits of High Intensity Interval Training, she does not specifically need to go OTT with the trainers. So effectively they had to be a decent price and have good cushioning. Gym Ninja nabbed herself some Reebok Celeron Trainers . 'Lightweight running shoe' they are described as....and all for only £24.99.  Bargain!  So when they arrived, Gym Ninja couldn't wait to try them out at the gym...

Off she went to the gym., her new 'very bright' trainers in her bag, along with the sausage skin leggings. Do not fret-she took a sports bra and top too. There were certainly not Gym Ninja puppies on show during her workout!  As she was getting changed, GN noticed that the new trainers had appeared to turn even whiter and pinker (for the bits that were raspberry colour of course) than they had been at home, and, once on her feet (below the Nike sausage-'I spray my gym clothes on me'-skin leggings) they looked like two huge glowing beacons of 'Hi Everyone! I got new kit!' to all around her. The trainers also did not feel as 'lightweight' as the blurb had led her to believe, so she decided to learn by her own lessons she usually fails to remember every time she gets new trainers, and to avoid running until they had broken in a bit. Saves on bloodied heels.

Gym Ninja felt quite smug about recalling the fact that she should not run until the trainers were broken in. Maybe GN was less of a bimbo? Gym Ninja nodded to herself....then immediately took back that phrase. Nope, she was still a bimbo. She had forgotten than Nike always sew in a shopping list length label inside all their clothing  so that, if you forget to cut it out before use (like GN had forgotten to do so), it sticks itself to your body the moment you sweat, making crinkly paper type noises throughout your workout.

Today (yesterday) was cardio & leg day. Gym Ninja loves working her legs. Not sure the sausage skin leggings were ideal to squat in, but too late now! She got her cardio done fairly quickly (stairclimber and cross trainer),  then decided to shake things up a bit (quite literally as it turned out), buy hopping on the Power Plate before starting her weights...

She stood in the squat position, cranked up the vibration levels, went for a full 60 seconds and then began to squat as he activated the machine....
Holy Cow!
It was like squatting a road drill (er..........not sure if Gym Ninja likes the image that has come to mind, but what she actually means is the vibration was akin to road drill levels). Her feet started to slide forwards on the plate with the vibration. She could feel her teeth tingle and her arms and hands were feeling all 'silly'.  Thank GOD it only lasted 60 seconds. She turned to 'dismount'...only to find a man lying face up on his back 'resting' between sets of ab work, just staring at her sausage skins!  HOW embarrassing! He had been watching her bum jiggle all over the place and as he was still staring despite the fact she'd gotten off the Power Plate and turned to face him meant that it had in some way hypnotised him (and NOT in a good way-her arse must have seriously wobbled like a giant jelly!).  humph! That was enough of THAT!

So onto the weights. Deadlifts, front/back lunges, frontal plane lunges, barbell squats, Romanian Deadlifts then over to the Hammer Strength leg press. Gym Ninja loaded on 120kgs and began to press for 8 reps. These sausage skin tights had so far not split so she  carried on.  A guy sat down on the identical leg press next to her, before getting right back up again and adding weight plates to it. He then proceeded to 'trot'. He circled the leg press, kicking up and back towards his bum. Not seen THAT warm up method  before!!!!!!  He sat back down and started to press...he was doing sets of 6 reps....with identical weight to Gym Ninja. She wondered if that meant he had puny legs if he were only pushing the same 120kgs as she was? At least his ego didn't get into it and make him add the weights... Gym Ninja soon finished up there...she felt like Big Bertha Ninja pressing the same weights as the guy.

With her workout complete having thrown in some ab work and stretches, she headed back down to peel off the sausage skins, squinting at the brightness of her new trainers, before mixing up her chocolate Promax protein powder.
WITHOUT FAIL, she always manages to spill a small amount of the powder onto the vanity unit, no matter how careful she is. What is that about? Oh, and whilst GN is on the subject, she has heard that Maximuscle may well be launching a new range in the New Year, so will keep her eyes peeled and blog back as and when. Exciting stuff eh? More yummy flavours or excuses to buy more? After all, her 'Supplement Station' in her kitchen (an area where she piles up her tubs of various flavours of protein powders, meal replacements, creatine if taking it, etc) plus blender and shaker bottles, is looking less full than usual.

Toodle pip!
Hope you are all busy setting 'goals' for 2010? Gym Ninja will do hers tonight, promise!

Gym Ninja x

Would you rather have legs like sausages OR a bum like jelly?

Monday, 28 December 2009

Return To The Gym

First day back at the gym for Gym Ninja. Oooh, it was good to be back (well, for me anyway-not sure how others felt....well, GN KNOWS how others felt to be fair...ah well)..

Gym Ninja started the day happy due to test driving her new geeky Christmas Gift of a Teasmaid....pathetic isn't it? Yet GN is a HUGE tea addict. Proper decent tea, albeit decaf. But Santa brought her one so she set it up last night and was woken 4 minutes before the alarm by it bubbling away then decanting hot water into the teapot (bless) with a big whoosh!...The tea, although not boiling hot, was immediately drinkable...mmmmm, nice cup of tea in bed!

So, when GN FINALLY got herself ready for the gym, she again was sabotaged by a well-meaning travel agent who wanted to call her and discuss exactly how much the planned trip to Vegas would cost. Third time back to Vegas for Gym Ninja and she knows full well she can get it cheaper, so having cut off the Travel Agent, she finally headed to the gym. 

The car park was fairy full for a Bank Holiday. Lots of guilty people? As she walked in, she noticed the 'type' of person training today...ALL gym addicts. You can spot them a mile off. Allow Gym Ninja to elaborate on the types of Addicts you can spot at your local gym...

Hardcore Addicts
These have a look of sheer determination on their faces and do not even break a smile as they stomp into the gym, staring at the ground as they run through their planned workout in their head.

Cardio Addicts
Split into two sub-categories, naturally. The female cardio addicts and the male cardio addicts. Both are alarmingly skinny with little muscle definition. Once in the gym, they pick a cardio machine of preference and then take root for at least an hour. 

Iron Addicts
The non-cardio folk who stroll into the gym, doing some shoulder circles as a 'warm up' as they immediately head to the weights to get stuck in. 

Family Addicts
Rare yet they are still about. The family that train together stay together and have integrated fitness into their every day life as standard. To be applauded! Mum, Dad and kids all at the gym working out. 

Gym Ninja would probably fall into the Hardcore Addict category to be fair.  Starting off with a run, she then moved to train her upper body with weights, interspersing the exercises with either hops on and off of the aerobic step, or quick 5 minute runs on the treadmill to keep that metabolism high. Apart from doing circuits at home, GN has not worked her upper  body with weights for a whole week!

The gym was busy yet as of yet no sign of the January crowd that descend upon the gym the moment the hangover subsides. It would be interesting to know the actual conversion rate of one of these January people: How many of them actually stay and become regular gym users? Must look that up...

Once GN had completed her workout she headed back to the changing rooms, only to discover she'd left her Promax shake at home! Noooooo! NOT good! No point working the muscles and then not replenishing them afterwards.  She was then distracted by something in her eye, so she rubbed it...still something agitating it so, heading towards a mirror, Gym Ninja took a jolly good look and...


What IS that? Gym Ninja was alarmed to find a red dot in the white of her eye. OMG. Is that a burst blood vessel? Surely that last set of Skull Crushers were not that heavy????  Gym Ninja started to panic. That cannot be good-no, no!!!! Then, moments before she began to dial the NHS Helpline for advice, she rubbed her eye again...and the red dot moved. 
Turns out the red dot was in fact a small piece of chipped off nail polish Gym Ninja had been wearing.........

Gym Ninja x


Would you rather always have messy hair or always have chipped nail polish?

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Hermit Ninja

Today Gym Ninja decided not to leave the house. At all. Whatsoever. Nope.

She would stay home, tidy up, de-junk her wardrobes which are currently collapsing under the strain, photograph and eBay the stuff she didn't want any more, then tidy the house, revise and generally relax. Oh, and not forgetting her at-home workouts she'd planned.

So...that was the plan.

The reality?

Reality was, that she was woken at 8.45am by the BIN MEN! Grrrr! Now the Bin Men collect on a Friday, and obviously with it being Christmas Day, this meant no collection. But had there been notification of when it would be collected? Nope!  Well, she 'says' no, but apparently 4 houses in her road HAD put their bins out, on a SUNDAY, and it was the sound of the alcoholic households bottles clattering into the bin lorry that woke her. NOW Gym Ninja has to wait 2 weeks for the bin to get emptied-this understandably made her Grumpy Ninja for at last half the she got up and set about her 'plan' for the day. First stop, internet....

But wait! Oh bugger! Her internet connection was down, thus scuppering her hopes of mass eBay flogging. She failed to realise this until half the contents of her wardrobe were strewn across the floor. So instead she did some tidying up, which always means things get worse before they get better, no? So after an hour or two of this, she decided she was ready for her workout. That'd be skipping outside followed by a bodyrock tv workout.

Gym Ninja got her rope, got changed into her sports gear and headed into the garden.
Gym Ninja then immediately turned around and came back in. Windy weather!!!!! No good for skipping or you get smacked in the face by your rope. Oh well, the circuit would have to do....

Today Gym Ninja tried the '15 minute Hot Body Workout'. She thinks it is so called due to the fact it makes you sweat like a pig. here is the link....
15 minute hot body workout.
So...the side jump lunges were fine..but it was the evil Reptile Push Ups GN struggled with. Her body did not want to seem to lower as her knee came up to her elbow. Lazy body! But she struggled on regardless...

As usual, one of her cats came to watch. With a look of quiet disdain upon his face. he sat right in the Reptile Push Up area until I had to force him out of the way...

Luckily Gym Ninja has a JML Iron GymPull Up Bar at her home so she could happily do the Hanging Knee Raises.  They are well worth buying as they are only £30 and you can take it with you as you travel (if indeed you are weird like GN).

All in all, she had boxed off a half-decent workout burning about 100 calories within 15 minutes. Not bad going eh? Plus, she was back on the Clean Eating path again, and felt SO much better for it.

Short & sweet today Ninjarettes. Gym Ninja is hoping her new trainers and workout gear arrives in the post soon so she can test drive her kit! Oh, and at some point this coming week GN will do the obligatory Goal Setting for New Year blog.

Gym Ninja xx

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Boxing (is a great workout) Day

No no no, Gym Ninja did NOT go boxing today, although she would maybe have leapt at the chance if someone had offered?

No-Gym Ninja had decided on Christmas Day, having successfully binged on chocolate and felt truly horrid as a result, that she would go running outside on Boxing Day Morning.   Of course, this would happen the moment she had gotten up....oh and eaten breakfast as GN finds it tough to train without food in her stomach....ah, well, she also needed to wait until after she'd perused the online sales know, get a few bargains?   After all, she'd picked up some bargains online from M&S at 1 minute past midnight Christmas Day, plus got a few bits including new trainers, online at 1am today from JJB Sport...may as well carry on looking?

But Gym Ninja does not procrastinate (much) about exercise, so once her stomach had digested her breakfast, she was warming up with some dynamic stretches, ready to head out, with her woolly hat, 'onto da streets! INNIT!'

Ahem. Sorry. Gym Ninja went all ghetto fabulous just then! Must have been the woolly hat. Gym Ninja prefers caps but so far has yet to find a decent one.  So, with her hat pulled down low, and her iPod plugged in, she was ready to pound the pavements....or actually, quite possibly the promenade if she were brave enough to run the gauntlet of kids on new bikes????? Hell yeh, she was!!!!!!

So off she**dy hell, it was cold today!!!! Now an upside of running when it is cold, is that Gym Ninja finds it far easier. Less chance of over-heating and then turning into a snail (as in pace, not actual snail transformation).   Run run run run run she went, heading down towards the promenade. Would it be, as she feared, packed full of people waddling along in couples, or kids razzing up and down on their new bikes, or people out walking their dogs? Maybe the prom would be full of gym freaks like GN, who cannot bear not exercising and so head out as soon as it is possible...?

She turned the corner and......oh. Bliss! The prom was so quiet today. Yes, there were the rare sightings of waddling couples so bundled up in layers of clothing they were as broad as they were tall. Yes, a few bikes did razz past Gym Ninja as she ran, however these were adults on bikes, not kids. Maybe kids don't get bikes nowadays? Maybe they are all at home on the Wii with their virtual bike game?

Gym Ninja headed right...and ran into the cutting icy breeze and the strong sunlight. Retina burn plus wind burn = "I've had better days". ... but she continued....onwards, run run run, looking out over the river and then skidding on seaweed so NOT looking out over the river-staring at the pavement instead....

Gym Ninja eventually turned around and headed back homeward bound. Not because she was tired...strangely she felt energized (most likely due to the huge amount of Christmas Day carbs stashed away in her) so could have carried on. But she now feared for the health of her nose that was slowly freezing to death. As she turned around, she could now see fellow promanadees (or whatever they are called) dog walking, cycling, strolling thanks to her retinas now regaining their powers due to the sun being behind her.   She ran past little dogs like foot stools on legs,  a greyhound (sans rabbit)  that was strolling, a big shaggy flump of a dog with just a nose and no eyes....all being walked and all ignoring Gym Ninja thank God. Until what????? What dog saw Gym Ninja and thought,
'Hey, she looks like a good game..'?

Yep. The boxer dog. The YOUNG boxer dog with springs in its feet.

BOING BOING BOING BOING goes the dog, his nose bumping Gym Ninja's elbow as she tried to run.
Go away Boxer dog. Gym Ninja scowled at the dog who was busy wiping dog snot on her sleeve.
She looked up and shot the dog's owner a 'please restrain your dog as I am trying to run here' type of look. The owner was, however, walking directly towards the sun so had no use of retinas.  Her look was wasted!
BOING BOING BOING BOING goes the dog, as Gym Ninja then runs in a spazzy way only someone with a dog attached to her elbow can do.
Next minute...'clink'
The dog's eyes flicked from ''hahhahahahahahahahahahaha I am a bit loopy' to 'I will kill you by ripping your throat out'.
Gym Ninja knew that the woolly hat made her look like a burglar and now she would be recreating a 'stop thief' type storyboard for the police.  Help!!!!!

Luckily, just as the dog was ready to rip her throat out, his owner called him over and Gym Ninja was left to run away...a tad faster than she had been running, until she was safely out of harms way...

Just as Gym Ninja rounded the corner of the road that took her home, she had a sudden swerve and was back on the promenade again.  Why? Because coming round the corner was an odd looking man in a military camouflage jacket and hat.
Hmmm, now Gym Ninja may be over-cautious, but she is certain that men in outfits like this are the ones shown in fuzzy 'we think this may be the murderer' type videos shown on Crimewatch!  GN was NOT taking any chances.

The detour meant that her 30 minute run now became a 40 minute run, so in fact the camouflaged man had in a way helped her today. Excellent!  Oh and with one day left (today) of eating badly....and by that she means more custard, a knock-off After Eight and 3 Quality Street Caramels, Gym Ninja cannot wait for tomorrow when she will attempt a skipping rope type circuit followed by weights at home.

Gym Ninja does not LIKE eating like a Muggle. Her head hurts, her energy levels have dropped through the floor and she cannot keep her eyes open. All of that courtesy of the chocolates and custard! She had forgotten now sluggish food like that makes her.  BAD Muggle food!

Until tomorrow

Gym Ninja xx


Would you rather only be allowed to eat the pale blue coconut Quality Street chocolates OR only be allowed to eat the pink fudge Quality Street?

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Seasons greetings to you all....

Gym Ninja shall be brief today-well........actually she   she will be brief, but she may well end up rambling...?

So today is Christmas Day, & Gym Ninja had decided to allow herself a couple of days of Muggle food. That would be food that 'normal' people eat all the time that Gym Ninja doesn't usually eat. Rev up the metabolism, allow her to enjoy the festivities and so what did Gym Ninja start her day with?

Promax strawberry protein blended with water, frozen mango and frozen summer berries. Mmmm. May as well start healthily.  Then she decided to recreate the Monroe curls and spent all morning waiting for her rollers to set. Minutes before leaving the house, she took out the rollers and....


Hair disaster!
Gym Ninja then had to quickly wash and blow dry her hair before finally setting out to visit family. After all, Santa does not visit Gym Ninja directly but instead dumps her gifts at her parents house.

By the time she had visited two households & stopped off to open her presents, some of which consisted of a beautiful red enamel bracelet,    a teasmaid (YAY!) a combined E-Z bar and Triceps Bar for her spinlock weights, plus a protein bar (which she promptly ate!), she was upset to discover it was now 2pm and she had not yet eaten like a Muggle! Grrrr!

 The beautiful enamel sparkly bracelet
She sat down to dinner at her sisters house. Jacket spuds, veg, turkey and ham. Hmmm, not exactly mega sinful is it? It tasted great though, for all of 2 seconds until the spud welded itself onto the roof of her mouth & burned off a layer of skin!  OK, so with no sinful stuff yet, the pudding would surely be different?

Annoyingly, the ginger Christmas cake she'd slaved over on Christmas eve was only sampled by her mother, and everyone else plumped for shop-bought carrot cake and bowls of Birds Custard. Mmm, custard! Gym Ninja had baked some healthy desserts which she shared with her sister, her brother in law and herself.  Chocolate Pear Crisp which tastes like crumble but is wheat free and has no saturated fat in it (check out the link)! She tried to add to the sin by adding custard yet everyone had cleared it out, leaving her with 3 spoonfuls of it to drizzle.

By 4pm GN was getting annoyed! How can one binge and then appreciate how much better she feels when eating clean, if she cannot binge? That was it! She went hunting and found a box of chocolates at her sisters house. She wolfed down 2 of the caramel squares (she is a caramel girl at heart), a fudge, a turkish delight and a strawberry cream. Good! She had started to feel icky.

After dropping her mum off, she then raided her mum's jar of Quality Street (hmm, the keepsake tins must have been sold out?) and snaffled the chocolate delux toffees, scoffed them along with some plain chocolate, then wolfed down 3 miniature hero Mars Bars (and yes, felt like a giant). YAY! Job done.

Gym Ninja now feels like cr*p!

So, with a scalded sore roof of the mouth, plus a nasty sugar slump, GN is now thinking she may need a fruit smoothie? With a scoop of fibre in it?  Gym Ninja has one more day of crap eating and then will beback on track. Cannot WAIT! Tomorrow, Boxing Day, weather permitting, GN will head out for a run...

So.......did Santa bring you anything nice? Did you binge? How long do you plan to 'slip off' the straight and narrow??????

See you tomorrow fellow gluttons!!!

Fat Gym Ninja xxx

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The 500 Workout

Welcome. As always. 

As promised, Gym Ninja is reporting back having tried the first of many of the circuit style slaughters shown on

She participated last night after finishing her work for the day and before suffering the nightmare that is Asda on the run up to Christmas.  Coincidentally, by trying the workout, she also discovered an excellent method of delaying switching on your central heating in sub-zero temperatures. No need for heating when you have one of Bodyrock's circuits to try! 

Gym Ninja picked the 500 Workout to begin with. It looked at an intermediate level with nothing too taxing nor any requirement for skipping. The thing with skipping is that GN's home does not have 40 foot high ceilings, so she would need to skip outside. Skipping outside when there is snow and ice is not tempting enough somehow....

The workout ran as follows...  allow Gym Ninja to elaborate how she got through each stage..

After a Dynamic Stretch Warm Up, Gym Ninja was raring to go. Kind of. It was, after all, a tad nippy but she knew it'd be pointless switching the heating on as she'd bake in about 5 minutes doing this workout.  So, with her 'wannabe Zuzana style crop top', off she went...all in the comfort of her living room, just to the left of the Christmas Tree.

Prisoner Squats 50 reps
Hands on heads and squat down. Easy enough. No problem. Off we go....
Oh. Oh I does start to take it's toll somewhat as you are doing the reps nonstop and the hand position means no momentum to help. Ah well-probably because this is the first exercise so Gym Ninja may not be fully warmed up?  What's next?

Sit Ups 50 reps
OK-full sit ups-old school eh? Off we go, using the zebra striped rug that is currently covering up the ceramic tiled floor of her living room. Off we go.....and er.....oh. Hard work. 50? This move is covering Gym Ninja's outfit in zebra print fluff off the rug. Damned rug. Zuzana doesn't get covered in fluff doing her workouts, grrr. 

Backwards/forwards lunges 50 reps (25 per leg)
Ah this is kind of fun. Lunge forward then with the same leg immediately backwards as one rep. Do one side first. legs begin to tire and GN starts to wobble towards the Christmas Tree. Quick! Concetrate! But legs are getting tired...Cue the most pathetic panting and gasping akin to the type on Bodyrock tv. AHHHR! Gym Ninja thought the panting was purely for the male audience! Who knew that the actual workout induces this kind of adult-esque noise?   After much wobbling and stumbling and a near bauble experience off the tree, GN moved on to the next exercise...

Push Ups 50 reps
Uh oh! GN HATES push ups! She struggles to do them-more to do with wrist issues as she never feels comfortable. Oh, and yes, because they are hard! GN had to do this in stages. As many full push ups as possible, maybe with a few seconds rest inbeween each batch, before switching to the girly embarrassment of the adapted push up so she could complete the set without dying...

By now Gym Ninja was starting to suffer from zebra print fibers in her eyes. CHEAP rug! EVIL rug! 

Reptile 50 reps
So....never tried this move before. Looks easy enough on the video....
Are you familiar with the phrase 'spoken too soon?'. Gym Ninja actually had a near death experience carrying this move out. Not only were her arms shot from the batch of push ups she'd just undertaken, but the exercise is actually evil! Tiredness and eye fibers caused her to lose her balance more than a few times, so that there may have been (ahem) a tree-scraping incident on about rep 17. NOT particularly comfortable if the fairy lights have been on for a while and one head-buts a bulb! Zuzana never scalds herself with Christmas Tree lights! *fume* 

Turkish Get Up 50 Reps
By this point GN was done with humiliation and knew if she attempted this dodgy looking move she'd fall headfirst onto the tree and be heading to A&E with a cinnamon parcel decoration embedded in her nostril. So, due to H&S (and NOT laziness!!!!!! ... well...maybe not much....) she skipped this part. Ooops! 

Side V Crunch 50 reps (25 each side)
Phew! A move she found relatively easy. Easy if you do not include the burning fiber-filled eyeballs. Easy if you do not count a curious cat who decides to investigate close up what you are doing as he drags his tail under your nose in a Hitler-esque style moustache.

Split Push Ups 50 reps
Grrr. ENOUGH with the push ups. Gym Ninja renamed these  the Split Push Up/Jelly Collapse as this is, in effect, what she did. She managed maybe 3 reps before stopping, 2 more then collapse, before a burst of 4 then near death...and so on. By now she had an audience of cats. Well..2. Watching with a look of pity on their furry faces....

Jump forwards Jump Back 50 reps
Grateful to not have to do anything more with her arms, GN dragged herself to her feet, panting in the Adult-esque way, covered in half a rug of fibers, and started to jump. Jump forwards, 2 jumps back = 1 rep...easy peasy a blessed relief. Yep? 
The first 10 were fine. Then GN's legs started to rebel. They didn't like the move. They wanted to shimmy her over to the Christmas Tree for a final 'make her fall into it' type finale.  Gym Ninja had to reposition herself before flopping elephant-style into the ground with her heavy-footed jumps time & time again to avoid the Christmas Tree attack!  Burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrn!

Reverse Plank Knee Tucks 50 reps
With a flop worthy of a drunken man, Gym Ninja collapsed onto the zebra print rug. She was past caring about the fibers that covered her workout clothes. She didn't care if she was perilously close to the Christmas Tree and it's red hot bulbs. Brand her head like a cattle-see if she cared! This was the last exercise and on the video....yep...she said 'looked easy enough'...
Cue much panting, more collapsing than holding strong, plenty of rests and a major struggle to complete the required number of reps. Holy cow!!!!! A killer to finish!

So, with wobbly limbs and a fine covering of zebra, Gym Ninja slowly stretched out her limbs and cooled down. THAT, ladies and gents, was a lower-intensity session. Gym Ninja is scared of the next one....but she will do it...will you????

'Would you rather have jelly legs you cannot control that will always thrown you into any nearby tree, or be covered in man-made fibers that flake off into your eyes?'

Gym Ninja x

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

'The Plan'

Welcome back.

As promised, Gym Ninja is to reveal her fitness plans for over the festivities. A way of staying on track, accommodating the time constraints and social calendar that can get in the way of her usual regime, plus a fantastic way of kick-starting her enthusiasm and shock her body into responding. Always good to shake things up!

The Plan is a simple one.

At home.
Killer Circuits.

Gym Ninja will use the marvelously splendid website and select specific workouts from the database, and also harvest part of other workouts and mush them all together into a more individual session. This is Ninja effectively saying that she may not be able to participate totally in one of Zuzana's nightmarishly difficult sessions, so may remove some exercises and add in others...purely in the interest of staying alive you understand.  That is NOT to say GN will NOT attempt them. Oh yessireebob she will. She has already earmarked her first 'challenge'... The '500 Rep Workout'.... O.M.G. Check out the link!

Before you do (maybe GN is too late with her warning?) DO try and get past the gratuitous filming technique and Zuzana's pants and gasps. If it were not for her amazing body which in itself proves she does work hard, then it would be easy to laugh off the whole website. But all Gym Ninja asks you to do before you 'dismiss' the whole thing, is to just try one or two of the 'easier looking' moves and then make your decision.....

Some you may wish to look at (as GN has shortlisted some for now) are:

20 Minute Interval Cardio Workout
Extreme Challenge 1 (and so on)

In fact-Why not go and rummage around yourselves? If you are rummaging at work (!) then do be aware that although this IS a legitimate workout site,  any colleagues passing by and hearing gasps as a pneumonic blonde bounces her way across the screen may initially question what you are doing!  So...if at work mute the volume and men-just be aware that your mouth is most likely open as you watch the videos....

Zuzana also has various articles on nutrition on her site-Gym Ninja has not perused them all just yet but plans on doing so. It is always worthwhile to read and learn and then form your own opinions. Gym Ninja, having not yet read everything on this site, cannot say if she agrees with it yet ok?  But one article you may all find useful is the one entitled '5 Ways to Explain Real Food'. This is ideal for us fitness folk who constantly have to justify why they eat how they do....

Good heavens! GN is apparently doing some sort of advertisement for Bodyrock TV! Or so it seems. But no-she is merely spreading the word on sites that may help you stay on track over the festivities AND all year round. This is not to say GN won't be at the gym. She will. But she will also be trialling these circuits prepared for the write ups after the various workouts and learn (no doubt) from Gym Ninja's mistakes!!!!

As an additional tip, the Bodyrock site also has still photographs of the exercises with descriptions that really help when you cannot see the correct 'form' for Zuzana's jiggling and panting. You may also use the camera on your mobile to video off the screen some of the moves of the exercises you cannot remember-you can then watch them at the gym or wherever you are working out to remind you how it is done again.

Before she goes, GN may as well remind you about Podcasts that she listens to. Podcasts are free and easily downloaded onto your mp3 player. Top of her list relating to diet and fitness are:

The FitCast
Turbulence Training
Ask Leigh

All found in iTunes and all worth a listen when training at the gym/driving on the motorway/cleaning the house/walking the dog. Sometimes it's tough when you do not know many like-minded people around you, so listening to others enthuse about the things you enthuse about can help you through those moments of 'why do I bother?'

Right-Gym Ninja has work to do. She may well attempt one of the circuits later and report back (if still alive) tomorrow.

Before she goes, she would like to know...

"Would you rather look lie a snowman or look like an elf?"

Gym Ninja x

Monday, 21 December 2009

Run Ninja Run!

Run run run run run run run run run run run....then stop,... to allow yourself to panic about all the stuff you haven't done yet. run run run run....and so on.

This is somewhat like Gym Ninja's life right now. Busy busy busy time of year.
 Of course, GN is not exactly saving herself time by typing out so many duplicates of words in this blog either. Ahem.   But, with a view to getting 'organised', Gym Ninja has sketched in a rough plan of Christmas week. Oh and yes, the gym does feature in this. In fact, the whole plan revolves around fitness, with everything else (bar Christmas day as that apparently cannot be moved) slotting in around it.  

So, thus follows the priorities in Gym Ninja's week.

1.  Gym/Home/Outdoor workouts. 
These must number at least 4, as per usual. Due to Gym closure over Christmas Day Boxing Day then shutting ridiculously early on Christmas Eve and also on Boxing Day-Day (the day after Boxing Day), Gym Ninja is getting creative with her workouts-something she will elaborate on tomorrow. Oooh.

2.  Last Minute Shopping.
This consists of her brother-in-laws additional Christmas present that for some reason she cannot bother to get, so may well end up being  cash.  It also consist of Supermarket Shopping-hopefully NOT the kind she elaborated on in the mammoth 3-part blog earlier. Gym Ninja has  bad dreams about running out of eggs-she gets through tonnes of egg whites in a week. She is something of an assassin of chicken foetuses.  Oh, and the ingredients of the 'still to be decided' Christmas Day dessert.  Apparently her health Chocolate Almond Pear recipe is not decadent enough for her family, so has been relegated to Boxing Day!!!

3.  Work.
Gym Ninja has to work right up until Christmas Eve. Boo Hiss. This should really be far lower on her list of priorities to be fair, but her  bank balance necessitates it features fairly high.

4. Revision.
Gym Ninja has to work her way through the Endocrine System plus other remarkable aspects of the human body.

The rest of the time, is Gym Ninja's 'own' for frittering away on food, sleep, household chores...*sigh* Gym Ninja awaits the cooking of her home made Butternut and Red Pepper soup (courtesy of the organic veg delivery today), she shall fill you in on today's gym workout. Some of you, FAR more than others, devour the gym sessions. Narcissistic of you-seeing whether you pop up in here eh? That's OK. I know you read this and I also know why. Enjoy...... ;-)

So...after a day out on the road, Gym Ninja was feeling a tad fatigued with a billion and one reasons as to why she should maybe head straight home and make  headway with her 'to do' list. But no. Gym Ninja is a strict taskmistress, and instead decided to test drive a new 'thing' she discovered.
Have you heard of it?
A super-concentrated hit of caffeine with 4 cals in it! She picked it up in Tesco earlier, and rather than stay up ALL night, quaffed only half the bottle for 'moderate energy' as it described on the pack. She got the blue one-she didn't realise until she just added the link for you that they had different colours...

Well.....Target did the job! Gym Ninja hared over to the gym and boxed off a 30 minute treadmill run, despite the frosty atmosphere and the overpowering body odour of the girl on the next treadmill to her. In fact, she actually felt that as she ramped up the speed nearer the middle to end of her run, that her legs were propelling her faster than she maybe wanted? That she could have increased the speed more or the time even more? All of this on HALF a shot (you do not want to know the typo that came up as she wrote 'shot' just then-good job she noticed!!) . Wow!

With a decent run done, and having to suddenly divert to the changing rooms as her fringe had poked her own eyes out as it dripped with sweat, she then headed up to lift for her upper body.

The gym was fairy busy for a night this close to Christmas, and a night that was so cold and icy too. This is fantastic to see how many people are dedicated enough to still rock up to the gym despite the weather, the coldness, the sheer busyness of this time of year and all the other temptations (such as office drinks, shopping etc) that can get in the way. Gym Ninja felt rather proud of everyone....or was it in fact a side effect of taking Target? Hmm, either way it felt nice.   Gym Ninja even turned a blind eye to the girl using the Easy Start Pedal on the Chest Press as part of the exercise ...think 'press with the foot pedal and push with the arms' kind of a starfish type move and you'll know what GN means. That is of no bother to GN when she is  glowing with Target! GN should drink Target more often.

Heavy weights and 4 sets of 8 reps was the order of the day. Now last week GN had started to alternate weight moves with 1 minute bouts of ' jumping in and out onto a step' type jumps. Not sure what they are actually called but she'd imagine it's certainly NOT what she just described it as! But she did that to rev up her metabolism. GN decided NOT to to this today-to give her body a bit of a break from that kind of intensity, but has great plans for her home workouts later in the week....oh yes...she CANNOT wait!  Hmm, not sure why she mentioned it really if she didn't do it? It'd be a long blog of she listed EVERYTHING she didn't do....

As Gym Ninja trained, she ran the gauntlet of stares from the Girl with the Backcombed Hair. (GWTBH). Now GWTBH has been staring for a good few weeks now. She's only young and possibly watching to see what ideas she can get for exercises to do? She does not think it is evil death stares-not like the ones GN is currently receiving. No, its merely a curiosity stare. GN also recalls doing that when she first set out in the gym many years ago. In fact, GN still does it now as often one forgets the rarer types of moves and seeing someone do it reminds you to also try it.  GWTBH had deposited herself on the adjacent treadmill earlier and attempted to keep up with GN. Something Gym Ninja was aware that the girl was doing, so kept revving up the speed until the poor girl had to stop. Sorry-but it was the Target that made GN do that!  So now here we were, in the weights section, shooting less than discreet stares in GN's direction. Cool. For now anyway...

Ooops-soup is ready to blend...hang fire......

OK, all souped up and sloshing about. Now where was GN...?

Ah yes-her gym session was actually rather uneventful in terms of characters and crazy moves. No performing seals on balls. No wafty windmill weights. No Ministry of Ridiculous Runs either to be fair. Must be because it's Christmas eh? Ah well, GN worked hard and topped up her muscles with her usual Promax protein mixed in with summer berries (did this at home, NOT at the gym as not even GN carries a blender with her!). Mmmm. Do not be afraid to experiment with your protein powder.
Add fruits and blend.
Mix it with half/half of different yet complimentary flavours.
Use it to flavour porridge (just stir in some of the powder 'neat')
Freeze it in the ice cube tray for mini protein treats.
Mix up with warmed skimmed milk for a hot chocolate protein drink
Mix in an egg and nuke it to make a rubbery puddingly type protein...

Hmm. GN will one day blog some recipes for you all. But don't forget to ensure you have stocked up on your supplements for over the Christmas festivities folks.  Do yourself a favour and go check your tubs (if you pardon the expression) and see if you may run low/out, then go online and order now whilst you remember.  if you don't have a protein powder of choice, then click on the links added to this blog and you can peruse Gym Ninja's favourite!!!!!!!!!!

So with that festive mention, she will pootle off for this evening and blog back tomorrow with an outline of her Christmas 'plan' to stay on track. You may also wish to 'play along at home'? She hopes you do.....

Gym Ninja x

back by popular demand............ ;-)

Would you rather have Cartoon hands with only 4 fat fingers OR Scribble for hair? 

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Supermarket Chaos Part 3.

...Welcome back. We are here, in the Frozen foods aisle where you left us yesterday. Looking for sausage rolls, cocktail sausages and all of that calorie dense yet nutrient light cack, remember?............

 Doors of the huge chiller cabinets open and close in a ripple-type effect, like a freezer version of a Mexican Wave, as shoppers plunge their arms in and haul out their 'catch'. Sausage rolls, Thin Crisp/Deep Pan/Stuffed Crust Pizzas by the box load, Turkey Twizzlers, Chicken Nuggest, Burgers, chunky/chip shop style/thin cut/crinkle cut chips, Pork pies...your head starts to spin. Everyone is stocking up. Maybe YOU need to stock up too? Maybe they all know something you don't, like that this is the last delivery to the store, or impending bad weather in the next few days? Maybe you need these things too? Yeh they weren't strictly on the list, but....

Having emptied out more than enough 'saturated fat in a box' to give an elephant furred arteries into your trolley, you move on to the jewel of the frozen freezer section.....DESSERTS!!!!!. Hell, it's Christmas so we all plan on treating ourselves, even super-strict Gym Ninja.  Your eyes widen as you stare at the edible porn in front of you. Gâteaux, Cheesecake, Ben & Jerrys, Walls Vienetta  (HAVE to-it's Christmas) Neopolitan ice cream (even though  no one likes the chocolate part because for some reason it's the worst chocolate ice cream ever) they all go. Oh, and a box of frozen summer fruit berries as you need those for your smoothies. You put that on the top of the pile to try and cover up the deep pan pizza, the huge stack of Miniature Heros and a cheesecake. If you squint, your trolley seems almost healthy.

Onwards and upwards to the cakes. Who has time to bake mince pies? Not you! Not with all that eating to do. You take a few boxes 'for visitors', plus chuck in a Chocolate Log, a Gingerbread house you build yourself, Christmas Pudding as your other half likes that, Christmas fact anything edible with a holly motif on it goes in to the buckling trolley that you now HEAVE through the refrigerator area, knocking in 10 udders of milk, (skimmed, ironically seeing as what else is in the trolley), a few yoghurts, some freshly made chilled custard, double cream, single cream, whipped cream...all of the creams as you pass....WAIT! Baileys Irish Cream!!!!!!  You nearly forgot! THAT was on your list surely?


You're now in the booze aisle. It's packed solid down here as men drag huge crates of lager into trolleys. There is a constant clanging of bottles with their mini satellite dish style theft-proof alarms attached, as people pile it high. You need Baileys..Baileys....hmmm. There is a choice now? Coffee? Mint? Orange? Standard? You've never been good with decisions so best buy 2 of the 4 just in case. Of course the 'visitors'  (aka Gannets by now as you've already bought loads for them!) will need red/white/rose wine. Beer, of course. Bitter and lager. Just in case! Champagne for the New Year and maybe Bucks Fizz on Christmas Morning? That's OK as it has Orange Juice in it and that's 1 of your 5 a day....Of course, Uncle Jack likes his rum and Doris from next door but one is partial to some Sherry at this time of year and she always pops in for a mince pie....You continue like this until there is no room whatsoever left in the trolley, before the backtracking half way down the store aisles to join a checkout queue 3 miles long. You eye up others trolleys nervously for signs of things you may have forgotten. You technically have enough food in there to necessitate never shopping again all month. All for a week of festivities.......

So, does any of this sound remotely familiar? Even maybe a little bit?  We are all guilty of excess over Christmas. In some ways it can be good to have what is often termed as a 're-feed' to shock the body out of thinking it is in partial-starvation/severe deficit and rev up the metabolism again. If you factor this in as a planned re-feed then a few days won't do too much damage, as long as you get back on track as soon as you can. The 'danger' is, that you suddenly think "Ahh, I've blown the healthy eating thing so may as well carry on now that the damage is done". Before you know it, you're eating way past the calorie amount required, your processed food intake has increased, as has the salt, saturated fats etc that tend to go hand in hand with this kind of stuff. You feel sluggish so pick at food to give yourself energy. You make excuses not to go to the gym between Christmas and New Year, and then BAM! It's New Year, resolutions and OMG none of your clothes fit you any more!

So what can you do?

Damage limitation is the key here rather than all-out avoidance. It'd be a miserable Christmas if you didn't even sway from your strict nutrition plan.

1. DO try and take in that pre-planned shopping list with you. DO NOT leave it in the car!
2. Standard advice but so true-shop on a FULL stomach so you are not tempted!
3.  Try and buy organic when you can. You will be needing the nutrients to balance out the dodgy stuff you will be eating.
4.  Always read and compare the packaging for nutritional values when buying things you don't usually buy. Not all sausage rolls are created equal.
5.  Reseach online for lighter versions of traditional dishes and then consider baking them yourself?
6.  Do not buy the biggest of everything. You may see it as 'economical' but it's not economical if you end up having to buy a whole wardrobe of new clothing as you cannot fit into your standard stuff is it?
7.  Do not be afraid of THROWING things away. It is not the law that you must finish every last sweet in the tin. Give them away if that makes you feel better. Eating them all will mean wearing them!!!!
8.  Enjoy yourself, but then try and get back on track as soon as you can. No need to wait until a Monday to start afresh is there?

OK, that is Gym Ninja's epic 3-part post. She hopes it has made you chuckle, but also reminded you that you can be healthy at Christmas.

Until next time

Gym Ninja x

Friday, 18 December 2009

Supermarket Chaos Part 2.

Back with Gym Ninja to follow up the next stage of the Christmas supermarket shopping nightmare eh? Good. Pleased to see you where were we? Yep-moving on to a new part of the supermarket .......

You soon find yourself heading down the tinned meat aisle. It's a rarity for you to be in this section, what with you being into healthy eating and all, so you start to feel a bit 'out of your depth'. It all seems strange and new down this aisle. The people here are distinctly larger and have trolleys piled high with processed foods, 3 or 4 bottles of frying oil, bottles and bottles of full strength soft drinks plus 5 tins of Quality Street.  Yet you too are here. Spam Aisle! Uh oh. You stare at the strange artifacts. Tinned Spam. Tinned processed meats contain Sodium small doses it is used to prevent growth of bacteria, yet in high doses, it can be toxic for humans. In fact, if  the sodium nitrate in meats is subjected to high temperatures this forms carcinogenic nitrosamines...oh, and these are NOT good.  Quick. Get OUT of Spam Aisle! For God's sake, save yourself! GET OUT!!!!!!!!

You turn a corner, crashing into another trolley, then head to the condiments section. You're safer here! You browse for quality oils for cooking, spray oil for keeping calories down, plus herbs and spices that you need for all of your fancy cooking over Christmas.   Before you know it, you're heading to the tinfoil section. BIG tinfoil roll. HUGE. That's what you need. You have to be able to wrap the outside of your house in foil should you need to.  You pick up a roll of foil that is wider than your door frames at home. Yep. That'll do it. Chuck in some freezer bags plus greaseproof paper and you're done here.

But now what happens? You've been relatively conservative so far, sticking mostly to the healthy list with a few treats that you are recalling through sheer memory power thanks to having left it in the car. But you get the creeping feeling that this is not enough. You are surrounded by heaving trolleys of food. Piled high to a peak. You can see boxes of Roses Chocolates peeping out at jaunty angles. Miniature Heros taunt you. Hmm, maybe you need some of those as 'emergency gifts; just in case someone drops in with a present that's unexpected? Damn those Miniature Heros. Full sized heros you can cope with, but when miniaturized you then run the risk of being able to 'justify' eating one or five. STOP IT! Clear your head of the thought right this instant. But can't...they are everywhere you look, like an obligatory part of the supermarket trolley. Plus, you like feeling a bit like a giant when eating the teeny chocolates..... 'Oooh, look at the teeny Mars Bar in my hand. I am a giant and I can eat it with one bite!' SO WHAT? Gym Ninja, back in her Fat Kid Days, used to be able to eat a proper sized Mars Bar in one bite! This is how she became Fat Ninja! But no, you do not listen to Gym Ninja's warning. You head directly for the Chocolate and Confectionary Aisle like a heat seeking missile. You are chanting in your head 'It's just because it's Christmas, it's just because it's Christmas' in an attempt to justify why you suddenly need chocolates in your trolley.

You stop.
You are here. In Paradise.
 You stand in front of shelves of varying Selection Boxes, sweets, tins of chocolates, boxes of chocolates and other variations on the theme.  You eyeball the Terrys Chocolate Oranges. Mmmm, you never eat Terry's Chocolate Orange unless it is Christmas, therefore you justify that it is actually a tradition rather than being naughty. In goes 3 of them. But wait. You were here purely for emergency gift purposes remember? You scoop up 2 boxes of Miniature Heros. You look at the Roses. Hmm, best get two of those as well, as not everyone likes Miniature Heros. AHHHR, Celebrations! You need those too. *Clunk*. Your trolley has oodles of boxes of chocolates in it now.  AHHR! Quality Street! Now THAT is a tradition. Best get the humungous tin as you can reuse that (you never do,  but you can, so that's why you buy the bigger tin ok?). Oh wait. What happens if someone visits who does not eat chocolates? Well you'd be a bad host if you didn't lob in a tub or three of Haribo Tangfastics now wouldn't you?  You turn round quickly, only to spot a family with a convoy of trolleys one after the other piled high. One trolley is just not enough for this time of year.  PRINGLES!!!!!!!! You spot the Pringles in their trolleys! I'm sure they were on the list no? Just as one of the treats? Ahem.

Like a heat-seeking missile you are heading to the Crisps Section. The 'healthy eating with a few treats' list is a distant memory.  CRISPS! You'd be better off eating chips you know. But you know that don't you, yet here you are, Stopping to knock a few tubes of Pringles into your trolley, you grab some Twiglets (as Christmassy as Santa himself surely, ahem). You also need one or two of those pre-packed party snacks of various shaped Twiglet-themed crispy thingies. LOADED with salt and saturated fats but you don't care anymore. Hell, they don't even taste nice, but you have them on the table when people come round for drinks. It's 'expected'. You are in a Supermarket Frenzy! Your eyes are glazed as you bump trolleys with other shoppers reaching for Cheesy Wotsits. COCKTAIL SAUSAGES AND MINI SAUSAGE ROLLS! OMG you so should have gone to Iceland for those!!!!!!!!!! Quick! The freezer cabinets!!!!!!!!!!!!!

..........OK...and breathe. That is more than enough for one day. You can see how this trip is hurtling into an 'off the rails' moment. More tomorrow....

Gym Ninja xx

Beat the Queues. Supermarket chaos Part 1.

Do you know how to beat the Christmas queues?
Head to the gym! 
The ONLY place you will not have to queue this week. The gym is desolate in the run up to Christmas. An odd situation that always surprises Gym Ninja. After all, it is the party season, major indulgences are ahead, party dresses need to be squeezed into and yet, the gym is empty?  Don't get her wrong. Gym Ninja loves a quiet gym for purely selfish reasons. It meant that her workouts this week have not taken as much time as usual due to the availability of equipment. No having to change what was planned because someone is using the dumbbells...

Hmmm, I guess the last minute planning, food shopping, gift buying and partying take up too much time in the busy lives of everyone. There is never enough time! It is also amazing to Gym Ninja about how much time is spent in the supermarket on the run up to Christmas. Think about it. The supermarkets are closed two whole days. Two days. Not a week. Not a month. Two days. Have a look in your cupboards and freezer now. You have more than enough in there to keep you going. You're not going to keel over and die if you don't stock up, yet every year we all find ourselves queueing down the aisles for hours to buy an overloaded trolleys worth of stuff....allow Gym Ninja to talk you through a typical Christmas supermarket shop and see if it rings any bells....??

You: "I'm not going to overdo it like last year. I'm going to keep things simple and not go crazy. I threw out most of the stuff I bought last Christmas anyway, it was such a waste! Plus, I need to stay on my healthy eating plan anyway. Yes, that's it! Just the basics with maybe a couple of treats. Yep. Oh and I'll not go at the busy times like last year.  No, I'll head to the supermarket first thing/last thing to avoid the rush (delete as appropriate)."

You pack your Bag for Life x 18 (well, you usually forget to pack them and end up having to buy a new one at the till so you have a bit of a backlog now!) in the boot of the car, and set out super early/super late to the local supermarket to beat the queues, with your basic list plus a few treats on the car seat next to you

You pull into the car park......CHAOS! Everyone and his dog has decided to avoid the busy times and the car park is rammed! People are throwing themselves in front of your car with a supermarket trolley as a battering ram whilst you search for a parking space. You see one! FANTASTIC! You go to pull in and.....ahhhhr SMALL car! Small cars should not be allowed to park at Christmas with their evil 'no this space is empty' trick that they do. You are now trapped between a conga line of shoppers and a pensioner reversing into a parking space 'to save time'. How reversing into a space saves time Gym Ninja does not know. You have to reverse either in or out at some point so it defeats the object surely?  You carry on...there are no spaces and you are being wafted by a 'Car Park Attendant' in a high viz yellow jacket towards that far part of the car park you've only ever seen from a distance. You may need a trail of breadcrumbs to find your way back to the car it is that far away from the store. Surely no one has ever been in this part of the car park but for skateboarding teenagers with bottles of cider? That's a thought-maybe some cider seeing as it's Christmas....?

You drag the 18 Bags For Life out of the car and head towards the speck in the distance that is the supermarket. You can already see there is a shortage of trolleys so grab the nearest abandoned one on route. You feel smug that you have a trolley. Within 5 minutes you feel cursed you have a trolley with a wheel-defect...

Once in store you are overwhelmed by a blast of heat, then hit by 4 different trolleys from different directions. No room for dithering in the supermarket today! You pass the display of Poinsettias. Hmm, do you want one? It IS seasonal after all no? They are only £1.99. You pick up a Poinsettia and put it in your trolley. 4 leaves fall off immediately. You head towards the fruit & veg. Good. Healthy eating remember?  

In the Fruit & Veg section you brace yourself and reach for your shopping list. Basics plus a few treats remember? The list....the list...hmmm....where is the list? Crap! The list is still on the seat of the car. AHHHR! OK, so no big deal. You can remember what was on the list no? You head towards the broccoli. You have to fight a burly pensioner and a bad tempered mum of 3 for a few heads of broccoli that are more stalk and less head.  SPROUTS! You hate sprouts but they are Christmassy so you need them. You have to boil them into a sludgy lump that smells of farts or it is not a proper Christmas.  You then move on to the carrots where everyone is fighting for the biggest carrots they can find. Ladies! Will you NEVER learn that bigger is not always better?  Talking of such things, you soon find yourself heading over to the nuts! Some things never change eh?  This was on your list surely? After all, you need nuts at Christmas to fill up the teeny tiny small spaces left in your stomach after the main cannot possibly leave any gaps in your stomach on Christmas day!

WIth nuts and various selections of fruit and veg placed into the trolley, you accidentally bang into a few pallets of potatoes and head towards the main part of the supermarket. You run the gauntlet of husbands wearily slumped over the trolley as their wife piles it high.  You narrowly avoid children running amok through the store whilst their parents ignore them. Far worse is when the child is put in charge of the trolley to keep them interested. Yeh, well it MAY keep them interested but it just lost you your big toe as the child has yet to learn the dimensions and controls of their trolley. Grr. You decide to be 'efficient' and park your trolley at the bottom of each aisle as you dash up and down them to gather up what you need. Basics, basics, basics.....Ok so that's tinned tomatoes and tomato puree for adding to stuff, flour for baking, a low fat spray to keep the calories low as you cook. You feel smug at this! See, your healthy eating is SO on track this year! You head towards the chiller section......

 It's cold! You do an audible "brrrr" you only ever do in supermarket chiller sections as you clang your trolley against 5 others who are congregated around the turkeys. The turkey area looks like a whole rack of mooning bottoms, and you are now part of the vast crowd staring back at them. Cue much prodding of turkeys, then feeling slightly pervy at prodding the turkeys as it feels a bit funny, then not actually knowing why you are prodding them, but what you DO know is that you wanted that one that the lady in the red coat has just picked up. Grrrr! Stressed! You settle for a huge turkey the size of next door's dog, and heave it into the trolley. You notice that the turkey also has goosebumps. Or should that be turkeybumps?  Anyhow, this pondering is not helping so you start to maneuver the trolley towards the sausages. It's one big innuendo this shopping trip so far! You need the sausages for many many reasons. Mostly because it just wouldn't be Christmas without rolls of reconstituted nostrils, testicles, ears and nipples (aka sausages-can you tell Gym Ninja is not a fan??)  to munch on. This supermarket shop is now in Frankie Howard territory! CHEESE!!! Surely you added cheese on your list? You remember you had added one....but look! Look at the pretty cheeses. Thousands of them. All different colours, with fancy names, italic lettered labels, oh and the ones in the cute boxes. They look fun! Oooh, and the one that smells of rotting feet. Ah, now you probably meant to add that to the list no? Plus you need the round one. Hmm, best to add 7 or 8 cheeses to the trolley 'just in case'.......*clunk* goes the tonne of cheese that hits the bottom of the trolley, squashing the broccoli as it falls.

Sound familiar so far......? Yep. Thought so.....! Well, it is getting a tad long this blog so Gym Ninja has chopped it up for easy bite sized (low cal of course) blog chunks, so be sure to report back tomorrow for your next stage of the Great Christmas Supermarket Shop.......tomorrow we leave the chiller section for pastures new...!

Gym Ninja x

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Food On The Go!

Gym Ninja has been shopping. Food on the go. A bit of a trial of new products, as well as to stock up on her tried & trusty chunky PowerBar Protein Bars. 

It's terribly impressive when somewhere mainstream like Tesco start stocking sports and nutrition supplements. Tesco was where Gym Ninja first discovered the delectable craving-supressing Promax Crisp bars. 97p each. Bargain when it comes to trying them out. Of course, now she is addicted she no longer gets them from Tesco (unless she ran out and is awaiting delivery). No-it's cheaper to order direct. Bulk buy, especially when they are on offer direct from Maximuscle, which is most of the time.  Think the current Promax Crisp-related offer with them is that you get a box of 12 free with a tub of Promax Extreme? So what else does Gym Ninja pick up when she is in Tesco?

PowerBar Protein Plus Bars. Yum! Super chunky and chocolately dense protein bars that are perfect to stash in the glovebox or handbag. She gets Vanilla-Coconut flavour and Chocolate flavour, and they are 30% protein. Makes you rather thirsty afterwards though....maybe they are made of those little silicone sachets you find in boxes to dry stuff out??????  OK, so maybe not! £1.66 each in Tesco and about 10p more in Holland & Barretts. They say to have them post-workout, but to be fair, you're better off sticking to a protein shake you can mix up and drink down. These bars Gym Ninja eats when she needs filling up a bit! Usually when stuck in traffic on the motorway. 

Whilst at Tesco, Gym Ninja also noticed a new bar. Smaller but hell, a new flavour experience, so let's take the risk and pick up one of each flavour. Meet the Clif Bar. One in Crunchy Nut Peanut and one in Chocolate Chip. Organic too!  Gym Ninja was so keen to trial these for your reference, she accidentally ate both! One after the other. Interesting taste and consistency, if not a tad dry. Didn't taste ANYTHING like either of the flavours really, but again, if she is pushed for something it is maybe worth considering....Waaaaaaaay after all her other supplements of choice of course. Sometimes it takes trying out other supplement snacks to appreciate the ones you usually take!

Other ideal snacks to take out and about with you are 'natures own' snacks, in perfect portion sizes. For example, apples, bananas, pears. Oh and let's be honest, who doesn't like a nice pear eh? Or, if you don't want the whole 'carrying around an apple in your handbag until it rots down to a pulp' type scenario (we've all done it-even Gym Ninja!)  then pick up some 'School Bars'. Asda and Tesco sell them and they are effectively fruit squashed into a bar shape. Tastes a bit like Chewits.  Great to give to little Ninjas too, as they are more inclined to scoff them. 

If you are in need of a biscuity type snack (that is not chocolately) then take a look at Jordans Frusli (also at the supermarket). Wheat free too! Nice dunked in tea.  Hmm...Gym Ninja did have other stuff to tell you about that's fab for taking with you when you need to maintain energy levels and fuel the body (eg when driving, Christmas Shopping, working etc), but the current freezing weather has frozen her Ninja brain and so she will have to abandon her informative post today, without fully spurting out her info. Ooops! 

But before she goes, she did have an idea for a great Christmas gift to give a friend or family member who is a fitness fanatic. A Christmas Hamper filled with supplements! Either check out the websites of your favourite supplement companies and see what offers they have on right now and buy  a selection that meets their fitness goals, or just pick up some different snack and protein bars and make a fitness selection box!

EG, for someone who is trying to reduce body fat and tone up, Gym Ninja would buy Promax Diet, Thermabol and Promax Crisp bars (with maybe some CLA thrown in if she is feeling generous) and put them in a nice wrapped gift box. 

For someone wanting to build muscle and stay lean, she'd maybe buy Cyclone, Thermobol and Promax Meal Bars...perhaps with some Creatamax thrown in? Again, depends on who it is as to how much she'd buy! 

The Selection Box may have her beloved Promax Crisp bars in it with her equally loved PowerBars, maybe some Clif Bars and so get the idea. Time to get creative with your Christmas Gifts if you know for a fact they are loving their healthy lifestyle.  You don't have to buy all the stuff from one brand. You can mix and match for some variety. Go must know someone who'd like that? 

OK, Gym Ninja is now frozen solid so will sign off today...... see you all tomorrow!

Gym Ninja x

Friday, 11 December 2009

Ninja Pie!


 Not an actual pie.  Gym Ninja does not do 'pie'. Think more 'pie chart'. Think 'divisions of a whole.' Think percentages. Stop before you  get to Venn Diagrams as they are neither use nor ornament. No. Go back a step and get to percentages and then....can you guess? Can you?

Yep. Gym Ninja finally took the Tanita Body Composition scales out of the box...and 'stepped on them!'. Yep. Gym Ninja now knows a veritable pie chart of facts about what she is 'made up' of. .... .... Give or take natural fluctuations, wonky floor tiles, too much liquid prior to weighing, too little liquid prior to weighing, the direction of the suns rays, the colour of butterfly wings...OK, so it is never 100% accurate but it gives Gym Ninja a clue as to whether she is on the right track...

It took a fair bit of doing though. Gym Ninja used to weigh herself every Saturday morning after she'd hopped out of bed., but has not done so for a month. Plus she had been eating like a horse recently so was a tad concerned! Plus, ladies, the Tanita scales insist that for accuracy you must NOT use them within 3 hours of food, sleep or workout! That means...weighing without being dehydrated and empty of food (the way us women like to be weighed!!!). EEEK! She would have to get up, eat breakfast and then 3 hours later, weigh herself. Cripes!

So Gym Ninja had an idea. Today she hopped out of bed and hit the normal bathroom scales as per usual. PHEW! Weight pretty much the same. This is her 'control' so now she knows whatever the Tanita scales say, she is similar in weight to how she was before. Gym Ninja proceeded to then have a Promax smoothie for breakfast...let's not tempt fate eh?

She clock watched as she did her admin from home. Then, at 11.40am precisely, Gym Ninja became naked Ninja and stepped on the scales, pulling up the special handles so that the scales would measure her entire body...

The scales are fab. Gym Ninja loves gadgets and these are fantastic. They allow you to set 4 people's user details in such a age, gender, activity level (Gym Ninja programmed herself in under the athlete label as she correctly matched her details in the handbook which suggested she did this).  The scales would then test for the following, and when it came to muscle mass and body fat, would also show individual arm, leg and (elephants) trunk readings as well as collective readings. OOOOOOH! It then records the details and you can refer back to them. There is also a guest mode. Tanita must know you will harp on about this so drunken friends will then insist on trying them, stripping naked in your bathroom.

So...the scales would tell Gym Ninja the following:

Body Weight as in the normal 'OMG how can this be, I hardly ate anything yesterday' type reading.
She registered 4 lbs more as she was not dehydrated and 'empty' ahem! So she measured 8 stone 8lbs.

Total Body Fat registered as 15.6%.
It then gave breakdowns of percentages for her limbs and trunk. Remarkably, she discovered that her right leg is a fattie compared to her left leg. 'Righty' measures at 18.4% fat whilst 'Leftie' measures only 16.3%.
Who knew?  Oh it gave arm readings & torso too but next time Gym Ninja will give individual readings, as she is too tired today!

Total Body Water registered at 62.4% which is normal

Visceral Fat measured on a scale of 1-59 with 1-12 being healthy. Gym Ninja scored 1. YAY!

Basal Metabolic Rate the cals allowed just to stay alive is 1350 kcals.

Metabolic Age which is the average age associated with metabolism  came out at 20! This is fantastic as Gym Ninja is not 20.

Muscle Mass came out as a total in stones. Gym Nina weighs in at 6 stone 12.6lbs of sheer muscle!  The rest  is 'bits and bobs'. Again, individual arm/leg/torso results too.

Bone Mass came out at 5lbs. This is in the right zone apparently according to the book so Gym Ninja is not a honeycomb inside.

Exciting stuff no? Gym Ninja will try it weekly and then start to see where the variations are and then begin to use it to monitor her fitness results. Increase the weights and then see what happens on the scales. Marvelous!!!!!!!!   Gym Ninja is harping on about these scales SO much she may have a word with the company she bought them off to see if they can organize a discount for you? She will report back if successful on this mission of mercy.............

OK. Gym Ninja needs to go now as there is some low fat peanut butter calling her name.  She thinks Fattie Right Leg is the culprit who craves it then stashes it away!

Have a good day!!!!!

'He who eat too many prunes, sits on potty many moons'

Gym Ninja x

Thursday, 10 December 2009

What's that smell?

T'was a stinky old Gym session for Gym Ninja today. To the point where she started to question whether this 'illness/overtraining' malarkey she'd recently suffered from had left her with an  'enhanced bionic sense of smell'? Everything was so very pungent...or should that be 'everyone?'

Gym Ninja has suffered a fair bit of bloating these past few days. No explanation forthcoming other than again, maybe if this tiredness was virus related, then it may be a nasty Ninja Germ that is balloon-like in stature, filling up Gym Ninja's stomach. Stupid  balloon virus....

So, off Gym Ninja pootled to the gym after a day sorting through quotes and admin. Her first cardio session of the week (shocking I know) and much needed. T'was also Leg Day for Gym Ninja aka Balloon Ninja & she was looking forward to it (whist hiding her balloon tummy behind her sweat towel).

As she wandered over to the treadmills, a strong waft of Deep Heat hit her nose! Someone on the cardio equipment had  greased themselves up in it. Look, if you MUST use Deep Heat, do so at home or outside. NOT in the gym. NOT next to Gym/Balloon Ninja please. It makes her nostrils hot!

So after a hot nostril-ed 20 minute run, interspersed by strong wafts of BO from an unidentified Gym Member (although it's a high possibility that it was the man with about 5 flies buzzing around him who created the stinky BO?), Gym Ninja went upstairs to start her leg training...

At the top of the stairs...oh look. Look who it is again? Lanky! He greets Gym Ninja and they exchange pleasantries. he tells her about his new job and how he plans to fit in his workouts around it. They laugh at how true gym addicts consider workouts and when they can hit the gym if they take the job, when job seeking.

"When I'm job hunting I'm just interested in making sure I can fit in enough time  to work my muscles afterwards" Said Gym Ninja.

Lanky Nodded.

"There's only one muscle I'M interested in working right now!" He said, nudging Gym Ninja.
"Fnar Fnar!"

She looked at him.
She looked at the arm that he had nudged.
Do not 'nudge' Gym Ninja. She could slit your throat with the edge of her gym sweat towel if you touch her without asking.

'I think you'll find, THAT is not a muscle!" She berated him, rolling her eyes.

"Er..I meant my ears"! Backpedalled Lanky.
But then, returning to the very essence of Frankie Howard, he continued with...
"The thing with ears like mine, is that you could hang on to them and I don't need to come up for air much".

Gym Ninja is aware of the power that is her 'withering stare' and for that reason rarely rolls it out. But now it was needed. Cue withering stare and a very technical and ardor dampening explanation about cartilage of the ear.

Today's session was a mixture of squats, deadlifts, straight legged deadlifts, split squats and a couple of faffy machines thrown in. Namely the Adductor and Abductor machines.  Uh oh. Bionic smell came back. The Adductor machine area smelled of dog poo. Gym Ninja checked the carpet area. No stains. She checked the foot rests of the machine for 'scrapings' of dog poo. Nothing. So Gym Ninja was just about to sit down on the machine, when she started to wonder exactly what WAS causing the smell? Was it something non-dog related? Was it something on the seat perhaps...?

Gym Ninja decided that actually, she didn't feel like working her Adductors today......!

Back in the changing rooms Gym Ninja rummaged around in her handbag, only to notice everything had a thin veil of pale brown powder on it. Her bag also smelled of chocolate. Bionic sense of smell you see.

After a quick investigation, it turned out a previous sandwich bag she'd stashed a spare serving of Chocolate Promax protein powder in had leaked due to her not sealing it properly, so now all her handbag contents were lined in chocolate flavoured protein powder. Nice!  A very expensive yet high quality bag freshener. Talking of supplements, tomorrow Gym Ninja may regale you with her latest adventures in trialling new supplements, namely protein bars. Yum! But then again, she may get a mission and end up talking about that instead. That's the thing with Gym just never know.....

'Man who fish in other mans well often catch crabs'

Gym Ninja x