Fast Exercise: Week 4/6: I have my doubts.

I’m now two thirds of the way through my exercise experiment.

I’m in week four of my fast exercise regime. This is two days a week where I take 20 minutes out of the day and sprint up a hill near my house for 30 seconds. I then take three minutes to walk back down the hill, have a stretch and catch my breath before I sprint back up the hill for 30 seconds. I repeat this four times, that’s “Fast Fitness”. On another two days of the week I do “Fast Strength”. This means I do as many press ups as I can for 30 seconds, then have a 10 second rest before moving on to another 30 seconds of strength building exercise like squats. Between each different strength building exercise, I have a 10 second break and do 10 sets.

This means that four days a week, I’m doing around 2-7 minutes intensive exercise, the rest of the week, I don’t do anything, unless my normal day-to-day activities require me to. So, for instance; on Sunday I did some gardening and last week I cycled into town for a meeting.

Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve tended to come home after my exercise and just note down a few thoughts and feelings. Looking back over the last two weeks; this record has proved to be a useful resource.

Far from reducing my weight, it seems that fast exercise has caused me to put on a reasonable amount. I’ve topped the scales at 14 stone 7. I suspect that this is because I have been rather lax recently with my “sweet thing” rule. I normally try and allow myself to only eat one sweet thing a week. Frequently, I fail and end up eating two sweet things in a week, but I know that the rule is one sweet thing, so usually the guilt of having broken the rule once in a week, prevents me from eating a third sweet thing.

Clearly the problem with engaging in an exercise routine is that it gives you an excuse to indulge. I think one week I had about four puddings, and that’s led me to clamp down hard. I’ve decided that for the remainder of this six-week period while I experiment with Fast Exercise, I am not going to have any sweet things at all. (I was seriously regretting that on Sunday night).

As a result, I do seem to be back down at 14 stone 4. So restraining myself for a week seems to have removed three of the four pounds I gained.

My main issue with exercise for exercise sake is that it’s very boring. Last week in an attempt to make things a bit more interesting I went to the park for a change of scenery. There; flatter hills seemed to make it a lot easier, and the walk back to my house provided a nice “warm down”. The only problem was that this turned the usual 20min work out into, more like, a 50min work-out.

I am a fully-fledged hypochondriac, and purchasing a heart rate monitor has given me another way to worry about my health. After some sprint sessions I have found the veins on the sides of my head up for hours. There has also at times been the sound of my heart beat in the back of my head which I can hear in my right ear. Also I see that on the sprint days my heart rate stays slightly elevated for several hours and one night before I went to sleep I swear I felt like my heart was beating out of my chest.

Another problem is that it’s not that easy to find a place in London where you can sprint for 30seconds uninterrupted. On the pavement near my house, I have to dodge, ladies working on their front gardens and men arsing about in the back of vans. In the park, you hurdle dogs, and try not to scare the life out of women pushing buggies. There is nothing worse than trying to stop yourself from breathing like a serial killer, as you walk away nursing a stitch, hoping your distorted  facial expression can convey that you are just trying to get fit, while a panicked mum, turns on you in terror.

None the less, I am noticing performance gains. Looking back at my notes I can see that for the last two weeks, my warm up jogs have got really easy, even sort of fun. I now feel like an accomplished jogger and I hate jogging. But today I really felt like I could have gone for hours, I even consider going on a “jog”. Luckily sense prevailed and I didn’t.

My performance has markedly improved. I know which fence post I used to get to and can now run well past it. I can also get further on my second sprint. In addition on my forth sprint I no-longer feel like my head is going to explode. Basically I feel stronger and am finding it a lot easier to maintain my stride length and keep my head up, so am getting a lot more out of each stride.

My only issue is that I didn’t do this because I wanted a new party trick. I don’t want to impress my friends with my ability to dart up slopes. I was quite honest about why I got into this: Vanity. To date I can’t see that fast exercise is getting me noticeably closer to that goal.  Exercise does seem to be an ineffective way of losing flab.

Although I will cut sweets out for the remainder of the course: That isn’t something I am willing to do indefinitely.  In fact the visual impact of this exercise has so little effect that I have ended up taking a topless selfy so I can try an establish if the next few weeks have any effect at all. I am not going to publish it. Because I think topless selfys make you look mental. In fact, I am slightly worried that the act of taking said selfy may even be the first sign of madness.

So I can’t wait to see, how the next 2 weeks pan out. Early indications are that I am fitter. My resting heart-rate is down below 50 bpm and I am feeling a bit better. But there is no way I can keep cutting sweets out, so unless the flab starts to evaporate in the next two weeks it is doubt full I will keep this going.