Monday Motivation: Week One Of My 30 Day Exercise Challenge!

Hello! I hope you all had a nice Easter, in whatever way you do or do not celebrate the floppy eared bunny doling out chocolate/oh and Jesus rising too holiday! ;-0

I have finished week one of my weekly exercise challenge. Wahay! So did I manage to complete my challenge of exercising four times a week (you ask?). Plus Pilates or yoga where I can squeeze it in?

Um…almost. I managed to work out three times, plus my last Pilates class for three weeks (they break for school holidays). Which, on one level I’m disappointed I didn’t quite meet my target, but it was a tricky week in that:

~My lady time of the month happened, which, sorry but there are some times when exercise is simply not an option, tampon commercials be damned with your cartwheels on the beach!

~I (slightly) pulled a hamstring so had to rest a day when I should have been exercising. This is what happens when you are my age and start exercising again I guess!

I’m not beating myself up too much, because I still exercised three more times than I have any other week in recent history, so yes, yay me I say! In truth I knew that aiming for four times a week was possibly setting the bar a bit high at the outset. But  I will stick to that goal for now, hopefully I will do better this week!

Exercise: Week One

The workouts I did this week were:

Cardio Box (30min): Davina The Box Set –This felt good, I always liked this one for a  reason, it goes by fast and is fun and uncomplicated. I quite like punching and kicking the air, it's liberating - makes me think I would enjoy an actual boxing class even more!

Pump (30 min): Davina The Box Set – This was maybe where I went wrong. It’s mostly squats and lunges and light hand weights, which for a normal person no big deal, for someone with my knees, tricky. I also stupidly did this on Pilates day, and as it was the last class my instructor went hell for leather on us, so I’m pretty sure the leg work on top of leg work is where I hurt my hamstring. It’s slightly deflating to be someone who can no longer do two workouts in a day, to feel my age, etc., but now I know. Lesson learned: start slow!

Pilates (60 minutes): This was the last class in the winter session (we resume April 20th). I really enjoy my Pilates class, it can be gruelling but my instructor Laura (at Citymoves Aberdeen) does such a great job of making the class accessible for all levels and giving us goals to move towards with each exercise. I do feel a difference in my strength and overall there is some actual toning happening since I started this class again back in January, and honestly it is 95% down to this class, because until recently I wasn't doing any other exercise other than walking a few miles a week. It's all floor work but we also use props like bands and balls.

Hand weights/ push ups: My friend Carrie, who is an actual personal trainer now (check her out if you live near Portland, Oregon!) gave me some advice/motivation to not slack off and still do upper body and core even though my leg was giving me trouble. So thanks Carrie! I felt much less down on myself just doing what I could. Although I am slightly paranoid I will have Popeye arms with the amount of push-ups I am doing!

In college she and I would occasionally rally from our Ben & Jerry’s/Melrose Place sessions and exercise together (I would ride my bike while she would roller blade), sometimes racket ball, other fun stuff (tbh I was always the one wanting to go to yoga, because I am lazy and yes lying on the ground for the last fifteen minutes was always my favourite part!).

Carrie was always a great motivator for me, whatever the case was, boys or books or laziness, she has such a determined spirit, and she never takes no for an answer - which, I say this with love, when I first met her I was like “Oh my Gooood!” But it didn’t take long before this girl had me riding a horse (terrifying!) and climbing a freaking mountain in New Hampshire (“It’s only a little one!” she said – cut to me not being able to walk for a week afterwards!). I totally see what an amazing personal trainer she was born to be, she is naturally so good at coercing, ok sometimes forcing (;-), people like me out of their comfort zones. I miss having her influence in my life, I need to move to Portland so she can whip me into shape!

Dance Workout (45 minutes): Angela Griffin’s Dancemix Workout 2: This was one of my first exercise dvd’s and it’s still a fun, low/medium impact disco shimmying workout that I enjoy. It has a deceptive bit of squatting type moves in it though so I had to be careful with the hamstring twinging. It has a short but fairly killer Pilates plank and abs section at the end.


Nutrition wise, I got back into a couple of good habits but I know my diet needs some intervention/tweaking if I want to lose weight.

I also started using My Fitness Pal (a free calorie and exercise App tracker) again after abandoning it several months ago (is there anything worse than going back onto that app, all….”Um yeah I KNOW I gained 10lbs. you don’t need to remind me/rub it in, Pal!”).

I’m getting the hang of it, but I do sometimes question if it underestimates calories (I try to be as accurate as possible but sometimes it is guesswork). The fact that it doesn’t record calories for strength training is annoying (though it does have “Calisthenics, light or heavy” which seems a semi-decent approximation).

I feel like the fact I am coming in near or under my calorie target most days is misleading. I don’t really trust it, basically! I currently have it set for one lb a week weight loss, for now that seems do-able, if I feel like it's not working after a few weeks I might try to cut back more.

We'll see. I am really hoping the exercise revs my metabolism back into gear. I didn’t lose any weight this week (I know it’s only week one), but I do like having a ballpark idea of what is going on nutrition wise – I like the graphs showing your fat, carb and sugar etc. It’s not surprising to me that I often come in low on protein/high on carbs/sugar, but I’m not as far out as I thought I was.

I imagine if you are doing a low carb diet this app might be perplexing because it does seem pretty generous on the carb recommendations. It also has the new-fangled “Macro” graph, which I don’t know if I’m ready for all that, but it’s there if I need it. At any rate, I do find it a good motivational tool in my arsenal.

What else…I had home-made smoothies three days this week. I still like having a light lunch, I know the amount of sugar in smoothies is high, but I try to have a few cashews with it or whatever. I’m not in salad mode yet but it’s finally getting warmer which usually helps.

My smoothies generally consist of o.j./pineapple juice, plain yoghurt, banana, frozen fruit because it's not really seasonal/plus it makes it nice and icy. I like mango, pineapple, strawberry. I know I should be adding green stuff too but... ;-/ whatever.

Oh and this happened…(apologies there used to be a photo of avocado toast here, use your imagination!)

I mean…I know, such an Instagram food cliché right now, avocado toast. It was …alright. I basically had it because there was nothing else to eat in the house. I don’t get what the big deal is though. I’d still rather have my avocado in guacamole form with tortilla chips! A filling light lunch/snack though with healthy fats, yada yada you know the drill!

SO that’s that. All in all, I am feeling a bit brighter and more energetic (if full of various aches and pains!). I do feel less likely to eat as much junk or give up on my goals when I’m exercising. You do get endorphins, which somehow I forget about each time I stop exercising, but it’s true, they help. I definitely want to get more organized with my food/stocking and pre-making healthy meals and snacks, etc. Oh and I definitely need more sports bras…because the only ones that fit me right now are not cutting it! Ugh, boobs. ;-0


  1. Well done Steff, sounds like a good first week!!

    Top tip - don't focus on the scales! Go by how your clothes feel and take progress pics! Sometimes you don't see or feel the difference until you put two pics side by side :)

    Christy x
    Dinner Stories

    1. Thanks Christy! I know the scale is not my friend when starting out especially, yet still I weigh myself. Gah! ;-)

  2. Whenever my husband and I start up with his weight loss, it seems to take a few weeks before his body gets the message, lols. I've dropped the ball with him for two weeks now but I really need to focus! Good job on you for getting such a great start. I have yet to have avocado on toast...doesn't seem that great to me. I'd rather it in a burrito or something, ha.

    1. Weirdly after I wrote this I weighed myself and I am down a couple pounds - but I don't know, I was carrying period bloat I think at the start. At least men don't have to deal with that craziness!

      Yeah I figured avocado toast must be like as delicious as coconut water (lolz!). It's just avocado...on toast. I think with tomatoes it would be nicer but I didn't have any.

      Is your husband doing exercise? This is the first time I have combined actual exercise and some semblance of a diet in a looong time. It's hard because you do get hungrier, and then the fitness apps say you can have more calories when you exercise but I never know how close to it I should aim for.

  3. This sounds like a brilliant first week to me!
    You're putting me to shame in the exercise department, that's for sure!

    - Laura (Whispering) xo

    1. Thanks Laura, I am finding it hard this week gah!

  4. I think you did great, really!
    And try a fancy grilled cheese, where you just add some avocado at the end before putting the two pieces together. Grilled turkey & cheese with guac is good, too. Although I haven't figured out a way to make this that isn't messy, so let me know if you do.

    1. Idkw I am only seeing this comment now. Grilled cheese with avocado - interesting!

  5. I lose track of comments all the time, especially when there is a back-and-forth on one particular post, so no worries. :)

  6. Thanks a bunch Steff. I love smoothies and I remember that since childhood I have been consuming different types of smoothies till date. I prefer organic juices however as they are light and contain no preservatives. My favorite juice is Pure Acai Berry Juice. Try it someday.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, I would appreciate it if you didn't click drop on my blog to sell products though lol!