Monday, 22 September 2014

Gab's Abs, take 2

The downside of having a blog is that as well as tracking your successes you also track your disappointments. Looking back at my earlier entries when I started out in January, I made a lot of plans, including striving to do yoga every day, and a workout plan for building up my abs. Both of these have now fallen by the wayside (although I keep thinking I may try to get back into yoga) somewhere along the way.

But it's alright through as I have still met some admirable targets. I have knocked the stuffing out of the C25K, run 13.5K in the Great Midland Fun Run, and yesterday I broke the 10 mile mark in my preparation for the Birmingham Half Marathon. I've lost a ton of weight (I really should do a more recent photograph for comparison to that one I took a few months ago) and I feel better in myself both mentally and physically. All in all, this is nothing to be sniffed at, but I feel there is still more I could be doing.

At the photoshoot we did earlier this month, I couldn't help but notice the lack of muscle tone to my body. The weight loss was noticeable (go me!) but I had ended up looking both too narrow in the frame and too podgy at the same time, at least in comparison to Renee O'Connor. So the decision has been made to begin a strength training regime to tone up and get something approximating to Gabrielle's legendary abs - not to mention her arms, back and shoulders.

My trouble with this sort of thing is that I rarely know which exercises I should be doing, or indeed how to do them, or how many, or how often... or anything really.

Help came along in the form of Ares, God of War. Or to be specific, Andy, God of Fitness (who cosplays as Ares God of War).

Ares God of War, for all your personal training needs.

Andy is a pretty formidable human being, capable of deadlifting 195 kilos, so if ever I was looking for someone to help me improve my strength and muscle tone, he's the one for the job! He's also husband to my partner-in-cosplay Anna, who makes a beautiful Xena and features in our latest photo shoot, and the pair of them have an adorable son who cosplays Solan. So between the three of them they are quite the Xena family!

Anna is on a fitness kick too and recommended that I chat to Andy to get some advice, as he'd helped her out a great deal (yes, Xena is being trained by the God of War, let's take a moment to think about the beauty of this). So I consulted 'Ares' and within a few days he had devised a set of 5 exercises to start me out, complete with a 7-page instruction manual with photos, YouTube links, recommended apps, times, and other bits of info. I also have a spreadsheet to fill in.

So this morning I sweated, grunted, panted and flailed my way to the end of a 20 minute starter session of modified, easy exercises for people with no core strength.

Well this has been lovely. Can I stop now?

Some were easier than others. I can do squats with no effort at all. Leg lifts start off like a dream but I really start to feel it in my lower abs after a while (this is good, I am told). Push-ups are evil and should be banned.

The plan is to build up to 40 minutes by next week, then keep going and try to increase the number I can do in one minute. I fill in my little spreadsheet and then Ares changes the plan as I improve or throws a sword at me if I've been lazy. We shall see what happens after a few weeks...

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