A little 8 mile hop.

I can’t believe how my stamina and fitness are improving. This little 8 mile ride would have killed me at one point but now I can do it on the DaHon without much concern.

I’ve even got myself a new bag for it – it’s meant to go under the saddle on the seat post, but for the DaHon it works well on the stiffener bar too.

I’ve also now got some decent lights. Only a cheap set from Amazon, but I’ve started venturing onto roads and even though it’s only for short periods I’m very aware how I can get totally missed when in the van, so I thought I’d make myself as visible as possible even in daylight. A bright flashing light is much less likely to get ignored as I’m approaching a junction, although I’m sure some of you cycling friends will tell me stories otherwise.

On a fitness note though, I’ve also noticed on my watch that my activity curve is shifting down – most of my riding is now in the aerobic section of my heart rate. Apparently this is good as it’s less dangerous as you get older – you shouldn’t push your body too far when you’re not at the peak of fitness. I’ve joined Strava to see if mutual exercise is for me – and I’m liking how it works because it just sends the stuff from my galaxy watch 3 to Strava. I can’t be faffed with extra apps.

Amazing weather we’ve been having!

We’re definitely having some amazing weather right now. Plenty of opportunity for some great bike rides.

Biking is one of the ways I’m improving my fitness. Considering how unfit I have actually been at some points in my life I’m determined now as I approach 50 to never let myself get like that again.

My uncle died in his 60’s of heart failure caused by a sedentary lifestyle and the inevitable morbid obesity caused by such life choices, and I carry a lot of his genetics.

It seems like such an easy option to lay on the sofa playing Nintendo!

The newest bike.

It’s been a bit of an unlucky one so far, but I do love it. It’s an Orange frame from the late 90’s I’m led to believe – but it has been chopped around a little.

In one weekend I’ve snapped a derailleur mount, and now today I’ve now got a puncture and had to get a repair kit and spare inner tube from Halfords.

It has to said it looks cool, but not as cool as the BMX, although the lighting was far better today.

My stats are getting much better. I’m getting faster, my distance is increasing, and I’m spending more time in the healthy exercise heart rate areas. This was for a five and a bit mile run.

To continue a theme.

The fitness kick continues. I’m now over 5 miles on a ride and unlike previous rides I’m now no longer finishing exhausted. It’s amazing how quick your fitness starts to return when you make the demand of your body.

My waist hasn’t shrunk much, but I’ve noticed that the wobbly leftover of my old fat days is no longer as wobbly and my flab on my thighs, similar. I can feel muscles developing all the time and the tone of my calves and thighs improving beyond belief.

Even my weighing scales agree…

A physical week at work also helped though… I’m on three installs at the moment!

So this was week’s Saturday jaunt. A 5 mile run along the Trans Pennine Trail. Not too challenging, however, the thing that can be observed is that my times spent in each exercise area are changing. I’m no longer seeing much in Maximum but I’m getting a nice balance of aerobic and anaerobic which is apparently as it should be for someone of my fitness level and age. Too much in anaerobic and maximum without developing your fitness first can stress the heart and lead to cardiac problems.

As you’ll see though, I’m looking a lot more svelte! These are a 36″ waist trousers and the top is an XL. I’m definitely out of the XXL and 40″ waist now.

Sunday

Today was a really odd day. We’d planned on a bike ride, just a short one as I’m still building my energy up. It was a rather muddy one – but I knew it would be and I did actually wear leather jeans! Great for wiping down after.

We didn’t do quite as far as last time, however, the ride was harder as there were more hills as is reflected in my heart rate and the number of calories burnt for a shorter run.

When we got back to the car I realised just how muddy it had been! Thankfully leather is wipe clean.

So we got home, cleaned up, and I then got into my comfy clothes for our first rehearsal over Jamulus with some of the fishes. We are songwriting and because of the current lockdown we can’t meet up so this is the best way. You can’t use a platform like WhatsApp or Teams because the lag is too high – around half a second.

It is ok once you get used to the slight delay. Sadly Bob couldn’t get his Mac to work correctly – something to do with his ASIO settings – so we’ve agreed to reconvene next week for a second attempt.

The day finished with me attempting to collect all my star fragments in Animal Crossing. We had a meteor shower last night in the game so I have fragments all over the beaches.

It’s a far cry from a few years ago.

I’ve just done my health check-up.

Blood pressure 113/77, SpO2 99%, Stress in the green. ECG pretty much as expected – no signs of any fibrillation.

I know I’m still overweight and I’m taking steps to deal with that. Getting a new set of scales was a big step – I realised my old ones were quite inaccurate and my BMI suddenly jumped 2 points from very high normal to overweight (I also use the calibrated scales at Boots once a month to check mine are accurate now, so this will never happen again).

My health is important to me. When I gain weight I get side effects. I used to have plantar fascitis, Hughes syndrome, Cellulitis and Reflux. All were weight related. All have now gone. I also suspect at one point i was borderline for developing type 2 diabetes.

Careful diet, regular checking, and plenty of exercise is the key. A horizontal lifestyle is a bad idea.

I put a little weight on.

I suppose lockdown isn’t going to help that – I often walk into town to shop, and also we’re not doing any gigs. I’ve not weighed myself in a few months and I was quite surprised.

I didn’t feel fat, but I tried on one of my stagewear suits yesterday and it felt tight.

Back on the wagon.

After a rather shocking 3.4kg of weight gain over Christmas, I’m back on the wagon to becoming a healthy weight again.

I’m now just 1.6kg up on my late November weight and as you can see from my picture my rather slimmer profile is back.

Amusingly every time I post a picture in this suit I get loads of questions about it, so I thought I’d answer them here.

  • What is it made of? PVC
  • Where is it from? ASOS
  • Can I still buy one? It is sold out
  • What about the shirt? Also ASOS
  • Is it hot/sweaty to wear? Absolutely – although it depends what I’m doing in it – onstage it’s melt territory.
  • Is it noisy? Yes. It squeaks and creaks when the pvc rubs against itself.
  • Can I try it on? Absolutely not. I’m very possessive about it as it took me many years wanting one before I finally got one. It’s the driving force behind me keeping my weight in trim!

If you have any more questions please feel free to ask in the comments.

Hatfield – the third.

Having looked through my photos and my timeline it appears to be the third time we’ve played Hatfield Main club. A leftover from the old Hatfield Main pit and now standing at the edge of a housing estate and with miles and miles of desolation and spoil heaps on the other side.

Regardless of location though, Hatfield club is yet another thriving club which seems to get the balance right. A nice mix of age groups and no “that’s my table” rules. The “that’s my table” only ever seem to happen at the very worst clubs. The clubs full of cliques; the clubs which don’t welcome in younger customers; the clubs which see their clientele die off of old age; the clubs which eventually close.

So I arrived at about twenty to six, only to have to tell Dennis off as he had single handedly unloaded the van without waiting for at least one of us to arrive. I went ballistic at him! Had he injured himself it would have been a health and safety nightmare!

We started building the stage between us, only to be followed shortly after by Jake; then pretty much immediataly after that Craig and Steve. We cracked on and built all the stage in under 40 minutes. We are really getting this polished now!

After finishing the build of the stage we had a through runs through the new Lady Antebellum cover. A fairly easy song for me but with some really weird off beat riffs which I’ll have to nail perfectly.

The club really started to fill up and we prepared for our first set at 8:30 (Hatfield is traditionally a three set venue).

I was in my green/navy checked suit for this one. The trousers are still feeling rather snug on the waist but my weight loss continues. Putting on 3kg at Christmas was a bad move!

The first set was played superbly! All the band locked in tight and we were edgy as hell. I feel somewhat sad that our old agent never actually gave us the support or gigs we needed as we are now a modern tight good looking and good sounding band – and we never fail to get the dance floor moving.

After what seemed like all too brief a half hour slot, finishing one song earlier than planned, we left the stage for just 30 minutes to refresh our drinks. I stayed suited – hardly seemed worthwhile changing – and then went and changed for the second set at 9:30.

Craig and I went for the Wiggles look for the second set. Him in red, me in pale blue.

Again, an incredibly powerful and we’ll played set and again cut short (the compere actually tried to cut us off just after Proud Mary but Craig had already started playing I found love).

The third set at 10:45 was played in front of probably 80% of the original crowd. That is another thing I notice these days – our crowd retention is very good. In the days before Belinda we’d lose about half the crowd after the last bingo game. Not any more.

The third set started with Justin Timberlake and took us through to Red Light, with the usual encores of I’m Alive and Sex on Fire.

By the time we had finished and loaded out it was about quarter past 12 and I was in bed before 1.

Amusingly, the new lights were criticised by someone. Because they “didn’t do enough”. It amused me, because the guy didn’t realise that we now have full scene control and we use them more as a band should, rather than previously when they used to run sound to light and we looked like a discotheque!

I have to say though, the UV wash we use to fill the stage pre gig looks really effective!