Yesterday (Friday) saw me head off to my local uni (University of Bedfordshire) to have body composition testing done once again. A Bod Pod is basically a giant egg-like chamber, which you sit in wearing form fitting clothing (swimwear) and a swimming cap, and it uses air displacement to work out your body composition. You can find them at good sports science universities and some hospitals. My first Bod Pod test was back in April last year (2014) and I was excited to see what changes I've made since then.
Some people think I'm mad to want to know my exact body fat %, lean mass, BMI, BMR etc - but for me knowledge is power and I know that the number on the scales at home can be misleading. Your overall weight doesn't tell you how much fat you're carrying, and where, or how much muscle you're building - and we all know that muscle is heavier than fat - so scales although great for giving us a general idea of our health/fitness can't give us all the answers, where as Bod Pod body composition testing, can. There is only a 2% margin of error with the Bod Pod, so it's a hugely reliable piece of kit and my don't-bury-your-head-in-the-sand attitude to my health/weight/fitness means it can provide me with all the information I need to continue to improve my health for the better.
I had the testing done alongside my bestie Liz, who is also very health-conscious, and works out endlessly (she does Crossfit and lifts weights - she's a proper action girl) Liz's energy and her also fairly recently discovered love for exercise really helps to inspire me and push me forward, so she was the perfect choice in Bod Pod partner.
Liz loves to rib me a lot (lovingly) about being a blogger, and always stopping to take photos etc - so she took great pleasure in winding me up about taking a selfie in the testing room at the sports science lab. Lovely Tracie who did our testing was giggling at us, and we all chatted and swapped stories as the testing took place.
So, the results...what did the numbers say? Firstly, it was vital for me to understand where I had come from...18 months previously I had weighed in at 13 stone 9 lbs, had a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30.8 and body fat percentage of 42.6%, I had 36.1kg of fat within my body - which put me into the overweight/obese categories for everything.
I'm proud to report a very different set of findings yesterday...
Weight: 10 st 8 lbs
Body Fat Percentage: 25%
Fat Mass: 15.7kg
In 18 months I have lost 3 stone 1 lb, reduced my BMI by 6.8 points (from obese to normal), reduced my body fat percentage by a staggering 17.6%, and lost over 20kgs in fat mass!!
That's info that the scales will just never be able to tell you.
I am now in the healthy categories for everything - and I have to tell you that it feels amazing - I genuinely never thought I'd see the day - WOOP WOOP!
The testing left me feeling totally high, proud of how far I've come, and excited for the future. Ideally, as I've said before I'd like to reach the illusive 10 stone, and it would be amazing to reduce my body fat percentage a little further down to say 20-21%. I am hoping that by slowly upping the intensity of the exercise I get I will be able to build more muscle and burn that extra fat.
So, as it stands I have now lost 6 stone 8 lb in total since September 2013.
Still on a massive high from yesterday - today I woke up feeling energised and powerful. Hubby and I had decided mid-week that we would participate in Bedford 5k Parkrun again this weekend, as we had a nice quiet weekend planned and knew we could fit it in easily.
As a non-runner (I'd barely run to catch a bus before September this year) I am a little bit in awe of runners, especially having watched my husband Liam transform from literal couch-potato to marathon runner in less than a year. So, my recent decision to give running a go has been quite a revelation for me. Inspired 100% by Liam and my good friend Janet, who also runs frequently, I decided to give it a go last month and managed a 5k in just under 39 minutes while pushing Bert in the buggy. I was euphoric and so pleased to have completed it - I had managed to get round with a combination of running and power walking, and I was chuffed to bits. Ever pragmatic though, I had set myself the challenge to do it again this month without the buggy, and to attempt to run the whole thing. So, I went out and got myself some proper running gear and asked hubby (now running expert) lots of advice about what to eat/drink beforehand etc.
Before the run: decked out in my proper running gear!
I'm so pleased to be able to say that I totally achieved my target today and managed to run the whole thing without any stalling or power walking. Yay! I fuelled up properly on a delicious breakfast two hours before the run of sourdough toast with tahini (sweetened with honey) and a banana, I was raring to go and couldn't wait to get on that start line...
Running fuel: Sourdough toast with sweetened tahini and banana
Bedford Parkrun: On the start line & raring to go!
I genuinely thoroughly enjoyed today's run - it was liberating to run without the buggy (Liam ran with Bert today) and I found myself quickly getting into a good rhythm which I was able to keep up for the whole of the run. With music blasting in my ears, the beautiful park to admire on the way round and that smug feeling that only people running around a park first thing on a weekend can appreciate I worked my way round the 5k course, finishing in 36 minutes and 59 seconds!
My pace was fairly consistent across the 3 miles:
Mile 1: 11:46
Mile 2: 12:12
Mile 3: 11:58
And although I'm well aware I won't be breaking any land-speed records with those times, the fact that I did it without the need to walk has made me hugely proud. I CAN RUN. It's a big milestone for me and it is exciting to be building new challenges into my exercise routine. It is important for me to always have new achievements on the horizon.
I plan to take part in Parkrun once a month so as not to put too much strain on my three slipped discs - I know that running isn't a sensible exercise choice for me, and so will stick to my fast power walking long-term and keep the running to a once monthly occurrence. Perhaps one day, once I've had the back surgery I need, I'll be able to run on a weekly basis - who knows?
So - next month (early November) I hope to complete the Parkrun once again, and who knows, maybe I'll be able to shave a little bit off my time?
After burning 613 calories this morning with my 5k run & 1 hours walking (we walked 30 mins to the park, and back) I am enjoying guilt-free extra calories in the form of a delicious lunch treat...
Post run lunch: Sourdough toast with scrambled eggs/spinach and local Woburn bacon.
Quoting my good friend Janet (who inspires me all the time with her amazing abilities), being able to eat awesome food, guilt free is " #WhyIRun "
What a great hashtag!
Seriously, it's the best perk of regular exercise - eating the foods you love without the worry that you'll pack on the pounds in the process is awesome and worth every single minute of exercise if you pick your treat food wisely.
So, what a start to the weekend!
I'm off to complete my rather long work to do list now...
I hope you are all having #WonderfulWeekends too.
PS. If you're a fellow blogger don't forget to link up to our new #WonderfulWeekends linky this month. Come on over and share what wonderful things you're filling up your weekends with and spread some positivity!