No Blog tonight…

Good evening people of the world. There shall be no blog until Tuesday evening because I have been in the Lakes this weekend. Needless to say the plan went out the window for three days…when in Rome and all that jazz! I shall continue on Tuesday!

Keep it safe and keep it real!


90 Day Challenge – Week 6 “The Dirty Cheater”

Well, as you can see by the title this week…I was a dirty little cheater. It’s good to air this stuff and get it off your chest! To cut a long story short, I cheated on Valentines day with the love of my life so who really cares eh? I felt bad for Jenny. She shouldn’t have to get punished for my plan so we had pizza for dinner and a film night with a couple of drinks (and I had some chocolate, a cup of tea, a biscuit and some fudge, if you’re going to cheat, do it properly!). This was the only time I have cheated so, now you know, and I am not living a lie anymore haha!  I shall continue with the blog for the rest of the days!

Monday was not a good day in my opinion. The flare up was getting progressively worse. I had been feeling pretty tired all day and with leg day on the Saturday and football on the Friday, the last thing I wanted to be doing was sprints! Luckily, due to the way I have structured my four training days, it meant that I got another day of rest on the Tuesday. The sprints were fine, just moderate pain in my left shin but I could cope with the 14 sprints. I have started increasing the speed again, now hitting 20kPH. Biceps and Triceps GVT was on the cards, and I’ll level with you…its amazing! I love the pump! My arms look decent for about 30 minutes after! Mix that look with the steam room and you get a lot of satisfaction from your “looking like a dickhead” moments!

Tuesday, the rest day and the dirty cheater day. It was Valentines day and I felt that I had to give Jenny a night off from listening to my boring stories of sport and food. To be fair though, I think Jenny did alright out of Valentines day this year, well I hope she enjoyed it! She awoke to a bunch of roses, chocolates, a nice card and an expensive bottle of wine…can’t be too bad! And I broke my plan…true love! You don’t need to hear anymore about Valentines day…

Wednesday morning was horrendous. My body full on rejected the food I had the night before. I felt hungover! I had two little cider stubbies and a lot of pizza. I felt sluggish, my stomach felt bloated and I didn’t feel like I had slept! Top tip people…cheating isn’t as good as you think! The training session followed suit from my food hangover and was terrible. I completed the whole lot (sprints with chest and back GVT) but the enjoyment wasn’t there! I felt like I was going to be sick the whole time and the pain throughout my abdomen was horrific. At one point I felt like my condition was really kicking in. I had to compose myself and get back to it. In all honesty, this plan has made me feel more like me and more productive in general but I very much doubt that I will revert back to the old me after that feeling on Wednesday!

Thursday; tired, demotivated, pain. That’s the day in general. My stomach is constantly bloated and my intestines are making lots of noises with toilet breaks are becoming more frequent. The blood is back along with mucus. Sorry you don’t want to know that but I have to be honest so now you know, I don’t have to mention it again! The training is doable but it becomes a lot more difficult to get to the gym. When I finish work I have to keep moving and get straight back out otherwise I will fall asleep. It is horrendous.

The whole day on Friday I felt tired and didn’t want to do anything. The pain was getting much worse, in fact, it got to a point where I nearly bailed out of football. I think that would of been wise actually, considering my legs were hanging and I passed out when I got home and didn’t wake up until the dog came in from his creche! Generally the disease is kicking in to a point where its getting difficult to motivate myself to get in the gym or do anything productive. The other problem is how busy the gym appears to have gotten recently. Its not easy to get in and use the machines I need.

The blog is short this week, probably because I felt the need to air my guilt. The biggest problem at the moment is the tiredness. I am still moving in the right direction. The bloating is terrible, the toilet breaks are an annoyance and I know which way this is going…its only going to get worse. I am on week 6 going in to week 7 so I am half way through! I hope I can finish it…scratch that, I will finish it, even if I can’t do all the physical activity but something major would have to stop me!

Have a good week team!


90 Day Challenge – Week 5 – The Rocky Road

In summary, this week has been an interesting experience following the plan; its involved new work outs that basically burn in to your muscles for days after but I have started to see the hard work I have been putting in. I have got a new flavour of protein shake which is absolutely amazing! Its Rocky Road which is kind of the theme for this week as you will be aware by the end! It was a good week for the plan! I finally got a chance to put some different combinations together both at the gym and in the kitchen!

On Sunday, I dreaded starting a new cycle. It meant that the routine that I had gotten used to was changing and the prepping for the next weeks meals was going to take longer. I stupidly looked at the new choices and thought that making a full weeks worth of food was a good idea. It wasn’t. I spent the whole day cooking vegetables that tasted awful all week. This was a lesson for the following week as I could make easy meals that would tick all the boxes and they wouldn’t take too long. Another thing to note is the quantity of food that is required on a training day…Its immense! I actually struggle to eat the quantity required. An additional item that’s required on every meal is 130g of green vegetables, which doesn’t sound much but add that to the 135g(ish) of vegetables already on your plate, plus 2 chicken breasts and a load of sweet potato wedges…it makes for a lot of food! Training days consisted of three meals of this size with two snacks whilst the non-training days consisted of the low calorie food I was having in the first cycle except with lots of extra vegetables to fill me up. It is not a good time to be buying vegetables of this amount, especially when there are limits in Morrisons’ to how much you can buy now buy!

Monday gym session saw me doing arms. As explained the week before, the work outs are a mix of GVT (German Volume Training) and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). This can be an issue at the gym, especially my gym. The main equipment for getting your heart rate up is on the ground floor whilst the weights are upstairs. On the Monday I really wasn’t sure how to go about it so I decided on doing 30 seconds of high intensity circuits with a 30 second rest. The circuits consisted of press ups (regretted this thoroughly), squat thrusts, star jumps, tuck jumps and a few more. I did the HIIT for 8 sets and then had a 2 minute rest before 10 sets of 10 reps of bicep curls at 9kG per arm with only a 30 second rest between sets. This is one hell of a burn. The weight doesn’t sound too much and normally it wouldn’t be, but lighter weights and more reps really burns deep! Another 2 minute rest followed by another HIIT circuit. The HIIT circuit was beginning to wind me up because you look like a tit in front of people who only want to lift weights, and to be fair, a 90Kg bloke bouncing all over the place is pretty distracting to those guys. After another 2 minute rest it was time for 10 sets of 10 reps of tricep cables. This was well painful! The benefit of doing weights like this is that when you go for your ‘looking like a dickhead’ moment in the changing rooms, you start looking slightly better with muscles bulging!

Tuesday, a rest day! Say whattttt…? I was on dog duty, but on this plan, you can have a day off as long as you get all four training days in and don’t train more than 2 days in a row! So, yeah…

Wednesday was time to get my act together with the HIIT. I decided to get upstairs and shotgun a bench and the weights that I would need and then I went back down stairs and went for a heart pumping treadmill HIIT! You probably have a good idea how it works now, I basically do 8 sprints and then head upstairs, then return downstairs and conduct another 8 sprints and then back upstairs for the final weights circuit. The sprints were conducted at 19kPH which really got my heart rate up and fired me up for the first weights circuit which was on chest; one of my favourites dumbell press. I started with 10Kg but moved down after the 6th set of really struggling! A cheeky HIIT sprint and then back to the weights section for bent over rows with 10Kg! I was literally hanging out my arse when I had finished! The sprints make it really good and I really enjoyed the burn and sweat!

Thursday, back to it again, this time shoulders! I won’t bore you with repetitive statements about the sprints and the weight combinations but it felt good! The mix of sprints and weights really gives a good work out! As many of you who know me will be aware, I have some funky shoulders, double jointed badboys that have always hindered my lifting ability for over-hand pull ups but aided my escape from the police by getting out of handcuffs! But my shoulders were responding well if not very sore! The muscle felt solid which meant feeding them my beloved protein shake and looking like a dickhead in the mirror is getting slightly easier!

Friday was supposed to be a rest day but I was naughty, I played football! I should of had a rest day to be fair because my legs felt really sore afterwards which I knew wouldn’t bode well for the legs session planned in for the Saturday!

Saturdays legs were feeling surprisingly good! I decided to row for the HIIT circuit to try and preserve my legs for the leg extensions circuits and the weighted squats. The leg extensions weren’t too bad but the squats with 10Kg were horrendous, my the 7th set I was struggling to keep form! I managed it but my God I was in pain! Legs are going to be the hardest to do I think, which should be the best for fat burn, especially when you’ve got a fat ass like me!

I am nearly half way through the plan now! I can’t believe I have achieved this much so far! I am fitting in to my old stuff really easily and I’m intrigued to see what the next 7 weeks has in store for me! I will be 100% honest with you guys…I could murder a kebab and a pint pretty much all the time! I am also having to turn down lots of fun things because I know that weakness will ensue! If anyone is thinking of getting involved, discipline is the only way you can do this!

Now for the information on why I have been doing this plan and the new worry which has surfaced this week. I have been getting lots of really sharp pains throughout my abdomen which is normally caused by ulceration in my large intestine which has been affecting my sleep quite badly. On Friday it got so bad that I nearly posted a message on here to say that I was discontinuing the blog until I was feeling OK again. I didn’t, I powered through but I am now starting to struggle with fatigue which is a common feature of bleeding internally and I fall asleep every time I stop moving…not good! I will keep going and this ‘flare’ won’t stop me from achieving my goals!

Sorry for the limited information this week, I think it could be an interesting read next Sunday if the end of this week is anything to go by!

Have a good week viewers and please keep reading and sharing!




90 Day Challenge Week 4…Completed!!!

…From now on, due to high comments about the length of these posts, I shall pretty much summarise the weeks; shorter blogs from now on.

This week was a busy one, it started on the Sunday with a nice drive up to the Lake District after a day of preparing food (See the featured image)! Two days away means that you have to prep properly, no half measures, all your sports kit needs to be ready, all your supplements need to be ready and of course, all your meals have to be ready! “So, hello Cumbria! Fancy seeing me looking like a dickhead you lucky people!”

Monday was a strange day really, I didn’t sleep much in the hotel and I was in a strange environment. I had the usual “Low carb” breakfast…homemade Granola with berries and greek yoghurt but for lunch, the place where we were conducting factory acceptance tests brought out a massive lunch…pizzas, sandwiches, crisps, Dr.Pepper and the list goes on. I sat there again watching everyone tucking in to the food whilst I ate my tuna salad. I go on about this so much because if you are reading this blog, this is one thing you don’t really expect to hit you. Its almost like an addiction, you see it, you want it! A part of you thinks you’ve missed out. Its rubbish; a real mental fight breaks out every time. The company policy at night is a £25.00 allowance for food, I couldn’t use it obviously which is quite a sombre experience. The ‘phys’ had to be done though and the hotel I requested had a gym…all be it not a very good one! The treadmill HIIT really pissed me off. Every time you jumped off for your 30 second rest; after 18 seconds the machine switched off saying “no user detected”. I battled with the settings for a while but in the end I realised that I’d have to take a few steps to trick it! Really annoying when you’re hanging out!

Tuesday morning I woke up early as usual and carried out my HIIT circuit in my hotel room. No excuses! I did an expert 25 minute HIIT with 25 different exercises to work the full body, I loved it! Someone who didn’t love it was my boss in the room next door! I woke him at 6 am doing tuck-jumps and full sprints in the room. I found this really funny as he kept me awake until 12ish by watching TV and chatting to his wife…the walls were really thin! “Swings and roundabouts boss”. Tuesday was spent doing the same as the day before but because I was heading back to the homeland I made sure that I had a spare dinner in case I got stuck in traffic…we didn’t and I’m glad because the food looked a bit ropey after a couple of days!

Wednesday, back to the gym and it was Sergio Ramos’d. Luckily I got a treadmill but I’m sure it was broke, I sounded like an elephant on the machine, it was banging like mad on every footstep. It was distracting but I smashed out 19kPH for the full 20 minutes and that felt good! On every rest I found myself apologising to all the other users but they didn’t mind. One bloke even commented an asked what I was doing, I told him and his response was “That’s one for the young lads” and started laughing! I’m concerned now though, my shins are getting sore. I don’t want to say the dreaded shin-splints but I’m going to have to move on to other equipment to get my heart rate up and ease off the impact.

Thursday Morning, early riser and smashing a low impact HIIT which comprised of squats, lunges and strange walking press-ups with the odd plank and mountain climber. It was a beasting on my already sore legs. The concern is that my legs are starting to become a weak point and so I may have to continue with just the full body HIITs and lay off the sprints…we’ll see! Next week will be better because of the new routine!

Its Friday! Football is back on the cards at DW and that has cheered my day right up. I’m sure I’ve got a bit of dog in me, 5-a-side is amazing for a work out and you don’t even realise that you’ve done that much running. Following a ball around like a dog is brilliant, but I noticed that my fitness levels have gone through the roof! I felt fine running from box to box for the full hour, not tiring at all really! Footy is basically grid sprints with a ball chucked in! I also got the winner at the end even though I had a pretty shocking game, first game back after a full month out and I couldn’t string a pass together or keep on my feet. Awful for me, awful for the guy I kept taking out all night…oops.

So, this part of the blog is reminiscent of a Jerry Springer moment… if you have been reading these posts since I started you will be aware that I started this plan based on the weight I was given at the consultants when I had my last appointment on the 23rd December. The weight given to me was 104.8Kg. It was the kick up the arse that I needed to do this plan and it was enforced by the consultant who was telling me that the disease could get worse if I didn’t get a handle on it. Harsh words were said, potential surgery, increased bowel cancer risks, osteoporosis etc etc scaremongering with a terrifying fact of reality, so here I am, about to start cycle 2 for the next 4 weeks and i’m at 90kg! Quite incredible really! I have lost 15kg.

I said that I wouldn’t weigh myself but that’s where my weak point has been. I haven’t cheated on this plan at all, no sneaky treats, no milk, no tea, no alcohol, no chocolate and my wife will vouch…trust me, she has eaten all the chocolate available! This has stopped me! Marital team work! I can’t say that I have seen the difference yet, but I am wearing clothes that I haven’t been able to wear…ever. I bought them, they never fitted but I knew some day I would get myself in shape…that someday started 4 weeks ago today and I’m feeling positive and proud that I am going in to cycle two thinner and more determined than ever…

Cycle two, I will be combining HIIT training with German Volume Training. The training will involve doing 6 HIIT exercises for 45 seconds with a 30 second rest followed by weights training which will focus on four muscle group options. The weights will be 10 sets of 10 reps at speed with a maximum rest of 30 seconds between sets. The plan gives you four options and you are only allowed to do one option in any one week but you must complete all four options in the week to ensure a full muscular work out is achieved. It even takes in to account legs so no danger of a chicken wandering around!

Food in cycle two is a little more important, it isn’t about shifting fat at this point, its about shaping your body. On training days you must eat 3 carb meals and 2 snacks and on rest days it is back to the low carb meals. The carbs meals appear to be massive! I have been shrinking my stomach for the last month and now the plan expects me to smash in the scran…this could be interesting!

I will leave you with those thoughts for this week! If you want to give me any more ideas on how to improve my blog, or if you want me to concentrate on specific parts of the plan don’t hesitate to contact me. I like answering questions about it and I hope I can educate you further on Inflammatory Bowel Disease!

The support from you guys has been really incredible so thank you for all your words of support!

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90 Day Challenge…Week 3 complete…Torture Techniques!

So, week 3…I’m glad to see the back of you! It was by far the worst week I have had on this plan! I was demotivated and grumpy all week and generally struggled to keep myself on track. I didn’t break the cycle, I kept going but it took all my strength to not say “Screw this! I’m going to the takeaway and binning off the gym tonight”. I’m glad that I’m writing this blog to show my success!

As you will all be aware by now about how this cycle works…eat low carbohydrate meals twice a day, go and do some High Intensity Interval Training and eat one carbohydrate meal. It becomes a boring and repetitive routine of eating the same things day in day out. It gets boring, this exercise however, doesn’t!

The exercises that I have been doing are; evening treadmill sprints and rowing circuits on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings whilst doing online HIIT circuits on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Saturdays and Sundays are my days off training but I still have to eat low carbohydrate meals (no fun meals) for every meal on a weekend…contrary to what one of my colleagues seems to think, there is no day off! This blog should set the record straight…discipline is getting up every morning and defeating the challenges the world throws at you whilst maintaining a strong mindset to go again tomorrow and the next day!

So, why was week 3 so bad? Firstly, Sleep deprivation. It is common knowledge that sleep deprivation is a torture technique and my god it works. It sends you nuts and one bad night takes a week to sort out! This started on the Sunday night for me, I couldn’t get to sleep and when I did, I woke every 2 hours or so. This is not good when the plan is to work all day and train at night! I got to the gym and I was actively looking for excuses not to perform…I think we’ve all been there; I didn’t have any energy and when someone spoke to me at the gym, I continued talking in the hope that the exercise and blow out would disappear, it doesn’t. I did my treadmill HIIT and was absolutely hanging! I felt awful…I felt good that it was done but my mind set fast-forwarded to the thought of the Tuesday morning, this made me feel really down…to top it off…after walking round the changing room looking like a dickhead I thought that the steam room would perk me back up…the steam room had been on previous to my arrival and had gone cold and wouldn’t warm up properly again. This, in a tired, grumpy persons mind was the end of the world and it mean’t that the drive back home was full of swearing at everyone on the road. Monday was the worst day for me on this cycle…I couldn’t concentrate properly, I was in a bad mood…

Tuesday Morning, time to put yesterdays bad mood to one side, park it and move forward. I got up and was met by my cheerful dog at 5:20am…odd because he is the laziest dog normally, who I have to drag out of bed to go to his doggy daycare! As I bent over to give him a morning cuddle, the back of my legs felt ridiculously tight! I remembered at that moment that in my bad mood the night before, I hadn’t stretched off properly and this morning was going to be painful! I did an intermediate HIIT circuit in order to prevent injury with a decent warm up, but the first exercise was high knees…a wonder on your ass and abs but when you’re stiff, its painful! I spent the cool down using a foam roller in the hope that it would ease out the stressed legs and it did to an extent. I’m quite lucky in my job at the moment that when I have sore legs, I can get up and move around. Most of the people I need to liaise with on a daily basis are located within a 5 minute walk which is really handy to keep myself limber! The worst part of my Tuesday was a meeting held over lunch time. The chair of the meeting had ordered lunch in and by 12pm I was starving! I literally had to sit there and watch everyone else stuff their faces with lots of nice looking food; spring rolls, sandwiches, crisps, chocolate brownies etc etc, it was torture! I went and grabbed myself a nice bottle of cold water and sipped it whilst they ate, dreaming of my beef and sausage low carb casserole upstairs! The meeting went on until 1:30 and by the time I got to my food I was literally starving! When I got home, I was shattered and a bit defeatist, all I wanted to do was chill out and eat pizza…I didn’t, I ate my turkey stuffed peppers and fantasised about my honey and camomile tea before bed. Its odd, when you’re on a diet you actively look forward to sleep because you don’t think about food for a whole 8 hours, but when you get up that’s all you think about for the rest of the day! Week 3 is going to be known as “The shit week” from now on.

Wednesday, I slept really well, I didn’t have circuits in the morning so I got a lie in…06:20am! A whole hour, whoop! Wednesday is half past week and therefore morale gets a boost. Always has, Wednesday to me is almost as good as Friday because you can almost see the light of the weekend…its still a long way to go, but its  a relief to get there! Wednesday evenings circuit hurt, that’s all I can really say about it. My shins were starting to hurt from all the sprints and this got me thinking that I could be getting shin splints…not what I need in the first cycle especially since the next cycle will more than certainly be asking for a lot more from me! The first 8 minutes of sprints was agony, I felt like my legs may go at any point…pain and weakness. I was always told in the Navy that pain was weakness leaving the body…I disagree, pain comes in different forms, whether that is a broken bone or muscles burning…its your body’s protection from your brain pushing through. It is true that your brain deceives you to protect your body, but it is also true that your brain is wrong sometimes. Its the mental attitude that gets people to climb the tallest mountain in the world or an explorer to push themselves to the north or south pole. My brain is fat, that is a fact! It tells me stupid things like “Why are you doing this to yourself when you could just be relaxing at home” and “You’re getting on now, there’s no need to go through all this”. My attitude is different…I have come to the conclusion that I am a bit of a psychopath. I can tell myself things when I’m on my last legs to push that bit harder. It gets so bad at times that I personally offend myself…”Come on you fat f*ck, you started smoking thinking you were big and clever, you drank your twenties away and ate stupid things, this is what you deserve” and “You’re useless, you’re not worthy of achieving your goals, you’re too weak”. All these abusive conscience outbursts make me work harder, they allow me to zone in on the moment…almost like mindfulness but a negative version in order for me to prove myself wrong! Wednesday was an evening filled with abuse at myself…I need to contain it once I stop the exercise, I need to get a handle on it because for the rest of the evening, I genuinely think that I am a disgusting human being and as such stayed in the zone all evening and was very distant from Jenny, and for that I am sorry to her. Its amazing the power of the mind…use it positively and train it for strength.

Thursday…Now this is the first time I have been away for a day on this plan. Network Rail had a ‘Safe Start’ day in Leamington Spa where you go and participate in safety seminars and pick up free stuff. It was a good day with lots of information gained for work, however, it mean’t that I had to get up at 4am because I knew I would be shattered at night and may be too tempted to skip the exercise…not on my watch! Now, 5am circuits are bad enough but 4am circuits are the definition of commitment! I decided to do a low impact HIIT circuit because of my shins and knees the night before. It was awful, it was basically squats and lunges for 20 minutes! My arse was ridiculously tight all day and my legs resembled a 70 year old with chronic arthritis! I was picked up at 6am by one of my colleagues and was in Leamington Spa for about 7:20…the hosts had put on a breakfast. This is amazing, one thing though, I couldn’t have anything. I was smelling bacon and sausage cobs and I wasn’t allowed one…sleep deprivation is one torture technique, smelling bacon and sausage cobs is definitely on par! Lunch was also provided but I had planned ahead. I took myself the homemade Granola and fruit that I had made the week before which just about sufficed but everyone else was eating chicken roast dinners…this is where most of the pain is now coming from; a feeling of being left out and not enjoying the small things, but if I look and feel better, this could be the new me? Not sure if I believe in that completely but I survived the day! I got home at around 6pm and what was I welcomed home to? Jenny with fish and chips…gutted, they smelt so good! Bless her, she apologised and thought that I wouldn’t be in till later and was trying to sneak food in. Luckily for me (I suppose) her car was having a melt down and the cooling fan relay was stuck which drained the battery, I spent the next hour (Starving again I might add) removing the relay, jump starting the car and driving it round to get some juice in to her battery again! I had been so good with prep for the week but for some reason I hadn’t calculated the amount of low carb meals and so spent another hour cooking myself something to eat. There is a recipe known as “Lean muscle mince”, which is a god send, its basically turkey mince, peppers, red thai curry paste and cajun spice which you eat with steamed vegetables, avocado and sour cream…its good and filling…its a life saver!

Thankfully its Friday people, one more physical session and two days of recovery! Can’t wait…just work to get through! I had moved offices this week and apparently the new office has ‘#FishAndChipFridays’…what the hell! Temptation everywhere again whilst I sit there eating the same thing as always. It’s getting slightly easier but its still horrendous. If you remember the Cathedral City advert about cheese on toast…you see it, you want it; this is exactly what its like! I didn’t get home until late after a long discussion with someone on the phone and time was dragging on…Derby were playing Leicester and I wanted to watch that with my Dad…it was becoming too easy for me to not want to do exercise. I decided that it would take too long to go to the gym so I decided to do a circuit in the garage! I smashed it, I felt so good after one, I decided to do another…it was the weekend after this so I had plenty of time to recover. I did both within 40 minutes, had a shower and a turkey burger with sweet potato wedges! Absolutely delicious! I went to my Dads to watch the game with a water…not quite the normal way of watching the football! This plan works because if you are short on time, you can smash the circuit and shower within 45 minutes…ideal for people with a hectic lifestyle!

The weekend, some nice lie ins, dog walks and chilled evenings…this is what I am all about.

Next weeks blog will be interesting I hope… Week 4 and the end of Cycle One! I am going away for two nights in the Lake District with work…£25 evening meal allowance, free breakfasts…lets see how I get on!

Featured Image – My Jack at 4am

Thanks for reading…next update 5th February!

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90 Day Challenge – Week 2 smashed! Derby, not NYC!

Well, its Sunday which means its time for my blog of events for the past week!

First of all, thank you to everyone for sharing, commenting and sending me messages about the plan. It has been really encouraging to hear of everyone’s support, especially since I was expecting a torrent of abuse!

A couple of questions which came in this week were about my ‘Disease’ or Inflammatory Bowel Disease as its commonly known and what have I actually given up? I shall start by answering these…

Firstly, I have been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis which is a form of Crohns Disease which people are more familiar. Please don’t confuse it with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), they are different conditions which affect people differently. I am on medication for the rest of my life, although my symptoms at present are well managed. The purpose of this blog is to hopefully give an insight in to some of the issues that people face with IBD. I have placed a link at the bottom of the page for anyone who wants to know more…

IBD is beginning to get more media attention due to the amount of people being affected by it. The statistics from NHS England state that 1 in 250 people in the UK suffer from the condition which is quite high but no one talks about it. The disease itself is awful when you get ‘flare ups’. It is painful, tiring and embarrassing. I have joined the Crohns and Colitis UK charity who issue people with the condition a card to allow them to use the loo and give you a radar key that allows you to access disabled toilets in case of emergency. Recently, it was documented in the news about a young lad who was suffering from a flare up and trying to go to the toilet in McDonald’s on a night out when a bouncer threw him out in agony, he produced his card but no one knows much about the condition. The problems associated with the condition are long but one key issue that I have dealt with is the fact that I don’t look poorly. I look like a normal 30 year old that goes to the gym, goes for a drink with the lads and generally I am seen as healthy. A common misconception is that to be considered disabled, you have to have a visible ailment. Supermarkets such as Asda and Morrison’s have begun putting new signs on disabled toilets for this reason.

So, what have I given up? Well technically I’m not giving up anything other than the fags but at the moment but I am inputting specific foods in to my body so I can detect what was causing me flare ups. I am also making sure that I drink 5 litres of water everyday. The list below shows what I have not eaten so far during this plan:

Bread, Milk, Sugar, Alcohol, excess hot drinks, cheese, crisps, any sugary drinks inc squash, pasta, bacon, fried foods, cigarettes, chocolate; generally all processed foods.

The plan consists of 3 cycles and cycle one is the toughest by far as its designed to help you lose weight and get rid of excess fat (Ideal for after the Christmas break).

So for week 2…

A week full of energy, less hunger and smashing the gym. Week 2 has been thoroughly enjoyable as my life hasn’t been wasted by waiting for food or fantasising about foods I can’t eat. The sugar cravings have really shut down and my body is starting to use the excess fat to fuel my body. I have really seen a difference…even Jenny noticed! When she asked if I had shaved my beard, it turned out that I had shaved my chin! no more two chins!

Day one, Monday; I never claim to be a good morning person, but you can go to hell if you think I’m getting up at 5 am on a Monday! Its difficult enough doing it on a Tuesday and Thursday but on a Monday, you must be mad…its a recipe for failure and puts you on a bad footing for the rest of the week. Just be honest with yourself and go to the gym at night. The Monday night work out is fantastic! I know you’ll think that I’m turning in to a gym buff saying that but its true. The plan says that you have 2 days off at the weekend and that’s exactly what I do. My body is absorbing all that healthy food over the two days but by Monday, I’m like a coiled spring! I want to blow out and I want to get rid of my excess energy, its wonderful! This Monday was a treadmill HIIT, 17.5kPH for 30 seconds and 30 seconds rest for 20 minutes continuously. I was literally breathing out my arse and sweating like a maniac…if you were to see me, I would of looked deranged! A quick ‘Looking like a dickhead moment’ being fat walking round the changing rooms thinking I’m big time with a protein shake in my hand with the obligatory look in the mirror to see if I could make out any changes in the belly…non to what I could see, just a sweaty fat man! Anyway, off to the steam room to reap my reward of hard work! Later that evening was a meal which I personally love…A Build up bagel! For those of you who follow my Instagram account, you will notice that I have put a few pics up so far…its quick, its simple and it tastes amazing! I would definitely recommend it to you! If you want the recipe, let me know!

A quick trick which I learnt this week was the morning cook up. Its a pain, so I made Granola, properly! I slaved last Sunday on my big meal prep and this was the best idea I have had. The only problem is the sugar alternative, which led me to a natural foods shop and accidentally ran me in to a head case! She had lots of ideas to scare me in to thinking I had lots wrong with me; turns out she had lots wrong with her…absolute nutter! Anyway, back to the Granola…73g of Granola, 55g of berries (forfeit my morning snack) and a tablespoon of fat free Greek yogurt…quick, easy and good for you…I’d recommend it to all of you, however, its not sweet and its quite dry but at the end of week two of cycle one I can safely say that food is something that is functional rather than enjoyable, it fills you up!

Tuesday Morning, a big full body work out in the garage at 5:30am! Its horrible, I won’t lie but its well worth it. A bit of ‘man up’ attitude is required! “If you can’t get up, that’s your own fault, you should of gone to bed earlier” is my mantra. I am disciplined, I did the best part of ten years being told when to get up so, just get on with it and start your day! The best part of the morning work out is the quietness of the house, the dog refuses to say hello, Jenny is still fast asleep and not nagging me and the world is full of people asleep. Its fantastic, the feeling of productiveness in the morning will put a spring in your step (maybe not so much at 4 pm when you finish work). I am loving it, I am feeling healthy, I am feeling like me! What makes a morning work out even better…another build up bagel…I couldn’t walk past the bagels without wanting one, and you know what, I deserved it! Fresh ground black coffee, bagel…I could of been in New York…I wasn’t, I was in Derby but I felt incredible and was ready to start my day!

Wednesday…energy levels are high, mood is high, productivity at work is up and I have just about finished my last Post Graduate Diploma assignment…just the dissertation for my Masters to get next and my whole life is definitely moving for the better! A downside…my colleague wore the same jumper as me…fuming! I am now texting him to see what he’s wearing each day…ridiculous! Anyway, Wednesday…Sorry I have been off piste but I am feeling good about it! Wednesday night is rowing HIIT! Very painful and I am really struggling to get my heart rate up no matter how hard I go! It doesn’t feel as fulfilling as the sprints but my arms are hanging out! I decided, again, that I had more to give and as such went on to the treadmill for 7 minutes and did 7 sprints to make sure I was suitably tired! I really was after that, after the 3rd sprint I was talking myself in to not doing another four but I carried on and actually, the mind over matter philosophy worked a treat! Just another trip to the changing rooms, where this time a couple of eighteen year old’s were talking about how they can eat and do what they want…ridiculous…when I was eighteen I could also eat what I wanted, now I just so much as look at a hamburger and I can feel it snuggling in to my love handles! Even more embarrassing is the fact that I had to have a ‘looking like a dickhead’ moment with them. They were looking at me as though I was a beached whale! “Fair call” I thought, but screw you, I’m going to look better at 31 than you! Its the small things that get you by…i’m going in the steam room because that’s what cool people do! King prawn green curry and rice for dinner…rice…a carbohydrate God when you have worked hard and so tasty! The only problem is there’s never enough!

Thursday morning, I slept in the spare bed (Not because I was in the shit… I’m always in the shit, it just depends on the severity) but because I wanted to make sure that I got my 8 hours before I got up, I was beginning to feel tired after the previous evenings work out. My bum was so tight I actually thought that I had pulled a muscle…a tip for all reading this, make sure you spend adequate time stretching the old bum, I had obviously paid lip service to it the previous night and this mornings ‘high knees’ warm up was killer! The work out was completed, but it was rather mundane in my opinion, but I got a good sweat up and my heart was pounding so I was proud, but I felt rather tired! Overnight oats with fruit and honey put my Mojo  back on point and I went to work with looser legs and more importantly a looser arse (even though its loose generally).

Weekend is here, I am feeling good, as good as everyone on a Friday…its casual Friday and I’m making an effort! No football tonight, a bit of a pig, would much rather be doing grid sprints chasing a ball than sprinting on a treadmill…but oh wait…I was naughty! I said that I wouldn’t weigh myself, I said that I would let the pictures do the talking, but I lied this week. The last time I stood on scales was at the Consultants at the Royal Derby having my check up before Christmas…Remember that, BEFORE Christmas, this means that you can add at least 2 kg on to this figure. The weight at the Consultants was 104.8kg, it astounded the nurse who said that I had put on some timber. Having just weighed myself I can confirm that I have lost 9 Kg! I’m impressed! I won’t do it again I promise…maybe. That gave me a massive boost and I went big on the treadmill HIIT! I ramped up the speed to 18.5 kph and did an extra five sprints. This plan is working and I’m ready for the weekend! No training until Monday, so I have time to refuel and reset after a brilliant week of not failing at this plan! A funny moment in the changing rooms…I went to shake up the protein…didn’t hold the lid down and sprayed that room full of chocolate protein! It looked like someone had a dirty protest everywhere! It took ages to clean it up! Nevermind, at least I did clean it up…for all you fellow choices gym-goers and readers.

I hope you are enjoying reading about my journey, please share it and help me raise more awareness about the condition and it may help others who are currently in the process of getting a diagnosis.

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The links below will answer any questions you may have about the condition and please show your support to the Crohns and Colitis UK charity…

90 Day Challenge – Week 1 Complete

Well, that was a shock to the system!

In summary, the first week consisted of starving, eating stuff I didn’t like, sweating like a pig, being grumpy and my first taste of talking to a maniac…however, I have noticed a change in my body! I’m still fat, however, I think this last week has really shocked my body into burning up all of my carb stores and now turning its focus on to my fat stores.

I have now discovered a food which aggravates my IBD, spinach! Popeye lies, it doesn’t make you powerful, it makes me poorly! The pain within 2 hours of eating it is similar to the pain you might feel whilst being stabbed in the abdomen by a commando dagger! Its bloody awful!

Starting on Monday, the prospect of having to do a plan was exciting and daunting; exciting because I got to eat lots of different varieties of food and train doing different things but daunting because I had started this blog and knew I couldn’t quit! The first meal was eggs spinach, feta and tomatoes, sounds nice doesn’t it? Well, I bought the wrong variety of spinach, I bought the tough big leaf variety which essentially ruined the whole meal! I was gagging trying to eat it but this is due to another reason…how much the plan tells you to take! I will follow this on later in the blog. The exercise on Monday night was interesting. I looked like a nutcase but to be fair, I didn’t care because I actually felt like I was beasting it! I did the treadmill HIIT. This is essentially setting the treadmill to a sprinting speed (17kPH), running flat out for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds this happened continuously for 20 minutes. It was horrendous by the 15th minute but once you had finished, it felt amazing. Then the not so amazing; I tend to go in the steam room after a gym session but the plan tells you to take protein within 3o minutes of exercise, including 1 vitamin C tablet and an omega 3 capsule. One word of advice…people who go in the changing rooms and starting mixing protein shakes together look like douchbags! I hate it, I would much rather go home and make one rather than strutting around the male changing rooms, shaking the protein up like some sort of hotshot…picture it, a fat person sweating profusely whilst shaking a protein shake…hardly a picture of health! Anyway, I went home after a cheeky steam room and ate a steak! Not a bad way to end the phys session, and a Monday!

…I have a confession, on Sunday night after I wrote my blog I decided to have a blow out…go big or go home principle! I had a chicken kebab and a pepperoni pizza. It was amazing…looking back now, it was the best meal I have ever had.

Tuesday, the first “Up and at ’em” morning exercise, one word ‘horrendous’! I was up at 5 and got the laptop on to do a full body work out. It was exciting to feel the benefits of a morning exercise, as that’s what all the gym bosuns seem to say, however, within 15 minutes of waking up, breathing heavily, sweating heavily I was struggling to see the enjoyment, especially considering the breakfast sounded OK but not very filling. The breakfast actually was a pleasant surprise! A build up bagel; beef, turkey, tomatoes and cottage cheese first thing is ace! However, it did not fill me up very much and by 10 I was fantasising about food and praying for my first snack. Then came the disappointing lunch…a tuna salad, which didn’t fill me up at all and left me starving again for the rest of the day! Tuesday in my memory was basically a starve day! It was painful, but at least I got an extra hour in bed on the Wednesday…small wins? Not sure!

Wednesday morning…massive bags under my eyes, felt weak, felt tired but strangely, not massively hungry. This I think is because I was lacking sugar, two days without any refined sugars starts to hit you like heroin addict. I was flagging big time, I was in a foul mood all day and was not looking forward to the training session planned in for later that day. The food started making me happy though. The Beef and Chicken sausage casserole is a life saver, tastes healthy, looks healthy, is healthy and fills you up. The HIIT session for the day was a rowing circuit; again, max out reps as fast as you can for 30 seconds and rest(ish) for 30 seconds. The rowing machine was rubbish, if you slowed down to take a drink, the display switched off and ruined your rhythm. I didn’t think it got my heart rate up enough so I jumped on to the treat mill for ten minutes and did my 30 on, 30 off for 10 minutes to make sure I was suitably puffing!

Thursday morning, and getting up was difficult but the exercise was enjoyable! Another full body HIIT circuit for 30 minutes and I was feeling good, especially since the night before had taken its toll on my muscles and they were aching. More exercise woke them up and stretched them back out. One thing I am learning to enjoy is the getting up early and being wide awake as my wife is dragging herself out of bed. It makes me feel productive, even though by the end of work I will feel 20 times worst than her! The food is edible but not that good; most of the time it feels more like a function to heal my body rather than something to sit and relish. This I hope I can sort next week!

Friday, I was hoping to be playing football however, Leigh text to say that Springwood Leisure has wrongly taken our spot! Fuming, this means that rather than enjoying a big football work out I will be hanging out at the gym again! This work out definitely gave me the blues and the one cheery factor was the build up bagel at the end of it! Jenny was being her usual supportive self by smashing in the chocolate in front of me, which to be honest is getting easier to go without, but its early days!

The weekend has been relaxing in terms of no exercise, just dog walking, but the food is very boring. Low calorie meals are missing something, its almost as though they don’t have a soul…its something that you can’t really explain, but they’re just not as good as a normal meal! I did however end up having a chicken and cashew nut curry for my sunday breakfast (laziness dictated this). It turns out that it is possible to be a slob even on a diet as Jenny observed!

Points that I have noticed this week;

*I am really forgetful, I got to the gym and realised I didn’t have my trainers (no excuses, I had to drive back home and get them) I also forgot my headphones, again, I had to drive home and get them…this I think was due to losing concentration all day. I have never done that amount of forgetful things before leaving the house.

*The amount things weigh is ridiculous; a 105g portion of spinach is absolutely massive and a 55g of berries is tiny! Basically the nicer the food, the lower the amount! Awful!

*HIIT circuits make you look like a tit in the gym.

*People love trying to make you fail or when you explain why you are doing this, people have the same symptoms as you and don’t see why I’m doing this…rule one, unless you actually have the same disease, you don’t understand why. Rule two, don’t sit there eating a massive bacon cob detailing what you could or could not live without, this is a challenge for me… not someone who is currently operating fully!

*11 more weeks of this sounds awful!

Hope you are enjoying this blog, apologies for the lacklustre blog this evening! Keep following…I promise it will get better!!!

Keep following: @jamesfletcher4 on instagram

90 Day Challenge…Lifestyle Change

Its Sunday evening, the 8th January 2017 and my new years resolutions are starting tomorrow, Monday. That’s the deal isn’t it, no one starts on a Thursday or a Tuesday, its always the start of the week. This years resolution is a lifestyle change.

For those of you who know me, you will be aware that I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) last year which has left me lacking in energy and self-confidence. The disease itself is not contagious and no one knows how we get it. The disease manifests itself by the victims immune system attacking healthy cells in the large intestine, this causes bleeding from ulceration’s.  In turn, the body loses blood causing extreme fatigue and potential anaemia, regular visits to the toilets and some serious pain, and when i say serious, it can be crippling. Secondary effects are the weight gain and losses that happen, big bags under the eyes, loss of motivation, moodiness, depression etc etc.

In short, leaving the Navy in April 2016 and going from a healthy young male that was fully able bodied and fit to someone who was now faced with a disability was very difficult for me. I tried to put a brave face on it, but I was struggling…mentally and physically. I started smoking again on holiday in Rhodes because it eased the stress for me, but deep down I felt like I had failed myself for smoking. On top of this I had always gone to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, played football and gone walking the dog for hours at a time but now I was struggling to get the motivation just walk my beloved dog. As 2016 dragged on (a crap year for all) I realised that I needed to start looking after myself better, but in true male fashion I decided that I would wait until the New Year to pull my finger out and start making changes.

The 90 day challenge, a Joe Wicks training schedule which enables you to Shift, Shape and Sustain has been popping up all over the place recently; whether its on TV, social media or in the book stores. I have decided (and on my consultants advice) that I would follow this plan to try and get healthy again, whilst also monitoring my diet in the form of a meal plan. The meal plan schedule is ideal because you make the meals from scratch and you can see everything that is going in to the food. A boon for someone with IBD who is trying to figure out if something sets off a flare!

The plan works in three cycles. Cycle One consists of fat burning, Cycle Two consists of Shaping the new body shape and Cycle Three teaches you how to sustain a healthy lifestyle. By the sounds of it, Cycle One will be the shock to the system. Sustenance will consist of eating 2 low carb meals a day and 1 carb meal a day, whilst also conducting 5 High Intensity Training (HIIT) work outs a week which last around 30 minutes each with a warm up and cool down. You are allowed two snacks a day which are detailed in the plan.

The first step was to order the supplements for repairing the body and rebuilding the body. The hammering a HIIT workout does to your body is astonishing, its the kind of workout that leaves you writhing in pain whilst throwing up! So I decided to invest in decent supplements to help me get through…as I haven’t yet started, I will let you know if I think they are worth the cost…but they are very costly! By the looks of it, I will be taking about 11 pills a day (A meal in itself), mainly omega 3 and BCAA!

Provided in the plan are recipes which must be used in conjunction with the exercise plan. The choices sound very nice and nutritious and the plan makes it sound as though I will be eating for Great Britain, but again, we’ll find out next Sunday how my first week has gone. The next step after deciding what you want to eat is to go shopping. A little tip, do your shopping at Aldi, it saves you a fortune! Once you have your food, you need to prepare the meals and your plan for exercise for the week, Joe calls this prepping like a boss, and I must admit, so far, this is what I have enjoyed! Sunday from now on is going to be a prepping day!

So, now you are introduced to what is probably going to bore you for the next 90 days, I am going to explain my current position on how its going to go…

I am terrified, I love a treat! Chocolate, kebabs, pizza, night out with the lads, cheeky glass of wine with the wife but this all has to stop (for the time being). I hope my willpower holds! I am concerned with the lack of sugar in the plan and the lack of milk but I am excited to see the changes that await. Tonight, I have to take a before photo as I’m not allowed to stand on scales during the process, pictures will show all they need to. I won’t post these until I’m further in to the plan.

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