17 November 2009

Back to School!

So little time to blog, so I'm concentrating on my main blog at the moment. Please check out:
Back to School!
about my course and exams.

21 October 2009

NCEF Course in Exercise and Health Fitness

I haven't posted a lot lately, not because I have nothing to say but because I've been so busy. And the way it looks, I'm going to be a lot busier in the near future.
Started the NCEF course in the university of Limerick, Ireland, last Monday. If I complete the course and pass all my exams, I'll be a qualified Gym and Fitness Instructor in about 6 months from now. But there's a lot of work ahead of me:
I go to the uni on 3 days a week and have a mixture of theory and practical lessons. There's a lot to learn in both categories, but I'm enjoying it immensely.
I'm by far the oldest of the group which consists mainly of young men in their late teens or early twenties and we have about a quarter of young women which is fairly low. There are a few slightly older men, but like I said, I'm by far the oldest in the class. I won't let that discourage me though as I think that I'm well able to do everything that is required to pass the exams, provided that I put in enough work.
My first exams are in the middle of November, so I'd better get studying.
I'll keep you informed of my progress.

Sweaty Betty

06 October 2009

How about Clean and Simple Nutrition?

I came across this article on a a sports site I'm subscribed to and thought it was very interesting and well worth a read if you're interested in healthy eating and natural foods.
Please check out Joe Kita's articles on his

"Clean and Simple Diet Experiment" based on foods with 5 or less ingredients
which I borrowed from www.coreperformance.com.

03 October 2009

Slight setback

The reason I haven't been posting to this blog for a few weeks is that I've had a slight setback:
I've had a pain in my right shoulder for several weeks and am receiving acupuncture treatment for it. So I've changed my training routine for the time being in order to give my shoulder muscles/tendons a chance to heal.
I've been doing circuit training once a week (but will now have to cut out the weights from that), I've been doing cardio work on the treadmill and been concentrating on my leg and abdominal mucles.
In addition, I'm intending to go swimming once a week or so.
My course as a Gym and Fitness Instructor is starting in 2 weeks time and I want to be as fit as possible by that time. Hopefully, my shoulder will be ok again by then.
Doing this course is a big step for me and I'm terribly disappointed that I incurred this injury without having any clear idea as to how it happened.

LinkShare Referral Program UK

13 September 2009

Working on getting fit

After I got the confirmation that I've been accepted to the Gym, Health and Fitness Instructor course, I've doubled my efforts in terms of getting fit. Weightlifting (machines and free weights) is my favourite discipline, but the course will cover many other exercises as well. Even if I don't want to be an aerobics teacher, I still have to do aerobics as part of the course and know what is involved and how to do the moves. So I went to a Taebo class last Wednesday which was very exhausting, but I enjoyed it. The class is run by an incredibly fit bodybuilder who pushes the participants to their limits.
Friday I did a regular gym session and over the weekend, I've been hiking (see my post in my This 'n' That Blog). As it happens, I climbed the same mountain twice this weekend as the weather has been so beautiful. This time I followed the longest route which is 5.5km and goes up to the top of Mullaghmore and then down and around it. Great exercise and stunning scenery.
My legs are very tired now as I've been walking on very rough terrain. My knees have never been the best since I was in my early twenties, so I have to mind them, but they put up great with these 2 long walks this weekend.
I was actually more exhausted after getting back yesterday. Hopefully this means that my knees are getting used to more strenuous exercise again.
If you've checked out and liked my post in the other blog, here are a few more pictures of my walk around Mullaghmore in the Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland.

10 September 2009

My new Venture

I'm starting an exciting new venture in October:
I've been accepted to the Gym Instructor and Health and Fitness Course at the University of Limerick. I'm thrilled! This means a lot to me and I hope I'm up for it. Talked to various people who believe that I can do it and conferred with one of the course tutors who gave me some helpful hints.
So hopefully I'll be able to understand all the theory and do all the practical exercises in the course which will run for 6 months on a full time basis (3 full days a week plus work in a gym/leisure centre as part of the course).
I reckon I'll probably be the oldest participant, but apparently there are several middle-aged people in the course which is comforting.
And from what the tutor told me, there have been older participants in the past who have passed the examinations.
I hope you will all wish me luck with this new venture.
If I succeed, I may find some work in a gym and I would be qualified to work as a personal trainer. The latter would be of particular interest to me as I see so many middle-aged people in the gym who don't appear to be doing the right kind of exercises for what they want to achieve. Others probably turn up a few times and then stay away unless they can relate to someone in the gym who is willing and able to help them with their goals.
Anyway, that's what I'd be interested in, but for starters, I have to do the course and pass. I will keep you updated about my progress.

Sweaty Betty

09 September 2009

Internet connection still up the creek

Unfortunately, my internet connection is still up the creek and I haven't been able to get online at all since last night. Will they ever fix this?
I'm really stressed out and I'm sitting here in my vehicle in town with my netbook on my lap dealing with my emails. Needless to say, I'm not in the right frame of mind to post to my blogs.
More to follow as soon as I can access my internet from home again.

03 September 2009

The "posh" Gym

I've been away for a few days, just needed a short break as we were unable to go on holidays this year.
So we went to Northern Ireland for a bit of retail therapy (many things are cheaper in NI than in the Republic of Ireland) and a break.
For the last day and a bit, we've been staying in a hotel in Belfast. Part of the great deal we got via the internet was that guests can visit one of the "Members Only" gyms in the vicinity. I won't mention the establishment, but it's a well-known UK leisure club.
So I went to this leisure centre this morning, produced my hotel room card and was shown around by a member of staff. Wow! Star treatment for a non-paying visitor!
Afterwards, I went to the gym. I'd never seen a gym this size. For some of you out there, this gym would be the norm, but for me it was awesome! About 10 times or so the size of my local gym and maybe 120 machines plus free weights and a corner for boxing. That was just the gym. In addition, they had tennis courts, indoors and outdoors, and 2 swimming pools, one indoors and one outdoors.
I didn't know which way to turn when I entered the gym. So much choice! So I worked my way around. Warmed up on the treadmill, then went to the free weights section and afterwards to the various machines for weight training.
Boy, they had some machines I'd never seen before and I had no idea how to use them.
Fortunately, they had several instructors on duty who were more than willing to help.
So I used a few of these new machines.
After maybe an hour or so in the gym, I went for a swim outside. Weather wasn't great, cool and showery. After no summer for the third year running, we've gone straight into autumn/fall, but the sun was out for a little while today and the pool was heated. So that was great!
But then it happened: as soon as I had showered, my shoulders started hurting. Well, maybe my right shoulder was hurting a bit before I went to the gym (slap on the wrist, shouldn't have gone!), but now it was hurting a lot.
But as it was only 12pm, we went into Belfast city centre shortly afterwards.
The pain didn't improve. No, I don't think that there's anything wrong with me as such, but the machines I wasn't used to could've aggravated the pain in my shoulders. I've realised that as you get older, it takes a lot longer to recuperate from strenuous physical exercise and for whatever reason, my shoulders decided to pay me back for the punishment I inflicted on them in the gym this morning.
Yes, I really don't enjoy that side of being middle-aged, but I don't think I have a choice in this matter.
With a bit of luck, I'll be better in the morning.

Foot Action (Footlocker)

30 August 2009

Weightlifting Pics

I was hoping that I'd have some pictures from the gym by now of me lifting weights on the bench press, but for one reason or another this still hasn't happened.
Well, I've got a couple, but they're not very good pics and don't show the "full lift" (I think I was just hooking the bar up again on this picture - the person taking the photo missed the lift :()
This is me lifting 50kg last week:

27 August 2009

The Age-Defying Diet

I haven't talked very much about diet yet on this blog, but I came across a good article on Core Performance, an American Sports/Fitness/Nutrition site.
I've borrowed this article from their site:

The Age-Defying Diet

image via flickr

I now have enough evidence to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that my mother was trying to kill me. She kept a can of grease under the kitchen sink that she repeatedly recycled for frying things—like her potato pancakes, pork-kraut roll and even mince bologna. For breakfast when I was in grade school, she’d warm a tray of pecan twirls and instant black coffee, then puzzle over why I got D's in conduct. Any meat, like steak or chicken, was always boiled first (“to get the scum off”) and then cooked. It wasn’t until I was well past puberty that I realized a good steak was dark and juicy rather than the color and texture of rhino hide.

I weighed 200 pounds when I left home at age 21, and my cholesterol and sugar were already high. Fortunately, a succession of jobs in the health-and-fitness field educated me about proper eating, and I slowly changed my diet. Now on the brink of turning 50, I weigh 175 pounds and have no significant health problems. In her defense, mom didn’t know what she was doing nutritionally and, when it comes right down to it, neither do most people. So I won’t prosecute.

But I often wonder if I’d be in even better shape if I hadn’t eaten so poorly for almost half my life. What if there was an Age-Defying Diet just like there is an RDA for nutrients that could keep us forever fit, slim, strong and energized Well, with the help of Jose Antonio, Ph.D., CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, we’ve created one for you—an eating plan that strives to deliver all those benefits and can adapt to any lifestyle. Here are the components:

1. Eliminate (or significantly limit) processed foods.

“This is 90 percent of the battle,” says Antonio. “If it doesn’t occur in nature, then try to avoid it.” The closer a food or drink is to its natural state, the more beneficial nutrients and fewer artificial ingredients it contains. It’s like premium rather than regular fuel for your body. (Click here to watch a video of resident nutritionist Amanda Carlson explaining this concept more.)

2. Maintain a 40/30/30 diet.

This means 40 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrate, 30 percent from protein, and the remainder from fat. There’s no need to count calories and start a spreadsheet, though. “Eating shouldn’t be about mathematics,” says Antonio. Just ballpark it.

3. Eat fish at least three times per week (and lean meat the rest).

“Fish is the most important food,” says Antonio. It not only supplies protein and healthful fat, but it also contains heart-protecting nutrients such as omega-3s. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, cod and mackerel are best. To prevent developing fins or bankrupting yourself at the sushi bar, eat lean chicken or beef the remainder of the week. Antonio points out that people who replace a percentage of their carbs with an equivalent amount of protein or healthy fat (while keeping total calories the same) automatically lose body fat and either gain or maintain lean muscle mass. “So weight and body composition isn’t a calorie issue, it’s a food-choice issue,” he explains.

4. Eat more nuts, avocados and eggs.

All these foods were once considered bad for us, but we now know they contain beneficial fats and, in the case of eggs, additional protein and essential nutrients. (Eggs won’t raise cholesterol either.) For more, check out this primer on healthy fats.

5. Make colorful fruits and vegetables your major source of carbs.

This means eliminating or reducing processed breads, pastas, rice, cereals and snacks such as cookies and crackers. The more colorful the fruits and veggies, the better they are for you. Eat plenty daily. Bonus: You’ll be able to quit lugging around a water bottle because you’ll be naturally well hydrated.

6. Organic is nice but not necessary.

Antonio points out that there is no scientific evidence that organic food is any more healthful than non-organic. However, here’s the trick: If you eat more organic fruits and veggies because you think they taste better or your conscience is clearer, then by all means pay the premium to build better eating habits.

7. Eat three meals per day and two snacks.

Notice that we didn’t say “graze your way through the day” or “eat five meals daily.” That intimidates people. Most of us don’t have time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, let alone brunch and linner. So take the pressure off yourself. Eat as you’re accustomed to, and then just add a healthful mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. It’ll keep the edge off your appetite and steady your hormone levels so you’ll be less likely to give into cravings or overeat at mealtimes.

8. Take a daily multivitamin and 2 grams of creatine.

The former is insurance for those days when we’re too busy to eat right. The low-dose creatine, which is available in capsule form, has been shown to not only help maintain lean body mass but also boost brain function. Check out our complete guide to creatine to learn more.

And that’s it. Notice there isn’t anything wacky here—nothing worthy of a new diet book or a Kirstie Alley commercial. It’s just a solid eating plan that anyone, regardless of age, can maintain for life. And that’s the key: Diets fail because they aren’t sustainable. This one is.

About The Author

Joe Kita – Joe Kita is a noted writer, editor, motivational speaker and teacher. He authors the blog "One Small Change" for CorePerformance.com.

25 August 2009

So delighted, I'm not the only one!!!

Went to the gym early this morning. I was still a bit sore from my hard training session yesterday, but I needed to kill half hour before going to work and after dropping my daughter into town, so what better way to do this than to go to the gym?
Decided not to do any weights this morning. Just wanted to walk on the treadmill for a bit. As I'm walking, I can see in the mirror that someone is using the bench press. On closer inspection, I notice that it's a middle aged woman.
So when I finish what I'm doing on the treadmill, I just have to go over and talk to her. I find out that she's of a similar age to myself and is training on several mornings a week. The reason I hadn't encountered her before was that she always goes to the gym first thing in the morning, while I'm usually there around lunchtime.
So we chat and talk about training and weight lifting and I find out that she really enjoys the bench press too.
I was delighted as I'd thought that I was the only woman in our local gym who actually enjoyed using the bench press. I should've really taken her phone number and arranged a training session with her. But maybe I'll run into her sometime as Ennis isn't a very big place.
A good start to the day :)

eSportsonline - 20% Off Plus Free Shipping with Flyer Code 6A

24 August 2009

Today I did 60kg (132.28 pounds)!

Yes, I did.
Well, my trainer had his hands underneath the bar for safety, so I was a bit suspicious and I thought maybe he's helping me here.
But I know that I pushed the bar (and weights) up by myself for the important bit of the lift.
Don't ask me how I'm feeling this evening as I'm really sore! But I don't think the soreness is down to the bench press, more to the sit-ups I was doing with the medicine ball.
This is the third week running that my trainer made me do a lot of sit-ups with the medicine ball, but not just straight forward ones. I have to hand him the ball to the right, to the left, behind my head etc, so I'm stretching and moving in all directions.
My body is certainly telling me to take it easy for a couple of days. This was a hard training session today.
But I really don't want to discourage anybody out there. I'm a bit sore and tired, but I also feel absolutely fantastic and alive! Even 9 hours after the session. I recommend it!
I will hopefully have a couple of pictures soon. The leisure centre wanted to take pictures of myself and the winner of the men's bench press competition, but somehow they were unable to organise this. So my trainer wants to get some pictures of myself using the bench press. Hopefully, this will happen this week. If so, I'll put them in this blog.

18 August 2009

Lifted 55kg on the bench press today

I couldn't believe it myself, but I managed to lift 55kg on the bench press today. My trainer seemed to think that I could do it, although I wasn't sure at all and didn't feel very strong today.
But I did it :)
It's hard to explain and some of you may think I'm a bit mad. Other will hopefully understand why I'm doing this:
This is not about winning a competition, this is about me. I'm 54 years old now and could be a grandmother. (Hopefully though, my daughter has other plans for her immediate future.) However, I don't feel like 54 at all and am in better physical shape than I have been in years. This combined with the fact that I've finally managed to lose some weight has given me great encouragement.
I think what this is about is pushing myself to my limits and to find out what I can (still) do. Having a competitive nature obviously helps, but like I said before, I'm not competing against anybody here as there won't be another bench press competition in the local gym for another year, I reckon. I'm competing against myself and girls (and guys), let me tell you: it feels great! I'm not trying to do myself an injury either, that's why I'm relying on my personal trainer's expertise. He will push me hard, but he's safety conscious and will make sure that I don't injure myself. Saying that, I'm really quite sore this evening from my training session today. I didn't only push weights on the bench press, I did various other sets with weights and a lot of sit-ups with the medicine ball.
Doesn't sound like a lot of fun? Mmh, try it! You may be out of breath and exhausted, but you will feel absolutely fantastic after a demanding session like this. And if you're aching in the evening and during the night - well, it only shows you that you've had a good work-out.
What's your opinion?

Advertisement: Combat the Fat and build muscle Click Here!

16 August 2009

How can Weight Lifting help with Weight Loss?

I've borrowed an excerpt of an article by Janet Smith on peertrainer.com to illustrate the correlation between weight training and weight loss:

Weight Lifting and Weight Loss

"Women will lose more weight, be stronger and help prevent osteoporosis if they lift weights and lift more weight than they think they can or should."

Will you lose weight by weight lifting? The answer is not a simple yes or no. The correlation between weight lifting and weight loss may seem counterintuitive: lifting weights makes your muscles larger, which translates into bulk. The relationship between weight lifting and weight loss is more complex and requires an understanding of the conversion of fat cells.

FACT - Muscles require energy for activity. If there's no food to burn, the body turns to the fat cells for energy. Fat cell reduction happens when the body takes the fat stored inside the cells and converts it to glucose to provide the body energy.

This process occurs twenty-four hours a day. When there is little activity, such as sleeping, the energy requirements are less, but it is still required. The key factor to weight loss is where the fuel for energy comes from. Does it come from the food you eat or your fat cells?

FACT- The body must convert fat stored in the fat cells to energy in order for weight loss to occur. How does weight lifting impact this process? When you're lifting weights, your body requires extra energy to complete the activity. While this is a benefit, it's only a small portion of the total effect of weight training on weight loss.

FACT- Increasing muscle mass increases the body's energy needs. If caloric intake does not increase, the body will turn to the fat cells for the energy. Using the stored fat for energy will result in a reduction of the amount stored in your body. Muscle is active tissue while fat is mainly storage tissue. For simple maintenance, muscles require much more energy than fat, which is why weight training can play a tremedous role in your weight loss efforts.

Increasing muscle mass requires more energy, even for maintenance. Add the increased activity of weight lifting and your body is naturally burning more calories than if there is no weight training involved provided there isn't an increase the number of calories you eat per day.

Weight training will help weight loss. The most effective formula for weight loss includes aerobic exercise, healthy diet, and weight training. Combining these three areas into a weight loss plan gives you the optimum benefits of each.

Advertisement: Find out about Turbulence Training to aid weight loss Click Here!

13 August 2009

Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great

I just wanted to tell you about Stuart McRobert's book Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great.
I bought this book several months ago after doing a lot of research on the net, and I believe this book is one of the best on the market for safe weight training. As a matter of fact, safety is one of his major issues and he never stops stressing the importance of it.
This book is the "definitive guide for men and women of all ages. And it's for you if you're a beginner or even if you have years of training experience. Follow it's proven instructions, transform your body, improve your health."
The book has 640 pages and a lot of photos showing training techniques.
Stuart McRobert has over 30 years of training experience and published over 400 articles as well as 4 other books on weight training.
You can order this book from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk and if you order it via one of my links below, I will benefit too as one of Amazon's associates. Many thanks :)

Link for Amazon.com Link for Amazon.co.uk

12 August 2009

Lean, sexy and hard

I listened to one of the national Irish radio stations yesterday where they interviewed a body builder. I have to admit, I couldn't follow the interview properly as I was working at the same time and my client was talking to me. I think listeners were encouraged to text in their questions.
So this 40 year old women asked what she should do in the gym in order to lose weight. The reply she got (not from the male body builder but from a woman associated with him) was that she should train with light weights...The old fallacy again! I was disgusted.
This evening, I came across another great article on women and weights, but this article by John Berardi goes into more detail to explain the science of muscle building in women. It's also geared a bit more towards women looking for that "perfect" physique. Don't be put off by the female body builders pictured at the top of the article though. This is not what I'm advocating and I'm certainly opposed to steroids and illegal drug taking.
Lean, sexy and hard. Weight Training for Women
Check out this interesting article though! I myself don't do all the exercises John is talking about as my knees are not in tip top condition, but I'm doing as much as I can. The use of heavy weights (heavy for me) has certainly made a difference to my physique over the last 7 months and has greatly helped me to lose weight.

10 August 2009

Myths of Women's Weight Training

It appears that there are loads of myths and old wives tales circulating with regard to women lifting weights. Check out this great article by Hugo Rivera:

Myths of Women's Weight Training and Female Bodybuilding

The sense of achievement is fantastic when you see your strength increase. And physically, you feel great after weight training (the endorphins kicking in may also help with this).

Sweaty Betty

09 August 2009

Why do I train with weights?

I've always been a fairly active person. As a kid, a teenager and a young adult, I used to swim, walk and cycle a lot. I don't think I saw the inside of a gym until I was in my early thirties, but I immediately took to multi-gyms, pec machine, rowing machine etc. Throughout my thirties, I had spells of going to the gym and I walked and cycled a bit. I also did karate training in London for about 1 1/2 years when I was in my late thirties (I still regret that I gave this up as it's a fantastic sport!).
In my forties, I didn't do a lot: some hiking, some walking, some gym, but little swimming or cycling as there aren't enough places to safely pursue those sports in the West of Ireland.
When I was about 49 years old, I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid gland and put on medication. An underactive thyroid slows down your metabolism and you start gaining weight. Well, I didn't know that at the time as most doctors tell you that as long as you take the medication, you won't be gaining weight or will be able to lose it again in no time.
For most people, however, this is not the case. So I kept on gaining weight, maybe 20 or 25kg in 3 or 4 years. I became very frustrated and unhappy about my appearance. I walked, I used the rowing machine in the gym, I swam once a week, all to no avail until I stumbled upon Mary Shomon on the internet in the autumn of last year. I was so impressed with what I read, that I ordered 2 of her books to find out more about thyroid disease and what I could do to feel better and maybe lose weight. Weight training is an integral part of the exercise you ought to to when you suffer from hypothyroidism in order to lose weight.
Learning from Mary Shomon has changed my life.
Not only did I start going to the gym again on a regular basis in January this year, I also started training with a personal trainer (see my post on my trainer Chach) once a week. In addition, I've changed my diet.
The progress has been slow, but that's what you have to expect when you suffer from hypothyroidism. But eventually, the weight started shifting. What you need to take into consideration as well is the fact that muscle weighs more than fat, so while you may actually lose fat when you start weight training, you may not notice this on the scales immediately.
So far, I've lost over 6kg (over 13 1/2 pounds) without starving myself and without giving up some of the good things I like. More about my diet in a later post.
6kg may not sound like a lot to a "normal" person, but to someone with an underactive thyroid, it's like a miracle.

This Search Box is for Amazon.com as opposed to Amazon.co.uk

Why you should lift Weights if you're a Woman

I've borrow this article courtesy of Elizabeth Quinn, About.com:

Lift Weights – Why You Should Life Weights if You’re a Woman
Why Women Do Need a Strength Training Routine
Updated: December 08, 2008
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board

Please click on this link to read the article:

Please check out my Venus with Weights Amazon.co.uk Store.
I will open an Amazon.com Store in the near future.

08 August 2009

The benefits of Weightlifting with intensity

Check out this video, courtesy of http://www.5min.com. Steve Turano talks about the benefits of women lifting weights:

Hi, nice to see you and welcome to Venus with Weights!

As you can see, this is a brand-new blog. The reason for this blog is that I think the topic of Women and Weight Training/Weightlifting deserves a blog of its own.
I have recently taken part in a weightlifting competition in my local gym in Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland and written about the preparation for the competition, my trainer and the competition itself in my This 'n' That Blog. Now don't get apprehensive! It was only a small competition with 5 women taking part (and about 25 men on the men's side). At 53 years of age (54 this coming week), I was by far the oldest participant but the only one who had trained on the bench press. So I won the women's bench press competition without any difficulty.
The buzz and satisfaction I got out of this is hard to put in words. I was delighted! As many of you know, getting older isn't always easy and we often wish that we were feeling better or were younger looking and we miss our younger years. However, I'm a great believer in the saying
"You're as young as you feel!" Haven't we all met people in their twenties who were already old and inflexible in their minds or people in their eighties who were so young in their minds and led an active life?
What I'm trying to say is that you're never too old for anything if you really want to do it unless a diagnosed physical disability actually prevents you from doing such a thing.
I will collate a lot of information on the benefits of weightlifting and weight training in this blog alongside my own personal experiences and stories.
I hope you will enjoy this blog!