April 1: No fool for food and HIIT

Hope you didn’t fall for any nasty April Fool’s Day jokes today! For me it’s been a day of research – not much silliness at all – inspired by Bec’s comment on March 30’s post.

She suggested watching a BBC documentary which aired in 2012 called ‘Eat, Fast and Live Longer’ by Dr Michael Mosley. Very, very interesting … Mosley, a regular on British television and one of the authors of the 5:2 website, talks about the benefits of fasting (but not prolonged fasting) to slow the aging process. This is all sparked by his desire to be fit in all its forms. “I want to be mentally active and I want to be physically active. I want to stay younger for longer,” he said. fitfor15in15 can relate to that!

There’s not much we can do about our genes, which play a big part in our longevity, he said, but most of us do have a say in what we eat. “It seems it’s not just about what eat, but how and when we eat it.” They use research results of Alzheimer’s disease in mice and discover that fasting stresses the brain like exercise stresses the muscles – in a very, very good way. The research shows hunger makes your brain sharper.

Mosley researches calorie restricted diets, which are high in plant-based nutrients but lower in protein, fasting options (86 hours in a row) with miniscule calorie intake per day during that time, alternate day fasting (ADF), and the 5:2 Diet.

Alternate Day Fasting, or ADF, is similar to the 5:2 Diet (which I mentioned before, that sees you fast for two non-consecutive days per week (500 calories for women, 600 for men) and eat normally for the other five) but you alternate every second day instead. They call it a fasting day then a feeding day.

Mosley decides at the end to try the 5:2 method for five weeks, and is very happy with the results. I wonder if he founded the website before or after the documentary? In any case, if you have an hour, click through and watch the documentary. As usual, I have no affiliation with any links on this site, I’m just putting it out there as “food for thought” ahahahahaha.

Here are some other articles from www.huffingtonpost.com about intermittent fasting and more from The Guardian, asking is it too good to be true? Here’s one from Men’s Health as well, about ignoring intermittent fasting.

What do you think? There’s so much contradicting information, it’s hard to know who to believe. I think the 5:2 Diet/Fast Diet, could be worth a try. Of course, like everything, it’s not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all plan for everyone (especially pregnant women and those already underweight). But it’s not as extreme as the other three Mosley researched, making it sound like it could be the option for me, for at least a month or two!

I think today could already be counted as a fasting day – I’ve only had homemade muesli (without the cranberries and currants but with added oats, goji berries, shredded coconut and cashews) with fresh blueberries and natural yoghurt. Might as well start now! Shame I have no idea how many calories are in that small bowl! That’s probably where the confusion will lie, and where I’ll have to start doing more research about what constitutes 500 calories. Ugh, I’ve never been a calorie counter, but here goes. All in the name of research!

Fuelled by my new plan, I tried out a new workout found on an Instagram site called fit.co. Unfortunately I can’t link to Instagram here (I need to learn how to code!). The workout had a girl on the beach doing five exercises, so I decided to do each exercise for a minute, with a 10-15 second ‘breather break’ in between, with three repetitions of the whole series, totally 15 minutes of actual HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercise.

The exercises were:

  1. starting in a lunge position, swing up the back leg (bent) and jump off the ground with the front leg too, arms strong, 30 seconds each side
  2. arms extended plank with alternate leg coming towards your elbow (she did a push up at the same time as bending her knees in – no way, not possible for me!)
  3. knees high running on the spot
  4. arms extended plank, dropping down to alternate elbows and then back to hands
  5. jump up, then do a controlled roll backwards on the floor so your feet touch the ground behind your head, then roll back up, planting your feet and jumping up

Needless to say, I had none of the style of the girl in the video! I had to modify a few things too.

  • Exercise 2: I did the first full minute pass with legs straight, on my toes, then on the final two passes, I had to drop to my knees for the final 15 seconds, because my arms were shaking so much
  • Exercise 3: My knees were not coming up to a flat position in line with my hips
  • Exercise 4: On every pass I dropped to my knees at the 15-20 second mark. My arms were shaking too much and my shoulders hurt
  • Exercise 5: I could not roll back up and stand up to jump in one flowing move. I had to push off the ground behind me, with my feet splayed to each side, not together like in the video. I have no idea how she did that. Another goal?

Right now, I’m kind of seeing stars and am very sweaty, but it feels like everything has been given a good workout. And all in 15-20 minutes.

That’s probably enough for today. Tomorrow I’m going to write a bit about mindfulness, spurred on by a comment from Judy on yesterday’s post.

Wishing you a wonderful day.


A surprise came in the post! Gabby, in Melbourne, sent a canister with peppermint tea and an insulated mug with bamboo strainer! Thank you Gab, I love it xx

March 21: Interesting stuff, food for thought, I wonder …

I don’t read any women’s or fitness magazines, but after searching for today’s 15 minute workout, I saw an article from Women’s Health Magazine which caught my eye. It endorses the benefits of an intense 15 minute workout four to six times a week.

The online course I’m currently studying states 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, five times a week (a total of 150 minutes) is enough to keep you fit. One of the lecturers says you could cut that time in half by doing intense workouts instead. So 15 minutes of intense exercise, such as running or HIIT training, for a total of 75 minutes a week would also work just as well.

Interesting stuff. Food for thought. I wonder … Could this fitfor15in15 plan to raise a daily sweat by exercising for a minimum of 15 minutes each day work just as well if it was for only 15 minutes a day? I’m not about to try this out, as I enjoy the longer walks and exercise videos, but if you were really, really, really strapped for time, could you achieve just as much if you went hard for 15 minutes every day as someone who went for a 30 minute walk each day?

Once again, interesting stuff. Food for thought. I wonder … if I only did 15 minutes per day, really going for it, like doing sprints and burpees, or one of the workouts from these two amazingly fit women at TwoBadBodies, for one month, would I feel the benefits just as much as I have over the past month? Would the time benefits be that noticeable? Maybe when I have a job, I can put this theory to the test, to see if I feel just as healthy and happy as I do now by varying the workout styles and durations in less time.

I’d always have to have variety. But if it could really all be done in 15 minutes … wow! Would people be more likely to do it regularly? Interesting … food … wonder …

Sooooo … back to the task at hand – finding a 15 minute workout, because my body’s tired from yesterday and it’s a horrible, grey, rainy day here today. Time to curl up on the couch with a bowl of Leo’s chili and watch a Scandinavian murder mystery.

Using the article from Women’s Health, I chose The Superfast Total-Body Workout, which focuses on four moves which hit all the key muscle groups in 15 minutes. Squats, chest press, bent-over row (all of those with hand weights) and bicycle. You do the four exercises in a row, then pause for a minute, then do two more run-throughs to make 15 minutes. I finished a bit faster, so did some more squats. I raised a slight sweat, but nothing too heavy. Maybe if my weights were heavier it would be a different story, but for now the 1kg pair are fantastic.

That Women’s Health Magazine link also has Belly-Blasting, Arm-Sculpting and Skinny Jeans Workouts too, if you fancy.

Wishing you a wonderful day.