Banish Bank-Holiday Blues

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a bank holiday weekend? Well, okay, I suppose if you’re one of the unlucky ones who have to go to work then fair enough, but in general we love a bank holiday weekend. Some of us *cough* me *cough* love it even more when they have additional holiday booked alongside it. Another five-day weekend, anyone?

So, the question is, what do you do with a five-day weekend, especially when you’ve already had three days off the previous week? Well, you spend all your money and then threaten to actually do some exercise, essentially. Which is exactly what I did.

Sunday essentially involved me doing some last-minute laptop shopping amongst watching football matches and tidying up (how does a tidy room get so messy so quickly?!) and recovering from a fairly brutal (by my standards) early morning (by your standards) workout. Backed by a Dan Carlin Hardcore History podcast on post-reformation anarchy in Munster I laid out my exercise mat (which has already slightly come apart at the seams which I’m fuming about) and prepared for some abdominal hell.

My housemate gave me one of his old tablets when I first moved in which was particularly handy as I pretty much had nothing, although I was yet to figure out what I could really do with a Motorola Xoom 2 (other than admire the pretty cool background image). Still, it was better than nothing and occasionally I still find ways to incorporate it into my life.


So, let’s delve down into the crunching workout (all puns intended):

Workout #1 – 3 sets
30s crunches / 60s rest
30s lying leg raises / 60s rest
30s heel touches / 60s rest
30s toe touch crunches / 60s rest
30s seated knee tucks / 60s rest
30s plank / 60s rest

Sometimes, if I was a bit bored, I’d throw in 30seconds of star jumps in between sets to keep my heart rate up. Then, not satisfied with how much I’d done, I immediately topped it off with the following custom-built workout:

Workout #2 – 2 sets
30s heel touches / 45s rest
30s toe touch crunches / 45s rest
30s flutter kicks / 45s rest
30s abdominal hip thrusts / 45s rest
30s plank / 45s rest

Now, ordinarily, the dull, boring, quit-while-I’m-ahead version of me would likely call that a day and say, “great job, buddy (I hate that word), you did well” but it’s high-time I started forcefully pushing myself and sweating like I meant it. So, I endeavoured to find more to do. After all, this Hardcore History podcast is four hours long, I’ve got plenty of time to kill.

Unfortunately, I cannot get the latest version of Pinterest on my tablet as the tablet is so outdated (November 2011 anyone?) but luckily, I have an app on here called Pocket Workouts which has a whole ton of those Pinterest-esque workout posts you see everywhere which is essentially all I’m after at this stage. I wanted some fat-burning cardio exercises at this point as I wanted to really get my abs working. I also wanted something that required me to be on my feet, not on the floor as I was getting sweaty and didn’t want to have to wipe the mat down yet.

cardio-lightWorkout #3 – Cardio Light – 1 set

Well, I must say that I did not take any enjoyment from this one at all. I know that not all workouts are meant to be enjoyable but I just wasn’t really getting anything from this one at all. It felt bland, I didn’t feel like anything was being worked, I didn’t struggle with it… it was just lacklustre.

This must be a beginner’s workout because the March Steps were entirely pointless and the whole thing just felt really baby-ish and minimal which probably explains why they make you do so many sets. I imagine it probably would be beneficial to some but not for me I’m afraid. Just the one set before I had to find something more challenging.

Workout #4 – Infinity – ??? sets

This looked promising at first glance, mostly because it didn’t involve me getting on the floor. I decided to ensure that rest between exercises was restricted to no more than a measly ten seconds to really test my mettle. That didn’t stop me from making stuff up as I went along though:

1) Jumping Jacks – aka Star Jumps; these are straightforward enough and a lot of fun to do. A very good way of getting the bloody pumping early doors.

2) Toe Tap Hops; I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to tap one toe, bounce a bit, then tap the other etc. or if I was supposed to be going hell for leather and tapping on every jump – less visually appealing than one of your drunk uncles at your third-cousin’s wedding. I decided to play it safe, by doing both.

infinity3) Side Jacks; This feels more like a stretch as much as anything but if you do it quickly and smoothly enough then it does get a little bit tiresome. I imagine it’s supposed to stretch your [muscle] as well as work your obliques a little. Who knows?

4) Jumps; I definitely substituted these for tuck jumps as, you know, ceilings etc. I feel like I was probably doing just as much work by tucking myself as I did it. I also refused to rest after each jump, instead preferring to bounce on the spot before launching into the next one. Sure, the technique may get a little sloppy but that’ll get better over time and I feel I’m working harder this way.

5) Twist Jacks; I’m not entirely convinced I performed these correctly. They felt more like lunge jumps in the end but whatever, I’m sure it had the same desired effect.

6) Side-to-side jumps; Now these are really interesting. I’m automatically a big fan of these because they’re sufficiently challenging and look cool when you master it. I never realised just how much balance is required to get the landing spot on and I will definitely be doing more of these in the future.

Not gonna lie here, I have absolutely no idea how many sets I did. I think it was either two or three. Maybe even five, who knows? This is why I should really write things doing before I forget. In total though, I think I worked out for around 1hr 08mins and I’d like to say I kept the intensity reasonably high throughout. I’m not quite at that stage where I’m ready to push for 90-120minute high intensity workouts but that is, and will always remain the long-term goal. It’s important to take small steps first – the avalanche never starts big, it simply grows and manifests over the course of time.

Monday, particularly the afternoon, was by far more relaxing and a picture perfect day; a lovely way to round off the bank holiday weekend. My housemate and I headed on down to Beachlands Par 3 golf course on Hayling Island and enjoyed a very competitive game of Bingo Bango Bongo. I was also keen to denote my stroke play score as I knew I had a PB in me and sure enough I finished on +12 which is 39. I had a lovely chip in from off the green on the 8th to save par too. I could’ve played better though but as my housemate keeps telling me “you keep setting your expectations too high.”

I still don’t think this is a bad thing.




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