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No Boundaries?



Limbering up for the Boundary Walk - kicking off my Commit to Get Fit regime.  But when oh when shall I eat my lunch?  Day One and I'm already obsessed with food consumption!

Life Sci ready to go.



So here we are again, the Life Sciences Commit to Get Fit team. Slightly bigger this year with 12 members and really excited to be participating in the 'commit to get fit' challenge again. Welcome to all the teams involved we're certainly looking forward to some healthy competition, but equally some collaboration and joining together on fun and new activities.

Last year our team mainly concentrated on personal goals which we are doing again this year (separate blog post to follow) but we thought it important to work towards a team goal too, we wanted to choose something achievable that everyone could take part in. In the end we have decided to do a mileage challenge. It appears great minds do think alike as I have noticed some of the other teams have opted for a simillar challenge too.

The details of our challenge are as follows: we aim to cover the as the crow flies distance (red line) from Brighton to Venice, which comes in at 684 miles. Why Venice you ask? Well why not? Initially we thought of a traditional mileage route such as Land's End to John O'Groats but in reality by the end of the month I think we would all prefer to be in Venice sipping something cool at the canal side. Throughout the challenge we will be keeping a count of the miles covered. One of the hopes of this is to show people that you really do cover more than you think and those small distances do add up. It helps that we have a few keen runners and cyclists on our team, but this is really a group effort. We are keeping track of distances in a number of ways; using pedometers, plotting on google maps and an app called 'map my run'

Brighton to Venice

pedometerThe challenge officially started today and the majority of our team joined the annual boundary walk. The turnout this year surpassed previous year's, I'm awful at estimating numbers but I would say there were over one hundred people there. We all had a wonderful walk around the campus with the sun shining.

boundary walk 1 boundary walk 2

The walk really does showcase that Sussex is smack bang in the middle of nature. The boundary walk is just one route around campus but there are many shorter walks you can do. One I recommend is over towards Stanmer, there's also a tea shop there, just saying...

So day one over and we are 20 miles in our team challenge, though that does take us into the English channel, good job i'm going swimming tonight!

With the best of intentions...



Mick from our team gives his personal take on the the CTGF challenge.

Ok…so I’m in the team but what, if anything will change…hopefully for me my waistline?

Since I turned 60 last October I have given up some precious habits.

Running for the bus does not have the same appeal it did 40 years ago whereas making 2 pints of rice pudding is well worth the two hour wait for it to cook, but will it last for four or five servings?

Remembering people’s names has become less significant as I now have a ready-made excuse to forget them!

Taking regular exercise also seems less of an essential part of my life, as the comfy sofa calls me rest.

If we are anything we are creatures of habit and somehow, within our day our routine gives us comfort and some security….so interrupting that routine can be painful.

Do I really wish to walk the boundary of the University, do I really want to be reminded how fast and agile I used to be at Badminton and how deftly I used to flick that return in Table Tennis?

If my wisdom can mitigate somehow for this lazy soul then maybe there is some purpose walking and wandering for an hour in the sunshine, being part of something, a purpose, a people..…ramble on!

Now some kind rep has just left me 25 doughnuts…I wonder if I can give them away to an opposing team?

More tortoise than hare, but definitely in the race!



I have to say, the first day of "Commit to get fit" didn't get off to a very auspicious start. It's not that I didn't remember it was Day 1 as soon as I peeled my eyes open, it was more to do with the realisation that the only thing I felt committed to at that point was my lovely soft, warm duvet. In fact, at 7am I felt more than ready to make a very meaningful, long term commitment to it.

But then I remembered how I'd badgered the rest of the Marketing Team - plus the lovely Marie from Estates - to not only join in the main challenge, but also the extra SRS/WP add on competition, so the least I could do was show up.  Besides, since I discovered that "middle-aged spread" is not merely something festering away at the back of the SRS fridge, I know I really have to get my act together again. So I got up.

Arriving at the office, the signs weren't great at first. From behind his door I could hear John wistfully recalling the many happy days he'd spent in the company of a cinnamon danish (the main thing he has vowed to refrain from for the whole of May). This was at about the same time as I was realising that no, I couldn't just pop out to the Dhaba cafe for a chocolate-covered flapjack, but would have to settle instead for the bruised-looking banana which had been sunbathing on my desk for the last few days.

Boy Nick was clearly determined to test the resolve of me, Girl Nik and Kelly by immediately cracking open a packet of crisps, then refusing to go and eat them furtively outside by the bins as requested. After a few seconds of his half-hearted, pathetic attempts to rustle and crunch more quietly, Kelly stormed over to his desk to declare that he was "made of MEAN bones!" And so another jolly day in the office began...

However, despite a bad start I am happy to report that in a very short time the "M&Ms" had grasped the nettle and were poised for glory. Boxes of excessively exuberant salad started appearing, the water cooler got very busy and the day's exercise regimes began.  Katy, Jakki, Fiona, John, Girl Nik, Kelly and me headed off for the Boundary Walk; Claire and Vicki went to Zumba; Marie and Boy Nick went to the gym and Lucy had a yoga lesson booked in after work.

It's early days yet but I think we can safely say: "M&Ms ARE GO!"

DARO commits to Commit to Get Fit - the official'ish blog



Our whole team have commited to the programme and even before it starts the well being levels have increased.  First, we've had the 're-tox before the de-tox' weekend, whole heartedly embraced by all.  Tomorrow our campaign starts in earnest for our very mixed group of individuals.  We have on our team someone who completed the Brighton marathon recently, some who regularly partake of the Sports facilities on campus, others who limp into the office after off-campus sports and a few who need to challenge their comfort zones and get their bodies moving in unfamiliar ways.


 DARO re-tox before the de-tox

DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Official'ish blog #3



Wow.  Mountain biking up over the Downs above campus today was amazing.  Eight of us went with Jenny from Sports as our cheerleader.  Six formed the scouting party that went on ahead and graciously waited at certain points for the two laggers whom Jenny was cheering on.  It was almost complete relief when Jenny got a puncture and had to change the inner tube as the laggers got to stand around looking helpful whilst gulping in fresh air.  

One of the advance party has only ever cycled on roads and he found the fast downhill pace over loose flint more scary than the Lewes Road.  The bikes provided by Sports are great quality with them being new aluminium, so, easy to push uphill with one hand on the bike and the other massaging the stitch.  The helmets are cool if you like to look like a chipmunk but ESSENTIAL when you consider the terrain.

DARO is looking at Sussex research and will be putting into practice the findings that will help with the Commit to Get Fit programme.  One of the research teams found that an effective way to deal with stress was reading which reduced levels by 68%.  Obviously reading the research helped there then.  The next most effective tool is to listen to music which can reduce stress levels by 61%, followed by having a cup of tea of coffee (54% reduction) and finally, a walk lessened stress by 42%.

Our SurveyMonkey results have shown what the most popular sports for DARO are and we're all booking ahead as soon as we can.

DARO is committed to Commit to Get Fit - the official'ish blog #2



The DARO team has three goals to complement its member's individual goals.  A 'naive art' poster on the kitchen wall lists them in highlighter pen:

  • NO more cake or biccies in the office
  • ADOPT N.E.A.T. - non exercise activity thermogenesis
  • ENJOY our team challenge

Amazingly, before the poster was put up, the least likely candidate in the office brought in a box of tangerines.  It looked as though he was walking in with a box of KFC in a carrier bag, so no shock there, but, when the office found out who had contributed the lovely fruit, shock ensued, no-one had ever seen him eat fruit and he wasn't going to partake of his own offering either.  Such a lovely gesture and gratefully devoured.

In a similar vein, it turns out that some plants adopt thermogenesis themselves, namely the Skunk Cabbage, Voodoo Lily and Corpse Flower, hmmm.

Team DARO, bar one member manning the phones, all enjoyed the Boundary Walk yesterday and were inspired to see the Good Ship Bramber, our home, sailing towards the sun and the sea through the Downs.

Diary of a caffeine addict - Day 1



8:30 – First cup of English Breakfast.  Smaller mug than usual.  Feeling virtuous

10:00 – Second cup of English Breakfast. Still in small mug. Smug mode engaged.

11:30 – Sudden panicked moment of realisation that we are doing the boundary walk at 12:00.  Must get last caffeine fix.  Decide on filter coffee and have it stronger than normal.  Surprisingly happy and bouncy on walk.

13:00ish – Asked Lisa while on the boundary walk if I can get a discount in my tea fund payments as fruit tea does not count as tea.  While Lisa is aware that fruit tea is the devils brew, my arguments fail.

14:45 – First decaffeinated brew of the day.  Choose Lemon and Ginger tea.

14:48 – It looks like someone has urinated in my mug.

14:59 – It tastes like someone has urinated in my mug.  They should probably see a doctor.

15:15 – Slight headache.  Can’t be dehydration as have drunk water and such today.  Possibly caffeine related.  Time to raid Soft Kitty box for paracetamol.

15:16 – The paracetamol in the soft kitty box contains caffeine.  *Expletive deleted*.

15:54 – Still headachey.  Starting to feel slightly tetchy.

16:10 – Have drunk a litre of water since 12:30 (not for ctgf, but to distract from lack of tea). There has been a need for many bathroom trips.

16:30 – Finished work for the day.  I feel sorry for anyone I meet on the drive home today.

Diary of a caffeine addict - Day 2



After an *interesting* drive home which included only minimal swearing.  I was able to sate my jitters with some decaffeinated filter coffee.  Alcohol may have also helped. 

This morning in full awareness that I NEEDED to get to work before 8:30 to get my first fix before the office opened, the traffic was a nightmare.  There would have been more cursing if I didn’t have my colleague Sue in the car.

8:30 – First cup of tea.  Oh English Breakfast, how I’ve missed you.  Served in usual bucket.

10:00 – Second bucket.  Trying not to change my tea drinking behaviour too much in the mornings in the fear that I may end up chain-drinking.  Ponders why no-one has invented the bottomless mug.  Get to it scientists!

11:45 – Final bucket of tea for the day. 

12:40 – Damn.  I timed it wrong.  I still have 20 minutes of possible brew drinking, but only if I am willing to deal with severe burns to the mouth.

13:00 – Switch to decaf filter type coffee.  I may well survive this day. 

14:00 – I’m worried about my pot plant.  I water it with the dregs of my tea everyday.  My pot plant is going to be going through detox with me and may not survive.  I should drink normal tea this afternoon as a selfless act to save my poor unwitting plant.  Amii believes my pot plant could probably do with a detox as well. 

14:39 – Starting to flag and there is only one decaf filter type coffee pot left in the kitchen.  Amii is also committed to the no caffeine after 13:00 jag and is also flagging.  This could end up with a fight to the death.

15:00 – Decide to save decaf coffee thing for tomorrow and take a new adventure into the world of fruit tea.  Today is Cranberry and Raspberry.

15:01 – Cranberry and Raspberry tea looks like Ribena.

15:20 – Not too bad, although as you need to leave the bag in to get any flavour, I worry I may accidentally inhale the teabag.

15:46 – No niggling headache today, although I seem to have hit a wall of exhaustion.

16:30 – Hometime now.  I think afternoon productivity may be suffering.

CTGF day 3 - Life without buttered crumpets



My 3 CTGF challenges are;

1. To cycle to work at least 3 times a week; I've managed this once due to childcare, but have cycled same distance on husbands turbo trainer (I'm married to a mamil), and am going to spinning class tonight and a have along ride planned for the weekend.

2. By the end of May to be able to mange at least 1 press up. Result so far; I have unwrapped the yoga mat I bought and had a pathetic failed attempt - much progess to be made here.

3. To curtail my diet of mainly wheat based products, toast, bread, biscuits, and buttered crumpets. I have started to keep a food diary to keep me on the straight and narrow with this and Day 3, so far so good.

I've been trying some alternatives to bread in porder to maintain my marnite intake with interesting results:

Rice cakes; Really? like eating a mouthful of dry dusty air...

Scanbran; Looks like something I'd put in the cardboard recycling, tastes worse than something I'd put in the recyling, no matter what you smear on it. 

Nutty seedy things; like eating the bottom of a bird cage - pass

So I'm giving Ryvita (other rye based crispbreads are available) a go and holding out hope for Oatcakes (I'm genetically Scottish, so this shoud be a dream come true when the Tesco man arrives later tonight), and hopefully I'll stop dreaming of buttered crumpets.........


Fruity Friday



Today is ‘Fruity Friday’ the premise is fairly simple and as you would imagine it to be: everyone brings in some fruit and we share it between ourselves. This week we are fairly thin on the ground due to people being off sick, on holiday and not available, but Alex and myself made an effort and next week we are hoping for a better turnout. I bought in half a pack of frozen forest fruit berries, these were initially purchased to accompany chocolate and make these But I don’t like to see good things go to waste so bought them in, I like to have them  with yoghurt as they can sometimes be a bit soggy (wow, they sound appealing) due to the fact that they have been defrosted. But they do make a satisfying mid-afternoon snack, a great way to fill that biscuit shaped hole in your rumbling belly.

fruity friday with text

Carla has promised to bring in some chaunsa mangos in the next few weeks, so the competition to see how exotic we can go has begun.

We’re starting our weekend healthily, but will see how it progresses it is a bank holiday after all….

Diary of a caffeine addict - Day 3



An evening with the decaf coffee has again put the jitters on hold.  This enabled me to play a PS3 game with only minimal shouting at the television.

8:30 – First cup (bucket) of tea.  I have to admit that I’m really looking forward to it.  I think I may be sleeping more deeply, but I’m feeling more exhausted in the mornings.  English Breakfast.  Ah precious.  Put the bag in the mug, put in the freshly boiled water, open the fridge………


I pause a moment to work out my options, but the tea is already brewing.  It would feel like a sin to throw it away (this is a travesty in our household.  Every tea is precious.  Any cup of tea that is accidentally left undrunk is called ‘Steave’ and poured away with full honours).  (I have an odd boyfriend).

However it also feels like a travesty to add UHT milk to this precious, precious brew. 

I weaken. 

I add the demons juice. 

Every sip is guilt ridden.

9:10 – Nina has come by the office to say she is leaving the building to get milk.  Nina is now a Goddess to me.

9:30 – English Breakfast bucket.  I think this one tastes even better because of the horror before it.

10:45 – Time for another brew.  I believe that as no-one else in the office seems to want a beverage as frequently as I do at the moment, I am walking upstairs to the kitchen more than I used to.  Another way that cutting down on caffeine is helping with ctgf.

11:20 – As another plus. I no longer run the daily oversweetening gambit.  As I use a clicky sweetener I usually forget whether I have added one and frequently add at least 2 by accident.  Attempts to remedy this using the disposable stirrers have been spotty at best as I can never remember how many brews I have had.  Yay for over-zealous, tedious diary keeping.

11:24 – There are 4 sticks in my bin.  I have had 3 cups today.  I think Amii is messing with me.

12:20 – Time for one last cup.  I’m beginning to wonder if I’m drinking more tea than I would normally drink if I wasn’t limiting it. *suspicious face*

14:00 – Someone has made a fresh pot of coffee.  I can smell it.

14:30 – There has been further discussion about the health of my pot plant.  I think the flowers are dying due to withdrawal.  Amii believes it would be better off being repotted.  There may be wisdom in this as it falls over if you don’t lean it against something. 

14:45 – As I am taking my early today I have just made an afternoon cuppa of peppermint and nettle tea.

14:55 – Peppermint and nettle tea is odd. 

15:20 – Getting ready to head off.  No headache today and not feeling so exhausted.  This may be because it’s an hour earlier than normal, plus it’s the weekend but it may be I’m through the worst of it.  Ok I have been feeling slightly tetchy about some stuff, but I’m ending the day on a high note.

DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Official'ish blog No.4



Some of us went to the Sussex Sports Centre today for a tour and guidance on how to use the equipment.  The Admissions Team were in there pedalling and rowing to Mordor on various machines, boy are they keen?!  The Zumba going on downstairs looked full on too, we couldn't hear yelps of pain as the music was too loud, is that by design?  

We were shown the machines and a variety of free weights and resistance exercises by Mark Beresford. We'd already been royally greeted by Karen Creffield and Sam Fuller in Reception so we felt most welcome.  Mark gave great explanations of the best exercises and regimes for us and he obviously keeps up to date with the latest science.  The advice and tips given were extremely balanced and completely practical to fit into a working life on campus.  It was a bit embarrassing to find out that these resources and experts were a surprise to us all.  We all know where the cafes and bars are, why didn't we know there was something so good for us too?!  

Getting back on the bike.



Before the CtGF challenge started I was feeling quite smug to be perfectly honest. I had taken part last year and felt really good as a result and in the past year have incorporated exercise and fitness much more into my lifestyle. I had even already though of the team mileage goal and was savouring the fact that I would easily clock up the miles just by doing my morning cycle to work. Then three weeks ago I fell off my bike. I was cycling along and suddenly the bolt holding my saddle to the post sheared off throwing me off the bike and into the road (path side luckily) due to the fact that I wasn't cycling too fast and the road wasn’t busy I escaped with a grazed knee, bruised ankle and general body strain. So I picked up my bike after being helped by a lovely cyclist and went home to drop my bike off, recover and go to work. As soon as the door slammed shut the shock of what happened took its hold and I broke down. After getting it all out and feeling a bit better I made my way to work still feeling shaky, but determined to get on with things.

The long and short of it is that what happened really knocked my confidence and made me feel vulnerable, which is essentially what you are when you ride a bike there is no metal armour to protect you and you are exposed to all of the elements around you. I should have got straight back on the bike, but for whatever reasons and excuses I didn’t. Since then it’s become a problem. Every morning I have got up with the intention to cycle but have always found a reason not to whether it be I was running late, had a bus ticket or it was raining…. In reality I’m scared and I feel it is bringing me down generally, maybe it’s a lull but I want to get out of it, feel more in control and better about myself.

Fast forward…

I cycled to work this morning and I’m pleased. I’m not writing this to get applauded in anyway, infact it’s more as a form of catharsis. I don’t know if the CtGF challenge hadn’t been running this month I would have still got on the bike, I probably would have but it has definitely provided encouragement and given me the push I needed. For the next few weeks I know each morning I will be extra apprehensive and hyperaware, but I’m just going to try and get on with it.

Stretching the boundaries - and not just on my waistband!



I will give a fuller update of the last week later (hopefully) but just wanted to mention that we've got a team night out tomorrow, to a local hostelry which is still to be identified.

I have every faith in the team sticking to their ctgf commitments during what I am sure will be a calm and restrained affair, but by my calculations…Guinness has iron in, cider (apples) counts towards your 5 a day and if you have some salad on your kebab on the way home, well it’s virtually a night at a health farm!




What's your favourite brand?



Overheard in the marketing office:

" can DROWN in them!"

SRS Team: Photographic evidence



As week two kicks off here's some of the SRS Team on how their weekends went and what they're looking forward to this week, plus some photographic evidence that trampolining and circuit training actually happened.

Isobel... "Bank Holiday weekend was mixed. A bingey day out at the cricket with a picnic full of what would usually be forbidden foods, followed by a few pints of cider (do the apples count as 1 of 5 a day?). Saturday and Monday were more restrained however so I'm pleased with that at least. This week we're trying some new activities such as handball and mountain biking which should make a nice change - assuming we make it back in one piece."

Nathan... "Haven’t managed to score any points for new activities or activities that last an hour or more yet but on the plus side I’ve done at least 30 minutes cycling every day, I’ve eaten plenty of fruit and veg I’ve been drinking like a fish and I’ve only had one sugary snack lapse. The downside to the lapse was that it was some rather unsatisfying ginger snaps biscuits. I resisted the urge to buy a tub of chocolate crispy snacks from Marks & Spencer to make the most of my lapse though. I’ve actually exercised less as I was on a training course last week. Going to get back to normal this week with a view to doing some more activities next week."

Margaret... "Weekend was good did lots of walking and did not eat anything I should not have. I was very good even refused hubby’s birthday cake (sticky toffee from thorntons)…Ymmm but not for me. Handball this week plus the walking and hopefully another session of circuits with Kev."

Jonathon (AKA Bread Lover)... "A very fantastic exercise filled four day weekend. Started on Friday – Walking to Hove and back (6 miles), in addition I managed to consume a WHOLE carton of Mango Innocent fruit juice (expensive but YUM) 5-a-day done and dusted by lunch time. That afternoon I came into work ON MY DAY OFF to take part in Kevin’s SRS circuits (SRS team kicked ass in this). Saturday saw a sleep deprived long haired ginger, scurry around 5K for Park Run – recording a new P.B. but still getting beaten by that dog who has such short legs but MAN they can go around quickly! Sunday and Monday both saw hour bike rides: Sundays ride note to self: Make sure when you replace your brake pads you tighten them fully, as Elm Grove is a very scary hill without back brakes. Mondays ride note to self: Make sure that you always have a very big HGV while going up large hills – it makes you peddle fast because of fear of DEATH – but it makes you come 4/189 on Strava (bike mapping app). Each of these activities was followed by PUB and/or BEACH – therefore I’m full of vitamin D/C and Grapes. Bread Lover."

Me... "I went to the gym on Friday. Saturday was pretty much a write-off though. Sunday and Monday weren't so bad, but still not great. I'm going to get back on with exercising this week but I don't feel too bad about having a lazy weekend. If I just went and got fit in the first week I'd having nothing to do for the rest of the month so it's good to draw it out a bit."

As promised in last week's blog below are some photos of the team undergoing various forms of excerise for CTGF and a photo of Jonathon with some bread.


 Isobel loving the Levitation for beginners class.


Katie levitating al fresco style.


 Siobhan having a little sit down during Kev's circuit training.


 Isobel sunbathing.


Andy breakdancing.


Jonathon with some bread.

Not the best start



So almost one week into this experience and I've been out drinking on as many occasions as I have been training. In my defence it was my Birthday on day two so I don't think I'm doing too badly given that fact.

I've actually been committing to get fit since January 18th but I've been building up my training slowly as my fitness level started from a low point. This is what comes from spending your whole day sat at a computer and having a sweet tooth. You might be thinking the 18th of January is an odd day to start a training regime; It's past New Years resolution season, not near my birthday or beach season which are the three likely points I would normally consider shedding some weight. Well January 17th was the day I was informed my friend had signed us up to participate in Tough Mudder, an event I always fancied doing but kept thinking of reasons why I couldn't... I ran out of excuses. For people who've not heard of Tough Mudder it's a 12 mile off road race which has around 15 obstacles such as ice pools, slippery walls, mud bogs, monkey bars, fire pits and electrocution! That's right 10,000volts of electricity just before you cross the finish line!

So the good news for me is that in three months I've lost 7.5kg (16.5lbs) and have gone from barely being able to run 1 kilometre to being able to run 3.6. The bad news is I have just over one month left to up that distance and generally increase my upper body strength to cope with many of the obstacles so this incentive has come at a good time to help me focus on what's ahead.

So far I have upped regime from activities twice a week to 5/6 times per week. I don't intend on increasing any further than 6 days per week as rest is important during training but as time goes on I will likely increase the difficulty of the training. Below is my approximate new training plan. If anyone out there has experience in what I am facing and would like to offer some suggestions then I'm more than happy to get some feedback.

  • Monday: Squash, Circuit Training
  • Tuesday: Run 3.6k, Play Badminton, Run 3.6k
  • Wednesday: 4k Off Road Run
  • Thursday: Circuit Training
  • Friday: Run 5k
  • Saturday: Run 10k (Hove Park broken up with exercises @ 1k intervals)
  • Sunday: Rest
  • Also on alternating mornings I am doing some light weight training each morning

If you know me (or even if you don't) and wanted to sponsor me please use the link below. The event raises money for Help for Heroes a charity that raises money for injured soldiers.

Two words




Winning at Spinning



I, Laura Tovey, can proudly say that I have completed AND survived my first spin class!

When I saw a meeting had been booked for Friday for the same time as the spin class I took it as a sign that I just wasn’t meant to go and breathed a sigh of relief.

But I’m supposed to be less of a wimp, and in the spirit of CTGF, rather than just cancel I booked onto the Wednesday class instead.

When I arrived today and saw Ria at the front of the class I knew one thing for sure. I was going to sweat.

I’m not going to lie. It was tough. After the first 10 minutes I was ready to get off and push but I am learning that this is when I need to focus on something other than my aching body and push even harder. So with eyes focused on the rpm and brain focused on the smug face I could pull when I could one day ride my bike to the top of Preston Drove,  I made it through the 45 minute class.

I left  feeling proud, surprised that I wasn’t actually that terrible, bit wobbly and sweatier than I have ever been before. For once the cold showers in the changing room were very welcome!

So with 7 .9 miles racked up towards the team target and a HUGE  plate  of food in front of me, I have just booked myself onto my next spin class.

Falling for fitness



So, things continue to go well here at M&M headquarters. There is still much fruit being munched, along with regular conversations about the many and varied joys to be found in a bag of crisps. (Ah....Walkers Deep Ridged... ambrosia of the gods! )

Last Friday several of us took part in Kev's al fresco circuit training session. He had promised that it wouldn't involve getting sweaty or red-faced. Obviously this was a lie, but we fell for it anyway and squatted, lunged, ran and planked (normal and side) for best part of an hour, at midday, on the hottest day of the year.
It was all good fun and I even thought it might actually be doing me some good...until I tried to go up or down stairs, sit down or stand up, or just breathe too deeply for the next 3 days. Seriously,  I've got an A level in Biology but I never realised quite how many muscles there were in a pair of legs until this weekend. Clearly muscles that need to do this kind of thing more often.
Girl Nik amazed ( and disappointed) us all by not falling over at this activity, thereby losing her  previous 100% record - earned by slipping unceremoniously into the mud on the boundary walk and then making a less than graceful dismount from the trampoline. Still, with Powerhoop and Kung Fu in the diary I'm sure there's plenty more cabaret to come.
Other upcoming activities for team members include windsurfing, tennis, badminton and another Kev session (walking and speed walking). Oh, and someone tried to suggest that speed dating counted as a sport, but until it's in the Olympics - and it can only be a matter of time - I don't think we'll be able to award points for that!
Did I mention that I was missing the crisps?

Commit to Get Fit continues... (I may actually be starting to enjoy this)



Days 4-6 (Saturday, Sunday, Monday)

I’ve gone and done it. I’ve committed myself to a 5km run this summer all in the name of charidee! So on Sunday, 14 July 2013 I will be running the Worthing Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK. If anyone feels like sponsoring me they can do so on my JustGiving fundraising page (shameless plug over....)

I tried to keep up the no caffeine after 1pm over the weekend and only had one slip up on Sunday. I had a cup of coffee at around 10:30pm, but I think this was justified as I was volunteering at an event at the Royal Albert Hall and wasn’t expected to get to my bed until approx 2.30am.

I’ve started training for the 5k run and have downloaded a useful (and fun!) Couch to 5k app (Zombies, run 5k) that I highly recommend.  On Monday I got out and enjoyed the sunshine and embarked on a lovely 4k jog along the beach.

Bank Holiday beach run

Day 7 (Tuesday)

Day 7 was going well to start with and I had high hopes for the day, but just didn’t get a chance (or more likely I got side-tracked and forgot) to go for the lunch time walk that I had planned. Not to worry though, I have arranged "double fitness" tomorrow with a Power Hoop session at lunch time and a jog after work.

Day 8 (Wednesday)

Unfortunately my Power Hoop buddy was not well enough to take part today so my colleague (who was Zumba-ing today) and I set off to the Sports Centre with a bit of trepidation, but with a bounce in our step.

I was soon disappointed to find that the Power Hoop session wasn’t running today after all, but we were offered an impromptu Boxercise class instead. I’ve done boxercise before and had forgotten how much fun it is and what a great stress reliever it can be. I’m definitely tempted to look up a regular class if it runs at a convenient time.

I’m now back at my desk (the bounce in my step had gone due to exhaustion by the time I got back), but I’m feeling very virtuous! I’m even looking forward to my run tonight!

Slowly but surely Committing to Get Fit



Day 1 (Wednesday)

Today the team went on the organised boundry walk around the campus. The sun was shining and it was the first time in a long while that I’ve purposely left the office at lunch time for a reason other than grabbing a bite to eat for lunch. The walk was lovely and a gentle introduction to a month of CTGF and it was great to see and learn more about the area that I’ve been working at for the last year.


I returned to the office feeling invigorated and ready for my lunch and have now been booked onto a Power Hoop session next week. Apparently it’s in the Dance Studio which has a wall of mirrors. Eeep! Anyone know if you can Power Hoop with your eyes closed?

Day one of no tea or coffee after lunch was difficult, but I was able to refuse the offer of a cup of tea from colleagues on the University of Brighton campus and I somehow survived the afternoon with no caffeine-withdrawal grumpiness! Roll on Day 2!    

Day 2 (Thursday)

Day 2 has started slowly. I was very much in the need for caffeine all day, but stuck to coffee and tea only in the morning and then switched to water in the afternoon. This was a big achievement for me as I don’t normally do water. I went out for a lunch time walk in the sunshine – it may only have been to the pharmacy and back but it is better than sitting at my desk all day.

Without thinking I drank a cup of tea at my Slimming World group. Blast! I was doing so well. But all was soon forgotten when I weighed in and had lost 2.5lbs that week. The CTGF challenge has come at the right time for my weight loss goals as Slimming World has helped me lose over 4 stone in a year and I am now only 3.5lbs from my target weight. Once there I will need to be more active to help me stay at my target weight so hopefully I will build up some new habits during this challenge and keep them up as a part of my day-to-day life!

Day 3 (Friday)

Today the team are going on a walk at lunchtime but unfortunately I was half asleep this morning getting ready for work and have not brought any appropriate footwear (if I was at school this is when I would be handed a pair of lost property plimsolls and be told to get on with it). I will instead man the office and go for a wander around campus after my colleagues return and enjoy the sunshine.

Plans for the Bank Holiday weekend

I will be heading up to London for the weekend and will hopefully be continuing with lots of walking, avoiding caffeine after midday and eating healthily. On Monday, on my return from the Big Smoke I will go for a jog helped along by the Zombies, Run! App on my phone (if you don’t know about this app look it up – it makes running a bit more fun.) I also plan to look into some 5k runs happening this summer and register to take part on one.

Ta-ta for now!


Drinking more water is hard!



Hi, this is my first blog and I feel quite proud already for getting this far and creating a SPLASH account :)).  So a week into ctgf and so far so good.  My targets are modest: drink more water, have a banana not biscuits for a snack once a day, try to jog up to 5K a week and try a new/change of routine exercise-wise.  Well so far I've managed bananas AND biscuits so I hope that counts a  partial success (not!).   I have put on my jogging gear and gone outside this week and last week but I'm not sure I've had much success, I've probably managed half jog/half walk-gasp for breath for 4-5K, but it's a start!!

New exercise has been a different cycle route in the lovely sunshine on Sunday - big success and trying to do press ups (just those funny half ones and not so successful!).   

The hardest part has been drinking more water.  Can anyone really drink 2 litres a day (on top of tea/coffee)?  I've worked up to 750ml extra, my best so far today, but I'd like to be reaching 1.5l every day by the end of May.

Aim for the next week is to incorporate stretching into my daily routine, try a class and go for a walk in Stanmer Park.  Watch this space.






Mr Twits Great Upside Down Monkey Circus - Get Fit Challenge - Day minus 1



I've given myself a few challenges for May which I'll share with you over the next few blogs (next and blog - this is my first ever). The first though is part of my Yoga practice. I started Yoga in January 2012, whilst suffering an ongoing knee injury and experiencing a growing waistline, and have probably embraced it more than any other activity since I was a kid. What I've noticed since doing yoga is that loads of normal people do it, and some even do it at home, and some haven't even heard of Sting, even Ryan Giggs does it. During class I've noticed that headstand (Shirshasana) looks pretty cool and people that I know that practice at home always seem to mention it.

So I asked my general and dynamic yoga teacher, Karen Creffield, whether she would spend some time with me and try to teach me how to do a headstand, and that practice started today. You can have the abridged version...

Karen started by describing the technique required and which muscle groups needed to do the work so that I firstly didn't break my neck and secondly send myself catapulting head over arse. We decided on a hand grip that I'd tried once before, the ashtanga style. From kneeling I put my hands together and my hands and forearms onto the mat, stuck my head in between them and then got up on my feet and started to walk towards my head. As I approached a point where I was on tiptoes and ready to go up my temperature shot up, as if my head and had been stuck in an oven. I came back down and Karen suggested we give the other method a go, apparently my face had gone bright red. Making a fist rather than interlocked fingers I went down on my knees again. This time I didn't go bright red so we decided to go for this method, for now.

Karen had demonstrated going from tiptoes to bent legs with feet in the air. It looked easy but I suspected otherwise, and I wasn't ready for this. I thought this would be week 3 or something. Anyway after a couple of attempts I gained the bottle to launch from tiptoes, I was very wobbly but I knew either Karen or the wall would stop me going right over, so I straighted my legs. Wow, I'm doing it, engage stomach muscles. Eventually my heels hit the wall and Karen supported me but in essence I was doing my first headstand and that would be more than enough for today, I felt hot and sweaty and tired and I'd only inverted myself.

After Savasana I wandered back to work. I still felt tired, my stomach and shoulders felt like I'd done a hundred crunches and pulls. Although pleased with the progress I'd made I wonder if I've bitten off more than I can chew for a month.

Mr Twit's Great Upside Down Monkey Circus Part 2 - Commit To Get Fit Challenge



Well we're on day 9 now and most of the personal challenges have been exploritory and insightful. As someone that has a high cholesterol count I've been avoiding saturates for the past couple of years. A visit to the quack last week and an interesting talk from Terry "Eat Better, Feel Better" has made me re-start the process of what goes in and what doesn't. For now I'll stick with the weekly salmon/trout, the wholewheat breakfast cereal and some sort of greenery with all meals that contain meat/processed food.

TOP TIP: Tinned Tuna - the canning process breaks down the long Omega 3 chain - eat fresh tuna and beware of the mercury!

I'm also trying to drink 4 glasses of water a day (plus anything drunk during exercise) and failing miserably. Back in a mo. Ok I've now had one glass of water today. Walkers have also taken a hit, I'm down from 2 bags of crisps a day to 3 so far this month.

The headstand is heading in the right direction. I had a practice at home (much to my 3 year old daughter's amusement) and found that I could get off my toes without bursting a blood vessel. "Do it again Daddy" - "No". "Do it again Daddy" - "No". "DO IT AGAIN DADDY" - "Do you want a bit of melon?". I've learnt how to distract her when losing an arguement.

I met Karen again on Tuesday, keen to show my slight improvement. Slight improvement shown, what do I do now? Oh the scarey bit. Stick my feet up in the air. I tried, much to Karen's suprise, luckily she just managed to break my fall as I went up and then over.

We moved to the wall. I got my feet up but I've no idea what is vertical. My heel hit the wall. Only one heel, that was promising. As I removed one heel I'd sway and replace that heel with one from the other foot. So there were moments where I was upside down without contact with anything but the floor. I think I stayed upside down for about a minute and I enjoyed it. With my confidence a little higher than it was last week I had a quick go today on my own. I can get up pretty well but I just can't find that balance point, but I remember learning to drive and having to find biting point.




DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Official'ish blog #5



DARO is a large group and since every member of the department has committed to CtGF the programme has really been taken to heart.  There is an awful lot going on and even though there are work trips abroad and some holidays during May, everyone is partaking and contributing.  

In the last week alone this is what has been enjoyed by DARO:  netball, gym, boxercise, walking, swimming, yoga, badminton, paragliding, jogging, running, allotment, British Military Fitness, football, kayaking, handball, cycling.  

The impact of CtGF has been not only to facilitate us doing new things but also to prompt actually doing what we've long been thinking about.  People have moved more, taken on new challenges and bonded with their team.  Bad old habits have been challenged and new better ones are being tested.  New bikes have been bought, kayaking courses signed up to and good yomps undertaken with colleagues.

In particular, using CtGF and Sussex research, we have been taking a break from our desks in our own time for lunch.  Sussex research found that leaving the office to eat lunch increases general wellbeing and makes employees look more favourably upon their job.  Those that eat at their desk are more likely to feel miserable and this may impact upon their productivity.  The first best place to eat lunch is on the beach so we have to settle for the second best which is sitting on a bench in a green space.  We're incredibly lucky to work on the unique Sussex campus surrounded by the Downs and CtGF has shown some of us how truly beautiful our locality is.

The office biscuits and cakes have gone from the kitchen and were even replaced with quinoa at the team meeting - yes QUINOA!  I made two versions, one with pumpkin, poppy and lin seeds, the other with sprouted beans.  Those returning from trips have refrained from buying the local delicacies or have kept them back for after CtGF.  People have adapted the lunches that they've brought in, so much so that our fridge would make Gwyneth Paltrow proud...Goop indeed...see photo below - the jar is a home made nettle pesto made with walnuts, pecorino cheese, olive oil and garlic.

The range of change is naturally across the spectrum with some changes bigger than others.  One notable win is a favourite snack of a Mars Ice Cream being substituted with Total 0% with mixed berries.  In the middle there are a lot of people cutting down on caffeine and lowering sugar intake.  At the far end is the non fruit eater buying fruit, the next few weeks might even progress to consumption of it.  

The best bit is people sharing their experiences so that the whole team benefits.  A few of us made Terry Cooper's Eat Better, Feel Better seminar and we've shared the knowledge with everyone.  Well, the sharing was prompted on our return by 'did he mention quinoa?' and 'Terry!  Did he mention quinoa?' which then led us to share the rest.  The Omega 3 and 6 balance seemed to resonate the most strongly.

CTGF: is it really only the 10th May?



Review of week 2 then.......

Last week I managed 3 (yes 3) spinning classes over the bank holiday weekend. One of my main challenges is that I work full time with 2 children so "fitting in exercise" is a struggle, hence my CTGF goals are more about minor changes.

The whole not eating wheat thing is going quite well. I am now the queen of ryvita and there is no problem getting 2 litres of water a day down if you're munching ryvita, I recommend it to anyone who's challenge is more water. I had a couple of fails when I was at aworkshop where the only lunch was sandwiches or quiche.....but apart from that, very good and I do feel better. My colleague who is also giving up wheat made a brilliant gluten free banana cake today, it was demolished by the team in about 2 hours, so will get that recipe from her. 

This week I was away at a 2 day wokshop, so have cycled in both days I've been here, against the headhead and gusting sidewind on the A27 from Lewes. Today was particularly special when I was overtaken by 2 colleagues, thankfully they didn't wait at the the pub and time how far behind I was. However, I did manage to go up the steep hil ine Lewes without the edges of my vision darkening, so a I'm clearly improving and sleeping much better too (although that may be exhaustion).

Spinning class tonight, where else would you spend your Friday evening? it beats Waitrose.



Completing my second personal CFGT challenge



After attending a spin class, another of my Commit To Get Fit personal challenges was to write a blog post about my experience with exercise and depression. Spinning wasn’t as bad as I feared so I thought I would stay on my roll and do the scariest thing on my list…

I still don’t know what possessed me to sign up for a Zumba class in January 2012. It wasn’t a crazy new year’s resolution or because I love to dance (I am a very inhibited dancer) or because  I just had to try the latest fitness craze. But something did and whatever it was it turned out it was a good move to make.

Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that this first trip to a sports centre coincided with my struggle to wean myself off anti-depressants. I had been battling for months to break my dependency but as much as I hated being on them, it was still just too difficult without them.

I don’t want to go into detail about my depression here but if you are fortunate enough not to have been afflicted by depression then this is one of the most accurate and brilliantly written (and illustrated) descriptions of depression I have read.

So what am I trying say here? Well, I truly believe that joining the sports centre and starting to take some classes helped me come off and stay off anti-depressants. I had been told and read about the positive links between exercise and mental well-being but since School I have always associated exercise with P.E. lessons and P.E. lessons, to me, were the most self-esteem crushing experiences ever. So why on earth would I try and do that to make myself feel better!?

But what I discovered through Zumba and now through boxercise, hula hooping, circuit training, aerobics, fencing and spinning (!) is that 1) it isn’t like being at School 2) it can be really fun and 3) that exercise provides the perfect head space to stop thinking.

It turns out it is impossible to have spiralling thoughts while you are sweating and it feels amazing to have that control back over thinking. It is a relief that hadn’t managed to find before, even with anti-depressants, and that I now can’t see myself being well without.

The fact I that look better than I ever have is an extremely welcome bonus but the biggest and most important benefit is that I feel balanced and in control again. And when I don’t – I know that whenever I need to, I can go to the sports centre and do something that will help me refocus.

Having come to the end of this piece I think I wanted to write this blog as part of CTGF partly to share my experience with others, but mainly to acknowledge and say a huge thank you to SussexSport. Without your inspiring staff, range of classes, great facilities and affordable membership I think I would still be struggling to regain my balance. THANK YOU and see you at lunchtime. 

Commit to Get Fit - Late start!



After getting back from a holiday in Crete, in which I indulged in rather a lot of moussaka and too much raki, I decided to jump on the 'Commit to Get Fit' waggon and start to do something to lessen the damage.

What Crete did teach me was how it was good to keep hydrated (lessens the hangovers!) and that salads can actually be quite amazing; although granted, we were blessed with the finest Greek tomatoes, picked straight from the vine, compared to the bland orange affairs that you find nestling in the salad aisle in Sainsburys.  So that's what I've decided to incorporate into my CTGF programme: more exercise; more water and more fruit and veg.

So whilst all my colleagues are entering into week 2 of their CTGF, I'm coming to it all a bit late.  I already am a gym member and enjoy the odd H.I.T and Step class with the lovely Ria - as well as the odd bit of Zumba, which is so fun, it doesn't feel like it should even be legal, let alone good for you!

I had been looking to try my hand at some of the taster sessions on offer - trampolining looked fun and had heard good things about Power Hoop, but found, to my disappointment, that most of the classes I had my eye on had already been booked up.  So, I think that next week I'll try getting in early, or book from the usual menu of classes, but maybe try something new...

After my first week, the fruit veg and water thing has been going pretty well.  I'm definitely over my 5 a day - whereas usually I see a packet of crisps as a step in the right direction!  I even tried my hand at making a low-fat vegetable moussaka, which was pretty yummy, if not particularly authentic!  Also I've been drinking over 2 litres of water and haven't even had any sneaky glasses of wine after work!  All good for my first week and looking forward to week 2...

The Story So Far...



So we're at the end of the first full week of ctgf.  My previous posts have pretty much just focussed on the caffeine depravation as it was the hardest thing I was doing, and therefore constantly on my mind.   I really feel for anyone who has tried dieting as they're probably going to have a similar relationship with food when they start trying to avoid it.  Absolutely impossible!

Anyways, asides from caffeine, other stuff happened.  After the boundary walk we had another team walk on the Friday lunch.  This was kinda cool as we got a chance to shoot the breeze a bit outside of our usual work environment.  Good times.

Over the bank holiday weekend I (mostly) stuck to the no caffeine after 13:00 and possibly slept better for it.  No withdrawal, no jitters, groovy.  I went to a wedding in Hackney on the Saturday (well nearly) and due to the joys of replacement bus services learnt how unfit I am through trying to run from Dalston Junction to Hackney Town Hall in less than a minute.  Not surprisingly 10 minutes late I arrive doused in sweat and breathing so heavily that large men walking in front of me, turned around with frightened expressions on their faces in case I was a sex offender.  For anyone who doesn't know me, I'm a tiny, little glasses wearing, femme looking girl.

For the rest of the weekend we had some folks visit us, and fortunately one of them was a domestic Goddess and so was able to help me to do more of the making stuff from scratch.  We also did some walking and exploring so a pretty healthful weekend all round which included some frolics in the sunbeams.

From Tuesday things kinda continued on the exercise front I've either walked a couple of miles a day, or cycled on the exercise bike for 25 minutes to an episode of Blackadder.  There was also the joy of zumba on Wednesday, which I then followed with a Blackadder cycle session, and surprisingly still had use of my legs on Thursday.

So that's about it. Daily exercise is going ok and I'm going to start upping the time I spend on the exercise bike.  Doing all the home cooketry is working well and so far no-one has got food poisoning.  And the caffeine thing is no great shakes now.  So yep.  Looking forward to trying more classes and such, and possibly being able to do that running thing. 

28 Days and Counting



Only 28 Days until Tough Mudder. I've never been so excited and fearful at the same time :)

On Wednesday I tried my firends off road 4k run and while I did the distance I needed to stop and walk 3 times which was a shame. Off road running is proving to be much harder work than my normal urban runs! The good news was that on my road run tonight I managed 4.2k without having to stop and I actually had a little left in the tank.

I have realised there is little chance that by Tough Mudder I will be capable of running a 12 mile course non stop but if I can increase my distance 1k or so each week I should be fairly close so this is the goal I have set myself. I will then be relying on resting my legs when I am crawling through muddy tunnels, hanging from monkey bars and swimming through ice water so I can make it to the finish line.

First-ever spin class



Well, I knew it wouldn't be as relaxing as yoga, but had thought - with it taking place mainly in a seated position - that it wouldn't be THAT hard work...

IBeing a fairly frequent jogger, I thought that my legs were in pretty good shape.  Huh - clearly different muscle groups, as my knees were really not very happy when we stood up on the pedals.

Really worked up a sweat, and was happy when the 45 mins were over.   Damn - I was so keen to dismount, I forgot to check the overall distance covered.  But that said, I think I'll give it another try tomorrow...

DARO Commit to Get Fit - Official'ish Blog #6



We've just had a great Well Being lunch in DARO, eleven of us enjoyed a poetry reading whilst we were eating (good food), followed by a juggling session.  Other members of the team enjoyed a yoga class and some went walking.

The poem read to us was truly in the spirit of the CtGF campaign - The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, a lamentation of physical and intellectual inertia of someone who had the ability to change but lacked the courage to do so.  First, we must commend the courage of our reader, Sarah, to face her colleagues and present the poem, and so beautifully read too.  And second, for choosing such a fitting poem for our current situation or predicament.

The juggling was great fun, thanks Michael, and led to some very competitive characters immediately logging onto Amazon in search of flammable juggling balls.  By the end of the month we hope to have honed our individual juggling and we'll compete amongst ourselves to find a winner.  In the meantime there is a challenge to Declan to 'release his third ball', a metaphor we'll all be chanting I think.  Your euphemisms can be added to the comments box below.  Is there a site moderator?  I got 'bum' into one of my own blogs so perhaps I can get away with saying that all I ended up juggling were my own breasts.

Let DARO leave you with some words of T.S. Eliot to capture the CtGF challenge:

'And indeed there will be time

To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"

Spinning again, 24 hrs later



On Tuesday I had another go at Spin - this time with a group of ITS colleagues committing to get fit in May.

Our instructor was kind, as many of us were first-timers.  I must admit that it felt a little easier the second time around, and my muscles weren't complaining too much, either.  However, there was one part of me that was sore, so I actually preferred standing in the pedals towards the end.

We had some punchy tracks to inspire us, although we were pretty much drowned out by the Zumba class going on in the hall below!

It was pleasing to note that by the end I had covered a 'distance' of 18km :-)

The small things are what matters



Sometimes you can be plodding along at something for a while with no apparent progress then suddenly out of no where you get a sign that you are actually going in the right direction and it makes you feel great. I had this on Monday and I’m still feeling the buzz from it. I was at my usual yoga class (general yoga with Karen) and I managed to get fully into quite a difficult position that I have been working towards for a while. I’ve put a picture of the full position below, which is a shoulder stand. Looking at it now I cannot believe I got my body to do that, but I did so wahey!

Shoulder stand

On this high I went along to the ‘goal setting’ talk presented by Kevin Betts and Terry Cooper yesterday. As a result of it I’ve pretty much convinced myself to sign up for the Brighton marathon next year as I want to really challenge myself, the talk was that good! Just have to wait for the next pay check then I’m pretty sure I’m going to do it. I want to do one marathon at least once in my life and I believe I am the fittest I have ever been so now seems a good a time as any.

I took away some really good points yesterday such as setting goals which are:

• Measurable

• Managable

• Motivating

And within those goals have smaller and larger sub goals. The talk also made me think about what my limits actually are and how more often than not they are controlled by psychological factors rather than physical ones. I find generally that during the CtGF challenge I really do push myself and it’s something that I want to extend further into the year and into my personal and work life too. I love feeling inspired and positive as it’s a really motivating feeling so am really keen to prolong these feelings and ‘ride on the high’ as long as possible.

SRS Team: Everybody was Kung Fu fighting



We're halfway through week three and already it's been a great week with Jonathon and Isobel trying Kung Fu, Margaret going to Zumba and POWERHOOP classes, and Nathan, Adam, Kev, Jonathon and Isobel working out at circuit training. 


With Yin Yoga and spinning still to come it's all good in SRS. Personally I've been a bit lazy been carrying an injury since playing handball last week. Handball was great fun though, and there's been talk of playing another game already. I'm making my big comeback tonight at the gym and I'll try to end the week on a high with spinning on Friday with the rest of the team.


Enjoy the photos, and I'll leave you with a moving story of dedication and willpower from Margaret ...

"I was really feeling like chocolate the other night to the point that I took a chocolate brunch bar out of the box picked up my cup of coffee and as I walked from my kitchen kept saying what about the CTGF to myself so before I got to my lounge I turned around and put the bar back into its box. That was harder than circuits with Kev and that’s saying something because I was hurting after circuits – the only good thing from putting the chocolate bar back was there was no pain afterwards…(well only for a little while!)."




DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Official'ish blog #7



Talk started today of the 1st June and what will happen in the DARO kitchen, exactly half way through CtGF and the biscuit tin is pining for contents and it seems so too are CtGF'er tummies.  A previous biscuit eater was asked 'what are you doing for snacks now' and the reply was 'being hungry, very hungry'.

CtGF is an integral part of being on campus for some of us now.  You have to be fast to get first dibs on the Stationery Cupboard to change into your work-out gear these days.  Pity the person already doing some photocopying when a keener bounces in and strips off.

DARO members continue to try new activities and to set new challenges for themselves.  Our Brighton Marathon runner has signed up for the Boundary Run and there are a couple on the Boundary Fence humming and hahing about whether to join in too.  Many classes have been booked and fingers crossed to get off the waiting list and into the Fencing class.

Our poetry and juggling lunch experience lives on.

Obviously the photo is blurry due to the speed of expert juggling.

Keeping going when you really don't want to



Like a lot of people I find running hard and the psychological will to keep running is often the hardest part (true of any exercise really). When I run with a friend or am doing a class at the gym you have someone there to give some words of encouragement which really help you keep going when your body is desperately asking for a break. The problem comes when you are exercising alone. When running something I've learned to do is at the point where my mind is saying "Go on Rob, have a break you've earned it" (my psyche is quite chatty) I look ahead and pick a marker like a lamp post or tree and aim to run that far before I stop. Invariably when I get to the marker I usually find I can keep going so pick a new marker. This helps me but it only works for so long though.

In order to track my running I installed an app on my phone called RunKeeper (Android IOS). The app is great at showing how far you've travelled during exercise as well as: altitude covered, calories burnt, pace information and much more. But my favourite feature is the the nice lady who speaks to me every five minutes. She tells me how far I've gone, how my pace is doing and how great my hair is looking today. Okay well maybe she doesn't mention my hair but her other things she says really do help keep me going. Anyone who is running, walking or cycling I should really give this app a go as it's the best fitness app I've tried to date :)

Hong Kong Phooey



Do you know, I'm really starting to enjoy this fitness lark! Having had a few days of losing momentum I've now caught up again having done yoga, gym, Kung fu and hula in the last 48 hours and it's definitely started to put a spring in my step.

I hadn't done a gym session for a long time but when the weather ruined our plans to rekindle our (rubbish) tennis relationship, Marie and I headed up to Falmer Sports Complex to pump some iron instead. It didn't start off well as I nearly came to blows with the cross trainers when they repeatedly refused to acknowledge anything I tried to programme in to their touch pads and instead kept trying to make me watch Top Gear (and therefore spend my lunch hour with my bubble-headed nemesis Jeremy Clarkson).

But once I'd finally managed to get them working I was surprised at how much I almost enjoyed skiing or jogging along on the moving footrest things, and also how gentle it was on my knees. I managed 15 minutes without too much bother before trying some of the other things on offer. My favourite machine was definitely the assisted pull ups one, which enabled me to pull myself high up in the air by my arms, with the aid of something akin to a stanna stairlift - and it made the back of my neck tingle each time, which was an added bonus!

However, the activity I was most looking forward to was the Kung Fu Taster with Girl Nik and it didn't disappoint. Sadly we didn't get to wave the big swords around on our first session but did lots of kicks and jumping around and had a good laugh too.

Nik decided to use the opportunity to try and maim the (SRS) opposition:

Girl Nik shows Jonathan who's boss!

I liked lots of things about this class, not least of which was the fact that kung fu feels like exercise with a point to it. By which I mean it's not just stretching for the sake of stretching, or building muscle by just lifting weights,  you get a thorough workout (physically and mentally) while you're concentrating on something else.  And the mixture of raw power, balance, speed and agility was very seductive. Is this something I might want to pursue? Not sure, but maybe...

Another day, another activity



Having had an action-packed Tuesday (spin, HIT and my regular evening yoga class), I allowed myself a rest day yesterday, ready to try a new activity today.  

Life Circuits, led by Terry, proved to be less daunting than it maybe first appeared.  Once I had got my head around the playing-card scheme which Terry had devised to spread participants between the cardio machines and the additional activities (such as lunges, press-ups, lifting kettle weights and rope-wiggling), I began to enjoy it.

It's funny how four minutes can seem very looooong (we switched activity type at 4 min intervals).  The enforced variation was actually good, as there was no escape from things I would probably avoid like the plague not enjoy quite as much...

Some things I’ve learnt NOT to do when cycling into work



As part of my CTGF Team R&E challenge, I wanted to begin cycling into work. Having gone from breezing along the seafront on a sunny Sunday afternoon to sweating my face off every morning, I thought it would be nice to share some of the things I learnt NOT to do along the way...

  1.  Try to take on the MAMILs (middle aged men in Lycra). It may feel frustrating that someone twice your age is speeding past whilst you look on in horror at so much body being brandished outside a Jane Fonda workout video (at least they aren’t in leg warmers) but actually you should feel proud, you aren’t having a midlife crisis and you don’t need the environmentally friendly equivalent of a Ferrari to get to work! Well done you!
  2. Cycle along the seafront road (instead of the cycle path) I lost at far too much of my morning to sitting at EVERY single  set of traffic lights. The cycle path offers sea views with not a traffic light or pothole in sight, bliss.

  3. Anger the bus drivers. They are bigger, angrier and more dangerous than you will ever be. They are also malicious and will veer into the cycle lane in an attempt to scare you. (Please note: I am not referring to all bus drivers, some are actually very considerate and nice)

  4.  Keep cycling along the seafront in gale force winds. You may feel like you are conquering the elements but actually you are going at two miles an hour and are pulling one of those Munch Scream faces. Its quicker and more dignified to just get of and push.
  5. Immediately attempt to put on tights in a humid toilet cubicle before putting your foot though the leg of one and trying to pass it off as a new punk look you are trying.

  6. Apply make-up when you are still sweating, it will melt off, mostly into your eyes and that just stings.


With these life lessons under my belt I am now loving every minute of my rides in and out of work!

Run for one and run for all



Hi CTGF-ers!

I'm Cathy and I work on reception for Sussexsport - hopefully I've seen a few of you coming and going for various things. :)  I am also a qualified Leader in Running Fitness and L.O.V.E pretty much everything to do with running (especially the clothes...).

I am a super keeno runner, and I just want to encourage anyone that is even considering starting to run as part of your committing to get fit to just do it.  It'll be hard at first, but once you stick at it it is the cheapest and easiest way of keeping fit.  All you really need to invest in is a decent pair of running shoes and a decent sports bra (ladies, not so much the chaps).  I find it not only really stress busting, but it is easy to start setting goals and targets with running: to really have an aim to doing it.  There's a fantastic free run every Saturday morning called Parkrun, which is 5km and has a great atmosphere. If you've never run in an 'event' before, it's a great place to start. Give it a 'google'.

When you start out running, it is easy to think that you will be the slowest person ever, and that you look ridiculous whilst doing it. Please stop thinking these things!!! You may not be the fastest person out there - in fact, you definitely won't be, but no one is looking, and there will always be someone out there running slower than you!

If any of you are keen to start running, but would rather do it in a group setting for that bit of extra motivation (and fun!) then I am leading a beginners running session from the Sports Centre at 12pm on Wednesdays and would love to see you there.  

Keep up the fantastic work on the blogs and the exercise: they're great to read!


CTGF - First ever blog



Well, nearly half way through CTGF month and I would say my progress is steady in the world of eat better, sleep better, stretch & tone.

Week 1 was all about the prep. Put ancient trainers through the washing machine, bumped into an old Yoga teacher, bought a new swimsuit, and relax.

Week 2: decided to only eat half  a biscuit when really I wanted the whole thing, went for a walk in Stanmer, played badminton at a sedentary pace thought about stretching.

Week 3: overtaken by work being stressful, but am puling it back by agreeing to a game of squash Friday lunch time. Not sure of the rules, but fairly sure I don’t have to have watched Wall Street before we begin.

Next week, chuffed to have got onto the Fencing taster, let’s see if it opens a whole new world of swashbuckling!

Suits you, Sir!



One thing that has cropped up during this challenge is the thorny issue of what to wear for all these activities. Not in a vain way, but there is something rather depressing about realising that either you haven't got anything resembling a sports kit at all (Girl Nik: “…my PE kit consists of a DRESS and some pumps I found at the back of the cupboard!”) or that you do have something resembling a sports kit, but it's apparently shrunk at least 8 sizes in the wash since you last had it on (me). Neither helps with the confidence, as it helps if you feel comfortable in your clothes and can at least look the part.

Mind you, Vicki kindly ordered us all some team t shirts before we started, to get us in the mood:

- but sadly in a weak moment I ate them all. 

But I digress. The purpose of today's blog is to start to share some of the motivations of individual team members and it seems appropriate to start with the sartorially-superior Mr Haywood...

"A summary of my abstinences, aims, goals and hinderances, by John Haywood:

Giving up:   Cinnamon Danishes (they’ve become wonderfully addictive part of my daily routine!)

Giving up amendment:  All Danish pastries (in case, as it’s just been pointed out,  I just replace one addiction with another, like those pastry, custardy, chocolately twisty things…. Mmmm……)

Aims:  After almost two years of relative inactivity during the run up to, birth and first 18 months of my daughter’s life, I’m hoping to use the commit to get fit initiative as the spur to rekindle my passion for swimming, preferably in the sea, or lakes, or rivers… most places in fact except swimming pools…

Goals:  There’s a 1500m swim and a 3km swim in the Thames near Windsor Castle on the 2nd June and, depending on how the first week or two of commit to get fit goes, and particularly how the swimming goes, I’m considering signing up for one or the other of these, with hopefully some other organised swims to follow during the summer.

Hinderances:  Fear. More specifically, fear of the cold!  The current sea temperature in Brighton is 8.1 degrees. (to put this into perspective, the average sea temperature for Brighton in December is 10 degrees)."


 Next time: Girl Nik, and the unfortunate incident with the trampoline.


I may have overdone it



I woke up this morning aching all over.  After being attacked by Amy in Admissions in the Kung Fu taster session, I joined the Yinyoga class.  We had to hold each posture for five minutes and I hadn't realised how much I had stretched myself until today.  I have Pilates tonight (more stretching) and Dynamic Bodywork tomorrow, which is a combination of dance, yoga and pilates.  I am also going to try to fit in a couple more classes before Friday.  The question is, can you overextend yourself?  Is it better to work through the discomfort or give your body a rest?

Commit to Get Fit Challenge - Jo's Story



2012 was always going to be a monumental year for me as I had decided that this was going to be the year that I gave up smoking.  Up to the age of 16 I had always been active and enjoyed dancing, roller skating, ice skating, swimming and playing hockey for the School team.  I was always a good weight for my height but of course being a teenager I had body issues which made me convinced that I was fat.  After all, I was a size 14 which is enormous, isn't it? (I am 5ft 9 and have been since I was 12).

At the age of 16, I started at sixth form college in Brighton and knew nobody as my family had moved from Portsmouth.  It was a fresh start for me and as I made new friends and started socialising, I turned my back on healthy living and decided that smoking and drinking were far cooler.  I was still quite slim at this point as I spent my lunch money on cigarettes.  I thought I was fat but looking back at photos of myself I looked quite slim.

To cut a very long story short, twenty or so years later I found that my hedonistic lifestyle had left me overweight, addicted to cigarettes and unable to walk far without stopping for a rest.  On top of this, the medication that I have to take has the negative side effects of making me gain weight.  I was in the position that many people find themselves in where they feel that they cannot change their lifestyle as it would take too much effort and they will probably fail anyway.  Now when I looked in the mirror I knew I was overweight and higher than the 'average dress size'.

Poor me eh?  I thought so too.  For the last twenty two years. 


So in January I quit smoking.  It was as vile as you can imagine but this time I knew I would succeed.  It took 7 weeks of 'agony', hundreds of bags of toffees, mood swings, lots of hot baths and avoidance of other people, especially friends who smoked.  I was encouraged by friend's and colleagues' 'well done's' and determined to succeed.  Now I am a non-smoker.  No doubt about it.

So after 100 days of not smoking I decided to start eating healthily.  I didn't want to 'go on a diet' as I had tried that before and it hadn't worked for me.  So I decided to have a fruit and veg box delivered so that I would be forced to eat healthily.  I spent the whole of April learning how to cook healthily and as a result my skin was brighter, I had more energy and I felt great.  I didn't lose any weight though.

In May, we were issued the challenge 'Commit to Get Fit'.  I took up the challenge as part of Team HR.*    This was the motivation  I needed to start getting fit. 


This was last year's blog that I was too embarrased to share with anyone except for myself.  One year on I have managed to lose two stone and continue to exercise on a regular basis (mainly yoga and Pilates).  This year I will post a regular blog even though I find this part harder than actually exercising...







Team HR Week 3 Commit to Get Fit



As I mentionned in our first blog for CTGF 2013, most of our team are already gold members of Sussexsport and do a variety of activities outside of campus.  So this year's challenge is of most benefit to our newer staff members. Emma is new to Sussexport so her goal is to go to a class every week and try some new sports. She has tried Zumba this week and we are waiting to hear how she got on when she's next in the office. Rachael has not exercised since the last CTGF challenge last summer and wants to get back into an exercise routine.  She has been doing Zumba every week and also tried Aerobics which she said nearly killed her! Martin's long term goals are to lose a little weight, give up smoking, or cut down, and generally get fitter.  Nadia is looking at ways to reduce stress, which is something we could all benefit from.

Illness and injury has put a couple of the team out of action this week.  Cheryl continues to maintain her standard of excellence but has to drop back on the amount of sport she can do due to injury.  Leila wanted to try as many new classes as possible but due to a back injury her new goal is to strengthen her back and core with a combination of physiotherapy, chiropractor visits and exercise and to recover and be pain free.  She has also had to nightly climb around six flights of stairs visiting her mother in hospital.  Get well soon x

Helen continues to cycle to work and back everyday as well as for fun at the weekend. She also grows her own vegetables so is a picture of perfect health.  I tried Kung Fu today and met quite a few other CTGF participants from other departments, which is another bonus of taking part.  A couple of us stayed on to do the Yin yoga class afterwards.

Simone has been told that "summer bodies are made in winter", so she is hoping to make herself a whole new slimmer and fitter body in May! Both Simone and Sally are regulars on the circuit training sessions and push themselves to the limit in their quest for perfection!  On a lighter note, Dan’s goal is to eat as many burgers as he can whilst not gaining any weight so that he can build up his strength and Graham wants to try to stay sober(ish), do some ironing, go to bed early and climb Everest. 

All could benefit from the inspiring talk today about goal setting presented by Terry and Kevin Betts who has completed 52 marathons in a year. 


I love yoga



For the past year I have been doing yoga at least once a week.  I’ve felt less stressed now that yoga’s part of my regular routine and it does make a big difference to how I feel. I’m more relaxed when I’ve done yoga that day. The deep breathing helps you to relax, improves your mood and ability to concentrate. If you’re just beginning to get fit, no matter what your size, shape or fitness level, yoga can be a bit daunting. However, everyone  can work at their own pace. It is meant to make you feel good. After a year of going easy on myself and just going as far as felt comfortable for me, I am surprised at how quickly I have improved.  I never thought I would say this as I am not that flexible and of a heavy build.  When I first tried yoga it was to relax me whilst I was quitting nicotine.  I found it frustrating as everyone else in the room seemed to know what they were doing.   It was intimidating to stand in a class  in front of those enormous mirrors and try to feel relaxed at first. I had no balance and often fell over.  As time progressed, I got a little better, and have noticed changes in different areas of my body, mainly my flexibility. You do improve and see results and now I’d recommend it to anyone.



Team HR Week 2 Commit to Get Fit



Week 2 saw Sally taking part in her usual Circuit Training classes as well a trip to check out her new local park where she ended up walking for miles.  She landed at Wilde Park having to slide down as massively steep hill covered in rabbit poo.  She went walking in her flip flops and ended up with blisters between her toes!

Simone took part in 2 x 1 hour netball matches.  She can’t believe how rough netball is now and thinks she could do with some rugby training instead to get her ready ‘for a 'not so non-contact’ sport!  Dan did about 400 reps of bouncing his son up and down every day – his arms ache, but he reckons it’ll stop any bingo-wingage.

There was a lot of dancing taking place this week as well.  Graham danced on campus on Thursday and Emma danced for three hours on Saturday night in wedges, so she's hoping that burnt a few calories!

Helen and Graham have continued to cycle into work eveyday and everyone has kept up their usual fitness classes in the week.I went on the Bluebell walk at the week end in Arlington and attended a talk by Terry entitled Eat Better, Feel Better. 





Cakes and Sweat



Into week 3 of CTGF and we're still here......

The R&E team have been geting with a mixture of activities and I think we're all OK, everyone is still smiling (ish) and we are glowing with health, although to be fair, I am just glowing.

The main topic of conversation and prime activity appears to revolve around our need to maintian our cake and biscuit habit (read addiction) whilst also meeting the gluten free and vegan requirements of our personal challenges. I believe we have tried every form of gluten free biscuits and have even resorted to baking. On my cycle in this morning, I even worked out how to make gluten free vegan snacks, so that's my weekend sorted then.

Ah yes, my cycle in; this brings me nicely to the second point. Most of my exercise has invoved cycling and cardio activity... my goodness, the sweat, I appear to be constantly bathed in my own lactic acid and sweat (who knew your eyelids have sweat glands that poured forth?)

I've also realised that doing execise makes people obsessed with stats, here's some stats: Number of additional showers taken this month, 12. Number of additional laundry loads done to esnure I have some kit which is clean enough (read not sweat soaked) to put on, 5.

However, all the cycling (cycling to work and at least 3 spinning classes a week) must be paying off. This is the conversation I imagine taking place in Italy right now......

Sirs Bradley Wiggins and Dave Brailsford worked closely together on the composition of Team Sky's Giro squad

BW: "My chest's really bad, I don't think I can carry on..."

DB: " Don't worry Brad, I'll give Sarah a call and she can power the team up the Galibier, she managed a 27 minute hill climb in spinning without cracking. Here, take this packet of lockets and have a sleep"



SRS Team: Birthday cakes & power ballads



Today is Nathan Catt's birthday, so happy birthday Nathan and thanks for the cake! Cake and CTGF don't mix but with a team spinning class led by Kevin this afternoon I think we can afford this one small chocolatey lapse.

This afternoon the big debate in the office is if we should have I want to know what love is by Foreigner or No limits by 2 Unlimited on the spinning playlist. Apparently there's music invloved. I guess it's a motivational thing. If we don't work hard enough Kev puts Foreigner on.


But anyway, I know what you're thinking... "this is all very nice Ben, but what has Adam Willsmore been up to this week?" Well Adam fans, here he is with an update....

"So this week saw my first ever back-to-back session, an hour in the gym with Kev and Isobel and then straight into circuit training – hardcore! I think I’m getting a bit bigger (in the good sense) too… well my shirts are definitely feeling tighter across my chest; I’m waiting for an incredible hulk moment. I’ve also borrowed Jonathan’s road bike and I’m enjoying zipping along the road past all the cyclists who would normally be going faster than me (I’ve decided I’m not giving the bike back, don’t tell JB). As for the cheese, well I’ve definitely discovered how difficult it is to avoid eating cheese – it just pops up everywhere! But in good news I haven’t yet been found sneaking into the fridge late at night to snack on slices of brie, a previous favourite hobby of mine."

Jonathon's taking a few days off from CTGF for Great Escape but he does have news of his wonderful #42bridges charity run. At the beginning of June Jonathon has decided to run over 42BRIDGES in and around London - covering a total distance of over 35 miles!

Here's Jonathon on the run... "I’m raising money for Safehaven (a weekly Saturday soup kitchen supporting the homeless in Brighton) and Crossover (a homeless charity also based in Brighton who wish to buy a burger van so they can deliver food to the street community). I volunteer at Safehaven nearly every week and have found that what I would consider to be nothing can mean so much to someone. If you wish to read more you can view my blog at:

You can view the route at:

(I'll be starting at Richmond Bridge and (hopefully) ending up at Tower Bridge). If you wish to sponsor me, I would greatly appreciate it and the thought of what that money could do will keep me going. Please visit: Or text: BRID84 £3 (or any amount) to 70070. Or in person."


This photo is weird. If you have any idea what's going on please let me know if the comments section....


SRS Team: Birthday cakes & power ballads



Today is Nathan Catt's birthday, so happy birthday Nathan and thanks for the cake! Cake and CTGF don't mix but with a team spinning class led by Kevin this afternoon I think we can afford this one small chocolatey lapse.

This afternoon the big debate in the office is if we should have I want to know what love is by Foreigner or No limits by 2 Unlimited on the spinning playlist. Apparently there's music invloved. I guess it's a motivational thing. If we don't work hard enough Kev puts Foreigner on.

But anyway, I know what you're thinking... "this is all very nice Ben, but what has Adam Willsmore been up to this week?" Well Adam fans, here he is with an update....

"So this week saw my first ever back-to-back session, an hour in the gym with Kev and Isobel and then straight into circuit training – hardcore! I think I’m getting a bit bigger (in the good sense) too… well my shirts are definitely feeling tighter across my chest; I’m waiting for an incredible hulk moment. I’ve also borrowed Jonathan’s road bike and I’m enjoying zipping along the road past all the cyclists who would normally be going faster than me (I’ve decided I’m not giving the bike back, don’t tell JB). As for the cheese, well I’ve definitely discovered how difficult it is to avoid eating cheese – it just pops up everywhere! But in good news I haven’t yet been found sneaking into the fridge late at night to snack on slices of brie, a previous favourite hobby of mine."

Jonathon's taking a few days off from CTGF for Great Escape but he does have news of his wonderful #42bridges charity run. At the beginning of June Jonathon has decided to run over 42BRIDGES in and around London - covering a total distance of over 35 miles!

Here's Jonathon on the run... "I’m raising money for Safehaven (a weekly Saturday soup kitchen supporting the homeless in Brighton) and Crossover (a homeless charity also based in Brighton who wish to buy a burger van so they can deliver food to the street community). I volunteer at Safehaven nearly every week and have found that what I would consider to be nothing can mean so much to someone. If you wish to read more you can view my blog at:

You can view the route at:

(I'll be starting at Richmond Bridge and (hopefully) ending up at Tower Bridge). If you wish to sponsor me, I would greatly appreciate it and the thought of what that money could do will keep me going. Please visit: Or text: BRID84 £3 (or any amount) to 70070. Or in person."


 This photo is weird. If you have any idea what's going on please let me know in the comments section....


Power & Control



controlled and composed

Yesterday on campus we found a secret suntrap, the tennis courts up at the sports complex. Despite being freezing in our offices and the threat of rain throughout the day the sun was shining splendidly for our tennis taster session. Before Simon came down to join us on the courts to give us some much needed advice we decided to hit a few balls over the net ourselves. This proved quite amusing, as control was a problem for all of us. I seemed to be constantly hitting it over the fence; some people got the ball on other courts and none of us actually kept it in at all.

Luckily Simon found us and began to work on some of these problems. The main aspect we were all working on was control of the ball and not just taking a swipe at any old ball coming towards us.  Simon also made us practice our forehand and backhand which enabled us to think about the shots and hence have more composure and control.  Gwenda from our team turned out to be a great player and hardly needed any coaching at all.  Massive thanks to Simon who was great and put up with me trying to hit him with a speeding tennis ball on several occasions. We all really enjoyed the session and have arranged another one with a view to having a few games in the future.

Gwenda tennis

nicola and alex tennis

Alex playing tennis

DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Officially Wishfully No.8



Ha hah, what a week, CtGF continues apace in DARO, halfway through and people are looking beyond May to carry on the benefits of more exercise, good food and well-being.  

Luci plays netball a lot and has broken most of her fingers at various times but she has refocussed and made efforts to include gym work to balance her regime.  She's been to the gym three times already this week and is thinking about joining Boot Camp.  She's found that CtGF has provided her with a constant awareness of how to 'feel better' and thinks its great that the whole of DARO is doing it too.  Please do not start her on the juggling challenge, she changes before your eyes and eye contact should be avoided, scary.

Sarah, our poetry reader, has definitely achieved her Omega 3 goal and is eating more fish and nuts.  She has hurt her back a bit but is booked into the Power Hoop class and the Core Training seminar.  Feel better soon Sarah and let us know how you get on in your blog.

Declan, our Brighton Marathon runner - see his blog for a non recommended training regime - is booked onto the Boundary Run and has run the route one and a half times.  He's only been a road runner (beep beep) so off road is a real shock to him.  As a result he will be training, properly, for the run at the end of the month.  He is struggling not to eat sweet things so has gone back home for the weekend to upload carbs before training in earnest, apparently one 'does not say no to Mammie's tatties'.

Clare has bought quinoa and has made no cakes even though it is a daily struggle not to eat sweet things.  Well, she's not eaten sweet things in the office but has admitted to going home and spooning out Nutella straight from the jar.  However, she's thinking that by having more protein at lunch this might help combat the cravings.  Clare has done two runs and highly recommends Karen's yoga class on a Monday.

Mark is the hungry one not eating biccies in the office, who has left a duty free bottle of Jameson unopened over the weekend and has booked onto volleyball.  These are major commitments by Mark to CtGF as they are a large move away from usual habits.  We are very impressed.

Alex has blogged and is very proud of his 5 a'side football team.  They started at the bottom of six leagues and their last game saw them winning 9-1 to leave them at the top of the top.  He has cycled into the office every day and has been to the gym twice.  He's upped his Omega 3 intake by eating oily fish and has made sure his saturated and unsaturated fat consumption is more balanced.  He's also booked onto the volleyball and reckons that the whole of DARO has perked up through CtGF.  Luci has her rabid eyes set on Alex as he's currently the best at juggling.

Sally has, despite having a horrible cold, been cycling more and has done a couple of hours badmintoning.  She has stuck to her own goal of less caffiene, eating more healthily and avoiding snacks.  She helped her son make some chocolate cookies and enjoyed the reward of one cookie after baking.  But, when she had a late night search for another one she'd discovered they'd been too well hidden to find.  Her poor son was only too well aware of her wicked ways and hid them so that there'd be some left to take into school.  

Michael, our juggling guru and volleyball arranger, has refocussed his omega balance with some ground flaxseed and walnuts.  As a vegetarian with an allotment he does eat healthily but has analysed whether he could improve his diet.  He has a very sweet tooth so has eaten more fruit but has been shocked to measure his salt consumption is quite high.  Michael went for a walk on New Timber Hills but ended up running along instead.  He has also walked the 4.5 miles home and the long handled shears for the allotment have left him with a great lat workout, and ache.  He's been waiting for friends to go Bouldering with but has decided to book it anyway.

Aga has done the Power Hoop and Body Pump but didn't bring her kit for kayaking so she's been kicking herself.  She's made her own granola and plans to go swimming this weekend.  She's been keeping one of her goals secret but after the Goal Setting seminar has decided to share her weight loss goal and is already half way to achieving it.  Well done.

Jane, thats me, has enjoyed the community spirit in DARO and of all the CtGF teams, especially via the blogs.  I've also enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of the seminars and am getting clearer in the noggin just as the lungs get clearer from working out.

The non named DARO members missing from above have remotely kept me informed of their activities or we have spied them - Tom playing handball with Admissions.  Have a great weekend everyone.

Mr Twits Great Upside Down Monkey Circus - Get Fit Challenge - Week 3



Last week was a different kind of week to most. As part of the CTGF I thought I'd try some of the more gruelling sounding activities. I do Spin and Life Circuits most weeks so I'm used to putting some effort in. I chose Boxercise, H.I.T. (High Intensity Training) and Power Hoop and I thought I'd spread them over the month. Alas with availability of Power Hoop and a group Spin class and some fitness bartering "I'll do H.I.T. with you if you do group Spin?", I ended up deciding to do all 5 chosen activities over 4 days. I missed out Kung Fu because I used to do Shaolin Kung Fu here at Sussex over a decade ago.


I've done a little comparison:-


Intensity: High and low
Cardio: High I think
Sweat Factor: High
Out of breathe: Yes
Fun: Loads
Complicated to follow: No
Technique: It'll come
Recommend: Yes


Intensity: High and low
Cardio: Extreme
Sweat Factor: Extreme
Out of breathe: Yes
Fun: Sometimes (usually music dependent)
Complicated to follow: For new starters and the hard of hearing.
Technique: trainer should introduce the fundamentals. You need to learn your own limits though.
Recommend: Yes - its hard and noisy but rewarding.

At this point I should have been doing my headstand practice but after 2 dodgy night's sleep and 2 gruelling classes I decided sitting was a safer option....


Intensity: High and low
Cardio: Moderate
Sweat Factor: Moderate
Out of breathe: Yes
Fun: No! Ladies No! Squatting (it burns us precious). Aerobics and step, Gangnam Style and LMFAO songs, make your own opinion.
Complicated to follow: No, listen to trainer and watch person in front.
Technique: It hurts too much to care.
Recommend: Yes and no, a really good workout, Ria is an excellent class instructor but this class is not for me.

Slept like a babe on Tuesday night.*

Power Hoop

Intensity:Moderate and low
Cardio: Moderate
Sweat Factor: Moderate
Out of breathe: Yes (due to lack of technique).
Fun: Yes
Complicated to follow: No.
Technique: Critical, if you don't have it its hard work but once you start getting it it's good fun and the breathlessness goes.
Recommend: Yes

Life Circuits

Intensity:You choose
Cardio: Moderate
Sweat Factor: Moderate/You choose
Out of breathe: Sometimes
Fun: Yes, both Mark and Terry work really hard on making these classes different every week.
Complicated to follow: No comment - once you get going its normally fine.
Technique: For safety reasons you should know what you're doing with weights and apparatus. The instructors will show you.
Recommend: Yes

And it's over. I couldn't wait for Friday's Yin Yoga class. It was the reward for a very very hard week. It has to be said that I did over do it during week 3. I was running on empty at H.I.T. and Power Hoop. I had a few aches that I wouldn't normally get, like tight calves.

In reflection I have a balanced exercise regime but I think I'd like to include a bit of walking, a bit of swimming, alternate cycling with rowing [Indoor Rowing Classes Terry?] and I wish I was disciplined enough to use the gym regularly on my own. I will commit to trying out the next 6 week course for Metabolic Training.


Quick Monkey Circus Update

*On Weds I had a go at the headstand. Karen pointed out I was going up in an uncontrolled and rushed way. I think I've improved that. Still haven't got that balance point. But I'm working on getting used to being upside down. I spent two 5 min sessions upside down on Friday and I think I'll go for 10 mins tonight. Then I reckon it's time to leave the wall.


Finally, water consumption is rubbish still but I've only had 5 packets of crisps this month. Walker's are sending a rep round later this week.

Commit to get fit Challenge - ITS Group - weeks 1 & 2



The ITS team consists of 13, we range from inactive couch potato(es) to very active people, but we've all committed to improve something.


We got off to a cracking start as one of our members, who will remain nameless, Gill Powell, harangued all staff in the building and gathered enough people to win the coveted “University of Sussex Boundary Walk Most Departmental Participants 2013”. With shouts and heckles from smaller departments we strode off for a thoroughly nice walk. I asked one member of ITS why they were doing it, “Gill was right in front of me, I just couldn’t say no” was the reply.


Group activities started with Wii Fit. With our BMIs and Wii Fit ages we booked ourselves in for Body Composition at the Sports Centre. 3 of us done and Terry runs out of sticky pads – so I’m afraid folks you’ll have to wait on our comparison.


Individually, we worked towards our goals in various ways such as buying tracksuit bottoms and gym kits. One of us went to a rave. One of us has now given up smoking, another has cut down. Other activities tried out are handball, running, boxercise, mountain biking, trampolining, horse riding, rowing, spin, headstands and tennis. 3 of us attended Terry’s interesting talk on Food.


Next week we have a table tennis tournament and a group spin class AND will Terry’s sticky pads arrive?

Stuart Sets the Ball Rolling

A lovely walk in the welsh countryside.... NOT!!



After a shaky, very slow start, the Careers CTGF team are going from strength to strength...further details will follow separately, but just wanted to mention a personal achievemen (as part of CTGF) which I'm particularly proud of....

Last weekend I climbed Pen y Fan (pronounced /pɛn.ə.ˈvan/), in the Brecon Beacons... it's  the highest peak in South Wales and southern Britain - 886 metres (2,907 ft) above sea-level and it was the toughest walk I've ever done!!  The main issue was the weather - it was raining when we started (we did a tough ascent up from Neuadd Reservoir for anyone who's been there) and it just got worse and worse - horizontal rain, gale force winds, and fog - a marvellous experience!!  The views are supposed to be spectacular, but we'll never know!!  After almost 5 hours of walking, we were all very relieved to get back to the car (just as lots of mountain rescue and ambulances sped up the road to rescue a walker whom, we later learnt, had badly injured his leg)....Note to self - don't scrimp on waterproof clothing, SportsDirect isn't know for its quality - was rather damp at the end to say the least !!- also learn how to use a compass (we were lucky to find a helpful man on the top of Pen y Fan who pointed out our path down!!) - otherwise we could have been in that ambulance!!.

Anyway... amazingly I'm now fired up to climb more mountains (I love the sense of achievement) and am planning a trip to the Lake District next!  Onwards and upwards!! 

Here we are looking mildly hysterical (I'm the one looking very hysterical, 2nd from the left!!)

Pen y Fan

The N&Ns reveal all



Somewhat belated, maybe, but I think it's time we heard from the Ni(c)ks...

Girl Nik:

Original reason for taking part/Goals:

I avoided it like the plague last year, but was roped into going to a volleyball game which was actually quite fun. I’m mostly taking part this year because there was no avoiding it – the whole team are doing it. Plus I took up swimming this year and it’d be good to be able to improve my speed in the pool and my breathing. (I can currently do a mile – 64 lengths - in 70 minutes, so hopefully that’ll be improved by the end of the month!)

I’d like to do the volleyball again, and have agreed to doing trampolining tonight (bit concerned I might not survive), and badminton next week. Oh and I’d like to do pingpong, but not with Nick or John because they’ve said that they would “destroy me”.

Abstaining from: Crisps

Adventures so far include: Falling over on the Boundary walk “I failed at walking!”, and being left dangling like a piñata from the trampoline after defiantly trying to get off on the wrong side. After a promising start, Nik has disappointed us all since then, by staying upright.


Boy Nick:

Original reason for taking part/Goals: I hope to ease the strain on my spluttering gallbladder by eating no cheese (mozzarella isn’t cheese right?) and try as many things as possible that my bandaged feet allow (this will probably involve some kind of tv remote controller weight lifting). I hope to increase my fruit and vegetables consumption to 10 a day, spend a lot more time walking around the supermarket to find said fruit and vegetables, and to drown myself in water.

Abstaining from: "Cheese – Not crisps"

Adventures so far include: Despite having unfortunately-timed ‘foot issues’, Nick took Kelly up on her rash offer to push him around the Boundary Walk in his office chair; sadly they only managed a few yards before they both encountered ‘step issues’ . Since then, Nick has kept his distance from Kelly's many 'brilliant' ideas but has not given up the challenge and can be  seen gallantly partaking of many a ‘fruit chaser’ between each packet of crisps.


Commit to...stay in the saddle



On Friday I did my first - and last - spin class. Now this is one type of exercise I never thought I'd even try but in the spirit of ctgf, and 'cos Kev (SRS Action Man, who was running the class) assured me it would be ok, I decided to give it a go.

When will I ever learn?

Needless to say it  was even worse than I had expected it to be, and I desperately wanted to get off the bike after the first few minutes. But I forced myself to stay on and keep peddling until the bitter end - even though I was going downhill (in every sense) with a following wind, while everyone else was climbing the Pyrenees! 

Thanks to Kev for putting on the session, and especially for keeping to his promise not to berate me if I was rubbish, but I really did find it to be pretty hellish and not my kind of thing at all.  Which just goes to show that when it comes to sport and fitness it's definitely a case of "horses for courses". Unfortunately,  after one session of spin I was only fit to be melted down for glue...

"Why the long face, Louise?"

BSMS-8 The saga continues



Well the baton has been handed to me to write our team blog while Liz is away. (Look, it’s already started with a sporting metaphor. Skills.) 

So what have the BSMS-8 (9) been up to in the past week?  Well after a dynamic start to committing to get fit with lots of walking, gymming and classes; it seems that half the team hit a mid-month slump similar to the mid-afternoon crash you get if you don’t get your coffee.  (ok, I may still be a little obsessed).

Lisa admitted to not having a great week exercise wise with only one lot of kickboxing and volleyball.  I believe these occurred at different times, otherwise she has just invented her own extreme sport.  She does say she is doing well on the water front though.

Jayne also believes she hasn’t had a great week although she has walked a mile and a half on 3 out of 5 mornings to get her bus.  We also did have our team walk on Friday lunch, where we went to Stanmer Park and apparently did 2 miles.

Liz had a superbusy week with work as she was trying to get everything done in time for her holibobs.  However she has said she will be spending a great deal of her holiday running around with her two year old!

Pat has continued with her Pilates classes and came on the team walk to Stanmer on Friday.

Amii again feels that she has not had a great week for exercise, but did manage to get from Old Steine to the train station on Thursday night in 11 minutes.  Please remember this journey is all up hill and she didn’t feel breathless at the end of it.  I believe this should be counted as a win. She is doing as well as possible on the caffeine thing, especially as she has recently changed to a new medication which has left her feeling groggy and drowsy. 

Nichola sadly wasn’t able to come on the Friday walk with us this week due to this horrible thing called work.  However she has rediscovered the nature reserve near to her home where she has gone on long rambles with her children.  She has also been swimming with them weekly, and is now contemplating getting a new bike. (I should rethink that sentence.)  Nichola also shared with us some writing on the hunger scale (where 1 is starving to the point of feeling dizzy and 10 is eating to the point you feel uncomfortably full and sick.)  This scale has made her think more about what she is eating.

Ellen has been amazing and has taken part in the Friday walks.  She has also been swimming weekly and been on her exercise bike at home twice last week.

Charlotte has been our star this week though, as she went to the talk on goal setting and has stepped up her activities.  She has started planning more exercise related things as she will achieve more if she plans it first.  She has also been looking seriously into her diet and cooking food in advance.  She has eaten more, but is eating more healthily and having homemade soup before lunch which has helped kerb the unnecessary afternoon snacking.  She has also been sleeping better due to her exercise regime.  In fact I believe I just saw her heading off to the ‘Sleepless in Brighton talk’!

And me?  Well I have been another one experiencing a slump.  The stopping caffeine after 13:00 is mostly happening, although I am possibly a little more lax on this than Amii.  However this has been due to my old sleep cycle re-establishing itself even with the reduced caffeine intake.  Foodwise however, I’ve been going great guns with doing all the home cooking.  Not necessarily healthy cooking, but home cooking nonetheless.  With exercise I haven’t done as well as planned.  My goal to do one exercisey thing a day was possibly a little overzealous, but I am doing about 4 exercise things a week.  These include little walks to the village, and popping onto the exercise bike.  I have also been to another zumba class which took place on Saturday *gasp!*  Again I found this awesome, but was a little bemused by running into 2 of our students while flushed and sweaty.

So overall we’re doing ok.  We’re all doing more than we would have been doing without ctgf, so those of us feeling a little down for not doing so much as previously should be feeling pretty awesome about doing stuff in the first place.

Til next week then.  Same Bat–time, same Bat-channel.

Better habits



Two-thirds into the CtGF challenge I am starting to reflect on my progress and how I am feeling.  I seem to be doing a class pretty much every weekday (even though its not my challenge this year) at the moment and cycling in some form most days. For me I have got to the point where fitting exercise into my daily routine is easier and I am not searching for excuses not to do any infact I am enjoying it alot more. If anything I need to watch I’m not doing too much.

Last week I was booked onto 7 classes in 5 days but had to drop a class and forego cycling in one day as my body was too tired and strained from the accelerated activity, so I needed to allow it to rest and recover for a day. A habit I can get into with the gym is going to loads of classes for a sustained period then dropping everything for a few weeks then taking on classes again. So for me my aim for when the challenge is over is to sustain a resonable level of activity and maintain regular class attendance with no long absenses.

What has been interesting in the past few weeks is how I have incorporated fitness into my social life; going on long walks with friends, organizing group bike rides and having swim and sauna sessions have all been great for the mind and body, but also have been really social occasions too.

Something I have noticed in the past few weeks is a change in my eating habits. Now I am not one of these people who can give something up for a whole month. I would rather do extra exercise to allow myself a treat or try and incorporate a healthier schedule into my life. Recently I have been having more apples, reaching for them before I go to the vending machine for a chocolate fix.  Additionally I have had a few salads this week and have enjoyed them. These may seem like small changes, but you have to start somewhere and I’m hoping I can stick to all of these changes and continue with the momentum that CtGF has started.

I may have jinxed myself in my last blog



I think I may have jinxed myself in my last blog saying that I was starting to enjoy the CTGF month. The last week or so has gone a little bit pear-shaped to say the least.

My twice weekly jog in training for the Race for Life hasn't really happened as I've been busy at home in the evenings and weekends packing up boxes, decluttering the flat ready to put it on the market. Although I've not been running I'm still sure this counts as I've been a lot more physical than I would normally if I'd been vegged in front of the TV.

I'm definitely feeling the benefits of my weight loss over the last year and was pretty amazed when on Thursday evening I legged it up the hill from the Old Steine to Brighton Train Station to get the last direct train home. I made it in 11 minutes and was barely out of breath when I got on the train with 2 minutes to spare.

I'm hoping that over the next few days I'll be able to squeeze in a jog or two somewhere and actually have the energy to do so. I'm on new medication which is making me feel quite lethargic, but on the plus side its making me very thirsty so lots of water is being drunk!

Ta ta for now. Hopefully my next blog update is a bit more active than this one!


Team HR Week 3 Commit to Get Fit



This week in HR we have been doing pilates, cycling to work, dynamic bodywork, life circuits, aerobics, Zumba, fitness training, yoga and Morris dancing.

Helen went for a long walk in the country on Saturday (11 miles) and if that wasn’t enough, another one on Sunday (again 11 miles) over the down from Seaford to Alfriston and back which is quite a hilly route.   She said it was great to be out in the fresh air but thinks her legs are a bit shorter now!  Then yesterday she did her usual 1.5 hour yoga class which fortunately was concentrating on relaxing.

Simone was also manhandled by an overzealous ‘Goal Keeper’ at a netball match on Thursday night who managed to bend her right arm back further than it should – hence the one-armed life circuits she managed to scrape through today!



CTGF – The Moon is made of cheese…



May is almost over and I haven’t blogged yet about Commit To Get Fit. Tells you how committed I probably am…

Anyway, the challenges I set at the beginning of the months were to walk part of my bus journey every day thus having an extra hour walk each day and to try and go vegan for a month in an attempt to give up my long held obsession with cheese.

The walking is working out surprisingly well; I am almost not losing any time on my journey to/from work. Tells you how speedy the bus is…

In an impulse buying rush I also managed to buy a Power Hoop and I have gained a lot … of bruises. Still have to master the technique.

On the vegan front I am a lot less successful. Unfortunately I seem to break my commitment almost every weekend when eating out but I am doing well on avoiding cheese as much as possible. Although having discovered vegan cheese alternatives which are just as bad calorie and fat-wise and a lot worse preservatives-wise I suppose I am not really doing myself much of a favour. Cutting out the vegan cheese can be my challenge for June…

New kid on the block



We have a new member the team.

He lives in the cupboard and has made himself very unpopular already.

He is being studiously ignored by everyone...most creatively by John, with his chocolate-biscuit-and-white-chocolate-button combo, of which he was justly proud:

(for those of you who don't know John, he can be easily recognised due to his freakishly tiny feet and huge hands)


Ouch my pectineus!



Well CtGF hasn't been going so well since Monday's circuit training class. Sadly during a set of squat jumps I pulled my pectineus muscle. For the non latin speaking non anatomy and physiology experts among you that's one of the groin muscles :(

Luckily it's quite a mild strain as I am now walking with only the mildest of limps now but it's really scuppered my training regime. I'm hoping I might be able to do some light jogging at the weekend. I need to train as it's only 2 weeks until tough mudder but I don't want to push myself and cause a more serious injury so I'm going to have to be very careful with anything I do.

If anyone out there has a miracle cure them please let me know.

I just wanted to say thanks to Neil and the other instructors in the circuit training class who firstly ensured I stopped and then showed me some good stretches for the affected area.

CTGF: Research and Enterprise team gets fruity



Our quest towards becoming Radiant and Energised continues. At Research and Enterprise we are swapping empty carbs for fresh fruit treats. No more sugar-loaded drawers for us. 


the hidden drawer


RES gets fruity

CTGF - my experiences so far - Carol from the IT Services team



Despite all my best intentions, my commit to Get Fit journey didn't really start until week 3. 

On that day, I put on my gym gear ready for our IT Services CTGF table tennis tournament, went to find my team mates .... and discovered that the tournament was happening the following week on the 20th.

Still, I was in my gym kit, so I thought I might as well go to the gym. 

And that got me started.

On Tuesday 14th, I went to the Goal Setting Session. My primary goal is to build some core strength and upper body strength. I cycle (commute to work) as my main form of exercise and that doesn't do anything at all for core strength. Also, I want to keep my bones healthy with some weight bearing exercise, so a second goal is to get back into running.

On Wednesday I plucked up my courage and went for Beginner's Running. No one else turned up, so it was just me and the running coach Cathy Drew. Cathy took me for a gentle run up to Stanmer House and back round to the Sports Centre. I would have stopped .... except Cathy seemed to think I could do it, so we just kept running. I felt it was an enormous privilege to have one to one training, so many thanks to Cathy for an inspiring session!

I felt a bit stiff on Thursday, but I went off to Circuits and really enjoyed that. It was fast paced, and great fun.

Friday I felt quite a lot stiffer, and on Saturday I was really hobbling around. I think it was over enthusiastic stretching! I had to cancel some activities though.

It's been interesting to see how many of the CTGF blog posts have been about stiffness and pain. Maybe it would be good to have a session on how to ramp up gently near the beginning of the CTGF month?

On Tuesday 21st, I went to a seminar with Terry on core strength, and followed that up with Core Training on Tuesday evening. This felt very good, and I'm keen to keep going with it. 

My next planned activities were for Thursday 23rd (yesterday) and today.

But I managed to cycle at speed into one of the new bus stop islands on the Lewes Road yesterday evening, and came off my bike onto my head. So I think I'll have to take a couple of days off again, and try to pick things up next week.

Overall, I'm getting a huge amount from this program, and am really pleased to be taking part.

Many thanks to the SussexSports team - and to our ITS team leader Steve.


Beats to push you along



We've all been in an exercise class with particularly uninspiring music that doesn't fit or push us as much as it should do. Workout music is a very personal thing and we will all react differently to music, but there are certain tunes that really do give you that burst of energy and push you to run to the end of the road or kick a little higher.

My music taste is fairly broad but when it comes to an aerobic workout I tend to lean on the dance with a hint of cheese side of things. Now I love The XX, The National and Interpol but for me they go better with a good chat and glass of red wine than a sweat drenched kickboxing class.

The list below is something I like to work out to. It leads you into a steady pace with tracks like 'Poison' by the Prodigy and 'Tick of the clock' by Chromatics then hits you with a high energy burst of pop, as Nelly Furtado says 'oh you crazy people come and jump around'! I just had to put some David Bowie on it, everyone loves him at the moment and his new album is great I can't stop listening to it. The list carries on and i'm sure you will recognise at least some of the tracks and be introduced to a few of the others. Leading you to the inevitable cool down and the only song you can really stretch those quads and calves to, Beyoncé, 'Halo'. Enjoy.



Keep calm and carry on!



This week is crazy busy I don't actually know where to start. I have quite a few work deadlines I'm working to, I'm moving rooms in my shared house tonight and i'm trying to fit exercise between all of this. Not much I can do really but get on with it one thing at a time, but it is easier said than done. I'm arranging and rearranging group sessions, trying to sort out transport for the London to brighton bike ride I'm doing in a couple of weeks and trying not to think about the boundary run I've signed up for tomorrow that I haven't done not nearly enough training for. But I'm going to do it and i'm going to do everything else and probably have a rest and massive slice of cake when it's all over.

I think I am one of those people who works fairly well under pressure and a colleague once said to me (a formed boss actually) he would always ask the busiest person to do something for him as he then knew it would get done and that logic kind of makes sense.

When I first started CtGF I had in my head an imagined or ideal way that I thought things would pan out, this included loads of planned group sessions, cycling everyday and daily blog posts. Well ideal is one thing but life does get in the way and things happen that you have to react to and deal with and you have to get on with them, which actually is good training for incorportating exercise into your life, you have to work it around and fit it into your normal life which can be hard and busy but you do it and hopefully it will eventually reward you. These rewards are very personal, for me exercise clears my head and makes me feel more in control and energised and does wonders for my sleep. For other people it gives them confidence and makes them feel better about themselves, for you who knows? Answers below.

Back to work for me now, but i'll be down the gym at lunch on the bike clocking up those last minute miles, probably writing a list at the same time.

Holy Guacamole



I love guacamole and once you have made it from scratch you will never want to buy the supermarket brand again, which is probably good as a lot of mass produced brands only use a small amount of avocado combined with lots of oil and fats.

Guacamole is generally quite good for you as it contains nutrients, vitamins (especially vitamins A, E & K) and no cholesterol, but bear in mind it should be eaten in moderation as it’s very high in calories, a single avocado has 322 calories.

But as long as you’re not eating it by the bucket load you are fine to indulge in this tasty dip every now and then. My guacamole recipe takes no longer than 15 minutes to make all you have to do is:

  • Mash two ripe medium avocados
  • Mix in a teaspoon of fresh or dried crushed red chilies, a chopped medium red onion, a couple of chopped vine tomatoes, you can use normal tomatoes, but I prefer vine
  • Add a good squeeze of lime juice
  • Give it all a good mix
  • Garnish with fresh coriander
  • Eat immediately

guacamole with text

Mr Twits Great Upside Down Monkey Circus - Get Fit Challenge - Week 4



The penultimate week - week 4 saw a step back towards the reality of more time with the world topsy turvy.


10 minutes upside down didn't seem to much of a challenge - finding 10 minutes seemed more of a challenge last Tuesday. By the time the kids were in bed I rushed downstairs to invert myself. Dinner was about to be served. I scoffed my dinner, waited 10 minutes and then announced my intentions. I was given the support I needed, "You're an idiot, your dinner will reappear". I didn't want that so sat down and watched the tv for half an hour. Miranda was on next. Now seemed like the perfect moment to disappear to the far end of the room. I went up into a headstand with my legs resting against the wall (remember the intention was just to get used to being upside down). After a while a began to feel a little weird and asked my wife how long I'd been doing it. "5 minutes" came the disappointing reply, I'd reckoned at least 7. Ho hum. Miranda was still wittering on in the background. I decided the best way of getting through the next 5 minutes was to zone out a little, so I closed my eyes and relaxed. The next 5 minutes flew by.


I met Karen on Weds. On our way into the practice room I found that I've got a new fan. Fan number 2 after my daughter. Donna, "Can I come and watch?", Me, "When I can do it?", Donna "But it sounds like you can do it from what I've been reading".... I've tried to be positive about the progress I've made but there is no way that I could demonstrate a headstand yet, with a wall yes, without a wall no. As predicted it was time to leave the wall. Now was the time to master getting up steadily. This week I wasn't going to raise my legs, just lift them from the floor and leave them bent into my chest. I was getting the hang of getting off the floor and into position. 5 seconds ok and then wobble a bit and then down. I've been stuck on 5 seconds the whole week. The problem is I find it pretty tiring still and can only do a couple of practices in a row. I've seen Karen today but that is for my final blog. I'm not keeping anything from you it just belongs in the next blog.


Water consumption is still miserable but I didn't have a single packet of crisps last week. Apple consumption has gone up and appears to be my work snack of choice. Carb intake has gone down. It's amazing how nearly every meal is based around a large carb intake. It's hard removing it from my evening meals, pasta, rice and potatoes with everything. A reduction in portion size seems the best thing.


Careers - what's been occurring last week!



We're still going for it in Careers and are making a big push for extra and more stuff in this last week. Tongue Out We've done:

Walking - longer and more dog walks; an 8 miler in the beautiful Hampshire countryside; and a long walk in the Welsh borders

Tennis - following our team coach with Simon a few weeks ago, 4 team members were so smitten ..... with the tennis!! (and perhaps also with the coach?!) Wink... that they signed up for Simon's weekly coaching session and have already enjoyed 2 hours of coaching (and today's in the rain!).  Other team members continue to play energetic tennis both socially and in club matches.

Cycling - have put clothes in the wardrobe and started using the exercise bike for its proper purpose; two other team members have done a 20 miler and a 25 miler this weekend; and there's been lots more cycling to work (when's Chris Wadey going to give us our rebates on parking fees??)

Running - we've done this as well - including a night run in Bexhill and a 6 k training run (for Brighton Half marathon)

new things - including: Zumba (once only, discovered a complete lack of coordination, although enjoyed it at the back doing my own thing to the rather good music!); Zip wire in wales (fab!); Dirty Dancing and Davina DVDs (hopefully in the privacy of their sitting rooms!!); best of all, one member's signed up for a 6 week sea rowing course (let's hope it's not too choppy - her only previous rowing experience was in a canal!!)

Other noteworthy things - have included: Yoga, not using the car for a whole 5 days (ditto above parking comment!)

Eating and Drinking - I'd like to say the whole team has cut back on their alcohol consumption (but not on Fridays and Saturdays!); one team member has confessed to drinking a green smoothie every day (yuk!); and 2 team members are bravely persevering with the 5:2 diet; finally.... "no comment on cutting down on the chocolate…………."


Onwards and upwards toward the last few days of CTGF!



BSMS-8 Commit to get fit - catching up



The month is coming to an end and I personally haven't blogged since week 2.  I know my other team members have been flying our flag in the meantime, though.  My excuse for not blogging is that I was on holiday in week 4 and frantically busy trying to finish everything on my desk before my holiday in week 3.  This stuff stopped me blogging, but it did not stop my personal commitment to CTGF and to my lovely colleagues who have been so encouraging and supportive.

So on the day of my last blog I did get to the gym with Jayne.  I didn't overdo it and my 15 mins or so on the cross-trainer went far quicker than I had expected.  I spent some time on a bike too and stretching and bending on the mats.  Will definitely not wait 14 years or so until the next time I go - hopefully very soon indeed.  I planned to go again the following week, but paperwork for a meeting prevented me - perhaps tomorrow ...

On the Friday of week 2 I managed to get out of a meeting with about 3 mins to spare before the team embarked on our second Friday lunchtime walk.  We did the reverse circuit that we had walked the previous week with steeper upward hills and were speedier too - felt like progress!

Week 3 was a bit of a washout due to the amount of work I needed to do before my leave coupled with lunchtime meetings, but I managed to keep up with my commitment to drink lots of water and stayed caffeine free (apart from a cup of coffee I accepted after church without thinking).

Last week I was on holiday - in centre parcs in Longleat, Wiltshire, which is known for being hilly.  Every day I covered quite a few miles, either pushing a buggy or jogging along to keep up with my toddler on her scooter (I've decided to buy a scooter soon so that we can scoot together).  We also swam a lot, which was quite hard work at times, especially when the wave machine was on and I was swimming against the tide in order to keep my daughter upright on her woggle.  I'm afraid I failed seriously on the no caffeine front, allowing myself coffee and one or two diet cokes, but I did also drink a lot of water (and wine, but I never said I was giving that up).

From the beginning of CTGF I had wanted to try a Zumba class.  Yesterday was my only opportunity, due to clashing meetings etc on all the other possible occasions.  I LOVED IT - and will definitely continue going whenever possible after CTGF has finished.  I didn't feel quite as much of an old croc as I did in dynamic yoga and, since I have a dance background somewhere in my childhood, I managed to keep up with most of the moves.  I also definitely felt bendier / stretchier than I did at the begining of the month, which is a very pleasing result!  The teacher, Gemma, was really encouraging - and very smiley Smile and fun to watch.  Zumba music makes you feel very young and "with it" - perhaps I should seek an opportunity to try out those trendy moves in a club, though that is bound to embarrass my husband and / or daughter ....  hmmm, perhaps I'd better just keep them for the classes ...

So, tomorrow is the last day of CTGF.  I will definitely miss it.  It has been a great impetus to try new things and get out and about more.   Thank you so much for allowing us to use the facilities / attend classes for free (that made a world of difference).  The encouragement of my team mates has been brilliant - we have shared what we have individually been doing and urged each other to do a bit more / go for it.  I hope we manage to celebrate with a final Friday walk - or if not, perhaps I will venture back to the gym.


CTGF - one year one (and now I am officially a runner!)



Who'd have thought that four years ago my first gentle five minute jog downhill (which ended in much wheezing, sweating and moaning of "never again!") could be a precursor to my current revived, invigorated and superfit self?

To say I used to be a little overweight is perhaps an understatement. I was a lazy 30-something, not realising that time was ticking and that pretty soon shifting my lumpy butt would be nigh on impossible. I convinced myself that my three minute cycle to work and back each day was going to be my saving grace, so I did nothing else. I also love food and hate diets, so I was my own worst enemy in that respect too.

However, in 2010 an ex-colleague completed the first Brighton Marathon. Not in a super quick time, but she finished it. I was awestruck by her achievement and convinced I would never be the sort of person to run like that. Ever. Full stop. 

She inspired my boyfriend, Dan, who signed up for the 2011 Brighton Marathon as soon as he could and went on to complete that and then the 2012 race with very respectable times of 3:57 and 3:29 respectively. 

I had started working at Sussex in Summer 2010 and extended my daily commute to a total of nine miles. My fitness and stamina improved gradually over the first six months.

Spurred on by Dan's new found commitment to running and inspired by his achievements, I began my own marathon journey somewhere around the beginning of 2011. Just very short distances at first - sometimes running, sometimes jogging and frequently walking. I had good days and bad days, as everyone does with running, but I pushed through and in late 2011 did my first Parkrun in Hove Park. 

Parkrun is a 5km timed run/race for all ages and abilities. My boyfriend had prepped me beforehand saying I definitely wouldn't be the last to finish and, though I walked a substantial part of the second lap, I was not the last person to cross the finish line. At 31 minutes, I was a long way from being the first across the line, too. But that isn't the point of this type of race - it's you against yourself each week - aiming for a new personal best. So it became a regular thing and soon I was running the full distance and shaving minutes off my PB.

By early 2012 I was running (sporadically and very much depending on the weather) more than once per week - even occasionally swapping Sunday lie-ins for a jog on the seafront. I was regularly running for five to eight miles by the time April 2012 came around. Inspired by the second great marathon performance by my partner, I signed up for the 2013 Brighton Marathon, just ahead of 2012 Commit to Get Fit.

I carried on cycling and running throughout May 2012 and myself and my amazing team-mates in Admissions proudly won the CTGF 2012 trophy. I would add here that it was not just about the number of miles we put in, but also the group effort of the team, who tried virtually every sport on offer that month, whilst also bonding over lunchtime games of Molkki.

After the CTGF dust settled, however, I was faced with the reality of the task ahead. Running in May is very different to running in the depths of winter - I really had to dig deep to get up at 6am on Sunday mornings in January and brave the freezing drizzle and bitter winds up on the Downs - all in the name of marathon training.

I began to ready myself for "The Race" in early spring, with two half marathons: Brighton in February (boiling hot) and Hastings in March (sub-zero). I followed all of the advice on offer for first time marathon runners and by race day felt there wasn't much more I could do to get around the course in one piece.

I am proud to say that I did complete the marathon. My time of 4:27 was about what we'd predicted, given my lack of experience. I'm not going to say it was a breeze - at times it was serious hell - but it was a truly emotional and inspiring day. So many people have stories to tell you about why they are running and it is very hard not to feel a lump in your throat when you are standing at the start line.

You might think that the end of the marathon would be the end for my running journey - one of the most challenging races over and no need to put myself through that any more...surely? Not one bit.

Before the marathon training was over, I'd already been roped into a six person team to run the South Downs Way Relay, which is this Saturday the 1st June. I've been out practising my legs in the relay over the last six weeks in some of the loveliest countryside in the South of England.

I've also already signed up to run the 2014 Brighton Marathon and Half Marathon. I will definitely do Hastings again next year and am planning on a few 10k races between now and then, too. I still do the Parkrun and am hoping to go below 24 minutes in that before too long - I have mixed in some speed training with my regular weekly running schedule, which will help. The training is paying off, as I took the women's third place in the Boundary run yesterday - behind one extremely talented and accomplished runner with lots of experience and another who was super quick and about 15 years my junior!

The next step? My boyfriend and I are on the verge of committing to Brighton & Hove AC membership. Believe me, if I could go back and tell myself as I was four years ago that I would one day be joining an athletics club and running marathons for fun, I would never have believed it. I love running now - I'm fitter than I've ever been and I pretty much eat whatever I want but I don't gain weight anymore. I'm also two stone lighter than I was when I started working at Sussex.

I'm writing this blog post under the banner of Commit to Get Fit, which is an excellent and motivating initiative by Sussex Sport, but I do hope that after reading this you might also feel inspired by my story and see that it is not so hard to change your life for the better.




One of the other reasons I've got a bit behind on my blogging is that I went back to The Midlands to see family over the long bank holiday weekend. This gave me very little time to write anything, but also very many excuses to be lazy. So I've basically been too ashamed to blog as I failed to do any exercise, eat my five a day or drink enough water for several days, losing many SRS competition points in the process.

I did, however, manage to abstain from my 'abstaining  throughout May' foods, despite quite extreme provocation:

1) having to endure the sight and sound of my boyfriend Paul and his daughter each scoffing large packets of very fragrant (salt and vinegar) crisps while we crawled along the M25 and M40 with all the other bank holiday traffic 

2) my step-dad presenting me with 2 big bars of chocolate to scoff as I settled down to watch the champions league final 

3) the unbelievably delicious-looking 'Bakewell Tart Cake' that Paul's daughter and niece made on Sunday (see pic below) - the remainder of which was left directly in front of me for hours after everyone else had stuffed huge wedges of it into their mouths after dinner.

So it should perhaps come as no great surprise that by Tuesday the crisp, chocolate and cake cravings were at an all-time high.  

Girl Nik was also struggling with the crisp-love. So much so that when Kelly asked if anyone wanted her to bring them something back from the Co-op, it was all too much and she fell onto her desk in a piteous attack of the vapours:

Nik: “I soooo want crisps!  HOW MUCH LONGER??”

Boy Nick responded by immediately scrabbling about in his wallet for some money so he could ask Kelly to get him some crisps to taunt us both with, but Kelly already had a secret supply in her office and started waving them around at poor Girl Nik:









Which all goes to show the power of junk food, and why it is so easy to become addicted to it. Which I guess is why we've tried to break the habit by abstaining from various things during this challenge. And some days it's been surprisingly easy, but I have to say the crisps have been calling me the loudest throughout the month. 

So much so that I've challenged Girl Nik to a 'crisp-off' this coming Monday, although I may have to delay this for a week as I've remembered that I've got a short holiday planned next weekend and a monster crisp binge doesn't seem like the best idea just before I try to squeeze myself back into my bikini!

But after that, the gloves will be off and the packets will be ripped open. Can't wait!

Swashbuckling - and other Gallic adventures.



I have tried many new things this month - not least of which has been writing a blog for the first time. I have learnt 3 things from this: 

1) blogging can be fun
2) blogging can be very time-consuming
3) if you spend your lunch hours getting fit, there's not much time to blog.

Which is why I've got a bit of catching up to do, and so here's a couple more individual team members' stories, starting with the lovely 'Marie from Estates' - postmistress par excellence and fluffy team mascot.

Marie's original goals:
"to keep my heart-rate in the late 150's -early 160's whilst on the cross-trainer [and when playing football] to keep chasing the ball until the sides of my head are sweat drenched. I'm going to try to cut down my pastry intake to 3 a week and remember to bring Redbush teabags into work to cut down my caffeine intake."

Recent update: 
"I played drunken doubles ping pong for hours in France over the weekend - in fact I formed an unbeatable/unbearable partnership with an equally unlikely champion. And then we made the mistake of taking on a wily pair whilst we were sober. Also, played shambolic but gripping tournement of 5-a-side volleyball, where we changed all the rules to improve the flow of the game. Once again, I found myself on the winning team with only minimal cheating. Not a drop of bierre or vin or cidre passed my lips - so I can achieve sporting success whilst pure in body and mind."

She will now join other M&Ms for our CTGF swansong - a no holds barred group game of rubbish table tennnis tomorrow afternoon, though it has yet to be decided whether this will take place with us all drunk or sober.

In other news, Big Boss and keen fencer Jakki appeared in the office the other day looking very pleased with herself and brandishing something small and shiny. It turned out that she had done rather well in the recent Sussex County team Épée competition and happily agreed to pose for a triumphant photo (though sadly not dressed in the traditional 'beekeeper in a babygrow' fencing outfit):

"Took part on Sunday 19th May – part of a team of three women from Lewes Fencing Club, came second and have a trophy to prove it!"

Nice one!

Feldenkrais taster session: Gwenda's experience.



I experienced a taster session of Feldenkrais today. I had only recently heard of the technique from a colleague, and as I have a few problems with my back and neck decided to give it a try.   Feldenkrais aims to enable us to move more freely and to improve posture, balance and coordination. It can also help people with pain and neurological conditions.  It was described as being based on slow movements, repeated and explored, and with reminders to constantly be aware of how each movement felt, both before and after repeated movements.

I admit to being sceptical that such seemingly small movements would do anything but by the end of the session I did feel my posture had improved.  I also discovered ways of moving upper back muscles that I’d struggled to find before.

Tina, who ran the session, was encouraging, informative and had a soothing voice, so that at times I nearly drifted off!

If the Sports Centre are able to offer a course in the future, I would be keen to sign up.



Commit to get fit Challenge - ITS Group - week 4



Last week was the big ITS Table Tennis competition. An eagerly awaited tournament that had the enterants* picking up, what had formly been know as, a ping-pong bat for the first time since Atari Pong was invented (talking of which go to google images and type in "atari breakout").


Atari Pong


*All but one, Jane is a dab hand with the bat and the bookies had already closed shop and paid out on a win.

Monday lunch time was upon us and we gathered round two table tennis tables. All except Carol, where was Carol and why was Paolo there? In a switcharooney, much the same as Game of Thrones' Imp's Trial by Combat, Carol had a ringer.


Pool one wiiner: Jane

Pool one runner-up: Debs

Pool two winner: Paolo

Pool two runner-up: Angi

3rd place: Debs

2nd place: Jane

1st place: Paolo "The Ringer"


ITS CTFG Table Tennis winner 2013

Thanks to Sandy for arranging the tournament and supplying the winners trophy.


New activities for individual ITS members last week included fencing, life circuits, beginners running, core lecture and core training. One particularly tired team member had tried childcare, Carol had a bike accident Cry, but this week's alternative prize goes to Jeremy who flew out to Italy took on Pisa Baptistery's steps.


Finally, as IT we decided to have a look at some of the health and fitness programs and apps that are available. As that was a bit too time consuming we looked at ourselves and looked at what we were already using:-
Running and Cycling

Route planners (webpage and app) (also with activity monitor and food log)
GPS Trackers

Simply Yoga
Health Checker

From Channel 4's Embarrassing Bodies (app also available)
Calorie King

My Altitude (also for cycling and walking)
Ski Tracks

Apps for Press-ups, squats, pull-ups and sit-ups

Youtube has been used for allsorts of instruction and injury management

That was the easy bit!



So, the official challenge has come to an end; this is where the real one starts...

Because this was always meant to be a kick-start to being more active on an ongoing basis - and that takes rather more commitment. Besides, I know from taking part last year that Karen will email me in 6 months to 'see how we're all getting on' and I really can't bear to have to give her another pathetic report of my renewed sloth! So, with this in mind I've signed up for a silver membership, as have Vicki and Girl Nik. Marie already has gold membership and there may be more rumblings at M&M HQ so there should be plenty of people around to spur me on, or for me to drag along to something unsuitable, in the coming months. Oh, and the fact that I've really enjoyed being more active again should help too.

This month has been great in lots of ways and I'm really glad I took part, and that the rest of the team got so into it too. It's been a lot of fun and has given us all a lot of laughs during a very busy, pressured time. It's got me trying lots of new things, including many that I plan to do again. It's helped me change from someone who felt like she was dragging her carcass around to starting to feel that there's a spring returning to my step. And it's shown me that there are lots of other people around who are up for a bit of exercise, which should really help me keep going now the month has come to an end.

I also discovered that going for a walk after work is a lovely way to start the evening and even discovered some hidden treasures in my neighbourhood that I hadn't spotted before, such as these beautiful flowers blooming on the edge of Saltdean cliffs:

Beautiful flowers on top of the Saltdean cliffs

Did I do all that I hoped for this month? No, not completely. I had hoped that I would have managed to find a clever way of fitting exercise into a lunch hour without any extra effort, but until I manage to create a Velcro work suit and buy shares in wet wipes there doesn't seem to be a quick way of getting changed/showered in no time at all! Having managers who allow a bit of flexitime has been a great help with this, and has helped us all to take part and still get our work done, even if it hasn't got me home as early as normal.

I had also planned to try out lots of things so that I could pick a few things that I'd do regularly but this hasn't quite panned out that way. Firstly because Kung Fu is one of the few things that is not included in my membership, which is a real shame as I would have loved to have tried a few more classes. Unfortunately if I’d chosen to do Kung Fu I wouldn't have been able to do everything else (without paying extra) and so I had to make a choice. I don't really understand why the martial arts classes are treated so differently to all the others; the only thing I can think of is that the study of martial arts requires more commitment/focus than a lot of things so maybe they don't want someone 'playing the field' and flirting with other exercise forms at the same time? I don't know but if this changes in the future I'll be going back for more fancy footwork and high kicks!

In the end I made my decision based on the fact that I've really enjoyed doing lots of different activities and think that this 'pick and mix' approach could really work for me: It should ensure that I won't get bored, I won't feel I'm missing out on other things and also I can pick an activity that suits my energy levels/frame of mind on a particular day. And I can probably find someone to come along with me too, if I feel like being sociable!

Things I’ve done this month that I plan to do again: gym, yoga, Zumba, dynamic bodywork, walking, cycling, and badminton

Maybe: hooping, table tennis, circuits

Things I didn't do this month but plan to: tennis, boxercise

Thing I will never do again: Spin. Obviously.

Things I would change about Sussexsport: Communal showers. NO! Much as I love my fellow team members I have never felt the urge to see any of them naked, and I strongly suspect the feeling is mutual. Surely we could have some individual ones built? I know for a fact that this puts many people off doing exercise at work. Oh, and a swimming pool would be grand too.

Things I wouldn't change about Sussexsport: the great team who have put this challenge on, encouraged us all and made it so much fun. I often have to tell visitors about the sports facilities and services here and always big you all up 'cos I know from our students (and the awards you win) how great you are. But it's been good to get some insider knowledge so I can actually know what I'm talking about. (Yes, I know that sounds creepy crawly but I believe in giving credit where it's due!)

So, that's all folks. "Goodnight, and Good Luck" - and see you in the gym!

Hong Kong Phooey leaping from the filing cabinet

Last and proud.



So I came last in the boundary run, to be perfectly honest I’m surprised I finished it and was only about 10 minutes behind the bulk of people. The run for me cemented the belief that running is not as much about the physical act, but the mental battle and this run clearly demonstrated that for me.

At the start of the run I really couldn’t get into the swing of things and switch to the mindset needed for it and as a result the majority of the other runners were out of my sight before we had finished crossing the car park. It was this point at the start where I thought ‘Why am I even doing this’. I was expecting a fun run with lots of slow coaches like me, but the stretching, look of mastery and 10k t’shirts at the start of the race assured me that I had come along to something entirely different. Still I couldn’t really back out as I had told so many people I was planning on running it, so off I went.

The majority of the first third of the race was spent walking, running when I saw a steward and trying to work out where I was on campus. Though as I ran down the slope towards the halfway mark I gradually found myself getting into a slow rhythm and was even running when there was no one watching me. The turning point of the race for me was the big slope, which I managed to gently job up (though my jog is still slower than a walk). By this point I just kept counting to twenty and convincing myself the finish line was around the corner (which was implied to me by all of the stewards!). After many repetitions of counting to twenty the finish line was eventually in sight and the crowd of finished runners cheered me to the finish. I did feel slightly embarrassed by this but in equal measure I ran a lot faster to my finish time of 35 minutes 20 seconds. The person who finished first could have ran round twice and still be waiting for me at the finish line, but hey so what I’m a newbie and for now I’m still basking in the fact I completed it and ran for 50%, small steps take you towards bigger goals and for me I completed the challenge that I set for CtGF.

CTGF - The light and the dark side of exercise.....



Thursday was a day which encapsulated the good and very very difficult side of execise

The good....

I went to a Feldenkrais class run by Tina, admittedly having never done yoga or pilates I was unceratin what I was in for.

My goodness, it was fantastic! I left the room after an hour,  a foot taller and like I actually had a body again (it has been sometime since I felt this). Can we have a lunchtime class for this please?

The very very difficult......

I am a person with little coordination (can't do aerobics class, can't dance etc), I'm not dyspraxic, just very very bad at following paterns of movement. I have been going to a an exercise class at my local lesiure centre called Armageddon (short burst, very high intensity exercises, you do them on your own), it wasn't pretty, it wasn't easy, I try very hard. This week the instructor was off, we had a stand in. "Please book me infor 60 minute of hell" was not what I had asked for, but was what I got. I was a broken woman on Friday, trying to get in and out of my chair was a sight to behold for my colleagues.

The postive to this is that I determined to continue as I really can't face the "recovery" every single time.......

I appear to have comitted to get fit!

31 days and 150 miles later



Trying to squeeze this last blog in before the end of today...

So 31 days and 150 miles later and I am pretty chuffed with what I achieved towards my personal goals.

I lost 6lb towards my goal weight- leaving a stubborn 5 more to shift! This now seems very achievable and after Terry’s nutrition talk I am starting to cut down on my carb intake- especially the amount of wheat in my diet. All I need now is the sunshine to stay so I can show off my hard work!  ; )

I tried spinning- didn’t die! have been back twice more since my inaugural class and noticed an improvement in the miles I covered in each session. Up hills are still hard though!

Had my gym programme made up by John who really put me through my paces. Now that classes are finishing at the sports centre I will be able to get stuck into the programme- certainly some tricky ones (like the Russian twist, T-star super set!). I was also introduced to using the foam rollers for stretching. Wow. I had no idea what my IT bands (iliotibial bands) were but I now know that I hadn’t been stretching them and they were tight!

The rollers have really helped and it now feels quite nice rather than something a kin to torture. I have also found the rollers have been great for my quads and hamstrings which don’t always feel like they have had the stretch they need. Sometimes it feels like I am walking on air after using the rollers.




I didn’t make it to a running class (there were too many other classes to go to!) but I did give yoga another shot and this time it really clicked. I’m not sure why yoga never felt enjoyable before but I was practically flying after my first yin yoga session a few weeks ago. I have been back to two more yoga sessions since (my first class with Karen today- which was great) and felt simply lovely after each one.  Yoga now feels like a good balance between the faster paced classes I do and I can’t wait until my next session on Friday.

One of the best things about the CTGF month has been meeting new people and seeing familiar at classes. I am now starting to see the appeal of exercise from a social perspective and this has carried over into my home life where I will now suggest going to the gym with my boyfriend rather than just going to the pub (we now go to the gym- then the pub!…) 

I didn’t get a chance to much blogging but I am really pleased that I managed to write my post about exercise helping with my depression. It was really to take time to think about how I have changed and what has helped make that change possible.

Going forward I think I will carry on with logging my exercise mileage. I love the sense of achievement it has given me at the end of each week, and now that the weather seems to be getting better I am looking forward to trying some new outdoor activities- first up paddle boarding and sea kayaking. See you at the beach!

Revelation and reflection



Throughout the whole of CtGF our team goal was to complete a mileage aim of 684 mile, which was equidistant to the distance from Brighton to Venice (as the crow flies). I am extremely pleased and proud to say that we smashed that goal.

I’m actually currently on a gondola floating along the Grand Canal sipping a Bellini, cliché I know, buy hey our team have covered over 800 miles this month so give us a break (and a free massage too if you like ). I am still totting up the totals but we have really exceeded our goal, which we thought was fairly ambitious in the first place. In the next few days each of us will be reflecting on what we have achieved individually and things we have gained from the challenge, so keep checking this space if you want to find out...

View from a gondola in the Grand Canal, Venice Italy, facing the Rialto Bridge - Arjola Mishgjoni

The challenge that is left with us is to keep the momentum and legacy of CtGF going and integrate it into our lifestyle, which as everyone here knows is easier said than done. Luckily we have a few group sessions planned, tennis on Friday and a yoga session in the next few weeks. Additionally we have weekly Life Sciences walks being lead by Martyn Stenning at the moment and John Spencer a Chemistry member of faculty from our team has promised to organize a smoothie bar at one of our monthly coffee mornings, so hopefully we can do all of that and carry on from there.

From my personal perspective the hard part comes during those long winter months when you would much rather be tucked up with in a duvet with a hot water bottle, bowl of stew and Ryan Gosling film marathon. With this in mind might I suggest the sports centre run a ‘half hibernation’ challenge to try to help and encourage us to crawl out of our holes and jump around during those gloomy days.

Though none of this reflection, thought and contemplation would even be possible without saying a mighty thanks to all of the staff at the sports centre. For me the experience I have with sports, exercise and fitness would be a lesser one without their help, dedication and encouragement. I can honestly say I never thought people in a real gym would know my name but I have got to know a lot of the staff who work there and the passion and interest they invest in their jobs is clear to see. I always feel like the people there have time for you and really help and encourage you in your goals while creating a comfortable, relaxing environment. So congratulations to them and everyone on Commit to Get Fit 2013.

More active lunch hours (hurray!)



 My lunch hours have become much more energetic since the start of Commit to Get Fit. 

I am so pleased to have discovered the health benefits of yoga and went to my second class on Tuesday.  This class was a bit different as it was ‘dynamic yoga', which is a combination of aerobics with yoga during which the body's temperature is raised; it feels a bit more like a gentle work-out.  It was good fun and I felt really well afterwards.

Some yoga poses are a bit tricky (the lotus position, which involves sitting cross-legged with each foot resting on your thigh requires practice) but many are manageable and really help to strengthen and balance the body. I will definitely be sticking with this one beyond May!

Yesterday involved another lunch time visit to the Sports Centre as seven of us from the DARO office joined together to play badminton.   Although I hadn’t played before, the tips from my colleague Sally (a seasoned badminton player) were setting me on the road to improvement. I enjoyed this so much, not just because of the games but because it was so nice to be using our time to have fun and socialise as a team.  As Sally said: “…we should do this more often!!”

There was also more good news when I got back to the office. While we had been playing badminton, another colleague, Declan, had completed the Boundary Run, and I was reminded by Jane ( aka the DARO tsar of Commit to Get Fit) of my non exercise activity thermogenesis  (energy expended through non-exercise activity) which I obtain by taking regular walks down to Sussex House as part of my work.  I don’t tend to think of this as exercising but it is, and well…it does all add up…If I wore a pedometer, I’m sure I would shock myself!

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen



I have very much enjoyed the sporty month of May and made changes in my life which I know will make a difference going forward.  I am now eating more healthily and exercising more.  Indeed, I will be officially joining the gym tomorrow! For me, Commit to Get Fit has been a really positive experience, and long may the positivity continue!

As I endeavour to stick to my good intentions, I have found some words to inspire me from Baz Luhrmann's,  "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)" which dispenses some timely advice on well-being.  My favourites are:

"Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone"

 "Enjoy  your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it,  or what other people  think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own..."

"Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room".

"If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be  it."

Rest assured, I will be following these tips, especially the one about my knees - very worrying...As for sunscreen, the fair-skinned amongst us know that sunscreen is not just a freedom, but an absolute necessity!




Mr Twits Great Upside Down Monkey Circus - Get Fit Challenge - Week 5



Blink and you'll miss it


It really doesn't last long. But I can do it and I'll definately keep working at it. Thanks Karen for time and the teaching, thanks to Lucy Hall (team admissions) for the inspiration.

Total May packets of crisps eaten = 5!

DARO Commit to Get - officially number eleventeen



Thank you Sports for extending the Blog deadline to today, it may be the end of CtGF but its definitely great to report on a new dawn.  Invigorated by all the activities of the past month most DARO members have made notable efforts today to carry on in the new direction.  

Sally cycled from Ringmer to campus, mostly uphill she reports so she's looking forward to the ride home, no doubt with her feet out at the side and shouting 'wee' at the top of her voice.  Declan shared his Boundary Run results, surprising himself and impressing the rest of us with his middle placing.  So delighted is he that he'll be running to work tomorrow.  Clare went to Karen's yoga class.  Jemma and Luci started boot camp and Sephie will start tomorrow.  Alex cycled into work and Tom is continuing his work out in the gym every working day.  Michael, Mark, Sarah and Jane went for their own walkies in the natural light at lunch instead of basking in the blue light of a PC monitor.

Three of our six remaining team members are on holiday and all are either hiking or walking.  The other three have serious work constraints and keen not to miss out on the CtGF buzz they're delighted that DARO has committed to keep getting fitter.

There is a new poster on the wall and no biscuits in the tin.  As DARO will carry on with team sports, badders will be our next activity and of course the Uni rounders too.  Every single one of the 18 member DARO team has taken part in a CtGF activity and unanimously agreed to keep on with the cause as a team.  Individually too everyone feels invigorated by the past month and most are investigating what level of Sussex Sports membership to take out.  But, its not just that what happens in CtGF stays on campus, it has pervaded all aspects of life, we think that it was the educational aspect running in parallel to the activity programme that is the key.  Cheers to you all, fare thee well till we meet again.  X


DARO Commit to Get Fit - The Biscuit Blog - Part One



The biscuit issue in DARO warrants its own blog.  There was a yelping distress call in the office yesterday from Luci.  She just wanted a biscuit but wasn't going to go out and buy one so just whimpered instead, for quite a while.  She couldn't be distracted by alternative foods and was quite stubborn to be honest.  Eventually she settled down when all the pyschology had been explored.

This exploration was extended to everyone else in the office at the time and whilst most people had missed 'The Biscuit Tin', no one actually wanted it's contents re-instated.  Its interesting that not one person intended to keep their own biscuit supply at their own desk either.  All focus was on the office communal biscuit supply as it seems to be a thing of solace. Just as the nibblers find comfort in its contents it appears that the feeders draw a certain security from knowing they've replenished supplies.

Sharing food is a social and bonding behaviour so did DARO, whilst the biscuit supply was stopped in the spirit of CtGF, have its bonding and communication enabled through sports and activities instead?  There has certainly been a much greater bonding and lifting of spirits throughout May so maybe 'The Biscuit Tin' won't need dusting off in June.  But, why biscuits?  Why not something else?  Quinoa didn't cut it as an alternative social food.  Is it because biscuits are naughty and being naughty is only really fun with other people?  Time will tell.  DARO will continue by popular concensus to carry on being active as a team and Part Two of The Biscuit Blog remains to be written...der der der...

DARO Commit to Get Fit - Officially Bashfully No.10



DARO badminton was a great success today.  Sally booked two courts and seven colleagues had a good knock-about.  When they got back to the office and were asked who won, the reply was 'we're all winners'.  It might be that this is the activity that continues to unite as we will most probably take this forward as our team sport.  Our Survey Monkey poll had this as a popular activity at the outset so its interesting that it meets expectations in the end.  Sally plays badders regularly and she was able to pass on some tips that were clearly effective within 20mins.  Mary seems to be able to turn everything into an art form as shown in her balletic poses in the warm up captured in the third mini photo.  No injuries or mishaps to report, just positivity.


The Boundary Run was also a great success.  Declan reports himself being the only person who had people cheering him on during the course and is extremely happy not to be last.  We'll report on his placing later but its so exciting what he has achieved that we had to write about it whilst he's still glowing.  All his previous running has been to sustain endurance for the Brighton Marathon and he only warms up to a faster speed after six miles or so.  Running 2.5 miles on the Boundary for a speed placing was a challenge, as was the terrain.  Two weeks ago Declan had to walk part of the course but today, with appropriate training, he ran the whole way.  He thinks that walking the Boundary at the start of CtGF helped him and achieving a good run today has spurred him on to committing to a daily commute run of 15 miles from his new pad (don't forget the house warming party).  Again no injury to report, the knee support is always worn when its not loitering on his desk.

Volleyball is still evil for some.  This is from the class last week and apparently the bruise has gone through every colour before peaking today.


Addendum:  Quinoa served in Dine Central these days!

DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Officially No.9



The Wall.  Has been hit.  Nearly with tears.  CtGF nadir.  The DARO office still hasn't had biccies, choccies or cake brought in despite meetings, birthdays and sugar cravings.  This has been a major commitment by all the team, some of whom are still committed outside of the office.  Mr Kipling has been shut out and replaced with yoghurt and fruit or weekday denial has been balanced with just a weekend indulgence.

Many miles have been covered through walking, cycling, footie, cross trainer, exercise bikes, pooch walking and running by most of the team.  Also, different classes continue to be enjoyed, including zumba, spinning, circuits, yoga, metabolic, core strength and volleyball.  

Yikes.  Volleyball has proven to create the most mixed of experiences.  Michael found it fun even though he didn't get to try much in the way of 'digs 'n spikes', Aga loved doing something she'd really enjoyed at school and Sephie enjoyed it enough to think about trying basketball.  However, Jemma considered it evil and top of her list of things never to do again, she hated having lobster red skin and throbbing running up her arms and across her shoulders.  Luci was out after the first couple of minutes and left with a huge purple bruise.  They think that anyone who enjoyed it was more hardcore than them, so they've only both gone off and signed up to morning bootcamp in June!

Team DARO chilled and looking forward to volleyball, grrr: 

Team DARO warming up nicely:

Calm before the storm:

Uh oh, time for action:

Volleyball EVIL:

For our CtGF swansong week DARO have booked a few courts to play badminton next week.  Its great to do things as a team and to meet members of staff from elsewhere on campus, particularly including the sports staff.  We're looking forward to next week, have a great long weekend everyone.

Commit To Get Fit 2014!



The MPS Admin Commit To Get Fit 2014

In the beginning...

We started our Commit To Get Fit journey.

With Naomi at the helm as Team Captain, we were thoroughly (read: forcefully) encouraged to take part in as many activities as possible. Everyone from the administrative support in Maths and Physics signed up to join the team as soon as we heard the event was taking place.

WEEKS before the event itself, laminated activity posters and timetables were given pride of place on the office walls such that whichever direction you looked there was a reminder to get our booties moving!

Early favourites for activities (which will no doubt be popular with other staff members too) are the archery, trapeze and the morris dancing. Obviously the morris dancing will be the most oversubscribed and so I reserved a place for the entire MPS admin team. I am sure they will appreciate my kind, thoughtful gesture when we are smacking each other with sticks and jingling our bells at each other.

Our photographic record of the horrors will be posted here. If you want to see how we're getting along (and fancy a damn good laugh) then check back soon.

The Commit To Get Fit 2014 will run from the 30th April until the 30th May 2014.

Commit to Get Fit 2014



Commit to Get Fit 2014 is ready to rock and roll and in true, practice what you preach, style I will be committing to some 30 day challenges. Having suffered with sciatic pain for the 3rd time over the Christmas period, CTGF has given me some motivation to form a habit of regular stretching (yes i know i should be setting an example and i intend to). I find prehabilitation exercises difficult to do and like many people don't do them when I should be. So for CTGF I will stretch for 30 minutes a day and will post via the Sussexsport Facebook page a visual measurement of improvement to prove that it is working and also that I am doing what I said I would :)...I will also post some core exercises that I will be doing to improve my core strength...I have set reminders on my sky box, so that when my partner is watching Coronation street I will be leaving the room to stretch!!! A win/win scenario

Good luck to all teams with your goals for the month and we hope that you enjoy the month and take the opportunity to move more, move better and be healthier.

How do I upload photos?





Please could someone help me by explaining how to upload photos onto my blog using either Flickr, uploading using a PC or direct from an iphone.


Many thanks,



INSPIRE: Day 0 - The Pre-Amble



BMEc have entered the building. The Shard building, to be exact.

The Commit to Get Fit challenge officially starts tomorrow but thanks to Faith cycling in to work:

Bannier on a Bike

And Austin's morning work-out, the team have already made it to floor 1 (Reception):



And we found ourselves ambling (or pre-ambling) across the treacherous terrain of the Boundary Walk, where we battled slightly-muddy-ground and inclines. 

Here is a photo of us before the walk started, glowing with naive optimism and youthful vigour:

Left to Right: Slenderman, Faith Hill, Dermot, Mayday, Texas, Hil.M.i

No 'after' photo was taken, out of respect for the survivors.

Elsewhere, Brinyan, Layla and Becky tried their hands (wrists?) at volleyball and survived with little or no permanent scarring.

All-in-all, things are set to be excellent and with a little (s)hard work, we're bound to make it to the top!


BMEc - BMotivated; Eliminate competition

INSPIRE - Climbing the Shard in 30 Days



Working in an office can be hazardous to one's health - there's always plates of cakes around, there's no fresh air because the windows have been glued shut and you have to spend 8.5 hours a day (not that I'm counting) sitting next to someone who insists on sneezing on you.

So here at BMEc, we have decided to take part in this year's Commit to Get Fit challenge. Aside from all our individual goals, we will also be working on a team goal, INSPIRE...


The Shard is the tallest building in the European Union. As a team, BMEc is committing to climbing the Shard in 30 days, floor by floor.

The building is about 80 floors high and made up of different levels – offices, restaurants and hotels. If we say that 2 hours of activity equals 1 floor, it will take us about 160 hours to climb. That’s 16 hours per person, 4 hours per week per person.

Levels in the Shard

Ground Floor: Entrance
1 – 2: Reception
3 – 28: Offices
31 – 33: Restaurants
34 – 52: Shangri-La Hotel
53 – 65: Residences
68 – 72: The View from the Shard
73 – 87: Spire

When we get to the 80th floor, we will all be in the spire. We will all be… INSPIRE.


BMEc - Be Motivated; Eliminate competition

Flat out and ready for a challenge



Hello from Team Life Sciences.

Here we are again for the third year. We have 10 people on our team this year, some who exercise on a regular basis, some who have fallen out of the habit of it and some who are trying out the activities to see what they think of them and what kind of changes they will see in themselves.

For our team goal this year we decided to come up with something we could all participate in, that we would have to work towards and ultimately feel good about achieving.


We have decided to do a 30 day plank challenge, these kind of challenges have been really popular on the internet recently and some of them are more challenging than others. Our team goal by the end of CTGF is to be able to hold a full plank (no bums in the air) for one minute. This is something no one on our team can currently do and we all find the plank very difficult, but we are confident we can achieve this goal. We started on 20 seconds yesterday and repeated that again today and will be increasing to 25 seconds when we get back on Tuesday, so keep checking here to see how we are getting on.

The start of our journey - Boundary Walk



Blog update as the Commit to Get Fit challenge gets started....

The Commit to Get Fit 2014 challenge started off in wonderful fashion yesterday as we went on the Boundary Walk, run by the UoS's SussexSport and with some commentary provided at key points along the route by Geoffrey Mead.

Continue reading 'The start of our journey - Boundary Walk'...

Archery - William Tell, Robin Hood and Katniss Everdeen - eat your heart out!



Archery requires a combination of skill and strength... oh dear...

The Commit to Get Fit 2014 challenge continues with Sinead, Sarah, Naomi and Matt taking part in the first of three archery sessions.

Continue reading 'Archery - William Tell, Robin Hood and Katniss Everdeen - eat your heart out!'...

INSPIRE: Day 2 - The Archers



Day 2 of the challenge and BMEc are shooting swiftly up the Shard, like a stalk of wheat in a farm (sorry, just linking it back to today's blog title).

But it hasn't been easy at all. Limbs are aching, everyone seems sweatier than normal and people who you've always assumed are fit turn out not to be. Some team members are resorting to mid-day meditation in the office:

Day 2

But already the benefits are being reaped. Everyone is trying new things. Ola woke up in the dead of morning at 6.15 to run (away from hobos). Mailea is getting to bed extra early (with mixed results). And a few of us tried out archery:


I, personally, am very pleased about this as now I will never have to worry again about what I would do if I were suddenly transported into the past somehow (a la Army of Darkness) or, worse, into some far away dystopian future, battling trolls and... other things that can, I presume, for some reason, only be killed by arrows or possibly spears and not guns (or I suppose the British equivalent of guns, which is writing to your local MP)...

But I digress. Before the week is out, we'll have had badminton classes, tried trampolining and more. So hopefully we will be able to rise, until the corn is as high as an elephant's eye (don't ask me why that's a good measure of height, I didn't write that, Oscar Hammerstein did).



BMEc - Be Motivated; Eliminate Competition

Commit To Get Fit 2014 - The Activities List!



Update - Activities are booked in!

The first wave of activities for the Commit To Get Fit 2014 have been booked!

There's quite a variety on the list so far - with everyone signed up to at least one activity over the month and some doing loads!

Continue reading 'Commit To Get Fit 2014 - The Activities List!'...

Commit to Get Fit- Let week 2 commence!



Everyone at SHORE-C is ready to roll (not because we have eaten too many cakes) with week two of commit to get fit.

We have all enjoyed the long weekend and the beautiful weather that came with it. However there is no rest for the wicked and we did not let the fact that it was the weekend stop us from committing!

Our newest team member Lucy had a go at a post workout selfie, after completing a 6km cycle and 3km on the cross trainer!!


 Meanwhile I enjoyed my bank holiday weekend with a beautiful walk over the Sussex Downs




With views like this is can't be that hard to commit to getting outside can it?!

We have all sorts going on in the unit this week from trampolining to handball so will keep you updated (perhaps some more selfies if you are lucky!)

Good Luck to everyone this week

Love the Belles of SHORE-C xx 











INSPIRE: Day 7 - The Ladies and the Trampoline



It's day 7 of the challenge and we're bouncing higher and higher towards the spire:

Ola Squash

Mostly thanks to Juliet's vigorous walking over the weekend. Don't ask my why she goes walking through the woods at 5am in the morning for hours on end - she just does.

Faith and Mailea took a leap of faith (and Mailea) and went trampolining for the first time last Friday:

Leap of Faith and Mailea

And some of the Admin team went for Badminton (which would make it Adminton, of course):


Ola and I went for Table Tennis (Ping Pong) but alas we forgot to take a photo because we were too busy having fun. As compensation, here are a few phrases that also end in -ing -ong:

1) King Kong

2) Ding dong

3) Sing-song


Also of note is Sam going for Thai Boxing, which has inspired me to go for Thai Curry tonight.


BMEc - Be Motivated; Eliminate competition

Dragging ESW to a fit and healthy future!



Having lost my most enthusiastic fitness fan to the dark side (aka SLC) it has been left to me to motivate the slackers in ESW!

Jo, Julia and myself have declared our goals for the CTGF, the remainder of the team remain tight lipped. Sealed

Jo T - to improve her fitness and live a long and healthy life.

Julia - to run for 40 mins 3 times a week and reduce the alcohol

Brigitte - to reduce my sugar intake and less processed rubbish!

As always we have started slow but surely with Jo T embracing the whole CTGF concept.  Having enjoyed the Boundary Walk she is now doing her best to encourage her ITE colleagues out for a lunch time stroll. There is also a really scrummy recipe on Sussex Foods FB page.

Whilst I have made a great effort to cook 'proper' food I have failed miserably on the sugar intake with the chocolate digestives proving toooooooo tempting! But I did run 24 miles on Sunday so I felt justly rewarded..oh and for the bottle of wine that followed! Embarassed

Stay tuned for the next active update for ESW when we hope to have motivated the remaining team members from their slumber. Kiss

Commit to Get Fit Team HR Week 1



In the first week of Commit to Get Fit, Team HR have been busy trying new things. 

Wednesday 30th April kicked off Commit to Get Fit with the Boundary Walk.  Myself, Helen and Janet all spent our lunchtime in the great outdoors.  The weather was lovely and it was a good opportunity to catch up with other members of staff.  Claire played squash for an hour and 20 minutes. Leila has taken part in her weekly Zumba class.

Dizz walked her dog Kasha down Potato Lane in Ringmer. This is the route she took. 

Leila, has been walking home from the train station after work everyday instead of taking the bus as usual. She has also walked home from shopping in Brighton insted of taking the bus. This takes her twenty minutes each time.

On Thursday, Dizz and I attended a talk with Mark about Goal Setting and Claire played badminton for an hour.

Friday lunchtime,  Dizz and I went to trampolining, where we were in fits of laughter videoing ourselves as we perfected our seat drops.  Martin spent 4 ½ hours heavy lifting by loading wood into van. 

On Saturday, Martin spent another 6 ½ hours heavy lifting, by unloading and loading a van with boxes and on Sunday he went for an hour bike ride and Claire played badminton for an hour.

On Tuesday I tried Pilates at lunchtime and Leila tried out Feldenkrais.  Today Helen, Dizz and I went to the mindfulness meditation which all incredibly relaxing after the Bank Holiday weekend.


Team Student Life Centre - Week 2



Team SLC has had a difficult week on our Commit to Get Fit Challenge - a number of unexpected obstacles have been thrown into our path and made keeping to the commitments we made last week pretty difficult. To scratch the surface of our troubles:

- Team Leader and Motivational Guru Aoife Mcdonald was struck down ill and was off work from Tuesday afternoon to Friday. Reportedly, having a vomiting bug does leave you with a nice flat stomach but we feel this may be cheating.

- TWO bags of doughnuts, and two tins of shortbread appeared in the office - it seems the healthy eating memo didn't reach everyone (though we can't blame Jon as he was on holiday when we committed).

- A training session the office attended on Wednesday over-ran significantly, meaning several staff members couldn't attend the lunchtime Zumba class when they'd intended to.

Coupled with the hideous weather that's made venturing outdoors for any reason pretty unnappealing, it's been a tough week. However, we've managed the following:

Danny - On Saturday I went with my partner and a friend to a 'Healthy Walk' at Chelwood Gate. The walk began and finished at the National Cat Centre, and I'd be lying if I said that visiting all the cats wasn't a big part of why we went on the walk. It was really enjoyable and took a route we wouldn't have found on our own, through heathland and past a lake where we saw a beautiful gosling. I would have liked the walk to be longer (it was only an hour) and a bit more taxing, but it had to suit a range of ages and abilities in the group and did this well. More info here: I've also been to the gym on Sunday and last night and am making an effort to use the resistance machines I find harder/don't enjoy as much. If I only do what I find easy I reckon I won't see as much change.

Tabitha - attended circuit training and Zumba.

Aoife, Isabela and Amelia - did a self-guided boundary walk on Tuesday and enjoyed it so much they plan to do it every week, weather permitting.

Rachel - This week I have cycled in every day (and managed to cycle the long route in to work once and home twice). I have also extended my morning yoga practice introducing several new poses to my daily routine. I have also not bought crisps from the vending machine!

Katy and Isabela - have cut out chocolate and sweets and are being more mindful of their diets generally.

Katy -  I have keptright on track this week, sweeteners have replaced sugar.  This has extended to my daughter who drinks masses of sweetened tea which we have both swapped for decaf or herbal.  Went swimming for the first time in ages and did 30 lengths.  Walked from Lewes to Glynde and back, and Ferring to Worthing and back.

Marie -

  1. Monday – played pitch and putt. Score worse than last time but only ended up in sand bunker twice and didn’t end up in any bushes or trees
  2. Went to Zumba on Wednesday
  3. Booked pilates course for summer term (13th May to 10th June)
  4. Also – probably doesn’t count – but raised my heart rate through adrenalin/fear doing Argo Cat driving (6 wheel amphibious all terrain vehicle)

Amy - Well I finally unwrapped my postnatal exercise DVD, only 13 months after my little boy was born! I've also done lots of walking and outdoor playing every day and we signed up for swimming lessons starting next week!

Jolyon - Dinghy sailing at the weekend. 4 days mountain biking to and from work. 1/3 mile swim every day in the mornings before work. On Wednesday a bike ride from Stanmer Woods to Ditchling Beacon, along the South Downs way to Lewes, back through campus to Stanmer.

(Jolyon clearly needs to up his game and is trailing behind the rest of us. Keep up Jols).

Signing off for now,

Team SLC

Medically fit to commit - aka "the infamous five"



Heavy workloads are getting in the way of the BSMS team doing as much as we've done previously on other CTGF challenges, but we are hopeful that we can make up for this later in the month.

This week our team have been cycling, walking fast whilst carrying our increasingly-heavy pre-schoolers, eating lots of fruit, swimming, kickboxing and playing volleyball.

Our joint goals include: drinking more water, eating more fruit, cutting out snacks between meals and being generally much more active.

CTGF Week 2 (Blog Entry 1!)



Introducing Team M&M (that is Marketing and Marie)!

Let me firstly apologise for the tardiness of this first blog entry – it is as a result of my overexcitement last week caused by my enthusiastic involvement in circuit training, boundary-walking and trampolining. I was just so in to committing to get fit that I didn't have time to fulfil my other commitment of team blogger.

So, Team M&M made a strong start last week with the boundary walk on Wednesday. The sun was shining and thankfully no one’s spirits were dampened by being heckled by students who drove past us whilst we were standing outside the Sport Centre having our briefing (for those who didn't quite make out what they shouted, it was ‘do not come to Sussex’, we obviously all looked so youthful they thought we were prospective students!). The boundary walk went down a treat with no serious injuries or map reading calamities  and we all made it back in one piece.  

The next challenge for some of us was trampolining. Jo, Vicki, Emma and Vic (me) headed down to the Sports Hall in our PE kits to take it back to the old school and practice our seat drops. It was as if those 15 years since Year 9 PE had never happened and we  were in the swing of it in no time. We found ourselves accidentally on the “competition standard” trampoline which was significantly more bouncy than the other trampolines. We quickly got going and progressed to seat drops, pikes, tucks and that thing where you do a seat drop then swivel around and do another drop (what’s that called again?). It wasn't all fun and games though, whilst attempting to do a front drop (why?!) I sustained a bloody injury. We did take a picture of this but it didn't really show up on camera, it was minor but I think it showed my level of commitment to CTGF. I’m sure you can understand now why I wasn't thinking of blog updates.

This week saw another team walk – almost 1.30hours of walking around Stanmer Park followed by well-deserved drinks and scran at the Stanmer House. Unexpected illness meant I couldn't go to trapeze on Tuesday and let me tell you, I was genuinely gutted! But one of our team did make it and sustained rope burns from the warm up exercises, let alone the actual trapezing. Today we trampolined again and played it safe on the softest, most gentle trampoline and it was altogether a more civilised experience with no blood injuries or ricocheting bodies.

Admittedly, we’ve made a bit of a slow start, we've been impeded by illness and holidays (how inconsiderate of our team members to take annual leave in May!) but I feel we are building to a crescendo and will be picking up the pace from here on in.

Photographic evidence to follow next week, as it’s now 20 minutes after I was supposed to leave and it’s Friday and I’m going home!

Until next time…


CTGF Update from Team M&M - Week 3



Week 3 already, what?!

We're half way through week three of CTGF and team M, formerly team M&M (now only one M as our other M dropped out) is picking up speed. 

Yesterday Emma and Vic had a go at Trapeze - which ended up being more rope climing and spinning around on silks, but it was still great fun! Here they are...

Emma on the trapeze

Vic on the trapeze

Vic on the silks

Emma on the silks (this is the "Gazelle" pose, can you tell?)

Vic climing a rope in the dark...

It has also occurred to me that I hadn't included our teams' aims for the CTGF month, so here they are:

Vicki A

Reasons I’m doing CTGF….short and sweet… mainly because the amount of exercise I’ve done in the last month or so has really slipped so I wanted some motivation to get back in to it. Plus I saw that trampolining and rock climbing were on offer, and I was intrigued to try both! So I guess it’s

  • 40% for motivation
  • 25% for trampolining
  • 25% for rock climbing
  • 10% because I’m a sheep and was following the crowd – it seemed like everyone else in the team was signing up for it!

Claire C

For me it’s a great opportunity to try some new sporting activities

Kelly Y

“Why am I doing commit to get fit” is the question I always ask myself every time I get into the Union shop where the crisps crying out to me demanding why I’m deserting them, or round mid-morning snack time when the salty smell and crunching sounds of the original flavour of Walker crisps come and hit me waves after waves…

I guess not eating crisps, and pushing myself to climb Betchworth Hill, Box Hill, Leith Hill and on one day is good for me.

John H

Why I’m doing commit to get fit…

  • To do a little more that I already do…
  • To make sure that I get away from desk at lunchtimes
  • To crush Nick in our games of table tennis
  • To discover a new route through Stanmer park that I can cycle at lunchtimes
  • Not to be so easily humbled in my games of badminton

Fiona G

Going on holiday in June so it gives me a kick-start  to getting fit for that!

Nicola B

I’m doing commit to get fit in order to try new fun activities, make the most of what the Sussex Sport has to offer and to improve my fitness levels. Losing a bit of weight would be nice too! I’ve given up biscuits, which is going ok, except for the day I only remembered what I was giving up when halfway through a chocolate digestive.”

Louise B

Because having got really into it, and done loads of exercisey things, last year – and I even kept it up for several months afterwards – I have returned to my slothful ways and am noticing the (bad) effects! So I needed to take this opportunity to get back on the wagon, although seem to be taking my time getting up there at the moment...

So, the exercise side of things is not going too well at the moment but I am doing rather better at keeping off the long list of things I decided to cut out for May* (chocolate, biscuits, cake, crisps, pastry, bread, alcohol) and eating more fruit and veg.

*This list is long not because I’m feeling heroic, but because they’re all part of the same thing for me so it’s a case of “one out, all out!” However, it also means if I crack and eat any of them then I might as well have them all and have a real blow out as they all add up to my 1 point for the day in our internal competition.  Looking forward to that day!


My commitment is to commit!! I’m pretty flaky and have joined a gym so many times and gone for a few weeks then given up or got bored– so my challenge is to commit to and do all the classes I’ve signed up to do. I hope this will mean I will continue to do all of this after the month is over. 

Not quite the full team, but pretty much sums up why we're all doing it! 

Today it's ZUMBA! So if any of you are heading down for that at lunch time, we'll see you there!

INSPIRE: Day 13 - Highway to Hell-thy Eating



It's day 13 and we are 31 floors up the vertical highway that is the Shard. We've reached what is probably the best part - the restaurants. 

To celebrate we decided to have a pot luck lunch, but there was a catch! Everyone had to bring in something healthy. That's right, no quiches, no sausage rolls, nothing with loads of fat or flavour.

Day 13


The result was actually incredible (or should I say, incr-edible?). We had a lovely range of food from Quinoa salad with kale and pomegranate to a bean-type coriander deal with courgette pretending to be lemon:


To a fritata (Hakuna Fritata):


To chicken liver pate (high in iron and protein):


To fresh fruit:


I brought in a peanut butter tart, which wasn't repulsive despite not having any cream or butter in the mousse:


All in all, it was an excellent meal - very healthy and yet very satisfying (especially if you have 4 slices of fritata and half the tart to yourself and then start eating the pate with a spoon). I feel slimmer already.


BMEc - Be Motivated; Eliminate Competition


Team M CTGF Photos - Wednesday 14th



Today we've....

Cycled through Stanmer Park on the way to work...



Forgotton our trainers and had to borrow some from a lovely member of staff at the Sports Centre! 



And Zumba-d! (look how bendy my thumb is...)


We also did circuits outside in the lovely sunshine, photos to follow!

CTGF Update from Research & Exercise!



As Dom reported last week, R&E has set off on their CTGF journey with a flying start!

Nicola continues to lead the way with running, circuits, kickboxercise and will be trying out fencing tomorrow.  

Amelia and Emma are giving Dr Gillian McKeith a run for her money with some spectacular healthy eating. Amelia’s been off alcohol and sugar for 4 weeks, which is brilliant, well done Amelia!

The rest of the team have done circuits, yoga, meditation and cycling, a marvellous effort even if we do say so ourselves.  We look forward to updating you soon.

Careering Ahead go eclectic!



Another week down but definitely not out. All our team still peachy keen.

This week has seen an eclectic mix of activities from our CTGF participants, ranging from walks on the sea front to mindfulness meditation and Bhangra Aerobics. Our champion walker (Mike) has notched up 45 miles walking home avoiding the temptations of the many takeaways on the Lewes Road. Our people in the Placements team have just hot- footed it back from Bollywood dancing with tales of Sari waving (‘almost taking someone’s eye out’) and a demonstration of  a sophisticated move that even the most inflexible of us could master – hand-over-hand tumble.

Our leader, Jos, has gone one step further – no pun intended – and taken leave to go on a walking holiday in the Lake District. How’s that for commitment (to get fit)!

Sugar Rush withdrawal



For Commit to Get Fit 2014 I have decided not to buy any unhealthy snacks for 30 days.

In the HR office, we have a constant supply of cake and biscuits.  I am used to a daily treat and am also a massive sugar addict.  Using the challenge as an opportunity to lose weight, I thought I could easily give up sugary, high fat treats and replace them with healthy ones. 

Day one, was the Boundary Walk and after a long lunchtime walk, I was more tired than I thought I would be.  So I bought some chocolate. Then I had a slice of the delicious cake that was in the office.  It was 30th April though and I was going to start my new diet in May.

1st May came around and I came up with the brilliant plan of leaving my purse at home so that I couldn't cheat.  The Goal Setting Talk with Mark inspired me and I went through the entire day without any unhealthy snacks.  At 5.30 (when my colleagues had gone home), I raided the biscuit tin, only to find out that there were NONE LEFT!  Pleased that I hadn't cheated, I went home.  I spent the entire train journey dreaming of cakes and chocolate.  Luckily, I didn't have my purse, so I avoided the shops and got to the safety of my flat.

After a large dinner, I thought my appetite was be satisfied.  However, I was grumpy and fidgety and nothing could stop me thinking about sugar.  In the end I treated myself to an ice lolly, which did the trick.  I am obviously more addicted to sugar than I thought.

2nd May breakfast consisted of porridge but without the usual honey that I pour on it.  I think this will be an acquired taste, but it filled me up.  I lasted until lunchtime, when I did trampolining as my first activity.  Without my afternoon snack, I became tired, distracted and had an awful headache.  I must confess that I indulged in a chocolate Hob-Nob to ease the pain away.

I am now on my way home to eat a lovely dinner.  Luckily I have left my purse at home and my friends and family are so supportive that I doubt I'll be eating anything too naughty this Bank Holiday weekend.










Commit to Get Fit Team HR Photo gallery so far, so good.






Commit to Get Fit Team HR Week 2



On Wednesday, Dizz and I went to a Mindfulness meditation at lunchtime.  I found it very hard to relax in the environment but most benefitted from this break from the stresses of the day.  On Thursday we both went to Feldenkrais.  This involved small movements and was good for relaxation and posture.  I have signed up to do this again. 

This week Claire has spent an hour and 20 minutes playing squash and one hour of badminton.

Dan played doubles badminton with the normal crew (Graham, Claire and Tim)and it was a good game. 


He also played singles badminton against someone that has played for Lancashire. This involved him standing still and dictating every point and Dan running all over the shop like a headless chicken until he collapsed.  He also went for a short jog on Sunday.

Dan wondered whether chasing his son about the living room pretending to be a monster counts towards Commit to Get Fit.  I say it does!

Rachael did Zumba and Lahoona, which she really enjoyed. ( I had to pull out of Lahoona due to a knee injury, but it was good fun).  She played badminton at lunchtime with Simone, who made her run a lot! and she did Aerobics after work on Monday

She will be doing Zumba and Lahoona again this week and Egyptian dancing with me on Thursday, which we are really looking forward to.

Leila has been uber busy, throwing herself into Commit to Get Fit.  At work she has been to Feldenkrais, Zumba x 2 , a Physio lecture, Power Hoop and Lahoona dance.  Outside of work she has walked home twice from Brighton Station instead of using the bus.  Walked home form town twice instead of using the bus.  She has eaten a healthy salad for dinner 3 nights this week and replaced snacks at work with rice cakes and fruit.  Go Leila!

Helen had a cold and injured her back and I had a cold and injured my knee, so we were down on the activities this week.  I did have a lovely 15 minute massage on Tuesday, as did Dizz.  It was just as shame we had to go back to work.  I would recommend getting a massage when you don't have to do anything for a few hours afterwards, to get the maximum benefit. 

Helen cycled in to work this morning which was lovely in the warm sunshine, and she is looking forward to the ride home!



Commit to Get Fit Team HR Week 3



Dizz and Rachael went to Zumba on Wednesday and Rahcael and I  both went to the Egyptian dance class on Thursday.  It was difficlut to keep a straight face as we were facing the mirror in the dance studio.  I felt very loosened up afterwards though and the memory of the lesson made me smile. 

Last Thursday evening Helen did circuit training which was fun but exhausting.  She had aching muscles the next day.


On Friday, Rachael and Dizz went to Lahoona class.  Dizz  really enjoyed Lahoona dancing and getting herself in a knot with the Sari dancing at the end of the lesson. Unfortunately she didn’t manage to get a picture of herself dancing as her hands were busy wafting a Sari around.  I tried fencing.  It took a while to get into the outfit and I was hot and exhausted after an intense hour.  My opponent was Nicky from Reseach and Enterprise. 


On Sunday, Helen went on a 13 mile walk through woods and fields.  The weather was lovely and shehad a great time. 

On Tuesday, Helen did yoga for 1.5 hours and I did 2 hours of yoga (Staff only followed by yin yoga).  We both found it very relaxing.

Helen cycled to work today and at lunchtime is going for a walk in Stanmer Park.


Claire and Dan played an hour of badminton and Dan went for a 5 k jog.  He also chased his son Dylan around, pretending to be a monster.

Leila has acheived her weight loss goal in time for her holiday through exercise and diet during Commit to Get Fit.  She will be relaxing and enjoying the sun and cocktails for the rest of the month.

Careering Ahead still careering around



Bikes, boats, peddles and paddles - all in use as the Careers team attempt to keep on top of their fitness goals and take their efforts around the country.  Emsworth waterfront is great for canoes; Lake District is great for walking boots; the South Downs Way was great for cycling.

We're having fun while we keep fit.

Careering Ahead... onwards and upwards!



Just had to postpone our group walk to Lewes (too wet!)... shame as we were all looking forward to striding out on the Downs after work and adding to our CTGF portfolio of activities!  Hoping for sun next Thursday!

Just to blow my own trumpet....I did manage some great (and very strenuous) walking over last weekend in the Lake District (what a glorious place, made all the better by the amazing weather!).  Conquered Skiddaw (3,054 feet) one day and then Cat Bells (1,480 feet) and High Spy (2,142 ft) the next day.  (Just to put this into context, Ditching Beacon is 800 feet).  Am now a Wainwright convert (see and managed to tick off 8 on this visit, only 206 to go!!!  Here's the motley crew on Catbells!  (only me in CTGF!)

CtGF - The Two Musketeers!




To round off Week 3 of the Commit to Get Fit challenge, Team MPS have gone all out with activity, events and fun!

So... where to start?

Continue reading 'CtGF - The Two Musketeers!'...

CtGF - Apologies for Absence



A collection of updates from far-flung correspondents

This update pulls together the activities from our colleagues who are away from Sussex at the moment - Sally and Debbie.

Continue reading 'CtGF - Apologies for Absence'...




Up, Up and Away! (plus some down in-between)

All go at MPS, as we sent some of our colleagues off for a lunchtime trampolining session!

Continue reading 'Trampolining!'...

Week 2 - Activity Reviews Round-Up



Activities Round-Up!

MPS comes charging into Week 2 of the Commit to Get Fit with another mixed bag of exercise and activities. Sadly a few of our teammates are on holiday at the moment, so we are getting regular updates from them via email.

Continue reading 'Week 2 - Activity Reviews Round-Up'...

CtGF - End of Week 1 update



The first week of Commit to Get Fit comes to a close

The first few days of the CtGF have been eventful, active and most importantly FUN!

Continue reading 'CtGF - End of Week 1 update'...

Commit to Get Fit/Fat - this week, a mixed bag...



There's a mixed bag of CTGF activity in the marketing team this week...

Some of us have powered through, taking yoga, spinning, swimming (obviously NOT on campus, grr we want a swimming pool!), cycling and Zumba. 

I did spinning which was as uncomfortable as everybody told me it was going to be - the combination of a hot day, no air conditioning in the gym and me being a spinning virgin meant I was looking pretty worse for wear afterwards, to the extent that two of my colleagues didn't recognise me in the changing room afterwards! I still kind of enjoyed spinning though, in a sick kind of way. Like when you're a kid and you have a wobbly tooth; it hurts to pull it, but it’s also kind of nice.

This all sounds like we are well and truly on the CTGF bandwagon, BUT, there is an uprising, rebellion or mutiny if you like, taking place among the marketing team. These mutineers have formed a rebel team…the Commit to Get Fat team. Fondant fancies, cake, crisps and a whole host of other contraband has infiltrated our office and is slowly taking our team down. We are planning an intervention, hopefully with enough time to turn things around by next week. There’s still hope, but the pending bank holiday weekend, with its sunshine (hopefully) and it’s fry-ups and BBQs poses a threat.

Next week a few of us will be doing the boundary run, which seemed like a good idea at the time…

Before then, if you see a member of the marketing CTGF team, cake in hand, walking around campus, please report them back to me or feel free to take action yourself…

Medically fit - we stagger on



This week our team members have been busy. Our activities include: walking to and from work, swimming, cycling, playing volley ball and kick boxing. Some of us have managed to cut back on eating between meals, drinking more water and eating more fruit.

Commit to Get Fit Team HR Morris Dancing in pictures




Rachael and Dizz


Jo and Joe




Graham teaching the session




Morris Dancing! - DARO



Have just come back exhilarated from the morris dancing in Library Square, waving two white hankies as I went!  I've never tried it before but it was great, and the perfect way to spend this beautiful sunny May day.  I was definitely in the swing of it by the end, and sorry to put my hankies aside.

It was a lot of fun, which I think was helped by the fact it's outdoors, but it was also the laughter as well that made it memorable, and the obvious sense of camaraderie which the expert morris men and women extended to us novices! My afternoon's morris dancing only serves to reinforce what I have always believed: the old traditions are the best!  Thank you Brighton Morris Dancers - I can now dance (or try to dance) the William and Nancy morris dance Smile

INSPIRE: Day 26 - To Infinity and Fris-beyond



It's day 26 of the challenge and in reality the BMEc team is pretty near to the Spire already, somehow slipping out of control and whirling to the the top like a frisbee gone mad - an over-eager, very keen frisbee.

But I didn't want to rush to the top without stopping off at the Shangri-La Hotel for a little rest and contemplation:

 day 26

When things get busy at work, it's easy to forget that you don't live in the office and that weekends aren't just for recovering from office trauma (in fact, I spent my bank holiday recovering from trauma suffered during prolonged badminton on Friday).

I count myself very lucky to be working for a university. For a very brief, dark period in my life I worked in a pastry kitchen. And when I say dark, I mean dark because I started work at 3am everyday. But it was also a bleak lifestyle - no weekends, no Bank holidays, no extended Easter holiday (thank you, Sussex), no Christmas off (well, Christmas day, but that was about it). The whole work/life balance concept is extraordinarily alien to those working in the private sector.

And so what are we doing working late, taking work home, checking emails and lying in bed at night worrying about how many invoices you have to raise in Agresso? (Incidentally, the answer is 450 invoices). 

I am very proud of how the BMEc team have done. Instead of saying 'I'm far to busy to do trampolining today', everyone has been able to shut work down for an hour and try something new. In fact, in just a couple of weeks, the team have tried their hand at frisbee:


Two trapeze in a pod:



More archery:


And a couple of people are practicing for the Boundary Run:


Run, (through the) Forrest, Run!


Let's hope once the Commit to Get Fit challenge is over, that people remember to not let work take over and relax once in a while! 


BMEc - Be Motivated; Eliminate Competition




Before we say goodbye to Zumba, spin classes, and slimline tonic for another year here’s a round-up of the SLC’s last week of CTGF…


Danny has had a bad cold this week so hasn’t been able to exercise beyond brisk walking. However he is looking forward to the Boundary Run next week and is going to give it his all.


Aoife has been engaging in plenty of cycling on her new bike, a lot of walks around Brighton and Lewes, a Zumba class, and working on her core by vomiting a lot.


Ben went to the gym twice, continued his super boring healthy salad diet, and has just been generally pretty hungry.


Marie rode a bike for the first time in years when she took a ride along the seafront. She also took part in Pilates and Zumba this week.


Jolyon will be cycling to Chichester then sailing  his 30 yr old  slime green laser in the afternoon & cycling back (some of the way) on Sunday.


It’s been a great month for the SLC team and despite fighting through various colds and bugs we’ve all embraced the challenge. Now roll on Monday and back to a life of fry ups, unused gym memberships, and handfuls of sugar in our coffee.  

Commit to Get Fit- The final blog from SHORE-C



So commit to get fat fit has come to an end (BOOOOO) and we have loved taking part in all the different activities that were on offer throughout May!

Last week Sue, Val and Lucy gave a HOOP HOOP HOORAY Laughing for commit to get fit and took part in the hooping session.

Here is Sue spinning so fast you can't see the hoop, what a natural!



They all managed to acquire some bruising along the way (which just shows how committed they all were!)

I enjoyed the sunshine (it's hard to believe looking out of the window at the moment!) last week with a lovely doggy walk.



And spent lots of time in the great outdoors with my feathery friends!



Val and Lesley spent last week playing golf at Gleneagles. Here is Lesley admiring the view


I also booked a badminton court and had a go with my friends one evening, although we did spend most of the time chatting as we were running around- maybe this counts as extra exercise as we were doing two things at once? 

Here is our post chat/badminton session photo!

SHORE-C Belle Kathryn was meant to take part in the boundary run which was unfortunately cancelled but luckily she completed it during the running session earlier this month. Extra points go to her for completing her goal early!

On Sunday Angela went for a 3 hour (8 miles) walk up on the downs at Wilmington and DID NOT, I repeat DID NOT (she did) enjoy two hours in the pub afterwards- well deserved I say!


As well as taking part in a range of activities- eating habits have started to change within the unit as well.

Here is some photographic evidence just in case no one believes me


We have all enjoyed commit to get fit month so much and have loved having a go at all the different activites. Here are some comments from members of the commit to get fit SHORE-C team!

"Fun, great opportunity to try new ways to get fit and join in as a team" Belle Val

"I thought it was an excellent way to introduce us to different sports that we may never have tried or get the chance to try. Also a good introduction to getting fit in a fun way! The talks were good and informative too." Belle Angela

"Great way to try out new and old sports, and feel those muscles. Talks interesting too: I never knew that there’s fat in a cucumber (impossible thought it was 100% water), although food shopping takes twice as long with checking out all these labels Frown." Belle Helena

“I loved the introduction to activities I wouldn’t usually do in my everyday efforts to keep fit, such as the hooping which was great fun with Lara!” Belle Sue


Thank you for giving us the oppourtunity to give everything a go! It has allowed us to get up and moving together and was so much fun!

Love the belles of SHORE C xx

INSPIRED: May the Sports be with You



 Well, Commit to Get Fit 2014 has come to an end and so has our team goal challenge. So how did we do?

Let's just say that we are all... INSPIRED.


It's been a very long May but thanks to our combined efforts, I can say that June is definitely not bustin' out all over. 

Why, just take a look at these stunning before/after photos:




What were the highlights? Well, Ola went from barely being able to run 2k in 17 minutes before collapsing in a heap of sweat and BO to being able to run 7.4k in 50 minutes. That's her entire journey home from the office. She can, literally, run home.

Ola also organised a Walk to Lewes (a project I took the liberty of renaming 'WHAT'CHU WALKIN' 'BOUT, LEWES?).

Faith cycled enough total distance to get from Brighton to Sheffield, Mailea learned how to kick-box, Ian finally came to badminton class and Brinyan, believe it or not, is now a full-fledged Gold member of SussexSport.

And myself? Aside from popping a balloon at archery after almost giving up, I have to say I've enjoyed most of all seeing the team pull together and really make an effort to reach our goal. Our three receptionists in particular have been fantastic (note for Christopher Nolan fans - 'Reception: Team within a Team').

And how high up did we all eventually get? Well, taking 2 hours of activity as translating to 1 floor of the Shard, we got to floor...


Well done, everyone!

... except that the Shard only has 87 floors. Which leaves us in a bit of a pickle.

Which is why, I am pleased to announce that we not only climbed the Shard but we also climbed up a little bit of the Gherkin too:



BMEC: Be Motivated; Eliminate Competition

Week 3: High-flying, Hampered and Hanky-waving



A change of pace

This week was a little different, in that most people were doing odd activities here and there. I'll start on Monday, when we were the very happy winners of a Motivational Prize hamper from Sussex Sport! Delicious treats and smelly cheeses (much to the disgust of some staff) brightened up the office and we saved them all to make our next team meeting a snacky one!


^^^ Look at it up there! Yum! ^^^

This hamper was devoured at our recent team meeting - although the pungent smell of the cheeses did make some of us run for fresh air!

The food went down a treat and certainly made up for the aches and strains of our activities.

I got yo back

The next activity was the session on Back Care, which was attended by Felicity. The session discussed some safe exercises to practice at work and home.

Again, the reports are that this is another example of "what we're supposed to be doing feels unnatural" - as it is very easy to get into bad habits when it comes to postures.

When Felicity described the correct seating position - where your back isn't under unecessary strain - I found myself writhing and wiggling around uncomfortably to try and replicate it.

Oh dear! OK, maybe I should have attended the back care session myself... and MAYBE I took a lot of pleasure from sitting in the "incorrect" (slouchy but comfortable) seating posture.

Human Origami

What naturally follows back care?.... Why TRAPEZE of course!

Naomi and myself tried our hand at the beginner's trapeze session on Tuesday afternoon.

This was an hour long session in the Sports Centre's Dance Studio - directly above a full examination hall! - where we were instructed by the cheerful Hazel.

Things got off to a good start when we walked in the door. Hazel greeted us and asked "So are you here for the trapeze?", which we quickly confirmed. Then Hazel frowned, looked at me directly and asked "And are you wearing.... THAT?

I was wearing that.

The article of clothing being challenged was my rather restrictive trouserwear. It was not obviously apparent why this would cause concern. It became a little too obvious once we started the warm-up exercises.

After a couple of laps of the room (very quietly as we were told that our bouncing was disturbing the exam) we moved onto some stretchy poses.

I believe it was on the second or third star jump that I heard the rip. It echoed around the room like the trumpets of doom, and for the rest of the warm-up I was in great danger of showing the bottom point of my star.

Once we got onto the actual trapezering, it was actually quite good fun. I could see in an instant that thorough warming-up was necessary, because the first task was to hang from a bar and then fold ourselves in on... ourselves so that we tucked under the bar! Easier said than done - especially for a lanky, stiff so-and-so like myself!

After looping through ourselves (like a hanging backflip) we then swung our legs over the bar and perched like parrots for a few minutes while getting our breath back. I can understand why they constantly need feeding crackers if it's that much hassle getting up there!

Bound and gagging

The end of the session was a bit of rope fun. We were taught how to climb up the rope like monkeys - actually the first time that I managed to get some height off the ground on a rope - so I was dead chuffed with that. One of the other participants had to go and climb right to the top though, didn't they? Setting a challenge to each other to get to the ceiling. Far too show-off for my liking....

After that, we got to try the silks. This was more like the trapeze, only more awkward to get started. Wrapping my legs around the silk was difficult, then trying to wiggle myself into a perched position ended up with my bum on the floor. Attempt number 2 and I managed to get up to the main position, where I was told by the instructor to "flip upside-down and go spread-eagled". It was at this point that I confessed to the instructor about my trouser malfunction. I told her that it was not advisable for me to spread, for the benefit of the spectators more than me. She accepted my argument.

Photos of me and Naomi are below for you to gawp at:

Taking the time

The following day, Sally and Chrystelle went to a mindfulness session. I think with the run up to the end of the academic year, a session on taking a couple of minutes in the day to focus and calm yourself would be a great idea.

I'm not convinced that either of them have been able to put that into practice yet - but hopefully they will bear it "in mind" when things get stressful.

With a hey-nonny-nonny

The week ended with another interesting activity - the ghetto street stylings of Morris Dancing!

Oddly enough, I couldn't get anyone else to sign up for this one with me - maybe they were all busy that day.

The event itself begun with a short demonstration from the Brighton Morris Men, lots of twirling and stick-bashing and hanky-waving. Obviously everyone around for miles took notice and rushed to join in with us .... actually all joking aside, they managed to convince around 50 people to get involved!

We then split off into groups to learn a short routine in parts - firstly bowing and waving, then weaving between each other before doing some sort of leap into the air. It took some (i.e. me) longer than others to pick up the steps - but after a few attempts we were spinning like May Day dancers.

Grand finale

It then all came together with a final performance of our routine - which we absolutely NAILED - right up until the final twirl. I was minding my own business, wiggling and twisting as expected but then somehow managed to fall over myself on the last move!

So what is possibly the least dangerous activity on the roster, and I somehow managed to come away with a twisted ankle. Utter genius. Still hurts now. Some sympathy please.

Photos from the morris dancing are below:

As an update on our "Get Far" progress, we managed a grand total of 1774 miles during the course of the month - so we almost made our target! We made it all the way up to Twatt, past Wetwang and almost back down to Thong. So close... and yet so far.

I think we're all quite proud of ourselves for sticking to it and challenging each other to do something unusual and active!


Nearly done....

So now there's only one last update to do before the end of Commit to Get Fit! Such a shame as we've all had a great month.

The MPS Team Summary will be posted up next week but we've had a lot of fun during May!

Commit to Get Fit 2014 - MPS Team Summary



Naomi - Team Captain!

Difference it has made: I am not anti-sport, just completely unmotivated. CTGF has made me seriously consider taking up some new activities; namely hoop and archery but I am also looking into the likelihood of getting a push bike and cycling to work (about 5 miles each way so this would be a considerable commitment for me!).

Difference to the team: As a new member of the team, this month has helped me feel more integrated. It has been a really nice way to get to know people better outside of the office. Being nominated as team captain also meant that I had to get stuck in and lead by example.

Achievements: The majority of the activities that I did throughout CTGF were things that I hadn’t tried before. I made a point of signing up for things that I wouldn’t normally get a chance to do and that I considered a challenge. I was particularly nervous about Trapeze so I was really proud of myself after that session! I think the biggest achievement of the month though, was raising £200 for the Rockinghorse children’s charity by dressing as a musketeer. All for one and one for all!



I went on holiday during the Comit to Get Fit month. I took part in the following walks and events in Peebles, Scotland.

Most of the walks started from Peebles, the exception being the John Buchan Way – a 13 mile linear walk from Broughton back to Peebles following long established hill tracks with a total climb over three main ascents of 800m, beautiful, empty country except for a few sheep and cows.

Our ‘day off’ was in Edinburgh where we chose a variety of attractions such as The Castle, Holyrood Palace, St Giles Cathedral, The Scottish Parliament, Princes Street and ‘Arthur’s Seat’

On the Sunday we were joined by a local rambling group who led us up and over Kirkhope Law 500m and then another steep downhill to Glensax where we had to jump across the ‘burn’ as all the bridges had been washed away. A gentle return to the cars was followed by an excellent tea for all at our hotel.

The next day we had a gentler walk along forest tracks, stopping at a visitors centre for our lunch before returning by Tweed side. On the last day I did a tranquil 7 mile walk along the river Tweed, taking in several historic landmarks, fields and woodland.

I do a fitsteps class every week and also walk most evenings for around half an hour to 40 minutes.



I really enjoyed the Commit to Get Fit this year. It was great to get involved and it was even better seeing the photographs of everyone making a fool of themselves!

Can't wait for the next one!


CGTF gives us all many opportunities to try new activities particularly if we are on the Uni Campus. However even if we are a term time employee, as I am, there is still the opportunity to join in this team event, create your own goals, and forward your adventures onto the 'Captain' - for MPS Naomi.

I took the opportunity of increasing the length of time on the activities that I already do, making sure that I completed five one hour sessions each week as a minimum target. Being on holiday in France, Portugal and Centre Parcs Longleat did not hamper my efforts. It was great to be able to go swimming most days, not only in the swimming pool of a local fitness club, but also in the seas of the 'med' in 30 degrees. Not to mention the 45 runs that we took down the rapids at Centre Parcs over a period of 4 days. I realised after a succession of 10 runs down the rapids that it was like swimming 60 lengths at least I was so tired that I could barely swim one length. It was quite astonishing particularly as I had been swimming 20-40 lengths each day in Portugal. I also walked ever day. In addition to increasing the usual activities, I also learnt a new game - shuffleboard. As well as playing some of the old favourites such as pitch and putt.

The great thing is that you don't necessarily need to be on campus to take part and contribute to your team's progress. CGTF doesn't have to be hard work. It can be great fun and you can join in anywhere in the world. The proof is in the pictures.



Overall I think it’s a great event. Everyone in our team of 12 did something to participate. It’s a good opportunity to try something new. Mostly I appreciate the team building that is a happy result of the project. It’s good to be reminded to be fit and healthy and get out of our office chairs!



CTGF 2014 was a fun experience that encouraged teamworking. Our team captain and resident blogger both made it easy for us to participate in events and encouraged us to work together to achieve success. They also raised a large amount of money for the Rockinghorse Appeal by dressing up for the fencing, enduring a considerable amount discomfort along the way! Well done Naomi & Matt!

I particularly enjoyed the Archery session and I found the Back Care session very informative and helpful.

I look forward to the next challenge



Although I didn’t get involved in many of the extra activities laid on (shame on me!) I was very aware of the amount of mileage I needed to cover and extra gym work needed to keep our miles up. I even cycled to work in the rain to keep this going and arrived at work looking like a drowned rat on a number of occasions. That's dedication for you, especially when you’ve just blow dried your hair!

What I will say is that although I’m generally a bit of an exerciseaholic, the commit to get fit scheme did encourage me to do that little bit extra, just an extra exercise class here and there and an extra bit of walking at lunchtimes. Feeling great for it all and plan to keep it up!



As I regularly go to my own gym, I aimed to try activities that I’d never done before, whilst also going to my own gym, and had a fantastic time trying out hooping, mindfulness plus learnt how to be more back-aware (which is very useful!). I asked an instructor at my gym to give me a new programme at the start of Commit to Get Fit, and feel completely re-energised doing this new routine.



Having participated in last year’s CTGF, it seemed a good idea to carry on the tradition and indulge in a few new things this time round. As well as my regular one hour lunchtime walks – come rain or shine – trampolining, Feldenkrais and back care were my choices.

Whilst I really enjoyed trampolining and indeed did it last year as well, I think I have to come to terms with the fact that my mind is a lot younger than my body and certainly my back. Feldenkrais was a bit yogaesque and I enjoyed it but couldn’t quite work out why my body was doing what it was (note, no hallucinogenic drugs involved in this process).

It would be good to have tennis back on the agenda for next year, in the meantime I won’t ‘keep on running’ but I will keep on walking, swimming and yogaing.

Thorough enjoyed Matt’s blog and keeping us all informed and entertained. Naomi inspired us all with her boundless enthusiasm.



Again, really enjoyed the challenge this year. I attended the running session and really enjoyed running part of the boundary run. It was a challenge for me as I only run on tarmac, but felt really good afterwards.

I also made an effort to improve my fitness level by trying new classes at my local gym, such as “body balance” and “circuit” classes. I really enjoy the circuit one and now attend once a week.

Following the CTGF last year, I decided to get a bicycle. Nothing flashy, but I really love it! With the nice evenings we have had, I’ve been cycling a lot along the seafront and go to town on my bike rather than taking the bus.



As with all staff events that we can get involved with, our team dove headfirst into this fitness challenge.

I think that I, along with several colleagues, was a little daunted by the prospect of actually shifting bottom and getting active. Commit to Get Far was only in January - surely I don't have to do TWO lots of exercise in a year!?!

Once I'd gotten over the mental hurdles, I was open to the suggestions being shouted around the office.

Archery? Yes please.

Fencing? Why not?

In the end, trying out a whole bunch of new things wasn't as scary as I'd imagined. Although my clothing and muscles are yet to recover from certain activities (Morris especially), I don't regret a thing. Well... maybe the trapeze....

Thank you to everyone for their enthusiasm and encouragement, and for the reports on activities which were included in the blog. I can't wait for the next challenge (so long as we can postpone it until at least 2015 for my recovery).

Well done Team MPS!

ITS - Commit To Get Fit - 4 Do Charleston




Charleston caused quite a stir when it was rumoured to be debuting on Commit to get Fit this year. Great fun, easy enough to learn a lot in one session. Lots of flapping, jazz hands, strolling, ooo's and that's what doing the mashed potato is. Who knew? And judging by the sweat marks quite energetic too. Can't wait for repeat on the 21st.

Commit to get fit, Team BMEc? Easy trapeze-y...



Team BMEc have been quietly active so far in CTGF (aka I have neglected to write a blog post). We are greatly enjoying our shared spreadsheet where we log our activities though! Some diary highlights include:

  • Boundary Walk! Fresh air, leg movement, something other than a screen in front of my face - bliss!
  • Badminton avec competitive colleagues, 1 intense hour
  • Danced like a mad man for an hour
  • 7.8miles walked (to and from train stations, boundary walk & a walk after work: 19,118 steps apparently)
  • Swimming after work (maybe around 30 lengths - I went with a friend, so maybe spent too much time talking and not enough time swimming?)
  • 30 minute run (4.5 km, I don't do miles)...Its 2.8 miles - Don't worry I got your back.
  • 45 mins Piloxing and 30 mins Piloxing Knockout practice (had to stop after downstairs neighbours began banging on the ceiling :-s!)
  • 45 mins Sh'bam, 45 mins PowerHoop and 45 minutes Knockout practice (found somewhere to practice which doesn't involve annoying the neighbours)
  • Walked 1 mile around Arundel to feed the ducks and 30 mins Knockout practice
  • 4.5k run around in brighton stopped to enjoy the circus on the level (would recommend)
  • Had a run-in with a circuits class for an hour, resulting in a severe lack of control of hip and knee joints (and missing the train home)
  • In too much pain to join the boundary walkers, could barely cope with walking down a set of stairs.
  • Walked all the way to La Choza (approx. 0.2 miles each way), before enjoying one of their famous calorie-free burritos (and sharing a portion of nachos)
  • "Trapeze" - actually, two rope climb attempts and a sitting buddha position, followed by core muscles needing Deep Heat for three days, and costing me two tickets to the High Top Circus on Saturday night. AWESOME!

As well as many CTGF sessions, we are also arranging a team "walk to Lewes over the hills and into a pub" after work next week and a BYO healthy picnic lunch, too!


Walk; Forest Walk, special guest post by last year's CTGF blog runner up, Hilmi Jaidin!



Hilmi's woods




“The woods are just trees,

The trees are just wood.”

- Stephen Sondheim




When I was growing up, my superstitious mother used to tell me that if I looked into the woods behind our house at night, I’d see a face staring back at you; which of course left me with a lifelong fear of the woods, and also faces.


But the trees behind the Jubilee building are beautiful. I’ve been making a habit of taking a walk through them every lunch for the past two weeks. This has done two things; one, it’s forced me to take a proper lunch break away from The Screen and two, it means I actually get (a little) exercise after lunch.


Given the proximity of the woods to the Jubilee building, it’s strange that not too many other staff members take the opportunity to enjoy the serenity of the place, less than 100 meters away from the office. There’s nowhere else on campus, really, where you can get away and feel undisturbed for half an hour. And you don’t have to walk; you could sit or run, or even sing and no one would ever know (if you sing in the woods and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?).


But then again I suppose if everyone took my advice and camped out in the forest, it would no longer be serene. In other words, ignore this post entirely!


But seriously, the woods are beautiful; they’re nothing to be afraid of, despite what my mother might tell you.



Commit to Schedule - Dealing with Injury, Illness and DOMS



What is great about Commit to Get Fit is that you get a bunch of team mates together, most of us don't know each other well and then you've got something to relate to other than work and like any relationship you then have a building block. The same is true at the additional classes. You can see people every lunch time heading for the sports centre and there's a fair chance they're commiting to get fit.


This year I'm trying to get a fitness programme together. I injured my knee nearly 4 years ago and it took over 3 years to get a diagnosis. Before my injury I used to run, not at any particular level but I enjoyed pounding the streets. However I always needed a goal, 10k here, 1/2 marathon there and one marathon. After that I tried a triathlon and really enjoyed it, despite not being a great swimmer. Shortly after that I injured my knee. After a few months out I needed something so I found Yoga and Spin. My knee got worse and the spin had to go. I saw an NHS physio, a chiropractor and got some suggestions from the Sussexsports team. I started Life Circuits twice a week and included some recovery exercises in that. I returned to the NHS and finally got referred to Orthopaedics, who then sent me back to my original physio who diagnosed me with quadriceps tendonitis.


Having a diagnosis means that I have some exercises that will help overcome the injury, or at least keep it at check. I does mean that I have to go to the gym once a week and extend my left quadricep. I've started running sporadiacally and go to spin lessons again. I haven't got a clue where my limit lies, this is something that I've decided to test. So the theory is let's aim for a 1/2 marathon and a beginners triathalon within a year. I've done two casual 5 milers this year and I've a 10K coming up in June. One thing is clear though, I won't make 10K without training.


So this year's CTGF is a weekly program of gym, outdoor run, indoor cycle, a 25 min swim and 1 or 2 yoga classes. I'll also be trying out Charleston and Bouldering as group activities.


Week 1

Thurs - Boundary Walk - CANCELLED due to ILLNESS

Sat - Swim - CANCELLED due to ILLNESS

Great start but unavoidable.


Week 2

Mon - Yoga - CANCELLED due to Bank Holiday

Tues - Life Circuits - Great class, team reps, good fun with a smigeon of competition

Weds - Run - Blowing a hoolie so I headed up to Falmer Sportscentre gym for the first time in about 9 years. Did 5K at pb speed? Lent forward in an attempt to start a change of running style. Calves are feeling it afterwards.

Thurs - Charleston - Really good fun and alot more energetic than I imagined it would be.

Fri - Spin - My legs are dead. I've no power in them at all but I give all I've got.

Sat - Swim - Enough is enough - CANCELLED due to DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) has kicked in. I need to rest or I'll injure myself.


Now I go into Week 3 with some thoughts. Where did I over do it? I certainly went for it a little hard running on the treadmill and the Charleston was more energetic that expected. I think I'll stick to the program, yoga, spin and life circuits are classes so I'll do as expected. I want to up my distance for running by 1k per week, so 6k this week at a normal pace, and a 25 min swim. The knee is a little sore as I start, but yoga and life circuits should help that.


I've also read Sports Physio Tom Groom's notes from last year.......hopefully they'll keep me in check.

The Cap'n Walks The Plank (a.k.a. Coldean Lane)



Shivvering me timbers

Our Team Captain, Becky, took up the challenge to walk home - although the weather wasn't as kind for her odyssey!

Continue reading 'The Cap'n Walks The Plank (a.k.a. Coldean Lane)'...

Boxercise, The Long Walk Home and Mountain Goats



Another eclectic update from MPS!

This week we have been taking the fitness to another level, getting involved in more physical activity and forgoing transportation home!

Continue reading 'Boxercise, The Long Walk Home and Mountain Goats'...

Netball, well, sort of...



Netball Crazy!

The torrent of team trials and tribulations continues into this week, with a quick update on the Netball session.

Continue reading 'Netball, well, sort of...'...

A flurry of activity at MPS!



More activities for MPS

There has been a flurry of activity over the past week, with a whole bunch of different activities being undertaken by our team.

Continue reading 'A flurry of activity at MPS!'...

You're a wizard, Harry



Another weird Commit to Get Fit update from MPS!

Hats off to SussexSport again for the unusual but very welcome inclusion of Quidditch in the lineup this year!

Continue reading 'You're a wizard, Harry'...

Commit to Get Fit 2015 - It begins....



MPS Commit To Get Fit 2015!
Another year, another month full of fun and activity!

Continue reading 'Commit to Get Fit 2015 - It begins....'...

CTGF - I love it when a plan comes together



So this year's CTGF is a weekly program of gym, outdoor run, indoor cycle, a 25 min swim and 1 or 2 yoga classes. I'll also be trying out Charleston and Bouldering as group activities.

After last week's failure I did it.

Week 3

Monday - Yoga.

Tuesday - Circuits.

Wednesday - Spin - not as much energy as I'd have liked.

Thursday - Yoga.

Friday - Run - 6K - desired improvement of 1K over last week.

Saturday - 800m non-stop breaststroke. This may be (or at least equals) my pb!


This week I have Bouldering tonight and Charleston on Thursday, hope I don't over do it.

ITS adventures in dance...




This week members of the IT team went to two dance classes…

Bollywood and Egyptian dancing, from India to Egypt in a matter of days.  Bollywood saw us taking elements of bhangra and mixing it with gentle movements of the hands and wrists, signifying flowers opening up to the sun!  We also wafted around the dance hall with scarves emulating butterflies.  This all sounds very gentle, but it was an energetic and non-stop workout!

Egyptian was a very earthy dance, especially the almost shamanistic/cathartic dance moves at the end of the class, which we all did very enthusiastically - we were a bit concerned about our heads and necks afterwards!!

We were so engrossed in both; we forgot to take pictures, so you will have to take our word for it that we went!

Next week – Bouldering!  This looks frightening, maybe we could have a steadying drink beforehand,  non alcoholic of course!  Watch this space for the write-up…



BMEc Marking May Halfway



Team BMEc busy bonding in and on top of CTGF activities. Roving reporter JW brings you these updates from the field:


Oliver - Really enjoying trying new things and spending a lot of time on the water, including a surf holiday to Devon complete with building campfires. Getting the rest of the BMEc team on [paddle] board at Brighton beach on Sunday!

Georgie – As a new member of staff the Boundary Walk was a special highlight. Got to see the campus from a variety of angles and the activity allowed for some chatting too! CTGF has inspired her to get swimming regularly again.

Ciara – Despite a bout of illness, managed to get to several Circuits and Zumba classes; particularly excited about the Pole fitness session coming up!

Mailea – Active as always in the gym throughout the week. Most fun and surprisingly exhausting was the 45 minutes spent jumping on the trampoline with little niece.

Emily – Just qualified as a Piloxing instructor after regular training culminating in an intense 9-hour slog on Sunday and teaching her first class this week!

 Emily and Piloxing coachEmilys certificate


Bryony – Mostly been revelling in Birthday week treats. Really enjoying experiencing new things thanks to CTGF such as resin socks, tennis ball wall massages, and can’t wait to try piloxing!

Our American Correspondent Austin – Ate a whole lobster, tried yin yoga for the first time, currently experiencing the trials of jet lag…more to come once the fog lifts!

Becky – After finding Insanity really and truly insane, Zumba with Ernest is great with bonus challenging salsa moves. Definitely feeling fitter and not clock-watching longing to escape classes so much anymore…

Hilmi – Usual Badminton with colleagues and Charleston dancing for the first time ever, this week. Regular morning aerobics and lunchtimes walks in the woods as per last blog.

Aidan – Much football training: POV video clip coming soon!

Shinong – A pleasant 10pm jog through Brighton’s streets on a Friday night and some early mornings too. Yoga classes to balance out the aerobics.

Marni – Couch to 5k attempt is going brilliantly; on week 5 and making great progress. Goal (or reward?) is to run the Brighton Color Run in the Autumn!

Ola – Fair amount of Anniversary indulgence but still training for the Boundary Run, and taking classes. Can tell she’s improved by not wanting to throw up in most recent Insanity class. Looking forward to being a Pole on the Pole next Wednesday.

Juliet – Took one for the team by having a kale juice (now everyone else is good), enjoying her running that started in last year’s CTGF (very effective, this CTGF). Sunday’s run was good fitness-wise but memorable due to gruesome nature scene (look away now if you are of a sensitive disposition) involving a crow enjoying a freshly deceased pigeon.

James – Currently at the dentist but we know he has been running and working out.

Emma – Bit of a badminton heavy week (meaning one session vs not much of anything else) but on my feet all weekend enjoying the city and the countryside. So excited to get on the water on Sunday!  

Anita – Really enjoying the variety of opportunities in CTGF including Fetching the Frisbee, Bollywood dancing with the gorgeous saris, Boundary Walk, plus usual swims every weekend.


Go #TeamBMEc!

Marvellous Montenegro, Wonderful Wales & Delightful Derbyshire



Updates from our Foreign Correspondents!

At Team MPS we enjoy sending our team off around the country to promote healthy living and exercise.

This year for Commit to Get Fit, we sent 3 people off on diplomatic missions around the globe - starting local with our dispatch of Debbie to Wales and Sally to Derbyshire - before going international and sending Sarah to Montenegro!

Continue reading 'Marvellous Montenegro, Wonderful Wales & Delightful Derbyshire'...

Broken Car, Frizzing Bees and Climbing Up The Walls



More commitment from MPS!

Another update from MPS, this time a little closer to home - so no need for holiday-snap-jealousy.

Continue reading 'Broken Car, Frizzing Bees and Climbing Up The Walls'...

ITS go wild at Bouldering...



This week members of the IT team went bouldering…

We felt apprehensive as we tried on our climbing shoes, were they supposed to be this tight?  What if we fell off (hmm, turns out - not a problem), What if we couldn’t grip the ‘thingys’ on the wall?


The lovely chaps at Boulder Brighton gave us a warm up – i.e. they got us started on a training wall, everyone managed to make their way across, so we were let loose on the other higher, more difficult, busier walls.  The place was full of very athletic, lithe, enthusiastic people – and us!

Before we knew it, we were getting to grips (literally) with the ‘thingys’, the grippy bits on the walls and hauling ourselves up to the top, hanging there for a second in victory.  Colleagues were clapping and encouraging and calling out where the grippy bits were located.  Teamwork was key!

Time flew by and before we knew it, it was time to go to the pub – to replace all that energy we had expended.  There was still time to be pleasantly surprised by an ad-hoc hooping lesson in the car park by Susi.  We decided there and then that a hooping session this week would be a great idea.

Commit to get fit…by hula hooping our way around Shawcross...


BMEc walk to Lewes and Shinong stepped in a cowpat...



So yes! This week the BMEc Commit to Get Fit Team went for a two hour hike after work on a lovely Wednesday afternoon. After constant checking of the weather forecast to see if it would be raining we decided to ignore the changeable results.


It turned out to be a fantastic event!

We started from the Jubilee Building and crossed the bridge near the Swan to get to Falmer Village. And even though all of us have been living in and around Brigton for couple of years, we didn't know Falmer Village has such a stunning view!

 Falmer Village

From there, our Lewes local guide Emma guided us all the way there.


We were lucky to see some lovely bunnies on our way there. The lovely grassland proved to be very welcome for 7 strangers from the university and we did (un)luckily encounter some cowpats and me, perhaps the one who is most unfamiliar with British countryside accidentally stepped into one. Well, that’s not too horrendous.

Some more photos of beautiful countryside and commited BMEc people:

Group Photo

From left to right: Ola, me (Shinongalong), Emma and Georgie. The yellow dot far away is James, Juliet and Ollie.



The town near us was Kingston. Since we started our journey, we had a bird’s eye-view of many towns around, Lewes, Peacehaven…

Nearer town


A few minutes before 7pm, we arrived at our destination – the Swan Inn in Lewes and we finished with a pint at the end. Yayyy!




BMEc distributor: Cool Shinong Cool




The IT team went off-piste…



Although not part of Commit to get fit - because we are getting into this fitness thing - at lunchtime today we learnt how to hula hoop – ably taught by Susi.  She was a dab hand (hip) at it and several of us gyrated around the grass outside the Sport Centre.

Several bus-loads of people were treated to this Smile

A very enjoyable lunchtime jaunt and we also managed to trap Alison on her way back from the Mass Charleston – although we couldn’t get her in the pictures.  Pictures courtesy of Catherine!

hoopla ITS


CTGF - What a difference a year makes



So this year's CTGF is a weekly program of gym, outdoor run, indoor cycle, a 25 min swim and 1 or 2 yoga classes. I'll also be trying out Charleston and Bouldering as group activities.

Week 4

Monday - Yoga.

Monday evening - Bouldering - I absoultely loved it. After promising Jane that I won't get all macho and gun-ho I got stuck right in. Managed a few yellows and a couple of purple and blacks, highest being a 4a which required a jump up to a handle.

Tuesday - Circuits. My arms ACHED after boldering. Before starting circuits I tried a row, fine, a chest press, fine, and the a press-up and a shoulder press. NO NO NO. No way. Switched those for some knee strengthening exercises.

Wednesday - Spin.

Thursday - Charleston - too knackered to do it and gave it a miss (or rather had a hangover from watching Sunderland secure premiership football for another season Cool).

Friday - Holiday - Run - 7K - Dropped the kids off at school and took a 7K route home along the Worthing seafront. Desired improvement of 1K over last week.

Saturday - 100m 'non-stop' front crawl. I've never been able to master front crawl and this was last year's failed CTFG challenge. I didn't think I was going to manage it on Saturday either after a couple of aborted attempts around the 50m mark.

1 week to go which should be pretty standard except for the highlight of the Boundary Run.

Are we nearly there, yet?



Roving reporter JW brings you this week’s updates from Team BMEc:

Oliver - Awesome walk to Lewes followed by a weekend of muscle toning via house and garden work.  

Georgie – “I won my Fitbit challenge! I'll explain it a bit; my Fitbit is set to 10,000 steps a day and I was in a challenge called the Daily Showdown with some of my Fitbit friends from across the pond - and as the app told me I 'crushed it' with a total of 19,652 which was 8,000 (I think that's right?) steps ahead of the person in second place!”

Georgie fitbitcrushed itwinner

Ciara – Continued effort in tough circuit training is paying off with a significantly more toned behind.

Mailea – On holiday this week, but we trust Miss Mailea to keep on moving…

Emily – “I went to the gym to practice delivering my Piloxing and Knockout class, completely wore myself out doing one straight after the other but I was very chuffed that I could definitely feel an improvement in my fitness. Even after practicing Knockout only a few times I’ve noticed a huge jump in my fitness in other classes, such as Bodystep on Monday – I used to be one step away from collapsing after one of these classes, but even after doing the new routines I found myself much less exhausted. I even felt like I could’ve carried on for another few tracks!!”

Here is a photo of Dexter the chinchilla watching Piloxing:


Bryony – Has covered a lot of ground this week flat hunting (successfully!) Looking forward to trying pole fitness.

Our American Correspondent now back in the UK Austin – A Push Up challenge (6000 achieved!) has unfortunately led directly to the chiropractor’s office….get well soon Austin!

Becky – Lovely holiday in Portugal with lots of walking between cake shops. Really looking forward to getting back in the saddle (as it were) and trying pole fitness.

Hilmi – Charleston is his thing:



Aidan – Another team injury L . Video footage of the football match in which knee got damaged is forthcoming though!

Shinong – Not in the office today but will update soon.

Marni – Couch to 5k and working on the allotment is active

Ola – 8k run and 7 mile walk in gorgeous East Dean over the weekend, should lead to a successful Boundary run tomorrow. GOOD LUCK OLA!

Juliet – Charleston and 10k run on Sunday and 10 miles walk to Highdown Gardens on Bank Holiday Monday, with picnic and Pimms on the beach included.

James – Newcastle FC won so James is ok and fired up for Boundary Run. GOOD LUCK JAMES!

Emma – Walking, walking, walking. Nutrition talk directly affected her grocery shopping and has improved (at least for now) her breakfast habits.

Anita – 30 lengths in the swimming pool and Charleston dancing last week. Please see photgraphic evidence above.

Going the extra mile



More updates from MPS!

Another day, another bunch of aerobic action over at MPS!

Continue reading 'Going the extra mile'...

The Story of BMEc and the Boundary Run



Well done James and Ola for completing today’s Boundary Run and achieving your CTGF goals and congratulations to John Bateman for his speedy time.




James is even eating post-run grapes right now (fruit’s his new CTGF thing). Enjoy the rest of the week off James and your birthday.



We only just managed to get a photo of Ola crossing the finishing line as she was going so fast.



Pole on a pole & a lunchtime display of BMEc teamwalk!



This week, Emily and Ola went to pole fitness and 'crushed it' as we now say in BMEc (see an earlier blog post).

They went up the pole...


Can our favourite Pole do it...?

Yes she can! Zero to upside down in under an hour! Impressive, you two.


Us more upper-strength-challenged teammates took a lunchtime nature walk through the woods behind Jubilee building. At the gate at the end of the first woods, where we all usually sit to lunch and gaze at Stanmer House nestled in the downs, Juliet led us into unknown territory...MORE WOODS.

Intrepid explorers...

Dear reader, have you encountered this...exotic water feature?

Have you encountered this...exotic cow?

Have you encountered these TREE SNAILS??!!

There are many, many more photos of the colourful tree snails but I'll refrain here. Maybe we're all woodland newbies but these are a new species to us. Pleased to report that despite their proliferance; only one crazy tree snail on the path lost his or her life to my (innocent) shoe.


Two generations of useless explorers



More adventures from MPS!

An update from blog author Matt today on last week's fitness activities!

Continue reading 'Two generations of useless explorers'...

CTGF - Twice Round the Daffodils



So this year's CTGF is a weekly program of gym, outdoor run, indoor cycle, a 25 min swim and 1 or 2 yoga classes. I'll also be trying out Charleston and Bouldering as group activities.

Week 5

Monday - Yoga.

Tuesday - Circuits.

Wednesday - Boundary Run - boundary run is 2.5 miles / 4 km, my scheduled run for this week was 8km, so I went round twice. Really good fun. Not sure how my time compared with previous runs but I didn't the second lap quicker than the first. The second lap at the hill running up from Northfields was a killer but I made it.

Thursday - Hatha Yoga

Really enjoyed today's session. Did a bakasana and didn't fall on my face (that's not me in the photo).


 and then eka hasta bhujasana (that's not me either).

eka hasta bhujasana

Photo source

Friday - Spin.

Saturday - Well I should have rounded of CTGF 2015 with a swim but the kids were on 1/2 term and therefore not at swimming and that mean's I don't go either. It's all part of the schedule ;)


Well I'm sorry if I've bored you to tears with my blogs but I've achieved exactly what I wanted to and more. I'm on schedule for my first offical 10km in 4 years this coming Sunday. I've stuck to my my program albeit with a false start. I've got to know people better within my departmental team and met other people around the university.


Dance Like an Egyptian and Sting Like a Bee



A (belated) Boxercise and Egyptian Dance update from MPS!

Due to a blog backlog, it has taken me ages to get these updates onto the blog!

Continue reading 'Dance Like an Egyptian and Sting Like a Bee'...

Commit to Get Fit 2015 - MPS Team Summary



Commit to Get Fit - MPS Team Summary

A few thoughts on the end of Commit to Get Fit 2015 from Team MPS!

Continue reading 'Commit to Get Fit 2015 - MPS Team Summary'...