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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.

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.

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!


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.

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!

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