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Unfit start to get fit



Week one

Hooray, I have achieved my first week of ‘Get fit’ challenges. I am beginning to remember how much I enjoy doing ‘sporty things’ My aim is to do 4 activities a week in a quest to find some new easy ways to do regular exercise.

I started with Trampolining, which was very  was scary but I learnt a few easy exercises that I can use on our garden trampoline. The boundary walk reminded me just how much I enjoy walking and I hope to walk more regularly.

I run (badly)  every Saturday  around our local park and over the years I have learnt that  I am more likely to maintain a  small exercise goal or routine.  I am also much better when I play games as opposed to some gruelling workout.  Games always  allow me to be tired and exhausted without giving in to the pain. So with those rules in mind, an hour of  badminton was a great success even though I had a very tender backside and arm for several days afterwards…. I like to think it was a good pain.

End of week one and I’m already looking forward to next week

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...

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...

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 :-)

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...

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

Commit to get fit Challenge - ITS Group - week 3



We made a recruit or two last week. Michele joined the group and Jeff joined us for spin.


7 members of ITS made it to a group spin class, there was a whiff of solidarity in the air that would have made Lech Lewenza's knees wobble. 40 minutes of panting, sweating, grinding and swearing later and I could sense the relief of finishing. The consensus was that it was good exercise but the bike needs getting used to. For Angi it was cycle 2 ever and cycle 2 in 2 days. Cheers to Andy for coming in especially to take the class.


Last week saw smaller groups take on life circuits, power hoop, racketball and an interesting 3 person badminton match. On an individual basis new activities included the gym, goal setting, running, yoga, zumba, H.I.T., boxercise, legs, bums and tums. Jane apparently had a wheelbarrow race at her allotment.


What I've picked up on though is that its not just the participants that are thinking about their fitness. There is interest in the department, small groups talking about their fitness activities.


And for those that were wondering, Terry still hasn't got his sticky pads.

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

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.

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…



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...


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


Are you making use of your web space?




Did you know that anyone with a Sussex ITS username can set up a personal website on the University’s servers..?

Look – I did it. Take a look, as it gives some suggestions as to what you might like to use your web space for. You don’t have to have any fancy coding skills – I have the coding skills of an 8 year old – because documents that you put into the right folder are then automatically available online.

First, you need to set up your web space. Once you’ve done that, a folder will appear on your N: drive called public_html. Documents in this folder will be available online, providing they’re the right file type. PDFs, pictures and any browser-friendly text files will sit nicely up there.

To make a really simple text file that will display as a web page, open any text editor (but NOT word processing software, like Word) – on a PC you can use Notepad and on a Mac, it’s TextEdit. Write a simple document in there and save it as a .txt file. Drop it in your public_html file and you’ll get something simple that looks like this.

To add formatting, you’re going to need to change it into an HTML file and add HTML tags to make it look pretty. Here’s the difference – I’ve just used one HTML tag to make a section bold. You’ll notice I’ve lost my line breaks, because that’s what happens when you use HTML; you need to use HTML instructions to get any kind of formatting. There’s a world of stuff to go into and this blog post isn’t really going to suffice as an HTML for beginners class, but there’s loads of information out there if you want to get started. There are loads of video tutorials on the internet that could help you put a good webpage together if you want to take it on.

So without doing any fancy coding, you can put up an introduction to yourself, or display a message about files you’ve made available on your webspace. I’ve done something along those lines for you to see just using a .txt file, created in Notepad and saved in the public_html folder, and it will also show you what the web link to your documents is going to look like.

Otherwise, you can stick documents into your public_html folder that you want to share with people, and send them the link so they can access it through a web browser. It’s worth remembering however that people can be rightfully wary about clicking links in emails so make sure that your audience is expecting to receive it, or that the email is reassuringly genuine-looking!

For more information about these personal web spaces, see our FAQ on publishing information online.