25 Jun

Paying your credit card off with your savings – Sometimes you gotta be bold!

For us this has been quite a difficult one. This year hasn’t been the greatest as far as money is concerned. Things have been tight at times to say the least, but we have managed to put aside about £30 a week into a pretty standard savings account. Since about January, the £30 plus anything else we could lay our hands on, has been squirrelled away into that savings account, amounting to just over £2000 up until yesterday. Not a bad achievement at all I don’t think.

Now back on New Years Eve, Tina, Elizabeth & I wrote on a note on a Chinese Lantern, a short note, asking to be personally debt free in 6 months, which we both agreed would be the end of June 2012. In a flash of inspiration and alarm this Saturday, it dawned on me… we had just 7 days to be debt free and we still had £3124.80 on our personal credit card! There’s no way we could manage that!

After much discussion, deliberation and thought, we went through every savings account we could find, to try and get our wish to come true. With the money we’d saved and some that was sitting dormant in a couple of other accounts, we could just do it. It would wipe out our safety net once again, but we decided…

…Let’s Go For It!

So yesterday we took that bold step. Why? Because the interest on the credit card is WAY higher than that we’re earning on our savings… So paying it off would save us £100’s if not £1000’s if we only paid it off a little at a time like we were doing.

Plus, there’s nothing like a little motivation! If ever there’s a reason to get the stuff I’ve got stored in the garage cleaned up and sold, this is it… If ever there’s a reason to work smarter and bring in more money… this is it. No safety net is a dangerous thing, but sometimes you’ve got to fly by the seat of your pants, take a chance, and have faith in whatever you believe in, yourself, your family, God… Whatever your faith, you’ve got to believe you can do it.

So has our wish come true?

In a fashion yes… Debt free in 6 months… Done!

Maybe not in the way we thought we’d do it, so maybe we need to be a little more specific with next years wish. But in a day or so’s time when the credit card company confirms receipt of the payment, we shall be debt free. Now the massive challenge comes in building that safety net once again… £30 at a time, even £1 at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so if we keep focused, all pull in the same direction, we can do it.

What’s happening to the credit card now?

It’s going to be locked away in the drawer… where it belongs.

12 Jun

Get Fit For Summer – Day 1

So we have just 7 weeks now until we go on holiday and as usual… it’s kicked in… The desire to look half-decent on the beach so when we don our Wet Suits my Fiance and I don’t look like a pair of Walrus’s! It’s time to start a little hard work, watch what we eat and get more active to try and shed those few extra pounds and possibly gain a few pounds of muscle in the process.

I’m starting pretty easy, but we’re going for quick and intense training over the coming weeks. Sprints, weights & body-weight exercises will be the order of the day, so here goes.

A note of nutrition during this 7 week period: For the first two weeks I’ll be eating what I normally eat, but being mindful of what’s going in. Sticking to wholegrains, minimising the bread and wheat intake though, and eating plenty of fruits and salads. Still having a blowout though at the weekend with the usual crisps and chocolate. Just not overdoing it. We’re not starving ourselves. The idea is to get our Metabolisms boosted to try and shift the extra pounds, not starve ourselves!

Day 1 Workout

Gently easing into it, these are done at your own pace, throughout the day, but putting plenty of effort in as you do them. Each of these exercises can be fitted into your working day with ease as they only take a few minutes.

  • 10 Pull-ups
  • 3×10 Chair dips
  • 2x 100 Metre Sprints – Flat out, no holds barred
  • 4 minute belly buster
  • Set an interval timer app on your phone for 12 x 20 second intervals. Then do 20 secs on each of the following. No rest in between.
    Mountain Climbers / Plank / Crunches (putting the rest in between). Pushing hard during each work period to get as many in as possible.
02 Jun

Can running make you fat?

I was reading an article in the paper yesterday about exercise and the various conflicting theories about how much and which type of exercises you need to do to actually burn body fat. We recently took up running, primarily in the hope of shedding a few pounds before our summer holiday, but also to improve our level of cardiovascular fitness.

6 weeks on, how do things look? Well, both Tina and I have been running 3 times a week for between 20 and 30 minutes per session and the routes we’ve taken have been varied to include running up and down hills, grass, asphalt and gravel. Our general fitness levels have increased considerably a we can both now run for the full session holding a conversation, and neither of us are ready to completely collapse from exhaustion on our return. Recovery time is also far reduced too, with the whole experience leaving us both energised afterwards and ready to face the rest of the days challenges.

Weight loss wise though, it’s a different matter. Neither of us have seen any weight loss at all. In fact I think I’ve put on a pound or two. So the question is what do you have to do to get the burn that body fat? According to the article and the guys at R and O Group it’s to do with the bodies reaction to prolonged exercise or at least exercise that stresses the body out too much. Stress through exercise causes your body to produce the stress hormone, Cortisol. In short, this puts your body into Fat Storage mode! Not something we’d expect from exercising.

Change of approach

A change of direction is therefore required. In their Weapons of Fat Destruction post on their blog Ruben and Ozzie recommend Sprinting over jogging or running for stimulating fast fat burning. Here’s what they recommend…

6 Sprints a day, 6 Days a week. Combined with healthy eating and some resistance exercise which can be done at home using just bodyweight – Push ups, Pull ups, Sit Ups, Squats etc.

Sprinting Program

Work (sprint) Rest No movement
20 seconds 20 secs
20 seconds 15 secs
20 seconds 10 secs
20 seconds 20 secs
20 seconds 15 secs
20 seconds 10 secs

They also reckon that fantastic results can be achieved in just 4 to 6 weeks too… so we’re going to give it a go, see how we get on!