Here’s one I made earlier…

Hello everyone!

I’m so sorry that I haven’t blogged in a while. Truth be told, I kinda lost confidence in it. Then I got a really lovely message from an actress I know telling me that I’d inspired her to take up weight training and that she loved my blog! Thanks Anna :-)

In the last couple of month, things have been pretty exciting. I’m starting a new theatre company with my friends George and Ali, and we’re having a casting for our fourth actor very shortly. I can’t wait to see what it’s like to be on the other side of the casting process!

I also submitted my application to be a BLUE PETER PRESENTER!!! Although I’ve never done any presenting in my puff I’d always loved Blue Peter when I was wee and can’t think of a more fun job. Here’s the link to my showreel that I made for the application Be Nice! The presenting part wasn’t that tough but the editing… Ain’t nobody got time fo dat! It took me a whole day to put that together, lots of camomile tea and screaming. So if I don’t get short listed then at least I know how to edit something!

If that isn’t enough Shona for you then I also made a short film without even leaving my flat! I was involved in a short film, made entirely on a Google+ chat room.
Clicky Clicky
The idea was really cool because the actors were spread all over Britain and I believe at one point we even rehearsed while Vasso was in Greece! Poor Declan (the director), it took us so long to make because we were reliant on 7 computers and Internet connections all working well and even though it is 2013, rarely does that actually happen. But we got there in the end!

Enjoy!

Shona x

New Years Resolutions

Hi Everybody! (said like Dr. Nick from The Simpsons)

This blog is inspired by three wee bams in a certain gym on Bath Street.

So last night I went to a “normal” gym because Clanfit isn’t open on a Sunday. I used to be a member of this gym before I started doing Crossfit and I really liked it but always found the weights area pretty intimidating and I felt (as a woman lifting weights) some people looked at me as if I’d just taken a dump at the squat rack.

ANYWAY so there I was just working away at my front squat but I was also listening into the conversation of the three fellas next to me (this is a skill that I seem to posses along with all other Denovan women) Although the gym was relatively quiet they were complaining about the fact that the gym gets really busy in January because “people join as a New Years resolution but its ok because they give up in February and it gets quiet again” They all had a good little guffaw to themselves looking all smug.

It was this time about 3 years ago that I got my first gym membership. It was a New Years resolution to get fit/lose weight/improve myself and, fortunately, I stuck at it.

Sure, plenty of New Years resolutions get pushed aside pretty quickly and forgotten (“This year I will learn to speak French! Be completely T Total! Be more tolerant of people!” – just a few of mine that have gone tits up) but it is my opinion that January 1st is a better time than any to really make a change to your life whether that be in fitness, career, relationships, whatever.

It was exactly these guys attitudes that made me want to give up the gym when I first started and probably the same attitudes that make it scary for women to go near the weights room (but I feel that’s a whole other blog)

I’m a big believer in NYR’s, for me there’s something about having a big blowout on Hogmanay and then starting again with a “new you” in the new year (even if you do have a massive hangover)

Just don’t listen to any dissenting voices like those arseh*les in the gym and keep your resolutions up!

Have a lovely Hogmanay.

Shona x

Balancing Act

Hello everyone!

It’s been a long time since I last blogged; over a month in fact. As of now I’m going to do my best to blog AT LEAST once a week.

So at the start of this blog I wrote that I had TWO challenges to pursue: the career of my dreams and the body of my dreams. The thing I am struggling with right now is the balance between the two. I do believe it is entirely possible to achieve two completely separate goals but I find that as soon as I concentrate on one the other slips a little and vice versa. These two goals AS WELL as supporting myself with promo work which I feel at times needs the same amount of networking and chasing as acting work.

For example, I was doing really well in October looking for promo work so November was completely full but then I realised that I hadn’t spent any time trying to achieve my career goals and I was forgetting that the whole reason for earning money was to support myself as an actor (yes, I know I need to practise what I preach in my previous blog!) And then in the last couple of months I really tried to make things happen for me career-wise, which did pay off* but rehearsals, learning lines, weird non consistent day to day routines, meant that I wasn’t working out as much as I would normally and I stopped being as organised with my meal planning so that suffered.

I must admit, I am a somewhat disorganised person, and I have monkey brain in that I will be doing one thing and suddenly remember another thing I need to do which will then be probably interrupted by something else. And that results in three unfinished tasks.

I’m not scared of saying I am struggling. This is a challenge and if it were easy then it won’t be as rewarding when I eventually achieve it.

For Christmas I got a lovely diary from Paul because he knows how much of a monkey brain I have. Inside it says it is to help me “organise all your auditions, rehearsals, shows, promo and training for 2013″ I’m sure this will be a HUGE help and there is even space for me to put ideas for my blog too!

I will also use the time Paul is back home in Ireland to eat really well (without trying to make excuses its not so easy trying to eat healthily when you live with someone who likes to eat sweets most hours of the day) I  sometimes feel a bit bad making poor Paul eat paleo with me because it is MY goal not his but he has been 100% supportive and not grumbled once! (okay maybe once when he didn’t like my Paleo no carb lasagna which was basically a giant burger in a pyrex with some courgette slices – not the most exciting.)

I’m also using the Christmas period to entertain myself with…

THE MOBY PUSH UP CHALLENGE

This is just a bit of fun for when I’m bored over Christmas of annoying my sister (isn’t it funny how you revert to childhood when you go back home?)

I learnt this at Clan and basically what you do is put on the song “Flower” by Moby and everytime the song says “UP” you go Up and when the song says “DOWN” you also go up… no I’m joking you go Down obvs. This is a real bitch because there is a lot more time between the up’s so you are stuck in a press position :(

Here is my second attempt (I tried it at Clan and got just over a minute) This time I splatted (that’s the only description I can think for what I did) just under a minute before the end of the long down section. Still pretty proud of this considering earlier this year I couldn’t even do a proper press up (I did it with knees on the ground)

http://youtu.be/DzH9Cf5egGM

Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and I will make another post before next year, I promise!

Shona x

*Update on the exciting things happening in 2013, Mrs Lee’s Ladies in Oran Mor in Feb, Three Sisters in Oran Mor in March, talk of playing the lead in a sketch show and a wee business idea with George where we basically get to practise scenes and get paid for it! Hopefully this will all lead to bigger and better things!

Getting to grips with Paleo

It’s been 16 days since I blogged – whoops. I have been extremely busy and there are a couple of pretty cool things that have happened to me. So let me update you:
1) I got cast in a production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters as Natasha! This will be performed in February or March 2013.
2) Mrs Lee’s Ladies (which was the name of a sitcom I filmed last year) will be put on as a play in Oran Mor in February 2013.
3) It was my birthday. I got lots of lovely Underarmour kit from lovely Paul ILOVEUNDERARMOUR some new sneaks for Crossfit (New Balance Minimus) and the most amazing surprise zombie apocalypse/party with all my favourite people.

It’s been a great couple of weeks settling into my new flat and having some well needed good things happen to me career wise. HOWEVER, the bad thing that comes along with celebration and birthday’s is that the healthy eating plan goes tits up. I was doing a sampling job in Ayr for a few days leading up to my birthday but the bad thing when I’m sampling sweets and cakes is that I often end up sampling an awful lot too. I also seem to be surrounded by friends that are amazing bakers and when my birthday came I made my way through several zombie finger sausage rolls, slices of delicious graveyard chocolate cake, brain cupcakes and eyeball tophats! Delicious, but not going to help me achieve my beautiful body goal.

I was given a Paleo cookbook for my birthday (The Paleo Diet Cookbook by Loren Cordain) and I was advised to read Robb Wolf’s 30 day Total Transformation by Bobby at my gym. As far as I can see – from reading about Paleo online – it seems to be very popular amongst people who do Crossfit. Excuse me for the crude description but the idea behind Paleo, or caveman diet, is to try and replicate what cavemen used to eat ie fresh meat, fish, vegetables and nuts and eradicate any “modern” foods that cavemen didn’t have access to like dairy (you can’t milk a dinosaur apparently), wheat, grains, salt, sugar, anything artificial with additives or sweeteners. Supporters of Paleo argue that these foods are the causes of modern diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, parkinsons, alzheimers and depression and that cutting them out reduces the risk of getting them.
Most of the books and information online seem to agree on the principles but I am finding there is a bit of a grey area on things like fruit and dairy. One of my books says No Fruit apart from maybe a couple of pieces a week later in the day and another book gives a whole list of fruits to include day to day. I have also seen Paleo recipes that use cheese although I thought dairy was no no. The whole thing is a little confusing so On Monday I decided eat Paleo for a couple of weeks and see how I got on. There is no better way than to try myself. I’m a nerd when it comes to things like this. I like to read arguments for and against idea’s before trying it myself to make my own mind up. I’m not sure if this is a fad but I do like the ideals that this way of eating comes with. I like that it is encouraging me think about what I am putting in my body not only in terms of how healthy and fresh it is but also where it has come from. I am buying in season fruit and vegetables. I have never eaten non free range eggs but before I didn’t really check where the meat came from. As far as funds will allow me I am now trying to buy grass fed meat from the butchers instead of the supermarket. There can’t be anything bad about that if it’s good for me and the environment.
I don’t want to feel like I’m depriving myself so to ease myself into the Paleo way of living, I am not going to remove dairy from my diet just yet. I might try it next year when I am more comfortable with this. I’m still going to eat fruit now and then just not go crazy on it. It’s nice to eat for dessert to satisfy my sweet tooth. I am also, to start with, going to have 3 non Paleo meals a week (not all in one day) not necessarily unhealthy meals just non Paleo. It also allows me to still socialise with friends who don’t eat Paleo.
I’ll keep you updated with how I’m getting on and any interesting recipes. Most exciting so far has been the chicken fajita muffins that I have been having for breakfast!

Shona x

Getting back on it

As you’ll know from my last blog I’ve been pretty ill recently. I tried to go back to crossfit on Monday. It was a pretty tough WoD with loads of thrusters (thanks Walex) and after a couple of minutes in I felt light headed and shaky and had to give up. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I might have had some angry and frustrated tears in the car home.
I tried again on Tuesday morning and managed to finish the WoD but had to take loads of rest and ended up with a rubbish time.
On Wednesday I was moving flat. One intensive day of lugging stuff from two flats into one meant that not only did I not have time to train, I had absolutely no energy to do it either.
Come Thursday and I was feeling pretty demotivated in everything. It’s such a horrible feeling when you can’t be bothered doing anything. I found it so difficult to drag my ass to Crossfit but I’m glad I did. I must have been back to 100% and I really enjoyed it.
Today I tried to get my rep max for back squats and I managed 60kilos at a good depth and then couldn’t get low enough at 65 (bodyweight) so I no-repped myself. I have managed 65 before at a good depth but haven’t worked on squats for a while.
I’m going to work towards 70kg and I WILL achieve this in four weeks.
I learned this week that you CANNOT ignore your body and you can’t force it to recover: you just need to wait, ride it out and look after yourself.
And also in other news:

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Shona x

Why it’s important to have actor friends (but maybe not an actor boyfriend)

I’ve been struck down with the flu since Wednesday so been feeling pretty rotten and sorry for myself. I was producing snot at an alarming rate which was quite appropriate considering I was doing a promo job for Kleenex. I still went to work but I felt so weak that I couldn’t train at all. I haven’t been to the gym since Tuesday and was kind of freaking out about it but I’m glad I didn’t. I feel like I’ve given my body time to recover and now I’m ready to hulk smash it at Crossfit tonight.
When I was ill I felt really pathetic and sorry for myself. I feel like I’ve lost a bit of the progress I was making with my training and haven’t really done enough in the last week in the way of career building. I was stuck in bed looking up people I knew from youth theatre on the internet who are embarking on really successful stage careers in London west end and thinking that felt so far away for me. And also becoming green with envy.

Then I went out on Friday night with my close friend to see The Cherry Orchard at The Cottiers. She is also an actress at the start of her career having just graduated from drama school. She really cheered me up and forced me to put things into perspective. I really feel for her at the moment because she almost feels like her life has been turned upside down. Her course was really intensive and pretty much consumed her life for the past year. When it ended a month ago pretty much all of the close friends that she’d made in the last year moved away. She isn’t working and feels quite at a loss at what to do especially with hardly any of her friends around her for support. Checking in with each other gives us both a little shake and boost. It was then that I realised how important it is to have actor friends for the following reasons:

1) I’m not saying that we are special little sensitive butterflies but no one really understands what it’s like to try and be an actor unless you are one. Friends and family find it quite hard to understand why you don’t just “settle down and get a proper job”.

2) HELP EACH OTHER! When I was starting out as an actor I would ask people how to go about actually doing it. For some reason people like to keep “the knowledge” a closely guarded secret and don’t like sharing. I have no idea why this is. Possibly because you might go out and steal all their roles or something? But then you do find that lovely person who will help you and point you in the right direction. I always do my best to help my actor friends. A month or two ago I saw a casting for a play that required a male actor in his 30’s and I forwarded it to a friend. He got the part. If you help people then they might even return the favour *hinthintGeorge*

3) I love going to my acting class because I get to spend time with enthusiastic and creative people. I think when you are in a positive, encouraging environment like that it rubs off on you.

I’m annoyed with myself for the google stalking of successful people. Jealousy and bitterness is SO destructive and eats away at you. I’m now banning myself from being envious of people who are doing well for themselves. I’m going to channel it into making myself more determined to succeed.

On the flip side, you wouldn’t find me in a relationship with another actor. This is just a personal preference and I know plenty of actor couples but it just ain’t for me. Actors generally are quite self obsessed and I should be the centre of my partners life, not them.
I’m also a very competitive person. I go to the gym with my boyfriend and there has been times when we have wound each other up trying to be the best. It’s all a bit of fun but still not pleasant so I can’t imagine if that was translated into us both trying to get acting jobs. I’d probably find it pretty hard to deal with if my partner was more successful than I was which would result in bitterness and resentment. Actors tend also to be on the brink of being mentally unhinged. I have a friend who is in a relationship with another actor and they have a very passionate relationship. So passionate in fact that they can have screaming Taylor-Burton-esque arguments.
Nah, not for me.

I’d be interested to hear what you have to say on the subject. Do you think it’s important to have actor friends? Could you be Brad and Angelina?

Shona x

Feeling the Pinch

Yesterday I had my squishy bits measured by a lovely man called Nairn. By that I mean I had my body fat percentage calculated. I figured that it would be a good idea to have the done at the start of my journey and I plan to do this again in about 6 weeks time to see how I’m getting on.

The whole process took about an hour and involved Nairn conducting two different types of test. The first one was the skinfold test where Nairn basically took a wedge of squidge and measured it with a set of calipers. He also took measurements of the girth of my bicep (normal and flexed which I enjoyed…) around my middle, bum and calf. He did each of these measurements two or three times so that he could get the most accurate measurement. A friend who had been before me said that the calipers hurt when they pinch but I think she was just being a wimp.

Nairn then conducted a “Bioelectrical impedance analysis” test. Four little wires were stuck to my foot and wrist and then a small electric current was sent through my body. It measures your fat by the resistance to the current (electricity passes quickly through water and fat doesn’t contain much water) I thought I’d feel the current passing through my body but was disappointed when I didn’t start involuntarily twitching.

So here are the results:

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Nairn told me that the number we want to focus on and look at reducing is the total skinfold (mm) but my own little personal goal is to also increase the girth of my arms flexed because I love giving the lads a gun show.

I wasn’t really sure what 19.3% body fat meant. Was it good, bad or average? Then I found this delicious little nugget on Wikipedia:

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To which I did this face:

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*coughathletecough*

For me, body fat is a good measure of success. I’ve learnt when it comes to improving your body and fitness there are two things to avoid:

1) Measuring your progress in terms of weight loss.
When someone tells you how good you look they haven’t checked what you weigh on the scales. If you are exercising then you could be losing fat but gaining muscle at the same time, so you weigh the same as you did before but look smaller

2) Looking at BMI
A few christmas’s ago, my family got a Wii Fit which can measure your BMI. Well we weren’t having a happy Christmas when the bloody thing told half of us we were overweight and according to it my brother in law Donald was obese! (He’s not)
BMI bases whether you are healthy or not on just your height and weight. It doesn’t really take things like muscle into consideration.

So I’m looking to reduce the measurements of the total skinfold and the body fat %. I’m not sure what to aim for in terms of body fat but won’t drop any lower than 15% because I don’t think that would be healthy or enjoyable for me.

If anyone wants anymore information about the body fat test and to book one yourself, click here to contact Nairn.

Shona x