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)
Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and I will make another post before next year, I promise!
*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!
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!
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:
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:
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:
To which I did this face:
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.
Firstly, let me apologise for the cheesy name of this blog. I’ll blame Angie Kay for that. But the idea is to document my journey towards two goals:
1) To be a successful working Actress.
2) To have a strong, toned and lean body like Jessica Ennis (maybe with bigger arms)
Obviously the first goal is going to be the larger and more difficult of the two but they both will require the same dedication, hard work and perseverance.
I’ll let you know a bit about myself and where I am in terms of achieving these goals:
Goal 1 – When I left school at 17 I knew I wanted to be an actor but knew I wouldn’t have a chance in hell at getting into drama school when I was that age. So I went to Uni and studied theatre to try and gain “life experience” (I’m doing the fingers) which for me meant being a fanny and doing silly things while drunk. I didn’t really use the time well in that I didn’t get any acting experience which I could then use to get into drama school. This wasn’t for lack of trying. I tried (6 times) to get into the Uni theatre group and I won’t bad mouth them because I have class but they were a bunch of cliquey arseholes 🙂
When I left Uni I tried to get into several drama schools with no success. I was going to try again the following year but the whole experience was so expensive that I thought, fuck it, I’m just going to start typing up CV’s calling myself an actor and hopefully someone will believe me. They did! For the last year I have worked consistently for a theatre company. However, my goal isn’t to maintain this. I don’t have an agent yet. I haven’t been on television yet and certainly haven’t been in a film.
So the measures of success for the first goal will be 1) to have an agent, 2) to be on television or film.
Goal 2 – Growing up I was never into exercise or sport in the slightest. It wasn’t really encouraged at school unless you actively sought it. I was a chubby youth theatre kid. When I went to University to study Theatre it wasn’t until I was looking at myself in the mirror while I was in 3rd year, that I decided that exercise might be in order. Too many pints of fosters and chips n cheese had taken it’s toll.
I read on a forum that lifting a weight or two was good for girls and so I went to the Uni gym and asked for an induction of the muscle suite. I was weight training at a gym for a couple of years until I started Crossfit in June this year. I’ve also started to get my diet in order and researching nutrition to help me achieve my goal. I’m no expert in fitness or health but I’m sure this blog will also document the trials and errors I have along the way.
I occasionally work for a company as a mentor for teenagers helping them with study skills, motivation etc. When talking about studying I get them to write down the obstacles they will face (ie distracted by computer games, not enjoying the subject, noisy younger siblings) and then we tackle each one and discuss how we will over come them so they cannot be used as excuses. I’m going to do the same for my Goals.
“You haven’t trained at an accredited drama school”
I’m not going to let this barrier get in the way. Many successful actors haven’t trained and I feel that my training at Acting Coach Scotland is making me a much better and truthful actor anyway. Plus I know I’m good 😉
“We decided to cast someone else on this occasion”
Rejection is shitty but it’s part of the territory and I’ve been rejected soooo many times that I’ve learnt to just suck it up and start sniffing out the next job. Challenge it into motivation rather than dwell on it.
“Our books aren’t open at the moment”
Those damn agency books are never open but it’s not going to stop me writing to them. It’s tricky to get that balance between being keen, having a brass neck and being annoying but I try to live by the motto of “If you don’t ask, the answer will always be ‘no'”
“Hendo’s making *insert massive tasty dinner* you want some?”
My appetite is halfway between a Labrador puppy and a worlds strongest man competitor. I could easily out-eat my huge rugby player boyfriend and his equally huge flatmate (who is a really good cook) I love everything that is bad for me, pasta, pizza, chocolate, chips etc. I also LOVE a pint and am partial to a wine and gin. All these things will get in the way of my goal and I will have to be disciplined and always think about making the right choices when it comes to eating. It’s true when they say that abs are made in the kitchen.
“7.30am WoD? But it’s raining outside!!”
The gym I go to is a bit… Rustic to say the least. It’s a huge, cold, dirty warehouse and when it rains, water pours in through the ceiling. Not the nicest place when I’m not in the mood to train. Whenever my finger waivers over the snooze button and I consider an extra hour in bed instead of training I will just think how good I’ll feel after my workout.
“Intermittent fasting? Cutting out dairy?! I should be deadlifting which way?”
It’s easy to get bogged down and intimidated by your own lack of knowledge. As a lover of fitness blogs I’ve learnt that everyone works differently and one method which works fantastically for one person can be a complete failure for someone else. This will be a long process which will have ups and downs along the way as I learn about what works for me.
So there we have it. First post done and it’s a long one. I hope you enjoy reading my blog and hopefully it motivates you to achieve some of your own goals.