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Ana's Beach Body Challenge & Beyond

I've been pampered! - a visit to Luton Hoo

17
February
2012
I've been pampered! - a visit to Luton Hoo

To fully understand and take in Luton Hoo you really need to go there. The majestic mansion sits in vast grounds that include a golf course, golf range, Country Club and conference facilities at Warren Weir, all spread across an estate which is over 1,000 acres in size. During our visit, these grounds were covered in white snow, which gave the place a feel of fairy tale land.

I could not get over the fact that despite it's closeness to London and really easy access by train (with Luton Parkway Station only a 5 minute taxi drive away) I was completely unaware of this gem until now!
Make no mistake, this is a 5* venue. Everything has been thought of, every detail considered. The decor itself would be enough to inspire a book.

The Mansion House especially is embedded in history, and the...

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Day 28 - The last stretch

05
June
2011
Day 28 - The last stretch

The finish line

Today is election day in Portugal, so I decided to go and fulfill my civic duty on foot. In total, I walked 9.4km this afternoon, meaning I finish my Beach Body Challenge on target. That felt good!!!

In some respects, I can't believe it's been 4 weeks already! Time has flown by. To be honest, in between the pain, I did have lots of fun. So, no matter who wins the challenge tomorrow, I know I am a winner on several fronts:

• I managed to keep the challenge up for the whole 4 weeks, which I have do admit I didn't expect to achieve when we first started it;
• My diet has been definitely more balanced though I didn't cut any food groups other than completely avoiding sugar during week 1;
• I have exercised even more than I set out to do and I know I will keep it up going...

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Day 24 - A Celebration

01
June
2011
Day 24 - A Celebration

The beginning of week 4 has been going ok, though I'm now thinking I should be making a mega effort to end on a high note.

Monday included half an hour of power plate, but yesterday time ran away with me and before I knew it today had arrived. I knew I would be going out for dinner to celebrate a family milestone so I decided to head to the gym at lunchtime for some Pilates and an interval training workout.

At dinner, as expected, we ate enough to feed a whole village. The atmosphere was great as we watched the sun set over the sea. Just beautiful! That made us want to go for a little stroll after our over indulgent meal and the funny thing was that, without actually planning to, I ended up doing a 2.5km walk that helped the food go down. Well, some. The chocolate mousse, cream,...

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Week 3 - When in Rome...

31
May
2011
Week 3 - When in Rome...

The start of week 3 saw me travel to London for a few days. It was a bit of an unexpected situation and as with any such situations I tried to make the most of it. I like London, it's my second home.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. As the saying suggests, you have do adapt. And there is no shortage of walking options around London. I decided on a walk along the Thames Path and that's what I did, taking husband with me, on Sunday afternoon. I really enjoyed it and it shared some of the theme of my beach walks, there was water, people sunbathing, even a small artificial beach by the Southbank, where children can play in the sand. Wonder how far that sand had to travel...

On my return home the hot weather took a twist for the unexpected as well, with freakish showers and even some...

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Days 11 & 12 - Gymmin' it up

21
May
2011
Days 11 & 12 - Gymmin' it up

I know my fitness plan says I intend to get fitter by walking, but it also mentions keeping up with the Pilates classes. This means going to the gym. Since the start of this challenge my "fitness sense" has been enhanced, meaning I have been paying more attention to what goes on in the gym, rather than simply zooming in and out with my "I really have no time to talk" face on.

I was also worried that I was putting too much emphasis on my lower body, when really my arms are the weakest link. So for days 11 and 12 I decided to try something new and do some slightly more serious gym workouts, which consisted of a Body Balance class preceded by interval training on Thursday and a Pilates class followed by interval training today.

I'm not a huge fan of interval training. I find it draining...

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Day 9 - A little help from technology

17
May
2011
Day 9 - A little help from technology

I have a confession to make, I became one of those geeky techies today. I joined RunKeeper and took my iPhone with me on my walk. The little app on my iPhone told me exactly how far I was walking, how quick, what was the average speed, even how many calories I was burning! All this while I was trying to peek at my screen and walk straight at the same time.

On my return home I was able to share my walk on Twitter and Facebook and update my profile. That's when true disappointment hit me. The data on my iPhone was collated before I set up my profile, therefore the calorie count was calculated based on some average settings. Once I inputted my real weight, the total amount of calories burnt dropped like a stone.

I meet my nemesis again, we're looking each other straight in the eye: loosing...

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Day 7 - A change of scenery

15
May
2011
Day 7 - A change of scenery

After walking on the beach during the week, I knew there was no way I could do a long walk on sand at any kind of increased pace. I decided to turn to the woods instead for the 10km walk. My walk was not as long as I would have hoped, mainly because I have some difficulty calculating distances, but I was very happy to finish 6.3kms in 65 mins. I was actually quite chuffed.

Overall week 1 went very well. I achieved both my goals; to walk for 6 days and to keep up with my Pilates classes. By exercising 6 out of 7 days I increased my normal exercise amount by 200%. When I look at it that way it almost feels unreal!

I also achieved a goal I didn't really have... although I set myself the task of consciously avoid fried foods, empty carbs and sugars, I didn't have any particular diet plan....

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Day 5 - Cherish Thy Chocolate

13
May
2011
Day 5 - Cherish Thy Chocolate

Chocolate is one of my favourite foods, if not the one. All my life I have heard that chocolate is bad for you. As a child I was told chocolate would make my teeth rot. As a teenager, that chocolate would make my acne worse. As an adult, chocolate has turned into one of those taboo foods - everyone's doing it but not many are proud to admit it.

Chocolate has a bad reputation. It has too much sugar, too much fat, too much caffeine. But is chocolate really that bad for you? Or is this more of an urban myth? I refuse to accept that it might be all bad, so I turned to the World Wide Web for some insight.

The Facts

First of all, I should mention that by chocolate I don't mean your regular Cadbury's or Mars bar. The chocolate I love is the real deal, the bitter one, the dark stuff. 70% cocoa...

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Day 4 - Lisbon Bound

12
May
2011
Day 4 - Lisbon Bound

My friend is moving to New York for a while and suggested a farewell meeting by the riverside in Lisbon. I thought that was an excellent idea as there is a path, several miles long, between Belém and the Lisbon downtown area. I could do my walk there for a change.

We decided to go for a meal at an Italian with amazing views of the bridge and the river, where I had a delicious prawn and papaya salad washed down by a strawberry and banana smoothie. Not bad! To finish off a great meal in style, I ordered what they named the Perfect Chocolate Cake. It was not perfection, but it was not far off, I tell you.

For a moment I felt a tiny little smudge of guilt, but then recalled an article I read here on Wahanda before, and decided I was going to Eat Myself Happy. After all, happiness is not that...

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Day 3 - Snooze vs Walk

11
May
2011
Day 3 - Snooze vs Walk

Second fail on the morning walk plan. Snooze 2 - Morning Walk 0

So I was swiftly moving on to plan B. I always keep a reserve of plans B, C and sometimes D to make sure I follow at least one of them.

Plan B was to go to Pilates class at lunchtime. I also went yesterday, so I'm getting the exercise in. The walk will have to wait until the end of the day today. I need to stay focused, else I'll end up with plan Z! It's not so much that my body is aching, I simply feel exhausted. I'm actually surprised my legs are holding up to the challenge.

I think I ought to give you a bit of a background here. I'm 32 and don't exercise particularly often. Before I joined the gym last September I hadn't set foot in one for over 4 years. I guess this gives you an idea of how much I like the gym. Not...

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Day 2 - The science of walking

09
May
2011
Day 2 - The science of walking

The first day went well. I went for walk number one at 6.30pm and as I braced myself for the task ahead, another gentleman, in his mid 50's (I hope he'll forgive me if I got the age wrong) whizzed past me with a steady step and nodded. "Afternoon", he said. Well, why would I be the only one enjoying the golden rays of sunshine and the sound of the waves in the hope of getting fitter? When I finished my 3.5km and was feeling quite proud, I noticed he was still going strong. Well, I was not going to leave feeling defeated, so I ended up doing 5.1km! Will see how my legs feel about this bout of competition tomorrow...

Walking on sand is a funny thing

You have to keep adjusting your balance and your posture. One foot sinks in more than the other, some of the sand is looser other parts more...

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Day 1 - Gearing up

08
May
2011
Day 1 - Gearing up

The Challenge

I've decided to take on the Wahanda 4 week Beach Body challenge. No idea what was going through my mind! I was actually getting quite excited about it, drew up my plan, defined my goals. Getting to bed last night I was feeling this buzzing excitement in my stomach, a bit like you get the night before you go on a really nice holiday.

But in the morning everything looks bleaker... I snoozed the alarm twice and have decided my morning walk would now be a lunch time walk or maybe even an evening one. Sigh...

The Goal

But first let me explain what my goal is. I just want to increase my fitness level. There will be no major dietary changes, though I will try to avoid refined sugars and fried foods. The main objective will be to achieve a leaner body with stronger muscles,...

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Ana has been with Wahanda since September 2009 and is currently the Head of Operations.

Being natural from Lisbon, Portugal, and currently living on the Estoril Coast, the beach has always represented an important role in Ana's life. And not just during the summer months. However, life does have a tendency of getting in the way and those beach visits have become less and less frequent. Since learning about the Wahanda Beach Bodies Challenge, she's been keen to take part.

See my profile »

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