Trail running by night

In the dark….. ahhh….

me and frontale

Last month there was a local night run of 15km, but it was a night trail, and to be honest I wasn’t going to do it, having doubts about running at night especially in forested areas, I don’t like the dark, being a little scaredy cat, but a friend wanted to do it and pursuaded me to run it with him, I just needed to buy a headlamp (a frontale in French) so, as is my style, a couple of hours on the web, and I ordered a Petzl Reactik+, of course not the cheapest of models, I wanted POWER… I wanted to light up the forest ……300 lumens.

(Photo :25th of December, working of the Xmas pudding)

Petzl Reactik +

So now I’m equipped to run in the dark, I tried it as soon as it arrived and once fully charged, ran down the path in the field by the house, whow it’s like driving my car with headlights on, you can see almost everything for about 50 / 80m in front of you, at one time I stopped and turned it of, I could barely see my hand in front of my face, once back on could make out most details in front of me, but its a weird sensation, left and right is dark, turn your head to the right, you see the right but no longer in front of you, so strange.

Up came the Saturday for the night trail, over 150 runners, at first I was rather apprehensive but with people all around me the trail  was lit up like a Xmas tree and by the time there were fewer people around me, either because they were far in front or far behind I’d already gotten used to having just my own light lighting up the trail, at one moment I was deep in the forest on a singletrack that I know from biking, with no one in front or behind and finally not even scared, WHOW 🙂

1h25 mins later I’d run the race, even finished 2nd in my category, (I’m 58, 59 end of this month, December 2016) though that was just luck or maybe there were only two runners in my category (as said my wife)

Things that change in night running is the perspective, you have no real idea of your speed or the distance as your view is limited to a patch of light in front of you, a bit like running in a tunnel, you tend to place your feet / footing a little differently although the ground is lit up, it’s not daylight, and you easily miss things that may trip you up or over.

My Garmin Forerunner was a great help, giving me an idea of distant ran to be run.

Anyway I loved it :

So yesterday the first of December 2016 instead of going to the gym, I went for a solo night run. I started of on a large path in the middle of some fields, this being around 5km long (round trip) but when done I wanted more as my legs felt good, the  weather was cold being  minus 4°, but all felt great, so I ran on a very quiet country road for about 1km, this is not very wise as dressed mostly in black any car coming from behind wouldn’t see me, but I was lucky no cars during this stretch on the road, after this stretch I dived into the local forest, now this is where it’s really fun, in the middle of nowhere, your on your own, the only noises were birds taking of from the trees above me, but the imagination starts to work over time ….. every little noise had me looking all over the place. Been watching too many scary films…

The sensation of freedom, light only in front of you, your peripheral vision totally changed almost nonexistent, the sounds or rather lack of sounds, all this is something special,  I finished my run 10 kms in all, at just under 1 hour,

Update : I’ve now run quite a few night runs, either alone (photo, top of the page) or with friends, though I must admit it’s wiser to run with friends as you never know what can happen, and being alone in the middle of the forest with a twisted ankle or worse could be difficult to manage… .

Trail running

I’ve been trail running for just over a year now, I found that running on roads is to be honest boring / monotone to say the least

After the Paris Marathon in 2015, which I did just to redo a marathon, the last one being over 30 years ago. I wanted to keep running as for the moment I’ve seem to have lost interest in biking, be it MTB or my singlespeed and needed a soft cardio sport on top of working out at the gym or Crossfit.

Running on roads is for me monotone and to linear,  also tiring (in comparison of trail running for the same distance), probably due to the fact that I still don’t have the right shoes for road running. I’ve been using a pair of Merrel’s – Lantern Silver, a minimalist running shoe with a 0mm drop, No wonder my legs hurt during the Marathon training and the Paris Marathon ……


Merrel – Lantern Silver

Maybe if I change for some real road shoes I’ll think differently but doubt it….

So back to my trail running.  I tried a first trail run in September 2015, I’m lucky I’ve only 500m of road from my house and I can then dive in the forest. I ran a trail that I  had been doing regularly on my MTB for the last couple of years so knew it well. It can be anything from 5km to 15km depending on the turns I take.

The first time I only did around 7km, But I loved it, its like being on the mountain bike but running, you need to look and suss out the ground before you, otherwise, rabbit holes, fallen branches, tree roots are all there to make you trip over or fall.

One week later I did it again, this time it had been raining and on the last leg home, slipped on a muddy patch and hurt my calf trying to keep my balance, so once back home I logged onto the web, read several forums for a while, emailed a friend who I knew ran trails and a couple of hours later ordered my first pair of real trail shoes. A pair of Salomon LabSpeed’s expensive but the critics were good and I liked the look of them


Salomon LabSpeed

The shoes arrived a couple of days later so on my feet they went, and off I went again, Oh boy was this a change from minimalist shoes, I gained a 4mm drop, a sole that was more rigid and treads like on my winter MTB tyres, whow I was blown away,  a totaly different feel with the ground.

The shoes though far slimmer than my Merrels, felt good on the foot (though I would prefer just a little wider) they gripped the foot well in fact very well, their lacing technique (quicklace)  is great, far better than standard laces

One year later :

With these shoes I’ve done around 600 plus kms, I mostly run 10 to 15 kms on Sunday mornings and sometimes a quick 5km run before my personal coach (that sounds so snob) on Saturday morning,   the rest of my time is either at the gym or Crossfit box

A couple of months ago I had a hole that appeared on the top of the shoe where the foot bends, A quick mail to the website here in France where I bought them from and they were replaced immediately, Salomon have a two-year guarantee, so well done Salomon, I’ve got a brand new pair again.

Salomon Agile 7 Backpack – Hydration pack

I don’t think I’ve ever written a post on accessories for the sports that I do, I normally only write about my bikes or gadgets etc. This time as having some time on my hands I thought that I would try my hand or rather my keyboard on a Salomon hydration back pack that I’ve just bought,  the Agile 7.

I already have three different Camelbaks for my bike rides, from very small to quite large, but as I’m more into running or rather trail running these days and as sometimes the little water bottle that I carry is to small and can be a pain having it your hand of an hour or two I looked around and bought a Solomon Agile 7 back / hydration pack as I saw an articles in a magazine

IMG_20160531_104917I chose the Agile 7 as it’s the second smallest of several Agiles packs from Salomon. I received it this morning  and at the same time the water pack that fits in it, strangely  the hydration pack / reservoir is not sold with it and so needs to be purchased apart …

The pack is just one big space with a separating piece of nylon between the reservoir section and the storage space. What’s immediately oblivious and missing is a pocket or two to store smallish items such as a phone, GPS device or keys. To be honest who doesn’t walk / hike or run without one these days. (I do for two reasons, sometimes just to take some photos, though mostly to let my wife know that I running late (get the play with words ) or just plain lost and therefore late…..) so unless I can make one and pin it to the nylon center piece it means the my phone will just be lying at the bottom of the sac, not clever.

The placement for the reservoir pack is good, it holds 1.5L which for me is more than enough, I’m used to running with a 500 ml bottle which is ok for 10 km runs but not enough for longer runs, it’s the right width and length and with a piece of ribbon that attached to the top of the reservoir so that it will stay put at the top and not fall to the bottom of the pack, simple and clever


Fixing the hydration reservoir so that doesn’t ‘slip’ down




The storage space is large, far larger than I thought when ordering it, it can store easily a light weight wind stopper, head warmer and plenty of other odds and ends at the same time, as I said earlier just a shame its one biggish storage space, with no pockets for a phone, keys etc, they will all have to be bundled together, I’m used to Camelbaks for my bike rides, these always have a least one pocket, so this is a design let down from Salomon


section for the reservoir and inside storage section

On the outside, at both sides  there two  small mesh pockets that sit snugly on your hips. These could be useful to place food bars or gels, but they cannot be closed so not useful for anything valuable, and they are actually quite big (er did I say smallish mesh pockets …..) enough to place around several food bars or gels quite easily per pocket, or a neck warmer,  gloves… for quick access



You can see the two mesh side pockets

I haven’t yet had to time try the back pack while running, though I’ve already tried it on and ajusted it. It sits comfortably on my back, The shoulder straps can be adjusted to hug nicely and the chest strap offers four different height levels so that it fits perfectly over your chest, I’ve yet to see if it gets in the way of my heart monitor strap but I doubt it


Four clips for attaching the chest strap so it fits nicely height wise

Conclusions, OK I haven’t run with it yet, so no comment on its sitting on my back with a liter of water in while I’m running or biking, but I’ve been using CamelBaks for around 20 years now, so have a fairly good idea about them, its seems well made, its light , it has plenty of space, even too much if just for a 15 / 25 km run, basically you don’t need hundreds of bars or gels, just a phone, keys, and some water and a vest for the rain or  cold, I’m going to add an emergency blanket as you never know when you or someone may need one. I’m also going to start some home to work running so maybe the extra space will be useful to take a sandwich and such like.

My real gripe is just no special storage space, this wouldn’t have added any weight and it would have been real useful.

They do this backpack in several colours, I like this bright green useful if on a road and makes a nice change from black  or other boring colours. Oh it comes with a whistle, whoopi but I suppose it could be useful so I’ll leave it attached. There are several elastique straps for walking poles, but I’m not ready for this sport yet so cannot say if useful or not.

Salomon : Please think about a couple of pockets ideally zippable / closable (not sure those two words really exist…)  for a phone, wallet, keys for the house or car, key card for the hotel when I’m away, nothing fancy just plain useful and plain sense.

Update : Have run several  trails,  from 10km to 15km, the agile sits nicely on your back, it doesn’t move around, drinking from it is easy, like any Camelbak.  Each time I filled the reservoir with about 1 liter of water.
The side pockets are easy to get to while the pack is on your back, perfect for a food bar,  inside I had my phone, an emergency blanket and my light wind jacket that I’d stuffed inside after being to warm while running a while.

So a great back pack for running except for the phone lying at the bottom rather than being stored correctly

57 years old and doing Crossfit – They call me Papy.

Crossfit, why it’s so good….

I’m 57 years old,  58 in December 2015 and I’m the oldest guy in town, well okay at the Crossfit box where I’m a  member. many call me Papy (granddad in French) as I’m the oldest guy there and I’m loving it.

For almost a year now I been doing Crossfit in a club (here’s where I’m so so lucky) that is underneath my offices on the ground floor.

Sometimes I wish I ‘d never gone there to try it, it’s just to good, far better than my local gym where I’ve been a member for the last three years, before I would work out there three or four times a week (now if it’s once or twice a week ….)

Crossfit is everything that you could wish for, and more, it works just about every muscle in your body and doesn’t just give you bigger muscles that gym workouts tend to do for you. For me it goes far beyond working out at a gym.

Don’t get me wrong I still like going to the gym when I feel the need to work out a particular part of my body, as I can do for instance a hour’s session on my chest or arms, that one doesn’t normally do in Crossfit session.

Its hard work, but so gratifying when at the end of the WOD  (workout of the day) you finish, gasping for breath, moaning, ’cause you hurt all over, especially when doing burpees, tractions, wall balls, handstand push ups etc.

Working out often with another members, or as a couple or in a group, this is about comradeship working with other members from the same or opposite sex, stronger or weaker than you, with age differences that can be important. At the gym you tend to be on your own or just with a friend, even if you train with a friend or friends, it’s not quite the same.

Some WODs you do on your own, trying to better the others, heavier weights, faster…, or just to finish in a preset time, normally sessions are limited to about twelve persons, and even when you finished your WOD you encourage the others to finish, (or be encouraged) again comradeship, so rare these days. Its nice and you feel better when helping or being encouraged to finish a session.

Certain movements / exercises in Crossfit I’m unable to do correctly, weightlifting movements such as snatch and clean and jerks are more than difficult, my back and shoulders just not supple enough any more. Kipping and Butterflies (chin ups with a difference) elude me completely, but this is where Crossfit is better than most  gyms, the coaches are always there to watch and correct your movements and all know that I’m weaker than others in certain areas and so they adapt some sessions for me (and others if need be).

So here am I, doing two or three sessions  per week, Its keeping me fit, even at my age I can and sometimes beat some that are half my age. The other free days are spent at the gym, trail running or biking

So finally : DON’T try Crossfit…, (JOKE) otherwise you may never do anything else, it’s better than : gym, riding or running (I know, I still do some of all) as it’s a mix of everything and more still.

This is the link to my club, here in France where I live :

Please feel free to leave a reply, I welcome them


How to ruin your eyesight, your eye or eyes for the rest of your life

Refractive surgical eye treatment

In October 2012 I decided that I’d like to correct my Long-sightedness (hyperopia) by having refractive laser eye treatment, Unless I’ve got the term wrong ( I’ve been in France to long : presbytie ) Hyperopia means that I needed glasses to read a book, use the remote control or anything small and up close

This consisted of firstly have a battery of tests on both eyes, I think to see the form of the eye and the problems already installed, in my case Long-sightedness (hyperopia) so that they could correct the existing problem.

Then a couple of weeks later I went to the clinic for a 15 mins of laser treatment, this is painless and you just come away with a runny eye, no pain and  little discomfort

A couple of hours later I was even able to read a SMS from my wife asking if I was Ok, it was little blurry but before I would have needed to wear my reading glasses to read it.

Sadly the operation didn’t go to  well and I soon started have all the post operation side affects that can be found in various forums online :  here are a couple of site that explain the many problems, sadly I didn’t do any research before my operation  as was totaly unaware or if only I seen these, I’m sure I wouldn’t have taken the risk.

I have all the unwanted side effects that are possible : for info this post is written 10 months after my operation

I have a lot of difficultly getting the eye to focus on anything,  one eye now being shorted sighted and the other long sighted (the correction is only done on one eye) they now seem to be constantly fighting each other.

The eye sees troubled and most of the times double, this is not stable sometimes it seems Ok but sadly this rarely lasts, again a known problem : Fluctuating vision

I have also the impression that I have a fly in my eye, in French it’s called a DPV (haven’t found what its called in English yet) which is due to dirty eye liquid getting stuck behind the eye while they operate on it, no way of correcting this by the way, this gives you the impression that you have a fly or gnat in the eye and you see a dark shape zooming around as I move the eye.

I now need glasses so that I can drive and ride my bike safely as everything is slightly blurred, especially at night, street lights and car headlamps all have halos, (like driving in the pouring rain) I now rarely drive at night as it’s just to tiring and even dangerous

The eye is always extremely tired and often I find myself closing it when need to look at something or someone, the TV, a signpost or someone in the distance for instance

My work suffers as its extremely tiring using a computer, at the end of the day my eyes feel like that they are going to explode.

I can effectively read without glasses except that I get very tired very quickly and  I now need good light to read in, as normal room lighting is often not bright enough to read by.

The doctor of course just says that the operation was a success,

I’ve gone from only needing glasses sometimes to read, to all of the time : when driving or riding my bikes, walking in town.

Of course I would now NOT suggest laser treatment to anyone, if it goes wrong it can screw you and your eye or eyes for life, with a dicky eye, that is painful and tired all the time, even 10 months after the operation, even writing this blog is a pain, computer screens are by the far  hardest and most tiring thing to deal with.

I’ve paid the price of being vain by not wanting to wear glasses.

PS I’m so used to reading, thinking in French that I forget my English, there are probably many mistakes please do not hesitate to correct me using the comments section, I will not take it badly.


Dieting : 18 months on and still going strong

I started my first diet blog around the month of July 2012 with the title : 2012 a bad year for biking. 2012 a great year for losing body fat and getting fitter

This was following changes from biking, biking and more biking to working out at the gym and still some biking

I then wrote another blog : 6 months later, 6 kilos less

We are now in the month of September 2013

This means that I’m about 18 months on since I decided to lose a little weight,

My weight is now fairly stable at the 75 kilos mark (was 82 kilos max January 2012), my body fat is around the 10% to 12% ( was 20%,), which means that I have lost more fat and gained more muscle, Note that 20% is  fairly normal for a guy of my height 1.77m & age 55

How : it’s quite easy, I am careful of what I eat, real foods, real cooking, little to none bought crap from the shops, better foods, ie : vegetables rather than pasta, potatoes, rice etc, whole bread and rice rather than white, porridge in the mornings rather than cereals, a little less booze, meat dishes with little or no sauce, nothing really difficult or complicated.

It’s sometime difficult to know what to eat and how much to consume so I’ve been using myfitnesspal for a while now, this is quite a good site and has a mobile version aplication, it really helps you keep an idea on the calories you consume, as sometimes when you check the amount of calories, fat, sugar, of certain foods it can be quite surprising. here is a link showing you all that I eat,

I still do a lot of sport, the gym three to four times a week mostly working on keeping my muscles trim and in shape, and biking for the cardio / heart, once or twice a week, either on my singlespeed, road bike or my mountain bike.

All goes to show that with some will power anyone can lose weight and get fit, no stupid diets or fads, just clean and healthy eating.

Ok this means that you can rarely eat fatty foods, cakes, pies, chocolates, pizzas,  fizzy drinks, but the upside is that you feel so so much better not carrying those kilos and look so much better in nice fitting clothes rather having to hide under baggy clothes to hide all that fat.

I watch Secret Eaters on the TV and am astonished by the people on it who complain that they are fat but think that they eat correctly, while when you watch this program they are shoveling food into the mouths as is if the stomachs were just garbage bins or dumpster bin, no wonder they are fat and unhealthy.

Eat properly do some sport and shed those kilos, and you will feel and look so much better.

A week after a Hernia Inguinal operation

Written day nine after the operation

One Sunday after a morning at the gym I noticed that I had a bulge to the right and slightly higher than my right testicle, though it didn’t hurt it wasn’t normal, two days later it was diagnosed by my doctor as a Hernia Inguinal and that he wanted me to see a specialist, which I did five  days later.

He confirmed my doctors suspicion and booked me for an operation one week later at my local hospital.

I’m not going into what a hernia inguinal is, all that can be found on and and explain far better than I could.

I thought that I would just explain the ten days after my operation as I wasn’t able to get any real data on what to expect during or after the operation, which was a “open repair Lichtenstein” the most common, think of a piece of fencing needed to block a hole in  a hedge and you’ve got it and that the operation would be done under a spinal anaesthesia which suited me just fine as it less obtrusive than a full anaesthesia as I was hoping to be able to leave the hospital the same day.

As I live in France certain details might not be the same in other countries.

Sunday evening I ate my last meal around 20h and before going to bed I took a shower washing myself with a special antiseptic soap from head to toe.

Monday :

06:00 again another shower with the same soap and of course nothing to eat or drink, not even a glass of water or a coffee.

07:00 RV at the hospital and placed in a room only to learn that I was programmed for 13h (basically the hospital brings in everybody early at the time, (I think its to make sure that they don’t eat or drink before)

Around 12pm they came and got me from my room and got me ready for the operating table, of course your mostly stark naked and of course the nurses are mostly women, luckily I’m not modest, too old for that ….

The spinal anaesthesia went well but I was expecting something like a Dr House episode lying on my site, but you actually sit on the table head in a nurses arms while leaning forward and with your back rounded as much as possible, I didn’t really feel much, its just a big injection which takes a couple of minutes.

Then you are lain down on the operating table waiting for all the lower half of my body to go sleep, this took about 15 / 20 minutes

13:00 Hi doctor, here I am, I’m ready …. I was able to talk to the doctor while being operated on and even managed to watch most of what was going on (the place a curtain in front of your chest so that you can’t see), but by looking at the spotlight above his head which acted like a mirror I could see most of what was going on, Ok I’m not worried about seeing what is going on.  and the site of being cut open doesn’t worry me.

The operation lasted one hour exactly,what is strange is lying on a table and not been able to feel the lower half of your body, you  know that your bottom and legs are there but nothing can be felt or moved.

14:00 I was then taken into a recovery ward and placed in my bed. I straight away asked for a coffee and a glass of water (Nothing to drink since the past evening and no coffee this morning ….) but was refused as in the recovery ward you are not allowed to eat or drink anything until you are allowed to leave the ward.

I stayed in the ward for about 90 mins, waiting to recuperate some feeling in my legs, having just  dose of Paracetamol 1000gms for the pain, which to be honest is bearable and not excessive, but this also normal and the anaesthesia is still effective.

16:30 I was signed out of the recovery ward and taken to my room, where I was at last able to have a coffee and a bread roll with some jam, and as I knew that I would not get much to eat in the hospital (public) I had a packet of digestives stashed in my bag.

I was still unable to feel my legs correctly and so unable and not allowed to quit my bed and so continued to wait (again).

18:00 I could finally feel the bottom of the bed with my feet and was able to push against it and so asked the nurse who was in my room with the surgeon if I could try to stand up, no real problem I was able to stand and walk around my room, The doctor confirmed that if I was able to go the toilet I would be able to leave, as you need to be able to walk a little and pee before being discharged.

Going to the loo was harder than I thought, one because it was difficult to bend and therefore sit down (as the anaesthesia was wearing of, the pain was getting slightly worse, but again bearable) and because I still couldn’t feel my private parts and therefore had to wait for another 45 mins before I was able to PEE, even though it was very little.

19:00 I left the hospital with my wife, walking so so slowly and bent over like an old man, but managed to walk the 200 meters to the car.

20:00 at last at home and time to eat, as I was hungry (it was now 24 hours since I had a eaten a real meal) after  a meal, and some Paracetamol I went to bed for a good nights sleep. Pain killers had been prescribed Paracetamol  four  times a day 1000mgs and another one far stronger (containing opium) if needed, I took one when going to bed that night just in case. The end of a long day.


07:00 woke up stiff and sore and needed my wife to help me get out of my bed and go downstairs as I preferred to stay lying on the sofa rather than in bed , The pain is fairly acute (I give it a 5/10) and so took the Paracetamols all day while watching TV, to be honest you can walk a little, bathroom, kitchen etc but you really do walk like an old stooped man, unable to sit you have to spend the day lying down, and just lying down, getting up is difficult, rating on the sofa (propped up with pillows) I took another opium based pain-killer before going to bed, but I didn’t really need it.


07:00 again up early and same as Tuesday a day doing nothing, walking a little, I had still not been able to go to the loo for a ‘number two’, this is for me the main problem with the a spinal anaesthesia it really does send everything to sleep and certain parts take a real long time to wake up and become active, also you will find that you are totally unable to ‘push’ even if you feel that you might be able to do something, one because it hurts and two you get the impression that you going to rip open the stitches  its then that you realise how fragile / difficult this area is, you cannot push, cough, laugh and cross your fingers that you don’t sneeze, I had stopped taking the pain killers this morning not really needing them.

In the evening I had a problem, I had the impression that I had a red-hot poker be placed on my thigh, this was excruciating, a real 10/10 of pain, checking the forums this can be normal or not…, it could be due to something touching a nerve, or just due to the swelling near my thigh, but also could be a nerve that has been touched during the operation,  I went to bed worried and hurting.


I had taken one pain-killer with breakfast as a little sore but last nights poker pain seemed to have gone away, during the day I started to feel the need to go to the loo, but impossible to do anything, as the day went on it got worse and worse, I was trying to go to the loo every 30 minutes and spending up to 15 minutes on it, but you just can’t ‘push’, I was having the shakes, cramps in the stomach as if I was having a baby, it was worse and worse, speaking to my wife, she picked up some suppositories on the way home and in less than one hour the problem was solved, the end of a very bad day.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday

I’m starting to feel better, able to get out of bed and walk downstairs by myself, needing again only about one paracetamol per day but the days as the previous ones are spent lying down, sitting at the computer trying to answer some e-mails is hard work, and can only be done for a couple of minutes at the very most.

Tuesday 8 days later

I was able to drive to work, which is only a twenty-minute drive away, stayed an hour and then back home to relax, the evening for the first time ate with my wife at table.


The operation isn’t anything major but it’s in an area that is used for everything, sitting is impossible  coughing or trying push while going to the loo, is more than difficult, walking is a pain, getting out of bed or of the canopy is complicated.

What I learnt is that the pain is OK, not much worse (ok a white lie here) that some of my bad mountain bike accidents that I have had (now you know what outdoor sport I do when not in the gym).

Eat foods that will help you go to the loo, I had taken a laxative and eaten some prunes after the operation, but you need more than just that  and I think you should start two or three days before the operation.

If you need to work like me, a tablet or a portable computer  is more than just a luxury, you will not be able to sit and work at your computer.

For the first week, it’s impossible to sleep on your side (as I normally do) it’s on your back, back and only your back, the first two or three days it’s not to bad as you will be tired, and if like me sleep straight way, but the last three or four days it’s a pain, and as I snore slightly which  of course is worse when you sleep on your back, so a second room for yourself or your wife is useful. I was able to sleep more or less on my left side after seven days and a couple more days later  on my right side.

The swelling / bruising was fairly limited, which is unusal for me as I bruise easily, and by day 10 is nearly back to normal.

The doctor gave me  three weeks off work (which to be honest I can see why and is standard procédure here in France), but I will go back after two weeks, you cannot do it in less, and no  sport for four weeks as the patch inside need’s to healed completely before you can start ‘working’ this area, which for me is the most difficult , I’m normally at the gym four times a week and on my bike once or twice a week.

My waist was a 32′ now its a 29′

This is where all the hard work becomes gratifying.

Scales are not the only things that show you that you have lost weight.


For years, the last 10 at least , I’ve been a 32″ waist, now my second new pair of jeans in a month are a 29″ waist.

This is even more important than seeing the scales go down as at least you have something to really prove that all is going to plan.

Picture me going round and showing my bum to everybody, look look, I’m a 29′ waist now 🙂

Now who wants some second-hand Paul Smith jeans size 32″

6 months later, 6 kilos less

This is a follow-up to my previous blog : started in the previous post March 2012, but it’s now to long, so I am adding this update in a new post beginning September 2012, 6 months on.

Most of the details can be read on this previous post, this is just an update with the facts since I visited my nutritionist yesterday the 4th September 2012, showing to all that weight can be easily lost, fat can be transformed into muscle and one can have a figure that looks nice in good clothes and that you don’t have look like a heavy weight dancer.

To be honest the title is a little deceiving as I’ve lost 5.7 kilos since March, replaced 2.1 kilos of it by muscle (that’s the gym) and 3.6 kilos off the scales, as but it didn’t ring quite right in the title so I cheated a little and round it off to 6 kilos … (though if I take into account my weight beginning January 2012, I was 80.2 kilos, making it 7.1 kilos in all)

I wanted to say that in being careful what you eat, not even following  a ‘named’ diet, no Weight Watchers, no Jenny Craig, no Dash diet, no raw food diet, just plain sensible eating you can lose weight.

Fresh foods, mostly organic when possible, home cooking (thanks to my wife), less booze, things like : little or rather no white bread, replacing it with wholemeal bread, no sauces made with full fat cream, more vegetables, no snacking or when I snack, its dried mixed nuts, rather than crisps, cheese at lunch and rarely in the evenings, no sodas, not even the ‘light’ ones, in fact I rarely eat ‘light’ foods as I belive that they are bad for you, I’d rather eat a normal yoghurt that a light one for instance. So many things that can be done ,without having the impression of not being allowed or going without.

What I have noticed is that after a while certain things that you do without even noticing, like eating a slice of bread with you meal, well now I not only rarely do it but I don’t even miss it, Rather than a pie or cake (before with cream) for dessert, replace it with a compote (stewed fruit) now I find this more natural and even better.

I still do not and do not believe in counting calories and therefore have no idea how many calories I take in, it’s obviously less than I need, as it’s the secret to losing weight. (input les than output)

Participating in a sport, and at least twice a week : As I said sensible and healthy eating and working out a little.

2012 : March to September


  • March 6th : I weighed 78,8 kilos : 12,28 stones.
  • September 4th 2012 I now weigh 75.2 kilos : 11,81 stones
  • A weight loss of 3.6 kilos : 7.9 pounds


  • March 6th : My weight mass was 15,8 kilos : 2.78 stones.
  • September 4th 2012, this is now only 10.1 kilos : 1.59 stones
  • A fat loss of 5.70 kilos : 12.56 pounds


  • March 6th : My muscle weight was 63.0 kilos : 10,03 stones.
  • September 4th 2012, this is now 65.1 kilos : 10,25 stones
  • A muscle gain of 2.10 kilos : 4.6 pounds
  • The muscle gain is due to sport, there is no secret here, you need to get off your backside and run, bike, get to the gym : Just do something.

The perfect marriage : this is being sensible in what you are eating and doing a sport. The two together are like a perfect marriage.

Your health will be better, you will feel better, look better, not only do I physically feel and look better but also in ‘my head’ I feel better.

As Spock once said live long and prosperous (he just forgot to add eat well and do some sport)

I’ve added my weight and  body fat readings showing where  the weight loss and the fat loss has gone, proving that anyone can do this.

Date   March 6 September 4
Weight 78,8 75,2 -3,6 Kilos
BMI calcul standard 25,2 24,0
W (kg) / [H (m) x H (m)]
Scales, Tanita
% body fat 20,0 13,4 -6,6 %
fat body mass 15,8 10,1 -5,7 Kilos
lean body mass 63,0 65,1 2,1 Kilos
M. Hydrique 46,2 47,7 1,5 Kilos
Right leg
% body Fat 19,7 14,5 -5,2 %
fat body mass 2,5 1,8 -0,7 Kilos
lean body mass 10,1 10,4 0,3 Kilos
Estimation muscle mass 9,6 9,9 0,3 Kilos
Left leg
% body Fat 19,4 14,8 -4,6 %
fat body mass 2,4 1,8 -0,6 Kilos
lean body mass 10,0 10,1 0,1 Kilos
Estimation muscle mass 9,5 9,6 0,1 Kilos
Right arm
% body Fat 16,9 13,6 -3,3 %
fat body mass 0,7 0,6 -0,1 Kilos
lean body mass 3,7 3,8 0,1 Kilos
Estimation muscle mass 3,4 3,6 0,2 Kilos
Left arm
% body Fat 17,1 14,1 -3,0 %
fat body mass 0,8 0,6 -0,2 Kilos
lean body mass 3,6 3,8 0,2 Kilos
Estimation muscle mass 3,5 3,6 0,1 Kilos
% body Fat 20,9 12,6 -8,3 %
fat body mass 9,4 5,3 -4,1 Kilos
lean body mass 35,6 37,0 1,4 Kilos
Estimation muscle mass 34,2 35,5 1,3 Kilos
Weight loss (scales) -3,6 Kilos
Fat loss -5,7 Kilos
Lean body mass 2,1 Kilos

You might say not a huge weight loss, but then I wasn’t really in the need to lose weight anyway, for those that are in need and really are overwieght, the same applies, for me the nice things is that losing weight slowy means that your body gets used to it, people who lose too much too fast normally put it back on as the body doesn’t get time to ajust to the weight loss.

PS I’m not used to stones and pounds, as we use kilos here in France, so if any errors please let me know

2012 a bad year for biking. a great year for losing body fat and getting fitter

Less biking … Oh no 

Less body fat … Oh yes

Less weight … Oh yes

Less BMI … Oh yes

Normally my sporting activities are biking, biking and more biking, either mountain biking or road riding on a singlespeed, last year 2011, I managed to top the 5000 kms. This year its a different matter. (only 1350 kms from January to mid July, so about 60% down on last year)


Firstly we had a very cold winter here in France, snow and ice for quite a while, so little or no chance to get on my bikes, eventually this weather disappeared, only to be replaced by rain, rain and more rain.

I’ve started this page the 13th of July, and again it’s raining, and its been raining every day of this week …

Before the end of the 2011, Olive and myself decided to join a Gym, to do some fitness training on top of the biking, as normally during the winter months we bike less, boy was it a good idea, instead of choosing between the road, trails or gym, it came down to gym, gym and more gym. OK sometimes the excuses Oh look its raining, hic drizzling …. let’s go to the gym (warm and dry) are true, but this year, the rain has been real and this trails have been pure mud baths and the road is just not fun while riding through puddles. (for example friends that rode two bike rides this month, ‘I wasn’t present’, abandoned them both because of the bad weather, normally they never do that)

Also as the gym is less than one kilometre from my office, so it’s easy to go to, its warm, it’s dry, I can have a shower and get home before lunch or diner, clean,  and I don’t get, “you’re not coming in to the house like that, strip of outside” …

So gym this year has become a must, in fact it’s taken over completely from biking, my doctor, my nutritionist and of course my wife all say that I do too much, as I’m now at the club four to fives days a week, and on the bike once a week, and if I’m not on the bike then its five, six and sometimes seven times a week.


All this has actually came together quite nicely, I needed or rather wanted to lose some weight this year, as I tipped the scales at 80.2 kilos the 2nd of January 2012, even if it did drop slightly the following weeks and into February. I’m 54 and measure 1m 77, so while not fat, I had a little too much flesh on me for my liking. This is where the nutritionist came in, so beginning of March 2012 I went to see her, asking her to help me lose some weight.

1rst visit to my nutritionist : 6th March : So I left her office with a list of what to eat and not to eat, and since then I’ve changed my eating habits completly, I’m not on a diet as such, I am aware that diets are not the answer, I don’t count calories either  I just needed a kick in the behind to change my habits, to change certain foods. For exemple :  little or none white bread, cow products replaced by goat, more vegetables, more fish, little or no pizzas, burger & chips etc., more stewed fruits (compotes)  rather than cakes or pies, cut down on the snacks between meals ( bye bye biscuits and crisps), to know when to stop eating and not ask for seconds, we stopped buying ready made meals  (too much salt,  sugar, coloring, additives and crap in them), I’m lucky as my wife loves to cook so this part was not a problem.

While at the nutritionist’s I got my BMI checked, this was all new to me, My global body BMI ( Body Mass Index ) was 25.2% (weight / height * height) , this is OK for my age but it shouldn’t be more, and my body fat percentage 20% (Calculated using some Tanita professional scales) again for my age this was OK, but it shouldn’t be more, so upon leaving. I bought a couple of fitness magazines to read up on BMI, how to reduce it and read up on body fat percentage and on the general health / fitness side as well.

At this time I was going to the gym about two or three times a week, mostly using the rowing, or elliptic machines for cardio, with some weight machines, little by little I started going more often, as at the same time I noticed that scales were indicating that I was losing if little some weight. In my head I want to get my weight down to about 75 kilos, a weight that I hadn’t been at for at least the last thirty years.

2nd visit to my nutritionist : 23rd April A quick jump to two months later, end of April : and back to the nutritionist, I learnt then that she thought that I was wasting her time at the first visit and that when I came for this second visit that the results would be the same, boy was she wrong …

Weight was down by about a 1.2 kilos, now at 77,6 kilos, I had reduced my BMI to 24.8 BUT my body fat percentage had dropped to 18% global, I had lost 1.8 kilos of fat and replaced it all with muscle. I came out of her office with such a big such a big smile on my face.

With this news it was and still is easy to keep on going, the gym sessions as I stated earlier are now four to five times  a week, all after work. Three sometimes four times a week and every Saturday morning, For the Saturday session I do 30 mins to one hour of cardio training then I do a ‘Body Balance’ session, which is a mixture of Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, in the week the sessions last from one to two hours with weights and cardio.

I do mostly  weight workouts finishing with nearly always 30 to 50 mins cardio), I’m no Schwarzenegger (and don’t intend to be), so not too many heavy weights, just enough to try to keep the flabby bits less flabby, my pecs are now firmer and flatter, triceps and biceps are far firmer as is the rest of my body. This is where losing body fat also helps, it sculpts the body as well. I work on everything, trying to change the muscle groups every day, a little on the arms, some on the lower and upper legs, the back and shoulders, my abs, though even if my belly has shrunken down, they still can’t be seen. I nearly always finish with at least 30 mins of cardio training at the end, either rowing, elliptic or bike.

Track Everything :

I keep a journal of my workouts using Jefit pro on my phone, synced to their website, I note the training done, the number of reps, the weight or the time, and as I’m alway a little in excess of what I do, I also keep a log of what I eat, is this just to annoy my wife and to show-of  to the nutritionist and my doctor ? I’m not 100% sure …. 🙂 but it helps me keep things in perspective. Below is shown a typical couple of days of eating :

Breakfast 2 slices of wholemeal bread with ewe cheese
Lunch Tomatoes
Steak grilled, potatoes sauté, vegetables
Fresh fruit
1 piece of white bread with cheese
2 glasses of red wine
Snack 2 small Italian cakes
Dîner Coleslaw
Chicken and rice
Stewed fruit
Breakfast 2 slices of wholemeal bread with ewe cheese
Lunch Grapefruit
1 slice of ham with peas
Yoghurt (cow)
Snack Yoghurt (goat’s)
Small handful of mixed nuts
Dîner Green pepper et half an avocado
1 slice of ham with sauté potatoes
3 glasses of red wine
Breakfast 2 slices of wholemeal bread with ewe cheese
Lunch Grapefruit
Breast of chicken with green beans
Stewed fruit
Snack Stewed fruit
Dîner Grison meat
Porc chop with  gratin de courgettes
Home made stewed fruit
Breakfast 2 slices of wholemeal bread with ewe cheese
Lunch Wholemeal bread with breast of chicken
Yoghurt (goat’s) and stewed fruit
Dîner Tomatoes and mozzeralla
Grilled steak with green beans
Yoghurt (goat’s) et melon

OK I know it’s half French half English, sorry.

I cheat sometimes :

I still eat certain products that I shouldn’t, like the Italian cakes brought back from my holiday in Sicily for instance, or the home-made macaroons, but this keeps life from being boring and monotone and anyway if you stick 100% to a real diet, you will crack one day, so from time to time I let off steam and eat certain foods that I shouldn’t. I still eat chocolate and other things that I shouldn’t,  though fast foods, pizzas etc. are nearly 100% banned.

You may notice that most ‘cow’ products have been replaced by goats or sheep products, so most of the yoghurt or cheese that I eat are either sheep or goats products, “Ewe cheese = fromage de brebis”, that most of bread intake which has been reduced is now whole grain bread or similar, little white bread these days. Nearly all vegetables are steamed or grilled, and nearly all are fresh from the market or the garden and organic where possible.

Still some wine with some of my meals, normally limited to one or two glasses per meal, before it would have been half a bottle …..

Juin 2012 : 3rd visit to my nutritionist : Weight is 77,4 kilos, My global BMI is now 24.7 (this will change little as it just a standard calculation, but my body fat percentage is down to 16.2%, this is by far the most important aspect for me., I’ve bought some semi pro scales to check on this when at home[showUid]=536&cHash=9d9f98071f, my weight is down to 76 – 77 kilos, my eating habits have now completely changed and have now become just a normal way of life.

I don’t ‘deprive’ myself, I still like to drink, mostly red wine, but sometimes a beer or two,  earlier this month in Sicily for a week’s holiday, though I watched what I ate and tried to choose between certain foods, I let myself live and ate well , drinking and eating what I felt like.

All in all I feel great, I’m as fit as the last couple of years, even with less biking this year, in fact I’ve never felt better, my body feels ‘drier’ ‘firmer’, not easy to describe (that’s the body fat percentage going down by almost 4%), I walk and stand better, I feel less ‘slobby’ (Ok I know that’s not in the dictionary). I just feel so good.

Dropped my jeans down a size, from 32 to a 30/31 waist, I feel good in tight T-Shirts or slim fit shirts, also I look better in the mirror, well for me anyway. I miss the biking but again the weather is just to bad, yesterday, the 12 of July, jumped on the singlespeed to go to work, it rained all the way home …

Weight & BMI and body fat percentage  chart from March 2012 to June 2012.

Measurements taken with professional Tanita scales, and so are exact.


6th of March

23rd of April

19th of June





IMC / BMI calcul standard BMI = Weight (kg) / [Height (m) x Height (m)]





% body Fat



16,2 %

fat body mass




lean body mass




Body water




Jambe droite / right leg

% Fat



15,0 %

fat body mass




lean body mass




Estimation muscle mass




Jambe gauche / left leg

% Fat



15,9 %

fat body mass




lean body mass




Estimation muscle mass




Bras droit .right arm

% Fat



15,4 %

fat body mass




lean body mass




Estimation muscle mass




Bras gauche / left arm

% Fat




fat body mass




lean body mass




Estimation muscle mass




Tronc / trunk

% Fat




fat body mass




lean body mass




Estimation muscle mass




This all goes to show that with some effort, everybody can lose weight and if they want can get fitter,  all without stupid diets or fads, that promise the world but often do more damage than good. I don’t count calories or anything stupid like that as that is probably the biggest waste of time and error around. I am just more careful about what I eat, what I have noticed is that people, including myself before, eat more than they really need, this I am now watching, saying no to seconds unless I really feel the need to eat more.

Friends :

The other day we had friends around for diner, a normal meal barbecued grilled steaks on, potatoes and greens, my friend asked me to pass her the bread, which I did and then I set the bread basket back down, she made a remark “maybe your wife would like some ….. ” I replied “no she is like me she doesn’t eat bread as there are potatoes with the meal” , ‘too many carbs when eating them both’ (you’ve guessed it, my wife also watch’s her weight) the worst thing is that my friend is overweight and try to watch her weight as well. A easy mistake that can easily be corrected in eating habits, you don’t need bread at table if other high carb foods are served, its one or the other but not both.

Eat correctly with fresh, healthy natural foods, learn to eat less and become slimmer, train and become fitter, put them both together, it’s even better.

Update 09 August : Weight is now steady between 75 and 76 kilos, My Tanita scales are showing me that my body fat is less that 14% which is just perfect, in fact better than I hoped for, but my next rendez-vous with my nutritionist isn’t until September and only then will I believe the readings as she has professional Tanita scales. This means that since January I’ve lost 5 kilos and another 3 kilos of fat that have been replaced my muscle, around 8 kilos in all, 10% of my original January body weight.

As I’m doing more and more training, four to five times a week (sometimes six) plus the biking on Sunday, in the gym, certain sessions are up to three hours (rather than between one or two hours) and the biking is nearly always three hours if not four, so I’ve started  taking a protein shake before and after the training sessions, (Impact Whey from until I see the nutritionist and get her advice on upping my intake levels a little if need be, as I’m aware that I train a little too much, but I’ve always been like that, before the gym it was the same with the biking, well according to my wife anyway 🙂

Update 05 September : Just back from the nutritionist, my results are far better than I hoped for, weight 75.2kilos and body fat down to 13.4%, as this post is rather long, I’ve started a new one at :