As many of my regular readers will know, I took somewhat of a major decision – nearly two years ago – to change my life and get healthy. Looking back on what I’ve achieved over the last 24 months I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at some of the things I’ve managed to achieve. I really have changed my life around and if I can do it, anyone can.

It may sound melodramatic but with a blood pressure of 150/110 had I not changed my lifestyle and improved my fitness I don’t know if I’d be here today to tell the tale. Constant headaches should have been a big indicator and a huge wakeup call but I somehow decided to kid myself and believe everything was fine – when of course it wasn’t!

Now weighing 120 lbs lighter and a fairly fit 194lbs (or just shy of 14st for us brits) I have a new outlook on life. My health has improved, gone are the headaches, the tiredness, the very high blood pressure and all the aches and pains associated with carrying a lot (and I mean a lot!) of extra weight!

No one said it was going to be easy and I’m proof of that but one thing I never expected to happen was to gain an addiction to working out! I currently find myself in the gym six days a week and I’m always on the lookout to find something new to try. My regime – although not set in stone – currently includes 3 spin classes a week, 4 cardio sessions and ab workouts.

To supplement the classes and gym workouts I decided four weeks ago to re-introduce swimming to my workouts, only two sessions a week and only using my upper body (I do enough leg work during the week!). When I began I managed 30 lengths but have steadily increased the sessions to at least 80 lengths per swim – I hope to reach 100 in the next few weeks. One thing that has undoubtedly helped the boredom factor has been my waterproof MP3 purchase and I thought I’d share my experiences with you (apologies for some repetition!) as I know there are a lot of swimmers looking for musical gadgets.

Exeze WMR 4GB Waterproof MP3

Exeze WMR 4GB Waterproof MP3

I bought the Exeze WMR 4GB Waterproof MP3 Player a few weeks ago in an aid to help me push my swimming training to another level. Although only a small part of my training during the week I found myself getting bored after 45 minutes of swimming without music and after a week or so of looking I decided on the Exeze model.

It has taken me three weeks to learn how to use them and see the varying results. When I first tried them out I was a little afraid to push the earplugs in too far and after 40/50 lengths water managed to creep in and the sound failed. I was a little concerned this was a fault but knew that once the ears were wet I’d have to wait to try again. A few days later and with the earplugs pushed in more securely I swam for 90 lengths without any problems at all. Very impressive.

The headphones (dry and wet) come with a number of connections but I found I didn’t have to change the size of plugs and have the ones that came factory installed. One thing I did notice until this week was the sound changed when lifting my head out of the water (breaststroke) and then putting it back under on the stroke. I’ve read a few people have had this happen where the music improves when out of the water but once I’d securely fastened the earplugs in my ears this week they sound remained constant for the full swim. In 100 lengths I never had a problem with sound or the earplugs falling out.

Personally I wouldn’t use the mp3 in the gym – I have a better system for that – but then the main reason for me buying these was for the pool and now that I have discovered how they best fit me I am completely satisfied and they have certainly helped in longer swims of an hour or more. Highly recommended.

So there we have it another gadget to help train. I have decided to no longer weigh and will now measure my success by my shape and size, clothes make it easy! I never wanted to become a slave to the calorie counting and never will, if the mood takes me I now enjoy treats and enjoy life. I think I’ve turned the corner!!

I’ve never considered myself to be on a diet – I hate that word – but I have changed my diet. I am no longer held captive by a scale and nor should anyone. It’s great to have an indication on how you are progressing – hopefully in the right way – but as you train harder and muscle mass increases it can have a demoralising effect when you suddenly pop on the scale and you’ve put on 5lbs. Train hard, work hard and play hard (ish) but most of all make sure you enjoy it, believe me that’s half the battle!

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