In addition to recently starting a new strength training program, this week I also began a new cardio regime. I’ll be going from doing just 20 minutes of cardio a week to between 250 and 350 minutes of cardio per week! But it’s not what you think – I’m not trying to lose fat or train for a marathon. It’s all because I bought one of these:
You see, I’ve been having issues with the London transport network. While it is great overall, my commute sucks! My work is only five miles from my house (about 10 minutes by car), but it takes me an hour to get there via public transport. Despite being so close, there is no direct train line so I have to take three different trains to get there.
It’s not so bad on the days I only work a few hours. I only have one early morning client and one evening client, but if I have to train them on the same day, it means I have a 11 hour gap. Factoring in my office work, the remaining time doesn’t warrant another trip to home and back.
I was planning on getting a scooter like the majority of commuters in London, but then I realised that riding a bike would only take an extra 10 minutes or so and it’s much cheaper! So lo and behold, I’m now a cyclist!
I’ve done two round-trips on the bike now and it is actually a very pretty ride. I just worry about riding in the infamous rainy and cold English winter, but I will deal with that problem when it comes. Each journey takes me 25 minutes, so if I go back and forth in the morning and evening, that’s an hour and 40 minutes of riding per day!
Needless to say, I will not be doing any additional cardio! For the past six months or so, I have been doing one sprinting session and one circuit-style cardio workout (kettlebell swings, box jumps, burpees, etc) per week. I think my body will soon enter a stage of massive shock as this will be the most cardio I’ve done in about two years. My butt is already so sore from the seat, so I’m hoping that I will adjust to that too.
I’m not really planning on changing my diet at this stage – except for the days I make two trips – but only because I’m essentially replacing all the walking I was doing with riding. Most days of the week I walk for about 60 minutes to and from the train stations, and on the weekends it’s usually a few hours!
I will leave you with a recipe I adapted from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals: Sea bass and pancetta with sweet potato mash and greens. I’ve made it a few times now and absolutely love it!
Sea bass with sweet potato mash
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 200g fillets of sea bass, skin on
6 thin slices pancetta
1/2 tspn fennel seeds
500g sweet potato
150g asparagus, trimmed
1/2 head broccoli, cut lengthways
1 red chilli
1 clove garlic
2 Tb mango chutney
2 Tb soy sauce
Small bunch of coriander
Place the sweet potatoes in a big pot of water and bring to the boil. Boil for 15 minutes or until the insides are tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the marinade for the greens. Finely chop the chilli and add half to a large bowl, setting the rest aside. Crush the garlic and add to the bowl, along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Finally, add the juice of half a line and mix together.
Heat a frying pan over medium. Add a drizzle of olive oil and then add the pancetta, making sure each piece lies flat. Turn the pancetta with tongs when crispy. Remove to a plate when cooked, keeping the fat in the pan.
Add the fish to the pan, skin side down. Use a spatula to press the fish down for a few seconds to prevent it shrivelling up. Crush the fennel seeds and sprinkle over the top of the fish, along with salt and pepper. Grate over the zest of half a lemon, and then set the lemon aside after cutting it in quarters. Be confident that the fish is cooked well before turning the heat down to low – the skin should be nice and crispy! Don’t turn it over just yet.
While the fish cooks, prepare the accompaniment to the sweet potato. Finely chop a handful of coriander on a wooden chopping board. Add the chutney, a splash of soy sauce, a drizzle of olive oil, the remaining chilli, and the remaining lime juice. Mix everything well.
Boil the asparagus and broccoli in a saucepan with the lid on, for 4-5 minutes. Once finished cooking, drain and add to the marinade bowl, tossing well.
Drain the sweet potatoes and mash into the chutney mixture.
Finally, turn the fish over so that the other side gently finishes cooking. Return the pancetta to the pan to re-warm. You can then add the fish and pancetta to the board and eat directly off the chopping board, or transfer to a plate. Sprinkle over a few remaining leaves of coriander, and serve with the lemon wedges.
What’s your favourite type of fish? Do you own a bicycle?