I can hear you thinking, what happened after the really successful Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge? Well, I continued to work out on a very regular basis and so does Mrs. CF. What did I do? Well, here is the June Workout Update!

June Workout Update

For June I did not workout every day, as I did during the exercise challenge in May. But I do try to workout about 3-5 times per week. It does not have to be long or intense, as long as I keep moving. My “favorite & frugal” workouts primarily include:

June Workout Update

June Workout Update – Cycling
Source: http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/latest-news/nine-ways-cycling-changes-when-youre-over-40-208827

  • Cycling
  • Running
  • Inline skating (really enjoy doing this, great workout too) on my €7.5 inline skates/fall protection (got to love thrift stores)
  • Workout DVD’s (really like Insanity)

The June workout update summarizes to (activities from June 1-June 30):

  • 20 days of exercise;
  • 35 individual activities;
  • Total running distance 19.3 km;
  • Number of “Insanity Recovery” workouts: 3;
  • Total Skeeler/road inline skating distance 33.1 km;
  • Total cycling distance 526.8 km; and,
  • Calories burned 17.4562 (that is just under two whole kg’s of body fat burned).

Observations and Notes

  • Most of cycling km are coming from my commuting to work;
  • I need to up the running a bit if I ultimately want to do a triathlon next year;
  • At some point I also want to pick up swimming again;
  • Inline skating is hard, especially if you want to limit wear on the wheels. Keeping your technique good when tired is very difficult; and,
  • Cycling in the Netherlands can be quite pretty (see below)!

The Rides

if you want to get an impression of my cycling commute, here are a few snapshots (with a very crappy phone camera):




The day-to-day gear (not for my cycling commute to work!)


This is though:

And this is the typical meal for after a cycle ride 😉



How are your workouts going?

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I’ve made it! Had my doubts there for a while as my knee was playing up. But shaking up the workout routine (with the Skeelers) and adding some “Insanity Cardio Recovery” workouts really helped. Let’s have a look at the results of the Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge: The Final Episode. Sorry, sounds a bit like a Star Wars movie title 🙂

The Final Results

Up to Wednesday May 31 Friday June 2 I’ve been able to do the following workouts:

Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge: The Final Episode Plot 1

Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge: The Final Episode Plot 2

Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge: The Final Episode Plot 3

The above summarizes to:

  • 33 days of exercise;
  • 49 individual activities;
  • Total running distance 36.61 km (next month a full marathon distance??);
  • Number of “Insanity Cardio Recovery” workouts: 4;
  • Total Skeeler/road inline skating distance 26.81 km;
  • Total cycling distance 664.59 km; and,
  • Calories burned 21.652 (that is well over two whole kg’s of body fat burned!).

Observations and Notes

  • I’m happier! Maybe it’s the endorphins, but I actually feel more upbeat;
  • Cycling speed (especially with head winds) is definitely improving;
  • I’m far less tired now when I’m arriving at home or at work from cycling compared to the first week(s), actually feel fresh (and fruity, ok…maybe not that);
  • Still no six-pack.. 🙁  But perhaps I’m aiming too high (and snacking too much);
  • Knee is doing well, no issues anymore;
  • I’m really starting to enjoy the cycle commute to work, especially with the great weather we have had lately;
  • I do have to go to the bike shop today as my parts for the bike have arrived. The chain/cassette were making noise and the chains had too much slack, both needed to be replaced. Costs are estimated at around €80-90 including labour (don’t have to tools to do it myself….); and,
  • I’ve actually finished a workout challenge! Yeah 🙂

The whole challenge has been great and the improvements are amazing. The plan is to continue with the regular workouts, but perhaps tone it down to about 4-5 days per week, rather than the full 7. Ultimately, for next year, the plan will be to up this to about 6 days per week to have 2 days each of cycling, running and swimming for the preparations for an Olympic triathlon. Getting more and more motivated!

A Twist

In a twist of events, Mrs CF also started to workout again! I’m really delighted actually. She prefers sports like badminton, table tennis and such. But due to time/life restrictions she ended up getting a gym membership. This way she can workout during her lunch hour as the gym is located in the same office building, so no lost travel time.

Unfortunately, gyms are normally not really cheap. In this case it is €30/month + a €30 signup fee. Her motivation was, it’s cheaper to get a gym membership than to buy new clothing. Guess this is female logic at work, but in her case it might actually be true. Not because of her expensive taste in clothing, but due to her size. Mrs CF is pretty tall and has really long legs, so finding cloths that fit properly is often difficult and expensive (especially the pants/jeans department). If you are wondering how tall that is, she beat’s me by about 3 inches (~7.5cm) and I’m well over the Dutch average height.

However, I’m just happy she is moving again. Any weight loss is great, but the benefits to her health are far more important to me. Gives her a better chance of bugging me a bit longer (and vice versa) 🙂

How about you, how is you workout routine going?

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As noted last week, I (Mr CF) started an exercise challenge to get back into shape. The results are pretty good so far. Let’s have a quick recap of the last week.

Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge – Update

Up to Wednesday May 17 (wrote this post on Thursday morning), I was able to exercise every day! Still a win so far 🙂

An overview of the workouts is provided below:

Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge - Update

Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge – Update

The above summarizes to:

  • 17 days of exersize;
  • 23 individual activities;
  • Total running distance 25.44km;
  • Total cycling distance 338.63km; and,
  • Calories burned 10.273 (that is one whole kg of body fat burned).

Observations and notes

  • Really love my GPS watch. Great way to track progress, maintain pace and get data to play with 🙂
  • My legs are not nearly as tired as the first 10 days
  • My calorie burn during cycling is dropping like a brick (from 700-750 calories to 550-650 calories per trip). This is a combination of faster cycling with a lower average heart rate. Quite a bit of improvement in endurance already!
  • I feel and sleep better
  • Still eating like a horse, but the feeling of hunger is less
  • My knee is not liking all the exercise and I have to be a bit careful in the coming days. Perhaps I do need a break? Of a yoga type exercise perhaps?
  • I was/am suffering from RSI (repetitive strain injury) symptoms. Probably partially caused by my new job, which involves lots of database work to prepare cost estimates (and blogging does not help either). However, since starting the workouts the symptoms have significantly reduced!
  • The far burn is starting to show off, the six pack is slowly peeking around the corner. I have a pretty slim built, but still have some fluff around the waist obscuring muscles. However, it’s trending in the right direction.
  • I’m getting a nice tan too from all the cycling
  • I feel good and want to keep going!

How about you, did you workout this week? How did it go?

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After we came back from our holiday in Belgium, I decided on the drive back that I needed to get my a$$ moving. I used to be reasonably fit, but since we got Miss CF it has slipped quite a bit. Time for a change, time for a challenge! It’s time of the Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge 🙂

The Plan

Let me know if this sounds familiar: I cannot do things in moderation! If I go for something, I tend to go full throttle. The applies to life, candy, work, FIRE and workouts. There is a major downside to this, once I take a break the project/goal usually falls apart. See previous attempts as a running challenge here, here and here with Amber Tree leaves (albeit he, actually had a good reason).

Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge

Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge

The plan for this challenge will therefore be a bit more “modest”. The exercise challenge is as follows:

  • Exercise every day for a month (starting on May 1);
  • Workouts need to be frugal (running, cycling, home workouts, etc.), not going to spend any extra money on this (the Cheap Athlete should be proud!);
  • Speed, distance, durations, etc., don’t matter! Just get moving;
  • Don’t get injured (duh…);
  • Eat as healthy as possible (to improve recovery); and,
  • Keep a record (using my Garmin GPS watch for this – no affiliate link, but I do love this thing and it has served me well).

The Initial Results

These are actually rather good. I’ve been able to exercise every day. Started slow with running a ~2.5km loop (to avoid my knee playing up) and I’m up to about 20km so far. But I also cycled to work 3 times in the last 2 weeks. This was about 163km of cycling with amazing morning views:



Please note that I did not ran for about a year. Cycling to work was restricted as I was working on location for the whole Q1 of 2017. This was limiting my transport options to the car unfortunately. A slow start, in terms of pace at least, is therefore critical!

See the overview below with the exercise details:

May 2017 Cheesy Finance Exercise Challenge

May 2017 Exercise Challenge – First results

Going forward I’ll keep running and hope to be able to cycle to work twice (perhaps 3) times per week. Will try to do a weekly update, but work is busy and I might not have sufficient time.

Observations and Random Notes

Couple observations of the past 11 days (wrote this post last Thursday):

  • Man, I’m out of shape!
  • Why am I doing this…….
  • Cycling is great fun, especially early in the morning when it is fairly quite
  • This GPS watch and it’s data is so much fun to play with 🙂
  • You get really tired legs when working out every day
  • Did I mention I’m out of shape?
  • I sleep better
  • Working out does make you feel better, happier and more productive
  • I eat tons more, but this did not start until May 8th
  • I’m getting more motivated to do an olympic distance triathlon (goal for next year)
  • Wow, I’m really out of shape 😉
  • Hoping my six pack will eventually return too… has been a few years 🙁
  • Curious if this is going to attract a lot of people to this blog again (total pageviews of the running challenge with Amber Tree Leaves was about 3500+ times to date…..)
  • Heck yeah, I’m going to finish this thing strong!

How about you, want to join in?

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Full of enthusiasm and motivation did I (Mr. CF) start with the Amber Tree Leave Running Challenge (see here). After about a month progress was pretty good (see here). But then disaster struck several times (ok, bit melodramatic, but it felt that way). Initially an old injury re-emerged. This took a couple of weeks to disappear, so you start again from scratch…..sigh.

Rough Life

Next, after we had switched to summer time, little Miss CF decided that she did not want to change to summer time. So since that day, she now (still!) goes to bed an hour later (however, she does start the day at the same time and thus sleeps an hour less and does not seem to be bothered by it). We have tried endlessly to get her to go to bed early, but to no avail.


Amber Tree Leave Running Challenge – Fail

Side note, she is also getting to the point that her afternoon sleep is not always required. So if she sleeps well during the day she can stretch is to about 21:00 before going  to bed.

The problem is amplified because Mrs CF often comes home late from work (around 19:00-20:30). The main reason for this is that Mrs CF takes the morning “shift” with Miss CF before going to work, and I take the afternoon/evening “shift” with Miss CF after getting home from work (we have staggered our working hours to get around day-care limitations/traffic jams). Bottom line. I don’t have time in the evening anymore for workouts.

Add in the occasional cold, lack of motivation/tiredness and you have a very much failed running challenge. Motivation and discipline. It seems so easy, but it turns out to be very hard 😉

Back on track?

The good thing is that I was able to do regular workouts, but not enough to jack it up to run 10km in under 45min. At this time, I have had another 3 week interruption due to lack of time, preparations for moving, and many other things that are happening in one’s life.

Reality is that with the upcoming move, the running regime will still be under pressure. Likely to start again in full force in August….. may need to set another running challenge to keep going as I still want to run a PR on the 10km on of these days.

Moral of the story……if life is hard and throws you curveballs…..just keep going!

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So where are we with the running challenge? Here is the Running Challenge with Amber Tree Leaves – February Update

Running Challenge with Amber Tree Leaves – February Update

After is rocky start in January due to the Flu, February is progressing very smoothly with regards to the Amber Tree Leaves Running Challenge. From past experience training for a 10km run, a mixed workout regime and a very healthy diet are the key to success.

The mixed workout regime for me consists of actual running, cycling and indoor cardio workouts (Insanity, P90X or similar – go for the plyo type workouts). The goal is to workout at least 3 times per week, less would not allow quick enough progress to run 10km in under 45 min by June of 2016.

After essentially started from scratch early February, I have been able to do about 13 workouts in the last 30 days. An quick overview of the activities is provided below:

2016-02 RWATL Plot

Workout Gear

For workouts I use a Garmin 310XT with heart rate monitor to track route2016-02 Garmins, durations, speeds, heart rate and calories. (albeit the last is a bit of a useless unit, after all, if you are eating correctly this unit does not matter one bit). The above figure came from GarminConnect, an online database where all the workout data is stored. Handy.

You don’t actually need one of these toys, but they are very useful to guide and tailor your workouts and keep track of progress and improvements. There are many similar systems out there. The only reason why I bought this one is because of the massive discount bought on Amazon (after having done some research on what features were preferred on the unit). It set me back about CAD 175 (~€110) at the time. Still think it is worth its weight in gold, love it!

Keeping Track

So, with regards to running, here are a few plots with data from the last month and targets to be achieved. The first one shows running distance vs. pace. As you can see, the pace is still around the 5:30 min:ss/km. For training purposes this should get down to around 4:45 to 5:00 min:ss/km.

2016-02 RWATL Dis vs Pace Plot

The next graph is a plot of duration vs. distance, with pace lines plotted for reference. Also added are the training events from February. As noted above, the goal is to increase pace and distance. The preference is to first get the distance up, followed by the pace. But it may be that both will happen at the same time, depends on how I feel when running. (Yes, “linear” is not spelled incorrectly on the graph, it’s the Dutch way and I could not convince Excel to change to English).

2016-02 RWATL Dis vs Time Plot

The goal for next month is to jack up the running distance to around 8 km, while keeping the pace around or below about 5:30 min/km. Update to follow by the end of next month.

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In a spur of the moment, Mr. CF agreed to a challenge with Amber Tree Leaves (see here and here) to run the 10K under 45 min by June. Now that reality has sunk in, a battle plan is required (and some excel sheets!!) to get to our mutual goal.

Running Challenge with Amber Tree Leaves

Mr. CF’s plan is to run 2-3 times a week (with the emphasis on 3 times per week), starting off slow (Mr. CF has not ran in about 6 months). However, due to the inclement weather in Dutch winters (and frankly most of the rest of the year), a backup is required in case running outside is not an (enjoyable) option.

Running Challenge with Amber Tree Leaves

In a past live (read before little Miss CF came around), Mr. CF enjoyed home workout DVD’s like P90X and Insanity, in combination with cycling (primarily indoors, great way to watch a movie and do a workout; you have to multi-task if time is precious). Furthermore, the Insanity workout (and similar other ones) actually enhances your basic fitness level rather quickly, as muscle confusion and interval training really helps in overall athletic performance improvements.

The Battle Plan?

The battle plan:

  • Monday: Running (Insanity as backup)
  • Tuesday: Insanity Episode (Plyometric Cardio Circuit, Pure Cardio or Cardio Power and Resistance)
  • Wednesday: recovery
  • Thursday: Running (Insanity as backup)
  • Friday: recovery
  • Saturday: beer?
  • Sunday: finding motivation to start again on Monday

A more detailed schedule for weekly distances and paces will be made at a later date once the basic level of fitness is elevated.

Any other folks care to join in on the 10K Challenge?


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