Monday 21 August 2017

Al Porter: 'A week of training - I'm in bits'

We catch up with comedian Al Porter on his third week as he follows Karl Henry's training plan and Derval O'Rourke's food tips in preparation for the SPAR FitLive 5k Run in Dublin this July

Al Porter
Al Porter
Derval's fizza
Al Porter Plank
Al Porter doing a plank - hold for 30 seconds to start with
Derval O'Rourke

Couch to Carcassonne to 5k doesn't really have the same ring to it but that's what I've done. Having over-indulged at a wedding in the south of France this past weekend (far from that I was reared) - I needed to tackle my training head-on. I said Yes to the Dress, the Cake, the Wine... Once I got home last Tuesday, it was back to the grind.

This has been the first full week of my couch to 5k training and I'm in bits! I'm like Lego Batman after an accident. I'm not entirely sure how to process the feeling. It's like the feeling after a great night out but in the wrong parts of your body. My legs are hungover but my head stayed in and read a book. It's also a reflection on my diet that I accidentally typed 'satayed' instead of stayed a minute ago. It's bad but it's not as bad as typing 'covfefe' I suppose!

Full disclosure - my diet is still quite poor. I've long been a fussy eater, the bane of my mother's life as a child. I would say I'm taking it one step at a time but I can't even move my legs right now. Part of me is hoping the Domino's delivery guy can throw a pizza through a first-floor window.

Joking aside, it's important to me that I improve my diet. But a combination of work, late nights and comfort eating, or as I call it, eating, has me stuffing my face with spice boxes, snack boxes, boxes of biscuits. You wouldn't think it to look at me but I'm always forcing my face into a box of one form or another. I just need to subtly change it to boxes of muesli.

There is good news though. I am sticking with the exercise plan. I'm also doing so without having to join a gym. Some people can find the gym a bit intimidating. We had the Polish making us look bad for years and now the Brazilians have arrived to put the Polish to shame. It's fairly off-putting for the average person trying to get fit or lose a bit of weight when you go to use a machine and there's some action-figure shaped-behemoth circling you, unsure whether to eat you or lift you up and down. One thing I will say is if you feel inferior to someone you see every time you go to the gym, remember the reason they look great is because you see them every time you go there.

They're not better, they just had a head start. That's the way someone else may feel about you in a few months or a year.

Too tight to get a gym membership, I'm getting my exercise outdoors. The great thing about the outside world is it's always there, it's free and wherever you go there'll always be an outside. Now I'm not saying run down the M50 but you know what I mean. Plus you can get away with wearing the same outfits. I still wash them of course. Now when say that I mean my mother washes them. Karl told me radical lifestyle change is not always a good idea. Doing my laundry would not only come as a shock to me but also my parents. I've their health to think about too.

I really am starting to enjoy the running though. My one bit of advice for other novice runners is try to run laps of a pitch or park or run on a circuit. Where I've been going wrong is going for 20 or 30 minutes and thinking this is great now I'm shattered I better go home and then realising I've run for 20 or 30 minutes away from my house.

On a side note I've had a few lads come up to me and say they're getting stuck into the weights in the gym in preparation for going on Blind Date. Now I'm delighted at the thought of having these muscle-bound hunks on me, I mean the show, but that's missing the blind part of Blind Date.

The whole point is that the girl can't see you, if she can hear you flexing your muscles you might have taken things a bit too far.

Karl Henry training plan

I hope you have been keeping up to date with Al's progress so far. It's great to have a total beginner like Al taking this challenge on, changing their lifestyle habits and striving to get the necessary training done despite leading such a hectic lifestyle. I suppose that's the crucial learning curve for week three. Exercise has to work around your lifestyle. If you take on too much then it will be just another quick fix as all initial sacrifices won't last in the long run. You will notice that the 5k and 10k training plans are only based on a small number of runs each week, that's for two reasons. One is to show you what can be done in a small number of weeks without being over the top and secondly that it doesn't look as scary as you might think.

Al has managed to fit this training around his week, with an incredibly busy schedule and you can too, remember that exercise always has to fit around your week and not be over the top.

You are nearing the halfway point in your training and the fitness levels are really beginning to improve from all your hard work. Keep ensuring that you put the most into all your workouts, especially as you get fitter. For each session you do, you need to ensure that you are raising your heart rate to get the benefits. Ensure you are at least slightly out of breath during the sessions but just about able to have a conversation, its a great way to get the best results from your workouts.

Spar FitLive Run Series 5k and 10k running plan

Monday Walk 2 mins, jog 2 mins 30 secs repeat 7 times

2 sets resistance exercise

Tuesday Rest

Wednesday Walk 2 mins, jog 30 secs

repeat 8 times, 2 sets resistance exercises

Thursday Rest

Friday Walk 90 secs, jog 2 mins repeat 8 times, 2 sets resistance exercises

Saturday rest

Sunday One hour fast walk

*A jog is anything faster than a walk. Ideally you should be out of breath but still able to hold a conversation.

10k start

Monday 4k run

Tuesday 3 sets resistance exercises

Wednesday 4k hilly run

Thursday 3 sets resistance exercises

Friday 3 sets resistance exercises

Saturday 5k run

Sunday Rest

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Al Porter Plank

* Couch to 5k - You have three 'runs' to do this week, and a one-hour fast walk. Try to have a rest day between the runs if possible. You also have an optional resistance exercise (above) to improve your strength. You can do your resistance exercises after your runs, or on your rest days. Complete two sets of 30 seconds each time.

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Al Porter doing a plank - hold for 30 seconds to start with

* 10k - You have three runs this week. Try to have a rest day between the runs if possible. You also have an optional resistance exercise to improve your strength. You can do your resistance exercises (above) after your runs, or on your rest days. Complete three sets of 30 seconds each time.

Derval's fit fuel recipe

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Derval O'Rourke
 

While all of you are doing really well with your running being mindful with the food you are consuming at this stage is really important too.

This pizza wrap or "Fizza" is a real winner and I have yet to meet someone who hasn't loved it.

Sometimes when people start out on their health and fitness journey they can become very caught up in what they can't eat or what they have to give up and so on. This creates a deprivation mindset which can make eating well seem really difficult. Instead, think outside the box, look at simple swaps you can make and you will be able to enjoy the foods you love guilt-free.

For example here, I've swapped out the pizza base for a wrap, I try to use brown wraps as they are higher in fibre and will generally keep you feeling full and energized for longer. Both pizzas have a hit of protein so are perfect for everyone in training for race day.

I've included both a vegetarian and a meat based version to cover all bases. These are great served with a green salad on the side.

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Derval's fizza

Delicious fizza

• THE MEAT ONE

Serves 1

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 7-10 minutes

Ingredients

1 tortilla wrap

1tsp olive oil

1tsp finely chopped onion

150g minced lamb

1tbs basil pesto

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

1 tbs natural yoghurt

Handful of mint leaves, chopped

Handful of rocket

Method

Preheat the oven to 1800C/ 3500F/ gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tortilla wrap on the baking sheet.

Heat the oil in a medium pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for two minutes. Add the mince and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Use the back of a spoon to spread the pesto over the tortilla wrap. Spread the cooked mince on the pizza. Scatter over the jalapeno pepper and dot the pizza with natural yoghurt. Bake for 10 minutes.

Cut the cooked pizza into slices and place on a warmed serving plate. Scatter over the mint. Top with the rocket and serve.

• THE VEGETARIAN ONE

Serves 1

Prep time: 3 minutes

Cook time: 7-10 minutes

Ingredients

1 tortilla wrap

2 tbs passata or tomato puree

2 drops Tabasco sauce

3 cherry tomatoes, halved

½ red pepper, chopped

1 tbs sweetcorn

25g cheddar cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 1800C/ 3500F/ gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tortilla wrap on the baking sheet.

Mix the passata and Tabasco in a small bowl. Use the back of a spoon to spread this mixture over the tortilla wrap. Scatter over the tomatoes, pepper and sweetcorn. Sprinkle over the cheddar.

Place the pizza in the oven and bake for up to 10 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbling.

Cut the cooked pizza into slices and place on a warmed serving plate.

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