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29 August 2012

Guest Post - Helen - Health Filofax

Thank you to Helen for the third in a series of guest posts.




This was a cheap purchase. At £7 from Staples it had to be bought just for the ruler and inserts alone. They quickly found their way to my personal Aston. But then I decided that cheap in cost and construction though this was, the Lineburst was not at all that nasty. And so it was drafted into use as my health filo less than a month ago. So it is still a little bit a work in progress.


In the front pocket are stickers and a spare £1 for the gym locker. Anyone who knew me at school (where I got my only detention for forging a note to get out of hockey) will roll about on the floor at the idea of me having an exercise filofax. But that the point. I need to stay healthy and I need motivation and much to my surprise, this Filofax is doing it for me. Of course, it’s not really the cheap and nasty filofax that’s doing it… it’s the promise of a very, very expensive one to come if I am a good girl…..



Because my first section is my exercise log. It works on the same system as a child’s reward chart. Exercise equals stickers and accumulated stickers equal rewards. The minimum recommended exercise for health ( as opposed to weight loss) is five sessions of thirty minutes moderate cardio activity a week plus two sessions of strength training.

So, using Ivy 8mm round stickers from Amazon, I get one red sticker per 30 mins cardio ( be that in the gym or a neighbourhood walk) , one blue sticker per strength session and a green for yoga ( which some say counts as strength but I count separately). I have been noting how I felt, what I did, what my heart rate monitor said etc. ( if you think using a filofax makes you feel professional just try the illusion of fitness the very wearing of a heart monitor gives you!) This is a new systems and so my notes are all about habit establishment at the moment but as you can see , it is going well. I never thought that I would be eager to go to the gym just because I don’t want to break my run of red sticker accumulation!

Then I have a section for logs. That is empty at the moment because it relates to future goals. Indeed the next section is for those goals but that includes sensitive info like my weight and though I generally spill my life online I do have some limits about what I will share with you! So no photos.

The first months goal (which is almost over that the time of writing) was simply to establish the habit of exercise. Nothing more. I will now add new goals, but I have yet to sit down and decide those specifically. It will be things like cycling a certain distance in a set time (which is when I will start to log my times) or to add in more online yoga classes, meditation and other health goals. It’s about a holistically well lifestyle bit by bit not about just fitness training. This section also has a list of potential treats. But not food ones. I am thinking that three months of keeping to this exercise routine ought to equal a new filofax say. And that when I add in a yoga goal after a while I can have a pretty new yoga top.

Incidentally, my filofaxes do overlap. So when I wrote about my personal Aston you also saw how my exercise routine appeared on my ideal week sheet and my daily pages.



The binders in this filo are decorated with pictures of athletes I admire and find inspirational. I left some pages to add in 2012 photos in due course.



I then have a workout section, which is a work in progress. For an intelligent woman with a great memory (if I say so myself!) I have a dreadful habit of arriving at the sym, looking at the free weight floor area and thinking, ‘Um sit ups and, um, sit ups and um, sit ups with a twist….” There is loads you can do for variety! So I am in the early stages of putting together a Bible of ideas.




These pictures and instructions came from a book I had on Bums and Tums that fell to bits from rolling around unread at the bottom of my gym bag.



And these little icons are from the American Institute of Exercise website and are just enough to remind me what to do. Obviously I choose one each trip, I don’t have to do them all – there are pages of them for each part of the body!! And it’s fun sitting on the coach watching Olympians do real exercise, whilst I cut up little icons and glue them down. Got to be good for the finger muscles, that.




I have a yoga section listing the online classes I want to do in the future and a walks section which is blank because my parents who are fell walkers persuaded me to buy a load of gear and ever since I wore it on my first walk it has rained every trip I have been to see them and I haven’t go to to anymore yet! Originally I had a section in an A5 for this and my plan was do little journal record of where we walked.


This is for the first walk we did and I need to reduce it to personal page size and then add in a list of routes to do in the future. (And yes I know you can get waterproof trousers but no, I am not fell walking in storms! That is why God invented indoor gyms).



I have an information section where I note things I read online or often in Oprah magazine! Information that motivates me from fear of bad things that will happen to me if I am a couch potato. Or information I am too stupid to do in my head like translate my weight from stones to kilos for the gym machines.



At the time of writing I also have the info pages from the Olympic inserts but they will go when the games is over.

The Olympic filo is serving me well for this purpose because I don’t mind tossing it in my gym bag or on the floor by the treadmill while I work out. And hopefully as it gets fatter I will get thinner!

25 comments:

  1. Now you've made me want a health/fitness Filo too, Helen!

    I've also recently begun getting into the groove of exercising constantly and eating healthily, so I think a Fitness section needs to find its way into one of my Filos soon.

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    1. Go for it. It made a real difference for me.

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  2. Very interesting! I had to look up fell walking as that phrase isn't in use here. You learn something new every day . . .

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    1. I love different phrases used around the world to mean the same thing. When I asked about fell walking in New Zealand, I was met with blank stares. They have a great word for it - tramping!

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  3. Online yoga classes? Seriously? How does that work? It sounds fascinating.
    Thanks for showing. Very useful idea.

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    1. I wonder if Helen means things like Podcasts? If you go to the iTunes store and search for Yoga there are loads of podcasts available with everything from beginners 20 minute gentle stretching to 90 minute Astanga style workouts. I've downloaded a few... some of them even come with PDFs with posture guides etc.

      Being a Bikram devotee, if I'm practicing at home I generally stay with the official Bikram Yoga Class which is a double CD or available online at iTunes. There are only two problems with practicing Bikram Yoga at home - one is motivating myself to do it, the other is getting the room hot enough!

      I've often wondered if it would be possible to do a yoga class remotely using something like Skype - have a webcam in the classroom broadcasting to a number of students at home...

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    2. I am a member of www.myyogaonline. you can strem classes on line or buy them for a small costs extra to your subscription to play when you have no wifi access.

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  4. I can't get into an excercise habit however hard i try, once i sit down after work i don't want to get up again. The fact that my other half is just as bad means we rarely get anywhere...

    Hopefully I can successfully drag him swimming tonight...

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    1. Thats my key - exercise BEFORE I get home! I go to the gym after work.

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  5. Really enjoyed this thank ou for sharing Helen. I'm assuming you take this into the gym with you? I like your way of motivating yourself - this could work for me too!

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    1. I do yes. Thats why I like the cheap filo for this - I chuck it on the floor and wwedge it under the handles of the bikes and generally abuse it. For a week or so I used an Aston and I was always worried someone might nick it if I went to get some weights or something!!

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  6. Ps (sorry my iPad hung and wouldn't type) I do Pilates and when I come to practise at home my mind goes blank so it would be good to adopt a similar approach - I could list one or two simple routines and illustrate them. I have some strength books by the indomitable Joyce Vedral (if you haven't heard of her , google her - she is a real character and a proponent of weight training and looks amazing for her age which is in her 60s) would be good to photo copy some of her pictures and stick them into a filo as her books never lay flat! Anyway very inspirational thanks Helen - just like your previous posts. I'm off to buy stickers!

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  7. What I have is a target page, so I get to colour in a square after every hour of exercise, and after ten hours I get to buy a magazine

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    1. Excellent idea. I am telling myself that after four months I get a grey A5 Osterley!

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  8. Another great post, Helen. You really need to start your own filofax blog!!

    I love your ideas and I think I might borrow them. I was doing really well at the gym then hurt my back and it's all gone to pot since. I need to get back to it. I really like the idea of the reward stickers. It gives a nice visual on progress too.

    Well done!

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    1. New blog is in progress!! I want to make it good and special so I have been preparing ( using a filo dedicate dto that of course!!) and hope to launch in November with a new site. You will all be the first to know about it.. and maybe Steve will even let me show you the filo I use dto plan it all!

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  9. Thank you for posting this! I've just joined a gym and want to set up something similar in a pocket (don't want to lug my A5 around all the machines).

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  10. great post Helen. And you get a big gold star from me (he he I am a teacher through and through) for featuring Oscar Pistorius - go Blade Runner! Did you know that his trainer only found out he had no legs six months after he had started training him?

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    1. I didn't no. Great story! My Granddad stepped on a mine in WWII and lost his leg below the knee. he still played doubles tennis though wearing what was then the usual long trousers. There is a great story of him falling when going for a hard shot and there was an almighty crack.
      "I've broken my leg!" he yelled. His opponent shouted that he was running to call an ambulance when my Granny said, "No,it's Ok Jim. I've a spare one in the car."
      Jim was by all accounts very miffed not just to be being beaten but to be beaten by a man with ' a bloody peg leg'!

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    2. Great story Helen! Sounds like quite a character!

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  11. I’d keep at least some of the Olympic pages, as with examples of all organiser pages, as they will provide food for thought in designing future pages of your own.

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    1. Good idea! I could play with adapting them while I watch the paralympic opening tonight!

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  12. Very inspiring Helen, as usual. Thank you for taking the time to make this post. If anyone can be the next Alfred Wainwright it is you I think! Loved the drawing of your walk.

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    1. Umm yeah, maybe. save that actually many of my walks go from home to cafe amd back!!

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