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Just jotting some stuff down...


I'm Madeleine; I live in London, England. I've been vegan for nearly 8 years now and vegetarian for 18. I cut out animal products for ethical reasons only, but since then have learned a lot and truly believe that it is the healthiest, most correct diet for human beings.


I'm 26 and I haven't really done anything with my life. I've suffered with depression and anxiety and I've found going to the gym has helped a lot with that. I hope I can continue and get better and better. I only joined a month ago and was surprised by what I could achieve. I started running 5km three times a week, amongst other things, but after going out on the road one day ended up injuring my ankle somehow and I haven't been able to run for the past week. Instead I've been using the cross trainer and rowing more, which doesn't affect it. I'm frustrated at not being able to run though as it felt like more of a workout.


I have lost about a kilo in weight since joining the gym. I think of this as a good thing as I can tell my stomach is flatter and I want to continue losing fat. I really despise everything below my waist as I carry pretty much all my fat there. I want to get rid of it. I particularly hate my knees but I think I'll be stuck with them.


The problem is I also despise everything above my waist! I have virtually no fat on my upper body from what I can tell, and no muscle tone either! I am basically flat chested and I want to work on my pecs to improve how I look.


I am hoping I can get a figure I will not be ashamed of by continuing at the gym and getting tips off here.


How can I find out my body fat percentage?


I am a complete novice and don't really know what I'm doing! I'm struggling with knowing how much to eat. As I want to lose fat, it makes sense to me to cut down my calories, but I don't know if that will have an impact on my muscle development. I feel that eating my usual amount negates the hard work I've done in the gym.


This is what I currently do, due to hurting my ankle:


Monday, Wednesday & Friday before breakfast


5km cross trainer (before it was running on the treadmill) - burn ~220 calories

2km rowing - burn 100 calories

Chest press (two different ones)

Seated leg press (for bum)

Shoulder press

Back thingy where you pull the weight towards you horizontally

Leg extension


Sometimes I do other things and some cycling if I have time.


I'm wondering if it's enough. Probably not.

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Hi Madeleine, welcome to our community here! Sounds like you are off to a great start making some positive changes and working towards a healthier body.


Suggestions: Post questions on active members threads. Search through the training journals for tips on workout routines and meal plans. Start your own training journal. Set small goals, like daily, weekly, and monthly, and hold yourself accountable.


Good luck, nice to see another positive change minded person has joined the forum!



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I feel like I pushed myself a lot more today. I tried heavier weights and improved my 1km rowing time by about 30 seconds. My legs were shaky and I was properly out of breath for the first time - I thought that would have happened at the beginning.


I still can't run. My ankle seems to be getting worse. I think I'll have to see a physio. Although I can burn just as many calories walking I don't feel it's enough.


I think I can see differences in my body but I'm not sure if it's wishful thinking. My arms seem more muscular and less ugly and thin (but still not nice: I need to do something about the bits that join my shoulders if I can). I think I've lost fat on my face and my abdomen. I was thrilled to find I had a 24" waist. Just a shame about what's above it and below it. I'm wondering if I'll ever have nice enough knees to wear a skirt.


I wanted to try free weights but there was no one there today. Why are free weights better than the machines?


I do worry that I'm doing the wrong movements. I often feel in chest/back/shoulder exercises that my arms are doing all the work.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I bought a vegan protein powder yesterday, as it seemed like I haven't been eating enough protein. It's 100% sprouted raw brown rice and is 80% protein and 0% sugars. I'm really hoping it'll be the boost I need but I've felt tired today and yesterday which seems too coincidental. I'll keep taking it and see. At least it tastes quite nice which I wasn't expecting.


I'm wondering if I can ever get a decent figure having a sit-down job. My bum is so horrible. I'm sure I just need to lose weight off it but it just seems so hard. It's going to come off there last and I already seem to have a deficit. I feel like a freak that normal human biology laws don't apply to!

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Stick at it and it will happen. My belly is a problem spot for me, I've lost a lot of fat recently and it has definitely gone down, but being skinny everywhere else it just accentuates it more.


Work hard, eat right and be consistent and I'm sure you'll see progress in the areas you want to.

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Burnt 500 calories today (apart from whatever doing weights burns). However as I tried running again my ankle now hurts again. I think deep down I knew I should have waited longer but I was desperate to run again.


Really must find someone to show me how to use free weights. I don't feel some of the machines are hitting the right places.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just weighed myself and I am down to 52 kilos so the gym and healthier eating is paying off (so I've lost about 3 since starting) but that must mean I'm not gaining any muscle. :/


I haven't really noticed a difference in my figure. I don't know what more I need to do to tone up. I really ached after last time and I've been taking protein supplements. I suppose I should be doing a lot more. It's just finding the time (and energy!).


It just seems hard to know what to do when my priorities are both losing my excess fat and gaining muscle in the areas where there is very little fat and muscle.

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I've decided to change my routine. Cardio only for three mornings a week and muscles on alternate evenings.


I've only managed to do one muscle session so far (now on holiday) but I'm still aching from it. Wondering if the aching is good (means it's doing something) or bad (means it's not repairing?).

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Wow, it's been a long time since I last did this. Almost couldn't find my thread!


For the past couple of months I have been really bad at getting myself to the gym. I now go to college as well as work, but that really isn't an excuse. I shouldn't be paying for it as I don't earn much anymore and keep going to cancel my contract but feel a pang of guilt about not continuing. I am more active in general than I used to be. I have managed to maintain the weight despite not doing as much formal exercise. I also made a conscious decision to stop running and I am sure my legs are slimmer for it, which makes me happier.


I'm still very bony. My muscles have been neglected. I saw improvement in the tone of my arms which I think I still have a little. I need to work on my muscles more but am just not committed enough. I keep meaning to get my own weights and/or resistance bands because I would do it if I didn't have to travel for it.


I have found that my belly size largely depends on what I have recently eaten. I am a nut fiend and was eating too many of all kinds and since I made myself cut back I have noticed it is flatter, though it is only truly "flat" at certain times. I generally avoid flours because I feel they may be a culprit, as well as gluten. entils also swell my belly but I love them and have them every so often. But there is still fat there, which I don't like. I don't know what to do to get rid of it as I already try hard not to eat more than I will expend. I have always felt most comfortable in a scrunched up position and wonder if that is causing fat to get 'caught' there. My posture is awful! If I could afford it I would have pilates or yoga classes, as well as some kind of dance class probably, for fun as well as fitness.

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