Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Be thankful

I had my annual appointment with my specialist today. She's a "consultant physician", which as far as I can tell, means she's good at diagnosing stuff other docs can't figure out. I got sent to her a few years ago when I had a whole collection of health problems, and was eventually diagnosed with Osler's Disease. It's an uncommon hereditary vascular thingummy and can potentially cause all kinds of dire problems (yeah, yeah..doom and despair, yada yada). If you have nothing better to do, you can read all about it here.

As a result, I got put through some really *fun* tests, so that my brain, lungs, heart, liver and some other stuff could be checked for abnormalities. The good luck fairies were watching over me on everything but my liver, which had 3 vascular-based tumours, 2 of them biggish. This explained some pretty odd blood test results I'd been consistently getting. These things are benign, but were growing at a pretty alarming rate, which could cause some problems down the track. I also had the classic nosebleeds and some small skin lesions that typically go with this disease. And I was facing 3-monthly surgery to treat the nosebleeds, which didn't thrill me. I decided that I just had to do whatever was necessary and continue on with my health and fitness endeavours, so that I'd be in the best possible physical condition to deal with whatever might crop up.

Almost 3 years later, I've given the nasal surgery the flick (That got old REALLY fast. Long story, but can I just say that after 5 procedures at Monash Medical Centre, plus one emergency trip to the Northern Hospital, I hope to never have to go through the public health system again) and amazingly, the bleeds are under control. My blood tests are all OK - liver function is 'slightly abnormal', which is normal for me, iron's a bit low, but nothing serious. And best of all, my last scans showed that the liver tumours have shrunk. Which they're not supposed to do, but hey, I'm not arguing.

By the way, I totally credit the shrinkage to my healthy lifestyle. The moral of this story is: eat well, train like a demon and take your fish oil, vit C and glutamine, children. ;)

So today I got the thumbs-up from the doc again. None of my tests show any deterioration, my liver isn't enlarged (and she gave it a good poke... Ouch!), my heart and lungs are fine. I have one new skin lesion, but nobody can see it since it's under my hairline, near my ear. And she was most impressed that I've maintained my weight and fitness for so long. I even dragged out my before photo, just in case she'd forgotten how I looked back in 2002 when I first saw her, pre-BFL.

As I said to her: I'm thankful for my relatively good health - there are much worse things that I could suffer from. Blood tests every 6 months, a checkup once a year and a CT scan every couple of years - pfft! Those are nothing. Oh, and as a bonus, I have a lovely collection of pictures of the inside of me.

So yeah, it could be worse. Plenty to be thankful for, really.

New reading material

Today, I received my Precision Nutrition pack in the mail. This makes me very happy. :D I'll probably take it to bed tonight and read through it. Is it weird to read nutrition stuff (or cookbooks/foodie mags) in bed? It looks GREAT - think I'll rip the audio CDs to MP3 files so I can listen to them at the gym.

Today I also received a spanking new copy of GST Legislation Plus 2007. This did not make me particularly happy. Neither will I be reading it in bed. Although it could be a cure for insomnia. It can stay on the shelf above my desk at the office, and I'll try to avoid actually opening it.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bike obsession

I've just been to the bike shop to get some gloves, and while I was there, I had a browse around, as you do. They had some nice jerseys, all sorts of handy knick-knacks and gadgets, but I ended up grilling the sales guy about bike trainers. Now I've decided that I desperately want one. It's a bit cheaper than a decent quality stationary bike and takes up a lot less room.

The idea of getting up in mid-winter and trundling off to the gym to sit on one of their crappy bikes and do intervals for half an hour just doesn't appeal. I did look at spin bikes (again, the room issue), but those things are WAY overpriced at $1000.

I wonder what's going on eBay......

Progress update

Got my 20km bike ride out of the way today, and suprisingly, the saddle is becoming more comfortable. Or maybe my bum is just becoming numb. Anyway, the ride is getting easier, so that's progress. :-) Even with my sore quads, it was only a moderate workout. I took the Middle Child with me again today. He's getting better at it too, but I still had to stop and wait for him to catch up a few times.

I'm also (finally) seeing progress in my measurements. The scales showed a whopping 200g loss *rolls eyes* but the tape measure was kind - 2cm off my waist and 0.5cm off my hips. I KNEW I was looking leaner!

All up, it was a good week - I missed one cardio session, but considering I was sick for 3 days, that's not so bad. Food has been completely under control - missing meals has been more of a problem than overeating, which is SO not like me!

Back to the sodding office tomorrow for the first time in almost 6 weeks. THAT'S gonna hurt, especially the 5:30am starts to fit my gym time in. I'll just make sure I'm super-prepared with food each night and I'll have no trouble staying on track.

I'm thinking I may tell everyone at work about my competition goal. Yes, they will think I'm a freak (well, freakiER anyway), but I figure the more people that know about it, the less likely I am to slip up and have a chocolate pig-out, or be tempted by cakes at team meetings and the likes.


I decided to update my template and add some new links, taking advantage of the new Blogger drag & drop features. But in the process I've managed to lose all my buttons. Soooo...I thought that would be easy to fix - after all, I figured out how to add them in the first place, even created my own banner.

Of course, it isn't that easy. *sigh* I can add pictures. I can add links. But I can't seem to add a picture with a link embedded in it. Gah! I don't have time right now to trawl through the (remarkably unhelpful) help pages, so it'll just have to wait.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Lost in translation

From one of my favourite time-wasting websites,

Uh...OK, if you say so.

And, maybe you don't want to order this from the daily specials:

Well, it SEEMED like a good idea at the time

My butt hurts. And my quads seem to have transformed into some solid, immovable substance overnight. And did I mention that my butt hurts? Yow.

I was pretty thrilled about my leg press yesterday. Today, not so much.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Orstraylia Day

Ah yes, it's January 26th, so once again we get to celebrate the invasion of this land by the British ....oops, I mean the landing of the first fleet.....

The really good thing about today for me was not having to get up early. Especially since I stupidly stayed up till WAY past midnight last night, just doing stuff. So I was thrilled to be woken at 9:30am by the sound of the garbos emptying all the bins along our street. Don't those guys get a day off? Harrumph!

I ate my porridge, downed 2 cups of coffee and faffed around on the computer for a bit, then finally headed off to the gym at 11:15, arriving at 11:25.....only to discover that they were closing at 12:00 today, thanks to the public holiday. Huh. Shoulda gone to the skanky gym instead. So I zoomed through my leg workout, but had to skip abs - I'll do those later.

I did achieve something pretty major though *drumroll please* ........I loaded up the leg press with 200kg and cranked out 3 sets of 8. Yeah, so it was the leg press at Fernwood, which has a lighter plate than the machine at the skanky gym, but still.....that's like 3 and a half times my body weight. :D

Bugger the Australia Day awards, I think I deserve something for that effort.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


My copy of The Metabolism Advantage just arrived! YAY!!

I caved and ordered Precision Nutrition too - hopefully that will be here by the end of next week. I'm soooo addicted to fitness and nutrition books.

I'm off to do some reading - my arm needs a rest from typing anyway.

She don't lie, she don't lie....

Geez, the nurses are ganging up on me! Yes, yes, I know all that about pressure on the wound and blah blah blah...but you know, I needed breakfast PRONTO, and you can't keep a finger on the inside of your opposite elbow (or your arm straight) whilst driving home to deal with your ravenous hunger. :p

Needles, anaesthetics - that all got me thinking..... did you know (no, not you nurses - put your hands down and let somebody else answer please!) that when you have nasal surgery, they often use COCAINE as a local anaesthetic. I am not kidding. Check it out here, if you don't believe me.

So, the first of the 5 or 6 times that I had surgery on my nose, I'm lying there with my paper hat on, the canula's in the back of my hand, I've answered the same questions at least 3 times about allergies, what procedure I'm having etc, and I'm all set to go. The ENT surgeon arrives and says something about cocaine (Haha! Funny guy!) and I get this wet cotton wool shoved up my nose - which was really unpleasant, trust me. And then they wheel me into the theatre, and there's some problem with the oxygen, so there's a delay in getting started while they sort that out. So I'm chatting away to the theatre staff, and having a great time. In fact, I think I may have actually flexed my biceps for them ....I thought I was being SO witty and entertaining. It was only much later that I discovered that the surgeon wasn't joking about the cocaine. I wasn't being amusing at all - I was just off my face!

I still have no idea why anybody takes that stuff voluntarily...much less pays for it! Ugh. It's horrible.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I went and got that blood taken this morning, straight after my workout. And yes, I did survive without breakfast till 9:30....but boy, was I hungry!

I always give people who stick needles in me a rating - anaesthetists are generally pretty good at it, nurses are mostly OK, but there's a huge variance between staff at those pathology places. Anyway, the woman I got this morning WAS going to get a 'A', because not only did it not hurt at all, but she was actually pleasant and chatty (as opposed to the usual surly, personality-bypass types I seem to get).

But that was before I was drinking my coffee at home and looked down to see spots of blood on my sleeve. Whaaa? The puncture site had bled right through the little dressing, and I now have a beautiful burgundy-coloured raised bruise, about the size of a 5-cent piece.

She gets an 'F'.

Well, that's better!

I woke up at 6:30 this morning and thought: I feel crappy. Then I realised that I felt a lot LESS crappy than yesterday, so I got up and went to the gym. I went to my old Fernwood gym - my membership runs out next week, so I'm making the most of it. Everyone was plodding away on the cardio equipment as usual, which meant I had all the weights to myself, so I cranked up the MP3 player and got on with it.

Since I haven't done a weights session there for a couple of months, there were lots of new faces around, and I seemed to be getting quite a few odd looks. I'd like to think it was my impressive biceps that were attracting attention, but I suspect it was actually the incredibly ugly faces I pull during those last few reps of each set.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Gah. Ack. I'm sick.

I've been sick since Sunday night, and I'm not enjoying it one bit. I don't GET sick, not me, I'm superhuman or something. When all around me are succumbing to colds, flus, gastro or the plague, I just sail on, healthy as a horse.

My head feels a bit like it may explode at any second, my nose is uncomfortably congested and I have that achey, hot-one-second, cold-the-next thing going on. I'm sure I must have a fever, but the thermometer says not. I think it's lying. I'm sweating like I just did a killer cardio workout on a 40-degree day. I must have a fever, right? ......Or maybe it's just the 3 coffees I've already had this morning.

To top it off, the tennis elbow is pretty dire (translation: BLOODY AGONISING!), and I'm resorting to typing with my left hand. Very frustrating. Not to mention slow. And I still have 5 billion emails to answer.

I may just stay in my PJs all day, watch daytime TV and drink tea.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Prescription for health: work your butt off and eat well

I saw my GP this morning, just to get some prescriptions renewed and a new referral to one of my specialists, who I have to see next week. Since I was there, she decided to run an 'over 45 health check' on me. This is some new government initiative apparently, to identify 'at risk' patients, and because I have asthma, I fit the criteria. So she poked my belly, listened to my heart and lungs, checked my blood pressure (110/70....of course) and got me to blow into one of those peak flow thingies. All perfect. Then we went through a questionnaire:

Do you smoke? Ugh. No!
What's your diet like? Low in sugar, low in saturated fat, high-ish in protein, lots of vegies, some fruit and dairy. 5 meals a day, I eat every 3 hours or so. And I drink 3 litres of water a day.
How much alcohol do you drink? Um...usually about 1-2 glasses a month.
What physical activity do you do? Weight training, cycling, walking, running, some cardio at the gym.
Depression? Ha! Not likely.
Osteoporosis....hmm, based on all your other answers and your posture, nope.
Height and weight? 160cm, 58kg *doc calculates BMI* Excellent! I refrain from giving her a lecture on what total crap BMI is.
Last blood tests for cholesterol and diabetes? Mmm, not sure - more than a year though.

With this health check thing, the doc is supposed to recommend treatments or lifestyle changes and/or refer the patient to appropriate services, then print out all the info. So she hits 'print' and says "I don't really know why I'm bothering to give you this - you're so healthy I don't have any advice to put on it!"

She was very impressed by what I've achieved, especially since I first met her when I was in the worst physical condition of my life, in about 2001-2002. And while she was updating my records, she discovered that the last time she ran through these sorts of questions, when I was actually pretty sick, my weight was 75kg AND I was drinking 2-3 days a week. Yeah, um.... I think I lied about that, it was more like 6 days a week. Hey, who's going to admit that to their doctor?

She did add cholesterol and blood sugar to the blood tests I was getting done this week. I'm sure they're both fine, but hey, while they're sticking needles in me, they may as well check for a few more things. The only bad thing about it is, those are both fasting tests.

Crap! I hate having to wait for my brekky.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Training update

This week has been pretty good. I got my interval sessions and my weight training workouts in, and today went out with Bike Boy for my first ever road ride. We did 40km - cycled all the way to Whittlesea and back, which I foolishly thought would be a bit of a doddle. Paved road, bike lanes, flat all the way - how hard can it be? Well, it seems flat when I drive it....on the bike, I discovered it's ever so slightly uphill. And once again, the wind came out to play. Gusty NNW wind, about 58kmh, to be precise - and we were heading north.

I spent the whole trip out in low gears, riding into a head wind, and battling to not get blown into the traffic. It was a slow old trip - an hour and 20 minutes to go 20kms. Gah! No time to look around at the countryside, spot kookaburras or anything else, it was head down and sweat and puff all the way. I learned something though - it's a bad idea to breathe through your mouth, because you know, insects? They fly straight into your open gob, and thanks to all the huffing and puffing and the wind drying out your mouth, you can't summon up enough saliva to spit 'em out! Eeuww! I just tried to think of it as extra protein.

The ride home, however was a breeze (ha! pun intended!). Even on the few upward slopes, I didn't drop below 20kmh, thanks to the mighty tailwind, and we made it back in 45 minutes.

I'm feeling pretty well prepared for our Feb 24 ride, and if it's windy again, so be it. I won't like it, and I can't promise not to whinge, but I'll survive.

Food continues good - I'm expecting no different this coming week. Let's get on with it!

Edit note: I tried out Amanda's saddle and it's going to take some getting used to. It's certainly not worse than my old seat, but I think I need to play with it and adjust it a bit till it suits. Plus I may just buy a gel pad for it - my old one is too big and would slip around on the narrower seat - and I just feel like my butt doesn't have enough padding. Which is a good thing aesthetically speaking, but not so good from a comfort point of view.

Application for grant of Australian citizenship

Somebody emailed me this. I'll give it a try......

You must answer 75% (28 or more out of 37) of these questions correctly in order to qualify for Australian Citizenship:

1. How many slabs can you fit in the back of a Falcon Ute while also allowing room for your cattle dog? Well, of course that depends whether the ute has a canopy, in which case you can stack 'em 3 or 4 high without them tipping over the sides.

2. When packing an Esky do you put the ice, or the beer, in first? Pfft. Give me a hard one. The beer, of course. You'll never get it in there once you put the ice in.

3. Is the traditional Aussie Christmas dinner:
a) At least two roasted meats with roast vegetables, followed by a pudding you could use as a cannonball. Also ham. In 40C heat.
b) A seafood buffet followed by a barbie, with rather a lot of booze. And ham. In 40C heat.
c) Both of the above, one at lunchtime and one at dinnertime. Weather continues fine.
Any of the above are perfectly acceptable.

4. How many beers in a slab?
Duh! 24

5. You call that a knife, this is a knife.
True or False?

6. Does "yeah-nah" mean
a) "Yes and no"
b) "Maybe"
c) "Yes I understand but No I don't agree"?
I believe "c". Others may interpret it differently.

7. The phrases "strewth" and "flamin' dingo" can be attributed to which TV character?
a) Toadie from Neighbours
b) Alf from Home & Away
c) Agro from Agro's Cartoon Connection
d) Sgt. Tom Croydon from Blue Heelers?
OK, this is where I fail. I've never watched any of those shows. Except Cartoon Connection, of course. And I'm sure Agro never said any such things.

8. When cooking a barbecue do you turn the sausages
a) Once or twice
b) As often as necessary to cook
c) After each stubby
d) Until charcoal?
*sigh* D

9. Name three of the Daddo brothers.
Andrew, Cameron and the other one.

10. Who was the original lead singer of AC/DC?
Well, I could say Bon Scott, but of course there was some other guy before him. But he never recorded a song with them, so perhaps he doesn't count. Did I ever mention I saw AC/DC at Festival Hall in 1974(?), supporting Sherbet?

11. Which option describes your ideal summer afternoon:
a) Drinking beer at a mate's place
b) Drinking beer at the beach
c) Drinking beer watching the cricket/footy
d) Drinking beer at a mate's place while watching the cricket before going to the beach?
Well D would be great...apart from the beer. Can I have wine instead?

12. Would you eat pineapple on pizza? Would you eat egg on a pizza?
Blah to both. I'm sure egg on pizza is a guy thing.

13. How many cans of beer did David Boon consume on a plane trip from Australia to England?
Let's see...that's a 24-hour plus trip *thinks*.... at least 17 (he had to sleep sometime)

14. How many stubbies is it from Brissy to the Gold Coast in a Torana travelling at 120km/h?
Trick question - none. You can't drink if you're driving, silly!

15. Who are Scott and Charlene?
They live 3 houses down, don't they....?

16. How do you apply your tomato sauce to a pie?
a) Squirt and spread with finger
b) Sauce injection straight into the middle?
Tomato sauce? Blech.

17. If the police raided your home would you:
a) Allow them to rummage through your personal items
b) Phone up the nearest talkback radio shock jock and complain
c) Put a written complaint in to John Howard and hope that he answers it personally?
b) of course. But I'd ask to see the warrant first. I've seen enough police shows to know they need one of those things.

18. Which Australian Prime Minister held the world record for drinking a yardie full of beer the fastest?
er.... Bob Hawke? Couldn't possibly be John Howard.

19. Have you ever had/do you have a mullet?
Oh dear. Well yeeeees...only it was 1972 and it was called a Dolly cut. Pre-mullet, really.

20. Thongs are:
a) Skimpy underwear
b) Casual footwear
c) They're called jandals, bro?
*snort* There are 4 pairs on the front porch, of course! Footwear. FOOTWEAR.

21. On which Ashes tour did Warney's hair look the best?
a) 1993
b) 1997
c) 2001
d) 2005
Apart from his prodigious bowling skills, I couldn't give a rat's about Warney, so I have no idea.

22. What is someone more likely to die of:
a) Red Back Spider
b) Great White Shark
c) Victorian Police Officer
d) King Brown Snake
e) Your missus after a big night
f) Dropbear?
Those damn dropbears are SO dangerous!

23. How many times must a steak be turned on a conventional four-burner barbie?
Once only...and don't even TRY to touch it if Bike Boy's cooking!

24. Can you sing along to Cold Chisel's Khe Sanh?
Only after several wines.

25. Explain both the "follow-on" and "LBW" rules in cricket and discuss the pros and cons for the third umpire decisions in the latter....
Per-leeze. Gimme a hard one. The follow on rule is where the *insert any other country here* team have to bat for two consecutive innings, because our guys made SO many runs during THEIR first innings that the other team haven't a snowflake's chance in hell of beating us, no matter how hard they try. LBW is Leg Before Wicket and that's just obvious. Isn't it? As for the 3rd umpire...oh, just Google if you don't know.

26. Name at least 5 items that must be taken to a BBQ.
Beer. Esky. Ice. Sausages. Tomato sauce. Folding chair. Or in my alternate universe:
A bottle of chilled sauvignon blanc, some cevaps and chicken satays, a nice big salad, a decadent dessert and plenty of SPF30 sunscreen.

27. Who is current Australian test cricket captain:
a) Ricky Ponting
b) Don Bradman
c) John Howard
d) Makybe Diva?
Bwa-ha-ha-ha!! John Howard.....ahhh. Good one. Ponting, of course.

28. Is it best to take a sick day on:
a) When the cricket's on
b) When the cricket's on
c) When the cricket’s on?
Ooh, I'm guessing here - when the cricket's on?

29. What animal is on the Bundaberg Rum bottle?
God knows why, but it's a polar bear.

30. What is the difference between a pot and a middy of beer?
A middy is something they have in states other than Victoria. (Ha! Got out of that one!)

31. What are Budgie smugglers?
Oh dear. Apparel that should not be worn by aging, pot-bellied, hairy men. At least not unless they're swimming laps at the local pool. Then it's acceptable, but don't stare, for goodness' sake. On Ian Thorpe, they look OK.

32. What brand and size of Esky will you be purchasing?
An Esky brand of course. In the largest size they make.

33. Did you cry when Molly died on a Country Practice?
Only for about a week.

34. A "Hoppoate" is:
a) A breed of kangaroo
b) A kind of Australian "wedgie"
c) A disgraced Rugby League player?
Isn't he that rugby know the finger thing?

35. What does having a 'chunder' mean?
Something most people do after the barbie where they drank rather too much beer. Also known as 'calling Ralph' (or Hughie), driving the porcelain bus and numerous other colourful terms.

36. When you were young did you prefer the Hills Hoist over any swing set?
I could never reach our Hill's Hoist, but Grandma's was perfect for swinging off. As long as she didn't catch you. She was scary when she was cross!

37. What does the terminology 'True Blue' mean?
Fair dinkum or dinky-di.
What? That IS an explanation.

I suspect I may be a failure.....

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Clever friends are a blessing

I have decided that my pal Sara is an absolute GENIUS. She is also obviously psychic. Here's why:

I had a great week, ate well (gave myself an A+ there), did all my workouts, drank my water, blah-de-blah-blah. So I was quietly confident that the scales would play nice when I stepped on them this morning. Instead, THEY HAVE NOT MOVED since last week. So I grabbed my tape measue, just KNOWING that my waist measurement would be down a little.....but nope. Not a single millimetre of change. Anywhere. Gah!

Then I remembered Sara's blog about UPA a couple of days ago. And I almost yelled EUREKA!! Because, folks, that is the answer! I've had less one-on-one clients this week (they're mostly away on holidays), but a heap of new onliners, which means lots of work on the computer - sitting on my butt. And because it's been so hot, I've not ventured outdoors to do gardening, or go for extra walks. In fact, apart from my scheduled training, I've allowed my inner couch potato to re-emerge. So, less calories burned = no change in weight or measurements.

Consequently, my goal for the next week is to move my lardy butt more. Which means at least 2 decent walks, and just getting up and doing stuff around the (sadly neglected) house. The work will get done - it always does.

Thank goodness for clever, clever friends!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Yeah, you WISH!

Pizza is apparently a healthy food. *bursts out laughing* Read all about it.

My opinion? Just make it yourself.

Good news, bad news

I was feeling fairly crappy today - my tennis elbow is giving me hell, and I really have a lot of computer stuff to do. I'm actually sitting here with an ice pack tied to my arm with a tea towel.... I know - high-tech or what? Typing with one hand is sooooo slow!

As well, the kids are bickering constantly. When they do this, I usually tolerate it for a while, then eventually I snap and scream "Right! Outside! NOW!!!" and after half an hour or so of jumping on the trampoline or something equally energy-sapping, they're fine. Today, however, it is raining. Not just a shower, but a steady downpour. Which is great for the garden, the reservoirs and the bushfires, of course. Just not so great for kids on school holidays when Mum's busy working in the corner of the lounge room.

So, my day was not going so well, when the postman arrived with a parcel. A parcel for ME. I love getting parcels, I think it's my favourite thing in the whole world. Apart from chocolate. And really good champagne. :p

In the parcel was a bike saddle, sent to me all the way from Canberra by Amanda, because I complained somewhere on the net about my sore butt from cycling, and mentioned that *maybe* I might look into getting a female-contoured seat. She had a spare one she wasn't using, so she packed it up and posted it to me, bless her kind little heart! Now I get to test one out and see if it suits my... *ahem* ... anatomy, without spending megabucks.

That really brightened up my day. A great big *MWAH!* to you, Amanda! Thank you, thank you, a thousand times!


Speaking of parcels, Bike Boy got sick of fighting the kids for computer time, and got hisself a shiny new laptop, which was delivered to his office today. An Apple Mac, no less! That should be good for a lot of swearing, while he learns how to drive the thing....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Over the top, or what?

If you were following the Craig Titus/Kelly Ryan murder story last year, this may interest you.

If you weren't (or you have no idea who the hell Titus and Ryan even are), you really missed something. It was one of those news stories that had you going "wow, this is so bizarre, it MUST be true!" I mean, who would make up something like the part where Kelly was arrested while 'on the lam' when she stopped at a nail salon for a manicure....

Rather than recap the whole sordid thing, you can go read about it here if you're interested.

Anyway, the video footage was just a bit too Hannibal Lecter for me. I have no sympathy for the alleged murderers, but using an entire SWAT team to move the guy across a building seems a little excessive, don't you think?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Gym fashion no-nos

Witnessed this morning with my very own eyes:

# 1 - Black over sized t-shirt, teamed with a rainbow coloured SARONG over grey marle bike shorts. It was 6:00am and I thought perhaps I was still in my bed dreaming about Fiji…. But nope. No palm trees, no pool, no waiters bringing drinks with little umbrellas and nobody saying “Bula!”

#2 – Black crop pants, with a navy satin camisole. With knee-high nylon stockings. And black leather loafers, which she proceeded to remove and walk on the treadmill in her stockinged feet.

As my farm-bred best friend would say: The things you see when you haven’t got your gun….


I have more work to do than you can poke a stick at (what DOES that mean? And why would you even want to poke sticks at things anyway?) and am seriously on a roll here, with program-writing and email-answering. However, apparently I must cease immediately so that I can drive The Middle Child to the games shop to pick up the very latest World of Warcraft expansion pack that was released at midnight last night.

My priorities are obviously all wrong. Obviously.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'm melting....melting....

It is officially hot today and I feel like I'm going to just melt and slide off my chair and lay on the floor in a big puddle. According to the BOM it is 40 degrees. That's even too hot for ME.

The Baby had a brilliant idea. He suggested that we go to LiquorLand and hang out in the cold room with all the beer. Yeah! The kid's a genius. I'm sure they wouldn't mind if I took a folding chair and my laptop. I don't take up much space.

Wonder if there's a wi-fi hotspot nearby?

Saturday, January 13, 2007


My Jana Wendt comment in my last post just reminded me of something. When I was a lot younger and was working as a bank teller, I had a dear old lady customer who told me that she thought I looked like just like Jana. "I always think of you as Little Jana", she told me....
Hmm, don't see the resemblance myself, except for the eyebrow thing AND the fact that we both had long dark hair.

Here's Jana:
And here's me (this was the only pic of me with dark hair I could find on my computer)

Pfft. Nothing alike.... the old dear was obviously demented.

I still can't get over how ROUND my face used to be.

I'm sure Pammie's relieved....

Last Sunday I got on the scales for my weekly weigh-in, looked at the number, went "hmm" and raised my eyebrows. Well, eyeBROW I should say ...I do that one-eyebrowed thing that Jana Wendt always used to do to lying politicians. Bike Boy calls it "the look" and dreads seeing it aimed in his direction ...but as usual, I digress. Then I stepped off the scales and just got on with my day. I did NOT head straight to the supermarket and emerge clutching a gourmet yoghurt, family block of chocolate, box of Tim Tam balls. And maybe some Pods just for good measure. (Yes, I admit, this has been known to happen - ridiculous behaviour though it may be for a supposedly intelligent woman).

My weight was up considerably, partly due to my numerous indulgences over Christmas, but also because of the massive carb-loading I did for the bike ride last Saturday. And although I must have burned a truckload of glycogen on the ride, I replaced a fair bit of it with supplements and a nice big serve of rice at dinner.

I also had some seriously weird hormonal stuff going on. Now, I'm not one to blame my hormones for binge eating, weight gains or anything else normally, but I woke up one morning about a week and a half ago with Pamela Anderson's boobs. Seriously. I'm sure she must have been searching everywhere for them. Bike Boy was fairly delighted. Me...not so much. So in spite of a solid week of training and clean eating, the scale reading wasn't a huge surprise.

Today I dragged out the scales again and stepped onto them with fingers crossed. And discovered my weight had dropped 1.8kg. - In 6 days. I checked measurements and my chest has reduced by 4cm. Phew! I'm nicely on track so far and feeling pretty damn motivated. :)

I've decided I'm going to start tracking my BF% readings, just for fun. Should be interesting, given the reliability (*snort*) of my good old Tanita scales. I'll check this afternoon, when they're likely to be a little more accurate and see what crazy number they give me.


Deb asked for details of my workout program, so OK, here goes....

Keep in mind that this is what I do, not necessarily what's right for anyone else. It's designed around my current goals (muscle gain, weight maintenance and some slight improvements in fitness, plus training for one more bike ride) and it's working pretty well so far.


This is a 2-day split, which I only do 2 days a week - I could do it 3 times a week, but time constraints make that tough at the moment.

Day 1
25 bodyweight squats to warm up
Leg extensions 3 x 8
Smith squats or hack squats 3 x 8
Leg press - unilateral (that's one-legged) 3 x 8
Leg press 3 x 8
Fitball hamstring curls - one-legged 3 x 8 (this is because of my dodgy back - hamstring curl machines are a no-go)
Dumbbell alternating lunges 3 x 8
Machine calf raise 3 x 8
Hanging leg raises 3 x 12-15
Fitball crunches 3 x 12-15

Day 2
25 pushups to warm up
Machine shoulder press 3 x 8
Lateral raises supersetted with bent over lateral raises 3 x 8
Bench press 3 x 8
Incline DB bench press 3 x 8
Tricep pushdowns supersetted with tricep pushups 3 x 8
Lat pulldowns 3 x 8
Seated row 3 x 8
Dumbbell bicep curls supersetted with hammer curls 3 x 8
All weights are as heavy as I can manage, reps are nice and slow and rest intervals are 20-30 seconds.
Cardio at the moment is 2 interval sessions (I'm doing one running outdoors and the other on the hated stationary bike) plus a long bike ride. And I try to walk whenever I can.
That's it, apart from a few intervals or the odd set of squats or pushups or whatever with clients.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Road to nowhere

The gym I go to is not fancy (that’s an understatement. Can you say G-R-U-N-G-E-Y,?), but it has redeeming qualities, such as being cheap ($3.30 casual rate), having masses of equipment, and being open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I use the women’s gym there – the mixed gym is full of gorillas heaving around weights that are WAY too heavy for them with completely crap form. And that makes me get the giggles. Besides, some of the machines in there start at weights that I can’t even lift.

Anyway, I’ve been observing that something like 80% of the women there do a workout that goes something like this:

- Run on treadmill for 30 minutes (or maybe walk at an extreme incline)
- Pick up some dinky little dumbbells and do some really, REALLY odd moves with them that remind me of a chicken flapping its wings. Oh and do them really, really fast.
- Get on the leg extension machine and lift maybe 10 pounds (again really fast) for 3 sets of 15.
- Repeat above with the hamstring curl machine.
- Spend quite a while on the adductor/abductor machines (because you really CAN spot-reduce those flabby thighs. Yeah.)
- Maybe strap on a leather ankle cuff and do some cable hip extensions.
- Get on the AB MACHINE *splutter* and do 100s of crunches. Then swing your knees over to one side and do 100s of side crunches. Repeat for the other side.
- Get back on the treadmill and run for 30 minutes or so.

I assume that somebody gives all these people these programs, since they’re all so similar. What self-respecting trainer would write a piece of crap like that…and then give it to every client? Would they give a man the same program? Legs, abs and a couple of token arm exercises? High reps, light weights and performed at high speed? I’m betting not.

I’m not about to tread on some trainer’s toes by telling these clients that they’re doing it all wrong. But in the year that I've been going there, I've observed that the overweight ladies are still overweight and the skinny ones are still skinny. Nobody is making any progress, at least in terms of body shape or composition. Maybe their fitness has improved and they feel better. I don't know....

Whatever. At least I never have to wait because somebody’s hogging the equipment I need.

Debs, you rock!

Whilst picking up the last of the school supplies this morning at the newsagent, I had to go see if there were any new fitness mags to feed my addiction. On the shelf was the March issue of Fitness Life, a Kiwi mag that I've bought once or twice. I wasn't really going to buy it, but flicked through it, just in case there was a must-have article.....and found an interview with my friend, Body-for-LIFE Grand Master Champion, Debbie Rossi. So what could I do? Of course I had to buy it.

Debs said something in the article that really struck home, so I'm going to quote it:

"....see food as fuel, and not as a response to an emotion. Many people react to their emotions with food. I say, if you are happy, laugh, if you are sad, ring a friend, if you are angry, do a kickboxing class. If you need a reward, then buy a CD or a good book. Don't turn to food to feed your emotions...."

Must tattoo that on my forehead for the next time I'm pissed off and chocolate seems like a good idea.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Books, books, books

Books on my "must read" list:

Tosca Reno's The Eat Clean Diet.
I love this woman - she's (almost)
my age, a latecomer to fitness and she looks FAB!

Better go find the credit card and put in an order.

Bill Phillips' Transformation: How to change EVERYTHING .
Who can resist a book that promises to tell you everything about something-or-other? And hey, it's Bill....

Of course, I've had this one on order from Amazon since August.

John Berardi's The Metabolism Advantage.

Thanks to Sara for putting me onto this one.
I'm going shopping to see if I can find it tomorrow.

And my good friend Debs just sent me these:

Lynn Lingenfelter's Thrive High and

The Top 100 International Low-fat recipes

One can never have too many cookbooks. :p

That lot should keep me busy for a while.

Edit note: No luck finding the John Berardi book - A & R have to order it from the US, which takes 6-8 weeks and costs a bomb. Darn it! Think I'll order it online instead.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Love it!

You know those infuriating colleagues, "friends" or relatives who are constantly on your case about what you eat? 'Oh, come on - you can have ONE piece.' 'Yuk, how can you EAT that?' 'You don't need to lose weight, why are you on a diet?' Blah, blah, blah...

Seriously, why should it bother anybody else what I eat (or don't eat?). Grrr.

Well, here's a subtle hint to them to just BACK THE HELL OFF. Now you can have the Crap pushers sample letter anonymously emailed to them.

Go ahead, report a crap pusher today!

Thanks to Kristy for posting this link on a fitness forum.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sweet somethings

Quick! Get ye over to John Berardi's site, and download your FREE pdf copy of his Gourmet Nutrition Desserts! Before it disappears....the site says it's free to all readers over the holidays....who knows when the holidays will officially end and it will go poof! and simply cease to exist?

There's cheesecakey things and chocolatey things..... and cookies!! And all healthy and full of proteiny goodness!

*ahem* Sara, why is it that you did not mention this to me? *glares in the direction of New Zealand*

Domestic tip # 2

If you're short on kitchen storage space, don't store your beloved George Forman grill in the laundry on top of your front-loading washing machine.

Combine a violent spin cycle and a tiled floor and the result is little bitty bits of "George" all over the place.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

A-Z of Kek

Thanks to the luverly Selina, who tagged me, I'm up way past my bedtime. Well, OK, I wasn't going to bed early anyway...

A - Available or single? Definitely not! I’m as married as you can be.
B- Best Friend? Janene…who I’ve known since we worked together a lifetime ago in the 80s, and who always turns up with a pizza and a bottle of wine just when I need it.
C- Cake or Pie? Whichever contains chocolate.
D- Drink of Choice? Wine…usually white and dry.
E- Essential Item? My laptop.
F- Favorite Color? Turquoise.
G- Gummi Bears or Worms? Since neither contain chocolate, I don’t care
H- Hometown? Melbourne
I- Indulgence? You KNOW the answer…..chocolate!
J- January or February? January – holidays, yay!
K- Kids and names? Liam, Nicholas & Aaron (yes, they DO have names…)
L- Life is incomplete without? My family. Or chocolate.
M- Marriage Date? 25 May 1985
N- Number of Siblings? Hmm….2 full, 2 halves and various steps. Let’s just stick to the ones I actually see (and care about) and call it 3 sisters and a brother.
O- Oranges or apples? Apples. Although I did crave oranges during two of my pregnancies, ate about 12 a day.
P- Phobias/Fears? Heights. And mice. *shudders*
Q- Favorite Quote? I have so many. Here’s one: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.
R- Reason to Smile? My family. And chocolate.
S- Season? Summer, for sure! Winter makes me sad, not to mention that the weather sucks.
T - Tag three people! Debstar, Liz and …oooh….Deb!
U- Unknown fact about me? I have size 9 feet. The rest of me is petite, but not my feet.
V- Vegetable you hate? Brussels sprouts…. of course. I mean, does ANYONE like them? Apart from Bike Boy, that is.
W- Worst habit? Gosh, so many to choose from.... How about refusing to admit I’m wrong, even when the evidence would convince a jury, just because I’m so bloody stubborn.
X- X-rays you've had? Let’s see…..nose, chest (several), spine, foot. Plus a bowel x-ray (that was fun!). Also chest and abdominal CT scans, brain MRI and about a billion ultrasounds of just about every internal organ I have. And an echo-Doppler thingo of my heart. And do mammograms count?
Y- Your favorite food? Chocolate.
Z- Zodiac? Sagittarius….

Now THIS is just wrong....

Choco perfection? Yes, I see the logic....sugar free....somehow aids weight loss(?)....but chocolate is meant to be decadent.

Just stop messing with it, OK?

Food "news"

Ooh, lookie! I found this article, which reports that oily fish, veggies, red wine and chocolate should be the staples of everybody’s diet. Oh, and that trans fats should be avoided.

I knew that! :D

Goal number 1 ticked off!

I survived! Well, obviously, since I'm here, blogging.....

I won't go through the ENTIRE day's events - indelibly imprinted on my memory though they are - but here's a brief synopsis:

  • I rode over 75km!
  • Bike Boy was very patient with me....he got a bit tight-lipped once or twice, but resisted the urge to yell "get a move on, you useless cow", or anything similar.
  • The heat was pretty extreme
  • The flies were EXTREMELY extreme
  • The ride into Queenscliff was pretty good - the last bit was even fun, lots of downhill stretches.
  • The 15km leg from Queenscliff to Drysdale was pure torture - uphill and into a headwind of approximately 40kmh
  • I rode over 75km!
  • I learned what a difference 'drafting' makes - riding just off the rear wheel of the person infront, so they block the wind and pull you along in their draft.....
  • When you sweat a lot, you don't pee much (well, I thought that was interesting)
  • Getting a hamstring cramp when I was already tired, hot, frustrated and only managing a pitiful 10kmh, thanks to the wind, made me cry :( But only for a few seconds.
  • Carbohydrate gels and Powerade are a cyclist's best friends.
  • And did I mention I rode over 75km?

The return trip was slow and hard, and we got rained on just as we reached Geelong - which was a blessed, cool relief! My bike got sand in the gears or something and decided that it wasn't going to change down into the first range AT ALL, no matter how much my bike mechanic tried to adjust it. Thank you SO MUCH, bike!! That made the hills just that little bit more fun *grits teeth at the memory*. I have to confess to walking a couple of hills when my legs just didn't have the strength to get me up them in a higher gear....with the gale-force wind...or did I mention that already? But when we arrived back at the park where the start/finish line was, the final stretch was ALL uphill, and there was no way I was walking it, I'm way too stubborn for that. It took me forever to go that last 1km or so, but I made it. Yay, me!

I left the nutrition stuff up to Bike Boy, and he did a great job of planning it all. We started with a good brekky, then had some Catapult before starting. We drank Powerade, plus had gels and Powerbars during the ride. Lunch was a big chicken and salad roll, plus a serve of Race Recovery, then more gels, Powerbars, Powerade and one final dose of Race Recovery when we finished. Plus lots of water, of course.

Last night, my legs were really tired and I was sure I'd not be able to move today, but I'm actually not really sore....except for my butt (MUST get a proper female-contoured bike seat). I did take extra glutamine the last couple of days, but I put the lack of soreness down to the Race Recovery - this is seriously good stuff! I think I'm going to recommend this supplement to all my clients who do any kind of endurance training.

So, I'm doing one more ride...but only half that distance....and this time I will actually train for it. Yeah, let's see what a difference that makes.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Quick commercial break:

WARNING! - Gratuitous plug coming up.

The photo gallery on my FitBodies website has been updated. Yay!

Well, I'm excited.....

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Kicking goals....and new goals

My week has continued well after my sterling start on New Year's Day. I've done two KILLER weights workouts, been out on the bike twice, and been for a good power walk. And it's only Thursday. Go, me! As for food....I couldn't be any more virtuous if I tried. *dusts off halo*

I started thinking about my 2007 fitness goals before Christmas, but just couldn't get my head around them while I was madly preparing for the festive season. Or while I was existing in some kind of carb-induced brain fug. Urggh. Last week though, I finally started seriously thinking, researching, weighing up my options and trying to make some decisions.

One area I want to improve is my cardio fitness. I let that slip last year, while I was focusing on reshaping my body. Power walking is great for fat loss, but doesn't do much for your heart and lungs. So I thought maybe entering a series of events over the year would keep me motivated with my training - without a specific goal, I tend to get a bit slack about cardio. I'm already doing Amy's Ride this weekend, but I also found the Melbourne Summer Cycle event on February 25, the Brighton Bay run on March 4 and (of course) I'll do the Mothers Day Classic in May.

Then I turned my thoughts to weight training goals.....I think I'll aim for a short term goal of leg-pressing 200kg (that's 440 pounds, for those of you who don't speak Metric). That shouldn't take too long, I'm already at 160. I need a bench press goal...or maybe a target number of tricep pushups or unassisted pullups. Still nutting those out.

Whilst mulling all this over for a few days, there was a niggling little thought in the back of my mind that kept trying to push its way to the front. A little voice that kept saying What about that figure competition thing you were going to do? You didn't do anything about it last year...are you gonna let another year go by? That bloody voice kept getting louder and louder, until I couldn't ignore it any longer.

So, I had a little chat to my trainer, and here's the news:

Starting in March, I'm going to begin training for a competition. There. I've said it. I'm committed. Eeek!

The date is yet to be decided, but it may be September. It might not be till early next year though - we still have to sort a whole lot of details out. I think it's the WFF comps that I'm looking at. No, not one of those pretend wrestling mobs...that's the World Fitness Federation. I'll still train online with Michael Tabban, as I've done for the last 12 months, although my training will change quite a bit. Closer to the comp date, I'll trek over to Richmond on a regular basis, to do some training and posing practice and whatnot at the gym.

Meanwhile, I'm still going to train for the Feb 24th bike ride - it's only 30km, but the course goes OVER THE WESTGATE BRIDGE! I hate driving up that hill! Should be a challenge - there'll be a great view from the top anyways, long as we don't get blown off by the gale-force winds that are often blowing up there....

And I'll skip the Brighton Bay run, but I will do the Mothers Day Classic - although I may have to walk it. *sigh* I can live with that, but I'll feel like a wimp.

Sooooo...the decision is made and it feels right. :)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Dust bunnies? More like dust BEARS!

Today, I have been spring-cleaning. Yes, yes, I know it's summer...don't confuse me with facts, OK? To be precise, I have been spring-cleaning Number One Son's bedroom. Oh, the horror!! I'll spare you the details of the various bits of grot that were removed from under his bed, but let me tell you, I feel badly in need of a stiff Scotch about now.

The reason for this industriousness was that we bought said son a new bed for Christmas - a double bed. He requested a larger bed, since a) he is technically a grown-up, and b) he's, shall we say, a larger lad and was finding the single bed we bought him at age 10 a little inadequate.

So, the new bed was delivered today and HE was supposed to remove the old bed, throw out all the unnecessary crap he'd accumulated and then clean - you know, dust, vaccuum etc - before the delivery guys arrived. First of all, of course, it took me an hour to make him get out of bed, beginning at 9:00am. Then he stood in the middle of the room scratching his head and scowling for a good 10 minutes. Then he began removing things, oh-so-sloooooowly. So of course I cracked it, grabbed a huge garbage bag, elbowed him out of the way, and did most of it myself. Took about 3 and a half hours.....there are still some things to be done, but at least it's habitable.

Once I had the room clean, mostly tidy, and his new bed all made up with new pillows, quilt and linen, I stood back to admire my work..... smoothed a little wrinkle from the quilt cover.... straightened a which point my overgrown infant of a son wandered in, said "cool!" and then dived head-first onto the bed, sending pillows everywhere.

He's gone to work now, so I've remade it all nice again. :) I even took a picture, since it will probably never look like this again.

If he goes out partying tonight and doesn't come home, I might go sleep there myself.

Hard work pays off!

This morning I had the great pleasure of meeting one of my most successful online clients. Viv completed a 12 week program with me shortly before Christmas, and wanted to have some one-on-one sessions before her wedding later this month.

I put her through a pretty gruelling leg & ab workout (drop sets on the leg press, anyone?), but she was still smiling at the end of an hour, in spite of shaky legs. Hopefully, she managed to work the clutch well enough to drive home. ;-)

This girl rocks! She followed my instructions to the letter throughout her program, and her reward was a weight loss of 15kg. She's going to look fabulous on her wedding day.

Monday, January 01, 2007

2007 - start as you mean to go on

This morning I woke up early, dying of thirst and feeling a bit like death.....Yes, I confess: there was a little wine indulgence had last night. So I sensibly drank a large amount of water and went back to sleep for a few hours. When I woke again at 10:30, I felt way better, thanks!

I still didn't feel fabulous, but I had planned a gym workout, and dammit, hangover or not, I was going to do it! So I ate my egg whites and toast and headed off to the gym, with Bike Boy in tow (he's given up his evil ways and is back on the healthy eating and exercise wagon as of today) and had a great upper body workout. Yeah!

I've also cleaned up the debris from last night's celebrations, which included tipping out wine leftovers and throwing away liqueur chocolates and other such naughty things, so they're not sitting around taunting me. There are two slices of lemon tart in the fridge, but the kids have laid claim to those, so I'm safe there. I've drunk lots of water and stuck to my guns with my meals so I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself. Positively smug, actually.

I also have some new goals - more about those later.


How crazy is this? We stopped at the supermarket on our way home from the gym to grab some milk, yoghurt and bread. On the way in, I passed a huge display of lunch boxes, pens and exercise books. Back to school sales ALREADY? The kids have only been on holidays for just over a week, for God's sake! I can't even begin to get my head around school supplies for at least another two weeks, by which time they'll be sold out of everything I need. *sigh* Better find those stationery lists and get my A into G.

Even more bizarre was Bike Boy's discovery in the bakery section - he went to grab some bread rolls to make lunch for the kids and discovered HOT CROSS BUNS for sale!!! ARE YOU PEOPLE FOR REAL? Did somebody move Easter forward this year and forget to tell me or something?

C'mon....who eats hot cross buns in January? Anyone? ....Anyone?