Thursday, March 31, 2011

Legs, Baby!

More progress, yay!

Today I pulled out all the stops and did a "proper" leg workout. Well, the closest thing to a normal leg session that I've done in four months, anyway. I began with my usual tennis-ball-in-the-bum moves, plus some glute raises, x-band walks and stretches. Then it was onto the serious stuff.

Squats holding a single dumbbell at chest height, suitcase deadlifts and single leg RDLs. It didn't seem like much to me, but my legs were feeling pretty trashed by the time I got through it. But still, I couldn't help feeling it was a bit wussy... So I bravely foolishly decided to have a go at some King deadlifts.

Shut up; I know!

At least I had the sense to start with my weak left leg, to test it out. I managed four very wonky reps, with my leg almost collapsing on the last one. OK, so I knew what I was capable of...not much, evidently. I did four reps on the right side and moved onto some ab work.

I wobbled out of the gym feeling as though I'd done a super-heavy leg session, like the good old days. My legs were so shaky that I had to avoid stairs all day and just getting up from my chair was a major achievement. DOMS is setting in now, and I know I'm going to be in serious pain tomorrow.

All of this tells me that in spite of the short and seemingly simple workout, I've obviously managed to do exactly what's required to (eventually) regain my former strength.

After back to back sessions with my physio and osteopath today, I'm feeling mighty positive about everything. :)


Can anyone shed some light on why my font has suddenly changed? I swear I did nothing but publish a new post yesterday... :/


....and it's just as mysteriously changed back.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bonus extra

On the spur of the moment, I found myself scouring the net today, hunting down cheap airfares to Christchurch for an Important Event that's coming up in May. I cannot believe that you can travel to another country for such ridiculously low prices...

So what's the best thing about visiting Christchurch? Spending some time with my pal Sara again, of course. Plus I finally get to use my shiny new e-passport that's been languishing in a drawer for almost a year.

And of course there's this: If I happen to get horribly drunk and say something incredibly embarrassing, there's a real chance that the ground actually MIGHT open up and swallow me.

See what I did there? Little topical earthquake joke....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Drawn a blank

I swear I had a post in mind when I opened this browser window, but I must have a leak in my brain, because it's just oozed out somewhere.

Oh well. I'll distract you from my encroaching Alzheimer's with something shiny....

I was just browsing through some old files and found this extremely short video footage of my two youngest offspring from December 2002. They would have been.... *counts backwards on fingers and toes* ....10 and 7 years old.

Note how the youngest child has to be in EVERYTHING.

Untitled from Kek on Vimeo.

Good thing they don't read my blog. They'll never know how I've embarrassed them.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fighting back

Yesterday when I woke up, I could have sworn that a bunch of thugs had broken in during the night and attacked me with iron bars. But nope, it was just a bad case of DOMS. (Plus a bit of post-therapy soreness, because I was crazy enough to line up for sessions with both my physio and osteopath on the same day. Nuts, I tell you...)

Then there was the extreme calf cramp that hit me just after waking - that left me with a limp for a couple of hours, and I still have a sore spot. Damn.

So what crazy full-on mega-training session induced this crippling attack of DOMS? Uh... actually, it was a half-hearted attempt at P90X Legs & Back on Wednesday, and then an upper body workout on Thursday.

I wasn't insane enough to attempt the entire P90X workout. I did about thirty minutes worth of squats, wall sits, lunges and split squats, and I took it nice and slow, not even attempting to do the prescribed number of reps. Thanks to my ongoing battle with my ITB, I've done very little leg work for the past four months, so the smallest effort inflicts massive post-workout pain at the moment. :S Glutes and quads were the worst affected, but calves and hammies copped a bit of a blasting too.

For my upper body training, I "only" did some lat pulldowns (nice and slow, pulling with my elbows, NOT my shoulders, and holding the contraction at the bottom of the movement) with a light weight, then a few sets of pushups and some reverse flyes, followed by supersetted dips and bicep curls. That left me with mild DOMS in my chest, arms and shoulders, but a fairly extreme amount of pain through my mid-back.

In spite of the groaning and wincing every time I moved yesterday, I was smiling to myself all day, because I know I'm hitting exactly the areas that need the most work.

After an intense and pretty painful session with Melissa on Thursday evening, I have zero pain in my lower back too, which is a very pleasant change from the past few months.

I may be a long way from my fittest, but I'm just focusing on how far I've come on this journey back from injury. And I'm pleased with the progress so far.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


It's 7:15am and I've already done my P90X workout, cooked my oats, made my lunch, caught up on all the overnight Tweets, read about some new physio/fitness products, and been shopping online (yeah!). I'd call that a good day's work.

So can I have the rest of the day off?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Being true to yourself

Over the past few years, I've observed a lot of people on their various journeys to health and fitness. Having been there, done that myself, it fascinates me to understand what drives other people to make the sorts of changes in their lives that are required to transform from couch potato to....whatever the opposite to couch potato may be.

The thing that I've never related to is the deprive and punish yourself mentality that prevails amongst so many. I've never felt the need to "pay" for an indulgent meal by starving myself or doing gruelling distances on the treadmill the next day. But so many people seem to play it that way. They're usually the "all or nothing" folks too; they swing between strict dieting and exercise and all-out sloth and/or bingeing.

I think that part of the problem is not really having a good enough reason to change. You have to want it. It's not enough to do it because you think you need to, perhaps to gain the approval of someone else. Or society in general. YOU have to WANT it. You can't be constantly fighting against your true self, or you'll go nuts.

Did you ever sit down and really think about what's driving you? What's your burning reason for this lifestyle change? It can be an interesting process....

On that note, Kelly O has written a great post on the subject from her personal perspective. It's well worth a read; might get some of you thinking.


Hope you all have a great Sunday - or Saturday night, depending on where in the world you are. We're off to see The Middle Child and his band do their thing at The Espy (yes, the slightly grungy home of SBS's RocKwiz) this afternoon. Should be fun. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

86 to go

I started my 90-day challenge this week, together with a group of like-minded women to add a bit of support and accountability. It's been a funny mixture of a week for me - good on the food front (largely thanks to Bike Boy, who filled the fridge with delicious home-cooked meals before flying off interstate), but not so much with the training.

I'm tired and lethargic and can't pinpoint why. I don't feel ill, and I'm pretty sure I've been sleeping well. My back's been niggly, but I got that mostly sorted with the help of Melissa on Tuesday night.

I've given myself permission to take things easy in the morning and just work through a simple Pilates routine. Hopefully by Saturday I'll be feeling more energetic and be raring to go.

If anyone would like to join us in our challenge for some help and support - or a kick in the butt when needed - you can find us over here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Don't panic

The barrage of horrendous news headlines over recent months has been relentless. Death, destruction and tragedy, Oh woe is me. Normally, I'd be edgy, upset, restless and probably hurtling headlong into a major anxiety attack, but instead I'm only feeling slightly uneasy. And a bit cross with the sensationalist TV news networks.

There's something to be said for good prescription drugs. :)

Anyway, the doomsayers are having a field day. I've seen quite a bit of online talk of potential earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in Australia and what "they" should be doing to safeguard us.

Seriously? Living on a whopping great island that's smack-bang in the middle of the Indo-Australian plate feels pretty safe to me. There's a volcano about 15km down the road from here (and no, I don't mean the one at Smorgy's) that last erupted about 6,000 years ago, but I don't have a sudden urge to flee to the desert.

I worry more about bushfires and snakebites, and even more about being wiped out by some inattentive twerp driving a ute with one arm hanging out the window, whilst simultaneously texting and lighting up a smoke.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The power of blogging

I just checked on the Run for Christchurch website, and thanks to the generosity of runners all over the world, this amazing event has raised over $15,000.

I think we sometimes underestimate the power of blogging.

You can still make a donation if you'd like to help out. Nobody said you have to run. ;)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Run for Christchurch - race report

Apologies for my tardiness in writing this. I completed my 5km Run for Christchurch yesterday, but have been flat-out busy with programs for new clients, so this is the first chance I've had to post my report.

I did a solo run around my neighbourhood in the far-flung outer suburbs, and luckily for me, Melbourne turned on some absolutely perfect weather for the occasion. Honestly, "run" is a bit of a grand description for my injury-hampered run/walk effort - I'm still nursing that ITB issue, plus I woke up yesterday with a stiff and very unhappy lower back - but hey, I got out there and did it anyway.

I spent twenty minutes lying on the floor before I headed out, trying to release some of the worst of the tension in my glutes with a tennis ball and some stretches. Then I got started.

I walked for a good ten minutes to warm up thoroughly, then alternated intervals of jogging and walking. I didn't time my effort, because there really seemed little point. It wasn't as though I was likely to set a new PB. All I can say is that I completed the 5km, and I'm happy with that.

It was actually lovely out. I passed a couple of walkers and a jogger, but the rest of the way it was just me and my ipod. Apart from a lot of croaking and clicking frogs in the creek and ponds, a dozen ducks milling around in the middle of one road, a mob of kangaroos in the nearby paddocks, and a flock of screeching cockatoos in an ancient river redgum.

If you haven't participated in this event, it's not too late. Get your runners on and get out there! Or just go over here and make a donation. You can even sponsor me if you like. :)

Here I am, in my red and black. Ignore the pasty white skin and windswept hair, please. Geez, it's a fundraiser run, not a gala black tie event.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Forever holding my peace

I've become increasingly frustrated by people seeking a quick fix to weight loss or health improvement. Shopping around for advice until you find something that doesn't involve commitment or effort is a guaranteed road to failure. (You know, if those 4-minutes a day ab gadgets they sell on daytime TV infomercials actually worked, there wouldn't be so many of them for sale secondhand on ebay.)

Someone I know was whingeing about how impossible it was to lose 3-4kg, and that although she's quite small, she was sick of being flabby. I hardly eat anything, she moaned to me. So I offered to take a look at what she was eating and make some suggestions.

She kept a food diary for a week, I spent some time going over it and wasn't surprised to see that her meals consisted mainly of bread, buns and cakes, some rice and fruit, a tiny amount of veggies and very little meat. I then wrote up some basic guidelines for her on what she needed to change to achieve her goal. Of course, I also suggested that she do some exercise. I got a whole bunch of excuses, and for the next three months, she continued eating the exact same way she always had, and naturally, nothing changed.

She remarked to me a couple of weeks ago that potatoes were fattening. I spent some time attempting to convince here that a potato was a far better choice than the two slices of white bread she had on her plate. She argued that she'd been reading up on Atkins *groan* and that you "can't" eat potatoes. I still can't figure out why she thought bread was OK....

Yesterday she told me that she's been out and bought one of those diet shake packages that pharmacies sell. I raised my eyebrows. She looked a bit sheepish, and said that her friend had lost a lot of weight on this diet. I sighed, smiled and walked away.

I'm completely over wasting my breath trying to convince folks that healthy eating is the way to go. If they want to waste their money on expensive and nasty-tasting shakes that are going to leave them hungry and constipated, and then regain the weight as fast as they lost it, that's their lookout.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

15 minutes of fame

Apparently, I may be interviewed by Runner's World magazine about the Run for Christchurch.

How hilarious is THAT? I doubt they could find a more crap runner if they tried.

Good thing all you need for this event is a heart of gold, not legs of steel.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Busy bee

I've been so busy pimping the Run for Christchurch all over Facebook, Twitter and blogland, as well as on a few forums, that I forgot to blog yesterday. Oops.

It's fantastic to see so many people all over the world on board with this. There are bloggers and Facebookers in the UK, Japan, US, various European nations and even (I think) Hong Kong who'll be running for Christchurch this weekend. And of course Australia and New Zealand - that goes without saying. I'm doing my run just around my neighbourhood, as long as it doesn't pour rain. If the weather's awful, I'll be hitting the treadmill instead.

As well as that, I've been gathering some like-minded ladies to join me in my 90-day challenge, which starts on Monday. We're gathering over here, if anyone else is working towards some goals and would like some buddies for accountability and support.

You do have to become a member, but it's free and we don't bite. :)

Monday, March 07, 2011


I'm ready to turn things up a notch in the training department. Not that I've made amazing strides in my injury rehab, but I'm bored stupid by what I've been doing and just feel that I need to do something a bit more challenging, or I'll go insane.

So I had a good browse through the P90X program last night and I think I can do something with it. There are some workouts that would be a bad idea at the moment (Plyometrics is an obvious one), but I can always substitute something else for those. I'm thinking that seven or eight of the DVDs should be OK, and I can throw in some Spinervals, some gym stuff and maybe even some outdoor sessions to replace the ones I can't manage.

I'll see if I can come up with a hybrid workout plan this week and if it looks good, I'll start my 90 days from next Monday. A 90 day challenge...just what I need.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Clayton's workout

This morning I have serious DOMS in my glutes, hamstrings and mid-back. I'm wincing and groaning every time I take a step or stand or sit.

Did I grind out some heavy deadlifts yesterday? Nuh-uh. I planted some large clumps of bamboo in the back yard. Seems digging holes and shovelling dirt works a lot of the same muscles as deadlifts. Especially when you have heavy clay soil.

I'm counting it as a workout anyway.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

It's not just physical

It's been said many times that weight loss is actually quite easy, once you get into the swing of things, but that maintaining your new, lower weight is much, much harder.

You see it time and time again - people lose weight, feel fabulous for a short time, then rapidly regain most or all of the weight they lost. It's more likely if they followed some extreme weight-loss method and dropped the extra lard super-fast. But no matter how insanely or sensibly the mechanical side of weight loss was approached, the biggest red flag for imminent rebound is ignoring the emotional stuff that lurks beneath the surface in pretty much all of us.

Yes, it can be difficult to work through. But it's well worth the effort to be freed from the diet/binge cycle, and to throw off the mental turmoil that goes along with it. I'm floored by the number of people who think they can shortcut this process though, and resolve their weight problems if they can just find the "right" diet or program to follow.

It makes me really sad when I see people opt for weight loss surgery as an alternative to figuring out what drives them to overeat. It also makes me mad at the medical "professionals" profiting from this, instead of helping these poor people with the real problem - of which their weight is just a symptom.

I know a couple of women who've had gastric banding, so I've witnessed first hand the spectacular failure of the experts promoting this procedure to help patients make real, lasting psychological change. One of these ladies lied outrageously to the psychologist conducting the pre-surgical screening, about her relationship with her parents. She knew what a minefield that was, and simply did not want to do the work that would undoubtedly be required to resolve the painful and complicated issues. She wanted a quick fix, and she wanted it NOW.

Post-surgery, she's had to give up eating meat because it gets stuck in her band, but is still capable of eating sweets all day long, especially if they're easily digested things like mousses and custards. Balanced diet? Hmm.

The other woman commented to me yesterday that she was exhausted. She's doing an eight-week challenge at her gym (again) and "has to" burn 500 calories through exercise every day. Yesterday morning's effort, beginning at 5:00am, was a spin class, plus 30 minutes on the treadmill, plus a PT session. She's skinny-fat, pale and quite sick-looking. Her parting comment was "I wish I didn't have to do this. I'd rather sit on the couch and eat a family block of chocolate". She's told me before that when she's old, she'll give up worrying about how she looks and eat a family block every day. Healthy attitude?

Both women have lost a lot of weight. Neither seems any happier than before, apart from feeling more acceptable to society. I'm certain though, that they don't feel any more acceptable to themselves.

Are these successful weight loss stories?

Friday, March 04, 2011

Blogger call to arms

At the risk of annoying the crap out of all my readers, I'm going to be mentioning the Christchurch earthquake appeal (and especially the fantastic Run for Christchurch that's happening on the weekend of 12th/13th March) a few more times. I promised someone special that I'd help spread the word. *waves to Sara*

It's an easy way to do something useful, and I'd love to see some more Aussie bloggers helping to get the word out, especially about the run, which is just over a week away now.

I'm re-tweeting and Facebook sharing daily too, and I apologise if it's getting repetitive, but there's always a chance that someone new will see my posts and jump in to help.

I promise to shut up about it after the run. Well, mostly. ;)

No matter where you are in the world, if you have a blog, please bang out a quick post to get more runners on board for next weekend. All the details are over here.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Patience and positivity

I've been battling against both my body and my inner whiney-pants over the past week or two. I've had a flare-up of lower back pain, with my old friend the SIJ giving me hell, as well as the ITB taking its sweet time to heal.

During a chat with Melissa on Tuesday, I was reminded that this sometimes happens on the road to getting better. Especially when I do the right thing and get some help to iron out kinks in tight muscles - during the course of treatment, pain can actually get worse before it gets better, as under-performing muscles are forced complainingly back into action.

As well as that, due to being flat out last week running between home and my Mum's house, there was simply not time to do any training on quite a few days. Skipping training, and particularly avoiding my rehab work, always pays me back with an increase in pain and stiffness.

So I'm taking a leaf out of Liz's book and adopting a positive outlook. If something hurts, I'll ice it, stretch it or do a little self-myofascial release. I'll resist the urge to stay in bed because Ouch, my back hurts, and instead I'll get up and move my body, in the knowledge that it will help.

The positive thinking is bolstered by Melissa's feedback on how different my body is looking and feeling from a few weeks ago. Just for starters, my pelvis is straighter and I have greater range of movement in a few places. So things are improving, and I just need to have a little faith and a lot of patience while the process continues.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Run for Christchurch

Bloggers are a generous and inventive lot, and a group of Kiwi bloggers have come up with a way we can show our solidarity for Christchurch and help the folks there rebuild their city and get their lives back on track:

This is a world-wide fun run that anyone can join in. It's not an organised event that you show up to, instead you simply:

- Make a donation to the Red Cross Christchurch earthquake appeal via the Run for Christchurch webpage
- Tell the world that you're joining in, using your blog, Twitter, Facebook (or if you don't use any of those, just email the organisers at
- On the 12th or 13th March, don red and black clothing and go for your run - anywhere you like. The way Melbourne's weather has been lately, mine may be on a treadmill at the gym.

All the details are here. Please follow these guys on Twitter, "like" their page on Facebook, and be sure to retweet, share and generally spread the word.

And if you can't manage to run 5k? Hey, do run/walk intervals, or whatever you can manage. There are no prizes for the fastest in this event.

Let's see how many people we can get to join in!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

They really shouldn't have

To celebrate surviving fifty years on earth, the government sent me a gift. A lovely, boxed bowel cancer test kit. How thoughtful.

I can think of many things I'd rather get in the mail: books, chocolates, wine, cosmetics, whey protein.... but I suppose one really can't complain about free medical screening tests, when a large chunk of the world's population doesn't have access to free health care.

They could have at least gift-wrapped it though.