Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hmm, where was I....?

Oh, yes. I remember: busy. Well, I decided to take the stress levels down a few notches and took some impromptu leave from work. (Me: Hey, Boss, can I have a week off, starting tomorrow? Boss: OK.) I love that I can do that.

So today is my last day off - back to the salt mines I go tomorrow. I've caught up on some sleep, tidied up the disaster that was my wardrobe, had my hair cut and coloured, trained, cooked a bit, caught up on the washing, read some books, watched some TV, and generally relaxed. I think I'm mentally refreshed and ready to slog through the next eight weeks or so until we head off on our holiday.

The biggest challenge I faced today was finding something healthy and tasty for lunch at the shopping centre food court, when I took The Baby to get a haircut. I rejected 99% of the offerings and settled for a sandwich. Wholemeal bread, chicken, loads of salad, some salt & pepper. Only... it was the size of TWO sandwiches. So I ate half, took note that I felt quite full enough, and wrapped the other half up to eat later. That was two hours ago, and I'm not the least bit hungry yet.

I've often employed the take-it-home-for-later tactic when eating out. Or just thrown the unwanted portion in the bin. It took me a while to get past my dislike of wastage. But I figure that if I eat more food than my body needs, then it's still a waste. And I'll only end up wearing it around my waist.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Love


We attended a lovely wedding yesterday - the bride is 48 and the bridegroom 51, and I've never seen two people more in love. One of my oldest and dearest friends who's been through tragedy has found happiness again, and I'm stoked for him.

I'm still feeling all warm and fuzzy. :)

Of course, during the service, the priest DID have to read from Matthew 5:9. When he got to Blessed are the peacemakers, I made the mistake of glancing at Bike Boy, and we both had to hold in our laughter, as we immediately thought of this:



I know: we're very naughty and shouldn't be allowed to set foot in a church.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ninja style


Yesterday I rummaged through the wardrobe, looking for something to wear to my day job as a government ninja assassin. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and on a whim, I bypassed my usual pants-and-shirt combo and reached for a dress instead.

It's almost exactly like this one, except with a wider belt. And I didn't pay the equivalent of $70 for it, because, being a cheap-arse, I discovered it amongst the $19 bargains at K Mart:


I added my favourite black fake snakeskin shoes with silver buckles, and thought I was rocking the corporate look. Within five minutes of arriving at work, I had received no less than six compliments on my outfit. And every single one of those compliments was along the lines of: You look very nice today. Are you going out somewhere?

They might as well have said: You look very nice today; not like your usual scruffy style.

I think it's time I went shopping...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New challenge

This week I'm facing a challenge of the technological kind. Bike Boy got himself a new iMac on the weekend, and given that I've battled with and sworn at my Toshiba notebook since the day I bought it, offered me his old Macbook. I jumped at the chance, but of course that means learning to navigate my way around a whole different operating system. My brain hurt at the mere idea...

So far, it's been far easier than I expected, although moving all my email files across proved more difficult than it ought to have been (damn you, Outlook!) and has taken up a fair chunk of time. Consequently, I've had little time to spend online.

I also have to complete a couple of minor tasks to satisfy the requirements for re-registration with Fitness Australia, which is due very shortly. Plus Bike Boy is off interstate somewhere again (Sydney? Canberra? Um...), leaving me in charge of domestic organisation for the next few days. Never a good idea... And all of that's on top of daily training, work, evening client sessions and an osteopath appointment.

So if you don't see me around for a bit, don't worry. It's all good, just a little bit frantic. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Determined

I came across this quote last week and it really appealed to me:

You've got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.

I remembered it this morning and decided to live by it. After Boxfit on Thursday, an elliptical workout plus leg training on Friday and BodyPump yesterday, I woke up this morning around 7:30, feeling more than a little worse for wear. I struggled to find a single part of my body that didn't hurt. I think perhaps my face was OK.... oh, wait! That still smarts from being smacked with the iron.

On top of that, for some reason I temporarily lost my mind last night, and thought it would be a good idea to have a wine or three. So added to the sore everything was the joy of a baby hangover. Ugh. My head was a-thumping.

I thought about giving RPM a miss for about three seconds. Then I got up, took some Panadol, ate breakfast and sculled almost a litre of water. At 9:30 I was on my bike and feeling reasonably human, although I wasn't thrilled by the extra volume the instructor apparently felt it necessary to pump out of the PA system. Shh...Biatch, I'm hurting here!

I warmed up and by the end of track one felt pretty good. I'd even forgotten about the headache; probably because the pain from my legs was distracting me. Since I'd made the effort to be there, I was determined to make my workout count. I dug deep and surprised myself by putting in a top performance. My hill climbs were strong; there was no kicking the gears back when it got hard. And I have no idea where I found the extra oomph, but in the speed tracks I actually managed my best efforts to date.

I felt like the champion of the world afterwards. I think I sweated out the remnants of the alcohol, because I walked out of the gym feeling great. Sweaty and red-faced, but great. Whatever, I'm glad I chose determination this morning, instead of making excuses, pulling the blankets over my head and staying home.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Still standing

Well, I survived Bodypump (as I knew I would), although I suspect that tomorrow will bring a nasty case of DOMS. My RPM class should be heaps of fun. O_O

The time passed really quickly and whilst it was challenging, there wasn't a single moment where I doubted myself. I was sensible and kept my weights moderate and on Coach's orders, just held a plate to my chest for squats and lunges instead of putting the bar on my shoulders. My back behaved quite well throughout, with me furiously concentrating on maintaining neutral pelvis the whole time. I think that was more exhausting than the lifting.

******

We're having some early Spring weather today, and I'd love to go sit in the sunshine and read a book this afternoon. Unfortunately the cleaning around here has been seriously neglected lately, so I'm resigned to spending a few hours tidying, scrubbing and generally obliterating dirt.

I'd rather have a nap....


Be afraid....

This morning I'm off to the gym to do my first Bodypump class in about seven years.

Given that I already have severe glute DOMS from Thursday's Boxfit class, the thought of the legs track is scaring the bejeezus out of me.






Friday, August 19, 2011

Recipe Alert!

I love this raspberry pudding - it's simple and sweet. You just have to be patient and wait for it to set. ;)


Do what you love or love what you do?

The standard advice for beginning or maintaining an exercise program is to do the things that you enjoy, as you're more likely to stick with it. In general, that's great advice, because who wants to slog away at activities they loathe?

Sometimes though, doing what you enjoy can lead to a habit of only doing the easy stuff. After all, who enjoys activities that they're totally crap at, or that are hard, or even downright painful? Everyone has exercises or activities that they hate - just ask them.

My theory is that whilst you do need to find activities that you enjoy, you also need to challenge yourself. Often, the things we hate are the things we need to do more of. They're hard or unpleasant because we never do them, so never get a chance to become accomplished at them.

When I first began exercising, I had a long list of things I "hated", and I'd avoid them at any cost. The list included lunges, pushups, running, elliptical workouts, stationary bike, and more. I happily went along, doing my weight training, my walking on the treadmill or outdoors and the occasional class that didn't require too much coordination. At some point though, I recognised that the things I avoided were the things I was really awful at, and that the reason I was crap at them was usually because they specifically targeted muscles or systems that were weak. If I wanted a healthy body with everything in balance, I needed to become stronger in those areas.

So I sucked it up and began to push myself through a range of exercises I didn't enjoy, along with those that I did. I set myself small challenges and was stoked when I could finally do sets of pushups on my toes, walking lunges back and forth across the group fitness room without stopping, and one of my biggest thrills: a 5km fun run.

Since I've been in the fitness industry, I've observed most of my clients hating on the lunges and pushups (among other things) and in every case, I've made sure to work some of those into their programs. No, I'm not nasty or a sadist, I'm looking after their interests. And the best part is watching them be surprised and then proud of what their bodies can do, as their strength and abilities develop.

I've re-learned this lesson over recent weeks. I've never been a fan of group fitness classes, and have successfully avoided doing any for years now. I love to do my own thing with training, I'm not there to socialise. I'm also completely unco and have never enjoyed complicated choreography. And for the past few years, the no-frills gyms I frequented had no classes anyway. So I was more than a bit apprehensive when I saw that Liz had been trawling my fancy gym's online timetable and was including various classes in my new program. Uh-oh.

I took a deep breath, squared my shoulders and fronted up for RPM, boxfit and x-trainer classes. The first couple of weeks were incredibly hard and I felt like a beginner again, fumbling my way through some moves that I wasn't used to - and in a group environment to boot! But I chose to see it as a challenge, and six weeks on I've improved in all areas and am now (mostly) enjoying the classes.

So you can stick to what you love, sure - but remember this: When you're coasting, there's only one direction you can go: downhill.

How about setting yourself a challenge? Pick something you don't enjoy and that you're no good at, and make it your goal to work at it consistently for say, six weeks. Then reap the rewards of being stronger and fitter. :) Let me know how it goes...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Domestically challenged


I would have totally failed as a 50s housewife. Last night I dealt with the weekend's huge pile of washing - sorting, folding and putting away what seemed like enough clothes and towels for the entire street. I also did the essential ironing, then left the iron on the laundry bench to cool down while I packed my gym gear for this morning.

Before heading off to bed stupidly early, I thought I'd put the iron away in the overhead laundry cupboard where it lives. Lucky thing I'd let it cool down first, because I somehow managed to knock it over as I placed it on the shelf, causing it to fall out of the cupboard and collide with the side of my face. This morning I have a lovely bruise high on my right cheekbone.

Hey, it's a talent.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Attitude matters

Back in my couch potato days, I used to think there were two kinds of people - those who were naturally fit and active, and the rest of us. I'd see people out running or cycling, or going in and out of the local gym and assume that somehow it must be easy for them to keep active. I've since learned that, like most things in life, it's simply a matter of choice. You choose your attitude towards pretty much everything. You can embrace it or struggle against it; it's up to you.

You can choose to view your exercise and/or healthy meals as a chore, something you "have to" do, or even worse, as a punishment. Or you can choose to view those things as what your body needs and deserves to be at its best.

Whine about how hard you find exercise, sulk because you "can't" stay in bed all morning, feel envious of the cake your workmate is eating, washed down with a can of soft drink.... or be happy that you're building a healthy body, that you have energy, strength and stamina to get through your day. Your choice.

I choose to see my training as a privilege. I feel lucky that I'm able to run, lift weights and cycle, while many others can't. My Mum would give anything to be able to walk briskly for 30 minutes, so be grateful for what you're able to do.

As for eating well, that's no punishment. You shouldn't have to cut out food groups or starve yourself, but putting the brakes on when it comes to frequent treats and large portions isn't difficult. It's not even unpleasant, unless you make it so with constant negative self-talk.

When the options come down to choosing to be happy or choosing to be miserable, I know which attitude I prefer.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Recharging

This week I've felt as though I've been running from one thing to another, with no time for myself. In the evenings, I've snatched maybe an hour on the couch with Bike Boy, catching up on some Deadwood, but other than that, it's felt like work, training, work, household tasks, work and work.

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling exhausted (again) and contemplating the logistics of my looming physio and osteo appointments and a client session, when I received a message from an eBay seller wanting to tee up collection of my item in a few hours. O_O That was it - my entire evening was full and there would be no "me time" at all.

So I did what all good public servants do in such a situation: I arranged to take today off. :)

Today I slept till 7:00, dropped The Baby at school, saw my GP, picked up a few things at the supermarket and was home again by 10:30am. I did some washing, lounged around a bit and then took myself off for a nap. Now I'm doing a bit of a tidy-up, then getting organised for a big session at the gym - two cardio classes back to back.

I'll be home just after 8:00pm and intend to park myself on the couch and do nothing for the rest of the night.

Sometimes you just need to recharge your batteries.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My week

Not much time for blogging here at the moment, I'm kind of busy. Here's a brief summary of my week so far:

- Training is going super-well. I'm improving in leaps and bounds. Yay! This morning I smashed out a tough 30 minutes on my nemesis, the elliptical. :)

- Weight is dropping, although there are the usual ups and downs along the way. I'm happily weighing daily and not the least bit fazed (no, the word is NOT "phased", people!) by the odd upward spike.

- I'm enjoying some new kitchen creations - most of them Bike Boy's. I love trying new recipes! I should have a few to share soon.

- My GP's receptionist rang me on Monday (uh-oh) to ask me to come see the doc again. Seems I'm low on Vitamin D. Along with half of the population of Melbourne. I'm not sure that I can do much about that other than supplement, as I get outdoors almost every day at lunchtime to soak up what sun there is. I guess I'll know more when I see the doc on Friday.

I'm hanging out for the weekend, as usual, but being busy and having the time fly by is a good thing in that respect. Only 11 weeks till we fly off to warmer parts. I'm sure the time will go quickly. :)

Gotta fly! Be good...

Monday, August 08, 2011

Goodbye, I won't miss you!

It's well known that I dislike winter. The days are short, the weather is cold and there are no public holidays from the Queen's birthday in early June to Cup Day in early November. Seriously, who thought up that schedule? Whether it's fact or myth, it always seems as though I have less time available to do the things I want to do in the miserable months.

So I'm always glad when I can see Spring around the corner. There are now only 22 days left of August, and I'm counting off every last one of them! So, signs of Spring...

- It's light when I leave the gym just before 7:00am
- It's still light when I get home at 6:00pm
- We've just had a short series of awesome sunny days - no jumpers required!
- The swans are nesting
- I'm spotting more and more magnolias, prunus varieties, ornamental pears etc in various stages of bloom

I know it will still be cold for a while longer, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I'm looking forward to getting out of bed without needing to add layers of clothing to ward off the chill, getting outdoors to train or just for a walk around the neighbourhood, and hanging washing on the line and having it actually dry.

It doesn't take much to make me happy. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Has anyone seen that missing week?

I realised this morning that I'm at the end of week 4 of my training program with Liz... but somehow, I'm only up to the week 3 weights program. Huh? Clearly, I've become confused somewhere and have done two weeks of the same weights program without noticing.

Smart.

Anyway ...this morning I was grinning like a maniac as I sweated and groaned through my pushup sets, because I DID FOUR SETS OF FULL-ON, SERIOUS, ON-MY-TOES PUSHUPS. Go, me! It may have "only" been three sets of twelve and one of ten, but that is so far ahead of where I've been for the past several months that I can't contain my excitement.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Recipe Alert!

I have at least a dozen different ways of making banana pancakes, and today I came up with another that's so light and fluffy that I've named it Light-as-a-feather banana pancake.

It makes a nice big meal (I had it for lunch) or a couple of smaller snacks, if you prefer.


After many kitchen experiments, I've decided that the trick to making the bestest protein pancakes is using my cheap, 20 year old K Mart electric hand-held mixer to beat the crap out of the mixture. Just thought I'd share that little tip with y'all.

You're welcome. ;)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Crashing through barriers


This week has been a ripper for me on the training front. I feel as though I'm smashing through solid brick walls that up until now, seemed impossible to get past. Re-building my old training habits has been a lot easier than I expected, and only three weeks into Liz's program I'm seeing significant improvements in strength and fitness. I'm at the point now where momentum is keeping me going. Actually, I'm like a runaway train - just try and stop me! ;)

I was almost jumping for joy on Wednesday, when I managed to crank out almost half my pushups on my toes. Man, that's been bugging me - I always feel like such a princess, doing knee pushups... As well, I've increased all my weights, at least a little, and I noticed in Tuesday's RPM class that I'm moving up through the gears, well beyond where I was working at the beginning of July. There are also improvements in my cardio fitness, thanks to all the effort I've been putting in.

Add to that having dropped my weekly physio sessions back to fortnightly, and I'm almost feeling bullet-proof again. I also got the all-clear from my doc after my nasty fall - x-rays showed nothing broken, thank goodness, and the pain has almost disappeared. The odd dizziness/nausea that's plagued me through some of the group sessions I've been doing wasn't due to low iron, as I feared (yay!), so my crazy low blood pressure appears to be the culprit. This week I've been drinking a decent amount of water prior to morning classes, and chucking extra salt on my food, and I think I may have fixed it.

I took a look at my training wardrobe and decided that I seriously needed to lift my game in that department. I mean, who feels good wearing daggy old clothes to the gym? So I shouted myself some new training tops, and finally replaced my worn-out cross-trainers. There are some serious bargains to be had at the moment, and I do love a bargain! I also picked up a new Polar HRM at a nice discount with free postage. It's pretty orange, and has a training split/lap timer function, something my old one was lacking:


So what with the progress, the satisfaction of honouring my self-promises, plus getting in some decent sleep every night, I'm feeling calm, positive and confident. In fact, the whole world seems brighter and shinier.

:)