Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FebFast - Sending grog on a holiday

I've signed up for FebFast, which means giving up grog for the month of February. A little public commitment is always helpful in sticking to a goal....  Not only do I end up just that little bit healthier at the end of twenty-nine days, but I also get to help young people with drug and alcohol problems by way of fundraising.

You can follow my efforts, or even sponsor me here (donations are tax-deductible). Or if you'd like to join in yourself, you just need to go to febfast.org.au and follow the instructions.

P.S. If anyone knows how to get an image to show up on the widget thingy over on my sidebar, please share. Or how to make it a clickable link to my page. I've read the instructions, trawled through all the FAQs and I'm none the wiser. Huh. Maybe I'll just create my own instead.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Lost weekend

Source Not the bug I had, but just LOOK at those nasty spikes... Eek!

Yesterday was a total write-off, thanks to some evil bug that took up residence in my body for about 36 hours. I couldn't tolerate food, couldn't remain upright for more than a few minutes at a time and had a blanket over me when the rest of the family were walking around in shorts. Come to think of it, that last one is pretty normal...

I had plans to go to RPM, weed and tidy up the front garden, get more washing done and dry before the forecast rain hit, do a little housework and get food organised for during the week. Scratch all of that. Plan B was to lie on the couch all day watching the entire first season of True Blood and try to get as much liquid into me as possible.

This morning I woke up feeling much better, but still exhausted and wrung out. So I made a snap decision to stay home from work. At 7:15, I left a message for my boss to let him know I wouldn't be in and put myself back to bed till 9:30.

I won't be madly trying to catch up on all the stuff I didn't do yesterday though; I may take myself out for a walk later, and I'll finish off some client programs, but that's about it. If I feel extraordinarily better this afternoon, I might venture out to the gym for my weights session.

Funny thing; after eating pretty much nothing yesterday, I expected to see a scale drop this morning. Nuh-uh... 300g GAIN. What's that about? I've been through Sara's list of potential weight-increasing phenomena, and I see NOTHING that explains it.

*sigh* Whatever.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Snap quiz: Test your gym knowledge

I've seen some funny things at the gym over the years. Some have made me roll my eyes, some had me laughing out loud, and some may have caused me to stop and stare open-mouthed at the sheer idiocy.

I worry that many people don't actually know what they're doing, so to help set everyone straight, I've created this quick quiz. See how much you know....  

1. Wearing a hoodie during Bodypump, preferably with the hood up, will:
a) make you sweat more and therefore give you a better workout
b) prove that you're a moron. If you haven't collapsed due to heat exhaustion 30 minutes into the class, you're probably not working hard enough anyway.

2. To be executed properly, tricep pushdowns require substantial hip flexion. Everyone knows if you're not using your whole torso to move that weight, it's just not heavy enough and you're a pussy! True or false? 

3. If you puke halfway through your workout, it means you:
a) are awesome. Give me a high five!
b) overstepped your limits and/or need to pay better attention to nutrition & hydration

4. If you have to hold onto the top of the TV monitor on the treadmill when doing incline walking, you:
a) are totally hardcore
b) need to drop the speed or incline to a level you can handle.

5. Lumbar extension is essential when doing bicep curls. Some pelvic thrusting is even better, because you're recruiting more muscles. True or false?

6. Planks are for sissy girly-girls. If you can't do 100 full sit-ups, you'll never get a six-pack. True or false?

7. When deadlifting, you need to:
a) have as much weight on the bar as possible, then grunt really loudly and at the end of each set, drop the bar to make a huge CLANG so everyone turns and looks at you and can see how much weight you're lifting.
b) learn correct technique and focus on lifting with your legs and glutes, not your lower back.

8) Those vibrating plate machines are great for sitting on, so that the fat in your butt gets massaged away.  True or false?

Nobody really wants me to provide the answers, do they?


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recipe alert!

Love brownies? Of course you do! Well, how about blondies?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

5 things your personal trainer can't do

1. Design a diet that allows you to drink 7 Cosmopolitans, half a bottle of champers and scoff an entire capricciosa pizza every weekend and still lose weight.

2. "Give" you motivation.

3. Provide you with a daily wake-up call service. Yes, I have been asked to do that. O_o

4. Stalk you through the supermarket aisles and remove any junk food from your trolley.

5. Create a program that will see you achieving your fitness and health goals, even if you don't follow it.

We do not have magical powers. Just in case you're wondering.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Biggest Loser - you lost me at "disgusting"

Unless you've been stranded on a desert island, you're probably aware that the 2012 season of The Biggest Loser (Australia) began last night. Having seen a fair chunk of last year's offering, I sat down to watch it with pretty low expectations.

My opinion of reality TV in general is that it's cheap, lazy programming, repetitive and predictable. It's also manipulative, taps into the worst of human nature and shows little respect for either the audience or the participants. All that aside, I was a bit stunned to realise that this year's series has a bizarre twist: the contestants are all single and all hoping to transform themselves into not just a thinner and healthier person, but someone who deserves love.


That's right - every one of these contestants apparently believes that nobody could want them or be attracted to them; that girls (or guys) they meet never look at them as prospective partners BECAUSE THEY'RE OVERWEIGHT. Wow.

I'm sure that each of them understands the health and lifestyle benefits attached to shedding 50, 60 or 70kg. I'm also sure that they want to be able to wear fashionable clothes and participate in social activities that require a reasonable level of fitness. But the overriding sentiment from all 16 contestants throughout the first episode was "I just want someone to love me. Nobody could love a fattie. And I don't blame them; I'm ugly and disgusting."

That anyone can think that way about themselves makes me sad. But I'm more angry than sad, because this mostly comes down to TBL 2012's angle. I can only imagine the hours of footage that never made it to air - the show's producers decided on their theme from the start, and if they haven't actually scripted any of the responses, they've certainly edited them to present the viewpoint they've chosen: Fat people are unacceptable to society, offensive, disgusting and unlovable.

Listen up, people. All of us are who we are, in spite of how our body looks at any given time. The person  inside, the YOU that someone will love, is there no matter how you look on the outside. I've weighed over 90kg and I've weighed under 50kg. I may have looked considerably different, but it was the same old me on the inside. My husband, my friends, my family all loved me at both those stages and at every one in between.

I didn't like carrying those extra 30-odd kg. I hated the impact it had on my health and my ability to do things I used to take for granted. I dreaded shopping for clothes. But NEVER did I believe that I was unworthy of love because I was fat. I may have had numerous other issues, but liking the person inside of me wasn't one of them.

Love and respect are not things you earn by becoming thinner.

Boo, Channel 10! And boo to all involved in producing this show. I don't find it inspirational or motivating or anything else positive. The whole thing is geared towards providing "entertainment", but what I mostly see is the promotion of shitty attitudes, cyber-nastiness and bullying. But that's a whole OTHER rant.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Starting the week on a bright note

I enjoyed my sunrise walk last Monday so much that I postponed today's weights session until tonight and headed out again this morning. This time I remembered to take my camera.

I ran into some neighbours, who aren't particularly shy:

And a few more, just hanging round under a big old redgum, waiting for the sun to come up:

Enjoyed watching the sky change all by myself (well, apart from the hundred or so roos nearby):

Felt the temperature begin to rise the minute the sun appeared over the horizon:

And then took a few minutes to enjoy the gorgeous colours of the landscape, before heading home for my breakfast.

I'm heading into a three-day week, which I'm pretty happy about. :) For the non-Aussies, it's a public holiday for Australia Day on Thursday and like thousands of others, I'm taking a day's leave on Friday to make it a lovely long weekend.

My Monday's started well - hope yours has too.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

More, more, more...or maybe not

Did you ever have one of those days when you thought your training session was going to be outstanding, but it turned out to be a bit of a fizzer? Or at least  not up to the lofty standards you set yourself? It happens to all of us, but learning how to handle those less-than-impressive workouts can be challenging.

This morning, for instance, I headed off to my RPM class feeling great. I felt fuelled up - I'd had a nice big bowl of oats & whey, (early enough to be sure it stayed down), plus two nice, strong coffees. My legs felt good after a rest day yesterday and I'd slept exceptionally well. So it was all systems go...or was it?

I was early, so I jumped on an elliptical and belted out a nice steady 11-12kph for five minutes before heading in to claim my bike. Track one went well and I was feeling nicely warmed up, with plenty left in the tank as we headed into track 2. It was sprints, which are not my favourite, but I added some load and was happy to hit 130 rpm without too much effort for the first round.

So: legs good, plenty of fuel, rested up. That should have equalled an awesome session. Only... I forgot about one little thing: the tail-end of my cold and a flare-up of hay fever had caused my rare but annoying asthma to rear its head over the past few days. Had I been taking my preventer? Um..yes. Once. Did I have my reliever inhaler with me for the class? Uh. Oops.

Gee, guess what? My lungs decided that 130 rpm was way too hard and signalled their displeasure with some chest tightening and a really irritating cough. Bugger. I may be forgetful with my medication at times, but I have enough sense to not push my luck with exercise when my respiratory system is performing below par.

I dropped my speed back for the rest of the class, keeping sprints to a sedate 120 or less, and keeping a close eye on my breathing during the hill climbs - which necessitated dialling down the resistance to a couple of notches below my usual levels.

I got through the class quite well, all things considered - even the attack intervals in track five, which to my delight was Rebel Yell (love that song! More, more more!).

In the past, when I've not done as well as I think I should in a training session, I've come home feeling as though I'd failed. I'd have the sads for hours afterwards, and the old "failure" mental soundtrack would start up: That really sucked; I'll never be any good at this; Everyone else is so much better than me. Blah, blah, blah.

But at least I've learned that one workout is not a make-or-break deal. Every setback (usually) contains a lesson - I think today's is pretty obvious. And if you allow a missed training session, a below-par workout, or a meal blow-out to turn into a pity party, you're going to have an uphill battle gagging that voice in your head.

Instead, remember this:

I did a GREAT job today under the circumstances. I could have climbed off the bike at the first sign of breathlessness and told myself I had a good excuse. In fact, that thought was circulating in my head for most of Track 2. But I know my body and its limits, and I chose not to quit, but to do the best I could instead.

And I know that tomorrow will be better. Especially if I take my meds.  ;o)


Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday freebie

My good friend Sara is hosting a giveaway over at Sanaworld. Her business, Sana Direct, makes a small range of really great supplements with a focus on quality - and without the hype and BS that goes hand-in-hand with so many other brands.

All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog, suggesting a name for a new super multi-vitamin product and you could win. So hop on over!


While I'm on the subject of supplements, anyone who's been reading this blog for a while will know that I have no patience with the proliferation of fat-loss products promoted by celebrities that claim to perform miracles in next to no time.

I was picking up some prescriptions today and while I waited, prowled along the supplement aisle to see what was new. You never know when there might be a new protein bar or BCAA product or something that I may be interested in...

I turned a corner and was confronted by this:

Excuse the blurry pic - juggling too many things in my hands
Seriously? Kim Kardashian? I can see how she'd be a great ambassador for any product. Honesty, integrity.....

*smacks head on desk*

Who actually BUYS this crap? Just wondering....


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Much needed inspiration

This one's for ME. My day got off to a really bad start. I slept poorly, getting maybe four hours of broken sleep, and OF COURSE only went off into a deep, deep sleep around 4:00am. Which gave me long odds on getting up at 5:30...

I attempted to get an extra hour's sleep (didn't happen), missed training and got up feeling wrung out, cranky and more than a little resentful. Hunting for inspiration, I found this on Pinterest:

Source unknown
Right. So I'll be doing some kind of training tonight, then. Now I just have to get through my day without falling asleep at my desk...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Liz tagged me the other day and I've dragged my feet about participating in the meme, mainly because I'm flat-out busy, being back at work and all. Anyways...I'm getting to it right now. I'm sure you're all excited to find out more "stuff" about me. Yeah. Keep the cheering and clapping to a dull roar, would you?

The rules:

1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things yourself.
3. Answer the ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post.
4. cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer.
5. go to their blog and tell them that you’ve tagged them.
6. no stuff in the tag­ging
7. don’t talk about the fightclub

I have no idea what #6 even means...

11 things about me

I’ve done so many of these memes that I doubt there are eleven things left that I haven’t already blabbed about.  In fact, I’ve been sitting on this post for several days, trying to think of something to write and I’ve come up blank. So I’ll save myself the effort and tell you that if you really want to know trivia about me, you should just go here or here or here or here or here. Or for a mega-dose of Kek, there are a hundred pieces of trivia right here.

Now to Liz's questions....

1. Morning or evening person?

I’ve trained myself to be a morning person. It did NOT come naturally, believe me, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get my exercise done early and start my day feeling great. Plus I have the whole day ahead of me to get things done, or just relax.

2. How long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?

I blogged about this a little while back. I can be showered, made up, dressed and out the door in 15 minutes. That’s a good thing, because I’m almost always running late for work.

3. What’s your weekly grocery bill?

I have NO idea. Bike Boy gets the meat, I usually pick up the fruit & veg and whichever one of us isn’t busy does the supermarket shop. That’s once a fortnight – then we do a top-up shop on the off week to restock fruit & veg and anything we’ve run out of. Which usually includes eggs – we go through a lot of eggs.  But $$, I couldn't tell you.

4. How much of your grocery bill is whole foods?

Most of what isn’t fresh food is things like rice, oats, canned tomatoes, some frozen veggies; so still whole food, even if they’re not fresh. We do buy bread, some pasta, crackers and some of the muesli-bar type snacks for kids’ lunches. There’s the odd protein or energy bar and some sauces and spreads. But we don’t buy frozen meals, cakes, sweet biscuits and the like. If I discount cleaning products and other non-food items, I’d guess that whole foods makes up around 80% of our shopping trolley contents.

5. Your opinion of daylight savings?

LOVE it! But what many people don’t get is that it only works below a certain degree of latitude. It would be utterly useless in far north Queensland, for example, because the length of the days there doesn’t vary all that much from one season to another. In the southern states, most people aren’t out and about at 5:00am anyway, so it makes sense to redistribute some of the daylight from the early morning to the evening, where it can be made better use of.

I do have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the beginning and end of the daylight saving season though. Much as I enjoy using the extra daylight after work for BBQs, gardening, or a walk outdoors, I detest getting up in the dark to train. The middle bit is awesome though.

6. Mac or PC?
Mac. And I’m never going back to the “dark side”

7. Grab your IPOD and hit “shuffle” – what’s the first song that comes up?  Is it a favourite or so so?
Drops of Jupiter by Train. Definitely a favourite. And not embarrassing… Phew.

8. Your favourite blog of the moment?
I don’t think I could pick a favourite, but I am enjoying a few newish ones (new to me, not necessarily new blogs) at the moment, including Woogsworld, where I can usually be assured of a good laugh.

9. Favourite pizza topping?

10. Proudest moment lately?
Doing some behind-the-scenes tasks on my blogs all by myself and having them actually work.

11. Your favourite physical activity?
Weights. (duh!) But if I had to pick a cardio activity, it’d be cycling. As long as it’s not one of those times where I topple off and leave half my skin on the asphalt. Those are NOT my favourite.

Now I'm  supposed to have thought up 11 questions to ask, and to tag other bloggers... but I've had no time for making up questions, and don't have the time now to tag anyone because I still have a list of tasks to get through in the next 45 minutes, and then I plan to be in bed.  Lame, I know....

Next time, I'll bring my brain.


Monday, January 16, 2012

The best part of my day


Is it the weekend yet?


Sunday, January 15, 2012

The holiday ends

Today is the final day of my lovely Christmas break. Tomorrow it's back to battling through traffic, fighting with computer systems that never quite work, being stuck indoors on perfect summer days and having to make a bit of an effort with my appearance. On the plus side, they pay me.

I'm not sure that I made the most of my final days of freedom, but here's a glimpse of my week in pictures:

The weather was a bit unkind for most of the week, with wintry temperatures, grey skies and rain. And yet somehow I managed to get all the washing dry.

Stormy weather didn't stop me getting out for a few walks.
I got a bit sick of my own company, so bribed The Baby to come shopping with me. The price? Pancakes for afternoon tea. I had baked cheesecake and enjoyed every mouthful.

His eyes were bigger than his belly - he only got through half!
We helped my eldest niece celebrate her 21st birthday last night. I forgot to take my camera O_O and had to resort to the phone instead. I also pulled some embarrassing stunts on the dance floor. Well, embarrassing for my kids anyway; I had a great time.

Love those shoes!
Summer decided to return today and I'm enjoying some fresh air and a view of the greenery from my desk.

Hopefully by next year, those plants will be blocking out the neighbouring house.
I honoured my promise to take the road bike out for a spin this weekend. Yesterday Bike Boy set it up on the trainer for me and I practiced clipping in and unclipping. Today he rode beside me like a mother hen as I cycled sedately around the block. I stopped and started several times to get the hang of unclipping safely and managed not to fall off.

Of course when we arrived safely back at our driveway, I had a slight mishap. I saved myself and didn't fall, but did manage to whack my ankle pretty hard on the cogs. It's only a small graze, but in spite of scrubbing and scrubbing, I cannot shift the grease marks from my leg.

Looks like I'm wearing pants tomorrow...
I'm making things as easy as possible for myself for my first week back. I've prepared lunches to get me through the week and have all the washing up to date (although that never lasts long, does it?). I still have to do the ironing and pick clothes for tomorrow, but then I think I'm good to go.

If you're heading back to work tomorrow (or already returned last week), you have my sympathy. What do you do to make the transition a bit easier? If you have any great tips, please share...


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Walk this way


Today I'm walking like a cowboy and it's all due to Thursday's boxfit class, which contained an excessive amount of ducking and weaving. Those side-stepping squat movements have a diabolical effect on glutes and adductors, let me tell you!

But this morning I fronted up to the gym for my weights session - which I should have done yesterday, except I was feeling poorly, thanks to yet another head cold. (What did I do to deserve this?) I thought about skipping training when my day got off to a sluggish start with a sleep-in till almost 8:30am. Plus my throat was sore, nose stuffy and there was the aforementioned impairment of my lower half. Plenty of excuses to choose from...

But I told myself to take a teaspoon of cement and harden up, and I got through my deadlifts and squats quite well (if I say so myself).  Now I'm quaking in fear at the thought of how sore I'm going to be tomorrow. That's Sunday - when I have a morning RPM class scheduled. God.

I must be mad.


The whole comment thing is all sorted now. Thanks to everyone who helped me test it out. If you have a Blogger or Google account (or Yahoo, LiveJournal, Flickr, MySpace and a few others), you can log in via OpenID. Or use your Twitter or Facebook account to log in. Or create an IntenseDebate account for yourself. See? Lots of options - there's sure to be something to suit everyone.

For me, the best part is not having to moderate comments. I expect to see no spam whatsoever now, and folks can see their comment published straight away. 

I do want to add a quick reminder to please abide by my comments policy. If everyone behaves nicely, as I'm sure they will, there will never be any need for me to switch comment moderation back on. Yay.


Friday, January 13, 2012

I give up - for now

I can't find a fix (yet) for the comment link problem, so I've removed IntenseDebate and if I've done everything right, this post should have the old comments system reinstated....

EDIT: OK, I find this HILARIOUS... I uninstalled the thing, but for some reason it didn't work. So I was about to retry, when I thought I'd just tick the little box in my Blogger settings that says something about "expand widget" something or other. And guess what?

Yep. It's working. O_O


Help me out, would you?

Alrighty, I need a little help here please....

Go to IntenseDebate

I've just installed a new comments system by IntenseDebate, which appears to be the bee's knees. It allows threaded commenting, which is way better for me to be able to respond directly to individual comments. And hopefully it will promote more interactive discussions too.

I've done a bit of testing, but I'd like to check that it works OK for everybody. So, please leave me a comment on this post, just so I can make sure all log-in options are working.

You can post as a Wordpress, Twitter or OpenID user. I'm going to enable Facebook logins too, but there's a missing step in the instructions and I haven't had time to search for the solution.... You can also use your IntenseDebate ID if you have one, or just post as a guest.

It seems to be a little slow to load (I assume because it's coming from an external site instead of being part of the Blogger template), but I can live with that - hope it doesn't put people off commenting. You can be patient for a few seconds, right? The only real downside is that I don't think a Google/Blogger ID will work any more, unless you have it linked via an IntenseDebate account. Sorry about that....

I've turned off comment moderation, so we'll see how that works out. This baby has Akismet all synched up, so hopefully spam shouldn't even be an issue.


EDIT: Thanks to those who've left test comments - or tried to. I can see there's a problem with the comment link not appearing via the home page. It should be there according to my settings... I suspect it has to do with my custom CSS template and will require some coding. Blah. Meanwhile, if you arrived here via the home page, just click on the post title and wait a few seconds, the comment box should appear below the post.

I'll find a solution, or die in the attempt.

EDIT #2: I may have found a fix for the "missing link" problem. It means uninstalling and reinstalling the thingy, so commenting might not be available for a short time while I faff around with it. Let's hope I don't break anything....


If at first you don't succeed... don't do what I did

I'm ashamed to admit that it's been an entire year since I've been out on my fancy road bike. Ever since my first ever solo ride with my new shoes and clips back in January last year, in fact. When of course, I fell off. Twice.

I didn't injure myself all that badly, getting off with only a few moderately nasty scrapes and bruises. So I walked with a limp for a few days... but hey; I didn't break any bones or require stitches. However I obviously took a hard knock to my confidence, because whenever I've thought about going out for a bit of a ride around the neighbourhood, there's always an excuse, something else I have to do.

Bike Boy is happy to come out with me on the weekends and play babysitter/first aid attendant while I get the hang of it. But the weekends are HIS cycling time - he either bashes around down near the river on his mountain bike or takes his road bike out for a longish ride up the main road, and I don't want to stop him from getting his own training in. That's not an excuse. Well, maybe it is, in part...

Anyway, the thing about fitness pursuits is that you don't get better at them without practice. (Duh!) Sometimes we forget that nobody is naturally good at most things. Were you born walking? Did you catch a ball the first time someone threw it to you? Did you wow the judges on So You Think You Can Dance without ever taking a lesson? Of course not. So why do we think that we should be able to do something well the first time we ever try it, and just give up when that doesn't happen?

In that spirit, I have pledged to get my butt on my bike on the weekend and give it a go. I don't promise to ride 40km, or even 10km. But if I can master going round the block without crashing onto the asphalt, I'll call it a good start.

Have you persevered with something that you were really horrible at to begin with and mastered it? How did you get past the "It's too hard; I want to quit" phase?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blogging technology and I are not friends

I've been fed up with the comment formatting in Blogger fo a long while. I much prefer the Wordpress threaded comments, but I am not about to move this blog to another platform at this point. I'm already exhausted by the changes I've made in the past three months.

So this morning I decided that I would install Disqus, which does exactly that - allows threaded comments, where I can respond to individual comments directly, and the author of the original comment or other readers can continue the discussion in a separate thread.

I spent the better part of an hour reading, creating an account, installing and checking and updating my profile. All my comments had disappeared - but I could see that Disqus was processing the installation, so I kept checking back. Two hours later, it was still processing....

Then I spotted a post on Twitter which linked to this post by Blogger:

Our top requested feature, threaded commenting, has launched! 


So I went back and deleted the Disqus widget. Only.... the fabulous new feature won't work, no matter what I do.

Computers annoy me.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Assistance for your fitness from modern technology

How did we survive before Velcro was invented?

I have my spin bike in my studio, and when I do a spin workout, it's more often than not a Spinervals DVD. I don't have a TV in the room, but luckily the Macbook and 19-inch monitor on my desk do a more than adequate job.

So before I start, I wheel the bike to the perfect spot - under the air con vent and within easy viewing distance of the screen. The only problem is, I then have nowhere nearby to put "stuff" I may need during my workout. My towel, I can fling over the handlebars, and I have a cage for my water bottle. But there's nowhere to put the remote...

If I'm doing an aerobic workout, like today's, I'll usually pull out Aerobase Builder V, which has a variety of sets of different lengths and different styles to choose from. To avoid boredom, I like to mix them up. I also usually need to fit my workout into a specific timeframe, so I choose sets that add up to however many minutes I want to complete. The last thing I want to be doing is getting on and off the bike to muck around with set selection.

I give you my solution....

The Velcro dot!

I stuck one of these little beauties on the side of my bike, and its mate on the back of my Apple remote and voila! Remote control within reach at all times.  :)

I was able to pedal through the warm-up, two sets and a cool down without having to stop to walk over to the computer and completed 46 minutes, which was exactly within my 40-50 minute target.

Of course it didn't solve the issue of having to get off the bike to close the damn sliding door because a sudden rain squall decided to blow in hard from the west....


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fitness: How do you stay motivated?

Kathryn wrote a post the other day about her new approach to her fitness & health goals, and I LOVE its brilliant simplicity. When her inclination is to sit on the couch and eat some crap instead of going for a run, she asks herself: What's going to make me feel better in an hour's time?

Being able to visualise the longer-term results of your exercise program or nutrition approach can be a great motivator. But a year, a month or whatever term you've set can also seem so far in the distance that it's easy to tell yourself that missing a workout or eating that chocolate bar isn't going to have an impact. You have plenty of time...you can start tomorrow, the next day, next week or next month. And then the time passes and suddenly you don't have enough time any more to lose that weight, train to run that 5k or ace your blood pressure test by whatever deadline you set.

But thinking in the short term can work well as a motivator. If I'm tired and stressed and have a lot to do, the last thing I want to do when I get home in the evening is cook a meal. It would be much easier to just ring for pizza, or spread peanut butter on a couple of slices of bread and call it dinner. Applying Kathryn's method though, I know that I'd feel physically uncomfortable if I stuffed myself full of crappy carbs and fat, as well as disappointed in myself for making a poor choice.

Last night, for instance, I was exhausted and felt a bit off-colour and the chicken breasts I had in the fridge weren't filling me with inspiration. I flicked through a few recipe books but came up with nothing that grabbed me. To make matters worse, our oven is broken, so anything requiring baking was out of the question, narrowing my choices. I was very tempted to pull out the pizza menu... But I knew that I'd feel much better afterwards if I made a bit of an effort and ate something decent. So Mr Google helped me out once more, and in 30 minutes we were eating this quick chicken and tomato casserole (with a few improvisations, using ingredients we had on hand).

Then this morning I needed a little extra motivation to get myself out of bed at 5:30am. I'd had a disturbed night - don't really know why, but I seemed to be constantly waking the entire night - and 6:00am RPM wasn't an attractive proposition to my poor, sleep-deprived brain. Especially while I'm still on holidays.

I had a short argument with myself in the 9-minute break between snooze alarms, and decided that an extra hour in bed wasn't likely to help me feel more rested. Bike Boy and Number One Son would both be up and about shortly and the chances of me getting back to sleep were pretty slim. On the other hand, if I spent an hour thrashing myself on the bike, I'd feel awesome afterwards. The lure of a mixture of exercise endorphins and a dose of smug satisfaction were too good to resist, so I got up and headed off to the gym.

Of course I was right - I really did feel great after a good session sweating it out on the spin bike, and now I have the whole day to do whatever else I need to. Including a nap if I so choose.

What works best for you? Long-term goal-setting or a shorter-term "What's in it for me NOW?" kind of outlook?


Friday, January 06, 2012

Ups and downs

Why is it that when you're charging ahead at full speed with some parts of your life, not sparing the horses, other parts end up hanging off the back of the wagon, getting dragged along in the dirt, or falling by the wayside altogether? Maybe it has to be that way to achieve some sort of balance. Or maybe I'm just really crap at managing my own "stuff".

Just when I'm all set to step things up a notch in all parts of my life, something fizzles.... Training is going brilliantly, with all sessions completed and all weights significantly increased this week. Nutrition is on track, helped by the new (or improved) recipes I'm churning out to meet my book goal.

I'm sleeping well, remembering my supplements and making time for some R & R too. I'm emotionally quite stable, with no horror mood swings, anxiety attacks or general grumpiness.

But.... I cannot seem to blog. This week - apart from two recipes - I've managed two posts that were excruciatingly difficult to write, took hours and that still don't express what I wanted to say. I've sat in front of the computer thinking, writing, deleting, re-writing, walking away and coming back with no hint of the creative juices reappearing.

So I give up. If I have nothing to say, I'll be saying nothing. Eventually, things have to sort themselves out, right?

Meanwhile, here's a couple of freebies that you might enjoy:

Free recipes

I received a copy of Michelle Koen's Healthy Helpings cook book just before Christmas and it is packed FULL of great food that you won't end up wearing around your waist. Best of all, you can download six sample recipes to try out for free. I'm pretty sure you'll want to buy the book after that....

Free fitness program

If you've been telling yourself that you don't have time for exercise, you need to download The Angry Birds workout, courtesy of Nerd Fitness. I've only recently discovered this site and it is stuffed full of good info, absorbing reading and some useful (and free) fitness routines. This one is so simple, an idiot could do it, it requires no equipment and it won't take any more time than the amount you waste playing Angry Birds....

I'll be back when I have something to say. Hopefully that'll be tomorrow. Yeah, we'll see...