Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Keeping the camera clicking.

I'm continuing the photography obsession, with Fat Mum Slim's March Photo-a-Day challenge. But this time I've decided to post the pics only on Twitter & Facebook. I've enjoyed the Feb challenge, but I feel as though my "real" posts kind of got lost amongst all the challenge posts.

I may create a Photobucket album as well, and share it here weekly...Hmm. Anyway, this here's the deal:

I'll try not to miss any days this time. If anyone else would like to join in, hop over to Fat Mum Slim's site and post your blog link. If you want to keep up with my very average amazing photography, go click on the Twitter button up there on the sidebar and follow me...

Oh, yeah. I do have the final three photos for February; Just haven't got around to uploading them. I'll get there. I never said I was good at this blog challenge stuff.


FebFast wrap-up

Not a single fruity cocktail has passed my lips!
FebFast finishes today and marks the completion of 29 days alcohol-free. It's actually been more than that, because I haven't had a drink since mid-January, but whatever...

By the way, if anyone would like to sponsor me, it's not too late - my fundraising page is over here.

I won't be staying up till midnight and cracking open a bottle. Bike Boy and I do have plans to go out for dinner on Friday, but if I have a drink at all, it will be just one. After all, I still have to get up and train on Saturday. Plus I'm aiming to make the scale go down, not up.



Monday, February 27, 2012

Recipe alert! (and some other stuff)

I had a busy weekend, but still managed to come up with two new recipes. This one was Sunday's lunch, and it really hit the spot.

My version of a Nicoise salad. Recipe's up over at Fitbodies Food; go have a look-see.


Since we're almost two months into the year (where did THAT time go?), I thought I do an update on where I'm at with my goals. 

I've had a BIG training week this week, and I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself. I love my newish and still novel weights program and I'm feeling the love after each session. Oh wait....that's not love, that's just DOMS. Hehe. Strength is returning in leaps and bounds. I don't know whether I'll ever match or exceed previous personal records on anything, but I don't much care. I'm more interested in getting the results I want than in how much I can lift. 

My cardio fitness has improved a lot, so I've given those workouts a really good hammering too. Even though cardio is not my favourite thing, I do begin to enjoy it when I can actually DO it. (Who knew?) I'm doing a little running, but being very cautious with it. When you have a significant leg length discrepancy, your muscles do all kinds of funky things to compensate, and I know now that I'm very prone to ITB/glute medius problems among other things, as well as my life-long sacro-iliac joint pain. I'm not about to create new and interesting injuries by trying to be a hero. It's not about impressing anyone, after all.

Injury-wise, I'm going along OK. My fortnightly physio visits are a PITA, but at least I get to go on work time - the particular injuries he treats are work-related, so no cost to me, yay! Arm and shoulder niggle a bit now and then, but I can see improvements. It's a lot slower than I'd like, but what can you expect when you continue to do the things that caused the injuries in the first place? Retirement looks more and more appealing...

My lower half requires a bit of dedication to some exercises to activate my lazy muscles and un-kink my over-active ones. It's a constant challenge to fit this stuff in, but if I don't, I pay the price in terms of pain and training setbacks. 

Overall, I'm progressing well towards where I want to be. I'm enjoying creating healthy meals, and my half-arsed paleo approach is having the desired effect on the scale numbers. I'm still making room for a bit of ice cream or chocolate when I really want it, but alcohol has been off the menu since mid-January. Febfast winds up on Wednesday, but I won't be cracking a bottle on Thursday night... 

So, two months into 2012, I'm fitter, stronger, thinner and feeling a bit less pain. Ticking along nicely. :)


It's poured rain all night here - which is very welcome after a blisteringly hot weekend. The garden was looking parched and our tank was empty (and boy, do I hate having to pay for the water we flush down the toilets!), so I'm not complaining about the wet.  But I bet things are going to be pretty ugly out on the roads this morning. Take care, if you're driving in Melbourne today - or anywhere else that it's wet, wet, wet.

Happy Monday!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

February Photo-a-Day Challenge - Day 26


The billabong in my neighbourhood. 


Recipe alert!

I've been seeking the perfect pumpkin pancake recipe forever, and finally, I've come up with one.

The perfect breakfast or snack.

Hop on over and check it out. Clickety-click!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

February Photo-a-Day Challenge. Catch-up edition

The past few days have been busy and I haven't spent much time on the computer. So even though I took my photos each day, I'm behind with posting them. Here you go:

Day 23: Your shoes

Warm weather means casual office wear. Hey, at least I wore my GOOD thongs!

Day 24: Inside your bathroom cabinet

Messy hair & makeup drawer

Day 25: Green

My espaliered lemon, coming along nicely. Aren't I clever?


Shrinking violet, no more!


I remember how self-conscious I was when I first joined a gym. I felt as though I didn't fit in; that I might as well have had a flashing neon sign on my head saying "has no idea what she's doing". Nobody's behaviour contributed to my feeling out of place; it was all in my head, of course.

Beginning something new where everything is unfamiliar has the effect of making me feel useless, stupid and incompetent.  Of course, I'm not any of those things - like anybody else, I just have to learn and practice until eventually the unfamiliar becomes familiar and I forget how awkward and ridiculous and conspicuous I once felt. Human nature...stupidly annoying sometimes.

During those early weeks, nobody was looking at me and nobody was judging me - except ME. My biggest fear was drawing attention to myself. I'd hide at the back of a class, where if I screwed up a combination of movements, most people wouldn't notice. I'd do my weights routine as quickly as possible, being sure not to make eye contact with anyone.  How things change.

If I do a class these days, I set myself up right down the front, where I can see exactly what the instructor is doing. If anyone IS watching me from behind (which I'm pretty sure they're not), so what? I don't know them and don't care what they think anyway. As for weight training, I walk into that room as though I own it and stake my claim on the equipment I want before one of the he-men beats me to it. No matter how unusual the exercise, I just do it, without worrying about what anyone might think.

I wear tank tops with huge slogans like "Less talk, more action", or "Try and stop me" - or one of my favourites: with a superhero "S" emblazoned on the front. They make ME feel good and I don't give a crap what anybody else thinks of them.

Today I had to fit in a cardio workout after my weights session. I wanted to mix it up and do a series of short interval sessions on different pieces of equipment. I started with some rower intervals, then some elliptical intervals. (I may have been singing out loud to the Black Eyed Peas.... Apologies to the guy next to me. Hehe.)  By the time I moved onto a treadmill, I was a bit bored with speed/resistance intervals, so I chucked in some sideways shuffles and walking lunges on the machine. This time, it was not my imagination that people were looking at me... Oh well, I thought, let's give them something to look at, then. So in between running and walking, I jumped off the machine and added some sets of plyo side-to-side squats and some pop squats.

In just under thirty minutes, I worked up a serious sweat, pushed my heart rate well into the 160s and knew I'd put in a good session. If I provided some entertainment as well, so be it. ;)  I finished up with a couple of planks with feet on a medicine ball. I haven't done those for a long time - and I forgot how much they hurt!

It's not about thinking that I'm pretty hot and Hey look at meeeee! In fact I'm still carrying a few extra kilos and nowhere near at my fittest and strongest, so I'm not doing anything very impressive most of the time. The bottom line is: my workouts are all about me, entirely for my benefit, and I always intend to get the most out of them. I'm not about to let any perceptions of what others think (imaginary or real) get in my way. I perform better and feel a greater sense of achievement when I tune out everyone around me and focus on what i'm doing right now.

If I act tentative and kind of apologetic for being there, I don't do my best work. But dressing the part, putting on my Grrr face and acting as though I'm the queen of the fricken' world always results in my giving 100%.

So no matter whether you're a total beginner, an elite athlete or anywhere in between, give this a try: hold your head high, stand your ground (no hiding in the corner) and act as though you're serious about your training. Then see how you feel afterwards.

Don't be a shrinking violet - unless you want to get trampled on. Instead, be a big, showy, full blown rose. Those babies have nasty thorns - they can take care of themselves.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Smooth sailing - or not?


No matter what your specific goals may be, fitness and health progress is never an easy journey. It's like sailing a yacht single-handedly (Disclaimer: I know nothing at all about sailing).

You launch your boat and set sail in clear weather towards a known port, and calculate that it will take you X time to get there. But along the way, the wind drops out of your sails and you spend time becalmed, just sitting there in the middle of nowhere, with no progress whatsoever. Or a storm blows up and you battle to stay on course. Maybe you even get swept overboard and have to swim for your life to get back to your boat. Your boat can spring a leak, you might be attacked by pirates....

The important thing with all of these delays and setbacks is to understand that they're perfectly normal. Fitness improvements or weight loss are never linear. Enthusiasm waxes and wanes. Life "stuff" gets in the way. Small setbacks are not the end of the world; you just pick yourself up and push on regardless.

And be sure to ignore those other boats racing ahead of you, apparently having a trouble-free journey. Things aren't always as they seem when we look at other people. We only see the side they present to us - whilst their sails might be full of wind (pun entirely intended) and their decks scrubbed, they may be down below, furiously bailing out the water that's leaking in through the holes you can't see...

I know my boat is water-tight - I'm dealing with a bit of nasty weather at the moment, but that will blow over eventually. How's yours?


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February Photo-a-Day Challenge - Day 21

A fave photo of you

July 2010. Glammed up for a ball.


Monday, February 20, 2012

February Photo-a-Day Challenge - Day 20


Beautiful poetry or prose? Nope. Just my mundane shopping list.

I know I've missed a day here and there. I won't be making them up either. So there.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

The weekend in review

Once again, I had an amazing weekend at Phat Camp - and once again I can barely move without yelping in pain. Four cardio workouts and four weights workouts in one weekend is a little more than I'd usually do....

It was great to catch up with Jen once again. She oozes positivity, plus is just downright fun to be around.

We had the pleasure of INBA Mr Australia, Warren Clampitt's company today - he was doing duty at the supplements counter all day, dispensing free Xtend and whey protein to all of us, courtesy of Flush Fitness. I really wanted to give those guns a squeeze ...but restrained myself.
LOVE that blue raspberry flavour!
Of course, there was plenty of training. Cardio Friday night, two cardio and two weights sessions Saturday and one cardio plus two weights sessions today. 

Jen demonstrates all the exercises, making it seem oh-so-easy ...until you try it, of course. Supersets and triple sets are always the order of the day. Word of advice if you ever attend a camp: don't spurn the baby weights - by the time you've done 15 triple sets and are lining up for your second go around, you'll be glad you grabbed the 3kg dumbbells and not the 7kg ones.
This combo was TOUGH: step, burpee, row, row, down the length of the room

Heart rate? Sky-high.

One of the best things about Phat Camp is the women who attend. Girls of all ages, all shapes and sizes and all fitness levels show up every year. Our youngest camper this year was twelve and our eldest in her late fifties. Every single one of them put in their best effort and left feeling proud of themselves.

Nobody judges anyone else. If you're a bit slow and coming last in a sprint session, nobody is going to be rolling their eyes or tapping their foot impatiently. Instead, they'll be cheering and clapping and yelling encouragement. If you're struggling with plyo jumps onto a step, one of the other ladies is likely to grab your hands and help you finish those last reps.

And it's always fun to catch up with friends and campers from previous years.

Tonight I'm sore EVERYWHERE and I know that tomorrow morning is going to be pretty ugly. I'm swallowing L-glutamine like there's no tomorrow and will be dragging on my Skins tonight before I get into bed.

Most of all I'm feeling pretty satisfied with my efforts over the weekend. Last camp I was carrying a couple of injuries and had to opt out of a lot of the exercises. This year I was cautious, but pleasantly surprised to discover that I can do plyometrics once again. Of course, I'm not very good at them, having been avoiding them for a year or more...but that will improve with practice.

Tomorrow is most definitely a rest day for me, but I plan to be back on the bike for Tuesday's 6:00am RPM class. Right now, I'm going to go put my feet up and do a whole lot of nothing much.


February Photo-a-Day Challenge - Day 18


Wicked mad setup to dispense Xtend for Phat Campers


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Feeling PHAT

I have a busy weekend going on here. It's that time of year again: Jen Hendershott is in town!

Last night we got a taste of Phat Camp training action with a sweaty 50-minute cardio bootcamp session. I surprised myself and managed pop squats, bear crawls and even some (slightly slow) burpees, in spite of a tight ITB, dicky right arm and sore right foot (must go see the podiatrist about that...). I drew the line at a couple of exercises and ran laps of the room instead, but I was pleased to see that my injuries and tight body parts have improved on last time.

I have NO photos, as the focus ring on my camera lens decided to jam itself up and I couldn't get it to focus at all.  I've fixed it now, so today I'll be aiming to click away and capture a few shots to share. I'll also do a catch up on my February photo-a-day challenge. I'm a little behind....

I'm looking forward to some weights work, more cardio, chatting with the other campers and plenty of shopping today! See you all later. :)


Friday, February 17, 2012


You know when your phone rings before 7:00am it's never going to be a good news call.

Number One Son has been living it up in Thailand with a bunch of his friends. First the Full Moon party at Koh-some-island-paradise, and then a week in Phuket. They were due to fly home today and arrived at Phuket airport, bags in hand, to be told that Air Australia had gone belly-up and gee, sorry folks - you'll have to find your own way home. O_o

The kids booked through a travel agent, so she's madly working at this end to find them flights home. Thing is, at the end of a holiday you have approximately $2.50 in available funds left and that ain't buying an airfare from Phuket to Melbourne, not even through a super-cheap cut-price airline. Good old Mum and Dad....

We're hoping the travel agent can pull some strings, because according to their websites, at this point even the cheapie airlines only have $1400 fares available for the next couple of days, if they have anything at all.

Kind of puts a damper on my excitement at the bargain airfares to Malaysia and Vietnam that I nailed on Wednesday. But that's another post.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

February Photo-a-Day Challenge - Day 16


Picked this up yesterday. Malaysia, here we come!


There are limits, you know!


Over the past almost NINE YEARS, I have done a number of things that I had previously sworn I would never, ever do. Join a gym, wear lycra bike knicks, RUN, just to name a few. But you have to draw the line somewhere. This is the line:

I would rather shove bamboo splinters under my own fingernails than do a Zumba class.

What fitness activity will you never, EVER do?


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February Photo-a-Day Challenge - Day 14

A little Valentine's Day gift for my beloved.


Monday, February 13, 2012

February Photo-a-Day Challenge - Day 13



The pants test

I scared myself silly yesterday when I decided to wear my jeans to a casual lunchtime birthday party. I grabbed them out of a pile inside my wardrobe where I'd left them after wearing them a few days earlier, chose a white top and a pink jacket and went to get dressed.

I stepped into my jeans, tugged them over my hips with a bit of a wiggle (as you do - everyone knows wiggling helps get them on) and zipped them up. Wait. WTF? They were more than snug - they were positively tight, causing a very obvious muffin top to flow over the waistband.

I couldn't figure it out. I'd worn them only a few days ago and they fit just FINE. I hadn't been eating cake and ice cream non-stop for a week - or at all. Sure, I had a nasty case of leg DOMS, which might explain the lack of scale movement for the past couple of days, but that didn't explain an expanded waistline. I hadn't even washed them, so fabric shrinkage wasn't an issue.

Then the lightbulb went on. I walked back into the wardrobe, rummaged underneath some shirts I'd discarded on Friday when deciding what to wear to work, and pulled out...another pair of jeans. The ones I was wearing were my SKINNY jeans. I'd been looking for something a couple of weeks ago and had pulled them out of a drawer and had been too lazy hadn't had time to put them away.

Puzzlement (and slight panic) was instantly transformed into an urge to dance around the bedroom. I CAN GET INTO MY SKINNY JEANS! Sure, they might be unwearable for more than an hour or so, but still....awesome progress.

I'm battling to get much happening at all on the scales. There is downward movement, but it's excruciatingly slow. I'm not concerned at all though - I know that fat loss is ticking along just fine. Because as my friend Clara says, the pants test never lies.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

February Photo-a-Day Challenge - Day 12

Inside your closet
Detail of the silk fabric from my favourite Anthea Crawford dress from 2004