Tuesday, December 28

2011...Adventure Uncommon!

I stole the title of today's post from a website I happened upon called http://www.epicquest.com/. I was looking for photos for this blog, and found this site. Amazing photos and inspiration. I love this site, because it's all about the big picture stuff. It's all about the spirit of adventure.

Even though I'm not in a position to do any of this stuff, as I think I've it left it a little too late on alot of this adventure stuff, I think it's something I would have loved to have done when I was younger. Sometimes we discover a little too late what amazing things there are to do in this world.

I do have a friend, or probably moreso an acquaintence who is related to a good friend of mine. He happens to do alot of this sort of stuff, and is in Europe as we speak, hiking through mountains and snow. He has an amazing life, and he's engineered it that way. His forte is mountain biking.

To be honest, after three days of total debauchery of the food and exercise kind, I was feeling rather sluggish and slovenly.

Until this morning....

Then BAMMO! The adrenaline kicked in, and it was hallo motivation!

You see, I did a GoCycle class this morning at the gym. It was just the very kick in the butt I needed, and it was AWESOME! The instructor was pumped and he kicked butt...my butt actually.

Now you may or may not know that I'm not really a big fan of the 'cycle/RPM' class. But I have to tell you, after this morning's class, the feeling of pushing myself to the limit was kind of addictive. So I'm heading back tomorrow morning for a repeat dose of adrenaline. Even though I love training by myself and don't usually require the external motivation, it's times like these that group fitness classes come in handy, and it was the type of thing I needed to get me going.

Of course, it's not the same type of adrenaline rush you'd get jumping out of a plane; cycling through the Pyranees doing the Tour De France; or doing the Hawaiin Ironman Triathlon.

But you know, there's always going to be someone doing it better and bigger no matter who you are. It's important I think, that we can draw inspiration from different sources and realise that our own aspirations, regardless of how they compare to others, inherently are of no lesser value than another person's aspirations. As long as we're giving it our very best and enjoying the process, we shouldn't doubt our own abilities.

Sometimes we box ourselves in when in comes to the genre of sport or exercise that we do, and we fail to see what else is out there. We can become a little stale and wonder why we do what we do, and what the point of it all really is. Yes, we know it's to keep us fit and healthy, but that's not always going to keep us going day-in, day-out. We need to draw on other things to help us fuel our own motivation. Sometimes I think we need to step outside of our own little world and experience or even catch a glimpse of what adventure really is, and to see what people are doing and the things they're willing to do to push themselves to their own limits. It can help us view our lives with a fresh perspective.

And this morning I think I caught just a glimpse of something...adventure uncommon. Inside those four walls, for just a short time, it was me looking over those handle bars, traversing those spectacular mountains and valleys in Europe!

So drawing from what Hannah has posted about recently, today's post is more about stoking the inspirational fires coming into 2011. As we come nearer to the close of 2010, as everyone else is doing, I'll talk more about my goals for next year and reflecting upon the goals I set the year just gone. It's good to set new goals, but I think it's equally important to reflect upon the previous years' goals, look at what we achieved and didn't achieve, and what lessons we can learn.

See you on the other side!

Thursday, December 23

My Cup Runneth Over...

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

- Psalm 23

It's that time of the year when the majority of us will reflect upon the year that has just passed, and also beyond that. It's an opportunity to learn from what's eventuated, and if it was a good year, we hope it will continue next year. If it was a year of struggle, then we look back and try to work out why, and what we can do to change whatever it was, or is, so that we don't have a repeat of that.

For some, the struggle is still there and if you are one of those people, then I hope that you can work out the 'why' sooner, rather than later. And when you do, I hope that you have enough clarity and courage to then capitalise on your learnings and run with it.

I've been reflecting on this year for awhile now. I wasn't in a place even six weeks ago to take any decisive action. You can't hurry these things. It's important to work out the why, before you know the what, and then you can put in the how to. But I'm glad I finally did take that action, because without any action, life just remains in limbo. Sometimes we don't have all the answers, but we still need to take some type of action, until we can figure it out. And then, sometimes that's not even possible. As long as we keep moving and it's generallly in a forward direction. Hopefully, the answer will appear.

All that clearing of my so-called 'closets' and jetisoning of the superfluous has been beneficial. I haven't quite tied up all the loose ends, but I'm on the home strait. I now have clarity about what not only that I want to do, but more importantly what I need to do.

What I do know is that I am truly blessed.

My little girl asked us (AW & I) a strange question for a 4yr old. She asked us..."When was the best time in your life?" To which AW replied.."When I was 18yrs old". My reply was..."Now! Now is the best time of my life and I don't wish to be 18 again."

I can honestly say that for the first time in my life, that I have everything that I want and need right now...right here, at the age of 41. I am happy and content. I have a truly wonderful husband and daughter, and loving, peaceful family. We don't have marriage problems (though we have our fair share of disagreements). We don't have family disputes. I don't have a feral child (though she can be challenging at times). We have a beautiful home. It's not my dream home, but I'm happy here. I mean, my life isn't perfect, though I'd have to say it feels pretty close. I've had my fair share of challenges, but I think I've gone through the biggest ones. Yet, who is to say that something truly gut-wrenching isn't about to happen. But I'm not going to live a life of forboding.

And best of all, I have plans and goals and hopes for the future. My life is full of wonder and excitement at what lies ahead.

I know it makes some people ill, just reading my words. But know that my life hasn't always been like this...this good. And I make no apologies for being so upbeat most of the time. Because I've been working at this for awhile. I'm here where I am because I finally made some right decisions and I was prepared to do the work to arrive where I am...right here... right now.

My cup runneth over, and I wish you all as much joy as I am feeling at this moment. Merry Christmas and I hope all your dreams and wishes come to fruition in 2011! XOX

Saturday, December 18

A Frankie Original...

60.78kgs today!

Since 28th November I've shed 4.52kgs, which is about 1.5kgs per week! Tomorrow is weigh-in day, but I exceeded this week's goal of being in the 61kgs. I'm hoping to get under 60kgs by Christmas Day.

Am I stoked? Hell yeah! 2011 is looking like it's going to get off to the start I want.

Wore my LJ tights this week for the first time to Zumba. Not feeling so horrible and self-conscious anymore. Feeling more like myself. Another 3.78kgs and I'm back to lean and feeling on fire!

Though I have to admit that Thursday I really struggled mentally, as I'd had a big training week. But I pushed through, because as we all know we get moments like these and I say, 'this too shall pass'.

So today's post is brought to you courtesy of Liz, who has written my new rehab, nutrition and exercise program for me, and is a big reason why I'm feeling so great and getting some amazing results. And the delectable Frankie who I could not replicate such a 'Fuck I'm Good!' pic. Thanks Frankie. :) I think the crystal ball says it all!

Monday, December 13

At Last...Breathing Space!

"Problems arise in that one has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself."

- Jessye Norman

Today is the first day for some time where I feel relaxed and relieved. It's the first time in a long time where I feel that finally the shackles are starting to come away, and I can spend more time doing simple things with my family, and also indulging in my own needs and wants a little more.

I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks, and I reallly cherish the luxury of being able to wrap presents at my own time and leisure, enjoying the feeling of joy at Christmas time. No rush...no sense of urgency...pure bliss. It's important for me to feel peaceful at this time of the year. It's my favourite time because while everyone else stresses and rushes around, I glide. It's such a contented feeling. We have our own little family rituals built around Christmas, and I love that Philomena will grow up and experience what it truly means to be Christmas. These rituals built with family as the main focus, I believe are so important to a growing family. If you can, I encourage you to create your own little family rituals, because it's something your children will keep coming back for year in, year out, even when they're grown up.

I've been working diligently at tying up loose ends and jetisoning roles and responsibilities that I feel are beginning to weigh me down. They're not negatively impacting upon me, but they're just taking up space in my life, that I could otherwise be using for things that some would consider more selfish.

So when 2011 begins, I will be starting the year, knowing that 2010 is well and truly behind me, and that there won't be anything left undone to impede my progress.

Since I flicked the switch, I've lost 3.2kgs. Mind you, the majority happened in the first week. But that's not surprising. I'm still moving along, and I need to remember that this process can take up to 2-3 months to really see some serious change.

But you know, I feel so much better already. My clothes are starting to feel a little loose again, and I'm starting to regain my confidence. I'm aiming to reach the 60kg's mark by the end of December. As of yesterday (my official weigh-in day) I sat at 62.14kgs, and I'm hoping to break into the 61kg's by the end of the week. It's going to be a bigger training workload this week, but I think that's what's needed to get my metabolism kicking again and working at it's optimum. Nutrition is on target and I'm experiencing a great mindset.

Yesterday I stopped and said to AW, that at the moment I wasn't experiencing any pain, tension, injury or discomfort and that I was feeling strong again. I needed to do that - to stop and appreciate how far I'm come, because it's important to remember that pain you felt at it's worst, so that you continue to do what's necessary to keep your body pain-free, and enjoying life to the maximum.

So today, I can breathe...ahhhhhh!

I nearly have 2010 sown up. And I'll be ready to tackle 2011! BRING IT ON! :P

***EDIT*** As of today (14 Dec) I am officially in the 61kgs! Woohoo!

Tuesday, December 7

Primal Instinct

"We are so clothed in rationalization and dissemblance
that we can recognize but dimly
the deep primal impulses that motivate us.”

- James Ramsay Ullman

Let me introduce you to Tony Jaa (above). He's my latest and greatest inspiration and he's a martial artist of a very extraordinary nature.

Now, before you turn off, for those of you who aren't martial artists and aren't particularly interested, this post isn't necessarily about martial arts.

You see...I was farewelling a friend yesterday who dropped around to pick up some CD's, and when he left we were talking about what music we liked, and he mentioned he wasn't particularly into rap music and/or what I would call 'doof-doof' music. I admitted that I actually loved this music and I listened to it continually, especially to get me pumped up before and during my workouts.

He then said something that just struck me and it resonated deeply within me. He said something along these lines, "it must be because it brings forth that primal feeling". Well...der...yeah! Why hadn't I thought of describing it that way? What a great description!

My friend articulated in one word, what it is that I feel when I train, and I train hard...Primal.

And when I pondered more on this, I realised that it wasn't just when I trained at the gym, it was whenever I trained in martial arts too, or any other physical pursuit, and I pushed myself to the limit.

Tony Jaa

The only way I can describe this feeling, is one of being stripped bare of everything there is around you - physically, emotionally, spiritually. It's just you and the universe. It's an impulse, an instinct, an urge that lies deep within you and it's aggressive in nature. It's a feeling that you need to expulge and the way you bring that feeling forward and the method of expulsion is one purely of individual preference.

It's a feeling which is connected with that innate sense of your very being, and it's all-encompassing. And mostly, what is most profound, is how powerful you feel. It's an experience of such an exquisite and tantalising nature.

I believe we have this feeling within all of us, except, being the individuals that we are, we express it and channel this feeling or energy differently. We can either choose to channel it in a positive way, or in a destructive way. But how we choose to do so, depends on whether we recognise this primal feeling and whether we are connected enough to choose the right way for us.

Scenes (above & below) from 'Apocalypto', another one of my favourite primal movies

Sometimes I wonder if I was a warrior in my past life (if you believe in reincarnation). And I wonder, if there are some things left over from that past, that I feel such a deep primal urge to expulge that energy in the way that I do.

My ancestry is still a mystery, and I keep searching for the answers of who I am. All I know is that my biological mother is from the highlands of New Guinea, and I think her tribe were very warlike in nature.

And I wonder if maybe that primal instinct which would have been prevalent in my ancestry is playing itself out through my physical pursuits.

Anyway...it's all very interesting and I'll continue to ponder upon this. Meanwhile, I will continue to utilise that very feeling, because it's what drives and motivates me to become better.

Like I said earlier, I think we all have this feeling deep within us, and I find it curious as to how people choose to express it, and if they recognise it for what it is.

Friday, December 3

Flicking the Switch

"Faith is the bird
that feels the light
when the dawn is still dark."

- Rabindranath Tagore

Wow! Three posts in one week. I must be on a roll. Actually, I think something significant has taken place in my head recently. I've flicked the switch (again).

I remember this happening back in 2008. I'd started and stopped trying to lose weight so many times. I'd talked about doing stuff, but nothing would eventuate. Even my husband doubted whether I would do anything I said I would. I doubted myself. I wondered whether I would be my old self again and find that steely determination I once knew and that feeling of self discipline and control.

And then it happened...I flicked the switch. I don't know to this day why or why then. I don't know the moment it happened. It was obviously a culmination of things and events, mainly low points in my recent life of then, that led me to that point. But I don't know at what exact moment it happened.

This year I once again experienced going through that rollercoaster of promises made to self. 'Yes...my mojo is back...WAIT! Oh...sorry...false alarm. Yep...I've got that burn again. SHIT!..sorry...wishful thinking. Argggghhhh (beating myself up)...why can't I JUST DO IT!'

I don't know why now exactly, but I've flicked the switch! Maybe I just want it bad enough again.

Wednesday, December 1

Exercise Endorphins - That's All You Need!

"Purpose, vision and courage -- combined
with effort -- turn dreams into realities."
- Tana Sherwood

I was on the cross trainer this morning at the gym, and on the wall ahead of me were the words...'Believe in Your Dreams'.

Now when I first read this upon joining up at Go Health Clubs, and other motivational quotes plastered all around the gym, I wanted to throw up my protein shake. But now that I've been going there a little while now, I've become use to all the polish and glamour and I've only started to utilise them (reading the quotes).

I don't know what it is about commercial gyms, but they get my back up. I'm not the glamorous type - I'm the sweaty, daggy, grungy type of gal, and well...I just don't really fit into the whole 'persona' which are gyms and health clubs these days. I think that's why I loved Crossfit so much - if you finished absolutely drenched, and about to puke or had in fact puked, then you knew you'd had a good day. The prize is to finish a CF session, and callouses and chalk dust on your hands, and scrape marks on your shins were testament to the fact you were willing to give it your all.

My whole take on them (commercial gyms) is that the people who go to them just like to show they have the latest and trendiest Lorna Jane gear (not knocking LJ, because I actually do wear LJ and love her stuff, but somehow I don't look like those models in the brochures or on the website), but aren't really prepared to dirty them by 'sweating' in them - OMG what a travesty!

But you know, it's not all like that. Yes, there are those types of people who frequent the gym (Barbie Dolls), but there are also a lot of people just like me who are daggy and like to sweat and grunt alot when they workout, and are genuinely giving of themselves 100% to their workouts.

Though, I've worked out that sometimes my perceptions say more about where I'm at (headspace), than they do about what is the reality.

Now...how did I just get off-track? Oh...yeah...where is this leading?

Well, anyway...back to the cross-trainer. I was working up quite a lather and feeling great and I looked up at those words....Believe in Your Dreams, and I realised that there was no other place that I'd rather be. Which was a complete turnaround from how I felt before I hoofed it to the gym.

You see, I worked last night, so didn't get to bed until midnight. My neck was out, and I'd had a headache all night. I hopped on to the computer and waiting for me in my inbox was my new training program. Needless to say, I wasn't feeling very enthused, because I took one look at what was in store for me early the next morning and thought...'Aw F*#K! How the hell am I going to get through that?' Now when I woke up I was feeling slightly better, but still very tired, and was dragging my tired ass around thinking that I was not going to enjoy this mornings' session (because I'm unfit at the moment).

But drawing from previous experience, I knew that once I got inside those walls, those feelings would take a back seat and once those endorphins kicked in, I would be on fire!

And I was right! Sweating and grunting on that cross-trainer; tuned into my Ipod and getting pumped - I was in the Zone! I was imagining how lean I'm going to be in a couple of months and back to my old self. And I just can't wait! Hell...I was going for gold and thinking of the prize - a lean me!

It's amazing what feelings you can bring forth when you want something badly enough. Going to the gym - pushing myself - those exercise endorphins are pumping through my body, and every time I go - every session becomes an opportunity to cement those feelings, to relive those highs. And I know that every session will bring me closer to my goals - closer to my prize!

Pffft...who needs drugs? Exercise Endorphins are all you need!

Oh yeah...and as Nicole said...I'M BRINGING SEXY BACK! ;)

Oh...and...2kgs loss on scales since Sunday! So watch this space...hmmm...now I don't want to get ahead of myself, but maybe, just maybe, the bitch is back (fingers crossed)! :P

Sunday, November 28

The Cold, Hard, Sting of Reality...

"Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces."

~Sigmund Freud

On the Cold, Hard Sting of Reality...

Yep...Woke up to one of those this morning...a Reality Slap!

I finally got some scales. I was jumping for joy until I got on them. OMG...65.3kgs! This is the heaviest I've been in 2 years! How's that for a reality check? I weighed about 62kgs only a month ago. And I think I definitely put the last nail in the coffin being on holidays last week.

So I've been deluding myself for a little while now, thinking that I'm still looking okay. But it's time to own up to the facts, so I can do something about slipping back to some place where I said I would never return to...FATVILLE! 'Year of the Sexy Bitch' has turned into 'Year of the Slovenly Bitch'. One of those nasty Seven Deadly Sins...Sloth...has found me again.

I could beat myself up about it, but I won't. It's time for some action. There's still stuff to sort out over the next 4 weeks, which is when Christmas arrives. I will have a brand, spanking new, nutrition and exercise plan for 2011 and I'm excited. I want to get rid of this sloth again, and I hope to do it faster this time.

I have finally sat down and finalised my new training goals for next year. My first priority will be to lose the weight and get lean as quickly as possible, so I can feel good about myself again and concentrate on the remainder of my goals. I will use the rest of 2010 to clear all the debris from my life; tidy up loose ends and discard things I've taken on, so that next year I can concentrate and focus on my health and fitness again.

So why have I put the weight back on? The simple truth is, I've consumed more energy than I've expended!

Regardless of all the reasons and excuses I can give you and myself - the cold, hard reality is I haven't continued to work hard on the 'expenditure' side of the equation, and my nutrition usually falls behind when my training does. It's that simple!

Look...I've lost the weight before when things have been much more challenging, so why I can't I do it now? Well, I can. It's just that I haven't had the same focus as I did when I did my first Ideal Bodies Online program. I haven't been prepared to make the same committment as I did then. In the end, that's all it is. When you lose focus and you don't keep recommitting to your goals, other things will soon replace them.

Life has changed. But instead of losing sight of your goals, it's important that you re-evaluate them and ensure that they evolve along with your life. I think it's important to put in place mechanisms to review your life in a systematic way each year - times to reflect and think about your life and your goals.

Life has a way of becoming so crazy and we get caught up in the momentum of events and situations that are sometimes unwittingly created by ourselves and/or others. And before you know it, you've failed to stop and find the time to look back to review and if required, re-design your life. Your life begins to shape you instead of the other way around.

I think a way to address these changes is to look at the natural ebb and flow of your year. Look for windows of time and opportunity where you know that outside influences are going to be less of an issue, and use that time to create and form some new goals and habits.

Personally, I think the lead-up to Christmas and Christmas itself is one of the worst times to begin something new (though I still did it because I was super focused on achieving my goals). Inevitably, outside influences will hamper most people's efforts in change.

However, if you used the time BEFORE this to either establish or re-establish some goals, you might find that during the busy and crazy time of Christmas that you will experience less angst and more contentment to go with the flow, because you've achieved or partly achieved these goals and feel more in control. And it may not be Christmas time for you - it might be Easter or other times in the year, where outside influences are too strong and will thwart any attempts at long-term change you have planned.

So I'm moving forward with this in mind. A life still full of goals and plans, but one which is more intuitive, where I build in mechanisms to allow for the natural ebb and flow of life. A life where I can still achieve my goals on one hand whilst retaining balance: achievment AND contentment!

On Catching up with Friends...

During our break in Caloundra, I had the fortune of catching up with both Michaela Muller and Nicole Lambert (both previous IBO gals). We caught up for coffee and a nice chat. It was great to be able to do that and I learnt so much from our exchanges.

The above picture was taken at Michaela's first comp back in May 2009. She competed again this year, and placed, and has big plans for 2011, and I look forward to seeing her progress in her body building aspirations. Michaela has come so far from the days I first knew of her from Ideal Bodies Online. She has now completed her Personal Trainer qualifications and is out there meeting people in her area of interest, i.e. body building, expanding her horizons, and is always learning more and more and growing as a person. She's a real inspiration and an example of what you can achieve with continued focus and determination!

After Michaela left, Nicole and I chatted on for ages, and before we knew it, hours had zoomed past. Looking great, I commented to Nicole on how different she is now to that person a couple of years ago. I don't mean just in a physical sense, but I noticed how her whole demeanour has changed and that you wouldn't recognise that person that was Nicole - that's just how far she's come in her life.

Now a triathlete, she makes me tired hearing of her accomplishments this year alone, and I also look forward to watching her achieve in her aspirations next year. I have a feeling she's going to make some huge leaps next year, after all the challenges and setbacks she's faced in 2010!

In Ending...

I still haven't been around much in blogland, and confess to having less desire to be on the computer. As I've intimated, I've been cutting the superfluous from life, or just things that are taking up more and more time away from the really important, and one of those things is spending time on the computer. I'm getting more done being away from it, and I value my time so much more these days. I plan to continue spending more time away from the computer and living my life goals, rather than living it vicariously through just talking and dreaming about it.

I'll end with where I am at, quoting from one of Craig Harper's thought-provoking posts titled 'The Quickest Way to Create Internal Shift'....

"So, what is the single quickest way to create interenal shift? To change the way we think, feel, interpret, react, cope, expect, process, intereact and communicate? Three simple words: Experience new things. Do Different to Be Different."

"...the place I've always learned the most, had my biggest breakthroughs and experienced by biggest (internal) shifts was when I stepped out of my overthinking mind and experienced new things."

Friday, November 19

The Storm Before the Calm

In spite of my best intentions, it seems that life currently still resembles something like a tornado. It's been that kind of year. I liken my life this year to being a 'storm chaser'.

I have set some definite goals for next year, and I'd really like to start working on the them now. The problem is, I've got so much debris whirling around, that I can't begin on anything concrete until the storm of 2010 settles.

Part of that debris comes in the form of changes on the home front (nothing bad, don't worry) which have been unsettling of late. We go on our annual beach holiday this weekend, and it's come around so fast, because life has just been unpredictable. I have alot on my plate at present. I've been slowly working on eliminating the 'least urgent' from my life. But it's amazing that any attempt to simplify, seems be the a signal for the universe to send all manner of distractions and additional debris to add to the existing storm.

Philomena is going to prep next year, and so there's a little upheaval in the household. There are definitely some strange reverberations around at present. Very unsettling. So I'm just hanging in, and dealing with the daily debris which I accept won't start to clear until after Christmas.

At present it's difficult for me to get any type of consistency with training and get a solid start on my goals. I'm not liking it, but for the moment I just have to do what I can do, when I can do it, and use the remainder of the year to settle all those things that are whirling around up there in the current tornado which is my life. I'm confident it will settle for a new beginning in 2011.

There are many changes on the horizon for next year. Not just for me, but for my husband and little girl. And I have to say, it's been very draining. Yesterday I was motivated and happy I'd eked out a plan for next year, which involved letting some things go. Today I'm just tired, dealing with everything that everybody is throwing at me. I'm not a person to take on other people's stuff, but when it's in your own home, it's hard for it not to effect you. There has been my stuff too admittedly. And it seems that everyone at just at this moment wants a piece of me, and I think I'm just emotionally drained.

I've finally thought about our beach holiday come Sunday. I haven't had much a chance to think about it up until now. And you know what? I'm actuallly looking forward to being able to do very little apart from swimming in the surf and lying on the beach and building sandcastles; doing a little outdoor stuff with Philomena; pottering around the op shops; catching a movie; having a ritual afternoon snooze (the whole family); and having the time to sit out on the balcony, look out over Pumicestone Passage and contemplate how lucky we are to be in this wonderful country.

It's also lead-up time to Christmas, which means alot of socialising. To be honest, as much as I enjoy it, I prefer my own company and a life of routine and consistency (with food and nutrition). I haven't had much time for contemplation either, and for me, that is so important for my sanity and well-being.

However, I've come to the realisation that my life has changed in shape and form, and the routine and consistency I once thrived on, no longer suits my purpose. My life has evolved, and I'm finding it difficult to change the predictable formula of what has sustained me for two years. It's time for a shift in my paradigm, but internally I'm fighting the necessity of change, which is so drastically needed. It's time that my life become more intuitive. But I'm also a creature of planning and habit. So the remainder of the year is also about working out how to balance intuitive living, but retain some form of consistency. It requires a more flexible approach to my planning.

So next week, I'm going to use that time to contemplate how I'm going to achieve that, and meanwhile stop the debris whirling around in the tornado of my life, and get ready for the calm, before 2011 is upon us.

Sunday, November 7

I'm So Inspired By....Me!

"It must be understood that training is never completed.

When the warrior thinks that training is over he will find

that the "spirit of the thing itself" he has been studying

will elude him and fail to provide him with any future revelations.

He must never stop training. In this way the spirit of the warrior

will continue to grow."

- 'Book of Five Rings - The Definition of Miyamoto Musashi's Classic Book of Strategy',

by Steve Kaufman

Do I sound a little conceited? I'm not really one to gloat, but I'm going to take a leaf from Frankie's book (not saying that you gloat Frankie, because we all know how awesome you are)!

So why am I inspired by me? Well, actually, I've got some big goals for 2011, and we all know how inspired I am by Pauline Nordin who was 2010's pin-up girl, and who is looking at taking the title in 2011 too. But you know...in all honesty, I first want to get back to January 2009, back at the end of my 2nd Ideal Bodies Online program and my professional photo shoot.
I keep looking at those photos and I'm excited to get right back there. I mean, it's only about 5kg's away (minus depletion), and it's ONLY A DECISION! I'm so motivated and inspired to achieve great things in 2011! I'm just jumping out of my skin!

I haven't really been around alot in blogland or facebook lately. I've been too busy focusing on getting things right. I've been culling superfluous things from my life, getting things in order and doing alot of contemplation and planning. Meanwhile, I've been working on my head space and the slow build up of desire and reigning in the discipline. It's coming along nicely, and OMG how I want it so bad in 2011!

So now it's time to put in the action...time to walk my talk!

Saturday, October 30

I've been "Developing My Foundations"...

No...this is not me! :P

I just came across a recent blog post from Robertson Training Systems, and it when I read it, it was like...BHAM! Hey...that describes the year for me, and all this time what I thought was struggle, in fact was time being spent on "developing my foundations"...

Here's an excerpt from that blog, and you'll get what I mean...

"In architecture, we all know that a building is only as sound as the foundation it’s built upon.

You could have the most beautiful building known to man, but if it was built upon a poor foundation, it’s always at risk.

I would contend that this is true in almost every aspect of our lives, and today, I’m going to give you some real-world examples.

Let me begin by telling you a quick story.
This past year has been crazy. You guys know about me – I own two businesses (IFAST and RTS), I train consistently myself, and just have a ton of things going on in general.

So why has this year been harder than usual? I couldn’t figure it out until the other day, when it almost literally slapped me in the face!

The answer was simple – this year has been difficult because I’ve been rebuilding my foundation in all of these areas of my life."

You see...even though it has been a struggle, I have in fact made progress in relation to my injuries. I've overcome that initial hip injury (even though the degeneration and spur will always be there), and my muscular problems have definitely improved along with my hip/pelvis stability.

So when I look at it this way, I've come to realise that what I've done this year has been necessary and important for me to get right. I've had to go back to basics and rebuild (and I'm still doing that).

I've experimented in terms of what I thought I wanted to do, and found out what is inherently 'me' and how I do 'me' best.

So now I am in a great position, and have an idea of what I want to do next year and what I want to achieve (I've had a bit of chat to Liz, which has helped sort out the stuff I had going around in my head). My body from a structural point of view, is the best it's been for since I don't know when. And I now have a solid base once again to begin the next leg of my fitness journey.

So I'll end off with the finish of Mike Robertson's blog post. And here's to finishing strong in 2010 and starting stronger in 2011!

"At the end of the day, you’re only as strong as your foundation. I want to continue to grow both of my businesses; without ensuring the foundation was strong and stable, there’s no way I could achieve this.

These concepts apply to training as well. I still have goals and numbers I want to achieve. Going back to square one to fix things up isn’t the most exciting brand of training, but it’s absolutely necessary with the long-term goal in mind.

If you’re seeing success in training and in life, awesome! Don’t let the momentum slip between your fingers. Keep it rolling as long as you can.

But if you’re stuck, in a rut, or simply not seeing the progress you would like, critically evaluate your foundation. Chances are you may need to take a step back, and either fill in some cracks, or complete a major overhaul.

When it comes to foundational work, not only is it hard, but also it doesn’t feel like you’re accomplishing much. After all, in a lot of regards, you’ve already been there and done that!

But when it’s all said and done, you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term success."

Monday, October 25

How's That Workin' for Ya?

"Awareness without action is worthless!"
- Dr Phil McGraw

That's the last thing that popped into my head last night as it hit the pillow, and I'd been thinking of the year I'd had with all its' challenges..."How's that workin' for you?"

In a nutshell...it didn't.

It would have been nice though to realise that much earlier in the year, but that's part of journey and figuring it all out. And here's another Dr Phil quote to explain what I mean...
Life is a marathon, it's not a sprint."

So without the experience of hindsight, I would not have known that it wasn't working for me. I don't mean the year so much, but the goals I wanted at the start of the year. There was plenty of action, but not always in the right places.

At the start of the year it was all about Crossfit, and what amazing things I was going to achieve in doing it. I was actually starting to go okay until my hip gave me curry and I discovered the start of degeneration in the RHS hip socket and a bone spur in RHS ball (femoral head). That put an end to Crossfit. I mean...I could have persevered, but I would have to have changed the W.O.D (workout of the day) so much and constantly, it would have been too difficult and self-defeating after a while. Sometimes we just have to accept our limitations. And as much as I loved Crossfit and how it pushed me to my physical and mental limits, I knew in my heart that my body could not sustain the punishment long-term.

What I also found with Crossfit, is that I couldn't physically do anything else BUT Crossfit. There was just not enough juice left in the tank to do the others things I wanted to do, and I needed all that extra recovery time just to be able to get through the next session. I came to the realisation that as much as I wanted to do Crossfit, it wasn't completely aligned with what I wanted to achieve in other areas of my life. From my perspective, and this is just my opinion, it was either Crossfit OR nothing else, and I wasn't prepared to make that sacrifice. But you know, I'm proud of myself for having a go and trying my best. Otherwise I would have been left wondering.

Getting back into martial arts was one of my goals for 2010. Crossfit just took so much out of me that I couldn't do that, as well as martial arts. My body was just too fatigued. As it worked out, I haven't been able to get very far in my martial arts training this year. I've only just been able to maintain my skills and only because I've been doing it for so long. But I haven't been able to make progress. It wasn't entirely due to injury, but also to changed circumstances where I just couldn't get to training because AW is now travelling more often.

Army PT also played havoc with my injuries and with all of these things in the mix...Crossfit, martial arts, army...my body just wasn't getting the necessary recovery time to get over the hip injury. So I had to make some tough decisions.

Firstly, I had to admit that I'm not invincible. Secondly I had to fess up about the fact I was physically hurting. Now that was the hardest thing, because I have a bit of an ego when it comes to pushing myself. I've had this 'stop being a wuss' mentality and just sucked it up! Well that wasn't working for me either (because I would keep re-injuring), so I had to put my tail in-between my legs and admit I was in fact hurting and that in order for me to get over the injury and get stronger, I needed to give my body a break from the punishment.

From the army point of view it was hard, because I didn't want to jeopardise my medical class and be known as someone who 'jacked' on their mates. Yes...the army indoctrination is alive and well, and that's why it works as good as it does when things come to the crunch.

But in the end, it wasn't as bad as I imagined it to be. I basically had a medical and described my problem and requested abstaining from certain activities for a period of time to allow my hip injury to heal. It didn't adversely affect my medical class. And after everytihng was said and done, the break did allow just that, and I was able to continue with my normal PT sessions after a period of time. I'm still very cautious though and have a long way to go, but it's better now, and I bought some time.

I like the above illustration because it shows that the core doesn't just involve your abdominals, but takes into account the muscles of legs and back. It's more about 'mid-section' stability, rather than just the core of your body, i.e. as though you were sliced in half at the waist and looking down from above at the inner and outer layers, starting from skin, then working toward the centre, and looking at the muscles and ligaments surrounding the spine, and then the spine itself.

It's important to have a strong mid-section, but it can't remain that way unless we develop strong legs, including the quads, thighs, hamstrings, glutes and also a strong back. They all work together to maintain a strong mid-section. When one part fails to do it's job, the adverse flow-on affect to other parts of the body can be detrimental to your physical health and long-term well-being.

So this is what I've discovered. The only way around is to create stability in the mid-section as well as strength. And I've been pondering upon this lately as my goals begin to change. I've discovered that stability and flexibility, when it comes to the core are quite different things indeed, and depending on what we want to achieve, one is better than the other.

I've realised that in order to overcome my injuries, stability is my no. 1 priority! In fact, it is not only mine, but I believe that it should also be the priority of most people, especially as we get older.

When I have core stability, it will allow me to improve my core strength and I then will have the ability to incrementally progress towards flexibility. Anyway, that's what I hope I can achieve.

I say this, because I've realised that what was previously working for me in relation to my exercise program, may not completely work for me right now. My life, compared to when I did my Ideal Bodies Online programs is vastly different, and I can't expect that 'exactly' the same program will deliver the same results.

Well, actually...it would if I could stick to it as I did back in 2008, but my life, now that I'm in the army, and I'm back training in martial arts, and my rehab focus is different, determines that I need a different approach.

I've realised that I need a more flexible approach, and one that is more intuitive. But I'm finding it difficult to do that. I know what I want to achieve in 2011, but can I have it all? I love a program that everything is set out for me...no. of days doing weights and what body parts...no. of sets and reps and recovery-time...no. of cardio sessions. Nothing is left to chance.

I don't know how to bridge that gap between the want of being 'anal' about my programs and having everything set out for me to follow without straying from the program, to listening to my body and making the adjustments intuitively, depending on what my body is telling me at the time.

I know I can get results doing it the way I know best, and it's hard for me at the moment, because I'm grappling with this situation. But I know things have to change, and I can't just use the same formula, because my life has changed so dramatically. But I don't know how to get from where I am to where I want to be, and it's driving me crazy. I don't know how to formulate a plan for where I am right now. Thankfully, I will be talking to the divine Miss Liz to help me formulate an updated plan and give me a bit of a slap around the chops and set me straight. I just wanted to share what's going on in my head at the moment though. So hopefully this time next week I'll not only be much clearer about my plans for 2011, but more importantly, how I'll be able to achieve them. :)

I've been at a crossroad, because I'm not that person I was when I started my Ideal Bodies Online journey two years ago. What worked for me then, I've only just realised, will not work for me now, and it's not saying anything less about IBO, because I still strongly believe in them and the principles of the program. Otherwise I wouldn't be a Personal Success Mentor for them now. I know it works! I understand the principles and I endeavour to live those principles as best as I can. Hell...I'm still following my IBO nutrition plan (though I've been a naughty girl for a few months now...lol...). That's how I've been able to mostly maintain the results two years after first starting. It's a testament to the program!

However, there comes a time when we grow and it's time to move on. Don't worry...I'm not going to quit IBO! There are still alot of people who need my help and I really enjoy being able to help, motivate and inspire them. It also keeps me on my toes and is a constant reminder to be vigilant!

It's just a different phase of my life I'm about to enter. It's an exciting one, because I can see possibilities and those dreams I've been harbouring for so long, I'm beginning to see that just maybe, I can achieve them. I've proven to myself I can overcome, and I can find solutions. I've found that regardless of what your dreams and goals are, even if you may not be able to achieve them to the full extent of your desires, you can still achieve them. Regardless of how slowly you're making progress, remember that YOU ARE MOVING FORWARD. You are a winner, because you've had the courage to begin and to keep persevering through the challenges!

So ask yourself...is what you're doing working for you? Because if it isn't, maybe you need to find out what does!

Of course, I'd recommend you make sure you give the tree a good shake before you decide to move on and try another tree. It's important you understand the difference between making a change because it isn't working for you OR making a change just because you have a habit of not finishing what you start (a bad habit) and you're a lazy SOB who is into quick fixes!
So I'll finish of with my last Dr Phil quote...

“Are you doing what you're doing today because you want to do it, or because it's what you were doing yesterday?”

Tuesday, October 19

Shakin' that Ass!

Pauline Nordin

Pauline Nordin

"I see you baby...shakin' that ass!"

...and I'm over it! Shaken' my ass, that is.

At the moment, this is my inner dialogue..."I'm fat...my ass is huge..." Every time I walk past a window or a mirror and see my reflection. From the front it's not so bad, but when I turn around, I can see where my size 10's are currentlly straining in my gym shorts. I wore my 'daggy, fat gym clothes' today as punishment! I have all my beautiful Lorna Jane gym clothes hanging up in my cupboard, and I refuse to wear them until I'm at least 58kg! That will be my reward. :)

I'm about 4-5kg over my happy weight (I think I'm about 62-63kgs) and it's all gone to my ass, hips and stomach. I don't know my exact weight because my stupid scales decided to go spastic, and it seems I have to take them back. But do you think I can find the warranty and receipt? HELL NO! ****Word of Warning: Don't buy HoMedics scales - they're crap!

This is the heaviest I've weighed since my initial weight loss and second Ideal Bodies Online program, back in October 2008. So I've managed to maintain a pretty good weight for 2 years until recently.

This year I've put the weight back on because I haven't been able to train consistently or intensely, due to a chronic hip injury. What I've found though, is that my discipline in relation to nutrition goes hand-in-hand with my training. If I'm training consistently and with intensity, I stay focused on my nutrition. So the nutrition has definitely slid in the last few months.

What has improved though are my injuries! Since I've been concentrating on basic lifting, i.e. deadlifts and squats, my torso, glute and back strength and stability have improved. And I haven't even had the chance to really do the lifting over any decent length of time with consistency yet. It also has alot to do with the activation exercises that Liz has prescribed, and also the retraining I've had with weights, ensuring I'm activating the correct muscles.

I'm finding that I'm now using my glutes more, rather than my hip flexors, and using my back muscles, rather than my traps. So I've had less pain and tension in both my neck and shoulders, and better stability through the torso and hip and pelvis. For the first time in nearly 10 months, I've been able to run (road) without any stiffness or subsequent pain or discomfort to my RHS hip!

So...in spite of the weight gain, I've made progress in the rehab side of things, which I'm understandably very excited about! Even after I recently strained by lower back, from not bracing correctly during the last set of deadlifts, my recovery was alot faster than in previous times, where I've hurt my back. So now I can finally concentrate once again on training consistently and hard! Though, I'm finding that my endurance levels have decreased, so I'm having to build them up again.

I had a look back at my second IBO program to look at my starting weight. It was 61.7kgs and I was at 19.9% body fat. Well, in 3 months I was down to 58kgs and 54.75kgs after depletion and 11.6% body fat. So I know that I'm only ever 3 months away from getting lean!

That's all I need...3 months of consistent, solid work and precise nutrition! So as Kek has mentioned lately, I'm going to finish the year off strong (thanks Kek!). 2011 is going to be an AWESOME YEAR and I intend to get back on top of my game and definitely make it THE year of taking my fitness to the next level, like I had originally planned for 2010.

I already have a name for 2011, but I'll tell you as it gets closer to the end of the year.

I hope you like the pics. They are my idea of great butts! Pauline Nordin of course, has by far, the best butt. Well I think so anyway...lol.. I'm hoping that I get a better looking butt in 2011, but I know it will take alot of squatting and lifting heavy shit! I'm no where near lifting heavy shit, but who knows what may happen in the future. I've just got to keep working on it. Realistically though, I also know that to get a great, firm and muscular butt will probably take me a number of years to achieve.

So for now I'll just keep shakin' my ass, until the darned thing falls off!

Tuesday, October 12

To Dig Deep, Sometimes You Gotta Hit Rock Bottom...

* Yes, there is a grammatical error for you grammar nazis...Liz, Kek...you know who you are!

Some of my best posts are hatched in the gym. That's not to say that today's post will be my best post. It just means that alot of my material and thoughts come, when I'm working out and listening to my music and observing people around me.

Today I was thinking about where I am at, right now. It's not where I want to be physically. I want to be right back there in January of 2009 when I had my professional shots done. Well...at the moment I want to be there because that's when I felt and looked my best, and I'm not there right now. It's amazing how often we grasp the things we want the most, only to let it slip between our fingers. We get comfortable. We get complacent. We don't realise what we have in our hands.

But you know, when I was there I still wasn't satisfied. When I got there I knew what I was capable of achieving, and then I thought about what I could do better. There's always something we want to do better. I believed at the time that I hadn't reached my potential and that 2010 was about taking it to the next level, to see what was possible physically.

2010 was not to be, and it's been a year of struggle. Injury really sucks and just when I thought I had overcome, something else rears its' ugly head and you have to go back and retrace your steps.

But just because you retrace your steps, that doesn't mean you're starting again. This health and fitness journey is just that...a journey. It's not going to be a straight line from Point A to B. If you accept that from the very beginning, you'll achieve most of your goals.

If you've made a start and you look back, you'll find that you have in fact come a long way from when you did start and you have made progress. So be grateful that you had the courage to begin. If you're like me and you've achieved some success toward your goals, then take that to heart and draw upon your experience and that desire to take you beyond where you are now, to continue moving forward.

You have to begin with the attitude that whatever comes your way, you will deal with it and you WILL find a solution. And even more importantly, you will persevere until...
...until you get to the next step, and then the next one. Sometimes you have to step sideways or backwards until you can move forward, as long as you MOVE. As long as you continue striving.

Sometimes you've got to hit rock bottom before you make the decision to do something. For some, rock bottom is a very long way down and for others it's in varying degrees. Everyone's rock bottom is different. But I believe that until you reach that point, you won't dig deep enough to bring about the changes required to reach your goals.

I know for most, the journey of fat loss; weight loss; fitness, and/or health is a difficult one. We compare ourselves to others when we shouldn't be, because we don't know what they've been through or what they've done to get where they are.

You see all sorts of people in the gym and you make judgements, but you don't know their personal journeys or struggles. And guess what...you are going through your own (personal journey and struggles), so that doesn't make you any less of a person, or more of a person than the one standing next to you.

You might think that it's not worth digging deep when you train, because you're just starting out and you're not as fit or you don't look as good as that person standing next to you, so you give it only a half-hearted attempt, instead of a gold medal performance that you're worthy of!

Yes...you heard me right! A GOLD MEDAL PERFORMANCE! Every time you step into your training gear you're working toward an Olympic Gold! If you approached every session with that in mind, how would that change the way you train? How would that change the way you feel? And how would that manifest in your results?

You see...it doesn't matter if your Gold Medal Performance in the gym is only 2 minutes on the cross-trainer or 20 minutes. As long as you dig deep and give it your all for that whole entire time. If you're not doing this, you're cheating yourself of the possibilities that lay ahead. Because before too long, if you have the right attitude and you continue to dig deep, you will be able to turn that 2 minutes into 20 minutes. And if you're doing 20 minutes, then you could turn that into 40 minutes. The point I'm trying to make is...you need to better yourself every time you step into the gym...or whatever it is that you do.

So when you go back to the gym (or where ever you go), why not train like you're going for GOLD? Because 2 months...6 months...2 years down the track, you might just look at that person next to you thinking you'd love to look and be like them and realise that it IS YOU, and what you're looking at is your reflection in the mirror!

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