Tuesday, March 30

Wk 13 & Stuck in Limbo



Weighed in at 61.4kgs, thanks to a carb-loaded weekend (an increase of 1.4kgs in one week). Army food is not really what you would call 'balanced'. Though I do admit that having ice-cream after mains, probably didn't help, and staying at mum's and eating home cooking too...lol..a recipe for a disastrous weekend. It hasn't happened for a while.


Couple that with the fact I only trained in Crossfit once during the week. It was a great session too, but playing a touch footy game the same day (Army PT) put me out of action once again with the hip. I'd had enough after that, and as I intimated in a previous post, I finally said something. Too late though. I'm still hurting. It was just too much all in one day. 11 fast rounds of 15 squats (Crossfit) had me hardly able to walk properly for the rest of the week, of which the DOMS only subsided on Sunday (from Tuesday).

Last night I went to the chiropractor. Pelvis was out. I'm feeling better today, but something is amiss, and I will be taking the rest of the week off from all training to give the hip a rest (once again) and off to the physio on Thursday. Feels like ground hog day.


It's very frustrating, but I'm not upset. I'm feeling strangely 'nothing'. I know deep down I have to approach this differently. It's the army PT that's stuffed me up, but now that I don't have to do anything that is going to hinder my recovery, I can breathe a sigh of relief, get my hip feeling better and start again.


I definitely don't have the drive I had last year. It's hard to maintain drive when you're constantly besieged with injuries. Well, actually, it's a chronic injury and it's something I just have to keep working on, and get the balance right.


Meanwhile, I've been in a cleaning frenzy. I'm do a spring clean in autumn. It's much needed and I've feeling more at peace here at home with the de-cluttering. My home feels so lovely to be in at the moment. This weekend I'll be doing some much needed gardening...composting, replanting and buying new plants. I've also been organising paperwork and other neglected tasks, hence my absence from blogland and facebook. It's been nice. I'm getting more things done at home.


It would be nice to train a whole month without injury!


The juggling act is keeping my weight at a reasonable level until I can begin to build some consistency with training. If I could train 2 x week in Crossfit, just 1 x week martial arts and still do my army PT without injury, and do that for a whole month that would be wonderful.


I'm 3-4kgs over my happy weight. I think I've done well to be where I am at, considering my lack of training. I looked at my stats last week and compared them with January last year when I had my photo shoot. I was 54.75kg on the day of the shoot. 5cm difference in chest; 4cm in waist; hips 8.5cm (huge!); thighs 4cm. It just goes to show where I carry the fat! Now, I know that I had done depletion, so I understand unless I do depletion, these types of stats (as per photo shoot) aren't realistic. But it's good to know that I can shed the fat around the hips, stomach and thighs which are real stubborn areas for me.


At this stage, I'm not going to achieve any fat loss unless I increase my exercise. Until that happens, I feel like I'm stuck in limbo. I'm just hanging on to what I can do and apart from the occasional blowout (like the last weekend), I'm being fairly disciplined with my nutrition.


So at the moment I'm feeling quite detached and stuck like a record playing over and over again. Not going backwards, but not moving forward either...stuck in limbo.


I know deep down it's only a decision. I've done it before. I know that I can do other things and if I really want it, I can still achieve my goals. I just have to go about it in a different way to what I'm doing, but I haven't actually sat down and made the decision.





So that's what I need to do. I have 3 months to see what I've got in me. It's time to draw the line in the sand, and do what I know I need to do.


Monday, March 29

Qi Gong: Lessons 3 & 4...Heaven & Earth & Letting Go



"Yin and Yang should be respected to an equal extent"

- 'Mastering Miracles', Master Hong Liu


Before you begin, please refer to Golden Eight Exercises - General Instructions.
The following is taken from the book 'Mastering Miracles'.


Form 3: Between Heaven and Earth (Figure 8-4)







Purpose and Effect: The diametrically opposed movements of the hands pull at and uplift the stomach, spleen, liver, and gallbladder, thus balanceing and coordination them. It also stimulates peristalsis in the digestive system, aiding the stomach and intestines in digestion.

How to Begin: Move your left foot to the side so your feet are should-width apart. Sweep your hands out to the sides, to the front, then to an area just below your navel, called the dan tien, as though you are gathering energy (a).


As you inhale, bring your hands up in front of your solar plexus (the top art of the stomach, just below the heart).

As you exhale, separate your palms, rotating the right palm upward toward the sky and the left palm downward toward the earth to the side of your body. Go up on your toes if your balance is adequate. Eyes and head follow the movement of the right palm upward.

Move the palms in opposite directions until the right arm is fully extended above the head with the fingers pointing toward the left and the palm facing the sky. The left hand should be fully extended downward with the fingers toward the front and the palm facing the earth (b). Make sure your hands are fully flat and horizontal. If you arms are not flexible enough, you can angle your upper palm somewhat facing forward and your lower palm at less than a fully ninety-degree angle from the ground.

Visualize that although the two hands are far apart, they are connected with Qi to both heaven and earth.

As you inhale, return arms to lower rib cage area, placing both palms on the rib cage, fingers facing down (c).

As you exhale, slide both hands down across your abdomen, ending naturally as far as your hands can go (top of legs), directing bad energy down your torso and out the legs and feet. Return your hands to the starting position in front of your abdomen, with the other palm on top. Repeat the steps for the opposite side. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. (Three repetitions would mean three with right hand up and three with left hand up).

video

Form 4: Look Back and Let Go (Figure 8-5)


"They should enable their breath to communicate with the outside world; and they should act as though they loved everything outside."




Purpose and Effect: This exercise provides relief from stress and stress-related disorders. Practicing this is especially helpful for long-term stress, emotional turmoil, and the effects of aging.

Turning as far as possible stimulates circulation in the body, neck, eyes, head, and central nervous system, and prevents high blood pressure and eye and neck problems. Twisting the spine stimulates the internal organs and thighs, and is good for the waist. It also improves blood circulation.

How to Begin: From the Natural Standing Form, move your left foot out so your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees in a horse stance.
As you inhale, sweep your hands about five inches out from the side of the wiast with thumbs making a well-stretched V and your palms facing down (a).
As you exhale, bend your knees slightly an distribute your weight evenly over both fee. As you bend the knees and exhale, guide your energy to your lower dan tien (just below your navel).
As you inhale, rotate your upper body to the left as far as possible. Turn your head to look over your left shoulder (b,c). Make sure your shoulders have remained loose. Hold this position for one second.

As you exhale, rotate back to center position. Repeat in the opposition direction to complete one repetition. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.




video

Wednesday, March 24

Qi Gong: Lesson 2...The Archer


"The breath of heaven is pure and light."


- 'Mastering Miracles: The Healing Art of Qi Gong', by Master Hong Liu


Before you begin, please refer to Golden Eight Exercises - General Instructions
The following is taken from the book, 'Mastering Miracles'


"Form 2: The Archer (Figure 8-3)


Purpose and Effect: Extending your chest and turning your neck and head improves your circulation, especially in your head and neck area. It also improves heart and lung function. By improving posture and balance, it helps prevent both structural and functional disorders associated with poor posture.





How to Begin:From the natural Standing Form, move your left foot out so your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart, with your weight evenly distributed. Bend your knees slightly into a horse stance (a). Keep this same foot and knee position thoughout the entire exercise.

As you inhale, sweep your arms up into a crossed position about six inches in front of your heart with the right hand inside, palms facing the body.

As you exhale, look at the wrists where they cross. Concentrate on that spot, thinking that you cannot be stopped in your movement. Curl the fingers of your right hand into a loose fist as if to draw the string of a bow. Rotate your left hand so the palm faces away from the left side of the body (b). Imagine that you are holding a bow in your left hand and holding the string with your right hand.

As you inhale, turn your eyes and head to follow the left middle finger while you push the left hand away from the left side of the body until it is fully extended with the hand at a ninety-degree angle from the arm. Visualize this as the left hand pushing a mountain. The right fist "pulls" the string back until the right fist is inf front of the right shoulder, with the right, bent arm parallel to the ground (c). The pulling is done with soft, firm strength - not explosiveness.

Allow the hips to rotate partially toward the left hand (thus allowing further lung stretch), and the knees to straighten somewhat. Don't twist your chest. As the arms are at full stretch, concentrte on opening your chest as well as your mind.

As you exhale, return hands to crossed position, continuing to inhale.

Repeat this exercise with the opposite hands."




video

*N.B. Sorry about the boobs, but I'm not doing this lesson again! Anyway, it's nice to look like I have boobs...well, er...cleavage, sort of - gotta love those push-up bras...lol...Yes Frankie, I know...they're definitely no match for your norks...he..he..he...(not that I'm trying). And the reason I look like crap is because I worked last night.

Tuesday, March 23

Wk 12...Stats



I'm not long home from work, and usually have a cuppa and unwind before hitting the sack, so I thought I'd save some time for tomorrow, and fit in a quick post on weekly stats.

It's the 3 month mark, and 'Year of the Sexy Bitch' isn't going quite according to plan. There's the rest of the year left, and I'm not reviewing the goals until the 6 month mark, though I just had a quick peek. I still haven't hit any goals yet. However, considering the challenges I've had regarding injuries and setbacks, I'm happy with how I'm going, and the fact I am maintaining my weight, which as of today is 60kg. Still haven't hit my happy weight of 58kg, but I'm maintaining my discipline pretty much and training hard when I can.

I've had a good week, and the hips has been feeling great. Though after tonight's touch footy session, the old hip is sending me some reminders. I'll see how it pulls up in the morning. I had a word to my superior officer, regarding my hip and he's allowing me 'not' to participate in anything which I think will exacerbate the hip. He was great and very supportive. Phew! It's been the army training which has been unpredictable which has often put me behind the eight ball and hindering my recovery, so this is a breath of fresh air...time to ensure my hip gets some recovery time.

There have been some changes in the stats/measurements, which came as a bit of a surprise. And at least I've got the weight down from the start of the year. I just need to up the ante as best I can (without injury of course) over the next 3 months.

Okay just a short one...will be doing Qi Gong: Lesson 2 tomorrow.

Here's the stats...

Monday, March 22

Qi Gong: Lesson 1...Reach for Happiness



"After a night of sleep, people should get up early...They should loosen their hair and slow down their movements. By these means they can fulfill their wish to live healthfully."

- 'Mastering Miracles', Master (Dr) Hong Liu


The following is directly taken from the book, 'Mastering Miracles: The Healing Art of Qi Gong', my Master Hong Liu.



Golden Eight Exercises - General Instructions

"Do each exercise at least three times, once or twice a day. Stay within your personal comfort level, especially if you are weak or ill. This may mean bending the knees less, not stretching as far, or approximating the movements that are beyond your ability.

Focus on these exercises, keeping your thoughts as tranquil as possible. If your thoughts turn to the stresses in your life, do not dwell on them. Just let the thoughts come and go and focus on form and function.

Proper breathing will help you do this. Keep your breathing smooth, harmonious, and deep while you concentrate on the forms in these exercises. And remember that Qi Gong exercises are done extremely slowly, "as if moving in calm stillness," as an ancient poet described it.

A note of caution: These exercises are usually of great benefit. However, if you develop any problems like extremely sore joints or tendons, then cut back on the amount of exercise you are doing. If the problem persists, consult your doctor.

To Begin: The Natural Standing Form (Figure 8-1)

Each form begins in the Natural Standing Form, which means keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight and lengthened slightly as if someone were pulling up on a string at the top of your head. Keep your tongue lightly pressed against the roof of your mouth, and your chin slightly tucked in.



Form 1: Reach for Happiness (Figure 8-2)

Purpose and Effect: In Chinese medicine, the lungs are the most important organs for creating and sustaining vitality. When we inhale, we take in oxygen and Qi, both of which are vital to our existence. That is why the lung exercises come first in Qi Gong practice."

"The exercise is good for digestive problems; heart, lung, spine, or back problems; and stiff neck and eye problems.

It exercises the entire body through stretching and breathing, also bringing oxygen to the brain for greater alertness. Scientific experiments have shown that inhaling and exhaling with the arms above the head increases llung volume. This exercise decreases the pressure of the internal organs on the heart and increases the venous circulation and blood flow back to the heart. It also massages and tones the internal organs.

When you lock your fingers and push upward, it adjusts and balances your muscles, tendons, skeletal system, nerves, and spine.

When you lower your hands and exhale, you are expelling waste energy and relieving fatigue. At the same time, the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm relax, improving circulation to the abdominal area.

How to Begin: From the Natural Standing Form, move your left foot out so your feet are shoulder-width apart. Hands hang relaxed at your sides (a).



As you inhale, gracefully sweep your hands out to your sides, to the front, and then let them settle somewhat in front of yuor navel. Your palms should be facing up, with the fingers of each hand pointing toward each other (b). As you sweep your hands, imagine that you are gathering up energy and creating a delicate yet powerful ball of energy. Make sure your armpits are open the entire time so the energy flow is not impeded.

Raise your hands, lifting the energy ball very lightly and steadily up to the front of your heart (c). Move slowly, as though the ball could pop or blow away if you are not gentle or steady in guiding it. Your chest is full and open. (If you have your hands too close to your body, the ball will be squished, and in physical terms, your arms and chest will be constricted.)

Turn your palms down, thumbs rotating inward. Gently interlace the fingers of your opposite hands and lock them together.

As you exhale, with your eyes and head following your hands, raise and rotate your hands (from palms down to palms out front to palms up until they are stretched above your head)(d). Press the ball of energy toward the sky, stretching your arms as far as they an go while keeping your fingers interlocked. Imagine pushing the ball to the far limits of the sky, raising on your toes as far as your balance allows (e). Remain mentally grounded, however, seeing yourself as a rooted tree. Push upward for one second as you fully exhale. Then inhale as deeply as is comfortable.

As you exhale, unlock your fingers and return your head and eyes to a forward position. Let your arms float outward as if gently pushing down two very large balloons (f). Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. When finished, consciously maintain the height and full-chested posture that you have just achieved."




video

*N.B. Sorry about the video being sideways. I haven't done this before, and did it lengthwise to get in full extension of my body for the demo. Please overlook my PJ's, but it was more comfortable doing the exercise in them.

Sunday, March 21

Qi Gong: Lessons in Health



"In Qi Gong we believe that we are constantly being charged with energy. This energy comes from the earth and the sky, our workplace and home, even other people. It also comes from the things we eat, our activities, and even our psychological state. The combination of yin (passive) and yang (active) energy is Qi. The practice and study of Qi is Qi Gong."

- 'Mastering Miracles: The Healing Art of Qi Gong', by Master (Dr) Hong Liu
* N.B. All quotes in this post are from the book, 'Mastering Miracles.'



I'm going to share with you some Qi Gong exercises, as taught by Master Hong Liu (" is the first person to fully integrate extensive apprenticeships in both Eastern and Western Medicine"). The reason I've decided to share this, so that you, like me, can hopefully benefit from its' practice. Firstly, I want to tell you that I'm not an expert on Qi Gong. I've practiced it over the years, and have fleetingly taught it during my years as a martial arts instructor. Regardless of whether Qi Gong is taught specifically for martial arts, or general health, you will find that the basis of many of the exercises are grounded in the same origins.

Like most things, you never know what you have until you lose it, and that goes for the Qi Gong skills I learned during those many years of martial arts training. Now, as I'm getting older (and my body is telling me as such), I'm only starting to realise the signficance of what I've learnt, and I'm now choosing to delve into my chosen art and all its' wonders with a thirst for deeper knowledge, and also in the hope that it will yield its' secrets (and benefits) to me over time.

When you really start to look beneath the surface, you realise how amazing our bodies are, and its' ability to heal itself, especially through something as simple as breathing and movement, and what I believe Qi Gong is - a form of (moving) meditation.

"Imbalances in five main areas will cause cancer," I told Raymond. "Environmental, physical, chemical, biological and psychological. To prevent a disease like cancer, one must watch his diet, maintain emotional stability, avoid pollution, and increase physical fitness. This will result in a high level of immune strength, which will get rid of the bad energy.

It is the mention of "good" and "bad" energy that usually makes Western doctors flinch. They are accustomed to thinking in terms of tissue and blood, and not the energy that permeates it. In Qi Gong it is the other way around. We look at this energy as the source of both health and illness."




The exercises I'd like to share with you are called 'The Golden Eight Exercises', as per Master Hong Liu's book. I will explain one or two exercises at a time, starting tomorrow. They are quite simple, however, when you first attempt them, they will take a little practice to do them correctly. Persevere, because you'll have them down pat in no time, and once you've learnt them, they will comfortably slot into your day.

These exercises can be done by anyone of any age, however, there are particular exercises, depending on whether you have a particular condition (pregnancy, etc), where it is recommended to either avoid them altogether or adjust the exercise (I will include any warnings). Even people who are extremely ill and hospitalised can do these exercises from a sitting or lying position. You just do what you can, without tiring yourself unnecessarily, especially if you are chronically ill. Of course, if you are extremely ill, or have a medical condition, I would recommend that you still check with your physician whether you are able to do these exercises.

I would recommend that when you begin, only do two to three repetitions to begin with, and concentrate on the quality of your technique. Try to get the breathing and movements correct, so that you will derive the maximum benefit from the exercise, and it's always best to learn things correctly before habitually practicing them incorrectly anyway.

I have also scanned diagrams of the steps of the exercises, to help you do the movements correctly. I will also be including an explanation of what and how, these specific exercises will improve your health, as per 'Mastering Miracles'.




Tomorrow I will share the first of the Golden Eight Exercises, called 'Reach for Happiness'.

"Although Chinese medicine uses different terms and philosophies than its' Western counterpart, its goal is essentially the same: to rid the body of illness and disease. It is in the approach to this common goal that the two systems show their differences.

In Western medicine, the patient is often passive and merely receives treatment. In Chinese medicine, the patient must be actively involved in his healing. We believe that if the patient will not participate in the fight against his disease, then the illness will likely take whatever course it wishes. It is that simple."

Thursday, March 18

"Mummy, I Want to be a Superhero when I Grow Up"...




Listen to the Mustn'ts

Listen to the Mustn'ts child,
Listen to the Don'ts
Listen to the Shouldn'ts
The Impossibles, the Won'ts
Listen to the Never Haves
Then Listen to Me


Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.

- Shel Silverstein


That's what little Miss Phil said to me this afternoon (about being a superhero that is). How could I tell her otherwise. She can be whom ever she wants to be, and this is not the time to be telling her she can't be a superhero. Anyway...I don't want to tell her and spoil her fun.




Today she wants to be a super hero. Yesterday she wanted to be the Avatar. The week before that she wanted to be a princess. Today we watched Mulan, and there she was again shouting "HI-YAH!" and doing a pretty good side kick and punch, that any mother with a martial arts background would be proud of. Considering I've never shown her any moves, and won't until she's in primary school, I was secretly chuffed.


And just to set the record straight, we have explained to Phil that she can only kick and punch as make-believe (at this stage), and it's never to be used to intentionally to hurt anyone. Though I have to admit, I'll be showing her how to defend herself when the time comes, as it's alarming what is going on with bullying at schools these days. Mind you, I'm hopeful that by helping her develop her confidence, as well as tolerance and respect of others, that this in itself will do much to prevent being the recipient of a bully or otherwise. Our body language is also very important in the prevention of becoming a victim. Often, it's messages that we send out to others - ones of being a victim which can attract would-be bullies or attackers, and the more confidence (as opposed to arrogance) you have, the less likely someone will choose you as their victim.

Anyway...got off on a tangent there.

Oh...yes...that's it...Superheroes!

I just love the sincerity of children's imaginations. They dream big and they dream bold.
They hold nothing back, and nothing is impossible. When did we lose this ability to dream big and bold? And it's not just about dreaming big, it's also about BELIEVING!

But you know...I think there's actually quite alot of us who still dream we are superheroes (like me), but some of us are just too plain chicken to admit that we do, because we're supposed to be grown-ups. Yep...I still dream about being a superhero when I grow up. It's sooooo much fun! If you haven't tried it...I dare you...go on...just try imagining being whomever or whatever you want to be. So I suppose what I'm saying is that for me, the word superhero is being someone or something whom or which you've always aspired to be, regardless of how ludicrous the reality might be.




For me, listening to my music is my gateway to Superhero-dom. I can go there anytime and be whom ever I want to be. I can do 30 muscle-ups in a single (crossfit WOD) bound - run 2.4km's in under 10min's - do 50 push-ups without a break - do a jumping, spinning side-kick, flying through the air in spectacular fashion - AND....do it all while looking RIPPED, SLEEK AND SEXY! Hee..hee..hee...

The thing is, there's always someone who is better, stronger, fitter, faster, better looking than you. But that doesn't have to stop you from aspiring to be the best you, that you can be, even if that means dreaming about something that is way out there.

You see...you may never reach the pinnacle of whatever it is that you imagine or dream about, but if you genuinely put in the ACTIONS, consistently and with persistence, then each day you can be better than you were yesterday. And tomorrow, when you look back, you'll be amazed at how far you've come and how much your life has been enriched along the way.

*P.S. Thanks to Andrew for the wonderful poem at the start of today's post. I discovered it amongst his thought-provoking blog posts. This one's a keeper, and I can't wait to be able to read this to Philomena.

Wednesday, March 17

Wk 11...Ho Hum



This is how I feel today.


Another night of little sleep, thanks to Miss Phil. Got home from work at 11pm and I usually need an hour to unwind, so hit the sack at midnight, only to be woken less than an hour later by Missy. AW usually just goes straight to her bed, and I'm left with little Miss Phil wanting a bottle (still), then tossing and turning and wanting another bottle (arghhhhh) about 2 hours after, which isn't normal. She then happily woke at a stupid hour of the morning. It's times like these that I'm not very patient and just a little short. Needless to say I've had enough of this, and tonight there will be tears! I'll be sending her back to her own bed. I've already started warning her this morning that this is what is going to happen. So tonight I'm determined to get a good night's sleep.


Weighed in yesterday morning...60.6kg. No change on the scales. I'm content with that at present. Zone Diet is going well (still can't resist those extra nuts though...lol...). Had a beautiful Indian dinner on Saturday night to celebrate a friends 42nd birthday part. It was great to catch up with people I haven't seen in about 15 years! The frightening part was seeing their kids all grown up after teaching them martial arts when they still in primary school. I keep forgetting how old I am...lol...


Think I'll go and lie on the recliner and see if I can catch up on a little shut eye. Told you it was ho hum.


P.S. Had a great Crossfit session yesterday...so much fun! Muscle-ups were on the agenda. I can't do one, so I worked on transitions and other exercises to help increase the strength required to do a muscle-up. So, it will be lots of practice doing bar dips, pull-ups, L-sit-ups, V sit-ups and transitions (on the gymnastic rings). I will have to add that to my list of goals to achieve...a Muscle-up.













* P.S. The transitions we practice are usually done at a lower height, and done slower, to perfect the process and moving through the pattern. The video is done quickly.

Monday, March 15

The Soft Whisper of Ying



"Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something,
and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent."

- Dalai Lama



I didn't get much sleep last night. I don't function well or handle things as well as I normally do when I have little sleep. Phil has a cold (as do I too) and when she has a blocked nose, she finds it difficult to sleep and is very restless. We put her in our bed last night (AW slept in her bed) to keep an eye on her. However, the downside is, I get very little quality sleep with Phil constantly turning and twisting, heavily breathing and kicking me while moving.

I was rather annoyed, considering I was to return to Wing Chun training tonight. I feel like crap today, so will have to give it a miss once again to ensure I get a good night's sleep. Luckily, I have the option of training on Wednesday night. Tomorrow is Crossfit and Reserves in the evening, so I want to make sure I'm well rested and feeling my best.

Anyway...in my state of interrupted sleep, many thoughts came to the fore, as well as strange dreams. My dreams have once again become quite prolific in the last 6 months or so, with them becoming more detailed and frequent only in the last 3 months. There was quite a period of time, years actually, where I think I suppressed those dreams, though not consciously. I think that since getting back in touch with my deeper feelings and being more at peace with myself, it has released something deep within me.

In regard to our physical being, I believe you need to take heed of the warning signs or messages your body gives you. Things like when you're fatigued or injured. It's important to be in tune with your body, so that you can give it what it needs to heal and to be at your optimum.

And so, these last few months I think my body has been sending me messages. And amongst those messages to take heed of the injuries of late, has been the soft whisper of Ying.

I remember many years ago, in the thick of my martial arts training, my masseuse, Gareth would reiterate to me..."Kerry, you need more Ying and less Yang!" Of course, I would laugh it off. Besides, I was young, strong and disciplined. I loved training and I loved training hard. I would train with the men at every opportunity, because I thought girls fought like, well...girls! At that stage I was training six days per week in martial arts, and training hard.
And on weekends I would cycle for hours, lost in the freedom and exhilaration of pushing myself on the hill climbs around the back of Springwood, Daisy Hill and Rochedale, and feeling the wind in my hair on those steep descents. Pure bliss...hmmm...cycling...might be time to revisit those feelings, since running isn't a realistic option for my future health.

The thing is, I've always loved going hard. There's always been a part of me that knew eventually, that pursuing a Yang existence alone, would not be sustainable forever. During my time in martial arts I've trained and taught Tai Chi and Qi Gong, but I never took these skills to the next level in my own development. I wanted to learn as much (Shaolin) Kung Fu as I could, while I physically could. There's still a big part of me that wants to get stronger again, and continue where I left off in the pursuit of the more physically demanding skills of martial arts.

However, the last few months has made me realise that maybe it's time to bring the balance of more Ying into my life. It's time to start connecting with the deeper and more spiritual side of my physical existence. Not only to help heal my body, but to strengthen it physically in a way which is more conducive to longevity. And to do that, it's time to spend time quieting the mind...stopping that monkey mind or my inner gollum...developing my intuition and awareness, in order to achieve a life more simple, yet more qualititive, and to help take the skills I already have, to a deeper, more meaningful and enriching level.

So I think the time is near to start on the path of some meditation, and revisit my Qi-Gong. I flurted with meditation while practicing Buddhism, some 15 years ago now. I've been thinking of going back to the temple to do some meditation classes to get me on my way.

Anyway...I'll leave you with a link to a new blog I've recently discovered thanks to Andrew and Wendy. It's called Lessons from the Monk I Married, and this is a post on 'Meditation'.

As far as silence goes, I'm finding that it's something I'm yearning more of these days. I enjoy my own company and being lost in my thoughts, but my thoughts become too busy and at times I tend to overanalyse. I also wish at times that I would shut my mouth and say nothing. It always brings to mind a quote from the Tao Te Ching...

"Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know. Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust. "

Friday, March 12

Code of Persistence


Code of Persistence
  1. I will never give up so long as I know I am right.

  2. I will believe that all things will work out for me if I hang on to the end.

  3. I will be courageous and undismayed in the face of poor odds.

  4. I will not permit anyone to intimidate or deter me from my goals.

  5. I will fight to overcome all physical handicaps and setbacks.

  6. I will try again and again and yet again to accomplish what I desire.

  7. I will take new faith and resolution from the knowledge that all successful men and women have had to fight defeat and adversity.

  8. I will never surrender to discouragement or despair no matter what seeming obstacles may confront me.

'How to Turn Failure into Success', Harold Sherman

Tuesday, March 9

Wk 10 & Defeating the Enemy called Average


I'm focusing on what I can do.

Here I was thinking that life was going to be less than what I envisaged. After lots of reading and searching for solutions to my current physical limitations, I realised that I'd forgotten the reasons I started this journey in the first place. And it wasn't about being 'average'. Time to get back on track

Weigh-in...60.6kg. Not bad, considering I've done little exercise in the last week. Start of wk 3 on the zone diet. Still eating a few extra nuts here and there.

Today I go back to Crossfit. I'm feeling positive. I still have some residual aching and sensation in the hip, but I think that this will just be how things are from here in. Having the start of bone spurs is not something that will just go away. I just may experience degrees of it (discomfort), and no doubt there will be periods where I will need to take a rest or drop my intensity.

Thanks Nicole for the reminder and link to Craig Harper's recent post. I hadn't actually read it, and after doing so, it has also helped me put things more into perspective. I'm glad that I'm continually stepping out of my comfort zone. I am happy and content in knowing that I'm constantly challenging myself when possible and this year, thanks to Crossfit, adaptation is a normal part of life. I'm on track to changing my body for the better. That's always been the plan.

Sunday, March 7

Change & Growth


"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."

- M. Scott Peck



Does anyone have a copy of 'Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' that I could borrow? It looks as though mine went to the op shops when I did a major clean out (strongly encouraged by AW). I really regret doing that cull. I hate parting with my books.

P.S. Thanks Kristin...your post gave me a much needed wake up. :)


Saturday, March 6

Doldrums



I can't just help myself.

I haven't trained in Crossfit this week due to my hip setback. I promised myself not to look at the WODs (workout of the day), but I just can't help myself. Just one week without training and I'm pining over Crossfit like a lost puppy.

Please...don't tell me how sorry you are. Things aren't really so bad. I'm just feeling a little down and I need to vent. This week no doubt I'll go through a whole gamit of emotions. Hey...I've been told that I just can't run, jump, squat below 90deg...in the big scheme of things, that's not too bad. There's still alot I can do. Nearly 4 years ago now, I couldn't even lift my leg to get into the shower, or hardly walk. I've come a long way, and I need to remind myself just how far I've come.

After seeing the chinese doc, I felt great, and even though my hip mobility has returned, I'm still sore through the hip joint. It's just an aching, but it's enough to have me feel unlike myself.

I've been scouring the CF Journal posts and videos under 'medical/injuries' and 'exercise physiology'. It's important for me to find solutions and information about my particular injury/problems. It helps keep me positive and gives me hope that I can always overcome. I found some great little videos regarding injuries and training with injuries. I've decided I'm going back to training next week. I know there's alot I can do, despite this hip. I just have to scale and modify.

Anyway...the video above is of the Crossfit Australasian Qualifiers, held in July last year. CF competitons haven't really been on the agenda, but I was even entertaining the possibility of trying my first one at the end of the year. That was until recently. It's the furtherest thing from my mind now, and my sole objective is JUST TO TRAIN!

I was a bit pissed because I was just starting to feel great in my CF sessions and picking up in consistency again, and then WHAM! So I return to training this coming week very apprehensively. More than likely, the feeling will be shortlived. It's never as bad as what I envisage.

Well, that's it. Sorry about the vent, but I thought what the hell. Everyone seems to have f*#ed off elsewhere in blogland for the time being. I'm not ready to do that yet. I still feel the need to bore all of you to death, while I work out my demons and frustrations. :P

P.S. Today CF Brisbane is holding the Qld Sectional Qualifier. I've attached the link to the Crossfit Games site, detailing the WODs for today, if you want to check it out.

Friday, March 5

Identity Crossroads



Identity:

1. The distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity: individuality.

2. Who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group which make them different from others.

****WARNING: LONG POST****

When you reach a point where you may need to accept your own mortality, it's a difficult thing to do. I know there are those of you who have had to make some tough decisions when you've realised that there are just things you can't do physically anymore and you accept this is move on (or do you really accept it?).

I reached my first identity crossroads 19 months ago now. I'd been clinging to an outdated identity. Life had changed; circumstances had changed...I'd changed, and I finally realised that in order to find happiness and be content I had to let go of the past and move on. And in moving on I had to re-create myself.

It's not that I wanted to change my identity and the true essence of who I am, but moreso, I needed to update it. It was time for an identity makeover. To give it a refresher; clear away the cobwebs and catch up with the times.

In that process I've worked out that my identity revolves around being not just being fit and healthy, but HOW I do fit and healthy....and it must be DIFFERENT...it must be UNIQUE... and it must give me a sense power and control, and be challenging enough to keep me motivated. And lastly, it must be something that I feel is achievable, yet just out of my reach and slightly elusive...is forever evolving, that there is always a sense of mystery and mystique...sought of like searching for the holy grail. Obviously at some point, you reach milestones, but you're always setting new ones in its' (holy grail) pursuit.

So here I am again...at the crossroads.

And like I said, I'm coming face-to-face with my own mortality and the reality that I am in fact getting older, and I physically won't be able to do everything that I want to do. At the moment, I haven't reached any finality about what I can or can't do. I'm still exploring all avenues and solutions in continuing to move toward my fitness goals.

Yesterday, I had my x-rays done on my hips, as I've had a ball and socket issue on the RHS to match the muscular imbalances on that side and glute weakness. At first we thought it was purely muscular, but after yesterday, it's been confirmed that there is a beginning of some bone degeneration of the ball (humerus) in my RHS hip. Hence all the flair-ups I've been having periodically.




My physio has basically said to rest and hope the inflammation goes down (and the slight pain in my hip and front of thigh), and to give him a ring on Monday. If the inflammation goes down, he said I can return to training, but slowly, and no running, jumping or impacting movements that will exacerbate the hip joint. Oh...and no deep squatting below 90deg for now. If the inflammation doesn't settle down, then he's talking 'Orthopaedic specialist'...***dread.

So yesterday, understandably I was a little down.
All of the sudden those images I had of achieving amazing physical feats...the ones I'd been nurturing since the start of my re-creation, suddenly vanished, and reality began to take it's place. For me, that's like a death sentence. I'm at my best when my head is in the clouds and my reality is something of a parallax.

But then, as always, when it seems that there is only one option...one solution, the eternal optimist in me goes on the offensive, and I start to look for possible solutions. That's how I resurrected myself before. I'm a firm believer in exhausting all your options before making things final in your mind and heart. And sometimes the solutions can come from the most unexpected sources, if you would only open your mind to the possibilities.

I have come to accept that maybe, I may not be able to do some things, and I might have to change HOW I do fitness. Rather than running, my physio has suggested cycling. He has recommended I continue with Crossfit, as the benefits for me long term are great, especially in relation to core strength and stability and overall muscle strength. At this stage I just may have forego some certain types of exercises (like box squats). But hey...I've been scaling since I've started, so that's not new in crossfit. Just about everybody starting out is doing some form of scaling, and there are so many crossfitters who are working with pre-existing injuries and physical limitations. I'm no different there.

My only concern is how this will affect the Reserves. I will just have to play it by ear. I'm not in infantry or something that requires me to be in peak physical condition to be able to do my job. I'm in admin...a clerk...pfffttt! However, I still have to maintain a certain level of fitness and be able to pass my fitness tests, which I don't have a concern about. It's mainly running which is the issue, and also pack-marching. This is horrendous in terms of the pressure on the lower back and lower limbs and would have to be the most detrimental activity for health, I've seen in the army. Army packs are not structured to enable you distribute the weight correctly - not like hiking/mountaineering packs are designed. The Army is not at the forefront of exercise science, let me tell ya! The army doesn't get you fit, contrary to popular belief. You need to be fit before you join, in order to withstand the rigours and demands. In fact, alot of injuries occur because people do not get fit enough or they fail to maintain their fitness, and so succumb to the army's inadequacies in exercise science.

Anyway...options...

Many years ago, when I was still practicing Buddhism, I met a wonderful couple, Joel and Gina. They were giving regular consultations at the Chung Tian Buddhist Temple in Rochedale and at that time I was having some hamstring issues and decided I'd see them. Joel is a very gifted chinese doctor, and his specialty is 'bones'. He is known as a chinese bone doctor, or western medicine's equivalent to a chiropractor. As far as adjusting the skeletal system, that's about as similar as it gets when it comes to a comparison. Chinese bone doctors are much more wholistic when it comes to treatment, and for those of you who are familiar with the workings of chinese health practicioners (practicing chinese medicine and treatments), they consider the body as one whole, integrated system. They don't see disease, injury or ill-health as an isolated incident. They see these things as part of a bigger picture and all the systems of the body are working together as a complex whole. No systems are separated to isolate the cause. It's a matter of looking at the symptoms, and finding it's origin or origins within the entire system (skeletal, muscular, endocrine, lympthatic, nervous...etc), and how even subtle changes can affect directly or indirectly your state of health.

Gina, his wife, is a chinese herbalist and they work together to diagnose and treat. Thanks to Joel, Anthony no longer experiences crippling migraines. He used to get them regularly every week over many years.

Back to chinese bone doctors...they diagnose and treat in a similar way to other chinese doctors, in that they read different pulses, i.e. heart, liver, kidney meridian, etc, in order to determine where a particular problem may be originating from, and then they help to rid the body of symptoms through the use of chinese herbal medicines, physical exercise, acupuncture, and in some rare cases (in Australia), using Qi Gong (Chi Kung) to direct energy (Qi) to specific points in the body, in order to trigger the healing process. I have had this type of treatment and it's difficult to explain the sensation. I liken it to an induction cook-top, where the heat or energy remains internal, however, it feels cool when you touch the surface. So when being treated with Qi, you can feel heat within the muscles of your body, or you can feel it internally, but unlike a heat pack where you feel the heat on the surface of your skin, with Qi, there is no heat on the surface of the skin when you touch the area where the Qi force is being applied.

I also remember Joel explaining how the Chinese view and heal bone injuries. Their philosophies on this a very different to western opinions, as they've had over 2000 years to observe the human body. It's quite fascinating.

Anyway, today I go to see him and I'm hoping that he can firstly help alleviate the inflammation (apart from using anti-inflammatories) and then offer an alternative as far as helping to heal my injury. I know I can't replace the bone that's already degenerated. I can continue however to work on increasing the muscle strength in and around the hip, glutes and core, because that's where this all started. And hopefully I can stop or slow the degeneration enough to be able to physically be able to do the things I want to do in a way that I can still retain my identity.

Wednesday, March 3

Wk 9 & Driving Dodgems



"Mama always said...
Life is like a box a chocolates -
never know what you're gonna get."
- Forrest Gump

This week it feels like I'm driving the dodgem car of life. Proving that once again, you never know what's around the corner and you better be sure you have your wits about you, lest you fall in a heap. As the cartoon hints at, I feel like I'm stuck in traffic while manoeouvering around obstacles, trying to maintain control on the wheel, while I'm going for broke when I see a break in the traffic, and enjoying the ride. Stop-start-cruise-crash-stop-start-cruise-crash...

Every week there's been a different challenge and I've been handling all of these with aplomb, I must say. I wonder if this is some test of just how long I can keep my cool.

Just when you think things are going well, something seems to happen. If I wasn't so optimistic, I'd have given up by now. But it seems I'm too stubborn.

Anyway...I was having a great week last week. Got back to doing three Crossfit sessions and managed to only fit in one martial arts session. The first stage of my goal is to do 3 x crossfit and 2 x martial arts on a consistent basis. At the moment, consistent for me would be to go a whole month with this schedule without injury or niggles.

So I get to Saturday and even though I was sore, I felt good that I'd had a reasonable training week. I'd started my zone diet and was feeling okay about that (I got a bit hungry and was having extra nuts though). I was elated to find that my flexibility is starting to return and is the best it's been for many, many months. My foot pulled up great after the chiro adjustment, so the pain went, and I was able to do the side splits for the first time in as many months, and my hammies and quad flexibility has returned! It basically means that things are on the improve and maybe my glutes (RHS) are starting to get stronger.

Well...I thought they were until Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning. Even though my flexibility had improved, my whole right-hand side felt tight, and by Sunday it was so tight that my hip stiffened, the glutes and lower back were aching and sore, the calf was sore and worst of all, the muscles in my obliques and around the side and back had gone into spasm. I have a sneaky suspicion that doing box squats might have exacerbated things.

I was off to the chiropractor on Monday arvo to find that my pelvis had externally rotated and tilted as well as my tail bone had turned up, hence sending all those RHS muscles into spasm. The pelvis has just not been holding, which means that my deeper abdominals to name one of many, are not keeping everything in place. I hinted that I hadn't done my isolation exercises for a month, and I'm pretty sure that this has contributed to my lack of maintaining postural integrity around the hips and pelvis. Even though my glutes have been getting a workout with the Crossfit, I've been very presumptious (or basically just lazy) in thinking that with all the squatting/deadlifting/lifting I'm doing, that it would fix everything, including my core strength and stability. But the reality is, I'm not at that stage yet. I still have a long way to go in fixing my muscular imbalance problems, and Crossfit alone is not going to fix all my problems.

So this arvo, I'm off to the physio for a treatment, re-scheduling of my isolation exercises and no doubt to have my physio reprimand me for knowing better. And tonight I'll be having some much needed massage to help the muscles relax. Meanwhile...no training until all this settles down...boohoo! :(

Oh...the zone diet...decided I need to be more strict. I was having too many extras, like nuts and little things while preparing everyone's meals. So this week - no extras! I'm sticking to it 100%! Oh...the other great news though is that my energy levels are fantastic! I definitely thinks it's the extra fats in my diet. I've halved the amount of protein, but doubled the fats and it seems to have made a HUGE difference in energy levels and also my training. It's help me approach my training sessions with more determination and positivity, so I'm not dreading the Crossfit sessions so much. For the first time, I actually looked forward to my sessions last week without any dread or apprehension before hand. It made such a huge difference, to the point where I think I'm capable of doing much better, and I'm looking forward to pushing myself more. Not that I don't already. It's just that I felt so smashed all the time, it was difficult to feel inspired some days to push myself.

Okay...that's about it...oh! Sorry...no weigh-in this week. Since July 2008 when I started on my Ideal Bodies Online program, I'd been using my brother-in-law's scales. Every week, I'd drive over to my MIL's place and weigh myself first thing. Well...my brother-in-law got married, moved out and took his scales with him...how rude! So I had to go out and buy my own set of scales yesterday. Come this morning, ready to hop on and the bloody thing kept coming up with an error...arghhhh! So I'm taking them back today!

I'm rambling now...time to go...bye! ;) :)
 

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