Wednesday, July 21

Wk 28...On Gratitude & Being Triumphant

The above trailer is from the movie Precious, and is based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire. If you haven't already seen the movie, then I'd highly recommend it. If you don't mind a bit of 'in-your-face reality', it's a rather gripping movie.

The main actress, Gibourey Sidibe is absolutely brilliant, and the other actress who was also a standout is Mo'Nique. Their complex character portrayals are so believable, that you become inextricably caught up in them. You're transported to another world which you're happy and grateful that you weren't born into it.

It's been that sought of week...observing other people's worlds, whether through fact or fiction...through books or movies. It's always interesting to take a glimpse of what it would be like to live in someone else's reality. For some reason, the films that move me the most are the ones that also make me uncomfortable. Usually it's because the content can be so disturbing.

One movie that comes to mind that made me feel sick inside was 8mm with Nicolas Cage. It's about snuff movies (a porn movie ending in death). I didn't even realise that these worlds existed. These soughts of movies really shake me up and I feel quite unnerved inside for some time after. The residual effect can be quite draining and can leave me feeling extremely sad and depressed. It's hard to explain, but it's like a certain 'evil' or unnatural vibration which permeates your soul and shakes you up. As it says in the above synopsis of 8mm..."You have to be a really sick person to enjoy this movie." It was a difficult movie to watch and is quite graphic and gory in parts. So be warned!

And lastly, I've just started reading a book I picked up at the op shop for $1 (I love op shops!) It's called 'White on Black' by Ruben Gallego about his life in Russia as an orphan with no hands and no feet. This is the preface 'On Strength and Goodness'...

"People sometimes ask me whether what I write actually happened. Are the heroes of my stories real?

I answer: It did, and they are real, more than real. Naturally, my heroes are collective images from the endless kaleidoscope of my endless children's homes. What I write, though, is the truth.

The sole characteristic of my work that departs from, and at times even contradicts, the authenticity of real life is my authorial view, which may be rather sentimental, occasionally breaking into pathos. I purposely avoid writing about anything bad.

I'm convinced that life and literature have more than enough of the dark side. It's just so happened that I've witnessed too much human cruelty and hate. To describe the vileness of man's fall and bestiality is to multiply the already endless chain of interconnected blasts of eveil. That's not what I want. I write about goodness, triumph, joy, and love.

I write about strength. Spiritual and physical strength. The strength each one of us has inside. The strength that breaks through all barriers to triumph. Each one of my stories is a story of triumph. Even the boy from "The Cutlet", a rather sad story, triumphs. He triumphs twice. First, when out of the chaotic mess of his useless knowledge, and for lack of a knife, he finds the only three words that have any effect on his adversary. And second, when he decides to eat the cutlets - that is, to live.

Those whose sole victory is their voluntary departure from life triumph as well. The officer who perishes in the face of a superior opponent, who dies according to regulations, is a victor. I respect such people. All the same, what's most important about this man are the stuffed toys. I'm convinced that sewing teddy bears and bunny rabbits all your life is much harder than slitting your own throat once. I'm convinced that on humanity's scales of a child's delight in a new toy vastly outweights any military victory.

This is a book about my childhood. Cruel and terrible though it was, it was still my childhood. It doesn't take much for a child to retain his love for the world, to grow up and mature: a bite of lard, a salami sandwich, a handful of figs, a blue sky, a couple of books, and a kind word. That's enough. More than enough.

The heroes of this book are strong, very strong people. All too often a person has to be strong. And good. Not everyone can let himself be good, and not everyone can overcome universal misunderstanding. All too often, goodness is taken for weakness. That's sad. It's hard to be a human being, very hard, but altogether possible. And you don't have to stand on your hind legs to do it. Not at all. I believe that."

It's all these stories that once again remind me to be grateful of the life I have and enjoy.

What I like about these stories, whether fact or fiction, is that, in spite of everything, as Ruben Galago puts it...they are 'stories of triumph' (except for 8mm). Generally, I prefer stories of triumph, even though in reality that's not what always happens. But triumph doesn't just have to be about how it ends. It's about the small ones along the way that make all the difference in people's lives...our lives. What's most important is that we collectively, over a lifetime, have more triumphs than failings.

My husband and I were discussing the dramas that happen in people's lives. People we know, people we've heard about. We often agree that we lead quite boring lives...very little (self-induced) drama. We are a 'happy little family' and compared to other families, our lives are quite mundane from the perspective that we wouldn't be good fodder for reality TV.

But that doesn't mean that our life is uninteresting. Quite the contrary. What can help make life interesting I believe, is the fullest involvement and awareness of all your senses and faculties, of what is going on around you, and the interest and compassion you show for the people you come into contact with. As Jesus' second commandment says, "Love your neighbour as yourself". If we could all do this, wouldn't the world be so much happier?

* Weigh-in 60.9kg's

Tuesday, July 13

Wk 27...Discipline Vs The Cookie Monster

I've been catching up on some blog posts of late, and reading comments on facebook, and a subject which has cropped up is 'Discipline' or lack of, which ties in with 'motivation' or 'lack of motivation'.

Motivation is quite a tough one, and here's some parts from a recent post by
Pauline Nordin ...

"Motivation is nothing you can ever rely on. Motivation is not what will get you in shape. You will have weeks of low motivation when you don’t want to train, don’t want to eat what gives you the body you want."

"It does not matter how much you love working out or eating healthy, some days will suck. it’s like life. You gonna quit it if you have a shitty day? I hope not."

"The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is what goes on in their minds: Work ethic."

"When I feel unmotivated I don’t panic. I know it’s not the first time I feel like the last thing I want is go train and it definately is not the last time either. However, I am experienced enough to know I will grow more as an intelligent human being if I adhere to the plan no matter what. Giving myself no options. If there are no options there is just one thing to do and that is do what you put up for yourself."

Here's what Leisl has to say about (self) Discipline...

"The true SECRET is that once you shift your focus from having to do stuff you don't like, (the self-discipline required) to a focus on the immense pleasure and satisfaction you will feel once you've achieved your goals (the positive outcome you desire) then the journey you need to take towards these achievements becomes a far more pleasant and more easily sustainable one."

I think Leisl is right on the money! However, I'd like to add to that.

I believe that motivation also comes from doing something we have a passion for. We look at the big picture of what we want to do or achieve. We imagine the way we feel while we're doing what ever it is that we wish to, and we want more of that feeling.

Sometimes the thing we want, we've done it before and we want to relive or recapture those feelings. But for those who want something they have never experienced, but imagine that in its' achievement they will experience feelings of profound enjoyment and satisfaction, the journey can be a little more daunting, so we have to 'fake it until we make it'.

It all comes down to your level of desire and passion for what it is that you want. Even those who have a real passion for achieving their goals and are highly disciplined, still experience times when they lack motivation.

But the discipline is in doing something regardless of how you feel. It's about making a plan and going through with the plan, regardless of how you're feeling. Whether you're motivated or not doesn't matter. You just do! We have all experienced the times when we do something we don't really feel like doing, only to start and realise we're once again feeling motivated. It's all about ACTION!


The real joy is when you know you've taken action over a period of time and you then begin to feel and see the rewards in what you've become...physically, spiritually, emotionally. Then motivation becomes self-perpetuating! Oh what a feeling!

Here's another great post which touches on the subject of motivation from Craig Harper.

And while we're dropping the name, Craig Harper, something which I think is also a big factor when it comes to motivation, and something we need to ask ourselves is...'Is what we're doing really US'? What I mean is...whatever you're doing or pursuing - is that in alignment with who it is, that is intrinsically you? Are you 'Living in Alignment' .

Some interesting things to ponder upon don't you think? It may be worth it to look a little bit deeper and become more insightful about your own psyche and what is intrinsically you. Bet your bottom dollar that if something is slightly amiss, what you thought you wanted, or the path you've chosen to get what you want, may need some re-alignment and you may need to get a little creative.

And as far as Cookie Monsters...well Judy put that image in my head as I read her most recent post called 'Getting My Shit Together'. The word 'discipline' threw up an image of the Cookie Monster in all his wanton lust of cookies, and it reminded me of me, on one of my 'carb rampages' (that I have every so often and won't admit to how often it, scouring the pantry and fridge for anything I can stuff in my head!

And hence, I don't buy crap food, because I know if I get one of these episodes it's goodbye to Discipline! I then usually settle for something healthier...almonds, diet jelly and yoghurt or a piece of fruit, because that's all there is to really eat!

Friday, July 9

Wk 26...Crazy Busy!

Sorry, but I just haven't had the time to read anyone's blogs this week! I hope to get around to reading your posts this weekend. It seems like everything comes together at once. And around the general craziness, my training is always my first priority (apart from Philomena). comes first in line with Philomena, then everything else comes second.

There's been alot of stuff going on in my head that I would have loved to blog about, but the time just isn't there at the moment. I'm organising my high school reunion (along with my two wonderful helpers)...Springwood State High School Class of '85. It's been a work in progress for nearly 18months, and the event is nearly here...September 4th. The RSVP's and payments have started flooding in, as well as emails to be replied to and receipt of monies confirmations to be sent, so it's been a little hectic since June 30th.

There's alot of excitement building up to the night, and we expect between 150-200 people for the night. I've finally starting thinking about what I'm going to wear, and even though we've got 'smart-casual' as the attire, I think something more dressy will be the order of the night, as it looks as though we'll be heading to Cloudland for after-reunion partying. Heck! We haven't seen each other for 25 years, so there's alot to discuss and good times to catch up on.

So I'm looking at Cocktail dresses, and I know exactly what I want! The trouble is finding something to match what I have in my head. I know I want something to show off my shoulders and back (as I should be leaner by then), and am trying to find something which is sleeveless on one side, with a long sleeve on the other; exposed back and a hem which reveals a little leg (sought of hankerchief cut) on one side and tapers into some length on the other. I want something a little showy, but also elegant. I will be getting a spray tan, I've decided and having my hair done like when I had my photo shoot. I loved how my girlfriend did my hair - it was fabulous! I sought of figured as the creator and key organiser of the event, I should dress more stylish than 'smart-casual'. and weight. Loss of 300g which isn't so bad considering that I caved in to some temptations during the remainder of last week. Not all the time, but spasmodically after last Wednesday. It was only my training that saved me. So over two weeks my loss has been 600g per week. When I look at it this way, then I feel much better. Only 4.1kg to hit my goal weight of 57kg.

This week I've been much better with my nutrition, though with the increased training and volume I've been ravenous come around 4-5pm! Last year I was training evenings, so I'd have meal 4 before I left, then a post-workout shake after training, and come home to eat meals 5 and 6. I never really got hungry. This time round, I'm training days and am finding this window of time a bit of a challenge. After Meal 4 at round the 5pm mark, I'm still hungry! So I've had some little extras after Meal 4...naughty, naughty! Nothing major, but last year I was 100% on my nutrition, and I'd like to repeat that.

I have to admit that it's a real challenge to be training 5 days per week with weights on 4 days and cardio 5 times per week. Last year I was training 5-6 days per week with weights I think on 3-4 days. I would do cardio 6 times per week with at least 30-45min's of cardio post weights, and 45-60min's cardio on non-weight training days.

Sheesh! I'm finding it mentally challenge to get back into the swing of moderate intensity cardio after weights. But it's good for me. It's good to push myself again. The thing is, after the workout is finished I feel great, and I'm not feeling smashed. It's just that I have to re-train my brain to focus again. Though, I'm not lifting heavy at this stage. However, it requires immense concentration to ensure I'm using and activating the correct muscles while I train.

So it's 4 training sessions down and 1 to go to complete the week. I've got some nice DOMS happening, but nothing too major at this stage. I'm feeling muscles I don't normally feel, like my lats, hammies, glutes (awesome!), adductors, deeper abdominals, and not getting the tension in my upper traps and neck (woohoo!).

It's an amazing feeling when you get to a stage where you are aware of what muscles you're actually using, and you can start to switch them on or relax them at the right time. It just goes to show that you never stop learning about your body and you must always strive to connect with it, if you want to make progress.

Okay...raving now...will stop. Feeling great again! It feels sooooo good to train consistently again, eat well (most of the time) and to be losing the fat (though it's not visible at this stage). And the best part is...I'm training without injuring myself! I'm back on the mend.

Oh the pic!...I just love Pauline's shoulders and arms...the striation and vein popping is just AWESOME isn't it?

Friday, July 2

Wk 25...Back on Track

Finally...the scales are moving! And it's not because I'm coming down from a carb-loaded weekend. It's refreshing to know that my body responds to a proper diet and increased exercise, so quickly.

My loss on the scales this week was 900g, bringing my weight down to 61.4kg. I'll know things are starting to buzz along when I get back under the 60kg.

So I'm back on track, albeit slowly. It feels so good to be training consistently again and hitting the weights and cardio. I have to admit, it hasn't been an easy return. I now have a program I'm following, and hope to be riding the wave of consistency and intensity within a month or so. At the moment, I'm starting gently and will increase my sets and weight gradually as I gain confidence and fitness.

My program is pretty basic, but I'm really enjoying it. It's a real challenge for me, because I'm starting from scratch and am having to re-learn some basic lifting techniques, in the bid to pinpoint my activation problems and work out how to recruit the correct muscles in the correct way.

So it's as basic as it gets...Deadlift (full and sumo) and Squats (box) for lower body. And for upper body...Push-ups (my request), Lat Pulldowns, Bent-over-rows, and some isolation work for triceps and biceps.

It's sounds so simple, but it's quite a challenge when you realise that you've been doing it all wrong and recruiting different muscles to what you thought. Here I was wondering why I couldn't lift or move much weight, thinking I was strong. And I was getting so much muscle tension in the upper traps and necks, because they were in a constant state of tension.

But it all comes down to being aware of what your body is actually doing and then being able to control the muscles you need to do the work correctly. It's not only about utilising the correct muscles for work, but learning how to relax the other muscles which aren't required.

It's been a real learning curve, and thanks to Liz, a real education. The time spent going over the basics and how it relates to my rehabiliation, has given me a deeper awareness of how my body works.

It's just the little things, like simple tips to ensure I'm using my core and recruiting those muscles when doing lat pulldown, bicep curls, etc and everything I do. How to relax my hip muscles and use the glutes instead. How to relax my neck muscles and upper traps when doing bent-over-rows and lat pulldowns, so that I recruit my lower traps/back muscles, rather than my upper traps, which is what I'd been doing in the past.

So needless to say, it's changed the way I train and how I think about training. At the moment there's alot to think about as I ensure I'm activating the correct muscles. And I'm not lifting anything of any decent amount. But that's okay. If I keep persisting, eventually I will get to a stage where I don't have to think about it so much, the correct muscles will activate when they should.

And once that's happening, I can then start to think more about the finer details of lifting to get maximum lift. Hopefully, over time, as my technique improves, so will my strength and ability to do more.

Oh...and my glutes...I'm feeling em' baby! I've never felt so much DOMS in my butt, hammies and adductors before. It's a good feeling! :)

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