Wednesday, December 28

2012...You Make Me Feel So....

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
― J.K.Rowling

Only 4 more days until 2012.

I can't believe how the year has gone so quickly.  Reviewing my goals from 2011, I find I achieved a few and some I didn't.  My goal of maintaining 57kgs (or within 1kg of) didn't go to plan, but I maintained that happy weight for 6 months of the year, so I was pretty happy with that.  I intend to hit that weight in January 2012 and again, try to maintain that weight all year round.

For me, 2012 will be a year of consolidation.  I won't be taking on anything new, fitness-wise.  I will be focusing on strength in the first half of the year and then power. 

It should filter through to my army fitness tests.  I did manage to reach my goal of 40 push-ups for my BFA.  I didn't make any real gains as far as my running for my BFA though, so I hope to next year .  If I get the consistency, I should see a marked improvement in my running time.

My plans for 2012 are not sexy but the results should be, provided I stick to training consistently and staying on top of my nutrition.

So it's going to be a rather boring year in 2012.  Nothing new really.  Just hard, consistent training and nutrition throughout the year and building a strong foundation and platform to see me through 2013. I've got a couple of big things happening in my life in 2013 in the way of big changes, so I want to make next year really count. 

Next year's training as well as one particular change in 2013, will lead me into what I've been working toward since my 40th birthday.  It's a 5 year plan and I'm already thinking about what I want and what will take place on my 45th birthday in 2014.

I'll be keeping it under wraps though, so I'm afraid you'll have to stay guessing for awhile.

Anyway...I've noticed a change in my posts for 2011.  Apart from the fact that I've hardly done much in the way of posts, I also haven't had anything really inspiring to say.  I think time for talking was well and truly over, and I've just been focusing on the doing.  I've also been pre-occupied on the domestic front and happy and contented getting quite involved in family and our new home, and making our home life just so peachy!  I love being at home, getting more involved with Philomena's activities; cooking; cleaning; gardening; family and friends; and generally pottering around the yard.  Miss Phil and I call it our 'Secret Place'.  That's for another post coming soon.

Well time to say adieu!  How did you go with your goals for 2011?  Do you have new ones planned for 2012, and do they Make You Feel So?  I hope they do, otherwise how will you see them come to fruition if your heart and soul doesn't feel them with utter conviction?

Oh...don't you just love my post pic?  Now that to me depicts sheer athleticism.  If I looked that good in a crop top and shorts then I'd die one happy girl.  Of course, I'm happy now. However, that would be the icing on the cake of my blessed life.

Sunday, December 18

I am Titanium

"I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium"

from the lyrics, 'Titanium' by David Guetta (feat Sia)

Wednesday, December 14

What do you Yearn For?

"When she was just a girl
She expected the world
But it flew away from her reach so
She ran away in her sleep and dreamed of Para-para-paradise,
  Para-para-paradise, Para-para-paradise
Every time she closed her eyes"

from 'Paradise', by Coldplay

The definition of Yearning is described as a "tender or urgent longing".  We all long for certain, wealth, fame, family...and the list goes on.   To me, yearning describes something we strive or have striven for over an extended period of time.

Yearning is more complex than just wanting something.  Wanting something seems so much more transitory.  Yearning is something that we feel  with such a great depth of emotion that it drives us with unimaginable energy and takes on a life of its' own.  It's something we want so badly that we will overcome and endure and we accept that maybe it is something that will take a lifetime. 

That something we yearn for is a something which when we awaken, we feel its' presence and it influences our lives and moulds our patterns and behaviours.  What ever that something is which we yearn for, we imagine it so vividly - we can taste it...when we reach out for it, it feels so close we can touch it, and's always just beyond our reach.

Our heart aches, yet we feel hope.  We feel pain, either physically or emotionally, yet we gladly take up its' mantle, in the belief that whatever that something is that we yearn for, will become our reality. 

And I wonder...what do others yearn for and why? 

Monday, December 12

And So It Begins...

5 weeks and counting...and I'm not telling.  Though it won't be hard to figure it out.

Thursday, December 8

A Pick Me Up

Since moving (we've been here 3 months now!) and going away for AR for a few weeks, my training and nutrition has been all over the shop.  I'm also carrying about 4 extra unwanted kilos. Two weeks ago I had a chiropractic adjustment on my return from AR.  I made the mistake of seeing my normal chiropractor's offsider.  I won't be doing that again!  He irritated my disc.  It's been over 12 months since I've had any type of irritation.  I, and even my chiropractor can't remember how long it had been since it was irritated.  That's how much progress I'd made in the last 12-18months.  So you can understand my frustration and annoyance.  And for once, it wasn't self-inflicted.  Up until two weeks ago, I nearly had an injury-free year.

Now, in saying that, luckily it was only a minor irritation.  But that's not the point.  It's set me back.  Not only in my training, but it really affected my headspace.  I've become quite used to basically doing anything physical without having to concern myself I would incur any injury.  It's been such a liberating feeling.  So it was much to my chagrin that for the first time in a long time I had lower back pain.  Just bloody annoying!

Since returning from Wide Bay, I set myself up to get in consistent training and get back on top of my nutrition.  So with the irritation it put a spanner in the works because I really wanted to get in some decent training before Christmas.

I've been training, but without the normal intensity I usually train with.  And I had to give it a break to allow the spasm to settle down in my lower back. That has done nothing for my headspace.  I made the most of a bad situation though, and used that time to put the Christmas tree up (luckily it's a small one) and spend some time decorating and cleaning (without exercerbating the back) and generally getting into the Christmas feel.

Yesterday it started raining.  What a mixed up day with school swimming carnival and its' last minute cancellation, and so I ended up on the recliner watching a DVD. Something I haven't done for months.  Can't even remember the last DVD I watched at home.  It was actually quite nice, though I felt a bit strange sitting for so long and relaxing.  But it was also dangerous, and by the end of the day my headspace was really suffering for lack of activity during a week day.

Today I woke up cranky and a little down.  So unlike me.

Luckily for me, I met up with Liz for an update on my training program.  It was just the pick-up I needed!  Thank you Liz. :)

I knew I needed to re-focus, regain my motivation and accountability built around my training and nutrition.  For me, having a coach to help me has been invaluable.

I know for some, having a PT or a coach of some sort is seen as a luxury and unnecessary, but I beg to differ.  If you find the right person to help you progress, then it's money well spent.  I have forgone many-a-trifling thing so that I have money to pay my coach.  My health and fitness is a priority, and coaching fees I see as part of that investment in my health. 

I know many people who go to the gym regularly.  They all have their goals and many have niggling injuries and concerns, are trying to lose weight or just to feel and be healthier.  However, there are few people who I see regularly who make any real and lasting progress. 

There are some who make outstanding progress, especially when it comes to weight loss and I think that is just amazing!  My hope is that they don't stop there and continue on, bettering their health and positively influencing others around them.   There are a handful who I talk to, who do see professionals to help them in their health and fitness endeavours and I know and see the change it brings about in them and you know that those type of people will always find a better way of doing things - they're solution-orientated!   And there are many who I know in the Bodybuilding arena, who receive regular coaching and make great progress through hard work and consistency over time.  I really admire their ability to remain so focused over such a long period of time.

But the majority go to the gym day-in day-out, doing the same old thing.  They may begin, make some really quick progress, but then they stall and plateau.  They either continue on just doing the same thing, or many just stop training altogether because they no longer feel it challenging enough or they're not willing to take their training to the next level in order to keep progressing.  And many do just go to the gym to do classes because they enjoy them and the social aspect.  Each to their own.  It's what makes life interesting and I think gym-watching is a most interesting pastime! :)

Very few people put much thought into their long term goals, and many people are harbouring injuries or weaknesses they're unaware of.  They often don't have the education or understanding that they could in fact, become better if they had access to the right knowledge, advice and assistance.  So many people flounder and lose interest and hope.  And for others, the prospect of sticking at something long enough to see results is just too hard.

That's why I think that someone (and it must be the right someone) with the right knowledge can make the world of difference to making substantial improvements to your health and fitness gains.  I know it has for me. 

I've learnt so much from Liz and the knowledge she has imparted, and I'm always amazed at the little things that make such a difference.  That even happened today.  Liz gave me a couple of exercises to help alleviate some tension in my RHS glutes and LHS psoas.  Really simple, yet effective exercises that not even my physio has given me to help with the tension from the disc irritation.  In fact, my physio has used some of Liz's exercises in the past to give to me instead of his own, he was so impressed with how well they had worked for me.  

The last 12-18 months I've made more progress than the last 3 years combined, and that's a great testament to the importance of having a great coach who is aware of your particular goals, injuries, concerns and nuances.  They can individualise a plan specifically for your unique requirements.  It's an organic process and you have the added benefit of someone who can help support you and your goals and give your encouragement as you evolve.  Goals change.  It's nice to have someone who can help give you clarity to your goals through life's ups and downs, and the rollercoaster ride which is our health and fitness journey. And a coach is also someone who can make something seem possible, where before you may have thought it impossible!

So for anyone who feels they aren't where they want to be and has tried a number of things without seeing any type of improvement or results, or where progress is just so slow, I would recommend a good coach. It should be ideally, someone who is aligned with your goals and is on the same wave length. Who not only understands what you need to reach your goals, but knows how to motivate and inspire you by providing enough interest and challenge through their coaching methods!

The reason I chose Liz was mainly because of her particular expertise in Exercise Physiology, specialising in Rehab.  Also, because she has a thorough knowledge of nutrition.  For me, she's a 'one-stop-shop' (hope you don't mind that description Liz).

After today I'm reinvigorated, because I know Liz is going to give me a swift kick until I'm back up and gunning it.  I won't need the accountability factor forever, but I just happen to need it right now until I find my mojo again.  Once I'm there then just let me loose! 

Today we revised my deadlift and squat and did some tweaking.  With Liz's newfound knowledge I was able to squat much deeper and use my glutes more, and it felt really good.  My deadlifts felt much easier as well, so it was a positive session.  So for the time being and into the new year I'll be concentrating on developing strength.  I'm looking forward to the change in my weights program built around lower reps with good form and technique and increasing the weight gradually as I get stronger.

I'll be reigning in the nutrition and re-focusing on ensuring I have variety in the diet, as this is a bit of weakness for me.  I tend to, once I've got the recipes downpat, only use the ones that are quick and easy, limiting my palate.  I then get bored because I have too few recipes and I eat the same thing day-in-day-out.  I just need to take some time to plan my meals again and re-introduce some recipes from my existing collection, as well as some new recipes.  And I'll be tracking my meals again just to get back on track and get me focused on my nutrition until I've got the hang of it and I'm on a roll.

It's amazing isnt' it, that just by talking to the right person how you can regain focus and motivation?!

Have a great Friday and weekend!  I'm off tomorrow with AW to the Gold Coast for an overnight stay - just the two of us.  We haven't had much 'us time' since my return, so this is just a quick get-away to get in before the craziness of Christmas is upon us.  And then I'll be so ready to start my new program next week!  Bring it on! :P

Friday, December 2

More BANG for your Buck!

"Come gather 'round people

Wherever you roam

And admit that the waters

Around you have grown

And accept it that soon

You'll be drenched to the bone

If your time to you

Is worth savin'

Then you better start swimmin'

Or you'll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin'."

- Bob Dylan, 'The Times they are A-Changin''

It was back in the not-to-distant past that I swore I'd never do a cycle class.  I'd been to one and that didn't really excite me much.  It wasn't until I found the right instructor that I actually enjoyed it.  Well...enjoyed it, as much as I wanted to throw up. :P

Now things have definitely changed, and I really love cycle/RPM classes!  Not in the sense that I'm jumping for joy while I'm on the back.  Quite the contrary - I still manage to find myself rather shagged by the end of the class and my lungs and legs screaming for relief!

For reasons I've just discovered,  I find these classes physically gruelling.  The reason being of course is that I'm always trying to improve on my efforts.  Regardless of how I feel before I go into a class, I can't but not push myself to the limit.  You'll know who I am.  I sit at the front and within 5 mins, sweat is dripping from my body and I'm grunting and gasping for air in the bid to coax my legs to keep going.

If my instructor says increase my load - I increase my load!  I know if I'm cheating myself and I just can't do that.  If I'm not physically spent by the end then I haven't done my best. 

I probably have improved my performance.  Actually...I know I have.  I've always been terrible at pace work, but I'm improved in leaps and bounds.  It's still my weakest area, but it's getting better.  I've also learnt to work my gears much better too.  I've learnt when doing pace work not to load my gears too heavy to maintain speed, but heavy enough to have resistance.

You see, I love the hills! I love getting out of the saddle and pushing hard.  So I tend to do much better on those.  But I've learnt to enjoy pace work now because I'm getting better.

When my HRM was working (battery is flat), I found that cycling/RPM burned more calories (apart from x-trainer) that any other exercise in the gym within the same period of time. I love cycling because I get more bang for my buck!

But there's just one problem.  I get so frickin' sore (down below) that I need at least a few days in-between to recover, which is really annoying (and off-limits for poor hubby, but you know - you've got to get your priorities right, and exercise comes first).  I bought a gel seat and I've adjusted the seat height to try and compensate, it doesn't work.  I have to get out of the saddle during recovery just to alleviate the discomfort.   Pace work is the most excrutiating by the end of the session as I have to move forward in the saddle, both my backside and also forward on my handle bars. 

Is there is anyone who can suggest a way to alleviate this????

Oh...BTW...that initial instructor hasnt' been around for about 3 months, and even though I loved his classes and they still don't have regular cycle/RPM instructors which I find annoying, I've realised that's it's been a good thing. 

Why?  Having instructors constantly changing has meant that no two classes are the same.  It means my body is constantly having to adapt to different styles.  I didn't think cycle/RPM classes could differ so much.  But they do.  And it's good, because it keeps me challenged and keeps me from getting comfortable with the same routine.

Sunday, November 27

Alot of Time for Reflecting

"A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in imaginative reflection and judgment, when the picture of one's life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted."

- George Santayana

Wow...the last 3 weeks went by faster than I thought.  Though, while out field it seemed to go on forever.  As you may or may not be aware, I was away with the AA up at Tin Can Bay.  I don't often write about my thoughts or feelings regarding my service, because some things aren't meant to be so public.  It's not something I see necessary to discuss and share in public, especially on the net.

However, in this instance, I feel that the need to share.  It's mostly about what I observed in relation to fellow soldiers, mainly full-time (regulars).  Not so much their true personal thoughts and feelings, but more so what I observed in the way that people of different generations come together and connect (or not) as a group. 

Basically, the exercise I attended was a Mission Readiness Exercise, devised to help prepare the next regiment of infantry men due to head over to Afghanistan. It's their last opportunity to prepare before being deployed. 

I found myself amongst mostly that of Generation-Y and I kid you not...I look at our future and am so very disheartened.  I know it's not right to tar this entire generation with the same brush, but I found the majority of the Gen-Y'ers, self-absorbed, cynical, self-righteous, addicted to technology and lacking an awareness and lacking deep empathy for their fellow human beings.  I don't blame people for calling them Generation-ME.

They lack the ability to really connect.  Not just with people of other generations apart from their own, but also with their present surroundings.  I also found many lacking personal integrity and respect.  I really hate to admit this, but I worry about what the future AA will look like in some respects. 

On later reflection, I came to the conclusion that maybe it isn't all Gen'Y'ers.  On deeper and more critical reflection, it isn't necessarily about age but possibly about the group of people and their level of education and experience in the world and their narrow sphere of influence. 

Army culture is not like the real world.  In alot of ways, it cushions young people from the intracacies of 'civvy street' (Civvy is what we call a person who is not in the army). I personally think that school leavers should not enter the defence force until such time that they've had 'real world' experience and are more aware of its' complexities, are more compassionate towards those who don't have their physical prowess or opportunities, and less enured due to their occupational circumstances.

But regardless of this, I found their unwillingness to enter into any real type of social intercourse with those outside their own age group and interests, quite confounding.  One word which I think describes them is indifferent.

Now when I said 'majority', this observation does and did not apply to all.  I have often found in my short time in the AA that people are as varied as those on civvy street.  An officer once said to me that the AA is 'microcosm of society'.  And while on exercise, I did come across a small number of truly genuine, compassionate, intelligent, and respectful young people. Disappointingly, they were a minority.

I've found that there are many people within the AA who are in fact dedicated, self-respecting as well as having the utmost respect for others, who have a high degree of personal and professional integrity.  Luckily for us (Australia) hey?

Anyway...enough about that.  That was only one experience and with due respect, this is the first time I've come this dilemma. 

The photo above is me in a tent in a 'village'.  It was extremely hot (we only got to shower every 3 days while out in the village) and when we weren't involved in an activity, we were confined to our tents.  The place is also a haven for midgees and horseflies.  Luckily they don't find me as tasty as some other people. And we had one baby brown snake in our tent, which luckily slithered away without too much fuss, and I never saw it again. 

We were fortunate upon first arriving at camp that we had time to visit Rainbow Beach and I now have started on my summer tan. :P  The beach and water were spectacular and I made the most of that time.  It's unusual to have this type of recreational time.

Rainbow Beach
I also got in a lot of reading while holed up in our tents.  I think I read six books over the three weeks, and I took some other books and starting drawing up a plan for our house to extend and started on the garden design.  I've also worked out which veges to plant, so my next task is to build the raised vege garden.  Hopefully I can get that done this week.  With only 4 weeks til Christmas, I'm finding that there is so much to catch up on (like housework...yard work, mail, etc). 

Me with 'the little people'. Josh, Tim, Scott and his daughter Hannah

I did find alot of aspects of the exercise interesting, and met some interesting people in the process.  Like 'the little people' above who were employed by the AA to play the role of children.  Yes...that's me in a burka, but I haven't got my full face cloth on, where you can only see my eyes when worn.  The little people I found refreshingly open, warm and friendly and more accepting than people of normal height. I also found their enthusiasm for life with all its' challenges that dwarfs find in normal society, a lesson for us.  They never complained and saw every setback as an experience to gain from and to laugh at.   Consequently, they are also paid very well (as actors), thank you very much.  They earn more money on a daily basis that we do.  Incidently, they prefer not to be called 'midgets', but moreso the correct term of 'dwarf' or 'little people' they are quite happy with. 

The coastal region of Tin Can Bay is quite 'scrubby' and I was amazed at the native flora growing abundantly...Acacias, Grevilleas and the like.  Beautiful wildflowers everywhere.  The scrub was also full of the most amazing Ghost Gums. In the first week I was greeted with spectacular full-moon nights and the night sky was brimming with sparkling stars.  It's something you don't often see in the city and suburbs. 

And I have to mention meeting John, the donkey man.  He owns a couple of donkeys which were used during the exercise.  The donkeys were called 'Kath and Kim' in our village, and evidently were a mother and daughter team.  They wouldn't go anywhere alone.  John was another interesting person I met who had done alot of travelling in his time.  He was an outback tour guide at some stage and has done alot of trekking and outdoor and adventure travel and guiding.  Originally from the UK, he has called Australia home for a large part of his adult life.  We talked alot about life, about people (and the Gen-Y'ers), his experiences and his current goals.  He's in his 4th relationship, has two teenage daughters and intends to make this one work.  He was reading some books on relationships and showed me, purposely hiding them in the event that the young army men might see them and think him quite gone soft.  I remarked that I wouldn't be too concerned about these young men, as they're not known for being in touch with their feminine side and would be too immature to appreciate what time has had the fortune of bestowing upon those of us who have been on this earth twice as long.  He also shared a personal insight about donkeys...apparently they are very wise creatures and admitted that sometimes he prefers their company to the human kind!

More thing I always gain from being away from home and loved ones is how much I love my life and how much I treasure my family and friends at home and how peaceful and tranquil my family life is. 

My life, to those young people would be considered quite boring and talk of family, home, kids was lost on most of them who were single and still in the 'partying' stage of their lives. 

Looking back, of course when I was single I did enjoy going out, but the partying and drinking part didn't last long for me.  My training was still numero uno back in my teens and early 20's.  And at 21 I started my first business (martial arts/coaching) so partying was far from my mind.  I had more productive pursuits to think about.  I was also in my first serious relationship with a man 18 years my senior and had two school age children to care for in addition to that.

So...reflecting, I found how content I am now still, especially now we're in our new home which will most definitely be our last (unless we win the lotto - though I admit, I don't think I would move, I'd just have the money to make it exactly into what I want).  With plans for the vegie garden and waiting for our bantam chooks to arrive three days before Christmas; having family over on Christmas Eve, including Philomena's little cousins and uncles and aunts and grandparents, what could be more satisfying than spending time with loved ones. 

I love this time of the year, and the lead up to Christmas is always so special...putting up our Christmas Tree and Philomena helping decorate it...playing our Christmas CD's of which our favourites are The Nutcracker and Handel's Messiah.  Planning the food and decorating our home as well as bringing out the special Christmas dining decor and linen. Bringing out our Advent wreath and candles and lighting one for each week preceding Christmas, saying a prayer and thanking God for all our gifts and blessings and counting down the days til Christmas.  Visiting all the wonderful Christmas Lights.  All these little things together make Christmas so special.

Pauline Nordin

And last, but definitely not least, I had time to reflect on my training and how my year went.  For me, I came to the realisation that I was able to maintain my happy weight of 57kg's for at least 6 months of the year.  That went askew when we bought our house and I didn't train for six weeks.  And then of course, I went on exercise not long after.  So the last few months have not been ideal, and I'm carrying that little bit of extra weight again.  MInd you, I'm very determined to be back to 57kg's by Christmas.  I've already shed 1kg since my return late Wednesday.

So, in coming to this realisation I was happy with this, and my goal is to maintain a steady 57kg's all year round!  That's my ultimate goal...lean for life! 

Upon reflection, I think that this year I've made huge gains in relation to my overall strength and fitness.  You may not remember, but one of my goals was to be able train 'without injury', and this year marked the first year that I have had no major hindering injuries.  Apart from a niggle I sustained when first learning deadlifting and apart from little annoying tensions, I am happy to say that I have had a year without injury! 

My core is getting stronger and back pain is now pretty much non-existent. I was able to partake in army PT without concern of further injury and was able to play team sports like soccer, etc without worrying about my hips.  I've been running without any hip soreness and have been pain-free in my hips for the entire year!

I have to give credit where credit is due, and I have been able to achieve this with the help of Liz.  I'm looking forward to catching up with Liz again soon to formulate some new training plans and schedules and I'm really excited about 2012 in relation to my health and fitness journey.

I'm getting better at this. I'm still finding times when I slip, but they're happening less often and they don't last as long.

So I leave you with a photo Hannah posted on FB recently.  I love it!  Sometimes I wonder whether secretly my (physical) goals are unattainable, and whether I'm kidding myself.  But I've seen some amazing achievements and I've seen some equally amazing physical changes for those who were determined enough.  I'll except nothing less than my best.  The enjoyment is in the future possibilities and in what I've achieved so far. Still so far away from my ultimate look and physical level of fitness and I know my age hinders my progression, but that doesn't mean it has to stop me trying.

Here's Arnie's rules:

  1. Trust yourself.
  2. Dig deep down and ask who you want to be.
  3. Don't be afraid to fail!
  4. Don't listen to the Naysayers!
  5. Work your Ass off.
Okay...time to work my arse off!

Sunday, October 30

Nothing Profound to Say...

"Excellence is Not a Skill - it's an Attitude"
- source unknown

It's the end of October already.  My last post was at the start of October, and still I don't have alot to share with you.  It's not that there hasn't been anything happening much in my life.  Quite the contrary.  There is alot happening as per usual.  However I seemed to have lost interest in sharing my life via blogland.  I'm thinking it might be a phase I'm going through. 

I've discovered that I get alot more done in my life when I'm not blogging or continually on facebook.  I haven't been reading any blogs (my apologies if that offends you), and it's not that I'm not interested in anyone's life, it's just that I have so much going on.  And since moving into our new home, life is more labour intensive...bigger home, bigger yard, husband away alot - therefore more things to do with the same amount of time.

But you know, I'm quite enjoying it.  I'm achieving so much more.  I'm a person of action, and this allows me to 'act' rather than live precariously through other people's lives.  Not that, that is what I do.  But sometimes you can get so caught up in reading about other people's lives that you fail to live your own life.

I haven't much to say about my current fitness goals really.  Suffice to say that I'm back on track and 100% on plan for nutrition (apart from the weekend) and finally starting to see the scales move down.  Though it's been a struggle internally to make that decision.  I have about 3kgs to go still before I'm back to lean, but I'm happy right now in my life and more accepting of ups and downs.

I'm here for another week, and I'll be off for 3 weeks for the AR and I'll be back end of November.  I'm looking forward to it, though I hear that where I'm heading, there is no formal gym or PT sessions.  Just a running track.  So I will have to get creative and apart from running will have to put together some bodyweight exercises to keep me challenged.  And I should have enough free time to be able to train daily (fingers crossed).  So my goal is to come back 3kg's lighter. :)  Here's hoping.

Anyway...I thought I'd include a photo of Pauline Nordin just for the heck of it, and I like the quote.  I think it says alot.

I believe that excellence isn't something we need to necessarily shoot off at the mouth about.  It doesn't have to be glamourous or exciting.  It's something we should be living on a daily basis.

So that's a wrap up, and I'll hopefully post upon my return.  Though it's getting close to Christmas then...e-gads!  A lovely time of the year.   So many things to do upon my return, and you know the most exciting part of my life right now?  I can't wait to build my compost bays, raised vege garden and I'm hoping we may have a couple of (bantam) chickens at Christmas (for Philomena). Oh...and start the my native cottage garden design (waiting on my book to arrive).   Of course, when I get back.  Oh..and I also look forward to setting some new training goals.   So much to little time! 

Thursday, October 6

What Gardening and Your Health Goals Have in Common

Australian Native Cottage Garden

Would you believe that we have been in our new house for one month already! We have settled in nicely, though it will take some months to unpack everything and put things in their rightful place.  I'm really enjoying the solitude and tranquility, and today even though it's drizzling rain, it's beautiful as I sit here at the kitchen table looking out to our private rainforest.

Something I'm really enjoying is weeding.  Yes...weeding.  Try's very therapeutic!

There are alot of weeds here, and before I can even begin to design my Australian Native cottage garden, I need to eradicate all the weeds.  We basically have no's mostly weeds.  So it's quite a labourious job killing off weeds and then replacing them with grass.  It's not something that happens quickly.  Not only is the lawn full of weeds, but the garden bed at the front is full of them as well. Though, I've made some headway into the weeding there. 

In the garden bed, only pulling out weeds by hand is suitable.  And you have to make sure that when you pull them out, you get the roots and all, otherwise they will just grow back.  I use a little spade to help me get in under the roots in the soil a little, and then I give a nice little tug on the weed, as close to bottom of the plant as possible.

I think I'm developing some little OCD tendencies built around keeping the house clean and...weeding!  I just can't stop once I start.  I like to see them disappear and see nice clean soil before me. what does gardening and your health goals have in common?

While I was tinkering away pulling out weeds, I was thinking about how my garden would look once it was all designed, planted and growing.  I have visions of how I want my garden to look.   It's what inspires me to keep weeding.  It's the end that I have in mind, and that's what keeps me going and doing what needs to be done in the garden and around the yard.

I was wondering how anybody could let the weeds get this bad and let the yard look so unkept.  Didn't they see the garden as it could be?  Could they not imagine how spectacular a garden could be created here  and what veritable treasures await? 

My favourite deep red Geranium

Lovely lavender pansies

My Pierre De Ronsarde climbing roses never disappoint

Could they not see the potential.?  And did they not see what treasures could be revealed with a little imagination and a little effort?

So while I was contemplating upon this while weeding, I came to the realisation that our journey of health and fitness is alot like gardening.

Before you can really take that first step of creating a healthier and fitter you, you must first imagine the end result of YOU in your head. So you need to look at your journey as a landscape (being you) design project.  I think to get real and lasting results, you need to have a vision of how you want to be. 

So what potential lies before and in you?  What can you see and create?  You too are like a garden and you have many treasures to uncover.  What spectacular visions can you see of the project (you) which you are about to begin creating?

With that in mind, the first step in designing (you) once you have that vision, is write down all the steps required to achieve that vision to begin your project (you).  You should research all the information you need so that you know that you have the correct information at hand to achieve what you want and what is right for you.  That information can come from many different sources...books, internet, professionals, friends who have achieved what you aim for and can help with support and encouragement,etc.  You get the picture.

Next are all the tools required.  They could include gym membership;  maybe some home equipment; the right food, so you can make good food choices, etc, etc.

Now...once you start your little project, you might find that some things don't go exactly according to your original design plan, so you might have to do some tweaking along the way.  But once you've started and you're on your way you'll gather some momentum.  You'll see the fruits of your labour starting to blossom and the first signs of change and growth in your garden (you).  Hopefully, this will inspire you to keep moving toward achieving your project (you).

As we all know, some of the best laid plans can come unstuck.  Sometimes it's through our own neglect; sometimes it's because something happens and it's beyond your control, and all of a sudden your project has taken a back seat in the priority stakes for what ever reason.

And this is the most vulnerable and dangerous time.  This is when you need to be vigilant.  This is the time when those weeds begin to appear.  Those weeds can take the form of slipping into bad habits, making wrong food choices or not going to the gym, and many more.  Some weeds are worse than others and if you're not careful, those weeds can then begin to proliferate and take over, threatening the realisation of your project (you).

But take heart, because if you still have that vision of your design project (you) in your head and it's a strong vision, then it will haunt you.  Better still to have your design project in front of you where you can see it and you're constantly reminded of its' presence.  Because if you can do this, whatever little events or diversions which take you off-course temporarily, you will come back to your project, and do some necessary weeding and clearing of your garden (you).  You can then begin again to see with clarity, the vision of your design project (you). you need to do some weeding?  Try's very therapeutic and you'll feel so much better once you've done a little.

I've been doing a little lately and I intend to get it under control very soon with a whole lot more. ,  And you know, just with a little weeding so far, I'm already feeling a whole lot better.

Friday, September 23

Have you Worn Your Superhero Costume Lately?

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

- Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

Do you have a picture or an idea of what or who you would like to become or be?  A goal perhaps of something or someone you strive to emulate?  Or perhaps it's not so much that you want to be someone.  Maybe it's a level of achievement you would like to attain or reach.

I liken the striving to donning on my superhero costume.  It is perhaps my secret alter ego. 

It's the ideal of the person you hope to become.  When you change into that costume, or you acquire a certain item that perhaps that person...that role...that achievement... would have, you become that person.  You imagine how you would feel...act...look in that costume or with that item.

Your actions from then are always moving toward achieving that end.  Some may call it 'faking it til you make it'.  And you're faking it because in reality, you aren't quite (well...maybe you're not even close) living up to those superhero expectations. 

Well I'm here to tell you it's okay if you're faking it, and you're not even close to making it.
The most important thing've made a start and you're putting in the action and you're striving to better yourself...your circumstances...your outcomes. 

When you set yourself a seemingly formidable goal, it seems when starting out that you may never get there.  It seems so difficult and you wonder whether you're kidding yourself that you'll ever reach it.  Especially when you've begun the journey and it's harder than what you envisaged.  It seems that you may never be worthy or ready to pull on that superhero costume you bought and it hangs in the wardrobe beckoning you to put it on - even if only fleetingly.

But I encourage you...I dare you to put it on!   Because unless you do, how do you know what you require of yourself and how do you know what real stuff you're made of if you never put it on?

And in the striving, as you reach each step and climb higher and closer toward your goal, there will be one day when you realise you're wearing that costume and it fits like a glove and you wonder what all the fuss was about, because now it's just a part of you.

But in order to realise that day, you had to persevere feeling like you were faking it, and overcome the fear of what others thought of you.  And you know...people will always remember who you are right now, not who you were necessarily. 

And anyway, what does it matter how others see you right now?  Is it not more important how you would see yourself?  Because you know that with time...with right day and the next, others will see you, how you would see yourself. 

And who may then become their real life hero, because you dared to dream... you dared to dared to put on your super hero costume and you showed others what is possible.

Wednesday, September 21

New Home...New Insights

View from top of driveway

Our private rainforest

The view and setting at the rear of our home.  My favourite place.

Philomena's new (2nd hand) trampoline, given to us through our wonderful friend, Matt

Rainbow Lorikeet eating nectar from one of our grevilleas

More forest pictures

I can't believe it's been about 7 weeks since I've posted.  I'm sitting out the back patio (see photo of my favourite place) as I write this post.  It's my favourite place to sit and contemplate and listen to the birds and the breeze rustling through the trees.  We have a resident Whipbird, which I'm thrilled at having in our back yard to listen to every day.  Philomena has named it 'Whippy' and we've been having breakfast every morning out the back patio, listening to the birds.    I've also spotted Pale Headed Rosellas and I love watching the rainbow lorikeets and honey-eaters.  This morning I could hear kookaburras, and there are some other bird varieties I haven't worked out yet by their call.

So this is why I've been absent for such a long time it seems.  I've also had no end of problems with having our phone and internet reconnected, and my old tower desktop computer finally died.  It's only hanging on long enough now for me to transfer all my files across to this new laptop.  I love wireless connection!  I no longer have to sit facing four walls.  I can sit amongst the trees and birds.

As you can see, our home isn't 'brand new' as such, but a new location.  I really love our new home.  I now have just about everything I've wanted (except that million-dollar view overlooking Mt Tamborine).  When I saw this house, it was love at first sight.  Of course, if we had a million dollars, I'm sure we would have bought a newer home, but for what we paid, I think we did exceptionally well.  And for what it's worth, it's still a stretch financially...more about this in a minute.

Our friends were rather surprised to find out we bought a new home, as we never talked about it.  In fact, the decision to buy came up in conversation with AW about how it was a great time to buy, but not a great time to sell. The conversation we had was oh...about 8 weeks ago.  I went away and crunched some figures, and said to AW...yes, we can afford it, but it means going back to being frugal again, to which we decided would be okay.  We'd done it before, we could do it again, if it meant getting into a house with a yard and more space for all of us.

The journey since that decision, I have to tell you has been incredible, challenging, frustrating to the point of going insane.  At quite a few points, it seemed that our dream of getting into a house was within our reach, only to be pulled from our grasp.  It has been an emotional rollercoaster from day one, and I was quite unprepared for the current economic climate in which we applied for finance.  It's a climate I have never experienced, and I had very little sleep for 5 weeks straight.

We've purchased homes before, but this one was different for a number of reasons.  Mainly because of my emotional attachment.  In previous times we always had our loans pre-approved, but this time we needed to secure the contract, because it was such a great buy and I knew that it would go pretty quickly.

So why did I invest so much emotionally?

It was always about my dream of having a home where Philomena could play outside unfettered.   I wanted her outside exploring, not inside watching TV.  I wanted us as a family to be outside, and more connected with nature and fresh air, and more outside activity.

It was about us as individuals having more personal space and more room to have privacy and relax. 

It was about us as a family, doing more things which were based around home and family.  Having family and friends around more often and reconnecting with people.

It was about the chooks; having a vegetable garden and making my own compost; creating a beautiful garden full of colour and scents and one which everyone can enjoy.  Creating spaces in the garden to sit and contemplate and to enjoy this beautiful forest outlook we have here, which not alot of people even know exists. 

It was about Philomena having pets and a dog, because I want her to have that special relationship that I had the privilege of having as a child with my dog and pets.  Having pets is a great lesson for children in responsibility and caring for something which is helpless and requires love and committment.  Pets, especially dogs are also great companions for children (and adults).

It was about Philomena having a play/cubby house and areas of play to help develop her strong imagination and creativity. 

It was about having a blank canvas on which to create our dream home.  And boy, do we have lots of plans.  It's 1/4 acre, so there's lots of room and we plan to extend onto the home.  We plan to build in the carport for extra room, and expand the kitchen/dining area.  We also plan to build a deck out the back to enjoy the view and create more outdoor living space to overlook the kids play area.  Of course, this won't happen straight away.  We're pretty skint at the moment.

The greatest part of all of this, is that we have only moved 3kms!  We're still in Beenleigh, though you wouldn't think so.  It's so close.  Philomena and I call it our 'Secret Place'. You can't see our home from the road.  All you can see is a letterbox, a driveway, and a gate, in-between two other houses from the road.

So was all the emotional turmoil worth it?  You betcha! 

AW was away alot during this whole time, so there was only little old me to deal with just about everything single-handedly.  Thankfully, Anthony recruited family and friends to help on moving day.  And thanks to my sister, Carol for helping me clean our other place.  I don't think I would have got it all done without her!  And Matt, if you're reading're amazing!  And you have been and still, are one of our most cherished and generous friends  We would have been in a real pickle without your help on moving day.  You ROCK!

So there you have it.  I hadn't trained for 6 weeks!  This is the longest break from training ever since starting my fitness journey with IBO back in July 2008.  I put on 4kgs!  I was very stressed, but I returned to training sought of last week, and more earnestly this week. It will probably be at least 2 weeks before being able to resume my training at the same volume and intensity I was at before the six weeks.

I'm amazed at how much tone I've lost in that period.  My body has definitely suffered and I'm feeling quite horrible at the moment and out of sorts again.  But I know it's only temporary.

I put out a HELP signal to Liz to help me get focussed and get some accountability so I can get back on track quickly.  I'm confident this can happen and I can feel more myself again. insights... happens, and you just gotta pick up where you left off.
...some things can't be helped, but know that it's only temporary, and you're only about 30 days from seeing real change.
...I don't suffer fools gladly.
...I'm getting grumpier as I get older.
...I don't like the fact that some things are out of my control.
...someone above is looking out for us, and I am eternally grateful.
...some times life is tough, but you'll always get through it and move on, so don't be afraid to try!'s amazing what you'll go through when your dream is strong enough!

So now I can re-focus on my fitness again.  It feels good to be sore, but the moment I feel like a beginner.  I feel so unfit.  But I know it's only temporary!

I have made a conscious decison not to be on the internet so much. I got so much done while away, and to be honest, I want to spend more time with my family in our new home and on our new home, creating the pictures I have in my head.

Because you know.  That's what drives me.  And I know that for most of you, that's what drives you too.  You have that picture or pictures in your head of what your ideal life is - your ideal you, and you spend your time bringing your current reality to match your current ideal.  That's what makes life so amazing.  That we can create what we imagine, and it's in the 'creating' that we derive so much joy and satisfaction.

So I will leave you with a wonderful saying I read off the sign out front of the Beenleigh Lutheran Church...

"Be content with what you have...but not with who you are."

*  P.S.  Let me know please if some of the photos look a bit squashed. It could just be my new computer.  Just double-click on the photo and it should be a normal size.

Monday, July 18

Delayed Gratification

"The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable prerequisite for success."

- Maxwell Maltz

It's interesting to note the thoughts that run through your head when you're working out in the gym.  I find time in the gym is when I seem to work through stuff, and it's usually in-between sets.  I think exercise gives us the opportunity to tap into our bodies and gives us the ability to be introspective during such times of physical exertion and awareness.  Not just on a physical level, but also emotionally and mentally.

I think that's a big reason why I love training, and I've missed it big time being away for nearly two weeks.  I've been climbing the walls.  I can't remember the last time I was away that long.  This chest infection really hit me for six, and I still have an annoying cough that continues to persist in the evenings, during the night and early mornings.

Today was my first day back and I started with a cycle class.  I was feeling quite green to be honest, and what I would normally find easy was a bit of a struggle.  It was mainly the seedy feeling and my legs tired more quickly than normal, but I made sure that I finished and pushed myself when I could.   However, my weight session went well afterwards, and I started where I was the last session, and gauged how far to push myself.  I was happy with the outcome, completing everything and afterwards was rewarded with that wonderful feeling of energy and vitality that comes with a good training session!  Oh how I missed you Go Health (and I've never said that before)!

Tomorrow it's my early morning RPM class, which I've decided to do as a regular thing.  I realised that that this week I'll end up doing four cycle classes. Hah!  Who would of thought?  But I'm really enjoying them.  And it's one of the best classes where you really get more bang for your buck as far as a cardio workout.  It's helping me get these legs stronger where I need my quads.

Anyway...delayed gratification.  Well you can see the photo.  It's a typical before and after transformation shot.  Typical in the way it's orchestrated.  That is...what someone looked like before and then what they looked like after some transformation program.  I don't know who this person is.  But I just love how athletic she looks!

That's what amazes me about body transformations.  You never know what's possible.  It always excites me to think that you can take your body from where it is right now to something which initially can seem impossible.  I think that's why the term 'body sculpting' is called that. 

It's like a sculptor starting off with a piece of clay that has no real definition.  He has a vision of what he wants that clay to look like and begins to mould it.  Once it's close to it's final shape, he can then begin to chip away, being more precise and giving definition to accentuate the areas which he wants to.  And so it is with our bodies.  We are the sculptors and the tools we use are not only the genre of exercise and training we choose, but also the food and nourishment we give it, and the volume and intensity of our training.  And lastly...the longer we chip away...the degree of precision of our work, the more which is revealed to show the masterpiece which is our artistic form.

Looking back at my photos I had done in January 2009, it's hard to believe I was 54.75kg's on the day of those photos, with depletion. Hard to believe, because at 57kg's, two years on, I actually look leaner, without any type of depletion.  That excites me, because what it tells me is that over time, my body can and will change if I persist. 

And that's what delayed gratification is.  It's holding a vision of what's possible and what you want to achieve and then doing what's necessary, even though at times it seems hard.  You want that thing, whatever it is, right now!  Once you make that decision you want to be healthier, stronger, fitter, leaner, more financially well off, etc, etc, you want all the things in the universe to give it to you now! 

Let's face it...the thought of not getting what you want right this moment and knowing you have to put in, be patient and trust that it will happen with the appropriate amount of action, before it actually becomes reality, is one of the toughest tests we have to go through.

It's a test of our willingness and determination to see things through.  It's a  test of our patience.  And most of all it's a test of how strong is the vision of what we want to achieve.

This blog is mainly about matters related to health and fitness, but this pertains to any worthwhile endeavour, and it was actually another area of my life where I've been practicing delayed gratification and I've reaped the rewards, that got me thinking of the post title today. 

I'm sure we've all practiced it (delayed gratifcation), and what I find is that the pain of the delay is all but forgotten when you experience success.  All you have to do is rinse and repeat.

Wednesday, July 13

Bringing Dreams into Reality...

“Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.”

- Robert F. Bennett

Thanks to Katherine for the inspiration for today's post, titled 'Life is the Sum of all of our Choices'.

I really love the quote above by Robert Bennett, but I think it lacks something obvious that Katherine alludes to in her post.  And that is...even though we makes choices consciously or unconsciously, it's when we exercise those choices, that it is when truly influence the outcome of lives. 

something of the feel of my dream home

If you don't know by now, you may have guessed I'm somewhat of a dreamer.  I have been for all my life.  My dreams and visions of what I want to create fuel my desire and my zest for life.  I only wish there was more time to do everything I would like in this life time.  There is so much to learn and so much to create still, in the way of experiences.

photo courtesy of 1000 Homes of Happiness

As I get older, life is becoming more about the experiential and less about materialistic pursuits.  It's about cramming in as much of life as possible, yet living it with a sense of balance, authenticity and gratitude.  I want to soak up every miniscule moment of the gift of life and part of that is sharing it with those we love.

creating and experiencing wonderfully enriching moments with my children and family are a part of my dreams of a life fulfilled

Yet, even though I've always been a big dreamer, I'm grateful for the gift of action. 

You's all well and good to think about all the choices that are on offer.  But we can delude ourselves into thinking that just by pondering over and filling our head with all the available choices and talking about what we want to do, equates to getting things done.

Bodily aspirations - part of the motivation to exercise and make good nutritional choices on a consistent basis

It's when, after making good choices, we then exercise those choices, by putting them into action and seeing them come to fruition.  Only then, can our dreams become a reality.

So are you making good choices and exercising   Not tomorrow, not next week, but right now.  Because the choices you exercise today will determine whether your dreams become reality. 

And in finishing, I must share with you something integral in going for your dreams.  It's a great quote by Commando Steve on his FB page today.  You know when you've made good choices, by the person you've become along the way.

"The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it."
- John Ruskin


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