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

Monday, July 11

Square Your Shit Away...

"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace."

~ Frederick Buechner

Thanks to Crystal for this photo

Do you get days where life is just so full of promise and you're feeling heady just thinking about all the wonderful plans you have in your life right now?  And that life becomes a little overwhelming?

Sometimes the action part of your life gets so frenetic that you want to put the brakes on, just so you can get your head around the momentum you've created and actually enjoy the results of it. Can anyone relate?

It only becomes a problem when the action you're creating is stuff that isn't necessarily getting you any closer to anything.  In could say that the action you're indulging in, isn't getting you immediate results.  But you could still count it as a necessary evil.

In the 'living' and 'action' realm of your life, there's always going to be some roadside carnage, and for me it usually affects my domestic roles, or anything else that isn't health and fitness related.

I've been living in that realm for...oh...about two weeks now...since the start of the school holidays.  It's been nice having a change to my usual routine of school drop-off-gym-school pick-up.  But as much as I've enjoyed the change where routine has gone out the window and I've got to spend some nice 'girly' time with Miss Phil, plus a seemingly endless list of birthday parties and socialising, I've reached the end of my tolerance for non-routine. 

I haven't seen inside the gym for a whole week (have been sick) and it's time to get everything back into some time of order.  It's time to resume my ordered way of life, and I am sooooo keen to get back to 'school drop off - gym - school pick-up' routine.

There's some unfinished business (tax...domestic duties...gardening) too, that needs to get sorted this week, so that once the action phase starts again, I'm not weighed down thinking about superflous stuff that just interferes with my training goals.  It's so easy to get caught up in that, and in the long run doesn't get you any closer to your goals and can sabotage any type of consistency.

Next year for me is going to be a very big year and I'm going to have to be really super-organised and economical in the way I do life.  I'll be embarking on full-time study and some other plans in the pipeline, so the way I train will have to change if I want to maintain the gains I've made, but still move towards making progress.  I know it's possible.  But I will need a different mindset to accomplish this.

So for the remainder of this year I will be concencentrating on deleting the superfluous from my life (that I haven't already jetisoned) and fine-tuning in the areas of training, nutrition and generally getting my home life in order.  It's only 5 months until the end of the year, so I want to squeeze in as much training as I can so I can see some real change in my body, before I embark upon life changes in 2012.

Also, I have a feeling, based on the weather we've had, that this summer will be an awesome one!  And I want to be ready to hit the beach on a regular basis and make the most of what would have to be my favourite part of the year...sun, surf, sand, and fresh air!  Summer of 2011 - here I come!

Tuesday, July 5

Who You Are is Who You Choose to Be...

"Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that doesn't make you who you are. It is the rest of your story, who you choose to be. So, who are you, panda?"

— Soothsayer to Po, Kung Fu Panda 2
Today has been an emotional day.  Actually, I've been emotional since about Thursday last week.  Thankfully, emotional nowadays no longer equates to emotional eating, as it may have in the past.  I think I've reached a certain milestone in that department.
You I took Miss Philomena to the movies, and we saw Kung Fu Panda 2.  Wow!  I didn't realise how much it would affect me.  I was sitting through it thinking..."you've got to be kidding me.  This story is about me (sought of)."
To get to the jist of it, Po finds himself asking the very same question that I'm sure we all ask ourselves at some stage in our lives..."Who Am I?"
Though with Po, he was adopted (by a goose) and part of his journey in Kung Fu Panda 2 is about searching for the truth of who he really is, and where he came from. 
I won't tell you what happens because that would spoil it for those of you who haven't yet seen the movie.  I would recommend seeing it. 

For those who don't know, I was adopted at birth in PNG and moved to Australia when I was 4 years old.  Since Thursday, the literal can of worms has opened up once again for me, in my search to find my biological father and birth mother. 

Monday, July 4

The Law of Exposure...

couch potato cat

 “The idea that addiction is somehow a psychological illness is, I think, totally ridiculous. It's as psychological as malaria. It's a matter of exposure. People, generally speaking, will take any intoxicant or any drug that gives them a pleasant effect if it is available to them.”

- William S. Burroughs

I don't know about you, but if I'm away from the gym any more than a couple of days, I can quite easily slip into the life of a couch potato. After three or more days of no gym or any type of movement or exercise, I feel like I'm stuck in quick sand, being pulled into my previous life of eating crap, sleeping more, and feeling more tired and listless. My belly starts to make strange noises; my body begins to emit some seriously funky odours, and feel sluggish and crappy. 

And did I mention that it's also a psychological and motivational killer?!

I know that this can be dangerous to my mental health (and eventually my physical health), if I keep exposing myself to the life of a couch potato.

 "The Law of Exposure states, what you expose yourself to dramatically shapes how you think, feel and act. Applying the Law of Exposure proactively takes deliberate action daily. It is a moment to moment conscious choice. If what you expose yourself to is not a reflection of that which you want to create more of in your life than you are going to be working against yourself."

Sunday, July 3

Let's Get It Started...

"Everybody, everybody, let's get into it.
Get stupid.
Get it started, get it started, get it started.
Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here.
Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here.
Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here.
Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here.

- from the lyrics 'Let's Get It Started', by Black Eyed Peas

There's not much to say lately. Sometimes I think what I have to say is inconsequential to most. What goes through my head on most days in relation to my goals, is boring in its' simplicity.

It's what motivates me and gets me out of bed and wanting to train.  Shallow and self-serving it may appear, but it's what drives me.  The vision of what is possible gives me energy and inspires me to push myself, even when on some days I'd quite happily stay in bed under the covers.

But it's not in the reaching, but the striving where all the rewards are.  It's what keeps me young.

I feel a sense of accomplishment that at the age of 42, I'm in better shape than I was at 22, abeit not as agile. I'm in the best place of my life right now, and I figure it can only get better.  Why stop now?  I have no health problems or concerns because I exercise and I'm careful about what I eat, and I have a balanced approach to life.  I'm disciplined, but not obsessive.  

Let's be be lean all year round takes constant hard work and discipline.   It doesn't just happen by accident.  And to keep on top of our health and fitness takes so much more work, as all of us woman in their late 30's-over 40's can attest to.  I've also found from experience that we tend to have more 'stuff' to deal with...injuries, post-pregnancy scars (for those of us who have children) and the emotional baggage which comes as a natural consequence of just being around for this long.


"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do"

- John Wooden

So what inspires me every day to train hard and watch what I eat?

A tight, hard set of glutes and
flaring quads...

That is all.  Nothing more...nothing less.

Oh...and to look like what Ava Cowan does in those shorts!  And without shorts. ;)  Come on, you know you want it too.  So...let's get it time like the present (I tell myself).


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