Wednesday, February 29

(Being) Fit and Fabulous AFTER 40 (is hard work!)

Mua at 40

"Fitness - If it came in a bottle,
everybody would have a great body."

- Cher

Hello fellow bloggers and health enthusiasts.  It's been awhile since I last blogged and I'm happy to say that life is just dandy...considering.  I also haven't had any home phone or internet connection for one week tomorrow!  I'm using hubby's computer.

I've had a few minor challenges in the last month or so, mainly to do with training (overtraining and then lack of motivation), as you would have read in my last post.  After a small break I resumed my training, but ever since I've been plagued by some annoying little niggles. 

The first was some upper trap tension which kept pulling my neck out of alignment and I was getting headaches and increased tiredness.  So it was back to doing my lower trap activation work.  My physio also said I had Plantar Fasciitis in my right foot.  It had been annoying me for some time and I finally fessed up.  So stretching and icing was prescribed for that (that's going to take longer to heal).  And in the last week, just to prove that things come in threes, I managed to strain my RHS calf (though we're not 100% convinced this is what it was).  That means no running, and alot of massage and stretching.  It's feeling much better and I should be able to resume gentle running by the start of next week.  I think my body is trying to tell me something, and I've been listening.

So,  my training volume and intensity have changed down somewhat.  To be honest, I think it's what I've needed.  I haven't even been strictly following a program, but have rather been listening to what my body has been telling me and doing what feels best.

The funny thing is, I haven't put on weight. I've been between 133-135lbs now for a couple of months.  Up and down.  I haven't been progressing past that 133lbs.  Even with the decrease in volume and training intensity, I'm still sitting on 133lbs.  And that' where I've been sitting.  I still haven't hit my goal weight of 57kgs (125.66lbs), but I don't think it's too far away. 

But, I'm not concerned, because I have finally got my nutrition on track and having more variety.   And even though my weight hasn't changed on the scales, something is happening, because in the last week, my shorts have all of a sudden loosened and I now have to buy a new belt, because my old one is too big.  My faithful denims I haven't worn for a couple of weeks, because they now fall down too low. 

The body fat is starting to come off and I'm starting to look lean again.  It's just that last remnant of body fat sitting on my butt and thighs.  You know, the bit that is always first to go on and the last to come off?

The thing is,  I'm doing it all differently.  I'm no longer focused on training 24/7 like I have been in the last few years.  Life has changed somewhat, and I no longer have to expend as much energy thinking about my fitness.  I plan and then I do.  Not as much deliberation now.  When I'm at training I focus 100% on doing my best (even at the moment as my intensity is at around 75%, rather than 100%).  And when I finish, I focus on that part of my life that I'm experiencing at that time.  I'm getting alot better at compartmentalising different areas of my life and not stressing about each one in-between.

I think I'm starting to understand this thing called 'Balance'.

On the other hand, that doesn't mean that I don't focus at all on my training or fitness goals.  I still think about them.  I just don't obsess so much anymore.  I'm doing lots of reading in the realm of nutrition at the moment and I'm finding it quite intriguing and I'm learning new things about how our bodies respond to varying degrees of macro-nutrients. So I'm still learning things.

Interestingly, just reading my coach, Liz's latest post, brought to mind how what people think, regardless of who we are, still has an influence on us to a greater or lesser degree.  I'm finding as I get older, it's becoming more important what I think of myself, rather than what others think of me.

I know for a fact that those outside the bodybuilding and fitness world think I'm obsessive because I enjoy training and assume that because I am muscular, I'm super fit (a misconception).  Older friends and family just think I'm skinny (and they want to fatten me up).  It's interesting how others perceive you.  And here I am thinking I'm doing okay for 43, but I still have a ways to go.  Just yesterday I bumped into an old neighbour and she asked me if I was a personal trainer. But as it goes, it's funny that others will notice the best of you while your self-talk is quickly summing up the worst of you.

However, in reality, when I look at other women my age in normal, everyday society, I know I'm part of a minority.  And I'm damned proud of it!  I like being different.  And if other women think I'm too muscular, so be it.  As I've said before...I'd rather have muscular arms than tuckshop arms, any day!  I've had them (tuckshop) and let me tell you, I didn't feel so special.

So I'll just keep chugging along and working on improving my fitness, keeping lean and growing a butt (muscle)!  Like Liz, I think I'm a fitness generalist and I'm really keen on trying different types of exercise genre, whether that be training for strength, power or endurance.  I like to mix it up. 

After so many years of martial arts (power and endurance), it's been a nice change to do different things.   And even though I miss martial arts (I've had to put it to bed for now due to time constraints and also injury), the many years of training have no doubt put me in good stead and have paved the way to pursue fitness in differing ways.

Even with all my little niggles, I'm still a work-in-progress.  Yes, it takes hard work to be fit and fabulous after 40.  But you know, I don't have any medical problems that trouble me.  I don't take any medication for anything.  I don't drink or smoke and don't feel the need to, because I'm quite high on life without them.  I mostly have food under control, though I don't think it's something we all completely master.  We all have our 'moments'.

I have energy to keep up with my nearly 6yr old daughter as well as do everything physical around the house.  I put to shame fellow AA reservists half my age when it comes to fitness tests (and that includes men too) and I have to say, I secretly enjoy putting them to shame! 

I know that if I need to dig deep physically, I can.  And for me, it's important to know that whatever challenge I face, I can handle it.

The best part is, I'm excited because I may be getting older, but I'm getting fitter (and I'm enjoying getting mellow too)!

Thursday, February 9

When Analytical and Creative Collide...

"I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious."

- Albert Einstein 

I suspect that I am experiencing one of many vicissitudes of life.  Unbeknownst to be, it's been taking place for about six months now.  It's been slowly building, though I've only been in a state of anxiousness for about two to three weeks.  I even considered seeking some professional help today, but I managed to calm myself down and organise my thoughts and look a little more deeply into my feelings to ascertain where all this anxiousness was coming from.

In my latest post I admitted that life is too good...and it's wonderful actually.

So why am I so anxious? 

Regardless of how well we think we know ourselves, at times even we can confound ourselves.

Why is it hard to seek help when you're seen as the strong one?  I think it's because when you're a high achiever, you have that expectation of yourself that you will always find the solution.  And you project a persona of such strength, coolness and calmness that others around you naturally assume you have your shit together 100% of the time.  Nothing could be further than the truth.

Most of the time I actually do have my shit together in a general sense.  Though there will always be areas of your life that need work.  Not every part of your life can be in balance 100% all at the same time.  There's always stuff we're working on in our lives.  Sometimes we drop the ball and then it becomes a mad scramble to regain control.

If you haven't noticed, the feeling of my blog has changed in the last six months or so.  I haven't much written about anything resembling health or fitness.  I've been struggling in the headspace department.  The fact is, I've got to a stage where I've figured out what I need from my training and nutrition.  There are no longer any surprises.  It's fairly simple really - train hard, train consistently, eat clean, and!  I know what works for me and what doesn't.

Yes, there will always be more to learn when it comes to training and as my body gets stronger, but the routine of fitness is no longer a mystery.  It's so simple I could do it my sleep.  And that's where the problem lies.  Why is it we like to complicate the simple? 

I read somewhere recently that human beings abhor a state of equilibrium. That it's in our nature, and we derive pleasure from constant change, whether subtle or otherwise.

Order and routine in my life I need.  Without it, nothing would get done.  And action ensures that I am achieving my goals and getting things done.  I'm a person of action. I love making plans and I love seeing and analysing the results.  I would not have achieved what I have unless I was a person of action.

Yet, I am also a very creative person and sometimes routine stifles my need to be creative.  This is where the analytical side and the creative side collide.  And this is what's happening at the moment.  I think I'm in another creative phase in my life.

I haven't touched my pencils or paints for over five years now.  Ever since Philomena was a baby.  I miss that creative outlet, but as long as I have other creative pursuits in my life that's okay.  Creative for me is gardening; house planning and design; interior design and decoration.  It's a world filled with creative licence - colour, form, balance, style and form.  And most of all, it's about creating surroundings that embue your very essence. 

It's been the vege garden, the composting; the trees, birds, butterlfies, family, friends and food; decadence rooted in simplicity; the tree swing; sharing good conversation and laughter; observing beauty in doing simple, every day tasks; contemplation of all things beautiful and sublime.

It's about self expression and having your life and your home speak who you really are. 

It's about realising your dreams as a kid (being creative) whilst supposedly maintaining your visage as an adult (stifling creativity and imagination).  Striking a balance is a constant challenge.

So here I find myself, craving passivity yet at the same time having the need to create order and discipline in my surroundings. I do this now, so that I can indulge in the decadence of time-wasting, observation, daydreaming and contemplation that creativity demands.

Now all I need to do is work out how I can schedule both order and discipline as well as creativity in my life.  Now that is the real challenge - finding that balance.  I wonder whether I will ever find it again soon.  Because there have been times I have been content, and I realise that contentment is that balance I seek.  And it wasn't that long ago I was content - only last year in fact.

Right, I'm on strike.  I can't face the thought of training or thinking too seriously about what's required for me to push through this current training and nutrition rut.  I mean, I haven't fallen off the wagon, but I'm just over the energy of being so 'on' all the time and my headspace is just not conducive to training.  So unlike me.  I need a break.  I'm not doing anything stupid.  I no longer binge or feel the need to comfort myself with food.  I've grown up a bit now.   I just need 'time out'.   

Of course I also know that 'this too shall pass'.  Fingers crossed it shall pass within in few days, and I'll have worked out how to schedule into my life on a regular basis, both order and creativity. Ahhh...I feel so much better already. 

Tuesday, February 7

When Life is Too Good

Sunday Breakfast on the back patio, eating pancakes and drinking tea - pure decadence!

The last week which saw my 43rd birthday was what you could perfect...mostly.

This is what it's been like the last couple of weeks. Undulating between perfect and frustrating.  The thing is, it's all my fault.  Life for me is fantastic, but sometimes we can fail to see it when life is just TOO good!   That has been me lately.

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling very tired.  Self-inflicted overtraining.  I go too hard too quickly.  I pulled  back the reins though the tiredness and frustration remained.  I haven' even felt like training this week and dragged my sorry arse to the gym yesterday!  I still managed a mostly strong weights session, though squats are frustrating the hell out of me at present.  I'm still a novice and it's a learning curve.  It's not a great head space, and so unlike me, but when that happens I know it's time to stop and take a step back and look at why.

Knowing myself so well now, it's a constant battle to maintain balance in my life.  On one hand I like to train and go hard; keep the house tidy, stay on top of all things domestic, and yet on the other hand I like to relax and have time to smell the roses.  In order for me to maintain this equilibrium, I have to schedule times within my week and month to ensure that I keep it all humming along nicely.

With Christmas, New Year, and with all the rain, things have slipped behind on the domestic front and with such a large yard (which I wanted), it's more labour intensive, and I have a back log of work to catch up on.  Another mountain of weeds; washing things like bedsheets and furniture covers, etc which had to be delayed due to all the rain.  So that's just life, but it all just got a bit overwhelming for me.  It's times like these that I realise I need to physically stop and take stock of things.  Training, as much as I love it (except or the last week), sometimes has to be put on the back burner so I can get all the other stuff in my life back to a happy medium and humming along.  When I've got all this squared away, then I find I'm back in a better place, headspace wise and can then focus 100% on my training AND enjoy it!  When I lack motivation in my training, I know it's time to slow down for a while. 

So today I'm not training.  I'm catching up on house and yard work and preparing my stuff to start back at Army Reserves tonight.  At this very moment I'm sitting out the back patio listening to the whipbirds calling, lorikeets screeching, birds chattering, the chickens scratching in amongst the plants, classical music, and while I'm drinking coffee.  I'll grab 10 minutes of some quiet reading when I've finished this post, and then I'll be hanging out more washing, cleaning the kitchen and getting some much needed housework done.  I feel better already, and I'll return to training tomorrow morning.

The Lighthouse, Byron Bay

Breakfast Fresh Cafe, Byron Bay

Last Friday couldn't have been anymore perfect, and secretly, I think I need a whole week of doing what I did on Friday...sweet F'All!  I lay on the beach reading; pottered around Byron Bay shops and ended up at Mary Ryans Bookstore/Coffee Shop and spent about 2 hours in there looking through books and reading - it was pure bliss!   I bought two great books - 'Principles of Home - Making a Place to Live' by Kevin McCloud (the guy who hosts Grand Designs on ABC TV), and 'A Slice of Organic Life' by Sheherazade Goldsmith.  Anthony and I in amongst that had some lunch and in the afternoon we met up again and had a great coffee (Campos coffee) at the Breakfast Fresh Cafe (pic above).  We then drove up to The Lighthouse and the walk was great and the scenery spectacular and refreshing!  Anthony and I then drove back through the hinterland and finished the day late into the evening, eating pizza at Mt Tamborine before going home and falling into bed.  It was THE perfect birthday!

Come Monday morning I was despondent and not looking forward to going to the gym!  The warning bells are sounding and it was time to take note.  Mind you, apart from squats I had a great session and did my best pull-up session.  I decided to ditch my resistance bands and managed 4 sets of 5, 4, 4, 2 reps of unassistd pull-ups.  My best yet!  My lats are nice and sore this morning.

So this morning I'm taking some time out to get some much needed 'other stuff' done and I'm taking a little time out to stop and enjoy what I already have.

I've been frustrated because my weight hasn't budged beyond the 60kg mark and I've been whinging and complaining to myself (and Anthony...and Liz...sorry Liz!), but you know, things aren't so bad when I put it all in perspective.  I am the first to admit that I am too hard on myself sometimes and I expect too much of myself.  I need to lighten up!  And I need to remind myself to lighten up.  I also need to organise myself alot better than I do.

I'm still in pretty good shape.  I'm looking good and feeling healthy and fit.  I have a beautiful family and home and lots going on in my life to occupy me.  I am truly blessed.  So enough of whinging and complaining!  Time to get on with it.

Thursday, February 2

What's your Favorite Daily Escape?

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy. 

~Edward P. Morgan

I'm currently reading 'Rock the Casbah' by Robin Wright.   Robin Wright is a foreign correspondent and TV commentator who has covered the middle east for 40 years.   It's non-fiction and is about the undercurrent of change in the Middle East and how the people of the Islamic world are transforming the political landscape through simple, but powerful acts of rebellion with the help of technology.   Who said Facebook was negatively influencing society?  In this instant, it's inspiring the downtrodden and repressed to gain a public platform and a voice to be heard by the rest of the world, overthrowing corrupt and cruel politial regimes.  It's right up-to-date, and goes into the events of the removal of Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak and how it started on January 28th, 2011.  Powerful stuff!

I've also got 'Nicholas Nickleby' to read by Charles Dickens.  I've only ever read one of his novels, 'David Copperfield', and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  So I'm looking forward to starting that one.  I'll probably have a couple of books on the go at the same time.

Last night I enjoyed my favourite daily escape.  AW is away and Philomena was asleep.  It was quiet and peaceful.   I just had the soft glow of the lamp on and some classic music playing in the background.  I was in my comfy recliner with a cup of tea and a good book! 

I intend to make this a regular thing and I'm hoping I can convince AW to turn off the TV at night so we can all do some reading as a family.  Now that Philomena is beginning to read, I would like to make this something we do each night.  Anthony has been doing more reading lately too, so it shouldn't be hard to do. Philomena really enjoys listening to classical music as well, so I'm hoping this will have a more calming effect on her before bedtime.

I even have plans for the future based around reading.  We're currently doing up plans to build in the house and we're going to put in a fireplace!  It will sit between the lounge and dining rooms to warm the living and dining areas.  So this is my dream.  It's another thing I've always wanted.  I won't get my library room, but I'll get my fireplace.  I can't wait one day to be reading books on the recliner, with a hot cup of tea by a warm fire during winter!  Funny how these little things can inspire you.  You may not think it gets cold in Brisbane, but I'm a cold frog and it gets quite cold here where we are.  The house sits in a gully and we seem to trap the cold air.  I had the heating on in September, it was that cold!

Anyway...if you're into reading and have some good recommendations, I hope you'll share!

And...I'd like to know what you do and whether you have a favourite daily escape and how you escape!


NO ORDINARY MOMENTS Copyright © 2010 | Designed by: Compartidisimo