Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Push yourself. Otherwise, how do you know what you can do?

I'm really focussing on my comparative advantage at the moment - and that is exercise. 
I am loving it.  I am running, I am doing resistance/strength training, I enjoy sweating and hurting and pushing myself that little bit further.  Lately, I've taken on a couple of physical challenges and as a result, I have felt a tremendous sense of achievement.
I can't recommend pushing yourself highly enough!
Last Saturday, as a bit of a mini milestone during the 12wbt I decided to challenge myself and walk up Tower Hill four times.  Tower Hill is a local dormant volcano ( I love that it is dormant, not extinct.  At any time, she could go up like Vesuvius.  How exciting!) and in the crater is a short, but challengingly (is that even a word?) steep hill.  Great place to work out the legs and lungs. 
Last time I did three trips up and down, with an exercise circuit at the bottom to  keep things interesting (and by this of course, I mean painful).  So this time my plan was to do 4 trips up and down with a circuit between each lap.

I posted my little plan on our local 12wbt crew facebook page and was so excited that 8 of us turned up bright and shiny to tackle this challenge.  Thanks to Carol, here are some photos...
Oh, we're all very chipper before the workout!

Part of the climb - and Casey looking just that little bit too energetic.  Alison (L) and I (R) looking bemused!

Part of the walk up Tower Hill
We all managed our 4 trips up - some walking, some running - and the only real drama was when the lovely Carol had a close encounter with a brown snake by the side of the track.....Crikey!  We also got through our ciruits (of 10 burpees, 10 push ups, 10 squat jumps and 6 Turkish get ups) without too much whinging.... everyone clearly had their brave, big girl undies on. 
For a couple of our number 4 climbs was not enough, so they did an extra round.  And Debbi had ridden her bike to our workout (and survived a stack on the way) so, obviously, had to ride the 15km-ish home, including a steep climb up out of the crater.  I was so inspired by them, I felt I could do my run when I got home (week 5 of the couch to 5km, 18 minutes of running).
Later that afternoon, I unapologetically lazed on the couch watching Hawthorn beat Adelaide (and secure their spot in next week's AFL Grand Final) and revelled in that special type of exhilirated exhaustion that comes from really pushing yourself physically.
The second physical challenge I've been involved in lately is an atrocity known as Mean Abs September.  Now, I'm not sure who propagates this torturous material, who dreams it up and says let's get gullible folks to participate in this, but whoever it is I need to thank them whilst simultaneously shaking my fist at them.  Here is the schedule for Mean Abs September:

Mean Abs September started out innocently enough on the 1st with a leisurely 5 crunches and 10 second plank.  But today (the 26th) things have escalated to 173 crunches and a 1min 45 second plank.  But here's the funny thing - I've been able to do it all.  I thought at the start I might have to do the plank on my knees towards the end of the month, but no - each night is only 5 seconds longer than the night before and I manage to stick it out.  It has really helped me get stronger.  I've been doing it with my hubby and Thing 2 who is really the driver.  He's so enthusiastic and motivating, and I can't let him down by not doing it each night.  Thing 1 lounges languidly on the couch nearby, watching on with a look of bewilderment tinged with pity - but she has proved to be a very good plank timekeeper.
So there are a couple of thing I've been up to lately that have helped me feel fitter and reach some goals.  What about you?


Thursday, 6 September 2012

The whole truth...

Right!  Well!  This is a distressing post for me to write, so I need your help. 
At the start of each paragraph, I will direct the reading voice in your head to adopt a certain accent*.  It will make the whole thing seem lighter and more pleasant. 
Please humour me. 
(*Anyone seen that hilarious sketch on Little Britain where the boys of Kelsey Grammar School have their teacher enliven their reading by making them read in different accents??  It's so funny - unfortunately I couldn't find it on youtube to share it with you.)

But firstly, a bit of perspective....  no one has died.  No one has even been injured physically or hurt emotionally.  So to the extent that this is a distressing post, it is really only distressing to me!!

Shall we get on?

First Accent:  American (take your pick of New York accent, Southern, mid west - I'm not fussy, just as long as you do it.)
It's week 2 of Round 3 and I weigh 102 kg.  So that means that since May, I have not only not lost any weight overall, but I have put it on.  About half of what I lost in Round 1.  *shakes head*

Posh English (think Her Maj, the high voice might be good too)
All that effort to lose weight in the first round, all that talk about changing and learning and doing.  I just lost my way and started to believe I couldn't do it anymore.  I don't know why, but I just disregarded my health and my goals and listened to my excuses.

Italian - the Godfather  (stereotypical hand gestures please)
So I'm in a bit of a pickle in terms of disclosing this in a public forum like this one.  Do I need to castigate myself, flagellate myself, hate myself, berate myself to some sufficient level of pennance.  

Do I just pick myself up, dust myself off and keep on trying??
Scottish if you will
I am choosing to do the latter.  I hope this doesn't seem as though I'm just papering over what I have done or saying it's okay.  Just that it's better to be positive than to ... well, not.  But boy, this has given me perspective.  I have learned that it is really difficult to get into a healthy mindset and I am going to do everything I can to stay in it now my head is in a good place. 
Eastern European (think 'is Don, is good')
I have learned that any weight loss or fitness gain should be celebrated - really truly.  So many times I have been disappointed with 0.5kg weight loss but you add a string of them together and it soon adds up to decent weight loss.  I think I can be very hard on myself and I want to try not to be.  But I don't want to be too soft on myself either.  It's a tricky balance.
Back to normal
I am doing well so far on Round 3 and will be working very hard not to repeat my mistakes.  I did not put on all the weight I had lost, so that is a positive.  I've kept up, indeed stepped up, the training which I love, so that is a positive too. 

So that's it, that's where I am at the moment.  I feel better for sharing this and wish I had done it at the start of Round 2 when the rot set in.  I'm a bit of a slow learner it would appear!
did you do the accents?


Monday, 27 August 2012

Woman of my word...

Today is the start of Round 3, 2012, for the Michelle Bridges 12 week body transformation....  I am very excited to be starting another round and to see what becomes of me over the next 12 weeks (and beyond).
So here is my commitment to myself, my hubby, the beautiful women of the Warrnambool and Surrounds 12wbt crew and, of course, Michelle (with whom I exchanged a warm and personal handshake via video).

I commit to following the 12wbt program, eating clean and training hard, in order to lose weight. But I also commit to trusting the process, being consistent and not getting caught up and derailed by numbers. I commit to focusing on my thoughts - to challenge my negative thoughts and excuses and to replace them with positive ones. 
I commit to being a woman of my word.

Pinned Image

Thursday, 23 August 2012


Sometimes I like to say 'right' very loudly and forcefully to myself in an effort to urge myself to get cracking on whatever needs to be done next. 

"Right", I'll say forcefully and loudly to myself, "let's get out of bed..... now."   

Five (or twenty) minutes may or may not pass.  "Right.  Let's get out of bed....  NOW."

Okay, so it works better in some situations than others.  But right now I'm using it now in the context of getting going on Round 3 of the 12wbt - as in:
Right! Round 2 might not have gone so well, but let's put that behind us and really take the bull by the horns for Round 3.

(Now the word right looks all wrong...  do you ever find if you say a word or write it over and over you start to question whether it is, in fact, right?  Or maybe it's just me....)

I'm so glad I've signed up for Round 3.  I hummed and hawed about whether to or not, but in the end, I just need the impetus of the program starting again to get me fired up and ready to lose weight again.  I just needed the 'right, let's actually, deliberately and properly do this' rev up.  (Plus I'm a runnist now of course,  so obviously I really want to do the running program.)

So bring on Round 3.  Over the next couple of days I will be redoing my goals and commitment and working out exactly what I want to achieve in the next 12 weeks, something I spectacularly avoided doing for Round 2. 

{And I have decided this will be my official mantra for round 3.}


I also had a freak fish sauce accident tonight which ended with a very sore finger, a broken nail and fish sauce all over the kitchen (that stuff is really fishy).  I know that little snippet of info doesn't really fit in with this post, but I just felt compelled to share it.  You're welcome.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Learning to run.... again.

I've got to be honest - this round of the 12wbt has not been a knock down, out and out 'success' for me because I haven't been a woman of my word.  Simple as that really.

I really appreciated Camilla's post "awkward much?" over on her blog - it seems I am not the only one who has had a challenging experience this round.  One day I hope to be as brave as Camilla and share some actual numbers at the end of the round.

Or not.

But I have been really pleased with my training.  Yes, I call it training unselfconsciously now.  I now feel I belong in that Spin or Pump class and that I can hold my own in the gym.  And get this - I have even started wearing those clingy tight pants and sleeveless running tops in the gym!!  I always thought I would wait until I was slim and nicely rippled to do that.  But then I thought - bugger it, I may be waiting for a while.. 

I must admit it's not pretty, not a look I'd normally recommend for the larger lass - but I just feel better and move more freely, while any jiggly bits seem to be held firmly in place.  Something like

Nike Pro Core II Compression and       Nike Luxe Layer and it makes me feel the part.  It's noice, it's different, it's elegant.

Anyhoo, I hurt my knee in February and after months of it not getting better was advised to not even do walking for exercise.  So this round, my cardio has been limited to the rower, bike and cross trainer.  But guess what?  You can so improve your cardiovascular fitness on these machines.  You can get that heart rate up, hurt like the blazes, sweat like there's no tomorrow and leave the gym feeling completely depleted and yet oddly pleased with yourself. 

But knowing that I hadn't really grabbed this round by the horns - and with my knee really improving - I thought I might start the Couch to 5K program a bit ahead of my plan to start in Round 3.  And it's going well so far.  Admittedly I am onto day 2 of week 2, so this post may be a tad premature...  but I am feeling the benefits of the cardio work I've done for the past two rounds and am able to run comfortably (for a full 90 seconds mind you) at a speed which I am happy with.

The beauty of the Couch to 5 K is that it builds up quite quickly.  I've done it before and before you know it, you are actually a runnist. 

My running goal is to run a 6km fun run in January with hubby, Thing 1 and Thing 2.  And run it in a decent time.  And possibly beat one of them (let's be honest).

Monday, 13 August 2012

There are worse things than being fat....

Firstly, I better say categorically that the title of this post is in no way designed to imply that being fat is good and we shouldn't try to lose weight and get fit, if that is what is needed!!  This is what I am trying to do and will keep trying and trying to do.  For as long as it takes. And it will take time (but that's another blog post). 

Obviously it is important for ongoing health to be a healthy weight - and fitness is an absolute must.

But I find it is easy to beat myself up for being fat.  It is as if I categorise 'fat' as a personality trait, rather than an objective physical measurement.  So often I feel ashamed of being fat and at times, it affects how I feel about myself and how I relate to others.   

I still experience some self loathing when I fail to achieve the weight loss I have set for myself, as if my poor character is proved by this setback.  If I eat wrong, I tend to think I'm a bit of a failure and obviously, there's really no reason to keep going, you drongo.

However, one of the things I've learned since embarking on my weight loss endeavour has been to not give up.  I have managed to keep on going and not to fall completely into old habits or regain the weight I have lost.   But it is so easy to put pressure on ourselves to lose weight, be 'normal' and in my thinking anyway, it follows that somehow I will be a better person all round (please excuse that pun...).

But is being fat the worst thing that we can be as a person?  Would you rather be a fat work-in-progress than a complete and utter, utter bitch for example?? 

I am reminded of a beautiful quote from author JK Rowling:

I'll leave that with you, but it certainly helps me put my health pursuits into character perspective.  And with that, it takes some of my self imposed pressure off, which can only be a helpful thing - surely.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

My Olympic delusion....

Each time an Olympic Games rolls around, I get quite excited.  I love to watch the different sports, I love to hear the stories of the athletes and I don't care if Australia wins 100 gold medals or none (well, maybe not none).  There are just so many things to get excited about.

But one of the things I get most excited about is indulging in my favourite Olympic pastime - delusions of personal Olympic glory.

I subscribe wholeheartedly to comedian and broadcaster Richard Stubbs' theory - which I like to call the Theory of Olympic Self Delusion - that there is really only several months of pretty intensive training between him and an Olympic berth.  I'm pretty sure the theory holds true for me too.  My main concern is to pick just one sport in which to excel. 

The ageing process has only heightened my delusion.  The older I get, the more convinced I am that it's nearly my turn for Olympic glory.  So it makes sense for me to look to older Olympic athletes for inspiration.

One of my favourites of London 2012 is the 37 year old gymnast Oksana Chusovitina who was competing in her sixth Olympics.  That's right, her sixth.  Six times she's represented her country in a sport traditionally dominated by pre-pubescent girls, some of whom may or may not have been hormonally enhanced to ensure they remained that way. 

Now I admit that Oksana didn't rise from the couch six months ago declaring boldly that she'd like to have a crack at artistic gymnastics and would her hubby mind holding the fort while she did a spot of training.  She's obviously been at it for years.  But the fact that she's there at all at her age gives me great comfort that if I did feel like becoming a gymnast, I could.  In fact,  I would probably be excellent at it and it is highly likely that I would even win a medal for Australia.

Australian rower Drew Ginn is also 37 years old and rowing in his 4th Olympics.  He's already got a couple of gold medals and won a silver this time.  In rowing.  In a boat.  With other people to help him row the boat.  I've used a rowing machine at the gym.  I'm sure it's not much different in a boat.  How hard can it really be?  You get to sit down the whole time and there's your teammates taking some of the load off.  All that puffing they go on with at the end of the race?  Must be some sort of gamesmanship. 

Then there is American swimmer, Dara Torres, who competed in  Beijing at the age of 42.  Now, I can swim.  I've been doing it for ever, so I'm pretty sure I'd be handy in the pool if I chose to step up for Olympic selection.

But I must admit that my age leaves 37 and even 42 behind.  I'm now looking to older and older Olympians to emulate.  Topping the list of my all time favourite older athletes is sprinter Merlene Ottey who competed in seven Olympics between 1980 and 2004.  She is now 52 years old, and this year was still sprinting competitively, anchoring the Slovenian 4x100M relay team in the European Athletics Championships.

I've also noticed that older Olympians seem to congregate in the following disciplines:
- shooting
- archery
- equestrian, and
- marathon.

The marathon, now there's an event for ageing athletes.  Endurance over raw strength and speed.  Could just be my finest chance for the glory I feel will inevitably be mine.  So I'm off to fire up the Couch to 5km app so I'll be ready for Rio.   If hope springs eternal, so too, it appears, does delusion.