Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Vanity Workout - a letter to Humungousaur

A post by Carla

Dear Humungousaur,
It just so happens that when I was at the gym working out today, so were you.  I know that we have worked together for quite a while now, and you would probably be right in assuming that I should have learnt a thing or two about lifting weights.  Hence you were totally justified in your perplexed expression when you saw me doing seemingly random and unrelated sets of exercises.  I felt I should write and explain.  You see, I have actually created my own workout which I like to call The Vanity Workout.

Party Season….time to unleash your inner Goddess!!!

You know the scene.  It's that time of the year again and you have to get frocked up regularly. Well, obviously Big H you don't get frocked up but just play along with me here.  I have limited time in a busy day to train and I have a cocktail dress to don this evening……what's the plan of attack?

Well, I decide that firstly I need to do some cardio to make way for the bottles glasses of champagne I will be drinking later ( I don't drink often, so when I do, I like to do it in spectacular style).  Following cardio, I decide to work on every muscle group that will be visible whilst I had my frock on.

Tonight….I am wearing a black, beaded, above knee Alannah Hill [google it] with little capped sleeves and a plunging V neck.  Thus the muscles requiring attention are my biceps, triceps, calves and abs….not that my dress actually reveals my abs but I don't plan on wearing Bridget Jones style undergarments…and I want a flat stomach.
The style of my dress was similar to this except unfortunately I didn't look like Alannah Hill while wearing it!

Now obviously, the vanity workout can be used for any big occasion.  You just try on your frock….see what body parts are visible, and work those muscles until they are absolutely pumped.

Now obviously big H, in the interests of balance and symmetry I do realise that this is not a good idea long term, and that all muscle groups deserve equal amounts of love and attention.  But before a big night out, and as a one off, The Vanity Workout is the way to go.

I think it could be the next 'big thing'.

Love Carla

Monday, November 28, 2011

One Small Step for Man One Huge Step for Womankind

By Beck

In writing this blog, working with the S7, and working with the A Team, I have come across so many women out there just wanting someone to give them a hand to help themselves. It’s the nature of women to help everyone else, but sometimes they have no idea how to fix their own issues - or can’t justify the time and money to work it out. Sometimes its just damn hard to admit you cant do something on your own, but if you can manage to take this small step, life may never be the same.

The Goddess (S7 member) and I were at a party recently where my husband was telling the story of how dining with the S7 is like hanging out in a cult – we have our own language, “in jokes” and references to supplements that might scare the non – believers (he used to try to understand and keep up but now he has just moved onto the 'humour them and keep out of it' category).

Whilst we were laughing about this I noticed a lady paying particular attention to our conversation and at an appropriate time asked ‘so what DO you use”. My first thought was Uh-Ho.... she is going to be someone with a REALLY strong opinion on this and this can go pear shaped really quickly..lets grab the kids, and go... but no... she really was just wanting to know what we were doing, eating, supplementing....... etc etc etc.

If you are a regular Blog Reader – you will know the story or at least you may have clicked on one of the above tabs about how we began and who are we. So here I was faced in a party situation with a woman I had never spoken to needing to condense 18 months of life changing experiences, dieting tips, motivational stories into a quick story that would be done before I had to put the next canapĂ© into my mouth... interesting situation. So 40 minutes later and a quick powerpoint presentation (that I whipped up as I was in the ladies) I had given her what I hoped would be the direction and contacts that she needed to move forward.

The Goddess said to me later that I should work on commission (note to self –mention that to Humungousaur) but in fact what I discovered is that I am really really passionate about helping women who want help to improve their diet and nutrition. This was a bit of a light blub moment for me, but I imagine anyone who has been anywhere near me in the past year and a half may now consider that I am mentally slow because they probably realised this a long time ago...cause basically it’s all I talk about.

So to that lady who had Humungousaur’s phone number on a cocktail napkin down her bra when I left the party – I applaud you. During my 40 minute monologue I may have forgotten to ask your name or tell you mine – but well done for walking up to complete strangers and asking what could turn out to be a life changing question for both you and me.....

Friday, November 25, 2011

What do you mean gardening isn't exercise??

By Beck

Humungousaur was over at my house one day. I don’t often allow him to visit because it's way to stressful (I find myself making us black coffee because I can’t admit to taking milk and sugar...and doing walking lunges to deliver it because I don’t want him to think me lazy!).  Anyway, on this occasion I had spent 3 long days attempting to remove the mountain of weeds that had invaded my backyard over winter and spring. I had quite honestly worked my butt off digging, sawing, pulling, carrying and whipper snippering (is that a word??).

Over the (black!) coffee, he made some reference to the fact that gardening isn’t exercise. Are you freakin kidding me?? I challenge anyone and the H-man included to complete 3 solid days of gardening and not burn some significant calories. I am not talking pruning the roses here I am talking hard core – get in and get dirty vegetation destruction (yes ok, my suburban back yard isn’t Bear Grylls territory but it had been a while since I had ventured outside and done anything... I mean we are talking Tasmanian winter here – who would???).

In his own defence, upon leaving he did admit that he has turned all his garden into lawn because he hates gardening so I guess we can assume he (on this particular topic at least) has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Carla may be able to challenge the “H man” to wall squat, my challenge will be “weeding at speed” or perhaps “one handed tree sawing” – it’s just a pity that it’s all done now and we will have to wait to next year!

Ok - well this might not be the EXACT photo of my backyard but it gives you and idea of the level of wilderness we are talking about.

(Note to self – wear heart rate monitor when on adventure gardening experiences... the Polar never lies) .

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Carla's guide to 'Humungouspeak'

If you are new to the world of gyms, exercise and personal training, you will quickly discover that it has a whole language all of its own.  Over time, I will attempt my own 'Carla's guide to Gym Speak for Dummies' for you, but today I wanted to concentrate solely on our very loved and respected Personal Trainer Humungousaur.

So last school holidays, The Machine and I took our littles to see 'The Smurfs' movie, because seriously, smurfs rock.  While I was sitting in the cinema philosophising the mixed fortunes of Smurfette who has only one dress [unlucky], and yet so many men to choose from [very lucky], the smurfs' language caught my attention.  For those of you who don't have small children or [shock, horror] are not acquainted with the smurfs, they use the word smurf…alot.  Now according to Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge, "A characteristic of the Smurf language is the frequent use of the word "smurf" and its derivatives in a variety of meanings...some words (or a portion of the word) are replaced with the word "smurf"".  It is also important to note that "Context offers a reliable understanding of this speech pattern, but common vocabulary includes remarking that something is "just smurfy" or "smurftastic".

Context is everything…...

Just as the smurfs have the word 'smurf', Humungousaur has the word 'smash'.  If you are going to train with him, it is very important to understand the many and varied ways he uses this word. A characteristic of Humungousaur is his use of the word smash in a variety of meanings.  Similar to the Smurfs' language pattern, the Big H replaces everyday words with the word 'smash', which sometimes requires you, as Wikipedia suggests, to note the context  in order to understand the statement.  Common Humungousaur vocabulary includes remarking that he "could smash" something or someone… or that one of his clients 'has smashed' something.

Let us explore this concept further.  Once upon a time in my world, if you smashed something, it meant broken glass and the dustpan and broom.  In Humungouspeak however,  'smashing it' means to have done exceptionally well at a particular task.  An example of this would be "You really smashed those deadlifts today".  The word 'smash' can also be used in a broader way in relation to fitness and training.  The statement "You are really smashing it" on it's own, means that one is currently doing an exceptional job in pursuing and achieving one's health and fitness goals.

Humungousaur can also apply the word 'smash' to activities outside of the gym.  For example, the phrase "I could really smash a protein shake right now", roughly translates as "I feel the desire for a nutritious beverage".  Similarly, in The Big H's world, you don't merely partake of a meal, you 'smash down' your chicken rice and beans, which means to eat with voracious enjoyment.

"I was smashing down the water during training today…"

To be honest, the word 'smash' is such a part of Humungousaur's vernacular that I would not be at all surprised if his epitaph reads "He came…He trained…He smashed it".

So why do you need to know all this?  Well, Humungousaur is quite economic with his praise.  He gives credit where credit is due, but he is not going to say gushy stuff just for the sake of it. In fact, I think he has only given me two compliments in 9 months (yes….I've been counting, The Machine and I have a running tally). Therefore, if you happen to be training with him and you do a great job and he tells you you've smashed it, I don't want you to miss that huge compliment because you're thinking "what the freaking hell does that MEAN????"   

This has been a smurftastic public service announcement for all those considering training with The Big H.  It's okay…you can thank me for smashing the explanation later.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Compression Obsession

A post by Carla

So it has come to my attention lately that I have a little bit of an addictive personality.  Yes, I know, I know, I am a slow learner.  As a child it was famous five novels, in my teens it was bad boys, in my twenties it was Jazz music and in my thirties it was chocolate [until I met Humungousaur].  What is my addiction of the moment????  Compression wear.

'What on earth', I hear you say, 'are you talking about?'  Compression wear are the fancy tights [skins etc] you see people working out in that are supposed to enhance performance and aid recovery and all that shizz.  I never really bought into it all that much before because besides being quite expensive to buy, I was so fat I’m sure I would never have fit into a pair…..or even worse, I would have gotten stuck trying a pair on in the change rooms and needed some stunned and revolted 18yo athletic shop assistant with a pair of scissors to cut me free.

Now as you all know by now, mainly because I go on and on about it, I have been suffering from shin splints all year and have tried just about everything to get some relief.  So recently when I took The Machine to run the Ross Half Marathon, I noticed that a whole lot of the serious runners had special funky looking compression socks on.  I resolved to research these socks further when we got home.
Dear funky running socks….I love You!!!

On a recent trip to the mainland, we were stoked to find that not far from where we were staying, there was a whole 2XU shop full of compression wear.  Why 2XU? Well, in perusing my stash of Runners World and Ultra Fit magazines [yes I know you are suprised but it's not all Who and New Weekly at my house] I had noticed that 2XU was the compression wear of choice for a lot of athletes.  Also, to be honest, I just liked the design more – they were more 'sexy' in appearance.  You can call me shallow…’s okay.  But seriously, if your compression tights of choice are black and yellow in colour, what happens if you want to wear a pink top?  Ever thought about that?  Not that I have anything against a black and yellow colour scheme, particularly as they are the colours of Lance Armstrong's ‘LIVESTRONG’ branding.  I mean the man is a total legend – who is going to argue with him?  All I am saying is that sometimes a girl likes to change it up a little and having neutral colours is a good thing.

So getting back to the point…..2XU…..worn by lots of serious athletes….and seriously good looking.

I went into the 2XU shop – how exciting – and spoke to the fabulous gentleman there and that day I took home a pair of full length tights. I wore them the next day to go for a run, and while they totally rocked, I couldn’t help but feel regretful that I hadn’t stuck to my original plan of getting the funky socks.  So the next time we were out and about, I asked The Machine if we could go back to 2XU again to get my Calf Guards (that’s what they are really called).  The next morning was the day of the 'Map my Run’ incident.  I was so impressed that I had run over 10 km for the first time and had not felt my shins – AT ALL.  I was hooked.

Later that week in Brisbane at an even bigger 2XU store, I was persuaded while waiting for The Machine, to try on some ¾ length tights.  I tried them on and immediately looked at least 4kg slimmer.  There was no way I was going home without them.  Luckily, The Machine was paying.

The thing is, even though they have a whole lot of performance and recovery benefits, they just make you look really good, and even better, they are fabulously comfortable to wear.  On any given day at school drop off, chances are I have my compression tights on under my pants.  Not only do they make my pants fit so much better, but they are actually assisting my recovery.  Also, if the occasion ever arose where an impromptu training session became available – I’d totally be up for it.
The Machine and I in our compression tights at the Burnie 10 (photo by our 8yo….I apologise for the lighting)

I know Beck is planning some sort of compression wear intervention for me but let me tell you that come measurement day with Humungousaur, I’ll be having the last laugh.  If your compression wear is firm enough….that’s gotta be good for a few cm’s right??

Compression wear….have you tried any lately?

Friday, November 18, 2011

You think you know someone well until.....

.....You play a sport with them.

By Beck

You may think you know someone well... until the day you decide to a sports team together. I have a friend - a very unassuming, quiet, and non offensive friend. She is the person that turns up with a pot of spag bol for the family when she knows I am sick. The sort of person you are lucky to have as a friend. The sort of person you wouldn’t think twice about asking to join your fledgling sports team.....

Yes – I knew this friend ( let’s call her “White Line”) had represented the state in Beach Volley Ball, and she gets pretty serious with her husband in tennis, but NO WHERE I mean NO WHERE had I seen any evidence of the bout of white line fever she gets when entering a sporting competition.

Now – to be fair, we are talking a very elite sport – not played by many, attempted by only a few – it’s the cream of the crop who play social Waterbasketball at the local aquatic centre.   For those uneducated to the sport there isn’t even a white line to induce this fever, it’s just a matter of getting into the water, swimming around a bit and throwing a ball and eventually attempting to shoot a goal. It’s really a combination of netball and half court basketball played in water – easy really.

The problem is that “white line” is actually really good at it. She is often top scorer and has been season best and fairest. What makes it difficult is that the rest of us aren’t so good at it – many, many shots at goal have to be taken before we are rewarded with success and we are often out swum by the kiddies in the lane next to us taking swimming lessons (but never "White Line").

"White line" took to conducting motivation talks at half time. The rest of the team were face first hanging over the pool edge trying not to puke but she pressed on. When it became clear that we really weren’t getting her game plans she wheeled in a white board (yes alarm bells were now going off).

On a night when we were training (yes we do train) for some reason the Aquatic Centre hadn’t put up the basketball rings – so "White Line" started doing laps and then had the end wanted us all the leap out of the water in a “ shooting for goal” sort of way . As we stood there a little confused she decided to demonstrate the manoeuvre but the only problem was that no one told the lifeguards and they thought she was signalling that she was drowning (was rather funny really and no we didn’t step in to stop them).

We love "White Line" and we wouldn’t be without her, sadly due to the growing popularity of the sport she has formed her own team now which is not surprisingly ....unbeatable. But don’t worry we have a secret weapon..... we just need to find a way to install small out board motors on our flippers without being noticed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Booty Call

(Ex boyfriends and junk food - one woman's survival guide)

By Beck
I had a husband that was a publican and worked 7 days a week. I had 2 boys 22 months a part in age, and my youngest only ever slept for a maximum of 40 mins in anyone stint at night time. I can honestly say I do not remember much of the first 12 months of his life as I was exhausted and on autopilot. I used to ring my husband and beg him to come home from the Hotel (which was only down the street) but work commitments often prevented it, I needed a way of coping and chocolate and coffee were my friend. Unfortunately they were a friend that didn’t know when to leave and often popped around uninvited for years later. Like any bad crowd of friends I was being left scarred, saggy and sad by this unhealthy arrangement.

Like all friends, sometimes they need a whack over the head and to be told to go away as the relationship is really over…. and I thought it was, until one day recently under stress I went straight back to them and ate chocolate, chips and coffee for dinner! This was almost as bad as one of those pesky ex-boyfriends who pop onto the scene just when you thought you had moved on. What on earth was I doing? I was a grown woman now and I didn’t need a booty call (from an ex boyfriend OR a bar of fruit and nut chocolate).

I guess the thing about these slip ups is that you need to see them for what they are, assess why you did it and find ways not to do it in the future (Let’s be clear I am referring to the chocolate – I am NOT declaring publicly non existent indiscretions of any other kind...). There is no point in beating yourself up over it and giving into it – learn and move on.

Remember you are always making progress if you do something better tomorrow than you did it today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Carla vs Humungousaur…the 5 minute wall squat

Part of Humungousaur’s ongoing torture training is to make us do a wall-squat.  He brings this one out of his bag of tricks every few weeks.  Now for those of you who have the good fortune to not know what a wall squat is, let me bring you up to date.  You stand with your back to the wall, feet shoulder width apart, and then you sink down until your thighs are parallel with the floor.  Then you hold it……

Now I have to confess that there is no particular aspect of training at which I excel.  S7’s Goddess is an amazing runner (that would be because of her beautiful gazelle like legs…sigh!), Beck is freakishly strong at lifting weights, but I have no particular talent except turning up on time.  However, I do think that I possess a weird talent for doing a wall-squat.

Anyway, back to the story.  So one day we are doing a wall-squat when Humungousaur  tells us he once saw some MMA dude do a wall-squat for over 5 minutes in a wall-squat competition.  In the end, all the other competitors had given up, they got sick of waiting for him to collapse, and politely asked him to get up so they could get on with things.

So I’ve thought about that for a while and then blurted out ‘If I had fresh legs I could do that’.  That was a total lie.  I knew I could do 2 minutes without it hurting too much and so 5 couldn’t be that much harder.  Right????  Humungousaur just gave me a mildly condescending look  and said ‘Okay, you and me…next week…5 minutes’.

Now at this point, I feel I have to point out that I did not issue a challenge or particularly want to ‘take Humungousaur on’.  I was merely trying to point out that doing a wall-squat for 5 minutes was not that impressive and could be achieved by a fat housewife…namely me.  Coincidently, the Guinness Book of Records has the longest wall squat at 11 hours and 51 minutes (by a female no less).  Now THAT is impressive.

So of course, I had to go home and practice to make sure that I could actually make it to 5 minutes and not embarrass myself.  Just as an aside, when I told The Machine of my intention to achieve a 5 minute wall-squat and asked him to time it, he replied that if I did a 5 minute wall-squat, he would do a 5 minute plank.  I did….and he did.  Seriously.  Ouch!!

So the big day dawned and after a warm up it was time for the challenge.  Now I can’t go into too much detail because I still have to train with Humungousaur and I seriously can’t afford to offend him because I will pay…big time I am a very discreet person.  Let's just say that it wasn’t my legs that started shaking first if you know what I mean.  We both made it to 5 minutes 30 seconds and then we called it off because really, I had made my point and we had better things to do.  I highly recommend wall-squats for building quads of steel …give it a go and let me know how long you can last……  As for taking on your trainer…..probably not something I would recommend to the novice unless you have a freaky super talent.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm a lover, not a runner...

By Beck
I hate running.  True. I really do, but mostly because I am so freaking bad at it. I like to describe myself as the Cliff Young of the new millennium but I think perhaps that is over ambitious. I have come to believe that our bodies were designed for specific activities – some people run, some swim, some sumo wrestling.... I am definitely in the latter category and you can’t go against what you were designed for can you?

Over lunch I had this conversation with my 74 year old father. He looked to my husband (obviously for some reason expecting that he might concur) and talked about the natural high of getting in a rhythm and running for miles. Apparently my father spent his child hood training greyhounds which meant running packs of dogs to near collapse morning and night. Today this would be considered child abuse.. but I am willing to give it a try. Not for me of course but I think my sons would benefit for this activity... I just unfortunately don’t actually know anyone who races greyhounds...
I have digressed.

So my husband (Mr-apparent-world champion athlete of 1970) and my father (The Greyhound) are sitting discussing the beauty of running. I looked at Dad and said thanks very bloody much – you could have passed on the “running-like-the-wind gene” but instead, you gave me the “sweat like you are in a sauna as soon has your heart hits 120bpm” gene. Not happy Jan.

No point looking at my mother either, the only sporting prowess I could have got from that side is an enjoyment of baddington – a sport I don’t actually think exists anymore. So really I think I am genetically doomed. I continue to battle this disability to run because now I have reached a fitness level where walking doesn’t even raise my heart rate. I could walk for two hours and burn off the equivalent of a smartie – hardly worth the effort. I can run for 3-4 minutes and if my hips, knees or chest pain haven’t got me – it’s a good day and at least my calorie burn would be in the double figures.

My dear training buddy Carla, The S7 (and of course the Machine) have left me for dead in the running stakes. So either I need to find new unfit friends to run with or I need to suck it up and get on with it. It doesn’t help that Carla keeps registering for every 5 or 10km event she can find in the state and expects me to go too. In all fairness it is probably my turn to start registering her for events and its probably time we looked over seas. I think she deserves a great reward for all that running she has been making me do... I mean what are friends for? I will just need to double check she has a passport in order and oh yes what size g-sting she needs.... Japan is so lovely this time of year!

Post Script - Ok I can stop ranting at Carla now. The Corporate Cruisader (S7 Member)and I have just completed the Clifford Craig 5km Fun Run on the weekend and come in with very reasonable times (well ok much better than we were expecting anyway). Perhaps she does know what she is talking about - but lets not tell her that!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

October….or should I say Jogtober

A post by Carla

Way back in March when I first met with Humungousaur, he asked me my fitness goals.  I told him that I would really like to be able to run 5km.  This may not seem like a huge achievement to some of you, but I am not, and have never been, a runner.  I spent most of my school sports days begging my mum to let me stay home (she never let me), and trying to minimise humiliation.  I think the problem lies with the fact that I am very much an hourglass which is not exactly the best anatomical shape for a runner…oh and also the fact that genetically I inherited the 'run like a tortoise' gene.

I spent a lot of time this year improving my overall fitness with Humungousaur, and working on my leg strength.  I also spent alot of time working on getting my shin splints sorted out which I have talked about here and here.

So finally, I was feeling pretty good, I had worked my way up progressively to be able to run 5km comfortably.  Okay, maybe 'comfortably' was stretching the truth a bit….but I could run 5km.  Sometimes, due to The Machine's erroneous maths…I even ran 11 or 12km.

In Tasmania, the weather is pretty crappy most of the time so as soon Spring hits, all sorts of sporting events start popping up.  I somehow found myself transformed from a non runner into someone who was going to have a crack at 3 races in 4 weeks.  Yeah *scratches head*…I'm not really sure how that happened.

Race Number One

So race number one was a terrific race to start with.  It was the 'Run for your Heart' 5km fun run and walk. Now I have to tell you that this race followed school holidays where we had stopped training, gone North and eaten things we normally wouldn't.  So I didn't really feel in the best of places to be doing this run.  However I was determined to have a go.  I went out a little bit hard and by about 2.5km-3km, I was hurting and really started to question where the bloody hell the 'fun' part of the run was.  My anguish was intensified when I was chuffing along with a heart rate of 165, and got passed by a guy who had to be in his 70's.  How humiliating!  To my suprise, I actually finished…..alive and everything.  My time was 27:15.  Despite preparing a sign for the back of my t-shirt that read "Please Dear God may someone be reading this"….I actually came 93rd out of 239…which isn't even last.

At the finish line…I'm looking a bit too 'fresh'…maybe I needed to work harder?

Race Number Two

Race number two was Tasmania's premier running event, the Burnie 10.  Now let me tell you that the only reason that I entered was because I had to take The Machine down to Burnie and I thought doing the race would beat standing around.  Although I had run 10km a couple of times, I wasn't really ready to race it.  The weather was appalling.  I'm not sure that anyone really warmed up well as it poured before the race began.   My race plan was simply to make it out alive.  I decided to start out slow and steady so as to minimise the risk of conking out halfway through the race.  A hint to anyone thinking of doing the Burnie 10 - go out hard in the first kilometre as it is mostly down hill.  Something I only learnt in hindsight! D'oh!!   I didn't really find my rythym until about 3km in because I hadn't warmed up due to the rain.  At around 3km I finally found someone running my pace to pace me. I ran next to, infront of and behind this gentleman for at least 4 km.  The fact that he was in his 70's is irrelevant……  I finally pulled away from him at about the 7km mark.  The 7th kilometre seemed to go on forever.  It didn't help matters that it also started raining so hard that my skin was stinging.  I couldn't find the 9km marker because I think spectators were standing in front of it.  Note to those of you who may go and watch a race….please don't do this…those markers are really pyschologically important!!  I stormed home up the hill and actually passed a few people which was pretty indicative of the fact that I probably hadn't run hard enough during the race.  On the bright side, I felt great afterwards and not at all sore which was just as well because Humungousaur tried to kill me in training the following week….  I came in just under an hour, and was actually just happy that I had run 10km without stopping!!  For those of you who were wondering…The Machine set a new 10km PB of 38 minutes

Burnie 10...Soooo cold…..

Race Number Three

Race Number three was the 'Run for a Wish' 6.4km fun run.  It was an absolute cracker of a day.  Beautiful and sunny.  This was a really special run because almost all of the S7 were available to do it and so Beck and I told them they had to run it they would be most welcome to join us.  This race was beautifully organised and even better the running bibs and singlets were a glorious purple  [I know it's shallow but even though I'm running…I still like to look good].  Now I had had a killer week in training and had dreadful 'can't sit down or get back up' type of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) so I was a bit concerned about how my legs were actually going to function.  On the bright side, because the Machine was busy taking the kids to their Saturday morning sports fixtures I got the Garmin - all to myself!!!!   As there were lots of fun-runners there, lining up at the start line was a breeze.  There wasn't the usual crush.  My first three km's of this race went pretty well and my splits, according to the Garmin, were pretty fast [for me].  Unfortunately, then my sore legs and the heat got me.  My pace slowed to about 5.30min/km  and I seriously could not make my legs run any faster.  As the S7 spent all winter training in super cold temperatures, I am really struggling any time it is over 10 degrees…something I will need to work on.  Around about 4km, I did start to pray for the torture to soon be over.  I am pleased to say that this race I easily passed the only Septuagenerian I saw [hooray progress at last!] ….and instead of pacing myself with a pensioner, I paced myself with Buzz and Woody of Toy Story fame.  How cool is that?  I have to make a mention of these guys because it must have been superhot in those costumes, and just looking at the chaps tied around Woody's legs made me feel sore!  My time was 35:29.

So there you have it…that was my October.  How was yours???

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nigella, Mermaids and making excuses

No-one accidently gains weight and gets unfit. It happens for any number of reasons.  In my case because of excuses that I told myself to justify my behaviour.

Today I wanted to talk about excuses we make to ourselves because the S7 have been discussing some images and stories that have been doing the rounds on Facebook lately.  The first is the Nigella Lawson vs Gillian McKeith pictures being circulated.  The second is that really bizarre 'Mermaids vs Whales' letter that a woman supposedly wrote to her gym in response to a poster asking "This summer….do you want to be a Mermaid or a Whale?".   I am not going to link these photos/stories because I don't like them and I don't want to add to their popularity but if you really want to - google them.

Okay, so my point is this.  For the better part of a few years, I used every excuse under the sun to justify why I should be able to eat what I like and not exercise. These excuses included the following:

  • I'm too busy to exercise
  • I don't have time to exercise
  • If I eat this chocolate but no one sees me it doesn't really count
  • Eating the kids left overs doesn't really count
  • Eating off my husbands plate doesn't really count
  • I have to eat when I am at a friends or I will offend my hostess
  • If I wear lots of layers, no-one will notice how fat I am
  • I am/will always be the fat sister
  • I am not good at sport and therefore it is no use exercising
  • I will start on Monday / next month / January 1st
  • I have a big frame / bones
  • Sugar won't make me fat, and anyway I am so busy I'll burn it off
  • I am in my thirties so I have left it too late
  • Everyone is overweight in my family - its just the way we are
  • I have PCOS / thyroid issues (yes I really do)

See, I am really quite talented aren't I?  And this is just a small sample, not an exhaustive list.  I'm sure that some of these excuses will sound familiar to some people, although I'm sure none of you can top my creativity.   Making and believing these excuses did nothing to better my health, and when I see these Nigella pictures or these mermaid vs whale stories, to me they represent a collective 'excuse' or 'disclaimer' perpetuated by women to women.  I am all for self acceptance, I really am, but I am also all for being healthy and happy (especially as I am an ex-nurse married to a doctor).  Arguing that Nigella is attractive and looks good for her age, so therefore it is okay to eat what you want doesn't sit well with me.  Having 'taken one for the team' and tested this theory out [I'm good like that], I am living proof that this theory is just plain bogus.  I ate what I liked for quite a few years and I didn't end up looking like Nigella.  I ended up overweight, constantly tired and sick, and extremely unhappy.    [Interestingly, this is the first winter for six years that I have been antibiotic free!!!]  Similarly, arguing that it is better to be a whale than a mermaid because whales are more social and have more fun is just beyond nonsensical to me.  When I looked like a 'whale', the last thing on my mind was going out and socialising.  I felt so self-conscious that I actually avoided every social situation that I could.

Actually, I don't really want to be a mermaid or a whale.  I'm sort of happy just being me.  Thanks anyway.

At the end of the day, what it came down to is this : I wanted to see my babies grow up and have babies of their own.  Continuing my old lifestyle wasn't going to make this a reality.  When I'm sitting in my rocking chair with a grandchild on my lap, it would be great to be able to look around and see my peers fit active and healthy with their own grandkids on their laps too.  So if it is okay, I am not going to repost those stories and those pictures because personally, I think we deserve better.

So how does this all relate to motivation?  The basic problem is that people are too polite….it takes a very brave person to stage an intervention and tell you they are worried about you because your ass is reaching the size of a small African nation. One day I was watching an episode of Grumpy Old Men and they were talking about middle aged spread. One of the grumpy men blurted out this gem:
"If you want to lose weight….then stop stuffing your face you fat bastard."
Sometimes we all need honesty like this in our lives. I know that hearing this statement was like a slap in the face to me.

Anyone who wants to start, or make progress on their journey to health and happiness just needs to find the 'one thing' that triggers them to stop making excuses.  

It could be hearing a comment like "stop stuffing your face".  
It could be you realise you have no photos of yourself because you have been hiding from the camera.  
It could be that you want admirable shoulders to flaunt in a summer frock.  
It could be that you want your little boys to think their mum is awesome.  

The motivational trigger that you find doesn't really matter as long as it works for you. 

So if I was going to repost anything on Facebook in place of Nigella or Mermaids, it would be this……

"When your  intention is great enough you will ALWAYS find the time and energy to accomplish your desires. You can state excuses to the contrary, but holding on to your old stories is just another way of wasting precious time." - James Arthur Ray

What excuses have you used?  Have you 'broken free' of your excuses?  What was your motivation?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Truth or Die Baby

By Beck

I have two amazingly awesome fit, attractive friends who I have previously introduced to you all as “Miss Shoulders” and “Bags”. Now I think I deserve a lot of credit for having these two as my friends because I could actually dislike them a lot – they are everything I would love to be (plus they are about 10 years younger than me too). But they are really nice people so I overlook these body issues.

Recently I was hangin’ out having a post work out coffee with them ( basking in the glow of being seen publicly with the “gym in-crowd”) and the conversation got onto diets ( duh of course it did – we are women, we had been to the gym, we were having coffee.....) I was so refreshed to hear one of them openly admit they don’t have a weight issue instead of doing the usual woman thing “oh my thighs are too big (even though they look like Elle McPherson) or I hate my boobs – blah blah blah. It’s actually OK to say "I am happy with my body"! Yes get off the floor people –you can. That is providing you are being honest with yourself and you are not using this statement as an excuse to stay on the couch.

So moving on, I mentioned the Low–vember challenge Carla forced (oops “asked”) the S7 to do. “Bags” asked me how much weight I wanted to lose. Now of course I wasn’t going to tell these two what I actually weighed so I said a 2-3 kilo loss would be ok. Well slap me down.  “Bags” actually said to me – “oh pull your finger out you can lose twice that in 5 weeks.”

" My butt looks like WHAT???"

Now people don’t take this the wrong way, she is actually quite correct. I could in fact lose 12 kilos off my frame so setting a 2-3 kilo goal for myself in 5 weeks was rather lame. But you know what – it was the honesty that really struck a cord.

How many of us say to our friends what they want to hear? How many of us stick our necks out and say to a dear friend I am worried about your weight – whether it’s too heavy or too light? How many people have the opportunity to help a friend make a real difference to their health but are too scared of offending them to take it? I am not suggesting it’s time to ring up your best mate and tell them they are a lard arse but I am saying if the opportunity presents itself .. just be honest.

Whilst I still plan to wipe the floor with “Bags” next time we knee box – I am very appreciative that she had the strength of character to challenge my goals and make me strive for a higher reward. In the end this can only help me beat Carla and pocket the cash so it has to be a good thing doesn’t it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I can be your hero baby…..

By Carla

So by now some of you who have been following this blog for a while may be asking why on earth I am bothering to do all this stuff [entering fun runs, adventure races, ultramarathons etc].  While there is no quick and easy explanation, my answer is at least in part, informed by my children.

I grew up in a family of all girls and my father was fairly absent so having two sons has pretty much rocked my world.  To be honest, in the nature vs nurture debate, I was on nurture's side.  That was until my first son was born.  It quickly became apparent that this child had emerged into the world a miniature 'bloke' and I was left scratching my head and asking 'did this little cave man really grow inside me?'  However I would like to believe that my boys have helped me reach a new understanding of, and appreciation for males. In the case of my boys…I was quickly smitten.

It is pretty well recognised within psychological circles that at some point in early childhood, boys begin to identify with their parent of the same gender.  When you have been the centre of your small boy's world, it is pretty devastating to be cast aside for the world of wrestles with dad, footy, and burping and farting out loud [as an aside, one of my proudest achievements as a parent so far is my son's belief that yes, girls do fart, but not as much as boys!].

However, a couple of things happened as my boys started to grow up that really made me question the role they saw me in.  The first was my eldest son's obsession with the movie Kung Fu Panda.  One day when he was playing Kung Fu Panda for the thousandth time, my son started assigning characters to the members of our family.  He was Tai Lung (of course….a total badass), my daughter was Tigress and The Machine - obviously - was Master Shifu.  When I asked him which character I was, my son replied 'You can be the Noodle making duck'.     Totally.    Shattered.
But I don't WANT to be the noodle making duck!!
The next wake up call occurred when my baby boy decided that being the baby of the family was boring and he needed to spice up his life.  He started telling wildly untrue stories that started with "My dad can…..", and "My brother can…".  There was just one problem…this didn't really work when talking TO your dad or brother.  Ultimately, he created an imaginary friend called 'My Grandpa', who could do, and had done just about anything and everything.  Now the point was not lost on me that all of his fantasy super achievers were male.  In his eyes…if you wanted to do cool stuff, you had to be a bloke.

This really made me think.  Way back when we made the choice to adopt our first child, we had decided that I would be a Stay at Home Mum.  I liked being the nurturer.  I liked baking and sewing and creating a warm and welcoming home.  I liked being there for school plays and ballet recitals and assembly presentations.  That did not mean, however, that I wanted to be the freaking noodle-making-duck.  I want my boys to feel loved and nurtured, and learn that girls can be soft and feminine and gentle, but I also want them to learn that girls can be strong, independent and super amazing!  So if, while I am training for my marathon the washing piles up, there are no clean socks, and no home-baked cupcakes for lunch boxes…..then so be it, because every now and again I really need to be the hero in my sons' lives.
Sorry, but I can't iron your school shirt….Mummy is busy saving the world!!

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