Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bikram Yoga: Bonkers or Brilliant?


So recently The Machine and I took The Little Machines away for a week.  I had a few little niggling injuries that I decided would benefit from a week off from the gym.  My Osteopath had also told me that my on again off again hip injury needed serious attention to stretching, and so I decided to commit to practice yoga every day of my holidays.  Up until this holiday, I had been a Hatha kind of girls because that was all that had been available to me.  The only yoga studio I could find that had a class on every day just so happened to be a Bikram Yoga studio.  Why the heck not, I thought, I was trying to escape the Tasmanian winter after all…..

Now I think it is very important to point out that in the weeks leading up to this Northern Escape, the weather in Tasmania had been miserable and I had been going to the gym in the morning with an average temperature of 0 degrees.  (BTW, I have discovered that it is possible to do a whole workout with frozen extremeties….I even took to doing my sessions in tights, a singlet and The Machine's big blue snow gloves…much to the mirth of Humungousaur who told me I looked like I had muppet hands.  Anyway I digress….just let it be known that when it is zero degrees, handling the metal of a weight bar or a kettle bell is really unpleasant).

Needless to say the prospect of a jump in temperature from 0 to 40 degrees made me a little apprehensive and I was very concerned that I would pass out in a pool of my own sweat.  Or worse….puke and pass out in a pool of my own….well you get the picture (dizziness and nausea are commonly experienced by beginners).

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that everyone at the studio was really, really friendly….even at 5:45am in the morning.  This made stripping off in front of them a little more comfortable.  For the uninitiated, you don't wear much to Bikram Yoga as it is, obviously, freaking hot.  Most people wore the yoga equivalent to a two piece swimsuit (for women) or a pair of swimming trunks (for men).  Initially, I found being surrounded by so many mirrors while wearing my underwear and actually having to move into unflattering poses really confronting. But I would also have to say that it was extremely liberating to wear no makeup, pull my hair back in a ponytail, strip off and let it all hang out in a room full of sweaty strangers.   And sweat we did….sometimes in droplets... sometimes in small dribbles... and sometimes in cascades literally running from the tips of fingers onto the floor.  I found myself being selfishly glad that I had hired my mat and I didn't have to take it home and wash it.
Check out those mats…see what I'm saying???  (Image credit)


Now I have always thought that my flexibility was pretty good but as it turns out, it is actually pretty sh*thouse.  There were some seriously bendy older people in the room who put me to shame and were a fabulous walking advertisement for Bikram Yoga.

I am pleased to announce that 'Hot Body' yoga has just hit my home town so that in a few weeks I will be able to build on my holiday yoga experience.  I'm not sure that I would become a daily yoga devotee as with a blog, a business and 3 small children I am time-poor and it will always be my personal preference to prioritise strength and cardio training over daily yoga.  However, I do intend to continue Bikram yoga down here when I can get there….even if it is just so that I can shed my muppet hand gloves and pretend that it is summer for an hour.

Do you do yoga?  What sort of yoga do you practice?




Monday, June 25, 2012

The First Step May be the Hardest

By Guest Blogger: Dianne


This is my story.  The story of someone who had lost herself in her overweight body and found herself again through exercise and diet, through positive relationships, being my peer group and shedding 30 kilos along the way. While my journey is not yet over the story begins here.

Ok….so where do I start… my motivation to lose weight was not one particular thing or moment. It was a combination of being sick of feeling sick & tired, of having no energy, of going to the doctor and them telling me that the symptoms I was experiencing would disappear if I lost weight, the feeling of being uncomfortable in my own skin, being a struggle to bend over to tie my shoes and paint my toe nails and possibly the biggest motivation was that I was going to turn 40 in two years’ time. Did I still want to feel the same way?

I had a co-worker (Mrs A) who had been attending group cardio sessions with her husband for a while and every time I saw her at work she talked about how much she enjoyed the sessions and all the lovely people that were there. So 2 days before my 38th birthday I attended my first training session with my most amazing co-worker and training buddy Mrs M and our fellow co-worker Mrs A.

I had never been sooooooo scared as walking into that first session but luckily I had Mrs M there for support. All I could think about is could I keep up? What will everyone think of a fatty like me being there? Is my top long enough to cover my stomach? I didn’t need to worry everyone was very warm & welcoming and really they were more worried about doing their own thing to worry about watching me wobble around.

 During the warm-up we were required to run around the outside of the neighbouring basketball stadium, I was thinking that’s ok that’s not too far I can do this, I didn’t even make 50m before I had to stop and walk.  So began my running journey (more on that later).

 Now not all of the session was running, as it was a wet day we were fortunate actually to be inside for most of the time doing boxing. Boxing was something that I had been interested in for some time but never thought it would be something that I could do. That first night Mrs M and I got some expert advice and pretty much one-on-one training with the owner of the personal training studio on our technique while the amazing Miss A took the rest of the group through their paces (Miss A would later become my Personal Trainer). That lesson has set us up to now being both pretty powerful boxers with great technique.

 Now if you live in the Devonport area you will know the Bluff.  This is where we undertake most of our training.  For everyone else it is the local beach area with a hill and a lighthouse with lovely meandering paths, the local surf club and playground for the kids. I have always thought it to be very picturesque and a lovely spot to while away the day with the family. No longer…. While I can’t deny the lovely outlook all I can now see are The Road Hill and The Grass Hill.

The first time I had to tackle The Road Hill I thought I was going to die. All I could see were these flashes of colour as everyone passed me going up but when I got there everyone was cheering me on. As the weeks went on I have gone from struggling to walk   up that hill to now embracing it and actually running up it. Now as I see people joining the group and starting their own journeys I can see how far I have come and all I want to do is encourage them to keep going as I know that if they stick at it that they can do it too.

The Grass Hill and I have a special bond as this was where I vomited for the first time at training. This was early on in the piece possibly the 3rd or 4th week. We had been doing a particularly gruelling set of runs when I just pushed myself just a little too hard and had just a little too much water to drink between sets. Lesson learnt, small sips often not giant gulps.

 While doing the group training has been great if this was all I had done to change my life I would not have lost as much weight as I have.  Another key area you need to look at of course is what goes into your mouth.  Now I haven’t gone on some special magical diet or had surgery, all I did was calorie count (1200 calories a day).  Calorie King became my friend especially through the first few months. It made me accountable about what I put into my mouth and about the choices I made. Medium apple 48cals or two sweet biscuits 150cals. While the biscuits may taste good your hungry again in 5 mins with the apple it will keep you satisfied until meal time. It was also about portion control. I now use a side plate as my dinner plate to help control the amount of food I eat. Do you want to know my biggest secret weapon to losing weight… its water!!! I drink at least 3 litres a day. The weeks when I can up the amount of water that I take in without changing anything else are usually the weeks when I have biggest losses.

I think an area of weight loss that is sometimes overlooked is your support network. I have found a great motivator and supporter in my trainer Miss A. She is there to give me a boost when I need one as well as a kick in the pants. My training buddy Mrs M, who has overcome many obstacles in her life and has a never give up attitude. My husband and kids are there backing me all the way as well as the rest of my family, celebrating all my achievements along my journey.  All the lovely positive people I now class as friends that I have met along my journey from my group cardio sessions, especially the members of the Wednesday Legends and the Sunday Grinders.  They are now my peer group and who I aspire to be.

Now in January after about 4 months of group training and with the encouragement of Miss A and the other group members Mrs M and I entered into our first fun run the Devonport 5km. Even though I had been attending training for a while we only ever really did short runs during training even if it did add up to 4-5k it was not in one continuous effort.  So I started my training for this event by running 500m then walking 500m and then gradually building it up to just before the race running 3.5k without stopping. Now remember I couldn’t even run 50m 6 months ago. On the 18th of March 2012 (my son’s 13th birthday) I completed my first 5k race in a time of 37:01. I was especially proud of this effort as I had not stopped to walk once and had run all the way. To say that I was exhilarated was an understatement. I now understood the runners high.

Immediately after this event I registered to do my first 10k, the Launceston 10 on the 17th of June 2012. But that is a story for another day.

Now I am just an ordinary Mum doing the ordinary things, but I believe that anyone can become extraordinary and achieve remarkable things, whether  that’s to lose weight  or complete a marathon, as long as they hold a belief in themselves. While this is something that can take time to grow, celebrate every achievement no matter how small and soon you will be doing the extraordinary.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Things I know about: Sports Massage


If you've been exercising a lot (or if you're really unfortunate, if you've been exercising just a little) you may find yourself in the position of having a sore or tight whatnot that requires assistance to ease the discomfort.  Last year, due to an epic battle with shin splints (I am currently winning - go me!) I have found myself in the unique and arguably quite wanky position of being able to say 'I have an appointment with my sports massuese' on a frequent basis.  As I have spent quite a few hours 'on the table', I thought I would share some of the insights I have gained.

In case you were wondering…..yes, those are my legs….in my dreams

  • Sports massage hurts……..…alot
  • Remember giving birth?  [No neither do I, as I was off my face on Pethidine]  The bad news is that it hurts as bad as that.  The good news is that it only lasts an hour
  • Lying face down on the massage table is the best position to be in, because your masseuse cannot see all the swear words you are silently mouthing
  • I have said more swear words on my Masseuse's table than I have in the rest of my life
  • Having a strange man handle your muffin top is a very effective incentive to 'Step away from the chocolate'
  • I have been known to almost cry during particularly painful bits….almost.
  • Getting the lower half of your body 'worked on' is a very effective workout for your upper body - it's amazing how sore you can be after gripping the table tensely for 60 minutes.
  • On 'not so sore' days, getting a sports massage is great because you can talk for 60 minutes non-stop on any topic of your choice and your masseuse has to listen
  • On sore days, getting any sound other than a swear word out is just not possible.
  • You can guarantee that after a sports massage, I will wake up every time I turn over in the night - ouch!
  • You can guarantee that 24 hours after a sports massage I will feel like a new woman!
  • Because I know that in a days time I will feel like a new woman, you can guarantee that I will have made another appointment before I leave


Monday, June 18, 2012

Macushla My Darling


The time had come for me to let Humungasaur go forth and train other people.. we were both ready to go our separate ways. For nearly 2 and a half years we had trained together up to 3 times a week, I was even starting to adopt his training mannerisms  and can quite easily impersonate him as required (a very handy skill). We do still train together in the S7 once a week and still communicate on many topics throughout the week so it’s sort of like breaking up with your flatmate.... the good sweaty bits are off limits but you can still chat over coffee.

All of my training, education and long winded emails over the past years have given me the knowledge to do my own programmes so most of my training is covered. However the one thing I can’t do is box. Yes I could practice on a bag and could even do kimax or combat classes ... but it’s not the same. There is nothing quite like chasing someone around ducking and weaving and attempting to land blows that in real life you would never be able to do. Please don’t get confused I have no desire to be hit, break my nose or chew my tongue off (you need to see the movie to understand the last bit) But there is something exhilarating about being a woman and being given the freedom to kick and punch as hard and as fast as you can. When else can you get away with doing this? It’s an awesome stress release, a great work out and lots of fun. So whilst I am searching for Clint Eastwood (or at least an older bald guy with no teeth and a squashed nose) .. I share with you my favourite movie.... it  will inspire you, motivate you and probably make you cry....

Million Dollar Baby



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beaumont Boys Fight Back

Not to be outdone by the mini machines my children hid themselves away in bedroom with an Ipad and came up with this. I don't think Carla believed me when I told her this was entirely their own doing...until she read my recent post "Killing the Kids with Love - the Result". From here it was very evident that my sons are computer savy, cunning and competitive.

If you need to see this in action - my youngest son and one of Carla's are BFF's and they also intend to co-captain the First XV11, the First X1 and probably the School Debating Team - luckily they are still only in Grade 1 otherwise world domination would be on their agenda too. Add this to the fact that my oldest son is equally competitive and has the computer abilities of Steve Jobs we are truely lucky this hasnt already gone viral....

Enjoy...



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Mini Machines Speak Out

A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled "Am I ruining my children's lives?" in which I pondered what sort of impact growing up in a health and fitness crazed household would have on my children.  Our guest blogger Renae suggested that we should get the kids to do a post from their Point Of View.  I told her if she came up with a list of questions, I would interview the kids and make a Vlog for you all.  So here it is….The Mini Machines tell their side of the story…..










Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Killing the Kids with Love" - The Result


By Beck
I am a failure. I am a bad parent. I will be responsible for every neurotic condition my son may develop in later life. I cannot remove my child from electronic equipment. My challenge failed. In fact not only did I fail but I found myself part funding the purchase of another game because “apparently I owed him money and promised that I would” – this sounds vaguely familiar but I think this occurred back in 2010?

To be fair to myself and my son – my child plays soccer, tennis, swims, does drama and guitar. He is incredibly active, has a passion for fishing but does not like and in fact hates with his entire being things like reading, sitting quietly, showing love to his brother or doing any house work related task. He does not cope with unstructured down time.

I can hear my oldest and dearest (child free friend) saying about now - “well neither do you what’s the problem?” This is true. I have been known on several occasions to leave the hairdressers with wet hair just because I can’t bare to sit in a chair for any longer. Beauticians bore the crap out of me – who has time to concentrate so much effort caring for every follicle? The only time I do any such “self care” is because my friend has a tanning business at home and I can knock over 3 tasks at once: kids play date, good old chin wag and tanning all at the same time.

I would rather stick pins in my eye than lie on a couch watching a children’s movie. In my spare time I manage Facebook Pages, help my husband run a function centre, co-write this blog,  go to the gym and oh yeah undertake a personal training course... and I havent even mentioned what I actually do for a day job. This is me. This is my son.

If I do all this to relax is it wrong for him to play Minecraft – and build worlds in his? Some will say “yes it is” – so I say to those people – don’t come asking him for a job when he is a multi millionaire computer gaming wizard or has achieved world domination via Skylanders.

What I would say is that it’s a matter or balance. Is my son fit, healthy, in a healthy weight range, happy, socially capable, academically ok? The answer (on a good day) is yes. So if this means I have failed because yes electronic equipment is a big part of our family life... I think I can live with it. I may not be perfect. I may strive to be a better parent, I will try to make them eat right and make good choices for themselves to stay healthy and to stay active..... or at least when they are rich and famous they can hire themselves a good personal trainer to keep them on track just like their mother would.....
and how can I argue with this logic... and not to mention his computer savy = ness???

Friday, June 8, 2012



The time has come to announce the lucky recipients of our Stock Merchant Giveaway!!!!



We are very pleased to announce that using a random number generator  Rachel@thekidsareallright, Swiggins and Grace were selected to receive the products!!!!  Guys, there should be an email from me waiting in your inbox!  Congratulations!!!  I know you will love these products!


True Random Number Generator  2Powered by RANDOM.ORG


True Random Number Generator  6Powered by RANDOM.ORG


True Random Number Generator  7Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Plan

By Beck

Inspired by need to find and apply meaning to my blogging life, I am undertaking an experiment- and who better to try this out on than my darling (and unwilling) children. My plan in a nut shell is to record what happens to my family over 4 days when I take away their opportunity to play minecraft and watch biggest loser (and other things). Now the reason I am doing this over 4 days is that I know my husband will not endorse this plan so to make it a reality I have to do this while he is at work.  Also, the thought of reaching Friday night when I am exhausted to the point of collapse and then being forced to keep tired crabby boys entertained without the option to bribe/ blackmail and amuse them with electronic toys, fills me with dread.

It's not that I am a bad mother but I am a mother who has 2 part time jobs, is currently starting life as a  Personal Trainer and I am solely responsible for the cleaning of our house, preparing meals and looking after the menagerie of animals, as well as ferrying kids everywhere and ensuring homework and related school needs are attended to. My husband works long hours across 7 days.  He does not do domestic duties of any kind. My two boys have turned arguing with each other (and me) into an olympic level sport. I pity any student who intends entering into a debating contest with either of them. Not only will you not win but you will be crushed like a bug, confused beyond belief and in tears trying to recall what you may have said three years earlier that contradicts the point you are currently trying to make. Or does this just happen only to me?

So, I think I have made the situation pretty clear - 4 days will be enough.

My plan of attack is to tell them what we are doing. This will remove the need to have the same argument 4 days in a row (x 2... There are 2 of them one of me) . This also removes their ability to weaken me through 4 days of arguing. On the other side of course, this does give them the opportunity to unite and come up with a strategic counter plan. I will know this is happening if there is silence from arguing for any length of time - at all.

Part B of the plan is that I will need to give up housework (Any excuse will do to give this up but sadly as we all know it just means it will be waiting for me to do 4 days later... It's not like anyone else will do anything). I envisage that I will need to be fully across all fronts to ensure war does not break out or sneaky games of the DS are played in a cupboard or under a bed.

Part C will need to be some sort of reward for adherence to the rules. I have children that individually negotiated tennis lessons with the tennis coach in return for ball picking up at other lessons (because I said we were cannot afford tennis as well as everything else for this particular term). They have their father"s entrepreneurial abilities....they are capable of anything.

So armed with the goals, plan and SWOT analysis I should be able to pull this off. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Killing the Kids with Love


By Beck

"My son plays soccer, aussie rules and basketball - it takes this much exercise to keep him settled"

This was a snippet of a conversation I heard recently and it lead to days of speculation on my behalf. I lead a fairly busy life so to have a single sentence stay with me that long is quite significant. The questions I was asking myself were:

1. Does my own son have an appropriate balance of exercise in his life?
2. Are 3 rostered sports too much for a child and would it effect his ability to learn?
3. How much exercise did I do as a child?
4. How much exercise did my Dad do as a child?
5. What am I going to cook for dinner (I like to multi task even when pondering)
6. Am I just putting more pressure on myself to get something else "right" should I just let it go and worry about something else?
7. Is that a dead guinea pig in the garden? (losing focus now)

For those that know me in real life I have really boy- ish boys. They are active, like to rough and tumble at any opportunity ( appropriate or not) and sport rules over school work on every occasion (except if dead animals are involved - see lovely headpiece I as presented with after a school excursion). They have a lot of energy to burn and I guess this is why this statement resonated with me.


If I look at my own child hood as an only child, my only opportunity to play after school was if I jumped on my bike and hit the streets with the neighborhood kids so riding around for hours was pretty normal. I did one organized sport every term with one night training and one match other than that I was freelancing all over the suburb with my pack of friends. (We in fact called ourselves the Devils Angles.... I had misspelt angels on the t- shirts).

In a previous post I referred to my Dad"s childhood where he spent hours after school running with grey hounds as his dad (my Grandfather) trained and raced them professionally. Go back another generation and my Grandfather would have spent his afternoons chopping wood, walking long distances and doing a lot more manual tasks for the home because it was necessary and I can guarantee not enjoyable.

So where are we at today?
Let's get it out there and say children (mine especially) are spoilt. The fear of being assaulted or stolen has lead many families (mine) to keep kids at home and not roaming the streets. My love and protection has resulted in me controlling their opportunities for random exercise. Exercise is more structured, organized and regimented. Parents are running from one activity to another (me)in order for fulfill the kid's desires to play/ try / leave any number of sporting activities. And dare I say it may be my desire not to drive around like a mad woman every day that results in me limiting what activities we sign on for .....

So..... How much is too much? How much is too little? If you are not doing and activity after school what are you (my kids) doing with their time ? ( see; Minecraft, Mooshie Monsters and Club Penguin).

I don't propose to have the answer but I have a plan (besides world domination through blogging). Stay on this journey with me while I investigate childhood obesity, generational changes in parenting and most importantly - what happens if I remove the tv and computer for my children"s life?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Taking stock of the situation...

Back in March  I wrote a tale of two six packs, which detailed my goal of having visible abs.  Well unfortunately, this is still a work in progress for a number of reasons:

  • Firstly, I lost my mojo for a while.  
  • Secondly, I discovered that the more I ate and the higher my body weight, the more I could lift - that was really attractive for a while, and I have really made progress with my snatch and clean & jerk. 
  • Thirdly -  Hello!!!!  I am a endomorph in my late thirties who has grown two enormous boys in my belly…..I'm really fighting nature here!

Anyone who has tried to get visible abs will tell you that abs are made in the kitchen, and I have a great post coming up in which The Machine has kindly agreed to let me photograph the effects of diet on his b*tching 6 pack.

So anyway…I am now back on track and in the pursuit of abs.  Anyone who has tried to cut thier body fat percentage will tell you that it is not so much the amount you eat but what you eat that is important.  Over the summer it wasn't too bad….I ate heaps of lean protein and a never ending variety of salads made with different leaves and herbs to keep things interesting.  However, now that the weather has cooled down significantly, it seems somewhat unpleasant to eat salad and I have turned to vegies instead.  Every morning, I start my day with a power smoothie, and the rest of the day is made of of several meals of lean protein and vegies.  Chicken and broccoli, broccoli and chicken, chicken and broccoli…..Every. Freaking. Day.  Sometimes if I am feeling really crazy,  I might have chicken and beans.  Pretty wild huh (I could be exaggerating just slightly for the purposes of your sympathy).  So as you can imagine, even though I have a lot of discipline and I love the way that eating clean makes me feel, there are only so many days I can eat this in a row before I want to scream puke hit someone have a change.  Thus you can imagine my absolute delight when I found this:

Now as I mentioned in a previous post, I am the S7's nutrition b*tch and I will only endorse a product if it is clean, organic, and Australian owned.  I am very pleased to say that The Stock Merchant fulfills these requirements.  Although they aren't organic, their products are free-range and sustainable and free of additives and preservatives which is good enough for me.  Pop over to their webpage and check out their credentials. Oh and before you ask….if I was a true fundamentalist I would be making my own but to be honest, I am not sure that it would taste as good and also, who on earth has time????

The gravy is too good to share so I get at least 5 serves from one packet.  It is fabulous because it is ready to serve, which means that I just pour 50 mls into a jug and heat it in the microwave. It's delicious, but it is also low in calories and saturated fat!!!  PRODUCT PERFECTION!!

The other thing that really excites me about The Stock Merchant's products is that although they are delicious they are also low in sodium.  With the weather cooling down, I have been making stews and soups for the Mini Machines.  I thought I would do a comparison for you, just for interest sake.  A leading brand of salt reduced chicken stock has 250mg of sodium per 100ml.  The Stock Merchant's chicken stock contains 23mg per 100ml. Seriously!!!!  So not only are my kids getting a great product that supports free range animal farming, but it is all natural, contains no additives or preservatives and is low in sodium.  It is as close to homemade as mine would be if I wasn't so lazy busy!

As you can imagine, I was really excited about these products so I got in contact with the lovely owners, Ben and Kate to thank them for such a great product and they very generously offered 3 of our readers a package of their products!  That's right!!!  Three readers will each receive a chicken stock, a beef stock, a vegetable stock and an old fashioned gravy.  If you would like to try these products, please leave a comment below.  Three random [Australian] commenters will be drawn next Friday!  I know you are going to love these products!!!

Today I'm linking up with Flog Yo Blog Friday over at the Fabulous With Some Grace



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