Archive | May, 2013

Friday on my mind

31 May

It’s been a long week and it felt like Friday was never going to get here but, true to form, it arrived…finally. And about time too!

This morning it was a core strength session and it started with a brisk (defn: “CJ brisk” which may or may not be anyone else’s definition of brisk – more likely not) walk around the block. It was slightly quicker than last week. Then I was either being an aeroplane or superman (core exercises) or doing another version of fancy planks. Let me tell you, when I do these planks there is absolutely nothing fancy about them! Another exercise I am glad to do in private is superman on the Swiss ball. Hmmm, did I ever mention I have crap balance and having to perform an exercise on a ball just emphasises how crap it is?! Get the picture?! The cat was entertained anyway.

Food-wise it was an up and down day and some of my issues with “hunger” might have had to do with some task that was mind numbingly boring, my idea of purgatory. So focusing on how hungry I was, or thought I was, did provide a distraction. But did I give in and attack the charity chocolate box? While I was tempted on several occasions, I didn’t actually carry through with my threats. I manage to distract myself whenever the urge hit. Also, I did have to go to a farewell morning tea but thank god they didn’t cater for anyone who had to eat gluten free because there were an awful lot if cakes on offer. But I couldn’t eat any of them! Solved that little problem!

Tomorrow: up early to head to the pool and gym for my SSS. See you on the other side! 🙂

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Early Friday morning

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Is it time yet?! Is it?! Is it?!

30 May

This is what I’m like as I’m waiting for 10am to tick over. Why? Because that’s when I can get access to next weeks exercise and meal plans. I always look forward to these so I can see what meals and exercise are in store for me next week. Actually the exercise not so much as that only changes every fortnight.

So next week I can look forward to meals such as banana quinoa porridge for breakfast, satay egg, cucumber & carrot corn thins for lunch and wholemeal creamy pasta bake for tea, among others. I’m sure Mr CJ will appreciate the nights when beef fillet with roast pumpkin and herb & parmesan veal schnitzel are on the menu.

The weekly challenge for next week is about trying new foods – this is a little easier than 300 push-ups I’d say!!! Each day we should try something different or new ie cook with a new ingredient or try a recipe that I normally wouldn’t go for. Actually that has been my commitment for this round – stick to the program and follow the nutrition to the letter. That has meant no embellishing of recipes 🙂 and it has also meant that I have cooked recipes I would normally skip over. And I must admit I have been pleasantly surprised in the process.

I had another weights session at the gym this morning. And the exciting thing was that…drum roll…I could use a recumbent bike! Ok it was only for 5 minutes but at least it was something different. I barely glanced at the arm crank contraption today. That’s one machine I’m not going to miss. There is boring and there is mind numbingly boring, and the arm crank falls in the latter category. My upper body weights session included super sets of assisted pull ups and incline chest press, bicep curls and dips, lateral raises and push ups, and one arm rows.

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Weigh to go!

29 May

Wednesday. That must mean its weigh in day. As Michelle says, get up, get nude and get on those scales! Today a 300g loss. 🙂

Then it was off to the pool for a swim, some of the laps sans pull buoy, and then 4 x 25m power walk in the small pool. I powered* up and down the pool this morning doing my laps. I think it was the feeling of swimming unchained from the pull buoy ie freedom, that powered me this morning. The walking in the small pool went ok and there was no pain during or afterwards. Once I was home I did my 25 push ups before breakfast of a boiled egg and avocado toast.

Hunger levels have been up and down today. As long as I occupy myself I usually forget that I’m feeling hungry. The cool temperatures in the office aren’t helping because it’s when I’m cold that I feel hungry. The dahl, which I had for lunch today, was slightly better than last night but I’m still feeling underwhelmed by this dish so I won’t be rushing to make it again anytime soon. Besides its given me a godawful bellyache. It must be the lentils 😦 We had lamb kofta for dinner tonight, I had natural yoghurt with mint with mine and Mr CJ had his kofta tucked into pita pockets with hummus and lettuce. They were delish.

Something thing Michelle mentioned in yesterday’s email was that motivation is a complete crock! In fact she says that it’s a myth and like a bad boyfriend – never there when you need it. It’s not motivation that’s required but consistency. I think this is so true. If I was to wait to be motivated before doing an exercise session there would be many a time that nothing would happen. In the mindset video I watched tonight Michelle talks about the art of not thinking and just DOING (ie don’t get into justification mode), the ten minute rule (ie start the session and if after 10 minutes you still don’t feel like it, then you can give it away for the day) and my personal favourite, if all else fails, JFDI! For me, this works every time.

*powered – not as defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “move or travel with great speed or force”. In my case it means move or travel at a pace that has ever so slightly picked up. From slow to a little less slower!

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I’m an elite athlete!

28 May

This morning I had my work-based health check-up:
Blood pressure – good
Random blood glucose – good
Total cholesterol – it’s coming down, down, down (woot! This is the best it’s ever been)
HDL cholesterol – this is going up, up, up!
Waist circumference – good
BMI – good
Aerobic capacity – ELITE!

There was more to the check-up but you get the general gist of it. I’m actually in good shape. Actually I would’ve fallen off my chair if she’d said otherwise, except when it comes to my cholesterol. This has always been on the high side – can’t fight family genes. But the really good thing is the ratio of HDL:LDL is good ie my HDL is increasing and the LDL decreasing, and this has been the first time I’ve ever seen movement in the right direction.

And according to the results of the aerobic capacity test I am in the elite category. This test measures your aerobic fitness at rest. The result apparently is comparable to maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) which is commonly used to evaluate aerobic fitness.

Though when I read that top athletes typically score values above 70 (men) and 60 (women), my score isn’t that impressive. My score is…ahem…49, so gosh, I’m not quite there yet. Though I could’ve told you that without having done this test! 🙂 Olympic-level endurance athletes can reach values as high as 95. Values tend to be highest in sports that involve large muscle groups, such as running and cross-country skiing.

This ‘elite athlete’ was at the gym at 6 this morning pumping iron, as you do! The session consisted of a warm up on the treadmill, pec deck, shoulder press, lat pull downs, low cable rows, bicep curls, triceps pushdowns and push-ups. It’s getting monotonous just concentrating on upper body weights so I’m hoping that someday soon I can start on the lower half – it badly, or sadly, needs work! Then it was on to an abs circuit, because as you know elite athletes have pretty good abs. Well obviously there is some work to be done here! 🙂

I topped off the morning with berry bruschetta for breakfast ie fresh blueberries and raspberries and ricotta cheese on toast. At dinner last night some of us had this discussion about what we would be willing to pay for fresh raspberries, given that it’s not the really the season for them now. My tipping point is $8. Anything below this and I’m willing to pay for fresh. Lately they’ve been selling for $8 and above in the shops. However a certain supermarket was selling fresh Australian raspberries for $6 recently so I grabbed a punnet or two. Like I said, you can’t beat fresh raspberries!

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Lunch was a curried egg and sprouts sandwich. I haven’t had an egg sandwich in years – this took me back to my school days! And it’s dahl for dinner tonight. Judging by the comments on the forums and on the recipe, this dish is very popular. I’ve not made dahl before so this is will be a learning experience. Somehow I don’t think this meal will appeal to Mr CJ so he’s getting homemade mac and cheese instead.

Postscript: the verdict is out on the dahl. It is said that it tastes better the next day. Well I’ve got it for lunch so we’ll see. Mr CJ however enjoyed his mac and cheese. I won’t even write what he said about my bowl of dahl!

Physio update: more improvement, less pain. I can now add some kicking to my swimming though I haven’t quite said farewell to the pull buoy. I can also add in some pool power walking. And in the gym I can try the recumbent cycle. And by the end of the week I can add some single leg bridging to the double leg bridging.

Baby steps but in the right direction. 🙂

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F…f…f…frozen fingers

27 May

It was f…f…freezing this morning. I had opted to go f…f…for an early morning walk as my cardio option today and at 6am it was bloody cold. I’m not sure of the temperature but I’m sure I heard someone say it was minus 3 – I can well believe it. I don’t think I will ever get used to the Canberra cold. I had also f…f…forgotten to wear tights under my tracky pants which didn’t help the situation. I was wearing gloves but my f…f…fingers still got to that achey, painful, f…f…freezing stage. I have a new respect f…f…for those people out early in the morning during winter going f…f…for a walk because it’s a lot harder to warm up when you’re only walking and not running.

F…f…finally got home, back into the warmth of my house to then do a circuit of push-ups and triceps dips. I have decided to continue with the push-ups challenge this week as I can’t do this week’s challenge which involves step ups. So the goal is another 300 push-ups this week, with the proviso that I have to knock them out 25 at a time, which I did. Well, the first 25 for the day that is! I finished my morning session with the abs circuit of full sit ups, crunch pulses and plank.

Brekkie this morning was delicious. It was apple muesli and I had bought the Kuranda Fruit Free Natural Organic Quinoa Muesli blend recently so I was keen to try it. This natural muesli is a really tasty blend of quinoa, seeds and cacao, “great for a delicious healthy breakfast to give you energy all morning.” Ingredients include pepitas, sunflower seed, rice flakes, almonds, puffed brown rice, organic quinoa, and cacao nibs (3%). There is only 2g sugar per 50g which is also great. Topped with grated apple and Hi Lo milk, it made for a filling meal. I’m looking forward to brekkie on Wednesday when I have this again. I also really enjoyed my lunch today – Mediterranean vegetable sandwich with basil ricotta. Yummo! Any meal that includes oven roasted eggplant and capsicum and ricotta cheese is always going to get a big tick from me.

I have a dinner to go to at a Cambodian restaurant tonight. Just quietly, I have been stressing about this for a few days now. Up until now it’s been easy sticking to the program because I haven’t eaten anything apart from what’s on my plan (well except for Friday nights at the mall but that I can cope with). This is a social event. Normally I would have a glass of wine with my meal but not tonight. It’s easier to come undone even with the best laid plans once I have a wine…or two. So it will be water for me tonight. I’ve checked the menu on-line and have mentally decided what I might have for my meal. I also rang the restaurant and spoke to the owner who assured me that a lot of his food is gluten free as he uses potato and (non-wheat based) cornflour for sauces, etc. So fingers crossed I stick to my guns and not be distracted by what other people are eating or drinking. Fortunately, because of my dietary requirements, I’m not taking part in the banquet – I say fortunately because I always feel compelled to eat everything on offer in a banquet situation. Instead I am ordering off the menu therefore I do have control over what meal I get.

Postscript: dinner was great. Loved catching up with everyone. I chose marinated chicken sticks for entree and a chicken, mushroom and veggie stirfry for my main. I also had a diet coke.

Got home, prepared tomorrow’s lunch, packed my gym bag and was about to head off to bed…then realised, #%^*+! I still had 25 push-ups to do. Dutifully done.

Good night 🙂

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There will be no pronking today!

26 May

Meaning: 1. To stot, to leap straight in the air with the back arched, bringing all four legs off the ground. Gazelles and springboks are most widely known for this behavior, but horses, sheep, and goats (especially playful kids) do it, too. 2. To prance, show off, strut. (alphaDictionary.com)

It’s my rest day so there’ll be no prancing, showing off or strutting today! And I can’t leap straight in the air, back arched, bringing all four limbs off the ground. Just saying. 🙂

It was heavenly to sleep in this morning. I may have briefly opened one eye at 6am to glance at the clock and then gratefully closed it again, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Week 2 in review:

Monday – it was back to the pool as part of my cardio, with the proviso that all swimming is done with a pull buoy – till death do us part (or at least until the physio gives me the go ahead to start kicking again). It was also the start of the 300 push-ups challenge. I had opted for doing 50 push-ups a day.

Tuesday – an upper body weights session at the gym and meeting the arm crank cycle for the first time. I’m hoping this won’t be a long relationship. The push-ups challenge is going well. I had my physio appointment this afternoon. Some slight improvement in extension but still restricted to walking and swimming with pull buoy.

Wednesday – another swim but I’m starting to find my groove. More push-ups.

Thursday – apart from selecting the wrong weight on the assisted pull ups machine and thinking I’d lost all strength in my upper body before realising my mistake, the rest of the session went to plan. Did I mention push-ups?! It was also the Biggest Morning Tea which could’ve been a challenge as there were GF Florentines and brownies on offer but I wasn’t tempted! 🙂

Friday – strengthening my core by focusing on the plank and its variations. Not feeling the love for fancy planks. I’m not sure if it was the weather but I was constantly hungry and clock watching between meals today. And all I could see while grocery shopping after work were chocolate bars and biscuits calling my name. But I resisted! And let’s not forget the push-ups!

Saturday – my first SSS (was not allowed to exercise last week due to acute injury). And my regular monthly massage in the afternoon. And my final 50 push-ups making a total of 300 for the week. Mission accomplished!

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Super Saturday Session aka SSS

25 May

aka So Sore Sunday! (I read this on a fellow 12WBTer’s blog this morning).

So what is this SSS? Its the longer, more challenging and/or intense workout session for the week. Normally today I would probably do a long run including the parkrun as part of it and maybe a swim or cycle session. But life is anything but normal at the moment so it was a case of don my thinking cap to decide what I could do that would qualify as a SSS.

Note there was never the option to say what the heck, I’ll just have the day off!

Not that that wasn’t thought, however fleetingly, at 6am when that damn alarm went off. #%^*+! Time to get up again! Fortunately I had packed my gym/swim bag the night before so there wasn’t a lot to do in the morning – just get dressed and have my coffee.

And what was I doing for my SSS this morning? Well I’m glad you asked.

First, it was a 1.2km swim with pull buoy (we are inseparable!). It was busier than I had anticipated but that might’ve had something to do with the 50m pool being closed to the public from lunchtime onwards. My arms, upper back and shoulders were feeling sore from a week of upper body workouts. It was a ‘good’ hurt but sore nevertheless. Swimming did help work out some of this soreness.

Then after a quick shower and change it was up to the gym for a cardio/weights circuit that went something like this:
Treadmill – 6min walk
1 circuit of 12reps of each the following: chest press, lat pulldown, push-ups, shoulder press
Arm crank – 2 min
Treadmill – 5 min
1 weights circuit – as above, omitting shoulder press
Arm crank – 2 min
Treadmill – 5 min walk
1 weights circuit – as above, omitting shoulder press
Treadmill – 5 min walk
Weights – 3 sets, 12 reps of the following – BB bicep curls, BB shoulder press
Arm crank – 2 min
Treadmill – 5 min walk

That was my version of a SSS. I have to admit that being confined to walking on the treadmill is killing me but I keep telling myself its all for a good reason. Besides, to be honest, I can’t run at the moment. On Friday I was crossing the road when a car suddenly appeared which required me to get across very quickly. I tried to run but it wasn’t great. Yes I could do it if there was threat to life and limb but otherwise it’s not recommended. All in good time. Lucky I’m a patient person, not!

And later in the day I had my regular monthly massage and boy, did I need it. Plenty of tight, sore spots in the upper body that needed work. I floated out of there an hour later.

Tomorrow is a rest day! And a sleep in! Oh joy 🙂

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Getting to the core of the matter

24 May

3.2 degrees outside this morning. The forecast said that it felt like 0.7 degrees. So on went the layers – tights, trackie pants, singlet, long sleeved top, spray jacket, fleecy jacket, gloves, fleecy headband and cap. All for a walk around the block as a warm up for the core strength session. The things I do!

I’m not a fast walker at the best of times – that’s why I run! But at the moment the only pace I can do is slow, which is extremely frustrating. But I trundled around the block in the dark and the cold and 18 minutes later I was back indoors.

Now to get to the core of the session! And according to my program the focus was to be on planks – one of the best exercises for core strength and function.

First up – the kneeling core and balance exercise. Thank goodness I was doing this in the privacy of my home because my balance is crap. Left leg and right arm up, balance on right leg and left arm. Yeah right, I think I resembled the leaning tower of Pisa, that is, when I didn’t topple over. Eventually I got the knack but the execution wasn’t elegant. Hmm, definitely something to work on.

This was followed by 60sec of assuming the plank position. Not too shabby.

Side plank raises – again no problems.

Side taps – Woot! I’m on a roll now!

Side plank position for 45 secs – no worries.

I had to change the double crunch to the plain ordinary crunch exercise because of my dodgy hammy.

Hmmm, think I’ll forgo the hammy stretch.

And finally the fancy planks – don’t know that I’m too rapt in these. Moving from a plank on toes and elbows to toes and hands, and back again, 12 times. That’s more challenging than it sounds, particularly as I was trying to maintain good form and a stable core.

And now to do this circuit twice more, for a total of 3 sets. Not feeling the love for those fancy planks by this stage.

And let’s not forget the 25 push ups, again done in one go with no break. (And another 25 tonight. Only 100 push ups to go!)

Food front:
It was a hungry day. I’m blaming the weather. It’s cold, I’m cold and when I’m like this, all I want to do is eat. Nothing satisfies me. So today it was a case of clock watching until my next meal. It also doesn’t help when people are eating raisin toast in front of me! And tonight while food shopping at the Mall, all I could see was chocolate bars, biscuits (choc coated ones) and hot chips. Lately I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession for hot chips (pre-12WBT). Dinner was a naked burrito from Mad Mex: brown rice, black beans, slow cooked shredded beef and tomato salsa. Even this has failed to satisfy me. I think I’ll be dreaming of food tonight! Still that’s better than actually caving in to cravings! 🙂

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Flags

23 May

This morning was potentially a red flag day.

And what is a red flag day you might ask?

These are days where you know you are going to be challenged nutrition wise. This morning our work area had organised a Biggest Morning Tea event so there were going to be lots of baked goodies. Ok normally this isn’t an issue for me because I can’t eat most baked items but some people had very graciously baked gluten free items and then informed me of this. That’s right, they were putting the guilts on me because they had spent time and effort baking food with ingredients they don’t normally use so that I could eat them.

There were brownies and Florentines on offer – omg, lots of delicious gooey chocolatey goodness. I love Florentines. And brownies aren’t so bad either. And you should’ve seen the range of other baked goodies set out on the table for morning tea – cup cakes, mini cheesecakes, sausage rolls, croissants, cookies, cake, etc. Actually come to think of it, there were no macarons. Obviously either cup cakes are easier to make than macarons, or macarons are not in favour in our branch.

However, I am happy to report that there was no waving the white flag and surrendering to these calorie-laden, artery clogging, oh so chocolatey, delicious looking delights. In fact, I wasn’t even tempted. As I said, if it’s not on my program I aint eating it. I’ll donate money (which I did given it was a fundraising venture) but I didn’t have any brownies or Florentines. Not a crumb. I have to say, letting people know that I’m following the program has made it easier for me to stick to it because I have made the commitment out loud. Everyone knows about it, not just me. I can’t sneak in non-Mish-approved snacks because people know what I’m doing.

Instead I had my natural yoghurt with mixed berries, which is one of my favourite snacks. Chobani natural yoghurt is delicious. I love a thick, dollopy yoghurt and this yoghurt ticks all of the boxes for thickness and dollopiness. However, I don’t like their fruit flavours – these are much too sweet and the yoghurt is not as thick so I prefer to have the no fat natural yoghurt and add my own fruit or flavourings. At least then I know what’s in it and I’m not adding more sugar than I need.

And there was no flagging at the gym this morning either, even though I’m really only doing half a workout.

There was the warm up on the treadmill before doing assisted chin ups. I thought I had selected the correct weight but when I got up and grabbed the handles I damn near killed myself. Waaaay too heavy. Get off, add some more weight (the more weight added, the easier it becomes – the reverse of most machines), get back up and damn, still too heavy. I know it’s been a while since I’ve used this machine but surely I haven’t lost that much strength. And I’m not that heavy. Really. So get off, add more weight…and then I looked more closely at which weight I had selected. No wonder I was struggling – I had gone a lot lighter than I thought which meant I was pulling up more of my own body weight – I really must wear my glasses! Once that was sorted I managed to complete the exercise.

There were more exercises but no dramas. Then another 5 mins on the treadmill followed by 5 min on the arm crank thingo. I’m so not rapt in this cardio machine – it is boring, boring, boring. But I have very few cardio options at the moment so I have to suck it up and use it. BUT only 5mins at a time – I cannot do more than this without screaming from sheer boredom.

The push up challenge continues. 200 down, 100 to go 🙂

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Playing the weighting game

22 May

Today it was the weekly weigh in. I wasn’t expecting great things given that my exercise last week lasted all of two days before I injured my hammy. However I had stuck to the nutrition plan like super glue – there were no little sneaky snacks.

So it was that this morning the scales said it all: a 100g gain! Ok so no big drama – 100g is just a blip on the scales but jeez, given my puritanical restraint on the food front (in fact I should be up for sainthood, thats how good I’ve been) I would’ve hoped for a little more encouragement ie a liitle more downwards movement in the number. It goes to show that while 80% of weight loss may down to what you put in your mouth, there is still a place for exercise in the equation. Yep, that bloody 20%! And my cardio component is sadly lacking currently.

But…I’m trying very, very hard not to get frustrated.

I had my physio appointment yesterday. Some very slight improvement in extension without pain. To my repertoire of exercises I can now add bridging. Woohoo! More ultrasound therapy applied and then re-taping of the hammy. I have a bright pink racing strip down the back of my leg 🙂 Next appointment is in a week’s time. Cardio can include gentle walking on the flat and swimming with pull buoy.

Post-physio appointment ie last night and today, my hammy has been giving me grief 😦

And so I was back in the pool this morning, during peak hour. There were at least 5 swimmers in my line but we managed to co-habit the lane without any lane rage. I do think I swam better today even though I am experiencing some DOMS. There was no sooky la-la behaviour, just a JFDI attitude.

And when I got home it was “get down and do 25 push ups stat!”

Well, actually it was one set of 15, have a little rest and then do another 10! And do 3 sets of 12 reps of 2 ab exercises, and 3 sets of 30 secs of the plank exercise.

Loved my dinner tonight: spiced lamb meatballs with tabouli (made with quinoa). And I have it for lunch tomorrow as well.

And managed 25 push-ups with no rest tonight. 🙂 Only 150 to go.

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Tonight’s dinner