Tag Archives: bike

Early bird or night owl?

3 Jul

I was reading an article in this month’s GI News – the Official Glycaemic Index newsletter, about the body’s clock, which operates on a circadian cycle (Latin for about a day). The biological clock controls our circadian rhythm—the physiological processes that occur repeatedly on approximately a 24-hour cycle. Some of these processes in addition to alertness include body temperature, production of the stress hormone (cortisol), and cognition (mental alertness, memory, and intelligence).

And this got me thinking…

Are we naturally a morning person or a night owl? Are we one or the other or can we be a bit of both? If we are naturally, say, a night owl, can we learn to become an early bird or are we going to be forever fighting against our natural instincts?

I do know that I operate much better in the morning than I do in the evening which is why I was schedule my exercise at the start of the day, not at the end, when all I want to do is go home. However, by morning I mean around the hours of 7am onwards, not the uncivilised hour of 5.30am, but circumstances mean that’s when I have to get up and get going.

But I wasn’t always a morning person. No siree, there was a time when the thought of getting out of bed before 10am was anathema to my very soul. In fact, just ask my mum or other girls at the boarding school I went to, or when I was living at nurses’ quarters when doing my nursing training! In fact, just ask a couple of the charge sisters of wards I was working on at the time, when it came to punctuality and the…ahem…morning shift (7am start)! Yes, there was a definite pattern of struggling to get up early but I could party the night away with the best of them!

Of course, having children changed all that but even when the kids were a bit older, I still had to drag myself out of bed around 7am. And I had a multitude of excuses as to why I didn’t want to exercise in the morning…and basically, I didn’t!

Then one day, 17 years ago I decided I wanted to take up running and so I enrolled in a 6 week course that would get me ready for the Canberra Times 10km fun run. There were several challenges involved with this – running, running 10km, entering an event, and exercising. Shock, horror – it meant I had to do ‘training’ – that word I had always associated with other people, crazy people really, not some muggins like me who had this strange idea that maybe they could run 10km! And to do this training, because I had children, I really had to get up early to fit it in my day otherwise it was never going to happen. I won’t bore you with the details but it took a lot of coercion, persistence and grumbling to get me out of bed and out the door at some stupidly unbelievably early hour each day to do my training. And there were lots of failures to begin with. You know, the shouldas, couldas, wouldas, but didn’ts! Mr CJ was very supportive, not that I perceived it as such at the time – he would dig me in the ribs when the alarm went off to ensure I was awake and getting up.

But persistence eventually paid off. Gradually, over time I began to find it easier to get up, get dressed and out the door and once I was moving, I was really glad I made the effort. The payoffs were that I became fitter, I felt better, my health improved, I had more energy and I could run!

Over time, I proved that I could change to be more of an early bird. However it has meant that I am no longer a night owl. By the time night comes around I am definitely ready for bed though I have been guilty of burning the candle at both ends, to my detriment. Trying to get by on less than 6 hours sleep eventually catches up with me – I am constantly tired, I start getting sick, I tend to eat more and it’s not necessarily healthy food I crave, I drink more coffee and so it goes. It’s true what they – early to bed and early to rise makes CJ healthy, wealthy and wise!

The early bird CJ was up and on the bike on the wind trainer at 5.30 this morning. It’s been a while since I’ve been on my bike because of the location of the hammie tear – sitting on a bike seat was not comfortable up until now. As it is, I can’t use the upright bikes at the gym because those seats are a lot wider and this does irritate the injury. However I had no such problems this morning. The session involved 10 x 1min hard gear (1min easy spin) with a warm up and cool down. After this I then had 4 sets of 15 reps of push ups, 20 dips, and 3 sets of 12 reps of reverse crunches, straight leg scissors and scissors crossovers.

Whew! All that before breakfast! 🙂



There’s no such thing as bad weather…

24 Jun

…just inappropriate clothing. Or in my case, there’s always the opportunity to do a gym workout! No excuses! 🙂

This morning I headed out in the rain, got in my car and went to the gym for my cardio session. In previous weeks I have gone for a brisk 5km walk on a Monday morning but this morning it was raining. Now while I will run in the rain, walking is just not as much fun. The gym, at least is dry, and does give me variety in the types of cardio I can do. I love variety.

So I started with a 5 minute warm up on the xtrainer, before heading to the treadmill for a 20 minute session. Normally this elicits moans and groans from me (I have been known to call this machine the dreadmill) but not this morning. Just quietly I was feeling a little excited. Why? Because I was going to do 2 x 5 minute jogs at a slightly faster pace than last week, ie 9kph instead of 6.5kph. Excitement plus! This is what a torn hammie and not.being.allowed.to.run.at.all for 5 weeks can do! I was going to be alternating between a 5 minute brisk walk and 5 minute slow jog for 20 minutes. Amazingly the time went really quickly. Go figure.

I try not to stress about the fact that I have to go from slowly jogging 5 minute intervals to running 42.2km in about 4 months. Just breathe and believe it will happen 🙂

Then I head back to the xtrainer for some intensity – 7 minutes of 30 secs at level 8 followed by 30 secs at level 3.5. Again there has been no intensity in my cardio sessions up until now so this is progress. Woot!

Finally, 10 minutes on the bike to round out my Monday morning cardio.

After abs exercises and push ups and tricep dips it was time to go home for a filling breakfast of banana quinoa porridge. Just quietly, I love the banana that is drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and put under the grill for 5 minutes or so. Delish! Lunch today was an antipasto pita pocket and for dinner I had baked crumbed whiting with smoked paprika wedges, using snapper that had been caught and filleted by Mr CJ on his most recent sojourn to the coast.



22 Jun

I’m not talking about 4wd vehicles or off-road capabilities, but rather the gym workout I did this morning. 🙂

The gym session was a 4×4 session involving 4 mini circuits. Each circuit consisted of 3 exercises (4 sets x 12 reps of each exercise) plus a 400m run. I can’t really do this at the moment so instead of the 4 x 400m runs, I did a 5min session of either the bike, xtrainer or treadmill at the end of each circuit.

Warm up
– xtrainer 5min
Mini circuit 1 was legs, i.e. step ups, lunges and squat presses followed by 5min on the bike.
Mini circuit 2 was upper body, i.e. push ups, bent over row and tricep dips followed by 5min on the treadmill (this included some slow jogging)
Mini circuit 3 was lower body, i.e. one leg bridges, calf raises and hamstring curls followed by 5min on the bike
Mini circuit 4 was abs, i.e. side plank raise, sit ups and planks followed by 5min on the treadmill (some more slow jogging)
And finally…
5min on the xtrainer.

I still can’t increase the intensity of my cardio workouts but at least I can do more than even a couple of weeks ago, so I can’t really complain. The danger now according to my physio is that I’ll start doing too much too soon because I feel so good. So it’s slowly, slowly baby steps.

This afternoon it was time for my monthly treat: mmmmassage! Mind you, she was also working on the hammie to prevent scar tissue forming but even that wasn’t so bad. The rest was bliss.

And tonight we had the Beef & Red Wine Pie with Potato Topping, with a few modifications. The recipe was for a Beef & Guiness Pie but that’s not gluten free so hence the red wine. I also reduced the amount of stock from 2 cups to 1 cup, added only half the zucchini and also added mushrooms. For flavour, I added rosemary, bay leaf, garlic and some balsamic vinegar. My pie had mashed sweet potato as a topping (not really keen on mashed potato as a result of being brought up on Deb mashed potato as a child, yuk!) whereas Mr CJ’s pie was topped in buttery mashed potato and grated cheese. I have to admit his looked delicious! However both were delicious and worth the cooking time to make them.


A day in the life of a 12WBTer

19 Jun

5.30am: weigh in day so I was out of bed and getting on the scales before having my regulation black coffee to kick start my day. Woo hoo! Lost 500g. That makes a total of 2kg lost since I started the program. Performed a little happy dance 🙂

6am-7am: workout time! This morning I had a cardio session and I was going to introduce some running. Omg this was going to be a big thing for me after 5 weeks of no running. Deep breaths!

I began with a 5min warm up walk on the treadmill before moving to the xtrainer for 10mins. On to the bike now for 10mins and then…this was it…10mins on the treadmill. Now I had to start trying some run intervals. On the treadmill screen I had the running track graphic and so I decided to alternate between 100m walks and 100m slow jogs. I had been instructed to run at the same pace as my brisk walking pace ie 6.5kph, so I certainly wasn’t setting a blistering pace! There were no problems with the running. Then it was on to my final 10mins on the xtrainer before finishing with 50 push-ups and 4 x 60sec planks.

And that was all I had time for before hitting the showers before the inevitable change room rush and scrum.

7.30am: finally…breakfast! Today I had oven roasted tomatoes on ricotta topped toast. It was also meant to have basil on it as well but my basil has withered and died in this cold weather and I only had coriander in the fridge. Oh well, it tasted fine anyway.

8.30am: work.

10.30am: tummy grumbles were telling me that it must be morning tea time. Ignored the half empty packet of Tim Tams on the table in the middle of our bay, and instead had corn thins topped with extra light cream cheese, chopped almonds and honey. Water! I must remember to drink more water. In this weather it’s so easy to forget even though I do have a bright blue water jug on my desk. I can hardly miss it!

12.30pm: meeting Mr B for lunch at Gus’s. Only problem is that I hadn’t anticipated it being so busy. The only tables available were outside and the heating wasn’t great. But I had no choice. I was hoping that the pumpkin soup I ordered would warm me up, along with long black. The soup might’ve done the trick if it had been a lot warmer than what it was – it was a bit of a disappointment. Thank goodness for good company!

4.30pm: feeling a bit peckish so I had an apple. This would keep me going until dinner…hopefully.

5.30pm: a brisk 10min walk to the car. It’s so cold even though I’ve got on a warm coat, scarf and gloves, as well as tights and boots.

6.15pm: start cooking dinner. Tonight we have Chicken Tikka curry with cauliflower mash. The chicken thighs had been marinating in a mixture of tikka curry paste and natural yoghurt since last night so it was just a matter of browning these in the frypan before adding chicken stock and coconut cream. I had doubled the recipe but now I realise I needn’t have doubled the stock and cream – too much liquid. Oh well, I’ll know for next time! There was enough left over for lunch tomorrow so that’s lunch sorted.

7pm: finally sit down to dinner. The curry was very mild but tasty nonetheless. And I’m not sure whether Mr CJ actually noticed that the mash was cauliflower and not potato. He didn’t comment anyway, and ate the lot!

7.30pm: pack the gym bag for tomorrow morning’s weight session. Put on a load of washing.

Now: doing my blog entry. Then I’ll have my nightly treat – a Jarrah hot chocolate. Maybe some knitting. Then off to bed. 🙂


A+ report card

18 Jun

This afternoon I had my physio appointment.

Had there been any improvement?

More importantly, would I be allowed to run?

What would my report card say?

Flashback to 5 weeks ago: doing 100m intervals. On the last one for the night I overdid it and felt that telltale crunch or pop, followed by an immediate stop mid-pace. Diagnosis: torn hamstring up at the attachment. How bad we didn’t know, without an MRI. The decision was made to treat it conservatively and see how it goes. The first week it was so sore – couldn’t walk far, couldn’t stand for long, even sitting was painful, given where the tear was.

I have been a model student, doing my prescribed exercises. And slowly, ever so slowly, I could do more. Now? Now I can do weighted lunges, squats, and hamstring curls. I can walk briskly (a surprise to many, including me!), use a recumbent bike and cross trainer. I’ve also followed my 12WBT program, working around the exercises I could do and substituting for those I couldn’t. No excuses.

And now? Now I can introduce short intervals of running during my walks, whether on the treadmill or outside. Woo hoo! Progress! I’m to use discomfort as a guide as to whether to continue, slow down or stop. Common sense really. I can also get on a conventional bike. And incorporate step ups in my program.

I also have some neural stretches to do to prevent scarring around the sciatic nerve, as the hammie heals.

I have a glowing report card – I’m an A+ student who applies herself diligently. 🙂

So, tomorrow it’s my cardio day. I’m off to the gym in the morning for a combination of the bike, cross trainer and treadmill and now I can include some…running! 🙂 Glory be! Hallelujah! Woo hoo! And one helluva happy dance! 🙂


Upsy Daisy Day

8 Jun

Did you know that it is National Upsy Daisy Day today? No? I thought as much.

This day is a day set aside to encourage you to face the day positively, and to get up ‘gloriously, gratefully and gleefully’ each morning.

National Upsy Daisy Day, an “unofficial” National holiday (US) was created by Stephanie West Allen is 2003. Her desire in creating National Upsy Daisy Day was to make humor, laughter and a positive attitude part of the Upsy Daisy Day way.

To be honest, I can’t say that I got out of bed gloriously, gratefully and gleefully this morning. No sireee. Mr CJ was working this morning so got up at his usual time and brought me a coffee before leaving, at 5.20am. However, I didn’t have to get up for another hour as the pool/gym doesn’t open until 7am on weekends. This gave me an hour when evil CJ tried to convince me that I didn’t need to swim today.

That just a gym workout would be enough…

In fact, maybe a walk later in the day might be enough…

Despite the fact that today is my SSS.

Truly, I’m better off waking up just before the gym opens, have my coffee, get ready and go. No time for thinking. No time for evil CJ to think up lots of reasons why I don’t need to go.

So I used the 10 minute tactic this morning: show up, do 10 mins and if I’ve had enough, call it a day. It was really the swimming that I was resisting. I was okay with doing the gym workout. But true to form, once I got in the pool I forgot about the 10 min rule and completed my swim session: 1km.

This was followed by 6 x 25m of pool walking in the shallow pool.

Up in the gym I alternated between bike and treadmill: a total of 20min on the bike & 25 min on the treadmill. In between there were lunges, squats, push ups, bridges, SSS twisting crunches and planks. Total time in the gym: 1hr 04.55min.

Continuing with the new food/recipe challenge, I made kale chips this afternoon which were delicious. And tonight for dinner, with the lemon & chilli marinated pork and roast pumpkin, I am having roasted Brussels sprouts with toasted almonds. 🙂

So all in all, I think I had an upsy daisy day! 🙂

“Everyday is a gift and if we remember that as we rise each morning, it will help us carry a good attitude throughout the day, whatever the day may bring us. Life is full of challenges and bumps in the road, it is our attitude that helps us over the bumps and through the challenges to move onward with a smile.” – Upsy Daisy Day, National Day Calendar


The week that was: review of week 3

2 Jun

I can’t believe that it’s been almost 3 weeks since I started this round of 12WBT. It used to be said that to form a habit takes 21 days. However there seems to be a shift in thinking lately that it takes anywhere between 26 – 66 days depending on the habit you’re either trying to make or break.

However I have noticed that I’m not picking at food between meals, I’m trying to differentiate between head and stomach hunger (ie kicking the emotional eating habit) and most of the time I’m satisfied with less on my plate. It does help that the weekly menus offer up tasty options and for someone who loves variety, this program offers plenty of variety.

Not that I’m anywhere near perfect, no way, not by a long shot. Ask me again in 66 days! 😉

This was how week 3 panned out for me:

Monday – froze on my early morning walk. Note to self: wear more warm clothes! Dealt with a social event with amazing restraint. Diet coke anyone?!

Tuesday – apparently I’m an elite athlete according to a health check I had today! On the serious front, my cholesterol ratio is improving. This has been a long time coming. Had my weekly physio appointment and there has been some teensy improvement – I have been given the go ahead to use a recumbent bike at the gym!

Wednesday – lost 300g! Discovered that lentils and I have an uncomfortable relationship. Underwhelmed with dhal.

Thursday – weights session and 5 mins on the recumbent bike! Amazing how little things like this can make my day! Busy planning next weeks menu and exercise program.

Friday – a hungry day. The grumbling gremlins made their presence felt in the afternoon. Drove me crazy. But I didn’t attack the charity chocolate box (just thought about!)

Saturday – my version of a SSS – swim, pool walking, bike, treadmill and weights. The grumbling gremlins hung around again today. Deployed my secret weapon. I also made and ate an awesome chicken, roasted eggplant and capsicum roll with ricotta & baby spinach for lunch. Did the final 50 push-ups for a total of 300 for the week (two weeks now).

Sunday – rest day. Loved the smoked salmon cases with salad for lunch. Very fancy schmancy!

Week 4 – bring it on!

Those fancy schmancy smoked salmon & tomato cases with salad

Doing it my way

1 Jun

Super Saturday Session (aka SSS) today. So no sleep in but instead I was up early to get ready for swim and gym. I was wondering why on earth I was doing this, as I was drinking my coffee. I’m injured so surely that’s my get out of jail card? Well, no. Lame excuse really, but was worth a try 😉

First up was my swim session: 200m warm up, then 500m with pull buoy, and finally 500m without. Total: 1.2km

Next: 4 x 25m pool walking.

Gym session: I had to modify today’s SSS because I can’t do any of the lower body exercises such as burpees, lunges, etc (there is a god!). So I did things my way!

5 min warm up on the bike
Then 3 circuits of the following:
20 bridges
20 push ups
5 min bike
20 one arm rows (10kg)
20 dips
20 barbell shoulder presses (10kg)
20 barbell bicep curls (10kg)
5 min treadmill walk
Total: 63 min

The grumbling gremlins had started before I even left home this morning so the grumbles from my my stomach were almost deafening by the time I got home again 2 hours later! I was starving.

It’s been a wet, miserable and cold day – appropriate for the first day of winter. I’ve had to employ my secret weapon this afternoon to stop any unnecessary snacking. It doesn’t help that Mr CJ had bought a packet of chocolate coated marshmallows, waves them under my nose and then proceeds to eat them in front of me, one by one.


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.


Operation Marshmallow to Muscle

13 May

5.50am: cardio session + abs
Session: 10 x 1 min hard efforts (1 min easy spin) bike intervals on wind trainer; 1min mountain climbers & squat thrusts with medicine balls; abs – 3 exercises x 3 sets; stretches
Time: 53.26min
AHR: 133; MHR: 221
Cals: 304

Operation Marshmallow to Muscle is officially underway. The soft squishy middle needs to go, or at least morph into something less soft and squishy. Muscles hopefully will be revealed.

So it’s goodbye…temporarily…to chocolate, magnum icecreams, sponge cake with jam and cream, and all the other tasty delights I have been…ahem…indulging in lately. Hey, it was Mother’s Day after all! But for the next 12 weeks, unless it’s on my nutrition plan it’s not part of my food consumption.

For the past few months I have enjoyed the luxury of not having to get up really early in the morning to exercise but instead I have been running at lunchtime or after work. Well, things are about to change…well not about to, they have! This morning I was up on my bike on the windtrainer at 5.50am doing a session of 40mins which included 10 x 1 min hard intervals. It’s been a while since I’ve been on my bike so yesterday afternoon I had to dust off the cobwebs and brush out the leaves that were caught up in the spokes. Mr CJ sprayed the bike with insect repellent so I didn’t experience any nasty creepy crawly surprises this morning.

Last night I prepared today’s lunch and cooked a couple of chicken breasts in preparation for tonight’s meal (chicken noodle soup). I diarised my exercise commitments for the week and then I breathed deeply. I can do this! I have a secret weapon for night times which are my downfall when it comes to snacking and when I tend to hover around the pantry and fridge. This secret weapon will be revealed all in good time. 🙂

This morning I weighed myself (gulp), took measurements (bigger gulp) and a ‘before’ photo (omigawd). However, these stats and the photo will remain private – a girl has to retain some mystery. 🙂

So the bike intervals were done – hot and sweaty work and 10 intervals seemed to take forever. This was followed by 1 minute of mountain climbers and then 1 minute of squat thrusts with the medicine ball. Can I just put it out there now that I hate mountain climbers with a passion. In fact, they are up there with burpees as things I don’t love at all. Anyway I started the mountain climbers at speed (stupid, stupid, stupid) and promptly died about 30 seconds in. How could it possibly be that only 30 secs have gone by? I did some more at a slightly slower pace. Still 20 secs to go. @#$%! Another one…or…two…or…three…done.quite.slowly…because I could hardly move at this stage! Ok, now let’s do some squat thrusts. Awesome! With a heavy medicine ball. Double awesome! Squat…now…what?! Stand up raising the heavy (did I mention this?) ball above my head. Do this for a minute. I cannot believe how out of practice and out of shape I am. Running certainly does not prepare one for this. Trust me on that.

Okay, now I can lie down. Thank goodness. Yes, yes, I know…it’s not rest time, its abs time. Three sets of three different abs exercises. I watch the video for each ab exercise intently and then try to mimic the action. Somehow I don’t think my efforts quite replicate Mish’s graceful actions but hey, it’s close (ok I look like a dying bug), and you know what, right now close enough is good enough.

Finally it’s time for stretches. Now this bit I like and I can feel the stretches doing me good. I confess I don’t do these stretches often enough so I will religiously do them as part of my program *cross my heart*. When the program says ’stretch’ I will stretch. 🙂

This afternoon I hit a brick wall figuratively speaking – yep, the dreaded mid-afternoon slump. I was almost face planting the keyboard. I’m blaming it on the early morning cardio session. I resorted to a caffeine kick (black coffee) as well as some afternoon tea (a designated, Mish-approved snack). Hopefully this is only a temporary state and I will soon get used to the early morning exercise sessions.

One day down; 83 days to go…

This morning’s breakfast – apple & ricotta toast