Tag Archives: motivation

By hook or by crook

1 Oct

I know I can

This long weekend just gone I managed 2 x 10km walks back to back ie one on Sunday and the other yesterday. I haven’t been able to do that for a few weeks now so that is progress of sorts. So I’m ramping up the walking again over the next few weekends (I’m rapidly running out of weekends I might add). Combined with several sessions a week on the xtrainer plus weekly 2 weights sessions I’m hoping beyond hope that this will be enough to get me through New York marathon barring anything else going wrong (oops, shouldn’t have let that thought out).

I have to say that if it wasn’t for NY marathon and that I’d paid an obscene amount of money for the privilege of doing this event I probably would have thrown in the towel long ago, in fact not long after tearing my hammie attachment back in May. That’s been my usual course of action after an injury that has seen my stop running for any amount of time.

But this time I couldn’t.

NY marathon wasn’t going away and 3 November was going to come around anyway. And how awesome to be taking part in one of the biggest marathons in the world.

Even if I won’t be running.

So it has meant that I have had to train around my injury just to maintain fitness. I had a goal and by hook or by crook I was damn well going to meet it head on. Some people call me stubborn, some people call me mad.

Me? I’m just doing what I love doing – staying fit.

And yes, I am very goal oriented.

Don’t get me wrong. Yes, I love the feeling of being fit.

But really, who loves getting up at 5.30am to go to the gym for a 45 minute xtrainer or weights session?

Not me!

Who loves spending 3 to 4 to 5 hours on a Saturday afternoon doing walking training?

Not me!

Actually let me just clarify that. The thought of getting up early to get to the gym or the thought of spending hours doing walking training doesn’t exactly set my world on fire but once I’m up and out the door I do enjoy it.

And the feeling once I’ve finished, feeling hot, sweaty and tired?



Why do I exercise early in the day?

22 Aug

I admit, I have not always been a morning person – it’s a habit that I have had to develop over many years. But usually it’s the only time of day I can guarantee that I won’t be interrupted or have other commitments that get in the way.

It’s also the best time of day, once I drag myself out of my warm snuggly bed (this is especially hard in winter). There is not a lot of traffic, it’s quiet, and sometimes I get to see the most awesome sunrises.

Like this morning. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful. And when I saw the amazing pinks, and golds, and reds, I thought of Hawaii. Not that I’ve been there…yet. And not because Canberra is so much like Hawaii – I’m thinking not! But I’ve seen photos of Hawaii’s sunrises and sunsets and this morning’s sunrise looked like one of those photos. So I’m really glad that I was up to see it.

There there are the other mornings when its frosty with sub zero temperatures. It can look like a winter wonderland – the frost sparkling on the lawns, the gardens, even the weeds. When my breath hangs suspended in the still crisp air.

Or when the fog creeps in, weaving its wispy tendrils through the trees, around the shrubs, slowly enveloping everything in its path.

There are other reasons. I get my exercise over and done with first thing in the day so it doesn’t matter what else happens during the day, it’s done. No excuses. No continuously justifying why I don’t want to exercise at the end of the day, when all I feel like doing is go home.

I always feel great after going to the gym or getting outside for a brisk walk.

I really appreciate my breakfast after an early morning session 🙂

How about you? What time of day suits you?


Some kind of magic

8 Jul

I was driving to work this morning listening to the radio, as you do, when on came an ad for one of the many gyms here in Canberra. The gist of the ad was that there is no magic spell that will get you fit nor get your wobbly bits toned. And they’re right – it takes regular exercise, eating healthy, and commitment. It’s not easy, in fact it can be bloody hard work. After all if it was easy everyone would be doing it. And we know they’re not, otherwise we wouldn’t be experiencing an obesity problem and increasing prevalence of diseases caused by unhealthy lifestyles. And I’ve been guilty of complaining about having wobbly bits, not being fit and feeling like crap but not doing anything about it either. It’s easier to complain that to actually do something about it.

But it is magic when I do put the work in, eat healthy, and show up for my weights or cardio sessions, day in and day out. It’s when it all comes together and one day I realise that my wobbly bits are not so wobbly, my clothes are not so snug and I’m feeling so much more positive and healthy. That’s the magic! But there was no waving of a magic wand or sprinkling of fairy dust or saying a spell or two. It took sweat and effort.

This morning’s power hour at the gym involved a lot of upper body weights as I’m still banned from any lower body exercises until I see the physio again this Wednesday. So the session included push ups, dumbbell chest presses, incline chest presses, barbell upright rows, assisted pull ups and lat pull downs. The cardio portion involved 2 x 5 minute sessions on the xtrainer – the first 5 mins was a warm up to the session, and the last 5 mins was an interval session before I started the abs circuit. At least I had more energy this morning and not the overwhelming tiredness I was feeling on Saturday. It’s amazing what a couple of early nights and a sleep in can do!


Power hour

4 Jul

It was my second gym session for the week and this morning it was focused on shoulders, back, calves and triceps. I’ve skipped the hamstring exercises until the tendonitis settles down.

I was reading Gretchen Rubin’s blog, The Happiness Project where she was talking about heuristics ie the quick, commonsense principles we apply to solve a problem or make a decision. I liked the idea of re-naming my gym session to something more energising ie Power Hour. Sounds far more powerful and inspirational than ‘weights session’!

My power hour at the gym was spent doing upright rows, shoulder presses, calf raises, rear deltoid raises, triceps kickbacks, French press, seated row and push ups. The session started and finished with 5 mins on the xtrainer. I opted for heavier weights this morning so the final reps of some sets were a struggle but that will improve as my strength improves.

The tendonitis doesn’t feel so bad today. I haven’t done any exercises such as lunges to aggravate it so hopefully this will help with recovery.

Otherwise it was just a long day and I was glad to get home tonight. The butter chicken we had for tea was delicious, as was the lamb Biriyani we had last night. I packed ingredients for tomorrow’s lunch of herbed ricotta with roasted pumpkin open sandwich. It doesn’t look like an awful lot so I sure hope its filling! 🙂


It’s what you do next…

27 Jun

It’s the usual story – I wake up and my first thought is, oh crap I really don’t feel like [select option] going to the gym/swimming/going for a jog/walk/doing weights, etc. (confession time: sometimes it resembles the opening scene from Four Weddings & a Funeral movie!)

It would be so easy just to turn over, pull the blanket up over my head to muffle the mumblings and grumblings and grab some more sleep.

After all, who would know? Who would care?

Morning tea comes and wouldn’t you know it, it’s a work colleague’s birthday so there’s food involved. I’d like to say there’s fresh fruit, natural yoghurt, and other healthy items but it’s a ‘special’ occasion so there has to be cakes, cookies, etc.

And of course there are gluten free options because everyone is so conscious of me not missing out on [select option] cake/slice/cookies/chips/dips, etc.

Go on, have one, it won’t hurt. You do so much exercise. You eat well most of the time. Go on!

Then I do start thinking, well, one wouldn’t hurt, or maybe two, or one of each? After all, who’d really care? Just this once? And they do look so delicious sitting there on the plates. Everyone else is having some so why can’t I?

I hit the mid-afternoon slump and have this overwhelming need for something to boost my energy levels.

There’s the charity chocolate box in the work kitchen. I seem to be making lots of trips to the kitchen presumably to get a drink, but that chocolate box has my name all over it. Not only could I have some chocolate that would give me energy but I’d also be donating to charity, surely that must negate the calories?!

Or how about a diet coke from the drinks dispenser downstairs? I really need something to give me a boost to get me through to dinner. Just this once? The walk down and up the stairs (74 steps in total!) would be good for me.

After dinner and all the chores are done. I’m about to sit down and watch TV. Hmm, I need a snack – I might just go and have a look in the pantry.

What was that? Have something healthy? Really?

Come on, it’s night time, I’ve had a long day, I’m tired, I deserve a treat! (cue whiny voice). This diet thing is way too hard – I feel like I’m missing out on all the fun. Why don’t I start again tomorrow? Or even better, I’ll start again next Monday. I’ve had [select option] chocolate/cake/cookies/chips, etc today, so I’ve blown my diet today, it would be better to start afresh next week, etc.

Sound familiar?
These are daily dilemmas and it’s what you do next that determines how you feel, how you look, how you function.

Yes, I can eat crap, I can decide not to exercise, I can justify until the cows come home why I’m not doing these things, I can listen to my ‘inner teenager’ or cave in to my ‘inner labrador’ BUT…and it’s a huge BUT, I also have to accept responsibility for the consequences ie weight gain, feeling like crap (eat crap = feel and look like crap), increase my risk of developing diseases as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle, suffer from joint pain due to increased weight and lack of exercise, and so forth.

So while I might grizzle, grumble and bitch sometimes about how hard it all is, I really believe the payoff is well worth it in increased wellbeing, fitness and good health.

But it’s not something that comes naturally to me; I have to work at this each and every day. I’m not superhuman, I’m not blessed with super strength willpower. To be quite honest, I’m a sloth by nature! 🙂 And there are times when I not only fall off the wagon, the entire wagon collapses beneath me!

But back to today. This morning I had a weights session that focused on shoulders, back, triceps, hamstrings and calves. I’ve come to realise that I love back, arms and shoulder training because I see results so much sooner than I do with legs training.

It was very quiet at the gym today, maybe it had something to do with some footy game that was on last night? You know, something about state of origin or some such thing?! Anyway I appreciated the quietness because it meant that I had access to free weights and machines without having to wait for someone else to finish.

Breakfast today was berry bruschetta and for lunch I had corn chowder plus a home grown mandarin. For tea tonight we had kangaroo with mashed pumpkin and ginger and mango glaze. I’ve also received next week’s menu plan and I’m looking forward to banana bruschetta, herbed ricotta with roast pumpkin open sandwich, and lamb biryani, among others.

And remember, when faced with choices – it’s what you do next that matters.


Attitude is contagious…is yours worth catching?

20 Jun

Have you noticed that if you are around someone who is pessimistic, negative and has a ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude, that after a while you begin feeling tired, drained and negative yourself? Negative people drag you down. Conversely hang around someone who has a positive outlook, is optimistic (without being a Pollyanna) and up for a challenge, and you feel so inspired and want to do more.

A positive attitude to life, healthy eating and exercise can make a world of difference. I know that when I feel positive and inspired that everything seems so much easier – whether that’s following a healthy eating program, going to the gym or just not eating crap. And doing all of these things helps to maintain a positive attitude so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I try to associate with people who are going to pull me up, not drag me down. I’m very fortunate that I have so many positive, healthy and wonderful friends who continually to inspire and amaze me, and make me want to become a better version of me.

This morning I had my second weight session for the week, focusing on my hamstrings, shoulders and back. There was no running today – my next running session won’t happen until Saturday. You can’t rush these things. But there have been no adverse effects from yesterday’s attempts so that’s gotta be good.

And yes, I do have to admit that when I first wake up in the morning and peer at the clock, my initial thoughts are along the lines that I don’t want to get out of bed or go the gym, especially now its so chilly. I am human, after all. 🙂

But because I have prepped all my gear the night before, ie my gym bag is packed, I have my program so I know what I’ll be doing when I get to the gym, my clothes are out ready for me to get dressed…I really have no excuse to get up and go. And I do know that once I get to the gym, or go for an early morning brisk walk, or go to the pool (well ok this takes a bit more convincing in Winter) I will feel so much better and then once I have completed the session, I am glad that I made the effort to go. Sometimes you really do have to fake it until you make it. And exercising first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day…once I make that decision to get out of bed!

There were no more breakfasts or lunches out today, thank goodness! It was lovely to catch up with friends over a meal but eating out can be such a minefield. Now, though, I can stick to my program and know what I am eating, calorie and ingredient-wise. Today I had baked beans and avocado toast for breakfast, left over chicken tikka curry with cauliflower mash for lunch and beef moussaka for dinner. Perfect meals for the cold weather.

But right now I have to make time to listen to Michelle’s latest videos…for a positive attitude top-up!

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

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!


The hot cross bun run

29 Mar

3.30pm session: easy run
Distance: 14km
Time: 1hr 19.50min
Weather: 19.7*c, wind – W, 9kph; sunny, blue skies

I’m way over running in the twilight zone, ie running early in the dark, so I’m trying to plan the bulk of my runs to happen in daylight hours. So it was a nice sleep in this morning followed by a leisurely breakfast, a spot of housecleaning and washing, and then a coffee at Max Brenner’s.

Hmm, sometime today I’m going to have to get on my running gear and out the door. Today’s motivation – run the 14km and then I can have a hot cross bun when I get home. So hence today’s run being known as the hot cross bun run! 🙂

It was an absolutely stunner of an afternoon to be out running 14km – brilliant blue skies, not a cloud to be seen, a gentle breeze, not too hot, just perfect. Lots of other people thought so too as I passed many out walking their dogs, the occasional other runner and some cyclists.

Back home, I thoroughly enjoyed that toasted hot cross bun 🙂

The run that nearly didn’t happen

11 Mar

Today’s session: Speedy Geese session @ Yarralumla (5.08pm)

Distance: 10.3km
Time: 1hr 03:06min
Pace: 6.06min/km
Cals: 594
Weather: 26.4*c, wind – NE, 13kph

Sleeps to marathon: 34

If it wasn’t for a certain person, today would’ve ended up being a rest day. Why?

I decided to sleep in this morning and when I did eventually roll out of bed it was only to grab a coffee and some breakfast and then I headed back to bed to read.

Then I thought I’d run when I got back from the mall, but by then it was lunchtime so I decided to have some lunch and head out a little later.

In the meantime, the temperature was rising. It was quite warm outside.

Then there was a text from Ruth saying that she would make it to the Speedy Geese session tonight. Cool. Maybe I’d go. But then as the hours rolled by, and I was relaxing on the couch reading, any motivation I had to run just went *poof!* and evaporated. Ruth to the rescue! She’d offered to pick me up knowing full well I’d have no reason not to go. With friends like this……. 🙂

And so that was how I was at the run session tonight, running hard around an oval, trying to chase other runners down, and getting chased down myself in the process.

It very nearly didn’t happen but now that its done, I’m glad it did! 🙂

“What you do every day is more important than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project