Friday, October 30, 2009

It All Counts

Having a bit of a Friday troll around Youtube and have been picking up a few of my favourites to download. I love Alanis Morissette, but only own the "Jagged Little Pill" CD, and this one is off her second album and a song I really like.

I love the focus on the connection and gratitude for emotions that we usually render extremely uncomfortable. If we never had any of this to deal with, how would we grow? How would we move forward and appreciate what we have and what we've learned? ( you can still see I'm on the "growing up" train here)

Wow, that was pretty deep for Friday - have had a pretty busy day - taught RPM this morning and connected with my sweat and my breath in a big way!. THen off to smash a few weights with Shelley - got 52.5kg in some floor presses, but was a bit of a pussy on the supinated grip rows (go Shelley - she smashed em!).

RPM Hi Performance and work tomorrow - I'm going to be smashed by the end of the day and reckon it may be time to schedule a little Chill Out day in the near future.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A different perspective

I have to admit that lately I feel like I've been playing a "waiting game" with my life. Do you ever feel like you're in 'flux' for want of a better expression. It's as if the light has been on, but I haven't been home. There have been so many changes this year, where I started off with a thriving PT business and online business, a goal of a figure comp and a budding career as a fitness writer... I'm finishing the year as someone who has dialed back their online business big time, resumed her pharmacy career, albeit part time and become a banging (I've picked this one up for Shelley, I'm banging everything) RPM instructor who's ready to take it up a notch in step.

After suffering from depression, I've been totally reassessing everything from the way I eat to the way I train to the way I sleep and how I choose to live. The SSRIs help but sometimes you just need the penny to drop so you can rocket your way out of there. Last night, the penny dropped. It was a moment I've been anticipating for a long time. I was reading about someone's struggle with something or other and they said something to the effect of "BEING A GROWN UP MEANS YOU DON'T DO EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO." Bingo!

If that isn't a good reminder to get on with the job, I don't know what is!

Had a great training session with Shelley yesterday - we threw around 50kg bench presses without blinking - can't believe the improvement really! Taught RPM this morning - had a big class for a Wednesday morning and backed it up with Step later on. I'm looking forward to taking the "Step Improvement" journey - if nothing ever comes of it, then I can rest easy in the knowledge I have become a better teacher anyway.

Here's another great quote from Roger Gould: "The only way failure is sure to happen is if you don't try to meet the challenge. If you put in sustained intelligent effort, you will learn something and that is automatically a success" (that's how I'm thinking about my RPM!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not the Expected Outcome..

I rang Les Mills this morning to enquire about the outcome of my application. Unfortunately, I am not going to get an audition spot but it seems they liked my DVD presentation and would I be interested in presenting another program (as well as RPM)? This would mean that I would have to submit a Bodystep DVD as well - either next week (I have to hear back from them on that first) or for the next round of auditions. I was told that they wanted presenters that could teach multiple programs.

So it seems that even though the outcome isn't what I wanted, I don't feel it's a negative thing - my assessment was very, very positive - maybe it's now a push to make my Step classes as banging as my RPMs! Obviously there is a new challenge to rise to! I am going to be having more coaching with Maka on the RPM and a formal assessment done in November and in the meantime, I'm going to start focusing on Step a bit more now. Never thought I'd "need" it, but maybe I just do!

I'm really proud that I put myself out there and went for it, had the initial assessment from Maka etc because I'm sure that it has helped me buckets - not to toot my horn too loudly but I've have spoken to a number of people lately who have told me that I've really taken my RPM coaching to the next level, something that I am really thrilled about. I think it's a long, long journey to become an exceptional group fitness instructor and when I hear these positive comments it really makes all the unpaid hours of choreo learning, DVD watching, practice and coaching etc worth it. I'm never going to make any real money out of teaching classes but what I have learned about myself, other people and relationships is priceless.

Had a great run this morning and am about to head off to work. Onwards and upwards!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Such a slug!

Well what my gadget is reminding me of this week is that when I'm not training in the gym I have the natural tendency to enter the Kingdom of Slugdom (notice the double It has been a real eye opener to see how naturally lazy I am and after my experience this week of nailing twenty thousand steps (this includes training so it's more like 10,000 lifestyle steps plus training), I have been sleeping like a baby.

Wow, what a worthwhile lesson that has been for me. All of this movement is really encouraging to get back in the game of life a lot more too - I have such a tidy house from trying to get those steps in.

So, teaching RPM this morning and hoping that Shelley's ready for a good pasting with the weights. I must remember to pack my Surge, which is pure gold after caning it on the bike and keeping me interested in my weights!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Interview

Here's a transcript of an interview I had today..

Interviewer: So Liz, how long have you been involved in the world of fitness for?

Me: Twenty two years - I've been involved with all things "fit" for more than half my life.

Interviewer: Yes, you've developed quite a reputation as a fitness expert through your writing and as a trainer to other trainers

Me: Thanks!

Interviewer: So when Michelle Bridges pulled out of The Biggest Loser to pursue her Celebrity Masterchef commitments were you surprised that you were contacted about filling her role on the show?

Me: Yeah...

Had you going there for a minute, didn't I? LOL

FYI - I think Michelle is happily working on "The Biggest Loser" set as we speak!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Unprepared for pranayama

In case anyone is wondering, pranayama is the technique of breathing and breath control which regulates energy flow and aims at maintaining energy balance in yoga.

Today I taught RPM, slammed down breakfast, reviewed my Step choreo, taught Bodystep then participated in yoga. It is a mix of Hatha and Power Yoga and we started with a relaxation sequence - unlike the first time, I relaxed my mind and breath straight away and was beginning to feel like a smug yogini but once we started into our Sun Salutation, and various poses within this, I started feeling really seedy. My problem? Low blood sugar it seems - feeling dizzy really dents your enthusiasm for Downward Dogs, so I quietly snuck out of the room with my apple and refueled - feeling much better, it was back to the group fitness room for the relaxation (perfect!). The above picture can mean many things, today it represents that I was feeling rather messy doing my yoga!

Now back to the picture - it's a famous "droodle" and can be interpreted in many ways. For example this picture could refer to:

  • A spider doing a handstand.
  • Total eclipse of the sun on a stick.
  • A family of worms stuck on a toffee apple.
  • A frightened mop.
  • A dandelion seed making a perfect landing.
  • A supermodel on a bad hair day. ( I particular like this one, because it happens to me often - the hair, not the supermodel!)
I try and think of droodles when my hubby and I talk about what's important in the house (he has been blissfully ensconced in cabling up the room we are going to call the home cinema. I hardly watch TV, so I'm concentrating on what's going in the kitchen and bathroom instead). Actually I'm pretty lucky that we agree on most decisions (though I could care less about speaker cable, just for the record).

I really enjoyed both RPM and Bodystep although my legs are still screaming from Monday's "pussy effort" on the weights (really, you'd think I was lifting monster load here, but it's woefully small) and my triceps were on fire from our dumbbell extensions yesterday (I do believe that I heard "sook" emanating out of the back corner of the group fitness studio as I did all push ups rather than tricep push ups in our conditioning track!) Hmm, I'll just have to wait until Friday to give the girl a thorough pasting in RPM (he he he)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good Times

After two very hectic days of pharmacy work, I'm looking forward to getting into the gym this morning and having a good old workout. Not that I neglected my workouts yesterday - got in a 60 minute run/walk (mostly running) and some deadlifts and squats (effort a bit "meow" compared with Shelley but she would be proud of me that I actually did them, lol) and traipsing all over the pharmacy brought my steps for the day to nearly 22 000 - again, I crashed into bed - all that incidental exercise has got to be helping me with my sleep. Interestingly my mood has lifted (exercise, the natural antidepressant) - I have been feeling much better of late, but now I'm feeling really on top of things!

We're going into phase 3 of our sixteen week plan - have some interesting exercises lined up - like speed bench presses off pins - I don't know how we're going to manage with our equipment this morning as we don't have a proper cage at FF but I'm sure we'll come up with something kickbutt and inventive.

Then we're having Vietnamese for lunch and going to see "Julie and Julia" before picking the kids up from school. I have to practise Bodystep this afternoon, but I'm having a lot of fun with it and as dinner is already prepared, it's not going to be particularly stressful.

It's really nice to have such a nice day to look forward to after all my work efforts. Yeehaw!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Go Go Gadget Girl!

I've been having a little flutter on Ebay of late and bought this nifty little gadget. It's called a Bodybugg and it's a combination of accelerometer, pedometer and galvanometer which measure body temperature (the galvanometer part), body movement (the accelerometer) and ambulation (ie steps - pedometer). I've been hearing all about these little things from my American partners in crime on various forums and a long time ago googled them and discovered that they didn't ship to Australia (bugger). So when by chance last week I ebayed it, an Australian was offloading it for the princely sum of $99 smackeroos. It's a device you wear around your arm, pretty unsightly but kind of interesting!

The science behind the Bugg (which has been independently tested and accurate to about 90%) involves working out how many calories you expend in a day with both formal exercise and NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis - or for us mere mortals, "moving around") - using this data, you can calculate the caloric deficit you need to lose "x" amount of weight per week if you log your food.

I'm not logging my food but I've always had this belief my metabolism was pretty slow - and I've been wanting to see if the calcs I've made using the Harris Benedict and other equations were accurate or not! After wearing it for three days have discovered that I'm slow (you upload your data to an online program ) - not because I'm genetically compromised but because I'm a total slug when I'm not going out training (there's a joke amongst endurance athletes that when we go shopping we always look for the car park closest to the entrance of the shop/store). In fact the Bugg will turn itself off if it doesn't sense any movement for 5 minutes and on Day One I felt like I was resetting it every five minutes, not realizing that I had to keep moving a little for it to work. I was hard pushed reaching 1700 cals expended for that day, including teaching a good whacker of a class.

Saturday was more interesting - I got up and wanting to get a headstart on reaching 10,000 steps (I was woeful on that count too), I went for a half hour walk. Four thousand steps later (Alleluia!) I was off to teach RPM Hi Performance which was fabulous - I'm sure the extra work/coaching I have been having is making a real difference. Five hundred calories expended there. Interesting! Then it was off to work and I focused on moving around as much as I could - I really had to make a concerted effort to keep moving - it wasn't easy, as I'm always thinking that I train so hard, so therefore I need a rest! Eighteen thousand steps were taken between 5.30am and 6pm (seems to count RPM in there somewhere too) and I spent the better part of the evening trying to crack the 20000 - so consequently the entire kitchen got cleaned, the laundry done, folded and put away and any available rubbish outside to the bin! and by 8.30pm I had made it! Caloric consumption around the 2700 mark - no wonder I'm always hungry on Saturdays!

Needless to say after all that focus on incidental exercise I crashed into bed last night and slept in until 7.30am - it's my rest day on Sundays but I was determined to meet the 10000 step goal which is bandied around for good health - by lunchtime I'd only done 3 500 and after doing several house clean ups I was beginning to think I'd have to do some formal exercise to get there. Then I was saved by Hubby who wanted to know if I wanted to take Miss G for a go on her rollerblades outside - so we had a 20 minute walk and talk and bingo, up to 8000 by 5pm. Then we went looking at our house and I walked up and down and up and down and looked at the pool and looked at the landscaping and voila, 10,000 steps!

Wearing the Bugg has been a real eye opener in terms of highlighting the fact that I need to do more incidental type exercise - plus I have a super clean house now - gotta be happy about that. It also made me spend less time on the computer today and more time living in the real world. I love, love love surfing the Internet but I'm sure it's not been doing my metabolism any favours (apparently I use less than 1kcal energy per minute surfing the 'net whereas if I'm being a domestic goddess it's between 2-3 kcal energy per minute.

And as for the Harris Benedict equations - they're surprisingly accurate - where I fell down is factoring in activity level which would have been about 1.2 compared to the 1.5/1.6 where I thought I was.

I'm going to keep using the Bugg for awhile to remind me just to move more. I'm not logging food, but continue to eat well and be content in the knowledge that my metabolism is perfectly fine, I just need to be less of a slug and more of a participant in life when I'm not training hard.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


All has been a bit quiet over here in Liz-Land (hey that has a good ring to it!) on the blogging front, only because I've been pretty busy in real life. Yesterday I taught RPM and Bodystep and then picked up Maka's magical DVD (he worked wonders!), had a quick look at myself teaching RPM and then got the DVD off to Les Mills lickety split! It was weird looking at myself teach but compared to the last one I did, I think I have really improved. There's always stuff to work on of course, but it was quite encouraging! Hopefully Les Mills will think it's good enough to call me up for an audition. Just have to cross my fingers and hope for the best.

I've had a day at home after getting migraine like symptoms this morning. Luckily by lunchtime, it had begun to clear and I've been feeling better and better as the day has gone on. I am teaching RPM tomorrow and catching up with Kirstie (sorry Kirst, I can't find the link to your blog right now) which should be great fun.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bench Press Update

Today marked the end of our 2nd four week block of training with a 1 RM bench press trial - I'm proud to say that I knocked out a solid 55kg effort today (just missed 57.5kg) and Shelley got 57.5kg - awesome work kiddo. Just for the record, four or so weeks ago, I was celebrating 50kg and Shelley 47.5kg - to have that sort of improvement in such a short time is really quite phenomenal. I'm amazed, because I've considered myself to be well trained (and the improvements are much much smaller, the longer you go on). So there is another belief smashed (hey, it seems I have a lot more in me!).

This has got me thinking that our beliefs can either limit or enhance our potential. A few weeks back I posted about "letting go of the numbers" - I'm really trying not to let the number on the weight I pick up affect me. Today we chose to believe that we could lift those weights and we now throw around numbers in the "50s" all the time. I believe that the more we keep associating our lifting with the higher numbers, the more likely these lifts are going to "arrive" for us. It seems that if I keep believing, I keep achieving and there's nothing wrong with that! I just have to keep remembering to apply it to the more unhelpful beliefs I also tend to pick up as well as the good ones.

Also filmed my submission video for Les mills today except hit a glitch with the mini tape not being able to be converted to VCR or DVD so I took John's camera off to Maka and hopefully he can work some Maka magic with it overnight. Ended up doing two takes - the second lot so much better than the first (I think by then I was used to the camera!) So provided I can actually get the darn vid in by Friday, I can sit back and cross my fingers...

Friday, October 09, 2009

Me too!

Yes, confirming that the gorgeous Selina was in this latest issue of Ultrafit in an article called "Deconstructing Cardio Training". Although I am expecting a formal apology in next month's magazine, the writing was mistakenly attributed to Lindy Olsen instead of myself, and I want to let everyone know that I am the author of the work (and the entire "Deconstructing" series that has featured in the magazine over the last six months or so). Lindy has modelled for some articles, but has played no part in the writing of them. It's been a real pain sorting it out, that is for sure. But I am pleased to see Miss S looking fantastic in the magazine, no question.

Now onto today's training - taught RPM this morning at Toowong. I've inherited the Friday 9.30am class from the beautiful Emma and had a great time teaching this morning. Then Shelley and I followed up with our weights. Drumroll please - 50kg incline bench today (2 reps, seeing me trying to do three was a real picnic...
Me: "noooooooo!!!!"
Shelley: "I have the bar"
Me: "ooohhhh nooooooo!!!!"
Shelley (racks bar) "see?"

Shelley's turn - Shelley is a bad ass - she nails four of these bad boys...
Me: "c'monnnnnn!!!!!"
Me: (gently beginning to assist) "lock out!!!!"
Shelley: "don't you dare help me!!!!!!!"
Shelley smashes the weight into the air (you beauty!).

We're not sure what Toowong or the PTs thought of us this morning - I commented to Shelley that I think Jinders is now used to our lifting antics and that we're going to have to " break "Toowong FF in.

Then off to buy all the fruit and veggies for the coming week (I will guess they may only last until Tuesday, but we shall see).

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Kiss Kiss

Absolutely nothing to do with fitness, health or emotional eating. Just a groovy track about being a bad girl with a bit of a reputation!

Since Carolyn jogged my memory, I've been going on a delightful Youtube journey looking at film clips from all of my favourite 70s and 80s bands - so much for working on deep rooted issues or blogging about anything meaningful (but Kirst, that will come!).

Anyway today has been mixed. On the downside I managed to lose my very expensive mobile/PDA but on the upside, I have very little left on my contract so it's not all bad (and maybe I'll get an IPhone to match the Mac, but not sure yet - if anyone has any opinions on them, let me know what you think). This set off a wave of what I would call nervous eating as I madly phoned Telstra and got the service disconnected etc. Not really thrilled with myself as not very hungry for dinner, but onwards and upwards

The other feature of my day involved having my CBD RPM class assessed by Maka, who was a Les Mills Assessor, but now heads up the RPM side of Finishing First (which is Fitness First's in house instructor training department). I've known Maka for a long time and we're friends which made things a little less nerve wracking - what I was impressed by was Maka's encyclopedic knowledge of the RPM program and his grasp on the technical side of things.

All in all, the assessment went pretty well - the good points - I'm a "natural coach" (wahoo!) and good technician( ie generally good smooth technique) but there were a few small things like amount of bend in elbow during racing and some slight modification of position in Standing Attack that need a little fine tuning. But as Maka said, now that I know, I'll have changed and improved by the very next class, so all good. I now just have to find someone to video my class by early next week to send off with my application.

So with all of that going on, I'm feeling emotionally charged and drained all at the same time - so I'm going to take a nice warm shower, curl up with my fluffy slippers and watch "The Amazing Race" (not bad for a former KISS crazed wannabe bathroom 'ho!)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Talk to Me (All I want is a little conversation)

Yeah, all I want is a little conversation! I was inundated with the response to my "Fierce Conversation" post and it was great to see so many people popping in a comment about things.

So inspired by my spaceman Ace Frehley (especially for Carolyn!) I've decided that I want you all to "Talk to Me" about issues you want to see blogged about (I could start with 'why did KISS have to take off their makeup - in their case makeup definitely maketh the men..) so leave me a comment or contact me via The Fitness Solution - I would love to hear from you, fitness related or not.

Today you now know that I'm a not so closet KISS fan - "Unmasked" was the first KISS purchase I made and I just thought Ace Frehely in his Spacesuit was just the bomb and I was in all of Grade Six!

Fitness and loving life wise, I've had a terrific day - started off with a cracker of an RPM class - we were small in numbers but made up for it in sweat. Then teaching Bodystep - was rather chuffed with myself for learning 5 new tracks and giving it a good caning. Miss Shelley (sans itchy MM balls) turned up to step with me and listen to me sing a poor rendition of "The Way You Make Me Feel" and then we both gave Lynne's Yoga Class a go - this was harder than I thought and my abs and shoulders got a thorough pasting with all those Downward Dogs. The meditation part was definitely the highlight and I left with a rather fuzzy warm sense of joie de vivre.

Then off to quickly slam down lunch with hubby and off to choose bathroom tiles which we did in record time before it was home to pick up the girls and take Miss G to ballet.

All that activity today has given me a wicked appetite and I feel like I haven't stopped chowing down all day which is always a bit disconcerting but it will even out in the end. But better to listen to genuine belly hunger and have a feed than to go over the edge and eat up eating a whole load of stuff that doesn't honour your beliefs or your belly!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Gosh we're good!

This morning I had another great training session with Shelley - and had the pleasure of seeing her pick up 125kg - I won't say "just like that" because it didn't come off the ground fast, but once momentum had begun to build, it was "take it to the top baby!"

We got stuck into our upper body training - I keep marvelling at what heavy (for me!) weights I'm lifting - today I did 5 x 45kg close grip bench press! I can't remember what we did for chest supported rows but we started with 60kg and kept adding and adding and adding. To which I commented, "gosh, we're good!".

Lifting these massive weights puts a smile on my face all day, I walk around hugging my little secret to my chest, thinking "I may look meek and mild, but underneath I'm a real badass!" We groan and grunt in the gym and challenge every perception that ladies are dainty and refined during training, and it is the best fun.

We have a cuppa tea and whatever we feel like eating (if we're hungry) afterwards and we sit on our little deck chairs and talk about this whole crazy thing called "life". I think I may have to write more about intuitive eating and the "non diet" approach - certainly not anything to do with letting it go and eating Maccas. In fact I was at Toowong the other day and a Deli Choices Tandoori Roll and Garden Salad called my name - in fact one of my RPM participants saw me eating said roll and salad and commented that it was nice that "instructors are normal" and that it made her feel better about her own food choices.

Step tomorrow and for a change of pace, we're going to do Yoga with Lynne afterwards - then have lunch at our favourite Vietnamese Deli.

I've attached another of my favourite songs "One Moment in Time" as a reminder to keep living an authentic life - to be the best "you" that you can be!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Running forever!

That's what I felt I could do this morning, even with toey tarsals. My foot has still been giving me grief but if I wear my orthotics, it keeps improving. This morning's training included a 25 minute run at a very easy pace and then 20 minutes on the elliptical (I was purposely more intense and was glad I had my IPOD for company, otherwise it wouldn't have been much fun at all). Spent a lot of time stretching afterwards and did some box squats and RDLs - didn't want to overdo the weights - I am planning on easing into leg DOMS.

Aim of the game is to improve my cardiovascular fitness in anticipation of this audition - my thoughts are that when you're teaching, it's a nice little luxury to not have to be concerned with your fitness levels. I really enjoyed doing the extra cardio this morning - modes that I'm not doing a lot with and I am now inspired to drag out my HR monitor to gauge improvements like recovery etc.

I had to work in the pharmacy today and to allay the sore legs you get from standing on your feet all day, I purposely did lots of movement, lots of climbing up and down the ladder to put obscure drugs in their place and taking the long way to the ladies bathroom. As a consequence, although I am tired, my feet are not aching.

I am also proud of myself because I took the trouble to bring my own lunch and made an absolutely delicious concoction which was very fried rice like - every vegetable under the sun, a couple of eggs, bit of soy sauce and spinach to give it even more colour. I enjoyed fresh pineapple for morning tea (straight from the farms around here), and lemon garlic fish and greens for arvo tea. Tonight we've polished off peri peri chicken and steamed vegetables, and some Lindt chocolate - it's on special at Coles this week, so I bought one in every flavour..hee hee.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

My 6 to 3 ratio

Of live to dead fish - made the mistake of putting Angel Fish in with my Platties and now I have three Angel Fish, two Siamese Flying Fish (not the fighting types) and one Paradise Fish (called Mona - haven't named the others yet!) and no platties (they died violent deaths at the hands of Mona).

Have spent the day cleaning the house - I'm just about to mop the floors and I've done the obligatory washing and ironing. I want to be ready to hit the ground running tomorrow - RPM, leg training, work - it's all happening!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Little More Conversation (rather than a little less!)

Today I am feeling thankful for everyone that has come and read my last post on having a "fierce discussion". I want to let everyone know that I value each and everyone's comments, even if you felt hesitant to post them because I think this has opened up perhaps issues that run a bit deeper - which is a good thing - I know I get a lot more out of these 'meatier' posts than the ones where everything is fabulous (though, don't get me wrong, if life is treating you well then I'm happy for ya!) Sue has posted more on her blog, explaining her perspective and sharing an email from a client who has felt some confusion about the "turnaround" of some of the bloggers. I want to expand a bit more on these blogs and comment a bit more on the email that was shared.

Again, please feel free to leave your comments - don't be hesitant because every voice counts whether you agree or not.

The first point: "Am I better than you..." My answer - no - we're all worthwhile and we're all beautiful. I see the physical expression of beauty in all shapes and sizes. I see the potential in those who choose to take care of themselves and that treat themselves like the worthwhile people they are......

The point was quite the opposite, in that usually all the photos we see on blogs and competitors websites show people in their best condition. I wanted to show what I look like in the off season, when I’m ‘normal’ and not dieting, to let others know who have read the negative posts and have become somewhat confused, to have them understand that it doesn’t have to be black and white. You can eat well and still ‘live’. I too have struggled too with the same issues that everyone has, but have over the years managed to learn how to eat well but intuitively off season and not be on a diet year round.

I thought Sue's photo showed a fit healthy woman ( you look great too btw!) , just like Shelley's recent photos and my own birthday photos. I think a salient point was hit on with this paragraph - getting into single digit body fat percentages for us women isn't normal at all. The "turnaround" that Katie and Shelley are experiencing is what is described as moving towards a more intuitive way of eating, where learning to listen to your hunger and fullness cues, rather than following a structured "plan".

Nobody said we should be on a diet indefinitely, and of course it’s counterproductive if you are, and yes, intuitive eating is something we should definitely aim for when we don’t have a specific goal in mind.

Although there is dissidence on the notion of goal setting, the desire to eat more intuitively seems to be a common thread for many of us.

As I posted previously my perspective on goal setting is that if it benefits you after the goal is reached it's probably a reasonable prospect. Take doing a "Twelve Week Challenge" as an example - if you set a target that is unreasonable to try and maintain and you turn into a lunatic trying to do so, the goal that was set was probably unreasonable in the first place. Another example is Sue's (correct) perspective that staying 'comp lean' year round isn't the most healthy prospect.

Bodybuilding and striving to reach a peak actually has saved me from the disordered eating patterns and body image issues that I used to deal with, so for me, thumbs up to it. I used to struggle and struggle to get to where I wanted to be, never getting there, always feeling like a failure, diet after diet.

I find this an interesting take on bodybuilding and if you feel it benefits you, then go for it. My perceptions of comps have nothing to do with taking down girls who want to compete. I enjoyed the training side of it the most but as I mentioned before, I have reservations now about whether Figure Comps are such a good thing - one of the biggest reasons for me choosing not to compete had to do with the effect it would have on my pre teen daughters and how they felt about their bodies, one of them commenting to me that felt bad because she didn't have "muscles".

Self sabotage when it comes to diet is interesting, and here is my take. I really feel that if you are using food as a crutch or an outlet, there is probably something else in your life you are unhappy with – be it work, relationships, lifestyle etc. So maybe that should be a starting point, to have a look and see if those aspects maybe affecting the way you eat.

Emotional eating is an interesting animal and often people will eat for reasons other than hunger because they feel powerless to address certain issues in life. I have "emotionally eaten" with the best of them at times - but learning to manage life better is the key - these skills just can't be taught with a "diet" or a "challenge" because eating and exercise cannot address these issues alone. If it were all about calories in vs calories out, very few people would have a weight problem. Remember that the diet industry is the only industry that profits out of making their clients or their users fail! Scary stuff, eh?

Now onto the email that Sue's Client sent her and some of my thoughts in bold capitals:

This was the email I received that prompted me to check out the blogs concerned and then post my thoughts…my response to the email is in capitals below….

Lately I am really confused about this new “movement” that’s sweeping across blogland…

Women whom I admired, who seemed very dedicated and serious about their fitness and health are seemingly changing direction.

They are bagging accountability of any form, they are refusing to weigh or measure (themselves or their food), and are embarking on these journeys of self discovery that don’t involve any set plans when it comes to food. THE WOMEN YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT HAVE CHOSEN TO TAKE A DIFFERENT PATH, BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY ARE NOT WORTH ADMIRING BECAUSE THEY'VE CHANGED THEIR MINDS ABOUT A FEW THINGS. BEING ABLE TO CHANGE YOUR MIND IS WHAT DRIVES PERSONAL GROWTH! WHAT THESE WOMEN CHOOSE TO DO IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS, OR YOURS EITHER (this is not to sound abrasive, but I simply mean..tread your own path....). OUR BUSINESS IS WHAT WE CHOOSE TO DO TO MAKE OURSELVES HAPPY.

Most of these people have competed in Figure at least once, and they all talk about having eating disorders because they have been obsessed with weighing and measuring and as a result give in to bingeing on a regular basis. IT'S WELL DOCUMENTED THAT THE RATE OF EATING DISORDER PREVALENCE IS MUCH HIGHER IN SPORTS WHERE APPEARANCE OR WEIGHT CLASS IS AN ISSUE. I BELIEVE IT'S SOMETHING THAT SHOULDN'T BE SWEPT UNDER THE CARPET BECAUSE WE THINK THAT FIGURE COMPETITORS ARE INSPIRING.

When a girl who lost about 26kg and became a Figure Competitor wrote in her blog about the good old fashioned basics needed for weight loss, she was shot down for being so black and white and not giving any thought to the “heart mind body” connection. I DIDN'T SEE THIS, BUT BELIEVE DISCUSSING THE MIND BODY CONNECTION IS REALLY IMPORTANT AS WELL AS THE MECHANICS OF WEIGHT LOSS.

As for me, I am delighted with the results I have achieved by following the IBO program. I need accountability, and if I don’t weigh or measure my food, how do I know if I’m eating too much or not enough? If I don’t weigh or measure myself, how do I know if I’m making progress?…As for the “heart mind body” thing, if I am happy, the three are in sync. Losing weight and improving my fitness levels has given me a lot of happiness and confidence, which makes all aspects of my life better. AWESOME NEWS THAT YOU ARE FEELING GREAT AND LIFE IS BETTER FOR YOU. LOSING WEIGHT/BODY FAT IN MANY CIRCUMSTANCES, BEING LEAN AND ENJOYING YOUR LIFE IS A WORTHWHILE ENDEAVOUR (IF THE LONG TERM PERSPECTIVE IS RIGHT IN MY OPINION). SOMETIMES OUR BODY KNOWS BETTER THAN THE PLAN WE TRY TO GIVE IT - WHAT DO YOU DO WITH RAGING PMS AND BEING HUNGRIER THAN USUAL - RED LINE IT ON THE PLAN AND PROBABLY END UP OVEREATING LATER ON BECAUSE BIOLOGY HAS WON (YOU'RE JUST DARN HUNGRY) OR LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND EAT A LITTLE BIT EXTRA? CONVERSELY WHEN YOU'RE SICK, FORCING FOOD IN ISN'T SO SMART EITHER. HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU'RE MAKING PROGRESS? YOUR CLOTHES FIT BETTER, THERE'S A SPRING IN YOUR STEP AND YOU'RE FEELING FIT AND STRONG....

Just wondering what your thoughts are, do you ever feel like throwing in the towel?

(I won't copy Sue's reply here which is on the email blog - just as worthwhile as this one, some similarities and some differences..but that's why it's good to see it )


This view may be different to that of Shelley and Katie, but I know one thing is for sure, they're supporting the journey that makes me happy - I'm off now to read Katie's second post on goal setting - whether I agree or not with it doesn't matter, what makes a great post is that it opens your eyes to another perspective and makes you think!

Thank you to Sue for posting your thoughts as well. If it opens discussion up to what we can do to make the world a better place or to help someone who is looking for info about this sort of stuff then it's been a worthwhile exercise.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Invitation for some 'fierce discussion'

I've just read a post titled "Why The Blog Negativity?" and I feel compelled to have a fierce discussion on my blog about all of this. I want to be very clear to Sue, the author (whose blog I enjoy reading ) that this is not a personal attack, but rather an invitation into some critical thinking and setting the record straight.

Doing the rounds of blog land recently and have noticed that there seems to be a lot of negativity going on in the Figure comp/training/dieting world. It seems certain people are scouring blogs to try and take down anyone who enjoys improving their health and physique through structured training and nutrition.

Having goals is actually perceived as a negative by these people. Maybe this negativity has come about because these particular people were not successful at their own goals, and are envious of those who are, and those that enjoy the process of achieving them? Why shouldn’t you have a goal, something to drive you to improve and achieve? How someone can see this as a bad thing is beyond me.

It was also mentioned there is no such thing as a ‘bad food’ just the way you think and perceive the food.

Let's look at this more closely. That "certain people" are scouring blogs to try and take down anyone in the figure world is highly misleading. From where I sit, you're looking at one comment, left on Kristin Gleeson's blog by Shelley Stark and you're looking at a thought provoking post about goal setting, written by health and fitness commentator, Katie P.

Both of these bloggers have successfully competed in more than one Figure Competition and are more than qualified to discuss their post competition experiences and aren't afraid to be brutally honest about their struggles. In no way are either of these bloggers "bagging" other Figure Competitors, but rather challenging beliefs in a positive way - what I call "fierce conversation".

It takes some emotional maturity to have a fierce conversation, often they contain things you don't want to hear at the time, but ultimately, you're grateful that you did.

Let's look at Katie's posts on ditching goal setting - this is a really thought provoking post and I'm really glad she posted it. I think the world needs more posts like this which invoke critical thinking and discussion. There's no shred of personal attack in these posts rather an invitation for constructive dialogue. I think if a goal allows personal growth and you keep benefiting after achievement of the goal has been reached, then goal setting can be a good thing. I agree that sometimes setting short term goals can mask longer term problems. Thank you to Katie for making me think!

Let's break down the notion that there is "no such thing as a bad food, just the way you think and perceive the food."

There is a mention of double whoppers and cheeseburgers which, when compared to other things are relatively devoid of nutrients that we define as health giving - no question about it and no one in their postings is arguing this fact. However, what would your perception of a double whopper be if that was the only food you had available to you on a desert island and would ultimately impact on whether you lived or died? The perception of the Double Whopper in this situation would be correctly labelled as life giving (though, personally I hope I never end up in that situation, but hopefully you can see my drift!)

Kristin recently mentioned on her blog that she was excited to be setting new goals toward another competition, having just completed her first (2) and having thoroughly enjoyed the experience. She was asked this question by a fellow blogger:

“Why do you have to have a goal, competing or other, to wake up each day with excitement and a purpose? Isn’t living a happy, fulfilled, contented life purpose enough?”

I found Shelley's comment to be interesting. When I did my initial physique transformation, the recommendation post comp or post 12 weeks was to set another goal straightaway, to be leveraged. As a coach, I've seen many girls lurch from comp to comp as a means of controlling leanness and who punish themselves with a rarified sub RMR intake, rather than facing some of the harder truths about living lean for the long term, which include learning to love yourself no matter where you are along the journey and learning how to honour yourself with choices that bring your body towards peak performance.

I have written lately that I am questioning the purpose of Figure Comps - I think the concept of being judged on your appearance by an external source is highly overrated, especially if you're up on stage in the best physical condition of your life. I even wince when saying "best" - because I would say my best physical condition (where I kick butt in the gym ) looks a bit different to my Figure look. I find it sad that comping can affect people's perception of what is truly important so much that they feel they can't stay with their friends, enjoy a meal with their family or miss a training session. I'm disturbed that practices such as extreme dehydration are accepted as techniques that are meant to make you look your very "best. "

I'm proud that I've remained dead set against this outlook with any of the comp girls I've prepped. That said, you couldn't have stopped me from doing my shows, so I do understand the appeal of competing and encourage anyone who is really keen to get a coach who doesn't embrace any of the above practices (and this is not to toot my horn because I'm not currently accepting any new Figure Prep clients) If you're competing for your own self satisfaction and to see how far you can take yourself, regardless of how you're judged then it can be a worthwhile endeavour. It really depends on the context in which you're competing. Be aware that there's almost always a bumpy road post comp with your eating patterns - how well you recover is more dependent on developing skills of waking up with the feeling of " Isn’t living a happy, fulfilled, contented life purpose enough?” as opposed to setting the next goal.

I’m a little confused. I mean, what do you think it is that makes a ‘happy, fulfilled, contented life’? Sitting on the couch watching tv and munching on Macca’s, simply existing?

Neither of the two bloggers that I am referring to sit on their couches, munch Macca's and simply exist as part of their mantras for living a happy and fulfilled life. I train with Shelley twice a week and she is a fit, vibrant chick who can lift some seriously heavy weights. Katie does RPM, lifts weights and practices meditation and yoga - hardly people that are "simply existing"

I don’t feel its right to bag those who enjoy the challenge of competing and the process that goes along with it. If that makes them feel great, that’s awesome. If it’s not for you, that’s fine too, but don’t go suggesting to those that do enjoy it, that they should be happy just ‘existing’ without the challenge of improvement and competition.

Nobody is bagging anyone who enjoys the challenge of competing but I have to ask how does one really gauge what "improvement" is in the Figure World? You're not judged on whether you're strong or fit or fast, you're judged on your looks! This is also a huge problem with fitness magazines - I've been told as a writer, after suggesting an accomplished athlete for a feature article - "she's not pretty enough, we only want to profile beautiful people in our magazine". Needless to say, I'd rather be associated with publications that promote performance over physique any day of the week.

Some comments may be thought provoking and initially seem abrasive, but take pause - they're coming from a place of concern and of love. We're all on different journeys, different paths and each one is just as worthwhile as the other. If someone had said the same thing to me in the thick of my bodybuilding phase, I probably would have slapped them - but I have had the gift of time and growth to see things differently.

I find it really interesting that it is perceived in the first place that if you're not competing or having physique goals, you're off in a corner somewhere eating a pile of crap. Eating "piles of crap" and letting it all go isn't what ditching a diet and learning how to eat more intuitively is about. Putting food in a morally neutral perspective is part of the journey and this is what Shelley is alluding to. Eating well because you want to look after yourself is part of this journey - which I see in Sue's comments about eating consistently and eating healthfully - basically they're both talking about the same thing, in a different context.

To sum up, I don't see negativity as such, just a different opinion. And whilst we may not always agree on everything, life would be pretty boring if we all thought the same way.

I would invite everyone's thoughts on the matter!

Going into the Hurt Box......

Today heralded my return to strength training after ten days off and knowing how hard Shelley likes to hit things had me running scared in my mind. Thoughts of my chest cracking under the stress of those heavy weights entered my mind. "Be gone!" I told myself. "Have no expectations....just do it".

After a rather convivial warm up we were straight into the guts of the workout, incline bench (5 x 1 cluster) x 4 supersetted with pull ups. I was a bit hesitant about the angle and wondered out aloud to Shelley whether her bench press comp would allow an angle, because surely she would cane it - but I'm proud to say that today I kept up with her - we did some pretty tidy sets at 45 and 47.5kg and marvelled at how we bang on a 45kg load without thinking twice. I surprised myself with the pull ups - managing to do most of them now unassisted, albeit for a little jump up towards the bar. We knew we were pretty wiped out when we started our second superset - think we dropped on these weights from last time but to me that's OK, if you're failing towards the end of the session it means you've caned it pretty thoroughly at the beginning, so you've gotta be happy with that.

I have a feeling I'm going to be screaming down to DOMS city by tomorrow, so I'm sitting quietly and enjoying the calm before the storm.

I mentioned a few posts back that my next little fitness project hadn't hit my lap, but I think I know what's on the menu next. I'm going to apply to audition to be a Les Mills presenter (like Shar ) - for the RPM program. I've got my work cut out for me and there is lots of practice to do, going through the education sessions with a fine tooth comb, getting my fitness levels up there and doing some pre audition assessment. It's pretty competitive and I don't know my likelihood of a look in, but I do know that I will have learned something after a month of intense focus so getting somewhere with it would be a real bonus. The auditions are in early November in Brisbane for any other LMA instructors who may be reading this and want to give it a good crack.

Off now to peel some prawns and prep some calamari for dinner - I got some fresh Aussie prawns for fifteen bucks a kilo and thought that they would be perfect with sweet chilli and lime marinade, some home made wedges and a bucket of steamed vegetables.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Powering On

Another good workout today and the traces of the dreaded lurgy are nearly all gone. I've caught up on a few blogs (Carolyn, I've found a dead mouse in the fridge on one move occasion but I think the squid tube is definitely the winner there!) and got some sweet potato on the go to have with dinner (sans mouse) - so here's the blog whilst I'm waiting for it to cook.

We were up early this morning to go to the building site and meet with the cabinet maker who is doing our kitchen - deep and meaningful conversations on topics such as how deep the pot drawers should be followed as well as ensuring that there was enough space for the fridge, the cooktop was placed just where we want it etc. The house is looking marvellous, we've got a nice cream coloured Colourbond roof and some steel blue trim - we also organized where the TV points were (the aim being to get a big plasma screen in the rumpus/gym - will be amazing!)/

Then it was off to the CBD to teach RPM which was good fun - hard work though after you've been a bit crook but worth the effort. I had to have a giggle at my post workout meal today - I had planned on heading back to Indro to pick up a Vietnamese Salad but instead got way laid talking to someone and ended up spotting a white chocolate Freddo. I don't have white chocolate often, but when I do, I really enjoy it - so I savoured my 15 g little Freddo, went about my business, got back to Indro two and a half hours later and realized that I was starting to get hungry for lunch at 3pm. Unbelievable that a Freddo Frog kept me powering on for hours! Learning to listen to your hunger cues is important - even though we humans like order, there's no reason to eat every three hours unless you're genuinely hungry. Today's intervals have been 2 hours, 1 hour, 4 hours, the magic Freddo, 2.5 hours, 2.5 hours and who knows when dinner will hit my plate?

Sometimes we get caught up in these eating patterns of "I should" for example "I should be eating x but not y" , "I should be eating my carbs post workout" , "I should be.." . This is imposing external control, whereas I feel the locus of our control should be internal. My only "should" is to honour myself with choices that make me feel good about who I am, and that allow me to be the best I can be. (and yes, this is a predominantly clean diet with the odd Freddo thrown