Thursday, December 31, 2009

Beautiful Blogger Awards

Thanks to Chelle for tagging me. I love reading about all these unknown facts about everyone - they're a lot of fun.

Here goes:
1) It's now an open secret but I'm really dreadful at the art of time management (anyone want to buy a book on time management)

2) I hate wearing anything with a V Neck - for some reason, it just aint flattering on me.

3) I've been busted for using a mobile phone in my car (on a country backroad) and now have the nickname of 'The Criminal Cat'. It's stuck, even though the offence happened a good two years ago.

4) I have two piercings, one in each ear. I did have another, given to me by Shelley, but it kept getting infected so I've let it close. I don't have any tattoos.

5) I love getting mail, listening to the rain on the roof and reading books.

6) I would love to be a good photographer

7) I'm an eternal student. I've done two degrees and given the chance would be back at University like a shot!

Now I have to tag seven people:

Katie P
Michelle C

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Importance of connection

Today marked my return back to teaching both Bodystep and RPM. The classes could not have been further apart this morning - RPM was very quiet and I had only 3 participants - one who wanted to go really hard, a 20 weeks pregnant gal, who wasn't sure about training in pregnancy and an older gent with a shoulder injury. I turned this one into a bit of a more personalized coaching session for the three of them and actually really enjoyed it because I could see improvements in all three over the course of the class.

Next up was Bodystep and it was pretty busy. I probably knew 80% of the class by name and I had a great catch up with everyone in the class. For me, this is the importance of connection! I love nothing more than the concept of sharing a class with friends on the same wavelength, teaching or not! Because it was so busy and the fact that carb depletion wasn't an issue for anyone (lol!!) there was a high energy atmosphere going through the room which was really uplifting. I have to admit though to feeling pretty tired at the end of it - a good feeling!

I was surprised by hubs and the girls turning up and we shared Vietnamese for lunch, had a wander around the shopping centre, came home for coffee/tea and a chat and now here I am.

To sum up - today I feel extreme gratitude for the sense of connection I feel with my class members. It renews me and lights my fire even further. I had a good chat with one of my ex Fitness First PT clients about personalities and cause and effect. I concluded that the gaining 'energy from connecting' is wrapped up in my personality. I gain connection from my music when I run, I seek a connection with the outdoor environment when I walk. In fact, I think I could substitute "connection" for "motivation".

Which leads me to ponder the question - do you need to feel a "connection" to have a fantastic workout or are you the "just do it" type who gets up and gets the job done no matter what. I often feel like the second option, especially if I'm tired, but typically exercise lights the fire and soon enough, I'm connected.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

For Sale and Some Freebies

As you all know, I'm moving house and trying to sell a few bits and pieces. I'm also giving away some freebies.

So here's what to do:

If interested in any of this stuff, please visit The Fitness Solution and click on Contact Me and I'll get back to you.

For Sale:

Spinervals: 17.0 Aerobase Builder 2 (one hour steady state bike session to help you maximize your fat burning metabolism) 49.95 New - my price $15.00 (gently used)
Tracie Long Training: Functional Foundations - 3 workouts designed for core strengthening and ab development (Region 1 DVD - should play on most Aussie DVD players) 15.00
Tracie Long Training: Better Burn, Better Buns - focus on hip stability workout 10.00
Tracie Long Training: Endurance for Movement - another core stability workout focusing on ab/glute coordination 10.00
Tracey Staehle - Cardio Sweatfest 10.00 - advanced kickboxing routine (have 2 of these)
Amy Bento: Abs and Stretch 7.50 each (2 copies left)
Cathe Friedrich - Ab Hits DVD - 12.00 - has 12 different ab workouts over varying length on them (approx 7-12 minutes) (have 3 copies)
New Glucose Revolution DVD - 4.00 (about low GI nutrition etc)

Books: $3.00 each + a freebie
Time Management from the Inside Out (Julia Morgenstern)
Organizing From the Inside Out (Morgenstern)
Your Pocket Life Coach Carole Gaskell
The Organizing Sourcebook - Carole Posener
Organizing Plain and Simple - Donna Smallin
Women's Weekly Cookbooks- Good Food for Babies and Toddlers + Kid's Cooking (3.00 for both)
Life is Hard, Food is Easy - Linda Spangle (book on emotional eating)
How to Train - Hal Higdon (for the runners amongst you)
Pilates on the Ball,
Abs on the Ball - Colleen Craig
Nurture By Nature (applying the Myer Briggs concept to kids) Tieger et al
Kathy Kahlers Hollywood Body workouts and Real Life Fitness,
Stronger Legs and Lower Body - Keli Roberts
Woman's Guide to Runnning - A Jutel (beginner to intermediate)

Training for the Ageless DVD - a DVD about two women bodybuilders over the age of 50
Cooking With Conscience - Michelle Trute ( low fat, natural cooking)
Desserts - Julie Stafford, The Wok Cookbook, Julia Stafford
Healthy Home Style Cooking Evelyn Tribole (low fat natural cooking)
Step Inspirations and Power to the Third - complex choreo step DVD
Jammin 32s complex choreo step DVD
Secrets of a Former Fat Girl - Lisa Delaney book
Ultimate Fitness - Gina Kolata - The Truth about Exercise and Health
Yoga, Jesse Chapman

So if anyone would like any of these please get in touch. The prices don't include postage. Hope someone can get some good use out of these otherwise they're off to charity.

On loving yourself lean

"Making an allowance reflects that there will be a large variety of foods to choose from over the Christmas period and that it's perfectly OK to eat a few treat foods over this time and enjoy time spent with friends and family. Having a few treat meals and different foods and enjoying time with friends and doesn't cause the Christmas weight gain, it is the self destructive thoughts and behaviours around this different food and not making an allowance for yourself that cause the problem. Underlying issues of restriction, rebellion and "discipline" can really backfire on the person wanting to stay lean over the holidays.

This is completely different from overindulging until you hurt and making the excuse that "it was Christmas time". Making an allowance will make you feel good about yourself - ironically by giving away "control" you find true control because you're holding the reins. Making an excuse and trying to grit your teeth and "stay strong" is a soul destroying, self esteem crushing venture"

Bugger, can't seem to turn off the bold or italic functions and here I was thinking I was really smart. My question to you all is did you make an allowance for yourself over Christmas or did you try and "stay strong".

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I chose to "make allowances" and enjoy some Christmas foods. I didn't try to "stay strong" - I just ate what I felt like and didn't train for four days. I gave myself what I needed for Christmas, some time with family and friends, a few slices of cheesecake and plenty of rest. Now I wonder if anyone is imagining that doing such dreadful thing would cause them to wake up as a complete fat heifer five days later......

The answer is "no". As a bit of an experiment and a testimonial to the fact that long term success is about your internal locus of control and respect for one's self I weighed myself on Christmas Eve and then I weighed myself this morning. This morning after all that indulgence and supposed lack of discipline, I am 1.5kg lighter.

There is a place for logging food and being particular with your nutrition, but there's also a place for learning to be more intuitive as well. The balance between both methods is entirely up to you. The thread that draws it all together is the concept of being able to "love yourself lean". The cornerstone of living lean for the long term is bolstering your self worth.

To sum up - start to learn to trust yourself. You just may find that you're not the 'broken' individual you thought you were.

Monday, December 28, 2009

uh oh

I'm sure most of us have heard the quote "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

Today I had a little wake up call, regarding this very thing! Hubs and I spent this morning drawing up a rough plan about our impending move - what we wanted to sort through, toss, keep, donate to charity, put onto Ebay etc. We then split up and started our various tasks - his to sort out the china cabinet and mine to start sorting out the books in the bookcase. Now as many of you know I love to read and often I like to read so much that I can purchase a book and forget all about it - I've usually got so much on the go. Therein lies my biggest issue - time management and organization. I've obviously tried to address it many times over the years because I managed to pull out (hangs head in shame), FIVE books on organizing your life/house etc and a book on PROCRASTINATION. I can just see Shelley pulling this one up on her reader and pissing her pants. Hubs and I spent the better part of the afternoon laughing about it, but deep down I was somewhat embarrassed. Anyway I have removed a ton of books ready to be donated to charity, Ebayed etc. If anyone wants a good book on time management for small dollars, get in touch NOW! New Year's Resolution is to employ a bit more discipline in getting tasks done, particularly if they're unpleasant!

Still no training to speak of - had another big sleep in today (I've been doing a few 11 and 12 hour sleeps) but I'm finally beginning to feel like I want to do something. I'm thinking of a bit of running and stretching tomorrow. We're all settling back into a more normal eating pattern which is nice after four days of "fend for yourself" - enjoyed grilled salmon, potatoes and a big bunch of greens for dinner tonight and I feel satisfied and content.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Change Up

There's an adage that "change is as good as a holiday" and I'm inclined to agree! I'm now coming up to my third exercise free day and I think my body is thanking me for it. I know I mentioned it yesterday, but I believe we all need periods of total rest and recovery for us to be at our best in life. Today I am tapping away at my blog whilst watching the rest of the family play on the Wii. We are all together, enjoying each other's company, with no particular agenda in mind. Meals are of the "fend for yourself variety" and are mostly comprised of fresh tropical fruit and Greek yoghurt with the odd glass of wine or mineral water with lemon thrown in.

Today we are going to Hubs' Uncles home for a get together with the extended side of his family. We have to bring a plate. I was thinking fruit, but he was thinking "American Baked Cheesecake", not only one, but two of them. He is a superb cook when he does a recipe he knows well. Perhaps my day may be yoghurt, fruit and a sliver of cheesecake for dessert.

I have no plans for the next two days except for reading good books. Then it's back to the gym and my classes. My January plan is to keep on rehabbing the shoulder with a well thought out program and to ramp up my cardiovascular fitness levels. I'm still trying to find a cycling coach to do one on one stuff with, rather than a group ride for now - but that can wait until the New Year. Perhaps the more likely scenario is that if I can't find what I'm after, I will join a swim squad once a week. Swimming is awesome as an activity that promotes hip extension and glute activation and I think the change would be really beneficial.

No plans for any events at this stage. I just want to run, ride, lift and swim happy!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I love Boxing Day!

Although I love Christmas, I don't think anything can beat the "chilled out" feeling I seem to always have on Boxing Day. It is teeming with rain, the girls are playing with their presents (Miss G is drawing on a sketch pad and Miss S is playing Mario Kart on the Wii. We're all still in our PJs at 10am after having a rather lazy breakfast of croissants, smoked salmon and tropical fruits and some Melbourne Breakfast tea.

This makes me wonder, after all the Christmas madness, how anyone can be possessed to go shopping on Boxing Day. Though I will admit to eyeing off the David Jones Stocktake Catalogue in today's paper. I'm hoping to get some really good non stick cookware - the sort where you can even use a metal utensil and it doesn't affect it whatsoever (I hope these pans exist!). Also hoping to pick up a nice bedroom duvet set for our new bed and the new house.

Speaking of the house, it looks now to be February when we move in. The house has been rendered and painted and the concrete for the driveway is going to be poured in the middle of January. We have to fit the lights, put the oven and dishwasher in, polish the wooden floors and organize curtains and carpets. Luckily, we've picked the type and colour of carpet which is a great time saver. The theme of the house is blue and cream - both hubs and I love blue and we laughed at how we both seem to gravitate towards blue things - probably because blue is such a relaxing colour.

I haven't decided when my next workout will be - I had plans not to train until Wednesday when I have to teach RPM and Step again but after a good rest today, who knows - I might feel up to a run tomorrow. Sometimes we forget the importance of recovery and getting away from the gym or the studio or whatever. Seems to be testament to the fact that we all love to be in equilibrium!

Almost forgot to say I had a lovely Christmas Day - Santa brought me a chair for the study as well as some foot massage cream and a lovely wooden massager.
I hope Santa brought you some lovely gifts too!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Signing off for a quick Christmas Break.

May you all experience joy, peace and love.

See you for the New Year sales!

PS I think this is just about the funniest kitty pic I've ever seen!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Alone in the Universe

To quote a really dreadful film - "It appears the question of whether we are alone in the Universe has been answered". Before I go any further, that "really dreadful" film was "Independence Day" where Bill Pullman was cast as the President of the United States - the outcome wasn't good.

Back to my quote - it seems sometimes as if the Blogging Community is quite small. You find a niche to blog about - in my case, when I started my blog, it was about preparing for a Figure Competition. I found like minded individuals doing the same thing and blogging about it and soon an online figure/bodybuilding community began to develop.

Since my competitive days and due to all sorts of circumstances, I'm more about long term health and fitness and a mix of different stuff rather than bodybuilding alone. I still coach girls in prepping for a comp the sane way, but my interests are diversifying as my fitness pursuits change. All of a sudden I'm finding others in the Universe who are just like me - dabbling in all sorts of fitness related stuff and writing some really terrific blogs and inspiring me to introduce myself and leave a comment.

I think that meeting other bloggers who are travelling similar paths is awesome. I get inspiration, encouragement and smiles all wrapped up as one! Not all the blogs I come across are interesting - which leads me to the question of what do you all think makes someone's blog stand out? Is it the writing, is it the journey itself or is it the attitude?

As Molly Meldrum would say, "go and do yourselves a favour" and travel past your usual reading list. You'll be delighted at just who is out there. Conversely, if you're reading this and you've travelled a long way from your usual reading list, please say hello!

Are you in control this Christmas?

"Are you going to be "in control" over Christmas or are you going to go for it and make excuses?"

I saw this question posted in a Women's Fitness Forum and underneath it was the plethora of predictable responses that said "I am going to try and have a controlled Christmas". Of course this is in regards to eating and nutrition but when you read this, what does this mean to you?

Does it mean that on Christmas Day you'll be balancing macronutrients in your head, counting calories and wondering if you can sneak in some extra vegetables and a run to burn it all off? And then on Boxing Day and beyond, will you be ruminating that you shouldn't have eaten "x, y or z" and that you've failed to maintain any sense of control or discipline and that you've failed. Or on the flip side, you've eaten like a bird and feel a bit hollow about the whole event (perhaps you feel you missed out on all the fun?).

I'm all for a different approach - that of "making allowances". This is not to be confused with "making an excuse" but rather "making allowances" encourages a global perspective during a time where overeating is par for the course for many.

Making an allowance reflects that there will be a large variety of foods to choose from over the Christmas period and that it's perfectly OK to eat a few treat foods over this time and enjoy time spent with friends and family. Having a few treat meals and different foods and enjoying time with friends and doesn't cause the Christmas weight gain, it is the self destructive thoughts and behaviours around this different food and not making an allowance for yourself that cause the problem. Underlying issues of restriction, rebellion and "discipline" can really backfire on the person wanting to stay lean over the holidays.

This is completely different from overindulging until you hurt and making the excuse that "it was Christmas time". Making an allowance will make you feel good about yourself - ironically by giving away "control" you find true control because you're holding the reins. Making an excuse and trying to grit your teeth and "stay strong" is a soul destroying, self esteem crushing venture.

The take home message is "go with the flow" and treat yourself with respect. For me this will mean having a bit of what I feel like and leaving the rest. It will mean not abusing my body with gallons of Diet Coke or too much ice cream. It may mean a walk in the morning to clear my mind without regards to calories burned. It will be as God intended, a day of peace and joy.

Now to head off to do some final last minute shopping!

Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 The Year That Was

If I had to pick a descriptor of what my year has been like, I would choose the words "amazing learning experience". I have waded through some tough times this year, starting this year off doing personal training , leaving to work as a pharmacist, finishing that and ending the year at the end of a springboard, waiting to take a huge leap into the unknown!

There have been a couple of constants, which include my family and teaching group fitness. The consistency and stability in those two elements of my life have only served to strengthen bonds, rather than break them. I also had the pleasure of coaching three fantastic girls (Shan, Selina and Casey) who competed at the INBA All Female Classic in Melbourne this year - all did really well and we bagged a 1st, 3rd and "Best Routine" - no one went home empty handed! ( Yay!) I also coached some fantastic "real life" and "online clients" in 2009.

Fitness wise, it's been rather mixed. I gained some amazing strength when Shelley told me not to be a pussy and to go and lift some heavy metal with her! Benching 50kg without thinking about it has been one of the highlights of the year. On the down side, I've been nailed with severe AC degeneration (age related, yikes!) as well as foot issues (which I've pretty much rehabbed now). The plus side is I'm learning a lot about rehab which has opened up a new and interesting world for me.

Personally, it's been an emotionally trying year, with posts that I had made in a Forum in the interests of helping and supporting others being published in a well known fitness magazine without my permission and attributed to somebody else. I also discovered chunks of my blog being plagiarized on several other websites and took action to have the content removed. This experience, although extremely unpleasant, gave me insight into my value as a writer, especially in health and fitness related circles. It was the nail in the coffin that awoke the "monster at the end of my bed" and I've spent the last few months getting well again.

However, on the plus side, I've rebuilt and strengthened friendships dear to me and these friends have helped me to heal and come back stronger and they've given me inspiration to write again about what I am passionate about.

I'm not making any resolutions for 2010, even though I have plans to do all sorts of things in the fitness, family (sorry no babies) and personal spheres! I'm not putting it out there though, especially after last year, where I blogged about my 2009 plans and events and didn't execute a single one of them! Looks like I'm going to have to be the master of surprises.

Before I go back to regular programming, I wish to thank everyone who follows this blog for joining me on this journey in 2009, it certainly wasn't what I expected! However I believe that everything happens for a reason and I'm looking at 2010 with a sense of curiosity and anticipation.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Favourite Things 2009 Review

I am hoping that I receive my "Shock Cardio" DVDs before the year is out but with all the Australia Post unrest, I think I shall be lucky.

"Shock Cardio" falls into the "Favourites - Workout" category and this video clip is the HIIT DVD which is based on Tabata training - it's fantastic to be able to do top notch workouts in my own home (can't wait to try this puppy out!)

I've been thinking back over 2009 and I'm going to give a short review of favourite sites, books and blogs, etc that I really love.

*Workout Favourites:
a) Cathe Friedrich - Shock Cardio (see the video to find out why!)
b) Powerbands from Australian Kettlebells - these helped me to doing unassisted pull ups throughout the year (from "wuss to wonderful")
c)My IPOD Nano - I have a 16gb model which holds all of my favourite tunes - as Kerry mentioned, music maketh the workout!
d) My Bodybugg - got me off the couch and moving a whole lot more when I wasn't working out.

*Music and Les Mills Favourites
As most of the music I had time to listen to was related to learning my Les Mills choreography, I've lumped these two together.
RPM Highlights were - Release 42 and Release 44 and the "Piranha" track by The Prodigy in our latest effort.
Step Highlights were - Release 76 which had a "Space Theme" - favourite track - "Planet Claire" by the B52s - quirky and a little loopy - a lot like me actually!
Best Running Track: "Jump That Rock" - Status Quo vs Scooter - couldn't get enough of this one!

*Online Shopping Favourites
a) - as a confirmed book lover, this site was a must for me, culminating in a 3 carton delivery in late November. Half of it was kids books that don't seem to be available here.
b) - I can't speak highly enough of this company - shipping to Australia is cheap and I've bought several pairs of bike knicks, funky socks, sports bras and the like. Recommended!

*Foodie Favourites
I discovered lots of beautiful edibles - on the sweet side, Koko Black Dark Chocolate with Pistachios ruled my tastebuds and the birthday dinner I had at Thai restaurant Cafe De Siam rates as one of the nicest I've had this year. Thanks to Katie and Shelley I developed a love affair with Larabars - they're pretty rich, so they are more of a treat than everyday eating bars.

*Blog and Website Favourites
a) Liz Waterstraat's Blog - Liz is an elite level triathlete and writes amazing stories about her triathlon adventures and her training. Must read for any endurance enthuiast.
b) Katie P's and Shelley Stark - Both of these women are good friends of mine, but they've changed themselves , challenged their beliefs and come out winners - makes for great reading and a dose of inspiration as most say they'll change, but fail to execute. Nice work, girls!
c) I like Melissa C's Figure Blog - it documents her journey to her pro card without a hint of arrogance, but rather gratitude! I love it that she's also a normal mother who loves nothing more than to bake her kids a round of cookies. Oh and she's got a pretty nice physique too!
d) Alan Aragon's Research Review - which provides an in depth analysis to studies pertaining to nutrition and exercise physiology without bullshit or bias.
e) Healthy Food Guide Magazine - fantastic pocket sized magazine with all sorts of great nutrition ideas and recipes that taste good, not boring.
f) Kek -she dishes the good stuff about fitness, fun and being a shopping recessonista - blog more please Kek!
g) Australian Cyclist - a very readable cycling magazine that's great for recreational and racer riders
h) Shrink Yourself and Normal Eating - two excellent sites devoted to emotional eating. "Normal Eating" which is also available as a book, has some good practical recommendations and the blog is a good read as well.
i) 2xu - for the slickest looking compression wear and fitness gear. I drool all over the keyboard when I see some of this stuff.

Hmm that's all I can think of for now. There's plenty more to share I'm sure.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Lessons I've Learned

Today's post refers to some of the lessons I have learned during my fitness journey.

1) Don't get hell bent on finding "THE WAY"

Because like clothing, a lot of the time "one size doesn't fit all". When I was a student of exercise physiology, it was during the time when high carbohydrate, low fat diets were all the rage and we all furiously scanned our food labels for fat grams and the like. Now various research has shown us that perhaps a low fat high carb intake doesn't suit all. However, at the time, I was convinced that because I had learnt these things (high carb, low fat) at University, then that was "THE WAY". Years of experimentation and exposure to lots of different methods of training has shaken a lot of that out of me. Now, I'm almost embarrassed to say that I thought that this was "THE WAY". The same thing could be said for abdominal "h0llowing" vs "bracing".

Unfortunately many people who partake in the fitness industry seem to have many cases of the "all or nothing" attitude shining through. It almost may be safe to say that the more extreme the sport, the more obsessive the attitude (think marathon running, bodybuilding etc) - like most things, there are probably exceptions to the rule but I think my observation is on the whole pretty accurate.

The take home message for all of us is to breathe in the air of possibility - there is still so much we don't know yet. Scientific studies aren't always independent, there can be bias - so it is up to us to learn to critically evaluate claims about things and tread our own path.

2) To go LONG you need a wide angled lens.

ie - to enjoy your chosen sport or activity you need to be able to have a global view of things. A week where the gym is a distant memory will often do more good and hasn't been known to harm too many people. Connecting with experts who have specific interests can be really useful - to prevent injury or imbalances keeping you out of the game in the long term.

3) Maintenance Can Be Bliss

A common theme around us fitness buffs is the concept of goal setting, of always moving forward and always improving. Physiologically and psychologically it's hard to remain in this state long term. Many clients tell me they consistently want to improve and in the same breath finally be happy just as they are. This doesn't make any sense - sometimes appreciating where you are fitness wise and stopping to smell the roses is the biggest favour you can do for yourself. Be thankful for what you have done, enjoy being fit, enjoy being strong, just enjoy being for a change. Yes, you can always improve, but if you never stop to celebrate your improvements, you lose that sense of gratitude and never get a chance to appreciate what you really have.

4) Everybody's Free

We are lucky to live in a world where freedom of speech is encouraged. I cannot begin to say how much I've learned by tuning in to the opposite view. Recently I did some reading about diets that promote ketosis (to those who know me well, it's the last thing I would do - besides I'm too lazy) - it gave me some insight into why some choose this way of eating. Don't be scared to look at the opposite point of view for example - some love running, some don't enjoy it; some love competing, other people's experience is different. It's not about who is right or wrong, it's about being tolerant of others. I look at my marathon running friends and marvel at their ability to get through 42.2km and come to the finish line smiling like Cheshire Cats, I cheer my Figure friends on at a comp, knowing how hard they've trained to get there. I admire my friends who can hold yoga poses like true champions and I admire the group of ladies in my RPM class who are in their 60s and are so excited to be in the gym kicking butt with women half their age.

Which brings me to my last point:

5) Stop Looking Sideways

It's fine to admire other's physiques, but you need to stay focused on YOU and your own standards. Eg my current standard is to stay relatively fit whilst on reduced classes and limited time. People tend to focus on their own weaknesses but look at the strengths of others (which is probably why I have a fetish for amazing abs). However, focusing too much on this is a no win situation. I'm never going to have a fantastic six pack (even after surgery), so comparing myself to those with awesome abs is just an exercise in futility. Celebrate who YOU are and focus on what you can do, rather than what you can't and give yourself congratulations when you do make improvements.

And the greatest lesson of all - have fun, do what you love and love what you do!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Words or Workouts?

Hubby and I are having a laugh at this book which is all about how the corporate world, in its' desire to become more efficient, have come up with the most laughable play on words to describe the world of business. No doubt you've heard of the concepts of "Mission Statement, Key Performance Indicator and now, "Bendable Learnings". The current ones from the office apparently involve "getting traction on a problem", and the word "appetite" - ie our business doesn't really have the "appetite" for that venture. I think it's hilarious and then started to think about the fitness world and the some of the ridiculous words and phrases that come into play when describing exercise, fitness and supplements.

Try phrases and words like:

*"iron clad guarantee" ( please, if anyone sees what iron cladding looks like please email me, I'm intrigued)

*guaranteed results" ( if you do any sort of working out, you're going to make some sort of change, thereby you're automatically guaranteed of a result"

*Supplement Gobbledegook -"Amino Acid Transportation System", "Protein Matrix", "guaranteed pump"(they should therefore market it to the Viagra seekers of the world), "100% bioactive peptides" (uh, do you mean whey protein?) "nitrogen positive supplement for superior anabolic action " (eat protein and lift heavy shit for best results!)

*"metabolic conditioning" (what, do you mean circuit training and going so hard you want to throw up?)
*"Raise the Bar" (where? how? to infinity and beyond?)

*"a workout complex" (coined by Alwyn Cosgrove, I hate this term, still haven't figured this one out - personally I prefer "KISS - Keep it Simple, Stupid")

* "working into deficit" (could be akin to singing "How Do I Know" by Whitney Houston ie do, don't think!)

Do any of these words make the concept of getting fit any more technical? No matter what the words, the basics remain the same. Have a good giggle, have some fun - can anyone relate? I think the supplement stuff is hilarious - an entire industry built around clever word play......

Speaking of having fun today, I taught Step this morning for poor Miss C who has been sick with swine flu - we were having so much fun that I think we all forgot how hard we were working until the end - shattered, but in a good way.

On that note, I'm going to take my learnings and make up a special carb protein matrix sourced from natural ingredients (ie no barcodes lol) and ingest it into my rather large (yet bendable) digestive tract.

Bon appetit and have fun!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Training Tips to Ponder

I've whacked a shot of Dara Torres, who competed in the Beijing Olympics last year in the 50m freestyle. Dara looks amazing, but from reading more about her, she's a woman that has "trained smart". She has overcome injury to be swimming world class times at 41. She does a lot of stretching and flexibility work, functional training in the gym (ie training to help her move better in the pool) and other strength training I am sure. I aspire to be in tip top shape like Dara and not let my injuries hamper my progress towards good form again.

Here are some tips to help you get the best out of your training:

1) Progress, not Perfection:

All of us, whether we're Olympic athletes like Dara, or fitness enthusiasts like myself need to focus on injury free progression in all of our training. A "niggle" is the body's way of warning us that all is not well, an injury is our body's way of whacking you on the head with a paddle and making you get a grip. When this happens or any other setback occurs you need to look at your progression relative to your situation - for example "Even though I'm not doing a sub 20 minute swim for my triathlon, I'm effecting better movement through my rotator cuff daily and doing all my rehab". The sub 20 minute (if you're talented and nobody kicks you) swim will come in due time. Walk before you run!

2) Rules not Rigidity:

For me this applies to nutrition the most, but can be equally applied to exercise. Your number one concern is when you take a mouthful of food "am I honouring myself by eating this" irrespective of whether it contains fats, carbs, protein or whatever. The drive to eat well should come from an inherent desire to do what's best for you and for most, we tend to thrive on whole food sources, with the odd treat thrown in. Rigidity with nutrition is really an extension of dieting - eliminating whole food groups, only eating certain macronutrients at certain times, being anal at EVERY meal about how your food is prepped (this can be reasonable if you have a finite goal or food allergy, but totally unreasonable if you're at your bestie's wedding as the maid of honour). Many people get caught up in the hype of nutrient timing. For most of us, the pre training meal should be the meal we eat before we go training and the post training meal is the one that you eat afterwards. Does it matter what you eat? Maybe if you're an elite athlete , but if you're a regular person with kids, a 9-5 job and limited time, you are just better off sticking to regular nutritious meals ( and avoid things that come out of packets with a barcode!)

3) Want versus Need:

If it's something you want to do often it's something you don't need to do. This was a common theme with many of my PT clients, especially the boys - who wanted to work all the muscles they could see (eg chest and quadriceps) versus the muscles they needed to develop (ie back, glutes, hamstrings). The best way of getting them to see the light was telling them that we girls dig guys with nice butts. End of story.

4) Planning, Not Paralysis by Analysis

Too many people talk about what they can do in the gym, on the road or on the track and you never actually see them deliver. They get caught up in the minutiae of planning everything down to the last crank of their pedal stroke or the last bicep curl. You do need a plan though if you want to tackle a specific event - if you're not sure get a fantastic Coach and do what they say "follow the plan". My best advice (borrowed from Shelley) is that if you want to add more muscle you need to lift heavy shit and eat protein. Simple, really.

5) Fun, Not Fear

Something we often forget is that fitness should be fun. I've read a few blogs lately about making sacrifices to be a better athlete, about strength, courage and commitment and whilst these are all admirable qualities to have, very often many of the best are motivated because of the adrenalin rush that training can give you. Recently, a few of Australia's swimming greats have retired, the indominitable Libby Lenton and Jodie Henry who made the interesting comment that she got a tremendous buzz from training, but that competing left her cold. I have seen this in some of my clients as well and interestingly enough, a more laid back approach has had nothing short of spectacular results.

So get out there, have a rough plan, train hard and enjoy yourselves!

Monday, December 14, 2009

When Things Aren't Truly As They Appear

Intriguing title, I know but it's got nothing to do with my current emotional state, but especially for Kerry I'm going to talk about the subject of hamstring tightness.

Here's a little experiment: Rock on up to a personal trainer and tell them that your hamstrings are really tight and seek some advice about how to fix the issue. What do you think most would say? On doing this little experiment I had 100% success rate with this one - said PTs would show you "some stretches" so you can "release" the hamstring muscles. In some cases, this would be an appropriate solution but sometimes tightness relates to a bigger fish in the ocean.

One thing I do as an exercise physiologist is a fair amount of postural analysis. The best way to do this is to observe someone in their natural state, standing, walking around, running if you can. Soon you can begin to get a good picture of the 'state of the nation' before you even do any formal exercise assessment. The joints that are the most telling are the hips, shoulders and ankles - ie joints that have multidirectional movements. Knees and elbows tell relatively simple stories in comparison.

Most people, due to genetics and to lifestyle factors (such as sitting a lot - shortens the hip flexors) are in some form of pelvic anterior tilt. This is where the top of the pelvis (anterior iliac spine) tips forward relative to the spine. This causes excessive curvature of the lumbar spine, shortened tight hip flexors, quads and adductors. Many of the activities we do in the gym are hip flexor dominant - think step and cycling for a start, the way most people squat doesn't help. So think for a minute, if my hips are shortened excessively as my pelvis is being pulled forward (think of the posture of a normal weight person who has a distinct lower belly pooch), what is happening to the hamstrings? They're likely to be in full stretch trying to keep the hips from shortening even further. The worst part - glutes and hamstrings are switched "off" because they're at their full stretch and at their weakest. Ever done a bicep curl from a straight armed position and been able to lift way more when you start with a slightly flexed arm? Try it and see for yourself!

So the answer to the hamstring tightness question may be more complex - you may need to do more hip flexor work combined with glute strengthening and activation work to take the tone off the hamstring. Completely the opposite to what you thought!

To cut a long story short, if you have a dinky pelvis as well as tight hamstrings, you pronate and your knees are internally rotated when standing naturally, I can pretty much guarantee your issue will be anterior pelvic tilt. For the figure athlete, too much anterior tilt gives the impression of the dreaded "pancake" butt.

Often traditional bodybuilding routines, whilst delivering size to muscles, lead to injury and horrible imbalances later on down the track. If you want to increase muscle mass and you want to do it for the long term, seek out an exercise physiologist (like me) or a good physio who does pilates and treats pelvic problems to do a thorough assessment before starting. It just may be the best money you spend for long term gain.

Here's a link to an article by Mike Robertson (a biomechanist who I have buckets of time for) about Hip Function (just skim over the sexist porno like pics) that will show you some illustrations of APT and exercises to help address the problem. It also deals with posterior pelvic tilt which is seen, but not as often.

Strength and Function

Recently I googled "Fitness Blogs" and I was blown away just by how many people write about being "fit". At this time of year it is a common theme, I read a lot of posts about how 2010 is going to be the year that the author got really "fit".

For some that means having single digit bodyfat, which has more to do with nutrition as opposed to "fitness", but for me, the term "fitness" means being able to do all that I want to do (and then some) without being limited by pain or weakness. For example if I set my goal to be able to bench press my bodyweight, then I want to be able to do it without injuring myself. If I want to run a sub 45 minute 10k, I want to be able to do it without developing shin splints or a cranky pelvis.

Which means that for most of us, it's good to work from the ground up - make sure your body is in the best alignment/posture given your anatomical limitations, your core musculature works properly and that you follow a nice steady progression in load/duration rather than jump in at the deep end. Many of us find the foundational type of work rather dull, but when you think about the long term benefits, I find it rather exciting.

Today's training involved an easy 40 minute run and 30 minutes of self myofascial release work using a foam roller and some pilates. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the class I taught on Saturday was a real rip snorter from the intensity point of view, my quads and hip flexors were tight this morning from all that riding, so today's workout makes good sense physiologically and psychologically. First, I worked on stretching out my hip flexors and quads and then focused on the pilates side of things (mostly glute activation stuff and lower ab coordination) - then repeated - much better activation after releasing some tone from the front of my thigh.

Tips for foam rolling:
1) Be gentle! If you're in pain, you're doing little to initiate the "relax" reflex!
2) When you find a tight spot, rather than rolling backward and forward over it, just be still and focus on that particular spot - in muscles lies something called a Golgi Tendon Organ which relaxes the muscle in response to tension. Once you have "released" the spot, move onto the next.
3) Don't overdo it - just go over each spot once.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

reading meister

Following on from my last post about enjoying reading about research, I've really taken things into overdrive the last day or two. I liken education to reading a menu - a bit of this, a bit of that. I'm all about using stuff that has scientific backing and merit. Of course there are limitations to many studies and the parameters used as such, which is why I believe one must not see things in terms of absolutes, rather "in the light of the information gathered, it seems like approach x is the way to go".

I need to do some research for the few projects I want to tackle in the New Year and having a path to follow is starting to generate new ideas and inspirations. It's such a nice feeling, after feeling rather flat for most of the year. There's been a permanent smile plastered on my face this last week - this morning one of my RPM girls asked me if I realized that I smile, even when I'm suffering!

This morning's fitness effort was teaching my RPM Hi Performance class - I combined the new release with tracks that were almost perfect duplicates of the Cadence and Mountain Climb - ie double the muscle endurance effect. I haven't taught this class for four weeks due to step teaching commitments and it was in the words of Scooter, "Good to Be Back". I felt fantastic after what I felt for me was a pretty maximal effort - and so inspired.

Then had lunch and headed over to the Brisbane Apple Store for a Macbook Workshop. Today I tackled Iwork, which was really beneficial and I also visited Borders and picked up a book that I've been wanted to read for ages - "Freakonomics" - I'm hoping hubs wants to read it more than me as it's part of my Christmas present to him.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Research Queen

As part of my pharmacy practice and as an exercise physiologist, I've always been interested in research, especially critical and non biased analysis of study results and evidence based complementary medicine. Due to poor old Clav being so swollen, I've had my nose into studies on Omega 3 fatty acids and fish oils. After reading several studies, I went and calculated the exact dose I would need to temper inflammation and have been taking a high grade fish oil religiously for two or so weeks. The effect on inflammation with increased Omega 3 consumption is long term, but I'm noticing an improvement across all of my joints - I seem to be moving more freely which is very encouraging. Omega 3s have a positive effect on mood and I'm definitely feeling more chipper than I have in a long time.

Off to teach RPM at Toowong. I can feel a thorough caning coming on...nothing better than a good hit out on a beautiful Friday morning!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Love Will Save the Day!

Sometimes life can make you crazy

It can really put your body to the test.
You try so hard to make sure
everything is right

And you find you've only wound up with a mess.
It's a common situation even though
you feel abandoned and alone

you ain't the first to experience a hurt

So don't panic when you hit the danger zone.

What you need's a little change of heart
- change of heart -
Forget this fear and frustration.
Love will always play the greater part
- greater part -
When your battles wear yov
down. Here's my advice:

When you're feeling down and out

And you've got troubles on your mind
- love will save the day.
When you're feeling full of doubt

And fear has got you in a bind -
love will save the day.
When your world's falling apart

AII you have to do is say a prayer
and love will save the day.
[ Find more Lyrics on ]
There's an answer in your heart

So let your light shine on
my dear
and love will save the day.

Love will save the day
love will save the day

Love will save the day
love will save the day.

Many things in this world bring you down

It's a wonder you can make it through the day.
you can't sleep 'cause your
problems are too deep

And there's always something
getting in the way.
And when you turn on the evening news

Mass confusion is the only thing you'll see.
there's no question that we
need a new direction

'Cause we all could use some peace and harmony.

What you need's a little change of heart

- change of heart - . . .
When you're feeling down and out
. . .
Love will save the day
love will save the day
. . .

"Love Will Save the Day" - Whitney Houston


Not really a post today about love, but about lyrics - does anyone else out there find music and lyrics to be a salve to the soul? When I hear a song before I know the lyrics, sometimes I can be a bit non plussed - I love songs with funny lyrics (think Katy Perry and Lily Allen (her "Not Fair" song tickles me in all the right places lol), songs that are full of angst (like "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrisette), quirky songs (think Black Eyed Peas, Pet Shop Boys and The Doors), Classics (anything by Abba and Queen come to mind), good honest rock (think Van Halen, Def Leppard etc), songs you can work out to (my favourite being "Take You High" which I cannot find anywhere.

Sometimes I think I could describe my life in the lyrics of some songs and isn't it amazing how some songs provoke great memories. My hubs and I bought a car (from an Indian salesperson named "Sultan" at an auction, but that's another story) and travelled around Canada and the US for six months or so before we got married. We were rather stingy and bought ourselves two CDs - Pet Shop Boys "Very" and "Best of Queen" - to play on our travels. We used to sing "Can You Forgive Her" at the tops of our voices going into Banff to eat pizza and had competitions to see who could do the best rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" .

We've spread the musical love to the kids as well - ask them to their best "Flo Rida" impersonation and they're down and dirty with the "boots with the fur" which is hilarious.

As for Whitney Houston, I'm a big fan - what an amazing voice and lyrics that are simple yet true - I'm sure love will save the day if we let it!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Because I'm making it mine...

"Well there's a bridge and there's a river that I still must cross
As I'm going on my journey
Oh, I might be lost

And there's a road I have to follow, a place I have to go
Well no-one told me just how to get there
But when I get there I'll know
Cuz I'm taking it

Step By Step, Bit by Bit,
Stone By Stone (Yeah), Brick by Brick (Oh, yeah)
Step By Step, Day By Day, Mile by mile (ooh, ooh, ooh)

And this old road is rough and ruined
So many dangers along the way
So many burdens might fall upon me
So many troubles that I have to face

Oh, but I won't let my spirit fail me
Oh, I won't let my spirit go
Until I get to my destination
I'm gonna take it slowly cos I'm making it mine " Whitney Houston Step by Step

I was complaining to Shelley today that the combination of injuries, loss of my pharmacy job, stress etc that I was feeling rather rudderless about the direction my life was headed from fitness goals to earning a buck. So after I hung up, I grabbed the girls and headed for the local pool. I took a black Nikko pen, a few big sheets of scrap paper and a bottle of Diet Coke (kidlet watching is very thirsty work) and drew up a list of options - look for another pharmacy job, look for an exercise physiology job, look for more classes - when it dawned on me - why work for someone else when you can work for yourself? I realize that this is no new observation for many people and that indeed I have worked (and still work) for myself, although I've intentionally dialled back the coaching this year. Yes, I'm going to continue online coaching (with some changes), but I'm going to take a big leap of faith like Katie and have faith that my penmanship will lead me to a place of prosperity and inner peace.

Whilst I would love nothing more than to set some health and fitness goals for the New Year or do an "Operation Hot Mama", it's not going to happen. The events of this year(both fitness and non fitness related) have created a paradigm shift in my thinking. Not that I believe that being lean and healthy is a dishonourable goal, far from it - but it's the thinking behind it that has changed for me, possibly driven by my injuries.

What I seek to do with life is to honour myself (mind- body- spirit) with the choices I make when I move, when I eat, when I rest and when I work. From a practical perspective, my days of lifting really heavy stuff have come to an end, but I will continue to practise some resistance training as I heal. My intuition has me heading to the pool and onto the bike next year as well as taking in the delights of Cathe's latest series "Shock Cardio".

What I've learned about nutrition is that most of the information out there is pretty suspect to say the least. An intake of mainly whole foods and the odd treat here and there keeps most people happy. The pre training meal is more important than the post training one. Nutrient timing is only for people with too much time on their hands. If the basics are right, then you're probably OK.

So plenty going on in my world. I can't wait to see how it all pans out. I just hope God's not going to laugh at my next plan (ie I got it right!)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Moving House - anyone interested?

As most of you who regularly read this blog would know, we're building a house and we're getting to that end bit where we are getting ready to move. I've had a sift through some of my fitness related stuff and have this list for sale - you can contact me via my "contact" page at the Fitness Solution. The prices don't include postage (I will charge what ever Aust Post charges me).

I've included some pics but if you want more info, please don't hesitate to email.

1. Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbooks - AS NEW $15.00 each
2. Muscle and Fitness Hers 101 Workouts (strength training) $12.00 AS NEW
3. Pilates On the Ball (also Abs on the Ball) 10.00 EXCELLENT CONDITION
4. Outsmarting the Female Fat Cell After Pregnancy: 5.00 EX COND
5. Real World Fitness (Intermediate Level good for post preg and workouts at home) 5.00
6. Eating For Life - Recipe Book - Bill Phillips (Body For Life) 5.00
7. Get Up and Go - Lisa Curry Kenny (has an excellent swimming program/strength training program in there) $5.00
8. Pocket Personal Trainer - Eric Harr (triathlete) $4.00 -tips for athletes particularly runners
9. Women's Guide to Running (through Lifespan) - A Jutel - good introductory book for runners - $5.00
10. Fat Loss Handbook Guide for Professionals - 2.00 (or free with anything else)

Precision Nutrition - Volume 2 (updated version 2008) - binder including Quick Start Guide, Individualization etc $75.00 (including postage on this one). I have a spare copy.

Muscle and Fitness Hers Magazines - Most copies from 2006 through to 2009 (approx 20 magazines) $50.00 + postage

P90x Extreme Home Fitness - DVD set - Upper Plus and Abs/Core - $30.00 ( I have two copies - this one is sealed) - this is not a workout for the faint hearted - advanced/elite buyees only. You can do all the exercises at home if you have a chin up bar, dumbbells etc.

Ladybird Figure Tone Vanilla 500g - below cost price one left - $15.00

If any of my trash can be your treasure please let me know - it's much handier using my blog rather than ebay as there are no transaction fees.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Conversations with my Clavicles

"Well hello dear Clavicle (or should I just call you Clav) ? I think it's high time we had a bit of a catch up.

Rumour has it that Mr Lefty hasn't been feeling well of late - he's been aching, sore and sporting a rather undesirable hard spot over his distal end. Catching up on the latest goss, Dr Jeff tells me that you're starting to degenerate over the whole sad situation. I must apologize for any part I could have played in your demise - I thought that lifting heavy with good technique would keep you strong into old age - but it seems in this case I got it wrong. Dr Jeff tells me to rest you and that he'll stop the pain with a couple of ultrasound guided cortisone injections into my sub acromial space and AC joint (your next door neighbour) tomorrow after I teach RPM. I bet you're looking forward to some pain relief.

And what do you think about the bulldog that's moved down the road into the head of your humerus - he's a big round fellow by the name of "endochrondroma" or "Endo" for short - he's got to be checked out further because he's a usually benign tumour that may be contributing to your woes.

I smashed step this morning and hope you notice I didn't bother you trying to do the push up track - just cued it from sitting on the step on the stage. I must admit that I was thinking of you a little too much before RPM today and I got a bit distracted and muffed up Track Seven - however I know what I need to work on as I am meeting up with Maka next week for some more coaching and assessment.

I was pleased I saw Dr Jeff about you - he was really knowledgeable and helpful and didn't want to rule out the possibility of lifting heavy shit again , but I told him that it was OK with it. I can't help it that you and all your other jointy mates are extremely hypermobile. He asked me about why I enjoyed the whole fitness gig and it took me back to a conversation I had with Carolyn yesterday about how enjoyable doing some sort of athletic training is.

Clav, it suddenly occurred to me that exercise wise, I'm in it for the long haul - I want to do stuff that I enjoy and that works for my body. I don't want to try to be what I physically can't be (eg a downhill skier is a good example with the pelvis I own).

Then it got me to thinking about where I am body wise as well. The bottom line is that I want to be good to us for the rest of our days. For us, that manifesto is to eat well, explore all sorts of things, move in activities that suit this old bod we're living in and do it our own way. I've seen so many books about coaching lately, so many approaches to strength training, eating or whatever. I've come to the conclusion that the best approach is the one we individualize for ourselves (based of course on sound science - I just had to throw that one in Clav!) For us, Clav, a more back and hamstring dominant workout is the ticket. I know not to feed us oats when we've had enough of em - I know that you're partial to "Love Sushi" after RPM - all those DHAs/EPAs from the fresh tuna sushi abd sashimi we had has got to be good for you!

I'll let you know when I think you're ready to be taken out for a bit of exercise - but for now, you must sit back, enjoy a cuppa and a few cleverly timed Naprosyn and begin your journey of healing."


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ten things you really didn't know

Number One: I'm officially unemployed as of January 1st - there have been staff changes resulting in the shifts that I usually do being taken over by a full time employee. To say that I'm irritated is the understatement of the week - it was close to home and although I find the practice of pharmacy like watching paint dry on a wall, the money is fairly decent and I liked the predictability of the work etc etc.

Number Two: I had my very first MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) done on my shoulder last night - you get trussed up like a chook and shoved into a very weird looking cylindrical object with earphones (because the machine makes a jackhammer like sound as it's scanning you.

Number Three: Doc reckons the problem I have with my clavicle is either degenerative arthritis or osteolysis (where the bone melts away due to mechanical stresses - bench pressing being a really common cause) So no matter what the result is I will have to take three to six months off lifting. Bummer!

Number Four: Although I seem to present a "go with the flow" attitude, I'm really a very happy camper when I have a plan that excites me. I'm feeling really lost right now because I don't know what "the plan" is. (seems injury and unemployment can do that to you...)

Number Five: I tend to like all the tracks in LMI releases that everyone dislikes.

Number Six: I'm usually even tempered, but today I'm cranky (can you tell)

Number Seven: As I'm cranky about the state of my life right now, I tend to start receiving slews of Christmas Cards with swarmy Family Newsletters telling me that the twins are waiting on their Mensa qualifications and that they just bought a new Mercedes. I wonder whether I should send them the newsletter outlining all the of the expenses we've incurred with our 20 year old claptrap.

Number Eight: I am sick of eating oats for breakfast (so they are no longer on the menu - never thought I would say that!)

Number Nine: I hate running out of the "thinks" that I want to "think"

Number Ten: There is no number ten....why be so predictable?