Sunday, April 11, 2010

You want to find me, baby?

Hi all,

If anyone is still reading this and wants to find out what happens next please visit me at www.lastchancetraining.wordpress.com . As I wrote earlier, I am splitting my blog into two - personal and business/coaching. This is my personal take on things. Business/coaching blog is to come!

I will eventually find out how to move all my posts from here over to there!

And if you find all my babble remotely entertaining, you can even "subscribe" in Wordpress.


Cheers
Liz N

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I'll be back

Moving is really upon me now and as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am wanting to try Wordpress and also wanting to now split my blog into two. In the spirit of making it happen, rather than just talking about it, I have decided that this will be my last post here at "Live Lean Love Life- Girl Gets It Done".

Thank you for sharing my adventures with me over the last four years and I hope to be back in some shape or form some time down the track.

If you want to be on my mailing list for Blog Number Two, please get in touch with me via The Fitness Solution and I will add you to the list.

Cheers and best wishes,
Liz N

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Avoidance of Packing

I'm blogging because I'm sick of packing and taking a little break. I hope I never move again!

Isn't it funny how you always discover the best sites/things when you're on a strict deadline. Today I got stuck into an amazing site that has absolutely nothing to do with health and fitness.

It has got to do with, gulp.... craft.

Now craft and I don't have a very good history. Amongst other desires, I have a wish to be more of a crafty type of person. Unfortunately this is probably going to remain a wish for the rest of my life. Being the spatially inept person I am, I cannot 'read' a pattern if my life depended upon it. I sew the legs of shorts together and am a complete failure at origami. I admire all of my friends who are craft oriented and marvel at the creations they make. Sometimes I want to ask, "can you make me one of those? I will pay you for it!" and now I can that I've discovered the Etsy site. It's an American site, but it seems that artisans from all over the world sell on it. I can't wait to delve into it some more when the time is right. I don't think I'll be ever selling anything, but buying, you bet! I know it's been around for awhile so am wondering if anyone uses it?

Back to the purchases side of things, I'm still impressed with Team Estrogen - no, I'm not affiliated with them but reckon I must be one of their best Aussie Customers. Our RPM class bought good quality cycle knicks for 40.00 US and I got a dress, pair of shoes, bikini and some funky socks which say "Boys Drool, Girls are Cool" on them. Everything fits perfectly except the dress - which is a little small - but not for too much longer,eh?

Same thing, a different way!

This is a minute or so from one of my favourite movies, "The Usual Suspects" - it involves saying the same thing in a number of different ways....enjoy!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Greed Aint so Good

I've been hip deep in boxes today and contemplating my poo flinging activities and have come to the realization that I'm not alone in my distaste of the marketing of Juice Plus or supplements pertaining to the fitness/weight loss industry. There are disillusioned JuicePlus customers and others out there that are so unimpressed with the whole sham that they've set up a dedicated blog. It's called www.juiceplusresearch.blogspot.com . Suggest that if you want to find out more about the product you check out this link and then make up your mind.

I've been thinking about why the marketing of such supplements irritates me and it really touches on the fact that such companies and people are exploiting the fact that many people are searching for hope, especially when it comes to their health, weight control and overall vitality. If it were as simple as "eat less and exercise more", nobody would ever have a problem with their weight for a start.

Yet, the health and fitness industry, which should be aimed at improving the consumer's quality of life is driven by blatant greed, misrepresentation and false illusion. It seems that any opportunity to self promote and make money is way more important than really helping anyone.

Examples of such exploitation include Terry White Chemist's Tony Ferguson Program. In fact, I disagree so vehemently with the principles of it that I refuse to work in a Terry White Pharmacy. The same goes for the smaller pharmacy meal replacement programs - if I've ever been asked, my ethics have always won - I explain how these programs work and the pros and the cons and then let the consumer choice - but it is really buyer beware. I'm proud to have talked many would be customers out of the diet shake merry go round towards more fruit and vegetables and lean protein.


The unfortunate thing is that there are certain supplements out there that can be really beneficial for all sorts of health conditions. The difficulty is in being able to find reliable information without bias. It's worth looking for a health professional that has no bias towards a supplement company. It's similar to finding an independent financial advisor who does not receive commissions for selling certain financial products.

I'm going to be splitting this blog into two shortly - one to share personal anecdotes and the second one to provide reliable health and fitness info without bias - and to fling poo with a slingshot where indicated.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Freedom and poo flinging


This post is a bit of a wrap up of the week and more social commentary on values, bullying and the right to freedom of expression.

I'll rewind back to Monday - after teaching RPM (which I knew was going to be hairy after my weekend workload), I had my second cortisone AC injection and then went to have lunch with some ladies from the gym who are Step and RPM regulars. Our morning group ranges from the very young to participants who have retired and I was delighted to receive the invitation. These ladies (who are all somewhere between late 50s and 60s) are a true inspiration to me. We shared stories around the table about our upbringing and education. One of my RPMers who is in her 60s and a retired Social Worker broke through the barrier that existed at the time that dictated men were those who received an education at university. She had to fight tooth and nail and ended up doing two degrees and her Masters and worked for most of her life, even with children - no childcare back then! Others were fluent in more than one language and well travelled. They all spoke about how their upbringing had shaped them - I could relate to Mrs S (Social Worker) - my mother fought tooth and nail to be able to study her Senior Certificate. Then she did her degree and part of her Masters by correspondence as she raised us all. In my family, the concept of a good education has been extremely important. From a young age, critical thinking and healthy debate has been encouraged and still goes on to this day. Both of my parents relish debates, Scrabble and anything study related. Back in the day, my mother and I would wait outside Newspaper House at an obscene hour waiting for our exam results to be published in the newspaper and wanting to get first dibs on our scores.

It's little wonder then that I love nothing better than a good debate - not a personal slanging match but a few good old fashioned rounds of "pro" and "con", "for" and "against". My mother used to rue the fact that she loved a debate because she didn't feel like it made her very popular - that she'd try and hold it in when she saw things that she considered to be "bull" and then she'd have to let it all out - her values eventually overrode the need to be liked.

I must admit to feeling the same way - if things rub up against my values, I have this inexplicable want to share my perspective! Of course, I'm not always right - being proven incorrect is a learning opportunity but I wish that more people focused on the subject of debate rather than getting personal.

Which leads me to my not-so-anonymous bully poster who, despite repeated attempts, isn't going to get too far with this little black duck - think the time has come to give it up and get on with your own stuff.

James Cook University has an excellent definition of bullying:

"

Definition of Bullying

Bullying constitutes unsolicited, offensive treatment through:

  • vindictive;

  • cruel;

  • malicious, or

  • humiliating

attempts to undermine an individual or group. These persistently negative attacks on personal and professional performance are typically unpredictable, irrational and often unseen. Bullying normally consists of repeated behaviour.


Bullying is NOT - constructive analysis or critical evaluation of a product, person or group.

Bullying is NOT to be confused with freedom of expression - that is the right of the individual to be able to express an opinion or view about anything.

We all have the right to freedom of expression - this is the cornerstone on which democracy is built. We have the right to read what we want to read and say what we need to say as long as we are not impinging on anyone's basic human rights.

I think it is extremely important to delineate between constructive criticism, critical evaluation and bullying behaviour. I think it's also very important to understand that we make the choice to read a blog. It's also important to realize that not everyone is the same as you or me and that not everyone will agree with what you or I write - which is more than fair.

My true passions lie in making reliable fitness and health information accessible for anyone that wants to make positive changes in their life, whether that is doing a Figure Comp, going for a swim, doing RPM or taking a walk with your baby in the pram. I am lucky that I have the background to do just that. I have also shared some of my personal journey in the hope that what I write just might help someone else. I will "fling poo" at concepts I believe are scams in the hope of helping someone make an informed decision. I now need to find a special "poo flinger" bumper sticker.

AT the end of the day, getting healthier and fitter should be fun (and not too expensive). Don't get me wrong, I'd love a 10K bike, but me and mine are doin' fine, just like peas and carrots. Have fun, life is short!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Methinks the lady doth protest too much

I was having a little packing break last night (as well as watching "Predator"- I cannot believe that I still had not seen this movie through until completion) when I had a bit of a wander through the blogosphere and came across Rae's post on psychotropics, Juice Plus and natural medicine.

At the beginning of February, I wrote a critical post in relation to Juice Plus and how a Juice Plus salesperson claiming to be "Australia's Leading Nutrition Educator" was running seminars which, although spoke of sensible things, like eating more fruits and vegetables, seem to promote Juice Plus as "the missing link". Why I get cranky about these things is that it is obvious that money, not good medicine is driving the bottom line. I get cranky when I see the aggressive marketing, the posts about "I feel so good because I've taken my Juice Plus supplements" - what about all the improvements you've made to your diet and your training making a difference? It's difficult to feel any warm and fuzzy love towards any supplement whose claims are yet to be proven. Plus eating well and training hard without any fancy gimmicks isn't terribly sexy, is it?

And don't think I'm just picking on Juice Plus. I get cranky when I see L-Carnitine being recommended for fat loss (a blatant misportrayal of the Krebs Cycle if ever there was one). I get cranky when I see ads for "Fat Magnet". In fact, when I see people wasting their money on all sorts of unproven stuff, I get mad.

It also makes me angry to see the unregulated sales of natural medicines by people who do not have the knowledge to recognize potential trouble etc. I ask the question to any person peddling supplements - what are you going to do when you recommend your product to someone taking, say blood thinning medications, and they have a life threatening drug interaction and die. Are you insured for that? You may say "what I'm recommending is a whole food supplement" - well, without a standardized list of ingredients, including excipients, that excuse is just not good enough.

I am a health professional - a pharmacist - who also has a strong background in complementary medicine, having done post grad work in this area. You don't have to be blind Freddy to see that the complementary medicines industry has exploded over the last few years. People it seems are drawn to more "natural" alternatives, but what does this mean? The fact is that:
"Any substance (whether it be natural or man made) that exerts a replicable effect on the systems of the body is a drug"

In Australia, our traditional health professions have realised the impact and potential of alternative medicines and these are researched at tertiary institutions - at the University where I did my pharmacy degree, we also have a dedicated centre for the study of complementary medicines. In the light of this, the suggestion in the quote below is just plain dumb.


The fact is that alternative medicine is drawing more and more money away from mainstream medical practice and even more significantly, from pharmaceutical corporations. When people use “natural” remedies instead of high-priced patented drugs, pharmaceutical companies lose money.”

I really believe the natural medicines industry needs to be more tightly regulated for the above reasons. There is a place for natural medicine and alternative medicine - no doubt about it. But who dispenses that medicine should be scrutinized - I wouldn't expect someone to come to me for IT expertise, and I wouldn't expect anyone to go to an IT expert for healthcare advice.



Sunday, February 21, 2010

So Emotional

"I get sooooo emotionalllllllll" Whitney Houston

Today has seen me doing a really good Whitney in the emotional stakes. How do you know if it is best to keep your emotions within or to bust 'em wide open? Sometimes it seems as if we don't have a choice, they come up and grab you at the most inopportune moment.

I think we all need an outlet for pent up emotional energy. Sometimes I pour this into my training or my class and very rarely I have a good cry, which is something I should do more often. The only time I seem to cry is in movies - it is as if I have given myself permission to validate my feelings and bring them into the moment.

Today I cried during RPM. This is not the first time it has happened to me, but to be frank, today's episode shook me to the core. Today I participated in the Les Mills Advanced Instructor Module where we spent the day working the essence of what is RPM -today's focus was on coaching, choreography mastery and technique mastery.

The technique mastery sessions were amazing. We did a lot of cycling drills, some which I'm familiar with and other drills that I'd never used before. It was really enlightening and left me with a desire to start getting out onto the road to train.

The coaching sessions were inspiring too with one of the presenters, Meg, sharing some class stories, which were very cool. We then did an exercise where we had to place ourselves on a line of where we thought we were with our RPM journey and it was then the emotion hit me like a ton of bricks, that I feel like (for many reasons) I just haven't been achieving my real potential - this is all mixed in with the frustration of the arthritic shoulder joint from you-know-where. No matter how hard I fought to keep it in, I just couldn't stop the tide - and I have been on and off like this all day.

I have to admit that I felt sorry for the presenters having such an emo nutter on the course - I felt I had to explain that it wasn't anything they'd done that had set me off, but rather a combination of circumstances and emotive language about coaching that had contributed. We ended up doing two assessments, both of which were way below what I'm capable of giving. However, after a good sleep, I am sure that the great stuff I learned will fall into place.

My journey these past few weeks reflects the journey of what I know to be true. I'm human, I get emotional and I've just relearned the value of having a good cry. Self expression propels you forward, rather than backwards. I have a bed to fall into, a house to pack and a road bike to head out on this next week with a light pedal stroke and uplifted heart.

See you when I get back.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Male Enhancements


In the spirit of "tell it like it is", I'm going to share that the shoulder issue that I have been dealing with is really cheesing me off. The story goes, I woke up on Melbourne Cup day with a bump over my AC joint (acromio-clavicular joint for the anatomists). This bump became more and more localized and painful over the course of the next week or so. I went to see my new sports doc who did an MRI and X Ray and discovered that this particular joint is degenerate and arthritic.

Enter an ultrasound guided cortisone shot and lots of hot dates with my physio and some initial improvement.
"Ah, " I thought, "rehabbing this will be a cinch.".
Unfortunately that hasn't been the case. Most of January saw many other joints in my body start to stiffen and ache. So, I've been tested for systemic arthritis (eg rheumatoid arthritis and its associated relatives). The only thing that has helped me forget the aches has been a good training session (not involving my shoulder).

So, as well as Uncle Toby the Oat Meister, I thought I would be joined by Arthur Ritis as one of the key men in my life. A bone scan and a blood test later has shown that Arthur Ritis and his friend Loopy Lupus aren't part of my life (phew!) and that my shoulder is purely and plainly cactus.

I'm now gearing up for a trial of two more cortisone injections, otherwise I'm off to pick up another bloke, Serge Un, who likes to get down and dirty with you with his scalpel. It has been enough to handle the threesome of hubby, Arthur and Toby - that is for sure, without inviting Serge along for the ride (I do like his handsome twin Surge though, especially after a hot and sweaty (training) session).

Today I came head to head with another one - Will Power, who told me that I had the potential to achieve anything I wanted to do if I had the belief. I had an internal conversation with Will on my way to teach my regular Friday morning RPM class.

"Do you think I can crack 168 as my HR max today (I have an incredibly low pussy old max HR)?" I asked Will.
"Do you think you can?"
"I don't know...." I mumbled.
"Look at your situation," implored my new best mate Will. "They are waiting for you to show them the way to the top of the mountain. How can you inspire them to reach their potential if you're not prepared to meet yours."

Sure enough I had thirty plus pairs of eyes looking up to me this morning on the podium. I also had the benefit of Emma (one of our other instructors and friend of mine) coming along for the ride ("nothing like having a peer in class to make you want to step up and nail it," I commented to Will).

We warmed up to the sounds of "Something Got Me Started," by Simply Red and then it was onto the next track and our first mountain climb, "True Faith". Then we rode like the wind and employed "Reverse Psychology" in Track 5 and smashed it. It's one of the hardest ones going and I was relieved that I wasn't the only one gasping for air. "Bruised Water" for Track Six saw us going within and riding a stronger cadence on the beat. Then we regrouped, worked together as a team and belted out "Runaway" by Groove Coverage to finish off the working part of the class. Some cool down bliss to follow...aaah and sweet release, we are done.

I look to Emma who told me she was hurting.
"Thank the stars I'm not the only one," I respond.
I look at my Heart Rate Monitor for my Max HR - 172 bpm. Yeah baby, I smashed it, I smashed it! We showered and had morning tea, feeling tired and triumphant.

There are no words for a training session where you feel like you go above and beyond and break through your perceived limitations, there is only wandering around with a silly walk and a stupid grin on your face.

Aaah endorphins, you gotta love em.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

He Aint Heavy, He's My Brother



You may be wondering what a report on interest rates and employment is doing on a fitness blog, but I had the opportunity to catch up with one of my brothers today - he works in financial analysis and is usually behind the camera. Sometimes he has to get in front of the camera as well. I think he has done and is doing an amazing job. Way to go Dan!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Expectation Vs Reality

I can't believe that there are so many pregnant women in my life right now - I have family and friends that are all expecting or have just given birth and it brings back memories of shall we say a rather tumultuous time in my life.

I think that motherhood has got to be one of the most levelling experiences that you'll ever go through - many of your preconceived ideas get completely blown out of the water when you meet your new little person - depending on the child (and nobody seems to focus on this at all pre birth) and the labour (you definitely focus on this pre birth), you may be in for an easy run or you may feel as though your worst nightmare has started.

Which leads me to the emotion of guilt. "Guilt" would have to be the badge of motherhood, once we become mothers we instantly start to harbour feelings of guilt - such as "I'm such an incompetent mother that I can't get my screamer to go to bed at the right time,", "I feel guilty that I'm so exhausted, I no longer look at my hubby as a sex object", "I feel guilty that I'm not doing it right", "am I a bad mother because I feel so resentful this child gets me up 4 times a night" etc etc. Any mother who is reading this right now would probably be thinking, "uh huh".

As they get older the guilt turns into, "am I a bad mother that I would prefer to go to the gym rather than do tuckshop?" (all of these mothers hang out in my classes). "Am I a bad mother that I forgot Johnny's excursion money?"

Guilt seems synonymous with motherhood - and this often spills over into the fitness and health arena. Guilt arises from scenarios as not immediately returning to pre pregnancy weight, having takeaway occasionally (when said mother is about to collapse from exhaustion) and looking sideways at another Mum that's perhaps had an easier baby and been able to start running again and feel hopeless that she's not got her act together "going back to the gym".

It seems painfully obvious that as a sisterhood, we need to do everything we can to help our new mothers and mothers that for whatever reason are doing it tough. Sometimes a mother doesn't want advice, she just wants a bit of empathy. She's not weak or lazy or ill disciplined, she's just learning how to cope with another human whose personality she knew little of until they turned up. She might be coping with recovery from a Caesarean, in the early years, she's probably coping with sleep deprivation and many many repeats of the Teletubbies (I always thought the Purple One with the handbag was very dodgy).

From a fitness perspective, being able to access a great creche at the gym is a lifesaver for many mothers. For me, the hour and a half I had to do a class and have an uninterrupted shower was a godsend. Of course, you may not get this time if your bub is projectile vomiting every five minutes, but it's a good option if it's available. Of course it depends on the child - Miss S was happy to be left in creche, but I had to stop visiting the gym for about six months with Miss G, because dealing with the separation anxiety far outweighed the benefits of the gym.

If you want to encourage a mother to become fitter, there are a few rules that should be followed:

*never ask when the baby is due , especially if the baby is with its mother. I got asked this once when Miss G was 2 weeks old. I had to say in my nicest voice, "G is two weeks old, do the math".
*never give unsolicited fitness advice about how to get back into shape, especially if you're sporting a six pack and have never had a baby. This is the equivalent of an invite to be quartered up by a blunt blade.
*never suggest that having kids should not be an excuse to get out of shape (especially if you haven't had children yourself) This pertains especially to a new mother. My rule of thumb is that it takes nine months to get stretched out of shape so given the stresses of sleepless nights etc it's probably going to take nine months and then some to even feel like you're getting back to normal.

The bottom line is that some babies make it easier for a comeback into the fitness arena and that some pregnancies are more difficult than others and some labours are tougher than others. Sometimes all a mother wants to do after a sleepless night with a projectile vomitter is sit down with a cuppa and the paper and take a nap, not go and work out. And when you have children, you have to realize that you're no longer number one. Yes, it's very important to try and eke out some time for yourself in there, no question - but in these early years, little ones take up your full attention. I've had clients on the phone in tears with mother-stress. My words are always, "well I knew that you'd never always be 100% because you've got someone else to account for "

When I was frustrated that my workouts got so interrupted, my mother used to say to me, "time passes". Of course, I wasn't terribly impressed with such sage words; but it's true. Now those little ones come riding, running and swimming with me - and I've been able to branch out into things that I thought would never be possible, like teaching early morning classes, competing and riding my bike.

In the meantime what can we do to support our mothers? It's the things like offering to watch the kids for an hour whilst she ducks off to Pilates class. Or having the older sibling over for a playdate so she can take the little one for a walk in the pram.

However, I would like to take a leaf out of my beautiful Earth Mother type gynaecologist and say - "enjoy that baby - that's your main priority. Doesn't matter if everything else takes a back seat for awhile". How true.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On the other side

Today I had the pleasure of participating in a RPM class with my friend Emma. Emma visited me on Friday and I returned the favour this morning. It was quite a shock being on the participant side of things - for one, I didn't have to worry about motivating anyone, so the energy that usually goes into my voice had to go into my pedal stroke and secondly, instead of having 30 or so faces to look at to keep me motivated I only had one (Emma). I had to really work hard to make sure that I was being as honest as possible with my load and technique (what I really need to work on) and it was nice being able to make adjustments where needed without too much scrutiny. The only down side is the risk of overtraining by doing too many classes. My original plan had been to swim, but Miss G is still unwell with her ear infection.

It looks like I will squeeze in a swim on Thursday and possibly Saturday (after Hi Performance and before our LMI quarterly workshops). That gives me my two swims for the week. My other mini goal is to try and get over 168bpm as my maximum HR output in RPM. No matter how hard I seem to push it, I seem to peak at 167 bpm every time. Step was a bit better, actually reaching 172 at one point (would expect that because I'm using more musculature). Why? Just because (have to prove to myself that now I'm in my 40s, my max HR really isn't on the skids just yet!).

I'm still gearing up to move. That's where the sudden lentil and bean love has sprouted from, the desire to use up everything that is in the pantry. The lentils, rice and canned tomatoes have all been fair game this week. I've even polished off balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Ingredients like corn flour and evaporated milk have been harder to shift. Our packing boxes came today so I'm not sure whether to announce my exit from blogging just yet - on the one hand I need to pack but on the flip side, I'd prefer to be working out, blogging ie doing anything but packing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tool time


Kitchen tools, that is. Since I've been getting ready to move, I've offloaded a whole plethora of pans and pots that have seen better days and I'm cashed up with David Jones' Gift Vouchers to invest in some more pots and pans. I'm after a saute pan like the one above, a skillet and a non stick Dutch Oven. I've been looking into all sorts of brands and had been leaning towards Scanpan (after hearing such good things about it ) and Caphalon, but I was at the doc this morning, taking Miss G as she has an ear infection and was doing a bit of trashy magazine catch up reading when I saw a Choice magazine article on pots and pans. Their recommendation was the hard anodized Circulon brand and Jamie Oliver cookware.

I was surprised as the Circulon and Jamie Oliver Ranges are way less expensive. The top recommendation was Swiss Diamond Cookware, which I've never heard of. Think I'd better check it out. I've already got a few recipes in mind!

Lately I've also been rediscovering the joys of legumes. I put an entire cup of lentils in our spaghetti bolognaise for dinner last night and it was most popular and I've had cannellini beans in my salad today and included them in some tuna patties that I've prepped for the rest of the week.

Andj has also inspired me this week with her 12 Week Challenge Goals. My goals for the week include getting two swims in and walking on the mornings I don't go and teach class. I find a morning walk incredibly therapeutic.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hate-a-licious!

In honour of Valentine's Day and feeling the love, what are some of the things in the world you just can't stand, your pet peeves?

Here's my list:

WORKING OUT:

1) Going to the gym on your way to work, having a shower, only to realize you've forgotten your undies.
2) Going to the gym after work and finding that you've only packed one of your shoes.
3) Socks that slide back under your heels when you run.
4) Planning on having a long workout and finding that you've either left your IPOD at home (there's a theme here) or that your battery is dead (damn you IPOD!)
5) People who leave hair balls in the change rooms or the shower. Enough said.
6) People that don't wipe their equipment down after using...eewwwww.
7) Personal space hoggers in the Group Fitness Room - just give me space to breathe or better still not cop a side kick where it hurts in Combat...
8) Wearing short shorts and forgetting that it's deadlift day.
9) Ads for fat burners in fitness magazines, especially the ones with the "eight page special reports" - especially when they're sandwiched between articles about the dangers of caffeine and maintaining your delicate hormonal balance.


EATING OUT:

1) Service Attendants who roll their eyes if you ask for "dressing on the side".
2) Waitresses that come up to you and ask you how things are going, just as you're about to accept a marriage proposal.
3) When you go out to dinner in a group and everyone's dishes arrive bar one person. Your dish goes cold whilst the poor person with the missing dish goes hungry.
4) People at buffets that eat directly off them, rather than putting the food onto their plate.
5) Menus and recipe terms that are so complex that they require an interpreter.

GOING OUT:

1) People that drive at 60 km/hr on the freeway
2) 4WD drivers who drive their vehicles like Sherman Tanks - crush and destroy!
3) Dress Codes - what exactly is "smart casual" wear?
4) People that talk in movies - hey I didn't spend $16 bucks to hear about Uncle Tom, 'K?
5) Desperately needing fuel for the car, only to drive into the servo and be told all the pumps are out of order - and that's the only servo around for the next 50km.

STAYING IN:

1) Cleaning the oven.
2) Cleaning the bathroom
3) Cleaning in general - enough said.
4) People that don't flush - I don't care about "yellow being mellow", just flush dammit (see #2, cleaning the bathroom) And if you leave poo, well I don't like you.
5) Service people who tell you they'll be at your place between 8am and 4pm. Gee, that's helpful!
6) Bert Newton - what's going on with that poor man's eye brows?
7) Ad breaks on TV - have just done a project with Miss S and we counted in a half hour program something in the vicinity of 28 advertisements..
8) Informercials for ab training gizmos, thigh trimmers and the like.

and finally, people who don't appreciate Dr Seuss.

That's about it for today.. Happy Valentine's Day and feel the lurrve!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Criticism and Caring

Can't believe it's Saturday again and what a week it has been in this particular neck of the woods. The wonderful thing about blogging is that it can really generate lots of feeling and discussion on all sorts of topics.

The issue of "criticism" came up a number of times and I thought it worthwhile to blog more about the subject. Here's an excerpt from www.cracked.com about two forms of criticism.

Constructive Feedback

So you're working on your novel and you want people to tell you how great it is, and give you ideas to make it even greater. You might pass some copies to your friends or post it somewhere on the internet, and ask for feedback.

A lot of the time people misunderstand and tell you what's wrong with your work and give you suggestions to improve it. Seriously, how is that supposed to help? I guess people are just jerks sometimes.

Seriously, though, you will get all kinds of responses, from helpful people who have good suggestions to well-meaning people with bad suggestions to assholes who put you down but do not have any suggestions. Since you can't seal yourself like a hermit and avoid all criticism, you are just going to have to learn to sift and filter all this and smile politely at everyone, since you did ask for it.

3. Personal Criticism

Sometimes people will criticize you for very personal things, like the fact you are 400 pounds, or that your mother sleeps around with many men. This is actually worse on the internet than face-to-face, which is puzzling because while internet anonymity means people feel freer to say these things, internet anonymity also means that those on the receiving end must know their accuser is pulling this all out of their ass since all they can see is a username and some words.

Nevertheless, people get very angry about being told that they are fat, or smelly, or have sex with animals, by an accuser who can't see or smell them and had no way of seeing what happened with that goat behind closed doors. (They were just talking.) If these things constantly upset you, it might be worth exploring why.


The author at Cracked.com makes an excellent point that you need to learn to sift and filter all of this. Some of us may be frightened of getting run over by a bus or savaged by sharks, but many of us are even bigger wusses when it comes to handling criticism. I believe that if you choose to make your presence public on the Internet whether by blogging or Facebooking or Twittering, then you need to be aware that criticism is a possibility. We need to accept we're all "fair game".

I don't know anyone who enjoys being criticized. It's a wonderful feeling to get positive affirmations for what you do and how you live. However, when someone drops a big "C" bomb on you (btw, that's criticism, not something else!), you can feel hurt, confused and rather aggrieved. In reality though, it's a gift that enables you to self evaluate, filter and integrate if need be. I equate criticism with caring - some of the most defining moments in my life have come as a result of being criticized - yes, it has hurt but knowing that somebody cared enough to give you that gift can propel you forward. Criticism can strip us back to our soul, and encourage humility which in turn leads to personal growth.

In the realms of Group Fitness, any coach wanting to improve undergoes a filming and assessment process. Everything gets broken down and critical feedback given where required. As a GFI, you want constructive feedback, but at the same time it's a little scary. However, the process I've gone through for RPM has taught me to be less fearful of criticism and hence I feel that I've become more open in terms of my own personal growth. I've also learned how hard it can be for the assessor to be critical. I've had a few discussions with my mentor about how some people can't handle the truth. It's difficult for him as well, having put the time in to assess and give the feedback in the first place.

The other interesting thing I saw this week was a post with a defence of eating organically - maybe prompted by this post and perhaps the fun I poked at those who wipe their butts with organic toilet paper. Disclaimer - the toilet paper was all in good fun.... My opinion of the whole organic debate that it would be fantastic if animal husbandry and general farming practice could swing towards more organic production. I completely understand why many people choose to eat organic food and adopt a healthy lifestyle. No criticism there from me (though I do think organic toilet paper may be taking things too far lol!) If I can afford it, I eat organic produce too, purchased at our local markets. However, being able to eat exclusively organic foods is out of the reach of most Australian families. From what I've read, some farming practices that produce organic foods are way more labour intensive than other ways. I don't know whether this is the case for all organic produce but it all comes down to economic viability for many producers at the end of the day.

If we are to be passionate about giving Australians more choice in the foods that they buy by being able to reduce the cost of production of organic products, we need to start at the grassroots level. I don't claim to have any expertise in this area, but small and sustainable changes to practice may just be the way to go.

In the meanwhile, there are simple ways to remove pesticide residue from produce (washing before using is an excellent start) and to avoid preservatives (more fruit and veg, less processed stuff). Heck, there's even a good argument for the responsible use of animal protein which is well illustrated by our Indigenous people and American Indians - if an animal was killed, the entire carcass would find a use - no leftovers.. which meant animal protein was consumed sparingly. Of course there are different theories on this - I found my lone sociology subject to be very interesting!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hope, Religion and Nutrition


I've just discovered that our moving date has been pushed back another week and as I've been so popular lately (lol!), I thought I'd keep blogging for another week before I set off into the sunset. Plus, I despise moving, so a small opportunity to procrastinate is one that I'll take.

This morning I taught RPM and picked tracks with the theme of "love" - for example, I played "I Could Have Loved You More", "Young Hearts Run Free" and "Heaven", which was great fun. I'm thinking of adding in the remix of a song called "True Faith" tomorrow morning for the Hi-Performance crew.

The concept of "true faith" is something that has been resonating with me over the course of the last few days, faith in my ability to live a fulfilled life, which for me spills over into the area of health and fitness. I believe that there is a strong correlation between religion and the pursuit of health and fitness.

My definition of religion in the broadest sense is how you choose to live your life. For me, Jesus' greatest commandment, "love one another as I have loved you", is the direction in which I try to travel. For me, I find comfort in my faith - that no matter what you do or what happens, that God's love and forgiveness is unconditional ie it's never to late to start becoming what you might have been.... You can substitute the word God with "Universe", "Buddha", "Allah", "Spirit" but the general concept is the same. As we all know, with the practice of religion, there's a huge scope - from the more traditional Religions that we all know to newer branches of religion with different and sometimes extreme ideals - the more radical versions are also known as "cults" - which to me is a pretty extreme word.

I believe it to be the same way with transforming your relationship with health and fitness. So many of us want to cling to a shred of hope when it comes to changing your physique. We can then latch onto anything that sounds good or anything that sounds like we will finally have "the answer". We can look for anything that promises us the hope and care we are after. Often with nutrition and health practices, devotion can escalate to cultish levels, where extreme results are often promoted - remember that woman that claimed to live on air a few years back? More often than not, long term success is based on the less exciting cornerstone of "moderation in all things".

Marketing types have recognized these characteristics for years and have used the notion of giving hope and a fast result to many a hapless subject. Like religious zealots, supplement marketers will use evocative language to promote their own products/ideals. The woman living on air - from memory, was either promoting a book or health camp where people spent thousands of dollars to learn the "secret".

The latest trend from what I can see is terming foods "living" or "dead" - the language is again evocative - what are you going to do if you pick up something that is "dead" or you don't have time to eat "living" food? Surprise, surprise, the answer is in a supplement that (surprise, surprise) the person who coined the phrased is associated with. I must say that from what I've read "living" food seems to reflect healthy, whole food choices whereas "dead" food reflects highly processed "junk" foods that have little or if any nutritional value. It's actually quite a fun way of differentiating between food that is likely to help vs food that is likely to harm - the concept is pretty clever - however the emotions that it possibly invokes if you happen to eat something that is "dead" makes me wonder if this is the continuum:

Eat something dead-> feel guilty for eating dead food --> look for an answer/antidote to stop feeling bad ---> Supplement offered claiming to "fill in the gaps" or whatever ---->consumer buys supplement ---> company profits from consumer's lack of self confidence/belief.

Bottom line is that the power of the dollar rules!

And as for the "Secret", well the truth is that its contents aren't particularly mind blowing - you eat well (and if you're not sure of this, sourcing your info from credible sources), you make training as something natural as brushing your teeth and the hardest component - you learnto equate your choices with honouring yourself and your beliefs as much as you can (this is the lifelong process in learning to live lean and love life - the other two pieces are the easier parts).
My belief is that if I'm buying eggs, I'm for the chooks!

Au revoir for today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Episode 2 - The Hater Strikes Back!

Before I start on my packing, I decided to check my Reader before I got stuck into things (yeah, I procrastinate). Imagine my delight to see another post from my "hater" mate in my comments this morning. Again, whoever my new best mate is, I thought I'd copy and paste because there's a little more stuff in there that should be addressed and worthwhile reading if you're aspiring to the Figure stage.

Hi Liz ! Liberator again here!
Wow that reply to sparte was some major back peddling wasn't it!
I was over at the lowest common denominators site today & i see a least she's got some titles for all that showboat training, what do you have? Big fat ZERO! you must be so proud! How do you know about her training videos anyway? Maybe it's like the other ladies Facebook you just can"t help you self can you??
Maybe I should call the LCM the Guru next time as she has something to show for it! All you have is a big fat jealous chip on you shoulder that you can't shake off!!!! ps i see your moving, Overseas i hope :)

Hi Anonymous,

I'm really concerned about you. You're over at your LCD's site and you notice she's won some Figure Titles, awesome stuff. However by calling me a big fat ZERO because I haven't won any titles is disturbing, especially for any person that wants to give competing in Figure a go, because most would be competitors want to improve their self confidence , see how far they can push themselves and set themselves a goal. If you and anyone who is reading who is not familiar with the judging of Figure Comps, the judging criteria involve that of symmetry (balance in the body, between muscle groups, upper and lower body conditioning etc) and muscularity (also bringing low body fat into consideration here). There is a lot of debate that rages about what makes an excellent Figure Competitor - how much muscularity there should be etc etc and the requirements seem to vary between all the federations. The person you compare me with has outstanding symmetry which has a strongly genetic component to it. In fairness to her, I will also say that of course she has put a lot of hard work into it as well. This is her career. My career is as an exercise physiologist and a pharmacist. I don't have to have fantastic symmetry to dispense your next lot of medication or teach you about cycling efficiency - for that I need to be suitably qualified - and that is what I have in abundance.

To call me a big FAT zero for not being able to add that string to my bow tells me that your expectations are unreasonably high. I have gleaned from your comments that perhaps you have yet to compete and don't realize the level ofwork that you put into preparing for a show to be at your personal best. I have no qualms in saying I came dead last in my last comp outing, but felt that for me, I presented my best physique ever. You don't know what is going to happen until the day. If I based my self worth on what some bloke thought of my body on the day, it would be an extremely sad outcome. I really hope that you base your self worth on something other than looks or what somebody else thinks of you.

My blog is my story and my journey. If you're basing someone's fitness expertise on their looks, then go for it. It's a common mistake and easy to make.

In the end, Anonymous, I still think you need to get real. You may think I'm back pedalling (this is how you spell the word BTW), but many people find manaical self stroking of the ego (read THE BEHAVIOUR, not the PERSON) irritating...and after awhile, yes this does lead you to become very fatigued with it and hence start to begin to have a lower opinion of that person.

The same goes for me posting about Juice Plus and Helen Frost's website. This is nothing to do with personality or jealousy or what ever you wish to call it . It's an issue of credibility for me - no formal qualifications in the field and the heavy push towards pyramid marketing. It's a shame because there's a lot of good stuff written there - which I thought was great - she got on the right train but off at the wrong station. As for Juice Plus - I'd be wary of taking it if you're on any prescription medication, especially if you have high blood pressure or take anticoagulants. I did check out the site but the ingredients aren't listed and the 'studies' that have been done have been funded by the manufacturer which may implicate bias. I'd also be wary of it if has extremely high doses of Vitamin C which can interact with several medications as well.

I'm sure, Anonymous, you've read some of Craig Harper's work. Sometimes I don't agree with the way Craig says things, but he's a qualified exercise physiologist and life coach and for that he earns my respect.

I know you wish that I was moving overseas, I am sorry to have disappointed you.

Cheers
Liz N

PS - gotta go now, boxes to pack, cheerio!
PPS -" your" should actually be written "you're" as in "you are moving" - my next career is as a grammar Nazi...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Getting the Green Light

Good news on the house front, we're getting the green light to move into our new house any day soon. My life over the next week or so is going to involve packing boxes and removalists and then my workouts are going to consist of the unpacking boogie, the oven clean n grind etc.

I'm going to put blogging on hold for a month or so whilst I get organized, so it's not goodbye, but rather a "see you all later" for a bit.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Who are you really looking for - Part One


Since I've come out of the closest to quash the perception that I'm a "Guru Trainer", I thought it might now be a good idea to get on with the job of sharing some information for those who are looking but maybe not finding exactly what or who they are after.

What am I talking about? You - that's right, you. You want to get fitter, you want to look amazing, you want to run a marathon, cycle in the Pyrenees, compete in a bodybuilding competition or you just want to lose five kilos so you can keep up with your kids at the park. You read blogs, you watch TV and read magazines and you wonder what the heck is the right thing for you. You might (like me) be on a tight budget, you might have an injury or a medical condition, you may want sanity or you may want to achieve a big dream.

However, you're feeling dazed and confused. Low carb? High carb? Long slow distance or intervals, body fat calipers or scales? Counting calories, points or not - what gets you there? Do you use an online trainer or see a PT at the gym? What about dietitians - good advice or bad?

In this mini series I'm going to summarize various options that you have when it comes to planning a fitness and health regime. I'm going to share the things you need to look out for in choosing a coach or trainer and the characteristics you need to avoid.

Firstly though, let's have a look at a very common situation amongst many of us, the case study of "Jane". Jane wants to lose 5kg she put on during her pregnancy (baby is 2 years old now), and being on a reduced salary, is on an extremely tight budget. Jane cannot afford to go to the gym, let alone buy organic meals, supplements or afford a personal trainer. Jane would like to have more energy as running around after a toddler and balancing her part time job and despairs she will ever be able to reach the image of the fitter, more energetic Jane she sees in her mind. Jane has no injuries.

Options that would work for Jane:

For nutrition ideas and recipes:

Australian Healthy Food Guide - website (www.healthyfoodguide.com.au) I have mentioned this neat little magazine several times in my blog - it's a handy sized magazine with all sorts of quick, family friendly and practical recipes that don't need too much preparation - in fact there is even a "five pm panic" column designed for fast healthy recipes when you're in a rush. Also has a rough guide to estimate your caloric requirements, meals and snacks.

Michelle Bridge's Crunch Time Cookbook: RRP $35.00 I've only just picked this one up but the recipes I've tried are easy, yummy and good for you. Visit Michelle's website for more details.

For great recipes online check out Kerryn's Good Food Blog and an excellent American site called Ask Georgie And for a bit of fun, there's always Pimp My Protein Shake. Even if you don't use protein powder, it's worth a visit for the name alone.

Jane could also invest in some fruit and vegetable wash to remove pesticides/residues from her produce.

For workout ideas and plans:

Jane can have a look on E-bay for books such as "Body For Life" that have training programs in them.

Jane can go walking with her toddler in the pram (depending on the temperament of the toddler of course).

Michelle Bridge's "Crunch Time" Book contains workouts you can do at home and more recipes you can try. I've seen this book for about $25.00, a relatively inexpensive purchase if you want a good few months worth of training.

If you're an aspiring runner, check out Hal Higdon's site for running plans from 5k to marathon.

I'm yet to come up with a fantastic site about strength training for beginners but I will continue to keep digging.

For equipment:

I recommend not skimping on a pair of good quality athletic shoes. Get fitted properly for them if you can by a store such as Athlete's Foot.

You can substitute resistance bands for dumbbells and these can be found at www.sportstek.net.au These are relatively cheap and come in varying resistances so you can continue to challenge yourself through your training program.

Exercise DVDs are also another great option for Jane - she could go for something such as Amy Bento's Kickboxing DVD which requires no equipment at all, only a penchant for punching. This workout which has different "premixes" to create different workouts will set her back $25.00

Not counting the shoes, Jane can get going with her workout and nutrition plan for an outlay of less than $100.00.

Easy peasy Japanesy!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Got my first hater!


Today's blog reminds me of the unknown wait that occurs when you begin to date someone that you really fancy - when that beautiful first kiss is going to happen. Today, after long years of waiting (I'm now blogging into my fifth year), I got my first "hater" comment today.

Because it's so complimentary, I've decided I'm going to share it with you and my thoughts on the subject. And, to think that I was resigned to "being boring" today now that my PMS has left the building....

Here is a copy of my wall plaque worthy first ever Hater Comment:

Liz you obviously are not far behind this person if you have taken the time to sit down & write this rubbish, who do you think you are to judge people on what they put on face book, aren't you supposed to be some guru trainer that supports people, the only thing you have is this blog, which gets more & more looking like it's author needs more help herself, how about you get off your butt & get outside & live your lean life instead of sitting front of your computer screen & watching face book to see if someone posts something you don't like :)

Here's my reply:

"Hi Anonymous,
Welcome to my blog (finally!) and thank you for your compliments. I never knew that in the whole time that I've been blogging and coaching others that I am regarded as a "guru trainer". I've always considered myself someone who has used their extensive University background to help make fitness and health accessible to anyone who wants to better their health and better themselves.

You're absolutely correct in saying that a nice coach will support people - a good coach will provide a dose of tough love. The clients that grow and achieve are the ones that take what they didn't want to hear, consider the information and go from there and do more than they ever imagined! There is tough love in my post and in real life I know this person I called out to be top notch. If anyone ever sees me Facebook between teaching tracks in RPM, I'd like you, especially to blog about it. I may be taking an unpopular line, but if you want to improve, you need to get off the phone and back on task. The status updates I mentioned all occurred within a thirty minute period - that's annoying in most people's eyes. Then to film it all (which I refrained from mentioning) is a little over the top, don't you think?

Anonymous, thank you so much for picking up that life has been a struggle over the past few months. Now that you know that I'm not a guru, and just an normal human being like everyone else, you'll understand that I have my ups and downs and ins and outs. And that the last year has been a bit of a downer for me.

Now Anonymous, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you just may be part of my former subject's BFF brigade and probably have no idea about why I'm not a fan of her said BFF or why I'm tiring of self promoting Facebook posts, videos and the like. I was also friends with the BFF once. I supported the BFF as her star rose and she became the Editor for a well known fitness publication. I was really pleased for her, however these warm and fuzzy feelings quickly evaporated when I saw the first edition under her direction. Imagine my horror when I saw one of my "sorting fact from fiction" posts on her forum (written, like you said, to help and encourage others), plagiarized and presented as "Letters to the Editor - Ask the Expert". To say that I was gutted and felt betrayed by my supposed friend was the understatement of the century. Then there was the promise of including my photos in an article that I had written for the mag's sister publication. The photos that were being included are in this link.

Not only was the article published in the Sister Publication in my ex-friend's name, I was told by the publisher of the magazine that I "really wasn't looking my best that day". Gotta admit that it hurts a bit, when you think you look pretty darn good.

I did seek legal advice and got the right resolution out of this and a piss weak apology from the Publisher in his last Editorial about how I had "worked alongside" Ex Friend (the more accurate description being wrote and submitted pics for the entire article).

Yes, Anonymous, I have to admit the whole shebang has left a rather sour taste in my mouth and had me feeling down and out for awhile. I have had the internal debate raging within me for months about whether I should post my story and bits and pieces have slipped out over the months rather like an octopus falling out of a string bag.

To sum up Anonymous, I want to thank you for setting me free. I know it was your intention to give me a serve and put me back into my box, but that isn't ever going to happen. I've set the truth free now and I've released the monkey off my back and I can now go forward and keep doing what I do well - post user friendly and real fitness and health info for real people. And creep in some of my RPM exploits in there as well.

Thanks a million mate, you've made my day!
Cheers
Liz N


PS

It should be noted that any post you make on a forum remains yours under Copyright Protection and protection of your moral rights, no matter what the forum disclaimer says. And it's always good form to seek permission from the author if you wish to republish material. My unfortunate situation could have been avoided with the offending party simply asking permission to publish the works with credit going to the author. You know the story, credit where credit is due and nothing else....


PPS - beauty fades, dumb is forever...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Just Not Into You.. PMS free



I'm wondering if the notion of locking yourself into a padded cell when you're in the throes of PMS is a good thing sometimes, because at that time of the month, I'm really dangerous. I start to mouth off and finally say it how it is. The most intoxicating part is that I can rationalize my behaviour by writing it off to PMS, all the while feeling rather gleeful about my new found boldness. The downside of PMS fuelled activities is that when TOM arrives you can feel like you've spent an evening drunk texting, Facebooking or whatever and woken up the next day without any recollection of what you've actually said and that's when it can get a bit hairy.

I immediately get on the phone and have a chat with my mother, who has been a model citizen her whole life, except for the times she had PMS. Between the two of us, we've shared some shocker moments, which for her safety I won't divulge, except to say - "you said what?!???" By the end of these conversations we've both decided what fun it has been to let our inner lunatic out for a day or so... and then we carry on being good girls for the next month...

The first post that I deleted was titled "she's just not into you" and refers to the minefield of Social Networking Etiquette. I have had a "friend" who has been inadvertently stroking my lunatic muscle for months now. Every time she would update, I'd just about want to hurl spears into the screen. She was the Facebook type that would post every last bit of minutiae about her life experience.

Once she posted about her workout with her fabulous BFF
- "about to go and train my shoulders and calves with x" (this is mildly annoying because what idiot goes to the gym just to train their calves?).
Two minutes later, "I'm just about to start my first set of ........." (okkkkaaaayyyyy)
Then - "I'm resting in between sets" (now I am saying in my head, get off your f**** iPhone)
Fifteen minutes later....
"Oooh that was such a hard workout" (for your fingers maybe?)
And then, the piece de resistance...
"Now I'm having my recovery shake" (to recover from what?)

I didn't know what to do, so I tried her theory, "if you haven't got anything nice to say, then don't say it at all". OK, so I'm going to let it go and quietly marvel at that massive ego and try and change my Facebook settings so I can't see as many updates....no luck there.

Instead I prayed for an easy way out. Redemption came in the way of (yep you guessed it) a status update. It was (wait for it) an announcement! It was an announcement that there was to be a massive "friend cull". I crossed my fingers and kept praying.

Yesterday my prayers were answered - I made the cut!!!!!
I've just had a source of digital stress removed from my life, that of the crashing bore.

Many of you may guess who the crashing bore that I'm talking about is. I expect half of you to delete me from your blogroll for having the smarts to say it like it is. That's OK. I'd rather stand up now and be a little more truthful, even if it turns me into a social pariah.

Oh, and I just wish PMS would hit me a little more often.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Life Imitating Art





Buzz: Right now, poised at the edge of the galaxy, Emperor Zurg has been secretly building a weapon with the destructive capacity to annihilate an entire planet! I alone have information that reveals this
weapon’s only weakness. And you, my friend, are responsible for delaying my rendezvous with Star Command!
Woody: [pauses and looks incredulous] YOU! ARE! A! TOYYYYY! You’re not the real Buzz Lightyear! You’re - you are an action figure!
[holds hand up to eyes indicating something small]
Woody: You are a child’s play-thing!
Buzz: You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity. Farewell.
[starts to walk away]
Woody: Oh, yeah? Well, good riddance, ya loony!





I must confess to feeling some affinity these days with Woody, the cowboy character from "Toy Story" - these last few days as I've had the misfortune to navigate towards some really disturbing purported "health and fitness" sites . Poor old Woody finally loses the plot after trying to point out to Buzz Lightyear that he's a toy, not a real "Space Ranger" - and trust me, there are a few "health" conscious" Space Rangers out there who truly are off the planet in my opinion.

Take Pauline Nordin's FighterDiet Blog for example - the last two posts are a classic. In the latest one she extolls the evils of fruit, dairy and red meat; all of which can be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy intake. It's frustrating as a someone with university qualifications see somebody who blatantly lacks any credentials in the field of nutrition glorifying a lifestyle of disordered eating. In the second last post she complains that it's hard but that achieving this goal of leanness is of the highest importance to her. It's like the Pro-Ana movement with muscle - if Pauline is eating what she says she is and not paying attention to her nutrient timing at her supposed level of leanness, what's making her retain her muscle, my dear readers....any guesses?

Then I stumbled across a site called Helen Frost , who claims to be "Australia's Leading Nutrition Educator."
"Wow," I thought, "this sounds awesome." In being curious to find out what makes Helen so special, I clicked on the "about us" tab, keen to know more. I was to be sorely disappointed. "Australia's Leading Nutrition Educator" has no formal qualifications in nutrition - I would have expected a Science Degree at the minimum - and surprise, surprise, owns a supplement company that promotes "Juice Plus", a product that sounds good in theory but unfortunately is under the microscope right now for making spurious claims about its efficacy and benefits - here's the link .

Now I'm sure I'm not going to be too popular with the Pauline or Helen fans of the world, but just as my mission is to make fitness for everyone, I want to make it my other mission in life to help others make sense of credible nutrition data. I'm thinking of compiling a database of recommended sources for all things health and fitness so if you're a practitioner with a qualification who wants referrals, let me know and if you're keen on the idea of a one stop place to get more unbiased information then please leave a comment.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Esprit de Corps

A wee little French for my gorgeous friend Shelley - "Esprit de Corps" is roughly translated as "the spirit of the group".

The "spirit of the group" is embodied in a concept that sports psychologists call "group cohesion". When I was at University last (lol!) I studied sports psychology as part of my Exercise Science degree. It's easy to see in many events the power of group cohesion. Think of rugby and cricket matches where the power of the group pulling together creates the winning try, wicket or whatever. Stories of group power and cohesion have become legendary in many a sporting biography.

My question is - why don't many of us fitness enthusiasts tap into this potential more often? The need for group cohesion is so strong in us that we create "Our Team -eg our trainer, our nutritionist, our massage therapist etc etc" and we create forums and blogs, hoping that we'll meet "like minded" people. We complain that our world is "small", yet at the same time I read about many fitness enthusiasts discourage others from communicating with them in the gym - you put your headphones in to drown out the questions, you show disdain towards a hapless newbie and you (inadvertently) give the impression you're a complete narcissist, when you're trying to give the impression that you're truly dedicated to your training.

I love to train as hard as the next person - but where's the fun if you can't share the love around occasionally? As somebody who works in a gym teaching Group Fitness, my mission is to involve as many of our members as possible in our classes, in our gym, and possibly socializing a bit after class - many a fitness enthusiast has started off being scared stiff in the back row of a class and has gone on to become a lifelong member. Often that "newbie" gets even more confident and ventures out into the weights room - keen as mustard for more - so by being welcoming, who knows, you may get a training partner, client, or good friend out of it - another member to add to "the tribe" so to speak.

Yesterday I had a new and very nervous lady in my Step class, who didn't give the impression she was into fitness . She did a great job, especially as it was her first visit to the gym. On my way out, I saw her sitting by herself and I took the opportunity to sit down and have a chat.
We talked about the class, how she'd come to join the gym and before I knew it, the words, with a tear in her eye were tumbling out - "I'm too fat to be in here, I don't belong. I want to do this for my sanity but I just feel so intimidated".

My response was to give her hand a squeeze and tell her how much I enjoyed that she had taken the time out of her day to come, that I loved meeting new people and that having kids myself that I understood exactly where she was coming from sanity wise. Then I told her that once we got round to introducing her to the other girls, she would see that no one could give a fig about what she looked like, only that she was enjoying the journey." I'm genuinely hoping to catch up with her next week in class. This example is not to big note myself but rather to say that having everyone "buy in" to the fitness experience together is so powerful. Magic happens - I've seen divorced couples reunite, strong friendships form and a new level of trust in my group fitness coaching. I was that girl once, who was fat and awkward and look what happened - little bit of love, trust and pixie dust!

So promise me that next time you're in the gym with your headphones on and a fitness newbie speaks to you, TAKE THEM OUT, shake their hand and say "welcome". It only takes 30 seconds to point someone in the right direction and perhaps sow the seeds of a beautiful friendship.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cinderella's Transformation Myth

I made a promise to myself in January that I would work on living with less rather than more - and what I chose to keep in my life would be things that inspire and move me rather than pull me down and depress me. One of these choices was that any media I choose to watch, read or listen to should support the goals of being my authentic self. It didn't start off as a resolution, but a gradual shift in my thinking that certain types of media really drive the narcissistic "I'm a star (regardless of moral fibre)" type persona as being that of being desirable or the D Grade social commentary of "I'm making an important announcement now about how I'm going to wipe my bum with organic toilet paper because I'm a star and my butt deserves nothing but the best"... a bit extreme, but you know the drill. These are concepts that I want to avoid.

I was waiting for the kids today, so I popped into the local newsagency and picked up a fitness rag. In it were some bodybuilding types with nice low body fat and bulging muscles, aided no doubt by a visit or two to the local vet or pharmacy (depending whether they were in Mexico or north of the border) , further perpetuating the myth that "Cinderella Narrative" ** of " if your body if perfect, then life will be happy".

I flip to the Publisher's letter which states "we're so proud of you, our readers.... Don't ever feel like a failure, just push through and re-affirm your goals. Now is the time. " nothing too dreadful or offensive about that but since when is keeping fit and feeling good associated with failure?

He goes on to say, "you may not look like the ladies in our workouts, but you are part of a movement among women who are not afraid to go for it!". I was gobsmacked when I read this - blatant admission that what his publication is peddling is a crock of shit, totally unrealistic and an insult to any fit minded woman who has been blessed with a brain cell or two.

I flip further to a page devoted to "Happy Hormones", which states that " you shouldn't have to starve yourself or be jacked up on stimulants, high caffeine products or thermogenics in order to get the body you want" - yet sandwiched next to this blurb is an ad for a supplement store, and just five pages ahead an article for a fat loss supplement. Resisting the urge to vomit, I instead thought "dumb ......." and moved on.....

Needless to say I was thrilled to sit down with the good old Courier today and see an article from one of my favourite columnists, Karen Brooks.** The article pertains to the rise and rise of plastic surgery procedures that are commonly performed these days for no good reason. There are of course situations where plastic surgery can be helpful (and as many know, I have had some surgery myself) but the best part of the article relates to the whole myth of "transformation". The long term success stories are the ones who transformed into (as Karen says) " working on being themselves".

After my foray into the fitness magazines, I watched "The Biggest Loser". Yes, another source of media portraying the need for transformation in the reality TV setting. I've never seen this show and there were parts of it that made my stomach turn. But in this, a breath of fresh air named Hayley Lewis, who was outstanding in her support and gentle encouragement for the contestants. What would keep me watching it would be seeing the genuine empathy she has for those who are struggling with their weight and the behaviours that got them to that point, where they felt their choices become so limited. I sincerely hope that through the journey, the contestants slowly but surely learn the tools they need to learn to honour themselves and truly live lean and love life.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Cracking myself up

Quick blog tonight - had a wonderful catch up with Carolyn today - folks, I'm telling you that those triceps could crush small animals and scare away children - yeah baby, the girl has packed on some muscle since I saw her last and become a pretty deft hand at the old RPM too. It worked out well as I had the opportunity to fill my old Monday morning class at Toowong - Carolyn and I got a good workout and it got pretty rowdy in there this morning (a lot busier than usual).

Unfortunately I had to cut and run to the physio. As well as my shoulder, my lower back and hip flexors are giving me grief now and I'm glad I went. I have to admit now to being pretty frustrated about the whole injury situation - off to the sports doc tomorrow to see if I need another cortisone shot or if it's off to an orthopod for assessment.

In other medical news, it looks as if UQ wouldn't accept me with my degree being completed more than ten years ago - I could go to Griffith, but I think the strain on the family with two hours travel each day and a full time study load too much to cope with. However, it was good thinking about it. Who knows what the future holds?

So all of this led to a bit of crankiness on my part on Facebook with me updating my status as "Liz wants to put the F word into a helium balloon and then let it loose all over Brisbane....FFAAAAARRRRK!!!!!"

The thought of this concept totally cracks me up and had me smiling by the time I logged out. And I have yet to look forward to the joys of "Desperate Housewives" tonight.

Sheesh, life can't be all that bad.....

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pizza Night

Thanks to everyone for their supportive comments, re studying Medicine. I want to let you all know how much they are appreciated. There are a few hurdles to get across as I mentioned in the last post, it's not a certainty, but I'm checking with the University to see whether I can get special consideration re the amount of time between degrees. If this all goes to plan, I'm going to give it a crack. If not, well, not meant to be and I'll be happy either way. I shall update when I know more of course. I know from seeing many friends study Medicine that it is not an easy road and the idea of being a doc is one that has to be taken with a lot of seriousness. Aside from the hopeful ability to be able to get through a challenging degree, I think that my love of connecting with others would be a major asset. Will have to see how it pans out....

Today I taught RPM at Toowong which is always a consistently good class to teach but for some reason I was feeling flat and lacking in energy this morning. I had to fight for every bit of load that I applied this morning and had to tough it out to the end! I'm using the same mix for High Performance in the morning, so if I get evil looks from people, I'll know it's not just me that is suffering!

I have mentioned on Facebook that I was sussing out a George Foreman Grill. I got several comments about the plates being a bit difficult to clean and I ended up with a Cuisinart "Griddler" from David Jones (with a handy 15% off too!) - the grill plates detach and it will be awesome for grilling the next poor chook I can find amongst other delights! I also bought a sushi maker from Robins with a Christmas Voucher and two big activity books for the girls with an ABC store voucher. I've done really well with buying no books or magazines in 2010 - I figure that I have easily saved enough for my Griddler purchase so I am happy (isn't it funny how women justify purchases?)

Tonight is "Pizza Night" at home - the girls are making pizzas for dinner and we have some DVDs rented from the video store (that they chose) so it should make for a nice family evening.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Struggle Street

Yes, that's me suffering from a good dose of BMW syndrome over my crook AC joint - bitch, moan and whine...

It's been a compelling reason to keep any goals I have quiet for now - I've had a flare up over the last couple of weeks (that came oddly after I spoke about my RPM goal, surprise surprise). The ol pelvis has chipped in to join the pity party and with this going on, I haven't felt much like blogging.

All of my injury complaints have been doing my head in - out of left field. Yesterday I receive a phone call from my mother - "you need to stop working at the gym and do your GAMSAT - you know you'd be a fantastic doctor". Then, I spoke to hubs, telling him the "crazy thing" my mother had told me to do. Expecting him to say, "that's just crazy," he instead told me that my mother was actually right and that I should go for it because I would be awesome.

GAMSAT is the Graduate Admissions Medical Test here - it's a 6 hour exam and to actually get through it would be a marvellous achievement in itself so I have thoughts of giving it a crack just for the heck of it. The problem is that if I went to UQ, although I fulfil Grade Point Av requirements, it's been more than 10 years since I did my last degree (oh dear, that sounds like I collect them) which may put me out of the running. The last time I fronted up for GAMSAT, I found I was preggers with Miss S, so I had to cancel the exam as I couldn't picture studying medicine with a young baby.

Incidentally applications close next week - have been trying to feel if this is where the universe is trying to direct me......could I, should I, this would be a huge decision and have to be done for the right reasons....

On other fronts, our house is nearing completion - floorboards are being polished next week, pool fence to be certified, pool to be filled and carpets and flyscreens to be organized after the handover - very excited about new house and my new office :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ten Things I Love

Thanks to Steph for inspiring this one...

Ten things I love, I don't know where to start.....

Teaching RPM has surely grabbed my heart.

Then there is watching the sunrise, with a hearty mug of tea.

And my gorgeous hubby who loves to be with me.

What about the sound of the waves on the sand?

And holding onto both daughters tiny little hands?

There's also the joy of laughing with my friends ,

and saying, "no more heavy shit, I've really reached the end."

Learning new things every day and being a fantastic coach

Helping all my clients with an individual approach.

A shiny new pedicure, a massage of my head...

And when is all said and done, there's reading in my bed.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ye Olde Blogge Ramble

I've been quiet on the blog front of late, because I've been thinking. Plus I have discovered that when I take on several things I do them, but not very well! In fact, I barely keep my head above water! I've been quietly discarding the superfluous from my life, mostly physical stuff as we prepare to move and realizing that at the end of the day, we don't need much to be truly happy.

To do something really well, one needs to prioritize. This is why Olympic athletes live their whole lives around their training - it's impossible to achieve that standard with everything else humming away in the background. It's what makes Figure Competitions so appealing to many - it's what got me competing in the first place - 20 weeks to focus on me, me, me!

I've been searching for that priority in my fitness life lately. I make a start, and feel like I get waylaid by injuries, class fills, and other minutiae I'd rather do without. Last Friday I blogged about my RPM Assessment with Maka which was an incredible learning experience - was a bit overwhelmed with the feedback but was able to take some of it into my class today and it really rocked - felt so strong, so powerful on the bike and alive! I really put the intensity on and toughed it out, even though there were some points where I just wanted to fade badly.

Inspired by this, I've signed up for an Advanced Instructor Module for RPM with Les Mills in February, exactly one month away. My goal and my intention is to really nail this module both with fitness and my presentation. Soooooo, I'm putting my first goal out there for the year. The module is locked in and I'd be doing myself a great disservice by turning up as less than the best version of myself. A month isn't too long to focus, the kids are going back to school and I'm not doing any pharmacy work. Me, me, me and RPM sounds rather nice! The aim of this being to have another crack at LMA auditions in May. I feel funny writing about this - I've had thoughts of "what if I don't succeed and I've got to blog about it again?" It's the same feeling I had when I came dead last in Figure Intermediate all those years ago - but I look back on that comp with pride - I did the best I could and arrived in the best condition I've achieved. So, if I don't make it, I'm going to look at it as a wonderful learning experience and I can only become a better coach and teacher for making the effort.

The plan involves doing what I can in the gym - mostly at this stage, very specific strength work and Pilates, indoor and outdoor cycling.

Nutrition wise, I do best on a good balance of foods - deprivation is not a term that I care to have in my vocabulary. Self care by honouring myself with the best nutrition that works for me is what I do best.

Katie has written a couple of thought provoking posts in the last few days. The one I've linked to, I could have written word for word. When I moved to the middle of nowhere and knew nobody, I felt exactly the same. Even though I'm a tried and true introvert, the importance of connection cannot be underestimated. That is how I got into blogging and found "my tribe" - all the other girls around competing in Figure in 2006.

The last six months or so has seen an evolution of the tribe I want to hang out with in the blogosphere. I've retained some excellent internet and real life friendships and others in my tribe have moved away from my circle as our lives and interests have diverged. This has puzzled me and saddened me at times, but I think there is an element of "nature" in it. I have evolved as well and cannot expect that the same people who thought I was cool back then to may be think I'm crash hot now I've had four years or so blogging about my neuroses. Though I must also say, I've met some pretty cool bloggers in the past few months whose blogs I love to read and comment on (waving!).

I too, feel happiest when I have a deep sense of connection with people too - Katie is an example of someone who I started with in a completely different context to where we are now. Same with many of my others like Shelley, Shan, Kerryn , Nicole and Kirst (if I've left anyone out, it's because I'll run out of room mentioning how fantastic you all are). True friendships grow - and embrace changes.

Meanwhile, I have still got one foot strongly leveraged in the Figure camp with girls who are prepping for various shows during the year. We're even going Fitness for the All Females in July - different training focus - just love the challenge of bringing in a smashing hot body that is going to spin some fantastic moves as well as look sensational - can't wait. All the other girls are doing really well, training hard and not turning into carb depleted lunatics. I'm so proud of 'em!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dance!

The Ants in your Pants Dance! -- powered by flowgo.com


Ever wanted to dance just like you've got ants in your pants?

I'm breaking out, I'm running free....I'm taking hip hop lessons next term! Just for something different.

Got up and trained this morning before coming home to house appointment. Now we're at the business end of things tying everything up and getting ready to move.

Speaking of moving I do have a couple of things on the sale tray this week

1 X Copy of "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson which is an excellent Paleo book I bought from "Mark's Daily Apple" - Mark is an former endurance athlete and Crossfitter...it's an excellent read - contact me - 15.00 + postage.

2 x Copies available of Cathe KickMAX
(was 35.00 now 20.00 each + postage)

2 x Copies of Cathe Low Max
which is a butt burning workout I used to shape the top of my legs for comp prep. I still recommend it to prospective clients. USes a step. Was 35.00 now 20.00.

Contact me via thefitnesssolution
if you are interested.

I also have some freebies if anyone is interested.

"Portable Personal Trainer" Eric Harr,
"Yoga" Jesse Chapman

Just need to pay for the postage!