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Fitness Week 9 – I can’t believe I’m still at it

This is incredible. I’m usually quite good in the walking front but keeping up with the exercise… Well let’s just say, I might binge for a month or two and then stop. It’s been my way for decades.

I’ve hit the two month mark!

Saturday: did the usual walk

Sunday: Hit the gym for a warm up that involved four minutes of jogging and then weights, weights, weights.

Monday: Nothing.

Tuesday: Back to Olga! Just when I’m feeling good about being able to do exercises that I couldn’t do before, she ups the load. I woke on Wednesday with dead legs!

Wednesday: Nothing.

Thursday: Yoga

Friday: Usual walk.

Water: Haven’t been too good.

It’s a fact. It’s routine!

Fitness Week 8 – exercising when routines are changed.

A long weekend and then a three day work conference put up some challenges to my exercise routine. Did I stick at it?

I nearly missed a gym session on the long weekend. But I knew I couldn’t start skipping sessions. I have to do this for my health. I felt a little guilty when it looked like I’d missed my second session. So seems I’ve absorbed the expectation that I will do this.

Saturday: After French lessons, I was exhausted. So I had a midday nap of two hours. Then I went for a walk.

Sunday: Nothing. Spent the afternoon with a friend at a geranium nursery and cafe and then visiting her father’s property to get some cuttings. Came home, tired. But with this beautiful plant:

Monday: Did the usual walk. And found this massive, perfectly formed leaf among the autumn droppings.

Then, feeling guilty that I missed my second weights session of the week, and knowing I would miss Tuesday’s PT session as I’d be at a conference, I went to the gym.

Tuesday: walk along Manly Beach, the venue of the conference. No Olga today as I am away from home and the day and evening schedule is full with work conference stuff.

Wednesday: dawn walk along the beach. Just looking at this photo lowers my blood pressure.

Thursday: last day of conference so last dawn walk. I am very lucky to get to walk in such a beautiful place. A walk in the pre-dawn light, watching the sun rise, is a wonderful, centring way to start the day. I wish I could do it in my own area. And I wish my working day, and Sydney traffic, allowed it.

Then, as I wasn’t at work to go my yoga lesson, I went to a Body Balance class in the afternoon. The instructor was fun. I feel bad because I’m unlikely to go as I normally do yoga and the instructor may think I didn’t enjoy her class.

Friday: I was all set to go to the gym for my weekly PT session which I moved due to the work conference. Then my trainer called in sick. I worked back and then went home and collapsed on my bed. Read, watched TV and had a couple of drinks. Even if my trainer wasn’t sick, I don’t think Fridays at the gym will work for me. I’m always too tired to do much on a Friday.

Fitness Week 6 – can you see a difference?

So I’ve been exercising for six weeks. “Can you see a difference?” I ask lots of people.

Mr S, “Definitely!” And he demonstrates how my waist goes in.

People at work give varied responses. From a hesitant, “Mmm, yes. Can you?” To, “Yes, you are more toned around your thighs.”

And me, do I notice a difference?

I can wear high heels again at work and walk around in them and not suffer.

I am stronger and have more stamina and a quicker pace on my usual walk.

My legs feel slimmer, and more toned. My butt firmer.

But my waist doesn’t feel slimmer. I still have back rolls and a wibbly belly. My skirts are still too tight and my breasts ginormous.

I have to face it. I need to change my diet.

Saturday: even after my big Saturday – French lessons, lunch in city, theatre – I still went to the gym. I warmed up with a 10 min walk and jog (yes I jogged, though only three of the ten minutes was jogging, but still.) Weights on the machines. Not enough abdominals, actually really nothing, but I realised I am too fatigued to do stomach work after all the other exercises.

Tuesday’s with Olga. Before the PT session, I warmed up with a 10 min walk and jog with four jogging sessions this time. I asked Olga if we could start with abdominal exercises as I’m always too fatigued by the end to do them. So we started with them. I always say be careful what you wish for. Oh ah ow. Olga pushes me in a way I’d never do.

Thursday: yoga was lovely as usual but either it was the particular pose or my back was ready to go with all the sitting I did that day, but I had a little spasm. It sent the message and I didn’t continue with the pose. Now maybe it is a sign that I am getting stronger but I didn’t have any problems with my back after the class.

Not enough walking this week. The wind has been crazy and I hate walking around my suburb with all the trees in the wind. And it has been cold, and then there’s work. And it was my birthday.

Friday: big walk. We didn’t do our usual walk. There was back burning in the bush near where we walk and the track was closed. So we walked the other way, across the highway which normally acts better than a Trump Wall to stop the two sides mixing. There’s bush tracks over there too. We had to hurry before the sun set as the track was difficult enough without it being dark. We went up hill and down dale. Despite being only 13°, I worked up a sweat. I was puffing and felt my butt working.

Now, am I up to changing my diet? I will think about it over a Friday drink.

The sun setting through the smoke. Later, while on our walk, the sun was bright red but I didn’t have my phone.

Fitness Week 4*

*changed the title of tracking my current exercise posts from Fernwood Gym to Fitness, as it is clear I am happy with my gym choice. Now to see if I can actually do more that a couple of months of exercise.

How have I gone this week?

Mmm. Skipped a work out on Saturday. I had French lessons and then went out to lunch and to see a play at the Opera House.

But don’t you fret and don’t you frown, cause I went to the gym on Sunday. Did weights!

I know, amazing, huh? I’m sticking with a weekend weights workout!

Even though I kind of push myself, I’ve realised it is nothing compared to Olga. So I have decided that I will continue with a PT.

This week, at my Tuesday PT session, Olga had me pushing something that looked like equipment the front row of the All Blacks rugby team push to practice scrums. And she had me doing all manner of squats. And she’s upped the weight on the leg press machine. Apparently you are meant to press your body weight – giving me another reason to lose weight. And the abdominal work we did! Phew! I do normally avoid or cheat on abominable abdominal exercises. Amazing how hard you can work in 30 minutes.

Yes, I will definitely continue with a PT. It’s exxy, but if I get stronger (and hopefully slimmer) then it is worth it.

I think I am already stronger. My guide? I can wear high heels to work all day again and not have to swap them for flats after an hour or two. And I’ve done some gardening and not been crippled from back pain.

I know I have to change my eating to actually lose weight. But as that is not currently on my micro-ambitious goals, it has to wait.

Thursday’s yoga was cancelled. Arghh! It was too late for me to psych myself up to face the traffic to go to the gym. The traffic is always worse on Thursday nights.

I was quite disappointed. I may make it up this weekend. Stay tuned for next week’s fitness post to see if I make amends.

I did the usual walk on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday after the PT session and a short walk on Friday. The light is lovely. Look at the setting sun lighting up the red leaves.

Exercise log week 3

My last week of exercise while I am on leave.

Will I be able to sustain the regularity when I am back at work? Pilates is in my diary, so that is safe. But I cannot dodge out of work early every day. Weekends are generally free to do two walks and one set of exercises. So I need to fit in another two walks and one set of exercises.

Anyway, here’s my log for the past week:

Day 1: 3.18km walk in 32 minutes. My set exercises.
Day 2: 3.2km walk.
Day 3: 4.2km walk in 47 minutes.
Day 4: 4.2km in 44 minutes.
Day 5: 4.2km walk in 46 minutes. 1 hour Pilates.
Day 6: 2.75km walk in 26 minutes. My set exercises.
Day 7 Yesterday: Nothing! Sydney had a bad day. The wind was wild and I live in an area with lots of trees. Too dangerous to walk as branches of gum trees (also known as widowmakers as they drop branches) can fall without warning. And Sydney was ringed by bush fires; the sky was orange and full of smoke. So too smokey to walk. (And my thoughts are with the many who have lost their homes.)

Droptober review of Day 14 to 17.
Day 14: No bikkies or cake or waffles or any high fat and sweet things.
Day 15: one piece of chocolate.
Day 16: one piece of chocolate.
Day 17: no baddies passed my lips. As in none of those things I dropped.

Latest round of exercises

Oh, she’s a cruel woman, my exercise physiologist.

No actually she is just a young, fit whippersnapper who loves sport and exercise.

And I do feel sorry for her, trying to motivate and push me. Madness, I know, given the pain I suffer with my back and that I pay her to give me exercises, but I do try to bargain down the number and repetitions that I have to do.

She is also a stickler for form. Exercises have to done correctly or the intended muscles won’t be worked. I strongly recommend getting someone who knows the correct form, stance, move to show you and guide you rather than just doing them on your own.

Anyway here’s the update on my next round of exercises:
1. Dead lifts, 3 sets of 12 with 15 kilos. I have trouble with the correct form of these. I tend not to move from the hips but just complete the movement with my shoulders.
2. Lunges, 3 sets of 15 on each side. These are killers! Oh my hip flexors!
3. Step-ups, 3 sets of 15 on each side. I have to watch the stability of my pelvis and knee, hip and angle alignment. I am stepping up two steps on my verandah. On the top I lift my knee up, and then return the foot to the start. This one really makes me sweat.

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4. Side plank from the knee, 3 sets each side with 15 leg lifts. I am only able to do 12 leg lifts this far. But I am building up. Previously I could only do 10 leg lifts.

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5. Plank, 3 lots of 30 to 60 seconds. I am only at 22 seconds at the moment, but I will build up.

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I have also added bicep curls, 2 sets of 8 at 7.5 kg, and triceps, 2 sets of 10 at 4 kilos.

And a range of stretches focusing on my backside, hamstrings, hip flexor, back and side of my body. You can look here for some stretches I do.

Droptober update
Flippin’ ‘eck. That banana bread is delish! I was cursing my husband for bringing it in.

“Don’t you know I am trying to avoid fatty things?”

“Yes, but you can have it for breakfast instead of toast. And you don’t need to put anything on it. You’re looking good. Droptober’s working.”

“I’ve only lost half a kilo.”

“We’ll, the shape of your waist has changed.”

Is there anymore motivation to NOT have that second piece than knowing your husband has noticed your weight loss?

So this far in Day 12, I have only had one “naughty” thing, a slice of the banana bread. Did I tell you it is 40% banana?

Staying strong! Hope it holds for the afternoon and evening.

Exercise log Week 2

Funnily enough, keeping an exercise log has kept me focused and has motivated me. I wouldn’t have thought that it would have made such a difference. But I suppose who wants to have an empty space on one’s log?

It has also helped me keep track of what exercise I have done and when I have done it, so I can see, “Oh, today I have to do some weights.”

So here is my last 7 days:

Day 1: 4.27km walk in 46 minutes. My set exercises. I know I said I would post these but I haven’t got around to it. I have a new set for the next 4 weeks, so will post these soonish.

And I did 30 minutes of yoga stretches, from a DVD for bad backs.

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I borrowed this from the public library. My back was starting to play up again and this really helped improve my mobility. Without this I would have had to take pain killers. It may seem counter-intuitive, but if your back is playing up, generally rest and immobility will only make it worse. This DVD also has some good information on treatments for bad backs. Well worth watching if you suffer recurrent back pain.

Day 2: 40 minute walk. Forgot to wear my GPS watch so don’t have the distance.

Day 3: 3.16km walk in 37 minutes. Slow because my back was stiff. Then some hip, back and hamstring stretches.

Day 4: 3.16km walk in 35 minutes. And 45 minutes of stretching from another DVD borrowed from the library. Stretch and Re-energise. It wasn’t as good as the Mayo Clinic one. But I will do it once more before returning it to the library. I know all the stretches and can do them myself but I find it helps following someone else, especially to ensure I don’t rush them.

Day 5: 1 hour Pilates. I do an equipment class. It really helps with mobility.

Day 6: 3.16km walk. And my weights and set exercises.

Day 7: 3.2km in 35 minutes. And 30 minutes of stretching and some strength and mobility exercises from the Strong Women series. Miriam Nelson has another book Strong Women Strong Backs which I found really useful. Nelson’s books are easy to read and she gives simple exercises to do.

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I also watched this DVD.

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Everyday Basics for a Better Back. Again from my library. It gave good advice on posture, stretching and strengthening your core. Definitely worth another look.

Droptober review of Day 11: I had 2 pieces of banana bread. Does this count as cake? My darling husband bought it. And it proves my theory, if it is in the house, I will eat it. It is mainly made from banana – 40% in fact. So kinda healthy. It was yummy.

I realised as I ate it that I tend to over-eat when I am eating while doing other things, eg doing a Sudoko. That’s because I don’t notice I am eating. So I decided to eat this piece mindfully. I savoured it and ate slowly and stopped reading the paper. Result: 1 piece was enough.

2 weeks of exercise and 10 days of Droptober, drum roll please …….

I have lost 0.5 kilos.

So I am 69 kilos.

Next weigh-in in 4 weeks time. Hope the half a kilo a fortnight continues. Skip right pass me as I am dreaming now. I might be 68 kilos then!?!

Keep an exercise log.

My exercise physiologist has asked me to keep a log of my exercise for a fortnight.

Well, when you write it down, it is not so easy to fudge what you have or have not done.

The blank row next to a day looks very empty.

It is not enough to do a walk every day. I have to build my core and backside muscles to support my back. While walking helps keep my back subtle, it doesn’t build the muscles where I need building. Also, walking everyday without enough stretches was tightening my quad and hip flexor muscles which added to my lower back problems.

And if you want to lose weight, walking is not enough. Lots of studies have shown that replacing some cardio with strength training burns more calories and builds more muscles which raises your metabolism.

Regular planned exercise or physical activity will also lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol. Which I need to do.

So for strength and weight loss my exercise physiologist has advised me to do weights. At least twice a week. And my hour of Pilates once a week.

There’s no denying the fact that I find the weight exercises very boring. I enjoy my walks. I can dream, think, plan, destress and get some fresh air. Look at this view from one of my walks.

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You have to admit that is more interesting than staying in a room doing exercises?

Anyway, here’s my log for the past week:

Day 1: 4.2km walk in 50 minutes. My set exercises. (I will post these tomorrow.)
Day 2: 9.85km bush walk in 2 hours 20 minutes.
Day 3: 2.66km walk in 28 minutes.
Day 4: NOTHING!!!
Day 5: 1 hour Pilates.
Day 6: 5.24km walk in 56 minutes.
Day 7: Lots of walking/strolling – to the Post Office, to the train station, around the city.

And Droptober review of Day 4? No bikkies or cake or chocolate or pastries. Today should be OK, but I might weaken tomorrow with a special day out with my husband.

First month to a leaner me

One month into my Year to be Lean and time to reflect on my journey to gorgeous, healthy and organised living as well as my 2013 resolutions.

I haven’t bought any clothes!!!

I have decluttered more than one item a day and nearly 20 pieces of clothing.

I have made a start on organising 6 years of financial paperwork.

My feet and nails are doing OK. My toe nails look gorgeous but I am still having issues with the skin on one foot. Need to scrub more regularly.

I have been continuing my Healthy Me Plan from August last year. Well, sort of doing a Christmas one. Pilates was on holiday break, and I was sporadic on the weights, doing them about once a week. I was pretty good on the walking front. Looking at each week I did the following number of walks and total walking minutes:

    Monday 31 Dec to Sunday 6: 5 walks of 220 minutes in total(20 minutes less than Cate says is needed)
    Monday 7 to Sunday 13: 7 walks of 388 minutes
    Monday 14 to Sunday 20: 4 walks of 133 minutes – did go to Pilates in this week
    Monday 21 to Sunday 27: 7 walks of 378 minutes
    Monday 28 to Thursday 31: 2 walks of 73 minutes – did go to Pilates and yoga

I have been drinking plenty of water and still not eating much white bread. Fruit consumption has been sporadic. Some days I eat a tonne and others none. Sleeping has been all over the place, partly from being in a lazy, holiday time zone and partly from not really caring if I sleep in or nap throughout the day. But I am getting 7 hours a night.

Now the working year is underway, I will refocus on my Healthy Me plan, getting exercise into my diary as part of my routine.

And my weight = 65.5 kg. Not great as I haven’t lost weight but haven’t put too much on over Christmas and holiday.

Item decluttered today = A David Lawrence dress that I bought nearly 8 years ago. I hardly wore it because Mr Sans didn’t really like it. My shape has changed since then and it isn’t that flattering on me.

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Walking is not enough. Lift some weights

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Walking is not enough. For fitness, for health nor for weight weight loss.

Lifting weights will help protect loss of muscle tone that comes with age. Walking won’t. More muscle means a higher metabolic rate which means higher fat burning.

Lifting weights also builds bone tissue which prevents osteoporosis. And helps strengthen your core.

I have used the Strong Women books and exercises from my Pilates classes to devise my strength exercises. Every so often I alter the routine in a number of ways: up the weight, increase number, change exercise. I aim to so these twice a week but often can only manage once a week.

Here’s my current routine:

1. Bicep curl: 7kg, 2 sets of 8. I alternate the sets with:
2. Wide leg squats: 2 sets of 15, on the 15th squat I hold and lift my heels alternating each heel for 15.
3. Upward row: 7kg, 2 sets of 8. I alternate the sets of the upward row with:
4. Squats: 2 sets of 15.
5. Overhead press: 7kg, 2 sets of 8.
6. Lunges: 2 sets of 12 to 15, depending on how my legs feel.
7. Triceps dips: 2 sets of 12.
8. Abdominal curls: 2 sets of 8. I alternate these sets with:
9. Pelvic lift: 2 sets of 8.
10. Abdominal curls with a twist: 2 sets of 8 on each side.
11. I finish off with pushup from the knees: 2 sets of 12 to 15.

In between exercises I do some stretches.

Today’s decluttered item = I quite like these sandals and have had them for a number of years. Unfortunately one heel broke (luckily at the end of the day so I didn’t have to limp around) so this is an easy declutter.

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