This weeks small challenge

Hi.  I hope you’ve had a productive and enjoyable day.  I was working with several clients who have recently been made redundant.  It’s always an interesting experience getting to know them.  It starts off quite emotional, when they’re first told of being made redundant.   They’re vulnerable, shocked and more than a little nervous about what the future holds.  My role is to help them find other suitable employment as soon as possible.  What I love is seeing their perspective shift from “this is crap” to “wow, there’s heaps of cool possibilities”.  There’s a saying that says something (that’s what sayings do apparently) about helping others and in return you help yourself.  I’m not sure who said it, or even exactly what they said but I know it’s true.  Whenever I’m feeling miserable I know it’s good to stop thinking about myself and focus on someone else.  BTW, that doesn’t mean that I’m always successful in doing this…  Anyway, that’s what I get to do, focus on someone else, when working with my clients and it’s always beneficial for me to do that, even if I’m not feeling miserable.

Hmmm.  Not sure how I got onto that topic….  Oh yeah that’s it.  Having trouble with your fitness goals?  Finding it difficult to stick to your food plan?  Don’t want to go out and do any exercise?  Might I suggest a spot of “doing it with a friend?”  Get out of your own way, stop worrying about yourself so much and focus on the friend.  See if you can help them through your example, agree a session together and turn up to collect them so they can’t pull out, going out for drinks?  Agree in advance to eat a healthy salad before hand or something?  If you pair up you might find it easier to hold yourself accountable and get instant support when you need it.  Let me know how you go.

This weeks challenge was to get off the couch.  Put simply, it was move more.  It doesn’t have to be a marathon but be conscious that lots of small movements adds up.  For example for me that means don’t drive to the dog park, walk there.   Park further away from the shopping centre entrance and that’s about all I can think of now, but you get the picture right?  Tony’s probably a better person to talk to about this as it links well with his five minute fitness philosophy.

So far, I’m drinking more water, sleeping 7-8 hours (most nights) and now adding more movement to my day.  All doable so far.

Anger’s not a bad emotion to train with

Have you ever done that?  Been really angry at or about something and then gone to training?  As an adolescent growing up I practiced martial arts.  I definitely remember getting pissed off about something and then taking it out on the heavy bag.  Much better there than on my friends or family.

I was a little angry over the weekend.  It’s a sad but true fact of life that from time to time one will inevitably get angry at or with their partner.  I wasn’t alone in this.  Kirt was pretty angry at me too.

After several failed attempts at resolution the weekend seemed doomed to one of cold hostility and withdrawal.  Again it’s a shame, but it happens – two otherwise mature human beings stuck in a negative cycle neither wants to be in but doesn’t know how to get out of.

Anyway.  We’ve come out the other side and are all good.  Beside, relationships is not what I want to talk about.  I want to talk about how good it was to train angry.  I had a killer session, pushed waaaay harder than normal and actually walked out of the gym feeling much, much better.

So.  Why did I push harder?  I was thinking about this last night.  I think it was my goal.  My focus for that session was literally “How can I best smash myself?”.

I’ll let you know what I came up with shortly.  What’s your focus or goal when you turn up to a session?  I know that sometimes, my goal is survival.  I want to survive and get through the session.  I’m not going to do that anymore.  I don’t want to survive.  I want to test myself and find my old limits while setting new ones.  I want to walk out of the session knowing I left not one bit behind.  I want Tony to look forward to training me and not to have to ‘coax’ a session out of me.

Yesterday it took getting angry with the world to realise the benefits of that sort of training focus but I don’t have to be angry to decide that I want to perform the best, toughest, most intense workout I can on any given day.  The really wonderful thing about this focus was it left NO ROOM FOR THINKING.  I was not thinking about what mad me angry, what I should’ve said, how unfair it was, nothing.  Not about the other person or the situation.  I was focused on lifting the weight as well as I could, as many times as I could.  Pause and repeat.  So, what was the workout I did you ask?  I pondered several options and I’m going to attempt them all at some point.

First Option.

  • 21, 15, 9  (Squat cleans & dips)  AFAP – Timed.

Second Option – Naughty Forty (40 reps AFAP of each of the following)

  • Deadlifts
  • D’Bell Snatch
  • Push Press  (not sure of the weights but challenging, perhaps 70% of my 1 Rep Max).

Third Option (this is the one I did)

  • 3km Tempo Run (fast pace)
  • Squat Cleans into push press (45kg) – till failure
  • Squat Cleans (45kg) 3 x 8 reps
  • Increasing weight squat cleans, 3 reps at a time till failure to lift one rep.
  • 10 slooooow reps on Shoulder Press (machine) into push press till failure
  • Skull Crushers into seated press downs – till failure for 3 sets.
  • Fit ball jack knife, crunch, pike, press up, knee twist things.  Max reps x 3 sets.

It was the Squat cleans that blew out the cobwebs.  They’re soooo challenging for me that even on a light weight after about 8 reps I’m starting to get gassed.  Load the bar up a bit and I know I’m in for one hell of a hiding.

I’m looking forward to the gym this afternoon.  Not sure what I’ll do.  I should probably stick to the plan or run the risk of overlapping what’s Tony’s got in store for me tomorrow.

So my message for you is this.  If you find yourself angry.  Go and train.  It’ll probably be one of the best workouts you’ve done and what’s more.  You won’t feel so angry when you’re done.

You Know you Can trust a Friend when…

They don’t take advantage of you when you’re vulnerable.

While enjoying our Australia Day celebrations we got to talking yesterday about our friends, trust and how you know if they’re trustworthy.  We got to this topic talking about my training and how much you (I) have to trust my trainer in order to get the most out of the program.  For instance, I have to trust in the food plan, I need to trust that the program is the right mix of weights and cardio for me, I have to trust that the exercises won’t hurt me, and I have to trust in Tony’s tips and cues when performing the exercises, I have to trust that he won’t give me a weight that’s too heavy (or too light) and also that he won’t let me drop said weight on myself.  There’s a lot of trust.  I’ve also got to trust him enough to feel comfortable pushing for (and finding) my limits.  I’m revealing my core psychology to my trainer in a deep, unfiltered, honest sort of a way.  And I couldn’t do that without trusting him to respect me, support me and challenge me.  So how do I trust someone?  I guess you’ve got to put something at risk first and see what they do with it.  I also get a strong ‘vibe’ from how the other person behaves.  In Tony’s case he’s not getting me to do anything he hasn’t done (or wouldn’t do) himself.  That makes me feel more comfortable.

So trust in relationships is important.  And you know you can trust someone when they don’t take advantage of you when you’re vulnerable.  I was up at Coolum on the beach over Christmas and a mate and I were playing around with my traction kite.  It’s a double line (two handles to hold) 3m kite designed for pulling you along on a skateboard or buggy, or just messing around on your own two feet.  It’s a little scary this kite.  My 2nd play with it and I got dragged on my belly towards a road while the kite spun uncontrollably in front of me.  Anyway, Andrew and I had set it up, untangle the lines and were having some fun flying it.  I decided to try and practice some body drags through the water.  So picture this.    Here’s Sean, both hands tightly held onto the control lines (let go and the kite fly’s off to the horizon) and being dragged through the water.  Wearing only boardies and sunnies.  Boardies I hadn’t done up tight.  Boardies that when being dragged against the water have a tendency to fall down.  Sean with his hands in the air, not being able to let go of kite and pants half way down his ass.  On a public beach.

“Andrew!!!!”  I screamed.  “come and pull my pants up.”  “quickly”.

Well I reckon the thought crossed his mind because it certainly crossed my mind.  To his credit he did not ‘dack’ me but rather helped cover my potential embarrassment and pulled my pants up again.  Whew!  I did not relish the thought of being pants’d on a public beach with no way of being able to pull my pants back up again.  I guess that’s trust hey?

Loving Life

Gee, I love it with things just ‘click’ into place.

The past week or so has been excellent and I think it’s got to do with my new attitude.  I’ve been really focusing on something Tony said awhile ago.

Well two things actually.

The first one, and I’ve already mentioned this to you, was about being content with the effort you’ve put in, irrespective of the outcome.  Sure, when it doesn’t go as well as you’d perhaps hoped it’s not just a simple matter of saying to yourself “oh well, I tried.”  Of course you need to review your approach, change a few things around and try again but it serves no purpose beating the crap out of yourself and feeling awful.  I’ve adopted this attitude lately and I think it’s really starting to work for me.  I’ve noticed as a result of focusing on input rather than output and in being more relaxed about the inputs I am committing to I’m actually doing more or better and as a result, getting better outcomes!

Neat trick hey.

Something I commented on today was that when I ‘beat myself up’ about a diet slip, or missing a session that feeling tended to compound and I’d miss another session or make another bad food choice thinking something like “well I’ve stuffed it already, whats it matter?”.  Now with less pressure on myself to be 100% compliant every minute of every day, I’m allowing the odd (usually planned but sometimes not) indulgence but am accommodating it with an extra training session.  I’m also ‘getting back on the program’ much quicker rather than wallowing in, I don’t know… self-pity, guilt whatever.

That takes me to my next change.  I’m training to eat.  Or drink.  I look at my week and think about what I’ve got coming up.  Whether it’s a farewell dinner, an Aust Day BBQ or a client lunch I look at it and think, “right, better make sure I hit all my sessions this week and maybe squeeze an extra one or two in somewhere.  Like yesterday for instance.  It’s Australia day and I had a beer or two and some saussies on the barby.  Not great dieting food but you know, kinda obligatory really.

So my plan was to get up early and get a decent run in before festivities commence.  Then I can have my beer guilt free.  Oh, I also plan on having a sober weekend so that’ll be a couple of sessions and good healthy food all weekend which will also help to make up for any bbq.

So.  Do some training prior to your weekend or special event celebrations and get right back on the plan immediately after and enjoy your reward.

Take care.

Results are in! Christmas is a difficult time to lose weight.

Well I had another measure last week.  This one was always going to be a doozy as it covered the Christmas/New Year period.  I think you know, this is a traditionally difficult time for me as I usually take my finger off the button, lay around eating too much food and doing zero activity.  One of my earlier blog posts (pre christmas) was my plan to stay on track over the holiday period.  In summation, I didn’t stick to my plan but the break was  much better this year.  I found that the downtime didn’t last as long and although I did overindulge, I didn’t seem to do it as frequently as previous years.

I was dreading the measure, feeling pretty certain that I would in fact have gone backwards.  As it turned out I was in for a pleasant surprise.  I managed to drop 1 kilo off and 3mm off my skin folds, meaning the weight loss was most likely fat.  Whew!  I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I felt like I’d dodged a bullet and was reinvigorated to push hard for the next 3 weeks.

Why 3 weeks you ask?

Because in 3 weeks time I get on a plane and head to the States with my lovely wife to celebrate my 40th birthday!!!  Gulp.  OMG!!  I can’t believe I’ve been around for that long.  I know its just a number and I’m working hard to make sure I’m physically fit, resilient and healthy but it is a number that means I’ve been around for a bit.

So here are my measurements.

Skin Folds

Wed 21 Dec

Wed 18 Jan

Tricep

8.00

8.00

Bicep

4.10

3.80

Subscap

12.80

12.00

Suprailliac

10.60

10.80

Subtotal

35.50

34.60

Abdominals

24.40

23.00

Midax (males)

10.40

10.00

Thigh

15.80

15.80

Calf

8.70

8.50

Other

Total

94.80

91.90

We forgot to take photos but there’s very little obvious change from the previous pics.  I will definitely post pics of my final measure in a couple of weeks time.  I’m keen to see any differences between the first pics and those ones and am training hard and eating well on the final stretch.

Here’s my weight:

Wed 21 Dec

Wed 18 Jan

Weight

81.80

80.70

I’m Better when I’m Busy

I don’t know what it is about this.  If I’ve got all day to do something, whether its going to the gym, writing a report, making a phone call, whatever – it seems to take me a whole day  and then some!  Crazy but unfortunately it’s true for me.

The flip side of this is that when I’m busy I seem to be better.  Better coordinated, less procrastination, even more energy and vitality.  These past few days have been pretty busy for me and it’s been great.  I’ve gotten in my workouts and did them well. I’ve been eating well and as a result I’m starting to feel good again.  I’ll tell you whats crazy. My self-image changes based on how I’m feeling.  When I feel good I swear I look fitter, leaner, more defined than when I’m feeling shit.  Now I know my body doesn’t change overnight but my self perception certainly does.

Something I’ve shared before that I find challenging is to be happy with where you’re at when you’re not where you want to be.  For instance say I want to lose 10kg’s (I don’t, but lets say that I did).  At any given point until I’ve achieved that I’m not where I want to be.  Anyway Tony shared something that struck a chord for me.  The secret is about being happy with the effort you’ve put in (diet, training etc), rather than focusing on the result (eg/ weight loss).  This explained my ho hum mood this past few weeks.  I’ve not been putting in much effort and that’s been bugging me.

I now seem to be back on the horse again.  Geez what an emotional see-saw I am hey?

Have a great weekend guys.  I’ll post my measurement/weigh in results tomorrow.

Why do I want to be fab at 40?

I was chatting with Tony this afternoon at our session.   One of the things I was worried about (see previous post) was whetherI had an appropriate reason for my goal, thus motivating me to make the right choices.  Turns out I didn’t have enough reasons.

Here’s my revised list:

Health – I want to live well (active, able bodied, disease free) for as long as I can.
Fitness – this is linked to my health but I also like being able to do the things I enjoy well.  At a certain level.  For instance if I was to go for a run (which I quite enjoy) I don’t want to labour over 3kms.  I want to be able to punch out a decent 5, 6 or even 8km run.  Its not about the time I do it in, its about my ability to hold a decent pace, maintain form, and feel like “I’ve got this”.
Look Good Naked.  This is something that’s probably linked to my primal brain about being attractive to the opposite sex.  In this case my lovely wife, Kirt.
Energy.  I want to be able to tackle the challenges that face me day to day.
Not repeat the mistakes of my Father.  Wonderful man, I love him dearly but he gambled with his health (I think genetics weren’t on his side either) and it has compromised the quality of his life from 45 onwards as a result.
Resilience.  Shit happens.  I want to be able to bounce back from adverse events.  This is as much about mental health as it is to do with physical fitness but for me my mental health is clearly linked to exercise.
Mental Health.  See above.  When I’m exercising regularly I feel and think better and am less likely to become depressed.
Inspire my Wife.  I want Kirt to be motivated to maintain her health through regular exercise and this is more likely if I’m doing the same thing.
Enjoy my Holidays.  As you know we like to go skiing.  It usually costs a lot of money and we’re only there for a short time, therefore we want to make the most of it and be able to ski all day and not have to miss out or come in early because I’m unfit.
Keep up with my younger friends.  I have quite a few friends who are 5, 6 and 7 years younger than me.  I’d rather be regarded as old thanks to some wisdom than arthritis and a pot belly.
Walk the Talk.  In my work I stand in front of many people and often preach about balance, mental health, EQ, etc.  I want to look like I follow my own advice.  It also doesn’t hurt to be physically attractive (in shape I mean, there’s nothing I can do about my mug) when meeting new clients and building professional relationships.

Ok.  That was useful.  I’m off to bed to get my zzzz’s now.

Nite all.