What Motivates You?

I’m curious, what motivates you to get out of bed early to run, or head to the gym when you really want to curl up on the sofa, or eat a healthy meal when it’s easier to grab takeout on the way home?

I was thinking about this recently.  No, not so much about what motivates you but rather what motivates me.  It’s been different things at different times depending on the goal I’ve set.  for instance, when preparing for the team 24hr Mtb race several years ago, I was real keen to get out and ride.  The triathlon was easy.  If I didn’t eat, sleep and train well then I was going to blow up on the race and regret it for weeks.  I didn’t want to regret it.  I was then training in cross fit for awhile and competing against some of the other blokes in the gym was motivating.  Mostly ego, but it got me moving nonetheless.  Most recently I was rapidly approaching 40, (funnily enough I’m now only 36???), and wanted to make sure I was in great shape for that milestone (yeah, yeah, insert something about mortality, mid-life crises here), on top of that Kirt and I were heading off for 10 days skiing and wanted to be fit for that.  Not to mention we needed to fit into our old ski gear.  Oh, I forgot one bit.  I was also seriously motivated by the fact that neither my work pants or shirts were fitting comfortably (in some cases at all) anymore.

So anyway, 40 has come and gone.  I managed to contain the typical holiday blowout and I’ve been training and eating well since my return.  I’m keen to see my measurements next actually.  But my problem is that I don’t really have anything to train for right now.  No races, no competition, no holiday, nothing.  Tony and I discussed preparing for a body building comp but that’s not really my scene so decided not to do that.  I know the UFC fighter is my ultimate athlete so there’s a bit of that in my motivation and I have recently joined a boxing gym to get my cardio in on some pads, bags an maybe a bit of sparring (I’m looking forward to that actually).  I’ve been a bit slack on my cardio lately.  I’ve not been for a run in ages and shudder at the thought of trying to do anything more challenging than a slow 4km shuffle.  Hard to believe that I have managed a 41min 10km and a 19min 5km, both in races after a swim and bike ride to boot!!  Have you noticed that?  That it’s hard to get [back] into something you used to do, and probably really enjoy, because you’re no longer as good as you were (or thought you were)?  I do it all the time.  I wonder what’s up there???

Anyway, I digress.  I was talking about motivation.  I think at the heart of it I want to be the fittest, healthiest, leanest, most muscular version of myself as I can be while not occasionally sacrificing late nights, booze, bad food, or even just too much good food etc.  Not a very clear source of motivation but right now I’m in the zone and it, or some version of it, seems to be working for me.  Not sure how I got here because I originally thought I was going to be talking about vanity or ego as a source of motivation.  I want to look good. I want to be healthier than the majority of my peers.  Primitive right?  It’s all about the male animal comparing itself to and competing with its ‘rivals’.

“Roar!!!!”  😉

It’s time!

“For what?”, I hear you ask.  Well good question actually.  For me it’s time to take some time away from booze.

I’ve currently got most of the important aspects of my life humming along nicely and the one area that I’d like to tweak a little is my alcohol consumption.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no boozehound and I don’t have a problem with alcohol (no disrespect intended if you do), but I do feel that I’m drinking a little more regularly than I really want to and each time I do, I’m tending to have a little more, stay up a little later and then suffer the consequences a little more the following day.  Not so much hungover as just lethargic and unmotivated.  I’m less likely to do  my training, more likely to make poor food choices and just generally waste a day.

So….. I decided it was time to back off the booze for a bit.  It’ll be interesting to see how I manage.  I’ve having a belated birthday party for my 40th on 21st April, my last drink was on the 24th March so that’s near enough a month for me.  My aim is to make it through the whole month without having a drink.  I’m quite excited about what that might mean for my fitness goals too because to avoid alcohol I’m going to be naturally drawn towards healthier activities.  I’ve always been reasonably good at avoiding temptation, but not at resisting it.

What’s the diff?

Well to my mind I can avoid temptations by influencing my environment, not exposing myself to the temptations in the first place.  I’m less effective at resisting said temptation (drink, food etc) if it’s right in front of me.  If I say I’m not going to drink, chances are I’ll avoid social gatherings where that’s on the agenda or set up something the next day that prevents me from drinking (although that has been known to fail as a strategy for me).

So, please don’t invite me to the party of the century with free booze, dancing troupes and a boat because I’ll find it hard to say no.  But do feel free to invite me on your swim, ride, bush walk etc.  So long as you don’t want to celebrate the achievement over a bottle of beer.  😉  Nah, each to their own. Enjoy your drink and I’ll see you back off the wagon on 21st April.

Be good or good at it.

A note to self…

Lazy. Fat.  Undisciplined. Undercooked.  Sloppy. Selfish. Small.  Weak. Disinterested. Incompetent.  Uncommitted. Ordinary. Ugly. Passionless.  These are all words I’ve heard you use to describe yourself.

Do me a favour self.  “Back the F@#k Up!”

You are strong, inspiring, professional, compassionate, empathetic, supportive, amazing, generous, loving, loyal, funny, dedicated, successful, courageous, warm, and nice. To say the least.

Please don’t speak to yourself like this anymore, I won’t tolerate it.  You wouldn’t say those things to a stranger, why say them to yourself?

Have a nice day.

Tracking Nicely. Slight tweaks required

Hi there.  How’s it going?  I’ve been busy, busy, busy with work since returning from holidays and I’ve still managed to eat really well and get in most of my training sessions.  Still a few tweaks to really tighten things up but isn’t that always the way with me?

I’ve been sticking to my eating plan almost religiously although I did have a major blow out last Friday night.  Kirt and I were due to visit a friends place for a few drinks and ran out of time to prepare dinner.  To be honest we ran out of food to prepare dinner too.  No drama I thought “we’ll make it our cheat day”.  Simple.  “So babe, what do you feel like eating?” I innocently asked.  “Hungry Jacks!” was the response.  Ok.  I can do that.  It’s getting less and less frequent but I still enjoy it as a junk food meal so went up the road to get some.  Problem was, I got the wrong burgers.  Not sooo tasty.  😦

Off to our friends we went and a few drinks ensued.  Great evening.  Until we were on our way home.  Chauffered I might add.  Our driver had heard about out burger blowout and decided she wanted in!  Now before you judge me, you try resisting a drunken (or at least slightly intoxicated) late night burger call.  Suffice to say neither Kirt nor I managed too.  Technically it was still Friday so it fit into my cheat day but even I know I was taking the piss a little.  To add insult to injury I was soo exhausted from a massive week, late night, poor diet and a few too many drinks I missed the Saturday Sooper Session at Zenergy.  I did manage to drag myself to the gym later that day but I know those excess calories would have had to have been stored for future use.

Tip.  Plan your meals and make sure you have food in the cupboard/fridge or else you risk the Whopper Blubber Syndrome.

Till next time…. I’m off to the gym now.

Since when did squats hurt your shoulder?

One of my objectives in my conditioning sessions is range of motion.  An area where I am particularly lacking in this is my shoulders.  They’ve been giving me a bit of trouble lately and they’ve always been tight.  This shows up in increased resistance on some exercises and downright pain on others.  For instance doing simple wall slides – back against the wall, hands up in the ‘stick em up’ position you slide your elbows upwards maintaining contact with the wall.  Without arching your lower back.  Not so hard?  For me it is nigh on impossible to maintain contact almost as soon as I lift my elbows above my shoulder.  Plus it aches/cramps like crazy when I try to hold them in that position. It also affects my neck and even my scapula muscles trying to do it.  Suffice to say, I need to do more of them.

Anyway, one exercise that really tests ones range of motion is the overhead squat.

This really tests shoulder flexibility and lower back and my upper back.  I have only down these with a broomstick previously and it’s very easy to cheat (I bring the stick forward so it’s no longer over my hips).  Today I did 3 sets of 10 reps with the 20kg bar.  Wow!!  So not easy.  I couldn’t squat all the way to the floor while maintaining the bar directly overhead and just holding it overheard while in the semi-squat I did manage to achieve was incredibly difficult.  Not heavy per se, just really, really difficult.   Now obviously 30 reps of 20kgs is not going to test one’s quads, but it was certainly tough.

There’s a principle I’ve heard about some aspects of Chinese medicine – ‘if it hurts, it’s good for you’.  For instance a deep massage on a knotted muscle.  Hurts like hell, but you know it’s good for you.  Seems like many things in life are like that.  Overhead squats are my latest example.  And here;s the kicker.  Tony has suggested that I perform 3 sets of 10 EVERY SESSION!!!  Well, I guess I’d better learn to love em quick smart.

What’s my training plan?

I had my conditioning workout with Tony this morning.  My weekly plan is 3 weights sessions on my own, 1 PT session focusing on range of motion (ROM) and conditioning (combination of strength and cardio) and then 2 – 3 cardio sessions on my own.  These will most likely be UFC style training – intervals on boxing equipment.  I’m looking forward to this plan and seeing what I can achieve.  When I thought about what I think the ultimate athlete is, it has to be hands down a professional UFC fighter.  Not that I’m a fighter, or even aggressive – I’m not.  But they have an incredible combination of the following:

  • Skills -to be competitive in UFC/mixed martial arts a competitor has to have at least 2 if not more martial arts/combat sports skill sets.  It takes years to become proficient in just one, let alone 2 or 3!!
  • Power – you gotta be strong
  • Fitness – 3 x 5min rounds (of combat) will test the fittest, no doubt about it.
  • Mental strength – to do what they do in the ring, while staying calm and focused is nothing short of mind blowing.  Reckon you could keep your cool with an 80kg man on top of you trying to beat you into submission?  Me either.
  • Flexible – despite some seriously muscular physiques these guys are definitely flexible. Not so much karate style high kick flexibility (although some do) but more that twist your body and limbs into awkward positions while still maintaining strength – mostly for the jujitsu and wrestling they do.
  • Finally, some of them also have awesome physiques, lean, muscular, balanced.

  So in my mind these guys are the complete package in terms of elite athletes and represent a level of fitness that I aspire too and this is what my training will be focused towards for the coming months.  I’m looking forward to it.

Phase Two

Well I’m back from my holiday.  I loved New York city, it’s a place thats vibrant, friendly, energetic and there’s a surprise around most corners.  5 nights was simply not enough time to explore this captivating city.

So despite much walking, 10 days of vigorous skiing and even a couple of gym sessions thrown in for good measure I managed to put on 10mm in my skin folds and drop approx 2kg of muscle.  Crikey!  In 3 weeks.  I was eating indiscriminately and had expected a bit of a weight (fat) gain but that was pretty quick.  Anyway I’m not complaining, it was a fun 3 weeks but it’s definitely time to get back on the wagon.

I’m looking forward to changing things up a bit this time around too.  More on that to come but for now I just wanted to say Hi, to let you know that I made it back safely and to remind you that this is a marathon, not a sprint.  A healthy body and lifestyle is an ongoing journey and doesn’t end just because one reaches a milestone (like 40).

I hope you’re doing well and I look forward to chatting over the coming months.

Ciao.