Archive | May, 2011

Crossfit Mayhem!

31 May

I mentioned in a previous post that my trainer went on holidays for 2 weeks.  To Bali.  Without me.  Yes, truth be told, I cried myself to sleep when she told me.  But that’s okay, she’s bringing me back presents and my love for her will be restored.  Temporarily, until she gets me to do kettlebell swings again!

So, whilst she has been gone I have been trialling Crossfit on top of my usual routine and let me tell you, I LOVE IT.  I’m trying as hard as I can, though, not to become a ‘Crossfit Douche’.  Example:

I went for my introduction session last Monday at Crossfit Kensington.  Troy, the owner, was incredibly helpful and showed me all the correct techniques for the exercises and we tried quite a few so he could check my form.

Boy oh boy, I didn’t know my own name by the end of it let alone the names of all the exercises!  We learnt the clean and jerk, the snatch, the deadlift, the sumo deadlift, the push press, the clean and press, kipping, strict pull ups, wall balls, jump boxes, double unders (don’t even get me started on these) and loads more.

Then there’s the acronyms – AMRAP, KTE, 1RM, oh my! But you get used to them pretty quickly, plus Troy puts the WOD (workout of the day, yep another acronym) on the website so that you can prepare yourself and look up on YouTube any exercises you are not sure on.  And of course he demonstrates and helps you when you are there too.  Thank god for that!

Once the introductory session was over I was keen to get stuck into a real class so I went along the next night.

Wah wah wee wah.  What a doozy of a session!  Here’s a run down:

Clean and Jerk
Test your 3RM (3 rep maximum – i.e. 3 reps of the heaviest weight you can do with perfect form)
Then
2 reps x 5 sets 80% 3RM

………………………………………

10 MU (muscle ups http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX29MMoK2Tg)
20 box jumps 60/45cm
30 lunges 20/10kg overhead
500m run
5 MU
15 box jumps
25 lunges
400m run
10 box jumps
20 lunges
300m run
5 box jumps
15 lunges
200m run
10 lunges
100m run
5 lunges

We needed to complete everything below the line whilst timing ourselves.  It was a really good, highly sweaty workout which was not all that different to my usual workouts with Nat, minus the muscle ups and heavy bar work.  My entire body was sore the next day and I loved it. 🙂

Crossfit will definitely become apart of my regular routine.  Crossfit girls have a strong and athletic physique that I admire so hopefully, on top of my regular sessions with Nat, I will soon achieve this physique!  Oh pardon me, not hopefully, I WILL soon achieve this physique! 😉

Are you a Crossfit girl or guy?  Are you keen to give it a go?

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How To Be ‘Salt-Wise’

29 May

We all know that too much salt is not good for us but how much is too much and how can we do what’s best for our food and our health at the same time?

The National Heart Foundation recommends a one and a half teaspoon limit for all Australians and one teaspoon for those individuals with high blood pressure.  Currently, the average Australian is consuming almost double that recommendation!

If we consume too much salt the risk is that we could develop high blood pressure.  People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke so it definitely pays to be more ‘salt-wise’.

So, how do we become more ‘salt-wise’?  Some tips:

  • Be aware of the amount of salt you are consuming – you need to use the right salt, in the right amount, for the right dish.
  • Abandon the salt shaker – when cooking you should use your fingers and hands to gradually add salt in small increments, tasting as you go.  This way there is no need to add more salt at the dinner table.
  • Be aware of ‘hidden’ salt – read labels and make a conscious decision to choose foods lower in sodium.  The Heart Foundation recommends products that have a sodium below 120mg per 100g.
  • Take some iodine – it  is essential for healthy function of the thyroid gland and the recommended daily requirement for most adults is 150 micrograms.
  • Use a good quality natural sea salt for general purpose use.

Check out the book below to learn more about using salt healthily and the different types of salt needed for different dishes.

 

Now that you know more about being ‘salt-wise’ will you change your salt habits?  I know I definitely will be!

 

Project Tighten Up: Update 4 – Progress Photos

28 May

It’s been a crazy four weeks full of training and eating clean and it is now time to see what progress I have made! A lot of you have commented that I am brave for doing this but I read something interesting recently about motivation – if you do not put your goals out for others to see then you will most likely fail.  Letting others know that you are serious about your goals makes you want harder, because let’s face it, nobody wants to fail in front of an audience. I’m just doing it on a larger scale partly to spur myself on but also to show others that it can be done.  Yes, it’s hard, but it can be done.  🙂

I wasn’t expecting spectacular results in the first four weeks as I am still getting into the swing of the new training regime and diet plan but I am quite happy with the progress.

I can see new definition in certain areas, particularly my back (hello line down my back – you weren’t there before!) and my abs, but my legs are still letting team awesome down.  But that’s okay – I realise I may never have the toned and perfect legs of my dreams, I just need to keep working hard and see where they end up!

One thing on the diet plan I am thinking of changing is my morning oats – I do love them and they are a great source of energy but they may be what is causing me bloating and discomfort…  For instance, I had an egg white omelette today instead of oats and have had no discomfort.  Win.  So, I will probably go back to quinoa porridge this week and see how that goes.

Apologies about the photo quality – I have been taking them on my phone and then used Paint to put them side-by-side.  Next time I’ll use photoshop for better quality! (Oh and I still don’t know how to ‘pose’ so you will have to put up with my awkwardness!)

 

Before - 4 weeks in

 

Before - 4 weeks in

 

Before - 4 weeks in

 

Before - 4 weeks in

Who’s still with me on Project Tighten Up?  Share your stories below in the comments! 

Project Tighten Up: Update 3 & Macular Degeneration Week

23 May

Can you believe that we are at the start of week 4 of Project Tighten Up?  I know I can’t!  Who’s been going strong still?  Don’t forget to share your progress at the bottom of this post!

My trainer is on leave for two weeks (woe is me!) but I have a trick up my sleeve.  My local Crossfit gym, Crossfit Kensignton, has a fantastic trial offer where you can try 3 weeks of crossfit for only $50!  I have always wanted to try it so this is the perfect time.  Not sure what crossfit is?  Check this out:

Hardcore yeah?  That’s why I think I’ll LOVE it.  I’m really excited and a little bit nervous!  I do similar stuff with my trainer so it shouldn’t be too hard.  Right?  Right??  Eep. I have my introductory session tonight so I will do a review post later in the week.

I am also focusing on being kind to my eyes as well as my thighs (boom tish) this week (22 – 28 May) as it is Macular Degeneration Week.  I’m extremely interested in eye health as, not many of you may know this, but I wear glasses all day every day at work!  Yup – I’m a regular four eyes!

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss and severe vision loss in Australia, affecting an estimated one in seven people.  Although the condition may not make itself apparent until later in life, preventative measures can be started much earlier.

Grant Fisher, Budget Eyewear National Eyecare Director says: “AMD already affects a large number of people in Australia, and as the population ages, more and more people will suffer. There are a number of steps everyone can take right now to limit the onset of the condition, some of which are as simple as stopping smoking and wearing sunglasses in bright light. It’s also important to have regular eye tests. Medicare covers a visit to the optometrist every two years, so even if you are on a budget, there’s no excuse!”

Grant suggests focusing on nutritious food to help prevent the disease. A poor diet with a high level of fats and low-level of vitamins can make AMD worse, so give junk food a break, and make sure you are eating the right vitamins and minerals.

Research suggests that diets rich in carotenoids found in leafy green vegetables, such as raw carrot, broccoli and raw spinach can reduce the risk of AMD. A high-level boost of nutrients zeaxanthin and lutein may slow progression of the condition. Lutein is found in egg yolk, while zeaxanthin is found in small amounts in most fruits and vegetables. I also wrote a post last year about eye health – check it out here.

All of these foods are featured on my Project Tighten Up Meal Plan so whilst we are working on tightening up our bods we can also rest assured that we are doing good by our eyes too (all the better to SEE our progress with my dears!).

Eye tests are painless and can easily diagnose MD, and best of all they are free with the cost covered by Medicare. When was the last time you had your eyes tested?

How has your progress been over the last few weeks?  Also, has anyone tried Crossfit?

It’s Time to Disconnect

18 May

One of the hardest things that I have had to overcome during my lifestyle overhaul (and especially during Project Tighten Up) was to stop eating food for pleasure.  I loved food (I still do, but not as intensely) and whilst I didn’t eat extremely unhealthily, I still made taste the main focus of my meals.  A lot of people would think, “Duh, taste is what it is all about!” but when you embark on a mission to TOTALLY reshape your body, taste can no longer be the primary or only focus.

When we eat something yummy it sends little signals to the pleasure centres in our brain that says, “Om nom nom, this is GOOD” and we want more.  So we eat more.  And the whole time there is a little party going off in our mouths and our heads and it’s a glorious time.  Ever been to a party and there’s some amazing soft cheese there?  How hard is it to stop at one piece?  Bloody hard, if you’re a cheese-a-holic like me.  That’s because food is almost like a drug – you become addicted to the pleasure it provides.  Hence, fat happens.

So, how do we disconnect these crazy little signals?  It all comes down retraining the way you think about food.  At the moment, I think of food as fuel.  I figure out what I will need throughout the day to fuel my workouts and I plan my menu around that.  I know I will need low GI carbohydrates to give me slow release energy, lean protein to help my muscles grow and aid recovery and healthy fats to keep me full.  I can make these things tasty and therefore give my pleasure centres a lil sumpin sumpin by adding garlic, herbs, lemon and chilli without increasing the calorie content.

People ask me if I get bored eating the same thing every day.  I honestly don’t because I’m now so focused on food being fuel that it doesn’t bother me.  I make my lunches for the week on a Sunday and I will happily eat the same breakfast, lunch and snacks every day resting assured in that fact that by doing so I will be moving closer to my goal of taking over the world of achieving ultimate health and fitness.  And a bangin body to boot.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t reward those pesky little pleasure centres every now and then because I certainly do and would probably die if I didn’t.  Okay, I probably won’t die but I would be a sad little bulge battler.  Once a week or so I’ll indulge and have a treat – that might mean a few pieces of chocolate or it may mean a delicious takeaway thai beef salad but I maintain the discipline not to go overboard and to keep it within a reasonable calorie limit.  Only on special occasions do I allow myself to indulge further and have something that I really want (like my favourite pub meal – steak, salad and chips) and maybe even a few glasses of wine.  But apart from these moments I stay strict on my food and alcohol intake because I don’t workout this hard to go and undo it by eating foods that offer me no nutritional value.  I’m going forwards people!  I do not want to stay at a stand-still or go backwards!

Think before you reach for that chocolate or that piece of pizza next time and ask yourself – why do I want to eat this?  Is it purely because it tastes good?  If so, you’re falling back into the old “food for pleasure” cycle.  Have something that offers better nutritional value instead and treat your body like the temple it deserves to be.

Do you think of food as fuel or are you stuck in the “food for pleasure” cycle?

Project Tighten Up: Update 2 & Measurement Results

17 May

It’s been 2 weeks since Project Tighten Up officially started and I have been going strong!  I’m lifting heavier already and I’m loving the extra carbs (oh brown rice, oh oats, how I’ve missed you!).  My energy levels are soaring higher and higher and my workouts are benefiting!  I’m feeling tighter already!  Giddy up!

I’ve made some adjustments to my exercise plan though and am currently only cycling 3 – 4 times per week.  I don’t want to put added pressure on my hip flexors which are giving me grief at the moment.  Will see how I go and will amend as necessary (click here and here and you will find some AWESOME exercises devised especially for Project TU by Natalie Carter).

Have also made a couple of small changes to my diet (mainly because the weather is cooler and I want a hot breakfast) but am sticking to the same principles as outlined here):

Meal 1

½ a cup of oats with rice milk, cinnamon, sprinkle of LSA and honey + 1 boiled egg

Meal 2

Green apple with natural peanut butter

Meal 3

Chicken breast or turkey mince, brown rice, steamed vegetables and olive oil

Meal 4

Double Barrel Nutrition Protein Powder, skim milk and vanilla extract shake

Meal 5

Chicken, fish or lean pork, beef or lamb with sweet potato, steamed vegetables and olive oil

Time for measurements!  I wasn’t expecting miraculous results this month – I had a solid week off from training and ate whatever I pleased.  So I was surprised I had any losses at all really considering my weight went up and down like a yoyo all month!  Oh, but a 3.5cm GAIN on my mid thigh?  Possibly incorrect.  I think we may have measured in the wrong spot.  Will see what it says next month though!

Okay, over to you guys!  How have you been going?  Don’t forget to join the discussion boards on my Facebook page!  Let us discuss issues relevant to our interests!

Cleo Shoot: How He Really Feels When You Lose Weight

16 May

I was lucky enough recently to be asked by Cleo magazine if they could do an article on Justin and I about how men really feel when their wife or girlfriend loses weight.  It was such an amazing experience – I felt confident and happy with what they had chosen for me to wear, my hair and makeup was perfection and I was definitely less nervous having Justin there with me.

We interviewed with the lovely Bec Whish and she sent us the questions in advance to mull over.  Now, Justin and I had never really talked about how or if my weight loss impacted our relationship, so this was an interesting experience!

We chatted about the questions for a few days (it took a few days because, let’s face it, you can’t expect a man to talk about his “feelings” for more than 15 minutes) and it was kind of like a little lesson in communication for us.  At first it was difficult for him to really put into words how he felt about it all but eventually he told me how proud he was of me, how much more confidence he sees in me and how much I inspire him to be a healthier person.  Naw.  My heart.  She swells.  😉

So, this post is dedicated to Justin – your constant and unwavering love and support has been invaluable to me.  You’ve stood by me even when I made the stupidest of decisions and you’ve picked me up when I’ve felt the lowest of lows resulting from those decisions.  You’re my rock and I thank you for everything.  Say it with me now – nawwwwwwww.

Here’s a copy of the article (thanks Bec) but do make sure you go out and get the mag (not just because I’m in it, but because Cleo is AWESOME).  It hits the stands today! 🙂