Monthly Archives:

July 2015

Your Body

You So Don’t Need Fitspo

Let’s get a few things straight here. I’m a mom of four. I work out. I love food, I have some jiggly bits here and there. And I freaking love my body and what it has done, what it  CAN do and what it still might do.

I’ve documented my journey quite publicly as I’ve gained strength and health. I often get messages from strangers saying “you’re so brave” or “you’re  such an inspiration” and as ego-stroking as that is, I don’t want to encourage others to use me as their fitspo. I’ve lost weight, I’ve gained strength, I have way more cardiovascular fitness than I did 2 years ago, but I’m no-one’s inspiration but my own.

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You cannot have what I have, simply because you’re not me.

I am never going to tell you “I did it, so what’s your excuse” I don’t know what’s going on in your life, and I’m certainly not going to shame you into trying to live my way.

I am never going to tell you “I did it, so what’s your excuse” I don’t know what’s going on in your life, and I’m certainly not going to shame you into trying to live my way.

I will endlessly tell you  that you’re worthwhile, hold great potential to achieve your goals, and have a hell of a lot of fun along the way if you want to. 

I will endlessly tell you the benefits of healthy eating (all things in moderation, no fad diets thank you very much) and moving your body. But I’ll pepper that with “even walking is enough to get benefits”

Fitspo is a DANGEROUS trend in my opinion, often punctuated with unachievable, photo-shopped images of women who are simply not real.

Fitspo as dangerous as mainstream women’s media in my opinion because it tells us that we can ALL have a certain physique. I call bullsh*t. Every single one of us is unique, genetics do play a part in our appearance (duh!) and you know what…  We need to stop giving power to one particular appearance.

Just rock your own bod 🙂 It’s awesome just as it is right now!

 

Education

Do You Need A Sports Drink When You Workout?

The importance of hydration is well accepted in sports science. Dehydration impairs athletic performance and can be dangerous.

For the average person working out in the gym, water to thirst is enough to ensure you’re adequately hydrated. It’s smart to ensure you’re hydrated before you workout, during, and afterwards.

Electrolytes are a ‘thing’ that get thrown around in fitness discussions all the time. E.G. “After a hard run you need electrolytes” or “Don’t just have water, have electrolytes” or “Your favorite electrolyte will be available on course”

You can’t read a sports nutrition article without seeing the E word. And it’s with good reason. So, here’s a really basic intro into electrolytes and why we need them, what they are, and how they affect your workout.

What are Electrolytes?

Literally, An electrolyte is any substance that contains free ions that conducts electricity. Humans need electrolytes to exist.

In human bodies, and this includes you, electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium bicarbonate, magnesium chloride, hydrogen phosphate and hydrogen carbonate.

Electrolytes are readily available in our foods. Sports drinks add soluble electrolytes to water.

What Do Electrolytes Do?

Electrolytes are responsible for a massive range of tasks in our body. They play a part in regulating our nerve and muscle function, hydration levels, blood pressure, and the rebuilding of damaged tissue. Various mechanisms and systems (including our kidneys and hormones) in our bodies exist to regulate electrolyte levels to ensure they don’t get too high, or too low.

Our bodies are finely tuned machines and in a healthy state they are excellent at maintaining electrolyte balance, even during intense exercise.

Which is where sports drink marketing comes into play.

The Marketing Story

According to sports drink manufacturers, replacing electrolytes after sport is essential. They state that during exercise the body sweats salt (it does) and  that it needs to be replaced to avoid hyponatraemia, or dangerously low sodium levels.

What the marketing doesn’t tell you just how much exercise you would need to engage in to induce this state, nor do they tell you the dangers of drinking too much water/sports drink/anything.

According to Robert Robergs from the Universtity of New Mexico, unless you are exercising  for longer than 90 minutes, there is no reason to drink something with excess sugar and electrolytes. Water to thirst is enough.

The Australian Institute of Sport states that excessive salt supplementation during exercise may lead to “gastrointestinal problems or cause further impairment of fluid balance” and may cause salt-induced cramps.

Producing a state of hyponatraemia by consuming too much liquid and thus diluting sodium levels in our bodies is extremely dangerous – and can result in death.

Basically the bottom line is, drink to THIRST. 

If you’re thirsty, drink. You can drink water, or if you prefer a sports drink.

If you’re not thirsty, don’t drink,

If you’re engaging in particularly intense sports, re-hydrate under the guidance of your sports nutritionist.

The low down on Sports Drinks

The low down on Sports Drinks

Photo credit: redjar

Education

Take to the Trails!

Well that happened!

This week I officially ran my first race. 11.7ks of amazingly beautiful trails in Plenty, Victoria; as part of the Salomon Trail Running Series.

Considering this was my first race (in Winter) and in the bush- I had a tonne of concerns and questions. Some of them were silly:

Q. Should I pack a snake bandange?

A. No, it’s freezing. Snakes will be hibernating.

Q. Should I run in shorts?

A. Are you insane?!

Q. What if I fall in the river?

A. You’ll get wet.

I must thank my new friend Relle for her responses one day…  Especially for some if the invaluable advice she offered for race day:

  1. Warm up well beforehand. Squats, Jumping Jacks, NO STRETCHING!
  2. This will be tough, tough tough on your body. Look after it.
  3. And my favorite “WOO HOO YOU DID IT, now FEAST”

I’m glad my snake concerns were averted because upon waking the temperature was into the negatives, and it turned out to be the coldest Melbourne Morning in 18 years.

 

Just before the river crossing at Race 2 of the Salomon Trail Series

Just before the river crossing at Race 2 of the Salomon Trail Series

Lessons learned:

Trail shoes were a GOOD investment. I’m glad I spent the money on my shoes, for the grip on muddy rocks alone.

I need more hill training. Getting your ass whooped by a hill is demoralizing. I had done limited hill training but a minor injury had put me on the sidelines for the past few weeks. I’m feeling great now, so hills come at me!

Running isn’t all about the times, it’s about the run. I’m glad I was slow enough to look around me. Plenty Gorge had stunning scenery, kangaroos, and galahs, and it was just divine.  The frigid, misty morning made it something out of an oil-painting.

Runners are awesome! I wasn’t prepared for the positivity and energy of race morning – that’s something else! So many encouraging, happy, smiling runners.  What was even more awesome was how encouraging and fun people were on course!

It’s OK to go slow.I’m a plodder. My pace is slow. I subscribe to the maxim that I’m the world’s Okayest runner, and that’s perfectly awesome for me. The serious, faster runners go and do their thing (I’m in awe, I seriously am!) but remaining on the course are a bunch of fun, encouraging slower runners running the exact same race.

The PT  in my Pocket Crew ready to run!

The PT in my Pocket Crew ready to run!

Running is for everyone! I met a woman who had just had a knee and hip replacement, and running was her therapy. I  met a young girl running her first trail. I met a coach pulling her team along. Everyone was ready to offer a word of encouragement as they passed or were passed by.

The Trails are so damned refreshing. Pretty much all of my training and running has been done on roads or tracks so far. Getting into the bush, hearing the birds, sliding about on the mud, and plunging into an icy cold river was about the most mindset refreshing thing I’ve done all  year.

Big props to the support and enthusiasm of the amazing, Jo, Emma, Fiona, and Nicky, I’m looking directly at you!! Running is way more fun with a cheer squad.

The PT In My Pocket Crew

Colette looking too fresh after her run 😛
And the PT in my Pocket Crew!

A huge thank you to Rapid Ascent for putting on the events – this certainly won’t be my last trail… in-fact I do believe there’s another run coming up in August. Must get my shoes cleaned!

 

Take to the trails

Take to the trails

 

Main photo credit: Salomon Trail Running

 

Education

In Pursuit of Fitness: My Journey from Couch to 10k

In October 2014 if you asked me to run more than a few paces, I would have laughed. Exercise? Me? No, thank you very much I am exercising my right to sit and work on my blog ~nods~

Never, ever in a million, gazillion years did I think I’d be dragging my body 10 kilometers around the suburbs, but it has happened!

running selfie!

Running selfie! On the day of my first 10k run!

The truth of the matter was, I was miserable, depressed, inactive, unhealthy and I needed to do something to change my life. I had four little kids, and getting out during the day wasn’t an option. I was also skint broke, and didn’t have funds to put towards a gym membership or classes.

Then I saw a nice little graphic on the web and it said

“The most painful part of my day is also the most relaxing”

So, I laced up my dodgy old trainers, waited until the sun went down and set off on what I thought would be a run so awesome that Morgan Freeman should narrate it.

I think I made it approximately 200 meters up to the end of my street at what could barely be described as a shuffle. I collapsed to my knees, heaving for breath, bellowing like a walrus. (Or at least that’s how I remember it) then waddled home thinking that running was over-rated.

The next night I made it as far as the next street light – I was so excited I high-fived the street light!!

And so it progressed, each night pushing myself to make it to one more light high-fiving them as I went.  And night by night, pole by pole I became a runner!

The first time I made it the whole way around the block I called my Best in breathless exuberance!  The conversation went a little bit like this:

” I DID IT”

“what?”

“I JUST RAN 1.3 Kilometres WOOOOO”

“Oh, Yay you”

Not everyone gets it 🙂

Fast forward less than a year, and I run, swim, train with HIIT and lift regularly! I am strong, fit, and energetic, and pushing myself to run further, faster, and with more enthusiasm!

It has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in terms of fitness. And it has been the most magnificent thing I’ve ever done for my life.  Runners tend to be an amazingly encouraging lot of folk, and I’ve met some incredible people. From the people at Parkrun, to the runners I meet out on the road to the incredible groups online like Running Mums Australia. Everyone is running for their own reasons, at their own pace, with their own goals and aspirations.

 

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Look, here’s me at my first Parkrun! Running air! Woot!

I started out with an old pair of trainers, and quickly realised that safe running involves a pair of good shoes as a must. My first run in “proper” running shoes was amazing. No aching knees, no stubbed toes, and my first run without my toes falling asleep. I felt like I had wings on my heels!

My early runs tested my body in ways I wasn’t expecting.

My early strava comments involve me swearing at my body (running takes it’s toll on the old pelvic floor)  Now, more and more of my time is spent going “holy wow, I actually did that”

This weekend is my official first race. I’m running the Salomon Trails  and it’s 11.7km through some of Victoria’s most beautiful country side.

If you run, you’re a runner. If you run and walk, you’re a runner. That’s right y’all; I’m a runner!

 

 

Your Body

In Pursuit of Fitness: Rest Days, You Need Them!

So many of us get caught up in the hype of fitness that we overlook one vital component of ANY workout regime: rest.

Workouts make us feel great, get fitter, stronger, and have really positive effects on our body therefore more is more right? WRONG. In between our sweat sessions, we ALL actually need to give our bodies a chance to heal, rebuild, and grow stronger

Working out is basically doing minor damage to your muscles. When we run, lift, or work them hard, we basically damage the muscle, then our body does this awesome thing where it kicks into gear and builds them up stronger than before.

This is why it’s generally not a great idea to work the same muscle group over and over – the days off in between promote healing and growth.

The harder we are pushing ourselves, the more important rest actually is. So many beginner athletes or folks engaging on a weight loss campaign get caught up in the “must keep going” attitude, but basically all that happens in the long run is you push your body until it goes “nope, stuff this, I’m out” meaning injury, illness, and in extreme cases, you can do permanent damage.

So this little video is created on my rest day. I take a couple each week depending on how I’m feeling.

Rest day for me is a great chance to actually wash my hair, stretch, foam roll, and generally take care of myself.

As you’ll see in the vid, I’m walking like a cow girl thanks to a brutal leg day. Rest is how we grow. Rest is how we get stronger. Rest is awesome! Embrace your rest days!

Education

In Pursuit of Fitness: Dumb Sh*t I’ve Done So You Don’t Have To…

One of the greatest things I’ve done in my life is start working out. Some days I exercise my right to sit my butt on the couch and watch Netflix, other days I’m like the worlds most Okayest runner 🙂 I’m far from the fastest, some days I’m the slowest, but you know what; I’m OK with that!

Just recently I started a weights program at the gym. Enter the slightly self conscious girl, who quietly envies the amazing #liftgirls out there squatting more than their body weight.  You WOMEN ROCK!

I’m getting there, pushing my own limits, gradually getting stronger, and frankly feeling pretty awesome!

But my foray into weights has not been without hiccups…. And this little video is for you. It’s the dumb stuff I’ve done, so you don’t have to.

Oh, and  you get an awkward strip dance, just from me.(#sorrynotsorry #yourewelcome)