Week One and Then Some

It was a bit of a funny Week One for me. I made the decision early in the week to change to the ‘Advanced: Lean and Strong’ program but had to sort out some gym membership stuff before I could properly start the exercise side of things. For anyone not familiar with ‘Lean and Strong’, we are encouraged to give up cardio for the first few weeks as it can affect the maintenance of lean muscle. It was a bit of tough decision for me as I have really found a love for running and have enjoyed training with the running club.

In the end however, I want to make the most of the opportunity I was given to be able to go to a gym through the two month Fernwood membership I received. I’m hoping to be able to save up during that time to buy a gym membership outright. Also, the closest Fernwood to my house is about twenty-five minutes away on the bus so I figure it’s a good excuse to wake up early and exercise, and hopefully this will help me to plan my days out a bit better.

A big thanks to Chelsea for answering my thousand questions about the Lean and Strong program this week.

I’ve decided to take a leaf out of Kate‘s book (I just want to call you Poppy, like all of the time) and plan out each week on a weekly calendar. I keep a diary/planner but I’ve been a bit slack with my study lately, and I keep forgetting what day it is, so having the visual of the week planned out on my wall will be helpful I think. I need to invest in some cooler stickers though.

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There is so much more to update you all about, and it’s only been just over a week! Let’s see…

Running:

I joined the 4km run with the running club for the first time on Monday. I was determined to do it without stopping/walking and I ended up doing it in 22:54 mins, I had previously struggled through the 2km course so I was pretty happy with that. It was a great way to start the round, that’s for sure.

Following this, and after reading this post from CocoButter, I decided to sign up to Bridge to Brisbane, which is a 10km course held on the first of September. As previously mentioned, I’m not going to be able “train” for it but I know that I can run at least 4km now and I will have some good leg muscles by then. I’m determined to run the whole way. I’m pretty excited too, it will be my first real running event; I did participate in the Bridge to Brisbane last year but it was because my workplace at the time was paying for entry. I walked for most of it as I was fairly unfit at the time.

Bikram Yoga:

I finally tried Bikram yoga for the first time on Thursday morning. I didn’t really know what to make of it; it was hard but I made it through the whole set and felt pretty great for the next few days. First-timers pay $20 for unlimited attendance over seven days, so I went again last night, but this time instead of seven or so other people, there was more like forty people in the one, heated room. I ended up only getting through about half of the routine before having to lie down, and then I just couldn’t get my heart rate down. I think I was fairly close to either throwing up, passing out or having a panic attack at one point. I ended up being told to sit by the window (which had to be opened because there were so many people) because my arms, hands and lips were tingling. It was a bit crazy but everyone was really supportive and I re-hydrated with the tastiest coconut water of my life afterwards.

On Lean and Strong, the stretching day is on Wednesday so I’m planning to go back again tomorrow morning to make the most of my first week. I’m still really unsure about how I feel about Bikram in general, though strangely enough my experience last night didn’t really deter me from it. Either way, I don’t think it’s something I will be doing more than once a week, especially coming into Summer.

Oh, I had also just done my first weights session and the running club swim session that morning so I may have just overdone it a bit for the day. Oops.

Have you ever tried Bikram before?

Other news:

In other news, I tried on a pair of shorts that I guess you could have called my “goal shorts” for Round 2 and they fit really well.  I was fairly surprised as I’ve been struggling to see how much my body has really changed, despite all of the pictures and clothes fitting differently, etc. I wish I had taken “before” photos in them but oh well. Oh!! and my toes are still cherry red from finale (albeit, chipping a bit) and I wanted to mention that they make me feel like a total, certified woman. Weird, right?

Also, I was offered to have my fat percentage calculated at the gym, I’m really not sure how accurate it was, and I actually have fat-percentage-calculating scales at home now but I hope that it will be able to give me a good idea of the changes going on in my body throughout the program. I haven’t set up my scales yet but according to the ones at the gym, my body fat percentage is 23% which is is apparently fairly normal for your average person, but as an “athlete” I should be looking to get under 20% by the end of the round. Interesting to know. I would like to get a DEXA scan one day but they are a bit expensive.

I’m also thinking about changing my degree to start studying Nutrition.

Red Flag Days:

This weekend I will be heading back down to Sydney, which is officially where I fell off the rails last round. I absolutely know that things will go differently this time; I will have a glass of wine, I will eat some good food, but I will remain mindful and in control.

Goals:

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and just from what I’ve written above I have a few for this round:

  • To have under 20% body fat percentage by the end of the round, I actually have no idea about the timing with these kind of results but we’ll see how I go
  • To run/jog/shuffle the entire 10km for Bridge to Brisbane
  • To do at least one unassisted chin up by the end of the round
  • Organise my week every Sunday
  • Be strong/confident enough in my weight-lifting to possibly join the (fairly male-centric) local gym in two months
  • Complete the whole 12WBT and remain active on this blog, no falling off the face of the planet this time

As part of the general “Welcome” gym stuff this morning I was asked to make a 12 month goal. This is just something that I always avoid doing but being directly asked the question made me really think. I ended up realising that my 12 month goal is to still be a fit/active/healthy person. I want to be someone who goes to the gym and runs and exercises in general because that’s my lifestyle, that’s what I love and enjoy, not because I don’t like myself or because I’m trying to lose weight again. I want to still be smashing personal goals and personal bests, being the very best version of myself and meet amazing, inspirational people (like you lot).

Let’s do this thing.

~ energyandEmily

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Finale – Round 2

Okay! I’ve just gotten home from Adelaide and I need to write this post before bed!

THANK YOU!!!!

Thank you, all of you beautiful, incredible people. Thank you so much to anyone who nominated me as their 12WBT Hero, and thank you to anyone who has ever read or commented; anyone who has shared their story, and anyone who has supported their fellow 12WBTers. I have so much respect for all of my fellow bloggers; without blowing my own horn, it takes so much to put it all out there in the universe, on your blogs, and you have all inspired me so much with your stories and your journeys and it has been an absolute honour getting to know you.

I haven’t watched the finale video yet and I’m excited but also very nervous to. I hope that my answer/speech essentially came out like the above because despite bumbling my way through it, I was trying to show you all my love.

Also, please tell me someone picked up the baked beans reference?

The weekend was absolutely amazing from start to finish and it just flew by. There was so much energy in the room on Saturday night and I’m still buzzing from it. The set up was gorgeous, I was blown away by the food, and I thought that the black theme was absolutely perfect. Everyone looked so glamourous.

Meeting Mish was amazing, she is just as beautiful in real life as in all of her videos. We only got a chance to talk briefly but she was lovely. And her TEAM, oh my gosh. All of her girls are absolutely beautiful, friendly and encouraging. I was able to have a really nice chat with Erica, Kim, Lisa and Larah. Erica was the beautiful lady helping me down the white carpet/runway.

If anyone would like to know, the little white box we were given was this…

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The craziest thing is that this photo was taken only about an hour and a half beforehand so we were all completely surprised!

It was amazing to be able to meet some of my fellow bloggers, including Transfer & Transform, No longer fit and fat, just fitYesUCanKat, HealthyChelsea, I Guess I Rock This Dress and CocoButter. I met so many other people that I’ve seen on the forums and on Facebook as well, it was incredible. I can’t wait to be able to meet all of you one day!!

Also, I’m sorry if I missed anyone! It has just been the biggest weekend.

Here are just a few photos from the night which I posted on Facebook:

There will be more to come as well!

I need to run off to bed now but thank you all again, for everything.

Round 3 is going to be awesome.

~ energyandEmily

Playing Catch Up

Round 2 Stats Update

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Click image for larger version.

Here are my very first pictures for Round 2:

My Week 4 pictures:

Finally, my Week 12 pictures from Sunday:

I’m actually really happy with my progress. It’s interesting to see my total measurement changes and pictures though, as I don’t always feel that much smaller than before.

I took a sneaky peak at the scales again this morning because I was planning to write this update tonight, and I am down to 63.6. I’ve lost 1.2kg in the last 6 days!!

News for Round 3

I’m going to really work on maintaining an active lifestyle overall, for a couple of weeks there I was really living some of the costs of not exercising/eating well. I’m not sure which video it was but I can remember Mish saying that as soon as she stops exercising, that’s when the mind games start and that’s absolutely what it was like. Now that I’m back in the swing of things I already feel stronger, healthier and more powerful, both mentally and physically, and I know how I will feel if I stop. However, I also feel like I learnt a very valuable lesson about not being too hard on myself.

I’m going to be ‘going it alone’ for Round 3 as Hugh has lost interest in the exercise. I think this will actually be the perfect opportunity for me to gain some of that self-respect Mish was talking about, and to really get in touch with who I am, my strengths and weaknesses, and what my goals are.

I have joined the running club at my university which conveniently meets on Monday’s and Wednesday’s. Running alone has been one of the hardest things for me to wrap my head around so this has been really helpful to counteract the mind games.

The club actually set up a ‘beep test’ for us yesterday and we will be doing one on the first Monday of every month which provides another opportunity for me to test my fitness. They also meet for one swimming session every Monday morning, and one gym session which I’m hoping to use for some proper weights training.

Additionally, this time I’m committing to this blog, and my fellow bloggers, no matter how hard things get. I love to blog but I also felt the most on track when I was posting here regularly. I have so much more to learn and to share and I’ve loved getting to know you all over the last 12 weeks, and I know I’ll enjoy getting better acquainted with new bloggers as well.

I’ve met some very special people through this blogging experience and I want to thank you all for being there for me and for continuing to inspire me through your posts.

Also! I am now the Secretary of the newly formed Doctor Who Society at uni!

Bring on Round 3.

~ energyandEmily

I’m Choosing My “Hard”

I have been fearing that my old habits will return. I think the biggest trigger for this is that I feel like I’ve been here before; as previously mentioned, I have worked on my body and fitness for longer periods than 12 weeks in the past and have then decided, “I feel okay now, that’s enough.” This time though, I feel like Michelle really has “given me the tools” to lead an active, healthy and informed life. I don’t want to go back to being unfit, unhealthy and unhappy, I’m sick of constantly yo-yoing and hating myself. I love feeling strong and I don’t feel as though I am deprived of the things that I want.

I have been fearing that my old habits will return, and I’m not perfect, but with every day I feel like I’m shifting my thinking and solidifying this new lifestyle.

In her most recent Live Chat Michele answered a question from a fellow 12WBTer, “Is there ever a point where eating well and exercising becomes ‘easy’?” I’m not going to go into Michelle’s reply, if you haven’t watched the video you should give it a look-see. However, a key quote for me was, “Is there ever a point that life becomes easy?”

This is actually something that I have been thinking about a bit lately.

The idea of “hard”.

I’m reminded of a quote that I read a little while ago while I was putting together my inspiration board for the first Weekly Challenge:

“Losing weight is hard,
Maintaining weight is hard,
Staying fat is hard;

Choose your hard.”

It wasn’t my favourite quote at the time but it resonated with me.

It was hard to be me six weeks ago, not liking my body and always feeling insecure, hiding behind baggy clothes and hoping that no one looked at me. It’s hard now too; I get hungry, sore, tired, and this whole 12WBT gig takes a lot of effort but I swear that it is worth every inch of it.

I know that I always make a big deal about the times when I do my workout sessions alone, and I know that most of you do them alone every day. I admire you all so much for that. You must be so strong. I always talk about my solo sessions because that’s when I really notice just how strong I am getting, both physically and mentally. I was doing my SSS alone on Saturday just passed and I remember that I was doing the walking lunges (hands in the air) and my legs were hurting so much but I was pushing through it and I realised…

I’ve chosen my hard.

~ energyandEmily

The Week That Wasn’t

Exams are officially over and The Week That Wasn’t is almost at a close.

This week hasn’t been so great for me, 12WBT-wise. I just wanted to put it out there.

I know that I’m not the only person on the 12WBT who has been pressed for time, or studying, but this week I just couldn’t find the time to exercise every day. I have been stressed and tired, and trying to make up for lost days by doing two sessions on other days has just left me feeling drained.

Also, on Wednesday night, Hugh’s close family friend was in town; a lady with whom I get along really well and someone that we haven’t seen in almost a year. We ended up booking a Chinese restaurant in China Town for the three of us; I wasn’t even planning to attempt to calculate every calorie at dinner because of how impossible that would have been. I decided that I would simply do my best to make good decisions and I had a very light-on day calorie-wise. I wasn’t as restrained as I have been but I was much more mindful than I would have been prior to starting the 12WBT. I did end up having a couple of glasses of red wine as well as sharing a dessert. The food was delicious.

We were invited out again the next night; Hugh went along but I declined in favour of study and sensible food choices.

So I certainly haven’t “fallen off” any bandwagons this week; I’m feeling okay, just a little bit off my game. I need to stop thinking about what other people are defining as “good” or “bad” (as per Michelle’s latest video) and trust my decisions when I know that I have made them for a reason.

Anyhow, Beef, Pumpkin and Prune Tagine is on the stove, we have a day of food preparation planned for Sunday and next week I’m on holidays so there are no excuses. Oh! and I have fresh, dinosaur-popped popcorn to take to the movies tonight to see Gatsby. Which reminds me that I haven’t followed curfew this week either but I fully intend on carrying this week’s challenge over to Week Six.

My plans for the next few weeks are as follows:

  • Read as many non-text-book books as possible (including finishing ‘Lady in the Lake’ and ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’).
  • Cook lots of things and try lots of new recipes.
  • Take lots of photos!
  • Follow the 12WBT program to a tee.
  • Have a Doctor Who and a Grey’s Anatomy marathon.
  • Compile my Pen Pal gift.
  • Check out the Bikram Yoga studio down the road some time.
  • Set up a herb garden.

Hugh and I are also thinking about driving down to Sydney to stay over a weekend, and I will be helping my mum out at work a bit but what else can I get up to?

Any ideas? Do you have any hobbies?

Can you recommend any books to me?

~ energyandEmily

Week Three and Me

At the beginning of Week Three I was feeling… complacent, I think for the most part I just felt like I couldn’t be bothered exercising. From browsing the forums and other blogs I know that I’m not alone in feeling like the sparkle has started to dull a bit. Regardless, I’ve pushed through, I did all of my workouts, ate all of my good food and I’m feeling a bit better now and ready to keep pushing forward.

A few tidbits from the past week:

  • 100g loss on the scales this week, I wasn’t too worried as I know that I have been sticking to the program but I did have to chase just a couple of niggling, negative thoughts away with a big, pointy stick.
  • It’s been a pretty rainy week here in Brisbane so we have done all of our exercises at home, surprisingly we didn’t even have to change to the “home” program. We have a good pole to do towel pulls on, stairs for low steps and a table for step ups, so yeah.
  • Subsequently, we discovered the motivational powers of music. Normally the only soundtrack to our workouts is traffic or my beautiful voice blabbing on about this or that thing. Exercise makes me really chatty for some reason, probably a combination of fresh air, energy and lots of thoughts. Doing the exercises at home we just had a “popular” soundtrack playing from a music streaming website and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem came on as we were about to start planking, an oldie but a goodie. About 30 seconds into our plank Hugh comes out with this gem, “Are you even planking? Oh, you normally complain more by now,” to which I replied “Sorry I’m just too busy singing.”
  • I found out that when Hugh was younger he called pickled onions “pickled yum yums.” Adorable.
  • Excuse me but when did we start doing 5 minute super sets? I do not approve!
  • We didn’t do any exercise on Thursday, it honestly just kind of happened. I don’t even have an excuse for it but we ended up doing both Thursdays and Fridays exercises on Friday.
  • I went to the movies on Saturday night to see a special screening of Doctor Who. I popped my own popcorn and packed a punnet of cherry tomatoes to snack on! This was a big positive for me even though I had to use our super weird dinosaur popcorn maker:

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  • I jogged non-stop for 5 minutes during a warm up! Up hills and everything. The program said that I could take breaks but I just wanted to keep going. Mind you, I was “jogging” at a snail pace at some points but still. I didn’t think I would be able to do it without stopping.
  • Hugh and I have started laughing and winking at each other during Sumo Squats – Pulses and Hamstring Curls – Bench. This has been highly amusing.
  • I visited Nandos for the first time since starting the program for my treat meal (my “last supper” for the program was Nandos if that gives you any indication of how I feel about it). I had a Classic Chicken Pita (Extra Hot – 326 calories), no drinks and didn’t even have one chip! It was ridiculously satisfying.
  • No Food Photo Friday for Week Three! Overall we enjoyed the meals for the week but they just weren’t overly photogenic (Dhal, anyone?). Not to worry though! I already have quite a few snaps for this week.
  • I set up a Pen Pal Project for 12WBTers!
  • I had my hair cut to clean up my messy little mane that you have all seen previously, I ended up with a new style that I quite like.
  • I finally got my hands on Mish’s One Active hoodie (and proceeded to take selfies)!! I also picked up a new training bra/crop top, the red one, I really like the black one but this one looks so nice.

Week 3 Challenge: It’s time to STEP UP!

Monday: 200
Tuesday: 100
Wednesday: 200
Thursday: 0
Friday: 0
Saturday: 0
Sunday: 0

Total: 500/800

We really came out all guns blazing on this week’s challenge; at first we weren’t sure what the height of the steps were meant to be so we did our first 200 on park benches which hurt like crazy. Both of us were thinking “now THIS is a challenge.”  By Wednesday we were feeling pretty cocky about our numbers “300 more to go? What a cinch.” The no-exercise Thursday came and went, we were knackered after our big Friday and Saturday and we really wanted a proper break on Sunday. Excuses, I know. I’ll bust out those extra few hundred this week. We’ve also been avoiding those park benches, opting for this table on the deck which I’m surprised hasn’t broken on us:

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In the meantime, I’m really excited about the Week Four challenge! We were secretly hoping for a non-exercise challenge this week but also I’m a total foodie so I’m jumping at the chance to try new things. At first I thought it would be a little difficult to find things I haven’t eaten without resorting to eating brains or something but one trip to the markets on Saturday morning fixed that right up! Here’s my loot:

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You probably recognise a few of these things, “Is that pineapple?” I can hear you asking… I don’t know, is it? I have a few non-vegetable/non-fruit things to try as well. This is going to be a fun week!

Stay tuned!

Favourite Meals:

The stand out for the week for me was the Hoisin Beef Stir-Fry with Spring Vegetables, I ended up having it twice and I definitely plan on having it again soon. I was pleasantly surprised by the Apple Muesli, it wasn’t *amazing* but it wasn’t bad and it kept me full for ages after breakfast. We both really liked the Dhal, I noticed that there have been mixed reviews about it but yeah, the only thing I could say against it was that it really sits in your stomach for a while after… not necessarily in a good way. We had it with a warmed pita pocket both times which was nice, like having our own little naan bread. Lastly, we really enjoyed the Spinach & Two-Cheese Omelette on Saturday morning. However, due to our lack on non-stick pans at the time it was more of a “Mess of Spinach, Two-Cheeses and Egg” but it was still really nice.

I’ve mentioned it before but corn thins really are the best snacks, I was happy to see them featured a fair bit on this weeks meal plan.

My goals this week:

  • Keep on studying away – first exam this coming Saturday!
  • Try at least seven new foods for the Weekly Challenge!
  • Take lots of photos.

How was everyone else’s Week Three?

Do you have any favourite work out songs? Actually, if you run and listen to music you should look up Basshunter – Now You’re Gone. It has a great rhythm.

Have you taken your own snacks somewhere?

How did you go with the step up challenge?

Are you excited about trying new foods in Week Four?

~ energyandEmily