Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm back after a short break...

So seeing as my last post was in November, there are a few things I need to catch you up on. (And I might break my promise on another rant)...

Firstly, Christmas came and went, and I think I behaved myself. There was no massive overeating and no huge weight gain over the holidays. This is good. Secondly, I've been successful in going for a walk or run every second day or so, which is better than sitting around on the couch watching TV. Thirdly, my fiance has been going back to the gym, which is motivating me. And lastly, I've been taking a new energy supplement that makes me incredibly horny and incredibly active. I can run for 30 minutes, and not tire, when I've taken this supplement. It does drain my blood sugar levels so I become a zombie after any exercise, but it's still fantastic in getting me to exercise.

And remember that "expert" I was talking about in a previous post, the one who never had to lose a kilo in her life who was talking about dieting to me? Well, I found out over Christmas when we had to dress up for work that looking skinny (for her) can only be achieved when she is wearing clothes. Sure, she has tiny legs, but her legs were covered in cellulite. And I'm not talking about orange peel cellulite. I'm talking cottage cheese cellulite. She was wearing a dress, which I'm sure she thought she looked good in, but my God, cottage cheese. Gross. Made me happy to only have orange peel.

I also came across a cosmetic surgery magazine that I picked up for a friend of mine who is seriously considering breast implants. In the magazine, they showed before and after pictures and I must say, the 'before' pictures were horrible but the 'after' pictures weren't much better. When I met my fiance I was a tiny B cup. After putting on 20kgs, my breasts rose to a very generous D cup. After losing 10kgs, I'm still a D but not as full. I realise that breast implants are common nowadays, and if you look at the adult industry and the media its easy to see why. My biggest fear with losing weight is that I will lose my breasts. I will not go down to a perky B, I will probably be quite flat and saggy. No one wants that! So after seeing these before and after pictures, it changed my mind on breast implants. However, I'd only ever go from no boobs (flat and saggy) to a huge D cup. There is no point getting plastic surgery to go up one size only. Might as well look like a porn star. I might wait til after I become a mother though, because then you get awesome huge boobs from breastfeeding, only to have them taken away when you stop.

Anyway, enough ranting for today, I've got a walk to get to!

F xo

Friday, October 21, 2011

Where I'm at now...

I started to write a post about fitness magazines and their goods and evils, but today as I sit here writing this, I've come a long way since I last blogged.

Firstly, I bought a new pair of shoes. I understand that I'm female and this shouldn't be news, but I bought a new pair of Nike + shoes, and they are some of the comfiest shoes I have ever worn. I spent most of my teenage years in light ass spike running shoes that are designed to help you run by being barely there. These shoes aren't spikes, but they're on par with the level of comfort gained from my old spikes. They have no tongue, so the shoe pretty much fits like a glove. They're light, and the sole is completely flexible. The only issue I've had with them is that I haven't spent as much time in them as I've wanted.

Secondly, I have started weighing myself. Not daily or anything crazy like that, but roughly weekly. The first time I went back into the gym (when I blogged last) I was 69kgs. Last week I was 66kgs, and this week I'm 65kgs. The reason why I'm pointing this out is that despite not having very significant weight loss, I've dropped a dress size. I'm now in my level 3 skinny jeans (level 4 are my fat jeans and level 1 skinny jeans are uber small), they're still uncomfortable, but they fit. I can also see that the fat around my tummy is melting off, I can start to see muscle and shape around my waist. So many people talk about how they want to reach their goal weight of x amount of kilos. For me to reach my goal weight, I'd have to lose 16kgs. However, I know how I want my body to look. If I'm 5kgs over my goal weight but I look how I want to, I'm not going to be stupid and try to lose the last 5 kilos. The first time I ever started dieting for bodybuilding, I took measurements of my legs, tummy, bum and arms. I then stopped doing this when I realised that muscle growth under fat can keep you at a measurement, despite fat disappearing (which is obvious now) and the only time I should be measuring myself is when I've lost a majority of fat and have to focus on muscle gain. That's why the scales also lie. I've lost fat, I know that. I fit into my clothes better. But I've only lost 3 kilos in a whole month. Go figure.

I have decided that I will also gain some credibility and get my personal training certificates so I can get out of the shit workplace I'm in now and live in a gym forever. When I first started dating my fiance I used to find it funny and sad how many people spent a lot of their lives in the gym. The reality is that we were just at two very different places in life. I was used to training outdoors and going on long runs and walks with my dog to keep fit, he was used to picking up heavy things and putting them back down to keep fit. He got me used to the gym, eventually, and then life got in the way for us. We stopped making time for the gym. February last year I was at my heaviest, and I never want to get back there again. I've had a less stressful job all year (so less emotional eating) and I haven't been indulging in bad behaviour in general. Also, after getting my beautiful Samoyed in April this year, I've been walking more, and with the husky in tow that's even more of a work out.

At the moment I can see the impact that choices have on my health. To choose not to eat all day then have emergency McDonalds, or to eat all day with small meals of tuna and chicken soup... The choices add up. The only thing I haven't yet gotten my head around is how to manage non-healthy eaters when we're out socially for dinner or lunch. They tend to easily talk me into places where there are no healthy options. I'll figure it out soon though.

And next time I blog, it will be another rant, promise. :)

F xo

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rant: Fitness Fads

So as promised, the next rant is on fitness fads, like Sketchers Shape Ups. Before I get started, don't get me wrong, I have two pairs of shape ups and I spend a majority of my time each day in them. I work in retail where the floor is concrete, so standing up for 8 hours a day on concrete does nothing good for your back and knees. I find that sketchers shape ups and their huge amount of padding lessen the impact of the floor, but I don't think they work for toning.

I went shopping recently with a friend of mine who walks very fast. I'm not a fan of fast walking in shopping centers, why, I don't know. But I had my sketchers on and I tried walking the retarded way that they tell you to in the little booklet to "tone your bum and thighs". I didn't feel any different, but my legs and bum did hurt. I'm sure I would have felt the same way with my normal runners though.

I do have a background in business so I do understand marketing and what it is meant to achieve. There are some great examples of crap that sells for hundreds of dollars because its the latest fad. However, marketing plays on human behaviour. One guy I saw at a bodybuilding show last year (who was an absolute mass monster) came out on stage and people were shocked... they had no idea his physique was like that. Why? Because he didn't subscribe to the marketing that "all body building males should wear singlets at the gym to show off their huge physics". Not even his mum knew how big he was. Go figure.

That said though, the fitness industry is a huge money maker. Think of the billions of dollars spent on the latest tracksuits, runners, gym bags (when worn elsewhere you look like a bum) and the millions spent on supplements and protein drinks, as well as sport drinks (though any exercise buff will tell you that sports drinks are full of sugar). A friend of mine who is trying ever so hard to "tone up" (she wants to look like the glamour models, not the figure competitors) has been training with a lot of 'experts' that have been getting her to push massive weights with them, and because they're all male, they don't know how to train a female. They got her leg pressing 130lb, she was mortified when I told her that all that's going to achieve over time will be huge legs and a huge round ass. I told her the best thing for her was a personal trainer who specialises in women. Her response? They're too expensive. And of course they are, but what would you rather? Listening to some guido who thinks he knows everything because he's been training with his best friend for a year, or someone who has taken the time to perfect the techniques of training on themselves, has a proven track record with competitions personally and with their clients and has a legal liability to see that you're training safely (and correctly). I'd take the personal trainer, rather than the 'expert'. (That'll probably be my next rant...) Now I'm not saying I'm an expert either, and maybe these guys that my friend knows are really good at what they do, because some of the things they tell her are the same things a lot of others would tell her. But I don't want to see her hurt herself due to some moron telling her stupid things, (Which is another reason why I like training alone) or pushed to lift heavy weights when she doesn't want to gain muscle mass.

Anyway, back to my initial rant on fads... The sketchers do not work for toning up everything as they so claim. But it's like buying a gym membership. If you've spent $600 for a yearly membership, and you don't want to waste $600, you go to the gym as often as you can. If you need to pay $200 for the latest pair of sketchers just to walk 30 minutes every day when previously you were a couch potato, then buy the sketchers and walk, you'll be better for it.

I have a nike+ running watch that connects to my runners that tells me a whole heap of information about my "run". I use it when walking the dogs so I can track how often and how far I've walked them. This is a huge fad, but it's helpful to me. I like being able to track what I'm doing, and if there was some kind of way to track lifting weights without having to write it in a diary, I'd be doing that too. The only time I'd diarise my weights would be when I was in training for a competition, with a specific goal to reach.

I'm one of the many that can go into a gym, train hard for 2 weeks straight, and have obvious definition at the end of those weeks. I often get told at work that I look like I work out, even though I haven't been to the gym in a while. I'm aiming to go back tonight for the first time in a month.

I do subscribe to a lot of fads, and my partner has even almost talked me into getting an iPhone just for the apps (though I do love my iPod... so I might just get an iPod touch) because there are a lot of fitness apps, and a lot of other apps that would distract me that I would find hugely useful.

The main thing with fads though, is that as long as you stick to them and they work, there's nothing wrong with them. We need a healthier world and a healthier populations, so we should be doing whatever we can to take advantage of any exercise we can get. In Australia right now, we're hitting warmer weather, and today in Melbourne it was 28 degrees. I've had to wait to walk my doggies until it cooled down, because with their heavy coats they would have been too exhausted. And like I also mentioned before, tonight I will go back to the gym for the first time in many weeks. I'm not sure how I'll go, but I'll definitely sleep well tonight and hurt tomorrow.

F xo

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rant: Skinny people at the gym

So today I'd like to complain about something dear to my heart... those anorexic people you see at the gym. I'm not talking about the gym-goers who clearly have worked hard for their physiques, those people are to be admired. I'm talking about the bumbling size 6s (or size 4s in America) who believe they need to 'tone up' or even worse 'slim down'.

These are the people you see nibbling on carrots for lunch, with maybe a can of tuna that they don't finish. You can see their bones and they have no muscle tone whatsoever. It also shits me when these people tell other "normal" sized people how to diet. Newsflash: not eating food does not count as dieting.

I take after my dad who was always a pretty big guy and due to athletics while I was younger I always had muscular legs. Never had huge legs, but my legs were always very strong. I put muscle on very easily, as well as putting on fat even easier. One particular girl I work with has always been a size 6, studied some kind of health science degree at uni and never got past first semester, has never had to lose a pound in her life, cannot tone up no matter how much she goes to the gym, but she's a friggen expert. I was talking to another girl at work about why I try to detox before I start a diet, and she was saying how the "expert" says you should never detox before a diet. Ever. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to take advice from someone who's never had to lose more than a kilo in her life. I'm not saying that detoxing before a diet is what everyone should do, because everyone is different. I just find that detoxing puts me in the right state of mind before starting the diet, and I find detoxing very hard. Drinking liquids, soups and yoghurts for two days is difficult. But it helps prepare me, and I'm already down three kilos since I started last week.

Another thing that these skinny people do that annoys me is talk in kilos. Because they don't have much mass to play around with (bigger people and bodybuilders talk like that too, but it's justified... like when someone says their competition weight is 88kgs and their off-season weight is 102kgs... that's some serious change) Skinny people talk like "oh I'd be happier if I lost 2 kilos... but it's so hard eating like a bunny." I've always been of the opinion that how you look is more important than how much you weigh. Think about how many bodybuilders would be called 'obese' based on the BMI calculations. I may have only lost 3 kilos with my "more conscious effort to eat healthy" (I'm not dieting - haha) but I look much slimmer. I do still have muscle on me, but I've lost a little bit of fat. That makes me happy.

I guess the reason why anorexic gym-goers annoy me is because I used to be anorexic. Doctors say that it is a disease that stays with you for life. I don't believe that is true. Self-consciousness and bad self-esteem stay with you for life, but the ability to enjoy food and not see it as evil can be overcome. I think I may still see my body differently than other people do, but I've learned to listen to others and not take anything too far. The effort to be healthier is one thing, but when you already look healthy, why try and make yourself look unhealthy? Bones aren't sexy, people.

My rant for next time will be on fitness fads... such as Sketchers Shape-Ups.

F xx

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Rant

Hi there! As my first post I just wanted to explain a few things... I felt obliged to start this blog to keep myself on track with the struggle of being fitter. I have no idea what being fit actually means to me, so I don't actually know what I'm trying to achieve. Being fitter is different from slimming down, and there are different levels of fitness. I know that slimming comes naturally with getting fitter, but I don't yet know if I want to be flexible (yoga), strong (weights), fast (cardio) or just find a good balance of all three. There have been times, usually drunk on new years day, that I have pledged for a healthy year, no junk food, no soft drink, to go to the gym everyday, whatever. It usually lasts three days, and by the time new years comes around we're already over half way through summer in Australia anyway.

We've had a few beautiful sunny days in Melbourne already, and it's gotten me thinking about what I want my body to look like in summer. Shallow, I know, but we all do it. I'm currently ten kilos heavier than where I'd like to be, but I don't think I look fat. I'd be happy now to hit the beach in my body, as is, but part of me just wants to see if I can get to my goal weight. I'm not disciplined enough, which is always what stops me.

A bit of background about me: I've always been relatively fit. Between the ages of 8-18 I was playing 2-3 games of team sports, as well as from the ages of 11-16 engaged in little athletics, representing the state as a hurdler. After 16, I pretty much collapsed on the track one day, run down from lack of energy provided by a very malnourished diet. I was anorexic. I was obsessed with being small, but I had no idea that I was bony. I've destroyed most of the pictures from that time because they disgust me. Between the ages of 18-21 I kept my quick metabolism but managed to eat more than I ever had earlier, with a diet of junk food and stuff you can reheat from the freezer (dim sims, pastizzi, etc.) But at 21, my life changed when I met my fiance.

He had just come back from overseas on an archaeological dig and was so fit. He had huge arms, big strong legs, and a wide back. Well, I thought he was huge at least, and I loved it! He introduced me to the world of weight training in a gym, and the world of body building. His family has very deep roots in the amateur aspect of the sport on a worldwide level. I don't want to name names for issues of privacy but it was a huge shock to me. And I thought my (then) boyfriend was huge. Well, there were much bigger...

At first he started taking me into the gym, which his family owned, at night, after hours, where he could train me with no distractions. Also, I was very subconscious about not being able to do a dumb bell curl with 2.5kg weights when I first started. Many of the machines I was unable to use until I'd built up enough strength, and while building up my strength, I built up my confidence.

The night sessions were slowly partaken in with his best mate, who wanted to train anyway, but the way my partner handled the 'breaking in' period was perfect. His mate, who had competed before, tried helping by giving all this advice on training that my boyfriend would sometimes tell me later to disregard. This was also good preparation for when I would be introduced to training with an open gym, where everyone is apparently an expert.

In time, my boyfriend announced that he was going to compete while he was still a junior. His training intensified, his diet changed, and his personality changed. We were still at that honeymoon stage so I didn't mind, the only thing that changed that had a lasting effect was his increased time at the gym. He'd be there (often with me) for two to three hours a day. In one go. And then back again for a couple of hours to do cardio. That was too long for me, and in my mind to this day I know that he loves training and loves spending time there, and will happily spend hours there training and catching up with people, but it should not take hours at the gym on a daily basis. I'm sure others will disagree. My belief is that everything can be done in an hour, if you cut out socialising. His belief is that a gym is a place of socialisation and training is a part of that. I love training with my fiance, but I find I get more done by myself. The only time he's good to train with is if he spots me while I'm increasing my weight and it's a bit of a stretch so I don't hurt myself.

When I was 12, my parents bought me a border collie. He was a high energy puppy, very smart, very beautiful, but he needed to be walked twice a day for at least 4km each time. I shared walking duties with my mum, but it was mostly me walking him on his daily 8km walks. I now have two snow dogs, a husky and a Samoyed x Golden retriever. They require, at a minimum, 4km walks daily. That takes an hour of my time right there. I love my dogs and I see how destructive they become when they're frustrated, which gives me motivation to be a good pack leader and exercise them daily. It doesn't always happen. I'm a huge sleeper, and sometimes napping gets in the way. Both of my dogs are rescues, and they're aged 1 and 3. The samoyed is over weight, and because she's only 1, getting her in shape will give her the best chance at living to over 10 years old. She's a high energy dog too, so walking her calms her down and turns her into a normal puppy.

So my dogs are my motivation to do regular cardio sessions, but what about weight training? Don't get me wrong, I love a good training session where everything aches the next day, but actually getting my ass to the gym is the hard part. Most people have gym memberships which they've prepaid so the waste of money idea keeps them motivated. Other people hire personal trainers to keep them motivated, but they're expensive and I prefer to train by myself. The other issue is time. I'm too easily distracted by everything else to do, and can always find everything else that needs to be done. I feel guilty if I've taken two hours out of my day to lift weights when there's washing to do. I know my weakness, I don't make exercise a priority. This is my downfall. (Also, I use the excuse that I have two strong dogs and keeping them under control works my biceps and back - haha)

And don't even get me started on dieting... I try, oh so very hard, to eat healthy food. I don't get all hardcore and try to live on chicken and lettuce, but I try to avoid things like McDonald's, frozen party food, potato chips and soft drink and I fail. The other food is just too tempting! When I was an athlete at 16, I felt so guilty that I'd eaten non-diet food that sometimes I'd be sick (not on purpose, I was never bulimic), but now my attitude is "oh well, I can start again tomorrow". And I suppose that trying is at least better than not trying, because the amount of junk food is reduced and healthier choices are better than not so healthy ones, but that's not going to get me where I want to be. Discipline is the one thing most people lack, it takes a very strong soul to say no to the most delicious new McFlurry from McDonald's (bubblegum marshmallow... mmm). I currently don't have that discipline. Yesterday, on day 2 of the diet, I found a container of choc chips left over from when my fiance made me a birthday cake for my birthday this year. It was eaten (inhaled), followed by McDonald's on the way to work (it was a McChicken, but it was a large meal). Bad, very bad behaviour. But today I've been good. And I'm about to take the dogs out for a walk with my fiance, and decide what we're going to do with dinner. He likes being healthy too, so he won't let me stray tonight. Hopefully. It's our 4 year anniversary next week, so we might do something special. I don't know.

So, there are many blogs out there that are fitness oriented. This may not be one of them. This will be about trials and tribulations of getting fit. It'll be for empathic purposes, because there are others out there that do this easily, and there are others out there, like me, who always find something better to do. My hope for this blog is that it'll help someone realise they're not in this alone, as I know it often feels like. Especially when you do this with friends and they succeed and you fail. It's frustrating. I realise I will not always succeed. I also realise I will not always fail. It's the journey that makes everything worthwhile. And when you ask someone "how did you get a body like that?" they always say "hard work and discipline". That's not a story. I love hearing people's stories. I love hearing about success, and how people fall off the bandwagon. I don't just like seeing the end result and that's it. So, instead of being a fitness blog, this is my story.

I'm off to walk my dogs.

Fee xoxo