Saturday, December 25, 2010

taking a moment...

Life has been spectacularly busy these past few weeks. My glute challenge has continued and, indeed, has even finished but more on that later - this here is a christmas special post to get you all gooey inside.

Mr C and I have a much beloved family member in hospital at the moment. The hours spent searching our loved ones faces for comfort and attempting to offer some in return has had me placing my life priorities firmly in place. And has me realising how unbelievably blessed I am.

I have alot to reflect on and thank my lucky stars for but above and beyond it all is that I am here at all; that I am healthy, have love in my life in all its various shades and forms and walk through my days in the company of some of the greatest minds and hearts there are.

Can I take a moment to send out my love to my lovely friends who read this - The BFF, SuperJhy, BB (aka Mrs Canuck), Mr Canuck, EOL, KayTee and MammaT; my lovely friends who don't know this even exists including the DragonLady; my cyber crushes - DietGirl, SkinnyLatte, Mizfit, MerryLife; and my partner Mr C. You are some special people.

I'll also take this chance to share that I somehow reached my end of year goal early - I'm a whopping 36kilos down.

from here

I will write again soon, but until then, I'm wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and love-filled life.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

come fly with me: glute 25/30...

So glute number 25 is a total cop out - its the amalgamation of the workout one's butt gets packing, lifting, pulling and pushing 80kilos of luggage across the world.

Ok, so I just had to get it to the airport and the plane actually brought it down under. But the checking it in, taking it through customs, dragging it around an airport and finally, thankfully, loading it into a taxi only to drag it all up stairs at the ultimate destination is enough to cause anyone's glutes to exercise.

I am unable to distinguish between possible hardcore workout butt ache and butt ache due to the 20hours of flying time. The butt aches though.

Mr C and I have returned to our beloved homeland for a very beloved relative who is not well at the moment.  Despite the reason we are drinking in the sunshine in great big gulps and loving up our people in great big hugs.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

climb every mountain: glute 24/30...

Our prestigious 24th glute exercise is the mountain climber. These are done from a plank-like position and alternatively jumping each foot forward to land in the rough locality between your hands.  In my mind real athletes do this exercise so while my capabilities are lesser and my pace is quite a bit slower than desired, I feel pretty shmick while doing this.

I seem to be having a bit of a plateau at the moment. Naturally, I'm a whisker away from a weight mini-goal and its been static for three weeks. I'm doing my best not to let it bother me but, truth be told, its making me second guess my exercise and food routine a little. Should I really eat that? Should I exercise more?

But never fear, a logical girl lies underneath this skin and no drastic measures will be taken. I read over some of my favourite bloggers posts about similar stages in their journeys. Pretty much everyone seems to have had a similar stage and I'm confident that mine too shall pass. And regardless of how long I stop at this current weight I'm pretty darn chuffed that I'm here :)


Monday, November 29, 2010

clam it: glute 23/30...

I've mentioned before that Mr C and I have a shared love of crosswords. We're aren't super excellent at them but we have alot of fun doing them. Yes, we do them together. And no, that isn't cheating. Its teamwork people!

I love to make silly suggestions at some of the more inane clues and Mr C always plays along and we have a right old giggle. Recently we had a clue along the lines of 'phrase that means "be quiet"'. I suggested 'clam it' as an answer because it totally fit and I would not hesitate to use this phrase to convey the sentiment. It was wrong. But we thought it was very funny and it has slowly crept into our every day language, followed by copious laughter.

During one of my pilates classes we do a series of floor exercises focussing on legs - this is one of them. And goes by the name clam exercise. Some may say this name has questionable taste but it reminded me of our new saying and is therefore deemed funny in an appropriately tangential way. It is also recommended by those fancy pants researchers I mentioned the other day. Being partial to a bit of geekiness that makes this exercise a shoe in for an awesome glute exercise.

an unapologetic self esteem booster, again from cuehapiness

Sunday, November 28, 2010

i'm shiny happy, people...

another cute thing from cuehappiness

I haven't blogged much about some of the non-weight, non-exercise related things I've noticed with all this healthy guff I've added to my life. Its been thanksgiving here in the US and its had me feeling all kinds of gratitude for my lucky dip of a life. 

Indulge me a little and let me share some of the changes I've had going on.
  • Sleep - I have never had problems sleeping but now I sleep really solidly and wake up so refreshed I yabber on to Mr C relentlessly. And, in the last month or so I have noticed a real drop in how much sleep I need to feel totally rested.
  • Skin - I hope I am not jinxing myself here but my skin has improved so much, I recently looked through some photos from a few years ago and apart from the poundage differences I was surprised at my skin condition, I had forgotten that I would regularly have a chin break out situation.
  • Mood/Energy - these two are so inter-related for me that I'll lump them together. I don't have a particularly stressful life but I would say in general I've become more of an even keel and handle the ups and downs a whole lot better.
  • Openness about food - I didn't even know how secretive I could be about food. The other day, to some random stranger in the lift, I starting talking about hungry I was and that I couldn't wait to eat lunch. It struck me that I had never done that kind of thing before and I realised, with some sadness, that I used to be a bit ashamed of eating. 
So there you go folks, I have a bucket of sunshine about my healthy endeavor, I'm keen to keep it going and discover the new shiny things to decorate my life with.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

bend and stretch: glute 22/30...

So the latest and greatest glute exercise is a stretch - none other than the hip flexor stretch. Oh, that, I hear you all say, that's not really a glute exercise.

Well my friends some fancy pants researchers beg to differ and have shown that during this stretch the old gluteus maximus is as effective as squats in terms of muscle activation.

I dig this stretch, it feels really good on pretty much every muscle between my waist and knees. Not sure that my butt is going to be smaller from it or change appearance but its all positive folks.

And, to stretch our feel-good-about-ourselves muscle here is a little positivity to dwell on.

Enjoy the weekend xx

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

kick butt: glute 21/30...

Nothing fancy here folks, just one girl kicking her butt in an attempt to make it smaller :)

There appears to be two common versions of this exercise. One where you jump from standing and try to kick your butt with your heels and one where you jog on the spot and try to, alternatively, kick one butt cheek at a time with the corresponding leg.

I did the jogging version. But only because I didn't know about the jumping version before I researched it properly. Definitely not because jumping sounds way harder than jogging :)

Anyone who does Jillian's workouts knows she loves these. So its no surprise I did them with her this morning through the magic of tv and exercise videos. She told me my form could do with some improvement but that generally I was doing ok. I'll take it with thanks Jillian.

Hope you're all out there kicking butt this week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

fire hydrant: glute 20/30...

I must be a little slow on the uptake because I really thought I was mishearing the instructor call the next glute exercise in this prestigious list - the fire hydrant. But I googled it and it is indeed called the fire hydrant, presumably because it resembles dogs peeing on said structure.

There have been moves in this list which really hurt but this takes the cake thus far. The Glute Exercise Cake that is, what an honour if ever there was; I wonder what that cake would look like, perhaps I will call up Buddy from Cake Boss and see what he comes up with.

I was feeling my butt and saddlebags burn before I finished one of these darn things. And I felt like my hip might become dislocated. Clearly this means that I am a lady and I'm not designed to pee like that ;) But, aye, if its good for the gander its good for the goose. Or something like that.

ok, so I'm not sure what this means but lets pretend its a quirky message carved into this tree from my glutes to my saddlebags :) 

Hope you're all well and enjoying wrapping up the week.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

getting to know you, getting to know all about you: twenty questions

Inspired by SkinnyLatte, who in turn was inspired by Meet Me At Mikes...

1. Sweet or Savoury?
Sweet tooth here! I really limit my intake but a meal isn't a meal for me without dessert :) My favourites at the moment are dates, yogurt or these delicious bite sized cookies Mr C and I discovered at Whole Foods. On the savoury side, I feel like I have newly discovered a love of cheese, particularly goat's cheese, mmmm. I'd be hard pressed to choose between a good cheese and something sweet at the moment.

2. Dresses or Jeans?
Dresses! Generally I feel more "me" in skirts and dresses. But, I have recently bought two pairs of jeans (from the non-plus section no less) and they have revolutionized my wardrobe - they seem to go with everything and are incredibly comfy. 

3. House or Apartment?
Apartment, we've lived in apartments for years now and the low-fussiness of them is definitely a big plus for us. Occassionally we dream up the ideal house where we'd sit on rocking chair and watch the world go by; that is usually a stand alone house. 

4. Shop Online or Offline?
Both! I love to shop, browse and fashion-watch in real life and virtually :)

5. DVDs or Downloads?
Downloads - iTunes and Netflix are well worn in our house.

6. Cocktails or Juice?
Neither? Wine over cocktails and coffee or water over juice. However, a mimosa at breakfast is pretty hard to turn down :)

7. Chocolate or Strawberry?
Strawberry milkshakes, icecream or cake. But strawberries dipped in chocolate - a winner all round :)

8. Laptop or PC?
Macbook and iPad.

9. Magazines or Newspapers?
Magazines - but use the applications on iPad for both information sources.

10. Facebook or Twitter?
I'm on fb but not twitter, so have to say fb. 

11. CDs or MP3s?
MP3s - iTunes all the way here.

12. Kids or Pets?
Neither - yet. We feel like we have so much to do before we "settle down" and get either - but one day we will. Maybe.

13. Macaron or Cupcakes?
Macaroon! I love coconut, sweet tooth is calling!

14. Walk or Run?
Walk. I have the worst running gait you have ever seen, and I focus so much on running that I forget to breathe properly. Its just an all round disaster best left alone. Love to walk though.

15. Breakfast in Bed or Breakfast Out?
Out for sure. We are spoiled in my home town of Adelaide and have so many delicious spots - one has some fluffy ricotta blueberry pancakes that are divine - I'd eat them in bed, or anywhere, if they appeared there. But otherwise, the crumbs and spilage likelihood prevent my enjoyment of breakky in bed.

16. Market or Supermarket?
Both - I never seem to be able to get everything I want at one spot. I am on the bandwagon for buying locally though, so farmers markets or road side stalls are a big winner for me.

17. Sourdough or Grainy?
Grainy. Have recently discovered Great Harvest breads, and gotta say everything I've tried is amazing. 

18. Heels or Flats?
My vestibular apparatus is questionable, so while I look longingly at heels, its flats for me. I love a good wedge or boot with skirts and dresses.

19. Late nights or Not?
I was born into an old woman's persona - I'm an early to bed, early to rise lark.

20. Coffee or Tea?
Coffee! Nothing beats it in the morning. French press or expresso are my favs. I'll often have tea in the afternoon and have tried to be exotic and branch out but always come back to plain old liptons black tea with milk.

words of wisdom if ever there were: pic credit

Thanks for the inspiration Phil!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

pressed for time: glute 19/30...

Just a quick one folks. Checking in with glute exercise number 19 - the leg press.

This is done on a machine and my substantial research online tells me the muscle incorporation is pretty similar to a wide squat. Actually, substantial might be an overestimate, somewhat substantial? Maybe.

Anyway, I go back and forth with my feelings about using machines for exercises. Mainly because I like to think that my exercise is like squeezing real life situations into short amounts of time - for example bicep curls is the concentrated equivalent of lifting shopping in and out of the boot of my car.

And you know, there is nothing I do in my life where I sit down and push things away with my legs. I guess though, the idea of these machines is to isolate and stress particular muscles so my analogy system for valuing machines is probably debunked if not downright fraudulent ;)

Nevertheless, the leg press machine doesn't feature in my routine all that regularly. But its in my gym and it already sits in the corner not being used much, so every now and then I use it so it knows it has some love. And it does work the legs really well - and the booty now that I know how to use it properly. And it makes me feel strong - my legs have had to carry my body around for years so they can press a good weight. Yup, superhero coming atcha!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

jack flash: glute 18/30...

So the new addition to the glute exercise realm for landsoftly is the jumping squat. Similar to a squat but incorporating a jump at the end of the squatting segment. Here is more information about the jumping squat than anyone might ever need.

It was only recently that I gave the whole jumping thing a proper go. Not just for these exercises but in general, if a workout required jumping I really did a half arsed job. Putting my whole arse into jumping makes a big difference. Sure I feel daft jumping but its a no-joke way to get the heart pounding and the sweat pouring. And there is something to be said for using your own muscles to propel you up and off the ground. Who needs planes when you've got muscles? :)

I am not adverse to squats at all, I'm not able to get a low as some people but I can do a good booty flaunt without too much trouble. Jumping squats are a great way to do the same action and keep it more "cardio". I think my pace might be a little slower than others but I tried really hard to keep my form good.

So, onwards and upwards with a jump and a squat.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

its raining smiles...

Its pouring in Seattle, and its cold. And I love it. Ok, so I don't love the cold but I do love the rain. I think most Aussies do, well Adelaide-ians do; we don't get much there.

Thus when I saw this picture I saw a little blue version of myself - except, unless I'm really worried about my hair or something I'm carrying, I rarely worry about umbrellas. I never have much luck keeping anything other than my head dry with the darn things anyway.

The weather has me craving comfort dishes like soup and toast, stews, puddings and apple pie. I'm doing my best at keeping these healthy choices.

The weather does have me exercising almost exclusively indoors, so I'm doing my strides on the cross trainer and the bike. Mr C and I keep a close eye on the sky and get excited if the sun is shining so we can get a few steps outside.

Hope you're all well and enjoying rain, hail or shine where ever you might be.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

core blimey: glute 17/30...

As discussed a few posts ago I have been trying out some new resistance strengthening exercises. I researched the Exhale series of Core Fusion workouts and read pretty amazing things and thought I'd give one of them a go. I tried the Body Sculpt dvd (side note: I actually rented it from Amazon and had it download to my TiVo, how freaky cool is that!?!).

I didn't really know if any of the exercises in this workout would be strictly "glute" exercises before doing it but the answer is an undeniable yes. To the point where the next day my butt was sore to the touch. Even the weight of my plush lounge pants strained the poor things.

The workouts are demonstrated by a couple who are quite remarkable, in retrospect I am wondering if they are even human. They were so serene, flexible and strong that I suspect they have a superior set of muscles under their "skin". I always clap myself at the end of a workout and send out a thanks to the demonstrator; after this one I was so grateful it was over but so puffed I couldn't speak and so shakey my hands could not come together in a coordinated movement.

For anyone who is interested the workout is divided into five 10minute sessions - each concentrating on different muscle groups. You think to yourself - oh this is easy - and that thought lasts for about 30seconds and then you just want them to tell you its over. Its tough but I dare say results are worth it.

from here

At the moment I am not sure its for me, but I'll keep you posted.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

stairway to saddledoom: glute 16/30...

I have several glute exercises that I need to blog about but one I tried on the weekend needs special mention pronto.

This past weekend whilst visiting two of the loveliest canucks in all the land I found myself amongst the masses of crazed fans and halloween-ers at an ice hockey game. I hadn't been to a game before and loved every second of it.

I think it was Dolly Parton who said "the higher the hair, the closer to god". Well the same goes for ice hockey seats :) We were way way up overlooking the rink and everyone else in the arena. Was great for some people-watching and trying to work out if the numerous mullets were being sported as part of halloween costumes or were part of the local favour - I think it was exclusively the former but it was fun to speculate.

None the less, the hike up to the seats involved many many stairs - I am going out on a limb and guesstimating at least one million stairs were involved :) One of my dear companions suggested the stair climb could classify as a glute exercise. And then when I discovered the arena was called the Saddledome, it was impossible to ignore the call of this worthy bun-master workout.

And so, glute exercise number 16 is the stair climb. I do stairs just like everyone else - just one after the other, no fancy double step taking for me. But I must admit after realising the potential of the climb to our seats I concentrated a little more on using those maximi glutes to propel me up those steps. I was definitely feeling warm when we sat down but I can't say my glutes were making any noise - perhaps next time I will climb two million stairs and beat the saddle bags into submission :)

I had actually planned out my week so that I had two rest days whilst I was away, so I feel extra smug that I snuck this exercise in :) My glutii and every part of me sends out a big thanks to Mr and Mrs Canuck for an awesome weekend.

a likeness of Mr and Mrs Canuck: seen here


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

pilates: glute 15/30...

I've been trying out a few different options for strength training recently. I don't mind doing weights and do find the repetitive nature somewhat soothing. But I had a moment of frank honesty with myself and realised from the moment I start doing weights I'm waiting for them to be done and finished. And who wants to be doing that a couple of times a week? Not me...

So I am trying to hunt down a variety of ways to strengthen my musculature because we all want to be able to say "today I strengthened my musculature" with enthusiasm :)

I turned first to Jillian. Of course! I loved her No More Trouble Zones workout, but it is hard and committing to doing that more than once a week is something I'm not up for. So who to turn to after Jillian? The bff, of course! She has recently lost numerous kilos; 3, or so, of which have miraculously recomposed themselves into a gorgeous baby boy.

One of the baby-whisperers mentioned to her that pilates is a great form of exercise. I think the baby is too young to start exercising myself but who am I to question :) But, if its good enough for the bff & junior then its good enough for me.

So I tried an "everyday pilates workout for beginners" from iTunes - about 5minutes into the routine the demonstrator mentioned the workout was specifically designed for "all you over 50's out there". Which is not me by the way. It should have been easy then, no? Well, no it wasn't. But it wasn't much of a challenge either.

So I learned my lesson, read the reviews for some other dvds and found one that offers beginners, intermediate and advanced options. Love it. Its relaxing and centering but challenging. And there are some killer super glute maneuvers in there.

The side kicks were a hit with the landsoftly glutes and are getting a special mention as glute exercise number 15. The routine I do has quite a few of these and I have to say the whole side area from the waist to mid thigh is burning - afterwards the instructor tells us to make a fist and rub that area. If I could purr I would - it is bliss, and I have taken to doing this when ever I do anything that remotely using my glutes.

LandSoftly Out.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

wrestling: glute 14/30...

I'm pleased to introduce glute exercise number 14...the sumo squat. I quite enjoy these, they feel like a stretch exercise as well as a booty shaper. Surprisingly though, I do not like them enough to challenge this record.

Using a wide stance, feet out turned and back straight I did a reasonably fast set of 30 of these, trying my damnedest to get as low as possible on each repetition, then followed it up with a set of 20 at a much slower pace and concentrating more on my form. As with all these exercises, they were mixed in with other strength exercises after some cardio. I didn't notice a "burn" as such with these but I was pretty darn grateful when I was upright again.

The argument between the scale and I has escalated since my last post. It is such a punk, it seems to think I'll quit exercising and eating well if tricks me into believing my weight is not shifting at the moment. I fear our patience with each other is dwindling, but I am determined that I shall not break.

A day late, but every day in heart, soul and spirit, I support Spirit Day

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

wrong side of the bed...

Sometimes I meet people and all they do is whinge, nothing is good enough for them, nothing they do is worth celebrating, nothing is the way they want it...blah blah blah. I have a limit on the number of understanding-muffins these people can take from my baked-with-kindness basket and when their order is filled, its filled and they ain't getting any more soft, sweet cake crumbs to help get them out the funk they've gotten in.

This morning, I was unlucky because that person was me and I flew through my basket in record time. Which left me grumpy and, well, grumpier; not a good way to be.

The trigger was my old friend, the scale - I swear it logs on to my blog each evening and if I have said anything regarding its decreasing output in my latest post it decides to frighten me the next morning with some kind of anomaly. I'm so on to you scale...I'm deleting your username and password...

After my weigh in everything was wrong, my coffee wasn't right, one half of my english muffin was too toasted and the other was under done, the butter was too oily, the milk was too white, Mr C was too lovely, then not lovely enough - oh man, my life is so tough people!

Have I gone through your basket now too?

I wanted to sit on the couch watch some sappy drama and eat poptarts covered in nutella. And probably cry a bit too. Or alot.

I thought about what Mizfit would say, and that Dietgirl would probably kickbox my butt, SkinnyLatte would totally back them up and want to shake sense into me, my dear friends would give me a heavy dose of slap therapy, even the bff would whack me around a little, the DragonLady would save all the cake for herself, give me tough love, and tell me to wake up to myself. Jillian would be so over me that she'd be speechless at my self dramatics.

So, after that session of self-help, I did some exercise instead. 

I'm usually an evening exerciser so the change of pace instantly got me thinking about things other than how terrible my life had managed to become in one morning. I did Pilates - me and my (still-not-recovered-from-banish-fat-workout) abs clunked through; afterwards we group-hugged and left together with the glutes and the rest of the core feeling much better about things.


Monday, October 18, 2010

side kick: glute 13/30...

I did a new class (via video) yesterday - it involved some truly heinous moves. The old nemesis, jumping jacks, brought along a new frenemy called burpees. I can't help myself, I love to hate to love-hate them...yes, that does make sense.

Anyway, side kicks were included and I noticed immediately that these really got the butt and outer thighs working hard. I am seriously pear shaped so something that works the ol'saddle bags (meet them here) is welcome around these here parts. Y'all, we are honoured to have side kicks as glute exercise number 12.

The exercise video was none other than Jillian's "Banish Fat Boost Metabolism" dvd - you all know I have some major love for Jillian. So this was a no brainer - I loved it. But it might easily be called "Wake Up Tomorrow and Have Trouble Walking, Bending, Standing and Sitting".

In other news, the downward trend on the scales continues. Some lounge pants that I bought last winter because I could not resist their plushy softness but could not squeeze into either have entered general circulation amongst the array of sloppy trackpants I love to get about it.

One of the side effects of shrinking in body is this weird perception of how loose clothes should be. Because baggy is comfy, people. It might look sloppy but its like walking around in a cosy quilt or something. And, who wouldn't want that?

I am off, to get about in my super comfy, baggy yet beautiful lounge pants. Welcome to the week everyone xxx

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

raising a glass: glute 12/30...

I'm not sure what to call this exercise - here it is in explanation form...

I have done this in several pump classes of old and one instructor would always ask us to imagine a glass of champagne was stuck on the sole of our shoe and we had to raise it up reading for filling. This instructor often appeared hungover judgement, I'm just saying :)

Anyways, I did two sets of 30 of these on each side and I have to say my butt was screaming. If butts had tear ducts they would have been weeping too.


And that would be very creepy indeed...a crying butt, ewww...suffice to say, this move really seems to target my glutes and banging out 30 one after the other was really difficult. I had to take a couple of breaks in there so my entire butt didn't fall off with shear exhaustion.

I realise my butt falling off and crying on the ground is an extremely sad image for everyone so here is a positive ending...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

over troubled water: glute 11/30...

So I built a bridge with my butt for glute exercise number 11 and got over it.

Check out this awesome set of exercises for some general guidelines on how to do the bridge.

Can't help but do some reflection on this exercise - just before Mr C and I got married I did the bridal thing and threw myself into some exercise classes. At the end of one of them we'd go through a series of cool down type strength moves and the bridge was one of them. I could barely get my butt off the floor - I would be trying with all my might and it looked like I'd just plonked myself on the ground and thought about something really hard.

Fast forward 7years, an extra 10 kilos gained&lost and I finally got it together, worked out which muscles I was meant to use for this dang maneuver and I could hold a bridge for a solid 60seconds. And it looked like I was actually doing something.

Fast forward another 3years to today, 20 more kilos lost and I'm doing these things on one leg - advanced style with my main girl Jillian cheering from the side lines. Those days of being unable to move my booty off the floor are water under the bridge baby. I'm a riot with these phrases :)

And it does work the booty (and the abs) - its an exercise where I feel it working immediately, clenching those muscles up off the floor and holding them there makes me pretty sore. There's no waiting for tomorrow to see if the glutes have been worked to their maximus.

I honestly don't even know what I was doing all those years ago, it doesn't seem like a masters in coordination is really required. But I remember looking over at the other people in the class and just not understanding how they managed to get their bootys so far off the ground. Makes me pretty darn grateful that I got myself together and worked it out.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

a friday favourite and glute 10/30...

I used to do Pump classes with the bff. We would go during our lunch break while we were "working" together. When we first started we would get changed before and after the class but slowly but surely we ended up wearing our sweats all day. We were doing said "work" together in an engineering department and lets just say the dress code was pretty lax. We were the only ones who noticed our slip in sweatsville. We were very comfortable.

The dead lift is a favourite of any pump class - Jillian incorporates this move with a bicep curl in her No More Trouble Zone workout. I realise now that back when I did all those Pump classes that I wasn't doing this maneuver properly. So, here it is being highlighted as number 10 in the world renown glute exercise challenge.

I know I wasn't doing it properly because I used to just flop over and let my arms hang down - seriously, it was a totally passive move. Now I realise I'm meant engage my abs the whole time, standing upright to begin with, knees soft but not bent, fold over at the waist and then actually use my glutes and hamstrings to pull me back up. I repeated a set of 30 of these, after some cardio and mixed in with other moves.

The area in the lower middle of each [ahem] cheek is quite sore now.

Because its Friday, and I just had an extra coffee while watching Project Runway, I want to celebrate another love the bff and I have: Tim Gunn. I know what you're thinking, Pump classes and Tim Gunn, we are tres chic :) If we were both gay men we might have a falling out over who gets to claim him. Or perhaps we'd just join forces and set up his biggest fan club. Oooo, maybe we'll do this anyway.

a lovely thought from this lovely site

Hope you're all having a fabulous Friday xx

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

plankety plank: glute 9/30...

The glute exercise challenge is ongoing and the ninth exercise I tried in this prestigious category is the plank. The plank involves suspending yourself parallel and horizontal to the ground, on either toes or knees and hands or elbows - thats a whopping 4 alternate configurations before you throw in options using only one hindlimb and one forelimb.

Nevertheless, this is actually an "everything" exercise - some people seem to be big fans of it as part of an ab-focussed work out; for me I need to motivate every muscle from the neck down to hold me in this awkward position for longer than 2 seconds. And for the whole time I am trying my hardest to not let my booty shoot up in the air, seriously focussing on hovering there and keeping my butt in line with the rest of my body is a feat of nature.

I did a series of planks mixed in with other exercises after some cardio, each time holding a plank for 45seconds or so. It was hard. And my muscles were shakey afterwards. And my brain hurt from all the concentrating too.

I hope you're all well out there. In the words of Jillian (whom I haven't mentioned for a record number of posts, but adore ever more), Peace!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

lazy sundays...

from here

Who doesn't love a lazy sunday morning? Lets imagine we're having a cuppa together and chatting away about our favourite things. And by things, I mean food :) I'll go first...

I've recently started adding them to salads. And, oh my, they add something pretty amazing. Try it! We love them especially with coriander (cilantro to you crazy northern americans) and mint. We also had them sliced up on top of a vege frittata the other night, along with some super smelly cheese. Mmmmmm.

Need I say more - a little goes a long way and a lot goes even further, yum!

Luna Bars
My favourite is a toss up between the chocolate raspberry and the protein cookie dough. Mr C loves the choc peppermint, but avoids looking at the label that says "the whole nutrition bar for women", hee hee.
These bars are staple in the pantry - they are our chocolate substitute. I carry one in my bag for those oot'n'aboot cravings. They hit the spot for sweet treat and they absolutely satisfy. A whole bar is 170-180 calories and half of one is a perfect coffee accompaniment.

Great big portabellas roasted with a little blue cheese on top. We have them instead of meat patties on our fake-away hamburgers, along with grainy toast, mushed avocado, tomato, lettuce and roasted bacon.

Greek yogurt
After years and years of searching, there is no substitute for greek yogurt. I think Australia has some of the best yogurts out there - of both greek and regular origins. At the moment, we eat quite alot of fage with cherry jam. My biggest problem with yogurt is that its not easily transportable, spilled yogurt will leave any handbag smelling pretty funkified.

I only just learned last night that dates come from palm trees! I feel completely ill at ease about this, because I adore dates but really dislike palm trees. I feel a little cheated by myself - first off, how can I dislike a tree? that is really kind of mean, what did the palm tree ever do to me? - and second off, its just wrong to dislike something that produces one of the worlds best dried fruits. I am working on this dilemma internally, but I think my attitude towards the palm must change henceforth.

Chicken sausage
I'm not sure if is purely a phenonomen of our household, community, country or if it involves the whole world, but we have some big love for the range of organic chicken sausages out there. These are one of our favourites. Cooked (or heated, because they are already fully cooked) and sliced over a salad makes a pretty amazing and satisfying meal.

Ok, my coffee is now empty and I'm starving! I would love to hear about your favourite things, food or otherwise :)

Happy Sunday y'all!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

a little bit of spreading the love...

I saw this lovely picture on tumblr while I was watching oprah's latest show on embracing our own beauty - gotta love a bit of multi-tasking. I got all tingly and happy feeling, so I thought it was a sure sign I should spread the love.

from this lovely site

Its easy to focus on the outside; for me, especially so when I'm focussed on losing weight and getting my booty into some kind of shape. I thought this was a lovely reminder that our beauty is actually inside, written on the pages of our lives, in the various and wonderful colours of the experiences and lessons we have. So here's to you, you beautiful thing xx

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

she thinks she can...

Sometimes it feels like being at a healthy weight is just a dream for me, sometimes it feels like its just around the corner. Weight loss is so fickle and I am far from a master of it.

But what I do know, is that I will get there. My plan is working, albeit slowly, and sometimes I do find it hard to believe that I can now do what I honestly could not before. 

I know I am not the only type A out there, striving for perfection and missing the imaginary ideal. So I'm cutting myself some slack and celebrating what I can, and do, do. 

dynamic shynamic: glute 8/30

Ah, the glute exercises keep coming, number 8 is the lovable dynamic lunge.

From a standing position, I take a decent step forward with one leg, and drop, keeping my front knee from bending any more than 90 degrees, and making sure my calf remains perpendicular with the floor. I drop as far as I can, then come back up and push backwards with my front foot. And repeat. I did each side for about 30 reps, continued on with other moves and then repeated.

This is a pretty awesome move for glute workout. If I say my glutes burn, that makes it sound as though I am an exercise guru, so whatever the amateur version of burn is - thats how this move makes me feel.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

superman flys: glute 7/30...

I found myself doing another exercise video for glute exercise 7, the old school superman fly. This video was Jillian's No More Trouble Zones. I initially thought it was an odd name considering she loves to poo-poo any ideas of "spot" training or fat reduction but she makes it pretty clear during the vid that its all about toning.

And man oh man its a tough workout.

Its just shy of an hour long video and goes through a brief warm up (which includes my frenemy of all exercise maneuvers, jumping jacks) and then 5 or 6 circuits focussing on particular muscle groups and a lovely stretch out at the end. To be fair I always do a longer stretch/cool-down than Jillian does in her videos, I clearly like to bask in the post-exercise cool down longer than she does. I always say thanks to Jillian and whoever is with her, and clap for myself too. Yup, dork I am :)

Some of the moves are really tough and I found myself grunting out loud during some of them - its funny how much a grunt can help me get through a move or hold a position for a bit longer. Nothing could help during the "surrender"* move though, and I must work on that. Anyway, I was alone in the apartment so it hardly matters, maybe I should grunt all the time and I would wizz through my exercise. I saw a man blow his nose into his hand (without a tissue or hanky, eww) at the gym the other day so I doubt a bit of grunting would offend anyone.

The glutes section is a killer; incorporating superman flys, which I found really work my lower back and glutes. I haven't done superman flys in, oh, lets say, forever? I did what Jill told me to, lifting my chest and knees off the floor while lying face down, feeling every bit as cool as I know I would getting about in the sky in a cape and blue leotard. The old booty is take all this extra attention pretty well, its sore mind you, but it seems to be coping.

The abs section is also fantastic, in a "please don't make me do any more" way. I am really enjoying adding more variety into my workouts. It is very easy to stick at the "same old, same old", especially when its giving results but it can get ho hum and drag at times.

Naturally, if anyone out there has ideas for glute exercises you think I should try just drop me a line or whack up a comment...

*The surrender move is done in a standing position with small hand weights held over head, arms in full extension, then one foot is stepped back, the knee is dropped to a one-knee-kneeling position, the other knee is dropped too to a full-kneeling position and the first leg down is then used to bring you back up to the original standing position. All done with arms above your head!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

0.75 of this, 0.25 of that...

About a year ago Mr C and I got serious about watching what we ate. We are both avid food lovers and can easily get carried away. But, our bodies were not thriving on the copious goodnesses we put in them. And, worse, we were realising we didn't like our bodies much. And that just wouldn't do.

We are both massive geeks, so we researched what we should do next. Google saw an onslaught of searches like "calorie allowance", "bmr", "weight loss", "magic diet pill". Pretty much all results showed a honking big arrow pointing at change your eating habits here. And so we did.

We kept up with the googling, reading blogs, articles, basically anything that would teach us how we were meant to defeat and conquer. We stumbled upon a show called X Weighted or some such nonsense that was Canadian based [hello canucks!] with a semi-compassionate-obnoxious host who would try to teach people how to eat well and exercise. We watched the show maybe 6 times and then Mr CompassiObnoxious became too much for us to bear and we canned it.

One of the shows included a meeting between a successful weight loser and someone in progress - some true gems of wisdom were passed on and one stuck with me -  losing weight, is 75% what you eat and 25% what you do. Call me slow but I had this silly idea that if you exercised hard regularly you could eat anything and be slim. This really got me thinking and re-examining the whole calories in vs calories out paradigm. A one hour bike ride does not equal a burger or chocolate bar.

I think of that rule pretty regularly, I don't necessarily agree with the percentage breakdown but it reminds me that weight loss, and indeed being healthy, takes both eating well and moving well.

I think at times I do make the mistake of thinking "I've exercised so I can afford to eat some high calorie treat". But bit-by-bit I'm beginning to classify food and exercise into completely different categories based on how they make me feel not just the calories they add to, or subtract from, my booty.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

zumba rumba: glute 6/30...

I was resisting the Zumba draw but three amazing women gave me reason to stop resisting and give it a go - the bff: who gave me the vids in the first place - a dear friend, lets call her SuperJhy*: has recently given Zumba a run for its money - and dietgirl: has long let her Zumba-loving flag fly.

And, I am joining the party - I love it! I'm not even going to dally about saying so or draw out the suspense of my feelings by discussing the pros and cons first. Shame on me for waiting so long to try it. It is fun. The time flew by. I sweated up a storm. I am aching in body from my abs to my quads to parts of my body that might have never been used before. And yes, the all important Gluteus Maximi were zinging immediately afterwards and ached on waking the next day - sure signs they loved getting some flavour with the Zumba team.

I am not, however, co-ordinated. In fact, the more I thought about moving my hips the more awkward I was - but the instructors on the vid often go back to basics to show you how to do it. And they regularly remind you, its moving that matters and it doesn't really matter how talented at the Reggeaton you are - I love that attitude as much as I love Zumba idea.

*SuperJhy, if you hate your pseudo let me know, it does rhyme with SuperFly though

Monday, September 20, 2010

the neck is not invited to this party: glute 5/30...

Ah, Jillian, I love the sayings you've scattered throughout your exercise vids. This one she says during push-ups to remind us to keep our necks in a neutral position.

I haven't done the 30day shred in quite some time but I found myself in need of a workout, rain was a-falling and all the cardio machines in my gym were in use. I know, how rude of my fellow apartment dwellers, hhummph. So instead of throwing myself on the floor, thumping the ground and screaming at them I bolted back to the homestead and let Jillian tell me what to do. This option also had the bonus of letting Jillian tell me what glute exercise 5 would be.

Level 1 of the 30day shred incorporates loads of exercises that are truely fantastic but the one I find works my booty the most is the lunge. So lets say the lunge as well the whole level 1 of the 30day shred is glute exercise 5.

I know my lunge form is quite bad - I feel like I barely dip during the exercise, my rear knee gets absolutely nowhere near the floor. But, it makes my muscles really burn, ouch. And the next day, double ouch.

In fact I was so sore from this workout that its a clear sign I'm not covering everything during my usual cardio and resistance workouts. So I have decided to try to re-incorporate Jillian's fantastic workouts into my routines.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

squat it out: glute 4/30...

Mr C just reminded me it has been 11days since I posted. I have the posts going on in my head but they just haven't transformed into readable form :)

So glute exercise 4 was The Squat. Quite a change from my previous more cardio oriented glute exercises. Variety, people, is the spice of life :)

I channeled my old instructor from pump classes and tried to keep good form - abs engaged, feet hip width apart, weight balanced in the heels of my feet and tried to imagine a seat was just behind me and I was lowering my booty to sit in it, and just at the last minute I'd say oh-no-booty, no sitting for you, and I would stand up straight trying to use my glutes as much as possible. I repeated this 40 times after my usual cardio and weights workout. Surely that was enough to wake up the next day with a perfect peach for a bum?

The junk in the trunk was sore the next day but so too were my quads. So I'm thinking squats are a good lower body exercise all round - much like my pump instructor used to say, I knew she was wise.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

pedal pusher: glute 3/30

When I was a kid capris were called pedal pushers. Well, at least, that is what my mum called them. Sometimes she even called them knickerbockers. For real, she didn't even giggle afterwards. She had a few names for other things that I have since learned no one else actually says; like pomp instead of fart, and a half-up pony-tail-style hair style she calls pollyanna; I went on a school camp when I was a naive 11year old and getting ready one day I told one of my roomies I was doing my hair in pollyanna. Oh my, the laughter that followed. I worked out pretty fast no one else calls it that :)

My dad was in the navy for most of my childhood so we also had a smattering of naval terms through our household language, like smalley eats for nibbles, boffin for smart, bravo-echo-delta for bed time. I'm guessing every family has these made up names or names for things that are way out of common day speak; if I'm wrong about this please don't tell me, I don't want to be the only one with weirdo family talk.

In anycase, the whole reason I remembered any of this is because glute exercise number three is the glory of all pedal machina, the exercise bike. Such an amazing segue-introduction you are unlikely to see again.

My first regular exercise I did, starting about 6years ago, was the trusty exercise bike. That thing alone gave me years back in health rewards and was probably responsible for a solid 10kilos of weight loss. My rule was - the first 40minutes of tv viewing had to be done whilst using the exercise bike. And it worked people. Before I knew it my knickerbockers were too baggy, I wasn't puffed walking around all day and I was on track to bringing my booty back into line.

As for a good glute exercise, I think its awesome - my butt is truely sore after a solid exercise bike workout. Oftentimes it is also numb, but I think this is because bike seats are made for people with no derrière and as I have said before, this is not me. Paying closer attention to how I feel after using the masterful machine I definitely feel it in my glutes, but to be honest mostly in my quads and hamstrings. Hopefully this doesn't disqualify it as a glute exercise.

I use the exercise bike, much the same way as I use the cross trainer - gradually ramp up the resistance until its pretty tough during the first half and bring it back down during the second half. I used to just (more slowly) ramp up the resistance during whole workout, and not worry about bringing it back down, until a wise physio told me how daft this was and that I should do my hardest work whilst I am warm but not exhausted.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

round round: glute 2/30

I'd like to introduce glute exercise 2, the cross trainer. TaDa!

The cross trainer and I have a love hate relationship but we seem to make it work on a regular basis and there is no denying the chemistry we have. Unlike walking, this exercise is a piece of equipment and thus requires more effort than just popping on my gear and hitting the streets. But in my current abode its actually very similar; I get out of the elevator on the ground floor and instead of turning right to hit the pavement, I turn left and hit the gym. My life is exceptionally difficult.

I do like that the cross trainer requires minimal concentration; I pretty much stand on it, get the pedals moving and try to maintain a consistent speed. I start at a doable resistance and increase it over the first half of my work out until I'm really feeling it in the legs and they really just want to quit. Then I bring it back down slowly over the final half of my workout. I have become somewhat anal about hitting a calorie count on the machine that is nice multiple of 5. I don't really care what the calories are, and seriously doubt they are accurate, but I like it to be a nice number to keep the ocd monsters at bay.

I sometimes really struggle to get on the cross trainer, especially if I've only just done a session the day before and my body wants some sunshine. But living in the northwest means rain is a part of life and I'm just not up for my usual 90mins walking in rain. And, to be honest, sometimes the only way I'll do my exercise that day is to bribe myself with some tv trash viewing, which is easy to do on the cross trainer. I used the cross trainer on day 2 of the challenge because I was short on time and I get more cardio in using the cross trainer than walking.

So, in terms in this glute challenge, the cross trainer does not give me the same muscle twitchiness that walking does. I do recall when I first started using the cross trainer seriously that my butt muscles hurt quite alot, to the point where sitting the day afterwards was uncomfortable. I've realised these two things constitute my ranking of exercise: does it make my muscles ping afterwards? And, does it make my muscles really hurt afterwards? Somehow, this seems like a pretty daft scale to measure exercise. And kinda mean to myself. I'm going to have to work on this.

Because I know it was worrying everyone, I have looked up my muscle pinging phenomenon and it is quite normal apparently. Thankfully I can give up the freakoid label I had given myself, phew, I feel like a dodged something pretty major there.

I'm a tortoise: glute 1/30...

Walking is guest glute exercise numero uno - you think thats a cop out? Mayhaps, but it fits my criteria of an everyday doable exercise.

I love the idea of an exercise you do basically anywhere - throw on your gear and off you go. Running is much the same, but I am a tortoise and runners are hares, I learnt this lesson long ago for Aesop himself and I'm embracing it; so walking it is for me.

Walking can give you as much or as little as you put into it. Do a quick search on google and you'll get loads of recommendations about how to get more bang for you buck when it comes to walking for fitness and toning.

I've mentioned that I walk most days. I have been rather remiss with this recently - Mr C has had some odd working hours and our usual routine would have had us walking in the wee hours, and thats just plain crazy people. We've been back in our usual routine for walking for a couple of days now. The first day coincided with the beginning of this awesome challenge so I paid a little more attention to my technique and how I felt afterwards.

So for technique; I have done research on this before and Jillian had a whole segment on her radio show about it a while ago. We all know Jillian knows how to do every exercise like a rockstar so I take her advice with much seriousness :)

Posture: starting top down, I try to stand straight up or slightly leaning forward, neck neutral and eyes looking about 3-4 meters ahead of me, keep my shoulders back and engage my abs.
Movement: I let my arms swing naturally, I never "pump" them like a speed demon, if I notice my fingers get that swelling feeling I walk with my arms stretched up over my head for a little while (Mr C loves this, because it makes us look like we are completely normal :) ). I try to keep my stride natural but longish, so I move my hips and legs through a good range, and at the moment before I lift my foot before another stride I try to have my corresponding glute engaged and present in the movement. I try to keep my feet facing forward or perhaps a little outward when they strike the ground.
Speed: I don't pay alot of attention to how fast I go, I try to get to that point where I find it difficult to hold a conversation without puffing a little bit between words. Somedays I seem to fly through the usual kilometers and others are a struggle. The time for my standard walk is pretty consistent day-to-day and has gone down steadily over the past couple of months.
Afterwards feeling: I have never discussed this before, but I can always tell if I've done a good workout by these odd little pings I get in my muscles. I notice when I pay more attention to my posture and movement during walking the pings in my glutes, quads and hamstrings are far more noticable. I have no idea what these pings are, but they are like tiny tiny muscle spasms or something, not unpleasant at all, its like a little sign from the muscles that they think they've done good. I might have to look these up and see if I am some kind of muscle pinging freakoid.

Personally I think walking is a great exercise for everything - it may well make a re-emergence as another glute exercise with some alterations.

On a totally different note: A massive shout to Skinny Latte who got married yesterday! Yay for  Mrs and Mr SkinnyLatte, much love and happiness is sent your way!

Friday, August 27, 2010

lets get fresh...

So one of my big big loves in life, is clothes - call me superficial but I love looking at clothes, mixing and matching things together and fantasizing about the "perfect" wardrobe. When I can't sleep I use a simple technique of choosing a topic (for example, capital cities, fruits, people I know, almost anything works) and running through the alphabet and coming up with something from the topic that begins with each letter. It gets me off my treadmill of thinking about whatever worry is circling and forces me to relax.

My favourite topic is "items in my ideal wardrobe"! I pretty much go from A is for A-line skirt in interesting pattern, B is for Black pant in a classic cut and C is for Camel trench coat and I'm off in the land of nod; occassionally I get to L is for Leopard print skirt and I have never gone past P is for Perfect jeans (probably because the thought of ever finding said jeans is so unrealistic that I figure I am already fast asleep and dreaming) but it is extremely relaxing to image my ideal wardrobe and should I ever get one I will no doubt fall asleep every time I open its doors. You get the idea, I like clothes alot and give them some significant part of my brain power.

Since beginning on this blogging effort I have come across several other types of blogs that I really like to read. One is the foodie blog; oh my how I love to see what other people eat, my favourites are ones where people post every meal, sometimes even photographing the preparation and cooking of each meal. A voyeur of food I am.

And another is the fashion blog; again my favourites are the ones that get updated almost daily and show everyday people rustling around in their wardrobes coming up with amazing outfits. Recently one of my favourites, Kendi, re-ran her 30-for-30 challenge. You must check her out, but basically for 30 days she concocted 30 different outfits using 30 clothing items. And she didn't shop during those 30 days - a tough thing to do for any victim of fashion-love-ola. Apart from seeing the cute outfits she pulled together, it was interesting to read how it made her feel and inspiring because ultimately it seemed to give her more appreciation for what she already had. Lots of fellow bloggers joined her movement and by and large seemed to have similar outcomes.

So I got thinking, is there a version of this challenge that might suit me and make me better appreciate what I already have and perhaps even make those things even better. Something exercise or food related. Initially I thought perhaps 30 minutes of exercise for 30 days might work, but realistically, I already do this and I don't think forcing myself to exercise would result in a very positive experience. Likewise, I thought 30 different meals in 30 days but that would never happen, because my brain is small when it comes to meals, 10 meals on some kind of rotation is about what we manage. But neither of these really embodies the essence of the challenge - I need to think of something I already have, that I can use, adapt and mould to re appreciate it. And bingo, guess what? I have something something that needs use, adaption and moulding. And so I am beginning the challenge of 30 different glute exercises for 30 days.

I am not convinced I can do 30 days in a row - not even Kendi did 30 continuous days - it will probably be more like 5 days a week. I'll incorporate 30 different glute exercises into my workouts, report what I think and who knows, maybe I'll find an exercise I love and my soft landing might become a soft and taut landing :)

So here we go...30 days of gluteus maximus