Harlem Shake – my take

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Ok, so while I have been out of action I have noted an increase in chatter on the interwebs about a new dance “craze”called the Harlem Shake.

So what the heck is this Shake and why are people getting on board…

Essentially it is a 30 sec clip where one person is dancing (if you can call it that in some clips) and everyone else in the shot is oblivious to their actions. The bass then drops and the scene cuts to everybody now going crazy and dancing often in costumes and with questionable dance moves.

Here is one of my personal fav’s, it is of a group of firemen apparently in a truck, it makes me smile.

So why is this so popular, it seems a little odd, incomprehensible to some – honestly, I watched a few of the clips people had put together and was a little baffled, but as I continued to watch a few things became clear.

1. As adults we don’t often do crazy fun stuff for no reason anymore, not like when we were kids. This is a way to be stupid and have fun with friends.

2.You can still be anonymous if you like while it is online, i.e the use of masks, costumes etc.

3. It is bite size entertainment. It lasts for about 30sec, easy to make your own and upload, and for viewers you can have a brain break and a laugh while at work, without feeling guilty.

4. To me it is a little metaphorical peek into the social dynamics of group behaviour and society…  i.e the trendsetter or early adopter  – having fun not worrying about what everyone around them is doing, then the trend hits everyone else and bamm!, Hmm perhaps I am over analysing this too much 🙂

I think these trends like flash mob, gangnam style dancing, Ellen dancing, etc are important, they remind us that we need to stop for a moment, not take life so seriously, relax and have fun like no one is watching – Just like when we were kids. it also means that we are moving, not sitting on the couch and if it means having a dance, I’m all for that!

Cheers Lin xox

10 Tips and Tricks – Staying Motivated

motivational-quotes-14It is hard to stay motivated to exercise and on track all the time. People struggle with this all the time, I had major struggles with motivation in the last 12 months. For much of the year of 2012 I was not able to train at the level that I had obtained in the year of 2011. I missed exercise, that feeling of setting goals and achieving them and as many of you are aware due to a number of surgeries, medical complications and fatigue, I felt like 2012 went incredibly fast and many of my fitness goals were unable to be met.

Welcome in 2013. Understandably every new year many people want to get fitter, lose weight and shape up. Many people have these goals as a New Years Resolutions, so my question to myself is “How committed are you to your goals this year Lin?

Honestly, How committed  I am to my quest of losing another 10kg and becoming the fittest I possibly can be? Am I willing to turn of the tv and leave the house in all sorts of weather. Will I get off the couch and get to a training session. Will I sacrifice that ice cream, chocolate, cheese or wine to make sure I am fuelling my body well? Will I commit to ride to work getting up earlier and pushing on days when it would be easier to drive?

My motives or motivation WILL influence my practices. How I play out my year will determine if I make my goals of weight loss, fitness, half marathons and triathlon’s. But getting back my fitness and maintaining it will take discipline, it will take planning, and it will need to be fun!

I know for myself that as soon as something loses interest for me, when it stops being fun and starts being dull – I AM OUT. With this in mind I thought that I would brainstorm what helped me stay motivated at my peak in 2011 and what kept me going in 2012 when I was on a modified program.

1. Variety, Variety, Variety – Just like location in real estate I believe that changing up your routines, finding a number of activities you like will assist in keeping attitudes fresh and sparking interest. I like to mix up different activities, running, hikes, cycling, swimming, cardio sessions, weights, yoga, boxing, rock climbing. And within each choice you can change distances, difficulty, times. Our minds love new things and it helps to keep a sense of freshness in our lives.

2. Routine, Routine, Routine – While it may seem contrary to what I have just written, there is also a time for being consistent,  having routine and repeating some routes, distances, reps, times etc. This allows us to know what is expected, and compare our results over time. Our brains can take a breather, zone out and know what to expect, and how we will likely perform – this can especially be important when using exercise as stress relief, the brain and body know what to expect so it feels easier to get out the door.

3. Measurement & Data – I love to collect data in relation to my goals and fitness. I find it helps me compare my results over time. It helps me determine how far I can push, how much I’ve improved and what I need to work on. Not all people are turned on by data, but for me it is an important tangible outcome that I can see. You don’t need a fancy watch, most phones have apps that track distances walked, calories burnt, Or just noting the time and distance can work… In addition to that weight and body measurements are great at tracking changes in your body. I encourage doing both given the scale doesn’t show centimetres lost.

4. Planning & Prep – Having everything laid out and ready to go can make things a little easier to get out the door. Having the iPod, and Heart Rate Monitor charged are key for me. If either of these are flat, I know I am less likely to get out for a run. Similarly making sure my bike is in good working order, that I check tire pressures the night before means I will likely ride rather than spend the time pumping my tires while the sun is up. Prep reduces excuses.  Planning your workouts and increases in distance, weight, reps etc shows you what you are working towards.

5. Keep a Positive Mindset – No victims in the house please… If you don’t want to go, you will find an excuse. I often have to talk myself up. I remind myself how much I love it, that I have never regretted working out (even when I have thrown up after going to hard). I used to live with a victim mentality, it is an easy mind set to slip into… I have to remind myself to never give up, keep pushing and stay strong. If you can’t run, walk, if you can’t walk – lift some weights, can’t do that, find something you can do. A former colleague and a bit of a fitness guru (Mary Anne) is an inspiration to me, she is currently injured and while it gets her down on occasion (as posted on FB) she continues to push and do what she can, swim, lift weights and whatever else she can do to maintain her fitness. She does the best she can, with what she’s got until she can do more… There is something in that for all of us..

6. Time – You DO have time to work out… No matter who you are and how busy you are it can be done. Take every opportunity to move, maximise your time where you can. Perhaps this could mean cycling to work, it may increase your commute a little, but it’s maximizing time otherwise spent sitting on your ar$e. No time still, how much time do you spend watching TV? Cut that out and notice all the time you have to engage your brain and your body. I can hear some people say, but I have kids, it’s hard to leave the house – well take them with you, the park is a great place for step ups, a short walk, kicking the soccer ball. Can’t do that – well stay at home turn on the TV and grab a yellow pages phone book and do step ups on that for an hour while you watch that show – no cost, at home while the kids are in bed.

7. People – Sometimes I like working out by myself, other times a bit of camaraderie and competition is fun too. I love group training. I go to an outdoor group fitness training club through a group called Step into Life. This works for me on a couple of levels, a little competition, accountability, like-minded fit people who encourage your goals, and a positive exercising environment where everyone is encouraged. This is better than a gym as you are often paired with people and you talk to them!! If group sessions aren’t your thing, find a team, or a club, or just a friend who you can play with!

8. Events – While I acknowledge this is not important to everyone, for me having something to be working toward is helpful.  It could be an organised running event or bike ride, fights or gradings in boxing/martial arts or even a weekly game in team sport. Events and time framed performance can make sure that the other training you are doing during the week and in the lead up is focused; it helps create context and meaning.

9. Rest – I am including this because if you fail to rest you run the risk of injury and not allowing your body to heal properly as you build it up. Sometimes I find this hard. When I am in the zone, I want to push everyday… But disciple in training means listening to your body and a rested healthy body will ensure your mind and body are ready to meet the challenge and be consistent in your program. Burnout will only lead to more time away trying to recover from an injury and becoming disheartened.

10. Do what you love… Honestly this is the key, it comes back to the idea of fun I spoke about at the start. When did we stop “playing” like children and start “working out”.  If you don’t like running, please do something you love. This does not mean sit on the couch and eat junk food because you love to lie about and fill your gob with imitation food!!  If you love team sports, join a team. For pity’s sake figure out what works for you, what turns you on, floats your boat… Don’t do it because you think everyone will admire you, or it is the “cool” exercise of the minute if you hate it, you just won’t last and it will likely further disenfranchise you and stop you developing a solid fitness base. All that being said, trying different exercises is a bit like eating your veggies as a kid, you have to try it and give it a go sometimes before you know if you like it…

Alright that’s it for me…Mega long post ekk!  I mean there are heaps of other things I could say, use music, wear fun new clothes, reward yourself ra ra rah…. But honestly even with all these tips, the people who are most likely to stay with a program are those that are internally or intrinsically motivated; i.e Motivated from within –  it has to do with their attitude and perception. I believe that finding the pay off for ourselves and embedding that into our psyche allows us to draw on inner strength when everything else fails.

Till next time, Lin xox

Back in the Saddle.

On yer bike… That is exactly what I did today, I got back in the saddle and loved every minute of it. I realised that I have indeed really missed riding, I know how much I love running and how much I missed running, but I forgot how much I love cycling.

I am really glad that I got on my bike and got the legs turning over. I have been on a couple of runs this week and needed to move my legs today to avoid them stiffening up, cycling was the perfect solution.

The path I chose to ride today was not my usual road riding choice, but it wasn’t hard core off road either,  it was a nice compacted dirt path that runs from Mordialloc down to Patterson Lakes, there were a few sections that were a little gravelly, but for the most part it was fine. I have a road bike and it doesn’t have tyres that are conducive to riding on rough surfaces. The ride was lovely though, it was along some wetland areas, and I met a friend after 10km and then we rode back together, which was a nice mix of camaraderie and competition.

Given it my first ride out in a really long time I was happy with my performance. I wasn’t as strong as I was, but that is ok, the strength, stamina and power will build up as I begin to ride more. I will be moving back to the road in the coming week, it was only a 20km ride today, short to start with. I will build up over the next few weeks, and given that my new job is quite close to home (10km away) I plan to ride as often as I can, not only is it a great way to keep moving each day without adding to much time to the commute, I hope that it will help me get my legs in better shape after my leg lift surgery given the complications . I found that out today at a follow up appointment with my surgeon that I will need some revision surgery to get them looking right, but they need the next 6 months to reduce in swelling and for the wound sites to calm down.

So for now it is all about continuing to work of my fitness, and enjoying the process. I enjoyed today, riding with a friend, hitting my rhythm, and the most important thing with any fitness plan is finding ways to enjoy the experience, so that it has purpose, that it doesn’t feel like work and makes you want to go back for more… I think I’ll leave it there for now and look the idea of the difference that motivation can make a bit more next week,

Keep smiling, till next time – Lin xox

The Pain Game

06_21Figure-UI believe that there is difference between types of pain. Clearly dental pain is not cool, nor twisted ankle for that matter, But delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) well, to me that feels like good pain, it’s a pain you earn…mind you it is still pain.

I went back to my first weight / toning  session last week on Tuesday night, after months off training it was hard work… During the session I felt great – my body was working again, lifting, crunching, squatting, sit ups, push ups and as unfit as I felt, the pain and hard work during the session felt great.

Then I woke up Wednesday, and talk about sore… DOMS is a condition that occurs after exercise. The theory is that the muscles after eccentric exercise  (where the muscle is lengthened during contractions) are damaged, and that these small microscopic tears or ruptures are healing with new tissue, and that this process is what builds up muscle.

DOMS can be mild or severe, and to be honest after this session it  has been the worst I can remember EVER!.  It lasted a week, finally I woke up today (Tuesday) and finally felt OK. After the first 72 hours after training I couldn’t roll over in bed, I could barely walk down steps, and whenever I moved I hurt all over, legs, butt, arms, chest, core…

Today I woke up feeling good, and knew it would be back to training again today to continue to build up my body, I wanted to add cardio, and I wanted to get the legs ticking over again for a short run.  So I decided that I would go for a quick 2km run before a weights and toning sess, then go home… but in the end after the weights session I ended up staying to do another session, but a cardio this time.

Once I decide to do something, I go for it, when I commit I like to go hard… I suppose compared to when I first started seriously training that I know that I can push myself mentally and I know what my body is capable of… I ask myself with every set, every rep, every distance to push. My mental game is still strong, It thinks it can achieve anything, and has forgotten a little that my body is not where it was (yet.)

This time last year my body was the fittest and strongest I think that I have ever been, but fast forward a year, and missing months of training, dealing with the surgeries and health issues, well to put it simply my fitness and strength is in the toilet! My weight has been somewhat stable, but I feel unfit, and I want it back… My legs felt like lead when running today, the weights felt heavy, and in the cardio session my right quad muscle just felt super fatigued…

Honestly I possibly pushed it a little too hard last Tuesday, it hurt to walk and I couldn’t roll over in bed or move well. A week to recover is a little extreme, but I enjoyed the exercise and sessions today, and will continue to build up my fitness again. I may have pushed again too hard today, but there is a pleasantness in the pain – knowledge that the pain is building me up again, that I am on the right track, that I am getting stronger. My aim is to re-build my functional strength and fitness this year, to run another half marathon, to participate in another triathlon later in the year… It is going to be a big year…

2013 lets see what you got!!

Till next time , Lin xox

Livestrong – the Problem with Heroes

I love cycling, and after losing over 85kg, I actually enjoy participating in the sport and not just watching the various Tours on TV. Over the years I have followed the cycling and the Tour that tops them all, Le Tour de France… I used to watch the tour with my Dad when I lived at home. We would sit up together and discuss the stages, riders, teams, conditions – everything… In the years I lived at home we watched Lance ride his way to many, many victories.

Right now in the midst of all the controversy that is surrounding Mr Armstrong I don’t know what to feel. I am numb. I like many, many others I believed that Lance did not dope, part of me desperately still wants to believe this. There has not been any blood test evidence to my knowledge that shows he did, but there is evidence in the form of testimony from team mates and those in the inner circles. I am still not sure how I feel about the way it was collected or motives people may have… But all that aside Lance has been stripped of his titles.

I have seen many, many, many hateful comments on FB and other sites directed towards Lance, and I get it – I don’t participate in it, but I understand that people are hurt, they feel betrayed and that their trust has been broken. If I am honest, like many I feel a little foolish for believing all the prior claims of innocence, but part of me is still holding onto that; and here is where it gets complicated.

In Australia we have a habit of cutting people down to size. It is called “Tall Poppy Syndrome”. If someone is seen in Australia as getting a too cocky or confident, Aussie’s have a habit of turning on them. What I see happening to Lance is partly this , but also there is more to it. The issue is that people trusted him. He said I beat cancer, I trained hard, I got my body into shape, I can win, I am a winner, I am an example. And Yes he did all those things.

Using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s) doesn’t change the facts that he beat cancer, trained like a machine or got into shape – but it does change his wins, and that he traded on those wins to earn money from endorsements and position himself as an example.

Personally to me Lance is an example, PED’s or not. He did beat cancer, he did train hard and drugs or no drugs he was, and is, an amazing athlete. He did amazing work with setting up Livestrong and providing hope and help to millions of cancer survivors around the world. Sending a message of hope and health and being an example of this has not changed in my eyes. I won’t hate on Lance and I won’t call him names, and this is the reason. I placed him on that pedestal, I put him up there in my own eyes, and this is my point…Heroes are people too!

What, you cry! – Yep it’s true, I know it is tough to believe, but they are. Heroes are flawed human beings just like the rest of us. I have made some mistakes in my life, Thank God most people don’t know about them. Lance made some mistakes, and for me that does not negate all the good in his life. I can’t call him names, I can’t hate him, because as a human, I am just like him – flawed and imperfect. I have heard all the arguments about role models being held to a higher standard, and I get that – but seriously at the end of the day he is just a person with thoughts, feelings and open to temptation, just like me.

I am disappointed if it’s true, I am sad, angry, numb – all that business. The problem with heroes is we expect them to be perfect in every way, we expect them to be human beings without flaws – in fact we demand it… and then we get pissed off when they don’t meet our expectations.

The problem with heroes is we expect them to be super human, so when they fall short of our expectations we experience a range of emotions, we get disappointed, angry and hurt. So what do we do with that – The Human race will always look for a champion of a cause, a hero…Perhaps the trick is to look at people around us and be inspired by them, but not idolize them. Perhaps the trick is to live our lives in the best light possible, become our own heroes, an example to ourselves, proud of ourselves; and whilst we can be inspired by others, encouraged by others let’s not lose sight of the fact that being a human is a messy business.

Till next time – Lin xox

Getting back together…

I know that it has been a while since we caught up, months actually, and If I’m honest, I was a little nervous about tonight, and I wasn’t sure it would be the same, feel the same.

I know that when things got hectic, and I got sick – I let us slip…  That’s why coming back was so hard. What if it wasn’t the same? You know we had great times together. What if something else comes between us again?

I made the decision to see you at the last minute. I think it was so I wouldn’t talk myself out of meeting. My stomach was a knot, my head a bit of a mess… What if doesn’t feel as good as the last time, what if the magic was gone…

I wore the outfit you like, Ha, no, You don’t really care what I wear do you? You just want me to turn up. I think I wore that outfit for me, I always feel great in that top and those pants – ready to take on the world, confident, strong…

Before I know it, the dream is reality again. We are together, my knees start to shake, I kind of stumble, and I am slow, but slow can be good, right? I know I am rusty, but the rhythm comes back, my arms, legs, hips all start to work in sync – it feels wrong, but right at the same time, such a cliché!

After a while I realize I am so tense, Damn, I know I am over thinking this. I just want it to be good, like it used to be –  like I used to be. I use a little mantra, relax Lin, relax, I feel the tension in my shoulders go, then I relax some more – just feeling every moment with you…

When we finish I can feel those endorphins kickin’ round in my system, I almost forgot how good it could feel – just you and me…

My body quiets down, the feel good wearing off as my heart rate returns to normal. I am lying on the bed, and it starts; I know you never criticise me, – it’s never you – but the doubts creep in, and those critical voices come out to play,

“You started out too fast, your pace was off.”

“There was no rhythm – towards the end you were lagging, you know you were.”

“HA the ending, well you didn’t…you didn’t finish well dear”…

I almost scream, SHUT UP! – But it is now 2:30am and the apartment below would probably hear… So I scream it in my head… I remind myself, it’s ok to be rusty, it’s been a while, and that you don’t care, It doesn’t matter how long I lasted, or that my rhythm was off, that I was slow, or so hot and sweaty at the end that it was a little embarrassing…

What matters is that I came back to you tonight, in the wee hours of the morning, I came back to you, and you welcomed me with open arms, no judgment, no laughter, no “You should have come back sooner”.

You don’t judge me, never have, never will, and that, that is why I love you Running.

Lin xox

The issue with tonsils – Advice needed

My tonsils are inflamed and toxic, they are actually poisoning me, and are now resistant to antibiotics . I have seen an ear nose and throat surgeon and have a surgery date for the 1st of August to have the buggers taken out.

My issue is at the moment, every time I push myself to exercise, do my long runs and training sessions, I end up getting sicker. My Doctor has advised me to stop stressing my body and ease off my training… This is difficult and is upsetting me. I want  to do a half marathon in 3 weeks that I have entered, but every time I push myself I get sicker and taking 3 – 4 days to get better;  The tonsils get worse, I find it hard to swallow and I get a temperature and headaches that don’t go away..

It seems like a no brainer, stop pushing myself… But that is what I do now – I push myself, I love the feeling of pushing my limits, long runs and proving I can do it…

I am really unsure about continuing my running training at the moment, or if i will be able to compete in the half marathon… this makes me want to cry a little…

To all my runner friends out there, Any one got any advice here? Should I keep going with some 10km & 15km and then push it on the day? or stop and take a break on the long runs until the tonsils are gone???

Till next time, Lin.