CrackOfArse

This week, I participated in something known as the “CrackOfArse” challenge, set out by Amelia Burton, which is to exercise for 5 days straight between 5:30am-7:30am (The term is an Aussie slang amendment of the ‘Crack Of Dawn’). There was no limit or stipulation on what type of exercise you could do.

Since my departure from full-time work, I’ve felt it important to continue with a routine of waking up and getting stuck into the day and decided to join in. It wasn’t difficult, and it led to me including my boys & wife in some of the exercises!

My #CrackOfArse Week!

Monday: 7.5km run
Tuesday: 2km walk/run around my local park with Mr5! (followed by a session with my wife that included Weighted swiss ball crunches, Dumbbell lunge, The clam, Sumo Squats, Kneeling semi-planks and Saxon side bends, along with some sprint boxing.
Wednesday: 7km cycle
Thursday: 9km walk: Brisk at first, then walked the boys to school, followed by a semi-brisk return.
Friday: 30km cycle into the city with my buddy Jeff Marsh.

I felt wonderful for it, and it helps to stick to the routine – I’ve read a few stories & spoken to people who found it difficult to get out of bed when there was no ‘work’ to do. That won’t be the case with me – I still have too many things I want to do to be lying in bed! If you are on Twitter, I recommend following Amelia and keeping an eye out on the next #CrackOfArse challenge 🙂

Swimming

As you may know, I’m comfortable going for a ride (2010 Gongride) or going for a run (my 2010 City 2 Surf story), but leave the swimming to others. I’ve read numerous articles on how great swimming is for you as it’s low impact but a great all-over workout.

I don’t like swimming.

Let me go back a little to fill you in. At school, when they had swimming carnivals (and ‘everyone’ had to participate) I was one of if not THE slowest swimmer. Always last in the last race and likely the last out of the pool. Although some may say it probably scarred me in some way back then, I don’t think I’ve done too badly today for it. I’ve hardly swum in the intervening years, happy to splash around and ‘knowing’ how to swim should the need ever eventuate!

Have I mentioned how I do not like swimming?

As part of my journey to becoming better, one of my main focuses was on exercise – dusting off my bicycle and getting into the cycling, also including some running (check out my 2009 & 2010 goals). 3 weeks ago, I needed to get out of the house (working from home has one major drawback, sometimes you can go a long time without leaving the house, and it does start to mess with your mind and sanity) – it was a beautiful morning, so I packed up the boys and we went to the beach. I had a desire to just go for a swim. After hating it for so long!

I do appear to have absolutely no co-ordination for swimming gracefully. Mentally I know the moves to make, but together, it just doesn’t work. So I plodded along, making the moves, stopping every 15-20m but continued to work at it for a total of approx 300m. I then repeated this feat the following week, and again yesterday.

After 3 early morning swims, I don’t like swimming. I tolerate it. In the words of the Zombiefit team, this is my “ISuckAtThis” exercise!

What about you? What sports/activities do you tolerate in your journey to betterment? Let me know in the comments below!

Note: It’s OK to not be great at everything, in fact I don’t believe I am great at any sport in particular, I just happen to dislike swimming and enjoy running. Please do not see this post as an attack on ‘swimming’ – it’s my view of one of the activities I’ve been performing of late.

Edit: I have just written a quickie post about my own mini Triathlon – read it here: “My Own Tri

http://myproactivelife.com/?p=255

Sutherland 2 Surf fun-run

Andrew at the Finishing lineThis past weekend, I completed another of my 2010 goals – to complete the Sutherland2Surf fun-run. This is an 11km run from Sutherland to the Wanda Beach surf club. I entered the run for the first time in 2009 and enjoyed it, so went back for more. I also saw this as a good opportunity to see if I had done ‘better’ in 2010 than in 2009. The quick story:

  • 2010 time: 56:59.
  • 2009 time: 58:46.

I did not ‘train’ for the event specifically, preferring to keep up the riding and exercise regime as best I could. I turned up on the day and went for a run, and had a great time. And this here is the importance of exercise to me – it has to be relaxed and fun. Sure, I can get all serious about something (turn on a ‘race-face’ and psyche myself up) – but that’s not what it’s about for me.

There are many people who fixate on numbers. I posted the times at the top to get it out of the way, but I don’t go into these events worrying about numbers. I often get asked ‘how much weight have you lost?‘ as part of My Proactive Life – I cannot tell you as it was never the main focus of my project! In any case, the  purpose of my run was to have fun. During the run I wasn’t always feeling like it was ‘fun, but I did enjoy myself! I especially liked how my boys wanted to be there to pick me up at the end of the race 🙂

Anyway, onto the run!

I decided to run to music this time as many reports suggest you can go further/faster/better as your mind is distracted and does not let you focus on negatives like how much you need the loo, or how thirsty you are! I ran to a Podrunner workout track known as 135-175bpm Upward Mobility. As the name suggests it increases in tempo as the song progresses – the music started out relatively slow (for my liking, I like things in the 150-160bpm range) but soon built up. The mixes are approx 1 hour in length so was perfect for this run. My goal was simply to run to the beat. Every beat = a foot striking the ground. And for the most part, I did it!

I did walk whilst having a drink at 2 of the 3 drink stations (no-one looks coordinated trying to drink from a paper cup whilst running…no-one!) but for no more than a minute, then straight back into it. I found the music took care of my feet allowing me more time to enjoy the scenery and talk to myself. I thought about various things during this run, some of which you’ll hear about in future blog posts/twitter updates, here are some of them:

  • There’s a moment during a run where you hear nothing – the feet of everyone around you seems to hit the ground at the same time, creating ‘pockets of silence’. They don’t happen too often but are perfect little slices of silence you’d never expect during a run!
  • Even though it was a chilly morning I was glad I dressed simply; some people were overdressed and carrying their gear with them.
  • Anyone who runs with a pram/child is a hero. Anyone who does it AND pulls away from me is a LEGEND!
  • I tend to notice just how much incline/decline there is in a road whilst running; more so than when cycling or driving a car.
  • I feel as one with the terrain whilst running – something you don’t feel in a vehicle
  • I feel a silent camaraderie with the other runners – for a small period of time you share space/time with other people whom you may never be in close proximity to ever again or paths could cross at any time in the future.

I didn’t achieve my (2009-set) goal time of 55 mins, but that’s perfectly OK; I enjoyed myself, completed the goal and know the benefits from the endeavour will stay with me for a while. If you’re a regular runner (or cyclist or exerciser), let me know your thoughts and what you think about whilst exercising! 🙂

It's a journey, not a destination!

This is a minor rant, so be warned! 🙂

I’ve had enough of people looking at health & fitness the wrong way.

Fitness (and that dreaded hanger-on “Diet” and his ugly sister “Weight Loss”) are not one-off things you ‘do’!

  • Right now your fitness level is your fitness level. It can be better and it can be worse – it’s not fixed
  • Your diet is your diet – whatever you eat today is your diet. if you eat differently tomorrow that becomes your diet – it’s not fixed
  • Weight Loss is the result of taking other courses of action (such as increasing your exercise and changing your diet)

Many people see fitness/diet/weight loss as a one-off, thinking “once it’s done I’ll be awesome”, and then they can stop. I’m the bearer of a wake-up call to let people know that all of these are part of a journey, not a destination! Here’s the simplest way I can put this: Focus on becoming fitter. Do this through:

  1. More exercise and
  2. Eating better (note I did not say eat less…there’s a difference)

Focus on the act of becoming fitter! With this, you will need to change your diet; weight loss will happen.

Cycling does something great for me, and when I miss out, I feel bad (not for missing the cycling, BUT for missing out on the benefits – It relieves stress and makes me clearer in my thoughts and more resilient when things go wrong). It’s winter time here and getting out on the bike is hard(er) to do. I know I need the exercise in my week to keep me balanced! Make Fitness your focus through exercise and changing your diet and your journey will be more successful (I know, because this is what I have done!) 🙂

What are your thoughts on Fitness, Diet and Weight Loss?

Mid-week exercises to keep me healthy

I signed up for a Soccerfit exercise session in that went for 1 hour a weeknight for 8 weeks through Feb & March. I really enjoyed it, and it prevented me from sitting ‘idle’ at least one night per week! Since it ended, I’ve lapsed into a non-exercise routine…and with the temperature dropping, exercise at night seems to be a silly thing to do…in the cold.

Well, in order to keep up the momentum, I’ve signed up for another nightly session of exercise…but this time 2 nights a week! (Because I must enjoy it – others will think otherwise! 🙂

The session is called “Aerobic Kickboxing Fitness” and is run through the St George & Sutherland Community College. It reads: “Join our unique and motivating classes using Martial Arts techniques. Overall body shaping and fat burning, great cardiovascular workout. Non-contact Kickboxing moves with the energy and vigour of an aerobic class. Great motivating music. For all ages and fitness levels.” (taken from: http://www.sgscc.nsw.edu.au/course/23576DMN

Bring it on! 🙂