Betterment Exercise Health

Parkrun Milestones on the horizon!

I love parkrun – the volunteer-led weekly 5Km timed run in a number of locations around the world (over 330 parkruns in Australia alone) – so much so that I’m going to reach a couple of milestones soon – my 50th Parkrun and my 25th volunteer session.

I’ve planned it out for the rest of the year and can reach BOTH of these milestones on the same day – just before Christmas 🙂

Lest I break a leg or get struck down ill. Let’s see how we go!


4HourBody Betterment

Film score

I listened to the Jason Silva interview today whilst commuting, and a couple of things jumped out at me that I’d not thought of before – how powerful the musical score is from a movie.

I’d come home determined to watch Inception tonight (one of Jason Silva’s favourite movies), however could not find it on Netflix – but chanced upon a documentary instead called A Faster Horse (about the Ford Mustang). I decided to watch it as it’s been launched in Australia recently, and being a closet car-nut (closet as in I secretly read up on cars and dream about owing many of them but cannot extend the love into reality), I watched.

The one thing that seemed to have pervaded the story, as well as my subconscious was the music that accompanied the show. I’ve not noticed the score in many movies in the past but because it was something I’d come across recently from the podcast, I was obviously primed enough to notice it.

Listening to great people like Jason Silva (and partaking in watching a few episodes of Brain Games recently), is a great way to learn more about the world, as well as learning more about yourself. I highly recommend the podcast series to you.


My 4 Hour Body journey

I’ve started the 4 Hour Body – both the book AND the journey myself.

I heard of the 4 Hour body a few years ago but didn’t do anything back then, likely for some minor, insignificant reason (not the right time of my life, couldn
‘t be arsed, not enough personal investment in making any life changes, etc.) I’ve been listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcasts since October last year and the more I listened to the various interviewees, the more I became fascinated by the 4 Hour Body.

I bought myself a Kindle after Christmas and the first purchase I made was the 4 Hour Body. After reading about 50 pages, I made the decision [which is where a lot of people fail] to follow the programs and just see how things would go. What’s there to lose, right (according to the blurb: ’20 pounds [9Kg] in 30 days’ :-))

Follow me on this journey as I embark on the 4 Hour Body program!

Blood Health

Health First. Do you do it?

Winter is one of the worst times for blood donations. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service often has signs out calling for donors as blood stocks are low. Winter is one of the most difficult times for blood donations as a large part of the population are ill – coughs, colds, flu and chest infections are some of the reasons you may be turned away, unable to donate.

Since starting my plasma donations late last year, I’ve used them as my yardstick for my health – As the donations are every 2 weeks, I’ve worked on staying healthy from one donation to the next. I’ll admit this may sound kooky to others, it’s been working out very well for me. Now let me contrast this to the wellbeing of the ‘general’ population (yes, here comes some ‘generalisations’)

Many of the people I know are working like crazy and not really taking time for themselves. Weekends are filled with activities that keep them ‘busy’, never letting themselves relax and recover (which is an important part of staying healthy). Black-hole holidays and digital detox are becoming part of the choice for where to spend your ‘holiday’ time, as a way for you to disconnect from the belief that you have to be connected, available and busy all the time.

Health first.

For me, my health is the most important thing in my life. From this everything else has a chance to grow.

Love? check.

Happiness? check.

Ability to continue donating blood/plasma to help others? check.

Once your health is gone, what else is there? At what point do people begin to care about their health? I think many other people don’t care about their health because their focus is on other things – money, status, wealth, getting ahead of the neighbours. I’m pretty sure there are many who will agree with me, and some will be in denial.

Let me know your thoughts on why (if) you think people’s focus isn’t on their health.

Betterment Blood

Perspective is powerful

I had an appointment at 9:30am today to  donate clinical plasma – I arrived at 9am but did not leave until 12:00pm (the interview + donation generally take 90 mins). I’m in holiday mode so wasn’t fazed by it but one of the other donors (there to donate whole blood, which takes 5-10 mins vs. the 40-60 mins for plasma) was quite irate at how long things were taking and that she had an important meeting to attend.

One of my favourite nurses (he rides a motorcycle and is good for a chat about anything) came over to hook me up to the apheresis machine and was apologising for taking a while to get things happening this morning. He went on to explain that there’s a young boy who underwent a bone marrow transplant early this morning and in order to help with the operation, they had invited approx 10 regular donors to come in and donate this morning. He explained that even though the schedule was already packed for the day, squeezing in another 10 at that critical moment was essential. He went on to explain they were simply doing what they could to give this little boy the best possible chance at life. My day was impacted by this, but who am I to complain?

Somewhere out there in Sydney tonight, a family is hanging on to see whether or not their little boy has a chance at life. I wish that family all the strength, love and fortitude they will need to get through the next few hours/days. 

Perspective is powerful.
Put yourself in that family’s shoes tonight.
If you think like I do, any delay to the ‘normality’ of your life through an event such as this will have you asking questions about what’s really important in life.

In fact today I’ve been in quiet contemplation about all manner of people, families, sons, daughters and others who are suffering in one way or another tonight, I wish you all the best and hope you have what you need to get through. ♥☺♥


I’m going for a walk…

On Friday 10th June 2011, I am going for a walk; but not just any walk.


I decided that when I had the time I would go for a walk to see how far I can go within a certain time. Rather than plan, plot, scheme, re-plan, deliberate, discuss and re-re-plan, I’ve decided to just go for a 10 hr walk this Friday and see how far I can go (roughly the amount of daylight available in Sydney at the moment). It’s been dubbed the Freaky Friday Footslog.

This walk is going to be the first fundraising activity I undertake to support my participation in the Black Dog Ride 2011. All donations will go to the Black Dog Institute to fund their ongoing research into mood disorders such as depression and bipolar.

There won’t be much in the way of structure to this walk but I do have some guidelines:

  • I aim to meander through suburbs and stop for rest breaks as & when needed
  • I will carry food & water with me, but may stop for a hot chocolate somewhere along the way
  • I should be able to keep a sustained walking pace of 5km/h, for a distance of 40-50km (factoring in breaks, traffic lights, major road crossings, etc.)
  • And in the theme of throwing planning out the window, at the moment I have no idea how I will get home.

Let me know if you’d like to join me or recommend any suburbs to try and wander through (and don’t forget to donate if you can! :-))

ADDENDUM: 5:30pm Friday 10th June:
I’m back from the walk! Here are the stats on what I achieved today. Unfortunately you can’t see the entire route as the app crashed after approx 28km, but The big numbers first:

  1. 28km in 4:37:55 avg pace 9:56 min/km (the big part)
  2. 1.3km in 12:47 avg pace 9:49 min/km (this was ‘rushing’ to get some lunch 😉 )
  3. 9.98km in 1:39:03 avg pace 9:55min/km (the return journey to 3pm)

Total: 39.28km in 6:29:45 avg pace 9:54min/km.

  • My legs are sore, and so are my feet, but I feel good for doing it.
  • I did not reach the 40km mark but believe I can do better next time with a different pair of shoes and better weather at the end.
“Oh, my ways are strange ways and new ways and old ways, And deep ways and steep ways and high ways and low, I’m at home and at ease on a track that I know not, And restless and lost on a road that I know” – Henry Lawson



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 🙂


My Muesli

Picture of Nuts!

I’m not a huge fan of pre-packaged muesli products as many include ingredients you just don’t need: preservatives, salt, sugar and miscellaneous other ingredients.

However I am a huge fan of oats and their health benefits (helps lower cholesterol and the risk of atherosclerosis), as well as a fan of nuts such as almonds and walnuts (who, together with oats, are a good source of Glutamic Acid, one of the critical brain neurotransmitters that help aid learning & memory functions). So, I decided to make my own based on what ‘s available to me in the cupboard. Here’s my recipe:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 teaspooons Sunflower kernels
  • 2 teaspoons pepitas
  • 4 teaspoons LSA (ground Linseed, Sunflower & Almond)

Picture of Muesli
My Muesli


  • I chopped the nuts into smaller pieces so you don’t end up with a mouthful of nuts, but this is completely up to you. I will be refining this recipe over time as more ingredients become available or I feel the need to change.
  • I resisted the urge to include any dried fruit in my muesli, preferring fresh fruit where possible. Today, I ate my muesli with fresh strawberries and low-fat milk 🙂


Do you think my muesli is missing anything? If so, tell me by leaving a comment!

Exercise Health

Size does matter

There are some things in life where size doesn’t matter. There are also some things in life where it does. Many people have noticed the change in me and immediately ask me how much weight I’ve lost. The truth is, I do not know. I cannot tell how how much I weigh today! As I’ve mentioned in the past, weight loss is not my goal. Fitness and health is. And this is where for me, size does matter.

Last year, I bought a slim-fit Medium (M) shirt for the first time in as long as I can remember.

Today, I bought a pair of pants with a waist size of 87cm. 2 years ago I was buying 102cm pants

Today, size does matter to me, as it’s one small way of proving that my approach to a healthier, fitter, more proactive life is working! 🙂

Brain Learning Personal Development relationships

David Brooks: The Social Animal

In February 2011, Writer, thinker and NY Times columnist  David Brooks presented “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement”. In this 18 minute presentation he touches on something that everyone should strive to understand. Watch the video and see if you can spot what this is:

Did you spot it? For me, it’s this point:

Reading and educating your emotions is one of the key central activities of wisdom

For many of us, we believe that our rational minds can help us live better lives, and that emotions or feelings are not important. This is not so. Neurologist Antonio Damasio noted that in a number of patients who had lost the ability to experience emotion were no longer able to make a decision. What should have taken a few seconds was now taking minutes. What should take minutes was now taking hours. David Hume (an eighteenth century Scottish philosopher) declared that “reason was the slave of the passions” (lifted from How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer). David Brooks supports this view as well, and urges us all to become better at understanding our emotions to not only become better individuals, but a better society overall.

Some other points from the video you may find interesting:

  • When we think about human capital, we think about things we can measure easily – things like grades, SAT’s, degrees, the number of years in schooling. What it really takes to do well, to lead a meaningful life are things that are deeper, things we don’t really even have words for.
    • The first gift or talent is mindsight – the ability to enter into other people’s minds and learn what they have to offer.
    • The second skill is equal poise – The ability to have the serenity to read the biases and failures in your own mind.
    • The third trait is medes, what we might call street smarts – it’s a Greek word. It’s a sensitivity to the physical environment – derive a gist.
  • Limerance. This is not an ability, it’s a drive and motivation. The conscious mind hungers for success and prestige. The unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence, when the skull line disappears and we are lost in a challenge or task.

Are you ignoring your emotions, or are you precisely tuned into them? I’ve shared some of my thoughts above and would love to hear yours in the comments below!