Posts Tagged ‘gym’

So it’s Summer in Australia and I know now why I loved living in London so much. Summer in London is generally pretty nice. People lay around in parks and swan about wearing flippy dresses and their hair stays basically like it was when they left the house. Sure, the Tube is about 100 degrees celsius but you can’t have everything.  Here in Oz, however, people don’t lay around in parks because between 11am and 3pm the UV rays will basically burn your skin to smithereens and give you skin cancer, and that flippy dress you’re wearing clings to you in all the wrong places because you’re so sweaty. And don’t even mention the constant hair frizz due to humidity.

Yes, you could say I am not a fan of the extreme heat of the Southern Hemisphere. And this year, I’ve confronted something that I’ve been avoiding since I was probably about 18 years old: I hate exercising in hot weather. Absolutely detest is. Every year since I arrived back in Oz at the end of 2010, I have attempted to force, cajole, and even bargain with myself (“Go to the gym, Lisa. You can have an ice cream afterwards”) but this year, I have become reconciled to the fact that actually, if it’s above 32 degrees, the gym just ain’t happening. And instead of beating myself up with the guilts, I just go with it.too hot You know how most people put on weight in Winter, what with the heavier food, and moving less, etc? Well I am entirely the opposite – I lose weight in the cooler months because I exercise more and eat less ice cream, and in Summer I pack it on. So this year I will be sitting on the couch watching Making A Murderer (a documentary series which is my current Netflix obsession – DO NOT click on the link if you want to watch it, it contains spoilers), Cornetto in hand, not giving a damn about my abs.

 

What season do you find yourself more motivated to exercise? Is anyone with me in hating to exercise in Summer?

Stay fit & well,
Lisa x

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It’s not what you think. This isn’t a post about how to get a booty like Beyoncé (check out this post if that’s what you want). This post is about that most boring of chronic ailments: back pain.

Let me start by saying – my back never used to be an issue. My neck was always my weak spot, thanks to a minor workplace-related whiplash injury while on the dodgem car ride at Luna Park (true story). But I have to tell you that having a 12kg+ toddler that I have to haul around, plus the constant bending down to pick up toys/clothes/food thrown on the floor AND having less time to get to the gym have all contributed to my current back issue.

Back pain...it's the pits.

 

I went to a physio the other week and honestly he said there wasn’t anything he could do about my lifestyle – I’m a mum and it’s not like I can just not pick my son up. But there were stretches and exercises I can do to strengthen my back. I’ve been foam rolling every night (which Harrison thinks is hilarious – he jumps on me every time I’m on the floor, like it’s a game), I’ve started taking magnesium again and I’m doing yoga stretches more often, coupled with specific back exercises at the gym. But one night I had a particularly aching back that just would not go away.

Enter Nurofen. I tried some Nurofen Heat Patches last week, and I tried them out on my aching back. They are super easy to use, and get warm while not getting roasting hot, so they feel comfortable. I definitely felt a difference after using them two nights in a row for several hours, and I’d really recommend them for back pain relief.

 

Nurofen heat patches

 

I’m trying to get to the gym more often to build my strength back to where it was before I got pregnant, but it’s hard with studying full-time, working part-time and being a stay-at-home mum full-time as well. But don’t underestimate the incidental exercise involved in going to the park every single day with an active toddler. I’d highly recommend it!

What have you done to relieve an aching back? What have you found that works?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

My heart rate monitor, that is.

What is a heart rate monitor? It pretty much does what it says on the tin – it monitors your heart rate, and calculates how many calories you have burnt based on both your heart rate and your body weight. It also keeps track of time, like a regular watch, and it can act as a stopwatch (particularly good if you’re doing Tabata training).

You wear the heart rate monitor on a band that sits underneath your chest, and the watch on your arm to track your progress.

HRM

My beloved heart rate monitor. I call it heartie. Not really.

Before I bought this baby, I just kind of pottered about in the gym, doing what I thought I should be doing. Sure I sweated and huffed and puffed, but really not so much. Then I bought my HRM and realised what I was doing was not burning calories. So I started doing short, hard bursts of cardio coupled with weights and my calorie burn skyrocketed.

Now I’m not saying that burning calories is the be-all and end-all, but it’s a nice goal to have. Now I also have strength goals (I leg pressed 50kg this week, pretty happy with that!) but when I was first starting out it helped me to figure out what I should spend my time on.

I would highly recommend the Polar Heart Rate Monitor, but there are loads of others out there at all different price ranges so you can shop around.

I wouldn’t be without mine, and it’s sure not going anywhere soon.

HRM love

That’s right!

What’s the one piece of gym gear you can’t live without?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

So this morning I thought ‘well it’s a lovely Saturday morning, the sun is shining, it’s going to get to 30 degrees celsius today and it’s the first week of Spring so I might head to the gym’. But first I had to vote in the Australian Federal Election. This time around, it’s a really tough choice, as both Liberal and Labour are screwed in my opinion. We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. I say go the Greens! I got my stuff together, picked a random workout I’d found online (sorry, can’t remember where, I wrote it on a Post-It note!) and arrived at the gym fairly keen after voting.

Voting in the Australian elections

So disappointed.

 

After 40 minutes it’s fair to say my eagerness was lying in a heap on the floor. As was I. This is the workout I did, and boy was it a killer. But, it means I can enjoy a couple of well-earned vodkas tonight at our engagement drinks (which may end up being an Election Day Commiseration Party), so it was totally worth it 🙂

Warm up – 2 minutes walking on the treadmill
Run – 1 min Level 8.5 Elevation 4/1 min Level 10.5 Elevation 1.5. Do this for 8 minutes (so 4 minutes each Level & Elevation)

Then 4 sets (resting 1 minute between each set) of:

5 burpees
10 sit ups
20 second wall sit
10 push ups
10 tricep dips
10 squats
10 walking lunges

Stretch and roll out on a foam roller.

Then go home and drink A LOT of water and take a cold shower.

Good luck!

Getting there

 

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

I decided to write this post because A) I DO love weights and B) I know a lot of women are scared of them. Let me clarify: some women believe that if they start lifting weights they’ll turn into a muscle woman who more closely resembles a man than a woman, complete with deep voice, pecs instead of boobs, and popping veins. While that’s definitely a look that some people find attractive, it’s not one that’s particularly feminine nor is it one that many women aspire to.  There’s also what I like to call the ‘scary boofhead factor’ – a lot of the weights areas in gyms are populated by men who are, quite frankly, intimidating. The grunting noises that come out of the mouths of some of them would rival Gorillas in the Mist, that’s for damn sure.

Man or woman? Who can say...

Man or woman? Who can say …

And of course there is also the fact that if you’re a beginner, you won’t always know how to use the weights correctly, what weights to use, and how many repetitions to do. This is where a personal trainer, or even just a friend who can show you how to keep correct form and give you an idea of what weights to begin with, comes in VERY handy. Even if you only pay a personal trainer for a couple of sessions to show you how to use all the equipment in the gym, it will be worth it. Luckily I have a rugby player boyfriend who comes in very handy when I feel like I’m not doing something right 🙂

Now, down to the important benefits that you’ll get from lifting weights, and what is a more realistic result …

Now this is more like it ...

Now this is more like it …

Lifting weights will give you:

  • Muscle definition – Yep, you can run, cycle or do any other form of cardio all you like, but you’ll just end up skinny with no shape. Muscle definition is what  lot of people call ‘tone’ – you look fit, not just a skinny bag of bones. Your curves will be in the right places (especially if you squat) and you’ll have killer arms (think Michelle Bridges, my own personal arm icon. And yes, I do realise I’m obsessed with her).
  • Strength – You know how you couldn’t open the pasta sauce jar? Or carry all your groceries up the stairs to your flat in one go? What about picking up your kids and carrying them around for an extended period of time? Yep – you’ll be able to do all those things way easier than you could before lifting weights.
  • Confidence – all these killer curves, definition and strength lead to a little thing called confidence. In fact, confidence is the probably the biggest bonus you’ll get from lifting weights. You’ll know you’re strong physically, and this leads to you thinking great things about yourself. Doesn’t mean you won’t ever have bad days again, but lifting weights leads to a great endorphin rush.
Ain't that the truth ...

Ain’t that the truth …

Now, where to start if you want to lift weights? Take a look at these great sites for beginner help:

  • Check out Nia Shanks and her awesome strength training tips for women
  • Weight Training For Beginners gives you a great day-by-day guide to basic weight training exercises
  • And there’s always YouTube! This is a good one but there are loads more on there
  • This is also a good short workout with weights on YouTube (don’t be put off by the intense music or the heavy weights she’s using!)

It’s important when lifting weights to ensure you keep good form, otherwise you risk injuring yourself, so always ask someone if you’re unsure if you’re doing something correctly.

Now this is not to say I am anti-cardio. But it’s a proven fact that muscle burns more fat, even when you’re resting, and I can vouch for the fact that you see way faster results lifting weights than you do running on a boring treadmill. I also just love to squat  🙂

This is why I squat ...

This is why I squat …

Anyone have any preferences – cardio or weights? Feel free to discuss 🙂

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x