Category Archives: cardio

From couch potato to gym rat. My story.

How I got hooked on fitness…..

 

I have been asked many times over the years if there was a time in my life when I wasn’t into fitness.

I’d love to say no, and that I’ve always been super fit and healthy, but that would be a lie.

 The truth is that I used to be  a bit of a couch potato.

My diet was pretty bad. At the time I thought it was average but I didn’t know any better. I was never overweight, in fact I was what we in the fitness industry like to call “skinny fat.”

Skinny fat means being thin with a higher fat to muscle ratio, in other words, soft!

So how does one go from a skinny fat couch potato to a lean, mean fitness machine I hear you ask?

I’m going to tell you.

After my first child was born I struggled with a sleep routine for him. He was a happy, delightful baby, just wouldn’t sleep. I was a bit of a mess for a long time & my G.P. diagnosed post natal depression.

Eventually I got to breaking point and took him to a sleep clinic at 7 months old where the hard as nails nurses taught me to get tough on the little cherub.

Finally I had a dream baby who slept 12 hours at night.

Two months later I found out I was pregnant again. I was petrified and miserable. The birth and subsequent sleep tortured months were still too fresh in my mind and I wasn’t ready.

Besides, how could I love this baby when my heart was already bursting to overflowing with love for my baby boy?

During this period my father was fighting a losing battle with emphysema and my husband was working in a job with a lot of travelling and networking involved.

I couldn’t get excited about having another baby. I felt scared and alone in spite of having my fantastic sisters there to support me.

I was still depressed.

After a very quick and trouble free labor, I gave birth to my precious baby girl and fell in love immediately with her.

She was not an easy baby.

She cried almost constantly unless she was upright and in my arms. I had to try sleeping sitting up with her on my chest just so she would be quiet.

I also had a 17 month old to contend with and household duties.

I was in hell.

I got sick with an infection.

Then my son got sick with an infection. I was sick, with a sick toddler and the Anti-Christ projectile vomiting newborn, all while my husband was away on business interstate.

Off to the doctor we went but my G.P. ignored my snotty toddler and set off alarm bells over the color of my baby’s skin. She was yellow.

We were sent for tests. He rang that evening as soon as the results were back telling us we needed to head off to Monash hospital first thing to be admitted. My baby girl was very sick. I rang my husband who couldn’t come home till the following day.

We set off and got a flat tyre on the way just for good measure.

Me, feeling ill and frightened, my toddler, full of a chest infection, my newborn, bright yellow, and thankfully my oldest sister who was my rock and lifesaver!

We had test after test. They pinned my baby down and put needles in her tiny feet and hands. I just wanted to go home.

My son who had been the center of my universe up till now was ceremoniously dumped with my other lifesaving sister to become a part of her household for the following weeks while we waited even just for a diagnosis.

When we got the diagnosis it was shattering. I had been in denial thinking it would be something that would be fixed easily with antibiotics or some other fancy drug.

Not so.

She was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia and we were told she had a 30% chance of living to age 2, a 30% chance of getting through childhood but needing a liver transplant and a 30% chance of making adulthood but with cirrhosis of the liver. The other 10% just die.

Those stats were hard to hear.

She needed an operation regardless and we were told she would spend her life in and out of hospital if she survived.

She got her operation and the time was very traumatic for all of us. My weight had dropped to around 45kgs from the stress.

We came home and had regular tests and doctors visits in between visits to my very ill father.

I wasn’t coping.

With my husband away a lot, a toddler, the constant worry over my baby and my father I fell into a worse depression.

At the time when my father passed away I couldn’t even cry for fear I wouldn’t be able to stop.

I spent months in a state of negativity and resentment and guilt.

Finally a friend of mine, in an attempt to get me to “snap out of it” bought me a 30 day gym membership.

I didn’t want to go but there was a creche at the gym and she more or less dragged me.

I didn’t love it at all but I decided to make a commitment of not only the thirty days but added another 2 months to the membership.

I promised myself that no matter what I was going to have that one hour to myself 3 mornings per week while the creche was open. If I still hated it then I would quit.

Soon it turned into 4 days and by the time the 3 months was up I was hooked.

I felt better, I looked better, I had something outside of my larger than life husband and 2 babies.

I felt like I had found my drug of choice.

Naturally I wanted to learn more about the amazing things I could do to change my body. I decided to do my Cert III. Not because I wanted to work in the industry but because I wanted knowledge and the confidence that comes with that knowledge.

Cert III led to Cert IV and within 12 months I’d completed my course and walked straight into a job.

I have never looked back and have spent the years since learning as much as I can about what our bodies are capable of, and challenging that in my capacity as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor, and through my own training.

Only stopping to have my third child before getting straight back into training and learning.

Pushing myself physically has saved me mentally in the worst times of my life.

The gym has taken me from being a shy, timid mouse to a women with power beyond measure.

It has gotten me through my darkest days and has allowed me to shine.

I am proud to be giving my children, especially my beautiful daughter, the best role model they can have for living healthy, active lives.

The gym or playground is my happy place.

When I’m training, or teaching, I am me.

I am in control, I am confident, I am free.

I love sharing that with others and seeing them gain strength, confidence and self esteem through realizing their capabilities.

It’s not easy to force ourselves out of the sad comfort of our own rut, but it’s so worth it.

Not every before and after is about the outside.

 

10 things I’ve discovered as a born again cyclist.

I’ve recently taken up road cycling.

Yes, I can imagine the eye rolling from motorists who think they own the road, but seriously it’s great fun and good for you when you’re not being run over by crazy drivers.

As a cyclist I’ve learned a few things that I wouldn’t had I not fallen in love with my bike. Here are 10 of my discoveries so far.

1) OK, maybe I knew this one already…. There are some dead set idiots on the road. 
I know I’m not the worlds best driver according to the traffic camera office or my insurance company. However, I only ever hit stationary cars or trees. 
I never consciously try to frighten a defenseless cyclist by veering my lethal weapon toward them.Seriously guys, I know my butt is above average but if you want a closer look, driving into the bike lane is not the way to go about it! 
Not cool.


2) People like to toot or yell at cyclists as they drive past. 
Some are unreasonably angry. 
As if cyclists shouldn’t be on the road. 
Some think they’re being funny by terrorizing cyclist’s. 
Some just want to engage in sexual acts with strangers and think that by expressing their intentions out of a car window that they may be in with a chance. 
Dinner first guys, C’mon…;)


3) You can become a better driver by being a cyclist. 
I’ve felt the vulnerability of being on a bike in traffic. As a result I’ve become more cautious on the roads. I’m more patient with cyclists sharing the road. I’m also more aware of my surroundings on the lookout for cyclists (and their amazing legs.)


4) The cycling lane is the most dangerous place for a cyclist, at least it is where I live.
The bike lane is rough and patchy with pot holes everywhere. It’s where the sand accumulates when it blows off the beach. 
Its where the loose gravel ends up. 
It’s where the trees drop all of their debris and usually where the feral people smash their bottles on their way home from a night out.
I used to wonder why cyclists didn’t stay in the bike lane. 
Now I know it’s because they value their expensive bikes and their lives.


5) On a bike your senses come alive and work together. 
There are no technological distractions. 
No radio or iPod, no speedometer to keep under legal limits, no TV, no smart phones or computers.
Just you, the bike and your surroundings. 
You see things you don’t when you’re driving. 
You notice everything at once looking out for potential dangers, including the beauty of nature. 
You smell the sea, the flora and sometimes the dead fauna, which is not so pleasant. 
Sounds are magnified, traffic, dogs barking and children playing. 
You feel alive completely with the wind in your face.


6) Cycling can be a great meditative practice.
For years people have told me I should meditate or do yoga to calm myself and clear my mind.
I’ve found this on the bike. 
No distractions (besides cars or debris on the road trying to kill me of course.)
This is where my stress of the day is washed away.
It’s hard to have negative thought patterns when you’re feeling the freedom of going down hill at top speed. 
This in turn opens my mind to more creative and positive thought patterns. 
It’s where I have my greatest ideas and find solutions. Epiphanies abound.


7) Cycling can be a very socially enriching sport. 
If you can join or form a group you can make some great friends with people from all walks of life. Cyclists look out for each other and there is etiquette involved. 
It’s a nice culture. 
Some sports have excessive alcohol consumption as a part of their culture. 
Cyclists do coffee. 
Much more civilized!


8) The ugly outfits really are necessary. 🙁
Those awful pants that look like you may have incontinence help wick sweat away and give a little padding on the unforgiving seat. For long rides they are a must.
The garish jersey’s offer protection from the wind and higher visibility. 
The pockets are pretty handy too.


9) Cycling is expensive.
 I was always under the impression that cycling was free after the initial outlay of the bike. 
Shoes and helmet… A small fortune. 
Ugly outfits…. Large fortune.  
Winter/Wet weather gear…. Add to the mortgage. 
Gloves… Who knew? 
Servicing, spare parts, maintenance, performance gadgetry….wow.
Not to mention all the cafe stops. $$$$$


10) Lastly and most importantly I’ve learned that if there’s the slightest possibility you may have to stop ahead, un-clip your shoes NOW!

If you wait till the last minute Murphy’s Law will come into play and your shoe will get stuck in the pedal and you WILL fall.
It will be embarrassing and you may break your phone and your ego…..never mind body parts.



Get around this view from my bike…senses were certainly alive on this ride.