April 24: Be like a boxer


Let’s get ready to rumble! Photo credit: http://www.foodielovesfitness.com/ … Please check out her site!

On May 2, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao go toe to toe in the boxing ring in what’s being touted as “The Fight of the Century”. Everyone says it’s been a long time coming, and it would have been better if they’d fought five years ago. They’re now 38 and 36 respectively.

But, hey, everyone’s still fit and keen – the fighters, the pundits AND the punters. Tickets to the Las Vegas bout sold out in less than a minute. Surprised I’m interested in this? I used to be a sports journalist and despite not being a devotee of blood sports, there’s something raw and enthralling about two supremely fit athletes having a good old fistfight. (I’m not a fan of MMA. That’s too brutal!)

So in honour of an event that could be the biggest disappointment in sporting history (I don’t care who wins – Manny maybe?), here are some videos of them training:

  • Why not try Manny’s ab workout for starters? If you can handle watching him blow his nose into a hanky and then hand it to one of his assistants, you can handle anything. Or here’s a longer version (no, not of the snot, the workout).
  • Now, it’s time for Floyd. This man is not short on confidence. He pays someone to pick up his dirty clothes and his nickname is Money. Even if you’re not surrounded by a hoard of well-wishers, be like Money – stick your feet under the sofa and get working on those abs! Or here’s an overview of what he does in training in this music video (language warning: rap song).

I don’t own any boxing equipment, other than a skipping rope and a body, but that’s not going to stop today’s sparring time!

First up, do you know all the punches? Jab, cross, hook, uppercut? Go on, step outside the ring your comfort zone and have a go. Here are some different boxing exercises and routines to get the blood flowing:

  • A 20-minute workout from Body and Soul
  • A 20-minute workout from Discover Good Nutrition
  • A routine of punches interspersed with squats, lunges and skipping from Women’s Health – this is the one I did and it took 20-25 minutes. The second and third punching routines are the same but leading with a different foot (and hand), so don’t be fooled by exercise one (like me!) and think you have to do both left and right all in exercise two. It’s split up.

Finally, to finish off all things boxing, check out this heart-warming story about three Rocky fans who got the shock of their lives. We all want to feel like Rocky on those steps! (Cue the music …)

Wishing you a wonderful day.

April 23: Tough ab workout and flexibility

For today’s exercise, I thought I’d search for something different from somewhere different, but I knew it had to be stomach-centric. When I plank, I’m gobsmacked at the pudding that hangs from that area! When the fitness instructors plank, their bellies stay flat and taught. How is it so?! I can’t even ‘blame’ having kids on this excess! So that’s a new goal for the end of fitfor15in15 – to plank without the pudding.

Thanks to the Internet, ask and you generally shall receive. I liked the name of this – Get Fit Fast Ab Workout – 15 minutes of pain – and ignoring the physique of the totally ripped bloke without a shirt, thought I was up for it.

Ahh, no … nowhere near up for it. Apart from it feeling a bit militarised, with the host, Adam Harper, barking at his buddies, “Don’t you give up on me!” *cringe* it would be a brilliant workout for someone who has the fitness levels of, say, Adam Harper and his buddies.

Wowsers it was tough. I couldn’t do any of the exercises properly, or for the entire duration, apart from the side plank hip lower one. I’ve learnt some new exercises though and will try adding them into any homemade routines. The last one, touching your ankles through bent, spread legs, may become a regular. (I really had to giggle at the end of the show, when the host plugs his company’s t-shirts. If they’re so good, shouldn’t he be wearing one?!)

A lot of the raised-leg exercises hurt my lower back, so I did them with bent knees. I realise this made them much easier, but I’m not an advocate of pushing through the pain, yo. Especially when it’s yo back, yo. Overall, I’m not proud of my efforts in that workout, but it’s something to do again and refer back to, in order to keep improving. It’s motivation to plank without the pudding! Plank without the pudding! (A new mantra?!)

One thing I am proud of today is the realisation I’m becoming more flexible. Yesterday and this morning, I was able to touch my nose to my knees for the first time, albeit briefly, but that is a massive improvement from January. Sure it can be contributed to four months of moving, but I also think yoga is making a big difference. I’ve done two yoga classes, here and here, in the past week and I really think my hips are loosening up, which means I can bend further forward. Morning stretches, as part of my morning routine, will have also played a role.

Have you been doing something regularly and noticing an improvement? It’s such a nice boost, isn’t it?! Please, tell me about your successes.

  • Physically Fit: Get Fit Fast Ab Workout
  • Mentally Fit: Sitting in the sun for 10 minutes
  • Nutritionally Fit: Fourth day of fasting on the 5:2 Diet – 500 calories
  • Minimalism: Nothing today – other than minimal calorie intake 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful day. Here are some photos from my walk home yesterday evening after meeting Iva.


The long way home


The sun was a huge ball and created a wonderful sunset glow


The sun sets on another day in Tulip Military School

Friendship, memories and stuff

“What a wretched lot of old shrivelled creatures we shall be by-and-by. Never mind – the uglier we get in the eyes of others, the lovelier we shall be to each other; that has always been my firm faith about friendship.” George Eliot.

I love this quote from George Eliot, the pen name of author Mary Ann(e) Evans, who wrote it in a letter to her friend Sara Hennell in May, 1852. It’s stuck to a pin board above my computer and comes from a little 8x8cm paperback book about friendship, given to me by Gabby (pictured below … at our finest).


Dumb and dumber

The book no longer exists – I ripped out the quote which grabbed me the most so I can see it every day, rather than having it lost amongst my belongings. I’m sure Gabby wouldn’t mind knowing that part of her present has been recycled, because I’ve taken the best thing from the book and it’s being used. Those sentences remind me of our friendship and I smile every time I read it.

To celebrate our 20th anniversary of travelling around Europe and the UK together, Gab and I walked Hadrian’s Wall, in the north of England, in June 2014. What a blissful (and strenuous!) week that was, stomping across such lovely countryside, surrounded by all that history. It was all the more special because Gab lives in Melbourne and has two young boys. Many thanks also go to her husband, Dean, for holding the fort and making this trip possible. So many wonderful memories …


Exhausted on Hadrian’s Wall


Gab on the bridge at Willowford


What a sight! A field of buttercups. We ran through it like excited children


A little box of goodies for walkers to buy, set up by a young lad keen on some pocket money


Just glorious

What would you rather have? The present or the memories? I’m very grateful for both, but, for me, experiences and memories mean so much more.

Plenty’s been written recently about a trend that’s gathering strength – selling things rather than keeping them for the next generation. This is a blunt but brilliant story from The Washington Post about adult children not wanting more stuff from their parents. Even my mum and sister are thinking about selling their huge dinner sets which no longer see the light of day, because they know none of our clan are all that interested in them (the responsibilities of an heirloom, stressing about them breaking when used or moving house, and how much space is needed to store them, to name a few concerns).

Do you have unused things you hold onto, because someone gave them to you and there could be tension if they were gone? This can be a really tricky area if you’re trying to declutter or downsize your belongings. We all have a few (or many!) things we keep for sentimental reasons. How do you sort through them all and decide what to keep?

Here are some tips from Miss Minimalist about letting go of heirlooms and more from House Beautiful about sentimental clutter. Maybe something in there will be helpful. And don’t forget to thank your things before letting them go, a la the KonMari Method. Even though it sounds crazy, I think it really helps.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

p.s The exercise story will come next. I’m happy for this to be a stand-alone post.