March 17: Sweat, but no beers, on St Patrick’s Day

Lucky

Totally forgot it was St Patrick’s Day until I saw Facebook photos of my friend Elisa all decked out in green, having a beer. Happy St Patrick’s Day to all the Irish, those who wish they were Irish and those out celebrating tonight who wake up with an Irish tomorrow.

Yesterday I went on a mission to “have a look” for some hand weights. swissrose, who writes a blog about life in Switzerland (and has an excellent A-Z of all things Swiss you should check out), cleverly suggested I could look at the local second-hand store, or Brocki, for hand weights. Unfortunately I read her post too late!

Silly me ended up buying the first decent 1kg pair I saw. They weren’t as expensive as I thought they’d be plus they have handles, which means I can hold two in one hand when I need a tougher workout. The idea of returning them and searching at the Brocki went through my mind for quite a while, but then I used the KonMari Method and realised these babies actually spark joy and will stay.

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Out with the old … they’ve done their time and will be a delicious meal soon …

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… and in with the new. Two 1kg weights with handles. How posh!

In order to give them their first workout as part of my St Patrick’s Day celebrations, I went straight to Fitness Blender and Kelli for something hard. And I found it. Brutal even. The Brutal Fat Burning HIIT + Dynamic Total Body Strength Training – FP Blend Workout (phew, that’s a mouthful I dare anyone to attempt after five pints of green Guinness).

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Some may say this is taking St Patrick’s Day celebrations one step too far

Kelli’s 28-minute workout requires just hand weights and a mat for some floor work. And it made me sweat, especially the HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sections which were burpees (yucko!) and crisscross thigh-slap jumps. They’re harder to do than to say, if that’s possible (especially when you’re in a confined space).

I’m really glad I finally bit the bullet and bought some proper hand weights. Hopefully the 1kg weight is enough to do some damage, I mean make a difference. To be sure, to be sure, tomorrow I’ll be sore.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

March 5: fitfor15in15’s 43 for 43

I love a bit of a play on numbers so today, for my 43rd birthday, I’m going to do 43 various exercises for 43 seconds each! This, my friends, is the silliness I’ve been gearing up for over the past few days. Sorry if it’s a disappointment!

A few months ago, if someone had asked if I even knew 43 different exercises, I would have struggled. But now, thanks to all the different fitness videos from the past two months, I had a ball choosing which ones I wanted to do. Decisions were made on the fly, so it probably doesn’t flow very well, but I didn’t want to do all arms first and then all legs etc; the focus changes regularly.

Here’s a table of what I did and how many repetitions (in brackets) I could manage within the 43 second time frame set aside for each exercise:

  1. Normal crunches – lying on the back and small pulses up (26)
  2. Crunches to the left – with the left arm low, bending to touch outside of left foot (24)
  3. Crunches to the right – with the right arm low, bending to touch outside of right foot (25)
  4. Star jumps (43)
  5. Standing bent knees to alternate elbow (40)
  6. Standing like a star, touch right hand to left foot, straight legged, stand straight, alternate (17)
  7. Deep squats – legs and feet together, squat deep then up to standing position (19)
  8. Deep squats – feet hip width apart, toes out, squat deep to standing (17)
  9. Angel wings – holding weights, standing tall, move arms straight up and down in arc (18)
  10. Straight arm dead lifts – straight arms in front of body, lift to eye level and back down (17)
  11. Bicep curls with tins – bending at elbows, arms close to body (28)
  12. Tricep curls with tins – arms bent backwards, bending at elbows, forward and back (29)
  13. Left jab with tin – left foot forward in boxer pose, sharp, quick punches (54)
  14. Right cross with tin – still with left foot forward, twist through the oblique on extension (43)
  15. Right jab with tin – right foot forward in boxer pose, sharp, quick punches (54)
  16. Left cross with tin – still with right foot forward, twist through the oblique on extension (43)
  17. Skipping with single feet
  18. Skipping with feet together, more like a jump
  19. Forward lunges on both sides (forgot to count)
  20. Backwards lunges on both sides (14)
  21. Right side lunges – taking right foot wide and sinking low, from centre stance (16)
  22. Left side lunges – from centre standing position, place foot wide to left, then back (16)
  23. Plank
  24. Swimming – lying on stomach, slightly lift arms and legs, beating alternately
  25. Back bow – like swimming pose, but lift arms and legs all at same time (23)
  26. Calf raises – using a door frame, sink low and raise to tip-toe
  27. Pulse squats – sink low with legs together, at lowest point start small pulses (46)
  28. Pulse squats – sink low with legs wide apart, toes facing out, at lowest point pulse (56)
  29. Push-ups on knees (22)
  30. Standing butterfly swim with tins – in a squat position, push hands out, sweep back (22)
  31. Wide squat and low punches with tins – back bent, punch opposite hand to foot (forgot!)
  32. Straight leg toe tap – using tins, straight leg march, opposite hand to foot (33)
  33. Mountain climbers (MC) normal – alternate foot tap (not jumping) (45)
  34. MC right – tapping right foot lightly to floor, close to elbow (12 on toes, 12 on knees)
  35. MC left – tapping left foot lightly (12 on toes, 15 on knees)
  36. Rowing balance V pose – balancing on bum, arms come back like a rower as legs go out (21)
  37. Back baby bend – lying on back, with legs bent, knees to side, reach arms through and curl (23)
  38. Standing upper cuts with tins – upper cut boxer punches, nice and fast
  39. Shoulder press with tins – reach both arms over head, elbows come back to shoulder height (22)
  40. Camel pose pulses – sitting high on knees, lean back and pulse to stretch quads (30)
  41. Butt kickers – running on spot as fast as you can with feet trying to touch your bum
  42. Hook punches – standing in loose squat, elbows shoulder height, swing arms round
  43. Burpees (11)

Yep I saved the best for last. I hate burpees! If you don’t know how to do them have a look here. I didn’t do the push up in her version, just the legs out and in and jumping up.

I’m really pleased I managed the entire plank on my feet and didn’t sink to my knees. This means my core is getting stronger!

So that’s my birthday fitfor15in15 for you! It’s been a great day so far – Leo served prosecco and cake as breakfast in bed, then I spent a few hours responding to emails and messages which was great (my family and most of my friends are in Australia, so the time difference meant they’d messaged me while I was asleep) and now it’s time to get ready for dinner. We’re going to a fancy steak restaurant in the city, where I’m sure I’ll have a few beers and maybe a glass of red as well. And maybe cake … but probably not (never say never!) because I’ll be full from dinner … and as I must keep reminding myself, I’ve already had cake today!

And before you go, please check out fitfor15in15s fourth guest contributor post from outdoor enthusiast Kate Lehmann. Kate thought she’d never stop being a hiker, but a new challenge came along and has been grabbed with both hands, literally.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

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Leo bringing the cake upstairs for breakfast

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I took it from the angle that switched the numbers! Ha! Not sure why, I don’t mind being 43!

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Another wonderful bunch of flowers from Leo. Love the colours!

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Feeling sweaty but good!

January 21: Pleasant surprises

Wow, today has been full of surprises. Love surprises!

Please excuse the random thought processes below …

This morning, I acted on a comment from Freda from livesimplysimplylive. I really enjoy checking her site every day; it’s peaceful and inspirational. She mentioned candles, and I’d never thought about using them to add some ambience. The 10 minutes of meditation and five minutes of stretching did feel calmer, so I’ll be lighting a candle during my morning routine every day from now on. Thanks Freda!

After that I did some research to help a friend with his website, then Leo sent me an email with a job advertisement – for an editing job in English. It has really piqued my interest! So I spent the afternoon tweaking my CV and cover letter, and will send them off tomorrow after one last proofread when my mind’s clear. Here’s hoping!

I spoke with my neighbour about the possibility of our visitors, who arrive on Monday, staying in the empty apartment in the main farmhouse for four or five nights. She said yes, so I’ll be cleaning and preparing it on the weekend. Great news!

For some reason, my mind hadn’t switched onto the fact the Australian Open Tennis is in full swing – I love the tennis and can’t believe I haven’t been cheering on my favourite players. It’s been a busy start to the week, but from now on I’ll be watching as much as possible – more than the 20 minutes today. C’mon Roger!

And last but not least, I’ve found another great exercise resource, by complete fluke (and a bit of laziness!). I didn’t have time today to do more than 15 minutes, so typed “15 minute workout” into YouTube on my phone, and found this great resource from Fitness Blender. You do your own warm-up and cool down. It was an intense workout and raised a sweat. I’ll be doing it again, plus the others. Damn burpees!

Wishing you a wonderful day.