May 6 #2: An assortment of bodyweight exercises

It was a busy day, mostly on the computer, with a bit of time in the soggy garden. The grass still has many boggy sections, which reminded me of stomping across the Moors, which reminded me of this article about lovely gardens from The Guardian website. I’d like to go to Cerney House.

Even though the sun was shining and I should have gone for a run (even just to the tulips and back!), I decided to stay close to home and do 15 minutes of assorted exercises with my body weight.

Using video resources from various Instagram fitness accounts and the happy.challenges Instagram account, I mixed up mountain climbers, push-ups, squats and crunches with four sets of 15 repetitions each. Enough to get the blood flowing, for sure, but not enough for 15 minutes.

So I’m going to have to split my fitfor15in15 into two categories today – mentally fit with the book review and travelling light story (which took longer than seven minutes to write!) and physically fit with eight minutes of exercises. Cheating a bit? Perhaps!

I felt a bit cheated yesterday – two hours after eating a slice of very dense chocolate cake to finish off my lunch with Leonie, I felt quite ill. I think my body is trying to tell me to lay off the sugar! Which reminded me of this report from the Australian ABC.

Rocketing obesity is being blamed on poor diets laden with excess sugar and carbs, rather than a lack of exercise. Makes sense, although the opening line of the report made me feel dejected!

Fitfor15in15 is all about being fit in all its forms, with exercise playing the major part. Now I’m thinking I should forget shifting those pesky few kilos through exercise, and focus more attention on the role of healthier food.

Just writing it out makes me feel a bit silly, because it seems so obvious. Of course, moving everyday is beneficial for my overall health, like heart and bones, and I would never stop that. But is it time to totally cut out the crap from my diet? Could I live without chocolate cake and Berliners? Maybe, but would it be any fun? More food for thought.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

February 19: 15 minutes of fast moving

After completing a recent five-day workout challenge (please also see the previous five days of posts), it was time to give the body a bit of a break. I’ve still managed to sweat, but the home-spun, off the top of my head, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout today was just a fitfor15in15 minutes in total.

My idea was to keep moving the whole time, and do whatever came to mind, all while trying to keep a natural flow. So I ended up doing a mix of squats and lunges with punches, crunches, skipping on the spot, knee lifts, plank, fast twisting on the spot and so on, with a warm up and cool down. Thanks to all the exercises I’ve done in the past five days, it felt like I had plenty of options to choose from.

Minutes before starting, I’d finished my morning routine of meditation and stretching, so I felt quite warmed-up to begin with. My arms and butt cried out a little while doing this surprisingly quick routine and I’m now sitting at my desk with that satisfied grin of knowing I don’t have to do anything more today. *grin*

And that’s enough from me! I’m very happy to hand over to my first guest contributor, Nat Gauld, who has been a fitness instructor in Australia for more than 10 years. In the 24 years we’ve known each other, Nat has gone from a curious and enthusiastic participant to a fully accredited and passionate fitness instructor. Take it away Nat!

February 18: Fifth and final day of the Fitness Blender Challenge

It’s finished! I survived! And to be honest, at the end of today’s workout, the temptation was high to continue exercising with another Fitness Blender video on YouTube. Could it be today wasn’t as tough as they predicted? Or is my brain and body enjoying this strenuous exercise phase?

The final day of the Fitness Blender 5 Day Workout Challenge to Burn Fat & Build Lean Muscle was shorter than the others, at 37 minutes, and it felt like I could have pushed myself harder. Maybe that’s because I’m still using tin cans as weights, and the two instructors are lifting much more. Perhaps when I do this five-day workout again, I’ll try holding wine bottles instead, which I threatened to do yesterday, but totally forgot about until sitting down at my desk now. Oops.

Today’s focus was on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for butt and thighs. My arms are still feeling it from yesterday’s workout, which I think was the toughest day, so it was a relief that they concentrated on another area completely. Lots of squats and lunges … but possibly not enough? (I’m sure I’ll be grateful for the shorter workout when I wake up tomorrow!)

So for now, it’s a fitfor15in15 thank you and goodbye to Daniel and Kelli from Fitness Blender, and I’ll definitely be back for more in the not-too-distant future. For those interested, they also have longer programs – from two to eight weeks – on their website, which cost a little bit of money. My idea is to keep costs down, seeing as I don’t have a job at the moment, but if you like their style, and would like nutritional information included too, then these longer programs could work for you. I have no affiliation with them at all, I’ve just enjoyed their workouts and thought I should mention they offer more.

Tomorrow, I’ll be going back to 15 minutes of exercise for at least one day, just to give my body a little break. But I’m looking forward to ramping it up again next week perhaps, because this feeling … it’s a good feeling!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 29: Fondue + exercise = bad idea

It rained all day today so we stayed indoors, watched tennis and High Fidelity, cooked this awesome spinach and feta pie, and generally mooched around.

Then dinner struck. Fondue. Cheese. Bread. Potatoes. Sore belly.

Exercise tonight was going to be abs-focused, but I quickly had to change that plan and make it all about the legs and arms – my tummy was just too full.

I did some crunches (wrong!) then a variety of leg exercises lying on both sides, tricep dips on my desk, push ups with bent knees and some squats using the chickpea tins (ohh, those tins and I have made some history).

And that, I’m (happily) afraid, is that. Fifteen minutes. fitfor151in15 strikes again. My arms and legs are definitely feeling the benefits (during yesterday’s and this morning’s stretching, I could hardly touch the floor, my hammies were so tight), but my stomach? Who knows?! It’s full of melted cheese!

How’s your fitness plan coming along? Do you feel different?

Nicole and Cooper leave tomorrow morning, and it will be strange having everything so quiet again after so many good laughs. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to go to Lausanne next week to see him dance in the Prix de Lausanne (ballet) competition. Maybe it will inspire me to take a class? Ha!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 26: Aussies here for Australia Day

My old workmate Nicole and her son Cooper arrived from Australia around lunchtime today, just in time for some Australia Day celebrations … oh wait, no, Nicole fell asleep after a few hours and Cooper, after a spirited bike ride to the local shops and back in heavy snow, lasted about an hour longer. Their flight from Sydney has taken its toll. Will they wake up really early tomorrow?

Today’s fitfor15in15 was inspired by Cooper. He’s a 17-year-old ballet dancer and will compete in an international competition in Lausanne next week. Good luck Cooper! We were talking about exercise and he mentioned how much he loved pilates for strengthening the legs. I’d never even thought of pilates before – such a novice!

So I did a bit of a search on YouTube and came up with this leg slimming pilates butt and thigh workout, from Fitness Blender (I did one of their overall body workouts on January 21 which was also great). There were plenty of pilates videos (from various instructors) to choose from, and it was my intention to go with a different source to mix it up for you, but after 30 minutes of testing, this was the one that jumped out at me. The workout started very quickly (no waffle from the instructor beforehand) and the woman’s voice was acceptable to my sensitive ears! Great criteria, I know, but I finished the video about half an hour ago, and my thighs are still burning. Good sign, right?!

The last exercise sent me into a fit of giggles. I was taking the minimalist approach to workout wear by exercising sans leggings, and could hardly do the last exercise because my thighs were fairly well stuck on the yoga mat (all while making a lovely squeaking noise too).

On a different note (!), the snow’s been falling for hours, so it’ll be interesting to see what we’ll be able to get up to as tourists tomorrow.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 22: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

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The snow was so perfect and fluffy, I wanted to swim through it

The three-week mark has delivered some noticeable David Bowie Ch-ch-changes. This morning during my stretches, my elbows touched the ground for a few seconds! Brief, but satisfying (before the pain told me to stop overdoing it!). My jeans weren’t Horrifically Tight – now they’re just Uncomfortably Tight. I feel slimmer in the outer thighs and that makes me happy. Plus, my arms also seem to have lost a few fatty lumps and bumps (plenty more to go!) and feel much stronger. These are all positives to keep the motivation high.

My workout today was another YouTube find from Jessica Smith TV – short, sweet and focused on something I need to do a lot more work on. The butt. Her exercises were really good – some I hadn’t seen before – and it was all over in 15 minutes. The background noise was a little distracting, but if you can overlook (overlisten?) that, then I think you’ll enjoy it. She also gives relevant instructions while you’re doing the exercises to make sure you’ve got the right posture and so on. Thumbs up. I watch the video on my phone and move it around on the floor while exercising. Handy to not have to crane your neck to watch the television.

I went into town today, walking to and from the bus. Once again, I was running late (walking on the road instead of taking the short cut through the fields adds a few minutes which I keep forgetting about), so I had to run for a few minutes down the hill (happy that it wasn’t up hill!). But I stopped when I saw these guys – how nice for them to be outside! Their happy meandering and munching was a good thing to see.

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Welease Bwian! The cows were an unexpected sight today. Normally they’re in barns during winter. What a great release for them.

This article caught my attention today too – do you think you’re working out wrong? The author makes a good point. Sometimes I feel like a 30-minute exercise video has more benefit than a two-hour walk. Should we be exercising ‘smarter’? As long as we keep mixing it up, I think we’re doing ok. Variety is a good thing. And so are the changes.

Here’s some live Bowie if you fancy.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

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Walking alongside a little stream on the way home