February 4: Tomorrow, I’ll be sore!

Yes, that headline rhymes on purpose 🙂

Wowee, I found a good workout today! My friend Sandra and I were talking yesterday about Jillian Michaels, who’s very popular in America and has also been one of the trainers on The Biggest Loser USA.

I’ve done two of her workouts previously, on January 7 and January 19, and they took roughly 30 minutes each. Today’s workout, “Banish Fat Boost Metabolism Complete Workout”, was about 54 minutes of solid movement and I worked up the ‘best’ sweat I’ve had since beginning fitfor15in15. (No photos. Not pretty.)

These women are machines! If you can ignore the terrible, repetitive warm-up music, the rest of the soundtrack is pretty inoffensive … or maybe all my creaking, crunching and cracking and Jillian’s instructions filled my head. The workout is intense! Every circuit is done twice, which is good because for the first circuit you’re pretty much making sure you’re doing some of the exercises correctly.

When it came to all the jumping moves, I ended up just going with her beginner’s recommendation of squats for the second pass of each circuit. Jumping and coordination were beyond me in the final 10 minutes. As were the full planks. I was on my knees. Begging it to stop.

But I TOTALLY recommend this workout. You don’t need any weights, just a mat for the floor exercises and a full glass of water (how can these three trainers not drink any water in 50 minutes?! Phew!)

Exercising this afternoon really changed the day. When I woke up this morning, I was flat. It was a low day, a slow day, a shallow day, a hollow day. I couldn’t even be bothered to get out of bed to do my morning routine. I did it in bed. How slack is that? It was cold … I was cold … and I felt old.

But I (figuratively) slapped myself a bit and prepared to leave the house for my lunch appointment with a former German teacher, Claudia. Not surprisingly, forcing myself to shower, get dressed, put on some make up, walk to the bus (oh my, was that walk cold!) and talk German and English for three hours really lifted me up. Thanks Claudia!

And on the walk home from the bus, I was positively gagging to start exercising, and not only because the Siberian wind (well it was coming from the north east, so it has to be from Siberia, right?!) had frozen me through. I was keen to move, and sweat … and, ok, feel warm. That’s why I chose something I haven’t done before, and something more than 30 minutes long.

And you know why I think I felt so bad this morning? I couldn’t work it out, but then I thought about what I’d eaten in the past two days – Monday night pesto pasta, Tuesday morning muesli with natural yoghurt and Tuesday dinner leftover pasta … ahhh, not one piece of fruit or a vegetable in sight! All processed foods. I’m no expert but I think that very much had something to do with why I felt so bad this morning. Plus, I probably didn’t drink enough water yesterday …

So the better nutrition plan is gaining legs. And speaking of legs, I need to go rest mine!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

fitfor15in15

Love the layers of snow on the pool edge

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This is the road to our house. It was a bit tricky walking on this today, but still better than the shortcut in shin-deep snow. Boy it was cold walking between these frozen fields

January 20: Indulging an embarrassing passion

I have a secret … a confession … it’s a little bit embarrassing. My partner knows about it, and he’s not happy. He can’t stand it. Well, not it … but her. Her name is Marple … Miss Jane Marple … and every now and then I enjoy watching her on television, solving crimes from the early to mid-1900s in England. Leo would rather eat snails.

So today, as the snow bucketed down all morning …

Snow on clothesline

Quite a difference in 20 hours, from yesterday’s clothesline photo

… fitfor15in15 hunkered down in the lounge room, on the little manual step machine thingy, with a tin of red kidney beans in each hand (chickpeas were upstairs!), engrossed in another Agatha Christie whodunit for one hour. Those 60 minutes passed very quickly, and I worked up a good sweat, then watched the remainder of Ordeal by Innocence from the comfort of the couch.

Ooh I love a good murder mystery, and apparently this was one of Aggie’s two personal favourites. It was disappointing to read the version on tele differed quite a lot to her original book (Miss Marple wasn’t even in it!), so I’ll be searching for that when at the library next.

Have you ever been miffed by adaptations of books for the big or small screens? Sometimes I wonder why they even bothered keeping the book’s title, because the endings, or characters, or plot – anything! – when changed, made it a completely different story.

But back to today … My arms feel sore, my legs and bum a bit tight. Overall it wasn’t too stressful … just like walking in the woods, but warmer … and with tin cans … and Miss Marple being all inquisitive and clever.

The idea behind fitfor15in15 is to do a minimum of 15 minutes exercise per day. For me, that means specific exercise, and not what you’d do in your normal day, such as walking to the bus, doing the gardening, or cleaning the house and so on. Making time for 15 minutes every day forms a habit, one that is hard to talk yourself out of.

If you set a goal to exercise every day, you can’t slack off occasionally and say, “Oh, it’s too cold/I’m too tired/there’s not enough time, I’ll exercise tomorrow.” That’s why I’ve chosen a MINIMUM of 15 minutes per day. Some days you feel like doing more, or have time to do more, and some days you don’t. And on the days you don’t, those little 15 minutes of knee lifts or squats or sit ups or twists – whatever takes your 15-minute fancy – keep the habit going, keep you motivated, and keep you moving.

In 2014, I became quite sloth-like. I was beginning to believe I’d been one in a former life. If it required moving, I’d get it over and done with as quickly as possible and then flop back on the couch. Inactivity was the norm, and that became scary. I’d never been a lazy person before – always on the go and happy to be that way. So for three weeks now, I’ve been moving, and am reaping the benefits already – I had to run the last 100m for the bus today, and made it.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Tomorrow is January 21. I think I’m a convert. And while some days will be good ones, like today with 60 minutes, I know some days I’ll be struggling with 15. But that’s alright, don’t you think? Recognising the struggle will make the ‘victory’ so much sweeter.

Wohlen Switzerland

Walking to the bus on the road – the snow’s too deep to take the shortcut through the fields

fitfor15in15

Both beanie and jacket hood required today!

January 9: 30 minutes on the little step machine

Well, today I can feel my stomach muscles, thanks to yesterday’s workout! Wowsers. Imagine how sore I’d be if I’d been able to do all the sit ups – and properly!

Outdoor plans went “out the window” with the wind and rain. Here’s a picture … “out the window”. The wind was coming from the north (the photo looks south), and it was cccoooold.

Strong, cold winds and rain prevented the planned walk/jog in the forest

Strong, cold winds and rain prevented the planned walk/jog in the forest

So I settled on dragging out the small stepper I bought about three years ago, when I first arrived in Switzerland, to keep me *ahem* fit. Yes, I used it a handful of times and then it was relegated to the shed. Until today.

Crazily, I thought I’d watch a whole movie while working out – I lasted 30 minutes, and it had nothing to do with the film’s quality. It was an Austrian number from 1955 called “Drei Männer im Schnee”, which deals with mistaken identities. I’ve read the book (in German, hurrah!) and thought it would be a bit of fun. Maybe I’ll watch another 30 minutes on the stepper next week if the weather is bad.

The little stepper who could ...

The little stepper that could …

Yes, that is a sweat trail on my t-shirt after 30 minutes

Yes, that is a sweat trail on my t-shirt after 30 minutes

My arms were feeling a bit sore today too, but I grabbed my beloved chick pea tins to give them another workout. Flabby arms are two things I am really conscious about. In our family, we call them “toodles”, because when we wave goodbye, our arms continue to wobble long after we’ve gone. It’s like they don’t want to stop saying bye.

It’s been a strange day. What with the wind and finishing this damned book, I was in a thoroughly horrid frame of mind. The exercise and silly movie have made me feel much “lighter”, so to speak.

Have you ever had a disagreeable reaction to a book? I felt as disgusted as Bradley Cooper’s character in “Silver Linings Playbook” when he hurled that book out the window! I didn’t fancy breaking the glass here though.

Wishing you a great day.