April 15: New 20-minute HIIT routine with a happy trainer

I chose today’s workout because of the trainer’s magical striped socks! How cool are they?! It’s called Burn 200 Calories in 20 Minutes (I don’t care so much about the calorie element) and it turned out to be no easy-peasy, candy-coloured workout. Sweat was dripping and I couldn’t do all the exercises properly.

The push up inch worm ones were especially tough and my balance was really out of whack on the lunge to knee lifts. Overall, I really enjoyed this workout and look forward to doing it again, and going deeper into those lunges. It’s a great beginners-intermediate HIIT routine and at the end, the instructor was also feeling exhausted, which is pretty cool – it shows she’s human! And she had an infectious fun outlook during the whole routine.

Right now, I’m in the library in Langgasse using the free wifi on my iPad. I still haven’t worked out where the exclamation mark is, so from now on you’ll be spared the excitement.

Part of my Christmas present from Leo was a membership at the Kornhaus Bibliotek (library) in Bern. I hadn’t been an active member of a library for years and it was strange how comforting it was to walk back through the compacted rows of books. Today’s the first time I’ve come in here to work *in inverted commas but I don’t know where they are on this tiny detachable keyboard either. And now I can’t find that star again to close the train of thought. The first one was a fluke. Grrr …

Do you have a library you regularly use? I’ve found books I’d normally never look for, which has its pros and cons of course. Not all of them have been winners. See the Books section in the top menu for book reviews. I’ll be adding another one tomorrow.

Free libraries are popping up in unexpected places, but not everyone seems happy about them. A free library is a box on the corner with a “take me or swap me” sign on it. Would you like a free library in your area? Should they be allowed to be free? Here’s a story about them being banned and here’s a lovely story from Free Our Kids about one that is thriving.

I met Claudia for lunch today and stayed in the city to meet Sandra for a drink after she finishes work. The sun is outrageously glorious again – I’ll post photos when I get home tonight. Here are today’s photos:

  • Physically Fit: Today’s workout; walking to the bus
  • Mentally Fit: Meeting Claudia and Sandra; being in the library
  • Nutritionally Fit: A healthy day until this evening’s beers
  • Minimalism: Using the library for travel guidebooks and novels

Wishing you a wonderful day. Now … where’s that exclamation mark?

April 1: No fool for food and HIIT

Hope you didn’t fall for any nasty April Fool’s Day jokes today! For me it’s been a day of research – not much silliness at all – inspired by Bec’s comment on March 30’s post.

She suggested watching a BBC documentary which aired in 2012 called ‘Eat, Fast and Live Longer’ by Dr Michael Mosley. Very, very interesting … Mosley, a regular on British television and one of the authors of the 5:2 website, talks about the benefits of fasting (but not prolonged fasting) to slow the aging process. This is all sparked by his desire to be fit in all its forms. “I want to be mentally active and I want to be physically active. I want to stay younger for longer,” he said. fitfor15in15 can relate to that!

There’s not much we can do about our genes, which play a big part in our longevity, he said, but most of us do have a say in what we eat. “It seems it’s not just about what eat, but how and when we eat it.” They use research results of Alzheimer’s disease in mice and discover that fasting stresses the brain like exercise stresses the muscles – in a very, very good way. The research shows hunger makes your brain sharper.

Mosley researches calorie restricted diets, which are high in plant-based nutrients but lower in protein, fasting options (86 hours in a row) with miniscule calorie intake per day during that time, alternate day fasting (ADF), and the 5:2 Diet.

Alternate Day Fasting, or ADF, is similar to the 5:2 Diet (which I mentioned before, that sees you fast for two non-consecutive days per week (500 calories for women, 600 for men) and eat normally for the other five) but you alternate every second day instead. They call it a fasting day then a feeding day.

Mosley decides at the end to try the 5:2 method for five weeks, and is very happy with the results. I wonder if he founded the website before or after the documentary? In any case, if you have an hour, click through and watch the documentary. As usual, I have no affiliation with any links on this site, I’m just putting it out there as “food for thought” ahahahahaha.

Here are some other articles from www.huffingtonpost.com about intermittent fasting and more from The Guardian, asking is it too good to be true? Here’s one from Men’s Health as well, about ignoring intermittent fasting.

What do you think? There’s so much contradicting information, it’s hard to know who to believe. I think the 5:2 Diet/Fast Diet, could be worth a try. Of course, like everything, it’s not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all plan for everyone (especially pregnant women and those already underweight). But it’s not as extreme as the other three Mosley researched, making it sound like it could be the option for me, for at least a month or two!

I think today could already be counted as a fasting day – I’ve only had homemade muesli (without the cranberries and currants but with added oats, goji berries, shredded coconut and cashews) with fresh blueberries and natural yoghurt. Might as well start now! Shame I have no idea how many calories are in that small bowl! That’s probably where the confusion will lie, and where I’ll have to start doing more research about what constitutes 500 calories. Ugh, I’ve never been a calorie counter, but here goes. All in the name of research!

Fuelled by my new plan, I tried out a new workout found on an Instagram site called fit.co. Unfortunately I can’t link to Instagram here (I need to learn how to code!). The workout had a girl on the beach doing five exercises, so I decided to do each exercise for a minute, with a 10-15 second ‘breather break’ in between, with three repetitions of the whole series, totally 15 minutes of actual HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercise.

The exercises were:

  1. starting in a lunge position, swing up the back leg (bent) and jump off the ground with the front leg too, arms strong, 30 seconds each side
  2. arms extended plank with alternate leg coming towards your elbow (she did a push up at the same time as bending her knees in – no way, not possible for me!)
  3. knees high running on the spot
  4. arms extended plank, dropping down to alternate elbows and then back to hands
  5. jump up, then do a controlled roll backwards on the floor so your feet touch the ground behind your head, then roll back up, planting your feet and jumping up

Needless to say, I had none of the style of the girl in the video! I had to modify a few things too.

  • Exercise 2: I did the first full minute pass with legs straight, on my toes, then on the final two passes, I had to drop to my knees for the final 15 seconds, because my arms were shaking so much
  • Exercise 3: My knees were not coming up to a flat position in line with my hips
  • Exercise 4: On every pass I dropped to my knees at the 15-20 second mark. My arms were shaking too much and my shoulders hurt
  • Exercise 5: I could not roll back up and stand up to jump in one flowing move. I had to push off the ground behind me, with my feet splayed to each side, not together like in the video. I have no idea how she did that. Another goal?

Right now, I’m kind of seeing stars and am very sweaty, but it feels like everything has been given a good workout. And all in 15-20 minutes.

That’s probably enough for today. Tomorrow I’m going to write a bit about mindfulness, spurred on by a comment from Judy on yesterday’s post.

Wishing you a wonderful day.


A surprise came in the post! Gabby, in Melbourne, sent a canister with peppermint tea and an insulated mug with bamboo strainer! Thank you Gab, I love it xx

March 30: 30-minute HIIT workout

Have you seen today’s guest contribution from Sal Book? She proves you can change a ‘never never’ attitude to a ‘let’s do this’ attitude with time and patience. What an inspirational transformation! If you didn’t see it, read about Sal’s memorable story here.

Her enthusiasm for running made me want to go for a run today. (Actually, I first read her story on the bus home from the city last week, and if it hadn’t been for a pair of boots and some heavy bags, I would have jumped off and tried to sprint home!) Unfortunately, it’s going to be raining here for the foreseeable future, so another 5km run in the forest remains a carrot at the end of the donkey’s string. Yes, I am the donkey.

It’s been a cruisy few days in the fitfor15in15 exercise stakes, so I thought I’d go a bit harder on core today with another workout from Fitness Blender. This 30 minute total body workout, which is also called Intense at Home HIIT Cardio and Abs Workout – Abs on Fire, requires no equipment and lived up to it’s name.

I couldn’t complete some of the exercises as fast or as well as the trainer, Daniel, which is no surprise really, but I laughed out loud when he piped up at one stage with “This is a bad idea.” I couldn’t agree more – we were both sweating like maniacs at the end! He definitely made it a tough workout. To paraphrase an Alicia Keys song … “My abs are on fiiiyyyyerrrrr!”

With it blowing a gale outside – the wind was so strong it uprooted our flagpole – I spent a lot of time on the computer today. My 52 Books Challenge for 2015 is running behind schedule, but finally I’ve written another review. Last week I finished The Lotus Eaters by Marianne MacDonald in three hours – if only all books were that easy – and you can read more about it here if you fancy.


The view is clear without the fallen flagpole with the Aussie flag. It is fixable!

Judy mentioned in a comment on my diet/food dilemma post about the 5:2 diet. Have you heard about it? If not, you can read more about it on the official website here, on the BBC Good Food website or in Marie Claire’s ‘definitive guide’ on the pros and cons, including some recipes for the two fasting days. The main crux of the plan is you eat normally for five days and have a reduced calorie intake for two non-consecutive days per week, like a form of fasting.

I had heard about it before but hadn’t done much research. For someone who has a phobia about cooking a different meal every night, this could be the perfect solution. Maybe April is a good time to start? Luckily, Leo made a risotto for dinner last night and we have enough for tonight as well – the perfect lead in to a new idea to shift a few pesky wobbly bits. Would you be interested in joining me?

Wishing you a wonderful day.