February 3: Rebecca-Louise Smith workouts

Don’t you love it when you find something that backs up your own way of thinking, just after you’ve thought it? My nutrition at the moment isn’t ideal, but during the month of February I want to wean myself off some (not all!) of the “bad” things and introduce other alternatives.

There are courses out there providing recipes and eating plans for 8-12 weeks, such as I Quit Sugar and Kayla Itsines (to name just two of many!), but at the moment, for me, they feel slightly overwhelming – just the THOUGHT of cooking all those new dishes every night saps me of energy! Cooking has never really been my thing (eating on the other hand is a totally different story!), so the pressure of learning another recipe, and going through the motions, every night gives me the shivers.

And then this morning, I read this article from Leo Babauta, who writes the very popular website zenhabits. He hit the nail on my head!!! Well, he hit the nail on the head of what I’ve been thinking about for the past few weeks. Jumping into something new is tough. We’re all gung-ho about it and enthusiastic, then reality kicks in. We falter, and then get mad at ourselves for faltering. And then give up, because, hey, we’ve faltered.

By keeping the expectations realistic, the flow and transition should be smoother. That’s why this site is fitfor15in15 – apart from being a catchy title, the idea behind it is very simple. Just 15 minutes of exercise a day. Some days you’ll want to do more, like me today, and some days you’ll struggle through the minimum, but by making it a regular, and achievable, habit, it’s not so tough; the thought of it isn’t draining.

So for nutrition, just like starting to exercise, I’m using the whole ’21-days to make a habit’ concept, and hopefully by the end of this month I’ll be less inclined to buy the not-so-healthy option and actively search for something better. Baby steps! (I’m going to miss those jam doughnuts …)

Now (mmm … doughnuts …), onto today’s exercise …

I felt like doing more today, something intense! Searching “tough exercise” on YouTube resulted in these two (and other) videos from Rebecca-Louise Smith, who appears to be a pilot as well as a fitness trainer.

First up, I did her Military Boot Camp Workout and then went straight into the 7 Best Ab Exercises, for a combined total of 25 minutes.

Even the realisation that I had to do burpees in the first video didn’t put me off! Ok, I may have groaned in disbelief, but incredibly, I did them (still with shabby form, I suspect) and it wasn’t too bad. And the planks at the end of the second video were tough. I went to my knees after about 10 seconds – all part of the process, I know, and something to aim higher for next time.

I’ll definitely keep a lookout for Smith’s videos again. On her website, she says being healthy requires 80% proper nutrition and 20% fitness – something I hadn’t read before. These words have provided another boost in this year-long campaign to look at what I can do better, to make me feel better.

Wishing you a great day. (It was a bit cold here, so that’s why I stayed indoors!)

fitfor15in15

Chilly

January 8: 25 minutes of strength exercises

Remember how I wrote I have no upper body strength? Today I now know I have no core strength either! Argh!

I’ve signed up for a free week of workouts from an Australian training guru who I only just read about a few days ago. Her name is Kayla Itsines and you can find her website here. The transformations section is very inspiring, but I have no desire to be as ripped as some of those girls. Including her exercises will help mix up my daily workout options. Thanks Kayla!

Four minutes of random-off-the-top-of-my head warm-up exercises to Mando Diao’s “Dance with Somebody” (click here to hear it) and then it was straight into circuit one, which is split into three workout sections – legs, arms and abs – with four exercises in each section.

I was happy doing the leg exercises, with minimal problems. My favourite tracks were on shuffle, the exercises felt good – ALL was good in the world. The chick pea tins were again my weights, and the ladder to our bedroom was the step up bench.

The ladder to our bedroom and office has now become an important part of my home exercise routine!

The ladder to our bedroom and office has now become an important part of my home exercise routine!

Then it was time for arms. I did the burpees but I must have looked like a four-legged octopus, my limbs flailing around everywhere. Next time I’ll focus more on control. Burpees have never been my thing, so I was just happy to get the 10 done and move on (plus there’s the low ceiling to limit my enthusiasm!) Push ups were on my knees (my goal is to do them with straight legs), tricep dips using the ladder again, and then plank, which I managed for the required 30 seconds. And one little drop of sweat landed on the yoga mat. Score!

Finally, abs … no problem, right? The bike exercise was fine and bent leg jackknifes weren’t pretty but still achievable (my back kept making fart noises on the mat when I moved my legs up and down. Oh the hilarity!)

Onto the last two exercises – two varieties of sit ups. I thought I’d do the full (regular) sit ups first and then the raised leg sit ups, seeing as I was in the correct position on the mat already. After 10 attempted full sit ups, I had to put my feet under the couch to finish the last 10. And the raised leg variety? Forgedaboudit. I tried. I really did. In the end, I just did little pulse sit ups to finish off the routine. Maybe my lower back is weak as well?

I’ve learnt something about myself that I thought wasn’t an issue at all. I can’t do a bl**dy full sit up. I’m totally shocked! Gone are my (unprofessional!) pole dancing days, when my stomach muscles were rock solid. My current flabby tummy is hiding some horrible truths, but that’s what this fitfor15in15 challenge is all about – to get back in shape so I can be in a good place as the years roll on.

It will be good to include this workout, which took about 20 minutes in total, and Kayla’s second circuit into my program over the coming weeks and months. Variety is really important to me. I couldn’t imagine doing the same thing every week, let alone every day!

Have you been shocked by something lately that’s inspired you to take action? I now know I need to take ab work more seriously. I’ll be searching for more circuits and ideas. Maybe Kayla’s program could work for you? (I have no affiliation with her whatsoever, just throwing information out there that could help you on your fitfor15in15 way!)

Wishing you a great day.