July 1: Back on the horse

From the beginning, I’ve always said JUST 15 minutes a day. The simplicity of fitfor15in15 originally focused on doing just 15 minutes of exercise a day. Then I fell out of love with that idea for some reason – my motivation went south.

Some goals had been reached, I felt better and fitter, and then I just stopped caring. I think half of that hard work over the first four months of the year was lost in just a few weeks. So, it’s time to re-start the engines, jump back on the horse, re-join the circus … however you’d like to describe it! And it will be slowly slowly.

Have you thought about what you’d like to achieve in the next six months? I’d like to get moving again, get back into doing my stretches and go for more runs in the forest. I’d love to run 10km by the end of the year. Not in a race, just on a nice forest trail. And I’d like to return to the workout/exercise videos that I really enjoyed at the height of my fixation!

It’s 27 degrees inside the house (with windows and doors open!) at 10.30pm – now’s as good a time as any to start again, right?!?! I’m about to do 15 minutes of stretches and lunges with the hand weights. This is going to be interesting (and sweaty)! I thought about going back to January 1 and re-doing everything from the beginning, in the same order, but it’s too late to go walking now!

My friend Leonie and her kids Maya and Sebastian came over for a swim this afternoon. It was 26.5 degrees Celsius in the water. The Aare river is already 20 degrees too, and with the warm weather predicted for the next week, it may even reach about 22 degrees – not bad for a river coming directly from the Bernese Alps. Could the pool reach 30?!

We had a great afternoon and not one photo to show for it. I really enjoy Leonie’s company and not just because she’s a fellow Aussie. Lotti and Fritz joined us in the shade of the tent as well. Lotti told me Rene is back in hospital – they think he had a little stroke a few days ago, so he’s staying in for observation. I really hope he’s going to be ok. The doctors are worried a bigger stroke might follow.

On that sombre note, I’ll sign off … wishing you a wonderful day.

April 28: Triple-A treat

Today’s workout is a Triple-A treat. A triple treat of As.

15 minutes of arms, abs and arse (or as the Americans say, ass, the Germans say, hintern, the French say, derriere, and the British say, bottom).

Squats, lunges, push-ups, plank …

Feel the need to write a poem but can’t think of a line to go next …

Ok, here goes …

 

Squats, lunges, push-ups, plank

While they’re being done, your mind goes blank

All you want to do is improve your rank

When they’re all finished, your body says thank … you.

 

If I had a job, I wouldn’t quit it, don’t worry!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

April 18: Squats and binging

Doesn’t the word binging look like bing-ing and not binge-ing? Ahh, how I love the English language.

Well, we’ve done a lot of binging today – I made Anzac biscuits using molasses instead of golden syrup, and instead of being biscuits they all melted together to form a giant slab. But it still tastes ok. Here is the story of the Anzac biscuit, with a recipe from legendary chef Margaret Fulton, from the ABC website.

And we binged all afternoon on season three of “The Killing”, which I am happy to say is now finished. Only six episodes of season four left to go for this program. It’s been good, ok, sometimes brilliant, sometimes funny, but sometimes I have had no sympathy for the lead character, Sarah, at all and if I don’t have any feeling for them then sometimes it’s hard to really get involved. Peter Sarsgaard played an incredible role in season three – he stole the show and I really enjoyed watching him.

Today’s exercise was pretty basic – squats, lunges and some push-ups for 15 minutes, in front of the tv. My friend Karie, the runner, recently mentioned she was proud of her arms, and they were in good shape. I asked for advice. “Push-ups, push-ups and more push-ups,” she said. I’m going to add push-ups into every routine!

  • Physically Fit: 15 minutes of squats, lunges, push-ups etc
  • Mentally Fit: Finishing season three of “The Killing”
  • Nutritionally Fit: Ate too many home-made Anzac biscuits
  • Minimalism: No contribution

Wishing you a wonderful day.

April 4: 15 minutes of weighted squats and lunges

The quote at the top of this new blog I follow made me smirk. It really is true! And after three months of constant exercise and ignoring my diet, it’s now time to make some changes, because I’ve just been driving in the mud with a clean car, so to speak, while forming this good habit.

So, I’m going to become my own worst nightmare and be a foodie for say, oh, two months. As in, I’ll actually start to care about what goes in. Well, maybe not this weekend as it’s Easter, but I’ll start next week, when we’re on holiday … Yeah right, ok, I’ll start the week after. Honest like. Monday April 13 is the day it all begins.

Today was a very low-key exercise day with just 15 minutes of various squats and lunges with the hand weights, because tomorrow we go on an Easter egg hunt! Yesterday, Pastora and her husband Leo came to our house to paint Easter eggs, and then today both Leos hid them in a secret forest (not near our house).

Making the eggs was a test of patience but lots of fun. We searched the nearby woods for leaves and flowers to make some patterns on the eggs and used the dry outer shells of onions to make the colour – some turned out much better than others, but overall we’ve very happy with our Easter art!

Wishing you a wonderful day. Hope the bunny made it to your door.

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Leo holding our bag of goodies – leaves and twigs and flowers and grasses – to decorate the eggs

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Lovely moss in the forest

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Me trying to blend in to my environment

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Leo preparing the stockings at the work table. The stockings kept the plant material on the egg for the cooking and dying process

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Cutting the stockings away to reveal the patterned egg

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This one turned out well!

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After a few hours work, we had 40 eggs

March 9: The 7-Minute Workout

Quite a while ago, my friend Melissa told me about The 7-Minute Workout, so finally I’ve put it to the test (for reasons explained further below).

I’ve downloaded the app to my phone as well. The internet version I’ve linked to above makes a beep during the 30 seconds you’re doing the exercise and then goes silent to let you know when to rest, which doesn’t happen on the app.

There’s a 10 second pause between each of the 12 exercises. Within the seven minutes you do star jumps, a wall sit, push ups, abdominal crunches, step-ups onto a chair, squats, tricep dips on a chair, plank, high knees running in place, lunges, push ups with rotations and side planks. You’ll need space to rest against a wall, a stable chair or ledge to step up onto, and a stable chair or desk to lean on for the tricep dips.

Doing this workout twice, followed by a minute of leg stretches, gives you a fast and effective fitfor15in15 workout. I’m glad I had it up my sleeve as a backup (thanks Melissa!) because it wasn’t the plan for today – I thought I’d go running, but my social nature caught me out.

My neighbour (and owner of all the land and buildings here) started the ride-on mower, for the first time since autumn, so I went outside to say hello. And before you know it, I had a broom in hand and was sweeping leaves our of nooks and crannies so he could suck them up with the mower! There’s been a lot of leaves about the place since the snow’s melted, so there was plenty to do. Two hours worth of it! But I’m glad it’s done, it looks much neater now and feels a bit more like spring.

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The grass looked brown from all the leaves covering it. Pretty much all gone (til the next big wind!)

The brooms we use here are so old school and would be perfect for witches. (They’re incredibly effective and make a great Harry Potter toy for visitors with kids!) Even the local councils still use this style of broom; a classic design that still holds its own.

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My trusty steed

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A simple and effective broom which looks the part too

So I’m back from my little holiday blogging break and will be writing daily again (until the next holiday perhaps?!). If you’d like to read about our weekend in Strasbourg, with a photo gallery, please click here.

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 11: 15 minutes of squats and sit ups and … chocolate

As part of Monday’s celebration, Leo bought me a 500gram bag of my favourite chocolate – M&M Peanuts. They’ll be finished tomorrow. Oops. This was NOT part of the fitfor15in15 plan … but gosh, they’re a whole world of yum for me.

Must. Stop. Eating. M&M Peanuts (tomorrow … when the bag is finished). I know I’m addicted, despite not feeling all that great after eating them. Sugar overdose, perhaps? The idea of that crunch gets me all excited, but now, gorged, the thought of half a kilo of chocolate in mah belly is not so cool. No more good news please. I can’t handle the treats.

I spent this morning in the city and then had a lovely lunch at my friend Claudia’s. She cooked a three-course lunch so I didn’t feel like dinner … but still managed to fit in a lot of those coloured balls. 😦

Because I was all juiced up on the little suckers, I did the minimum 15 minutes tonight – squats, lunges, sit ups and knees up with the tin cans going all over the place (in specific movements, not willy nilly) while watching the series Arrested Development. (We’re a little late to the party on this one and have just started watching season one.) But, sorry, back to the exercise …

While shifting my weight from one leg to the other in a side-to-side movement, I could actually feel the muscle above-and-to-the-right of my left knee, and above-and-to-the-left of my right knee. I’m sure they have proper names. But for now, let’s just call them WOW 1 and WOW 2. There are actual muscles there! They moved. Real muscles. Not fake. Gob-smacking, jaw-dropping get-out-of-town real muscles. I haven’t felt the muscles there since The Camino in 2011.

It’s amazing how doing 15 minutes at the moment doesn’t feel hard enough. Maybe exerting myself can be my new addiction? Must up the ante tomorrow … or maybe Friday … when all the nuts are gone.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Oh, and here are some photos from today …

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Taken about 8.45am, on my walk to the bus

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It might be too hard to see, but on this little cleaning cart is a witch broom, just like in Harry Potter. They still use these stick brooms to clean the streets here

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A quick stroll along the Aare river in Bern

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Using English expressions is sometimes considered cool. The play on words with Aare/Are is part of a safety campaign for swimming in the glacial river, which runs very fast in summer when all the snow has made its way down from the mountains

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I think I may have found a good set of stairs to jog up. Looking up to the final part …

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… and looking back down to where I’d come from. A potential killer workout

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Walking across the Aare back into town. I’d been at a meeting in the building under the bridge, which was an old brewery. Sadly, no beers there now, just lots of fitness classes!

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Walking the road home. It’s amazing how quickly the snow has melted, after just two sunny days

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Icy fields

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And finally, the view that greeted me from home

February 6: Less active than planned

Well, today’s grand plans went out the (train) window! Yesterday, I wrote about doing that morning yoga routine again, but forgot a very important point … I was catching an early train to Lausanne to see Cooper dance in the Prix de Lausanne!

So there was no time for exercise this morning. Leo dropped me at the train station around 7.30am for my first excursion to Lausanne, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, on the Lake of Geneva. The train trip from Bern takes one hour and six minutes. It’s hard to believe I haven’t been here before!

The irony of Nicole (who’s been there for a week) being my tour guide wasn’t lost on either of us.

The city itself is lovely, but it was so cold we didn’t spend a huge amount of time being sightseers. We went to Musee cantonal des Beaux-Arts as well, and I really enjoyed many paintings from Felix Vallotton. Our favourite was this mooing cow by Eugene Burnand. The (painted) light on the animal was so clear and amazing.

We then made a mad dash to the auditorium and watched the selections for tomorrow’s finals – only 20 dancers will make it through. Some amazing young talent in that line up, and hopefully Cooper will be chosen. If not, he danced beautifully and will hopefully be snapped up by a dance school or academy.

So my 15 minutes of exercise was done too late tonight, in the office, doing squats and lunges and general movements, using my beloved chickpea tins. My aunt Julie said they should contain hummus by now!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 28: Tourists for the day

Done and dusted. Another great day is almost over. It all started with a beautiful sunrise and substantial breakfast in Bern, then a train ride, lunch and walk around Luzern (Lucerne in English, Luzern in German), then a drink in Bern and dinner at home.

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A beautiful clear day greeted us this morning

Alps cloudy

Despite being cloudy, the Alps were clear and bright

Lake of Luzern (Lucerne)

Lovely scenes on the Lake of Luzern (Lucerne)

Pilatus

Snow, the lake and Mt Pilatus (I think!)

Sunset birds

Sunset over the lake, seen by us and a few birds

Kornhaus

We celebrated with a drink at the Kornhauskeller bar in Bern

It’s now 10.33pm and I’ve just finished my 15 minutes of random exercises in the study/office with the chickpea tins. My arms were moving the whole time – punches, lifts, stretching behind, reaching over, pushing down. They’ve had a good workout.

My legs were doing squats or lunges, side to side stretches, heels or knees up … anything that required effort. Again it’s all been done late at night, which I have to sort out, but I’ll go to bed knowing I’ve achieved, even just a little.

Wishing you a wonderful day.