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.

February 16: Day three of the Fitness Blender Challenge

I’m feeling a wee bit tired. Not quite exhausted. But not on top of my game. This “Fitness Blender 5 Day Workout Challenge to Burn Fat & Build Lean Muscle” is really enjoyable, but I think it’s getting the better of me!

Day three today, which moved the focus from legs and arms to high-intensity interval training for abs and cardio. I felt amazing after finishing this 52-minute workout this afternoon, and should have written about it straight away, because now I’m too tired (10.19pm) to rave about it. The exercises are fun and the hosts, Daniel and Kelli, keep you motivated and smiling, despite their cheesy banter. Normally I would find stuff like that quite nauseating, but for some reason, with them, it’s just really cute.

The morning started well, despite feeling incredibly tight in the legs. I’ve rediscovered muscles most normal people have. My thighs and glutes hurt just walking. It’s a good kind of pain, but it’s made the morning routine stretches even harder, and, most likely, even more necessary as a great way to start the day. I met my friend Tineke in town for lunch, so I also walked 40 minutes to the bus and back (in total). Combined with a 30-minute stroll around the city, the legs really have had a good workout.

How do people manage to run consecutive marathons? And how’s this young woman who holds the world record? I’ve done three 50-minute workouts in a row and I’m knackered! Because the exercises are harder and the workouts are longer than what I would normally do (especially on consecutive days), I hope it’s really making an impact on my fitness, that can be maintained and improved upon during the next few weeks.

This 5 Day Challenge could be a really good thing to do once every three months, just to give yourself a little boost. At the moment, I’m kind of cursing it, but finishing it on Wednesday might also be a sad day – I’ll miss their laughs!

Here are some photos from today.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

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When the snow melts, it goes fast!

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The melting snow has brought down some sweet, little moss clumps off the roof

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It was very foggy here today. That’s the view to my favourite farmhouse, on the walk to the bus

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.

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