March 15: An easy workout and the end of the Bluths

Following yesterday’s long walk, I thought I’d focus on core and arm exercises tonight. The trusty chickpea tins were put to good use again, in a variety of strength exercises and punches. I did 15 exercises for a minute each, including normal and side to side crunches, push ups and plank. A minute of plank! It’s a miracle!

My sister very kindly sent me money for my birthday to buy hand weights. She said she didn’t mind if the money was spent on something else, so I’m in two minds – buy weights or put the money towards our next holiday. She was very generous! Buying them means more stuff in the house; I’ll check out what’s on offer and let you know if I upgrade. But never fear! The chickpeas will live to tell another story either way – as my trusty assistants or a hummus dip.

Today, we finished the Arrested Development television series, starring Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett and Michael Cera. Some of the episodes were comedic gold, some were a bit rubbish, but, overall, watching 68 episodes of the Bluth family’s escapades was a worthy time investment. The way the stories all tied together was incredibly clever, and Gob’s chicken dance will stay with me for a while. I can definitely vouch for it adding to my mental fitness in 2015.

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

February 14: A 48-minute Valentine’s Day workout with the cutest couple

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

How cool is this car-track design outside our garage last night? What a fluke to have two crazy hearts! Happy Valentine’s Day! (Not that I’m really into it, but I received beautiful flowers which I’m very happy about.)

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My lovely bunch of flowers from Leo

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A lazy morning then grocery shopping (how romantic!) took up most of the day, and it’s now 5pm and we’re going out at 6pm for a “surprise” dinner. I think I have an idea what it’s going to be, but for now I’ll just be quiet and wait patiently for the reveal 🙂

I felt like doing a Fitness Blender workout again, because normally they’re short and to the point, but instead this longer workout, part of a five-day series, caught my eye. So I did day one today and will complete the series on Wednesday. It was a really good workout, lots of squats and arm exercises, and I used the tins cans instead of their clever weights. I’m sure I’d be feeling a whole lot worse if I’d been using the recommended weight!

Now only was the workout fun, the hosts who are obviously a couple are just so darn sweet. They bounce off each other (verbally, not literally) in the nicest way and it was hard not to giggle along with them. Awwwww, lovebirds! The perfect workout for Valentine’s Day!

I’ve done a few Fitness Blender things before, but what I didn’t realise is this husband and wife team are behind it all. They have made over 400 exercise videos available to us for free. These guys are not only cute, they rule as far as I’m concerned!

Would you like to join me on Fitness Blender’s 5 Day Workout Challenge to Burn Fat & Build Lean Muscle? They say you shouldn’t drink alcohol during the five days, but I’m going to have to break that rule/suggestion tonight!

And now for a shower and away we go! I’ve got half an hour to get ready! Yikes!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 27: HIIT me with your rhythm sticks!

High-Intensity Interval Training. Never heard of it before. No, that’s not a question, missing its mark. That’s a statement. I’d never heard of HIIT until starting fitfor15in15. Like I’ve said, I’m soooo not in the loop with fitness.

Tonight, after a wonderful day and afternoon walking around the old town of Bern (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with Nicole and Cooper, my first attempt on HIIT was made, thanks to the two women behind Tone It Up. And it was good. I should have done it in the loungeroom, as the workout needs a solid, non-moveable object to sit on, and the office chair was way too wriggly. So before you attempt it, set yourself up somewhere near a couch or stable chair.

It starts off easily enough, getting the body warm, and then 15 minutes later I was huffing and puffing, and that was without doing the exercises exactly the way they described. I didn’t have the stamina! There was one move where you touch your foot with the opposite hand and then push yourself up with the hand on the ground. I think it was called a crab move, or something, and it was impossible for me. Another goal added to the list.

Doing something different every day is becoming really enjoyable. My thighs still felt a bit sore from yesterday’s workout, and all the walking on cobblestones and concrete today probably didn’t help. But I’m glad I didn’t just come home and say, “Oh I’ve walked enough today, I won’t do the workout.” The habit has been formed and I don’t really feel the need to motivate or push myself to do it, because I’m finding exercise enjoyable. What, me?!

Now to master that crab move!

And here are some photos of Nicole and Cooper, the Aare River in the city, and the Bärengraben, where the bears live (yes, three bears live in the middle of the city in an enclosure, opened in 2009, right on the river). They’re currently sleeping somewhere nice and warm and will come out of hibernation in spring.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

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Nicole and Cooper

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Looking at the Aare river and Mattequartier, one of the first inhabited areas of the city

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The bears live along the river and have their own swimming pool