Wednesday, September 21, 2011


So one of the awesome Perth Crew members threw down the challenge - 4km in 20 minutes using intervals. I like a challenge, and I can argue that this kind of running is not incompatible with Lean & Strong - it builds strength!! I hopped on the treadmill at the gym today, I'd done my maths, figured 1 min at 10 / 1 min at 14 would do it. Of course, it doesn't work that way because of all the time spent changing speed. I worked this out after 2 and a half minutes when I hadn't gotten to 0.5km yet! I bumped up the intervals to 14.2/11.2. 11.2 is about the pace at which I can run a half-marathon so I figured it was manageable.


Today was core day on the program and I didn't neglect that either, did an Abs Butts & Thighs class before the treadmill, with lots of planks and crunches.

I am sore, but I can do this. I AM doing this!

Monday, September 19, 2011


I went hard today; I had to do the workout in two parts but I got it all done. Mostly in the gym this morning before a quick meeting at work - followed by a site meeting with the supervisor for our renovation, since I'm not even supposed to work Mondays. THAT'S another story, major stuff-up and huge stressor.

I had to leave the single leg calf raises and ab circuit for home, which isn't ideal but isn't really a huge problem as they don't require equipment. I struggle to get more than 45 minutes in the gym due to fitting in work, school drop-off and school pick-up, and I can't let it become an excuse again.

Today was legs (quads and calves) and at least on these ones I can make the bottom end of the recommended weight range!! When I did back and biceps last week it was quite pitiful, really. I'm sure I'll see improvements in 12 weeks :)

I think I will be sore tomorrow.

Food-wise, this week hasn't been perfect but it has been good. Lots of good choices, and some better-than-they-might-have-been choices ;)

In more exciting news, I have booked flights and accommodation for the Round 3 finale in Sydney. The Perth Crew are coming over in force!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

12WBT Blogging Challenge, Week 1

The blogging challenge is here, on Kath's blog.

1. Describe yourself in 25 words or less. You can get straight to the point - or bring your creativity into play.
mum to three, being me
running half-marathons, now
lifting some weights too.

(in haiku form!)

2. What brings you to 12wbt? Getting fitter? Losing weight? (Gaining weight??) Are you first timer, a repeat offender??

This is my third round, I've lost most of the weight I want to lose - I was at goal but to be perfectly honest I put on a kilo and a bit since Round 2 ended. This round is mostly about getting stronger, physically and emotionally.

3. Why do you blog??

I suppose I like to kid myself I am interesting! I like writing, and online communication is a huge part of my life. My 'other' blog is about the creative 'domestic' stuff I get up to - but unfortunately I only seem to have time for updating one.

4. Who is your biggest inspiration in life and why (doesn't have to be weight loss)

I think my mum is pretty awesome. She had a career before children when that still wasn't really the done thing. Then she had and raised four children in a country on the other side of the world from her family and most of her friends. She breastfed us all to toddlerhood, again, in an era where this was not encouraged, giving us the best possible start to life. She has always believed in and campaigned for causes - not always the same ones as me, but always with a good heart and with compassion. And now that I have young children, she helps me out a lot because she remembers what it was like to raise children with no family support.

5. What things in life bring you the most joy?

I'm sure it's a cliche, but my children. A sunny spring day before it gets too hot (this time of year!). A good run. Hearing joyous news from friends (a friend had a baby boy this morning after losing a son last year soon after birth. She and baby are well and this news has made me smile all day).

6.What do you think your greatest challenge is going to be this round?

Being consistent. Consistently going into the weights area of the gym and learning/doing new exercises.

7. What are you most excited about 12wbt?

Pushing my boundaries and uncovering some muscles!

8. And what scares the pants off you?

Same as the previous question, haha.

9. Tell me - right now - today - how do you feel about exercise in no more than 10 words

Happy, grateful, tired.

10. Complete this sentence - in 12 weeks time - on the last day of 12wbt I am going to be feeling ____________________

stronger than I thought I was.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ready, set ...

... GO! Tomorrow morning, anyway.

It's a busier week than normal for me as I'm working extra hours with my Business Development Manager in town from Sydney. It's also my birthday on Tuesday! Workouts are diarised - all squeezed in somewhere. Food plan is adjusted for the nights I need to cook something quicker. Lasagne was made tonight, for example, for eating a couple of times during the week, and I'm about to go boil my eggs for lunches.

I did my fitness test this afternoon and FINALLY got past stage 0 in abs, well, I think I did. I worry that maybe I was swinging my arms a little to get momentum?? But it's definitely an improvement and I'll take it. 1km time trial was 4:09, which included dodging half a dozen groups of wedding photography, the downside of running in a notoriously picturesque park on a beautiful spring day. Pushups 32, I definitely need to work on that and hopefully Lean & Strong will see that figure increase significantly.

Friday, September 9, 2011


I think I should ask my kids for some lessons in determination. Here they are at our school athletics carnival today - E1 (eight years old) winning her 400m and A (five years old) winning his 50m. I'm quite proud to say they swept their individual events - 100m, 200m and 400m for E1, and 50m and hurdles for A. Plus their faction won!

They're always competing against each other, but they manage to be really good sports when it comes to their friends and classmates, luckily. Competitive spirit is good as long as it goes hand in hand with sportspersonship.

Bonus pic: I am so envious of E1's running stride!! I never was a sprinter.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My four favourite fitness apps

OK, so I'm sure there are hundreds out there that I haven't even begun to explore, but these are my favourites.

Honourable Mention goes to My Fitness Pal, I don't use it for anything related to exercise but it is a useful way to check or keep track of calories consumed on the run (not literally :P) I love the 12WBT meal plans because I don't really need to do that unless I'm eating out - I know I have my three meals taken care of, and as long I stick to two 150-cal snacks, or three 100-cal snacks, I know I'm fine with my calories for the day.

Fourth place goes to Couch to 5k. This is the app that originally got me running last autumn before I slacked off over winter. It is great for beginner runners, and completely idiot-proof. You can set your own playlist, pause, see how long you have left. It's interval training simplified because it tells you when to walk and when to run. I will add that when I 'graduated' the program I was not running 5km, for a beginner female runner 5km in 30 minutes would be a pretty good pace. But that's not really important; I was running for 30 minutes straight and from there it's quite simple to build distance. There's also a Bridge to 10km app to go from 5 to 10, but I just did it on my own.

Third place goes to 100 Pushups, of which there are many out there essentially the same. Like C25k, you gradually build up your push-up reps with the idea you'll be doing 100 by the end. I'll update you on my progress at the end of the round. Again - simple but effective, takes the thought out of the exercise. JFDI!

Second place goes to an old fave, RunKeeper. It tracks how far I've run, it tracks my pace, I can link it in to the website to graph my progress over time. I pick which playlist I want, there are coaching options, the list goes on! Downside is the GPS often plays up around water or under lots of trees, but overall, it's brilliant. I can post straight to Facebook and show off my long runs too.

And my brand new favourite is the Nike Training Club app. If you, like me, need to work out at home sometimes, but just can't get into DVDs or want a change, this is a brilliant app. Even Michelle Bridges's DVDs, I just don't enjoy that much. With the NTC workouts, there is so much choice. You can choose the focus of your workout, the length, the fitness level. And then I can pop on the TV or some music while I do it. It also has video instructions for all the exercises if you need them, and requires minimal equipment. Absolutely love it and it's going to make my life easier this round!

Monday, September 5, 2011

What was I thinking?

I thought it would be a good idea to put my hand up for Amelia Burton's Twitter '#CrackofArse' challenge this week, that is, training between 5 and 7 each morning.

OMGWTFBBQ I am tired.

But in all seriousness, it WAS a good idea, because this week is crazy busy and I need that motivation to get me up in the morning so I can actually fit my training in.

I have a second job that I do from home, for a magazine, and it has a monthly deadline. Today was deadline and somehow even when I try to do things well in advance, I always end up having heaps to do the night before. So I was up until 2 and then up at 6 to train. Tonight I should get to bed a *little* earlier, but not much.

I will say, though, that for most of the day I felt better than I would have if I'd gotten up at 6.45 and NOT trained. I know this, but I manage to forget it over and over again ;)

Friday, September 2, 2011

12WBT on a budget

I hear a lot of "it's so expensive to eat healthy" in general, and then at the start of 12WBT, "it's so expensive to eat this way/cook these recipes". It is entirely possible to eat healthy, 12WBT-style on a family budget (or a single person's budget, but my tips probably don't work so well for that).

I spend about $200 a week on food and groceries for two adults and three big-eating children. I know plenty of people who spend less, but I do believe this is below the average. About half of what I buy, on average, is organic, and I try to buy ethically where possible (free-range chicken and eggs, no Nestle as I boycott them due to their shoddy marketing of formula in third-world countries, no slave chocolate - oh wait, chocolate is not 12WBT-friendly anyway, LOL).

Here are some of the tips that work for me:

1. Learn what meat cuts/types you need, and look out for them marked down or in catalogue specials. I always pick up lean beef mince, turkey mince, chicken breast, kangaroo, whole chickens, lamb cutlets and lean pork if I see them on special, as these are all used in 12WBT recipes or in my own 12WBT-friendly recipes.

2. If you have the freezer space, buy in bulk and freeze in suitable portion sizes for your family's needs. This works for meat - many good butchers will sell cheaply in bulk - as well as 'luxury' items like frozen berries. Additionally, many, many things can be frozen to reduce waste. Try freezing sliced ham, Weight Watchers bacon, ricotta cheese, milk, chopped fruit, chopped vegetables, bread, Mountain Bread wraps - has free delivery and is much cheaper than supermarkets - homemade stock, cooked shredded chicken breast, the list goes on.

3. Do not buy fruit and vegetables from the supermarket! The quality is usually poor (long storage times, produce selected for appearance instead of quality/taste) and the prices expensive. Find a good local growers' market, fruit and vegetable shop, or even better a farmer's market. Buy as fresh as possible for eating raw, but if you're going to cook with it (e.g. soup or stews), keep an eye out for marked-down bags of produce. I get my produce delivered from due to the time and convenience factor, and the prices are comparable to the supermarket. Occasionally I go to the bulk overstock markets at Canning Vale and purchase big boxes of various fruit and vegies that I either cook up, or chop and freeze.

4. Learn about seasonal fruit and vegetables. Joy of joys, it is spring and I can finally eat fruit other than apples, pears and oranges - strawberries and cherries are coming into season! The recipes on the program don't always use seasonal fruit and vegetables, so learn to substitute. If you're new to cooking, ask on the forums for suitable substitutions.

5. The substitution rule can be applied in other instances too. Smoked salmon too expensive and you got lean ham on special? Use the ham. Have an open packet of something needing used up? Either substitute it into the day's planned recipe, or switch the recipe entirely.

6. Get to know the recipe index. Tight week? Shop from your pantry - take a look in there and work out what recipes you can make with what you already have.

In addition to these tips, remember that if you're anything like me, you'll be spending less on takeaway, dining out, and processed foods than you were before. That helps me when I want to buy, say, some cherries, which at $12.98/kg sound expensive, but I can buy a good few cherries for the price of a chocolate bar - and a lot fewer calories.

Potato and leek soup (Thermomix) - 196 cal

I love, love LOVE potato and leek soup, but I always figured it would be quite high in calories (and perhaps it usually is, depending on the recipe). I cobbled this together after looking at various recipes tonight and it's delish at under 200 calories without bread - a slice of bread would bring it in at just under 300 calories which would also be good. Not for accelerator days due to the potatoes of course, and for that reason I'll probably have it for light lunches during the week instead of dinners.

It serves three because that's the quantity that fits in the Thermomix. Calorie contents are taken from Calorie King.

Potato and leek soup


1 large leek, chopped roughly (include as much of the green as possible)
1 small onion, halved
500g potatoes, peeled and cubed
10g olive oil
700mL water with 1tbsp vegetable stock concentrate (if you don't have this, use 720mL vegetable or chicken stock)
120mL milk (I used full-cream, you could use skim for even fewer calories)
Freshly ground pepper to taste


Place leek and onion in TMX, chop approx. 10 second on speed 7. Add olive oil and saute for 5 minutes at 100deg on speed 1.

Add potatoes, water & stock concentrate. Cook for 20 minutes at 100deg on speed 1.

Add milk. Turn dial from 1 to 8 for approx 30 seconds or until desired consistency.

Season with pepper to taste.

If you don't have a Thermomix, chop the onion and leeks more thinly to start with. Saute with olive oil in a pan until soft (10g is 2 teaspoons). Add stock & potatoes, bring to the boil, simmer for a while (LOL, I don't know, I never make soup on the stove top anymore, 30 minutes?). Remove from heat, add milk and blend with a stick blender or in a blender jug/food processor until desired consistency.