Grabbing the best bit

A most pleasant bike ride to work in lovely weather. I was very fortunate as it poured with rain for the rest of the day, complete with thunder and lightning. It’s always good when you take advantage of an opportunity, whether it be good weather or time. But it’s even more awesome when you realise later you grabbed the very best bit.

What best bits can you grab right now to make your day awesome?

Sudden Change of Plan….

Today we had the most amazing Yum Cha. Fully stuffed with delicious food, I thought a post lunch walk would be just the way to recover. My fiancé offered to come with me and I was delighted to have company. I had been slightly spitting with rain but nothing to worry about. Five minutes into our walk, the rain drops were getting fatter and the sky was growling. We soon made the decision to turn around in case the ‘possible storm’ became an ‘actual storm’. Halfway home, the rain came down in buckets, and our calm walk in the sunshine became a sprint in the pelting rain. Hail was later reported in some areas nearby. Today was not a ‘just put on your rain jacket and go’ sort of day. It was more of a ‘get inside out of the scary storm and use what you have indoors to exercise’ sort of day. And that I did. After my walk/run warm up, I hit the garage for some 30 second bursts of weights training with kettlebells, including swings, squats, plank press, halos and other such things.

We finished the day with a walk through the city and comedy with Judith Lucy. Another incidental abs workout…

I had been promising myself I would spend more time doing weights. They are great for bone health, not to mention burning fat and looking toned and hot. So given this whole exercise took just over 30 minutes, achieving this twice a week is probably not too much to ask, really is it? Today’s sudden change of plans gave me a whole new workout idea. Walk to the park, sprint home so I’m warmed up, then strength training. 30 minutes of power done, six pack abs here I come.

What ways could a sudden change of plan benefit your day, or even give you a whole new idea? An idea that could change everything, not just your abs? Happy training!

Put on your rain jacket

It was drizzly and foggy outside early this morning. And Saturday. But I had a chiropractor appointment and my choices were to sleep in, get dressed at the last minute and drive there, or get up earlier and ride my mountain bike there. The latter meant that I would have my 30 minute a day commitment to myself over before half the city woke up. Not to mention feel awesome. I think you know what choice I made. Yep, I slept in. Kidding.

It made me think of a Lance Armstrong quote: ‘When it’s raining, I just put on my rain jacket and go’. It was cold and wet outside, and I’m sure if I thought about it for long enough I could have negotiated another option, but in the spirit of movement creates momentum, I put one foot in front of the other, and before I knew it, I had made tea for my fiancé, fed our kittens and was heading out the door on my bike. Early enough to take the long way there, logging a few extra sneaky kilometres (and a congratulations from Runkeeper for logging the ‘most elevation in a month’). All without a rain jacket. Yep, I think Lance’s metaphor is actually meant to be taken literally at times. If it’s raining, you really DO need a rain jacket. Lesson learned.

So, something that looked a bit unpalatable from under my doona ended up in a feeling of achievement. How can this be applied to our everyday lives? If we can push through things that might seem unpleasant or even impossible at first (like exercising in the wet), imagine what else can suddenly look achievable? I look forward to seeing you out there. In your rain jacket if needed…

When 30 minutes is not enough

This morning I had had an awesome run in the rain. Admittedly, I didn’t know it was raining when I got ready, and it was only when I was running out the door I realised. By then it was too late. The blood was pumping and I was totally ready to run. The rain was great and actually made me run faster. I think. I ran slightly longer than my normal run around the zoo and finished in swift time.

On top of that, my originally busy day cleared a bit leaving me a window of opportunity to go to yoga. Did I have my gear? Oh, yes I did. Another opportunity successfully taken advantage of.

So, my original plan to get a 30 minute run in ended up with a fast, fantastic run plus a renewing session of yoga. 90 minutes in total. What a great Friday. I love it when the opportunity arises to put in just a little bit more and get lots back.

What can you do that might be a little bit more effort but reap big rewards?

Walking in heels and a bonus

Another perfect day for an urban walk in a busy schedule. I had my runners, but chose to stay in heels as I was wearing my good suit and felt like looking smart. I headed out the door at lunch and walked through the city, which was alive with people. And sunshine!

The walk was welcomed by my aching muscles that are thanking me for our awesome weights workout yesterday. I think. It’s amazing how a short but focused workout can hurt that much the next day. But I’m sure my muscles and bones are grateful for how much I am looking after them.

One of the best things about an urban walk is the shops. On the way back, I browsed the through the mall and Myer and managed to save some money in the sales AND pick up some great clothes. Win, win all around. Without making this commitment to myself, I may have missed out…

How else can the commitments you make to yourself have hidden gems of bonuses?

Opportunity Found!

Today was another long day. An early start and a late finish thanks to meetings with hard to catch people. I was optimistic, however, and packed my gym gear in case an opportunity arose during the day. Sure enough, it did. It had been a long morning and I was starting to flag, when a meeting got cancelled, and I realised I had enough time to race to the gym. After a quick warm up, I got stuck into my favourite, but long neglected weights routine, a set of functional exercises with relatively heavy weights. I know I need to do weight training more, and I really love it when I am doing it. The routine only takes 30 minutes and it left me feeling more energized for my big afternoon. Variety? Tick! 30 minute commitment? Tick!

I was so glad I brought my gear. The day may have been too busy for exercise but it was great to take advantage of the opportunity when it came up. It made me wonder how many opportunities I may have missed out on the past by not being prepared for them, or looking out for them. How else could I be prepared for moments of opportunity? There may be one tomorrow, best I pack my runners!

I want to ride my bicycle

I had big plans to hit the gym today, but it was so nice outside, I couldn’t resist my mountain bike and the commute to work. But in the interests of doing something different, I cycled a different route there and back. That was the extent of my variety today. Not the amazing change I was planning, but nevertheless it was some variety. It’s funny how we choose to do things familiar rather than different, because it feels good. Same holidays or dishes at our favourite restaurants. Is there anything wrong with that? I don’t know. Is there? How happy are you with the variety in your life? Do you feel you need more? If so, go out and get it in a resourceful way that serves you. If not, then don’t. Hop on your bike and ride it because you love it. Just remember to mix it up every now and then.

More variety promised tomorrow.

Abs on Fire and a New Challenge

I am so glad I warmed up my abdominal muscles with comedy on Saturday, as they were all required for my regular Monday Pilates class. When I say regular, it is a regular entry in my calendar, but can often be missed due to genuine work commitments like workshops or training. Or it can be missed due to non genuine commitments like ‘oh, maybe I had better stay at my desk and finish this (insert something that probably could be done at another time but it would be great to do it now)…’

It’s amazing how I can justify anything, but it’s also amazing how when I commit to doing something other than making an excuse or plain old ‘wigging out’ it feels sooooo good! Today was no exception. I had tons of things to do, but I knew that taking an hour out to go to Pilates would not kill me. It actually gave me some renewed energy for the rest of the day, and I well and truly blasted my daily 30 minute commitment to myself. Win win! I wonder if there are other things I could do this week that are different from what I have been doing that could give me that same sense of achievement? Another challenge perhaps? Something new and different every day?

What is something that you might be putting off that if you did it, you would feel an amazing sense of accomplishment? What’s stopping you from doing it now?

Intervals At Dusk

Today started with sipping tea, baking muffins and general Sunday relaxation. My plan was to do intervals which I completed towards the end of the day as it was getting cooler and dark. The sun was setting, letting off brilliant colours, the perfect backdrop to some hard work.

Intervals are great. After a thorough warm up, I alternated between one minute of hard running and two minutes of walking. During the walk I recovered enough to run as fast as I could in the minute, the idea being to give it my all in that short period of time, with a recovery to look forward to. During the recovery, it’s tempting to push hard to maximise the workout, but that would go against the spirit of intervals, which is hard efforts punctuated by recovery in between.

And isn’t that what life is about? We work really hard, often pushing ourselves beyond what we thought was possible, and then reward ourselves with some rest before the next spurt of energy. That rest becomes even more important as we push harder to achieve more and more. And it can be tempting to push when we should rest. Is it because we don’t feel we worked hard enough when we should have? Regardless of how we feel about these bursts of effort, rest is required. Elite athletes call it ‘periodisation’. Not even the best of the best athletes are at racing fitness all year around. Nor should anyone be. So, go on. Push yourself hard, achieve your dreams. Then rest! And get ready to do it all over again, only better.

Laughter is the best exercise

I had an awesome day today. Lots of fun and great food, ending the day with a hilarious comedy show. There was barely time for a quick lap of the zoo between lunch and comedy, but I’m so glad I managed to fit it in as it warmed me up for an evening of extreme abdominal exercises in the form of laughing.

I won’t technically count laughing as my exercise today, but it I did, I would have racked up nearly two hours. Health experts say we should exercise 30 minutes a day at least three times a week. I wonder what the official advice on minutes of laughing would be? I’m thinking the more the better. Unlike exercise, I highly doubt you can over do it (and strain something??)… Although I have to admit I’m feeling pretty tired now.

To love and laughter and a wonderful weekend.