Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bob Harper's website

Want to work out with Bob Harper??? Sure you do :)

He has a website where you can do just that (kinda).
Only $9.95 (USD) a month, with a free 7 day trial.

What do you get?
Here's a sneak peek:

We'll start off with the good:

  • 3 fitness circuits a week. (Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays - US time).
  • (I think) 4 videos a week.  food, group training, one-on-one training, think well live well
  • Access to Recipes (broken down into breakfast, lunch, dinner, extras, and a daily recipe guide that you can print). You can filter by Dietary preference (standard, vegetarian and vegan).
  • Fitness Journal - where you can record journal entries and attach photos.  You can choose to make these private or public.
  • Message Boards - on general discussion, food, exercise and suggestions for the site.
I've mainly been using the site for the videos, occasionally using a circuit (designed to be done with no gym equipment) and made my first recipe the other day.  The videos of bob make it worth it if you're a fan - and I'm a fan.  Plus they're nice short workouts which leave you buggered.  ie. the other day I did a 10-1 workout (where you do 4 exercises, but in rounds of 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1).  I think it took about 13 minutes to complete but I was sore the next day and day after.  I find it odd then that his exercise dvd workouts are all like an hour long.

The not so good:
  • People joining may find it a bit of a mystery without clicking through the site what they're supposed to be doing.
  • The recipe guide only lets you view 4 recipes in a page, and the meal planner that you could add meals to and then print only lets you do it for a single day.  Hence why I haven't cooked many recipes, I get so frustrated with not being able to have see a long list of recipes so I can pick what I want without going through 4 at a time.  I've actually found it nicer referring to the recipes in his My Skinny Rules book.
  • The site development makes me angry.  Its not user friendly and has bugs.  I can't tell what browser it was written for - I think it works best on the ipad - but if you try doing the circuit in the gym, trying to switch between the outline and the how-tos are annoying
  • Currently the staff seem to be on holidays (January 2013) and so they're not answering anyone's enquiries or responding to posts on the message boards.  The videos are apparently being repeated but as I didn't use the site much for months last year I'm not noticing.

So currently I'm debating about continuing to be a member - as I've just started going to the gym, and a lot of the circuits don't let you use the gym equipment as an option (and I don't have room or inclination to be doing donkey kicks at the gym).  But if you're looking for circuits and short video workouts you can do at home its great.  Some of the recipes look good - although it's usually the ones that he presents as part of a video that look more appealing than just looking at the recipe guide.  The message boards are pretty quiet but there are some nice people there (a couple of Australians too!!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Popup Yoga Studio - West Melbourne

Inspired by this Broadsheet article and the desire to give "normal" yoga a go (as opposed to Bikram yoga which I was not used to at all). I signed myself up to the 5 week yoga course at the Pop up yoga studio currently in West Melbourne.

It's a small intimate space with room for 6 participants and the instructor Meredith.  We had 5 people last night. It's been awhile since I've done yoga - but the last yoga I did was Bikram, before that Bob Harper's sweaty yoga for the warrior and before that just typical classes at a gym.  So this slow moving class about breathing, noticing textures and how your body is feeling was a lot different. It didn't make my back any worse than what it was (I'd been to the Osteo earlier in the day with a headache) but I'm not sure I got full benefit from the class.  Will be keen to see how it feels next week. It's definitely different so will give it time.

This week's message was on the Infinite.  So at the start of a new year - trusting that you will be challenged but that your skills will get you through.  I'm sure she phrased it better.  But to accept the unknown, and be prepared to attempt things that take you out of your comfort zone.  There was a quote about to seek new shores you have to be willing to lose site of the old ones.  Again I might have gotten that wrong, but the basic message should be captured.

What did we do? (not listed in any particular order and I've probably forgotten stuff)
  • Lying, sitting, standing - focus on breathing.
  • Warrior 3
  • Eagle Pose & Tree - with the crazy arm crossing that I learnt in Bikram :)
  • Rotation of the neck and of the spine
  • Leaning forward with crossed legs (this was where I discovered my ankle bones were hurting)
  • Sun salutations
  • Kneeling with head on the ground (back stretching thing that we also did in Bikram)
  • Relaxation session at the end

Observations from the class:

  • I find it hard to slow down and just breathe
  • Mats should be staggered, as it's not a wide room, standing 3 people alongside one another meant raising your arms to the side. Not a big deal but a little distracting when you can't stand up from a sun salutation properly as you're too close to the person beside you.
  • The mats provided are thin - I think next time I'll try a second layer.  Keen not to bring my own as I'll hopefully be on the scooter rather than paying for car parking.  I did notice my ankle bones were sore sitting cross legged on the floor - which I hadn't noticed before so I think it was the hardness of the floor.
  • My balance is not very good at all.  And in such a small room when one person loses their balance almost everyone was following.  
  • I didn't sleep better because of it although I was bad and started food blogging whilst waiting for my Banana bread to cook.  I did feel more quietness in mind so that's something.
  • There was no correction to technique - although we didn't seem to be doing overly complex stuff, but it was well described as to where things should be placed.
  • There were no mirrors - so it was a little difficult to correct your own posture.
For anyone interested casual classes are $18, 5 weeks are $75 and each course runs for 5 weeks, with a week following for people to make up classes they might have missed on previous weeks. But you do have to contact the studio to check there is space available.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 goals.. And the plan to get there

Eat healthier and keep active.
I will limit my treats, avoid the snack vending machine at work, stop eating dodgy fast food pizzas, fish and chips and hamburgers. I will take in 3-4 lunches a week to work. I will work out 4 times a week. I will participate in at least 2 group workout sessions a month.  I will walk my dog more.

I will try something out of the ordinary every 6 months.
In both halves of the year I will try something out of the ordinary - be it arial yoga, a group fitness dance class, pole dancing, ice skating or rock climbing.

I will continue to run.
I was originally aiming to run half marathon towards the end of the year but I'll have to see how my back holds up. I will continue to sign up to fun runs and try at least 1 outdoor trail run. I will run at least once a week. I will do the summer series run at the zoo in February, and the grand prix run in March whenever it is.

I will fit into the new clothes I bought.
At the end of 2012, I bought a bunch of small pants, skirt and dress. When I put weight on it goes on my belly. I want to be able to fit into the clothes i just bought and continue looking good in them. I will do this through diet, exercise and by creating a motivation picture board.

I will enjoy the journey.
I'm often too focused on "destinations" to properly enjoy the journey. I will try to remember to live in the present. I will reflect each week on what good has happened or how can I learn from my experiences.

I will learn to let go.
I can remember in vivid detail people who have wronged me and how. I want to learn to let that go so that I can be free of past pain. I will do this through reading, application of theory and meditation. I will listen to at least 1 meditation session a week. I can get angry but must let it pass.

I will organize more catchups.
I will make more of an effort to organize catchups with my friends and see my family more. I will organize 1 dinner a month with friends (or drinks) and catchup with family members at least every 2 months. I will continue to accept social invites that previously I would have declined.

I will use the stuff I buy.
I'm such a classic buy and save for a special occasion be it candles, nice underwear, makeup, etc. So I end up with things not getting used. I will start making more of an effort doing this at least once a month.

I will use my recipe books.
Tied into the last item. I have so many recipe books. Some of which I have never cooked from. I will make sure once a month I use a recipe from either a magazine or book.

I will use my camera.
I will set myself an assignment every month to ensure I continue to use my camera. I will start printing out photos for an album. I will have this started by march.

I will learn a new skill.
I will set myself a goal to learn a new technical thing for work every six months. I will relearn how to play classical guitar, and will sew something before July.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 in review

I usually have trouble remembering what I did a week ago let alone what happened in the year. So here are some highlights.

We got puppies!! A puggle called yoshi (who was supposed to be a lapdog but grew really big), and a staffy called bear (who is miniature size and sounds like a shorty pig a lot of the time). Having always been a cat person it's nice to have animals that want cuddles (well bear does at least, yoshi occasionally). My cat is coping a lot better than expected given he's an old grumpy cat. I think I've blocked out how tough having a puppy was - with it's need or attention and crying during the night. Not to mention the initial taking them outside to wee during the night with their small bladders!! They grew up fast though and I'm glad we got two even sometimes it seems like it would be easer with one.

At work one of my good friends got made redundant. An awful day that has hopefully worked out well for her, and forced me to find more lunch buddies to hang with. I got a lot of support in the day which whilst embarrassing was nice. Have settled into work (after starting in November of the previous year) though would be nicer if I didn't keep getting bounced from team to team.

I went and did a street photography course, putting myself out of my comfort zone with a lovely guy Eric kim. Spent a weekend learning stuff then roaming the streets of Melbourne taking photos of people. Met a couple of really nice people who unfortunately live outside of Melbourne but will still catch up with them from time to time. I also learnt how to use more of my camera functionality, and got some nice fireworks shots. Hope to do more of that in 2013. Photography fell a bit by the wayside with bad weather and more time spent getting fit.

We bought a jeep!! A bargain as the person who owned it won it in a tab raffle and just wanted to get rid of it. Hopefully we can use it for many drives, picnics and perhaps a few camping trips.

I did Michelle bridges 12 week body transformation challenge. Although mentally tough I lost at least 5kg on it and made a bunch of new friends. I ran a couple of outdoor workouts and have a few people who are solid workout buddies (as in reliable :)). Am hoping to continue healthy eating habits into 2013 and increase my fitness/workouts. Having joined the local gym with jase (assuming they're not grumpy I still aren't been back to pay - long story). I gave up coke zero!! A big achievement for me as I probably used to drink a litre a day. I also completed the spring into shape series, running 8kms in 2 of the 3 races and completed a 10km run in a time I was doing years ago. So my fitness increased!! I also did a boxing class and cross fit at derrimuts with Alison which I hope to do more of.

Jason stayed in Melbourne on Christmas day despite not seeing his mum and did my family stuff which was nice. Usually we'd either spend it apart or he'd stay in Melbourne if his mum was coming down. Most of our ten years has been apart though for Christmas.

We started getting new furniture for the house and getting rid of old stuff. It's difficult and often includes arguments, but we can now make better use of a few more rooms.

I'm sure i did other stuff but they're the main things i remember. Here's to 2013!

Bikram yoga - session 6

Had a day off from yoga - spent the day going to ikea twice and my lower back was incredibly sore.

On my last trial day I was a little bit dreading going to yoga but then felt a bit sad when Simon said (hehe) it was my last session. Which I already knew but different when he said it to me. Realized I had made the faux pas of walking into the studio with shoes on. As I followed someone else in I noticed they took off the shoes at the top of the stairs before walking further in. Was probably also a faux pas about wearing thongs in the shower but oh well!

Walked into the yoga room after getting one of the last remaining lockers and it was packed!! As it was nye day there was only 1 class at 10am. Managed to find a spot though. Funny how some people are either oblivious or uncaring, the room allows for two rows of mats so this woman sets up in the middle so no one can easily fit in front or behind her, despite how full the class was.

Class was same routine. Struggled with the bending sideways and going from a back bend to a forward bend as my lower back was still sore. In camel pose he encouraged me to put my second hand down on my heel, I didn't think I was close but I was reaching for the wrong spot. So second set I did that. It's easy to go through the motions without pushing yourself how you're supposed to. Really reliant on the teacher giving the right cues. Probably if you were going to seriously focus on it you'd benefit from a 1 on 1 session. Did most of the moves except for the second set where you put your heel on the other thigh then sit down. First attempt was really uncomfortable so I just sat and drank for the remainder set.

So I found bikram yoga tough, you need to remember to focus on stilling the mind, listen to the cues,not raising your shoulders, bracing your abs, and breathing properly, but you do get a sense of accomplishment from doing a class. It always astounded me how sweaty you could get, but sweaty hot looking bodies was a bonus to the class (although you're usually too busy to be noticing anything but concentrating on what you're supposed to be doing). I did find I felt better having a coconut water afterwards and then a protein shake (otherwise I'd be starving and then feel ill by the time I got home and could eat). I'm not entirely sold on bikram yoga, I probably should try a more traditional class and see if I get the same benefit, I didn't feel super energetic or flexible after doing it but then again only did it 6 times. I either got more flexible or just pushed myself harder as I seemed to achieve more in the last few sessions. But was also really sore. Not sure if it was a good or bad sore. A lot of the time it was draining so I'd probably be better off with an evening class if I did more of it. Definitely worth trying though especially with the trial offers all the studios seem to run!