Green smoothie

Check this out:


I can just about feel myself glowing with health while drinking this. I’m infusing my cells with fabulous mixed greens and banana (and some caramel toffee flavoured protein powder.. ). All those nutrients! Phoarrr.

A wee update on my progress with the plank challenge – it was going great guns for a few days there, I got up to 1:40. I know some people can do 3 minutes or even more than that (crazy people), but for me 20 seconds more is a nice little achievement for a few days’ effort. But as time passes and experiences happen (or don’t happen), I find myself realising that I’m a very extrinsically motivated person. So me setting myself a goal to do a plank for a long time falls by the way side pretty quickly. Me signing up to a big event, on the other hand, becomes an external force strongly motivating me to train (or scaring me that if I don’t train it could be quite embarrassing). So perhaps that’s what I should do.. just got to peel myself off this comfy couch first. After I’ve caught up with a few blogs, naturally. Can’t rush these things.

Plank challenge – strengthen those abs!

Let’s just pretend I didn’t have almost a year between blog posts…

I was reading one of my current favourite blogs earlier and happened to click on an old post about a plank challenge. What a good idea! For karate we often have to hold pushup position (so a plank but on your hands or knuckles) for long periods of time and I find it really hard, I think my abs are pretty weak. So I’m definitely signing myself up for a personal plank challenge.


That there is a plank with lovely form. I tried taking a photo of myself doing a plank but that wasn’t working out at all, so this lady will do fine (photo source

The time I got for my plank first off was 1:20. Pretty poor really, I think, so I shall strive to get up to 3 minutes in four weeks. Doable? I don’t know!

Fancy trying this challenge with me? If you do, be sure to engage your abs, keep your bum down and do not let your lower back sag, as that puts a lot of pressure on it. Feel free to put your initial time in the comments, then in four weeks we try and double our time, or more!

I went to the dentist this morning and now my gums hurt! Nothing like having everything scraped and prodded. Turns out I don’t floss well enough or often enough, I grind my teeth too much and I need to drink less coffee and eat less sugar. So many ‘shoulds’ to get better at! Makes me want to blob on the couch in front of a movie with coffee and chocolate, but I suppose that’s a bit perverse.

Busted fingers and whole 30

I’ve been trying to think of quality things to write on this blog to uphold what I said about posting quality information on interesting, health-related topics. It seems I set the bar so high in my head I got stuck and nothing seemed good enough to post about! Best to write something, I think, rather than self-censoring before a word has been typed. I seem to have no trouble writing emails that are ridiculously long to people I haven’t seen for a while, so I’ll just try and write a long email here, and perhaps the words will flow more naturally.

It’s actually a wee bit tricky to have any words flow naturally at the moment because I busted a couple of fingers in netball yesterday.


It’s just a sprain from the ball hitting them on a funny angle, but it means I’m mainly picking at the keyboard with my index finger on that hand, which is slow. Also not sure how I can weight train when I can’t pick up dumbbells or barbells. Lots of pushups on lots of different angles until I can pick stuff up again!

Anyway, one thing I’ve been wanting to cover is paleo eating and my experience with it. I tried Whole 30 for the month of April. Whole 30 is basically a subset of paleo, or the cave man diet. I first heard about whole 30 through this post from the blog What I Wore. It’s actually a fashion/style blog, but here she covered what she gained out of eating only whole, unprocessed foods for 30 days. The whole 30 concept is outlined here, but basically you cut out everything processed. It’s pretty much just meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and fruit. No sugar, grains, legumes, dairy or alcohol.

That’s not pasta under that salmon – it’s zucchini

From what I gather, the difference between whole 30 and paleo is that whole 30 tries to rule out “paleo” treats, like pumpkin caramel bars.

I didn’t take any before and after photos, but by the end of the month my jeans were a bit more comfortable and I’d lost about 2cm from my waist. That’s despite the fact that I didn’t  fully cut out dairy and I had the odd meal that wasn’t 100% by the rules. I think the main things I cut out that had the impact were bread, sugar and alcohol. I do enjoy the odd treat and I can eat a lot of bread at times, which I don’t think really does me a lot of favours. I think eating higher quality food helped me recover from workouts faster and definitely kept my energy levels stable for the whole day. I also generally felt good – it would be nice if ‘level of feeling good’ was measurable so I could mention the amount of improvement, and also be able to look back on that improvement when I’m staring at a slice of cake.

I’d love to keep eating paleo/whole 30 going forward, I think my body thanked me for it. But I do find it challenging to eat well when treats are right there in front of me and it’s some sort of social occasion. Perhaps most-of-the-time paleo eating habits will do. 😉

What is fitness?

There are so many aspects to fitness, and to me it’s easy to say someone’s really fit, but it’s almost impossible to say whether one person who plays a lot of sport is fitter than another person who does a lot of weight training.

So of the following three people, who do you think is the fittest?


From left: Tiger Woods, Cameron Brown, Angela Medina

On the left, we have Tiger Woods, one of the top ranked golf players in the world. In the middle is Cameron Brown, 10 time winner of the Ironman New Zealand. On the right is Angela Medina, a Columbian powerlifter (source, source, source).

To help decide who the fittest person is, I looked up a few definitions of fitness. CrossFit and the USA President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports both have a definition of fitness. They differ slightly, but only a little (where they differ I’ll put both). They say fitness is comprised of the following physical skills:

  1. Cardiovascular fitness – the ability of your system to supply oxygen
  2. Stamina/Endurance – the ability of a muscle to continue to perform
  3. Strength – the ability of a muscle/muscles to apply force
  4. Flexibility – the range of motion available at a joint
  5. Power – the ability of a muscle/muscles to apply maximum force in minimum time
  6. Speed – the ability to perform a movement/movements in a short time
  7. Coordination and Accuracy – the ability to perform motor tasks smoothly and accurately
  8. Agility – the ability to rapidly change from one movement pattern to another
  9. Balance – the ability to control the body’s centre of gravity in relation to its support base

CrossFit keeps coordination and accuracy separate, while the USA council adds a couple of others, namely body composition and reaction time. On a side note, the USA council also has a physiological aspect of fitness known as morphology, which is the internal and external features of an organism. A general term for the form and structure of an organism is ‘gross morphology’. So next time you see someone good looking who has great skin (a sign of sparkly clean innards), you can tell them they look like they have really amazing gross morphology.

Probably best to tell them what it means quickly before they feel insulted though. Then they can share in the joke and feel complimented!

Anyway, back to the athletes, who’s fitter? In order, their specialties are coordination/accuracy, stamina/endurance and strength/power. Who’s the best? Is it even possible, or fair, to compare them?

A hypothetical question to finish with – would you rather be the best in the world at one of those aspects of fitness, or pretty good at all of them?

Return to the blogosphere

Hi all,

After a long, unannounced break from blogging I’m returning, but this time with the goal of blogging more quality content and less of what I’ve done that day (though there’ll still be plenty of that I’m sure). I aim to post once a week, because my weekdays are pretty jam-packed at the moment. Kudos to all those bloggers who make time every day or two to post! I really don’t know how they do it.

I also want to use this blog as a way to share fantastic nuggets of information that I find on the web or in books that I really want to talk about with everyone. I already have so much I want to talk about! I do enjoy blogging, I guess the only thing I don’t enjoy is when it seems like I’ve waffled on about my day the same way too many times and it gets to feel like I’m repeating myself. There are only so many times I can talk about netball practice as if it’s a new and interesting thing (even if it is fun and interesting for me)!

However, before I start posting these wonderful bits of information that I’m learning about, I thought I’d recap my 2013 to date.

So far in 2013 I’ve…

Started Seido Karate

Kyoshi Tony (click image for source)

Pictured is my teacher, Kyoshi Tony, and behind him is the dojo where I learn Seido Karate. ‘Kyoshi’ means ‘Senior Teacher’ and is the title given to those who have achieved 5th dan black belt (so they’ve graded in their black belt up to the fifth level). I’ll go in to more detail about karate another time, but basically, it’s awesome.

Continued to play netball


I used to be in the senior 2B grade (the lowest grade), now I’m in the senior 1C grade! Moving up in the world, woop woop!

Tried CrossFit

This is not me. I can't do that. Pretty cool though. Click image to go to the youtube clip I cut it from.

This is not me. I can’t do that. Pretty cool though. Click image to go to the youtube clip I cut it from.

The picture is actually of a woman from the CrossFit Dynamix gym in New York. The youtube clip is a promo for crossfit. The exercise she’s doing is toes-to-bar, which I’ve never even tried, but it’s a pretty typical crossfit move. I’ve done three crossfit foundation classes – once the three foundation classes are completed, a person can move on to the normal, or ‘open’, classes. So my next step is going to lots of open classes. More on that later!

Changed trainers at the gym

Sadly Ally left for sunny California, so now I’m training with a guy called Jordan. Essentially the plan is that I’m going to get strong and super fit! Booyah!

Started eating paleo

The paleo diet is pretty much removing anything processed and eating only whole foods, with the emphasis on vegetables and meat. I found with the competition diet last year, I felt a lot better for eating a lot of fish/chicken and vegetables, but the diet wasn’t sustainable. Thanks to websites like, I’m making different paleo recipes all the time, so I don’t get bored. Also, because there’s no restriction on amount and there’s good fats in all the meals, I don’t get crazy hungry or end up craving anything. I started on the 1st of April, and so far I’m feeling good. I want to write a post about the paleo way of eating once I’ve been doing it a bit longer.

That’s about it so far in 2013 for my fun times outside of work. I hope to settle more in to these activities and get better at all of them, so hopefully I won’t introduce another tangent any time soon. Hope you all have a good week and see you here next week for some quality info on fun stuff!

Getting back in to it

Unfortunately my initial stint at using MyNetDiary was unsuccessful. Well, sort of. It successfully informed me that I was eating a bit much some days, and not doing much exercise. I gave up using it for a while, because I knew that I needed to address why I was eating a bit much before I bothered counting just how much it was.

I think spending more time with this lovely cat would be a good start to addressing any issue. She’s actually the neighbour’s cat, but she comes to visit often and I would so love it if she were ours!

I stared at my navel for a bit to think about why I was overeating. I also had a fabulous weekend in Auckland visiting family which was SO lovely and made me notice the stark contrast to how I was feeling during the work days the previous week. I had a chat to my partner Steve and realised I was not so happy about work because I’d spent the last two weeks working longer hours than I should, and I needed to take it down a notch and look after myself a bit more. It was only a few extra hours, but it makes a difference.

Finally, I also realised I need to make time for at least a little bit of exercise, because it makes me feel good.

So today I’ve been right back on track, feeling much more in control of things. A packed lunch full of healthy things, plenty of water, a normal length work day and a netball game after work. Sweet.


Look at this! Blue sky!

Fabulous! Both days this weekend have been stunners, hardly a cloud in the sky. Spring is in the air!

Yesterday I went for a lovely 1 1/2 hour run and part way through even took my thermal off and ran in a t-shirt! Wow! Definitely getting warmer. Forgot to take a photo though.

Anyway, on a more serious note, it’s easy to eat in a way that maintains my weight when I’ve been for a 1.5 hour run that day. No worries! But day-to-day, when I’m not exercising that much, it’s more challenging. I’ve really been embracing delicious foods over the last fortnight, and now I need to shift my focus to being healthy and maintaining weight. I don’t want all my hard work to disappear! After all, I’m keen to do figure next year.

I find it especially hard when I’m working long hours without proper breaks to eat healthy. The temptation to grab a long black and something sweet is huge, especially when the pressure’s on to finish some work and my energy and focus is drooping. I really need to find a way to get around that temptation long term, and not need a reason like “I’m getting on stage in a bikini in 2 weeks – that piece of cake’s going to show!”

I’ve started using My Net Diary to keep track of calories eaten and burned through exercise. It wasn’t free, I spent all of $4 to get the app on my phone, but it was recommended by a guy at work so it seemed like a better idea than some of the free but clunky, time consuming apps.

I’m not entirely sure about continuing to count calories. Some people (Jillian Michaels, trainer from The Biggest Loser, and Timothy Caulfield, author of ‘The Cure for Everything’) recommend calorie counting, or at the very least having an accurate idea of the calorie content of foods. Personally, I’m counting so I get a better idea of what weight maintenance is supposed to feel like, after a few months of dieting, and a few months of gradually putting on a little bit of weight before that. I also don’t want to make the mistake of believing something is low calorie when it’s actually not at all.

Sometimes, though, it’s not about the facts, it’s about not feeling particularly inspired to eat well, like the last week for me at work. I’m feeling good now though, so hopefully this week works out better for me! I think preparing food in advance and exercising before work will be key.

Hope you all are having a good weekend and getting some time to enjoy the sun. Also I hope my parents’ weekend gets better. One of their dogs has gone missing! Very sad! I hope she’s alright and comes home today.