The Continuing Struggle

My fitness goals for the year are continuing to be an every day battle and struggle for me throughout this first part of 2017. For the first time in my life I honestly feel like I might have set the bar too high, just the consistency in energy for getting out of bed in the morning to exercise is just not there.

I started this term inspired by an article I read about people around my age who regardless of life circumstance always got out of bed and invested in themselves through regular exercise. This is what I always used to be able to do…but this year it just hasn’t happened frequently enough. I am hoping now that the College Production is all done I can try and get back into the routine come Monday of next week…hoping that in writing this it will prove as motivation for me to commit to the necessary fatigue I’ll feel as my body adjusts to less sleep and the being able to get out of bed when it is still dark (5:15am is my needed time).

My frustrations go beyond the exercise though. I had become quite disciplined at what I ate up until this last year. There’s currently a lot more snacking of unhealthy foods happening. I decided to use Lent as a time to reset my clock, this worked really well and I felt great. Unfortunately, already I find myself slipping back into those old habits of snacking on unhealthy foods, largely because they are there and I’m not making healthier options available.

Again, I am hoping that in writing this I’ll be able to turn things around. I need to for my own sake and also to ensure that my body is looked after for the long haul so that I can enjoy life for many years with my family and friends.

A Chance to STOP and breathe.

I have tried to get better at regularly doing a lot of reading across a broad range of subject areas. I really enjoy reading a good Science Fantasy novel (yes, I know it’s a bit geeky) but I also try to read a variety of non-fiction books, various biographies from inspiring people. One of the concepts and actions that a lot of these inspiring people have in common is the importance laced on being able to take the time to stop, breathe, enjoy the current moment and reflect on the journey that they are currently taking. This concept is not just a secular or modern view on life but rather can be traced back to most of the large religions and spiritual movements through either meditation, prayer, pilgrimage and retreating.

Unknown copyTo be honest, I really am not the greatest at this whole stopping, enjoying the moment and reflecting on how I’m going emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically, relationally or accomplishments. I don’t think that makes me unusual in this fast paced world that we live in, taking time to try stop and “unplug” from our society is increasingly challenging in the digital age, however, I am trying to correct this. After all, a life not reflected upon is life that has not truly been lived and I want to be able to look back in one, five, ten, twenty, fifty / sixty years time and be able to see growth due to taking time to reflect and breathe.

My desire of wanting to consciously take the time to stop and breathe, enjoying the moment and my current state of life might seem contradictory to reflecting on the journey so far and also where it is I want to end up…however, I don’t see that these three ideals are mutually exclusive, but rather all interconnected.

Firstly, I am a product of what I have done and experienced in the past. My thoughts, actions and interactions have helped shape who I am to this point in time…the stopping and reflecting on who I am and what has occurred allows me the opportunity to see who I am truly am and why I am experiencing what I currently am…this gives me the power to change those things that I am not content with, enabling me to align my thoughts, actions and behaviours to become and achieve the various goals I have for my life. If I don’t go through this process then nothing will change…if nothing in my behaviour, thoughts and actions changes then the end result won’t change either.

Unknown-2This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t also be able to enjoy where I currently am. The point is me trying to enjoy the journey as I continue to move through life. Stopping and taking the time to spend with those who are most important to me, being my wife and children, enjoying the everyday interactions and celebrating who I am and who we are together should always be at the forefront of my mind. Having a gratitude for what I already have and experience is a definite necessity in this time of stopping and reflecting, I live a very blessed life and I should be grateful for what I have whilst having a desire to continue to grow and become the man I was created to be.

I am fortunate enough to be able to take some time over this weekend to do exactly this, stop and breathe. The school that I currently work at is a boarding school, we have a lot of country boys. Once a term, in the middle of it, our boys have a four day weekend to allow our boarding community to return home to their families, to stop and breathe. This post is me trying to do the same…how am I going at this half way point in Term One? Do I have the right balance in all areas of my life? Am I happy with how my students are progressing, if not, what do I need to do to help them become all they were created to be? Am I being a good father and good husband? Am I hitting my health targets? Hopefully this taking time to breathe this weekend will help with this and recharge the batteries at the same time as I am feeling a little depleted at the moment.

This day has gone a long way to helping already. A morning with my wife and children out at a really fun place was definitely the right sort of medicine. I cherish the times we get to spend together.

One thought that I have been having recently is try to get back into the habit of writing more. Maybe not just on m fitness posts as before but more about other goals, successes and aspiration that I am trying to achieve. I have thought from an education point of view I’d like to use it as a way to reflect on some of the different approaches I have been using with my students to teach Music during this year. Maybe I could do the same for some of my other goals as well…it’d be a matter of trying to find that right balance…always the concept I struggle with the most…balance.

Let’s see how I go!

The Daily Challenge of Life at the Moment

I haven’t posted for a very long time on my website, it hasn’t been an intentional thing on my behalf just a fact that life feels like it has gotten away from me…

I have found it increasingly difficult over the past few years to just keep my head above water at times with the amount of “stuff” going on in my life and taking up time which is the most valuable resource a person has, after all, it is the only commodity one can’t make more of, only slowly lose it.

I love my life. I really do believe that I one of the most blessed men to ever walk this earth, I have so much going for me (and that is not me trying to boast).

My wife and children are my everything and why I try to do everything that that I am doing to hopefully become a better man, it doesn’t mean that at times I still feel that I fall short of being the husband and father that I want to be and that they need.

I have an amazing job, I am a musician. I get to go to work every day as a Music teacher at a beautiful school and get to share my  love and passion for Music and the Arts with so many young men, it really is a privilege. I am mindful though that with this privilege comes a lot of responsibility and my occupation isn’t without a cost to time away from those I love and hold dear.

Then there’s just the everyday run of life…that takes time as well.

So, why am I saying all of this? Is it to try and justify not posting for a very long time? Absolutely not, it is merely to try and give a broad picture on where I find myself at this moment in time, after all, a life not reflected on is a life not lived and I want to continue to make sure that my life has been one lived to its fullest potential…something that at times I probably don’t live up to as much as I’d want to.

Where am I at? What is it that I am striving for and am passionate about as 2017 continues to move along.

Putting it bluntly, I want to grow and be a better person. Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be able to look back at 2017 and have grown and developed in every area of my life. I don’t think that I will necessarily have “made it” in any of the challenges I am undertaking but hopefully I can be at least one step closer in each of these.

Being a better me…what does that mean exactly?

Well that I believe can be broken down into a number of smaller categories and sections, I have been doing this every year for the past 7 years and there have been some positive results out of it…some of my goals I am going to outline below.

Goal One – Family.

imagesWe are created to not live in isolation but to live in community and, primarily, as a part of a family unit. I love my family both my core family of wife and children and my extended family (both my wife’s and my biological family). I have always tried to keep family as the core that everything is built around, they are why I work as hard as I do, but don’t always get the right balance between work and time with them. I am really going to try this year to keep the right priority and focus, spending quality time with them regularly being totally present.

Goal Two – Friends.

UnknownI have some great close friends, they are keenly loyal to me and I know that I can trust and call on them at any time of the day. These relationships have been built over many years of time together, sharing joint experiences both happy and sad times. The past few years have been challenging to get quality time with them regularly due to the business nature of my work and wanting to spend every spare moment with my family. I am going to try and work on these friendships more, not taking them for granted, throughout 2017. It doesn’t mean necessarily spending less time with family but more trying to get the right balance between being at work and being away from work.

Goal Three – Fun.

I used to know how to have fun and have a laugh. Somewhere along the journey I’ve become a lot more serious about everything in life. That’s something that I need to change whether it’s through being spontaneous in doing something, making light of a difficult situation and just consciously trying to smile more…I think this one for me will be a big challenge but they say that laughter is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Let’s give it a crack.

Goal Four – Fitness.

UnknownThese post are usually all focused on my fitness goals and progress. I have been exercising, but no where near as frequently or at the intensity that I’d like. This has been a result of the stresses at work and need to get in at much earlier times, combined with late nights and then injuries on top of it. All excuses aside I need to start back into a good routine as I am carrying a lot more weight than I want to be at this moment and a I worry about what the long term health effects would be if I don’t change something. Similarly I need to work on my diet. The stresses have resulted in me eating a lot more unhealthy food, sugary and salty…another aspect that will need to change in 2017.

Goal Five – Furthering / Formation.

UnknownI’ve worked really hard on some of these goals over the past years and am happy with some progress. I have managed to maintain a healthy (and manageable) reading regime of a minimum of twelve books a year (one a month) for the past four years. I’d love to read more but know that with the speed I read that it is just not feasible without having a negative effect on other areas of life.

I made the decision this year to really try and further myself as an educator. I am currently working towards completing my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment so that a Vocational Education Training (VET) Course in Music Performance may be a possibility at school. I am also looking at completing some Kodaly courses / accreditation over the next couple of years.

Musically I have started learning the trumpet, I feel that this will help me become a better band director in school through being able to share experiences and  knowledge with students…let’s see how that goes. I have also been working towards my Fourth Grade AMEB Flute performance exam…hopefully that will be done by half way through the year!!!

Goal Six – Financial.

imagesI have set some very specific financial goals. A book that I am currently reading, “The Richest Man in Babylon”, has really confirmed a lot of my previous thoughts and beliefs about savings and planning for the future. There’s been a lot of savings measures I’ve started to bring into my everyday life, trying to try the fat, as well as more structured budgeting to where money is going for saving/preparation for various planned expenses. Hopefully by the end of the year we’ll really start to see some dividends in this area of life.

Goal Seven – Favourable

A wise man once told me the importance in looking upon others with a sense of “favour” or good grace. This is something I really struggle with, always jumping to the worst conclusion as if I have been wronged. I’m really going to try and make the effort to look on every situation with good grace, showing favour and forgiveness to people always…I know this will probably be the biggest struggle for me but if I can take it one day at a time I might be able to at least improve a little.

The Challenges of Daily Life

Well that’s what the year 2017 is going to look like. Will I achieve all my Fs? Probably not…can I give them a red hot crack and see how far I get? Absolutely.

One sure thing is that I know I will fail a number of times (look any that, another F). But it really isn’t a matter of whether or not I fail but rather what I learn from that experience and, as I said to one of my boys at school during the week, how I respond to the situation after failing / being let down. There’s a lot I can’t change in the world and the environment I live, but what I can always change and work on is who I am currently am in my thoughts, reactions, speech and relationships. If this remains my focus I know that come the end of the year I will have grown and transformed.

Will I post more often in 2017…I hope so, but hey…who knows what life is going to throw at me.

The challenges I face in life daily are really and some are big of me but through the grace of God there is nothing to big that it can’t be overcome.

 

 

 

A Long Time Between Fitness Posts

Thursday 5th March 2015.

Whilst it has been a long time since I have posted any fitness updates to my webpage I can honestly say that I have been pleasantly surprised with the level of consistency I have retained over a long period of time.

2014 ended up being my best year regarding regular exercise, I didn’t miss a weekday from half way through July through to mid-December when I was holidaying on Rottnest (and even on Rotto I managed to fit in three 15km runs).

I did have some down time after Rottnest, not a lot happened exercise wise from Rottnest through to my return to school at the end of January, however, I have managed to pickup the routine again already with me not missing a weekday since returning to school.

I am yet to decide what my goals are fitness wise for this year, I have tossed up with the idea of running a Half Marathon at the end of May (HBF Run for a Reason) and then maybe the Half Marathon City to Surf in August as well. My first challenge will be at the beginning of May at school, the Inter-House Cross Country. I have challenged the boys in my Tutor Group (the Pastoral Care Form Class I have every morning) that for every boy who beats me I will donate $10 to charity. I am confident that there’s probably only one boy who will beat me, the fastest in the Year 9 cohort, however I’d like to even give it a good crack to beat him.

My training is consisting currently of a 20 minute cycle, I consistently am riding 10km in this time, followed by a 10 minute run running 5 minute kms. Today I increased the time running to 15 minutes keeping the same pace with tomorrow the aim being for 20 minutes at this pace. I would like to be able to work towards keeping a sub-5 minute km pace over an extended distance, I know this will take a bit of work and more attention to my diet.

The biggest hurdle to my achieving my best results is probably going to be related to sleep, particularly getting enough of it. I am still getting up at 5:15am every morning to exercise before work, however I haven’t been too disciplined with going to bed so far this year. This is starting to now make me feel that little more tired first thing in the morning and it’s harder to motivate myself to really push to my fullest capacity when at the gym.

There’s no time like the present to really get cracking!!!

Consistency is the Key to Success in the Long Term

Day 275 – Tuesday 30th September 2014 – Cardiovascular Session.

It’s been a long time since I have sat down to write a fitness update on how I am going in reaching my 2014 goals that I set out in “New Beginnings”. The year has proved to be a busy one and finding the time to sit down regularly and write about my fitness journey has proved challenging if not impossible on a regular basis. Having said this though, it has been pleasing to see me get into a good routine over the past eleven weeks of the year in completing cardio sessions.

Day 193_1I did have a troubled part of the year from mid-February through until the end of May, usually this would write me off for the remainder of the year, it is so difficult to get back into habit once you have lost it. I have been pleased that this hasn’t been the case, since the middle of July I have completed five cardio sessions almost every week, I have been rising at 5:15am and getting done a combination of riding, running and rowing with some abdominal work thrown in there over the past few weeks.  Since this date I have only missed four training days, this has always occurred as a result of me sleeping through my alarm clock in the morning (usually due to it not going off because of a flat battery).

In this time I have increased my average cycle distance from 10km in 20 minutes to averaging over 11km in 20 minutes with a personal best up at 11.5km. I have increased the work load adding in a 5 minute row on the ergo and a 10 minute run, the run is now slowly increasing in its intensity as well and I hope to be able to increase the length of this run in the coming weeks.

I did find that yesterday’s session is the headrest one that I have completed for a very long time due to the nature of it. The gym was closed until 9:00am with it being a public holiday in Perth, I know my weaknesses and that I would not complete any exercise if it wasn’t done early so I decided to go for a run. This is the first outdoor run of any distance that I have completed for a long time, and I didn’t hold back as I completed 10km inside 50 minutes. My legs started to burn towards the end of it, and I knew that they’d be sore later but I didn’t mind as it was quite an achievement for myself.

Today has been difficult, my legs are so sore and the session this morning at the gym I had to take easy due to fatigue. I did manage to complete my 20 minutes on the bike, riding only 9.8km, a 5 minute ergo and 10 minute run before spending a decent amount of time stretching out some sore and tired muscles.

I really enjoyed my run, moving forward I think I will need to incorporate one longer run a week into my program. I don’t overly want to drop a gym session so it might mean moving to a six day a week program. My program will need to change in the next week as I try to restart my weights program, there’s been very little of this done so far this year…things are about to get a bit more painful.

Back into the Routine of Things

Day 13 – Monday 13th January 2014 – Cardiovascular Session.

Today saw me return to the gym and my regular routine for the first time since injuring my calf muscle. Today was a planned cardiovascular workout day and I was keen to complete a worthwhile session to make up for the missed sessions due to the calf strain.

Whilst I was keen to put in a good session I was also aware of not pushing things too hard as I would not want to cause further disruption to my routine and I have an indoor soccer game tonight that I want to be fighting fit for. To ensure that I would get through this session I decided to keep away from running on the treadmill instead opting for a long ride followed by a longer session on the rowing machine before finishing with an additional ride.

I arrived at the gym and headed for the cycles, my first ride was a 20 minute cycle with a medium resistance set. I managed to keep a relatively good speed up and had completed a distance of 10km inside the 20minutes. My upper legs, particularly glutes, were hurting towards the end of the ride but at this stage my calf was feeling quite good.

The row was next on the agenda today,  I was going to complete a 10 minute row instead of my usual 5 minutes. The row probably wasn’t the most intense one that I have ever done though I did manage to keep my stroke rate up at the 30 strokes per minute and my average 500m split around the 2 minute and 5 second mark.

I finished the cardio part of the session with another ten minute cycle. Managing to keep the intensity up I rode an additional 5km in this time.

I then headed to the stretching abs area and completed three sets of fifty sit ups before doing a comprehensive stretch.

Tomorrow is supposed to be my next weights day, I am looking forward to getting into completing another one. So far getting back into the routine of things is proving quite enjoyable.

A Change in Programs

Day 6 – Monday 6th January 2014 – Weights Session.

My training program has needed to take a necessary change of directions, the first of what I am sure will be many, due to the slight calf injury I sustained last Friday. I decided that it was important to me committing to completing a gym session rather than taking a day off but did not want to risk damaging my calf further by doing the scheduled cardiovascular workout. Instead I opted to do a weights session. Normally I would be cautious about a weights session on a Monday with an Indoor Soccer game on in the evening, however this was not an issue due to me not playing tonight’s game because of needing to look after my daughter.

New Beginnings Day 6My body still hadn’t fully recovered from my soreness from my session on Thursday last week, I was keen to give everything I could to the session. I arrived at the gym just after 7:00am and headed for the bench press. I completed 3 sets, the first 12 repetitions on 40kg as a warm up before a set 0f 8 and set of 6 on 60kg; my left pectoral muscle felt quite tight and sore, I will need to be aware of this going forward.

I moved onto the inclined press using 15kg dumb bells, I completed 3 sets of 12 repetitions. The next set of exercises I worked in rotation, each completing three sets between a Military Shoulder Press (15kg dumb bells) and biceps curls (10kg dumb bells); the last set of each of these I found painful, yet doable.

The session continued with a rotation of three sets of shoulder flys (10kg dumb bells), triceps extensions (7.5kg dumb bells), my body was starting to feel tired at this point but I managed to get out the three sets. To finish I completed a rotation of bicep curls (17.5kg bar bell) and triceps dips.

My body felt quite tired by the end of the session and it has taken me a considerable amount of time to recover today. Tomorrow I will do another session; I am not sure what it will be as of yet, perhaps a light cycle for 30 minutes. I am keen to keep up the routine throughout the month of January to set things up for a successful remainder of the year.

A Day of Mixed Results

Day 3 – Friday 3rd January 2014 – Cardiovascular Session.

Today marked the beginning of my scheduled cardiovascular workouts for the year. Although feeling quite sore from yesterday’s weights workout I was optimistic that today’s session would be a good one.

I arrived at the gym just before 7:00am, the plan of attack was to be a 20 minute run on the treadmill followed by a 5 minute ergo and a 10 minute ride to finish. I began my 20 minute run with 5 minutes on 8km/h and felt good so increased the speed to 10km/h. Unfortunately a setback occurred at the 19 minute mark with a twinge in my left calf, not wanting to risk further damage at this point of the year I stopped my run and moved onto the ergo.

I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to compete the session due to the calf injury so began slowly on both the ergo and cycle. Neither appeared to be pulling too much which meant I could complete the session.

I am not sure what condition my calf is going to be in when I wake up tomorrow, being on honest it has been quite tight all day. I have been wearing a pressure bandage on it to try and keep some pressure on it and have been trying to take it easy with limited movement. Hopefully come my next session on Monday I will be ready to go, if not then I will have to look at modifying my program until it is ready for me to run on again. I am not going to let this be a setback to me reaching the fitness goals I have set for myself for New Beginnings 2014.

It would be possible for me to feel a little dejected from this set back, the last 24 hours has seen me receive an amazing and very unexpected present. I received a tweet from HBF WA in response to my post yesterday into my fitness goals for 2014, they have given me a gift in the form of a gym pack to help me reach my goals.

New Beginnings 2014  Day 3

I returned home from my walk with my wife and daughter to find the present on our front door step; inside was a gym towel, set of fitted headphones and two pairs of gym socks. This unexpected gift is such an encouragement and I am looking forward to using these over the year ahead.New Beginnings 2014 Day 3

Tomorrow is an unscheduled exercise day, I know that as the year goes on I will start writing posts less frequently; I will do my best to write at least one a week. As New Beginnings is about more than just exercise, there are a series of goals across every area of my life,  may use Saturday and Sunday as an opportunity to do an overview of the entire week and how I think everything has gone (Saturday) and then use Sunday as an opportunity to outline the areas I am hoping to improve. I know that the goals I have set myself I will not achieve immediately, they really are about a lifestyle shift to not necessarily be busier but utilise time more effectively, continue to grow and develop into a better Husband, Father and Man in every area of my life.

New Beginnings 2014 Day_3

Bring on the challenges ahead!

One Day at a Time

Day 2 – Thursday 2nd January 2014 – Weights Session.

My training goals for 2014 commenced this morning with my first weights session for over 12 months (boy am I going to be sore tomorrow). I am hoping to complete five sessions a week throughout the entirety of 2014; 3 cardio sessions (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and 2 weight sessions (Tuesday and Thursday). My aim of doing these sessions is that I will be fitter and healthier at the end of the year, be able to fit back into size 32 pants (I will be honest in that I am carrying a bit of extra weight around the middle at the moment) and be at my optimal weight of between 76 and 78kg. To help keep me motivated I am planning to run the City to Surf in August, I haven’t decided as of yet as to whether it’ll be the 12km, half marathon or full marathon; the quality of the training and my progress will probably dictate this.

New Beginnings Day 2


I arrived at the gym at 6:45am, a much later time than I am used to due to being on school holidays and having made the decision to spoil myself with a little bit of a sleep in. Today would mark my first weights session for over 12 months, this has been due to many factors including a hand injury that I have been carrying since May, never good for a Saxophonist, and put simply a sheer lack of discipline but with a New Year comes New Beginnings and I am optimistic that this year will be a good one for my personal health and regular exercise. My session began with time on the bench; 3 sets of 12 repetitions the first with 40kg on the bar before 60kg for the last two. I followed this up with inclined shoulder press; 3 sets of 12 repetitions using 15 kg dumb bells. During the last set of these my arms were already feeling quite fatigued, I know that tomorrow and the next day I will be quite sore as I recover.

At the completion of these sets I continued with a combination approach to reduce the downtime in between exercises. I worked my shoulders with military presses whilst doing bicep curls using 15kg and 10kg dumb bells respectively and completing 3 sets although I did not manage to get a full 12 repetitions out for each set, this was combined with 3 sets of tricep curls using 7.5kg dumb bells. I then did a combination of shoulder flys using 10kg dumb bells, bicep curls using a 17.5kg bar and tricep dips again aiming for 3 sets of 12 repetitions although by the third set I could only manage 8 repetitions.

I am quite pleased with this for a first weights session, there is a lot of room for improvement to get back to where I was over a year ago. I know that for this year to be successful and get everything I want to achieve out of New Beginnings 2014 I will need to approach every moment as taking it One Day at a Time.

The Joys of Winter

Day 199 – Wednesday 17th July 2013.

I awoke this morning to the sound of wind and rain on the roof, the storm from yesterday still hadn’t passed the big question is will it be bad enough for me to decide not to run? I got out of bed a little later, 5:45am, and headed through the darkness to the back room to peer out into the early morning to get an idea of weather conditions. The sight I saw was heavy rain, and the trees being battered with high speed winds…not a hard decision to make at all, the run was not going to happen.

Rain

Probably at the point many people would tell me to just “harden up” and “get out there and do your run even in the Winter conditions”. If it was just raining lightly or looked like it would clear then I would have no problem with doing this, however, I do draw the line at running in the midst of a storm for a number of reasons including, the possibility of sickness which would have a greater effect on my training routine, the danger of falling branches from trees and the chance of slipping over and injuring myself.

I do I find it frustrating when these mornings occur that effect my training regime, it is probably the one thing about Winter that I really am not a fan of. I love the sound of the rain on a tin roof and even the powerful wind blowing through trees, the ability to get warm in winter clothes and the smell of an open log fire would be some of my favourites. It’s the only time that I really miss my gym membership, being able to complete a cross-training sessions inside. Possibly I could have completed some exercises using my body weight at home but I injured my right hand a few weeks ago and I know it won’t be able to take my weight at this point in time.

Day 199

One of my plans is to set up an area in my back shed with a bench so I can get back into doing some weights. My mate Mike Haydon gave me some free weights a few years ago but I just don’t have the area set up to use these at the moment and with the amount of work to get done around the back yard this probably won’t be a reality until early next year. I guess for now all I can hope is this storm has passed by tomorrow morning so I can get back into a run.

The one positive I can take out of all this is that I still have gotten up and can use this time productively to get some more work done.

Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2009-2017

';