Starting Again

Term Four Fitness Challenge Review – Week 1.

The blogging about my fitness regime for the past few years has been about as consistent as the actual sessions, not at all. I have however decided that it is time to start again, but this time try to do both a little smarter as time seems to becoming increasingly precious as a get older and my commitments / lifestyle has continued to change. It’s basically time to start fresh and try to set some new and more achievable goals.

One of the things that I have learnt over the years with goal setting is that they need to challenge you but also be achievable. You need to have a definitive start and end date for the goal and be able to break it down into manageable sized actions to ensure that you actually have the procedures in place to give you the best chance of success. This is what I have decided to do regarding fitness:

Over the length of Term 4 (8 weeks) I will endeavour to exercise five days a week, week days by getting up out of bed between 5:15 and 5:30 every morning. This will allow me to get to the gym no later than 5:50am where I can do an intense workout for 30 – 40 minutes before showering, dressing and heading into school. My sessions will vary between cardio (three times a week) and free weights (two times a week).

For me to be successful in this I know that there’s a few actions important for me to commit to, the first being getting to bed at a decent hour to get enough sleep. I am going to try to commit to getting to bed between 10:30 and 11:00 each night so that at a minimum I’ll be getting 6 hours sleep, I know I can function off this amount quite easily. I also know that I have to get out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off in the morning, any hesitation and I’ll miss my session.

Part of my challenge will also be trying to control what I eat, especially the junk food. I have weakness for chocolate and chips (crisps) that I know are not having a positive effect on my waistline currently.

Posting wise, I’ll try to do a single review post outlining “the week that has been” which would include challenges and successes I have experienced throughout the week.

Week 1: Monday 9th – Friday 13th of October.

I have managed to have a great start to the Term Four Challenge with me getting to the gym on all five days and doing decent workouts.

I have already encounter see problems that have meant changing my routine. The first hindrance occurred as a result of filling in for an indoor soccer team on Monday night, all I can say is that I am so unfit!!! I felt my hamstring go quite weak towards the end of the game, this feeling continued throughout Monday evening. I have experienced this feeling before, usually during rehab. after tearing the same muscle but never without having actually pulled the muscle prior.

Knowing that my leg was in trouble, I made the call to continue with the gym but to lay off the cardio for the remainder of the week – it will be four weights sessions in a row for me!

My next hinderance occurred on Wednesday morning. I made the silly decision to stay out late on Tuesday night by going to a late movie – this meant I didn’t get into bed until after midnight…BAD MOVE! I managed to push through and get out of bed and completed the session.

My Thursday an Friday sessions were completed with minimal problems or disruptions.

Overall, I am happy with the start I have made to the challenge. I am cautious however, it takes three weeks to form a habit and this week will be vitally important in seeing me push through and set up a good routine for the remainder of the challenge.

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A hopeful fresh start

Today’s post on how my current fitness and exercise regime is going is one that, hopefully, will be one of change and hope. To be honest, my fitness regime has been terrible over the past few weeks. There’s been many reasons behind that, not getting to bed at an adequate time, not getting enough sleep, work stresses all of a few that has really impacted my overall health and well being.  I am hoping that some of my most recent changes to lifestyle will assist in getting things back on track as I desperately need it!

This morning I manage to get up and get a reasonably decent cardio session in, at least from a time perspective. This happened as a result of the decision to get to bed at a reason

 

able time (10:30pm) as well as being able to sleep through until my alarm went off at 5:30am . I’ll be honest, it was difficult to get out of bed, extremely difficult, due to the cold and darkness but I managed to do this and get to the gym. At the gym I managed to get in a good 15 minute ride on the bike before finishing with a 10 minute run. I didn’t do ground breaking times, but I am hopeful that I can build on these efforts tomorrow morning.

My aim for this week is to get to the gym each morning (Tuesday – Friday) and complete four cardio sessions. If I am successful at this then I will look at changing things next week to have three cards (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) with two weights sessions (Tuesday and Thursday). I foresee the most difficult day will be Thursday as I have Catholic Schools Performing Arts Festival tomorrow night for the Concert Band session. This means I’l be having a late night and the early start the next day is always a challenge to navigate after this!

There’s a lot going on at the moment in life in general, a lot of change and decisions that I need to make moving forward in life. Some of these will be significant changes that will have big effect. I need to make sure that these are made in the right frame of mind, with a clear head and unburdened spirit. I find that a regular exercise routine, when combined with prayer are necessities to enable this.

I won’t be posting every day, however, I hope that in my next post I’ll be able to report that I have been successful in committing to a regular routine!

Bring on 5:30am tomorrow morning!

Steps in the Right Direction

For the first time in a long while it feels like I have taken some steps in the right direction regarding my fitness regime. I will be honest, there’s a lot of work still to do and I’m not there every morning, but I seem to be having more mornings at the gym than not…that’s got to be a good thing, right?

I have changed my routine slightly, hoping that it will keep a little more accountable due to there being more variety. I have started doing some resistance training again, especially using free weights. This is supposed to happen each Tuesday and Thursday with the Monday, Wednesday and Friday spots reserved for cardio focused work.

I want to get to the stage of doing abs work every day, for now it’s only with the cardio days. Let’s give me a little while to get back into it first!!!

I don’t have any misconceptions about some awesomeness on my behalf, I’ll aim for five days a week but if I fall short then it’s ok, I have to be realistic given the season of life. All I know is that I am going to be better off from giving it a shot and having a target to aim for then to just throw in the towel and give up all together.

Here’s to being up at 5:30am tomorrow in the freezing cold!!!

 

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.

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