Get in Shape Challenge Day 4 – Friday 19th August

Day Four and I seem to be faced with another challenge, or actually the same one from Day 2, sleeping through the alarm. I again found myself sleeping through my alarm(s) set for 5:00 and 5:10am to wake up at 6:05am. Unfortunately this is too late for me to get a session done before being due up at Mater Dei in College in Joondalup to start my teaching day at 7:50am. This aberration on a Friday would normally not stop me from getting a session in with me having time in the afternoon usually to get a cardio session done, however for this fortnight due to various work and personal commitments which are of a great importance to me this time has not been available to me.

To ensure that I got something of a fitness value out of today I got up and did my morning routine including my abdominal exercises and prayer before getting ready for work.

It seems that a pattern is starting to emerge already, make the gym one day and then sleep through the alarm the next day. This is something that I will have to try and address in the coming week as I haven’t gotten a cardio session in since starting the challenge.

Another frustrating occurrence happened tonight, one that I am going to have to be very mindful of – the power of words and allowing other people to speak into my life as to what is possible and what isn’t. Tonight I have been told by some people that my goals aren’t possible, that coming up to the age of 30 with my body changing that things like a bit of weight around the middle is normal and that I’d better just get used to it. Well guess what? I am not going to just accept that and get used to it, my aim is to lose that bit of excess weight and I plan be successful with that. There are many people I know who are around my age (and older) who are in better shape, if they can do it then so can I. I am not a believer in this whole concept of “because you are getting older you can’t keep in as a good a shape” I feel that is just people making excuses. If anyone else wants to make those excuses for themselves fine, but don’t go sharing that ideal with me and try to pollute my mindset and desired goals. Their stinking thinking and negative opinions are not welcome in my world. I understand that they feel they are doing it show concern for me and “have my best interest at heart” but I have a much better grasp of what is my best interest and what is possible for me than any other person.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 3 – Thursday 18th August

Today was a difficult day to commit to  getting up and getting to the gym. My alarm went off at 5:00am and I wanted to just role over and go back to sleep. My lack of enthusiasm this morning was due to a number of reasons, firstly I got to bed later last night than I have the previous two nights meaning I had less sleep, my body still felt quite sore from the weights session two days earlier and with it being both dark and cold staying beneath the covers just seemed so much more appealing. I know these early stages of setting a routine and getting the body back into some sort of routine is always going to be the hardest stage of the challenge… all I am going to have to do is push through the pain and discomfort so that I achieve the result by the end of the 13 weeks. I must it is much easier to say it though than to go through it!!!

After toying with the concept of staying in bed I rose and did my abdominal routine, prepared my clothing for teaching later in the day and headed off to the gym. As happened on Tuesday morning, I arrived at Fitness First in Subiaco by 5:50am and waited for the gym to open at 6:00am (please Fitness First look at your opening times and even just half and hour earlier at 5:30am would be a better opening time for me). After dropping my things off in a locker I commenced my routine.

The routine I followed was the same as the one from Monday (this will be my routine for the next 12 weeks and slowly I will look to increase both the intensity and the load I carry for each exercise). I started on the bench press and put my warmup weight of 60kg on the bar and began to start the first set – PAIN! I was immediately met by an incredible tightness and soreness across the chest from the session two days earlier, the tightness was incredible! I got out six repetitions on 60 kgs and stopped to stretch, I knew from this that today’s session was going to be one of those ones where you are continuously having to push through the pain and fatigue to get the results desired. I find these sessions the most difficult but also in the long term the most rewarding as well. After stretching I continued with the weight on 60 kg and managed to get out another two sets of 6 reps with a short break to stretch in between.

The remainder of the session followed a similar line to the bench press with regards to soreness and tightness, although to a lesser extent. I did manage to complete all the exercises on the same weights as Tuesday’s session with the same reps (3 sets of 12). This really hurt, but it was in my capacity. I think I will see how I am feeling on Saturday morning to gauge what (if anything) I should increase weight bearing wise, these first two weeks are designed to get me back into the routine and not kill me. My triceps were the other muscle group incredibly tight, using the 10 kg  dumb bell I got out sets of 12, 10 and then 9 with each arm before failing, I could feel the tightness slowly pulling out of each muscle as I continued with the repetitions.

Overall I am happy with how the session went. I was very tight and it really hurt, however, going on past experience there should only be one or maybe two more sessions that will hirt like this one in tightness before the body adjusts. This afternoon I am going to head off to get some more protein supplements to help in both my muscle building and also recovery.

Fingers crossed tomorrow goes better than Wednesday and I manage to get up for a gym based cardio session.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 2 – Wednesday 17th August

My second day of the challenge and already a massive hiccup… Slept through my alarm!!!

By the time I woke up I had missed the window of opportunity to get the gym before work which I am so disappointed about. I am glad that at least tonight I do have my indoor soccer game with BXVI so I will get at least a little bit of cardio fitness work.

My body today feels pretty dodgy, the tightness and soreness from doing the first weight session of the new schedule is definitely setting in. Tomorrow is a weights session (if I manage to get out of bed that is). I am hoping that my body has recovered a little better than how it is currently feeling.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 1 – Tuesday 16th August

Tuesday 16th of August 2011

Today is the first real day of the physical side of my get into shape challenge and what a way to start – 5:00am wake up!

My alarm went off at 5:00am and unlike i have done on so many other mornings when I have turned it off, rolled over and gone back to sleep I actually got up and started to get ready for my gym sessions – today was going to be a weights session, my first in about two months (always painful in the coming days). Before I could get going to the gym I had to go through my new morning routine I that I want to try and do every morning without fail. I started with my abs exercises including set ups, bridging (both forward and then on either side) and some light dumbbell work. After this was completed I said my morning prayers before getting in the car and heading off to Fitness First Platinum in Subiaco.

I arrived at the gym at 5:50am ready to get in there and start as soon as it opens at 6:00am. I find it quite frustrating that the gym doesn’t open until 6:00am as it is always a stretch for me to get everything done I need to, washed and changed and out to which ever school I am teaching at by the time I start teaching (a hint Fitness First…open at 5:30am please!!!). Today’s session was going to be aimed at not going too hard with the weights being used but rather slowly building back into routine over the first few weeks of training. The last thing I wanted to do was go too hard and then be so sore that I have to take time off before being able to train again, that would be an epic fail on my behalf.

I started with my bench press and loaded the bar up to 60 kg. The first set of 12 I managed to smash out fairly easy (the last couple were a bit of a strain) this weight normally is simple for me to do but because of the time off I thought it would be wise to not go much above this to make it a worthwhile session. I completed the second set of twelve with a bit more difficulty, the last set was no good  what soever with me only managing to get out 4 reps…looks like there’s a bit of ground to recover.

Next I moved onto the dumbbells to start focusing on my upper pecs and shoulder muscles. I like to work at a high intensity with lower weights for the first few weeks of a training regime to make sure I am keeping the heart rate up throughout my workout. I alternated between an inclined press with 15 kg dumbbells and vertical lifts with 10 kg dumbbells with a 30 second rest in between each set of 12 repetitions (one set was equal to both exercises being done). I did manage to get through and complete all three sets of these, but as with the bench press did find it quite difficult towards the end (it’s amazing how much strength can be lost in such a short period of time).

On completion of this I moved onto combining a set of Shoulder presses (no incline with 15 kg weights) with a set of bicep curls ( seated with 10 kg weights). I completed these exercises in a similar fashion to the two exercises previously done in combination as sets of 12 repetitions. The bicep curls I was doing seated with locking my elbows into my body to isolate the muscle to be doing the lifting, to many times at the gyms you see people doing bicep curls and getting there entire body involved in the lift – I would rather do a smaller weight and really work the specific muscle group.

Next I moved onto completing three sets of shoulder flys using the 10 kg wieghts, inbetween each set I worked my triceps with single armed triceps curls also using the 10 kg weights (12 on the rights arm and then 12 on the left arm). The flies I did manage to do quite easily and i think I will use the 12.5 kg weights on Thursday, the triceps curls I didn’t manage to complete even two full sets on either arm (the first set I did twelve, then struggled with 9 on each arm for 2nd set and the third set saw me fail at 7). Upon completing this I worked my deltoid muscle group using a 20 kg dumbbell.

Usually I would move on to my lats and spend some time working this group, however all the exercises I usually do I couldn’t this morning due to the equipment being used and me starting to run short on time! I moved onto my final muscle exercises – bicep curls with a barbell and triceps squats using my own body weight (one set being 12 repetitions of each of being completed before rest). Today I used only the 20 kg barbell (I was up to using the 30 kg one 2 months ago), I wanted to ensure I would get through the exercise and not blow up. Both sets of exercises I managed to complete so I think on Thursday I shall have to increase the weight and resistance to get  that little more strain out of it all.

All up I am really happy with the first morning of training, it is only early days though! Tomorrow is a cardio session at the gym – another 5:00am start will be needed. Fingers crossed I can make it two in a row!

Get In Shape Challenge Day Zero – Monday 15th August 2011

Day : Zero

Date : Monday 15th August 2011

Weight : 81.4 kg

At the beginning of this year I sat down and wrote a number of goals that I shared with some of my closest and most trusted friends. I stopped and assessed my life over a number of weeks to really assess the overall health of my life, which areas I thought I was doing well and those which needed some more attention and from these prioritise what I wanted to have achieved by the end of 2011. Basically I stopped and assessed my life and then cast vision as to who I wanted to have become by the end of 2011. I am a firm believer in the leadership principle of casting vision, without it as the bible says in Proverbs “the people perish”. As I am the one solely responsible for my life and who I develop into I believe it is vitally important to firstly cast vision (and write it down) to myself so that I can see and be reminded regularly who it is I am trying to become (the goals for 2011 are framed and sitting on my desk at home).

One of my goals for this year has been to be really diligent with my weight and get into the shape that I desire. My goal has been by the end of the year to work to a point of starting to get muscle definition showing through clearly on my chest and abdominal area. This has been a dream of mine for many years, but I have never been able to achieve it largely due to poor discipline over a long period of time. I do need to be clear, I have never been obesely overweight, as can be seen by my current weight I am sitting at 81.4kg and I am a height of 176cm, I have and continue to play sport and am active regularly every week – this goal is really just going for that extra little but to prove that I can do it.

To achieve this goal I felt I needed to break down the task into two different categories firstly “What I Eat” and secondly “How I Exercise”. The first category of what I eat I have been very disciplined with. I decided at the start of the year to not eat any Fast Food or drink any Soft Drink. Since the year began I have not drunk any soft drink at all and as for Fast Food, well I have only indulged in Fish and Chips once and Pizza two times and that’s it. My diet very much at the moment is consisting of regular healthy meals.

The next stage of the challenge is now about to begin and run for the next 13 weeks – the physical exercise routine (Part Two).

This part of my routine has been very disrupted throughout the year, some of it has been due to a lack of discipline on my behalf (especially with bed times and getting up in Winter) but also largely due to a continual run of injuries in the form of muscle tears and strains (a 29 year old body doesn’t seem to be as nimble as an 18 year olds). Starting from to tomorrow this is going to change and all my progress will regularly be updated for all to see largely to keep me accountable to the routine. With there now not being many weeks left in the year it is important that I start this next phase to ensure I get to the body shape I want for the “beach look” this Summer. I have set myself the goal of the next 13 weeks also as I get married in 13 weeks and I am really keen to get in shape and a good routine exercise wise prior to getting married.

I will be rising early tomorrow morning (Tuesday) for Day One – this will comprise of a weights session at Fitness First Platinum in Subiaco, Western Australia. My mornings before work (I start teaching at 7:30pm most days) will either have an intensive weight session (3 times a week) or intensive cross training cardio session. It is going to be a tough task and big ask, however I do feel that this is possible. The hardest part is always getting started!

North West Trip Day One – Perth to Port Headland

Day One – Thursday 4th August 2011.

Perth – Port Headland

On Thursday the 4th of August 2011 my fiance, Melissa Haydon, and I left Perth for a four day holiday in the North West of WA. The reason we were traveling north was to get a taste for Karijini National Park, a beautiful location in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, it had been one of Melissa’s dreams for many years to go there to walk and climb through the many gorges which exist there.

My Dad has been working as a contractor to the state government in the medical field for the past eight months. The nature of his job means that he is based up in Port Headland throughout the weeks. My mum flies back and forward regularly between Perth and Port Headland to both spend time with my Dad and also look after my nephew in Perth two days a week. Our trip came into fruition after a conversation I had with my mum where she said that she wanted to go and visit Karijini whilst they were based up in the Pilbara region, I mentioned that Melissa also really wanted to visit the National Park and the rest was all a matter of working out available times for the four of us to embark on our journey. After sifting through many dates we managed to find time we were all free from the 4th of August to the 98th of August, it would mean I wold have to renegotiate my teaching loads for the Friday and Monday either side of the weekend but I figured it was worth it to have this experience and share it with my fiance and also my parents.

After teaching in the morning of the 4th of August out at Aquinas College my mum and I were picked up by Melissa’s family and taken to the domestic airport to catch our 2:10 flight on QF1114 to Port Headland. Melissa and I were sitting separate from my mum, this worked really well as it gave us the two hour flight duration to talk about various details for our upcoming wedding (the trip was made pretty comfortable thanks to being given an exit row aisle).

On our descent into Port Headland I was blown away to see the size of all of the mining operations happening up here. Out in gauge roads of the harbour were 29 iron ore carriers waiting to gain access to the port to be loaded with iron ore for export to China, India and various other places around the world. It is said that the mining in Western Australia and Queensland is what is providing the Australian economy with a sense of stability throughout this global economic unstable time, however, words cannot describe the extent and size of the operations (which port wise is still being expanded further top maximise export potential).

Upon landing at Port Headland airport we were greeted by my dad and a nice warm 28 degree day (a pleasant change from the cold winter days in Perth). It was an interesting experience being in Port Headland with virtually every person you see wearing a work reflective shirt for mine site safety (it really was a sea of orange and yellow). Another interesting site were all the mine site safety fitted 4-wheel drives (all with only one person in it).

Dad wanted to give us the grand tour of the area so we left the airport and headed for the town of South Headland, the main living area of the town. I was not aware that Headland is divided into two distinct parts being Port Headland and South Headland. The reaosn this came about was due to a need for more land. Port Headland naturally is an island which has very limited land available for development, and most of it is owned by BHP. The site of South Headland was formed from the need for more land for residential living and commercial uses. There is a distance of between 20 – 25km between Port and South Headlands, this distance was worked out based on the location of South being the first strip of land that doesn’t flood during the wet season.

We went into South Headland and were shown the various landmarks (it really was very minimal). He really wanted to show us the brand new hospital which was just opened earlier in the year up here – it is currently the newest hospital in the state of Western Australia. After having viewed South Headland we proceeded back onto the main road to head for Port Headland.

As we approached Port Headland we started to see the extent of the mining operations in the region. Port Headland is one of the two major ports used to export the mineral resources of the North West (the other being Karatha). Before we got into the town of Port Headland we were confronted with the Dampier Salt Company’s Port Headland operations. Dampier Salt is largest exporter of salt in world with the majority of it heading over seas for industrial uses including use on roads in Europe during the winter. 24 hours a day the salt pile is continually added to from the thousands of hectares of salt pans which is refined from pumping seas water into massive pens to be dried over a period of three years.

The BHP port site is an incredible thing to behold, it dominates the entire Port Headland landscape. As we approached the town we saw the size of the machinery, iron ore storage piles and the out of commissioned crushers (all crushing now takes place on the mine sites rather than in the Port area). Mum and Dad have booked us into a mine tour of the BHP site tomorrow so we will look forward to learning more about all the operations of BHP in the Pilbara tomorrow.

After an extensive tour of the town (took all of 10 minutes really) we went back to Dad’s place he is staying in up here, a nice 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house. After having refreshed we went to the Port Headland Yacht Club for dinner.

The Yacht Club building is a rather new structure which replaced the older one earlier this year. A lot of the funds to construct this were a joint venture between BHP and FMG, the two big mining companies invested into the town. Aparently there was a short fall in the money and Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest donated a million dollars of his own money to have the yacht club completed. Dinner was really nice, the menu wasn’t extensive but it was all reasonably priced (as were the bar drinks). The view from the yacht club is very pleasant, the majority of the seating is actually outside and overlooks the mouth of the port harbour.

At the conclusion of dinner we headed back to the house and prepared for the next days activities including the mine tour and leaving for Karijini.

The Pimps of Sound Wednesday 13th July 2011

Gig Details:

Band : The Pimps of Sound

Date : Wednesday 13th July 2011

Time : 8:30pm

Venue : The Ellington Jazz Club

On Wednesday the 13th of July the Pimps of Sound performed their debut live performance at the Ellington Jazz Club, Perth Western Australia, to support the EP launch of Nicole Reid.

The Pimps of Sound, a live drum and bass band, has been the combined project and passion of Zen Fusion (drums) and Rob Ferrari (bass) for many years although it had taken until this opportunity to really start to give this project some substance. The concept has been for a band consisting of electronic drums (and samples triggered from the kit) to combined with a live bass player, using effects, and also a live vocalist / mc and solo instrument.

For the debut performance Zen and Rob approached me, Simon Montgomery, to play saxophone and MC Aysha Amani to provide the vocals and MCing over half an hour of both original and covered drum and bass music. My role as the saxophonist was to provide counter melody lines to MC Armani as well as develop melodic motifs inbetween the MCing over the various grooves and samples setup by Zen and Rob.

After some technical difficulties in rehearsals and at the sound check we took the stage not knowing fully how the concept of the band would be received as the drum and bass scene locally is not well known and as far as we knew it would be the first time that this sort of band would be attempted at the Ellington Jazz Club. The entire set, to our relief, ran smoothly and all feed back from the set was extremely positive.

For me personally I found this project a very interesting and quite challenging one. As a saxophone player i have not spent a lot of time working with effects pedals, for this show I was using delays, harmonisers and various kinds of distortion to add interest to my solos and also to fill out the overall song sound.

A huge thanks to MC Armani, it was a delight for me to meet her I will look forward to some interesting future collaborations with various other projects away from The Pimps of Sound. Thanks also must go to Zen Fusion and Rob Ferrari for the concept of a live drum and bass band, I will look forward to how they continue to develop this project as there is a definite market for it here in Perth and also on the festival scene.

Finally a thanks to Nicole Reid for allowing The Pimps of Sound to support her at the EP launch and to all the staff at the Ellington Jazz Club, every time I have performed there I leave having thoroughly enjoyed myself. It truly is one of, if not the, premiere small venue to perform at in Perth.

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