On Monday morning, I had my first Healthy Cooking on a Budget class for Term 3 at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. Despite recognising half the people from last term, I was still feeling a bit anxious and uneasy. I was like a strongly bonded molecule being unable to loosen up and relax. I was working with Kevin today who is also very friendly like myself but because I don’t know him that well, my guard instantly went up. It takes me a long time to warm up to and open up to people.
Our cooking teacher Jodie was her usual chirpy and bubbly self. I really didn’t want to bring up her mother’s death or funeral as these are sensitive subjects but it seems like she’s doing better now. Today we ended up making three different dishes from one roasted BBQ chicken. Watching Jodie cutting up the chicken into segments felt like an animal anatomy demonstration. We used the breast for the wraps, the drumsticks and wings for the pie and the bones for the stock/soup.
We started off by making the shortcrust pastry. It took me a while to get used to working with rubbing flour and butter together to make breadcrumbs but I got there eventually. We then cut up a few different vegetables including celery, onions, capsicum and carrots, frying them off in a saucespan for the pie filling. We also used a pressure cooker to make our chicken stock which only takes about 25 minutes. http://www.ballaballa.com.au/progra…
On Monday night, I had my Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. To be honest, tonight wasn’t my best performance of all time. Far from it in fact. However, I did learn from valuable lessons about myself so I can consider that to be a really positive thing. Part of it was me trying too hard and the expectations on myself being highly unrealistic. Sometimes you’re just not going to be able to lift that weight. That’s life.
WARM-UP…I actually started really strong with my warm-up exercises. Beginning with a few yoga-esque poses including wide-legged side stretch with overarm, forward fold and twisted calf stretches. But when it came to doing the kettle bell deadlifts and pull aparts with the resistance band, I was having some issues with my lower back. I was also struggling to keep my form and I was beginning to get frustrated with myself.
DEVELOPMENT…This frustration continued into my deadlifts. Today I started doing 5 rounds of 1, maximum weight. I was overthinking and second-guessing myself a lot, even with sliding the plates onto the bar. I just felt so stupid because I couldn’t do it properly. Still, I wasn’t going to cry and I wasn’t going to give up. I was doing okay with the lighter weights but when it came to do 100kg, I was on the verge of losing my form and not being able to do it. I got fatigued and worked up even though I just wanted to get it done and smash the deadlifts. It just didn’t happen for me today.
WORKOUT…At this point, Luke decided that it was unsafe for me to continue with the deadlifting and I can completely understand that. But of course, my mind had other ideas after I was strapped into a 15kg weight vest and told to run through Intrepid Drive and back around the block…”Oh no! Luke’s disappointed in me because I didn’t complete the deadlifts and now he’s punishing me.” But this thought was beyond ridiculous and obviously untrue.
Still I wasn’t feeling that great about myself in the moment. Running was a struggle both physically and mentally. I also had to be mindful about vehicles reversing out of driveways and turning at the interaction so I had to slow down a few times. When I got back, Luke explained why he changed my workout. I know that he had good intentions for me. If he was truly disappointed in me, he would have cracked the shits and walked off.
It was like a reflection and a wake-up call at the same time. Reflecting on the fact that I’ve come a long way since I started training with Luke and dropping 17kg which was almost the amount of weight I was carrying with the vest on. He also wanted to me clear my head and hopefully get myself into a better headspace rather than continue with the deadlifts and most likely not get anywhere in my current mental state. https://www.facebook.com/breakawayf…
After the session, I had a one-on-one discussion with Denee Lalouette. The look of concern on my face must have matched my thoughts…”Oh shit! I’m in trouble. This is going to be a Principal’s office type conversation.” But of course that was just my fear and anxiety talking. He essentially just wanted to clear the air with me after Thursday night and get me to understand his intentions behind what he was telling me.
I did take things the wrong way and got defensive at him. Simply, my emotions and my ego got in the way and I misinterpreted everything he said to me. I saw it all in a negative, harsh and judgmental light as if he was attacking my character. The four principals that he discussed with me are: What you think you become. The world is a mirror of your life. Every battle is won before it is fought and Life is a paradox. It was tough trying to articulate myself to him but I still managed to be open and honest with him about the beliefs I held within. https://www.facebook.com/compiapp/
Driving from Berwick to Frankston South was a bit of a challenge in terms of peak hour traffic but still manageable. I was a little worried that I might be late making it to my Meditation class at Brahma Kumaris Centre for Spiritual Learning, The Peninsula but Angie is pretty casual about lateness so it wouldn’t be a big deal. Typically, I got there a few minutes before 7. Phew!
Tonight we discussed another huge topic which followed on from last week’s class. We did a recap about Soul’s being eternal beings which have original qualities including peace, love, joy, wisdom, purity and innocence. Next Angie talked about how the faculties of the soul (Mind, Behaviour, Intellect and Sanskaras) all interact and influence each other. The most important point was that the intellect part was responsible for changing the cycle and whether our thoughts and feelings are positive or negative ones.
She then discussed the concept of the Soul World where souls spent time to rest before leaving and moving into the Physical World and into another body. The soul is like a fully-charged battery with all original qualities. But after many births and rebirths, these qualities deplete and lose energy. They are then covered up by Vices (Ego, Greed, Lust, Attachment and Anger) which are not lasting and not fulfilling.
The last part of the class was dedicated to the Supreme Soul, which is the existence of a higher being that is looked up to. It is known by many names including God, Jehovah, Bubba, He, Him, Father etc. The role of the Supreme Soul is to provide an energy source and connect to other souls. It is in a state of total peace all the time. This part definitely challenged my current spiritual beliefs but at the same time I still found the information interesting. http://brahmakumaris.org.au/events/…
On Tuesday night, I attended at Vinyasa Yoga class with Aaron Petty at Personal Performance Training Centre in Berwick. I’ve been practicing yoga for about 8 years now and I absolutely love experiencing different styles, teachers and venues hence why I decided to give this class a try. It was a fully booked class with about 11 students and it was held in the upstairs training room.
Being a Vinyasa styled practice, I knew that this would be quite an intense, high energy class. Thankfully it was also a judgement free zone. In fact, a few people were laughing at themselves when they couldn’t hold their balance in Aeroplane Pose and Flip The Dog Pose. The main thing was that everyone was giving it a go. It didn’t matter if you couldn’t quite keep up with the Flowing Sequences or be able to lift your feet up in Crow Pose. These poses are meant to be challenging so there’s no shame if you can’t do something (advice I really need to take myself sometimes!).
Aaron’s approach is very easy going and flexible (pardon the pun). Unlike most yoga teachers, he eliminates most of the Sanskrit jargon and focuses more on which muscles to activate during each pose. I was sweating heaps through the class and I was thinking thank god this wasn’t a hot yoga or bikram yoga class or else the entire room would be melting (It’s getting hot in here!). Aaron is also very knowledgeable, explaining the benefits about Pigeon Pose including the promotion of healing by releasing tension through the hip flexes.
The toughest part of the class for me was definitely the flowing sequences which included the following poses:
- Flowing Sequence 1…Forward fold, Half Lift, High Lunge, Plank, Chaturanga, Cobra/Up Dog, Downward Facing Dog.
- Flowing Sequence 2…Chair pose, Aeroplane pose, Crescent Warrior, Warrior 2, Reverse Warrior, Side angle pose, Triangle pose.
I also appreciated Aaron’s choice of music which was a mixture of 60’s inspired ambient funk to modern lounge and chill out tracks. During my relaxation, I began to feel weightless and could feel the vibrations of the music through my body. It was quite an unusual sensation but it was quite a pleasant experience and I was able to just let go of my yoga practice. Hopefully PPTC makes yoga a regular thing because I really enjoyed Aaron’s style of yoga.
On Thursday afternoon, I had a Remedial Massage session with Brendan Rose at MyoMAX in Berwick. This week, I’ve really been burning the candle at both ends and by the time I walked into the waiting room, I was ready to fall in a heap. I was feeling flustered and worn up so this massage couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I was particularly sore in my shoulders, arms, upper back and sides especially after my yoga class on Tuesday night.
I was feeling a lot more comfortable and a lot less nervous than my first session with Brendan. When he asked how my week’s been and how I’ve been feeling, I honestly didn’t know where to begin. Suffice it to say, I’m trying to balance out my time better rather than cram everything into a couple of days. I made a spur of the moment decision to pick Sia for today’s background music. She’s a great singer songwriter and I needed something to wind me down.
Brendan was very thorough when it came to releasing the tension and stiffness through my back muscles. I think through Crossfit/Strength training and my own self-development, I’ve learned to “toughen up” and deal with the pain. Plus I trust that Brendan knows what he’s doing. No pain, no gain as they say. He wants me to work on straightening my spine out using the foam roller. We also worked on my squat depth and squat technique. I felt a little self-conscious about it but I was going for it. I didn’t care how many times it took to get it right. https://www.myomax.com.au/
On Friday morning, I had my Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. Today was another ordinary session for me as a week’s worth of stress had accumulated on top of me. Sleeping in, I was rushing out the door at 8.30am and of course I got stuck in peak hour traffic along Clyde Road. The only thing that was calming my nerves was the new Feist album I was listening to in the car. Besides that, I was feeling anxious about not making it to UFT on time.
By the time I saw Luke, I was already mentally exhausted. I was having difficulty articulating how I felt inside and just wasn’t feeling myself today at all. I was even getting jealous about Luke having side conversations whilst I was training because the attention wasn’t on me. It was really bothering me. I began questioning whether UFT PLAYgrounds was the right place for me because I just didn’t fit in here. Once the “negative thought” train has left the station, it’s very hard for me to get it to stop even when I’m slamming on the brakes.
WARM-UP…These exercises were a mixed bag for me today. Starting with the rowing machine, I had to do an 8 round TABATA (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off). I tried to focus but I was getting distracted by the conversation Luke was having. I was also getting frustrated by how much I was struggling with my single arm rows and could feel the emotions festering up inside of me. The awkward silence was extremely loud between Luke and I but I really didn’t want to bring up my issues today. Instead, I tried hard to channel my energy into the workout and feel a bit better about myself.
DEVELOPMENT…Today I was working on my bench press again, this time doing 5 rounds of single reps at 50kg. This was a really heavy weight for me so I really needed to dig deep mentally. After the first few rounds, I decided to focus my attention on taking deep breaths in and out, visualising myself lifting the bar up in a straight line without struggling. This was a much better and more productive way of using my rest time and thankfully it paid off.
I felt really proud of myself for managing to turn this negative session into a positive one just by believing in myself and blocking out all other mental distractions. It’s been a tough week for me and it’s even harder trying to explain it to your personal trainer. Sometimes it’s just easier to go within and sit with the silence, as uncomfortable as it may feel.
Straight after my PT session, I went to the Fountain Gate Hotel for the Denise Drysdale Xmas in July show. My parents were already there inside the function room but I was only a few minutes late and didn’t miss much. It was a surreal experience meeting Denise in person after seeing her on countless morning shows such as Ernie & Denise and Studio 10.
She performed a one hour show filled with songs (What a Wonderful World, Tell Him, Jingle Bells, Silent Night), funny stories about her life and plenty of rude jokes relating to menopause, breasts and surgery. This was exactly when I needed in that moment, positive energy and laughter. After the show, we lined up at the buffet table and filled our plates up with salads, roast lamb, pasta, lasagna, roast potatoes, carrots and broccoli.
On Friday night, I went down to my friend Mandi Herauville’s gym for my first Bootcamp class at The Yard Strength & Fitness in Pakenham. I was still feeling emotional and not thinking clearly when I arrived. Unloading with Mandi before the session tonight helped immensely. Sometimes you just need to laugh about shit in order to let it go and feel better about it and that’s exactly what we did. I feel bad whenever I get defensive and annoyed at somebody else because then I become the victim. It’s difficult whenever you’re in a hypersensitive state to see things objectively and that’s what happened today.
I met a few of Mandi’s other clients tonight who were all really friendly. Despite feeling mentally drained and worn out, I decided to participate in the Bootcamp class. The warm-up consisted of a rope walk, sit ups, push ups, mountain climbers, squats and lunges. Next we worked on our dead lifting technique, doing 3 rounds of 10 reps. I’m still working on my form and technique but it has improved heaps and I was feeling good about them tonight.
For the workout, we did a circuit with 10 different exercises including: sumo dead lifts, overhead sandbag lifts, fit ball crunches, skipping, leg raises, jumping over the rope, boxing, ladder jumps/runs, pike push ups and renegades. We had to do 3 rounds each and it was all self-paced. We all had a lot of fun with Mandi cracking jokes and singing along to Drake (You used to call me on your cellphone) whilst working hard and sweating heaps.
We ended the session by doing a series of stretches and a brief guided meditation by Mandi. I really enjoyed myself tonight and I’m glad that I made the effort to come out despite how shitty I was feeling inside at the time. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and now I’ve discovered a new safe place to go to both to hang out and to train. https://www.facebook.com/TheYardStr…
“There’s one thing that I never did, its called giving up. It goes on and on and I felt so alone. As I grew up and grew old life began to unfold. Heavy hearts filled with hope and the truth will be. That there is something there but nothing wrong with me. And the truth will be that there is nothing wrong with me.” Dream on Dreamer – Taking Chances, Breaking Free (2011)
“Sometimes I take another breath, Another step to embrace what I have. Then I stare at you, staring back. And I know that I’m not dead. It takes a voice to make a change. It takes courage to not be the same. If the world is silenced today, I make sure to scream my name.” Dream on Dreamer – Don’t Lose Your Heart (2015)