“Thankfully, compassion also spreads quickly. When we’re kind to ourselves, we create a reservoir of compassion that we can extend to others. Our children learn how to be self-compassionate by watching us, and the people around us feel free to be authentic and connected.” The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (p. 61)
Over the weekend, my family decided to adopt the cat we were looking at the Australian Animal Protection Society in Keysborough. Her name is Lotus and she is 2 years old, has a black & white coat, is very shy and affectionate. Being a rescue cat, it’s required a lot of time, patience and adjustment bringing her home considering all the psychological issues she would have endured since birth. But she is adjusting quite well, sleeping in the corner of the toilet and slowly exploring the hallway, laundry, living room and my bedroom.
On Monday morning, I went to my Healthy Cooking on a Budget class at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. Today we made a Tortilla de Patatas (Potato Omelette), a Paella (Spanish rice) and some Empanadas (Stuffed pastry). These dishes all have a Spanish/Latin American flavour to them both in terms of spices and ingredients. I was feeling a little worn out and unmotivated after my stressful weekend so I really struggled to feel useful in today’s class. However I tried to push through it.
Today I worked with Kevin making a shortcrust pastry mixture by combining flour, unsalted butter chopped up into small pieces and some iced water. I also helped out by peeling some brushed potatoes for the omelette. Honestly I’m hopeless when it comes to peeling potatoes. It takes me so long just to finish one. But I didn’t give up. I think part of it is my nervousness about accidentally cutting myself with the peeler (Self doubt issues, who would have thought?). But hey at least I tried.
I think the other problem was that there were too many cooks in the kitchen…literally. So I spent a lot of time standing around awkwardly and trying to find something to do. I’m the kind of person who needs structure, step by step instructions and to be delegated a task. Once that happens, I’m fine. But otherwise I’m like a fish out of water. But besides that, I really enjoyed this morning’s class. I learned so much and helped prepare a dish that I’ve never tried before. http://www.ballaballa.com.au/progra…
On Monday night, I attended a Body Balance class at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. I generally don’t do fitness classes really late at night but I made an exception considering how unmotivated I was feeling today. The good thing about Body Balance is it both energises and relaxes the body, releasing stress, tension and soreness. The instructor seemed really lovely and laid back in her approach. Essentially just do what you can. I still struggle with the Pilates parts of these classes as it really hurts my lower back but I did what I could.
Tonight the exercises we did include: Tai-Chi Warm Up (Forward fold into Mountain Pose), Sun Salutations (Downward Facing Dog, Low Lunge, Baby Cobra), Standing Strength and Balance (Aeroplane, Warrior 2, Chair Pose), Pilates (Scorpion, Dragonfly, Bridge Pose), Hamstring Stretches (Reverse Triangle, Happy Baby) and Relaxation (Japanese Garden). https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/f…
On Tuesday night, I went to my Body Combat class at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. Tonight’s class was challenging to say the least. I felt like I was killing it during the first four tracks, focusing on my technique and putting a lot of power behind my kicks and punches. But after track five and six, the fatigue set in big time. One workout involved lunge pulses and quick shifts between squats and lunges. I had to force myself to stop and rest a few times especially with the annoying lingering cough creeping back up.
But I tried not to be too hard on myself tonight. Many of the other people in the class were struggling as well and I was sweating like a soaking wet towel, which meant I was working really hard. I had my usual catch up conversation with Cinamon Guerin as I recovered on the seat in the hallway. It feels good to have that sense of social connection at Casey Arc even if it’s just with one person and Cinamon is very easy to get along with. https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/f…
On Wednesday morning, I had my Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. The advantage of waking up early is that it gives you time to recover from sleep inertia, the experience of drowsiness or grogginess immediately felt after waking up. It also gives me more time to get organised so I’m not rushing out the door and getting myself anxious about running late. I spent some time reading through my fitness journal, where I’ve written notes about my goals, progress with my training program, positive affirmations, rational thoughts, reminders and tips for conversation starters.
I have to say that I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with Luke now. I’m more relaxed even when we both have nothing to say but I’m also making a conscious effort to speak up more and ask him questions about his life. Of course, there are still doubts that crop up on occasion but I’m learning to let them go and not let them bother me. It’s a constant work in progress for me. Sometimes my brain has a habit of lying to me (Welcome to Mental Illness 101) but it is getting easiest to focus on the positives and what I’m doing in my session.
WARM-UP…Today I started by doing some wide shoulder stretches on the bench before progressing into my usual 3 rounds of 15 resistance band pull-aparts and 3 rounds of 10 single arm dumbbell rows. I also did some around the worlds with a wooden stick, which is basically moving the stick over and behind your body with your arms extended out and moving the stick around your body in a diagonal motion.
DEVELOPMENT…Today I did 5 rounds of 8 reps bench press at 35kg. I was really focusing on improving my technique, movement of the bar and activation of my muscles. It certainly not easy remembering all these things but I felt like I made gradual improvement and only really struggled when I got up to my 6th or 7th rep. I’m still learning to lock-out my arms before I rack up the bar and it’s certainly getting there.
WORK-OUT…Today’s workout was actually pretty challenging for me, both physically and mentally. I had to do a 3km sprint on the rowing machine in under 13 minutes. It seemed like an impossible achievement especially when I got going but I gave it 110% effort. The thing you have to remember about me is my mental struggle. I’m easily distracted both by my mind and what’s physically in front of me. However, I tried hard to use my positive mantras to push me through to the finish line (Remember to breathe, I am not a failure, I am good enough, I do deserve to be here, I will finish this workout).
I had a major mental shift during that workout. See the thing is that deep down, I didn’t really give a shit whether I finished the workout in under 13 minutes. I’m not going to base my self-worth on a number or a time or a record because that’s not how I roll. Of course if I do hit that benchmark, then that’s awesome. But if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world. In that moment, I felt that it was really important to internally congratulate myself for smashing the workout, regardless of what time I got. I literally collapsed when I finished, making a sweat angel as Denee Lalouette pulled me up and I made my way over to the bench to recover.
I finished my session by doing 3 rounds of 10 YTW shoulder stretches on the bench. Unfortunately, my brain decided to begin overthinking as Luke began his next session with his 10am clients. I have to admit that I did feel a little blown off but I’m sure that wasn’t his intention. Instead, I just tried hard to focus on getting the stretches done, as tough and painful as they were. I was a little slow finishing today but that’s okay. I just smashed a tough workout on the rowing machine so it’s understandable. https://www.facebook.com/breakawayf…
On Thursday morning, Mum and I went to the Morning Melodies social function at Trios Sports Club in Cranbourne. We sat down at a round table with 8 other people, mostly residents from the Casey Hunt Club Lifestyle Village. I’ve often contemplated the concept of being an “old soul”, which essentially means feeling like I don’t fit the mold of those around me. But I also take it to mean having a younger or older soul inside my body. Basically I’ve never felt my biological age and I don’t think I ever will.
Hence why associating with older people and/or younger people doesn’t bother me at all. I actually feel more accepted surrounded by people at a senior age hence why I enjoy attending these types of events. Today’s performer was Col Perkins who was wearing a radiant white suit and a bright purple shirt. He very much is an entertainer, making over-exaggerated kissing noises and rocking out with some Elvis-like leg shaking.
This show was mostly a tribute to British pop musician Cliff Richard, singing plenty of classic hits including Summer Holiday, Please Don’t Tease, Gee Whiz It’s You, Don’t Talk to Him, The Minute You’re Gone, Congratulations and Somewhere Over The Rainbow. He also played several songs from varying musicians who were also friends with Cliff including Elvis Presley (It’s Now or Never), Johnny O’Keefe (She’s My Baby) and the late Glen Campbell (Rhinestone Cowboy).
On Friday morning, I had my Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. Once again, I made an early arrival to UFT and decided to read The Confidence Gap by Dr. Russ Harris, specifically the NAME technique which helps in dealing with fear, anxiety, stress and negative feelings. I’m feeling much better mentally this week and I’m learning to not take things as personally such as Why isn’t this person speaking to me? Why am I being ignored/excluded/blown off in this conversation? There’s always an alternative explanation that doesn’t involve me.
My relationship with Luke has also moved into a much more positive space as well. I’m still opening up to him about what’s going on inside my head but I’m learning to say it in a calm, reasonable and constructive way. And it’s really good to see that Luke is really receptive to what I have to say. He’s engaging more in my sessions and he’s making more effort. This indicates that yes he does care about me as a person and as a client. Sometimes I just need verbal confirmation rather than making assumptions and being consumed by irrational thought.
WARM-UP…I started today’s session by doing some flowing yoga poses (Threading the Needle, Pigeon pose) on both sides of the body in order to loosen and open up the hips and groin area. Next I did 20 reps of Scorpion pose, 10 reps on each side of the body. And lastly, I did 3 rounds of 90 second weighted squat holds.
DEVELOPMENT…Today I worked on my weighted back squats, doing 5 rounds of 8 reps at 55kg. I’m finding that it’s actually getting a lot easier compared to when I first starting doing back squats. My technique and squat depth has improved considerably. I’m able to get closer to the ground whilst keeping my chest lifted and the fatigue doesn’t set in until around the 6th rep or so. It’s definitely a big achievement when you see yourself improving.
WORKOUT…Today’s workout involved a 7 minute AMRAP of the following exercises: 10 wall ball situps, 15 ring rows and 20 kettle bell swings. The ring rows was hands down the most challenging of the three movements. I was fatiguing very quickly and had to rest, shake it out and restart after a few reps. But I was determined to push through the struggle and even re-adjust my position to make it a bit more achievable. But overall, I did really well and I managed to complete 2 full rounds.
On Friday night, I attended Mandi Herauville’s Drinks & Nibbles event at The Yard Strength & Fitness in Pakenham. It was a small gathering and a very casual affair with a handful of clients, personal trainers, athletes and coaches sitting around in the kitchenette/dining area. Of course my levels of social anxiety and introvertedness were quite high, being in a group of people I didn’t know that well but I made the decision to stick it out for at least an hour. And I also reminded myself of the fact that I made the effort to come out on a really cold and wet night to support Mandi’s gym.
The Yard has really come a long way especially in the last few months with all the gym equipment being set up and the murals being painted on the walls. The most recent addition to the space is the weight lifting rigs and benches. The 6 week Bootcamp program has been a great success and although I’ve only attended a couple of sessions casually, I really enjoyed them and I may consider making more of a commitment to the program later in the year when I’m more financially stable. https://www.facebook.com/TheYardStr…