A different approach

In my last post I wrote about Amber’s blog regarding her successful experience with the 12WBT, that lead to a little excess and perhaps a touch of insanity! A great heartfelt, honest post. I know when I was doing the program I would be telling myself off if I didn’t achieve the six exercise sessions a week. Sure the program is intense, but is designed to be. In one of Michelle’s early books she talks about being converted to the possibilities of fast weight loss based on her Biggest Loser experience. Prior to that she was of the conventional thinking that slow and steady is effective and sustainable. The 12WBT program is meant to help you achieve results quickly. That is what is does, if you follow it properly.

In various places I read lots of supportive responses to Amber’s post, but also a lot critical of the 12WBT program. Now I think some of the criticism is a bit harsh. Lets look at the reality, Michelle Bridges is taking many largely sedentary people and helping them to start moving of their own accord, teaching them about the importance of food choices, showing how to cook healthily and encouraging a supportive community. 12WBT has introduced so many people to a healthier lifestyle she can only be applauded. For me, I really learnt through that program the value of food. I had been sucked into all the talk of fat being the greatest offender when it comes to weight management. But I knew there was something wrong when fairy floss was fat free! I knew it wasn’t healthy, but didn’t, at the time, place any intellectual effort into find out the real story. But 12WBT taught me so much more about food, it set a really good foundation, even though I haven’t applied it like I could or should have.

600600_670965016250879_502854862_nThings are a little different now, there is much mainstream talk about the evils of sugar and I have even read articles about culling it out of your diet completely (including fruit??). I don’t believe in cutting out anything to be honest, that is a bit too extreme. For me, I am all for cutting down, but I do like my cup of tea with a sugar and if my tastes change and don’t need it anymore that is great.

Now, a friend of mine is a living breathing example of success based upon the ideas of Metabolic Precision  (MP). Essentially it is a nutrition/exercise program, but with a slight difference. It teaches you about types of food in detail and when to eat them. As an example, you have  window of three hours after exercise to consume specific types of food. My friend has been living by the principles of MP for nearly three years, and continues to go from strength to strength. Compared to 12WBT, you have three training sessions a week. Intense, but short in nature. You just don’t train to cancel out your consumed calories. It is all about the correct type of food and exercise. People live by this and are really passionate about it, it was many of these types who so vehemently criticise the 12WBT program.

I had heard about Metabolic Procision before, but didn’t like the idea of being a slave to timings. I think they also use supplements and I have always been shy of them. It certainly sounds complicated, but I think I am coming around. So much so I have kind of committed (an oxymoron I know) to doing a round of the program from early Sep. They run 12 week programs where newbies and accomplished MPers share the results of their efforts for the designated 12 weeks for a cash prize. Having been feeling overwhelmed by life this past couple of months, I did not intend on starting anything new. I can barely plan my life as it is let alone learning a new eating concept/idea. I had been thinking that I would perhaps take on another round of 12WBT early next year, that way I could have a chance to fit in my exercise during the day and not miss out on sleep. But instead I have signed on for 5.30am sessions two days a week and 6.30am on a Sat!

I do feel a bit like I am going from one thing to the next in an attempt to get my health in balance. I guess I am searching out the right fit for my family and I.  I am still reasonably fit, but that has never been my problem. I find keeping my nutrition in check is really hard. I am bingeing on crap food these days and I am planning on the learning process of MP to help be more consistent in my choice of food and balance it with exercise.  The promise of real interactive sessions regarding food and what they really are and how you can maximise their affect is attractive to me. My exercise program will be conducted in small groups and be concentrating on resistance training. Resistance training is the key to body transformation (they say), so I guess I will be doing as they tell me to give the program a good chance. The good news is that I will be able to continue my boxing (which I am really pleased with) and yoga is also ok. So I suppose once I fit in both of those I will still be exercising five days a week! Hmm.

Speaking of boxing I was given the loveliest compliment from my trainer (BS) last week. He has a TAFE kid in there when I train and last week the young fella held the focus mitts while BS told me what to do. At the end of the session he told me ‘I could watch you box all day’. Apparently I am doing alright. It made my heart sing!! Given that compliments don’t come that often, these really make me feel good. We have managed to get started with some defence, moving and even punching and moving backwards at the same time. Awesome. I am very much looking forward to tomorrows session.

My intention will be to track my program on that here, once it is all formalised. It should be interesting if nothing else. I just need to get my head in the right space so I can make a serious crack at it, have goals, visualise, stay consistent, do as I am told….that might be the sticking point!



Gripes about The Biggest Loser

After Alex visited my blog this week I had a read of her blog ‘Try a Little Harder, Honey‘ where she was talking about ‘The Biggest Loser’ (thanks for the pic too Alex, it is on my bathroom mirror now). Now Alex has a little workout where she does specific exercises for various parts of the show – you know burpees for tears, plank in sympathy with the contestants, squats for a product plug etc. I like it. Though I generally have found myself sitting on my backside telling them to get a grip or cheering on those who just get on with the job.


I have a few gripes with the Biggest Loser. I have been watching it since the start, also keep an eye on the US series when they are shown. Most of my issues have been with me for many seasons now, so here they are in no particular order:

  • I think the formula is wrong – this whole lose the most weigh concept is flawed. Do you remember Chris Garling? He won season two (I had to go searching for all this) after being secretly trained by the Commando. But when he appeared at the finale he looked terrible! I think he had stripped too much weight rather than go a healthy weight. If anyone saw the ‘Excess Baggage’ that was on Channel nine a while ago. They used a whole set of parameters to measure improvements. Now forgive my ailing memory but it included a fitness test, body composition and a measure of their efforts for the week. That sounds much better and in support of a healthy lifestyle, rather than lose the greatest percentage.
  • The women rarely look like they have been provided or have correct underwear for exercise? Now some of the women have seriously big boobs and rarely are they contained when the contestants are running or on a bike. You watch some of the challenges and these poor women are working their guts out and look to be doing themselves a serious injury. I find it disappointing that they don’t make a point of ensuring the puppies are restrained and even making it a teaching point for the audience. Given Michelle was a the poster girl for Triumph sports bras.
  • Back a few seasons ago of Loser they had a Friday night ‘masterclass’. I really wish they would bring it back, it really gave some great tips and insights into how the contestants are coached to live in the house. I am sure that quinoa took off after it featured on the show. I think this was a real loss to not have these sessions the next year. It meant the show could have a real impact on its audience by teaching about food, correct exercise etc.
  • There is much talk in the weight loss world and on the show about self sabotage, also about keeping those who stand in the way of your progress, away from  you. So why do they insist on games, twists and turns in the show that are detrimental to their progress? I would prefer less scheming and game playing and watch people get a grip on their lives, beat their demons, kick some arse in training sessions and learn something than have some of the antics in the house. You know the ones – where people are forced to order from takeaway menus all week, or only eat one colour all of those sorts of things. I think it is detrimental to the contestants and often demeaning.
  • Perhaps my biggest gripe is the lack of technique correction when the contestants are exercising. The other night Amber was doing shoulder shrugs as an excuse for pushups. They were rubbish, but no one told her it was crap and she needed to do them properly! People can be seen on the rowing machine with atrocious technique, chain flapping, uncoordinated arm/leg action – it drives me nuts! Michelle makes a point with her snip tips in the 12WBT to show people how to do it, but there are lots of clips of awful technique in the show. I know you only seem a portion of the work the contestants are doing, but I don’t think it helps people watching when they are demonstrating terrible technique.

Now I know pretty much all of the women who watch the show reckon the Commando is pretty good and I have to say, I count myself as one of them. Having done LOTS of PT under Commando types during my 20 years in the military, I think he has softened up in his old age! But I can’t help but smile when he shows the old PTI tendencies (Physical Training Instructor) on the show. Once a PTI, always a PTI.

I am always keenly interested in the workouts and love watching Michelle, Shannon and Commando as trainers and being trained. You can’t help but admire them, each so different, but strong in their own special way. I love their drive and passion, they are inspiring to me. I hope to find passion like that for my next career.


12WBT Confessions and a weigh in

Now I consider myself a bit of a veteran of the 12WBT program having completed my first rounds in 2010, but my confession is that I really have never FULLY followed the program. Often I have used it more of a guide and a loose one at that. That is why my results aren’t as impressive as they could be. So I fiddle about the edges.

I go through the recipe list and pick what I think I would like (and there are now a few staple in our meals from the program) and try to keep a check on my portion size. I don’t plan – this is one of my serious downfalls – but just try to make the best choice possible when I am out. I would kind of follow the exercise plan, but really I would go for a run and follow a session from my personal trainer at the time, occasionally using the 12WBT one.

So my previous success (a loss of 12kg in 2010) I purely put down to being consistent with my training and food choices. I was working fulltime then and that meant I could do my training once I got to work. That is certainly a perk to being in the military, there is a job requirement to be fit, so you have an opportunity to exercise on work time. Still it took the whole year. Although I was training, I would often drop the ball on the food side. Once again this confirms the food choices outweighs the exercise on the weight loss ‘scales’. I had previously said 70% food 30% exercise, apparently Michelle says 80% 20% which fits nicely with the 80/20 rule (obviously!).

Forward to Round 4 2012 and I really have been much better. Prior to Christmas I made some real headway, my weight was dropping and I actually reassessed my goal down a further 6 kilos than I had in the pre-season tasks (a little ambitious, especially with the festive season in there). I was calorie counting nearly all the time, exercising to the program and it was a really good consistent approach.  Rather than mix in my own exercise I have been following the plan much closer and just sometimes adding a little extra. I can feel my fitness improving and it is awesome. I really love that Michelle has put new workouts online to follow. I get bored easily and these help mix it up. The intervals mean the time passes quickly, you can ALWAYS challenge yourself more and they are easy doing it at home.

Down by the Murray River in Albury.

Down by the Murray River in Albury. We took the kids down there for a change from the house in the heat.

It is not all roses though, this Round I have hardly even watched or listened to Michelle’s podcasts! What am I thinking? I pay this money and really have taken such a half arsed approach to some of the key lessons. It is crazy! So I am catching up on the podcasts slowly, making notes for myself in my little notebook which I use for motivational quotes, recipe ideas, blog notes and all associated ‘get on with it’ bits and pieces.

This all leads me to the Accelerator Day yesterday. Michelle puts these into the 12WBT at week 9 to give your body and weight loss a boost. Now I missed last week and to be honest I thought going without carbs was an impossibility for me. I love bread and fruit which are both a big no-no on accelerator day. But I actually managed to do it. I didn’t plan ahead for it (surprise!), in fact I thought I would just not bother since I hadn’t looked into it properly. But I just did it.

I cooked up scrambled eggs for breakfast which the kids also love (minus the avocado since I didn’t plan), managed to put together the carrot, chickpea and feta salad for lunch (yum by the way, that surprised me!) and then did pork steaks for dinner. Now, I didn’t use the recipe for the pork steaks, I managed to find marinated pork in Woolies that were really delicious. It was such a great find for the day. I didn’t take any of the kids snacks or crusts and even managed to avoid stealing grapes from the newly replenished fruit bowl. Man – it was like an epiphany. I can say no and stop my hand reaching out!

So I feel like yesterday really helped me turn a corner. I was still finding it hard to get back in the groove but I think I have finally cracked the weight plateau and was super pleased to find myself at 75.2kg this morning. So that just over a kilo in a week. 75kg was my original goal for this round (I didn’t want to disappoint myself by making it too hard) – I am so close!

I am happy that even at this weight my body has changed enough where I am fitting into some of my size 12 clothes. I pulled my bag of ‘when I get back to the right weight’ clothes from the top of the wardrobe and managed to fit most of them. Some of the clothes I have put back for next Summer, but the bulk of them are now hanging there ready to wear!

I signed up for Round 1 2013 and I plan to commit more. Not so much in sticking to the eating plan religiously, but more

  • to plan what I will be doing. Both exercise and eating.
  • I will have red flag days identified and take steps to address them.
  • I will listen to all the podcasts in the week they are released…..

This is my pledge! Goals to be addressed soon.

A new HRM and stalling

I had neglected to mention that I received a surprise Christmas gift from Big D, a Garmin Foreunner 405CX. It was really lovely and caused me to shed a tear or two! Of course I had to give it a go at the coast and managed to load all the information onto the MAC to check it out. It blows my mind the amount of information it gathers, I promise to post examples when I work out how to do it!

Garmin 405CX

Garmin 405CX

It keeps track of heart rate, distance, pace, elevation, average speed, best speed, time moving…..it is endless. You can even play a ‘movie’ of your run, where you watch the icon move about the map and see how your heart rate and pace responds at the same time. I love this feature, once I get a good regular running track under my belt while wearing it, I will compare them all.

I am not sure what is going on with measuring calories though, after running for 40 mins to meet the family at a park, I used less than 200 cal – I certainly chewed up more than that!! I think ‘Mapmyrun’ said around 600 cal? Again this morning, the stats are quite different:

  • Garmin for today 7.83km in 48.22 using 207 cal
  • MapMYRun 7.8km using 828 cal

It is a huge difference. Sure they use different formulas to calculate the figures, but I am stunned by the size of the gap. It is a half the days calories!  Read the rest of this entry »


Forgive all the webpage links, but I finally worked out how to do it!

Some time ago theskinnyonamydeville wrote in her blog about ‘fitspiration’ and I realised I hadn’t found my ‘fitspiration’ towards. I have a vague idea about weight, but not how I wanted to look. So I have been working again on my goals but mostly keeping an eye on bodies and if there is anything I might like to emulate.

Now obviously, like Amy, Michelle Bridges is an great role model. But I don’t think I could ever look like that. I mean, I don’t have the drive or inclination to be so committed as she is to maintain her awesome form. She impresses the hell out of me with her tenacity. I really love how graceful she is on Biggest Loser when her contestants ‘train’ her. I can’t imagine how she keeps her mouth shut!

I also think Pink is too awesome for words. To see her perform on the AMA’s (see this in You Tube) was truly stunning. She is fit, controlled, graceful and has a great voice all at the same moment! I have also seen her on Ellen a few times and she has a great sense of humour. She made me smile after the Olympics in London when they USA gymnasts came on the show and Pink was bowing down to them. The awe was reciprocal, so cool to see. Here are the photos on Ellen’s page A Day in Ellen’s Photos, Featuring P!nk! | EllenTV.com.

I have come across a new body to ‘fitspiration’ that of Michelle Bridges mate Gabi Bruce who appears in Michelle’s exercise videos. Of course I had to go looking for info on her and discovered a clip on You Tube doing yoga, plus an awesome picture of her I found here. The link says that Gabi was awarded ‘Best Physique 2012’ in the IFBB (International Federation of Body Building) Australia. Whilst trying not become a stalker I also found these photos of her competing, crap, that is way out of my league!

An impressive Gabi Bruce

An impressive Gabi Bruce

I strayed from my thoughts, but the crux of it is that she seems to be a little more along my lines of body type (that is in the videos, I am not so sure after seeing all of these photos!). In Michelle’s exercise videos she is strong; I mean, unwavering in her control and strength. Just so impressive to watch. She is fit without being fully ‘ripped’ like Michelle. I think I am working towards a version of Gabi. Although deep down I doubt I will get that far, certainly not in the short term. But if I keep my mind on the long term goal, there is more hope.

Really, I want the classic best version of me. Fit, happy, inspired and motivated for life. What do you want?

Post Christmas Reality Bites

So I failed at maintaining my program when I was away. Seriously failed. I weighed myself this morning and am back in the 77kg range, putting on more than a kilo since leaving home. Ouch.

We had a few days in Canberra where I managed a run at my Dad’s place, not a fast run, but further than I have been running at home aroun 6.8km (my phone didn’t get a signal for a big chunk so I measured it in the car out of curiosity). It was nice getting out there, he lives in the bush outside Canberra so it was beautiful. After a significant time out in the bush camping as a kid, then with work, the smells just warm my heart.

This is the view for breakfast at Dad's.

Then once we got to the coast for the main part of our holiday I only did three sessions, a long way from achieving two sessions pushing the 1000cal goal. I did one with my sister that was a little bit disappointing, she wasn’t feeling well so we didn’t end up going too hard. It was more a help session than exercise. Then I did two runs (the first mentioned in my last post)  and one the day before we left with Little L when he wouldn’t sleep in. Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas comes early for me

Yesterday I went and bought my Christmas present from the other half, the Michelle Bridges barbell set. It has the bar, weights and a DVD (I know this is dumb but I do love the colours!). I am just watching the DVD to see what it is before I tackle it for real. I always find it easier to do if I am familiar already. Anyway, exciting to have something new to do. It is looking great, I love the way Michelle has so much variation in her exercises.

My new weight bar with mangled box.

Only problem was the box design is a mess. There were three sets to chose from in the shop and all of them were busted. You can’t really see it in the photo, but they just aren’t made to hold the weight (not sure what sort of box would!). Have to say, I do like the colours!

Exciting news this morning, I  managed to wear some size 13 jeans!! I bought these when I lost weight last time I did Michelle’s 12WBT before baby #2. They were ‘interim’ jeans which I really love.  I plan to be back in the size 12 by the time I finish. I have a whole bunch of clothes I bought after last time that are all collecting dust in the top of the wardrobe –