The Walking Dead Workout

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In the spirit of mixing it up and trying new things, today’s exercise routine was brought to you by Season 3, Episode 10: Home.

Or as I discovered after about 25 minutes: ‘The One That Killed My Abs’.

It started off pretty slowly and provided more than enough time for a lengthy warm-up (walking / jogging on the spot) and a few stretches.

21 minutes in – it begins!  A baby cries (squats), a woman screams (burpees), and guns are drawn (push ups).  Then there’s barely any breathing time before it’s onto Daryl and his awesomeness ‘the living’ versus the Walkers (crunches, crunches and more crunches!).

I won’t go into a blow-by-blow, but let’s just say it was a fantastic way to get the heart rate up and the blood pumping.  There were times when I actually had to pause the episode just to catch up (those crunches!), and when baby Judith appeared in one scene I was silently willing her not to cry (saved by the bottle, luckily).

The planking was hard, but appropriate (a minute of silence for each of the fallen).

Then around the 38-minute mark came a van full of Walkers!  I swear the van was more like one of those ‘clown cars’ you see at the circus – they just kept coming and coming, and therefore so did the crunches.

So. Many. Crunches.

I never thought I’d say this, but there was a point I was actually on the side of the Walkers. Not for long, mind you – all I wanted was just enough time to stop my abs from screaming.

Then it was over (oh, the relief).

I’m really thankful that there was no assigned exercise for ‘Feeling like you want to hug or *high five* Daryl’.  If that was the case I would have truly over-exerted myself (the guy rocks!).

Daryl Dixon

I’m not sure if I’ll attempt it again, but it was great to try something a bit strange new.  All-in-all it was a fun, challenging workout, and I can definitely feel it.

Oh, and not too many burpees (thank you, script writers) and that’s always a good thing.

Zombies I can handle, but burpees…they’re just evil.

Sometimes you need other butts to sniff

Some days there’s nothing better than alone-time.  Those are the days when the inner-introvert makes itself heard (‘Hey, can’t we just stay in and read a book?’) and I listen (‘I thought you’d never ask!’).

If I’m completely honest, it’s also my preference after a long day or a busy week – I actually don’t mind my own company and can spend hours just doing…’stuff’.

Introvert

Don’t get me wrong; I love spending time with friends, work colleagues and people in general.  There are just some times when I also like to go it alone.

But here’s the thing…

I’ve discovered that when it comes to exercise, pushing myself or stepping outside of my comfort zone, I need the butts!

Before any of my friends, acquaintances or newly-found running buddies (who may be reading this) start *backing away from the crazy lady* and making plans to avoid my calls, allow me to explain…

I have a dog.  He loves his own company too (and is on the deck right now enjoying some man-time).  He also loves it when it’s just the two of us, or when his ‘human pack’ hangs out.

But when he gets together with his mates – and has spent either the day or a few hours in ‘butt-sniffing paradise’ – he comes home energised and…well…talkative (I swear he’s trying to tell us about his day, he’s so animated and full of beans).

After I found my horse last Sunday, I spent an hour that afternoon running with a group of lovely ladies. It was hot, I felt unfit, but I pushed myself.  I met some more people, shared a few laughs, and got a few more running tips.

I arrived home feeling energised, positive and that I was back on the wagon (I may have also been a touch talkative sorry, J – thanks for indulging me listening).

Then I realised the similarities.

Eureka

The only difference being: the dog’s butts were literal, mine metaphorical.

I realised that as much as I might prefer to go it alone, there are times when a group situation is exactly what’s needed.

(feeling better now, friends?)

During the session we had to run around a park a number of times (I think it was around 400m), with a recovery period in-between each lap.  After the third lap I felt breathless and slightly ill, and halfway through the fourth I actually walked.  If I had been at home on the treadmill or out by myself on a run this would have been my cue to switch the machine off or walk home.  I didn’t stop though, and after some encouragement (ie ‘For this lap, your goal is to not walk.’) managed to finish before collapsing on the grass, gasping for air.

That’s the other thing about having other butts to sniff – you tend to push yourself harder so as not to let the team (or in this case the ‘pack leader’ / trainer) down.  I also now know that I actually do have more ‘in the tank’ than I thought, and that I need to push outside of my comfort zone more.

I’ll still continue to do solo runs and my toning / strength days at home, but I’ll also be sure to include group activities as part of the plan from here.  Knowing me, it will be tough getting out the door sometimes, but I also know that once I’m there it will be worth it.

I can highly recommend it for anyone struggling to get back into a routine, or who themselves may have slipped off their own wagons recently.

It may be going to a class (If you have them nearby, Aquafit is a great one for meeting people), entering a Fun Run, doing Boot Camp or even organising to go walking or running with a friend.

Go sniff some butts!  Trust me, it works.

Something spooked my horse and I fell off the wagon!

(There’s an excuse if I’ve ever heard one)

I’m referring to the exercise-and-healthy-eating wagon that has, up until now, been drawn by a calm and very patient horse.

My trusty companion is now nowhere in sight.  He bolted about a week ago and is somewhere off in the distance – hence my thinking he’s been spooked (why else would it have happened?).  Meanwhile, I’m nursing bruises from having to do a ‘commando roll’ to safety (OK, not really – but what’s a bit of exaggeration between friends, right?).

Photo: Fall from wagon

We’d been getting on so well!

Sure, there’s been the odd bump in the road along the way, but nothing that a bit of coaxing (on my part) and slowing down (on his part, to let me catch up and jump back on) hasn’t fixed.

Rocky roads will do that, especially at the start of your journey when you’re both finding your way.  After a while though (when the initial saddle-soreness has eased), you’ve established a routine, and even feel comfortable enough to try new trails, to ‘up’ your pace, or stop to and re-evaluate where you want to go next:

“5km in one go?  OK, horse – let’s do it!”

“Train for 10km?  Are we up for it?  I guess we could give it a go.  Yes, yes – I’ll bring plenty of carrots.”

…so what have I done about it?

Let’s recap this week’s thinking about horse-searching efforts:

Monday: Ah, he’s just off somewhere having a rest.  We’ve been working really hard and deserve an extra day off. Besides, I start my new job today and that means getting into a new routine.

Wednesday: I’m too tired to look for him, but I’m sure he’s fine.  I’ll look tomorrow.

Thursday:  I’ll look after I meet my friends for breakfast.  It’s only been four days, that’s nothing! (I actually told them I was going home to exercise.  Nope, didn’t happen.)

Friday:  It’s too hot.  I’ll just sit here eating chips and drinking wine hoping he will come back.

Sidenote –  If you search for ‘crap’ in MyFitnessPal (as in, ‘I ate crap today but better track it nonetheless’) it comes back with actual results.  I personally went with the ‘Big Pile of Crap’ option.

Photo: MyFitnessPal

Which brings us to today.  Saturday.  At the moment, I’m feeling guilty and disappointed. I did a new PB at parkrun last week (32:35!) but today didn’t even make it to the starting line.

I know it’s only been six days, and that in the whole scheme of things it’s nothing – a mere blip!  I also know that the excuse of ‘something spooked my horse’ is just that – an excuse.  I am busy, I’m trying to fit things in and create a new routine, and I’m tired.  Apparently that also translates to: I need to blame something, and a spooked horse fits the bill nicely, thankyou.

I thought I had planned well enough for change, but as it turns out, writing ‘exercise’ in your calendar at the 6:00am slot doesn’t magically make you get out of bed (I know – I was really surprised as well!).  Especially if your routine has previously involved exercise at 8am (or thereabouts).

So in reality, it’s more feasible (and honest) that I jumped off the wagon willingly, then smacked my horse on the rear: “Go on!  Explore – I’ll come for you later.”

The learning:  slip-ups will happen, but they don’t mean it’s over.  I need to own it and move on.

Luckily, there’s another group training session on tomorrow afternoon (for the running program I’ve signed up for).  So that’s where I’ll start.

Sidenote 2:  The official Finale for the 12wbt program is being held in Melbourne this year on May the 4th.  My mind went straight to ‘Star Wars’ on hearing this news (I’m secretly hoping for a dress-up theme).  May the 4th be with you!

Photo: JFDI Star Wars

So for now I’m off to find my horse, jump back on the wagon, and…well…just do it (Jedi style)!

The week of ‘Holy Crap!’

Week 12. The final week of the 12WBT program, and the week in which I apparently develop a potty mouth and the inability to contain a thought.

I knew it was coming – when we arrived at the final week during my first round I was uttering ‘Holy Crap!’ constantly!  With a huge smile, and accompanied by virtual high-fives and happy dances.

Mostly all in my head, mind you.

On the forums I’d post well-meaning-but-polite wishes (‘Pip-pip, tally-ho, top job good sir.’), but in my mind, the week of ‘Holy Crap!’ had begun.

Week 12 is a time when major ‘wins’, small victories and personal stories are shared, when milestones are achieved and goals are reached, and when hard work and commitment is realised.

It’s also a time of sharing ‘before and after’ photos, ‘journey’ videos, and accounts of 5km, 10km or half-marathons being entered / completed.

Holy Crap! Example 1 (Bella’s story)

Holy Crap! Example 2 (Sarah’s story)

There are many, many more – too many to share here. It’s not just the visual transformations, but also the stories, the reasons behind the change, and the commitment.  There are some people exercising regularly and running for the first time ever (and loving it!), others with improvements in overall health for the first time in years, and more still with total mindset changes.

It’s all pretty inspiring stuff!

Week 12 is a time of tidbits, updates and news from ‘ordinary’ people – many who would not consider themselves inspirational.  In my book they all are, and they make this final week one I look forward to – potty mouth and all.

Week 12 is also the time for our final fitness test.

I’m really happy that most of my results have improved.  The dreaded Wall-Sit gets me every time though, and was actually 10 seconds shorter than the previous attempt.  Definite room for improvement (again).

Wall Sit Exercise

I’ve been happily inspired to sign up for another round – this time doing the ‘Train for a 10km Run’ program, with the aim of entering a 10km event in June (Holy Crap! What have I done?).

Tonight is the Finale Party in Brisbane, and the current round officially ends tomorrow.  I’ll be watching the awards ceremony via a live broadcast on the website – glass of wine in hand, ready to toast the success of not only the Top 20 Finalists, but also the rest of the participants this round (I think we all deserve it for signing up over the Christmas / New Year period!).

So cheers to ‘Holy Crap!’ moments, and congrats on your successes / achievements – whatever they may be.

What did I do today? Well, I’m glad you asked!

I ran 5km!  For the first time ever non-stop, and in under 34 minutes.

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OK, so I know you didn’t actually ask (or need to see the photo for that matter).  I’m pretty certain neither will the bottle shop attendant I’ll be seeing later this evening, nor the checkout staff at the supermarket this afternoon.  But I’ll probably tell them anyway (and anyone else unlucky enough to cross paths with me).

Just casually weave it into the conversation like a ‘name dropper’ does (is ‘run dropper’ a term?  I think it should be).  You know, all like:

“Hi, random stranger out walking their dog – nice sneakers you have on there.  They look similar to the sneakers I wore today while running 5km!

“Cash or credit? Credit thanks – here’s my card.  Whoops, that’s’ my parkrun barcode sorry.  I used it this morning and ran 5km!   Let me find my credit card instead…”

“Hello?  Sorry, Mr Telemarketer – I can’t take part in your phone survey at the moment.  You see, I ran 5km this morning and have to go blog about it.”

OK, so I might be exaggerating a bit.  I can’t see myself actually doing that, but I am pretty chuffed and currently alternating between feelings of disbelief (‘holy crap!’) and accomplishment (‘woo hoo!’).

5km is probably small biccies to a lot of people (and I still don’t consider myself a runner), but I am making progress and the goal of 10km is not looking quite so daunting.

Setting goals has really helped.  I managed to achieve my January goal of walking / running 100km over the month, and am now 2-days into my February challenge of 1000 squats.

True to results-driven, outcome-focussed form, I analysed the numbers / days using a spreadsheet and ‘crunched’ a few different options – ie 40 squats a day over 28 days vs building up gradually vs building up gradually and including ‘rest days’).

It actually looks quite easy when you do break it down.  Maybe I’ve set the bar too low with ‘only’ 1000 squats?  It will be on top of my running training though, and squats are apparently one of the top-5 recommended exercises during a running program, so I figure it can’t hurt.

Here’s how it ended up:

Squat Challenge

Cartoon source: bitstrips.com

And here’s a tip on how the ‘form’ should look:

Perfect Squat

Source: crossfitwired.com.au

No doubt I’ll feel like doing a bit of ‘squat dropping’ come March, but I have a feeling that one’s going to be a bit harder to casually work into a conversation.

Although…demonstration could be the go: “Oops, ‘accidentally’ dropped my credit card.  One moment please, while I pick it up.” 😉

Have a great weekend wherever you are, and once again – thanks for asking!