Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

I've been somewhat distracted of late with illness and haven't posted my latest results. I was going to go on with a bit of a whinge about my stomach bug but something has happened just in the past few days to put that into perspective. My 26 yr old cousin had a bike accident. She wasn't wearing a helmet, came off the bike and banged her head.

She didn't survive.

This is a tragedy in every sense of the word. Nikki was a beautiful vibrant young woman who loved life and engaged herself at every opportunity. She had overcome some not inconsiderable hurdles throughout her young life and had so much left to offer the world. It's left our family, in particular her dad and grandma, reeling.

I hadn't spoken to Nikki for a while but we were pretty close. I'm still in a bit of shock to be honest. The shock and numbness is strange, it was so sudden and unexpected that it all still seems somewhat surreal.

Our family has had it's fair share of death and illness in the last few months and it has inevitably got me thinking about my own mortality. What do I want from life? What sort of legacy will I leave? I have been guilty of putting things off, making plans and not following through because "I can always do it later". Truth is it's easier just to stay in your own little comfort zone where you are not pushed or tested. Nikki's accident just goes to show that we never know when our number might be up and we have to take full advantage of each and every opportunity that we have. Every day you draw breath is a good day and full of new opportunities to embrace.

Throughout this challenge I have noticed some unexpected transformations taking place within myself. It's not just my body that is changing but my mind and my approach to life. I haven't had a dedicated goal that I have been striving toward for a while and I had forgotten how much this can really affect you. I feel stronger mentally for pushing myself through this and, whilst I can't claim victory yet, I have put in the hard yards so far so I am really primed for a strong run home. I had forgotten how great it feels to push and test yourself (mentally and physically). I have found at times in the midst of a hard session with the lactic burning through my muscles, my lungs gasping for breath and sweat free falling from my pores, that I am grinning from ear to ear like an idiot. My mind, being freed temporarily from the ills of alcohol, sugar and other insidious substances and instead treated to 2-3 hours of substantial exercise a day, is functioning with a clarity I have not possessed for ages. This has has allowed me to assess what it is I really want from life in both short and longer term and start planning some solid achievable steps to attain these goals.

The wheels are already in motionwith another fight scheduled for July (possibly one before then as well) and the Sunsuper 200km ride against cancer in October this year. Coincidently the ride falls on Dad's birthday and 2 days after the first anniversary of his death. I will be looking for donations from all of you in the coming months - all funds are going toward Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at RPA which is a cancer research and treatment facility currently treating another very close family member for this insidious disease. I'll be posting details shortly about how to donate and will also be doing some fundraising activities as well.

Before I go my latest weigh in results:
Tuesday 17th April 2012 – 92.6kg – Weight loss for the week of 1kg
Tuesday 24th April 2012 – 90.9kg – Weight loss for the week of 1.7kg (this is mainly from illness – I was at home on the lounge for almost a week)

Due to the illness I’ll be extending the challenge by a week to make up for the time lost training.

The purpose of this post is not so anyone can feel sorry for me or console me or ask me how I'm going but rather to re-enforce the million clich├ęs that are floating around out there to "seize the day". Life truly is precious and as we have seen, can be tragically cut down in its prime all too soon. I'll leave you now with one of my favourite inspirational poems. It was written by Robert Herrick and made famous by the movie Dead Poets Society. Its message is timeless.

To the Virgins, to make much of Time
GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,       
  Old Time is still a-flying:              
And this same flower that smiles to-day               
  To-morrow will be dying.           

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,             5
  The higher he 's a-getting,        
The sooner will his race be run,
  And nearer he 's to setting.      

That age is best which is the first,            
  When youth and blood are warmer;       10
But being spent, the worse, and worst 
  Times still succeed the former.               

Then be not coy, but use your time,       
  And while ye may, go marry:   
For having lost but once your prime,         15
  You may for ever tarry.

RIP Nikki. Love you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Don't let go, you've got the music in you.....

Music is a powerful beast. It can capture the soul of an entire generation or capture the fragments of a single broken heart. In the blink of an eye it can transport you through time and space to your first kiss or when you were standing in the back of your school hall in your best denim jacket trying to work up the courage to ask a girl for your first slow dance or even, as Cher's iconic 90's breakup hit believe does to this humble blogger, to the first time you found yourself shirtless on a podium in DCM's strangely fascinated by the laser light show happening not just around you but, thanks to the funny shaped panadols you consumed earlier, inexplicably inside you.

I love music. I'm unfortunately rather talentless when it comes to playing or singing but I love it. My tastes vary from punk rock to classic rock, from country to electro, from heavy to bluegrass. Basically I will listen to anything though The Boss will always be my greatest musical love.The digital revolution has allowed us to pack more music into a tiny portable player than most of our descendants would have heard in their lifetime. This is both a good and bad thing. The good is it allows us to carry music anywhere. I've nearly always got my ipod with me listening to music and preaching to people about why my tastes are better then theirs. The downside is that this means we will often take it for granted. We will hear the music, we won't listen to it.

As the line from the movie who's name I cannot quite recall at this moment goes "Your asking me if I like music? That's kind of like saying do you like stuff". Everyone has their own musical tastes and to most of these people seeing music performed live is where the real power emerges forth and this brings me to my point......

At this moment some 70,000 people are gathering in Indio California for 3 days of sex and drugs and rock n roll and a whole lot more with some of the world's biggest and best musicians. I attended last year  at what I like to call a coming together of a musical consciousness because the word festival doesn't quite seem to cut it. I made some great friends, saw some great music, saw a Jewish hippy rap about poo, fried some previously great brain cells and nearly killed myself falling asleep behind the wheel on the ride home. Unfortunately I was a late cancellation for this years event but I just want to wish Cass, Storesy, Jade, Lauren, Thisso, Woodsy, The Wilsons and the rest of my Coachella family (apart from Ed obviously who can go Gosh himself as he is making a sweaty goshdamn mess of himself for 3 days straight in The Sahara tent) an awesome time. Wish I could be there getting amongst it with you but I will hopefully be back next year for this and some other festivals.

And on the third day he rose again

Easter long weekend was always going to be hard on the troops. It's a break from routine, the Fat infidels hired stealth mercenary assassins from the Easter Bunny guild to attack us with loads of chocolate bombs, gyms are closed and worst of all Colonel Ketosis was not available for the regular super Saturday insurgence however it was again some wise words from him that aided the good guys in avoiding a possible turning of the tide. He advised me that I seem to have things mixed up. Easter, he said, is not actually a celebration of JT's departure from N'Sync to live again as a global mega-star but rather an adaptation of the Christian church from various pagan rituals involving the solstice or re-birth of the sun. The Christians found it easier to convert pagans if they combined certain aspects of pagan beliefs into their own doctrine which was based on a collection of short stories written thousands of years ago about some Mexican fellow named Jesus Christ - So it's JC, no JT and this is where I got confused.

Fascinated by Scott's rebuke and possessing a healthy thirst for knowledge I sought out these books and I must say I was flabbergasted. JC is possibly the greatest literary hero of all time. He's certainly the first action hero. He's kind of like a mixture Harry Potter and The Rock wearing  the beard of Chuck Norris. As I read these books I started to realise some stark similarities between JC and myself. For starters we both appreciate the company of prostitutes, we both like to mix red cordial with water at parties and pretend we are wine connoisseurs and at some point or another, we have both been called the saviour of all mankind.

Inspired by these stories I thought I would set myself some challenges over the Easter break based on this great character (please remember these challenges are obviously just representations of the challenges JC faced and only loosely based). Firstly on Friday I did a 15km walk fully laden with a stacked backpack to represent his carrying the cross up the hill. After that I did 30 mins static hold on the chin bar, basically holding myself at the halfway point of a chin up. I couldn't hold myself like that for the full 30mins in one go but I timed it every time I was faltering so it was 30 mins in total. This was representative of his hanging on the cross. I did some squats for the hot cross buns although I couldn't see any mention of them in the book. I did some tyre pushes representing moving the rock opening to his tomb. I did 4 rounds of 3 minutes of continuous burpees with 30 sec break in between (doesn't sound like much but I found it bloody hard, I did the first set with a medicine ball then shafted that for the rest) being his ascension into heaven from the Earth. I sparred ex-socceroo great Mark Bosnich. I'm not sure how this relates back to Easter but I felt it worth a mention. I also did a Pilates session representing the founder of this type of exercise Pontious Pilate who apparently needed some core strengthening as his spine was very weak.

So I trained pretty hard for 2 days however I had planned on doing an overnight hike Sunday and Monday but as it was threatening to rain I put it off and didn't end up doing anything more. I ate heaps but only good stuff - stayed away from chocolate and the only two allowances I made were a banana flavoured Goulbern Valley skim milk and a BSC cookies and cream protein bar. They aren't all that bad but a little high in sugar. The protein bar was absolutely the best tasting protein bar I've ever had and the sugar content is far less than most comparable bars!

So given I had 2 days off and had consumed a fair amount of food I was a little nervous when it came time to weigh in on Tuesday. I gingerly stepped on the scales and wondered if standing on my tippy toes might somehow lessen the weight on the sensors. I was fretting. Like the biggest loser the numbers went up and then down then up and then down then finally settled at.........drum roll the trumpet.........93.5kg - a weight loss of 1.1kg for the week. I guess it goes to show how important recovery is in your training regime.

All in all another successful week for the Fatwa on Fat. Good weight/fat loss, I found a kindred spirit in JC, I learnt the true meaning of Easter and I did it all without the guidance of Colonel Ketosis.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When the snack attack hits you, you know you got it bad 'cause nothin's gunna do you like a snack pack

Week 2 proved another successful incursion into Fat occupied territory wiping another 900gms off the total with my weight now coming in at 94.6kg. It's a much smaller loss than last week which is affected by a few things including the fact that a lot of the first weeks weight loss was water weight,  we had a family bbq on sunday where I overate (stuck to only really good food but ate too much of it) and also the fact that there has been definite muscle gains which will, to a small part, negate overall weight loss. I can see pretty big differences in my body already, it's getting back to the Bargeworth of old and there is a big difference in fat which is what I  however I am somewhat disappointed that the my hair - I haven't counted as much as one extra follicle as yet.

This week saw Fat taking a more strategic line of defence resulting in our sides first casualty - Fat moles managed to infiltrate my computer and wiped out all the spreadsheets I have been keeping chronicling my food intake and exercise. These spreadsheets are fantastic, every time I write in there I can see myself getting closer to my goals. This was a sad loss for the good guys. They also managed to line up someone to bring in cakes, custard, pies and all other sorts of goodies each day this week which attacked me on two fronts - firstly there was fresh sweet sugary treats under my nose every day and secondly, because everyone filled up on these sugary surprises, there was no one eating the bloody iced vovos. They just sat there like orphans, staring out of their glass prison, pleading with anyone who walked past to give them a home. I have to admit I was very tempted however the alliance did not buckle.

One of the big things I really need to work on is finding that fifth gear when training. A main reason the weight had started to creep back was complacency. Complacency in my eating habits and complacency in my training. When you just start going through the motions during training it becomes a habit and it's hard to break that habit straight away. While I don't need to kill myself every session it's important to really push through when your tired. It can make a big difference both to your physical gains and mental well being - pushing through a pain barrier can give you a big sense of accomplishment. Although I am pushing harder I know I am not at that point yet so I have to make like Salt'n'Pepa and push it real good till I am.

Colonel Ketosis, otherwise known s Scotty Capelin, was on hand again to lend some great advice about training on an empty stomach if training first thing in the morning. This way you are burning from your fat stores sooner. Remember though not to skip breakfast if you aren't training straight away as your metabolism will start to slow down. I sometimes think Scotty's head is so full of fun fitness facts it pushes out other things, for example clothes washing. His shirts seem to have shrunk to a point where they would fit snugly onto a small toddler.

Max Brenner is not the only bald guy who loves chocolate. I love chocolate in all its forms - white, black, dark, chocolate mixed with milk, chocolate mixed with coconut, chocolate mixed with nuts, chocolate half eaten and scrunched up in its wrapper mixed with a half eaten pie in a bin........just give me chocolate! This year I aim to avoid chocolate altogether and instead, in honour of the occasion of Easter where JT died for his sin of leaving N'Sync only to rise later to become the global mega star he is today, put myself through a gruelling 4 days of intense training (like a blitz within the blitz) where I nearly kill myself only to emerge alive and better than ever at the end. Albeit extremely sore and in desperate need of a massage.

On that note I am off to do some stretches to limber the body up for the painstaking days ahead.