Posts tagged ‘cardio’


Continuing on from my last blog on exercise, one of the biggest battles I had to face with chronic fatigue was not in my physical body, but in my mind. You develop this energy-poverty mindset. Have you heard of the poverty mindset that low income earners can get stuck in? This is the same idea, but the poverty arises from a lack of energy rather than a lack of money. You get to know that you don’t have enough energy. You start to try and hoard it, to conserve it, to retain it in case you need it. It’s a dreadful feeling to hit that physical wall – to totally run out of energy before you’ve run out of day, to have nothing with which you can keep going to do the things you need to do (eg care for the family). So you begin to try and live within the constraints of the small amount of energy you have. You don’t want to do too much in case you over-step the mark. If you do a bit more, you are fearful of what the consequences will be. Will you be so sore the next day that you regret it? If you do too much today, will you be unable to do anything tomorrow? Do you see what I mean?

As I began to recover, I found myself unwilling to stretch myself, to try new things, to achieve more. What helped me greatly was to set a goal and work (very gradually) towards achieving that goal. For example, my first goal in 2007 was to do the Great Bike Ride, a 53 km trip around the Swan River from Perth to Fremantle and back to Perth. I had done a bit of bike riding over the years, but my maximum was about 15 kilometres. To think of riding 53 kilometres was a big thing for me. But I got a riding buddy and I started off at the 15 kilometre mark and increased it gradually week by week until I had ridden 60 kilometres. Unfortunately, the week before the event I got a cold and the doctor advised me not to ride. I was so determined – so much effort had gone into preparing for the ride over a long period of time and I was not going to miss out on the opportunity to achieve what I had set out to do. I did the ride in about 2 hours 33 minutes, which was a good time for me. It did set me back health wise – as the doctor predicted I was sick with the flu for two weeks after that. But what it did for me mentally was worth it. I had never conceived of myself as being able to ride 53 kilometres, but I did it. I then began to wonder – what else is there that I have never thought I would be able to do that might actually be possible for me?

My next goal was the “City to Surf” fun run. I don’t know what possessed me to think of this, as I had never run before in my life and I was over 50, but I started at the end of April and the run was at the end of August 2008. I began by walking and doing 10 steps of running after every 30 walking steps, then increasing the number of running steps until I could do a gentle jog for 10 minutes or so. Then I enrolled in an exercise class which included some cardio work and I very gradually built up. Some physical mechanical problems arose due to my poor running style and lack of good running shoes. I worked with a physiotherapist to address these problems. I was not able to do the 12 k run but I did the 4 k run and came 8th in my age group with a time of 29 minutes.

In 2008 I did the Great Bike Ride again, this time in 2 hours and 3 minutes (I cut 30 minutes off my previous time!). Then I was on a roll. I enrolled in a triathlon training course adding swimming to the mix, and came first in my age group and 12th overall. Swimming was my weak link – I hadn’t swum since I was at primary school over 40 years ago!

Now I feel like I can accomplish anything I want to do. I completed a 567 km bike ride around the very hilly south west in March-April this year and I’m going to try for the 12 km City to Surf fun run in August. What time will I achieve in the Great Bike Ride this year? I’ll let you know!!! Next year I will do another triathlon.

As I have set and achieved each goal it has proved my wellness to me. I am not just back to where I was before I got chronic fatigue – I’m much better than that! I am fitter now than I was in my 20s and 30s. And I now believe that there is much more I can accomplish.

I still find myself tending to hold back just a bit, to be unwilling to go all out, to totally expend my energy in case I hit that wall again. That was such an awful feeling, I never want to go back there. In my training sessions I will start off at an easy pace and maintain that until the final 10 or 15 minutes. Once I know that I have just about made the distance then I am willing to take that risk of going all out for a short while. I hope that as I develop confidence over time I will hold myself back less and less and so I will accomplish more and more. Do you see how my biggest battle is in my mind rather than in my body?

As I mentioned in my previous blog on exercise, a central factor in my being able to make progress with the exercise has been the use of a non-sugar laden energy drink (EMPACT) to extend my stamina while doing workouts, and a post-exercise recovery aid (SPORT). Mentally, this boosted me up and made me more willing to go for it during my exercise sessions because:

1 I believe the EMPACT sports drink give me the stamina to last out a tough session; and

2 I know that the SPORT tablets help me recover afterwards without the dreadful “whammy” effect of dreadfully sore muscles.

For more information about these, go to, click on Browse Products, and choose Performance Nutrition. Or contact me on mobile 0418 189 435 or email


April 30, 2009 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Lose that belly fat!

When it comes to losing fat, most of us focus on the excess fat we are carrying in the belly region. It is that “spare tyre” which we would most like to get rid of. The belly can be one of the most stubborn areas to remove fat from. Why is that? Two reasons:

* It is where we store body fat first

* It is where body fat is needed the most – to protect the internal organs.

Unfortunately, it was oh so easy to put on (happened while you weren’t looking, didn’t it), but it is also the hardest to take off. If you persist, it WILL come off, but it is going to take some work and it may not be the first place on your body that responds to your fat loss efforts.

To give it your best shot, this is what you should do.

First – hit the weights. Weight training is brilliant for burning off fat, and the good news is that if you push yourself hard you stimulate muscle growth. This keeps the fat burning happening for hours after you have actually finished your exercise.

Second – focus on high intensity intervals (see my blog entitled “Maximum results, Minimum time”) when you do cardio and follow this up with some longer steady state cardio. The high intensity intervals will release the fatty acids from the tissue and the steady state cardio will then burn them off.

Third – monitor what you are eating (and what you are drinking). Is your diet Low GI? Are you drinking excessive calories without realising it? Are you eating to satisfy hunger, or emotions?

Pay attention to these three areas and you are well on your way to getting rid of that stubborn belly fat. It won’t happen over night though – you need to persist with it!

February 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

Maximum results – minimum time

Think you have to do LOTS of cardio to speed up your fat loss? Think again!

Tell me, have you noticed anything about those people you see at the gym on the exercise bike or on the treadmill doing hours of cardio (usually with their headphones on)? Do they look the same today as they did last week, last month (last year)? If fat loss is what you want, then long slow and steady sessions of cardio work are not going to do it for you. Traditional cardio does little to boost your metabolism. In fact during a long cardio session your body begins to become more efficient by breaking down muscle for fuel. You DON’T want to lose muscle!

My tip – try Tabatas. Tabatas are short burst, high intensity interval training, so called because they are named after their creator, Izumi Tabata, PhD, a former researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya.

You will get greater fat loss and more improvement in your fitness level from a four minute exercise session using Tabatas than from 60 minutes of steady state aerobics!  Intervals are the perfect solution! The shorter, more-intense your session, the more calories you burn. You also preserve lean muscle, which will make you look tight and lean as you reach your body shaping goals. In addition, the shorter, more intense sessions will have a more profound effect on the calories you continue to burn 24 hours after completing your interval session.

It’s not about time… IT’S ABOUT INTENSITY! Great news for those of us who don’t really have time to exercise!!! Can you find 4 minutes per day??? Then you can do TABATAS.

It is recommended that you do a 5-minute warm-up before you start, but if you are short of time this is optional and you can skip it. Note: in later years (40+), the warm up and stretching then a post-workout cool down and stretching again becomes more important.

This is how the TABATA session goes:
– You will alternate between 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest
– You will perform this 30 second interval 8 times, taking a total of 4 total minutes

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? During the high intensity 20 seconds you need to be working at MAXIMUM EFFORT. You will be amazed at how hard it is to keep going at high intensity for 20 seconds. You will really get your heart pumping and you will get a sweat up over the 4 minutes, believe me. Tabatas are challenging!

You can do any mode of cardio exercise that you like (eg outdoor/treadmill running, cycling, etc). You can also use exercises like jumping jacks and squats.

Here is a link to a site where you can see a video of someone doing TABATAS using various exercises.

Here is a link to a site where you can download a TABATAS MP3 file which you can use for yourself at home. It is very helpful to have someone telling you when to go and when to stop. Saves messing around with a stop watch.

Have a go at TABATAS. Email me if or leave me a comment on this blog and let me know how you go with it.

Here’s to your success.

February 8, 2009 at 12:24 pm Leave a comment

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