Tough Mudder!

For followers of my blog, you may remember that over the past four months I have spoken about my training for Tough Mudder. I’m surrounded by peers who are fitness obsessed or dance fanatics so it’s hard for me to fathom anyone not knowing about Tough Mudder, but for those out there that have no idea what I’m on about, this is what Tough Mudder is:

“Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile (20km) obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $2 million dollars raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.”

Above is the video for the Melbourne Tough Mudder event which I took part in on April 1st (hell of a way to start the month, hey?).

I heard about the event and thought I would push myself to do it and managed to get a whole group of girls from my dance school along with me. Now, I’m reasonably fit, but I’m not one to compete in “fun” runs or marathons or anything boring normal like that. Tough Mudder appealed to me because it wasn’t about competition, you weren’t timed, it didn’t matter how long it took you – it wasn’t a race! Tough Mudder is all about teamwork and pushing your body and your mind to the limit and really testing yourself. That’s why it appealed to me. I’ve never been one to care about competition or winning. Growing up, I always leaned towards more solo sports, which is why I’ve always loved dance. I’m certainly not against teamwork – teamwork is great – I just never cared enough about winning to enjoy competitive sport. Challenging myself? That’s more my style. I don’t need or want to prove anything to anyone else. But I do love the idea of working towards a personal goal and achieving it. Still, in the weeks leading up to the event I started to question what mental state I must have been in to sign up to such an event in the first place.

I drove down to the event early on the morning of April 1st – wondering (read: hoping) if indeed this might have been a big elaborate April fools joke – with my best friend and her parents who were coming along as spectators (oh yes, us crazy particiants were being made a “spectacle” of). The week before I had been fighting of a hella cold while spending equal to the registration fee ($150!!!) on non-cotton, breathable, quick-drying, compression, light-weight gear for this godforsaken event while seriously considering pulling out all together.

ready for tough mudder

pole dancers represent!

Fear of the unknown. Thankfully I was smart enough not to pull out as I can honestly say that participating in Tough Mudder was one of the most rewarding and most fun experiences of my life! The obstacles weren’t as hard or as terrifying as I had made them out to be in my mind and it turned out to be a genuinely fun day as opposed to an arduous four or five hours running/jogging/walking/limping 20km, wading through muddy waist deep water, crawling through mud underneath barbed wire, carrying logs through rivers, crawling through manholes, walking through fire, climbing walls, getting submerged in an ice bath, jumping into lakes and getting electrocuted. Who knew that would be my idea of fun!?

I don’t usually post photos of myself on my blog, but I couldn’t resist giving you a taste of how muddy I got at Tough Mudder (this isn’t the half of it). This is me after I got home covered in dried mud, asking my boyfriend for a hug while limping towards him like Frankenstein (I messed up my knee from all the running and the cramps from the icy water). For some reason he wouldn’t hug me until I came out of the shower an hour later (there was that much mud in my hair).

after tough mudder

hugs?

Eleanor

x

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DIY Detox Diary: Day Three & Final Thoughts

Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it. I cracked.

If you have read about Day One and Day Two of my juice cleanse so far, you will know that I have been struggling. And today, I cracked. I couldn’t handle another juice.

I woke up and diligently made my first juice, but by the time I should have been making Juice #2, I was so over it. I looked over at my juicer with mild hatred. Making 12 juices a day for the past two days had really gotten to me and I literally dreaded the thought of cutting and peeling fruit and vegetables, juicing them and then cleaning up the whole mess yet again only to have to do it all over again later that day.

I started well. I just had another raw salad instead of a juice. But then my stomach must have gotten a taste for real life food and even though my fridge was chocked full of fruit and veggies – I needed Protein. Just quietly, this is most definitely the worst way to end a detox. So I took myself for a walk down to the shops and sat at a cafe and ordered a chicken wrap and absolutely devoured it – chewing solid food has never felt so good! About half an hour later though, I felt sick. Serves me right. I knew better than to eat something like that after only having juice or raw salads for the past few days. But somehow my stomach managed to kill all common sense at that moment.

So, my final thoughts:

Don’t attempt to do a juice cleanse yourself. As much as you think you’ll manage making 6 juices a day with your at home juicer, your energy levels get so low that it becomes a struggle to bring yourself to deal with the preparation and clean up that is involved.

If you want to do a juice cleanse by delivery, I would recommend that you don’t use Schkinny Manniny and that you do use Urban Remedy (if you’re an Aussie only, of course!). Last year I did Urban Remedy’s Level One, 3 Day cleanse easily and felt absolutely amazing afterwards and continued to eat healthily post cleanse. Something about the Schkinny Manniny one is just off, and that is only heightened by the do it yourself aspect. I have since spoken to friends who have done the Schkinny Manniny cleanse by delivery and were also forced to break the cleanse because of how immensely unsatisfying their juices were.

I am not a nutritionist so I cannot claim to know the difference between the recipes and ingredient order of both cleanse companies. All I know is that the recipes for the juices on the cleanse I used were not satisfying enough to sustain, they were also significantly thinner than my memory of the Urban Remedy juices, which (potentially only psychologically) could have had an impact on my perception of satisfaction. Having spoken to friends about the cleanse, I have been told about the importance of “food stacking” in order for things to sit right in your stomach and avoid discomfort. Again, I cannot claim to know anything about nutrition, but perhaps the order of ingredients in the Schkinney Manniny cleanse compared to that of the Urban Remedy cleanse played a part in my success, or lack there of.

I hope that I haven’t completely turned you off the idea of doing a juice cleanse or detox with my experience. Honestly, it’s all about trial and error and well, I found an error. But one thing I can say is that a good detox, seen all the way through, leaves you feeling refreshed, energetic, healthy, glowing and (yes, if you have some excess weight to lose) lighter. Personally, I have never chosen to do a cleanse for weight loss as I don’t feel I have any weight to lose so I wouldn’t really recommend it if that is your only goal. The purpose of most juice cleanses is to clear out all of the toxins from your body and leave you feeling revitalised and fresh while also being a positive way of kick-starting a healthy diet.

Good luck if you choose to cleanse one day, please feel free to ask any questions you may have about my experiences!

Eleanor x

DIY Detox Diary: Day Two

My apologies for the delay in posting Day Two of my DIY Detox, I will post Day Two and Day Three today for you. For those of you who have no idea what I’m on about, check out my DIY Detox Diary: Day One and Preparation posts.

The day started well enough. We had our four day juices all ready to go in the morning which made the start of the day go a lot smoother and was a lot less stressful. Juice #1 & #2 went down fine – they are probably two of the tastiest of the six daily juices.

Luckily, we had learned our lesson from the hideous Juice #3 the day before and we added some tomato and a lot less ginger to it for lunch today. It went down alright, but it really isn’t that satisfying. I’m not finding myself hungry per se, just so unsatisfied by these juice to a point where I almost can’t be bothered drinking them.

Late afternoon I headed to the pool to meet up with some girlfriends, Juice #4 in tow in my ‘Schkinny Fresky’ (I cringe just typing that name) on ice for the drive over. As my luck would have it, I walked into the pool at the exact same time that three of the girls happened to be heading to the snack bar. Again, my inner monologue was having a screaming match with my stomach, intensely debating whether or not hot chips are, in fact, the best thing ever invented and pretty much my favourite food group of all time. I desperately rifled through my bag to find good old Juice #4, hoping it would be my saviour against the sweet smell of dirty, greasy, pool food while mumbling “No, I’m good” to my friends when they asked if I wanted anything. Another hot tip: avoid snack bars at all costs. I think I may have actually caught myself drooling whilst intensely watching my friend devour a potato cake.

At last we were done in the snack bar and we headed outside to find the other girls sun baking. One of the more health conscious girls (not that the others aren’t, they’re all dance teachers so a potato cake or a callipo now and then isn’t going to do much damage) was munching away on some nuts and kindly offered me some. It took all the (very, very little) energy I had not to scream “Do I want some nuts!? Do I want some nuts!? Of course I want some goddamn nuts, I’ve been living off shitty juice for the past two days!!”, while simultaneously grabbing the bag of nuts from her hands and stuffing them in my mouth like a ravage animal that has just been let out of captivity. Instead, I politely declined and proceeded to sip on my (now disturbingly warm) juice.

I got home in the evening after my afternoon in the sun feeling particularly weak and not at all in the mood for Juice #5. I had prepared this juice earlier in the day and only had to heat it up for us to have as our dinner but could not for the life of me bring myself to “eat” it. This feeling was not at all helped by my boyfriend complaining about how hungry he was as well as constantly rambling about all the food he wanted to eat. We both agreed that we were just so bored of the juices and so unsatisfied by them that we would rather go hungry than have another juice. I deliberated for quite some time about what to do (I honestly could not stomach another juice) and finally decided that it wouldn’t hurt that much, surely, if we had a cheeky salad for dinner with only raw vegetables.

So, that’s what we did – and I felt like such a failure for breaking it on day two, especially considering that I did a three day cleanse last year with no dramas at all. I figured maybe we would cut it down to three days instead of five, especially as we were planning on visiting my mum on Thursday for Australia Day, and just replace the lunch and/or the dinner juices with raw salads for the next day.

With this idea in my head, we still had our “dessert juice” which we both quite like, at the end of the night.

I was incredibly disappointed in myself for breaking the cleanse but was determined to power on and get through it.

Here’s to Day Three!

Eleanor x

DIY Detox Diary: Day One

Dear Detox Diary,

Today is my first day of my DIY Detox or my fruit and vegetable juice cleanse.

6.30am – Wake up after only 5 or 6 hours of sleep and get to work making our first 4 juices for the day. So glad I portioned up the fruit and veggies during my preparation yesterday but it is still taking ages to make 8 juices! Squeeze myself some lemon with warm water.

8.00am – Finish juicing just in time to send the boyfriend off to work with a detox goodie bag of 4 juices and some detox tea. I start on Juice #1: Spinach, Snowpea, Apple, Honeydew and Chlorophyll aka “Mean Greenie”. This one is really yummy!

8.30am – Getting a bit sleepy and exhausted with a slight headache, though this could be due to my lack of sleep and stressful morning of juicing and not the detox.

8.50am – Decide to go and rest in bed, so glad to be a uni student on holidays!

10.17am – Get a call from my boyfriend at work and chat about how we’re feeling and our plans for the week, finish my last quarter of juice one and feel refreshed but still a bit lethargic.

11.36am – Just got a tiny hunger pang, time for Juice #2: Celery, Apple, Ginger and Kiwifruit aka “Immuno Booster”. Another green one, this one is nice and refreshing. Feeling good!

12.42pm – Still working on Juice #2 (I’m such a slow poke!) and actually feel quite full!? Who knew juice could be so filling!

1.30pm – Called my boyfriend who is struggling, “Baby, this is so shit”. He’s not enjoying it at all! I wouldn’t want to be at work and having to use my brain too much today, must be hard.

2.00pm – A bit late on Juice #3: Carrot, Parsley, Beetroot and Ginger aka “Ginger Minge”. Holy crap, this one is disgusting! Way too much ginger! Pulled the foulest of faces attempting to skull this one, it helped a little bit to heat it up as a soup as suggested in my recipe book. Couldn’t for the life of me finish it, absolutely gross. Exchanged some texts with my boyfriend about how horrible it was.

3.15pm – Out shopping for more ingredients – I’m allergic to almonds which is a major ingredient in Juice #6 so was on the hunt for hazelnut milk and hazelnut meal to substitute. Wandering around the supermarkets looking for anything hazelnut and my inner monologue is going something like this: “Ohh look at all the bread, No! No, I don’t even want bread, I don’t even like bread. So doughy, mmmm. What’s that? Sushi! I mean..pffft who likes sushi? I don’t. I don’t even want any. I’m gonna go home and drink some juice, awww yeah. What’s that? Pizza! OMG I WANT PIZZA! Wait, no I don’t. Pizza sucks. Detoxing is good. Healthy healthy healthy..chocolate!?” The moral of the story being: For the love of God don’t go to a supermarket/anywhere that sells food while detoxing! And while we’re at it, don’t even listen to the radio. Or watch TV. It’s insane how many food ads there are or how often people talk about food. Torture.

4.30pm – Just got home from shopping. A bit late again for Juice #4: Rockmelon, Watermelon, Blueberries and Mint aka “Summer Burst”. Was looking forward to this one – it sounds so yummy! – but was a bit disappointed by the blueberry floaties which make it hard to enjoy drinking. Anyone who knows me knows I hate “bits” in my food, I’m weird about texture. Yes, other people are too, I’m not that odd.

6.00pm – My boy gets home from work and the first thing he says when coming in the door is, “Ahhhhh, I’m so hungry!”. Good thing I’m making our Dinner Juice/Soup #5: Tomato, Carrot, Basil, Capsicum and Garlic aka “Martie Toe”. Now this one is good. It tastes just like a yummy tomato soup – well, a watered down version. The basil in it is delicious. We decide to replace the ghastly Juice #3 with this one tomorrow. So much tastier.

6.35pm – The two of us set up in the kitchen to make up the four juices for tomorrow. After the crazy rush this morning, we decided it wasn’t worth draining our energy in the morning making juices on a deadline. As much as we couldn’t be bothered doing it now either, it was much better to do it now than in the morning. Ideally, the juice should be consumed as close as possible to the time it was juiced – which is why it makes more sense to juice your fruit and veggies in the morning. We’re happy to sacrifice some freshness and some loss of vitamins for the sake of our sanity.

7.45pm – I prepared the pumpkin juice earlier for Juice #6: Pumpkin, cinnamon, Hazelnut Milk and Hazelnut Meal aka “Pumpkin Pie” so I just popped the rest of the ingredients in a glass and stirred it around for our “dessert juice”. We were a bit skeptical about this one but it was surprisingly tasty. An acquired taste, but drinkable – even if it did have a few floaties.

8.00pm – We sit down to watch a movie, both pretty exhausted.

9.00pm – Bedtime! I know, ridiculously early, but the detox kit recommends you get an extra long sleep tonight and we were both ready to just pass out.

10.13pm, 11.17pm, 12.34am – Keep waking up to pee – too much damn liquid in my system! All I want to do is sleep!

1.23am – Wake up again with an incredibly dry throat and a bit of a cough. Try to have enough water to help my throat but not too much so as to wake me up an hour later to pee again.

Well, that was Day One of my DIY Detox. All in all, not too bad. Yes it really sucks not eating solid foods but I keep trying to remind myself of why I am doing this and how great I will feel afterwards. My body will love me for it. I think it’s much harder for my boyfriend – a first time detoxer – as he hasn’t experienced the amazing post-cleanse feeling so it’s hard for him. I’ve been trying to remind him to think positively and about the goal – but then he just starts talking about cupcakes and opening the pantry to smell some crackers or something. I think he’s getting a bit delirious.

Here’s to Day Two! Wish me luck!
Eleanor x

DIY Detox Diary: Preparation

Around this time last year I decided to do a detox that I had been told about. This one wasn’t about eating only carrots or living off lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water for 2 weeks (like the Lemon Detox Diet – worst detox you can do, so unhealthy!). Instead, this was a Juice Cleanse. The idea is that you only drink juice for 3-5 days while detoxing. The juices are specially formulated to provide you with adequate nutrients during your detox while also being packed with vitamins and minerals to help restore, revitalise and rejuvenate your body.

Last year, I did a 3 day, Level One cleanse with Urban Remedy which set me back over $200 as all my juices were delivered fresh to my door. I had amazing results after just 3 days and felt the healthiest, clearest and most energetic I have ever felt before in my life. Amazing!

So, it is no surprise that I was keen to do another detox this year (ideally I’d like to cleanse once every few months). Unfortunately, however, my bank account wasn’t willing to shell out another $200-$300 for the 5 day cleanse I wanted to do this time. So, I started researching for recipes to do it myself at home – because I was lucky enough to receive a brand spanking new juicer a few weeks ago from my ever so wonderful boyfriend – details here. Lucky for me, I came across the DIY Detox Kit offered by Schkinny Manniny (I know, horrible name right?).

Juice Cleanse Materials

The Schkinny Manniny DIY Detox Kit

This Kit Contains:

  • Recipe Booklet
  • Daily Cards with Do’s and Don’ts
  • Esky
  • 6 Water Bottles
  • Liquid Chlorophyll
  • Detox Tea
  • Bath Soak
  • Psyllium Husks
  • Loofah for Dry Skin Brushing (not pictured)

After waiting desperately for over a week to receive my kit I hurried out to my local fruit shop as soon as I finally got my kit with the recipes and ingredients to buy all the fruit and veggies I would need for my 5 day cleanse.

Somehow, my boyfriend managed to jump on board so we went shopping together and bought double the ingredients listed in the recipe booklet. We were in the fruit shop for a good half an hour getting everything – I worried we might clean them out! We had 3 baskets full and I dreaded the total. Luckily, it always pays to go to local fruit shops over supermarket chains and we were set back only $88.30 for 5 days worth of fruit and veggies for the tow of us. Pretty damn good if you ask me!

Shopping for Juice Cleanse

Trolley full of fruit and veggies - there's more underneath!

I’m a bit of an organisation junkie. So, I decided it would be easier for my sanity in the morning to portion up all the ingredients into groups for each juice so I could easily throw all the ingredients in the juicer rather than spending ages chopping and peeling and riffling through the fridge to find the ingredients for each juice I had to make for the day. I have to admit, I also got a kick out of organising, ordering and labelling my fruit and veggies into containers and freezer bags.

Juice cleanse

mmm so organised 🙂

Well, that is all from me for now. I will be updating my blog with my progress with daily posts throughout my detox – stay tuned!

Have you ever tried a detox/juice cleanse? What did you think?

Eleanor x

Exercise Program (with free download)

My older brother recently asked me if I would be able to suggest some exercises for him to “get rid of his belly” and to define his chest, back and arms. Not a completely random question, I’m a qualified personal trainer. Rather than just rattle off a whole bunch of exercises that he won’t remember to do – or have any idea how to do them – I decided to do one better and write up an exercise program for him. (As well as popping by his house to show him how it’s done)

Since I was in the process of writing up a program for him, I thought I may as well write one for my readers too! I’ve attached a basic, beginners exercise program. It’s designed to be short and sharp, only 30 minutes in total and easy to do at home, in the gym or outdoors.

It is so incredibly important to exercise regularly – 3 times a week for maintenance and up to 5 or 6 times a week for fat loss. Especially if you have a bit of a sweet tooth like me and regularly indulge in cupcakes.

So I don’t want to hear any excuses or whinging “But Eleanor, I don’t have any dumbbells, oh well I guess I can’t do it…” 

Yes, you most certainly can! Can. Can? Can-can? Yes! CANS!!! As in, go to the cupboard and take out some cans. Cans of beans, cans of tomatoes, whatever! You can use them as weights. And as you get stronger, you can move onto the hard stuff. Water Bottles.

Click the following link for the PDF: Exercise Program

I am working on visual images to guide you through the exercises. Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, comments or requests!

Eleanor x

Training Update

Over the Christmas and New Year break I’ve been down at my parent’s house. It is so beautiful down here and I’ve found it a lot easier to go for runs and walks, considering this is my view….

I’m still struggling with my running and realised yesterday that it is at the one  kilometre mark that my knee kicks in and starts hurting like crazy. I managed to do 3km in 24min with a lot of jogging and walking in between but am hoping to work up to longer, faster runs. Nike+GPS is a great app that I invested in once I decided to sign up for Tough Mudder. It tracks the route that you run and the pace as well as your time and distance and shows it all on a map and in a table form. I play music while running the app too and there’s an automated voiceover that updates you at ever kilometre with your distance, pace and time. Such a good resource to keep track and keep motivated to beat past times/distances.

Eleanor x

Tough Mudder!

Just watch this…

Yes, I’m doing it. No, I’m not crazy (well maybe a bit…). Anyway, I’ve signed myself up for Tough Mudder 2012 in Melbourne. Which gives me almost exactly 3 months to train to take on this mammoth task. Now, I’m relatively fit and pretty active but I am going to have to get in some serious training to be Mudder Tough by April 1st.

To take on Tough Mudder it is said that you should be running 2+ times a week, can do 15-25 push-ups in a row, 6 pull-ups in a row and are able to swim 45m without stopping. I’m getting there.

Tough Mudder Training

The recommended training regime includes running a distance of 8-10km about 3-4 times a week as well as taking on the Tough Mudder Workout three times a week which includes the following exercises (click here for more information as to what each exercise entails and proper technique):

  1. Running Man
  2. Tough Mudder Push-Up
  3. The Fist and the Fury
  4. Scissor Kick
  5. Back Row
  6. Dumbell Side Lunge
  7. Push-Up and Row
  8. Lunge and Twist
  9. Shoulder Press
  10. Decline Push-Up
  11. Quick Feet
  12. Tough Chin-Up
  13. Superman Plank
  14. Drunk Superman Side Planks
  15. Angelina Jolie
  16. The Tough Squat

I’m relatively fit, am a qualified personal trainer and dance around 3 times a week. Because of the style of dance that I train in (Pole and Aerial Hoop) I have a pretty decent amount of upper body strength. My major downfall is cardio – in particular, running. I hate running. I find it pretty boring, not to mention that after about 500m of running my knee often feels like it’s about to snap and give way for my femur to smash down onto my tibia. Not nice. Nevertheless, I’m trying.

I did my first 8km run/jog/walk/hobble a couple of weeks ago and, despite the crazy knee pain, it felt pretty good. Plus I ended up at this beautiful river…

My Reward

Not being a runner, it will obviously take a while to build up to running 8-10km, 3-4 times a week but I’ve been making a conscious effort to get out the door and do what I can whenever I can. Just this morning, while visiting my parents home, we took the dog down to the beach and went for a long walk and I ran along the sand with Woody.

20111229-111045.jpg

Woody!

I’ll keep you posted on how my training is going, wish me luck!

Eleanor x