2014 Health & Fitness Challenge: Week 8-9 – Fitness

Learning to love (and do) exercise

I’ve always enjoyed exercise to a degree. That doesn’t mean I always feel like doing it though!  At different times in my life, I’ve found doing exercising more challenging for many different reasons, including raising young children and anxiety. It can be easy to focus on simply just doing more of it, however for sustainability and longevity in this area, I found there were mental hurdles involved for me to overcome first. Now today, I am fitter now than I have been in my entire life, and as I look back, I can see the personal issues I overcame that helped me find ways to incorporate exercise into my life.

1. Decide

The first step was to make the conscious decision to do something about my health. I wrote about it here: Feeling Fat and Ugly (written in Nov 2010).

2. Embrace

Secondly, I needed to embrace who I was and the changes in my body after five pregnancies. I wrote about it here: Weight Gain and Post Baby Body Issues (written in August 2011)

3. Grow

A great thing about blogging is looking back and seeing how much you’ve grown. Last year, I wrote a post titled I don’t cry for my body anymore (written in August 2013)

4. Do

I jumped those hurdles, and now I have the freedom to work out what fitness/health routine works for me.    I explained more fully a motivator to exercise in this post: What a Bad Week, Taught me About a Good Week.

Fitness Routine

When working out a fitness routine, it’s a good idea to know the activities you enjoy (and don’t). Here is my list:

What I don’t enjoy:

• Exercising by myself at home

• Exercise videos

• Wii Fit

• Doing weights at the Gym

• Swimming laps

What I do enjoy:

• Running

• Team sport

• Walking/Bushwalking by myself (and with others)

• Group exercise sessions

• Bike riding

• Aerobics Classes

• Being out and about with my kids

My routine

Once I worked out the types of activities I enjoyed, I looked to see where I could fit some of these into my life.  For the last year, I’ve been with Lauren Phillips from Phizique. She offers fitness challenges, personal PT and group PT classes.   I prefer doing exercise with a small bunch of ladies than in a regular gym so it works well for me. 

There’s variety too, which is important to me. Thinking about it, although we do many similar exercises every week, I don’t think there’s been a class exactly the same!  Pictured below are some of the exercises I do for strength. In a week, all going to plan (which with a family, it doesn’t always) I usually do:

Strength: 2 strength classes

Cardio: 1 boxing class

Fitness: 2-3 runs runs

That does seem like a lot but I’ve worked up to this over a year and a half and my stage of life makes it possible too.

exercise - fitness

You can see more of the exercise I do regularly in this post: 15 Minute Circuit (you can do at home)


Below are some ways I’ve learned to love and do exercise:

Variety: keep it interesting!

Do what you enjoy: find out what you enjoy and find ways to do that

Challenge your mind: when doing repetitive exercises, I usually count in 5’s. So if I’m doing 20 Bench Leg Raises, I will count 1,2,3,4,5 / 2,2,3,4,5 / 3,2,3,4,5 / 4,2,3,4,5.  I figure I can always do 5 so it helps me get through them.  Another way is to count down for the last 10.  So I might count the first 10, then change to 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.  Seems pretty simple but I find it helps me get mentally focused. When I run, I choose a point ahead of me and pick up the pace before slowing down or having a drink break.  I see this as mentally cutting up exercise in chunks. 

Keep going: I remember when I first started doing serious exercise, especially when I started running (I began running back in July 2012), I was so exhausted I could hardly move for days!  “Where is all this energy everyone promised!?”  It took a little while (3 weeks approx for PT – 3 months for running) for me to adjust but I just kept going. So keep going. It does get easier.


I started a fitness & health challenge at the start of this year, and below is my week 9-8 week food. I’ve noticed now, that it’s not so much about discipline or cravings anymore that I struggle with, but more-so the preparation.  If I’m not prepared, that is when I lapse. However, overall, I’m thrilled with the progress I’ve made with eating more vegetables and whole foods in my diet this year. And I’m really enjoying porridge in the morning, so you can see!

Week 8

Cleaner Eating -- week 8

Day 50

Breakfast: Porridge

Snack: Carrot & Cottage Cheese

Lunch: Wholemeal bread with turkey, cottage cheese, mustard, tomato & spinach – Plus a nectarine

Snack: Rye mountain bread roll up with all-peanuts peanut butter

Dinner: Banana pancake (make from half a banana & 1 egg)

Other: Natural yoghurt with wheatgerm & dried apricot

Day 51

Breakfast: Porridge with linseed & crushed almonds

Snack: Date & Oat Ball

Lunch: Broccoli & Cauliflower soup

Snack: Carrot & cottage cheese with berries

Dinner: Lentil & spinach soup


Day 52

Breakfast: Porridge with sunflower seeds & linseed

Snack: Ryvita with all-peanuts peanut butter

Lunch: Lentil & spinach soup with a date & oat ball

Snack: Pistachios

Dinner: Lean mince with beans & spinach – served with pasta

Other: 1 piece of chocolate with small chocolate custard

Day 53

Breakfast: Porridge 

Snack: Beetroot, carrot, ginger & celery juice

Lunch: Broccoli & cauliflower soup with linseed & cottage cheese.  Natural yoghurt with strawberries.

Snack: Almonds

Dinner: Turkey with broccoli, cauliflower, carrot & rice

Other: –

Day 54

Breakfast: Porridge with strawberries & natural yoghurt

Snack: Oat & Banana Cookie

Lunch: Wholemeal bread sandwich with turkey, spinach, tomato & cottage cheese

Snack: Pineapple

Dinner: {wedding} Entree: Asian lamb salad; Main: Chicken breast with sweet potato mash & veges; Dessert: Apple crumble

Other: –

Day 55

Breakfast: Apple

Snack: Oat & banana biscuit (no sugar, butter)

Lunch: Chicken breast with salad and olives

Snack: Date & oat ball & small banana smoothie

Dinner: Lentil & spinach soup


Day 56

Breakfast: Banana & spinach smoothie


Lunch: Grilled Chicken with salad, avocado, mushroom, spinach, carrot

Snack: Sunflower seeds & carrot

Dinner:  Turkey, brussel sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli – served with mince, bean sauce



  • 3 group PT session
  • 1 x  6.5 k run + 15 minute circuit 
  • 1 x 8k run

Week 9

Week 9 - Cleaner Eating

Day 57

Breakfast: Green smoothie (with protein powder)

Snack: Almonds

Lunch: Chicken, spinach, tomato, sugar snap peas, carrot

Snack: Boiled egg

Dinner: Tuna salad with tomato, spinach, mushroom & cashew nuts

Other: –

Day 58

Breakfast: Natural yoghurt with sunflower seeds

Snack: Tuna & avocado

Lunch: Lentil & spinach soup

Snack: Carrot & sunflower seeds, cashews

Dinner: Grilled chicken, broccoli, carrot, cabbage)


Day 59

Breakfast: Multigrain bread with avocado 

Snack: Date & Oat ball with handful of organic popcorn

Lunch: Tuna, broccoli, purple cabbage, carrot

Snack: Greek yoghurt with linseed

Dinner: Quinoa, broccoli, tofu, onion and soy

Other: —

Day 60

Breakfast: Quinoa porridge with kiwi fruit

Snack: Oat & banana biscuit (no butter or refined sugar)

Lunch: Vege juice (V8)

Snack: Ryvita with all-peanuts peanut butter

Dinner: Chicken stirfy with spinach, carrot, purple cabbage and rice

Other: –

Day 61

Breakfast: Porridge with linseed

Snack: Oat & date ball

Lunch: Quinoa salad with spinach and tomato

Snack: Oat & banana biscuit (no refined sugar or butter)

Dinner: Salad with spinach, onion, tomato, fetta cheese (no dressing)

Other: Natural yoghurt

Day 62

Breakfast: Porridge with linseed

Snack: Carrot

Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with salad & egg

Snack: mini connoisseur ice cream (vanilla)

Dinner: Natural yoghurt with wheatgerm

Other:  1 Oat & banana biscuit

Day 63

Breakfast: Porridge with natural yoghurt & linseed


Lunch: Tuna with spinach and tomato

Snack: Almonds

Dinner:  Grilled chicken with spinach, tomato, cucumber, cottage cheese



On the home stretch of this challenge now…but I know the changes I’ve made will stick with me.

Other Posts in this series

Week 1: 5 years in the making

Week 2-4: Write it down

Week 5-6: Keep Asking Why 

Week 7: A dress

Week 8-9: About Fitness

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