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Fi’s Hero - Harley Quinlan

Everyone needs a hero. The thing is it doesn’t have to be someone famous. In 2010  a promising 19 year old motocross rider had a devastating fall while practicing. He is now confined to a wheelchair as a T4 paraplegic. Did that stop him? Not a chance. As soon as he was able, Harley Quinlan returned to the gym and began rebuilding his body. He had every reason to be angry but instead focused on being the best he could. Harley is now on track to compete in the Paralympics. He has been included in the training squad and has recently competed in Europe in hand cycle events.

Harley doesn’t know it but he is my hero. When I don’t feel like getting out of bed or going to the gym I think of his determination, drive and his inability to give up. He is a champion in my eyes already and I will be cheering for him when he gets to the Paralympics!

Here are a couple of videos on his recovery that are worth watching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXFPk3KzE3I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXARtGHGwJA&feature=channel&list=UL

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Filed Under: Contributors, Cycling, Dirt Bikes, Fi Collins, Fitness, Gym Workouts, Olympics | | Comments Off  

Should I sleep or go to the gym?

The pressure is slowly creeping up at work and I’m feeling it. Sleep sounds like a better option than the gym but I force myself to go and always end up glad I did. I can see my fitness improving although the weight loss has stalled.
It’s hard to keep on top of it all when there is always something more pressing. My job has a lot of deadlines and I find myself missing meals which means I am suddenly starving and in need of the vending machine. There have been days when I’ve forgotten my trusty bottle of Aquaforce and gone most of the day without drinking (I don’t drink tea or coffee). But I’ve learnt I feel better when I drink more so now I sit the bottle on the kitchen bench the night before so I don’t forget it! Sad to say I just can’t keep on top of the diet so I’m focusing on working out. I know it won’t translate to weight loss but exercising makes me feel strong and for the first time in a long while I’m not bothered by aching knees.

Prioritising my time is hard. By the time I get to me its bedtime! I’m very lucky to have a trainer who keeps tabs on me. If it wasn’t for Kelly I would probably have given up on the gym. I’m managing to get there at least 3 times a week and get outside in the weekend. My field is now home to the local football team so I’ve been alternating walking and running between lamp posts with the dogs. My dogs get so excited when they see me put my running shoes on and I feel so mean if I’m headed out the door to the gym!

It’s because I can!

Some days everything just falls into place and others, well, it feels like the world is collapsing round your feet. It’s the times when the daily grind is threatening to overwhelm that reconnecting with what feels good becomes even more important. Think Happy Gilmore not drunken rampage. Think happy place.

I found my long lost happy place when I took a couple of days off work and concentrated on me for a bit. I didn’t sit around, I walked the dogs, gardened and I put myself through a mini boot camp that involved getting outside and wait for it – running (jogging is more accurate).

That might not sound like much, but for me it’s a big deal. My knees have copped plenty of abuse and running was on the list of no-can-dos. I had discovered the local footy field was level and forgiving – just right for me to shuffle around. My trainer Kelly and I jogged around the field early in the morning. It sounds silly but it was exhilarating. I wasn’t breaking any records but I was jogging and not suffering any consequences. Being outside and feeling the sun on your skin is a great feeling. That first jog I did 20 minutes and I think I was less tired when I finished than when I started!

I realised that for a long time I’d been internally focusing on what I couldn’t do instead of what I could.  It’s easy to get sucked into thinking things are impossible but until you try you won’t know for sure. So now I’ve added running to the weekly workout. It might only be 20 minutes but it’s a start. Not every day is problem free but if I had to say why I run – it’s because I can.

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Filed Under: Contributors, Fi Collins, Fitness, Gym Workouts, Running, Training, Weight Loss | | Comments Off  

Get Fit and Shed Kilos - My Goals for 2012

Like most people getting fit was on the top of my New Year’s resolutions. I had been going to the gym a couple of times a week but not really putting much emphasis on it. So New Year, new me and as someone who is fast approaching the big 50 milestone I figured it was time to get serious. My change in attitude was helped by the fact that I had given my knees a bit of a thrashing over the years and now I’m paying the price – getting fit and losing weight is part of my long term goal to avoid surgery.

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been pretty focused – I make it to the gym at least 5 times a week. The treadmill is a no-no so I get my cardio from a combination of cycling, cross trainer and the rowing machine. I do high intensity bursts throughout a 40 minute session. Right now the rower is still my nemesis. I really need to work on my upper body! Strengthening the muscles around my knees and working on core strength, round out my basic program.

Through the week I have a couple of sessions with my trainer – this can be anything from boxing to weights, to cxworx. I’m never bored and always challenged with Kelly! She pushes me harder than I would by myself. I’ve got to the point now I feel like my day is missing something if I don’t get some form of exercise. But I also have learnt to accept that sometimes a busy schedule can mean missing a day every so often. I’ve had to travel a bit already this year so I’m always pleased when I find a way to include some exercise.

In the last month I’ve started tackling my eating habits – this has been hard, no one likes to admit they have bad habits! A food diary made me realise I was eating in response to stress. Now I stop and ask myself why am I eating – am I really hungry?

I’ve been a fan of Aquaforce for several years but I had only been using it when I was active, now I drink it throughout the day as well as when I work out – I’ve always believed it helped with focus and I find I actually drink more than if I was drinking plain water so I know I’m staying well hydrated. My son now joins me at the gym and he is also an Aquaforce fan.

So far I’ve seen a decrease in my overall measurements but only a minor decrease in weight. My fitness and energy has improved markedly which is very satisfying. The next step is to enlist the help of a dietician – I think I’m doing the right things but it would be nice to see better results! I have a goal for my birthday later this year and I want to reach it!