Facing Facts – Change Hurts.

This post has been kicking around in my head for a while. Fuelled by my body getting used to it’s ‘new normal’ over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what change means in my life and how I’ve finally been able to change the channel and start to get some shit done. For me.

I’m not sure yet whether I can put this down to some epiphany that I may or may not have had around turning 40, I think the timing is coincidental, however, a lot of things definitely fell into place around the end of April this year;

  1. I turned 40
  2. Dave and I went Samoa – sans kids
  3. 6 months of successful keto and 10kg lost
  4. I joined F45

The decade that was my thirties, was tough. We were still adjusting to life in New Zealand, namely the incredible expense of living here, Dave was nearing the end of an apprenticeship, we had very little money, HUGE financial pressure, I endured a missed miscarried which really fucked with my head for a long time, my Dad, was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and passed away 9 months later, we purchased our house with my Mum and began 8 years of living as an extended family (which was bloody amazing and I highly recommend it), and we welcomed Nixon to the family – along with his basket of medical complications.

I was a very tired birthday girl when 40 rolled around lol.

When my maternity leave was up after having Nixon I made the choice NOT to go back to working outside the home. This was the first big change in my life. The blog work was becoming more and more steady so I took a gamble and decided to go all-in (compared to now when I feel like I’m pretty much all-out lol). This paid off for around 3 years. I was able to generate a good income, work with some amazing partners and reap the benefits of working at home and being around for the boys. But, there’s always some sacrifice and for me that was my health – both mental and physical. I worked babes and I worked hard. My bum was literally glued to my office chair for 4 years straight, not a pretty sight, and I’d say, living and breathing that insta-life 24-7 had a massively detrimental effect on my already precipitous mental health. All my priorities were jacked up and backwards and I was making zero good decisions. August last year was also when I ripped every tendon in my right ankle and sheared two muscles as a bonus. What exercise? What healthy lifestyle Melissa? Where did these 15 bonus kilos come from?????

August 2018, 79kg. 2 months before starting keto

And so, in October 2018, after hating my body throughout an entire perfect family holiday in the Sunshine Coast (header image), I researched the keto diet and made the second BIG change in my life.

This is when I began to realise that change is some serious shit. And that the kind of change I was looking for was going to require a little more effort than simply going through the motions. I’m not just talking the old ‘lose some weight, physical transformation, #fitspo change, I’m talking ANY serious life change that may creep into your head and fly a flag every now and then. It could be a career change, quitting drinking, personal development, seeking medical attention – whatevs, but, the common denominator is that to successfully implement change, you’re going to have to work, and cry and then work again and again. Over and over.

Oh yeah, and it’s going to be REALLY, REALLY HARD.

I’d been kidding myself for years about my fitness. I could smash out a respectable 5km when needed, I was doing a reasonable amount of walking and I nodded my hat to some healthy food habits – some. But I was also totally full of shit. I knew that running a couple of 5kms each week had zero potential to shift the weight I needed to lose. Yes, it was better than nothing, but for me, it was essentially anaerobic exercise, with zero fat-burning potential. I know enough to read my Fitbit stats and shake my fist at the sky, but I was totally unable/unwilling to slow down and stretch those runs out to at least a 10km to get some fat burning in. To this day I’ve only ever run 10km ONCE.

This was all moot anyway as between August-January 2019 I was unable to exercise at all because of my ankle injury.

However, I was having some diet wins. Hard fought wins ’cause keto is no walk in the park. Putting what you eat under a spotlight and recognising that your ‘healthy’ breakfast and lunch is completely undone by the amount you consume over the 3pm witching hour, your portion size at dinner (of both wine and food!) and then the chocolate bedtime treat you hide in your nightstand is confronting! This is when you feel the hurt and the difficulty of change. It’s literally as simple as what you put in your mouth, duh WE KNOW, but succeeding at a lifestyle change requires changing habits (hard), changing your attitude towards food (hard), learning and educating yourself around your WHY and also HOW to implement these changes (hard and time-consuming), changing the way you feel about and deal with food in social situations (publicly hard) and then staying the course – hardest.

I had the best summer last year. I am the least body-positive person in the world and honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be on that bandwagon, but, I’d been working on those keto changes and what I did have for the first time in YEARS, was control. I felt in control of my eating, in control of how I looked and how I felt, and in control of future Melissa – I was on track, I knew where I wanted to be and I had a plan in place. God that felt good! Control and change saw me swimming at the beach more than I had in probably the past 10 years combined! It was liberating and fun and the mental load of such a massive change in diet was beginning to lessen as new habits solidified.

I found an amazing acupuncturist who, after a couple of months of intense work healed my ankle, so after Dave and I returned from Samoa it was go-time. Time to get to work with F45. For me, this was the hardest change of all. Keto was a mind game that I was ready and open to – it also helps that I love the food so I don’t feel deprived. Exercise, however, especially group exercise is where it hurt. I have joined so many gyms……….and quit. Purchased home exercise equipment………….and never used it, joined boot camps……….never to return, I was not at all convinced in my ability to keep showing up.

And guys, F45 is F*cKing HARD. It hurts. This is a change that physically HURTS. For weeks. The realisation that my muscles were working and functional after such a long period of neglect was great and it reminded me every second of every day how much I needed to keep going. BUT IT HURT SO BAD. It hurt during class when I would feel like throwing up and that my lungs were going to explode, it hurt when my arms hated myself so much for introducing this burpee nonsense to my life, it hurt when I discovered there is something worse than a burpee – the half burpee. But, after 6 weeks I started to feel the mental shift in my attitude towards classes. I wasn’t sitting in my car until the very last minute, I wasn’t hating every second, I wasn’t wondering every day if I’d be able to make myself go back again the next day. New habits were forming and it felt good!

I’m four months deep in this F45 Massey madness and the results blow me away every day, but for me, the biggest success is that I keep showing up. I literally high-five myself every morning for just getting through that door. That’s how hard this has been for me, and I’m still proud as hell for just getting my ass there lol.

I guess what I’m rambling on about is this; if change is what you want, how hard are you prepared to work for it either mentally or physically? Because I know now, that for me if it’s not hard as hell and if it’s not hurting me in the form of mental discipline or sacrifice or muscle fatigue, then quite simply, nothing is going to change – the proof is in the static life I had been living for the past decade.

It sounds ridiculously hardcore (it’s not really!) but put it in context; I’m not training for an IronMan here, I was just an overweight housewife who had been kidding herself for years about the effort she had dedicated to positive change and self-improvement.

And then I decided to do something about it.

And it hurt!

Fitbit Versa: My Winter #Fitspo

Nevermind how truthful such statements might be, I’ve never been one to live and die by mantras such as;

Summer bodies are made in winter.

The facts are, the gym and I aren’t ever going to be friends and my natural inclination to hibernate during winter is strong so, if there is a season in which all good intentions fall off the wagon – winter is it.

Despite this, the past few months have been revelatory for me, and it all kicked off with a throwaway comment during lunch with a friend.  We were discussing the frustrations of living with our middle-aged-mum bodies and the struggle of deciphering what advice/diets/workout plans we should or shouldn’t be prescribing to.  I’m not running at the moment (more on that later!) but mentioned to my friend that monitoring your heart rate during workouts was a good way to ensure your activity matched whatever goals you might be working towards.  This was a lightbulb moment for me as I remembered the Fitbit functionality that automatically maps your heart rate zones during exercise.  Right now, I want to be burning fat during workouts and maintaining an (almost) daily exercise routine – that means power walking.  6kms per day, around an hour, putting me in the fat burning zone for approx 50 mins and tracking this daily on my Fitbit app.

Put simply, moving and doing it more often are my top priorities.

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I love checking in with my Fitbit app or the desktop site to see the results of my daily walks – in the zone baby!

The past 6 weeks have seen me create space in my day that I didn’t think I had, and dedicate that time to myself.  Exercising has to be a non-negotiable part of my routine and I think I’ve finally arrived at that sweet spot where the habit is sticking, yay!

I’m a total magpie and LOVE my gadgets so no surprises that the latest Fitbit iteration, Versa (RRP $349.95) caught my eye – as they always do – and I was excited to review it.  There’s a lot to be said for the persuasive power of measurement and accountability and as I’ve been a Fitbit user for years now I know first hand how effective wearable tech can be when it comes to keeping you on track.  I definitely lean towards Fitbit’s fully functional range, loving the multitude of features in the Ionic (built in GPS) and now the Versa.

What I LOVE about the New Fitbit VersaNew Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor Fitbit Versa Review

  • The battery life is awesome.  Specs say ‘over 4 days of battery life’ and this is legit.  Plus, the new charger is the best Fitbit charger yet, secure and FAST.
  • Slim profile.  Guys, let’s face it if you don’t need a built-in GPS then why pay for one or make room for one in your watch?  When I’m running (soon, baby!), I love the accuracy of the Ionic, but, you pay for this in size.  The Versa is gorgeous, no joke.  It’s all slim and curvy and is super comfy to wear.  10/10 for design.
  • Water-resistant to 50m!!! yus.  I’m no swimmer but Mum life dictates I’m washing dishes, laundry, dogs and children multiple times per day and as a Rugby mum (and Rugby Club Captain) I’m out in the weather a LOT.  I’ve always been a little bit precious about my Fitbits getting wet so love that my faves, Versa and ionic are both water resistant.
  • Improved sync:  I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t use one of the big 2 phone brands (currently Huawei Mate 10 Pro),  but sometimes syncing was a bit iffy with previous Fitbit products.  The Versa syncs easily and quickly with my on-phone app which makes me soooo happy as my Fitbit dashboard is life!  
  • It’s just SO pretty.  This is a BABE watch team, that just so happens to look equally good on both men and ladies.
  • Fitbit app.  I’ve been using this for years and it just gets better and better.  I’m loving the addition of the Female Health module, which is helping me track my period – and associated moods (gasp!), plus I’m becoming more and more aware of how important it is for me to consciously increase the amount of sleep I’m getting each night.  The Fitbit app tracks sleep beautifully and provides such great feedback and info that you seriously can’t help but want to do better for your body and your life in general.

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How I’m staying motivated this winter

  • Using my Fitbit Versa as my support team and my coach.  Gyms don’t work for me, being personally accountable DOES.
  • Podcasts are GO.  I can easily smash out my hour-long walk by zoning out and listening to some awesome content.  I use Podcast Player on my android phone and some of my faves are; Death in Ice Valley, Fat Mascara, Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, The Minimalists, This Sounds Serious.
  • Doing less gives you time for more.  I’ve stopped saying YES to other peoples demands so I have more time for what I need to do – which is scheduling exercise for my mental and physical health.  Blocking off 1 hour per day for me is NOT a sacrifice, it’s something that positively impacts my life and has a flow on effect on my family.
  • Embrace the weather and prepare for it.  Winter sucks, winter in Auckland sucks more.  Walking in wild, winter weather is kinda liberating.  Embrace it, wear a hat so the rain stays out of your eyes, put a jacket on and go for it.  Letting go of excuses is priming me for great things I can feel it!

I’m so pumped on my daily walks right now, I’d love to know how you’re pushing through during this awful weather and getting your workouts in,  leave me a comment below if you’d like to share!

PS – Versa also has on-screen workouts so if dodging hail isn’t your thing, squeeze in a 10-minute ab workout while you’re hibernating with Netflix!  

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My Mum Body

Like many (MANY) Mondays, I woke this week determined to pay for the excesses of the weekend.

Tell me I’m not the only repeat offender who does this?

There was a bit of carb-fest on Sunday as we hibernated, watched a movie and lazed around with the kids after a fairly epic Saturday night farewelling the 2016 rugby season with Dave’s team formal at the club.

So, in full My-Body-is-my-Temple-mode, I punched out a steady 5.5km run on Monday with Dave pushing Nixie in the stroller.  I’m always about 15 paces behind Dave and was harassed by a retired gentleman who noted that it looked like Dave was doing all the hard work!  Bastard!  I tried to think of a snappy retort but let’s face it, even if inspiration had struck it wasn’t like I had any puff in me to yell it over my shoulder at him.

He’ll keep.

It wasn’t the fastest run, I did get a little distracted by Pokemon along the way, but I did it.  And I felt quite good!  Knowing that I’d be writing a blog post for Berlei this week – you’re reading it now fyi – I thought, this is the perfect time to get an authentic, subtle, Mummy-appropriate snap of one of my new Berlei sports bras.

Instead, and all my self-conscious sensibilities are screaming at me NOT to post this image on the internet, I got this picture;

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Berlei Sports Bra

Nixon, having a fan-freaking-tastic time (I mean LITERALLY almost in tears he was giggling so much!) investigating the momentous squishiness of Mummy’s Big Boom-Boom Tummy – his words NOT mine!  I’m a toddler stress ball I guess.  I would add that to my Linkedin profile if I actually thought anyone looked at minor Mummy Blogger profiles!

So, here’s the truth, I HATE that belly, I despise my thighs and I really, really dislike the bingo-wings that have shown up recently.

I have a Mum Bod. And, it’s not one of the Beautiful Mum Bods either.  But it’s mine and it still likes, and is able to run and play touch rugby and surf and dance on a Saturday night every now and then.

Mums and their Mum Bod’s need sports bras too.  There’s a lot of wobbling that goes on when I decide to work-out and this makes me feel even more self-conscious.  The secret to minimising my wobbles and therefore maximising my exercise motivation is twofold; compression tights and a really, really amazing sports bra.  Which is where Berlei come in, I mean if they’re the only bras Serena Williams trusts then who am I to argue?

By removing some/all of the factors that can cause you to be self-conscious you can focus your mental energy on the task at hand – actually completing your goal distance, making it to the next lamppost before you stop running, getting out there day after day in the pursuit of health.  Not a thigh-gap, or abs, but simple health.

If my boobs are protected and aren’t bouncing and my thighs aren’t rubbing together and eating a pair of too short running shorts, then I feel comfortable and that means that I’ll get back out there the next day, and hopefully, the next day after that.  That’s a Mum win right?

Berlei is the #1 sports bra brand in New Zealand and their new range is both totally gorgeous and serious about reducing breast bounce, up to 60%! I breast-fed two kids and am now a c-cup so I’m pretty keen to minimise the trauma my boobs have to go through on a day-to-day basis – Mums need support too!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Berlei Sports Bra

These are my two faves from the new range and the bras I’ll be wearing this season for touch rugby and running; (L) Shift Contour Bra (those straps are SO wide and comfy!) and  (R) the Electrify Underwire Bra.  Both have convertible straps which is awesome for those hot summer touch rugby games and killer runs where you have to wear a tank top or pass out from heat exhaustion!

Both are available now from Farmers in store and online.

Fit Tech – how to get the most bang for your bounce!

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If you’re talking about one ‘toy’ or piece of play equipment that just hasn’t disappeared from New Zealand backyards over the past 50 years, it’s undoubtedly the trampoline.  Seemingly immune to trends, kiwi kids simply LOVE to bounce!

In typical NZ Dad fashion, my first trampoline was made by my father who was an engineer.  He carried me downstairs to our rumpus room at the time, where he threw me, blindfolded, onto the tramp.  We replayed this gorgeous surprise when our eldest son turned 3 and we’ve been trampoline owners ever since!

Our tramp has become the outside go-to for the boys and their friends over the past few years.  More hours than I can remember have been spent on the black mat, in the sun, in the rain, inventing games and practising wrestling maneuvers lol (remember this post where I made Ethan a wrestling dummy to play with on the tramp?).

But, if we‘re being really honest, times are changing.  Unfortunately the pull of screen time has become more and more attractive, especially for my older son.

Thank goodness the resilient trampoline is NOT going down without a fight!  Global innovators in active play, Springfree Trampoline have already given the humble tramp a 21st century makeover and now they’re taking on the tablets with tgoma.

Take Gaming Outside & Make It Active!

We work pretty hard as a family to show our kids a healthy lifestyle and the easiest way to do this (in my opinion) is to exercise with your kids and do it regularly.

We’ve been loving the tech/tramp integration that tgoma has brought to our yard.  It’s super easy to set-up, we’ve all created profiles on the app and now we can track exactly how many bounces we’ve done (+ jump time, energy burnt, height jumped etc).  We can monitor our global rankings against other tgoma jumpers – I LOVE this, hello Miss Competitive! – and participate in Trans-Tasman battles playing the Fruitants game.

I’ve picked our 5 favourite ways we’ve been using our tgoma this week, I’m sure this will change as we all find our favourite apps and challenges – it was pretty hard to narrow it down to these actually!

  1. FreeBounce – This app was a surprise to me, as my initial perception of tgoma was that it was strictly a gaming platform for trampolines.  This isn’t the case at all.  FreeBounce doesn’t detract from traditional fun play on your trampoline at all – it simply tracks the time, number of jumps, kj’s burned and height jumped while playing or working out.  Kind of like a Fitbit for your tramp!  The boys have their own games they have invented and like to simply ‘play’ on the tramp so using FreeBounce lets them do that, while still tracking exercise time – great for my big boy who is very quantitative!  Nixon couldn’t care less of course lol!New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog tgoma springfree
  2. Alien Stomp – This is Nixon’s pick.  He can sometimes be a little hesitant about initiating individual play on the trampoline but this game is perfect for getting him out there and jumping!  His enthusiasm is definitely there and his developing gross motor skills will be benefitting so much as he learns to control his bounces around the mat and stomp the aliens! (Ethan is also quite partial to Alien Stomp just quietly!)New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog tgoma springfree
  3. tgoma Fit – this is my fave guys.  6 minute workout blasts that kill!  Completing all 5 in a row is #GOALS.  The Blogging / Mummy combo means that whenever my ‘Boss’ Nixon lets me I’m at my desk frantically trying to write.  As such, I’m loving sneaking outside and punching out a couple of guided workouts throughout the day – it’s getting my blood flowing, boosting my energy and helping with productivity and exercise motivation.  Totally hooked!New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog tgoma springfree
  4. Stickers! – Nix and I like to play this together.  There is no goal, aim or rules, each bounce on the mat simply places a sticker in the corresponding place on the screen.  We actually just spent 20 minutes bouncing around laughing at our ‘splats’, ‘kitty cats’ and ‘squiggles’.  This is simple fun, done right.  A lot of parents definitely struggle with imaginative play with young kids, games like this give you and your child a starting point and the tools and trust me, it’s easy to take it from there!New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog tgoma springfree
  5. 2048 – Dave, Ethan and I have been playing this addictive number game on our phones for well over a year now so it’s been really fun to take it outside and get both our brains and our body’s working!  This is another great challenge where you can keep an eye on the leaderboard and get competitive with the family!New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog tgoma springfree

Our first two weeks with our tgoma Springfree Trampoline have been so much fun.  I haven’t been this excited about a tramp since I was a little girl!  I have a feeling that we will discover more and more ways we love to use tgoma together over the coming months and years.  

As an early-adopter myself, I love new tech and this definitely has a flow-on effect within our family.  The pervasive nature of digital devices and the roles they play within the modern family isn’t going to diminish, so I’m particularly stoked to see innovators like Springfree channelling tech in a way that provides multi-layered benefits to both kids and their parents.

Win an iPad Mini 9 with tgoma Springfree!

This prize is ahhh-mazing so you’re going to have to work for it! – 10 jumps on the spot NOW!

Just joking.

What you DO have to do, is head to the Springfree website > click here, read all about tgoma, then come back and comment below with one of the many features of the tgoma app.  Easy right?

Stay tuned for the next tgoma Springfree post for a 2nd chance to get in the draw.  You can enter as many times as you like in separate comments.

Competition closes 10/7/16 @ 10pm.  NZ residents only.

Run Fail

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Kids Fitness Running

I’ve sitting down thinking hard about the run I just returned from.  

It was supposed to be 6km.  It was 4km.

It was supposed to be fast.  It was slow.

I imagined it to be moderate.  It absolutely nailed me.

I quit after 4km and walked home.

Run Fail.

But it’s not really is it?  4km is a damn sight better than 0km, reality just failed to live up to my expectations this morning.  And that’s life I suppose.  Goals are not always met on the first attempt and though I wasn’t running to further my distance or better a time this morning I was expecting to be able to hit 5km at least!

Running has been by far the most difficult activity I’ve ever engaged in.  More so than surfing even.  For me it’s a constant struggle of mind vs body, will vs won’t, love it hate it.  That’s what I never expected when I laced up my sneaks and started running a year ago.  I thought it would get easier, that I’d get to a certain point and it would be all onwards and upwards.  Instead, I feel like I begin every run not knowing whether I’ll be able to complete it or not.  What I do know is that without Dave’s help and motivation I would have packed it in a long time ago.  

SO, that’s the only advice I can give you if you’re thinking about starting to run – find someone to share the journey with.  I’m sure everyone has their off days and having someone to lean on a little when you really, really can’t be assed makes getting out of the door a teensy bit easier.

So, after a year, I’m still not ‘there’, wherever ‘there’ is.  I still don’t feel like I can call myself a runner, I sure as hell don’t feel or look like a runner and to be honest, those 5kgs I started running to lose haven’t budged one inch.

Shit.

Set a Goal – 5 Reasons to Enter a Fitness Event……NOW!

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On Sunday I finished my first ever, road running event.

This was my second fitness event – I ran the Mud Run back in winter.  So a lifetime total of TWO events!  In one year!  

I actually can’t believe it!

The Skechers Women’s 6k was a game changer for me.  After a cracking summer of running and a great autumn, winter became the massive mental hurdle I had dreaded.  Entering my first road run 5 weeks out gave me the motivation to kick my ass back into gear and start taking my running seriously again.

The event itself was amazing.  The Cloud played host to thousands of women and their families so well.  There was ample room for everyone, a great warmup, plenty of accessible toilets and vendors providing drinks and food, JJ Harvey was a fantastic MC and the vibe was just SO good!  Women as far as the eye could see, endorphin pumped ladies ready to run, run/walk or just walk the flat 6km course that is perfect for any level of fitness.  I entered with three goals in mind and managed to smash 2 of them (I ran 6km in 32.32!!! My fastest pace ever!).  Other women I know entered simply to see if they could complete the 6km.  They did and they felt fabulous for doing so let me tell you!

Let’s talk about the course.  I’m sure it was gorgeous – I mean waterfront Auckland is hard to beat, but the truth is, I didn’t look at the water once.  Not.  One.  Peek.  So you’ll just have to enter next year and check it out for yourself lol.  The Skecher’s course is definitely a runners dream, wide pavement on one side plus an open lane on the road.  Makes for a fast course if that’s your jam.  Not entirely flat, there is an incline at about the 2 and 4 km marks which you can definitely feel when you’re running, it’s little but it nailed me!

The logistics of getting to The Cloud and ready to run by 8am were such a non-event.  I was thinking about bussing but decided to drive and I’m so glad I did.  For the first time in my life I got a park on the ground floor(!) of my fave Victoria St carpark and enjoyed a casual stroll though a very peaceful Auckland City on a Sunday at 7.15 am.  Another first!  Total parking cost $6.

So.  Do it friends!  Set a goal and make some positive changes.  Having an event on a particular date to work towards definitely helps keep you motivated and on track, it’s also a little bit addictive – I’m already thinking about entering another event plus I know I’ll be back next year to run the Skecher’s again!

5 Reasons to Enter a Fitness Event……NOW!

  1. Trying new things is fun and super important.  We are creatures of habit and I’m sure you’ve got a few habits that could use replacing just like I do right?  Switch them out for some new, healthful habits and start a chain-reaction of  positivity in your life.
  2. Giving yourself opportunities to make YOURSELF proud is a rare thing as an adult.  Completing a physical challenge or distance for the first time is a sure-fire way to get you feeling good about being you!
  3. Your fitness and physical health is a great reason in itself to enter an event!  It doesn’t matter who you are or what body you’re in, DOING MORE STUFF is always good for you!
  4. Find your tribe.  Committing to an event is a great way to find and meet likeminded people all working towards the same goal.  Friends are cool and working out together makes sweating and turning red and stinky a little more enjoyable!
  5. Goody bags!  If nothing else so far has you convinced, remember; there are always goody bags full of awesome products to take home and try (or scoff in the car after you have finished the run like me lol!)

Here’s a pretty version for pinning or sharing to Facebook!

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The Running Gear that Gets Me Moving

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fitness BloggerThe Skecher’s Women’s 6k is now only 4 days away!  I’ve upped my training over the past few weeks with Coach (hubby lol) and I’m feeling pretty good about it – excited even!  I rarely get to run such a straight, flat course so I can’t wait, my usual routes around our neighbourhood are short straights with twists and turns onto little road after little road.  It drives me crazy!

I’m such a routine based runner, that my gear, and the habitual use of it every time I run is really important to me.  My head still beats me on many days, I can be turned off going for a run by a flat battery in one of my gadgets, the slightest sprinkle of rain or legs that are a touch sore from the day before.  Terrible I know!

So, here’s a roundup of the gear I’m loving, and the gear that’s keeping me on track and accountable;

My No-Fail Running Kit

Skechers Go Run Ride 4

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fitness BloggerMy first pair of Skechers and I’m running a 6k in them!  The Ride 4’s are a much more low-profile shoe than the NB pronators I usually run in so I was a bit scared to be honest!  I needn’t have been as these are some good, great, really good runners.  They’re lightweight, snug around the heel and achilles, fitting through the arch but with lots of freedom in the toe area.  Did I mention they’re light?  Because they are really, really light.  And flexible, much more so than any other shoe I’ve ever worn.

A great choice for those who err towards minimalist shoes, there’s lots of tech here but it’s cleverly integrated into a feather-weight formula that’s lovely to run in.

I can’t find these on the Skechers NZ website, but was fitted in-store by Summer, store manager at Skechers Albany.  She was super helpful, listened to my preferences and brought me an awesome range of shoes to try on and work through.  I’d highly recommend taking the time to get fitted!

Triumph Triaction Sports Bras

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fitness BloggerI actually just want to rave about these bras, seriously.  I’ve been wearing Triaction wired bras to play touch in for the past 3 years after always wearing crops for sport.  There is NO comparison, especially if you are a C+ cup.  I will never, ever go back to wearing a crop style top.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m totally not a Boob Girl.  When I’m running or playing touch the thought of the girls wobbling around makes me want to stay in bed.  Things need to be locked up tight, I’ve got enough loose parts without feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable about my boobs.  

The two bras I’ve been training in are the Endurance and Performance.  I love them equally (with ALL the heart-eye emojis!).  You can cross the straps at the back for added support, but seriously, NO BOUNCE.  At all.  Please try one of these bras on, you will not look back!

Available at quite a few places but def try Rebel Sport, Bras ‘n Things and Farmers.

Lululemon Active Wear

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fitness BloggerTop Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fitness BloggerAhhhh lord I love my active wear.  It’s a fact. And most of all, I love Lululemon active wear.  I’ve always loved running in compression tights, it’s just my thing.  When I wear shorts I find I’m forever fussing with them and pulling down the hem……plus, much like the bra situation above, compression fabric means no wobbles.  Win.

So, my training gear has included the Tight Stuff 7/8 Tights ($165) which are described as ‘moderate compression’.  I would rate these higher than that, they are freaking awesome!  Technically top level with tonnes of value adds, such as reflective detailing, stash pockets and the amaze sweat wicking Luxtreme fabric.  Described as high rise, I find they are not, or at least not on me.  Which is unfortunate as I feel like they are falling down the whole time I’m running.  They’re not of course, they are just sitting in a low-rise position, leaving mum-tum free to roam, groan.  That’s my only complaint, what’s not to love about tiny scalloped detailing on the hem?!

On the top half, it was love at first sight when I laid eyes on the Vent it Out Singlet ($79).  The fishtail detail on the open back is sublime and the Swift Ultra-Light fabric is nothing short of joyous to wear.  I’m not exaggerating I promise!  The fall is perfection and non clingy.  You cannot go past this tank in terms of looks and comfort.

Fitbit Surge™ Fitness Super Watch

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fitness BloggerI’m a total gadget geek.  I’m also a completely quantitative, competitive soul.  Needless to say, I need to know my pace and distance at all times throughout a run…….I’ll totally sprint the last km if it means I’ll make a timing goal.  I’ve been using a Garmin 220, and just switched camps to the Fitbit Surge ™ over the past week.  There really isn’t too much in common with these two, totally different creatures.  The Surge™ combines elements of a smart watch with the functionality of a pretty comprehensive sports tracker.  It relies a lot more on integration with the app on my Note 4 than the 220.  For example, I can’t seem to review prior activity on the tracker itself, I need to go into the app to do that.  The touch screen is kind of amazing, I love it and the UI is relatively simple to get your head around.  

It’s a big device.  I don’t mind that as I like chunky, heavy watches and jewellery, but the size may be too much for some women.  I feel like I’ve only scraped the surface of what this watch can do so I’m excited to find out more when I reconnect with the team from Fitbit this week.

I’m loving the social features the app provides!  Within hours of setting it up I had found my friends and been invited to participate in a Weekday Challenge to get my step-count up.  This makes working out fun!

Honorable Mentions

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fitness BloggerMy BFF’s, Plantronics Backbeat FIT wireless headphones have quite simply changed running for me, cable-free music is liberating!  These guys pair easily via bluetooth plus are sweat proof, flexible and super comfortable.  So good I bought a second pair for Dave. 

Spotify Premium – Dave and I are both addicted to this amaze service (neither of us can run without music) which allows you to make your playlists available offline, so you’re not slogging through your data whilst running.  An essential service IMO.

There you have it!  My running go-to-gears, all of which I’ll be sporting on Sunday at the Skechers Women’s 6k, entries don’t close until midnight on the 13th so there’s still time to get in on this awesome event.  Read more about my running journey here.  Hope to see you on Sunday!  

10 Months of Running | Join Me for the Skechers Women’s 6k and win!

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I know not everyone has aspirations to be a runner, but I always, always have.  I was pretty good at a few sports growing up and fair to middling at the rest.  I gave everything a go and joined every sports team there was on offer at school.  But I was never a runner.  Cross country days hurt me, deep down in my young soul.  God I hated them.

So I cannot really explain what happened last December, 2 days before Christmas, when I put on some sneakers and decided to run.  It really was as simple as that.

I’ve written about it before (here) so I won’t elaborate too much, but over the past 10 months I’ve increased my distance, improved my pace and settled into running in a way I had never imagined I would.  I have gone from struggling to run 1km to where I’m at now, which is comfortably running 5km in under 30 minutes.

I’m proud of that.  It’s no Olympic time, but it’s an excellent Melissa time.

How I learned how to run 5km

So December 2014.  No running.  23rd December 2014, I power walked 4km and ran 1km at the end.

This was honestly the hardest kilometre I’ve ever completed in my life.  And I barely made it to be honest.  I wasn’t prepared for how uncomfortable, wobbly, jiggly and out of breath I would feel.  I was self-conscious and full of negative self-talk.

But I was secretly pretty stoked I did it.

I did this walk/run combo 3 0r 4 more times.  Then I increased the running distance to 1.5 km and followed the same pattern.  Repeating the increased increment 3 or 4 times before adding another half km onto the running distance, always working within the 5km parameter – I think this was a big mental milestone for me!

I took it slowly and after a couple of months, I made it to 5km.  

I COULD RUN 5 FREAKING KILOMETRES!!!!  Huge milestone for me.  To be honest, I haven’t progressed much further distance wise since.  I’ve hit 7km a couple of times when I was pushing hard, but I really love the short sharp burst that a good 5km gives me.

But.  Next month, on the 15th of November, I’m running the Skechers Women’s 6k in Auckland.  My friend Penny from Little Housewife and I had been discussing doing a run or race together and there were heaps of reasons why we decided to choose the Skechers event;

  • Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween Decor6k is a great distance which suits all levels.  Trust me, this is a totally achievable distance for either walkers or runners – and you can do either, it doesn’t matter!
  • The course is flat.  Flat as a pancake.  Along the waterfront in Auckland in lush, pre-summer November, perfectly scheduled for all of our ‘get fit for summer’ resolutions!
  • Everyone gets a goody bag!
  • There are amazing prizes to be won on the day such as a trip to Hawaii for the best dressed trio and a brand new Mazda!

So, what do you think?  Ready to give it a go with us?  Online registrations close 13 November and Penny assures me this is such a fun event – she did it last year!

Plus, Skechers have an amazing prize pack to give away to one lucky reader!  Valued at over $250 it includes a pair of Skechers GOwalk 3 shoes, a Skechers Performance towel, sports-bag and drink bottle, a range of Sculpt product and a shaker, and tickets for you and a friend to attend Skechers 6k – the perfect pack to provide you with everything you need to get up and on your feet!

There are three ways to enter:

  1. Comment below and tell me who you would invite to the event
  2. Head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and follow the instructions on the competition image here
  3. Enter via this image on Instagram

Competition closes 30/10/15 @ 5pm.

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Tough Gal 2015. I did it, in body if not mind

The irony of completing this years Tough Gal challenge to close out one of the most difficult weeks I’ve had in recent memory is not lost on me I assure you.  The poignancy of it, the lovely group of women I did the event with and, let’s be honest, the fact that I fucking killed it with no training (!) has helped strengthen my resolve this week and get my head back in the game.  At the very least I am aiming not to cry for the next seven days!

The past week was a nightmare of scheduling, events, appointments, meetings, sports, kindy visits, play dates, volunteer obligations, a tragic funeral and a running race.  Combine that with a toddler who is transitioning out of his daily nap and the resulting sleep schedule has seen me up in the middle of the night multiple evenings or just sleeping beside Nixie’s cot on the floor, passed out from sheer exhaustion.

Let’s throw in a little bit of blog drama shall we?  I learnt a lesson this week (I actually learnt it twice fml!) and it’s one that any aspiring blogger needs to learn quick and fast; nothing online belongs to you.  Your ideas, your posts, your creative vision, something you’ve worked so hard on for months……it can all be taken, tweaked, a new label put on it and it’s gone.  Anything you post online is fair game and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Don’t be fooled, the blogging game in New Zealand is small.  Yes, it’s growing everyday and there are beautiful friendships  and support networks that have blossomed as a result, but don’t let anyone tell you it’s not competitive because it damn sure is.  Everyone wants a piece of the pie and if you thought a particular pie was yours then you better think again sister.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter too much.  It hurts but it doesn’t matter.  Like anything, concerning yourself excessively with what others are doing is only a disservice to yourself.  Bringing the focus back inward has helped me just ‘survive’ the week and move on.

But the Tough Gal event was all kinds of amaze!  

I was so nervous, I almost threw up.  I overcame this by saying to my new-found friend Rebecca, “let’s do this, let’s go right to the front of the starting tunnel, charge it and get it done – fast!”.  The end result wasn’t exactly fast in my opinion, 47 minutes for the 6km course, but I was pretty happy with my placing of 31st/316 in the Under 39 Female division and 158/742 finishers. Hell yes!

I have never been so dirty in my entire life.  I’m pretty good at just embracing whatever environment I’m in.  I don’t stress about sand at the beach (I mean, how can you?  You’re at the BEACH!), and I literally just dived into the mud run and got on with it.  Crawling over the mud was way faster in most instances then trying to wade through it, next year I’ll wear some rugby boots because lack of traction on the slopes is where valuable time is lost.  The second half was the best.  The very large mud obstacles were behind me and there was a long flat stretch where I could stretch my legs and just run, until hitting one of the man-made obstacles of course!  These were cake though compared to the mud in the first half.  The last 3 km’s go so much faster than the first 3 thank god, but finishing with a mudslide into an icy pool was a bit rough!

The day was gorgeously sunny and *almost* warm-ish.  I can’t imagine how much more difficult this event would be in the rain, which you pretty much have to bank on seeing as it’s held in winter!  I consider myself very lucky to have gotten my first mud event under my belt in dry conditions.  

Thanks so much to Rosie, from Fit Mama for organizing her team and letting me be a part of it.  It was beyond awesome to meet you amazing ladies and knock the bastard off yesterday – in more ways then one!

Have a great week everyone xx

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3 Tips to Push Through a Running Plateau

If you follow me on Instagram you may be aware that over the past month I have hit a bit of a wall with my running.  Despite a long and distinguished career {I began running way back in December 2014!}, I had never hit the wall like this before and to tell the truth was beginning to lose interest.  I SO want to keep going, my body hasn’t felt this strong and fit in years and I was achieving something I had always wanted to master – the simple act of running for fitness.  My head has always been the weakest link.  I was counting the minutes and landmarks along my route until my run was over.  I was opting for the half km shorter route more often than I was completing the full 6k.  I was beating myself up over increasing pace and failing to improve over both distance and time.  I had plateaued hard and hit the ‘beginner runners hump’.

I *think* I may have cracked it this weekend though.  I tried a few different things and after this morning’s run I’m feeling pumped and looking forward to tomorrow’s workout – I haven’t been able to say that for about 6 weeks!

Though I’m no running expert, I thought I’d share these 3 simple tips which helped me get my ass into gear and enjoy running again;

    1. Run with a friend – Since I began I have always run on my own, aside from a few family runs where E rides his bike, Dave pushes Nix in the buggy and we both wear headphones anyway.  Even with the 15kg Nixie + Mountain Buggy handicap Dave kicks my ass and burns off into the distance, not to be seen again until I arrive home  w a y  after him.  Last week I cornered a Mum who lives nearby and also runs regularly and suggested we run together over the weekend.  It was just what the doctor ordered!  Having someone to chat with to got me out of my head, shifted the focus off the minutes and km’s and Map my Run and before we knew it we had hit 5.5km and had enjoyed a killer workout.
    2. Change your route – I am a freaky weird creature of habit so naturally had carried my boring ways over into my running.  I have run the same route every day since the New Year, tacking extra 1/2 kms on every now and then to bump up my distances.  The problem with this is, ahh, many things!  My body had become totally used to the route, my thighs knew when the hill was coming, all of me cringed when it was time to do the 1km around the rugby field {why is running on grass SO hard?} and I mentally hated the little add ons at the end, all I could think was “I can do the extra bit or go straight home like I used to”.  Having a mental ‘extra bit’ qualifies it as optional.  My head does better when a run is a defined 6km, rather than a 5.5km with an optional extra.  The second benefit of running with my friend was that she showed me a whole new route to explore and work in to where I was running.  I hit the new course again this morning and felt so good!  From here on I’m going to try to have three routes in my arsenal and alternate them throughout the week.
    3. Run to a goal –  My friend Penny from Little Housewife posted on Instagram how stoked she was at running her first 5k under 30 minutes.  I had never considered setting a goal prior to a run so set myself the same target as Penny this morning and what do you know, 5k in 28:39!  Though getting hung up on metrics isn’t a good idea for me, I like the idea of having a long term goal to work towards, which is why by the end of 2015 I want to be running 10k regularly.  So aiming to get 5k under 28 minutes will be something I look at achieving over the next month.

Not mind-blowing stuff, but changing things up a bit will help me keep me focussed and maintain running frequency throughout the year.  Got to get through winter yet though!  eeep!

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