Sunday, 17 September 2017

What would happen if you just stopped trying?

What if you just stopped trying?

Something I have been hearing a lot of lately is, “I’m trying. Really, I am!”

It’s been used to explain the reasons (or excuses) for so many things, like not training regularly or not making great choices with food. The list is endless.

Our language, or the story we tell ourselves, does way more damage than we realise. What if the words you were saying to yourself were actually the trigger for NOT doing something? Telling yourself you are trying can oftentimes mask the fact that you’re not doing. Have you ever found that the story you kept telling yourself became the reason why you didn’t achieve what you set out to achieve, and then the cycle continued?

Try this as an example. Before bed you head off to brush your teeth, but rather than just brush your teeth you say to yourself – I am going to try to brush my teeth. What happens? First of all you have already hesitated, right? You may then start to find a few small reasons as to why, maybe, you shouldn’t brush your teeth. Then you might even find yourself distracted with another task and you’ve forgotten to brush your teeth altogether. Or, it’s suddenly not as important as the new task.

The same goes for exercising. You have every intention of going to the gym. Don’t TRY to go, just do it. Just like brushing your teeth, this should be automatic and should not require so much thought and dialogue. You shouldn’t give yourself the opportunity to become distracted or find something else that’s seemingly more important to do.

Eating well – I am TRYING to eat well, but then the biscuits keep falling into my mouth. Try this instead, I am eating well and making great choices because I want to nourish my body and feel strong and healthy. Once again don’t try to do it, just do it.

Interestingly, we may become really proud of ourselves for trying. All this does is attach a positive emotion to something that actually doesn’t move us forward. From here we become comfortable, and step out of our growth zone and into a spiral of getting nowhere.

Sometimes, I believe we are our greatest threat. Stop trying, start doing and watch how this simple change in language can have the greatest impact on your ability to move forward.

So what would happen if we just stopped trying?

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Losing Dad

Losing Dad

When my daughter was conceived we found out her birthday would be August 24, which would have been my father’s birthday. She was born on August 23, but she would have hung on until the 24th had we let her. So as I sit here on the afternoon of August 23, contemplating another year of my beautiful daughter’s life and staring down the barrel of another missed birthday that we would be celebrating for my father – I reflect.

My Dad and I when I was about the
age of my son now

 Every year now, we celebrate the high of my daughter’s birthday and then the next day I wake up with a deep sadness for the man I lost many years ago when I was only 20. Not a year passes when I don’t grieve for him on his birthday or on the anniversary of his very sudden death, and reflect on the years that have passed and the events he has missed as I navigated my way through adulthood.

I remember years ago, when a friend of mine lost her dad, she asked me if it ever gets easier. My impulse response was no, but you learn to cope. I really believe that when a daughter loses their dad, they lose a little piece of their heart that never, ever gets replaced. As time has passed I have learnt to cope with the pain, but it is always present.

Over the years there have been so many little moments that have always reminded me that dad is around. I have no real belief system in the afterlife, but I have had continual reminders that he is around. By dad had a wicked Irish sense of humor. He swore like a trooper and had he still been alive, he would have had the biggest following on Pinterest for ‘Tim memes.’

I have had many reminders of his humor and his love for me. There was the time I found myself at a very random psychic expo, about a year after we lost dad. A lady came up to me and started talking to me out of the blue. She straight up told me that I had recently lost my dad and that he needed me to get a message to mum. He wanted her to know that he was surprised at how sudden and early his death was, but that he was ok and that he was with his own mum. Where she got the information from is, and still is, irrelevant to me. I instantly knew that dad was by my side and always would be.

Dad and his mother (my grandmother), Rene.

 On my wedding day I recall going for an early morning run through the Bunya Mountains State Forrest. I had spread his ashes there a few years earlier and wanted to visit him. I came face to face with a big black dog about 4km into a rainforest in the middle of a protected state forest. It saw me, we both froze, then it turned and ran off into the forest. I felt at peace (after the initial shock!). I went about my wedding day knowing that my dad was with me the entire time, feeling peaceful and happy. We all joked that he even cleared the rain that day for us, just in time!

At the end of the night, when we headed back to our cabin, a black dog passed in front of us as we drove up the hill. A few weeks later, the curiosity got the better of me and I emailed the Bunya Mountains rangers who assured me that no dogs would be in the forest as it is protected. My dad will always be there for me to visit when I need to.

Over the years I have discovered that my dad has a unique way of being there for me. For the birth of my first child, Josie, I finally succumbed to an epidural after 20 or so hours of labour. In some surreal moment of serendipity, the man sent to administer the epidural for me that day was called Tim O’Brien – this was my father’s name. My angel. Needless to say I absolutely lost my shit and my poor mother had to explain my sudden hysteria to this unwitting doctor.

There have been so many moments in my life that my father has missed and for which I feel deep sadness, like the birth of my children, my marriage and that of my brother, and even ill health. But more importantly he’s missed the day-to-day stuff like building a fence, sorting out a car, or helping with my yard. You know, the dad stuff.

My brother, Nick, walked me down the aisle at my wedding
and my Uncle Mick, spoke on my father's behalf.
For both my brother and I, it was a bitter sweet moment.
Photo credit:

Over this past week, three of our clients have lost their dads and each time I hear of this loss I can connect deeply with the pain they must feel. And for whatever comfort this may bring I say to you this…know that he is always with you, looking out for you. He will send messages in his own special way. I truly believe this. No matter what your belief system, just have faith in your connection and love.

Most importantly, create your rituals around remembering him, or any parent or family member for that matter. For his birthday, I will have a Bundy Rum and Coke, as will my brother, and we will remember the man that took a little piece of my heart with him when he went to sleep that day at the very young and vibrant age of 56.
Dad, in his earlier years, made health choices
that ultimately led to his early death.
This contributes to my very strong desire
to help people turn their lives around
and make better choices so they can enjoy
many more years with their families. 

My brother, my mum and I. After losing dad.
Photo credit:

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Surviving DOMS (that post training agony)

DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Inspired by my current state, I felt the need to shed some light on this ‘serious’ problem engulfing gyms everywhere.

DOMS (which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is a condition triggered by commencing a new gym program or a change in your existing program. It is the pain you feel in your muscles 24-72 hours after you start exercising and is also known as a ‘serious injury’ to some people.

As I am currently in a state of severe DOMS and it hasn’t even hit the 24-hour mark since my training, I felt inspired to talk about my condition publicly.

Having just come out of a 6-month competition period where my training was very specifically designed to strengthen the big three lifts (squat, bench press and deadlift), my coach has now moved me into a conditioning phase. We are calling this phase ‘get hot for 40.’ Well, I am anyway. I’m pretty sure he is calling it ‘let’s see where CC’s threshold is and then push her past it.’

Anyway, it’s brutal and every part of my body hurts. Even my fingers!

This is completely normal. When you are living through this hell it is really hard to remind yourself that it is part of the process, let alone breathe, walk or eat. So having just stepped out of a scolding hot, magnesium bath, I thought it apt to spend some time addressing the real issues. DOMS – what is it, what will the next 1-4 days look like and what can you do to survive this torture?

What is DOMS?
The jury is out on what technically causes this pain in your muscles. There are some studies to indicate it is micro trauma of the muscle, or miniature tears. Being a current sufferer of DOMS, I can say with absolute certainty that there definitely is micro trauma in my legs right now. In fact, I have been quoted saying repeatedly this week, “nope – can’t do that – I have micro trauma!” (I have been VERY dramatic this week according to Tyler).

According to Cody Loopstra, Physiotherapist from All Sports Physio, The Gap, there is a physiological explanation for this pain.

"The process of tearing muscles while working out starts a cascade of chemical events within the small muscle fascicles that are micro-damaged from being progressively overloaded. As with any injuries, small amounts of inflammation occur – in this case Creatine Kinase (CK) – as well as the by product of lactic acid from energy output.

“The reason we get soooo sore after heavier sessions is due to larger amounts of CK being release. Warming down, or repeated exercise bouts (lower dosage) as well as massage, are effective ways of flushing out these chemicals to alleviate the pain. This does decrease over time as your body acclimatises to the load that is placed on it."

Cody Loopstra
BPhysio ; BExSpSci (Maj. Clin Ex Phys) Men's Health Physiotherapist Exercise Physiologist

DOMS will generally kick in 24-48 hours after your training session and can last for 4-5 days. It can hurt, like REALLY hurt. It can often be mistaken for an injury that needs rest. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve even had clients take time off work because of DOMS.

But the body needs to move. From personal experience with post exercise pain, remaining sedentary and resting will not help flush out this pain. I have found movement, gentle stretching and lots of water will provide relief.

Expect the following activities to be almost impossible:
Going to the toilet – you will need handrails either side of your toilet to help ease you onto the toilet seat. If you stay there for too long, I suggest a commando roll off the toilet is the best form of exit.
Brushing your hair – if you have completed a good quality arm day, brushing your hair or putting it into any kind of ponytail won’t work.  Get a hat and chuck it on.
Putting a bra on or off – Quite simply, don’t! Let your sistas hang free.
Stairs – this is a task that can’t be avoided, especially if you live in a house like mine with three flights of stairs. This week, I discovered you can in fact go up the stairs backwards. This requires less use of the quadriceps, which tends to really get hammered with DOMS after a solid squat session.

First of all…I have been regularly reminded this week – you will not die from DOMS. I suggest hot baths with lots of magnesium or Epsom salts. This won’t make it go away, but it will certainly ease out some of the stiffness.
Take magnesium regularly – this helps with muscle pain and cramps, and can certainly speed up the time spent in this hell
Foam roller and gentle stretching – if you can bring yourself to sit on a roller, this will definitely help with the stiffness. Most importantly, BREATHE when you are doing this!
Move – keep moving. Stick to your program, walk, move the body, and keep the blood pumping. This will stop you from stiffening up and prolonging the pain.

Finally, acknowledge that this is part of the process and that it will pass. The pain of DOMS definitely eases after the first 2-3 weeks of a new program and ironically you will come to miss that feeling. Even though, right now, I never want to feel like this again, I know I’ll be asking my coach in two weeks to ‘step it up!’