Category Archives: Exercise

Surfer Dude

Trolled down to Garrettstown this morning to pay a visit to the surf school sale. Really looking for shore boots and maybe a buoyancy aid for the Nibser.

Arrived around 10:45 and Jon said, “There’s a lesson starting at 11:00, why not join it?”. So rather than think about it for another week and get stressed over it I accepted the place on the lesson.

Why get stressed about it? Well the idea of surfing is something very new to me; I mean I’ve spent the last 52 years carefully avoiding the water and here I am voluntarily going in the sea. I don’t know why I’ve always been afraid (petrified!) of the water (sea, swimming pool, puddle); but I have. However last month we saw the Nibser having a fantastic time at Surf2Heal (she has no fear at all) so I resolved to overcome my trepidation and get stuck in so that I can feel comfortable taking her in the water.

Did I stand up on the board? Not today; but I did get on a board in the sea; and that’s a great start.

Update… That was Sunday and now it’s Tuesday evening. Since the lesson every muscle group in my body has been queuing up to howl in protest at the exertion it’s been put through. Just goes to show how unfit I am and what a good work over surfing is!

Surf2Heal 2008

In the last week in August we were very fortunate to be offered a place on the first surf camp to be run in Ireland for Children with Autism; Surf2Heal. Our daughter, who’s eight, had only recently been diagnosed with the condition this was the first opportunity for us to meet with other parents of autistic children as well as an opportunity for Roisin to try surfing.

The camp was being run by Garrettstown Surf School near Kinsale, Co. Cork. Somehow they’d amassed an army of volunteers to help out with the weeks activities from autism professionals, speech and language exports and special needs assistants there was a body of trained and dedicated people to help support us and Rosin during the weeks activities.

I was unsure at the start of the week just how things would go. Each child was booked for an hour and a half session in the sea with two instructors. I know Roisin loves the sea; but I wasn’t sure if she’d rebel at putting a wet suit on or just how she’d manage going out into deeper water. My initial fears were soon allayed. The wet suit was no problem (I think because she was prepared for this) and each child was fitted with a buoyancy aid so she felt safe in the sea.

She had a fantastic time and by the third day was able to stand on the surf board. The smile on her face is a memory I shall carry with me for the rest of my life; it was a beautiful thing to see.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the activities; but instead I want to thank the people involved:

  • Jon and Alayne Hynes who own the Garrettstown Surf School for making this event happen. They must have given so much time over the year to put this together as well as making their premises and staff available for the event.
  • Roisin’s instructors in the water, Triona and Keeley. Their enthusiasm and spirit never wavered the entire week despite taking 4 sessions every day and at all times they kept Roisin safe and having fun in the water.
  • All the other volunteers who helped bring the week together and make it such a safe and enjoyable week for the children and parents alike.
  • Portwest Clothing who supplied the wet suits. Each child came away at the end of the week with their own wet suit.
  • MARTINS, the Maritime Training In Safety initiative who supplied a lot of the sponsorship for the event and the National Maritime College Of Ireland through whom the funds were obtained.
  • Ernest J Cantillon & Co Solicitors who sponsored specially commissioned surf boards for the event.

Apologies to anyone or any organization that I’ve left out.

Looking forward the week has opened a whole world of possibilities for all of us and I’m determined to build on the experience for Roisin. So clear the beach, here we come……

Loosing Weight – Reviewed.

Thumbnail of my goal review card.
I set my weight loss goal on 25th April and it’s now mid-June so it’s definitely time for a review. I had a fairly major life change at the end of May when I was made redundant. So another reason to take stock and review.

I followed my goal review method and above is the resulting map (please click the thumbnail for a larger view). From this you can see that:

  1. Relevance is still very high – loosing the weight is still very important to me
  2. But that the walking goal I set for the month of May didn’t pan out as expected. The feedback here is that:
    1. Things started well for the first week or so
    2. Then I got ill with a stomach bug
    3. For the latter half of the month the redundancy proceedings took over and completely threw out any sort of routine

    It boils down to the fact that I found it impossible to establish the new walking habit at lunchtime because I needed to be more flexible at that time. I could have done it; but I chose not to!

  3. Any new sub-goals to contribute to my weight loss goal?
    1. I can cycle instead of walk. I’ve always enjoyed cycling and used to cycle a lot in my thirties. This needs a new goal set with targets. I’ve much more motivation to cycle than walk, and I’ve a new bike!
    2. Do the ‘I Can Make You Thin’ 90 day challenge. This is a book (and a TV series) from Paul McKenna. I followed the TV series and I believe the challenge is based on some sound principles. This too needs a SMART goal that I started to sketch out on my review card.
  4. Finally, Next Actions! What am I going to do next to kick start the weight loss goal again?
    • Set a SMART cycling goal with weekly targets, making it very easy to start so that I can establish the habit.
    • Set the 90 day challenge and follow through the work book.

I’ll be following up on these new goals in a latter posting.

By the way, I have lost some weight! I lost 5 pounds during my stomach upset and, at the last weighing, I’d kept them off!

Stepping Up A Gear

Two recent posts from Scott Young and Leo Babauta have emphasized the need to do something daily if it’s going to become a habit.

In Scott’s posting on daily workouts he demonstrates how something that is done every other day is much less likely to become a habit than something that is done daily. This got me thinking. As I’m only walking three times a week at present this is unlikely to become a habit for me.

Meanwhile Leo has thrown down a challenge for the month of May; to make exercise a daily habit.

So I’m going to shelve the idea of getting out the bike until June and just concentrate on ingraining exercise as a daily habit. I shall, from today,

  • walk for at least 20 minutes every day,
  • get up 30 minutes earlier to do the walk first thing in the morning.

I shall have to watch that last one. Getting up earlier has, in the past, led to burn out and resentment; but I’m hoping the exercise will energize me instead.

I’ll report back weekly and let you know how I’m getting on.

Getting To Your Goals

Once you have set a goal you need a path to take you to it. This is where your task lists and your ‘trusted system’ come into play.

Without some tasks, some actions, we’ll never get to our goals. Goals don’t accomplish themselves. So for my cycling goal I have the following tasks:

  1. Get the bike out of the back of the shed.
  2. Service the bike.
  3. Find my riding gear (or buy new stuff).
  4. Devise a suitable route that’s going to give me my target 30 miles a week. This is probably 3 x 10 miles or maybe 2 x 15 miles.
  5. Start building up the mileage.

How will I ensure that these tasks get done? Put them into my trusted system. The ‘trusted system’ is whatever methodology you choose for managing your goals and your tasks provided you trust it completely. If you don’t trust it to give you the tasks as and when you need them it will never work for you; but will work against you instead. More about trusted systems and how I work mine in a later posting.

I know I’m not going to be able to get on my bike and just cycle 30 miles. In fact I’ll be lucky if I can cycle 300 yards (metres); but I know that if I can get to point 5 then the battle is half won. The other half is making it a habit.

Loosing Weight – The Next Steps

In my post How To Set A SMART Goal I described what SMART goals were and why they were important. I also set myself the goal of loosing 23lbs by Christmas this year!

After setting a goal, any sort; short, medium, long term the most important thing is to take some action. No goal is ever going to be achieve unless some action is taken; but how do we decide what action to take and when to take it? In this post I want to go through the steps I propose to take to achieve my goal.

Right, I have to loose weight, what are my options?

  • Go on a diet. I won’t do this unless directed to by a medical professional because I don’t believe they’re the right way to go about loosing weight. I believe that if I diet I will reduce my carb. or fat intake, my body metabolism will slow as a result and if I slip off the diet the weight will just pile back on because my metabolism is slower.
  • Cut out unnecessary junk food. This is dieting in a way I guess; but it’s more of an adjustment to my diet than an actual diet. I can do this by eating healthier, fewer sweets & biscuits and more fruit.
  • Exercise. Oh dear, I knew I’d get to this one eventually.

Stop the list there, let’s talk about exercise. I’ve already said I’m not going to starve myself and only make modest changes to my diet so realistically the only way (weigh) I’m going to achieve this goal is to exercise.

I’ve already set myself a walking goal; but to be honest that is ramping up only slowly and I don’t think it’s going have a huge impact on my weight loss goal in the short, or even medium, term. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a contributor to this goal; but I’m going to need something more.

What else might I do?

  • Swimming? I can’t swim, tried to learn about 10 years ago. We won’t go there.
  • Running? Look, I’m having enough difficulty walking. Let’s walk before we run, please.
  • Cycling? Ah, this is a distinct possibility. In my thirties I was a reasonably keen cyclist, nothing excessive; but I could manage 60 miles. The point is, I was fit.

So it looks like cycling is my best bet. I have a bike and cycling is good aerobic exercise. I feel another goal coming on:

  • Specific – I will cycle 30 miles a week.
  • Measurable – I’ve a trip meter on the bike
  • Attainable – I feel 30 miles a week is within my grasp; but I may have to sacrifice something to fit it in.
  • Relevant – Yes, this will contribute to my weight loss.
  • Timely – By the end of June!

So I’ve a second exercise goal to help me loose that weight. Over the next two months I should be able to judge whether or not the pounds are starting to come off or whether I need to step up the exercise program. Until then I will work on integrating exercise into my life, something I’ve not done for many years now.

Walking Goal Week 1

The week went well. Target 3 days, accomplished 3 days.

The dog (Chester) has started to come along, which is OK so long as he doesn’t want to keep diving into the ditch; but most of the time he’s kept up.

How has this contributed to the (so far unstated) weight loss goal? Well so far it hasn’t; but at least I haven’t put on any weight this week, which is a good thing. Mrs. H., on the other hand, has lost 2lbs over the week, so many congratulations are due to her.

Next week will present some further challenges. On Monday I have an interview in Cork at the time I’m supposed to be walking, and on Wednesday I shall be in the office at midday. Both will attempt to derail me from my target so I must try to work around these obstacles.

Will let you know how I get on next week.

Stepping Out

Well we did it.

My wife and I did our first days walk, something that’s to become part of the rest of our lives.

It felt good, the weather is sunny and warm, legs got a good stretch and lunch (a light ham salad and some fruit) tasted all the better for it.

Here’s to a life time of walking.