Thursday, June 6, 2013

Week 2,3 & 4 Round Up plus 50 Days No Sugar - the Aftermath!

Hi everyone!

I've been meaning to blog for weeks now, but study, training, work and life pretty much kept me on my toes and suddenly a few weeks have passed and I have a million things to catch up on.

Firstly, running training is going great.  My pace is picking up little by little and I've even got my longer runs in over the past few weeks.  Also started a new boot camp which focuses on skipping, shuttle runs and boxing - so happy to be punching stuff again!  My strength training has dropped right off though, so this week's goal is to do 2 x strength sessions.

I've lost 3kg over the past 4 weeks too, so I'm really pleased about that!

50 Days No Sugar ended not last Tuesday but the Tuesday before.  I have to say I am really pleased I stuck with it.  It really did help me beat the hold sugar has on me, and now it's under control - while I will allow sugar in my diet - I will be very mindful of how much I am eating, especially when it comes to hidden sugar in processed foods.  I may even do this again once I finish this round of 12WBT.  There were certainly a lot of benefits that were very noticeable - better sleep, stable moods, not feeling hungry all the time, no mid-afternoon slump just to name a few - all very worthwhile rewards!

This week's 12WBT challenge is to get to bed early.  I never feel like I entirely catch up on my sleep debt, so I'm taking this on.  Social Networking curfew from 8.30pm and then in bed with a book and lights out by 9.30 sharp.  This is possible most nights except Wednesday when I have a film preview to attend with Jake, but with careful planning that night I can be in bed by 10.30am.  I'm interested to see what (potentially) 9 hours sleep instead of 6 hours sleep will have.

Anyway, I'll keep this post short as I have a billion things to do today - thanks for reading!!

Happy Friday to you,
Nikki x

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 1 Round Up

So..  Week 2 is already upon us and I haven’t even had a chance to blog about Week 1!

Honestly, it wasn’t a great week for me because I was still recovering from a bout of laryngitis and despite going to bed every night hopeful I’d be well enough by the next morning to run, I really didn’t have the energy – or the ability to stop coughing for more than five minutes at a time – until Friday.  I laced on my sneakers and took off for my first run in two weeks – 8kms later and I felt amazing.  It was slower than usual, but I was really happy with it.  I’m still so amazed that my body can just go out and run 8km on a whim if I want to.

One of my local running paths - love that you can find these
little pockets of green in the inner city!
Nutrition on the other hand, was spot on.  I lost 900 grams for weigh in one.  Very happy with that and looking forward to seeing what tomorrow’s weigh in brings.

On another note, I’m now 44 days in 50 Days No Sugar.  Wow, I can’t believe it’s been this long.  I won’t deny, there are still days where I’d love something sugary to eat but it’s rare and it’s pretty easy to resist now.  I think I’ll keep going on minimising my sugar intake wherever possible after the 50 days are over.  The benefits have been really worth this little experiment.  I think it’s also helped me nail my nutrition through the first week of 12WBT too.

Now Week 2 is here, I might put my training goals out there to remain accountable. 
Monday: Cardio interval training (done)
Tuesday: Boxing Boot Camp
Wednesday: 8km Fartlek Run
Thursday: Strength
Friday: 8km Run
Saturday: Strength
Sunday: 16km Run

 I want a throw a Bikram yoga session in there somewhere, but I’m not sure where I can fit it in with all my other non-training commitments this week, it might have to form part of my SSS.

 Anyway, that’s it from me – thanks so much for reading!

Nikki Maloo x

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Round 2 2013 Pre-Season Tasks

Hi Everyone!

I'm going to keep it brief here, as a lot of what I have worked though I plugged straight into the 12WBT site, but I do want to take the opportunity to put a few things out there.

First lets look at excuses.  Going through them I found the one that popped up the most was being too tired or too busy.  So I'm going to make a commitment to myself right here, right now, to start planning much MUCH better.

I often have evening commitments due to J's work so planning the training in the morning is a no-brainer.  The evening meals are where it starts to get tricky.  But with a bit of extra planning I can work around it, I've made it work in the past previous rounds, I can make it work again.

Next - Goals & Commitments.  I've had a few specific goals I've been working toward for a few months now, and others which as I mentioned, are pretty much just nice ideas.  

Running.  So, starting with my Half Marathon goal - well that's definitely one that's firm and works.  I'll be following my running plan, running three times a week.  The goal is to finish 21.1kms in less than 2:25 minutes at Run Melbourne in July.  

Weight loss.  I try not to make weight loss my goal anymore, but this round I am.  I want to be at a lower weight by Run Melbourne.  I'm going to lose 5kg between now and July 21.  By the end of the round (two weeks after Run Melbourne), I'd be happy to cap it at 6kg down.  

Core strength.  After the finale workout, I was pretty smashed from all the core work and it became very clear this is something I need to work on.  I'm pretty sure I've been saying forever "I have GOT to work on my core strength".  Well, why haven't I?  Exactly.  So this round, I will incorporate at least two core strength exercises into each gym session, and I will back this up with a Bikram yoga session each week.  Once I get into this week's diary (that's next!) I'll find a place to fit it in.  

So I think those are some pretty great goals to work towards.  Only a couple, I'm keeping it simple and achievable, because I don't want the old "Ugh, I've got too much on!!" getting in my way - I'll also be finishing CIV in Health and Fitness, attending MIFF and working during this round!

Anyway.  Kick off is tomorrow!  I'm really excited! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I'm still here!!

I have had a really crazy couple of weeks and really haven't had the time to update, but here I am, better late than never!  

There's a few things I want to touch on so I'll try and keep it all brief and then I'll do my darndest to be a little more regular in the blogging department. 

Firstly, Wednesday saw me cap off one whole month sugar free - 30 days into 50 Days No Sugar already!  Some immediately noticeable changes are better sleep, I can handle stress  and anxiety a little better, and - thank goodness! - not constantly thinking about food.  Sometimes I find my stomach rumbling and realise it's lunch time but thinking constantly about when I'll snack and what's next to eat seems to be gone.  I never realised what a heavy load constantly thinking about food is.

Also, over last weekend I attended the 12WBT workout and finale as a plus one and was inspired by the crazy 12WBT machine once again and here I am signing up for my SEVENTH round.  

So I guess I need to have a look at my goals.  One of the things learned in my CIII was that goals need to be very specific, and mine have been quite "negotiable" lately -  some of them are more like nice ideas than measurable goals.  So a new post to follow over the weekend with some 12WBT specific goals.

Also, got what I thought was my CIII done - and passed everything! - to find I'd missed a whole module!  I was pretty upset to be honest, but there is nothing I can so but get on with the job.  So over the next few weeks I'll charging my way through the left over work so I can finish my CIV on campus.  I'm pretty excited about it to be honest!

Anyway, I'll leave it there, because there is bound to be a couple more posts this weekend as I work through my 12WBT pre-season tasks.

Onward, onward, onward!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

One Week Sugar Free


So when my head hit the pillow tonight I'll be concluding my first week of being sugar free as part of my 50 Days No Sugar challenge.  That's certainly a milestone so I thought I'd do a quick round up of my findings.

Sleeping better - BIG bonus.  Sleep is so important to me at the moment because it really effects my ability to cope and my state of well being.  So being sugar free has already paid off, on that point alone.

My moods have been less of a roller coaster, and I'm not getting that mid-afternoon slump quite as severely.  I still feel tired, but I make a cup of peppermint tea and it seems to perk me back up and I'm fine for the rest of the day.  

I'm hungry all the time!  This isn't anything unusual, but I'm really hanging out for the promised reduced appetite.  This week, since I've been really truly sugar free I have been ravenous!  I stopped counting my calories and just ate when I needed to - go to snacks were pretty much some pistachios or a few slices of chicken I had pre-cooked handy in the fridge.  

Frozen fruit has been pretty much my saviour in the evenings.  I've been cutting mangoes into squares or slicing kiwi fruit and freezing them ahead of time so after dinner when the sugar monster makes an appearance, I grab a small portion from the freezer.  Why have I never done this before?!  Seriously so much flavour - I am converted for life on this one. 

Half a mango, frozen & delicious & only like 60 calories.  
My other big sugary vice was drinking iced tea.  The Liptons ice tea is only about 135 calories for a whole 500mls, so I was being pretty lax with it and drinking it pretty regularly, only a bottle a day but still, when I consider the ingredients are pretty much water, tea and SUGAR, I really was kidding myself that this was ok to drink so often!  I seriously wouldn't have even a portion of that amount of sugar in a cup of normal tea - in fact, I don't take sugar in tea or coffee normally at all.

So now I've done something I really should have done ages ago, and started making my own iced tea - with not a hint of sugar or artificial sweetener.  So good!  This particular one was made using a berry tea with a squeeze of lemon.  Perfect!  

Iced Tea - Sugar Free!
The other big surprise was yoghurt - seriously, I consider yoghurt pretty healthy for a snack or breakfast, and nearly every single brand I looked at had sugar in it!  Finally settled on Jalna yoghurt and adding my own fruit and some nuts and seeds instead of muesli for breakfast.

So now I seem to have  the sugar cravings under control, and my body's constant demand for food seems to have subsided a little, this week I'll be able to ramp my training back up and really tighten things up on the nutrition side.  

I've already written out my nutrition plan, my training for the week is locked in and I'm feeling really positive.  With one week sugar free done and dusted, the next 43 days don't seem as daunting as they did this time last week!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Trail Mix: Update, Running and Sugar

Hi All,

Well it's been a couple of weeks since I had a moment to blog about everything that's been happening, but since today I commenced a 50 Days No Sugar challenge (found over at PT Natalie Carter's site), I wanted to put it out there to mark the start of this new project.

I'd really been noticing a steady increase in the amount of sugary foods I was eating - without even taking into account the sneaky sugar we get in lots of products we don't even think about - and also noticed it effecting my moods, my energy levels and more than likely, my  sleep and my weight.

I'd been talking a few people about the benefits of kicking the sugar and when I stumbled across #50daysnosugar, I asked for some tips on Facebook and Natalie simply replied "Nikki, do the challenge! Simple- you'll get rid of sugar if you WANT to get rid of sugar." 

And it really is that simple, so I'm in.  I'm not looking at this as a weight loss activity, but more an experiment to see where I'll find myself in 50 days time.  But moreover, I DO want to get rid of the sugar.  I am sick of constantly being on the hunt for something sweet to eat or drink, and having noticed the difference just kicking diet soft drinks has made over the last few months, I decided this was a no brainer and 100% worth doing.

I'm really excited that a few of my gorgeous Twitter friends are also joining me.  I am under no illusion that this will be a challenge, but as someone who generally makes most of their food from scratch, I am feeling quietly confident.  The real challenge is all the extra treats I throw in here and there, which have got completely out of hand.

That aside, a few other quick updates:

Held a "practice" group training session at the end of March - had a ball, and got some great feedback from those who came to train.  I know there are a few things I'll need to improve on but I was really happy with how it went.  

I ran a Tabata session - here's a shot of my group in one of their 10 second breaks.  They worked so hard!!

Just returned from a whirlwind trip to South Australia - had a blast!  The trip was so busy though, I really didn't get a chance to fit in any training other than walking around, a hike through a winery or a dip in the ocean.  Without running or training for 3 days I was feeling so sluggish by last night!  I was pretty glad to be back into it today.

And with that, I think I'll wind it up there because this post is getting lengthy and I really want you all to keep reading!  

Have a great week everyone!

Yours in sugar withdrawals,

Nikki xx

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Run for the Kids Round Up

I ran out of time for this last week!  But I really wanted to post a Run for the Kids round up before it got too late, so here I am.

Knowing I really wanted to smash out my run on Sunday, I planned my rest day Saturday and spent Saturday evening getting ready for the race.  I ate a big bowl of pasta with some home made tomato & basil sauce, drank lots of water and laid out my gear for the morning.

Laying my gear out to check it's all there and taking a photo is a bit of a ritual of mine before a race, it's like the final step - the training is done and here's my gear, ready to go.  Knowing it's all there also helps me sleep more soundly and settle those pre-race jitters.

Yes, jelly beans are "gear" too!

The next morning we set out, only to find when our very delayed tram arrived late it was full of fellow runners and we couldn't get on.  I was busting to get to the run, so we hailed a cab and headed in.  After some confusion about where to meet, I finally found some of my gorgeous fellow Rell's Runners, including Bec, who was doing her very first 15km!

Jake and I arriving at the race, Bec and me wait for the race
to start and RESULTS!

Moments before the race I started to feel really nervous despite having done this distance a number of times before and knowing I had all the training behind me, but once I was across the start line all that went out the window and I headed out. 

I actually really like the R4tK course, despite the Domain Tunnel which is so poorly ventilated it makes the journey through it quite unpleasant when you're packed in there with 1000s of sweaty runners, but once I was through and the fresh air hit me I got a new burst of energy and I was off heading towards the Bolte Bridge!

Stole this of Super Sports Images: me dying in the tunnel.
To be honest, while the run up the Bolte was tiring, I felt pretty good going up, amazing going down, and throughout the next few kms I felt pretty great.  I really enjoyed the run through Docklands till we hit Collins Street - that hill is a KILLER so late in the race.   It sure slowed me down, but I was determined not to stop and walk.  The pace I was going was probably slower than I could walk, but it didn't matter.  

Run for the Kids 2013 Course Map
Once Collins Street was conquered, the run through Southbank was a breeze, and I was in the final couple of kilometres.  I wasn't tracking my pace, but I have a pretty good sense of how long a run has taken and I knew I was going to be happy with my time.  

As I was on the final stretch, Coach Rell and the cheer squad where there and that extra energy kicked in for that final burst and I ran as hard as I could for the final 500 metres and finished in 1:36:30.
I am really happy with this time, it's very close (slightly better) than what I expected and I feel like I'm right on track for where I want to be in 17.5 weeks for Run Melbourne.  

I'm feeling really confident in general about reaching a number of goals I put in place for myself when I re-booted this blog - I'm sleeping better which is VERY important, and I'm on track to finish my CIII this weekend.  I ran my first group training sessions as a trainer last night too, and it wasn't a total disaster!  I'll blog more about that separately soon!

Just quickly I want to thank Rell Frichot for her amazing running plans, my amazing co-runners and the gorgeous girls who came along to support us - you all know who you are and you are all amazing!

Thanks for reading!  For all those who ran Run for the Kids too - congratulations - it's a great race, a challenging course and a great cause!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Baked Eggs with Home Made Baked Beans & Soldiers

As promised, I'm sharing my really super simple but protein packed, healthy baked eggs recipe.  I estimate this dish to be about 220 calories per serve, plus about 85 calories for the slice of bread (give or take, it depends what bread you are using, so please take this into account if you're like me and can't resist the carby goodness a slice of toast adds to breakfast).

Firstly, here are the ingredients you'll need for a single serving but do note you'll be making quite a lot of baked beans, and you only need about a couple of table spoons of this mix for the meal - I put the rest away for baked egg / breakfast emergencies!  They happen!

1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 x clove of garlic (crushed)
1 x teaspoon of dried oregano
1 x teaspoon of smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
2 x eggs
1 x tablespoon of parmesan cheese
1 x slice of wholemeal bread
1 x very small amount of olive oil spread

Throw the beans, tomatoes, garlic, oregano and paprika in a saucepan and heat for about 4 minutes. Once cooked, add salt and pepper to taste.

Next, take a small oven proof receptacle - I use a little mini casserole dish as I don't have one of those fancy pants gratin dishes - but anything small and oven proof will do the trick!  Spoon a couple of table spoons of the bean mix into the dish.

Crack 2 eggs over the bean mix into the dish, and sprinkle parmesan over the top.

I know they don't look too appealing here, but stick with me!

Pop into a pre-heated oven for approximately 10 minutes (or until they look like this).

I like to serve mine with soldiers because runny googy egg just isn't the same without some soldiers to dunk!

And there you have it!  These might seem very basic (they are!) but I assure you they are so good even the cat sat by me with a pleading expression as I ate them!

Can I has an eggs?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Much Ado About Breakfast

Well, here I am blogging for a third week in a row - I really want to blog more often, but at the moment, I'm happy with committing to once a week, and ramping it up from there.

I tweet so much I really sometimes feel like I shared the week online already!  (By the way, if any of you don't follow me on Twitter and want to my handle is @nikkimaloo, I'll add you back!)

Anyway, just a quick round up:

Started week one of my 20 week running plan this week after my 13km run on Monday.  The first run was a 6km run with 8 x 200 metre intervals, which - while I was pretty spent by the end, I was really happy with how much energy I had.  My two other runs this week were pretty fantastic too, and my last  "long run" before Run for the Kids this weekend went great and felt really good.   I am still not sure I'll beat my time from last year on Sunday, but I am going to give it a red hot go!

I'm actually really excited about this run, not only am I looking forward to the whole run, but seeing my running coach and the rest of the gorgeous Rell's Runners in either running or cheer squad attendance.  Exciting!!

Nutrition has been mostly good.  I had to eat out a few nights last week due to social commitments, but aside from those nights I've been eating loads of salads over the last week to make the most of the warm weather, and I was fortunate enough to come across $1 mangoes at the market so breakfast has been mango, organic yoghurt with some oat clusters with a few nuts and seeds.

My real vice at the moment is too much chocolate, so my goal this week is to cut that out completely for the week.   I think I'm partly reaching for it because I'm hungry from all the extra training, so this morning I thought I'd try something different and higher in protein so I made baked eggs for the first time - it was amazing - and yes, here's another breakfast pic!

Baked eggs with home made baked beans and soldiers!
I really enjoyed this, although I can't say for sure whether it made much of a difference to my hunger levels as Monday is rest day, so I didn't train.  I'll share the recipe - which is ridiculously easy - in another blog post this week.

Anyway, hope you've all had a fabulous and wonderful start to the week!

More soon,
Nikki Maloo xx

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mad March Heatwave

If you're based in Melbourne, you are probably aware of the utterly insane heatwave we've been having and how little sleep the majority of the city has had over the past 8 days and that we have another 2 days of 34-36 degrees headed our way before we get a "cool change" of 27.

It's made it pretty tough to get outdoors for a run, or even get up early for the gym (which I don't even have to leave the building for!) but since I sat down and worked through my March goals I've been pretty focused so just want to take stock of where I'm at.

Run for the Kids - I've been training fairly consistently for this on my own, but decided to get some real structure so contacted my gorgeous running coach to put together a program which starts today and runs for the next 20 weeks through to Run Melbourne, where I'll complete my second half marathon.

This morning I headed out for my last long run before R4tK and I was REALLY happy with my energy levels and my pace.  

Due to some niggles I recently decided to finally give compression tights a go and so far they have a thumbs up from me, but time will tell.  Let's see how I feel about doing squats or lunges in tomorrow's strength session!!

Getting back to Bikram yoga is yet to happen, the heat wave has made being in a 40 degree room extremely unappealing to be honest, although I have to admit I've had trouble slotting it in with work, training, study and other occasions.

Cert III is on it's way to being complete!  I won't have it done 100% by the end of March, as I can't get into a First Aid course until April 17th, but I am on track - since my last post I've completed a nice large chunk, so I am happy with my progress (aside from the fact the reason I'm actually blogging right now is because I just can't focus today!!).

Eating clean and losing weight is a work in progress, I've lost 4kg all up, which I am pleased with.  It brings me to setting a newer, bigger goal though - recently I read an article in Runners World that helps you work out what your ideal running weight is.  Let's just say mine is a great deal further away than I imagined.  I knew I still had a lot of fat to lose, but I didn't really think I had 15-18kg like this article suggested.  I've drawn it to compromise, and I'm setting a goal to lose 10kg, which I'd like to do in the 20 week lead up I have to my half mara.

I have worked pretty hard on my running since I first started, and I really believe I am at a point where it's going to be factors like not flaking out of my speed and hill runs, and having less weight for my body to carry which will really make the difference between a little improvement on last years time (which is inevitable surely, since I was so sick when I did it) and a HUGE, previously thought unachievable improvement which it what I really, really want to see.

Anyway, till next time!

Nikki x

Friday, March 1, 2013

So, it's March already...

I've been meaning to do a 2012 round up but time got away from me, then the new year came around so it was time for one of those "New Year" posts with all my goals and new promises for the year.  Before I knew it February was here, and not March is approaching at an alarming speed and I just feel like there is a reason those posts never happened.

To be honest, I've been having a really tough time lately, personally and also physically and mentally.  I feel like over these past two weeks I broke through a barrier and turned a new corner.  I am getting back to basics and tackling some real problems that have been detrimental to my success in any goals I have set for myself - whether I'd achieved them in the past or whether they were goals I just kept putting off.

One of the real issues I've had trouble with is sleeping.  I don't think I've slept for more than an hour or two a night for years unless I'd been drinking (which isn't really helpful of restful sleep anyway), and frankly it was doing my head in.  I've started taking some magnesium, drinking a few cups of either E-Sleep tea (which is THE best), or Sleepy-time tea before bed.  Switching off social networking, not drinking any alcohol and limiting caffeinated drinks to before 11am and then it's only coffee.  About a year ago I started drinking heaps of coke zero in the afternoons and evening (goodness knows why I don't even like it that much!) but I've cut that back out of my diet and instead have been drinking American style lemonade, or iced tea.  And of course water!

The other day I felt what I think was happy for the first time I can remember in ages.  I felt positive and I felt like life had a bit of promise again.  (Sleep!  Who knew how much good could come from it?).

Now it's Autumn, and this is my favourite season of the year - a new month has started and I'm looking forward to the new possibilities and the fresh start.

I have some March fitness goals:

*Run for the Kids 15km - it's going to be a push but I'd like to beat my time from last year.  I don't think I'm as fit as I was back then, but I still have the distances in my legs so at least I'll finish without too much trouble.

*I'm going to be eating as clean as possible and avoid alcohol between now and then as I really want to have not just the training, but the health and energy behind me for the race.  When I did my half marathon last year, I'd had the flu for three weeks prior, and I still did it - I am amazed at what I can do when I'm sick or (more often than not) sleep deprived.

*Get back to Bikram yoga.  I'm really enthusiastic about Bikram and I really love the benefits, however, over the summer and in the heat I kind of let it slide and haven't been back for two months now.

*Lose 2kg.  I put on 5kg over the last few months due to being depressed, not moving enough and generally just treating my body like crap.  In the past two weeks I've lost 3kg, so I'd like to follow up with another 2kg before Run for the Kids on the 24th March.

*Finish my Cert III by the end of March.  I really fell behind with my course but now I'm back on track and I can definitely get these modules done in this time if I work hard.

*Blog more about my fitness stuff.  Sharing does keep me focused, and putting down my thoughts and goals does make them more real.

So anyway, thanks for reading this epic!  Hope everyone out there is well and happy and thriving.  I'm off to make another coffee, make broccoli soup (it's not as awful as it sounds, I swear!) and iced tea.  This afternoon I'm planning some interval cardio work followed by a big weights session in the gym.  Tomorrow, I have a 12km training run and it's going to be 27 degrees - Melbourne, where is Autumn?