Journey to the best health of my life (yes, the journey includes olives)


Whitney’s big fat fabulous life

You probably know who Whitney Way Thore is.  Her dancing videos went viral.  She was the fat dancing girl.  She makes me smile.  Just because you’re fat doesn’t mean you can’t dance and doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

Now’s Whitney is doing a reality show.  She’s so confident in her skin, but at the same time trying to better herself.  She is trying to lose weight, but she is not stopping herself from living.  I can identify with her in so many ways.  At the same time I want to take a page out of her book.  There are many instances where I do not do something because of my weight.  Whitney has reminded me that my weight shouldn’t stop me from living.

It is assumed that people who are fat are lazy.  That’s simply not true in so many cases.  If, like me, you have PCOS then this video will empower you and remind you that you are not alone in your struggles.  If you don’t have PCOS but would like a better understanding of it through the eyes of someone who lives with it then watch this video.

It takes courage to open yourself up to the world.  Thank you Whitney for putting yourself out there!

UPDATE: Unfortunately the YouTube video with the full episode has been removed. For those who are able to access the videos (USA residents) here is the TLC page:



Rebounding – or jumping on my new trampoline!

I always loved trampolines. I remember using a huge one in gym class. I was the big kid, but on the trampoline I could fly just as high as everyone else. I felt light. I did twists, turns and jumps just like all my friends.  My weight was not an issue. I remember feeling really happy. I wanted that feeling again. Little did I know that there is a whole rebounding world. Fitness trampolines for adults!  My superstar friend told me about a sale and we both bought one.

There are a number of benefits of rebounding that are noted in various articles online. Here are a few of the articles you will find with a quick search on google:

The way I see it there are always benefits when you are active.  It doesn’t matter what you do.  What matters is that you do it consistently.  People are more likely to be consistent if they are having fun.  The trampoline is all about fun!

I bought the JumpSport 350i.  It arrived today!

It was super easy to put together and I was bouncing in no time. Everything you need is in the box.  There are six legs.  In addition, a stability bar is available that can be used for various exercises.  I haven’t attached that yet, but I will.

I was initially nervous to let my feet leave the trampoline.  This surprised me.  I didn’t even think about it as a kid.  As an adult I was full of fear.  However, after a few minutes I was more comfortable and felt like I was flying (sort of!).

I did the following exercise video today.  I think it’s a great beginner workout.  I learnt that rebounding is a lot harder than it looks!  Within 5 minutes my calves were burning and I needed to take a small break.  After a couple of minutes I finished the video workout.  It got my blood flowing and I felt really good!  Rebounding, or bouncing around like a goofball, is a new addition to my daily activity.

Have you tried rebounding?  What did you think of it?  Do you want to try it?  I would love to hear your about your thoughts and experiences!



My favorite exercises – no equipment needed

I’ve been working out regularly since 2008. I worked with a personal trainer for 4 years during that time. He showed me so many different exercises and, although I try to keep my workouts varied, these exercises are always in my routine. I love them because they kick my butt – every. single. time. Also, they are great for people of any level and can be done anywhere, anytime – no excuses!  It is important to move – even a little is better than nothing.  Incorporate exercise into your daily life – it is so important!


Do you have any favorite exercises?  I’m always looking to bring variety to my workout so please share in the comments!



Half squats, full squats, with no weights, with weights, two legs, one leg – this exercise has many challenging levels.  If you want to look good great from behind then you WILL do them!  They are tougher than they look, but they will get you results.


This is an exercise with huge variety. Forward walking, reverse, sideways, jumping (in one area), with a twist, with weights in front, weights above. Two lunges for every step, five for every step.  You can even add kicks and punches to the lunges.  Variety is important and this is one exercise that you can change up so many times.


You feel push-ups all the way to your core.  Push-ups on your knee, full push-up on the ground or on an elevated bar, push-ups with a twist, with one leg, with a clap, with feet elevated, push-ups with a wide grip or narrow grip.  Again, I could go on and on with variations.  There is a style of push-up that you can do, and there will always be a style of push-up that will challenge you.  Do not shy away from this exercise.


Keeping your body in a plank position is probably harder than you ever imagined!  Once you have 10 seconds down you can work on 20, 30, 60 and so on.  You can do it with your arms straight, or rest on your forearms, or even as a side plank on one arm.  Try it on one leg, or alternating legs.  You can also incorporate various movements – legs stepping or jumping out and in,  walking around a medicine ball, shoulder taps, lifting alternate arms, climbers.  You can simply go up and down from straight arms to your forearm and back up to straight arms.  Your body will never bore of this exercise as long as you keep pushing yourself.  Why not try a 30 day plank challenge?

Skipping rope

Ok, so this one technically needs equipment (or imagination!).  It’s simple and effective.  I find it a great way to include this as a quick burst of cardio during a HIIT circuit.  If you don’t have a rope try jumping jacks instead.  This video will give you some idea of the variations in this exercise.

Turkish get-ups

If you don’t know this exercise then learn the steps and do it.  I typically do it with a light weight in my hand.  I know – I said no equipment, but this exercise is too good to leave off the list!  If you do not have any weights handy, a can or bottle of water will do!  All you need is a floor to lie down on – and then just get up.  Simple, but a challenging and effective full body workout.


I saved the best until last!  This one kills me every time (in a good way!).  I couldn’t do them before.  I look so ungraceful, but exercise is not about being graceful!  I tried and tried again, and I have got better.  I can even do a few in a row (read: big accomplishment!).  One day I will be as light on my feet as this guy:



30 Days of HIIT: DONE!

I’ve been quiet on the blog about 30 Days of HIIT, but I promise that I was completing the daily challenges and am now DONE!  I sweat, I burned, I pushed, I conquered – that’s right: I kicked butt!

A lot of my comments for 30 Days of Cardio Blast spill over into this so I will refrain from repeating myself 🙂

I mentioned the awesome general stopwatch in another post but what I didn’t mention was that each daily workout has its own stopwatch at the bottom of the daily page with beeps to let you know you need to switch exercise.  See here for an example.  This was really useful during 30 days of HIIT because the exercises were based on time, rather than a specific number of reps.  All I had to do was listen out for the beep to move to the next exercise.  On a (technical) side note: the beeps did not work on Firefox for me, but they did work on Chrome.

I enjoyed the HIIT challenge just as much as I enjoyed the Cardio Blast challenge.  Yes, that’s right, I enjoyed it!  When I found it really tough I reminded myself that there was only seconds remaining and that helped me to keep pushing and not give up.  It is a really well thought out 30 days and I did not get bored.  I love that Neila Rey takes away all the thinking!  All I have to do is just do it!  As with my last 30 day challenge I saw noticeable improvements in various exercises.  It is truly amazing what a few minutes of dedication a day can do!

I’m glad I had completed the Cardio Blast challenge before doing the HIIT challenge.  I was already familiar with some movements, and it gave me confidence to try exercises that I was not necessarily comfortable with.  Some of the exercises in the HIIT challenge definitely took me to another level.  I’m completing these challenges while also keeping up with my regular workouts.  I feel like I’m getting stronger at a faster rate because of these challenges.  I see the difference in my regular workouts.

Most importantly, I feel really good.  I set out to complete two 30 day challenges and I’ve done them both!  Did you get that?  I met two goals!  I’m really proud of myself for sticking with it and I know that my dedication will pay off in the long run.  I am feeling very positive about the future – it has been a long time coming.

I’m starting my next 30 day challenge (thank you voters!) this week!





Day 1: 30 days of HIIT

I said I was going to start today and I am a woman of my word 🙂 Day 1 is done! I feel great and cannot wait to attack the next 29 days.  This is me right now …

A quick tip – Neila Rey’s stopwatch is AWESOME! I used it during 30 days of cardio blast to monitor my rest time between sets, but I can see it’s going to be even more useful during HIIT.


30 days of cardio blast: DONE!

I’m excited to report that I completed Neila Rey’s 30 Days of Cardio Blast challenge! That’s right, I put my mind to it, I put my heart into it and I DID IT.  It was not easy doing it every day.  One day in particular I felt really low.  I normally would have done nothing that day – I would have curled up in front of the TV and hidden behind the blankets – but on this day I was committed.  It was probably not my most powerful workout, but I still did it – like getting up and brushing my teeth I knew that it had to be done.  It felt just like routine – so it worked!

Is 30 Days of Cardio Blast for you?

YES! No excuses 🙂

“I already workout regularly”

So do I!  I went to the gym on my regular workout days and also completed all 30 days of this challenge.  Sometimes I incorporated the daily workout at the gym, other days I did it at home.

Also, this challenge will give you variety.  It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut.  It remind me of little exercises that I can do between sets at the gym (like active rest), or even when I’m watching TV.  It also reminded me that if I can’t make it to the gym I can still sweat with some quick and interesting workouts.  There really are no excuses!

“I get bored easily”

There is so much variety every day and most workouts seem to go so fast because you’re moving from one exercise to the next.  I loved how every day was different.  The workouts will be over before you know it.

“I don’t think this will be challenging enough for me”

Oh, trust me – it probably will be.  Every workout looked much easier on paper than when I actually did it.  My husband, who is much fitter than me, found it challenging.  In addition there are 3 levels – each level has a higher number of sets.  I did it on level 1 so I know there is definitely room for more challenge for me!

“I can’t do all the exercises in the challenge”

Neither can I!  However, there is a version of those exercises that you can do – so do that.  For example, my friend had difficulty completing the plank jumping jacks.  Instead she stepped in and out.  You’ll also find that you might not be able to something the first time that exercise comes up, but when you do it again in a few days you can suddenly do more than you could the first time. For example, initially my friend couldn’t step in and out.  She just held a plank position.  The same exercise showed up a few days later – and this time she was able to step in and out – progress!

“I don’t have time to do this everyday”

Yes you do – most days it took me 15 minutes or less to complete the workout.  Everyone can find 15 minutes in the day.

“No really, I can’t do this daily”

Ok – well how about you still take on the challenge, but commit to a workout every other day, or even 3 days a week?  For example, day 1 on Monday, day 2 on Wednesday, day 3 on Friday etc.

My friend fell off the challenge wagon during week 3.  She had gone from no regular workout routine to working out daily.  When she was not able to do the workout, or did not feel like doing it, she was feeling bad and beating herself up over it.  She also felt guilty about letting me down.  That’s the opposite impact these 30 days should have!  You should feel good about what you are doing and good about yourself!  That’s when I suggested to her that she could tackle the challenge by having gap days.  That way you are still completing a challenge and you are mentally able to get through it on a positive note.

“But there are no rest days?!”

There are challenge days where you have to complete something throughout the day.  For example, 300 leg raises.  These are effectively rest days.  You can split the exercise out during the day and it’s not as intense as one of the other days.  However, it still gets your blood flowing and helps keep you in the habit of doing exercise.

“15 minutes a day won’t help me see any changes”

I found it helpful to remember that all the small things I was doing everyday were having a positive impact on the bigger picture.   Let’s face it – no one cares about the small changes – they want to see the big change right away.  Well, remember: small change + small change + small change = big changes.  After 30 days I definitely saw improvement.  You have to take small consistent steps to see big results and changes.

“I don’t want to do it”

You have to want to do it.  The resources are there, but if you don’t push yourself then you won’t do it.  It’s much easier to talk yourself out of a workout than talk yourself into one.  Remember why you have thought about working out.  My guess is the number one reason is for your health.  That’s my number one reason.  I want to live a full and long life.  There are no guarantees, but I know that incorporating exercise works in my favor.

What’s next for me?

Another 30 day challenge of course!  I’m going to attack Neila Rey’s 30 days of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) v2.  I plan to start on Sunday – anyone want to join me?!  C’mon – you know you want to!!

Other posts in this series
Neila Rey’s challenge – 30 days of cardio blast
Day 1: 30 days of cardio blast
Week 1: 30 days of cardio blast
Week 2: 30 days of cardio blast


Week 2: 30 days of cardio blast

Week 2 is done! I am feeling stronger, and definitely noticing a (good!) change in my ability to do the exercises. Days 8 to 14 consist of 3 bodyweight workouts, 2 cardio workouts, 1 challenge day and 1 sofa day.  No two days were the same.  I did various exercises.  Some exercises I had done in week 1, others were new.  For example, burpees, toe tap jumps and flutter kicks.  Slowly but surely I am noticing that the number of reps and intensity is increasing.

As you probably know, I’ve been completing this challenge with my friend.  Like week 1 we completed level 1 on each day.  Most days it took us under 15 minutes, with a couple of exceptions.  Here’s quotes from the week to give you some insight

Day 8
I did a heavy upper body workout at the gym, with some legs, and then came home and did the 200 half jacks.   I’m glad I went to the gym.  It feels like there’s been more ‘light’ (or close to light) days vs. really tough days recently.  Or maybe I’m just getting used to the 15 (or less mins) of heavy breathing?! LOL [@Foxy_O]

I wanted to go to 100 half jacks but my legs and breathing wasn’t about to let that happen.  So decided to do 100 by splitting them up. (Completed the next 100 the same way)  [friend]

Day 9
Oh, and the elbow to knee – needless to say I couldn’t touch them (together) but I squeezed as required!  Hoping that one day I can do all the exercises exactly how they are supposed to be done, rather than an attempt at them [@Foxy_O]

I was a bit nervous this would be a bit of a tough day, especially because of the 20 reps each instead of the 10.  However, it just felt like a decent overall day – not killing tough, not super light, just right! [friend]

Oh dear squats. I’m getting better at you. But this is the one part of the exercise I definitely FELT the 20 reps. Couldn’t we just do 10? Ahaha. Whatever, I could do it, and I did do it! [friend]

Day 10
Definitely felt today in my abs, but wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I did feel stronger compared to when I did the 1 arm raises – which wasn’t that long ago! (so maybe it’s in my mind?!) [@Foxy_O]

This day was a turning point for my friend. I am so proud of her!

Can I just say: I kicked ass!!!  I’m so proud of myself – I surpassed any expectation I had of what I could accomplish – yay!  I don’t know how I could see so many changes in 10 days, but obviously something is working from day 1 to now! [friend]

After reading my friend’s success: We must be getting stronger/better at the stuff because we are both seeing improvement!! Yay us!! [@Foxy_O]

Day 11
On this day my friend and I had completely different experiences.

Today was hard!  Let me explain – not because of the workout itself, but because it was combined with a trip to the gym.  I went back to the gym full swing this week for the first time since I had bronchitis/walking pneumonia.  Today was my first spin class since I was ill.  Before spinning I did an upper body workout (50 mins).  I left spin on empty.  By the time I got home my body was aching.  I just wanted to do nothing.  [@Foxy_O]

From the first jump I was struggling! It took everything in me to get through the 1st set, and then the 2nd to 6th.  It was a challenge for me. My legs were on fire, but I made it through.  [@Foxy_O]

Not much to say today…all seemed pretty darn easy to be honest.  Done in about 10 mins. 30 secs breaks between sets. [friend]

Day 12
Today was really easy for me.  I did 100 in one go (on the sofa).  I went online to look them up because although I felt my abs working, I felt like it was far too easy (I know it’s sofa day, but c’mon!).  I found a video with directions. I followed the video and did 100 more (also in one go).  Maybe my abs are stronger than I give myself credit for?! [@Foxy_O]

Update: Got bored so later in day I did 100 more on the floor. Did them in one go, felt my abs working.  This time I went slower and more controlled. [@Foxy_O]

Okay tried 20 of these on the couch and didn’t even feel like I did anything. Maybe my couch is too soft?  @Foxy_O sent me the video she looked at, so I decided to do them on the floor instead.  Definitely feel in abs…but in a good way. [friend]

Day 13
Got me sweaty and stinky… yeah baby!  My heart was pumping and I felt the increase in numbers from the last time we did the same exercises.  However, I was able to do it and enjoyed the challenge. [@Foxy_O]

My hips felt very stiff today. Overall felt low energy and wondering when the workout would end.  However, as close as I was to giving up and not finishing after 2 sets….I decided to stick with it and not be a quitter which is a new feeling for me. So yay on not quitting even though I really wanted to. [friend]

Day 14
This was, for me, the most challenging day so far!  If I found any previous day ‘easy’ this made up for it.  It was a huge kick in my butt, but I loved it!  When there is challenge there is change.  I had to push myself, but I got through it! [@Foxy_O]

It is always important to listen to your body, just as my friend did last night:

Didn’t do it. I don’t know what is going on with me, but my body feels like it has the flu, without actually having a flu if that makes sense. I feel weak, and legs wobbly, and my head is foggy. What the heck is going on? I’m disappointed too but I also need to listen to my body. Yes, while it’s all in the mind…there’s also something going on here I can’t ignore and it’s actually kinda freaking me out.  Will hopefully get to do the exercise at some point this week when feeling stronger…combine it with another lighter day or challenge day if one of those exist. [friend]

You know yourself when you are simply being lazy, or when you are actually not well.  Always be true to yourself and do what is right for you.  I know my friend is determined to complete this challenge and I know she will complete day 14, and any other day she misses, as soon as she feels up to it.

Day 15 today!  Bring it!

2 weeks in and this is exactly how I’m feeling!

Other posts in this series
Neila Rey’s challenge – 30 days of cardio blast
Day 1: 30 days of cardio blast
Week 1: 30 days of cardio blast
30 days of cardio blast: DONE!