Staying Fit for Charity

We arrived in Geraldton on a Saturday afternoon and went straight to the Visitor Information Centre to find out what was on for the weekend.  Juz found out there was a charity run the next morning for Oxfam and without batting an eyelid, she said she would do it.



Oxfam’s Walk Against Want raises awareness of the long distances that people have to travel just to collect fresh, drinkable water.  The event allowed participants to either run or walk and the two distances available were 5km and 10km.  When Juz arrived at the registration table on Sunday morning, she threw caution to the wind and ticked her name off for the 10km run, without expecting to complete the entire distance due to a lack of training.


The race started at 9am and the sun was already quite warm.  By the time she got halfway through, she was hot and thirsty and the chaffing was starting to hurt.  She found a tap at the 6km mark and doused her hair in cool water and a bubbler at the 9km mark quenched her thirst.



The course ended up being around 11km and Juz rose to the challenge of sprinting the last 100m to the finish line.  The distance was a personal best – she had done 8km with her mum for the Mother’s Day Classic less than a year earlier but this distance was really something to be proud of.  As expected, lots of stretching was required and the poor feet were a bit sore, but the real pain was felt in the shower with the hot water stinging all the chaffed spots.


Chaffing - the least fun part about fun runs...



Operation Bridesmaid : 2 Month Update

Hi all – Juz here.


Operation Bridesmaid continues into the second month and it has been quite an unstable few weeks.  I’m starting to get the impression that if anyone wants to lose weight and be healthy, they have to be single, have no friends or social life and live by themselves.


Of course, this is cruel and unrealistic and it’s healthy to have friends and loved ones around you, but you can’t expect everyone to have the same goals as you.  Balance is one of those words that is thrown around often when you’re embarking on a regimented lifestyle, but everyone has a different idea of what balance is, as well as a good portion sizes, how regular ‘treats’ should be, and what healthy food actually is.


Falling Down

During the last few weeks, I fell off the wagon, as do many people who are trying to get in shape. The journey is not easy at the best of times, but while you’re travelling with others through food and wine regions, the objective is to enjoy yourself and your surroundings, not to say, “Oh no, I can’t sample any of this delicious, locally made, gourmet cheese because I’m on a diet”.



And what makes the sting even more painful is that I was doing so well.  Meals were well timed and on track, intermittent fasting was happening most nights, and I was frequently waking up and going for runs or doing resistance training with Troopy.



The stumble started once we arrived in Esperance.  There was a massive sale on bread at the supermarket and before we knew it, we were stocked to the teeth with multigrain rolls, seedy sourdough bread and sliced square loaves.  Everything had to be eaten with bread so that it wouldn’t be wasted, and I felt myself getting weighed down with every bite.  After less than a week, I was sick of it, but the damage was felt on all fronts.


Driving through Denmark and Margaret River with friends contributed to the downward spiral.  Wine, cheese, chocolate, fudge, truffles, schnitzel, beer, nougat, the list goes on!  Everything needed to be sampled.  And of course, after the daytime delights, dinner would usually involve a delicious cheese platter with more beer or wine, a slice of Coat of Arms salami with a dollop of locally made quince jam.


I watched myself lose control and promised that once we were back in Perth, I would make things right.



Getting Back Up

We’ve been in Perth for a week now and the domestication and routine has helped me inch back towards success.


Bread has been ditched, as well as pasta, rice and other sugary delights.  Main food items include yoghurt, meat, lots of vegetables, berries and nectarines, ricotta, nuts, and some crappy, chalky protein powder that I’m using while I wait for my good protein powder to arrive in the mail.  I’m drinking like a fish – about 2-3 litres a day – and have indulged on only one glass of dry red wine.


In the mornings, I wake up at about 6am and do one of two things.  Resistance training followed by cardio or high intensity interval training (sprints or boxing) or a nice leisurely run around the block for about 4-6km.  One day a week is for resting and sleeping in, because sleep is the most important form of recovery.


As you can imagine, I’ve been weeing a lot.  The copious amounts of water I’m consuming is flushing out my system and my body was releasing all the water weight that I gained during ‘bread week’.  The second day of coming clean was tough – I just wanted to go to sleep – but once I acknowledged that my body was crying for carbs, I inflicted some serious discipline and said NO!




Please keep in mind that I’ve suffered ‘bread week’ and two gourmet regions since my last measurements. I’m taking a picture of my progress every morning and next month I will stitch it all together in a timelapse to see if there are any noticeable changes.


Bust with blue bra on: 94.5

Waist around my belly button: 81

Hips where my undies sit: 93

Thighs along shorts tan line: 57.5

Belt is still at the fourth hole.




Just do it!

Operation Bridesmaid : 1 Month Update

Hi all – Juz here.


It’s been a month since I stared Operation Bridesmaid and it’s time for an update. Over the last month, I’ve learnt a lot about balancing budget travel with a healthy lifestyle and eating right. Many decisions on what to do and what to eat rely on conveniences that many take for granted.  Will I have a shower or river nearby so I can clean up after a run? Is there room in our little fridge for more fresh vegetables?


Food choices are also at the whim of money allowances, and while I’d love to buy the artisan sourdough bread or the grainy, gluten free bread for $6 a loaf, it’s simply not smart.  Therefore, the compromise is looking on the clearance shelf at the supermarket for relatively healthy, wholegrain breads that have been heavily reduced.  Instead of paying $5.20 for a loaf of Burgen bread, we’re only paying $1.60, or a loaf of Abbot’s Bakery Light Rye is usually $5 but we got a loaf for $1.74.


Creating that healthy balance between enjoying our trip and maintaining health can be tricky in itself, but because I’m on a mission to fit into that beautiful bridesmaid dress by March the 23rd, I have to be extra disciplined and keep motivation levels high.



My first mission for Operation Bridesmaid was to focus on diet and simplify it to meat and veg. The mission was not 100% successful but due to the conscious effort to eat less processed foods and more whole foods, I can happily say that fruit and consumption has increased considerably. While this battle has been overcome, the goal of the war is to fit into that bridesmaid dress and there are many more battles to come before the war is won.


Intermittent fasting

I used this strategy back at home to accelerate weight loss. The rules are simple. Allocate an 8-hour feeding window to consume your daily calories and don’t eat outside of this window. For me, my window is 8:30am to 6:30pm and all my meals fit perfectly between these hours.


The great thing about this technique is that it allows you to feel hunger, which I think is a healthy sensation to experience. From a budget traveller’s perspective, it also means spending less time eating and it gives me a break after 6:30pm from thinking about what to eat, because I know I won’t eat anything.  If you’re interested to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out Precision Nutrition’s article.


Healthy Guts

I found that for a few weeks after we left for the trip, I was struggling with regularity.  I looked at my ‘traveller’s’ diet to see what was different compared to when we were at home. I realised that I’m eating more cheese than normal and bread had weaselled its way into my diet .


The action plan was to eliminate both of these for a few days and increase fruit consumption to promote digestion through extra fibre and enzymes.  There was a glimpse of success, and with the rationed return of wholegrain bread and lots and lots of water, I’m happy to say there is routine back in my life.


Another little strategy I’ve adopted between meals is to chew gum.  It keeps my mouth busy and minty.



I love going for runs first thing in the morning.  Of course, if there is no water nearby for bathing afterwards, I won’t go, but rinsing off in the river or at an outdoor beach shower is just fine, but nothing beats a hot shower at the local yacht club toilets or caravan park.


Dave and I have also had plenty of opportunities to go for walks and hikes – in cities, towns and national parks.  It’s a great way to check out the landscape of the area, with many walking trails offering scenic lookouts over mountain ranges or turquoise bays.





I’ve decided to return to MyFitnessPal as another way to manage portion control.  It’s a fantastic tool that does rely on measuring and weighing food, but luckily, I’ve done plenty of food measuring in the past so my estimates are fairly good (I think).  The community that uses MyFitnessPal are really supportive and provide additional motivation and accountability.


I am also using MyFitnessPal for another side project that is in complete contrast to my first mission.  I have started to consider calories and aiming for a 3500 calorie deficit every week.  This mini-goal should, in theory, cause a 0.5kg loss every week.  I’m interested to see if it really is as simple as ‘energy in, energy out’.


Also, I’ve changed apps from Sports Tracker to Runtastic to record walks, hikes and runs.  This app syncs with MyFitnessPal and uploads calories burnt to my profile and allows me to determine whether I can have another meat biscuit or not.



As measured on Australia Day…

Bust with blue bra on: 94.5

Waist around my belly button: 83

Hips where my undies sit: 94

Thighs along shorts tan line: 57.5

Belt is now at the fourth hole.


Operation Bridesmaid : 2 Month Update

Operation Bridesmaid : The Last Stand

Operation Bridesmaid : The Wedding




Plant foods are ace for you!

Operation Bridesmaid

Hi folks – it’s Juz.


The stunning bridesmaid dress that I NEED to be able to fit into in March.

We’ve been on the road now for a month and the massive lifestyle change has reversed a lot of the work I did back at home with a regimented eating plan and routine at the gym.  Finding the time, motivation and energy to work out while roughing it is tough and I’ve found that my belt doesn’t buckle where it used to.  However, because I am a bridesmaid for my mate’s wedding in mid-March, I need an action plan so that I am still able to fit into the beautiful bridesmaid dress.


Therefore, my new year’s resolution is a 3-month mission called Operation Bridesmaid.  The plan is simple, because it has to be.  If I start calorie counting, reading nutritional panels, allowing myself this but not that and giving myself too many options or restrictions, the mission will fail.  So, it is probably the most basic eating rule I have ever assigned myself:

Meat & Veg

(aka Plants & Animals or Flora & Fauna)


The following things are classified as ‘meat’:

Anything that comes from an animal… fish, shellfish, seafood, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork – their boobs, their brains, their liver, whatever.  It may be fresh, tinned, dehydrated, boiled, roasted, grilled, cured or pan-seared, it doesn’t matter.


Eggs and dairy also come under this heading, because egg, cheese and bacon wrapped in a lettuce leaf rocks my world.


The following things are classified as ‘veg’:

Anything that comes from plants and is still recognizable as a plant… green leafy vegetables, tomato and capsicum, carrots and sweet potato, berries of all kinds, you get the picture.


Beans and legumes, brown rice and quinoa are all good too, in their wholegrain form.  Nuts and seeds also come under this category – almonds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, mustard seed, coconut and its milk, cacao, nut butters, etc.


Things that are excluded include:

All the refined, processed foods like breads, cakes, fruit juices, soft drink, pastries, pasta, and lollies.  These things may have been made from either meat or vegetable products, but the process of making them has changed them into something else, and thus do not fall under the meat and veg umbrella.



I will have one relaxed day a week where I’ll allow for wine, chicken parmis, pho or other indulgences, but I will try to stay as close to the path as possible, as often as possible.


Exercise does play a role in this ever-so simple plan.  I’ll be doing it every day – walking around to see the sights, hiking up that mountain, bush walking, running for the train or for pleasure, fetching water and setting up camp.  Ultimately, I’m more active these days than I was at home because I’m not sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day, but I will incorporate some resistance training and body weight exercises to maintain muscle mass for a hearty metabolic rate.


Now – because I don’t have access to any scales, my progress is going to be measured by how my clothes fit.  For your reference, my belt buckles at the third hole, and I’ve also taken a few measurements:


Bust with blue bra on: 95cm

Waist around my belly button: 87cm

Hips were my undies sit: 99cm

Thighs along shorts tan line: 60cm


Let the games begin… and they begin today with a 5.5km morning run and an egg and chicken omelette.


wake up to dreams




Operation Bridesmaid Update #1

Operation Bridesmaid Update #2

Operation Bridesmaid Update – The Last Stand

Operation Bridesmaid Update – The Wedding


30 Days of Packing Workout Gear

Day 24 : Exercise Gear

Just because we’re travelling, it doesn’t mean we should slack off and let ourselves go.  We will be doing plenty of walking, but if we find that we have some excess energy, why not let off some steam with a workout?


We are also looking forward to taking up barefoot running, which has a bunch of physiological benefits.  We’ll start off with baby steps and gradually build towards 5km runs.

Juz is not impressed with delivering junk mail...

Travel Jobs : Junk Mail Distribution

Hi folks – Juz here.


Since quitting my job two weeks ago, I thought I’d try out a job that might potentially suit backpackers and travellers who can only do a few shifts before moving on.  I went on www.gumtree.com.au and found an ad looking for walkers to deliver pamphlets.  I had never done anything like it so I thought I’d give it a go.


I rang the number provided and the guy invited me to the warehouse to talk about the role and said that if I wanted the job, it was mine.  When I arrived, there were a few people there loading up their car with newspapers and bundles of catalogues.  I met up with the guy and he sat me down in his office, gave me a rundown of what I’d have to do and I said, “sure, let’s do this”.


He assigned me to a small area, showed me my pile of junk mail and newspapers I’d have to deliver, then advised that sorting and collating the catalogues would take about an hour and the delivery should take 2-3 hours, so for around 4 hours of work, I’d get $47.  I wasn’t impressed but was still willing to complete the task.


I loaded up the truck with my papers and drove to mum’s house for lunch.  It wasn’t until I started the sorting and collating the junk mail in her lounge room that I realised I was an idiot.  If I was to sort and collate all the junk mail by myself, it would have taken a lot longer than an hour.  Mum saw my agony so she sat down to help.  We finished it in about two hours – working together.


“Mum, today is going to be the worst day of my life…”

“Will you be able to finish all of this today?”

“Probably not – I’ll have to finish it off tomorrow.”

“Well then tomorrow will also be the worst day of your life too…”




As mums do, she cleared her schedule and offered to help me do the rounds.  It was a warm, sunny day, we were looking forward the physical activity, and it would have been a nice way to spend time together before Dave and I leave for our adventure.


We drove to my assigned delivery area, devised a plan of action and loaded ourselves up with the gear for delivery.  We had a nanna trolley and two backpacks that we wore on our fronts – mum bore the local papers while I had the junk mail and dragged the nanna trolley full of supplement junk and papers behind me.  The rounds started at 3:30pm.


As we were walking through the suburban streets of Caulfield, I thought to myself, “How was I supposed to do this on my own?”  There were two newspapers to delivery, plus a stack of assorted junk mail.  I would have had to park the car close by and be constantly going back to replenish my backpack – it would have taken ages!


After the first section of houses, Mum had the energy to keep going and I wasn’t going to call it a day when I had such willing help.  We smashed out another residential block and managed to complete three quarters of my area by 5:30pm.


The last quarter was a commercial block that only receives the newspapers – a burden I was willing to carry on my own the next day.



The Verdict

It wasn’t the worst two days of my life.


The fresh air, sun on my face and chatting with mum was pleasant.  The shit part was carrying the heavy papers on our shoulders (sore back), and walking encumbered with this burden for hours (sore feet), and only getting $47 for all that time and labour (bullshit).


The verdict – not worth it.



ViPR Training at 1000 Steps

Staying Fit : ViPR Training

Packing up, moving house and finishing up at her job has destroyed Juz’s daily ritual of waking up, heading to the gym and working out before going to work.  Now that things have settled down a bit and with just over two weeks to go before we leave for our trip, Juz is focusing on getting back into some sort of routine with her exercise regime.


Andrew at Pivotal Health & Fitness had scheduled a ViPR training session at the 1000 Steps Kokoda Memorial Trail in the Dandenong Ranges National Park so Juz invited herself along.


Where is it?

The 1000 Steps is located to the east of the CBD in Ferntree Gully.

You can get there by catching the train towards Belgrave and it is a short walk from Upper Ferntree Gully station, or if you are travelling by car, head east along Burwood Highway and the car park for the track is located at the intersection with Mount Dandenong Tourist Road.


GPS Coordinates: -37.88637,145.317833


The Workout

The 1000 Steps Kokoda Memorial Trail was made in the early 1900s and is one of the most treasured spots for outdoor fitness enthusiasts.  Despite what the name suggests, there are only about 770 steps, but the path weaves through lush forest full of ferns, moss and eucalypts.  Dotted along the way are commemorative plaques that offer a perspective into the experiences of Australian soldiers of 1942.


The track is a 1.5km stairway that ascends about 275m up Tree Fern Gully Track and requires a reasonable level of fitness to complete.  There are benches at a few locations on the way if you need to sit down and catch your breath.  Andrew brought his ViPR tubes along for some additional exercises once we got to the top.  He carried the 12kg ViPR up the track while Juz had a 6kg ViPR.


We reached the top of the stairs after about 20 minutes and once we had a quick drink, we started our ViPR session.  ViPR stands for Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning and is a whole-body training system that revolutionises free-weight exercise and “bridges the gap between movement and strength”.
Andrew is a qualified national ViPR trainer and put together a selection of exercises that were completed in 30 second intervals.


Set #1 – repeated twice

Threaded squats

3-point lunges with lateral shift

Forward flips

Side shuffles with lateral tilt


Set #2 – repeated twice

Plank lateral drags

Shovelling drills

Lunging uppercuts



Lyrebird Track is the usual return route but it was closed for fitness facility upgrades so we took the stairs back down.  The downward journey back to the car was a lot cruisier and allowed us to soak up the scenery around us.  Cockatoos were squawking overhead and crimson rosellas were romping around in the trees, getting close enough to pinch some sandwich crusts from a group of school girls.


At the base of the track is a memorial terrace that was completed in August 2012, just in time for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Isurava.  There is a panelled wall that provides historical insight and photographs of the war, as well as four pillars that represent the Kokoda values – courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice.



For more information about ViPR Personal Training, contact Andrew at http://www.pivotalfitness.com.au/


Check out the Parks Victoria website for info on the Dandenong Ranges National Park.