Bucking the Block

It’s finally time for me to admit it- Guys, I have Writer’s Block, an illness that is easily as serious and debilitating as the Man Flu or the Clone-Killing Nanovirus. Scratch that. This is way more serious.


In an effort to cure myself of this crippling ailment, I’ve spent the last month trawling the internet, reading as much as possible; everything from books and newspapers to the ingredients on the back of shampoo bottles in my shower (I don’t know what Methylisothiazolinone or chloromethylisothiazolinone are exactly, but apparently they’re bad for skin, or the ozone layer or something). I also spent a disgusting amount of time reading other people’s blogs, obnoxiously long Facebook statuses and tweets and in doing that discovered something: Writing is a lot like running.

The Tweeters of the world are sprinters: they cover a very short distance in a really quick time. Unlike those of us who tend to ramble on a bit, they have to get their point across in just 140 characters, including beginning, middle and end.

Then  there are the Facebook Fanatics who answer ‘What’s on your mind?’ with not just one, but every single thought they had that day. These are the literary hurdlers – longer distances, more of a challenge and more pressure to make their words interesting without being boring or repetitive.

Then there’s us, the bloggers who devote entire days to writing lengthy, somewhat sassy posts about everything from split-legged jeans to the state of Australian politics. We are the marathon runners. The mentally-fit and fabulous distance writers who take a while to get to the finish line, but make the read worth-while (if I may say so myself).

And these people are the triathletes that make the rest of us look lazy…

ss l

I am hoping now that, having spent January wallowing in self pity, I am fully recovered and back in the writing game. Keep your fingers crossed for me though, guys. The last thing any of us want is a relapse!

– by Blaire Gillies (God it’s good to be writing that again. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of crossing the finish line!)

From Doing Diddly-Squat to Actual Squats

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s how much we hate our friends on Facebook who do nothing but check-in at the gym and post statuses about how good their workout was. We get it; you do in fact lift…bro. The trouble with these irritatingly fit friends, though, is that they’re smarter than the rest of us. Why? Because – spoiler alert – exercise actually is good for us.

Endorphins are wonderful little neurotransmitters released during exercise that make us feel happy and amazing. Because I have the mentality of a four-year-old, when I’m running I sometimes like to imagine them as happy little dolphins in my brain cheering me on. Don’t judge me.  If I may quote Legally Blonde for a moment, “Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands…they just don’t.”

This wonderful, happy feeling also leads to increased self-esteem. Note, this does not mean that being skinny makes you happy. What I mean is that increasing your fitness levels gives you an amazing sense of achievement. Eighteen months ago, I was the last person anybody would expect to be a runner; a massive dweeb who spent all her time reading and watching old films. Now, I run every day, or I train on my spin-bike. Hell, I even started Pilates despite months of cynicism and active resistance (turns out, it’s not half bad). My point is, that I look back on where I was and compare it to who I am now and I beyond proud of myself for my accomplishments.

I know I’m the girl who advocates for chocolate in any scenario, and while it’s true that chocolate releases the same endorphins as exercise, unlike eating half a block of Wonka’s Marvellous Creations as a pick-me-up, you’ll never regret a workout. It may not be until a few days after said workout, when you finally get feeling back in your thighs and butt that you feel good about it, but damn, when the limping stops you will feel like a Goddess (or God, for those of you with XY chromosome).

I may in fact smack the next person I hear shout “no pain, no gain!” at the gym or the mini-workout stations along the running track. I know it’s true, but working out should not be torture. It’s not like we’re all lining up to get whipped or strappadoed. Let’s come up with some new chants. Repeat after me: “I am only a little bit uncomfortable and I am not in fact dying so I will do five more squats before the Maccas run.” I know it’s not as catchy, but at least it’s realistic. You are in charge of your body. You know your limits and you know your goals. The tip to a good workout is making it fun for you, whether that means bringing a friend to keep you motivated or just mixing things up every now and again. As long as you have a wicked playlist, you’re good to go.

Personally, I’m a huge fan 90s pop music.
Wannabe – Spice Girls
MMMBop – Hanson
Dr Jones – Aqua
Backstreet’s Back – Backstreet Boys
I know admitting this to you is only making you judge me more, but I’m cool with it. You listen to your white noise, techno crap and I’ll be on the next treadmill rockin’ some Venga Boys. Game on.

The best advice that I can give you is this; if you’re at the start of your fitness journey, the important thing to keep in mind is that you need to set realistic goals for yourself. You will not wake up looking like Alessandra Ambrosio or Charlie Hunnam after just one gym session. Start slowly to avoid injury and build up from there. Arnold Schwarzenegger was not born with -0% body fat. He started with 10 reps lifting small cars, then slowly moved on to trucks and larger buildings. You should start with kettlebells though. Or toothpicks…just to be on the safe side.

Oh, and it’s best to work out in the morning before your brain has time to wake up properly and hate you.

– by Blaire Gillies