There’s no time like the present

October 15th, 2011 by Rebekka in Uncategorized

(Note: This entire post was originally published August 2010, I’m reposting now as my blog has been hacked in a most annoying way, so that when I attempt to post links to some older articles onto Facebook,  advertisements for viagra show up instead of excerpts and pics from my blog. If anyone knows how to fix this , let me know! )

The photos above and at the end of this post are from a quick selfportrait photoshoot in my kitchen yesterday.  I’m 32 years old, and have two sons age 12 and 10.  While I’m a relatively content, marginally successful woman today, such has not always been the case (<— understatement). I’m in a warm, sharing sortof mood today. Hopefully the following words of advice will prove helpful to someone in some way.
Everyone make excuses.  For any number of things.  Making excuses and convincing yourself you can’t do something is usually easier than making personal challenges and tackling them head-on.  I’m terribly prone to procrastination myself, and know how annoyed I get with myself when I keep putting things off, for days, weeks, months even, until, in a manic fit, too irritated with myself to take it any more, I spring out of bed one morning and decide “all right missy, today you’re getting this shit done, all of it, no more excuses!”  and do my best to tackle all those things I’d been putting off, usually only remembering half of them by then.  Whatever. Point is, it’s not a productive way to live one’s life, seeing as you only get one, and  have no guarantee whatsoever how many theoretical “tomorrows” we have waiting patiently for us down the road.

Philosophical preamble aside, let me get to the point of todays post.
One of the most common things people make excuses about, and put off until tomorrow, next week, or next year (new years resolutions, anyone?)  is the matter of getting fit.  And from this point on, I am referring to otherwise healthy people, who are not disabled in any way, and have no true reason for avoiding exercise, other than not feeling like it.
I, personally, will never understand why the majority of people on this planet take their bodies for granted.  You get one, it remains with you for life, and when it fails, that’s it. You do not get a replacement.  Despite this very obvious fact,  many people spend more time and money working on their cars,  or collecting things to decorate their homes with, than tending to their own bodies.

Anyway, let me cut to the chase.  Fitness should not be a fad, a hobby or a vague idea at the back of ones head.  It should be a way of life.  Furthermore,  it should not be expensive, complicated, daunting or unattainable, and doesn’t have to be.
I suffered from severe depression from age 12-16. (I won’t go into details)  Then I decided to start running. Just a spur of the moment decision that changed my life.  It helped, a lot.  I got into weight-lifting at age 18, and that helped even more. I started reading fitness and bodybuilding magazines, realizing I could control the shape I was in.  This is the most important realization i’ve come across:  How i looked and felt was all up to me, not a preordained fate I had to accept.  And that’s probably something a lot of people don’t realize, or don’t want to think about because it means you have to get up and do something about it.

If you’re still reading, that probably means you’re one of those people who’ve always wanted to do something to change this,  but aren’t sure where to start.  To make things easier,  i’m going to simply point you in a few good directions, because i can’t possibly write down all i’ve learned in the 14 years since I decided to make fitness a #1 priority in my life.

(Chinups are awesome. I have a bar at home. If you can't do even one, start by hanging. Then use a chair and try hanging with your arms at 90°. Then try lifting yourself. Be patient. Can't recommend them enough for upper-body strenght and toning. I can now do 10-12 from a dead hang.)

Because I constantly seek out new approaches to keep from being bored, I’m always curious about “trends” that pop up and can usually tell after reading the first few lines of a sales-pitch if something is legit, or a bunch of nonsense designed to rob you of your money and time.  One of the things I decided to check out in depth was Mike Geary and his “Truth about Six-pack abs”  program,  (forcing myself first to look past the cheesy title and incredibly corny looking website).  Long story short, I bought his ebook, and give it my stamp of approval, even if it does play a little too much on the necessity of having ripped abs in order to appeal to the opposite sex.  ( I’m not in any partnership with this man,  I just benefited from his stuff, and am therefore mentioning it to others).  The book is crammed with necessary and simple information about nutrition and workouts, much of it stuff I already knew, and free of any mention of shortcuts or miracle cures which I know for a fact do not exist.

Now, after buying this ebook,  I’ve gotten regular emails with extra tidbits of information, tips and recipes, which is a nice bonus.  In one of his newsletters he mentioned another training program that had his stamp of approval, and I decided to check that out.  I ended up purchasing the Tactfit Commando program as well, which is largely based on bodyweight exercise alone, which is attractive to me since I want to work out at home sometimes to save time, and love learning new moves that just somehow never occurred to me.

You’ll notice i mentioned “buying” both of the afore mentioned programs.  They were both a lot cheaper than gym memberships and ended up being worthwhile.  Still, i know a lot of people won’t buy them.  Which brings me to the best fitness-related gem i’ve stumbled across in recent years:
For the second time on this blog i’m going to mention, and recommend    This website was daunting at first.  Zuzana (the madly fit and curvaceous woman you’ll see as soon as you click on the link) annoyed the hell out of me with her boobs and her much-too-ripped abs,  but i forced myself to watch one video and instantly my preconceptions vanished.  I’d also heard that she used to be a porn actress or something, but honestly could not care less. This girl knows what she’s doing,  and generously shares, for free,  a near endless stream of varying workouts that can be done at home with a minumum of equipment.  These workouts kick ass.   They really, really do.   After a lazy summer of only working out 3-4 times a week max, I decided to get back into gear a couple weeks ago,  and have been employing  tips I’ve gathered from all three of these sources and focusing them into brutally intense, 20-30 minute workouts in the comfort of my living room. ( Some of the exercises I can’t do (not yet at least) and some I avoid because I damaged my lower-back weightlifting 6 years back and have to be careful not to trigger an attack which can cause me to limp around like an old woman for a few days until it gets better.  My point being, don’t let it stop you if you think it looks to hard from the get-go.  Just start at your own level and work from there)

Bottom line:   You don’t have to spend a fortune on new workout clothes, a gym membership,  or face the scary prospect of going into a gym and feeling inadequate (another common excuse I’m sure a lot of people make, which I understand very well).  As i mentioned above, I have a chin-up bar installed at home,  and own a set of 10kg adjustable dumbells and exercise ball as well.  All good stuff to have for variety, but to start you only need yourself.

Anyway, I hope this helps at least some people, since i went to the trouble of sitting here for an hour writing this all down ;)

Read 17 comments

40 down, 21 to go ..

October 6th, 2011 by Rebekka in Uncategorized

I’m sure those of you who’ve already contributed towards making the Weather project possible are getting somewhat anxious to know how things have been progressing since my last update several months ago.  Sorry for the prolonged silence, this summer was pretty hectic, with moving house and stuff,  and time has that habit of flying by without asking anyone’s permission..  So here it is, October already , and we’re only two-thirds of the way through with this project, which I’d optimistically hoped would be completed by september (haha!).

But the good news is , since work will most likely continue throughout the winter,  the pictures will end up even more diverse than if they’d all been taken over the course of 3-4 months, which will only make for an even more amazing book. And that the book will be amazing is something I’m growing more and more confident of.  (yay!)

So here’s the progress report so far:

April 18-25.  Approximately 20 locations covered, around the entire coast of Iceland. Approx. 3200 km travelled.
See travel photos here
May 18-20th :  Four more locations photographed around the Snæfellsnes area. Roughly 900 km travelled.

(it was this windy the entire time.  Very , uhm, invigorating, for lack of another description.. )

July 1-5:  Nine more weather stations visited,  in North-Western and North Iceland. Around 2600 km travelled.
See travel pictures here.

On the most recent journey, October 1-3, we covered only five more locations.  Approx. 1800 km travelled.  Had I not been sick as a dog the entire trip, we probably would have gotten a little more done, but it was either return home a day early or end up with pneumonia, and while I’m pretty dedicated, even I have my limits when it comes to my health.   The northern lights we were treated to our first night in Ásbyrgi more than made up for being sick.

We also managed to fit in one of the most out-of-place weather spots on this leg of the journey,  the Kárahnjúkar power plant, which is located in the highlands north of  Vatnajökull, Icelands largest glacier.

This power plant , with its huge dam flooding (and permanently obliterating) huge areas of untouched nature, home to a myriad of birds and other wildlife, sparked huge controversy when it was being built.  That was the first and only time I’ve participated in public protest (back in 2006 this was, i think), and was incredibly saddened and disappointed in the Icelandic government for going through with the flooding.   So needless to say, visiting this place was quite an experience.

As you can see by the distances covered so far,  keeping in mind the price of fuel these days,  and the fact that both my boyfriend and I have to put all other work aside while driving around working on this,   it’s proving to be one hell of an expensive project, even more so than I assumed at first.   We’ve kept cost down as much as possible by sleeping in a tent most nights (yes, even in April and October, in Iceland)  rather than paying for accomodation, but the fuel factor simply can’t be avoided.  Because of this I’ve been inviting people to support the endeavour with Paypal donations.    Those who contribute 15$ or more, will receive a  PDF copy of the book once its complete.  It will be available for purchase later of course, but not as a PDF, and not at this price, so if you find the project interesting, its not a bad deal.    Those who’re generous enough to donate 50$ or more,  get 5 small prints of any five images from my website, of their choice, plus the PDF of the book.  Everyone wins! Sweet!

To those who have already helped out , I can’t thank you enough for making this possible.  About half of the remaining 21 locations can only be reached by boat or helicopter, so the last third of this massive project will certainly not be easier or less expensive than what’s already complete,  so I’m extremely grateful for all continued support.

Read 10 comments