Monday, September 1, 2014

September - Facing the Challenges

Ever since I moved to London the end of May, things have been crazy hectic. Aside from having to deal with everything related moving countries (we all know how stressful any sort of moving can be, right?), I've also been traveling - both within England and abroad - and most importantly, I've been really distracted and worried about my brother.

Things just haven't felt right. I returned from Bangkok with such mixed feelings - happy to be back, sad to leave my family, very anxious and worried about my brother. Emotionally, it's all felt like a bit too much. I want to get into a routine here, but what I really, really want is my brother to have a full recovery. I have a hard time being ok with carrying on when I know that he is struggling.

I think not working at the moment also has to do with my lack of focus. I've got plenty of academic tasks that I need to work on so it's not like I don't have work to do … but not having to report to an office is strange. I'm glad I have the time for my research and writing -- but I guess it will take me a bit of time to get used to the idea that after 16 years of teaching, I won't be in a classroom.

It's because of these mental distractions that I know that having a routine and some sort of structure is so important for me. I was so happy on Friday when I discovered the nearby martial arts place. I looked at the class schedules of that plus my BJJ training and set my schedule, along with all the other stuff I have to do.

On Sunday, I hit the weights for the first time since returning from Bangkok. Of course it was tempting to wait for Monday, September 1st (just for the even-ness of it all) but I also knew that it was important for me to just start and not get caught up with doing things on a particular day/date. My new routine is based on building strength - so fewer sets/reps but heavier weights. It's an 8 week lifting program (I hope I can finish it in 8) combined with HIIT training -- in addition to the martial arts stuff of course.

My session went really well. The last couple of reps on the last set of pretty much each exercise were challenging, so I knew I was pushing myself. I am hoping that this regime will help me get back to my CrossFit strength.

Weight training was followed by a killer MetaFit class -- I love how these bodyweight exercises really challenge you! It just goes to show how much work there is to do with basic exercises such as push ups and mountain climbers.

I planned my menu for the week, went grocery shopping, and then started my veggie and food prep. I grilled turkey and chicken, chopped vegetables, roasted vegetables … everything was falling into place.

The next thing to do was prepare for my first Muay Thai workout which started at 6:30 a.m. on Monday morning --- oh, and since it was going to be my first solo drive in London (driving on the 'other' side of the road), D and I even did a trial run of me driving to the martial arts school and back home so that I would be less nervous in the morning.

I excitedly dusted off my gloves and shin guards. I had my wraps, my jump rope, and all my other gear ready to go. Just as I hung up my workout clothes, I got a notification on my phone --- they've canceled the Monday morning Muay Thai classes.

I felt like I had hit a brick wall.

Everything came tumbling down from there. Emotionally I fell into such a deep hole, I can't explain. I wanted to cry. I really did.

I can't explain how much I was looking forward to the Muay Thai class. Aside from actually practicing something I love, I knew that it would have been a great stress reliever. I have been so desperate to get back into training … ugh.

Heart break.

I wallowed for the rest of the evening. I grumbled to myself for a while, feeling like everything was against me - what's the point  of moving forward if I keep getting struck with obstacles etc. etc. etc. All of a sudden I went from having a plan for my day to not having a plan at all. Would I go to the gym and do another lifting session, would I rest, would I even attempt another morning Muay Thai class (on Fridays), would just that one class be worth paying the fee for the month? So many bloody questions.

Before I went to bed, I decided that I would wake up at 5:30 anyway. Sure I didn't have a class to go to or a job to go to … but I had work to do and I needed a routine. A good routine for me involves an early morning start.

It's unfortunate that I had such a restless night of sleep. I don't think I got more than 3 hours of solid sleep. After that I was waking up several times every hour.

Still, I got up at 5:30 and started my morning routine. Even though I didn't have a class to go to, I did have a lot of things to do. I still wasn't feeling that great - my mood was just off. I didn't feel like doing anything. The gloomy skies and constant rain didn't help.

It wasn't until 3:30 p.m. that I actually made it to the gym. I had a really good 55 minute cardio session. It had been a long time since I just zoned out on the treadmill. I had not intended on jogging but whenever the tempo picked up on my iPod, so did my pace. I'm pleased I was able to jog for several minutes at a time throughout the time I was on the treadmill. I followed that with some stretching and then headed home.

I'd love to say that my mood has lifted since my workout, but it hasn't. I'll be alright -- today was just one of those days that I had to power through.

Here's my plan for September:

Complete chapter for book submission
Complete QR article
Finish breaking down thesis
Non- Academic
Read for fun – whether it’s catching up on some magazines or a book

12 weight lifting sessions
65,000 steps per week
2 HIIT sessions per week
4 BJJ sessions a week
Minimum training: 27 workouts
Clean up eating and prepare for the WLC (starting Sep. 13)
Follow Whole Life Challenge Guidelines
Drink 3 L of water a day

Daily Yoga
Minimum of 15 minutes each day to mediate, center myself, and stretch
2 1-hour sessions a week

Main Errands
Put up shelving
Sort through stairwell closet
Start sorting out the storage unit

There will always be challenges -- it's time to rise up and face them! 
Here's to a great September! 


  1. Hi A, You've had so many huge events happen in your life. When things settle down for a while, you'll find your groove again. :-)

  2. I wish I had your discipline for organizing to do lists and then doing them.

    1. The only drawback is that when things don't go according to plan, I struggle to move forward.

  3. You mentioned rain and gloomy skies....Do you think lack of sunshine might be a reason for your funk? I get that way in the winter months, Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sun lamp and Vitamin D help me out.

    I hope September gets better for you.

    1. It definitely didn't help my mood ... not sure if it was a temporary thing or something that I'll have to be more aware of, particularly as we head towards shorter days. It'll be a change from my desert sunny days.


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