Flower

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Bring Sally up and bring Sally down/lift and squat, gotta tear the ground. Does this sound familiar? If so, you might be one of the millions of people following different exercise challenges on You Tube. I read about this one last week in Men’s Health magazine and it’s a hell of a lot tougher than it sounds.
Essentially, you play the Moby track ‘Flower’ and lift into a press up each time he sings ‘bring sally up’ and go down into a plank type position when he sings ‘bring sally down’. No rests allowed in between.

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The song is less than four minutes long, yet this challenge makes it feel a LOT longer. Some people post their own individual videos of the challenge; I was using one made by some martial arts ninja types, which I like because you can see people dropping out at different times when they find it too tough.

I started it this morning as soon as I got up (after a couple of stretches), thinking how hard can this be? I can plank for two minutes, although my arms are usually juddering like a pneumatic drill by the end. The difficulty is in the tension on the arms and the pauses in the down position, which is harder than a real plank. I was pleased to find I lasted longer than the first guy to drop out and, at 1:15, longer than the journo from MH, who didn’t make a minute on his first day. He did it every day for 28 days and even by the end, only made it to 2:42. I say only, but I can already see that’s a pretty good time. His before and after pics show definite changes to his midriff, so I intend to try this for the next month. The song itself is fairly repetitive, so there’s a possibility I’ll feel like this come Friday:

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I’ll let you know, and if you fancy giving it a try, let me know how you get on. Despite finally having a good week last week in terms of exercise (kettlebells Tuesday, crossfit Wednesday, weight training Thursday) the weekend was rubbish, apart from some walking. I struggled to do three days in a row, both for time and energy levels. This works for some, but I need to space it out a bit more, partly because it’s tiring and partly to get other stuff done. It’s hard work being an exercise ninja and a mum and working four days a week.

This week will also involve yoga, a box fit class, hopefully another crossfit session and worst of all, I know I absolutely must get back to some running. Let’s just hope it stops pissing down with rain. If I can muster the enthusiasm, I could follow Sally with a round of 30 burpees. Horrible, but it does work. If you don’t know burpees, here they are:

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Doing thirty only takes a few minutes, but gets you as fit as fuck. In fact you will probably say fuck a lot whilst doing them. I know I need to get fast at the 30, because that’s the penalty for non-completion of obstacles in the Spartan race. And given it would take a miracle for me to swing along the monkey bars, burpees it shall be. Dagnabbit. Did I mention they are horrible?

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Mentally, this weekend was a mix of highs and lows; good flowers and bad flowers. A friend came to visit on Saturday night and we drank wine and put the world to rights. She also brought me these beauties, which cheered me up immensely:

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Sunday was the bad flowers: a visit to my mother’s grave, which led to a day of blubbering and negative thinking.  Today I choose to think more about the good ones. I attended a conference at work for International Women’s Day, which was yesterday. The theme was ending violence against women and children and I was inspired by some of the speakers, especially an amazing group of primary school children who ran a workshop about the UN rights of the child. There was a video and drama piece based on experiences of women and girls who have decided to stand up against FGM – female genital mutilation, terrifying abuse which is now happening in our own country.

A bunch of high school students from Bristol made a video and song about this, despite elders from their community trying to close them down and give them the fear. They were just kids, yet so bloody brave it humbled me. It reminded me of a poem that gave me inspiration a long time ago. It’s by Tupac Shakur, who most people thought of (as I did) as yet another hiphop gangster, shot down by his crazy life:
Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk without having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no-one else ever cared.

There are millions of people in the world struggling with all sorts of things, both personal and political. Today reminded me that there is hope for change for all of us, we just need to make a start and sally on.

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Until next time,
QL.

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