Do not be fooled by simplicity (In training and life)

The Shed
The Shed

“Do not be fooled by simplicity, both in training and life.”

 When you let this sink in you begin to realise how easy it is to over complicate life and training.

It is easy to get away from the basics.

It is easy to conclude more is better, or flashier is better.

Truth be told, the simple path is often the tried and true path.

 Photo: Baz – The Landy
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Strewth – Talk about an Aussie Icon (The Shed)

The Shed

You’ve got to love the Aussie Shed, a beacon in a sea of green grass, usually found near the back fence on any Australian suburban house block.

I love my shed and even though it was designed to house a couple of cars and all that other stuff that you accumulate over the years, you know, the Christmas presents that you couldn’t stand but didn’t have the heart to send to the refuse tip, they all invariably end up hidden away in a dark corner of the shed.

As a long-term fitness junkie, my shed houses surfboards, more kayaks than you can poke a stick at, a Concept C2 rower and my weight-lifting racks and associated equipment, as well as numerous bikes collected over the years.

Weight lifting in "The Shed"

Mind you, not all Aussie sheds house exercise equipment, unless of course you count the bar fridge in the corner, which is standard equipment in any shed. Often you’ll see the men-folk doing some elbow bending as they drink a toast to the day passed, usually just around the time the sun is going down over the yard-arm.

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Crikey, like a bunch of Cockatoos, high on the fermenting nectar of fruit consumed under a hot Aussie sun, the squawking tends to increase as the amber fluid flows.

And you can be sure a fair amount of advice is passed around, an exchange of ideas, thoughts, happenings, and the odd joke or two. A  bit like Speakers Corner where everyone is given a chance to say their bit, to tell their yarn in a not too serious way.

But I’m digressing…

Each morning around 4.30am, or silly-o’clock, as Janet suggests, I make the journey out the back door and up the driveway to the shed. Even the dogs, Milo and Jack, can’t be bothered to get out of their beds, preferring to wave me through. Although, usually after about 30 minutes or so one of them will wander up to see what is going on, but I suspect if they could speak they’d actually be asking for a feed, seemingly oblivious to anything else.

Such is a dog’s life.

Rowing in "The Shed"

Depending on the day I’ll either pursue my strength training, or use the rower for my daily cardio fix and although I would prefer to be out on the water kayaking it isn’t always convenient during the week, so the rowing machine is a great substitute.

I must confess upfront to being an early morning person, I guess you’d have to be to manage a 4.30am start each day, but it does have its advantages. In between the clanging of weight plates being moved, or interval sets on the rower, I can stand outside in the pre-dawn silence and marvel at the stars in the sky, the wondrous universe with you at its centre.

Or once a month watch a full moon setting in the western sky, and if I’m lucky even a shooting star to ponder a thought on.

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Strewth, what of the neighbours I hear you ask, what if they don’t share my love of the early morning?

I must say it is hard not to be tempted into playing some heavy metal, AC/DC or Led Zeppelin to help the mood and give that much needed pump for the session. But alas, it is mostly done in silence, apart from a moan or groan under the weight of a squat bar, or the last 500 metres on the rower.

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Hey, but it is fair to say, if I head up for an afternoon session, which is more often than not, it is always accompanied by some loud rock or heavy metal music. I’ve always said that Theo, our next door neighbour, is a closet heavy metal fan, so the relationship has never been strained, he doesn’t always say much mind you, but smiles a lot, so maybe he’s actually deaf.

And I’m frequently visited by Janet and TomO during these sessions, which is always welcome, mind you there would never be any chance of that happening in the morning, in fact I don’t think they know what 4.30am actually looks like.

Janet & TomO

There was a suggestion not too long ago that maybe the shed could be converted and upgraded to have a loft, an upstairs area where TomO and his mates could hang out, maybe even move into as he advances in his teenage years.

You know, a brand new building without the cracks that have accumulated over the years, possibly from too much heavy metal music resonating through the walls, or perhaps just cracking up from the tall stories that have echoed from within – but it just wouldn’t be cricket, and besides where would I put the bar fridge?

No thanks, I like my shed just the way it is, and as the sun slowly breaks the eastern horizon I’m heading to the shed for a row…

And as I do, I’ll leave you with a thought for today, one of my all-time favourites…

Those that don’t think it can be done, shouldn’t bother the person doing it!”

Hey, and if you get around to it, don’t forget to  Like The Landy on Facebook and check out some of the photos…

Hey – Whatever Floats Your Boat (Just as long as you’re happy)

Concept2 Rowing Machine in “The Shed”

One way I keep fit and healthy is through rowing, something I do up in “The Shed” on my Concept2 rowing machine  most days.

Mind you, I would much rather be out on the water in one of my kayaks, which is a regular feature of our weekend when we aren’t Out and About in the mountains, but time constraints can make this more difficult during the week.

Baz on his Epic V10 – Narrabeen Lake, Sydney, Australia

And whilst it is a solitary pursuit in the predawn darkness up in the shed, I’m never alone when I row thanks to my fellow team-mates in our virtual rowing team.

I belong to a global team of about 80 rowers, a great bunch of people mostly based in North America and we go by the name of The Lun-atics

The team was set up many years ago by a group of NASA employees with the intention of collectively rowing to the moon and back. Yes that’s right something like 384,000 kilometres, or as those in the rowing community tend to express distance in metres, a whopping 384 billion metres.

Crikey, let’s just settle on – it’s a long way there and back.

Well that is something we achieved in 2011 and we are now on the return voyage back to earth!

As a matter of interest, over the past four years I have covered the equivalent distance from Sydney to New York on my rowing machine, some 16,000 kilometres of rowing!

Rowing in “The Shed”

Anyway, a couple of days ago I was having a chat with one of my rowing mates and it got around to best times rowed, typically over 10,000 metres, a distance I train for. The 10,000 metre distance requires a good balance between speed and endurance and my best time is just under 38 minutes.

Our inclination as mere human beings is to want to compare ourselves, to see how we shape up against our peers.  It might be in the gym, comparing how much you can lift versus someone else, or how fast you can cover 50 metres in the pool.

Weight Training – In “The Shed”

But I always question, is this the right comparison to make?

Sure, if you’re in a competition, where time taken or weight lifted, determines who wins the gong and who goes home empty handed, it is important. But for those of us who exercise mostly for health and fitness it is almost pointless, and might even be demotivating.

There will always be someone doing more, or going faster, depending on where you are and who you are with.

The true comparison is at what level you are pushing yourself and this might be measured by what zone you are training in determined by your heart-rate, or how much you are lifting versus your one-repetition maximum.

If you are training to the maximum of your ability, it doesn’t matter how fast, or how much, you are as equal to anyone else doing the same.

Anyone giving 100 percent is giving 100 percent, right?

Baz – Coast to Coast Adventure Race, New Zealand

Life is much the same, it doesn’t matter what you are doing that counts as much as whether you are getting satisfaction and happiness from it.

Strewth, my sister does quilting, and at the risk of upsetting all those quilters out there, all three of them, I don’t get it myself, but then she doesn’t quite understand the need for me to stand on top of big mountains. She’s not the only one mind you!

Mt Aspiring, Southern Alps, New Zealand

But you know what – we both love pursuing our individual interests and we’re equals because of the happiness it brings to our lives…

That is what truly counts, it isn’t the what, or how much – unless of course you’re going for gold, but that’s another story altogether – those Quilters’ are a competitive bunch!

The Shed – An Aussie Icon in the backyard

The Shed

You’ve got to love the Aussie Shed, a beacon in a sea of green grass that is usually found near the back fence on any Australian suburban house block. I love my shed and even though it was designed to house a couple of cars, and all that stuff that you accumulate over the years, you know, the Christmas presents that you couldn’t stand but didn’t have the heart to send to the refuse tip, they all invariably end up hidden away in a dark corner of the shed.

As a long-term fitness junkie, my shed houses surfboards, kayaks, a Concept C2 rower, and my weight-lifting racks and associated equipment, as well as numerous bikes collected over the years. Not surprisingly there is a small collection of old Landrover parts and camping equipment. And yes, the odd Christmas present that seemed like a good idea to someone long-ago.

Mind you, not all Aussie sheds house exercise equipment, unless of course you count the bar fridge in the corner which is standard equipment. Often you’ll see the men-folk doing some elbow bending as they drink a toast to the day passed, usually just around the time the sun is going down over the yard-arm. And like a bunch of Cockatoos, high on the fermenting nectar of fruit consumed under a hot Aussie sun, the squawking tends to increase as the amber fluid flows.  And you can be sure a fair amount of advice is passed around, an exchange of ideas, thoughts, happenings, and the odd joke or two. A  bit like Speakers Corner where everyone is given a chance to say their bit, to tell their yarn in a not too serious way.

But I’m digressing…Each morning around 4.30am, or silly-o’clock as Janet, my partner suggests, I make the journey out the back door and up the driveway to the shed. Even the dogs, Milo and Jack, can’t be bothered to get out of their beds, preferring to wave me through, especially on these colder winter mornings. Although, usually after about 30 minutes or so one of them will wander up to see what is going on, but I suspect if they could speak they’d actually be asking for a feed, seemingly oblivious to anything else, such is a dog’s life. Depending on the day I’ll either pursue my strength training, or use the rower for my daily cardio fix and although I would prefer to be out on the water kayaking it isn’t always convenient during the week, so the rowing machine is a great substitute.

I must confess upfront to being an early morning person, I guess you’d have to be to manage a 4.30am start each day, but it does have its advantages. In between the clanging of weight plates being moved, or interval sets on the rower, I can stand outside in the pre-dawn silence and marvel at the stars in the sky, the wondrous universe with you at its centre, once a month watch a full moon setting in the western sky, and if I’m lucky even a shooting star to ponder a thought on.

And what of the neighbours I hear you ask, what if they don’t share my love of the early morning? I must say it is hard not to be tempted into playing some heavy metal, AC/DC or Led Zeppelin (okay I’m showing my age here!) to help the mood and give that much needed pump for the session. But alas, it is mostly done in silence, apart from a moan or groan under the weight of a squat bar, or the last 500 metres on the rower.  But fair to say, if I head up for an afternoon session, which is more often than not, it is always accompanied by some loud rock or heavy metal music. I’ve always said that Theo, our next door neighbour, is a closet heavy metal fan, so the relationship has never been strained, he doesn’t always say much mind you, but smiles a lot, so maybe he’s actually deaf. And I’m frequently visited by Janet, and TomO, our son, during these sessions, which is always welcome, mind you there would never be any chance of that happening in the morning, in fact I don’t think they know what 4.30am actually looks like.

There was a suggestion not too long ago that maybe the shed could be converted and upgraded to have a loft, an upstairs area where TomO and his mates could hang out, maybe even move into as he advances in his teenage years. You know, a brand new building without the cracks that have accumulated over the years, possibly from too much heavy metal music resonating through the walls, or perhaps just cracking up from the tall stories that have echoed from within – but it just wouldn’t be cricket, and besides where would I put the bar fridge?

No thanks, I like my shed just the way it is, and as the sun slowly sinks below the yard arm in a brilliant display of burnt orange…Cheers, from the shed!