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Cardio challenges and future goals

I’m not sure if this is well documented, and I’m too scared to research it… but when it comes to early morning routines and specifically early morning cardio, there’s definitely a challenge. It’s that you only need to poop about two kilometres away from home on your morning run.

In some circles, this subject is taboo. For me though, it’s simple biology. I say that and yet I can’t bring myself to Google it. Who knows what I will end up as suggested adverts on my Internet browser.

All I know is that at 3.45am, I have absolutely no thought or inclination for a toilet seat. At 4.11am, however, with a heart rate of 140 and a body that is now vertical as opposed to horizontal, it’s a completely different story. The problem is that you simply can’t just dump a load behind some bush on a suburban street … for one, some rottweiler will take a chunk out of one of your bare cheeks through the fence… and two, it’s just too flippin cold. As they say in Afrikaans, vasbyt.

And after all that, leg day. Despite my sentiments on my previous post about leg day being a banal exercise, I think I am starting to understand why this is a big deal with some people, like the Rock (he has two leg day workouts each week). For one, it elevates your heart rate. Two, it’s a big muscle group which – for someone like me who is constantly moving each and every day – becomes hugely beneficial.

There are probably more reasons, but suffice to say, I felt much better this morning. Even after morning cardio (and all it’s issues).

The prospects of becoming a working artist on multiple fronts are ever-more present. I continue to get requests and am issuing quotes and the work slowly starting to roll in, like it did this time last year. Hashtag, grateful and continually hopeful.

Tomorrow is arms and abdominal day. Plus I have entered the Mandela Day Marathon, 21.1km… this means I have training to do, so tomorrow I am aiming for a 8km cardio morning prior to the workout. I mean, a man must have #goals, not so?

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Start of Rock month week 4…

I’m not gonna lie. It was a jolt to the system this morning at 3.30am. A not-so-balmy two degrees and a wind chill factor as well. BUT, I did it, as Strava well attest.

I also can’t seem to bump my heart rate over 90 when doing my morning workouts after cardio, which I can only attribute to the fact that the weights aren’t heavy enough and I am now capable of pushing heavier barbells and dumbbells. So bring on the epic pain for epic gains. *winces quietly

KZN Costume Hire is attracting steady foot traffic without much marketing at all, which bodes well for when we actually do start promoting it! I started the morning by dropping off outfits for teachers at St Charles, and by the end of business today received another phone call from a preschool principal looking for outfits for their school production this term.

Wedding requests and other live music events also keep steadily coming in. It may be a little while before the word is out far and wide on my one-of-a-kind digital wedding invitations, but I know it will come.

I have a week and a half to go until I complete Rock month… it has definitely helped me cope with the workload so far, so I have resolved today to continue on at the same pace through this third quarter. Having said that… tomorrow is leg day. Sigh.

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Easy like Sunday

The temperature reached -1 this morning at 7am. It is seriously frosty here! Fortunately, I was tucked up in bed.

Today’s plan was to try and stay as low-key as possible ahead of the week, which is looking full and busy. We went to the morning church meeting and then I repeated last week’s routine of running home – which is 2km of sheer uphill and then a undulating 3km thereafter. What’s good about it is that I can reach my maximum heart rate quickly and log my 300-point run on Discovery Vitality for the week. I have managed to hit nearly 50 straight weeks in a row.

After lunch we sat down as a family to a Netflix doccie. So good to have downtime together, lazing about on the couch on a chilly afternoon under blankets with hot coffee. #bliss

I then re-strung my acoustic, as tonight was another gig at Saki. I did a vlog update in the parking lot about how these kind of gigs are always learning experiences for me about where I’m at in terms of performance and what crowds respond to. The majority of tonight’s audience was younger and older black folk, and I was pleased that they all loved the music. I even gave out my contact details afterwards to a few of them and may have more work lined up as a result!

Week 4 of Rock month commences tomorrow. Time to focus. Epic pain awaits, along with epic gains.

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A sleep in, a podcast and a cheat meal

While I am on this new health-kick dubbed Rock month, I was glad that on this particular Saturday (which is a rest day on my programme) I was able to sleep in past the usual 3.30am wake-up call… because when I did get up at 6.30am, this is what the outside world looked like:


Two degrees Celsius, people. Imagine doing cardio in that? (In the dark!)

Anyway, I was grateful. Today was part-admin, part-creative outlet day where I reviewed the script of the Great Deep show and storyboard. While I go about the busy schedule during the week, I often think about the show when I’m alone and have a moment to myself, and process (in my own mind) the strategy for making it.

Today was a test-run of voice recording as I put down the second podcast episode in our new costume hire venue. I used my custom-made DIY vocal booth (which I filmed how I made) to track the narrative and then edited it. The idea here is that this serves as a test run through the technical elements of sound recording before recording the animation soundtrack… more about that in future blogs.

Testing, testing… one, two…

(In the interim, subscribe to the YouTube channel.)

Today also served as cheat meal day during Rock month, because tomorrow I have an evening gig, so will be keeping my eating plan clean. It really was a good day to have cheat meal because:
1. The max temp. in our town was 15 °C
2. Dinner was oxtail with mashed potato. #winning

There is just something special – which I appreciate so much now – about cheat meals. My daily intake of food is so similar (aka lean and clean) each and every day that this kinds of meal is… well – sublime!

Finish that off with a double of my father-in-law’s whisky, and I would say that’s a pretty good way to end off a chilly Saturday in Hilton.

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The week’s cardio summary and random thoughts

Third week of Rock month is almost done. My morning cardio for the week has been documented, courtesy of Strava:

I managed to cook all the chicken and prepare two lunch meals, as well as get through my usual morning routine of
– cardio
– first breakfast
– workout
– second breakfast.

My workouts are intense but probably not as intense as they could be. I think this is a two-fold cause: on the one hand, I’m too distracted about everything past, present and future; and on the other hand, I’m not focused enough on what I’m doing.

Okay, perhaps it’s one-fold. The good thing is that I’ve recognised it, right? Next week I’ll be a muscle-making machine.

I am definitely feeling stronger and more able. I’m lifting heavier weights than I did in the first week, and while my weight hasn’t changed, I am starting to feel a slow transformation taking place.

Today I had thorough fun at Maritzburg Prep: I taught the 8-year-olds a bunch of rock numbers from the 80s (Queen’s We Will Rock You, as well as I Love Rock ‘n Roll, We Built This City and Born To Be Wild) and then the 6-year-olds were taken through the choreography for the Bee Gees’ hit track, Staying Alive. Alas, we didn’t get any film footage, as we all got too carried away in the fun of it all…

…but perhaps next week – if anyone demands.

I have a pile of admin to complete and follow through on, but my plan for this weekend is to at least get some drawing done. I’ve realised that discipline means to maintain a sense of internal balance and creativity by fueling what I hope will end up the ultimate fire – music and animation. Tomorrow’s pics will be a nod in that direction.

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Kindness, kids and tomorrow I need to cook

Today is Mandela Day in South Africa. It marks the former president’s birthday and a national drive to give 67 minutes of your time to someone or something else.

This week at St Charles College I got to goof around with the junior primary boys in assembly. They were talking about the Kindness Can Challenge. As a way to demonstrate acts of kindness the boys acted out scenarios to show how it’s possible to be kind to each other using not only gifts but also words of encouragement, gestures of affection and acts of helpfulness. Basically, their job was to cheer me up!

So we’re starting a thing – which is simply awesome, and builds foundations into the kids’ lives in ways we’ll probably never fully comprehend. I’ve been reflecting on how much I love what I get to do over and above the daily work of music and sport, which in itself is just so much fun and so rewarding.

Rock month continues on track, although I have now run out of lunches. This means that tomorrow morning will be cardio, followed by cooking and simultaneously doing a workout. And that’s before the kids wake up and need breakfast! I like a challenge.

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Productivity continues…

Arms and abs today. Biceps and triceps and crunches and general massacre of muscle fibres. The good thing about getting all the hard stuff done first thing in the morning is that breakfast always tastes amazing afterwards!

Productivity continues – I have animation work coming in as well as more wedding gigs (for which I am deeply grateful) and I am churning out scripts and audio editing like there’s no tomorrow for what is proving to be an epic third quarter. My diary is jammed.

Another very exciting development that is ongoing is this:

KZN Costume Hire
Need to dress up?

Thanks to my friend Paul Russell, I now have a logo for my business! I have been working on the website and sorting through images thanks to my other friend Sarah Thomson (SL Photography), who endured a crazy nutcase photoshoot here the other day.

I must say, Rock month has been challenging but quite invigorating. Despite munching copious amounts of calories, I have neither gained nor lost weight. It’s hard to see much difference physically but I notice it in my daily work rate and activity… it’s unparallelled. In order to cope in this third quarter, this is life as I know it. Off to bed now, because the alarm goes off at the same time tomorrow.

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Akin to Discipline

I remember a book from a little while back in my youth, called Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I remember, as a young gun, how juxtaposed those two words seemed: not quite oxymoron but definitely not strung together that often, if at all. The word “discipline”, when I was younger, was generally associated with words like “punishment” and “correction”. Most kids thought “sore bum” or “feelings of separateness” when someone spoke about them “needing to be disciplined”.

In short, it was just a drain.

However, Foster’s book title has stayed in my head ever since, and while I haven’t read it anytime recently, I find myself – in my adult years – feeling more akin* to this word “discipline” and it’s benefits than much else.

*He says smugly having woken up at 3.30am to go training in the cold and dark for two weeks straight.

Leg day today. I’m not sure I’ve fully grasped the meaning of this workout. After running, to exercise legs again just seems like, well… dumb.

And there’s this (pictured, right).

However, I did it for the third week in a row, just for the sake of… well, whatever. I’m waiting to see whether the rumours that those who actually persist with leg day start to prefer it as their favourite workout of the week. So far, not me.

My work days are becoming more and more productive. Mom-in-law reckons it’s all the carbohydrates. She likes the idea of rice and potatoes. My aching muscles like this idea too. I can only attribute the lack of extreme D.O.M.S. to the carb intake.

As part of my teaching workload, I have half-scripted the annual school concert at Maritzburg Prep, and called it Pop, Rock ‘n Roll – a surging blitz through the decades of pop music and rock ‘n roll, and how those hit songs form the perfect soundtrack for life in a junior school.

This weekend will be a moment to record some vocals and do some more storyboarding. I’m excited.

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Rock month ain’t any easier

So after blogging for two weeks on my Patreon page, I have decided to continue the storytelling saga of my Rock month here on my own website. Now in week three, my alarm went off at 3.35am and I departed for what Strava calls a “Night Run” at 3.52am. I suppose it’s not wrong… it just feels wrong to be called that. Mind you, it is pretty damn early.

By this stage, I would have thought that it gets easier. It doesn’t. It’s still freezing cold in the morning and yes, I am nuts. All in the name of “discipline”.

Chest workout followed my early morning kick start, and I spent the better part of 45 minutes clanging and banging in my iron shack (not paradise, like the Rock has). One thing that it does do, is makes you feel superior before you start your day.

The gigs continue to roll in and I also have some animation work which is now making it’s way into my diary, which I’m excited about. The animation for my solo show with the Great Deep is no doubt going to be a bit of a monumental mountain to climb… but we all know it’s best done one step at a time, which is what I started over the weekend after completing the draft of the script.

Sketches for storyboard ideas…

Tomorrow morning is leg day, so best I get some rest.

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Rock month

I’ve decided to eat and exercise like The Rock for a month. No, I don’t want to look like him. But a bit of extra muscle never hurt anyone, did it? Nevermind.

“You what?”

The incentive is to get healthier, boost energy levels, and focus on discipline. I guess, I just want to see if I can do it for a whole month. I mean, a man’s got to have goals, right?

Here’s what the eating and training looks like…

Monday – 30-50 minutes cardio, Chest Workout
Tuesday – 30-50 minutes cardio, Legs Workout
Wednesday – 30-50 minutes cardio, Arms/Abs Workout
Thursday – 30-50 minutes cardio, Back Workout
Friday – 30-50 minutes cardio, Shoulders Workout

Wakeup: 2 hard-boiled eggs. 1 cup oatmeal
Post-Workout Breakfast: 350g sweet potato, 3 egg white omelet with a cup of onions & red peppers
Lunch (First): 2 cups white rice, 250g chicken breast, cup of broccoli
Lunch (Second): 2 cups white rice, 250g chicken breast, cup of broccoli
Dinner: 250g steak, 300g potato, spinach salad
Pre-bedtime: Glass of milk

I’m four days in and have been blogging each day on Patreon… it’s a site where artists get supported by people who follow them in order to build a sustainable income. The daily blog there is open to the public and is not all health and fitness, but more like a day-in-life journal. I try to keep it light-hearted.

If you’re keen on supporting, click here and I’ll be your new best friend!