Monday, December 10, 2012

Some fabulous Christmas gift ideas!!

Christmas is always a crazy time of year, when I get asked what I want for Christmas I can think of many ideas! You don't have to take out a loan to survive Christmas, just think of who you are buying for and working out what would make them smile.  Remember - It is the thought that counts.  Taking a little time to prepare will also stop you panicking and over-spending or purchasing on the day.

Here are some great little present ideas:

* Peter Alexander pj's - great little packs this time of year!
*  Kate Spade desktop calendar, to keep friends organised and planning for 2013
*Kikki-K also great for organising (and local)
*Aveeno products, natural and they smell amazing
* Red Balloon voucher - great for the action/adventure junkie
* Gold Class vouchers
* Spa beauty treatment at a local spa (massage, facials, scrubs) spoil the one you love.
* Godiva chocolates (who doesn't love rich chocolates)
* Homemade body scrub - check out these ideas - I got a great coffee scrub, homemade, love it!
* Favourite perfume or cologne - you can order through Strawberry net for savings! Allow time for delivery, they do great packs also with body wash or lotion!! Value for money
*Magazine subscription - does he or she love fitness magazines? Or Home/Garden etc.... So nice to just get a magazine in the post instead of going to the newsagent.
* Myers online - for her, for him for those who know what they want and just do not have time to go purchase.
* Some health & fitness ideas you can get online 
* Donate to charity and make your friend/family feel like they made a difference 
* For those who are hard to buy for, let them choose from many stores with a Westfield Gift voucher, I love using these in the January sales, you get more for your $$

I love the look on people's faces when they open a gift, it is just a great feeling knowing you have thought of them! Enjoy shopping, make sure you have your list prepared BEFORE you head to the shops, also have a $$ limit so you don't get a little overboard!!  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is Christmas A Challenge for you?

Around this time of year I am thinking about what chrissie presents I can buy my loved ones and also what gorgeous delicious food will be on the menu for Christmas day.  The great thing about living in Australia is that Christmas Day is normally a sweltering 30+degrees... so it makes it so much easier to make healthier food & drink choices.  I think for most Christmas Day isn't really a bad day of eating it is all the celebrations leading up to the big day that pack on those unwanted pounds.

We are all about the work Christmas parties, the lunches, the friends catching up and then of course Christmas Day.  We feel that we have worked hard all year and deserve a break (you do, we all do) but the amount of people that put on weight over Christmas is outstanding, why do we gorge ourselves and spend the first few days of the New Year talking about being healthier this year, being fitter this year (and so on...) Here is a thought, commence now if you haven't done already.  Don't be a sheep and get hammered at every party and eat all the crap food because that is what everyone else does, have smart options/choices and work out which events you will let yourself have a treat or two!! Be in control. Be smart, plan and you will thank yourself for it come 1 January 2013.

You have 35days starting from now to get those healthy habits fine tuned - for those who have already started, keep going and tighten those reins.. haha get it, ahh yes. Humour.  I try.  Sometimes I laugh at my own jokes, it is just sad. 

35 days - they say it takes 4 -6 weeks to start a new habit (eating clean healthy foods and moving your body a couple times a week), you will start to notice  changes/ a difference around that time and others will start to notice in 12 weeks.  So why wait until January/February to start?  You can still enjoy Christmas, the great turkey, ham, pavlova (my fav), champers, just PLAN PLAN PLAN.   Here are my tips to still enjoy the festive season but also keep your body healthy, fit and lean:-

* natural mineral water with fresh berries, lime (make frozen lime/natural fruit mixes as ice) I drink mine out of a wine glass, it helps trust me!
* limit alcohol intake, if you feel like a drink, add vodka to mineral water mix 
* be the nominated driver, then you don't have to drink and are in control
*T2 have some great teas that can be drank cold (no sugar) taste divine
*drink lots of water... not energy drinks
* enjoy lots of fresh summer fruits with yoghurts, prepare green salads and meats to eat daily, healthy snacks (fruit, nuts, yoghurt) make healthy protein balls as a semi naughty snack
*move your body everyday (swimming, walking, class, run, ride, dancing)
* Eat before going to buffet dinners, don't starve yourself
* choose from fresh green salads, lots of protein from meats, turkey, chicken, ham
* don't stand near the snacks table (handful of peanuts here, crisps here)
* get some little mints to keep in your bag, when you feel like you are going to raid that snack table or feel the urge for the 4th glass of wine, pop in a mint.
* Visualise how you want to feel in the New Year, lean and fit and healthy or fat, sluggish and tired? Put pictures up to inspire you, you can do it.
* Offer to bring foods along to events so you can control what you are eating
* Book yourself some pampering to celebrate your healthy regime (massages, pedicures)
*Have you wanted to try a new class, book that in! yoga, dancing etc
* Plan lots of activities outside! Bike rides, runs, walks with friends on tracks you have been wanting to explore, make it social with a nice swim or picnic at the end
* Laugh, enjoy catching up with friends, surround yourself with people who will support your decisions not sabotage you to make them feel better, do this for you! It won't be easy but you will so thank yourself for it.

So let's for some GO, for others step up the journey, NO excuses.  Let's get meaner, leaner and kick some bodyfat in the process.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Are you ready for Summer?

Cue marketing campaigns for summer beach bikini diets - now.  Us human beings are crazy to constantly go on and off diets for certain occasions or seasons, why is it imperative that we look our best NOW for summer, why are we not ensuring we have a healthy lifestyle, look and feel great all year around, maybe just tightening up the reigns just a little to get bikini/beach ready?

Have a squizz on most females to do list (and men of course), I guarantee you more exercise and or improve diet will both come up! I must eat better, and drink less to look good before all the Christmas parties and summer.......   why why do we struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle ALL YEAR around?

It all comes down to choices.  We all have the choice to eat well, train and be fit and fabulous all year around, some of us do (I know many people choose this lifestyle, love it and embrace it and still enjoy the good things in life) but for the majority there is always a big weekend that leads into a bad week, that just keeps on going, we constantly are on a wagon, falling off and getting back on.  I truly believe it is time to stop punishing ourselves. 

I know when I eat well, sleep well, laugh lots, train and socialise with friends I am happy, I believe you need to be balanced mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I can not just be all about nutrition and training, unless I decide to become an athlete! I already feel like I achieve that as a teenager, as all I did was play sport, I was always playing/competing/watching basketball, netball, swimming, golf... you name it I gave it a good solid crack.  Growing up active has definitely had a positive impact on me and driven me to do my studies to become a trainer and work with people to help them towards their health and fitness goals.  I am not currently practising as a trainer but I still study, learn, get my CEC's and enjoy health & fitness!  I love finding out different passions within health and fitness that just keeps my passion alive.  

I am ready for summer.  What does summer mean for you?  For me it is all about the sunshine, warm weather, picnics on the beach, swims in the ocean, summer fruits, watching the cricket, Sydney to Hobart, gelato, great seafood with chilled wine, laughter with friends, weekend walks and bike rides with my boy, night cinemas, music in the domain and trying new sports on the water (paddle boarding seems to be the in thing) and generally getting out and about and enjoying the great outside that Australia has to offer, that is my ideal summer.  Oh and to have a nice little tan.  Those are the things that make me smile, happy and content.  That for me is a healthy lifestyle! What do you love about summer?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nothing like an extra challenge......

Loving the extra motivation a new challenge with Justine Switalla- Sports Model has given me, totally boosted my motivation to achieve greatER things - continuing on with my current healthy lifestyle but increasing the intensity. Seven day boost challenge starts today, eating clean 100%.  My next four days will be 100% clean (no dairy, grains, processed foods, alcohol).  Dinner party on Saturday night will be a 80-90% clean day.  Exercise for the next four days looks something like this: PT session, RPM class, Bodybalance class, weights session, swim & bootcamp. My goodness. PUMPED.

Dexascan is in 17days time!! Have been super good with food but time to stop the little tidbits here and there and going super super squeaky clean... saw this seven day challenge on FB this morning and thought this is just the boost I need to get my motivation back up there!  

Starts today, no training today, osteo appt this afternoon to keep my body in fine condition and ready for the next 17days of changing one's bodyshape.

Pictures will be taken and posted at end with dexascan results. I am excited and freaking out a little also. The numbers of dexascan NEVER lie, so let's see shall we.

Ready set GO!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shoulda, woulda, coulda......

Have finally settled back into a great weekly training routine which keeps me pumped and motivated, normally.  This week hormones have settled in and I cannot seem to shake the black dog vibe - yes there are a few external factors out of my control affecting my mood, but I can not seem to shake it.  In a strange way there is a sense of calm, I am eating clean 95% of my day - no panic, just calm.

So why is today so blergh, dark and depressive?  Have I fallen into a slump and just need to kick my own arse or do I really need to listen to my body and ride out this wave, what is the worst thing that can happen? I will still continue to eat clean, be rested and ready for my cardio/circuit training session tomorrow and the Seven Bridges walk Sunday - why should I feel like I shoulda, woulda, coulda done better with organising myself today.

I cancelled my PT session last night as I felt like I had an alien in my lower abdomen trying to get out, not really ideal body state to train, does that make me weak, I don't think so. My body was trying to deal with a a couple areas of stress (back, tummy), I wouldn't of been in the right frame of mind or body for that matter to push myself 100%, wasting my time/money and my trainers.  

Nutrition is the key. Training is still being completed, done,executed, just not today.

Monday, October 15, 2012

4.5 weeks (32 days) until next dexascan.....

I am not sure why these last few weeks I haven't been as motivated to shed the pounds as I once had been...  I am still enjoying my healthy lifestyle - training weekly and eating good healthy foods, but I am also enjoying the fact that I don't worry about my weight or weighing myself everyday.  Yes I can be a lot LEANER and fitter... but for some reason I am purely happy with myself at the moment.  

Amazing how life changes and you are just content, I love lazy sleep ins now with my boy on a Sunday instead of rushing off to do a triple class, I love having vino and some gorgeous cheese and crackers on a Friday night, or a nice pub lunch on a Saturday ... it is all about choices, I know that I eat healthy 80% of the time and I also know that it is the other 20% stopping me from reaching my goals.... but in all honesty I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. Yes I do look in the mirror and think, gosh I need to get rid of that excess bodyfat, but I don't obsess and stress, and you know the biggest thing - I DO NOT GIVE A SHIT WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ME. I DO NOT CARE. MY GOALS ARE MINE. I HAVEN'T FAILED IN MY EYES AND THEY ARE THE ONLY EYES THAT COUNT.

I know people say and I used to be one of them "if it was easy we all would do it", well it isn't easy at all and if you have to fight that inner demon all the time, is it something you really want?  You have to truly ask, "who exactly will I be letting down here?".  If it is yourself, then you have to just dust yourself off and keep going, challenging yourself everyday.

I love that I am not perfect, I love my little flaws, because they are ME.  I am the best version of me I can be everyday, I strive to improve myself everyday in little ways, both physically & mentally.  I love learning new things about my body & mind - and I know I will get the results I want from the next dexascan as I can feel the progress in my body - I feel stronger, fitter and let's hope leaner (bodyfat wise) and more muscle!!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I threw out my bathroom scales.

Why? Because they were making me miserable.  I would feel great, healthy and fit and then step on the scales to see that I was XXweight and would instantly feel miserable, angry, upset and disappointed.  I would forget that PB that I did in the gym or the charity run I completed and raised money for.....

My body is simple, I have lived, trained and travelled with it for 38years, I know if I consume crap I will feel like crap and my body will too, when I train hard, eat well and even eat treats I know I function like a well fuelled fat burning Ferrari, so why worry about what those scales say? They have NO idea at what I have achieved, gained, lost, experienced.  I hear you say, oh just keep them so you know, why?

I don't want to know how much I weigh, I want to know how much muscle I have put on and how much body fat I have reduced, that is why I have pre booked dexascans for November and February.  So I can check:-

* that my bone density is still healthy and rising slowly
* that my body fat has decreased (especially torso and thighs)
* muscle has increased everywhere

This is a much healthier way to track how my body is going and progressing with nutrition and training.   Going by my clothes, measuring myself and how I look in the mirror is my guide in between the dexascans.  When I am at the gym my focus and determination is seeing those muscle mass figures rise!  I love when I can see definition come through in my shoulders, arms, legs...  That visual aspect gives me that extra pump to push harder, push heavier and really challenge my body and my mind.  You see my mind isn't focused on a number, I am SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.  I know that muscle weights more than fat. I know that I can look slimmer and weigh more.  It is all in the MIND.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

100 days sugar free!

Sugar - what are the benefits of sugar?  Yes sugar becomes glucose and we need glucose for energy, but WHERE you get your sugars from is key (fruits & vegetables provide sufficient levels for the body). Refined sugar and other products cause more chaos in the body than good. Spiked insulin levels, mood swings, cravings - it is a drug and addictive.

A friend of mine started a 100 day challenge page on Facebook a while ago, great concept to commit to achieving your goals or giving up something for 100 days, perfect timing to start creating a new habit or delete a bad pattern/addiction from your lifestyle.

Focusing on creating new habits will help achieve health & fitness goals. Being aware of what I am currently doing daily/weekly food and exercise wise is a way to track my progress, keeping a journal is great to reflect back up on on some struggle street days.

So my challenge is go without sugar for 100 days.  I have done the no alcohol for 3 months last year and it was awesome, so I know how great this challenge will be.  Sugar has no role in MY lifestyle. Yes it tastes good and everyone enjoys a cupcake or brownie or lollies but for me it is a weak point, a habit and for those who know me, I don' t need any chemical that will make me MORE hyper than I naturally am.  

For those who suffer moods swings and sugar cravings, you are addicted.  You do not NEED sugar, yes it tastes nice and good to have as a treat now and then but your body is addicted and knows it will get it's daily dose because you have created a habit. (this is the same as drinking, coffee, drugs etc) so if you feel like you need a change or have a habit you WANT to break, I would suggest a 100 day challenge. It is enough time to form a NEW habit, and learn about how your body responds without your vice that you THINK you neeeeeed!

NO SUGAR, let me breakdown MY no sugar guidelines:

* Natural sugar only - fruit in small amounts is fine, it is natural. I love blueberries or strawberries with  my oats and enjoy a baked apple or apple with my almond butter etc.  No honey or stevia or sweetener.

* Tracking my daily sugar intake - processed foods have sugar added (pasta sauce, sauces, tinned goods, pre packaged foods, soy milk etc) my daily intake is between >20-30g a day and predominately from fruits/vegetables.

* Tracking my mood changes - am I hungry, tired etc.  Eating more protein, vegetables and healthy fats during the day to keep my insulin levels stabilised (I don't get the 3:30pm hunger pangs unless I haven't eaten enough good foods).

* No wheat or dairy. The odd soy piccolo on the weekends because they are scrumptious and life is short. Reducing lots of processed foods from my diet. 80% fresh foods to be digested, which I have been doing the last few months.

* Ensuring I eat adequate meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts and seeds daily. 

* Limit alcohol intake.  No soft drink mixes - soda water if having spirits (vodka).  I do enjoy a nice glass of red with dinner.  Again life is short.

I have learnt so much from some great authors, lots of healthy food recipes and reasons why sugar isn't good for me/us/everyone.

Sarah Wilson
Natalie Carter 
7 Harms of Sugar

Friday, September 14, 2012

Back to basics training.....

So on my quest for fitness (and superwoman status) I decided that obviously the training I have been doing isn't working for me to achieve my goals, yes I am fit and strong but have a LONG way to go to achieve my TO DO list.

Knowing that my body has so many issues, niggles and out of whack muscle programming going on that I knew I had to entrust in someone who can reprogram my muscles to function how they should, in the right order.  So first PT session last Wednesday night was a great little session, just seeing what shape I was(nt) in.

My entire Ferrari needs reprogramming, muscles are taking over and not letting the others ones play, which is causing me lots of pain and grief.  Hip flexors seem to be ruling the show which then affects the entire lower region.  Back seems strong but chest is pretty weak (even though I can do push ups on my toes right?). SO much work to be done but I am excited to get this body re programmed, fit and strong.  

So stabilisation homework is to be done. Lots of it. To get the synapses burnt into my brain!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

To paleo or not to paleo?!

So many health buzz words out there all saying that they are fabulous & THE best thing ever for you to follow & be healthy!

I say do what works for you & trust your gut! If you follow paleo 100%, awesome, knock your socks off! I have learnt so much more about food thanks to you truly die-hard followers, thank you for re-opening my eyes to common sense.

My gut (literally) prefers me not to eat any wheat or dairy, my body functions the best when I eat primal foods most of the time. Primal for me is foods that are readily available with limited processes been done to get it in your belly! My body responds to fats & proteins well & fuels my muscles better than any "bread or cereal" would!!

The "healthy food" pyramid doesn't make sense to me at all! Having worked in dietetics & nutrition I have also worked with dietitians who believe this theory is incorrect. So much dense processed foods to give you energy when you can get so much more from fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds etc. Not really brain science & considering most of us have desk jobs we don't need to eat that much!

Knowing where my meat comes from is a biggie for me, as we have do many people to feed on this planet now and the odd goat or cow aren't going to go far in our "village" I like to know how the animal I am about to consume spent its last days. I prefer to spend more money on this, that is my choice & after a summer walking over dead chooks in the Tom Price chook farm with Judy collecting eggs I always choose my products wisely!

So I eat primal foods & enjoy some ad hoc products that are processed from time to time (Greek yoghurt, wine, chocolate, coffee) because I like them & enjoy life, enjoy trying different foods & don't feel the need to say i am paleo - i respect the paleo way!

Eating fresh foods daily will help you be fit, healthy & ward off diseases (heart disease, obesity, type II diabetes, cancer etc) rid over-processed foods (white products) limit processed/packaged food.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cottage cheese thighs & size 10 shorts..........

Being a little superficial but getting rid of my lumpy thighs and fitting back into my fav shorts is my goal.  Obviously there are a HUGE list of goals I want to achieve but this is my visual mantra to get me training like a mad woman and eating like a clean mean fat burning machine.  My visual mantra - to rid of my dimply thighs and to get back into my sexy Country Road size 10 shorts. Yes it seems a little dramatic.. but that is me!  My dexascan put things into perspective and now it is time to smash it up!

Today I am sore all over. It feels great. I have been a little hit and miss with my full body training of late and I felt like I had lost a little of my fitness mojo - I was still doing some good solid sessions in the gym, but my overall outlook had taken a bit of a back seat - I had lost confidence in myself. I had relaxed on my nutrition (blame winter, weekends, my love of wine, chocolate and pizza) was irregular with my training and the results do show on the scale and dexascan - some muscle gain and also some lots of bodyfat gain.  I know I am strong I am 55kgs of muscle & can do push-ups on my toes, but I am also storing more fat than an otter.  Need to shed about 9kg of fat.I am tall, have a big frame, I hide it well, in clothing.

Gaining muscle is great, means I am still challenging myself and doing some training well.  The fat gain is purely not watching what food goes into my gob (or just watching it as it easily glides in). Just reminds me that no matter what if you take your eye off the prize you find you have bigger thighs (and ass and tummy in my case)! But I am not thinking I have gone backwards, it is just another little hurdle in life that I will scale over! *pun intended*

SO many goals, so many things to do - as per my mini-bucket list!  I have so many things I want to achieve and am on the road to achieving them ALL.

Watch this space. The fire is back. Starting with the Blackmore Bridge run, raising money for Inspire Foundation, coming up in 13 days I am pumped.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Inspire challenge.

Warning, you might need a nice cuppa tea or beverage whilst reading this post... I tend to go on a bit... all from the heart!

So, most of you know I do not need much incentive to do something fitness related for charity.  There is nothing more satisfying than completing a walk, run or triathlon knowing that you are doing some great fundraising and building awareness for charities that do such amazing work helping those in the community.  People who know me, know that I am passionate about helping others. I love that feeling you get of being able to give something back.

You will never know when you will need to utilise the help of one of the many charities that are around to help those in need.  We are always touched by stories of loved ones or friends and/or families that have dealings with cancer, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, multiple sclerosis etc and the animal charities that do great work from training animals to help those who have disabilities and cannot even do a load of washing on their own to rescuing animals that are in need.  So many charities I hear you say, so many people and animals that require assistance and need.  So many that need more awareness also.  You do not need to give to all, choose what is dearest to your heart and give either your time, your money or both. Share the information, teaching is vital to passing on that we can make a difference, even if you can only spare 1 hour a month or $2, YOU can make a difference. WHY you ask, because you can! 

Something that is close to my heart is mental health.  Dealing with mental health/illness is something we really do not openly discuss, it is still a taboo and most people think of crazy people, homeless people etc.  There are so many people out there (your friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues) that might not be dealing with things too well and have struggles with depression, anxiety etc this is all part of mental health.  To be mentally well.  Yes some people do have severe mental health problems and if not properly diagnosed, treated can lead to further issues.   I believe we all deserve to be both healthy mentally and physically - we go on and on about diets and losing weight and looking good but we need to concentrate and work on our mental health.  Talking about our issues and problems, no matter how trivial they seem.  It is hard to open up to people and admit that you might not be on happy street, but if you knew how many other people had the same issues, it would lighten the load just a little bit.  I am a big believer that if you get everyone mentally healthy we wouldn't deal with as many issues with obesity, type II diabetes etc.  Healthy mind AND body. All so very connected.

Society puts so much pressure on us to be fit, healthy, good looking, financially stable and to have materialistic items as measures of our success.  If we are not married and don't have children we are failures to society apparently, what the?!  Who on earth made up these hideous expectations? Happiness comes in many forms and no one has the right to tell others that they are not happy!  You are the only person to set any expectations.  Setting unrealistic expectations just makes people stressed, unhappy and they get depressed and anxious. Many commit suicide. They didn't have a mental illness, they weren' t mentally healthy.  Some people truly believe they cannot cope and that they don't have any other choice.  I know most people see it as a form of weakness or disrespect, but until you have been there, you will never ever know.

On the outside I am always such a happy person, always having a laugh and running around like a mad woman but I have suffered anxiety and depression, I know what it is like to have those really low, low dark days, it can be quite debilitating.  First time I was very low/depressed I was living in London (that is normal right? I hear people ask)  I honestly thought I was because of the work I was doing at the time, at a hospital dealing with very sick patients on a daily basis, but I really was homesick from my family, friends in Australia.  The one thing that stood out from me was how quickly I just assumed in my mind the reason I was crying constantly and drinking myself to sleep most nights was, after many hours of counselling with the hospitals therapist I became aware that I was suppressing emotions and feelings and that really frightened me.  We can talk ourselves out of any situation and think we have dealt with things, but in reality we haven't, this can manifest and get out of hand for many people.  Even though I can talk the leg off a sheep (blame the Irish genes) I find it very hard to talk about how I am actually feeling, at my lowest I too felt that I  was weak and I didn't want to burden others with my problems. I am lucky that I was aware of this and I now know how to ride out those dark days or deal with things that make me anxious, I also can talk about it more opening with friends and family (most days).  But the one thing that really opened my eyes was that SO many people do not have the same help around them, they cannot reach for help, they often feel alone and isolated, even though this might not necessarily be the case to any outsider looking in. We need to let people know it is OK to reach out and ask for help.

Becoming a trainer originally was to teach others. Teaching them they can achieve whatever they set out to achieve, that they CAN do it. It isn't always about looking good, it is about feeling confident and in control of your body and mind.  To stress less, to relax and enjoy life instead of being stressed about diet, weight etc.  Exercise releases great endorphins that will help you feel better, sleep better and can help you adapt to any struggles that little bit easier.  Everything is connected.

So I got an email from the great people at the Inspire Foundation.  They are doing a Healthy Minds challenge, you can pick anything you like to challenge yourself to raise funds & awareness, I am mixing my love of exercise and helping charities by doing the 9km Blackmores Bridge run.   Thanks to my great friend Michelle Arnold for donating it to me! I may not complete the run in Michelle times but I will give it an awesome GO!  I am pumped, have gotten an email back from my physio with the all clear (and strict rehab regime to follow until them) for my knee issue!!! Yippee. So my link is below, please dig deep into your pockets donate a little happiness to others.  And if you are doing the bridge run and see me (will try get an Inspire shirt) please make sure I am still running!! Cheers.

Monday, August 27, 2012

No starving yourself!!

I seem to have interesting chats online or with people about nutrition & still so many people still believe that lowering calories to a really low level will help them with their goals! Maybe dropping muscle & a little fat on the scales but that isn't how you get healthier, fitter & stronger!

UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO YOUR BODY BEFORE YOU COMMENCE MAD LOW CALORIE DIETS. If you understood what you were doing, trust me you would NOT continue.

I hate the word calories! Most people don't have a positive feeling about calories (or a complete understanding of how they work). I prefer to use the word fuel for energy.  What most people forget is that your body requires a certain amount of fuel to function daily, for key body functions (heart beating, brain function, breathing) etc.  So reducing your energy/fuel to way below what your body needs IS NOT GOING to be good for you long term.

Stop worrying about the freaking numbers on the scale.  If you are HONESTLY eating good healthy foods (including FATS) and moving your body you WILL shed weight that you do not require. By all means use it as a guide, but you should know from how you feel, energy levels, your favourite black work pants or jeans. Mirrors are amazing things too. Trust yourself. What you put in your mouth reflects in the mirror.  Dropping weight fast is NOT good unless you need to loose over 50+kgs!!!

A simple challenge if you will, make 90-100% of your daily foods from the following list ONLY - good fruits(berries best, kiwi, passion fruit, etc), leafy & colourful vegetables, good sources of meats, fats from nuts avocado, coconut oil, nut butters, eggs, fish! Sweet potato is the main starchy carb (no white potato, no pasta, no grains, cereals)! 

Black coffee, water, black tea. NO soft drinks, limited alcohol & no sugar.

Reduce all processed foods!! Really limit grains & dairy (especially skim or diet products) Have full cream milk if you need it (for those avid tea drinkers).  I know I love my Greek yoghurt though, full fat a couple times a week).

Give up your two or three SKIM lattes a day!! Trust me, swap them for some healthy berries and nuts and a long black, you will notice the difference.

Having two skim milk coffee's a day is NOT good for you... so much sugar.  I prefer to get my calcium and healthy fats from 20 almonds.  If I feel like something sweet I will go for natural sources (strawberries, blueberries). I prefer 12g of fat that my body can utilise than 12g SUGAR. Give it a try, I used to LOVE my skinny latte and now I do not miss them at all. You have to change your mind to change your body.

Your body will take a while to adjust to NEW healthy habits. Give yourself a minimum 4 weeks. Give yourself time to plan foods, to plan when you will shop, when you will prepare foods - if you fail to plan, you will plan to fail. Simple. Schedule in your workouts and stick to them, you don't cancel work appts do you or other appts, same with exercise. Try something new (i have a few fab ideas on my bucket list)!

A fitness challenge to aim for click here.

Fresh foods is best.  Here is a great sample of yummy healthy delicious foods.  Smart choices.  Give this a go for the next few weeks. I bet you will feel amazing. Your body will wonder what took YOU so long to get on the healthy eating plan.  Here are some more of my favourites!!

This will stop the merry-go-round of putting weight on, dieting to loose it then putting it on again. Choose a healthy lifestyle and you will achieve your health & fitness goals.  

I didn't say it was going to be easy, but it will be worth it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Donna’s Strength & Stabilization Session

Donna’s Strength and Stabilization Session 
(won Lean and Strong competition in Michelle Bridges 12 week transformation program)

Location   Indoor Gym or home with dumbbells
Duration   1 - 1.5hrs depending on breaks & fitness level. 

I would time yourself completing this and aim to reduce the time it takes to complete.  If you can only do 1 x through, that is fine, you have to start somewhere, you always have room for improvement.

Warm up on rower – 3 x 400m – aim for 2:20 split
Alternating with 10 burpees

Complete circuit below, aim for 3 x rounds, finish each exercise before moving onto next one, limited rest during each round

20 bodyweight squats *or dumbbell squat press with 5-10kg db*
20 pushups on toes or walking l
pushups on step/medicine ball

10 jump squats

20 walking lunges holding weight (5-15kg plate, 10-15kgdumbbell or 5-10kg medicine ball)
20 renegade rows with 4-8kg dumbbells (alternating arms, 10 each arm)  **see links below

10 burpees

10 jumping pull ups
10 tricep dips

10 plank to push up

Standing quad stretch
Hamstring stretch
Hip opener
Lower back stretch
Chest stretch
Tricep stretch

Why do you hate exercise? Is it all in your mind?

Why do you exercise? Is it to feel healthy,  get fitter and be strong? Or is it to lose weight.  If you are doing the same thing over and over again and not making any progress, why do you continue to repeat the same processes, time and time again?  If you saw a person banging their head against a wall all the time, wouldn't you stop them? 

What words do you think of when you hear "exercise", what emotions do you have attached with that word? Does it fill you with dread, anxiety or does it make you smile and feel good?  How you think about exercise will reflect on how you exercise.  

I have been noticing peoples reaction when I mention the E word, I would say in my rough calcuations that 90% of people roll their eyes or moan something about "not doing enough"!  Do you feel the same?  Why is that do you think?  Have we trained our minds to think that it is a negative thing, or is that just for some of us?  Do we feel we HAVE to exercise? 

Exercise - Activity requiring physical effort, carried out esp. to sustain or improve health and fitness.

You know you will feel better once you have trained, you know that your body appreciates you giving it a little physical training - so time to train your mind to think the same.   Your body has so much adrenalin to dispense every day, you just need to learn how to tap into it....  work out what do you LIKE doing? No point dragging your sorry ass to the gym to do spin three times a week if you hate it.  I guarantee you are doing it out of GUILT. Well stop it.  

Feeling guilty is something we all need to STOP doing.   Yes you will have your health & fitness goals but make them measurable, so you WILL achieve your goals.  Set your goals too big, you will fail. Simple.   Small goals to link into bigger goals will give you the confidence and courage to strive further, you will notice how far you have come and it won't be so daunting. 

There are so many ways you can move your body that will still be classed as exercise without having to kill yourself or your exercise mojo.    Try something different like finding walking tracks/bike tracks, swimming, dance classes, martial arts, indoor climing, fencing, team sports.  That will keep things interesting, nothing like variety.  Don't be afraid, ask for help or someone to show you, we don't all know everything do we?  But we can learn, I always like to be a sponge, absorbing NEW things, daily. I love it. It inspires me.

I love training outside!  In the warmer months I will be more outside than in the gym and you don't need a fancy membership to be able to mix up your training.  Having run bootcamps for the last 3 years I have noticed ONE thing, everyone loves that feeling of achievement, getting out of bed to attend bootcamp can be hard for most people.

So mix things up with your sessions - here are some of my favourite sessions that I can do indoors and can also take to the park with my ipod on for a good solid 45min workout.  You have lots of other stuff to do, do not make exercise longer than it needs to be! Quality over quantity.

Tabata training
Is a form of High Intensity Interval Training(HIIT) and involves performing 20 second intervals of all-out intensity, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated 8 times, making the entire interval workout last only 4 minutes.   Choosing between 4 - 10 exercises (average 6-8).  You can download apps on the iphone which will count for you!  I highly recommend it, still works with your music... NO distractions.

My fav Tabata session I created
Rower or treadmill warm up (sprints)
Turkish getups or squats
Squats with medicine ball press (heavy med ball)
Tricep dips
Clean & press (with bar/weights) if outside sprints, hills or stair runs
Plank with side tap
Pull ups
V sit ups

Is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods - good pumped up cardio.
A HIIT session consists of a warm up period of exercise, followed by six to ten repetitions of high intensity exercise, separated by medium intensity exercise, and ending with a period of cool down exercise. The high intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity. The medium exercise should be about 50% intensity. The number of repetitions and length of each depends on the exercise. The goal is to do at least six cycles, and to have the entire HIIT session last at least fifteen minutes and not more than twenty.

HIIT training - want to increase your running distance, try incorporating jogging with walking at different intensities. Adjust it to suit your goals.

Moving between a certain amount of exercise stations after 30 seconds, limited breaks in-between for a set time.   You can mix exercises between cardio and resistance training.When one circuit is complete, one begins the first exercise again for another circuit. Traditionally, the time between exercises in circuit training is short, often with rapid movement to the next exercise.

A good circuit training course works the different sections in the body individually. An example of a circuit may be.
  • Squat ups
  • Bench dips
  • Back extensions
  • Pull ups
  • Medicine ball chest pass
  • Bench lift
  • Inclined press up
  • Squat jumps
  • Compass jumps
  • Step ups
  • Shuttle runs
  • Bench squat
  • Burpees
  • Treadmills
  • Squat thrusts
  • Skipping
  • Sit ups (lower abdominals)
  • Stomach crunch (upper abdominals)
  • Back extension chest raise

Monday, August 20, 2012

Challenges from Vinyasa to Bike mini-bucket list!

The little things that you say you always want to try and never do, what are those little things?  Life is too short... I am going to cross a few of the easier (well easy to arrange) ones......  NO more excuses,  not enough time, too busy? Money? Pfft... work them into the schedule. I have decided to step outside my little comfort zone and try a few new things - see how they go!  Have nothing to lose and it will distract me from eating chocolate and drinking red wine (to achieve my health & fitness goals).  Nothing to major to start with.... I figure I do a lot already with charity walks, fundraisers, fitness events etc.

Incorporating fun activities into one's schedule....   will blog about these new experiences of course!  So many things on my list.. here are a few.... some are just fun things I have come across, others are fears (they will be more apparent)!

  • Bikram (Vinyasa) yoga
  • Baking/cooking healthy recipes (using online blogs, recipe books as guides)
  • Open water swimming (without hyperventilating)
  • Writing courses (to help with blogs, getting my brain used to writing... )
  • City bike riding courses (one is tres nervous on bicycle in the big city) to lead to moped courses...
  • Write a book
  • Book free Mac training (learning how to better utilise my Mac, especially iphoto)
  • Visit more Eco Grow markets & stalls to buy fresh produce, sharing details with others
  • Experience more walks in Sydney (besides the Spit to Manly, Bondi to Coogee) revisit Oxfam tracks
  • Trapezing (last visit was a mess, I was a wreck)
  • Move in with my gorgeous boyfriend, a house
  • Create a vegetable/herb garden
  • Adopt a dog from the RSPCA
  • Join the Big Sister program through the YWCA
  • Make macaroons
  • Return my hair colour to a more natural one
  • Go to Waterworld/Movie World
  • Go camping!
  • Eat dessert only at a restaurant
  • Photo-a-day of ME - September
  • Watch more Arthouse movies at Dendy
  • Get more ink!!
  • Re-watch The Bucket List

Friday, August 17, 2012

Why weight training? Want results? Add it into your training...

Weight Training - training with weights.  Many people are afraid of the weight's area at the gym.  It is a common fact.  I know when I train I am pretty much the only girl training in the weights section of most Fitness First gyms I go too.  Why? Because most women (and some men) still believe that killing themselves with cardio will give them the body they desire.


Cardio gets you cardiovascular fitter, by strengthening your heart and lungs. More blood flow to your body and it's organs.

Weight training will help you get stronger, build a strong core, stronger muscles, you will look leaner and also burn more bodyfat at REST. Yes people, burning more at rest.

Cardio and weight training work together to ensure you are fit, healthy and strong.

If your goal is to run marathons, then you will stick to training that will enable your body to run for long durations, this will include strength training (weights). You obviously don't have to do strength training to actually do a marathon but it will enhance your training.

Train for your goals. Swimmers, triathletes, runners all move differently and will adapt a training program to suit their needs.  But for most of us, we just want to be fit, healthy and maybe even feel good about your body.

Your body will adapt to any changes that you give it, but it is your head that stops you. The fear. Fear of  failure, falling over, embarrassing yourself stop so many people from achieving their goals.  Of course you aren't going to know exactly what to do in a weights area of the gym if you have never done weights before, your brain only knows what signals it has received from other training you have completed.  But you didn't know how to walk or talk at one point in your life, did you and how is that going for you now? You CAN achieve anything.

Keeping your bone density at a safe level you HAVE to do some form of resistance training, not running or cardio!!  Losing muscle will increase your risk of low bone density. No matter how much calcium you digest, your body stops laying down new bone in your 30's- you need to stimulate to lay down more -  muscles and tendons NEED to pull on the bones to be stimulated to produce more get the blood flowing through, regenerating the area, having healthy bones, it protects against falls and fractures as well improving balance and strength.  (falls and fractures aren't just for older people)!   Which promotes overall health and reduction of so many diseases!! Overall health people is our goal.

Do you want to have a fit and healthy body? More importantly do you want to have strong bones, strong muscles (don't think size, think strength) if you want to step forwards into your goals for fitness and well-being you will steam ahead with adding weight training to your programme 2-3times a week, easy.  

Quality over quantity.   Your body needs to recover to grow and adapt to changes.  Constantly pushing your body through its paces will slow down this process, you need to:-

FUEL - clean healthy foods, lots of fresh vegetables, lean meats, good fats and water!!
RECOVER - if you feel tired, run down, listen to your body. Eat well, sleep well, avoid late nights, avoid loads of alcohol, sugars, get a massage.... LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!
REST - full day rest one day a week MINIMUM (no active recovery)

Don't compare yourself to how others are training unless you know exactly what they are training for and where in the scheme of things they are up too! They probably have a different goal than you or are at a different achievement process, or they could be over training if they are doing like 10 classes a week!


I love a good circuit weights session when I really want to ramp up my heart rate and get some solid training in I will do super-sets and work opposing muscle groups (biceps/triceps) and then through in burpees or jump squats to increase the intensity.   Even when I am training a certain body part with weights I am in and out of the gym in 45mins. You don't have to spend hours on training, quality versus quantity!

So how to get started? Some gyms have great deals for PT so you can have a few sessions and get comfortable with the basics. Pump classes will teach you a few simple lifting techniques which you can practice on your own in the gym - you have to start somewhere!  

I love (bodybuilding site) they are so informative and you can really find out about training, read easy articles to get you started.  Check out this article!

Aim for 2 full body weight training sessions a week to get you started.... or you can split the training into upper/lower.  This is better if you are time conscious.  When the weights get lighter, put them up! You can do it!

My favourite splits are

Day 1 - Legs & core - squats, walking lunges, step ups, calf raises, deadlifts - warm up on bike or treadmill, do 1 warm up set lighter weights and then 3 sets of each exercise with 10-12reps.

I add core exercises in between sets ie
walking lunges
plank hold for a minute
repeat this 2-3 times
step ups (with handweights if you have strong balance)
calf raises
side plank holds each side 30 seconds

When you are doing your leg exercises with free weights this is working your core as your body has to stabilise to complete the exercise.  This is why I recommend you don't use machines when you first start out! Learn how to train your body and then incorporate these machines for a more isolated workout.

Day 2 - Upper Body - chest press on swiss ball, seated row, shoulder press, lat pulldowns, pushups, tricep dips, back extensions.

I would mix up the exercises something like this:
chest press on ball
alternate with seated row - complete sets and then do
Lat pulldowns
Shoulder press
Tricep dips

Is the weight too light? My rule of thumb is if the last 2-3 reps you cannot feel the burn, it is too light, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO GO UP, that is how you get results otherwise you are not challenging your muscles!!

If you wanted to do three days on the third day you can mix up the two upper lower, something like this

Day 3
chest press on ball
walking lunges
lat pulldown
step ups (with handweights)
tricep dips
step ups

Add one or two cardio/high intensity training days and you are done for the week!

Other reasons why weight lifting is good for you... read this article!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

So, about your body!

SO I have a question for you, would you like to be your ideal body shape or fit and healthy?  We talk so negatively about our bodies and punish ourselves far too much -  do these comments sound familiar?

"I hate my thighs"
"Does my butt look big in this"
"I wish I had a six-pack"
" She is so lucky she can eat what she wants"
"I wish I was skinny"
"I wish I didn't have tuck shop arms"
"I am too tired to exercise"
"I don't have time to train today, had a busy day and the kids....."

You get the idea.   We are never freaking happy! Something is always happening or "stopping us". There is never going to be a perfect time to commence any change in life, but you have to give it a crack.  I love that I have fallen down so many times in my life, because I am a stronger and more determined person for it. I can reflect back on those times when other hurdles appear and know that I will be able to deal with this because I have before.  I now believe in myself and I know I can achieve things if I set my heart, soul and my mind to it.  Some of us still choose to change our lives by thinking  fad diets, quick fixes, or overdoing it with countless exercise classes, give up and wonder why we bothered as nothing worked, did it?

Ahh yes... the whole "quick fix" and "I want it now" syndrome. Very common in western society, mostly among women.  We quickly drop our IQ because a magazine cover tells us that we can drop 10kgs in five seconds...  Think about the other areas of your life, your home, you work, do you sit down and research and plan for your job, business and home affairs? Why not your body and your mind? 

Did it take you that long to put the weight on or to get unfit? NO. Well sorry to be the bearer of bad news, it ain't going to happen that quickly either.  The scales BTW are NOT your friend. They will not show you your dreams. They will make you obsessed, miserable and feeling like you have failed (when you have probably been quite good in some respect).  If you cannot focus on anything else except those numbers on that scale, you need to bin them, now. You need to get your head into a healthier space about your body/weight. Because it isn't as simple as the numbers on the scale. They do not reflect who you are, what you have achieved, do they? 

Stand in front of the mirror every night before you go to bed and say three things you were grateful for today - they could be anything. This is to get you into a positive habit of saying good things about yourself. They don't have to be body related at all. They could be a) I had a great meeting with my manager b) I got the early train home from work c) I feel great after my session at the gym d) saw a great movie with Jane. You get the idea.

How you are is how you think. If you think positive, you will reap positive. Yes shite happens, but you know what, it happens to everyone, that is life, that is living, that is part of becoming stronger and more determined to be a better you. Another favourite message from the lovely Mish Bridges, is "stop being the victim". Be strong. Be proud. No more excuses or blaming others.

You are what you eat.  This takes time obviously to change how you feel within yourself. But notice the small things that happen when you start to take control and eat fresh wholesome foods and move your body - are you sleeping better, stressing less about stuff, is your skin glowing more, do you generally feel happy and more energetic?  It will take a few weeks to kick in, but start noticing the little things that change. Stop focusing on the BODY image so much. Fall in love with who YOU are and you will start to find the journey to getting healthier and fitter easier (is there another word for journey, really)?

What are the main reasons for not achieving your goals, in general?  Here are my reasons that I believe are stopping us from achieving our goals (to be fit, lose weight, run a marathon, learn how to hula hoop, whatever):

The fear of failing, the fear of trying something new and being out of your comfort zone, why are we so afraid to try new things, what honestly is going to happen to you? How do you think you will feel once you have completed the task you were afraid of?

 (I have visions of me out at Home bush on the trapeze, I so wanted to be calm climbing that ladder and jumping, why was I so scared, I wasn't going to drop to my death, but it still crippled me)

Fear of being successful - what happens if you do achieve your goals, you will be out of your comfort zone so far you won't recognise yourself, which is a positive thing, but it is still change...  which leads me to the next point...

Why do we worry how people perceive us?. We are so freaking worried about what other people might say or do that it can limit us. Why do we care so much about what people think about us?  Be that unique person in your life, be that person that people talk about, saying look what they achieved!  If they cannot handle it, then that is their problem and not yours. The issues they have with you are actually a reflection of how they see themselves, harsh but so very, very true.  Some people like to see you unhappy because it makes them feel comfortable, that is not healthy and you don't need to be surrounded by toxic people who do not support you 100%.

I learnt many years ago that whilst I have long legs I will never look or be like Elle MacPherson (I know I know, I was so shocked too, I used to do her aerobics tape and everything)!  Stop comparing yourself to others, they aren't you and you aren' t them.  You need to achieve YOUR goals for YOU. You will probably have to do things differently to others to achieve them, because you know what we are all different, our bodies and minds are the same but they are slightly wired differently! Some could have injuries, have food tolerances, allergies - you need to work out what you CAN do and focus on that... you might be surprised what you find out about yourself.

***I am not perfect, I don't want to be perfect, I am just me, comfortable in my own skin and need to just give myself that little confidence boost now and then to remind me that I too can achieve anything I set out too.

I need to tackle my fears just like the next person... so am thinking let's tackle them together.... what is your biggest fear? Discuss...