The other day I was at work and someone came up to me and said 'you have obviously lost weight, what is your secret?'
And that made me think… what is the secret to getting in shape?
There are so many urban myths, programs, diets, marketing bulldust (hello the ab doer.. hmm or the vibrating plate ready to shake the fat off, and the shake diets... yum going to love drinking those synthetic shakes week in week out, 5:2 diet... just another way of controlling calories while also making you crazy two days a week because you barely eat... hmm sounds great).
Anyway, here are a few myths, which could have some substance, and their accompanying truths. Also I debunk my weightloss secret...
MYTH: The best time to work out is in the morning.
TRUTH: The best time to exercise is when you most enjoy exercising or when you can fit it into your daily schedule consistently. Key word consistently!
Scientifically there is very little difference between AM and PM workout effectiveness. You as an individual may feel more energised in the morning and prefer to exercise then, or you may have time before work to hit the gym. Alternatively, you may work shift work and prefer to workout at lunch time, or in the evening. What I am getting at is the best time is when you want to. This will encourage consistency and form a habit, which will give you the best results.
MYTH: Exercise is the best way to lose weight.
TRUTH: Exercise alone is not the best way to lose weight.
Exercise can burn calories, increases your metabolism, improve your strength and help to gain muscle and shape in all the right places.
But the best way you lose weight is to eat a calorie controlled and nutrient dense diet, therefore reducing body fat, and body weight.
BUT to get the best results is to combine diet and exercise so you can decrease the body fat and show off the shapely and strong body you have been working on in the gym.
MYTH: To get abs I need to do sit ups.
TRUTH: Yes, you must have abdominal muscles to show abs, and sit ups and other abdominal exercise will help develop those muscles. However, if you have body fat covering those abs, you won’t see them. And sit ups don’t burn body fat.
Again, if you eat a calorie controlled and nutrient dense diet and exercise, including some core and abdominal exercises you may see some ab definition when your body fat levels have decreased enough.
MYTH: Gatorade is a great way to rehydrate after exercise.
TRUTH: If you have been exercising for hours, and have lost considerable water from sweating and exercise, sure Gatorade is a great fuel to rehydrate and refuel. However, for the average exercise or gym session, water is more than perfect. Gatorade contains sugars in the form of glucose and electrolytes to help a person refuel and rehydrate after an intense, and long duration of exercise (think 2-3 hours). If you drink a Gatorade, or sports drink the excess calories and sugar from the drink can be undoing all the good you did from your your training session.
Drink water with a pinch of Himalayan Salt for electrolytes to rehydrate. Also lots cheaper!
MYTH: Lifting weights will turn fat into muscle.
TRUTH: Fat is a completely different molecular structure to muscle and one cannot transform into the other.
Put very simply, (because the body is complex) what happens when you lift weights, is your muscle mass increases. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body needs to keep the muscle, therefore increase your metabolism. Because your body needs more calories for the muscle, it will tap into your fat stores for the extra calories, decreasing your body fat.
So never does the fat turn into muscle, but more so the more muscle you have from lifting weights, can help burn your excess bod fat.
In summary, the secret to getting a shapely and strong body is to exercise consistently and frequently, eat a calorie controlled, nutrient dense diet, and don’t buy into marketing bulldust. Hardly a secret, but apply the fundamentals consistently and you will see results.
PS Want to know the secret to my own weightloss? I bought a new jumper... I know... who would have thought that a new jumper could do such great things? But I suppose going from a baggy style jacket to a more slim fit jumper will just show my constantly trained and nutrient fed bod off a little more.
If you need any help or advice, feel free to message me or comment below. I am always here to help!
Keeping a health and fitness routine can be somewhat difficult on holidays. Your intentions may be awesome at the start, but soon the holiday vibes roll on in and all of a sudden its 3pm, you haven't gotten up from your pool chair (other than a quick dip in the pool), and now its too hot and/or the energy levels are non existant to even think about training, and the cocktail menu has just found its way into your hands...
Well I am also here to say that there is nothing wrong with that! But also here to give you some strategies to ensure the holiday guilt trap don't get you too!
10 TIPS TO STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY ON HOLIDAY
We all know the importance of hydration. Being on aeroplanes, out in the sun, warmer or humid weather and just being out of our everyday routine, can mess about with your hydration levels.
When you're dehydrated your energy levels plummet, you can feel unwell, and may even get a bit headachey. Last thing you want on your holiday!
Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. Before you have breakfast, drink half a litre of water. Before you go out for a meal, drink a glass of water. Just keep it handy and make sure you drink AT LEAST 2L, 3L is better.
If you train, make sure you have another litre of fluid.
I actually bring Hydrolyte tablets with me and have one a day. This ensures I have the right salt to be able absorb the water I am drinking. And I aim for 3L per day. I also rarely drink alcohol, so if you do have a few drinks remember to have some extra water in between also.
Easiest way to exercise! It don't cost a thing and you get to explore and see things you would miss travelling by car. It does take a bit of preparation and planning, but aiming to get in your 10,000 steps plus per day actually isn't that hard. Go for a walk to a lookout/ location and then get transport back, or walk back again. Google maps works a wonder!
3. ACTIVE ACTIVITIES
Plan some activities that involve moving. Swimming and snorkelling is my favourite. Look for hikes and walking tours, bike riding tours, surfing or kayaking. Most of the time you won't even feel like you are exercising. (Until later when your tired and hungry!)
Utilise your gym at your accomodation. Save some workouts with simple equipment, or even ones you can do in your hotel room. Or check out a local gym. Most places offer a day or week pass, particularly if you are in a touristy area.
My best tip here is to go to the gym as soon as you have woken up and brushed your teeth, before your brain registers and its then out of the way for the day. And keep your routine short and simple. Think supersets, sprints and circuits, 30 minutes max.
Yep! Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Holidays are the perfect way to relax, and nothing is more relaxing than a sleep in. Ensuring you have enough sleep is fabulous for your mental health and also for regulating your hormones too, which are crucial for your energy levels but also your body composition goals.
Moderation is key. Try to make the best food choices and choose one meal per day to splurge. For example, eat well breakfast lunch and dinner and have a dessert. Or have pancakes for breakfast, but keep it light, fresh and healthy for lunch and dinner, skip the dessert.
Same goes with alcohol. We all know that alcohol blunts all fat burning until it is metabolised so make sure you keep it moderate and choose healthy foods when also having a few drinks.
Same goes with your exercise. Don't stress if one day you spend the day lounging. Do a bit extra or walk a bit further tomorrow.
Find your self some fresh and healthy snacks to eat during the day.
Nuts, fresh fruit, rice crackers, nut bars, protein bars. Find the nearest supermarket and have a look around. Not only will it save your waistline but will save your wallet from the mini bar also!
8. KNOW YOUR AREA
Do some research before you go. Find some healthy cafes and restaurants, and save them into your phone so you have them on hand. Make sure you know where the nearest supermarket or fresh food market is so you can go there when you arrive. Find the nearest gym or place to do a daily walk or run. Be prepared and schedule it into you day.
9. READ A MENU LIKE A HEALTH PRO
Every restaurant has healthy options. Yep.
Start with a lean protein, add some veggies or salad. And there is your base! Add a serve or starchy carbs if you have had an active day, such as rice, potato, sweet potato, noodles, bread.
Limit the sauces and dressings, so ask for sauces on the side.
Restaurants typically have large serves. Make sure you don't just eat the plate full. Be mindful of how much you are actually eating. Portion out your food servings, which can easily be done by eyeballing/ estimating it. Your protein serve should be the size of your palm, the salad and veggies can be unlimited! Starchy carbs should be no more than a cupped handful, and fats (oils, butter, avocado, nuts etc) should be the size of your thumb.
10. NO GUILT
If you slip up a few meals, don't stress - you're on holiday, so enjoy it.
If you miss a workout, don't stress - you're on holiday, so enjoy it.
No holiday food and fitness guilt, just try your best, be as prepared as you can be and work with what you have got!
Have yourself some Happy and Healthy Holidays this Holiday Season
I just landed in Thailand. My hotel is beautiful, just like the pictures, only there is a dirty big powerline slight obscuring my otherwise serene 180 views of Kamala Beach.
(Haha :) If it weren’t for the intricacies of the millions of wires intertwined, I would be annoyed, but it really does bring you back to earth (no pun intended) on how lucky we are in Australia to have OCD three line power poles, and a government who enforces safety standards)
As an active person, having to sit in a plane chair for 8 hours plus some makes my body feel agitated at the thought. I would possibly sit for 2-3 hours during the day, making 8 hours sound like a hard ad tedious task. However, you have to get through the bad to get to the good right! And Thailand is definitely good…
After a rather longer than first expected flight, 8hours 30mins counted, and some 4 hours time difference (putting this bed by 9pm nana into a spin being awake until 2pm, but really only 10pm TL time argh!) I actually pulled up from that flight feeling ok, other than a bit tired. And what I put this down to is being prepared to fly.
Wanting to enjoy every moment on my holiday my thoughts of preparation were aimed at ensuring I felt good during the flight, and also after I had broken outside of the international departure doors into the warmth of Phuket.
Here are the small yet very important things that I did, which you can too, to prevent or lessen the ill effects of flying…
Ensure you are hydrated BEFORE you jump onto the plane. This means drinking at least 2-3 litres of water prior to getting to the airport. This will ensure that you have adequately drank enough water for normal activity, and also save you from visiting the aeroplane bathroom too frequently! Remember because of the cabin air and altitude pressure you will require a little more water. So once at the airport and on the plane carry a bottle and sip it regularly. (And also no one likes an aeroplane bathroom! Avoid the frequent trips and get your hydration sorted early and just top up during the flight)
The food available on your flight is generally not the most calorie dense or nutritious food. Its generally carb heavy, salted and possibly quite high fat, and lots of calories, mainly due to the preservation needed to keep the food standards. Remember you are sitting down! You are going to have a low activity day especially if you are on a long flight.
In most airports you can take whatever food you like on the plane, as long as it isn’t liquid based. My favourite snacks to bring from home are portioned nut and seed mixes, coconut chips, blueberries, bananas, bags of cut up veggies, maybe a little dark chocolate (ok yes to the choc!), homemade muffins, homemade wraps, popcorn, protein bars.
I also make sure I eat before I get to the airport. That way I am not starving and before you know it lining up in hungry jacks ordering fries and burgers which you haven’t even dreamt of eating since… ever!
Oh, and it will also save you money! (Never will you buy a more expensive boring sandwich than in an airport!)
Go to the gym or do some exercise the day of flying, whether it be getting up early and walking for half an hour, or fitting in some type of workout once you have landed and settled into your accommodation. Ensuring you still move on the day of travel will help offset all the sitting around and lack of movement. Also, fresh oxygen and blood to your brain and working muscles helps you to feel more relaxed with increased happy hormones and reduce things like jet lag and other travelling side effects such as joint swelling.
Try to get up out of your seat every hour or two. Try booking an aisle seat if possible. (but even if you make the person next to you get up, really you are doing them a favour!) Stretch your neck, arms, legs and ankles. A little movement is better than none.
So pack your bags, (and pack your food) an come holiday with me!
(Next fitness retreat will be held in Bali in August 2018 – not to be missed!)
As we determined last week in the article So why should you plan your meals? your body composition results (weight loss and fat loss) comes 80% from your diet and nutrition.
That old saying ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’, is so true, particularly when applied nutrition. Therefore having those meals planned ahead of time seems to be the key to staying on track with your nutrition.
So would you like to take the next step and meal prep your food for even more convenience and compliance?
Here are my favourite tips for fast and efficient meal prepping!
PLAN: Plan plan plan!
My first tip is to write out your plan! (Click here to download my weekly meal planner!). from your plan, create a shopping list.
TIME: Split your food prep to keep it manageable.
Keep in mind that fresh fruit and vegetables will probably only be at their best for 3-4 days. That is why I like to split my food prep into two food preps per week. One on a Sunday, then another on Wednesday or Thursday. This also makes the food prepping a bit more manageable and less time consuming! I also like everything fresh.
PREP: You don’t have to cook every meal on your meal prep day!
Sometimes prepping doesn’t have to involve cooking a whole meal and eating out of a container for the whole week. Prepping can mean pre-cutting your veggies or other ingredients ready to cook. Having snacks divided and ready to grab and go. Making a batch of snacks, like protein balls or banana loaf, so that you have food readily available. Remember if you do decide to freeze foods, think about how they taste when they are then reheated. Things like soups, bakes and casseroles work well to freeze and reheat, but stir-fry’s do end up soggy, and egg doesn’t take to freezing too well either.
Its easy and quick to cook a meal when everything is ready to go.
INVEST: Invest in some good containers and invest your time.
Spend an hour or so of your time a few times a week to give yourself and your family the best nutrition available to you, invest in your health and vitality, invest in less stress.
Good containers that fit in your fridge also make life less frustrating! Haha :)
What my prep looks like…
I will prep for about three days.
Meal 1: Eggs and stir fry veggies. I cut up all of my veggies and put it into a small container ready to cook. Eggs are easy to cook, I will either scramble or fry my eggs and then stir fry my veggies and its made in a few minutes. If I have trained I may have a slice of toast with this meal.
Meal 2: Fruit and yoghurt. I cut up and potion my fruit and then just add to a few tbsp. of yoghurt and a sprinkle of nuts and seeds when I am ready to eat it.
Meal 3: Tofu and stir fry veggies. I have my tofu cut up, and I usually will use frozen stir fry veggies for convenience. And I will make 1 stir fry for three servings and place the other two servings into containers in the fridge ready to heat up.
Meal 4: Smoothie. I blend together berries, spinach, chia seeds, avocado, protein powder, nuts, and almond milk or water and a date or two. I will then take this to have at work.
Meal 5: Veggie sticks and hummus. Veggies are all cut up and divided into sandwich bags, and dip divided, ready to grab and go out of the fridge. I also have this at work.
Meal 6: When I get home about 8:30pm I will have some tea before bed, and sometimes a tsp of coconut butter or a square or two of dark chocolate.
And that is my base. If I am hungry throughout the day I will eat another meal, and I add some unprocessed carbs such as a banana or sweet potato to a meal if I have trained.
For any recipe ideas, I have a few in my blog and also some recipe ebooks to purchase.
There is no debate that your body composition results (weight loss and fat loss) comes 80% from your diet and nutrition.
You may have all the right intentions, but how well do you stick to healthy eating?
A few early decisions during the week can eliminate hours of work, (or bad decisions... hello takeaway/ chocolate/ chips and dip) which can be the difference between success or failure.
How many times have you skipped breakfast because you woke up late, had a coffee and whatever you could grab for lunch, gone about your day busily (either/ and/ or - working, picking up the kids, running errands) come home ravenous and eaten the pantry out of snacks and now the thought of dinner makes you feel overwhelmed and rather sick?
With every intention of eating well, you even have the ingredients in your fridge, but IT JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN. Why?!... you ask yourself. You then slouch on the couch exhausted, wine/ cheese/ chocolate in hand and admit defeat... again.
But guess what! That’s where meal planning straightens out your day smoother than your nana’s ironed and folded socks!
Even having each day partially planned, can set you up for effortless progress for the whole week. (Click here to download my weekly meal planner!)
So why should you plan your meals?
Do you have five minutes?
If you do, write down your plan and set yourself up for success
Next week, we delve into tips on how to efficiently meal prep!
Green vegetables are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Loaded with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and chlorophyl, they are fabulous for keeping our bones strong, and are also relatively low in calories.
Greens are also great source of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties to boost our immune systems and fight off bacteria and disease, and contain fibre which is great for our digestive health.
According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, adults should be consuming 5-6 servings of vegetables and legumes per day. 1 serve is approximately equivalent to 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables, such as broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, 1/2 cup of lentils and beans, or 1 cup of leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, kale.
Most Australians don't meet their requirements everyday, however vegetables, in particular greens are a corner stone to our health.
Here are a few ways to increase your vegetable intake daily:
Add some greens to your smoothie
Spinach and Kale are great in smoothies. You can hardly taste them and its easy to get a cup in there. 1 serve done!
Include veggies at breakfast
Stack your omelette full of veggies, add sides of mushroom and avocado, grate carrot or zucchini into your oats, add spinach to protein pancakes (see recipe below).
Eat a salad at every meal
Make sure you have a cup of salad at lunch and dinner. Its a small side, with all the important vitamins and minerals that will help you feel amazing.
Grate and Add
Grate up any vegetable, carrot, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, leafy greens, and add to pasta dishes, frittata and quiches, homemade muffins, hamburgers... anything!
Eat three different vegetables at dinner
A variety of vegetables will give you a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Aim for a serving of greens, then a serving of red and yellow.
I really encourage you to eat as many vegetables as you can, particulary greens, aiming for a minimum of 5 serves. You will be amazed at how great you feel, and also begin to crave them if you miss them for a few days.
Try my Spinach Protein Pancakes Recipe!
Spinach Protein Pancakes
3 cups spinach leaves
2 scoops vanilla protein
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp flax meal
1 pinch baking powder
2 tbsp coconut yoghurt
2 tsp honey
2 tsp chai seeds
2 sprinkles of coconut flakes
Coconut oil (for cooking)
In a blender, blend the together the spinach, eggs, protein, almond milk, coconut flour, flax meal and baking powder until smooth.
Heat coconut oil in a fry pan over a moderate heat.
Divide the pancake mixture into four, spoon into the pan and cook the pancakes on each side until brown.
To serve, stack two pancakes on your plate, top with a tbsp of coconut yoghurt, a tsp of honey, and chia seeds and coconut flakes sprinkled on top.
Do you find yourself smiling a little more when the weather gets a little warmer and the sun begins to shine? I know I do!
For years we have been told to cover up in the sun to reduce our risk of developing skin cancer, which is true. However we should not completely shun the sun! A little exposure to sunlight is actually good for us.
UV rays from the sun stimulate the production of Vitamin D in our bodies. Vitamin D is essential to the smooth running of our bodies vital functions, particularly keeping our bones strong and boosting our immune system.
Why we should all get a little sunlight...
Keeps your bones strong - Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which helps to keep our bones strong.
Makes you happy - your brain produces more serotonin on sunny days. Serotonin is the bodies natural happy hormone.
Improves your memory - Vitamin D also spurs nerve cell growth in the part of the brain responsible for forming, organising and storing memories.
Improves your immune system - Sunlight encourages the production of white blood cells. White blood cells play a key role in fighting disease and defending against infection.
Improves your quality of sleep - Sunlight tells your body it's daytime and you should be awake. This helps to maintain normal circadian rhythm, so that when it is dark, your body is given the signal to make you feel tired and get ready to sleep. So in short, sunlight exposure keeps your body clock in check, which should give you a better quality of sleep at night time.
Although you can get Vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, fortified dairy and eggs, many of us do not eat these foods every single day. Therefore experts recommend that you spend between 5 - 15 minutes everyday in the sunlight to boost your Vitamin D, depending on your skin colour and tolerance to sun exposure.