Incidental Exercise

Many mums (and dads) find that they have low energy levels. It's not surprising when you are trying to be everything to everyone, and putting yourself at the bottom of the priority list.
But did you know that exercise can actually boost your energy?


Physical activity increases the blood flow to your body and boosts your cardiovascular health and fitness. More blood and oxygen gives you energy to do more.

How can you get more exercise?
One way is incidental exercise.

Examples are walking to the shops instead of driving, parking further away so you need to walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking the dog, taking the kids to the park and run around with them when playing. Fire up the music and get into the housework.

POP - Plan, Organise, Preparation

If you have time on Sunday, it is a fantastic idea to plan and prep ahead. Not only does it mean you have healthy food choices without having to think during the week, but you save time each night and can have more quality time with the family.

I like to call it POP
P - Plan
O - Organise
P - Prepare

Plan -get out your recipe book and meal planner and work out what meals you are going to eat for the week. Include your snacks and all 3 main meals.

As I said yesterday, you don't need 7 different lunches and 7 different dinners. Some lunches can be leftovers from the previous night's dinner, or you can have 3 dinners and alternate them each night.

Organise - work out what ingredients you need and write your shopping list. Check your cupboard as many ingredients you will already have.

Prepare - get cooking. Cook double or triple and freeze where you can so that you can just take out and reheat each day.

If you have any specific questions on meal planning please comment below or PM me. :) Have fun and enjoy your extra free time!

How to Survive The Festive Season

Do you remember last Christmas?  All the parties and social events leading up to the big day, and then the over indulging on the day which left you feeling full, bloated and lethargic for weeks to come?

It doesn't have to be like that again this year!

At In 2 Life Fitness, we understand how important it is to still lead a normal life and be sociable while still working towards your health and fitness goals.  That is why we are hosting a special Information Night on Tuesday 11th October at the Studio.

Come along, bring a friend and learn how you can still enjoy the lead up to Christmas and the big day without having to undo all your hard work and exercise during the year.  And the good news is you can still move forward with your weight loss goals using our tips and tricks.

To join our workshop click on this link and book for you and your friends.

Benefits of Group Training

If you want to lose some weight, get fitter, stronger and healthier, then group Fitness Classes will benefit you.  At In 2 Life Fitness, we have 13 classes on our timetable with varied styles and times to suit. 
Our boxing classes go for 45 minutes and you are guaranteed to work hard, get a sweat and burn some serious fat while working the whole body.
All other classes go for 30 minutes as we understand people are time poor.  Come in, work hard for 30 minutes at a high intensity then head home to do other important things.

What are the Benefits of Group Classes?

It's inspiring to be surrounded by dedicated hard working people who are also on the same journey as you.  Plus an encouraging and supporting trainer will push you to achieve more than you would on your own.

Each class style has a set format with the trainer taking you through the workout and exercises to ensure you work correctly to get the results desired.

Proper Form
All our group classes are run by Qualified Personal Trainers who walk the floor ensuring your technique is correct.  This is important so that you don't injure yourself, but also to ensure you are getting the most out of the exercise and the workout.

By signing up to our Unlimited Group Sessions package, not only do you save money, but you are more likely to turn up.  Bringing a friend will also ensure you turn up to class when you might feel like staying home instead.

There's really no other way to put it- our Group fitness classes are fun. Between the upbeat music, a great workout and a great group of welcoming people motivating each other along the way, it's an enjoyable way to exercise. If you're looking to add a little more pizazz and fun in your fitness life, group classes may be just what you need.


New Year's  Resolution Break Down?

Picture this.  New Years Day - feeling pumped and motivated to make this the best year yet.  Paper and pen out. Goals set. Plans made.

Fast forward to 1st September - feeling defeated. Goal sheet out.  Goals not met, plans failed.  Feel like you may as well give up as it's almost Christmas anyway and you can set new goals next year!


It's Never Too Late to Set Goals

Think about this.  If you dropped your mobile phone on the ground and the screen cracked, would you then jump up and down and smash it completely, or would you pick it up, get it fixed and start again?

There is no reason why you can't do the same with your goals.  Just because you didn't reach your goals set in January, doesn't mean you can't start again, set new goals and achieve those before Christmas.

One thing I always say to my clients is to set SMART goals, then break them down into smaller goals.  With 4 months left of the year, this is the PERFECT time to reset your goals, and move forward in achieving them.  The weather is warming up, the days are getting longer, making it easier to get outside and get moving.  Healthier eating is easier with salads and lighter meals the go in warmer weather.

So what is a SMART Goal?

Specific - 
What exactly is your goal?  To feel healthy is not specific - to lose 2kg in a month is.

Measurable -  Make sure you can measure your improvements along the way.  Example:  you might have body shape measures such as weight and cm lost, or performance measures such as running 4km non stop. 

Achievable -  Is it actually achievable to reach your goal? You need to believe you can actually get there.

Realistic -  This is one notch higher than achievable.  It might be possible for you to run a marathon (with the right amount of training), but is it realistic given your lifestyle factors.

Time Based -  You need to set your goals against an end date.

Finally tie your goals in with a reward.  eg, a holiday, manicure spa treatment, shopping spree, massage.  Something to add some spice to your motivation.

So what is stopping you?

If you feel unsure about how to set your goals, then answer these few questions.

1. What do I really want to achieve?

Is it to lose 10kg, fit into a pair of jeans,  wear bathers, be strong enough to do 10 pushups, to run in a fun run?  Write down something that means a lot to you that you would like to achieve before Christmas.

2. Why is that important?
What does it mean to you if you reach that goal?  Why is it something you really feel you wish to achieve?  Write this under your goal.

3. How will you feel if you achieve that goal?
Write down 3 emotions on how great you will feel if you lose those kg, fit into those jeans, do those push ups or complete that fun run.  This is your motivation to keep going.

4. How will you feel if you don't?
Write down 3 emotions on how you will feel if you don't lose those kg, those jeans still don't fit, you can't do those pushups or run in that fun run.  This is your motivation when times get tough - remind yourself of how you don't want to feel and get on with it!

5.What are you going to do to make it happen?
Finally, what plan do you have to make it happen.  What action are you going to take to reach that goal.  Do you need to set time aside in your calendar for your training sessions, either on your own, or with a training buddy or PT?  Can you alter your nutrition to be cleaner and with smaller portions?

There is still plenty of time to reach your new year's goals - they may just need a bit of modification.

The Power of Positive Thinking

I am going to share with you some information on how positive thinking and speaking can have a big impact on your life, reaching your goals and generally feeling better about life.

I have a favourite saying:

"every negative has a balancing positive - it may be small and difficult to find, but it is there if you keep looking"

I use this daily, particularly when I start noticing I am falling back into old habits.  But how did I change my habits?

Many years ago, I started to become mentally aware of my self talk.  I was given a little nudge by my husband who pointed out that I had stopped saying  anything good. I decided I had to change - I didn't like who I had become, and it was obvious others agreed!   I started to listen to how I spoke and realised that I had a lot of negative things to say.  I was always whingeing, and putting people down, and seeing the bad side of people and events.  It seemed that if it wasn't a disaster it wasn't worth talking about.

I decided I had to change, and every time I found myself saying something negative, I forced myself to say "OK, that is not the best situation, but what is the one good thing that can come out of that happening".

Over time, I found that the number of times I had to pick myself up on my errors reduced, as my old habit of being negative was being replaced each day with the new habit of seeing the world in a more positive light.

A few years ago (well, many now!) when I was back in the Corporate world and still quite new to the industry, I was asked to prepare a presentation which needed to be given to senior management.  At the time my work site was at risk of closure and we, as a team, had been given the chance to push our point to show why we believed that the company should keep our team intact.

I was asked if I could present on behalf of the team - I was honoured to be selected, but was extremely nervous about the presentation, as public speaking was not high on my list of experiences to date.  After the meeting, one of my friends and work colleagues said to me "boy, you are so brave to take on that presentation to Senior Management, there's no way you'd get me doing  that".  I replied at the time, without thinking "yes, but what a great experience, and it's a great way for them to know who I am". The following day she said "I've been thinking about what you said yesterday, and that is such a great positive outlook".  Without even thinking about it, I had turned an extremely nerve wracking experience into a positive.  I hope that work colleague reads this article and realises that I still remember that day as though it was  yesterday!

So, how often do you find yourself saying something you wish you hadn't, or something you know is negative and down but you don't do anything about changing it?

What are you going to do now?  Yes, you are going to start finding the positive in each scenario.  Here's some examples on ways to turn a seemingly bad event into a positive one.

"Damn I wish my child would stop coming through to my room each night - I just can't get a decent night's sleep".  How about this - "I know my child is coming through each night and disturbing my sleep, but how nice is it to get some cuddles during the night without them realising".

"Why does everything seem to go wrong today" - how about this - "OK, a few things are going wrong today, why is that, and what can I learn from them to make sure tomorrow is much better?"

"I'm so sick of being Mum's taxi - when do I get time for me?"  how about "I'm so lucky to have healthy kids who want to be active and involved in activities rather than sitting in front of the TV or Ipad all day".

"I've had such a run of bad luck, it's not fair, others seem to have better luck than me". How about "I've had a few bad things happen lately, but I know it will get better as I can learn from the past and use it as experiences to learn from to enable me to move forward again".

"My house is such a mess, why can't the kids clean up after playing?"  How about "At least I have kids who can have fun and know a good time" 

Get the picture? You can also apply this to your weight loss journey.

"It's not fair, why can't I eat what everyone else is eating" - "I'm choosing to make good food choices to help me reach my goals".

"I don't have time to go to class tonight, anyway I'm too wrecked from work today" - "I will go to class and I know it will make me feel better and able to tackle those problems at work tomorrow with a better frame of mind".

Choose to be positive.  You are the only one who can control your thoughts and what you say.  You are the one who has control on your actions and the outcome of those decisions.

Have a think about it - would you rather be around someone who is always down and negative and seeing how bad the world is, or would you rather be around someone who is happy and excited about life and the possibilities of what can happen?  Which one would you rather be?

Give it a go.  Start changing the way you think and speak and see what happens.  Start surrounding yourself with positive people.   You may find that suddenly all the bad things you thought were happening disappear and that the world is a much happier place to be in.  Happy positive thoughts!

Support on your Journey

Do you have support from those around you? When you start a new health and fitness routine, it is important to engage those around you to help you on your journey.

If you let your family, close friends and workmates know that you are trying to get healthier, they can help you with motivation and encouragement on a daily basis.

Getting the family on board will also make it easier at family functions. They can be supportive of your food choices and not give you a hard time about the food you are eating. I used to take my own food to some functions where I knew there were going to be limited choices for me to select from. As people knew my reasons for needing to eat healthier, they understood and supported me. It also makes it easier to ask your partner to stop bringing home chips and chocolate when they do the shopping.

At work, there are often morning teas, shared lunches and other events where food choices can be difficult. If you have a few close workmates who understand your journey, it will make it easier for you to say no, and maybe they will even support you and eat healthier with you too.
Shout it out there. Be proud of your desire to improve your health and maybe you will inspire others to do the same.

Understanding Goals
Goals don't have to be about weight.  You may want to get fitter, stronger or just fit into that pair of jeans that are now too tight.

Whatever your goal, you need to have one that is SMART.  If it is not, you will never know when you have reached it, you won't set a time frame and it will drag out forever, and having a goal makes it so much easier to stay accountable and say No to temptations.

Here are your SMART goal tips.

S - Specific: What exactly is your goal? To feel healthy is not specific. To lose 2kg in a month is.

M - Measureable: Make sure you can measure your improvements along the way. Eg. you might have body shape measures such as weight and blood pressure, or performance measures such as running 4km without stopping.

A - Achievable: Is it actually possible to achieve your goal? You need to believe that you can actually get there.

R - Realistic: This is one notch higher than achievable. It might be possible for you to run a marathon (with the right amount of training) but is it realistic given your lifestyle factors and current fitness levels or injuries?

T - Time Based: You need to set your goals against a timeframe. You can have a long term goal, but it's important to break that down into smaller chunks so that you can see the achievement.  Example - if you want to lose 20kg in 6 months, that's 10kg in 3 months, or 3.3kg per month.  That's less than 1kg per week.  20kg sounds like a lot and may put you off your journey, but less than 1kg a week is easy to do with the right motivation and determination.

Setting up your New Health and Fitness Routine

This week I'm going to focus on some of the challenges working mums have in setting up or maintaining their health and fitness journey.

Setting up a health and fitness routine can be daunting, and that is where support from others is important. Knowing what to do, and when is also important. And then you need to try and fit it all into your already busy schedule of being a mum, partner and worker too.

If you are reading this and have been feeling unhappy about where you are with your health and fitness, be it having a few extra kg, not liking the way your clothes fit, unhappy about being puffed every time you need to use the stairs or play with the kids, or just not having energy to gt through the day, then our tips this week should be just for you.

Firstly, think about your goals. What is it you EXACTLY want to achieve? It needs to be specific. You can't just say you want to lose weight. You need to make yourself accountable.

How much weight do you need to lose?
When are you going to lose it by?
Is it realistic to lose that amount of weight in that time?

Example - Someone wants to lose 10kg in 4 weeks.
Is it specific? Yes.
Is it time based? Yes
Is it realistic - Not really. A good goal is 500g-1kg per week. But you also need to be able to have the time to exercise and put the in the work to eat well.

We will cover more of that this week.


10 Ways to Conquer Workout Excuses

We hear them all the time, excuses to not work out. “I am too busy,” “I can only go in the morning,” or “I don’t know what to do.” Unless you are sick, injured or totally exhausted there really is no excuse. Here are 10 ways to conquer your workout excuses so that you can get in shape, and stay motivated over winter and kick serious butt this summer!

1. “I am just too busy”
This is the most common excuse we hear when it comes to rescheduling or skipping sessions. Our work, social and family lives don’t seem to mesh well with a workout routine, they say. We say you need to look after yourself, so you can look after others.  When you just can't make it during the week, get some incidental exercise on the weekend. Spend time with the family on walks, plan fun activities outside or even go rockclimbing or something special with the family.

2. “Gyms cost too much”
Our classes are only $15 per session, and if you come to more than 2 a week, you have UNLIMITED group classes for only $29 per week.  With 12 classes to choose from that works out quite cheap!  PLUS, if Personal Training is too expensive, train with a friend or 2 and reduce the costs.  We have new openings for 4:1semi private PT sessions.  Just ask us how!

3. “I never seem to get results”
If you think you are not getting results in the form of muscle gain or weight loss you might need to measure different aspects of your health. For example, measuring your waistline, fitness level or ability to get into old clothes may show gains that you were not even considering. If you still don’t think you are seeing results, just remember that you are strengthening your joints and connective tissues so results will come. Consider a PT session if you need something to get you over your workout plateaus.  Let the trainer do the thinking for you.

4. “I don’t have any energy”
Energy comes from fuel. Fuel your body with the right pre and post workout foods and you’ll have all the energy you need. Ask about our nutrition consults and pre and post workout supplements for more info.

5. “I don’t want to get hurt again”
Most exercise related injuries are due to incorrect form or overdoing it. Rather than trying to blast away 2kg per week or increase your weight-lifting capabilities by 5kg a week instead try to lose 500g a week or increase weights in 2.5kg increments. Work with a personal trainer that will help you focus on specifics like weight loss, form, or muscle gain.

6. “I don't know what the do at the gym”
Rest assured, no one is watching you.  Everyone else is too focused on their own results and ability to look at you and make judgment. Our trainers always work with you, even in group classes, to make sure your technique is good so that you don't hurt yourself and you get the most out of your exercise.  If you want to learn more about equipment or technique ask our personal trainers to help you familiarize yourself with equipment and how it helps you meet your goals.

7. “I’m bored”
Mix up your workouts so you don’t get bored. Try a variety of classes to mix it up, throw in a home workout from our Facebook page or ask our Trainers for help on keeping the boredom away.

8. “I’ve got no one to work out with”
Having a workout buddy is a great way to stay committed to your sessions, as you don't want to let them down by not turning up.  It also allows you to have some fun and laughs, you can compete with each other, plus you can catch up on the weekly goss while working out.

9. “I’ve got kids”
Our Studio is child friendly, and allows babies in prams, toddlers in our playpen or older kids on our lounges.  This means parents can come in  and workout while their kids also have some fun watching you workout.

10. “I have a social life I need to maintain”
Being social is important. However, you don't need to socialise every night.  Get out the diary, plan out your workout sessions based around our timetable, then block out some time for your friends and family too.  Why not ask your friends out for a walk or fun activity  and still catch up.

What is HIIT?
I am sure you have all heard the exercise acronym HIIT, but do you really understand what is stands for and what it actually means for your training?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training.  It is characterised by short bursts of high intensity activity and recovery that aims to improve aerobic fitness, and it is fast becoming one of the biggest fitness trends around the world. One of the main reasons is that HIIT is more efficient than traditional aerobic exercise where you work out at the same level of intensity for a long period of time.

HIIT requires less time - you no longer need to work for an hour in class or at the gym.  Work hard and at a high level of intensity and you can reduce your workout down to an efficient 20-30 minutes each time. Professor Jeff Coombes from the University of Queensland's School of Human Movement Studies, says that if you define efficiency as the time it takes to complete the work, and effectiveness as how much it improves overall fitness, then for both, HIIT is significantly better than doing moderate continuous exercise.

Benefits of HIIT

It gets you fitter in less time - With most of the adult population finding they have reduced hours to fit in work, family, hobbies and fitness, adding HIIT to your exercise program is not only time efficient, but will get you better results.

It supercharges your metabolism - recent studies have shown that just 150 seconds of intense exercise can burn up to 200 calories over the following 24 hours thanks to a boosted metabolism.

At the In 2 Life Fitness Studio, we incorporate HIIT into some of our group classes, one example being Tabata boxing or circuits, where you work as hard as you can for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds before you go again for a total of 8 minutes.  This keeps your heart rate elevated and at a higher level than if you had been working at a moderate level for the whole 8 minutes.

We also use fast changeovers between stations, and shorter classes - there is no longer a need to train for an hour at a time!

You can try interval training at home - run at a faster pace than normal for 30 seconds then jog for 30 seconds before going again.  This keeps your heart rate elevated higher than a normal jog, and it doesn't drop as low during the rest periods, meaning a better cardio workout!

Are you incorporating HIIT into your exercise regime?  I would highly recommend you add 2-3 sessions a week to see maximum results.

5 Reasons Why you Can't Lose Weight

We've all heard it before - to lose weight we just need to eat less and exercise more!  Right?  Maybe not!

Putting on weight may be the result of something other than eating too many desserts. 

Here are 5 factors that may affect your ability to shed those extra few kilos.

1.      You're not getting enough sleep!

       A lack of sleep may be stopping you meeting your weight-loss goals. Lack of sleep slows your metabolism and affects the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin.

Leptin tells your brain to stop eating, but ghrelin, produced in the stomach, stimulates hunger. Research suggests inadequate sleep is associated with low levels of leptin, high levels of ghrelin and weight gain.

Fix: Turn off your phone and laptop. Instead, go to bed early, make sure your room is dark and cool and avoid having caffeine or alcohol too close to bed time!

2.      You are counting calories instead of nutrition

        While we do need to ensure we are not overeating, we also don't want to be obsessed with counting calories.  Instead w need to focus on what types of food we are eating and the health benefits of the nutrients in those foods.

        One example I like to use is this:  As a calorie counter I could eat 1 packet of Tim Tams for my day's food.  That would be over 1000 calories, so a good amount to lose weight.  However, those Tim Tams are full of sugar, fats and not much goodness to nourish the body and have it working to its maximum potential.

Fix: Think Real Foods. Don't just focus on the calories. Instead, choose nutrient rich foods and nourish your body with the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in fruit, vegetables and wholefoods.

3.      You're eating hidden sugars

        Hidden sugars are everywhere. There are many foods we consider to be healthy options, but some of the worst foods include muesli bars, breakfast cereals, sports drinks, sauces and spreads. Added sugars are now considered to be more damaging than dietary fat to your weight and overall health, contributing to conditions including diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Fix : Read labels and avoid products with high amounts of added sugar. It may be listed as corn syrup, sucrose, malt, glucose, molasses, fructose, maltose or fruit juice concentrate.  Remember the ingredients are listed in order of biggest to smallest amount, so if sugar is number 1 or 2 on the list, best to avoid it.

4.      You sit down too much

        Watching TV, doing sedentary jobs and scanning Facebook is not what our bodies were designed to do  Think back to our ancestors, with hunter/gatherers out and about all day. You may think you're too busy to exercise, but the reality is we are meant to move.  If you have time to stalk on Facebook you have time to exercise!

Fix: Move!  Park the car further from work or the shops and walk, take the stairs, get up and walk around the office.  Use the ad breaks in your favourite show to pump out an exercise - you still get to stay up to date with your favourite sitcom, but you can get 20 mins of workout in too!  Do pushups one break, situps another and keep mixing it up.

5.      You don't have time to cook

       We are all busier, and have loads of fast food options available. This has resulted in less food preparation in the home. Grabbing breakfast on the go or takeaway for dinner is not good for your waistline.

Fix: Plan and organise in advance.  Work out some easy, low fat healthy meals that can be made on the weekend, and cook up a storm, storing meals in the freezer. That way you can grab one for lunch on the way to work, or take one out to warm up when you get home late from work.  No need to order take away!

Fat's are all the Same,  aren't They?

I have been conducting nutritional consults for my clients recently and one question that repeatedly comes up is "aren't all fats bad for you?".

Different types of fats

It is essential that we all eat fat, as it is important for our growth and development, repair and functioning.  However there are different types of fats, some that are better for us than others.

We really can't just say fat is fat. The different types of fat have different effects on our health, our weight, and how quickly they burn up during exercise.  Some fats are healthy and do not need to be reduced, but in some cases we need to eliminate other fats from our diets altogether.

Fats can be classified into 3 main categories.

1.  Saturated and Trans Fats

These mainly come from animal sources and are solid at room temperature.  Examples are found in red meat fat, butter fat (milk, cheese, ice cream). 

We should avoid saturated fat as our liver manufactures blood cholesterol from saturated fat, so the more we eat, the more it makes and the higher our cholesterol goes.

According to the 2011/12 National Nutrition Survey, the top three sources of saturated fat in the Australian diet are:

  • Milk and dairy products (including foods like ice-cream)
  • Biscuits, cakes and pastries
  • Meat, and poultry (including processed meats)

2. Polyunsaturated Fats

These are usually liquid at room temperature and can include fish and plant oils such as safflower, sesame seeds (tahini), soy, corn and sunflower seed oils and pine nuts and brazil nuts.  The essential fatty acids of omega-3 and omega-6 fit into this category.

Fish oils have been found to be high in omega fatty acids, which fight against coronary heart disease.

3. Monounsaturated Fats

These are usually liquid at room temperature and are high in olive oil, canola, olives, avocado, almonds, cashews, sesame seed and pumpkin seeds. Monounsaturated fat is believed to lower cholesterol and may assist in reducing heart disease.

The National Heart Foundation suggests a healthy balanced diet should include the healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

How to get more Healthy Fats into your diet

Monounsaturated Fats - Avocado and nuts can be added to salads and a handful of unsalted nuts make a healthy snack any time of the day. Try a handful of almonds sprinkled over breakfast cereal.

Polyunsaturated Fats -  Tahini can be used as a spread on crackers instead of butter or used as a base for dips, sauces and stews.   Choose margarine made from sunflower and safflower oils, and use instead of butter on sandwiches and toast.   Sprinkle ground linseed on breakfast cereal or choose wholegrain bread with linseeds.
Add pine nuts or sesame seeds to salads or sprinkle over vegetables. You can add more Polyunsaturated fat (omega-3s) by eating oily fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines and blue mackerel as well as walnuts and linseeds.

How to Avoid Bad Fats in our diet

The National Heart Foundation lists five quick tips to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet:

1.   Limit foods like cakes, biscuits, pastries and savoury snacks.  These foods are termed ‘discretionary foods’ and are foods that should be limited sometimes and in small amounts.  Cakes, pastries, biscuits, pizza, hamburgers and hot chips are one of the main sources of saturated fat in our diets.

2.   Swap full fat dairy foods for reduced, low or no fat dairy foods for all family members more than two years old. You will remove 4 kg of saturated fat from your diet in a year if you do this with 1 cup of milk, two slices of cheese and a small tub of yoghurt a day. You can remove even more by choosing no fat foods.

3.   Swap butter for a margarine spread made from canola, sunflower, olive or dairy blends. Just doing this with your morning toast and sandwiches at lunch will remove 2.85 kg of saturated fat from your diet in one year.

4.   Cut the fat. Trim all visible fat from meat, remove skin from chicken and try to avoid processed meat (e.g. sausages and salami). Look for products that have the Heart Foundation Tick.

5.   Eat two to three serves of oily fish a week. A serve of fish is 150 g, which is about the size of your whole hand. Including fish two to three times a week instead of meat or chicken is a simple way to reduce saturated fat in the diet while getting the added benefits of omega-3. Add fish oil capsules and omega-3 enriched foods and drinks to your diet if you’re not eating enough oily fish.

As you can see, there are a number of ways of improving your dietary intake of fats, reducing or eliminating the Saturated fats, and increasing the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

I Can't do Cardio because I can't Run!

Ever heard this before? 

I have had a few new clients come to the Studio stating that they can't do cardio as they cannot run.  Most time it is because they haven't tried running for a long time, or their body is so out of shape that they are not currently in a position to give it a go.

I've even had new clients come in and say they are bored with cardio at the gym, and tired of the treadmill, so they don't do cardio.

Cardio exercise is an important part of your fitness program, as it helps with your cardio vascular health, as well as burning the calories and fat while you work out.  Many people think cardio is only running, cycling and swimming, but there are so many other exercises you can do to work on your cardio fitness, some with even more calorie burn and with less impact on the body.  Here are a few of my favourites:

Squat Jumps
Just like the name states, this is a squat with a jump.  No equipment is required, just your body.

Start with legs shoulder width apart, then squat down and touch the ground between your feet with both hands, then powerfully jump up and touch the sky.  Make sure you land with "soft" or bent knees, and also that you squat and not bend over at the waist.
Low impact version - touch the ground and sky - remove the "jump".

Deadball Slams
This one does need equipment.   You can use a medicine ball, but I prefer the deadball, as it does not bounce and you have to work harder by bending down and picking it up.  Choose a good weight ball that is challenging.

Squat (don't bend) down and pick up the all.  Raise it over your head with both arms then slam it into the ground, bending your knees into a squat position at the same time.  Pick up the ball and repeat.

You can do this with our without a rope.  If you stumble repeatedly with a rope, it is best to go without as the regular stopping with stop the intensity of your skips.
Low impact version - go without the rope and march it out rather than jumping.

Shuttle Runs
Place some cones approx 2-3 metres apart.  Starting at the first cone, run to the second cone and bend down to touch the cone or ground.  Push off and run back to the start.  Now run to the third cone, bend down and return to the start.  Repeat each time going to the following cone.  The bending down and pushing off from each cone will really get the heart rate elevated!
Low impact version - power walk between the cones, making sure you use your arms and still reach down to touch each cone.

Plyometrics are defined as "rapid dynamic stretching of the muscles".  These exercises help burn more calories while enhancing strength and power.  These are usually high impact on the body, so if you have bad knees or feet it is best that you avoid these.

You can do plyometrics on any part of your body, but the most common ones are box jumps, push ups and lunges.

Box Jumps - using a step, place both feet together and jump up onto the step, then jump back down again before jumping back up again in fast repetition.

Push Ups - using any variation of push up (wall, knees, toes), add a clap in between each push up for maximum push off and power.

Lunges - Starting in lunge position with one leg in front of the other, swing your arms forward and jump straight up, swapping legs in mid air, and landing back into lunge position (make sure you land with soft knees to avoid injury).  Repeat quickly ensuring you swap legs each time.

As you can see, there really is no excuse to forget about cardio just because you cannot run.  By adding some of these cardio exercises, your fitness and strength will improve and you will find you will be able to tackle some light jogging and work your way up to running too!

5 Reasons why you Can't Lose Weight

We've all heard it before - to lose weight we just need to eat less and exercise more!  Right?  Maybe not!
Putting on weight may be the result of something other than eating too many desserts.

Here are 5 factors that may affect your ability to shed those extra few kilos.

1.      You're not getting enough sleep! 

A lack of sleep may be stopping you meeting your weight-loss goals. Lack of sleep slows your metabolism and affects the hunger hormones
leptin and ghrelin. Leptin tells your brain to stop eating, but ghrelin, produced in the stomach, stimulates hunger. Research suggests inadequate sleep is associated with low levels of leptin, high levels of ghrelin and weight gain.

Fix: Turn off your phone and laptop. Instead, go to bed early, make sure your room is dark and cool and avoid having caffeine or alcohol too close to bed time!

2.      You are counting calories instead of nutrition

While we do need to ensure we are not overeating, we also don't want to be obsessed with counting calories.  Instead w need to focus on what types of food we are eating and the health benefits of the nutrients in those foods.

One example I like to use is this:  As a calorie counter I could eat 1 packet of Tim Tams for my day's food.  That would be over 1000 calories, so a good amount to lose weight.  However, those Tim Tams are full of sugar, fats and not much goodness to nourish the body and have it working to its maximum potential.

Fix: Think Real Foods. Don't just focus on the calories. Instead, choose nutrient rich foods and nourish your body with the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in fruit, vegetables and wholefoods.

3.      You're eating hidden sugars

Hidden sugars are everywhere. There are many foods we consider to be healthy options, but some of the worst foods include muesli bars, breakfast cereals, sports drinks, sauces and spreads. Added sugars are now considered to be more damaging than dietary fat to your weight and overall health, contributing to conditions including diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Fix : Read labels and avoid products with high amounts of added sugar. It may be listed as corn syrup, sucrose, malt, glucose, molasses, fructose, maltose or fruit juice concentrate.  Remember the ingredients are listed in order of biggest to smallest amount, so if sugar is number 1 or 2 on the list, best to avoid it.

4.      You sit down too much

Watching TV, doing
sedentary jobs and scanning Facebook is not what our bodies were designed to do  Think back to our ancestors, with hunter/gatherers out and about all day. You may think you're too busy to exercise, but the reality is we are meant to move.  If you have time to stalk on Facebook you have time to exercise!

Fix: Move!  Park the car further from work or the shops and walk, take the stairs, get up and walk around the office.  Use the ad breaks in your favourite show to pump out an exercise - you still get to stay up to date with your favourite sitcom, but you can get 20 mins of workout in too!  Do pushups one break, situps another and keep mixing it up.

5.      You don't have time to cook

We are all busier, and have loads of fast food options available. This has resulted in less food preparation in the home. Grabbing breakfast on the go or takeaway for dinner is not good for your waistline.

Fix: Plan and organise in advance.  Work out some easy, low fat healthy meals that can be made on the weekend, and cook up a storm, storing meals in the freezer. That way you can grab one for lunch on the way to work, or take one out to warm up when you get home late from work.  No need to order take away!


How Much Should I Be Drinking?

I always ask my clients the volume of fluids they are drinking each day, but often I find that most of the "fluids" are soft drinks and alcohol as well as the occasional glass of water.

The humanbody can last weeks without food, but only days without water. The body is made up of 50 to 75 per cent water. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration, and is contained in lean muscle, fat and bones.

As the body can’t store water, we need fresh supplies every day to make up for losses from the lungs, skin, urine and faeces (poo). The amount we need depends on our body size, metabolism, the weather, the food we eat and our activity levels.

Water is needed for most body functions, including to:

  • maintain the health and integrity of every cell in the body
  • keep the bloodstream liquid enough to flow through blood vessels
  • help eliminate the by-products of the body’s metabolism, excess electrolytes (for example, sodium and potassium), and urea, which is a waste product formed through the processing of dietary protein
  • regulate body temperature through sweating
  • moisten mucous membranes such as those of the lungs and mouth
  • lubricate and cushion joints
  • reduce the risk of cystitis by keeping the bladder clear of bacteria
  • aid digestion and prevent constipation
  • moisturise the skin to maintain its texture and appearance
  • carry nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • serve as a shock absorber inside the eyes, spinal cord and in the amniotic sac surrounding the foetus in pregnancy.

Not drinking enough water can increase the risk of kidney stones and, in women, urinary tract infections. It can also lower your physical and mental performance, and salivary gland function, and lead to dehydration.

Do You know What you are Drinking?

Have a think about what you drink each day. I'm not just talking alcohol but I’m talking ALL liquid that passes through your lips. How much of it is plain water, and how much of it is other drinks?

Try to halve your non water drink intake. Ideally reduce your fluid intake to only include water, tea, herbal tea and the occasional coffee. 

As a general guide try to drink approx 30mL of water per kilo of body weight (eg, a 75kg person would need to drink 2.25 litres a day).

If you have trouble drinking your water plain, try adding some chopped up fruit or lemon/lime juice for some added flavour. Use this as a stepping stone to weaning you off soft drink.

Write down what you drink in a regular day. Does your list include any of the following:
   - soft drink (diet or otherwise)
   - wine/beer etc
   - energy drinks
   - flavoured milk
   - fruit juice?

These sorts of drinks are calorie filled and go straight to your waistline. You can sometimes be consuming more than an entire meal's calories in just one bottle of drink.

Give it a go.  Time to kick some old habits and start replacing those soft drinks with a better alternative!

How to use your Mind to Lose Weight

I have many clients, both Personal Training and Group, who ask me how they can overcome their bad habits to lose weight more quickly.

For some of them, they find it easy to eat well, but really struggle to get to class or can't be bothered doing extra workouts between sessions.  For others, they are self motivated and work hard with their exercise, but just can't find the will power to take control of their nutritional requirements.  Can you see yourself in one of these?

I don't see that the exercise or the nutrition is the base problem, it's how you THINK about your weight loss journey that may be holding you back!

The Power of Self Talk is such a BIG part of your weight loss journey.   In this article I will talk about ways to overcome your negative self talk, and ways to change your old habits into new healthier ones.

Who has ever said " I should have trained today", "I should have eaten healthier" "I should have done my workout before I got too busy", "I should have been organised"? Sound familiar?

How do you feel when you didn't do what you said you should do?  Most will feel lousy, frustrated and maybe a little guilty that they have let themselves and maybe others (including their trainer) down!  By using the word "should" you are now associating bad feelings with the action that you should have done. The more times you say you should have done that action, the more bad association you will form.

For example, "I should have gone to training" leaves you feeling guilty and with negative feelings about your training.  Do that 3 or 4 times, and do you think you are likely to want to train again in a hurry?  Probably not.

If you should have eaten healthier and you now feel let down, you are now associating eating healthy with feeling crappy.  See where this is going?  No wonder so many weight loss journeys stop before they even get a chance to start! Our words and thoughts are linked to our emotions.  By changing the way we speak do you think we can make a difference to our actions?  Of course we can!

Here is an example.  Let's say "I MUST go to training today". Do you think you are more motivated to make the effort to go?  It's like you can't let yourself (or others) down.  By saying "Must" you are more likely to make the commitment to do so.  Do this 3 or 4 times and you now have a habit!  The association now is one of feeling  good about training rather than feeling guilty about it.  Do you think you are more likely to go to the training now?  I think so!

Here's something you can do at home!

Starting listening to what you are saying.    If you hear yourself saying "I should", change it to "I must".  Be mentally aware of your thoughts and words and the way it leaves you feeling.  Change the words to "I Must" and see how that leaves you feeling.  Do you think by doing this a few times, it will start to become automatic and you will be achieving things you never thought possible?  I do!   All by changing one small word!

Here's another word that has a powerful affect on how we act - "TRY"

Who has ever said, "I tried to eat well", "I tried to go to class", "I tried to exercise at home", I've tried and it's never worked"?  Sound familiar?  The word "try" is associated with failure.  You tried but you didn't.  Can you see the trend here?

To succeed in anything, particularly your weight loss journey, you need to eliminate the word "try".  Next time you hear yourself saying "I tried", or "I will try", stop yourself and take the word out!

"I tried to go to training" becomes "I WILL go to training".  "I tried to eat well" will become "I WILL eat well".  I WILL go to class, I WILL be organised, I WILL exercise tonight at home.  See the difference?  Now that you are aware of what you are saying (as you are already listening out for the word "should") keep an ear out for the word "try" too.  And get rid of it!

Here is one last example of how words we use can affect our actions.

There are 2 really strong words in our vocabulary.  "I AM". Whatever we say after that is something we believe - it's your reality.

If you say, "I am fat", then all your actions and behaviour will be that of a fat person.  Do you think you can change your life and lose weight if you say you are fat and continue to act like a fat person?  Not likely.

If you say "I am really unorganised", you will behave like an unorganised person as you truly believe it - it's like you are making an excuse for yourself.  Are you likely to be organised if you keep making excuses for not being organised?  Again, not likely!

To change your behaviour you need to change your beliefs.  Instead of saying "I am fat", turn it around into a positive and say "I am taking control of my body to be fitter and healthier".  This is your belief and your actions will be that of someone who is wanting to make changes and be in that new body.

How can you make this work for you?

Be aware of your talk over the next week.  If you hear yourself saying "I am....." be aware of what you are saying next, and change it to something you want to be.  Make it your new reality.

If you hear yourself saying "I should", change it to "I must".

If you hear yourself saying "I tried", stop and change it to "I will do"

Keep an eye out for my next article will continue with the theme of mindset and cover more on negative self talk and how turning this around into positives can change your results both physically and mentally!

Happy positive speaking!

Carolyn McMillan is a qualified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor based in Point Cook, Victoria.  She takes pride in helping as many people as possible to achieve the best bodies they can, to ensure that they are fit and healthy, not just now, but into their older years.  She has had many success stories with clients wishing to lose weight, tone up and just feel better about themselves and who they are.  She loves seeing her clients change not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally, and going on to achieve things they never thought possible.

You can contact Carolyn via the contacts page on this website or via her Facebook page:

How to Avoid Back Injury when Working Out

Exercising is great for you, but if done incorrectly it can lead to injury which could mean you need to cease your workout program for a while.  That is not something you want to do, especially if you are just starting out on your health & fitness journey!

In this article I'm going to explain the importance of correct technique, particularly around one common exercise, the push up.

The push up is a fantastic exercise for building upper body strength as it uses your chest muscles as well as your arms and shoulders.  It also uses your core for stability.  However, if you try to do a full toe pushup before you have the required strength, you may hurt yourself.

A good trainer will be able to assess your ability, and start you either on the wall (beginners), on your knees (intermediate) or on your toes (advanced).  They will monitor your improvement and only progress you to the next level when you have the required strength to do so.

So how do you assess the level you are at to start a push up if you are not seeing a trainer?

Firstly, try the beginner version.  Stand about 50cm away from a solid wall.  Place your hands on the wall at eye level, slightly wider than your shoulders.  Move your entire body (including bringing your butt down) towards the wall in a straight line, and then push back up again leaving your hands on the wall. If you can easily do 10 reps of this wall push up, you can move to the second stage.

For the second level,  kneel on the floor with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders and slightly wider than your shoulders.  Breathing in, lower your entire body down to the floor keeping your chest approx a fist height away from the floor.  Exhale and push yourself back up.  Imagine you have a broomstick from your neck to your butt, and this will keep your body in a nice straight line. If you can do 10 reps comfortably going down to fist height, you are ready to move to the full push up.

The last level requires you to be on your toes.  Start with your body in a straight line from your neck to your ankles.  Breathing in lower your entire body down to the floor as low as you can.  Exhale and push yourself back up.  Check out the great form of one of my amazing clients!

If you can master this technique you can continually progress the exercise, increasing the difficulty and your upper body strength.  There are further variations which will challenge you if you can master the toe push up easily after 12 reps (you can aim to increase the number of reps you do, elevate your feet onto a step, try one arm push ups, add a clap - the list is endless).

If you try to move too quickly to a more difficult level, you do risk injury.  The most common being straining your back.  Many people will start to dip their back creating an arch in the lower back which can then cause significant pain or inflammation. 

Why not give this a go at home - start at the first level and work your way through until you determine which level you are at.  Then pump out a few reps each day.  With consistent practice you will be surprised how quickly you can move from one level to the next.

To be completely confident that you are completing the exercise with correct technique, it is best to have someone with fitness qualifications watching you.  To learn more on Personal Training, click here, or to enquire about your FREE consultation, leave your details on the Contacts page here:

Healthy Detox Program

Ever thought of doing a detox but didn't know what it was all about, or were worried that it did more harm than good?

What is a detox?

Detox, short for detoxification, is the body's natural, ongoing process of neutralizing or eliminating toxins from the body. Toxins are anything that can potentially harm body tissue, including waste products that result from normal cell activity, such as ammonia and lactic acid, and human-made toxins that we are exposed to in our environment, food, and water. The liver, intestines, kidneys, lungs, skin, blood and lymphatic systems work together to ensure that toxins are transformed chemically to less harmful compounds and excreted from the body.

Our bodies naturally detoxify every day, Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon and liver and other organs.

If you feel "congested" from too much food -- or the wrong kinds of food -- a detox may help. If your energy levels are low or if you have been taking many
medications that have not been eliminated from your system, a detox may help you feel better.

There are many detox programs out on the market, so how do you choose one that is good for you?

My recommendation is to check what is involved. If you need to buy "special" ingredients or only have liquids for 7 days, it may not be the healthiest option. Did you know that 95% of people do NOT consume a sufficient amount of nutrients each day - that's at least 2-3 serves of fruit and 7-9 serves (that’s cups) of vegetables a day!

I have recently undertaken The 7 Day Raw Detox program and found this a great healthy way to cleanse the body over a week.  With this Detox program, you basically eat vegan for 1 week.  You still eat real wholesome foods, including loads of fruit and vegetables, but you eliminate processed foods, cooked food and anything that originates from a living creature including any animals or insects. This includes no alcohol, coffee, meat, eggs, cheese, dairy, sugar, cereal, bread, pasta, rice, packet food or anything preserved through a cooking method of any kind.

I was surprised at how much food I could still eat - fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, filtered water, herbs, spices, super foods, sprouted greens and lentils, cold pressed oils, raw vegan protein powder and much more.

The reason I like this Detox program is because The 7 Day Raw Detox has been designed in a way to make it fun to prepare your food with exciting dishes, and you don't need to go out and buy heaps of fad ingredients that will stay in your pantry and not be touched again!  You are eating real, wholesome foods made mainly out of fruit and vegetables - now that's a healthy way to cleanse your body!

One of the biggest benefits is that the 7 Day Raw Detox provides you with all the recipes, shopping lists, templates and meal planners you need to organize your shopping and food for your detox. There are also many other added benefits of this program.

If you are looking at undertaking a natural detox program and cleansing your body leading up to Christmas, I would suggest you look at the 7 Day Raw Detox program.  Check out this link to get full details==>>

Why is Boxing so Good for you?

Ever wondered what all the fuss is about boxing, but thought it's not really for you?

If you want to add variety to your exercise routine, improve your cardiovascular fitness or lose weight you really should give it a go!

Boxing is one of the ultimate ways to get real fitness. It is hard, exhausting and you will work every single muscle in your body to the maximum which enables you to see some fantastic results in your fitness and body shape. Boxing is a fantastic cardio exercise to burn that fat while having some fun.

Here are some benefits of attending a supervised boxing class

- attending a supervised class means the trainer can show you the correct punching and padding technique before you start, to ensure that there is no risk of injury to you or the other participants.  You are there to get fit and healthy, not get hurt!

Burn baby Burn -  Calorie expenditure and fat burning are elevated during boxing as it is such a high intensity workout using large muscle groups and constantly keeps you moving. That means for calories gone!!

Stress Relief -
What better way to take out the frustrations and stress of the day than by finishing your day with a great boxing class.  You can even imagine the face of the annoying person on the pads and hit even harder!

Work your WHOLE body
- many people think boxing is just using your arms.  It is much more than that!  It is a complete workout for the cardiovascular and endurance systems as well as training the upper body, lower body and core.  Your mind also gets a huge workout too!

Beginner or Advanced?
- doesn't matter!  A well supervised boxing class will accommodate all levels of strength and fitness meaning it can be enjoyed by everyone!

I recently had the pleasure of introducing some new clients to my boxing class.  One lady gave it a go reluctantly saying that boxing is not her and she won't enjoy it.  After taking her through the techniques, and coming to a couple of classes,  she is now one of my most regular attendees!

If you are looking for a fun fitness alternative to add variety to your current exercise routine, think about giving a Boxing Class a go!

Do you have a Bucket List?

I recently had the chance to watch the movie "The Bucket List" and decided that this is something we could all benefit from NOW rather than leaving it until we are too old to enjoy life.

Life is too short - it is a cliché but it is so real.  There are many things you probably say you will do one day but have never had a chance to make it happen.  There is always an excuse -  I don't have the time, I don't have the money, I'll do it when I feel better, I'll book it in next year, I'm too busy with work.  Sound familiar?

If this sounds like you, then you may be putting your life on hold!  Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  Do you want to be 80 years old living with regrets?  I don't!  That is what I have created my Bucket List.

It's easy to do.  Decide on some experiences you really would like to have.  What is it you really want to see or do with your life, on your own, with your family or with others?
  Choose items that are achievable and remember they don't need to be expensive  There are plenty of things you can choose, you just need to DITCH THE EXCUSES!

So how do I make a bucket list?

1. Start Writing
. Grab a pen and paper and start writing down things you really want to do.  Don't worry about how they sound or whether you can do them now or not, just write them down.

2. Go online to get some ideas of what others have used.  Do a search for "bucket list items" and see what interests you - you may be surprised!

3. Keep an eye out for new ideas. You may be reading an article, seeing a video or just chatting to a friend about an experience they have had.  If it interests you, write it down.

4. Set some timeframes. Ensure your list has items that can be done now, as well as some to look forward to in future.  Set yourself some open timeframes and book them in!

5. Keep the list Live -. Ensure your list has items that can be done now, as well as some to look forward to in future.  Set yourself some open timeframes and book them in! once you have written your bucket list, it can be changed and added to.  It is a live document that can be updated as regularly as you find a new experience!

Life is truly worth living.  Get out there and enjoy it!  Having a bucket list will ensure you are working towards the things YOU wish to see and do, and help you to PLAN to make them happen!

Good luck with your list - I'd love to hear some of the items you place on yours!  Post them on my Facebook page at:

Are Your Workouts Even?

Do your workouts include exercises for both the front and back of a certain body part?  If not, they should.  It is important that you obtain even muscle tone in both the front and back of each limb to have equal strength in both muscles. For example, an everyday functional task of bending down and picking up a heavy object uses many muscles, including both the front and back of your legs.  If you only work the front (thighs) and forget the back (hamstrings) then you may find lifting difficult and will rely on other muscles like your back, to do the work.

Our hamstrings often get forgotten, but here is a good exercise to strengthen and tone the back of your legs.

This can be done without weights, or using some cans from the pantry, or dumbbells or barbell at the gym if you are looking for heavier weights.

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulders. Keep your shoulders back and your head in line with your spine.  Holding the cans or Dumbbells in your hands, keep your shoulders back and bend forward from the hips rolling the cans or DB down your legs as far as you can until you feel the slight pull in the back of your legs.  Stand back up again and repeat.

Pelvic Floor Muscles

If you are one of the 4.8 million Australians who suffer from incontinence, then you need to work on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles.

The muscles of the pelvic floor are no different to any other muscle in the body. They require correct activation to function as they should and if damaged or stressed require the correct rehabilitation program. The pelvic floor forms the base of the core, spanning from the coccyx to the pubic bone and side to side. Their role is to support the pelvic organs, assist in the control of urination, defecation and flatulence; they are important in sexual function and assist with spinal support and the maintenance of Intra-abdominal pressure.

Exercise Program
As with any rehabilitation program the first step is to identify the sensation of the correct muscle activation. If you are having trouble with identifying correct activation of pelvic floor muscles you may need to see a continence advisor, and then you can start a strengthening program .

A gentle contraction drawing the pelvic floor muscles upwards into the pelvis should be followed by relaxing the muscles allowing them to recover for the next contraction.. Tightening of the upper abdominals and buttocks is not desirable.

Over time the contraction will become easier and the duration of the contraction can be held for longer, up to 10 seconds before releasing. As with all 
fitness programs the number of repetitions and duration of hold will depend on your ability to perform the exercise correctly and advance only when you are ready.

If you are experiencing issues with weak pelvic floor muscles it is vital to undertake appropriate exercises in the gym. High impact exercises, heavy lifting and exercises increasing intra-abdominal pressure should be avoided.

Exercise of the week - Hollow Body Sit Up

Looking for a more challenging sit up variation.  Give this one a go.

Grab a ball (or even better a light medicine ball) and lay down with your arms and legs out straight but not touching the floor. 
Bring your arms and legs up towards the ceiling, and pass the ball from your hands to your ankles.  Hold the ball tight in your ankles!

Now lay back down again, remembering not to let your arms or feet touch the ground.

Repeat by passing the ball back to your hands.

Can stress cause you to gain weight?  

The answer is Yes!

The main reason is the release of
cortisol, a stress hormone. When we’re under stress, the fight or flight response is triggered in our bodies, leading to the release of various hormones.

Chronic stress and cortisol can contribute to weight gain in the following ways:

- Do you feel like you're prone to putting on more weight when you're stressed, even if you're eating the same amount of food as you always have? Too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience. 

- OK, you're stressed. Do you reach for a nice salad or a packet of Tim Tams? I'll bet on the latter. People experiencing chronic stress tend to crave more fatty, salty and sugary foods. This includes sweets, processed food and other things that aren’t as good for you. These foods are typically less healthy and lead to increased weight gain.

Blood Sugar
 - Prolonged stress can alter your blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, fatigue, and conditions like hyperglycemia.

Fat Storage
 - Excessive stress even affects where we tend to store fat. Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal fat. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only aesthetically undesirable, it’s linked with greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body. 

Top Foods to Help Ward off Colds and Flu

1 Garlic has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties to help fight against infections.

2 Ginger helps promote gastric motility and works as an anti-inflammatory.

3 Turmeric is a natural antiviral with potent anti anti-inflammatory properties. High in curcumin a powerful antioxidant.

4 Manuka honey or Bee Pollen works as an antibacterial to help fight virus and bacteria.

5 Chilli works as an anti-inflammatory, helps stimulate digestion and helps clear congestion.

6 Omega 3 rich foods such as flaxseeds, hemp or chia to  support our immune system.

7 Citrus, kiwi fruit + other fruits rich in vitamin C that helps support and nourish your immune system.

8 Papaya is rich in beta-carotene to help protect against infection.

9 Fermented foods – rich in probiotics to help protect our digestive and immune systems. Think kefir, natural yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, pu’reh tea, tempeh, labneh (yoghurt cheese).

10 Pineapple and papaya is high in vitamin C and digestive enzymes that helps improve absorption of nutrients and have anti-inflammatory  properties which can help boost the immune system.

11. Protein Rich Foods – to help nourish your immune system, repair the body and assist recovery. Choose nutrient rich ones with a complete amino acid profile such as fish, organic chicken, grass fed beef or game meats, organic pea protein isolate, grass fed WPI, organic eggs and yoghurt.

12. Green Super Foods such as kale, spinach, leafy greens, wheatgrass help to increase alkalinity and detoxification in your body that can promote healing.

Sick of being Sick?

Infection - it's that time of year when we all seem to get sick just walking past someone who sneezes!

What can you do to stay away from germs this winter?  Here are a few simple prevention technique you can easily do to help stop the risk of infection in your day to day schedule.

1 – Washing your hands regularly to help prevent any transfer of bacteria
2 – Staying clear of people sneezing or coughing
3 – Making sure the air quality around you is well ventilated
4 – Getting enough rest and sleep to help your body repair and recover so as not to compromise your immune function
5 – Eating your fruit and vegetables on a daily basis because they are high in antioxidants and minerals then can help fight off free radicals in the body that can cause illness.
6 – Eating enough quality protein to help nourish your immune system, repair the body and assist recovery.

Dead Ball Slam

Designed not to bounce, the Dead Ball is ideal for traditional Medicine Ball exercises, but will not bounce or roll away. This makes them great for explosive slams.

It is filled with iron sand fillings, meaning it can easily weight up to 50kg without splitting!

The inertia of the iron sand makes the Dead Ball useful for a host of activities.

Obviously it can be thrown or caught for a variety of exercises to develop strength and neuromuscular conditioning. Exercises like squats, lunges and walking become more challenging, particularly if the ball is being held overhead. It is also relatively soft even though it is heavy, so it is easy and comfortable to hold.

The ball is more resistant to rolling or moving than a standard medicine ball, which makes it excellent for balancing exercises. It also means that it won’t roll around the floor; where they fall is pretty much where they stay.


Do you have a weak Butt?

I am currently seeing a lot of people (including myself) with one or more weak glute muscles - that's the muscle in your butt!  This can cause more serious pain and injury down the leg and into the foot if not corrected.  I learned this the hard way with a foot injury and weak knee caused by my weak glute.  

Strengthening up the glute muscle will help it take the workload it is designed for, instead of it being lazy and making the smaller muscles do all the work and then overload causing injury.

One of the best exercises for strengthening the glute is the Squat.  You can do this a number of ways:

Using a fitball against the wall.
*Using your own body weight.
*Holding onto dumbbells
*Using the barbell across your shoulders at the gym
*Holding a weight in front of your chest.
*Standing on one leg.

Remember to always push through your heels to ensure your knees don't stray forward of your toes.  This ensures that the butt is doing the work it is meant to!

If you think you have a weak glute muscle, it is best to get it checked with your Personal Trainer or Physio, who can offer you specific strengthening exercises to correct your muscle weakness.



The Exercise we Love to Hate - Burpees!

We all love to hate Burpees, but they are really an awesome, calorie burning, strength-building, full body exercise.

So how do you do a burpee correctly?  Here's how.

  • First, get into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
  • Kick your feet back together into a push up position.
  • Return your feet back to the squat position as fast as possible - remember both feet together.
  • Immediately jump up into the air as high as you can.
  • That's one burpee done.

Burpees are all about speed, but if you go too fast you are likely to burn yourself out after doing just a few.

Here are 5 reasons why Burpees are such a great exercise to include in your fitness routine.

1. They burn mega calories

Burpees make your body a fat burning machine - they are an intense fully body exercise and they burn heaps of calories. Plus, research shows that high intensity exercises like burpees burn up to 50% more fat than moderate exercising.

Another great is that they speed up your metabolism throughout the day—meaning you’ll burn more calories all day long, even after your burpee hell is over.

2. They make you stronger
The burpee is a full body strength training exercise and the ultimate example of functional fitness.
With every rep, you’ll work your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs. After a few sets of burpees, your legs should feel a little bit like lead.

3. They’re great for conditioning
Burpees get your heart rate up—fast.  So, they are a great way to get in shape quickly, whether your goal is to learn a new sport, train for a triathlon, hike a big mountain, or, just to look good.

4. They’re portable and require no equipment
The best thing about burpees? They require absolutely no equipment.  You can do them in your house, in the park, in your back yard or even in your hotel room.

5. You can add them to almost any workout
Unlike running, which is a slow, monotonous form of exercising (unless you’re sprinting), burpees are fast paced and dynamic.

So as you can see, adding burpees to your workout routine will bring you heaps of benefits and get you into shape quicker than you ever thought possible.  Give them a go, you may even start to enjoy them!

What are the affects of Alcohol on my Training?

Some clients may find that they are not getting the results that they desire, but don't see how drinking alcohol regularly or bingeing on the weekend can impact their weight loss.   Here are 2 great questions to ask yourself.

  • What is the effect of alcohol on my training and performance?
  • Is it good to train after a big night drinking?

Alcohol will have a major negative impact on your goals regardless whether it is weight loss, muscle gain, rehab or even sports specific conditioning. 

Alcohol can mess with your diet and calorie intake, as most drinks are high in sugar, which will definitely slow down weight loss and muscle gain. When you train, it is the alcohol that is burnt first before you start burning off any of the fat!

When it comes to rehab and sports specific goals, alcohol can also mess with digestion, making it difficult for the body to absorb some nutrients and amino acids, which slows down the healing process.

Finally alcohol will also slow down you reaction time, judgment and reflex, which will have a major impact on sporting performance.

When training, maintaining adequate hydration is a key element to your performance, knowing that alcohol is diuretic (meaning it dehydrates us and removes essential electrolytes). Therefore, training with a hangover can lead to disasters and in some cases collapsing and severe health issues.

Even though people’s goals differ, what they all have in common is that they want to succeed. If you want to reach your goals, STOP drinking alcohol; it has such a negative impact  on achieving your health and exercise goals.

Thanks to Australian Institute of Fitness

Don't want to end up as a hunchback in your senior years? 
Then it is important to strengthen up your back!

When exercising with weights it is important to ensure you have a balanced workout.  Many times the poor old back gets forgotten.  Have you ever seen those big muscle guys at the gym with huge shoulders that are hunched over and bent forward?  That is caused by working a lot on the chest muscles (doing heaps of chest presses and push ups) and forgetting to strengthen up the back.

You need to keep your back strong, and ensure you maintain good posture, particularly as you get older - you don't want to end up a hunchback in your senior years.

The Bentover Row is one back exercise you can easily do with or without equipment.  Here's how:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward.
  • Using no equipment, a pair of tins from the pantry, or some dumbbells, hold your arms down by your side.
  • Keeping your knees slightly bent, bend forward from the waist until your body is at approx 45 degrees.
  • Keep your shoulders back and stick your butt out slightly.
  • Now, while in this position, bring your elbows back and squeeze the shoulder blades together.
  • The only part of your body that is moving is your arms and shoulder blades.  Keep the shoulders back and still.

Here's to a great posture as you get older!




Fit & Great in 8

My 8 week Transformation commences next week and I am so excited to get this up and running again. 

My summer 6 week Transformation was a huge success, with every participant losing weight, losing cm and gaining increased fitness levels.  Many new goals were reached and people who believed they could not achieve things in life found out that they finally could!

I love my job.  I love seeing people reach new goals that were only dreams in the past.  I love seeing people improve their health knowing that it is adding years to their lives, and also adding quality of life for them.  I love knowing that I am having a positive impact on others and making them feel better about themselves and finding confidence that they didn't know they had.

By joining my Fit & Great in 8 Transformation, you will find increased motivation to achieve your goals.  You are committing to 2 sessions a week, knowing that as a team you are all working towards similar goals of losing weight and feeling and looking better. I am also offering regular motivation and encouragement between sessions with emails and texts, and some surprise challenges via your private Facebook page.

The 8 week Transformation starts next week!!  Get in NOW to secure your spot. 

Click here to see more about the 8 week Transformation.

Click here
to contact me, or call me on 0425 722 3100425 722 310.  You have nothing to lose (except your weight!) and lots to gain!


Benefits of Weight Training

Who finds this photo scary?

I often have new clients say to me "I don't want to do weights, I don't want to look bulky and muscly".  One thing we need to remember is that unless you are doing huge weights every day, you are not going to look like Arnold Schwarzenneger - and ladies, we can't look like Arnie unless we do some serious training and take eat egg whites all day!

Weight or strength training not only benefits you while you are working out, but also has many post workout benefits.   Here are a few:

1. Speeds up your metabolism - you burn more calories over the whole 24 hour day.
2. A flatter belly - who doesn't want that!
3. Long term weight management
4. Better results in less time.
5 Burn fat long after your workout has finished.
6. A firm and lean body - look toned|
7. Increase bone density - an advantage as you get older
8. Change and customise your body shape
9. Reduce depression and insomnia
10. Speed your way to a perfect sculptured physique.

I like to add a mix of strength and cardio training to most of my Personal Training sessions, as well as with my group workouts. This ensures that my clients get the benefits of increasing their metabolism to burn more calories during the day on top of toning up those muscles to look healthy, and not bulky!

To find out how I can help you with achieving great results with weight training click here to contact me.

Why Join a Weight Loss Challenge?

I recently held my first 6 week Body Transformation which proved to be highly successful. All participants lost weight and saw changes in their body shape with reduced measurements from top to toe. All participants also saw a big improvement in their fitness levels and strength.

There are many reasons to join a Weight Loss challenge or Body Transformation.  I have listed just a few here:

- because the challenge goes for a certain period of time, and you pay up front, you are more likely to turn up to your sessions.  It is in your diary every week, and you get in the habit of going to class every week.

- working out with a Personal Trainer running the sessions means you will get an awesome workout that will make you work harder than you would on your own.

- working in a group, you will be able to push and motivate each other to keep on going when you would normally stop and give up.

Goal Setting
- before you commence your sessions, your PT will work with you to determine your goals and discuss with you during the challenge on ways to meet these goals, not only with your training but with your every day life.

- your PT will keep you motivated and on track not only during each session, but by regular email and  text messages, to ensure you keep your goals in the front of your mind and work towards them.

- as you are working with the same group of people every week, and all going through the same process and goals for weight loss, you are likely to form some new friendships.

- with my challenges, I always take before and after measures and fitness testing so that you can see where you started and how much you achieved during the course of the challenge.  My clients have proven that achievement is possible, and many are going from one challenge to the next to continue working towards their goals.

Nutritional Advice
- regular recording of your food intake means you become aware of exactly how much you are eating each day.  Your PT will check your diary, make suggestions on how this can be improved, and also provide you with recipes to provide some variety and easy low calorie meals into your life.

My next 8 week Body Transformation kicks off
April 17th.  If you are interested in being one of our success stories, click here to contact Carolyn and book into the challenge and secure your spot

Get in Quick!



As a personal trainer, I often get asked about my thoughts on the current "in" diet fad.  Do I think that no carbs is good? Is it beneficial to go full protein for a week, then introduce carbs?  What are my thoughts on Paleoa?

As a personal trainer, and from my own personal experience, I know that diets do not last.  Many times, people will start a diet, lose a lot of weight, then start to get bored with the strictness of the diet, and go back to their old ways, and in many cases, put on more weight than they lost!

Diets are not sustainable.  You need to be able to live your life, and not spend the rest of your life counting calories, watching that you add one portion of protein to one portion of carbs, or cancelling events in your social diary as it impacts with your diet's food requirements on the day!

What you do need to do is eat clean, nutritious food in small portions, and add some type of exercise into your lifestyle.  I am not a dietician or nutritionist, but I do know that this works, and it is sustainable for the rest of your life! 

Here are some simple ideas to make you think about how you can live a healthy and long life.

Eat "real" foods
, ie not processed or coming from a box.  Instead of reaching for a handful of biscuits or a packet of crisps, eat a piece of fruit, some carrot and hummus or a homemade muesli bar.

Remember how our great grandparents ate
.  A lot of their food was home grown.  We don't need a cow in the backyard or a vege garden - instead shop wisely at your local fruit & vege shop and choose lean meats from the butcher or supermarket.

Watch your portion sizes
.  Eating too much  trains our stomach to think it needs more and leads to more overeating. 

Fuel your body
- you wouldn't put diesel into a petrol car, so why put excess sugar, salt and preservatives into your body?  Think of your food as your fuel to get through the day and choose what is healthy and will benefit you now and into your future years.

Add exercise - like the photo above, diet alone is not going to get you looking lean.  You may look thin but exercise will get you looking your best and help you get there more quickly!


Benefits of Boxing
Ever wondered what Boxing is like but were too afraid to give it a go?  What is all the hype, and what do you really get out of it?

I love to include boxing in my Personal Training sessions.  It is a great all over body workout and one of the best ways to reduce body fat (meaning you look more toned and defined) as well as a great way to increase your fitness levels.

Here are 7 more reasons why Boxing is good for you (thanks to Punchfit).

1. Develop self-defense skills
Boxing can teach you countless combinations of kicks and punches. This can be used as self-defense if you ever end up in a dangerous situation.

2. Help with Weight Loss
Boxing can burn as much as 500-100 calories per 1 hour session depending on your intensity.  So you can see how it can help with your weight loss journey.

3. Build a stronger heart
Regular boxing sessions can maintain a balanced heart rate and improves the strength of the heart muscle.

4. Build strong bones and muscles
Boxing improves the strength and flexibility of all muscle groups as you use your core, upper and lower body to make your moves.  It also helps to develop joints and your overall skeletal system.

5. Strengthen your entire body
As boxing involves sparring, ducking, weaving, bouncing, pivoting, punching and even kicking, it requires repetitive motions across your entire body. These repeated motions provide strength and power to your arms, legs and core.

6. Help relieve stress
This is one of my favourites as I see my clients unwind after a boxing session. Research shows that people who box regularly are more cheerful, getting rid of stress and tension with each punch!

7. Act as an outlet for anger
Boxing provides a great opportunity to vent your anger in a safe way.  When you kick and box, you can let go of your anger without physically hurting anyone. This in turns helps you to relax.

If you are interested in adding boxing to your exercise routine, contact me to find out how I can help you. Click on my Contact page and send me an email. 

Recipe Time - Blueberry & Ricotta Toast

One of my favourite fruits is blueberries and you can get fresh berries at a good price at the moment.  I also buy  the cheaper frozen berries which are just as tasty and easier on the budget!

Not only are blueberries tasty, they have some fantastic health benefits which include:

  1. The highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit to boost up your immune system and prevent infections.
  2. Aid in reducing Cardiovascular disease.
  3. Preserve vision and prevent or delay age related eye problems.
  4. Aid Brain Health and prevent and heal neurotic disorders.
  5. Assist in Heart Disease by dissolving the ‘bad cholesterol’

Here's a quick and tasty low calorie recipe for breakfast.  I know lots of my clients enjoy this is much as I do.

  • Toast 2 pieces of Raisin Bread
  • Top each slice with 1 Tbspn low fat ricotta cheese
  • Add a small handful of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • Enjoy.


  •  Check the calories per 100g on the Raisin bread packets as some show calories per serving which can be 1 or 2 slices.  Choose the lowest calorie brand
  • I prefer the Perfect Italiano Light Ricotta found in the dairy section.  The Extra Light is quite watery.
  • You can also add a mix of berries, I have used blueberries and raspberries in my photo.
  • For a special treat, sprinkle a tiny amount of drinking chocolate over the top.  Feels like you are getting something special.

Want an exercise to kick that butt into shape?
Try Power Jacks

One of my favourite exercises at the moment is the Power Jack.  I have been using it regularly with my clients and also in my group sessions.

What is it?  It is a mix between a Jumping Jack (star jump) and a Squat, and it is fantastic for working both your cardio and your lower body.  That means not only is it working to increase your fitness levels and burn those calories, but it is toning your legs and butt, while also giving your arms and shoulders a workout too!

To perform the Power Jack, start in what I call the "Rocket Position".  This is where you stand tall, feet together and arms raised straight above your head pointing to the sky.

Next jump both feet out to the side and lower down into a squat position, keeping feet approx shoulder width apart, knees aligned over your toes, but not forward of your toes.  At the same time bring your arms down to touch the side of your knees, or for a real challenge, the side of your ankles.

Pop back up into Rocket Position, and that is one repetition!

Do these for 60 seconds to get the heart racing and feel the burn in your butt and legs!

Healthy Shopping Tips

Shopping trips can seem overwhelming when you are wanting to buy healthy and nutritious food.

How do you choose the right food? 
What does the information on the labels mean?
Is healthy food really more expensive? 
Here are some tips to help you out with your next trip to the supermarket.

Nutrition Information Panel
All packaged food products in Australia need a Nutrition Information Panel.  There are exceptions for packages
that are too small (chewing gum), packaged items with little or no nutritional values (tea, spices) and any product that is packaged at point of sale (bread from a bakery).

Make sure you use the per 100g column to decide if the product has the right amount of macronutrients for your diet, as some companies will try and trick you with the serving size column of their product.

Check the ingredient listing
It will be in descending order by ingoing weight! Always look to see what is first on the list. If the first ingredient on the list is sugar then it is probably not a food that you should consume.

Calculate the price per kilogram
Major supermarkets now provide you with information on how much each food item will cost per kilogram. Here is an example to illustrate the benefit of calculating the price per kilogram.

Should I buy a Mars bar or a banana?
Mars bar is 53g per bar = $1.60 (per kg = $30.00)
Organic banana per kg = $ 4.99
Put that in perspective and you can realise that the banana is not only the healthier choice, but the better financial choice too!




High Intensity Training

If you are finding that your weight is starting to plateau and you are not getting the results out of your workouts like you used to, you may need to ramp up your exercise routine by adding High Intensity Training. 

This is where you need to work at close to your maximum heart rate for a period of time, then add in a rest period.  Interval training is a great way to add intensity to your workouts.

Interval training can be done at home, outdoors or at the gym. 
  • If you are at home, try skipping or jogging on the spot with high knees for 30 seconds, then have a 30 second rest.
  • Outdoors, you can try sprinting for a short distance, or 30 seconds, then follow by walking for a short distance or 30 seconds.
  • At the gym, you can use the treadmill, cross trainer, rower or bike to go flat out for 30 seconds, then slow your pace down for 30 seconds.

Interval training gets your heart rate working higher than normal exercise rate for the 30 second power burst.  Then during the 30 second rest, it will drop, but will not go below the rate it would normally be at during your exercise program.  Keeping the heart rate elevated at a higher level, while still getting a 'rest' period enables you to burn more calories, burn the fat and also to increase your fitness levels.

Give it a go and let me know how you went.



Working out while on Holidays
With the Christmas season well and truly on us, and many people heading away for a well deserved break, many people will use the time as an excuse to put the exercise on hold and to let their hair down while relaxing by the pool or at the beach. I'm not saying you can't chill out and relax, but by keeping your exercise routine going while away, you won't lose your fitness levels, it will be easier to get started again when you get home, and you have the added benefits of maintaining (or even losing) your weight and energy levels while you are on holidays!

Here is a fantastic 20 minute circuit I have put together that you can do anywhere.  You don't need any equipment and it can be done in a small space, so you can even do it in your hotel room

Jog on the spot for 30 seconds and a slow pace.  Increase speed for the next 30 seconds.  Lastly do 30 seconds of high knees and 30 seconds of butt kicks.
Jump back and forward x 10 times
Jump side to side x 10 times
Sumo squats x 10 reps
Push ups on knees x 10 reps

on't stop between exercises.  You can stop at the end for 30-60 secs then go again! 
Try to do 3-5 rounds.

Squat Jumps x 10
Push ups toes x 10 (can do on knees but try to do as many as possible on toes)
Mountain climbers x 10 each leg
Squats x 10
Jumping Jack x 20
Core Twists x 10

There you have it.  A great little circuit that gives you a cardio workout while also working your legs, chest and core.