Friday, November 23, 2012

Last Post for this blog

Although this is the last post for this blog I hope you look through this blog for inspiration on your fitness journey.
I will soon recommence blog posts on Cat 3 Fitness and Health
See My Blog List > > >

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cocos Lagoon Swim

The lagoon swim is this Saturday already.

It's been heartening to see the local swimmers training for the last few months (unlike last year!) and most have been tapering their program and getting pre-swim massages and training advice.
Let's hope that the conditions are perfect for the weekend.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Be Kind 2 UR Body - A Health Initiative Program for Teenage Girls

This school holidays started with  a four day health initiative and promotion program for teenage girls living in the beautiful Cocos (Keeling) Islands. 13 girls (12-15 years old), me, the Doctor, three Nurses, and two wonderful young women from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Shire office got together to help the girls get into the habit of healthy eating and regular exercise.

We covered girl stuff like training in the menstrual cycle, how to fit a bra and which bras to use for different types of physical activity and pelvic floor exercises, stuff which we couldn't  have covered if there were any boys or men around.

The girls came up with awesome programs to do over the rest of the school holidays - they're great programs which is why I'm posting them, yet to be seen if the girls actually do them.

The Homie's program (they're meeting every afternoon at 3.30pm):
Mondays: Squat jumps and resistance band lat pull downs
Tuesdays: Push ups (from knees) and tricep dips - I was impressed that the girls came up with this great superset!
Wednesdays: 30 minutes on the treadmill, 1 min walk/1 min run
Thursdays: Tabatas on the treadmills and spin bikes
Fridays: 10 minute walk followed by an hour of volleyball
Saturdays: 10 minute walk followed by an hour of tennis
Sundays: 10 minute walk followed by an hour of t-ball

The West Side's program (they're calling each other in the morning to arrange the time and place to meet in the afternoon):
Deciding day to day from selection of:
  • 7km run
  • 14km bike ride
  • Run/walk (high intensity)
  • Sit ups, squats, resistance band rows, push ups (from knees)
  • Tricep dips, prone hold, tabatas, squat press with weights, waist rotations with weights, bicep curls
  • Sailing - how awesome is that!
This was an exceptional group of girls - I've met trained exercise professionals who couldn't put together a program as varied in type and intensity as these girls have!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Half Way Point for New Year’s Resolutions

Okay, so you made your New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of the year so now it’s time to reflect on those resolutions.
Have you achieved your resolutions? Are you well on the way to achieving them?
If your response was ‘no’ to either of these questions then it’s time to refocus.
Do this exercise:
1.       List your resolutions (goals)
2.       Apply the SMART goal setting technique. See my previous blog on SMART goal setting
3.       Have a close look at the ‘R’ in SMART. Is your goal realistic? If yes, that’s great, get back on track and get to it! If no, reconsider your goal.
For help to achieve your goals employ the services of a Coach or Personal Trainer. Exercise professionals such as coaches and PT’s have the training to help you find and maintain motivation. To achieve any goals in life the drive needs to come from you, not from anyone else.

Next blog post: Review of Be Kind 2UR Body - a 4 day wellness program for Cocos-Malay teenage girls

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rules, Ritual and Routine

The three R's to help you stick to your fitness program - Rules, Ritual and Routine

There’s no need to struggle in keeping up a new fitness program. The biggest hurdle was starting (see one of my earlier blog posts on goal setting) so here’s some tips to help you keep going:

Give yourself a rule, something you must do no matter what.  What Bevan James Eyles calls black and white rules: no excuses. For example, I have 2 rules.
Rule 1 - Drink 2 litres of water every day
Rule 2 – I can drink alcohol only after I’ve drunk 2 litres of water

One rule is enough. The rule relates to your heatlh and fitness goals. If you’re quitting smoking then the rule would be to engage in a healthy activity (like taking 10 deep breaths or going for a 10 minute walk) every time you felt like lighting up. If your goal is to manage your weight then your rule would be to record everything you eat and drink in a food diary. If your goal is to run a marathon then your rulewould be to run every day.

Ritual is where you exercise some self discipline.  Something you do regularly and at the same time. Something that relates to your health and fitness goals.

For example, my ritual is to stretch every morning,  what Kit Laughlin taught me as the Daily Six (many years ago).  I’m quite lazy when it comes to flexibility, which I need to improve for running, swimming and power lifts, so this ritual works great for me.

Your ritual will be something that you want to become routine.

Maybe you’ve heard the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ or even of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule? Repeating an action instils it in you; repeat something often enough it becomes routine.

A routine is simply something you do, like brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Again, it should relate to your health and fitness goals.

My routine is to get up every morning at 5.30am. I had to train for this: The initial RULE was to get up out of bed at 5.30am no matter what (I could always go back to bed if I was overly tired or sick) then; I made it a RITUAL to bounce (be exuberant, like Tigger in Winnie the Pooh) out of bed at 5.30am every morning; so now it’s normal to get up at 5.30am every morning (and be in bed by 9.00pm every night).

Your routine might be to eat breakfast every morning, or go for a morning walk, or to take a half hour lunch break away from your work place, you get the idea.

Next blog post:  The half way point for your New Year’s Resolution

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Exercise more, on ­your terms

I so much enjoy helping people on their fitness journey and want to share with you how easy it can be to exercise more on your own term, that is, the way you want to exercise.

Eat less, exercise more (ELEM) is the key to lose excess body fat and there are countless books, articles and web pages on the ELEM principle. It’s usually dressed up to be really complicated but it’s quite simple: Eat less, exercise more. It’s really not that hard. See my last post for Eat Less.

Exercise more than you do now.  That’s it. That’s how easy it is. Not exercise strenuously or hard or by doing something you hate doing, just do more than you do now and do it regularly.

Try this exercise on paper: Write down the exercise you do every week. Read what you’ve written. How can you do more of the type of exercising you enjoy?

To give you an example, one of my clients wanted to shed some excess body fat. She said that she wasn’t doing any exercise at all but liked cycling, so I asked her if she could cycle the 1km from her home to work and back every work day. Yep, no problems, and that was enough to get her going.

The trick to exercise more is to choose something you enjoy doing.

Next post: Three R's to help you stick to your fitness program - Rules, Ritual and Routine

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Eat Less: eat what you like and never mind the food snobs

I love eating so I want to share some of my ideas about food and nutrition.

I use The Australian Dietary Guidelines to inform my food decisions so that I get the right balance and amount of nutrition. The key here is that they are guidelines.

Everyone has their own eating preferences, food dislikes and likes and habits. Some people eat for reasons other than nutrition, sometimes these reasons can be self-defeating and other times these reasons are celebratory and life-affirming. Some people choose to eat soley for nutrition.

I like to eat lots of grains and vegies and am very picky what kind of fat I eat. As a child I refused to put margarine or butter on my bread, I still don’t butter my bread or toast and can happily snack on a thick piece of black rye bread just like that, or maybe with a nice cheese.

I know a 30 something year old woman who thrives on grilled crispy bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast, eats fresh fruit all day and has a small meal in the evening. She’s slim and fit.

A middle aged man I know is happy to eat a large meal mid-morning and not eat again until dinner. He trains hard to put weight on and loses weight when he stops training.

Eating well is about getting the right balance of foods that suit you; eat less of the foods you don’t want and don’t need  and more of the foods that are good for you. To do this you can employ a dietician or nutritionist (ask your GP to refer you, you may be eligible for a reduced rate) or use the Guidelines.

I ask my clients to do a 24 hour recall. We write down absolutely everything they’ve eaten and drunk in the last 24 hours and tally up how many portions of cereals, vegetables, fruit, dairy, meat and extras they’ve had. We then compare this to the Guidelines (4-6 portions of cereals, 5 veg, 2 fruit, 2 dairy, 1 meat and 0-3 extras).  This is also a handy exercise to do whenever you think your nutritional intake is lacking (or excessive!). Give it a go and tell me if you don’t find it quite the eye-opener.

It's easy to eat less as long as you're getting the right nutritional balance for you.

Next post – Exercise more, on ­your terms.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Eat Less Exercise More (ELEM) : I lost 2.6 kilos in 8 days

I had put on 4 kilos in 4 weeks of holidaying, a pretty good effort except it was all water and fat and I think I may have lost a bit of muscle mass as well.

So, to shed those unnecessary kilos I needed to get rid of my fluid retention, boost my metabolic rate and burn calories. This is what I did to lose 2.6 kilos in 8 days:

Every morning* – warm up 400m jog, 10 x 50m sprint intervals with 50m active rest (walking), cool down 400m jog, half an hour of stretching.


Breakfast half cup untoasted home-made muesli with ¼ cup natural plain yoghurt and a cup of plunger black coffee with a splash of skim milk.

Every day* – 5km easy bike ride, 30 minute easy freestyle swim, 5km easy bike ride


Lunch 150g fish (wahoo seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled, or raw slices of tuna with wasabi and soy sauce), 1 cup boiled basmati rice, 2 cups steamed broccoli.


Snack of either fresh coconut water or half a piece of fruit.

Every evening* - CrossFit, well a modified Crossfit Work Out of the Day (WOD), and if it was rest day I hit the punching bag for 5 rounds of 2 minutes each with a 30 second rest. This type of training is high intensity, either a heavy weights session of just 10 minutes or not so heavy weights with lots and lots of reps, should be just on the edge of impossibly hard.


Dinner of vegetable soup – I base my recipe on the QuickStart Diet Soup recipe; it’s simple and yummy made with garlic, ginger,  tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, green capsicum, green beans, shallots, fresh parsley, beef stock and whole pimento.


In addition to all that I drank 2L of water every day and had as much green tea (cold, no sugar or sweeteners) to drink as I wanted.


* I had two lay (rest) days. One on day 5 when I stretched and walked everywhere during the day; the second on day 7 when I still did sprint intervals in the morning but then spent the day snorkelling.
The first 5 days went well, on days 6 & 8 I had a blow out eating two mini Reese’s peanut butter cups and a couple of Corona beers, that probably made the 400g difference to losing 3 kilos!
This kind of stringent meal plan is not sustainable long term but it, along with 3 bouts of exercise most days, did the job (I'm at 66.4kg, in the normal weight range for me) so now I’m back to eating normally.
Next post - Eat Less: eat what you like and never mind the food snobs

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Exercise is fun!

No matter where you are or where you travel there's always opportunity to have fun exercising.

 Singapore has Fort Canning. Lots and lots of steps, nice undulating paths and a exercise station where you can do a few chin ups to break it up.


Kuala Lumpur has the city central park. A 1.3km running track, mostly rubberised but with some pavement (great for intervals) circles the park. The track is marked at 100m intervals and there are two drinking fountains on the run.

Running, walking and playing in cities' public places is a lot more fun than sweating it out on a treadmill gym!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Holiday Program

Every time I go on holidays I pack a resistance band and an exercise plan that I can do every day and that I can do in a hotel room. Here's this holiday's exercise plan:

WARM UP (about 10 minutes)
Range of Movement hip and shoulders (limbering up exercises)
30 squats (butt to ground and at a fast tempo)
15 'YTWL' each side with no weights - (lots of different ways to do YTWL. I do one arm at a time and load up by stepping forward into a deep lunge, sweeping my arm out in front; then in a flowing movement stepping the foot behind to stand up and bringing the arm up to form the letter) - very aerobic.

CIRCUIT (3 - 15 minutes, depending on how many rounds completed)
1 minute rounds of:
Burpees (with push-ups. I always do my burpees with a push up)
Inverted rows or resistance band seated rows
Bicycle crunches

COOL DOWN (5-20 minutes, depending on how much I want to stretch)
Stretching of tight muscle groups (for me it's usually piriformis, hamstrings, calves, ITB, pecs, delts, levator scap and upper traps)
I start with dynamic stretches then do static stretches for any muscles that haven't released.

I never skimp on the warm up even if I only do 3 minutes of circuit and I always stretch for at least 5 minutes afterwards.

I'll also try to fit in a few runs (Jacob's ladder in Perth is a fantastic stair run), walk everywhere, go for a swim, fit in a few saunas (a proper hot and steamy Finnish sauna around 70-80 degrees C), get a massage, eat well, sleep well and have lots of fun!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What's your excuse?

I've heard quite a few excuses from my clients as why they didn't show up for a training session, why they didn't do or only did part of their program of exercises, why they're not keeping a food diary ...
I know an excuse when I hear it, but often when you're the one making the excuse you believe that it's the reason.
I tore a calf muscle several weeks ago and used that as an excuse to have a week of lay days. The reason I didn't do any exercise at all (I could have worked on upper body flexbility or strength) was because the injury put me into a funk - I had built up my barefoot running distance to 6km since the beginning of the year with no problems and then could barely walk. So the excuse 'I'm injured' was not the real reason; the real reason was that I needed some time to get to the doctor's for diagnosis and treatment and put a recovery plan in place. Three weeks later I'm running again.
Excuses are just that, excuses. Rather than come up with an excuse, come up with the reason. If you can't come up with the reason, 'the dog ate my homework' is as good  an excuse as any :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Your Health and Fitness Routine check-up

By now you should be into your health and fitness routine for the year.

Pay attention to any niggles, pain and injuries no matter how slight you think they are - get them checked out now by your trainer, coach or GP and make good use of any specialists they refer you on to and listen to your trainer's, coach's or gym instructor's exercise instruction.
Are you making progress? Progress can be as simple as looking forward to and enjoying your training sessions, feeling happier, sleeping well. Progress can even be re-learning and re-training your exercise technique, or taking some rest days to allow you to recover so you can continue to train.
If you're not making any progress or feel that you're going backwards then it's time to review your program and your goals.
Haven't started yet? - well now's a good time to get moving!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Year's Resolutions - 4 point plan

Into the third week of 2012 so those health and fitness resolutions should be taking shape as training plans and if you're well motivated you'll already be back into your training routine.

To help you get started and keep you going, have a think about these four points:
  • Get rid of excess body fat gained over the holiday period
    • A few days of strict eating (cut out all unnecessary carbs like soft drinks, alcohol, sugar, cakes, biscuits, chocolate; cut out as much fat as possible) followed by sensible eating - Dietary Guidelines for Australians is easy to follow.
    • High intensity cardio-vascular training for two weeks. Sprints and fartleks (running and cycling), PHA (peripheral heart action) circuit training (that's a circuit that alternates between lower body and upper body, eg 2 minutes of step ups followed by 2 minutes of push ups followed by 2 minutes of lunges etc)
  • Build on base fitness and functional movement for upcoming events (The Cocos Lagoon Swim is 10 months away so now is the time to build up swim fitness and get some stroke correction; if your event is 6 months away work on increasing fitness and building up endurance; 3 months away is the time to work on power, speed and strength; 2 months away practice partial distance of event and get used to the course; a month away you should be tapering off.)
  • Stay focused on your goals. What do you really want? Do only those things that help you achieve your goals.
    • Acknowledge those actions that inhibit your goals (if your goal is to stop smoking, having a cigarette is not going to help!).
  • Employ your fitness and health professionals to get you going in the right direction and keep you on track.
    • Annual blood tests and ECG's, regular weight checks, height measurements (particularly for children and older adults), girth measurements are all good indicators of health and you should be able to access these through your GP or health clinic.
    • Body work in form of regular massage or chiropractic or physio for optimum biomechanics.
    • Personal trainer, sports trainer and sports coaches for exercise prescription and motivation to make sure your program is effective.