Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Frequency is the key

Having a baby or young child can really help with your own discipline in making sure you regularly re-fuel. We wouldn't dream of leaving our little ones for hours on end without feeding them, it is essential to their growth and well being. Babies can feed up to 12 times if not more in 24hours, cutting down to maybe 5-6 feeds as they get older, young children need frequent snacks to keep them going through the day, so when and why did we forget to feed ourselves? Mothers who are looking after children, keeping a house and working, busy people who need energy either neglect their own needs or think that by eating small amounts or forgetting to eat they will lose weight. Maybe you will, but your body will also begin to use muscle as a much needed energy source and ultimately you will slow your metabolism. When you finally get to sit down and relax and indulge "because you deserve it" your body will hang onto every last bit and store fat for the next time you decide to starve yourself. How does your body know that you can head to the fridge whenever you like? It doesn't so it goes into starvation mode.

My recommendation to you is to use your child's eating routine as your own. Begin your day with a healthy breakfast and then aim to eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day. At minimum I would imagine your little one is eating every 3-4 hours so you should never exceed this. Have healthy snacks on hand to eat while you breast feed or while your older child is eating his solids. Seeing mummy (or daddy) eat at the same time can encourage children to eat their lunch. Have some food that you might 'share'; veggie sticks, etc, as we all know mummy and daddy's food taste better than their own food.

Live by the rule -' if you feel your child should be eating then you should be eating', check in with yourself and remember the last time you ate - chances are if you don't use these triggers you may forget or at best end up grabbing a less healthy, convenience snack on the run. Look after number one; happy mummy = happy baby, both inside and outside.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Festive tips

I don't know about you but since arriving in Perth I feel I have eaten my way through most of December. I hear my own words of advice "Remember - Christmas is only one day" going in one ear and out of the other. The fridge is full, the bar (aka the fridge) is open by just after 4pm everyday, treats and once a year goodies flow freely throughout the day. Now I haven't completely let myself go, after all that hard work there is no way I could put it all to waste so I follow a few little guidelines that I thought I'd share with you;

Always eat a good breakfast: this means a decent sized meal containing proteins and complex carbohydrates. That bowl of fruit may feel like a good healthy start to the day but it won't keep you going for long and you will soon be reaching for those morning mince tarts! Wholemeal toast and a couple of poached eggs is a great start to the day.

Start with the large and end with the small: meaning begin your day with that good sized breakfast and taper your meals accordingly. Eat a medium sized lunch, a smaller dinner and aim to finish eating at least two hours before you head to bed.

Snack: eat every 2-3 hours, if you leave it longer than this you will almost definitely fill up on sweet calorie filled foods.

Keep moving: Holidays for the majority of people mean MORE food and LESS movement - a recipe for trouble if ever I heard one. Try this; leave your car on your driveway with a full tank of petrol all week, don't move it, add 2 liters of petrol every 1-2 hours for the entire week it will soon be overflowing! Do the same to yourself and those jeans might begin to acquire their own overflow. Keep training and keep exercise as part of your daily habit.

Keep healthy snacks on hand: the fridge may be full of tasty treats but make sure your usual healthy snacks are on hand too. Keep them at the front of the fridge and you might just find yourself reaching for one of those instead. If all the healthy food gets shifted out for the summer you will have no choice but to snack on calorie laden foods. Give yourself half a chance.

Use breastfeeding as an excuse: And that's NOT and excuse to eat extra chocolates, cheese and Christmas pudding, but an excuse not to drink so much. Its the perfect excuse to save on extra calories.

Everything in moderation (or maybe a little extra): Try not to go CRAZY, its a fun time of year and we all enjoy extra treats but do it so you feel good, don't make yourself sick - if you are going to indulge savor the moment and make sure you can still move afterwords.

So enjoy Christmas day and I will look forward to sharing lots of healthy happy moments with you in 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Hey there, I am back and now have time to scratch myself, its amazing how one little person can add soooooooo much planning a preparation to a trip. He did however sleep for 4 hours of a 5 hour flight, he was an angel! I am now sitting in the lounge room of my in-laws, Marley is tucked up in bed though I am expecting him to wake at any moment and I am reflecting upon the last 12 weeks. I should begin of course with filling you in on my last scan results:

Current as at 12th December 2008

Total Body Weight: 55.3kg

Body Fat : 22.5%

Fat Mass: 12.4kg

Lean Body Mass: 40.6kg

11th November 2008

TBW: 57.2kg

BF: 23.5%

FM: 13.4kg

LBM: 41.4kg

8th October 2008

TBW: 57.7kg

BF: 26.4kg

FM: 15.2kg

LBM: 40.4kg

17th September 2008

TBW: 58.6kg

BF: 27.2kg

FM: 15.9kg

LBM: 40.4kg



BF: 20%

FM: 10kg

LBM: 42.7kg or above

So there you have it – am I happy with where I have ended up? I am both happy and slightly frustrated but having learnt a valuable lesson. You can see that my Total Body Weight has continued to fall – this I am happy with, especially when you can see I have lost Body Fat, HOWEVER at my November scan I had lost BF and gained muscle. I had my eye on my food intake and know I was spot on with what I was eating, when and how much – I made sure I was consuming enough. This month’s scan shows me that having taken my eye off the ball just slightly when it comes to food I have lost muscle mass. I’m not eating crap or doing anything drastically wrong I am just not eating the volume of food required to gain muscle. I had increased my cardio slightly which may be a contributing factor but in general it comes down to the amount of food, especially protein which I need to eat. You know how life gets busy – babies come first and mum’s lunch is sometimes just thrown together. This is a perfect example that preparation is the key and also how hard it can be for women to gain large amounts of muscle and end up looking big and bulky. Yes, it is different for everyone, all or our metabolic rates and ability to build muscle are different but those women out there that all afraid to lift weights in the fear that they will turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger fear not – you have to eat A LOT of food to get that way!!! It is however one of the most effective ways of burning FAT – that IS something most of us want to do – lift some weights and burn that fat.

My Goal – I am still 2% BF, +2kg FM and -2kg of LBM away from my ultimate goal but overall I am happy with where I have got to. It has been a great journey, I have really enjoyed those extra hard sessions with Simon and sharing my journey with you. I also know that for me this is a way of life, I eat well and train hard and because my 12 week challenge has ended doesn’t mean that comes to an end. I will continue just as I will continue to clean my teeth morning and night. I am not going to say goodbye as I am going to keep my blog going and keep sharing healthy facts, recipes, tips and advice with you. I will also soon be introducing you to the first of my Body Beyond Baby Blitz candidates who will share with you her journey – her before and after pics and her body composition results. So keep reading and Ill see you soon.

My own ‘after’ shot will be appearing soon.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

New York New York

Seven days and counting. We had a little Christmas get together for our apartment block this evening, there's not many places in Sydney that neighbors even speak to each other let alone have a get together so I feel very lucky to have bought into that. As the sun went down and the little breeze came up I felt a little chilly. Wandering indoors to change from shorts to jeans I decided to try on a pair which I bought in New York during September last year - to my amazement I pulled them on and..........they fit, not just over the legs they fastened up too - no muffin top in sight - very happy. I then promptly went downstairs to indulge in some lovely soft cheeses - after all that hard work and 9 months of deprivation I'm sure I deserved it.

I am on the look out for my predecessors - strong determined women to come on board and write about their journey. Its all very well my sharing my journey with you but I still feel there's a bit of the "your a trainer so its easy" mentality. Like something just happens to me that doesn't happen to others. Its hard work and I put in the time and the effort. I am lucky that the exercise comes easy, I love getting to the gym and doing my runs - its part of everyday life, like brushing my teeth - it just gets done. Now I want you to experience it for yourself, to see other women taking control and working towards their goals. Writing about it and sharing for others to see. In 2009 I am introducing my Body Beyond Baby Blitz - this is a 12 week plan to get back in shape, to feel great about yourself and build a strong, resilient body, free from injury and complaints. It will take enthusiasm and commitment, time and energy but it will form patterns and habits that hopefully you will take with you forever. Ones that you will introduce your children to, instilling health, fitness and exercise into their lives from an early age. If you are interested or know someone who fits the bill get in touch - challenge yourself in 2009 and be the person you want to be. Otherwise keep updated on this blog page and meet these fantastic women in 2009.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Organic sugar is still sugar

11 days to go - I've enlisted the help of a friend and trainer, to help push me that extra little bit over the next couple of weeks before I head off to Perth - I believe everyone will get more out of their training if they use a trainer whether in a one on one or group situation. Someone to push you that little bit harder and pick up on any technique or postural mistakes; I like to think I have the latter down pat but I ALWAYS work harder when there is someone telling me what to do - no dropping the last rep or two, no slacking off. I had my first session this morning and I am sure I will be sore tomorrow!

I wanted to touch upon a confusion or maybe assumption many people make with organic food. There has been a huge increase of sales of organic foods and produce over the last five years. People are paying more for their groceries in the belief that organic foods are better for your health. Now I am not going to get into the debate as to whether this is true, I have my own theories about organic food, how it is produced and where it comes from and it is your prerogative to do your research and decide what the best food is for your family. I am however going to touch upon the confusion that many people have in assuming that just because something is from an organic supermarket or has the words organic on the packaging that it MUST be good for you.

Any possible benefits of consuming organic products are often overridden by the consumers misunderstanding of basic nutritional concepts. Sugar, no matter whether it displays an organic label or your stock standard home brand label is still sugar and refined sugar is bad for your health. It contains no nutritional value and causes a spike in insulin levels and insulin overload can be blamed for conditions such as high blood pressure, being overweight, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Those organic chocolates and organic cakes - not good for your health, they are still loaded with sugar and if eaten in excess will cause you to gain weight. So next time you're in the organic supermarket or health food store reach for the organic fruit instead of the tempting treats that catch your eye - the fruit IS better for your health, and why not add some almonds or a hard boiled egg to your snack and not only enjoy the sweet taste of fresh organic fruit but enjoy the benefits of combining your carbohydrate with a protein source therefore lowering your insulin levels and causing you to feel fuller for longer.

However keep in mind that even supposedly healthy food can cause weight gain if eaten in excess, more energy in than energy out will always result in an excess and that excess is going to result in fat!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How do you look naked?

How time flies - I feel like you are a friend I haven't seen for some time, someone I kept meaning to call, that niggling feeling in the back of my mind heard early in the day then again when I'm just getting into bed and its too late to pick up the phone. Well finally here I am. I'd like to apologise for my gap in communication, its not intentional, life just zooms by at times until you grab it by the horns and force it to slow its pace.

Marley is 4 months old now and growing everyday, he amazes and delights. Watching him develop and learn new skills, even the tiniest of things are a great achievement. He learned to reach for a toy while holding up his head on his front the other day - mummy was very impressed!

As for me, I am 16 days away from my goal date - I have decided counting in days from now on is the way to go. How do I feel? I was really happy with the outcome of my last Body Composition and I am continuing to do the same as before as it has proven returns. Some days I want to do more, I want things to move faster and I want it yesterday - I want to go out and buy a bikini for my holidays and feel I look fantastic. I don't want to be self conscious about my body and I don't want to hide behind the fact that I have had a child. You know the feeling when you walk down the street with your baby and you can think "its OK if I'm not quite where I want to be, they can see I have a young child". Most people probably don't bat an eyelid its more a self reassurance, a self reasoning, but still its a wall to hide behind. I have pictures of before my pregnancy and back then I wasn't happy with how I looked, now I look back and wonder why the hell I didn't wear some of the things I decided I 'couldn't' wear. When I reach my goal this time I will have a whole new respect for my body - no, I already have a whole new respect for my body. I know what it can do and I know what I can achieve both in producing and nurturing a beautiful little boy but also being something I am proud of, something I can stand naked in front of the mirror look at and feel satisfied that all my hard work has paid of and know I look great.

How do you look naked?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Come and join the fun

I am back and feeling better, an early night and a new day can make all the difference. I must confess I visited the Chocolate shop in Bondi Junction yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed a few of their delectable treats - I didn't feel guilty, well maybe just a little but it felt good for a few moments anyway. Was it worth it? maybe not but hey its my crutch.

We had a great Body Beyond Baby group training session in the park this morning, a little bit of drizzle didn't deter us. We moved spots to somewhere with a little undercover place for the littlies and worked up a sweat to start the day. We have had a few new people join us over the last couple of weeks and its fantastic to see so many mum's take some time out and do something good for themselves. Only today was one of my mum's saying that she has felt so much better over the last few weeks since committing to her two sessions a week. A lot more calm and patient, as well as feeling great about herself. Another was asking if we can do a third session - this will come, all in good time. So if you need that extra bit of motivation without the stress of finding a babysitter, come and join our group. Contact me on 0402 728047 or fineforminfo@bigpond.com, fire any questions at me you like and come and join us on our quest to be fit, healthy, happy mums and introduce your baby to the benefits of exercise from an early age. If they see mum doing it it becomes part of their lives and they will grow up to see exercise as a normal part of everyday life - definitely an outlook I'd like for my son.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I hit the wall

I've hit the wall. Up until today Ive been cruising through Ben being away but I am well and truly ready for him to come home now, 5 more sleeps! Not even getting to the gym this morning shifted this feeling, though I'm glad I got there, I know if I hadn't I would be feeling worse right now. I am ready for some adult conversation in the evening and someone to pass the baby to at times. Its 8.30pm and I think I'm off to bed very soon.

I did bake my cookies again today which should keep me going for snacks for a little while, only this time I added a couple of table spoons of unsweetened apple puree which tastes great.

Its short and sweet from me this evening - tomorrow is another day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Try a healthy version

I'm loving experimenting with recipes at the moment. Don't get me wrong I am not spending hours in the kitchen - apart from the fact that there are not enough hours in the day I am not the most imaginative chef in the world. I am happy to eat simple healthy meals for the most part but when it comes to spreads or dips (hummus) and snacks I like to change things around a little to make super healthy yummy food. Having young children means we can fall into the trap of forgetting our own nutritional needs, having healthy snacks on hand can really help you get through the day, and you know exactly what you are putting in your mouth. Try the ones below, if I can make them they have to be easy!!!

Protein Power Banana Cookies (this one I got from a client of mine and I added a few bits and pieces to make it even better!!!)

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2-1tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup walnut oil
2tbsp 100% Almond spread
1 scoop unflavored Protein powder (you could use vanilla)
1 cup sultanas
2 1/4 cups very ripe bananas
1 tbsp ground flax seed or linseed

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees
Combine oats, salt, cinnamon, protein powder, flax seed in a bowl, add oil and toss to coat.
Mash bananas and add to dry mixture
Add almond spread, sultanas and mix well
Cover two baking trays with grease proof paper
using a 1/4 measuring cup scoop 6 mounds of dough each onto the two baking trays
Flatten using a fork or spatula
Bake at the top of the oven for 10 mins
Remove from oven and flatten further then bake for another 8-10 mins


Smoothies are another of my favorites;

Berry buzz
I find this makes enough for two smoothies so you can share with a friend or pop in the fridge for tomorrow

1/2 cup skim milk (can use soy/rice etc...)
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup berries of your choice (I used frozen mixed ones)
1 tbsp ground flax seed or linseed
1/2 cup unsweetened apple puree (available in health food shops - not the supermarket variety!!! check the contents to ensure no sugar or other additives have been included)
1/2 cup low fat low sugar yogurt (read the label)
2 scoops whey protein powder (vanilla or plain is best)
dash flax seed oil (optional)
handful ice cubes

blend all ingredients - drink!

You can almost always put a healthy spin on a recipe - if you have any suggestions feel free to contribute or if you are unsure of healthy substitutions for your regular concoctions drop me a line and I'll see how I can help you.

I'm off to the kitchen

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More hummus

Hey I made that pumpkin hummus - it went a little like this;

You will need to whole roast a butternut pumpkin beforehand, in the oven at about 180 for around two hours - check with a skewer to see when its done.

half a butternut pumpkin (pre roasted as above)
Can of chickpeas
Dash of flax seed oil
Tsp garlic
tbsp lemon juice
Cumin to taste
1 tbsp tahini

Blend and enjoy this healthy and tasty dip or spread.

I'm really enjoying experimenting with different hummus' having a tub in the fridge is a fantastic addition to any wrap or sandwich and is a great substitute for your usual butter, margarine or less healthy spread. With the Christmas season fast approaching it is very easy to tuck into the dips and cheeses provided at many a BBQ or dinner - why not take along your home made hummus, it fits in very well next to the store bought versions (most of which contain sugar) but tastes twice as good and you have the reassurance that you know exactly what is in there and that it won't be heading straight to your hips!!!

Another good option for replacing butter (or regular peanut butter) would be to choose a natural nut spread such as almond butter. Obviously as with anything don't go mad but this can provide you with a great source of good fats which are essential to a healthy diet.

I think I'll try red capsicum next........happy hummus making - Yum

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On track

I payed a visit to Jarrod at Body Composition this afternoon and I have to say I left feeling a lot more satisfied than I did last time. I have just under 5 weeks left until I leave for Perth and I feel I am on track to reach my goal.

My results look like this;

Current as at 11th November 2008

Total Body Weight: 57.2kg
Body Fat: 23.5%
Fat Mass: 13.4kg
Lean Body Mass: 41.4kg

8th October 2008

Total Body Weight: 57.7kg
Body Fat: 26.4%
Fat Mass: 15.2kg
Lean Body Mass: 40.1kg

17th September 2008

Total Body Weight: 58.6kg
Body Fat: 27.2%
Fat Mass: 15.9kg
Lean Body Mass: 40.4kg

This is exciting, I am putting on lean muscle and losing body fat. Since my last scan I have pretty much exchanged a kilo and a half of fat for a kilo and a half of lean body mass, this increasing my metabolism and my body's ability to burn fat for fuel.

You can see by the relatively small change in my total body weight that if I had just been using the scales to track my progress I would have no idea what was really going on and hence probably be quiet frustrated by my seeming lack of progress (I did get on the scales over the last few weeks and even for me who knows it is not a true test of progress felt a little disheartened that they didn't show I was losing 'weight'). Now I'm feeling enthusiastic at the direction I'm going and that my hard work is paying off, its a satisfying feeling and one that has me wanting to reach for that chocolate bar even less.

Five more weeks to go - stay with me!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

There is a light at the end of the tunnel

I'm finally off to Body Composition tomorrow, wow it has taken me a long time to get myself there. You know how life seems to keep going and there's a million and one things you 'intended' to do 'yesterday' and now its today or even tomorrow and yesterdays thing still hasn't been done. I often feel that way, there are no where near enough hours in the day especially when there is now a little person in my life who loves my undivided attention. We do seem to have mastered the afternoon sleep these days so I know I have at least a couple of hours to put my head down and get stuff done - but which stuff I ask? today's? yesterdays? phew!

You know the other thing that can seem like its taking forever even though you have all the best intentions? Diet and exercise. There, I said it. Its hard work to begin with and its on your mind constantly and you know what you should be doing but for some reason, some strange reason when your whole mind is telling you to do one thing you actually do another. And when you are doing what you should be doing your mind thinks of nothing else but the yummy handmade chocolates at the chocolate counter (or whatever your chosen poison is). For me the exercise is the easy bit, I can get myself there and can make arrangements and make it happen because I have the drive to make it happen. I will go out of my way to exercise and to plan it into my day, I enjoy it and I feel great. I also enjoy chocolate. My diet in general is good but my sweet tooth and the craving for chocolate does my head in. I've thought about getting hypnotised so that I don't like it anymore but I like it so much that I don't want to not like it even though I know my life would be so much easier at times!

I can honestly tell you that it is only this week that my mind has halted its constant talk of chocolate and when I should have it and when I shouldn't have it and what chocolate I feel like and how MUCH I feel like and one more piece won't hurt and..............believe me it goes on.........and on...................and on................... or it did. I now feel like I am coming out the other side. Like you do that time and then finally the constant battle becomes a little niggle which becomes a little whisper that you can pretty much ignore and it is no longer all consuming and oh such a relief. I don't feel like I am hanging out for Friday night (those of you who have been reading regularly will know that Friday night is chocolate night). Now maybe I can take it or leave it or at least take it then forget about it for the next 6 days, that feels good. I'm not surprised really, I spent almost the whole 9 months of my pregnancy totally easing up on myself and allowing myself those extra little treats - all THAT hard work takes some hard work of its own to undo.

And so I urge you to do the same, wait it out, you will get there. Whether its food, exercise or some other challenge. Some days it will be painful and you will crack but that's OK, just pick up where you left off tomorrow and keep headed in the direction you want to go in. There is a light at the end of the tunnel - come and join me in it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breakfast and snacks

I was out of my usual breakfast mixture this morning so I attempted to make an oatmeal concoction that didn't quiet work out, I'll try again and let you know a good recipe when I discover it. I was compelled to use oats for breakfast as they are a fantastic breakfast choice they are loaded with soluble fiber which is helpful in controlling blood sugar and reducing cholesterol levels. A bowl of oats contains half the recommended fiber intake per day, which is handy when you consider that most people aren't consuming enough fiber in their diets, its a quick easy solution. And eating it for breakfast is really cool, you will feel full and satisfied, your blood sugar levels will stay steady therefore insulin levels stay steady and you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Add a good source of protein and you're all done - the perfect start to the day.

Whether you go for oats or not be sure to ditch the sugar loaded cereal that graces many a breakfast table. Most of these colourful packets fool us with their low fat or high protein labels making them sound like a fantastic breakfast choice. However, when you look at the nutritional contents table you find they are loaded with sugar which is why they taste good and why we, and our children love them. Eating sugar like this for breakfast will not keep you fuller for longer and it will not give you the best possible start to your day. You will soon be hungry and reaching for a snack.

Speaking of snacks. Make sure you have great healthy snacks on hand. If you are at home this is easy so long as you haven't stacked you cupboards with chips and chocolate. I don't buy it as I know if its there I will eat it. It doesn't matter where it is hidden if I know its there it is gone, especially now I am spending more time about the house. Do yourself a favor and remove the temptation, it makes life so much easier. I know I instantly feel great when I remove high sugar products from my diet. I will often wake in the night with a "hangover" feeling after my Friday night chocolate night as it is such an overload on my system. Maybe that's telling me something that I should be listening to! Could I really give up chocolate night???

I have taken to carrying a small cooler bag when I'm out and about containing snacks and mini meals. This way I don't get stranded with no choice of healthy foods to eat. I am used to taking excess baggage for Marley now, another item doesn't worry me, besides its good practice for when he starts on solids and I need to carry his food around. As parents we wouldn't dream of feeding our children rubbish because we hadn't thought about it before we left the house. We want what is best for them so why should it be any different for our own nutritional maintenance?

The contents of my cooler can consist of;

Hard boiled eggs
left over smoothie
Hummus and corn thins
Protein bar
Cottage cheese
Low Fat, low sugar yogurt

I don't eat meat and am very picky with fish (I like fish that doesn't taste fishy - and tea that doesn't taste like tea?!?! go figure) but for anyone who does (and I often wish I did for convenience of a healthy snack) but tins of tuna (in spring water) chicken, turkey and lean ham make great snacks.

Happy snacking!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yummy hummus

I thought I'd share my food diary with you today and also the recipe for my very yummy and very popular beetroot hummus. I made a batch this morning and it goes a little like this;

Jen's Beetroot Hummus

1 can Chickpeas
1 can Beetroot (I use sliced as its easier to blend)
1 tbsp Tahini
splash of Olive oil (though flax seed oil could be used here as it is a great form of good fats)
tsp Garlic
tbsp Lemon juice
(I prefer it sweeter so I put more lemon juice than garlic but if you prefer a more garlicky taste just swap the quantities around)

throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. I sometimes then add a can of whole chickpeas for a more chunky texture.

Chop veggies, dip in hummus and enjoy a healthy yummy snack.

I'm going to try out other hummus flavors so ill update you with any new variations on this recipe.

So, onto my food diary;

0700 Breakfast mixture
100g forest berries,
125g Cottage Cheese (low fat),
40g Freedom Foods Hi-lite cereal,
100g Atikki low fat yogurt.

0930 Berry smoothie
1/2 cup frozen berries
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup low fat yogurt (check the sugar content too)
1/2 cup of unsweetened apple puree (from health food store, the stuff in
the supermarket has lots of sugar in it)
tsp flax seed oil
1 scoop whey vanilla protein powder

1130 Snack attack protein bar

1300 Chai Tea with skim milk and honey

1330 Out for lunch
Grilled Barramundi and salad
Chocolate mousse (has to be my cheat for the week - at least I wasn't downing
champagne in honor of the Melbourne Cup - last year seems so long ago!!!!)

1630 Snack
hard boiled egg white

1900 Dinner - mix plate
salad left over from last night (orange, grapefruit, sugar snap peas, wall nuts, rocket
lettuce & cucumber)
3 slices low fat cheese
beetroot hummus
tofu pieces
Veggie skewer left over from last night (capsicum, pineapple, red onion, mushroom)

All in all not a bad day - the chocolate mousse could have been avoided but I was out to lunch with my in-laws and I made my choice - no Friday night chocolate night for me this week!!!

How does your food diary look? When was the last time you took a good look at what goes into your mouth? Try it sometime.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Planning planning

How's your weekend? My world has been turned a little upside down by my husband disappearing off to Queensland to work for a few weeks. This may be a normal situation for some but I always find it particularly challenging, its the first time he has gone since Marley's birth so its a little new and I have some organising to do in order to keep my life going while he is away.

Top of my list is figuring out how to keep my food and exercise on track. I took a trip into Randwick to by groceries today, we walked there as although cloudy it wasn't raining. I managed to do just over half of my shopping, when having visited the green grocers first I discovered I was rapidly running out of space on Marley's pram to carry everything home. A quick and very select whip around the supermarket saw a very weighed down Mountain Buggy making its way back home. Three trips up and down the stairs with a crying baby unhappily but safely in his cot and four hours later saw me finally move the bags from the lounge room to the kitchen pack away their contents - phew! I have since decided I am going to leap into the world of home shopping, first on my list is to find a fruit and vegetable box to be delivered to my door and then I will do the dry goods and loo roll (which, by the way, I forgot!!!) from a supermarket chain all from the comfort of my own home - I'll let you know how I go.

Next - I have started to plan my meals for the week. As I didn't quite manage to complete my shopping so I have a few ingredients missing but the eggs have been hard boiled ready to grab at my convenience, the celery has been chopped and stored in water in the fridge to keep it fresh and other veggies have been chopped and put in little containers to ensure their easy access. I have bought a pumpkin which I am going to 'whole roast' in the oven and then make a roast pumpkin dip out of (I will share the recipe with you once I have perfected it). My biggest challenge is going to be my evening meal, you see I have a wonderful husband who generally takes care of ensuring I have a healthy and yummy meal waiting for me by the time I have put Marley to bed. Now I am challenged with providing myself with the same and at a reasonable hour - again I'll let you know how I go.

Training - I will manage to squeeze in a run tomorrow following my Mum's and bubs group session in the park as Marley's grand parents are in town and love to hang out with him. Tuesday my lovely friend will take Marley for a walk while I hit the gym. I'm thinking Wednesday will be another run around the park but this time with Marley in his pram along for the ride. Thursday I am doing a baby swap with another friend (I am looking after hers on Tuesday arvo so she can head out for a run) . Friday I may have to introduce Marley to the creche at my local gym. Saturday and Sunday are yet to be figured out, one will be a rest day and the other??? I have the week to figure it out!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Time flies

Wow - the days seem to fly by at times, I can't believe Marley is 3 months old already and I have 6 weeks left until we head to Perth for Christmas. So that makes me at the half way point in my quest to reach my goal - how's it going? Pretty good I think, I'm feeling much stronger and fitter than I was a few weeks ago. I can run again and as I mentioned in my blog the other day I have graduated into a new old pair of jeans. I will give Jarrod of Body Composition a call tomorrow and book in to visit him next week, I will also ask my lovely husband to take a new photo of me and post it for all to see.

Oh, and my muscles are very sore! I had coffee with a friend of mine who's fiance is also a trainer and crashed their training session yesterday. I train pretty well and pretty hard on my own but you definitely move to another level when someone is pushing you. I believe everyone can benefit from training with a trainer even all the trainers out there. If you haven't tried it already you really should. Ive said it many times but especially for us mum's we need to make the most of the time we have to get into the gym and a trainer could provide that for you. Someone to ensure you get the most out of your limited time, works you hard and prescribes the best exercises for gaining the best results according to your needs and goals. Have a think about it. Oh, and if anyone doesn't quiet know where to start when looking for a trainer let me know - I will do the best I can to point you in the right direction.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jeans, breastmilk and steps

You know it sucks having a wardrobe full of clothes most of which you can't wear, they either don't fit at all or don't look quiet right. I am also avoiding going shopping as I don't want to end up with another wardrobe of clothes that hopefully I won't want to wear in a few months. This week mind you I have managed to squeeze into another couple of pairs of jeans - yay!!!

I wanted to go back and touch upon a subject that I spoke about early in my blog - the breastfeeding and exercise subject. I would be really interested to find out what your individual experience has been. Has exercise affected the quantity of milk you produce? Does breastfeeding effect your exercise in any other way? I did my reading and looked at the research, you can find some of this research in the links section on the left of this page, the general conclusion is that moderate exercise does not effect milk production.

Having begun to gain knowledge from my own experience I would suggest that exercise does effect the quantity of milk my body produces. I keep a food diary and I know on days that I don't quite eat enough my supply can drop a little. In order to compensate for this I will allow my son to stay longer at the breast in order to stimulate more production. It is interesting that all the literature maintains that supply will not be effected by exercise when, in the event of low supply we are urged to rest up to encourage more milk production. To me, it would then make sense that a highly active person's milk supply might be effected.

The effects of exercise on a postnatal woman (and everyone else for that matter) are more positive than negative, strength and stamina are increased along with our ability to carryout everyday activities whilst avoiding injury - especially when carrying of growing babies. Chances of age and weight related diseases are reduced and the mental benefits, especially for women suffering from postnatal depression, are fantastic with the release of endorphins during exercise. With this in mind I definitely don't believe that breastfeeding is a reason not to exercise but I would recommend being in tune with your body, be aware of what you are doing and how you respond. Be aware that a potential assumption that your supply has dropped could also be due to the faster feeding of your baby as they are growing and the fact that your body is becoming more efficient at producing the 'right' amount of milk for your little one therefore the huge breasts that you may have been blessed with(or not) when your child was first born by now would also be calming and adjusting.

But..... be conscious of what you are putting in your mouth, if you are increasing your movement you may need to increase your intake of healthy calories. Going for a run or hitting the gym isn't an excuse to indulge in that chocolate cake but you may benefit from an extra couple of hundred 'healthy' calories.

I am also coming to realise that I may not reach my goal in my given time frame, this is not to say I am going to take my eye off the ball but I am aware that I want to provide my son's nutritional needs through breastfeeding for at least the first six months of his life. I have to be patient and adapt to what is best for both of us. This is not an excuse or cop out and I will continue to train hard and eat well and to share my journey with you. Its my reality and my journey and I urge you to figure out what works best for you by being in tune with your body and your babies needs.

On that note I'm off to get an early night before our Saturday morning group session tomorrow where we are off to conquer the Cairo street steps in Coogee - come along!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Change it up

Where did this rain come from?! I got up early this morning to get some exercise in before my husband went to work - I had 45mins and yep I was going to go and run in the rain, I actually quite enjoy it, its relaxing and there are few other people out there so less dodging required. Just as I was about to step out of the door Ben found his work cancelled due to the rain - I changed from long pants to shorts and headed up to the gym to do my cardio inside instead. I found it a little challenging. I have gotten used to doing my weights at the gym and my cardio outside with Marley or a door to door run to save time when there is someone around to stay with him. I find my mind wanders when I'm running outside, I think, I appreciate my surroundings (the beach and parks of Sydney beat running around the streets of England by far), its easy...... well easier.

I don't know about you but put me on a treadmill in a gym with that dam clock counting the seconds ........minutes ...........it ........goes ............so .............so ..............slowly ............aaaarrrgggghhhh..... My i pod helps but it can still be painful. This morning I decided to keep it interesting so as not to go insane. This is how it went;

Treadmill (10mins total)
3mins @ 6 (walking)
2mins @ 10
2mins @ 10.5
2mins @ 11
1min @ 12

X-Trainer (10mins)
Strides per minute @ 150 or above constantly
2mins resistance 5
2mins resistance 6
2mins resistance 7
2mins resistance 8
2mins resistance 9

Treadmill (10mins)
10mins @ 10

X-Trainer (10mins)
Strides per minute @ 150 or above constantly
1min resistance 5
1min resistance 9
1min resistance 5
1min resistance 9
1min resistance 5
1min resistance 9
1min resistance 5
1min resistance 9

1min resistance 5
1min resistance 9

And there it was 40 minutes of constant cardio and I wasn't bored, I gave myself short attainable goals and kept challenging myself. I left the gym feeling great and ready for the day.

Choose a variety of equipment to keep your indoor cardio sessions interesting, cross training is a great idea anyway as your body becomes more efficient at the things it is used to doing. If you never ever get on the rower throw it in one day - it will kill you!!! I know it does me. If you never run (and there's not a medical or injury related reason not to) then go run. Even if its only 1 minute or 5 minutes challenge yourself, go for it. We are working with limited free time, try to resist the temptation to do the same old comfortable workout. Push out of your comfort zone and make the most of your you time

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Your body beyond baby

To all of you Sydney's Eastern suburbs based mums. I have launched my first Body Beyond Baby group fitness sessions. We began on Monday in Centennial Park, it was fantastic to see such motivated and keen mum's ready to join me to discover their body beyond baby. It was a 9am session and we were all feeling great having done something for ourselves by 10 and ready to face the day. One mum even brought her two children along - fantastic commitment and we discovered that her 3 year old could sit in her pram for an hour with a little bribary.

I would love to see more of you (and your babies) join us. At the moment I am running sessions on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9am to 10am in Centennial Park. I have a wet weather venue ready to go for those not so pleasant days. I can only take up to 12 mum's and their bubs per session so its important that you let me know in advance that you intend to attend. I also need to go through a medical questionnaire with you before you join us, we can easily do this over the phone in sleep time.

The sessions will include both resistance and cardio training as well as core conditioning and stretching. All these elements are vital for your long term health and fitness, and essential in avoiding injury especially when lifting and maneuvering a growing child or two. We will be saving our backs and flattening our tummy's - a combination I know I like the sound of.

Please contact me on 0402 728047 or at fineforminfo@bigpond.com for further information and/or to book your place. Sessions are $25 each or $40 for two in the same week. (an extra $10 wet weather venue fee applies - a great deal as there are few gym's out there that you can access these days for just $10, a bit of rain means even more variety in your workout)

I look forward to hearing from and meeting you - all in time for summer!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why comapare?

I was reading the Weekend Australian magazine over the weekend and a particular article struck a cord with me. An article on page 12 entitled "Palin Comparison". It was based upon Sarah Palin and her decision to run for US Vice Presidency in the light of being mother to a six month old baby with special needs and who's teenage daughter is herself pregnant. The article went on to talk about the opinions and judgments the public has placed upon her for making such a decision. Most of all these judgments came from women whom either couldn't imagine themselves doing what Sarah is doing in her situation or from women who viewed her as a role model for doing what she is doing.

OK - so I am no presidential candidate but I do understand the judgments other women place upon each other. In a world where women have fought for in dependency and recognition from the opposite sex it is often our fellow females who form opinions of what should and shouldn't be done, the standards we should live up to and what "I would" or "I wouldn't" do if I was in that situation. Shouldn't we be supporting each other for having the courage to make whatever decision is right for us at any given time.

Both before, during and now following my pregnancy I lifted weights in the gym, I dropped the amount of weight I was lifting as my pregnancy progressed at a pace which felt right to me and I maintained my cardio activity to a level at which I felt comfortable. Since giving birth I have returned to the gym and have upped my weights from where I was a few weeks ago, challenging my body to gradually return to my previous strength and fitness levels. I have experienced various reactions from being back in the gym or when reporting to a friend that I have been out for a run before meeting them for coffee (or tea)reactions such as; "take it easy, your body has been through alot", "should you be doing that?" or "I couldn't do that with a young baby" to "wow, that's great", "good on you", and "you're such an inspiration". I am no superwoman, neither am I a crazy gym junkie, I am merely doing what is right for me at this point in my life. I am exercising both my mind and my body. The gym is my down time, a time where I can focus and challenge myself whilst working towards my goal and it makes me feel good. If I'm going too hard I will slow down, if I feel I should work harder I will, I will continue to do what is right for me with the welfare of my son at the forefront of my mind.

I will support and respect the decisions of every woman out there in doing what she feels is best from her and her family. When it comes to health and fitness we need to do what we each need to do when we need to do it. When you are ready ask for support. That may be now, tomorrow, in six or twelve months time. If you need help ask for it, if you need to sleep, sleep, take the encouragement from others but block out the negativity. If, at the end of the day you are doing what you truly believe is right for you, your baby, and your body, have the courage to continue and respect your fellow women in their personal decisions.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Who are you???

Its been a slightly stressful couple of days - our computer decided it would stop working a couple of days ago - hence no word from me on here, I do apologise and I haven't forgotten about you. In fact when you can't do something I think you think about it even more. I learned a big lesson in backing up my files especially when my whole business is on here!!! My husband and I (and a sleeping baby) did however have a lovely lunch in the sun as we had no computer so neither of us could do any work - there's a good side to everything right?!

I've been thinking - I'd like to know who you are, are you reading my blog and enjoying it? Do you find it interesting and useful? Do you have comments or questions about things I have written about or do you have topics you would like to know more about?

In the side bar on the left hand side there is a followers option - it would be great if you could click on and add yourself to the list.

Then if you do have any questions or comments feel free to click on the comments option at the end of each post or to email me at fineforminfor@bigpond.com (hopefully my email will be up and running again by tomorrow - if only I could remember that dam password) and I'll do my best to get back to you and answer all your queries. As a Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach I know there are many things that can be confusing when it comes to health, fitness and nutrition and I can guarantee, if you are wondering it someone else is wondering too and they will be very grateful to you for getting in there first, so don't be shy.

And my exercise for today - a friend of mine (who's baby is a day older than Marley) and I took the opportunity while our husbands were home to leave the boys with the boys, head down to Coogee and do the coastal path towards Bondi. Since we've been running Centennial Park with the prams it was an awesome workout to add in those hills!!!! So next time your hubby, partner or friend is home take advantage, feed your little one, make sure they are happy, throw on your sports bra and runners and use that time for you. Get back on track - a good run or brisk walk will only take you 30-40 minutes door to door and you know how good will you feel afterward.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What weights

I hit the gym today. I have a lovely friend who I meet every Tuesday morning, she takes my beautiful boy for a walk and a coffee while I hit the weights, then we all go for a tea or lunch and catch up. Its these kinds of situations we as mum's need to take advantage of. Now i'm not saying we all have hundreds of friends and family lining up to whisk our little ones away, but most of us will find someone who is more than happy to spend a little time hanging out with and who our little one is content to hang out with while you get some much needed time out. When you get some time out make the most of it. Catch up on sleep if you need to, I am not saying run yourself into the ground but getting out and going for a run or heading up to the gym could do a world of good. Energy creates energy and you need to do something for yourself - if mum is happy bub is happy - sounds good to me!

So when I get to the gym what do I do?

I always spend 5 to 10 minutes on a cardio machine warming up, I tend to go for a treadmill or cross trainer - machines that are weight bearing, I believe that if your body is carrying itself during your cardio work it will want to become lighter to make it easier so unless there is a reason that you should avoid weight bearing cardio then steer clear of the recumbent bike. We are operating on a time frame here, gone are the days that we can mosie on along to the gym and pick and choose our exercises whilst chatting left right and center to everyone we meet. Now its i pod on, head down, on a mission to get the best, most efficient workout into a short amount of time.

I then head to the weights area choosing compound exercises, using more than one muscle group. For example a Shoulder Press is a compound exercise as both your triceps and deltoids are in play whereas a bicep curl is an isolated exercise as only your bicep is working. If you want to burn more energy and gain a more efficient workout compound exercises are the way to go. Think squats, lunges, push ups, chest press, rows, lat pull down....... you get the idea. Leave a bicep curl or triceps push down to the end of your workout and slot it in if you have time.

One of my favorite workouts is one where I combine exercises - I will do a squat with a shoulder press, a sumo squat with a bicep curl, a lunge with a lateral raise - not only do get an awesome workout buts its fun and interesting too.

Another great tip to keep your heart rate up, stay moving and burn more calories is to begin with 10 minutes of cardio then do your first two or three exercises then hop back onto your cardio machine for another 10 minutes, do your next few exercises then its back for your 10 minutes cardio - you will walk out sweating and you will have spent your valuable time well - nice work.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Do you know what you put in your mouth?

I have been thinking a lot about food over the last couple of days, what I eat, how much, when, and I thought I'd share with you the benefits of keeping a food diary. I also pulled out the following article which I found quiet interesting.

"A new study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine informs us that writing down what you eat each day can double your weight loss while dieting. 1685 overweight or obese men and women were asked to keep a food diary and hand it in weekly, exercise for 30 mins or more each day and follow a healthy balanced diet. After six months the average weight loss for the group was 5.8kg with 69% of participants losing at least 4kg. Those who stuck to their food diary lost twice as much weight as those who kept no record."
(The Weekend Australian, July 12-13, 2008)

I believe keeping a food diary is essential to becoming both aware and accountable to what and when you are putting food into your mouth.

Think about your car for a second, you wouldn't fill it up until it was full and then keep filling until it overflowed. And you wouldn't let it run dry and still expect it to take you to work and back. Yet many of us do that to ourselves day after day - the down side is that our bodies don't 'overflow' until its too late! And not only do many people put either too much or too little food into their mouths but we run our bodies on cheap and nasty fuel and expect them to run perfectly day after day.

You may want to ask yourself the following questions;

  • Do you really know what you are putting into your mouth?
  • Do you plan your meals in advance?
  • Do you know how many extra kilograms you will gain in a year from your choice of quick meals and snacks?
  • Have you ever kept a food diary?
  • Have you ever let anyone look at it? (or is there more to hide than those diaries from your teenage years!)

If you answer no to most of these questions it might be a wise idea to keep a food diary. It is also a good idea to make yourself accountable to someone else by sharing your food diary with them. This could be a friend or family member or choose a Personal Trainer or Nutritionist for some more advice. Feel free to contact me at fineforminfo@bigpond.com, I can offer great advice and support in one of my coaching or training programs.

I encourage my clients to keep food diaries and I asked Louis to share his experience;

Much to my surprise, I have found keeping a food diary a very informative way of not only watching what I eat but also understanding my calorie intake especially on training days. It is very easy to snack constantly on junk food or fall into bad eating habits and by keeping a food diary it enables you to identify these patterns. It also helps you eat better by identifying protein needs and liquid requirements. As a result of keeping a food diary, I eat healthier meals, consume more appropriate drinks, train better and am fitter and slimmer"
Louis White 2008

The benefits of keeping a food diary are huge especially when you enlist the help of a professional to advise you on simple yet effective changes you can make in order to reach your health and fitness goals.

I love exercising and it is a huge part of my life but I know that exercise alone won't cut it, if I want to reach my goal I have to be accountable wit the food I eat too and I know that there is no point in wasting my hard training by not eating right.

Here are some helpful snack suggestions;

Almonds (handful - 10-15)
Vege Sticks with hommus (homemade is best, or look for low fat and low sugar)
Small piece of fruit (no more than 2 per day)
Tin of tuna in Springwater
100g ham/chicken/turkey
Protein bar (check sugar and fat content)
Protein shake (check sugar and fat content)
100g low fat cottage cheese and berries
Hard boiled egg

Mmmmmm, all this talk of food is making me hungry!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What's in a Calorie

A calorie is just a calorie you may believe. In order to lose body fat you must just consume less calories than you spend right? Wrong. If this were the case we could live off McDonalds, Pizza and Ice Cream and so long as we were spending more calories than we were consuming we would lose weight (though you probably wouldn't get many slices of pizza or scoops of ice cream into your daily allowance).

If a calorie were just a calorie a diet 100% full of calories from protein would have the same effect on body composition as one 100% full of calories from fat. Common sense tells you this isn't the case - imagine the difference a diet made up 100% full of chicken (protein) would have in comparison to ones 100% full of chips (fat and carbs).

Food is made up of macro nutrients, consisting of Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates. You may also hear alcohol being called a macro nutrient, however the body doesn't need alcohol to survive and it is of no nutritional value. Calories are made up of various amounts of macro nutrients and it is beneficial to weight loss to combine these macro nutrients at each meal. It is recommended that you should consume protein, complex carbs and good fats at each meal.

How many calories in each macro nutrient?

1g of Protein = 4 calories
1g of Carbohydrates = 4 calories
1g of Fat = 9 calories

and just so you can see how quickly alcohol can contribute towards consuming too many calories;

1g of Alcohol = 7 calories

You diet should always consist of a combination of macro nutrients. If you were to complete a food diary for a week you may find that you are constantly living off high carbohydrate meals and snacks as they are generally quick and easy meal time solutions. However, they may leave you feeling hungry soon afterward and you find yourself reaching for another hit. If you were to consume protein with your carbohydrates you would lower the effect that foods high in carbohydrate have on your blood sugar levels, causing them to peak and in turn releasing a large amount of insulin in order to cope. An ideal situation would be the slow release of insulin into the bloodstream. You would then not feel so hungry so quickly and you would be helping to prevent overeating along with reducing your susceptibility to diseases such as Diabetes.

So next time you prepare a meal of reach for a snack think about what you are eating and ask yourself if you are combining those macro nutrients or whether you need to adjust your food choice a little.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My frustrating perfect example

Welcoming in the beginning of week number four of my journey saw me paying a visit to Jarrod at Body Composition – I was quiet excited on my way in, my jeans are feeling loser and I was sure I had lost a significant amount of weight! Well, I was in for a rude shock or an interesting discovery. My new results look like this:

Current as at 8th October 2008

Total Body Weight 57.7kg
Body Fat 26.4%
Fat Mass 15.2kg
Lean Body Mass 42.5kg

September 17th 2008

Total Body Weight 58.6kg
Body Fat 27.2%
Fat Mass 15.9kg
Lean Body Mass 42.7kg

Goal to achieve by 13th December 2008

Total body weight ??????
Body Fat 20%
Fat Mass 10kg
Lean body mass 42.7kg or above

So……. Here we can see that I have dropped just 1.2% of body fat (at least I didn’t go the opposite way!!), My fat mass has reduced by just 7oog and I have committed the cardinal sin of losing Lean body mass, ok its only 200g but that direction is one that I do not want to travel in.

When looking into the breakdown of my scan further I can see that I am changing shape, on a positive note I have lost 800g from my trunk region – yep those 2 kilo boobies are becoming more in control – I have dropped a cup size and feel much more comfortable. I will have enjoyed (or not at times) breasts ranging from a size 16E down to a 12B, by the time I have finished with this pregnancy and breast feeding joy – at least if I ever decided to have a boob job I would be able to pick a size based on personal experience!!!

I have however put on fat on my left arm – go figure and lost a little on my right – all that holding the baby. I have lost LBM from my trunk area and a little from both arms. But gaining in both legs.

Chatting with Jarrod we talked about interpreting these results, the training I am doing and my diet. I am training a significant amount regularly; I am doing something each day, managing 2-3 weights workouts and 3-4 cardio sessions. I may lose a training session here or there but all in all that aspect is going well.

When looking at my diet it shows that I am consuming below my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and I know I have done this previously – I have slipped back into my old eating habits of ‘not quite enough’ and my results reflect this. This also demonstrates the importance of tracking your progress and the benefits of keeping a food diary (I will touch more upon food diaries later). With these tools you cab look at what you are doing, see if it’s working and adjust if not – I am going to adjust. I am going to aim to consume around 200 extra healthy calories and see what happens – I’m now off to look at my food plan.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Core Issues

My morning run brought on so many more ideas and topics that I want to bring up. So today I am talking 'Core Issues'.

Training the core is very important for all people of all ages. Especially for women who have had babies, our abdominal muscles have been through so much and we really have to consciously re-train ourselves to 'switch on' these muscles which have often become quite relaxed during pregnancy.

When we talk about core conditioning there are two different muscular systems at work. These are referred to as your ‘inner unit’, consisting of the Transverse Abdominal's, Diaphragm, Multifidus and Pelvic floor. These are deep abdominal muscles and are very important to core stability and function.

Your ‘outer unit’ are all the prime movers of your skeletal system. It is essential to get your inner unit working well before you embark upon a more advanced conditioning program. If you wobble on the inside it is only a matter of time before you become off balance and the outside crumbles leaving you prone to injury and poor performance.

To prevent injury develop a base and concentrate on building a functional inner unit. This unit protects the spine and protecting the spine is essential. A strong inner unit will improve your ability to respond to everyday situations such as picking up dropped keys to putting your baby down in his cot.

The best way to start working your core is using the “drawing-in maneuver”. It’s as simple as pulling your navel in toward your spine. Focus also on the region just below the navel, pull this in and draw up your Pelvic Floor.

You should do this all day long. In your computer chair at work, while you’re out & about running errands & most definitely during every single exercise. This maneuver activates your core, not only making it stronger, but stabilizing your body helping to prevent injury to your spine.

If your abs are strong from the inside, the outer muscles, the Rectus Abdominals, will work more efficiently. Then you’ll be on your way to a kick butt set of abs that you’ll want to show off.
Can't wait to see yours!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sleep, I need sleep!

I am exhausted!!! and a little disappointed. My planned morning run went completely out of the window and not, as you may expect, due to my little boy. This is what makes it even more frustrating. If Marley had been up all night I could have taken a step back and reasoned that it is all part and parcel of having a young baby to take care of - but it wasn't Marley, the beautiful little thing slept like an angel until 3am.

I, on the other hand, tossed and turned and snapped at my husband (for making breathing noises!! not quite sure what I expect him to do otherwise???) He did at one point get up to move to the couch - probably frustrated with my huffs and puffs and exaggerated tossing from side to side in a desperate attempt to fall into slumber knowing only too well that I only had a matter of hours until I was summoned to feed. Not to mention the monotonous clunking sound that I managed to fixate on coming from somewhere outside, despite the fact that I strained to hear its irritating beat. I told him to get back into bed and that I would sleep worse if he went to the couch - maybe not so, but I would have felt a little guilty.

I think it was 1am that I moved MY self to the couch. This change of scenery seemed to help a little especially after I dis guarded my pillow in frustration and piled all the living room cushions around me. I think I fell into one of those conscious sleeps, the type where if someone was to walk into the room and hold a conversation I would have been able to tell them to piss off as I'm trying to sleep!

3am came, my little angel called. We fed and changed and burped and burped and..... when is it they stop getting wind again???? He fell back to sleep as easily as he had woke and I dragged myself back to the couch trying to ignore the fact that it was now 4am and I planned to get up bright and early to welcome the day, my runners at the ready.......... and she's asleep - finally it came, finally I was asleep. My runners are still at the door - displaying the little glitch in my exercise diary. Right now I am again off to bed, hopefully sleep will come quickly and I'll be ready to face the world again tomorrow - hopefully I'll see you at the gym.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Weight Training and Fat Loss

I just had a conversation with my dad. He lives in England, I in Australia so speaking on the phone is our most regular form of contact. We touch upon many subjects and today was one close to my heart and one of which I am quick to offer advice.

Dad was talking about embarking upon a 'diet', to which I asked how long this 'diet' would last for? We then chatted for a while and I explained that he needed to commit to a 'lifestyle change' rather than going on a diet. The ice-cream that had become such a solid fixture in his freezer may have to find itself remaining in the supermarket freezer section and he would have to learn a new route home from work that didn't involve driving through the local KFC or McDonald's. Maybe I'm being a little harsh, it has been a long time since I have lived with my dad to comment too closely on his eating habits but you get the drift. The re-emergence of not so clever eating habits would see his new diet come to a miserable end - not part of the plan I imagine. I want to see him turn his meal times around and send me his before and after shots, I want my dad to be around to enjoy my son for many years to come.

We also touched upon his planned exercise, so, to my dad, along with the newly inspired mum's out there I dedicate today's post.

Weight training and fat loss can be a confusing subject. As a Personal Trainer I come across many people who believe they need to lose 'weight' before embarking upon a resistance program. Another common preconception is that it is enough to eat less and just do cardiovascular exercise in order to lose 'weight'. Technically maybe they are right, they will probably lose 'weight'. We just need to ensure the weight being lost is coming from body fat and the only way to do this is first to find our starting point and track the changes. To do this we use tools such as Body Composition (touched upon in earlier posts - also see link for more details), skin folds are another good tracking tool if you don't have access to something like Body Composition. Jumping on the scales every week is just not enough - they don't give you enough information.

By using diet and Cardiovascular exercise alone you are missing out on a very important component..... resistance or weight training. Weight training is often associated with building muscle and increasing strength, what is not always recognised is the impact weight training has on fat loss.

Weight training increases your lean body mass. Increasing your lean body mass speeds up your metabolic rate, therefore causing you to burn more energy when you are resting - and the amount of energy you burn while you are resting is proportional to the amount of lean body mass you carry. If you use Cardiovascular activity alone your body will begin to breakdown your lean muscle to use for fuel, therefore reducing your lean body mass and reducing your metabolic rate and the speed at which your body burns fat. Weight training causes your metabolic rate to remain increased post workout and you continue to burn fat way after you have put the weights to bed.

So now you know you need to do resistance exercise you also need to know that the program you begin on will not continue to give you results forever. You will need to change it up in order to re-challenge your muscles and continue to see gains. Your muscles will adapt and become more efficient at doing your program, the same program that caused you to hobble down the stairs due to your quads being so tired or saw you hovering over the toilet seat because your glutes and hamstrings hurt for days will not always give you the same results. You will need to change your program every 6-12 weeks depending upon your level of experience - so those of you who have been lifting weights but doing those same weights for the last 6 months and seem to have hit a plateau - keep lifting the weights but its time to make it tough again - change your reps, sets, increase your weights - anything to shock your body and cause it to work hard again.

It is always useful to ask the advice of a qualified fitness professional when embarking upon or changing your programs. Feel free to post a comment, ask a question or contact me at fineforminfo@bigpond.com and I will do my best to answer any queries you may have, you might even want to join one of my outdoor group training sessions held in Centennial Park. I have mum's and bub's sessions during the week along with a Saturday morning session for anyone who wants to join in and get fit, healthy and sexy for summer. You may also want to check out the website of a good friend of mine Jessica Taylor, she offers both pre and postnatal training also within Sydney's Eastern suburbs - see the link in the sidebar.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday night is Chocolate night!

I am ticking off a positive week, ok so there are two more days to go before the week is over but tonight is chocolate night so I feel I have achieved something! Having said that I am hoping it is chocolate night I as forgot to place my order with my darling husband (hopefully he knows me too well!)

What is my point? I recently came across a forum on 'non dieting'. I believe the typical meaning of a diet is something that you 'do' for a certain period of time to lose some weight, say four weeks, maybe five if you are disciplined enough, two if it didn't go so well, you then go back to eating as you previously did and the weight lost creeps back on. "No wonder" I hear most of you say, but many people get stuck in this cycle, trying every new 'diet' in the hope that something will eventually work. How can these things work if ultimately old habits re-emerge.

Now the women in the 'non-dieting' forum had varying versions of a similar concept - they all embarked upon a lifestyle change. They have no intention of doing something for a little while then going back. Not all of their theories were the same, there was some discussion about what worked for each person but everyone agreed the way to go was to change for good and to do it in a manageable way, not one that requires HUGE amounts of discipline leaving you feeling you like you have failed if you 'fall off the wagon'.

For me, I try to eat as clean as I can - eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, fresh fruits and veggies, protein and grains. As much non processed food as possible. I am vegetarian so yes I do add the odd protein shake or bar to supplement but no more than 1/3 of my diet would come from these sources. I then indulge in my Friday night chocolate night and a takeaway from time to time - yep, even a good Indian takeaway with all the extras - but in moderation. And you should too, do what you need to do to make your lifestyle change just that, for life, not just a quick fix. And when you do enjoy your little treats, enjoy them, don't feel guilty! I'm off to check the fridge!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Its all in the Jeans

So Centennial Park greeted me this morning in a pool of sunshine - I was lucky my husband was home to enjoy time with his son while I escaped for some me time and a run that didn't have to be adapted for a stroller. Running always creates a good amount of head space and my mind began to wander........ to my wardrobe of all places..........

I don't know about you but I always feel good when I look great in that perfect pair of jeans. I realised that I have in my wardrobe, probably like most women a variety of pairs of jeans. I could very possibly open a small shop. They are not even all in the same size. We start on the right hand side with the maternity jeans, then we have the stretchy size 12's followed by the non stretchy size 12's, we then work our way all the way to the left and down to a size 7.

Now please don't think I have gone completely mad and rushed out and bought descending jean sizes in the hope of shrinking to fit into each one, in fact all those pairs of jeans at some stage of my life have been the 'perfect' fit.

From the size 12 on my 21st birthday when I was just emerging from the time in my late teens where I continued to consume the same amount of not so nutritious food that I did despite my parents best efforts throughout high school whilst simultaneously dropping the amount of physical activity I was doing to almost zero. Oh, and what about the calorie laden alcohol that I liked to consume on an empty stomach only to fill up on chips and pizza at 3am. Then don't forget the cold left overs for breakfast. No wonder the kilo's piled on!

Around that time I discovered the gym, a different gym to the one I spent hours of my earlier youth perfecting back flips, handstands and somersaults. This gym had weights, treadmills, x-trainers, you name it, it had it. Bit by bit the gym became an important part of my life. I could run when it was raining and stay perfectly dry, I learnt to lift weights until my legs wobbled and I struggled to dry my hair the next day because my muscles were so tired and sore - it felt fantastic, I hadn't trained that hard since my gymnastics days. And there began my journey from my size 12 jeans to my size 7's. I should mention I also had a good hard look at my eating habits - deciding to drop the big pasta dishes and the nightly bowl of ice-cream with mint flavored ice magic!!!

Lucky for me I had the foresight to keep hold of those pairs of jeans (I hate to throw out clothes "just in case"). I haven't yo yo-ed in size it was more of a gradual decline and now I have the perfect visual tool to share with you!

I have already felt the excitement of a pair of jeans not fitting one week and miraculously fitting the next in the few weeks after Marley's birth - I can't wait to show off my next 'new' pair of jeans soon - I'll keep you posted on how I'm going. Maybe this calls for some more photos!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Run, walk, jog, cycle, row, climb

Week 1 day 2 and I'm happy. I have had a pretty good past two days and feel I have gotten off to a great start. The sun is shining again this afternoon which always puts a nice perspective on the world.

I thought I would start to share my training plan with you today. I had an awesome workout this morning and it always fills me with enthusiasm, I love the buzz you get from a great session and its awesome to be able to get my heart rate up after 9 months of slowing down my training.

I am aiming to complete 2-3 resistance training sessions and 3-4 Cardio sessions per week.

My plan looks a little like this:

Mon - Cardio - steps (the steps just off the board walk in Coogee are my favorite and Marley seems to enjoy hanging out in the Babybjorn and coming along for the ride)

Tue - Gym - Full body workout

Wed - Cardio - run/walk - if you are running with a pram or stroller find a path that is relatively flat you don't want little heads bumping around too much. I find Centennial Park is great for this.

Thurs - Gym/Park Full body workout

Friday - Cardio - Steps

Sat/sun - Gym if possible and a nice walk with my boys

So, lets talk the different types of training. Essentially you have Cardiovascular activity and Resistance or weight training. Today I am talking Cardio. Aerobic exercise is a fantastic tool when your goal is to lose body fat. The term aerobic means exercise with oxygen. For fat to be burned oxygen must be used and for oxygen to be used the activity must be sustained for a prolonged period. If an activity cannot be sustained for a longer period i.e sprints. it is called anaerobic.

So........walking, jogging, running, cycling, stair climbing, rowing are all classed as cardio or aerobic activities. Most people will find that continuous aerobic activity for 30 minutes or more will be effective for fat loss. "So can I take a casual stroll for 30 minutes and expect to burn fat?" I hear you say. You can, and to an extent yes it will, however as time restricted mums it might be better to use your precious time more effectively and work at a higher intensity.

The optimal heart rate zone for fat burning is generally between 60-80% of your maximum heart rate.

A simple and generalised way of calculating your maximum heart rate is 220 - your age.

i.e you are 30 years old, so, 220 - 30 = 190, your estimated maximum heart rate is 190

then 60 - 80% of 190 is 114 - 152 bpm

It is handy to know these figures but it is important to listen to your body, how it feels and how it is responding to your training. Another good test is the talk test - If you are in your target heart rate zone then you will be breathing more heavy than usual, but not so heavy that you are hyperventilating. You should be able to hold a conversation without gasping for air. Pretty much the harder you are breathing the more fat you will burn BUT only so long as you can sustain your chosen activity for the required amount of time. (30+ mins but no more than 60mins)

Do make sure you have been doing your pelvic floor exercises and have had your postnatal check ups before heading out for a run - yes, I like everyone else want to get back into tip top condition but it is not worth risking injury or bladder problems! Check out the Pelvic Floor link if you haven't already done so.

Right now I'm off to check on my little boy then to put my feet up - ready to hit the pavement tomorrow, maybe I'll see you there!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chocolate and doughnuts

I have been thinking today about the things I am sharing with you, about how in depth I will be. About ensuring I don’t put on a persona that makes it appear that I am cruising through the next twelve weeks with my target in sight. It may look like that from time to time but I can tell you now and I will tell you then that it will not always be so. I am a very focused person when I put my mind to something – I put myself on a track and although at first it is often hard to stay on board the longer I persist the easier it becomes. I know I will be deterred at times and I know I will be in situations that will make it difficult for me to stick to my planned eating or training habits but I will always have a choice – ‘the fish and chips or the grilled fish and salad?’, ‘to go for my planned morning run or not?’

Yes my life now has a new priority and he will always come first, if my son needs me I will be there and if that means I miss my gym session then so be it. Having said that I can prioritise other parts of my life where possible, and for me, getting back into shape and feeling fit, healthy and strong is a priority. Summer is looming and I want to look great and to feel good about myself – I want to feel attractive to my husband, I want to turn the odd head in the street and know my hard work has paid off.

When attempting to change my eating habits I am challenged by just that – my eating habits, I was in pretty good shape and had a good diet prior to and throughout my pregnancy, however since I was getting bigger and my tastes were changing week to week I became slightly more lax about the little extras, allowing myself the tim tam (or 7), the whole block of chocolate, the doughnut or two (not quite sure what that was about!) I have a sweet tooth and I know it – I now have to re-create my habits, and after a while I won’t miss these things so much. I will enjoy cheat meals maybe once or twice a week – though cheat meals I must stress not whole cheat days!!!

I went back to the gym 6 weeks after my son was born and started by taking things easy, ensuring I didn’t go too hard too fast, listening to my body and acting accordingly, making sure I was doing the basics (pelvic floor/core exercises). I’m feeling stronger now and ready for this challenge. Always listen to your body, especially after it has been through such an amazing and physically challenging time, move at your own pace and cover your bases – risking injury is not worth it in the long run. Seek help where you need it and mostly enjoy your process. I hope you enjoy mine too.


Another amazing day in Sydney! Does this mean summer has arrived? I hope so, there is nothing better than starting the day with some exercise in the warm morning sun, you always feel so much better for the day ahead - I find I look better too, I think its the extra bit of colour in my face and the skip in my step that comes from getting the blood pumping. Always a good thing, especially given Marley has taken to waking up for an extra feed the last few nights!

My husband and I have been running a Saturday morning group fitness session for the last 5 months, we began in the depths of winter (and my pregnancy) and are now relishing coming out the other side with a bunch of participants who didn’t drop their form despite the cold months and will soon be bikini ready and hitting the beach. This morning I greeted my group in Centennial Park ready to go, the sun on our backs, beginning the weekend in the best possible way and enjoyed an awesome sweat session! Well done guys.

So today I wanted to touch on a question that is often asked by postnatal women when commencing an exercise program;

Will exercise affect my ability to breastfeed?

Straight up and the short answer to this question for the everyday exerciser is ‘no’. Participating in a moderate level of exercise should not affect your ability to breastfeed your baby. However we are all different and it would be wise to monitor how different intensity of training effects your milk supply and ensure you are consuming enough calories to compensate. Keeping a food and exercise diary is a fantastic tool both to keep you on track and to look back at later on. The benefits of regular exercise not only include increased cardiovascular fitness and maintenance or increase of Lean Muscle Mass but it has also been shown to have a positive effect on mental health and mood which I myself know is of great importance after the birth of a new baby.

There have been various studies on the affects of exercise on breastfeeding, I have provided relevant links on this page so you can read more for yourself.

From a personal point of view I do believe that exercise should always be accompanied by a healthy eating plan or vice versa. If you are spending more energy you need to consume more energy. A healthy weight loss nutrition plan (I chose not to use the word ‘diet’, the goal is to create an eating plan you can comfortably maintain for life) for a breastfeeding woman would include more calories than that of a non breastfeeding woman. I will touch upon this more when I talk about my own eating plan in upcoming days.

Until then, enjoy the sun and eat well

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How's your Pelvic Floor?

What awesome weather!!! This beautiful day prompted a friend and I to grab our sons, our prams, runners, singlets and sunblock and hit Centennial Park for a jog. Almost an hour and two very sweaty mum's later we parked ourselves on the grass by the duckpond to enjoy our surroundings.

We chatted and puffed our way through various topics of conversation during our bout of exercise including one very important post pregnancy topic; Pelvic Floor.

I'm sure most people are aware how much pressure is put on your Pelvic Floor during those wonderful 9 months and how much emphasis is put into reminding you do your pelvic floor exercises both during pregnancy as soon as you are feeling up to it (down there) after the birth. But who's reminding you now? How many more things do you have to remember to get through in your day now you have your baby home than before you gave birth. Back then it was all about you and about doing all the correct exercises to keep you healthy to ensure the safe arrival of your baby. Now, its all about baby - you have to make sure you remember you. And if you intend on not leaking the contents of your bladder on occasion let alone participating in an exercise program its time to go back to basics and start working that pelvic floor. What are you waiting for?!!

I have added a helpful link if you want a more technical description of your pelvic floor and its functions, as well as a few great exercises for you to practice before hitting the pavement. Enjoy!