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 ........goes ..............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 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 (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, 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.