Monday, 14 July 2014

Rest Days are NECESSARY

I see and hear a lot about people who exercise quite a bit without having a rest day. Most of these people don't realise they are over-training and feel guilty when they take a day off, but rest days are a very important part of exercising
Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen and continuous training can actually weaken the strongest athletes. For recreational athletes, adding in rest days can help maintain a better balance between home, work and fitness goals. 

As we work out, we place greater strain on our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. Our immune system is activated when there are muscle tears or joint strains, but if the body doesn’t come out of continual practice, this system doesn’t have the time to catch up and start patching everything back up. Thus, if you’re building muscle, you should take a day off from lifting the same region so the body has time to repair the muscles you’re working.

Six simple reasons why getting your rest is so important:
1. Rest Prevents Injury – It’s common sense that resting is beneficial for injury reduction, but why? Well for starters, rest days prevent overuse. That extends from running to lifting and even walking. If you’re a regular runner, you know how much your legs and feet can take until you just need a day off. If you push it too hard without a break, your muscles and joints suffer from overuse and that’s where injuries can happen.
2. Your Muscles Need Rest – This is likely the first thing you learned about strength training. When you lift weights, you’re essentially tearing muscle fibers. But without a proper period of rest for your immune system to repair and grow the muscle, you’re not going to get the benefit of your training. That’s why you need to vary the muscle groups you engage on staggered days.
3. Your Performance Won’t Dip – In general, it takes your body almost two weeks of non-activity before you start losing a noticeable amount of your progress or performance level. So don’t think that taking a day or two off from training will set you back all that hard work you’ve put in.
4. Over-training Affects Sleep – Is your sleep data all over the place? Over-training could be the culprit. Too much exercise can put your body in a constant state of restlessness or on high alert making a good night’s sleep tough to achieve. A telltale sign is an increase in your resting heart rate. Taking those rest day can help bring down your alertness and heart rate, which can help get you a night of sound sleep.
5. Your Immune System Can Overheat – During periods of heavy activity, our immune systems are constantly activating to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest, your immune system can’t catch up to all the repairs your body needs. And then? You guessed it: injuries.
6. Mental Edge – From a psychological standpoint, taking a rest period can rekindle your hunger for exercise and help prevent burnout. Mental fatigue can be every bit as detrimental as physical fatigue and taking a rest day helps to recharge the psyche.
Of course when I say "rest days" I don’t mean spending the whole day in your bed or on your couch! You should actively enjoy your rest days. Head outside with your partner, family, friends or even with your dog. Go out for a walk, for a jog, swim, ride a bicycle, try rock climbing, the opportunities are endless!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Importance of Protein

I want to emphasise the importance of protein this month. To put it simply, protein is one of the main nutrients that every person needs to maintain a healthy body. It helps to repair any internal or external damage, supports the immune system and contributes to an overall feeling of well being. High-protein diets are known for their fat-reducing benefits. One reason they work is that eating more protein reduces hunger. Protein is filling and when people eat more of it they are more quickly satisfied and eat fewer calories.
We need protein for:

  • Growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women)
  • Tissue repair
  • Immune function
  • Making essential hormones and enzymes
  • Energy when carbohydrate is not available
  • Preserving lean muscle mass
Protein is found in meats, poultry, fish, meat substitutes, cheese, milk, nuts, legumes, and in smaller quantities in starchy foods and vegetables.
When we eat these types of foods, our body breaks down the protein that they contain into amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Some amino acids are essential which means that we need to get them from our diet, and others are nonessential which means that our body can make them. Protein that comes from animal sources contains all of the essential amino acids that we need. Plant sources of protein, on the other hand, do not contain all of the essential amino acids.
Protein is essential for exercise. Anyone undertaking any kind of exercise regime is going to need more protein than someone who doesn’t. This is because when you exercise, you are effectively tearing and breaking muscle fibres apart, which then need to be repaired by the body, requiring protein to do so. 

Repair, Maintain, Grow Protein is especially important to consume after a workout as during the exercise you are effectively breaking your muscles down. That is why it’s a common sight to see people at the gym eating protein bars or drinking shakes when they have finished their routine to help increase the impact of their exercise. If you are exercising but find yourself with low energy or feel that you are not building any muscle, it may be down to not consuming enough protein. Make an effort to eat more protein through your diet or by having bars and shakes to feel better and get more out of your workout. 

What's in your Protein Shake?
Protein shakes consist of powdered forms of protein such as soy or whey, which is a by-product of the cheese-making process. Flavouring is added to the powder so that when it’s blended with milk or water, it resembles a milkshake-style drink. Of course there a many brands available and each will add other chemicals and enhancements to the powder.

Monday, 26 May 2014

INBA Brisbane Classic

Saturday night I attended the INBA Brisbane Classic competition. Wow! What a great show to watch. The competitors were all so amazing and all of them looked so happy to be up on that stage showing off all their hard work. Congrats to all of them for their dedication and having a wonderful passion for fitness.
The atmosphere inside the arena was buzzing! When I arrived the place was nearly overflowing! People were struggling to find seats and the floor at the front of the stage became the only place available to sit down. According to the INBA the number of entrants is a new world record for Brisbane! Have a read of the article from their website:
I would love to attend another show in the future. It was such a positive, wonderful show to watch. Congratulations to all the entrants once again, you are all very inspiring!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Make It Happen May

Wow it's May already! I feel like the year is flying! I turn 29 this month and I'm looking forward to it! It want to look at this whole month in a very positive light so I thought it could be Make It Happen May.
Making it happen is all about you reaching your goals. Set yourself small weekly goals like: I will exercise 5 days this week for 1 hour, and then have your larger monthly goal like: I will not eat take-away for the whole month etc.
And don't forget to remember the KISS... Keep It Simple Stupid.
Making it happen could also apply to trying a new fitness class, increasing your weights or holding a plank for longer. It's all up to you to set yourself a goal this month.
So I want you to write down you May goal, put it up somewhere you'll see it every day. Now write down your goal for the week and start working towards it. This is your month, you will own it.

My monthly goal for May is to decrease my body fat percentage. I'm not a believer in worrying about what the scales say. By increasing my muscle mass I will be putting weight on. So my first weekly goal is to cut down on my treats after dinner. I believe in treating yourself every day so you don't feel the urge to binge but since Easter I have been treating myself a little more than usual! So this week I will only have a small treat after dinner on one day (probably after a hectic day).
The following week I'm planning on increasing my High Intensity Interval sessions. Normally I would do 1-2 a week so I will add in a couple extra to burn excess calories.
So lets Make It Happen this month and gain from all the positives! Good luck!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Meal Prep Monday

It's Monday. I'm one of those weird people that really like Mondays! I feel like it's a new beginning. If I had a crappy time last week it doesn't matter anymore because Monday is the start of a beautiful fresh week. It's the perfect day to get organised for the next several days ahead. Now I understand that some people won't have the time to meal prep on a Monday and might find a lazy Sunday a better option but Meal Prep Sunday doesn't quite have the same ring to it....
Anyway, let's talk about meal prepping. What is it? Is it hard? Is it boring?
Meal prepping involves cooking and storing your meals for several days so you will ultimately save time in the kitchen during the week and be less tempted to make bad food choices. Once you get the hang of meal prepping it becomes quite easy. Most of us can multitask in the kitchen anyway, so having a few more things cooking at once shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Your meals can get a little repetitive but I try to use as many different seasonings and sauces as I can and try to mix up the veg each day.
So what should a standard prep meal have? Generally a protein, complex carbohydrate and a mix of veg making around 1 cup.
You can make yourself a list of meals that you would like during the week and then you can write out your shopping list. Aim to buy in bulk for extra savings. Make sure you are also measuring your meals so you have correct portion sizes. Don't forget to have an array of plastic containers (good quality stuff that won't leak). So what should you choose?
Protein options:
        - Chicken Breasts - Boneless, Skinless         - Chicken thighs (okay for specific recipes)
        - Minced Beef – 85% lean or higher             - Minced Turkey
        - Fish – Salmon, Tuna, Prawns, firm white fish     
        - Eggs (hard boil a bunch for the week for snacks or scramble for breakkie)
        - Steak, Pork, or Sausage are all options too, but best kept to a minimum     
Vegetarian or Vegan? Try plant based proteins: 
        - Beans (black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, etc.) edamame, tofu, tempeh
- Carbohydrate options: opt for whole grain, complex carbohydrates as your fuel
        - Quinoa          - Oats          - Sweet potato          - Brown rice          - Wraps
        - Pasta             - Rice Varieties: Jasmine, Basmati, Wild Grain, Etc.
        - Buckwheat    - Amaranth   
       (there are other options as well but I just gave a 'basic' list)
- Vegetable options:
       - Spinach          - Green Beans       - Mushrooms        - Asparagus         - Broccoli        
       - Cucumber      - Zucchini              - Kale                   - Bok Choy         - Carrots
       - Red, Yellow, Orange Capsicum          - Sugar Snap Peas           - Tomatoes
Of course there are many others you can add, I like to add lots of garlic for flavour, red onion for sweetness, low fat cheese, and a mixture of nuts to salads and also for snacks. Now you have your ingredients you can choose how to cook them. Steaming the veg is a great option and poaching chicken breast in stock is great to then shred up the chicken for salads, wraps and even tacos. Keep mixing up your spices to keep things interesting.
Oats can be pre made for breakfast (overnight oats), and you can bag up your own snacks, try boiled eggs, veg sticks, nuts and dried fruit, or opt for low fat, high protein yoghurt.
Now you have your basics you can start your meal prepping journey and soon become a master meal prepper! Let me know some of your amazing meal prep recipes.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The good, the bad and the ugly

Carbs are not the enemy, but not all carbohydrates are made equal!
Let's look at good and bad carbs. "Bad" carbs are the simple carbohydrates which include sugars found in foods such as fruits and milk products and sugars added during food processing.
Refined grains such as white bread, white rice, normal pasta etc are bad carbohydrates. During the refining process, these grains are stripped of B-vitamins, fiber and certain minerals. In addition, they also have a high glycemic index (GI), negatively affecting blood sugar levels.
Other examples of bad carbohydrates include chips, cookies, sodas, bagels, cake, pastries, pancakes, soda, high fructose corn syrup and baked goods. These foods are low in nutrient density as they have little or no nutritional value and supply a large amount of calories.
According to researchers at Yale University, bad carbohydrates such as sweets and biscuits cause falls in blood sugar, affecting the part of the brain that controls impulse. This leads to a loss of self-control and a desire for unhealthy, high-calorie foods. A diet high in calories contributes to weight gain, which increases the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and other life threatening diseases.
Okay, I hear your cries of pain, these are all yummy foods! You don't have to TOTALLY eliminate them from your diet but you do need to restrict how much of these you are eating. You can also find healthier alternatives like using wholegrain instead.
Which brings us to the "Good" carbs.
Whole-grain products such as brown rice, whole-grain pasta, beans, whole wheat bread, whole oats, buckwheat, millet, whole rye, whole-grain barley and whole-grain corn are considered good carbohydrates. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are beneficial to your health. Also, they have a low glycemic index because they cause a slower change in blood sugar levels. Diets rich in high glycemic index foods cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels, thereby increasing the risk for diabetes and heart disease. By contrast, foods with a low glycemic index help you achieve a more stable blood sugar and improve weight loss and control Type 2 diabetes.
Don't forget your veg! Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, nutrients and carbohydrates. Aim for  -2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily.
Legumes such as beans, peas and lentils are high in fiber, carbohydrates and protein and low in fat.
Legumes may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer.
So don't hate on carbs, most are amazing, and a little treat now and again is absolutely okay.

Friday, 4 April 2014


Hi and welcome to the very first N.E.W Life PT blog post. Firstly thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. I have a passion for health and fitness and believe it should be one of the most important things in your life.
Focusing on your health not only benefits yourself but your loved ones around you. I believe in having a focus on being active every day. It's not necessarily all about being the fittest you can possibly be, it's not about being the best or beating any body else. I think it's best to focus on just being Active Every Day. It makes exercise far less daunting. Even if you have no idea where to start, just going for a walk has so many benefits. Lots of little things add up! Taking the stairs, parking further away from the door, walking the kids to school, a quick lap around the block etc. Exercising will get easier and you may even come to find yourself losing track of time and just enjoying a mind-clearing walk! One of the greatest benefits!
Speaking of benefits, what are some of the benefits of having a Personal Trainer help you? You will: ~Improve your overall fitness~
~Reach/maintain healthy weight~
~Have custom-made workouts~
~Increase knowledge~
~Break through plateaus~
~Increase motivation~
We all need a little help sometimes!