Tag Archives: fitness

Giveaway: Balancing Health and Wellbeing with Blackmores!

2 Dec

I was recently contacted by Blackmore’s to do a review of their new “Personal Health System”.  At first, I was a bit wary.  I get asked to do a lot of product reviews and I like to align myself only with things that I truly believe in and things that I think are relevant to mine and my reader’s interests.  So I had a quick squiz (yes, squiz, I’m standing by that word!) at the site and I was actually pleasantly surprised by what I saw!

Developed specifically for time-poor Australians, The Blackmores Personal Health System (PHS) takes Blackmores’ expert understanding of nature and science a step further, providing an individually tailored online health program which combines the latest interactive technology with personal support from Blackmores’ team of naturopaths.

Basically, it is a 360 degree holistic approach to health including menu plans, nutrition advice, fitness suggestions, and a community of support as well as a lot more. It gives time-poor people the opportunity to stay fit and healthy wherever they are, whenever they want, with the support they need.  Blackmores has also welcomed Asher Keddie (Australian actress and star of TV show OffSpring) as their inaugural PHS member and ambassador.

I decided to trial the Sport & Fitness Program as it was most relevant to my goals.   The first thing I did was get stuck into the Health Assessment which was VERY thorough!  I may have giggled at how many questions about pooh it asks but hey, a healthy pooh is very important!  😉  My overall score was 82/100 which is 14 points above the average of all females.   It went on to show the areas that are letting me down – vitality and digestive health being the main culprits.  But after having a chat to one of their wonderful naturopaths and being sent some awesome supplements to try, I’m pleased to report that these issues are no longer such a problem for me!  I’ll provide a review on these products in another post!

Once I had completed the assessment I started browsing the other areas of the program.  There was really nothing that it didn’t cover – it has everything!  It provides you with a menu plan, a workout plan, a food and workout diary, a My Body tracking system (where you can record PBs, your weight and measurements – SO motivating!), access to email your assigned naturopath whenever you see fit (my FAVOURITE feature) as well as an awesome resource library that has great articles on nutrition, exercise and healthy living.   There is also a great forum with over 308,000 members and growing!  I personally think that being a part of a community is highly beneficial to reaching your goals as it provides an invaluable amount of support and motivation.

I honestly can not speak highly enough about this system!  I have only covered the basics of it too, it offers so much more!  And lucky for you guys I have TWO FREE one-month passes to giveaway (valued at $49.95 each)!

To win just leave a comment below on why you think you are deserving to win this prize!  A winner will be drawn at random on Monday the 12th of December at approximately 9:00am EST.

Get in quick guys!  This is a great way to help you start your new year (and new you!) with a bang!

Advertisements

Amanda’s Protein & Oat Pancakes

22 Nov

This post comes from my sick bed, where I have been for the past 2 days. 😦 I contracted a stomach bug but all is fine – just need to keep hydrated, eat bland (come at me white bread!) and I should be fine in a day or so.

Now, even though I can eat an abundance of white bread and crackers at the moment, the only thing I REALLY want are these gorgeous, fluffy pancakes. They are so devine. One day I ate them for breakfast AND dinner… DON’T YOU DARE JUDGE ME!

I’ve fooled around with a few different recipes but they were never quite right. So I made some of my own changes and came up with these.

The trick is in the protein powder – you really have to get a nice tasting protein powder. I use Gaspari Myofusion in Milk Chocolate and it is DELICIOUS. You can buy it from BMB Supplements. Enter in the code “mevsbulge” and get 10% off any products til 1st February 2012! 😉

These can pack quite a calorie punch though – about 500 calories (and an amazing 55g of protein!) if you have them with the yoghurt and berries but you can remove the oats and use only egg whites to make them lighter.

Ingredients

1 scoop protein powder
1/2 cup dry, uncooked instant oats
1/4 low fat cottage cheese
3 egg whites
1 whole raw egg

Add everything to a bowl.

20111122-153658.jpg

Stir well or blend for a smoother consistency.

20111122-153711.jpg

Pour into a non-stick pan on low-medium heat. Meanwhile, heat up your grill.

20111122-153720.jpg

Wait a few mins for bubbles to form…

20111122-153730.jpg

Then stick it under the grill for a few minutes. I do this because it is too big and awkward to flip over without breaking!

20111122-153739.jpg

Add a tablespoon of natural yoghurt and a few berries… And voila!

20111122-153748.jpg

Yum!

20111122-153756.jpg

Hope you guys enjoy – let me know what you think! 🙂

Pushing Weights

15 Nov

20111115-174521.jpg

Some people have been enquiring about what kind of weight I’m pushing at the moment so I thought I would share with y’all some examples of my workouts!

Keep in mind, it took be some time to work up to these weights!

I also like to switch it up often and throw in high rep days (20 reps) and drop sets etc. Keeps the body guessing!

I keep a log of my weights so that I can make an effort to increase weights every few weeks or so.

Upper Body Sample Workout

2 x 15 pushups
3 x 12 25kg BB bench press
3 x 12 12.5kg DB pullovers
3 x 12 20kg push press
3 x 12 6kg DBs lateral raise
3 x 6 pull ups (7th plate)
3 x 8 40kg BB rows
3 x 8 OH cable ext (2nd plate + 2 blocks)
3 x 12 cable tri pushdowns (3rd plate + 1 block)
3 x 12 cable bi curls (3rd plate + 1 block)
3 x 15 hanging knee raises
3 x 15 swissball prone roll out
3 x 20 medicine ball twists

Lower Body Sample Workout

Note: My gym doesn’t have a squat rack, and I don’t like to squat in the smith, so my squatting weight isn’t very heavy at current!

3 x 15 20kg plate weighted hip extension
3 x 12 30kg BB speed squats, bum to bench
3 x 8 17.5kg DBs walking lunges
3 x 12 40kg DB sumo squats
3 x 12 30kg BB single leg deadlifts
3 x 8 leg press (9th plate)

Then I will usually throw in a couple of ab exercises at the end of leg day too.

What do you enjoy training more, upper body or lower body?

Video Update – Progress & Exciting News!

10 Nov

I’ll TRY to get better at these… I promise.  But for now you will have to endure my akward rambling, hair touching and sweaty appearance.  Enjoy!

 

An Interview With ANOTHER Inspiration!

1 Nov

Just as I was lucky enough to meet the lovely Charlotte via the glorious interwebs (I love you interwebs, yes, I’m a closet dweeb), I also have met the amazing Amber.  Well, not in real life, just internetz chatz, you know?  But I have no doubt that we will eventually meet on the comp circuit next year!

Amber’s story was particularly inspirational to me as she has come from where I was and is currently at where I want to be.   Her approach to health and fitness is very similar to mine, I almost felt like I had wrote the interview myself (and she said she often thinks the same of my blog posts!).   Also, her amazing dedication and commitment is something you don’t often come across and what’s more wonderful is she has done it all with her loving partner by her side, literally, every step of the way.

Here is her story.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

You weren’t always in the top-notch shape you are in today, what were you at your heaviest and what made you decide to change your shape?

I was never small – in fact I always considered myself to be heavy set and big boned – and at my heaviest I would have weighed in at around 80kgs (possibly a few more). I was never into sport (or very good at it) – I’m a professional musician, so during my younger years I was always practicing, rehearsing, having lessons. Physical activity was limited to PE at school, and stints at swimming clubs and ballet classes.

For years I had been trying/wanting/wishing to do something about my weight. Different diets and forms of exercise – you name it and I probably tried it! I’d usually lose a little bit of weight, or see some change in my body shape but never anything really significant. I’d often get discouraged by the lack of results, give up for a while and find myself back to where I started if not even heavier. As well as physically detrimental, it was also quite a negative emotional experience. While I ate quite well most of the time, I’d easily turn to food and comfort eating and my portion sizes were more than likely way too big!

After getting engaged in 2009, with our wedding booked for April 2011, I somehow got the drive and determination to get professional help to achieve my goals. I signed up for a 12 week “Get fit from within” program with Michelle Nazaroff and I had some sort of ‘light globe’ moment where sticking to my nutrition and training plans was easy. I was extremely dedicated and began to see results almost immediately – I’d grow in confidence every month as I saw my body change (as well as the number on the scales drop) and it would keep me motivated. Having to be accountable to Michelle every week also helped as I wasn’t only cheating myself if I swayed off the plan, but her as well!

Progress photos - from Aug 10 to Dec 10

Progress Photos - from Aug 10 to Dec 10

Why did you decide to compete in bodybuilding/sports model?

After seeing great results over my 12 week program, I still wasn’t at my goal – the program and lifestyle changes we’d made however meant we could still stick to it, and I continued to see results every month. I was losing fat, and was noticing massive changes in my muscular definition. I must admit, it’s slightly addictive to see such positive changes in your body!! By the time the wedding came around I had lost about 24kgs and was loving my new, lean look!

I had never intended to compete, but seeing how my body had reacted to the change in diet and training, and being someone who likes a challenge, I started to consider it. I did speak to lots of people about the positive/negative experiences they had had whilst preparing for competitions to work out if it was something I could do mentally as well as physically. Many people seem to go up and down like yoyos, emotionally during comp prep, and physically as well (especially afterwards) and that was something I didn’t think I could cope with. Michelle’s approach to nutrition and training means this isn’t likely to happen, and I was reassured that my experience would be a positive one.

We decided that initially I’d compete in the sports model category – I wasn’t quite big enough to compete in figure, and it would also allow me to gain some experience on stage. I did two competitions this year – NABBA/WFF and IFBB. While I didn’t place anywhere in either competition, I had a great time and really enjoyed it. It has motivated me even more, and made me excited about training harder, working on my physique and competing in novice figure this year.

On Stage - Courtesy FTL Photography

Lady in Red! Courtesy FTL Photography

How do you stay motivated and do you have a good support network?

Our diet and training is more just a way of life now and I enjoy the time spent in the gym – while I’m not 100% in to it every day, I know it’s just something I have to do! While I admit there are days I might not feel like it, ill put as much as I can in to training and will leave the gym happy that I actually did it! I think I’d feel worse if I didn’t.

I’m motivated when I see the changes in my body – more muscle definition etc, and having a 6 pack! I’d never have thought that possible! To have other bodybuilders compliment your physique is a huge buzz – especially considering where I came from.

In terms of food, there are times when I wish I could just eat mountains of junk… I don’t let myself though. I’d rather know I was maintaining what I’ve worked so hard for than filling myself up on rubbish – most of which ends up being completely unsatisfying! I’ve become really good at saying no when people offer me food. Unless I know it’s going to be absolutely amazing, I usually won’t touch it…

I have an amazing support network too – my husband, Gary, has stuck to the program with me since we started, eating the same kind of diet and doing the training with me. Without his support, it would have been a whole lot more difficult – especially in terms of food! He has been training at a gym for many years, and surfs and played cricket until recently, so was always in good shape – he’s in the best shape of his life now though and loves his 6 pack! We’ll both be competing next year.

The support I’ve received from Michelle has also been amazing – her and her husband David are so committed to their sport and lifestyle, and ensuring their clients are looked after. Their encouragement makes you want to do well and be dedicated to the food and training programs they’ve written for you.

Amber with her equally buff hubby Gary!

What’s your typical days food like at the moment?

We eat lots of fresh, unprocessed foods – fruit, vegies (especially green ones!), lean protein, good fats (nuts, chia oil etc) and some starchy carbs from oats, brown rice and sweet potato. We also have a protein powder to use for shakes.

My comp prep diet was fantastic -while I ate the same food every day, it was been incredibly tasty and I didn’t get bored of it. I was never hungry! We liked the food so much that we went back to it pretty much straight after the competitions. It is completely sustainable – it isn’t calorie restrictive, or lacking in certain food groups. I like knowing that I’ll be able to continue to see results while eating this way – it was designed to help me build muscle while keeping fat off, which it did! I need to continue to work on my muscle development if I’m going to compete in Figure next year so we may tweak my diet a little to ensure this happens. It’ll probably involve adding more food – it’ll be very clean food, incorporating lots of “RAW” food and “green” smoothies.

We stick to a clean eating plan 6 days a week and have a cheat day for one day a week. This is really beneficial – it makes the clean eating easier, and also gives your metabolism a boost with the extra calories. During my comp prep I was restricted to a cheat meal, but we still enjoyed great food – it would usually involve 3 courses at a nice restaurant!

What’s your training regime currently like?

My comp prep training wasn’t hugely different to what I was doing before. We started with a four day split, and changed to a five day split after a month. We had different workouts every week. This was different to how I’d trained previously – we usually stuck to a program for a month which allowed to see an increase in strength. By doing different workouts every week we were constantly giving our bodies a shock! I found I’d push myself as I knew I wouldn’t be doing the same workout again, so couldn’t “do it better” next time.

We’ve stuck to a five day split since finishing competitions, but will do each weeks program for a month so we can see our strength increase.

I was already quite lean when I started comp prep, so my cardio was quite limited – thank goodness! I did 30 minutes of cardio before breakfast every day, keeping my heart rate between 140-150bpm. We bought a spin bike to make this easier. I want to try and stay around this condition, so will keep doing cardio a few mornings a week.  I’d rather put the effort in continuously than have to work my arse off (literally) when I start preparing for next years comp!!

What advice would you give to women who want to get into shape?

Getting in to shape involves a couple of factors – diet is important. REALLY important! I found that knowing exactly what I was eating, when I was eating it, and having it pre prepared made sticking to my plan so much easier. I didn’t have to think about what to eat, and didn’t have the opportunity to eat off the plan as my food was ready to go. Our freezer is full of portion controlled meat, rice, meals – we prepare as much this way as possible. We also have a fridge full of the fruit and vegies we need so there’s no excuses for not having them! While it may seem hard initially, cutting out the sugar and processed food is so beneficial. It does get easier, and the cravings do go away – I promise! Learn to say “NO!” – you may want that piece of birthday cake in the office staff room, but do you really need it? No one will be offended if you don’t eat it…

Embrace the weights! Resistance work is really the best way to get in to shape, and change your body. Don’t be afraid of lifting heavy weights, your body will thank you for it 🙂 If you get to the end of a set and you could still do a few more repetitions, you need to go heavier – push yourself to your limits, you may surprise yourself!

Stop making excuses! I used to do it, and I’ve heard so many people give me reasons why they couldn’t do what I’ve done. You have to really want something, and be motivated to do it, but you CAN do it if you put your mind (and body) to it. You can make changes immediately – no matter how small – you don’t need to wait til Monday, or next year, or til you’re 30. The time is now!

Courtesy FTL Photography

Clean Eats: Garli, Chilli, Ginger & Soy Barramundi

27 Oct

Haven’t done a recipe post for a while! But I haven’t been very adventurous to be honest. I keep having the same things over and over so when I thought up this baby I was excited to share because it was such a welcome change from the usual!

20111027-081357.jpg

It’s not much of a recipe, really. You know me – add “some” of this, a “pinch” of that! I believe cooking should be to YOUR tastes. Get creative!

So, this is what I did:

I heated the oven to about 190 degrees Celsius. On a baking tray lined with baking paper I placed my fish fillet, face up.

In a bowl I combined chilli, minced garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce (I prefer to use tamari but had none left) and a splash of fish sauce. I mixed this all up to form a watery paste and then drizzled it over the fish, reserving some for the vegetables. Then I baked that sucker for about 15 minutes (until the fish was easily flaked with a fork).

Then, I tossed some vegetables (baby bok choy, mushroom, broccolini, capsicum and zucchini) into a hot pan and poured over the remaining sauce. I stirred them around until they were wilted slightly but still maintained some crunch.

And that was it! Simple, clean, delicious. I think this would work well with chicken or turkey breasts too!

Give it a go and let me know what you think. 🙂

Comp Beauty Prep – Stage 1: Hair Removal

20 Oct

Okay, so when I step on stage next year I have to be hair free.  Every little hair shows up under those harsh stage lights and in the all important official comp photos too!  Hence, I have a dilemma… I’m really hairy.  It’s all blonde hairs though!  But yeah, let’s just say I’m covered in a fine blonde fuzz.

I have heard that after your first couple of waxes the pain is less intense and also the hairs grow back finer.  This appeals to my interests greatly.  So I decided to give arm waxing ago.  By myself.  Oh, hell no, I’m not paying for someone to wax me when I can do that shit myself!  Yes – cheap skate.  Have mentioned this before.  You should not be surprised.

Why not shave or use hair removal creams, you may ask?  Well, because after applying copious amounts of tan it tends to stick to the stubble (especially around the *cough* groin) and that can leave you looking like a spotted freak.   I’m not really looking for that look.  So not hot right now.

So, I bought the wax strips and set about waxing my arms.

And I filmed it.

And here is that footage.

Enjoy!

WARNING: Extreme language ahead! (Come on now, it’s me here…)

Note: Yes, I came *thisclose* to smacking myself in the face on the first rip.

Note 2: Don’t ask me why I ended this video like a phone call.  I was delirious.

Note 3: On my other arm I placed the strip around my arm rather than lengthways up my arm.  Much easier to go in the opposite direction of the arm hair this way.  Noob.