Tag Archive | fitness

How to have a massage without a massage?

As some of you may know, I’ve been training for a half marathon recently – well since March really!


Kindly borrowed from the Gold Coast Marathon website, www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au

Kindly borrowed from the Gold Coast Marathon website, http://www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au


Lately I’ve had a few issues with my training.  It started in mid-May, I’d just run my first 12km distance in my preparation, and suddenly I had very tight, painful glutes and upper thigh areas.  What to do?


Firstly, I thought it was my trainers.  When I began this journey, I was running in trainers that were more suited to bushwalking than road running, but I persisted with them, mainly because they were relatively new.  My thinking was I’d go for some “you beaut” running machines about 5 – 6 weeks before the race, giving me time to ‘break them in’.


Well, when I checked out my trainers, I could see quite a bit of wear on the outer heel, indicating that I was putting my foot down on the outer edge when running.  So, try new shoes.  Well, as it wasn’t quite time for a brand new road running pair, I tried the pair of same shoes that I had waiting in my cupboard.  This didn’t seem to fix the problem.  Week one of not training well!


Secondly, I then discovered I should really be stretching properly before I run and also after.  Something I had not been doing very well it would seem.  So, the following week, it was time to ensure stretching was occurring regularly and of the correct muscles.  This seemed to help the problem a lot, so I was back into some training.  Week two of training better, but not back to full steam yet.


Only to be suddenly halted again.


Nope, it wasn’t a physical injury this time – it was the COMMON COLD!!!  How embarrassing, I’m a natural therapist and it appears I had forgotten to look after myself well.

Oh well, sometimes the body needs to do some quiet resting and regenerating.  This resting and regenerating came about for me over the next two weeks while I took the time to recover, using my homeopathics and regular essential oils to ensure that the recovery was steady, even though it wasn’t as quick as I had hoped.

See my last post on Secrets to Winter Living to read about the different homeopathics, essential oils, dietary changes and herbal teas I used to ensure I managed a full recovery.


By this time, I had now purchased my “you beaut” running shoes, a great looking pair of New Balance shoes, complete with nitrogen filled soles (so the sales lady told me – she was lovely by the way, looking after the newbie that I am!)


New Balance Shoes

The new shoes – New Balance

New Balance Shoes Ready

Ready for running now!

Time to start running again.  Well, for the last 2 weeks, I’ve been back on the road again, making sure that the stretching is happening pre and post training, that the shoes are not wearing, that I’m running more on the ball of my foot rather than the outer of my heel.




However, I am still feeling tight muscles in my upper thighs and glutes areas.


What to do?  Well, the obvious answer is to go for a massage.  As an Aromatherapist, I truly know the benefits of massage to release those tight feeling muscles.  My issue is that I’m not a fan of deep tissue massage, and I feel that most therapists would be suggesting this to me once they knew what my issue was.


My way to overcome this?  Well, as an Aromatherapist, it is to create a blend that is warming to my muscles, a pain reliever of the tight muscles and all while easing the tightness in them too.


The joy of the essential oils is that a nice way to apply them is to have a massage, but essentially, it is the oils that are getting into the blood stream and hence into the muscles to work their own special kind of magic.


Thirdly & finally, my step last week was to create an essential oil blend that I can apply to my legs pre and post workout, to ease the tightness that is being created, to warm the muscles, to overcome fatigue, to relieve pains, to be uplifting and energising during my training.


That blend is:

Workout Blend

Black pepper (Piper nigrum)

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Lemon (Citrus limon)

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)

in Sweet Almond Oil

If you’re making this at home, please contact me about the correct dilution and never put the essential oils directly onto your skin without a carrier oil.


I have now been using this blend for a week with my runs (my training partner informs me it smells of honey!) and my muscles are certainly not as tight, they are recovering well from my run and I am stretching further than I was a week ago.  I am also back up to running my 12km training on the road (with 9km and 6km runs between), looking at 15km next week, 18km the week after, then the half marathon (21km).  Very exciting indeed!

All up, I would recommend this blend on your muscles pre and post a training run to assist your muscles in recovery.


Do contact me if you would like a bottle of Workout Blend!

Feeling “fair, fat and forty”?

When I approached my 40s I was a firm believer that I wouldn’t be a sterotype.  What happened to that??


In my 40s I fell into the belief that I could easily blame my ‘slow metabolism’ – you know, the one where you look at a chocolate cake and you can feel the weight gain happening around the middle?  Or, you look at the gym and think, ‘tomorrow I’ll go and sign up’?


This belief is one that is prevalent in our society today – the number of women I speak to and they all agree that the spare tyre around the middle, or the thickening thighs, or the increasing buttocks are all something we have to live with as we age, as menopause lurks ahead of us and our metabolism slows!!


This is me, in my 40s, living the dream we sell ourselves – fair, fat and forty – and the progress I made once the myth vanished!


The myth is changing

The myth is changing


This myth, that we have to live with this outcome, is about to be blasted out of the water!


There are three ways you can increase your metabolism and turn your body shape into one that you desire


  1. Increase your muscle mass
  2. High intensity exercise
  3. Having muscle building and thermogenic foods


1. Increase your muscle mass

The more muscle you have, the more energy you need to maintain it, so this ensures you are using more calories.

Resistance training is key for achieving muscle gains, since this will increase the rate of muscle turn-over and rebuilding (1). If you’re not familiar with the techniques of weight training, it may be best to focus on large muscle groups—chest, back, shoulders, and legs—for maximum metabolism results. In the gym, that means doing exercises that will train these areas specifically, such as the chest press (chest), lat pull down (back), shoulder press (shoulder), and squats (legs).


2. High intensity exercise

High intensity exercise , as opposed to exercise that is not that intense determines the extent of muscle building and cardiovascular improvements, and determines how long and to what extent you’ll burn calories after you finish your workout (2).

An example of high intensity exercise is where you work at the highest resistance you can and at the highest speed you can, for a minute, then drop both back to resting levels for two minutes.  Repeat this for 5 cycles – a total of 15 minutes workout, but at a high intensity, or what is now known as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT, or HIT) – see a personal trainer for a refined program that suits you.  Essentially with HIIT you are working out at 80% of your maximum capacity.

An example of exercise that is not so high in intensity is a run for 30 minutes, or an aerobics class such as Zumba – good fun exercises, but not at an intensity that is going to increase the length of time or the amount of calories you burn after your workout has finished!


3. Have muscle building and thermogenic foods in your diet

The best way to support your muscle building activities in ideas No. 1 & 2, is to include protein in your diet.

High quality whey protein has been specifically shown to be of more benefit to muscle building than other proteins (3). Also, whey protein containing foods have also been shown to boost metabolism for longer than foods containing soy proteins (4).

What you’re aiming for in your food intake is foods that take more calories to digest the foods.  Did you know the following facts?

  • of every 100 calories of fat eaten, only 0 – 3 calories are required to digest
  • of every 100 calories of carbohydrates eaten, only 5 – 10 calories are required to digest
  • of every 100 caloreis of protein eaten, 20 – 30 calories are required to digest that protein

This makes protein thermogenic (calorie burning).  Now, I’m not suggesting you head out and eat only protein.  That is not a balanced diet and will not set you on the path of avoiding the ‘fair, fat and forty’ syndrome!!  I am suggesting a balanced diet that has a calculated amount of protein contained within it (high quality protein too), up to 36 grams of protein in two of your meals.  Along with fibre, carbohydrates, fats (yes, we still  need ‘good’ fats for our hormones to be carried around the body safely!) and vitamins and minerals.

Other thermogenic foods to consider include green tea and chilli – as these contain thermogenic compounds that will assist the body in keeping the metabolism functioning at a high speed!


Throughout my life journey, I have been utilising good quality whey proteing, thermogenic foods and HIIT – I have achieved, and am now maintaining, my goal weight.


You can do this too and avoid the myth!


Circle of the Myth

Circle of the Myth



1. Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29.

2. Børsheim E, Bahr R. Effect of exercise intensity, duration and mode on post-exercise oxygen consumption. Sports Med, 2003;33(14):1037-60.

3. Yang Y, Churchward-Venne TA, Burd NA, Breen L, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Myofibrillar protein synthesis following ingestion of soy protein isolate at rest and after resistance exercise in elderly men. Nutr Metab (Lond) 2012;9:57.

4. Acheson KJ, et al. Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;93(3): 525-534

Life Journey Update

I’ve been following a life journey over the last 7 months.  It’s involved a changing body shape and interestingly enough a changing mental shape too.

I wanted to give you an update on where I’m at with my physical body – today I weighed in at 100g under my personal goal.  I set this goal when I first began back on 23 July 2013. The last time I was this weight (60kg) was in 1999 and I think I maintained it for all of a month before slowly following the typical rebound scenario, up and up and up and oh yes, up again!!! Until finally arriving at a never before reached peak of 82kg.  Isn’t this the typical scenario for so many people?

Avoid Yo-yo Dieting

Avoid Yo-yo Dieting

This is called Yo-yo dieting in the media today.  It’s also a heartbreaking situation.  For those of you who, like me have been through all of the different types of diets recommended, pushed, tantalisingly held in front of us over the last 30 years, you will know that I’m at a point of ‘how long will this last”.  Physically though, I now know about nutritional rebalancing as a lifestyle, I’m confident this won’t occur because my insides have had a shower!

However, interestingly, things have also changed for me mentally this time.  Usually I think great, and I slow down everything I’ve been doing, hence the yo-yo scenario begins.  BUT, what I’ve learnt over my last 6 months journey (by the way, this was 18 months faster than the last time I reached this goal) is that it’s not about reaching the goal, it’s about maintaining the lifestyle you have created.

About a month ago, my gym membership ran out.  At that time I was stil 3 kg away from my goal weight.  I had to make a DECISION.  The decision was about whether or not I would maintain my exercise regime, was it important enough for me to maintain it without the incentive of a gym to attend?

My DECISION was that it mattered to me for my health and for my well being and sense of joy in life to have the purpose in my morning routine to still get out of bed and attend my gym sessions.  Yes, I’m fortunate enough to have a treadmill and weights station conveniently located on my back patio!

My DECISION was also that it was about more than just the weight, it was about me showing and mentoring others into believing there was another way, that yo-yo dieting does not have to remain in your life.

Over the last 7 months, my personal development journey has been along the lines of self-belief and also about understanding WHY I’m here, what is my role in my life journey.

My WHY came in for me with a bang on Tuesday!  Here it is: 
I believe that everyone deserves to be nurtured to step into their Greatness,
with love, integrity, strength, passion and fun
I’m here to do that for others.  I’ve always understood that my role in life is one of servitude, that I’m here to serve mankind, but to truly discover what it is that I’m to do in that servitude has given me a bounce, a joy and a passion that is beyond description.

In my mind this blog today was to be an update on my weight loss journey, so I’ll also give you those details now, not just my passion about my WHY!!I began my journey at 82kg, I’m now 60kg, a loss of 22kg (or 48.5lb).

My waist has gone from 95cm (37.5inches) to 75cm (29.5inches)

My chest has gone from 105.5cm (41.5inches) to 92cm (36inches)

My buttocks have gone from 110cm (43inches) to 92cm (36inches)

My abdomen has gone from 107.5cm (42inches) to 85cm (33.5inches)

I’m feeling AWESOME!!!

Here are some before and after shots as well


26 July 2013


7 Sep 2013



10 Dec 2013


5 Feb 2014


5 March 2014


Thank you universe and followers for making my journey so enjoyable.  

This journey will be continuing as it’s only just begun – my mission now is to help others achieve their greatness – come along for the ride, it’s going to be filled with passion, love and fun!!

Contact me today! Places are filling fast!

Contact me today! Places are filling fast!

Muscle and Youth – Only for those under 30?

I was reading an article recently that was discussing how we look after the muscles in our body, and when is it okay to do this, in relation to how old we are?

Well, I personally think being able to look after your muscle growth and repair is something we can do every day, NO MATTER OUR AGE!!!



The cells in our body are continually dying off and renewing, some do it quicker than others, and some do it slower. Example, the typical life of a red blood cell is 90 days, while the typical life of a bone cell may be up to 7 years.  So, some are slower to die off and regenerate and others are much quicker. We need to be on top of this every day, to ensure the nutrients are flowing to our cells on a regular basis to ensure they can rejuvenate in the best possible manner, and in the healthiest way they know.

Now, all the red blood cells don’t die on one day, they do it when their individual time is ‘up’, so this is a process that is occurring every day in our bodies.  We need to ensure that our body has the nutrients available to it to ensure an efficient clean up and rejuvenation process!

Typically, we consider the use of whey protein to aid in the ‘body building’ processes of youth. It is those ‘younger’ people that are into the field of building up their muscles and keeping their body fit and trim.

But who says it is just for the youth of our society? Doesn’t your body also deserve to benefit from being kept fit and trim?

The aging dieter also benefits from the use of whey protein in their diet as a complement to their healthy diet.

Whey protein helps burn age-related fat

This is what I always like to hear, how to burn age-related fat – I know that when I reached my mid-forties, the age-related fat was growing rapidly!!  Apparently, body fat accumulates as people age. That is an easy thing to see as we look around us today in our obesity challenged society.

Interestingly, the average person will gain 1 pound of fat every year after the age of 30. Not only is this extra fat unattractive and uncomfortable, its accumulation also poses significant risks to health. Visceral fat, or the fat that surrounds your internal organs, is particularly hazardous and has been linked to insulin resistance, abnormal blood lipids, and cardiovascular disease.

So aging healthfully requires burning excess fat and maintaining a desirable body weight. Eating a diet high in quality whey protein can assist in weight loss and subsequent maintenance by maximizing satiety, boosting fat burning, and increasing metabolism. Whey protein promotes fullness by stimulating gut and appetite hormones to tell the brain that it is satisfied (1). In addition, whey protein can actually rev up metabolism, helping the body burn fat. Whey protein is superior to other protein sources for promoting fat loss and has been shown to increase the body’s fat burning rate more than soy or casein in the hours following a meal (2).

Whey protein helps prevent age-related muscle loss

In addition to accumulating fat with age, people also lose muscle. So the fat increases, and the muscle decreases.  A worrisome thought, especially if you’re hoping to avoid this trend!

Muscle becomes progressively more difficult to build and preserve with age. In fact, the average person will lose 1/2 a pound of muscle every year after the age of 30.  So, we are gaining 1 pound of visceral fat, and losing 1/2 a pound of muscle, an overall weight gain of 1/2 a pound a year.  Where will you be by the time you are 60?

Luckily, the benefits of whey protein are two-sided, it gives both a greater ability to burn fat while building muscle and preventing breakdown. When it comes to building muscle, whey protein is superior to other protein sources. This is partly due to the type of amino acids making up the protein, which act as the key signal in regulating muscle growth (3).

Muscle is made of protein and is the only form of protein storage in the body. When sufficient protein is not supplied to the body through meals, muscle will begin to breakdown to accommodate the body’s needs. By eating whey protein in regular intervals throughout the day, muscle breakdown can be minimized and muscle mass can be maximized. Maximizing and preserving muscle mass is important for maintaining a healthy metabolism, supporting bone health (4) and mobility, as well as preventing chronic illness. Low muscle mass has been related to conditions such as poor blood sugar control and diabetes (4, 5). The less muscle a person has, the greater their health risks.  Something we are attempting to avoid as we age.

Protein needs are higher in older people

As we get older, we need more protein than younger adults to support our health, functionality, and recovery from illness (8). Older people are less sensitive to protein as the signal for muscle building and more is needed to stimulate muscle growth and to prevent muscle loss (9). Some studies suggest that needs may be as high as 40 grams per meal.

The current field of thought for a sedentary person is approximately 1g of protein for every kg of body weight, e.g., a 70kg sedentary person, requires approximately 70 g of protein per day.

Chronic inflammatory conditions and diseases that commonly occur with aging can also increase protein needs (8). It is critical that the right amount of high quality protein is eaten to offset some of the harmful consequences of chronic conditions and to compensate for a diminished anabolic response.


To sum up, no matter our age, the use of bioavailable protein to build our muscles and to enhance fat burning is vital.



1. Souza GT et al. Dietary whey protein lessens several risk factors for metabolic diseases: a review. Lipids Health Dis. 2012 Jun 7;11(1):67. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Acheson KJ et al. Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar;93(3):525-34. Epub 2011 Jan 12.

3. Phillips SM et al. The role of milk- and soy-based protein in support of muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein accretion in young and elderly persons. J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Aug;28(4):343-54.

4. Wolfe R. The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Sep;84(3):475-82.

5. Srikanthan P, Karlamangla AS. Relative muscle mass is inversely associated with insulin resistance and prediabetes. Findings from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Sep;96(9):2898-903. Epub 2011 Jul 21.

6. Bauer J, et al. Evidence-based recommendations for optimal dietary protein intake in older people: a position paper from the PROT-AGE Study Group. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2013 Aug;14(8):542-59. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2013.05.021. Epub 2013 Jul 16.

7. Hulmi JJ et al. Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Jun 17;7:51.


Walking in Nature

Recently I wrote about finding other ways to exercise, rather than working out in a hot sweaty gym, in the blog on exercise

I wanted to share with you a walk that I get to do reasonably regularly, so you can see the beauty in nature that is around us, stopping and smelling the roses so to speak, while getting some gentle exercise into the bargain.

I usually get to go for a walk on a Sunday morning, it’s when I normally don’t have to rush off and ‘do stuff’, so if it takes me 5 or 10 minutes longer, because I’ve stopped and spotted something interesting, unique or stunning, then it has no knock on effects on my day.

This last Sunday was relatively sunny, so the choice to go walking was obvious (well, I suppose I should admit here that the gym is actually closed on a Sunday, so it’s very difficult to get to it!!!).

I made the decision to walk to a place called Curtis Falls. It’s a gentle walk in that it takes about 25 minutes to get there, no big hills, though there is the incline outside the house to begin with!!

Walking in the rainforest to a waterfall is amazing, you see some wonderful things.

Like nature, and the strenght of it – check out the size of this tree that was blown over a few months ago

Uprooted tree, including large rock!

Uprooted tree, including large rock!


Further along the track, you come to a waterfall, it’s one of my favourite spots here on the mountain, and so peaceful, I did take a recording of the water splashing, but it’s not come out for here – another time. Though, take a look at the waterfall itself – love it!

Curtis Falls, serenity

Curtis Falls, serenity


There was much noise occurring from the birds as we wandered (okay, so it wasn’t a gentle stroll, more a strong walking pace), occassionally stopping to spot the particular birds making the noises. I didn’t get the photos of them, as they do flit around quite quickly, but one bird I did get a photo of was a kookaburra perched on a powerline, just before hitting home.


Kookaburra waiting patiently

Kookaburra waiting patiently


A bit difficult to see the bird in this photo, but he was lovely to watch.  The other birds we heard included rosellas, king parrots and sulphur crested cockatoos – all noisy and busy birds!


Then, after about an hour of walking, I was virtually at home, when I realised that even on the side of the road, there was beauty, you certainly don’t need to be in a rainforest, check out this old trunk and the plants and flowers around it


Lush growth

Lush growth


Take the time to enjoy being outside, while supporting and nourishing your body, remember a minimum of 20 minutes increased heart rate exercise a day is a great place to start – and sometimes you can do it in places of utter beauty so you don’t realise it’s difficult. It will become a part of your lifestyle, one that can be maintained and is never a chore.  Enjoy working out in the outdoors.  Tell me where you go for your outdoors exercise too – would love to hear about it/see it.


Going to the gym continues

Even with aching muscles, the willingness of the body to still get out of bed on a Monday morning does surprise me!

With a determination that I’ve never experienced before, I’ve put the alarm on for 6.20am to ensure getting to the gym in time to allow the remainder of the day to occur as planned.  Great move!

Mondayitis only kicked in for 10 minutes, before reality hit, and the aching legs moved out of the bed

The gym was easier than it was over the weekend, so it’s going in the right direction.

While at the gym, my motivation is kept alive by seeing the different ages around me on the gym floor, I certainly wasn’t one of the oldest, and more likely closer to one of the youngest. Exercise and healthy nutrition is certainly a lifelong goal and habit.

I will keep you posted on how it all goes (upped the weight on one exercise already, maybe it was a little light anyway!!)

Back on track in the wellbeing journey

This morning the sun was shining and it was time to get back on track with my wellbeing journey.

I’ve decided to implement the exercise part of my journey now. In the past I’ve always undertaken some form of exercise as part of my lifestyle, though over the last couple of years this has dropped away dramatically. My question to myself was how to get it back on track again and to have it as part of my lifestyle again.

Also, in the past, I have always stated that I dislike exercise, though in saying that I’ve been a member of a gym almost consistently since the late 1980’s, so I have physically disproved that statement through my actions.  The last 4 – 5 years, we’ve had gym equipment at home (now sits just outside the clinic to be a constant reminder) and have used that regularly until the last 2 years.  It’s amazing what gets dropped away when stress, or perceived stress, comes into your life. Okay, I know, I allow it to enter, so now it’s up to me to allow it to leave!

Now that all my visitors have departed, I have wonderful support in my life, and the desire to make lifestyle changes is strong, it’s time to implement another plan.  I keep writing about making plans, so I’m thinking I must be a great planner!!

My plan is to begin slowly, There is a recent study that shows that even though more people are exercising, the rate of obesity is also rising, so exercise alone does not ensure health, a healthy diet is also required, see the reference at the end of this blog.

So my thoughts are to have a healthy eating plan, Tick underway! as well as reintroducing exercise into my daily routine.  At this stage, I want to start slowly, so that I don’t burn out and get too sore, etc, along the way and give up – a typical response to beginning something new, it gets hard and we stop working at it. This plan has to be easy to begin, not too many hurdles to overcome initially, and be beneficial.

The plan is to begin with a morning walk that is at least 20minutes long. I’m lucky to live ina beautiful area that has a very steep (think 20% gradient) road right outside my door!!! At the bottom of this gradient are the local botanical gardens. As you can see a plan is coming together. Walk down the hill, have a great walk around the botanical gardens and then walk back up the hill. Always remembering to be like our bush turkey, Trevor (name adopted from a friend!!), keep doing it, keep putting one foot in front of the other, it doesn’t matter how fast it happens, just that it does.  This walk is about 30 minutes from memory, so the timing is good, the heart rate will be accelerated by the steep climb, and I get the joy of seeing the flowers and plants in the middle of the walk.  Now, cardiovascular work alone is not enough, as strengthening exercises are also required to work the muscles and build lean muscle mass, I have some strengthening exercises that I have undertaken before and know I can easily do on the back deck, using the railing and a chair, no fancy equipment required!

This morning the plan worked!  The walk and the exercises took approximately 40minutes of my time, the sunshine was lovely and the flowers stunning, see some photos below. It’s camelia, rhododendron and magnolia season, what a way to start the day.

Like striped candy this camelia

Like striped candy this camelia

Sunshine in a rhododendron flower

Sunshine in a rhododendron flower

Magnolia tree

Magnolia tree

Reference: Dwyer-Lindgren L, Freedman G, Engell RE et al. Prevalence of physical activity and obesity in US counties, 2001–2011: a road map for action. Popul Health Metr 2013;11:7