Tag Archive | Gym

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!

Belly fat in your life journey?

Do you have belly fat?

Have you noticed that it is getting harder and harder to shift as the years click over?

I know I was certainly experiencing this until recently.  This made me wonder, WHY?? Does it make you wonder WHY?

Expanding waist lines

Expanding waist lines

Research shows that as our age increases, the weight and our Body Mass Index (or BMI) also gradually increases (1, 2)! This increase peaks when we are between 50 and 59 years of age.

Now, I’m not sure about you, but for me that age band is beginning to approach rapidly, so it’s been time to understand why and to do something about it. I’ve spent the last 10 years watching the waistband expand, while still eating similar foods and exercising a similar amount as I did when I lost weight before.

This pattern of the increasing waistline with similar behaviour patterns was frustrating me, so ultimately I failed the determination and perserverance test, and I began the slippery slide down to less exercise and poorer food and alcohol choices – all this mainly due to the frustration I was feeling with the change of the belly fat and ultimately, my weight and waistline!

What research tells us is that as the waistline grows, the lean body mass, or muscle mass, decreases – this can result in tiredness and this in turn leads to lack of motivation, determination and perserverance with what we are doing – so the CIRCLE CONTINUES!!!!

This loss of lean body mass results in a redistribution of where the fat in our body lies, and it seems to accummulate on the belly – giving the typical belly fat look that we see often in ageing populations!  And of course, in me – however, since reducing my belly fat, a lot of my friends are beginning to notice that this is where I’ve reduced the weight considerably, and they are wondering how I’m doing it!

There has been a diet change.

The diet now has more good quality protein in it, and this is because the consumption of protein helps to fuel fat loss and stimulates the growth of muscle – this is always a good thing!

What tends to happen as we age, for various reasons, is that the consumption of protein tends to decrease, thus resulting in the increasing belly fat that we notice as we age.  A study was undertaken that shows that older adults eat less than the recommended daily intake (RDI) of protein (3) and further studies have proposed that older adults need to double their protein intakes, especially if they want to lose weight (4).

There has been an exercise change

I’m now going to the gym 3 – 4 times a week, with walking supplementing this routine (I love being in nature and will always love walking amongst it too!)

My first ever 'selfie' in the rainforest

My first ever ‘selfie’ in the rainforest

Another aspect that contributes to the ever increasing waist line, and belly fat increase, is the reduction in energy expenditure.  Our body needs to spend energy to function, just to perform all the daily activities it normally does to survive, it also spends energy to digest food, and finally it spends energy to exercise.  These are further areas where there is a reduction as we age.  The energy to function can reduce by 2 – 3% for every decade we’re over 20 (5), the energy to digest food is reduced in older people and as we age we typically find other activities to undertake that are not as physical (I know my activities had changed to reading rather than gyming!!), or we become less agile and mobile.  The reduction in energy expenditure can result in less muscle mass, and ultimately more belly fat.

Hormonal changes can also occur as we age, and these can result in a reduced ability to make muscle as well and to recognise sensations of fullness, leading to increased calorie intake (along with poor food choices!).

There has been a supplements change

One area of concern that can occur when a change of routine occurs that results in weight loss, is the area of loss of minerals and resulting bone density loss.  To support my body through these changes I have increased my supplements to include Vitamin D, calcium and omega-3s, ultimately looking to minimise my mineral loss and to assist in building muscle mass (omega-3s will help preserve muscle mass).  I have included other supplements and herbs to assist my body in it’s functioning abilities also.  Sometimes the body can go slow when the exercise is non-existent and the food choices are poor. The herbs, vitamins and minerals I’m using support the body in functioning at the best it can for me.

There has been a motivational change

Motivation plays a big role in any change of life, whether it’s weight loss, muscle building, change of career, new adventures or any change you can think of.  My change of motivation has been much easier this journey than ever before, and I’m beginning to understand it’s about having a body that is functioning well due to well balanced nutrition. This appears to be changing how I think. Motivation and positiveness ultimately plays a role in any change you make, and my gratitude diary, my meditation, the support group I’m establishing, my vision boards and my energy levels are all playing a role in changing the motivation and thoughts that are surrounding my change.

  1. Mokdad et al. The continuing epidemics of obesity and diabetes in the United States. JAMA, 2001;286:1195-200.
  2. Hedley et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity among US children, adolescents, and adults, 1999-2002. JAMA, 2004;291:2847-50.
  3. Roubenoff et al.  Sarcopenia: Current concepts. J Geronotol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2000:55A:M716-M724.
  4. Pasiakos et al. Effects of high-protein diets on fat-free mass and muscule protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. FASAB J, 2013;9:3837-47.
  5. Tzanknoff et al. Effect of muscle mass decrease on age-related BMR changes. J Appl Physiol, 1977;43:1001-6.

Wellness journey, tough day

It’s bound to happen occassionally when  you are on a journey. Nothing I’ve ever heard of has been plain sailing the whole time.

So, today has been a tough day.

What caused it?

Maybe it’s because I’m due to go away for a week for work?

Maybe it’s because I’m doing a cleanse day today and that means I couldn’t sneak off for a cup of delicious coffee?

Maybe it’s because……

Whatever the reason, it’s been a flat day, which makes it a tough day in my books.  I have been doing a lot of things to keep it bouncing along though.

Step out of your problem to see clarity

Step out of your problem to see clarity

Now for me to step out of feeling this way is to write about it here.

First, off to the gym early this morning. Even though it was a cleanse day, it was time to push myself a little further again. Managed to set the incline level a little higher on my Arc trainer this morning. Finished it without collapsing, so that’s a positive!!  As it is a cleanse day too, I decided to leave the weight training out today. Wanted to focus on pumping my blood around the body. Managed that too!!! Went on both the Arc Trainer and the Treadmill, managed to work up a sweat (know you were all waiting to hear about that!!) and finished off after 45 minutes. Pretty pleased with how that worked out.  I wanted to check out if my fat % had changed at all over the last 3 weeks of going to the gym. Sadly, the scales read the same, now that was disappointing!! However, on the bright side, they did read 3kg lighter than 3 weeks ago, and I feel within myself that the muscle is developing, so I’m planning on ignoring the fat % reading today!

The drive home (yes, I’ve not got into the routine of biking to the gym yet, it will come at some stage!) was beautifully uneventful, thankfully, as it’s only 5 minutes away!!

Next was to organise the internet connection to the clinic. Would you believe it took 20 minutes to sort out? Well, when I reflect on that, it was a remarkably short time for troubleshooting IT/telecommunications 🙂

The day itself has been fairly uneventful. Though I’ve felt tired physically.  I believe it must be working out on a cleanse day.

This evening was to be a visit to the movies, that has changed, in favour of rest, relaxation and some gentle nurturing.

What do you do in order to nurture yourself at the end of the day when you’re feeling flat?  For me, a relaxing massage, or a soothing bath with some wonderful essential oils.  I think a pick me up blend will work well.  For this I will look at the following oils:

Pick Me Up Joyfully


Protection from whatever is draining your energy


To light up your night and bring joy while feeling refreshed

May Chang

Put that spark back into your step

Relax and enjoy

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!!)