Tag Archive | Physical exercise

Are Mistakes Failures?

In today’s society there seems to be a strong pressure for us to all perform, to perform well (in fact perfectly) and to achieve the top of anything we attempt.


We make mistakes!!


How many of us admit that we’ve made a mistake, and what does it mean to admit to this mistake?


This week, I had a day where I made a mistake.  Instead of following my routine that I had set aside for the month of November, I didn’t follow my plan. Yes, this was a mistake.


What it catastrophic?




Did I Learn From This?




What did I learn I hear you ask?


Well, I learnt a couple of things – okay, I’ve listed 7.


  1. To be kind to myself
  2. To improve on the me I was yesterday
  3. To be the best me I can be
  4. To make a mistake is to learn
  5. To learn is to grow
  6. To grow is LIVING!
  7. Once a mistake is made, to learn from it and move back is powerful


I’ve been following the teachings of Don Miguel Ruiz and his wonderfully quoted book, The Four Agreements.  These four agreements are:


  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best.


These agreements came to mind for me strongly when I admitted to myself that it had been a mistake to not follow my program for a day.  However, the tempered my response to this mistake, and supported my growth from that mistake.


Within these, I was gentle to myself for slipping off the rails (being impeccable with my word), telling myself how easy it will be to step back onto these rails and be a better person performing the task than I was the day before (always doing my best) and not blaming myself (not taking it personally that I slipped).  I have stepped back onto the rails, with determination and gratitude for where I have developed to as a person.


A year ago, it would have been so easy to tell myself off for slipping off a planned strategy, to have felt bad for doing the ‘wrong’ thing, to then continue being off the rails. Now, life is much gentler.


Remember: be gentle to yourself, so you can be gentle to others


Mistakes & Growth

Responsibility for your mistakes, results in growth

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

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.

Morning Person or Morning Exerciser?


I recently read an article asking this very question:


Morning Person




Morning Exerciser




I’ll admit, I was puzzled initially. Was there a difference? Well, on reading, yes there was a difference, and there were some compelling arguments for exercising in the mornings!


Firstly, I AM NOT a morning person.  I usually wake, hit the snooze button several times, and that’s when I’m feeling energetic!!  I love a lie in, I love lying and reading for a while, I love lying and having a pot of tea brought into me! Yes, spoilt I know, but it’s part of who I am.




I am a morning exerciser!!


If I don’t go to the gym, go for my walk, do my weights, do my stretches first thing after getting up out of bed, then usually these exercises (whatever they are) are not done at all.  By the time the afternoon comes around, the excuses are beginning to load up!  These can be something as simple as – it’s my turn to cook the dinner and we need to eat by 7pm, so there’s no time left!! Or, something more complex such as – I’ve had an awful drive home, can I skip it tonight and just spend some time relaxing?  Or – oh no, there’s no time to do my exercise, I HAVE to call my mother/friend/work colleague/new team member/etc – the list just grows!!  Or – I can’t miss the get together of all the people from the office, it’s on tonight!


The benefits for exercising in the morning include:


1. It’s cooler, especially in the summer when it’s hot, humid and the sun rises earlier


2. I get to hear the beautiful birdsong, as the traffic is much less before 7am


3. I only have to shower once in the day – all the washing is done before work, and the clothes don’t get messed up before heading out for the day


4. Having done the workout before work, I can feel pious all day long, especially when others pull out of doing their workout later in the day


5. The feeling of not looking forward to a workout, is far outweighed by the feeling of having already done the job, the uplifting feeling of a morning with increase happy hormones is great!




So, the jury is in, I am a morning exerciser, but not a morning person




What are you?



English: exercising on Benidorm beach