Archive for June, 2013

Here’s a fact: the gym is a brilliant place to people-watch. Ever since I first stepped foot in a gym (probably back in the late 80s as a child when I went to karate classes while my mum went to Jane Fonda-style aerobics classes, but that’s another story) I began observing people and noticed very definitive ‘types’ of people who frequent gyms. Of course everybody’s an individual, you can’t stereotype, be a Judgy McJudgerton, blah blah blah, but really in this case you can.

People at the gym

Here we go…

1. The Poser – Generally found in front of the mirror for the entire duration of their workout, The Poser is known to most people in the gym. They can be recognised by their signature flexing moves, often accompanied by grunting and general animal noises while lifting weights. And contrary to popular opinion, it’s not only the male of the species that is identified as The Poser. I have seen many a woman at my local gym (and worse examples at Fitness First!) standing in front of the mirror, dabbing at their eye makeup while they take selfies of themselves to post on Instagram, not even breaking a sweat. The craziest are the ones that wear their long hair down while ‘working out’. As the saying goes: if you don’t look like a sweaty, red-faced horrendous mess when you leave the gym, you haven’t worked hard enough. Or something like that.

Hair down, boobs out, take a selfie with a token weight in front of you to show you're 'working hard at the gym'.

Hair down, boobs out, take a selfie with a token weight in front of you.

2. The Gym Couple – Ok, here’s a confession: Rob and I often go to the gym together. BUT, before you go “hey you hypocrite!” let me tell you that we never work out together. Nor do I stand around watching him lift heavy weights like many a Gym Girlfriend I have seen. The female Poser can often be seen as one half of The Gym Couple. The Gym Couple can also be two friends who just have to work out together, they can’t possibly be apart. And whatever you do, don’t try to get on a machine that these two are on – you’ll be waiting a while.

Going to the gym with your partner? No need for weights, just use them!

Going to the gym with your partner? No need for weights, just use them!

3. The Walker – Otherwise known as ‘hog the treadmill and never break a sweat’. Specialises in the slow and steady walk, sometimes found talking on their mobile phones while doing said walk. These people (although let it be said, this category are mainly women) either think walking is sufficient exercise, and don’t mind doing it for up to and sometimes over an hour, or they’re too concerned with their appearance to want to break a sweat. They can also be one half of a Gym Couple, killing time while their partner is working out. I have seen women who are dressed in tights and a SKIRT, not to mention large amounts of eye makeup, walking on treadmills. And they wonder why they never lose weight…

Talking on the phone while working out...really?!

Talking on the phone while working out…really?!

4. The Upside Down Triangle – chicken legs, massive upper body. This category is ALL men. Now I’m not saying it’s easy, if you’re an ectomorph, to build muscle in this area, but for men it’s a lot easier and there really is no excuse – if you can build huge muscles in your upper body, you can certainly build decent quads, hamstrings and glutes to go with them. And in fact if you build your leg muscles, you’ll be able to lift way more weight overall anyway. I can’t speak for every woman on the planet, but I see these guys at the gym and I just laugh (while simultaneously expecting them to over-balance). Despicable Me comes to mind… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Always work legs

5. The Get In, Get Out-er – I am definitely of this variety. I get in to the gym, I already know what I’m going to do so I’m prepared, and I’m out of there 45-60 minutes later. I don’t want to be sociable at the gym, I’m not there to look at myself (I can do that at home thanks), to make friends or to have any sort of social life at the gym at all. I get in, I do what I have to do, and then I get out. Done.

Oh yes. This.

Oh yes. This.

6. The Gross Personal Habits Person – Where do I start? How about with my local gym at Ashfield. They actually had to speak to a guy at my gym after several people complained that he was hocking up a loogie and then spitting it into the water cooler. Yeah. F*cking disgusting. Also there’s the sign below that was placed in the bathroom. You know, just in case you couldn’t figure it out. I’m gonna break this down: don’t spit in the gym, please wipe down machines and cardio equipment after you’ve used it (no one wants to touch your sweat), and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD wear deodorant before you workout. That is all.

Toilet etiquette

You shouldn’t have to be told! Especially not with diagrams…

7. The ‘Always at the Gym’ – This guy or girl is the regular at the gym. No matter what time, day or night, you go, they are always there. Usually good friends with the gym owners or staff, they’re always hanging around. Obsessed with fitness or have no life, it’s hard to say which applies.

This list is by no means conclusive – who knows other types of people who frequent gyms? Do you find them annoying or inspiring?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

Ok, brace yourselves guys: I’m going to give you THE BEST recipe for chilli con carne that you will ever find. Yeah, that’s a big claim, and chilli is a pretty personal thing, but this is my favourite recipe and it’s super-easy. It does require a slow-cooker though (if you don’t have one, get one – they are your best friend in winter!) and Rob and I have made this so many times that we don’t even measure ingredients, just throw everything in.

So here’s the recipe. And this is what it looks like:

Two bean chilli con carne

Mmmm….drool….

I don’t use onion (bleurgh!) or celery, and instead use two capsicums (peppers). It takes 10-15 minutes to prepare before you chuck it all in the slow cooker and come back 8 hours later to reap the benefits. I serve it with crusty sourdough bread, but if you fancied it you could serve it with rice.

This is healthy, filling and makes for great lunches the next day. And for once it’s not from Taste.com.au! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyone else have any easy, healthy winter recipes to share?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

I decided to write this post because A) I DO love weights and B) I know a lot of women are scared of them. Let me clarify: some women believe that if they start lifting weights they’ll turn into a muscle woman who more closely resembles a man than a woman, complete with deep voice, pecs instead of boobs, and popping veins. While that’s definitely a look that some people find attractive, it’s not one that’s particularly feminine nor is it one that many women aspire to. ย There’s also what I like to call the ‘scary boofhead factor’ – a lot of the weights areas in gyms are populated by men who are, quite frankly, intimidating. The grunting noises that come out of the mouths of some of them would rival Gorillas in the Mist, that’s for damn sure.

Man or woman? Who can say...

Man or woman? Who can say …

And of course there is also the fact that if you’re a beginner, you won’t always know how to use the weights correctly, what weights to use, and how many repetitions to do. This is where a personal trainer, or even just a friend who can show you how to keep correct form and give you an idea of what weights to begin with, comes in VERY handy. Even if you only pay a personal trainer for a couple of sessions to show you how to use all the equipment in the gym, it will be worth it. Luckily I have a rugby player boyfriend who comes in very handy when I feel like I’m not doing something right ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, down to the important benefits that you’ll get from lifting weights, and what is a more realistic result …

Now this is more like it ...

Now this is more like it …

Lifting weights will give you:

  • Muscle definition – Yep, you can run, cycle or do any other form of cardio all you like, but you’ll just end up skinny with no shape. Muscle definition is what ย lot of people call ‘tone’ – you look fit, not just a skinny bag of bones. Your curves will be in the right places (especially if you squat) and you’ll have killer arms (think Michelle Bridges, my own personal arm icon. And yes, I do realise I’m obsessed with her).
  • Strength – You know how you couldn’t open the pasta sauce jar? Or carry all your groceries up the stairs to your flat in one go? What about picking up your kids and carrying them around for an extended period of time? Yep – you’ll be able to do all those things way easier than you could before lifting weights.
  • Confidence – all these killer curves, definition and strength lead to a little thing called confidence. In fact, confidence is the probably the biggest bonus you’ll get from lifting weights. You’ll know you’re strong physically, and this leads to you thinking great things about yourself. Doesn’t mean you won’t ever have bad days again, but lifting weights leads to a great endorphin rush.
Ain't that the truth ...

Ain’t that the truth …

Now, where to start if you want to lift weights? Take a look at these great sites for beginner help:

  • Check out Nia Shanks and her awesome strength training tips for women
  • Weight Training For Beginners gives you a great day-by-day guide to basic weight training exercises
  • And there’s always YouTube! This is a good one but there are loads more on there
  • This is also a good short workout with weights on YouTube (don’t be put off by the intense music or the heavy weights she’s using!)

It’s important when lifting weights to ensure you keep good form, otherwise you risk injuring yourself, so always ask someone if you’re unsure if you’re doing something correctly.

Now this is not to say I am anti-cardio. But it’s a proven fact that muscle burns more fat, even when you’re resting, and I can vouch for the fact that you see way faster results lifting weights than you do running on a boring treadmill. I also just love to squat ย ๐Ÿ™‚

This is why I squat ...

This is why I squat …

Anyone have any preferences – cardio or weights? Feel free to discuss ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

I don’t know about you guys, but lately the temperature in Sydney has taken a nose-dive, and it’s damn cold. Of course ‘cold’ is relative – 8 degrees celsius in the Australian winter is A LOT more bearable than say -20 in Norway (believe me, there’s NOTHING like that for ensuring you walk quickly EVERYWHERE) but still the chill factor makes it just that bit harder to get out of your cosy, centrally heated home or office and work up a sweat.

 

Standard winter behaviour...

Standard winter behaviour …

Happily, I follow a lot of bloggers who have posted some great articles and info on what types of exercise to do in winter. Personally, I’m not a fan of running … well … EVER, really. Year-round I prefer to workout at the gym, but also throw in the odd walk or yoga/pilates class. But in winter I may not even make it the 10 minutes walk down the road to the gym if it’s pouring with rain outside, so this is where the trusty DVD (or YouTube) comes in handy.

First of all I will say – it’s not gonna be like this:

Dogs. With muscles. And leotards. What could be better?!

Dogs. With muscles. And leotards. What could be better?!

And if I’m being honest, I don’t get as good a workout as I would if I’d gone to the gym. But it’s ALMOST as good. And something’s better than nothing, right?

So these are my recommendations:

  • Anything by Michelle Bridges. Ok, I kind of have a small (read: massive) crush on Mish. But I can, without bias, truly tell you that her DVDs are ace. I own the Crunchtime DVD collection which is actually 3 DVDs which means it’s not only good value for money, but you also get to mix up the workouts. You need hand weights and a chair, and that’s it.
  • I’m pretty keen to try out the FitnessBlender workouts on YouTubeย but haven’t done so yet. They have loads of videos, short or full-length targeting specific areas but also quite a lot of interval workouts (my favourite).
  • Ever heard of the Insanity workout? If you haven’t, have you been hiding under a rock? It’s a 60 day workout program that comes complete with 10 workouts, a nutrition plan, a fitness guide and a calendar, and boasts that it’s “the most intense workout programme ever put on DVD”. I know several people who have done this program and they swear by it. Or should I say they have a love/hate relationship with it! Either way, it’s intense, so this is only something I’d look at doing if I was totally prepared for it.
  • Yoga is something you can easily do at home by yourself, and if you’re not convinced yoga can be life-changing, take a look at this video. There are loads of websites and YouTube channels dedicated to yoga routines. Or you could try a 15 day free trail at YogaGlo.
  • If you don’t fancy turning on the TV, you can try an indoor workout that you follow yourself. I’d recommend purchasing a stability ball, a pair of hand weights (if you’re a beginner start with 2kg dumbbells) and a skipping rope. And check out these 50 bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere. My friend Lau over at Fierce for Life can explain way better than I can why you everyone should be incorporating bodyweight exercises into their workouts.

So that’s it for now folks. I could go on and on about exercising indoors but this is a good start if you’re keen to keep fit but don’t want to brave the outdoors in the cold weather.

Extreme winter exercising. Hard-core.

Extreme winter exercising. Hard-core.

Stay Fit & Well,

Lisa x

A winter warmer…

Posted: June 16, 2013 in Food

Well the weather’s decidedly chilly now, despite the sunny days we’ve been having in Sydney, and I’m taking the opportunity to try out new recipes every weekend I get the chance. This weekend I steered clear of the slow cooker and instead prepared a warming chicken casserole. It was nice to cook something that didn’t have a tomato base (suffering slightly from tomato overload) and this has a creamy base of coconut milk and chicken stock.

I have an aversion to onion akin to a vegetarian’s dislike of meat, and so I never include onion when it says to in recipes. I can honestly report that I’ve never noticed a lack of flavour due to lack of onion, and there’s also the benefit of no onion breath. Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

You'll never find ME chopping up onions.... vom...

You’ll never find ME chopping up onions…

 

So, here’s the recipe: chicken and spicy vegetable casserole. For people who don’t like spice, there was definitely enough chilli pesto in the recipe, but for me (who will happily sit there eating something so spicy both my eyes and nose run at the same time. I know, gross), I would add another tablespoon of chilli pesto. Served with brown rice, this is pretty healthy actually. I used coconut milk instead of coconut evaporated milk just because I had that in the pantry, and it came out delicious and creamy. Overall, a winner, and one I will add to the regular repertoire at Chez Lisa.

Winner winner, chicken dinner!

Winner winner, chicken dinner!

 

Anyone else have any other awesome chicken recipes, or winter warmers? I’ll be posting lots more recipes over the coming winter months but would love to hear yours.

Stay Fit & Well,

Lisa x