Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

So it’s Summer in Australia and I know now why I loved living in London so much. Summer in London is generally pretty nice. People lay around in parks and swan about wearing flippy dresses and their hair stays basically like it was when they left the house. Sure, the Tube is about 100 degrees celsius but you can’t have everything.  Here in Oz, however, people don’t lay around in parks because between 11am and 3pm the UV rays will basically burn your skin to smithereens and give you skin cancer, and that flippy dress you’re wearing clings to you in all the wrong places because you’re so sweaty. And don’t even mention the constant hair frizz due to humidity.

Yes, you could say I am not a fan of the extreme heat of the Southern Hemisphere. And this year, I’ve confronted something that I’ve been avoiding since I was probably about 18 years old: I hate exercising in hot weather. Absolutely detest is. Every year since I arrived back in Oz at the end of 2010, I have attempted to force, cajole, and even bargain with myself (“Go to the gym, Lisa. You can have an ice cream afterwards”) but this year, I have become reconciled to the fact that actually, if it’s above 32 degrees, the gym just ain’t happening. And instead of beating myself up with the guilts, I just go with it.too hot You know how most people put on weight in Winter, what with the heavier food, and moving less, etc? Well I am entirely the opposite – I lose weight in the cooler months because I exercise more and eat less ice cream, and in Summer I pack it on. So this year I will be sitting on the couch watching Making A Murderer (a documentary series which is my current Netflix obsession – DO NOT click on the link if you want to watch it, it contains spoilers), Cornetto in hand, not giving a damn about my abs.

 

What season do you find yourself more motivated to exercise? Is anyone with me in hating to exercise in Summer?

Stay fit & well,
Lisa x

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The 2015 Fitness & Health Expo was on at Olympic Park, Sydney a couple of weeks ago, and I made a day of it with a friend. We had a great time looking around the exhibition hall – stall holders covered a lot of bases, from organic ‘healthy’ chocolate companies, to body-building protein and supplement stalls.

But by far the highlights were discovering a ridiculously low calorie alternative to noodles or pasta, and watching Commando in action on the CrossFit stage.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of Commando doing his thing and working out on the main stage, but I do have this very grainy shot of Michelle Bridges. She answered lots of questions about everything from recovering from training injuries to the benefits of going vegetarian to lose weight (her advice – don’t do it just to lose weight!). Heavily pregnant, I was amazed she could stay standing up as long as she did, but that’s one of the benefits of being incredibly fit to begin with!michelle bridges

Commando also chatted on the Healthy Living Stage, and gave great advice about functional movement, and increasing your range of movement so you don’t get injured in the first place (think stretching, foam rolling and regular massage).

There were loads of product stalls, but the one that really stood out for me was the Slendier stall. Slendier make a range of pasta and noodle alternatives, made from the Chinese konjac vegetable, which are low in calories and high in fibre. We tried a sample of the spaghetti with sauce and it honestly didn’t taste much different to pasta, with only a softer or silkier texture. I was sold, and bought several packets. They’re also available in Coles and Woolworths.

konjac konjac noodles

We tried lots of energy juices, low-carb bread and protein bars, and it was really interesting seeing the range of products on show, and it was a healthy and fun day out. I’m already looking forward to next year’s show…

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

I’m not going to beat around the bush here – motherhood sure isn’t easy. And it can be a rude awakening to find out that being a new mum doesn’t mean just staring lovingly at your adoring baby while they sleep. No no no – housework still needs to be done, you need to eat, and also – babies often don’t sleep! Or sleep for only a few hours at a time. Hello sleep deprivation for new parents! Here are some things I have been doing regularly since Harrison was born, and I really found they helped me initially, and still help me now, to feel like myself again as well as being ‘Mama’.

  1. Go for a coffee – While that first time leaving the house along with bub may feel like it’s never going to happen (it may take an hour to get everything ready, then the baby poops right before you leave the house. Just warning you), you HAVE to get out of the house and also: COFFEE. Take your mum, your friend, your partner, your neighbour and just go to the closest and easiest place you can find. Cafes without change tables are a no-no, so do your homework before you go. You’ll feel revived, you will have gotten some fresh air and a bonus could be that your baby sleeps in the pram the whole time you’re there.I need sleep but I'll settle for coffee
  2. Make time for exercise – This is hard. There just never feels like there’s any time for you when you have a newborn baby (umm, make that any sort of child of any age actually), especially if you’re breastfeeding on demand. But do what you have to do to make exercise happen – check out YouTube for workouts you can do from the comfort of your living room, walk around the block 5 times every morning with bub in a baby carrier or pram, go swimming once a week while your partner looks after the baby. Anything is better than nothing, and your body and brain will thank you for the stress relief and endorphins. make time to workout
  3. Spend at least a few hours away from your adorable family per week – I know, I know – they can’t be without you. As soon as you leave the house, the baby will cry, daddy will cry because he can’t figure out what’s wrong, with the baby and even the dog will cry from all the noise! Trust me – this will not happen. Or if it does – I’m sorry, you’ve married the wrong person. Joking! Sort of. But seriously, getting back some ‘me’ time really does make you feel so much better it’s not funny. Some mums I know take Saturday morning to sleep in until 10am while their partners take care of the kids, other mums have monthly massages, weekly manicures or brunch dates with friends. Whatever it is, take the time to do it and you will feel better, your family will be happier with a happier Mama, and it will save a lot of resentment from building up. relax
  4. Join a Mother’s Group – This REALLY saved my sanity. Not only was it great to talk to other mums who were new to the Mama game, but we could all ask each other “Is it normal that he’s waking up every 4hrs?”, “Do all formula-fed babies have poos like that?” and “Will we ever lose the baby weight and be normal again?”. I have laughed with, cried with, supported and been humbled by every one of the mums in my Mother’s Group and I wouldn’t be without them. After you leave the hospital, the local community health nurse should call you and set you up with a Mother’s Group and honestly, it may feel like a drag to go along to that first meeting, but go. You’ll meet some amazing women who will inspire and comfort you like no other friends you have!mothers group
  5. Date nights – do them! – It will take planning, it will take preparation, it may take using a breast pump if you’re breastfeeding, but please, please, please – for the sake of your relationship, go on dates with your partner. You may often end up talking mainly about the baby, but you’ll also be able to enjoy nice food not cooked by one of you, no washing up, maybe a glass or two of wine, and a bit of quiet time to actually talk to each other about how you’re feeling. Checking in with your partner is the number one thing you can do to maintain a good relationship. If your main relationship with your significant other isn’t strong, how can you expect to build a strong and loving family unit? It’s an investment that is worth it’s weight in gold. And it’s fun 🙂

Date night when you're a parent I’d love to hear any other tips from Mamas out there – what do you do on a regular basis to keep your sanity intact as a mum? Stay Fit & Well, Lisa x

It’s not what you think. This isn’t a post about how to get a booty like Beyoncé (check out this post if that’s what you want). This post is about that most boring of chronic ailments: back pain.

Let me start by saying – my back never used to be an issue. My neck was always my weak spot, thanks to a minor workplace-related whiplash injury while on the dodgem car ride at Luna Park (true story). But I have to tell you that having a 12kg+ toddler that I have to haul around, plus the constant bending down to pick up toys/clothes/food thrown on the floor AND having less time to get to the gym have all contributed to my current back issue.

Back pain...it's the pits.

 

I went to a physio the other week and honestly he said there wasn’t anything he could do about my lifestyle – I’m a mum and it’s not like I can just not pick my son up. But there were stretches and exercises I can do to strengthen my back. I’ve been foam rolling every night (which Harrison thinks is hilarious – he jumps on me every time I’m on the floor, like it’s a game), I’ve started taking magnesium again and I’m doing yoga stretches more often, coupled with specific back exercises at the gym. But one night I had a particularly aching back that just would not go away.

Enter Nurofen. I tried some Nurofen Heat Patches last week, and I tried them out on my aching back. They are super easy to use, and get warm while not getting roasting hot, so they feel comfortable. I definitely felt a difference after using them two nights in a row for several hours, and I’d really recommend them for back pain relief.

 

Nurofen heat patches

 

I’m trying to get to the gym more often to build my strength back to where it was before I got pregnant, but it’s hard with studying full-time, working part-time and being a stay-at-home mum full-time as well. But don’t underestimate the incidental exercise involved in going to the park every single day with an active toddler. I’d highly recommend it!

What have you done to relieve an aching back? What have you found that works?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

Those of us living in the Southern Hemisphere have noticed a definite change in the weather of late. Whereas only a few weeks ago the temperature in Sydney was mild now, to misquote Shakespeare, it’s as cold as a dead man’s nose.

Every year, magazines and websites recycle stories with headlines like ‘How to avoid a cold this winter’ and ‘The best flu-fighting diet this season’. I tend to read these stories with a grain of salt, as I can’t be bothered actually taking olive leaf extract and echinacea for months beforehand to build up my immunity. But as soon as a cold hits, I have my own action plan.

I can breathe out of one nostril today

So as the weather chills out and we fire up the heaters and tuck into a warming hot chocolate, here’s what I do as soon as I feel the first tickle in my throat of a cold coming on:

  1. Hot lemon and honey drinks. Buy a couple lemons, invest in some good quality honey, and just add hot water and a spoon to stir. My dosage recommendations – one large wedge of lemon coupled with a tablespoon of honey, serve 3 times a day. So much better than Lemsip.
  2. Honey and lemon drink
    Zinc tablets. Now I know I said I don’t get into the echinacea and herbal supplements as a preventative measure, but zinc tablets I take all year round. Zinc is brilliant for maintaining a healthy immune system, and has been shown in some instances to help improve skin disorders. Zinc lozenges were found to shorten the duration of common cold episodes by up to 40% in a study published in the Open Respiratory Medicine Journal. I prefer zinc tablets over the lozenges, but whatever floats your boat.Zinc tablets
  3. Homemade chicken soup. I’ve blogged before about my favourite winter soup before, and it has certainly served me well during many winters. Hearty chicken and veg soup has nothing but chicken, LOADS ofvegies, lentil and chickpeas, and chicken stock. Oh and not forgetting garlic. Garlic is the best cold-fighting ingredient, so I always add a liberal amount to my homemade chicken soup. The best thing is that you literally just chop everything up and throw it in a huge pot and leave for 1.5 -2hrs, so if you’re already starting to feel under the weather there’s minimal thought and effort required.Hearty chicken and veg soup
  4. Spicy food. I am an all-out chilli fiend, so I adore spicy food at the best of times. A threatening cold just gives me a great reason to cook up aspag bol liberally laced with chilli flakes, or treat myself to a Malaysian laksa.Mmmm that spice.Laksa
  5. Sweat it out. As long as you don’t have the actual ‘flu, a light intensity workout can be a good way to sweat a cold out. It won’t get rid of it, but if nothing else it will leave you with a good hit of endorphins to make you feel better. Experts suggest it’s only best to workout if your cold symptoms are ‘above the neck’ (i.e. a runny nose, sneezing or a sore throat). If they’re ‘below the neck’ (chest congestion, a hacking cough or an upset stomach) it’s best to just rest.Sweat it out
  6. Lots of time on the couch/in bed. Of course this isn’t always possible, especially if you have a small child as part of your family, but the body really does need more sleep and rest to repair and heal itself, so it’s best to fit in a bit more relaxation if you can.

What are your top tips for treating a cold when it hits?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x