Archive | August, 2012

Tabata Training

31 Aug

Tabata training is a term used in the fitness world for very high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It normally consists of 20 seconds of high intensity exercise with 10 seconds of rest which is repeated 8 times  to make up 4 minutes of exercise.  You may like to do just 4 minutes as a warm up to your regular workout or you can do multiple sets of 4 minutes to make it a longer workout.

The founder of this style of training was a Japanese scientist named Izumi Tabata who conducted a test on athletes. One group was to do moderate intensity interval training, for an hour,  5 days a week for 6 weeks and the other group was to do high-intensity interval training consisting of 20 second exercises and 10 sec rests for 4 minutes, 4 days a week for 6 weeks.

The results showed that the athletes who were performing the high-intensity workouts for only 4 minutes a day, 4 days a week had far greater improvement in their muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness .

The group who trained for longer periods, more often at moderate intensity had very little, if any improvement!

I know so many people who workout for over an hour a day and don’t see results. That was me! I have been a gym junkie for many years but never really gained muscle or had much tone. It wasn’t until I switched things up and brought interval training into my workouts that I started seeing results.

Why waste hours of your time in the gym if you can achieve more in a shorter time! Tabata workouts are brutal  but wouldn’t you rather just push it really hard and get it over with AND see results!?

There is no excuse for not having time to workout with this system! If all you do is this every day – just 4 minutes, it will make a difference. 4 minutes is better than nothing! Of course for optimal results  you will want do at least 20 minutes. Why not split it up in your day and do 2 x 4 minute intervals in the morning and 2 x 4 minute intervals at night.

Take a look at a few examples of Tabata training and try these workouts at home or next time you go to the gym.

20 seconds – mountain climber

10 second rest

20 seconds – Pike push ups

10 seconds rest

20 seconds – jump squats

10 second rest

20 seconds – sit ups

10 second rest

REPEAT

You can download an interval timer on your smart phone. I use one called Interval Timer AD, but I am sure there are lots to choose from.

 

If anyone is in Sydney I am running a FREE boot camp on Monday’s at 12.30 under the Harbour Bridge. We will be doing this type of workout this week so come along if you’re in the area.

You might also like this Zuzanna Light’s Tabata workout

Clean and Lean Lettuce Wraps

30 Aug

If you are sensitive to gluten or would just like to cut down on bread, lettuce is a great substitute for bread. Big leafy greens make perfect wraps that can be filled with a variety of delicious and nutritious fillings.

You can swap either of these recipes with any meat, seafood or tofu and mix up the vegetables.

For those that like really simple recipes try this very quick and easy wrap idea:

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 leaves iceberg lettuce
  • 4 slices roast turkey/chicken/lamb (I love this recipe with lamb!)
  • 1/2 cucumber,
  • sliced 250g hummus
  • sprinkle of paprika

Or for someone with a little more time try this:

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 coriander roots (from a   bunch of fresh coriander), finely chopped
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 600g skinless chicken breast      fillets, trimmed of excess fat, sliced
  • 2 small red onions, thinly      sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, thinly      sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Large leaves from 1 butter      lettuce
  • 1 roughly chopped avocado
  • 1/3 cup good-quality salsa
  • Lime wedges, to serve

Method

  1. Place garlic, coriander, Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice in a bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  2. Combine onion, capsicum, olive oil and remaining lime juice in a bowl.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled chargrill over medium-high heat. When hot, cook chicken and vegetables, in batches, for 4-5 minutes until chicken is cooked through, turning to brown all over.
  4. Serve the chicken mixture with the lettuce leaves, avocado, salsa and lime wedges, for people to  assemble themselves at the table.

* Remember that when using bottled sauces like Worcestershire sauce or salsa make sure you take a look at the ingredients and make sure it is low in sugar and has no (or low in) preservatives.

 

Don’t forget that if you would like to win a digital kitchen scale read yesterday’s post on Fitness Apps to see how to enter.

Fitness/Health Apps I love – Plus WIN a Digital Kitchen Scale

29 Aug

When I first got my smart phone a few years ago I went a little crazy downloading apps (like most people) but the novelty wore off after 5 mins and I found them useless.

So when I was asked to try a new fitness app I was a little sceptical but I was soon converted to using this app regularly.

Interfit is a video app workout that you can follow along with. Think of it as your own virtual personal trainer!

There are 4 apps –  Interfit  Boxing, Interfit Cardio and Interfit Challenge,  Interfit Pilates –  With a variety of workouts included in each app.

I mostly use the Interfit Challenge app which has a brilliantly, painful ab workout! It also includes exercises for people seeking a challenge. Think plyometrics, short burst of high intensity cardio and core strengthening. What’s great about it is that you will challenge yourself by trying to keep up with your virtual trainer! They are very fast paced and challenging exercises so perfect for getting results. Trust me you will sweating and swearing in no time!

Pissed off with your boss? Pull out your phone and click on the boxing app! Let some steam off the healthy way!

Not everyone can afford a personal trainer so these apps will provide you with fresh, new inspiration for your workout and it will also motivate you to keep up with the trainer. What’s even better is that you can do these exercises anywhere and they only cost 99 cents to download! Download from google play here

Prefer a website over a phone app? Check out….

This website www.slimkicker.com is a new discovery and I LOVE IT!! It’s free to join and it’s my go to place to keep track of my workouts and diet. It basically turns your fitness and health goals into a level up game.

Once you create a profile you are asked to fill in your height, current weight, your goal weight and your activity level. It will  then calculate how much protein, carbs, fats, calories etc you need each day to reach your goal. How awesome is that?!

You can record your food and exercise each day and you will accumulate points for certain foods or exercises!

The best part is the fitness/health challenges. You can join a challenge for the week, such as give up soda for the week or do 100 push ups and when you succeed in this challenge you win more points.

Once you accumulate a certain amount of points you proceed to the next level. When this occurs you can set yourself a reward, maybe you deserve a spa day, a cheat meal, or a pair of shoes!

I think this is such a great tool to keep motivated and also a way to keep track of your food intake and exercise each week. If you’re working towards a goal this is something you will find really useful.

There are also forums and friends to provide a virtual community (and maybe find little competitive spirit!)

Check out Slim Kicker and  sign up today!

WIN!!! The good folks at Slim Kicker are giving away a digital kitchen scale to help keep you healthy!

All you have to do is leave a comment below with your suggestion on a fun, creative fitness or diet challenge. I will announce the winner next Wednesday. Good Luck!

How To Get a Flat Stomach

28 Aug

I am on a mission to have a flat and toned stomach this summer. I was always super skinny but when I hit my 30’s I gained 8 kilos in a very short time! I was still very thin everywhere else but my stomach was the area I stored all the fat.  I was all skinny arms and legs but then looked like I was 4 months pregnant! In fact, my trainer was lovely enough to tell me that the first thing he noticed about me was how much stomach fat I had for a skinny girl! (thanks Kai – great way to motivate a girl!) I had never really worried about it before because I could easily cover it and I actually enjoyed having curves for the first time in my life, but I realised it was a sign of my unhealthy eating and was leading to very poor habits.

Genetics can play a part in the area you mostly gain weight, but stomach fat is also a sign of insulin resistance which if left untreated, can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

Keeping weight off your stomach is essential for good health, not just for looking hot with your clothes off!

Within weeks of taking control of my diet by cutting out sugar and processed foods, combined with ass-kicking workouts I lost most of the weight around my stomach. My abs are still a work in process but I am getting results pretty fast.

Here’s how:

Cut (or at least reduce significantly)

  • Fructose – Sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave
  • Artificial sweeteners – a chemical concoction
  • Sodium
  • Processed/packaged foods. If it’s packaged take a look at the ingredients, the more ingredients listed, the worse it is for you.
  • Supermarket bread – most of these are packed with preservatives. Read the ingredient listing when chosing.
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Carbs in the evening
  • Alcohol (for the occasional drink see my post on low sugar alcohol options)
  • Counting calories! When you eat clean and nutritious meals you don’t need to be obsessively keeping track of your calorie intake

Eat

  • All vegetables
  • Low fructose fruits (see my blog post on fruit),
  • Lean protein
  • Healthy fats. Flaxseed are great for digestion and reducing stomach fat!
  • Whole grains, spelt, organic rye, coconut, buckwheat flour.
  • Stevia if you must have a sugar substitute
  • Himalayan salt, Sea salt or fresh herbs and spices if you need added flavour to your meals.
  • 6 small meals a day (larger meals for breakfast and lunch if you are weight training like me)
  • 3pm is the classic time your insulin levels drop so make sure you have a protein at this time
  • Small dinner of protein and vegetables

Sweat!

You can do all the sit ups you like but if you aren’t doing cardio you won’t get rid of the fat on your stomach. In fact if you start building up your ab muscles under a layer of fat it will just make your stomach stick out further.

Don’t spend all your time on a treadmill you are wasting your time! Interval and strength  training is the best way to shed fat.

Your body gets use to the same activity so mix it up and constantly challenge your body.

Once I switched my training up to include sprints and functional exercises. I shed my stomach fat within weeks! (Thanks to my trainer Kai, for all the motivation!)

Try this workout at home or in the gym to get your heart rate up and shed the fat

15 burpees

15 push ups

15 step ups each leg

30 toe reaches (lie on back, legs up, sit up and touch toes)

20 jump squats

1 minute sprint

30 second plank hold

Repeat 3 times

Also check out the Zuzanna Light workout video I posted earlier –  Sexy Abs

For snack ideas view my healthy snack options

Who wants to join me in getting flat Abs?!

 

If you  would like extra reading on stomach fat take a look at this article from Harvard Education:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it.htm

Berry, Quinoa and Kale Salad

27 Aug

With Summer fast approaching in my part of the world I am loving this berry, quinoa and kale salad. Best of all, it’s really easy to make!

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled  (when cooking quinoa, it is 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa)
1 cup fresh berries
1 1/2 cup shredded kale
3/4 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Fresh ground pepper

What to Do: 

  1. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, berries, kale, feta, and almonds. Mix until well combined.
  2. Add olive oil and lemon juice and toss to fully coat.
  3. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, and enjoy!

What's the Secret to Healthy Eating? Preparation!!

26 Aug

It’s Sunday afternoon and Sunday afternoon for me means preparing this week’s clean eating. So may people use the excuse that they are too busy to follow a healthy eating plan but it’s essential that you make time! I have lots to do too but I schedule in an hour on Sunday preparing so that there are no excuses for eating crap!

I have just prepared my salads for the next few day’s lunch and also my Green Smoothie for half the week.

If you have read my earlier post on Green Smoothie’s  you know it’s my essential, can’t live without, necessity in my diet. I have so much more energy since starting it and it really helps curb the sugar cravings. It keeps my skin clear and ensure’s I start the day with Alkaline goodness.

Check out how many vegetables and fruit actually go into my smoothie! When are you ever going to eat this many vegetables outside of a smoothie! This makes approx 3 smoothies for me, but you could have more or less a day.

Chop up all these vegetables and fruit into pieces and add to blender. I first fill the blender with the spinach/kale/cos lettuce, blend down and then add in the rest. A good blender makes all the difference to the texture. I bought the Breville Ikon which retails here in Australia for approximately $229. It has a liquefying setting so it’s perfect for a smoothie with as many ingredients as this one. A smooth texture will make this more enjoyable, you don’t want it to be chunky and chewy!

Make sure you don’t overfill the blender and keep your hand on the lid, as this is the ugly side of the green smoothie!! They never show you this! Luckily I only lost part of it, I once lost the lot and made an awful mess and ruined a toaster and kettle!!

Poor in glass jars and either freeze or store in fridge. It should last in fridge for a few days.

Join me in adding the Green Smoothie to your day. You will really notice the difference!

Enjoy!

Have a great  healthy week!

What’s the Secret to Healthy Eating? Preparation!!

26 Aug

It’s Sunday afternoon and Sunday afternoon for me means preparing this week’s clean eating. So may people use the excuse that they are too busy to follow a healthy eating plan but it’s essential that you make time! I have lots to do too but I schedule in an hour on Sunday preparing so that there are no excuses for eating crap!

I have just prepared my salads for the next few day’s lunch and also my Green Smoothie for half the week.

If you have read my earlier post on Green Smoothie’s  you know it’s my essential, can’t live without, necessity in my diet. I have so much more energy since starting it and it really helps curb the sugar cravings. It keeps my skin clear and ensure’s I start the day with Alkaline goodness.

Check out how many vegetables and fruit actually go into my smoothie! When are you ever going to eat this many vegetables outside of a smoothie! This makes approx 3 smoothies for me, but you could have more or less a day.

Chop up all these vegetables and fruit into pieces and add to blender. I first fill the blender with the spinach/kale/cos lettuce, blend down and then add in the rest. A good blender makes all the difference to the texture. I bought the Breville Ikon which retails here in Australia for approximately $229. It has a liquefying setting so it’s perfect for a smoothie with as many ingredients as this one. A smooth texture will make this more enjoyable, you don’t want it to be chunky and chewy!

Make sure you don’t overfill the blender and keep your hand on the lid, as this is the ugly side of the green smoothie!! They never show you this! Luckily I only lost part of it, I once lost the lot and made an awful mess and ruined a toaster and kettle!!

Poor in glass jars and either freeze or store in fridge. It should last in fridge for a few days.

Join me in adding the Green Smoothie to your day. You will really notice the difference!

Enjoy!

Have a great  healthy week!

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