Snack Hacks

Snacking is a great way to fit extra nutrients into your diet and stop you from overindulging at mealtimes. People often avoid snacking because they are afraid that they will hinder their weight loss. However, a healthy snack can actually do wonders for your metabolism and mindfulness when eating. Here are a few of my favourite ways to combat ‘between meal’ hunger pangs.


IMG_5473 1. Toasty combo’s

Toast is one of my favourite snacks. It can be savoury or sweet, it is satisfying and it is healthy…..all you need to do is choose the right ingredients! Bread gets a lot of slack in the “diet industry” but with all my own research and experience, nothing has turned me off eating it. In moderation of course. When choosing bread I look for ‘wholewheat’ or ‘buckwheat’ flour and an ingredient list where I can identify all the ingredients. My local deli makes amazing breads rich with seeds, grains and essential minerals.

Toppings When choosing my toppings for my toast I look for a good combination of fats, proteins and tastiness. Here are a few of my favourites;

  • Tahini, iodised salt and grated beetroot
  • Tomato, garlic, basi and balsamic
  • Avocado, iodised salt and chia seeds
  • Natural peanut butter and banana
  • Tahini and dates

2. Simple trail mixes Putting a little bit of this and a little bit of that in a bag to create a ‘dry’ portable snack to keep you munching healthy on the go. Here are some great examples:

  • Almonds and goji berries
  • Sulphate free apricots and cashews
  • Sultanas, dried apple and walnuts

IMG_6572


3. Veggie Fingers and Hummus dip.

An oldie but a goodie. Cut up you veggie/s of choice and dip away. Hummus is full of essential fats, fibre and protein, making it the perfect snack to satisfy greasy afternoon cravings.

Hummus recipe:

•400g Cooked Chickpeas (or canned) •1 Tbspoons Tahini •1/2 Lemon squeezed •1/2 teaspoon Cumin •1 Tbspoon of Olive Oil Blend until well combined!


4. Veggie/fruit dipped in nut/seed butters

Now if you don’t have time to make hummus, this is a great alternative! Just choose your preferred fruit or vege and drizzle or spread your butter! Carbs, protein and essential fats….good snack in my opinion.

Here are a few of my favourite combos;

  • Tahini and carrot
  • Apple and natural peanut butter
  • Strawberries, cacao and natural peanut butter
  • Dates and tahini
  • Celery and cashew butter

IMG_6523 5. Smoothie time!

Absolutely loaded with ‘easily accessible’  antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. Enjoying a smoothie in between meals or post workout is a great way to satisfy hunger and rack up those nutrient points.

Green smoothies are my favourite, great for getting leafy green nutrient hit…..without having to eat your greens.

All you need is:

•Banana •Spinach •Coconut water or plain water if you prefer. •Protein (optional~ I use IsoWhey® Pea Protein) •Tbspoon of Avocado (optional~ makes it super creamy ).


6. Popcorn

Once prepped this is a great low calorie snack that you can easily pack up and take to work or school.

I prepare mine with a little bit of coconut oil over a hot saucepan and season with a little iodised salt.

To mix it up a little throw in a handful of chopped dates for a salty caramel flavour!


IMG_2608 7. Blissful Bliss Balls A nice way to fix those naughty afternoon cravings and so simple to make. Play around with variations, I just recommend trying to get ingredients that will give you some protein, good fats and antioxidants. Here are a few simple recipes for you to try and experiment with.

Cookie Dough: Blend 400gm can of organic chickpeas, 1/2 cup of natural peanut butter, 1/2 cup of ground oats, 2 T maple syrup (or sweetener of choice) **Optional- 1/2 cup of Cacao nibs (or a healthy substitute eg. Dark chocolate, dates, sultanas). Roll into bite-sized balls.

Salted Caramel: Blend 1 cup of dates, 1 cup of ground oats or almond meal, 1 scoop of vanilla protein ( I use Isowhey Wholefoods), 1/2 tsp of Iodised salt. Roll into balls and top with coconut (optional).

Chocolate Fix: Combine 2 Tbspoons of cacao, 1 cup of dates and 1/2 cup of almonds in the food processor, roll into balls and dust with cacao. Measurements are a guide, experiment with ratios as needed.

Functional Training

IMG_3970Functional training and functional fitness are definitely amongst the buzz words in the fitness industry at the moment but what do these words actually mean and why are they important to you?

So you have been having a few good sessions at the gym. You feel like you are getting stronger. I mean yesterday you shoulder pressed 40 kgs for goodness sake… but then you go to lift your 20 kg child out of the high chair and you put your back out. So you can bench press 20 kgs but can you lift your own bodyweight? So you can squat 40 kgs but can you jump over a puddle of water? So you can walk on the treadmill for an hour but can you run up a flight of stairs?

These are all questions I ask not to undermine your level of fitness but to try an open a new perspective towards health, fitness and traditional sense of working out.


What is Functional Training?

Functional training is a type of exercise which prepares the body for various forms of activity common in our daily lives.

It was a style of training first adopted by physiotherapists to help balance out the body’s movements and allow the body to function more efficiently to prevent, reduce and rehabilitate injury.

The exercises within functional training aim to get the muscles working together through both fast and slow, controlled multi-joint movements. Its aim is not only to strengthen and build muscle but to increase range of motion.

In short objective of functional training is to be able to do awesome stuff with your body so that you can live your life to the fullest and continue to maintain your active lifestyle right up in to your later years.


The Benefits of Functional Training

  • Because our bodies were made to move! Our bodies are amazing machines, there were designed to run from predators, build shelters, hunt for food…..they weren’t designed to sit in front of the tele or computer desk all day. Functional training allows us to develop the strength, motion and coordination so that we can make the most out of these amazing machines we have been given.
  • Functional training focuses on training movement patterns rather than isolating individual muscles to ensure no muscle group gets left behind. One of the most common causes of injury is imbalances created between opposing muscle groups. The multi-joint movements adopted by that of Functional training helps prevent this from happening.
  • One of the main focuses of Functional training  is to strengthen and connect the core and back to other working muscles; assisting to correct bad posture  and muscle imbalances caused by the daily grind, stressful jobs and hectic lifestyles.
  • Functional training provides fantastic fat burning workouts, The full body nature of functional training means that it is a fantastic fat-burner. Adopting exercises that improve strength, endurance and boost metabolism to provide you with a more efficient way to train.
  • It develops strong lean bodies, have a look at these particular athletes; dancers, gymnasts, pole-vaulters. They are constantly training movement patterns and lifting their own bodyweight but I don’t know how often you would see them doing a bicep curl.
  • Functional training will aid your overall performance in any sport; enhancing speed, power, range of motion and coordination.
  • In Functional training every exercise involves core activation, teaching the core to stabilise and work with the spine throughout an array of different movement patterns and body positions. Therefore mimicking the demand placed upon the core and spine in our every day tasks and recreational activities. Way more effective than your traditional crunches.

So what do you think? Is functional fitness for you? I am writing this article out of pure interest. I am finding myself falling in love with the concept of functional fitness and wanted to share a few of the main reasons why I am starting to adopt it principles in my own routine.

Keep posted. Later on in the week I will share a great Functional Workout that you can try at home.

In the meantime get cracking with my workouts on Instagram and checkout my Facebook for additional fitness and health tips.

A Beginner Guide To Squats

Squat, Squat, Squat, Squat!

We are constantly told that we should do them but if you have never had proper instruction or coaching this is not a simple task. There is actually quite an art involved in mastering this popular move with incorrect technique leading to possible injuries to knees and lower back.

Below is a video with a detailed analysis of beginner squat modifications that will help you strengthen the necessary muscles and master the correct technique involved in a basic squat move without exposing you to injury risk. (listen with audio to hear description of each move).


 


You can add one or all three of these squat variations to your next workout.

Tips:

  • When performing both the Ball Squat and Chair Squat aim for 10-15 reps with 5 pulses at the bottom of the last repetition.
  • Aim to hold the wall-sit for 1 minute. Increase this time by 10 second increments each time you try until you can hold for 2 minutes straight!
  • As you progress feel free to add weight in order to increase the intensity. I still do these squat variations when I feel that my form is lacking. It is so important not to learn bad habits.

Teaching Points:

  • Start with your feet roughly at hip width apart.
  • Do not bend too far forward, try to keep your posture straight by pulling up through your core and lifting your chest.
  • Place your weight in your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes.
  • Make sure you knees do not extend past you toes.

Happy Squatting! Xx

My Top 5 Tips for ‘Achieving Balance’

 image-3

1. Efficiency is key

 If there is one thing I believe in it is “quality over quantity” particularly when it comes to training. There is no need to spend hours of your day working out. Thirty minutes MAX is all you need if you’re not afraid of a little intensity.

High Intensity Interval Training, Strength Circuits and Speed Based Cardio Workouts are my favourite ways to train. I love this type of training because it is a quick and effective way to boost your metabolism and condition your muscles without placing to much stress on your body!

This type of training works at such an intensity level that it sends your metabolism into overdrive due to an increase demand for oxygen consumption and energy in your muscular cells. So much so that you are still burning fat up to 48 hours after your workout! Pretty neat huh!

Train hard and train smart.


2. Variety

Interested in a new training technique, recipe or superfood? Give it a try! Trying new things will not only help keep you interested but it will also keep your body guessing.

Variety is important in a fitness program because it allows you to challenge your body on a consistent basis and overcome  the potential to ‘plateau’. A plateau happens when the body has become accustomed or used to doing the same repeated exercises over and over again . Spicing up your training regime or increasing your intensity will place new demands on the body, engage new muscles and in effect increase your metabolism.

The same goes for food! If you are eating the same foods at the same time everyday your body will begin to learn a pattern. As a result your metabolism will adapt by storing the consumed energy and fat and only burning what it knows it needs! You want keep your metabolism on it’s toes!


3. Lose the guilt

I find guilt to be one of the most detrimental things to a persons health. If you don’t workout or eat as healthy as you would have liked it is definitely not worth beating yourself up over. This can have far worst consequences to both your physical and emotional health.

Focus on what you have done that week and what you plan to do the rest of the week.  Also if you do make the decision to have a treat or skip a workout than back yourself, you made the decision for a reason now move forward.

Remember health and fitness is lifelong and it won’t last if you let it take over your life and control your happiness.


4. Get your friends and family involved

It is much easier to stick to your guns and make positive lifestyle changes if you have the support of those around you. Lets face it, workouts are much more enjoyable if you have someone to motivate you and what’s the fun of making that raw strawberry cheesecake if you have no one to share it with! Try to get your friends and loved ones interested your healthy lifestyle by getting them involved and making it fun.

Here are a few suggested ways you can make healthy living more social;

– Set a day where you can workout with family or friends

– Organise a walk/coffee date

– Attend a healthy cooking class together

– Bring healthy alternatives to parties or social events

– Call a friend on days when you don’t feel motivated

It is important however to try to not be too pushy. You don’t want to annoy people… (something I need to remember next time I’m trying to force feed coconut oil to my boyfriend).


5. Make the most out of every meal

For some of us eating the perfect, nutritious, organic, home cooked meals everyday just isn’t possible. Unfortunately factors such as time, cost and access can play a big part on what we eat, especially considering how expensive some ‘whole foods’ can be. What I have found that works for me is picking and choosing the specialty foods I buy for a certain (such as coconut oil, maca powder and cacao) and keeping the rest basic, choosing cheaper healthy options like brown rice, brown bread, wholemeal pasta, seasonal fruits & vegetables, canned tuna and legumes, eggs, nuts and buying my lean meat in bulk.

Another strategy I take is to try to eat as many nutrients in the day as I can and aim to make the most out of every meal. An example of this maybe adding spinach to a smoothie, adding vegetables to each of your meals, using avocado instead of butter or sneaking in some protein by adding quinoa, nuts and chickpeas. Aim to choose foods based on the nutrients they provide your body rather than what is low fat or low calorie.

In saying this I think it is also important to choose foods that will fit into your lifestyle and if that means eating the odd treat here and there then so be it. Like most I enjoy the occasional treat like pizza, chocolate and going out for drinks with friends. These are some of my favourite things in life and I’m not about to cut them out. For me it is a matter of just trying to be as healthy as you can, whenever you can.