Exercise Plan

Exercise Tips for Beginners

So you want to exercise, but not sure where to start? Love Your Liver share some inspiring exercise tips for beginners.

Active prevention and cure
Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet are the most effective ways to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, immune system and liver. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that exercise itself (with or without weight loss) can prevent and reverse fatty liver  disease.

Finding the right kind of exercise for you
To help you create an exercise routine you can stick to, it’s important that you spend your 30 minutes or more each day doing something you enjoy. Walking, cycling, jogging, football, yoga, tai chi, pilates, dancing or even gardening. If you’re not sure what type of exercise you should do, ask your doctor or health care professional for advice.

Good for the mind as well as the body
So much of our day is filled with stress, so taking time out to engage in a pleasurable activity will distract you from your worries, revitalise and lift your mood, reduce anxiety and depression and even help you sleep better at night too.

Take it easy and don’t overdo it
Start with gentle exercise and slowly build up to establishing a 30-a-day routine, or more if you wish. But don’t overdo it – too much strenuous exercise can have a negative impact – making you feel tired and rundown.

How do you keep motivated to do exercise?

February 24, 2014

Better Sex Exercises

We all know why we should get off the couch and into the gym – lose weight, get fit, look better in the mirror. But how many of us really follow through? OK, so how about this for a reason – better sex!

Fitness fanatics can attest: getting fit means a hotter sex life. You’re stronger and more flexible, and have greater stamina and more confidence from looking good. Sounds great to us! Here are five exercises that are designed to improve your sex life.

Low side lunges
Lunges increase your range of motion and flexibility. Low side lunges can help you bend into some great sex positions more easily. They also target your butt, and how doesn’t want to look better naked?

To perform a low side lunge: Stand with your feet twice the width of your shoulders, your waist slightly bent. Extend your arms in front of your chest with your hands held together. Shift to your right side, keeping your left leg straight while lowering your body down on your right, so that your right leg is bearing your weight. Immediately do this movement in reverse until you are standing back up, and then repeat the motion to your left. Start with 10 reps on each side of your body and increase gradually to 20 as you become more flexible.

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Kneeling hinge
This abdominal exercise strengthens your core muscles.

To perform a hinge: Kneel on the floor so that your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle to the floor and your toes pointed behind you. Keep your head, back and thighs in a straight line and lean back a few with your arms extended in front of you. Go slow and do not overextend yourself. Hold this position for three seconds before returning to the original 90-degree angle position. Start with five reps and gradually increase to 10.

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Seated leg extensions
The thigh muscles quickly succumb to fatigue during sex, which can increase discomfort and the amount of time you can devote to sex. Strengthening these muscles will allow you to enjoy sex for a longer period of time and hold positions much longer.

To perform a seated leg extension: Sit with your back straight and your knees at a 90-degree angle in a chair that does not wobble or swivel. Slowly pick up your foot and extend your leg and immediately lower it back down. Start with one set of 10 reps for each leg and gradually increase your number of sets to three. Wear light ankle weights to add resistance.

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Plié
Plié exercises strengthen your vaginal walls. Stronger vaginal muscles mean stronger contractions, which produce more intense and satisfying orgasms.

To perform a plié: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Your toes should point outward. Place your hands on your hips and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then push back up, with your weight focused on your heels. Move slowly when going up and down. Start with 12 reps and work your way up to 15.

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Bicep curls
Strength training naturally increases the level of testosterone, which boosts your sex drive. Performing bicep curls with hand weights increases your muscle tone, eventually allowing you to support your weight for longer periods of time in athletic sex positions.

To perform a bicep curl: Stand or sit with your torso straight and your hand, holding the weight, facing outward. Keep your elbow close to your body and curl your hand upward until the weight is at shoulder level. Contract your bicep while lifting the weight. Perform 15 to 20 reps with each arm.

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What are your favourite exercises that make you feel more confident?

Images: FitbieLivestrong / PrizmiVillage / Fitbie

January 31, 2014

7 Successful Habits For a Slimmer You

Kathleen Alleaume, trusted health expert, Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist, author, and busy mum, shares her best ways lose weight and slim down – you’ll never try a fad diet again!

Break the fast
I know you’ve heard this a thousand times over – that’s because it’s the truth. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and a great time to sneak in fibre and goodness from fruits, grains and dairy. For a balanced option be sure to include low-GI carbos (muesli, high-fibre cereal or grainy toast) with some lean protein (eggs, dairy, soy, nuts). Pair this with some fresh fruit or veg for a great (and balanced) start to everyday.

Wet your whistle 
We often confuse hunger for thirst; so by staying well hydrated you can prevent overeating at mealtimes – hence avoid the kilo creep. Always quench your thirst with water first before other food or drinks.

Sneak in an extra serve – of veg that is 
It’s as easy as adding some spinach to your morning omelette, or snacking on crispy carrot sticks with lunch. My e-book shows you what veggies are in season and how to make them the star of your meal instead of the side dish.

Power of proper portions
We live in a world where super-sizing is the norm, but big meals lead to big bellies. Try using smaller plates to serve your meals, filling half with vegetables, a quarter with low GI carbohydrates, and a quarter with lean protein.

Sit and savour
Make mealtimes relaxed and enjoyable. Set the table (even if it’s just yourself) and turn off any distractions like the television and mobile phones. Chew slowly and take a good 20 to 30 minutes to eat your meal, stopping when you feel satisfied. In other words, eat mindfully.

Get physical
Find 30 minutes or more to move each day. To stay active in summer, hitting the beach for a surf or swim, or a soft sand run, or play Frisbee with your friends. To learn exactly how much energy you burn during these water workouts click here.

Be a priority
Feeling healthy and good about yourself is not a luxury – it’s an absolute necessity. If you know you have a crazy week ahead then do some simple meal prep on the weekend and have a few back-up dinners in the freezer just in case. You can also squeeze in some exercise at work or while you watch TV.

Find out more about Kathleen’s e-book 10 Days to a Healthier You here.

How do you slim down? Tell us in the comments!

January 30, 2014

Why You Should Exercise With a Partner

We know how it is: you want to get fit, but finding the motivation is half the hurdle. But did you know that statistics show that women have twice as much motivation to get out there and achieve their goals when they train with a partner or a group?

Fitness and yoga expert, Kate Kendall from Sydney’s Flow Athletic says keeping company while you exercise is a strategy for success.

“We find that not only do our clients have a lot of fun when they train with a partner or a group, but they often work harder too. We design many of our outdoor classes around partner work as we find that everyone gets so much out of it.”

Kate’s tell us how training with a partner can really boost your health and weight loss goals:

1. Share your goals
Whether they are weight management, finishing a marathon or to see a little more definition in the abs, your friend can help keep you accountable in those times when things get tough!

2. Have a laugh
Laughing triggers the release of natural feel-good chemicals, improving your overall sense of wellbeing. When done with a partner it tightens your bond making you more likely to want to get up at the crack of dawn to train with them.

3. Eye of the tiger
A little bit of banter and healthy competition never hurt anyone. If you can be picky, choose a workout partner who you know has a little fire in their belly and will want to push themselves to beat you.

4. Share the expertise
Two heads are better than one when it comes to getting fit. Talk it out and share your learnings with your partner. You’ll accelerate your results and both get across the finish line faster!

5. Give back
Encouraging a partner and helping them achieve remarkable things for their health can have incredible ripple effects and be great for your own sense of wellbeing.  Do it and see what happens.

Do you train with a partner or in a group, or prefer to exercise by yourself? Tell us in the comments!

To help encourage Aussie women to start the New Year with a boost to their exercise regime, Special K® has partnered with New Balance to offer a free training top in exchange for the purchase of three specially-marked packs. Let’s get training!

January 22, 2014

5 Secrets of Ageing Gracefully

Most of us worry about ageing by focusing on how our face will look. But as we age, so does your body – your muscles shorten, your bones weaken and you repair from injury more slowly. It is important to not only look after your skin, but your body as well. The healthier you are on the inside, the healthier and more youthful you will look on the outside.

Jason T Smith, renowned physiotherapist, founder of the Back In Motion Health Group and author of Get Yourself Back In Motion shares his five secrets to help you age gracefully.

1. Walk everyday
Walking every day is one of the easiest ways to maintain fitness and keep you looking and feeling younger. The motion your body goes through when walking is similar to the motion you go through as when you run; your arms and legs move simultaneously together. The benefit of walking over running is that you’re not putting as much stress on your joints and therefore minimising the risk of damage.

You can walk for much longer periods of time than you can run (unless you are super fit!), and it is easy to incorporate into your everyday activities as incidental exercise. Walk up the stairs, walk to the train station or even walk to work if you live close enough.

2. Focus on your abs
As we age, that fit toned tummy seems to almost disappear. Sagging stomach muscles are one of the first signs of ageing. A strong core helps your posture and balance, which can make you look and feel younger. One of the main reasons for back pain is bad posture. If you strengthen your stomach muscles, your posture will improve and back pain can be better managed. Your abs are also important for your balance as they are the centre of your core. I would recommend exercising your core 2-3 times per week. Sit on a physio ball and see how well you can balance by drawing your stomach in and moving your pelvis side to side.

3. Eat healthily
A diet that lacks in nutrition will age you both internally and externally, with obesity proven to accelerate the process of ageing. Eating a healthy, balanced diet low in sugar is the best anti-ageing medicine! Eat plenty of whole foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables and lean meat. Avoid highly processed foods as these are high in fats, sugars, salts and plenty of other nasties that may accelerate the ageing process. Drinking 1-2 litres of water a day is beneficial to help eliminate the toxins in your body.

4. Squats
Squatting isn’t just a great thigh and buttock toner; it’s one of the most natural human movements – think of how many times a day you stand up from a seated position. If done properly, squats help stimulate muscle growth and develop muscle mass throughout your whole body. This movement also spreads nutrition from foods your body has processed into your organs and glands. Squats help to keep your body healthy on the inside, whilst keeping your youthful look on the outside. Start with 10 squats a day, and increase over time, for health and body benefits.

5. Moving regularly
Consistency is key! Start small and increase your exercise weekly as your fitness levels improve. However many times you exercise per week, keep it consistent. You won’t see results if your exercise regime is irregular.

Jason Smith is the founder of Back In Motion Health Group, Australia’s leading provider of physiotherapy and related services. Jason’s new book Get Yourself Back In Motion is available at Back In Motion practices around Australia, major book retailers and online bookstores, RRP $34.95.

January 7, 2014

Michelle Bridges: The Motivation Myth

Forget motivation – The Biggest Loser’s Michelle Bridges shares the real secret to achieving your fitness and weight loss goals.

Extract from the book Get Real!: Inspiring Stories and lessons from the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation revolution by Michelle Bridges and photography by Jane Allen published by Viking RRP $24.99. 

When people tell me they’re struggling  with their training, the first thing they say is that they’ve lost motivation. Most people believe that if they inject some motivation into their lives, they’ll be fine – right? WRONG! It’s like we have all become motivation junkies, just waiting for the next hit.

If you’ve done my 12 Week Body Transformation you’ll already be aware that I think motivation is a complete crock – in fact, it’s a trap! I always say that motivation is like a bad boyfriend – never there when you need him most!

I know, as a personal trainer and a human being, motivation is not always going to be there, so what’s going to happen when you wake up and it’s gone? Is that game over for you? Motivation is like any emotion – it comes and goes, so if you’re going to rely on motivation to get the job done, it will let you down. And that’s the trap – motivation is an often an excuse in disguise:

‘As soon as I don’t FEEL motivated, I’ll just stop’.

Don’t get me wrong here – it’s great to set goals and be positively motivated by them, but understand that you do not need to be constantly motivated or even have set goals to exercise. And knowing THAT should make you feel relieved! You don’t need to be wound up like a spring coil in order to get a training session done, and you don’t need to feel anxious and vulnerable when motivation disappears.

Motivation is not necessarily your friend. So…what’s left if not motivation? Well, there is something far more effective, and here’s the secret…athletes know it, coaches know it, and successful business people know it. There is something out there that will support you and will take you where you want to go. It will not let you down. What is it…? Consistency.

Be consistent and you will achieve. No bells and whistles, no hype. And we don’t just do it for three days and then go out and celebrate with cake! You don’t think, you just do. Consistency isn’t something that you need to recharge and it’s not something you need to go out on the hunt for! Consistency is steady, it’s relentless and it’s steadfast all the way through. Take the emotion out, go into robot mode, and get on with the task at hand.

michellebridges

November 19, 2013

Weight Lifting for Women: How To Get Toned Without Bulking Up

I have been a writer for most of my adult life and it comes with one professional requirement: Spending most of one’s adult life alone and sitting in a chair. And so I have been spared a lot of the water cooler conversations women might have together at work. I have no idea what women actually talk to each other about at work, but I’m imagining conversations might turn to food and fat and diets.

I’m basing that assumption on the fact that my mother works in an office and discusses weight and its imminent loss with me all the time, and has done for the last 25 years. “I’m cutting out caffeine, sugar, alcohol and dairy!” she told me last week. “Why live?” was my response and last week, while the rest of the family tucked into a glorious meal of traditional Mexican seafood soup, she scraped at a container of hummus with a rice cracker.

When I told her I didn’t think it was appropriate to bring the tub of hummus to the table and scrape at the corners of it, she sulked and ate it over the sink. I have to admit though, she is terrifically and cheerfully thin. My body, in the meantime, was taking me from place to place okay and when I did put on weight, my mother would have to point it out because I hadn’t noticed. She would try to put it delicately at first, “You’re putting on a little bit of weight,” and in case I hadn’t got the message, she would add, “I’ve never seen you this large.”

So I would head out the door for a sluggish, painful jog at night and when gasping with breath, wonder at how it had only been 10 minutes since I’d left the house. It wasn’t a ‘relationship with my body’ one hears in yoga class that I was having. I was a head my body carried around with the hope that in return, I wouldn’t let it get too fat.

And then something happened to change my head and my body’s life – I started dating a man whose body looked like it stepped off the pages of Men’s Health Magazine. He would peel off his clothing and walk towards the bedroom and it was so laughably perfect, in the back of my mind I would be thinking – no one would believe what I am witnessing right now, even if I posted it on Facebook. Which would be in bad taste, so I can’t do that.

A body this perfect, I soon discovered, requires a bit of work and healthy boyfriends enjoy the company of healthy girlfriends and so I listened without much enthusiasm as he explained how I could get a body this hot. Weight lifting. The last time I considered weight lifting was at high school when another school girl mentioned she had tried lifting weights but it was making her arms too bulky. She peeled back her school jumper and that’s when I turned around to look at her and indeed, her arms did look thick. Nope, I thought, not doing that then. I’ll just keep eating apples and diet coke and see how that goes.

The boyfriend explained that engaging the whole body in a single movement, ie. lifting a bar bell over one’s head, or holding a plate against the chest and squatting, will transform the whole body rather than lying on the ground and doing sit-ups. Movements that use every muscle get one’s heart rate up and strengthen the core and the elusive six-pack is simply a result of having more muscle than fat, all over the body. I wouldn’t get bulky, he promised, but stronger and leaner. If that was something I was interested in…What I was interested in was keeping the hot boyfriend, and lifting a few weights over my head seemed like a small price to pay.

Because I am someone who doesn’t like to be told by their boyfriend how to lose weight, I decided to join a gym and talk to a professional, instead. A personal trainer took me for a tour around the facilities. “See these people on the tread mill, wasting their time,” he said. “They’re here because they’ve put on weight and they are shocking their system by running for an hour after which, their body is going to store fat in the awful event that it happens again.” Okay, so how do I not do that, I asked. “Warm up for 10 minutes on the treadmill and then follow me.” He took me, dear reader, straight into the weight room.

“Muscle feeds on more calories than fat and so if you build muscle, your metabolism is raised and it will stay raised for the next 24 hours. If you want to lose weight and get toned, walk towards the weight room and stay here.”

The weight room, I discovered, doesn’t have a lot of women in it. But the few women in there weren’t Chinese Olympic Swimming Team bulky, but lean and defined. My approach to learning the various techniques was to eagle eye what somebody else was doing and when they moved off the machine, to copy them.

Now I have my own routine and what looks like the beginning of a six-pack. At least when I scrunch forward and tense my stomach, there is definitely something brewing in there. My arms and shoulders are strong and my glutes have a roundness that will keep the dreaded Anglo-Saxon pancake arse at bay. And the greatest benefit of all is that when my mother asked me what diet I was on, I shuddered my head as if it was out of the question and replied, “I lift.’

The very best approach for finding your way around a weight-lifting room is to hire a personal trainer for a session. After which, they will try very hard to coax you into seeing them regularly and if you are like me, you might have to blurt out your after tax income so they will stop hassling you.

After your five to 10-minute warm-up, when you enter the weight-lifting room on your own, head towards with the machines. Ultimately, you will move off the machines when you have developed your muscle strength, but they will keep your movements stabilised at first. I walk over to the machine and I study the stick figure animation. I am not pretending to know what I’m doing and there’s a chance I could get it wildly wrong and nobody wants to be the one doing star-jumps on top of a bench press.

  1. Position yourself inside the machine and make sure your back is straight. If you have to curl or hunch your back for any exercise, you are doing it wrong.
  2. Adjust the weight so that there is some resistance, but you can do 8-12 repetitions before you become fatigued. If you can do 30 reps without fatigue, it’s time to increase the weight.
  3. Rest between sets or move to another machine within a minute or two. Your heart rate has spiked and you will want to keep it high. Be careful not to go too fast. The aim is to engage as many muscles in your body at the same time, even with the simplest exercise.
  4. If the machine has been racked with heavy weights which will require you to lift them off, I usually find another one that’s less intimidating.
  5. Create your own circuit by moving between three or four machines.
  6. Try to eat a small meal before your work-out and a snack as soon as you have finished. The faster you can eat that snack afterwards, the less muscle ache you will have tomorrow.

I lift weights for 45 minutes, twice a week and my body is toned but still very curvy. If I work out more than that, I start looking like Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour. The greatest benefit of all is the word ‘diet’ never crossed my lips. The more I ‘lifted’, the more proteins my body wanted to eat. Carbohydrates didn’t feel as nourishing, anymore. And when people are struggling to put their luggage into the over-head cabins, I really enjoy that moment when I offer to help and plop that sucker in with the greatest of ease.

Vivienne Walshe is an Australian playwright and screenwriter. Her plays have been highly awarded and published by Currency Press. As an actress she appeared on The Secret Life of Us and many other television shows and performed in plays at the Melbourne Theatre company, Sydney Theatre company and Queensland Theatre company. 

September 26, 2013

4 Weeks to a Better Body

Okay, if you are sick of yo-yo exercising and eating then have we got a great plan for you! Time-poor women who want to keep in shape will love this routine. But remember, it’s best to check with your doctor before starting any kind of diet or exercise regime.Monday

The day to hit your butt, legs and abs

20 minutes of cardio activity. If you work out in a gym, try running or riding a bike with no resistance. If you work out at home, try walking briskly, jogging or doing an exercise video.

– 20 squats

– 20 lunges

– 40 sit ups

– 40 reverse curls: lie on your back with your arms by your side. Raise your legs toward the ceiling until they are perpendicular to it. Raise and then lower your butt two to four inches off the floor.

Tuesday

The day to hit your arms and chest

20 minutes of cardio activity

– 15-20 regular or bent-knee push-ups, whichever you feel you can handle

– 20 chest presses

– 20 chair dips: Grab the front of a seat, wrapping your fingers underneath. Keeping your back straight, use your arms to lower your torso in front of the chair until your elbows are shoulder-level. Resume the previous position.

– 40 biceps curls

Wednesday

The day to hit your back and shoulders

20 minutes of cardio activity

– 25 star jumps with hand weights in each hand

– 20 lateral raises: stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding hand weights in each hand. Turn your palms toward each other, then raise your arms straight out to each side until they are shoulder height.

– 40 front raises (20 per arm): Raise your arm in front of you until it’s shoulder height.

– 20 shoulder presses;

 

Thursday

The day to hit your bum, legs and abs

– 20 minutes of cardio activity

– 30 leg kicks (15 per leg): Get on all four, keep your back straight, bring your knee into your chest, then kick it straight out and up. Resume your starting position, then switch legs.

– 15 squats

– 15 lunges

– 20 pelvic liftsFriday

The day to hit your trouble spot

– for example if your abs need more work focus on the Thursday routine or the Monday routine, etc.

– 20 minutes cardio

What you should eat

Try to eat lean protein for lunch and dinner. Do eat leafy greens, such as spinach, green beans over starchy potatoes. Do avoid alcohol as it contains so much sugar. Try to not eat high-calorie tropical fruits such as bananas and pineapple.

January 21, 2002

4 Weeks to a Better Body (cont’d)

Thursday

The day to hit your bum, legs and abs

– 20 minutes of cardio activity

– 30 leg kicks (15 per leg): Get on all four, keep your back straight, bring your knee into your chest, then kick it straight out and up. Resume your starting position, then switch legs.

– 15 squats

– 15 lunges

– 20 pelvic liftsFriday

The day to hit your trouble spot

– for example if your abs need more work focus on the Thursday routine or the Monday routine, etc.

– 20 minutes cardio

What you should eat

Try to eat lean protein for lunch and dinner. Do eat leafy greens, such as spinach, green beans over starchy potatoes. Do avoid alcohol? contains so much sugar. Try to not eat high-calorie tropical fruits such as bananas and pineapple.

January 21, 2002

4 Exercise For Couples


The great point to couple training is that you tend to pay greater attention to each other’s form, you stick to a training regime more adherently when there is two and more importantly you will have more fun. The exercises we list below can be performed at home, the gym or the beach.

Couple Knee Bends

Stand facing each other; take each other’s hands and have your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Look into each other’s eyes (adoringly!) and squat down pulling away from each other. Keeping the weight in your heels and butt, focus on lifting through your legs and not pulling through your partner’s arms.

Twosome Walking Lunges

This exercise can be performed anywhere. It is performed and functions the same way as walking lunges do except you have the added benefit of holding somebody’s hand for better balance.

Crunching Couples

Lie on a mat or on the floor facing each other. Place your legs up and bent at a 90 degree angle pressing the soles of your feet against your partner’s feet. As you crunch, looking into each other’s eyes for focus. As you lift from your shoulders and look up and out you are forcing an isometric contraction in your abdominal region.

Shadow Boxing

Stand far enough away from your partner. Grasp a pair of dumbbells in each hand and stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Alternating left and right arms, extend your arms punching to the side and in an upward motion. Do about 25-30 each side, then switch. For a real cardio vascular kicker, alternate with jumping jacks, with the dumbbells in your hands.

June 2, 2001