How To Stay Fit And Healthy During The Silly Season

There’s a lot of hype from leading nutritionists and personal trainers alike right now about the extreme importance of eating clean and raw foods all-year round, but how do we mere mortals battle the bulge – and resist temptation – over the festive season?

Husband-and-wife team Scott and Jodie McKay at Jungle Fit Health and Fitness, based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, via www.facebook.com/JungleFitPT, which services clients both locally and nationally, has this advice for SHESAID readers: there’s no shortcuts, you’ve got to eat clean and exercise regularly to stay trim and healthy over the holidays (bugger).

Related: Get Raw For The Christmas Party Season

Jungle Fit Health and Fitness offers personal and group training, massage, health and wellness coaching and nutritional therapies both in person and online. Fuelled by a passion for health and wellness, and each other, the couple is striving to secure clients all over the globe. 

Scott (pictured), who’s the PT side of the business, is Australian Institute of Fitness-qualified and brings a unique style of training to Jungle Fit Health and Fitness, which he also co-owns, having served more than eight years in a combat role in the army.

He says remaining active during the festive season is a must, especially if you overindulge. “Get straight back into exercising now. I highly recommend people don’t put it off for the New Year resolution of: ‘I’ll get back into it next year’ because January 1 turns into February 1.

“Keep active. The weather is so good this time of year, so there are no excuses not to train, even if it’s not at the same intensity as you normally would during that Christmas/NY week. Go for a walk, or play in the park with the kids. It’s all about keeping your motivation going so you don’t lose all the gains you’ve made pre-Christmas.”

4 Easy Exercises To Reduce Stretch Marks

Meanwhile, Jodie is a health and wellness coach and co-owner at Jungle Fit Health and Fitness, having studied nutritional medicine, remedial massage, nutritional therapies and health and wellness coaching. So, what simple steps can we all take to eat clean? It’s all about small, sustainable steps, says Jodie.

“Look at substituting your favourite things for a cleaner version or recipe,” she says. “There is so much online these days, it is super simple. Start looking at the labels of things you are eating, make sure that you look at the first four ingredients in that label – if its sugar, canola oil, wheat etc., that is what the product has most of.

“Stick to the outer areas of the supermarket. Don’t go into the other aisles (except the health foods). Many people go straight for the “bad” aisles and are eating processed food that’s masquerading as real food.”

And as to why eating raw food/clean is important, especially in the lead-up to Christmas, Jodie says a clean, healthy diet is the key to optimal health and nutrition.
“Wholefoods will always make you feel vibrant and energised. A healthy body can ward off sickness and is less susceptible to certain cancers or obesity-related diseases,” she says. “Processed foods and acidic foods make us feel sluggish and miserable while also bringing on more illness.”

Jodie’s top holiday tip is to eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, unprocessed (lean) meats, fish (salmon), non-homogenized dairy, legumes and eggs. “Clean eating with wholefoods does not have to be boring, there are many recipes easily available that you can whip up, such as our Raw Peppermint Slice (see below).

“And you can replicate the Christmas food for healthier clean recipes – you don’t have to go without. For example, with rum balls you can make a healthier clean version.

“And a lot of people eat seafood at Christmas, so make sure that you fill your plate with it. There are also some amazing mango, avocado, prosciutto salad recipes around, which are all clean.

“So, you can still have nibbles and enjoy the Christmas period, while still remaining nutritious and clean!”

Raw Peppermint Slice

fitness, eat raw, eat clean



1 cup of almonds and hazelnuts

1/3 cup of cacao powder

3 tblsps melted coconut oil

1 cup of pitted dates (Medjool, if possible)

Middle layer

1 and 1/2 cups raw cashews, preferably soaked

1/2 cup of desiccated coconut

Pinch of salt (Himalayan, if possible)

1/2 cup of organic maple syrup

5 drops of peppermint oil

Top layer

1/2 cup of melted coconut oil

1/2 cup of cacao powder

1/4 cup of organic maple syrup


  1. To make the base: Add the base ingredients to a food processor and blend until it resembles fine crumbs and sticks together when pressed. Place mixture into a lined slice tin and press down. Place it in the freezer.
  2. To make the peppermint layer: Add cashews and desiccated coconut to a food processor blend until nice and smooth. Add the remaining peppermint layer ingredients to the mixture and blend until creamy. Add to the base and smooth over with a spatula and place into the freezer.
  3. To make the chocolate layer: Melt the coconut oil in saucepan or microwave. Once melted, add the maple syrup. Then add the cacao powder, stirring until well mixed through. Pour the chocolate on top of the peppermint layer. Put back into the freezer.
  4. Yum – it is now ready to slice and eat! Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

fitness, eat raw, eat clean

First recipe image via plantbasedmunchies.wordpress.com and secondary image via livingonpulse.blogspot.com.

10 Motivational Workout Tips For Every Woman

Doesn’t really matter if you’ve been working out for years, or just recently have decided to make it a bigger priority, there are always tips which could improve the standard of your workouts. Sometimes we all need a little help and motivation along the way, so keep this list handy for whenever you want to feel inspired.

1. Get into it!

Stop saying that the diet, new workout regime, or lifestyle plan will start tomorrow. Start it today and you will see better results in no time. Don’t put things off which you can start today – otherwise this cycle is doomed to repeat itself.

2. Lose yourself

Go for a walk, run, or jog into a different surrounding. This will help the workout seem fun and interesting, as opposed to waiting until you reach a certain point until it’s over.

3. Wake up early

Take advantage of an early morning and start working on yourself. Average people don’t appreciate an early morning (especially during winter), so this way you’re already ahead of the curve!

4. Lift!

Many women are anxious about weightlifting since they think it will put muscle in all the wrong places. Lifting weights will help to sculpt and tone the entire body – and is more effective in giving a full body workout as opposed to cardiovascular training.

5. It’s not always easy

There will be days that you feel like giving up, so indulge and take it easy. Good things don’t come easy, they take lots of time! Look back and think about all the progress you’ve made thus far.

6. Push HARDER!

Finish that rep, run an extra kilometre and add one more weight when you’re lifting, it won’t harm you in the long run. Take risks with your workout routine, and remember to keep trying new ideas when it feels tiresome.

7. Sweat

Don’t be afraid of a little sweat while working out. That fake tan can be applied again, your hair won’t look bad, don’t even think about your makeup! Make the most of your sessions, and keep your mind focused on the end goal.

8. Be persistent

Work hard and never give up! This mentality goes for almost anything you can set your mind to, just try and weigh up the positives against the negatives if you’re ever stressed out.

9. What do you want?

Before adapting to a particular workout routine, identify what you want to achieve out of it. Speed? Run faster. Strength? Lift more. Agility? Keep going. Setting a goal makes it that much easier to work towards – the end game feels near.

10. Treat yourself

Always test yourself by surpassing your own personal limitations. Those who work hard, often play hard – so remember to treat yourself and know there is always a balance to every healthy lifestyle.

Image via Arthlete

Post-Workout Do’s And Don’ts

After a workout you usually feel great, maybe a little tired and probably start to feel a little hungry, yet it is true that what you do straight after you complete your workout can increase its success or potentially undo all your hard work. So here are the do’s and don’ts to follow to get the most out of your exercise routine.



Always stretch for at least 10 minutes after your workout. Focus on all the large major muscle groups and hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds depending on the type of exercise you do.

Soothe your aches

A great remedy for post-workout aches is a warm shower, steam or sauna for one minute followed by a 30-second blast of cold water. Repeat four times.

Eating protein and watching your carbs

It’s really important start the repair process as soon as possible after a workout so the best way to do so is by ingesting protein. Also, tackle hunger post-workout with seafood, chicken or veges and a glass of milk. But don’t overestimate the amount of calories you need – a kilo of pasta or a litre of Powerade is generally not necessary.



Slam back the energy drinks

There is nothing your body needs more after a bout of exertion than water. So replenish your system with what it needs. Drink as much water as you feel you need. Coconut water is also good but steer clear of energy drinks. They don’t really contain any energy – just sugar!

Wait too long before eating 

Your body will start eating away at muscle if it doesn’t have the level of energy it requires which is extremely detrimental post-workout. Grab a banana, an oat raisin cookie or a handful of cashew nuts following your workout, but it’s always best to follow with a protein shake.

Eat too much before working out

Try to have a small amount of food at least 30 minutes before (especially first thing in the morning) to let your food digest and stop the feeling of being sick whilst you exercise.

Fitness Tips: 3 Exercises to Tone and Shape Your Butt

Who wouldn’t want a nice, firm, round booty? Doing the right exercises can lift and sculpt even the saddest glutes into a behind you can be proud of, but the problem is that many women don’t know where to begin. Here are three of the best exercises for toning your butt.


Squatsthe ultimate booty-building exercise. If you’re serious about tightening up sagging bits, eliminating cellulite, and developing delicious curves, don’t leave squats out of your training routine. Even if this is the only butt exercise you do, you’ll still likely get better results than what you’d get doing a handful of other butt exercises.

There are many variants of the squat. Weighted and non-weighted, standing or jumping, feet angled in or out, wide stance or narrow stance–they all target different parts of the butt and legs. Before you get into complex forms, you need to know how to perform the fundamental standing squat.

To do a basic squat, stand straight up with your legs spread out at about shoulder width. Next, raise both arms straight out in front of you, or interlace your fingers with the arms held at chest level. Then, slowly lower your body by bending the knees until your butt is about parallel with the ground, and pause for two to three seconds.

You’ll know that you’ve done it correctly when your legs create a right angle. The form will look like sitting on an imaginary chair. Beginners can practice this form by squatting in front of a mirror.

After a two or three count, raise your body back up to the starting standing position. At the top of the movement, make sure to squeeze your glutes so that you can feel them working. You’ve just completed one repetition of the basic squat.

Aim for at least three sets of ten repetitions to complete the exercise. Once you’ve mastered this movement, you can begin to modify it for even better results. Women who want more definition should increase their reps and sets, while those who wish to plump up their butt and increase size should try squatting with a barbell on their back.

There are so many variations to the squat, and they all do something a little bit different for you because they activate different parts of the muscles. Experiment to see which variants work best for you.

Stability Ball Leg Curls

This creative exercise might require a higher level of physical fitness and coordination, but the results you get from properly executing it are pretty impressive. Before you begin, you’ll need to buy a stability ball if you don’t have one already. A yoga mat also helps to keep your back and head from hurting during the movement.

Begin the exercise by lying flat on your back with your legs resting on top of the stability ball. Your butt should be in contact with the floor. Then, straighten your body out to form a bridge by tensing up the muscles in your legs and core.

This is where things get a little tricky. From the bridge hold, you curl your legs into your body by squeezing the glutes until your feet are resting on top of the ball, and your knees should form a right angle or less. The ball will roll in closer to you during this motion.

Hold the last phase of the movement for five seconds before lowering yourself back to the bridge hold. Then, relax your core, and let your butt drop down to the floor again. Shoot for three sets of ten reps to finish this exercise.

Dumbbell Lunges

Dumbbell lunges work each butt cheek separately, but they’re still one of the most effective back-end fitness exercises out there. Start by standing straight up with a dumbbell in each hand. Next, take a big step forward with one leg until the knee nearly comes into contact with the floor, and hold for three seconds.

To get back to the starting position, squeeze the glutes, and use explosive force to push yourself back up with the same leg. Alternate legs, and repeat. Once again, try to do three sets of ten until you’re comfortable with doing more.

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.


How to Keep the Weight Off in Summer

When we think summer, we think lighter eating and doing more exercise than winter, but actually, it’s very easy for the weight to creep on during the warmer months. Holiday parties, after-work cocktails, indulgent get-togethers…the calories add up quickly.

To top it off, SumoSalad have conducted their annual lunchtime survey and found that a shocking 70% of Australians eat an unhealthy lunch 4-5 times a week!

Dietician Georgina Moore and health and fitness coach Amelia Burton share their best tips to stay healthy and trim in summer.

Stay fuller for longer
To keep you feeling fuller for longer, choose foods that are high in protein, such as tofu, salmon, eggs and lean beef. Adding foods that are low GI into your diet such as vegetables and legumes, will also keep you satisfied throughout the day.

10-minute workouts
Did you know three 10-minute workouts are just as effective as a 30-minute workout? Try these simple exercise tips at lunchtime, or even at your desk. 10 squats, 10 push-ups and 10 tricep dips – repeat four times non-stop.

End the 3pm sugar binge
To help maintain blood sugar levels, avoiding the large spikes and troughs that lead to 3pm sugar binges, snack on foods that have a low glycemic index, such as unsalted mixed nuts, hummus or low-fat yoghurt.

Tone first, cardio after
To improve fat burning, always try to do the toning component of your workout before your cardiovascular workout. Therefore, push-ups before you run.

Veggie load-up
Load up with veggies – veggies provide a whole host of nutrients and fibre without being energy dense.

Become a morning person
Try to get up a little earlier for a morning workout. Blood sugar levels are lower in the morning, which helps burn body fat. Getting up early will also jump-start your metabolism and set you up for the rest of the day.

Keep up your lean protein
Eating chicken, salmon, turkey and Greek yoghurt after a workout will help build your muscles as they are more receptive to the effects of protein.

Avoid unwanted weight gain
To avoid unwanted weight gain and foods that have empty calories with no nutritional benefits, opt for foods that are low in fat (especially saturated fat) and low in salt.

How do you stay trim and healthy in summer?

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. 

How To Stay Fit And Healthy During The Holidays

Amongst the eating, drinking, family get-togethers and sales shopping, it’s important to maintain your health over the holidays. Keep these tips from Hopewood Health Retreat naturopath Jenny Colless-Buhn in mind and you’ll feel happier and ready to enjoy the festivities.

1. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables Think colour when eating fruit and vegetables. Eating a variety of different colours gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients like vitamin A, C, potassium, magnesium and fibre. 2. Limit processed foods, sugar and saturated fats Most of your energy comes from the quality of the foods you eat. Natural foods will ensure that you’ll feel more energised and more able to keep on top of your busy Christmas plans. 3. Drink water In Australia, Christmas can be one of our hottest periods of the summer. Don’t fall into the trap of spending the day racing around, not thinking about your hydration levels. Drink plenty of fluids (not sugary ones!) to keep yourself hydrated and you will concentrate better, look better and feel better. Quick tip: Start your day with 25% lemon juice in warm water – a great source of vitamin C! 4. Don’t overindulge All those delicious offerings can be tempting, but you’ll enjoy it more if you keep your portions small. Focus on the taste and not the quantity. Too many sweets and rich food can be hard for your body to process, resulting in headaches, stomach pain, and a feeling of sluggishness. Be sure to practice moderation when it comes to food and your body will thank you. 5.Have healthy snacks handy Why not freeze some berries into ice cubes and add them to your drink or have as an ice block? There are many beautiful fruits in season now—mango, nectarines, peaches, apricots—why not slice some up and arrange them artfully on a snack tray? Quick tip: When preparing a meal, aim to have 60% salad on your plate. 6. Keep up your regular exercise plan Regular movement is important to keep the body healthy and well tuned. Exercise increases the metabolism, gives a feeling of wellbeing and is known to give you more energy. You’ll find those tired, stressed feelings can disappear with a simple walk or yoga stretching. 7. Be sure to get enough sleep and relaxation You can’t handle all the tasks of the Christmas period along with your normal work and lifestyle if you don’t give yourself the chance to rest. Practising meditation or listening to a relaxation tape for 15 minutes can do wonders to restore your vitality. Quick tip: Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake to ensure a good night’s sleep. 8. Remember what the holidays are all about As the list of things to do grows longer and time grows shorter, it is easy to lose sight of what is important to us at this time. Don’t forget what Christmas and the holidays mean to you. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by all your holiday preparations take a moment to yourself and put everything back in perspective.