Guest post by Christian Miranda
I often ask my clients this question after tough training sessions. They’ve just busted their arse and are typically hunched over on all fours with sweat dripping, lungs heaving and heart pounding so I’m never really sure what answer to expect…
- ‘No, f##K off Christian!’
I guess what i’m really asking is, ‘Do you APPRECIATE what the session has done for you and, your efforts toward achieving your goals?”. To which the answer is always a resounding ”YES!!’ albeit followed by ‘…now f##k off Christian’.
So here’s the point – Unless you are prepared to put yourself in a position of vulnerability in which your limits are going to be tested -physically, mentally or emotionally- then you’ve still got a long way to go to realising your potential. That doesn’t mean you need this in every session, there’s a time and place for it. But you have to be prepared to push through the discomfort. The good stuff especially the results are on the other side of the discomfort, the vulnerability and the “rawness”.
So here’s a few tips:
- Appreciate the purpose of discomfort and vulnerability in your training program
- Acknowledge how far you’ve come and what you’ve already achieved
- Understand the intention behind the structure of each training session
- Learn from your trainer – treat them as your coach
- Commit to being the best YOU can be every day.
Sydney-girls: get yourself to Centennial Park at 9am every Saturday for FitLife training sessions. Email me here for details.
‘So, what do you do?’
Does anyone else hate this question?
Did you know that this is the most common question we get asked and that we ask others? You think we would have it down pat by now. But no! Each and every single time someone asks me this question, I cringe. Why? Because I hate to be defined by a sentence that follows an awkward question. Plus, why does it matter? Can’t we just have a conversation with someone without asking what they do? Sure it’s an icebreaker but why don’t we ask something like, ‘What’s going on in your life right now?’, or ‘What’s your favourite way to relax?’ WAAYYYY better topics of conversation than ‘What do you do?’ (Puke!) I think so anyway.
Brene Brown, author of an awesome book, The Gifts of Imperfection, talks about this. The author also hates this question and hates to be defined by the awkward answer that follows it. Like her, I define myself as a slashie. I am a writer/ blogger/ presenter/ coach/ speaker. And that’s just what I do for ‘work’. I am also a sister/ daughter/ girlfriend/ friend/ niece/ granddaughter/ cousin/ best friend. You know what I mean!
What I do for work doesn’t define who I am.
It’s just what I love to do and do every day. However, it’s not who I am! I am so much more than that. So are you, gorgeous. You are not your job title or the letters before your name.
You are that effervescent feeling of love that swims deep in your veins.
So, my love, if you get awkward (like me) when asked ‘So what do you do?’ stop, take a deep breath and share something from your heart—not your head. You will get an amazing reaction from the other person. Plus, speaking from your heart allows you to open up to the most magical experience you get to share with the other person.
Give it a go! In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown advises: “Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.”
Have you ever felt awkward when someone asked you this questions? In the comments section, share with us how you handled it!
I love sharing local talent and awesome women doing amazing things and Cassie sure is one of them.
How young are you? 26
Where do you live? Rose Bay, Sydney
Current occupation: Naturopath, Nutritionist & Herbalist
Tell us a little bit about your beautiful self. I am the founder of Elevate Vitality, a boutique naturopathic clinic in Bondi beach. I grew up surrounded by a beautiful family, horse riding, drawing, painting and spending weeks on the coast of South Africa with my cousins. I was a makeup-artist in the fashion and beauty industry for 6 years before following my passion for natural medicine and now I spend my days expanding my knowledge of all things natural and healing, studying my Master of Human Nutrition and kinesiology, mixing herbal medicines or ‘magic potions’, as my clients call them, helping people improve their health and their lives, writing and creating for my business and establishing a life I am proud to live!
Why is fuelling your body with beautiful food and thoughts important to you? For me, there’s really no other way of living. We make choices everyday as to how we will look after ourselves and after a while, those choices just become our normal. I work in an industry where it’s important to practice what you preach; how can I recommend that my clients eat well, go to yoga, exercise, reduce stress etc. if I’m not also doing those things? When I was younger I didn’t always look after myself, and you don’t always realise how bad you feel until you feel well, so fuelling my body, mind and spirit is my priority so I can live a fulfilling, creative and abundant life.
What does self-love mean to you? I can be quite the perfectionist, so to me, self-love often means giving myself a break – the proverbial ‘pat on the back’ so to speak. It means looking after myself by going to yoga (a flexible body creates a flexible mind), moving my body, cooking and eating delicious and nourishing meals, having regular massages and learning when to say no in order to create more space in my life and allow myself to switch off. It also means surrounding myself with people who love me, and who I love, like enjoying loud family dinners, lazy Sunday breakfasts with my hubby and long girls’ dinners.
Tell us why you started your blog and what it means to you? I started my blog as a way to reach, inspire, educate, motivate and empower people to discover and create their optimal health. It’s a way to stay connected with my followers and I absolutely love writing so for me, I fulfil a creative side of my personality whilst also helping my clients, their friends and family and many others to live their best and healthiest life.
Your top 5 tips to stay healthy and happy?
- I think it’s really important to listen to your body and find what works for you. I see so many clients who come to me incredibly stressed because they’re so confused about what to eat and what to avoid and I always tell them “the size that fits all, fits no one” – there is no ‘perfect’ diet out there, so through trial and error, find what works for you. Maybe your body thrives from having a protein and berry shake each morning but your friend insists that a mushroom omelette fuels her better. That’s ok – you need to listen to your body, discover what works for you and nourish your body the best way you know how.
- Exercise is just one way I achieve clarity of mind, an energetic body and a positive mood. Everything is better after exercise! In a week I’ll do a combination of walking, jogging, yoga, pilates, barre classes, strength and interval training and I love it. I give myself a day off as well as it’s important to let your body rest!
- Find a means to express yourself, either through journaling, writing, drawing, painting, cooking, baking, singing, meditating, yoga – I don’t care how you do it, as long as you find something you enjoy and incorporate it into your life. Self-expression is as important to complete and vital health as is a healthy diet and exercise. For women especially, being creative is energetically important for a healthy reproductive system and menstrual cycle. Suppressed creativity can cause blocks in our systems and lead to menstrual issues such as a lack of period and infertility. So express yourself and get creative!
- Don’t compare yourself to others – when you do, you’re comparing your ‘behind-the-scenes’ to someone else’s show-reel. It doesn’t create lasting health and happiness. Like I said before, find what works for you and let yourself be guided by that.
- Give yourself permission to not be perfect – learning how to do this and creating space in my life for mistakes was a huge learning curve for. I’ve been a perfectionist since pre-school when I used to get upset if I coloured outside the lines! Don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good enough’ – we’re always evolving, changing, improving, growing and flourishing. You are enough today as you are, and you were enough yesterday, and you’ll be enough tomorrow.
What are your big dreams, goal and aspirations? My biggest passion is my clinical practice so for me, one of my goals is help as many people as I can to improve their health and wellbeing. I’ve also just started training in kinesiology, a healing modality based on principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the study of human movement which uses gentle muscle testing as a means of addressing physiological, mechanical and psychological imbalances. I’m excited to be able to incorporate kinesiology into my practice soon! I’ve also just written and release my first ebook, Cleansed, a simple program for a life of health, ease and abundance.
Your favourite live by affirmation, mantra or quote?
Eek there are so many!
“The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.”
“Everything is perfect in the universe, even your desire to improve it”
“This too shall pass”
– this reminds to always be in the moment, whether I’m experiencing something uplifting or something difficult, I’m reminded that this won’t last and it’ll either make me stronger or make me happier… but it’s here for a reason so acknowledge it!
What are your favourite recipes?
Healthy Chicken ‘schnitzel’ Salad – gluten free
This delicious salad is quick to whip up and gluten free. I made stacks of this chicken – it’s great as a snack and perfect the next day for another lunch.
What you need:
- 130-150g organic free-range chicken breast per person
- 3 tbsp almond meal per chicken breast
- 2 tbsp Italian herb mix per chicken breast
- 1/4 avocado per person
- 2-3 handfuls salad veggies and leaves per person
- Coconut or grapeseed oil to cook with (stable at high heats)
- Flaxseed or olive oil, apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon, fresh black pepper and a little Dijon mustard for dressing
What you do:
- Start by mixing the herbs and almond meal together. Rub a little oil on each chicken breast and pat the herb crust onto the chicken. Leave to set in the fridge for about 20-30 mins if possible. (Doesn’t really matter if you don’t have time for this).
- Heat some oil in a pan and add the chicken breast. You can slice it up first if you’d like it to cook a little faster. Cook evenly on both sides until the chicken is cooked through.
- In a bowl, add all your salad greens and veggies plus the avocado. Toss the chicken through, mix up the dressing to splash on your salad and enjoy!
Where can we find you?
There are three main reasons we crave things like sugar, chocolate, carbs, a glass of red, or hot chips:
Usually you crave something when you’re dehydrated. So, before you reach for that packet of choccy biscuits, go have a tall glass of filtered water with some fresh lemon in it. Give yourself ten minutes. Then, check in with yourself and see if you still want to devour the whole packet of biscuits.
If, every day at 3 p.m., you take yourself to the vending machine for your sugar fix, then every day you’re going to crave that. You have to break that habit and start to nourish your body with afternoon snacks such: as my kale chips, bliss balls, veggie sticks with homemade hummus or avocado dip, or raw hemp protein bar.
3. Boredom or procrastination.
Ever find yourself sitting at your computer trying to finish an assignment or a really difficult task, which you don’t want to do? Then, you think: Maybe taking myself off to the fridge or pantry is a good idea to get the ideas following again?
I used to be a sucker for that one! I would always find myself head first in the pantry trying to get out of finishing that difficult task.
So, next time you have a ‘sugar’ craving, tune in with yourself. Ask yourself: Am I really craving the whole packet of Tim Tams or am I just dehydrated? Am I eating out of habit, boredom, or procrastination?
Get really honest with yourself, sweetheart. Let’s kick these cravings to the curb.
Over to your beautiful? Do you crave sugar? If so, what are some of your ways with dealing with cravings?
Guest post by Christian Miranda
For a lot of girls, toning up the legs and bum is a main focus point when starting any new health kick. Whether its change in nutrition or training, the need for specific training that targets those particular areas is a real necessity!
Here is a great little leg blaster to try at home. It doesn’t require any equipment, and can easily be squeezed in to your busy lifestyles taking around 30min to complete.
Feel Those Leg’s Session Plan:
- 7 x 10 Squats w/ 5secs rest in between each set
- 6 x 10 Step Ups w/ 10secs rest in between each set
- 5 x 10 Mountain Climbers w/ 15secs rest in between each set
- 4 x 10 Walking Lunges w/ 20secs rest in between each set
- 3 x 10 Squat Jumps w/ 25 secs rest in between each set
- 2 x 10 Box Jumps w/ 30secs rest in between each set
- 1 x 10 Burpees w/ 35secs rest in between
- Perform a 250m Run at the end of completing each movement
It is really important, and much more beneficial, to ensure you are focusing on performing these movements with perfect technique!
There are a lot of reps to complete – the muscles in your legs will fatigue – but don’t let your technique be compromised. Re-focus and work on maintaining quality form throughout – giving your legs and bum get a quality workout!
Sydney-girls: join our Fit Girl outdoor training sessions. Find all the details and ask your questions over on my Facebook page. Plus, don’t forget! I’m here to support your training so share your pic’s on Instagram by tagging me (@christianmiranda) using the #fitgirl tag.
Guest post by Diane Carter
If any of you out there have been watching Game of Thrones, you’ll recognize the masculine/Yang qualities within a very feminine/Yin figure – Daenerys Targaryen, the soon-to-be Queen of the seven kingdoms. She’s fiery, willing to take action and accomplishes much in a short space of time and not just because she has dragons, but because she has the perfect balance of Yin within Yang. Compassion cools her desire for revenge and allows her to make decisions that support herself and the people for who she feels responsible. A desirable combination if you wish to live a successful, balanced life or become a great leader loved by your people. So how do we keep the eternal symbol of balance balanced within our own lives? How do we nourish our Yin which is necessary to build our Yang? How do we work, exercise, have fun, relax and live gracefully?
Yin and Yang 101
- Often represented by two half circles flowing into each other
- Black (Yin) and White (Yang) – who thought it was the other way around?
- Over 4,000 years of Oriental medicine is based on this principle
- The presence of each energy within the other is denoted by the small dot of the opposite energy
- Yang = movement/heat/expenditure /dryness/expansion/insubstantial
- Yin = rest/coolness/nurturing/hydrated/contraction/substantial
- Both are needed to create “flow” in life
- If the two are not in harmony then “stagnation” occurs resulting in loss of vitality, pain, lack of motivation, digestion and immune conditions, organ dysfunction and ultimately disease
So how can we put this into practice to attain the best health and life possible?
- Slowing down at different times of the day is essential to build our Yin energies (mainly through good quality blood and fluids). This ensures heightened Yang (movement, thinking, vitality) at the other times. The best times for Yin are during sleep, ideally in Winter 9pm-5am, meditation/yoga 5-6am, digestion time for our largest meal 1-3pm then 6-9pm when we are preparing food, relaxing with family/friends. Don’t over-exert yourself with long periods of exercise. New research shows that less is more is terms of ageing and disease due to organ, gland and hormone health being compromised.
- Get treated regularly by an Acupuncturist, Herbalist or therapy which switches off the Sympathetic or stress-related nervous system and switches on the Parasympathetic healing/repair/rejuvenation system, while getting a natural high from the pain-relieving endorphins and harmonising neurotransmitters flowing around the body.
- Go outside and soak up the negatives ions from around trees and the ocean. Human bodies are fantastic conductors and these negative ions attach themselves to the positively-charged ‘free radicals’ that cause inflammation and disease in our body and remove them from the bloodstream and tissues. Gardening, walking or just relaxing in nature are awesome ways to do this, being barefoot is even better.
- Eat nourishing foods which are fluid-based and high in nutrients such as soups, slow-cooked or lightly steamed foods, green juices, smoothies (no ice), herbal teas, coconut water, spring water. Avoid too much spicy food, even though this creates energy and movement (that’s why “stagnant liverish” people love it) it also creates heat and dries out our Yin fluids if not kept in check. Cayenne pepper is a great spice that has approximately 150 activating molecules to improve circulation and only a tiny pinch is needed.
- Show love and compassion for yourself and others as this is the most nurturing of all. It sends a message to all of our cells “that things are well” and is the basis of the new science Epigenetics, where a cell’s ‘perspective’ of its environment determines if it switches on or not the DNA codes for disease.
So remember we CAN be masters balancing our own reality, making choices that support us and the life we were born to live.
Be well and keep me posted.
Diane Carter B HSc (Acup) is an Accredited Acupuncturist specializing in Japanese Acupuncture. Having practiced within the Complimentary Medicine field for more than 15 years in Melbourne and Sydney, Diane currently draws on the traditions and techniques of Oriental Medicine, Energetic Healing and ‘Food as Medicine’ within her practice at Bondi Junction, wellspring-acupuncture.com – 1 ½ Hour Winter Balance $99
Health Fund Rebates available.
I met this little cutie pie at the Melbourne Self-Love and Sisterhood Tour a few months ago and was blown away by her energy, passion and enthusiasm for health and wellness. She is currently studying but couldn’t wait to finish so decided to create her own tea business.
How young are you? 21
Where do you live? Melbourne
Current occupation: 4th year Naturopathic student and creator of SlimBliss organic herbal tea
Tell us a little bit about your beautiful self: I am a A vibrant, compassionate, tea drinking, cacao loving, health and wellness ambassador!
My overwhelming passion for herbal medicine and digestive health has lead me down the exciting path of creating an organic herbal tea called SlimBliss!
Despite having a year left of university I was determined to start sharing my knowledge and helping others.
I have first hand experienced the powerful results herbal medicine has to offer and the importance of uncovering and eliminating food intolerances.
Tell us why you started your blog/business and what it means to you? 6 months ago I was just your regular uni student, now I get to live and breathe my passion everyday! I am so grateful for the ability to empower and help people all over Australia; it is still a mindboggling concept for me.
The most rewarding thing about my business is the one on one connection with my customers and meeting like-minded people like Melissa! I am living the dream and can not wait to see what doors open next.
Why is fuelling your body with beautiful food and thoughts important to you? So many people have no idea how amazing your body is actually supposed to feel! We get so used to feeling bloated, sluggish, unmotivated and mentally drained this becomes the norm!
We all need to take a moment and really listen and love our body, all of these symptoms are signs that we are out of balance.
Adopting a positive mindset, eating REAL food and surrounding yourself with uplifting people will have you feeling more balanced in no time!
What does self-love mean to you and why is it important? Self-love is unconditionally, wholeheartedly, accepting and loving yourself. It is the key ingredient to life!
The only thing that ever holds someone back is their own self-limiting beliefs.
Self-love is something I work on everyday through affirmations, meditation and exercise.
What are your top 5 tips to stay healthy and happy?
- “Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind!” Our mind is the most powerful tool we have: What you think, you become.
- Nourish your body with incredible food and you will feel incredible.
- Be grateful and show random acts of kindness daily
- Set goals! Those who set goals are those who achieve them
- Never stop loving and laughing. Surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire.
What are your big dreams, goal and aspirations? My vision board is currently overflowing! Every day I am making new goals for myself, after all “As we journey to a goal, we realise the journey is the goal”
One of my current missions to all readers is:
“To empower you to take charge of your digestive health, enrich your body with incredible food choices and embrace positive lifestyle changes!”
What’s your favourite live by affirmation, mantra or quote?
Each morning I start the day by repeating a relevant affirmation, this is great way for me to set my intentions for the day, balance my mind and release any self-limiting beliefs.
This week’s affirmation has been helping me become more patient (A tough one for me!)
Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety”
Can you please share your favourite recipe?
Zucchini noodles with a cashew cream sauce
Gluten and dairy free!
For the Noodles
What you need:
- 2 Zucchinis
What you do:
- Turn zucchini into noodles using a Veggie twister or using a kitchen peeler. You can enjoy the noodles raw or place in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until soft.
For the Sauce
What you need:
- 75g Cashew nuts (soaked in water overnight)
- 1 Tomato (small)
- 1 Garlic clove
- 2 TBS lemon juice
- 5 Basil leaves (more or less to taste)
- Pinch of himalayan salt + pepper
What you do:
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Done!
Where can we find you?
Did you know that the first thing that enters your mouth in the morning determines the rest of your day? That first bite (or sip) determines the neurotransmitters for the entire day. So if you’re starting your day with a sugary cereal or with a carb overload, you’re essentially setting yourself up for a roller coaster ride of sugar and carbs highs and lows.
Instead, start your day with green juice or a smoothie with as many nutrients as possible. Stay away from sugar and refined carbs, as they will only make you crave more sugar and carbs throughout your day. Try nutrient dense goodies like kale, spirulina, berries, chia seeds, and chlorella. Since I have been loading up on nutrients first thing in the morning my energy level’s have increased and the clarity I get for the rest of the day makes you want to go back each and every morning for more.
Try some of these juices and smoothie’s:
I know! It’s winter here in Australia and smoothie and juices are not as enticing. But, I’ll let you in on one of my little secrets: Add ¼ cup of warm water to your smoothie. I add frozen berries and once blended make my smoothie way too cold to drink. Adding the warm water instead of cold really makes my smoothie palatable. Also remember that you shouldn’t ever really drink ice-cold things. This is too much of a shock for your liver. You want to drink beverages at room temperature and even warmer in winter. My hands and feet used to be always cold. This has improved dramatically since I started doing this.
What is your first bite (or sip) in the morning? Is it the most nutrient dense thing you can get your hands on?
I encourage my clients to drink at least 3 litres of water per day to stay hydrated, more if they have done strenuous exercise that day. A lack of water will result in feelings of lethargy and fatigue, a lack of concentration, irritability and an inability to achieve your physical best. Allowing yourself to become dehydrated is like starving your body! We’re 75% water after all.
- Always carry a water bottle with you – to training, on your desk at work, in the car, in your bag – preferably a bottle that shows the capacity so you can keep track during the day.
- An easy way to ensure that you are properly hydrated is to check that your urine is “clear” in colour – this is a fair indication that your body is processing the way that it should be.
- Thirst is a poor indicator of hydration, often by the time you are thirsty you are already showing signs of dehydration.
- Coffee, various medications and alcohol are all things which can lead to dehydration – it is in your best interests to avoid them where possible.
- Know your body: some individuals change overnight, others may take a couple of days or even weeks to push through the plateau.
- It’s important to realise that plateaus are not complacency or sitting in a comfort zone. Looking at your exercise program (or life) – where are the plateaus? And be honest, are there any areas your being complacent or hiding in the comfort zone?
- Persist: keep going and continue to make the necessary changes to help your body through the plateau – in time, your body will reward your commitment and determination with the results you want.
- Set yourself a goal
- Put the structures in place, you may like to consider consulting with a trainer (or health coach) who understands your goals and can support this process.
- Apply yourself – do everything you said you would and believe the results will come. The results will come.
Takeaway: At the end of the journey (or program) take no regrets, don’t leave questioning why you didn’t achieve a particular result. Walk away head held high knowing you gave it your all and let the results speak for themselves.
I don’t think I have mentioned this before but I am currently doing my yoga teacher training (which I freaking LOVE). I am not necessarily aiming to become a yoga teacher. I am doing this because I am always on a journey of self discovery. I am always willing to dig deeper, to crack open even more, and to be the most authentic version of myself. Yoga is a great vehicle which allows me to do that.
You see, we never stop learning, growing, and evolving EVER. Often, people–even my clients—will say to me, ‘But you’re perfect!’ or ‘But you have your shit together!’
I almost spit out my organic herbal tea when these comments are thrown my way. Yes, I have done a s%#t load of work on myself. But, no! I am not perfect. I am still very much a student of life and always learning.
When people first come to work with me they say, ‘I just want to be where you are!’ This is great because they can see there is another way to live. BUT the people that are saying this are looking for a place to arrive. I believe if you’re waiting to arrive or wanting to just get to that place, you will be waiting for a very long time.
Life is a journey.
We are always growing. You will never be the same as you were yesterday. You will be you yesterday + a day evolved older.
Stop waiting to arrive, waiting to get to that place before you start, launch, fix, change or improve! Just be and do it now. The time is now. You’re never going to be ready. So start before you’re ready. Leap. Jump. Fly. Live the life of your dreams, gorgeous, because I am and it’s freaking awesome.
So, who’s ready to join me for the ride? Who’s ready to start to live the life of their dreams?