whole30 | two weeks down

Jay and I are doing the Whole30 program.

What is Whole30 you might be asking?

It’s a revolutionary way to change your life; you’re health, your emotional attachment to food and your relationship to your body and exercise.
You can read all about it [here]

Basically we are doing away with alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes, dairy and healthy-treats (referred to as Sex With Your Pants On) for a full 30 days!
But don’t focus on what is being avoided, focus on the positive; whole food, healthy – as close to nature as possible – food, detechnofying (is this actually a word?!?) and simple movement for a month.

It’s been a little challenging. The no alcohol is what’s really got me. I usually have a glass of wine or a martini every night. And not snacking between meals has been challenging (snacking avoidance is also about temperance) although I’ve still been having at least one snack a day, like late-afternoon I have some beef jerky or a handful of nuts.
I’ve also gotten a little sick, Jay calls it the “carb flu” but Whole30 says its not unusual to get a little sick as your body is trying to rid itself from all the toxins in the first week or so, the immune system is a little overloaded. So days 7-11 I struggled with an ear and sinus infection which was not fun.

Today is Day 14. And you should see my skin and eyes; clear and sparkling! I’ve always had pretty good skin, but I can really see a difference. And my clothes feel a little looser. I am enjoying the food; eating naturally but all the cooking is pretty intensive! Last night was the first time we ate out since starting to program; we went to Mumu Grill which specialises in grass-fed beef & free-range pork/chicken. It was weird not having a glass of wine with the meal (especially on a Saturday night) but we made great food choices and left feeling satiated, not bursting at the seams and with dessert, wine & the other extras, dinner was so cheap!

Here’s a few pics of our food over the past week:

homemade paleo muesli
homemade paleo muesli

made with no grains; just seeds, nuts & coconut. I have this with coconut milk or homemade almond milk.

brekkie; bubble & squeak with poached egg
brekkie; bubble & squeak with poached egg

a great way to use left over veggies; bubble & squeak fry-up topped with a poachie

breakkie; scrambled eggs with hamburger beef pattie & kale salad
breakkie; scrambled eggs with hamburger beef pattie & kale salad

grassfed beef patties with scrambled eggs and a kale & tomato salad

lunch; mince fry-up & salad
lunch; mince fry-up & salad

super quick to prepare; grassfed beef mince & onion with a salad of kale, tomato, jicama & blanched broccoli

coconut chicken 'nuggets' with sweet potato sticks & waldorf salad
coconut chicken ‘nuggets’ with sweet potato sticks & waldorf salad

so yum! chicken nuggets made with freerange organic chicken mince, Thai spices & rolled in coconut then shallow fried, served with sweet potato sticks & waldorf salad (without the blue cheese and made with paleo mayo)

dinner; mushroom burger with sweet potato wedges
dinner; mushroom burger with sweet potato wedges

mushroom bun, grassfed beef pattie, salad & paleo mayo served with sweet potato wedges

steak, sweet potato & zucchini grilled on the bbq with salad
steak, sweet potato & zucchini grilled on the bbq with salad

grassfed scotch fillet barbecued with sweet potato & zucchini and served with a quick salad of blanched broccolini, green beans, pepitas & cranberries

meatloaf muffins & zoodles
meatloaf muffins & zoodles

grassfed beef mince with chopped veggies & herbs to make a ‘meatloaf muffin’ served with zucchini noodles and homemade basil pesto

why you should drink more H2O | week of health & fitness

Can you remember the lines (aka nagging) your Mum constantly repeated when you were growing up?
Anytime my brother & I opened the fridge, like some kind of fridge-sensor, my Mum would yell from somewhere in the house “Have a glass of water”!

The average adult human body is 50-65% water,
so it only makes sense that we drink up!

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glowing skin¹

Water facilitates filtration in our system. It assists the kidneys to do what they do best and transport all the toxins out of our body. Top up your hydration with at least 1.5 litres of water a day (that’s 50 oz) and you’ll see the improvements in your biggest organ; your skin!

faster weightloss²

Weight-loss studies the world over agree that people who drink more water lose weight faster. This is probably because you’re filling that ‘hunger’ gap with zero-calorie fluid and not peanut butter cookies! Try drinking two (500ml or 16 ounces) glasses of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner and you may get away with eating 75 to 90 fewer calories during each meal. Win!

it regulates body temperature³

After chasing birds & playing fetch for hours, Harley will find a nice puddle of mud or body of water to sink himself into to cool down. Pigs also wallow in mud to regulate their temperature. Much like our beloved pets and tasty animals (!) everyone knows that if you’re overheated, it’s important to drink water “but did you know that it’s even more important to drink it when your body is freezing? The risk of dehydration is actually higher in cold weather because your body is working harder to stay warm. Water regulates your body temperature while hydrating it.

say buh-bye to headaches

If I haven’t drank enough water throughout the day, by mid-afternoon I get a cranking headache and start to feel tired and crabby. Avoiding that feeling (and me if I was you!) is reason enough to hydrate! If you find yourself getting a lot of headaches, dehydration may be to blame. People who don’t consume enough water are more likely to suffer from cramps and other aches as well.

dotox your body

I’ve tried juice cleanses and the Lemon Detox Diet and not only do they make you ravenously hungry, they also mess up your digestive system while making you feel like shit. There really isn’t a need to take such extreme gimmicky measures if you’re eating cleanly (small portions, no refined sugar or starch and heaps of green leafy veggies) and drinking heaps of water. Can’t deal with litre upon litre of H20? Then add fresh lemon or green tea to your water. Help your liver flush out those toxins!

get things running smoothly

It’s not a topic most people like talking about, but I’m fine with discussing bowel movements! Lack of hydration leads to constipation which can lead to a whole host of uncomfortable situations (piles anyone?!). Consume enough water to keep things flowing smoothly.

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So how much water do you really need?

As a guide I think 1.5 –  2.5 litres (<0.7 gallon) is enough unless you’re exercising heavily or live in a really hot, humid climate. My brother who lives in Perth (where it’s on average it’s 32°C in summer) works outdoors and he drinks 6+ litres a day! But if you want something more scientific, here is a little calculator

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tasty & detoxifying
tasty & detoxifying

¹[while there are no published scientific studies backing up these claims, there are ‘before-after’ studies to support this]
²[here]
³[here]

bootylicious | week of health & fitness

I am loving this set of exercises aimed to tone the butt and core. Performed barefoot with 10 slow reps of each exercise; 3-4 times per week. Perfect to do in your house before anyone gets home (looks a little weird)!!!

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Wall Bridge

Lie on your back with your butt against the wall and arms at your sides. Bend your knees and plant your feet 3 to 4 feet up the wall. Raise your lower and middle back off floor, keeping your shoulder blades on the ground. Hold for a deep inhale, then exhale and slowly return to the starting position.

MAKE IT HARDER


Cross your right ankle over your left knee so that only your left foot is on wall.

MAKE IT EASIER


Don’t use the wall. Keep your feet flat on floor as you lift into a bridge.


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Windshield Wipers

Lie faceup on the floor with your legs against a wall, the bottoms of your feet facing the ceiling. Slowly lower your left leg down the wall like a clock arm toward 9 o’clock, then return to the starting position. Repeat with right leg, sweeping toward 3 o’clock. Continue to alternate legs until you’ve completed all of the reps.

MAKE IT HARDER


Wrap an elastic exercise band around your left foot. Hold both ends at your right hip for added resistance as you sweep your left foot down the wall. Do all reps, then switch legs and repeat.

MAKE IT EASIER

Move your butt 3 to 6 inches away from the wall while performing the move.


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Toe Reaches

Lie on the floor with your heels pressed against the wall, your legs straight. Reach your right hand toward your left foot, allowing your right shoulder to raise off the floor. Return to the starting position. Repeat with your left hand and right foot. Continue to alternate until you’ve completed all reps.

MAKE IT HARDER


Perform the exercise with your feet stacked toe to heel.

MAKE IT EASIER


Reach toward your knees.


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Wall Scissor

Begin with your butt close to the wall, knees bent, and your feet planted on the wall. Raise your hips up, and place your elbows on the floor and your hands on your hips to support your lower body. Walk your feet up the wall so that your legs are straight. This is your starting position.

From here, lower your left leg toward your head, keeping both legs straight. Return to the starting position and repeat with your right leg. Continue to alternate until you’ve completed all reps.

MAKE IT HARDER


As you lower your leg, pause and pulse 2 or 3 times, moving it up and down an inch or two, before returning it back to the wall.

MAKE IT EASIER

Start with your hips 3 to 6 inches away from the wall.

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Knee Press

Lie on your back with your butt against the wall, knees bent, and feet planted 3 to 4 feet up the wall. Raise your butt and back off the floor and cross your right ankle over your left knee. Without moving the rest of your body, pulse your knee toward the wall 20 times. Lower your body, and repeat on your left side.

MAKE IT HARDER


As you press your knee, lift and lower your hips a couple of inches with each rep.

MAKE IT EASIER


Do the move with your butt on the floor.


Pictures & Content from Prevention

gotta get up | week of health & fitness

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What gets you up and out the door in the morning for your early workout?

I know not everyone does their exercise in the morning, but for me if I don’t get it done before I go to work, chances are pretty slim that I’ll get it done later in the day. Exercise guru Michelle Bridges always says that it doesn’t really matter when you workout, as long as you do it, but it’s better to do it first thing in the morning before “life” gets in the way. I agree!

I get up in the morning for 2 reasons;

  1. because my love of food means I have to workout.
  2. because I have a little dog named Harley who needs to go for a run before we leave him for the day, otherwise we’d come home to a house destroyed!

I’m lucky that I live in a beautiful suburb where my morning jog is along the gorgeous Sydney harbour. I don’t take my iPod because I love the early morning quiet. It’s just a time to detox from the busy city life.

Here are my top tips to make getting up at the crack of dawn just a little bit easier:

  • go to bed early. It’s almost impossible to get up at 5.30am if you’ve only had 6 hours sleep. I make sure I’m tucked away in bed by 10.30pm. That means that the TV is off by 9.30pm!
  • layout your workout gear before going to bed. It’s way easier to fumble around in the dark (and the cold in winter) when your stuff is on the floor next to your bed.
  • prep your breakfast and lunch the night before. That way your when your workout is over, you’ve had a shower and gotten ready for work, your breakfast is easily prepared and you can grab your lunch and head out the door. On schedule!
  • have a backup plan so if it’s raining you can still workout; at the gym, with a workout DVD in your lounge room or like me, out the door in a raincoat!

Hope this helps you on your workout tomorrow!!! And I’ll leave you with a few photos of the views I enjoy on my early morning workout adventures… 

chasing pavements
chasing pavements

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nothing but fog....winter settles in around the harbour
nothing but fog….winter settles in around the harbour
before sunrise; a view of the city
before sunrise; a view of the city
after sunrise; a view of the city
after sunrise; a view of the city
welcome sailors! a cruise liner on it's way into port
welcome sailors! a cruise liner on it’s way into port

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view from Barrangaroo
view from Barrangaroo
my little workout buddy; Harley
my little workout buddy; Harley & his stick

Happy Monday!

changing lives

Yesterday I attended the RIDBC Changing Lives Luncheon with special guest speaker Michelle Bridges, in my hometown of Newcastle for an amazing charity organisation.

My BFF Grace McLean is RIDBC’s Community Relationships Manager in the Hunter which basically means she builds & sustains relationships and community partnerships with individuals and businesses in the area that help support (through charitable foundation) the core work that the
Royal Institute of Deaf & Blind Children do (inc childhood education and socialisation through face-to-face and technology-driven schooling, family support and new technology development for things like iPad Apps to support communication).

Gracie secured Michelle Bridges, my fitness mentor through the 12WBT program, as the special guest speaker. (I’d like to think that I had a tiny part to play in getting her since she dropped my details about my 12WBT journey when sending the request!!!).

Neen & I drove up from Sydney and arrived just in time for the 12.30 lunch. The weather fortunately didn’t get the “winter” memo because the sun was shining, it was 28°C and the vast glistening Pacific ocean stretched out the blue horizon in front of the Merewether Surfhouse. It was beautiful.

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Mike Rabbitt, a local TV sports reporter MC’d the event. He was commanding, genuine, engaging and funny. The CEO of RIDBC Chris Rehn gave a short overview of the organisation’s history, values and the work they do in the Australian community.

Mike Rabbitt (Far Left) with the NBN News anchors

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Gracie & CEO Chris Rehn

After settling into our meal of either salmon with beans & cauliflower mash or roast chicken with vegetables, the first speaker was a beautiful woman and mother of four (!!!) Rachel Cooper, who spoke of her son that has a hearing impairment. Their daily lives have been significantly changed for the better through the work that RIDBC do. It was an interesting and heartfelt story.

Mish Bridges talking while sitting because of her hamstring surgery last week. She’s a machine!

I’m not sure how long Mish actually spoke for but time seemed to stop. This is a woman I am influenced by every.single.day…I am following her workouts or cooking her recipes or watching her videos or reading her Facebook posts or tweets. I’ve seen her a few times; at 12WBT workouts and events and at the Fairfax office when I was doing a project there, but to be so close to her was just awesome! It’s strange though how you can know someone and they don’t have a clue who you are! She directly impacts my life and she doesn’t even know it! Also, just so I seem a tad more stalker-ish, Mish and I share the exact same birthday, which I of course told her!

Her talk was about things I’ve heard before through the program, but she’s so engaging, relaxed, funny and inspiring that it was like hearing it for the first time. Her message and her words found a renewed resonance with me. She spoke about how she detests this generation of self-hate. How women (and men) seem to relish putting themselves down. How does that behavior achieve our goals in life; whether its fitness, weightloss or career driven? It’s not OK to tell someone else that they’re a useless disgusting fat pig, so why is it acceptable to talk to ourselves like that (she was using an example of one of the 12WBT clients who had a blog site called ‘bigfatchick’). Mish went on to say our bodies are “perfect”. They react perfectly to the signals and messages that we give them.  If we are giving our bodies messages of high-sugar, over-processed, high-fat food with little exercise it will respond perfectly to that message; it will bloat, retain salt & water, breakout, pack on weight & cellulite. But if we give it messages of wholesome, natural foods with daily exercise, then it will flourish to that message with good intestines, clear skin, optimum weight.

What a perfect message!

[Michelle Bridges via

With Mish’s help, the MC announced the silent auctions, raffle and lucky door prizes which were all donated by amazing Newcastle businesses;

National Australia Bank (NAB) (major sponsor), Merewether Surfhouse (major sponsor), Hearts on Fire, Matthews Jewellers, PeopleFusion, AFRM, Carla Swimwear, Subo, Gorgeous Gowns, Newcastle Herald, Hot Yoga, Natalie Baker Styling, Collette Dinnegan Baby, Endota Spa, Kokum Hair, Sprout Dining, Hot Rock Catering, Intimo, Newcastle Cosmetic Medicine Centre, Fernwood, The Essential Ingredient, ACP Magazines, ActionCOACH, The Greater, The Good Property Girls, ABC Orthodontics, De Lorenzo, Organic Temptations & Bioline Skincare.  

The gift bags were full of vouchers & samples for the above businesses along with some recent magazines (Madison & Australian Women’s Weekly) and some pens and notepads.

I really really wanted a picture with Mish, but she was getting hounded by the gaggle of girls and her Exec Assistant “the gatekeeper” Gisi, was keeping a protective eye on her (crutches and all) so after the prizes were handed out the lunch started to wrap up with Michelle being ushered out. Fortunately for me Gracie took me along to see her out and I scored a private lift ride, a hug and a photo!!!

It was amazing to see Gracie in action; I’ve been to her office many times, but I got to see her run a meaningful event for 200+ people raising some much needed cash for a worthy cause and it was fantastic. My BFF is an amazing woman!  

I think Neen & I floated down the F3 all the way home!!!

Look out 12WBT Round 3 2012, here I come!

***

For more information on RIDBC visit their Facebook page [here].

(All pictures except those sources mentioned otherwise are taken by moi aka Melissa Williams with my htc phone.)

green machine

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Last week we bought invested in a Vitamix.

We’ve long been dreaming of this kitchen blender beauty; it takes blending to a whole new level and to blend we will!

our Vitamix

Green smoothies (aka kale shake) are an upper to a healthy fit lifestyle; its a fantastic way to kick off your day as your body is getting a jolt of nutrients and it’s amazing for your digestive system! You have this first thing in the morning (although I work out first on an empty tummy and then do the smoothie).

Jay is intent of doing a 2 week daily cleanse following the green smoothie revolution pioneered by Kevin James and brought to light by Jay’s penultimate roll model Joe Rogan. It goes a little something like this:

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If you want to give the green smoothie revolution a go, here are some more recipes via the Vitamix database.

This was our first green smoothie this morning

Ingredients: 1 bunch kale, 2 celery stalks, 2 small unwaxed apples, 1 unwaxed pear, 1 carrot, 250ml coconut water.

I think it’s a little too much volume so we’ll halve it tomorrow…

Viva the green revolution!

pump it up!

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A few things that I’m sure you know about Les Mills International:

  • it’s a fitness company who pioneered classes like Body Pump, Body Attack, Body Combat, RPM, Body Balance
  • it’s a Kiwi brand hailing from Auckland NZ
  • the classes are a fun way to exercise and burn calories

A few things I bet you didn’t know about Les Mills International…

  • Leslie “Les” Mills was an Olympic Athlete (gold medal in discus in 1966)
  • Les Mills was the Mayor of Auckland from 1990-1998
  • Les Mills is the figure head of the company
  • his son Phillip Mills actually dreamed, created and developed Les Mills International and all the classes that it’s famous for
  • I am a huge fan of Combat and Pump!
Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre exterior

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Our gym (Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre in Ultimo) recently had an equipment upgrade and we’ve got kickarse, super cool pink Pump equipment (including pink weights and rises)!!!

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upgraded RPM room

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Pump is high repetition/low-ish weights set to music so that it acts as a cardio workout in addition to toning.  I say “low-ish” weights because you can always load up your bar if you love to feel the burn! 

The music is usually covers or specially licensed songs. A typical set list for music goes something like this:

BODYPUMP 79 tracklist

Warmup: Higher – Logan S. feat. Mandy Brewer
Squats: Closer To The Edge – Mekon Garden
Chest: Party All Night (Sleep All Day) – Sean Kingston
Back: Written In The Stars (Sunny Dee Remix) – Jason Born
Triceps: Born This Way – Southern Light
Biceps: Livin’ On A Prayer – Altiyan Childs
Lunges: Grenade (Damn-R Mix) – Jason Born
Shoulders: J’Adore Hardcore (Extended Mix) – Scooter
Abdominals: We’ll Be Alright – Travie McCoy
Cooldown: The Crow & The Butterfly – Shinedown
Alternative 5 – Triceps: If We Ever Meet Again (Hans-O-Matik Bigroom Radio Cut) – Pandora BX

{set list via}

As much as I love it, lately I’ve been feeling I’m outgrowing Pump. Jay says Pump is a graduate program for the weights floor (where all the big boys work out)! So Ive decided to only do Pump once a week (instead of 2-3 times) and work out on the gym floor 1-2 times. 

12wbt | weeks 3-5 in review

Weeks 3, 4 & 5 were about exercising like a demon but struggling a little with controlling my food choices.

To be honest, I’ve been finding my discipline around my eating a little difficult. I haven’t been diligently sticking to my 1200 calories a day quota, which means I haven’t seen huge improvements on the scales BUT on the flip side because I’ve been training hard I’ve seen noticeable improvements in my fitness and body measurements (-8cm at 4 week milestone mark!).

The next half of the program is about getting my food discipline back on track and adhering strictly with my daily calorie allowance. In one of her videos Michelle Bridges talks about 2 clients; one trains like a demon but eats what she wants and the other doesn’t really exercise by eats really clean. Guess which one sees losses on the scales? The clean eater!

Here is a breakdown of my weeks three to five:

Exercise:

My daily routine largely remains the same across the weeks;

Monday – outdoor training; walk, then run (between 1-3kms depending on how I’m feeling as I’ve been nursing a knee/foot injury the last few weeks), then 6 x 1min plyometric super sets (mountain climers, squat punches, high knees, etc). I’m burning around 500-550 calories.

Tuesday – Body Pump at the gym. I’m burning around 380-450 calories during these sessions, although I burn more if I do the 10 minute run to/from the gym.

Wednesday – another outdoor session; either similiar to Monday’s sessions or doing a boxing routine with Jay and incorporating the plyometric supersets. Again, I’m burning 500+ calories during these training sessions.

Thursday – Body Pump at the gym. Last week my knee was so sore I forgo Pump and do a weights session on the gym floor so I could focus on my upper body. I’m burning between 380-450 cals during these sessions.

Friday – outdoor walk in the morning or Body Balance in the evening at the gym. I’m burning between 200-300 cals during these sessions.

Saturday – Super Saturday Session (SSS) consists of running to and from the gym for a Body Combat class, then adding in some additional training depending on the weather (either kettlebell workout in the backyard or cardio machines at the gym). I’m burning 1000+ cals during SSS.

Sunday – is supposed to be my rest day, but because I’ve been feeling guilty about my food, I’ve been adding another session on Sundays; usually just a bike ride or walk with Harley around the harbour, burning around 200-300 cals.

Nutrition:

I haven’t been photographing all of my food, so here are some random shots to give an idea of what I’ve been eating.

Breakfasts:

Lunches:

DinnerS: