Posts Tagged ‘Health and Fitness’

Coffs Coast Health Club eNews – March 2017

March 1, 2018












Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Banana & Prune Muffins

October 19, 2017

Serves 4


2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 ripe banana
100g prunes, chopped
2 eggs
6 scoops Protein Powder Vanilla Cream
1/2 cup almond meal
2 Tbsp sour cream


  1. Place melted coconut oil in a bowl. Add mashed banana and chopped prunes and mix.
  2. Add eggs and sour cream and mix well.
  3. Add Proti Powder and almond meal and mix to combine.
  4. Place in muffin pans and bake at 170 C for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned.

How to Do a Kettlebell Swing

October 8, 2017


“The kettlebell swing is the ultimate single exercise to improve strength, endurance, coordination, stability of the hips and core, and grip strength,” says Grant Anderson, co-owner and director of strength at Chicago Primal Gym. The move involves your whole body from start to finish, so it forces your cardiovascular and muscular systems to work together, which translates well to outdoor sports. And a set of swings is a total sufferfest, so you’re building some serious mental grit in the process.

“Many people are quad dominant,” says Noam Tamir, founder of TS Fitness in New York City. “Kettlebell swings fire up the hip-dominant muscles rather than the quads, which helps to bring balance to the body.” Translation: Your body will distribute weight and effort more equally, which is crucial if you want to prevent injury and maximize performance.

There are two types of basic kettlebell swings: the Russian version and the American version. You may have seen people doing the American swing in the gym or at a CrossFit box, where they swing the bell up and overhead, but this can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. “There isn’t much more gained from going overhead with the kettlebell, but there is a lot more risk,” says Tamir. Without proper mobility, this move can put pressure on the neck and possibly throw you out of alignment. The overhead position also makes it difficult not to go into hyperextension of the lower back, says Tamir, which could lead to injury. The Russian swing—where you stop swinging the bell upwards at eye-level and bring it back down—is your best bet: You’ll avoid injury and get the same physical payoffs.

Perfect the Basic Swing

If you’re brand new to the kettlebell, start with a 16-kilogram (35-pound) option; but if you have a little experience, use a 24-kilogram (53-pound) bell. That may sound heavy for your first swing, but going big can actually help you learn better technique and going too light can downgrade the impact of the exercise, says Anderson. “Doing swings with light bells is often counterproductive, because your upper body can easily take over the load,” he explains. This leaves your hips and hammies—the main targeted areas—out of the exercise.

Start by standing with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly out and the kettlebell about a foot in front of you. Hinge your hips back so your chest and eyes are pointed toward the ground about five feet in front of you. Reach and grab the handle of the bell with an overhand grip, tilting the bell back toward you. Your shoulders are higher than your hips, and your hips higher than your knees. Sharply inhale through your nose as you hike the bell back between your legs, keeping it high above your knees. Sharply exhale through your mouth as you stand quickly, driving your feet into the ground and bracing your body in a “vertical plank,” squeezing your glutes and quads and bracing your abs. As you do, keep your arms straight and use the momentum of your hip thrust to bring the bell in front of your chest. Let the bell hang there around shoulder height for just a moment. Bring the bell back down toward hip height by hinging your hips back; repeat. Repeat in sets of five to ten reps.

Scale It Up

After you’ve learned the basic swing and progressed with heavier loads to the point where doing more than three or four swings feels very difficult, these variations will spice up your training so you continue to improve, says Tamir.

Single-Arm Swing

How It Helps: Focusing on a single arm forces you to practice grip strength and activates the smaller stabilizer muscles in your shoulder.

How to Do It: Set up the same way as you do for a double-arm swing, but grip the kettlebell with one hand. Line up the free hand parallel to the hand that’s gripping the kettlebell. When swinging the kettlebell backward between your legs, your free hand should mimic the movement pattern, parallel to the arm in use. Continue the hinge motion as you would if both your hands were on the bell.

Alternate KB Swings

How It Helps: This progression builds hand-eye coordination and teaches your muscles how to react quickly to changing demands.

How to Do It: Set up the same way as you do for the single-arm swing, but when the bell reaches shoulder height, transfer it to the other hand by placing the free hand over the working hand and quickly exchanging the kettlebell to the other hand during the floating phase. Continue the swing, switching hands at the top of each swing.

KB Clean

How It Helps: This exercise develops strength in the entire legs while working on muscle control during tighter, smaller movements.

How to Do It: Set up the same way as you do for the single-arm swing. As you hinge forward and bring the bell toward your chest, loosen your grip when the bell reaches your hips. Quickly tuck your elbow back toward your body so it touches your side and turn your palm inward so it’s facing your head. The bell should fall naturally over the top of your wrist. Return to the backswing by rotating your hand down toward the ground with the thumb facing your body and the pinkie facing away from you, keeping the kettlebell as close to your body as you can and swinging back through your legs.

Article sourced here:

Body Shape Predicts Heart Disease Risk

March 7, 2017

Your wise grandma may have told you never to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to heart disease, you should rethink that advice. According to research from Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and Johns Hopkins University, a person’s body shape may be a better predictor of future heart disease than either body weight or body mass index.

Scientists looked at 200 patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes—chosen because they had a high proclivity for developing left ventricular dysfunction—and assessed heart disease risk based on whether each patient carried more weight on the hips or in the abdomen. Subjects underwent CT screenings and echocardiography to measure global systolic longitudinal strain, which is an index of left ventricular function.

So, for a lower risk of heart disease, is it better to resemble an apple or a pear?

The researchers found that greater waist circumference was associated with “progressively worse global strain.” They could not find similar findings with other commonly used measures.

“After including either weight or BMI in the regression model, only waist circumference remained an independent predictor of global [strain], while weight and BMI became non-significant,” the authors wrote.

One of the report’s authors, Brent Muhlestein, MD, concluded, “This study confirms that having an apple-shaped body—or a high waist circumference—can lead to heart disease, and that reducing your waist size can reduce your risks.”

This information was presented at the American College of Cardiology 2016 Scientific Session in Chicago. An abstract appeared in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2016; 67 [13_S], 1609).

Article sourced from:

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Roasted Garlic & Tahini Dip

November 24, 2016



Stop and Smell the Roses by Glen Barnett

October 18, 2016

Ageing Sucks, So Stop And Smell The Roses roses.jpg

 Someone said to me the other day that ageing is unimportant unless you are a cheese. This person was 70 had a lovely weathered face and a life behind them that was filled with achievements, experiences, adventures and many different pathways.  Just like most people their age.  So why do I think ageing sucks – because I don’t want this life to ever end.

Yes, I know I could drop dead tomorrow but as you age there is that awareness that you are heading closer to the exit sign than you were a few years ago.

How fantastic is life. That is not a question it is a statement. There are so many wonderful things to explore, enjoy and experience.  Now that exploration and those experiences may not always be enjoyable but they do allow us to gather the knowledge and insight to so much more than we started out with.

Next time you go out and about take a moment or more to look, feel and listen.  Look at life around you. Close your eyes and feel life around you. Open your ears and hear life around you. Even draw your breath in and smell life around you.  Get saturated in life. Sometimes this experience will be overwhelming to all your senses. Other times you may feel one sense is more enlightened than another.  This is a simple process that we don’t often pursue because we are too busy, to rushed or to blinked in our pursuits.

We all have favourite things to do that bring contentment to us or put a smile on our faces.   Watching children play, listening to favourite music, singing loudly in the shower or car, smelling the flowers at the florist, browsing through your favourite magazine at the newsagent even doing something crazy like when your money comes out of the ATM shout “I Won, I Won”.

Everyday indulge in one of these but don’t see this indulgent time as a treat, because it is your right. Your right to stop and smell the roses and fully enjoy, experience and explore every minute of your fantastic life.

For any other crazy ideas on how to live life to the fullest, call Glen Barnett at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222.






20 Ways to Spring Into Your Fitness Routine

September 11, 2016


As we head into spring cleaning season, most of us are focused on purging closets and organizing junk drawers, but this time of renewal can be about more than just conquering clutter and defeating dust bunnies. Spring is also a great time to step back and reassess other areas of your life—like your health and fitness routine. Read on for 20 ways to “re-spark” your motivation and fast-track your results.

1. Start from the ground up. Have your shoes reached the end of the road? Athletic footwear could be the single most important piece of workout gear, especially for runners and walkers. The decision to replace your shoes depends on a variety of factors, including mileage, preliminary pain, sole compression and odor. When the time comes, visit a specialty store where you can get a professional fitting. You might even consider investing in a couple of different pairs—a study by the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory showed that runners who switched athletic shoes throughout the week experienced 39 percent fewer injuries than those who stuck to the same pair.

2. Make sure you’re in good company. Finding a workout buddy significantly boosts weight loss success rates, but compatibility is key. If you already have an exercise partner or are part of a fitness group, take the time to evaluate what you’re getting out of it. Are you leaving sessions feeling like you’ve done more socializing than sweating—or, conversely, are grueling workouts causing excessive pain or strain? If so, it may be time to seek out a partner whose goals are more aligned with yours.

3. Set a schedule. Are sporadic workouts keeping your goals out of reach? Consistency is essential to success. Create a workout schedule and post it wherever you’re most likely to see it, whether that’s your fridge, a bathroom mirror or your phone’s calendar. Treat daily exercise like a requirement rather than an option.

4. Get a physical. Eighty percent of people don’t get regular well checks. Even if you don’t have any overt health issues, it’s a good idea to schedule a physical to ensure that your blood pressure and cholesterol are within healthy ranges, and to gauge your risk of any future medical issues.

5. Take it outside. Now that the weather has given way to sunshine & flowers, it’s the perfect time to move your exercise routine from the gym or living room into the great outdoors. Trade the treadmill for the sidewalk or the stationary bike for the real thing. There are countless ways to combine the benefits of being outside with exercise, such as taking your yoga mat to the park, introducing your dog to jogging or joining in a game of tag with the kids.

6. Do a skin check. While it’s smart to wear sunscreen year-round, it’s especially important in spring and summer, when you’ll be spending more time outside in direct sunlight. If you haven’t visited a dermatologist yet this year—or if you’ve noticed any new moles, marks or blemishes— make an appointment for a skin health check.

7. Try a new fitness class. Bust out of the winter doldrums by stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying a new group fitness class. Boutique fitness studios are popping up all over the country, providing a more intimate and personalized alternative to traditional gyms.

8. Dress for success. Fashion fitness is more popular than ever, and for good reason: A 2012 study explored the concept of “enclothed cognition,” which is when certain clothing causes people to think and behave differently. By investing in flattering, high-quality exercise apparel, you’ll be more likely to show up for workouts and push yourself harder. Inspect your current gym wear and ditch any worn, ill-fitting garments. Sports bras should be replaced every three to 12 months. And you don’t have to spend a fortune: Check out our tips on building a workout wardrobe on a budget.

9. Refresh your tunes. If you’ve been working out to the same playlist all winter, mix it up with some fresh spring songs. Effective exercise music can significantly enhance motivation and results. Check out our tips on how to create the perfect workout playlist.

10. Ditch activities you dread. Although workouts should sometimes be challenging, they should ultimately bring you joy. If you find yourself constantly watching the clock during spin class or feeling miserable during every mile of your run, it may be time to seek out a new activity. When you enjoy your workouts, you’ll be much less likely to skip them and will get more out of each session.

11. Stick it to the scale. If the movement (or lack thereof) of the numbers on the scale have you stressing, find alternate ways to measure your progress. For example, you can try on clothes to see if they fit differently, or use measuring tape to determine how many inches you’ve lost. After all, weight loss is not always the biggest indicator of fitness improvements.

12. Update your social stream. Social media can be a wellspring of positivity and inspiration. Keep the great ideas flowing by seeking out fresh sources of health and fitness motivation. In addition to our own Instagram and Facebook pages, we also like these 10 motivational Twitter feeds.

13. Show unhealthy snacks the door. When you’ve finished purging the closets, head to the pantry and fridge. Clear out any sugary sweets or high-fat, high-calorie snacks that add little to no nutritional value. Replace them with fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, dried fruits and other healthy snacks.

14. Bring Pinterest to life. Create a fitness bulletin board where you can pin “before” photos of yourself, inspiring pictures from magazines, your bib numbers from races, printouts of inspiring emails or message boards, or anything that gets you energized and excited about fitness.

15. Try a new workout tool. If you’ve been eyeing an abs machine or punching bag at the gym all winter, spring is the perfect time to take the plunge and try it out. Either watch other people and mimic their movements, or ask a personal trainer for a demo.

16. Plan a weekly menu. After you’ve purged the high-calorie culprits from your kitchen, sit down and plan a weekly menu of nutritious meals. Start by listing the healthy ingredients you already have and planning meals around those, then make a shopping list for the rest. Meal planning is essential to more efficient grocery trips and avoidance of unhealthy takeout.

17. Register for a race. Find a spring or summer 5K and recruit a friend to run or walk it with you. Setting a concrete goal will help boost your motivation, and it’s also a great way to meet other fitness-minded people. Plus, many local races support charities, so you’ll be doing good while checking an item off your bucket list.

18. Ditch the distractions. If you always read a magazine on the elliptical or scroll through your phone as you walk, make spring the season that you set these time-suckers aside. Without distractions, you can focus on more mindful exercise.

19. Ramp up the intensity. Break through a fitness plateau by boosting your workouts to the next level. If you typically run at a 10-minute pace, sprinkle in some fartleks (speed play) throughout. Instead of lifting the same light weights at high reps, try going heavier for slower, fewer reps. If you’ve always been a walker, sprinkle in some short jogging stretches. Look for any opportunity to stretch out of your comfort zone and make your routines more challenging.

20. Rest and rejuvenate. Just as it’s important to schedule exercise, rest and recovery should be part of your fitness routine. Take the time to reward and pamper yourself between workouts, whether it’s by taking a slow walk through the park, getting a massage or pedicure or spending an afternoon gardening.

Which of these have you already completed? What other suggestions do you have for refreshing your health and fitness routine for spring?

By Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist
Sourced here:

Is It Better to Lift Heavier Weights or Do More Reps?

August 28, 2016

Anyone who hits the weight room regularly will inevitably face the question: Should you add more weight and do less repetitions or use a lighter weight and do more reps?

The debate has raged on for as long as people have argued over cake versus pie (the answer is pie, obviously), but it’s not quite that simple.

The truth behind weight versus reps lies somewhere in between, but to paint a clearer picture, you have to understand why we ask this question in the first place.

A Worthy Villain: The Fitness Plateau

Once you’ve been following a fitness program for a while, you’ll eventually hit a fitness plateau—that dreaded no-man’s land where your body adapts to your routine, and you no longer make progress. It sucks, but it’s normal, and it happens to everyone.

One way to bust through the plateau is simply to change things up. This is where lifting heavier weights, adding more reps, or doing both (called a double progression) can shake up sleepy progress.

The Case for Heavier Weights

When you pile on the pounds, you typically lift on the lower end of reps (as few as 1-5 for some people). That doesn’t sound like much, but by doing so, you’re increasing your overall maximum strengthand greatly improving your ability to lift heavier weights.

Most of that newfound superhero strength is because you’re improving your efficiency at a given exercise. Think of how your bank account grows when you minimize unnecessary spending. It’s like that, and the more you practice restraint with a budget, the easier it is to save.

Lifting heavy weights feels awesome, but it’s easy to get sucked into chasing the numbers and running into a wall. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where you simply can’t add any more weight, and if you push it, you could compromise your form and put yourself at risk for injury.

“If you’ve increased your weight and now your form is breaking down, it’s best to drop the weight and then increase the number of reps you’re performing,” says Tanner Baze, a certified personal trainer.

Which brings us to…

The Case for More Reps

When you lift lighter weights for more reps, you are still getting stronger, just in a different way. You’re developing “muscular endurance,” or your ability to exert a certain amount of effort before you fatigue. Sure enough, doing more work (more sets and reps, more workouts, more overall bad-assery), will help you get stronger in the long run. Busting out more reps is also a challenging workout at a high-intensity level, which burns major calories and has a greater afterburn effect.

Plus, when you hit a plateau, adding reps instead of heaving more weight allows you to focus on proper technique and form and still leaves room for additional changes to your program, if necessary.

The upside of maintaining tip-top form is you end up really working the muscle as intended, not relying on a bunch of compensatory patterns (for example, letting your quads do all the work when your glutes are too weak) or potentially hurting yourself. One downside to this technique is that it may make your workouts slightly longer, as you’ll spend more time doing more reps.

Why Not Just Do Both?

Confusion about lifting heavier weights or doing more reps still lingers in the weight room because weightlifting and its effects on our bodies are often misunderstood, Baze says. Hint: It involves a lot morethan lifting super-heavy weight or banging out more reps in isolation.

You need a combination of muscle damage (that hurts-so-good soreness after a great workout), mechanical tension (the sheer strain of lifting something heavy), and metabolic stress (that “burn” you feel from your muscle really working). Both heavy-weight and high-rep training check those three boxes and will ultimately build strength. Plus, both methods require proper form, because without good technique, it doesn’t matter how much weight or how many reps you do, you could be risking injury.

“If your goal is just to generally get stronger and more fit, choose one or the other,” says Nathan Jones, a doctor of physical therapy student and strongman competitor.

For long-term progress and to keep things interesting, you can incorporate both heavy-weight, low-rep training and light-weight, high-rep training by switching up the sets and reps on different days or weeks (a technique known as periodization). “If you’ve been doing 5 sets of 5 squats and can’t add weight or get an extra rep, drop the weight and go to 5 sets of 8, or add weight and go to 3 sets of 5,” Jones says. Basically, imagine your sets and reps as a wavelength continuously going up and down.

There’s nothing inherently magical about changing things up this way. “Personally, I think it’s more psychological than anything,” Jones says. “Doing the same rep range every single time you lift gets boring. So doing something different helps you maintain motivation, and subsequently, keeps your effort high.”

The Takeaway

“There is no wrong decision here,” Jones says. When you lift more weight, add more reps, or do both appropriately with good form while keeping effort high, you’re nudging your body toward continually improved fitness and strength.

That said, when you add weight or make changes, do so in small increments. Your goal is to squeeze big results from little changes. It also helps to include a proper warm-up and cool-down.

“The single most important factor in your progress is your willingness to work hard and exert high effort,” Jones says. “So long as you’re doing more of something over time, you will get stronger.”

Mixing it up just a teeny bit to keep yourself motivated and to see progress—whatever your goal—will go a long way.

Article first appeared:
APRIL 28, 2016  |

One Accessible Morning Practice to Launch our Day

August 21, 2016


Every morning is a fresh start. No mistakes have been made; nothing has gone “wrong.”

We get a blank slate every single morning of our lives.

The way we begin can determine our mood for the rest of the day, essentially dictating our conversations, actions and overall attitude.

The Maasai tribe of Tanzania greet each other every morning not by asking, “How did you sleep?” but rather, “How did you wake?” implying that yes, we are in control of how we handle the good, the bad and the annoying—every morning.

For those of us who occasionally wake up on “the wrong side of the bed,” we are in fact making a decision about whether or not we want to use that as an excuse for an ensuing bad mood for the remainder of our waking hours.

Everyone I know starts their day in a different way.

Some people get up and immediately jump on Facebook or Instagram to see what overnight love they received. Others wake up and switch on the news first thing (which, let’s face it, isn’t going to put us in a good mood these days), and others wake up ungodly early to run 10 miles while it’s still dark outside.

One friend of mine who lives in New York City even went so far as to downsize in space, but pay more rent, so as just to have the tiniest balcony where she could stand in the morning, looking over her neighborhood while sipping tea, knowing that she needs those few minutes of quiet time to take on the day and the big city.

For me, traveling for work and being on location a couple times each month, every morning is completely different. I’ve learned to create a morning ritual for which country, time zone and sleeping arrangement don’t matter.

I could be waking up next to a camel in a desert camp of Morocco, on the floor of a bus station in Bolivia or beneath the down comforter of the Kempinski Resort in Jordan—and still I’ll be able to start my mornings the same way.

It’s simple: I disconnect in order to reconnect.

I put my phone on airplane mode before I go to sleep, so when my alarm goes off in the morning, I’m not distracted by any notifications.

After I turn off the alarm, I put my phone away for the next hour, leaving technology to be dealt with after I’ve had “me” time. (The idea is to disconnect from all screens or devices so that we can reconnect with ourselves.)

Some people may use this time to pray, journal, color or do a few sun salutations. There are many ways we can push the reset button.

Personally, I use this time to observe nature. Wherever I am in the world, I will go outside and sit. If outside isn’t available for some reason, I’ll sit in front of a window.

I begin by greeting the world, paying deliberate attention to whatever birds, trees or wind are surrounding me as I address the earth with,

“Good morning Pacha Mama. I acknowledge you. I appreciate you. I respect you. And I will do everything in my power to protect you and treat you right today.” 

Then I sit, with the intention being fully present for 15 to 20 minutes.

Some days it’s easier to meditate than others. Sometimes my eyes stay closed for only 10 seconds—and some days for 10 minutes. If meditation doesn’t come easily that day, it becomes a “morning of awareness,” where I close my eyes and just listen to the sounds around me. If my eyes continue to drift open, I allow it. For me, observing the world of natural beauty around me instills a feeling of peace.

I believe we can all get this same peace from morning quiet time.

In this current age of pervasive technological availability, I have found it critical to my mental health, daily attitude and personal and professional relationships to consciously disconnect from screens at the start of the day.

Choosing to disconnect from digital buzz allows space for internal clarity and calm. For one hour every morning, we can consciously reconnect with ourselves before launching into the day.

Author: Elizabeth Gottwald
Article sourced here:

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Breakfast Pork Patties

August 11, 2016