Women in Sport .. Meet Stacy

Welcome to the second post in my Women in Sport series. 

This month I cannot wait to introduce you to Stacy.  I guess Stacy is who you would classify as a "normal" everyday woman.  I think Stacy represents a strong, motivated and committed woman who has put her health and that of her family as a priority. 

Before you read on to Stacy's interview I would just like to thank her.  This is exactly why I think she is amazing!

Who is Stacy? 
I am 47 years old.  I have been married to my husband for 17 years and have two daughters ( aged 21 and 19 ) and two step children ( aged 22 and 20 ).  For the most part I have been a stay at home mum (although raising four children is a full time job in itself!).  When my youngest started high school I decided to re-enter the workforce.  I work for an IT company 2 days a week and really enjoy it. 

How long have you been a member of a gym / trained with a Personal Trainer?

I joined Fernwood about 6 – 7 years ago with a friend (who went about twice!!!).  Being an overweight middle aged woman I was always intimidated by the thought of going to a gym with all those buff bodies and sweaty men so Fernwood was always a good fit for me.  I muddled along doing my own thing at the gym thinking that that would be enough to keep me fit and help lose the weight but that wasn’t the answer.  About 2 years ago I decided that I had to do something serious about my weight and decided to try PT which I absolutely love and will keep doing forever!
Over the last few years you have lost a lot of weight…why did you make the decision to embark on diet / exercise program?  How did you start out?

I can’t really remember a specific event/moment that made me realise I had to do something about my weight.  I had been very unhappy with my weight for a long time.  I just decided that it wasn’t going to go away on its own and that I needed to do something about it before it took a toll on my health.  I started by going to a Food Coach at Fernwood once a week and got quite excited by the fact that I could actually lose weight so I built up the courage to take the next step which was to try PT.  I had known my trainer for a long time so I think I felt “safe” going to her and that we would work well together. So almost 2 years later and I have lost almost 25kg – only 3kg off my goal!!!  The key to my weight loss success is definitely a combination of diet and exercise.
How did you manage to balance family, work, exercise?
I’ll admit, I had spent the last 15 – 20 years doing absolutely everything for my husband and kids so it took a little while for them to get the hang of mum doing something for herself, although they have all been my biggest supporters throughout.  I am very much a routine orientated person so I quickly got myself into the habit of getting everybody off to work/uni etc then heading straight to the gym.  Nothing gets done around the house until mum gets home from the gym.  I go to the gym three days per week (I work Monday and Friday) and my husband and I try to do some exercise over the weekend whether it’s walking our two dogs or playing golf.
A huge part of weight loss as you know is making sure that you keep your diet on track.  How did you maintain this balance having to feed yourself and the family?  Did they have to make changes also?
I have always been conscious of what I feed my family but I have definitely stepped it up a notch since I started my new healthy lifestyle.  The family have slipped into the new “menu” very easily.  My husband is fairly health conscious and the kids (whether they like it or not) know the benefits of healthy eating. 
You have recently taken part in the Oxfam 100k trailwalk.  Why did you choose this as a goal?  What was your training schedule like and how did you balance this with the family demands?  How did you feel completing the walk and after?  I imagine you are extremely proud of yourself and your team mates!
I am the sort of person who likes to have a goal to keep me going and my trainer mentioned to me one day that she had a friend who was trying to put together a team for the Oxfam Trailwalk and that I should have a think about doing it.  I had never done anything like that before in my life and wasn’t even sure if I could do it.  I thought about it for a few days and then just decided to take the plunge and do it – I figured what could be so hard about walking!!!  I think losing my weight and getting fit actually gave me the courage and confidence to believe that I could do it. 
After a couple of team changes we started training in early February every second Sunday.  We started off by doing one section (about 14km) at a time.  In about April we started increasing our walks with our longest training walk being about 40km.  We also did night walks in preparation for the event.  Walking at night creates its own challenges and we tried to be as prepared as possible.  In about April I also started doing an extra PT session every week (which was usually a boxing session) to try to build up my cardio fitness.
We had a great team – we just fitted really well together – with each of us bringing something different to the team.  We couldn’t rely on youth to get us through so preparation was an absolute necessity.  (A statistic for you Vicki – we had a combined age of 197, 13 children and 2 grandchildren).
The team at Checkpoint 5 ...
We had the absolute total support of our families who spent many hours driving around Mt Nebo dropping off and picking us up from training walks. However pretty much everything we did in the months leading up to the event revolved around the trailwalk – normal family life had to be fitted in around training walks. 
Completing the Oxfam Trailwalk was definitely the hardest thing I have ever done!!! There were times during the event that every one of us wanted to quit but we kept each other going and with the encouragement of our wonderful support crew we finished it in 44 hours and 20 minutes.  Crossing the finish line was amazing – I have never had such a sense of satisfaction in my life.  Finishing something like this that was so far out of my comfort zone was incredible – I will remember that feeling forever.  We set a goal to raise $1,000 for Oxfam (we actually raised $2,000) and finish as a team of 4 and we did – slowly – but we did it!! ( Ok, I admit that I'm a bit teary here .. Vic x )
With the welcoming committee ...
Now that you have finished the trailwalk and have recovered, what are your goals ... for the rest of the year, for the future?
After finishing Oxfam Trailwalk I wanted to spend a few weeks just doing normal things with the family – like sleeping in past 4am on a Sunday morning.  I was back at PT on the Tuesday however I gave myself an extra couple of weeks before getting back on the diet.  About a month after trailwalk I set myself 3 goals – to learn to run 5km without stopping, get to my goal weight and to plan a mega holiday next year with my husband.  I’m 3kg off my goal weight, plans are underway for a trip to Europe late next year and I can now run for about 3km non-stop which is quite an achievement for someone who has never run further than about 5m in her life!
What advice do you have for other women who would like to set some goals and lose weight or embark on a "big adventure"?  How do you suggest that they stay motivated and committed?
My advice to women about goal setting is to start small.  Don’t set yourself a goal that is too high because you’ll only get discouraged.  Don’t be too hard on yourself – we expect much more from ourselves than anybody else and we are way more critical of ourselves.
As for weight loss, what worked for me was to set a total weight loss goal (which started out at about 25kg but has increased to about 27kg) but to take your time doing it – don’t rush it – take one week at a time.  If you have a bad week (and I’ve had plenty) just start again and keep going.  Having the support of my husband and kids has really kept me going.  There have been plenty of tears and frustration but they are always so supportive of me. Being told by your family that they are proud of you is the best incentive ever to keep going.  Once the weight started coming off I had more energy and was a much happier person to be around so really everybody wins.  I want to be fit and healthy for as long as I can to enjoy my family. 
I feel fitter and healthier than I did 10 years ago and I actually think I look better as well.  I now don’t mind having my photo taken and I love getting dressed up to go out – two things that I absolutely hated when I was overweight! 
Don’t be afraid to do something out of your comfort zone because achieving those things is usually more satisfying.  Completing the Oxfam Trailwalk was so rewarding – I never thought I could do something like that, I made 3 really great friends and I’ll always know that if I can walk 100km in 44 hours and 20 minutes without stopping, then I can pretty much achieve anything I set my mind to.
Above all, do it for yourself because you’re worth it!
Well, there you have it everyone, you must admit, Stacy is one pretty amazing lady!  I think possibly her most important words are her last ones ...
Above all, do it for yourself because you're worth it!
Thank you again Stacy!  You certainly know how to inspire us all!




What I'm eating Wednesday ... OMG which rule are you breaking?

When I came home this afternoon I sat down to finish off today's post .. But as you do, I checked in with Twitter first.

I read a tweet that piqued my interest about a new diet .. Oh yeah let's see what this one's all about! 

Check it out, how great does this sound!

OMG!  How great is that selling point!  "Get Skinnier than all your friends!"

In order to "get skinnier" you should follow his "diet rules" which include ..

1. Carbs are Carbs .. There is no difference between them just don't eat any more than 120g of unrefined carbs per day.

2. Too much exercise is bad

3. Take cold showers and baths .. to kickstart your metabolism ( ha! not likely! )

4.  Skip breakfast and exercise on an empty stomach

5.  Drink black coffee only

6. Stay away from fruit .. it can block fat burning

7. Blow up balloons to tone your tummy ( this is not a joke .. )

OK, so those of you who read my blog regularly will know that many of these "rules" I would break just by waking up in the morning!

According to some of his loyal subjects, this is THE best thing that has happened to them and they are definitely getting skinnier than their friends! 

As you all know, I not the biggest fan of the "fad" diets that inhabit the shelves of the bookstores ( or on iTunes .. ) preferring a more "balanced" approach to a healthy eating plan.  So here's my take on the new diet ...

Good ... eat whole foods and steer clear of junk foods and highly processed, sugary foods.
Good ... too much exercise may well be bad for you if you are overtraining and it is impacting on your health.

Bad ... Fruit is a great source of nutrients so don't lose a food group!
Bad ... Carbs ( glucose ) is the primary fuel source for your brain so again, don't lose a good group!
Bad ... I'm a bit concerned about the image it's portraying "Get skinnier than your friends!".  Great way to suck people in but there's enough body image problems with girls ( and guys ) out there as it is!

I know I'm not a dietician or a nutrition expert so these are just my opinions only.  It's up to you to make your own judgement call .. however, if we are doing an intense training session you had better have some fuel in the tank because I won't be picking you up off the floor!

Let me know how you think his rules compare to my rules that I posted about here ...

Have a read of an Australian APD's thoughts on the new diet regime here ...

OK, I've said enough ...

Last week's new experience ...


Over the last month I have been getting a weekly massage to try and release the tension in my neck and shoulders.  The tension usually starts to build up when I do a lot of running and apparently being a woman predisposes me to holding my stress and tension in my back, shoulders and neck.  If I let it go too long I usually end up with that uncomfortable feeling in my shoulders that I just can't stretch out .. and then comes a few headaches! 

When I had my massage last week the therapist asked me had I tried acupuncture before. Who me?!  I have been known to have to lie down to have an injection .. you know, with a needle ... and a blood test!  I don't really like that feeling when the room goes a bit fuzzy and your head starts to spin. Nope, I don't do needles.

This is not me but I'm sure there were this many needles!

But, being the brave, challenge taker that I am I decided that I would give the acupuncture a go.  Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to ensure the free flow of the body's energy in order to bring the body into it's natural balance according to www.acupuncture.com.au .  Yes, it is entirely possible that my body is not in balance!  Maybe even my mind but let's leave that alone!
I must say, the whole event was pretty painless and yes, I did feel every little needle prick as they were gently implanted into my skin.  See, I admitted that they tried to be gentle!
As I have quite an intense dislike for needles I tried to focus on the relaxing part of the process.   Lots of inhaling and exhaling and trying to allow myself to relax.
When I asked the acupuncturist if it was normal that I felt like there was electricity running through my legs and that I felt I couldn't keep them still, he was very reassuring .. this is normal. It is my body's energy ( Qi ) being allowed to flow freely through my body with no blockages ( tension ).  Feels pretty weird actually, like you are not in control .. and I like being in control, especially of my own body!

After the whole process, my arms and legs felt so heavy that I had to sit down in the waiting area for a while! Again, this is apparently normal! 
I know that hundreds of people swear by acupuncture, but what did I think of the whole experience? I definitely do think that it released some of the tension in my neck and shoulders. I will no doubt require a few more needle sessions as I am now starting to feel some of the niggles start again.

Will I willingly go back again and have the needles stuck in me? Yes, I think that I will. I'm all for giving it a fair chance seeing as though it's been around for thousands of years and as I said heaps of people swear by this practice! Am I looking forward to it .. not really. I think I will try to sleep this time!

Would I recommend it? Personal preference really, whatever floats your boat. It certainly won't hurt ( apart from a few pin pricks ) to try something a bit different if you feel that you need to try something else to get results.
What about you?  Have you tried acupuncture?  Are you a devoted fan or are you just not ready to be pinned like a voodoo doll?
Just in case you are wondering, I visit the fabulous people at Go2 Human Performance. I have been going here for years now and they are a great team!

*This is not a sponsored post. I just find these guys are really helpful and I have also recommended them to my clients.

What I'm eating Wednesday .. Sugar Free September!

9 more days to go until Sugar Free September starts again! 
Are you going to join me?

I know the idea fills you with fear!  How are you possibly going to last a WHOLE month without sugar?!

It's really not too bad actually .. Instead of craving sugar at the end of the month you will be craving whole, fresh, unprocessed foods! How bad can that be?

So why participate in SFS?

There are so many processed foods that make up part of our daily diet. 
These processed foods are quite often filled with sugar to give them taste and make them last longer. Many of the added sugars don't have any benefit in your diet except to add extra calories that you just don't need! If sugar wasn't added to the foods they would have no taste .. Not like a fresh meal cooked from scratch at home!

Recently in the media sugar has been almost entirely blamed for the high instances of diabetes and obesity in Australia. In my opinion, sugar cannot be solely responsible for these numbers, but the increased amounts of refined sugars being added to foods is certainly not helping our addiction to sugary sweet foods and it is certainly not keeping us lean and healthy.

Enough of the serious stuff! Let's move on to the nitty gritty of Sugar Free September ... Fit Mum style! 

Last year I went hard core for the whole month ( except for one little slice of cheesecake for my sister's birthday ).  Have a read of last year's wrap up here. This time I'm not going to be quite so hard core. I'm going to let the reigns go just a little bit .. Not much but a little!

Here's my list of can eats and can't eats ...

A couple of notes to the above pic ...
  • No artificial sweetners .. they're worse than the real thing!
  • If you really want to you can use a SMALL amount of honey, maple syrup, golden syrup, agave nectar and stevia if you wish
  • Watch out for the '...ose' ingredients ie glucose, maltose, dextrose etc
  • Check out the ingredients on sauces, dressings etc .. The best option for dressing is just balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil
  • Ultimately, do what works for you!  Something is better than nothing!
  • Don't panic or stress about what you can and can't have that's not the point!
Number 1 rule .. Eat whole, fresh, unprocessed foods as much as possible!

Don't think that there will be nothing you can eat because this certainly won't be the case!  This is where you need to get creative! I'll post some of my favourite no sugar snacks and meals. I'm also going to do some more experimenting with baking with no sugar for the kids! I've had a few successes so I'll roll these out for you too!

Please remember that no one is perfect and making these changes will take some getting used to. All I'm asking is that you participate to the best of your ability.  

Being mindful of WHAT you are eating and what is IN the food you are eating is a great place to start!

Let me know by commenting if you will be joining me .. Don't be shy you won't be the only one!   Or, check in with Fit Mum on Facebook and let me know how you are going! There's already a hash tag on Twitter if you are following there #sugarfreeseptember.

Woohoo!! Who's excited to start Sugar Free September!!

Exciting bed time reading ... No shades, No grey ...

Look what arrived in the mail yesterday! 

I'm always excited when I receive my copy in the mail.  I'm even more excited when I have a bit of spare time to actually take the plastic wrapper off it!

Have you checked out this magazine?  It's only new and it is dedicated to women's running!  Everyday women and some fabulously fit women too!

I also like to read Runner's World to keep me a bit motivated and see if there's anything new and exciting that I might like to try!

I have also been known to buy housey type magazines ( have been banned by hubby as this may mean I will want to redecorate the house ) and food / recipe magazines if I'm feeling that I've got heaps of time on my hands!  Usually I'm about 2 months behind.

Do you have any specific magazines, reading material that you use to motivate and inspire you .. well, other than my words of wisdom of course!

Monday Motivation ...

                                                                                            Source: Uploaded by user via Vicki on Pinterest

Enough said .. Go out and make your way!

Fitness Friday .. Get ready for summer!

I've started the count down.  There are 14 more days until Spring!
And ... there are only 106 more days until Summer!  ( Well, that's the count here in Australia! )

Which means there will be some requirement soon to remove a layer of clothing .. you know, the one that hides those sickly pale limbs ( well, that's what mine are like anyway .. ).  It will be time to pull out the bathing suit for the weekends at the beach or by the pool.  I'll admit that this makes me cringe a little ...

In preparation for this I have started thinking about how I am going to go about getting my body ready for the big reveal.  Alright, it's not really that dramatic but there are a few "adjustments" that I would like to make ...

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about what health and fitness goals you would like to set yourself for the next few months. 

I'm going to start my "Get Set for Summer" health and fitness party on the 1st of September.  Not that I'm going to go hell for leather in the eating department or sit on the couch for the next 2 weeks.  I will still be mindful of what choices I'm making ( who am I kidding .. I'll still be watching exactly what I eat and how much! ) and I will still be training ( but currently modified ) for the Stampede as that is only 3 weeks away! 

Come September I will be stepping it up and I would LOVE it if you would join me and together we can keep each other on track!  I know I've convinced you to join me!

This is what I'm going to be up to starting September. 
( Here's a post about setting goals if you need a bit of a reference point. )

Fitness Goal .. I want to get back into more running so that I can again run 10km in under an hour.  I will balance this with strength training 1 - 2 times each week.

Health Goal .. This one is really an ongoing commitment.  I will be again doing "Sugar Free September".  I did this last year successfully .. check out my wrap up here

Combining both of these and I'll be ready to wear that bikini by summer .. if I actually wore a bikini, which I don't, but I'd like to think that if I wanted to I could ... 

Have you set yourself some goals to get you ready for Summer? 
Will you be joining me? 
Let me know what you are planning ( if you want to that is! ) and come and say hi on my Facebook page and we can keep each other motivated! 

What I ate Wednesday ...

Today is a public holiday here in Brisbane.  Bonus day off during the week!
It's a beautiful day too, so I decided that we needed to go for a family run!  Not everyone was as excited as I was ( read this as kids complained about it .. ) .. but there was no way they were getting out of it!

As much as the kids complained they still enjoyed it!  Mr FitMum decided to do a few hill sprints at the top of Spider Hill ... can you see how much Baxter loved this!

The council have been out doing some controlled burning in the bush the last few weeks and this is what we saw at the top ...

The rest of the day wasn't quite so active but that's OK to have a restful catch up mid week!

In keeping with our active morning, I decided to have some yummy salmon for dinner.  Salmon is popular in our house, but as it's a bit expensive we don't have it too regularly.  I served it tonight baked with a basil pesto crust and quinoa salad on the side. 

I'm still trialling quinoa and this is the first time I have made it up like cous cous.  It didn't look totally fabulous as I wasn't really sure what I wanted to add to it, but I made it on some chicken stock and then added some cherry tomatoes, shallots and parsley.  It didn't taste too bad for a first effort and Mr FitMum even said he liked it better than cous cous!
Oh yeah!  I may be on a winner here!  Even the kids didn't kick up too much fuss!  This one will definitely be used again!

Well, that's it for my mid week public holiday!  I'm going to have a sugar free hot chocolate to celebrate!

Did you see I started a FitMum page on Facebook?  Come and check it out and if you have any questions feel free to ask and I'll see what I can come up with!

Hope you have had a great day, where ever you are!

Do you love your Physio?

Have you ever been to a physio? 

I have, in fact I have been to several over the years. Usually for some "injury" or another. I have been lucky lately ( touching wood as I say this ) that I haven't required the services of a physio. 
The last time I required the services of a physio was when I tore my calf muscle during the Gold Coast Half Marathon 2 years ago.

My physio at the time was great. She assured me that with a few weeks off running ( make that 6 weeks! OMG! ) I would be back into it and with no dramas, albeit slowly. They really do know their stuff .. they are the professionals that we turn to when we aren't quite moving the way we should be or want to be.

'Whether they are treating children with developmental problems, adults with chronic disease or injury, or older people at risk of falls or stroke, physiotherapists play a crucial role in keeping Australians healthy and strong,' APA President Melissa Locke said.

'Australian physiotherapists are world leaders in the areas of clinical and professional practice. We want to help the public celebrate the valuable guidance, motivation and education that their physiotherapists provide,' said Ms Locke.

To celebrate World Physio day on 8 Sept the APA ( Australian Physiotherapy Association ) is running a competition where the lucky winner wins an iPad and $1000 cash.

To enter, simply tell the APA in 50 words or less about your APA physiotherapist and why you Black heart (cards) them! Send your humorous, inspiring or heart-warming story, along with your name, address and contact number, tothe APA at comp@physiotherapy.asn.au, or PO Box 437 Hawthorn BC VIC 3122 or via their promo app on facebook.
For all of the details, check out physiotherapy.asn.au/comp

Get to it FitPeople!  Tell your physio why you love them and celebrate them on World Physio Day!  Oh and maybe win an iPad!

PS .. The competition is open to Australian residents only!

Monday Motivation ...

I've been known to make an excuse or two in my time ... well, who hasn't!?

It's time to stop finding excuses ... find a way!

                               Source: motivationforfitness.tumblr.com via Vicki on Pinterest

What are you going to find this week?

Friday Fitness .. What I didn't do this week ...

This is supposed to be my weekly post where I tell you about a fabulous exercise, athlete or what I've got up to this week.

This week, however, I'm going to share with you what I didn't do.

Sally won gold!!

To start with, I didn't do much exercise. I watched a lot of exercise .. Olympics, District Sports Carnival, soccer training.

Miss 10 won her high jump event!!

My excuse for not partaking myself .. wait for it .. I've pulled a hammy! Seriously, the physio believes that I have several micro tears in the muscle fibres of my hamstring .. right up there at the top ( in my butt ). It really has compromised my movement .. I still can't demonstrate a proper squat when I'm training my clients!

As I managed to attain my injury early last week I have been allowed to commence some gentle stretching and strengthening exercises this week.  To me, this means I can do a jog / walk combo on the treadmill for 20 minutes on Wednesday followed by some stretching and strengthening. Today's effort was increased to 30 minutes with the jog interval extended to 5 minutes .. I even picked up the pace just a little bit! Again followed by some stretching and strengthening. Yep, I'm really on top of the training this week!

I also didn't do my "healthy eating plan" very well. I may have allowed myself to indulge in some extra treats just a bit too much or even a lot.

You will be pleased to know however that I have seen the error of my ways ( evidenced by an increase in the display on the scales ) and am now back onto a "healthy eating program" that will change the display on the scales!

Oh and did I mention that I "overstretched" my hamstring whilst I was having a recovery day .. doing yoga. It will not stop me doing yoga though!

Have you had any "injuries" lately that have curtailed your mojo?

What I'm eating Wednesday ...

I saw this sitting in my pantry over the weekend.

I bought it about a month ago with the intention of trying it for breakfast as a change from the usual or to make up a salad. 

As you have surely heard quinoa is a "super grain" that has been around for thousands of years.  The fabulous Wikipedia can be credited for providing me with some nutritional information on quinoa ...  

"Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (14% by mass). Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein. Furthermore, it is a good source of dietary fibre and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest."

So anyway I thought that I had better make the effort to use it this week.  The stuff is a little bit expensive if you decide to leave it go past the use by date.

I have used quinoa flakes before to make "porridge" for breakfast and I'll be honest and I was not so fussed at all! I thought it smelled funny and tasted a bit gag worthy.

But, I'm giving the whole grain a go this time.
I've been having it for my breakfast the last few mornings.  The directions on the packet suggest 1 part quinoa to 3 parts water.  I have been cooking it up with water and adding some berries like I usually do for my oats or muesli.  I also add a tablespoon or so of milk ( I like it a bit creamy ) and a drizzle of maple syrup as I just didn't think I could face it "unsweetened". I'm working my way up slowly!

This morning I made it up and added the tablespoon or so of milk but when a bit luxurious and added raisins and some brown sugar. I must say this was a little more palatable.
I believe I also need to rinse it to get rid of some of the "bitterness" .. I tried this one morning but I forgot this morning so unsure whether this really made a difference!

I haven't yet tried it in a savoury dish.  I'm a bit nervous as to the family's reaction however I would like to have a go as it is supposed to be great as a cous cous substitute. 
I have done a little bit of searching on the Internet ( as you do ) to find some savoury recipes. There are hundreds! There are websites dedicated to quinoa recipes alone.

I'm going to keep playing over the next week or so and see what I can come up with!  In the meantime, if anyone has any tried and true recipes I could have a crack at please send them through!

What have you been eating this Wednesday?

Women in Sport .. Rochelle Gilmore

I have had this idea on the boil for a little while now.  So when I was given this opportunity I felt that it was something that I would really like to take up on.

Without further ado ... I introduce the first post in my new "Women in Sport" series!

What I am aiming to do with the "Women in Sport" series is introduce you each month to some Australian women who are successful in their own right.  These women have set goals, and with motivation, hard work and commitment have achieved them!

I am hoping to motivate and inspire you into making health and fitness a part of your life and in turn that will help to give you more energy and strength to face the daily demands placed on you by friends, family and work.  You may even learn to love it like I do!

This month I would like to introduce you to Rochelle Gilmore.  Rochelle is an Australian cyclist and she is most definitely an inspiring woman.  Rochelle won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and in 2011 whilst competing suffered a massive fall which left her serious injuries. 

Read my interview with Rochelle below ...


Along with many other elite athletes, you started sport and training at a young age.  You have been cycling for quite some time now.  How do you keep the love of your sport alive?

I honestly feel like I’ve really fallen in love with the sport in the past couple of years.  Until now, I’ve been living in my own little world with tunnel vision - all I could see was the finish line and the podium!  Now, I enjoy all aspects of the sport.  

There was a time when I would have said that I’m a cyclist because I’m good at it.  Now, I cycle because I love it! I’ve participated in many different sports from a young age so I feel blessed that this is the road I took when it came to decision time at the age of sixteen.  I certainly haven’t looked back.

Are there times when you just don't feel like training?  How do you overcome these feelings?  Do you have a particular "mantra" that gets you out of the house?

The only times that I struggle to get out the door are the days where I can’t get out of bed due to pushing myself to the limits the previous days.  These are the days where I need to listen to my body and take a rest.

In saying this, yes there are days when I don’t feel like doing my specific efforts out on the bike (just like anyone else).  In order to get into it, I visualise how much the efforts in a race will hurt.   This encourages me to dig deep and familiarise myself with pain. Visualising works well for me - sometimes I can actually feel my legs burn when I visualise working hard on a climb or in the final kilometres.  Scientists have proven this is actually physically possible, to replicate the sensations by visualising!

Being a professional your life is all about cycling.  How do you find a balance between training, competing and other parts of your life i.e. family, friends etc.  What is your favourite way to spend your time when you get the chance to relax?

I try to attend family functions, BBQ’s etc during the summer in Australia; otherwise my social life consists of catching up with friends and team mates on tour, and the occasional function with sponsors. I enjoy going to the movies or relaxing at home watching a DVD but I also try to do some kind of extreme activity after a substantial training block of two-three weeks, just to break things up and get the adrenalin pumping. This could be track driving, surfing, go-karting, sky-diving, water-skiing, snow-skiing jet-skiing or motoX riding. These are all sports that I’ve grown up doing so I consider them no more dangerous than my profession.

You had quite a serious accident in 2011.  You have since recovered and are now back on top of your training and stronger than ever.  How did you find the courage and motivation to get back on the bike and rise again to your current elite level?

Yes, I had a heavy crash at the 2011 Giro d’Italia on stage five, in the final 200m. I fell on large cobble stones sprinting into the centre of Verona with 50-100 women at 60km/hr. The fall resulted in a severe concussion, a fractured pelvis (two places) fractured vertebra and three broken ribs. I was completely immobilised for 40 days, and had to learn to walk again, in a pool first and then on dry land. Less than one year later, I am competing competitively again at world level.

Winning and competing was my motivation. It never crossed my mind that I might not compete again.

The amount of training that you do would mean that you have a pretty serious appetite.  How do you make sure that you stay on track with your nutrition to ensure that you are performing at your optimum day in day out?

Some people count calories, I just eat what I feel like when I feel like it. If I feel heavy I might cut down on carbs in the evening.  If I feel light, I might add in an extra meal.

As athletes we become very familiar with our weight, so it’s quite easy to control.  It’s not ideal for me to ever go hungry but at the same time, I need to eat healthy, low fat foods. Diet has a HUGE impact on performance and I’m motivated by winning, so I eat for performance.  If I get carried away with indulgences I will, without doubt, struggle in races.

So, even though I need to eat a lot, I need to get into the habit of eating healthy foods for performance.

Do you have any weaknesses when it comes to a particular food and do you allow yourself "treat/cheat" days?

Yes, and yes! My weaknesses are floury products like breads and cakes.  So, I do eat bread (dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar) during tours or the night before a race. I also enjoy a chocolate in the evening so if I’ve eaten well for a few days and my weight is where it should be, I’ll enjoy a few Lindt Balls in the evening. Bad but so good at the same time!

What does your current training / racing schedule look like?

A typical training week involves 20 hours of cycling, six hours of stretching and two-four hours of core stability exercises.  The cycling hours are a mix of endurance, tempo riding, repeat power or strength efforts ranging from three seconds to six minutes, sprint training and speed training; motor-paced riding at 50km/hr or high cadence roller sessions.  Then we add in a one hour massage!

Do you have any words of wisdom, particularly for women, who find they are battling with motivation and commitment in their training routines?

Do what YOU want to do and you’ll always be happy! It’s the only way to live.

I think Rochelle's last words are the ones that we all really need to live!  Remind yourself daily!
Thanks so much to Rochelle for taking some time from her busy schedule to answer some questions and reminding us that we are all individuals and if we love what we are doing it really does make it that much more enjoyable!

What I'm eating Wednesay ...

When it comes to losing weight or even maintaining weight there is A LOT of different views as to what is the best way to do it. 

What is the best diet?   Should you eat low carb, no carb, high protein, low fat, no sugar .. is it any wonder many people are confused as to what is right and what works!

Broken down to its most basic, losing weight requires an individual to consume less calories than they use every day and over a period of time. 

That being said, weight loss is an individual pursuit  .. What works for one person may not work for another and that is why many people become disappointed in their efforts.  What will also disappoint is trying something different every second day or week.  It is important to be consistent to achieve the best results.

Many of my clients have asked me what I eat as I am able to maintain my weight ( well, within a kilo or so ) and even lose that little bit extra when I put my mind to it! 
I am no different to everyone else, I like my food, I love cooking but if I don't watch what I eat, I can put on weight too!

Without getting into the intricacies of my diet I'll give you a run down on what I eat on a usual day. Sometimes it will change depending on what's in the house, my schedule, my training and what I feel like!

These are my general rules ... 

I am not perfect, do not profess to be .. nor do I try to be!

I try to aim for a balance each meal, each day ..

I always have breakfast .. even when I'm busy or rushing around

Eat whole foods as unprocessed as possible

Don't cut out food groups unless medically advised .. we need all the macro nutrients, vitamins and minerals to let our body repair and recover!

Don't allow yourself to get to the point where you are so starving you will eat anything!  Try for around 3 hours between meals / snacks is a good guide.

Don't overeat .. I know, I love pasta too but step away from the pasta dish after your first helping ( portion controlled of course! ) ..

Cakes, biscuits, lollies, pastries are not meant to make up an entire meal or snack ...

Choose lean unprocessed protein .. but not the whole animal 

Watch your dairy .. low fat, no added sugars, but make sure you have some each day

Complex carbs are fine .. just don't make them your entire meal! Seriously, well, unless you are running a marathon ...

I don't calorie count every day .. lean, unprocessed, fresh whole foods will not blow your calorie count if you eat in moderation ..

Let go a little on the weekends ... No one likes to hear the "No I can't eat that I'm on a diet" excuse.  Just don't blow out!  Why ruin the great work you've done all week?
Refer to the first rule ...
So what do I actually eat?

Breakfast .. everyday .. you want to see me cranky, then I'll skip breakfast ..
1/3 cup Homemade muesli with berries and 1/3 cup low fat milk
Coffee with about 1/4 cup LF milk ( will not leave home without this ... )

Morning tea .. if I'm on the floor at work I can't eat but I will eat as soon as I finish .. and yes, I'm usually pretty hungry by this stage!
Boiled egg or an apple .. sometimes both!

Lunch .. never skip even if it's 2pm.  Again, cranky, headaches, not pretty ...
Salad with chicken or salmon .. and yes I have a little dressing  OR
Soup with a piece of bread ( and butter )    OR
Steamed veg with chicken or salmon

Afternoon snack .. not always perfect here especially if I've had to have a late lunch
Berries with about 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt .. yep full fat but I can't have much as my sinus doesn't like it!

Dinner .. OK so there are days when I get lazy or busy running after kids but I do plan as much as I can and cook before if I can .. hello slow cooker!
Protein with salad or veg
Pasta or rice with protein & veg once a week ( usually on a kids training night because they take it with them )

After dinner .. not every night but probably every second night
1 - 2 pieces of dark Lindt chocolate    OR
Hot choc ( 1 tsp ) made on 1/2 cup LF milk

As I said before in my rules .. I do let up on the weekend a bit.  Usually it's not that dramatic .. most probably it will be a dessert or a few glasses of wine. 
When I am really trying to watch it I try to keep my "extras" on the weekend to about 200 cals a day.  That way I'm not chasing my tail the next week or punishing myself training extra to catch up.

When I'm trying to lose a little bit of jiggle around the middle, I really step up the portion control and the extras usually disappear .. even on the weekend!  But I will still allow myself something little once or twice a week .. only 100 cals each treat though. 
And you know what, I never feel as though I am denying myself anything because I love to eat fresh foods that work for me the way I want them to!

There you have it .. a day in the life of my diet!  Not too crazy is it really!

I would love to hear how you find the balance!