And the winner is ...

Congratulations to the winner of the HRM provided by  Australian Fitness Network

Mademoiselle Slimalicious!! 

Now you will be able to monitor your heart rate while you are shaking your booty during Zumba or on your walks!

Please email me with your contact details so that I can arrange to have your HRM forwarded to your as soon as possible.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered! 

Good luck and enjoy your training everyone.  Let me know if you have any questions about your training that I might be able to help you with!

Vicki x

Wednesday's Weight Loss Plateau ...

You are following your healthy eating program really carefully.  And you are exercising consistently.  When you started this "healthy lifestyle" you were losing weight and it was all working, but the weight just doesn't seem to be coming off like it was in the beginning.  It appears you have reached the dreaded weight loss plateau! But you were being so good!  So why did this happen and what can you do to get passed this and keeping heading to your goal?

First up, I'm going to say that I'm not a dietician or a nutritionist as you know.  What I will share here are my thoughts on what happens when your weight loss slows and what you can do to change what's happening.

Why does your weight loss slow or "plateau"?

From the research I have done, no one really has a definitive answer.  Our bodies are pretty sophisticated machines that adapt to whatever it is that we doing quite quickly.  So one reason why weight loss might slow down is that your body has got used to your calorie intake or exercise level and is working efficiently so there's no need for it to do any extra.  Your body and it's metabolism has adapted to the energy you are providing it and also what you are doing.

When someone initially starts out on a healthy eating program ( I don't like diet, it's scary! ) they usually cut calories, particularly in the way of carbohydrates.  Your body likes to take the easy way out so it uses glycogen as fuel because it's a fast option.  As you use up glycogen you will also lose water .. hence, water weight loss in the first few weeks.  As your stores of glycogen become less your body will then start to use fat stores as fuel, which results in a slower rate of weight loss.  But this is better as we want to lose fat but make sure that we keep our glycogen stores up. 
As you gradually lose weight, your body will require less calories to keep going, so taking in the same calories may result in a weight "maintenance" rather than loss.

The above is obviously not a scientific version of what happens as you lose weight, it's just a basic explanation of what can happen.  It is way beyond my expertise to go into the process any further.

So, what can you do to get your weight loss going in the right direction again?

Food ....

- try a new eating regime ie timing of meals, eat more often, check your portion size
- try some new foods
- eat more .. crazy I know but it really does work!
- eat less .. but be careful, you can't just keep reducing your calories until your are sucking in air!  You need a certain amount just to keep your basic body functions going

Exercise ..

- change your training .. your body has adapted to what you are doing, it needs a challenge
- include more strength training .. I talked about why do strength training here
- include interval training .. I wrote a bit about interval training here
- reduce the amount of cardio ( especially long endurance type )

I know you are thinking it's a bit odd to change some of these training options, but it really does work.  Personally, for me, if I am trying to lose a few kilos I cut right back on my running and include an extra strength training session.  Interval training, strength training and one maybe two runs per week will help me shift the added extras!

It's really all about me, but I'll give you this one ...

Bear in mind though, that what works for one may not work for another.  Sometimes it really will benefit you to do something that you are not used to!  Shake it up a bit!  Listen to friends, family, those who have done it before ... take in on board but ultimately their way may not be the right way for you.  You are an individual!

Vicki x

Again, I will mention that I am not a dietician or a nutritionist.  The above information is based on my own research and experience.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or seek the advice of a professional in this field.

Today's Training Challenge ...

You've all heard the benefits of doing weight training and you'd love to add some to your workout but not sure what or how ...

I thought I would show you some of my favourites!


Some call them the king of exercises.  Meh, they're a leg exercise, they hurt, they get results, what else do we need to say? 
Why should you squat?  Well for one, you do it every day .. think sitting down, standing up, going to the loo.  Usually not done with the best form but you get the idea! 
Other than that squats are a great exercise because they use more than one muscle group, which in turn uses lots of energy ( think calorie burn ) .. this all means more bang for your buck! 
Do them .. think nice butt, nice legs, strong core!

Push ups

Did I just see you screw up your nose?  What do you mean you hate push ups? 
Push ups are another exercise that uses more than one muscle group ( think again, bang for buck ). 
You want nice arms and shoulders to show off in your summer frock?  Start doing push ups. 
Did I mention they are great for your core too?  What's not to love?

Do them right ... Here's some key points to think about when doing each exercise ...

* Keep feet hip / shoulder width apart
* Shoulders back and down, chest up and out
* Tummy braced
* Don't bend at the waist, bend from hips like sitting down, stick your butt out
* Keep your knees facing forward and heels on the ground
* Only do what you can while maintaining great form!

 * Hands on the floor underneath your shoulders
* Choose your level, knees or toes, keeping a strong plank by bracing your tummy
* Bend at your elbows lowering your chest to the floor
* Keep your hips strong and don't let your hips drop or your back sag down

 Make sure you do the exercise to your ability level.  You can build up to the next level as you build strength!

Now that you have mastered the squat and push up .. I thought you might like to do a little challenge this week!  Over the next week, you need to do 100 squats and 100 push ups!  Don't panic, you don't have to do them all in one day!  Each day, you need to do 10 squats and 10 push ups in the morning, then again in the afternoon / evening.  You will have done 100 in 5 days!

Let me know how you go!  Any questions let me know...

Also, you can contact me on my Facebook page too!

Vicki x

Monday Motivation ...

I hear a lot of excuses as to why one cannot exercise ... I've used quite a few of them myself! 

Sometimes life really does get in the way but in general here's a rule that should be practiced just a little more often ...


Vicki x

Today's Training Tips .. plus a giveaway!!

Are you bored with your current training? 

Have you tried interval training?  It's not just for elite athletes or serious gym junkies.  Everyone can benefit from including interval training into their regular training schedule.

Interval training is usually described as short, intense bursts of activity follow by a slow, or slower recovery interval repeated throughout one training session.  It sounds scary, sometimes it is, but mostly it's not too bad depending on how hard you plan on pushing yourself.

You can use interval training for almost all exercise but it is probably most commonly known for it's inclusion in all running programs.  I have certainly included interval training any time I have trained for the half marathons and I definitely notice a difference in my running especially when I do this type of training consistently.  I'm probably a bit of a sucker for punishment but I quite like interval training!  It's hard and fast and it gets results .. put simply, I work hard then I'm finished in half the amount of time!

My favourite types of interval training are hill sprints, sprint repeats or a fast blast in the gym with weights, circuit training.  You can even incorporate interval training into your regular walking routine by including jog intervals or fast ( or faster ) walking.

Why include Interval Training?

* Improves fitness and endurance
* Efficient .. an interval training session does not need to be a long session.  30 - 40 minutes is more than enough if you are working hard enough
* A great way to burn fat!
* You can burn calories for hours after training as you pay back your "oxygen debt".  You know, you were seriously huffing and puffing during your interval training session!
* An excellent way to stop the boredom of your training routine!
* Will help you get faster at running, or even build up to running

You already do interval training?  What can you do to change it up a bit?

* Change the intensity of your intervals .. speed up
* Vary the duration of the interval .. make the intervals longer / shorter
* Vary the duration of your rest interval .. make it shorter
* Change the reps of the exercise that you are doing in the interval

A great way to keep an eye on how your fitness is progressing is with a Heart Rate Monitor.  And no they are not just for the elite athletes.  They can be a really handy little tool to track your progress.

Now for the exciting part ... I have a Heart Rate Monitor to give away!  Thanks to the people at Australian Fitness Network.  Australian Fitness Network is the leading source of information, education and events in the fitness industry. Having trained thousands of Personal Trainers and Instructors since it's inception in 1987, Network is widely regarded as the leader in personal trainer courses in Australia. 

Polar FT4M (in orange) Heart Rate Monitor (RRP $129)
What it does ..
* Shows when you're improving your fitness based on your heart rate
* Displays calories burned ( YAY!! )
* Comes with comfortable textile transmitter and coded heart rate transmission to avoid cross talk ( you won't get the person's HR on the tready next to you! )
I know that you can't wait to enter this competition .. So here's what you need to do to enter ..
*  Leave a comment on this post letting me know whether or not you use / have used a HRM.  If you are posting anonymously please leave me some details so that I can get in contact with you if you win.
Additional entries ..
* Head on over to Fit Mum's facebook page to "like" it and share with your friends. Let me know in your comments. 
* Tweet about the giveaway .. "follow @Fit_Mum and RT for your chance to win a Polar HRM valued at $129! @ozfitnetwork #giveaway"

And the fine print ...
This competition is hosted by and the prize is one Polar F4 Heart Rate Monitor valued at $129.  The prize has been donated by Australian Fitness Network.  The competition opens 21/09/12 and closes 12am 28/09/12 .  The winner will be drawn 28/09/12 at random with the help of and will be notified by email as soon as possible after the draw.  The prize will be posted to the winner within 21 days.  The competition is open to entrants with an Australian address only.  I was provided with a complimentary HRM.  Should the winner not contact me within 48 hours the prize will be forfeited and re-drawn.




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

How are you going with your Sugar Free September challenge?  Are you still going strong or have you allowed yourself a few credits along the way?

I'm still sugar free and I'm really quite happy with how everything is going!  Well, except for Monday just gone when I had a really crappy morning and I really felt like a huge chocolate bar.  I don't know why, I guess I thought it would make me feel better.  Good thing there's none in the house!  So I compromised .. I made a BLT sandwich for lunch and I even had a squirt of BBQ sauce!  I know, I sinned but my sandwich tasted great!

Another bonus of my sugar free weeks .. I have managed to lose the kilo or so that I had put on over the last few months.  Before I hear you scream at me, I know it's not much but let's say that I'm feeling a little less bloated around my tummy! 

Eeeew, enough about that!  Has anyone whipped up anything exciting over the last few weeks that they feel the need to share?  Something that's yummy, quick and easy to prepare and that's also nutritious and healthy.  Let me know and I can share it here if you like! It doesn't have to be sugar free, but we like healthy choices!

At the Fit Mum house we try to have a vegetarian night once a week.  Mostly so that we all try something a bit different and I guess it can't hurt to give our bodies a rest from meat sometimes.  ( Sorry all you carnivores out there, I love meat too so don't panic I haven't lost the plot! )

Tonight we feasted on Pumpkin, Sweet Potato & Spinach Lasagne.  I haven't made this for ages but it's really quite simple. 

What you need ...

1 large butternut pumpkin
2 medium sweet potato
1 packet of spinach ( I use fresh not the frozen stuff )
Olive oil
Rosemary ( either fresh or dried )
700g jar Tomato Passata*
120g goats cheese*
Lasagne sheets
Mozzarella and Parmesan to top

What you do ...

Chop both the pumpkin and sweet potato into 1 inch cubes, swish some olive oil to lightly coat the veg.  Don't drown them!  Place them on an oven tray and spread them out a bit so they cook evenly.  Season with salt and sprinkle some rosemary over them.  Roast in moderate oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until they are soft and a little bit browned.

Chop the spinach up a little bit, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with some salt and pepper.

Build your lasagne as you would normally.  I start off by putting a little passata on the bottom then add the lasagne sheets.  Again with the passata, then add the spinach, vegies and some crumbled cheese.  Top with lasagne sheet and layer again.  On the final layer I have the lasagne sheet then the last of the passata and the cheeses.

Bake in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes making sure you don't burn the cheese on top!

ooops I forgot to take a pic until after I started!
* You could use the ones with the added herbs to give you a bit more oomph!
* I used some crumbled feta and goats cheese, because that's what I had!


What did you have for dinner tonight? 


The Stampede and The Wash Up

I've finally sat down to write the wrap wash up on The Stampede that I participated in a week or so ago.  I did it!  What an experience it was too!

After quite a few nerves, mostly regarding the obstacles that we would be tackling over the 10km obstacle course, we decided that it really was just for fun!  We were certainly not going to be breaking any land speed records getting around the course.  In the end we finished in under 2 hours so we were more than pleased with our efforts!

I'm not going to list all the obstacles that we were subjected to as I think all up there were 27 .. but I'll list a few of the more "interesting" ones and let some of the pictures from the day say it all.

There was the ice bath .. as if the water that we had jumped in just one kilometre ago was not enough of a cold shock, the ice bath was freezing! 

The slip'n'slide down a huge hill!  We went in the "fast" lane not the "fun" lane and we flew down the hill!  This had to be the best part of the whole course!  My palms and elbows weren't entirely happy and I'm still finding bruises!

Did I mention how many HILLS there were on the course!  These were a killer!  I'm afraid there was no running up the hills for me .. happy to run down though!

There was A LOT of mud for us to crawl through!  Especially the last "mud buffet" where it felt more like quicksand and I just wanted to get out!  Did I mention yet that it several washes to get the mud from my hair ...

I can now say that I have hurdled fire.  Yep, I jumped as high as I could to make sure there was no tripping here!  Get it done fast!

The last obstacle was probably the one that caused the most angst .. "the bug zapper".  There were hundreds of live wires hanging down and you had to pass through them while jumping over bales of hay to reach the finish line.  I may or may not have taken the easy way out and crawled under them.  I got zapped once on my shoulder and it took me down even though I was already on my stomach!  I felt that zap for hours!  Some of the other girls in the team ran through and they said they got zapped four and five times, so I'm kinda glad I took the wussy way out!

Here's some of the pics of the day ...

We know where it is now ...
Ok .. not sure about this ..

We started out OK ...
Let's just say this is not like those fancy mud wraps they
do at the spas ...


The verdict .. would I do it again?  Well, it's a bit like childbirth ... I can still remember it rather clearly and the bruises are still appearing ... maybe ask in 6 months!  There's a tick on the bucket list so I'm not rushing back just yet!
What about you .. would you give it a go? 
It really was fun!

Monday Motivation ...

Making sure that you stay headed in the direction of your goals does not only depend on how much exercise you do or how much food you do ( or don't ) eat ...

                               Source: via Vicki on Pinterest

Saying the right thing by you is just as important as doing the right thing by you!

Are you talking to yourself right?

PS .. Did you like my Fit Mum facebook page yet?  Come over and say hi!

Vicki x

What I ate this week ... My favourite Sugar Free Snacks

For some reason this week has been quite busy but it's Friday and I now feel like I am able to catch up with myself!

Week 2 of Sugar Free September and I'm still going strong! Hubby, however is asking how many days are left before he can eat his Father's Day chocolates!  I think he wants me to cave first!  Not likely!  I'm now at the point where nothing is really tempting me .. lollies, chocolates .. I even passed up a glass of champagne on the weekend to celebrate finishing The Stampede in one piece!

What has kept me going and helped me steer clear of the quick snacks .. other than my superman strong willpower of course ... are my go to snacks that keep me going between meals.  I would not survive if I did not eat every 3 hours!

Here are my favourites ...

*  Fruit / Nuts
*  Natural Yoghurt / Greek yoghurt.  No added sugar
   of course!
*  Combine them
*  Fruit with cottage cheese.  Not something
   everyone can do but I love it! 
*  Apple with Nut Butter ( I love the organic no
   sugar added versions )

*  Chopped veg with hummus.  I make my own.
*  Boiled eggs
*  Trail mix with a little dried fruit, nuts and
   unsweetened coconut. I also sprinkle this trail
   mix on my yoghurt or oats for breakfast.

What's your favourite healthy, nutritious snack?

How are you going with Sugar Free Septebmer?  Are you noticing any differences?

Today's Training ... Release your inner 7 year old!

When was the last time you grabbed a skipping rope and actually skipped for longer than 10 seconds?  It's hard right!  But, it is a GREAT exercise .. and one you can do anywhere so excuses can be hard to make up for this one!

There's a reason boxers use skipping as part of their training programs.  It's great for building strength and fitness which means it's great for you. 

Benefits of skipping ...

* Great for improving cardio fitness
* Great for endurance
* Builds muscle strength
* Improves co-ordination                         
* Great for strengthening bones
* Improves balance
* Inexpensive form of exercise
* Burns calories
* You can do in anywhere, anytime

As you know, skipping is not an easy exercise to maintain for a long period of time so it's important that you build up slowly.  Start out with say 30 seconds of skipping then take a rest for 30 seconds .. repeat for 5 minutes.  Or you could start out with 100 skips at a time and build up from there.

Depending on the individual, their fitness and exertion levels you can burn on average 10 calories per minute.  Skipping for 10 minutes can burn between 70 and 110 calories!  If you are pressed for time or space this is a great choice for burning a few extra calories!

Skipping is not a low impact activity however, so it's really important to take it easy.  Build up slowly as I suggested above.  I'm also going to say here that if you have pelvic floor concerns that you practice your PF exercises before you start a skipping routine.  Or better yet check with your medical professional.  And while I'm on the pelvic floor issue .. have you done your exercises yet today?  Oh, and make sure you are wearing a supportive bra!

Well, what are you waiting for?  This has got to be the quickest, easiest way to fit some form of exercise into your day.  Aim for 5 minutes 3 times per day and there's some easy calories burned and your fitness improved!

Go on .. Release your inner 7 year old!


Menu Planning Monday ...

It's that time of the week again!  Did you climb back on the diet and exercise wagon again this morning .. you know, after falling off over the weekend? 

Monday is usually the day that everyone plans to start their new healthy eating plan and exercise regime .. or chase that wagon down and get back on!!

I am fortunate enough to now have Mondays off so Monday is my day to catch up on what was missed over the weekend.  It's also now my grocery shopping day.  I love it because we get to start the week with a fridge and pantry stocked with fresh fruit and veg.
Before I head out to do the shopping I sit down, usually with a coffee, and plan what will be on the dinner menu during the week.  

I've been doing this now for years and maybe it all seems a bit anal or obsessive, but it saves me going crazy at 4.30 in the afternoon wondering what to have for dinner.  I just have to get out the ingredients and go! 
If I didn't do this I can assure you that I will not be that motivated to think of a quick, healthy meal for the family .. it will be the fastest, laziest thing I can think of!  The bonus .. I've always got a healthy choice on hand for dinner.  And, it saves money as I'm not racing off to the grocery store every afernoon trying to find a quick option, which many times end up being more expensive than planning and shopping beforehand. 

If you are really strapped for time, do some of the prep for your meals on Sunday afternoon / night.  I know many people who chop their veg or prepare the base of their meals on Sunday.  I think it's a great idea if you have the time or the inclination!  I struggle with the latter ...   

Another great idea if you are so inclined is to have the weekly dinner menu written out / printed out where everyone can see it.  That way everyone knows what's for dinner and there is not the constant questioning "What's for dinner Mum?".  I get this question at least every 15 minutes from afternoon snack time .. even if I have answered it, it clearly goes in one ear and straight back out the other! 

There are heaps of "menu planners" available for download on the internet and if you want to use one, it's up to you which one you think will work best.  I've tried a few over the years ... printing them out and laminating them then putting them on the fridge.
Usually now I just try to remember it!  Not always successful however!

While I'm planning the menu for the week along with the grocery shop I plan what I'll be cooking for the kids snacks during the week. 

This is what's for dinner in our house this week ...

Do you plan your dinners for the week? 
Does this help you to stick with your healthy eating plan?


A rather extreme day planned ..

Only one more sleep until I participate in the first running of "The Stampede" in Brisbane.  You may note that I said "participate".  I will in no way be "competing" in this event.  Oh no, I will not be breaking any records here.  There will be fun, there will be muddy but there will be no records here!

Don't I sound excited?!  Well, I am! I think ... I'm not sure ... I'll get back to you ...

I have running around all afternoon like a crazy person trying to make sure I have everything done.  Here's my list ..

Clothes to wear ... old-ish, able to be disposed of thoughtfully ...

Clothes to change into after the event ...

Towels ... lots as they will get really dirty after cleaning me off!

The big plastic drop sheets for the back of the car where I can put all the filthy clothes / shoes ... oh and we might sit on some for the drive home ...

OMG, my shoes!  Where are those old, old running shoes? Should I tape them on?

Food / water ... I don't think the beer at the end will cut it right?

Soccer uniform, socks, shin pads, boots for Mr 6's last game of soccer ... that I will miss!  Please do not hold this against me!  It was not my fault they extended the season 2 weeks to make up for rained out matches! Clearly they did not consult MY calendar.
Birthday present, card, clothes for Mr 6 to wear to his mate's birthday party .. it's a disco party.  For a 7 year old. 

Oh dear, I nearly forgot the Participant Waiver that I must sign in order to take part in the event.  I would like to share with you an excerpt from the first clause ...

"I acknowledge and accept that participating in The Stampede is an inherently dangerous activity that includes all manner of extreme obstacles and activities both natural and man made and may include, but is not limited to climbing, rope swings, running, swimming, mud and water activities, running amongst cows, being exposed to electric shocks and other various unspecified activities and these constitute a dangerous recreational activity ... "
And it's only now that I'm wondering what the hell I've signed up for!!

PS .. I thinking about cashing in on a Sugar Free September credit so I can have a glass of champagne with the team on Saturday night at dinner ...


What I'm eating Wednesday ... Chocolate Brownies

It's Day 5 of Sugar Free September!
How is everyone going? 

I'm going really well! No "cravings" at all .. Though I admit to walking past those fundraising Natural Confectionery Company packets of snakes and thinking that I wouldn't mind snacking on some .. But I kept walking and didn't think about it again. Lollies are probably my biggest vice but once I've made the decision not to have them I'm good to go!

Needless to say, I don't mind the odd sweet treat during the week and whilst I'm not feeling like I'm missing anything I thought that as a Father's Day treat I would make up some Chocolate Fudge Brownies.  What?! I hear you all crying!  But wait .. I found a sugar free version!  Well, they're not exactly brownies but they taste good! 

I was checking out Teresa Cutter, The Healthy Chef's website the other day for some ideas and inspiration when I came across this recipe.  It sounded just like the "power" protein balls I make for the family for snacks.  And, it definitely sounded like it would fit the bill when feeding my in laws dessert.  Let's just say that my father in law is quite the connoisseur of desserts so this one would need to be of the highest standard!

This is the recipe I used and a link to The Healthy Chef page with the recipe ...

Chocolate Fudge Brownies

2 cups mixed nuts .. I used almonds, brazil and macadamia ( because that's what I had )
1 cup soft mejool dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup ( or so ) raw cacao powder ( I use Mrs Flannery's )
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons water

Combine nuts into food processor and process until roughly chopped.  Add in the dates, vanilla, cacao powder and salt and process to combine.  I like my mixture a little crunchy. You don't have to add the water but if it looks a bit dry add a tablespoon or so at a time.
Press into a small square baking tin .. I used a loaf tin lined with baking paper. 

On the link there is also a quick recipe for a caramel frosting .. I didn't make this.  It really was rich enough on it's own!

The result .. kids and in laws had theirs served with a scoop of ice cream.  My father in law declared that it would be equally as nice served with a dollop of cream ( his preference obviously! ).  It was a hit!  And so easy to whip up ... takes about 10 minutes and that's if you diddle around a bit!

The best part for me .. there were some left overs so I had another little treat for lunch on Monday .. and Tuesday!

Stay strong, stay healthy!

Today's training ...

With spring now here ( yay!!! ) and summer only a few months away, it's time to get out in the fresh air and start working on your summer body

As you may know from reading my blog I love training outside, and with my strappy new piece of equipment I hook it up on the deck and get to work!

Today I did a quick workout with a focus on my legs and posterior!  I'll put my hand up and admit I want a nice booty!  And I'm going to hear everyone moan and groan about this one ... but one of the the quickest ways to a perfect posterior is to squat and lunge!  I know, I know .. you don't like them!  I'll let you in on my little secret for getting through legs and glutes ... repeat after me ... Nice arse, nice arse, nice arse!  Say this as many times as it takes to remind you that it's just gotta be done!  Did I mention they are great exercises for runners too!

Suspended lunge .. great for the core too!

I'm still trying to perfect this one leg squat ..

Phew!  My legs are still feeling a bit shaky after today's "quick" workout!

I hope everyone is having a great day!  Come on over and say hello on FitMum's facebook page too! 

Stay strong, stay focused!

Monday Motivation ... Healthy Eating

If you are doing Sugar Free September with me this month then you might need a little extra reminder to be conscious of WHAT food you are actually about to gobble down ...

                                                                       Source: via Vicki on Pinterest

Just a reminder!  Keep at it!  And if you haven't started Sugar Free September .... it's not too late to join!

You know your body will love you eating fresh, healthy, nutritious food!