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Oct 12, 2014

What is muscle? How do they work? How do they get bigger?

Yes, everyone knows what a muscle is… in the sense that we all have them and we need them to move around…. BUT have you ever actually wondered what muscles actually are and how they work?

A lot of us probably take our muscles a little for granted. They are literally our ‘engine’. Our ideas and thoughts manifest in the brain but in order to convert those ideas into action we need muscles. Feel like smiling? For that you need all your facial muscles. Type a text message? You need the muscles in your fingers and arms. Want to dance around in your underwear? You need almost every muscle in your body to do that.

Clinically speaking ‘muscle’ is a bundle of fibrous tissue in a human (or animal) body that has the ability to contract, to produce movement within the body. Most people think biceps or triceps when they think of muscles, these are examples of ‘skeletal muscle’. Skeletal muscles are not the only types of muscles we have. In fact there are 3 types. Did you know that the heart is actually a muscle? Cardiac muscle is found only in the heart. The third type is smooth muscle which is found in our organs such as stomach, intestines and bladder.

For the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on SKELETAL muscle.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags muscle strength strong hypertrophy eastsports physio training weights resistance health wellbeing lifestyle

Oct 6, 2014

PART 2: Eat your way to healthy glowing skin

We have all heard it before…. ‘you are what you eat’. It’s no new discovery that our diet affects our bodies in many weird and wonderful ways. Our skin is one of the big ones but unfortunately one that a lot of people don’t consider when it comes to nutrition.

I have spoken in previous blogs about foods your skin LOVES (check out that blog HERE). As always there are several foods that can play havoc with your skin and leave you with breakouts, blackheads or dry, tired skin.

One of the worst offenders is DAIRY. Removing (or significantly reducing) dairy from your diet could be the single best thing you can do for your skin. Milk contains high levels of a hormone IGF-1 which is designed to make baby cows grow big and strong BUT in humans this hormone contributes to build up of inflammation in your body. Dairy products also increase the production of oil and mucous which clogs your pores and can eventually lead to acne.

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags skin health nutrition diet lifestyle wellbeing healthy living glow food nutrients

Aug 25, 2014

Eating your way to healthy, glowing skin

The skin is our largest organ… yes it is an organ, and a very important one. It protects us from the elements, regulates our body temperature & allows us to feel sensations such as hot, cold, sharp or blunt. Given the huge surface area that our skin covers & what we expose it to its no wonder many of us run into skin related problems…. Acne, rashes, dermatitis, skin fungus, scars or eczema. These are not uncommon problems and may of us will be faced with at least one at some stage.

Can you eat your way to better skin? Simply yes you can. What you feed your insides will be reflected on the outside. The
re are other lifestyle factors that can affect your skin such as smoking, alcohol, makeup & skin care products, hormones, stress & in some cases genetic factors BUT your skin can be a whole lot better if you start being a little more conscious of what you put in your mouth.

Want to get the glow? 

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

Categories Exercise & fitness Health and Wellbeing Tags health lifestyle skin healthy eating nutrition diet food wellbeing glowing skin

Jul 30, 2014

Yoga vs Pilates. Is one better?

I get asked this question ALL the time from my client and honestly I sometimes find myself not really knowing which to suggest as there is no straightforward absolutely correct answer. Both forms of exercise have many positives and from a clinical point of view I don’t think either is necessarily superior to the other.

Some would say it’s a head to head battle between strength & stretching BUT I tend to disagree. I’m certainly no yogi or a Pilates guru but I have done a little of both and I would say there is definitely a strength & flexibility component to both styles. The main difference I believe lies in what not only your body but your mind will get out of each session.

Yoga is one of the most widely practiced exercise forms in the world, it’s said to help with uniting the mind, body & spirit to restore balance and harmony within the body. I would say it’s somewhat therapeutic for many, if done correctly it facilitates awareness about alignment, posture and imbalances within the body. There are many styles of yoga with choice purely a matter of personal preference.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags yoga pilates stretching flexibility muscle relaxation mind body namaste wellbeing lifestyle health

Mar 30, 2014

What's your weirdest food craving?

How odd are cravings….. I always find when I’m seriously craving something it’s usually really bizarre, like totally left field OR it’s something I have denied myself from having for a while… For the last 6 weeks I have had a relentless craving for peanuts. I gave in pretty soon after they started because I legitimately couldn’t stop thinking about it for a large portion of my day.. So I went to town on a bag of salted roasted peanuts. I had tablespoons of peanut butter. I made satay sauce for my chicken salad. I tried EVERYTHING. It’s now been 4 weeks.. at least.. and I still have a lingering craving.. Quite frankly it’s really starting to piss me off.. I can’t spend much longer with my hand in the peanut jar!!!

Curiosity got the better of me so I did a little research into what certain food cravings mean. Our bodies are exceptionally smart & to a certain extent I believe that when we lack a vitamin or mineral it’s sure to be expressed somehow our food choices or food cravings.

What an entertaining exercise, so interesting in fact that I googled a few of my other weirdest & wackiest cravings…

PEANUTS: The top two answers I found (from the most respected sites I could find) were that peanut cravings often indicate a lack of protein and / or a lack of fats in one’s diet. Eating a relatively low carb diet can often result in too few calories being consumed and may leave you with cravings for things like peanuts due to high fat content. Peanuts are a great source of the ‘good fats’. By no means does that allow you to polish off a jar every day. 25-30% of our daily calories should come from fats.

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

Categories General Issues Tags food craving salt sweet chocolate nutrients balanced diet food cravings diet lifestyle wellbeing health eating

Feb 18, 2014

Why breakfast matters

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’

We have all heard it, read it, seen it written somewhere; if you’re a parent chances are you preach it to your kids;  health professionals advocate it; & fitness magazines write about it ALL THE TIME.

So why it is that 1 in 4 people still skip breakfast during the week? Or worse 1 in 6 adults never even eat breakfast?

I have never quite been able to get my head around it because when I roll out of bed at 5:15am every morning my stomach is growling in desperation for SOMETHING TO EAT; and after an hours workout I’m like an impatient toddler lining up for a slice of birthday cake as I wait for my eggs & bacon to cook.

People skip breakfast for a handful of reasons… lack of time; some claim they ‘can’t stomach food so early’; while other are ‘generally just not hungry’; my personal favorite to limit their daily calorie intake. In my opinion these are all terrible terrible excuses. If you have time to blow dry your hair and make sure your scarf matches your shoes & pants then you have more than enough time to prepare something of nutritional value for breakfast. FYI a triple shot latte does not count as breakfast.

The name says it all for you… BREAK – FAST. Quite literally breakfast is the meal that essentially ‘breaks’ the 7-8 hour fast your body has had while you sleep. So the longer you hold out on getting some fuel into your body the longer you are in the fasted state.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags breakfast energy protein nutrition wellbeing health healthy habits

Feb 6, 2014

Why go nuts for coconuts?

Coconuts have been around for years and years; however in the last 12 months they have ‘come into vogue’ in the health industry with many health professionals and scientists now beginning to sing their praises. You only have to trace it back to its ‘roots’ to find out there is something pretty special about this nut.. In ancient India coconut trees are known as kalpa vriksha which is sanskrit for “the tree that supplies all that is needed to live’

Is coconut really a superfood? Can it really prevent and cure heart disease? Does coconut actually have health benefits when it comes to weight loss and insulin stabilisation? We don’t have all these answers in black and white BUT what we do know is there are multiple health benefits to be gained from the array of coconut products on the market.

Let’s talk a little about coconut oil. This seems to be the topic that has all the health big wigs talking. Coconut oil is the safest and healthiest oil to cook with. Yes it is exceptionally high in saturated fat BUT they aren’t your ‘run-of-the-mill’ fats like you find in cheese, steak and other foods we readily consume. Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently in the digestive system and have been proven to have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders including Alzheimer’s. I think medical professionals may begin to see the light on this one. SATURATED FAT IS NOT THE ENEMY.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags coconut coconut oil superfood health nutrition wellbeing saturated fat young coconuy

Oct 10, 2013

Are you getting enough sleep?

The short answer here is probably no… I would estimate 80% of people reading this right now are under slept! As a working adult the recommended sleep requirement is around 8 hours. Can you actually remember the last time you got a solid 8 hours sleep? Because I certainly can’t! I average 6.5 – 7 hours of sleep a night and trust me I am feeling it by Friday afternoon!

The benefits of getting enough sleep stretch far beyond banishing the dark circles under your eyes… it is ESSENTIAL to your health; both mentally and physically. Pretty much 99.9% of us are grumpy individuals when we don’t have enough sleep, not to mention our attention span diminishes to that of a two year old; you become irritable, irrational and unproductive.

Why is sleep so important?

1. HELPS TO REDUCE STRESS: When you’re functioning on a lack of sleep your body can enter a chronic state of stress. Several of my previous blogs highlight how detrimental too much stress can be to our health and wellbeing. Too much stress releases cortisol (stress hormone) constantly which can contribute to chronic disease such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease; curb weight loss results and leave you feeling generally run down and emotional.
 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags sleep recover hormones health wellbeing stress mood memory rejuvenate

Sep 15, 2013

Stairway to heaven... or hell?

Spring is finally here; we have already been blessed with some ripping ‘summer like’ days, the mornings are lighter, the ocean is getting a little warmer (I braved my first swim on the weekend!) and it’s even starting to smell like spring! I LOVE this time of the year!

Naturally spring means it’s time to start thinking about shedding our winter coats (literally) and getting in shape for summer. Ladies that means we need to get out butts moving so we can flaunt our bikini bodies! In my opinion stair running is the perfect workout to get your heart rate up, burn some serious calories, tone up those pins and the best part… that feeling of soreness the next day that reminds you just how hard you worked!!!

The eastern suburbs of Sydney is packed full of great sets of stairs that are a challenge for even the fittest of the fit… Supersize your workout this week and give some of my favorite sets of stairs a whirl.

Cooper Park: Located in Cooper Park at the top of Bellevue Road in Bellevue Hill these are a great little set of stairs to knock over a great workout. It’s not the longest flight of stairs you have ever seen but they are short, steep and your quads will be well and truly burning by the time you get to the top.

(READ FULL LIST HERE)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing New Category Tags stairs cardio workout running Coogee Stairs Cranbrook Stairs exercise health

Sep 9, 2013

Foods your body will LOVE you for avoiding

If you saw last week’s post you will no doubt be right on top of all the best foods to help fight off and prevent build up of unwanted inflammation in the body.  It’s all very well eating an abundance of these healthy nutritious foods BUT are you sabotaging all your hard work by consuming other foods that actually contribute to inflammation and make our bodies more ‘toxic’.

There is no doubt that diet can serve as a protective function for our body. More than 70% of our immune system cells are found in the digestive tract so it a no brainer than when you fuel your body with nourishing foods we are able to heal faster and we are less likely to develop chronic inflammation build up.

Surprise surprise number 1 on this list is refined sugar!!! It’s quite literally killing your insides and adding to your love handles. Directly linked to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and a variety of other chronic diseases. Think soft drinks, fruit juices, pastries, desserts, packaged snacks, candy etc etc

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags inflammation chronic inflammation diet lifestyle health refined sugar processed food

Sep 2, 2013

The best foods to fight inflammation

Inflammation is medically defined as localised physical condition whereby a part of the body becomes painful, red, swollen and hot usually in relation to a physical injury or underlying infection of the tissues. This is acute inflammation and usually a short term completely NORMAL response by the body as it attempts to heal injured or affected tissues.

Chronic inflammation on the other hand is a different kettle of fish; this is an ongoing inflammatory response by the immune system. Your body produces a constant supply of immune cells which can be detrimental to your health in many ways. Studies have shown links to cancer, alzeimhers, arthritic conditions. Chronic inflammation in the body can be caused by an array of different things: stress, weight, smoking, lack of exercise, sleep patterns and DIET.

Diet can play a huge role in how our body harvests inflammation. Certain foods are termed inflammatory foods, they signal our immune system to create immune cells while other foods are anti-inflammatory foods. I’m not advocating you design your diet around what I am about to write….This is merely food for thought.

(READ FULL BLOG)

Tags inflammation pain diet lifestyle food health

Feb 24, 2013

Why you should set a date with Yoga

I have done a little bit of yoga in my time, and by a little I mean I could probably count the number of classes on two hands. So really I’m a dead set amateur.

Yoga draws upon a completely different type of strength and mindset than that needed to run 10km or lift heavy weights in the gym. And this form of training is so important when it comes to balancing your body.It’s no suprise that some of the in the class struggling the most were the biggest, muscliest guys who probably spend alot more time in the weights room than working on the flexibility side of their training.

(READ FULL BLOG)

Categories General Issues Tags yoga flexibility proprioception strength muscles relaxation meditation health exercise injury prevention

Jul 1, 2012

The Magnesium Factor

Has anyone noticed how ridiculously big the vitamin/supplement section of the pharmacy is these days? There is literally a pill for just about everything; women’s multivitamin, fish oil, glucosamine, vitamin c, CoQ10, garlic, Echinacea... I could be here all day!

I personally have never been much of a vitamin taker... However last week, following the advice of several I began taking a magnesium supplement.

Magnesium is known by users as the great relaxer and taken most effectively before bed each night. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I have noticed any miraculous benefits YET but what I will tell you is that I haven’t slept this well in a very long time. (READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)

Categories General Issues Tags magnesium health exercise supplement cramps