7 tips to boost your self-esteem

 

Boost your confidence and self-esteem with these tips from Sydney psychologist Jacqui Manning.

 

1. Reduce social media use: Stop checking how many friends or followers people have and remind yourself that social highlight reels are designed to cultivate an illusion even they don’t live up to.

2. Treat yourself like a friend: “I ask women, would you put down your daughter, best friend or mother in this way? Of course, not! So it’s obviously not okay to say these things to yourself,” says Manning. 

3. Focus on the positive: Frame your aspirations in terms of improvement rather than fixing something broken. For instance, lose weight to invest in a healthier life, not because you hate your thighs. 

4. Congratulate yourself. Give yourself a back pat when you finish that report at work, donate clothes to charity or eat well for the whole week. 

5. Embrace compliments: A simple ‘thank you’ will do – and resist bookending it with self-deprecation. 

6. Think ‘good enough’: Walk, talk and relate as though you deserve to take up space and you’ll begin to believe it.

7. Audit your assets: List at least 10 things that you value about yourself. Then write a list of the things you don’t like about yourself and re-frame them in a more positive way. E.g. “I am shy but that makes me a good listener.”

NEXT: Stay on track with these top motivational tips this new year.

 

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Health and fitness with Tiffiny Hall

 

KIck-start the New Year with some fresh inspiration from our January 2017 cover model Tiffiny Hall. We chat to her about all things health, fitness and motivation.

ON THE MEANING OF FITNESS:

The meaning of fitness for me is, well, fitness with meaning. You have to train with purpose. W eight loss and changing body shape isn’t enough because weight comes and goes and body parts come in and out of fashion, like round bums. The deeper the meaning, the more powerful the motivation. For me, I train to be healthy, to live longer, to be the best I can be for my husband, to keep mentally and emotionally well and balanced and now that I’m at the age where I’m starting to think about kids, I’m training to be fit for pregnancy.

ON HEALTH AND FITNESS MISTAKES

I’ve tried every fad diet out there. I’ve experimented on my body in so many ways, always seeking the magic fix that I could pass on to my students or clients, but diet after diet, I was always let down. Nothing works, except hard work. All my years in health and fitness tell me the key is to train the mind and the mind will train the body. Trying to remedy the body first never works, or it may work but only short term. I see so many women hating themselves, hating themselves slimmer, punishing themselves, feeling guilty. I’ve learned that you can’t hate yourself healthy, you have to love yourself healthier. Self-love is sustainable, self-loathing is not. It’s only when I began to truly accept myself, respect myself and ditch the diets that I’ve found consistency, balance and inner harmony. That’s why I love the kiss and the hug, and created TIFFXO. Embracing self-love will heal and transform you. It’s about throwing out the all-or-nothing attitude, and the toxic thought patterns of ‘I’ll be happy when I reach…’, ‘I don’t deserve this’. Learn to give yourself a cuddle, forgive and move forward.

ON FITNESS/HEALTH/NUTRITION MYTHS

Food fashion, fads, myths – I’ve just had it with them! My clients always say to me, “But I’ve tried everything.”

My response is always, “Have you tried one thing consistently, for 30 days?”

There is no magic. The magic is in you. Own your power, eat well, train consistently and have fun doing it and learn to zen. If you do this every day, your body will thank you and be in the best shape of its life! You are the gift to your body. We have to stop seeking outward illusions and realise that the power is in us.

ON WORKOUT MOTIVATION

There are tricks that can help us find our mojo, but what makes motivation stick is creating a habit, just like taking a shower or a good probiotic every single day. Some days you feel it – hell, yeah! Some days you don’t – ah, well it has to be done anyway because you know you will feel phenomenal afterwards, and nobody has ever regretted a healthy meal or a workout. So for 30 days stick to something, give it meaning, make it realistic and be disciplined (sorry to use that boring word but it really does work). Motivation will get you there, but habits keep you going. I train every single day in some way, be it a stretch session or taekwondo, HIIT or tone…every day I move because I feel emotionally and mentally better for it.

Read Tiffiny's full cover story in the January 2017 edition of Women's Health and Fitness Magazine.

In need of some more inspiraiton? Head to our motivational section for more. 

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Getting to know Silvia Kramska

 

Think owning your own business takes grit? Multiply that by two, add the gruelling training demanded by fitness competitions and you have an idea of life for Silvia Kramska, founder of Open to Play clean protein and Real Food Organic Nutrition. A qualified nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach, Kramska shares her formula for keeping a balance amid apparent chaos.

I have always been part of an active environment centred on wellness. I started to play tennis when I was five years old and continued to play professionally until I was 17. I lost my way health-wise for a while after that, so when I moved to Melbourne I promised myself that I would work in an area that truly makes me happy.

My Open To Play protein business came about when I was prepping for my first fitness competition; I couldn’t find a clean, simple and healthy protein anywhere. I figured there must be other people struggling with the same issue and so I decided to create my own.

I’m proud to say that Open To Play proteins are now one of the cleanest products on the market. The products are designed to be a healthy addition to anyone’s diet – they’re all natural, have only three pure ingredients (including grass-fed whey), and are lactose and gluten free. 

I wanted to make sure the proteins were suitable for anyone no matter their age, gender or activity level. Natural protein can supplement your regular diet, assist in your recovery after exercise and can help support growth and repair of your muscles.

My everyday nutrition is very balanced. I love to start my day with lemon water and I place a lot of focus on the quality of the foods that are going into my body. I eat organically wherever possible and I don’t eat gluten or processed sugars.

I do enjoy my pancakes once a week, on the weekends. I think it’s important that your daily nutrition isn’t causing you stress and to accept that you won’t get it perfect every day.

My current training regimen reflects my off-season preparation and I am focusing on growing my upper body for competition. I am doing heavy upper-body sessions three times per week, and three leg sessions per week focusing on glute development. 

I like to incorporate at least two HIIT sessions per week into my training program depending on my energy levels. I always make sure I listen to my body and rest when I need it. 

I manage stress by soaking in a magnesium salt bath every single night. I also love taking time out to just relax at home, or head to the beach during summer with a good book. 

I wake up early every day because I like to get a training session in while everyone else is still in bed. I then head over to my café and help to set it up for the day, get my team motivated and post on my social media accounts. After work I will normally fit in another gym session and in the evening I make time for family and friends. 

I really admire Tracy Anderson as both a fitness advocate and entrepreneur. The way she has been able to grow her business and make a difference in people’s lives is really inspirational.

We are excited to be creating some tasty new flavours and products at Open To Play and I am also planning on opening two more Real Food Organic Nutrition Bars this year. 

 

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The fit lifestyle with Cassey Ho

 

Tired of starting a diet every summer of every other Monday? We chat to blogger Cassey Ho about how she stays fit and healthy all year round. Take note.

Aim for balance with food: I allow myself a YOLO (you only live once) meal once or twice a week. But the rest of the time I eat clean, enjoying lots of plant foods, fresh produce, grass-fed meats, wholegrains and unsweetened beverages. I try to eat carbs, protein and healthy fats at every meal to keep me full and energised. The one thing I minimise is dairy – it makes my skin break out. I also avoid foods high in sodium, saturated or unhealthy fats, chemicals and preservatives, additives and colours.

Lose the rules: Going on diets or strict meal plans just doesn’t work for me. I always crave the foods I’m missing out on, and once that ‘diet’ is over, I want to binge on the foods I was restricting. Over time, I’ve learned to eat in a balanced way – that way I no longer have crazy cravings for junk food that cause me to binge and feel guilty.

Avoid extremes: When I was prepping for my bikini competition several years ago, I was put on this crazy diet of only eating about 1000-to-1200 calories (around 4, 200kJ) a day while I was working out for four hours a day! As a result I felt tired, irritable, angry and frustrated. My mind was foggy and I couldn’t concentrate. I was labelling food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and felt like I was trapped in food jail. For eight to 10 weeks I endured this crazy plan. I did the bikini competition with my new, lean body, and then I decided to go back to ‘normal-healthy’. But when I tried to introduce a variety of foods back into my diet, like brown rice, quinoa and different types of protein, my body did not like that at all. It acted like a sponge, soaking everything up. 

For the next three years, I gradually gained weight. And there was nothing I could do to stop it. During this time, I was still working out really hard for about one hour a day, but my body just didn’t respond. It rebelled. It was seriously frustrating because in my mind, I was doing everything right. Diet and exercise should equal weight loss or at least weight maintenance. But because of the damage and stress that I put my body under during that bikini prep, my hormones became unbalanced and I am still getting back to normal.

Aim for more sleep and less stress: I learned a lot from my bikini comp experience. Cortisol, the stress hormone, increases when you significantly lower your kilojoules, over-exercise and/or don’t have enough sleep. And cortisol plays a role in increasing abdominal fat, more specifically, lower-belly fat. This stress also decreases leptin, the hormone that controls your appetite. So you feel extra hungry all the time and it’s likely that you may crave those carbs and high-fat foods. That’s exactly what happened to me. Getting enough sleep, eating sufficient kilojoules and taking time to de-stress and relax are really important for your waistline and wellbeing.

Treat yourself: When you deprive yourself of cake or ice-cream, you start to think about them all the time and that leads to bingeing. Instead, I allow myself treats – in moderation. And because I know I can have them from time to time, I don’t crave them or eat more of them than I should.

Focus on health, not weight: I rarely step on the scales anymore because I know that my weight does not tell me how strong or fast I am. When I’m at my healthiest, I can tell by how I feel. When I am consistent with my diet and workouts, I am happy, motivated and energised. When I start to feel sluggish and drained, I know that my eating habits may be off and my workouts aren’t as routine – so I address that.

Use the seasons: What I love about the changing seasons is that they allow me to prepare myself for fresh beginnings four times a year. So with each season I see a chance to refocus and find a new rhythm and routine to optimise my health goals. I also try to rediscover delicious seasonal flavours to keep my clean-eating habits on track.

Keep exercise simple: You don’t need big shiny equipment to work out. Simply walking or taking the stairs can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy body. There are also endless exercises you can perform at home to sculpt your best body. For my POP Pilates exercise I just use a yoga mat to cushion my body against the floor. Then all the exercises use my own body weight to stay fit. If you’re not enjoying your exercise routine, try something else. Exercise should never be a chore – it should be something you always look forward to and then you don’t want to skip it. You shouldn’t have to work for hours a day to enjoy results. When I started combining HIIT with POP Pilates in my new PIIT (Pilates intense interval training) program my body strengthened and increased endurance like never before - and it’s only 28 minutes a day!

Head over to Cassey Ho's Instagram for more!

 

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11 feelgood and inspiring fitspo mantras

 

Is fitspo preoccupied with the appearance of health rather than health itself? We put these fitspos through their paces and boy, were we inspired. 

 

Girls Gone Strong

girlsgonestrong.com

“Hot body secret.”

It’s the holy grail of fitness – work hard enough to lose fat without getting bulky. GGS bloggers Neghar Fonooni, Molly Galbraith, and Alli McKee have distilled the science into a lean-out formula and paired it with precision workouts. They also jot the latest science news and have a free recipe book to download. 

 

Neghar Fonooni

negharfonooni.com

“You’ll want to work out.”

For fitness expert Neghar Fonooni, fitness equals happiness. Framed within principles of motivation, infused with her infectious energy, her counsel makes even hardcore kettlebell workouts sound doable (and fun). 

 

Mobility WOD

mobilitywod.com

“Find balance in going hard.”

Don’t know when to return to gym after an injury or trying to find the tricky balance between working out often enough and overtraining? Doctor of physical therapy and CrossFit coach Kelly Starrett has built his vlog around movement and mobility, spanning topics including managing pain and fast-tracking injury recovery to using exercise science to improve athleticism. 

 

Nia Shanks

niashanks.com

“Fit mind, fit body.”

Shanks embraces the relationship between mind and body, addressing psychological and physiological factors with humour and compassion. Her candid exploration of anxiety and motivation and the non-physical perks of working out are a refreshing antagonist to tyrannical body ideals and training manifestos. 

 

Mile Posts

mile-posts.com

“Love your run.”

Marathoner and mother Dorothy Beal proffers the practical lessons she’s learned during her journey from overweight to super fit. Her inspiring blog spans playlists tailored to motivation and BPM, running technique tips and even hints for hot-footing it with a stroller. 

 

Ask Lauren Fleshman

asklaurenfleshman.com

“Couch to half marathon.”

If you reckon you’re not a runner, Lauren Fleshman begs to differ. As well as penning the blog equivalent of a running encyclopaedia, sorted into categories such as technique, training, recovery, racing and nutrition, Fleshman personally answers reader questions, which are archived for your reference. 

 

Run to the Finish

runtothefinish.com

“Quirky, compassionate running.”

If the pressure to achieve an outcome cripples your buzz, take a step back with quirky running blogger Amanda Brooks, whose disdain for perfection gives this running blog an edge. The paradox is that by focusing on the process (you’ll be amazed by how quickly you forget about PBs), you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by background performance gains. Brooks also canvasses strategies for overcoming sugar cravings and simplifying clean eating. Her relatable personal anecdotes are a pleasure to read too. 

 

Precision Nutrition

precisionnutrition.com

“Fitness myth buster.”

If you like slavishly following fitness tropes and trends, look away. This no-bulltish blog takes an unforgiving look at the fitness industry and scrutinises the merit of trends and ideologies. We love that the sharp wit is backed by solid science. Whether you want to get to the bottom of whether skipping brekkie will make you fat or what to eat before cardio, this is your reality check. 

 

Purely Twins

purelytwins.com

“All about balance.”

Gorgeous twin sisters Lori and Michelle have carved a niche with their fine balance of fitness, wellness and healthy living. With topics including workouts, food and wellbeing, every visit to the site offers fresh inspiration depending on where you’re at and what you’re looking for. 

 

LiVe Life Active

livelifeactive.com

“Reality check trainer.”

PT and fitness model Erin Weiss is a refreshing voice in an often-obsessive industry, calling out unhealthy extremes and the consequences of pressure to maintain an unrealistic body. Delightfully infusing serious topics and fitness training tips with lighter notes such as fashion loves, this resists being preachy while keeping it real. 

 

Comeback Momma

comebackmomma.com

“Big picture body bible.”

Firm legs? Taut abs? Whatever your fitness goal, fitness coach Jenn Mitchell has thought of it first and written a program to suit. Her blog, which she started after struggling with depression and weight gain, is sorted into specific goals. Her down-to-earth wisdom and a big-picture perspective to topics spanning family, food, fitness and fashion are genuinely inspiring.

Looking more motivational stories? Check out our September cover model story with Alexa Towersey. 

 

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Health and fitness with Alexa Towersey

 

We chat to September cover model, Alexa Towersey about all things fitness, health, career and self-love. Check out the exclusive cover story interview below!

 

ON CAREER

I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for over 15 years. I’ve played pretty much every sport known to man including American football, boxing, soccer, skiing and horse-riding. I completed a Bachelor of Science in biology and psychology and went on to do a post-graduate diploma in sports management and kinesiology, and then I interned with an All Blacks-endorsed Pilates studio.

ON EXPERIENCES

When I was 27 I moved to Hong Kong, where I was the senior strength and conditioning coach at a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym. I decided to get into half-Ironman events and I took two years to qualify for the world champs. Living in Asia gave me the opportunity to travel and learn; I spent five years commuting between HK and the United States, learning from the legendary Gym Jones (the outfit responsible for training the cast and crew for the movies 300, The Immortals, Repo Men and Superman) and internationally recognised strength coach Charles Poliquin.

ON PASSION

When I was younger, I was bullied for being too skinny.  My nickname at school was Alexa Anorexia. I started going to the gym when I was 15 on a mission to create muscles and it was the first place I ever truly felt in control of my body and my mind. I want to be able to educate, empower and instil that passion in everyone I work with.

ON HEALTH

Both my parents passed away from lifestyle-related diseases – my mum from lung cancer and my dad from alcoholism.  This led to me giving up alcohol six years ago and is the reason I remain such a passionate advocate of living a healthy lifestyle.

ON DREAMS

For years, I was limited by own lack of self-belief. It wasn’t until I moved to Australia two years ago and immersed myself in a community of likeminded people that I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I truly believe that if you’re driven by passion and positivity rather than profit, then success is organic.  

ON BODY IMAGE

I think it’s a really exciting time to be in the industry as the landscape is definitely changing for the better. Women seem to be less focused on wanting to lose weight and be a size zero and more excited about getting stronger, feeling better in their own skin and wanting to develop shape.  

ON CREATING CURVES 

I love celebrating the strength of the female form. For me, as both a trainer and a female, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a woman become empowered in the gym and watching how this translates into the rest of her life. 

ON SELF-LOVE 

I have a very holistic approach with both myself and my clients. I’m a big advocate for learning to listen to your body and trusting your gut instincts. Your body is a very clever instrument and it will tell you in no uncertain terms what it likes and dislikes.

ON WHAT’S NEXT

I’m rolling out my Creating Curves workshops internationally, including Kuwait, the US and New Zealand. I’ve almost finished my second e-book program with Renae Ayris (former Miss Universe Australia). I’ve also recently started public speaking on behalf of the charity Livin, which is an organisation aimed at educating people about mental health issues and suicide prevention. I love being able to be involved in such an incredible and relevant cause. Twenty-sixteen is shaping up to be a huge year, so watch this space!

 

Alexatowersey.com // @actionalexa

Photography: Emily Abay // @emilyabay_photographer

Hair & Make-up Artist: Mae Taylor // @maetaylor_makeupartist

Dressed in: PE Nation // @p.e.nation courtesy of StyleRunner // @stylerunner

 

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7 of the best fitness social media accounts to follow now

 

There's no denying our Instagram feeds are a prime source of motivation. So we've sourced seven of the best social media accounts to help you stay motivated and inspired, grouped by your goals.

 

For fat-loss fortitude  

A Google search of ‘fat loss’ will see enough returns to bring on a migraine. We’ve sorted the sensible from the silly so you can maximise your shred.  

Alexa Towersey @actionalexa

Alexa_14.jpg

 

What you get: 

Along with inspiring quotes and epic action shots (no squatting in a G-string here, folks), Towersey posts weekly examples of fat-burning circuits and booty-building exercises for you to try at home. And as a woman with years of experience and who trains some of Sydney’s top models, you are inclined to take her advice. With a scientific yet readable caption style, Towersey regularly reminds you of why rest, recovery and stress management are integral to your fat-loss goals – ’cause, let’s face it, it’s easy to forget come Monday morning.  

What you don’t get: 

Half-naked selfies or long opinionated rants, thank goodness. Just knowledge, working examples and ancillary training methods so you can max your goals.

Top tip: 

“Train for your objective. Training to put on muscle is very different to training for strength, which is different to training for weight loss and different again to training for a specific sport. Remember, movement is not always progress. You can run in place and never get anywhere.”

Tom Venuto burnthefatblog.com 

What you get:

Tips on leaning out from a natural bodybuilder – because why wouldn’t you take advice from those whose job it is to eradicate fat? A science boffin, Venuto posts about once a week and covers current fitness controversies – from the science behind eating more fat to whether you should be performing a crunch. If you’re looking for less-ordinary tips with the backing of a lab coat and academic studies to give you an edge, Venuto is your man.

What you don’t get: 

One-size-fits-all workouts, training programs or nutrition plans. This blog is all about current research and the underlying factors affecting progress than cookie cutter routines. Sure, there are example workouts scattered here and there, but it’s not the place to go for daily pre-workout inspiration. You will have to plan your training yourself.

Top tip:  

“Doing nothing but cardio is a mistake. But cutting out cardio completely is also a mistake. The truth lies in the middle. Maximum fat burning occurs when you combine cardio training and weight training together. For health and weight maintenance, I would suggest three short cardio workouts per week, about 20 to 30 minutes per session. But for maximum fat loss, I recommend four to seven days per week of cardio or other vigorous physical activity for 30 to 45 minutes (based on results) at a moderate pace.”

NEXT: Muscle madness


 

 

 

 

 

For muscle madness

If you’re looking to hit up the weights room to improve strength, tone and support fat loss (or just to look bad-ass – guilty!), these are the web accounts set to inspire. 

Lauren Simpson (Snapchat: laurensimpsonnn)

Lauren-Simpson.jpg

 

What you get: 

This young Sydney-sider is the perfect combo of body composition inspiration and information. You’ll be spoilt with regular rig/ab selfies as she preps for her next bikini comp, behind-the-scenes access to her numerous photoshoots, supplement discount codes, high-protein recipes and – our favourite – weighted workouts ripe for screen-shotting. She even encourages it. 

What you don’t get: 

Anything cardio based – she just doesn’t do it (ectomorph and naturally lean body shape perks). Simpson is renowned for her powerlifting and hypertrophy protocols to create the curves that have seen her win a recent WBFF pro card, so she may be hard to relate to for those looking to drop fat and create curves more steadily. 

Top tip: 

A recent leg workout from her Snap stream:

Superset

» Paused squat –
3 sets of 5 reps

» Hamstring curls –
3 sets of 5 reps (toes turned out, heels touching) 

» Pendulum squats –
5 sets of 15 reps

» Split squats –
4 sets of 8 reps (each side, back foot elevated)

Nia Shanks (niashanks.com)

What you get:

Blog posts from a qualified trainer about everything from staying motivated to fat loss, but we particularly love her spiels on weight training. Not only do you get specific workouts and training programs based on your goals and time constraints (often with supporting video content), she also explains why you are doing what you are doing – whether that be a certain rep range or using a particular piece of equipment. It’s probably more suited to the intermediate weight lifter – although there are some body weight posts and beginner variations if you are just starting out. 

What you don’t get: 

Blogs about hitting the weights room to improve ‘flaws’ in your physique. Conversely, you also won’t get the ‘just love yourself as you are’ psycho-babble. Shanks finds a way to balance our mental health and self-confidence with our realistic desire to improve. 

Top tip: 

“If you strength train with the primary goal of improving your performance in the gym, you are setting yourself up for success. Unlike cardio, strength training is a great way to set positive, motivating goals that will keep you going in the gym week after week, month after month, and year after year.”

NEXT: For flexi fitness


 

 

 

 

 

For flexi fitness

The yogi yodas need their social fill too. To bring the zen to your computer screen, here are our top picks for scientific knowledge and practical tips to deepen the stretch.

Kate Kendall @activeyogi

Kate-Kendall-2.jpg

 

What you get:

Let’s face it – sometimes we just want to chill on the couch, look at some pretty pictures and be inspired to hit the mat in the morning. Aussie-born and -bred yoga instructor Kate Kendall’s Instagram account is our go-to for beautiful bendy moves in obscene scenery. Her captions remind us to get outdoors, be with friends and just stretch. Plus, it’s always kind of interesting to see where her career as a Blackmores ambassador and her own yogi studio take her – whether that be instructing nighttime silent disco yoga sessions or standing side by side with other fitspo celebs.

What you don’t GET:

Actual informative tips on the practice of yoga – for that you will need to head to one of her classes. 

Top tip: 

Kate shared this quote from Sharon Gannon, founder of Jivamukti Yoga: “You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” Deep.

Rachel Scott rachelyoga.com 

What you get: 

Yoga enthusiast and the director of Teachers’ College and Development YYoga, Rachel Scott’s website is all about education. With clean lines and easy-to-read spacing, her blog posts range from the quick and simple step-by-step instructions on a particular pose to a moving diary-style entry on anxiety and depression and how yoga has helped to heal. Encompassing the merging of spirituality and physicality native to true yogis, her blog posts are beautiful, short, sharp and informative, and you can pick and choose what you read depending on your mood or motives for the day – the archives are pretty extensive. 

What you don’t get:

Regular updates – admittedly her posts are usually one or two a month, but at other times they are more sparse. If consistency is key to building your relationship with your blogger, then maybe look elsewhere. 

Top tip: 

“Our mats are not places to be perfect, or even places that we have to be particularly happy. They are places to be authentic. The mat is a place where it’s okay to cry. They are places to give ourselves permission to feel, practise self-care, and use our beautiful physical bodies to potentially shift our experiences. We can move with our feelings rather than cover them up.”

NEXT: For running ragged


 

 

 

 

 

For running ragged

For those who love to hit the pavement, these steady-state cardio training accounts will help get the blood pumping. 

Deena Kastor @deena8050

Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 10.22.22 AM.png

What you get:

If you are well and truly sick of an Insta-feed filled with puppies, children (yes, he/she is adorable but…) and green smoothies, take a look at former Olympian Deena Kastor’s running Insta account. Her photographs will have you pining for an active holiday or a stroll around your nearest river with regular snaps of stunning sceneries from her track of that day. Her captions are a mix of inspiring quotes, reflections on the running life and diary entries of her favourite events and experiences. Okay and yes – the odd dog/child/green smoothie does pop up (she has all three). We love it really.

What you don’t GET:

Boring activewear selfies or overtly posed stretches. Refreshingly real, Kastor would rather give you a glimpse of nature and push you to pull on the running shoes rather than her own (albeit lithe) body.

Top tip:

“When faced with a challenge, it’s easy to feel small, but go down that trail as fast and safely as you can and feel as majestic as the mountains that stand over you.”

 

 

 

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Healthy living with blogger Lauren Patterson

 

You may recognise her as having some of the funniest Instagram tales at ___@laurenkate with her two kids Madi and Max. We caught up with Lauren to chat about healthy living, pregnancy and life post-babies.

At the time of the interview Max was six months old and Madi was three and a half, whom which she attritubes her love of health and fitness and the overcoming of severe mental illness to her children. A personal trainer and blogger, her Instagram is your go-to for cute-as selfies with her babies and down-to-earth posts concerining the trials and tribulations of parenthood. 

 

On healthy living

Leading an active and healthy lifestyle helps to manage my anxiety and just makes me feel good. Before having my kids, I was suffering from severe mental illness and an eating disorder and I had no goals or hope for myself. Now I am spending every day working as hard as I can to give my kids the life they deserve.

On pregnancy

Your body does whatever it wants when you’re pregnant. It flattened my boobs, created lots of deep stretch marks, a saggy belly button and loose skin – but it’s all part of the process. I think of them as my little pregnancy battle scars and I love them! On the other hand, pregnancy never stopped me from being active and that made it so much easier to get back into a routine after having Max.

On post-baby bodies

After having Madi, I joined a gym and I slowly learnt to adjust to a new routine as a mum: I found myself using a couch like a piece of gym equipment and learning how to add herbs and spices to make a meal tasty.

It takes hard work and eating well to get your body back in shape after having kids – it’s by no means easy. Loving your post-baby body is all about acceptance and remembering what it has achieved – it created a human!

Day in the life of Patterson

I love to include the kids in my exercise regimen, so we tend to walk everywhere. I try to go to the gym in the mornings because it helps to boost my energy levels during the day. If I can’t get to the gym, Max will be my weights in the lounge room and I find myself doing a lot of glute kickbacks during the advertisement breaks on television.

I always start my day with breakfast: I like to have a protein shake and oats, fruit or wholegrain toast. Lunch is normally fish and rice with broccoli. I’m not overly strict with my clean eating practices and I believe in balance; if I feel like sauce with my dinner, I’m going to have sauce!

 

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Samantha Gash plans record run across India

 

 

To celebrate World Vision’s 50th anniversary, Samantha Gash, 31, ultra marathon runner from Melbourne, is planning to undertake a gruelling run across the diverse terrain of India.

 

 

Kicking off on Monday 22 August, Samantha will run close to 4,000 km from West to East to raise money and awareness for World Vision projects tackling barriers to quality education.

In India today, 4 per cent of children never start school, 58 per cent don't complete primary school, and 90 per cent fail to finish high school. Combined with the fact that 67.7 million India youths are living on less than one dollar a day, the barriers to accessing education are highly complex. 

Only a few people have run across India's landscapes, but Samantha is not one to shy away from challenges. With many achievements to her name, including being the youngest female to complete ‘4 Deserts Grand Slam’ (running across the deserts of Chile, Antarctica, China and the Sahara) and being the youngest Australian woman to run across the Simpson Desert in 2012, there's only one thing in mind. 

"It's the longest run that I have ever undertaken...however, I know from experience that you can never plan for everything," she says.

"A real highlight for me will be meeting the people and visiting the communities along the way that are engaged with World Vision. Although training is taking up most of my time and headspace, the reason that drives me is the 'why'. Everytime I train I visualise myself in India and I know that any discomfort I could possibly experience will pale in comparison to many of the situations I will see."

She’s also inviting her other runners across Australia to run with her in the World Vision 12-week Challenge, where you can track distances against Samantha’s.

To find out more and get involved visit the Run India website. 

 

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