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The first time i beat ten boats in the nationals!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Splurge

Yesterday's body and soul liftout pronted a statistic that i found disturbing: the average australian will gain between 0.8 & 1.5kgs this xmas that they'll never lose. In addition, most women that start a diet in the new year will have given up within a week.

I often say to my clients that i have no greater willpower or resistance to food than they do, i just have better avoidance strategies. Here are my strategies to avoid the splurge when i can, so i never have to say no if i dont want to:

1) go running- i sleep in in the holidays like everyone else. But before breakfast, before a shower, i go jogging. When i couldn't run i walked. It is simply some alone time to burn some fuel and start the day feeling fresh. I find when i feel good about myself i eat better too.

2) always participate- i am not a huge fan of mountain biking, but my husband loves it, and has built me this rocking great bike. When in tumut (where his family is from) there is some great single trail, and i make a poknt of always saying yes when asked to go. Likewise if someone is throwing a football, playing backyard cricket, or swimming, so am i.

3) salad first- i will eat everything available at xmas lunch. However i always fill my plate with green leafy salad before going back for the rest, including dessert. This way i eat less of the bad stuff but i never miss out.

Good luck with your weight management these holidays, may you be an exceptional, not average aussie this xmas :-)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Mothers Are Important Too

I attended my 6 week check right on 6 weeks at the doctor, and paid $60 just to be asked how my boobs are feeling, and then we moved on to all the baby tests. I have also been attending "Parents Group" (aka mothers group, not even one dad in the room) at my local Early Childhood centre for 5 weeks. The way this particular centre works, is every week has a new topic and a professional to come and talk about it. So far we have covered baby settling, baby feeding, baby sickness, playgroup, and baby massage.

I have one question after all these week's of education; What about ME?!

 Not to take anything away from the need to educate new parents on the health of their child, there is an obvious disregard for the woman's mental and physical health post-baby. With Post Natal depression such a massive problem, no one has asked how i feel or how i am coping. No one has checked how i am doing physically. I am lucky enough to have an intimate understanding of these issues, and i have access to a gym that can test for common post-natal problems, but what about the other 20 women in my group, and the hundreds of others across the state and nationally?

I will start with the 6 week check at the doctor. It is a PT's duty of care to wait for this check before training a client. But why bother when the muscle testing we do at the gym is a million times more thorough?

At the Early Childhood Centre, they educate the mum's on the best practices for their baby's health, and then the mum goes home and gets frustrated with dad, who has not got access to this education (since someone has to work, and in the first 4-6mths of a baby's life this will logically be the dad, and then they schedule the sessions for 10am on a weekday....) and makes the same mistakes as she made weeks ago!

Then they completely disregard the mum's health, mentally and physically, by not even considering it important enough to address. How many of these women are incontinent at the moment? The Continence Foundation of Australia find that 37% of women have a problem with incontinence, and 70% of these never seek help. That is HUGE! The only information that is readily accessible is TEVA commercials which basically say that you have to live with it and buy their product so you don't embarrass yourself!

You can treat incontinence very effectively with adequate education and training. It is simply a muscle weakness for most people.

Incontinence aside, back pain is another serious issue for the Post Natal mother. The hormone Relaxin is still doing its magic while you're breastfeeding, and the effect of this for many women is loose joints that become inflamed and cause pain. Adequate abdominal and butt muscle strength is necessary to maintain back and pelvic health, but again, there is no advice on this. Many women lose the ability to contract these muscles

with the structural changes that occurred during pregnancy, so even if they begin to try and strengthen them, they cannot access the correct muscles to contract, and end up "compensating" with alternate muscles. Many women simply

never use those muscles again, and they disintegrate with disuse. This can increase the woman's risk of injury later down the track (like when you're trying to lift a 15kg toddler).

Another issue, with breastfeeding being virtually impossible to achieve with good posture, is chronic neck and shoulder pain caused by bad posture. Like incontinence, this is a muscle issue, and can be trained back into pain-free shape!

And what about reducing body fat? Did you realise that exercising too soon can impact the way in which your pelvis fuses back together and leave you with chronically uneven hips (the consequences of which is damaged hip sockets leading to arthritis, bursitis, or chronic hip, back, or knee pain)? Did you realise what and how you eat directly affects not only your baby, but their children and grandchildren?

The first thing i asked the midwives that came to visit after the birth was to check my abdominal separation and pelvic floor contraction. Even then, in the hospital, you have to line up for a physio to do these checks.

I am so proud that at my little studio, we can test for, and address, all of these issues. Even from a mental health perspective, exercise has been shown to improve serotonin levels (happy hormones), decrease cortisol levels (stress hormones) and, in this way, help combat depression.

If anyone has not had their muscles checked after having a baby, please contact Galileo PT or 02 9905 4144, to arrange it. It takes about 10min, it's free, and you can then access training to correct any problems that the tests uncover.

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Chariot

I have a very expensive Canadian pram, that i absolutely trashed on the weekend, and it survived!

It is called a Chariot, and it went over soft sand, hard sand, single trail, pebbles, roots, and stairs without a hitch. I was stoked! Stoked enough to plug it in my blog :-)

I got it from

Here are some pics:

Back Beach, Minnie Waters

The stairs and rocks that we conquered in order to get to back beach. I did these twice, the second time when i went surfing the next day. You can see Evie's little foot poking out if you look close enough.

The trail to the beach

Soft sand on the trail, and a close up of the unreal adjustable suspension!. Evie is also in a hammock-like sling, so she rocks comfortably on the uneven stuff.

The view from the top of the hill between Main and Back beaches, Minne Waters
  FYI i had Evie sleeping through the night before this adventure, it has fallen apart somewhat, but we are back on track today and my fingers are crossed for tonight!!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Me attempting to continue life, work, and play
with my new appendage!
 Sleep has been on my mind lately, or lack thereof with a 5 week-old.

I have been advising my clients to get adequate sleep for weight loss for decades, as it has an impact on your stress hormones, which in turn will have an impact on your ability to lose weight. There are some tips on getting adequate sleep at:

But my fuddled and tired head has got me wondering what else is sleep good for? Dr Oz (yes, catching up on my daytime TV) said in a recent episode that being sleep deprived and driving has the same effect on your reaction times as drink driving! That is a scary idea with all these mum's on the road!

The midwives at RNS told us during the Breastfeeding Course that your body makes breastmilk better at night (which makes sense, since according to researchers at Harvard, you also repair your body tissue, grow, fight infection, store memories, etc while you sleep). They also said that the baby will deliberately feed at night for this reason.

That didn't make sense to me, since being sleep deprived stresses the mother, which REDUCES milk supply in a similar manner as high intensity exercise.

Researchers at Harvard are not really sure why we sleep, but they do know what happens while we sleep, and what happens when we don't sleep. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, consequences of not sleeping include: difficulty receiving and interpreting information, difficulty coordinating movement, losing our ability to make sound decisions (because we can no longer accurately assess the situation, plan accordingly, and choose the correct behavior).
Harvard Sleep Researchers put it like this: "Being chronically tired to the point of fatigue or exhaustion means that we are less likely to perform well. Neurons do not fire optimally, muscles are not rested, and the body’s organ systems are not synchronized. Lapses in focus from sleep deprivation can even result in accidents or injury. "

So where does that put me, and the midwife's brutal advice to essentially suck it up and become part nocturnal and part superhero? If the research is correct, i am putting lives at risk every time i get behind the wheel, or my baby's life at risk every time i pick her up while i am in this state.

I have been lucky enough to have a partner that is equally involved in the sleep/feed routine, so it is less of an issue as it could have been, but it worth asking the question. Maybe the general advice should be more flexible than "demand feeding" and simply accepting  the fact you are going to be up all night. After all, aren't the mother's needs important too? Won't a healthy mother mean a healthy child?

There are enough books and sleep centre's around to see that not every baby magically conforms to a convenient routine, and often this needs to be guided. Is there any harm in starting early, and treating it like Jet Lag? I am going to give it a go, and i will keep you posted.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Exercise with a Newborn

I am nine days into being a mum, and overcoming the same hurdles of mothers everywhere; specifically lack of sleep, an influx of visitors, learning to understand a baby, keeping up with the washing, etc. As a trainer, i was painfully aware of the weight i put on in pregnancy, and was champing at the bit to lose it again, only to find myself too exhausted to get out of bed.

Having said that, i have almost done it, and am only 2 kg off my pre-pregnancy weight.

Once your abs are within 2cm of eachother (the midwife or doctor, or your trainer if you train at Galileo, can check this), and your bleeding has slowed, these are my tips on how to achieve it:
  1. Enlist a friend or relative to cover the domestic stuff (like cooking, cleaning, and washing).
  2. Attempt a sleep/feed routine as soon as possible. Even though it's hard work, and the baby rarely complies, it has allowed me enough structure to plan my exercise.
  3. Do what you can when you can. I will go fast walking when Evie is sleeping, but only if we had a good night. If it's particularly good i'll go twice! On the way i'll stop at the playground and do some push ups and pull ups and lunges. On bad days i'll just go for a wander to get outside.
  4. Salad salad salad. If you're lucky, well meaning friends and relatives will feed you, but more often than not, they'll bring over "energy" foods like pasta and cakes. If you're unlucky, you'll be making your own food, so will grab whatever makes you feel better and quickly! Get onto a website that delivers, like , who will deliver fresh food directly from the farmer for an excellent price, to make eating well easy. Eating fruit and veges has the added bonus of enriching your diet with vitamins and minerals, assisting with overcoming fatigue and boosting your immune. In
    addition, the fibre will make it easier on the loo, which is an obvious benefit for anyone who has pushed a baby out. I have been making massive fruit salads and regular salads which i just spoon from the bowl whenever i am peckish, saving me from the chocolate draw....!
  5. Express. It is fiddly, but it means my husband can do the 10pm feed, so i sleep from 8pm until 2am. Even if i'm up the rest of the night, i have a solid block of sleep in which to recover from the day before and prepare for the day ahead.
  6. Carry the baby. Adding weight means you'll burn more calories! And the baby will love being close to you.

Good luck to all the mum's out there. I'd be interested in learning your tips for survival, so send them through!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Stress Less!

There is more than one reason to take it easy on occasion. Hormones play a massive role in your ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Acute (short term and high intensity) stress will lower your appetite, increase your metabolism, and increase your cognitive function. Chronic (longer term and moderate intensity) stress will cause you to store fat easily, disrupt your sleep, and impair your cognitive function.

The main hormone responsible for both responses to stress is cortisol.

In small doses, cortisol will trigger short bursts of energy, increase memory function, and increase immunity.

In long, sustained doses, cortisol can impair brain function, suppress the thyroid (which regulates metabolism), disrupt blood sugar balance, decrease bone density and muscle tissue. This usually leads to a simultaneous increase in abdominal fat, which increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Studies also show that people with high cortisol levels eat more, and more of what they eat is carbohydrate. This will also increase their fat-storing ability.

It is possible to manipulate your cortisol levels increase your well-being, weight loss, and longevity.

10 Top Tips for Keeping Cortisol in Balance:
1.        Stress less! Learn stress management techniques. See for more information and tools.
2.        Meditation - Holosync CD’s use sound tones to assist you in achieving a greater meditative state than experienced practitioners achieve. Go to and get your free trial CD.
3.        Sex.
4.        Yoga.
5.        Deep  breathing techniques.
6.        Keep exercise sessions short, infrequent, and very hard - less than 25 minutes is ideal, with your heart rate regularly pushing over 85% of your max (you do not  have to sustain it over there. Stop-start techniques such as intervals are useful). Galileo Personal Training at Brookvale specialise in 30 minute sessions. Go to for more information.
7.        Exercise only when you’re healthy (REST when you’re sick or tired!!)
8.        Make exercise fun! Get outside and do something you enjoy!
9.        Take time to stretch or unwind after any exercise session, major deadline, or stressful event. Simply lying still (with a quiet mind) for a couple of minutes is enough to reduce your cortisol.
10.     Vibrate your hormones into balance! Studies show that vibration training can reduce your cortisol levels after only a 11 minute stretch and massage session. You try this for free at or buy one for yourself at . Sessions performed on the vibration plate also increase the release of Serotonin, the “happy” hormone.

You can manipulate your hormones by your state of mind and behaviour. Take control, and give yourself the best chance of success.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: understanding these principles from a health perspective to ensure you get the most out of your life.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
This chapter deals with focusing on specific things that you‘d like to achieve. Training your brain using visualisation has long been a habit of world-class athletes. They visualise and mentally rehearse every aspect of their sport, from the perfect finger position to standing on the podium after the race. The same principle can be used in business and in optimum health.

The revolutionary approach to weight loss by Jon Gabriel in The Gabriel Method relies heavily meditation and visualisation to re-train the brain. These methods can help reduce hormones that cause your body to hold onto excess fat, as well as boost “happy” hormones that can assist in motivation.

The use of a mission statement is highly utilised in business, and can be effective for you in your health journey to help you stay focused on the big picture.
Put First Things First: Principles of Integrity & Execution

Think Win/Win: Principles of Mutual Benefit

In the book, this chapter is about communication with others, however the same principles can be applied to balance your needs with other conflicting parts of your life. A common example is exercise time and work demands often get in each other’s way. Or the conflict your fitness needs and your family’s needs to have you around. Thinking “win/win” will help you achieve a plan to accommodate both.

Using our first example, finding time. We can utilise the first three habits. The first is be proactive, so find out the minimum amount of exercise you need to do for optimum health (10min x 3 per day x 3 days a week) and then plan it, visualise it, execute it, and prioritise it!

The second example can be win/win by including your family in your activity. For example, throwing a football with your son, going walking with your partner, and so on.

Thinking win/win will open a multitude of alternatives, where you can integrate all competing aspects of your life into one well-balanced and happy existence.

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Principles of Mutual Understanding

While this habit strikes gold from a HR and management perspective, utilising it for your fitness needs is not as clear at first. For the purposes of our discussion today, seek to understand the how, what, when, and why of health before sabotaging yourself with excuses about why not to be healthy.

The most obvious way to seek understanding is to enlist in professional help. Health is not just about weight loss. Regular meetings with a dietician can help you maximise your nutrition and wellbeing, thus maximising your productivity at work and increase positive energy at home. Regularly seeing a personal trainer can provide time efficient and highly effective results. Half hour sessions are available at Galileo Personal Training in Brookvale, see

Synergize: Principles of Creative Cooperation
This is a fantastic chapter that will help you utilise your friends, collegues, and family in assisting you all as a collective to achieve optimum health. In striving to achieve a healthier lifestyle, you can recruit the entire office, and work collaboratively to formulate ideas in making it possible for everyone. Studies show that exercising with a friend ensures greater adherence than if you go it alone. One idea is to cover each other’s tasks while each person takes a brisk walk, or to sign up for a corporate sports team. Lunchtime Legends, held in French’s Forest, runs mixed soccer, oztag, netball, softball, and volleyball competitions in 30min lunchtime slots. See for more information.

Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal
An article published in March 2006’s Harvard Business Review explored the concept of “Cognitive Fitness” and found that exercising the mind can help productivity, intelligence, and slow degenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. In short, moderate exercise can keep you mentally quicker and smarter for longer.

Covey touched on these concepts in his final chapter, but the latest neuroscience findings have allowed us to put it more succinctly. As summarised in November 2007‘s Harvard Business Review, you can consistently renew yourself by: seeking new experiences (go “walkabout“), work hard at playing (this encompasses games like cards, as well as trying on new ways of interacting with others, playing with kids, and so on), seeking novelty (like going to a museum, sight-seeing on a business trip, taking a different route home), trying new things (eg. new technologies, learn an instrument or language), searching for patterns (within these experiences, take notes every time you hear of something new and use it as a reference), and exercise.

View the entire article at . for more information.

By listening to your chosen health professional’s advice, and then tailoring this advice in your personal circumstances, you will achieve more than presuming to understand everything about your lifestyle, body, and health. Covey’s communication methods will enhance workplace and family relations as well.

Prioritising and delegating are important ways of maximising your time. Once you have developed your mission statement, formulate a plan to work towards it. Considering moderate exercise can help your cognitive function and increase your life expectancy, it is astounding that more Australians do not put their health as a priority, especially as we are now the most obese country in the world.

Reasons for prioritising your health includes reducing the obvious health risk to ourselves - such as diabetes and heart disease - which may prevent us from performing our perceived “more important” roles in our work and as a family member (just being overweight can increase your risk of premature death by 30%, similar to the risk associated with smoking 1-10 cigarettes a day*).

In addition, obesity is costing us as a nation, in dollar terms. Costs are associated with managing obesity-related diseases, secondary diseases, health insurance rates, sick leave, and also time away from work while sick, emergency services responding to events such as heart attacks, etc. This list is enormous.

Using Covey’s methods you can identify your real priorities, and allocate your time and effort accordingly.

However, what of the broader applications of these principles? How can we utilise this simple and effective life plan to maximise our effectiveness in all aspects of life? Today we will look at applying the seven habits to maximising your health.
Applying business principles to health is an excellent way of managing time and ensuring you get the most out of this life. Remember that health is not about weight loss. Rather, it is a way of optimising your productivity and relevance in the office and at home. It will mean you have the energy to interact with your family for years to come, and that you experience personal satisfaction and wellbeing. Take the time to ensure that your life is lived!
has been on the “must read” list of ambitious people since first released in 1989. A self-help book with benefits across all facets of life, it has been primarily utilised in the business arena, with spin off publications addressing leadership, family life, and wealth.
Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Choice

Proactiveness is also about accountability and responsibility, “if it‘s meant to be it‘s up to me”. It is time to stop blaming time, the weather, transport, and all those other things that prevent you from embarking on a healthy fitness and eating plan. Focus instead on what you can do (or fit in). Can you manage 10min in the morning for a brisk walk around the block? If yes, then take action! Or maybe you don’t like walking, but can you swim? Cycle? Run?

Covey argues that people are different from animals as they are able to observe themselves, think about their thoughts and actions. In this way, address your own objections to exercise or eating well. Health is not about being a “gym junkie”. You can achieve substantial health benefits from adding certain foods to your current diet (such as fruit and vegetables) and from just doing what you can in terms of exercise. has useful guidelines to give you a kick-start.

Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Vision

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Depression and Exercise

I was talking to a new client this morning about her reasons for exercising, and it hasn't been the first time that the subject of depression has come up. From a training perspective, it is a hard subject, because the medication often causes the person to put on weight, which makes them feel worse!

It is well documented that exercise can help manage mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Beyond Blue’s numerous fact sheets recommend exercise as an alternative treatment for depression and anxiety, and a tool for you to “help yourself” when faced with this disease.

Depression in athletes has been documented as far as dealing with pressure and performance, as well as overtraining, but what happens to one’s mental state when you cease regular exercise? There is no research on this topic, so i asked some of our Olympic Athletes and clients of Galileo Personal Training their opinions.

Robin Bell, who won bronze in Beijing 2008 Slalom Canoe and participated in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games, says that he never experienced depression whilst training for any of the Olympic games, despite being “always tired“. Once he retired after Beijing, he found he lacked motivation to exercise because he did not have a goal. He struggled with sleeping and concentrating, and felt generally “like a slob”. He began “fun exercise” like surfing and mountain biking to “feel better”.

Whilst this is not proof that lack of exercise can cause depression, it does show how exceptional, motivated, and talented individuals can fall for the same traps as every-day joe. Exercise can help improve even a well-balanced person’s mental state.

After training at Galileo!

You often see in the 30min spent with each client training, their mood improving as the session progresses. I often think you've done a good job if they walk out feeling better than when they walk in (that's right, you do not have to be nailed every time you do a PT session - if you are, maybe you need to come to Galileo for a session to try it out!!).

Any kind of activity is good activity. Contact my studio if you need help!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Pain and Exercise

In light of all the research regarding how exercise can increase your life quality and expectancy, how painful is it really?

There are multiple reasons to exercise and eat well. Recent studies link a fatty diet with onset of Alzheimer’s, and it’s long been known that exercise slows the progress of the disease. There has been a study linking almost every kind of fruit or vegetable and a reduction risk of cancer, particularly cancer in the digestive tract. Good nutrition has been shown to reduce childhood behavioural problems and allergies, as well as help treat depression in adults. Exercise has also been shown to increase cognitive function and longevity by increasing the complexity of the folds in the brain and maintaining vital muscle and bone mass … can anyone really afford NOT to be fit and healthy??

The latest “pain” in regards to exercise is financial. In the lee of the Global Financial Crisis, we are feeling insecure about our financial futures. However, have any of us sat down and worked out how much we spend on lunch every day? Coffee? Petrol? Clothes?

How does your one 30min session each week compare to that?

All these reasons to exercise, and yet we’re still the fattest nation in the world (52% of us are overweight or obese, and yes, we‘ve overtaken the Americans). The main explanation appears to be that the pain and discomfort of physical exercise - feeling self conscious, spending money, making time, muscle pain, breathlessness - outweighs the discomfort of your current state and the “might happen“ possibilities of the future.

The list of excuses not to exercise is as endless as the reasons to do it!

So how painful is exercise really? Is it more to do with our attitude? Is the problem just our assumptions of what’s expected and what you need to do to “get fit?” What if we simply changed our minds about exercise, and approached it like eating, breathing, and sleeping?

Exercise does not have to be painful. It just needs to be moderate, regular, and consistent.

Start with two small changes, and begin the evolution of your lifestyle: 
- fruit
- vegetables
- whole grains
- fish
- nuts and seeds (especially flaxseeds)
- probiotics (like yoghurt or Inner Health Plus)

Concentrate on consuming more good stuff rather than cutting anything out. Even if you continue to be overweight and inactive, you will improve your internal health and reduce your risk of disease. You will also slow down the aging and weight gain process.

- take the stairs.
- park the car further away.
- start walking regularly (start with just 10min a day everyday)
- make it social (catch up with friends in the park instead of the bar)
- make the organised exercise you do worth it! Eg. Competitive sport, 30min effective PT session instead of 60min fluffing about in a park. Most places will give you a visit for free, so try everything!

You can chose how you do it, where you do it, what state you do it in, but you do it regardless! Start with walking or whatever you enjoy. Even if you do not lose weight you will increase your fitness and decrease the various health risks associated with inactivity.
At the end of the day, many diseases are preventable. It is not fair to burden our health system with preventable diseases when the resources can go towards those who really need it… just to avoid a bit of discomfort! The burden on our health system costs you in the hip pocket as well as reducing your life expectancy and quality of life. In light of the collective consequences of inactivity and eating badly, exercise and health is not that painful or inconvenient.

For assistance in getting started contact Galileo Personal Training:
a. 18 West St, Brookvale
p. 9905 4144

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Pregnancy and Exercise

A pregnant woman is as able to exercise as anyone.

Pregnancy is shrouded in myth and rumour, and during this time a women often feels the first stirrings of a lifetime of guilt for doing the “wrong” things. Rule number 1: You are not fragile! There is very little you can do (short of becoming self-destructive) to harm your baby.

Pregnancy is perfectly natural and a woman can continue to perform habits that are natural!

There are some precautions (see our checklist at the end of this article), and if you are embarking on an exercise program for the first time you should see your doctor first. If you are in reasonable health and fitness when you fall pregnant it makes sense to train for the physical demands of being heavier, going through labour, and the physical toll of having a newborn.

Whilst training while pregnant is perfectly safe, do not do anything that makes you uncomfortable. If you are not confident training on your own, consult a pre-natal qualified personal trainer at or for more information. 

 Stability During your pregnancy you need to work on joint stability - especially your hips and back. As your pregnancy progresses your centre of gravity rises and your joints become loose. Stability training will help prevent falls, as well as protect against back pain once the baby is born.

Weights When you are strong, things like picking up the washing basket takes less effort than if you were weak. In this way, a 6-10lb baby will be harder for you to manage if you are weak than if you strength trained during your pregnancy. We do not mean the weightlifting of a muscle builder! You need to do specific movements that will adapt your body to the sudden physical stress of holding and lifting a baby.

Fitness Good fitness means you will recover quicker from the birth, and you will generally need less sleep (even though it may not feel like it!). This means you can cope with the persistent demands of you new baby better. Appropriate fitness training is any rhythmical muscle movement, such as walking, swimming, and cycling. The intensity should be enough to get you warm and breathless.

Mental preparation While fitness and strength will help you physically, you should be mentally prepared for the pain and process of labour. There are a number of organisations that use hypnotherapy, meditation, yoga, and visualisation techniques to assist you in managing the labour - drug free! See

Five precautions for training when pregnant
1) Be comfortable - if you’re uncomfortable find a different exercise that works the same muscles. For example, if push ups hurt your back, lie on an incline bench and do a bench press with dumbbells (a fitness professional can assist you with exercise selection
2) Stay cool - if you’re getting hot, stop! Park yourself in front of a fan or train outside where you can get some air over your skin.
3) Breathe - regular deep breathing will keep your blood pressure and heart rate within safe parametres. Holding your breath while doing weights will increase your internal pressure, and running out of breath while doing your fitness training will starve the fetus of oxygen. It is fine to get your heart rate up, just make sure you get enough air in to share around!
4) Head over heart, hands under heart - this is a simple guideline to make sure your blood pressure stays moderate with any exercise that you chose.
5) Drink! - you will naturally use water and sweat while training, just make sure to replace it.

I have been training Pre- and Post-Natal women for 11yrs. This is my first experience of actually being pregnant, and there are a couple of other points that i hadn't thought of when i was simply training others:

1) Being heavy is tiring! I am making more effort to strength train just so i can continue to function. Having said that, i am asleep for 10hrs every night (i used to get by on 8).
2) Being bigger is embarrassing - well, i am self-conscious about it. As a result my posture is suffering, and i have started a program to try and keep my shoulders back (they were creeping forward and the resulting tight muscles were giving me headaches)
3) Any weak spots will be exacerbated with the release of relaxin. The hormones designed to loosen your joints to make it possible to pass a watermelon through your hoo-ha also increase the flexion in my weak bits - resulting in pretty severe pain. I have enlisted the combined help of a chiro (http://www.bodymindwellnesscentre.comau/) and physio who's efforts mean that i can still work!

Hat's off to all those women who have been before me. I am still as stubborn as before, but i have a new respect for the hundreds of women who have persevered with their training through pregnancy (notable mentions to Tonia, who came 10 days overdue and itching like crazy, Emma who called me while in labor to cancel her session, and Jenny who turned up for a session 10days after giving birth - you are inspiring!!)

Monday, 11 July 2011

Ultimate physical and mental health - in a nutshell

With all the new research coming out, telling us to “do this or that”, it’s easy to get confused about how to be perfectly healthy. One article reads that red wine is good for you, the next is telling us that alcohol will kill you. How do you know what to believe?

Today our aim is to organise and summarise all this information in the one concise list.
Firstly, we need to define what ultimate health is. Ultimate health is not about “being good” with your diet or exercise, or looking like a supermodel. Ultimate health is about moderation. It is about feeling energetic and well.
Moderation means that your brain gets a rest from reading packets and choosing foods. Moderation lets you “off the hook” when you slip up in your regime, which will lower stress levels.
Ultimate health is also about your mental health. Physical and mental health are intertwined, and need to be addressed together. When your mental health is good, good physical health will follow.
For ultimate health, follow these steps:
SLEEP: Sleep is important for a number of reasons. Healing and growth occur during sleep (if you’re injured or unwell). Sleep is also when you store your memories. Lack of sleep will damage your ability to function. It also changes your hormones in such a way that you conserve body fat very easily.
RELAX: acute (short, sharp) stress (like a 30min hard exercise session) followed by active relaxation (meditation, stretching, sleep, etc) will boost your “well being” hormones. Allowing your body to let go of excess fat without fearing famine. Another example is working like a dog towards a deadline, then taking a break from work straight after.
Chronic stress (such as running for several hours, or working like a dog for weeks on end) will alter your hormone balance in such a way that makes it hard to lose or maintain fat levels. Chronic stress also decreases your cognitive health and can lead to severe health issues.
EXERCISE MODERATELY: moderate exercise can boost your “happy” hormones without increasing your risk of injury. Moderate exercise occurs between 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. This feels like you’re puffed but can continue. Moderate time exercising is around 30 minutes
EXERCISE REGLARLY: regular moderate exercise has been shown to impact mental health, and is often used to treat depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Consistency is the key for these benefits, exercising 10 times one week and then not at all the next week will not be effective. Regular exercise is exercising 4-6 times a week.
EAT LOTS OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES: fresher is better when it comes to optimum nutritional health. This applies to meat, poultry, seafood, cereals, grains, and fats too. If all your food is as close to it’s original source as possible, then it is unlikely that you will be in want of any nutrients. This is particularly true for fruit and vegetables, which carry an abundance of antioxidents and nutrients. These nutrients can be destroyed by cooking or storage, but are imperative in preventing sickness and boosting health. It is a similar story with some oils, which in their raw form are healthy, but once heated can form dangerous triglycerides.

De Mystifying Vibration Plate Training

Vibration training has real health benefits.
Training on a vibration plate has three main applications - Strength, Flexibility, Massage.
Muscle will contract a maximum of 40x per second, so our vibration plates vibrates up to 40 times per second. This stimulus causes your muscle to react, so you’re reflexes are firing at their maximum capacity to stay standing on the plate. In this way the muscle develops strength, the strength changes improve your metabolism and stability. Increases in metabolism mean you burn more body fat and develop tone. This kind of strength training is excellent for arthritis sufferers because the muscle reflex will cause the joint to lubricate itself, without having to move the joint, which is often painful.
The vibrations also simulate upward acceleration (the “ground“ comes up and hits you in the foot), and the muscle and bone adapts to this in the same way as they would respond to being in higher gravity - similar to the responses seen in regular, weight-bearing exercise (such as walking) but much more dramatic. These results can dramatically change the future for people with osteoporosis.
The vibrations sooth a small organ in your tendon that is responsible for preventing over-stretching of the muscle. We can trick that organ by contracting the opposite muscle and then releasing. The vibrations do exactly that in a more subtle and safe way, leading to dramatic increases in flexibility. Being able to move your joint further means you become more mobile. Increased flexibility means your muscles and tendons pull on your bones less, decreasing joint pain (such as back pain that is caused by tight leg muscles).
The massage increases your recovery time by increasing your circulation to your muscles. Similar to the reaction of your blood vessels when you’re slapped - they rush to the area - the vibrations gently encourage blood, with all it’s nutrients, heat, and healing proteins, to the area. This increases healing time, reduces soreness, and feels great!
Galileo Personal Training has been operating in Brookvale and Sydney City for over two years. They aim to use the science of vibration training to increase the effectiveness of your session, meaning you can get maximum results in the shortest possible time.
To try vibration training for free, go to

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