Coconut, chocolate, goji berry balls

I’m beginning to realise that for now this blog will be recipes, at the moment I don’t have the desire to write anything else. Lucky for you that means food!

The original recipe can be found here:
http://www.freecoconutrecipes.com/index.cfm/2014/3/3/no-bake-chocolaty-coconut-flax-chia-power-balls

I followed the recipe except for the following changes:
Substitute honey for rice malt syrup (I find honey too sweet)
Use goji berries instead of raisins (raisins-gross!)
Substitute the coconut flakes with coconut crunch (the meal), I arrived home to find I actually had no coconut flakes, yes I’m awesome like that.

That’s it! My recipe made 31 teaspoon sized balls and now I have to try to not eat them all myself.

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Enjoy and let me know what you think.

D

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Sugar Free Caramel Slice

So I haven’t written anything in a LONG time. Over 12 months actually. I just haven’t had the desire really. Anyway my first one back is a recipe, yes I know, not that interesting, but give me time to ease myself back into it.

First off I’d like to ask you to read a post on nutrition from the ladies at Girls Gone Strong. It’s quick and easy so you’ll be back in a flash. Why? The following recipe, while sugar free, does contain a healthy amount of healthy fats. What does this mean? This is a treat that should be enjoyed in moderation! So don’t go overboard and eat the entire tray in one sitting. The post below is to help show that healthy fats are a part of a balanced diet.

Here it is:
http://www.girlsgonestrong.com/back-to-the-basics-nutrition-101/

Welcome back!

Now onto the recipe:

Ingredients:
Base:
1 cup macadamias
1 cup almonds
1 cup medjool dates (remove seeds)

Filling:
1 cup medjool dates (remove seeds)
2 tblspns coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup water
2 pinches sea salt

Topping:
1/2 cup almond or cashew butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw cacao powder (read:not cocoa powder)
2 tblspns stevia powder
Pinch sea salt

Base:
Blend all base ingredients together. I used a blender but a food processor is probably easier.
Press into a square tin and refrigerate for half an hour.

Filling:
Blend all filling ingredients together until smooth. (Note you may need need all of the water! add it gradually)
Spread evenly over base and freeze for 15 minutes.

Topping:
If coconut oil isn’t melted, melt slowly over low heat first.
Mix all topping ingredients together and pour over base and filling.
Refrigerate for half an hour.

That’s it. This is pretty damn good so don’t go crazy! Small squares as a treat! This should divide into 20 serves at 220 calories per serve, like I said don’t go crazy!

Enjoy!

D

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Beef ‘Wraps’

Most of you will know I follow a low carb, paleolithic diet. This doesn’t mean you can’t have some awesome food! I get creative with my meals, I try things differently if the recipe doesn’t suit me and learn from trial and error. I found some wrap recipes using lettuce as the wrap and to be honest they never interested me, but one night I decided to give them a go. OMG! These things are totally amazeballs and they fill you up!! Each wrap has protein, healthy fats and a good serve of vegetables-what more could you ask for? So without further adieu…..

Ingredients:

2 Pieces Iceberg Lettuce

Small Piece Red Capsicum-chopped

Small Piece Green Capsicum-chopped

½ Tomato-chopped

1 Spring Onion-chopped

250g Beef Mince (This will make two serves and you can use turkey or chicken mince if desired)

1 Cup Basil-roughly chopped

Garlic Powder

½ Avocado-chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook the mince in a frypan, add garlic powder to your own tastes
  2. When the mince is almost done, add the basil leaves to the pan
  3. Remove once leaves wilted and mince cooked
  4. Use the same pan to cook capsicum, tomato and spring onion
  5. Rinse lettuce leaves, shake excess water and place on plate
  6. Split mince portion in half, keep one half aside for another meal. Divide second half evenly over each lettuce leaf
  7. Divide avocado over two portions
  8. Divide mixed vegetables over each portion
  9. Wrap up and enjoy!

Warning: These are messy to eat, just get in there and enjoy them!

Note-I used steak in this picture, I’ve found I like mince better, I just always forget to take a picture.

Stop drooling, go make them.

D

Surviving The Holidays

I can’t believe it’s almost December. Seriously where did this year go? I LOVE Christmas! It means time off to relax and recover, time with my family (yep, I like spending time with my relatives, they’re all just as nuts as me!), time for catch ups with friends and the chance to sleep in past 5am (though in saying that my body clock doesn’t always follow that plan). The entire period keeps a smile on my face and me acting like a five year old for the entire month.

Unfortunately this is also the time period where everyone’s Health and Fitness can go out the window and by the time the New Year hits, they have taken five steps backwards. Christmas day itself is not the problem. One day of indulgence isn’t going to cause you to gain 5kgs and lose all of your strength. Everything in the lead up to Christmas is the issue, there’s work Christmas functions: for your work and then your partner’s work, then maybe even a friend’s work! There’s the dinners with every circle of friends you have, the Christmas dinners for the family that you won’t actually see on Christmas Day, there’s the Boxing Day BBQ which can lead into more BBQs and before you know it’s New Years Eve and well that’s just one giant party.

But do not fear, here’s some tips to help you survive the holidays and come through with your Health and Fitness Goals still intact:

1) Don’t use this time as an excuse to just not train. Keeping up with your exercise regime is VERY important. Make time for the gym. If you know you have dinners on, then get yourself out of bed earlier and train in the morning. Drag a friend along if you want company for motivation. If you know for sure that some sessions will be missed, ensure that every time you can get to the gym, you train HARD! Don’t use the holidays as a time to relax on training.

2) We tend to eat out more often as we catch up with family and friends. Make smarter choices with your food. You don’t have to have bread at the start. Do you really need that entrée? If you do, can you share it with someone? Choose a main that is protein and vegetable based. Avoid creamier sauces, go for tomato based sauces instead. Skip dessert, or again share if you really want to have one. I’m not saying you can’t have a few treats, but spread them out and you will enjoy them more. If you know that you are going to have the creamy pasta or dessert that evening, then make sure your nutrition for that day and the day before is spot on, that way you can somewhat counter balance the calories. Have a treat meal, not a cheat day!

2b) Function finger food can be loaded with crap that is not good for you. You tend to pick off every plate that comes around and you lose track of how much you have actually eaten. Try to have a meal before you go out so you don’t need to pick. Then if you do have a little bit of the finger food, choose the healthier ones that have protein and aren’t deep fried.

3) Alcohol. To be perfectly blunt, you should just skip it entirely. I’m only allowing myself a drink on Boxing Day this year as there is a wedding on. I have a figure comp that I’m aiming for in March and I’m determined to get there. Alcohol just isn’t going to help me so I’m saying no. But I know that every person is different. Remember you don’t have to drink at every function. You can say no (yes you can!). When you choose to have a drink then make smarter choices like red wine or white spirits with soda water. Avoid soft drinks like the plague! If you do drink, you don’t have to right yourself off completely. A hangover just encourages you to skip training and eat junk food the next day.

4) Water, water, water! Keep that intake up to keep the toxins flushing out.

They’re my tips to you. Do you have any others I can add that may help other people out? I’d be happy to have them added!

Remember to enjoy Christmas Day, have that piece of pudding/cake/in my case, Mum’s pavlova and ENJOY it! Depriving yourself is not fun, a little bit of indulgence is!

D

Personal Training For Everybody

Sooo I have been slack on writing recently, I have no excuse, I just haven’t prioritised this. Sorry for that. I hope you’ve missed me!

This is something that I’ve been meaning to touch on for a while. My personal opinion is that everyone who is looking for results in the gym should have a Personal Trainer. Pro athletes have coaches to reach their goals, so why shouldn’t you? Don’t you deserve someone to guide you, push you and keep you accountable? I think you do! I have one (yep a Personal Trainer has a Personal Trainer! I gave some reasons why in this post https://dionstewart.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/why-i-have-a-personal-trainer/) and I can see myself continuing to do so for a long time.

In saying this though I realise that not everything is that black and white. I’m single, have pretty much no debt and no children or people dependant on me. So I can afford the one to two sessions per week with no stress. That obviously isn’t the case for everyone. There’s mortgages, kids and other responsibilities that can impact someones ability to afford Personal Training. Here’s some other options to help you out.

First up if you can go out every weekend blowing your hard earned dollars on alcohol, fast food and whatever else, maybe you need to prioritise your finances a little more. Write down exactly what you spend for a fortnight and reassess from there. Maybe cutting down on the excesses on the weekend will allow you to do one, two or three sessions of Personal Training a week? You health is worth it..

If you really cannot afford sessions every week, could you afford one every fortnight? It’ll be such a big help with keeping you on track and accountable. A Personal Trainer should give you a program to follow so you have a structured approach to training and then once a fortnight they can give you that extra push to keep you going. They should still offer you support when needed and help you with your goals.

Even still that may be a large commitment financially. How about seeing a trainer once every 4-6 weeks, paying them for a program and get them to take you through it? That way you have a program tailored to you, you’ve been shown how to do the exercises correctly and changing it every 4-6 weeks will keep your body changing and prevent you getting into a rut. I have several clients who cannot afford regular training, but see me for programs monthly instead. I will also give them a little help with nutrition along the way.

I’m going to be a little cheeky and now throw this to the other Personal Trainers out there. Have you considered offering these options to clients who cannot afford weekly sessions with you? Sure it’s not an income every week, but think about the other benefits. You offer this to someone, then when a friend asks them about the gym and Personal Training, you’ll be the first person they think of, you may then pick up a client who does the weekly session with you. So regular income coming your way! Don’t get stuck thinking you have to have just one on one clients all the time.

Hope that helps some of you a little.

Any feedback is always welcome!

D

 

Stuff I Read Last Week

I make a huge effort to read every single day. Whether it’s online or books, Health or Fitness related or self development, I know that becoming the trainer I want to be requires me to continue learning for the rest of my career. I figure Ill share with you some of the posts I’ve read in the last week so you can meet the people I learn from.

First up is Nia Shanks.

Nia is one of the ladies from the Girls Gone Strong movement that has made it their mission to change the way women train. You can check out their page here.

She has written an article on the six female strength training myths that just won’t die. It’s simple, easy to read but gets the point home without complicating it all. Check it out:

Nia Shanks: 6 Female Strength Training Myths That Won’t Die

Next up is Tony Gentilcore. I’ll admit I freaking love his blog. It’s funny, doesn’t take himself too seriously (well at all) and it’s educational. What more could you want? His post was on trainers being walking advertisements for Health and Fitness.

Tony Gentilcore Walking Advertisments

The last one is by Chad Lander who I have not read before but enjoyed this post. He highlights that while Health and Fitness has changed over the years, it doesn’t necessarily mean what works hasn’t.

Chad Lander From 1879 To Today Nothing Has Changed

Enjoy the reads and let me know what you think.

D

Getting Started

I’ve realised that I have never posted a workout that can be done by anyone looking for a basic strength program or a workout that can be done if you’re just having one of those days where you can’t be screwed doing anything (it happens to the best of us). This workout is what I give a lot of my beginner clients as it covers the four main movements we do in a gym, then finishes off with a mini circuit for that last little fat burning kick. That doesn’t mean it’s really easy either. You can adjust the weight if you’ve been training for a while and it’ll still put you through your paces.

Here it is:

A1) Goblet Squat 12 Reps

A2) Pushup 12-15 Reps

B1) Split Squat (Also called a stationary lunge) 10 Reps ea Leg

B2) Horizontal Row 10-12 Reps

For these two rounds you would complete both exercises then rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat for a further 2 sets before moving on to the next. While the exercise seem simple, you add extra weight to them and trust me they will get your heart rate up!

This is what you can do to finish off, complete each exercise for 30 seconds going as hard and as fast as you can, then rest for 30 seconds. Move to the next exercise and repeat, keep going until you complete all four exercises and then go around again for another 2 to 5 sets.

C1) Burpees

C2) Alternating BW Lunge

C3) Jump Squat

C4) Mountain Climber

Pretty simple huh? Simple yes, but very effective. That entire workout will only take you 30 to 40 minutes and it covers your whole body.

What if you can’t do all exercises? EASY! There are always alternatives.

Can’t do weighted goblet squats? Do body weight. Can’t do pushups on your toes? Then raise yourself on an incline (ie have your hands on a bench or rail). Can’t do jump squats? Do normal BW squats. Can’t do burpees or mountain climbers on the ground? Same as the pushups-raise yourself on an incline.

You can make minor adjustments to any program until you are stronger and can perform the original exercise. Don’t use it as an excuse not to train.

If you are not sure about any exercises, please always ask a professional and get them to demonstrate correctly for you.

Try this program out and let me know how you go. You can add me on Facebook here to post how you are going.

Have fun!

D

Client Spotlight: Mathilda!

Welcome to my first client focus blog! These will be the chance for me to brag about the people I have been working with and share their successes with you. Hopefully they’ll inspire you as much as they have me.

Without further adieu I present: Mathilda! Mathilda came to me as a one off comp session through the gym I work at. We sat down first to chat about what she was looking for training wise. She had been in two car accidents and was just looking to get some of her strength and mobility back, plus rid herself of the pain she was in. I decided not to do any exercise whatsoever in the first session and instead taught her foam rolling and some mobility drills for her to complete. She immediately felt some relief and tension leave from the foam rolling (seriously if you’re not doing this, start, like right now!) and drills. So we began with one session a week to get her back training. Along with the foam rolling and mobility drills we have now added some strength training and interval work. Slowly but surely her pain has alleviated and her quality of life has improved.

Mathilda is also one of those clients that comes in with a smile on her face and she always cracks me up through her sessions. Getting up at 6am is not a chore for someone like her. Even when I come in and she looks at me with a very serious face and goes ‘We have a problem’. At this point I do freak out a little, has she hurt herself again, have I hurt her?? Uh no, she looks at me and goes ‘I forgot to wear a bra’. Come again? Yep she managed to put a singlet and Tshirt on, but forgot the bra. I laughed so hard I cried and continued to laugh for the entire session, plus give her hassle for the next week about it.

Here’s what she had to say about training with me:

To Whom It May Concern,

Testimonial for Dion Stewert:

My name is Mathilda Straw and I came to train with Dion after I had been involved in a serious car crash and was suffering from chronic back pain. After seeing a physio therapist for a while without results, I was eager to get back into exercising and increasing my strength and fitness in order to get well. After meeting with Dion she advised a training regime in which I would be able to gain back some of the strength I had lost since the accident.

After 1 – 2 sessions, my mobility increased dramatically and my pain and discomfort decreased considerably. It has now been 5(?) weeks and I am well and truly on the road to recovering. I am also beginning to increase my strength, confidence and energy levels and am able to foresee a future involving a much healthier lifestyle, post injury. I not only thoroughly enjoy the sessions and the level of attention Dion gives me during the sessions but find the ongoing support outside of the gym invaluable. As a passionate cooking enthusiast, the information Dion has provided me in regards to nutrition, I believe, is directly linked to my current feelings of increased wellness and control in my quest for leading a healthier lifestyle.

I believe that any changes that are beginning to show in both my mental and physical wellbeing are directly attributed to my ongoing involvement in personal training with Dion. Her support, motivation and confidence in me have and will continue to be a vital part of my training development.

 

Regards

Mathilda Straw

Words like that make me feel so good, it really is great to know that I am making a difference in someone’s life.

Mathilda thank you, I look forward to our future sessions and getting even more results with you!

D

What motivates you?

I’ll admit that one of the hardest parts of my job can be keeping my clients on track with their Health and Fitness goals. I can give someone a great program and great nutritional advice but if they lose motivation the best plan can be completely derailed. I’m constantly told that the first few weeks are great and then they just lose the motivation to keep going. I look at this as my responsibility. People pay me their hard earned dollars to help them and I take that responsibility very seriously, I will do my utmost to keep them on track, bring them back if they fall off and get them to their end result. I will call, text, email, talk face to face, harass on Facebook, just about anything to help someone get back on track. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t-that’s something I want to change,

This post is to look at what motivates a person and perhaps give you some ideas to help you with yours.

So firstly, what motivates me personally to train and get the correct nutrition? Well it’s a combination of things. The first one (and probably the biggest) is vanity, I want to look good, I want people to comment that I look good and I’m not afraid to admit that. When I have that little bit of my ego stroked, it keeps me coming back for more.

There is also an expectation in my job that I need to look good. I’m ok with that expectation. This second reason is close to the first. Seriously would you hire a trainer that didn’t look healthy? How can I be expected to have clients take me seriously if I don’t lead by example? So for me this is business-if I want to succeed then I need to exercise, eat well and look the part.

Third is for health reasons. In my family diabetes and heart disease are common and I have no desire to get either one of them. Cancer also scares the beejesus out of me, if I ever have to fight that disease I want to have the healthiest body possible for that fight. I want to get to the age of 90 and be one of those older people who get around by themselves, who still train (there are women in my gym who are almost 90-they are freaking awesome!!!) and lead active lives. I have a MASSIVE fear of ending up in a home, incapable of doing anything for myself.

And finally, it’s just a part of my life, a second nature. I cannot imagine not exercising or eating well. Don’t get me wrong, I still fall of the bandwagon every now and then (I’m human remember???) but I always get back on. For the above reasons.

They are my reasons. Are they perfect no? Are they in the order they should be? Maybe not. But they are mine and that’s what keeps me going.

What I also did was open this question up to my Facebook friends to see what they had to say. Here’s their responses-none have been edited.

“The fear of not looking good. As a PT/Coach need to look the part.”

“I feel crappy when I don’t eat well and I feel good when I exercise. Simple as that.”

“Vanity, health, state of mind, and knowing that its much harder for me to be motivated if I’ve gained any weight!”

“I think you could sum it up as a fear of becoming complacent with my current life and not constantly pushing the boundaries of what you can achieve. When you’re driven to physically perform then your much more driven to succeed in other aspects of life too.”

“Seeing how far I can push my strength, taking on the best in the country to see who is strongest and this time next year taking on people from all around the world.”

“Hm, there’s a few
– to look good
– to feel good (physically and mentally)
– to be strong (again both physically and mentally)
– to be a better father (when that eventually happens)
– to better enjoy my sunset years (when they eventually happen)
– to just generally kick ass?”

“I wanna look good naked!”

“As a nurse I see people’s bodies fail them all the time, often prematurely because they didn’t look after themselves (diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases etc). This obviously motivates me to look after myself… and bonus you look good too :)”

“Ok so seriously I turn on the music channel and look at all the girls on the videos and that makes me want to exercise harder cause I want to look like that!”

“…. The ladies…”

“For once in my life I want to have a bikini body for summer so my husband is like dammmmm that’s my wife ;)”

“Being competitive and seeing that everyone else is talking online and offline about their exercise/gym session/routine and feeling crap if I have nothing to share!”

“To stay alive and feel alive. And what Rod said….” (Side note: what Rob said was for the ladies)

“Probably sounds stupid but I find myself motivated by the ones that love me! Feeling loved pushes me through that negative phase. Makes me want to eat well and have more energy for everyone that surrounds me! My state of mind only works from my surroundings of good well adjusted people. Weird I know but the more I surround myself with healthy happy people, I want to be glowing just like them from in and out:) so that works for me maybe not others! Good music always helps too..”

“I eat well because it shows in my hair & skin etc. and because I feel full but ‘light’. I train because I like the physical release & feeling strong. On a purely vanity level, I like the gratification of seeing the numbers on the scales go down the day after a clean day or a big session.”

“As a personal trainer, I train for many different reasons.
1. Mental health.. Shit gets ugly if I don’t release the daily stresses
2. Physical health.. Longevity and quality of life
3. Role modelling to my children, friends and clients that it’s not a 6 week 12 week 1 year challenge it’s a way of life for life.
4. Vanity… 100% y wouldn’t u want to look and feel ur absolute best?? My partner is 7 years younger so I want to appear younger vibrant and energised and I love that my teenage sons friends think I’m MILF..
5. Avoids becoming complacent .. I love the mental, physical and psychological challenges wit a new programme new exercise or new group fitness regimes, they never end.. And conquering them never stops feeling good :)”

“I train because I find that it helps me deal with the day to day stresses. If I don’t train I notice that my tolerance level is not as high. I also enjoy exercising (I have been involved in sports since I was very young) and it has just become a part of my life. Whilst my exercising is good I still need to work on my diet, but I am slowly getting there :)”

Every single response is that persons intrinsic reasons as to why they exercise. You may agree with them, you may not. Does it matter? Not to you. What you need to know or figure out is what motivates you. Find that reason (or reasons) to get you exercising and eating properly. Keep a hold of that reason. Write it down or take a photo or record it. Whatever works for you. Copy some of the above reasons if you want-I know some of them have even given me another reason!

Hopefully what has been written above will give you some inspiration, maybe there was something you hadn’t realised yet and this will get you started towards your Health and Fitness goals. Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way either.

If you want to connect with me (and my awesome friends!) here’s the link to my Facebook profile. Come say hi!

To everyone who responded to my question-thanks so much for helping out!

I”ll look forward to hearing about your journey.

D

Don’t Tell Me You Have No Time

Time is precious and important. I get that. You have your own life you need to live. But nothing irritates the absolute crap out of me more than when someone say “I don’t have time to exercise”. Really? You can’t find half an hour three times a week for yourself to keep you healthy??? What a load of bollocks.

Yes I said half an hour workouts, if you can do 45 minutes-awesome! If you can do more than three times a week-awesome! But seriously you only need that small amount of time to workout and see results. The key is the type of training you do and the intensity level you complete it at. You can’t just go in and stroll along on a treadmill for half an hour three times a week an expect to look amazing. What do you need? Resistance training and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). You need to get breathless and sweaty if you only have half an hour.

To give you an example, here’s the workout I did this morning:

80kg Prowler Push

10 Burpees

10 BW Alternating Lunges

10 Jumping Squats

10 Mountain Climbers (each leg)

All I did was push the prowler to one end of the group fitness room then completed the body weight exercises. Then I repeated it five more times. By the end of it I was breathless, sweaty and thoroughly worn out. Seriously my face was red for the next 45 minutes.

So how long did that take me? I started at 7:06am and was done by 7:27am, this includes getting the prowler from it’s home and collecting two of the weight plates I needed. 21 minutes total. Pretty good huh?

Stop making excuses that you don’t have time to train, make the time-you don’t need that much if you train effectively! Have a go at the above workout and let me know how you go with it.

* If you don’t have access to a prowler, simply flip a flat bench upside down and use that instead.

Happy Training

D