Category Archives: Health

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Excuse vs Reason…What is the difference?

Category : Fitness , Health , Lifestyle , Motivation

Do these sound familiar?

  • I have a sore finger!
  • I have a cold!
  • I need to get my shizzle together before I can start exercising again!

I have no doubt, that 50% of you (or more – myself included) have all used these types of excuses/reasons in the past or at the moment not to exercise or work out. Sometimes exercising seems utterly impossible when we consider the stuff going on in our lives, our bodies and our mind. We make ourselves rationalise every action or inaction we take in life. But what we tell ourselves is a legit reason for not exercising is not always so legit however. There is a fine line between reason and excuse.

A ‘Reason’ is considered a fair and logical justification for not participating in something. An ‘Excuse’ is a pretence or subterfuge that can logically be overcome.

For example a Reason may be – that it is physically impossible to participate in exercise such as holidays, ongoing obligations elsewhere or broken leg. An excuse may be – that you feel tired, had a big night or have a bit of a sniffle.

This is not a lecture to convince people they need to get off their arses and exercise or call them out on their excuses. Consider this more as an impetus for people to reassess the excuses in our life to see if they are in fact a legit reason or an excuse.

I know that in the past I have often used the excuse ‘I just need to get a routine going in my life’ to not workout. I like order in my life and feel like I can focus on things better when I am organised. So how can I get around this ‘excuse’? Answer: By squeezing it in when I can here and there. And then when I am organised, I can establish a regular routine workout. I realised I had to stop making excuses or I would never start, because in all honesty, my life is never completely organised (Whose is?).

It is incredibly hard to be honest with ourselves if we are used to making excuses. So how can we assess the legitimacy of our excuses to see if they are in fact that or ‘a reason’?

Ask yourself these questions:

1) Do you have a physical constraint that is preventing you from exercise? (THIS IS A BIGGIE)

There are some injuries or on going conditions that limit your ability to exercise. But ask yourself the following probing questions so see if it is really as limiting as you think:

-If it is a leg injury – can you use your arms, back and core?

-If it is an arm or shoulder injury – can you use your legs, back and core?

If it is lower or upper back – speak to your doctor about what movements you can do and you may be surprised. Things like yoga and pilates do wonders for these sort of problems under correct guidance.

If you work with a good trainer, they should be able to tweak any work out to cater for minor injuries. If it is a major injury, seek the advice of your doctor and specialist – but also listen to your own body because it will let you know its own limitations. I could honestly dedicate a whole article to this topic, but that’s for another day.

2) Is there a lack of time or not enough hours in the day (ANOTHER MASSIVE ONE – AM I RIGHT PARENTS?)

So many of us spend our time running around after kids, making sure that they get to participate in sports and extra-curricular activities. Hello? What about the parents? Don’t they get to do stuff for themselves and look after their own health? And then there are those that are fully committed to their career. Is your life happy and balanced?

I’m all for having priorities in life, whatever they may be. But don’t let your health (physical and mental) suffer at the expense of these priorities. Quite often if we look after our physical and mental well-bring, we are more efficient and satisfied in fulfilling our other obligations.

So ask yourself this follow up question:

-Are you managing your time efficiently? Could you streamline things such as meal prep or cooking?

-Can activities be shuffled about?

-If you don’t have time to exercise in the afternoon or evening, then what about at the crack of dawn or even lunch time?

Is there someone you can ask to help out with pick ups or drop off, shuttling etc? Even job share style where every 2nd day or fortnight you take it in turns with someone so you can squeeze in a workout?

Did you know that a workout doesn’t have to be a 1-2 hour excursion to the gym? You can do a 15-30 mins exercise routine in your own home (after the kids are in bed!). There are so many awesome Personal Trainer apps these days that set it all out for you: exercises, timer, voice coach, even music. And many of them have plenty of bodyweight only exercises so you can do it anywhere with no need for equipment.

So do you really have zero minutes in the week to improve your physical and mental health…or can you actually spare 15-30 minutes 2-3 times a week?

3) Is tiredness just a symptom of lack of exercise or just an excuse not to do it?

After running around all day: get up, breakfast, make lunches, work, school drop off and pick ups, after school runarounds, emails, pay bills, clean house, cook dinner, wash dishes, do laundry (then repeat then next day); it is not surprising that so many people are exhausted with life.

Now we just explored fitting in time for exercise in the above point. Great if you can make the time, but not so great if you are too tired to actually do it. I’ll let you in on a secret about the hardest part of exercise. It’s GETTING STARTED. If you can drag your arse off that couch or desk chair, then you are 50% of the way there. You are much more likely to exercise (regardless of tiredness) if you have it scheduled in at a certain time and day during the week.

The other big secret is quite often you feel sluggish, tired and unmotivated when you aren’t getting enough exercise. A workout can increase your energy levels. It is a great cure for Monday-itis. Better Health Victoria recognise that physical activity can boost energy levels and help you sleep (https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue).So it could help cure tiredness, if that is in fact the issue.

Ask yourself this final question:

Are you genuinely unable to exercise or could you honestly find a way to make it work?

So is yours a REASON or an EXCUSE?

WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?

 


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What Martial Art should I do?

Martial arts are systems or application of different, styles and traditions of combat, defence or methods, that are practiced for a variety of reasons.

There is well in excess of over 200 types of Martial Arts that exist across the world. Some of them are very similar, others are very different.

Many instructors or teachers of martial arts or combat sports will try and tell you that theirs is the best. Errrrr, here is where you smile knowlingly and back away slowly. Because the truth is, that there are very few that can claim their art is the best. You see, all martial arts and combat sports have their benefits and can add so much to your life. But different martial arts suit different people and it is up to the individual to decide what is the best for them. But oh my! How does one work out what is the right one for them without committing to spend the rest of their life to trying each and every one of them? Simple – do your homework.

The a 4 main types of martial arts or combat sports10859387_1000495316632325_528245749_n-300x180

– hand and/or foot combat (e.g. taekwondo, karate, muay thai, aikido or boxing)

– weapons based (e.g. kendo, fencing)

– grappling or wrestling based (e.g. judo, brazilian jiu jitsu, greco-roman wrestling)

– movement, meditative and energy based (e.g. tai chi chih, qi gong)

 

Many are combinations of the different types, incorporating the different techniques or influences into their art. And often with different purposes.  for example taekwondo, karate and kung fu (and their derivations) are hand/foot combat but also incorporate movement and patterns. Hapkido uses hand/foot combat as well as weapons and so forth.

Most originated in countries or regions subject to oppression where weapons or tools were prohibited and so people were forced to develop their own techniques based on their mind and their body to protect themselves. Others have developed in to sports over time and are competitive at very high levels such as Boxing, Taekwondo, Judo and Wrestling with scoring systems and technology assistance.

Quite often the type of martial arts practiced are dependent on origin, region, founder and instructor and have tenets or philosophies that guide the practice of the art. In much of these, there is a belief or practice that the art should never be used on another in anger or attack, only as a form of defence. If you come across an instructor that tells you otherwise, maybe ask a few more question about their own philosophies, how many fights they have been in and maybe how many times they have been arrested. That should help you decide one way or the other whether or not that particular instructor is for you. Martial arts are NOT about beating people up!

Other questions that you may like to ask yourself in your quest to find the perfect martial art for you are:

1. Are you seeking a guiding philosophy or lifestyle to live by?

2. Do you wish to practice a combat martial art or a movement based martial art?

3. Are you specifically seeking a self defence class?

4. Do you wish to compete as a sport? And if so, to what level?

5. Do you wish to focus of mental and spiritual development?

6. Do you like to use your hands, feet, both hands and feet or weapons?

7. Do you like close distance combat or do you prefer to keep you distance from your opponent?

8. Do you prefer to train with protective equipment or without?

Once you have answered these questions you are likely to have a better idea of the type of martial art you are looking for. Make sure when you are seeking a place to train or practice your art, that you find a qualified and/or experienced instructor that takes an interest in their student’s development. A good instructor also has the ability to adapt and move with the times. Notwithstanding things like technology and scoring systems, the changing needs of self defence and the increasing sedentary work and stressful lifestyles people lead, need to be considered. It’s also extremely important these days that Instructors provide reality based training for this very reason. Increasing violence (due to influences such as drugs) mean that people need to be aware of their surroundings and how to manage potentially dangerous situation. As such, it is wise for Instructor’s to be open to other martial arts and the value that they can offer their students.

So get on to it. Work out what you are after and shop around for the right place for you.

Resources to help you in your research include:

http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/martial-arts-styles

http://martialarts.about.com/od/styles/a/styles.htm


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Empowering Women – Chicks that Hit

This is not about male versus female. Or about who is stronger, faster or smarter. Too often in life, work or sport it becomes about battle of the sexes. Pay gaps, gender equality and domestic violence are just some of the symptoms of the unbalanced society we live in. Addressing it, is not about male bashing or about giving females dibs over men. Establishing a gender equal society is a much more complex issue that involves change driven from all levels, gender, demographics and ages. One important way to support the momentum of change is by empowering women. To help them realize that they are their own kind of strong, their own kind of awesome and their own kind of unique woman.

The Macquarie Dictionary defines ’empower’ as: to cause (a person or group of people) to feel confident and in control of their own life: to empower women.

Here, I have to diverge from the Macquaries definition . I believe personal empowerment is not handed to you or caused. It is not a gift that is wrapped up with a bow or delegated to you. Empowerment is something that you have to take for yourself. It cannot be denied to you, because it comes from within you.

Do you think anybody told UFC fighter Ronda Rousey that she was now empowered? Did anybody say to female Aussie rules footballer Daisy Pearce that she was allowed to be in control of her career and be the best? Nope. They just did it. Just the same as every female should do. They need to decide, who or what they want to be and do it, because no one will do it for them.

One way that females can feel empowered and confident in themselves is to feel good about their physical self. By eating a balanced diet (that included a well deserved treat or drink) and squeezing in a few workouts a week, you will start to feel strong, healthy and happy. One one of the best ways to feel empowered through fitness is boxing.

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Boxing is one of the ultimate ways for women to feel strong and confident. Boxing can be a tough and brutal sport at a competitive level. But for most women, hitting a bag, working the pads or even just light sparring has to be one of the most empowering activities they can do.

Not only does boxing help you get super fit and tone the body. It is completely brilliant at burning fat and improving cardiovascular health. Boxing improves your strength which is not only fab for the body, but one of the things that can contribute to the feeling of confidence and power. So it’s fair to say that physical benefits are amazing and contribute to an overall sense of health and fitness that improves sense of self.

The other way that boxing can contribute to the empowerment of women is through mental and emotional health. Boxing is an awesome stress-reliever. With every punch, cortisol levels (stress hormones) decrease and endophins (feel-happy hormones) increase. You always come away from a boxing session feeling better than when you went in. Boxing is better than therapy!

It’s incredible how the feeling of a well placed glove on a bag, or well-timed glove on a pad can contribute to a feeling of empowerment, but it does. Boxing makes you feel powerful.

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At the same time as throwing out those punches though, you have to concentrate. Thinking about the combinations, thinking about defence, thinking about your next offence. Yes, boxing makes you think – a lot. Boxing makes you feel in control.

Boxing improves coordination. Concentration, repetition and building muscle memory helps to improve the way your body moves and it’s coordination. Sure when you first start, it might feel a bit weird, but with time it all starts to flow and the confidence that comes with the improvement in coordination cannot be measured. Boxing makes you feel confident in yourself.

In boxing (like any sport) you are constantly learning and improving. The gaining of knowledge and striving to improve and better yourself is a sign of confidence.

Some gyms even offer sparring for their female client’s if they feel comfortable. These are typically undertaken in a proper environment with an experienced trainer and with safety equipment. And only when the individual is ready. But there is nothing like seeing the smile on one of my client’s faces after she has been in the ring for the first time. The incredible feeling of power, strength and control that comes with facing ones fears (of being hit) is almost second to none. Just knowing that you are safe, but can engage in an activity sees you taking control of yourself, your fears and seeing how strong you can be is invaluable.

So I would encourage women who want to feel empowered, who want to feel in control of their life and themselves, to go out and find themselves a pair of gloves. Don’t use them on those that frustrate you though. Get a boxing bag, get a trainer or find a gym. And use those gloves to learn. Use those gloves to get fit. Use those gloves to take control of yourself. Use those gloves to EMPOWER yourself.

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I’m not gonna tell you what to do…

Category : Fitness , Health , Lifestyle , Motivation

…it’s your life. But there is so much information on health and fitness out there, you almost need a personal assistant though to sort through and filter out the rubbish. When I say rubbish, it’s a broad definition. You need to recognise what’s bullsh*t, what’s opinion and what’s fact. I’ll make it easy for you. Let me filter that crap for you right now and give you FACTS and then you can make up our own mind about how to live your own life:

FACT #1 – There is no such thing as a bikini body

Every body is a different shape and size. If you eat have a well balanced eating regime (including allowances for the odd drink or packet of tim tams) and you exercise, then the body you are in is PERFECT. There is no one size fit all. Wear whatever the hell you want, whether it be a bikini, one piece, mankini or mumu. If you wear it with confidence, you will rock it.

FACT #2 – Spring is not the time to get in shape for summer

Be in shape, stay fit and eat well all year round my friends. Let me tell you, if you keep a fitness routine going throughout the colder months, you won’t feel like you need to work off that ‘winter coat’. Furthermore, you can avoid those winter blues by working out and keeping the endorphins flowing.

FACT #3 – Fitness fads are fleeting

Oh wow, I could write about this all day. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these fitness fads aren’t fun or don’t get results, but the shine wears off pretty quick for many of them. I won’t name names, but don’t get sucked in to thinking that these ‘different’ approaches will provide instant results, or magically give you abs overnight. The same can be said for magic pills, fantasy diets and voodoo. Good old fashioned exertion and sweat is the most common way to get results. The type of exertion is up to you, which leads me to….

FACT #4 – There is more than one way to get fit

Low intensity, high intensity, long sessions, short sessions, interval, continuous, strength, cardio and resistance. Errmahgawd! No wonder the world is confused. So much science. So much jargon. So much expertise. In my humble opinion, although they all get great results, different types of exercise suit different people. Sure, I can hear some of you now sitting on the couch exercising your thumb on the remote and your right bicep with a cool bevvy shouting ‘Hallelujah’. But that’s perhaps understating exercise a little bit. What I mean is your choice of exercise should take into account your body type, the sort of results you are looking for and MOST IMPORTANTLY (and I can’t stress this enough), what you enjoy most. If you enjoy swimming, don’t think that just because some science tells you you should be doing high intensity interval training that you should be. If you enjoy lifting weights, (whilst yes, you could benefit from cardio, you could also benefit from a personal chef and housekeeper), then lift weights. Just have realistic expectations about what your output will be. For example you won’t get eye popping muscles from power walking, but you will improve your cardio and burn fat. There is enough information out there for you to determine what you need to do to get the results that you want. Just try to align it with something you will enjoy so that you will be able to maintain you routine.

FACT #5 – You don’t need to be fit to do a fitness class

Arrrggghhh. How many times have fitness instructors out there heard “I just need to get my fitness level up a bit so I can do that boxing class”? And how many people out there have used this as a reason to avoid a class themselves? Those of you who know me, know that I always have a laugh at this one. Newsflash peops…THAT’S WHAT FITNESS CLASSES ARE FOR. If you want to do a fitness class, just do it. No one is watching you or judging you for your level of fitness. They are all there to do just what you are, focus on themselves and get fit! And you gotta start somewhere. As sad as it may be however,  there are some gyms out there that tolerate behaviour that belittles, intimidates or makes some patrons feel insecure. If you are at a gym that makes you feel this way, then you may wish to consider finding somewhere that you feel more comfortable. There are plenty of wonderful places out there. Visit them before you sign up, speak to the people and even ask for a free trial. This should get you a good feel for the place and whether you belong.

THE FINAL MESSAGE: Don’t let opinions and overwhelming fountains of information disuade you from being the fit and healthy person you want to be. Decide what is right for you based on who you are (physically and mentally), what you like and what you want for yourself. If you need help, motivation or guidance, seek it from a professional and someone that you trust.

 


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