Monthly Archives: July 2015

GPs failing to help obese patients lose weight

Interesting read about the importance of Personal Trainers in the Allied Health Profession.

Its long been known Doctors aren’t good communicators, let alone teachers.  Researchers at the University of NSW have found that Doctors aren’t assessing the health literacy of their clients and are making mistakes and assumptions about weight loss attempts.

To be fair to Doctors, who usually try to shovel you through in 6 or 15 minute appointments, dont have the time nor the tools to assess and may not think it’s their job to do so. People who have low levels of health literacy dont understand how to lose weight.

Self motivation is a big factor here. People who undertake their own learning and make their own efforts to lose weight can succeed. Education, proper portion control and engaging the support of a Fitness Professional or Personal Trainer will improve the chances of a person who is trying to lose weight.

Read more here…


Unsticking the sliding surfaces in the morning

Taken from Internal Power Training

The fascia that interfaces the muscles allows tissues to slide over each other smoothly without sticking. However, when we are sedentary for a long period of time, such as during sleep or if we adopt the same position throughout the day (like sitting at a desk) a type of ‘fuzz’ builds up in these sliding layers which makes them begin to stick.

This is the reason we often feel a little slow or achy in the mornings and need to make a stretch. Anyone with dogs or cats will be familiar with this ‘waking stretch’. The ‘fuzz’ is essentially melted by these stretches allowing the interfaces to slide smoothly.

However, if we don’t adequately melt this fuzz it can actually thicken and bind the sliding surfaces together creating more permanent stiffness in isolated areas. This, lack of melting is essentially created by lack of movement and stretching and can be the reason some people need regular massages or tissue work to be done. They simply do not move enough to consistently melt this fuzz and it builds into thick bindings.

Here is where internal training and the notion of full body movement comes into its own, especially in the mornings.

If, once areas of sticking become engrained, we were to simply stretch the tight area of the body it is unlikely we would hit enough of the sliding surface to solve the issue. We would, in reality, only hit the portion of the tightness we are able to perceive.

Bound tissue in our body is not very easy for us to precisely identify. People will often talk of a tight ‘area’ or region of the body rather than an exact location, it is only when a massage therapist finds a ‘knot’ that the person will identify the exact problem!

To cater for this lack of specificity, internal training methods will move and stretch entire chains of tissue rather than singular points. This movement along an entire chain will mean that not only the perceived tight areas will be released, but also where they are bound to other muscle or connective tissue groups. We often call this method of stretching ‘pulling silk’, which very well describes the actual material we are pulling on in order to melt away. (see image of Fascia Fuzz.)

If a dysfunction is deeply engrained it can take many months of full chain stretches to unbind the tissues. But this releasing of bound tissue can produce some very pleasant sensations for the practitioner. Sudden warming of an area of the body, tingling, relaxation or relief from long standing pains are all characteristics that we feel as release or opening occurs.

It is also extremely useful in the mornings to increase energy levels throughout the day by allowing effective muscle function.

How to get kids active

kids playing

Childhood obesity is growing at a staggering rate.  Kids disappearing into electronic words makes it tougher than ever to get them moving. I have compiled a list of suggestion that will not only help kids to get up and get moving but they will actually want to!

Kids don’t like “exercise”, but they will play for hours, particularly if you are there or if its fun. Bearing this in mind, make exercise time fun and get involved.

The benefits to kids goes on: weight loss, reduce diabetes, instill healthy lifestyle habit, reduction of anxiety, improved hand eye coordination, better natural sleep, improved concentration at school, stronger muscles and bones, self esteem etc.

Government health bodies recommended kids aged 5 and upwards have moderate to vigorous activity for upwards of 60 minutes EACH DAY.

Some tips for parents:

  • Get active yourself!
  • Be a good example to you kids and show them that exercise is natural, normal and important.
  • Allow your child to work out for themselves what structured sports or activities they like to play and be supportive of their decision.
  • Its not uncommon for young children to change sports numerous times a year when young.
  • Don’t overinvest until they commit to a sport for a season or more.
  • Be positive and tolerant where skills and efforts are concerned and don’t be too competitive as a sideline critic. Its very off putting for everyone.
  • Start them young, make activity a normal part of their life.
  • Explain the benefits of exercise in age appropriate terms they can understand. This will change over time as they grow.
  • Supply toys that support active lifestyles, bikes, skateboards, frisbees, kites, balls, hoola hoops
  • Limit screen time to less than 2 hours a day.
  • Make chores fun.
  • Play with them when they ask, walk or ride to the shops.
  • Include a friend.
  • Show them sporting basics from a young age, catch, kick, throw etc.
  • Pay particular attention to any interests they may have ( martial arts, watching a sport, copying an older family member or friend ).
  • Take a ball or frisbee in a family outing and include play time before or after an event such as lunch or a visit.
  • Leave a radio on instead of television. Encourage dancing for fun.
  • Get a dog, they will be a best mate to play with and will almost never tire.
  • Take kids to a park for play date or coffee dates. When kids see a wide open space or a play centre they know what to do. Encourage and support them by joining in.
  • Focus more on fun and worry less about exercise and games with complex rules.
  • Supply plenty of water, hats and sunscreen year round.

Kids will have various levels of sporting intensity and participation. You may have it easy with a child who naturally takes an interest in a sport and participates regularly. If you don’t, use these tips above to make things easier for yourself. What ever exercise or activity you do with your kids, make it regular, make it fun and get involved.


Betterhealth – Vic Gov



How to prepare for lifestyle change success

change ahead

Preparing for fitness success is vital for you to succeed at changing your lifestyle. Studies have proven that people who prepare for a change in lifestyle (replacing and changing food in the kitchen, identifying and improving poor habits, organising babysitters etc)  have a much higher rate of success than those who do not. Making change prepares oneself for commitment, enabling you to stay committed. After a few weeks the new habits will be the new you and will no longer require effort to maintain them.

Step one: You’ve made a decision to change your life. You’ve now moved from Precontemplation to Contemplation in the “Stages of Change” cycle. At this point you intend to make change within the next 6 months else you risk lapsing back to the Precontemplation stage at which point you no longer care about change or don’t care or see there is a problem. At the Contemplation stage you must educate yourself and mentally start visualising change. You will become more aware about your current habits and their effect on you. You will also be weighing up the pros and cons of your decision to change. Uncertainty can prevent you from moving forward but with education and speaking with others who have made positive change,  you will be encouraged to decide the pros outweigh the cons.  Education is the key.

Step two: Decide on a path forward. You’ve gathered enough information and are spurred to action. At this point to ensure success you MUST prepare. If you don’t plan to succeed then you are planning to fail. Focus on identifying the sticking points for your current situation. Typical examples are:

  •         Poor eating habits (eg food choices or excessive serving sizes);
  •         time poor or lifestyle choices (too much TV or computer);
  •         inadequate exercise (less than 30 minutes a day);
  •         poor sleep habits;
  •         excessive alcohol intake;
  •         Budgetary considerations, good food may be more expensive, exercise groups may cost money, baby sitting;
  •         medical (take better care of yourself, get yourself checked out, treat injuries);
  •         think of your children and set a better example (use this for motivation!).

Step three: Make a commitment and stick to it. Take some ownership of your decisions. Tell your family and friends and ask for their support. Tell your wider network about your change and get them involved. They will be amazingly supportive of your decision and may even be inspired to change themselves. The commitment phase will also require you to look at the list above and act on improving your sticking points. They may be:

  •         Improving your diet (or reducing serving sizes/portion control)
  •         Clear out the cupboard and improve shopping habits
  •         Time management – Organise babysitters, get up earlier, replace bad habit for good.
  •         Reduce alcohol or smoking
  •         Improve sleep habits
  •         Visit a doctor
  •         Examine the poor habits you are teaching your children


Set a goal. Use the SMART principle. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time. I discuss this in more detail here.


Step four: Make the change. Measure and report success to your network. Measure small indicators of success like, how far you can walk, how much you can lift, how many pushups you can perform, not just your weight. Celebrate your successes and don’t be put off by any failures, but be open and transparent about them. You are human and change is hard. Get a set of scales and weigh yourself no more than once a week. Once a fortnight or monthly is better. It’s well documented people who weigh themselves 2-3 times a month have a higher rate of success over those who don’t weigh themselves at all. Depending on your goals, seeing your weight dropping off you is rewarding and important for success. Expect 2-3 kilos a month but don’t be disappointed if it’s less. If it’s less than 1kg a month speak with a Nutritionist or Personal Trainer about your regime and have it tweaked. Focus your efforts on dieting. You will have much better results by improving your intake habits than trying to increase your expenditure (exercise). You can’t out exercise a bad diet.

Step five: Enjoy the benefits of your new lifestyle. Yummy healthy food, regular walks, exercise, reduced pain, feeling good, healthy sleep, new friends, praise and acknowledgement, new clothes!!

Had a relapse to your old ways? Essentially you’ve moved back to before step one – PRECONTEMPLATION. Revisit the sticking points at step two, paying particular attention to how and why you slipped back to stage one. Move back to stage three and look at strengthening the sticking point identified at step two that was central to your relapse.

What is HIIT?

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is the process of training at an extremely high intensity for short periods of time.  It is recommended the subject reaches peaks of 90-95% of their maximum heart rate, with short rest breaks, for between 20 – 60 minutes.

At this point I want to discuss a few things before I go on. Training is an individual thing. The factors affecting training abilities are age, body type, sex, current fitness and genes medical conditions etc. Two people training side by side doing the same thing will not feel exactly the same. As in, one fit person training with a unfit person will have differentrates of perceived exertion”. The fit person may be training at coasting 50% or their maximum ability where as the unfit person may be struggling at 80% and won’t have much more to give. SO the best indicator across all people is their max heart rate for their age. (220 beats per minute – age). Endurance training for anyone places their heart rate in the 65-75% zone. HIIT places their heart rate in 85-95% zone regardless of the various factors mentioned above. NB consult a doctor before beginning or increasing your training intensity.

There have been numerous studies showing that HIIT is superior to Endurance Training (ET) for weight loss.

I want to quote the “Journal of Applied Physiology Published 1 December 2011 VOL. 111 no. 6.”  (Please don’t be put off by the big words, I will decipher them.)

HIIT has been shown to be more effective than moderate-intensity continuous exercise training for improving endothelial function (normal functioning of the inner lining of blood vessel) and ….. for reducing central body fat (losing weight) and fasting plasma insulin in young women (improves diabetes risk), and for improving maximal oxygen uptake (getting oxygen into your system) in subjects… HIIT has also been reported to be more effective than continuous, steady-state exercise training for inducing fat loss in men and women, despite considerably less total energy expenditure required during training sessions.“

I may have already lost a few of you here, and I won’t turn the rest of you away by explaining too deeply why this is the case. You have a car…It runs and you don’t care why. HIIT kicks Endurance Training and that’s a fact.

This particular article sited above goes on to say the HIIT sessions can last from as short as 8 seconds and typically from 1-4 minutes per set. With 60 seconds rest between each set.


SO a typical session may look like this:

  • 5-10 minute warm up 65-75% max heart rate. (That’s jogging/exercising at a mild puff)
  • 5 minute stretching session targeting large muscle groups
  • 5 by x minute HIIT sessions + 60 seconds rest
    • (5×60 second plus 60 seconds rest equals 10 minutes work out)
    • (5×90 second plus 60 seconds rest equals approx. 14 minutes work out)
    • (5×120 second plus 60 seconds rest equals approx. 20 minutes work out) You get the idea
  • 5-10 minute warm down 65-75% max heart rate
  • 5 minute stretching session targeting large muscle groups

SO a basic session can be short as 30 minutes and can be broken down

Assuming 5 x 30 second HIIT sets

  • 10 minutes total warm up cool down
  • 10 minutes stretching
  • 5 minutes HIIT
  • 5 minutes rest


A more advanced session (assuming 5 x 120 second HIIT) sets looks like this:

  • 10 minutes total warm up cool down
  • 10 minutes stretching
  • 10 minutes HIIT
  • 5 minutes rest

That’s still only 10 minutes of extremely high heart rate.


SO if you have read this far. This is the crunch line…

Essentially the chemical processes that occur or chemicals that are released in the body at this very high heart rate continue to keep the metabolism high and burn fat at a higher rate for longer. This is why HIIT is superior to normal endurance training.

Why Fibre is important

Fibre is a carbohydrate that is mainly found in vegetables and fruit and is important in keeping  our digestive system healthy. Increasing fibre intake in your body is proven to reduce incidence of constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), heart disease, some cancels (stomach and bowel cancer) and lower cholesterol levels .

Fibre is the part of food that our small intestines can’t break down. The bacteria in that part of our stomach simply isn’t able to digest the fibre. So it passes through to the large intestines where other different (good) bacteria live and will benefit from the fibre. As fibre (also known as roughage) passes through our system it scrapes clean our digestive system (helping reduce cancer risk) , cleaning and absorbing bad cholesterol (helping lower heart disease risk).

There are two types of fibre. Soluble and insoluble fibre.  Soluble fibre, mainly found in plant cells, lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and can be found in fruit , vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flaxseed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas, soy milk and soy products. Insoluble fibre makes up the structure of plants and makes up the bulk of to our faeces. It absorbs oils and bad cholesterol and retains water making our stools softer, easing constipation. Good fibre sources include wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and wholegrain foods. Some cultures use the skin of fruit that we discard in cooking and bowel cancer and heart disease is almost non-existent there.

Resistant starch acts in a similar way to fibre. It makes up 10% of certain foods. Its found in unprocessed cereals, grain, unripe banana, potato and lentils. It resists being broken down in the small intestine passing through to the  large intestines cleaning as is goes. Bacteria in the large intestine ferment and turn these starches into fatty acid chains which are absorbed in to the blood stream lowering cholesterol levels and reducing bowel cancer.

Ensure you are drinking enough water every day. This can be another cause of constipation. High fibre cereals can cause people discomfort in their stomach unless they are drinking enough water. Also as you increase fibre in your diet ensure you drink extra water.

Fibre has low calorific content. Therefore high fibre meals for can help with weight loss. High fibre meals also helps stabilise blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the need for insulin, helping prevent  and treat diabetes.

Changing your diet is easy.  Switch to breakfasts that contain oats and wheat. Eat high fibre or multi grain bread. Eat brown rice instead of white (highly processed) rice. Cook with wholemeal flour. Eat more vegetable through the day and snack on fresh fruit, nuts and wholemeal crackers. Aim for 30 Grams or more per day spread out through the day. Its worth noting that having a high fibre diet (greater than 40 grams) will lead to bloating and can reduce the uptake of various minerals.


Thanks to the Victoria Government and the Deakin University for supplying this information. Source




Project Semicolom ;




Project Semicolon (The Semicolon Project) is a faith-based non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love and inspire. 


Please check out and support this worthy campaign.


“A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. 
The sentence is your life and the author is you.” 
– Project Semicolon

Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin

This expression would have to be the single most power message I’ve heard in a long time.


“Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin,
and a single courageous step would
carry us clear through them.”

Brendan Francis 1923 – 1964


Probably because its so true? Yet we are told truth every day that we choose not to believe. Maybe because it hints as instant reward if only we muster the energy to make that first courageous step? Mostly because we all have our fears and we would have them be gone in an instant.


Why do we not take that first step? Fear? Fear of fear itself? Fear of failure? Fear of success? Fear of change?


Our fears are nothing more than thoughts. Unchecked chemical\electrical processes complicated by modern day life. With out them anything is possible.  People who have eliminated or controlled or thrive on their fears have etched their name in history. How would you live you life if you knew you couldn’t fail? It would be a sight that’s for sure.


Take a good look at what’s holding you back. Then take a better look at what’s stopping you make that first step. I bet you won’t find much. I bet your reasoning won’t stand up to scrutiny. I bet you it’s tissue -Paper-thin. 🙂

Where do I start

Beginning exercise can be intimidating. We have to admit to ourselves that our current lifestyle isn’t the best and the decision to accept that can be difficult. We may feel comfort in our old habits particularly if it involves food abuse. But something may have happened to make us question our lifestyle, a medical incident to ourselves or to someone else or  some trigger has got us thinking.  We begin to stop denying we have a problem and face the ugly truth. “I’m unfit and make bad choices.”


We are only human. Making mistakes is OK.  But admitting the problem is the first step. Acting to improve that situation is what really counts. But where do I start?


Educate yourself. Start reading about others peoples experiences. It will help make it all seem much less scary. There are MILLIONS of people who have gone before you and started exercising. You are not the first and will not be the last. Have read here about some peoples journeys and allow it to inspire you to move forward.

Find a friend  Communicate your intentions with others and find a friend who will accompany you on your journey. A husband, sister, sibling, friend. Someone who loves you and will be supportive and you are accountable to will GREATLY enhance your ability to succeed. You can definitely do it alone but having someone with you will make it easier and more fun.

Start moving. While you are thinking about changing your life style just Start Moving!! Just blast that bit. Just get out and start by walking. Play with the kids more. Jump in the car and go to a park. Take a frisbee or ball. Find something fun you like doing. Worry about the other stuff later. Replace inactivity with activity.

Look at the barriers. If you are serious about making REAL CHANGE, be scientific about how you have gotten to where you are. If it’s just general unfitness, account for your day and replace bad choices with good choices. If its obesity, analyse your  food choices. If its time management then make more time for your self and work around it. You are allowed to look after your self. Barriers might be things like money, time, children etc.

Make Better use of your time. If you find through the above that you aren’t making the best use of your time them look for improvements. For general health sake you need to exercise at least 30 minutes 3 times a week. But this won’t make much difference when it comes to serious weight loss. You will need more like 30-45 minutes EACH day to get on top of the battle.But the good news is it doesn’t have to be all in the same session. If fact more recent studies show getting you heart rate up into or above you heart rate zone (65-75% max heart rate) is enough to continue the reversing the effects long after exercise has ceased. Research shows one HIIT (High Intensity) session can cause an after glow effect raising the metabolism for up to one month after exercise. HIIT is extremely high intensity, raising the heart rate above 75% for more than 4-5 minutes at a time! So with this in mind you can break down your workout in to 5-10 minute sessions through out the day when you can find time.

60% of your efforts should be focused on portion control. Yup thats right 60% of your weight loss efforts will come through educating your self and improving your diet. You can definitely lose weight just by improving your diet alone but it wont make you fitter or healthier. 25% of your efforts will be through exercise. The remainder of your efforts may be addressing medical issues causing poor health. The dietary stuff can be difficult to get on top of. Healthy food is more expensive than crap food and that kinda sux but you can definitely trick you body into feeling fuller for longer so you eat less and save money anyway. I can give general advice about balanced diets or speak to a doctor or dietitian about improving your dietary intake or any special needs..

For more advice on this contact me @ Fitness++


7 Components of Fitness

In this Blog series special we examine the 7 components of fitness and how they affect our body’s performance. Some of the components sit on a spectrum with absolute strength being at one end and long distance endurance being at the other. Other components describe how our body moves.

The 7 components of fitness describe 7 functional capabilities of the body. They are:

  • Strength
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Cardiovascular Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Agility


Strength can be described as the maximum amount of force applied during a particular motion. This movement at this strength will be depleted after one of two repetitions because the fuel required for this movement will be depleted.  Resistance training is usually employed to train this component and specifically, high weights and low repetitions will be used.


Muscular Endurance

Muscular Endurance can be described as your muscles ability to exert continuous contractions for an extended period of time. Because the moves aren’t at maximum force and fuel can continuously be supplied they will be for tens of minutes or hours, such as a triathlon or marathon. Endurance training is made up of moderate to low weights and high repetitions are used to train muscles for this component.


Cardiovascular Endurance

Cardiovascular Endurance is the capacity of the heart lung system. It is the ability to deliver high volumes of highly oxygenated blood to muscles to fuel work for extended perions of time. A good CV system is required for any exercise greater than 10-20 seconds in duration to remove waste and replenish energy supplies.



Flexibility is the ability to safely stretch muscle, ie splits, back arching etc. Flexibility is an attribute needed for sports people to avoid injury through unintended overstretching. Also flexibility is a highly regarded attribute for gymnasts to assist with intriguing artistic bodily displays.



Power can thought of and is often call muscular endurance. Its the repeated rate of work a muscle can perform over a period of time. Power training is used to enhance muscular endurance, so the body is fit enough to deliver high rates of work over time. Low to moderate weights with high repetitions are used to train this component.



This component is self evident and is considered a high burst lasting less than 20 seconds. Speed training is trains the (various components of the body’s) ability to deliver energy continuously. At this rate the body can’t keep up with the removal of lactic acid and this will eventually inhibit muscular contraction. Typically sprints training is the best form of training for speed. The various componenes in volve getting the heart rate up quickly enough to deliver energy and remove lactid acid, the ability of the lungs to get oxygen in to the system, the neuromuscular ability of muscles to fire at maximum rate in sequence, the storage of adequate amounts in the muscle for use. (ther conversion from glucose to ATP is too slow).



This is the ability for muscles to fire and antagonistic (opposite) muscles to fire to slow movement and change direction quickly. Training in starting and stopping and changing direction is best to develop this component in muscles.