Three workouts to get you through the holidays.

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Monday WorkoutWednesday WorkoutFriday Workout

My trainer has been putting us through our paces this week and has come up with 3 really good workouts to keep the Christmas kilos at bay. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have. Merry Christmas.

Some exercise demos for you:
Medicine Ball Sit Up Throws (Sit further away than these people are so you get a good throw in). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAL99HxaZrw
Russian Twist http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgSnIib9s5Y
Iron Cross http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiVbKEkWbI8
Med Ball Squat Throw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6aC2o7204s
Medicine Ball Bridge with Leg Lift (About 2.14 seconds in to the video.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2mxYyMjfxY
Repeaters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnSzwCMXTSg
Mountain Climbers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzmKjlbbHzs
Medicine Ball Squats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUbY2prXt-k
Medicine Ball Slam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWghPf9dso0
Burpees http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burpee_%28exercise%29
DB Squats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9O7EOXVIKY
Alternating Lunges http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo1pFV8HMic
Squat Thrusters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87xtinde5y4
Knee to Pike Sit Up (Hold a weight in your hands and alternate one pike sit up with one crunch.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02b2QxcazOM
Thrusters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7ljnk8OS3M
Sumo Squat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kiXid7pm6I
Hover http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRXKg21pE-4
Rope Pull http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGHmgqJeSu0
Box Jumps http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxldG9FX4j4
Medicine Ball Squat Toss http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C0z1_uNHU0
Medicine Ball Crunches http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb-kh42M-60
Chin Up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FWqNXEWl34
Dead Lift http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q_GnXm7LbI

Summer’s here.

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Piha 1Piha 2

It’s quite early in the season to go for a swim in New Zealand, but on Sunday that’s just what we did. It was only nippy for the first few minutes and then the water took on a beautiful warmth. Very uncharacteristic for the Kiwi summer where we usually have to wait until after Christmas to enjoy water as warm. After a great afternoon in the ocean, we spent the evening eating fish, chicken and salad while the sun set. #perfectweekend

 

Another punishing workout from my trainer in the lead up to Christmas.

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Another punishing workout from my trainer in the lead up to Christmas.

When even the hard-ass girls I train with have a little grumble, you know it’s a tough workout. I was really enjoying this up ’til the third round of exercises with the burpees. Still, I have a Christmas party to go to tomorrow and after today, I feel like I’ve earned it.

Don’t forget to stretch afterwards and try to eat within half an hour of finishing. The girls in my group are huge fans of a 2 egg spinach omelette with a piece of whole grain toast.

If you’d like some demonstrations for the exercises click the links below.
Alternating Forward Lunges https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRh6_4rq-b8
Burpees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWQrT6E3XX4
TRX Alternating T and Y https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz-6mGus5jk
Medicine Ball Slams http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huBClepn-jY
Sumo Squat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kiXid7pm6I
TRX Squat Row https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7Z062Xmr9w
DB Push-Up Row https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpB-ad8ezFE
TRX Backward / Reverse Lunges http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn68JwtRWzQ
Iron Cross http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiVbKEkWbI8
TRX Chest Press http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vPgHzuRI7I

 

People say the strangest things when they’re in a vegan restaurant.

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People say the strangest things.

For lunch today I rewarded my hard work at the gym with a trip to the Little Bird Unbakery, a raw vegan café in Ponsonby.

I ordered the Dosa (cooked), a fermented dahl and rice pancake served with fresh mango, coconut and ginger chutney and a sprouted chickpea and cucumber salad. I also had an Imperial Yunnan silver needle tea which was pretty fantastic as well.

Being a solo luncher, I sat at the large communal table where a number of people were busily chatting. It’s strange how some things take on added meaning when you hear them in a very angelic, vegan environment.

For example:
“My Dad is a hunter and for Christmas this year he gave me a card with a huge wild boar on it.”

“I’d really love to have some chickens.”

“They say it’s made with cacao not coco. Apparently they’re different but I’m not sure what the difference is.”

I also heard people nonchalantly throw healthy statements into their conversations.

“I’ve stopped eating red meat but you’re still eating mince aren’t you?

“I grow my own wheatgrass… And I have a juicer.”

“All I’ve been eating for the last few days is organic. But you have to wash everything really vigorously. Oh, and some kale.”

I’m not usually one to eavesdrop, but when it makes you smile and the people are sitting right next to you, what can you do?

Work off your Christmas Party with this.

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Work off your Christmas Party with this.

My trainer Maree can be brutal at times. Today, 8 girls innocently turned up to their Friday workout, unaware of what lay ahead. The 100 Club.

It’s a club she makes us all join and consists of having to do 100 reps of 10 different exercises. Sometimes we’re allowed to do 5 sets of 20 reps of each exercise, but no such luck today. If we wanted a break/recovery at any stage we were allowed to do a shuttle run. I did a couple of shuttle runs during the thrusters, iron cross and burpees sets, though it was more like a shuttle stagger by the end.

Maree said she hoped it would make up for any sins we’d committed that week. I don’t see how it couldn’t, we were too exhausted to even speak to each other by the end of it.

Here are some demos if you’d like to join the club.
Shuttle Run http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_u2eqjgdwk
High 5 with a friend https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RllVGQOiSLg
Squats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmI9x_5aFdc
Dead Lift http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q_GnXm7LbI
Box Jumps http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxldG9FX4j4
Medicine Ball Slams http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huBClepn-jY
Full Sit Up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWAhptFi_ns
Thrusters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7ljnk8OS3M
Iron Cross http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiVbKEkWbI8/watch?v=WJR3JTtmPTw
Alternating Lunges https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCpu8IhLvBg
Burpees http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burpee_%28exercise%29

Love thy neighbour… and thy neighbour’s garden.

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Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3Picture 4.1Picture 4Picture 5Picture 2Picture 3 Clothesline whitePicture 1

A couple of weeks ago I visited a few open gardens as part of the Auckland Garden Design Festival. All were inspiring but the last two were especially so and not just for visual reasons. The owners of these neighbouring gardens were able to work together to utilise their joint resources and create the backyards of their dreams.

As with many blocks in Auckland these two rest on the side of a hill. The upper needed to get rid of soil and the lower needed to add some. It can be an expensive process moving soil in and out but these two avoided that by moving soil from the upper garden to the lower and sharing the cost between them. They also used the same landscape designer and, considering their good relationship, left a little pathway through some of the larger plantings so they can pop next door whenever they like.

When so many neighbours don’t speak or get along, it was lovely to see two that were able to create spaces more beautiful than if they’d worked alone. They managed to keep their own individual style but create a harmonious environment that reflected their good relationship. It was by far the most inspiring thing I saw that day and that’s really saying something.

Dippy, but not hippy.

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Spinach Yoghurt Dip 1Spinach Dip Side On

I’ve often thought the key to maintaining a healthy weight is to find snacks that won’t pile on the pounds. Things like humus, olives, dark chocolate, cheese and crusty bread all taste great but are way too calorie intensive. So, after trying Karen Martini’s low-fat beetroot dip last week, I couldn’t wait to get into her silverbeet, spinach, yoghurt and pinenut one. Again, it was really easy to create a low fat version and a guilt free way of getting a few more greens.

I also really like her formula of combining equal quantities of 1% fat prebiotic yoghurt with your favourite combination of pureed vegetables, herbs and spices. It’s opened up a whole new world on the type of dips I can create. Next time I might try rocket, spinach, basil, mint and parsley together with a bit of lemon juice and garlic. Or, if I’m feeling a bit more adventurous, roasted carrot with onion, garlic, cumin, coriander and a squeeze of lemon. Here’s Karen’s recipe if you’d like to try.

Ingredients
80ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
(I just used a spray of olive oil in the pan. If it gets too dry add a little water.)
5 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 leek, finely sliced
1 bunch silverbeet, trimmed of ¾ of the stalk and finely chopped
3 handfuls baby spinach
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
250g thick plain yoghurt (I used 1% fat probiotic Greek.)
80g pinenuts, toasted briefly in a dry frypan
(I omitted these from the dip and just scattered a few on top.)
1 lemon

Method
In a wide-based pot, add 80ml of oil and cook the garlic until fragrant. Add the leek and cook for five minutes. Add the silverbeet and cook for another 10 minutes over low heat with the lid on, stirring through every now and then.
Add the spinach, cumin and paprika and, if the pot is too dry, a splash of water. Cook for another five minutes, season and set aside to cool.
If the greens are quite wet, drain off a little liquid, then puree with the yoghurt and half the pinenuts until you have a smooth paste. Spread on to your serving plate, squeeze over some lemon, scatter over the remaining pinenuts, dress with a little oil and serve with flatbread.

Today’s Workout

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Wednesday Workout

I really loved Maree’s workout today. Nice and interesting with all the TRX stuff.

Here are some demos for you.
Squat Thrusters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7ljnk8OS3M
TRX Squat Row http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QEfDANtMDA
Plyometric Lunges http://www.youtube.com
TRX Backward / Reverse Lunges http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn68JwtRWzQ
Step Ups (Make sure you do this on both legs equally.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wg_-TYQhnWs
TRX Chest Press http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vPgHzuRI7I
Lateral Lunge http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg0cMxAbKV8
Dead Lift http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q_GnXm7LbI
Iron Cross http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiVbKEkWbI8/watch?v=WJR3JTtmPTw
TRX Row http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8d2pFLDkEs
Butt Kicks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IwoJfpg4Dk
TRX Squat Row http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0UkjEG9tX0
Squat Jumps http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVaEhXotL7M

Workout of the Day

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Workout of the Day

This was a nice mix of cardio and strength training today.

Here are some demos if you need them.
Squat Thrusters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7ljnk8OS3M
Four Point Push-Up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXEHGJMc_Zg
Plyometric Lunges http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJR3JTtmPTw
Burpees http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burpee_%28exercise%29
Reverse Crunch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVVlXA0dqGg
Pike Crunches https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzapqRDI6cg
Leg Lifts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oICXW-Xs1LE
Hover http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRXKg21pE-4
Bicycle Crunches http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FGilxCbdz8

A Yummy and Healthy Snack. It’s Possible.

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Beetroot Dip HeroPommegranate MintBeetroot Dip Support

I’m always looking for healthy snacks as the immediate options are so lacklustre. Carrot stick anyone? So, I was really thrilled when I found Karen Martini’s recipe for roasted beetroot, cinnamon and pomegranate dip. It was really easy to create a low-fat version and whether you eat it on the recommended flat bread or a rice cracker it tastes fab. A word of warning though, don’t wear a white t-shirt when you make it.

Ingredients
900g medium beetroot, washed well, trimmed and cut in sixths
Extra-virgin olive oil (I just used a spray.)
Salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
300g thick plain yoghurt (I used 1%fat greek, tasted great.)
100ml pomegranate molasses
100g feta
2 handfuls pomegranate seeds
1 handful mint leaves

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced or 200C conventional.
2. Place the beetroot pieces into a roasting dish, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, add the cinnamon and allspice and toss through to evenly coat. Add a splash of water to the dish, cover with baking paper and foil and roast for one hour.
3. After an hour, remove the paper and foil and bake for about another 15 minutes. The beetroot should be tender and starting to caramelise. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
4. Once cooled, puree the beetroot with the chilli powder until smooth. Add the yoghurt and pomegranate molasses and process until combined. Adjust the seasoning, then spread on to a serving plate, crumble over some feta, sprinkle a little cinnamon, scatter over the pomegranate seeds and mint and serve with flat bread.

Makes a large batch, I made half this quantity.