Progress is never linear

Most people think of progress towards their goal as steady and linear, moving forever in a forward direction. However progress does not look like this…and let me tell you that this can be a good thing.

Any progress is good progress. We make small decisions each day that bring us closer to our goals – choosing to eat well, forgoing the cake at morning tea, getting in all our workouts, making sure we are sleeping well and practicing self care. When things are going well like this, progress seems effortless. But…life happens! We get sick, we get busy, we make excuses, we drink a bit too much at the party, we eat too much of the wrong food – we are human! This means that sometimes our progress stalls or regresses – we’ve put on weight, we’ve plateaued in the gym, or the centimetres around our waist won’t budge.

Every regression, every plateau, is a moment of reflection on the journey to our goal, and ultimately to success. Look at these challenges as learning opportunities – if we learn something from them, then we are growing and we are still progressing! So you’ve been eating off plan for a couple of weeks without a care in the world and suddenly you’re a kilo heavier on the scales and your pants are feeling a bit tight around the waist. Instead of thinking “I’m not making progress”, get REAL with yourself and recognise why this has happened and get right back onto the horse and doing what you know WORKS. One foot in front of the other, keep going.

There’s an old saying “if it were easy, everybody would be doing it (and be walking around with a six pack!)”. Be one of the few who is realistic about progress, recognise that it is not linear, embrace doing the work, pick yourself back up time and again, correct your course and never quit.


Adventures of an optimist

I am a natural optimist, always seeing the glass as half full. I can find the silver lining in any situation and believe that everything happens for a reason, good or bad. However, there have been times in my life when I thought I could never be happy,  or be optimistic about the future again.

The first time that I felt like this was when my son was born nearly 19 years ago. I was in the grip of post natal depression and didn’t know it. Back in the day, there wasn’t as much support, awareness and resources as there are now.

My family did their absolute best to support me and my husband didn’t know how to support me. He went to work each day, leaving me stranded at home with no car and with a baby I had no connection to. Each day was a constant struggle with anxiety and sleep deprivation. I couldn’t sleep even when I had a few hours to myself – my mind just raced the whole time. My heart leaped into my mouth every time Darcy cried or grizzled. My hands shook when I picked him up and I also cried while I held him, not knowing what I was doing and just wishing I could run away or die. I used to just sit on a chair every single day – numb, fidgeting, heart racing, mind racing.  I felt out of control and a failure as a mother. I was in a dark tunnel with no light at the end.

When I finally sought help and was medicated, I gradually started to feel better, get my sleep back and stop crying. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight, and took a lot of self belief and determination that I was going to feel normal again. I finally fell in love with my son when he was three months old and miraculously, his sleep and his eating improved also. I regained my pleasure in everyday activities and loved life once more.

I was rocked to my very core during this time and it almost destroyed me. Even though my marriage broke up two years later, the experience scarred me so much that deep down I never wanted to have more children.

I was optimistic I would get better once I sought the right help from my doctor. I was optimistic that my family and friends would be there to support me. It taught me so much about myself and that no one is perfect. It taught me to stop trying to control every situation. I learned that PND is very common and that I wasn’t alone. I learned that out of overwhelming fear and loss, comes a love for your child that is so deep and so strong that it’s like your very soul is connected to theirs.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the first time I had brushes with depression. Before I found fitness, I had at least two more serious episodes in my life requiring medication and counselling. Although the medication worked well and gave me my life back, I gained quite a bit of weight and found it very hard to shift. This is one of the main reasons I never want to be on medication again.

I credit fitness with improving my life in so many ways, but improving my mental health has to be up there as one of the top benefits. In the last five years or so since I became serious with my fitness and got consistent with it, I have successfully kept the black dog at bay. The only times I’ve threatened to sink back into the fog is when I’ve been unable to train due to serious illness (a story for another blog!) or surgery. I have felt the hopelessness start to nibble at the edges of my mind and the lethargy begin to seep in. I don’t ever want to feel like that again. As I say, this is one of my key motivators to stay active and fit. The struggle and the ‘hard’ of training day in, day out – being tired, being sore, being consistent no matter what – is a walk in the park compared to the struggle and the hard of depression.

If anything in this blog has triggered you, please speak to a loved one, visit or call Lifeline on 13 11 14

Confessions of an introvert

Growing up as a shy quiet child and an awkward (but popular) teenager, I have always believed that being introverted is a bad thing. However as an introvert in an extroverted world, I have discovered that ‘resting bitch face’ and the need to be alone and have privacy are not necessarily bad things.

As a child, I craved alone time to dream and create and write and read. My childhood was blissful and happy and although we didn’t have much money, I loved growing up with my two sisters and my parents who always bent over backwards to give us a safe and happy life. However I was acutely aware of never having enough privacy. I was always having to share a bedroom with first my older sister, then my youngest sister. We lived in a tiny 3 bedroom house in suburban Adelaide which thankfully had a huge backyard, as houses did in those days. The backyard often became my escape from the family, to lie on the back lawn under our gigantic willow tree and read or dream.

Privacy and space to be alone was extremely rare and I never fully understood that almost obsessive need to be by myself. Just as an extrovert feeds off the energy of being social and chatty, too much of this activity drains and overwhelms an introvert. The need to be alone to recharge our batteries and process everything becomes all consuming. I also dislike talking on the phone, apparently another introvert quality – we hate small talk!

There is this misconception that introverts hate people, yet many of us end up in jobs which involve customer service, relationship management or helping others. Trust me, I don’t hate people (well not all the time!) Many introverts learn to wear the mask of an extrovert because we have learned the value that society places on extroverted qualities.

Introverts usually do not require energy and inspiration from others, but are able to find it within themselves. They tend to be planners, are self driven and work well independently, therefore tend to make good leaders.  I’ve always been good at kicking my own butt, which comes from an inner strength cultivated through years of quiet introspection.

Introverts are better at savoring ‘me’ time – great news for fitness enthusiasts. To recharge your batteries, there is no better way to get that than going to the gym, going for a walk or undertaking some other physical activity. This may not be crowded gyms or group fitness, and may involve a preference to work out at home or walk/run/cycle etc.

I have learned that being an introvert is actually quite a good thing and I am proud to say that these quirky qualities make me who I am. Understanding my personality type has brought me great clarity, awareness and also a degree of peace in knowing I deal with the world in a different way. I’ve learned my triggers and I recognise what I need to do for myself when I start to feel overwhelmed or drained by life. I used to think something was wrong with me for not wanting to talk to people on the phone, or needing to be in control in social situations and having an ‘escape’ plan. I can now say with conviction “I’m an introvert, I can’t change who I am and nor do I want to. Deal with it”

Are you hiding?

img_2968When I’m not ‘feeling it’ with my training and nutrition, I know something else is going on with me. I’m aware that I’m not always going to feel motivated and I am pretty good at taking the emotion out of it and doing what needs to be done to get to where I want to be. However I sometimes feel out of alignment and, well, a bit frigging stuck!

If it’s not immediately obvious to me what’s going on, I know that I am ‘hiding’. Hiding my fear, my self doubt, my limiting beliefs and my anxiety. They are always there, that’s a given, but it’s when I start to hide from myself and lie to myself that the wheels start to fall off a bit.

We are human, we are not perfect and we are not always going to ‘feel it’ when it comes to doing life well. We all have a tendency to retreat into ourselves when life gives us lemons.

When I tune in to what’s really going on with me, I give myself permission to acknowledge and examine my own fears. That it’s safe for me to do so, there is no judgement and I can come out of hiding and face my fear and ‘stories’ I tell myself.

When I don’t buy into my own bullshit but give myself space to acknowledge and accept it, I can move past the stuck place fairly quickly and get back to showing up and doing the work.

Discover 9 Fat Loss Hacks you can implement right now to fast track your fat loss –  download here

There is no perfect time

There is no perfect time to start your fitness journey. The only time is now. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month. You know that day never comes – the only time is now!

It’s always going to be too cold, or too hot. You’re always going to be too tired or too busy. There will always be someone or something to attend to. You’re always going to be too unfit, too sick, too old, not enough, not worthy or not destined to be slim.

What a crock of shit.

Here’s something I know for sure – you’re never too old or unfit or too whatever! You are worthy, you are enough and you can be whatever the hell you want to be.

You are safe to choose. To choose healthy, to be the best version of you, to risk falling down, but getting your butt back up, in the game and pushing on regardless.

Don’t overthink it, don’t wait for the perfect time. Just start. Dust off your gym gear, your workout shoes and your mojo. Kick your excuses to the kerb and just START.

The perfect time is right now. Go forth and create the life that you deserve. The life that’s waiting for you.

Discover 9 Fat Loss Hacks you can implement right now to fast track your fat loss –  download here


Holiday workout tips

Ah holidays! We love them…but we don’t necessarily love the excess baggage we sometimes bring home! Although holidays are meant for relaxing, there is also room to fit in more exercise. We are usually blessed with extra time and beautiful weather, so make the most of those benefits. 

I have just got back from sunny Darwin in the north of Australia. I’m not enjoying being back home in winter but planning for my next holiday is already underway (Tasmania in March next year). I’ve therefore put together some tips for your next holiday adventure:

  1. Make the most of sightseeing on foot. If you are in a location where everything is quite close, put some comfy walking shoes on and walk to the sights. You’ll see a lot more on foot plus you’ll get the benefits of fresh air and sunshine. You’ll also save money on taxi fares and bus fares. 
  2. Make use of the hotel gym and pool. When I travel interstate I always make sure my hotel has a gym onsite. I then get up early before breakfast and fit in a workout before I enjoy a yummy breakfast and head out to do some shopping or sightseeing. It also helps if you travel with your partner or family – you can keep each other accountable and train together.
  3. Do some body weight exercises in your hotel room or balcony. Get up with the sun and do some yoga or a body weight circuit each morning. Push-ups, triceps dips, squats, crunches, back extensions, lunges – get creative! Get it out the way early, leaving the rest of the day for sightseeing.
  4. Do sand running. If you are staying near a beach, do running on the sand. The extra resistance gives your legs a great workout and will really increase your heart rate and calorie burn.
  5. Choose an active holiday. Yoga retreat in Bali, skiing holiday in New Zealand, rock climbing holiday in the USA, a surfing or snorkelling holiday in Queensland, climb a mountain in Tasmania. There are many travel companies who specialise in adventure travel – do something different and energising and meet some fun people too.
  6. Look for every opportunity to move your body. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, stand instead of sit, hire a bike and cycle around, swim or paddle board, even walking around with heavy shopping bags will burn calories!
  7. Eat and drink in moderation. Nobody is saying you shouldnt have a life and diet while on holiday (hell no!) and you should definitely relax a little and enjoy delicious food. However just being mindful of what you put in your mouth can help. Try not to go crazy on alcohol as it has empty calories and can interfere with the enjoyment of your holiday if you end up with a hangover. Up your water intake, incorporate veggies into as many meals as you can (mainly for fibre, as constipation can be an issue when travelling) and go easy on desserts/junk food – you’ll have better energy if you have these sparingly, not every day.

I hope these tips helped you. Most of all you should enjoy your holiday and destress, because life is all about balance. Should you come back with a few extra kilos, you can always jump onto a 14 day challenge like my FREE Thrive! 14 day transformation challenge which starts on 4 September. I would love to have you join me for this challenge to kickstart your weight loss and fitness goals.

10 ‘must read’ health and fitness books

There are plenty of health and fitness books on the market, covering everything from fat loss to clean eating to training protocols. These are some of my favourites:

1. Get Real (Michelle Bridges)

Michelle Bridges was an early influencer on my fitness journey. Her program the 12wbt really resonated with me and started me on the journey to being healthy and fit for Life. This book covers a lot of ground – transformations from 12wbt participants, recipes and Michelle’s insights into staying on track. Perfect for beginners and people looking for a kick up the butt.

2. Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (Tom Venuto)

As I progressed on my fitness journey, this was one of the most influential books I read on Eating to fuel your body for training. Tom is a former bodybuilder and knows his stuff. Definitely a no BS approach to eating well and training right.

3. Strength training anatomy (Frederic Delavier)

This was one of the first books I bought when I was studying for my PT quals. I still refer to it today when programming my clients. The descriptions and diagrams are first rate.

4. Forks over Knives plan (Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman)

When I dabbled with turning vegan a few years ago, this was my go to book to help me transition. Great recipes and sound advice on transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.

5. The Fat Loss Prescription  (Dr Spencer Nadolsky)

Really simple and no nonsense book on the science behind weight loss. Written by a GP, you know the advice is sound and simple. I recommend to all my clients that they read this book.

6. The Lean Muscle Diet (Lou Schuler and Alan Aragon)

Another great book that teaches you how to eat and train for body composition changes. Both authors are gurus in the nutrition and fitness industries and this book does not disappoint. Knowledge bombs abound – highly recommended!

7. Strong Curves (Brett Contreras)

Brett is known as the Glute Guy for good reason. What he doesn’t know about building a booty isn’t worth knowing. He actually has a phd in booty building (although it’s more technical than that!) this book is full of amazing knowledge and exercise routines to build a shapely strong physique. 

8. Figure It Out (Ingrid Barclay)

Ingrid is a fantastic writer and has many years experience in body building and training athletes. This book is primarily about the ins and outs of competing in a figure competition. It’s a fascinating read even if you have no intention of ever competing in bodybuilding.

9. You are your own gym – the bible of body weight exercises for men and women (Mark Lauren)

An absolutely mind blowing array of Bodyweight exercises. Some I’d never seen before! An absolute must when I’m programming for clients who are beginners or want to train at home. Excellent resource.

10. 30 Ways to Stay on Track (Dee Verrall)

Okay I’m being cheeky! This is my free ebook on how to stay on track in your fitness journey. Download your copy here

What about your favourite fitness books? Are there any you’ve read that are life changing? Hit me up in the comments, I’m always looking for new fitness reads!

Every little step adds up

Getting in shape is the culmination of many small steps taken over a period of time. There are no shortcuts, certainly none that are sustainable anyway.

To consistently eat well means you will drop body fat far more successfully than if you just wing it and eat what you like.

To exercise regularly will shape your body and improve your fitness far more effectively than just sitting on the couch or at your desk.

Just like one bad meal won’t make you fat, one healthy meal won’t make you slim. It is what you do consistently that gets results.

Getting in shape implies an end date. Let’s be clear that you need to change your lifestyle for those changes to be permanent.

Don’t make excuses. Make progress – steady, small, sustainable – and you will get to where you want to be.

For coaching help check out my online coaching packages

Just get started

Getting started is hands down the hardest part of fitness. Being unfit means there will always be some level of discomfort and suckiness to working out at the beginning.

This is when you really need to dig deep and be strongly connected to your why. Being accepting of the ‘hard’ at the beginning also helps – knowing it does get better and the rewards will outweigh the pain.

When clients ask me how to start a fitness program, I always say ‘just start’. Clearly your goals come into play here also and one of my custom training plans can help you achieve that. But the key action is to just get moving and develop an exercise habit.

It really is as simple as picking a start date, showing up and doing the work. Rinse and repeat. Note I said simple but not necessarily easy. 

You will need to make fitness a non negotiable in your life – just like brushing your teeth. Play the long game and stop looking for the quick fix which doesn’t work!