Ready to get that summer body back?

Article written for Jacaranda 94.2 by Anna Wood

The signs that spring is on its way are staring us straight in the eyes. This leaves us bursting with joy as we have all stayed away from the dumplings and creamy winter warmer soups…. We’ve been eating healthy and training hard throughout winter… or NOT! Let me guess… the second winter placed it frosty palm upon your face, all of your ambition and intentions got the “preserved in ice” treatment! Don’t fret! There is still enough time left to erase any evidence of dumplings and breads before the summer holidays welcomes us in. Its time for us to change our eating habits, give our treadmills, Orbi-trec and gym subscriptions the TLC they so desperately need.

Ok, where do we start?
Make a conscious decision to change your lifestyle. Forget about weight loss- no, nothing wrong with your eyes! You’ve read right!

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Forget about weight loss!
If weight-loss becomes your goal it becomes your obsession, and if obsession becomes your driver failure to achieve will lead to self doubt – paralyzing your drive to keep on going. We need to shift our focus to something other than chewing on celery sticks and gulping down lemon grass smoothies. We need to create an ideal environment for weight-loss without the need to play scale wars.

How do we do this?
It’s time for action! It’s time to commit ourselves to some kind of activity that’s going to challenge us physically and mentally. Enter a 10km fun run or a walk for life program, or for the more adventurous at heart, enter a warrior race – any calorie burning activity – as long as it has a set date for us to commit to.

Why set dates?
If we don’t have a set date for an event, it becomes all too easy for us to keep on shifting the date until we eventually quit completely. If the event has a set date and our entry fees are paid, we are far more likely to see it through.

Remember, summer bodies don’t come without sacrifice.

We are going to have to lay off the biscuits, chocolate, and Panini rolls. We are not going to starve our bodies, but rather make better healthier choices on what to eat and when to eat.

As the saying goes; a healthy lifestyle is 70% nutrition and 30% training! This is how we are going to change from being on diet to living a lifestyle we can maintain throughout this program and for months to come.

Here’s a quick and easy kick off guide to getting summer awesome:

· Change your normal high sugar fizzy drinks, to the lower calorie drinks.
· For now, let’s go easy on the alcoholic beverages; they’re not going to do much good right now.
· Eat more frequently, at least 6 healthy small meals a day.
· Drinki at least 3 litres of water a day (carry a water bottle around).
· Be good to those around you; you’ll be amazed at the wonders a little kindness will do.

Abs by Anna – a killer ab routine

Article written for Jacaranda 94.2 by Anna Wood

In the previous article we dealt with how to get a six-pack. We learned that everyone has abs regardless of shape or size. The reason abs are not visible is due to the layer of belly fat that’s obscured them from worldly vision.

In order to get those muscles to show we need to deal with the stubborn belly fat that sticks around like a stubborn itch. The first thing we need to focus on is our diet, we need to stop feeding our body foods to make Mr Belly-fat feel at home. Instead, we should give our that gives fat an eviction notice.
The truth is if you can’t evict Mr Belly-fat, it won’t matter what abdominal exercises you do, he is not going to budge.

You see people strutting around with a glorious six pack and it makes you cringe with jealousy thinking they were chiselled that way from birth or they’ve been Photoshopped to bits, but the truth is they work extremely hard and are motivated to stick to their diet and training regimes. Their six pack mid-section doesn’t magically appear because of a couple of abs exercises – it’s an all-encompassing plan to work towards.

If you want to create a strong core with solid abs, start by doing compound exercises in the form of squats, lunges, pull-ups and deadlifts. These engage your core throughout the movement and burn a lot more calories than isolated abs exercises only. Remember we want to evict Mr Belly-fat, so the more calories we burn the more unbearable it becomes for him to stick around.

Now, after you have got your diet perfectly sorted and are focusing on a strength training program, then we can look at a few abdominal specific exercises.

1. Bicycles

Start: lie on your back and lift torso with hands by your ears and elbows open,  lift knees up to 90’

Exercise: touch opposite knee to elbow and change

Do: 20 reps with 10sec rest between sets, repeat x3

Abs workout

2. Arm & leg extensions (more advanced move)

Start: lie on your back holding 2kg weights in each hand

Exercise: take the arms overhead and at the same time legs go down to 45’, bring the legs back to 90’and at the same time reach the arms up to the ankles. Do not let your lower back “arch” off the ground. If you can’t keep your lower back on the ground, don’t lower your legs, keep them at 90’ until you get stronger.

Do: 15 reps and repeat x3

If this exercise is too difficult for you, you can do it without the weights and do the one below with bend knees

Abs workout

3. Core & oblique buster

Start: in a push up position with legs hip distance apart

Exercise: touch opposite knee to elbow, hold your knee at your elbow for 3 seconds and change to other leg. Keep your belly button pulled in and do not arch your lower back. Maintain a straight line from your head to your feet.

Do: 20 reps and repeat x3

Abs workout

4. Side oblique lifts

Start: lie on your side holding a 2kg weight in your hand

Exercise: lift your hips off the ground and hold at top for 2 seconds and lower down

Do: 20 lifts, then hold at the top and pulse for 20. Turnover and do the same on the other side.

Repeat x3 on each side

Abs workout
Abs workout

You can also perform these 4 exercises directly after each other and then repeat the whole sequence 3 times

Tips to remember:

If you have ever experienced back pain or injury, you should first consult your doctor before performing any of these exercises.

Always focus on doing quality abdominal exercises and not on quantity.

Keep your tummy/belly button pulled in at all time when performing these exercises.

Press your lower back firmly into the floor when doing an exercise lying on your back.

Breathe out when contracting your abs or when performing the movements.

You can train your abdominals every other day or 3 times a week.

Top tips for weight-loss

Article written for Jacaranda 94.2 by Anna Wood

It’s the part where we all struggle with. We want to lose weight but knowing what to eat, when to eat or how much to eat, becomes a daunting task, and for most a stumbling block that curbs any effort towards our weight loss goal? Let’s see if we can find a simpler approach towards effective maintainable weight loss nutrition.

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As said in our previous article, to achieve our weight loss goal we have to understand that nutrition is 70% of the process and training takes up the other 30%. Our bodies function very similar to a power station. If we want the lights to go on we kind of need to feed it some kind of fuel to kick-start the whole process. This is where food comes in, if we fuel our bodies with the right kind of food at the right intervals, with the right amount, the lights shine brightly, but change that to plates overloaded with sugars and fatty food – we find ourselves operating on dims. Grasping this fact will help you make better choices when it comes to food. Let’s change the word “diet” to “healthy lifestyle” because diet is a temporary solution whereas choosing to “live a healthy lifestyle” is a long term solution which is far more maintainable with lasting results.

Breakfast

Breakfast is most probably the most important meal of the day as it breaks the fast of being without food for 6-8 hours depending on how much sleep you had, hence the word “break-fast”.

Let’s say your last meal was at 6-7pm the night before, you wake up at 5-6am, jump in the shower, grab your stuff and rush off to work without having breakfast. By 10am you suddenly realize your body wants to consume itself from the inside out. It’s your body way of telling you it’s been without food for the past 14 hours and you got to feed otherwise it’s going on strike.

Having breakfast first thing in the morning will kick-start your metabolism and regulate your blood sugar levels giving your body the optimal energy levels to face the day ahead. You probably saying that you can’t eat so early, rather opt for a banana and protein smoothie. The first few weeks will be difficult, but after a while your body will be reprogrammed to want breakfast as a fuel source. Your breakfast should consist of healthy low GI carbs, protein and fibre.

Eat 5/6 times a day and do not skip ANY meal

It is recommended that you eat 5 small healthy meals per day each containing a lean protein source such as chicken, tuna or lean beef. Skipping meals will only slow down your metabolism, resulting in whatever you consumed to be stored as FAT. The more frequently you eat, the more you’ll burn, the more energy you’ll have, the lower your risk to diseases will be and the more weight you’ll lose. The biggest misconception is to if you do not eat you will lose weight.

Remember The Rock’s diet? Pre cooked and packed meals will save you money and save your waist line!

Drink 2l-3l of water per day

It has been said so many times before, yet we seem to avoid it like the plague.

Water is essential for the functioning of our nervous, skeletal, circulatory, digestive, and even respiratory systems in our bodies. Drinking water also aids in weight loss by speeding up your metabolism and curbing your appetite. You’ll notice when your drink enough water during the day, the less bloated you will feel once your body realises there is no need to retain water. Try 6-8 glasses a day. Yes, you will be burning extra calories from go back and forth to the but taking in enough fluids during the day is vital in the aid of our fat-loss goal.

Plan ahead

You have to plan and prepare the next day’s food, the evening before. If you have all your meals ready and with you for the day there is no excuse for you to skip a meal or to eat unhealthy fatty food.