Ascent Health & Fitness https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au women's health & fitness coach Sat, 22 Sep 2018 04:12:29 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Healthy Meal Prep Tips for Busy Women https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au/2018/09/healthy-meal-prep-tips-for-busy-women/ Sun, 16 Sep 2018 22:30:06 +0000 https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au/?p=4041 We all know how it feels when life starts to get in the way of our getting fit & healthy plans. It’s frustrating & there’s usually a point in time when we just can’t be bothered making an effort anymore … taking the easiest option involves less thinking & less stress. Being healthy is important

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We all know how it feels when life starts to get in the way of our getting fit & healthy plans. It’s frustrating & there’s usually a point in time when we just can’t be bothered making an effort anymore … taking the easiest option involves less thinking & less stress. Being healthy is important to you. But healthy meal prep when you are busy and life is getting in the way … It’s probably not going to happen, right?  

Scary fact, though, is that life will always get in the way. We will always be busy in some way, whether it’s trying to keep up with work, the kids, or the housework, there will always be something demanding our time. 

Like it or not, if you are not fit & healthy you won’t be able to keep up & enjoy life at the same time. 

My clients are busy women. They have families, careers, kids & households to keep on an even keel .. and they need to work hard to keep on top of this. It’s one of the things that we chat about in our sessions. Those little things that they can do to make the healthiest choices when life gets a little busy and things don’t always go to plan. 

Here we go …

1     Plan & Prep Time

This is #1 in my view. Take an hour each week to sit down & plan your week ahead. Plan some meal & snack ideas .. doesn’t have to be exact, even say 5 meals that you could pick from that week depending on what you feel like & how much time you have. From here, plan your grocery list so that you can do a bulk shop. Honestly, I would love to only have to go to Woollies once a week but it’s just not reality. If I have the majority of ingredients I find I’m not rushing for ideas or ingredients at the last minute. Having all the ingredients in the fridge or pantry also lets you organise stuff in advance. Doesn’t always fall into place, but occasionally the stars will align! 

While you are planning and looking through your diary for the week, make sure you schedule in your workouts. When they are scheduled in your diary, they will be front of mind and you will find yourself more inclined to make the effort to fit them in.

Here’s a basic version of how I plan out my week … Weekly Planning Guide

2     Grocery Shop

Photo by Anne Preble on Unsplash

You’ve planned some meals & snacks for the week so get that grocery list done & head to the shops. I know it’s an obvious tip, but keep the staples on hand. Being sure to have the basics in the pantry makes it quicker & easier to prep meals & grab snacks in the everyday rush.

I suggest to my clients to have 2 – 3 options for breakfast that you really love, then always make sure that you have everything on hand to throw breakfast together in the morning rush. 

Again, have 2 – 3 of your favourite healthy snack options on hand in the fridge or pantry so that they are you first choice and not the cookies, chips or chocolates that give you a quick hit, then the guilt kicks in!

3     Meal Prep & Freeze

Now that you have done your meal plans & grocery shop for the week you can start to prep to save time during the week. If the meals you have planned are quick & easy you may not need to worry about prepping, but if you know that you are going to be busy at work or taxiing kids then doing some prep work will certainly help out. 

Photo by Neha Deshmukh on Unsplash

A few prep ideas 

* start the base of slow cooker type meals & then store them in a snap lock bag in the fridge so that in the morning all you need to do is grab it out and throw everything in the slow cooker. 

* cook up some rice that you can heat up the next day

* chop veg ready to add to slow cooker, stir fries or for snacks during the week

* cook up whole meals such as soup, spaghetti bolognaise or chilli mince and freeze for no prep meals during the week or portion up for individual meals. 

* make up individual salads into takeaway containers for grab and go lunches 

4     Healthy Go To Options

Having healthy options that you can grab quickly & easily makes it so much easier to make your first choice a healthy one. During your planning find a quick & healthy option that you can make for those meals / nights when you run out of time. Make sure that your fridge / pantry is stocked with the staples for that quick healthy option for both snacks & meals so that there is a quick & healthy “just in case” option. And you know those nights when you really just can’t be bothered .. work out your closest heathiest take away option

Some examples of meal / snack ideas

*cheese & crackers          *pre prepared salad mixes

*fruit / veg           *tin salmon / tuna

*yoghurt           *boiled eggs

                             *trail mix           *cooked chicken breast for salads

5     Left Overs

OK, I love this one. It’s so quick, so easy to make a healthy choice! Love left overs!

* When you prep dinner at night, chop some extra veg or throw together a salad in a takeaway container. 

* Cook up extra chicken breast that you can use in lunch for the next day ( this is the one I use all the time! ) 

* Cook up some extra rice to use for lunch

* Cook an extra portion of your dinner and set it aside in your takeaway container for next days lunch. 

Photo by Kevin McCutcheon on Unsplash

You are probably looking at these thinking to yourself that they are a bit basic .. but that is the beauty of them. And, it’s why they work! Too often we look for a quick fix, magic pill or potion that we don’t yet know about .. there is none. Getting back to basics will work every time! You can make it work!

OK, while I think of it there’s one last thing that will really help .. keep it simple! Don’t overthink, overcomplicate meals or recipes because it becomes stressful, overwhelming & annoying. 

Stick to the basics, commit to the basics, master the basics & making healthy choices will be that little bit easier!

What is your favourite healthy meal prep tip?  

 

PS .. Want to join me on Facebook? Head over there now for more real, honest & practical info you can use right now! Click the pic to join us .. 

 

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How to Stop Feeling Guilty for Taking Time for Yourself https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au/2018/09/stop-feeling-guilty/ Sun, 02 Sep 2018 20:00:03 +0000 https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au/?p=4024 Have you felt “mummy guilt” this week? Or you feel guilty or selfish for spending a little time to yourself ( even thinking about spending time to yourself ) or putting your needs ahead of others. You don’t have to elaborate, or delve too deep, just acknowledging to yourself can be eye opening. Firstly, I

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Have you felt “mummy guilt” this week? Or you feel guilty or selfish for spending a little time to yourself ( even thinking about spending time to yourself ) or putting your needs ahead of others. You don’t have to elaborate, or delve too deep, just acknowledging to yourself can be eye opening.

Firstly, I want to let you know that you are normal

Next, it’s time to stop feeling guilty. I know it’s hard to not feel guilty about putting your needs & wants ahead of others, especially the family. So, it’s easier to put everyone else’s needs & wants above your own.

There just doesn’t seem to be enough time .. and frankly, you don’t have enough energy to bother doing anything for yourself after making sure that everyone else is clean & fed & happy!

I totally understand! Yes, it’s hard to not feel guilty or selfish putting yourself first. But, making that little bit of time for you can make you feel better & make it easier to look after those that depend on you.

Imagine that you are the #bosslady of the family ( well, you are, right, so no need to imagine! ) and for you to function in a high performing way for such an important role you need to look after yourself!

Occasionally, you need a break away from the “office” for some down time. Yep, call it a “mental health” break if you want!

You are the role model that your family look to to keep everything running smoothly and every so often you need to refresh & recharge so that you can keep everything running smoothly!

Without you as the #bosslady performing at the top of your game .. things might not function quite as you like them! We all know this scenario .. when you are exhausted .. busy .. cranky things don’t seem to go quite as you had planned them. If you could just have a little break …

Take that break! Go for a walk, catch up with a friend, do the workout you have putting off .. make the time for YOU! It doesn’t need to take hours or be over the top or expensive. Even taking a break with a cup of tea & sitting quietly can be enough to slow down the speed thinking in your head.

You are just as important, if not more so. If you can’t look after yourself then how do you expect to look after others? It doesn’t mean you are selfish, nor does it mean that you are ignoring others .. just give yourself a little time to focus on YOU!

Make sure you head over to register your email to become an AH&F Insider and receive updates, exclusive offers, tips & info … register me now please

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Are You The Expert In Your Own Body? https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au/2018/08/are-you-the-expert-in-your-own-body/ Tue, 21 Aug 2018 03:09:43 +0000 https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au/?p=4016 Are you the expert on your own body? Do you listen to your body? Do you understand what it is trying to tell you? Do you know when you can push harder … do you know when to back off in a training session? Or do you go hell for leather & expect your body

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Are you the expert on your own body?

Do you listen to your body? Do you understand what it is trying to tell you?

Do you know when you can push harder … do you know when to back off in a training session? Or do you go hell for leather & expect your body to keep up?

When it comes to being the best version of you, listening to your body is super important …

It is so common when it comes to exercise to hear “no pain no gain” which frustrates me no end!

Or as women we feel we need to be “superwomen” complete with cape attending to the needs & wants of others all while pushing ourselves further to the bottom of the pile with a “nah, I’ll be fine” attitude all the while thinking “I just need a little break” … yep, you know I’m talking to you. 

When was the last time you asked yourself how you feel & actually listened to the answer?

No, it’s not the easiest question, especially to ask yourself. 

Some people find it easier than others to do, however it is something that you can learn.

 

Firstly, ask yourself how you feel. It’s that simple … it’s taking the time to listen that be a little harder because so many different things can have an affect on your body. How your body deals with each of these stressors is a whole other kettle of fish because every one is so different.

A couple of the obvious things that can have an impact on you & your body are 

Stress     physical & emotional stress can have a physiological effect on your body and absolutely impact how you are feeling. 

Sleep     this is my favourite topic at the moment! Sleep in just so important in feeling your best so if you are not getting enough sleep, it’s broken & not quality sleep well, things are just not pretty, let’s leave it there! 

Food     believe it or not this can have a big impact on how you are feeling. Different food can effect each individual in different ways so that tired, sluggish & bloated feeling you have often may have something to do with the food ( & drink ) that you are consuming.

Hormones     now this is not my forte but I guarantee you that hormones have a bigger impact on our bodies & how we are feeling than we realise.  

And to top it off, the things I mentioned above are all intertwined, can have an affect on & react to each other! 

So, what should you ask yourself? Yep, ask yourself the obvious but this time really listen to what your body is saying in response.  

Do your muscles feel tight? Those around your neck & shoulders, your back, your hips. Move them around and notice how they move, how do you feel when you move? Are you wearing your shoulders as earrings .. do you need to intentionally relax them down? 

Do you feel tired, exhausted or are you full of energy? How did you sleep last night? How did you feel when you woke up? Are you walking with a spring in your step or are you dragging your feet hoping that the coffee kicks in soon?

Too many questions?! OK, here’s a super simple way to think about it .. 

Traffic lights

Green              This one is really self explanatory. You feel good to go! You are getting decent sleep and feel that you have energy to burn. Your body feels “light” and ready for movement. It could do with a few “tweaks” but overall you are feeling good. 

Amber              Things can get a little murky here. You feel OK-ish. You might have a few niggles here & there but you feel that when you get going you’ll be OK. Most of us

operate in this Amber light range. Start asking questions and listen a little closer to what your body is saying.

Are you feeling tired but you’re not overly tired or exhausted and you know you’ll be OK once you start going. It might be you’ve had a late night or two or you’ve eaten a little off track the last day. 

Delve a little deeper into why you are feeling this way .. i

s it time for a rest day from training or an early night? You could need to do something a little different to your normal.

Be mindful here that if you push too much when you should be backing off, you could find yourself at the Red traffic light … 

Red                   Woah there! You may have pain and discomfort. If this is what your body is saying to you right now, it’s time to listen because it’s trying to tell you something! 

Do you feel like you could curl up in bed and sleep for 3 days? Your body is definitely trying to tell you something now and pushing yourself because you “have to” may not be the best option! 

What do you feel like you need right now? If you feel you need something specific, then I suggest you might need to make that a priority!

If this is how you feel on the regular, then I suggest you start to look at a couple of the factors that I mentioned above … stress, sleep, food, hormones … is there something that might need some extra attention because your body certainly needs it if this is how you are feeling! 

How are you feeling right now? Are you green, amber or red?

As I mentioned above, it’s not always easy to work out how you are feeling & listening to your body. 

Take the time to become the expert in your own body, it will be worth it! 

Would you like to chat to me a bit more about how to listen to your body? Send me a quick email to book in for a FREE 20 minute “no sweat” session where to can run your concerns by me … vicki@ascenthealthandfitness.com.au

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Strength Training – the Basics https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au/2018/08/strength-training-the-basics/ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 07:11:25 +0000 https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au/?p=4008 Strength training is one of my favourite ways of training. I love to feel strong! Resistance training is also one of the best ways to improve your health & fitness. That being said, any form of exercise that you will do consistently is the one that I recommend first & foremost! If you haven’t done

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Strength training is one of my favourite ways of training. I love to feel strong! Resistance training is also one of the best ways to improve your health & fitness. That being said, any form of exercise that you will do consistently is the one that I recommend first & foremost!

If you haven’t done any type of strength training before then this will help you get the basics down.

If you haven’t done any type of exercise before or there is anything you are concerned about with your health it is a good idea to have a quick chat with your health professional just to give you the all clear.

What is Strength Training?

Put simply strength training is a form of exercise where you train your muscles using resistance. The resistance may be from weights, bands, machines or body weight.

What are the Benefits of Strength Training?

There are so many benefits to strength training and it could be a whole other blog post. In fact, I have done one about why you need to be strength training as a woman over 40 .. check out the link below.

In the meantime, here are the basic benefits of strength training.

  • Increase in muscle mass, strength, power & endurance
  • Reduce the risk of certain illnesses & disease
  • Improved metabolism
  • Minimise weight gain
  • Reduce the risk of injury & some back & joint pain
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Improved self confidence

I absolutely recommend strength training for everyone .. of every age. However, as we age, strength training becomes even more important in keeping us strong & mobile.

Find out more in this post about why, as a woman, strength training is super important especially when you pass the magical 40 years of age.

How often should you strength train?

OK, this all comes down to you and your goals .. and how much time you are willing to commit to your training.

At the most basic level I recommend that you do some form of strength training once per week. this session should be a focused full body session to ensure that you are working all your muscles. The session doesn’t need to take hours. Using big compound exercises you can do an effective workout in 30 minutes. You won’t be waffling around resting, taking selfies .. you will be resting as needed and getting on with it.

Many of my clients can only commit to training with me once per week and this is how I design their sessions to get maximum benefit for them.

As you become stronger and more experienced you may find that your goals change, you may decide that you really like the way your body feels, or the changes that are happening within your body and would like to increase the number of sessions you do each week.

Anywhere from 3 – 5 sessions each week is completely normal provided that you are incorporating the right training structures & rest days into your program.

Again, this all depends on you, your goals and how much time you can commit to your workouts each week.

What to do

Warm Up     Ideally a minimum of 5 minutes getting your heart rate up and blood circulating. The idea is to warm up your muscles & joints and in particular the ones that you will be working during the workout. I prefer dynamic warm up, mobilisation & activation exercises to make sure the muscles are ready to work!

Start with the basics     Your workout does not need to include super complex exercises. When you are just starting out, a full body workout is a perfect efficient & effective choice.

It’s not necessary to spend hours in the gym or doing a workout when you can cover the majority of your large muscle groups & multiple joints by performing a number of compound exercises.

Challenge yourself     You won’t build muscle & get stronger if you don’t challenge yourself. Work with a weight or level of body weight exercise that is tough but you can complete almost all the reps without compromising technique. Gradually increase the weight you are using or increasing the difficulty of the body weight exercises as you become stronger. Again, great technique is really important to ensure you are using the right muscles & getting the most benefit.

Warm down & stretch     Gently stretch the muscles you have been using. Some people find that this helps with DOMS ( delayed onset muscle soreness ) the next day or so after the workout. I find that it helps to relax the muscles after they have been working.

Some Notes for Beginners

When starting out strength training it can be a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to start with the most complex exercises .. in fact, I strongly recommend that you don’t! I’ve been training for years & I still revert back to the basics regularly & build from there especially when I’ve had a break away from training for whatever reason.

Starting off doing body weight exercises will give you a chance to see how your body reacts to strength training. You can still do a great workout & see tremendous benefit from body weight training!

Have a read through this post here for some more hints & tips to get started weight training.

If you’re keen to check out a full body strength training workout for beginners, find one here. It’s body weight, no equipment and you can do it anywhere, anytime! Really there’s no excuses!

As you progress with strength training there’s so many different ways to become fitter & stronger. There are many different types of training that you can do, and many different ways to vary your training.

As you become stronger you will need to challenge yourself with heavier weights, higher intensity, different rep counts ( the number of times you do the exercise ), different exercises, shorter or longer rest periods so that you keep reaping the benefits of strength training.

You may even decide to split your training so that you exercise different body parts at different times throughout the week. This then becomes a whole other story and so much more complex! But if this is what blows your hair back and you are seeing the benefits then I say go for it my friend!

As I said above, I absolutely recommend doing some form of strength training session at least once per week. No, you don’t need to consult a personal training or be a member of a gym. Once of the great things about strength training is that you can use your own body weight and do a workout anywhere, anytime.

What I will say though, is to make certain that you are completing the exercises correctly to avoid injury and for them to be the most effective.

If you are ever unsure get yourself to a fitness professional and learn correct techniques .. you will get better results .. faster by doing it right.

Do you have any questions about strength training, how it could benefit you or even how I can help you get started or take the next step? Please feel free to email me vicki@ascenthealthandfitness.com.au

Enjoy your training!

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I tried natural deodorants .. here’s what I thought https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au/2018/07/i-tried-natural-deodorants-heres-what-i-thought/ Mon, 02 Jul 2018 02:20:21 +0000 https://www.ascenthealthandfitness.com.au/?p=3964 Have you tried any of the natural deodorants that are available? Or are you like my kids and quickly turn their nose up? They absolutely don’t like the thought of the “cream” that they rub on their pits.  I am always on the look out for something new to try especially if there is supposed

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Have you tried any of the natural deodorants that are available? Or are you like my kids and quickly turn their nose up? They absolutely don’t like the thought of the “cream” that they rub on their pits. 

I am always on the look out for something new to try especially if there is supposed to be less toxic / chemical / unnatural substances going into my body. 

Admittedly, I have only tried 2 .. I know there are others but these 2 have been the most readily available to me and seem to be quite popular. I purchased both of these products myself to try for myself so that I can share with my clients, they have not been gifted. 

Ascent Health & Fitness

No Pong ( available at www.nourishedlife.com.au/natural-deodorant/865390/no-pong-all-natural-anti-odourant.html )

I tried the bicarb free version. Some people are sensitive to bicarb. I am not aware that I am but I just thought I would try this one. It’s also low fragrance for those that may be sensitive to fragrances .. It is going on our armpits and the skin there can be a little delicate as we all know! 

I gotta say, it doesn’t look pretty and it does have only a light fragrance. I found it quite smooth when rubbing on ( ** note that to apply these deodorants .. as they are a paste .. you need to get in there and use your fingers to rub in your pits ** )

I didn’t mind it. Bear in mind that these natural deodorants are not anti-perspirant so you kind of need to be OK with getting a bit “wet” under the arms especially when it’s warm or doing workout. Anti-perspirants work by blocking your sweat ducts with an aluminium based compound to stop you from perspiring .. the idea behind the natural is to get you away from the chemicals going on and into your skin. 

Personally, I don’t feel like I stayed as smell-less (??) as the other one I tried. Maybe I’m super stinky??  

Axilla by Black Chicken ( available at www.nourishedlife.com.au/natural-deodorant/21636/black-chicken-remedies-axilla-deodorant-paste.html )

As with No Pong, this is a paste you need to get your fingers into and rub on. I found it a bit thicker & creamier and you need to warm it up a little before you attempt to rub it on. I love the fragrance too .. nice & fresh. Kind of lemongrass-y which I really like. This one also was not bicarb free, but I didn’t seem to have any reactions to it. 

As with No Pong, it’s not anti-perspirant so you need to be comfortable getting a little “wet” under the arms when it’s warm or  during a workout. 

Overall, for application, feel & smell, I preferred the Axilla by Black Chicken. That being said they both have some great reviews. Entirely personal preference! 

Obviously every body is different so the way these deodorants will react to your body will more than likely be entirely different to the way it reacts on my body. It will also depend on whether you smell like roses or .. well, you don’t smell like roses. I wouldn’t say I’m a heavy, smelly sweater but I can certainly work up a sweat in the heat! 

Now, let it be noted I also haven’t tried these in the heat of summer. Queensland summers can certainly be warm & humid and as much as I love the warm & humidity really doesn’t bother me, I don’t really want to have to swim my way around the studio while I’m training clients because I am a bit whiffy and I have sweat pouring from my armpits ( God, that sounds rather distasteful doesn’t it! ). Reality I’m afraid. 

There is another one I’ve heard about that has good reviews and it comes in a stick form to “roll on” .. it can be ordered online. I’ve yet to order it but would really like to give it a go.

As a replacement for regular deodorant, I don’t think I’ll be a complete convert just yet. However, I will definitely use them interchangeably .. if I know I’ve got an intense workout or a run when I know I’ll be sparkling up a storm I think I’ll stick to regular for the moment. In winter, on cooler days or days I won’t be training as intensely I’ll give the natural one a run. 

Both No Pong & Axilla by Black Chicken are available to me locally and you can also buy them online. I’ve put the links above for you to check them out. 

Remember that these are my personal opinions and thoughts and as I said every body is different and reacts in different ways … you may have the complete opposite thoughts to me! 

If you have tried any .. which do you recommend?

 

 

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