A fitness app, perhaps?

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Words: Eliza Oatway

Pretty much everyone has a smart phone or tablet easily available these days and therefore have access to hundreds of fitness apps. When searching through the app store for something new to download you may be overwhelmed by the amount of apps and it can be hard to choose the right one for you. Sometimes you strike gold and find exactly what you’re looking for but often it can be a waste of time and you end up with a bunch of apps that you’ll never use. I searched through the iTunes app store and found a few fitness apps that I wanted to test out. A couple of the apps I thought were pretty good and the others, well, they had some positives but it’s unlikely that I will use them again. Here’s my analysis of the apps:

7-minute-workoutSeven minute workout: This app is pretty good. The structure is well set out and it is easy to navigate your way through the app. When the app opens up you can either start the workout straight away or alter some of the settings (how many circuits, voice of instructor, length of intervals etc.) The workout consists of twelve, 30-second exercises with 10-second breaks in-between. The exercises involve jumping jacks, wall sit, push-ups, crunches, step-ups, squats, triceps dips, plank, high knees, lunges, push-up rotation and side plank. Once you finish the workout you receive an achievement. I suppose this is a way to keep you motivated and to come back and do it again. Overall, I think it’s a good workout app if you want something that will only take a little time out of your day and you like doing these types of exercises.

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The 7 minute butt workout: I downloaded this app simply because of the title. Who doesn’t want a great looking butt? Again, this app is well set out and also easy to navigate. Before starting the workout, you can browse through the exercises and watch a video on how to do that particular exercise. That is something this app does better than the previous one because not everyone knows what ‘donkey kicks’ are or what a ‘marching hip raise’ is. This app also allows you to track your weight as you progress. I think this app is pretty great and overall gives a good workout. However, it is targeted at women.

MFPMy Fitness Pal: This app is great for people who want to track what they eat and how much they are exercising each day. It allows you to add what you ate for every meal and see how much calories, carbs, fat and protein you gained. Once you add what workout you completed it takes off how many calories you would have approximately burned. The app tracks your progress and keeps you motivated with posts of your achievements. This is app is definitely one of the better ones on the market for tracking your eating pattern. It is really simple to use and it is interesting to see how much food we actually eat in a day.

Overall, I think each of these apps have their uses and will appeal to different people. I liked My Fitness Pal the best and will probably use it again because I liked being able to track what I eat. However, it is unlikely that I will use the other two workout apps again simply because I already do those exercises at the gym. So next time you feel like downloading some fitness apps, check out the ones listed above (they’re all free) and see if you like them!

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Move to the music

2013-10-17-MusicWorkoutWords: Eliza Oatway

We all love music. It’s everywhere and most of the time we have our favourite catchy tune stuck in our head no matter how hard we try to get rid of it. I bet most of you love to listen to music while working out and have your headphones in with the volume up as loud as it can go. So maybe having the volume up super loud isn’t exactly good for your hearing but many studies have shown that listening to music actually improves people’s workouts and pushes them to go harder. It takes the focus away from the pain and stops outside distractions from interrupting your session. Negative thoughts will have no room to clutter your mind.

According to scientists at the Music in Sport Research Group at England’s Brunel University, listening to music can lower your perception of effort by as much as 10 per cent which tricks your mind into feeling less fatigued. The same study also showed that for those who exercise at a high intensity; music can improve endurance by about 15 per cent. It is also best to listen to the types of music that suits your workout and choose songs with around 120 to 140 beats per minute, which relates to the average person’s heart rate while exercising.

So put together a playlist full of your favourite songs and go outside for a run or head to the gym! See if it makes a difference for you!

How to love a morning workout

Most of us struggle to get up in the mornings, let alone waking up and going for a workout. We often go to bed with good intentions of having a productive day tomorrow but when faced with it, we would rather stay in our warm beds. So how can you change your mindset and jump out of bed ready to work up a sweat? Abigail Libers who writes for equinox.com blog has discussed this issue and highlighted five tips for getting up and out the door for a morning workout. It’s a great read and the suggestions are helpful and achievable. Check out the full post at http://q.equinox.com/articles/2014/03/morning-workouts

Here is Abigail’s article:

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There’s a reason the word ‘exercise’ is so often followed by the word ‘routine’: When it comes to fitness, we’re creatures of habit. But there is ample research to support the idea that change can bring significant benefits to your body. And you can train yourself to accept change. Yoga-averse? Cardio-phobic? You don’t have to be. See our first in this series: Yes, You Can Learn To Love A Workout. And read below for the simple ways to embrace the morning session.

Your alarm goes off and the voice in your head says, “Just five more minutes.” For the next 30 minutes, you play the snooze game until it’s official: You no longer have time to work out.

“Many of our clients complain of not being able to drag themselves out of bed in the morning,” says Amy Lao, M.S., National Manager, Equinox Fitness Training Institute. “But there’s less distraction in the morning, so once you get into a routine, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.” Plus, working out in the morning gives you an unparalleled sense of accomplishment and pumps you up for the rest of the day.

There’s also a host of health benefits to hitting the gym at the start of your day. “Exercise helps with mental acuity, making you sharper and more focused,” says Lao. Good news if you have a big meeting or project to tackle. And morning exercisers are more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day, says Lao. Read: You’ll bypass the office candy bowl. Working out in the morning also helps rev your metabolism and keeps you burning calories all day.

Night owls are not necessarily doomed. “With the right strategies, anyone can become an early riser,” says Lao. Here, her tips for learning to love a morning sweat session.

1. (Gradually) go to bed earlier
 From your ideal wake-up time, count back seven or eight hours, which is the amount sleep experts recommend to feel well-rested (and stave off problems like weight gain, diabetes and cancer). If you tend to stay up late, start going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach your ideal bedtime. In other words, don’t expect to fall asleep at 10 p.m. if you usually hit the sack at midnight. The key is to work up to your goal gradually.

2. Have a bedtime snack
 If you’re getting seven or eight hours of sleep and are still waking up tired in the morning, it could be because you have low blood sugar levels, says Angela Ginn, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Wake up with more energy by eating a tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter before you go to sleep to help stabilize your blood sugar overnight.

3. Plan your workout 
Before you go to bed, make sure everything you need for the next day is ready. Channel your inner grade school student and lay out your gym clothes. It’s also a good idea to plan your workout: Write down exactly what you want to do—whether it’s take a class or run 10 miles—so you’ll be getting up with a purpose.

4. Do not hit snooze 
Most of us set our alarms with a snooze buffer zone. Whether yours is 10 minutes or an hour, commit to giving it up and rising as soon as your alarm goes off. That way, you can spend that time actually sleeping—instead of groggily coming in out of dreams and enduring a mental battle with yourself to get up.

5. Ease into it
 In the beginning, your goal is to simply get to the gym and do something, whether it’s a little resistance training or a quick jog on the treadmill. Research shows that it’s better to work out a little consistently than go hard and fall off the wagon a few days later.

Tell me more about being vegan

 

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Words: Eliza Oatway

Photographs: Carolyn Do

A lot of people have heard of veganism, but do we actually know what that means and what that involves? For some, the answer is probably no. Before researching the topic, I knew very little about what it meant to be vegan and I was naïve about the countless food options available for those who choose a vegan diet. But a quick summary for those of you who don’t know: veganism is rejecting all animal products, including meat and dairy. A lot of people also choose to avoid wearing clothes made from animal skins such as leather, suede and wool. They also ensure that they don’t use cosmetics tested on animals. A number of celebrities, such as Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Alec Baldwin, Bill Clinton and Alicia Silverstone have adopted a vegan diet and are leading the charge against animal cruelty. But just because a few influential celebrities have turned vegan, that doesn’t mean that we should all jump on the bandwagon, as it is natural for humans to eat meat. However, there are a number of health benefits from changing to a vegan diet and there have been numerous studies that show that people who are vegan weigh typically less than meat eaters and have lower BMIs. So with that in mind, should we at least consider going vegan?

Well…tell me the benefits!

  1. Disease prevention: Choosing a healthy vegan diet has proven to reduce the risk of disease such as heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, prostate, bowel and breast cancer, macular degeneration, cataracts, arthritis and osteoporosis.
  2. Nutritional value: A vegan diet contains reduced saturated fats and more carbohydrates, fibre, magnesium, potassium, folate, antioxidants and vitamin C and E which all promote a healthier body. And despite cutting out meat from meals, legumes still provide enough protein on a daily basis for vegans.
  3. Physical benefits: Vegan eaters have typically lower BMIs and weigh less than those with a heavy meat diet. Higher energy, healthy skin, longer life span, and stronger hair and nails can also be expected of a vegan diet. Studies have also shown that those who suffer from PMS, migraines, and allergies showed less symptoms and found relief after eliminating meat and dairy.
  4. Saving animals and the environment: Many people choose to go vegan to save animals from poor living conditions and cruel treatment in those factories. By not buying and eating meat it sends a clear message and saves thousands of animals every year. The environment is also better off as growing plants uses significantly less resources than meat production. Factory farming contributes a lot more to greenhouse gas emissions than transportation does, so you’ll be helping the animals as well as the environment.

So all that sounds great, right? And I bet some of you are probably considering making a few alterations to your meat and dairy intake if not going full vegan. But one question that may be playing at the back of your mind is: will I still get to eat delicious food if I’m cutting out two major food groups? The answer is yes! There are so many alternatives readily available at most supermarkets and health shops that that you won’t feel restricted when it comes to meal time.

Fitness Fuzion talked with 19-year-old Carolyn Do who has adopted a vegan diet and photographs her favourite (and drool-worthy I might add) meals she creates and posts on her Instagram profile.

Carolyn says “I’m vegan for health and ethical reasons. I think that it’s a lifestyle that’s kinder for people, animals and the environment.”

If you want to feel inspired whilst simultaneously envious, check out her profile @yayitscarolyn to see vegan smoothies, pancakes, cheesecakes and more. There’s no denying that they look amazing but can you believe they are actually healthy and stick to vegan guidelines? Believe it.

So while I’ve slowly convinced myself and maybe a few of you that a vegan diet is beneficial, it’s not for everyone. Everyone is different and what suits one person will not work for the next. So if a vegan diet appeals to you, then that’s great! If not, then that’s okay too. And if you’re stuck in the middle like me and can’t quite give up meat and dairy entirely, well let’s just try it out for a little while and start to reduce our intake. Who knows, it might work out for us or it might not. But there’s no harm in trying!

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Five foods we should start eating

When you walk into the supermarket for your weekly shop, most people are overwhelmed by choice and are often confused as to what foods they should actually buy and eat. There are hundreds of options but what foods are really the best for us and won’t cost too much? Kayla Itsines, an Adelaide based personal trainer, has put together a list of 5 Nutrient packed, budget-friendly foods that is featured on her blog. Kayla has a huge social media following and has helped thousands of girls around the world achieve their desired Bikini Body. This post is an insightful read and teaches all of us some of the foods that Kayla considers to be the most nutrient-packed and beneficial to our health. Happy reading!
Here are Kayla’s suggestions:
There are so many natural, easily available and budget-friendly foods that are loaded with nutrients. So many in fact, that it was really hard for me to choose just 5!
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  1. Broccoli - usually referred to as the “boring” vegetable! Broccoli contains high amounts of potassium. Potassium helps to maintain a healthy nervous system and promotes muscle growth. Broccoli also contains both calcium and vitamin K which are important for healthy bones! Cooking Tip:  Steam your broccoli to help store its nutrients. When you boil vegetables, a large amount of the nutrients are lost in the water. Try dressing with a squeeze of lemon and a crack of pepper.
  2. Greek Yogurt - Greek yogurt contains something called probiotics. Probiotics improve your digestive health and keep your tummy healthy! Make sure the Greek yogurt you choose has “live and active cultures” on the label. Try adding a tablespoon of honey or a small handful of berries to your Greek yogurt for a tasty dessert alternative to keep you on track!
  3. Spinach – Spinach is a really versatile vegetable and can be eaten raw or cooked. You can add spinach into most meals or even in a smoothie. Just one cup of spinach has nearly 20% of your recommended daily requirement of fiber! Fiber helps digestion, maintain low blood sugar and curbs overeating by keeping you full for longer. Try adding some to your next smoothie, or with your morning omelette.
  4. Berries – Besides being absolutely delicious, fresh berries are an amazing source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are what help our body to protect and repair our cells, from damage made by free radicals. Our bodies are exposed to free radicals naturally through our metabolism. We can cope with SOME free radicals but an overload can cause things like arthritis, damage to the eyes and increased risk of heart disease or even certain cancers. Free radicals are often caused and increased by smoking, stress, alcohol and poor diet.
  5. Almonds - Natural, unsalted almonds are a tasty and nutritious snack. They are among the healthiest of tree nuts. Almonds contain healthy fats and protein which makes them a natural energy booster! Give them a little roast in the oven for a warm, sweeter tasting snack!

Girls on Fire

Briana Bowley and Crystal Angwin, both just 21 years old, have successfully launched their Ignite Bootcamps business over the past six months and have powered into their personal training careers. Since starting out, both girls have accomplished great health goals and are at their peak to compete in upcoming fitness model competitions. Fitness Fuzion sat down with the girls to discuss their reasons for pursuing a future in fitness and how they have achieved so much while inspiring those around them.

Why did you decide to be a personal trainer?

Briana: For me it was because I wanted to help people. The effect of health and fitness on every aspect of your life (particularly mindset) is huge and most people don’t realise this. I want to teach people about this to change lives and create an impact!

Crystal: I decided to become a personal trainer after doing PT with Briana. I was quite overweight and had put on about 30kg and was rather depressed. When I found health and fitness, I found me again and was happy. I wanted to do that for other people. I’ve always wanted to help and bring others happiness.

What training and qualifications did you have to undertake?

Briana: I’ve completed a complusory Cert 3 in Gym Instructing, Cert 4 in Master Trainer at the Australian Institute of Fitness and also CPR and Senior First Aid courses. I’ve also undertaken extras to improve my own knowledge and further educate my clients. I’ve done Advanced Ball Workshop, Cert 4 Massage Therapist, Level 1 Sports Trainer, Level 2 Advanced Strapping, Boxing for life Level 2 Accreditation, Certification of Nutrition, Filex Convention 2014 and Personal Empowerment with 12 Universal Laws.

Crystal: I’ve completed a Cert 3 and 4 in Fitness but that’s all I’ve done so far.

How has personal training impacted on your life?

Briana: How hasn’t it? It’s changed everything. I came from a very lost place and was using alcohol and partying as my way to escape. Since finding fitness I’ve found a new passion and zest for life. I’ve found my limitless potential. I JUMP out of bed every morning. It has completely changed every single aspect of my life. And the best part? I get to see the same results for my clients over and over again.

Crystal: It’s impacted everything. It’s helped me in every way of my life. I came from quite a depressing start, so everything health and fitness related has helped me open up to a positive outlook on life. I’ve realised that I don’t have to be skinny to be happy. Just need to learn to love yourself.

Why did you start your own boot camp business?

Briana: I started off as a one on one personal trainer, which is really time consuming. So the bootcamps allowed me to reach more people in less time and I really want to impact as many people as possible. When Crystal finished her certificate we thought why not? It’s a bit of fun and then we’ve just gone from there.

Crystal: We started because we had been talking about it for a while and decided to just do it. We then got a real passion for it because we were able to help heaps of people. Everyone really enjoyed it so we were able to inspire and assist as many people as possible in a short amount of time.

How did you get started?

Briana: We trialled a 5 week challenge outdoors with minimal equipment, which proved to be a huge success. So then we began 12 week challenges incorporating more coaching techniques. Then we found an indoor facility to work from and it’s just taken off.

Crystal: Briana already had a large clientele, so a lot of those people wanted to try the bootcamp because they loved her training. I also had a couple of friends who were interested and they thought why not. We started off separately and then because everyone really enjoyed it we decided to combine and have just taken off from there.

What challenges have you encountered along the way?

Briana: Money was a big one. In running our own business, we began working at a loss or just breaking even. We’ve only just begun making enough profit to ‘stay afloat’. Also motivating clients that are lacking and stopping those clients from bringing down the rest of the group. I’ve also struggled with personal beliefs like “am I good enough?” and “do I know enough?” I also had to get past the fear of speaking in front of a big group.

Crystal: Money, like Briana said. We wanted to have the equipment and the resources but obviously it takes time to acquire those things. We had to start off small and then expand as we go.

What does your day-to-day fitness program consist of?

Briana: It’s a little different at the moment due to comp-prep for a fitness modelling competition. I do 50 minutes of fasted cardio in the morning before I eat breakfast but that changes week to week. And then I do 60 to 90 minutes of weights and occasionally yoga to maintain balance. I then allow for a ‘rest’ day one to two days per week. Although, I still remain active on these days but just no formal form of exercise.

Crystal: At the moment I’m also training for a fitness modelling competition so I’m doing 60 minutes of fasted cardio in the morning. I also do 60 to 90 minutes of weights training depending on the day. But it changes week to week.

What are your favourite healthy meals?

Briana: I’m really boring. Oats with berries are probably my favourite and also steak with sweet potato. I also like protein pancakes, protein balls, and raw cheesecakes but that is on the slightly unhealthier side of things.

Crystal: I like steak and sweet potato too. Sweet potato is a godsend! I also love Greek yoghurt and almonds but that’s in moderation.

Any advice for people wanting to get fit and healthy?

Briana: Just do it. Let go of your excuses, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. You need to make your health your priority because your health is EVERYTHING.
Find a form of exercise that you genuinely love and go from there. Whether that’s weight training, cardio, dance, yoga, boxing. Just keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate. Take baby steps because something is better than nothing.

Crystal: My advice would be not to ponder on the idea and get out there and do it! Don’t think about it and just start going for a walk, buying healthier foods and don’t have junk in your cupboards that you know is going to tempt you. If you’re unmotivated try going with a friend or partner and make sure there are no excuses. Make time for you and your goals.

What are your plans for the future with your career?

Briana: I want to take a more holistic based coaching style. Also incorporate mindset, hypnosis, meditation and teaching the importance of balance. I also want to start up some seminars because the aim is to reach as many people as possible.

Crystal: Hopefully to expand the bootcamps and reach a wider group. I want to help everyone change their lifestyle and have a more positive outlook. I also want to incorporate some psychology into the training and discover why people eat the way they do. There is always an underlying reason as to why people look for comfort food.

Crystal Angwin (left) and Briana Bowley (right).

Crystal Angwin (left) and Briana Bowley (right)

Interview and photo: Eliza Oatway

Hello!

Welcome to Fitness Fuzion, a blog taking a new spin on the fitness world and bringing health and wellbeing issues to a talking point.

Each post will explore different aspects of health and fitness and how a healthy mind impacts a healthy body. We all want to be the best versions of ourselves so instead of wishing for a miracle, we should learn to be fit and fierce for our own wellbeing.

Whether we like it or not, fitness has become a huge phenomenon in recent years where body image is proving to be very important. Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook allow users to post their fabulous bodies and share their health achievements. For a lot of people, this heavily influences the way they perceive their own body. Sure, for some this has a really negative impact but for others it inspires them to achieve a fit and healthy body like the ones they admire. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what’s important? Being healthy is the ultimate goal.

With this blog, I hope to explore the fitness world and discuss everything in between. I hope to deconstruct negative thoughts and prove that everyone can be fit and healthy when they put their mind to it! I’ll be posting a range of different articles from interviews to tips and ideas for a healthier you.

I would love to hear your feedback and opinions on my posts so please jump in on the conversation and join my fitness fuzion quest!