Fitness Reads of the Week

There really are SO many great fitness stories, blogs and discussions out there on the World Wide Web, and each week I hope to bring you some of the content I found most useful, entertaining and motivating.

I’ve posted four of my favs below, but you can always check out my Best Fitness Reads here

1) 23 Things That Inevitably Happen When You Start Getting Into Shape

Buzzfeed can really do no wrong, in my opinion anyway!

This article is hilariously accurate, and really does make you think about all the benefits of exercising and getting into shape.

I certainly am guilty of number 17, number 16 couldn’t be more truthful and number 23, well

2) What is the most accurate fitness gadget?

This is often a question I ask myself as I’m jogging past other runners who are kitted up with all sorts of wizz-bang technology. I for one can’t stand having anything attached to me when I’m sweating it out/struggling to breath, but I am always interested in finding out what I should be using.

Turns out some of these gadgets aren’t as accurate as they claim to be!

3) Virtual fitness classes threaten gyms

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Who’s ever completed a workout session straight from YouTube? Me too, I actually do it quite often (Jillian Michaels’ workouts are one of my favorites_. The question as to whether online fitness will threaten gyms is questioned in this article, which I find really interesting.

The simplicity these days to film a workout, upload it to YouTube or to a personal blog or website allows fitness coaches and personal trainers to reach a much greater audience than any gym class ever could.

I am a member of a gym at the moment, but will I need to be in the future?

4) 75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out For A Run

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I honestly could think of 75 more, but this is so hilariously true that you simply need to read it – particularly the argument about the pizza and the salad…

I’ll say no more, just check it out.

 

10 weeks to go

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Today I received an email informing me that there were just 10 weeks to go until this year’s City to Surf – which I found TERRIFYING.

10 weeks. TEN weeks! That’s just over two months! That’s not even that far away!! Anyway, while my response to this news was a slight overreaction to say the least, it really did kick start me into gear to get my training program sorted.

For those playing at home – below is a training program I devised with a little help from one of my personal trainer friend for my first week of training. She assures me it’s ‘intermediate’ level, which scares me a little bit, but here’s hoping it works.

WEEK ONE

MONDAY – rest day
TUESDAY – 6x1min hill sprints with slow jog down as recovery
WEDNESDAY – rest day
THURSDAY – 3 x 6min tempo intervals, with 2 min rest periods
FRIDAY – Shorter run, 25 minutes
SATURDAY – rest day
SUNDAY – 14km over extended period, walk if required

I’ll keep you posted about how this program fares this week…here’s hoping it’s not too hard!

 

It’s easy being green

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How should I put this…OK, I know. Once you get on the green smoothie bandwagon, you quite literally can’t stop. Not only are they JAM-PACKED with goodness, they also fill you up right up until lunch time and more importantly make you feel good and are healthy and delicious.

MORE importantly, they are also the PERFECT meal to have pre-run if you’re someone (like me) who can’t tolerate much before an early morning jog.

A great thing about green smoothies is that you can be creative with your ingredients. Some of my key ingredients include (but are not limited to):

Kale
Spinach
Green grapes
Avocado
Cucumber
Banana
Mango
Blueberries
Watermelon
Coconut milk
Almond milk
Coconut water
Green tea
Chia seeds

The sky is the limit with your green smoothie, but I thought I’d give you a couple of examples of my favourite mixes:

greensmoothie1

The Supergreen

Spinach
Mint leaves
Ginger
Green tea ice-blocks
Fresh lemon
Coconut water

Optional:
Supergreen powder (available from all good health food stores)

This combination is one of my favorites because it’s not too heavy, but still gives you the feeling of satisfaction. It has more of a juice consistency than that of a heavy smoothie, and the addition of ginger takes away that ‘sickly-sweet’ taste. This certainly is a good option post-run as it’s light and it’s easy and it really takes that ‘I’m SO hungry’ edge off.

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Sunday Green Boost

Spinach
Cucumber
Green Apple
Fresh ginger
Watermelon
Water
Ice

Optional: Supergreen powder

If you’re looking for something a little sweeter, then this recipe is for you. The combination of apple and watermelon is super refreshing, while you still get healthy feel from the spinach, cucumber and ginger. This mixture does not use coconut water or milk, but that can of course be added in if you prefer the taste. The Supergreen powder, which is available from health food stores and some supermarkets, is a great addition if you want to get a shot of HEALTHY – with most powders incorporating the benefits of 10 veggies per serve.

To listen or not to listen

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I have a lot of trouble running outdoors with headphone, but when I’m at the gym, I’ve got no issue.

Weird right? I guess I feel like when I’m running outdoors I need to be aware of my surroundings and aware of other runners, cars, dogs, you name in! In fact, just the other day I went for a run and had a collision with a man carrying a hot coffee, which unfortunately landed all over me!

Anyway, back to the point. I was at the gym this evening listening to some of my favourite tunes, so I thought I might share some of the songs that have got me going lately. I will warn you though, there are a few slightly embarrassing tracks on there, so this is not a totally accurate reflection of my musical tastes!

 

I don’t know if it’s my long-time love of Kasabian (see my About page and it will all make sense) but their latest track ‘eez-eh’ is just the perfect beat for the treadmill. Also, if you’re looking to really step up the pace and raise the heart rate, I really recommend either Pendulum’s ‘Witchcraft’ or the Dropkick Murphy’s ‘I’m shipping off to Boston’. The latter is perfect because for some reason when I listen to it, I feel like someone is chasing me!!

 

 

Coogee to Bondi Coastal Track

The amazing view from the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Track. Photo: http://lonelyplanet.com

The amazing view from the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Track. Photo: http://lonelyplanet.com

If you’re looking for a real challenge, then look no further than the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Track. To be honest, this track is DIFFICULT, but it’s also beautiful. I can’t think of a more spectacular view than the one you enjoy when completely this track.

My advice if you’re going to tackle this track is to test it out as a walker as the track is long (over 7km) and has a variety of obstacles including countless staircases, narrow footpaths and many, many tourists. In saying that, there are MANY runners who take on this track every day, so if you’re in an intermediate stage of your training then this certainly will put you to the test.

And since I’m being honest, I will admit that I have quite conquered the full track as a runner just year, but I’ll be sure to post an update when I do!

It's also a terrific walking track. Photo: http://sydney.com

It’s also a terrific walking track. Photo: http://sydney.com

 

Power up your brekkie

Sometimes you just need a boost…

There are some days when you’ve got a workout planned that you just need a little bit extra than your regular breakfast. While I’m a huge fan of both my mixed oats and my green smoothies, sometimes you just need a little bit extra to get through you running plans for the day.

With that in mind, let me introduce (*drum roll please), the breakfast stack! Now, although my recipe is vegetarian, these recipe can obviously include your protein of choice. I just choose to leave the meat out.

Veggie Brekkie Stack

Large field mushroom
2 thick slices of eggplant
2 large slices of zucchini
50 grams of crumbling feta
Handful of basil leaves, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic
Fresh lemon
Half a truss tomato
Handful of rocket

Optional:
2 free range eggs

Method
1. Heat oven to 180 degrees
2. Slice eggplant, zucchini, tomato and place in oven safe tray along with field mushroom (with stalk removed) and place in oven for 10-12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine feta, finely chopped basil, garlic
4. Garnish plate with rocket and then place mushroom topped with zucchini, epplant and tomato on plate.
5. Top with ricotta mixture and squeeze fresh lemon on to serve.

EGGS – this dish can be bulked up with poached eggs, which are an added protein if required.

Now, this is my favourite version of the brekkie stack but there are SO many wonderful recipes out there. One I love, but can’t lay claim to is the Veggie & Egg Tower of Power, created by My New Roots. Make sure you check out the blog post that accompanies the recipe for some of the many benefits of adding eggs into your diet.

Veggie & Egg Tower of Power. Photo: My New Roots

Veggie & Egg Tower of Power.                                                                                       Photo: My New Roots

Ingredients:
(Serves 4)

1 giant sweet potato (750g / 26 oz.)
200 grams / 7 oz. cherry tomatoes
4 generous fistfuls of baby spinach (approx. 150 grams / 5 oz.)
2 medium red onions
4 free-range, organic eggs
1 Tbsp. vinegar
ghee or coconut oil
extra virgin olive oil (optional)
sea salt & pepper
chili flakes

Method:

1. Start by caramelizing the onions. Peel and slice the onions into rounds. Heat some ghee or oil in a skillet, add onions and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally (not too often, or they will not brown) until dark, soft and sweet – approx. 30-45 minutes. Do not wash pan after use.
2. Preheat oven to 400 °F/200 °C. Slice sweet potatoes across their width into ¼”/6 mm round discs. Coat with a little ghee or oil, place in a single layer on 2 baking sheets, leaving one sheet with a little space for the tomatoes. Wash and slice tomatoes in half. Place on one baking sheet with sweet potatoes, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until everything is soft. Keep in the oven until ready to serve.
3. Once the onions, sweet potatoes and tomatoes have all finished cooking, put a shallow saucepan of water on to boil, stir in 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
4. Wash spinach, but do not spin dry, as the water will serve to steam the leaves while cooking. Add spinach to the onion pan on low heat and stir occasionally until wilted (3-4 minutes).
5. While the spinach is wilting, poach the egg (see instructions above).
6. While the eggs are poaching, assemble the plate: place 6-7 slices of roasted sweet potato on the bottom, followed by the wilted spinach and caramelized onions. Scatter the roasted tomatoes around the base with a drizzle of good olive oil. Place the poached egg on top of the stack, sprinkle with chili flakes if desired, and a generous grind of sea salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Location, location: The Bay Run

The beautiful scenery of The Bay Run. Photo: http://naturaleuphoria.com

The beautiful scenery of The Bay Run. Photo: http://naturaleuphoria.com

Since moving to Sydney’s Inner West, the Bay Run has been my go to location for a decent distance run. At just over 7km, the Bay Run is simply perfect for long-distance training as it’s a 90 per cent flat track, with just one hill at the beginning (or the end) depending on where you start.

What also makes the Bay Run one of my favourite tracks is just how beautiful it is, particularly on a bright and sunny day. There is nothing more relaxing than a nice jog around the pristine blue water, and the view of the city skyline on the Drummoyne side of the track is also stunning.

The track is also perfect for runners as it is split into pedestrian and bike lanes, which means you don’t have to listen out for those pesky bicycle bells while you’re getting into your groove.

Below and above are some of my favourite shots from the bay, as illustrated by Natural Euphoria.

The Bay Run's wide track. Photo: http://naturaleuphoria.com

The Bay Run’s wide track. Photo: http://naturaleuphoria.com