Archive | May, 2013

Warning! 3 Fitness Shortcuts that will Shortchange your Body

22 May


short cut

I get it! You’re a busy person…hitting the gym isn’t always first on your to-do list.

Maybe your weekdays and weekends are often booked solid. Maybe you just wrapped up a full day at work and have kids waiting for you at home.

Time constraints, project deadlines and personal obligations can keep us so busy we overlook little things that can actually make a big difference to physique, health and overall progress.

We’re all guilty of looking for ways to save time, but all the corner cutting may not be worth it.  They might seem like just  “little things”, but by quitting your workout early or skimping on nutrition, you won’t earn the biggest dividends.


Here are shortcuts that won’t help you.


1. Don’t cut your cardio short.

Who can honestly say they haven’t done this? I certainly can’t! Oh sure, shave off 3 minutes here and 7 minutes there. Its easy to look at the digitized display in front of you and think “Meh, it doesn’t really matter. Close enough to the end.”  Wrong!




Think about it : Shaving off 5-10 minutes of cardio can mean hours of missed training time.  Take those 5 minutes and add them up over weeks, months or years and you’ll see that every minute truly does count.

If you’re in a hurry, get to the gym 5 minutes earlier instead of shaving it off your treadmill or exercise time. You’ll thank yourself later for the minimal sacrifice you made today.


2. Quit snubbing a proper warm-up, stretch or cool-down




Stretching helps avoid injuries, muscle imbalance problems, chronic pain and tightness, and bone structure alignment issues later in life. Elongating your muscles after their spend so much time in flexion is a fabulous release and helps maintain muscle balance.

Remaining reasonably flexible, even as you put on mass, is good for your range of motion.

Furthermore, circulating blood via warm-ups and cool-downs is good for your muscular, cardiovascular and central nervous systems.


3.  Stop skipping your multivitamin




I’m not a huge fan of taking pills in the morning. I’m guilty of skipping my vitamin too. It only takes 3 seconds to take a multivitamin, and yet most people constantly skip it. Are we really in that much of a hurry?

I don’t care how clean your diet is. You can eat as many fruits and vegetables and clean foods to your heart’s desire, but food alone will still not be able to give a busy, active body all the nutrients it needs.

Many multivitamins contain minerals and vitamins essential for muscle recovery, brain health, proper fluid retention and sound sleep. Many products out there also contain probiotics and other ingredients that allow for healthy digestion, stronger hair and better skin.

Never forget to take your multivitamin!



shortcuts takkies













New coffee find this week!

17 May
Great find this week!

New Mokate Skinny Cappucino. Its being sold at Pick n Pay for R29.99 for a box of 10 sachets. It comes in at 63 calories, of which 10g are carbs, 1g fat, 2g protein and 2g fibre.

Its become a staple with my breakfast, and with a small sachet of “Chocolate Topping” included the box, I treat myself now and then to a sweet topping. A little chocolate now and then never hurt anyone lol.

Also, it is sweet enough that I don’t need to add sugar, which is always a bonus!

Let me know what you think 🙂


More tips and tricks to lighten up food

17 May

Yesterday I gave a few tips to lightening up the fat but not the flavour when cooking.  Here are some more 🙂


  • Add dry crispy rice cereal to muffin and brownie batters for low-calorie volume.

dry cereal

  • Sprinkle bland dishes with strong-flavoured crumble cheeses like feta and blue cheese to maximize taste with just a small amount of added fat.



  • Use toasted, rolled oats in place of nuts in some baked goods.

rolled oats


  • Make your own full-fat milk substitute : just add a little fat-free yoghurt or powdered skim milk to fat-free milk to thicken it.

fat free yoghurt


  • Add “authentic” colour to egg white-based dishes such as frittatas by adding a dash of tumeric to the egg-white mixtures.


  • Replace the mayo in tuna, egg, pasta and chicken salads with plain low-fat yoghurt, dressed up with your favourite diced veg and seasonings.
  • Coat chicken and fish with a seasoned oat, cornmeal or cornflake batter and then bake for a crispy oven-fried result.



  • Rely on freshly grated orange, lemon and lime peel zest to add tremendous flavour to food.

lemon zest


  • Swap plain youghurt for sour cream in dip recipes.  Opt for Greek yoghurt is possible, to take advantage of its naturally thick, creamy texture.
  • Season homemade mashed potatoes with fresh garlic and chicken or vegetable broth instead of butter and milk. Better yet, roast the garlic first for a more robust flavour.

roated garlic



Lighten Up!

16 May

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Try these genuis cooking-light tips to give your favourite recipes a truly healthy makeover.  Lightening up your favourite high-calorie, high-fat meals and recipes is a snap with a few tricks!


  • Toast nuts, spices and seeds to enhance their flavour. Bake nuts at 180C in a shallow pan, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.  Briefly toast spices and seeds in a hot pan, stirring until fragrant.  Add to your food.

Toasted nuts

  • Top desserts, casseroles and other dishes with shaved chocolate, shredded cheese and chopped nuts. Ingredients that are in small pieces cover more surface area so you can use less of them and still get great flavour.

Shaved chocolate

  • Rely upon fresh herbs, pungent spices, citrus juices, spicy relishes and/or hot peppers and chillis to boost flavour when cutting back on fat in recipes. Fat carries a lot of flavour so you need to replace it with strongly flavoured ingredients.


  • Cut back on oil and enhance flavour by using health-conscious cookware such as non-stick pans, griddle pans or woks, and silicon baking mats.

veggies in wok I


  • Make a large pot of homemade chicken, beef or veggie stock and freeze in ice trays. Pop out only as many cubes as you need to add wonderful flavour to your food, especially on busy days when you don’t have much time to cook.

Chicken cubes

  • Roast sliced peppers, carrots, onions and other favourite vegetables with cooking spray or a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of salt to bring out their natural sweetness.  Enjoy them as a side dish or chopped up and mixed into other recipes for added flavour and texture.

Roasted veg

  • Sautè veggies in chicken or vegetable broth instead of oil or butter. Also try using wine or fruit juice for a flavour boost. Orange juice works amazingly well!



I’ll post some more tips tomorrow 🙂  Feel free to comment if you would like to add any of our own tips.


3 Reasons to Schedule a Rest Day

14 May


When it comes to training, it can take time to find the right balance. If you regularly do intense workouts, then its possible to burn out, but if you are not consistent, you won’t see results.

The solution to the problem? Make sure your workout routine contains an easy rest day that incorporates rest…yes, REST!  Here are 3 reasons why a rest day is such a good idea.


1.  It helps your body repair itself : Exercise can cause tiny tears in your muscles, and rest is what will help the muscles recover, rebuild and become stronger. Make sure you give your body ample time to repair and replenish energy every week to avoid injury and overuse.

Personally, I take 2 rest days a week. I also make sure I never work the same muscle groups 2 days in a row and always have a whey protein shake after a workout to aid in the repair of muscle tears.

evox whey



2.  You’ll help prevent injury : That nagging pain in your ankle can become a full-blown chronic injury if you refuse to take time off from your intense workout routine. Make sure you ice and rest your body regularly, especially when you feel a possible injury coming on.

I went through a stage where I was stubborn and wouldn’t rest, because I was scared that I would lose momentum.  But that caused further injury and I was then forced to stop workouts for 2 weeks! So listen to your body and rest. But also be aware of when it is a real injury or if you’re just being lazy lol.

ice pack



3.  It helps your mentally.  It can be hard to stick with a routine, especially if you are burnt out. And while exercise is one of the best ways to lift your mood, feeling guilty when you’ve missed a workout and stressing over whether or not you’ve worked out enough can be major demotivators.

Make a standing date for a rest day during the week so you aren’t second-guessing your decision to sleep instead of getting up to work out.

rest day


Remember, rest days are not days to eat junk. Keep your nutrition clean and you will see results faster.

Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

8 May


Logging food? Check. Regular workouts? Yes. Enough fiber to keep an army regular. Check. So you know how to lose weight!

It is frustrating though when the pounds cling, no matter how hard we try!

You Don’t Drink Enough Water water

We all know how important H2O is when it comes to shedding kilos. It helps to suppress appetite, so you’re less likely to overeat.

But that’s not all : when you are dehydrated, your kidneys can’t function properly, so the body turns to the liver for additional support. Because the liver is working so hard, more of the fat you consume is STORED rather than BURNED OFF.

You Skimp On Protein Protein

Several studies show (and my own diet) that high-protein diets results in more kilos shed.  Protein enhances the feeling of satiety and prevents you losing muscle as you lose fat.  Your body expends more energy to metabolize protein than carbs or fat 🙂  So higher-protein diets make you burn slightly more calories.

How much protein do I need a day? It depends on your weight, but most women should get 40 to 80 grams.  To accomplish that, have yoghurt, eggs, lean poultry or fish, beans, lentils, or almonds. Even protein shakes are great!

You Sit at a Desk All Day Desk worker

I log a solid workout almost every day, but outside of that, my time is mostly sitting infront of a computer.

Getting up and walking for just 2 minutes during each of those hours burns an additional 59 calories a day.  Experts recommend setting at timer on the computer to remind you to move every hour 🙂

You Work Out Regularly Working out

How can an exercise routine make you gain? For starters, people tend to eat more when they work out, either because they feel they’ve earned it or because they are overestimating how much they have burned.  This is especially true in the early stages of a fitness program, when your body is getting used to the decrease in calories consumed and increase in calories burned.

We need to also consume more water, but we forget that we will carry more water weight.  So instead of stressing about what the scale says, simply keep logging your food to ensure you are not over-eating and continue to take in water everyday. So stay active, well-hydrated and off the scale!