Friday, November 26, 2010

Lets Get Fibre Active!

What if I told you there is an ingredient in certain foods that could help you reduce your risk of constipation, hemorrhoids, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, obesity, colon cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Would you be interested to know what that ingredient was?

The magic ingredient is.. FIBRE! Fibre is one of nature's great ingredients that does wonders for our body. Fibre is a virtually indigestible substance that is found mainly in the outer layers of plants. Fibre is a special type of carbohydrate that passes through the human digestive system virtually unchanged, without being broken down into nutrients. Carbohydrates constitute the main source of energy for all body functions; (ehealth MD).

Fibre has huge effects on our digestive processes since it is indigestible. There are two types of fibre that we consume, Soluble and Insoluble Fibre.
  • Soluble Fibre-is made up of polysaccharides (carbohydrates that contain three or more molecules of simple carbohydrates), and dissolves in water. It has a beneficial effect on body chemistry, such as lowering blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Insoluble Fibre-is mainly made up of plant cell walls, and it cannot be dissolved in water. It has a good laxative action.
By consuming both types of fibre our bodies reap double the benefits.
  • Fibre demands that food be more thoroughly chewed. It slows down the eating process and helps contribute to a feeling of being full, which in turn can help prevent obesity from overeating.
  • Fibre makes food more satisfying, probably because the contents of the stomach are bulkier and stay there longer.
  • Fibre slows digestion and absorption so that glucose (sugar) in food enters the bloodstream more slowly, which keeps blood sugar on a more even level.
  • Fibre is broken down in the colon     The main part of the large intestine, responsible for absorbing water and salts from the digested products of the small intestine, and passing the digested products into the rectum for removal from the body. (the main part of the large intestine) by bacteria (a process called fermentation), and the simple organic acids produced by this breakdown helps to nourish the lining of the colon.
  • These acids also provide fuel for the rest of the body, especially the liver, and may have an important role in metabolism.
So now that you know what fibre is and how it can help you, you might be wondering exactly what types of foods contain fibre and in what amounts. A good diet should contain approximately 25 to 30 grams of fibre a day. An average adult eats only half this amount. Below is a great chart which gives a list of great fibre dense foods:

List of High Fibre Foods
(The fibre count for most packaged foods can be found on the label.)

Apples with skin1 medium
Apricot3 medium
Apricots, dried5 pieces
Banana1 medium
Blueberries1 cup
Cantaloupe, cubes1 cup
Figs, dried2 medium
Grapefruit1/2 medium
Orange, navel1 medium
Peach1 medium
Peaches, dried3 pieces
Pear1 medium
Plum1 medium
Raisins1.5 oz box
Raspberries1 cup
Strawberries1 cup

Avocado (fruit)1 medium
Beets, cooked1 cup
Beet greens1 cup
Bok choy, cooked1 cup
Broccoli, cooked1 cup
Brussels sprouts1 cup
Cabbage, cooked1 cup
Carrot1 medium
Carrot, cooked1 cup
Cauliflower, cooked1 cup
Cole slaw1 cup
Collard greens, cooked1 cup
Corn, sweet1 cup
Green beans1 cup
Celery1 stalk
Kale, cooked1 cup
Onions, raw1 cup
Peas, cooked1 cup
Peppers, sweet1 cup
Pop corn, air-popped3 cups
Potato, baked w/skin1 medium
Spinach, cooked1 cup
Summer squash, cooked1 cup
Sweet potato, cooked1 cup
Swiss chard, cooked1 cup
Tomato1 medium
Winter squash, cooked1 cup
Zucchini, cooked1 cup

Bran cereal1 cup
Bread, whole wheat1 slice
Oats, rolled dry1 cup
Pasta, whole wheat1 cup
Rice, dry brown1 cup

FIBER (grams)
Almonds1 oz
Black beans, cooked1 cup
Cashews1 oz
Flax seeds3 tbs
Garbanzo beans, cooked1 cup
Kidney beans, cooked1 cup
Lentils, red cooked1 cup
Lima beans, cooked1 cup
Peanuts1 oz
Pistachio nuts1 oz
Pumpkin seeds1/4 cup
Soybeans, cooked1 cup
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup
Walnuts1 oz
(Chart taken from

Remember, if your goal is fat loss you should be eating your grain based fibres after your workouts to effectively fuel your body at the right time so it doesn't store the excess carbs as fat.

If your diet has been depleted of fibre than it is best to start slowly, over 2-4 weeks, by incorporating some of the foods in the above chart. Don't start a high-fibre diet overnight! Your goal is to consume your daily recommendation of 25-30 grams of fibre a day after those 2-4 weeks. It's important to drink more fluids when you increase the amount of fibre you eat. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day, especially when increasing your fibre intake.

I hope this post has helped shed some light on the importance that fibre plays in promoting a long and healthy life. Feel free to leave your comments or questions below!

Yours in Great Health,

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hills and Thrills

It has been a while since we have put a training video on the blog so we thought we better get to work and come up with something for you!

So what we have is a great total body workout that will incorporate your legs during a hill sprint variation and sculpt those arms with some upper body strenght exercises. Not only will you be building some great strength and definition in your arms but get a great cardio, fat burning effect, with the hill sprints! Half of the exercises are done with the versatile TRX and the other half incorporate some body weight exercises!

Enjoy the session and let us know what you thought in the comments section below!

By the way if you didn't hear how Tamara, Dr. Michelle Wright and I busted some common fitness myths on WRS then check out the playback by clicking on the WRS logo here, "Fitness Myths Busted!"

Have a great weekend!

Fitfully Yours,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is your bucket too full?

I have been suffering a bit with bloggers block these past few weeks and have been a bit stuck in the creative department. I normally have a bucket full of ideas and thoughts running around my head, but recently, it has been rather stagnant! I have thought a lot about this and about the reasons why there are times when we feel like we could explode with ideas and other times when we feel we simply have nothing to say. After much pondering, I came to the conclusion that perhaps my bucket was simply too full of negative and sad thoughts and needed emptying to make space for more positive energy. Following a death in the family and other stressful events I was left feeling a little down.

When I was young...ok, very young, my bucket was generally full of trivial thoughts regarding friends.. me.. food.. me.. fun.. me.. the beach.. me...and so on. It would fill a little with innocent and trivial stuff and then empty out before reaching the brim . As the years went by and life started throwing a few bricks at me, my bucket started getting a bit fuller and a bit more challenging to carry around. In went puberty, crazy hormones, curves, exams, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, new jobs, first home, mortgage, marriage, kids, moving countries, moving house, divorce, wrinkles, grey hair, re-marriage, new life, teenage kids....OMG! I think my cup runneth over!!

There comes a time when we must all sit still and take a long deep look at our life and a long deep look into our overflowing buckets. I am no different to any other human being who has been on this planet for a few years. I have carried around a huge amount of heavy baggage, some of which I chose to take along and some of which I was simply forced to adopt. My baggage gets very heavy at times and I have to admit that the overwhelming weight often forces me down onto my knees. Indeed, there was a time when being on my knees was becoming a permanent position and I was becoming weaker and increasingly more fearful of ever reaching a place where I would be able to stand again. I suppose I could say that I had reached rock bottom, the end of the road or whatever place you might reach before the coffin closes.

I look back on this time of my life now, not with despair, but with gratitude. I am absolutely certain that I would not be the strong person I am today had I not suffered such intense emotional rawness. Although I am also certain that it was my strength that got me through in the end. I also believe that I needed to travel the high seas before reaching calmer waters. When you fall on your face, you have two choices. You either stay there or you get up. The only difference for me was that I only had one choice and three reasons to get back on track and if you have children, you know what I mean. That was 5 years ago and I would be lieing if I said I was all better now. Some wounds take a long time to heal and some never do, but life goes on regardless and there are days when I feel totally overwhelmed with my lot, especially when my bucket is too full! However, there is one thing that I have found which always makes my wounds feel better and that is exercise and a healthy diet.
The one thing that has been consistent in my life over the years has been a daily dose of exercise. I have always found that the best medication for a troubled mind has been high intensity cardio! Yes, these legs have covered many, many miles and I thank them every day. So now, when my bucket is full and my mind refuses to absorb any new information or allow any new ideas to light up my bulb, I simply sit still for a moment...... And then I move..... I turn off my phone, shut down the computer, take off into the wilderness and I climb a mountain. Literally. There is nothing quite like a 2 or 3 hour hike uphill with a final reward of an amazing view over the world below. And there I will sit and empty out my bucket and gather a bit more strength for the journey home. I am not saying you all need to go and climb a mountain, but I think it is a good idea to empty out your buckets from time to time and to maybe use exercise as a form of therapy for your mind. If you can balance a strong mind with a strong body, your bucket will take a lot longer to fill.

Peace and strength to you all,


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Can A Qualified Trainer Really Improve Your Results?

Great research study that came out not too long ago that I thought you will all be interested in!

Supervised exercise versus non-supervised exercise for reducing weight in obese adults. Nicolaï SP et al J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2009 Mar;49(1):85-90.

This research study looked at the effects of training with supervision/instruction (ie a qualified trainer) versus “advice”

Two groups – Group one met a trainer twice a week for 4 months (as a group).
Group two received basic advice to increase physical activity and access to a fully equipped gym (any exercise they did was unsupervised).

The group with supervision lost on average 362% more fat over a 4-month period. (Total fat loss of 13.4lbs in the coached group – and only 3.7lbs in the advice only group)

Interesting side note -they made these improvements without ANY dietary advice given.

This shouldn't be a surprise to most people. For those of you who have taken part in a group training class, you may have found that you pushed yourself a little bit further than you would have had you been training alone. Another research study suggested that a person would exercise with 30% more intensity while being supervised or watched by someone else. Training in a group or with a trainer gives you that extra motivation to get one more repetition or to hold that plank a little longer than you thought you could. Just imagine the results you could get by training with 30% more intensity.

Having a qualified trainer is like having a navigator to help you get to your destination. If you were sailing on a ship and had a destination in mind but no map or plan on how to get there, chances are high that you might get lost along the way. Storms may arise to throw you off course but a great navigator can put you back on course and get you to that final destination. The trainer is your lighthouse in the fog, so to speak. Not only can they provide you with a programme that will get you the best results possible but they can also give you the proper guidance to help you to perform exercises with quality form, thus decreasing injuries.

If you are serious about changing your body – hire a coach, or get a great training partner or join a team to help you get you to your destination. Let us know about your positive experiences with a fitness coach and/or group training in the comments section below!

Yours in Health,


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kerry's Story

This is the story so far of one of my clients. Just 8 weeks ago, Kerry was addicted to diet coke, sugar and was taking anti-depressant medication. She was feeling desperate and un-happy with her body and came to me for help. We made a plan, set out some goals and got to work. Out went the diet coke, the sugar and sedentary lifestyle. In came a smart training schedule, a highly nutritious eating plan and a shift in mindset. In such a short period of time, Kerry has not only transformed her physique, she has also succesfully weaned herself off the Prozac (under careful supervision of her doctor) and replaced it with a healthy flow of endorphins and good nutrition. She is a shining example of what can be achieved with the right plan and personal determination. Here is her story in her own words...

"I had let myself go.....

At just 54 years of age, I was overweight, out of shape, pre-diabetic and on anti-depressants. I had already undergone an operation for arthritis and knew that the pain in my knee and feet would only get worse if I did not make some changes to my lifestyle. To make matters worse, I am a recovering alcoholic and although I had stopped drinking alcohol over 10 years ago, I had replaced the habit with Diet Coke and was drinking...wait for it...upto 5 ltrs a day!! I had become a Diet Coke junkie and am convinced that the aspartane and excess caffeine was most certainly contributing to my severely weak bladder. I cringe as I say this but I was having to resort to wearing incontinent pads.

I have never considered myself to be particularly ignorant, but judging by my lifestyle choices it would appear that my intelligence was being hijacked by some crazy masochistic demon!

Something big had to happen. No, something BIG had to happen! So, I sat myself down and wrote down my goals.

I wanted....To be a Confident, Strong, Sexy, Muscular, Fit and Fabulous Female!

I wanted to see just how healthy I could become and I wanted to be happy and Prozac free!

I knew that to achieve these goals I would need help. Something this big requires infrastructure, plans and substance...I needed an expert! As the saying goes, God works in mysterious ways. He brought TAMARA DAVIES and GENEVA FITNESS into my life just when I needed it the most. Who would have thought that I would have found the latest in American fitness expertise right here in Geneve. I have not looked back since!

Tamara has taught me that health is like a 3 legged stool comprising of fitness, nutrition and mindset. If one of those 3 is broken or unsteady, the stool will tip over.

Nutrition for me now is all about eating clean. No more sugar or artifically sweetened products. No processed foods or trans fats or deep fried foods. No more empty calories. I have learnt to spread my intake over 5-6 meals a day and eat protein with every meal. I eat a carb rich diet with protein in the morning and after my workouts. I strive for the 90-10% rule. Eating clean for 90% of the time and allowing myself to splurge on the remaining 10%. This means I do not feel guilty when I "go off the diet" because I am no longer on a diet. I simply eat well balanced and nutrient dense meals every day.

Fitness no longer means hours of cardio - sigh of relief! The most effective way to burn fat is to include interval training with strength training and to work hard for shorter periods of time. Tamara and Ryan have taught me to train like a man! We can work hard and get great results in a short period of time, I know I have! I train twice a week with Tamara completing an hour of Total Body strength training and twice a week with Ryan taking part in his group Metabolic classes. I also take time out in between to rest and recover.

The proper mindset ensures that I stay with the programme. It is not always easy to have the motivation to train and eat right. However, I listen to Tamara's advice and I focus on my goals. I also read up about health and fitness and become inspired by other people's success stories.

In just 8 weeks, I have reduced my overall body fat by 3%, lost 7 lbs of body fat and gained 1 lb of lean muscle. I am proud of my accomplishments. I am beginning to love the body that reflects back at me in the mirror and once my own enemy, I am now proud to say that I have become my own best friend!"

Way to go Kerry!

In Health, Peace and Strength,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Made it!! Now what?

Well, here you are! You've made it! You have finally achieved your health and fitness goal, spent hours in the gym, followed the eating programme and lost the weight! Now what? Are you now going to let out a sigh of relief and head straight for the fridge?? Absolutely NOT!

Now is the time for maintenance and for making positive decisions and healthy choices about your lifestyle.

For maximum results in any programme, it is not sufficient to simply follow the rules of healthy eating and exercise because once you stop being disciplined, the results will quickly vanish. What is really important here is the shift of mindset and the ability to maintain the results that you have achieved. Understanding who you are and how you react to certain situations will help you along the way to going the distance. After all, what we want to achieve is the ability to lead a healthy life, to get on with our day at work, rest or play without constantly going on and off a weight loss programme. There are a few simple steps that you can follow once you have arrived at your goal which will help you from slipping back into your old habits.

Staying lean and fit for the rest of your life is not simply a matter of eating the right foods and doing the right exercise. You have to start thinking right too. Staying positive about yourself and understanding what your body needs is of utmost importance. In the past you may have been prone to emotional eating which lead to weight gain or you may have found that your busy and hectic lifestyle lead to your lack of exercise. Whatever your reasons, you are no longer that person. Your body is totally dependent on your mind and your emotional state, so do your best to stay positive and nourish your soul as well as your body.

Be aware of your reactions to your emotions. What do you do when you are angry? Frustrated? Tired? or sad? Chances are, you head straight for the fridge! Start to recognise your actions and change them. Stop using food as a medication or stimulant and stay away from situations that you know are going to trip you up. Find what works for you and stick with it.

Keep reminding yourself that you are following a healthy food and exercise plan for life so that you can continue to live that life, free of disease and disability. By the time you are on a maintenance programme you should be feeling the benefits of your results. You will feel great and will hopefully want to stay there. Let your health motivate you to continue on the right path.

Food is one of the great pleasures of our lives. We can not exist without it nor do we want to. However, we often consider food to be the enemy or a guilty pleasure and this turns the idea of food into a negative one. A fit and healthy body has no place for negative thoughts so we must turn our guilt away. Stick to real food and do not deprive your body and soul of what is good and essential. This is not a green light to go off and splurge every day of the week mind you, so be mindful of quantity and balance it out with a good exercise programme.

Once you have reached maintenance, you should have a good idea of which foods work well for you. Not all healthy food is to our liking or good for us and even though organic homemade bread is delicious and nutritious, it may be contributing to that bloated stomach and weight gain. Take stock of the trigger foods which lead you to over eat and eliminate them as much as possible.

Maintaining an exercise programme that works for you will help you maintain your fitness goals. Be active every day and by this I mean, walk, cycle,swim, dance, garden, clean the doesn't matter what you do, as long as you MOVE. Continue with the strength training and group exercise classes too as these will have been an essential part of your fat loss programme and should not be ignored.

So there you have it, eat clean, move daily and stay positive ....oh yes, and SMILE....

In Peace and Health,


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Curb Your Hunger

Hey Everyone,

One of the hardest things to deal with when starting a new nutritional programme or maintaing porgress on your current programme is fighting off your cravings and your appetite. This is especially the case when the holiday season comes around and the temptation to eat large meals are at every turn. Well there is something that could help you keep control of your appetite and stick to your nutritional regimen. What is this one simple step that you can do to help?

The answer could lie in protein powders! I just finished reading a great article that explains why adding protein shakes daily can help you control your hunger. The article also ties in well with what Tamara posted below, especially with the great protein shake recipes she has included! Check out the article from our friends over at Prograde, Protein Curbs Hunger?

Our local protein powder supplier over at Melsfit has a great selection of all natural protein powders with basic ingredients and no extra colorings or flavorings. Check them out and let them know that we sent you!

Make Your Good, Better and Your Better Your Best!