This is a great little recipe for when you want to whip up some healthy muffins but don't have time to run to the shops - it's quite likely you've got all the ingredients you need in the pantry already!
Great for the school lunchbox or pop one in your handbag and take to work for a healthy snack.
They freeze beautifully, if they make it to the freezer :)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil (I used coconut)
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup sultanas
1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tray.
2. In a large bowl mix sugar, milk, egg and oil. Then stir in carrot and sultanas.
3. Add flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir until just combined. Don't over mix.
4. Spoon into prepared muffin tray and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes (I did 16 mins in a fan-forced oven).
Tip: instead of carrot & sultanas you can try these other combinations:
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 2 ripe mashed bananas
- 1 cup grated apples + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Talk to yourself like you would someone you love ❤
Would you say to a loved one: "you have the smallest boobs ever", "you'll never be good at that", "your freckles are ugly", "you're pathetic", "you're so fat", "I hate you".
Of course not!!! So don't let any of that negativity float your way either.
There will never be another you. And you have complete power to do as much or as little with this life as you choose. Don't waste it being hard on yourself.
Too many people overvalue the things they perceive to be bad about themselves and undervalue the good. Ask a loved one what they like about you; you might be surprised.
“You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.” - Yogi Bhajan
Hill sprints weren't always my thing. I used to love a good long (flat thanks) run on a Sunday morning. But since becoming a mum, the need for super quick fat burning workouts has risen exponentially. Who has time for long slow (and let's face it, boring if you're on a treadmill!) cardio these days?
Not only will hill sprints give you great legs, they are super effective at helping you develop a strong, flat and toned tummy! Boost your metabolism and say goodbye to the muffin top.
Top 3 reasons to add hill sprints into your training:
1- Gets your workout done quicker
Your time is valuable! You can get an awesome fat burning workout done in 10-15 minutes of sprint training, so why put up with long boring cardio slog sessions? You only need 60 seconds of intense exercise (i.e. sprint) to start burning fat!
2- It's fun (no, really!)
Do you remember the last time you ran as fast as you could? It's like being a kid again! Try adding some sprints the next time you're out for a walk - pick a spot up ahead and don't stop until you get there!
3- Improves your distance running
Do you have a running event coming up? Maybe a half marathon, marathon or even a 5km run? Start adding sprint training now! Sprinting naturally increases the body’s endurance strength, making longer cardio sessions easier. Through sprint workouts, you teach your body to increase its ability to store oxygen, which helps the muscles function in all forms of exercise, especially endurance events like running races.
WITH OUR demanding work schedules, health issues, family obligations, worrying about the kids and paying the bills, it's impossible to avoid stress. But how well is your body coping with that stress?
Scientists from The University of Basel in Switzerland and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden analysed the fitness levels, cardiovascular risk factors (including blood pressure, BMI and cholesterol) and self-reported stress levels of nearly 200 working people to identify possible links between fitness, health, and stress.
The study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, found that those who were stressed out were more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. No surprise there. However, the cardiovascular risk factors were lower in stressed workers who were physically fit.
“Above all, these findings are significant because it is precisely when people are stressed that they tend to engage in physical activity less often,” study co-author Markus Gerber of University of Basel said in a statement.
The physical benefits of exercise — improving physical condition and fighting disease — have long been established, and physicians always encourage staying physically active.
When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels that impact. Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilise mood, improve sleep (which in turn reduces stress) and improve self-esteem. As little as five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
Ok, who's up for a workout...?
Warming up before a workout is a must. This ensures your body (and brain) is ready for the workout, meaning you can push yourself harder and won't put yourself at risk of injury.
A light jog is good, as are low level variations of what you'll be doing in your main workout. But sometimes you don't feel like running, or perhaps you're in a small indoor space and don't have the room. So what do you do?
You don't need fancy equipment. In fact, you don't need any. Here are some examples of warm up exercises to get you ready to go. These can also be used as part of your main workout for excellent all-over body conditioning - just do them faster (but maintain good form).
Walkout to Push-up
Warm up tip:
If this is too advanced, lose the push up and walkout to a plank position only, then walk back up to standing. Alternatively you could do the push-up on your knees.
Main workout tip:
Use this in a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout - do as many reps as you can, as fast as you can in 20 seconds. Break for 10 seconds. Repeat x 3. Add intensity by doing more than 1 push-up and/or placing your feet together rather than hip-width apart.
Warm up tip:
If this is too advanced, stay on your heels instead of pushing up onto your toes. You can also do the move slower and just touch the ground with one hand.
Main workout tip:
Use this in a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout - do as many reps as fast as you can in 20 seconds. Break for 10 seconds. Repeat x 3. Add intensity by jumping off the ground instead of pushing up onto toes.
Looking for a light, refreshing salad you can throw together in minutes? This is it!
The great thing about this salad is you can substitue pretty much everything for anything else that's in your fridge/pantry and it still comes out a winner - sub ideas below.
Pop all ingredients into a generous size bowl, find a nice place to sit down and enjoy!
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (any colour). For super easy quinoa cooking instructions, see below
6 fresh mint leaves roughly chopped (or a handful of baby spinach)
seeds of 1/2 pomegranate (or 1/2 a grated fresh apple)
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (or almonds/pine nuts). Take it to another level? Toast the nuts!
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds (any colour)
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
1 teaspoon dried cranberries (or raisins/sultanas)
season with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a few grinds of black pepper
Need more protein? Add a boiled egg or some baked skinless chicken :)
Quinoa cooking instructions for people who can't cook
Yep, I'm not the best cook (probably why I like salads). However, I've found an absolutely fail-safe way to make quinoa perfectly EVERY TIME. No joke. So here it goes:
Measure out 1 cup quinoa (or any amount you want i.e 3/4 cup) into a sieve. Wash quinoa thoroughly under cold water.
Put washed quinoa into saucepan.
Boil jug and measure out amount of boiling water (into the same object you used to measure the quinoa) that is slightly less than the amount of quinoa you used i.e 2 centimetres under the full amount of the 1 cup. Add boiling water to saucepan. Swirl quinoa around so it's not in a clump in the water).
Set heat to High.
Cover quinoa and boiling water with lid immediately.
Once water starts to boil, reduce heat to low (simmer: so you can just see little bubbles). Leave lid on.
In about 5-6 minutes lift up the lid to see how you're going. You want all the water to be evaporated and the quinoa just starting to stick to the base of the saucepan. If you're not there yet, stir the quinoa with a fork and put the lid back on until you're at that stage (probably only a minute or so, happens quickly).
Once all water evaporated, turn off heat, take off lid and stir with a fork. Put lid back on for 1-2 minutes. The longer you leave the lid on, the more cooked the quinoa will be.. so if you like it a bit softer, leave longer, or crunchier, leave shorter.
After 1-2 minutes turn out onto a plate to stop the cooking process. Fluff with a fork. Done :)
Are you desperately wanting to make a change to your health and fitness, but every time you start, you seem to give up almost immediately?
Do you wake up Monday morning saying ‘THAT’S IT, today it’s no coffee, no wine, no sugar, all macros will be calculated to the gram, minimum 2 hours exercise, must lose at least 0.5kgs’.
You put so much pressure on yourself, it’s all you can think about. And when you don’t manage to achieve the (unrealistic) goals you’ve set, you get frustrated. And a bit down. And then have a wine, or maybe two, and some late night snacks. And then what’s the point. So you give up. Again.
The thing is, we all have bad days. Don’t dwell on it. Give yourself a break and start with small manageable steps.
If you have a bad day, wipe the slate clean tomorrow – put it behind you and continue to move forward.
You don’t need to make enormous changes on day 1. You just need to be consistently trying to do the best you can. Continuous tiny steps forward each day over a period of time all add up :)
This beetroot hummus is such a vibrant colour - tasty and full of goodness, you can whip it up in no time!
Brilliant as a quick healthy snack - dip vege sticks in it, spread it on pizza bases, replace it for butter on your sandwich or just eat it all on it's own! :)
High in immune-boosting vitamin C, fibre and essential minerals, beets have been gaining in popularity as a new superfood due to recent studies claiming that beets and beetroot juice can improve athletic performance, lower blood pressure and increase blood flow.
1 and 1/2 raw beetroot (small) peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove
150g tinned chickpeas drained and rinsed
juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
4 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Throw everything in the food processor and blend to a thick and creamy consistency. Enjoy! x
Are you overweight, exhausted, stressed or just plain stuck in a rut?
I don't want to sound dramatic, but you can literally change your life today.
Yes, there's a combination of lifestyle factors that once implemented, will relieve all of the situations above. Eat/drink healthily, exercise regularly, rest sufficiently. But you know that. You've got the Internet. You can read. This isn't new information.
So, if you already know it, why are you stuck where you are?
Let me know if any of this rings a bell. I've been 20kg overweight. It wasn't fun. It didn't feel good. I had no energy and no motivation. I felt embarrassed, uncomfortable, unattractive, but mostly, disappointed... with myself. I was a smart girl - why couldn't I just get my sh*t together and drop the weight?
Well, because I thought like a lazy fat slob (I can say that because it was me and it was true). Every thought I had that could have contributed to me losing weight, was negative. What I thought determined what I said, what I did and how I acted.
For example: I thought, 'I'm useless at sport'. So when a friend asks if I wanted to join their social netball team I said 'no thanks, I'm cr*p at sport'. So while they have fun running around the court Thursday nights (because who cares if you're not the best netball player in the world, it's just a bit of fun and exercise), I sat at home watching a movie and eating peanut M&Ms.
The thing is, you don't have to have incredible willpower. You don't have to be athletic. You don't have to have $800 worth of groceries so you can make medjool date almond quinoa & organic chocolate coconut encrusted bliss balls. You just have to think positive.
If you just rolled your eyes reading that last sentence, I am talking directly to you. Whatever you think to yourself you will say to yourself and you will do. Nothing will change if you don't.
For example, replay scenario above. When asked to play netball think 'yes, I'm the kind of person who likes to have a go'. Because you do want to be that person. So you say yes. And off you go. If when you get home your flatmate says they're off to Macdonalds, can they pick you up a burger, you think 'that stuff makes me feel gross'. Because it does. So you say 'no thanks, I'm going to make some dinner'. So you have a nice healthy dinner. And you feel good about it. And you sleep like a baby and wake up feeling positive about the next day.
Try this for yourself for one day. Come on, one day - it doesn't cost you anything, you don't need spare time and you dont need fancy equipment. Try it.
Think positive. Think like the person you want to be. Talk like the person you want to be. Act like the person you want to be...
And you will.
You’re pregnant - congratulations! You’re thrilled, possibly nervous and suddenly acutely aware that you’re not the only one you need to take care of now.
Like many other expectant mothers, you’ve probably already hit up your good pal Google for advice. What started out as a quick glance has turned into 36 hours of intense scouring through amusing blogs, widely varied opinions and a whole lot of information on subjects you were completely unaware of until right now. Yikes.
But don’t despair. It is possible to exercise throughout pregnancy - and feel good doing it! From relieving aches and pains to boosting energy, increasing your sense of well-being and preparing your body for labour and childbirth, the list of exercise benefits go on. Simply, the better you look after yourself, the easier your pregnancy will be.
Where to start? Stop comparing yourself.
Easier said than done, I know. The truth is – bodies react differently to pregnancy. Some women will run 5kms a day and appear to gain no weight whatsoever, other than that bowling ball up their shirt. Others will hover nauseously by the bathroom for weeks and swear their body has been overrun by a gang of unruly marshmallows. The important thing to remember is, this is your pregnancy. Not your friend’s. Not your Mum’s. Not your sister-in-law’s. Do what works for you and makes you feel good.
8 basic rules for safe exercise when pregnant:
Yes, you need to take extra precautions when exercising while pregnant, but this doesn’t mean stop everything you’re doing, lie down and have some cake. The rules:
1. Get the all-clear from your health professional (especially important if you’re new to exercise)
2. Avoid dangerous sports
3. Warm up/cool down
4. Drink plenty of water
5. Don’t lie flat on your back after the first trimester
6. Don’t overdo it/get overheated
7. Get up from the floor slowly
8. Be aware of movements to avoid (jerking, closed twisting, high impact, quick changes in direction etc)
The thing is, you’re pregnant – not broken.
Low impact exercises are brilliant and certainly easier to keep up throughout your pregnancy – swimming, yoga, stationary cycling and walking are all great. However, if you’ve been exercising consistently prior to becoming pregnant, chances are you’ll be fine to continue your usual exercise regime with a few modifications (slower pace, lighter weights, avoiding certain movements etc).
If your usual workout is kick boxing, obviously bigger changes need to be made. Check with your doctor what’s appropriate for you.
So go on, take care of yourself – you’ll be glad you did.
Amanda is a registered personal trainer and certified boxing instructor who specialises in fitness for women. Her goal is to inspire women of all ages to enjoy living an active, healthy life!
As a Mum of an active boy and baby girl and owner of Perth-based personal training company She’s a Knockout, Amanda is dedicated to empowering women to be fit, strong and confident in themselves.