Wonder Woman Fitness

Posts Tagged ‘motivation

Secrets to Weight loss Is there such a thing? With so many diet plans out there surely some of them have to be right, right? Well to be honest most of the diets are out there are money making schemes and make money they do. In America it was estimated that the weight loss industry would make around $68 billion in 2010, through meal replacements, diet pills, diet plans and programs etc and not to mention the amount people spend on gym memberships they never use or home fitness equipment (don’t get me started on that). So how do we lose weight, burn fat and more importantly keep it off and keep active?

I have put together some simple guidelines that I think may help you. If I am honest it is not rocket science it’s about balance and knowing what to do, I am sure I will not tell you anything new but I may be able to iron out some issues.

life, exercise and diet balance

Its all about finding a balance

As the picture states its all about the right balance, from exercise to the food you consume. I have read a lot of diets and fitness plans over the years like most of us have. Read my 6 guidelines and see where the results take you.

• Smaller more frequent meals: Sometimes having 3 main meals (i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner) can make you feel very full and sluggish. Smaller more frequent meals, every 2-3 hrs, can help maintain more stable blood sugar levels. This is one of the advantages I feel with smaller more frequent meals is that I feel I have more energy and not as sleepy (which is amazing for me). Smaller more frequent meals can help you control your weight because you may be less hungry and less likely to over eat at the next meal. Example of a typical day with smaller more frequent meals: 7 am 1 or 2 poached egg on toast, 10 am snack hummus with some raw veg, 12 noon ham and avocado salad, 3pm snack 3 oatcakes and cooked chicken, 6pm dinner lean meat served with vegetables and some brown rice.

• Cut out refined carbohydrates: There are two types of carbohydrates, the good ones and the bad ones. Refined carbohydrates are the ‘bad’ ones. The body processes this very quickly and causes a high rise in sugar levels like a high followed by a crash. Refined carbs are: In any beverage containing sugar or refined sugar including sweetened fruit juices, beer, wine (Boo!!), soft drinks and sweet tea or coffee. In Fruit, so be careful with it. Stick to berries if you are going to have fruit. Also be careful with tinned fruit as they usually contain sugar if they are covered in syrup also try and pick the tinned fruit with natural juice. Be careful with your grains and opt for the wholemeal or wholegrain version if you can. Stay away from white flour versions of things like your bagels, bread, muffins etc. White flour foods will leave you feeling bloated and heavy and possibly uncomfortable!! High sugar tasty snacks are always tempting but I don’t think I need to tell you that cakes and chocolate and all the tasty treats are not that good for you so limit yourself or if your will power is great get rid of them altogether. Just remember this, that refined carbohydrates are robbed of vital fibre, vitamins and minerals. Stick to a ‘diet’ rich in pulses, nuts, seeds, berries, vegetables, oats, whole grains and wholemeal foods. If you are looking to feel lighter and less bloated then limit the wholemeal and wholegrain foods, like pasta and bread but do not stop eating them, you need them for energy.

• Eat meals based on lean protein: Lean protein can be added to every meal and snack throughout your day, with eggs, chicken, fish, tuna, cottage cheese, feta cheese, etc. Eating more lean protein in our diet can lead to a higher metabolic rate as it requires a higher percentage of energy to process it in our bodies than carbs. It helps with muscle growth and repair and does not increase your insulin levels so having a lean protein diet can control your cravings. I regularly follow this for about a week and I always feel lighter and less bloated. I then include good carbs into my diet the following week so I am getting a good balanced diet for health and for my training.

• Limit your fruit intake: As mentioned in section 2 try and limit your fruit intake. Getting your 5 a day should be mostly from vegetables and try and stay with berries for your fruit. Fruit although very natural is full of sugary and this can hinder your weight loss plans even though you think you are eating healthily. Just as an example here are some of our favourite fruits and there sugar content: banana (5.5g) 1 teaspoon of sugar, 11g golden delicious apple 2 teaspoons of sugar, large bunch of grapes 500g nearly 8 teaspoons of sugar!!!!! Also fruit is packed with fructose which does not make you full as it does not trigger the insulin response of fullness, hence why some people can gobble a whole pack of grapes.

• Introduce interval training into your exercise regime: By mixing burst of high intensity work with low intensity periods of recovery, you’re overloading both the aerobic and anaerobic systems at the same time, getting the benefits of both aspects of training simultaneously. This type of training saves you time, it can be done in 20 – 30 minutes, it is a great way to relieve boredom and pass the training plateau, and most importantly it can help you lose weight. This is because you are challenging both training systems in your body and improving your bodies ability to burn more calories. Your adding new muscle groups to your training which speeds up your metabolism of fat, your getting an aerobic workout that burns calories, you’re pushing yourself beyond your limits, so your body is becoming a fat burning machine. But trust me when I say that interval training is hard work, sometimes uncomfortable and you never look sexy doing it but you can reap the fitness and fat loss benefits from doing it. General rules of interval training can be done on any machine in the gym or outside. Train intensely for 1 minute to 2 minutes then actively rest for 1 to 2 minutes. You are looking to feel the burn and repeat this process 4 – 10 times depending on your fitness levels. I will be adding a few interval training blogs for you to attempt soon so keep an eye out. With interval training it is also important to weight train to accompany it and get the overall lean look that you are looking for. Remember with weights try to lift heavier and use more full body movements. This will increase your fat burning efficiency and also give you a sleeker look if you use exercises for all your muscles.

• Most importantly listen to your body: This is the one I usually forget. It is important to listen to your body and not over train. Remember to stretch after your training, helps you look leaner and less sore, perhaps try yoga or pilates. Also treat yourself, this does not have to be food or alcohol based, for all your hard work maybe buy some new clothes a night out, a massage or a trip away. I always feel that if you have something to look forward to the training and the diet regime seems slightly easier. I also find that entering an event will boost your motivation and your training for example a 5k or 10k run, a walk, or even a triathlon!!! Anything that will keep you motivated, keep your training intensity up, keep your diet in check and keep you training hard will help you lose weight and burn fat.

A wee point to remember I am no saint when it comes to training or my diet. I enjoy food and red wine way too much but I also enjoy training. I understand the benefits of a good diet and a planned training session but I also like to enjoy my life and treat myself. My advice is find something you enjoy and make it part of your life, train hard, get the benefits and you will see results from all your hard work.

Any questions on diet or training leave a comment and I will get back to you

Keep active folks……………


Never give up – How to motivate yourself


 “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going” Beverley Sills


Anyone who watched the US Masters recently will have realised that it can all fall apart for the best of sportsmen/sportswomen.  It was too painful to watch, Rory McIlroy’s meltdown as the media were calling it.  So what happens when you are aiming towards something, doesn’t have to be the famous green jacket, maybe you are aiming to lose weight, to gain fitness to complete a half marathon, so what happens if you fall off the wagon? How will you stay motivated?

Rory Mcilroy 

My theory to this is a never give up attitude and set yourself goals.  I have on plenty occasions slipped up with my training by giving myself cheeky wee days off when I shouldn’t, eaten much more than I needed on my binge days and suffering from injury and illness which have all set me back.  But no matter what is thrown at me be it my troublesome achilles, my colitis or my pathetic food will power I have always stuck in and tried my best.  The reason?  Probably because I have a lifetime goal in mind and small goals to get me there, plus I secretly enjoy the pain and torture with fitness.  My goal is to complete triathlons and to be at my physical best in 2 years.  This blog is written to inspire you and help you set goals for yourself and how to stay motivated.

 “You only ever grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone” Percy Cerutty

 I will start with one of my favourite inspirational sportsman stories of all time by one of my favourite sportsmen.  Like Ali without a world heavyweight championship belt, Red Rum without the famous grand national wins, the world of motor racing without Michael Schumacher or Jack Nickalaus without the green jacket this man needed a grand national triumph to mark his already sporting greatness.  However it was not without trying.  I am of course talking about AP McCoy. The 14 time champion Jockey who has ridden more than 3000 winners, yet a Grand National win still remained out of his grasp that was until 2010.  AP McCoy claimed a famous victory that year after his 15th attempt on board Don’t Push It.  Although you may argue that it’s his job to race horses, this man was at the time 35 years old racing in a very dangerous sport where broken bones are the norm and where you have to be hard, brave and unbreakable.  It meant everything to him to win the national and he always believed in himself that he would win it but also trainers and race horse owners believed in him too or he would never have been given a mount that day.  So it took this highly talented sportsman 15 years to win the Grand National, to get his hands on that elusive prize, how’s that for not giving up! And in the words of the man himself ‘If you get enough goes at something and you keep going, once your in there you’ve always got a chance’

 Tony McCoy

Keeping motivated and sticking to an exercise and diet regime can be hard with demanding lives, exercise burn out, and illness being a few of the things that may interrupt our training programmes.  Do you feel that you work hard but don’t ever seem to get anywhere? If you are struggling with motivation it can be as simple as following a few simple rules of goal setting.  Whether it is running a 10k, losing a stone or increasing your strength, you have to figure out how you are going to reach your goals.  Goal setting is a process where you think about your ideal future, how you will achieve your results and how to motivate yourself to turn your vision into reality.  However goal setting doesn’t work if you don’t know what you precisely want to achieve.  So what is your ultimate goal?  Got one?  Then read on….

 “If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, but hard to beat” Herschel Walker

 Goal setting is used by top athletes, successful business people and achievers in all walks of life.  Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short term motivation.  It helps you to organize your time and focuses on your goal so that you can make the very best of your life.

 How to set your goal:

 Ask yourself this: Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve? Do you want to lose some weight? Or do you want good health in old age? So, what steps are you going to take to achieve this? Well……..

 First you create your ‘big picture’ of what you want to do in your life (or even over the next year, 5 years etc) and identify the large scale goals that you want to achieve.  For example by the end of next year I would like to have done some triathlons so I can call myself a triathlete lol

Then, you break this down into smaller manageable chunks and targets that you can reach.  For example I have to be able to swim the distance in a sprint triathlon comfortably, I have to buy and test the kit, I have to work on my leg strength for cycling, I have to be able to complete the transitions smoothly before I enter a competition etc.

Finally, once you have a plan you start working on it to achieve these goals

 “Nothing will work unless you do” John Wooden

 Once you have set your lifetime main goal then you need to set smaller goals to achiever your ‘big’ goal.  Create a one year plan, 6 month plan and a one month plan of progressively smaller goals that should allow you to reach your ‘big’ goal.  I actually do this every month, things I need to do to reach my goal both in my career and my training and it really helps.  If I don’t manage everything that month I just put it into next months to do list.  However I try not to have more than 5 things on this list so that my mini goals are achievable.  Sometimes you may want to do weekly and daily to do lists that will help you get closer to your dream.

Kelly Holmes

A useful way of making small goals is to do SMART goals:

 Specific or Significant goals

Measurable or Meaningful goals

Attainable or Action-orientated goals

Relevant or Rewarding goals

Time or Trackable goals

 State each goal as a positive: Express your goals positively “Work on losing 2lb this week” is a much better goal than “Stop eating cake”

Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts that you have to do and try and measure them.  Keep a diary, jot everything down and when you have reached a certain goal you will feel complete satisfaction from achieving it.

Set priorities: When you have several goals, give each a priority of importance.  This helps you to avoid being overwhelmed with too much to do and helps direct your attention.

Keep small goals small: Keep the low level goals that you are working towards small and achievable.  If a goal is too large then it can seem that you will never achieve your small goals never mind your ‘big’ goal.  Plus if your gaols are small and achievable = more rewards for you.

Only set goals that you have as much control over as possible.  It can be quite disappointing when you fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control.

Remember don’t underestimate your ability and your determination.  You can make goals too easy as well as too hard.

 Here is an example of how my goals will hopefully pan out for me:

 2 year goal: To have completed a few triathlons and be able to call myself a traithlete

12 month goal: Be able to complete all 3 disciplines together without exhaustion

6 month goal: Increase leg strength, leg power and core strength

3 month goal: Drop 7-10kg to become lighter for racing (following a diet)

1 month goal: Be able to ride my bike without falling off, be able to swim more than 2 lengths of front crawl without passing out, sort foot injury out

1 week goal: Follow new eating plan, train 4 times this week

 So maybe use the above plan for your own goals.  Change the timescale if you wish and elaborate on how you are going to achieve each goal.  Try your hardest to stick to your goal and timescale and it will give you focus and purpose.


“Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking your potential” Liane Cardes

 So if you have a wobble like Rory McIlroy just keep going at the end of the day your end goal is all that matters if you have to take the long road to it with a few pit stops then so be it, but never stray from your dream and from your goal.

Keep active folks………………………………….


Are you a beginner to running?  Not sure where to start?  Then read on my friends…… 

If you have always walked and fancied trying a jog but think that you are not fit enough or that you don’t have the confidence, believe me you are not alone.  There are so many people who want to take that step but just have no idea how to.  Running is a natural human instinct (I must admit there are some graceful joggers out there but mostly there are ungraceful ones like myself) we know how to do it and its inexpensive, a good pair of running shoes and some comfy clothes and your sorted. 

I have encountered many people over the years who are scared to progress from walking to running.  But once they made that first scary step they found that they really enjoyed it, they loved the difference it made to their body and also to their confidence.   

I have found that one of the most effective ways to make a start to running is to enter yourself in a 5k.  Now I know that this may seem like a long distance to a beginner but in a lot of 5k’s you can easily adopt the walk-jog strategy which is ideal for beginners.  The Race For Life events are ideal and they are so much fun (sorry guys these are aimed at women but there are 5k’s out there for you!).  They are brilliant events that women of all shapes, ages, sizes and fitness levels can take part in.  My first running event was a race for life 5k almost 10 years ago and I can still remember it and I believe that, that one event motivated me to do more and I’m sure they can motivate you too.  Once you have a goal in mind, every mile of training will take you just a little step closer to it.  Every step shortens the distance between you and your dream.  You may find, as I did, that you feel the achievement and the joy from doing it, oh and remember: A four minute mile is the exact same distance as a ten minute mile J

If you are still unsure of whether to replace your walking shoes with your running shoes just take a look at the benefits: 

  • Running is 2nd to cross country skiing in burning the most calories and is one of the best ways to lose body fat.  Plus it uses all the muscles in your body, so more muscles used, more calories burnt J
  • Muscles and bones get healthier and stronger due to the demands of running, this means you are more likely to delay or avoid the effects of osteoporosis and slow down the aging process
  • Running can help lower blood pressure, strengthen lungs, boost brain power, strengthen your heart and lower your cholesterol.
  • If you are running through the woods, the street or on the treadmill, when your happy hormones (endorphins to be technical) kick in everything seems to be a bit more manageable and you have a feeling that you are getting away from all the stresses of everyday life.


So I have convinced you to at least give running a try, what have you got to lose.  So here is a beginners running plan that you can use (all you need is a watch for outside or do it on a treadmill) that will break you into running gently and also it doubles as a 5k training schedule.  So by the last week you will be ready and fit enough to complete your first 5k!!! 

If with this program you do not feel ready to move onto the next week then repeat a week until you feel ready to progress.  Exercise and fitness is all about taking things steady, your training should push you but should not be too hard, and it is also about progression.  Slow and steady wins the race J 

Week Tuesday Thursday Sunday
1 20 minutes:1 minute walk – 1 minute jog 20 minutes:1 minute walk – 1 minute jog 25 minutes:1 minute walk – 1 minute jog
2 20 minutes:1 minute walk – 1 minute jog 20 minutes:1 minute walk – 1 minute jog 25 minutes:1 minute walk – 1 minute jog
3 20 minutes:90 secs walk – 90 secs jog 20 minutes:1 minute walk – 1 minute jog 25 minutes:1 minute walk – 1 minute jog
4 20 minutes:90 secs walk – 90 secs jog 20 minutes:2 minutes walk – 2 minutes jog Walk for 2 minutes then jog for 10 minutes
5 25 minutes:1 minute walk – 2 minutes jog 25 minutes:2 minutes walk – 2 minutes jog Walk for 2 minutes then jog for 12 – 15 minutes
6 25 minutes:1 minute walk – 2 minutes jog 25 minutes:1 minute walk – 2 minutes jog Walk for 2 minutes then jog for 16 – 20 minutes
7 25 minutes:1 minute walk – 3 minutes jog 30 minutes:1 minute walk – 3 minutes jog Walk for 2 minutes the jog for 21 – 25 minutes
8 35 minutes:1 minute walk – 3 minutes jog 20 minutes:2 minutes walk – 2 minutes jog Walk for 2 minutes then jog for 25 minutes

So now you can run constantly for 25 minutes, so enter that 5k and keep up with the training.  You can now proudly say “I run, therefore I am a runner”

Keep active folks…………….  🙂

Once the above program becomes too easy then why not try this.  It is suitable for a beginner,  intermediate runner and the ex-runner.  So why not try interval training, which is my favourite, as it pushes you hard and its over in about 20 minutes so it is ideal if you are prone to motivation and boredom problems 🙂 The idea of interval training is alternating sprints with recovery runs i.e 2 minutes at a fast run followed by 2 minutes at a slow jog.  This type of training at higher speeds makes your body work harder and burns up to 30% more calories to keep up with the demands plus it increases your fitness quicker. 

Try these interval training techniques:

20 minutes easy optionWarm – up for 2 minutes at a brisk walk or slow jog, then 4 x 2 minute hard running speed followed by 4 x 2 minute slower running, cool – down for 2 minutes at a slow walk.  This can be done on a treadmill or if outside use a watch or run to a marker – lamposts are great!!

30 minute intermediate option:  Warm – up for 3 minutes at a brisk walk or a slow jog, then 8 x 2 minutes of hard runnning followed by 8 x 1 minute slower running, cool – down with 3 miuntes at a slow walk. 


Well I did the great north run and absolutely loved it.  Ok so I was in pain from almost mile 1 , my hamstring and achilles ached the whole way round.  The atmosphere of this event is amazing, every runner supports another even if they don’t know you and the streets are lined with people suppporting you the whole way.  When I crossed the finish line I was exhausted and in pain but like every person who crossed that line on Sunday I was happy, I had done it!!!!

Me and my mum in our Great North Run outfits lol, well done mum x

I must thank the man who kept me going from mile 8 when I needed the extra motivation, he was dressed as Sponge Bob, but in the back of my mind I wasn’t going to get beat by someone dressed in square foam, so thank you!!!

But what I found is that this event, like many others, are not full of extra thin elite athletes.  They are full of normal people of all shapes and sizes striving to achieve their own goals.  So I would recommend this to anyone, it does not have to be a half marathon or even a run, just enter an event, this can be your goal, train for it and most of all enjoy it.

I did it in fancy dress for charity (as Robin out of Batman and Robin for help the heroes), my advice is make sure people from the sidelines know who you are, they know who you are there for, tell the world who you are, what we beleive in and why it matters.  Because when you hear your name being shouted by a stranger, in my case ‘Go on Robin’ , you will be reminded why you are there, even through the pain, why it seemed like a great idea 4 months ago.

We do these things to challenge ourselves, in memory of a loved one, for charity or for other special reasons.  All of these reasons and all of you people who enter these events deserve your moment to shine…… 🙂

Keep active folks and incase I have inspired you, you can enter the Great North Run 2011 ballot in January…. 🙂

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