Monday, 14 April 2014

Meal Prep Monday

It's Monday. I'm one of those weird people that really like Mondays! I feel like it's a new beginning. If I had a crappy time last week it doesn't matter anymore because Monday is the start of a beautiful fresh week. It's the perfect day to get organised for the next several days ahead. Now I understand that some people won't have the time to meal prep on a Monday and might find a lazy Sunday a better option but Meal Prep Sunday doesn't quite have the same ring to it....
Anyway, let's talk about meal prepping. What is it? Is it hard? Is it boring?
Meal prepping involves cooking and storing your meals for several days so you will ultimately save time in the kitchen during the week and be less tempted to make bad food choices. Once you get the hang of meal prepping it becomes quite easy. Most of us can multitask in the kitchen anyway, so having a few more things cooking at once shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Your meals can get a little repetitive but I try to use as many different seasonings and sauces as I can and try to mix up the veg each day.
So what should a standard prep meal have? Generally a protein, complex carbohydrate and a mix of veg making around 1 cup.
You can make yourself a list of meals that you would like during the week and then you can write out your shopping list. Aim to buy in bulk for extra savings. Make sure you are also measuring your meals so you have correct portion sizes. Don't forget to have an array of plastic containers (good quality stuff that won't leak). So what should you choose?
Protein options:
        - Chicken Breasts - Boneless, Skinless         - Chicken thighs (okay for specific recipes)
        - Minced Beef – 85% lean or higher             - Minced Turkey
        - Fish – Salmon, Tuna, Prawns, firm white fish     
        - Eggs (hard boil a bunch for the week for snacks or scramble for breakkie)
        - Steak, Pork, or Sausage are all options too, but best kept to a minimum     
Vegetarian or Vegan? Try plant based proteins: 
        - Beans (black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, etc.) edamame, tofu, tempeh
- Carbohydrate options: opt for whole grain, complex carbohydrates as your fuel
        - Quinoa          - Oats          - Sweet potato          - Brown rice          - Wraps
        - Pasta             - Rice Varieties: Jasmine, Basmati, Wild Grain, Etc.
        - Buckwheat    - Amaranth   
       (there are other options as well but I just gave a 'basic' list)
- Vegetable options:
       - Spinach          - Green Beans       - Mushrooms        - Asparagus         - Broccoli        
       - Cucumber      - Zucchini              - Kale                   - Bok Choy         - Carrots
       - Red, Yellow, Orange Capsicum          - Sugar Snap Peas           - Tomatoes
Of course there are many others you can add, I like to add lots of garlic for flavour, red onion for sweetness, low fat cheese, and a mixture of nuts to salads and also for snacks. Now you have your ingredients you can choose how to cook them. Steaming the veg is a great option and poaching chicken breast in stock is great to then shred up the chicken for salads, wraps and even tacos. Keep mixing up your spices to keep things interesting.
Oats can be pre made for breakfast (overnight oats), and you can bag up your own snacks, try boiled eggs, veg sticks, nuts and dried fruit, or opt for low fat, high protein yoghurt.
Now you have your basics you can start your meal prepping journey and soon become a master meal prepper! Let me know some of your amazing meal prep recipes.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The good, the bad and the ugly

Carbs are not the enemy, but not all carbohydrates are made equal!
Let's look at good and bad carbs. "Bad" carbs are the simple carbohydrates which include sugars found in foods such as fruits and milk products and sugars added during food processing.
Refined grains such as white bread, white rice, normal pasta etc are bad carbohydrates. During the refining process, these grains are stripped of B-vitamins, fiber and certain minerals. In addition, they also have a high glycemic index (GI), negatively affecting blood sugar levels.
Other examples of bad carbohydrates include chips, cookies, sodas, bagels, cake, pastries, pancakes, soda, high fructose corn syrup and baked goods. These foods are low in nutrient density as they have little or no nutritional value and supply a large amount of calories.
According to researchers at Yale University, bad carbohydrates such as sweets and biscuits cause falls in blood sugar, affecting the part of the brain that controls impulse. This leads to a loss of self-control and a desire for unhealthy, high-calorie foods. A diet high in calories contributes to weight gain, which increases the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and other life threatening diseases.
Okay, I hear your cries of pain, these are all yummy foods! You don't have to TOTALLY eliminate them from your diet but you do need to restrict how much of these you are eating. You can also find healthier alternatives like using wholegrain instead.
Which brings us to the "Good" carbs.
Whole-grain products such as brown rice, whole-grain pasta, beans, whole wheat bread, whole oats, buckwheat, millet, whole rye, whole-grain barley and whole-grain corn are considered good carbohydrates. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are beneficial to your health. Also, they have a low glycemic index because they cause a slower change in blood sugar levels. Diets rich in high glycemic index foods cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels, thereby increasing the risk for diabetes and heart disease. By contrast, foods with a low glycemic index help you achieve a more stable blood sugar and improve weight loss and control Type 2 diabetes.
Don't forget your veg! Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, nutrients and carbohydrates. Aim for  -2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily.
Legumes such as beans, peas and lentils are high in fiber, carbohydrates and protein and low in fat.
Legumes may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer.
So don't hate on carbs, most are amazing, and a little treat now and again is absolutely okay.

Friday, 4 April 2014


Hi and welcome to the very first N.E.W Life PT blog post. Firstly thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. I have a passion for health and fitness and believe it should be one of the most important things in your life.
Focusing on your health not only benefits yourself but your loved ones around you. I believe in having a focus on being active every day. It's not necessarily all about being the fittest you can possibly be, it's not about being the best or beating any body else. I think it's best to focus on just being Active Every Day. It makes exercise far less daunting. Even if you have no idea where to start, just going for a walk has so many benefits. Lots of little things add up! Taking the stairs, parking further away from the door, walking the kids to school, a quick lap around the block etc. Exercising will get easier and you may even come to find yourself losing track of time and just enjoying a mind-clearing walk! One of the greatest benefits!
Speaking of benefits, what are some of the benefits of having a Personal Trainer help you? You will: ~Improve your overall fitness~
~Reach/maintain healthy weight~
~Have custom-made workouts~
~Increase knowledge~
~Break through plateaus~
~Increase motivation~
We all need a little help sometimes!