Category Archives: General

Aesthetic appeal: how activewear JAGGAD came about

 

We chat with the creative director of JAGGAD Michelle Greene on how it all began and key design features that are making them stand out in the activewear market.

 

ON HOW IT ALL STARTED

I first got involved when my husband and I purchased JAGGAD along with great friends Chris and Rebecca Judd in 2013. I came on board as the creative director in 2015, when the company changed its focus from triathlon and cycling gear to athletic apparel. I work closely with our head designer Georgie Pizaro to design garments that deliver both freedom and support when and where it’s needed, and always expressed through beautiful styling. The company has grown significantly in the last 18 months with the opening of stores in Brighton and Armadale, a growing online presence and recent capsule collections with J’aton and Rebecca Judd. We are currently developing some new fabrics and shapes to broaden our offering in tights in 2018.

ON TARGET MARKETS

We design our activewear for any person engaging in an active and healthy lifestyle; we want to empower our community and have them live with confidence. We are not telling them to run faster, push harder or jump higher – instead, we are here to support them on their journey. The ability to perform in any activity in our garments is a must, whether it is going for a walk with your friends, group training, or running a marathon.

ON KEY DESIGN FEATURES

JAGGAD Power Compression is Italian made and buttery soft to wear. It has two-way stretch for increased flexibility, and fits like a second skin without being see-through, thanks to the high density fine yarn. Compression helps with improved blood flow, muscular support and rapid post-exercise recovery. JAGGAD Signature High Support printed tights have a lux appeal with a soft sheen.

We use JAGGAD Merino Tech across a range of our tops, which helps to regulate body temperature, and are moisture wicking (no odour), breathable and lightweight. The wool is a natural, biodegradable and renewable fibre.

ON LOOKIN’ GOOD

We have some really strict design pillars at JAGGAD when it comes to colour palette, prints and shapes. We also take inspiration from global fashion trends and infuse it into our design DNA. We appreciate that no two women have the exact same body shape, so we provide a variety of lengths, waistbands and fabrics throughout our range.  We only create engineered prints on our tights rather than a yardage (all over), which means we can control the placement of colours and patterns on the body to create the most flattering design. Placement of panels and lines are always designed with the aim to elongate the legs and give shape where needed. 

 

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7 days to ultimate health with Tegan Haining

 

With the help of the author of The 7 Day Quickie and personal trainer Tegan Haining, we’ve come up with an approach to the week-long kickstart. 

Haining’s book is a simple yet detailed guide to seven days of health and fitness that combines a balanced diet with a more active lifestyle.

Nourishing food and drinks

Haining says simple, nourishing food is key to incorporating good food habits into your lifestyle. Throughout the seven days, meals should be built around a palm-sized portion of protein (such as chicken, fish, organic grass-fed red meat, eggs, quinoa or tempeh), two cups of vegetables and a thumb-sized portion of healthy fats (such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado or nuts). When it comes to carbohydrates, Haining includes nutrient-dense carbohydrates in her plan but advises to add them last.

“Carbohydrates are part of The 7 Day Quickie but we have brown rice instead of white rice, sweet potato instead of potato or rye toast with almond butter instead of white toast with jam, so the general person wouldn’t feel deprived eating this way,” says Haining.

Choose your vegetables wisely by including carrots, cauliflower, beetroot or pumpkin on your plate and you get your carb hit simultaneously. To get the most out of your week, drop all processed foods, sugar (if you fancy something sweet Haining suggests low sugar fruit such as blueberries, green apples or ruby red grapefruits) and pre-packaged food.

For liquids, maximise your water intake and aim for two litres daily. For caffeine lovers, Haining says one coffee per day before 2pm is fine. But for those keen on a glass of red, the news isn’t good.

“Having a glass of wine in the evening really affects my sleep pattern because the liver often detoxes around 3am in the morning. This is when you want to be getting that rejuvenating sleep, not detoxing the glass of wine or bad food from the day before,” says Haining. “Without an evening wine, I find I wake up before my alarm clock and feel really good. So give it a try for one week and notice what it does to your morning motivation.”

Exercise smart

If you think the seven-day period of amazingness means you’ll be smashing yourself in the gym two hours every day, think again. Haining believes a balanced approach achieves the best results, including two rest days.

“The people who give themselves rest days and time to allow their lean muscle mass to develop actually become more efficient at fat burning than those constantly running on the treadmill,” says Haining. “Yes, they’re burning fat, but they’re burning muscle too, and their cortisol is very high and they’re stressed…it’s not an ideal way to get a happy life at the same time.”

Instead, factor in two days of strength or resistance training, two days of interval training and a day or two of gentle yoga stretches over the week. Instead of leg or arm days, Haining recommends whole body workouts that work the front and back for ideal posture.

“Work the front and then the back of your body so you’ve got nice posture, balance the upper and lower body exercises, work both pushing and pulling movements so we don’t get any rounded shoulder positioning that produces tightness in the chest – all of these are factors to consider,” says Haining. “Focus on a balanced, flexible and strong body – be really mindful of tightness because that’s where injury starts.”

Sleep

The importance of sleep this week (and always) cannot be underestimated. When we get less than eight hours of quality sleep, our body produces the hormone ghrelin, making us crave foods (especially sugar) and our hunger is often insatiable. On the flipside, a decent eight-hour sleep produces the hormone leptin, which increases satiety, reducing the urge to overeat.

“It’s often the most challenging thing for my clients when I talk about going to bed at 10pm. They think I’m from Mars, but it makes such a difference,” says Haining. “One of the models I trained in London couldn’t shift weight from around her waistline and when we looked at her sleep, she wasn’t ever going to bed before 1am. As soon as we got her to bed at 10pm, she lost that layer.”

The magic time between 10pm and 6am, working with the sun, seems to be the ideal sleep format to prevent us reaching for stimulants the next morning.

“When we’ve had a good night’s sleep, everything else flows from there,” says Haining. “We’ll make better food choices and we might be a little bit happier about going to the gym. A bad night’s sleep messes with our mindset, and positivity is what gets us through the day and kicking goals!”

Self-care

When you’re exercising hard plus eating lighter and healthier than ever, you may find some sore muscles and detoxing symptoms are the result in the first few days. Haining says self-care over the week is crucial to staying on track.

“Choose one wellness factor, whether it be going for a massage, going to a sauna or a feelgood thing you wouldn’t usually do on one of your regeneration days,” suggests Haining. “Day six is good because you’re nearly at the end of the week, you might have detoxed and be feeling a bit average, so give your body some extra love. Even an Epsom salt bath for half an hour at home will feel really good on sore, tired muscles.”

For a daily hit of love, Haining is a firm believer in the power of affirmations, twisting any negative thoughts around.

“Affirmations are a huge thing in my life and they really work,” she says. “If you’re feeling negative about something, you have to change your thinking, which might involve writing down a positive flip on that thought, such as ‘How am I ever going to get through these seven days’ and turn it around to ‘I can’t wait to feel how good I’m going to feel after these seven days’. Write it down and put it on your fridge or on your phone as a daily alert; just constantly remind yourself.”

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

Seven days is achievable for anyone and Haining’s The 7-Day Quickie caters for all fitness levels and most taste buds. The balanced approach with carefully thought out nutrition alongside a mixture of exercise means you are unlikely to feel hungry or exhausted during this plan and, by the end, your energy levels will only increase. While Haining is reluctant to mention a number on the scales as everyone is different, she says people will lose a layer and gain a flatter tummy. Without alcohol and processed foods, your sleep pattern should improve, which means you’ll look fresher and experience better moods.

Cons

Whenever we go full throttle and deprive ourselves of favourite foods, there’s the possibility of backlash once we reach the finish life. Haining says slips are part of being human and if you fall off the wagon on day eight, don’t sweat it.

“I worked with James Duigan for so many years and his motto or mantra is to be kind to yourself – which I so agree with. At the end of the day, you might have the worst eating day of your life on day eight after the program,” says Haining. “Drink your wine and eat your chocolate but know on day nine you can go back and do the quickie again for seven days and you’ll feel great. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a day of bad eating, it’s when you have a bad couple of years of eating that we have a problem. Be kinder to yourself: it’s more important to feel happy and enjoy life, and not feel as though you’re being deprived of anything so you can maintain longevity.”

 

 

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5 ways to become more thankful in your daily life

 

Focus on what you have with these top tips on how to be more thankful – trust us, you’ll thank us for it! Madeleine Neale writes.

 

1. Use a gratitude diary to reflect on the wonderful things in your life: relationships, financial freedoms, professional opportunities, personal strengths, physical health and wellbeing. “Re-evaluate and reflect on your entries,”  says educational and development psychologist Stephanie Lau. “I like to do this with the change of each new season to track my personal and professional development.”

2. Make sure to notice the little things in life. Example: ‘I’m grateful for the softness of my sheets’, ‘I loved that I found a parking spot straight away’, ‘I’m thankful for this perfectly ripe avocado ready for my breakfast’.

3. Don’t avoid the negative. This may seem counteractive but remembering the bad things that have happened can help us feel more positive about where we are now. If you can look back and think of the worst times in your life, then remember that you made it through and survived, you will be able to push forward and feel more thankful for what’s happening in the present. “Sometimes, circumstances may be difficult and it cannot always be possible to look on the sunny side and express gratitude for things that aren’t going well,” says Lau. “Developing an objective outlook and recognising where change is required is part of a balanced approach to social and emotional problem solving, and is helpful and healthy.”

4. Share gratitude by telling someone how they have made a positive contribution to your life and what you are grateful for. This could be done in person, via email or why not try the old-fashioned way and write down your feelings in a thank you card.

5. Daily micro-reflections: reflect on one good thing that has happened each day to use gratitude to increase feelings of positivity and happiness.

Founder and CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute, Pedro Diaz believes the best way to feel more grateful is to practise daily and use the positive feelings as motivation. “The more you practise gratitude, the more the parts of your brain that scan for good things in life get activated, while those parts of your brain that look for negative things shrink. In a literal sense, a brain trained in gratitude loses some of its ability for negativity and permanently gains the benefits that come from a more optimistic outlook,” he says.

For Lau, simple acts can enhance our general wellbeing and assist in stress management. “For example, by embracing a positive outlook and reflecting on the things we can be grateful for, we are less likely to adopt negative thinking patterns which bias the way we interpret our environment, relationships and daily stressors. By controlling our thoughts and developing positive, helpful thinking patterns, we can improve our overall feelings of happiness.”

 

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How to beat a weight loss plateau

 

You’re doing everything right but your weight loss has come to a grinding halt? We asked nutritionist, trainer and founder of Balance Fitness & Nutrition to share her insights on how to get results again. 

Signs:

Weight loss plateaus can be frustrating, particularly if you are closely following your nutrition and training plan. Despite eating and moving well, signs of a dieting plateau include:

» Weight loss stalled or an increase in weight

» Feeling hungrier

» Low energy levels

» Poor recovery and/or sleep quality

Causes:

Essentially, dieting plateaus are caused by our body’s ability to adapt to the way they are fuelled and moved. Usually plateaus occur due to:

» Undereating and/or inappropriate macronutrient profile to meet your training and daily energy requirements.

» Overtraining and/or consistently moving your body in the same
way, regularly.

» Inadequate rest, recovery and stress: when we don’t get enough sleep our bodies produce cortisol, which leads to fat retention and storage, lethargy and irritability.

During weight loss you impose a caloric deficit, either by increasing exercise or decreasing food intake. Through this deficit you begin to lose body mass – and when muscle mass declines, so too does your metabolism. These are indicators that energy supply is low and your body adapts to energy restrictions accordingly: there is a decrease in hormones that promotes anabolism, energy expenditure and satiety (fullness) and a rise in hormones that promotes catabolism and hunger.

How to get results again:

Keeping your body guessing is key, as our bodies crave efficiency.

Mix up your meals. Do you have the same meal at the same time every day? Try carbohydrate and/or calorie cycling of higher, moderate and lower days. Opt for a higher carb day when you train legs or perform HIIT and lower carbs, higher fats on LISS/rest days. Rotating food choices helps ensure your metabolism doesn’t adjust to a specific diet regimen; because there is no sustained calorie restriction, your body doesn’t adjust its metabolism or start catabolising lean muscle tissue as it would on a sustained low-calorie diet.

Increase your calories: A calorie deficit is generally needed to lose weight, but not in all cases. You may actually need to increase your overall calories to continue burning them in order to preserve muscle mass and your metabolism. Your body will learn that food is abundant and won’t try to hoard it for starvation mode.

Prioritise protein:  Up your protein intake or incorporate a source of protein into each meal. This macronutrient has a higher thermic effect than fats and carbs, so your body has to work harder to digest it. Protein assists in the retention of lean muscle mass (metabolism), protein synthesis, satiety between meals and muscle recovery.

Training – shake & strengthen it up: Studies have found that strength training helps people shed more fat than cardio while boosting their metabolism by increasing muscle mass. Aim for a minimum of two to three strength sessions each week. If you already strength train, mix it up by using a combination of supersets, tri-sets and circuits to keep the intensity of the sessions high. Overall duration should be short to moderate and serve as a HIIT-style resistance workout. If you run 5km every day, try adding in a day of sprints. Keeping your sessions short but intense helps to utilise your anaerobic training zones and leads to greater excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

Rest and recovery: If overtraining is the cause of your plateau, it may be time to add in a taper week or two. Prioritising sleep will help balance insulin resistance, regulate cortisol, and decrease leptin.

Check your portions: Are you really consuming the serving sizes you thought? Try and be more mindful of how much you are putting on your plate.

 

Plateau or happy place?

Lastly, consider whether you have REALLY plateaued and whether your training and nutrition has been as good as you say it has. If you feel you’ve reached one, take time to reflect, but also consider whether it is a plateau or, rather, your ideal weight. The numbers on the scales may have stalled, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t improving on areas of your strength, fitness and mindset. Try using a combination of how your clothes fit, measurements and fitness checks (60 second max tests or a simple 3 minute AMRAP) to track and re-check your progress. After all, the scales are just a number.

 

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Alexa Towersey’s resistance training workout

Resistance training targets the full body with particular emphasis on the posterior chain and core for both strength and physique shape and allows you to work towards YOUR own objective by having targeted options with both your rep range and load.

 

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It also provides exercises designed to challenge your grip, in addition to providing some of the progressions needed to achieve a pull-up.

The HIIT component is representative of Jenna’s ALL IN program. It is designed to challenge your strength, power, coordination and overall fitness, with the metabolic requirement of high reps, moderate load and minimal rest raising your heart rate as quickly as possible and keeping it elevated for up to 36 hours post workout.

The active rest and recovery component is highly recommended – not only as a stress management tool, but also to allow you enough time between workouts so that you can perform at your best. For both increased fat loss and muscle repair, in addition to supporting all the detoxification channels that may have been overworked over the holidays, I recommend power walking, foam rolling, infrared sauna and epsom salts baths.  Supplementing with a pharmaceutical-grade magnesium is also suggested.

 

This workout consists of a standalone EMOM, followed by two supersets.

EMOM stands for ‘every minute on the minute’. The beauty of this format is that you can structure the rep range and load of the EMOM to target your own specific goals.

If you’re an advanced lifter, know your one rep max (1RM), and if you want to opt for pure strength and no advance in muscle size, aim for three reps with an exertion level of 8/10.

If you’re a beginner to intermediate lifter and want to aim for more strength and minimal size, aim for five reps and an exertion level of 6–7/10.

If you’re a beginner lifter and prefer to stick to lighter weights for form OR you want to aim for fat loss with a little lean muscle gain, then aim for 10 reps with an exertion level of 5/10. You should be able to complete all 10 reps for all 10 sets at the same weight – so don’t be a hero by trying to go too heavy!

Perform each exercise for the reps/time that are prescribed.  Where there is a superset [e.g. C1 & C2], perform the exercises one after the other with no rest in between. After you have completed the superset, rest 30 seconds. Complete three to five rounds before moving on to the next superset. To progress these workouts, you can increase the load (heavier weights), the time under tension (slow it down), and/or the volume (add a set each week).

NOTE: you should never sacrifice FORM for load, time or volume.

 

 

Model: Alexa Towersey (@actionalexa)

 

Photography: Jason Lee // @jasonminilee

Location: 98 Riley Street Gym // 98gym.com // @98rileystgym

Wearing: styling by StyleRunner // @stylerunner

 

Alexa wears: Top by Heroine Sport, tights by Lilybod

 


 

 

A1

Barbell Glute Bridge EMOM – goal-dependent rep range (3,5 or 10). Complete required amount of reps every minute on the minute for 10 minutes (so 10 sets in total).

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Feet need to be set up in line with the sit bones: so align the hip bone, knee and 2/3rd toe. Place a towel or mat across the front of the hips underneath the barbell.  Drive your hips up to the ceiling, squeezing the glutes. Keep a slight posterior pelvic tilt throughout to make sure you are using the glutes rather than the lower back. If you struggle to engage the glutes, pop a band around your knees, lift the toes and even turn your feet slightly out.

 

NOTE: 2 mins rest after EMOM to start first superset

 

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B1

10 x barbell romanian deadlift into bent-over row

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Feet hip-distance apart, hold the bar in front of your thighs. Pin the shoulders back and keep them set throughout.  The RDL part of the movement is initiated by a hip hinge (imagine you’re shutting a car door with your butt) – as your hips go back, the upper body naturally comes forward.  Come to a position where your upper body is almost parallel with the floor, then perform the bent-over row, pulling to the bottom rib with elbows squeezing in. Drive through the heels to come up and squeeze the glutes at the top.

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NOTE: If you struggle to keep your shoulders back throughout, you can perform this movement with an underhand grip.

 


 

 

B2

30-sec dead hang

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With hands just wider than shoulder distance, hang from a pull-up bar using an overhand grip. Note: make sure you wrap your thumb around the bar and focus on gripping hard. Let your shoulders shrug up to your ears.

NOTE: Rest 2 mins before next superset

 


 

 

C1

10 x rack hold step-ups

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Hold two kettlebells in front of the body with the inside of your wrists touching.  Plant your top foot on a box and focus on engaging your glutes and hamstrings to pull you up through the heel, as opposed to pushing too much with the bottom leg. Keep the top leg elevated for all of the reps, then switch sides.   

 

 


 

C2

10 x knee tucks

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Set yourself up in a plank position with your shins and the top of your feet on a Swissball, hands directly underneath the shoulders. Initiate the movement from the lower abs by lifting your hips towards the ceiling as you draw your knees in towards your chest.  Lower with control and repeat. To avoid dropping through the lower back, keep your glutes tight and your abdominals drawn in to the spine throughout.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bedroom makeover: how to get a good nights sleep

 Interiors blogger and stylist Eve Gunson shows you how to design the perfect room for catching plenty of sleep.

 

Calmness is key:

Creating a space that provides a sense of relaxation and restfulness is the most important factor and freshly washed bed linen can really help you drift off. Try washing your sheets once a week and adding a fragrance such as lavender (which research shows has calming and soothing effects) to help you unwind.

Lighting:

Use bedside lamps, pendants or floor lamps to create soft, ambient lighting. Add a dimmer to downlights if possible and try turning bright lights off at least two hours before bedtime to help you fall asleep more quickly. Insufficient window coverings also won’t help, so try block-out blinds, heavy curtains or shutters to make sure you rest in the dark.

Keep it green:

Bringing plants into your bedroom can have purifying benefits – think lavender, jasmine and peace lily, which have cleansing effects to help you sleep.

Air flow:

Make sure your bedroom isn’t stuffy. If possible, open your window slightly or invest in a ceiling fan to circulate the air. Although air flow is important, it’s not so at the expense of quietness – only open your window if your neighbourhood is quiet.

Colour palette:

When choosing colours for your bedroom keep them simple and calming. Try white, grey, pale blue or earthy, muted tones. If your style is bold and more about statement, try choosing navy over bright blue, blush and burgundy over bright pinks, or a soft sea mist over lime green. Avoid bright colours as busy patterns don’t promote rest and relaxation. When choosing furniture, bed linen, artwork and décor items, keep it simple: less is more; you are trying to create a sanctuary, not a child’s play room.

Keep it simple:

Remove anything distracting, such as bills, paperwork and reminders of work, which might promote stressful thoughts. Keep any clutter at bay by organising items and investing in functional wardrobes that will hide mess easily.

Furniture positioning:

A chaotic room will cause disturbed sleep patterns. Arrange your furniture so that it’s centred and symmetrical, helping you to feel centred and peaceful.

Make it cosy:

We spend one-third of our lives in bed, so it’s important to invest in a quality mattress. A big bed is ideal if you sleep next to a partner to prevent rolling over and waking each other up. Make it cosy and inviting with layers of gorgeous bed linen, throws and cushions.

 

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Uncovering the health benefits of meditation

For many, practising meditation is akin to pulling teeth. WH&F contributor Hilary Simmons shows you how to find the bespoke approach that will have you bounding out of bed in search of the omm and its array of health benefits – from boosted immune system to improved posture and sleep.

 

 

The history behind meditation

It’s a practice you either love or you hate, you swear by or you just don’t ‘get’. In recent years, meditation has gone mainstream; but some of the earliest written records of the custom date back to circa 1500 BCE, as part of the Hindu philosophic tradition of Vedantism. However, historians guess it was practised as early as 3000 BCE.

The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditatum, which literally means ‘to ponder’. So in practice, the history of meditation may have started when a heavy-browed caveman or cavewoman sat down one evening after a long day of hunter-gathering, stared at the fire, and slipped into an altered state of consciousness.

Regardless of tradition, today the word ‘meditation’ comes with a very specific set of associations. The image of an Instagram model sitting cross-legged by the ocean may spring to mind, or that of a Zen Buddhist monk’s face beaming beneficently beside a gently flowing stream. According to naturopath Melinda King, these images create the misapprehension that meditation is only for the healthy and enlightened, and unattainable for the slightly cynical or the busy.

“Meditation needs to be recognised as a tool that benefits all human beings,” says King.

“We all have emotions and an inner world that needs nourishment and support. It is commonly and mistakenly thought that meditation is about ‘emptying the mind of all thoughts’. Not only is this impossible, it’s inaccurate. Most meditation styles are about bringing your attention into the present moment by focusing on the breath or an object – not eliminating thoughts altogether, which, generally speaking, are free to come and go.”

 

Uncovering the health benefits

So how, in 2018, can we reap the benefits of meditation if we’re not the stereotypical meditation ‘type’ – or if we find the idea of fitting a regular meditation practice into a modern, cerebral, hectic lifestyle a bit of a tall order?

It starts with understanding that meditation is a learned practice, and that it’s also deeply personal. While meditation needs to be integrated into your lifestyle to be effective, there’s flexibility in how to do that. You need to find a routine that suits you.

“We have very high expectations of ourselves when it comes to meditation,” says meditation facilitator and founder of Meditate Now Sabina Vitacca. “I find that people overestimate what it takes to learn meditation techniques, which can set them up to fail from the get-go. People often feel so intimidated by meditation that they automatically strike it out as something they should do but can’t find the time, money or circumstances for.”

Similar to many people’s exercise routines, while you understand the benefits and recognise the guilt associated with not hitting the gym, excuses are easy to cling to.

“Some people approach meditation with a performance-based attitude, as if it’s something they’ll be assessed on,” says King. “This can intimidate the inner perfectionist who worries they won’t be able to do it right and makes them end up avoiding it altogether. To be honest, meditation can also be scary if you’re afraid of the emotions that might arise when you sit too long with nothing but your thoughts.”

Both King and Vitacca agree that instead of seeing meditation as part of a mindfulness trend that we may or may not subscribe to, we should see it as a valuable life skill. Or simply as a healthy habit akin to going to the gym – hard to get started, but you won’t regret it.

“The most common misconceptions I hear are along the lines of ‘I don’t have time, I’m not disciplined enough, my mind never stops, or it’s a bit fluffy-new- age for me,’” says Vitacca.

“A lot of people assume that meditation is only for stress reduction. However, it has been proven to also enhance creativity, improve sleep, improve posture and increase immunity. It’s not all about counting to 10 and cooling your jets, although it can definitely achieve this!”

How to reap the health benefits

According to King and Vitacca, integrating meditation into your life in small increments is the best way to go. The basic exercise of taking three deep breaths while counting to three in your head, then, as you exhale, releasing your shoulders and counting down from three again, is a simple yet effective practice that takes all of five seconds and can be completed while standing in line at the supermarket.

“Just start with five minutes a day, at a time that suits your lifestyle,” says King. “This makes meditation achievable and less overwhelming. It could be during your morning shower or a bedtime routine to replace scrolling through social media feeds as so many of us do. A simple breathing technique for 30 to 60 seconds can do wonders for calming the central nervous system and moving out of the fight-or-flight mode caused by stress.”

Vitacca agrees. “Meditation can take five seconds or 20 minutes – the timeframe is actually not important. You’ve got to make it work for you,” she says.

“Different meditation styles will suit different lifestyles, temperaments and preferences. People are more likely to adopt an ongoing meditation practice if they come across the form or mix of techniques that is a good match for them. So experiment – not all meditation techniques will be the right fit and you can have more than one form of meditation in your toolbox to use for different reasons.”

For some people, creating a specific meditation zone at home can help remind and inspire them to tune out: simply unplug and be still. Think a cushion, blanket, a candle, affirming words or motivating images on display. Whatever inspires you to take five minutes to yourself – do that!

 

For the techno savvy, there are also a range of high-quality, effective apps available to guide you through a variety of different meditation routines. Play around with ones that speak to you and your personality: this can be a great way to experiment with the role meditation can play in your life before committing to classes or finding an instructor.

“We are all so unique; to expect everyone to find satori [sudden enlightenment] from a 10-day, silent vipassana meditation retreat is as absurd as claiming that every ’90s kid likes punk rock,” says Vitacca.

“Meditation is really a very personal journey, and different forms will suit you and your lifestyle at different points in your life, as your needs may change. Fortunately, with the rise of the internet and easy access to so many inspiring teachers and facilitators, there really is something for everyone. You just have to find what your individual ‘something’ is. This has partly inspired my work at Meditate Now, where the benefits of having a personalised meditation program help people adopt what will become a lifestyle with ease.”

 

The last word

Like anything else, meditation requires a skill set to get the most out of it and, fortunately, the skills required to meditate are innately within us.

“In the beginning, it can feel overwhelming trying to decide which meditation style to try,” says King. “Just choose one and stick to it for a period of time or until you get the urge to try another. This way you’ll give that particular style a chance to see if it’s suitable for your needs. One of the key lessons from meditation is that the mind and body are deeply interconnected; when you practise meditation you’ll notice the effects not just mentally, but also physically.”

Ultimately, meditation is free, timeless and accessible for everyone. Some people may be more drawn to it than others, particularly if they’re already into yoga or mindfulness; but on a core level, it’s just a matter of prioritising yourself – which is something we should all be doing, say the experts.

“A teacher once told me that our bodies are always present, so we should access the present moment through our bodies,” says Vitacca. “And this is true; our bodies are forever living in the present moment; it’s the mind that likes to wander. Luckily, all we need to do is focus on our breath to fast-track us back to the now.”

 

 

 

 

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5 tasty low-calorie snacks

 We’ve uncovered five healthy snack ideas to get you through your day and the 3 pm hunger pangs.

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1. Homemade popcorn: Unlike our favourite buttery movie companion, this version is a low-calorie and high-fibre snack. Just add ½ cup of corn kernels to a brown paper bag and microwave for a couple of minutes, until the popping slows down to one or two pops per second.

“Homemade popcorn is a fun wholegrain snack that provides you with roughly 1g of fibre and 1g of protein per cup for as little as 30 calories!” says wholefood dietitian and nutritionist Larina Robinson.

The best part? You can top with a touch of Himalayan salt and nut butter or spices such as turmeric or cinnamon for anti-inflammatory benefits. Or if you have the tastebuds for it, seaweed flakes are high in iodine, which is important for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland.  

2. Fibre One™ snacks: Sucker for a 3pm sweet hit but don’t like making your own healthy treat? Try Fibre One squares and brownies: these delicious snacks taste just like your traditional brownie, but with only 90 calories per serve.

Plus, they come in two mouth-watering flavours: Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Salted Caramel Squares. For only $5.49 for a pack of 5, it’s hard to resist.

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3. Tuna with wholegrain crackers: For a healthy alternative to cheese and crackers to get you through those never-ending emails, a handful of wholegrain crackers and a tin of tuna in springwater contains around 163 calories.

This combo is high in protein and slow-releasing carbs, keeping you full for longer while not spiking blood sugar levels – the perfect afternoon or pre-workout fuel.

4. Overnight oats: Add Greek yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, shredded coconut and cinnamon to a cup of rolled oats in a jar and leave to set overnight. Top with your favourite berries when ready to eat. A standard breakfast-sized jar contains around 370 calories but you can halve the serving amount for a morning or afternoon snack.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and are high in fibre, aiding digestion, and cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties. You’ll reap myriad benefits from all of the ingredients, according to Robinson.

“It contains protein for muscle repair and to keep you feeling full for longer, slow-releasing carbohydrates for sustained energy and for stabilising blood sugar levels, fibre to support digestion and control weight, antioxidants to fight free radical that damage the body’s cells, and healthy fats for supple skin and healthy hair,” she says.

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5. Homemade hommus with vegie sticks: Ditch the packaged store-bought dips with unhealthy oils and additives and grab a tin of chickpeas and make your own hommus.

Chickpeas are rich in protein and soluble fibre, aiding digestion, reducing inflammation and helping with heart and bone health and maintaining weight. A 2-3 tablespoon serve is roughly 100-150 calories.

Cut carrot and cucumber into sticks for dipping and you have yourself a low calorie afternoon pick-me-up, plus it’s a great way of getting in an extra serve of vegies.

This piece was produced in partnership between Fibre OneTM and Women’s Health & Fitness magazine.

 

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5 minutes with February 2018 cover model Ellie Giffen

 

We sat down with February 2018 cover model Ellie Giffen to chat about all things health, fitness and lifestyle. 

 

EAT

There isn’t much I won’t eat. I love food and have mastered a happy medium between my love for gourmet ingredients and clean eating. For example, I love eating fresh fish but I season it with freshly squeezed lemon, coriander, ripe cherry tomatoes, ginger and cracked pepper. Instead of having it with plain steamed vegies, I might throw together a salad with some sweet mango, mint and fresh chilli. My nutrition needs to excite me and be ever changing.

MOVE

A typical week of training includes a variety of workouts. I typically only spend two days in a gym and the other days are either spent in a Pilates studio (KX Pilates in Adelaide is incredible), on the beach (running or walking) or on a yoga mat at home (I invested in a TRX, which is amazing for bodyweight workouts and is responsible for my strong core).

THRIVE

My short-term goals are simple: I’ve accepted that life does not need to be extravagant all the time for it to be fulfilling. If we are constantly striving for the next big thing we will miss what is right in front of us. I aim to continue with the little things that bring me joy such as painting, eating good food, swimming in the ocean, camping and spending my time with people who make me feel good.

Long term, I see myself working as a social worker in women’s mental health. At the risk of sounding cliché, I really do want to help others or at the very least let women know that they are not alone and have an important place in this world.

BE

To de-stress I hug my dog, put on a good playlist or watch an epic make-up tutorial on YouTube. I also enjoy shopping, reading a novel until 3am and running through sand dunes. I used to believe that every waking second of my day had to be productive, but I’ve learnt that the more relaxed I am, the more productive I become!

Model: Ellie Giffen // @miss_elliesue

Photographer: Dannielle McPherson //@danniellemcphersonphotography

HMU: Sophie Williams // @sophiewilliamsmakeupartistry

Grab the February 2018 edition for her full cover story and more!

 

 

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