Returning to the gym

To the joy and excitement of many, our indoor gyms are reopening across the country as the Lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

We officially opened the doors, right in time for spring and getting our summer bodies back after a few sedentary months, thanks to lockdown.

However, before you pick up the dumbbells and jump into your running shoes, you need to be cautious. During the pandemic, many of you have been more sedentary as working from home has become our new normal.

When we exercise less, our physical condition declines, which may increase the risk of injury.

Humans are bioplastic. Meaning we respond to what we do with our bodies. Usually, our body responds positively to exercise: we get fitter and stronger, and our mental and physical health improves. When we stop being active, our physical condition declines. This is known as “deconditioning”.

Deconditioning can happen quickly. Studies show significant decline in muscle mass, physical function, aerobic capacity, strength, and metabolic functioning in as little as 10 days of inactivity. Long term deconditioning can cause ordinary symptoms like aches, pains, weight problems, poor posture, fatigue and feeling down in the dumps.

While deconditioning can be rapid, reconditioning the body takes a bit longer, don’t let this stop you. When you return to your physical activities or to the gym, you may feel like your muscles are tighter and you are out of breath more easily. You may feel your joints are stiff or your pain threshold has lowered. These are all normal and that should improve after a few sessions or at least after a few weeks.

Engaging in high-intensity exercise and increasing loads too quickly can be a risk for injury. Don’t assume you can jump back into your pre-covid exercise without considering deconditioning.

So how do you prepare yourself both physically and mentally to return to the gym?

  • Before scheduling your gym session, check in with yourself to be sure you don’t have any niggles or posture concerns since lock down. Everyone has been sitting at different work desks, hunching over their work laptop, leading to an imbalance in posture muscles, this has been a common concern lately.
  • Set realistic goals – going into the gym with a plan is important, allow your body to adjust and to focus on re-establishing healthy habits and routines. Don’t have the mindset of all or nothing, studies show that showing up for your sessions even if they are not at full effort, has lasting results due to habit formation.  
  • Focus on eating a well-rounded nutritious diet – important for you goal, it may be fat loss, muscle gain, blood sugar balance or endurance improvement. Nutrition is a non-negotiable piece of the puzzle.
  • Hydrate – make sure your drinking enough water.
  • To reduce your risk for injury be sure you do the following:
  • Focus on getting at least 7-9 hours quality sleep per
  • Consider reducing your intensity or load to about 60-80% of your pre-lockdown efforts for a few weeks
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Make sure you warm up properly before your exercise sessions
  • Schedule in stretching sessions or massages to release your muscles
  • Listen to your body. Watch for fatigue or muscle strain to help avoid injury.
  • Consider checking in with your Biokineticist, to make sure you are ready to jump into a program. If you haven’t been very comfortable at the gym or with your workout routine now is a good time to get advice from a professional.

If you are a bit wary of the gym, I have got you covered. I am still offering exercise training sessions online via zoom and training programs via an app on your phone. You still get fit and healthy from the comfort of your home.

If you are recovering from covid, get in touch to find out how you can return to exercise safely.

September Spring specials are up and running to help you get back on track, get in touch to find out more.

Have a happy, healthy, and vibrant spring 2020


Returning to Exercise After COVID-19

Exercise is important, we all know that, especially for our physical and mental health. Returning to exercise after an illness is often a very tough battle, particularly after the current Coronavirus outbreak.

You might feel as if you are starting from scratch but your fitness will return quickly once you feel better. Follow these steps to help you get back to activity safely:

1. Make sure you have recovered completely

Check with your doctor.

2. Take it slowly

Use your common sense and be sensible. Begin with just a short walk. See how you feel and build up gradually from there. Chat with you Biokineticist to advise the right intensity and progression.

3. Listen to your body – always

If you start feeling unwell again or you feel completely wiped out by the activity you did, then just move back a step, rest and try again with something a bit lighter and easier. Again follow the advise of your Biokineticist.

4. Rest and recover – is so important

After recovering from the illness, you need to view your body as a beginner to exercise. Rest and recovery is super important here. Your body has been busy healing itself from illness and when you then add exercise to the mix it’s a good idea to allow a little extra sleep and rest for your body to restore and repair itself.

5. Stay positive

Get your mindset right. Pace yourself and take things slowly. Progress is more important than perfection. Know that you will get get there it will just take some time and dedication. It may feel like your taking 2 steps forward and 3 steps back at first but you will be surprised at how quickly you will regain your fitness. Remember that being active will help to keep your immune system in good shape to fight off future infections.

6. Just move and have fun

So important to enjoy the movement your taking part in, don’t force workouts – do things you enjoy . Make physical activity fun and it will never feel like a chore.

”Some ideas: dancing, tennis, hiking, trail running, ball games on the beach, walking with a friend, mountain climbing, horse riding, yoga, pilates, group classes, family group classes.”

Yours in health and fitness


MISSING PERIOD? what does this mean

A loss of period or absence of menstruation is medically known as amenorrhea. This is a common phenomenon but it’s not normal. If your cycle length changes drastically from one month to the next, we need to determine what the root cause is.

Here are some reasons why you may experience a loss of period or fluctuations within cycle length.

🔅Nutrition – Lack of macro/micro nutrients
🔅Fad diets like – very low fat or low carb diets.
🔅 Having a very low body fat percentage or on the other end of the scale having too much body fat.
🔅Chronic stress – overstimulation of the stress hormones, which then lead to imbalance in reproductive hormones.
🔅Fasting for long periods, increases stress hormones can lead to a cascade of events leading to imbalanced hormones.
🔅Post birth control use – progesterone has been suppressed by pill which is necessary for a period to take place. Thus it takes a while for the body to sync back to normal
🔅Low sex hormones (specifically estrogen & progesterone) very common in females who partake in chronic dieting and over training. (very common in bodybuilding/bikini comp females)
🔅Thyroid disorders – have been linked to anovulatory cycles.
🔅PCOS – polycystic ovarian syndrome. The eggs don’t develop as they should and hormone disruption can be caused by insulin resistance, higher than normal androgens, nutrient deficiencies, chronic inflammation, high cortisol levels and more.

Your hormonal health is so important, and imperative for woman’s overall health and well-being, make sure you give your body the attention it needs. If you need advice, get in touch and I can point you in the right direction.


The Fifth Vital Sign

There are 4 primary vital signs: body temp, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate.

For women, your menstrual cycle can be referred to as the your fifth vital sign – YES that’s how important it is!!
Having hormonal fluctuations throughout the cycle directly affects our mood, metabolism, bone health, sex drive, energy, sleep, fertility and how we age. 😵

I like to view my cycle as a monthly report card and with every cycle/month you get a grade based on the your symptoms, and if or when it arrived (early, late or on time can also indicate certain health markers)

This is where tracking your signs and symptoms comes in. As a woman it is do important to take responsibility for your body and to understand each phase of your cycle. To understand why you feel a certain way and have peace of mind that it certain symptoms can be related to where your at with your cycle. (See my blog post for more info on this)

It’s also important to note that certain symptoms are not normal and to learn when you need medical/professional intervention.

So be sure to take the time to learn about your body, your cycle, and health.

You can experience a loss of period or fluctuations within cycle length, and this can give a direct indication of what is going on with your hormones.

Hope this inspires you to pay attention to your unique body and the signs and symptoms its giving you.


Exercise and your cycle.

How exercise can be used as a tool to support your monthly cycle.

Your period and cycle should come and go with minimal interference with life. If you find yourself suffering from severe PMS, heavy bleeding, breakouts, bad cramps or intense mood swings its time to start finding what the root cause may be and start balancing this out.

Did you know that you can support your cycle with exercise?

Different exercise styles and intensity can help you be your best at each phase of your cycle.

Learn to support your body rather than working against it.

If you check back in the blog posts you’ll see some posts on the cycle, explaining each phase.

So let’s look into how you can support your biology with exercise.

Phase 1 – Menstruation

3 – 7 days
During this phase its best to focus on rest, if you need a nap – go for it. Especially in the beginning of the phase, honor how you are feeling, closer to the end of this phase, as your energy rises focus on lighter movements, go for walks, do some restorative yin yoga and pilates.

Phase 2 – Follicular phase

7 – 10 days
During this phase your body is preparing for an egg to be fertilized. You have more energy as your estrogen rises so you can up your endurance exercise and get a bit more sweaty. Pilates, hypertrophy resistance training and longer runs should feel good here.

Phase 3 – Ovulation

3 – 5 days
The main event. Estrogen is high and testosterone surges. You should feel energized and strong. You have the energy to burn. Your able to do more and feel great after doing it. Increase the intensity and throw in some high intensity interval training, Tempo runs and challenging hikes will be great here.

Phase 4 – Luteal phase

10 – 14 days
You have energy at the start of this phase. Make the most of it. Enjoy slow strength training and intense yoga or pilates.
Going into mid luteal phase your energy may start to decline, honour your body here and listen to it, scale back and focus on lighter activities like slow runs, walking, yoga and pilates should support you well.

If your a bit confused be sure to check out my previous posts on the cycle.

If your needing more info or want to get to the root cause of your symptoms, reach out.


5 Quick tips on How to gain weight healthily

Although one of my main focuses is on sustainable weight-loss, for some people – being underweight or having difficulty gaining weight can be just as disappointing as being overweight. I have heard some crazy ways on how some people have tried to gain weight, so I want to break it down simple on how one gain weight without causing harm to their body.

1. Increase nutrient-dense calories from protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Focus on eating healthy and nutrient dense foods. Increasing your healthy fats is especially great for those with decreased appetite as these are calorically dense. (Example: 2 tbsp of nut butter + 2 tbsp of hemp seeds = 300 calories) Its small subtle changes, you will definitely feel fuller, but with time your body will adjust to more calories. Remember foods high in carbohydrates often have less calories than foods higher in fat.

2. Focus on gut health – Gut health is so important. About 90% of nutrient absorption takes place in the small intestines. If you are not absorbing the nutrients you are taking in, it will be very hard to gain weight. If your gut is recked you need to focus on repairing it. (Check out my gut health post for a free gut health guide)

3. Limit cardio workouts when trying to gain weight and focus on strength training movements, allowing an optimal environment for building muscle and healthy weight. Cardio training is important for your cardiovascular health, but in all honesty don’t over do it if your trying to gain weight. Cardio workouts have a way of suppressing your appetite and so does high intensity workouts, so try avoid those and stick to slow yet heavy strength training movements. Make sure you get in good amounts of protein to support your muscles, remember the more muscle you have the hungrier you’ll be.

4. Reduce overall stress loads – People react to stress in different ways, but many undergo a shift in eating patterns – for some making food unappealing, resulting in weight loss. Make sure your managing your stress levels so that your appetite stays nice and high, its terrible to have to force feed yourself.

5. Add a protein shake – if your battling to eat in the mornings, try having a protein shake that will stimulate your metabolism. Fasting all morning can blunt your appetite through out the day so we need you to eat something within 30min of waking to kick start the metabolism and get it reviving for the day.

Tried these, and still stuck? – get in touch for a consultation so we can get you on the right plan.


LIVER Health smoothie:

If you follow me on instagram you may have seen that I often share my smoothies in the stories, here is my fav smoothie recipe:

Liver health smoothie recipe:

1 tsp Moringa powder (shown to help support the liver, protect against damage and even repair functioning in damaged livers. Moringa also supports brain health, reduces inflammation throughout the body and detoxifies the body through the digestive system)

1 tbsp Collagen powder (Glycine, which is found in collagen, can support your liver during potentially damaging detoxification process. This is particularly welcome news for those of you who enjoy that extra glass of wine)

1 node of ginger (anti-inflammatory benefits) – to taste, it can be quite spicy

1 beet (stimulates liver function)

1 scoop vegan protein (builds and repairs tissues including muscle, skin and the liver)

Frozen blue berries (high in vitamins and antioxidants, which aids the body in synthesizing toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed by water and eliminated)

1/2 avocado (fat source – which helps make the nutrients more absorbable by the body)

Add some filtered water – depending on what consistency you like

Blend together well, and enjoy. You can add some cinnamon or honey if you prefer it to be sweeter 🙂


Tracking your symptoms

This article is for the ladies.

Do you track your cycle on an app on your phone? or maybe your fitness watch has the feature? have you seen the options but never really delved into tracking, or maybe just thought its just not a priority for you.

Should it be a priority? If you’re female – then YES !

We live in a time where we all seek out quick fixes, take the pill for hormonal imbalance, take a pill to lose weight, take a pill to feel relaxed. This is not sustainable and eventually will backfire. Medication can be used as support, but understanding your body and signs and symptoms can help you understand the root cause of them and thus you become your own healer.

As a woman this is something you should take responsibility for, no two humans are the same and you cannot compare your cycle to your friend or your mothers. You need to understand your body better, so that you know how to treat it better. Perhaps you need to learn how to rest more at certain times of the month to avoid anxiety, maybe your prescribed anti depression meds can be avoided by understanding your body? sound crazy – I think its EMPOWERING

Using your menstrual cycle as a guideline to pinpoint when our symptoms occur can tell us many things. But it’s very important as a woman, to understand the cycle.

I am sure you know that is consists of phases (check my previous post), if you diligently track how your feeling, what your moods are, when you experience symptoms we can pin point if your symptoms are related to your hormonal health, and its highly likely that it is.

Okay, so your keen to level up, so whats next?

Download a tracker, make space in your journal to write down how your feeling or if any weird symptoms arise. This way we can compare month to month changes or similarities. Without tracking it can all seem like a blur, seem like your symptoms are forever ongoing.

So if your unsure of what you should be tracking, start by understanding the different phases(I have a post in this) . Then write down symptoms that occur during the different phases, for example:

  1. Menstruation – heavy, tired, lots of cramps, painful
  2. Follicular – low energy, fatigue
  3. Ovulation – painful pelvic region, but energy improved
  4. Luteal – tired, sore & lumpy breast, anxiety, acne flare.

Easy, right? at first it may not be, but the more in tune you become with your body the easier it will be come.

Here are some quick correctional tips for some very common symptoms I often see,
-If our luteal phase or ovulation is symptomatic, efficient detoxification of estrogen and optimizing progesterone is the goal.
-If our period is rough, focus on nourishment and balancing blood sugar.
-If we cramp during our cycle, we need to focus on magnesium and lowering prostaglandins (natural vitamin E and/or ginger).
-If our breasts get lumpy or tender, we need to focus on estrogen elimination- eat a raw carrot every day, natural vitamin E, 80-100 grams protein a day, check iodine levels.

There we go? keen to give it a try, please let me know how you go.


The phases of the cycle

The menstrual cycle includes several phases. The exact timing of the phases of the cycle is a little bit different for every woman and can change over time.

Cycle days (approximate)Events of the menstrual cycle
Days 1-5The first day of menstrual bleeding is considered Day 1 of the cycle.Your period can last anywhere from 3 to 8 days, but 5 days is average.Bleeding is usually heaviest on the first 2 days.
Days 6-14Once the bleeding stops, the uterine lining (also called the endometrium) begins to prepare for the possibility of a pregnancy.The uterine lining becomes thicker and enriched in blood and nutrients.
Day 14-25Somewhere around day 14, an egg is released from one of the ovaries and begins its journey down the fallopian tubes to the uterus.If sperm are present in the fallopian tube at this time, fertilization can occur.In this case the fertilized egg will travel to the uterus and attempt to implant in the uterine wall.
Days 25-28If the egg was not fertilized or implantation does not occur, hormonal changes signal the uterus to prepare to shed its lining, and the egg breaks down and is shed along with lining.The cycle begins again on Day 1 menstrual bleeding.

What can you do to support your biology?

  • Nourish your body well and correctly
  • Move your body in the right way
  • Exercise correctly to support the cycle
  • Rest when needed
  • Schedule events when you know you will have the energy to socialize
  • Schedule work projects when you will have the focus and energy to prioritize it.

Want to learn more about this? Want to support your body with nutrients through diet, the right kinds of workouts and stress management?

Get in touch.


The Cycle

Women, we are blessed with this biology, it’s not meant to work against us, its meant to work for us. Women get to see how our body is managing stress, inflammation, how our gut and hormones are doing. We have a tool, we just need to become body literate.

Throughout the month, women have a rise and fall of hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone.
During the first half of your cycle, the Follicular Phase estrogen is highest, your energy may start low but rapidly speed up as ovulation occurs.
Post ovulation is the Luteal phase. Progesterone rises and body temperature increases. Energy remains high in the first part of the luteal phase and then begins to decline as mensuration gets closer, knowing this can be life changing, instead of forcing that High intensity session in the gym, you can focus on lowering the intensity to support your hormones.
Although it may be common to have PMS, heavy bleeding and emotional mood swings, this is not healthy or normal.

Your period and cycle should come and go with minimal interference with life. If you find yourself suffering from server PMS, heavy bleeding, breakouts, bad cramps or intense mood swings its time to start finding what the root cause may be and start balancing this out.

Did you know, you can eat to nourish each phase of your cycle, you can exercise to support your cycle and you plan your work and social responsibilities to be able to show up better

The next post, I will delve in to each phase of the cycle.