WellBe Diet Strategy


I’m sure you were hoping I’d start explaining this magical diet, probably containing kale or some gag-worthy detox tonic, which will guarantee a slimmer and trimmer you in just 2 weeks! Am I right?

Unfortunately, as much as we’d all like to believe there is a unicorn-diet out there that could deliver on these promises, the hard reality is that there just isn’t. When it comes to dieting or exercise, anything that sounds extreme or too good to be true, most probably is and most probably should be avoided at all costs. These extreme approaches are termed “fad diets” and they’re downright dangerous for you. They perpetuate destructive restriction and binge cycles that by the end of it, leave you fatter, frustrated and more disillusioned than when you started.

When it comes to nutrition and training there is no “one-size-fits-all”, no perfect program. What works for one person may not necessarily work for you, and that doesn’t mean one way is better or worse than the other. So next time you’re looking to weed out the fads diets from the truly healthy changes, ask yourself the following 5 questions:


1. Does it fit my lifestyle?

If you’re a professional athlete, a busy student or a desk-bound businessman/woman, your diet must adapt to and complement your lifestyle, not the other way around.


2. Is it something I can adhere to on a consistent basis?

If you can’t stomach rich, high-fat foods, stop trying to force yourself to be a “banter”. If you can’t stand the taste of kale, stop trying to survive on green juices. The nutrition choices you make need to align with your own personal food preferences and become habits that unconsciously form part of your everyday eating.


3. Will it help you achieve your desired results without forcing you to go to extreme measures?

Where most people go wrong is they try doing too much too soon. They drop calories, cut out certain food groups, go cold-turkey on all the foods they crave and although initially see results, inevitable the unsustainability of the diet catches up with them and they rebound. Small, manageable baby-steps in the right direction is all it takes.


4. Does it allow you to incorporate the foods you enjoy eating? (In moderation of course!)

I refuse to live in a world where I’m told I can’t ever eat bread or chocolate again. You don’t have to ban or demonize the foods you love- rather learn smart ways to fit them into your life and enjoy them mindfully.


5. Can you see yourself maintaining this for weeks, months and years down the line?

If you’re thinking of this as a sprint- you’ve lost already. You need to think of this as a permanent lifestyle change. So if your current diet is giving you commitment phobia, that’s a sure sign to get out now.

There are pros and cons to every type of nutrition program. The sooner you stop giving into the ridiculous “quick-fix” fads out there and find out what type of nutrition program you can enjoy adhering to the most, the sooner you’ll set yourself up not only to successfully lose weight, but keep it off too.


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Who doesn’t love a good “Girl’s Night Out”? Drinks… friends… memories you do (or maybe don’t) remember. But all too often we find ourselves using one too many tequila shots as an excuse to make poor food (and life) decisions. Fun-filled nights turn into mornings of regret and guilt when we see the evidence of the late night fast food binge littered on our bedroom floor. But this doesn’t need to be the case. With just a few small smart tweaks, you can feel great all night long and help stave off the post party boozy-blues the next day.

Let’s set the scene.

You’ve organized a long overdue girl’s night out with 5 friends this Friday. You’re notorious for going all out when you’re together and you’re no stranger to 24 hour hangover recovery turnaround times either…

It’s 5am on Friday morning and instead of hitting the “snooze” button one or 6 times, you get dressed and head off to the gym.

Getting an early morning workout in first thing will not only raise your feel-good endorphin levels, but also help boost your metabolism and pre-burn off some of those liquid calories you intend on consuming later. During your workout, make sure to maintain a high-intensity tempo to keep your heartrate high and target large muscle groups like your legs and back to maximize the potential calorie burn. Think supersets, circuit training and lots and lots of sweat.

If ever there’s a day to hit your water goals, it’s today.

Those frequent bathroom trips and hours spent standing in the line for the ladies’ loo aren’t a coincidence. Alcohol is a diuretic and often leaves a person in a mild state of dehydration following a night out drinking. Make sure to consume 500ml-1L more liquid than you would normally, either in the form of plain water, calorie free flavoured drink options or herbal teas.

*Health hack- Herbal teas, such as green tea, have been shown to promote liver health and wellbeing and is a great and tasty way to potentially help buffer the negative effects of alcohol consumption on the body.

Your typical Friday croissant or muffin fix for breakfast just won’t cut it.

If you know you’re going to be going out in the evening, a safe general nutrition strategy is to make food and meal choices that are high in micronutrients but lower in calories. This allows you to “bank” a few extra calories for the evening when you need them most. Processed and highly refined foods, such as pastries, are calorie-dense food options that spike your insulin levels and inevitably leave you feeling low and sluggish. Opt for a well-balanced and nutritious start to your morning with an oat, frozen berry and whey protein smoothie, poached eggs and avocado on rye toast or a small bowl of gut-friendly Greek yogurt, fruit and a sprinkling of raw muesli and seeds.

Crunchy water is your snack food BFF.

Regular alcohol consumption can hamper your body’s immune system and wreak havoc with your hormones. Raw fruit and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which act to counteract some of these negative effects. If that wasn’t enough, they’re also naturally high in water and fibre, meaning they can help you stay hydrated and feeling fuller for longer. Pair sliced apple or vegetable crudités with unsweetened nut butter and hummus respectively and you have the perfect healthy go-to snack.

“Kankles” are never a good look.

Sitting for prolonged periods of time, such as at your desk at work, can lead to poor circulation and subsequently promote water retention in the feet and ankles. Be sure to take frequent breaks to go walk around. Better yet, take a stroll outside during lunch time so you can soak up some mood-boosting Vitamin D, work on a light sun-kissed glow and brainstorm your outfit for the evening.

*Just some woman to woman advice- take full advantage of “casual Fridays” and use it as an opportunity to wear flats or pumps to work. This way you spare your feet for the killer heels you plan on wearing tonight.

Speaking of lunch…

Keep it light and simple. Choose a lean protein option such as grilled chicken or lean beef and pair it with a couscous and roast vegetable salad, or bundle it up in a lettuce or small whole wheat salad wrap.

Hellooo Happy Hour!

But first, don’t forget to eat dinner. Like, actual dinner. We’ve all made the mistake of going out drinking on an empty stomach. And it never ends well. Without a decent meal in your stomach, any alcohol consumed quickly diffuses into your blood stream and it’s always a slippery (often blurry) slope down from there. Try to consume a protein and healthy fat-based meal before drinking. This will help reduce muscle protein breakdown and, due to the delay in gastric emptying, both these nutrients can naturally control the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol. A great option is salmon, or any oily fish of choice, paired with a small serving of green vegetables and brown rice or quinoa.

*Health hack- Squeeze over some fresh lemon or lime to add a citrusy zing to your meal as well as help alkalise the body. For additional liver support, a milk thistle supplement can also be used which has been shown to help ameliorate the acute negative effects of alcohol ingestion.

Shaken, not stirred.

Simply put, alcohol is viewed as a toxin by your body. As alcohol is consumed, the metabolism of protein, carbs and most importantly, fat are all put on hold, and the focus of the body is turned to metabolizing and getting rid of the newly introduced alcohol as quickly and efficiently as possible. In short what this means is that while drinking, your body’s ability to burn fat is hindered and fat storing capability is increased. This a double-whammy for the bikini body department. Sugary alcoholic drinks and fizzy mixers can exponentially increase the calorie damage of any drink choice. Instead, for a more figure-friendly option, go for wine (sparkling or dry white being the lowest in calories) or choose drinks neat, over ice or use sparkling water or sugar free drinks as mixers.

Pick your poison, carefully.

Whiskey, cognac and tequila are known to contain higher amounts of congeners. Congeners are naturally occurring toxic products found in alcohol and have been shown to result in more intense and frequent hangovers than clearer spirits such as vodka, gin or white rum.

I’ll have one extra-large pizza with a side of regret, please.

We all know that stop off at the nearest fast-food restaurant on the way back home from a night out all too well. And it’s this often >1000 calorie meal that is the main culprit for the scale going up. If you need to pick up something on the way home, make it something high in protein and try go for the “realest” food option on the menu. Better yet, make sure you have healthy and delicious leftovers ready and waiting to be heated up in the microwave for when you get home. My go-to? A steamy bowl of lean beef or chicken meatballs in a tomato and garlic sauce.

One last night cap?

You’re exhausted and are about to fall face first into bed. Hopefully you’ve been alternating between alcohol and water throughout the night, but if you forgot to properly hydrate, have some coconut water (or any available electrolyte supplement) before bed, ideally with a pinch of salt. The potassium and sodium will you’re your body rehydrate and is a great tasting way to prevent a hellish hangover in the morning.

So… brunch?

Sleep deprivation will only make you feel worse the next day, so don’t feel bad about getting in some extra recovery Z’s. Make sure your first meal of your day pack’s a protein punch (eggs are always a winner) to kick start your metabolism again. Pair your breakfast with a fresh green juice (no not a Bloody Mary) to flood your body with some much needed nutrients and water and get you psychologically feeling good again. If you’re up for it, get your body going too with some yoga, walk or a light run outside.

Round two anyone?



WellBe Company


Maybe you’ve thought about lifting weights. Maybe you’ve even done some dumbbell curls or picked up a barbell. But every time you hit the iron though, you feel unsure, insecure, and a little fearful.

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the horror stories: lifting heavy weights makes women bulky, it’s dangerous, it’s bad for your joints, and once you have muscle, you can’t stop lifting or it will all turn to fat. It’s all BS, and it feeds into stereotypes that are keeping too many women from experiencing the profound benefits of resistance training.

It’s time to put that fear and uncertainty aside. The fact is lifting weights does none of those awful things. What it does is help you to live in a healthier, stronger body.

When you sit down to list your fitness objectives, you may be surprised to learn that that strength training will not only help you reach them, but may reach them faster than performing cardio exercise alone.

Now don’t get me wrong, yoga and spinning definitely have their place in a well-rounded fitness routine (and are both things I regularly do myself). But if you’re feeling a bit stuck in a rut and not seeing the results you want, strength training could be just the thing missing from your training regimen! Here’s why:



Think weightlifting only benefits those who want shirt-ripping arms? Think again.

Although many people consider weightlifting only a means to add size, when compared head-to-head against cardiovascular exercise, resistance training comes out on top in the battle to burn calories.

How is that possible you ask? It boils down to your body’s ability to burn fat during and after an intense weight-based exercise session. After a heavy bought of strength training, you continue to consume additional oxygen in the hours and even days that follow. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC.

When your body uses more oxygen, it requires more caloric expenditure and subsequently boosts your metabolic rate.



As you increase strength and lean muscle mass, your body begins to us calories more efficiently. Daily muscle contractions from a simple blink to a heavy squat contribute to how many calories you burn in a given day. Sitting burns fewer calories than standing; standing burns fewer than walking, and walking burns fewer than strength training.

The more muscle contractions you experience during a day, the more calories you’ll burn. If you have more lean muscle mass, you’ll have more muscle contractions and hey presto, burn more calories!



Now endurance-type training can definitely help you lose weight, however that weight comes in the form of both fat and muscle. If you’re losing both fat and muscle, you can lose your lovely curves as well. In contrast, regular resistance training will help define your arms and shoulders, build your glutes and tone your legs, promoting a more hourglass body shape.

So if its curves you’re after, strength training is what you need to create and sustain them.



Strength training and sleep? Yip, you hear right! Numerous studies have shown how regular resistance training or high-intensity training, particularly when done in the morning, greatly improves sleep quality, aiding in your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake less often during the night.



Remember that EPOC we mentioned earlier – the fact that resistance training causes an increase in energy expenditure hours after you train. Well, a study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that the consistent increase in energy expenditure, even after a minimal strength training session, may positively impact energy balance and fat oxidation. Who knew grabbing a barbell could have the same energy-boosting effects as an afternoon cup of coffee?



Studies found in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning have shown that those who lift weights are less likely have heart disease risk factors such as elevated blood pressure, high triglycerides, a large waist circumference and elevated glucose levels.

Pumping iron is actually so effective at reducing your risk of heart disease that it has since been approved as a healthy form of exercise for those at risk from the American Heart Association.



Both bone and muscle mass naturally decreases as you age. However, due to their declining levels of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at even greater risk for developing weak, porous bones and osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise, such as resistance training, has been proven as an excellent way to combat loss of bone mass, and subsequently decrease the risk of osteoporosis. And remember, the earlier you begin weightlifting, the greater chance you have to maintain bone health later in life.



Exercise, in general, is a great way to manage stress. Researchers have consistently found that those who regularly strength train tend to manage stress better and experience fewer adverse reactions to stressful situations as those who do not exercise.

In addition, resistance-training studies on older adults show that moderate-intensity weightlifting improves memory and cognitive function. So next time you need to blow off some steam, hit the weights.



All of us want to feel strong, determined, and confident in everything we do: from fitting into jeans, to moving heavy furniture, to playing with kids, to dealing with a stressful career. Resistance training can benefit all these aspects of your life. So be sure to put it in your fitness plan and feel stronger, healthier, and more confident!



Roveda, Eliana, et. Al. Effects of endurance and strength acute exercise on night sleep quality. International SportMed Journal. 2011; 12(3): 113-124.

Kirk, Erik P., et. Al. Minimal resistance training improves daily energy expenditure and fat oxidation. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010; 41(5): 1122-1129.

Magyari PM, Churilla JR. Association between lifting weights and metabolic syndrome among U.S. Adults: 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Nov; 26(11): 3113-7.

Cardoso, Crivaldo Gomes, et. Al. Acute and chronic effects of aerobic and resistance exercise on ambulatory blood pressure. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2010; 65(3):317-325.

Muir JM, Ye C, Bhandari M, Adachi JD, Thabane L. The effect of regular physical activity on bone mineral density in post-menopausal women aged 75 and over: a retrospective analysis from the Canadian multicentre osteoporosis study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2013 Aug 23; 14: 253.

Stone M, Stone Meg, Sands W. Psychological Aspects of Resistance Training. In: Principles and Practice of Resistance Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2009. p. 229-241.


HIIT and LISS are acronyms for High-Intensity Interval Training and Low-Intensity Steady State respectively. They are two commonly used cardio styles and differ greatly in both practical application and physical effects.

HIIT consists of short, all-out sprint intervals alternated with periods of low-intensity recovery periods. An example would be a 30 second 100% effort sprint followed by a 1-2 minute steady pace walk, repeated 10 times (think sweat, LOTS of sweat). LISS, on the other hand, would involve a constant low-to-moderate paced walk, jog or bike ride at an intensity level that still raises your heat rate but allows for casual conversation.

HIIT, like weight training, is a form of anaerobic exercise, meaning it burns glucose for energy without oxygen being present. During bouts of HIIT training, your body’s fuel burning systems are put under a lot of stress. In order to meet the energy demands you are putting your body under, your body responds in two ways, 1) by increasing the activity of fat-burning enzymes to help free up available energy and 2) by increasing the mitochondrial capacity in your muscles. Mitochondria are the energy-producing units of your body. HIIT thus signals to your body to increase the total mitochondrial density in your muscles, meaning you have more fat-burning units at your disposal.  All of these metabolic adaptations have a cascading and synergistic effect, resulting in enhanced metabolic and fat loss activity over time.

What this means in real-life is that by doing HIIT your body is becoming more physically efficient and effective at turning on and utilizing its fat burning mechanisms and that this fat loss process is not only kept elevated for hours after your training has ended- termed the “afterburn” effect- but rather that these fat-burn changes are stable and lasting.

In contrast, due to the lower-intensity nature of LISS, this cardio strategy does not pose this same metabolic strain, thus limiting its fat burn potential to solely those minutes (or hours) you actively spend at the gym. Your body also has the tendency to adapt quickly to LISS exercise, meaning you will eventually burn fewer and fewer calories following the exact same cardio workout. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should ditch LISS cardio all together. LISS cardio has many heart-protective and general health-promoting effects that should not be ignored (I personally find it quite therapeutic going for long runs or walks every week). All I’m saying is that slaving away for hours every day on a treadmill or bike hoping to see the physical results you want is not the best approach to cardio if your goal is fat loss.

So who wins? Well if your goal is to lean down and get fit fast- HIIT is your best cardio investment strategy that will ensure you get more burn-for-your-buck in return.

Happy sweating!

WellBe Company discusses monthly cycle


Your go-to nutrition and fitness plan for mastering your menstrual cycle.

As females, we know exactly what it’s like to feel at the mercy of our menstrual cycle and subsequent hormonal rollercoaster. One day we feel in charge and on top of the world, the next we find ourselves short-tempered, moody and a teary-mess come the sound of any Adele song.

Besides these trademark symptoms, these hormonal fluctuations also have a huge influence on our training capacity, metabolic state and energy levels. But don’t despair, with a few training tweaks and some smart planning you can take advantage of your hormone cycle and use it to fast-track your fitness goals.

STAGE 1: The Follicular Phase

This phase marks the start of your cycle immediately after you have finished your period. Progesterone levels are low and constant, while estrogen levels are on the rise. Biochemically, this results in your pain tolerance, physical endurance and insulin sensitivity all being heightened, while your resting metabolic rate has been shown to be at its lowest during this period.


You’re feeling strong and your carbohydrate metabolism is running efficiently. This is the perfect opportunity to ramp up the intensity of your workouts and strategically focus on higher carbohydrate meals or refeeds to replenish depleted glycogen stores. Consider challenging yourself with HIIT sprints, high-intensity weight training, a sweaty spinning session or a metabolic conditioning-style class such as The Grid at Virgin Active or Switch.

This combination of intense exercise with a relative higher carbohydrate intake will prime your body to make muscle gains as well as boost your lagging metabolism. *Be sure to focus on high-quality carbohydrates such as whole grains, sweet potato, oats, quinoa and basmati rice.

STAGE 2: The Ovulation Phase

Approximately 14 days into your cycle, the growing follicle bursts and ovulation occurs. During this time estrogen levels peaks, as does your muscle strength.


Training hard and lifting heavy should be your modus operandi and it’s the opportune time to be going for that PR or One Rep Max. However, the high estrogen levels have also been shown to weaken ligaments and consequently increase injury rates of women during this phase. To avoid this, be sure to focus on using good form while training. Remember- safety first.

STAGE 3: The Luteal Phase

We all know that time of the month- we’re tired, bloated, irritable and uncomfortable and often the thought of a chocolate-induced food coma seems far more appealing than heading in any direction near a gym. This is characteristic Luteal Phase. Both progesterone and estrogen levels peak and you might notice your body temperature feeling warmer than normal signifying your elevated metabolism. During this phase your body is more insulin and carbohydrate resistant and you become primed to use fats more efficiently as an energy source.


With your fat burning systems already turned on, try upping the sizzle-factor even more by adjusting your training to incorporate more lower-to-moderately intense cardio and strength work. This aerobically-dependent approach will tap into your now easily available fat stores, helping enhance your fat-loss goals.

This is also the time of the month you need to be especially kind to yourself. Don’t feel guilty if the PMS has gotten the better of you. Instead, opt for a more relaxing yoga class, a park walk or a sauna session to help alleviate any water retention. This is also the time when food cravings hit the hardest- so be sure to fill up on satiating protein-rich meals and snacks to try keep this under control. It has also been noted that magnesium supplementation can help keep the chocolate cravings at bay or alternatively up your consumption of magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, seeds and dark leafy greens.

STAGE 4: The Menstruation Phase

Finally the cramping, bloating and general moodiness slowly subsides and you start to feel like a half-normal human again. Both estrogen and progesterone return back to baseline, as does your body temperature as you transition back and prepare to start the cycle all over again.


It’s best to incorporate a varied diet and training approach during this “in-between” period, focusing on exercise that makes you feel good and leaves you energized. Try keep your calorie intake modest and your food group choices balanced.


Menstrual cycles and hormonal fluctuations are a part of a woman’s life. So instead of fighting them every step of the way, rather see it as a female-only opportunity to refocus, strategize and use it to your nutrition and fitness advantage.



WellBe Company


A simple shift in focus can change how you see yourself completely.

Let’s try a short exercise together.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? How do you picture yourself in your mind? If you’re like me, you might’ve immediately gone for all the “bad” things you don’t like, and your internal dialogue might sound something like this:

“Ugh. Another breakout? My skin always looks so terrible! And look at how big my nose is! No amount of makeup will hide that.”

“Why can’t I have a six-pack like (insert name here)? All I’m left with is this pudgy pooch of stomach and no girls going to want to see that.”

“I have such fat legs. I swear I’m never going to wear shorts again. They look absolutely disgusting.”

Am I right?

A poor body image is about as common in the health and fitness industry as Nikes and protein shakes. Ironic huh? Male or female we’re all susceptible to this type of negative self-talk. People get so caught up in trying to reach this “ideal body”, propagated through social media and by pop culture, without realizing that this “ideal body” they are working (and most likely punishing) their bodies for, is in fact, unobtainable (without the help of certain pharmaceuticals and/or photoshop that is). It isn’t real and it has poisoned our own opinions and views about our bodies.

Asymmetry, scars, cellulite, bruises, excess fat, uneven skin tone, stomach rolls, stretch marks and some flab are all normal, and no one is worth less because you have any of them.

You are enough, as you are, right now.

Your efforts towards staying active and keeping fit and healthy should not be motivated by a certain falsely constructed ideal body image or involve body shaming yourself constantly. Because that’s not healthy and will only lead you to resent the process and be unmotivated to keep at it. Instead, the decision and commitment to exercising and living a healthier life should be inspired by the thrill of personal improvement, seeing your body and mind change and get stronger each day and by the satisfaction of working towards the best and healthiest version of yourself.

So next time you find yourself staring at a mirror, fixated on your “flaws”, instead of solely focusing on the bad, actively seek out the good. Because for every one thing you don’t like about yourself, there are ten amazing things you aren’t seeing. And all you need to do is look.