Let’s be positive

Set yourself up for a positive day, everyday

Do you feel like everyday is a struggle to find the motivation to do anything? Well then it’s time to make some serious changes! Adding some positive daily habits into your life can definitely help with creating a bullet proof routine that will ultimately encourage you to have a great day, everyday.

Being positive is a choice. I truly believe that if we have our mind in a positive space we can become unstoppable in all aspects of our life. But finding a way to keep ourselves motivated and positive takes work and conscious effort. You need to create a morning routine to get your mind into a positive space. This way you will feel motivated to tackle everything in your day!


7 Tips to get onto the positive train

 

Get up and get going

You know when that first alarm goes off? Don’t press snooze! Get up right away and get going. Trust me, I know it’s much easier said than done but it really makes a difference in helping you feel less groggy and more motivated! 

What am I grateful for

Waking up and thinking about or writing down what you are grateful for will really help you focus on the positive things you have in your life. It doesn’t need to be more than 5 minutes every morning, but make this a priority! This will set you out in a positive direction and will put you in a good mood.

healthy and happy

Drink water

Even though it may sound obvious, drinking a big glass of room temperature water first thing in the morning BEFORE you grab your coffee will make your body feel good and revitalized. Drinking water will hydrate you and wake you right up!

Meditation or deep breaths

Taking 5 minutes in the morning to meditate or even do breathing exercises is a great way to clear your mind before your day starts. It doesn’t need to be anything formal, you could literally just sit down while doing your gratitude exercise or drinking your water and take a few deep breaths!

Have a healthy wholesome breakfast

Instead of skipping breakfast completely, eat something healthy and nutritious. If you don’t have too much time you could throw together a smoothie that is jam packed with wholesome goodness! Eating healthily goes hand in hand with feeling good about yourself and your day. 

Put together a playlist

Put together a playlist of your favourite happy songs! That way you can just press play and that positive feeling will come your way. Music really can bring in those feel good vibes into your life, so try to incorporate that into your morning (whether it may be when you are getting ready for work or when your commuting to work).

Move your body

Finding time to move your body and get a great workout in definitely has a massive positive impact on the body and mind. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but exercise helps release endorphins (happy hormones) into your body which make you feel happy and positive! I suggest trying to fit in your workout in the morning but if not set a time that works for you everyday.

Let’s be positive!

Ultimately, you have the control on how you live your life and how you decide to look at things. Using the above tips will really help set you up for success and get those positive vibes flowing throughout your day, everyday! 

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible!”

 

Running

BREATHING WHILE YOU RUN: THE EXPERT GUIDE TO BREATHING RIGHT AND RUNNING BETTER

Proper breathing can make the world of difference when running. Whether you are just starting out or you’ve been running for years, chances are, you’ve often struggled with your breathing. 

Now, we get that our hamstrings, quads and calves are the driving force that propel us forward, but the power of your breath is more important than you realise. In fact, getting your breathing right will not only make your running more enjoyable but it will make you a stronger, better runner. Meaning you can run harder for longer. 

The science behind breathing

Many runners start out not knowing the importance of breathing correctly. The right breathing technique is vital as a runner. It differentiates rookies from experts. But far too few runners are actually aware of how their breathing impacts their running, not to mention how the body works when we breathe. 

When we breathe in, our diaphragm will contract and the lungs will expand – basic science. Breathing in allows oxygen into the body, an important gas that our muscles need to generate energy. We thus inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. When carbon dioxide accumulates in the body, it can lead to breathlessness and anxiety, making any run feel incredibly strenuous and hard. 

How to breathe right to run better

The first thing you need to pay attention to so that you can properly examine the efficacy of your breathing technique (apart from gasping for air like a fish out of water), is assessing whether or not you are using your diaphragm effectively. Some signs include: 

  • Pain or tightness in your upper body while running 
  • Flared ribs or an arched back 
  • Paradoxical breathing – your stomach rises when exhaling and compresses when inhaling

All of the above signs indicate an issue with your breathing efficacy. When you bring awareness to your breathing technique, this will enable you to create a calmer mind, steadier pace and help you to endure high-pressure race scenarios. Focusing on a good breathing technique will give you the power you need to fight any fatigue you might experience and maintain a proper form. 

Did you know that the common reason why we gasp for air when we run is because we have not regulated our body’s response to running and our heightened state of breathing? Instead of reacting in a ‘fight or flight’ manner, we need to adapt our way of thinking to be ‘rest and remain calm’. 

When we react in a stressful manner to running (i.e. heavy breathing, gasping for air, feeling light-headed), this will impact your lungs and heart, which in turn, means you cannot run without reaching your ventilatory threshold, this is the point at which you cannot breathe in oxygen quickly or deeply enough to meet your body’s demand. When nearing this point, our body’s stress response will kick in and result in struggle and panic. It’s a vicious cycle. 

 

Breathing with your belly and not your chest

Deep belly breathing is the correct breathing technique to use when running, also known as diaphragmatic breathing. This will result in a maximum oxygen intake compared to shallow chest breathing.  Your maximum oxygen intake is known as your VO2 max – this is the maximum rate of oxygen your body can use when exercising. The higher this value is, the more oxygen your body is able to consume and the more effectively the body can use oxygen to generate energy. 

The air we breathe in will remain in our lungs for a short period of time, which will prevent the complete exchange of air, thus reducing the oxygen intake. When our breathing technique is poor, it can not only result in unnecessary fatigue but also the common side stitch so many runners experience. Deep belly breathing allows for increased oxygen intake and prevents side stitches. 

Here’s how to do it…

For a few minutes before your run (you can also practise this at random during the day), lie down on a comfortable surface, placing your hand on your belly. Take a few slow, deep breaths, ensuring your belly naturally lifts your hand when inhaling and your hand sinks when exhaling. Once you are comfortable with this technique, you can practise it when moving around and running at a comfortable pace. 

Pay attention to your form 

Make sure you also pay attention to your posture when running. Your upper body should be straight, shoulders relaxed (not hunched forward) and your head should be in line with your body, not pushed forward. 

Applying deep belly breathing to your running: Rhythmic breathing

Experienced runners know about rhythmic breathing. This is breathing in a pattern which allows you to increase your oxygen intake and result in your body being in a more relaxed state. Remember, every time your foot hits the ground, your body experiences stress associated with this impact. It’s your job to control how your body reacts to this stress. 

An expert trick is to alternate exhales between your left and right foot. This form of rhythmic breathing will allow for less pressure to be placed on your diaphragm and balance the impact between both sides of the body. 

Following a 3:2 pattern allows you to focus on your breathing and lessen the stress your body experiences. This means you will inhale for three strides and exhale for two. If you increase your pace, you can change the pattern to be 2:1 – Allowing your body to take in more oxygen and quickly expel the carbon dioxide. 

The final stride

Following these expert tips will improve your running, lessen the stressful impact of running on your body and help make your running more enjoyable. 

A word from RunMalibu

This blog was written by WellBe&Co in collaboration with RunMalibu. WellBe&Co is a personal and corporate wellness company specializing in easy-to-implement, lifestyle-focused nutrition, training and health solutions.

Yoga & self love

The Link Between Yoga & Self-Love

When I talk to other people about yoga, more often than not I get a response similar to this – ‘I would love to try it but I’m just SO inflexible!’. And while I try my best trying to explain that this truly doesn’t matter, it doesn’t help that every picture we see online or in social media of ‘the modern yogi’ is someone doing the splits, or folding themselves like a pretzel.

There are enough ways we all judge ourselves and compare against others. And yoga isn’t another form of exercise we do to hopefully, one day, feel better about ourselves. Doing the perfect headstand, or a perfect backbend is not the end goal. And even if it was, it wouldn’t guarantee that we love ourselves anymore. 

As Judith Lasatar so aptly says – ‘Yoga is not about touching your toes, it is what we learn on the way down’. 

But what exactly are we learning when we show up on our mat to practice?

Yoga is an inward journey

Let’s take a step back and remember that the practice of yoga is believed to date back over 5,000 years. It truly is an ancient discipline, that was practiced to cultivate a strong and supple body so that one could be able to sit still in meditation for long periods. Having a strong core, supple spine and open hips was necessary to ensure the body stayed relaxed and comfortable, without being a disturbance or distraction.

The ultimate goal for the Yogi was to be still. To be able to master their mind, achieve inner peace, and ultimately – enlightenment. 

Western culture has glorified the physical practice, yet the heart of yoga remains – as a tool to guide us on an inward journey so we can find true harmony within ourselves.

In our fast-paced, distracted modern lives, wouldn’t it be a joy to interact with people who are calm, centered, and present? Who can navigate all changes and challenges from a place of grounding?

yoga self love

Lessons from the mat

Each time you step onto your mat, you show up for yourself. Although yoga is often practiced among a group of people, it is very much an individual practice. The focus is within your four corners of your mat. As you move silently, you are guided to tune into the sensations of your body and to move with intention. Where the body goes, the mind follows, and so by focusing and controlling the physical self, we, in turn, can experience calm and ease in our thinking mind.

Yoga means to ‘yoke or unite’. What are we uniting? Our body and our mind, through a focus on our breath. 

Every moment on your mat is a time to tune in and connect. In building strength through movement, we cultivate a stronger sense of self. As we stretch and lengthen our bodies, we also learn to expand our mindfulness and awareness. It is an all-encompassing practice that leads us on a path to our true self. 

And while we may not achieve enlightenment like few of those ancient yogis, with a real commitment to our practice, the lessons we learn on our mat impact who we become off our mat, and we begin to show up in our lives with greater compassion, empathy, self-acceptance, and joy!

A journey begins with a single step

If touching your toes is no longer a reason to hold you back, the only next step is to decide to start. I have a range of pre-recorded videos to follow along, for free, in the comfort of your own home. There’s something for everyone including beginner classes, guided meditations, yin, vinyasa, and more.

Whatever you decide, the joy is in the journey. You can start yours today.

 

www.joyfulyogi.co.za

Running

UNDERSTANDING THE BRAIN BENEFITS OF THE ‘RUNNER’S HIGH’

Written by Sarah Braithwaite, a WellBe&Co Neuroscience-based Life & Health Coach

We have all had that same message drummed into our heads since we were young – ‘eat plenty vegetables, exercise often and get enough sleep’ , and while we are all familiar with the physical benefits these have on our body, most are not aware of the incredible impacts had on our brains – particularly when it comes to exercise. Our brain and body is intrinsically connected and while neurology is flowing downwards, physiology is flowing upwards and to separate the dual effects on one another would be impossible.

The love-hate relationship of endurance running is real – time, commitment, pain, and pressure, versus that insane ‘runners high’ that keeps us coming back for more and more. Let us unpack the latest science on brain health in relation to exercise – after all knowledge is power, and these juicy facts may give you a whole new appreciation for those long arduous training sessions.

How exercise actually rewires your brain

More than a mood boost

The latest buzz word in the neuroscience world, ‘neuroplasticity’, means our brains are able to change and rewire depending on many factors, one being physical movement. Beside the mental health benefits of reducing anxiety and depression, regular physical exercise is actually rewiring your brain for better cognitive function as well as improvement of emotional regulation. Exercise also allows the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, from the body which is hugely beneficial and explains why we experience mood changes after a workout.

It’s all biochemistry

During exercise, the body begins to produce endorphins which are our ‘feel good’ hormones. The effects of these endorphins plus the release of important neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, means that you are getting all the right kinds of ‘highs’ while you are running. Dopamine affects the reward pathways in the brain while serotonin stabilizes our moods – both are essential to mental health and well-being. While physical exercise is best, studies have also shown the mind boggling benefits to the brain from simply visualising a detailed exercise session in your head – what better evidence to prove the brain’s role in physical movement?

 

Run

4 Ways to maximize your training for better brain health

Okay so now that we have indisputable evidence of just how great movement is for our minds, here are a few easily implementable training hacks to help you get the most out of it:

  1. Incorporate HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT-style training has been shown to help prompt new cellular growth in the brain as well as increasing activity between neurons and prompting neuroplasticity. 

  1. Keep consistent

Regular exercise improves memory function in the brain. The hippocampus is responsible for memory and learning, and studies have shown that exercise improves these functions and causes neurogenesis (new cellular growth).

  1. Sweat out the stress

Use exercise as a stress release tool to rid your body of excessive levels of toxic cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that we produce, and it can become toxic when chronic. Stress can quite literally cause the physical release of cortisol.

  1. Be mindful

Combine exercise with some mindful or visualisation practices to encourage neuroplasticity. The mind battles to distinguish reality from imagination, and the power of visualization is helpful in ingraining those neural pathways that are used when performing the activity. 

  1. Eat the right brain food

The brain thrives off of slow release carbohydrates as well as healthy fats. Dr Tara Swart, a remound Neuroscientist, recommends food such as: eggs, nuts, avos, coconut oil and salmon. Other foods such as sweet potatoes and healthy grains can also be beneficial. 

Movement for the mind 

Regular exercise, like running, really has profound benefits for both the brain and body, and that ‘high’ is there as a reminder to keep coming back for more. And with that in mind, I’m putting on my trainers and hitting the road…

A word from WellBe

This blog was written by Sarah Braithwaite, of MindSight, is a WellBe&Co Neuroscience-based Health & Life Coach, in collaboration with RunMalibu.

DEBUNKING 7 COMMON MYTHS AND MISNOMERS OF RUNNING

Written by WellBe&Co

When it comes to running wisdom, numerous myths and misconceptions have been generated over time, and some of these more popular theories have turned out to be a lot more fiction than fact.

Recent research has debunked some of the most widely-known rules and beliefs. From stretching before a run to adopting extreme fad diets, here are some of the most common running myths that you should kick to the curb.

Myth busters: running facts vs fiction

Myth 1: Running trail is harder than road

Road runners thinking about trying their hand at trail running are often hesitant to tackle more technical routes due to the unfamiliar terrain. But is trail running really harder than road running? 

It’s true that trail running requires a lot more attention than running on local roads. This is largely due to the uneven terrain, steeper grades and winding switchback, while road running provides smoother and harder surfaces which often correlate to faster times. 

Because of this, people tend to think that road running has a lower level of difficulty, while the slower and more technical nature of trail running tends to get a bad reputation. 

Often we want to categorize trail running and road running as two completely different activities but, at the end of the day, they are both just running. According to most athletes, if you are already an avid runner, then you already have all the skills you need to run on the trails. 

In fact, trying your hand at trial running could benefit you in the long run since many health professionals actually report seeing less injuries in runners that mix their training with some trail running and road running than those who prefer to stick just to the roads.

Myth 2: Runners don’t need strength training 

Most people tend to think that if they want to improve their running, all they should focus on is running. In actual fact, if you want to perform at your full potential, you should try to adopt a more comprehensive approach to your training. 

Strength training is a key part of boosting performance and preventing injury. Strategically targeting different body parts on different days will also help you to better strengthen your muscles, improve your power output, give you a stronger, better push on the roads and improve your overall race time. 

That’s why it’s important to supplement regular roadwork with occasional training to strengthen muscles and joints, as well as to target areas of fitness that you may not normally pay attention to – such as flexibility, balance, mobility, and strength.

Myth 3: Taking a few days off will hurt your fitness

The benefits of rest days shouldn’t be underestimated. Most people tend to forget that one of the most important parts of exercising effectively is giving our bodies time to recover.

Often, being stuck in an “I must work out everyday” mindset will do more harm than good. A lot of the time we tend to feel like taking a day or two off for rest and recovery, or sometimes even for illness, means that we have immediately lost the miles that we’ve logged during the week.

The truth is that cardiovascular fitness doesn’t just disappear overnight. Studies show that there is little decrease in general fitness over the first 10 days of inactivity in trained athletes. So if you need a rest day, take it. There’s no real need to ‘make up’ for the lost time.

Myth 4: Running is bad for your knees 

Running will mess up your knees completely. It’s only a matter of time, right? Wrong. Research shows that running is in fact really healthy for your joints and plays a significant role in preventing bone diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

A recent study even found that 80 marathon athletes reported that their bones and joints around the knee actually became stronger after training! And while 45% of running injuries do involve knee pain, it’s not the running itself that is inherently strenuous on your body, but rather the related issues which result from weak hips, tight muscles and overuse.

The only time you should really be cautious about injuring your knees when running is if you’ve had a recent knee surgery or if you’re significantly overweight. If that’s the case, it’s always better to start with a more gradual fitness routine before jumping right into an intensive running routine. 

Myth 5: You don’t have the right body shape to be a runner 

Often people are told that they are too tall, too heavy, too big or too short to be a good runner.

While it’s true that most elite trail or roadrunners have a specific shape and build, we’re not all born elite gold-medalists who are predisposed to a smaller frame and leaner body fat percentage. In reality, most of us don’t have single-digit body fat, and there is no ideal body type for someone looking to get into the sport. 

While an individual’s body weight is undoubtedly important when it comes to distance running (since being lighter generally makes running a little easier), runners of all shapes and sizes are capable of beating times and breaking personal records.

Simply put: anyone can become a runner. At any big race, whether it’s a 5km or marathon, you’ll see athletes with varying body types cross the finish line. All it takes is a good level of aerobic fitness and the right training program.

Myth 6: Stretch before you run 

While many people swear by a regular stretch routine before a run or race, static stretching is not actually the optimal way to warm up before a run. 

In general, the rule is to never stretch a cold muscle. Certified running coaches tend to agree that you should never engage in static stretching before a run as lengthening your muscles could actually over-strain your muscles, and a simple stretch might even end up slowing you down instead.

Your primary focus should instead be to get enough oxygen into your muscles before you partake in any type of physical exertion. A good idea is to start it by warming up with a slow walk. Swing your arms back  and forth to get the blood moving or do a few shoulder shrugs. The idea is to slowly elevate your heart rate for a few minutes before you pick up your pace. 

Myth 7: There is a perfect diet for running

These days, athletes are always always looking for a new fad diet that will make them leaner and faster. 

In reality, there is no specific diet for athletes looking to build stamina and better their performance. The bottom line is that proper nutrition and a balanced diet is all that matters when it comes to keeping your body fit and strong – and research has shown that we are able to thrive equally well on a variety of diets. 

The key is trying different diets to find out what works best for you and to create a sustainable lifestyle centre around holistic, healthy living. Essentially, it is all about experimenting with a range of meals and eating plans to see what combination of foods will help you feel good while also enabling you to reach your peak athletic performance. 

Whether it’s a vegan lifestyle, a ketogenic diet or a plant-based way of living, once you’ve figured out your best diet, it will undoubtedly give you more energy and stamina when you head out on the roads or the trails. 

A final word 

Don’t let any myths or misconceptions keep you from hitting the road – or the trail, or the track. At the end of the day, running is an ever-evolving sport, and new studies, better research and different theories are always showing up in the running community. 

The trick is to use these opportunities to learn something new so that you can better develop your running wisdom and put your best foot forward every time you hit the roads.  

A word from WellBe&Co

This blog was written by WellBe&Co in collaboration with RunMalibu. RunMalibu is taking virtual running to the next level with their US-based virtual races hosted between 7th and 8th November 2021. 

TRAINING FOR RUNNING

CALLING ALL RUNNERS! THE BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING FOR RUNNING

Have you ever started running and then a few weeks later you find your body being consistently sore with niggles and possibly a potential injury? If you shouted ‘hell yes’ in your mind right now then this one’s for you!

Check this out: THE POWER OF MOVEMENT: INCORPORATING EXERCISE INTO YOUR LIFESTYLE

Whether you are getting into running or you have been running for years, it’s very important to incorporate strengthening exercises into your routine. Strengthening your glutes, hamstrings and core will help you prevent injury and set you up for success. Many of us are naturally more quad dominant when we run due to weak hamstrings and glutes from sitting all day at work. You may feel like when you run your glutes or hamstrings struggle to activate leaving your quads with most of the work. This will cause injury in the long run if you don’t give it some time and attention.

When it comes to strength training there are many benefits you can gain:

Running 101

Reduced risk of injury

A strong core and lower body will set you up for success. If you strengthen these parts of your body, you will be able to maintain a correct running form throughout your runs, reducing your risk of injury to your hips, knees, lower back and so on.

Many injuries form from muscle imbalances or weaknesses. Using strength training, you can treat theses imbalances or weaknesses and therefore avoid injuries altogether. Not only will you avoid the pain from injury but you will also avoid having to stop running because of an injury. This will leave you more motivated to continue running and it’ll help you form a consistent running habit.

Running becomes easier

Like anything else, if you run consistently it will become easier. Adding strength training to the mix will help speed up the process because if you strengthen the parts of your body that you are using when running your runs will feel easier and more doable.

Reduced fatigue

Strength training helps prepare your body for the stress it endures on a run. It will help your muscles perform for longer without getting tired. You will be more prepared to fight off those tough moments when you are running than before – avoiding cramping up or muscle fatigue.

Keen to get started with some strength training? Here is a gentle strengthening workout that you can do absolutely anywhere. 

Here’s a great read: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR BRAIN FITNESS AND BOOST MOTIVATION

Runner’s workout

Workout:
• 1 min single leg glute bridge (each side)
• 1 min lying lateral raises (each side)
• 1 min bird dog (each side)
• 1 min lying clams (each side)
• 1 min plank hip dips
• 1 min single leg deadlift (each side)
*Complete each exercise back to back with little to no break. 1-minute rest between rounds*
3/4 ROUNDS

Happy Running!

Let’s keep in touch:
Instagram and Facebook: @thelivelyfitnessgirl

Website: www.livelyfitness.co.za

Email: jessica@livelyfitness.co.za

At home exercises

7 SIMPLE HOLIDAY EXERCISES: NO EQUIPMENT. 1 EPIC WORKOUT.

The holidays are a time for spending time with loved ones and friends, eating some delicious food and more importantly, relaxing. 

When it comes to the holiday period, we seem to spend a lot more time with our feet up than we do hitting the gym or working out. And who can blame us? We’ve worked incredibly hard throughout the year and we deserve a break. 

But getting in a workout doesn’t have to require the gym, equipment or even a lot of effort. In fact, all it takes is a little dedication and just 30 minutes of your time. That’s it. And afterwards, you will be left feeling a little less guilty about eating three helpings of pudding last night and a little more energised and happy! 

How this guide works

All of these exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home. We’ll take you through the various exercises and how they are done, then we will apply them to a sweat-creating, muscle-making, heavy-breathing kind of workout (seriously, it’s a great one!). 

Oh, and while you’re here, have a look at this blog on healthy hacks for the holiday season plus 3 healthy recipes for classic holiday meals. 

1. Chair pose 

Target muscles: Hamstrings, glutes and core 

Start in a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart. Then, extending your arms in front of you, lower your body into a seated position. You can do this against a wall with your back straight up against the wall. Basically, you get into a seated position, but without the chair. 

Hold this for one minute. 

2. Standing side-leg raises 

Target muscles: Core and hips

Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start by lifting your right leg out toward the side, keep your core tight as you slowly lift your leg. Then return it back to the starting position. Make sure this is a slow and controlled movement, extending your leg to just over 45 degrees (if you can). 

Repeat with each side for 10 to 15 reps per side. 

3. Oblique side bends

Target muscles: Obliques 

Starting in the standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands behind your head (clasping the back of your head with your fingers intertwined). Engage your core and bend at your waist to the right toward the floor – in a slow and controlled motion.  Then repeat on the other side. 

Do this for 15 to 20 reps per side. 

4. Sumo squat

Target muscles: Inner thighs

Start by standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outwards. With your hands clasped together at your chest (this will help with balance), push your hips back and then squat down – make sure you keep your back straight and your upper body lifted.

Repeat this 10 to 15 times. 

5. Push-ups

Target muscles: Triceps, chest, core and shoulders 

This is a great upper body exercise!

Start with your stomach and chest on the floor. Your legs should be straight out behind you and your palms should be in line with your chest. Push from your heels and hands as you bring your chest, torso and thighs off the floor. Then slowly lower yourself back down and repeat. 

An easier pushup version: It makes it a little easier if, instead of your feet being on the mat, you bring your heels towards your butt and then, press slowly through your hands to fully extend the elbows. Then slowly return to the starting position (flat on the floor). 

Repeat 5 to 10 times. 

6. Glute raises

Target muscles: Glutes

Start by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms down at your side with palms facing down. 

Slowly lift your hips off the ground until they form a straight line with your knees and shoulders. Hold this for a few seconds before easing back down. 

Repeat 10 to 20 times. 

7. Side plank

Target muscles: Obliques

Start by lying on your side with your feet together and stacked on top of one another. Then raise yourself onto your elbow and lift your hips off the mat – raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to fee. Keep your core tight. 

Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. 

At home exercises

Full body workout example

Now that you know how to do these simple at-home exercises, let’s discuss how you can apply these to a workout…

3 – 4 rounds. Full body. Prepare to sweat. 

  1. Chair pose – hold for 60 seconds 
  2. Standing side leg raises – 10 reps per side 
  3. Oblique side bends – 15 reps per side 
  4. Sumo squat – 10 reps 
  5. Pushups – 10 reps 
  6. Glute raises – 20 reps 
  7. Side plank – hold for 30 seconds each side 

So, get to sweating! 

Happy holidays from all of us at WellBe! 

Healthy Food

8 HEALTH HACKS TO STAY HEALTHY & FIT DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON

Don’t let mince pies, mashed potatoes and stuffing be the death of a year of working hard in the gym and eating healthy foods. 

With decadent meals, braais, parties and other food-filled affairs coming up in December, it can be pretty tough to maintain a healthy eating plan and fitness routine.  And we get it. Not everyone can turn down the Christmas pudding or that second cocktail at the pool on a sunny day. And why should you? You deserve it, right? 

We aren’t here to tell you to say no to every delicious temptation you are faced with these holidays, because in our honest opinion, a holiday of dieting doesn’t sound like any fun at all. And yeah, you do deserve the dessert! 

The trick is to learn how to indulge the right way, and more importantly when to say no. It’s planning your days a little better so that you don’t feel like you want to eat half the turkey come dinner time. When it comes to exercising, there are expert hacks you can learn that will help you fit in some quick workouts. 

So, fret not our fine fitness and health-living friends, we are here to help you (and your body) survive the festive season and avoid having to set unrealistic New Year’s resolutions centred around weight loss and hours on the treadmill. 

1. Plan your days

Meal plans and exercise routines tend to fall away in the holidays and are taken over by unplanned and over catered dinners and lazy afternoons. 

But there is a way you can stop yourself from falling victim to the endless late-night dinners and lack of exercise. And how you do this is by planning ahead. 

For example, if you know you have a big family dinner coming up tomorrow night. Make sure you stick to wholesome and healthy meals for breakfast and lunch so that you don’t overindulge yourself at dinner. Don’t skip lunch because you know dinner will be a big meal, this is a recipe for an overeating disaster. 

Our exercising hack is to wake up early while everyone is still sleeping to get in a quick morning jog, yoga session or workout. This will free up your day for any unexpected plans and leave you feeling energised and stress-free for the rest of the day!

Exercising during the holidays is a productive way to stay healthy and burn off those extra calories from the Christmas pudding. Plus, you start the new year on a healthy and fit note! 

2. Don’t forget to drink water

This might seem like an obvious one, but it is something many of us forget to do.

Drinking water is important for a number of reasons. For one, our brains tend to confuse thirst with hunger. So, before you dish up seconds, try drinking a big glass of water. 

In fact, you should aim to drink at least 2 glasses of water before each meal. This will leave you feeling fuller. 

With sugary drinks and cocktails flowing (here’s a great read on cocktail choices for your health), it’s also particularly important that you drink loads of water to compensate for the alcohol intake and to try and incorporate fibre rich snacks such as nuts and avos to also keep you fuller for longer. 

While you’re here, have a look at this blog on how to boost your metabolism

3. Know when to say no

We get that your aunt or grandma might be incredibly pushy when it comes to everyone having a second slice of her homemade apple pie. But you need to learn to say no. 

Now, we aren’t saying you should restrict yourself or feel guilty over eating some dessert. Not at all. Have that slice of pie, eat it and enjoy every bite of it! But you don’t need that second slice. 

4. Try to fit in quick exercises

If you can’t make it to your gym, then you can try to incorporate HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or bodyweight exercises at home. There is a wide range of workout videos on YouTube that will help you get in a quick workout of 10 to 30 minutes. Remember, every little bit counts. 

5. Keep burning calories as much as you can

One of the simplest holiday health hacks is to keep moving. Go for a walk with your family on the beach, play fetch with your dog, go for a hike, take the stairs at the shopping mall or pop 10 squats the next time you are in the bathroom. 

6. Research some healthier recipes for holiday classics

If you have to bring a meal for the festive feast, why not make it a healthy one? There are a ton of healthy takes on classic holiday meals that are just as delicious and much better for your health. 

We have put together 3 healthy holiday meals right here for you to take a look at. 

Healthy Food

7. Relax

With all the shopping, socialising and parties, it can be hard to find some time to kick back and relax. You need to do your best to limit your stress. You can do this by saying ‘no’ to a few parties or just taking some time out for yourself. You deserve it. 

8. Be kind to yourself

It’s been a long year and you have worked really hard to get where you are now. Take a step back and spend some time writing down everything you accomplished this year. It can be as simple as running a 5km or as big as a promotion. Reward yourself for a job well done. 

This is also a great time to set your goals for the new year. 

From all of us at WellBe, happy holidays! 

Following a nutritious diet

BOUNCING BACK AFTER A BABY: GET BACK YOUR CONFIDENCE & A HEALTHY BODY

A number of new moms will start to wonder just how long it takes to lose their baby weight and bounce back to their pre-baby body. While many might wish you could magically lose the love handles and hips the moment your baby is born, the fact remains that no one, not even celebrities, can snap right back to their body before their baby so quickly. 

And give yourself some credit, you just carried a baby inside your womb for 9 months. Your body was bound to change as your baby developed and your hormones conjured up what seemed to be a hungry, tired and sore body (unless you’re one of those pregnancy unicorns who glows and walks around on clouds, then kudos to you). 

So, just how much weight do you lose the moment you give birth? 

This will depend on the size of your newborn, he or she should weigh between 3 to 5 kgs, then there is the weight of your placenta and amniotic fluids, which you deliver at birth. All in all, you can expect to instantly shed 5 to 6 kgs during delivery. Hooray! 

So, where is the rest of the weight sitting? In your blood supply, breast tissue, enlarged uterus and fat stores. In fact, when you give birth you should not expect the instant weight loss to automatically shrink your belly, this might take about 6 weeks until your uterus shrinks back to its original size. 

Losing the baby weight

There are a number of ways you can go about trying to lose your baby weight but remember to give yourself a break. You literally just birthed another human being. Things have moved around, grown and stretched out a bit. This means that the trick is not to focus on getting your pre-baby body back, but rather to create a happy, healthy and slightly-differently-shaped you! 

1. Setting reasonable weight loss goals

A good place to start is to chat with your doctor or a qualified dietician for them to help you set a reasonable and safe goal. Remember that everyone sheds weight at their own pace. There are also a number of factors that come into play when it comes to weight loss. One of these is your age. Your metabolism slows down as you get older – have a look at this blog on how to naturally boost your metabolism.

Another factor is your diet. If you adopt healthy eating habits (which will not only benefit you but your baby too if you are breastfeeding), then this will help immensely in your weight loss journey. While you’re here, have a look at these healthy and happy meals

And lastly, your activity levels and exercise routine also plays a role. 

2. Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a great way to burn calories while sitting down. In fact, some experts suggest that breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day! It also stimulates the release of hormones that will aid in shrinking your uterus back to its pre-baby size. So, if you can, breastfeed your newborn. Some moms suggest breastfeeding for the first two years of your little one’s life. 

3. Following a nutritious diet

The first thing I need to warn you about is to never jump into a ‘get-thin-fast’ kind of diet. These kinds of ‘crash’ diets might have you shedding a few pounds in just a few weeks through excessive and restrictive dieting, but when you start eating normally again, you will only put the original weight you lost (and some) back on. 

Your body needs proper nutrition to recover from the delivery, fight off infection and aid in feeding your baby. Which is why you should not consider any forms of restrictive diets

You need to ensure you are getting enough calories to breastfeed your little one. There are a number of delicious, healthy and easy to follow diet plans out there, especially for new moms. The WellBe Team is happy to help if you want some expert advice on where to start and what kinds of foods you should be eating as well as what kind of exercises plan to follow. Having a wellness coach is one of the best things you can do for your body and your wellbeing. 

A good place to start is by cutting out on junk food, processed food and fast food and choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats. But if you want a slice of cake, treat yourself. The key is moderation when it comes to implementing a healthy lifestyle. 

4. Following an exercise routine

You might feel exhausted, rundown and sleep-deprived, but keep in mind that exercise, even a brisk walk, will not only do wonders for your physical appearance, but it will also boost your mood and leave you feeling great. So before you head to the couch after putting your little one down for an afternoon nap, why not pop a yoga video on the TV or a quick little workout video to follow? 

It’s a good idea to find activities you actually enjoy doing and ones that don’t take up too much of your time. Being a new mom doesn’t leave you with a lot of free time on your hands, so try to get in exercise anywhere you can. Invest in a pram you can jog with or pop a few squats the next time you ‘pop a squat’ in the bathroom. Trust me, incorporating these little exercises into your day will make the world of difference. 

5. Staying positive

The key to all of this is staying positive and being easy on yourself. Focus on the things you have accomplished and the weight you have already lost and remember than fitness if more about the number on your scale. 

The fact that you’re reading this blog is a step in the right direction, so here’s to you!

Offer yoga and meditation classes

HOW TO INSPIRE A CULTURE OF FITNESS IN THE WORKPLACE: 4 SIMPLE STEPS

A number of companies are starting to see the benefits of wellness in the workplace. From improving employee’s happiness which is directly linked to their levels of productivity, a healthy workplace allows for not only healthy and happy employees but a boost in sales and your company’s bottom line. 

To fully understand the benefits of workplace wellness we wrote a blog on the topic which you can have a look at right here: 8 reasons why your company needs a wellness program

Personal wellness is a top priority

As working professionals, our personal wellness is of top priority and when a company enables its employees to work in an environment that supports their personal health and wellness, it creates loyalty, decreases sick days and creates a workplace that boosts morale and decreases stress levels. 

One of the first steps to improving personal wellness in the workplace is to inspire a culture of fitness. But it takes more than just some healthy snacks in the breakroom and encouraging employees to take the stairs. 

More than a few simple acts of wellness

To truly make a difference in the lives of your employees and sustain these positive results, you need to create healthy habits of wellness in the workplace, it’s these habits that help develop a culture of health and fitness. 

It’s important to understand that whilst a culture of fitness is important to implement and sustain, as a company, you need to look at the bigger picture of corporate wellness. Which is why it helps to get some professionals in to help. Wellness coaches offer expert advice and implement effective practises to improve the wellness culture in your office. 

In any case, one of the first steps to creating a culture of wellness is to inspire a culture of fitness.

Why fitness matters

Exercise is known to make you feel good. From the runner’s ‘high’ to the great feeling you get after working out, even when you go for a brisk walk around the block, exercise does more than just improve your physical health, but it also taps into our mental wellbeing on a number of positive levels. As with healthy eating and positive thinking, exercise helps us to feel great about ourselves which has a direct impact on our work lives. 

So, how great would it be if your place of work inspired this kind of healthy living? It would be amazing. 

1. Get moving – step up to fitness

It’s all about the little efforts that make the big difference. Rewarding employee’s ‘stepping’ milestones is a great way to encourage movement. 

For example, set daily goals of 10 000 steps a day. Those who reach this goal for 10 days in a row are celebrated and rewarded with discounted gym memberships or healthy snack baskets. 

Walking meetings offer a fun alternative to the boring boardroom. 

Provide safe bike parking for those who cycle to work. 

Did you know that staff who spent 30 to 60 minutes working out during their lunch break reported an average performance boost of 15%? Encouraging staff to work out during lunch and better yet, providing them with the space to do so is a great way to improve productivity.

2. Bring fitness into team building

Fun soccer games, 5k fun walks/runs or even jumping on trampolines at Bounce are all fun and engaging ways to interact as a team. 

 

3. Offer yoga and meditation classes 

During lunch and after work, bring in a yoga instructor or offer a meditation class for those who want to get involved. You can also offer this before work starts in the morning to ensure employees start their day feeling relaxed and ready to take on the challenges of the day. 

 

4. Clear communication and celebration is key

Offer yoga and meditation classes

It’s all fine and well having these various fitness and health opportunities available to employees, but you need to ensure that they know about them too! 

And what’s more, your staff need to know that you care about them. A fitness culture in the workplace will not happen without reinforcement. 

This means you need to create a clear communication plan and timeline that lets employees know exactly what activities will be taking place and when as well as what rewards and incentives are linked to these activities. 

It’s important that you reward and celebrate those who take part in fitness challenges. As mentioned earlier, some rewards include: 

  • Discount gym memberships 
  • Healthy snack baskets 
  • Healthy reward vouchers for shops like Total Sports or Sportsmans Warehouse 
  • Free yoga vouchers 

The list goes on. 

Open up an honest conversation around fitness in your business. Talk about topics like work and personal life balance and nutrition. Create an environment where employees are encouraged to talk openly about their health and mental wellbeing and have the right tools to improve their health. 

It starts at the top

Don’t forget that effective fitness in the workplace starts with the boss. As a leader, your staff will follow you so ensure you set a good example and take part in the various fitness activities in the office.