Wednesday, 28 August 2013

An enigma...


The epitome of a chic classy modern lady is her ability to always be mysterious which due to this behavior provokes even more curiosity in those that are around her. But as one of my readers pointed out to me recently, while many of us respect the decision to be mysterious, it is much more difficult to actually be mysterious and opt for discretion rather than the alternative.
After all, we are surrounded by friends, family and colleagues who want to know what is going on in our lives, and they become especially curious when we don’t want to reveal too much voluntarily (ironic, but true). While most people are asking about topics not intentionally trying to be nosy or hurtful, there are others who aren’t necessarily asking because they care. Either way, if it makes you feel uncomfortable, that is reason enough not to answer. It took quite some time for me to realize that just because a question is asked of me doesn’t mean I have to answer.
But the question remains, how do we respectfully, tactfully and gracefully navigate such situations? Well, I’ve gathered together what I have found to be most successful for myself as well as a few other people I questioned about this topic (they were willing participants I promise!)
The key to any of these approaches is that it will take practice. Choose a few that you think will work best for the situations you know you’re bound to run up against and give them a shot.  The more you use them, the more they will become second hat.  And more importantly, if you consistently make it known that you are not going to be gossiping, answering personal questions or engaging in conversations that are inappropriate, in time most people won’t approach you with such nonsense.
Respond to a Nosy Question with a Question.
Why do you ask? Wouldn’t you like to know? Can I consider you intrigued? If they persist, keep responding with a question. Often I can find myself in the middle of a impassioned political discussion, and I find that the best way to calm the situation down is to ask where they found their information (in other words, from what source did you hear that?) This usually stops them in their tracks because even if they know, they have to recall the information and that veers them off course a bit.

Redirect the Conversation (aka Changing the Subject)
If a question makes you uncomfortable and the person doing the asking isn’t taking your subtle hints, change the conversation altogether “I’m going to the bar, can I get you another drink?” or flip the tables (not literally, although that would change the subject now wouldn’t?) and give them a genuine compliment about their wardrobe, hair, etc – anything to divert the attention off of yourself.

Stay on Top of Current Events
The best way to avoid uncomfortable questions is to be preventative. Always have a conversation topic at-the-ready.  Preferably something that your company may be aware of, but isn’t gossip (avoid gossip at all costs as it only reflects poorly on those doing the talking). Raise the bar and talk about concepts and ideas, rather than private personal matters.
Ask Questions of People That They’d Like to Discuss
So often many people do feel comfortable talking about about themselves if it is something they don’t mind sharing or are proud of.  Why not begin the conversation by setting an example of what type of questions you wouldn’t mind answering.  In other words, always follow the golden rule.  Whether they follow your lead is up to them, but at least you are paying them the respect you would like to receive.
Smile and Shake Your Head (Chuckle a bit if necessary)
Words can get us into trouble, so why not say nothing at all? Yes, this may seem awkward at first, but had the person not asked such an uncomfortable question, then they wouldn’t have to be feeling awkward. Basically, give them this subtle hint that this is not a topic up for discussion.
Give Vague Answers
If you’re not quite comfortable telling someone they are prying much too hard into your personal life, simply answer with a vague statement.  If they ask how your love life is going, reply, “Very well, actually.” And leave it at that.

Become Distracted
When a question is asked that you’d rather not answer, busy yourself with another task or walk to another group of people excusing yourself first, and if you’re in a casual setting take out your cell phone and start going through your apps or viewing your messages, or pick up a magazine or read a book.
Cut to the Chase
If you are comfortable telling-it-like-it-is or someone has constantly been nagging you incessantly, just tell them the truth, “I’m not one to share such personal information.” Or better yet, if you are continually plagued by the questions about why you are still single or when you and your husband are going to have a baby state very bluntly, “My life is none of your business.” Actually what I’ve always wanted to say in this scenario is to return with a question of my own that is equally personal, “And might you share with me the success of your marital life or is it so boring that you have to inquire about mine?” Okay, that’s a bit over the top, but truly, wasn’t their question just as nosy?
I hope these tips have helped a bit and always remember, the only reason you need to not answer is that it makes you uncomfortable (and this is always easier to discern if you haven’t had any drinks or just a few sips). A modern lady is always aware of her environment, knows her boundaries and respects herself first.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

It's just life...

One of the things we all do, which completely complicates life, is to take things personally. Whether it’s in business, in personal relationships, or in life, we just can’t seem to help ourselves, and it turns out badly nearly every single time.
The truth is, that most of the time, far from being out to hurt anyone, others aren’t giving anyone else a second thought. The truth is, that most of the time, others are just trying to live their own lives and find their own happiness, to the best of their ability. The truth is, that most of the time, what we mistake for a personal affront is someone else defending a vulnerability of their own. The truth is, that most of the time, others would be horrified to know that we had taken their actions personally in the first place. The truth is, that most of the time, it isn’t personal at all, it’s simply life.
So why do we do it? Why do we look at things through our own lens, and apply it to the way others behave? Why would we expect someone else to live their life for us, when we shouldn’t be living our life for anyone else? Why would we choose to believe anything not based on fact, which then causes us to act in a defensive, inelegant and unhappy way ourselves? Why can’t we remember how lovely our own life, career and relationships are when we live with more trust and inner calm? And even if something is said or done with malice…why would we then exacerbate the issue by turning control of our esteem over to someone that doesn’t have our best interests at heart? No, it’s far simpler to just assume that it isn’t personal, it’s life, and then get on with it.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

your body!

“Treat your body like a temple, not a woodshed. The mind and the body work together. Your body needs to be a good support system for the mind and the spirit. If you take good care of it, your body can take you wherever you want to go, with the power and the strength and energy and vitality you will need to get there.”
~ Jim Rohn

Viewing my body as a temple is something I have absolutely no problem doing, but treating it as such is much more difficult.  However, as I get older, I become more and more appreciative of what my body can do for me and because of this I am reminded of why – proper maintenance, regular attention and discipline - are so important.
So often is the case that during the warmer months it is easier to get outside and be active, but as the daylight hours slowly shorten and our schedules become ever more booked, it is too easy to allow our fitness and wellness to slide.
What I’d like to share with you today are ways to treat your body as the temple we all know it is that has the potential to allow us each to experience amazing opportunities. While initially when this statement is uttered, it is assumed exercise is involved, which is correct, it is also important to keep in mind all the other ways you can take care of your body. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:
1. Take in productive fuel – eliminate/reduce processed foods and preservatives, monitor what type of media your mind observes – television, radio, music, reading material.
2. Just listen – to your body that is. Adhering to a rigid diet is not always going to serve your body’s needs. While your body may have become accustomed to too much sugar and this needs to be adjusted, it is also important to listen to it when it comes to knowing what it needs.  The difficult part comes into play when we have to translate what it’s saying.  However, with time you will come to realize when you think you are craving food, but actually are dehydrated and need water or when you need a touch of salt or a healthy sweet treat.  Take the time to listen and get to know your body and you will never be led astray.  This also comes into play with regards to knowing when you are full enough. Sometimes when we allow ourselves to reach the point of feeling as though we are starved and thus consume far more than we need.  The key is to slow down, make healthy choices and try not to allow your body to come to this point of desperation.
3. Let it rest – Make sure to give your body 6-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Turn off the computer at least an hour before bedtime, eliminate distractions that will keep you awake, if pets make it impossible to sleep, designate a specific place in the house for them to snooze, and if you have children, be diligent about sticking to a consistent bedtime.
4. Challenge it – your body is capable of so much more than you realize. Create an aerobic fitness regimen and write it in ink in your planner.
5. Strengthen your bones – with weight training.  Now weight training can come in many different forms.  You can choose to use hand weights, bands or revert back to yoga as it is uses your own body weight for resistance. More than 25 million Americans have osteoporosis and the majority of these patients are women. The key to preventing it is to act now before menopause occurs (and for those of you who are post-menopausal, keep lifting to maintain what bone mass you currently have).  By building your bone mass now with exercise and strength training you are prolonging your ability to have strong bones well in your golden years.
6. More natural drinks – Do your best to drink water and tea instead of soda or coffee.  While it is fine to drink anything in moderation, remind yourself that your body is the vessel and ask the question, how best shall I fuel it? I don’t believe Coca Cola is going to get you very far, but some cool crisp water certainly can’t hurt.
7. Keep it limber – Whether you stretch five minutes before and after your aerobic activities or engage in pilates or yoga, make sure you are incorporating a regular stretching routine into your workout regimen. Not only is it good for the body, but it is soothing for the mind as well.
8. Keep the brain active – One of the simplest and most enjoyable preventative actions you can take to ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia is to continually challenge your mind.  Whether it be by introducing new physical skills – dancing, stand-up padding or tennis – or mental exercises such as crossword puzzles, learning a new language, reading a challenging new book or understanding a new computer system – by exercising your brain you are keeping it young and less susceptible to deterioration as well.
9. Protect and pamper your teeth, eyes and ears – A legitimate excuse to purchase those oversized sunglasses you’ve had your eye on and who doesn’t want fresh breath – simply brush your teeth twice a day, and as for your ears, gradually turn the volume down a few notches – your ears will thank you later.
10. Meditate – Did you know that the purpose of yoga is to prepare the mind for mediation? If you have ever taken a yoga class, you know how physically taxed you are at the end of the class, but additionally, so is your mind because you’ve been focusing so hard on trying to maintain your balance and listen to your body.  Because of this, immediately after the class ends or you are in the final pose savasana, your mind is more capable of meditating. Start with 5 minutes with either soothing music playing in the background or nothing at all and just let your mind rest. Focus on your breathing and you’ll be amazed at how de-stressing and soothing such a practice is when you incorporate it regularly into your life.
11. Be preventative – schedule regular doctor appointments and be sure to ask any and all questions of your physician.
12. Reduce stress – The more stress we have in our lives, the more damaging it is on our bodies), so it is vital that we reduce anything that is within our control and a lot of it begins with our minds. Yoga instructor Kristin McGee wrote in a post this week a reminder that is something to always have at the back of your mind when it comes to conflict, “When a conflict comes up, I always try to remember to ask myself, is this ‘inside my boat or outside of my boat?’” So often we become engrossed and worried about things that we have absolutely no control over and thus expend energy we need for things we do have control over.  Keep this saying in mind whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation.
13. Cook more often – this requires planning, saves money and allows you to be an active participant in what you choose to put into each meal.
14. Protect your skin – Think Anne Hathaway, or at least think SPF 30 or above when it comes to skin protection. Skin cancer is the most common cancer and more than 2 million people are diagnosed with it every year. There are so many alternatives available now between self-tanners, spray tans, airbrush tans, and an endless barrage of skin protective lotions, it simply is ridiculous to be an ignorant sun worshiper.
These are just a handful of ways to treat your body like the temple it is.  Remember, consider your discipline as a down-payment on a healthy and active life down the line as well as in this moment.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


A few weeks ago I received an email from a reader seeking advice on how to gracefully let go of friendships that were no longer a positive influence. And while I have said before on the blog to surround yourself with uplifting and inspiring people that ultimately cause you to become your best self, I’ve never addressed the specifics on how to handle those relationships that while in your life currently, are depleting and destructive and need to be let loose. 

 While such a topic can feel like walking into a mine field, I’d like to speak to an even broader topic – how to create your very own healthy social circle because I believe it is one thing to know how to extricate yourself, but the key is to learn how to cultivate a positive environment no matter where you are in your life so that the need to let go of contrary people occurs less often.

After all, creating a life of fulfilment is figuring out how to balance our professional life with our personal life, and it is crucial to have a healthy, dynamic personal life that aids each one of us as we help those we care about live their most productive and enjoyable lives as well. Let’s get started:

First Things First
The most difficult part in the entire process once you’ve recognized that you are involved in friendships/relationships that are hurtful, detrimental and not conducive to anything positive, is figuring out how to remove yourself so that your conscience is at ease with regards to how you have handled it.

While there is not a simple way, there are two options, and it mainly depends on how close you are and how much respect you have for this person. If it is a person who doesn’t fit that description for whatever reason, gradually begin to see less of them and tactfully decline invitations. Upon declining invitations, there is no need to explain why or lie, simply say you are unable to make it, but you appreciate their consideration and wish them a great time.

If the relationship is one that leaves you still running into each other and you want to make sure there is closure or at least some explanation because you respect this individual on some level, find time to talk one-on-one and state that you care about them, but based on where you are in your life and what you value, their behaviour, their treatment of you (whatever it is that isn’t sitting well with you) is not something you are comfortable with. Let them know you need some space and leave it at that. Don’t make promises to meet up again.  If they are someone who respects you, they will grant you this (even if they don’t quite understand yet) and who knows what might happen down the road. But if they don’t handle it well, then you’ve respectfully handled the situation to the best of your ability and can walk away feeling good about how you tried to handle it.

Be Assertive, Not Aggressive or Passive
An important aspect to keep in mind when beginning any relationship is how you present yourself to those potential and current friends. It is vital that, even though you may be unsure of yourself around this person (or group of people) that you not shrink and morph into someone you’re not. Don’t agree to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t state an opinion that will gain your friend’s support if it really isn’t something you believe it. In other words, be proactive, let them see who you are without being aggressive.  Only share certain opinions when the right moment presents itself and state it calmly - “As a matter of fact, I am a University of UKZN alumni, so be careful about what you say. You don’t want to ruffle my feathers.” You can be playful if you want with what you say, but stand behind your words, don’t let someone assume you’re not serious when you most certainly would be offended by something they might say.

By beginning the relationship being clear about who you are, you will quickly determine who accepts you for who you are and who wouldn’t be a positive addition to your life.

Similar Passions Having someone in your life that you share common interests and passions allows you to remain curious and pursue what you love. Now this person may be a significant other or it may be someone who has nothing else in common with you. By having someone in your life who shares the similar joy you have for whatever your passion may be, there is validation which in and of itself is empowering and motivating.
An Objective Voice During times of indecision, it is always helpful to have someone who is objective to bounce ideas off of. Such a person should be someone who isn’t vested in the outcome of your decision whatever it may be. For example, while your mother might give much appreciated advice, she most likely cares about you and doesn’t want to see you hurt and will give you good advice.  Some times we need constructive criticism, and if it turns out we have a family member who is able to give such advice, it might be very hard to swallow coming from them, so do yourself a favour and discuss such decisive moments in your life with someone you trust and someone who wont want to harm you.
Friendly Acquaintances at Work While there will be a few remote instances where you will meet close confidantes at work, I highly suggest trying to keep most of your relationships at work on a professional level.  Why, you might ask? First of all, unless you know them quite well, who’s to say why they are so chummy? And secondly, during tough times at work, when it comes right down to it, a job is a person’s livelihood, and it is better to lean on your efforts, professional work ethic and what you offer to the team, than to have the pressure of being honest with a friend about the future of a job situation and losing a friendship, as well as upsetting the work environment. Every situation is different but remember to maintain respect and always keep a little mystery.
A Cheerleader Everyone needs a cheerleader in their life. Someone who will root you on when you may be doubting yourself.  Someone who sees your potential during those times when you have lost that jive in your step. This someone should be a person who wants to see you rise to your best potential and doesn’t compete with you.  This will require someone who is secure in who they are and the direction their life is taking.
A Confidante Sometimes your confidante will also be your cheerleader but not always.  A confidante should be someone that you can shed tears with and won’t view it as a weakness or hold it against you.  This should also be someone that no matter what you share, you are confident you can trust them.  Everyone needs someone to vent to every once in awhile (however, temper how often and use a journal, often times just getting it out somehow does a mountain of good).

Mentor/Role Model
While many don’t include a role model and/or mentor in their social circle because it isn’t necessarily someone they are friendly with, I beg to differ. A role model allows you to see something better for yourself, to aspire to become the best you possible can be and if the role model is also your mentor, they are able to provide guidance on how to be successful in this venture.
Community Acquaintances/Network Whether you live in small town, the city or somewhere in between, be willing to establish a sense of community. Now that doesn’t mean you open up and share your darkest secrets with your favourite barista, but find out the name of the person that pours your coffee each morning or the dry cleaner who takes such gentle care of your cashmere. Be thankful and let them know that you appreciate their hard work and a good job when you see it. While we often assume that good service should occur at all times, when it does, say so. You’d be surprised what one kind, thoughtful compliment will snowball into – whether it affects you or not – it’s a very good thing. 

Another piece of the puzzle is to be a good neighbour – wave hello, keep an eye on their place when you know their out of town (often this gets reciprocated), if you have excess vegetables from your garden and you want to make sure they don’t go to waste, share them with your next door neighbour who doesn’t have time for a garden. Trust me they will appreciate it.
Eliminate the Scarcity Mentality If you are in the process of creating a new social circle due to a move or change in your life in general, it is often easy to approach the building of such a vital part of your life with the mentality of lack. Always keep in mind that there are millions of people out there, and by being honest about who you are, taking time to get to know people and trusting your gut, you will eventually find people that help create a healthy circle of friends and support. By striking out with the attitude of abundance and humble confidence that you have something to offer, you won’t recede into your shell and allow others to dictate how you go about your life.
Be in Tune with Your Gut While being introduced to new people or whenever you are considering letting someone become more a part of your personal life, take a step back and access how this person sits with you.  Is there something that doesn’t “smell” right, but you can’t put your finger on it? If that’s the case, either walk away now before it goes any further, so simply keep this person at a manageable distance before you can ascertain exactly what it is that is causing this grumbling in your gut. Either way, you will be able to connect with some people much easier than with others.  Some people will be magnetic due to their positive energy and zest for life, while others will be draining. Remember, this is your life, and you are the designer, be kind when moving on from someone, but don’t keep them in your life to avoid guilt because someone who is using guilt doesn’t respect you and there is no room in your life for such people.

The ingredient of LUXURY!!!

“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” – Coco Chanel
One hundred and thirty years ago today (August 19) Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was born, and it is her quote shared above about luxury that has always lingered in the back of my mind when deciding what truly is luxurious and what is not.
After all, owning multiple homes and having endless amounts of money may indeed be someone’s definition of luxury, but it is how one spends the money and spends their time that determines whether or not it is a luxurious life or not.
Case in point, it is the decisions we make with the small or large amounts of money we have and most importantly with the time we have that determine whether we live a luxurious life or not.
For example, the National Endowment for Financial Education reports that 70% of people who come into a windfall of money go broke within a few years. Whether it is poor money management or not having or establishing healthy relationships with friends and family, the pressures and lack of knowledge of how to handle the wealth ultimately destroy any opportunity of luxury the money originally presented.
However, that does leave 30% who have managed successfully their new inheritance. Needless to say, more money doesn’t make you happier or more comfortable; it is how one goes about living life – big and everyday decisions, self-discipline, etc – that determine whether a life is full of luxury and contentment or not.
Below are a few mislabeled luxurious ways of living followed by actual sources of luxury, both which keep in mind the definition of luxury uttered by Coco Chanel.
10 Things that cause Stress/Discontentment/Unhappiness and are Disguised As Luxury
1. Working endlessly at an unfulfilling job to simply earn the big paycheck to pay for all of your ‘luxurious’ purchases and lifestyle.
2. Shoes you can’t walk in
3. A home that has upkeep that never allows you to enjoy its supposed riches
4. Hershey’s Kisses (or any other delicious processed food) – seemingly delicious, but never satiating, which leads to overeating, which leads to a bad mood and more
5. Purchasing anything that puts you in debt unnecessarily only to provoke sleepless nights
6. Purchasing cheap travel tickets only to endure many stops and middle seat assignments
7. Living a life that only looks good on the outside
8. Saying yes to something you don’t want/believe in/value/have time to do, in order to please someone else
9. Living a busy life which leads to short, restless nights as you attempt to accommodate your demanding schedule
10. More food, larger portions
10 Things that Epitomize Luxury as they have the Ingredient of Comfort
1. Time to do with as you please
2. Living in a clean, safe, welcoming home that has just enough space
3. Quality designer clothing that feels as good as it looks and will last for many seasons
4. Traveling non-stop flights and paying for your ideal preferred seat.
5. An uninterrupted night’s sleep (happy conscious, productive day, well-balanced schedule)
6. Enjoying one dark chocolate truffle or piece of chocolate from a local chocolatier or homemade in your kitchen
7. Adhering to an eating regimen of moderation, not limitation.
8. The voice and freedom to say no.
9. Being able to purchase quality clothing/shoes/accessories without going into debt and feeling physically and mentally fabulous when you’re wearing them.
10. Living a life that is fulfilling and authentic despite those who don’t understand or refuse to understand
As you can see living a luxurious life doesn’t require ample amounts of money, but what it does require is good decision making, a never-ending quest for knowledge and the ability to live authentically and not to be led around by the nose.
Have a wonderful day everyone and may your week be full of many genuine luxurious activities and moments.

The French Twist

"The French Twist" ---- An amazing insight into food and our bodies!
“More than anything, I have an intense desire to share what I have learned with those who seek the same truth- how to live their very best life, one of honesty, freedom, authenticity, choice and ultimately health and longevity.  The French style of eating – sitting down with delight and savouring every bite with discretion, moderation and passion – is the answer.” – Carol Cottrill
With each piece of knowledge I gain as I go through life, I believe more fervently that such knowledge is power – power to change one’s life for the better, power to find one’s true calling and power to become our best selves.
I began to become more and more engrossed with Carol Cottrill’s book The French Twist: Twelve Secrets of Decadent Dining and Natural Weight Management as I turned each page because while most books focused on helping the reader lose weight preaching restrictive, non-commonsensical prescriptives, Cottrill through her knowledge as a certified nutritionist prescribes a permanent lifestyle enhancement based on understanding how the body communicates with food. And it is the French lifestyle that is her muse.
Having travelled to France multiple times and then returned to apply their pleasure and balance focused principles to her way of living, she offers through first-hand experience coupled with science based research why the French paradox does indeed work and even more specifically why the American’s approach to weight management is less likely to have one’s good health as a top priority.
A few of the many insightful, aha tips found in the book:
  • The women of France are nurtured and encouraged to embrace their individuality and eccentricity
  • The intense restriction of calories actually has the opposite desired effect
  • Logical arguments for how the body processes certain foods and how it responds or is unable to respond to other so-called ‘foods’
  • French women don’t follow mass movements, as they are individuals (i.e. the latest diet craze)
  • Food is not the enemy, our perception and irrational understanding of food’s power is the problem
  • Balance of stress and pleasure, between indulging in wonderful food and burning calories is crucial
  • Fresh, high quality food prepared and enjoyed with passion rather than eating processed “food” on a schedule that doesn’t listen to what your body needs
  • Your body doesn’t recognize fake; it can only metabolize that which it can identify – real, whole food
  • The benefits of making lunch the largest meal of the day
  • Use a body brush to dry scrub your body and improve circulation helping skin to shine and lessen the appearance of cellulite
  • The real reason red wine has been found in studies to be healthy (hint, hint – it has more to do with lifestyle, mindset and values, than just drinking a glass or two of wine for those of you that drink)
  • Exercise regularly as a way of saluting the day – so something you enjoy rather than dread
  • There is not one plan for weight management – it is individualistic and it requires each person to truly pay attention and respect their bodies for all that it can do
  • Differentiating between real, quality chocolate and the other stuff
  • Drink water
  • Eat fruit with breakfast in the morning and never forget your vegetables in the evening and afternoon
  • Invest in yourself – quality food, quality clothing (fewer items)
I genuinely enjoyed The French Twist, and while it is full of findings from studies, it is also full of French lifestyle descriptions, details and insights. One of my favourite sections is chapter 10 where the author along with a handful of women who live or have spent time in France share the rituals they follow when it comes to good eating and living.
Trust me, you’ll enjoy this book, and be sure to have your pen or pencil out as I was highlighting, underlining and writing all through its contents as many suggestions were ones I don’t want to forget.
Let me know what you think once you have read the book...
enjoy your day!

Friday, 16 August 2013

women training

The trend and patterns of gym training have changed drastically over the years. Think about it, if all the methods of the past worked, there wouldn’t be a need to keep adding varied equipment and various forms of classes. We all used to seeing the “NEW” all fat busting workout or the “NEW” metabolism boosting-Tummy Crunching workout”. So the question is, what have we been doing all these years and what makes these new workouts so special? Many people believe that the more time you spend in the gym; the greater results will be seen. This is true for “male” training, as weight training requires a lot of time because as the weights get heavier the resting period increases. For example, a male may push 200kg on the bench press and do just 2 reps but rest for 5min. The good news is that us as women can have more fun, reduce training time whilst still breaking out a sweat and seeing amazing results if we just understand the physiological aspects of training.
Women are designed with less testosterone than men,  therefore the “belief” that weight training will make us “bulky” like it does with men is false as our testosterone levels are lower, therefore the effect would be different. Due to estrogen levels we tend to pick up weight on the arms, tummy, hips, upper thighs and bum. Therefore, our workouts must focus a lot on these “problem areas”. The new videos and workouts are only focusing on a cardio aspect or a strength aspect. The “big” hype is that it is just more fun and provides a wider variety of options and people have different preferences. The workout below focuses on something we call “functional training” i.e. we use the body to mimic movements that we would normally do on machines. For example, we will use dumbbells and perform shoulder exercises whilst standing verse sitting on a machine and pushing a weight overhead. The fact that we are standing whilst executing this exercise results in the abdominals and core muscles being contracted throughout the whole exercise. Therefore, we are working multiple muscles instead of isolating just a single muscle group .Also, in the circuit workout below; we have combined a mix of strength and cardio training in one workout instead of doing them on different days or as two separate workouts. This in turn places stress on both the anaerobic and aerobic systems which in turn results in the workout intensity higher, shorter and results faster. The combination of training both systems together also enhances the metabolism as time periods between exercises are minimal. Therefore, the body recovers faster and in turn works harder! If we understand this, then we can save a lot of money on buying various workouts to achieve a desired result. Instead of buying five different workouts, each an hour long we can now just mix and match exercises following the same theory displayed in the circuit below to achieve our specific goal.
Not all women attend the gym for weight loss. Some women attend to keep fit, others for maintenance, some even attend to gain weight by adding muscle bulk. However, the majority of women do attend to lose weight and the training programs designed below focus on EXTREME weight loss and accommodate, the busy mother, the overworking business woman or lawyer, the newly- wed on the pill, the new mum who is trying to shed off the pregnancy weight whether it be natural or c-section (begin only 8weeks after giving birth), menopause, puberty and so on. We as women are challenged with the job of multitasking; therefore reducing the time it takes to exercise is a “MUST” in the crazy world of womanhood! So, the aim here is to “work smarter, harder and for shorter”!
The idea is to avoid eating 45min pre and post workout. This is because if we consume calories we either going to burn out what we’ve just eaten, or what we’re going to eat. Ideally, we want to burn stored energy, not current energy, therefore the golden rule is DO NOT EAT ATLEAST 45MIN PRE AND POST WORKOUT if you want to achieve weight loss. (NB: Understanding the theory about diet and exercise is another topic on its own and is not a focus of discussion in this article, contact me for more information regarding the topic, if keen.)
Regarding diet, have you ever wondered why no one came about with the “GOLDEN INDIAN DIET”? Face it, we can’t diet. However, we can learn to eat proportionately and correctly whilst still keeping in touch with our traditional foods. Below, I have attached a diet plan and portion table which will aid you in losing weight whilst still eating the foods you desire. Also, the rules of training regarding weights vary with culture due to different cultures being built differently as well as eating differently. For example. Indians are generally smaller boned and more petite but consume large amounts of carbs, protein and fats at every meal with our traditional curry and rice. The white population however, eats less spicy foods, more grills and are larger boned. Therefore, heavier weights would just tone them but may result in bulking up an Indian woman. (NB: this has been proven!!!)
 I know I have mentioned several interesting facts above, but I don’t want to bore you with the details. For more information regarding that, you can drop me an email. I am going to cut to the chase and draw up three different routines below which will encompass an all fat busting, metabolism boosting, extreme weight loss, tummy toning, initiation of six pack building and all round muscle toning program. Please note these have all been tried and tested by my clients and are still used on a current basis. Before, I give the secrets away, all the new DVDs, videos; weight loss programs have taken the methods below and put it in various orders or ways to create more sales to generate more income in this industry.
I.e. all strength exercises from the circuit now performed at 50reps (NOT TIME BASES) alternated with 100 skips between exercises
The ex. Routine from the diet plan!

1: THE DUMBELL SQUAT: (1MIN) NB: do not exceed 3kg dumbbells. Ideally 2KG should be used.
Directions: Place the dumbbells over head, stand facing forward with feet shoulder width apart. Bend the knees into a squat down as though you are sitting on a chair. The knees must not go over the toes and the back must be straight. Return to starting position and repeat until 1min is up.
2. Star jumps or jumping jacks: (2MIN)
Perform this exercise for 2min.
Stand with feet split stance shoulder width apart. Place the Dumbbells on either side for greater intensity. Step down into a lunge so that both knees are just merely above the floor. Do this for 1minute per foot i.e. keep pulsing in this motion on the foot that is forward and then swop feet positioning and repeat.
4. SKIPPING (not suitable for individuals with knee and cervical injuries) (2MIN)
Skip using a rope for 2minutes
5. BURPIES: (not suitable for individuals with spinal and lower back injuries) (1MIN)
Start off in kneeling position as seen below. To execute the motion jump out into push up and immediately jump up and then back to kneeling position again. Repeat this motion until 1minute is up.
Nb: same as original squat excluding dumbbells and performed in a jumping motion.
Place the ball against a wall and stand facing forward with your back on the ball, dumbbells hanging on either side. Bend the knees into a squat as though you sitting on a chair-hold this low position for 2 seconds and come back to starting position. REPEAT for 1min. Feet must be shoulder width apart and knees must not go over the toes. Back must be straight.
5. AB CURL on the ball:
Position yourself steadily on the ball in a pushup position. Using your knees, roll the ball towards your chest. Return to starting position and repeat until 1min is up.
6. V-Step:
Walk out wide in a v and step back in a narrow v.
REPS: 8-12
SETS: 2-3
  1. TORSO AND LEG LIFT: Not for individuals with weak lower back/spinal injuries.
Lay down flat on your back, arms and legs extended. Lift the chest up whilst simultaneously lifting the legs up to meet the chest. Hold for 2 seconds and lower down to starting position. Repeat

ALTERNATE EXERCISE FOR LOWER BACK/SPINAL PATIENTS:-This is also an excellent exercise for all individuals.
Lie down on the back with feet and arms extended. Place a theraband under both feet. Lift the legs up and drop just below the mat using the theraband for strength and support. Repeat.
  3. V SITUP WITH MEDICINE BALL: (not suitable for cervical patients! They must place a theraband or towel behind their head and execute the same motion)

Lie on a mat on your bag with legs stretched out in front of you. Grab a medicine ball (2kg). To execute the exercise lift 1 leg simultaneously whilst lifting the chest to meet the leg. Alternate sides.                                                                                                                                                   

Lie on your side. To execute the exercise push the hips off the floor and hold for 8 seconds. Do this 3 times and then repeat on the other side.
  1. Forward Crunch: Spinal, cervical and lower back patients will perform this and the next exercise on an exercise ball.
Lie on the back, with knees bent. Crunch up so that only the shoulder blades come up. Go back to starting position. Repeat.

Same as above but you will come all the way up towards the knees.
For those using the ball you will come all the way until you are upright on the ball.
Lie down on your back and simultaneously lift the alternate leg to meet the alternate hand. Continue this motion continuously whilst alternating both right hand with left leg and left hand with right leg.
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