Lazy Sunday @ Werribee Mansion & Open Range Zoo

Happy Sunday, hope you enjoyed a nice little sleep in this morning. but now that the sun is up and your wide awake, what to do? How about spending the afternoon exploring a mansion and having an African safari?

About 30 minutes from Melbourne the Werribee Park mansion has is pretty good day out. you can wander around the 10 hectares of parks and gardens as well as exploring the 130 year old mansion. You can even pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a feed in peaceful surrounds amoungst the gardens.

Then after you are done you can head just a little around the corner to the Werribee Open Range Zoo. Set on 225 hectares the African themed zoo brings you up close to some of Africa’s amazing wildlife. From lions, hippos, giraffes and zebra’s to those curious little meerkats it has the best of African wildlife for you to enjoy.

So pack your lunch and head down to Werribee for your lazy Sunday

View image at original source: http://bit.ly/dDYhBm



Physical Activity and Bone Health

bone healthWeight-bearing physical activity has beneficial effects on bone health across the age spectrum. Physical activities that generate relatively high-intensity loading forces, such as plyometrics, gymnastics, and high intensity training, enhance bone mineral accrual in children and adolescents. To assess the effects of physical activity on bone mass in humans the BMD (bone mineral density) is measured which is the amount of mineral measured per unit are or volume of bone tissue. Physical activity plays an important role in maximizing bone mass during childhood and the early adult years maintaining bone mass through the 5th decade, attenuating bone loss with aging, and reducing falls and fractures in the elderly.

Physical activity plays a very important role in maximizing bone mass in children and adolescents. There is some evidence that exercise induced gains in bone mass in children are maintained into adulthood so the peak bone mass developed during this time is essential in decreasing the risk of osteoporosis in further years to come. Therefore physical activity habits during childhood may have long-lasting benefits on bone health. Observations conclude that bone mass is higher in children who are physically active than in those who are less active. Furthermore bone mass is higher in children who participate in activities that generate high impact forces, for example gymnastics, than those who engage in activities that are lower impact forces (e.g. walking) or non weight bearing (e.g. swimming).

During adulthood, the primary goal of physical activity should be to maintain bone mass. Peak bone mass is thought to be attainted by the end of the 3rd decade, therefore the early adult years may be the final opportunity for its increase. At this stage it is unclear whether adults can increase bone mineral density through exercise training. When increases have been reported, it has been in response to relatively high intensity weight-bearing endurance or resistance exercise.

After the age of 40, bone mass decreases by about 0.5% per year or more, regardless of sex or ethnicity. In middle-aged and older adults benefits of exercise may be reflected by a reduction in the rate of bone loss, rather than an increase in bone mass. The rate of loss varies by skeletal region and is likely influenced by such factors as genetics, nutrition, hormonal status, and habitual physical activity, making it difficult to determine the extent to which the decline in bone mass is an inevitable consequence of the ageing process. A variety of types of exercise can be effective in preserving bone mass of older women as well as men.

In conclusion maintaining a vigorous level of physical activity across the life span is an essential component for achieving and maintaining optimal bone health. Physical activity habits during childhood may have long-lasting benefits on bone health. It is important to keep active because there profound effects of immobilisation and bed rest on bone loss, so even the frailest elderly should remain as physically active as their health permits to preserve skeletal integrity.



Improve your performance

Interval training is used widely by many athletes these days because it is so effective. Gone are the days where all your training involves going for long, low intensity runs or walks. In order to improve your performance you need to add some intensity. However it is quite difficult to maintain a high intensity effort for a long period of time. That’s where interval training comes in handy; it involves bursts of high intensity work alternated with periods of rest or low activity. In order to get the proper effects of interval training you need to make sure the brief bouts of exercise are at near-maximum exertion. Doing this for half an hour will give you a great work out, in fact research shows interval training performed for only 20 minutes is more effective at improving performance (and loosing weight) than going for a 60 minute walk. Because of the “less time factor involved” you will find time to exercise. You’ll fell better about yourself and set a great example for your family and friends.

It adds variety to your exercise routine. When you include interval techniques it makes it feel like more of a challenge. During the quick bursts try to go further than your previous quick burst – it keeps it interesting. Try these workouts to add some variety to your training.
Interval Variation I: Standard
3 – 5 minutes warm-up (light ride, low intensity, gradually increasing at the end of the warm up period)
1 minute moderate or high intensity followed by 1 minute low intensity (repeat 6-8 times)
3 – 5 minutes cool down (light ride, low intensity, gradually decreasing by the end of the cool down period)
Interval Variation II: Pyramid
3 – 5 minutes warm-up
30 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
90 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
30 seconds high intensity
3 – 5 minutes cool-down



Ten Tips when looking for a personal trainer.

Tips on finding a professional personal trainer

1.) Registration with the peak body.  In Australia that’s Fitness Australia – Fitness Australia is the peak registration body for personal trainers throughout Australia. Trainers need to fulfill ongoing requirements to maintain their registration.  Make sure your trainer is up to date!

2.) Experience – I wouldn’t trust my car to an apprentice Mechanic for a full engine rebuild.  A minor service… Maybe. Make sure if you have specialist needs you seek a specialist trainer.

3.) Personality – Do you click with this person? You will need to as you will probably be spending a fair bit of time with them. You also need to know what you don’t want as well.  Like a trainer pictured in this photo…

4.) Qualifications – As with No. 2 if you have specialist needs ensure your trainer has the quals to match that. If you are only after some basics then you probably won’t need to be quite as picky. For me, my body is my number one asset so I’m not taking it to any old butcher!

5.) Connivence – Are you someone who finds appointments hard to keep? Look for a trainer who fits your schedule perfectly or your appointments will become another inconvenience as opposed to them fulfilling your need of a structured routine.

6.) Can they deliver – This may seem a little shallow but shouldn’t you have a trainer that looks the goods? After all if they cannot practice what they preach what good are they to you? Your trainer doesn’t need to be the reincarnation Arnold in Conan the Barbarian but the should exhibit some of the qualities you are looking to improve in yourself.

Have you heard the saying never trust a skinny chef? Well, the same kinda goes in this industry I believe. Never trust an over weight trainer!

7.) All the gear and no idea – Don’t let a trainer with all of the latest bells and whistles fool you.  A lot of the time this could be considered compensating for something! This industry once again is one that can ofter be drawn into a fad.  The tried and tested traditional methods with the years behind them to back them up can be the most effective option the majority of the time. Don’t be fooled.

8.) Motivating? You want someone who is going to be able to push you. Can they inspire you to get out those last few reps?

9.) Respect – Will they respect you? Respect your goals what motivates you and and what you are wanting to achieve? Are they a legitimate operator in it for the long haul? Or someone in it for a quick buck? Are they well respected by their peers? Or a bit seedy and shady?

10.) Do they have the runs on the board? Looking for a trainer with results in the area you and wanting to improve is key. Look for testimonials from current or former customers. A trainer who has changed someones body or life would definitely be some people want to tell others about!



What bloody good is exercise?

What bloody good is exercise?Great Question. You’ve gotta exercise. You have to train. Your life depends on it. Well…

Everyone tells you, you have to train!  You gotta get moving. You’ve gotta start!

Well, what bloody good is all this exercise? And what are the benefits?

It seems to all be too hard. Too sweaty.  Too smelly. Too sore the next day. Too hard. Too time consuming. You’re too busy right?

Well here are some of the benefits.  Maybe they will start to convince you.

Well where do I start…

The benefits of exercise are so wide and varied that it would be impossible for the benefits to be ever mimicked by medication, supplementation or anything you might buy on T.V.

From increased bone mineral density to a healthier blood pressure, exercise is the best wonder drug we will ever have!

So what are the benefits you ask?

Increased red blood cell count

Increased bone density

Better blood pressure regulation

Increased muscle mass

Increased immunity

Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease

Decreased stress levels

Increased sense of wellbeing

Regulation of body weight

Greater sense of wellbeing

As you will see the benefits are endless. So stop looking for that wonder drug that doesn’t exist. The best one we have is also the most simple.

A bit of hard work (that you might even enjoy!) it’s the best thing we can ask for.

Do you know any more? List them in the comments.



The Mediterranean Diet

mediterranean dietThe Mediterranean diet has been around for decades; however, only recently has it received much publicity and rave reviews. It is thought of as much more than a diet; it’s a lifestyle change in your eating habits, improving your metabolism and reducing any hunger cravings. It is based on the dietary patterns of the people of southern Italy, Crete, Greece and Spain from the 1960’s, which feature an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and fish. It also emphasises the importance of exercising and including this as a regular part of your daily routine.

People who adhere to such a lifestyle can have a 70% longer life expectancy and an 80% better quality of life. Therefore this diet is not specifically for those wanting to lose weight, but can also be used by those wanting a healthier lifestyle. It is believed that this eating style can help to prevent many diseases and conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unstable insulin levels, asthma, allergies, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancers. A main point of this diet is that it strongly encourages you to not smoke, and for the most part people follow this rule and it’s better for their health.

Now let’s get into the diet itself: it is considered low in saturated fats (bad fats like red meat), and high in monounsaturated fats (good fats like olive oil), and fibre. It is broken down into proteins comprising 20%, fats 35% and carbohydrates 45% of your daily meals. The overall breakdown of the diet is:

  • A high consumption of olive oil
  • A high intake of fruits/vegetables/ legumes
  • Non-refined carbohydrates (no processed products)
  • Fish 3-4 times a week
  • A moderate amount of milk/ cheese/ yoghurts (low fat variety)
  • 3-4 eggs a week
  • Low consumption of red meat
  • 1-2 glasses of wine, preferably red, a day
  • Nuts as a snack
  • Honey as a sweetener (instead of sugar)
  • 6 glasses of water a day

The are many protein options including fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, yoghurts and very little red meat in this diet. Although the traditional Mediterranean diet provides 40% of your total daily calories from fat, it is via monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, which is a good source of antioxidants and omega 3, and is cholesterol free. It is important to remember that if you are trying to lose weight you will need to watch your intake of olive oil due to its high caloric value.

The final major component of this diet is the inclusion of daily exercise, at least 30 minutes. Not only will this help you achieve any weight loss goals faster, it will improve your cardiovascular fitness and leave you feeling fitter, stronger and healthier. The overall health effects of this diet are credited to the small portions, regular exercise and the emphasis on fresh foods.