Australian inspiration to be fit for life
I just got back from a two-week holiday in Australia. To say I’ve been inspired is an under statement. As a health professional, it is a joy to see people being fit and healthy and during my time down under, it could be seen in abundance from people of all ages.
I believe in the ripple effect of health. If you’re healthy, your partner and your kids will find it easier to be too. If you make healthy, tasty food when your friends come over, they may try to cook better. If you exercise for fun rather than a chore, you may inspire someone to have the same mindset. A fit and healthy life is a better life in my view and the more people are fit and healthy, the more people will want to be fit and healthy, therefore it becomes easier to be fit and healthy!
There were three main things that caught my attention whilst I was away:
1. Exercise for your health and for life
Although I was staying in Melbourne, I had a mini break to Manly in Sydney, renowned for having the ocean one side of it and a beautiful bay the other. It’s a really cool place but one thing that struck me, was the amount of people who were exercising outside early!
This picture was taken early in the morning, with the bay buzzing with people exercising. Shortly afterwards as I joined in and did a 8km power walk before breakfast, I was just astounded at what I saw. Hundreds and hundreds of people walking, running, cycling, having PT sessions on the beach, or doing bootcamps on the grass. I also witnessed 300+ people swimming across for one part of the bay to the other. It’s called the The bold and beautiful swim and it happens every morning, 7 days a week at 7am (they all wear pink caps too which as you can imagine made it even more special, ha!).
The thing that made all this even more special, was that there were as many people over 50 years old as there were under. There were all shapes and sizes, proving that people can look great with anybody type when you look after yourself and some were really fit people and others less so. BUT THEY WERE ALL TAKING PART! Everyone was really encouraging and friendly too. It just blew me away!
I realize that I caught Manly on a warm, sunny day, but I know that if exercising daily became the norm anywhere in the world, you’d just wrap up warmer on a cooler day. After all there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes and a bad attitude! I also know that if people exercised for their health and mind instead of just for how they looked, the motivation to train would go up and bad body image would go down. Work performance would be better, disease and depression rates would lower and I really believe that we could all learn something from this. My six year old twins think it should be law to exercise each day. Can you imagine not being able to start work until you’d done some activity, gosh the world would be a better place!
2. Healthy food accessible to all
OMG, healthy food in Australia is everywhere and it is really, really tasty! Of course there are still the burger joints and indulgent options (so yes you do need to decide you’re going to eat healthily!), but the salads are just out of this world which you also seem to be able to get everywhere without costing the earth. There were gluten-free options at every single restaurant and café I went to and one thing I noticed a lot was how great the presentation was, even in low key places.
Here is one of my favourites, had in a cafe in a local park: Quinoa, butternut squash, pine nuts, a variety of herbs, pea shoot leaves, cashews and organic goats cheese. It cost the same as a sandwich and chips did, under $15! (About £9)
In another tourist attraction we went to I had this: Quinoa and buckwheat with sweet potato chunks, feta, mint, spring onion with a really tasty dressing. Again same price as a burger and fries, $16.
In an Australian animal sanctuary park, I was astounded at the choice of healthy food in the restaurant and I went for this: Roasted vegetable, chick pea, parsley and organic feta cheese salad. Cheaper than fish and chips and was one of the tastiest salads I’ve ever had!
Even in a relatively low key sushi restaurant, the food was incredible and presented so well. As I said above, I think presentation can change the way you think about food. Yes of course the fish was fresh being by the ocean, but when this board arrived, I knew this would be a meal I wouldn’t forget in a hurry!
3. Create better habits
Finally, many people I met had some great, yet simple health habits. From cycling in a group (again all ages from 20 to 70) a couple of times a week, to training every morning before it got too hot. Paths and fitness trails in most parks complete with filtered water stations scattered all over the place. Many people start their day earlier and end their day earlier – with the emphasis on balance and sleep to support training sessions and work performance. This is something I really feel passionate about. Don’t get me wrong there’s some nice wine thrown in with all this from time to time, but there is less emphasis on perfection, more on consistency. I’m sure some people are training to look good, but I really picked up that the emphasis was on being fit and living long as well.
So this year, promise yourselves that you’ll do this:
Create some long-lasting fitness and food habits. A tasty salad every day, a workout before work each morning, a bike ride at the weekend to wind down instead of just hitting the pub for a boozy lunch to get over a busy week.
Don’t have a quick fix mindset. Everybody needs to get their head around the fact that exercising becomes easier and your motivation stronger if you see and expect that you need to exercise regularly for life. Not just to get into a bikini or be a size 10. But to live long and feel great whilst you’re alive. I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t feel better from exercising!
Inspire those around you and rally up support. Be the change you want to see, try these salads out, encourage your friends to go to bootcamp, do an online program with your sister, go power walking with your office buddies in your lunch break. Remember the rippled effect of health. So simple yet so powerful!
This year, my fitness and food goals are as follows:
- To swim once a week and learn how to swim front crawl properly
- To go to Fit for a Princess bootcamps when my other trainers are teaching them
- To run once a week
- To cycle with my Dad once a fortnight
- To do a variety of exercise videos via my online programs
I’m kicking off my New Year lock down with a combination of the Sugar HIIT and Best Body bootcamps on Monday 12th January. Mainly because I love to have a 28 days focus but also because I like to work with other women as I do it. I’ve rallied up the support of my good friend and trainer, so we will train together and push each other. I’ve booked all my training sessions in from the 12th Jan to 8th Feb and actually this year, I want to be the fittest that I’ve been for ages. Food wise, well I eat very healthily anyway, but after my trip, I’m on a mission to make even tastier food (and I promise to share them with you all to start that ripple effect!).
So, make 2015 the year you decide to get fit and stay fit for life. You won’t regret it!