FlowFit – Move better, feel better

FlowFit helps you move better

Could you move better / more fluidly?
Do you have some problem areas of flexibility/mobility you know you should work on?
Are you someone who would like to do yoga – minus the “OMM”?!

Strength and speed diminish with age. Flexibility doesn’t have to – it just requires the right training.
You have heard “Move it or lose it”, right? Train now to move better later!

Critically examine this sequence in the video.

http://youtu.be/xcA7v1eyIFE

Identify each joint at work. Observe the range of motion. Imagine yourself doing this. (Or try it as you watch!)
If you can do this sequence without trouble (correct position, balance and coordination) and flow easily between sections – good for you! If you had certain ‘sticky’ sections (lack of flow, lack of strength, lack of coordination) then you may need to do some more work! Can you see your self being able to do this sequence in 10 years? 20? I’m sure you’d agree that if you ‘got’ the flow and practised regularly you’d move better and – never ‘lose it’.

Flexibility training is something most of us know we need to do. The trick is making time to do it and being consistent in it’s maintenance. Unfortunately there aren’t any magic bullets, but there are great tools available to you.

Coach Nav is running a ‘FlowFit’ course. Specifically designed to unlock tight joints. Work through dynamic mobilization drills for shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, elbows and wrists. These are simple drills made into sequences. (For examples of static mobilization drills see here and here.)

Get flowing movement and witness the change it enables. This is FlowFit sequence number one. As proficiency improves, the drills progress.

If you know your flexibility or movement needs some attention – give a term of FlowFit a try. After all, if it improves your lifts, performance and life generally through better movement – what do you have to lose? 🙂

If you can’t make it to the studio then keep up with our mobilization videos on FunFit’s YouTube channel.
Super keen? Then have a look at Kelly Starrett’s book, Becoming a Supple Leopard, for more great mobilization tips.

Recipe: Choc Raspberry Cupcakes

Choc Raspberry Cupcakes

Gluten, Dairy and Guilt Free!

Makes 12 cupcakes

Choc Cupcake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup of almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of almond or coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup of frozen raspberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Grease a 12 holed cupcake tin.
  2. Place almond meal, coconut flour, coconut sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Stir together and make a well in the middle.
  3. Melt coconut oil until liquid. To the milk, add vinegar and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour liquids (including eggs) into the well and combine until just combined.
  5. Add raspberries and fold through.
  6. Spoon mixture equally into cupcake tin.
  7. Place in oven on middle or lower shelf. Cook for about 25 minutes or until the tops bounce when you press lightly.
  8. Take it out of the oven. Let it cool completely before carefully lifting it out of the tin.
  9. Bon appetit!?li>

The adventurous might like to top the choc raspberry cupcakes with:

Avocado Chocolate Icing / Mousse Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, peeled and deseeded
  • 1/4 cup of cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder (optional)

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl. Blend with a spatula (or electric mixer) until smooth.
  2. Serve as icing on cake/cupcakes or mousse dip with fresh fruit. Freeze it to make ice cream or eat its goodness all by itself!
  3. Thanks to Chirotherapy for this great choc raspberry cupcakes recipe!

    You could also try these snack and dessert ideas: Cheesecake and Chocolate Brownies.

    Do you have a favourite healthy snack or dessert you’d like to share?

Recipe: Kale Chips for the win!

Kale Chips: Undiscovered wonderland.

I only got on to these recently. Boy, I’m glad I did!

For those of you who barely know what kale is, let alone how you would make it into chips – here it is:
kale chips

What is Kale?

Kale is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be close to wild cabbage. It’s in the same group of vegetables as broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. When baked or dehydrated, kale takes on a consistency similar to that of a potato chip. Curly kale varieties are usually preferred for chips. The chips can be seasoned with salt or other spices.

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. It has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat.

When you combine this healthy goodness with the texture of the chip – magic happens!

How to make kale chips

To make kale chips there are a few things to remember:

  • The kale leaves must be DRY.
  • Bake the kale at 170°C.
  • Cook the chips for 12 minutes.
  • Salt AFTER the kale chips are out of the oven.

Here’s what you need to make your own chips:

  • A bunch of kale
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado oil
  • Sea salt (or your favourite seasoning salt)

Here’s what to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  • Remove the leaves from the stems and wash the leaves well.
  • In small batches – spin the leaves dry in a salad spinner.
  • Toss the dry leaves with avocado oil and use your hands to distribute the oil evenly.
  • Line a baking sheet with baking paper and lie some of the leaves on top in a single layer.
  • Make sure the leaves are all flat and not folded over or they won’t crisp properly.
  • Pop the tray in the oven and after 12 minutes, your kale chips will be done!

Once the kale’s out of the oven, season the chips with some sea salt or your favourite seasoning salt.
Bon appetit!

DO NOT miss the deadline or your chips will be BITTER.

Please also check out more recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

Injury treatment: When to ice and when to heat

Injury treatment: Ice or Heat?

Thank you to Chirotherapy for this special guest post.

When to use Ice

injury_treatment_ice
Use ice if it’s within 5 minutes of the injury occurring. It should be used up to 48 hours after the injury.

If you can recall a mechanism for injury, use ice.
Tip: keep an icepack or frozen bag of peas in the freezer in case of an emergency. You could also use ice in a plastic bag.

  1. Wrap cold source in a tea towel or similar. Place this directly on to the skin above the injured area. Make sure clothing is removed from the affected area.
  2. With injuries that have just occurred, compress and elevate the area where possible.
  3. Leave on for 15-25 minutes depending on the area. Leave on for a longer time for deeper or bigger areas like the hips or lower back and less for more shallow areas like the neck and fingers.
  4. Remove and rest from the ice for as long as you applied it.
  5. Repeat until you have repeated the cycle 4 times.
  6. Use 2-3 times a day for up to 48 hours after the original injury.

When to use Heat

injury_treatment_heat
Heat is a very soothing therapy that can be used to ease tense muscles by improving circulation. Use heat when the issue has been around for more than 48 hours.
Do not use heat if there are altered sensations, pain, numbness or pins and needles running down the legs or arms.

  1. Heat wheat pack or similar item according to instructions.
  2. Wrap heat source in tea towel or similar or by itself over clothing.
  3. Leave on for 20 minutes.
  4. Further repeats are not necessary.

NB: Do not use heat or cold therapy if you cannot feel the difference between hot and cold, like in the case of nerve damage.

In the case of torticollis or “wry neck”, you can alternate between heat and cold as per the ice protocol except swap between the ice and heat sources.

If in doubt, use ice.

USING ICE AND HEAT CAN BURN YOU SO BE SURE TO REMOVE THE ICE/HEAT BEFORE ANY DAMAGE OCCURS.

Thanks again to Chirotherapy for this special guest post.

Recipe: Slow cooked turkey with garlic and mustard

Slow cooked turkey and vegetables.

A match made in heaven.

Picture this:
It’s a crisp winter’s day. You arrive home from work hungry. You are in no mood to slave away in the kitchen. Then you remember.

You shopped yesterday. Got up 20 minutes earlier this morning. You had a plan.

You started by laying out your ingredients. Chopped up the veges and made a base layer. Cubed the turkey and made a layer over the veges.
Covered the turkey pieces with cream. Added cream, whole grain mustard, garlic and oregano too. Added a further layer of vegetables.

Tonight you eat delicious, succulent slow cooked turkey and vegetable dish with garlic and mustard sauce without needing to lift a tired finger. Go you!

What you’ll need:
(It’s all in the first picture too)

1kg Turkey steaks
1 head of broccoli
10 or 12 mushrooms
5 or 6 asparagus spears
2 green zuccinis
2 medium carrots
1 leek
250ml full cream
Wholegrain mustard
Garlic (fresh or dried)
Oregano (fresh or dried)
1 brown onion (optional)

20140713-045249-17569875.jpg20140713-050419-18259341.jpg20140713-050343-18223487.jpg20140713-050937-18577857.jpg20140713-051023-18623630.jpg

Do you have some ideas for winter deliciousness?
Do you have a favourite slow cooked meal you’d like to share?

Please make use of the comments section!

Real Self Defence is Risk Management

Risk managment flow

Personal Risk Management matters

Please take a moment to reflect. What steps do we take to ensure we can enjoy a safe, happy and healthy life?
We take out insurance for car. For our home and contents. For travel. Some for death or permanent disability.

Almost all of us have learned to swim. Initially to prevent drowning and then for enjoyment. Many of us will have undertaken a first-aid course. Knowing how to treat injury and save lives is important.

On the North Shore we are very fortunate. We have access to a range of quality health practitioners who are skilled in injury diagnosis and treatment and future prevention.

These demonstrate proactive measures (planning for issues in advance – swimming, insurance and injury prevention) and reactive measures (first aid and physical therapy).

risk management chart

Sadly, there appears to be a breakdown in the prevention logic when it comes to self defence skills.

I think it’s due to a couple of factors. “Good people” (productive and social members of the community) not wanting to learn how to hurt others. This combined with an inaccurate perception of what comprises self defence training.

risk management circle

Self defence training is risk management.

It’s learning awareness and avoidance strategies to keep you out of dangerous situations.
It’s verbal tactics to de-escalate conflict.
It’s body language cues to alter the mood.
It’s understanding (but not agreeing with!) the thought process of the attacker so you are better prepared.

Physical training does make up a large part of training. This is so the practitioner has effective skill that work under pressure or if taken by surprise. However, physical is the last option. When all the other risk management skills have failed.

The scenario matters.
Adults may be at the pub. At the ATM or waiting for a taxi.
Teens may be catching public transport. Going to the movies. Hanging out in a park.
Kids may be waiting for school pickup. Walking to a friend’s house.

All these situations offer a higher degree of risk than sitting at home.

While the practice of self defence may not be compatible with every personality, ignoring the need for self defence skills will not make you safe from violence.

So, why are we averse to learning risk management skills that can PREVENT physical injury and psychological trauma?

Get in touch about self defence training now!

What is Fitness? Learn how to measure your progress

What is fitness? – A measurable definition!

Fitness is being physically able to do what you want to do, when and how you want to do it. If you are wholly-fit, you can do your job, play games and sports, and do the normal activities of daily living on any level you wish without limitations produced by illness, injury, low self-esteem or stress.

Physical fitness is how you look, feel and perform. It comprises two related concepts: Health-related fitness (a state of health and well-being) and Functional fitness (a task-oriented definition based on the ability to perform specific aspects of sports or occupations). Physical fitness is generally achieved through exercise, correct nutrition and enough rest. It is a vitally important part of life.

Fitness is relative. Just as your fitness will affect your goals, your goals will affect your fitness.


Health-related fitness

Crossfit Sickness Wellness Fitness Curve Diagram

This is a depiction of the the sickness-wellness-fitness curve in the 2002 Crossfit Journal Article defining fitness. (I’d look at body composition rather than just body fat; our understanding of cholesterol has developed since 2002; Systemic inflammation (through C-Reactive Protein and other markers) is also something I’d want to measure as a ‘wellness’ marker. This diagram IS a good starting point for understanding Health-related Fitness.)

Health

One way of looking at health is as our ability to survive and thrive RIGHT NOW. What’s your blood pressure? Blood sugar? Mental outlook? Stress level? Immune response? Ability to survive falling off a 12’ ladder? This is perhaps a simplistic view of health but I think it works quite well.

The indicators of sickness and wellness are measurable. The relative health of a person can be estimated using a range of biomarkers. Please keep in mind that across a population there are large variations in “normal”.

Using the scale, “Sickness” implies something may be amiss e.g Blood Pressure is above 140/90. This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem or illness, but can spark further investigation and preventative measures if required. “Wellness” indicates normal or average health e.g BP of 120/80. A lower (but not too low) reading would suggest greater cardiovascular efficiency and greater “fitness”. Health and fitness do overlap, but the ‘ultra-fit’ do tend to be more prone to illness than ‘fit’. (Probably due to compromised immunity through chronic stress or inflammation)

Longevity

What if we considered health (the moment to moment ability to survive) over time? We would have longevity. Longevity is health over the long haul.

Longevity CAN simply mean surviving for a very long time. Quality of life does matter. One’s health may be such that any stressor, a cold, a fall, will be more than the individual can deal with. Conversely, perfect health, as measured on the day-to-day level, may curtail longevity. People who have a cold here and there tend to have lower rates of cancer. An occasional drop off in health may translate into improved longevity.

Functional fitness

Capability: Put simply, are you physically able to do the task?

Capacity: What volume of work/task are you able to accomplish?

The Crossfit model of fitness would include the concept that “He or she who does best at the widest variety of tasks is on average the “fittest”.” I would say that would make you the best generalist, or best at Crossfit. Ultimately, your ‘fitness’ is highly dependent on the tasks you wish to do.

Measures of Physical Fitness Summary Table

Recovery

The ability to recover after a physical challenge or illness is in itself an indicator of fitness. Consider two people. Both perform a gruelling task e.g shovelling a large load. At the end of the day, both are shattered. The following day, one is able to continue the task, the other can barely move. They have different levels of fitness / capacity (at least for that task).

Performance Health Longevity Optimal Venn Diagram

Having a performance bias may be at odds with health and longevity. Loads of endurance training may lead to oxidative stress, immune compromise and suboptimal dietary requirements necessary to fuel such efforts. If endurance sports are your thing, that’s fine. It’s perhaps good to know some of the down sides so one might make smart alterations to nutrition and training plans. Similarly if you aspire to be a Super Heavy Olympic Lifter you may need to consume an amount of food and carry a body mass that is absolutely at odds with health and longevity.

Another model is the notion that to be fit one should have a good balance in the development of all the engines that drive human activity: the ATP/CP pathway, glycolytic, and aerobic paths. The specifics of these energy pathways, ways to train them and implications for everyday life will feature in future articles.

What all this boils down to is for general fitness you need capability in various modalities, physical adaptations and metabolic engines, and capacity across a wide variety of tasks and time-frames. This offers a quantifiable way of measuring fitness. Do more work in less time and you are fitter!

Once again – Fitness is relative. Just as your fitness will affect your goals, your goals will affect your fitness.

9 ways bands can help you stretch

Have you ever used bands to stretch?

Aside from providing elastic resistance in workouts, bands are also a great tool for stretching. Improve your flexibility by using this guide for a 9 stretch sequence you can do with just one little band.

See also this video and these drills.

Give these a try and post your thoughts and experience to comments.

Upper Back Stretch
Upper Back

  • Keep weight on your legs – don’t rely on the band
  • Your arms stay as close to your head as possible
  • Try to get your bicep behind your ear
  • Relax and breathe into the stretch
  • Go to discomfort rather than pain
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute

Lat Stretch
Lats

  • Keep weight on your legs – don’t rely on the band
  • Your arms stay as close to your head as possible
  • Try to get your bicep behind your ear
  • Try to lengthen the whole way from shoulder to hip
  • Relax and breathe into the stretch
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute

Chest Stretch
Chest / Shoulder / Obliques

  • Keep weight on your legs – don’t rely on the band
  • Your arm stays above shoulder height
  • Try to open your chest as much as possible
  • Try to open from shoulder to opposite hip
  • Relax and breathe into the stretch
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute

Hamstring Stretch
Hamstrings

2 options:

  • Leg straight and toes pointed or
  • Leg slightly bent and toes back
  • Keep both hips on the floor
  • Band around upper back; Relax and breathe
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute

Adductor Stretch
Adductors

  • Same setup as the hamstrings stretch
  • Keep both hips on the floor
  • Open hips / take foot out to the floor
  • Band around upper back; Relax and breathe
  • Go to discomfort rather than pain
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute

Internal Rotator Stretch
Internal Rotators

  • Same initial setup as the hamstrings stretch
  • Put both feet into the band
  • Move your knees to outside the band (the band will run to the inner knee/thigh area
  • Move elbows/forearms to inside the band
  • Put your feet on the floor and add pressure with elbows
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute

Hip Stretch
Hips

  • Get into squat position with feet on the wall
  • Keep both hips on the floor
  • Run the band under you – at pelvis level
  • Loop the band over each knee
  • Let femurs draw to hips; Relax and breathe
  • Hold for 1 to 2 minutes

Hips and Shoulders Stretch
Hips and Shoulders (Less Intense)

  • Same initial setup as the hips stretch
  • Continue to keep both hips on the floor
  • Take broom handle “overhead” with hands wide
  • Keep neutral spine
  • Relax and breathe
  • Hold for 1 minute

Hip and Shoulder Stretch
Hips and Shoulders (More Intense)

  • Same initial setup as the hips stretch
  • Continue to keep both hips on the floor
  • Take broom handle “overhead” with hands narrow
  • Keep neutral spine (no raised or puffed chest)
  • Relax and breathe; allow shoulder to ‘sink’ open
  • Hold for 1 minute

As at the top: see also this video and these drills.

Try this Paleo Banana Pancake Recipe

paleo banana pancake recipe

This Paleo Banana Pancake recipe is simple to make.

It’s also quick to prepare, nutritious and delicious.

Typically pancake mixes many ingredients. Most of them fail the “can you eat it by itself?” test. They have ingredients such as flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, caster sugar, eggs, milk and butter.
(For example check out . Have a look on the side panel of ready-made pancake mix next time you’re at the supermarket.

My recipe is way easier and better for you.

This Paleo Banana Pancake recipe has 3 or 4 ingredients. It can be ready in less than 10 minutes. It’s good for you and tastes fantastic.

To make about 6 pancakes the size of a bread plate you will need:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • a big pinch of cinnamon
  • salt to taste (optional)

  1. Mash the banana with a fork or potato masher
  2. Whisk the eggs until fluffy
  3. Combine the banana and eggs and mix well
  4. If using optional salt – add it now
  5. Poor the mixture into pan or hotplate (low/med)
  6. Sprinkle on the cinnamon
  7. Turn when the middle is starting to firm up (about 5 mins)

Add blueberries or strawberries as a garnish or side.

Enjoy the yummy goodness! Please also try delicious Paleo Chocolate Brownies!

The Pick-up Password – Safety tip to protect your child

kids safety password

If you’re a parent then you care about your kids.
You want to know your kids are safe.
You want to know where they are.
A simple password can make all the difference.

Having a system for school pickup is a must. Most parents tell their kids if they are going to be picked up by someone else. Sometimes the parent might forget. Sometimes the child may not remember. A simple, yet effective solution is the pick-up password. The parent and child agree on a password. Only the parent, child and authorised collector know it. That way, if someone forgets an arrangement there is a quick solution.

Situational examples:

“Hi Billy.”
“Hi Mrs Jones.”
“Billy, your mum asked me to pick you up from school today.”
“Oh, ok. What’s the password?”
“Oh, yes. Your mum said you’d ask me that. The password is (correct answer)”
“Thanks Mrs Jones. Let’s go!”
(Gets in the car)

“Hi Billy.”
“Hi Mrs Jones.”
“Billy, your mum asked me to pick you up from school today.”
“Oh, ok. What’s the password?”
“Password? She didn’t tell me one!”
OR
“The password is (incorrect answer)”
OR
“Get in the car. I don’t have time for this!”
“Thanks anyway Mrs Jones, but my mum said “No password, no go!”
(Billy now goes to find a teacher)

Simple steps any kid can learn:

  1. Choose a password you and your child can easily remember
  2. Any time you arrange someone to collect your child remember to tell them the password!
  3. At pickup, your child will challenge the collector for the password.

If the password is correct, your child knows they are safe to go (and will probably be chuffed with the system!)
If the password is incorrect your child knows to run and find a teacher immediately.

Using a simple (polite) challenge/response system like this achieves a number of things.

  • Your child is safer at pickup time
  • You and your child will be more aware of personal safety without any fear or paranoia
  • Remove situational ambiguity so your child can practice making confident choices
  • Give your child the ability to say “no” to adults in certain appropriate situations

The exact wording can be modified depending on the age of the kids involved. The message must stay clear.
This tip (and many others) are the sort of thing taught in the self defence classes at FunFit.

Do you think this system would work for you? Please post your thoughts to comments and share this with parents you think could benefit. Thanks.