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Practical Ways to Lose Baby Weight

How soon and how exactly can mothers resume their fitness routine? Getting back to “the old me” sounds so empowering and promising, but without a definite plan, how do you achieve that? For some mums, they can get back to workouts within 6 weeks, but for others, it may take longer.

It’s important to set realistic weight loss goals after giving birth. A recommended rule of thumb is to lose half a kilo per week. Age, your baby’s weight, activity level, natural metabolism, and genes will also factor into your weight loss journey.

Beginning with a new, balanced diet, it’s advisable to up your nutrition awareness when reading labels. Simply put, don’t eat anything you wouldn’t want your child to eat. This means less processed food. In general, consider eating right more than eating less. Allow yourself snacks or “mini-meals” in between busy hours. Reach for almonds, an apple, a banana or nuts. Don’t go for empty-calorie foods like soft drinks and chips. A general rule is to snack every time before nursing your baby. This ensures increased metabolism.

On the subject of nursing, if possible, breastfeeding can actually burn a lot of calories. Breastfeeding burns 600 to 800 calories day. Some women are even lucky enough to shed a considerable amount of weight from breastfeeding alone. It is important, however, when tapering off breastfeeding, to adjust your diet downward and exercise routine personal trainer toowong

There’s also the often-daunting task of getting up and moving. You don’t need to jump into the gym straight away. Start off by taking a walk and getting a few thousand steps in a day. If you can’t leave the house, walking up and down the stairs for 15 minutes can burn 150 calories. Some mothers enjoy baby-wearing by investing an ergonomic baby carrier for regular walks with their baby.

When you’re ready, you can start with some light workouts. Aside from walking, pelvic exercises on the floor and stretching are good workouts. Pick up an old or new hobby you enjoy, like yoga, cycling, or swimming.

Weight lifting is also recommended and women should do away with the notion that it will result in bulk. Unless you consume a lot of food like a bodybuilder or genetically predisposed to muscle bulk gains, you won’t bulk up from resistance training.

It’s important to get plenty of rest as well especially during the early weeks of bringing home a new baby. Naps are highly recommended so you won’t be compelled to snack on junk food. Better sleep cycles also help with metabolism. When your baby takes a nap, try to take one yourself.

Lastly, put together a support group. A team of new mothers all working towards weight loss and improved fitness can boost motivation and self-confidence. Pledge to go on walks together and encourage each other’s process.

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Safe Workouts for Pregnant Women

Expecting mothers may want to spend the next nine months putting their feet up, but experts say regular exercise can boost your mood, increase energy and improve heart health. Issues like lower back pain, fatigue, constipation, morning sickness and even labor time could be reduced. A quicker postpartum recovery is also one benefit as well as a much easier transition to more intense workouts after having your baby.

With your body undergoing so many changes, committing to a regular routine may seem difficult, but there are exercises pregnant women can take on during any stage of their pregnancy. However, it’s best to check with your doctor before beginning any routine, as simple as they may seem. Once you’ve got the go-ahead, schedule three to four days of 30-minute workouts a week.

Walking is the easiest workout you could fit into your day no matter the stage of pregnancy you’re in. There’s no need for any equipment or gym trips, just a good pair of shoes appropriate for the task. Experienced runners can still continue running as long as you stick to a suitable intensity. An increase in core temperature is the main concern during the first trimester of pregnancy so be sure to keep hydrated and don’t exercise in conditions that are too hot.

Swimming is highly recommended because while you’re in water, your body weight is supported and it is gentle on your joints. It’s important to avoid diving or jumping in since your growing baby won’t be able to quickly adjust to a pressure under water and a change in altitude. Likewise, your centre of gravity may be off so you must also take care not to walk on slippery pool sides.

exercise for pregnant women near meExpecting mothers may want to join dance and aerobic classes like Zumba. This is a great way to get the heart pumping and to meet fellow expecting mums! You may also be keen on yoga as long as you stick to more gentle poses. Yoga can also aid flexibility and mental clarity and focus. You can look for pre-natal yoga classes or ask your instructor to modify poses. Bikram (hot) yoga should be avoided since this could overheat the body. Other low-impact workouts pregnant women can take include Pilates and Tai Chi.

It’s generally recommended to not take on any exercise that you weren’t doing prior to becoming pregnant. Always remember to keep hydrated and avoid exercises that keep you on your back for too long as well as anything that requires intense bending, flexing, extending, jumping, bouncing and sudden or jerking motions.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you might be putting too much stress on your body and should contact your doctor: vaginal bleeding or leakage of fluids, difficult or uncomfortable breathing, heart palpitations or chest pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, sudden changes in temperature (clammy hands or overheating), swelling or pain in your ankles and calves, decreased fetal movement, blurred vision, and abdominal pain. If in doubt at all, consult your Doctor!

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The Secret Exercise All Women and Men Need to Learn

When your trainer mentions one’s pelvic floor, some people may feel awkward about it, particularly men. But, here’s a revelation: the pelvic floor plays a major role in health, hygiene, spinal stabilisation and sexuality–for women and men. This is all too often neglected in exercise programs, especially for those people who suffer from weakness in the area.

cheap personal trainer bardonThe pelvic floor plays a significant role in spinal stabilisation, which can result in more effective workouts, particularly strength. With a better understand of what can strengthen and weaken our pelvic floors, we’ll be able to operate more effectively in our daily lives.

The pelvic floor or PF is a group of muscles that form a sling-like support for the bowel, bladder, and in females, the uterus. Other muscles in this area include the external anal sphincter muscle and the superficial perineals. The role of the pelvic floor is to support the pelvic organs, assist with increases in intra-abdominal pressure and spinal stabilisation, assist bladder and bowel control, contribute to sexual arousal and performance. Essentially, the pelvic floor muscles are between your pubic and tail bones, and control your bladder.

A stressed or weak pelvic floor often occurs in post-natal women, but anyone can experience this loss of control. During workouts, the stresses or weakness of one’s pelvic floor can be reflected. If a woman has issues with bladder or bowel control, running and lifting could exacerbate those problems even further. Trainer and client alike should pay careful attention to pelvic floor health. Otherwise, neglect can lead to more serious conditions, like a bladder prolapse.

The pelvic floor is actually an endurance muscle. Contractions are used to train the pelvic floor and can be done a number of ways, from sitting to standing to lying down as well as during movement. A great way to ease into pelvic floor exercises is through weight training or simple core exercises, which are great for spinal health.

According to professional physical therapists and fitness experts, the correct way to initiate the pelvic floor is to slowly lift the muscles, ideally starting at the tail bone and moving through the pubic bone. Many may find it even easier to lift the group of muscles as one. Simply put, lift the muscle as though you are trying to control your bladder.

It’s important to breathe normally throughout the process, while maintaining a relaxed posture. The thighs and buttocks must also not be squeezed. The latter is easier to prevent by leaning forward while sitting or kneeling.

When lifting the pelvic floor, both front and back, aim to hold it over three counts. Hold the contraction at the top for 10 counts, while breathing normally. Repeat this twice, gradually increasing the hold time.

Another method is to lift the lower pelvic floor quickly, making them short and strong. Ten strong contractions is a good start.

You can combine the two techniques by first lifting slowly and then adding 10 pulses at the top before relaxing.

Ideally, one should exercise one’s pelvic floor daily.

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Bad Fitness Habits

In case you’re confused why you don’t seem to get the results you’re aiming for no matter how you religiously sweat it out every day, getting fit might not be just about exercise alone. Apart from your workout plan, your lifestyle and habits outside of the gym may have a bigger effect on your fitness goals than you think. Know what these habits are so you wouldn’t keep wasting time cranking it out in the gym, yielding little or no effect at all.

Excessive Cardio

HIIT training toowongYep! There’s such a thing as too much cardio in isolation. The best way to burn fat is indeed through cardio exercises BUT if you go overboard with cardio workouts, it can diminish your overall muscle mass, leading to a decrease in your metabolism which in turn will lead to a fat-loss plateau. Instead of focusing on cardio alone, alternate it with strength training and fine tune your diet, making sure you won’t fall short of the nutrients essential to your body.

Not Enough Sleep

Have you ever noticed that you seem lethargic and tire easily during your workout routines when you haven’t had a good sleep the night before? Sleep aids in muscle repair and recovery. Without it, you won’t be at your best for an intense exercise workout. In addition to that, sleep alleviates stress and reduces cortisol levels that are responsible for stabilising testosterone and HGH production to process fat. That being said, make sure you get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every day.

Bad Form

Many people do not understand the importance of good form when exercising. It may be because they’re beginners or they just lack proper guidance. They do not realise that exercising in the wrong way can put your muscles and joints at high risk of injury. Not to mention, it diminishes the effect of the workout. If you’re not sure about your form, ask assistance from a certified trainer. Work on correcting your bad form as soon as you can because old habits are harder to break.

Inadequate Protein in Your Diet

Protein plays a significant part in the recovery and restoration of your muscles after a vigorous workout. A diet rich in protein aids in the metabolism of fat in your body. This is due to the fact that protein takes a lot longer to break down, thus your body burns more calories while digesting.

Starving and Bad Food Choices

Starving yourself to shed fat is, by far, the biggest misconception regarding weight loss of all time.  Ensure that you get the nutrients that your body needs. You will generally need a post workout meal to help in the repair process of the muscles worked. Make sure you consume the best fuel you’re your body and stay away from processed and refined foods and maintain a healthy combination of proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Exercising on an Empty Stomach

How can a car keep running when it’s out of gas? The same analogy can be applied to humans. Many fitness experts advise fuelling your body before working out. Doing cardio on an empty stomach in the morning (a.k.a. Fasted Cardio) have both positive and negative effects to your body but still it’s sustainable.

You see, when you run low on blood sugar, glycogen will be extracted from your muscle tissues. The result? You start losing muscles instead of gaining them. Either that or you get dizzy and pass out, whichever comes first. You don’t have to eat much. You can have a banana, some berries or some yogurt 45 minutes before you start exercising.

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Exercises You Can Do at the Office

Sitting all day is detrimental to your health. If you’ve seen friends or co-workers getting “standing desks,” then they’ve probably been told that sitting all day can slowly kill them. But it’s true, there are some truly adverse effects that happen from sitting down all day. It might seem like an exaggeration, but you can risk high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, premature death, and certain types of cancer. One of the reasons is because you burn fewer calories sitting down. Experts recommend moving every 20 to 30 minutes, but what if you’re too busy at the office for a quick stretch break? And no, trips to the bathroom and kitchen don’t count.

You don’t need to do laps around the office or run up and down the building stairwell. To combat the health risks of sitting down all day, it’s a matter of staying physically active. Fortunately, there are a number of discreet but effective exercises you can perform right from the convenience of your desk. The only equipment you’ll need is your office chair and dumbbells or a full water bottle.

Wrist Stretches

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If you’re clicking and typing away all day, make sure your fingers and hands don’t end up stiff. Extend one arm in front, palm up and take the fingers with your other hand. Gently pull back your fingers towards you, stretching your forearm. Hold this for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat with your other wrist. You can also press your hands together in front of your chest with your arms and elbows parallel to the floor. Bend your wrists to the right and to the left 10 times.

Lower Back Stretch

Prone to slouching? Take the strain off your spine. Sit tall and place your left arm behind your left hip. Gently twist to the left. Use your right hand to deepen the stretch and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Leg Exercises

If you’re feeling a little wobbly when you get up after hours and hours of sitting, take a moment to get the blood flowing in your legs. Sit tall and engage your core. Extend your left leg until it’s level with your hip and squeeze your quadriceps. Hold this for two seconds, then lower. Repeat 16 times and then take it to the other side. You can also even throw in an inner thigh workout. Place a firm water bottle in between your knees and squeeze the bottle. Release your hold halfway and squeeze again. Complete 16 reps of slow pulses.

Squats and Dips

You might look a little funny doing these exercises, but you won’t be the one complaining about a sore butt later! Just be sure you keep your chair stable. To do a chair squat, lift up your hips just hovering over the chair with your arms out for balance. Hold this for 2 to 3 seconds. Stand all the way up. Repeat this for 15 reps. To do a dip, place your hands next your hips. Move your hips in front of the char and bend back the elbows while holding onto the chair. Lower your body until your elbows are out at 90 degrees. Push back and return to starting position. Do 15 reps.


You can stash a dumbbell or two in your drawer or underneath your desk, but if that’s not possible, a full water bottle will do in a pinch. You can first try a bit of weight training with your arms. To do a bicep curl, hold your dumbbell in your right hand, making sure your core is engaged and your spine is straight. Curl the dumbbell towards your shoulder. Repeat 15 times and do the same with your left side. Ab exercises are also totally possible behind your desk. Hold your dumbbell at chest level. Keep your knees and hips forward. Gently twist as far as you can (whilst sitting ‘tall’) and feel your abs stretch. Twist back to the centre and move to the left. Repeat 10 times.

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Be Kind to Your Back

At least once in our lives we’ve been told, “Back straight! Shoulders back!” as a way of correcting our poor posture. However, proper back health and correct posture is more than that. Good posture and a good back also have a lot more to offer us than the appearance of confidence. Whether you’re a fitness pro, an athlete or someone who’s just keen on making sure they’re in good shape, not enough importance is placed on having a strong back.

We take our backs for granted every day. All day, we hop from one seat to another–the car, the bus, the train, the office, the couch, the bed. The times we do get to walk, we’re probably balancing a heavy handbag or backpack or not noticing that we’re slouching as we’re in a rush. The matter of “good” and “bad” posture is not entirely simple. In fact, according to experts, there are five types of postures:

  1. Kyphosis is where the head is in forward position and the shoulders and upper back are rounded.
  2. Lordosis involves an exaggerated lumbar (lower back) curve with the shoulders pulled back too slightly.
  3. Sway back is when the body is actually tilting backwards.
  4. Forward head posture is where the head and cervical spine shift forward.
  5. Correct posture is when the shoulders and hips are aligned and the ear aligns with the shoulder down to the hip and ankle bone.

Now, you’re probably wondering how is it you can be mindful whether your ears and and hips and ankle bones are perfectly aligned at all times? Achieving correct posture seems like a tricky balancing act, but it’s achievable. When standing with good posture, you should be able to draw an imaginary straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee and the middle of your ankle. Meanwhile, good sitting posture means having your back straight and buttocks at the back of your chair with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent at a right angle.

The most common reason we’re given when advised to fix our posture is that it will make us look more attractive and confident. Of course, attraction and confidence don’t lie solely on physical appearance, but there is value in this. Non-verbal cues make up 85 percent of everyday communication, so even when you’re feeling unsure, you can at least make it seem like you are with the simple act of correcting your posture.

personal training toowongYour posture impacts your strength, no matter how much training you undergo. When we slump or slouch, the shoulder stabilisers fail and the chest and core drop. Even our breathing is affected by posture. Good posture opens the airways in our bodies, allowing for enhanced oxygen flow. This is why exercises such as yoga, Pilates and meditation place a lot of emphasis on breathing and posture. When you breath properly, you increase your concentration and thinking abilities as well. The more oxygen we get, the better.

The course to correcting your posture involves both physical and mental strategies. You may practice back-strengthening exercises at the gym, but keeping your posture in check whether you’re at work, play or rest requires a little more attention.

Women & Weight Training

Weight training is very beneficial for all women. It is particularly beneficial for those with weight loss goals. There are a lot of misconceptions, however, with regard to weight training for women.

The most common misconceptions surrounding women and weight training are:

  • Women should lift weights at high repetitions and low weight for ‘toning’
  • Women who lift weights get big and bulky muscles
  • Our muscle will turn to fat if we stop lifting weights

1.      Women should lift weights at high repetitions and low weight for toning

‘Muscle tone’ comes from being able to see muscle underneath body fat. Therefore, if you have excess body fat covering the muscle you will not have a ‘toned’ look. I prefer to refer to ‘being toned’ as ‘having muscle definition’ as it more accurately describes the ‘look’ that many women are aspiring to.

In order to increase muscle definition, it is necessary to do weight training so that you have enough visible muscle, however, lifting weights at high repetitions and low weight actually trains our muscles for endurance instead of strength and hypertrophy (muscle gain).

So to make our muscles ‘toned’ we need to build muscle and this can only happen if your muscles are placed under sufficient stress, i.e. lifting heavier weights. Placing greater stress on your muscles can be accomplished by progressively overloading your muscles and placing varying stresses on your muscles (periodisation) on a regular basis.

2.      Women who lift weights get big bulky muscles

By far the majority of women do not have the high levels of testosterone and human growth hormone required to increase their lean muscle mass to a large extent.

By strength training, you can however, help maintain muscle mass as well as replace muscle lost through ageing and (depending on your genetics) perhaps add a couple of kilograms of lean muscle mass – if you are lucky!

Lucky because more muscle means a higher metabolism and therefore, faster fat burning. The net result will be that you will fit into your clothes more easily and slowdown the ageing process.

3.      Our muscle will turn to fat if we stop lifting weights

Muscle can’t turn into fat; it is simply not possible!

What will happen, however, if you stop weight training and continue to eat the same amount of food you were eating while you were training, the extra kilojoules that you used to burn will now be stored as fat. This is due to the fact that when we stop weight training, we begin to lose muscle and therefore, our metabolic rate declines, causing a decrease in our daily energy needs. Any excess calories, regardless of their source, will then be stored as fat.

Weight Training and Fat Loss

Imagine that your body is a motor vehicle. Your muscles: use energy to produce movement (like an engine); absorb impact forces that otherwise could destroy your bones, connective tissue and joint structures (like shock absorbers); and provide the framework that enables you to function physically (like the chassis). Just as mechanics know that proper maintenance keeps your car in good shape, researchers are finding that weight training plays a vital role in keeping your muscles well-tuned.

Weight training also plays a crucial part in your weight loss efforts and more importantly helping you to maintain your weight loss results. One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a weight loss or body transformation program is not including weight training with their cardio-vascular exercise and eating regimen. This is unfortunate, because when you cut calories without weight training for an extended period, you can lose muscle as well as fat. And when you lose muscle, your body becomes a lot less efficient at burning fat. However, when you gain muscle, your body will burn more fat, 24 hours a day!

The benefits of weight training for weight loss include…

Weight Training Increases Your Metabolism

Your resting metabolic rate represents the amount of energy you need on a daily basis to sustain the function of your body. Even at rest, muscle is very active tissue. Consequently, muscle loss results in a reduction in your metabolic rate. Because less muscle means lower energy requirements, calories that were previously used for muscle maintenance are now stored as fat. Sensible weight training is the best means of avoiding decreases in muscle mass and metabolic rate, and guarding against the obesity creep, i.e. weight training will maintain or increase your metabolic rate, which in turn helps you to maintain or decrease your body fat levels.

Weight Training Improves Glucose Metabolism

Researchers have reported a 23% increase in glucose uptake after four months of weight training. Because poor glucose metabolism is associated with increasing body fat and adult onset diabetes, improved glucose metabolism is an important benefit of regular weight training.

Weight Training Helps Neutralise Age-related Muscle Loss

Most adults that do not do weight training lose between 2.3 and 3.2 kg of muscle per decade. This equates to a decrease of 2-5% in metabolic rate every decade. At rest, 1 kg of muscle requires 13 calories per day for tissue maintenance, and during exercise, muscle energy utilisation increases dramatically. An InBody Scan (or other similar test) will help you monitor changes in your lean muscle mass.

Weight Training Improves Daily Function

Increased functional strength from weight training does wonders to help you with activities of daily living such as house work, working in the yard, moving furniture, and carrying bags of groceries, without gasping for air and tiring within minutes. If you have a medical condition such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis, lifting weights can also be a great help. The greater efficiency in performing general activities due to increased strength can also lead to an increase in the use of body fat as energy thereby helping with fat loss.

Weight Training Improves Posture

When your body is stronger (including your core), you are better able to hold yourself with good posture, your back aches less, there is less stress in your neck and your legs feel strong. You simply function better! Most people who increase their strength, also report an increase in self-confidence.

How Much Is Enough?

Although a personal trainer can help determine the best program for you, as a general rule benefits can be achieved from training 2 – 3 non-consecutive days per week for a minimum of one set per exercise for each major muscle group. You should use enough resistance to fatigue the muscle group by the end of each set.

Getting Stronger

Training your muscles does take some effort, but no matter what age you are, you’ll find that strength training will fuel a healthy lifestyle and help you function better in all aspects of your life.


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