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Personalising you Health & Fitness

Thursday, November 26, 2020


Each and every one of us are unique in how our minds and bodies are made up. Your genes plus your lifestyle work together to create YOU. In scientific terms this is call Epigenetics. We each react differently to food, exercise and the environment and we all have our own individual greatness. 

 We are constantly bombarded with information about the latest “best thing” to do, one often contradicting the other. It all gets very confusing as to what you can do to achieve optimum health and to function at your best. This can result in flip flopping from one thing to the other, getting nowhere or taking no action at all. Feel familiar?

Scientific research shows that one size does not fit all when it comes to your optimum diet or type of exercise or even when to sleep. Maybe you have a friend who dropped a dress size or 2 by following a keto diet so you thought you would try, but it didn’t work for you. Don’t despair, it probably means that you are a different health type and hence your diet and exercise needs are different from your friend’s. For example, some people get great results eating 6 small meals a day while others are better skipping breakfast and having 2 good meals. Some need lots of protein, while others very little. Some of us feel great getting up at 6am and doing a high intensity workout, yet for others the best way to lose weight and thrive is doing a weights session later in the day or doing more endurance-based exercise. Do you thrive working in an open plan office or do you do your best work in a quiet place?  It is important to focus on what is right for you, not get caught up in what your friends or Celebrities are doing. 

If you would like to know more about personalising your health and finding out what it right for YOU, please do get in touch. I am passionate about empowering people to improve their overall health and thrive. 

Jane Williams, Personal Trainer and Women’s Health Coach,   #Iamwithyou  

Thrive vs Survive

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Are you thriving or surviving?

Do you wake up each day ready to tackle any challenge that comes your way with enthusiasm or is the mere thought of getting out of bed a scary challenge because of what lies ahead? What could you do to wake up each day feeling refreshed and excited about the productivity and results that lie ahead?

Surviving your day being tired, overwhelmed and unproductive?

Does this sound like you: You wake up feeling like you haven't slept well, in reality you have been in bed trying to sleep for 7 hours. Not an ideal amount of sleep but enough time that you should feel rest
Coffee is the first thing on your mind, a necessity to start the day and avoid the potential headache/ sluggishness that would otherwise dominate your mindset to start the day. You now feel good, coffee has done its job, a quick breakfast and it's off to work.
You start to process the day ahead - “overwhelmed” is a good way to describe your emotional response to the day. There seems to be a gap in the level of performance your brain needs and what’s available. The shortfall leaves you wondering where that next stimulus is going to come from.

You bounce through the day on stimulation (sugar or caffeine?) and drive to meet your commitments. Mid-afternoon comes and as lunch was missed you feel like the day should already be finished. The last 2 hours of the day are under productive and you head home exhausted.
Food and hunger dominate your agenda when you arrive home, after all you have created an energy deficit by riding high on mental stimulants like caffeine and sugar all day whilst your energy levels have been decreasing as the day went on.
At this point it can even be hard at home to spend time engaging with loved ones, as your mind remembers what was meant to be done during the day. Being present can be a challenge when we are tired.

Thriving- an energising, productive and positive day

An alternative scenario see’s you wake up having spent no longer in bed but feel great - well rested and looking forward to the day ahead. You know what sort of food makes you feel good, eat when it's convenient and focus on the right type of food. You enjoy a coffee but don't feel it's “needed”.
Throughout the day you operate well, feeling energised. Your productivity is high and you accomplish what you set out do without stress and get ahead of the game for tomorrow. When it's home time you arrive with a positive mindset, you enjoy the evening wind down and can be present when spending time with family and loved ones. You even have some time to think about what you wish to accomplish tomorrow - without it affecting our sleep.

What could you do to make each day seem easier?

When we realise that our actions around personal wellbeing help our ability to manage stress and improve productivity we create and in control mindset.

If we spend our time surviving we do so out of control and just getting by. Not a place our body of mind likes to be.
Most of us like to have control of some or all aspect of our lives.

5 suggestions on how you can be proactive around your health

Reduce sugar and alcohol in the evening for better sleep quality, nothing after 7pm.

Place a 1-2 litre water jug on your desk and finish it during the work day.

Make a larger portion of your dinner meal and take some for lunch the following day, twice a week to start with.

Prioritise your day, tackle your most challenging task first and then take 5 mins to stop and refresh.

Set an hourly reminder on your desktop/ device to remind you to move: 1-2 mins every hour is proven to improve cognitive performance and increase your ability to stay on task.

Take a proactive approach to your health and you may well remove some of the challenges in your professional life or your ability to manage them will improve.
What's one thing you could do to improve your personal health that will in turn improve your professional health? Make one change and become aware of the improvements so you value the change. If you have an all or nothing mindset put your all into making one change!

Paul Todd
Health and Performance coach
Smart Body Fit Mind/ Advanced Fitness

How can exercise help you stay young and feel great!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
How exercise can help you stay young & feel wonderful

I watched a BBC programme the other day on how exercise can help your brain and body stay young and there are a few points I would like to share with you
How to keep the brain young.
We all know as we aged our brain can lose some of that sharpness we once had. You forget things, problems are harder to solve.
Well all is not lost…
They did a study where they got together a group of people all in their 60s. To start they had to do a logical & thinking test and recorded the results. Then for 10 weeks half of them walked and the other half played table tennis several times a week.
At the end of the 10 weeks they resat the same test.
The results showed three key things;
1. An increase in their cognitive processing.
2. Their brains had changed physically, the hippocampus and grey matter had increased in size. This is the area that controls memory and decisions making.
3. Their emotional state had improved with people feeling happier and more positive, particularly those playing table tennis.
Why did this happen?
Well when we exercise we raise our heart rate and this gets the blood following faster and improves the flow to our brains. It also increases the release of those feel good chemicals.
Also when you exercise with others you have a social interaction which is good for our emotional state. Whether it is a friend(s) or trainer.
And finally for some of the people they were learning a new skill. This is what creates new connections between your brain cells.
In Summary
Movement increases your blood flow to your brain which helps to keep it healthy. And if it involves are new routine or skill then you are forming new neural connections as well.
If you would like some advice or assistance on what is the best form of exercise for you to do please get in touch with either Paul or myself at the gym or pop in and see us. Next time I will talk about how it helps the body stay young.
Paul: Mobile 021 409 558 Email paul@advancedfitness.co.nz
Jane: Mobile 021 2727 003 Email: jane@advancedfitness.co.nz

Jane Williams
Personal Trainer
Advanced Fitness

Event preparation..........enjoy the process enjoy the event!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Event or experience…….lets help you enjoy the day! (Experience could be a tramp or ride that isn't race i.e. Old Ghost Road.)

When it comes to events we spend a lot of time focusing on the event, the outcome and then rely on our result meeting our expectation to say we were successful or at least happy with how it all went!

I would like to share from my own experience and from speaking with others, some take home tips on what I’ve learnt from my event/experience preparation and races.

1) Prepare well, train well……avoid what I call grey area training which is training with mid to high intensity and frequently but not for race duration. Is your race 3 hours long but all of your training sessions are tiring 1 hour sessions…….? You may be adding a lot of fatigue without improving fitness that you can use. Look at doing longer more moderate intensity work for the time you expect to riding/ running for and then short high intensity repeat efforts for strength and power gains. Check out the map/course of the event and find some comparable ground/ elevation so you’re not surprised when it comes to your race.

2) Prepare well! Same as point 1, but we will focus on looking after yourself and recovery. Eat well and eat enough, under eating will lead to under recovering which will have a big impact on your performance and increase the risk of injury. Hydrate well to allow your body to load and move well, you should aim for 30% of your bodyweight in water intake daily….more when exercising. Eat something easily digestible in the 30mins post exercise and a good meal in the 3 hours following.

3) Adapt your training to where you’re at……each day your body will respond differently to training which is why it is important to have a plan and avoid training too hard. It's also important to adapt your session each time if you’re not 100%
Here is a few questions to ask yourself…
Have you had 6 hours sleep last night?
Have you had water in the last 90 mins?
Have you eaten something nutritious in the last 5 hours?
Have you had a stressful day?
Do I have any aches, pains or niggles?

All of the above will have an impact on your ability to perform, if you’re finding you’re always getting the wrong answers then work on the behaviour change needed so you arrive at your training time ready to go!

4) Connect in training: Train with a friend or like-minded person who enjoys doing what you do, they don’t need to match your fitness level but avoid judging yourself on their performance when you know they are fitter than you. We know when we change the emotive response you get from exercise, we change performance, enjoy your training and you will enjoy the process not just the outcome! You will find an event or experience is a great way to get your kids healthy and fitness focused.

5) Don’t build up your expectations, enjoy the day……..I’ve done this to myself, put too much pressure on myself on the day and raced my race in the car on the way to the event. Worrying, stressed , trying to control everything I can’t control and raced at a speed I can’t maintain because I had under trained! All of the above will equal a performance that doesn’t meet your expectation.

Set a realistic goal that’s based on your own training, fitness level, experience in the event and preparation; then enjoy the challenge. Focus on the process and you will enjoy the outcome! Don’t forget to admire the scenery as often your event will cover some of the best area’s our country has to offer.

Completing an event can be the most invigorating experience and can be the start of a great journey. It’s always motivating to have a goal with your fitness, being able to have the feeling of accomplishment as you sit around after discussing war stories from the day is a feeling I would encourage you to experience.

My challenge to you is to find something (event or experience) you feel would challenge you and lock in your spot!

Thyroid Health

Thursday, March 09, 2017
We see more commonly than ever people coming to us with the goal of shifting weight or changing body composition but have a thyroid issue which is frustrating them by having an impact on metabolism.

What does it control…..

Thyroid hormones act on nearly every cell in the body. They act to increase the basal metabolic rate, affect protein synthesis (key for muscle development), help regulate long bone growth (synergy with growth hormone) and neural maturation.

The thyroid hormones are essential to proper development and differentiation of all cells of the human body. These hormones also regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism, affecting how human cells use energy.

For those not familiar with metabolism or basil metabolic rate, put simply its is your body’s energy system that determines how much energy we burn at rest and during our daily activities. (Basil metabolic rate is how much energy your body uses at rest) Put simply metabolism and weight change are closely linked and could be the reason your results are hard to come by.

With a sluggish metabolism seeing changes in body fat levels can require a real personal focus with tradition weight loss methods often worsening effects.

Thyroid drives metabolism!

So how can you look after your thyroid…….

-We know that both your gut and your adrenals have an impact on the function of your thyroid.

-Within your gut your body converts T4 (thyroxine) to T3 (Triiodothyronine) which is your active thyroid hormone and essential for good function.

-If your gut isn't functioning well then the flow on effect could be your not able to convert enough T3. Research has shown that a gluten sensitivity is commonly linked to thyroid dysfunction. All food sensitivities will have an impact on your gut function.

-Iodine deficiency is another common link to low T3 production as the hormone is made up of part iodine.

-An imbalance in gut flora or infection and bacteria overgrowth will all contribute.

-We know that when stress is present in high or chronic levels your body doesn’t produce as much Secretary Iga (sIga) hormone which has a role in protecting the mucosal barrier in the gut and keeping out those nasty things that are present in our food or from our environment.

What can I do…… tomorrow

1)In short from a lifestyle prospective keeping a balanced healthy diet with limited processed foods and good quality Iodine intake will help.

2)Avoid long duration or very high intensity exercise and your body will see this as stress!

3) Make sure your gut is functioning well, bloating, cramping, gas and inconsistent stools are all signs there is room for improvement.

Go and see your GP or medical professional and ask for a blood test to find out how your thyroid is functioning. Try to get TSH, FT3, FT4, and TPO antibody so you can understand the full function.

I know from working with clients that it can be a challenging road to recovery and management of a thyroid condition so in my opinion it make sense to take a proactive approach to controlling your health!

Paul Todd
Health and Performance Coach
Advanced Fitness

Connection through exercise........why?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

As humans we crave connection with others! You could say we are pack animals!

At Advanced Fitness we believe that creating connection through exercise gives us benefits beyond the physiological change in fitness or strength.

Connecting with others is powerful beyond what we realise. Its as simple was this question? Do you enjoy exercising with your friends more than on your own?

Im going to answer for you…….yes! Lets face it exercise isn't complicated but it works better with connection. (If you answered no try finding someone else)

I would class my self as self motivated and someone who loves exercise (as weird as that might sound to some of you) but I always prefer to train with a friend. Why? Not because I’m not motivated otherwise but its just fun. NO ONE DISLIKES FUN!

We always look at the real reason why we exercise, some of us just want to be fit but as a whole there is much more to be gained from exercise and we find most people want some connection from there exercise. We know you are more likely to continue with your exercise if you feel connected to someone who comes along and feel like you can speak and talk and communicate and feel like your listened to. That will go along way to your feeling of belonging.

In the modern online world we have lots of “friends” but often not many people we are truly connected to. The world has never been so connected with some many disconnected people.

Online we use whats called an upward referral by looking for external motivation to gain feedback on what we are trying to achieve. If our motivation to see change or exercise is geared by what you think others think of you then expect to ride a wave of emotions and have inconsistent motivation.

Great if your admired by thousands but for most of us being motivated by our own desire to change and sense of achievement from making progress is going to be a healthier motivator. I believe my industry has a lot to answer for……..

My industry is great at trying to get you hyped up on the idea of short term goals “6 weeks to a new you” “ lose 10kg in 10 weeks” when in reality fitness should be about a lifestyle and long term health and wellbeing or performance. We lead you to believe that what others think is important and therefore we should do what ever it takes to get there then make sure everyone knows about it to make us feel like its worthwhile.

Sorry I got off track a bit there! A bit of a rant!

Here is what ill leave you with……
Next time your looking for something else with your exercise or feel like your missing something look for connection. Small group training can be fun or find a friend who has similar interests and level of fitness.

Don’t be afraid to ask, you never know there will be someone just as keen as you!

Our expectation drives our behaviour, set a negative expectation and you will always make that choice you wish you hadn't. Set an internal positive outlook and be open to change and watch your choices shift for the better.

Paul Todd- Health and Performance Coach
Advanced Fitness

Asking the right questions

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

We constantly ask ourselves questions......or question our decisions.

Questions around exercise are no different, with our often short term focused mindset its easy to hesitate or doubt that we are on track when results don't occur as quickly as we would like.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1) What really makes me happy? We often have a desired outcome in mind, that idea of when we achieve that "GOAL" we will be successful therefore happy! This often leads to a focus on the outcome not the process/es that are needed to be successful. Find out what makes you happy.......enjoy your exercise and success will follow because the behaviour change needed for success will occur without effort.

2) Am i focused on the process? I like the term "process orientated" Its easy to weigh our entire motivation on the end result when in reality creating motivation around the day to day behaviour change needed to see the end result is a better use of our energy.
Its likley that the habits you will need to form to be successful in your fitness or health related goals will need to remain long after you have achieved the goal you set out to achieve at the beginning. Focus on the process and set goals based on the behaviour change!

3) Is it pleasure or pain? Our brain will always drive us towards pleasure but what will override this is the drive to move away from pain. Is your exercise filled with pain physical or mental/emotional pain, a lack of enjoyment or a frustration that no progress is being made? If we have to create pain to succeed we will be in a constant fight with ourselves and of course be questioning our decisions constantly.

Change your language and mindset and success will follow.

If you would like help asking the right questions talk to one of us.

Why is my hip sore

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Soreness in the muscles around your hip can mean a few things, you may be in need to some imagery and medical advice if you have a serious issue or you may be suffering from a common imbalance in strength and movement.

We spend a lot of time in repetitive movement patterns whether it be a weekend exercise pursuit or a regular gym routine your movement can look very similar even if you have a range of exercises in your programme.

If you had a imbalance in strength or an ankle or hip the moves differently to the other side then you can easily develop a compensation and feed into it on a daily basis.

Common issues I see are anterior (front) hip discomfort or pain and tension in the side of the pelvis and into the lower back.

We will always test to see what range the pain occurs at and if unsure refer to a specialist of sports doctor to make sure there isn't some underlying issue that needs to be repaired. In saying that 90% of the time we see one of two issues that is easily treated.

1) an ankle that has limited Doris flexsion ( forward movement knee over ankle)

2) weakness in the Glute muscles on the other side of the body ( and we often both issues occurring together)

Treatment can be straight forward with a little extra awerness and if nothing is done then you could risk long term knee and hip injuries on the dominant overworked side!

Treatment looks at a combination of ankle mobility and strength work on the weaker side of the hip. We will add in some release work to the sore side to keep in happy and in a matter of days.

I'll post a video over the next few days to show you how to work your sore hip!

If this information sounds like it could help you simply see how you feel standing on each leg, a wobbly leg = a lack of control and we could be onto something!

Email your examples and I'll see if I can help


Ankle and foot mobility part 2

Friday, January 16, 2015

The first thing to keep in mind in we need to retest using the test from the previous article to see if the exercise and helping.

Simply retest after each and ask yourself is it worse better or the same.
I need to mention if you have been diagnosed with an injury please follow the advice of your health care professional.

Once we have improved your range of motion and movement you will then need to be careful as to not load up to much straight away, better moving is usually better for your body but it’s also different and your body will need to adapt. Just simply don’t go out straight after doing these and run 20kms!

Video 1: Ball in front ankle, bottom of foot,

Video 2: fib head mobiliser.

Video 3: Distal fib head release with ball

Ankle movement for improved performance and pain free running Part 1

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Are you like me and enjoy a bit of running or are you looking for an event the week after your last half or full marathon?

If you fall into either category or have experience niggling or reoccurring pain in ankles, knees, or hips and lower back then please read on.

Your ability to move well within the joints that make up your foot and ankle will determine how your body distributes force and whether or not your muscles handle the stress you’re putting on them.

Pain that just occurs from repetitive stress (running) and isn’t caused by an impact or fall should be a warning sign something isn’t right. The answer could be as simple creating better movement within your feet.

Here is a couple of things to try to see how you match-up:

  1. Stand with your feet about 2 inches back from the wall, can you slowly move your knee’s over your toes and touch the wall?
  2. Can you stand on both feet with your weight evenly distributed over both and lift up your big toe with lifting the remaining toes on each foot?
  3. Face a mirror and stand on one leg, have a look in the mirror top see if you need to lean or compensate to stand without losing balance.

How did you go? If you found one or all of those challenging there may be something we can work on. See the videos below for more info on each test. I will go into more detail in part two of this article  Running is a great to improve your fitness and unnecessary pain and injuries with only add to your frustration.