Women’s Guide to Running and Menopause

In my role as an AURA Committee member I have had the privilege to sit on a few Webinar panels last year. One of our topic discussions was ‘Women in Ultra Running’. The topic is obviously very broad and we had many questions from our participants and could not cover off everything in one webinar! So afterwards we looked back through our notes to see what was one of the most asked questions and topics that women really wanted to discuss more. One of the biggest topics of interest we found was how menopause affected your running, and maybe your goals, and what what possible limitations you may encounter during this period of your life.

So here is an article that will hopefully give you some more insight in to what happens when you go through menopause and how Running, whether it be recreational, or ultra running, can really benefit women as they age and especially as we go through sometimes challenging period in our lives. We also look at how to overcome many of the symptoms of this very natural occurrence that women go through.

I will count up the amazing number of benefits running during the ‘Change’ provides throughout this article by placing the number in a bracket, so look out for them!

Please note, this is a pretty broad topic so it won’t cover it all however, it will give you some confidence to continue your running if you are experiencing peri-menopausal/menopause symptoms, help you understand more about what is happening to your body, explain why you may feel like crap, and also confirm how continuing to run is going to help alleviate many of your symptoms!

The ‘Change’

Around 40 years of age our bodies wind down from wanting to make babies to going through peri-menopause and finally menopause. Your ovaries start producing less oestrogen and progesterone, therefore menstruation becomes irregular until it eventually stops. Besides this pain in the butt process, the drop in these hormones effect more than just your reproductive system.

Oestrogen strengthens bones, so this drop will have an effect in your bone density which is something running, as a weight bearing exercise, can help conquer. Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in the first 5-7 years post menopause! The 3 years leading up to menopause is when your bone density drop escalates and sometimes you may not even know you are going through ‘the change’ (if you are lucky!). This rate of bone density loss does slow post menopause. Weight bearing exercise such as running can really halt or drastically slow this decline (1).

Strength Training

Strength training is important to maintain lean muscle mass, support bones and joints as we age and should be an important part of your running program if in your 40s or beyond.

Muscle strength loss is well documented and we can lose up to 8% of muscle strength per decade from the age of 30 if steps are not taken to counteract it. A decline in oestrogen and testosterone can decrease your ability to build and maintain muscle – another reason running into your older years can be a great help (2). Trail runners especially, engage in a good strength session every time they tackle steep climbs or stairs as this has a lower impact on the joints. I advise to get off the roads occasionally and go bush! Find some steep climbs you are forced to hike up and get those quads and glutes working hard (3).

Further to this, the more lean muscle your body has the faster your metabolism will work, and therefore the easier it is to burn fat at rest (4). Get climbing and lift some weights!

Changes in Body Fat and Dietary Requirements

Lower oestrogen triggers your body to store fat more easily. The old ‘middle age spread’ can be in part attributed to menopause however, it is more common that many women become less active as they get older. Peri-menopause can make you feel tired and lethargic, so getting out for a run may feel harder and your activity levels feel like they are dropping off. If you can fight this and push through, you will definitely feel better in the long term. Exercise gives you more energy (5). Running burns a lot of fat and calories so will help combat this unwanted change (6).

Luckily for the people reading this article, this probably isn’t an issue as you are a motivated bunch.

So, besides consistency and trying to just keep going to combat fat gain, what we may need to consider is changing our diet! As we get older, we don’t need as many carbs as we become less sensitive to insulin and tend to store carbohydrates as fat more easily.

Runners typically eat more carbs to provide energy to cope with the demands of training and racing, however your body requires less as you get older. Overdoing it on the carbs can be a big contributor to weight gain around our middles. We need to look at eating less refined carbs in our eating in general and more protein to help maintain our muscle mass.

You may also get away with less gels and sports drinks in your long runs. Try eating real food instead such as a banana, aiming for less of the simple sugars which are in the gels and lollies. Running with a few less carbs on board will help your body burn more fat when you are doing your long easy runs.

Try cutting back on breads and pastas and focus more on vegetables, legumes and fruits. Add more dairy to your diet, which will assist in maintaining bone density with its calcium content and muscle mass with its protein component.

Increase your protein intake to help maintain lean muscle that you are working hard to achieve. Lean meats and whey powder have high levels of leucine which is an amino acid essential to building muscle.

All these changes will not only help you feel better and give you more energy, but they will help to feel a bit lighter around the middle.

As long as you are getting carbs through the mentioned food changes, you will have plenty of energy to fuel your training. Eating better to fuel your running will help with this annoying side effect of menopause (7)! Keep running and keep eating well!

Hot Flushes

Hot flushes are one of the main issues women suffer with, and exercising can exacerbate these due to less oestrogen. This affects the way your blood vessels expand and constrict, so blood pressure and a shift in temperature can affect your running. Normally your blood vessels expand as you warm up which sends blood closer to your skin for cooling, however menopause can blunt this response which traps more heat inside your core. The hypothalamus also experiences a change and this is your brains own thermostat which also contributes to hot flushes.

The good news is, research suggests that women who exercise regularly have less hot flushes, so we have ticked off yet another good reason to keep running (8).

Runners are used to feeling hot and sweaty anyway, however if you find you are overheating more than usual on a run, try having ice cold drinks with you (freeze the night before – great to drink but also good in your running vest pockets to keep you cool), ice bandanas (if you have ice available ) or cooling towels . These work well when wet and are a great addition to your running kit in the hotter seasons. Having something wet around your neck or head and/or wiping yourself down with a wet cloth can have an amazing cooling effect as you run. A Buff is always a great option to quickly wet along a run, and all of us ultra runners have plenty of these floating around.

Sleep (or lack of)

Sleep can be a problem with peri-menopause and this in turn can affect your recovery. As we know, sleep is crucial to recover from tough training sessions.

If you are a runner and exercising regularly, this can help with the interrupted sleep pattern by simply making you more tired to assist with improving sleep overall. (9)

Morning runs are better for you as it will have you energised for the day and tired ready for bed at night so you can crash into a nice (but maybe occasionally sweaty ) slumber. Night runs will elevate your temperature and make sleep harder to come by!

If you are still struggling, Melatonin is a great natural supplement to help you get to sleep and stay asleep. Try a slow release tablet if staying asleep is the issue, or a fast release tablet if getting to sleep is harder. Melatonin is now available without a script over the counter for over 55s, but if you are younger than that you will still need a script (or ask your mum to get it).

Make sure you power down your phones and devices at least 30 minutes before bed for the Melatonin to work effectively and keep your bedroom nice and cool too.

Racing and Training

A big question is, what about speed and racing? Will I lose my speed as I age?

This depends on your training age ie. how long you have been running for, your running history and where you are currently sitting with your training in general. Sure, we will all slow down as we age but that is not a bad thing as we are all mostly ultra runners.

Women tend to be stronger and their endurance tends to improve as they age. Sometimes a change in focus on the type of races you are planning will have you enjoying running much more. You may never get your parkrun time from 5 years ago, but girl you can run for days!

The main issue with speed is the decline in oestrogen and testosterone which, as mentioned above, hinders your ability to build and maintain muscle. Your fast twitch muscles (the speedy ones) also decline, therefore you may not be able to be as fast as you were in your teens and 20’s.

However, if you were never fast to start with, you still have room for improvement through menopause and beyond.

If you are new to running, at least two strength sessions a week is advisable to maintain muscle mass and reduce your risk of osteoporosis along with aid in injury prevention. Strong muscles can better absorb the impact and demand of running which protects your bones and connective tissue.

Menopause and Depression

Hormone fluctuations can definitely have an impact on our moods, and for some it can turn into a more serious depression.

If this happens, please speak to your doctor as there are ways to help you through this time, which is often temporary. Luckily for us runners, physical activity is a mood booster and running releases happy hormones and improves our moods! Yet another reason why you need to keep on running (10). If you are feeling really low, and even a run cannot lift your spirits, then it’s time to chat to the GP.

In a nutshell, menopause isn’t fun but it doesn’t have to be the end of your running career. In fact, running to alleviate your symptoms can be the catalyst to really kick start your running journey. The majority of your symptoms can definitely be managed by staying active and making a few changes to your training routine, eating plan, reassessing your goals and refocusing on the enjoyment running gives you rather than how much speed you have lost or how hard it feels.

Remember that consistency is key and if you continue to keep running regularly, it will ultimately get easier no matter what stage of life you are in.

Losing Weight in Your 50’s……and Keeping it Off


When I was posting this article I was looking for some pictures of over 50’s being energetic and all google came up with was people that looked to be in their 70’s and 80’s! When did 50 become old? (apologies mum and dad). I myself am 47 this year, I primarily train people from age 45-55 and none of them look like my kids grandparents! So why do some people think that getting to 50 is old? I know for a fact that there are some SUPER fit people in their 50’s that would run rings around many 20 and 30 years that I know. 50 is not old, its a time in your life that you should embrace your wellness and activity levels. The kids are older, you’re a be freer with your time in many ways (restricted in others for sure) but you should definitely  be able to make time in your life to prioritise your health. So instead of searching Google for 50 and active 50 years – I’ll instead use my amazing over 50’s clients! You only need to go to our Facebook page to see many fit and fabulous over 50’s! Click here and see for yourself!

I was asked to write an article on the difficulty of losing weight as you hit your mid 40’s and 50’s. Obviously even my active clients have found that as they have gotten to this stage losing weight isn’t as easy as it used to be, and thats true. It isn’t . Some things have to change as we get older if we want to stay the same size as we were 10 years ago. But the good news is that its really doable. So here is my take on what you can do to lose weight after 50 an keep it off.


For many people, maintaining a healthy weight or losing excess body fat can become harder as the years go by.

Unhealthy habits, a mostly sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary choices, and metabolic changes can all contribute to weight gain after the age of 50

One of the main reasons you’ll have to put in extra effort is that your body composition changes as you age. You lose muscle mass at an average rate of 3-5% for every 10 years after age 35, and this can impact the way you burn fat. Your body goes into its aging stage as it leaves the growing one. When this happens, your body doesn’t need as much energy as it used to.

Also, your resting metabolic rate, ie your body’s ability to burn calories while sleeping or sitting on the lounge doing nothing, decreases by about 1-2% per decade due to muscle mass loss and increased fat mass. Our diets usually don’t change enough to account for this metabolic adjustment, meaning weight can creep up slowly but surely with every birthday.

There are many ways you can get around this, however it does take commitment and a change of lifestyle and eating habits.


Find an Activity that you Love

Finding an exercise routine that you can maintain long term can be difficult. This is why it’s important to engage in activities that you enjoy.

I always advise finding something that is fun and you enjoy – if exercise ends up feeling like a chore it’s very hard to stick to. So if you like group activities, join a group exercise class, running club or sporting team so you can exercise with others on a regular basis. Group exercise has been proven time and time again to help with motivation and long term enjoyment as well as consistency and long term health.



It’s wise to get a doctors check up and get your hormones checked. As we age, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones decline, which sets the body up for storing fat instead of losing weight.

Get the doctor to look at your thyroid, testosterone, adrenal glands, and other hormone levels checked—and then take the appropriate steps to bring them back into balance. This can go a long way toward helping people in their 50’s lose weight.


Choose the Right Supplements

If you feel fatigued and unmotivated, taking the right supplements may help give you the energy you need to reach your goals.

As you grow older, your ability to absorb certain nutrients declines, increasing your risk of deficiencies. For example, research shows that adults over 50 are commonly deficient in folate and B12,  two nutrients that are needed for energy production. If you are low on energy, its harder to stay motivated.

Deficiencies in B vitamins like B12 can negatively impact your mood, cause fatigue, and hinder weight loss.

For this reason, it’s a good idea for those over 50 to take a high-quality B-complex vitamin to help decrease the risk of deficiency. (Check with your doctor first)

Set Realistic Goals

Don’t plan to lose 10kilos before you head to Hawaii in a month – it’s not gonna happen and if it does, you are very likely to put it back on two days after stepping off the plane and drinking your first Margarita.

Be honest with yourself. How do you feel? How healthy are you? Have you been slacker than usual and a bit lazy? Is your diet not so great?

Decide what is your healthy weight goal to start with – one that effects things like energy levels, your skin, your clothes, your blood pressure, liver function (all those things that may be affected when you see your doctor for your check up). Then set out to lose it slowly, but consistently through sensible lifestyle changes that you can SUSTAIN for life.

Once you reach this goal, reassess how you feel and then decide if you want to choose another small goal. It may be to lose another few kilos, tone up and get stronger, participate in an event now that you are fitter.

Each goal like this you make is another step towards being and feeling healthier. But they are in small, bite sized pieces that are realistic and achievable. Map it out in a diary like you would a savings plan.


Overhaul Your Diet. Doh.

Just like the 90’s music you loved isn’t the same as it was when you were in your 30s, (even some songs lose their gloss) your metabolism has changed, too, which means you’re burning about 250 fewer calories each day. So if you continue to eat like you did in the early 2000s, and don’t increase your exercise, you’ll inevitably gain weight.

Eliminating the junk food in your diet and replacing it with loads of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can make cutting calories relatively painless.

Limiting foods high in added sugar including sweetened beverages, alcohol mixers, lollies, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, sweetened yogurts, and sugary cereals, is critical for weight loss at any age

Learn to read a nutritional label!

Look for “added sugars” or search the ingredient list for common sweeteners such as cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and agave. Ideally you want the sugar content to be below 10g per serve.


Below are some samples of Nutritional panels:

a) b)  c) 


a) To look at the sugar content of foods, look at the Carbohydrate (CHO) content. Here, the CHO and sugars are the same (15.9g) so all the CHO in the food item is coming from sugars. Not good!

b) Here there is only 2g CHO but of that only 0.9 comes from sugar. Better, but keep in mind this is a low CHO food.

c) In this example there are 26g CHO but only 1g sugar and 2g fibre – a much better equation to aim for. Note – it’s a vegetable. Hint Hint ???? That leads me to the next point!


Eat More Produce

Vegetables and fruits are packed with nutrients that are vital to your health, and adding them into your diet is a simple, evidence-based way to drop excess weight. Of they are also low in calories and very filling.

Change how and when you eat

It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that matters in your 50’s. Focus on fullness, not portion control, when you are planning your meals. If your stomach’s not full, you don’t feel full, and you’ll stay hungry. When it comes to healthy weight loss and management, you need to strike that important balance between eating until we feel full and satisfied while still decreasing our overall calorie intake. Increasing the protein and fibre content of meals will help keep you fuller for longer.

There are a few ways that you can limit your overall calorie intake without starving or counting calories – let’s face it – that is a real punish!

Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is a type of eating pattern in which you only eat during a specified period. The most popular type of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method, where you eat within an 8-hour window followed by a 16-hour fast.

Numerous studies have shown that intermittent fasting promotes weight loss.

Also, some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may benefit older adults by increasing longevity, slowing cell decline, and preventing age-related changes to mitochondria, the energy-producing parts of your cells by giving your digestive system a break.

Eat Less at Night

Many studies have shown that eating fewer calories at night may help you maintain a healthy body weight and lose excess body fat.

One study of 1,245 people found that over 6 years, those who consumed more calories at dinner were over 2 times more likely to become obese than people who ate more calories earlier in the day.

Plus, those who ate more calories at dinner were significantly more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions including high blood sugar and excess belly fat. Metabolic syndrome increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Eating the majority of your calories during breakfast and lunch, while enjoying a lighter dinner, is a worthwhile method to promote weight loss.

Increase Your Protein Intake

Eating a protein-rich diet can help prevent or even reverse muscle loss. Numerous studies have also shown that increasing dietary protein can help you lose weight and keep it off in the long especially when balanced with regular strength training.

How many calories you burn at rest, or your resting metabolic rate (RMR), decreases by 1–2% each decade after you turn 20. This is associated with age-related muscle loss. Another reason why strength training is so important.

Research shows that older adults have higher protein needs than younger adults, making it all the more important to add to your meals and snacks.

Embrace Strength Training

Even if you’ve never picked up a dumbbell in your life, now is the perfect time to learn to love weights. Because the secret to losing weight over 50 is this: Build more muscle mass to increase your metabolism (you’ve got about 20% less now than you did when you were 20). The good news is that this is very achievable. Regular weight sessions can help you regain the ability to lose weight like you were able to 20 years ago. Aim to lift weights at least twice a week, whether you use free weights or machines or do body weight exercises. It doesn’t hurt to lift every day—just make sure to work different muscle groups or train differently each day.

Include High Intensity Workouts

Many people as they age think they need to lower the intensity and take up things like walking rather than trying to exercise a bit harder and get their heart rates up. While I understand that if you have been inactive for a while and you decide to take on a program that leaves you gasping for air and screaming in every muscle group that would be very unappealing, to get the weight loss results you want, you need to be aware that you must at least raise a sweat, huff and puff and incur some discomfort! That’s a reality I’m afraid. The good news is that as you get fitter, the discomfort lessens and the happy hormones that exercise induces start to make you enjoy these sweaty sessions more and more.

To help aid in weight loss you need to elevate your heart rate, consume more oxygen than just walking and talking requires (yes ladies – you know what I mean, “lets ‘walk'” generally can mean lets stroll and chat!), and get a bit out of your comfort zone at least twice a week for a minimum of 30mins a day. Short bursts of high intensity exercise strengths muscles, improves heart health and helps to target belly fat.

If however you are new to HIIT then you can start out walking only, but it needs to be brisk. Then gradually add in hills, and more distance – as long as you are sweating and huffing and puffing you are getting there so that’s a great start. Once your fitness level improves, you can add body weight exercises, maybe light jogging and intervals (think run one telegraph pole, walk one etc). Everyone’s intensity level for HIIT is different so start off doing what suits you, your current fitness level, and work in with any joint pain or other issues you may have. Jumping in and doing too much too soon can lead to injury so be guided by a trainer if you are unsure. Bottom line it needs to feel a bit uncomfortable to have any benefit. Low frequency HIIT ie about every 4 days is great if you are starting out as it gives your body time to recover.

Over 50 and already fit? Go for it. If you are already a regular exerciser you can do any form of HIIT or higher intensity training 3-4 times a week, sometimes more for the ultra fit.

The benefits of high intensity workouts for weight loss are :

  • It burns a lot of calories in a short time – great if you are time poor
  • It raises your metabolic rate for hours after you have finished, helping you burn more calories at rest
  • It helps to lose body fat, especially around the belly. But more importantly it has an impact on visceral fat, the unhealthy and dangerous fat around your organs.
  • You are likely to get a gain in lean muscle, which in turn helps to burn more fat at rest by raising your metabolism
  • It improves oxygen consumption
  • It lowers Blood Pressure and reduces your resting heart rate
  • It reduces blood sugar and insulin resistance – very important for warding off Type 2 diabetes
  • There are many ways to get your dose of HIIT – from swimming and cycling, to weight training, to running to walking or mix it all up. Just remember the more body parts you use the better!

Sit Less and Move More

Burning more calories than you take in is critical to losing excess body fat. That’s why being more active throughout the day is important when trying to lose weight.

For example, sitting at your job for long periods of time might hinder your weight loss efforts. To counteract this, you can become more active at work by simply getting up from your desk and taking a five-minute walk every hour.

Research shows that tracking your steps using a pedometer or Fitbit can boost weight loss by increasing your activity levels and calorie expenditure. Ideally aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. 12,500 is now the new recommendation, however if you are starting out, start with a realistic step goal based on your current activity levels such as 5000 steps per day. Then gradually work your way up to 7,000–10,000 steps per day or more, depending on your overall health.

Make the Most out of EVERY Workout

If you’re going to put in the effort to block out the time and exercise, squeeze into your sports bra and lycra and get to a class or the gym, don’t get there and waste your time. You can’t just turn up – you need to do the work. Far too many people think that just because they showed up, they’re working out.  You need to be focused on what you’re doing and push yourself hard enough to break a sweat or at least complete the full range of motion of a certain exercise. Don’t do things halfheartedly!

Check Your Stress Levels

Between paying for Sally’s dance classes, Johnnies uni fees and running the household and working full time, dealing with your own aging parents, being in your 50’s can be a very stressful period in your life.

Emotional eating and a schedule that seems too jam-packed for regular exercise sessions can take over your good intentions. If you want to succeed you need a solution – full stop.

And what’s the solution? Schedule your workouts like they are doctor’s appointments. You wouldn’t flick that because you were too tired would you?

Exercise is more important than brushing your teeth every day. It gives you far more long term benefits than anything you do in your life.

You need to find that routine that you can stick to and make it NON-NEGOTIABLE. Sure, it may mean an early alarm clock if that’s the only time to fit it in, but that also becomes routine and a good habit. The more you do it the easier it is. That is 100% FACT!

Sticking to a consistent routine can not only help ease stress, it can also help you stay on track with your diet. After all, who wants to ruin the benefits of a tough sweat session by eating a donut?

Get Your Sleep

Not getting enough quality sleep may harm your weight loss efforts. Many studies have shown that not getting enough sleep increases the likelihood of obesity and may hinder weight loss efforts.

For example, a 2 year study of 245 women demonstrated that those who slept 7 hours per night or more were 33% more likely to lose weight than women who slept less than 7 hours per night. Better sleep quality was also associated with weight loss success.

Aim to get the recommended 7–9 hours of sleep per night and improve your sleep quality by minimising light in your bedroom and avoiding using your phone or watching TV before bed. Read a book to relax or listen to relaxation music through your headphones is a dark room. Basically try and POWER DOWN. And do it early, don’t get caught up in the latest Netflix series if its going to keep you awake!

Hunger hormones (leptin and ghrelin) go into overdrive when you don’t get enough sleep which can lead to excessive hunger and poor food choices as you will be looking for that pick me up.

An early night followed by an early morning exercise session will have you ready for bed again the next night. Keep it up long enough and you fall into a great sleep routine and the early starts won’t bother you. If you are a night owl and like to train in the evening, remember that exercise makes it harder to sleep, so unless you have the luxury of a later start, it may be wiser to switch your day around if possible. You know the old saying, “early to bed, early to rise…”.

Focus on Body Composition

Although body weight is a good indicator of health, your body composition ie the percentages of fat and fat-free mass in your body, is important as well.

Muscle mass is an important measure of overall health, especially in older adults. Packing on more muscle and losing excess fat should be your goal.

Train With Friends that have Similar Goals

Research shows that those who attend group fitness or weight loss programs with friends are significantly more likely to maintain weight loss over time. I believe this to be extremely true based on my experience as a personal trainer of over 14 years and training many people in their 50’s – there is just not the fluctuation with huge weight gains then losses and that yo-yo cycle that I see elsewhere. I put that down to the social side of training which in turn promotes consistency, which is the intended outcome. Consistency get results!

Additionally, working out with friends can strengthen your commitment to a fitness program and make exercising more enjoyable.


So in a nutshell here are my biggest tips in summary:

  • Workout with a friend or a group – it will get you out of bed
  • Improve your sleep
  • Check your hormones to see if there are any underlying factors for weight gain
  • Strength train at least twice a week
  • Add in High Intensity to training that is suitable to your fitness level
  • Increase your Protein intake
  • Reduce Stress levels where possible
  • Make exercise a priority and diarise it like an appointment
  • Eat less at night
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake and reduce sugars.
  • Find a training routine that you love and can stick to
  • Sit less, move regularly on the hour if you have a sedentary job.
  • Aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps a day – doesn’t matter how you get them.

Its not rocket science – Its fixable but it takes commitment. So if you are complaining about your expanding waistline, don’t blame it on your birth certificate – own it and do something about it!



Intermittent Fasting – The Pro’s & Con’s

Intermittent Fasting – The Pro’s & Con’s

There is always a new fad diet around the corner promising to be the next best thing to help you lose weight – forget the rest, this is best, blah blah blah. Sound familiar?

Research continues into the best ways to lose weight and fasting is the latest buzz diet. However, does it really work? Yes and no – like all diets. Any diet will work if you can stick it out, but for me, the best diet is always the one that you can sustain long term and is nutritionally sound and supports your daily activity requirements. I also advocate learning about good foods, knowing whats on your nutritional panel, and even better, buying more foods without a nutritional panel ie eating real foods more often which means no packaging is required. Make sure you are eating well, not just less.

Intermittent Fasting (IF) works this way – You simply eat within a certain block of time, usually a window of 8–10 hours. In the other big block of time, about 14–16 hours, including when you’re asleep, you don’t eat anything, not even snacks. You can drink water, coffee, tea or any other beverage that doesn’t have calories. For example, if you like having a late dinner, you might skip breakfast and have your first meal at midday and your last meal of the day at 8 p.m., and then not eat until midday again the next day.

When you’re fasting, you’re not consuming calories, so it makes sense to assume that with eating less than you normally would, you’re going to lose weight. Fasting allows you to use up all of your stored sugars as fuel, and to then tap into fat stores. When we begin to burn fat stores, we begin to lose body fat, and as the research is now pointing to, gives us a a positive effect on our metabolism and hormones (which if course is contradictory to other research that says never skip breakfast, keep your metabolism revving by not fasting…). Everyone reacts differently, the trick is to find out what works for you and stick to it.

Other forms of IF are the “5:2 eating plan,” which means two nonconsecutive days of a strict 500 calorie a day diet, and five days of a normal, healthy food. This can be tweaked to 7:1 or 1:1, depending on how you want to implement it into your daily life. You can choose the strategy which best suits you. However, give yourself at least a few days, ideally longer, when you try each strategy so that you can determine how it is working for you. Look out for signs of improvements in  non-food areas such as more energy, deeper sleep, happier mood and better digestion/less bloating. Try logging changes like these in a food diary so you can track what works best for you. To really see that you are making improvements you need to give it around 4 weeks and measure your success with a tape measure, not just the scales.

Like any major eating and fitness change, it can take time to find the perfect fit, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different options — including ditching intermittent fasting altogether if it’s simply not your thing. If dieting messes with your head then it will never work.

I’ve put together some pro’s and con’s to intermittent fasting so you can see if it may or may not work for you.


  • It can be easier as it doesn’t involve specific foods, but rather a strict schedule about when you eat.
  • Its flexible in that you can manipulate the fasting times to suits your lifestyle to some extent.
  • Calorie counting isn’t required, you just need to eat your regular sized meals within the time frame (within reason – 3 Big Mac’s a day won’t leave you looking svelte no matter what time of the day you eat). Alcohol is yet another issue.
  • Research also suggests it may be beneficial for glucose tolerance, hormone regulation, better muscle mass and lower body fat – you can double the effects when you add regular exercise.
  • It can be added to any diet you are following (Paleo, Keto, Low Carb, Vegan etc)
  • Research with animals has shown that fasting may reduce cancer risks and slow aging by activating cellular mechanisms that help boost immune function and reduce inflammation associated with chronic disease (due to not having to constantly process food and allowing your system to heal). However, a reduction in body fat will also do this, so any way you can achieve lower body fat results is good.


  • Individuals all react to fasting in different ways – its not for everyone. Some people get ‘hangry’ if they don’t eat small regular meals, their bodies just can’t cope.
  • Can encourage ‘binge eating’. Once you allow yourself to eat you go overboard and consume excess calories because you are starving, negating any positive effects from the fast and calorie deficit.
  • In women, fasting has been shown to disrupt hormones and menstrual cycles and alter their ability conceive easily. Women’s hormonal balance is particularly sensitive to how much, how often, and what we eat. Read more here. 
  • We know from extensive research that those who eat breakfast have better metabolic outcomes than those who skip it, and eating at night can be detrimental to cardio metabolic health.
  • It may not work with your work, sport or activity levels.
  • If you train early in the morning you may be way too hungry to wait until 11am to eat as well as missing out on much needed recovery meals.
  • The research on IF is still new and the jury is still out.
  • Its has a high drop out rate, as people find they are too hungry
  • May not fit with your social life.
  • You may struggle with not being able to ‘reward’ yourself with that healthy plate of poached eggs as soon as you get home from training. Kill me now if I can’t eat after a run!


  • It can work if you need to lose weight in the short term, however the research shows that it works just as well as calorie restriction. You need to do what works best for you.
  • Everyone is different and some people respond much better to IF than others, whether it  is from a psychological view (can’t stick to it, too hard) or from a physiological view (low energy, mood swings, low blood sugar etc). Its not for everyone, however some people will love it.
  • Experiment and see what works for you, but give it time to see if it works.
  • Measure body fat losses, muscle mass gain/loss, energy levels, sleep patterns.
  • Don’t think that because you are eating in a certain time frame that you can eat whatever you like – maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.
  • There have been many studies done on the three types of eating plans – calorie restriction/portion controlled diets, alternating fasting days and normal eating habits. Nearly all studies have shown that the first two groups had lost weight compared to the normal eaters, however the fasters didn’t do any better than the calorie cutters.

Bottom line – to lose weight you need to restrict calories and increase your exercise to create a calorie deficit (doh) so the best way is the way that works for you, and that can take time, and trial and error to work out what that is. But there are options out there to try.

Any weight loss is good (if you need it) as it has the ability to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, help control diabetes and reduce many other health risk, and therefore has a positive effect on your health.

REMEMBER – Without exercise you may still lose weight, however you get no benefits from improved strength, mobility, aerobic fitness or muscle tone. No point having the scales showing the number you like but your heart and lungs are unhealthy and all your bits wobble!

Move to Improve Your Gut, and Improve Your Life

Move to Improve your Gut, and Improve your Life

Our microbes need us to move.

Researchers have discovered that the composition of our gut microbes can be improved by exercise alone. How?

The first experiment compared faecal samples from mice that were sedentary with mice that were active. The diets and living conditions of the two groups of mice were otherwise identical. The only difference was whether or not they engaged in physical exercise.

The mice who exercised had enhanced microbial diversity (one of the keys to a healthy gut and immune system) as well as a higher number of butyrate-producing bacteria. Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) known to be vital for colon health and energy production as well as helping to protect against colon cancer. The exercising mice also exhibited less inflammation and a faster recovery when exposed to toxins.

But can these results be translated to humans? Yes! When subjects were put on an exercise program consisting of 3 hours of cardiovascular activities per week for six weeks (walking, running, cycling or swimming), similar changes were seen in their gut flora. Once again, they made no changes in their diet so the effect was due to exercise alone. Note that the exercise was not excessive – an average of half an hour a day. However if they stopped exercising, the positive effects on their microbes started to wear off after six weeks. We need to keep moving for life.

Another simple measure that has been shown to produce a positive shift in our good bacteria is overnight fasting for 12+ hours between dinner and breakfast (it is said that 16 hrs is ideal, however for those of you that are training hard for events this is not practical nor recommended). A species of bacteria called Akkermansia muciniphila lives off the mucous that lines the inside of our gut wall and it needs the gut to be empty in order to feed. The significance of Akkermansia is that lean people have much more of this bacteria than obese people. Experiments have demonstrated that placing Akkermansia into the gut of overweight mice stops them becoming obese and prevents them from developing diabetes. Scientists are therefore madly trying to breed Akkermansia so they can put them into probiotics. But until this happens, leaving as long a gap as you can between dinner and breakfast is your best bet. Some studies suggest that 13-16 hours is ideal but do what fits in with your lifestyle and training.

And yes, that means you don’t have to eat breakfast first thing in the morning. I know this goes against everything you’ve ever been taught about healthy eating but it’s OK to skip breakfast! (times change as does the information we receive over years thanks to new research). Have your first meal of the day when you get hungry – be that 6am or 2pm or any time in-between. Your gut will tell you when it’s time for you to eat. It’s called hunger.


Why do we need a Healthy Gut?

Digestion – If you have a healthy digestive tract, you can expect to have good digestion. Maintaining a balanced gut bacteria is key for regular bowel movements.

Common digestive issues are Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that affects millions of people. Worse still is and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The two main types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These are both severe and can mean a lifetime of treatment and dietary limitations.

For people with digestive issues, doctors have found unbalanced gut bacteria plays a large role. Proof of that lies in fecal transplants. A fecal transplant is a procedure where stool (a poo) is taken from a healthy poo donor and placed into an ill patient’s colon. It sounds gross… but the point of the procedure is to repopulate the ill patient’s gut with healthy bacteria. According to a study published in the journal of Gastroenterology Hepatology, fecal transplants have a 93 percent success rate in curing and/or healing digestive issues. Within 12 months you will hear a lot more about these ‘poofusions’.

Immunity – Your gut is very closely linked to your immune system. In fact, approximately 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. So if your gut bacteria is properly balanced then your immune system will most likely function properly and help ward off illnesses.

Mood & Mental Health – The gut is often referred to as “the second brain.” In multiple case studies with mice, researchers were able to completely alter the mice’s behavior by changing their gut bacteria. The mice that had balanced gut bacteria were less anxious, more adventurous, and seemed to be in a better mood. Researchers wanted to find out if the same reaction would happen in humans.

In the study healthy women were given a fermented milk beverage. Some women were given milk that had a probiotic supplement in it. Other women were given milk without probiotics. Next, researchers scanned their brains while showing them photos of people with emotional facial expressions. They found the two groups of women had different reactions. The women who were given the probiotics showed a reduced brain response, meaning they weren’t as emotional when viewing emotional expressions. This = a better mood!

Weight – Do you eat healthy and workout, yet still struggle to lose weight? Have you ever wondered why your skinny friend who seems to be able to eat anything and everything can still fit into her skinny jeans? This reason may lie in your gut bacteria.


Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

Frequent colds
Autoimmune diseases
Chronic fatigue
Food allergies
Acid reflux
Weight fluctuation
Thyroid disease
Joint pain
White-coated tongue


Gut Bacteria, Your Genes (and your Jeans!) and Obesity

A number of studies show that a diverse gut microbiome is key to staying lean. A 2013 study found that thin people have 70 percent more gut bacteria than people who are overweight.

Getting even more in depth, researchers found that the species of bacteria are different in people who are obese compared to those who are slim. A recent study found obese individuals to have about 20 percent more of a bacteria strain called firmicutes. Firmicutes help the body pull calories from complex sugars and turn those calories into fat. When firmicutes microbes were transplanted into normal-weight mice, researchers noticed those mice started gaining twice as much fat.

There’s a growing amount of research that suggests your gut bacteria actually influences food cravings, metabolism, and how many calories your body absorbs from the food you eat. Each person’s microbiome is unique, which means each of us responds differently to carbohydrates and fats and sugar. Our genes also play a huge role in our gut health, and there are now tests (homekits) available to find out how your genes can affect your ability to tolerate and metabolise starch carbohydrates, which can then provide a guide on nutrition and exercise required for your body type. Go to mycarbchoice.com.au to find out more. This new research is fascinating and you will be hearing much more about it and the importance of gut health in the future.

The point here is – if you want to drop a dress size, you should focus on improving your gut health!

For anyone wanting to restore their gut and lose weight, ditching sugar and alcohol is a must to start with for 1-2 weeks to reset your gut, as these stop good bacteria from growing in your gut and feed bad bacteria. By cutting these out you’ll feed better almost immediately in regards to your weight and energy levels. Extremely overweight people may need to start with a detox or intermittent fasting to help remove the toxins that have built up in their microbiome before they will see results. Overweight people are essentially ‘unwell’ people, so they need to get well before they can start to lose weight. But its worth the effort and time isn’t it??

Gut Killers

Sugar/Preocessed Fods
GMO’s, Pesticides and Chemicals
Artificial sweenteners

Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

Frequent colds
Autoimmune diseases
Chronic fatigue
Food allergies
Acid reflux
Weight fluctuation
Thyroid disease
Joint pain
White-coated tongue

Foods To Help Your Gut

Grass Fed Meat
Fatty Fish such as salmon and/or fish oil supplements
Bone Broth
Steamed Vegetable
Non-Dairy Fermented Foods such as unsweetened cocnut milk yoghurt, coconut mil kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi
Daily Probiotic supplements such as Inner Health


And most importantly – MOVE!



Performance Nutrition in Racing & Training & Taking Into Account the Vert

Performance Nutrition in Racing & Training

The 3 primary substances you can ingest before, during and after running to maintain your activity levels are calories, fluids and electrolytes. More specifically it is most important to have Carbohydrate (CHO), Water (H20) and sodium (Na). (I’ve used the chemical symbols here as I’m a lazy typer so they’ll be used from now on!) These make or break your athletic performance. And of course Protein (PRO) is required for recovery. The hard thing is working out how much of each you need, and how you are going to get them.

Most sessions in your week are 1-4 hours long (assuming you are training for marathon+). To make sure you can have a high quality and effective session you need to start out well fuelled and well hydrated. It’s important to master your hydration and nutrition strategies in training, otherwise you won’t be able to nail them come race day. Practice is the key and working out what works best for you.

If you train on low fuel then you may be limiting your ability to train to your potential, and therefore limiting your fitness gains. Think about it – when you race, you constantly pump in gels, CHO and fluids to maintain your pace and intensity levels. You should be doing the same in training as you are asking your body to work harder in preparation for a race. Your quality sessions should feel much harder than the pace you will expect to be running at on race day, so you need to fuel accordingly. The exception can be a long slow easy run, where you can rely more on your fat stores to keep you going and get your body used to utilising fat for energy. However if the demands of that long run include a fair bit of climbing, even if you are hiking, you will still need something more than water if you want a quality session.

Determining your Caloric Burn Rate & Accounting for the Vert

Most of the races we train for here at Energy Fitness contain a considerable amount of vertical climbing. Therefore we need to consider our calorie consumption and expenditure as it is much more demanding to climb than it is to run on the flat. To work out how many calories you consume when running (helpful if you do not have a HR monitor) use the below formulas.

• A standard rule which works well for most is one calorie per kilogram, per kilometre on the flat
• BUT when climbing use a 1:10 ratio between vertical gain and horizontal distance.

1 metre of vert gain equates to the same energy cost as 10 metres of horizontal running. (or 1000m of vert = 10km flat)

EG 70kg runner runs 20km with 1000m vert.

70cals/km (70 x 20) = 1400 cals. Then add the climbing.
10km (70 x 10 = 700) gives you a total of 2100 calories expended.

So say the runner takes 3 hours to run 20km with 1000m vert and expends 2100 cals. They can only ingest roughly 200-300 cals max an hour, so they will be around 400 cals in deficit if they are burning 700cals an hour. This is fine as long as you stay on top of what your body can handle which is 200-300 cals per hour as well as fluids and sodium. Without enough fluid or sodium your body with struggle to absorb the calories into the bloodstream. Don’t ever try to replace what you burn – you’ll end up squatting in a hole somewhere or throwing up over your shoes. Too much will hinder your performance, especially in longer events.

NOTE that this is a pretty good guide but will differ slightly from person to person depending on current fitness levels, body weight and genetics. However it’s a great starting point and you can confidently follow it if you have nothing else to go off.

Another way and probably easier to manage if your HR monitor show calories burned is to consume 30-40% of your hourly energy expenditure. This then takes into account gender, fitness and body weight.

Example: If you burn 750cals per hour you will need 225-300 cals (30-40% of your hourly expenditure).


What does 100cals look like?
• One gel
• 3 Perpetuem chews
• Half an energy bar
• Half a banana
• 1 scoop Tailwind or equivalent (check labels of each product you use.)
• 3 GU Chews or Shotbloks
• 1 slice of bread (use only white as its low fibre)
• 2 pieces of watermelon



Hydration status is more important than fuel availability – fuelling can be easily fixed by popping in some CHO (provided that you are not suffering from gastric distress ie bloating and nausea – as this is then easier said than done!). Dehydration takes a lot longer to recover from as you have had a drop in blood volume. When you stuff up your fuelling you can pop a gel, eat some sugar, let it digest and you bump up your glycogen stores, and then can carry on.

However with dehydration, the mechanisms that regulate blood volume take hours to rectify if you get it wrong, causing nausea and bloating, which generally leads to gastric distress (you need fluids to ingest food properly to get them into your bloodstream – without that is sits in the gut causing issues, and stopping you from eating,  so your dehydration then also becomes a fuelling problem). Worse still, if you stuff up your hydration and sodium intake bad enough you can end up in hospital. It can also be potentially fatal (hyponatremia).


A good table showing the effects of increasing dehydration on your physical performance
Body Water Loss % Effects
0.5% Loss  – Increased strain on the heart
1% Loss  – Reduced aerobic endurance
3% Loss – Reduced muscular endurance
4% Loss – Reduced muscle strength, reduced fine motor skills, heat cramps
5% Loss – Heat exhaustion, cramping, fatigue, reduced mental capacity
6% Loss – Physical exhaustion, heatstroke, coma, potential death


Sodium (Na)

Combining CHO and Na together when training or racing allows them to move into the bloodstream more quickly, so it’s wise to have a combination of both (eg Tailwind, Heed etc which contains both, or gels AND Endurolytes together). If using commercial sports drinks like Gatorade they normally contain an optimal mix of CHO & Na. When mixing your own make sure you have the concentration right – too weak and it will be useless. Too strong and you will risk overdoing it and feeling sick. A good guide is 2 scoops per 500ml water.
NOTE – don’t use sugar free products when fuelling as they are useless! They contain no CHO which = no energy.


Pre Workout Nutrition

In terms of CHO you want to start your sessions and races with full glycogen stores. You can only store around 1600-2000 cals of glycogen in your muscles and liver. While you are burning CHO you also burn a bit of PRO and fat as well, but the substance you want to rely on to get you through the session or event is CHO.
Starting a race (up to 30mins prior) with 100-150cals on board will make sure you have a good 45mins in you to get going. Then you can start sipping or sucking away on your other food.
The night before have something healthy and boring with not too much fibre and not too heavy. I find a plate of roast chicken and veggies nice and simple. Pasta can leave you bloated and feeling too full. As long as you have eaten enough the few days before you will be fine and no need for massive carb loading or it will literally bite you in the bum on race day. Remember that you have also been tapering so you are using less energy. I like to indulge in a hot chocolate the day before, and have a few things I may not normally have, like a bit of choccy with a cup of tea before bed and the bikkies in the motel room…..but also make sure you are drinking enough. I also prefer to try and get my CHO the day before from more liquids than solids, as they seem to not feel as heavy. A Gatorade, pumpkin soup and a bread roll, Milkshake, Up & Go’s etc. That’s pre race – pre training I just eat a normal healthy meal. Again, it’s all about practice and what works for you.


Post Workout Nutrition

You can make sure that you have full glycogen stores before your next workout by making sure you replenish them by consuming CHO 30-60 mins post training or race. This is the window when your body is most primed to uptake glycogen. You also need to consume some sodium to replace what you have lost through sweat, but sodium also plays an important role in transporting CHO out of the gut and into the bloodstream.
And don’t forget you also need to replace fluids! A good way to start is to have a CHO rich recovery drink that also contains sodium, such as Gatorade. Flavoured drinks are also easier to get down after a hard session than water. Then in the 4 hour period post workout have another meal containing CHO & PRO.

In the 4 hour period post workout a 70kg runner should aim 1.5g CHO per kilo of body weight (105g). This is a lot, especially when you add protein and fat to these calories, so aim to consume the first 50-60g of CHO in the first 30-60mins, and then slowly take in the rest over the next 3 hours as you can stomach it. This will ensure that you lay down glycogen stores to fuel your next run. A few ideas for meals containing CHO & PRO are eggs & Avo on toast, Protein/Banana Smoothie, chicken and salad wrap, fruit etc.

Don’t forget PRO for muscle recovery – the guide is about 1.2g/kg body weight. Using our 70kg runner again as an example, that equates to 84g PRO. You also need about 1g/kg bw of fat (70g). Good fats include avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil, olives, oily fish.

Good choices to refuel CHO and Na in the first 30-60 mins:
• Gatorade, Staminade, Heed, Gu Brew etc – probably the easiest
• UP & Go
• Banana with peanut butter
• Chocolate milk
• Fruit and yoghurt
• Fruit Bread/vegemite toast or sandwich
Endurolyte capsules
• Scrambled eggs on toast or muffins with salt

Good Choices to replace protein in 4 hours post run:
• Eggs (2)
• Chicken, turkey, pork, red meat
• Cottage cheese
• Skim milk
• Protein powder (use in smoothies)
• Fish
• Low fat plain Greek yoghurt

Weight Loss and Performance

There is no doubt that carrying extra unnecessary kilos will hinder your performance – however trying to lose weight during a heavy training period can have more detrimental effects than racing with an extra kilo or 2.

Runners that try to restrict calories in order to lose weight risk training low on fuel therefore they are not optimising the effectiveness of their training and not getting to the ultimate goal – getting fitter for race day. They also risk losing lean muscle mass as well as body fat which when you are asking your body to perform at its best, not to mention all of the climbing we do, is counterproductive to what we are trying to achieve – strong, fit runners. Training consistently on low fuel and losing too much weight also affects your immunity, your hormones and energy levels – all with dire consequences in respect to your training program. Being ill or constantly tired is no way to achieve your running goals!

I would much rather see a fit runner that is carrying an extra kilo or two race than a runner that has lost weight to the detriment of their fitness – on race day the fitter runner will always beat the runner that has lost too much weight.

Training at the right intensity because you have fuelled well will mean that your weight should take care of itself – you’ll burn more calories and fat in a high intensity, hard session than you will if you just plod through and survive it. And don’t forget the EPOC effect (excess post oxygen consumption). The higher your heart rate, the more oxygen you consume and harder the session, the more fat and calories you will burn for the rest of the day. Burning cals while you rest? Yep!


Happy Running!

Simone Hayes is a Level 3 Personal Trainer and  Level 2 Recreational Running Coach. An experienced ultra runner with countless 40km-100km trail events under her belt, she guides runners of all abilities through online coaching and weekly Run Clubs and strength sessions, as well as running her outdoor PT business for the past 13 years.
For more information contact Simone: simone@energyfitnessgymea.com.au

Effects of Bludging Pre and Post Christmas (ie the Effects of Detraining)

Planning on taking it easy in the lead up to Christmas because it is the party season after all? Think again!

Cutting back or missing sessions will be detrimental to your strength and fitness – ‘Use it or Lose It‘ rings very true here!

If you back off before Christmas and then continue to do less over the Christmas break, you will potentially be detraining for up to 10 weeks! (it’s only 6 weeks until Christmas now and then most of you take a break or go on holidays after Christmas!)

The Facts

Detraining (short-term <4 weeks)

  • Strength can be maintained without training up to 3-4 weeks, but is gradually lost thereafter (strictly speaking, you can temporarily lose strength before this, but it comes back so quickly during retraining that it doesn’t matter)
  • Muscles start to atrophy (reduce in size) after 2-3 weeks, though gains usually come back quickly, at least in beginners. Trained athletes or those with a long training history may take longer to get back to where they left off.
  • Endurance performance decreases by 4 to 25% after 3-4 weeks. That’s huge and hurts to get back. That hill that used to feel OK now feels like a mountain!
  • VO2 max (your maximum oxygen consumption and an indicator of fitness) declines by 6 to 20% at around 4 weeks of detraining.
  • Beginners can maintain endurance performance for at least 2 weeks without training, though recent VO2max gains can be reversed after 4 weeks. So if you are just starting out and feeling great then stop training over Christmas, you’ll be starting again from scratch. Remember that feeling when you first started? Do you really want to go back there?
  • Muscle, strength, endurance, and fat gains/losses vary from person to person. Some will suffer more than others.
  • Flexibility is reduced after 4 weeks of detraining by 7-30%
  • Bed rest/immobilisation/sedentary behaviour (sunbaking?) speeds up muscle atrophy – sleeping in shrinks muscles!
  • Lastly, your metabolism slows (due to loss of lean muscle and less activity) which will lead to weight gain.


Maintaining Gains and Fitness over a Break

  • To maintain strength during 4+ weeks of detraining, train at least once per week (for beginners) and twice a week for more trained athletes.
  • To maintain hypertrophy during 4+ weeks of detraining, train at least once per week (for beginners).
  • To maintain endurance during 4+ weeks of detraining, you can lower training volume by 60 to 90%, training frequency by no more than 20-30% in athletes,  but beginners can reduce it by 50 to 70%. Training intensity should be the same. Therefore, if you do less, it still needs to be a hard workout to be effective. The odd walk won’t cut it.
  • If injured, use alternative training forms such as strength training (which can maintain some endurance performance) or underwater running, cycling or swimming.


So – if you are pondering taking it easy over the Christmas break, remember that being active should be a year long/life long habit, not something to stop and start. Something is better than nothing so even if its 30mins, just get out there and move each day over the break.

Feb Fit & Lean…..Fast! 4 Week Post Xmas Detox & Exercise Plan


Feeling the effects of a fun Festive Season? Has overindulgence left you with a few extra kg’s?? Suffering from Grog Gut?

Yes? Read on!

Are you ready to get back into your training routine, but you are feeling sluggish and want to feel better sooner rather than later? Then wait no more!

I have developed a 4 week Program to kick-start  your 2016, and help you find your way back to feeling fabulous like you did before Santa started loading up his sleigh, and Grandma started boiling the Christmas Puddings! You know, back in the days when it was more work and less play? Hard to believe that it wasn’t that long ago! How quickly our diets and waistlines can go down the toilet!

Welcome to……………Feb Fit & Lean…Fast!

Call it a Mini-Winter Meltdown Challenge if you like, as it is group focused, although can be done alone. It is nutrition and exercise based, focusing on cleaning up your diet after Christmas, cleansing your liver, reducing your alcohol intake and gradually increasing your weekly exercise routine so that you can get back into your usual habits (or start creating one!)

The 4 week program starts on Monday 1st Feb and is only $60 per person. You will be added to a private facebook page once payment has been received. Here you will receive the program and nutritional plan that will take you through the 4 weeks. You can plan your sessions with fellow participants (optional), be able to interact with me and ask questions along the way, as well as chat to other participants. (Similar to WMC).

You will do your own weigh in at the start, and then weekly to be accountable for your actions through the week, but more importantly, so I can see if you need any extra help. There is no winner at the end  – you will all be winners!

This is a great supplement to BeachFit or your training in general, and should be used in conjunction with your normal classes to get the most out of it.

Sign ups are open NOW – you can join by emailing me at simone@energyfitnessgymea.com.au

For Payments:


BSB 012341

AC 451899887

Simone Hayes

Please put your name and FFLF in the reference.

What are you waiting for? Get Fit & Lean – Fast, in Feb! 

Summer BeachFit 2016 – The Fastest Way To Get Fit and Get Over the Christmas Blowout!

Christmas Festivities getting to your waistline already? Book in Now to Blow Off the Post Christmas Belly Bulge and Start 2016 Fit and Fresh!

Bookings for Summer 2016 Now Open! But Hurry – numbers are limited!


BeachFit is a 10 Week Intensive Program that is run by Energy Fitness 3 times a year at Greenhills Beach Cronulla, in the Sutherland Shire.

With the help of the Beach and the Sand Dunes, this high intensity program produces great results year after year (it started in 2006).

The benefits of running on sand are many:

  • Increased effort burns more calories
  • Great for improving leg strength, muscle stabilisation and core
  • Low impact on soft sand is great for joints
  • Increases in fitness are gained quickly
  • Weigh-ins before and after program show consistent body fat loss across participants
  • All participants notice a marked improvement in fitness, body composition, muscle tone and endurance
  • Variety of training in both sandhills and on the beach as well as water work when weather permits.

BeachFit is held in a low key, supportive atmosphere, and there is no ‘bootcamp’ yelling and abuse – just hard work and lots of fun. Every 90min session is different. Finish the session with a swim to cool off (if you’re not already wet) and you will start the day feeling amazing. Completing each session gives you a great feeling of accomplishment and you are guaranteed to enjoy yourself and get the results you want!

Programs are run October-Dec, and Feb-April. All sessions start from the carpark at Greenhills, Cronulla.

The Next BeachFit Program starts Monday 1st February 2016 and runs until 6th April, 2016.

For More Information and to make a booking or enquiry please visit the Energy Fitness Website here.

Bookings are now open, limited numbers available per day.

RESULTS ARE GUARANTEED (the program has been running for almost 10 years with consistent results) AND SUPPORTED WITH NUTRITIONAL ADVICE OVER THE 10 WEEKS.


“I have participated in a number of Simone’s BeachFit training programmes over the past 18 months. Simone offers a fantastic 10 week programme based around high intensity training on sand which is low impact on joints making recovery from each session much easier with little or no soreness in between sessions.

Like many things in life you get out of it what you put into it. If you follow Simone’s training programme and her dietary recommendations & suggestions you are guaranteed to achieve your desired results whether that be weight loss, building muscle mass or general increased level of fitness.

You can achieve even better results if you supplement Simone’s two weekly sessions with one or two other exercise sessions per week. Simone makes the sessions as much fun as possible and no two training sessions are ever the same which is the thing I liked most.

I would not hesitate to recommend Energy Fitness BeachFit to anyone !!”

 Brad Smith, Gymea Bay


“Beach fit offers me everything that I need for an awesome workout!  I find the combination of waves, sun, sand and movement a perfect workout for me.  Beach fit has helped me to look and feel stronger. I have also noticed a tremendous increase in my energy level.

In conjunction with running Beach fit has enhanced my level of fitness.  It provides an all over body workout in the best environment imaginable. The mix of working out on the beach one week to sand hills the next provides a varied workout that never gets boring.

A few years ago I took up the challenge of ultra-marathons and beach fit provides me with the extra leg strength required to help me be stronger and fitter to reach the end of those long runs. I can honestly say I can run for 3 hours and not feel as exhausted or exhilarated as doing a session of beach fit.

I enjoy the workouts and look forward to every class”

Susan Jay, Gymea Bay

Energy Food Update – October 2014

Energy Food by Energy Fitness is fresh, healthy, gluten free, calorie controlled meals – delivered fresh to your door each week!

If you are time poor and often make excuses that you don’t have enough energy to prepare healthy, nutritious meals, then this is your answer.

Energy Fitness is now offering fresh, healthy, calorie controlled meals delivered fresh to your door each week!

Nothing is frozen – all ingredients are totally fresh and contain lots of nutritious ingredients with no preservatives. These meals are prepared the way that I encourage you all to eat!

All meals are calorie controlled with a menu change every three weeks, and a complete new menu every season.

  • Each day offers something different and yummy!
  • Food is prepared fresh on your delivery day with no preservatives – options suitable to freeze for later in the week
  • All meals are gluten and sugar free and allergies can be catered for
  • All meats are hormone free
  • No ongoing commitment required – order one week and not the next, meals are available to suit your busy lifestyle
  • Delivery is free in the Sutherland Shire and St George areas.
  • Order Day is Thursday for the following Tuesday Delivery.

What’s New?

Introductory Offer

If you are new to Energy Food you may purchase a sample menu to try – 3 Individual Dinner meals for $33.

If you are a current client you may also purchase the 3 meals for $33 with any order over $75.


Random Act Of Kindness – Month Of October

This month Energy food would like to offer a food package to someone who is doing it tough at the moment and could do with a little help and a pick-me-up. We are looking for nominations for people who may be struggling financially, have health problems, or someone who is really in need of a good healthy meal and has little access to it.

We are taking nominations via email up until Friday 24th October. The winning nomination will have a meal package to the value of $75 delivered to them on Tuesday 28th October. Please send emails to simone.hayes@optusnet.com.au


The Energy Food ‘Secret Box’!

For those of you that still like to cook but find it hard to think of recipes and healthy meal ideas each night, here is a fun way to take the pain out of thinking up weekly meals!

Our ‘secret’ box comes complete with all of the market fresh ingredients you need, with a choice of meat or no-meat (provide your own) option, as well as the recipe! Get a healthy surprise each night!

You can buy 3 or 5 boxes at a time and each box will feed two adults and two children for under $24!


Loyalty Program

Here at Energy Food we are pleased that our clients order again and again – hopefully that proves we are doing something right! So now we want to thank our loyal customers for their continued orders by offering them a loyalty program.

Kicking off Tuesday 14 October, the program will be implemented and will work like this:

For every 8 Energy Food packages ordered (for example 5 dinners or 5 lunches or an order of family meals, you will receive a rotation of Energy Food offers each time. Examples are:
• 10% off your next order
• A small juicing box
• A dozen gluten free & dairy free muffins
• A small hamper of coconut water, herbal teas and treats
• 10% off your partners meals
• 10% off any family meals
We will leave a gift certificate in your box when you complete your next 8 Energy Food Orders packages.



Standard Fruit Box $29 – Market Fresh Seasonal Fruit Box – feeds a family of 4

Protein Balls – only 75 calories each! (6) $12

Mini Protein Muffins (6) $9

Large Protein Muffins (6) $15

NB Muffins and Protein Balls are suitable for freezing.

Curry in a Hurry Menu – You can choose how hot you like your curry when you order – just ask for Mild, Medium or Hot Hot!!


Watch this Space!

Organic Soup Program for Detoxing and Organic Juicing Box – Coming Soon!


For More Information, Menus, Order Forms and Payment options Click Here

The Benefits of Strength Training and How to Improve Your Metabolism


When most of us think of getting fit, the first thing we think of is that we will be losing weight and burning body fat. But in fact, unless you are obese, these may be the last things you need to think about. Sure, losing that last 5 kilos is always a bonus and generally the hardest weight to shift, and as every woman (and man) knows we always feel a little better when we are less rounded or ‘bloated’. But do we think about what else we gain when we embark on a new training regime or lift those weights to fatigue in class? We should!

Muscular strength and endurance, along with cardiovascular and aerobic improvement, body composition (percentage of body fat to muscle) and metabolic changes should be high on your list of goals to achieve through training. Strength training is essential to achieve the above.

This article is about the importance of being involved in Resistance/Strength Training, especially for women, and not essentially about weight loss.

Many women are literally afraid to lift weights, but the National Strength and Conditioning Association provides these stand points on Training for Women, and if followed, will help you stay healthy, strong and slim for your lifetime. Of course most of these points relate to men too, so you blokes out there – read on!

  1. Proper strength and conditioning exercise programs  may increase athletic performance, improve physiological function (day to day activities) and reduce the risk of injury as we age and are beneficial to both males and females.
  2. Females can hypertrophy (increase muscle size) through resistance training, relatively the same as men, but not absolutely the same. Females have the same muscle fibre types as men, but they are smaller in their cross-sectional area, hence their smaller size gains.
  3. Females will not ‘bulk up’ like a male due to their limited levels of testosterone. It is simply not possible to look like a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger by participation in a weight  training program. Unless of course you specifically want that result,  which is a whole other topic.
  4. Resistance Training that utilises multi-joint (eg legs, back and chest) and structural exercises (eg a squat and then shoulder press) is recommended to induce sufficient stresses on the skeletal system and to enhance calcium storage in the bone to ward off osteoarthritis and increase or maintain bone density.
  5. Bone mineral density begins to decrease between  30-40 years of age. Females lose approx. 8% and males 3% of their skeletal  mass every decade and are more susceptible to bone density loss the 3-4 years prior to menopause. As we are never really sure when menopause will hit, it pays to start early and keep going! People who participate in activities that are more non-weight bearing, such as swimming, tend not to have as great a bone density as those who do more weight-bearing exercise. Programs that target the major muscles and joints  of the body have a potentially greater impact on maintaining and restoring bone density, than single discipline exercise activities such as walking.
  6. People who have participated in exercise activities over their lifespan, particularly in the first 30 years of life, are in the best position for making the greatest gains in bone density, than those who discover exercise later in life. However, whilst gains can be  made, there is every chance that bone density will return back to pre-exercise levels if the program ceases. More reason to keep moving!
  7. Resistance Training has demonstrated favourable  changes in body composition with minimal changes in body weight. In other words, body fat loss and an increase in lean muscle mass. The more lean  muscle you have, the better your metabolism.
  8. The more lean muscle mass you build through resistance training, the higher the ‘resting energy expenditure’ (REE). Most of the calories you burn during the day is not when you exercise, but when you rest. Your      heart, lungs, digestive system and most importantly, your brain, work 24/7 and require a constant energy supply. As a result, about 70% of your metabolic demands come from REE. If you are moderately active, you burn an additional 20% of calories during ‘activity energy expenditure’ (AEE). The last 10% comes from simple digestion and breakdown of food and metabolism  otherwise known as ‘diet induced thermogenesis’ (DIT).
  9. Obviously if you want to lose weight and keep it  off and start burning more calories while you rest, you have to exercise. Exercise burns extra calories and helps shift unhealthy stubborn fat, and helps you to preserve and build lean muscles that will keep your metabolism high. Muscle tissue is the powerhouse of resting metabolic rate.
  10. Eating and Energy – if you have enough energy through all food groups, and complex carbohydrates, you can exercise at a higher intensity for longer. Which in turn will burn up more  calories just through exercise (past that 20%) and you will boost your metabolism, improve your digestion, and have positive changes on your hormones. So whilst dieting can make you lose weight in the short term,  the best way to maintain weight is through sensible eating and exercising, and you will ward off the inevitable loss of lean muscle tissue that is related to aging. If you cease to exercise you will see drastic drop in your endurance, strength, power and ultimately additional muscle mass. All of this reflects on your REE – the calories you burn at rest and results in a slower metabolism.

But wait…there’s more………

  • Strength training is essential for injury prevention and increased performance. Through strength work you can tend to the weaker supportive muscles that can get neglected such as the gluteus medius, rotator cuff, hip stabilisers, abdominal and lower back region.
  • Strength doesn’t necessarily have to equate to muscle mass and huge bulging biceps – it can simply refer to your increased ability to recruit extra muscle fibres in times of need, such as when you are running up a steep hill.
  • Strength also ensures your joints, ligaments, soft tissue and bones are strong and sturdy enough to withstand repetitive pounding, in running and most sports.
  • Power and Speed also comes from Strength Training. Plyometrics and explosive exercises such as box jumps, squat jumps, lunge jumps etc result in a greater muscle fibre recruitment, which in turn gives you more muscle fibres available for the explosive exercise you are performing. Eg a sprint finish up a hill!



In a nut shell, don’t always rely on cardio exercises such as running to improve your body and performance. If want to change your body, you will have to change your lifestyle and approach to training. Move more and get your heart rate up, and eat better quality food, but make sure you include resistance training in your fitness regime at least twice a week. You should then reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass, lose centimetres, increase your metabolism, prevent injury and improve your performance results.