Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kerry's Story

This is the story so far of one of my clients. Just 8 weeks ago, Kerry was addicted to diet coke, sugar and was taking anti-depressant medication. She was feeling desperate and un-happy with her body and came to me for help. We made a plan, set out some goals and got to work. Out went the diet coke, the sugar and sedentary lifestyle. In came a smart training schedule, a highly nutritious eating plan and a shift in mindset. In such a short period of time, Kerry has not only transformed her physique, she has also succesfully weaned herself off the Prozac (under careful supervision of her doctor) and replaced it with a healthy flow of endorphins and good nutrition. She is a shining example of what can be achieved with the right plan and personal determination. Here is her story in her own words...

"I had let myself go.....

At just 54 years of age, I was overweight, out of shape, pre-diabetic and on anti-depressants. I had already undergone an operation for arthritis and knew that the pain in my knee and feet would only get worse if I did not make some changes to my lifestyle. To make matters worse, I am a recovering alcoholic and although I had stopped drinking alcohol over 10 years ago, I had replaced the habit with Diet Coke and was drinking...wait for it...upto 5 ltrs a day!! I had become a Diet Coke junkie and am convinced that the aspartane and excess caffeine was most certainly contributing to my severely weak bladder. I cringe as I say this but I was having to resort to wearing incontinent pads.

I have never considered myself to be particularly ignorant, but judging by my lifestyle choices it would appear that my intelligence was being hijacked by some crazy masochistic demon!

Something big had to happen. No, something BIG had to happen! So, I sat myself down and wrote down my goals.

I wanted....To be a Confident, Strong, Sexy, Muscular, Fit and Fabulous Female!

I wanted to see just how healthy I could become and I wanted to be happy and Prozac free!

I knew that to achieve these goals I would need help. Something this big requires infrastructure, plans and substance...I needed an expert! As the saying goes, God works in mysterious ways. He brought TAMARA DAVIES and GENEVA FITNESS into my life just when I needed it the most. Who would have thought that I would have found the latest in American fitness expertise right here in Geneve. I have not looked back since!

Tamara has taught me that health is like a 3 legged stool comprising of fitness, nutrition and mindset. If one of those 3 is broken or unsteady, the stool will tip over.

Nutrition for me now is all about eating clean. No more sugar or artifically sweetened products. No processed foods or trans fats or deep fried foods. No more empty calories. I have learnt to spread my intake over 5-6 meals a day and eat protein with every meal. I eat a carb rich diet with protein in the morning and after my workouts. I strive for the 90-10% rule. Eating clean for 90% of the time and allowing myself to splurge on the remaining 10%. This means I do not feel guilty when I "go off the diet" because I am no longer on a diet. I simply eat well balanced and nutrient dense meals every day.

Fitness no longer means hours of cardio - sigh of relief! The most effective way to burn fat is to include interval training with strength training and to work hard for shorter periods of time. Tamara and Ryan have taught me to train like a man! We can work hard and get great results in a short period of time, I know I have! I train twice a week with Tamara completing an hour of Total Body strength training and twice a week with Ryan taking part in his group Metabolic classes. I also take time out in between to rest and recover.

The proper mindset ensures that I stay with the programme. It is not always easy to have the motivation to train and eat right. However, I listen to Tamara's advice and I focus on my goals. I also read up about health and fitness and become inspired by other people's success stories.

In just 8 weeks, I have reduced my overall body fat by 3%, lost 7 lbs of body fat and gained 1 lb of lean muscle. I am proud of my accomplishments. I am beginning to love the body that reflects back at me in the mirror and once my own enemy, I am now proud to say that I have become my own best friend!"

Way to go Kerry!

In Health, Peace and Strength,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Made it!! Now what?

Well, here you are! You've made it! You have finally achieved your health and fitness goal, spent hours in the gym, followed the eating programme and lost the weight! Now what? Are you now going to let out a sigh of relief and head straight for the fridge?? Absolutely NOT!

Now is the time for maintenance and for making positive decisions and healthy choices about your lifestyle.

For maximum results in any programme, it is not sufficient to simply follow the rules of healthy eating and exercise because once you stop being disciplined, the results will quickly vanish. What is really important here is the shift of mindset and the ability to maintain the results that you have achieved. Understanding who you are and how you react to certain situations will help you along the way to going the distance. After all, what we want to achieve is the ability to lead a healthy life, to get on with our day at work, rest or play without constantly going on and off a weight loss programme. There are a few simple steps that you can follow once you have arrived at your goal which will help you from slipping back into your old habits.

Staying lean and fit for the rest of your life is not simply a matter of eating the right foods and doing the right exercise. You have to start thinking right too. Staying positive about yourself and understanding what your body needs is of utmost importance. In the past you may have been prone to emotional eating which lead to weight gain or you may have found that your busy and hectic lifestyle lead to your lack of exercise. Whatever your reasons, you are no longer that person. Your body is totally dependent on your mind and your emotional state, so do your best to stay positive and nourish your soul as well as your body.

Be aware of your reactions to your emotions. What do you do when you are angry? Frustrated? Tired? or sad? Chances are, you head straight for the fridge! Start to recognise your actions and change them. Stop using food as a medication or stimulant and stay away from situations that you know are going to trip you up. Find what works for you and stick with it.

Keep reminding yourself that you are following a healthy food and exercise plan for life so that you can continue to live that life, free of disease and disability. By the time you are on a maintenance programme you should be feeling the benefits of your results. You will feel great and will hopefully want to stay there. Let your health motivate you to continue on the right path.

Food is one of the great pleasures of our lives. We can not exist without it nor do we want to. However, we often consider food to be the enemy or a guilty pleasure and this turns the idea of food into a negative one. A fit and healthy body has no place for negative thoughts so we must turn our guilt away. Stick to real food and do not deprive your body and soul of what is good and essential. This is not a green light to go off and splurge every day of the week mind you, so be mindful of quantity and balance it out with a good exercise programme.

Once you have reached maintenance, you should have a good idea of which foods work well for you. Not all healthy food is to our liking or good for us and even though organic homemade bread is delicious and nutritious, it may be contributing to that bloated stomach and weight gain. Take stock of the trigger foods which lead you to over eat and eliminate them as much as possible.

Maintaining an exercise programme that works for you will help you maintain your fitness goals. Be active every day and by this I mean, walk, cycle,swim, dance, garden, clean the doesn't matter what you do, as long as you MOVE. Continue with the strength training and group exercise classes too as these will have been an essential part of your fat loss programme and should not be ignored.

So there you have it, eat clean, move daily and stay positive ....oh yes, and SMILE....

In Peace and Health,


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Curb Your Hunger

Hey Everyone,

One of the hardest things to deal with when starting a new nutritional programme or maintaing porgress on your current programme is fighting off your cravings and your appetite. This is especially the case when the holiday season comes around and the temptation to eat large meals are at every turn. Well there is something that could help you keep control of your appetite and stick to your nutritional regimen. What is this one simple step that you can do to help?

The answer could lie in protein powders! I just finished reading a great article that explains why adding protein shakes daily can help you control your hunger. The article also ties in well with what Tamara posted below, especially with the great protein shake recipes she has included! Check out the article from our friends over at Prograde, Protein Curbs Hunger?

Our local protein powder supplier over at Melsfit has a great selection of all natural protein powders with basic ingredients and no extra colorings or flavorings. Check them out and let them know that we sent you!

Make Your Good, Better and Your Better Your Best!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Snack Attack!

I hope you are all doing well on your new fitness and nutritional programmes. I have had a lot of enquiries lately about what to eat for snacks. Snacks are the bridges that get you from breakfast to lunch and from lunch to dinner without breaking the rules. It is a good idea to have a good supply of snacks in your office, car, or bag.

Ideally you will be eating between 5 and 6 times a day, with your first meal being breakfast, which you should try and eat within 30 minutes of getting up in the morning. A perfect day might look something like this:

Breakfast at 7am
Snack at 10 am
Lunch at 13.00 pm
Snack at 16.00 pm
Dinner at 19.00 pm
Snack (optional) at 9pm

Ofcourse, these times are just an example and you will have to adjust them to suit your daily schedule. However, try and stick to no more than 4 hour gaps between feeding opportunities. This way you will be giving your body consistent nutrition throughout the day and keeping your metabolism fired up. If you tend to do your workout in the evening, you will probably not be able to eat dinner until 8 or 9 pm and it will be important therefore to have a substantial snack pre-workout. This is an ideal time to drink a pre-workout protein shake, something that will provide you with some good energy and will be easily digested. Likewise, if you plan to do a lunch time workout, try and have a protein shake a couple of hours before you start. Men should aim for 250 -400 calories per snack and women should aim for approximately 150 - 300 calories. Ideally, your snack will contain a good combination of both fats and protein and not include any sugary or processed treats.

11 of our favourite snacks

  1. *Protein Shake*
  2. 1 handful of roasted pumpkin seeds
  3. Carrots with 1 cup of hummus
  4. 1 apple with 1 tbs of almond butter
  5. Low fat greek yoghurt with a few chopped almonds
  6. 2 hard boiled eggs
  7. a cupful of mixed berries and a small carton of fromage fraise
  8. Chopped celery, peppers and cucumbers with small portion of tzatziki
  9. Celery sticks with 2 tbs of organic peanut butter
  10. 1 handful of pistachios, cashews or walnuts
  11. 2 slices of roast beef or chicken with some broccoli florets


Super pre-workout energy shake
8-12 ounces of water
2 scoops of protein powder
1 banana
6 ice cubes
Whizz all the ingredients in a high powered blender

If you don't have access to a blender or if you just want to make your shake and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to drink it, you will have to exclude the ice cubes. Please check out the link we have posted on the blog for Melsfit. You can purchase your protein powders from this store and you will also get a special plastic container in which to mix your shakes!

*More Shake ideas*
Energy Blaster
1 cup of un-sweetened almond milk
1 scoop of protein powder
1/2 cup of blueberries
1 banana
Whizz in the blender and then store in the fridge until required. Shake before drinking.

Berrylicious Shake
1/2 cup of mixed berries
1 scoop of protein powder
1/2 cup of low fat greek yoghurt
1 tbs of ground flaxseed
1/2 cup of cold water
Whizz in a blender and store in the fridge. You can replace the water with ice if you want to consume immediately

Don't forget to fuel your body with high quality foods throughout the day and plan ahead so that you always have access to something nutritious.

In Health,

Geneva Fitness - "Changing Lives One Rep at a Time"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

You Snooze You Lose!

There was a recent study that just came out about how lack of sleep can affect how much fat you lose. Today we have another great guest post from my friend and compatriot Jav Dar! Great info on why getting some quality shut eye could have great benefits in terms of weight loss! Be sure to check out the video at the end of the post. Please leave your comments below!

Getting enough rest promotes weight loss

Lose weight while you sleep? It sounds too good to be true – but recent research indicates that there is a connection between how much you weigh and the amount of shut-eye you get per night. It’s all related to your hormones.

Two hormones, ghrelin and leptin, help to control your appetite. When you do not get enough rest, the levels of ghrelin (increase feeling of hunger) rise, while levels of leptin (promote feeling of fullness) sink. A recent study found a significant disruption in overnight ghrelin levels in chronic insomniacs. According to the study, this hormone imbalance leads insomniacs to experience an increase in appetite during the day, leading to weight gain over time. A signal is sent to the brain that more food is needed, when, in fact, enough has been eaten.

In addition to creating an imbalance in ghrelin and leptin, sleep deprivation causes levels of the stress hormone cortisol to rise, which increases cravings for high-carb, high-calorie “comfort foods”. Furthermore, the brain secretes growth hormone during the deep-sleep phase, helping the body convert fat to fuel. Without enough deep sleep, fat accumulates.

Sleep expert Michael Breus, clinical director of the sleep division at Southwest Spine & Sports in Arizona, USA, says there is no magic number of hours people should sleep. However, he does state that the average adult needs about five 90-minute sleep cycles per night, so 7.5-8 hours seems optimal as a minimum.

"The bottom line is that if people are trying to diet and lose weight for health reasons, it makes sense to get a sufficient amount of sleep," said senior author Dr. Plamen D. Penev, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, the Times reported.

"If they're not getting enough sleep as they diet, they may have higher levels of hunger and be struggling to adhere to the (diet) regimen," Penev explained.

Unfortunately for some, simply getting under the covers is not a sufficient strategy to achieve long-term weight loss. What these findings suggest is that there’s an extra dimension to achieving a healthy weight: diet, exercise and enough sleep.

It is also important to note that rest and recovery (R & R) is a vital aspect of strength and power training. Studies suggest that sleep deprivation affects the immune system and physical performance in detrimental ways. This isn’t good when you are doing lots of exercise as intense training is very stressful to the body and can also lower the immune system. If you are training hard it is especially important to get the correct amount of sleep or else you will be leaving yourself open to colds and the flu. So whether your goal is to lose weight, tone up or add lean muscle, adequate sleep is very important!

Stay en Forme,

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the Pink!

Do you ever think of the calender year in terms of colour? I know that it is probably a strange question to ask, but I have a colour coded month system in my mind and each month has it's own. This leaves my entire year looking something like a rainbow and I am always hoping that there will be a pot of gold at the end of it!

October's colour is pink and not because I say so, but because it has been nominated to represent Breast Cancer awareness. Throughout this month, you will see a wide array of pink products on sale supporting what is one of the scariest forms of cancer to touch a womans life.

My aunt died of breast cancer over 50 years ago at the age of 33. She left behind 3 children from the ages of 9 to 1 and her death left a deep wound within my mothers family. Unfortunately, my aunt discovered a lump while pregnant with her 3rd child and the doctors advised her to wait until after the birth to have treatment. Sadly, by the time her son was born, it was too late for any treatment to be effective and so a beautiful life was lost and most terribly missed.

I too encountered a very scary moment after the birth of my 3rd child. I found a lump in my breast when Nenah was just a few months old. The terrifying thoughts that went through my mind and the knowledge that history could be repeating itself was beyond any fear that I have ever felt before. I waisted no time in contacting the doctor and after an examination, was told that I needed to have a mammogram to further investigate. However, because this mammogram had to be taken at a certain time during my cycle, I actually had to wait 10 days before I could know anything else! It was the longest most terryfying 10 days of my life! It turned out to be a very large cyst, which was drained and instantly disappeared. For me, those 10 or so days felt like being locked in a prison cell awaiting my sentence. All sorts of crazy thoughts go through your mind when you are faced with a sudden and un-expected health issue. Was it my fault? Was I a bad girl and am now being punished? Is it my lifestyle? Breast cancer touches many lives and women should be constantly checking themselves for any abnormalities. Found early, the survival rate is very high.

So how can we reduce our own risk of cancer? It should be no surprise to know that there are a few simple lifestyle changes that can help.

Don't smoke - smoking is linked to at least 30% of all cancer related deaths.

Watch your weight - If you are overweight or obese, you will have higher levels of estrogen circulating your body. Aiming for a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 will keep you out of the danger zone.

Be physical - Sweating it out for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days a week has been proven to lower your risk of cancer related disease. Exercise also encourages fat loss and improves general well being.

Eat right - there is much evidence out there to suggest that in order to lead a disease free life, we need to feed our bodies with highly nutritious and un-processed foods. It makes total sense to me that a diet rich in nutrient dense foods has more cancer fighting benefits than a diet high in animal fats and sugars. Fill up on vegetables, fruits and grains and use meat and their by products sparingly.

Reduce alcohol consumption - I was shocked when my doctor told me that alcohol consumption had been linked to breast cancer risk. A small daily glass of wine may be beneficial in some ways, but anything more than that will see our estrogen levels go up, putting us once again in a dangerous area of risk.

We all want to live a disease free life and although we are not in control of everything that happens to us, we can make a difference by making certain lifestyle choices. Us females tend to do a very good job of looking after our loved ones but when it comes to looking after ourselves...well, there is always an excuse as to why we don't!

Looking after N° 1 is essential if we want to look after the other numbers in our lives!

In health and happiness!