Posts on Mar 2015

The 12 Minute Holiday Workout

… aka Twelve Minute Madness! The Easter period is almost like a mini Christmas: you want to have a big brekkie on Easter Sunday and/or Easter Monday? You want to indulge in scrambled, poached and fried eggs with bacon and hash browns, Shorizo, mushrooms, smoked salmon, avocado instead of having your protein shake? You want to go on an Easter egg hunt and come back with empty pockets, because you have eaten all the chocolate already on the way? If can answer at least one of these questions with YES, then you will have(!) to go through our AUSFIT approved holiday workout! But don’t worry, it only lasts twelve minutes…



What you need:

1x stopwatch/countdown timer

1x small grassed areabunny_stretch


What to do:

5-10 x Push Ups

5-10 x Squat Jumps

30-50 x Mountain Climbers (each leg counts)



Begin by starting the countdown timer set at 1 min, then conduct the Push Ups, Squat Jumps and Mountain Climbers. This should take around 40sec to complete, gauge your reps accordingly. The remaining time left in the minute is your rest time. Conduct the same process for the remaining 11 minutes to complete the workout, maintaining maximum effort and strict form during all three exercises. Deep Push ups, powerful Squat Jumps and high Mountain Climbers!




Know you have earned 1 (in words: one) Easter egg! Now adjust your workout according to chocolate consumption…


Easter Recipes for a Family Lunch


Happy Easter, everybody! Four months into the new year 2015 we are celebrating the beginning of autumn with these easy and healthy Easter recipes. If you’re starting the day with an Easter brekkie, eggs in all variations are a must! If your having an Easter lunch on the other hand, you can get creative with seasonal veggies, hams and fish. We have hand-picked three delicious Easter lunch (or dinner) recipes that will smoothly fit into your diet plan and won’t make you pay for over-indulging the week after. Add a few simple side dishes, such as roast carrots, asparagus, peas and new potatoes and voilá – you’ve got a beautiful family meal. Off you go, the easter egg hunt is on!


Hashbrowns, Spinach and Tomato Pie is the perfect addition to your Easter Brunch Menu!

PREP TIME           TOTAL TIME          SERVES



  • 3 lb. carrots
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 0.13 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 medium trans-fat free margarine or butter
  • 2 clove shallots
  • 3 tsp. garlic
  • 2 c. fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 3 piece carrot juice
  • 1 c. fresh ginger
  • 0.25 plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • chives



STEP1 Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. On a large jelly-roll pan, toss the carrots with oil, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Spread the carrots in a single layer and roast 30 to 35 minutes, or until the carrots are caramelised, stirring once halfway through.

STEP 2 Meanwhile, in a 5-quart sauce pot, melt the margarine on medium. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook for 3 minutes or until the shallots are golden, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, broth, juice, ginger, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and heat to simmering on medium-high. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

STEP 3 With a blender, puree the mixture until smooth. The soup can be made and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead. Reheat on medium. To serve, top the soup with yogurt and chives.



… delicious with roasted carrots and shallots!

PREP TIME           TOTAL TIME          SERVES
  • 1 beef tenderloin (3 pounds; preferably center-cut), silver skin trimmed 
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic 
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt 
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon safflower oil 
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened, divided



STEP 1  Place beef in a resealable plastic bag. Whisk together Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and oil, and pour over beef. Tightly seal bag, and let beef marinate at room temperature 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

STEP 2  Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches from heat source. Transfer beef and marinade to a heavy oven-safe skillet just large enough to hold the beef. Spread 2 tablespoons butter over top of beef; broil 8 minutes.

STEP 3  Remove from oven, turn beef with tongs, and spread remaining 2 tablespoons butter on top. Broil 5 minutes more.

STEP 4  Remove from oven, and cover skillet tightly with foil. Important: Let beef in skillet rest 45 minutes, otherwise it will be underdone. Thinly slice, and transfer to a serving platter. Serve with pan juices.




PREP TIME           TOTAL TIME          SERVES



  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 2 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, chopped and washed well (3 1/4 cups)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stems trimmed, leaves chopped (6 cups) 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic 
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce 
  • 2 1/4 pounds salmon fillet, preferably wild, skin removed 
  • 1/4 cup packed dill sprigs, plus 6 more sprigs for tops 
  • Extra-virgin olive oil



STEP 1  Preheat oven to 230 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over high. Add leeks; cook, stirring, until just golden, about 4 minutes. Add chard; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Let cool.

STEP 2  In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, mustards, garlic, and soy sauce.

STEP 3  Butterfly salmon by cutting horizontally through middle along one long side, leaving other side intact. Open flat, like a book. Flip salmon, skinned-side up; season with salt and pepper. Spread top with 1/4 cup yogurt mixture. Top with dill sprigs, then chard mixture.

STEP 4  With a long side facing you, roll up salmon into a tight log. Secure with 6 pieces of kitchen twine, starting about 1 1/4 inches from end and spacing evenly. Cut salmon into 6 equal pieces, slicing between twine. Tuck a dill sprig under twine on each roll.

STEP 5  Place rolls in a baking dish and drizzle with oil, rubbing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until salmon is opaque on outside but still pink inside, about 15 minutes. Serve, with remaining yogurt mixture alongside.

Recipes found on and

Understanding your body – Energy Systems


Have you ever wondered where your energy comes from and how it works?

There are three metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human action. These “metabolic engines” are known as the phosphagen, the glycolytic, and the oxidative pathway.

Total fitness requires competency and training in each of these three systems. Balancing the effects of these three pathways largely determines the how and why of the metabolic conditioning or “cardio” you usually do. Concentrating on only one or two systems to the exclusion of the others and not recognising the impact of excessive training in the oxidative pathway are arguably the two most common faults in fitness training. Time domain matching of task or sport to training is the first step to effective, legitimate strength and conditioning.





Ok, so yes, we all understand that energy is something we need, similarly to the way a car needs fuel. The only difference is a car will use the same energy system to go from 0 to 100km/h in 10sec, and sit on 100km/h for 5 hours, because it has the fuel ready to be supplied. Our body differs in the way that our fuel, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), can only be stored in muscle cells in small amounts.

To replenish this low quantity fuel source we have the so called Phosphagen System – an anaerobic energy
system, which uses the stored ATP for bursts of energy, usually lasting less than 10 seconds. This system replenishes the ATP by converting Adenosine diphosphate (ADP) into ATP, using phosphocreatine. In short: the ADP needs one more Phosphate molecule to work, so it adds one.

An effective workout for this system is short, very fast sprints on the treadmill or bike lasting 5–15 seconds with 3–5 minutes of rest between each set. The long rest periods allow for complete replenishment of creatine phosphate in the muscles so it can be reused for the next interval. A workout could look like this:

  • 2 sets of 8 x 5 seconds at close to top speed with 3:00 passive rest and 5:00 rest between sets
  • 5 x 10 seconds at close to top speed with 3:00–4:00 passive rest



The glycolytic energy system (another anaerobic system) draws on carbohydrates to create ATP for energy. This is a two-phase energy system where glucose (sugar) is broken down to form ATP and pyruvic acid molecules (lactic acid). It is the system used for relatively short periods of high-intensity work, lasting only a few minutes. After a few minutes of intense workout the accumulation of lactic acid will reach a point where pain and fatigue will begin to hinder performance. This is referred to as the lactate threshold.

This system can be trained using fast intervals lasting 30 seconds to 2 minutes with an active-recovery period twice as long as the work period (1:2 work-to-rest ratio). A workout could look like this:

  • 8–10 x 30 seconds fast with 1:00 active recovery
  • 4 x 1:30 fast with 3:00 active recovery



The oxidative system is the most complex energy system and the only aerobic energy system we have. The aerobic oxidative energy system utilizes carbohydrates, fats and proteins to generate ATP for energy. This is a three-stage system comprised of many steps, which are very complex in its chemistry. In order to keep it simple, let’s just say that the end result of the oxidative system is the production of ATP and water molecules. The complexity of this system, along with the fact that it relies on the circulatory system to supply oxygen, causes it to take longer to replenish than the anaerobic systems. It is the system used for long-term, low-to-moderate-intensity work lasting more than just a few minutes. It can be relied upon for long periods of work, making it the primary system used for endurance activities.

While the phosphagen system and glycolysis are best trained with intervals, because those metabolic systems are emphasized only during high-intensity activities, the aerobic system can be trained with both continuous exercise and intervals. A workout could look like this:

  • 60 minutes at 70%–75% maximum heart rate
  • 15- to 20-minute tempo workout at lactate threshold intensity (about 80%–85% maximum heart rate)
  • 5 x 3:00 at 95%–100% maximum heart rate with 3:00 active recovery

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly…


For years doctors, nutritionists and the media have taught the world that eating low-fat food is the way to live long and healthy. Unfortunately, it is never that easy. Fat is not always bad for the human body. In fact, it can be pretty healthy! Hard to believe?

To understand what you actually should be eating, we first have to clarify some basics. There are actually two types of fat: the horrible, dangerous, yet so delicious one and the healthy, good one. Bad fats can be categorised into so called saturated fats and trans fats. They increase cholesterol and your risk for certain diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnoea – no need to mention obesity. Good fats, on the other hand, support your body instead of straining it, protecting the heart and controlling cholesterol, blood pressure and overall health.  Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are know as the good fats.



Oh-oh: Saturated fats are naturally found in animal products, however, they can be added to other foods, making them healthy. Trans fats are found in baked goods such as pies, cakes, biscuits, pastries, buns, donuts… in everything that is delicious and sticky, really. This kind of fat tends to be solid at room temperature – think of butter or traditional stick margarine.
Both saturated and trans fats increase levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein (often referred to as the “bad cholesterol”, as it can transport its contents of fat cells into artery walls) in the bloodstream.

Generally it is advisable to reduce your intake of saturated and trans fat. When shopping groceries opt for reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese, and leaner meat cuts. However, often “fat-free” or “low-fat” products are actually full of sugar, refined cargo-hydrates and calories, which are equally unhealthy. The keyword is choice – meaning, trying to substitute bad fats with good fats.





Yay: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are found in foods such as avocados, almonds, cashews, peanuts and cooking oils made from e.g. seeds, such as sunflower, canola, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils. As opposed to fixed-form bad fats, good fats tend to be in a liquid state.
Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats assist in lowering LDL levels in the blood stream, helping to keep cholesterol levels on track. Where possible, replace foods and drinks high in saturated fat with either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated alternatives. For example:

  • replace butter with olive oil or margarine
  • replace potato chips or chocolate with plain nuts as a healthier snack alternative
  • replace fried fast food with a sandwich or wrap made with lean meat and salad
  • instead of frying, try to bake or grill
  • replace red meat with poultry, fish and shellfish



Fish and shellfish have a high level of unsaturated, rich Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are one type of polyunsaturated fats and so ridiculously healthy, that it is recommended to eat foods containing them at least twice a week. Research has shown that they have a significant impact on the physical and mental state of the human body, as they are highly concentrated in the brain. They:

  • prevent and reduce the symptoms of depression
  • protect against memory loss and dementia
  • support memory, conflict-solving abilities and emotional health
  • battle fatigue and help with bipolar disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer
  • ease arthritis, joint pain, and inflammatory skin conditions
  • support a healthy pregnancy



The beauty of the push up is that you can do it anywhere, anytime, and it is as good for girls as it is for guys. Push ups do not only target the arms and chest (which is not necessarily top priority for the ladies), but tighten the core and strengthen glutes, triceps and the shoulders, too. An additional plus: the body burns an enormous quantity of calories, as it works all of these muscle groups.

The nice thing about the good old push up? It is fairly straight forward: up and down, your working with your own body weight, now equipment needed. The bad thing about the push up? It is not necessarily exciting and, surprise(!), there is a lot you can do wrong. A lot. Precisely because it is such a simple exercise, your form is crucial. To achieve comparable results every time you perform them, push ups need to be done perfectly. Here’s a How-To and a How-Not-To:

STEP 1   Get into a plank position with hands planted directly under the shoulders – slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Ground the toes into the floor to stabilise the bottom half of the body. Engage the abs and back so the body is neutral.

STEP 2   Begin to lower the body — flat back, eyes focused about three feet in front of you to keep a neutral neck— until the chest nearly touches the floor. (Note: Some experts say a push-up isn’t a push-up unless the chest actually grazes the ground). Don’t let the butt dip or stick out at any point during the move; the body should remain flat from head to toe all the way through the movement. Draw the shoulder blades back and down, while keeping the elbows tucked close to the body, so the upper arms form a 45-degree angle at the bottom of the push-up position.

STEP 3   Keeping the core engaged, exhale as you push back to the start position as explosively as possible without leaving the ground (pow!). That’s one! Repeat for 10-20 reps or as many as can be performed with good form.





The Mistake: Focusing too much on the upper body.
The Fix: Sure, push ups are known for strengthening the pecs, shoulders, and triceps, but they’re a total-body move. Pay attention to the glutes and legs, and keep ‘em tight! Tightening that tush can help keep the lower back from arching during the move. Instead of letting the bum flop down first (and compromising the lower back), hit the ground chest first, keeping the hips in the same plane as the shoulders. Imagine the belly button drawing in toward the spine to help keep the torso flat.

The Mistake: Flaring the arms.
The Fix: Letting those arms pop out to 90 degrees can be really tough on the shoulders. Instead of forming a “T” with the arms and body, keep the elbows tucked close to the body.

The Mistake: Forgetting to breathe.
The Fix: Just breathe. Concentrating on form and reps can make it easy to forget one of the most important parts of working out — breathing. Inhale on the way down, and exhale on the way back up.

The Mistake: Cheating Yourself.
The Fix: The key is quality over quantity. Make sure each push-up reaches a full range of motion by getting the chest as close to the floor as comfortable, then fully extending the elbows at the top. Having sloppy form will make for a less effective strengthening exercise that targets fewer muscles.

Good Banana Bread – Gluten Free


As we come into autumn the nights are getting longer, it is raining and the urge to stay on the couch and declare the day an official cheat-day is immense. Sure, there’s dark chocolate and nuts and all these things that are supposed to satisfy real sugar cravings… Reality is, it doesn’t work all the time.

What about the good, old banana bread? Slightly warm and toasted it is divine and the best thing about it? It doesn’t really count as cheat-food. Bananas is energy food, full of essential minerals and a great source of potassium, which helps maintaining healthy blood pressure and healthy heart function. Being sticky and more or less sweet means you can reduce the amounts of sugar and oil significantly (as opposed to café-bought banana breads, which are full of refined white flour, sugar and saturated, bad fats). We don’t even need to talk about almonds or whatever nuts you decide to use – nuts are full of protein and healthy, cholesterol-lowering fats that keep your body healthy. Get ready, start baking!


1 1/4 cups smashed ripe banana
3 free range organic eggs
2 tbs raw honey or organic maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil, coconut oil or cold pressed olive oil
half teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda + 1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups almond meal
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (linseed) or chia seed



STEP 1   Preheat your oven to 320F (160C).
STEP 2  Combine smashed banana, honey, oil, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, bicarb and lemon (the lemon activates the baking soda). You can do this by hand in a large bowl or with a good blender. Add the almond meal and flaxseed and mix well.
STEP 3   Lightly oil one loaf tin and then coat liberally with extra almond meal or desiccated coconut. This will prevent the cake from sticking.
STEP 4   Spoon batter into the tin and bake. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour (a skewer inserted into the centre should come out dry). Cover the top with foil if over-browning.
STEP 5   Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out the loaf. Makes one loaf and serves 12.
Keeps in the fridge covered for up to one week.



Plain and simple, as-is or lightly toasted
Ricotta and honey
Almond butter
Sliced banana, blueberries and raw honey

… on the couch. With Netflix.




Recipe by Teresa Cutter aka The Healthy Chef from her 80/20 cookbook