Product Review: Strider's Edge Engineered Climate Map Tank

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Strider's Edge is a new women's fitness apparel that arrived on the London scene this year.  The founder and designer, Katy, is passionate about bringing a high-quality and functional product to active and fit women.  We met in a coffee shop and she talked about how her clothes are made with Italian performance fabrics and why she chooses the expensive zippers (YKK brand).  She gave me the Engineered Climate Map Tank in sunset berry to test out.

Katy explained to me that the Climate Map Tank is created as a tube so there are no seams.  The "climate control" refers to the small circular changes in the fabric which allow additional air exchange.  These are strategically located on the center of the back and along the outer hips.  There is a flattering gathered and stretchy design at the sides that help give the wearer curves even though she is probably wearing a sports bra and spandex shorts.  Hi-vis reflective strips are on the lower back and with a small logo on the front.  A zippered pocket is featured on the back which is large enough to hold a mobile phone, keys, and Oyster card.

First, let me say the color is fantastic!  I received many compliments in person and over Twitter.  The material is very soft and, as promised, does not chafe.  The cut hugs my apple shape in the right places.  Usually, I stay away from tanks that hug my body (as Lycra tends to be unforgiving) but this material is different.  I love how the tank's cut is longer, allowing the shirt to go over my hips.  I never have to worry about my lower back or underwear showing as I ride or move in class.  I wore this to teach a spinning class and then lead an abs class but never felt overheated.  The tank is supposed to be anti-bacterial which I tested it by wearing it for 4 workouts in one week without washing in between.  After each workout, I had a member of the PT Mollie team (my poor husband!) smell the shirt to see if it was increasingly funky.  The first time I was wearing it but the last time, I headed it to him before I put it in the laundry bin.  After the 4th class, he said it didn't smell any worse that the 1st one (and not that bad overall).  So it could have been me who smelled the first time as I was still wearing if at the time of first sniff.

This tank is great for running, yoga, and cycling.  I am looking forward to taking it hiking with me in Italy in August.  Katy's inspiration for the brand is from her love of hiking (hence the brand's name) and being outdoors.  This tank fits the bill and then some.

Strider's Edge did not pay me for this review. They graciously sent me this product and all opinions are honest and my own. If you have a product you would like me to review, please contact me

Product Review: HypnoGoGo Abundance

Hypnotherapy is something I have never tried.  It always sounds appealing though because on TV you see people quit smoking or stop overeating after undergoing hypnosis.  But who has the time and money to commit to it and not have guaranteed results?

London hypnotherapist, Claire Benson, has created a series of downloads, called Hypnogogo, to be used when running to help your conscious and unconscious mind identify and achieve your goals.  She asked me to give the Abundance recording a go.  It is over an hour long and designed for a 10 km (6.2 miles) run.

I started listening to the recording on my Tube commute and found it useful in connecting to my body and identifying tension.  The background music has a good beat and Claire's voice is clear and in good balance with the music.

After a few days, I took Hypnogogo out for a run.  Normally on a run, my mind is all over the place- deciding how to attack the rest of my day, planning what I am going to eat when I get home, and where I am teaching the next day.  Claire's voice and suggestions helped me think about my body- how I was carrying myself during my run and my breathing patterns. She focuses on your body and running for the first eight minutes and then encourages you to "run faster" as you should be sufficiently warmed up.  I really like how the music even increased in tempo as you are told you can go faster.

Claire then suggests you think about what areas of your like you would like to improve and create abundance.  Her voice is soothing and she helps you visualize your desires as you run.  Throughout the recording she takes you back to your body to ensure it is still relaxed and running with ease.

The entire track is 1 hour and 20 minutes long.  Even though it is designed for a run, you can listen to it any time as you drive, while walking, or on your commute (as I did).  You do need to be able to pay attention to her words because that is where the positive thinking comes from.  The last 15 minutes of the track feature the music bed without Claire's voice.  It gives you an opportunity to finish your run and cool down at your own pace.

I enjoyed Hypnogogo: Abundance.  I usually run to electronic music and found the music bed beats helpful with my pacing.  The script was encouraging and made me think about relaxing my body as I ran.  That alone is worth its weight in gold.

If you still aren't sure, check out Hypnogogo for a short sample of the tracks you can select from.

Claire Benson did not pay me for this review.  She graciously sent me this podcast and all opinions are honest and my own. If you have a product you would like me to review, please contact

Guest Post: Training for a tri? Do what you're worst at

Monday, July 30, 2012

In many ways, sport mirrors life.  It teaches you how to sacrifice short-term pain for long-term gain; how to motivate yourself and others; how to win and how to lose.  But if there’s one lesson you don’t take home with you, it’s this one.

Focus on your weaknesses.

When you’re dealing with three sports, your biggest weakness is your biggest opportunity.  But there’s one extra layer of complexity.  The bike is 50% of a triathlon race, and the swim only 20%.  So what matters most?

One of the simplest solutions is to compare your race splits to the fastest few people.  We use an average of the top ten athletes, to even out individual differences.  Here is an example of how a TFN Coaching athlete compares.

His background is in swimming, and you can see he came out of the water 30 seconds up.  He lost 3 minutes on the bike, and a further minute on the run.  Suddenly things are simple; 75% of potential time saving is on the bike.  In addition to that, most newer triathletes find it easiest to make big improvements on the bike.  Six months’ hard work may save 1-2 minutes on the swim or run, but can take off 4-5 minutes on the bike.

As a result of this analysis, he spent 60% of the year training cycling. By the last race of the year, he posted the second fastest bike split and finished 3rd overall.

Systematically find your weaknesses, and make them strengths.

Ian Waites (@ijthwaites ) works for TFN Coaching (@TFNCoaching).  TFN Coaching has a 20-year history in triathlon.  Their biggest strength is in swimming with a World Champion and double Olympic freestyle swimmer, two former GB swimmers and two National standard swimmers on the team.  They are very performance-focused and are always looking to find the most efficient use of your training hours; often helping people to train less, but achieve more. 

Quickie Workout #22

Sunday, July 29, 2012

You can use a kitchen timer to keep track of your intervals. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (

Warm up - 1 min marching in place, 1 min squats, 1 min  jumping jacks/star jumps
1 min- Mountain climbers

1 min- Forearm plank
1 min- Bicycle ab exercise - Lay on back and bring opposite elbow to opposite knee.  Extend other leg.  Keep shoulder blades off of the ground.

30 sec- Left side plank, either on palm of your hand or forearm
30 sec- Right side plank, either on palm of your hand or forearm
1 min-  Superman - Lay on tummy with arms extended.  Lift all limbs slightly off the ground.  Then bring back to the ground.

1 min-  Push/press ups

1 min-  On a smooth floor, get into a push/press up position with a towel, rag, old t-shirt, etc under your feet.  Walk on your hands from one end of the room to the other, dragging your feet.

Well done!

Weekend Challenge: London 2012 Olympics

Friday, July 27, 2012

It is finally here!  Tonight is the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.  Living in London, this sporting event is all I have heard about since I arrived in 2011.  The Tube has been under constant repair.  Roads have been closed.  Parks have been tidied.  And now the world will tune in to see athletes from around the world compete. 

A few months ago, I posted a weekend challenge to become a Sportmaker.  I challenge you to grab some friends or family and try an Olympic sport this weekend.  Whether it is racing each other around the local track, going for a swim in the pool, or trying out table tennis, get out there and get active this weekend!  Here is a list of all the disciplines taking part in London 2012.

Send me your photos to and I will post them here.  Show me what you got!

Interview with Team Canada's Kim Smith, Basketball

Kim Smith, Team Canada Women's Basketball forward, just finished up competing in the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turkey. Only weeks ago, she found out she was headed to London 2012. She currently is enjoying life in the Olympic Village and was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

Mollie (M): Did you know you have your own Wikipedia page?
Kim (K): Yes. My sister found that out and informed me right away.

M: Do you believe in luck?
K: Ya. I think in most sports sometimes you need a little luck for the ball or calls to roll your way.

M: If you are having a bad/tough day of training, are their any quotes/sayings/people that help you get your game face on again?
K: For the past two years that has been London 2012. There are days when I don’t want to go to the gym or find myself not super motivated upon arriving. I would visualize myself playing at the Olympics.

M: Best part of being a pro-athlete? Worst?
K: The best part of being a pro is being able to travel around the world. I have met so many incredible people and experienced different cultures all through sport. There worst part is that you are always living out of a suitcase. My clothes and possessions all over Canada with my family and friends. Sometimes you just crave a permanent space to unpack and spread out.

M: You said in a previous interview you have wanted to be a professional athlete since grade 9 (13 years old?). What happens after the Olympics? Are you thinking of any new goals?
K: I have been so focused on basketball and the Olympics for the past few years that I have not given too much thought to life after them. I am still considering playing pro overseas another year. I have also applied for graduate school in health and physical education, still waiting to hear if I was admitted. When it is all over I will sit down and figure all that out but for now I am just trying to soak up the whole Olympic experience.

M: If you could compete in another Olympic event, what would it be?
K: Track. I love their uniforms and they get to compete outdoors.

M: If/When you win a medal, where are you going to keep it?
K: I don’t think I would take it off!

M: Have you been to London before? Any touristy stuff you hope to do?
K: This is my first time to London. I would love to check out all the sights but I am not sure we will get the opportunity to. We were stuck in traffic on the bus ride from the airport so we are all telling ourselves it was just like a mini tour.

M: Are you hoping to practice your French in the Olympic Village?
K: Yes! I love getting the chance to test it out!

M: What has your training regime been building up to the Olympics? Will it change now that you are here and competing?
K: Building up to the tournament we practiced twice a day and would lift four times a week. We generally have a day off a week and a day or two with only one practice. Now that we are here we are tapering before the games begin. We only practice once a day and they are much lighter. We will also stop lifting after our first game.

M: Any athletes/celebrities you hope to meet while in London?
K: Usain Bolt!

M: What number is your jersey at the Games?
K: # 8

M: I read cooking is you favorite hobby. What is your signature dish?
K: Two years ago I typed up all of my Grandma’s recipes so I love going through the family cook book and testing out one of her 300+ dishes.

M: Do you really get a McDonald’s Gold Card to keep for life because you were an Olympian?
K: I have no idea. This is something I need to look into. There is a McDonald’s in the village cafeteria and the line up is huge everyday no matter what time.

M: Any advice you would like to give to young female athletes out there?
K: Make sure you have fun with whatever you are doing. Obviously there are going to be disappointments and adversity but if you love what you are doing you will be able to stick with it.

Questions from Twitter:
Q: How tall are you? (M: I know it is 6’1” so I want to ask will you wear heels at your wedding) -@SoupErrOver
K: No, I do love wearing heels but my feet can’t be in them all day long. I want to have fun and dance so I need to be comfortable.

Q: Who is your all-time favorite BU athlete? -Ben, Connecticut
K: Jack Parker
M: Good answer! GO BU!

Q: What are your pre-workout meals/snacks? How long before a workout should you eat? -Shikha, Canadian living in Michigan
K: Everyone on my team is different in terms of how long before a workout they prefer to eat. I like to eat my big meal 4.5-5 hours before I play. I usually eat a carb either rice or pasta with tofu or chicken. Around 2 hours before I play to like to eat greek yogurt with a banana.

Big thanks to Kim for taking time out of her Olympic training schedule to chat with us. Watch Team Canada play Russia in their first Olympic Game on July 28th at 11am London time.

The rest of the schedule. Note times are EDT (Eastern Daylight Time). Add 5 hours for London time.

Muscle-building prawn curry recipe

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Who knew that Men's Fitness offered recipes too? This recipe will help you loose weight and gain muscle, according to the magazine.  Curry is fabulous for achieving your 5-a-day and the seasoning provides fantastic flavor without adding extra fat.  You can substitute the prawns for another meat or veg depending on your tastes.

15 fresh prawns without skin
2 small onions, chopped  
2 carrots, chopped
1-2 medium green peppers, chopped  
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped  
1 tbsp olive oil  
1 clove garlic, sliced  
½  lemongrass stick  
1 small piece of ginger, grated  
2 green chillies, de-seeded and sliced  
1tbsp medium curry powder  
½ tsp ground turmeric  
6-7 leaves fresh coriander (cilantro) 
oyster sauce  
½ tsp cayenne pepper  
vegetable stock  
100ml coconut milk  
250g brown rice 

1.  Heat the olive oil in a pan.
2.  Add the onions and carrots and cook gently for five minutes. 
3.  Add the tomatoes, green peppers, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper and chillies and mix.
4.  Add the oyster sauce, vegetable stock, curry powder, turmeric and coconut milk.
5.  Simmer for 12-15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
6.  Cook the rice according to the instructions, drain and reserve the water. 
7.  Use the rice water to blanch the prawns (with added lemongrass) for three to four minutes.
8.  Add the prawns and coriander to the sauce and serve.

Guest Post: Fit + Fun = Fencing

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hamlet: Come, for your third hit, Laertes, you but dally;
I pray you, pass with your best violence;
I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
Laertes: Say you so? come on.
[They fence some more.]
Osric: Nothing either way.
Laertes: Have at you now!
[Laertes wounds Hamlet. In scuffling, their swords get mixed
around. Hamlet wounds Laertes.]
King: Part them! They are incens'd!
Hamlet: Nay come! again!

Shakespeare, Hamlet (Act 5, Scene 2)

Fencing provides a unique mix of physical, intellectual and emotional stimulation. Unlike many other sports it's very sociable and still carries notions of honour, chivalry and nobility. Many of history's most famous names have embraced the art. Caravaggio and Voltaire, Byron and Marx, Churchill and recently Madonna all visited the fencing salle or took private lessons.

Today our language and customs still resonate with echoes of past swordplay. We reply smartly with a witty riposte, shake hands to show that we are not reaching for a weapon, and a gentleman's coat buttons left over right so a duellist can unbutton it with his left hand.

Improved coordination, concentration, endurance and cardiovascular fitness - these are just a few of the health benefits provided by regular fencing. It is also a solid workout. You can burn up to 450 calories an hour, working the stomach and the lower body muscles in particular. Firm strong thighs and butt are probably the most typical features of a dedicated fencer!

There are about 10,000 fencers in Britain, almost half of whom are women. Fencing, indeed, is the ideal sport for a woman. It is an activity which is more tactical than physical. It requires flexibility and balance rather than brute force, resulting in elegance, courtesy and quality of the relations between the fencers. You don't need to be big or strong to fight - in fact, it can work against you - but you do need fast reflexes, good co-ordination, timing, intuition and a great sense of anticipation. Another attractive feature of fencing is its powerful romantic appeal...

You can start fencing at any age and soon reap the benefits: strengthening thighs, buttocks and stomach; reduced weight and increased agility.

London Fencing Club provides a variety of courses suitable for beginners. The courses cover the basics of fencing and are the ideal taster of the sport. They're suitable for people without previous fencing experience, or for those who fenced long time ago and would like to get back to it. The participants are introduced to fencing rules, traditions, techniques and tactics. While learning the blade work, fencers exercise in pairs or with the coach. Acquired skills are practiced further during the fencing bouts.

All elements are taught slowly and repeated often to ensure that students grasp the move - as well as understanding when it should be executed! By the end of the course the participants should have acquired general knowledge of the sport and feel competent to bout with the more experienced fencers.

Sign up for beginners courses on

Tim Gadaski is a fencing master at London Fencing Club. Tim has been fencing for more than 30 years .

Quickie Workout #21

Sunday, July 22, 2012

You can use a kitchen timer to keep track of your intervals. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (

Warm up- Run (at any pace suitable for your fitness level) until you start to break a little sweat, usually 3-4 minutes
1 min -  Downward dog into push up plank position, lower down to ground slowly as you count to 5. Repeat.
1 min - Forearm plank pushing one heel into air with little pulses for 30 seconds. Then switch legs for the last 30 seconds.
1 min - Lay on tummy with arms extended over head.  Lift arms and legs up off ground slightly and "swim" by moving arms and legs up and down.  Count to 8 as you swim.  Rest with limbs on ground for 2 counts.  Repeat.
1 min -
Flip on to your back. Place feet on ground so knees are bent.  Lean knees to left side and perform crunches, which will target the side obliques.
1 min -
Switch knees to right side and perform crunches.
1 min -
Still laying on your back with feet on the grounds, elevate hips in the air creating a straight line from shoulders to knees.  Extend right leg in the air, keeping thighs level with each other.  Perform slight pulses by squeezing your bum and pushing left heel into ground for 30 seconds.  Then hold for 30 seconds.
1 min - 
Repeat above with left leg in the air.
1 min - 
In push/press up position, bring right knee to outer right elbow.  Return right foot to starting place. Reach right arm up to sky, creating a temporary side plank.  Return to starting position.  Perform same 2 movements on the left side.  Repeat.

Let me know if there are any exercises you would like to see featured in the quickie workout.  Good luck with this week's routine!


Product Review: Jabra Rhythm Earbuds

Saturday, July 21, 2012

If you have ever seen me out for a run, you can spot me a mile off because I wear old skool over-the-head headphones on my runs.  Ear buds normally hurt my ears when I wear them and tend to fall out all the time.  I realize I look silly and the headphones tend to push my hairband off my head.  That is why I was super excited to give Jabra's Rhythm ear buds (for music players and mobile phones) a try.

These came in black and included 3 sets of rubber ear bud sizers.  Turns out I am a small, which may explain why I have never found ear buds comfortable in the past.  These fit in my ears well and stayed in while I was walking around.  During my run, the buds stayed in for the most part but occasionally would need adjustment.  Usually they just became a little loose and needed to be pushed back in.

The sound was great on my run as I used them with my I-pod!  I didn't hear any wind rushing by (not that I run that fast) as the product has a noise isolating feature.  I was listening to HynoGoGo moving meditation on my run and could easily hear the words being said.  I also listened to music on the bus and Tube too.  My husband said he couldn't hear any music when sitting next to me on the bus and the music was quite loud.  I think this is a fantastic feature as I hate hearing other people's music.

The chord is shorter on the left ear side (which is sometimes annoying) and has a clip to keep the single chord attached to your clothing. There is a button on the chord to adjust volume and track.  I found it to be really sensitive and I had trouble figuring out which  way to press it to adjust volume and not which song was playing.  I hope to try them with my android phone once I figure out how to put music on it (or get can the tech support to do so).

I really like these ear buds and will continue to use them on my runs and commute.  The music quality is outstanding and you don't have to worry about bothering the people sitting next to you.  If you have small ear canals, the buds are very comfortable.  So if you haven't had luck yet with ear buds, give these a try.

Jabra did not pay me for this review. Arena Media graciously sent me this product and all opinions are honest and my own. If you have a product you would like me to review, please contact me

Product Review: Aspire Drinks

The good folks at Aspire contacted me to give their product a try.  Their claim is that the drink is a "calorie burning soft drink" and I was immediately intrigued.  A study at Leeds Metropolitan University concluded "that Aspire burnt an average of 209 calories (Kcals) per can across the board, without increasing the individuals heart rate."  The test group was a variety of men and women of different ages and the counted calories were burned within 3 hours of consuming a can of Aspire.

The soda is a refreshing cranberry flavor.  It is great on its own or with a meal (see my Twitter photo of Aspire with an ice cream sundae. Is negates the calories, right?).  My friend, Carolyn, also tried it and really enjoy the flavor.  It didn't upset my stomach at all (meaning it isn't too acidic) and wasn't overly sweet.

I didn't have enough Aspire to run a study long term weight loss, but you can have a look at their website for testimonials. 

In summary, Aspire tastes great and according to the company should help you burn more calories.

UPDATE:  I am about to start a case study with Aspire. It starts on 30 July when I will keep a food diary until 15 August.  I will then add Aspire into my daily routine and look for weight loss.  Stay tuned!

Aspire did not pay me for this review. They graciously sent me these products and all opinions are honest and my own. If you have a product you would like me to review, please contact me

Weekend Challenge

Friday, July 20, 2012

We are keeping up with fitness-focused challenges this week by challenging you to spend 15-20 minutes running up stairs in a stadium.  If a stadium isn't handy, a few flights of stairs or even a large hill will do.  Start off warming up by walking up the stairs a few times.  For the descent, go at a calm pace as this will not put added pressure on your knee joints.

Next trying running up the stairs to develop your fast-twitch muscle action.

You can then do 2 stairs at a time to work the quads.

Try hopping up the stairs too for some heart pumping plyometrics.

Bring a friend and race each other to the top!

Remember that stair climbing requires some coordination and fitness.  Metal benches can easily become slippery or wobbly.  Please take care and listen to your body.  Consult a doctor if you are unsure if you are ready for this challenge.

Chile-Lime Glass Noodles

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This amazing recipe from Vegetarian Times serves 4 and only takes 30 minutes to prepare. Stirfry is a fantastic way to get your veggie servings in with the sauce adding a little flavor.  Just be mindful of the sauce you use and how much you add though. It can be a source of hidden calories.

4 oz. glass (cellophane) noodles
3 ½ Tbs. hoisin sauce
2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbs. lime juice
½ tsp. chile-garlic sauce, such as Huy Fong
1 ½Tbs. toasted sesame oil, divided
18-oz. pkg. plain tempeh, diced
1 12-oz. pkg. button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1lb. baby bok choy, thinly sliced on diagonal
2 cups bean sprouts
6 green onions, thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 ½Tbs. minced fresh ginger
½ cup chopped basil
¼ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

1. Soak noodles in large bowl of hot water 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

2. Whisk together hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and chile-garlic sauce.

3. Heat 11/2 tsp. sesame oil in skillet over high heat.

4.  Add tempeh, and stir-fry 4 minutes, or until golden on all sides.

5.  Add 1/4 cup water, and cook 2 minutes.

6.  Transfer tempeh to bowl.

7.  Add remaining 1 Tbs. sesame oil to skillet.

8.  Add mushrooms and bok choy; stir-fry 2 minutes.

9.  Stir in noodles and bean sprouts, and cook 2 minutes.

10.  Stir in hoisin mixture, green onions, ginger, and tempeh; stir-fry 1 minute.

11.  Serve topped with basil and peanuts.

Guest Post: How to Boost Your Self-Esteem During Difficult Times

Monday, July 16, 2012

Attempting to boost your self-esteem during normal times is hard enough, but what happens when you're dealing with a difficult period in your life?

Stressful issues like job loss, broken relationships, or sickness can lower our self-esteem. We tend to take the blame and feel that, if we were "better," these things wouldn't have happened in the first place. When thinking rationally, we may realize that this is untrue, but it's harder during times of struggle to feel good about ourselves!

Here are some simple strategies you can use to give your self-esteem a boost during trying times:

1.      Focus on the positive. Yes, negative things can happen in your life, but this must not be your only focus. As I'm sure you've heard before: "Things could be worse." Try to turn your attention onto what you have that is good.

·        Whether it's wonderful children, a terrific spouse, or a roof over your head, focus on what is positive and special in your life.

·        Not only will this make you feel better about your current situation, but you'll also realize that these good things would not have been possible without you.

·        It's time to understand that you are a positive influence in the lives of many. Realistically, everyone has to deal with difficult times as a part of growing and maturing. Try to remember that "this too shall pass" and keep your chin up.

2.      Take time for you. With all that's happening in your life right now, you're under a lot of stress. This obviously isn't helping your feelings of low self-esteem. More than likely, you're not taking any time out for the most important person in your life: you.

·        Allow some time to relax and regroup. It will do wonders for your mindset! Make the time to do something that you thoroughly enjoy doing. It can be alone or with family or a trusted friend - whatever relaxes you the most.

·        Read a book, take a bubble bath, make some cookies, or dance around the house to your favorite music. Anything that can relieve some of that stress you're feeling will make a big difference.

3.      Believe that things will get better. The power of the mind is amazing. If you're in a situation that you truly believe is hopeless, your chances of changing that situation worsen greatly. If you believe things can and will get better, your chances of improving the situation are greatest.

·        Knowing that things will improve will also help you feel more confident about yourself. You'll feel more positive heading into the right direction, and your self-esteem will increase.

Life sometimes presents us with difficult situations that we're not prepared to deal with. During these times, consciously redirect your feelings away from the negative and towards the positive. Your self-esteem will be strengthened, along with your belief of a better outcome.

When you can see a light at the end of the tunnel, things don't seem as dark. Use these tips to find your light and feel better.

Anita Fiander is a Women’s Leadership and Empowerment Expert, Speaker, Trainer, Coach and Author.  People know her as The Definitive Empowerment Resource for Women. Learn How to Lead with Feminine Greatness, Take Your Power Back and flourish personally and professionally, by being Consciously Authentic, and Real, Right Now! Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Quickie Workout #20

Sunday, July 15, 2012

You can use a kitchen timer to keep track of your intervals. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (

Warm Up - 1 min stationary squats, 1 min walking lunges, 1 min high knee jog

1 min-  Push/press ups (from easiest to hardest) either against the wall, counter, on your knees, or on your toes
1 min- Mountain climbers
1 min- Wall sit
1 min- Prisoner squats - stand with hands behind your head, feet hip width apart.  Squat and then jump up out of squat, keeping hands behind your head. Repeat.
1 min-  Jumping jacks/star jumps
1 min-  Reverse lunges (walk backwards while lunging)
1 min-  Push/press ups (from easiest to hardest) either against the wall, counter, on your knees, or on your toes
1 min- Forearm plank - remember to keep shoulders above elbows and tummy tight.  To increase difficulty, touch wall in front of you with alternating hands while keeping hips still.

Well done!  Can you do it again?

Weekend Challenge

Friday, July 13, 2012

With summer heating up, this weekend's challenge is one to help you take care of your body.  Today, Saturday and Sunday, please drink 1 liter of water each day.  This does not have to be all at once.  I find it easiest to carry around a water bottle because I know how much I am drinking and it is easily accessible. 

It is recommended you drink eight 64 ounce glasses of water a day.  Once you are in the habit, it should be easier.  Your bladder will also get used to the extra liquid and soon you won't be visiting the toilet quite as often.

This challenge is one of the easier ones.  Get to it!

Summer courgette risotto

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This light and summery recipe is tagged as “vegetarian, vegan, low-fat, and super healthy” on the BBC’s Good Food website.  The reviews all agreed is was easy to make and could be used as a side dish or a main course.  Some people added in chicken or chorizo to make it more hardy.  Go ahead and give it a try!

* For those in USA, courgette = zucchini *


1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion and 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
350g carnaroli or other risotto rice
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1½ liter hot vegetable stock
3 courgettes, finely diced
140g peas, fresh or frozen
large handful basil, lightly torn



  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Cook the onion and garlic for 5 mins until the onion has softened. 
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 mins until softened and pulpy.
  3. Then add the rice and rosemary.
  4. Pour in half the stock and leave to cook for 10 mins or until the liquid has evaporated, stirring from time to time.
  5. Add the rest of the stock, then continue to cook for a further 5 mins.
  6. Stir in the courgettes and peas, then cook for another 5 mins or so, stirring until the rice is tender, but the mixture is still a bit saucy.
  7. Can be frozen at this stage for up to 1 month.  (reviews said it didn’t freeze well)
  8. Season with plenty of black pepper, then add the basil and stir until wilted. Serve immediately.

Nutrition info per serving:

406 kcalories
14g protein
82g carbohydrate
5g fat (saturated fat 1g)
7g fibre
9g sugar
0.51 g salt

Team Rod's Racing

If you have a look at the "Charities" tab, you will see a link for Rod's Racing.  Idaho-based Brady Murray raises money to help orphans with Down Syndrome.  The money goes toward offsetting the adoption fee for these children. 

I am on his team and you can see my fancy new profile here.

Guest Post: Homepathy

Monday, July 9, 2012

Note that the recommendations expressed in this post are not necessarily those of

Did you know that there is a fast, effective and safe way to relieve the pain of sports and exercise-related injuries? Fans include Tour de France cyclists, David Beckham, Martina Navratilova and Dr Jean Marcel Ferret, who worked with the French national soccer team (1993-2004) . Here’s why he is such a fan:
"I am open to all techniques. As a sports doctor I quickly discovered that, except for anti-inflamatories and muscle relaxants, I was very limited in the care of athletes. I began to use homeopathy, first occasionally, and then more and more. At first the athletes were surprised and even wary. So I explained how and why homeopathy acts. The greatest value in sports? Its speed of action. I can use it directly on the soccer field, within seconds of the trauma, and note the results almost immediately."

Homeopathy is a Greek word that means ‘similar suffering’. It is a system of medicine based on a natural law that “Like cures Like”. This means if a substance can make a healthy person ill it can also be used to make a person who is ill, in a similar way, get better. The remedies are given in tiny doses and do not show up in competitive drug tests.

Using Homeopathy for a First aid situation is usually very easy, because nearly all of us react in a very similar way to injuries. If you or I are silly enough to walk into a wall we will both get a bruise. For this reason it is often possible to say for injury “A” homeopathic medicine “B” will be of help and greatly reduce your discomfort and healing time. It’s very easy to spot a “SNAP”…

The greatest first aid remedy in Homeopathy is Arnica. It helps to reduce bruising, and also alleviates the shock associated with a physical trauma. The only danger with Arnica is that its reputation as a "miracle cure" means people try to use it for everything!

For best results you need to remember that a remedy is only truly homeopathic if it can produce a similar pattern of suffering in a healthy person. This handy guide will help you.

head, Arnica 30c
muscles, Arnica 30c
soft tissue, Arnica 30c
coccyx, Hypericum 30c
spine, Hypericum 30c
nerve-rich areas (e.g fingers / toes), Hypericum 30c
bone surface, Ruta 30c
palms of hands, Ledum 30c
soles of feet, Ledum 30c
tendons / ligaments, usually Ruta 30c or if not try Rhus tox 30c
shins or bones near surface, Ruta 30c
for breasts /deep tissue, Bellis perennis 30c
for broken bones, Symphytum 30c and Calc phos in any X potency (take one dose of each for 7 days after injury is in a cast)

fear, Aconite 30c
long-lasting after-effects, Arnica 30c
shock, Arnica 30c
splinters, Silica 30c

How much should you take? Always err on taking the minimum amount to trigger your body's own healing response. If you take one pill feel better and stay better there is nothing more to do. If the benefit wears off take another dose. If there is no benefit reassess and choose one that matches your injury better.

Twenty years ago, I designed a kit which is now an international best-seller it has 18 Homeopathic Remedies (in 30c potency) including most of the ones mentioned here:
Aconite, Apis, Arnica, Arsenicum, Belladonna, Bryonia, Cantharis, Chamomilla, Gelsemium,
Hypericum, Ignatia, Ledum, Merc Viv, Nux Vomica, Pulsatilla, Rhus Tox, Ruta, Silica. It is small enough to fit in a large pocket and includes A Guide to Homeopathy for First Aid.

You'll be amazed how well these remedies work.  Wishing you all fun and fitness! 

Mary Aspinwall, PCH, is a Homeopath and Founder of

Quickie Workout #19

Sunday, July 8, 2012

This workout is more advanced (with influences from plyometrics) and higher impact that some of the other quickies.  If you are new to exercise, I suggest trying a different workout to start.
You can use a kitchen timer to keep track of your intervals. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (

Warm up- 1 min jumping jacks/star jumps, 1 min speed skater jumps, 1 min of high knee jumps

1 min- Standing on left foot with slight bend in the knee, thrust right knee up and then bring right foot down to lightly tap the ground with toes.  Repeat with speed for entire minute.  Swing arms too.

1 min- Standing on right foot with slight bend in the knee, thrust left knee up and then bring left foot down to lightly tap the ground with toes.  Repeat with speed for entire minute.  Swing arms too.

1 min- Prisoner squats with 180 degree turn. Perform squat with hands behind your head (this engages your core more) and as you come up jump and turn 180 degrees so you face the opposite direction.  Be careful to spot or go at a slower pace to avoid getting dizzy.

1 min- Plyometric lunges- Stand with right leg in front and left leg back. Bring left knee almost to ground for a lunge and as you come up jump and switch leg positions.  Repeat to keep lunging and switching legs.

1 min- Lateral hops- place a small object on the ground (shoe, cone, book- something that won't move). Hop with both feet over the object from left to right and back right to left.

1 min- Burpees

Awesome work! Do it again if you think you can handle it.

Weekend Challenge: Namaste

Friday, July 6, 2012

Last night, I attended a Boutique Sport event at the lulu lemon athletica Chelsea showroom.  (If you ever need to purchase a gift for me, I would really appreciate a £ gift voucher).  One of my Facebook followers, who is a runner, did the free yoga class.  We were discussing the benefits of cross-training, particularly how yoga is very beneficial for runners.

This weekend, I would like you to attend a yoga class.  Many studios will offer a free introductory class.  Be sure to check that your class is for beginners if you haven't tried it before.  If you attend yoga regularly, try a different style or the next level up.  Yoga helps stretch your muscles, strengthen your body, and calm your mind.

If you would like to invite my readers to your studio for a complimentary class this weekend, please email me ( with your studio's name, location, and wesbite.  I will add your details below.  We have a global following, so no matter where you are in the world, please do get in touch!

Yoga deal for you:
London, UK
lulu lemon athletica showroom, 6 Burnsall Street, London SW3 3ST
Complimentary yoga Sunday morning 11am-12pm

Shoreditch Pilates, First Floor, 232 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6PJ 
Free class when you say you visited

Yoga Mama,  2nd Floor, 266 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, London SW15 6TQ
Saturday 7th July 9:15am Ashtanga yoga class

Rochester, NY
Inner Bloom Yoga and Healing, 34 Elton St, 3rd Floor, Rochester, NY 14607
$5 off for new students

Crispy grilled trout with parsley and lemon, courtesy of Jamie Oliver

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It is summertime and for some that means camping, fishing, and grilling.  I discovered this recipe for grilled trout with parsley and lemon on Jamie Oliver's website.  I liked it because it had minimal ingredients and seems pretty healthy (not too much butter or oil).  The recipe calls for cooking under a broiler (or "grill" as they say in the UK) but I wonder how this would taste on the grill in the backyard.  Feel free to experiment with different seasonings too.

Please remember to look for sustainably fished seafood when you go shopping.  More info can be found on the Marine Stewardship Council's website.

2 x 300g/10½oz whole trout, scaled, cleaned and gutted
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
2 lemons, 1 zested and sliced, 1 halved
Few knobs of butter 

Simple crunchy side salad

1.  Preheat your grill  (broiler) to full whack. 

2.  Slash each trout with a knife, about ten times on each side. Each slash should be about 0.5cm/¼ inch deep. 

3.  Rub the trout with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

4.  Stuff the cavities with plenty of chopped parsley and the lemon slices. 

5.  Place the fish side by side on a baking rack over a roasting tray.

6.  Put the lemon zest on top of the fish and place the lemon halves on the tray too. 

7.  Dot the trout with the butter and place it 15cm/6 inches from the grill. 

8.  Cook for around 6 minutes on each side until crispy and golden.

9.  Squeeze the roasted lemon over the top of the fish and serve with a simple crunchy side salad.

Product Review: ARK Skincare's Age Prepare

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sally and Shula
At the Vitality Show in March, I met the lovely Shula Starkey, founder of ARK Skincare, and her equally beautiful sister, Sally.  I am always looking for skin care products that won't irritate my skin due to my formaldehyde allergy. I spent a while chatting with these ladies about their skincare line and shops, which started in a Fulham in 1998 and today the products are available in salons nationwide.

There are 3 lines that ARK offers: Age Prepare (for ladies in their teens to early 30s), Age Maintain (mid-30s-50), and Age Repair (50s +).

The samples I tested were Age Prepare cleanser, exfoliator, masque, and moisturizer.

The skin cleanser has a fresh scent to it.  It is clear and lathers easily.  It feels clean going on and refreshing when you rinse it off.  I used it every morning and evening for a week.  My skin never broke out and felt soft. After each wash, I applied the moisturizer, which has a similar light scent as the cleanser, to my face and neck.  The moisturizer has a few crystals in it, which I thought was odd, but they dissolved as I rubbed in the lotion.  Once again, I was pleasantly surprised how my skin felt after the application.  There was no redness but a calm soothing feel.  When I woke up in the morning, my skin did not feel any more oily than usual.

After an overnight flight from the USA back to London, I treated myself to the masque as I watched Twilight.  The masque went on in a smooth thin coat.  As it dried, it did not flake off or make my skin feel tight.  The color was a light tan, so my husband wasn't too scared when he saw me sitting on the couch watching TV.  After leaving it on for 10 minutes, I rinsed in off and my skin felt amazing!  From now on, I will always do a masque after an all night flight.

Finally, the last product in the range I tried was the exfoliator.  I didn't use it every day but a few times within a week.  The little crystals were like a fine sand or sugar.  They were not overly abrasive though, and did not irritate my skin.  Usually I stay away from exfoliators as I worry about my skin's reaction.  But this one was fine with my sensitive skin.  After rinsing off, my skin felt smooth and refreshed.

Overall, I love this line of skin care products.  The scent is subtle and fresh, as well as consistent across the range so you don't have to worry about contrasting scents.  My skin felt smooth and calm with each product.  The packaging is simple and classic.  The mastermind behind the product is very passionate about her clients finding a range that suits their needs.  Stop by the salon in Putney, London SW15 2PG to to try them out for yourself.

ARK Skincare did not pay me for this review. They graciously sent me these products and all opinions are honest and my own. If you have a product you would like me to review, please contact me

Guest Post: How is your family staying fit?

Monday, July 2, 2012

There are many different dynamics within a family, but the one thing that should always be shared is health and wellness. Creating a healthy family inside and out will allow for kids to grow up with confidence, knowledge and a better understanding of how to stay fit. Exercising with your family is not only fun, but also a great way for everyone to release some extra energy and laugh together.

With that said, the main question is, how can you stay fit with your family? Many answers come to mind such as - healthy eating, exercising, stepping away from technology, learning something new, etc. All of these examples are very good ways to keep your family fit, but it is still extremely important to make these examples habitual. By starting small every day your family can create habits that last a lifetime. Walking after dinner, choosing fruit instead of a pastry, riding bikes, playing sports and reading instead of watching TV…. All great examples to keep your family groovin’ for generations!

Furthermore, there are many ways to help your family understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. First, and most important is to lead by example, showing your child that eating well and exercising is fun can start a chain reaction. Second, explore new ideas, foods and activities with your children to engage all facets of the mind and body – Make life interesting! Last, keep your family fit by working together for a common goal, maybe you would like to walk/run a 5k, go on a bike tour, or even plant a garden. There are so many fun activities that can be explored together!

A great activity that is fun for the whole family is Flip2BFit board games. Flip2BFit, a fitness driven company, incorporates the core values of exercise fun while encouraging everyone to get UP and MOVING through fitness activities. By incorporating yoga, stretching, strength, and cardio in a challenging game, Flip2BFit is able to make fitness a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy. Along with Manor School & Sports College in the UK and FunMeFit, a social outlet for family fitness activities in the UK, Flip2BFit has been able to make more people aware of the dangers of obesity, and how it is important for everyone to be proactive towards staying healthy!

 In conclusion, any activity is better than no activity. Whether it is walking, jumping, running, playing games, and/or just having fun with your family, staying fit is important. Flip2BFit is working to fight childhood obesity ONE exercise at a time, and we welcome you to check out our games. Have fun with your friends or family inside on a rainy day or at a park on a sunny day – Flip2BFit is more than Fitness, It’s Fitness Made FUN!!!

Check out Flip2BFit’s website.  Follow us on Twitter @Flip2BFit & like us on Facebook at

Guest Post: Staying healthy the natural way

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Being healthy the natural way involves five steps. If you follow them you will be fit, well-informed, well-groomed and surrounded by good people who support you.

1. Eat fresh foods
Make sure you have a balanced diet that includes a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Cook them if you prefer, but they are more nutritious when they are raw. Whole grain breads, crackers and rice have a lot of fiber and are filling. Meat is good in small portions, and fish is an excellent source of protein. Try to eliminate junk food and fast food. Substitute nuts, dark chocolate and low fat cheeses.

2. Exercise daily
You need to move around for at least 20 minutes every day. Being active is a powerful way to stay healthy. Do stretches before engaging in high impact regimens. A perfect low impact physical activity is walking. It is aerobic and causes your body to release endorphins which give you a natural feeling of well-being. Exercising can prevent obesity and build stamina. If you need guidance and encouragement you can join a gym. Sometimes it is nice to be a part of a group when you workout.

3. Maintain healthy relationships
Having close friends and family to support you helps you to be healthy naturally. It is important to have people to confide in and share experiences with. Human beings are naturally social. Never stop trying to make friends. It is good to be friends with people with whom you have a lot in common, but interacting with people who are different from you sharpens your brain. Avoid toxic relationships that waste your time and sap your energy. Being healthy means surrounding yourself with loving and helpful people. Be a good friend and family member also. It is a two way street!

4. Practice good hygiene
You can prevent illness and social stigma by staying clean and well-groomed. Floss, brush your teeth and take a shower daily. Use deodorant or talc to eliminate underarm odor. Shampoo and comb your hair so that it looks presentable. Keep your laundry clean and fresh. The old adage "cleanliness is next to godliness" is very true. Being clean can prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. Clean people tend to get sick less.

5. Stay informed
Know what is going on in your community and around the world. Luckily we live in a digital age, and have easy access to information 24 hours seven days a week. Politics, the crime rate, law, and world affairs can affect you directly. It is better to know what is going on. You can get involved with making positive changes in your town and/or country. Read books, magazines and Internet articles. You can educate yourself about various subjects. Take a class or enroll in college if you want to learn more.

Being healthy the natural way involves several easy to follow steps. A holistic approach is quite effective. There is no need to have vices when there are healthier alternatives.

Thomas Sand loves writing, music, and yoga, and he is a contributing author at

Quickie Workout #18 Rocky-style!

My inspiration for today's quickie is a wee bit o' boxing.  Olympic Fever has hit here in London, and boxing if one of the hot tickets.You can use a kitchen timer to keep track of your intervals. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.
Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (
Warm up-  1 min walk/jog in place, 1 min star jumps/jumping jacks, 1 min speed bag with feet moving
1 min- Quick left knee thrusts with left toes tapping ground very lightly (not putting any weight on left foot)
1 min- Quick right knee thrusts with right toes tapping ground very lightly (not putting any weight on right foot)
2 min- Boxing combination with left foot slightly forward of right (for those right-handed).  Jab (left), cross (right), jab (left), punch to the right 2x as you take 2 side steps to the right, left hook (keep elbow at 90 degrees)  *you will need some space for this one*
1 min- Front kick alternating legs by bringing knee up and then flicking out foot (carefully so as to not hyperextend your knee).  Arms start up above your head and go down by your sides each time you kick.
2 min- Boxing combination- Right upper cut, left upper cut, duck (low squat), cross (right), jab (left), cross (right), duck (squat), right elbow (elbow at 90 degrees, bring elbow away from body in front of the chest.
1 min- jump rope (either with a rope or pretend)
Hope this has your heart pumping and your body sweating.  Feel free to run up some steps and shout "Adrian!"