Tired, wired or overworked? These stealth yoga poses will sort you out and help kick-start your day
Upward-facing dog with lion breath
1. Lie face down. Exhale as you press your hands into the floor by your sides and straighten your arms.
2. Allow the tops of your thighs to lift, keeping your bottom relaxed.
3. Inhale through your nose. Exhale through your mouth making a ‘ha’ sound, opening your mouth wide.
4. Inhale and relax your face into a neutral expression, then exhale and release back down to the mat.
5. Repeat this sequence of movements 3 more times.
Warrior I with eagle arms
1. Start with your feet together, then exhale as you step your left foot back 1 metre.
2. Keeping your hips facing forward, align your left heel behind your right heel, then turn your left foot out 45 degrees.
3. Inhale and raise your arms up. Exhale and swing your left arm underneath the right to wrap the arms and bring the palms to touch. Bend your right knee.
4. Stay for 8 breaths, then do the other side.
1. Lie on your tummy, then bend your knees to bring your heels to your bottom. Reach back and hold the outside of your ankles.
2. Inhale and press your feet into your hands, lifting them away from your bottom.
3. Exhale and lift your thighs away from the floor, allowing your upper body to lift off the mat. Slide your shoulders back and down, keeping your neck lengthened.
4. Hold the pose for 8 deep breaths. Release then repeat twice more.
Want more moves to unwind before bed? Head to page 84 of our October issue for some body-loving moves.
Are your committing one of these seven deadly sins?
Spring’s here, ladies, so you’ve no doubt started assessing your wardrobe for things to cull, cleaned the mess under your bed (so that’s where the sweater you’ve been looking for all winter was) and committed to a new fitness regime (because summer is coming, guys, it’s coming!). When your cleaning spree takes you to the bathroom vanity, don’t forget to revamp your beauty routine and kick these naughty habits to the sin bin.
1. Not cleaning your make-up brushes
Before you blame the chocolate you ate the other night for your nasty breakout, go and check your make-up brushes. Uh-huh, just as we thought. Not giving your trusty tools a wipe down every couple of weeks will result in a build-up of bacteria (which will leave you with a few bumpy friends), and also stop your make-up looking flawless. Say goodbye to streaks (and germs) with a bottle of brush cleaner.
2. Using the wrong shade
You might have spent a few pretty pennies on that foundation, but honey, you’re a sand beige, not a golden brown, and that shade just ain’t working for you. Foundations are not fake tan, and unless you’re thinking of making a zombie cameo on The Walking Dead, they’re not supposed to make you pale, either. The next time you head to the beauty counter, test the formula along your jawline, not the back of your hand, and go for a shade that’s the same colour as your face (we know, outrageous, right?). This way you’ll get coverage where you need it, but you won’t be left with a tell-tale mask.
3. Over exfoliating
First they tell you that you’re not exfoliating enough. Now they tell you you’re doing it too much. We know, we know, you had more luck keeping up with the relationship status of Sookie Stackhouse - but don’t give up just yet. If you hit the hard stuff more than three times a week, chances are you’re going to be left with sore, flaky skin, more breakouts and (flash forward a few years later) wrinkles. To keep it simple, opt for a chemical exfoliant and use it once a week. There, easy!
4. Not washing your pillow case
We’d much rather spend our weekends lapping it up in the surf or brunching with the girls, but there are some things a gal just has to do. And that’s wash her pillow case. Besides being great for like, you know, general hygiene and all that, it’s also great for your skin. Just think of all the excess cream, hairspray, dead skin cells and other nasties you share your pillow with. Don’t want pimples? Wash your bed linen.
5. Sleeping in your make-up
This is one fight you’re not going to win. If you don’t wash your make-up off before hitting the hay, you’re just begging for fine lines, crusty lashes, dry skin, panda eyes and a dull complexion. If it’s an OH&S issue for you to operate a shower when you stumble on home at three am, take 30 seconds to get rid of your make-up with some trusty face wipes and give your skin a chance to regenerate.
6. Neglecting your neck
Slapped on the rosehip, hydrated your face with a rich, creamy moisturiser and even remembered to dot on a little eye serum? Congratulations. But if you didn’t share some of your nourishing elixirs with your neck and décolletage, do not pass go. Do not collect $200. These neglected areas need just as much love as your face. The skin is thinner and less elastic, which means without a little TLC it’s going to sag and be prone to wrinkles. Stop yourself from looking ten years older and make sure you spread that cream all the way down to you chest.
7. Forgetting to wear sunscreen
Lady, you live in Australia. We have a hole in our ozone layer. That means every time you ‘forget’ to wear sunscreen, you’re basically letting the sun etch a few dozen wrinkles into your forehead and sprinkle a few brown spots here and there. Plus, there’s the whole increasing-your-risk-of-skin-cancer factor. Sunscreen is the best anti-ageing product on the market, and it comes in your foundation. Excuses? Nada. Slip, slop, slap and make sure your BB cream is loaded with SPF.
On Sunday September 20th, The Ladies in Pink, together with Love Your Sister.org will be rallying to reach their goal of raising $30 000 for breast cancer awareness. Book yourself in for this special gluten-free high tea and you’ll be doing your part for the fight against breast cancer. You’ll be in for a dose of inspirational conversation from those affected by this awful disease, plus some sweet treats to celebrate their courageous spirit.
To get you ready for this uplifting event, here’s a little taster of what’s on the menu:
14 Medjool dates, large soft variety - pitted
1 cup sultanas 1/2 cup sesame seeds 1/3 cup hulled tahini 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
1 tsp nutmeg Pinch of Himalayan crystal or Celtic sea salt
1/2 cup extra sesame seeds for rolling
1. Place all ingredients (except extra sesame seeds) in the food processor and process till dates and sultanas have completely broken down and the mixture clumps.
2. Place the extra sesame seeds in a flat bowl and, dipping the palm side of your hands into the seeds, roll mixture into balls the width of 20 cent pieces. You will notice that the outsides of your cinnamon balls become coated firmly with the sesame seeds. Continue till the mixture is finished.
3. Store in a cool place in a sealed container.
Gluten free, nut free, vegan
Where: Leichhardt Town Hall
When: September 20, 2014
Cost: $85 + booking fee
By News and Features Writer Sam Bailey
Think you could hack 30 days without coffee, sugar, alcohol and carbs? WF’s Sam Bailey tells us how she made it through alive - and even ended up loving it!
If someone said to me a while ago that I could live a day without coffee, I’d probably have laughed in their face. ‘Me? No coffee? I’d rather die!’ I’d say. But then when the 30 Days Clean Challenge by Flow Athletic came a knocking, little old stubborn me became somewhat intrigued to give it a go!
The premise of the program run by boutique gym Flow Athletic is to spend a month getting your body back to its optimal health, which ideally means following their program of gyming five times a week and eating as naturally as possible (read: cutting all processed foods) so yes no coffee, alcohol, carbs or sugar. Admittedly I’d had a few rather big weekends partying prior to the challenge and realised it couldn’t have come at a better time, I was craving to give my body a break (not to mention it was winter and I’d already kissed my social life goodbye for a month long hibernation) and so starting the challenge gave me the perfect excuse!
While I thought I’d never get through it, I made it, and I have felt pretty damn good since. While I don’t think you need to be crazy strict about cutting all of the above (because let’s be honest, life wouldn’t be nearly as fun) I think you can only benefit from a clean living lifestyle and would honestly recommend to anyone to give it a go.
Here’s what I learned along the way:
1. Don’t swap one vice for another
When it comes to bad foods, there are lots of s words to be wary of – sugar, salt, saturated fat being the top three. So even though I knew off the bat that sugar was a no-go zone, somehow in my mind I convinced myself all else was up for grabs. So when 3pm came calling and no chocolate was allowed? No worries, I’ll just have salted popcorn instead. See the problem here? Because sugar was banned, salt became my new best friend. Not ideal, but hey, Sarah Wilson from I Quit Sugar recommends switching to cheese as a way to wean yourself off cutting sugar, so if Sarah says it…*Disclaimer – unless you’re like my mum who believes a whole wheel of brie cheese in one sitting is fine because it’s not sugar.
2. It’s okay to cheat within reason…
Now before you start thinking I completely cheated the system, let me explain what I mean. When it comes to cutting food groups, I think there should be slight exceptions to the rule, i.e. fruit. When chocolate and cake is off the menu, one of the best go-to snack options is fruit. Yes fruit contains natural sugar, but overall I think it’s nutritional benefits trump it’s sugar content, so yeah I ate fruit. No biggie. This went for caffeine alternatives too. When dealing with coffee come downs, green tea became my new BFF. Yes it has a small amount of caffeine, but hey sometimes you just need something to wrap your hands around of a cold morning (and a little caffeine never hurt anyone!).
3. There’s never a good time to start…
While I think this saying comes from a good place - you know the place of motivating people to get moving and eating healthily today not tomorrow, I have to disagree on this one. There definitely is a good time to start and it’s not when you know the month is filled with social festivities – like mine was. Yep, over the 30 day challenge I endured 3 x goodbye lunches/dinners/drinks, a baby shower, a birthday, a happy engagement arvo tea, a catch-up-with-the-girls dinner and my favourite one of all – ‘the day ice cream showed up to work day’ (*fyi - this NEVER happens). Feeling my distress? It was by far the biggest test of my will power, but I am proud to say I made it through…even if salted popcorn and cheese was by my side the whole way. So lesson being, if you know you have no social occasions coming up, start then!
4. Motivation is paramount
Having a few tools and tricks to get you through is a big help. For me, there was two main motivators – good music and the fundraising aspect. When you’re bleary eyed and dreaming of coffee that you can’t have, there really needs to be something getting you out that door. Good beats are my new energiser- I love the Monster iSport headphones – they make you feel like you’re in your own silent disco. Music seriously made the difference between me choosing savasana (corpse pose) before class (read: staying in bed) or a savasana after a flowing vinyasa sesh where a moment of rest is well earned.
My other major motivation was the fundraising side of the challenge - all proceeds raised went to Beyond Blue. The charity is not only one I’m passionate about but knowing people are giving you money for your efforts keeps you on the straight and narrow – why cheat when you can give so much back (and it will only benefit you anyway)?
5. Being healthy full time is actually awesome!
It probably goes without saying, but being healthy is pretty damn addictive. Other than the two-day caffeine headache at the start, there was no down side to sticking at a clean living lifestyle; it was only gives ‘feel good’ benefits. I now feel lighter, my tummy is less bloated, I have glowing skin (or so I’m told), I have more energy and just generally feel better about myself. By investing in my body and health it has helped my body confidence and boosted my spirits *yep I may be mentally high fiving myself! I won’t lie though, the first coffee I had on day 31 never tasted sweeter. But as for the actual sweet stuff? Happy to take or leave it! Bring on the clean life!
For more on 30 Days Clean, check out Flow Athletic.
September is here, so give your mind a reboot with tips from A Season of Change yoga expert Claire Robbie
1. Think of each day as a new beginning
How you start your morning will have a trickle-down effect into your day. Start the day by sitting still and connecting with your breath, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Make this a part of each day and to release any deep rooted unconscious programming.
Whether it’s be going for a walk, jog, yoga, Pilates, CrossFit or boxing. Movement is cleansing so by getting the blood flowing it will carry waste and toxins out of the system but also act as a type of meditation too. It’s hard to dwell on unnecessary stuff when you’re sweating and moving!
3. Have a go-to mantra
Channel the power of positivity. Each morning think of something you love about yourself and keep it in the forefront of your mind throughout the day. Try it for a week and watch as your negative self-belief starts to dissolve.
4. Challenge the uncomfortable
Discomfort is your greatest teacher. Stop suppressing and avoiding emotions that make you feel yuck, they can actually teach you a lot. Observe how you avoid them and learn why to discover new ways of thinking and acting.
5. Spend time in nature
The earth is inherently peaceful. The more time you spend connecting outside with the universe, the more time you will calm your soul and be put everything into perspective.
For more spring inspired health tips, check out A Season of Change.
WF’s Samera Kamaleddine has signed up for her next fitness challenge, all in the name of charity
When you hear 55 kilometre trek you might think “EEK no way” or “I’d so die walking that far” but since I started working at Women’s Fitness (and subsequently throwing my hat in the ring for a bunch of stuff I would never have done before – hello, City2Surf!) I’ve learnt that no challenge is ever worthy of dropping the H-bomb (hard, that is). Especially when it has a feel-good component to it.
Enter Wild Women On Top Sydney Coastrek – the 55km team trekking challenge along the stunning Sydney coast, that supports of The Fred Hollows Foundation. There are two events starting at sunrise on Friday March 6, 2015: 1. From Palm Beach to Balmoral and 2. From Coogee Beach to Balmoral, both taking an average of 18 hours. Yep, 18 hours of walking! But think about the views… national parks, the harbour, beaches, lookouts and iconic landmarks! And this stat: four out of five people who are blind don’t need to be. The Fred Hollows Foundation can restore sight for just $25 to someone who’s needlessly blind.
Want more? This endurance challenge promises to up your health and fitness game – in fact, nearly 98 per cent of surveyed participants from last year’s Coastrek said it boosted theirs.
This morning I got up at the crack of dawn (like you do for all good challenges) to walk a 5km slice of next year’s Coastrek route (see pics below) and now I’m pumped for the real thing. Like I’m totally going to be part of something big.
If you want to get on board, registration for the 2015 Wild Women On Top Sydney Coastrek is now open. Head to www.coastrek.com.au.
For the salad
2 trout fillets
1 medium parsnips
1 small sweet potato
1 small turnip or celeriac
1/2 apple, cut into thin strips
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
1 cup baby rocket leaves
1 handful parsley leaves
1 macadamia or coconut oil
For the dressing
1/2 tablespoon dijion mustard (no added sugar)
1 tablespoon macadamia or olive oil
1.Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
2.Chop the root vegetables into half inch cubes, place them on a tray, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
3.Place the tray in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
4.Meanwhile wash then dry your fish fillets with a paper towel, rub each one with a little oil and season with salt.
5.Place the fish under the grill skin side up and cook for 5 minutes, turnover and cook for another 3-4 minutes, turn it back to the skin side and cook for another minute or so to get it nice and crispy.
6.f your grill is in the same space as your oven and you can’t use both at the same time just wait until the veg are cooked, cover the tray with foil and then cook your fish, you can pop the veg back in the oven at the end to heat them up a little if necessary.
7.Squeeze the lemon into a large bowl and add the remaining dressing ingredients, mix, then add the apple, onion, rocket, parsley and cooked root vegetables.
8.Take the skin off the trout, then flake the fish into the rest of the salad making sure you remove any bones. Carefully toss, check the seasoning, then divide between two plates.
9.Slice the crispy trout skin and place on top of the salad.
For more delicious recipes, check out the Food Fix Up app.
By News and Features writer Sam Bailey
Quite the avid yogi, WF’s Sam Bailey spent the evening getting her om on at an after dark yoga party
What is it?
A one and a half hour vinyasa yoga class hosted by Kate Kendall from Sydney’s boutique gym, Flow Athletic.
What was it like?
Picture 170 eager yogis collectively meeting together to stretch and flow their way through an hour and a half vinyasa flow class in a dark, disco lit hall. While I’ve had my share of 30+ group yoga sessions, nothing could top the experience of being surrounded by a sea of other people, all with one common yogi goal - to experience a relaxing post-work sesh in absolute darkness.
Coming from a long work day, I won’t lie; I was a little hesitant to go. While I crave a good stretch after a long day at my desk, there’s nothing harder than schlepping it to the gym for a workout when you’re tired, then pairing this with the darkness, I was worried I’d cheat my way into savasana before the class even started.
Yet once I arrived, there was a buzz in the air, everyone seemed psyched to be there. When we entered the hall they’d hired, the sheer amount of people hit me. To get 170 people on board for a one off yoga class is phenomenal. Unfurling my mat, I excitedly kicked off my shoes and sat down taking in the scene. With a DJ on stage, that tired feeling I’d been holding onto was soon replaced by excitement and anticipation.
For the next hour we moved, stretched, flowed through a dynamic yoga sequence that not only released my stiff muscles but also challenged me with moves I’d never even tried. There were definitely times when I was ready to give up and take the easy way out into child’s pose, but there was an energy and vibe in the room that made you want to keep going and not break the collective flow of the group. For the last 30 minutes we moved into relaxation and stretching, letting the cool beats of Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ remix wash over us, a surprisingly lovely mantra to finish the evening: ‘Shine bright tonight, you and I, we’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky,’ before turning our hands upside down for Kate’s legendary namaste goggles goodbye.
Who would it suit?
If you already know the names of poses and are familiar with the basic structure of vinyasa yoga it’ll feel like second nature to you. But if you’re a relative newbie, don’t be scared by the big group factor. You might feel like you’ll stand out like a sore thumb (even I was admittedly a bit intimidated) but remember you’re just one person in a body of 170 floating through the motions, it’s really grounding.
This class was run by Flow Athletic, but for other awesome yoga events keep your eye out for Wanderlust yoga festival heading to Sydney soon.
WF Editor Rachel Sharp chats to blogger and owner of Sydney’s Sadhana Kitchen (sadhanakitchen.com)
Can you tell us how you came to found Sadhana Kitchen?
“I started Sadhana Kitchen just over two years ago seemingly by chance. I have a nursing degree and have worked in sales and marketing within the pharmaceutical industry. After taking up yoga, and subsequently training to become a yoga teacher, I adopted a vegan lifestyle. One of the tenants of yoga is Ahimsa, which means non-harm and that really resonated with me. I also liked the way eating plants made me feel, especially growing up eating Spam and Maccas and KFC – there was such a difference! But I found that just eating vegan food wasn’t the best I could do, so in search of healthier foods and ultimate wellbeing, I found raw food. Because I was travelling so much for work, I started a blog to share how I was maintaining the lifestyle on the road. The owner of the yoga studio I trained at offered me a space to trade from after reading my blog and so I quit my job and opened Sadhana Kitchen with my partner at the time.”
What was your mission with the café?
“Sadhana Kitchen exists to make organic, plant based wholefoods and raw foods accessible to everyone. No matter what your background is, what you do for a living, where you live. We provide free recipes via our blogs and newsletters, run classes and workshops, offer a lunch delivery service, catering, high teas, degustation dinners, cleanses and of course breakfast, lunch and dinner from our premises at 147 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSw. By making these foods and services accessible, we hope that people will cultivate a mindful connection with what they put into their bodies and have the knowledge and experience to make kinder, healthier and more ethical choices for themselves and for our world.”
What’s your personal philosophy toward food, nutrition and health?
“I believe that what we put into our bodies every day is part of our Sadhana (conscious spiritual practice – hence the name Sadhana Kitchen). I also think health is a very personal thing; that no one can ever ‘do for you’ or ‘give to you’. It’s great to expose yourself to the abundance or resources and information out there, but the key is trying things out for yourself and then consciously choosing and sticking with what works best. Taking sovereignty back over our own wellbeing is vital.”
What are your thoughts on ‘conscious’ eating?
“I think conscious food is such an important term. A lot of us don’t know the true price of food: where our food has come from, the processes it has undertaken and the hands it has exchanged through before arriving on our plates. Most people don’t realise that commercial farming processes can be very harmful to the environment, generating toxic food and degrading the farmer’s land. What’s worse, the farmers often get paid very little for their work. At Sadhana Kitchen, we want to know all of this so that we can make sure that from ground to the plate, absolutely no one is mistreated, harmed or short changed. Now that’s truly guilt-free indulgence!”
Speaking of indulgence, what’s the most popular dessert with Sadhana customers at the moment?
“Our raw vegan caramel slices. They’ve kind of developed this cult following and people that have it swear it’s the best they’ve ever had, and they just keep coming back for more.”
Any secrets to throwing your own successful high tea at home?
“It helps to be prepared and organised. Get all ingredients for your recipes ready and measured out and clean up as you go. Making it a special occasion by getting cute serving ware and bespoke accents also helps make the whole event feel super special.”
Which tea types are ideal for healthy high teas?
“I think organic, hand blended teas are best, to keep it all healthy and delicious. To pair with sweets, I enjoy Grey Rabbit by The Rabbit Hole (it’s what we use in the café) Or Rabbit Hole Chai – both brewed on raw vegan almond mylk (we use Inside Out Nutrtious Goods – raw cold pressed almond mylk made by a couple of awesome Sydney lads). For Savoury, I think Green Teas are great, like Dragonwell by The Rabbit Hole which is organic pan-fried green tea.”
What would you say to people who are nervous about cooking their own healthy desserts?
“Give it a go and take it one step at a time. With healthy raw desserts, you don’t have to worry about burning anything, or pastries not being the right texture, or things not rising or anything like that. If you can use a blender, you can make raw desserts”.
Your best advice to anyone with a dream to start their own health- or ethics-focused business?
“Make sure you are totally in love with your idea. Starting your own business can be extremely tough and you’ll need all of that passion and love to get through the challenges and set-backs – the reality is there will be a whole lot of them before any success comes. Plan thoroughly and do your research, never ever underestimate the value and necessity of a comprehensive business plan. Understand and know your market, your competition and your offering better than the back of your hand. Have a very clear idea of what service/product you want to provide and make sure it’s accessible to your target demographic. Apart from that, do everyone with love, joy and good intentions. Be genuine, live what you love and be a true example of your ethos. The rest will follow.”
To try some of Maz’s vegan high tea recipes for yourself, head to page 108 of the September issue of Women’s Fitness.
Who said Mexican food had to dovetail your diet? Dig into these leafy alternatives
1 onion, finely diced
2 tsp olive oil
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
tsp smoked paprika
400g tin black beans, drained
1 ripe tomato, chopped or handful cherry tomatoes, halved
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 bunch coriander, chopped
lettuce cups, to serve
tomato salsa, to serve
1 Sauté onion in a pan over medium heat with olive oil. Add the chilli, cumin and smoked paprika. Cook for a minute.
2 Add black beans and tomato, then toss through. Cook until beans start to collapse slightly. Add a splash of water if needed.
3 Season with a little sea salt and black pepper, then fold through some of the coriander. Divide between lettuce cups.
4 Top with tomato salsa and enjoy.
You can also serve with lime, avocado, sweet corn and thick natural yoghurt.
The Lowdown (per serve)
321kJ; 6g protein; 11g carbs; 5g fibre;
2g total fat (0.5g sat fat)
By Libby Babet
One of the most frequent questions I get asked by female clients is, “how can I make my legs smaller and more toned?”
Most women tend to lose fat from the top down and build muscle from the bottom up, so at the end of the day, there’s one word that will get those pins lean and that word is consistency.
That means working out and eating well, not just for a few weeks but week in and week out for a number of months.
The good news is, rest and stretching are going to be just as important as the ‘working out’ part because when it comes to shaping your legs, you want to give those muscles time to recover and adapt.
Here are my simple rules for lean legs:
• Train consistently and with workouts that will encourage change and hormonal shift in your body. This means metabolic circuits, interval training, weights, or bodyweight resistance work and sprints.
• Avoid trans fats as much as possible. You’ll find it in fried foods, margarines, donuts, some baked goods and fast food meals, plus any foods or oils where you see the words, “partially hydrogenated”. Trans fats take on a different shape than other fats and are super hard for your body to process and eliminate, so they can literally hang around in your body for ages – in some cases, years!
• Cut down on starchy carbs and simple sugars, to give your body a chance to burn through stored energy, rather than continually topping it up with new supplies. This doesn’t mean going ‘no carb’, it just means choosing unprocessed, complex and fibrous carbs instead. Great options are veggies, fruits, or healthier grain substitutes such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, brown or wild rice, nuts and seeds, or perhaps a piece of good quality organic sourdough.
• Increase your consumption of green veggies. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus and brussel sprouts break down into something called DIM with the assistance of enzymes upon chewing. DIM helps your body process oestrogens more effectively, which helps to lean out your legs (and arms, for that matter). If cooking more veggies each day just isn’t an option for you, take the cheat’s option and swallow a supergreens supplement daily – I love Sunwarrior Ormus Supergreens, or Nu-Zest’s Good Green Stuff.
• Switch your coffee for green tea, which gives you the same little metabolic boost as coffee does, but rather than draining your body of vital nutrients, as coffee can, it’s packed with antioxidants and helps to improve liver function, which protects your body from oestrogen excess and helps your bod metabolise fat more effectively.
• Give soy milk and tofu the heave-ho from your diet. Extra weight carried in the legs is often due to oestrogen dominance. As soy is a strong phytoestrogen, particularly in its more processed form, it can contribute to the issue significantly, so it’s worth cutting it out completely for awhile and seeing whether that makes a difference to your body shape. If you’re a vegetarian and use soy as your main protein source, try switching to less processed versions such as tempeh, miso, or edamame beans.
• Include a wide variety of squats, lunges, step-ups, single-leg deadlifts, glute activation moves and full-body exercises that get your heart rate up in your strength workouts. Stick to either high repetitions (15-20+) using light resistance, or bodyweight and moving at a fast pace, or go for slower repetitions with super heavy weights and low repetitions (4-6). Rarely take the middle ground (8-12 reps with moderate weight) as this is hypertrophy territory and will increase the size of your legs over time. If you’re not sure of technique, hire a trainer to make sure you’re lifting correctly, as this can make a big difference to the body shape you want to create too. The right squat technique can lean out your legs and boost your bottom, but the wrong technique can end up building up your quads and straining your knees, so it’s important!
• When it comes to cardio, mixing it up is best if you want to lean out your legs. Keep it varied with a mix of endurance-style runs, short sprints and if you love cycling, go for high speed intervals with limited resistance for best results. Don’t forget other forms of cardio too – dancing, boxing, skipping and tabata-style workouts are all just as effective for keeping your body guessing.
I’ve made you a fun home workout called Pintastic to try - it’s packed with the kind of exercises that will help you achieve your leanest, loveliest pins ever and you can do it all in your backyard, no equipment needed. Have a read of the workouts structure below, then check out the video to get your technique right.
Spend 60s on each exercise in the workout, or 30s per side for unilateral (1-sided) moves.
Once you’ve been through them all, take 30-60s to catch your breath, then repeat the circuit another 2-3 times. Add dumbbells to the squat and lunge exercises for extra difficulty, if you dare.
1. Plie to Toe Raise (make sure you squeeze your glutes at the top position)
2. Kneeling Kick to Tuck
3. Clock Lunges
4. “Jane Fonda” Leg Lifts
5. 1-Legged Burpees
6. Shuttle Sprints
WF’s Samera Kamaleddine chats to cross-country skiing champ Esther Bottomley
Back in February, winter sports enthusiasts of the world gathered around TV screens, having their minds blown at the supreme athleticism on display at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. While we ‘ooed’ and ‘ahhed’ from our living rooms, 31-year-old Australian cross-country skier Esther Bottomley was right there on the Sochi stage, competing in her third winter Olympics – the only female cross-country athlete to have ever done so. No stranger to high-stakes competitions, the skier – who got her start on the snow aged just five when her family moved to the base of Falls Creek in Vicroria – has contested six World Ski Championships, won the Australian Spring Championship 15 times and was the first Australian to win a Swiss Cup. Most recently, she won an epic gold and silver at the Australian XC ski championships. As a competitor in one of the most physically demanding of any elite-level sports, she’s been down one very winding path, as we learnt when we caught up with her for this chat…
When did you realise cross-country skiing could be a full-time gig?
“After Year 12 my coach organised for me to train and compete in Sweden for five months. I’d had some success in Australian [in junior comps], but it was a big eye-opener as to how professional a sport cross-country skiing is. The kids there were doing schooling part-time so they could train to be athletes! I knew then that to be at that next level it was going to take a lot more commitment.”
How did you bring on that commitment?
“I got more intro training when I got home, skiing three times a week and doing a lot of cross-training. In summer, I’d do what’s called ‘roller skiing’, where you go on roads wearing ski boots and using ski poles on wheels. I started setting short- and long-term goals. My ‘dream goal’ from these early years was to qualify for the Turin 2006 Olympics.”
What did you have to do to get there?
“Skiing for me has never really been a paid career – I’ve always had to work and study – mainly because it’s not as popular in Australia as it is in Scandinavia, Europe and North America, where people are doing it professionally at national and international levels. So when I got back from Sweden I took a year off before going to university to train for my first World Junior Championships, while working at a café for the money I’d need to get there.”
You overcame your first hurdle at the World Juniors…
“It was the first time I’d been to such a large scale event. Devastatingly, I fell in my main event. I was absolutely shattered. It took a little while to get over it and realise it was just another event. The next year I went back, and qualified for Senior Championships that season. Two weeks later I was in Italy competing at my first World Championships which was both daunting and exciting.”
Did life change back in the real world?
“I started a graphic design degree at university when I got home, so there were definitely a lot more distractions. I studied in Canberra, a great place for training as there are lots of bike paths to roller-ski and awesome running trails in the hills. I fit in training where I could and met up with other skiers to keep motivated. In my final year, I deferred to concentrate on qualifying for the Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Realistically, I thought I had a 50 per cent chance of making it so wanted to increase this by training full-time.”
You must have been pretty stoked to qualify then?
“All the athletes were top notch and to qualify was tough and extremely stressful – especially as I’d taken a year off to train for it. There were three skate sprints and in two of the three I had to come in the top 80 per cent on the field. I came fifth last in the first race, so was really disappointed.”
How did you come back from that?
“I had a good chat with my coach who said, ‘Qualifying for the Olympics is not all you’re over here for.’ I agreed, thinking, ‘No, it’s for fun as well. There are other events to look forward to’. It was six weeks until the second race and I was super nervous the whole time. After the final race, when my coach came and told me, ‘You’re in!’ I started shaking from the excitement.”
Was Turin a life-changing experience?
“Walking into the Opening Ceremony wearing the Aussie team uniform was a feeling I’ll never forget. Being in a huge arena with thousands of people cheering was just incredible and overwhelming! I picked up a cold a few days before my event, so my result was a little off where I was hoping, but after my race I went into the stands to see my family and friends and they were so excited just to have seen me race in the Olympics that the results didn’t matter too much.”
How different was your second Olympics experience [Vancouver 2010]?
“The atmosphere was even better than Turin. The spectators were very vocal – the Canadians really embrace their winter sports! In my last race I pulled out my best result of the season – being the only female to qualify. I’d spent four years doing intensive technique work to get my classic sprinting up to the same standard as my skate sprinting so was just really excited to have done that in order to qualify.”
Does competing get any easier?
“The pressure of competing gets easier. I didn’t put any pressure on myself this year [for Sochi] so was a lot more comfortable and ready to race as well as I could. Just like my first World Juniors where I crashed, you’re devastated if things don’t go right, but in the end, you’ve made it to the event and given it everything. For me, winning an Olympic medal wasn’t a realistic goal.”
Any tough moments at Sochi?
“Sochi was by far the most gruelling course I’ve ever skied on. Never have there been so many long, steep uphills in one course. It certainly wasn’t something I was comfortable with, but I finished with a result I was really happy with.”
What lessons have you taken away from the sport?
“You learn a lot about life, like how to deal with disappointments and goal setting. I’m able to put those lessons into situations outside of sport. There’s always hard times – when you’re training and it’s raining, or you’re thinking about how you’re going to afford a trip – but the other times are fabulous, especially getting to ski up in stunning high plains around the world.”
Speaking of those (cold!) plains, do you miss the Aussie summer?
“I’ve been chasing winter for half my life and don’t even know what an Aussie summer is! But I get months of skiing on real snow in amazing mountain situations, so I don’t mind. The travel is part of my life. I think I’ll struggle when I have to settle somewhere.”
What does life look like now?
“I finished my teaching degree in Secondary Visual Art and Graphics after Vancouver, and have been enjoying relief teaching. Resting, for me, is just as important as training. I’ve spent so many years sick because I haven’t been able to keep my immune system functioning. So when I’m not working, I sleep a lot!”
Can you ever see a time when you won’t be skiing?
“I’m at a stage where I’m not sure what’s next. I’ll see what happens with teaching opportunities. I’m happy to go back on the comp circuit for one more year and to the World Championships in Sweden. That would be a great way to finish. I’d also like to put back into the sport as much as I can. I’m an ambassador for ‘Fast and female’, events to get girls motivated to love sport and life, but would like to do more on the technical coaching front while my knowledge is still up to date. I’ve ticked off most of the things I’ve wanted to do, so I’d definitely be leaving skiing proud of that. It’s been my life, and it’s been a good life.”
Beauty product you can’t live without? “High SPF face sunscreen. My face is the only part of me that sees sun!”
Any guilty pleasures? “A little too much Swiss chocolate… although I don’t really feel guilt, just pleasure!”
What makes you laugh? “Modern Family.”
Your ultimate way to de-stress? “Go for a jog.”
A dream beach destination? “I’d like to go to Hawaii. Looks like it has great surf beaches, amazing snorkelling… and warm weather!”