Eaten a few too many chocolate eggs over the weekend? Burn them up and firm your core with this with this easy tummy sculpter
You’ll need: An exercise mat
Great for: Stomach, core muscles.
Why it works
This exercise targets both your upper and lower abdominals for all-over ab sculpting. Plus, the rest time is minimal, so you get the most out of your workout time.
How to master it
For best results, do it: At least three times a week.
Want to make it harder?
Increase the duration of each set, or slow down the moves to boost intensity.
Remember to: Avoid hunching over and stop doing the exercise if you feel any discomfort in your lower back.
Simple to make, these hot cross muffins are fluffy and delicious, making them the perfect healthy Easter treat.
1 tablespoon raw cacao or organic cocoa
1 tablespoon white spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 dessertspoon coconut sugar
3 tablespoons non-dairy milk of choice
1 tablespoon cold pressed macadamia or olive oil
Mix together all ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
60g cacao butter, finely chopped
¼ cup macadamia or cold-pressed olive oil
¾-1 cup coconut sugar
1 cup organic non-dairy milk of your choice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/2 cup fine rice bran
2 cups white spelt flour
2 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1½ cups fresh blueberries
Extra olive oil, for greasing
1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with some pretty cupcake liners and grease lightly with oil.
2. Melt cacao butter in a large bowl over another bowl of boiling water.
3. Once liquefied remove from heat and add oil, sugar - more or less depending on how sweet you wish them to be - milk, and vanilla, combining well with a large whisk.
4. Add flours, baking powder and whisk again.
5. Lastly, stir in the blueberries then spoon into lined muffin cups.
6.Taking small amounts of Chocolate cross mixture at a time, create chocolate crosses on tops of muffin mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
Makes 12 medium-sized muffins.
For more healthy dessert recipes check out the Model Chocolate cook book or click here.
Got a huge fitness goal? WF’s Lizza Gebilagin wants you to dream big and go after it.
There are some things in life you can’t change, so there’s no point wasting energy wishing it was different. Like I’ve come to accept that I’ll never be able to fill a B-cup (and I ain’t dropping coin on no silicon) or reach the floor from my desk chair without a foot rest (I think I stopped growing in Year 6, which also explains the lack of cleavage). But I do believe everything else is malleable. Especially when it comes to the things that we’ve told ourselves we can’t do.
Lately, I’ve been taking on that fearful little voice and doing the opposite of whatever it says. If something scares me, I feel the emotion and just do it anyway. And if it really, really freaks me out, then I know I definitely need to do it. After going sky diving, trying acting classes, and telling a guy I really liked him through a national magazine (a bit extreme, I know), I’ve discovered that everything that holds us back is way bigger in our minds than it turns out to be in real life. Every. Single. Time. And once you get over these fears, your whole world opens up in ways you didn’t even know were possible. (On a side note, I also learnt that professing your love in a magazine article doesn’t work if the guy doesn’t read it. Oops.)
So, if there’s something that you’ve been wanting to do for ages, whether it’s going on a cycling trek in Cambodia to raise money for girls needing an education or even training for your first 5km fun run, go for it! Dream big! You’ll have the whole Women’s Fitness community to support you. As for my big dream, I’m training for my first mixed martial arts fight on August 9! I’m the most scared I’ve ever been, and I regularly leave training with shin bruises (evidence below), but I’m doing it anyway!
Over the next few months, we’ll be posting articles to help you achieve your big dream. So declare what you’re doing and keep us updated on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #WFdreambig.
Need more incentive to get going? Here are the coolest reasons to dream big that I’ve discovered so far:
1. Little things don’t stress you as much.
2. You meet new inspiring people (and lots of fit men if you happen to do MMA like me).
3. Failing doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. You realise the more you fail, the more you learn, and the closer you get to your goal.
4. Having a big enough goal helps you to stay disciplined. When my alarm goes off at 5.55am and I feel like staying in bed, I just think, do I really want someone to kick my ass in the fight? The answer is no, and I get up to go training.
5. The benefits start to flow into other areas of your life. It’s like what my Bikram yoga teacher used to say, “You start practising yoga for flexibility and you end up leaving your bad relationship.” That kind of deep stuff.
6. It’ll make you happy! More exercise = happier you.
7. You discover you can actually do anything. This one’s my favourite. Hope you learn it, too.
Read more about Lizza’s upcoming MMA fight on page 64 of the May issue of Women’s Fitness.
Want to get clued up on cycling? Here’s a few tricks to get you there.
1. Crash course in safety
WF GP Claudia Lee (who has seen what a bike fall can do…) gives us her best tips on collusion prevention 101.
Bike maintenance: “Prevention starts with an annual bike check-up of tyres, chains and brakes to keep your bicycle in decent mechanical condition.”
Road etiquette: “Cycling courteously and anticipating the errors of other drivers and cyclists is key. Specific riding strategies include riding a metre from parked cars, making hand gestures and (if possible) eye contact with drivers when turning across lanes, and never wearing headphones.”
Gear up: “Always wear a helmet and visible cycling gear with reflective patches, and attach lights to your bike for better visibility at night and during poor weather conditions.”
2. Learn the lingo
The only way to be truly in with the cool cycling crowd is to get the lingo down pat. Add these every day bike words to your vocab.
Bacon: Sadly this is not the diet of a serious bike rider. It refers to the cuts, scabs or abrasions you get from falling off your bike i.e. “Man, this is some serious bacon on my leg.”
Basket case: Not a nut job, but someone who blings their bike out with a straw basket and uses it to carry things i.e. “Check out that basket case carrying her groceries.”
Beef it: Even the vegos can experience this one. ‘Beefing it’ is when your bike veers and you crash i.e. “Check out my graze, totally beefed it earlier.”
Bonk: Sounds naughty, but it’s a purely innocent biking term to describe a state of utter exhaustion from lack of food or water i.e. “I’m feeling bonked after that ride.”
Gutter Bunny: We’re not talking fluffy bunnies on the road. A gutter bunny refers to someone who commutes to work on their bike i.e. “Jane must be so fit being a gutter bunny.”
LBS: Not to be confused with LBD, this is biker speak for ‘local bike shop’. While you’re there you’ll talk to the BSG (bike store guy) i.e. “I’m just heading down to the LBS to speak to the BSG about new tyres.”
3. Avoid a wrist-jury
According to Dr Lee, the two most common cycling-induced wrist injuries are ulnar neuropath and carpal tunnel syndrome. “Both present as pain and numbness of the fingers and wrists, and are caused by prolonged pressure on the handlebars,” she explains.
Prevent it: “Essentially, cyclists should ride with their elbows slightly bent (never with arms locked or straight), as the elbows will act as shock absorbers and prevent injury to the wrists when they hit bumps in the road. Changing hand positions will help reduce the numbness, but can also be prevented by making sure the wrists don’t drop below the handlebars, and alternating the pressure on the handlebars from the inside to the outsides of the palms. In addition, padded gloves and stretching the hands and wrists before riding will help.”
Get more bike know-how by checking out the cycling special in the current issue of Women’s Fitness.
To celebrate THE RIFT Bowral hosting Southern Highlands’ first Raw Food and Detox Super Health Retreat, raw food master chef Ben Flowerday dishes up this recipe for you to try
Raw avocado and cacao mousse
1 tbs cacao butter or 2 tbs coconut oil
2 tbs water (you may need more or less added until you get a good consistency)
3 tbs raw cacao powder
4 soaked dates
1/2 vanilla bean
pinch of salt
1. Melt the coconut oil/cacao butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of hot water.
2. Place the avocado, water, and soaked dates into a blender and whiz until very smooth, adding another teaspoon of water if necessary.
3. Add the cacao powder, vanilla and salt and whiz again, and then add the coconut oil/cacao butter and whiz until completely smooth. Taste and add more dates or cacao.
4. Try to chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. This will allow the butter/oil to set and the flavours to come together.
About the retreat:
THE RIFT Bowral’s Raw Food and Detox Super Health Retreat is running from Saturday May 24 to Saturday May 31, 2014. The 7-night luxury retreat will include accommodation in the old-world Coach House, culinary organic raw food (Ben will be doing raw food prep classes), coffee colema sessions, daily chi gung exercises, a naturopathic consult, massages, lectures on detox, gift bag… plus heaps more. Prices start at $2500. Visit therift.com.au.
For more of Ben’s delish raw recipes, head to lovemeraw.com
Deputy Editor Samera chats to this month’s super lovely and inspiring cover girl, and Swisse Wellness Ambassador, Ashley Hart.
What do you miss about home now that you’re LA-based?
“My really close friends are mostly all in Australia, so obviously friends. And mum. But what I really love about Australia is everyone’s so open, kind and smiley. Everyone kind of makes eye contact with you in the street, and that’s huge because in New York everyone’s got their head down. You’ll smile at someone and be like, ‘Hey! Good morning!’ and they’ll think you’re cracking onto them or something! They’ll think you’re a weirdo!”
Do you ever get star struck in LA?
“I’m really terrible at recognising people. I’m like, ‘I think I know you’. But you do see a lot of stars. You just become immune to it.”
Your love affair with yoga started with Bikram…
“That set me on my path of yoga. But because I had a love hate relationship with the hot room and I branched out and became much more involved and devoted to more of Vinyasa flow yoga and the calming of the mind aspect.”
Why do you think some people struggle with hot yoga?
“Bikram is not for everyone. A lot of ex-dancers or athletes love it because they have that strict structure and extreme sport to conquer. It’s almost like climbing Mount Everest sometimes when you’re in that room. But if you’ve got that personality where you just really want to do well and go hard… and that’s what drew me into it originally. It was so hard that I just wanted to keep getting better at it.”
How often do you practise?
“I find the hardest part of yoga is the discipline – getting to the mat or getting yourself out of bed and doing yoga before you start the day. It takes a lot of willpower. Apart from my daily salutations I normally do a class at least three or four times per week.”
Is opening a studio on the cards for you?
“I’m really open to it. My boyfriend is in India at the moment finishing creative meditation teacher study, for the same time that I’m doing the training in New York, and so we want to eventually be able to do a trip and do private sessions with people from all levels.”
Nice that you and your boyfriend have yoga in common!
“I think that’s what the beauty is in our relationship – both being on the path and not relying on each other for our happiness.”
Do you talk about it over dinner at night?
“Oh yeah, totally! It’s a really nice thing.”
What else do you do to stay fit?
“I’m always just striving to be fit and healthy. I believe in mixing it up so even with my yoga, I practice different styles. Sometimes I go to the gym and run or do cross-training. I also have a personal trainer and we do a lot of Muay Thai boxing which I love because it’s also a mindful workout where you have to really concentrate and get good at… you’re mastering an art; it’s not just kicking a bag. It’s actually a skill. But I could never see myself in a ring. Wen I watch those girls I’m like, ‘OMG!’.”
How do you feel about social media?
“It’s interesting actually because I was talking to a girl yesterday who knew me so well that I thought I must know her. And then she was like, ‘I follow you on Instagram’. I forget I upload and that it is so public. But I don’t hide anything because I want my lifestyle to inspire people. I’m not really interested in keeping anything too sacred because I want to share it; it’s too amazing to keep quiet. So I kind of love that. I’m not good at Facebook but I love sharing pictures on Instagram to anyone that wants to follow.”
What are you looking forward to in 2014?
“I’m really looking forward to completing my yoga teacher training and seeing where that takes me. And seeing my boyfriend again, because I’m not going to see him for the next four months. I’m just staying open. I don’t have any huge goals apart from just living life to the fullest every day. I feel like life’s getting better and better so I’m excited about 2014.”
These are a few of her favourite things…
1.“Lots of fruit and veggies – smoothies are the best!”
2. “Using a moisturing beauty oil under my makeup – Swisse Maracuja Oil is my fave.”
3. “Lots of water. I always carry a water bottle.”
4. “Positive thoughts.”
5. “Sun salutations/yoga.”
Head to the new issue to read more from Ash!