By Kelly Nicholas, Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Movement, Bachelor of Health Science in Paramedicine
As fitness instructors, we are often asked "what do you do to keep fit." Whilst I have a Science background and a love for understanding how the body works, I too seek advice on how to be the best version of myself!
I view fitness as a dynamic and constantly evolving platform and thus regularly mix things up. Through my journey in the fitness industry, I really appreciate the need to constantly challenge your body by putting it under all different forms of stress. I also have a great appreciation for nutrition and using "food as fuel." So lets begin at the start of the day:
Firstly, I NEVER skip breakfast! Sometimes I have to get up at 5.30am for a day shift with Ambulance Vic whilst other days, I may have gotten home at 1am the night before. Irrespective of my routine, breakfast is a must. If it's a work day, I put everything into a smoothie and drink it on the way. If it's a Change It Up training day, I have more time so I will sit and have muesli with fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. I also add honey and cinnamon and if I'm organised, some stewed apples. (see image below)
Exercise - I think on average I would work out about 4 times per week. If I am at work doing a 10 or 12 hour shift, I don't exercise at all! On my days off, I prefer to work out early - If I've caught up on sleep I love to get to one of Sarah's early morning classes or If I don't wake up in time (more the norm...) I usually work out with Lou after we have taught a class. I always find I push myself harder when I workout with someone else and we both love adding strength to our regime. I find that if I don't exercise in the morning, it wont happen! On holidays, I try to keep this philosophy and continue exercising after breakfast.
I also try and do at least one Pilates or Yoga session per week. I have had 2 ACL repairs and an arthroscope on my left knee and consequently have had lower back and soft tissue injuries. I just can't do HIIT all the time and I find these classes really help my body as well as enhance my technique in other classes. I also find them really challenging!!
Mid-morning snack - I had a great journey with Naturopath Nicole Woodcock and I discovered that I wasn't eating nearly enough vegetables! Did you know we should be having 5 cups of vegies per day? Well I certainly wasn't getting that! To mitigate this, I try and have a green smoothie every day (celery, spinach, ginger, lemon, tumeric, apple, kiwi with skin on and cold pressed apple juice). This gives me a great variety of greens and natural anti-inflammatories. I usually have this late morning or sometimes with lunch
Lunch - I never used to eat much lunch however these days, I try and have something pretty substantial. If I'm home, I love to have scrambled eggs on wholemeal bread with spinach and cherry tomatoes. This has lots of protein as well as more vegies and fills me up! If I'm at work, I always take my lunch and usually have a whole lot of salad chopped up that I throw in a wrap with a can of tuna. Again something pretty filling as I never know when my next break will be! (see image)
Dinner - as a family, we eat a lot less red meat these days and have lots of vegetarian meals. This arose from establishing what my body digests well and what it doesn't. Red meat for me is quite inflammatory on my gut and since I've cut a lot of it out, I have had fewer gastrointestinal issues. We try and have salmon once a week and have lots of quiche- like meals, homemade pizzas, buddha bowls, chicken dishes and stir fires. Again, our focus is to add diversity to our meals and get the kids to try things out of their comfort zone (like purple cauliflower and chickpeas) - see image below.
Mindfulness: As a family, we practice GEM (gratitude, empathy and mindfulness) every night. We ask each other simple questions about the good things that happened that day and why we are grateful. I love everything related to the resilience project and want to instill those values in the kids. I have always been an optimistic person and strongly believe in the power of positivity.
Sleep: I need it and preferably 8 hours of it! As a shift worker, this has its challenges however regardless of the time I've gone to bed, I generally get up around the same time of day, give or take an hour. I often feel worse if I sleep in longer in the mornings and it seems to mess with the rest of my day! Most nights before bed, I read a book - I love reading and find this a great way to switch off and decompress.
Finally, I just wanted to touch on alcohol and indulgences. I do believe in moderation and don't believe in diets. I always have a treat with my cup of tea each night. I generally have a coffee most days. I don't drink during the week but love a glass of wine or two on the weekend. I do however try to stick to 2- 3 glasses maximum as I find I can't metabolise more than this. I used to have more however again, I found alcohol very inflammatory on my gut and so make a concerted effort to stop after a couple (shockingly I feel much better the next day!). Holidays for us always center around happy hour and drinks and so I made a very diligent effort over summer to have plenty of alcohol free days. You don't need to drink to 'fit in' - do what feels right for you!
So that's me! Pretty simple - eat healthy and in moderation, exercise regularly and surround yourself with good people!