Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Bodybuilding.com $100k Challenge Winners Announced

Every year, bodybuilding.com run a transformation challenge, inviting users to transform their bodies in 12 weeks for the chance to win $50,000 each. The winners for 2014 have just been announced, and for the first time, they were surprised with the results and prizes while at their local gym (video below).

The results have been surrounded by some controversy, with some people claiming the results weren’t achievable in the 12 week timeframe, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Read the rest of this entry

Thoughts on ‘The Biggest Loser’

‘The Biggest Loser’ started in 2004 and yet it’s only now, 10 years later, that the real truth of the show has reached the mainstream masses. Many people have known what you see on the show isn’t realistic for a long time, but between the Rachel Frederickson publicity (USA) and TBL Australia contestant Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello exposing the tactics behind the show, it seems as though more people than ever are realising the weight loss journeys on the show aren’t nearly as fast or smooth as depicted.

The day after the USA finale, I stumbled across this interview with Rachel by The Girl’s Got Sole. In the article, Rachel says she was doing 3-4 gym classes plus walking on the treadmill while working every day in the lead up to the finale. Even with such an intense training schedule, she was eating 1600 calories a day.

By a similar token, Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello from the 2008 Australian season of the show recently came out and exposed some details behind the show. Weigh ins, depicted as a weekly event on the show, are actually filmed much further apart – the longest gap was three and a half weeks, and the shortest 16 days. Three and a half weeks, depicted as one week to Australian audiences. How do the producers of the show not realise how damaging that can be to viewers? I have visions of countless Aussies sitting at home watching and getting disheartened because they worked out like crazy all week and still didn’t lose even nearly as much as the contestants. The contestants were even told to say how well they’d done that ‘week’. I definitely think the show needs to be a little more realistic and transparent.

Cosi isn’t the first bring up the show’s bad points. In  2012 there was a war of words between ex-presenter Ajay Rochester and ex-contestant/winner Adro Sarnelli from the 2006 Australian season. If you believe the accusations, Adro was almost starving himself in the lead up to the finale and doing some pretty crazy things to lose weight. Similarly, USA season one winner Ryan Benson even went so far to win that he didn’t eat a single piece of solid food in the final ten days, instead living off ‘The Master Cleanse’ – water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. Kai Hibberd of USA season three also followed some pretty intense practices, not eating solid foods in the two weeks up to the final weigh in, getting two colonics and spending the night before the finale in and out of a sauna trying to dehydrate himself even more than he already had.

I don’t even really want to get started on the psychological and emotional side that such a crazy weight loss journey must have on the contestants. Transforming yourself is as much about changing your habits as anything else, and I feel that locking contestants away from the world isn’t going to help that. The real world is still out there waiting to tempt you. The only way to build self-control is to learn to say no, not hide away.

None of this is new news – most of it has been around for years. The more stories that come out though, the more it angers me. The producers and so-called professionals on these shows are ridiculous. How can they stand by and let the contestants treat their bodies so badly? They should have a duty of care and at the very least, a conscience. Health is more important than ratings and they should have said enough is enough.

To sum this little rant up, please, please don’t try and compare yourself to what you see on TV. It makes me so sad to know there are people out there getting upset because they don’t feel like they can measure up to what they see on television.

Sources: Shape.com, News.com.au (2), Girl’s Got Sole, Breaking Muscle

App Review: Smiling Mind (Meditation App)

Meditation is something I’ve tried to do at least once a day for a while now. It’s my way of taking a few minutes out of the day to relax, unwind and calm my mind. It’s pretty tough for someone like me who has a constantly racing mind, but practice makes perfect, right? A few months ago I started using an app called Smiling Mind. It’s marketed as being “modern meditation for young people”. It’s not something I use every day, but it was a great tool.

The app is well designed and is partner to the website, so you can track your progress and listen to guided meditation sessions online. It’s aimed a little more towards people who thrive with achievements and badges. You’ll get badges as you progress through the levels.

Smiling Mind is actually an Australian company with some great partners and sponsors including Reach OutCricket AustraliaDo WaterInspire.org.au and more.

The guided meditation sessions are great and super helpful for people just starting out with meditation, as well as people who prefer to be guided along.

Smiling Mind is currently only available for iOS (no android version yet!), though sessions can be downloaded from the website.

Screenshots below are from the Smiling Mind page on the App Store.

Christmas Gift Guide for Fitness Freaks and Health Nuts!

There are already so many gift guides around, but I’ve decided to do a round-up of some of the products I think would make a great present for the gym junkie or health nut in your life. There have been some awesome new products come out lately as well as some ideas I think have serious good-book potential, so it seems a shame not to showcase them! There are, of course, thousands of other ideas and products out there. I could have added so many more, but then you’d been reading for days (or, more likely, get distracted by cute cat videos on YouTube).

By the way, sorry this is so late! I’ve been having internet dramas!

Quick Links:

Got something to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.

Over AU$100

Fitbit Flex

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1ecAmSo

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1ecAmSo

While I am holding out for the Force, the Fitbit Flex is currently available in Australia and around the world. It can track your steps, distance travelled, carlories burnt, floors climbed, sleep and more. You can also set custom goals and get access to a Fitbit’s online tools. At AU$129.95, this is a great gift for tech addicts. The simple wristband design uses bluetooth and can wirelessly sync using a range of devices including iPhone and many Android smartphones.

Price: $129.95

Buy it/more info: http://www.fitbit.com/au/flex

Vitamix

Image Source: http://bit.ly/IVlKbE

Image Source: http://bit.ly/IVlKbE

I almost don’t think it’s worth putting this in here as for most of us, it’s a little extravagant for a Christmas gift. But, if you’re looking for a gift for a juice lover or raw food diet follower and have a (very) sizeable budget, look no further. Everywhere you look people seem to be drooling over Vitamix blenders, and while they are pricey, they are super versatile and will get the job done.

Price: RRP AU$995 – AU$1195, depending on model.

Buy it/more info: http://www.vitamix.com.au

Polar Heart Rate Monitor – FT7

Image Source: http://bit.ly/19L2btA

Image Source: http://bit.ly/19L2btA

I’ve featured the FT7 model here as it’s the model I have and love. Unlike the Fitbit Flex mentioned above, the Polar FT7 is designed to track your workout details including time, calories, heart rate and fitness vs fat burn time. As your body details are entered into the watch and you wear a chest strap when using it, the data is super accurate and can be synced with your computer if you have the Polar FlowLink (RRP $79).

Price: RRP AU$169

Buy it/more info: http://www.polar.com/au-en/products/get_active/fitness_crosstraining/FT7

AU$51 – $100

Gaiam “Yoga For Beginners” Kit

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1dCTbJY

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1dCTbJY

Gaiam have a reputation for being a great source of yoga information, tutorials and videos. If you’ve got an aspiring yogi to buy for, the “Yoga For Beginners” kit is perfect. In the kit you’ll find a yoga mat, a yoga block, D-ring yoga strap and a DVD with equipment guides and a full-length workout.

Price: AU$59.99

Buy it/more info: http://www.gaiam.com.au/Product_Detail.aspx?ParentCategoryID=47&CategoryID=79&ProductID=13582

“Coco” 1/2 gym tights/pants

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1cI1Tbn

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1cI1Tbn

I am in love with these “Coco” 1/2 tights from Running Bare. The choices for tights are endless and these are just one example of a pair I love. Keep in mind prices can vary depending on style, length and brand.

Price: AU$69.99 
Buy it/more info: http://www.rebelsport.com.au/Product/Running-Bare-Women-s-Coco-1-2-Tights/44320006


Under AU$50

T2 Tea – “20 Times To Shine” gift box

Image Source: http://bit.ly/JnbU2O

Image Source: http://bit.ly/JnbU2O

T2 make amazing tea, and their gift packs are great for tea lovers. The pack features 20 individually wrapped teabags in 11 varieties including China Jasmine, Melbourne Breakfast and Chai.

Price: AU$20

Buy it/more info: http://www.t2tea.com/top-gifts/a-little-something/20-times-to-shine-3/

T2 Tea – “Mirror Mirror” gift packs

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1gzDYy9

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1gzDYy9

A little further up the price scale are these “Mirror Mirror” packs from T2 which include 50g of tea, a teacup, an infuser and a silicone scoop all packaged in a gorgeous box. There are four packs available – “Gone Surfing”, “Strawberries and Cream” (my personal favourite), “French Earl Grey” and “Green Rose”.

Price: AU$45

Buy it/more info: http://www.t2tea.com/top-gifts/t2-what-s-new/mirror-mirror-2/

Water Bottle

Image Source: http://bit.ly/19J3RE7

Image Source: http://bit.ly/19J3RE7

These water bottles are a simple, affordable gift idea that I have actually purchased this year. The bottles are 1.25L and have a handle. Several designs are quotes are available.

Price: AU$12.95 

Buy it/more info: http://shop.cottonon.com/search/?q=1.25LTR+bottle

Puma Workout Grip Gym Bag

Image Source: http://bit.ly/195eCGm

Image Source: http://bit.ly/195eCGm

This was my very first gym bag. I still have it and despite me being particularly clumsy and not very good at packing, it has no tears or issues. For such a cheap price, this is a great gift and super useful for any gym-goers. On a sidenote, I have the bag in hot pink, which now seems to be unavailable. It could possibly still be available from certain stores (or eBay) if you want something a little brighter than grey, black or navy.

Price: AU$24.99

Buy it/more info: http://www.amartsports.com.au/Product/Puma-Workout-Grip-Bag/45260901

Still stuck?

If you still really can’t decide, gift cards may be the answer. I know, I know, they always give off the impression that you forgot until the last minute or that you didn’t want to make an effort, but I actually don’t mind getting gift cards at all. Aim for something a little more special than a Coles card, such as a Rebel Sport or even a brand such as Nike, Lorna Jane or Lululemon.

Good luck, and Merry Christmas! x

Infographic: Health Facts By Numbers – Popsugar

I am loving this infographic from Popsugar at the moment!

Health Facts - Popsugar

Source: bit.ly/180KOba

Infographic: Health ‘hacks’ that actually work (home remedies)

I’m not a fan of the term ‘hacks’, but there’s some great natural remedies you can make and use at home using ingredients you might already have. Find out more below in this infographic by cheapnursedegrees.com.

Click the image for a larger view.

Health Hacks/Home Remedies that actually work

Source: cheapnursedegrees.com

Facebook Updates

Just a friendly reminder that I update my Facebook a lot more than this blog with fitness inspiration, recipes and links!

Once I figure out a new design for the blog I’ll be doing a giveaway for my fellow Australians, so head over and like the page!

Three Steps Forward, Zero Steps Back on Facebook

x

 

MyFitnessPal – Setting Custom Macros (For IIFYM) – Google Chrome

Update: It seems User Scripts is no longer up and running. Here’s a link to the custom macros script, which you should be able to install once you have installed Greasemonkey/Tampermonkey – http://karoshiethos.com/js/MFP_Macro_Fix.user.js

 

Since I have been doing IIFYM, I have been using MyFitnessPal to plan and track my macros. There is a problem with the system though – custom macros work on percentages rather than grams or numeric values. I have found a fix in one of the forums, so I thought I’d go through it here just in case anyone else happens to be sick of the inaccuracies that occur when using percentages as I was.

Custom Macros - MyFitnessPal

My custom macros – calculated using iifym.com/iifym-calculator

Note: these instructions are for Google Chrome. If you are using Firefox, use Greasemonkey instead of Tampermonkey. If you are using Internet Explorer, you should upgrade to a better browser anyway.

Super special shout out to Rob Ruchte for creating this awesome script. Seriously awesome work.

Setting custom macros for MyFitnessPal

  1. Download and install Tampermonkey from the Google Chrome Store (link)
  2. Visit the MyFitnessPal Macro Fix page on UserScripts.org (link)
  3. Hit the install button at the top right.
  4. Once installed, go back into MFP > Home > Goals > Custom.
  5. There will now be options to set macros using percentages or grams.
  6. Edit and save your macros and you’re done!

The changes seem to translate perfectly over onto the iOS app (provided you don’t go try to edit them, I guess). On my phone my macros are 1 gram out, but considering the percentages had me sitting at almost 10g out for carbs, this is a definite improvement!!

I can’t believe MFP haven’t implemented this themselves yet. The forums have plenty of requests for it, and yet it’s still an issue. Oh well!

Hope this helps! x

Advertising vs Reality

Just saw this on Tumblr and thought it was absolutely perfect and needed sharing. See the original post here.

Cherry Blossoms

I still really love the idea of getting a cherry blossom tattoo. I’d love to get a flower for each member of my family as they make up such a large part of my life or maybe even a whole branch of flowers. I always said I’d do it once I was a bit happier with my body and willing to show it off. Guess I’m still working on that.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve been having a look around at some designs I like. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually take the plunge and do it.

 

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