One of the most common questions I get asked is “Should I cut out carbs to lose weight”?
Well, yes. And no. There’s a few good reasons as to why I think cutting carbs is a great idea which I have outlined in my latest Q&A video (see below). One of them being that many studies have shown that low carb diets don’t just reduce our waistlines, but also lower our blood glucose levels, blood pressure, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol patterns, as well as lower triglycerides. Looking at just these few, but very important reasons, is enough to consider reducing the amount of carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates) in our diet, HOWEVER, we do have to consider the individual when it comes to any type of “diet” or lifestyle choice.
Squats are a fantastic exercise that work nearly every muscle in the lower body. Done properly, they primarily target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus to tone the legs, lift the butt and make everyone envy you.
This exercise doesn’t require 3 easy payments of $49.95 plus package and handling and also doesn’t take up any space in the house. The squat can be performed without any equipment at all, so it is a perfect exercise to incorporate into a home workout routine – NO EXCUSES!
How to perform a squat:
1. Stand with your feet hip width apart.
2. Tighten and pull in your abdominal muscles.
3. Keep you back in a neutral position with your knees centered over your feet and lower your body down as if you were going to sit in a chair. Keep the motion slow.
4. Stop when your legs are parallel to the floor and stay in this position for a few seconds. Make sure your knees are behind the toes.
5. Press down into your heels and slowly return to the standing position.
6. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times for 2-3 sets. Make sure to breathe in as you lower your body down and breathe out as you return to the standing position.
Jaime Ridge is NZ’s new it girl. Juggling modeling, university, training for (and winning) a boxing match, and with her new reality TV show The Ridges about to start, Jaime has been one busy 19 year old this year. I was lucky enough to have some of her time to chat about her diet and exercise and find out the secret to how she stays in such great shape.
How important is diet and exercise to your lifestyle?
Diet and exercise are extremely important to me. Living a healthy and active lifestyle has been a part of my life since I can remember.
What does your usual diet consist of?
Usually I will have a ½ portion of muesli, fruit and trim milk for breakfast. A seared tuna salad with lettuce, beans, capers and lemon juice [for lunch]. Then a piece of fruit in the afternoon. For dinner I usually have fish or chicken with grilled vegetables and salad (sometimes a small amount of whole grain pasta). I also drink a lot of tea, green tea, peppermint tea and English breakfast (and love a bit of bran muffin or home baking!!!)
How did you prepare for your fight with Rosanna Arkle? What did you have to change in your diet to make sure you could perform at your best?
I had to start eating bigger meals and more carbs when I was training for the fight in order for me to have enough energy to perform at my best and get the most out of training. Before the fight (at the last minute) I had to cut down and loose quite a lot of weight in a short amount of time, which was extremely challenging and took an extreme toll on my body and mental state, I would not recommend it to anyone.
What do you do to stay in shape? Do you have a specific exercise routine?
I still do 2-3 boxing training / cross fit at Boxing Alley with Monty and then I train at Next Generation nearly everyday and I also do Hot Yoga about 2-3 times a week. I have a specific program I do at Next Gen.
What is your cheat food that you cannot go without?
Baking…I LOVE bran muffins and chocolate…I have an extreme sweet tooth.
The media now has a huge influence on our body image and self-esteem. What would be your advice to other young women on dieting and exercise?
My advice would be everything in moderation, and to be realistic about your diet and exercise. There is no point on going extreme on diet and exercise regime for a period of time and then later dropping it all, consistency is key. Also don’t get to hung up on it, as the more you think about it the harder it is. Make healthy eating and dieting part of your daily routine so it then becomes a habit.
Make sure you check out The Ridges premiering on Wednesday September 12, 7:30pm on TV3.
I am a big fan of Kimberly Synder, a fellow nutritionist and believer in the power of Green Smoothies. This recipe is straight from her Beauty Detox Program which focuses on creating beauty from the inside out. Kimberly recommends that this green smoothie is consumed each day for breakfast, 30 minutes after having a cup of hot water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon in order to wake up your liver and start the detoxification process.
This smoothie is a fantastic way of incorporating green vegetables into your diet – just one serving gives you 3 cups of dark leafy green vegetables which is more than some people get in a whole week! Because these days most people just inhale their food rather than chew each mouthful the reccommend 20-30 times (yes you did read that right!), blending the greens into a creamy consistancy makes their full spectrum of nutrition available to our body to absorb and use! The following recipe provides about 4 servings. Kimberly recommends making a big batch like this one and then refridgerating the rest so that you only have to make the smoothie every other day. Just pour a glass from the fridge and go! No excuses for all you busy people out there! 😉
Give it a try and notice the difference in your skin and energy levels yourself!
Ingredients (2-4 servings)
1 ½- 2 cups very cold, filtered water
6 cups spinach, chopped
5 cups organic romaine lettuce, chopped
2 stalks of organic celery
1 organic apple, cored and chopped
1 organic pear, cored and chopped
1 organic banana
1–2 Tbs. fresh organic lemon juice
Ice cubes (the extra coldness can help newbies with the taste)
1/2 cup of organic cilantro
1/2 cup of organic parsley
Add water, spinach and chopped romaine to the blender. Starting the blender on a low speed; mix until smooth.
Gradually move to higher speeds and add the herbs, celery, pear, and apple. Add the banana and lemon juice last.
*For 1 serving, cut out one of the fruits and the celery.
As the name implies, this exercise works into the triceps – the backs of the upper arms – and are great for the “bat wings”. Best of all, they don’t require gym equipment, so you can tone your arms in your own home without spending any money on gym memberships or expensive weights!
What you’ll need:
A chair or coffee table
How do to the exercise:
Start by sitting on the edge of the chair or coffee table and grab the edge with your hands by your side. Your feet should be about hip width apart on the floor with your knees bent at about a 90° angle*.
Lift yourself off the seat and straighten your arms whilst still keeping a little bend in your elbows. Locking the elbows will put tension in your elbow joint and not the tricep!
Slowly bend your elbows and lower your body down towards the floor until your arms are at about a 90° angle. Make sure you keep your back close to the bench!
At the bottom of this movement, slowly press off with your hands, and push yourself straight back up to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
*To make this exercise harder, place your legs straight out in front of you rather than bent at 90°. If this is still too easy, try placing your legs up on another chair for the movement.
Summer is on its way and it’s time to get bikini ready! I’ve put together a list of my top five ab workouts to tone and tighten your tummy in time for the swimsuit season.
1. The Plank
The plank is my #1 go to ab exercise. It is so effective in targeting the abdominals as well as strengthening the shoulders, back and glutes.
Start by placing your elbows directly under your shoulders and rise up onto your toes. Push your heels back and keep the back flat so that you are in a straight line. Pull the belly button in towards your spine to engage your core. Hold here for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3 times.
If this is too hard or you are feeling pressure in the lower back, reduce your time to 10 seconds and work your way up. Or try holding this position down on your knees for 3 sets of 30 seconds. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t hold this position for long. Keep trying the modified knee version and slowly start to work your way up to holding for longer periods on your toes.
2. Single Leg Stretch
Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Take a deep breath and then while exhaling draw the naval to the spine and fold your knees to your chest one at a time. Curl your upper body forward with your chin tucked into your chest and close the gap between your ribs and hips.
While exhaling slowly, stretch your right leg away from your body so that it is approximately 45 degrees to the floor. Breath in and bring the leg back to your chest and repeat this with the other leg. Repeat this 10 times on each leg. Rest and repeat two more times.
3. Vertical Crunch
The vertical crunch is a great way to exercise the upper and lower abdominals, and one which I would consider the most effective at targeting and toning the abs.
Start by lying flat on your back with your hands behind your head. Extend your legs towards the ceiling. If you can’t fully straighten them, don’t worry, just bend them as much as you need to. Whilst exhaling, bring your belly button in towards the spine and contract the abs to lift your shoulder blades off the ground. At the same time, tilt your heels up towards the ceiling so that your pelvis lifts slightly off the ground. Inhale and lower down and repeat this movement for 3 sets of 10.
4. Reverse Crunch
This ab exercise is fantastic for working the lower abs. It is important to not get into the habit of swinging the legs though – that’s cheating!
Start by lying flat on your back with your hands down by your sides. With your legs extended up to the ceiling, use your abdominals to lift your hips off the ground and push your legs upwards. Lower down slowly and repeat for 3 sets of 10.
5. Side Plank Raises
Side planks are great at targeting the obliques and for working into that problem area that many people call, “Muffin Tops”. Start this exercise by lying on your right side and propping yourself up on your right forearm. Make sure that the elbow is directly underneath your shoulder. With your legs extended and stacked on top of one another, push up onto your feet so that your hips are off the ground and you are in a straight line. Now you are in the side plank position. Slowly lower your hips without touching the ground and then lift them back up to the side plank position. Repeat this for 10 repetitions and then perform the movement on the other side. Do 3 sets on each side.
If this is too hard, just come down onto your knees and do the same movement.
Be careful when performing these exercises. If you are feeling any pain in your lower back, STOP.If you have any injuries, please consult your physiotherapist or GP before doing the exercises.
This smoothie may not be the prettiest, but damn does it make your skin look good! It tastes great too, so give it a whirl. Packed out with vitamin C and A, as well as polyphenolic antioxidants such as zea-xanthin and beta-carotene, these nutrients help to protect against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) and help to slow aging and specific age related diseases.
Ingredients: (serves 2)
1 banana, chopped
2 green kiwi fruit, skinned and sliced
2 cups fresh baby spinach
200ml cold water
a few ice cubes (optional)
Blend all ingredients together and serve into glasses.
I would suggest drinking this in the morning for breakfast at least 3-4 times a week to notice a significant difference in your skin.