Archive Monthly Archives: October 2017

focusing only on upper or lower abs?

Focusing Only On Upper Or Lower Abs? You’re Doing It All Wrong!

Have you been focusing only on upper or lower abs? You’re doing it all wrong!

It’s pretty controversial in the fitness world; especially amongst some celebrity trainers who promise the holy grail of ‘toned lower abs’ to get that six-pack look.

But I’m sorry to say that I need to bust a few myths that are perpetuated by certain individuals and companies selling the latest equipment or exercise regime that guarantees improved lower or upper abs in a crazy short space of time…

Your upper and lower abs are the same thing!!

It is one whole wall of muscle and, just like other muscles in your body, you can’t technically work one section of them without working the whole muscle. Think about it, have you ever heard of working the upper vs lower triceps??

That’s not to say that different parts of the same muscle can’t show different results based on the workout you’re doing, but the actual muscle will all be worked at the same time.

Muscles work on an all or nothing principle; they contract when a signal is sent from our nervous system, and then relax. This contracting and relaxing is what happens when you work on any muscle – whether it’s a crunch, a plank or a squat.

Also, our bodies don’t like waste – so why would you want to focus on just one area of your physique when you can work multiple??

The confusion with upper and lower abs probably stems from the way the muscle – rectus abdominis – looks. This long, flat muscle goes all the way down the abdomen, divided vertically by connective tissue (linea alba) and horizontally into smaller sections (tendinous intersections).

These ‘sections’ of the muscle can often be seen on the outside of the body and are usually visible as a six-pack, but it’s not uncommon to see four, eight and even ten-packs. While I understand where the misinformation might come from for those not involved in the medical or fitness field, anyone who is helping someone attain a better body shape or fitness level should know their facts.

The rectus abdominus muscle works as one, even if you think you’re working on just the upper or lower abs!

The way your abs look on the outside also depends on so many variables too – your body shape, your fitness goals, injury history, fitness abilities, nutrition and of course your motivation and mind-set.

So, before you rush out and buy the next gadget promising the best upper or lower abs (or any other part of your body for that matter) – just take a moment to think about whether it makes sense and if the person or company trying to make money off you really knows what they’re talking about!

Can Wine Be Part Of My Healthy Lifestyle?

Can Wine Be Part Of My Healthy Lifestyle?

Can wine be part of my healthy lifestyle? Yes… with some side notes

In my 20s, I was more of a mixed drink kind of girl. There were a few sweet white wines that I would drink but red wine was out of the question. It was just so sharp and I didn’t have the pallet for it.

Then, in my early 30s, I read somewhere red wine was better for us than other types of alcohol – and I fell for it. Now, there might be a little evidence out there that it is better for you than, let’s say, beer…but alcohol is definitely something we should have in moderation, no matter what it is.

Now, in my 40s, I have acquired quite the taste for red wine. I love to have a glass when I go out to dinner with friends and family. Since that is a super rare occasion, I also have a glass here and there at home. I think it’s written somewhere that it’s a cardinal sin to make a ribeye without accompanying it with a nice glass of red wine!

And you know me; I’ve done my research. I have favorite wines out there but it’s really based only on taste. I decided to dive in a little bit and find wine that had a really high standard for quality as well.

I have learned that there are over 76 additives approved by the FDA for US winemaking, including ammonium salt and copper sulfate.

US wine companies also use genetically modified (GMO) yeasts.

Plus, over 20 million pounds of pesticides are used on commercial vineyards in California every year. Monsanto’s synthetic herbicide “Round Up” is so commonly used in the US that even organic wines frequently test positive.

I wanted a wine to be sugar-free, low sulfite, truly organic and lower in alcohol.


There’s a company out there called, Dry Farm Wines, that actually over delivers on what I was looking for. They are also endorsed by some people I really look up to: Mark Sisson, Dave Aspry, JJ Virgin, Abel James and Robb Wolf!

Click to try this awesome brand, and they’ll give you a great deal on your first order – Dry Farm Wines.

Now let me leave you with a few tips on making sure your occasional glass of wine is the best it can be:

  • Reds: serve at 55 to 60°. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or ice for 15 minutes before opening.
  • Whites/Roses: serve at 40 to 50°. Refrigerate for 2+ hours and remove 15 minutes prior to serving or ice for 30 minutes.
  • Consider a smaller pour. Not just because no one needs that much wine but also because smaller pours leave more headspace in the glass to properly enjoy the aromatics.
  • Swirl your glass. Swirling aerates the wine and releases the aromas. Have fun trying to name the different smells!

And most importantly, always make a toast before that first sip!

What You Don’t Want To Know (But Definitely Should) About Diabetes

What You Don’t Want To Know (But Definitely Should) About Diabetes

The science bit 

I feel it’s really important to understand what goes on in our own bodies, especially when it comes to what we eat and how that affects us. So here is a rundown of what diabetes is, so you don’t have any excuse now!

The cells in our bodies need fuel for energy. When we provide our body with fuel (food and drink), it is broken down into glucose, which is a simple sugar. The glucose is then transported around the body via our bloodstream and delivered to where the energy is needed – i.e. to breathe, move, walk etc.

A hormone called insulin regulates this fine balance of fuel processing and distribution that goes on in our bodies. The pancreas consistently releases small amounts of insulin; when more is needed the pancreas receives a signal so that the glucose can be delivered where it is needed. When this happens, your glucose levels drop (because it is being used by your cells).

When the body’s glucose level goes too low, the body can suffer from low blood sugar levels (you might have heard the medical term hypoglycemia). Signals are sent to the liver to release more glucose, which in turn means your brain receives a signal that it needs more fuel (i.e. food), and you start to feel hungry.

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to manage this process effectively. Either the body cannot make (enough) insulin, or the body plays a cruel trick and is resistant to it (which means that it can’t control the glucose in your body and you end up with high blood sugar levels).

Type 1 diabetes is when the body destroys the insulin-producing cells – usually people have to inject themselves regularly with insulin to manage this.

Type 2 diabetes is when the body can produce insulin, but in insufficient amounts, or the body is resistant to what is produced. 

What you don’t want to know (but definitely should) about diabetes:

The bad news…

  • Diabetes is a lifelong disease – there is currently no complete cure
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the USA
  • There are currently about 30 million people in the USA who have type 2 diabetes (that’s approximately 9% of the total population)
  • Over 84 million American adults have pre-diabetes (where someone’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet at a diabetes level – they are at an increased risk of later developing diabetes)
  • Diabetes sufferers are at an increased risk of other health issues, including premature death, vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and the amputation of limbs.

The good news…

  • The right diet and exercise can play a big role in the management of diabetes*
  • Pre-diabetes can be reversed or slowed down with the right diet and exercise*
  • Weight loss can lead to significantly improved outcomes for many diabetes sufferers*
  • Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with steps you can take, including the right diet


What you can do

This doesn’t just apply to those who are at risk of diabetes, or who currently suffer from it. The eating and exercise suggestions in The M.A.D.E Diet are for everyone wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle – and for those who want the chance to live a longer life.

You can download my ebook for full information, but in a nutshell:

  • Stop drinking soda – completely and forever
  • Cut out packaged or processed foods (includes pastries, bakery goods, processed meats, ready meals, candy…..)
  • Stop choosing low fat margarine, vegetable spreads, milk and yogurt (read my post about why healthy fat is good)
  • Reduce / eliminate grains (yes I know this one is controversial for many so you’ll have to learn more in my ebook, or my blog post here)
  • Switch to a diet focussed on healthy meats, fish and veggies
  • Give your body a fasting break each day (Intermittent Fasting)
  • Combine with daily cardio and weight exercises

Sorry to be (almost) all doom and gloom but this is a serious issue… an epidemic even, for our public health, and we need to take action ourselves if we hope to stop this for future generations.

* I will never give you medical or dietary advice – these points are for generic information only and you must always consult your physician for professional medical advice.


Harvard School of Public Health Study

Centers for Disease Control