Sunday, 20 May 2012

How to get an intense workout in only 35 minutes!

I don't have time to exercise you tell me!  And anyway, don't you need to spend lots of money and at least an HOUR at the gym to get any benefit anyway?  WRONG!  You can get a whole body, intense fat-burning workout, AT HOME in only 35 minutes 3 - 6 times a week.  Here's how I do it:

I made a small investment in my health and purchased a stationary exercise bike ($100 2nd hand on Trade Me) and a set of 1kg hand weights ($6 on Trade Me).  Cycling is one of the top calorie-burning cardio exercises you can do, and you can do it in the privacy of your own home, while listening to your iPod or watching TV!  You've got to love that!

I fit it in after dropping the kids at school and kindy, and my two year old gets to watch kids TV while I'm doing it (in the same room as me on the bike).  Now, putting my two year old in front of the TV is not my IDEAL, but that's the only way I can keep her occupied and out of trouble while I exercise, when she's the only child home (and she doesn't have day-time naps anymore).  You might be able to fit it in better first thing in the morning (this is my preference, but at the moment, that would mean me getting up at 5.30am, which I'm not too keen on!).

Getting the most out of your cardio

I spend about 30 minutes on the bike, the first 5 minutes are my warm-up (not too intense), then I spend about 15 minutes doing interval training.  Basically interval training is what top athletes do to get really fit and increase the bodies production of growth hormones (you can read more about interval training here, in an article by Dr Mercola ), so you get the results from a shorter work-out, that you would normally only get in about an hour! 

What I do is this:  I use my iPod's stopwatch and do 'laps' of 30 seconds of higher resistance, fast peddling ('sprinting'), followed by 90 seconds of normal speed with less resistance.  I do this 8 times.
You can also use this technique while walking or running.  The speeds and intensities should be whatever you are comfortable with at your current fitness level...a 'sprint' can be just a higher resistance peddling at the same speed or a bit faster...what ever you can maintain for 30 seconds.

Weight Training & Abs

After I've finished the interval training, I keep peddling on the bike at a regular speed, but I pick up my hand weights and do about 5 minutes of  upper body exercises (like bicep and tricep curls etc).  Then I hop off the bike, do my stretches, then head to my bed to do my abdominal workout.  I use a series of ab exercises that I know from my Pilate's DVDS, but you can just do sit-ups (start with 10 sit-ups if you're not used to doing these, and you don't need to go all the way up to your knees, just enough so you can feel your abs tensing is fine).  I do this for a couple of minutes, then I'm DONE!  All in less than 35 minutes!

I hope these tips inspire you to get on your bike (or out onto the pavement!) and give it a go!  It might be hard at first...I really struggled to do 20 minutes on the bike when we first go it, but now I can do 60 minutes (not that I usually have time!).  The more you do it, the better you will feel, and the easier it will get.  I really notice a difference in the way I feel (emotionally and physically) on the days I exercise.

I would love to hear from anyone who gives it a go!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Chocolate Fudge Balls

Chocolate Fudge Balls

This recipe is a staple in our house, and you will pretty much always find some in our fridge! 


  • 800gms Dates (approx), chopped in half (look out for stray pits!)
  • 1 Cup Ground Seeds* (anything you like, I usually use a combo of Linseeds, Sesame Seeds and Sunflower Seeds).
  • 4 TBS Cocoa or Carob Powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence (optional)
  • Dessicated Coconut (half a cup approx).


Process in 2 minute bursts in food processor until finely chopped.  Add a little water (a teaspoon at a time) or Extra Virgin Coconut Oil while processing until the mixture starts to stick together a little.  Squish small handfuls together, roll into a ball and roll in dessicated coconut.  Refrigerate or freeze.


*If you don't have a coffee and spice grinder to do this,  you can buy LSA (linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds) already ground at most supermarkets.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Introducing myself!

Hi!  So glad you stopped by!  My name is Ang and I am on a MISSION to help families eat a more nutritious, natural whole food diet!  I gave up sugar (even CHOCOLATE!!), coffee and all refined processed foods a few months ago and I am endeavoring to feed my family (hubby and our 5 kids aged 2, 4, 6, 11 & 12) a natural, whole food diet on a very modest single-income budget.  We live in urban Auckland, New Zealand.

A little about what I do...

I buy our milk RAW from the dairy farmer, I make our bread (whole rye sourdough) and pretty much cook/prepare most things from scratch at home.  Now, if you are a long way from this in your home, please don't feel overwhelmed or discouraged!  The way to go is to slowly transition to a healthier diet by adding one thing or habit at a time and getting everyone used it...unless of course you're like me and get a bit passionate (or obsessive!) and jump right in the deep end practically overnight!!  Also, you can expect to encounter a little resisitance (especially if you have older children), but don't give up, you will get there in the end.  Baby-steps!

A few things I LOVE...

Green Smoothies!  I whip up yummy (yes YUMMY!) smoothies with leafy greens (spinach, silverbeet, spirulina, chlorella etc) and lots of fruit to make sure I get lots of raw in my diet.  I like to add Hemp Protein Powder and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil to mine for lots of extra goodness.

Exercising!  Not that I get as much time for this as I might like, but you will often find me sweating it out on the stationary bike or walking and running around our neighbourhood in the mornings.  I also love Winsor Pilates DVDs.  Exercise does more than just get you is also the best stress-relief activity I know and I always feel so much better afterwards!  Remember, starting is the hardest thing...once you really get going, you will miss it on the days you don't do it, at least I do!

I plan to add a lot of recipes and health boosting ideas and information on this blog, so if you are interested in all this stuff, please stop by again!!