Thursday, August 21, 2014

Best Workout For Rocking Those Curves In A Bikini

Don't you dare tell me I'm getting organised too early, Spring is practically on our doorstep so that means SUMMER is mere months away- Bikini's at the ready! It doesn't matter what shape or size you are- I'm definitely no bikini model but I still rock one. I feel "together enough"to do so and I hope I encourage some of you girls to do so to. I also REALLY hate tan lines, so a bikini minimises that!  Everyone is self conscience at some stage but living in fear and never setting forth on a beach isn't going to fix the problem, it'll make you it's bitch! The key is to be PROACTIVE not REACTIVE. 

Proactive: "Oh, I feel my legs need a little more definition, I haven't made that much time to exercise lately. I'll go squat and jump and run and WORKOUT while tightening up my diet". 

Reactive: Looks in mirror while naked, eating a block of chocolate and holding a cheeseburger. "OMG, how did this happen?! Life is so hard, how will I ever go to the beach now. It must be my bad genes. WAHHHHHHH. I think the solution is also to cancel my gym membership!"  

If we are to succeed at beach confidence and bikini wearing, we can never shy away from a stern pep talk "YOU LOOK HOT, YOU ARE CONFIDENT, YOU"VE GOT THIS! Plus a little booty work and core tightening! This series below is one of my favourites and also the most frequently asked for from ladies worldwide. These exercises help target ass, arms, core, thighs and butt. Errrrything that is on display in a bikini or cossie as us Aussies say!

1. The Step Up & Lift

Follow through with the hips and squeeze the glute at the top. I'd go with holding dumbbells by your side or a barbell across your back. Stay tall.

2. The Hip & Thigh Extension

A pre squeeze is essential, engage your cheeks (of the butt variety) then lift. Push through your heels not too much in the toes. Just lay the bar or even a weight plate onto on your hips, pelvis and "area". If you are quite precious use a mat between the weight and you.

3. The Good Morning

Use control and get lighter to work on technique first

4. Curtsy/Cross Over Lunge.

As the name suggests, you curtsy into this one. Sitting into the backs of the legs and butt. Again, technique over weight. Do not lean forward! If anything lean back into the legs.

5. The Woodchoop

It's a flowing motion, engage the core and put some power behind the move. Use a weight, cable or med ball.

6. The Bicycle

Keep those shoulders down and the abs on. Slow and controlled and really aim to extend the leg out.

Try this series in a circuit type style focusing on 12 reps of each and repeat 4-5 rounds. You'll use a weight that means you can only perform 12 reps and no more, test yourself out and then increase weight as you get stronger. Once you've performed your lifting circuit go blast some more body fat with a HIIT session. Try 1 min alternating intervals (1 min sprint and 1 min medium speed) on the rower for a total of 15-18mins. You can also use my HIIT 5 workout program

Workout designed by: Nat Carter, PT & Transformation Coach
Bikinis: Seafolly
Images: Sourced from Google

Will you be rocking a bikini this Summer?

More reading: 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Target Those Female Trouble Spot Areas

The other day I posed a question to my FB followers, I knew there would be a flurry of responses and it would also be worthwhile giving you my feedback and tips.

So the question was:

Ladies, what are your main trouble spot areas on your body?

And then came the answers!

Butt, thighs, back of arms, tummy, back fat, jiggly bits all over

And MY responses below. Note: These a quick solutions and not based on personalised/individual recommendations, however I'm sure you'll find them handy. With regards to reps and sets just focus on building strength in the area first- so aim for 3-4 sets at 8-12 RM


1) Try HIIT running sprints. I have a HIIT program here  

2) Good mornings/step ups/single leg hip extensions (all these exercises can be googled and it's good for you to start researching this for yourself!)

Good mornings

Single leg ext.

3) Try varying your squats stance (wide, really close and normal hip distance). I'm quite a fan of a close stance squat these days

Narrow squats: Try this as a progression from normal stance squats, if great for balance and hitting legs/glutes at a different range/angle.


1) Assess stress levels/hormone levels. Great website for hormonal issues here  

2) Diet? Is there any attributing to extra bulge- gluten, sugar, excess calories, wine etc. Try my eating plan 

3) Try core tightening exercises not adbdominal building i.e avoid crunches/sit ups go for hanging knee raises, bicycle ab move & woodchop (again, google these)

Hanging knee raises 


1) Make sure you have proper glute activation. I've got a Butt Beautification program that includes this 

2) Try Heavy lying hip extension/single leg deadlift (google these) 

Single leg deads

3) Avoid excessive cardio, weights are your butt's friend. Building your gluteal shape is want you want not getting rid of muscle fibre 


1) Pulldowns & Pull ups 

Lat Pulldowns

2) Medium & Heavy Rows (all variations) 

3) Switch your cardio to include rowing,  to focus on pulling movements and help attack that back area. Posture is important too, always sit up straight, shoulder blades together and pulled down.


1) Again, hormonal fat storage area, check levels

2) Look at overall fat intake of the diet, perhaps this needs to be decreased, also check carbohydrate level are you consuming too many carbs for your activity intake 

3) Overhead tricep extension and assisted dips or bench dips are two great exercises 
Overhead tricep cable extension

Tricep dips, assisted on pull up machine

Hope you found this helpful and tell me below about your trouble spots.......

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How Your Limiting Beliefs Are Affecting Your Entire Life

What are limiting beliefs?

Limiting beliefs are those deep ingrained beliefs that we all have, you know the ones that tell us "You can't have love in your life, you are just going to be single for ever" or  You are fat and that's just how you were born" or "No, you can't be the CEO of this company, you are not smart enough" or "Everyone in this family goes to university because that's just what we do" and on and on it goes. You can swear blind that these beliefs are true and at the end of the day, you've told yourself so many times that eventually that indeed become truth. Those around you (your partner, your parents, your friends) may also influence these beliefs. Unless we truly decided what we want to believe in, then we will forever be stuck between our true happiness and these beliefs.  Powerful huh?

Why limiting beliefs suck the life right outta you?

Well there, pretty lady, how on earth do you except to grow and flourish with these limiting beliefs on ya back, hey? First and foremost we have to acknowledge these things actually exist. Get yourself a pen and jot down all the limiting beliefs you have going on in your life right now.....

Ok, so that list might be long, it might be short but whatever is in that list understand that they will not go away if you don't stamp on them and eradicate them. Get ready!

How to squash those limiting beliefs you have in your life

You've got your list in front of you and now is the time to verbally squash those thoughts. Out loud (in a big strong voice now) "I am not defined by these limiting beliefs and I am greater than all of these beliefs. I deserve success (or to be happy/healthy/married/lean & strong/pretty etc)". By all means, go through each one if you like and repeat that phrase.

Now you can't except what seems like a hocus pocus phrase to just work instantly, right? No, no no! You'll have to make an EFFORT each day to start actively choosing to change these beliefs and repeating your  "I deserve success (or to be happy/healthy/married/lean & strong/pretty etc)". If we look  at a weight lossy one: rather than the typical "I'm a fatso". Replace those thoughts with I have fat, I am not fat. Being fat doesn't define who am I.

The next step is actioning to move forward from this limiting beliefs. You've got to go that extra mile to change these beliefs. Get out there and start exercising, join an outdoor fitness group, get a trainer, go for a walk, buy health fresh food, drink more water and so on.

Understand the belief, actively change the belief, create a new belief. When you feel good about your new found belief, move on and create some more. The power is in your hands and mind.

Understanding your glass ceiling and breaking it through it

The glass ceiling refers to that special club, the one at the top. With the successful big wigs, the "beautiful" people, the chicks with beautiful clothes and nice cars, The "skinny bitches", The CEO and so on. We all have different perceptions of the glass ceiling, I believe, and so we should. What is important to some is completely irrelevant to others. You need to be prepared for when you break through the glass ceiling (what will happen/how will it feel etc). It's on par with athletes who practice visualisation techniques for their chosen sport.

Another section about beliefs is we set ourselves up to believe that once we are in our belief "structure" that's where we stay and if by some weird "miracle' we burst through it we can't possibly stay in "success land" because we just won't fit in or everyone will know we are some kind of fraud. Sound familiar? Well, you know what? It's complete bullshit, yep BS! A real common one I see every day with women is their dress size. So they lose weight, they go from a 14 to a 10. 9/10 of these women will say "Ooooooh but I probably won't be able to maintain this weight/size. I'll just yo-yo up again!". Helllllo! Talk about limiting belief, lady. Why on earth can't you maintain it? Didn't you just work your freaking ass off to get there and now, what you're saying is, you can't maintain it? See the weird logic? And funnily enough, we do it to ourselves ALL. THE. TIME.

Please stop. Simple. Don't do it. Actively set out to stop bringing yourself down. Here's what I recommend:

1. Take initiative and step up

2. Go beyond your limits even if you suck, just try. Do this regularly. What's the point in coasting by in life?

3. You don't have to tell people about what you are doing, sometimes it's easier this way. Go about it in stealth mode.....and then gloat later LOL

4. Learn to control your emotions and think rationally.

5. Think about the WHOLE process of achieving your goals. If you've followed through on this process once you get to end result, you've kind of practiced the outcome. I am a realist so I always provide myself with two outcomes but I always focus on the positive

6. Surround yourself with bright shiny diamonds...I mean people! What is the point of life if you are surrounded day in and day out with negative Nancy's?

7. Less thinking and more doing. Self explanatory

Self help in the city

I managed to change my life for the better and you know what is wasn't because I'm some motivational genius or because I'm a "really strong person". I mean, that's definitely got something to do with it (haha) but really in all honesty, I've always believed that I was and I AM destined to do something amazing with my life. Something big! I am an extremely resilient individual and very determined and the triple threat: hard working. Even when I was in my "feeling sorry for myself/former fat girl/life is so blah/I'm kinda lost days" I still knew I had to get outta this head space. It felt terrible and painful and scary but with every fibre of my being, I just tried to keep my head up. How very Tupac of me, I know! Transforming my body was the catalyst to so many other things around me and that's why I believe a lot of women's problems surrounding them start with how they look and feel. I had to decide to change for good, for real, for keeps. And I did. There's lots of homework involved in my "rehab". I constantly make new decisions, choices, quash beliefs that are given to people by other people, find out what truly makes me happy, filter, shuffle, move forward. It's ongoing. It's fun!

Nerd up and get reading

One of my favourite books in the whole wide world is Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life, I felt like such a hippie buying years ago but it really has some lovely, uplifting stuff to help you "heal your life".

Another super book, introduced to me by my lovely Man, is The Life You Were Born To Live by Dan Millman

In my lifetime, I've read snippets/watched videos of the guru on limiting beliefs Tony Robbins, so if this topic appeals to you then I suggest you check out his books and website for more info.

I'm never going to tell people one book changed my life, it's like choosing your favourite food- impossible, however it's the collection of these self help type books/gurus that allows you to pick and choose what information you will use and take with you to help you through your life.

Thank you, thank you. Care to share a few of your limiting beliefs?

Join me on a regular basis, it's totally worth it

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How To Create A Healthy Meal Plan

She seems happy to be grocery shopping!

WARNING: NEVER go food shopping when you are hungry! Or tired or cranky! It doesn't work. Healthy shopping turns into healthy eating when you are in the right frame of mind. If it's all too much, try ordering online.

Here's my fail safe steps to meal planning success

1. Plan it

I am a fan of choosing our most loved meals, without it appearing like groundhog day, I like to stick to our favourites and then always have options on board that I can "create" meals from. I'll show you what I mean:

Never changing (love these to death, eat them errry week!)

- Spag bol
- Stir fry
- Fish night
- A weekend breakfast fancy thing (pancakes, frittata or bacon & eggs)
- Steak night
- A Pizza or takeaway food night (easy peasy)
- A Bunless burger type situation
- A few "just vego"options

And so on. I recommend you plan your favourites then you can create meals once you've filled the gaps. If you then need to print out something to keep in your fridge then do it. Every little bit helps

Nat's Tip: Stop stressing yourself out with having to come out with amazing, brand new meals every night. Go with what you love and will eat. It doesn't have to be fancy, just healthy & delicious. Pretty much every night I serve something along the lines of piece of meat, big salad, maybe a little bit of carb (pasta/rice/sweet potato/potato/gnocchi) and a good quality fat (egg, oil, avo, nut or dairy).

2. Shop it then store it

My list in ingrained in my brain, because I don't really deviate from it too much on a weekly basis, so I shop from what I need only. When at the grocery store, the stuff worth buying is generally on the outside perimeter of the grocery store. I save time by dodging the crappy/junk food in the middle and I also do a monthly shop for staples (the stuff that is in the pantry) and buy dairy, fresh fruit and veg weekly. I freeze my meat, so get away with doing that fortnightly. The routine just works for me, if you want to shop more often, go for it!


Packet of free range eggs
1kg greek yoghurt
Fresh fresh
2-4 different types of red/white Meat (to freeze)
Loaf of sourdough
2L Organic milk
A white cheese (haloumi, cottage cheese, fetta, bocconcini etc)
Fresh fruit and veg


Peanut Butter
Olive Oil
Vinegar (apple cider)
Chilli sauce (Cholula)
Canned tomatoes
Brown Rice
Sweet Potatoes
Canned chickpeas
Rice cakes
Chia seeds
Stock (veg/chicken/beef)
Dried herbs/spices
Nuzest protein powder
Natural Raw C Coconut Water
70% block of dark chocolate (I get 2 squares, that's if my man hasn't woofed it down after I go to bed!)
Baking items (rice malt syrup, cacao, coconut flakes, coconut oil, stevia, gelatine, baking powder, bi carb, cinnamon and vanilla beans)


Meat (chicken, mince, steaks, sausages etc)
Berries & Bananas plus any other frozen fruit

Once at home, I get preppin'. I have freezer bags and containers ready to sort my food out. I do this for portion control, no real other reason. Where I may have a packet of chicken breasts, I divide it up into say 4 and freeze those portions. There is only two of us, so it's easy to just organise it this way.

Nat's Tip: Buy seasonal produce from the fruit/veg markets, that way you'll get fresh food that your body with want. Think soupy, warming items for winter and cooler salads for summer. It totally makes sense!

3. Bulk cooking

Repeat after me: Bulk or batch cooking is your friend! It can come in the form of grilling a load of meats or whipping up a pot of meatballs. It can be as simple as smoothie bags (where you pop all your fruit & veg ingredients in smoothie bags and keep them in the freezer to then just add liquid and protein powder come morning time) or chopping stir fry veg items and keeping them in a storage container in the fridge. Little things help save time. My recipe ebooks are all here , they offer up some creative ideas for everyday meals, entertaining and desserts.

4. Have a food budget

It sounds so simple but I find having a budget and sticking to it, is really handy for your health & wallet. I'm getting much better at engaging  FRUGAL MODE. You know that point where you find yourself scraping the bottom of the veggie crisper to create a soup versus calling for a takeaway pizza. Or you decide to create a three to five ingredient meal with whatever is kicking around in the freezer. It's those meals that are sometimes the best! A real quick thing I can think of that I do when in frugal mode, is using the whole broccoli, stems and all, in a stir fry with some beef or chicken, few handfuls of nuts, some carrots and a splash of soy. The broccoli stem is really tasty, it's almost better than the "tree" part! I used to throw so much food away, now it's less and less.

Nat's Tip: Frugal Mode doesn't mean eating crappy poor quality food everyday or looking for bargains. It's just simply thinking outside the box or preventing the piles and piles of food waste we all are guilty of doing. I definitely recommend fruit and veg markets. I save a fortune shopping there. The other day I got about 7 bananas (perfect for freezing but a little brown to eat fresh) for $1! Frugal mode for the WIN!

What are your meal planning tips? Did I miss anything?

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Eat Drink Paleo: Irena Macri

Paleo eating is extremely popular at the moment and it seems to be much more than just filling up on piles of meat, it's opening us to up to reverting back to more nutrient dense food and enjoying a wider variety of plant based foods. Strictly speaking, the Paleo way of life means the removal of grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods, such as sugar, from the diet. Irena Macri, from Eat Drink Paleo answers my questions and shares 3 awesome paleo winter recipes from her popular cookbooks. 

Nat: I'm seeing a few different versions of Paleo floating around. What's your definition or "rules" you live by? 

Irena: I don’t like rules so I like to think of paleo as more of a framework or a template that can be tailored to the individual. Of course there are guidelines that I use to navigate through  all of the do’s and don’ts but I try to keep them pretty simple:
·       Focus on eating foods that are as natural and unprocessed as possible
·       I like to follow a 2:1 vegetables to meat ratio so on my plate you fill find twice as much plant based foods as animal protein
·       Avoid toxic, inflammatory and gut irritating foods (grains, legumes, high omega-6 and processed oils, processed sugar and most dairy)
·       I like an 80/20 approach which I believe makes it easier to stick to paleo way of eating long term. My 20% is full fat and fermented dairy, occasional white rice and white potatoes and gelato J
·       Keep your gut healthy – include a variety of probiotic foods
·       Prioritise sleep and manage stress as much as possible as those are even more important than your diet

Is Paleo about calorie counting or is there more of a focus on nutrients? 

Definitely all about nutrients and also the anti-nutrients that we’re trying to avoid. The best way to describe paleo is that it’s about avoiding nutrient void foods (pasta, bread) and replacing them with more nutrient dense foods (good sources of animal protein, good fats, vegetables, fruit etc). If you consume enough protein and fat, you don’t need to eat huge portions either.

If someone was keen to get started with the Paleo lifestyle what are 4 tips to start them off on their way? 

-        Focus on what you can eat rather on what you can’t!
-        Redefine breakfast! It’s ok to have meatballs and sauerkraut first thing in the morning and an omelette for dinner.
-        Don’t get too dogmatic about it. Just because some people follow a strict, very low-carb paleo diet, doesn’t mean that everyone has too. Learn about the basic principles, follow them for 30 days and then experiment with some foods like dairy and white rice to see how they make you feel. It will be much easier if you can add a little variety once in a while, although there are already so many great foods to choose from
-        Make friends with your butcher and fishmonger and don’t be afraid to ask where the produce comes from or if you’re after something in particular. We vote with our wallet so the more demand there is for grass-fed, free-range meat and sustainable seafood, the more the suppliers will listen.

What inspired you to write your cookbooks? Do you just love food? 

I really love food and cooking and I felt that I had so many great recipes to share. I guess I saw my books as a tool to inspire people and to give them every day ideas that are tasty and nutritious at the same time. I also love the creative process of writing a cookbook, it’s my artistic way to express who I am.  My first cookbook Eat Drink Paleo Cookbook was crowd-funded so my readers actually helped to publish it. And my Rejuvenate eBook was a collaboration with Clare Yates, who is a nutritional medicine practitioner so it’s half cookbook half wellness manual. 

Do you have favourite ways you like to keep active? Do you find any forms of exercise particularly synergistic with the Paleo lifestyle? 

I love activities that don’t feel like exercise and I think they also happen to be synergistic with the paleo lifestyle as they are often done outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. I love hiking, rock climbing and swimming in the ocean. I love to go for a long jog in the park and yoga seems to suit my body well too. I’ve tried Crossfit but I don’t think it’s for me.

I'm big on cutting out refined sugars. I'm keen to find out- what are your paleo ways of adding sweetness to dishes? 

Luckily I have a savoury tooth so I don’t crave many sweets but some foods just go so well with a something a little sweet like chicken livers with caramelised onions or Asian salads. I like to use natural sources that have a few nutrients along with the sugar so I tend to go for things like raw honey, maple syrup, dates, sweet potato or coconut nectar. Sometimes I will use fruit in a savoury dish like a tagine. But I also find that your taste buds change as you cut out the processed foods and sugar so you don’t need to sweeten dishes as much. 

What's a favourite winter paleo recipe of yours? 

I absolutely love my paleo lasagna on the weekend and for a week day meal I can’t go past my lamb and coconut curry or a nice soup like my spicy pumpkin lemongrass soup. All three hits with my readers too. 

Winter Paleo Recipes: 

Paleo Lasanga

Paleo coconut curry

Scipy pumpkin coconut soup