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So you have the kit, the exercises and are raring to go. To get the best results from your sessions, follow these top personal trainer tips,...


May 2023

So you have the kit, the exercises and are raring to go. To get the best results from your sessions, follow these top personal trainer tips, and coach yourself to success. 



• A personal trainer’s first job is to establish your starting point and your fitness and weight-loss goals. So grab some paper and a pen. Now write down today’s date and your measurements – bust, waist, top hip (bony part), lower hip (often the widest part), thigh and upper arm. Be specific (for example, measure your thigh 22cm above your kneecap), so you hit the same spot each time. 

• You can weigh yourself if you prefer, but try not to get on the scales too frequently.

• Now spend a few minutes thinking about a goal. Make this achievable in the near future (for example, I want to drop a dress size in eight weeks, or I want to be able to jog for 20 minutes non-stop).

• Check your weight and measurements every two to four weeks to give your body the time to make changes, and record your progress in your notepad.


Your body quickly adapts to challenges, so to avoid plateauing, increase the intensity or duration of your workouts every six to eight weeks. This could be using a heavier weight for an exercise, adding repetitions or increasing the length of time you exercise.

For cardio work, such as jogging, only make 10 per cent increases in effort at a time to avoid injury


• Hopefully, you look forward to doing your workout, but we all hit times when our enthusiasm dwindles. Try these expert tips to stay on track.

• Stick a photo on the fridge of someone you admire to remind you why you’re on this journey.

• Reward yourself. Arrange a nice meal out with a friend when you’ve completed your first month of training.

• Give yourself pamper points! When you’ve reached a goal, treat yourself to a pamper session, such as a massage, to ease your achy but welltoned muscles!

• Do it for charity – sign up for a charity event, such as a run, cycle, climb or hike. 


Good technique is hugely important as it can help prevent injury. By using correct alignment during exercises (for example, keeping your shoulders back and down), you’ll ensure the exercise hits the muscles intended.

• Follow the step-by-step instructions in this book closely to ensure good form. If possible, use a mirror to check your alignment.

• Always move through each exercise slowly and with control.

• Aim to keep the muscles of your core engaged throughout each move.

• If an exercise feels too hard, reduce the effort or rest a while.

• If it feels too easy, increase the effort, weight or duration.


Follow these pointers to avoid injury and make your workouts as enjoyable as possible.

• Always warm up and cool down

• Stay hydrated. Aim to drink around 500ml of water, two to three hours before exercising, and another 250ml 15 minutes before starting.

• Don’t exercise if you’re not feeling well.

• Many of these exercises are not suitable during pregnancy.

• Avoid training the same muscles with resistance on two consecutive days, as they need time to heal and repair.

Set yourself up for a week of healthy, easy meals with a bit of weekend prep that won’t require hours in the kitchen. Scroll through your so...


May 2023

Set yourself up for a week of healthy, easy meals with a bit of weekend prep that won’t require hours in the kitchen.

Scroll through your social media feed and you may come across an image of someone’s countertop lined with a week’s worth of meals and snacks, all perfectly portioned into single-serving containers. That is meal prep to the extreme— and go you, if you have the time to do it!

But do you know what also counts as meal prep? Cooking a batch of brown rice for the week. Or grilling extra chicken breasts to top lunch salads. Or chopping up an onion and bell pepper for tomorrow’s chili. Meal prep is not just for a certain type of person—it’s for everyone—and can include anything that cuts down on time and energy spent during the week preparing meals.

Whether you’ve got 15 minutes or an hour to spend in the kitchen on Sunday, any meal-prep will set you up for a more productive and delicious week ahead. 

Make a batch of grains

Having cooked grains like brown rice, quinoa and whole-wheat couscous in the fridge reduces time spent preparing meals later in the week. These cooked grains reheat well or can be eaten cold and are very versatile. Top cooked quinoa with canned beans and vegetables for a quick lunch grain bowl or sauté cooked brown rice with frozen vegetables and seasoning for an easy dinner. You can even prep oatmeal in advance and simply warm it up at breakfast. And because cooking grains requires very little hands-on time, you can have them going while you prep other things. Consider doubling the batch and freezing half for another week.

Cook a versatile protein

Cooked chicken, hard-boiled eggs and roasted tofu all have two things in common—they keep well for a few days in the fridge and can be used in many ways. Pick a protein that can multitask, then build a few meals around it. Cooked chicken breast or thighs can be shredded and tossed with BBQ sauce for quick sandwiches, baked into a healthy casserole or used to bulk up a main-dish salad. Recipe-ready vegan proteins like tofu or cooked lentils can be used in many of the same ways. And hard-boiled eggs make for heartier avocado toast, a quick snack or an easy salad topper.

Get dinner ingredients prepped and ready for cooking

If you’re not up for preparing entire dinners in advance, consider getting a jump start by prepping some of a meal’s ingredients. If a recipe calls for vegetables like carrots, celery and onion, these can be chopped and refrigerated for a few days until you’re ready to cook. Fresh herbs, lettuces and hearty greens like kale will hold up well when washed, dried and properly stored in the fridge. You can even measure out dried herbs and spices and  store in a container to save yourself a dinner-prep step later in the week.

Prep breakfasts or lunches for the week

Easy-to-grab breakfast or lunch options will come in handy whether you’re eating at home or packing food for work—imagine all the time you’ll save on those busy mornings! Stock your freezer with a breakfast option or two, like freezer burritos you can quickly reheat when you’re craving something warm and comforting, or smoothie packs, to cut down on the time it takes to blend up your favorite fruity combo. Or stock the fridge with a week’s worth of satisfying lunches.

Mix up a vinaigrette or sauce

Picking up a bottle of salad dressing is convenient, but whisking your own is easier than you think. Plus, preparing your own dressings means you can control what goes in and what stays out, like excess sodium. And it will take you about five minutes using ingredients you likely have on hand. A classic vinaigrette is perfect for topping green salads throughout the week, but don’t forget about sauces like tahini or peanut dressing, which can be used on grain bowls, in wraps or as dips to make meals more exciting.

Plan out a snack or two 

Grabbing a snack is a lot quicker than making a meal, so you might be wondering why you would bother with the meal prep outlined here. It boils down to convenience and mindful portions. When hunger strikes between meals, you may be tempted to graze on anything in sight, sometimes reaching for foods that actually leave you craving more. Prepping a couple of snacks that contain fiber and protein will provide lasting energy to keep you fueled until your next meal. Be sure to plan for satisfying snacks that you actually enjoy eating!

The bottom line

No matter how much or how little you do, your future self will thank you for doing these prep steps to make for an easier week. Plus, when healthy food is prepped and ready, it makes it so much easier to follow a healthy, balanced diet. Read on for easy-tofollow plans and recipes that maximize prep, plus some healthy-eating inspiration.

Working your heart and lungs doesn’t just make you fitter, it helps you lose weight, beat stress, sleep better and have more energy too. Car...


May 2023

Working your heart and lungs doesn’t just make you fitter, it helps you lose weight, beat stress, sleep better and have more energy too.

Cardiovascular exercise (often referred to as aerobic exercise) is an essential part of any fitness regime, strengthening the heart, lungs and circulatory system. Your heart is a muscle and will respond to training in the same way as any other muscle, by becoming larger and stronger. Because cardiovascular exercise typically burns a lot of calories, it’s key to weight loss, and the harder you work, the more energy (calories) you’ll burn.


For general good health you need to do a gentle form of cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes, five days a week (for example, walking to work every day). If you want to lose weight or enhance your fitness, you’ll need to add a few harder sessions every week (see the sample programme).

To continue getting results, make sure you work hard enough. Your body is amazing, and will quickly adapt to any given task. So, for example, as your 3k run starts to feel easier, you’ll need to increase the challenge by running either longer or faster to get the same benefits.


Training at higher intensities will help you burn calories both during and after exercise. To challenge your body, try applying the principles of interval training (using a variety of intensities) to your exercise. For example:

• Warm up, three minutes.

• Walk fast or jog, five minutes, level 6 on the RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion), right.

• Run fast for one minute, level 8.

• Walk/jog, five minutes, level 6.

• Run one minute, level 8.

• Repeat sequence for 30 minutes.

Stock up on healthy foods such as whole-wheat pizza dough, frozen fish and frozen fruits and vegetables—keys to meals in any good plan. When...


May 2023

Stock up on healthy foods such as whole-wheat pizza dough, frozen fish and frozen fruits and vegetables—keys to meals in any good plan.

When I’m looking for ways to maximize ingredients for meal planning, I turn to my freezer for help. I like to keep it well stocked with a few essential ingredients that have numerous applications for a variety of plans. Plus, filling my freezer with healthy options makes it less enticing to abandon a meal plan in favor of a takeout run. Here are a few of my favorite foods to have on hand.

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough

With all the topping combos out there, pizza is one of the easiest healthy dinners to make from the pantry. With the dough on hand, plus some forward planning to make sure it’s thawed in time for dinner, you can have a healthy dinner on the table in no time. (Pizza dough typically needs 24 hours in your fridge to thaw fully.)

Fish Fillets

I’m a huge fan of frozen fish, especially when you can buy fillets in individual, vacuum-sealed packages, which helps to keep them from getting freezer burn. I like to stock up on wild Alaskan salmon and farmed U.S. tilapia. If you buy a big bag of fillets, just pull out what you need the night before you’re going to cook them and put them in the refrigerator. A 5-ounce fillet takes 8 to 10 hours to thaw in the fridge.

Fruits and Vegetables

There are many advantages to having bags of frozen fruit and vegetables on hand. For starters, many of them come already chopped, so that cuts down on prep time. And depending on the season, they can actually be healthier for you. Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their prime, which means they have more flavor and nutrients than their outof-season counterparts. And most don’t have added sugar or sodium, like canned fruits and veggies do.

If you thaw frozen fruit and vegetables, drain off any water that has collected in the bag or thaw in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Depending on the recipe, you may not have to thaw them at all. You can find almost any vegetable and fruit frozen, but I especially like to keep peas, spinach and a vegetable medley or two on hand. For fruit, I like blueberries and strawberries. They’re great for blending into a healthy smoothie for breakfast.

Whole-Grain Bread

Bread spoils easily, especially if it’s kept on the counter in plastic. For a while I avoided buying big loaves of bread because of this, until I discovered that bread and bread products, like wraps and hamburger buns, freeze beautifully. They don’t take much time at all to thaw. If fact, slices of bread go from freezer to toaster without a problem. Or just pull out what you need and let it thaw on the counter or in your fridge. It should only need an hour or two (depending on the temperature) to be ready to use.

Precooked Chicken

Chicken is versatile, packed with protein and easy to make—the ultimate dinner saver. Having some precooked chicken stashed away in the freezer is essential when you need to get a healthy dinner on the table in a pinch. You can use grilled chicken breasts to top salads or roasted chicken to stir into soups, or toss shredded chicken into a quick casserole.


Nuts are full of heart-healthy fats (especially walnuts, which have omega-3s), so I try to have them around as much as possible. They are great for baking, topping a salad or just plain snacking. And as it turns out, storing nuts in the freezer is actually better than storing them in your pantry: it prevents the oils from going rancid. They don’t take long to thaw—just 10 minutes or so on the counter and you’re ready to go.

Shredded Cheese

Even though I use cheese a lot in cooking, I used to inevitably end up with loose ends of forgotten blocks getting moldy in my fridge. Now I shred what I don’t use and freeze it. This works best with solid cheeses like Cheddar and Monterey Jack. When I need just a little bit (to top a salad or make quesadillas, for example), it’s there. It thaws almost instantly, and the texture and flavor remain unchanged.

Keep these ingredients on hand so you can make a delicious, nutritious meal every night of the week. Life is busy, but dinner doesn’t have t...


May 2023

Keep these ingredients on hand so you can make a delicious, nutritious meal every night of the week. Life is busy, but dinner doesn’t have to be. A well-stocked pantry is the best way to ensure you’ll have everything you need to make a healthy and flavorful dinner every night, even during the busiest weeks, when stopping at the grocery store just isn’t realistic. A combination of classic pantry staples (such as canned tomatoes, chicken broth and canned beans) and flavor-boosting convenience items (such as herb mixes, soy sauce and jarred pesto) is key to keeping your kitchen dinner-ready. No need for expensive takeout when you have what you need to make a healthy dinner at home.

This list includes many of the items you need to prepare healthy recipes, plus a few other ingredients that will make impromptu meals easier and more delicious. If you’re building a healthy pantry from scratch, start with the basics, and slowly expand your pantry as you try new recipes and experiment with new cooking techniques.

Don’t have a large kitchen to stock? You can hone this list to go-to foods, the ones you are most likely to use again and again in meals. This way, you can stock a smaller kitchen pantry cabinet without overwhelming your limited space.

Oils, Vinegars and Condiments

Oils, vinegars and condiments are the backbone of many recipes. They’re necessary for quick marinades, salad dressings, pan sauces and more. For a cook with an eye toward healthy ingredients, this collection of pantry staples helps you swap out convenience foods that are often filled with too much sodium, added sugar, and other unnecessary ingredients. (Bottled salad dressing, we mean you.)

A collection of oils is particularly important for home cooks. Some oils, like extra-virgin olive oil, are best used in uncooked dishes, such as salad dressings, or brushed on chicken and fish after cooking. (Olive oil has a low smoke point and can burn in a hot pan or grill.) Meanwhile, canola oil is a high-quality oil that can tolerate high temps. Flavorful nut and seed oils are next on the list, for when you’re expanding your pantry; they add unique flavor to salad dressings and stir-fries.


• Extra-virgin olive oil

• Canola or grapeseed oil

• Unsalted butter

• Mayonnaise (olive-oil mayo has less saturated fat)

• White, red-wine, white-wine and cider vinegars

• Hot sauce

• Dijon mustard

• Ketchup

• Flavorful nut and seed oils, such as toasted sesame oil and walnut oil

• Balsamic and rice-wine vinegars

• Reduced-sodium soy sauce

• Fish sauce

• Hoisin sauce

• Chile-garlic sauce

• Curry paste

• Kalamata olives and green olives

• Capers

• Barbecue sauce

• Worcestershire sauce


A seasoning cabinet or drawer can quickly begin to burst at the seams. Unique spice mixes you used just once sit stale beside the cumin and coriander, which do get a fair share of use in a variety of recipes, from Mexican and Southeast Asian dishes to beef stews and more. Paring down to the basics will help you save space and make sure you’re utilizing everything before the flavors fade.

This seasonings list also includes foods that make up the foundations of many recipes: the aromatics. These are the first things you throw in the pot (with canola oil) to start simmering— onions and garlic, for example. They add a depth of flavor and heft to many dishes, even fast ones, so keeping them on hand can help you turn basic tomato soup into a deeply-flavored tomato soup that’s good enough to serve to guests!


•Salt, including kosher salt, coarse sea salt and fine salt

•Black peppercorns


•Fresh garlic

•Dried herbs: bay leaves, dried thyme leaves, dried oregano, dried herb seasoning blends

•Spices: chili powder, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, curry powder, dry mustard, paprika, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, turmeric, garlic powder

•Citrus: lemons, limes, oranges (The zest is as valuable as the juice.)

•Granulated sugar

•Brown sugar 


•Fresh ginger (store in the freezer for longer life)

•Anchovies or anchovy paste for flavoring pasta sauces and salad dressings

•Dried herbs: dill, crumbled dried sage, tarragon

•Spices: allspice (whole berries or ground), caraway seeds, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ground ginger, nutmeg, za’atar

•Pure maple syrup

•Unsweetened cocoa powder, natural and/or Dutch-processed

•Bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips

Canned and Bottled Goods

While your first inclination may be otherwise, using canned foods can be essential to some  healthy-cooking recipes. Canned tomatoes, for example, can be used in soups and stews, but they’re also a boon to many quick and healthy skillet meals and one-pot pastas. Cooking dried beans takes time and effort (though it’s worth it if you can manage it), but canned beans make black bean tacos or a tomato-bean shakshuka happen in a hurry.


•Canned tomatoes, tomato paste

•No-salt-added diced tomatoes

•Unsalted chicken broth, beef broth and/or vegetable broth

•Canned beans: cannellini beans, great northern beans, chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans

•Clam juice

•Light coconut milk

•Canned tuna (chunk light) and salmon

Grains and Legumes

Beans, rice, whole grains and lentils can be added to a plethora of dishes for instant protein and filling fiber. They also store well, so you can keep them on hand for a considerable time, and they go from season to season—in soups and stews in the winter and in light grain sides in spring and summer. You can use some of these pantry staples to turn basic chicken breasts into crispy oven-fried pieces or leftover steak into a hearty burrito bowl or to make black-bean patties in a pinch.


•Whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pastry flour

•All-purpose flour

•Assorted whole-wheat pastas

•Brown rice and instant brown rice

•Rolled oats

•Whole-wheat breadcrumbs

•panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat

•Pearl barley, quick-cooking barley

•Whole-wheat couscous


•Dried lentils

•Yellow cornmeal

•Dried beans (black, cannellini, chickpeas)


Nuts, Seeds and Fruits

You may think these kitchen pantry staples are best suited for snacks and trail mixes, but a cook with an eye toward healthy eating knows they can be used in everything from salads and grain bowls to muffins, quick breads and quick coatings for proteins. Most fresh nuts and seeds should be stored in the fridge or freezer to keep their oils from turning rancid.





•Dry-roasted unsalted peanuts

•Natural peanut butter


•Pine nuts

•Sesame seeds


•Natural almond butter

•Assorted dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs and raisins

Refrigerator Basics

We use the term kitchen pantry to refer to your cold storage, as well as dry storage. These ingredients should be kept stocked in your fridge, as they can quickly and easily be used for many fast dinners. Yogurt, for example, is a great snack, but it can be a dipping sauce for fish or pork or turned into a dressing for falafel or shawarma. Eggs are staples for many dishes, but they can star in fast omelets and frittatas too.


•Milk or soy milk

•Unsweetened coconut or oat milk beverage

•Plain strained yogurt, such as Greek-style

•Sour cream

•Parmesan cheese and/or Romano cheese

•Sharp Cheddar cheese

•Eggs (large)

•Orange juice

•Blue cheese

•Dry white wine

•Water-packed tofu

How to Organize a Pantry 

These tips will help you cut down on food waste, save money and keep your kitchen well organized.


First clean out the space you intend to use for your kitchen pantry, whether it is a stand-alone closet or a smaller kitchen pantry cabinet. The same goes for your fridge and freezer. Toss outdated items and anything you know you’ll never use again.


Sell-by, expiration and best-by dates aren’t actually useful for the purposes of knowing whether a food item is good or not. Each means something entirely different, and relying solely on them can lead to some serious food waste. Instead, use your intuition: if the food looks and smells fresh, keep it if you’ll use it.


What’s left? As you take stock of what you have,  organize ingredients in a system that feels intuitive to you, whether that’s grouping grains in one bin and oils and vinegars in another, or giving areas a “theme,” such as proteins, grains or baking. You’re not married to this system forever, but it’s a good way to help you assess what you have and what you need to buy.


A food pantry is only as useful as the items you have on hand. Replace items as you use them so your pantry stays stocked. As you cook new recipes that require 

beyond-the-basic ingredients, you’ll naturally expand your pantry to help you get to that well-stocked state.


When you add new staples, be sure to place them behind or below the old ones. This way, you can use up what remains before opening a new bag, bottle or box.


If your pantry or cabinet shelves are deep, consider putting tall items in the back so they are visible over the shorter items. Unfortunately, foods  that are shoved into the back of the pantry tend to be lost—and forgotten. Revolving trays can help with this issue as well. Put a few on deep shelves so you can rotate your stock and see everything at once.


You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars filling out your kitchen pantry during one trip to the grocery store. Start with the basics and expand your pantry as you expand your cooking skill set. Over time, you’ll find it easier to make meals from scratch using what you have on hand.