Training Tips

July 2014

Brazil’s New Dietary Guidelines

What’s brilliant about these guidelines is that they focus on the whole picture of healthy eating, not just the act of eating nutritious foods. A subtle difference, but an important one.

A truly healthy diet is more than just eating foods because they’re ‘healthy’, it actually has to involve enjoying your food and getting the most out of this everyday activity. These guidelines do more than just give you numerical targets to hit to be healthy, they will help you develop a healthy and satisfying relationship with your food which could have potentially lifelong benefits for your health and quality of life.

Here are the guidelines:

1.   Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods

Food – not products derived from food – should be the base of your diet. A vegetable-focused diet with lots of food variety is an excellent goal for your diet. Variety means food from all kinds of sources – grains, roots, tubers, vegetables, fruits, nuts, milk, eggs, and meat – as well as variety within each food source – beans, rice, maize, potato, cassava, tomato, pumpkin, orange, banana, chicken, fish, etc…

2.   Use oils, fats, sugar, and salt in moderation

Oils, fats, salt, and sugar should be used sparingly as tools to season and cook food. Their use should be to help in the preparation of varied and tasty culinary dishes.

3.   Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products

Some ready-to-eat products, such as breads and cheeses, can be part of a healthy diet when, in small quantities, used to complement food, and not replace it. Other products, such as cookies, lollies, ‘snacks’, soft drinks, sweetened beverages in general, soup and ‘instant’ noodles, and other ready to heat up products should be avoided or consumed only occasionally.

4.   Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.

Aim to eat meals regularly at similar times each day, and avoid eating in between meals. Always eat slowly and enjoy what you’re eating without feeling the need to engage in other activities while doing so. Try to eat in clean and comfortable places where you can enjoy your food without added noise or stress. Avoid eating in environments where there is an encouragement to over consume foods in large quantities. 

5.   Eat in company whenever possible.

Wherever possible, eat with family, friends, and colleagues and home, work or school. Eating with company encourages regular eating, paying attention to your meals, and eating in appropriate environments, all of which enhance the enjoyment of food.

6.   Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption.

In supermarkets and other stores where you can find all kinds of foods and products, use a shopping list to ensure you don’t buy more than you need. Avoid the ‘deals’ that involve purchasing large quantities of ready-to-eat products or that distribute gifts to children as a marketing strategy. Buy fresh foods that are in season and from local producers whenever possible.

7.   Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.

In you have culinary skills, try to develop and share them, mainly with children and youth, regardless of gender. If you do not have culinary skills – and this goes for men and women alike – seek to aquire them. Talk to people who do know how to cook, ask family members, friends, and colleagues, read books, check the internet, and take courses on cooking.

8.   Plan your time to give meals and eating proper time and space.

Plan your meals in advance so you know exactly what you need to purchase, keep your pantry organised to help with this process. Divide the activities related to food preparation amongst all members of the family. Make meal preparation and eating moments of bonding and enjoyment. Reassess how you spend your time and identify which activities could make room for food and food preparation.

9.   When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains.

In daily life, look for places that serve ‘home cooking’ at fair prices. Occasionally, if you can, go to restaurants that serve more elaborate dishes of local or international cuisine.

10.  Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products.

Remember that the essential function of advertising is to increase sales products and not to inform or to educate people. Critically evaluate everything you read, see, and hear about food in commercial advertisements, and encourage others, particularly children and young people, to do the same.


April 2014

Training efficiently with GOALS in mind

Whether you are a fanatic Group Fitness buff, or a daily/twice-a-day weightlifter the key to success in any fitness endeavor is to 1) HAVE CLEAR GOALS, and 2) PRIORITISE YOUR WORKOUTS ACCORDINGLY. Simply training for the sake of training is like steering a ship without a mast or steering wheel. Don’t drift with the waves, take action and take control of your results.

Goal setting is always a personal thing, so take some time and think: WHAT DO I WANT TO ACHIEVE? Whether it’s getting rid of the chicken wings, getting stronger, or finishing a half-marathon. Every goal needs direction, perseverance, and clear markers for success. Make sure your goals are SPECIFIC, REALISTIC, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT and TIME MEASURED.

Be SPECIFIC. Losing weight is a non-measurable and vague concept. Any individual can workout and in doing so, lose weight, but does that weight loss consist of free fat mass (the wobble on the thighs), hydration (not drinking enough water), or increased muscle mass (increase in weight due to muscle growth)? Use specific markers for success, for example: “I want to lose weight around my thighs”, may need to be adjusted to “I will lose two centimeters in circumference around the thickest part of my thighs”.

Be REALISTIC. If you have never run for longer than 2 minutes before, think carefully if a goal of running a half-marathon in 2 months time is appropriate. This can be your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) but maybe not something you can actively work towards in the here and now. Smaller goals within that goal, may be: “within 2 months I can run five minutes non-stop”, then leading up to “within six months I can run 30 minutes non-stop”.

Doing the above two points will help you a long way to making your goals ACHIEVABLE. However, like all things in life, we can be wrong, so don’t be afraid to tweak your goals. Face it, bad things and interruptions happen, but deciding to move on, re-evaluate and reset your goals will keep you moving forward and give you a feeling of accomplishment (something we all need).

This leads me onto keeping your goals RELEVANT. Too often we get fixated on trying to change a particular part of ourselves, so much so that we lose focus of the big picture. Continually evaluate your goals, are they relevant to what you want to achieve and will it really make you happy? For example, If you are just focusing on losing those thunder thighs, and only train legs everyday, what about the shape and functionality of your upper body muscles?

One last thing, keep your goals TIME-MEASURED. If by the end of your 6-month time frame, you have or haven’t achieved your goal, at least you now have new information about what does and what doesn’t work.  Use this information to create your next set of goals.

Oh and rememebr, if you need any information or help with setting your goals, don’t be afraid to ask the people around you i.e. family, friends, work colleagues and the the Personal Trainers at ANU Sport. Having someone who you are accountable to goes a long way to supporting you in the ups and downs of change. Furthermore, having someone invested in your outcomes (i.e. a Personal Trainer) will also help you to drive deeper to achieving those goals.

Good luck.

Alice Khaw- Personal Trainer


March 2014 

Australian Physical Activity Guidelines

The new Australian Physical Activity Guidelines have been released in 2014.

You can find the PDF version HERE or on

Being physically active and limiting your sedentary behavior everyday is essential for your health and wellbeing.

Nearly 70% of Australian adults are either sedentary or have low levels of physical activity.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, start by gradually building up your activity even if it’s a 30 minute walk, and then slowly increase until its 60 minutes.

Take small breaks from sitting long periods of time- go for a short stroll around the office or have a quick stretch

Simple ways to increase activity

  • Walk, cycle or leave the car at home
  • Use the stairs instead of the lift
  • Leave your desk at lunch and go for a short walk outside
  • Walk and Talk meetings
  • Catch up with friends for a walk, instead of sitting to chat

Check with your health professional if you have any concerns about the level of activity that may be suitable for you

'Move more- Sit less'