Seven Steps to Success (at anything)


It took me years to work out how life works, so I thought I’d share what I learnt and make it a little easier for you! For example, I have been doing modelling competitions/pageants for more than 6 years now. I started out sometimes placing, sometimes not. But once I started winning, I almost always won and most recently I just won the biggest swimwear pageant in the world, Miss Swimsuit USA International. It’s these attributes of learning how to be successful that I applied to not just my competitions, but in every other area of my life too, my fitness training, boxing, business, relationships… everything.  Want to know my winning formula?

1. Make Goals. Without goals, you have no direction and nothing to achieve. The more specific (and realistic) you make your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. Years ago, I used to train just to “look good”. Which was fine initially, but once I reached my goal, I found it very difficult to stay motivated. Unless I had a shoot or fashion show coming up, self control often went out the window and laziness would take over, which is not ideal from an overall general health perspective. When I took up boxing, this added a whole new dimension to my training. It was no longer about just doing “enough”, it was about going over and above in my diet and training to be the best I could possibly be, and I am tested when I spar or fight. So when you make goals, I find it helps to make them specific, with a time-limit and a way of testing yourself on them; eg. to run 400m in under 1 minute, or to make half a million $ this year. When you reach your goals, make new ones!

And remember: “A goal without a plan is just a wish”

2. Believe you can. Having the right mindset is everything in this little game called life, and if you can’t see yourself as a success, you’ll never be a success. True story. Since my big win at Miss Swimsuit USA International, probably the most common question I have been asked is “did you expect to win?”, which is when I realise that even though I didn’t “expect” it, the whole week I never really considered any other possibility. I didn’t think “oh she’s got a better dress than me” or “oh she looks better than me on camera” or “I think I’d be happy just to place in Top 10”. Even though all of these things may have been true to one girl or another, I just focussed on what I had to offer and never really thought of myself as anything other than being the winner. If you compare yourself to everyone else around you and look for reasons as to why they are better than you, you’ll never be the best. If you look at everyone around you, find your point of difference and exude positivity and the confidence that you have at least one little thing going for you, people will see that confidence, be attracted to it and start to believe it too. And when other people believe in you, it makes it even easier to believe in yourself.

3. Solid work ethic. Recognise that not everything comes easily, or is going to fall in your lap. Get off your ass and get stuff done, even when you least feel like it. When you don’t know the answer, find it out. If it doesn’t work the first time, try a different way. Find your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. And don’t stop until you reach your goal.

I learnt this lesson recently with a boxing fight I went into. After easily winning my first two fights, I underestimated what I would need to put in to continue to win. When I was tired (often) I would let it get the better of me, and become mentally weak in my training. Although I still improved my skills, my work ethic suffered and I believe this to be the reason I lost the fight; when I stopped for a break, I gave my opponent an opportunity. Which is why even though my next fight is not even on the caledar yet, I have been training harder than ever, especially when I don’t feel like it!

4. Prioritise. When you seriously want to achieve a goal, you must make that one thing priority. Contrary to what others may tell you, forget about “having a balance in life” until you reach your goal; you can’t have everything at once!

If someone told you they would give you $5000 not to eat crap for a month (or whatever steps you needed to take to reach your particular goal), would you do it? I bet you would. But people are willing to go and pay that and more for procedures like liposuction, before they’ve even put in the effort to try and get in shape naturally. Fair enough if you’ve done everything you can and are still unhappy, but for those that the lack self control to just eat properly, consistently, work out your priorities!

5. Dedication and Commitment. When you are amped about a goal, it’s easy to put in the extra time and effort to get there. But dedication and commitment is about working hard beyond the honeymoon period. Anyone can be an expert at something if you spend enough time studying or working on it, Bill Gates says 10,000 hours.

When I first started working as a personal trainer, it was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, because it was nothing like anything I’d ever done. There were so many things I completely struggled to understand or remember, I was put in situations way out of my depth. I thought about quitting. But I didn’t, because I visualised where I wanted to be and committed myself to my goal. And now 5 years on, I’m thankful 

6. Positive support network. This is more than just cutting the negative people and influences from your life, but also surrounding yourself with people that will help you get where you want to be. When I decided I didn’t want to be a wild party girl anymore, I stopped hanging around all my closest friends, who were also my encouragers and instigators. Yes, at first it was a little boring, but you find fun in other things and make new friends and strengthen other relationships by doing new activities.

Having a mentor, preferably one who is at the top of their field, is essential to fast-track success. Be willing to let them harshly critique you without taking offence; remember they have made the mistakes you don’t want to. The thicker your skin and more open your mind, the more successful you can be. Take everything on board, do your own research and ask as many questions as you can.

And one more thing – do things for other people. Like, go out of your way, without expecting a thing in return. Not only will it make you a better person and one that others will want to be around, but every now and again, one of them might want to help back. What goes around comes around.

7. Intrinsic Motivation. This is the one thing of all the above that will make or break you. You either want it or you don’t. This is the passion, the burning desire you must have from within to want to achieve whatever goal you have. If you don’t really want it, you probably won’t get there. So find your passion within your goal, the thing that really drives you, why you really want it, how it will make you feel when you get there.

Not set yourself some goals and go kick ass!!!!

My "Choc Mud" Protein Balls

chocolate protein balls

Protein balls are fast becoming a favourite healthy snack for many, including me! Over the last few months, I have experimented with stacks of different recipes to come up with my favourite, that I am sharing with you here  These actually taste like little mud-cakes! Amazing!!!!!


– about 360g of pecan nuts (or almonds, or walnuts)- 2 tbs raw cocoa powder- 2 scoops (60g) protein powder (vanilla is best, unless you like them really sweet, then use chocolate!)- 8 fresh pitted dates- 1tsp cinnamon powder- 1 tbs natural vanilla extract- Optional – 1/4 cup seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin), 2 tbs all natural peanut butter, max. 1 tbs coconut oil- desiccated coconut (for rolling)

1. Put all dry ingredients into a food processor and blend until it’s crumbly
2. Add wet ingredients to the food processor until it’s a sticky (but not soggy), even texture. You may need to add a small amount of water if your mix is a little dry, or more protein powder/nuts if your mix is too wet.
2. Use your hands to roll parts of the mixture into balls, and roll them through the coconut.
3. Set (and store) them in the fridge until hardened.

Two protein balls is an ideal serve for a snack on the go!


The Most Effective Fat Burning Exercise

This is a question I get asked a lot, I guess mainly because people think if they could do just one thing, losing weight would be so easy. So I’ll explain to you in the most simple terms possible how and why I’ve come to my conclusion, and I think you’ll be surprised to discover that the most effective fat burning exercise is actually also a lot of fun! Sound too good to be true…?

Before I go on, it is important that I explain what bodily fat is, or more, how it gets there. The fat on our bodies is a storage of energy (measured in calories or kJ). It is healthy to maintain some body fat, more for women than for men. Among other important functions, it keeps us insulated, gives us padding to protect our organs and acts as an energy reserve. It increases when we consume an excess of calories (more than what we use) and vice versa. Food energy comes from molecules of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, organic acids, polyols and ethanol; but mostly from the first three. Water, minerals, vitamins and fibre are other molecules that are essential to our survival, however contain little or no calories.

Eating food containing high amounts of fat molecules will not necessarily increase your bodily fat, instead, eating too much food energy in general will make you fat. Our bodies are pretty smart; when they need nutrients, they turn on the hunger signals to make you eat and they turn them off again. As your body digests what you have just consumed it recognises if it has just received all the nutrients it was asking for. If you just ate french fries and a cheeseburger, chances are it wouldn’t have, and as well as having just eaten a seriously high amount of calories, you will probably be feeling hungry again shortly after. So basically, eating crap increases your chance of consuming too much food energy and therefore, getting fat.

If you had’ve eaten a piece of baked fish (high in healthy fats and protein for cell repair and regeneration and other important bodily functions) and a variety of lightly steamed, colourful veggies (full of carbohydrates for energy, as well as fibre and essential vitamins and minerals), you would have not only consumed far less calories, but your body will keep those hunger signals switched off for longer, and you probably won’t overeat.

There can be other factors that come into play when it comes to gaining and losing fat and I could go on about this point for another 12 pages, but basically, if you consume more calories from food/drink than what you burn in daily activity, then you will get fat. The opposite is similar, but this is where participating in the right type of exercise becomes important. If you consume less calories than what you burn, you will lose weight, but not necessarily from fat.

Carbohydrates are the easiest source of food fuel for your body to use (they are broken down fastest), so your body will choose to burn these first. Once it runs low or out, it has a choice of using either fat (from food or stored) or muscle (proteins). To ensure that this weight lost comes from fat rather than muscle, you need to load your muscles regularly to remind your body that you still need them, as well as consuming adequate protein to maintain their growth and repair. And as an added bonus, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism, and therefore the more calories you burn at rest.

So with all this in mind, the most effective fat burning exercise is going to be something that burns a sh*t load of calories, as well as giving your muscles an intense workout, whole body over. The key to burning a heap of calories in a short space of time, is to get your heart rate up. A few things come to mind; lifting heavy weights, sprints, and boxing.

Lifting heavy weights will definitely give your muscles a serious workout. During the period of exercise, you will not actually burn so many calories, but the amount you burn over the course of the day as a result of your increased metabolism from lifting the weights will be more significant. With an effective weights program, you can work your whole body, and the more muscles you get working, the more calories you burn!

Sprints also give your muscles as awesome workout. Although arguably not as much as a big weights session would, for most people, it would still be enough have your body choosing to burn fat before muscle. Sprinting (whether it be running, swimming, rowing, whatever) will work your whole body, get your heart rate pumping and definitely burn a heap of calories, and likely more than lifting heavy weights will.

In my opinion, boxing is the most effective fat burning exercise out there and I’ll tell you why: not only does it give your muscles a solid workout, and get your heart rate charging, it is super fun and adds a competitive edge. What this means is that you are less likely to slow down or stop just because you are tired. In my experience as a trainer and as a boxer, people will always put in that little bit extra when it comes to punching the pads than they would ever do on a treadmill or weight stack. When boxing with proper technique, you push muscles from your whole body as hard as if you were lifting heavy weights, and at an intensity equal to all out sprinting. Boxing combines the attributes of two of the best fat burning exercises, which arguably makes it the most effective fat burning exercise around.

Simple Ways to Make Salad Taste Good.

Sick of boring old salad? Me too! So here are a few healthy tips I came up with to make it a little more exciting! Salad is now one of my favourite meals in the day!!!! (Bear in mind that all of these things together at once might not taste so good haha… pick a few and experiment)

– Grill/bbq your chicken/beef in Cajun spices/ sauté with some garlic and onion

– Add fetta, especially with boiled eggs; this tastes amazing!

– Add a little salt and pepper! Anchovies can also put a different spin on the saltiness… (Adding salt is not always a good option if you have a history of high blood pressure/circulation problems)

– Include some red onion, or green shallots

– Try it with some chickpeas and corn

– Add some nuts (walnuts, pine nuts or slivered almonds are my favourite)

– Use a natural greek yoghurt dressing; I make one of my favourites by stirring through some chopped up mint – goes awesomely with spicy stuff!

– Include some roasted garlic… Next time your are baking something in the oven, peel some garlic cloves and put them in the corner of your baking tray until they’re soft, maybe 15-20 mins? You can keep them in the fridge ready for your next week of salads!

– Add in your favourite fruit! Add a little sweetness to your salad with half a piece of chopped up fruit… far more nutrients and tastier than dressing!

That’s just a few to start you off and get you coming up with heaps more of your own! Where do I get my ideas? When I eat out, I take note of certain foods/spices that go well together and then try them together in a salad! You’ll be surprised at what tastes good together… eg. rocket and yoghurt, or egg and fetta! Or go to a great salad bar and see what the experts do… Then try adding a couple of the healthier ingredients to your own normal salad and see if you like it. Not everything tastes good together, so you may have to so a little testing, adding and removing ingredients!

Some of my favourites….

Rocket, Pear, Walnut and Greek Yoghurt (below)


Cajun chicken, corn and chickpeas, spinach, tomato, roasted garlic and fetta



Egg, anchovies, olives, fetta, asparagus, roasted garlic and spinach (below)


One last tip to get you loving salad…

I think many will agree that there’s nothing more annoying than trying to get your mouth graciously around a forkful of lettuce leaves/spinach/whatever you use. Plus it makes a small salad look huge, and you might find yourself hungry again soon after. Chop your leafy greens into tiny pieces and you’ll eat loads more of them, AND without getting tomato/yoghurt/whatever up the side of your face 😉 It takes 10 seconds!

I hope this helps to reignite your passion for a daily dose of the healthy stuff! Salad is one of the best ways to pack your diet full of raw veggies loaded with essential vitamins and minerals!

Beat the "Monthly" Cravings

You’ve got 3 weeks under your belt of training hard and eating clean, you’re reaching your goals and feeling amazing. And then it hits… that time of the month. Your moods are affected, you crave salty, sugary and fatty foods, feel bloated and if you don’t have a super strong level of self control, that healthy routine just seems to go out the window. Sound familiar?

Why? During menses, your body will experience a drop in both oestrogen and progesterone hormones, which affects brain chemistry; dopamine, serotonin, GABA and other brain chemicals. This can cause you to crave salty, sugary and/or fatty foods – or more so the emotional highs associated with eating these foods that your body knows will make it feel good again. It can also affect moods that occur around menses like wanting to cry, being overly emotional etc. However, as most of us are aware, eating too much salt, sugar or fatty foods can be a huge step backward when trying to reach your health fitness goals!

Understand this:

  • GABA: A calming or “peacemaking” chemical in the brain, GABA induces relaxation, increases focus, reduces stress and anxiety.

  • DOPAMINE is the chemical that mediates pleasure in the brain. It is released during pleasurable situations and stimulates one to seek out pleasurable activity.

  • SEROTONIN is a chemical that helps maintain a “happy” feeling, and seems to help keep our moods under control by helping with sleep, calming anxiety, and relieving depression.

So here’s some good news for you… there is another way you can “trick” your body into rebalancing your brain and not only help control moods, but also stave off cravings for unhealthy foods (that will only be a short-term fix and will leave you feeling worse off later on):


Mix a teaspoon of 100% cocoa powder in a mug of hot water (I also add a dash of milk to sweeten it a little, as the taste can be quite strong if you’re not used to it!) … and drink it!

Cocoa contains serotonin and phenethylamine, which acts as a releasing agent of dopamine. Plus pure 100% cocoa has no sugar or fat! Don’t be mistaken in thinking chocolate is the same… Yes, it contains cocoa, but generally has too much sugar and fat to be beneficial – Most milk chocolate is only about 30% cocoa, and even some of the stronger dark chocolates can be up to 30% sugar! 

100% cocoa may not taste as amazing, but will help ensure your training results are amazing! I have been using this tip for over a year now – It seriously works!

Happy drinking