Pulling Off the Seemingly Impossible

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My friends often comment to me in wonder at how I get by in life taking some of the risks that I do, how I manage to pull off things one would not have thought possible, and how I always manage to land on my feet. Here’s a little insight into my ideology on LIVING…

It’s because I do what I want to and just find a way to make it work, I’m not afraid or embarrassed to ask for what I want, and don’t let the fear of “what if?” stop me. You never know until you try, you don’t get if you don’t ask, and “what if” hasn’t happened yet – and usually doesn’t. And if it does, I’ll deal with it at the time.

Rather than “what if?” I like to ask, what’s the worst that can happen? Most of the time the worst isn’t really so bad, often results in further opportunities and any issues can usually be avoided/fixed either by pre-preparation, being friendly or with money. And as much as it sucks to have to give up your hard earned dollars for a mistake, money is just money, you can always make more. I have “wasted” tens of thousands of $ fixing mistakes, but is my life any worse for it now? Actually I couldn’t be happier, so it can’t have been too bad. I try to think of it as an investment haha. Stressing over an unmade decision or unhappiness on the other hand, can cause a wealth of health problems that money can’t fix.

I prefer to go with my gut and put my trust in the universe that whatever is meant to happen will happen, and that if I’m meant to land in some kind of trouble I’m smart or resourceful enough to get myself out of it. Or will be by the time I’m done ;)

  Wearing  Femme Body Active , both pictures taken by  Mark Sullivan-Bradley .

Wearing Femme Body Active, both pictures taken by Mark Sullivan-Bradley.

Drink Beer On Vacation and Come Home Skinny

I have begun to accrue a reputation among my friends, that when you go on a holiday with me you are going to come back leaner. Some lovingly refer to it as fitness camp, rather than vacation. Though what they are also surprised to discover is that I do love a drink or 2 (or 4) and I eat dessert most days. And how much more fun there is to be had when we make the effort and have the energy to DO things, rather than just lay around the pool drinking cocktails all day. So with Spring upon us and Summer holidays around the corner, I thought I’d share what everyone wants to know: a few of my tips that make this all possible.

  • Wake up, work out. If you’re a person that likes to eat before a work out, keep some fruit in your hotel room. This negates the excuse of having the timely ordeal that holiday breakfasts can be, or eating too much and end up skipping the workout bit. Eat the big breakfast after the workout. When you’re on holiday, you’re there to relax and enjoy the luxury of spontaneous decisions… so if you leave the workout until later in the day, chances are it won’t happen. Get it done first thing and you’ll feel amazing the rest of the day. Maybe you might even find the time for a second workout later. Or a nap. Or both. Ahhhh my favourite things about holidays haha.
  • Eat the right amounts of all the food groups (carbs, protein, fats, fruit, veg, dairy/alternatives). Even though the choices might not be as lean or low-calorie as what you’re used to making at home, if you can at least satisfy your nutritional needs, you’re going to have less cravings and more energy to be active and burn it off. And if you’re full up on the foods your body needs, you’ve got less room for junk. Learn how to eat at a buffet.
  • But chances are with all the yummy food around, you’re probably going to overeat. The great thing about being on vacation is that you don’t have a set schedule whereby you have to squeeze in each meal. So, listen to your body. If you eat a breakfast so big that you’re not hungry again until 6pm, don’t eat until 6 or 7pm. Don’t feel obliged to force in another meal at 1pm just because its “lunch time”; only eat when you are hungry. I believe it’s 90% this tip alone that is the reason I almost always come home from a trip skinnier than when I left.
  • Eat bigger meals early in the day so that by the evening you are not really hungry and don’t end up overeating at dinner and therefore for the day as a result.
  • If you’re going to have a few drinks, start at lunch time. If you first eat a full days’ worth of food until you’re satiated, and then add alcohol calories on top of that, you’re probably going to go over your necessary caloric intake (and therefore gain weight). But if you spread your drinks over the day, when it comes to meal time, your body it going to feel half full already and (if you listen to it) you’ll eat less. Clearly drinking your calories in alcohol is not a healthy way to conduct life or maintain a lean body on the regular, but hey, we all enjoy a drink or 4 to relax on holiday, so as long as its 4 and not 20, this is the best way I have come up with to fit it in. Plus, by starting earlier you’ll probably go to bed earlier and get a better night’s sleep. 😉

 

  • On that note, choose drinks that are lower in sugar and that make you feel fuller, eg. beer, wine and white spirits. Avoid dark spirits, soft drink/pop soda, juice etc, instead go for water/mineral water/tonic and fresh lemon or lime as mixers. Make sure you drink a glass of water between each drink.
  • Walk everywhere possible and do at least one active pursuit each day (on top of your daily workout). The more you move, the more you burn… even just tapping your feet while you’re sitting around burns a few calories. When I recently did a 5 day hike through the mountains of Peru, I drank more beer than I have all year in those 5 days. We were walking an average of 15km a day at what I would consider only a slow/medium pace and doing no other exercise than that, though I actually managed to come home a few pounds lighter than when I left! But all day I was on my feet, moving around, laughing so hard, having an amazing time, drinking beers from lunch time and usually in bed by 8pm because we were so exhausted (and sometimes drunk haha).
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Enjoy your holidays! And a beer or 4! ;)

Avril

Creating Your Own Success in an Unfair World

I learned very early on in childhood that life is not fair; when all my friends would get pocket money and I didn’t, when my friends were allowed to watch movies that I wasn’t, when my friends were allowed to do everything that I wasn’t, resulting in my getting kicked out of home at 15 years old for basically being a rebellious teenager and refusing to conform to stupid rules. Before you start feeling sorry for me though, know that I had the BEST teenage life EVER. But not because I whinged about it, because I accepted my situation as it was and did something to change it.

My parents main issue was that they didn’t believe I could have a job and a social life and still do well at school. I beyond believed in myself, and if someone tells me I can’t, I thank them for giving me my #1 ambition in life… proving them wrong. I worked at the local supermarket getting paid $7 an hour to support myself. My rent was $30/week to live in basically a shoe box of a room that my single bed just fit in and I had to climb on it to get to my clothes rack. I never missed a day of school. I would look at my timetable and if I saw I had classes that I knew we were just working out of a textbook, or like PE etc., I would fake illness and go to sick bay for blocks of classes and not only get all my work done for that class, but all my homework for the week and work on my assignments distraction free of changing classes every 40 minutes. This meant that I didn’t ever have much work to do outside of school, so I could work my job during the week and party all weekend. Some thought I was a little wild, I thought I had great time management, was smarter than the average conformist and was just living life to the full. Just for the record, I graduated in the top 5% of the state and with savings in the bank.

And there my will to succeed and find happiness regardless of my situation was established.

Something that aggravates me to my core is when people use sexism, age, being too tall/short/awkward/fat/ugly, too poor, or any other kind of inequality treatment as an excuse for why they are not where they want to be in life. Don’t take this the wrong way and think that I find being overlooked or mistreated for those things acceptable or that they are not issues, but you can make an issue out of anything and life is not fair. I repeat, LIFE IS NOT FAIR. It will never be fair. And the first step to success and happiness is accepting the situation as it is and then coming up with a game plan that takes this into account and still gets you there.

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I could whinge about the fact that I’m a woman and so I’ll never be able to make as much money in boxing as my male friends. I could give up on my dream and forever blame the world for “what I could’ve been” if the world was more fair. Or, I can accept the situation as it is, try to be smarter than the average person, make the best of it and still kill it anyway. Maybe I need to work a little harder or make more sacrifices but if I’m happy living my dream, a world champion and am rolling in more money than I can even spend then WHO CARES if a bunch of guys made more money than me. I have enough. Why do I need to get salty about someone else having more?

Too many people thinking they can change the world by sitting around complaining about it. I hope you can, but my life experience says you won’t. That’s not to say you shouldn’t make individual effort. I believe in leading by example. Treat people the way you want to be treated, even if they don’t reciprocate. If you’re not paying top dollar shopping at your local family owned business, don’t whinge that large corporations are taking over the world. If you only date people you are attracted to, don’t whinge about unsightly or overweight people not being able to get jobs. If you don’t walk around the streets at night finding homeless people to offer your home to, don’t whinge about the world not caring about homeless people.

There are always options for people who are willing to find them. I’m not saying it’s easy or obvious, but it’s never impossible. Some of us are far luckier than others. Some of us need to take far more risk than others. But never think you can’t succeed in life because of life not being fair. Go get it xx

Avril

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Outfit: Top – Misguided | Skirt – Armani Exchange | Watch – Mido Watches | Bag – JLew Bags | Other Jewelry – Gifts and Markets

Hacks to Staying Lean in Winter

I recently spent a week in Chicago for a couple of boxing matches where despite my efforts, maintaining a low weight was not easy. I could blame it on amazing Chicago food, but I was actually fortunate enough to have a kitchen and cooked most of my own. It’s actually our bodies’ natural adaptation to gain weight in the winter. A higher body fat percentage gives us insulation from the cold, so when we spend time in the cold, our body tries to “save” us by storing more fat. Because of this we also tend to have lower energy levels and feel even less like working out. Fewer daylight hours makes just want to sleep all the time… Thus the term, winter hibernation.

Though having the excuse of “winter hibernation” doesn’t help us much when we want to look hot (or even just fit into) a sexy pair of jeans or leggings. Or make wearing a bikini any easier when summer finally comes back around. So here are a few hacks to help you keep off the extra pounds:

  • Stay warm. It sounds obvious, but it really makes a difference. Especially your hands, feet and head and face! I would wrap a scarf around my face for the 2 minutes I was outdoors between the car and places I was going etc and just that made such a big difference! Trick your body into forgetting its winter. Get a heater for your bathroom. If you’re exercising outdoors, spend 5-10 minutes doing a warm up indoors in the warmth first so that you’re sweating before you even get out. It might be a little uncomfortable at times, but leave those extra layers on, even if you’re sweating.
  • Drink water! Your body can only absorb around 500mL per hour though so set alarms and spread out your consumption over the day. In cold climates, we don’t sweat as much and so it’s very easy to forget to drink water. But dehydration causes overeating and tiredness. When you are tired, your body know that the fastest way to get energy is via sugar, and so you start craving sweets. Your body can also mistake thirst for hunger, which could result in eating a LOT of sugar, or more carbs than necessary. Aim for 3-4L (1 gallon) per day. My little secret is drinking hot water… It absorbs faster into your system and also warms you up. People think I’m crazy, but I actually do this even in summer haha.
  • Before eating, do some push ups, jump squats, planks etc to warm your body up. It sounds crazy, but being warm from the inside can stop you from your bodys’s winter adaptation of wanting to overeat.
  • Exercise. Now I know this is easier said than done. The thought of putting on gym gear, leaving the house, even just the thought of having to move excessively – and God forbid you sweat and have to have a shower – is a punishing thought from the snug warmth of wherever you are. But exercise doesn’t just burn calories, it warms you up from the inside and keeps your metabolism cranking to combat your body’s natural adaptation of slowing down and storing energy as fat. I always tell myself “I really don’t feel like going hard but something is better than nothing so I’m just going to do an easy workout today.” Once I get there and do my easy skipping, stretching and shadow boxing warm up for 5-10 minutes, the energy of the gym, people around me and excitement of learning something new has me going full pace to workout harder than I ever knew I could. But if I went there with the intention of training hard, I might not even make it there. Taking away the pressure of expectation to smash every gym session is sometimes all that is needed. Hey, if you made there and just moved for 45 minutes then that’s great. Anything over that is frickin awesome… Don’t be disappointed in yourself.
  • If you’re using the cold weather as an excuse not to exercise, restructure your winter workouts to things you can do indoors. Group classes like boxing and spin are great because they are fun and high energy and get you caught up in the moment before you even realize how hard you’re working. Or if you don’t want to leave the house, hit me up for my BodyBAM workouts you can do at home (or anywhere) while pumping your favourite tunes!
  • Drink coffee, or tea. Caffeine is an appetite suppressant, so while you still need to eat of course, it may stop you feeling like you need to eat everything, all the time. And where the cold weather is sucking your energy, it will pick you up and help battle those sugar cravings. Even just having a hot drink will warm you up, but unlike a hot chocolate, a (no sugar, milk etc added) coffee or tea has basically 0 calories. As long as you know your limits so it’s not messing with your sleep and making you even more tired then it’s a win-win-win!
  • When we have the shelter of winter coats, we tend to be less self conscious and therefore have less will power. An idea to overcome: Get a group of girlfriends together to support each other where you all take a selfie in your underwear every Monday morning and send it to the group. Just the fact that you know others will be seeing your body can be enough motivation to make healthier choices.
  • Eat cooked/warm food. Being cold is uncomfortable, and so we crave “comfort” foods. Rather than trying to force yourself to eat a salad when you really just want a hearty pastry or meat pie, find a healthy compromise like a homemade veggie soup or lean roast dinner. Bake some veggies each week as part of your food prep to warm up and put on wraps and in salads with meats that you also warm up. A warm salad in winter is a game changer.
  • If you’re bored, find a hobby, learn a language, or start a new project/side business. If you’re trying not to overeat, boredom must be crushed immediately. Preferably with something that doesn’t involve going out eating and drinking. 😉

A few of these things definitely helped me make weight for my fights over the week I was in freezing cold Chicago! If you have any other tips or tricks, I’d love to know so please comment. And feel free to share this with everyone you know who is crazy enough to live in cold places! Haha… You can find me staying put in Miami! 😉