Rachel's Blog

Blueberry Double Choc Raw Cheesecake

AD – this recipe and blog is sponsored by Eureka Blueberries

By Rachel Grunwell – wellness coach & author 

Mouth-watering NZ-grown Eureka Blueberries are the hero ingredient in this delicious raw cheesecake. There’s no cooking required and it’s full of nourishing, wholefood ingredients that taste good, look good and also help you to look good too! I’ll explain “why” soon…

The health benefits of blueberries are epic. They’re a powerful anti-aging food that can help combat memory loss. They’re rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, fibre, antioxidants, folate and anthocyanins. It’s the anthocyanins that help to boost brain function (this also makes the berries that blue colour by the way). 

Eureka blueberries are larger than most blueberries with a distinctive crunch and a delicious burst of flavour.

Eureka blueberries are in season now and instore now (at major New Zealand supermarkets like New World, Pak’nSave and other high-quality fruit retailers).

I advise my wellness clients to snack on real wholefoods like blueberries around that 3pm time if they hit that afternoon slump time where they feel hungry. They are also delicious paired with yoghurt as a snack.

They are a relatively guilt-free snack indulgence – there are only about 39 calories in half a punnet.

I actually LOVE eating these blueberries all on their own. They’re divine too in this Summer cheesecake recipe which is a great wholefood dessert options for when you next have friends over!

Blueberry Double Choc Raw Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Bottom layer

½ cup coconut oil (this should already be in a melted form during the warmer months of Summer. If not, melt it in a pot or the microwave so it is in a liquid form)

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw cashew nuts

½ cup maple syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

Middle layers

½ cup coconut oil (this should already be melted during the warm Summer months temp. If not, melt it in a pot or the microwave so it is in a liquid form)

¼ cup maple syrup 

¾ coconut cream

2 cups desiccated coconut 

(1 carton of Eureka Blueberries)

Topping

1 carton of Eureka Blueberries 

8 pieces of white chocolate (either shave it on top, or melt it in a bain-marie)

I garnished mine with edible flowers and mint fresh from my garden because it grows in abundance, but this is not essential.

Method

Step 1. Line a cake or cheesecake tin with baking paper.

Step 2. Place all the bottom layer ingredients into a blender and mix well until it makes a thick chocolatey mixture. Place the mixture into the tin and then use your hands to evenly spread it out in the tin. Place this in the freezer.

Step 3. Place the middle layer ingredients (except the blueberries) into a clean blender and blend well. Half this mixture. Pour the first half of the mixture over the bottom layer in the mixture in the tin.

Step 3. Take the other half of the middle layer of the mixtre and place this in the clean blender and blend with the carton of blueberries. Then pour this blue mixture on top of the cheesecake. Place this in the freezer for two hours, or longer until you are ready to eat.

Step 4. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer and put it on a fancy place. Add the topping of a carton of whole blueberries on top.

Step 5 (is optional). Leave this layer out if you want to keep the cheesecake raw and dairy-free. If you want this topping, just heat the white chocolate (about 8 pieces) slowly using a bain-marie (put the chocolate in a glass bowl and then place this bowl inside a large pot filled with about 2cm of water. Heat the pot of water slowly and it melts the chocolate without burning it). Take a spoon and drizzle the white chocolate over the cheesecake. Add edible flowers and mint if you have them in the garden to garnish (although, again, this is just an optional extra if you have them growing in the garden in abundance like I do)…

Recipe by Rachel Grunwell: Wellness coach, & author of the book Balance: Food, health + Happiness, which boasts 30 nourishing recipes & 30 global experts sharing wisdom on how to live healthier and happier.

Rachel creates healthy recipes every issue for Good magazine and has created healthy-inspired recipes for a string of brands and companies over the years. 

#eurekablueberriesnz #nzblueberries #eurekablueberries #blueberries #sponsoredcontent

6 Top Sleep Tips

(AD) sponsored content.

Declaration: Rachel was gifted the weighted blanket and Fitbit

Sleeping well is crucial. It helps you to perform at your best, have sharper concentration, make better decisions and you remember more when you have had enough sleep…

How much sleep you need comes down to the individual. But around 7.5- 8-hours nightly is great for adults. If you are training hard, then you could do with as much as 10 hours sleep to aid your recovery. While, kids needs around this much too.

Here are 6 sleep tips or suggestions to try

  1. I’ve trialled a #gifted 7kg weights Groundd blanket (that’s it pictured in my bedroom below). They come in 9kg size too. It’s weighted with hypoallergenic natural glass in pockets evenly distributed throughout the blanket. It’s really comforting to sleep under, and kind of like being hugged or cocooned. I was worried it might be too hot, but it isn’t. The bamboo silky cover feels divine to sleep under. The peeps behind this brand say the blanket is reassuring for kids who might feel anxious. According to their website, sleeping with them is like deep touch therapy – which is pressure equally across your body such as a hug, swaddle or blanket. Receptors in your skin help you feel safe apparently. Since using this blanket I’ve stopped waking through the night as often – and I like the feel of it. So I’ll keep on using it!

2. The new Fitbit sense watch is great for tracking your night’s sleep. You get a sleep score in the morning and can see how deep you’ve slept, or not! It’s a wake up call (chuckle) for getting to bed early enough so you know you have had enough zzzzzzzzz

3. My book Balance is full of amazing tips on how to sleep better too. The book boasts 30 global experts sharing science backed wisdom on how to live healthier and happier (plus 30 nourishing recipes).

4. Have a shot of tart cherry juice before bed.. It helps you wind down – so says Adam Storey, a strength and conditioning coach for Team NZ. He used to recommend this to The Blues players when he worked with the team (great insider secret spilled there!). Adam shares lots of other science-backed strategies in my book Balance too which are epic including the perfect temperature for sleeping to other hints to help you sleep incredibly well.

5. Don’t drink too much coffee – and remember too not to drink it too late in the day. It stays in your system a long time and can disrupt your sleep.

6. An hour out from bed, turn off your phone. The blue light can impact melatonin levels and keep you awake.

#sponsored post

Rachel was gifted the weighted blanket and Fitbit. Rachel has collaborated with Fitbit many times over the years (and has worn a Fitbit for many years also).

  • Rachel is a wellness coach, yoga + mindfulness teacher and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.
  • Follow Rachel on Instagram

5 Top Tips to Run Well on Rotorua Marathon Race Day

(AD) By Rachel Grunwell (run coach, 25x marathoner, author + proud Rotorua Marathon ambassador)

If you are running or walking the Rotorua Marathon event in 2020 then savour this moment. Covid didn’t win and the Rotorua Marathon team is so ecstatic that this event is going ahead and so many Kiwis will get to enjoy it. Nothing beats this race – the most iconic marathon event in NZ and one of the longest running run events in this country. There’s so much community connection at this race, and the Maori haka at the start is always spine-chilling.

I’ve put together 5 Top Run tips to help runners for race day. I hope one of these tips helps and inspires you to run well

5 Top Run Tips

  1. Organise everything you need for race day at least a day earlier ie what you will wear, eat and have a plan about how you will get to the start line. I always lay out my gear the night before, pin my bib, and even have all my breakfast stuff out and ready (except things like milk, of course that need to stay in the fridge). There’s nothing worse than scratching around in the cupboard trying to find a fave butter and feeling gutted if you have run out and subsequently can’t eat this as part of your pre-run race fuel! Be organised – that way you will feel relaxed heading to the start line.
  2. Don’t run too fast too early into the race – otherwise you WILL come unstuck. I share this advice because I have done it: Only ONCE. I learnt my lesson and man it sucked. There’s nothing worse than hitting the wall if you run too fast to early on. It huuuuuuuurts! Have a plan for pacing and stick to it. However, if in the final miles you have lots of energy in the tank… then you can go as fast as you want. This is the smart way to race. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake I made…..
  3. Run your own race and don’t get swept up with the pace of other runners who are beside you when the start gun goes. It’s easy to run like a lunatic in those beginning miles because of all the excitement and crowds cheering. Just don’t be crazy and try to keep up with the person next to you. Run your own race and pace that suits you…
  4. Don’t try anything new on race day ie eat the breakfast you trust and know fuels you well, run the pace you know works for you, and whatever you do don’t try any new race fuel that you haven’t tested before. You don’t want to get the s**** or get a funny tummy.
  5. “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt. I love this quote. Remember this quote when you get to the end of the race. Compare your run time with no one. If you finished this event then you are bloody epic and should be proud. Only a few runners are out to win this event. The rest of the field are out there for personal bests and to savour that finish-line moment. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you finished an epic, hairy-scary challenge. So many people wish they could tick off this bucket list event. If you get to do it then gloat about it as much as you like. Because. You. Are. Epic! ps Make sure you tag the Rotorua Marathon on race day because the team loves seeing your pix! Tag me too – ’cause there ain’t anything cooler than a Rotorua Marathon race day pic!

Blog penned by Rachel Grunwell. Connect with her via instagram or the InspiredHealthNZ Facebook page

7 Exercises for Back Pain

Book review by Rachel Grunwell

Book title: McKenzie Method:  Treat Your Own Back – by Robin McKenzie

This post is sponsored by The McKenzie Method company #AD

If you have ever experienced back pain, you’d be interested in this helpful easy-to-read book…

This can empower you on how to avoid or manage self-care for your back.

This book is penned by the late Kiwi physiotherapist Robin McKenzie, who is renowned for developing the McKenzie method to help people self-manage low back pain.

An acronym for the McKenzie method is mechanical diagnosis and therapy (MDT). McKenzie passed away in 2013. But his work lives on. Medical professionals have used his method worldwide for decades and continue to do so.

This 120-page book distils myths about acute back pain, lists common causes, and then details exercises and remedies on how to manage symptoms. 

The book is short and easy to read (ie not too much medical or technical jargon). I like that anyone can pick this book up and read it with ease. The exercises are also easily explained and not too difficult to do. Many of them are yoga poses I teach as a yoga teacher, but they go by different names in the book.

The book shows you strategies on how to put your back “in” too if you have put it “out”. It also advises around how to try and avoid a recurrence.

McKenzie writes in the book that back pain affects nearly everyone at some stage and is a common ailment. 

He writes: “It is often described as fibrositis, slipped disc, lumbago, arthritis in the back or rheumatism and, when it causes pain extending into the leg, sciatica.”

Some common causes of lower back pain include sitting for a long time in a poor, flexed rounded position. You know, that slumped in a chair kind of position. Or prolonged forward bending (take note: gardeners, or anyone using a poor lifting technique when picking something up!)

McKenzie writes that when pains of postural origin are first felt they can be easily eliminated merely by correcting your posture.

If uncorrected, the habitual poor posture can cause changes to the structure and shape of the joints. Excessive wear can occur, loss of elasticity resulting in premature aging of the joints etc.

A key point of the book is teaching readers the importance around how to keep natural posture ie when you stand, there’s a natural inward curve in the small of the lower back just above the pelvis (called lumbar lordosis). The lordosis is lost whenever the low back is rounded ie sitting hunched over and bending forwards. It becomes an issue if the lordosis is lost for long periods.

McKenzie explains in the book that unless you do exercises to restore normal flexibility, your healed tissue can produce back pain or stiffness – possibly for years. The pain can then escalate if scar tissue forms and restricts movement and you feel pain whenever you stretch…

I found it interesting in the book that lots of people blame sports or vigorous activities for back pain. However, McKenzie writes that in fact often it is after the activity when people sit, slouch or collapse for long periods in a chair. So, it’s not the sport, but often the posture we do post activities.

Resting or sleeping in some positions can also fuel back discomfort. Even surface (a bad mattress) can be a problem.

The book helps guides readers through stretches to help remedy their discomfort – and what to do if pain persists.

There are stretches and varied advice in the book to combat different issues and there are many areas you can feel the source of the back pain. He shares tips on what to do to handle niggles, all the way up to acute back pain. There’s advice on when to apply certain exercises also in an emergency scenario if you get a sudden onset of acute pain…

Note. If pain persists, please seek the advice of a qualified McKenzie physio to get expert advice.

7 Exercises For Back Pain:

Exercise 1. Lying face down.
Exercise 2. Lying face down in extension.
Exercise 3. Extension in lying.
Exercise 4. Extension in standing.
Exercise 5. Flexion in lying.
Exercise 6. Flexion in sitting.
Exercise 7. Flexion in standing.
To find out more about the McKenzie method click HERE

Blog penned by Rachel Grunwell: Qualified coach, yoga + meditation teacher, wellness speaker and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. Follow Rachel on Instagram or her business Facebook page

Taupo runner loses 7kg

When Taupo runner Vinnie Klein signed up for wellness coaching her aim was to lose weight and reclaim back her awesome run fitness.

Over recent years she felt like her running was getting harder and slower and last year she had the toughest half-marathon she has done – despite being a seasoned runner with a lot of experience in events including marathons. The 46-year-old mum had put on some weight and couldn’t shake the extra kilos. Other health issues including headaches were also affecting her health and happiness too.

“I want to be able to run again without feeling like a sack of potatoes,” she quipped when she first chatted with me.

Vinnie had a good knowledge of nutrition, consumed little sugar and was into fitness before she came to me for wellness coaching. But I could see clearly where I could uplift her health, nutrition and fitness after our first consultation. She committed to12-weeks of wellness coaching where she checked in with me every week (via phone chats) and took on fresh ideas, and mindfully tweaked her fitness, health and lifestyle in a way that worked well for her as an individual and her lifestyle. She is a construction business co-owner and works in the office and so planned fitness around her commitments with this.

Every week, Vinnie tweaked things she was doing. I guided her in a way that was manageable and relatable – and never too overwhelming. I shared wellness tools I sensed she would be interested in. Ultimately, having a smart plan is the key to a successful wellness journey and checking in with me regularly with questions meant Vinnie could follow her plan with confidence.

Vinnie is one of my star clients. She lost 7kg over the 12-weeks, improved her running, resistance training and overall wellbeing. She did it too while still enjoying wine every week with her husband Andrew and often being away with friends socially too. Her headaches have eased considerably.

After 12-weeks away, Vinnie knows how to confidently carry on with her wellbeing journey in a sustainable way. My aim always is to empower my clients over 12-weeks so this is all they need to be with me on this plan.

Vinnie shares some things that helped her journey:

Vinnie with her dogs, Jude (left) and Maggie (right)

What was the hardest part?

“Starting!” The hardest part is getting your mind into the mindset that this is the time to take action and get going,” she says, then adds “another hard part was the strength training.”

What helped you on your journey?

“Rachel did!”

“You definitely kept me accountable. Without the help I would never have been able to improve my health journey from so many angles”.

What do you love about your wellness journey?

“I feel like I’m in control of where I am in life. I love being 7kg lighter. I’ve gone from a size 12 (it was tight) to a size 10. This helps me feel a lot more comfortable with running. My running is heaps easier!”

What is your advice to others wishing to be fitter or healthier?

“Do this when the time is right for you. Once you make that choice you will never regret it. It’s also important to have a goal and something on the calendar to aim for too for motivation.”

Vinnie’s next run goal is 10km at the Rotorua Marathon event and she’s looking forward to running strong and enjoying it! She will be running with a guide runner as her sight is impaired. She’s a proud member of the Achilles charity, which helps Kiwis with disabilities to participate in mainstream events.

ps I’m so proud of Vinnie’s success. She made it happen. In my books, she is the definition of inspiring! Don’t you agree?

Rachel is a wellness coach, passionate multi-marathoner, yogi and author of the book Balance: Food, health + Happiness, which boasts 30 global experts on how to live healthier and happier + 30 nourishing recipes. Contact Rachel via [email protected]

The book Balance is available for order via this website. Click HERE

Follow Rachel on Instagram or the InspiredHealthNZ Facebook page.

  • Declaration: Rachel works with the Rotorua Marathon crew as an ambassador and coach. This is proudly sponsored content.
  • To find out more about the Rotorua Marathon event click HERE

Inspiring Mum kick-starts her fitness journey for the the Rotorua Marathon event’s 10km run

Four hundred Kiwis entered the competition (with Destination Rotorua and The Hits radio station) to try and win the ultimate weekend getaway in Rotorua which included the help to kick-start their fitness journey so they can participate in the Rotorua Marathon event.

Auckland mum Rebecca Bowman won the comp – and she has signed up to participate in the 10km event on September 26.

She won these prizes in the competition:
2 entries at any distance to the Rotorua Marathon

Coaching from yours truly, and a copy of my book – Balance: Food, health & happiness. 

2 nights accommodation for two people

Polynesian Spa  - 2 x Deluxe Lake Spa passes

  Skyline Rotorua Gondola, Luge & Dinner at #stratosphererestaurant  for 2 people 

 Rrotorua Canopy Tours – Original Tour for 2 people 

Rebecca is starting her run journey from scratch and has less than two months to prepare. Mum to 4-month-old Grace, Rebecca aims to complete the 10km event.

“My goal is to be able to jog the whole way,” she says.

Rebecca is looking to reclaim her fitness – post having her baby Grace four months ago. She is aiming to get outdoors with Grace in the pram to get fit throughout the week (rain or shine).

“If I’m training with a pram… then I’m hoping it will be easy on race day if I don’t have to push a pram!” she quips.

I’ll be meeting with Rebecca weekly and giving her a coaching plan to progress her towards this goal with a safe, smart and manageable approach.

I’ve advised Rebecca to start with a walk/jog routine to get her muscles, ligaments stronger and her body used to being in motion.

A slow, easy pace with more walking than running is the smartest way to start a run journey. It’s also way more fun to do it this way – which is so important! And starting sensibly is a key to avoiding feeling fatigued and exhausted and avoiding injuries too. I’ve advised her to embrace re rest days also to give her body time to adapt, strengthen and recover well.

Rebecca has a great fitness background pre having her gorgeous baby Grace, and so also has the right mindset, enthusiasm and can-do attitude too that will take her far. I can’t wait to see her progression!

  • This blog is sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event. Rachel is the Rotorua Marathon event run ambassador, a qualified coach and a keen marathoner. She has conquered 25 marathons. She loves inspiring Kiwis to kick-start a health and fitness journey so they can feel healthier and happier.

3 Inspiring Women Fundraising for the Rotorua Marathon event

By Rachel Grunwell

Tell me what breaks your heart and I’ll point you toward your purpose.

So writes activist and author Glennon Doyle in her book, Untamed.

When I read this line in Doyle’s book, it put into words the deep pain that has powered me into helping several charities over the years. Some things just break your heart and stir action. And you never regret action; You only regret inaction.

Whenever I talk to people fundraising for the Rotorua Marathon event (on Sept 26), I feel their passion. I also sense the pain that has caused their deep heart-connection to act.

These are just three inspiring (super) women fundraising for different charities via this iconic Bay of Plenty event. They are making their miles count. Please support them with a donation. Because small actions can snowball and help to heal this world…

Melanie Steen is fundraising for the Cambodian Charitable Trust, set up by Tauranga mum and lawyer Denise Arnold. This trust helps kids access education in Cambodia.

Kids at Ang Chhum Primary. This is one of the 23 schools supported by The Cambodia Charitable Trust.

Melanie says it is an honour to run this event and fundraise for this charity. She discovered the trust’s amazing work when reading about motivational people in my book, Balance (yes, I got pretty emotional over this!)

This is her “why”:

“The Trust was set up by a mother who wanted to make a difference, she saw a need to help these children have what we take for granted as a normal life something most of us give our children without really considering it a luxury”.

Denise says funds raised by Melanie will support the school communities at a time when there is no work and many are going hungry. 

“All funds will go to provide 50kg bags of rice to families struggling to feed themselves. There is no welfare system in Cambodia and with garment factories and construction sites closing and no tourism, there are many families facing a total loss of income. It is a huge problem, and so far the trust has provided 767 bags of rice. Each bag of rice costs about $60NZ and lasts the average family about a month”.

Steen has so far raised $329. To support this amazing cause click here:

https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/help-me-to-help-others-2

Melanie
Steen

Kylie Allpress is among a team fundraising for the Rotorua Hospice. She is running in memory of her dad who died of leukaemia. She backs the hospice for giving “unconditional love and support to all our families in Rotorua”.

She says on her fundraising page that her dad longed to one day run this event but he never did. She is a marathoner already and aiming for a PB of 3hr45mins.

On her givealittle page she says: “All I ask is please donate the price of a latte $5 for Rotorua Hospice, my chosen charity which gives unconditional love and support to all our families in the Rotorua community. I am forever grateful! This runs for you dad X”.

Kylie has so far fundraised $488. Please help her with a donation here:

https://rotoruamarathon2020.everydayhero.com/nz/kylie-2

Rotorua-based baker Tracey Dender is fundraising for the No Duff Charitable Trust, which helps current and former Defence personnel (and their families). Tracey is an ex war vet. She’s running the marathon in a weighted vest!

Dender (pictured below) has fundraised $2539 so far. To donate towards this worthy cause click here:

https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/marathon-for-mates-2020

Meanwhile, read Dender’s full story on her marathon mission in another blog I wrote just on her. Click HERE

Join these amazing women and enter the Rotorua Marathon event (either the fun run, 10km, half-marathon of full-marathon distance.). Click HERE

This post is sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon #sponsored #ad

This Grandma is Goals! She’s Lining up to do her 40th Rotorua Marathon race

A Taupo grandmother is the definition of the word inspiring when it comes to being fit, healthy and active. She’s about to conquer her 40th Rotorua Marathon at the September 26 event. What’s even more impressive is this will bring her overall marathon tally, including NZ and international marathons, to 125 marathons.

Verna Cook-Jackson, 68, will be walking this year’s 42km distance. She has a bit of a “dickie knee” and will be taking her time to lap the lake, soaking up the sights along the way and remembering wonderful memories of years gone by too of doing this annual goal. 

She will be doing this event proudly. She’s chuffed she can still conquer this these long miles – given most of her mates now keep active with golf, bowls or gardening.

Verna tries to downplay her incredible feat with her feet when we chat during this interview, saying she’s no elite athlete. She says she will be celebrating her achievement likely “very quietly”.

But I tell her she simply is my goals. Most people dream of being this fit at 68…

Verna may walk this distance now. But she used to be darn speedy. Her fastest marathon time was 3 hours and 15 mins in New Plymouth.

Her first marathon was aged 26 at Rotorua when she clocked in at 4 hours 14 mins.

Back then, not many women ran, she explains. It was purely a male sport in this era. Verna used to run around an Auckland park in the dark to train back then so she wouldn’t be seen. This was because she was a woman running and so wanted to be “hidden away”, but also too because she was overweight then and was self-conscious also about being seen.

Back then there were no fancy tights. She wore a pair of shorts, oversized t-shirt and a sweat-band around her head aka “Rod Dixon style”, she says laughing.

She started running because she wanted to lose weight post having children. She couldn’t get to tennis because she had children to care for and so running at night was how she could fit fitness into her life. She has used this sport since to keep in shape and feel great, she adds.

Verna says she loves how the sport has attracted more women, and people of all shapes and sizes and abilities, over the years.

“Now you can go to a start line and see every size possible and it’s really nice”.

Verna says she uses the Rotorua Marathon every year as her motivation to keep active and fit.

“Rotorua has become a good habit. It keeps me motivated”.

So how long will she keep lapping this lake?

“I was going to get to number 40 and call it quits,” she says, then chuckles and adds. “Well that was the theory anyway…”

When I tell Verna she her marathon tally is simply inspiring, she shrugs it off. She says if she wished to inspire anyone around anything to do with running it would be just simply to “start” and take small steps. She recommends starting with a walk/run journey to keep healthy and then progress if you wish to running.

Every morning she gets out for an 8km walk and ticks it off “so I feel good”.

Asked what’s the secret to her long-run journey? She says her mindset is key.

“My knee needs replacing at some stage. In the meantime, I may as well keep running until it gets so bad it has to be replaced!”

This grandma is goals!

Join this amazing grandma and enter the Rotorua Marathon event (either the fun run, 10km, half-marathon of full-marathon distance.). Click HERE

Article by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon ambassador. Qualified Coach. Yoga teacher. Author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.

Follow Rachel on Instagram & the InspiredHealthNZ Facebook page.

This article was sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon #sonsored #ad

20 Tips to Kick-Start Your Run Journey


By Rachel Grunwell

1. The hardest part about starting a run journey is making the decision to start. So, start today. Just jump!

2. Small steps work best. Start with 10-minutes twice weekly. Walk a power-pole, run the next. Repeat. Take it slow and easy. This gives your muscles and ligaments time to adapt and strengthen. It’s all about time in motion at this stage and it doesn’t matter if it’s all walking. The worst thing you can do it run too hard and long too soon.

3. Ask a mate (or several mates!) to join you on your beginner run journey. You can cheer each other on. It makes the journey more fun too. On those days that you feel unmotivated to run, it will spur you into action if you know a mate is waiting for you.

4. Spend a brief time doing some dynamic stretches before you run. This gets your body primed for moving well ie dynamic lunges.

5. Do some yoga static stretches for a brief time after your run. This brings length back to tight muscles. I’ve got run stretches on a blog on this site too – so seek that out.

6. Enter a 10km event that’s several months away ie the Rotorua Marathon event on September 26 (join me!). Having a goal to work towards gives you a reason to keep up your run journey. It scares you into action. Enter by clicking the link HERE.

7. Be okay about being an absolute beginner. Own this! If you practice anything then you get better at it. The same philosophy applies with a run journey. After a few weeks, you will feel stronger and fitter. After several weeks, you’ll notice you can run a bit more than before. It feels amazing! So, trust the process.

8. Only a small percentage of runners try to win run events. Most people – like you and me – run for our wellbeing. It’s all about that finish-line moment and this is success. Remember this.

9. The “runner’s high” is science-backed and real. I explain the hormones and science behind this phenomenon in my book Balance. It’s super interesting. When you run you can also go into a state of “flow”. This is a science-backed state too that I detail in my book too. Flow is a wellbeing secret to feeling happy. There are different ways you can find flow. Running is just one way. It’s also free (besides needing a pair of decent run shoes, that is).

10. Be okay about progression. Never strive for perfectionism. Your run journey is about uplifting your wellness journey. Every time you run or walk this is a positive thing for your body and mind. Movement is medicine. It impacts on how you think, feel and perform. It actually changes your brain. So, you are smarter if you run! Literally.

11. The World Health Organisation prescribes 30-minutes’ exercise daily. This really is a minimum. So, walking and running is a smart way to “up” your daily movement. Actually, that WHO guideline is barely a baseline for good health. Getting your heart-rate up on a run a few times a week is epic for your health…

12. Movement is part of a prescription for wellness. It’s not all about weight-management or fitness. Movement can help people better manage things like anxiety and depression too. It’s a genuine mood-lifter. So if you feel down sometimes, focus in on this reason alone and keep running.

13. A walk or run journey is a great way to inspire your kids into movement. They may not listen to everything you say (or is that only my teenagers chuckle). But they definitely watch everything you do. The greatest thing I can do for my kids is to inspire them as a kick-ass role-model on ways to be healthy. That to me is success: Healthy kids.

14. Believe you can be a runner and you likely will. Believe you won’t and you likely will never get there. ps if I can go from being an unfit mum seven years ago, to a competent runner – then I reckon almost anyone can. And I love breaking down barriers to share “how”.

15. Put your run clothes and shoes out the night before. So all you have to do is wake up, roll out of bed, get dressed and walk out the door and move. This trick helps!

16. Put in your calendar 2-3 timess weekly when you will commit to going for a run/walk/jog/skip. If you schedule in your workouts then you have something to aim for.

17. You don’t need fancy run gear. All you really need is an “I can attitude”.

18. Surround yourself with inspiring friends who are into fitness. Chat to them about your journey so they can cheer you on.

19. Tell family and friends about your new health journey. They’ll likely ask how you are doing over the coming weeks and keep you accountable and encouraged.

20. Learn to be a mindful runner. Savour being outside in the fresh air and sunshine and enjoy these moments of “me time” (away from all those devices too, right. Yeah, I’m guilty of this too…) 

Connect with Rachel on Instagram for more run inspo in the build up to the Rotorua Marathon event. Click HERE

Rachel is a qualified coach, yoga teacher & experienced runner. She’s conquered 25 marathons at last count, including guiding a string of disabled athletes. She’s the author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. The book has 30 global experts on how to be healthier and happier, plus 30 nourishing recipes. There’s lots of run stuff in the book ie inspiring stories, recipes to fuel your run, to experts sharing how the runner’s high works, to a neuroscientist sharing how you can lift your performance etc…

Order a copy of the book HERE

Ice Baths, Infrared Saunas & Red Light Therapy

By Rachel Grunwell

“Like anything in life, your mindset dictates your experience” – Buddha.

I try to replay this quote as I plunge my bikini-clad body into an ice bath in Winter. For. Two. Whole. Minutes.

Time slows, I’m convinced. 

Rather than cursing and swearing, I’m focused on my breathing technique. This helps me to successfully complete this ice-queen challenge feeling remarkably calm. I emerge with my skin tingling and pink. I’m 100% alert, and feel rejuvenated. I notice I’m not even shivering. Wow. I feel ALIVE.

I’m attending a Wim Hof Method workshop. It’s run by Laura Warren, a clinical nutritionist and holistic health practitioner. She is a certified Wim Hof Method instructor too.

Warren taught us about the health benefits of this practice. Then she invited everyone attending the workshop to take the cold plunge . She inspires us to continue this “cold exposure” at home by taking cold showers daily. Start with 30 seconds for one week. The next week raise that to one minute cold showers daily – and so on…

By the way, Wim Hof is a Dutch man dubbed “The Ice Man”. He has many world records to his name. He has run marathons barefoot in the Arctic Circle. He has swam under the ice at the North Pole. He has lingered in ice for long periods using his breathing and mindset techniques.

Lots of research has been done on the power of his pranayamic yoga style breathing and tolerance to the cold.

Warren shares 3 top benefits she believes you get from Ice Baths/cold showers:

1. Trains your circulatory system – brings oxygen to the tissues. 

2. Trains your stress response to increase resilience. 

3. It brings you “into the moment” and helps you to be adaptable.

Meanwhile, in a booklet Warren sent me…. she lists more benefits including the following:

“This method is basically for everyone who wants to supercharge their inner strength. It’s for anyone who wants to increase the sense of ‘feeling alive’, enhance their overall well-being and feeling more centered. The Wim Hof Method has many benefits. And the more widespread this

method becomes, the more we are realizing that this method can allevi- ate many different ailments, some of which we’ve never even heard of!” In short, this method can help you to:

  • Increase your Energy
  • Heightened Focus & Determination
  • Reduce Stress Levels
  • Reconnect with Nature
  • Better Sleep
  • Influence your Immune System
  • Improve Sport Performance
  • Grow Stronger Physically and Mentally
  • Enhanced Creativity

Meanwhile, I later experience Hana.  This is New Zealand’s first dedicated infrared sauna and red light therapy centre. This place is luxurious, light-filled and bliss-inducing!

Founder Sara Higgins is a former pharmacist. 

I first read about the benefits of these hot treatments through Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of Titans. The book shares tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons, and performers. Many  in this book rave about infrared saunas.

What’s the red light therapy like? I’m in a pod that looks like a tanning bed. I’m warm, not hot. I note that I’m still for 20-minutes, which has to beneficial alone!

The sauna is a divine experience. I’m toasty and emerge feeling zen-like. The experience ends with a hot shower. Bliss!

  •  

Higgins shares 3 top benefits she feels she gets from infrared saunas: 

Detox, muscle recovery and immune-system-boosting.

Higgins shares 3 top benefits she believes she gets from red light therapy: 

Boosts skin collagen production, reduces inflammation and promotes better sleep.

In a press release on Hana’s opening it listed these amazing benefits:

“The treatment comes scientifically backed to also repair sun damage, reduce wrinkles, speed muscle recovery, heal scarring and stretch marks, reduce inflammation, boost testosterone levels and enhance collagen.”

Find out more about Warren’s next Wim Hof Workshop click HERE

Find out more about Higgins’ business Hana. Click HERE

 Rachel is a wellness expert and author of Balance: Food, Health and Happiness . Follow her on Instagram 

https://www.instagram.com/rachelgrunwell/