Rachel Grunwell smiling while doing Yoga

Workplace Wellness Works

Rachel Grunwell smiling while doing Yoga

Are you in a workplace that has an ambulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-cliff style wellbeing strategy? You know, an organisation that only has counsellors at hand to deal with the most catastrophic events when things are already a mess…

Or does your workplace care about trying to uplift your wellbeing so you are more balanced and resilient if your stress-levels tip over the edge?

If you work for a smart company, they’ll understand that workplace wellbeing strategies are smart. If employees are healthy and happy, then this can increase productivity, more engagement, result in fewer sick days and help staff retention rates. So, a good organisation that treats people well has a better chance of holding onto good employees for longer….

These are just “some” of the many benefits of caring about staff.  There are so many cool strategies too on how to help staff to uplift their wellbeing.

Since the launch of my book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness, I’ve been doing lots of speaking events in front of corporates. I share science-backed wellness ideas and strategies from the 30 diverse global experts from my book – as well as advice I use when coaching clients. Recently I spoke in front of workers at the Trustpower building in Tauranga doing just that. I was in front of hundreds of staff at a bank too in Auckland. That talk got live streamed to staff nationwide. Soo too, I’ll be in front of a room full of business leaders sharing the same messages…

Workplace wellness speaking has fast become one of my favourite things I do now through my wellness work framework.

The mission of my business InspiredHealth is to inspire Kiwis to live healthier and happier through science-backed strategies. This is the same mission for my book also.

So, talking in a workplace means I can potentially help to propel a whole organisation forwards and working happier and “smarter”. Even if only one person in the room is inspired to make healthier changes… then there’s magic in that. That one person is someone’s sibling, parent, relative or friend. They’re loved and so important. Actually, one of the people who bought my book from a recent workplace wellness talk actually took me aside at the end and asked advice to help their partner. So even if I help or inspire a partner of someone in the room at one of my talks… that’s heart-lifting. There’s a ripple effect in helping others. It starts with one person. Then they inspire others. And it continues on…

Profile Picture of Rachel Grunwell sitting in the forest

Rachel Grunwell is a wellness expert and award-winning writer. She’s a coach, yoga + mindfulness teacher. She writes the wellness column for Good magazine and Indulge magazine. She co-leads the Mindful Moments retreats too at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.

Fiji – for a blissful escape or adventure. Read about two top locations

Fiji – for a blissful escape or adventure. Read about two top locations…

CASTAWAY_Hero Image_ credit_Matt C Bauer-

pic of Castaway Island – courtesy of Matt Bauer

Visiting Fiji conjures up: Blissing-out on white-sand beaches. Swimming in azure, tropical waters. Devouring mouth-watering paw-paw, pineapple and coconut. And smiling while saying “bula!” to everyone. But there’s more to experience in this paradise too. Writer Rachel Grunwell shares some unique experiences at two top locations.

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Polynesian Spa announces homegrown ambassador

polynesian spa

Pictured: Rachel Grunwell at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa

ROTORUA, Thursday 25th January 2018:  Health and wellness expert Rachel Grunwell, who grew up in Rotorua, has been announced as the new brand ambassador for New Zealand’s leading hot spring and luxury spa experience, Polynesian Spa.

A mother of three, Rachel is a yoga and meditation teacher, wellness magazine columnist, keynote speaker, healthy recipe creator and runs the Inspired Health website and social media channels with a combined fan base of around 20,000 Kiwis.

Polynesian Spa chief executive Gert Taljaard says they selected Rachel to be their ambassador because of her influential health and wellbeing background, but also because Rotorua is very close to her heart. She was born and raised in Rotorua and even once worked with the complex as a massage therapist. 

“It’s great to have an ambassador who has had a lifetime relationship with Polynesian Spa having spent her childhood years growing up enjoying our pools and her early career working as part of our team.  Having authentic ambassadors on board is very important to us” says Taljaard.

As brand ambassador, Rachel will be inspiring people to lead a naturally healthier lifestyle by integrating the benefits of mineral bathing, spa treatments and mindful moments into their wellness regime.

“I’m excited to be part of the Polynesian Spa family. I can’t wait to share real-life and science-backed wellness wisdom to help people to be healthier and happier. I’m looking forward to being back in Rotorua more regularly and it’s great to be collaborating in an industry which I am passionate about” says Grunwell.

Ironically one of the two exclusive alkaline and acidic springs that feeds into the 28 pools that Polynesian Spa boasts onsite is named the Rachel Spring and the new ambassador has been excited to rediscover the history of the therapeutic and rejuvenating waters.

“What makes Polynesian Spa so unique is the access it has to these two wonderful springs. The alkaline spas from the Rachel Spring are hot and relaxing and leave your skin with a silky feeling while the Priest Spring relieves and rejuvenates tired muscles, aches and pains. It is very uplifting for the soul,” says Rachel.

Rachel’s first job is to assist with developing a wider range of healthier choices for the new 88Ra Café menu and will host the highly successful Mindful Moments Retreats during the year.

Mindful Moments Retreats will be held on the following dates:

Saturday 9th June – Sunday 10th June

Saturday 11th August – Sunday 12th August

Saturday 10th November –  Sunday 11th November


To find out all the details check out the Polynesian Spa website. Click HERE

Rachel Grunwell is a wellness magazine writer, yoga teacher, health blogger, healthy recipe creator for Good magazine and an ambassador for the Achilles charity which helps Kiwis with all kinds of disabilities to participate in events.

For wellness inspiration, follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram 


Why you shouldn’t run cold!


Column by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner, yoga teacher, Good magazine’s wellness columnist and professional blogger. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook  & Instagram for more tips, recipes & giveaways

Why You Should Stretch & How…

Runners are renowned for wanting to skip the ‘warm up’. I get that. All we want to do is lace up our shoes and pound the pavements – or trails – for training. The sooner we get that incredible fix of movement, escapism, freedom and that scientifically proven “runner’s high” the better.

But there’s good reason for warming up and warming down…

Firstly I recommend doing a dynamic warm up routine before you run. This could include controlled, smooth ‘walking lunges’ (10 times on each leg) and then ‘hamstring leg swings’ (10 each side too). Dynamic stretching means a stretch is performed by moving through a range of motion repeatedly and not holding a stretch for a long time. Why do this? This warms up the body to prepare it to move well and ultimately helps with your performance.

A lot of people avoid warming up because they’re impatient. But it’s worth taking just a few minutes of moving, dynamic stretches before a run. You will feel the difference. Your body will feel less tight and function better.

Now, I bet you’re keen to know why a ‘warm down’ is important? The idea behind stretching post-workout is to help lengthen your muscles out. A roller is an amazing self-massage tool for this too. I personally use one after every run.

If you want some step-by-step instructions for some warm down examples of ‘stretches for runners’, then you can find some on my blog.. Click HERE. X X


About Rachel Grunwell

Yoga Tips for Runners


Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner. Yoga teacher. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Director of InspiredHealth. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for inspo, recipes & giveaways. ps there’s a marathon entry giveaway coming up on the Facebook page soon!

Yoga Tips For Runners

Runners can be reluctant yogis. We think our time is better spent continually pounding the pavements.

It’s usually an injury that will force us into finally doing a stretch routine. But if you’re smart, then incorporate stretching (and strength work) into your training programme now.

Here are some yoga tips for runners:

Gently ease into stretching. You would never run a half-marathon overnight without training well or run too fast, too soon. So, have the same approach to stretching. Do a little bit and, slowly over time, you will improve.

Use yoga exercises to strengthen your core. The slouchy-look is uncool – and a sleepy middle limits your power.

Yoga can help to re-balance your body. If you’ve got a niggle, then you can end up compensating in another area and then injury is inevitable.

Avoid burn-out with the de-stress elements of yoga. Forget the body benefits for a moment; this stuff comes up trumps for the mind.

Yoga incorporates some great breathing exercises so you can better learn how to harness your breath. Maintaining steady, calm breathing in those last miles can give you an edge. While, shallow breathing will leave you breathless, steal energy and slow you down.

Sharpen your focus through yoga by using a mantra. Yoga can help you to silence distractions and truly focus on race day. In those final miles of an event, lots of runners want to give up. This is when your mind drives your legs.

Yoga will improve your range of mobility. This will help you move well and run well.

Your posture and alignment can be improved through yoga. So, you’ll look better, and run better too.

Lastly, make sure you stretch “smart”. See a yoga teacher or personal trainer so they can check your alignment and technique is correct.

Meanwhile, here’s another blog with 7 easy stretches for runners – Click HERE.



Inspirational blind runner signs up for Cigna Round the Bays


Achieving your goal – no matter what!

By Rachel Grunwell

Can you imagine being legally blind and running fast? Well, Maree Carson does this. The 32-year-old Wellington travel agent refuses to let her disability stop her from running.


Maree’s next event is Cigna Round the Bays on 19 February, 2017. Her goal is to step up her speed so she can beat her time of 1hr 46mins from the same event earlier this year.

“I’m quite competitive and so I’m looking forward to doing it again and trying to do it better,” she says.


To achieve her goal she will join the Wellington Harrier Athletic Club to help with her training. Maree also runs with Achilles New Zealand, who support her by teaming her up with a guide to help her along new and unknown courses.


Next year’s event will be Maree’s fifth half-marathon following her completion of the New York Marathon last month with the help of Achilles guide Josh Thomas, from Wellington. He will also volunteer at Cigna Round the Bays, an event he is a big fan of.


“It’s an easy and flat course, the water views are beautiful and there are good vibes,” he says.


Maree loves the event too and has always run. “I love it. I feel quite free and it gives me a clear head. It makes me feel better. It makes me so happy,” she says.


Maree started losing her sight aged 16 through a degenerative eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa. She has less than 5 percent vision including no depth of vision or peripheral vision. She cannot see in the dark, in shadows, and sometimes “floaters” affect her central vision.


Her commitment to running is an incredible inspiration.

Achilles is the official charity partner of Cigna Round the Bays. Want to help? If you would like to guide an athlete, or have a disability and would like help to take part in Cigna Round the Bays, contact Achilles at achillesnewzealand.org. Or fundraise for this worthy cause. You can set up a fundraising page as part of your registration.



Register for the event at cignaroundthebays.co.nz and join #stepitupnz.co.nz to be in to win a prize worth $2500.

Column by Rachel Grunwell, an award-winning writer, magazine wellness columnist, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador, runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of InspiredHealth.co.nz. Follow Rachel on Inspired Health’s  Facebook & Instagram pages.

ps go into the draw to WIN a health and fitness book on facebook at the moment by fitness phenomenon Kayla Itsines!



Training tips to get run-ready for Cigna Round the Bays

 Cigna waterfront runners pic

 By Rachel Grunwell

Now is the time to step it up for training for the annual Wellington event – Cigna Round the Bays.

The family-friendly event is 14 weeks away – on 19 February 2017 – so there is plenty of time to train well and make the most of this health journey.

This way, you’ll reach your health goal with ease and be proud of your efforts at the finish line. If you haven’t registered, then do so now so you can get the maximum health benefits from becoming a stronger runner.

There’s a distance for everyone – whether you want to walk with your baby in a buggy, do the fun run, tackle 10km, or go the distance with the mighty challenge of the Cigna Achilles Half Marathon (21km).

To help kick-start your training, I’ve listed some tips below which helped me on my run journey. They are tried and tested and I know they work.

Only a few years ago I’d puff while merely walking and pushing my youngest son in a pram, but I slowly built up my fitness with a gentle walk/run routine to now being able to run longer distances with ease. So if this mum can, you can!


Start with an easy walk/run around your neighbourhood for 10-20-minutes in these early weeks. Walk for two power poles, run the next two, then repeat. Over time, you will run more and walk less. Do this two or three times weekly. Keep it fun.

Don’t run too fast to avoid getting injured.

Run with good posture. A trick

is to imagine a string above your head pulling you upright.

Try to keep your arms by your

side. Flapping them wastes energy – and looks a bit uncool!

Look both ways before crossing any roads and don’t have your music up too loud. Safety is

important – and be particularly watchful if you have little ones with you.

Drink water, not sugary drinks.

Column (week 2) published in newspapers throughout Wellington.

Enter by registering HERE & join #stepitupnz.co.nz to be in to win a prize worth $2500. 

Column by Rachel Grunwell, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador – a magazine wellness columnist, runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of the InspiredHealth website. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health on Facebook and Instagram.

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Cigna Wellington Round the Bays – enter the family!


By Rachel Grunwell

Registrations are now open for a favourite annual Wellington event – Cigna Round the Bays.

But don’t just enter yourself for race day on February 19.

Step it up by entering with friends, work colleagues and family.

Together you can support each other’s training and get fitter and healthier.

Having a specific and achievable health goal on a set date like this event can help with keeping you all motivated on your health journey.

There’s a distance for every age and level: the Mitre 10 Mega buggy walk, the 6.5km fun run or walk, Bluebridge 10km, and the Cigna/Achilles half marathon (21km).

I’m stepping it up by getting my family involved, including husband Damien, and our kids Zach, 11, Lachie, 9, and Finn, 5.

Zach is especially excited about tackling his first 10km distance alongside me.

Actually, his speedy, young legs may leave me in his dust! The rest of my whanau will do the fun run.
Damien will likely be piggy-

backing little Finn near the end. The focus for our family,

training-wise, is to keep fitness fun and at the kids’ pace.

I’ll sneak in building a base fitness with my younger kids by doing things like scooter or bike rides, family walks, light jog at the weekend and walking to school sometimes.

Zach and I are doing run training, which we will build up slowly.

Meanwhile, tell your kids they are helping you to train for the event too.

Give your kids the title of chief coach. Remember to foster a can- do mind-set, with fitness and health in general around kids and be a positive role-model on this journey.

Inspiring your kids to be fit, healthy and happy is the ultimate gift, I reckon.
Lastly, visualise the red-faced, smiling, excited faces of your loved-ones at the finish-line and a shared feeling of success.

❚ Enter by registering HERE

❚ Column published in newspapers throughout Wellington.

Column by Rachel Grunwell, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador – a runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of the InspiredHealth website. Follow more of her personal journey to get her family ready for the event on Facebook and Instagram.

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Auckland Bridge Climb – the ultimate school holiday fun!

By Rachel Grunwell

Want something memorable to do with the kids? Well, doing the Auckland Bridge Climb would be an absolute ‘high’-light, I promise you.

It’s an incredible adventure that can give your kids a new perspective on Auckland city. Some folks travel the world to do this. If you are lucky enough to live in Auckland (like me) then it would be a crime not to experience this! Or wherever you are in NZ, put it on your bucket list if you are ever in Auckland. It’s a lot of fun.

Here are 10 reasons why you should do it:

  • It is the one and only bridge climb in New Zealand
  • A tour guide tells you about the history of the bridge which is super interesting. Learn about the architecture, the stories around when it was built, how it works. 
  • The views are AMAZING including sea, boats, the Auckland skyline, the Auckland Skytower… 
  • See Bungy Jumping up close (or do it if you are a thrill-seeker) 

Here are some picture highlights of when I did the climb with my hubby Damien, son Zach, aged 11, and his mate Alex, also aged 11. ps kids have to be aged 10-years-old and weigh a minimum of 35kg to do this.


Wearing onesies and ready to climb!


Hard-hats on. Game-faces on….


That’s the mind-blowing view we climbed for! It’s even amazing when it’s raining. Not even a drizzle could dampen this experience.


The hard-hat team. What an adventure.


We did it. We feel on top of the world up here whoop. Yeeeeees!!


We looked down on traffic, boats, sea… and a 360-degree view of Auckland City.


Here’s the team we climbed with. We all gave the experience the big thumbs up.


Follow inspired Health on Facebook & Instagram too (we do giveaways lots – there’s a $50 prize pack giveaway at the moment – and we also inspire Kiwis with awesome lifestyle inspiration).

InspiredHealthNZ is run by Rachel Grunwell: Blogger, magazine wellness columnist, yoga teacher, marathoner and adventure-seeker. 

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Spooky Gluten-Free Gingerbread


Want more lifestyle inspiration – follow our Facebook Page Instagram Page 


By Rachel Grunwell


Halloween is a fun time for my family. The kids love to dress up all scary or witchy and go trick-or-treating around our neighbourhood on October 31. We’re in the Auckland suburb of Mt Eden where families are used to little ghostly and ghastly costume-wearing kids turning up at the door!

Instead of lollies, these gluten-free gingerbread men are a yummy treat to give the kids – or to give other little trick-or-treaters. Or just to make up anytime for fun!

My youngest witchy – son Finn, aged 5 (pictured) – gives these the thumbs up. He loves helping in the kitchen – and of course, taste-testing the bats, pumpkins and legless gingerbread men.


Your kids will love making these too and so give them a whirl! Or if you have a cool and creepy recipe then share it with me too!!


Spooky Gluten-Free Gingerbread


3 tablespoons Chelsea Golden Syrup

½ cup Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar

1 teaspoon each of mixed spice and cinnamon

1.5 teaspoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon water

50g butter

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cups rice flour

½ cup potato flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

(add 2 teaspoons xanthum gum if you have it in the cupboard as this helps with binding the ingredients, but it’s not absolutely necessary)



Place Chelsea Golden Syrup in a pan, along with Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, ground ginger and water.

Heat until the sugar dissolves and then switch off the heat place the butter in the pan to melt.

Let the mixture cool a little and then add the baking soda.

In another bowl, put the sifted gluten-free flour and baking powder. Then add the heated ingredients from the pan and mix until a workable dough. Add more rice flour if you need it (i.e. if the dough is too sticky). Then sprinkle a generous amount of rice flour on your bench and use a roller to roll out the dough. Press Halloween-style cookie-cutter shapes in this. Use a spatula to lift the shapes up from the bench and onto the trays (so they stay in one piece).

Bake these on a greased tray, 180-degrees for about 10 mins.


Note: Use a spatula to lift the shapes from the tray onto a cooling rack and then pop them into a container.



150g dark chocolate

110g of coconut cream


Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (keep stirring throughout). Add the cream and mix. Leave this to cool to room temperature. Then pop it into an icing bag and pipe onto the biscuits. I used edible glitter too for an extra cool effect.


Find more delicious recipes for these school holidays at chelsea.co.nz


This post was made possible thanks to Chelsea.


#NZBlogger #chelseasugar


Rachel is a recipe creator and wellbeing columnist for two magazines. She’s a yoga teacher, marathoner and director of the InspiredHealthNZ website, which inspires Kiwis to live a life they love. Follow Rachel on Facebook and Instagram.

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