Article by Rachel Grunwell: InspiredHealth Director, collaborating with businesses to inspire Kiwis to live healthy and happy. Award-winning writer. Magazine wellness columnist for Good magazine & Indulge magazine. Yoga & meditation teacher. Fitness consultant. Co-leader of the Mindful Moments retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. To find out more about the next retreat in Aug click HERE
If you want to uplift your health – get moving.
Movement can help with your concentration and energy levels and improve your mood and sleep. It also helps to reduce tension, anxiety, hostility and depression. It helps you to be social if you keep fit in a group too.
Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning journalist. Wellness writer for three magazines (Good, Indulge and Run4YourLife). Magazine smoothie creator. Yoga Teacher. Fitness Consultant. Multi-Marathoner x19. Blogger. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.
I’ve done some sessions with run coach Kiri Price, who takes classes at the AUT Millennium as well as private lessons. I’d recommend a private lesson for your first time so you can suss the technique and so you know you are doing it right. There’s an art to mastering it.
Kiri says deep water running classes have come a long way from the aqua jogging classes of the 80’s and 90’s. AUT Millennium’s Deep Water Running sessions have been developed specifically for runners and athletes to develop and maintain their aerobic fitness and running technique in a non-weight-bearing environment.
The AUT Millennium sessions have been developed specifically for runners and athletes to develop and maintain their aerobic fitness and running technique in a non-weight bearing environment.
“The biggest benefit of deep water running is that it is no impact, therefore minimising musculo-skeletal stress, while still providing a full body workout,” she says.
Kiri says it is biomechanically the closest cross-training method to actual running, providing a fantastic aerobic training workout. Deep water running is perfect for those currently suffering from injury, or who are on the path to recovery. Kiri has 100% success rate with helping injured runners she has worked with, to heal, and achieve marathon running success.
So what’s the experience like? Well, I did this for several weeks while training for the Chicago Marathon in 2016. You strap a blue float device tight around your waist and then get in the pool with a bunch of other folk wearing blue-belts too.
Kiri starts with a warm up – getting students to tread water for a few minutes – maintaining an upright position with minimal forward leaning from the ankles, shoulders just out of the water, core-tight, and pushing the feet straight down and slightly behind you, feet relaxed, toes pointing down (so you imagine pushing off the bottom of the pool). Meanwhile, your arms pump forwards and backwards by your sides).
The class includes things like drills, interval sessions and the class is full of different things to focus on to improve things like run technique, form or to have some fun.
The pool here is massive, multi-million-dollar complex where you can often spot some elite athletes. Kiri says she has seen rugby legend Sonny Bill Williams and lots of elite athletes here. I’ve spotted Valerie Adams a few times too on her way to the AUT Millennium gym nearby.
The deep water running workout is tough by the way; It is no walk in the park. You get red-faced and feel like you’ve done a really tough workout. The best thing is it helps you keep your running base strong. I recommend this for injured runners and I highly recommend Kiri’s sessions. She’s an incredibly experienced runner (she has run close to 150 marathons) and she’s also one of the nicest coaches you could hope to meet.
One-on-one sessions are available with Kiri Price and these can be booked directly with her – just email [email protected] (please tell her Rach recommended her!) Group sessions available by appointment. You can click this link to find out more .
Pic of Kiri Price pacing at the Rotorua Marathon.
To find out more about the health retreats she co-leads at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa click HERE
Nurture. Nourish. Thrive.
These are the beautiful words that underpin the mission of Te Atawhai retreat, nestled out in the countryside at the foot of Mount Te Aroha in the Waikato area, in the North Island of New Zealand. It’s about two hours’ driving from Auckland, or about an hour drive from Tauranga.
Te Atawhai specialises in offering a four-day “wholeness retreat” (although they offer one-day retreats at request too). Here you can learn, grow and flourish by learning healthy habits based around a blend of movement, mindset, real foods, and rest.
The retreat is run by an all-women team including: Rebecca, who worked for many years as a nurse in the mental health sector; Sherryll, who has 20+ years experience as a personal trainer; Well-known NZ fashion designer and businesswoman Annah Stretton. Rebecca and Sherryll run the retreats generally, while Annah drives the business-side of the venture and often joins guests for a meal.
Each of these three women have inspirationally transformed their own lives to be healthier and happier in recent years and so want to help others rise up in the same way too.
Pictured, Sherryll, left, and Rebecca, right.
I experienced Te Atawhai in December 2018 and felt the retreat was heart-led. Rebecca and Sherryll care about the guests and keep numbers relatively small – so everyone gets incredible personal attention.
The absolute magic in Te Atawhai truly is the people. They care about what they do and put their hearts into helping their guests. They are heart-connected to those who come to this place to re-set.
Te Atawhai is not a bootcamp-style environment. You are challenged, but not pushed. You can go at your own pace and opt in challenges at the level of intensity that feels right for you. It’s not a yoga retreat – there is stretching in the morning, but it’s about mindful movement and starting the day inspired, rather than learning difficult yoga poses. This makes the retreat accessible and relatable to most people.
There is no alcohol, caffeine, wheat, dairy or refined sugar on the menu here, but rather nourishing, healthy, seasonal and real foods that are delicious. You will feel full at every meal too (and I do like to eat a lot and so I’m a good measure for this!) This is not a retreat about weight-loss, but rather the focus is wellness. I really love this – because the emphasis is about building healthy bodies and minds.
Karissa is the whizz in the kitchen and is passionate about serving seasonal and nurturing food that’s truly delicious. The flavours she creates are memorable. She picks fresh produce from the garden daily to add to meals. One guest kept saying “I can’t believe healthy food could taste so good”.
Check out this healthy breakfast. This was one of my faves.
The retreat is run from a large house in the countryside, where cows are thy neighbours and you get to see the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Check out this view from the bedroom I stayed in. This is bliss.
It’s like a home-away-from-home, rather than a fancy-pants, minimalist resort. There are books scattered around the house to read, a pool, health teas always on offer and you get to breathe in fresh air, unplug from technology and escape a hurried life and set goals for a healthier way forwards.
Each day starts with a gong to rise (you are encouraged to leave your watch in your suitcase for the four days). Then it’s a swig of apple cider vinegar (which boasts many health benefits), some gentle stretching with Sherryll and a sit-down breakfast. A challenging walk is then on the agenda – and each day you go to a different location for memorable scenery. An absolute highlight was climbing to the top of Mount Te Aroha (it took me 2.5-hours to get to the top at a gentle pace and 1.5hrs to come down). Half of the group opted in for this, while the rest of the group felt the half-way point was a challenge right for them.
At the top of Mount Te Aroha, I felt on top of the world. You can see the sea.
You can also see green for miles miles and even the hump of Mt Maunganui far in the distance (in the far right of the picture). I wished I could sit there for hours. This, to me, is the definition of magic.
Being in nature is a therapy in itself, plus there are the movement benefits of course!
After walking, there’s a spa dip at nearby mineral hot springs (and you can opt to pay for a beauty treatment if you wish). Then in the afternoon there is an educational health seminar and some free time to relax. Then it’s a sit down chat for some reflection on the day, dinner and then free time before bed.
On the website, Annah Stretton writes “Come to Te Atawhai to Nurture, Nourish, and THRIVE”.
Rebecca spoke memorably about learning “awareness” – “which is a key to setting you free”.
I’d also say come along too to this home-away-from-home to connect with these incredible women. Here you can learn tools to inspire you to live your best life.
* Watch a quick video interview with the retreat’s chef Karissa about nourishing kai. Click HERE
* Rachel was kindly invited to review the retreat as a professional wellness blogger.
I’m an ambassador for the John West 12km Traverse at the Auckland Marathon event on October 29. Here’s week two of my blog that features on Good magazine too. Here I get some top fitness tips from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, rugby league player, Vodafone Warrior Captain and Canterbury ambassador. To see the rest of the blogs in this series on Good magazine find the link at the bottom of this blog.
By Rachel Grunwell
Mind-set and motivation matters. It doesn’t matter what kind of sport or fitness activity you do, your mind drives your motivation..
I did a fitness workout with Roger at Health101 in Auckland – trailling the new Spring season of the Canterbury sports clothing line. Needless to say, I got the questions covered before the workout. Afterwards, I wasn’t useful for much. Other than gasping….
Strength work is a key to Roger’s power on paddocks. Strength work is also a key part of my run training too. Although the crossfire-style work out we did took strength work to a whole new level. Handstand push-ups anyone? Er, yeah, I suck at those too.
Anyway, here are Roger’s top fitness tips. They don’t suck. They’re worth noting by anyone taking on the 12km John West Traverse event – or wanting to “be their best”.
- Train right. Make sure your training is specific to the event. i.e lots of power presses in the gym might not be best in this instance! Be sure to mimic the event into your training as much as possible.
- Nutrition. A healthy diet plays a huge role in success in sport. Especially for game day. On game day I always ensure I have a healthy breakfast and lunch with loads of carbs and protein to get me through a game of footy. I usually have eggs on toast with avocado for breakfast. Lunch is something like chicken or salmon (white meat) with loads of veg. And probably a big smoothie.
- Sleep! It’s so important to ensure you get 7-8 hours sleep each night to allow your body to repair and rest before the next big training day or event. I am a big believer in breathing techniques for those nights when I find it a bit tricky to get to sleep. And there is a great app called Mindfulness I like to use every now and then.
- FUN! This one is huge. Make sure you enjoy what you are doing. Otherwise there is no point putting your body and mind through the pain and stress of training if you are not enjoying it!
- Support. Surround yourself with people who will inspire you and keep pushing you. I am lucky in my team environment to have such an amazing support network. We all know each other so well and can feel when one of the boys is a bit off. We rally together to get them back on track. So having training buddies, family, husbands, wives to keep you on check is a great idea! You will always have those down days, so don’t worry.
Rachel is Good magazine’s wellness columnist. She teaches yoga-for-runners and blogs on website inspiredhealth.co.nz. You can also follow her on
Meanwhile, here are some pictures from the Crossfit workout
I think I was a frog in a pervious life chuckle..
Plate lifting is good for the arms…
Still standing at the end. Or is Roger just propping me up?
Follow the rest of my blogs in this series via Good Magazine.
By Rachel Grunwell
As Good magazine’s wellness columnist, I take on adventure challenges quite a bit. I write about fitness/health/wellbeing & happiness generally for the magazine and part of being happy is taking on hairy/scary/bold challenges for a thrill (and then I write about them!)
I firmly believe that you can change yourself by challenging yourself. I live for adventure and get the biggest kick out of goal-crushing.
I wrote a weekly blog for months leading up to the Le Race event (a 100km cycle race from Christchurch to Akaroa), covering tips on nutrition, health, wellness, strength work, cycle classes and skills with riding, and how I prepared for the event thanks to my awesome coach Richard Greer from Team CP.
Here’s the final column published with the magazine. Click HERE
Meanwhile, that’s a pic of Mike McRoberts and I at the finish-line – sweaty, but smiling!
Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Official blogger for the ASB Christchurch Marathon. Rachel is a marathoner, yoga teacher & Good magazine’s wellness columnist + smoothie chick. Follow Inspired Health’s Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
Puzzling Marathon Mission: Runner going for Guinness World record
Most people consider running a marathon tough enough. But Christchurch personal trainer Blair Williamson aims to try and break a Guinness World title too when he tackles the ASB Christchurch Marathon on June 4, 2017. The 26-year-old wants to solve the most Rubik’s cubes while running NZ’s fastest and flattest marathon course.
Williamson aims to solve around 200 Rubik’s cubes while running the event (in under 5-hours). He needs to beat American Shane White’s record of solving 175 of the cubes during the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon in America in November 2012 (in 4hrs 53mins).
Williamson, can usually run a sub 4-hour marathon. But he may slow down his stride so he can get in more puzzle-solving missions throughout the race. This event will be his fifth marathon challenge and his second crack at the Christchurch event.
He’ll have a support crew of about three mates who will help him on race day. He’s yet to fully sort the logistics ie how many Rubik’s cubes he will use, whether a mate will run beside him and mix them up in-between Williamson solving the cubes, or whether someone might need to transport 200 fresh cubes to him throughout the course.
He applied to the records office in January to try and officially break the record and hopes to hear soon on approval (it can take up to 12-weeks to lodge an attempt at a record through the “free” entry option). The Guinness World Record office will also send him guidelines around his mission ie how he will need to get the official evidence of his success on the day (ie should runners watch him every moment and verify the numbers or should they video the puzzle solving.
Williamson says the idea came about when a fellow trainer sent him a link about a runner holding a title for the mission near the end of last year. The friend knew Williamson loves running and is an expert at doing the puzzles.
The personal trainer (at Limit Zero gym in Christchurch) has since been training – on the road and on a treadmill with the cubes. During a two-hour training run he managed to solve 88 Rubik’s cubes.
He says he learnt how to master the puzzles nine years ago when friend taught him “how to look at it a different way”.
“The puzzles used to confuse me and give me a headache. But a friend showed me how to do a pattern and it’s just now like doing a puzzle. It now is just common sense to me,” he says.
He says he can do the puzzles as fast as under a minute. And this great pic shows he can also juggle the colourful cubes.
I asked him if he’s afraid of falling over while he’s trying to do two things at once? Williamson admits he did “semi-roll” his ankle once already. But it hasn’t put him off his goal.
“I’m looking at my hands while I’m looking down at the ground anyway. So, there’s a peripheral view. But looking down gets my neck a bit crocked too. But I’ll put up with that on race day,” he says.
Join Williamson by running at the Christchurch Marathon’s full or half marathon, 10km distance or sign your kids up for the “kids mara’fun” by clicking HERE.
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
Don’t you just love the watch colour? This super slim watch also has great sleep insights, counts steps, monitors your heart rate, has long-life battery power and is a great motivator with fitness goals!
By Rachel Grunwell
- * Just turn up. Progression will happen through consistency. It’s like anything… do it more often and you’ll get better at it.
- * Enter an event. This can scare you into action!
- * Share you goal with friends. They can cheer you on and will hold you accountable.
- * Have a detailed plan on how you will achieve success ie write down where you will work out, when, how long, when you will have rest days etc… Motivation is great, but planning will give you a guide to follow.
- * Seek out expert support if you can afford it. Having a coach can help you to get optimum results, expand your knowledge base and they can advise you on how to train smart to avoid injury and burn-out etc.
- * Think about smaller goals on the journey and celebrate each milestone.
Pictured: Rachel getting some run tests done at the AUT Millennium in Auckland.
Article by Rachel Grunwell: Official blogger for the Rotorua Marathon. Rachel is a marathoner, Good magazine’s wellness columnist + smoothie chick & yoga teacher . Follow her via Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram for inspo, recipes & giveaways.
Greg and Donna Rieger – the parents of a teenager lifesaver who drowned a year ago plan to conquer 12 half-marathons in his memory. And the Rotorua Marathon event is at the top of their list for a special reason.
Hamish Rieger, aged 17, was tragically swept off the rocks near the blowhole at Moturiki (Leisure) Island in the Bay of Plenty on January 23.
Greg and Donna will celebrate Hamish’s life, and his thirst for adventure, by doing 12 half-marathons – so that’s 252km in total (and that doesn’t even count all those training miles!) They hope to raise $12,000 – $1000 for each 21km event – to fund a Spirt of Adventure scholarship fund for Mount Maunganui teenagers.
Greg says they chose the Spirit of Adventure as the recipient of their fundraising efforts because Hamish’s experience of doing this in 2015 inspired the teenager to go on a fitness-kick and to chase his ambitions to a higher level.
They hope that the donations help some other local teenagers to have that same wonderful opportunity.
Greg says how The Spirit of Adventure helped Hamish:
“He was always the kid who embraced life but he came back from the Spirit of Adventure more mature, with his heart opened, and a commitment to living life to the full every day… For that, we are forever grateful and want to give kids from his community the chance to have the same life-changing experience,” says Greg.
Pic of Hamish supplied by Jamie Troughton.
Margi Mellsop, from The Spirit of Adventure Trust, says Greg and Donna’s 12-half-marathon mission is “so inspiring” and she is so grateful the fundraising will go to The Spirit of Adventure Trust.
“We are so moved by Greg and his family’s commitment to celebrate the life of Hamish in this way. Their efforts will ensure that Hamish’s spirit of adventure will be passed to other Mount Manganui teens . What an incredible legacy they are creating,” she says.
Greg says they are yet to pinpoint all the events they will do. But the Rotorua half-marathon on May 6 is at the top of their list. It is special to him and Donna because Hamish had entered it this year, but he died before he could run it.
Instead, Greg and Donna completed that dream for Hamish in 2016, walking hand-in-hand, and shedding more tears than sweat on that journey. They did this event quietly, without media attention, as they were so grief-stricken at that time.
Greg says he barely noticed the pain of blisters and all those tough miles. His focus was instead on Hamish through every mile.
“By the end of that event my eyes were streaming,” says Greg.
Next year, Greg and Donna will repeat Hamish’s goal again. But this time, their steps will mean even more because of the public fundraiser.
Greg has already started training for the Rotorua half-marathon. He plans to run this, while Donna plans to walk. Hamish’s siblings Oliver, 22, Fergus, 20, and Eliza-Jane,15 and up to 40 family members and friends have pledged to join them too at the Rotorua Marathon event, all wearing ‘I Ride with Hame’ printed asics t-shirts.
Greg, 53, says he can’t wait to be lining up at the start-line at Rotorua’s Government Gardens for the event.
“I’m absolutely fizzing and so looking forward to doing this,” says Greg.
Greg says he has been overwhelmed with support since a story appeared in the Sunday Star-Times about the fundraiser. Three people contacted him immediately to say they wish to donate and a physio in Tauranga has also pledged to help keep Greg in good shape during the journey.
Greg has also been contacted by a surf club member to say they wish to recruit lifeguards from about three clubs to participate in the Rotorua Marathon event – to give their support to the family.
“I’ve been blown away by the support, totally blown away. I’m pretty stoked,” says Greg.
Greg says Hamish would be proud of the fundraiser. The teenager gave back a lot to his community as a member of the Mount Maunganui lifeguard service, which the Riegers continue to be proudly involved with.
Meanwhile, the Papamoa-based dad says milestones that Hamish misses hurt the most.
This month, Greg and Donna were invited to attend the Mount Maunganui College’s 2016 graduation ceremony to accept Hamish’s graduation certificate. Greg says it was tough not seeing his son graduate, but he was incredibly honoured to get the certificate and said it was an “emotional experience and one I will always cherish”.
The parents are expecting the milestone of January 23 to be tough too. But doing the fundraiser for Hamish’s memory will help them move through their pain and celebrate their treasured boy’s life.
- Please support the ‘I Ride With Hame’ fundraiser with a donation: ASB 12-3011-0461607-52
- You can enter the Rotorua Marathon event by clicking here
– An earlier version of this story was published in the Sunday Star Times & the stuff.co.nz website by Rachel Grunwell.
Top pic of Greg and Donna was supplied by marathon-photos.com
- Fab Recipes
- In The Media
- Lose weight
- Rachel's Blog