By Rachel Grunwell
Artist Simon Richardson proves if you have the right mindset, you can achieve incredible weight-loss and fitness results.
He didn’t even use a gym and still drank beers!
Full disclaimer: Simon, 44, is one of my super-star clients I coach. He’s a multi-award-winning painter.
By Rachel Grunwell: Wellness expert. Award-winning writer. Wellness columnist for Good magazine and Indulge magazine. Qualified yoga teacher and fitness consultant. Rachel is often interviewed on radio, giving health tips and also co-leads weekend-long health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. To find out more about the Mindful Moments retreats click HERE.
Article by Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning writer. Magazine wellness columnist. Wellness expert on radio. Yoga & meditation teacher. Qualified fitness consultant. Co-leader of health retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. Director of InspiredHealth. Healthy recipe creator for Good magazine.
Pic of Rachel at Polynesian Spa by Benjamin Parkinson.
Pic by Marathon Photos
By Rachel Grunwell
She did it!
The winner of the Rotorua Marathon event’s Real Runner competition conquered the new half-marathon on May 5 – & she loved it!
Sam Meade, from Nelson, won the $4500 prize-pack to get her race ready for the event including a race entry and t-shirt, Millennium Hotel accommodation, new Asics shoes, Jaybird wireless headphones, a ThermaTech prize pack, wellness advice from yours truly, Polynesian Spa passes & smoothies – plus coaching by experienced coach John Bowden (who trains lots of elite runners to weekend warriors).
Sam won the prize package after a heart-tugging entry bowled over judges. Sam had been through a tough year, losing loved ones, and she wanted to return to running to help her body & mind heal. The challenge was a great thing to focus on and helped to uplift her outlook.
Here’s how the race went in her words below. Sam, the whole Rotorua Marathon team is so proud of you!!!!
By Sam Meade
Wow, where do I start, what an amazing weekend!
The atmosphere was incredible, a super supportive vibe from the organizers and other competitors.
On the Friday night I was crazy nervous. We went to the Pig and Whistle, had a massive steak and salad (which was awesome!), and then settled in for a quiet, early night. Did not sleep much.
Saturday morning was good, as I didn’t have much time to get myself too worked up before the run. I met coach John for a quick chat before the race started. I settled in at the back of the pack, and felt quite relaxed as the cannon sounded. Everything went pretty much to plan, I started out extra slow, and it was very enjoyable, looking around, taking in the sights and smells of Rotorua. Then we hit the hills. And although I had to work hard, I managed to keep jogging, and the feeling of accomplishment that washed over me every time i reached the top of a rise gave my energy a wee boost. I loved the course. I love being off road, and was fortunate to have a few challenging hills at home to train on, so it wasn’t a complete shock to the system.
At about the 12km mark, the chaffing set in…… at that point I just had to put my head down and keep going.
Coming down out of the forest was great, I managed to pick up my pace a bit and cruise down to the main road. The last 3kms were a slog. I was getting sore and tired, but I knew I was almost there. I held on, and managed to finish strong in 2:47:55. Super stoked!
My weary legs were thankful to have a soak in the hot pools at the Polynesian Spa afterwards.
Saturday night we stayed in the Millennium Hotel with an awesome view looking out over the lake. The room was very comfortable, and the buffet breakfast Sunday morning was to die for! Amazing!
The whole experience in Rotorua, and the training/coaching package leading up to the event, was incredible. I am truly honoured to have won this prize, and I feel so much healthier and happier for it. I plan to continue running, and hopefully I will enter another event later in the year. Through this experience, i have found my passion for running again, and for that I am so grateful.
Thank you to all the people/brands that sponsored this prize package, and especially thank you to Jo and Rachel for being so great and organising everything that made my weekend in Rotorua one I will never forget. And a huge huge thank you to my coach John Bowden, who encouraged me and pushed me to achieve my goals. You guys are amazing!
Inspired Health is “run” by Rachel Grunwell: Fitness consultant, yoga teacher, Marathoner X19, writer for Run4YourLife magazine, plus the lifestyle magazine, Good.
By Rachel Grunwell
It’s less than a month to go now before the Rotorua Marathon event on May 5. So I turned to top coach John Bowden for some tips for final prep and training for all those taking part in this epic event.
John is an absolute run legend. He’s a former elite athlete himself and former teacher (Auckland Grammar by the way). He competed for New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games, and has been an Athletics New Zealand selector and coach. He now trains a lot of elite runners in NZ who win marathons, half-marathons and represent NZ at the Olympics. He trains Lisa Cross who won the Waterfront Half Marathon in Auckland on April 8. He also trains weekend warriors like me (bless him)! And if you didn’t think the bloke was a legend already, then you will after I tell you he is the head of Achilles NZ (a charity that helps Kiwis with disabilities to participate in run events). John will be at the Rotorua Marathon event cheering on some of his runners.
Here are some of his top tips leading up to the Rotorua Marathon event. Take note, these are gold! Better still, really listen to him. We are lucky to tap into his knowledge.
Marathon Tips by John Bowden from The Road Running Collective:
- Despite the weather now cooling and that we are into Autumn there is a tendency not to drink as much either during your day or on your training run… DON’T STOP hydrating. So, during the day the famous 8 glasses of water per day is still a good guide to go to (or two litres)-if anything by doing this you will not be as tired by the end of the day.
- On your training runs (usually the long ones) it pays to practice drinking what you will use on race day. You can also practice taking water at various spots on your long runs these next 4 weeks (by either having someone on the side of the road handing them out to you, or you can place them there the night before in a secret and safe place). Practice makes perfect when it comes to these four weeks of hydrating yourself…
- Recovery & Rest
- This last month it might pay to concentrate on the little things that might make a difference for your performance on race day-so get some extra sleep, earlier nights, stretch a bit more and treat your self to a weekly massage perhaps.
- Equipment check
- Make sure your training shoes are in good shape for the last month of training. Do not try and get through this critical time with a well worn pair of shoes. Or if you are concerned about them lasting… then change them now!
- If you are going to wear a different pair of shoes for the race (lighter ones usually) then practice using them on your last few long runs.
- Tapering and feeling good
- Usually you begin to do less training from 14-10 days out so be careful during this time as you will start to feel better and run faster. Be in control in this phase and listen to your body and hold yourself accountable that you will train with the same intensity and pace that you have previously been doing during the past few months.
- Your last long run
- This should be done about three weeks out with a moderate long run say 21km two weeks out before you begin your taper. It is better to be a little underdone than overcooked for a marathon race – so be smart.
- Head Smarts
- Be confident in your self as you have done all the hard work with a month to go. Talk yourself up, be positive, be inspired by reading or watching achievements of others in any areas of life.
- Work on your race strategy and have plans A, B and C for race day
To enter the Rotorua Marathon event click HERE
To find out more about John and his coaching click HERE
Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon event ambassador, Award-winning writer, ‘Good’ magazine wellness columnist, wellness writer for Run4YourLife running magazine (in Australia and NZ), multi-marathoner (19 marathons at the last count), yoga teacher & Polynesian Spa ambassador (co-leading health retreats in Rotorua).
This blog was kindly sponsored by the peeps behind the Rotorua Marathon event #sponsoredcontent
Elite Runner at Rotorua Marathon will be running in her parents footsteps
By Rachel Grunwell
An elite female runner doing her first ever marathon at the Rotorua Marathon event is a potential front-runner who could take out the winning title.
When Olivia Burne, 26, runs in the May 5 event, she will also be following in her parent’s footsteps. And she’s gunning for a podium spot too like her dad…
Olivia, who is an ASICS brand ambassador and works in marketing and communications in Auckland, won the half-marathon distance at the Rotorua Marathon event last year with a time of just over 1hr 16mins.
She decided to run her first marathon at Rotorua this year for many reasons.
Her parents success at this event was, of course, an inspiration.
“My parents have both run the Rotorua Marathon in their early 20s. “My mum completed the full marathon distance in 1981, recording 3:19 – that was one week before she married Dad. My Dad ran the full marathon five years in a row, with his top finish being a 2nd in 1979. His time was 2:25.35 – I’m not looking to break that record any time soon!” she says.
Burne says her running parents have been really encouraging of her running career and great support.
Asked if her parents have high expectations of her potential finish time, Burne quips, “I think Mum would be quite happy for me to beat her time and I think Dad would just be impressed if I beat his!”
She says she also chose the Rotorua Marathon event too as her first marathon because of the wonderful history of the event and because it is known as one of the highlights of the racing calendar.
“It’s also a beautiful setting. The cultural significance of Rotorua… the beautiful lake, the Redwood Forest, and the (Polynesian Spa’s) thermal hot pools make the whole running and recovery experience really special,” she says.
She also adds: “The race has an enormous history in New Zealand. Most runners from the 60s onwards would know the Rotorua Marathon (or Fletchers Marathon, as it used to be known) as one of the highlights of the racing calendar. Thousands would show up for the event and it attracts some of the best runners in the country. “
Burne says she is training hard for the event by doing lots of hills and miles out in West Auckland.
“I work in Hillsborough, Auckland – a suburb that’s aptly named,” she jokes.
She is training around the hilly and challenging Waiatarua course as much as possible. She too is clocking some high mileage (150km plus per week under her coach, Barry Magee.
Burne says she is looking forward to the marathon challenge and taking on a challenging course.
Her dream in the future is to be able to go onto the Olympic Games in the marathon distance in the future.
She has completed three years to date of racing the half-marathon distance.
Join Olivia and many others! Enter the Rotorua Marathon event too – there’s a distance for everyone. CLICK HERE
Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon event ambassador, Award-winning writer, ‘Good’ magazine wellness columnist, multi-marathoner, yoga teacher & Polynesian Spa ambassador (co-leading health retreats).
This blog was kindly sponsored by the peeps behind the Rotorua Marathon event #sponsoredcontent
By Rachel Grunwell
Up to 1 in five Kiwis are affected by eczema. It’s an important topic to the public.
It’s also something that has affected my sister, Bex, who is one of the people I love most on this planet. So through her, I’ve heard over the years about how painful this can be and how the flare-ups can be intensely painful and even disable self-confidence (even when you look as beautiful as Bex).
My sister has tried everything over the years for relief. Absolutely everything. It has been a long-running battle that has felt paralysing at times. Thankfully, this Summer she has felt the best she has ever been in over 30-years. This is thanks to the hottest Summer in Gisborne, using steroid creams, and thanks too to some help from Be Pure’s office, but also to a book penned by “eczema nutritionist” Karen Fischer which advises which foods to eat, and avoid, when you suffer from eczema. My sister also buys Karen’s magnesium supplement too which she thinks is amazing for sleep and her wellness.
So when I got Karen’s latest wellness book across my desk, ‘the eczema detox’, I instantly thought of Bex and how books like this are so important. They’re literally the difference between a pain free life, or not.
This book is full of life-changing nutritional information and advice, articulated through 3 eating programs. Both Karen and her daughter, Ayva, have suffered from skin problems in the past but now live eczema-free from following Karen’s meal plans.
As for Bex, she is great at the moment, but she does dread Winter when the inevitable flare-ups return. She’s also still searching for a way to get off steroid creams… But she says the changes she has made around foods to avoid, or seek out, through Karen’s books “has helped to change my life”.
I personally love this book too from the perspective of not having eczema. The recipes are absolutely amazing and so I’m sharing one gem below.
Meanwhile, here are Karen’s top 12 foods for eliminating eczema.
mung bean sprouts
There’s so much advice in the book that is gold too including all those foods to avoid for eczema sufferers.
Here’s that amazing recipe below to get you started. If you try it, please let me know.
Pear Spelt Muffins
Makes 12 muffins, preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 15 minutes
• 1 egg (or use Egg Replacer, p. 211)
• cup real maple syrup or maple sugar (see ‘Eczema-friendly sweeteners’, p. 52)
• 1 cup organic soy milk (see ‘Non-dairy milks’, p. 54)
• cup Parsley Oil (p. 134) or rice bran oil
• 2 cups spelt flour
• 4 teaspoons baking powder (wheat-free)
• 2 large ripe pears, peeled and diced (not Nashi/Asian or Yapears)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place paper patty pans into the holes of a 12-cup muffin tray (or alternatively grease the tray holes with a little extra rice bran oil). If using Egg Replacer make it now. In a small food processor, blend the egg (or equivalent), maple syrup and milk until smooth. Then, while the motor is running, open the chute and slowly drizzle in the oil and blend well until smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder and mix. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and briefly mix using a large spoon. Then stir in the pear. Spoon the mixture into each muffin cup, ensuring each is about three-quarters full. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly golden on top. Test with a toothpick to see if cooked through.
• These muffins can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.
• If you are gluten intolerant, use rice milk or ‘malt-free’ soy milk and gluten-free self-raising flour instead of spelt flour. If you are using gluten-free self-raising flour, don’t add baking powder.
• If you are following the Eczema Detox Program, you can sprinkle the muffins with chia seeds
Extracted from The Eczema Detox by Karen Fischer available from www.exislpublishing.com and wherever good books are sold.
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.
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.
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