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:



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:


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:


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 


Joy at Work – new book by tidying expert Marie Kondo

By Rachel Grunwell

Rachel is a weekly wellness columnist fora string of NZME newspapers. This article was published on 13 June 2020. A version of this article is also on the Herald online

Marie Kondo taught us about the life changing magic of tidying up our homes and biffing out the junk. She asked us to let go of anything at home that we no longer held joy for. After all, an uncluttered home space feels more calming. Hence this is why it is terrific for our wellbeing.

Kondo sparked a world trend embracing the idea that less is actually more. We all became tidy-freaks.

Now Kondo has turned her attention to the workplace. She has released a new book, with organisational psychologist Scott Sonenshein. The book is Joy at Work.

Their mission is to help us focus on how to change our work, to embrace more joy. There’s advice on how to organize your desk, emails and office. There are tips too on quitting negative working practices and mindsets.

The book notes that tidiness doesn’t reflect how you feel, but also how others feel about you. Tidiness can result in a higher evaluation of our character…

My first thought about this book is that if you have a job in this Covid19 era then you should be joyful. Period.

Afterall, the economy is taking a hammering and job losses are a genuine concern in this climate.

And for many, you may think this book may be semi-redundant as your home has now become your office too. 

But outside of the advice on how to tidy up your workspace and emails, there’s great psychology advice to help you get ahead in your career. Below are some favourite points that I love in the book. These tips may help you to feel more empowered to love your job – and life – more.

1. Create an environment that helps you focus.

2. You only get one chance at life. Which will you choose? To live in fear of what others might think? Or to follow your own heart?

3. Reflect on your actions so you can revise and improve.

4. Prioritise tasks. Eliminate things that are unnecessary and unproductive. Focus, focusing instead on those that are productive.

5. Give up the idea of needing to make a perfect decision. In most cases, a good enough decision will be good enough.

6. Get rid of the idea that the more meetings you attend, the more important you are. Remember meetings are one of many ways you can make a difference. Your goal is not to win the award for most meetings attended.

Ps: I have a confession here. My work office has actually been at my home for many years now and it’s not always perfect and ordered. My emails are also in the thousands and need culling. So I’m working on this stuff too!

Find out more about Rachel’s coaching and wellness workshops services, public speaking engagements and her book Balance: Food, Health and Happiness via inspiredhealth.co.nz  

Follow Rachel on Instagram HERE


A Nose Job – But Not What You Think

  • This article appeared in a series of NZME newspapers and the Herald online. Rachel is a weekly wellness columnist.

By Rachel Grunwell

The knife slicing my nose open doesn’t hurt. 

Nor does the tugging. A plastic surgeon uses a needle and thread to sew my nose back together – after removing a lump.

What hurts the most is the injection used to numb the area. This hurts like heck. It’s swearing-inducing. But I’m prepared for this by plastic surgeon, Janek Januszkiewicz.

I never look at the sliced out flesh sent to a lab. I’m wearing a blindfold over my eyes to protect them from the glare of the surgeon’s bright lights. Otherwise, I’d sneak-peek.

It was late last year when a lump on my nose appeared. Smaller than the size of ¼ of a pea, it would bleed at the slightest touch and then scab. I noticed it hung around longer than usual pimples or rashes. A beautician I saw recommended I get it seen pronto. Some of her clients had discovered these things were the dreaded “C”. You know, cancer.

So I saw a GP. It was an odd conversation.

She said it looked like basal cell carcinoma skin cancer. She could freeze it off immediately, or give me a cream that can break it down (into a messy, woozing mess for weeks). Or, I can see a plastic surgeon to get it removed. I winced.

She mentioned we could try the first two methods and see if it came back…

I queried: “if it’s cancer, wouldn’t I want to be sure it was gone?”

I opted for the surgery because I wanted it gone – in case it was something scary and aggressive.

Being a journalist, I’d penned too many stories about “wait-and-see-scenarios snowballing. Yeah, you likely think I’m a drama-queen. You’d be right. But one of my best friends is a doctor and she backed me that I was smart to get it out early…

Of course part of my ego worried how I may look with a chunk out of my nose. Yeah, definitely a drama queen. But, I was told that such a small cut would heal fast and soon go unnoticed.

So during lockdown for Covid19, I got a “nose job”.

In the past I would have worried myself sick about the result. But I’ve been calm. I decided not to worry unless I have something to worry about. Bar that one night I woke at 2am freaking out…. What can I say, I’m human.

I waited almost two weeks for the result and meanwhile walked around with a bandage across my nose. I joked with mates that strangers would think I’ve had a “nose job”.

Sixty-five Kiwis will face the words “you have cancer” today. So says, the Cancer Society’s cuppaforcancer.nz fundraising campaign page (please donate!)

I’m not among those statistics. I feel so very grateful.

The bandage after surgery… Thankfully the scar will fade in a year. With makeup on, you can’t see any scar at all.

Rachel is a wellness coach, speaker and author of Balance: Food, Health and Happiness 

Find her via inspiredhealth.co.nz  Instagram 


Kiwi CrossFit Star’s 5 Motivation Tips

  • A shorter version of this article appeared in NZME publications and the Herald online on June 6, 2020.

Kiwi CrossFit Star’s 5 Motivation Tips

By Rachel Grunwell

Rachel is a weekly wellness columnist

The world knows her as CrossFit star Jamie Greene – one of the fittest women on earth. But she’s now Jamie Simmonds after marrying in Queenstown recently.

I caught up with the 28-year-old, based at CrossFit Yas in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. She shares her training secrets, motivation tips, and goals.

Jamie is a former gymnast and rugby player. Muscle-bound and beautiful, she’s 163cm tall and 61kg. She burst onto the CrossFit global scene in 2016. This was when she won the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Open and placed 3rd at the CrossFit Games on Team Crossfit YAS. She has since competed as an individual at the Crossfit Games for the last 3 years, placing 3rd last year. 

She wants to compete for the next 3-4 years in international competitions.

“I want to see what I can challenge my mind and body to do”.

She hopes to compete in NZ too one day.

“Later on, I hope to come back to NZ and build a fitness/ training sort of thing for kids/ adults to do alongside sports. A sort of supplement fitness and nutrition programme to help the rest of their life or sports career.”

Jamie trains 1-3 times daily. In season, it’s 4-5 hours daily. Training is 5 days weekly with one active recovery day and one rest day.

She credits her Kiwi background for her success.

”My background and amount of sports I did growing up helps a lot, but I also think how I was brought up helps a lot. The mental side of CrossFit is huge as everyone is fit and everyone is strong. So it’s who can pull it together on the day with a bit of pressure. I think my parents helped me with this – finding the balance of embracing nerves and enjoying the pressure. They threw me into a lot of stressful situations as a young kid haha every race or competition you can think of.”

5 Top Motivation Tips 

1. Ask what will your future self want? Think how you will feel in the future with the work you put in now.

2. Ask what would your past self think? I always think back to a 10-year-old Jamie and think would she be happy with how she’s turned out. So work a little bit harder for the kid who wants to change the world.

3. Find your own personal why. Once you’ve worked this out you can always fall back on this when motivation isn’t quite there.

4. Build habits. If you always finish your sessions or you always get your workouts done (even if it’s raining) then your brain will know this as the only way. Trick the system and make it something you do without thinking.

5. When you feel like giving up… I know if you push a little harder at that point you’re going to be finished a little early ha ha.. But also I know the feeling at the end of a workout when you know you could have pushed harder… it’s the worst feeling ever. I want to make sure I gave my all every time I’m supposed to. Show up or pay for it later. ..

Mark McDermotts photos (@fitness.shots

3 Top Nutrition Tips for Powering Your Performance

1. Listen to your body! If you’re hungry, eat! Eat something filling and nutritious and think of it as fuelling your body. Don’t fill it with sugar and processed crap. 

2. Keep it Simple- and don’t train hungry.

3. Eat as many colours as you can… all the veggies (and on the odd occasion all the colourful lollies haha ).

4 Top Tips to Get You to the Next Level of Fitness

1. Find something you enjoy doing- if you hate it you won’t stick to it. To get better at anything you need time and doing it often… so find something you want to do all the time.

2. Fuel yourself for the activity or exercise you are doing.

3. Get an assault bike haha no but sometimes it’s the most simple way to increase your fitness.

4. Find a coach or someone who can help you plan out a road to reach your fitness goal as it’s not always about working harder sometimes you just need to be a little smarter.

ps I asked Jamie about her fave lollies as I read somewhere that she loved them – which I noted made her awesomely “human!” Here was her response:

“All lollies! I do love a good old dairy mix or pick n mix from New World haha. Yeah, I’ve always had a love for lollies and why change it now (haha). I obviously limit how many lollies I eat while training etc but it is a soft spot! (haha). 

Article by Rachel Grunwell: Weekly wellness columnist for a series of newspapers for NZME, plus the Herald online.

Rachel is a wellness journalist, coach + yoga teacher, and author of Balance: Food, Health and Happiness 

Connect with Rachel via inspiredhealth.co.nz  Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/rachelgrunwell/

Double Choc Protein Bliss Balls

Watch the 90-sec vid on how to make this recipe on my Instagra. Click HERE

These are the health-inspired version of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. These are so chocolatey and mouth-watering yum. I challenge you to stop at just one. I make a double batch and put them in the freezer. They last ages – if you are not a glutton like me (and my kids)! They’re a terrific health-inspired, protein-packed snack. Better still, you know what’s in them. There are no added preservatives or weird-numbered ingredients.

Feel free to swap out any ingredients if you don’t have them. Just use something similar ie what you have in your cupboard. For example, you can use cashew nuts or a mix of nuts instead. If you don’t have coconut oil, then use melted butter.

Double Choc Protein Bliss Balls


2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

¼ Cup Rice Malt Syrup (or use maple syrup if you have that)

2 Tablespoons peanut butter (I use crunchy, but any you wish)

2 Cups raw almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons chocolate bits

Method: Place the liquid ingredients into your blender first (I use a Vitamix blender E310 

Then add the rest of the ingredients. Blend the mixture (I use the tamper to push the mixture around and to make sure it is well blended. Then remove the lid and scrape out all the mixture into a bowl. Place a golf ball size of mixture into your palm and roll into a ball. Put the bliss balls into an air-tight container. Repeat until you’ve rolled all the mixture into balls. Place the bliss balls into the fridge (or freezer). I love putting the bliss balls out on a platter with fruit and nuts for the kids for morning tea. Or I’ll often sneak out to the kitchen and grab one (or three!) for a snack through the day with a cup of coffee. Yum!

I use the Vitamix E310 high performance blender every day – either to make smoothies, sauces, nut butters, or for baking and cooking… It can even turn oats into oat flour. Peanut butter can be whipped up in minutes… Find out more HERE. These have a 5-year warranty and are more affordable than other Vitamix machines you might have seen on social media!

Check out Rachel’s book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness, which features 30 nourishing recipes and 30 experts sharing science-backed wisdom on how to live healthier & happier. Click Here

Rachel is a wellness expert, wellness magazine columnist and recipe creator. She’s also a mum who loves health-inspired food as much as chocolate.

This post was sponsored kindly by Vitamix 





5 Tips to Live Healthier to Protect Your Mental Health

To go into the draw to win a Fitbit Versa 2 device and keep your movement up in Level 3, visit my Instagram and Facebook pages 

5 Tips to Live Healthier To Protect Your Mental Health 

In a world with Covid-19, one of the few freedoms is the ability to get outdoors and exercise. It’s good for our health and protects our mental health too. I’ve been on a journey from an unfit mum seven years ago – to now, where I’m fitter, stronger and healthier and happier. I’m now a qualified coach too who helps clients uplift their health (and mental health too). Fitness is now a passion! I can’t recommend it enough to help you with your health and happiness levels, especially here in New Zealand now at Level 3. Here are some tips to help your health and mental health. Don’t feel like you have to do everything. Just choose one thing to work on. Small steps are the best start and they can take you far. I promise.

1. Most importantly – Move more. Movement does more than help you to lose body fat. In a world with Covid-19, walking, jogging or running is one of the few freedoms we have. So put your shoes on and get outdoors. Even upping your step count, this will help your mental health compared to if you did nothing at all, it’s simple. By the way, I started walking/jogging for 20 minutes twice weekly to kick off my fitness journey. After three months of this, I could run around my neighbourhood without stopping. So, small steps count and can propel a cool fitness journey. Running now helps me to feel good. The exercise high is a science-backed thing. I can notice that I feel different after a run.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 150 minutes exercise weekly. This is of moderate intensity exercise. Or, 75-minutes’ high intensity exercise weekly. I love using my Fitbit to track my runs and love seeing more miles on the watch as I get stronger.

The Fitbit COVID-19 Resource Hub, a recent addition to the application, now has some cool new features. This includes reminders to wash your hands, Fitbit challenges and most importantly – reminders to MOVE! The hub also has real-time updates from WHO to help you to stay safe, informed and healthy.  The Fitbit App also now has Fitbit Premium features free for 90 days. This gives new users full access to content like 150+ home workouts. By the way, you don’t need a Fitbit to use those workouts and to use their premium features. Although, you can unlock all Premium benefits if you do have one.

I love my Fitbit as it’s so easy for me, my kids even love using their device. The app provides so many ways to keep this movement up and track this movement, even during this crazy time of Level 3 and self-isolation.

2. Cut fizzy drinks. They make you happy and then send your mood crashing. Some fizzy drinks are loaded full of sugar. Drink water – it’s simple.

3. Eat protein at every meal. This can be meat based, or vegan sourced, of course. Protein increases satiety (feeling full) and so you are less likely to snack (and hence eat too much).

4. Quit the negative self-talk. It’s more toxic than sugar.

5. Meditate and do belly breathing exercises. To help you calm your nervous system. This can get you out of the fight or flight mode. If you feel stressed, then it’s harder for your body to lose weight. You can use Fitbit’s 2-minute relaxation button. The watch guides you through two minutes of breathing exercises to help you to de-stress. So it’s super quick and easy. 

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Wellness expert and coach, and proud Fitbit ambassador.

Rachel is also the author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness

#coach #homeboundheroes #fitbitanz #sponsored 

6 Tips to Calm Anxiety

A woman popped up in my Direct Messages on Instagram, asking: “Can I ask you a question?”

Of course, I replied, but added that it depends what the question is… I was secretly thinking that this conversation could go anywhere!

She asked me, “are you even anxious right now?”

I felt so much empathy and my heart felt heavy. I replied: Yes, of course honey. We are all anxious right now. And it’s okay to feel this way. It’s completely normal.

I post on social media regularly about how I’m keeping active: walking, running, working out, and doing things like practicing handstands (‘cause the world is upside down anyway, right!)

I’m purposefully sharing uplifting content on social media. I guess it was so positive that this woman wondered if I somehow had a secret formula to skip the “low” over being in lockdown. But in reality I do things like getting upside down so I feel “the right way up” – if you get my drift. Being in lockdown is the most important thing everyone can do right now for the collective nation’s wellbeing. Staying home equals saving lives. But it’s also okay to feel all those feelings you genuinely feel like grief, anxiety, frustration, feeling a bit low etc. I just want you to know this is hard for pretty much everyone right now. It’s normal to feel this situation sucks!  

6 tips to calm anxiety.

1.   Walk daily. An expert, Sarah Wilson, explains in my book Balance about how the part of the brain that modulates the walking motion is the same part of the brain that controls flight or fight. It’s essentially a mono-tasker. ie while you walk, you can’t feel as anxious.  

2.   Don’t read the news all day. It can get overwhelming. I’m reading it in the morning only. It’s helping me to stay informed but not too triggered.

3.   Accept that “it is what it is, right now”. Then try and let go. Accept you don’t have control of certain things. Life is a rollercoaster and we are in a dip right now. But that rollercoaster ride will come to a higher point in time. There will be “the after”.

4.   Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. ie I’m missing CrossFit. But that doesn’t mean I can’t exercise. I’ve just got creative and doing body-weight exercises in my backyard, yoga, and a little bit of running in my ‘hood (following Government guidelines with social distancing, of course). If you’ve ever wanted to get fit, then now is the time to start!

5.   Get good sleep, eat great nutrition, use mindfulness and avoid drinking too much alcohol to help you to feel more in “balance”.

6.   Talk via phone or skype etc with uplifting friends.

Rachel is a wellness expert and author of the science-backed wellness book Balance: Food, Health and Happiness. Buy the book HERE

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