Health-Inspired Xmas Gifts

By Rachel Grunwell

AD – This content is kindly sponsored by FitbitNZ. Rachel is a Fitbit ambassador and proud spokesperson.

Make your Xmas gift count this year by giving something that inspires good health and an inner or outer glow! Here are some of my top picks of things I LOVE and back…

  1. Fitbit Sense watch. This really is the ultimate Christmas Prezzie (for yourself or someone you love). This watch can help you to transform your health. It will help you to be sleep fit (monitor your sleep score!), be heart rate fit (this device can detect your resting heart rate score with incredible technology) , be brain fit (the watch can guide you through mindfulness exercises to help you manage your stress levels) and be body fit (monitor your exercise and nutrition too through the watch)! I’ve worn a Fitbit watch for about eight years now and LOVE this brand. This latest watch is Fitbit’s most advanced health smartwatch. I wear it everywhere including running (it measures steps done, kms run, distance run, run pace and keeps check on my heart rate levels). It’s so easy to use that it really is the ultimate run watch. I wear it to de-stress (the mindfulness exercise for two minutes is my fave and can calm my nervous system so quickly). I wear it to bed to check my sleep score, which has been so interesting. And I wear it whether I’m in a dress and heels or wearing lycra to teach yoga. I wear my Fitbit Sense more than jewellery! This really is the ultimate Xmas prezzie. This gift also keeps giving – it will be worn for years to come.
  2. An entry into the Rotorua Marathon event on May 8, 2021. This will inspire action on a fitness goal to get fitter and healthier – and as a ripple effect, exercise uplifts your happiness levels. This is NZ’s most iconic run event which has a fun run, 10km run through stunning and unique sulphur flats, a half marathon forest off-road run and a road marathon where you lap Lake Rotorua. Take the family for the weekend too and explore Rotorua. There’s adventure on your doorstep, great places to eat, a City full of beautiful Maori culture and lots of lakes and forest walks to explore.

3. A health inspired book. How about Luke Hines’ book Barbecue this! which has 80 quick, vibrant and flavour-packed dishes for weeknights, or for times of entertaining. Or a great book for managing anxiety that hell help you feel calmer via teaching calming breathing techniques is Dot, by Kieran E. Scott. Or of course, I’m biased in also recommending my own full colour book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness which boasts 30 global experts on how to be healthier and happier + 30 nourishing recipes. The book has tips around nutrition, neuroscience, psychology, emotional intelligence, de-cluttering, fitness, losing weight, feeling happier and more. My fave expert in the book is Shaun Achor, a happiness researcher from Texas. You can order it through this website HERE.

Balance Book by Rachel Grunwell Page 56
Here’s a recipe page from the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness

4. Natural beauty products that support your outer health. My top picks right now are Linden Leaves Miraculous Facial Oil (a light formula that’s NZ-made for more youthful, nourished skin), Nellie’s Tier’s face mist (to refresh and hydrate with the incredible perfume of a blend of floral waters), or Weleda’s Birch oil (to put on my body post exercise for muscle recovery. The fresh smell of this, feel of it and it’s purpose is pretty rad).

5. Sponsor a charity. My top pick is the Cambodia Charitable Trust which helps kids access education, and more, in Cambodia. I bought a bag of rice for $60 which will help feed a family for a month. The lawyer who started this trust lives in Tauranga and she features in my book Balance. She helps thousands of kids in Cambodia now and her work is extraordinary. Help her to make more of a difference in the world by helping this trust with whatever amount that you want. Whatever you gift will be super appreciated.

6. A voucher for a retreat. Indulge your loved one (or yourself!) in a blissful weekend getaway at Rotorua’s Mindful Moments retreat. The dates are now up on the Polynesian Spa’s website for 2021. This getaway boasts a beauty treatment at the spa, a premium good bag, lunch on both days, spa dips in the 28 pools on site at the spa, yoga, mindfulness, meditation sessions, a forest walk, a wellness workshop and more. This is such an affordable retreat as far as retreats go in NZ. A journalist dubbed it one of NZ’s most affordable and top micro retreats in NZ. I co-host this retreat and love connecting with the incredible men and women who attend. This sells out fast as only 14 guests are taken at a time per retreat! I promise you will leave this retreat feeling more calm, happy and rejuvenated.

Polynesian Spa Mindful Moments Event Image

Sponsored blog by Fitbit NZ

Declaration: Rachel proudly works with Fitbit, the Rotorua Marathon, Linden Leaves, the Polynesian Spa, and is the author of the book Balance which she promotes in this article too. She genuinely backs these as incredible Xmas gift ideas that have helped to transform her health and vitality.

Rachel Grunwell is a wellness coach, speaker, and her mission is to inspire Kiwis to live healthier and happier by aligning with partners that care about promoting good health.

Follow her on instagram for daily posts and more wellness Inso. Click HERE

5 Tips to Avoid a Hangover

AD This blog was created for those training for the Rotorua Marathon event on May 8, 2021

By Rachel Grunwell 

It’s the festive season and I too love to savour some wine and soak up social gatherings and the fun. 

I thought I’d share some tips and advice  around alcohol for those of you who love “the sweat life” too. Alcohol can impact on your performance if not drunk in moderation. So it might be helpful to know some of this stuff for when you are next contemplating how much to drink at a party or social gathering.

Firstly, a standard drink is 100ml wine (12% alcohol – and not that much liquid in a glass!) or a 330ml beer (5% alcohol).

According to the National guidelines, the consumption of any more than two standard drinks for women and four for men in one sitting is associated with increased risk of health problems (obviously if this is sustained over a period of time).

According to the Nutrition for Life book by Catherine Saxelby, hangovers are caused by dehydration and things like the substances in alcohol like congeners, such as tannins, volatile acids, methanol and histamines.

Dark-coloured drinks like red wine, brandy, and sherry can cause the worst hangovers – especially the cheaper brands, she says. Mixing drinks can also spell bad news for a sore head (and leave you witch-like the next day – likely! Or is that just me? ha ha ha ha ha).

Here are 5 tips to help avoid a hangover:

  1. Stop at one drink. That’s smart! Or have none, if you have a very long run planned the next day. I totally recommend this. I’ve drunk ONCE the night before a long run and I will never do this again. I felt nauseous!! However, some people can get away with this WAY better than me.
  2. Don’t mix a whole lot of different drinks. This is REALLY bad news for a hangover.
  3. Drink non-alcoholic drinks in-between an alcoholic one to slow down how much you drink ie water, fruit juice etc

2.   Have lots of water to combat the dehydration.

3.   Have something like milk, or cheese, before you drink – as this lines your stomach. So our mothers telling us to “line the stomach with food” wasn’t just them being bossy.

4.   Foods like toast, fruit, flat lemonade, weak black tea with sugar, boiled rice, and eggs, can be kinder on the stomach when you have drunk a lot.

5.   Sleep it off. You should feel better after 24 hours.

ps an extra tip from Catherine Saxelby is not to bother with those effervescent tablets. She reckons they are just expensive urine!

Meanwhile, when I coach clients on how to move, eat and live healthier and happier, I advise clients too that alcohol has a lot of calories (7 calories per gram). A lot of my clients are chasing weight-loss goals. So there’s that to consider too.

ps remember all things in life in “balance” can be okay. Just make informed choices about how you fuel your body and have moderation in mind.

Set your next run goal by entering the Rotorua Marathon event held on May 8, 2012. There’s a fun run, 10km, half marathon and marathon distance to contemplate. Enter HERE

Rachel is a wellness coach, keen runner (25 marathons at the last count) and Rotorua Marathon ambassador.

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

Follow her via  Instagram @RachelGrunwell or click here for her business Facebook

Blueberry Double Choc Raw Cheesecake

AD – this recipe and blog is sponsored by Eureka Blueberries

By Rachel Grunwell – wellness coach & author 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blueberry Double Choc Raw Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Bottom layer

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

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw cashew nuts

½ cup maple syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

Middle layers

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

¼ cup maple syrup 

¾ coconut cream

2 cups desiccated coconut 

(1 carton of Eureka Blueberries)

Topping

1 carton of Eureka Blueberries 

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

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

Method

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#eurekablueberriesnz #nzblueberries #eurekablueberries #blueberries #sponsoredcontent

6 Top Sleep Tips

(AD) sponsored content.

Declaration: Rachel was gifted the weighted blanket and Fitbit

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

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

Here are 6 sleep tips or suggestions to try

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

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

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

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

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

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

#sponsored post

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

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

5 Top Tips to Run Well on Rotorua Marathon Race Day

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

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

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

5 Top Run Tips

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

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

7 Exercises for Back Pain

Book review by Rachel Grunwell

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

This post is sponsored by The McKenzie Method company #AD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Exercises For Back Pain:

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

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

Taupo runner loses 7kg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vinnie shares some things that helped her journey:

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

What was the hardest part?

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

What helped you on your journey?

“Rachel did!”

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

What do you love about your wellness journey?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Rachel on Instagram or the InspiredHealthNZ Facebook page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 nights accommodation for two people

Polynesian Spa  - 2 x Deluxe Lake Spa passes

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

 Rrotorua Canopy Tours – Original Tour for 2 people 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Inspiring Women Fundraising for the Rotorua Marathon event

By Rachel Grunwell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is her “why”:

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

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

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

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

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

Melanie
Steen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how long will she keep lapping this lake?

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

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

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

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

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

This grandma is goals!

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

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

Follow Rachel on Instagram & the InspiredHealthNZ Facebook page.

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