Strong Girls Are Trending – Rachel’s A-Z Guide on how to Goal-Crush in 2020

It’s time to goal-crush for 2020. Rachel Grunwell shares an A-Z guide to being a ‘Strong Girl Boss in 2020′.

Picture by Jack Neale from Indulge magazine.

It’s 2020 and strong girls are trending.

Stop standing back or holding yourself back. Step up, stand strong, be brave and work hard to get what your God damn heart dreams.

Stop living a beige life. Instead, live the s*** out of this life and get your best life. Choose to be a Girl Boss.

Crush goals in the arena you want to fight for most. Is it work, finances, relationships, life, sport or more play?

Here’s my “how to” Strong Girl Boss Guide”. Join this strong girl march and follow singer Stevie Nicks’ lyrics: “Don’t be a lady, be a legend”. Tune into researcher Brene Brown’s teachings too. She preaches: “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

A- Awareness. Have the courage and confidence to know who you are and what you want – and then chase it down. You lead your own orchestra. You can change the song any time you darn well please.

B- Boundaries. Set them and be unapologetic about not breaking them. Protect your space to be able to focus and flourish. That doesn’t mean becoming bossy though; Keep those soft, vulnerable and kind layers. 

C- Courage.Have the courage to be the real, true , authentic you. After all, it’s your quirks that set you apart from the rest. Own who you are and don’t shift your views or values for anyone. And, remember no one likes a chameleon – those species that change to fit in. 

D- Darkness. Acknowledge the darkness you’ve experienced but don’t let it pull you down into the trenches. Choose instead to fall up. Let the richness of your experiences propel you forwards with a new sense of inner strength and empathy for others.

E- Eudaimonia. I first came across this word while interviewing neuroscientist Dr Kerry Spackman. He was sharing tips on how to live your best life for my book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. This word is Greek for happiness or welfare, human flourishing or prosperity. It’s all about striving for genuine happiness and contentment, not Hollywood-style happiness. The latter is fleeting. Us strong women are smart. We know that our own kick-ass success beats any bauble some bloke can gift. 

F- Fear less. The only thing holding you back from living your best life is you. Fear of failure is a handbrake. Instead get out of your own way honey. But remember not to be reckless.

G- Goals. You need strong, solid well thought out goals to know how to take those powerful small steps towards your dreams. Otherwise you’ll remain “stuck”.

H- Healthy high. Your health is the foundation of your wellbeing. Build a healthy, strong, resilient body – and mind – and chase those healthy highs. Raise your standards and look after your body. Fitness boosts your mood, energy levels, focus and brain power. Fitness fuels more creativity and productivity. So strong girls are smarter. Please remember that fitness ain’t about the aesthetics; It drives how you think and feel.

I- Inner voice. Recognise that mean-girl voice inside your head. This can make you doubt yourself and feel unworthy. Speak to yourself like you are your own best friend. Self-love is crucial to success.

J- Judgment. Don’t judge yourself – or others. It’s ugly. Use your energy to focus on positive thoughts, feelings and actions. Don’t waste or energy on stuff that doesn’t serve you – or others – well.

K- Kindness. It’s a boomerang. Throw it out and I promise more kindness will return.

L- Love. To love others and to feel loved is the meaning of life.

M- Mental Health. Do what makes you feel well, healthy and happy and guard that like a fierce boss bish. Looking after yourself also means you can help others more.

N- Nourish your body with real foods that grow in the ground, on trees or move (ie meat if you are not a planteater, that is). It fuels your energy levels and smart-girl thinking power.

O- Open Up your heart wide to friends and have more courageous conversations about your real feelings. Letting others in on your failures, fears, and joyful moments deepens connections. 

P- Purpose. Live life with a powerful purpose, not just for a pay-cheque. If money drives everything then you will hit a mid-life crisis – it’s just a moment of “when”.

Q-Questions. Get curious and ask questions. Knowledge sparks an understanding of fresh perspectives to evolve to a deeper level.

R- Re-set your body, mind and soul when you need to with play that sparks an inner-joy. Is it surfing, reading, running or gardening? Do what lights up your soul. It keeps you centred.

S- Stand tall, lift your sternum and behave like the goddess you are. You deserve to be seen, heard and loved. Everyone does.

T- Thief of Joy. “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt. Never compare who you are to anyone else. You are beautifully imperfect. We all make mistakes, stuff up and fail. No one is the sum total of their Facebook highlights reel.

U- Unite with other soul sisters to help each other.Adjust another queen’s crown when it falls off. There’s stronger power in the collective.

V- Values. Know what is most important to you and live your life by these.

W- Worth. Know your worth and never settle for second best: Ever.

X- X-Factor. What is your super-power that sets you apart from the rest? Share it more with the world. We all have something special to share.

Y- Yes. Say this word more to connect more and experience more. Because isolation can fuel depression.

Z – Zip it with the B.S. The truth is the opposite to what you’re likely telling yourself. Know what are thoughts, and what are facts.

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

Instagram @rachelgrunwell

Get the lowdown on Rachel’s Mindful Moments retreats at the Polynesian Spa

This feature was published in Indulge magazine. Rachel is the weekly wellness columnist for this weekly magazine.

Rotorua: Five Experiences that are WOW

By Rachel Grunwell

You can visit Rotorua many times and always experience a fresh, fun and exciting side to this city that wows.

I visit for 48 hours and experience the geothermal earth forces. I do stand-up paddleboarding on one of the 18 lakes. Luckily, there were thrills with no spills. This fussy Auckland chick also got to savour some epic kai. I left wishing only
I had more time in this place that’s home to the world’s best mountain biking trails.

  1. Water, glowworms and wonder: Walking on water with Paddle Board Rotorua sets my heart soaring. I’m on Lake Okareka, a 15-minute drive from the city centre. Deep blue waters are below. Blue skies stretch overhead. Sunshine warms my back. I breath in fresh air. There’s a vista of green soothing hills in every direction. There are coves to duck in and out of, which light up with glowworms at night (the twilight tour is the most popular). We glimpse rare birds. This. Is. Bliss. Every parent needs to take their kids to do this.

2. Waimangu Volcanic Valley: If, like me, you are a Game of Thrones fan then you will understand this likeness . . .

The Inferno Crater Lake at Waimangu Volcanic Valley has the same ice-blue as the eyes of the White Walkers. It’s that darn beautiful it will leave you in absolute wonder.

This is Rotorua’s premier tourist attraction for good reason.

The valley formed in 1886 when Mt Tarawera erupted. There are unique geothermal features on the self-guided eco-walks of varying lengths. This protected scenic reserve is a 20-minute drive south of Rotorua. You can also do
a boat cruise on Lake Rotomahana. This gives visitors a view of the reserve’s volcanic displays from a cool perspective.

3. Jetboat Thrills: Okay, I was a bit of a wuss about doing this at first with the New Zealand River Jet Crew. I was a bit wobbly, worrying about going fast and flying on water and doing 360-degree turns. But I ended up loving this thrilling jetboating trip. It winds through the spectacular Tutukau Gorge. The canyon walls rise up to 50m. The tour guide shared history of the area (and lots of laughs) along the way. He helped us spot rare birds too. I loved the stop off at the world-renowned Orakei Korako thermal attraction. The bright yellow and pinks of the boiling mud, geysers and silica terraces are so memorable. Then there’s the option to go through The Squeeze. You wade through knee-deep warm water towards a narrow gap in the cliff face, then squeeze through crevasses top end up resting in the waist- deep thermal waters for a soak.

4. Terrace Kitchen: Food resembles art here, and tastes so darn good I almost licked the plates. The chefs make fresh, seasonal, sustainable food, showcasing local ingredients at their best. You know what’s epic about this place though? The super-friendly staff.

So, here’s what I ate: My starter is a vegan warm salad (turmeric tahini emulsion, slow-roasted aubergine, truffle butter, and oyster mushrooms); my main is fish with turmeric and lemon marma- lade, asparagus, fish and herb beurre, and with buttered kamokamo and pan- roasted carrot; dessert is a berry parfait (it has coconut, biscuit, berry sago, cider coulis and edible flowers). The food, staff and this modern, friendly place lived up to my fussy Auckland-girl-expectations.

5. Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua: The city’s largest hotel is nestled on the edge of Lake Rotorua. A short walk to the city centre, it’s close to lots of attractions. They have Ma ̄ori bread at the buffet breakfast. I scoffed four pieces. I couldn’t stop, it’s that good. The coolest thing here though is the kids’ area at the entrance. It’s so inviting with colourful beanbags, a giant ‘connect four’ game and TV screens to amuse. Adults like this hang out as much as the

The kids area at Sudim Hotel Lake Rotorua is epic…

●  To find out about more amazing experiences in Rotorua check out

●  Rachel Grunwell was kindly hosted by Destination Rotorua

This feature was published by NZME including the Bay of Plenty Times and on the Herald on-line.

Rachel Grunwell is an award-winning journalist, columnist for Good magazine and Indulge magazines + the Herald online. She’s a wellness expert and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness (which boasts 30 global experts on how to live healthier and happier). Find Rachel at, Instagram @rachelgrunwell, and Facebook InspiredHealthNZ


5 Wellbeing Tips to Radically Improve Your Run Game

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon ambassador, qualified PT/coach, yoga teacher, wellness columnist (for Good magazine, Indulge magazine and the Herald online). Rachel helps clients to uplift their health through private wellness coaching, and through the Mindful Moments retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.

Running is not the only important thing for runners. It’s not all about how many miles you pound on the pavements. There are other important factors too that can fuel your run game. Here are some tips that can help.

Read More

9 Top Recovery Run Tips + Choc Chia Recipe

rotorua marathon blog march 2018

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon ambassador, multi-marathoner, qualified yoga teacher, magazine wellness columnist, magazine recipe creator & Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa ambassador

Follow Rachel via InspiredHealthNZ’s Instagram and Facebook 

9 Top Recovery Run Tips  + Choc Chia Recipe

It’s not long now until the Rotorua Marathon event on May 5 and so training is hitting its highest gear. The long runs are longer and it’s an increasingly longer time on the feet for walkers too. So, use some great recovery methods is incredibly key right now. You want to be using everything you can in order to arrive at the start-line injury-free and ready to do your best on race day!


rotorua marathon blog 3 2018


Here are 9 Top Recovery Tips: I use all these tips and they’ve helped me conquer 19 marathons. So I swear by them!

  1. * Make friends with a foam roller. These are seriously amazing for “ironing” out niggles ie making those tight muscles less oucheeeee. Use a roller for a few minutes on areas like your calves, IT bands, thighs, shins and quads. It’s even lovely to roll your back over a foam roller – it’s an amazing self-massage tool. There are other self-massage tools on the market too like stick rollers and other weird-shaped (torture) tools! Find the tender spots and roll them with LOVE. Your body will thank you for this, I promise.
  2. * Eat ideally within 30-mins roughly after a long training run or walk to help boost muscle recovery.
  3. * Some sports physios and massage therapists are increasingly training in needling. This can target really deep tissue hotspots if you need to iron out niggles that are really deep and you can’t seem to shake. If you are not afraid of needles, then I’d recommend trying this treatment. It doesn’t hurt a bit, I reckon. 
  4. * Get a professional sports massage. I can’t rate these high enough. These experts are worth their weight in gold. They can target any tiny issues you might have and give you amazing advice too. Plus you get to chat away to them and they have to listen ha ha ha ha. Or is that just me who loves to talk, talk, talk lol.
  5. * Sleep like a prince or princess. This affects your physical and emotional health. So, it affects how you recover from training runs and how well you feel while running (or walking). Feel more alert and power your performance with more shut-eye… This is also FREE, of course. Bonus! If you get to bed by midnight, this is most ideal (it’s to do with cortisol levels ok babe…)
  6. * Drop the habit of drinking so much alcohol. This can disturb your sleep patterns and can stop you from going into REM – the very rejuvenating sleep.
  7. * Try some gentle yoga classes or at least take several minutes to do some static stretching after running or walking to reset your body. This will help you to move well. For some of my fave run stretches that I use often and highly recommend CLICK HERE.
  8. * Go for a recovery swim. If you are in Rotorua, then I’d recommend the Blue Lake, Lake Tarawera or Lake Okareka. Better still, indulge in the rejuvenating hot pools at the Polynesian Spa. Bliss!
  9. * Make a pact with yourself to eat more nutritionally-rich kai. Smart eating will help you think better, feel better and perform better. So, add spinach to your scrambled eggs or swig back a home-made juice (so you know what is in it). Here’s an amazing beetroot juice recipe CLICK HERE. Or here’s a Choc Chia Pudding to try below which is full of chia seeds which boast Omega 3 alphalinolenic acid. This is good for your brain, building new cells, and heart-health. Chia seeds are great for satiety too ie filling you up! This also tastes amazing and you can eat it anytime for a snack. Hopefully this will stop you from reaching for chocolate instead!


rotorua marathon blog 2 2018

Post Run Choc Chia Pudding


1 banana (skin removed)

2 cups almond milk

½ cup coconut cream

1 tablespoon rice malt syrup (or you can use maple syrup instead)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon cacao powder

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

3 tablespoons Chia seeds (back or white)


Put all the ingredients (except the chia seeds) into a blender and blitz until smooth. Lastly, add the chia seeds and stir these in with a spoon. Pour into pudding bowls, or I put them into small glasses. Leave them to set in the fridge for 30-minutes or longer. Use a spoon to dig out the mixture and enjoy!

Rachel's Blog Award-winning writer & recipe creator, magazine columnist, wellness ambassador, yoga teacher & multi-marathoner.



Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon run ambassador, wellness blogger & magazine columnist, yoga teacher and Polynesian Spa ambassador. Follow her via InspiredHealthNZ’s Instagram and Facebook 

To enter the Rotorua Marathon event or find out more Click Here

This post was sponsored by the awesome peeps who “run” the Rotorua Marathon event. #collab #officialblogger #runambassador 

Bionic Woman walks the Gazley Volkswagen Marathon event for The Heart Foundation


Pictured: Helene Kay

WIN: Go into the draw to win a free entry into the Gazley Volkswagen Wellington Marathon event. Enter on our Facebook or Instagram pages!

By Rachel Grunwell

Helene jokes she’s kind of like ‘A Bionic Woman’ – she’s in part made of titanium. But that won’t stop her from entering the Gazley Volkswagen Wellington Marathon event on June 18 and fundraising for The Heart Foundation .

The 59-year-old Kapiti Coast mum (and soon to be grandma) suffered from rheumatic heart disease a year ago. She was so overwhelmed by the care and help she received from The Heart Foundation, that she wants to “give back” now that she is well. She is raising money for the foundation by walking the 21km distance at the Wellington Marathon event and has so far raised over $2300.

Helene says her world was turned upside down last year. She had been feeling unwell, and just generally fatigued, but doctors couldn’t pinpoint why this was the case for quite some time. Finally she had an echocardiogram and doctors discovered she had rheumatic heart disease, which was traced back to having undiagnosed rheumatic fever when she was very young.

Two heart valves were failing and so she needed open heart surgery to replace these with mechanical valves. Hence, she reckons she’s a bit like the Bionic Woman (a series based on the adventures of Jamie Sommers, who is rebuilt bionically and goes on dangerous missions).

Helene’s heart ticks loudly with the mechanical parts and you can hear it if you stand close to her, she says. She jokes she will become ‘The Ticking Nana’ when she becomes a grandmother for the first time (her grandchild is due in June).

Since her health issue, she has been slowly rebuilding her strength and fitness and says an 8-week exercise course post surgery run by the foundation had been integral to her great recovery.

To get even stronger, she set the goal to walk the Wellington event so she can get back to her fitter self (she recently returned to work teaching exercise classes again). She says her goal for the event is simply to finish. And she’s ecstatic that one of her two sons, Devon, will join her on this mission.

She has fundraised the biggest amount for the foundation through this event to date – and credits this to some wonderfully generous friends.

She also hopes to raise awareness that people should seek help and get thorough check-ups when they are feeling unwell.

Helene wants to thank her husband Paul, and other family and friends who have helped her on her heart journey. She couldn’t have done it without them. She particularly credits friend Lyn for inspiring her to walk most days to help her on her journey back to wellness.

Helene is looking forward to reaching the finish-line at the Wellington event, saying “it will feel like the end of my rehabilitation and the beginning of a new me”.

  • Join Helene by entering the Wellington Marathon (and run or walk for charity too if you choose). Click HERE
  • If you’d like to sponsor Helene’s fundraiser click HERE. The Heart Foundation is NZ’s heart health charity leading the fight against heart disease. They fund research, promote healthy lifestyles and aim to advance cardiac care in NZ.


Blog penned by Rachel Grunwell: Writer, marathoner, Good magazine’s wellness columnist + smoothie chick & yoga teacher. Follow her via Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram for lifestyle inspo, recipes & giveaways.