2011 – What a ride!

With just over two weeks left of 2011 I am on a high! What a year!   I love reflecting back on the year and still am amazed at how much I manage to squeeze into the 365 days…  

Some of the madness/fun includes:

* Promoting myself in a new role at work – taking on social media in communications co-ordinator role, from being an Executive Assistant

* Being bestwoman & MC for Sera & Kevin’s wedding in New Zealand – two fabulous friends sharing an amazing day

* Celebrating Dad’s 40years with Rio Tinto  – a trip home to Perth to spend time with my family & friends

* Meeting some amazing friends on the 12WBT fitness journey – two finale parties one in Melbourne and one in Brisbane – great people coming together to celebrate success in fitness

* Meeting Jamie Eason at Filex – Love Jamie’s approach to health & fitness, her bb.com articles rock!

*  SO many fitness ventures from indoor rock climbing, trapezing,  AC’s Sunday bootcamps, winterwonderland iceskating to swimming in the corporate games for Ernst & Young, running my first City to Surf, MS fun walk, Mudrun not to mention so many PB’s in the gym.

* Half day photoshoot to celebrate ME, my fitness achievements and to enter the Oxygen covergirl comeptition – tick off bucket list.

* Working as a trainer again at Annette Kellerman Aquatic centre, running bootcamps twice a week from June – December.

*Rocking it out at concerts – AC/DC, Janet Jackson, Cold Chisel with awesome friends

*Meeting some amazing new friends through the gym, twitter and fitness networks on bodybuilding.com and Facebook – I love social media! Lucky it is my job!

* Another successful year as Mo-sista for Movember – helping raise funds and awareness of this great charity – building the WORLD’s largest MOustache on Bondi Beach – highlight indeed.

*  365day photo project – some of the pictures I have captured give insight into my daily surroundings, didn’t take a photo everyday but manged at least 90% – loving the results

Wow… I am sure  I have missed a few things in there somewhere, lots of festivals, weddings and outings with friends – been a busy year – bring on 2012, looking forward to smashing some more goals.


No Sugar November

The one thing I have noticed since starting Paleo is that I was being so good with not eating (0r craving for that matter) dairy, bread, pasta etc but noticed that I had slipped back into my old habit of eating lollies and sweets or more dark chocolate.   Now I knew I had to cut this out and NoSugarVember just happened to appear on my twitter wall one-day.    This concept was created by Natalie from New Outlook Fitness – definitely one that I needed and have a few friends following also – together we are going to kick sugar. 

A no sugar diet will result in you having more energy, by keeping your blood sugars stable.  Ensuring you are eating good foods throughout the day to also help the levels stabilise.  Good foods that is – good sources of carbohydrates, fats and proteins all important.    If you are having cravings still you need to re-evaluate the food you are eating and eliminate those full of sugar and preservatives, cut out the processed food and YOU WILL NOT HAVE CRAVINGS. I haven’t had a true craving for two months….   

I had forgotten just how much sugar is in foods, since doing Paleo my processed food intake is minimal and I truly do notice how “sweet” some foods can be.  Corn on the cob for instance… yum. 

It is Day 8 today and so far I can honestly say I feel great, I feel energised, happy, not moody or tired or cranky but that is because I have been eating so well the last few months.  I have only had one slip up and that was at dinner last Thursday night – I was at a friends place and she had kindly put some chocolate on a plate after dinner and obviously my sugar pathways were still in control and I grabbed a piece and popped it into my mouth without a second thought, it wasn’t until I thought this is so nice… AHHHHHH! haha… classic, so I savoured it, and had no more. 

I am tracking my calories daily, to ensure I am eating ENOUGH and getting all my macronutrients.  Ensuring I am keeping this body fuelled with the RIGHT energy.  I am averaging between 35-55g of sugar in foods per day, sources are from fruits and vegetables.

Breakdown of nutrients from yesterday – still need to get more energy IN!




A few things added to my DONS kicks ar*e list….

I am like an excited little kid today, totally buzzing on life and adrenalin is pumping through my veins. So pumped after training last night with my  friend Melody from Melbourne. She truly is ONE amazing chick – runs her own boutique gym in Melbourne called Fitness Boutique (a well deserved plug) I first met Melody over two years ago on Facebook, through networking with other fitness people online and I thought, I am going to train with her one day. So on a trip to Melbourne a few years back, I did.   This week, Melody popped into Sydney for a brief visit and we smashed out chest at Newtown gym, great fun.

Melody has been a great support to me when ever I need when doing my training and she has always believed that I can achieve the goals I set out to achieve, even if I couldn’t.   I have been talking about competing at a sports model/figure competition for years. Talk. Talk. Talk.  Time to take action.  I don’t think I was mentally ready all the other times.   I can visualise it now and it is very exciting.   They have added so many new categories to the competition I am entering so that makes me more comfortable (no dance routines for me, thank goodness, so not my thing, funnily enough)!

Planning, planning and more planning to be done.   Time to fine-tune this Ferrari into a fat burning, muscle building machine. The competition I will compete in isn’t until June/July next year, so I have loads of time.  First goal is to strip away another 6-8kgs of bodyfat off this frame.  Keeping the muscle and adding more definition (not size).

I love this feeling… being confident in myself and knowing that I will achieve this goal is amazing.   Love how things just fall into place, timing is everything.

So keep a watch on this blog, will be taking you through my next phase of training from now up until the end of January.  Think clean, lean and mean (muscle that is)!  Will bring you video footage of training sessions, some progress pictures and my nutrition updates. 


Two months on with Paleo

Two months on and I am still loving the Paleo lifestyle!  I haven’t been 100% strict, allowing a few treats here and there (chocolate is one of them) but overall I am feeling amazing.  I have made choices to be picky where I buy my produce and meats from & enjoying the positive results!   For the first time in my “dieting” life I feel like I am NOT on a diet and in control and eating healthy.

Check out the Paleo Snacks FB page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paleo-Snacks/110561122350632

Check out my post from day three of eating paleo – https://onnada.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/day-three-of-challenge/

I remember this day so well, was feeling energised and felt like nothing could stop me.  Two months on and eating good clean foods is giving me more energy and benefits than I have ever experienced before.  My skin is so clear and not dry, I hardly use body lotion, my digestion has improved so much (no bloating, wind or sluggish feeling) I no longer crave food or have mood swings or energy level drops.  I have dropped another 2kgs on the scale but am feeling much stronger and leaner…

To say I have followed it 100% would be a big fat lie… I have had the occasional dairy treat or cupcake (paid for it afterwards mind you) – I enjoy the odd soy piccolo from time to time, enjoy some goats cheese now and then (preferably with beetroot and walnuts) but predominately I follow the paleo plan. I do not miss milk, bread, pasta or oats. I believe my diet is richer in calcium and fibre now with the variety of foods I eat than it was before. Leafy green vegetables, meats, eggs, coconut oil/milk, fruit, nuts, seeds…. heaven.

The one thing I can say is that scrambled eggs cooked with butter, is DIVINE! I have this a couple times a week either as dinner or breakfast…

My daily nutrition looks something like this:

Breakfast: two boiled eggs, salmon or ham, spinach salad with avocado and balsamic dressing, strawberries or berries on the side OR fresh fruit with coconut cream or coconut milk (light) topped with walnuts or brazil nuts.

Lunch: Beef stew with vegetables; chicken/salad with avocado;  fish curry with vegetables; frittata and salad; sardines and salad or with ratatouille; sashimi.

Dinner: kangaroo w/sweet potato mash; broccoli, red capsicum; beef/chicken/lamb stews with potato/carrot/leeks; baked eggs with ham/pesto;  beef stir fry with veggies, baked salmon with asparagus and pumpkin/carrot mash.

Snacks: blueberries/almonds, coconut milk and fruit, almond meal protein balls, sesame seeds.

Interesting information and reading can be found:

 Anastasia – http://primalmeded.com/

Jamie Scott – http://thatpaleoguy.blogspot.com/2010/03/paleo-dairy-exclusion-and-calcium.html

The photos are in…..

A month ago I had an afternoon to celebrate ME. I had the afternoon off work and a bag filled with outfits and accessories ready to take to my Starshots Photoshoot. 

I have never really been a shy person, always outgoing, loud and bubbling with excitement, but when it comes to cameras the shy Donna comes out…   I knew it would take some time to get used to the camera and the wise words of the photographer Justin were “stop thinking”.   I am alway so in control of situations that it took some time to just listen to him and do as I am told. (ssshh Mum).

We started the photoshoot with the burlesque style – I had been to a friends charity night a few months earlier and brought a sexy corset and a little top hat. Channeling my inner Madonna I felt strong and sexy wearing trousers, heels and the corset/top hat combo.

The picture I loved the most, so much so that I ordered it on acryllic frame 24″ big is the relaxed picture of me sitting on a gorgeous chasse – I love the entire colour range/lighting of the shot, the green on the chasse with the wood – reflection and quiet time is so important in life and this just captures that.

All I seem to notice in pictures now is how the models are trying to arch their back up to get a good shot.  This is another favourite… I have been told numerous times that my blue eyes are amazing, how awesome is this shot? The green backdrop just brings out the colour that little bit more and I love how you can see the muscle striations in my chest. 

Most people that know me, or who work with me or have lived with me know that I hate shoes, I hate the restriction of them, you can take the girl out of the bush – yes it is nice to wear sexy heels from time to time and that i do enjoy but nothing is more enjoyable than bare feet on the grass or in the sand… freedom.  Justin the photographer is very good at capturing the true style of the people he shoots and he knew I was itching to get those heels off! 

Lots of celebrations this year, flying back to Perth for my Dad’s 40 year dinner with Rio Tinto was one of them.  The last time I saw my family was last year when my Pop passed away, so it was so nice to go home and see my family and celebrate with them and so many people I grew up with in Tom Price – mum & dad’s friends… oh the stories and the reminiscing of the old times, hearing great things being said about my dad’s achievements over the years, very proud moment indeed.  I brought this gorgeous Cue dress for the occasion. 

Love the blue backdrop and the photographer wanted to do another shot whilst I had on the lace dress which showed off “my great legs” end quote.  I am tall and have learnt to stand tall and be proud of my height over the years.  When you are given a gift you should embrace it. So with fake tan applied, I did.

One of the main reasons for the shoot was to get a great picture to send into Oxygen magazine competition. Everytime Oxygen gets delivered to my house I always admire the fitness model on the front cover and think “wouldn’t it be great to be that fit, or on the cover of the magazine”. Every year I would see the competition for “be on the front cover” and always would shrug and think one-day I will be fit enough, perfect enough.  Well this year when I saw the competition this strong powerful voice said “I am going to enter” and that is what I did.   If you wait until the day you think you are perfect, you will wait a long time.  I have worked hard, trained hard and very proud of myself and my achievements this year.  Entering this competition, for me, being a perfectionist, was a big hurdle to jump and this meant I am ready, to move onwards and upwards to bigger and better things. Needless to say I was very happy with the result. Love the green top and short from Running Bare. My favourite sportswear brand.

I had so much fun with the next photo! After standing in shorts and crop top and HEELS to get the picture above Justin thought it would be good to have some fun, so off came the shoes HURRAH and time to do some jumping shots.    He took a few snaps but confessed he got the right shot the first go…  my poor calves were cramping from going from heels to no shoes, to jumping……. modelling is hard work!

In the brief I mentioned that I loved boxing and brough in my favourite Running Bare hoodie and boxing gloves to do some action shots. Emma sprayed me down to get that “just worked out” look and I spend quite a few minutes trying to get serious.. I just kept laughing, was so hard to get “focused”, oh and not to punch Justin.  Looking forward to doing this shot again soon with  more definition on the arms/shoulders!

Natural shots.  I have always admired natural/nude shots, the arty ones that are done well and not too cheap looking.  That free feeling f wearing no clothing and being comfortable in your body is something everyone should be able to experience. you might not be “perfect” and what is perfect anyways? But to feel alive, free and confident in ones skin.   Standing (not crawling) on the bear skin rug I felt pretty awesome, reflecting on how far I have come this year on not only my fitness journey, but the journey of ME learning more about myself than I ever though possible.

The “fake” butterfly tattoos were a special little touch. I do have a tattoo and am looking to get another couple.  The butterflies for me symbolise freedom and creativity, to be who you are, true beauty at all times. My Poppy who passed away last October used to cherish the gorgeous things in life. He was so passionate about travel, animals, reading, learning and creating objects with his bare hands out of any material he could find. He used to make tables out of tree tops, he hand-made me a wooden jewellery box from a left over cabinet.. he always saw the beauty in everything and he even transformed old aluminium cans into gorgeous butterflies,  painting them bright and used to put them aorund his house. At his wake the words “when you see a butterfly, you know Ronald isn’t far away” just made me smile. I know his spirit is with me and my family and I do always smile when I see a butterfly, more now than I used to.

The foods I eat…..and why I eat them…..

Eating “different” foods then my co-workers do on a daily basis gets quite a bit of attention.  My morning breakfast ritual at work receives so many questions and comments from: “that is a healthy breakfast”,  ” I wish I had time to eat healthy like you”. “Is eggs everyday good for your cholesterol?”. Even before I was doing the Paleo diet my egg whites stirred into my oats used to cause a um a stir…

Being prepared and organised is key to eating “the way I eat”.    I love preparing my breakfasts that take no time at all.  Baked, boiled or microwaved eggs with salmon or ham, with a side of  spinach, balsamic dressing & some avocado – side cup of mixed berries/kiwi fruit, just delicious or left over beef/lamb/kangaroo and a nice rocket/spinach salad with brazil nuts or macadamias – so simple to prepare and bring into work.

Snacks consist of berries/nuts – sometimes chicken breast/veggies, (sweet potato included) depending on what I feel like and what training I will be doing that evening. Lunches are protein and salad/veggies or both. Lots of colours to get all the nutrients I need in my diet. 

Superfoods are my favourite kind of foods – I have always eaten a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and enjoy them all, the Paleo diet definitely ensures I get adequate nutrients!  The key ones are: Apples, Avocado, Beans, Blueberries , Broccoli , Cinnamon , Dark Chocolate , Extra Virgin Olive Oil , Garlic , Kiwi Fruit, Onions , Oranges , Pomegranates , Pumpkin, Spinach, Green Tea, Tomatoes , Turkey , Walnuts , Wild Salmon

My favourite superfood – Blueberries are so addictive, and currently only $3.50 a punnet!  Bargain.  Blueberries are so rich in *phytonutrients that even though they are not filled with the antioxidant vitamins C and E, the still provide as much antioxidant protection to the body as 1,733 IU of vitamin E and more than 1200 milligrams of vitamin C.  Recent studies have shown that blueberries seemed to slow and even reverse many of the degenerative diseases that are associated with the aging of the brain, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  Which is great news (especially with family history of Alzheimer’s)!

Second favourite superfood – Did someone say chocolate?  I love chocolate. I enjoy eating good quality dark chocolate.  Either mixed with goji berries, coconut or even chilli, I love it and find it goes well with an evening cup of tea.   The lastest sensation is one I found in the deli in Newtown made from coconut oil, agave nectar and cacao. Oh MY GOD, delicious.

I eat healthy clean food so that my body (machine) is fuelled adequately to remain fit, healthy and energised.  Put in great healthy food and your body will respond the same way. Fill it with overprocessed crap, you will feel, like CRAP! I don’t get cravings anymore, I may “fancy” something but I don’t get the “sugar frenzy” attacks, I no longer get the insulin high and low’s from eating refined carbohydrates.

Tracking my food, I can ensure I get adequate nutrients and vitamins the body requires.  Having had recent tests I have normal levels (calcium, magnesium and potassium, vitamin D) loving bone broths, such a great way to get nutrients! Now I know why my dog used to go MAD for bones… all that great marrow!! Soups with bone broth, vegetables, meats …. eggs, fish, fruits, nuts/seeds… food for champions.  

**Flavonols are plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties. Cocoa beans, along with red wine, tea, cranberries, and other fruits, contain large amounts of flavonols. Research is now suggesting that the flavonols in chocolate are responsible for the ability to maintain healthy blood pressure, promote blood flow, and promote heart health.   Eat in moderation of course.

*Phytonutrients are nutrients derived from plant material that have been shown to be necessary for sustaining human life. Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing, compounds. Their role in plants is to protect plants from disease, injuries, insects, drought, excessive heat, ultraviolet rays, and poisons or pollutants in the air or soil. They form part of the plants immune system.

Research has shown that phytonutrients help the body cells communicate with each other more efficiently, prevent mutations at the cellular level, prevent the proliferation of cancer cells, and there is still much more that we are learning about the powers of phytonutrients everyday.

** Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds present in vegetables, fruits, berries and beverages such as tea, red wine and fruit juices, having  similar effects as antioxidants. Especially green vegetables, onions, apples, berries and tea are rich sources of  flavonoids.

Common questions I get asked are……

I may not have the text book answer, but I have my answers, my experiences that I feel might help others. At the end of the day you are responsible for yourself. I listen to my gut. I learn from others. I absorb information that I feel relevant to ME. The human body has always amazed me and I continue to learn something new nearly everyday. Here are some common questions I get asked:

Q Why do you train? Feeling that sense of accomplishment. Success. Learning. Overcoming a hurdle. Adrenalin rush. Push the boundaries. Training has been something I have done since I was young. It just has been WHAT I DO. Obviously the types of training has changed throughout the years as I have challenged myself to achieve many different goals but I always get asked questions about WHY I train, which I love.

Do what you love. Ok some days I don’t love the alarm going off at 5:30am, but I do love that feeling of accomplishing a task. Standing in the shower at the gym at 7:30am feeling smashed from a session, that I love. Seeing results.

Q. How do you get motivated & stay motivated to train?

Results. Seeing changes in my body, feeling the strength after a session or the pride after smashing out a PB. Knowing that I will feel a million bucks after I leave the gym, pool or session if outdoors. Swapping that five minutes of “not feeling up to training” feeling to days of feeling on cloud 9 that I trained. I tend to do PB’s when I “don’t really feel up to the gym”! Mostly it is the mind telling you that you don’t want to train. The body can push through a lot more than you think it can. Pushing through the pain barrier(threshold), for me it is the mental barrier… I know what my body can push through, it is the mind I find takes over. Constantly challenging that barrier allows me to achieve results.

I don’t wait for motivation. Some days I am itching to get to the gym, some days I have to drag my sorry butt to the gym … adrenalin is my drug of choice. That pumped up feeling..I crave it. Makes me feel alive. Achieving things that others thought I could never achieve drives me too.

I use past achievements to guide me through current hurdles….. even if it is a different exercise or event, I use the memory to remind me that I have had doubts before and survived, achieved the task at hand, that I can do it again.

Q Why did you become a trainer?

Helping people achieve & conquor health and fitness goals, how awesome would that be?!

I became a PT nearly seven years ago now. I was living in London and having a great time travelling, experiencing new cultures and enjoying the food and drink side of things far too much, was my first time not being in “training mode”, still did the occasional swim or walk…. but no specific goals to train for. I had so many coaches throughout my sporting life from netball, basketball, swimming and even my Dad coaching me to be Karrie Webb, I have always found direction really does make a difference. I initially thought about becoming a coach (but in what.. so many sports to choose from), and still would love to coach athletes in sports nutrition one day, so I decided to do my Certificate III in Fitness to start down the path.

Guiding clients and training with them to make them realise they CAN do it, they CAN achieve, they ARE worth it and to give them the tools to keep them fit & healthy for themselves and families. Education is key.

Q. Where do I start?There is so much information out there about health, fitness, nutrition it is no wonder that people get so confused about how to get fit, how to lose weight etc, it can get all a little overwhelming.

KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid. Works for me. Don’t take the “Stupid” part seriously. Make sure your goals are YOUR goals. Don’t feel you need to meet the expectations of others. What do YOU want to achieve?

Not over-thinking things and keeping your goals simple. What do you want to achieve? Are your goals SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). Anyone who knows me, knows that I am normally highly organised and plan often, from workouts to social events, massages. Why do I achieve the goals I set for myself? Yes I put in the hard work most days, but it is all down to planning it out. Being aware of what you have set for yourself and putting it down in ink HOW you will do it. Think about the following:-

*Who: Who is involved?

*What: What do I want to accomplish?

*Where: Identify a location.

*When: Establish a time frame.

*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.

*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a gym and workout 3 days a week.”

Just like you would any work or home project, plan out your nutrition and fitness, be flexible and work out your options, how often you can train, what days, shopping days etc. You wouldn’t go into a bank meeting or a work presentation without doing some prep/planning first would you? Why treat your body any different?

Don’t get caught up in FAD diets/exercise gadgets! There is no quick fix to get fit or lean. You have to put in the hard work to reap the benefits. Yes, hard work. You have to train, push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you keep doing the same things, you will get the same results. Just because you haven’t achieved the goals you wanted to in the past, dosen’t mean you still cannot achieve them. Fall down seven times, get up eight.

Q How much protein do you eat daily?

Brain cells, muscle, skin, hair and nails are just some of the body parts that are protein-based. Proteins are digested to release amino acids. In the body the amino acids are used to make new proteins, converted into hormones such as adrenalin or used as an energy source.

Digestion of proteins
A protein-rich food, such as meat, is broken down into individual proteins by the gastric juices in the stomach. Pancreatic enzymes released into the first portion of the small intestine (duodenum) split the proteins into their separate amino acids. The amino acids are absorbed by the small finger-like projections (villi) lining the intestine walls, and taken to the liver via the bloodstream.

How amino acids are used
The human body uses amino acids in three main ways:

  • Protein synthesis– new proteins are created constantly. For example, as old, dead cells are sloughed off the skin surface, new ones are pushed up to replace them.
  • Precursors of other compounds– a range of substances are created using amino acids: for example, the brain chemical (neurotransmitter) serotonin and the ‘fight or flight’ chemical adrenalin.

RDI’s for protein are around 0.75g/kg for adult women, 0.84/kg for adult men, 1g/kg for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and for men and women over 70 years.

The question most people want to know is when you strength/excessively train do you NEED more protein than the RDI? Higher dosages have produced more strength gains than control groups and less muscle wasting in endurance exercise or rigorous strength training. But these are people who strength train 4 times per week and/or participate in aerobic exercise sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes three times a week.

The body dosen’t store protein.

Research shows that even on RDI of protein strength trainers built muscle as well as those on twice the amount (1). This is because the protein utilization increased in efficiency and exemplifies on how the body adapts to what is available.

So how much protein do I eat on a daily basis? I eat between 1.0 & 1.4g/kg depending on my training. I find my body adapts on around 1.2-1.4g/kg – making that between 86 – 100g protein a day.

Protein comes from: beef, chicken, turkey and fish, eggs

I don’t eat every two hours either. Amino acids are still being released into the bloodstream for up to 6hours after ingesting up to 50gms protein… I ensure I have good mix of macronutrients including healthy fats to keep me full.

Q. How do you get your calcium if you don’t eat dairy.

I have always had an intolerance with milk and not because I am asthmatic. Deciding to eliminate dairy from my diet a month ago, I have been asked how else I get my calcium. Not from drinking pasturised milk. Pasturised milk destroys active enzymes, kills beneficial bacteria and dramatically reduces the vitamin content. I actually get MORE calcium from the products below than I ever did with dairy, I eat the foods below daily.

  • Sesame seeds, Flax seeds
  • Almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans
  • Green leafy vegetables i.e. spinach and broccoli
  • Salmon, sardines

The variety of nutrients I receive from eating the above, not just calcium, help keep my body healthier too. Just eating/drinking calcium won’t help prevent bone density reduction/osteoporosis risks – remember bone is a living tissue. Like muscle, bone responds to loads placed on it, and to ensure adequate nutrients keep the bone tissue healthy and strong, you need to ensure it receives adequate blood flow! So drinking milk and sitting on your butt won’t reduce your risk of decreasing bone density/osteoporosis – MUSCLE CONTRACTIONS will!

1.Campbell, W. W., et al. 1995. Effects of resistance training and dietary protein intake on protein metabolism in older adults. American Journal of Physiology 268: E1143 -53.