Category Archives: Onwards

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 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 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.


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. 


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.

Feeling a little off

Thought I had been lucky & not gotten any colds or flu bugs this winter! Last couple days been suffering from a mix of sore muscles & sore throat! Lots of training & the body got a bit run down.
Rest today, sleeping, good food & difflam gargle is on the agenda.

Physio was great, release work on neck which has helped the glands go down & am feeling a little better! That & sleep, key.

So was feeling sorry for myself today – hopefully tomorrow is a better day mood wise, takes a lot of energy to be in a good mood all the time, riding the waves today.


Retail therapy

Not being your typical girly girl, shopping isn’t a regular task I really enjoy or do too regularly (unless rebel or running bare have a sale) I always found it tedious & never got excited unless it was buying a dress for a special occasion. Today I was excited to go clothes shopping because all my clothes are too big!!

Wearing my work suits the last couple weeks/months I felt frumpy, like I was playing dress-ups in my mums closet! It has been a good couple years since I brought a work suit! Time for some new pieces in the wardrobe me thinks.

Wasn’t too sure how today would go – first place I headed was Cue in Myer – the sales lady was like my personal shopper with belts, jackets, dresses & suits!! When we were working out sizes I said I think I am a 12 bottom, 10 top too which she replied “I think you are definitely a 10” – and she was right! I tried on an array of colours, patterns & mixed & matched funky jackets with some awesome dress/wide belt combos – doing the happy dance in the cubicle for each outfit! I got a gorgeous skirt suit, a couple tops & a pair of summer shorts from Country Road! I would of loved to grab a couple dresses too but decided to pace myself!

Headed into Portman’s which is where I picked up my last black trouser suit & managed to pick up cotton trousers, black skirt & a couple tops! I decided that I had done well & time to call it a day, enough new things to mix’n’match for a bit. All the excitement had tired me out! I think I may have inspired the sales assistant to do 12WBT.

I don’t worry about sizes too much, but seemed to always be in between sizes since I moved to London in 2000. I haven’t been a size 10 since I was in my early 20’s! Being skinny most of my teenage years I remember going from an 8 to a 10 & being ecstatic, because I was normal! Funny really I spent years being tall, thin & lanky, one of the names at school “starvation on stilts” I always remember being called. Haha that and “metal mouth” – thanks to braces…… Ahh kids.

So a big breakthrough today for me in so many ways – I have finally got myself trying on clothes confidently, knowing they will fit me, that I am not in between sizes anymore which sometimes made me choose outfits that made me feel just ok, not FABULOUS!



Met Emma today who is going to do my photo-shoot in 16days! I liked the idea of seeing the studio & discussing options for the shoot.

I have so many ideas & together we worked out key outfits and I am looking forward to just having fun 🙂

This is for me to celebrate how far I have come this year & to just do it, not waiting until I think I am perfectly toned or comparing myself to others – living in the now @ grabbing opportunities as they appear.

Personality traits for shoot – fit, happy, sassy!!


Energy central…

Day Seven!  After feeling a bit worse for wear yesterday the rest of the day plodded along quite nicely food wise, once I got some good fats and proteins/veggies into me I felt good and managed a HUGE leg session last night.

I love Tuesday leg training – I always manage to get to the squat racks as the boys tend to train chest – funny how the patterns start appearing…  Well the squat rack was busy last night, I asked the guy who had just finished deadlifting 140kgs (as you do) how many sets he had left.. he had just finished BINGO! Happy days… I could stay there and do my four sets of squats and deadlifts. So much energy – warmed up with 40kgs one set and then did 3 x 12 of 65kgs. My technique and form spot on, no twinges in back and nice and low.  Deadlifts I didn’t feel as strong, but managed warm up on 40kgs and 3x 10 of 50kgs.

Smashed out 4 sets of 12 reps on the leg press at 100kgs… I can do heavier but find this weight perfect for me, have great form, good range, nice and slow and I last couple  I feel and not overdo the pressure on my knees.  Supersetted with some lunges holding 15kg plate.   Then in true Donna tradition I headed over to finish off the session with some jump squat/burpee push ups – which totally smashed me – love that feeling… my legs were like “chicka we cannot jump anymore” I was like YES YOU CAN, so I did 5 sets of 10.  Needless to say I had fun walking down the stairs and the walk home felt like I was drunk heee. 

Food plan is working, feeling amazing, good energy today for boxing and I am not craving or thinking about food at all.  I did have slight hunger pains this morning but nothing too extreme or out of the ordinary.  

Breakfast today was ocean trout omelette with cherry tomatoes, fetta and onion with a long black (yes fetta, only a little bit and was delicious).  Lunch is baked chicken with paprika/cumin/lemon with baked zucchini, rocket salad with an avocado salsa, dinner is the same as last night, kangaroo/veggie.  Snacks today are strawberries/banana in coconut milk and almonds. Water obviously. Delish.