Fat Loss Weight Loss 

The Weight Loss Motivation Bible: How To Program Your Mind For Sustainable Fat Loss

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Health and fitness with Alexa Towersey

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We chat to September cover model, Alexa Towersey about all things fitness, health, career and self-love. Check out the exclusive cover story interview below!

 

ON CAREER

I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for over 15 years. I’ve played pretty much every sport known to man including American football, boxing, soccer, skiing and horse-riding. I completed a Bachelor of Science in biology and psychology and went on to do a post-graduate diploma in sports management and kinesiology, and then I interned with an All Blacks-endorsed Pilates studio.

ON EXPERIENCES

When I was 27 I moved to Hong Kong, where I was the senior strength and conditioning coach at a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym. I decided to get into half-Ironman events and I took two years to qualify for the world champs. Living in Asia gave me the opportunity to travel and learn; I spent five years commuting between HK and the United States, learning from the legendary Gym Jones (the outfit responsible for training the cast and crew for the movies 300, The Immortals, Repo Men and Superman) and internationally recognised strength coach Charles Poliquin.

ON PASSION

When I was younger, I was bullied for being too skinny.  My nickname at school was Alexa Anorexia. I started going to the gym when I was 15 on a mission to create muscles and it was the first place I ever truly felt in control of my body and my mind. I want to be able to educate, empower and instil that passion in everyone I work with.

ON HEALTH

Both my parents passed away from lifestyle-related diseases – my mum from lung cancer and my dad from alcoholism.  This led to me giving up alcohol six years ago and is the reason I remain such a passionate advocate of living a healthy lifestyle.

ON DREAMS

For years, I was limited by own lack of self-belief. It wasn’t until I moved to Australia two years ago and immersed myself in a community of likeminded people that I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I truly believe that if you’re driven by passion and positivity rather than profit, then success is organic.  

ON BODY IMAGE

I think it’s a really exciting time to be in the industry as the landscape is definitely changing for the better. Women seem to be less focused on wanting to lose weight and be a size zero and more excited about getting stronger, feeling better in their own skin and wanting to develop shape.  

ON CREATING CURVES 

I love celebrating the strength of the female form. For me, as both a trainer and a female, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a woman become empowered in the gym and watching how this translates into the rest of her life. 

ON SELF-LOVE 

I have a very holistic approach with both myself and my clients. I’m a big advocate for learning to listen to your body and trusting your gut instincts. Your body is a very clever instrument and it will tell you in no uncertain terms what it likes and dislikes.

ON WHAT’S NEXT

I’m rolling out my Creating Curves workshops internationally, including Kuwait, the US and New Zealand. I’ve almost finished my second e-book program with Renae Ayris (former Miss Universe Australia). I’ve also recently started public speaking on behalf of the charity Livin, which is an organisation aimed at educating people about mental health issues and suicide prevention. I love being able to be involved in such an incredible and relevant cause. Twenty-sixteen is shaping up to be a huge year, so watch this space!

 

Alexatowersey.com // @actionalexa

Photography: Emily Abay // @emilyabay_photographer

Hair & Make-up Artist: Mae Taylor // @maetaylor_makeupartist

Dressed in: PE Nation // @p.e.nation courtesy of StyleRunner // @stylerunner

 

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See What It’s Like to Be Color Blind With These Eye-Opening Gifs

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Imagine a sunflower that’s slightly blue. Or a stop sign that’s not red. These may be everyday sights for a person who's color blind—which means they perceive wavelengths of light differently than most people.

“Color blindness is usually inherited,” says Jessica Lattman, MD, a New York City-based ophthalmologist. Several genes are needed to make the color-detecting molecules, or photopigments, in the cone-shaped cells of the retina (known as cone cells). Abnormalities in those genes can lead to difficulty seeing reds and greens, or blues and yellows—or in rare cases, an inability to see any color at all.

“Because most forms of the disorder are linked to the X chromosome, [it] affects men far more commonly than women,” says Dr. Lattman. It's estimated that 8% of men and just 0.5% of women of Northern European descent have the common type, red-green blindness.

While there’s no cure for color blindness, treatments do exist: “Some people find that wearing tinted glasses helps them detect colors better," Dr. Lattman says. "And there are actually smartphone apps now that allow people to take a picture of something and be informed of what color it is.”

To show how color blindness can affect a person's view of the world, the UK site Clinic Compare created the eight GIFs below. Each one portrays a different type of the disorder.

RELATED: These GIFs Show What It’s Really Like to Have Glaucoma and Other Eye Problems

Red-Green Color Blindness

Red-weakness (protanomaly)

Red-weakness—in which reds, oranges, and yellows appear greener and less bright—doesn't tend to interfere with a person's daily life. About 1% of men have this mild, X-linked type, according to the National Eye Institute.

Red-blindness (protanopia)

Also affecting about 1% of men, red-blindness means red appears back; and shades of orange, yellow, and green may register as yellow. 

Green-weakness (deuteranomaly)

Green-weakness is the most common form of color blindness, says Dr. Lattman. Five percent of men have it. To them, yellow and green appear redder; and blue and violet look the same.

Green-blindness (deuteranopia)

With this X-linked type affecting 1 in 100 men, greens appear beige; and reds look brownish-yellow. 

 

Blue-Yellow Color Blindness 

Blue-weakness (tritanomaly)

"Tritantomaly is very rare," says Dr. Lattman, "and it affects both men and women equally." A blue-weakness, this form of color blindness makes blue appear greener. It also makes it tough to differentiate yellow and red from pink.

Blue-blindness (tritanopia)

Blue-blindness is extremely rare, and also occurs in both men and women. People with tritanopia see blue as green; and yellow as violet or light grey.

 

Complete Color Blindness

Cone monochromacy

There are three types of photopigments—red, blue and green. But in people who have cone monochromacy, two of the three aren't functional. People with blue cone monochromacy (shown above) are often also near-sighted and have reduced sharpness in their vision, says Dr. Lattman. 

Red monochromacy (achromatopsia)

In people who have monochromacy, the most severe type of color blindness, none of the photopigments are functional. "These people see the world exclusively in black, white, and grey," Dr. Lattman says. They also tend to be very sensitive to bright light. 

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I Got Tuberculosis and Spent 20 Days in Isolation

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When I tell people I have tuberculosis, most of them have the same reaction: “Like, consumption? Is that still a thing?” It only takes a few seconds for a look of fear to set in. I can’t blame them. If someone told me they’d been afflicted by an antiquated airborne disease, I’d probably be scared as hell too.

When I was diagnosed with TB disease a month ago, I learned that as a potential public health threat, I was required to undergo treatment or face arrest. Yes, that's a real law, and thankfully so. The germ is spread in tiny droplets that enter the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. And it kills about 1.5 million people a year worldwide. My doctors informed me that I would be hospitalized in isolation for a minimum of two weeks, and/or until daily smears became consistently negative for the TB bacteria. Thus began my 20 days of solitude, intensive antibiotics, and bureaucratic red tape.

It all started when I went to see my doctor about a persistent cough. He ordered a chest X-ray, and said he'd get in touch with the results. Twenty minutes after I left the office, he called and told me to go to the ER immediately. The X-ray had revealed an "impressive" lesion in one of my lungs.

At the hospital, I was admitted right away and whisked into a negative pressure room with a handful of doctors and nurses in protective gowns, gloves, and masks. It was like a modest version of one of those Hollywood outbreak movies. The doctors and nurses did their best to crack jokes and make me feel settled, but I could sense their nervousness. I was told I wouldn't be leaving until they could run some tests and rule out tuberculosis.

In the meantime my girlfriend came to keep me company. We watched Netflix in my hospital bed, wearing our masks and hoping for the best. It wasn't the most romantic setting for a movie date. The next afternoon the doctors confirmed the diagnosis they suspected. For the forseeable future I was stuck there, while I waited for my daily test results to change. 

RELATED: 5 Old-Time Diseases That Are Making a Comeback

Even with the perks of living in 2016—like smartphones and online TV—when you're cooped up in a room, for weeks on end, you start to lose your mind a bit. You can’t help but feel like patient zero in some zombie flick.

Luckily, I didn't feel too sick. A slight cough and fatigue had been my only real symptoms. Many people who get TB endure a vicious cough, chest pain, fever, night sweats, and weight loss.

All big decisions about my treatment had to be approved by officials in the health department, and trying to communicate with them felt like sending a carrier pigeon to Middle Earth. It would take days to get answers to the simplest questions. Two weeks into my isolation period, they informed me that I'd be staying an extra week because the hospital had given me the wrong dose of antibiotics when I first arrived. A bonus round.

Fortunately the strain of TB I’d caught was easily treatable, and the antibiotics were immediately effective. Many people aren’t so fortunate.

I had a good idea where I’d caught the infection. A friend of mine had been treated for TB one year prior. (She suspects she picked up the infection while traveling abroad.) Shortly after her diagnosis I had tested negative on a PPD skin test, but the clinic failed to inform me that I should return for a follow-up test in eight weeks. Go healthcare system! My infection was asymptomatic until the cough appeared last summer. It turns out TB bacteria can remain dormant for years in what's known as latent TB. Lesson learned: Trust no one, and research the hell out of everything.

RELATED: I Have a Disease That Makes My Thyroid Go Haywire

I was discharged from the hospital after three weeks. By day 30, I was back on my feet and generally healthy, able to work again and kiss my girlfriend without fear of further exposing her.

She and the other people I spent considerable time with while I was contagious have tested negative for TB. If they do test positive for latent TB upon their follow-up visit, they can take antibiotics and skip the whole "outbreak movie" scenario that I went through.

The health department will continue to supervise my treatment for the next six months. Initially I was required to go to the health department office every day, to take my medication under direct observation. But I’m now able to swallow the pills during a video chat with a health department employee. An exclusive TB chat room.

All complaints aside, TB is a potentially fatal disease and I got a get-out-of-jail-free card. If you think you may have been exposed to the disease, it's worth taking the time to get tested. Twice.

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Mediterranean Diet Boosts Memory and Keeps Brain Young, Study Finds

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You know that the Mediterranean diet is good for your heart. Now, research confirms that it’s also good for your brain. In a new review of previous studies, following the plant-heavy meal plan was associated with better memory and less cognitive decline. The benefits weren’t just exclusive to seniors, either; in the two included studies that looked at young adults, cognitive scores improved in people 19 to 40, as well. 

The review, in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, included 18 papers published between 2000 and 2015 that looked at the effect of the Mediterranean diet on cognitive processes over time. All together, the findings were impressive: Thirteen of the studies found some association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and brain benefits, including slower rates of decline and improvement in memory and recall.

Some studies also linked the diet to improved attention and language skills, or found that its followers were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Protect Your Memory

The most surprising result, says lead study author Roy Hardman, is that these positive effects were seen in people from all around the world. (The studies took place in the United States, France, Spain, Sweden, and Australia.) 

“Regardless of being located outside of what is considered the Mediterranean region, the positive cognitive effects of a higher adherence to a MedDiet were similar in all evaluated papers," Hardman, a PhD candidate at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, said in a press release.

The diet’s health benefits are likely due to a combination of several factors, says Hardman. For example, it has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve vitamin and mineral imbalances, lower cholesterol, and boost metabolism. Some research suggests it may also be good for your gut, reduce fracture risk in old age, and even slow aging on a cellular level.

In other words, Hardman says, “the MedDiet offers the opportunity to change some of the modifiable risk factors” for cognitive decline, as well as other chronic diseases.

The study authors characterize the Mediterranean diet’s key components as “abundant consumption of plant foods, such as leafy greens, fresh fruit and vegetables, cereals, beans, seeds, nuts, and legumes.” The diet also includes small amounts of dairy and minimal red meat, and uses olive oil as its major source of fat.

RELATED: 22 Mediterranean Diet Recipes

Of course, the idea that a plant-based, minimal-meat meal plan is good for the mind is not new, says Keith Fargo, PhD, director of scientific programs and outreach at the Alzheimer's Association. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association has recommended the Mediterranean diet (along with another whole foods-based eating plan, the DASH Diet) for years.

"In recent years, there has been growing scientific support for the concept that lifestyle factors that are good for your heart are also good for your brain,” Fargo says. “Eating right and regular physical activity appear to be particularly important."

Maintaining an overall healthy diet is probably more important than the impact of a few specific vitamins or foods, Fargo adds. And a growing body of research—including Hardman’s new study—support the idea that a Mediterranean diet is one way to do that.

RELATED: 17 Ways to Age-Proof Your Brain

While it’s important to recognize that diet is frequently associated with other factors that may impact cognition in aging, Fargo says—such as smoking, education levels, and socioeconomic status—he does believe that there is “sufficiently strong evidence to conclude that a healthy diet may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.”

Hardman is sold on the idea, as well. "I follow the diet patterns and do not eat any red meats, chicken, or pork,” he says. “I have fish two to three times per week and adhere to a Mediterranean style of eating.”

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Home gym under $100

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Don’t want to spend your hard earned cash on a gym membership? Here’s the equipment you need for a home gym all for under $100. 

 

Suspension straps for toning and fat loss 

“Suspension straps are easily one of the most versatile and popular apparatuses on the market,” says elite trainer of over 15 years Matthew Strickland.

“They can be used to isolate particular muscle groups, or as a full-body compound or high-intensity workout.”

 

Plyometric box for cardio, toning and fat loss

Plyometric boxes and aerobic steps come in a range of heights and sizes to adhere to varying fitness levels and exercise goals.

Kettlebell for toning and fat loss

“With proper technique, kettlebells can be used to train your entire body for both toning and fat-burning goals,” says Strickland. 

Compound movements such as the kettlebell swing, in which the centre of gravity shifts, work the entire body while moves native to dumbbell workouts often isolate one or two muscle groups.

Resistance bands for activation, recovery and toning

Also known as physio bands or Thera-Bands, resistance bands are often used to improve flexibility or for rehabilitative purposes.

“Resistance bands are great for rehabilitation from injury as they don’t load the spine or put pressure on the joints to the same extent as heavy weights,” says Strickland.

“When added to your stretching routine, they can allow you to reach a deeper stretch than you might otherwise be able to achieve, aiding recovery and improving flexibility.”

Foam roller for activation, recovery and toning

“While foam rollers are often thought as being exclusively a recovery tool for massaging sore muscles, I’ve often also used them as a rehabilitation tool with my clients,” says Strickland.

“By rolling out the outer thighs or glutes with your feet elevated off the floor, your core is forced to engage and you can actually get quite a solid, yet low-impact, abdominal workout.”

Swiss ball for toning

“Gym balls can be used for an endless number of exercises that work the entire body,” says Strickland. “They are actually popular among athletes as they can target the muscle groups specific to the athletes’ performance.

For specific exercises to promote toning, fat loss and card get your hands on the July 2016 issue of Women’s Health and Fitness Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VIDEO: Extreme ab workout

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Sheena-Lauren Personal Trainer - Women's Health and Fitness Magazine

WH&F Head Trainer Sheena-Lauren shares her exclusive ab workout.

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"Say I Love You" This Mother’s Day with the Gift Of Beautifully Bhaved Hair

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching so why not spoil that special lady in your life, whether she’s your mother, grandmother, wife or sister, with the holy grail of haircare – a bhave gift set tailored to your Mum’s hair type and treating her to some serious at-home hair indulgence.  

Well-known for performance-driven, exclusive formulas that not only leave hair naturally smooth and shiny, but also improve its condition with each use, bhave has released seven Mother’s Day Gift Sets in combinations to satisfy all hair needs, types and textures and that are also free of nasties, including sulphates and parabens.

Each bhave Limited Edition Mother’s Day Gift Set comes beautifully packaged and includes a bespoke handcrafted candle made with soy wax and blended with the delicious fragrance of vanilla bean that will last longer than a posy of flowers!

For your chance to win one of 5 bhave Refresh & Shine Mother’s Day Gift Sets valued at RRP$81.90, that includes a delicious handcrafted Vanilla Bean scented candle together with Fresh Ends, with unique keratin technology that rebuilds hair damage while it smooths, seals and controls misbehaving split ends and Riot Control Oil with organic Argan oil to fight frizz and restore shine and manageability to all hair types. 

 
How to win

To win, simply tell us in 25 words or less “which bhave product you would most like to try and why?”.

Please email your answer, along with you name, address and telephone number to nicky@blitzmag.com.au

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and like the Women’s Health & Fitness Facebook page to show your support!

 

Terms & Conditions for 

“Say I Love You This Mother’s Day with the Gift of Beautifully Bhaved Hair! Competition 

1. Entry is open to all residents of Australia aged 13 years and over except employees of the promoter and their immediate families and agencies associated with this promotion 

2. The promoter shall not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever that is suffered (including but not limited to indirect or consequential loss) or for any personal injury or suffering sustained in connection with any of the prizes offered except for any liability that cannot be excluded by law. 

3. All entries become the property of the promoter. 

4. The promoter accepts no responsibility for late, lost or misdirected mail or for any prizes damaged in transit. 

5. The promoter is Blitz Publications & Multi Media Group Pty Ltd, 1 Miles St, Mulgrave, Victoria 3170. 

6. To enter the competition, entrants must, in 25 words or less, answer the following question: 

Which Bhave product would you most like to try and why? 

7. The competition will be judged by a panel appointed by the Promoters, and the most creative answer will be the winner. 

8. The total prize value is $409.50. Each pack is valued at $81.95. 

9. This competition is being advertised by Blitz Publications on its company websites, printed and digital publications as well as on Facebook. You agree and confirm that you absolve Facebook of any responsibility arising out of the competition and acknowledge that you understand that the promotion / competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. 

10. Start Date of Competition: 28th April, 2016 at 11am (EST) 

11. End Date of Competition: 8th May, 2016 at 11am (EST) 

12. Date, time and place drawn: 9am (EST) on Monday 9th May, 2016 at the office of Blitz Publications & Multi Media Group. 

13. Winners will be notified on 9th May 2016 by phone and email. 

14. If the prize remains unclaimed after three months of the first draw, then a replacement winner will be drawn on 9th August, 2016. 

15. This is a game of skill and chance plays no part in determining the winner. 

16. Prizes are non-transferable or exchangeable and cannot be taken as cash. 

17. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondences will be entered into. 

18. By entering this competition, you consent to Blitz Publications & Multi Media Group Pty Ltd giving your mailing address to product suppliers in the event that you are a winner for the purpose of delivering your prize. Your address will not be used by Blitz Publications & Multi Media Group Pty Ltd or the supplier for any other purpose. 

19. By entering this competition, you also confirm that you have read the Blitz Publications & Multi Media Group Pty Ltd Privacy Policy (www.blitzpublications.com.au/privacy-policy) and consent to Blitz Publications & Multi Media Group Pty Ltd giving your mailing address to product suppliers in the event that you are a winner, for the purpose of delivering your prize 

20. Should you be selected as a winner of this competition, you acknowledge and agree that no liability attaches to Blitz Publications & Multi Media Group Pty Ltd for any damage to, fault with or issue arising out of the product or prize, either during transit to you, or upon its receipt by you or at any stage thereafter. Blitz Publications & Multimedia Group Pty Ltd will not be responsible for this replacement of the product or prize if any issues arise. 

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Must-visit spa retreats in Victoria, Australia

Want to escape the city buzz or relax in exclusive inner city getaways? There’s plenty to experience in Victoria.

 

PURE LUXE

Spa de Marrakech

The place: A traditional Moroccan bathhouse in Victoria’s picturesque Yarra Valley. There’s a steam temple, and treatments include colour therapy sessions, aromatherapy massage, radiant facials and exquisite dining. At the centre, you’ll find a Roman bathhouse where guests can relax in hot mineral spring water. It’s the perfect setting for a girls’ getaway, romantic couples retreat or solo R ’n’ R.

The experience: After your aromatherapy massage or facial, indulge your tastebuds with a Moroccan feast comprising tagines, pastries, harira soup and Persian love cakes prepared by the in-house chef.

Details: 14 Mountain Crescent, Montrose, (03) 9737 0413

Lavanya Day Spa

The place: Whether you spend an hour or half a day at Lavanya Day Spa, your experience is sure to be second to none. Nestled inside the award-winning Captains Retreat B&B, Lavanya will have you feeling deeply relaxed the moment you walk through their door. With a penchant for premium quality and local ingredients, the treatments are good for the body, soul and planet.

The experience: Indulge with their signature Paprika Power facial and full body massage and escape for two hours into a haze. Paprika stimulates the natural circulation in the skin, working to detoxify, oxygenate and rejuvenate.

Details: 2 Ferguson St, Williamstown, (03) 9681 9587

WELLNESS

Peninsula Hot Springs

The place: Soak up the tranquil bushland surrounds and fresh air at Peninsula Hot Springs, Australia’s first natural geo-thermal springs. There are 20 different bathing experiences with both a social bathhouse area and secluded private area for chill-out time. Add on a luxurious treatment – from facials and salt scrubs to hot stone treatments and body wraps – inspired by traditional Aboriginal ingredients and techniques. You’ll quickly edge your way closer to inner zen.

The experience: The hour-long Mala Mapi treatment begins with an aromatic oil massage and desert salt exfoliation followed by a warm silky and mineral-rich Mapi mud mask and de-stressing scalp massage.

Details: Springs Lane, Fingal, (03) 5950 8777

Norbu Urban Retreat at The Olsen Hotel

The place: In the award-winning Olsen Hotel, Norbu Urban Retreat is a holistic wellness centre that integrates luxuriant treatments with an extensive range of health and wellness options. All treatments are designed to boost circulation, increase oxygenation to optimise organ function and remove toxins.

The experience: Try the signature Berry Refined Firming Peel by Eminence. The exfoliation aids greater penetration and absorption of the actives, with a yummy fruit cocktail of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries infusing the skin with antioxidants to tighten tissue. After one exfoliating treatment, your expression lines appear relaxed, skin is glowing, texture is smoother and skin is plumped.

Details: Mezzanine, The Olsen, 637 Chapel Street, South Yarra, (03) 9040 1199

 

NEXT >> 6 must-have beauty products for your gym bag!

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