A Fitter, Better, Stronger You

Want to be healthier, but not sure where to start? Here’s how to embark on your fitness journey without stressing out.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Want to be healthier, but not sure where to start? Here’s how to embark on your fitness journey without stressing out.
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When it comes to fitness, the toughest part is getting started. That’s why we’ve teamed up with our fitness expert to plan a six-week get-fit guide. Your eating habits, exercise routine, and mind will all get a revamp without you having to count calories or spend hours on the treadmill. This program aims to reboot the way you approach your health and well-being – each week you’ll get a little bit closer to being a fitter version of you. Read on to kick-start your journey.

Healthy body tips
v Protein for breakfast.
v Eat wholefoods.
v Drink water – lots of it!
v Bring it! Do your best with every workout.
v Get lots of sleep.
v Celebrate every little victory.
v Have fun.

Cut the junk
x No refined sugar (from candy bars, ice cream, milk chocolate, cookies and so on).
x No packaged food.
x Limit alcohol and gluten consumption.
x Limit white carbs and caffeine.

Week 1: Enjoy the journey


The fitness benchmark

You will want to see how much your fitness has improved after the six weeks, so do this fitness test in Week One and again in Week Six. Grab a timer and see how long it takes you to work through the list of exercises. And if you’re not sure what each move is, look them up on YouTube.

1. 10 up-and-back sprints (30m each)

2. 20 push-ups

3. 30 squats

4. 40 crunches


The protein breakfast

Having protein and good fats at breakfast will kick-start your metabolism for the day, letting you burn more fat while sitting at your desk. This breakfast combination will decrease the insulin load in your body and, as a result, lessen weight yo-yo’ing. Still need convincing? Afternoon sugar cravings will be curbed too.

Make your own protein-packed smoothies with:

A base: water, coconut water, almond milk, coconut milk, chilled green tea or rice milk.

Greens: kale, spinach or Super Greens Powder.

Super-charged ingredients: protein powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract, nut butter, chia seeds, maca, spirulina, raw cacao or ground flaxseed.

Want it sweeter? Opt for fresh fruit, berries or a dash of honey. Don’t be afraid to use oats, avocado, goji berries… the list is endless!

Week 2: Sugar-free sisters


The countdown is on!

Get outside where you can use two trees as markers (20-25m apart). This workout is much more fun if you race a partner through each set, so rope in a buddy. Pick a set from below and start at one marker. Complete 10 reps of the first move. Run to the other marker and complete 10 reps of the second move there. Aim for an exercise session at least twice a week for the six-week duration.

1. Double mountain climbers (left/right = 1 rep) and squats

2. Push-ups with squat thrusts and double jump lunges

3. Burpees and supergirls

Continue to run between the markers, doing one less rep each time so 10, 10, 9, 9, 8, 8 and so on. Have a 30-60 second break, choose another set, and then repeat!


The sugar detox

This week is about eliminating as much sugar as possible from your diet. That means all added sugars (like white sugar, cakes, cookies, sweets and chocolate), as well as more natural sugars like honey, agave, starchy carbs and fruit (with the exception of berries). Why ditch all sugars, including fruit, you ask? Because sugar is way too easy to get addicted to. Every now and then, you need to stop and completely reset your palate to help put a stop to cravings and boost insulin sensitivity. After this week, fruit and all other natural sugars will be back on the table, but hopefully in slightly lower doses than before.

Sugar-free snack ideas:

+Toss some pumpkin seeds into a frying pan and add a splash of tamari sauce, a gluten-free alternative to soya sauce.

+Heat some brown rice or quinoa with a splash of coconut milk – even better, add cinnamon and nuts.

+Pop 50ml of apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp of rock salt over 1½ cups of almonds and roast in the oven.

Food School

Becoming a mindful eater is an important skill to master. You’ll feel better, make wiser nutritional choices and will have a better relationship with food in the long run.

Our top tips:

• Be grateful for each and every type of food on your plate.

• Don’t eat your feelings.

• Sit and chew your food.

• Appreciate all food equally.

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Week 3: Goodbye gluten


One-minute turnaround

This style of workout can be one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to train. Your metabolism will get a refreshing boost that will last for several hours afterwards. Aim for 20 one-minute rounds. For each one-minute round, do the following:

1. 5 push-ups

2. 10 supergirls

3. 15 squat jumps

Rest and recoup during whatever time is leftover before you start the next oneminute round. This will seem pretty easy for round 1 but by round 10, 11, 12 and so on... well, you’ll see!

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Cut down your grain consumption

Gluten is a sticky protein found in a number of grains that help to bind things together. It’s the “glue” that helps bread hold its shape, stops sauce from curdling, and gives cheese spreads, canned meats and many condiments their smooth texture. Gluten hides almost everywhere, and this can be a problem as gluten can cause your digestive and immune system to struggle, affect your mood and aggravate troubled skin. Cut gluten or at least reduce it for the remainder of the challenge and see how you feel.

If you feel much healthier, you could be gluten-intolerant. For the grain lovers out there, don’t despair! Gluten-free grains do exist. Opt for buckwheat, quinoa, corn, rice and amaranth. Alternatively, you can just reduce the amount of gluten you consume. Check out our favourite two gluten-free recipes.

Almond Flour Muffins

In a bowl, mix 1 cup of blanched almond powder, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp honey, ½ tsp of baking soda and a splash of apple cider vinegar. You can go plain or decide to add a few healthy extras, like raw cacao pieces, organic apple chunks, berries or walnuts. Just pop them in the oven for 15 minutes at 18°C.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Grab your food processor and combine 1 ¼ cups of blanched almond powder, ¼ cup raw cacao powder, ½ tsp Celtic salt, ½ tsp baking soda, 2 eggs, 2 tbsp coconut oil, ¼ cup honey and ¾ cup grated zucchini. Put the batter into a load pan (lined with baking paper) and bake for 35-40 minutes at 180°C, or until the load is cooked.

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Week 4: Stronger core

Ab hit

We’re not gonna lie – this is one tough exercise so prepare to sweat! This type of workout combines core resistance with intense cardio, which is the fastest-working combination to unleash stronger ab muscles. Alternate between the run and an exercise, working your way through the list.

1. Sprint for 90 seconds

2. Perform the first exercise on the list below for 60 seconds

3. Sprint for 90 seconds

4. 60 seconds of the next exercise. Repeat the pattern till you finish the list

Core moves:

1. Full sit-ups

2. Burpees

3. Compound crunches

4. Russian twists

5. Supergirls

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Ban that bloat

When it comes to getting rid of bloating, avoid dairy and soy products for the rest of the challenge. Dairy can cause problem skin to flare up, and soy products are often highly processed, meaning they can cause inflammation to your gut. Instead of dairy or soy, become friends with natural probiotics like yoghurt, kimchi and miso soup, which will help get rid of any bloating.

Probiotic boost

Don’t trust yourself to ferment food? Then grab some probiotic superfood jars from Good Food Heals (Visit Goodfoodheals Website). Made with unpasteurised fermented fruit and vegetables, they’re a good side dish for any meal. Take your pick, from Guava Pineapple Relish to Spicy Kimchi to Japanese Plum Citrus Tomato.

Week 5: Mix it up


Fast and furious workouts

There’s no excuse for not having time to exercise with these workouts. Do as many rounds as you can of these exercises in 10 minutes. Go for another five minutes if you can! 

Workout one: 5 minutes

1. 10 squat jumps – rest 10 seconds – repeat x 4

2. 10 push-ups – rest 10 seconds – repeat x4

3. 10 lunge jumps – rest 10 seconds – repeat x 4

4. 10 crunches – plank 10 seconds – repeat x 4

Workout two: 10 minutes

1. 10 reverse lunges to hops (per leg)

2. 10 burpees

3. 10 air squats

4. 10 tricep push-ups


Give your liver a break

Your liver is your major detoxification and fat-burning organ, so you need it to be in top working order, not only for the benefit of your body, but for your mind as well. It’s time to say sayonara to caffeine, alcohol and stimulants for the last few weeks of the plan to give your liver a break. The liver is the processing centre of the body and, as such, is vulnerable to suffering from the consequences of high blood sugar, high blood fats, inflammation and insulin resistance. And remember, if you’re not careful about what you put into your body, it could end up wreaking havoc on your insides.

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No coffee?No worries!

Missing that daily morning coffee? Try one of these healthier options instead:

+Grab some dandelion tea bags, add 1 tsp of raw cacao and sweeten with stevia to taste. Top the drink with almond milk. Just like a mocha!
+Chamomile tea with a dash of almond milk and honey. Tastes like a chai but without caffeine.
+Add 3-4 cinnamon sticks to almond milk. Yum.

Week 6: Super summer

GET MOVING:Fitness benchmark re-do
Do your fitness challenge from Week One and see how you’ve improved.

NUTRITION FOCUS:Get some superfoods
You don’t need to go out searching for bee pollen or maca – you can get all the ones we rate highly from the supermarket. Superfoods pack a serious punch nutritionally, so incorporate these into your weekly diet.
Our top six superfoods to add to your culinary tool belt:
1. Berries – jam-packed full of antioxidants.
2. Kale – helps keep your hair and nails strong.
3. Chia seeds – great source of protein.
4. Walnuts – for shinier hair and clearer skin.
5. Cacao – mood booster and a substitute for chocolate.
6. Salmon – full of healthy fats, which are good for brain and heart health.

Say Om:
Add plenty of de-stressing strategies to your life, whether it’s a small meditation (start by downloading the free app Headspace for guided meditations), restorative yoga, a walk in nature or by making sure you get an early night.