Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Courtney Barber for Slim Secrets - Are you allowing yourself to be happy & healthy?


How are you today?

Today we are looking your lifestyle on a deeper level, particularly the ways that you might stop yourself from really having what you want in life.

Ask yourself these questions:

- Do you always downplay your success around friends and family so that you "fit in"?

- Do you keep your dreams and goals to yourself, thinking that others will say they are ridiculous and not achievable?

- Do you find yourself sabotaging your own success, whether it be in your career, relationships or health?

- Are you easily swayed by people not to stick to your diet or workouts?

- Do you feel as though your friends become jealous if you start to lose weight and feel better?

- Do you think it's possible to really achieve your dream body?

- Do you exercise and eat properly for 2 weeks then throw in the towel, binge and start all over again?

If you answered yes to the majority of those questions, it illustrates that you may be sabotaging your own success because you truly don't think you have the right to look beautiful, feel amazing and regain your vitality.

Have a close look at the 6 people you spend the most time with. Do they represent your ideal lifestyle? Are they happy, healthy, have great relationships, supportive, motivating and inspiring?

You don't need to follow negative patterns or habits just because the people around you do. It's your life and if you want to see change then the only person that can make that happen is you!

If you want to kick start your fitness plan in December then do it! Don't let others sabotage your goals by telling you to wait until January. If you want to have a healthy holiday break without all the alcohol and sugary treats then go for it! 

Allow yourself to pass your own expectations. Believe that you can have the lifestyle that you desire. Strive to be healthy and don't feel bad when other people make negative comments about your choices. It's your life - live it!

Courtney

Courtney Barber for Slim Secrets - The healthiest dinner recipes from Thailand - low carb & low fat!

Hi Everyone!

Recently I was in Thailand and was lucky enough to sample some of the best and healthiest food I think you could find on this planet! If you have been to the island regions of Thailand then you will know what I am talking about...beautiful fruit, fresh coconuts, vegetable stir-frys, freshly caught fish - amazing! I was able to eat the most tantalizing meals throughout my time there and each place I went to had their own twist. Every meal was different and they all were delicious! I was never bored with the food and was able to pick up some recipe ideas so that I could have my own piece of Thailand in my home whenever I wanted to try something different.

It got me thinking though, how many of you are having the same meals every day? Are you bored with your dinners? Do you cook your chicken the same way each week with the same vegetables? Would you like to spice things up in the kitchen?

It is very important to try new recipes, especially when you are sticking to a healthy eating plan. Things can get very boring very quickly if you don't experiment with new dishes, spices, vegetables etc... Trying new and exciting recipes can reignite your passion for clean eating and also give your metabolism that much needed boost!

These attached photos are some amazing dishes that I tried in Thailand, which can be recreated in your own home! They are very simple and only need a bit of preparation. You can substitute the fish for whatever fish you can find at your local market.

 - Baked Red Snapper with Chili, Lime and Nuts 


- Chicken Stir Fry with Cashews 
- Steamed Sole with Black Bean & Vegetables 



- Red Snapper in Soy Sauce



The best thing about all these dishes are that they are full of protein, low carb and low in fat! Now you can have the healthy tastes of Thailand for dinner any night of the week.

Be creative!

Courtney

Monday, November 21, 2011

Slim Secrets Ask the Trainer - Should I do Yoga?


Courtney's Answer: Yoga is a great way to stretch your muscles, as well as relaxing your mind and body. After a good yoga session you will always feel energised, however if weight loss is your goal, I would suggest you mix it up with some higher intensity exercise, such as circuits involving both weight training and cardio. Try a 'one day on, one day off' routine, alternating between both forms to maximise your results!

What forms of exercise do you all find works best?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Courtney Barber for Slim Secrets - 5 foods you should never eat!

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all have been having a great week! Have you been hitting the gym and keeping those fitness goals? Remember consistency is key – so if you feel as though you haven’t done enough exercise for the week then make sure you take advantage of the weekend sunshine!

Today we are focussing on nutrition and more importantly foods that should not be part of your diet. You don’t want to be adding those extra calories back in after you have been working so hard at the gym during the week. There are many foods that have no nutritional benefits whatsoever, especially to those who wish to stay slim and in shape! Read below and see if you have been snacking on some of these items – you may find the source of those unwanted calories!

5 Foods You Should Never Eat

1. White Bread – This one is terrible! No-one should be eating white bread, especially with all the lovely wholemeal and grain breads in the market today, not to mention alternate options such as wraps and brown rice. White bread is high GI (glycemic index) carbohydrates. These carbohydrates cause sugars to be released quickly into the bloodstream, thus releasing insulin. This is the same reaction that happens when we eat anything high in sugar such as lollies etc, so ditch the white bread!

2. Animal Fat – I don’t know how many times I have seen people order a lovely steak at a restaurant, only to leave most of the lean meat and eat the large portion of fat on the outside! Obviously there are always going to be small amounts of animal fat in our diet, however stick to lean cuts and always remember to trim skin and extra fat off the portion.

3. Meat Pies – Did you know that on average a store bought or frozen meat pie contains around 20 grams of saturated fat and half a teaspoon of salt! Not to mention that meat pies only need to contain 25% actual “meat”, which can come from the connective tissue, the blood and blood vessels and skin. Yuck! That right there is a reason not to eat anymore “mystery meat” pies!

4. Potato Chips – Lucky for you chip lovers, Slim Secrets has their own range of Guilt Free Chips which you can snack on, which have less than 1.2 grams of fat per serve and are gluten free! Compared to normal potato chips, which have over 10 grams of fat per serve and are loaded with salt, sugars and other additives, the Slim Secrets variety are definitely the way to go. 

5. Breakfast Cereals – Most people think that breakfast cereals are a healthy way to start the day, but unfortunately most of them are far from healthy. Containing very high amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates, they are very easy to over-eat. Make sure you always check the serving size also, as some may claim that they are low in sugar, however the serving size is for half a cup – most people eat at least a cup or two when they pour their cereal!

Do you regularly eat the foods on this list? If so, then it’s time to make some changes to your diet! Stay tuned for Monday’s blog post and remember keep emailing me with your questions!

Courtney

Courtney Barber for Slim Secrets - 10 exercises every woman should do!

 
Hi everyone!

I have been getting many questions lately about weight training, particularly the best exercises for women who want to firm up their bodies and create some sexy lean muscle! So I have put together my "must do" list of exercises for women that really hit the trouble spots and should be incorporated into everyone's routine on a weekly basis. Whether you regularly weight train or usually stick to cardio, these exercises are great for sculpting our bodies into a sleek yet feminine shape.

10 exercises every woman should do

1. PliƩ Squat

2. Walking Lunge

3. Tricep Dip

4. Shoulder Press

6. Pec Dec or Flat Flye

7. Reverse Crunch

8. Chin up or assisted chin up

9. Bent over rear Delt raise

10. Bent knee crunch

To hit your body in one go, why not put them all together into a circuit. Or incorporate a few into your usual routine. If you are unsure on how to do any of the exercises, feel free to email me through the Ask The Trainer tab or look them up on Youtube (there are many videos which will show you the correct form).

Try them out this week and let me know how you go!

Have a healthy and happy week!

Courtney

Courtney Barber for Slim Secrets - How to have fun at an event (when your on a diet!)


The holiday season is upon us and I'm sure many of you are putting together the few last minute touches to your outfits, as well as deciding what parties you are going to attend! Holiday season is a great time for socialising, however it can strike fear into the hearts of those that are currently watching their weight or on a diet (which could include a large portion of the female sector at any given time!) Thinking about the gauntlet of calories at these events can make even the healthiest eaters a bit nervous.

The trick is to conciously make a plan BEFORE you attend your events, so that you are not eating and drinking yourself into oblivion and undoing all that hard work you have been putting in at the gym over the past days or weeks. It doesn't mean that you have to forgo all the fun and sit in the corner eating a stick of celery, however, with the right plan you can have a fabulous time and still fit into your dress at the end of the day!


The Plan

 
1. When you are at home getting ready, try to drink at least a 1 litre bottle of water before you leave. This will ensure that you are hydrated before you see the first tray of champagne and wont be drinking just because you are thirsty!


2. If your event doesn't involve a lunch or set menu, have a healthy snack or meal beforehand. For the same reasons as No 1, this will stop you from eating the whole tray of party snacks when you arrive because you are starving.


3. Think fresh and healthy, not oily and fatty when it comes to snacks. Look for the vegetable and fruit platters and steer clear of anything that has been deep fried, crumbed, battered or covered in sauces! Protein sauces such as chicken and ham are great, as well as natural almonds, walnuts etc...


4. If you are drinking but want a low calorie option, stick to vodka, lime and soda or vodka with a diet mixer. Champagne, wine and beer are all high in calories and sugar and you know you will drink a lot of them!


5. Between each alcoholic beverage, have one glass of water. This will keep you hydrated and may even help to stop that hangover the next day.


6. Pop some Slim Secrets Wanted Under 100 Calories bars in your clutch or purse. They are the perfect size for event snacking and the best option when you are waiting for a taxi at the end of the day!


7. If you want to have one treat at the event, look for the most fabulous dessert on offer! Don't pile your plate high - just choose one. Savour each bite and enjoy it!


Enjoy your events and remember the plan!
Courtney

Monday, October 17, 2011

Courtney Barber for Slim Secrets - How to boost your health and fitness in 1 week!


Happy Monday!

How are you feeling today? Lethargic & tired from the weekend or full of energy and vitality ready for the day! :) Did you implement some of my weekend survival tips from my blog post last week? If you missed it, you can read it here.

I get a lot of emails from people wanting to make changes to their life, especially in the realm of health and fitness. I know that a lot of you would love to have an abundance of natural energy (without needing those doubleshot expresso's) and would love to fit perfectly into your favourite pair of jeans (without all the "lumps and bumps" sticking out). We all have things about our lifestyle that we would like to change, but sometimes it seems as though there are a mountain of items on the To Do List and never enough time to get them done. Wouldn't it be great if we all had an extra 10 hours in the day to work on our bodies, mind and soul. Sometimes just the thought of starting can be enough to make us cringe and wait til next Monday!

I know that most people are very busy and sometimes our health can take a back seat - however it doesn't need to. I have listed 5 ways that you can boost your health and fitness in 1 week! Yes that's right! In just 1 week! If you have been waiting for the right "Monday" to start then today is the day! Print off my list and tick them off over the next 7 days. You can feel an increase in your energy, your skin will look great, your tummy will be smaller and you might even pick up a few compliments along the way :)

How to boost your health & fitness in 1 week!

1. Drink at least 2 litres of water each day - Go to your nearest 7-11 or supermarket and instead of buying a small bottle of water, buy the big 2 litre bottle. Sit it at your desk or wherever you spend most of your time. Your goal is to drink that whole bottle before lunch time. If you can drink it all, then fill it up again and keep going!

2. Cut out the junk - You know what food is good for you and what isn't. No junk this week! Keep some Slim Secrets bars in your bag plus some fresh fruit and almonds.

3. Go to bed earlier & wake up earlier - We all love staying up late watching True Blood, however this week you are going to go to bed a bit earlier than usual. Sleep is so important for your body. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than you would normally get up. Use this extra time to do a little circuit in your living room.

4. Move more - When you get home from work and feel like just relaxing in front of the TV - don't! Get up and go for walk or head to the gym. Activity is key!

5. Beauty time - Nothing looks better than glowing & hydrated skin. Exfoliate your whole body, have a face mask, pop on some tan (makes everyone look healthier!), give your hair a deep conditioning treatment. Simple things really make a difference!

Don't wait til next Monday - start today!

I also look forward to reading more of your questions through Ask the Trainer, so keep them coming!

Courtney :)

Courtney Barber for Slim Secrets - Your Healthy Weekend Survival Guide

 Hi Guys!

Did you have a good weekend? Like most of us, weekends are the time when we can meet up with friends, relax and enjoy a whole range of social activities. Unfortunately, many of these social activities involve drinking too much, eating too much and no exercise, only to find ourselves feeling less than motivated on Monday morning, with a hangover, stomach ache and big sunglasses to hide the telltale signs of not enough sleep!

After numerous coffees, we start to feel a bit more alive, however our bodies start craving carbohydrates and sugar and soon we find ourselves snacking on cupcakes or a chocolate bar to "get us through the day". This cycle then repeats itself throughout the week and then before you know it, the weekend has rolled around again and we are back into the Friday night cocktails and Sunday brunches.

It may feel as though it can be hard to break this cycle of bad eating and not enough exercise, however with the right choices, you don't have to dread Monday mornings anymore and will be ready to take on the week with energy and motivation. Don't let those weekends sabotage all those hours you have spent in the gym or all the healthy salads you have been consuming throughout the week. Plan your gatherings and time around activities that are fun, but also align with your health and fitness goals.


Lets take a look at your weekend...

Friday - What would you normally do after work on a Friday? Head straight home and watch some DVD's? Go to drinks with work colleagues? Friday is the start of most of our weekends, so sometimes we can get a bit excited (and go crazy) at the thought of 2 whole days of freedom! Think about your weekend and what you would like to fit in during this period. Plan out some healthy activities and lock them in, whether it be booking yourself in for a massage, booking in for a fitness class or going for a long walk. If you are going out, don't be persuaded to stay out longer than you wanted (or to drink too much). Remember, you are trying to maintain your health and fitness, while still being social and having fun!

Saturday - Head to your Saturday morning planned activity and feel the benefits of exercise! It will boost your endorphins and make you feel great for the rest of the day. The best thing about exercise is that it naturally persuades us to keep feeling healthy, so you are more likely the make the right food choices. Saturday afternoon is the perfect time for a home spa session. After a face mask, exfoliation and soak, you will be feeling vibrant and your skin will be glowing. If you are planning on going out to meet friends, don't over do it. Have a fun time but remember if you are drinking, stick to clear spirits with diet mixers, not sugary or creamy drinks. Steer clear of the party snacks and fast food. If you feel as though you will get hungry late in the night, pop a Wanted! Under 100 Calories Bar into your purse. That way you can snack and not feel guilty!

Sunday - Get up and get active. Instead of meeting your friends for the usual "hangover" brunch, why don't you meet them all for some yoga or a walk? This way you get to combine friends and fitness together! Stay away from fatty foods and consume a banana smoothie with a scoop of protein powder. Drink plenty of water today to flush out any toxins and use your time to get ready for the week. Have a massage, do some gardening, take your dog for a walk, clean the house. For once you will be feeling healthy, energised and organised on Sunday night, ready for your morning workout on Monday :)

Try this plan for your weekend and see if it makes a difference! :)

Ask the Trainer

I've had many great questions come in for Ask the Trainer, so keep them coming! Remember, a lot of other Slim Secrets fans probably want to know the answer too, so don't by shy! Your questions benefit everyone! Head here (http://www.facebook.com/SlimSecrets?sk=app_195223123884422) to send me a question or email me at askthetrainer@slimsecrets.com.au

I hope you all have a fit and healthy week!

Courtney

PS: If you feel as though you need your afternoon "chocolate" fix, then try one of the Wanted! Under 100 Calories Bars in Cranberry Choc N Nuts. It has chocolate on the bottom and full of lovely cranberry pieces!

Courtney Barber for Slim Secrets - 4 Moves for Great Glutes

Hi Everyone,

How was your weekend? I hope you have been enjoying my weekly blog so far and learning some new information about fitness that may help to motivate you this month. If you tried my Instant Cleansing Tips let me know how you went. (If you missed this post, check it out here http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150376678256240).

Over the past week I have been sampling all of the delicious Slim Secrets products which I was yet to try and let me tell you, they are amazing! The Wanted! Under 100 Calories bars are a delicious treat and with 4 yummy flavours they certainly hit the spot after dinner! I am currently eating the Vanilla Almond Bar. If you are one of those people who end up snacking after dinner, keep a bunch of these healthy bars in your cupboard. I also have been loving the Protein Shots. Just add water and your done!

As you would have seen on the Slim Secrets Facebook Page, we have just launched the Ask the Trainer tab (http://www.facebook.com/SlimSecrets?sk=app_195223123884422), so get those questions ready and send them through! I have already received a bunch of questions and love answering them for you, so keep them coming! I received a question last week about toning your glutes and the best exercises to do. I thought I would share this little workout with you all so you can benefit:

4 Moves for Great Glutes

Get a great booty with this glute sculpting circuit! Complete 15-20 reps of each exercise and move onto the next one. Rest 1 minute between circuits. Repeat 3/4 times.

Plie Squat

- Begin in a wide stance with toes turned out.
- Bend the knees and lower down into a squat, keeping knees in line with toes, abs in and back nice and straight, chest up.
- Only go down as low as you can without compromising your flexibility or your balance.
- Push back up without locking out your knees.
- Keep the tension on your inner thighs and glutes.

Squat

- Begin with legs wider than shoulders, toes straight forward.
- Pretend you are sitting down on a chair, so bend your knees stick your glutes out and lower (putting a chair behind you is a great way to start)
- Push back through your heels and stand up straight.
- Only go as low as you feel comfortable for your knees.

On the Spot Lunge

- Stand with left foot forward, right foot back about 3 feet apart.
- Bend the knees to lower the body towards the floor. Keep the front knee behind the toes and be sure to lower straight down.
- Keep your body straight and hold your abs in as you push through the front heel and back to starting position.
- Don't lock the knees at the top of the movement.

Donkey Kick

- Get on all fours on mat (hands under shoulders, knees under hips).
- Keeping right knee bent 90 degrees, flex right foot and lift knee to hip level.
- Your foot should be flat with bottom of shoe facing the ceiling.
- Lower knee without touching floor; lift again.
- Switch legs; repeat.

After this you will definitely be feeling the burn! Let me know how you go with it over the next week or so! If you feel as though you need to add resistance to this circuit, hold some dumbells or a weight plate. I would love to hear from you!

Enjoy the week and keep active!

Courtney

Courtney Barber's New Ask the Trainer Advice Column for Slim Secrets


Courtney Barber for Slim Secrets - Time to Shape up for Spring!


Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are now feeling the full effects of the Spring sunshine! It’s time to get rid of those winter layers now that the weather is warming up and embrace the outdoors. I am sure that many of you have full calendars coming into October and November, so what better time to start a new exercise and nutrition regime that will ensure you are feeling and looking your best. It can be hard to find motivation after months of hot chocolates and winter coats, however now is the perfect time to get those sneakers out of the cupboard and start your plan of attack.

Let’s Exercise

One way to keep in shape and take advantage of the warmer weather is to exercise outside! A morning jog or powerwalk is a great way to wake up and the best part is that it keeps our metabolism boosted throughout the day. Not to mention the rush of endorphins that will make you feel on top of the world! Alternatively, dust off the gym membership and commit to 2 weeks of workouts or classes. Really push yourself to keep that commitment and you will find that after the 2 weeks you will surprise yourself with some noticeable results. Make sure you supplement with one of the new Protein Shots after your workout to maximise your results!

Kick-start with a Cleanse

If you are feeling particularly sluggish after all those winter months, it might be a good idea to cleanse your body. I have added 7 tips below that you can start today, that will have you feeling better, more energised and less bloated in no time.

                 Courtney’s Instant Cleansing & Energising Tips for Spring

  • Drink more water! 2 – 3 litres a day will help to flush out those toxins and improve your skin and well-being. Add some lemon slices and try to drink 2 litres before lunchtime!
  • Have an alcohol free month. Give your body a break and see the instant results.
  • Clean out the fridge. Get rid of anything that is white, full of sugar, salt or chemicals.
  • Stock up on your healthy food. Lean protein, wholegrains, vegetables & fruit.
  • Give your body a break from Caffeine. If you have been living on coffee or energy drinks over the past few months then give your body a rest. Switch to herbal tea or water.
  • No bread. You would be surprised how much bread can bloat your stomach and add extra pounds. Switch to brown rice, or cut a wholemeal wrap in half and use that instead. 
  • Exercise.  You don’t need any fancy equipment for this Super Quick Workout: 20 pushups, 20 squats, 20 dips, 20 lunges, 20 crunches and repeat x 5.
Try all of these tips this week!

 Send me your questions at Ask the Trainer

 We have just launched our Ask the Trainer feature, so remember to send me your fitness and wellness questions! Each week a selection will be posted on Facebook with my answers. Don’t wait until Summer to find out what types of exercises you should be doing to tone your arms or flatten your tummy!

I hope you all start my cleansing tips today and I would love to hear how you all go with them! Take action!

Have a fit & fabulous week!

Courtney

Courtney Barber Brand Ambassador for Slim Secrets - My Weekly Blog

 Welcome to my first post as Slim Secrets new Health & Fitness Ambassador. I am extremely excited to be part of such an innovative Australian company that truly embodies the key aspects of a living a healthy lifestyle in today’s busy society. As a qualified Fitness & Wellness Coach, I hope to pass on some of my knowledge and “insider” tips to you all, that will help you make better nutritional choices, as well as motivating you to work out with simple exercise routines that can be done anywhere and in minimal time! 

Each week I will be updating my blog with new fitness tips, recipes, workouts, health and beauty advice, as well as some of my own tried and true techniques that may help you to live a healthier lifestyle! I believe that no matter how busy we all are, there are always simple things that you can implement into your schedule, that will leave you feeling better at the end of each day! It may be as simple as getting up 15 minutes earlier each morning to do a quick circuit of exercises in your living room, or when you go to the supermarket, stocking up on Slim Secrets bars for your desk, car, purse, gym bag and fridge, so you always have a nutritional snack on hand. Simple changes in our everyday habits can be extremely beneficial in the long run.


In conjunction with my weekly blog, Slim Secrets is also launching “Ask the Trainer”, a brand new feature where you can ask me your fitness and nutrition questions and I will answer them for you. Would you like to know which Slim Secrets product is best suited to your needs? Do you have questions regarding the best exercises to tone your legs? Here’s your chance to get answers directly from me! Each week a selection of questions and answers will be posted on the Slim Secrets Facebook page, so make sure you keep checking in regularly, as your question may be featured! Make sure you send through questions that you may have, as I am here to help you reach your fitness goals.

I hope you are all enjoying the sunshine and gearing up for new health and exercise regimes this Spring. Make sure you check back next week for my Instant Cleansing Tips, which may come in handy if you are getting ready to fit into those cute cocktail dresses for the racing season!

Have a fun and fabulous week!

Courtney

PS. If you are yet to try the new Wanted! Under 100 Calories bars then I suggest you try them! This week I am loving the Apple & Cinnamon Bar…perfect for my afternoon snack!