Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe

Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup of quinoa (cooked)
2 carrots grated
1 Cup chopped green beans and/or snow peaks
half a cup cranberries
1 cup spinach leaves (washed)
Half a cup chopped parsley
Half a cup mixed nuts & seeds

Crumbed fetta for garnish

Dressing:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons if balsamic vinegar
(or more if desired)

Method:

Mix all ingredients together, sprinkling dressing throughout.

Add feta to top

This salad is delicious on it’s own, or can be used as a side for meat dishes.

Top 5 Safety Items for The Bush!

Top 5 Safety Items for The Bush!

It’s getting to be the nicest time of the year, and with everyone wanting to get out and about safety needs to be just as high a priority as anything else!

These are the top 5 things you need to have with you (or do!) before heading off any bushwalk or camping trip.

1.Enough water and food!
Staying well hydrated is above all the most important thing! You can survive much longer without food than you can water! Of course, you do need plenty of good food to keep your energy levels up. Make sure it is nutritious, but also some lollies to give your blood sugar a quick boost if needed.

2. First Aid Kit
This needs to include an emergency blanket, snake bandages, and remembering the simple things such as bandaids! You never know just how much a blister can slow you down.

3. Warm clothing!
You never know how long you will end up out for, and temperatures can drop much lower than you expect at night. You also need to make sure your warm clothes stay nice and dry!

4. Tell someone where you are going and how long you will be
This isn’t strictly an item to remember to pack, but it should always be the first thing you do before setting off.

5. Point of Contact
a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is preferable over a mobile phone, as you never know if you will have reception or even battery. Also, make sure you have a map and compass and know how to use them!

Goal Setting!

Goal Setting!

Goal setting. It’s probably something you hear the Take Shape team talking about all the time, something your employer may mention at work, something you may mention yourself to your colleagues, partner or kids, but is it something you actually put into practice?

In theory, goal setting is simple. The best approach is like anything, it is the approach that works best for you! You just need to make sure you have a clear path towards that end game. Which in theory all sounds very simple, but we know life usually has other plans!

We’re often influenced by ideas such as SMART Goals or thoughts of climbing Everest, which seem at times a little far-fetched or unattainable. The truth is those people who have scaled Everest set themselves on a path of smaller goals, all geared up towards that one mountain. Maybe they made this goal as a kid, and all they started off doing was climbing a hill behind their house. That is still an achievement, and they learnt what they need to do next to get that one step closer.

Speaking of SMART Goals, this is exactly what that means:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Timely

This doesn’t mean you have to sit down and map out every single aspect of your goals, something like ‘lose weight’ is pretty clear and you in yourself will know what this means to you. The problem is without giving yourself a time frame, or a number of kilos, and exactly what you are doing that will make your life different to then, in turn, make the weight loss happen, it becomes very hard to turn this goal into a tangible reality.

Tips for setting, and achieving goals:

Write it down! Stick it to the fridge, bathroom mirror or even make it the background on your phone. Wherever it is make sure you can see it every single day.

Map out your smaller goals
Make sure you know the smaller goals you need to be working towards along the way. This way you won’t ever feel daunted or overwhelmed, but it will also help to keep you motivated with small achievements.

Create a checklist
Crossing items off a list is good for your sense of accomplishment! Even it if is smaller or easier tasks, you will feel like you are getting somewhere and making things happen.

Share your goal with others
Tell your friends, family, colleagues, whoever! Get them involved. The more people you have motivating you and keeping you accountable the more likely you are to achieve.

On that note, make yourself accountable!
This doesn’t mean punish yourself if you fall off track, but it does mean having regular ‘meetings’ or check ins with yourself to see how you are going. Perhaps you set up a reward system (like treating yourself to a movie) as you reach certain points, or perhaps if you are say training for a marathon and you start to slack off you have to up the training and make it that little bit harder for yourself by way of reminding yourself to stay on track.

There is plenty of literature online about goal setting, so if you want to get really serious, and you are the type of person who works well with very strict rules, then start researching! If you are the type of person who likes to have room for change or poetic licence, then play to that! Goal setting is about doing something for yourself, which means doing what works best for you! In saying this you do however need to make sure that you don’t stray so far off the path that you get lost, but if you find a slight detour, feel confident to take it.

What’s also important is to start thinking about your next goal as you get towards the end! You will find it becomes a huge part of what keeps you motivated to do more and more for yourself, so make the most of this motivation and keep pushing your self further and further!

Flinders Ranges 2017

Flinders Ranges 2017

We were so excited to take our first group to South Australia’s iconic Flinders ranges over the Melbourne Cup long weekend. We put together a tour that lead from Adelaide, climbing all three peaks of the ranges and bringing together a group of singles, couples, and strangers to form a fun, community of friends by the end of the trip. As always the trip included many jokes, delicious home cooked meals, comfortable accommodation with lovely hot showers and a pool, and of course breathtaking bush walks.

After pick up from Adelaide Airport we made a quick exit to get straight on the road. After several toilet stops, the occasional stop to pull out the pot for some fresh tea and coffee, and even one to a country pub for a sneaky booze run, we made it to our first walk, Alligator Gorge. The road was a bit daring in a bus, so we decided not to chance it with the trailer filled with a good few slightly oversized bags (you know who you are!) so we ripped the trailer off and set off to the gorge.

Alligator Gorge was a truly delightful surprise, with many of the group finding it to be the best gorge they had ever walked in. It was a welcome two hour break to stretch the legs after a long day of travelling, and a great way for the group to get to know each other. Although a steep walk in parts the chitter chatter of the group as new friendships were formed made it much easier.

We jumped back on the bus for the final leg of our journey, and after more toilet stops, again, we arrived at Rawnsley Park to get settled into our accommodation. We all settled into a delicious dinner together, bringing everyone even closer together, before getting an early night ahead of a jam packed day two.

The second day promised a magnificent day of walking, as we were doing not one, but two peaks. We started at the easier (although no less wonderful) Mt Olssen Bagge, where we got our first glimpse across the Flinders Ranges iconic Wilpena Pound. After a delicious and healthy lunch to keep everyone full of energy for the day, we had a little bit of a treat and enjoyed a sneaky ice cream as a reward.

The afternoons walk was up Rawnsley Bluff, which wasn’t so much a walk as a scramble. The wind had died down leaving a very warm day, but everyone did an exceptional job making it to the top! This walk was very much about team work, although a couple of people got lost, everyone encouraged each other, offering a helping hand to pull each other up and over the rocks. The group was also introduced to the good old ‘Adventure Metres’, a new navigational tool they won’t forget in a hurry. This day in particular was fantastic for us to be a part of, seeing the whole group come together as a team, with the old ‘you are only as fast as your slowest companion’ meaning the group accomplished this walk together. It was no easy walk, so Adrian carried a few bottles of wine up the top for us all to enjoy, however no one seemed interested so he carried it all the way down again as well…

That night everyone crashed quite hard, but with a sense of elation after sharing a delicious meal together all on the high of the days achievements.

For the final day of walking there was the small matter of a 4:30am wake up call, which probably wasn’t everyone’s idea of pleasant (in particular Tracey’s), however we had to be on the trail by 5:30am to get the ambience of the early morning and to be witness to one of the most stunning sunrises you can see anywhere in Australia.

This walk was St Mary’s Peak. It was the hardest and furthest some of the group had ever walked before, however with the gusto and enthusiasm they had while undertaking it you would never have known. We were all so impressed by the group and their achievement, hands were held to help each other up, and their were claps and tears of delight as we stood together as a group of friends and took in the full panoramic view of the Flinders Ranges, taking in the peaks we had climbed the previous day. There was absolutely no one in sight, and it was honestly one of the most fantastic experiences we have experienced on any Take Shape Adventures trip.

Adrian carried lunch up, but once again no one seemed keen, so we let him carry it all the way down again, just like the wine. We got back to our accommodation and enjoyed a very relaxing dip in the pool, before finally cracking into that wine around the campfire with a few well deserved marshmallows after dinner. We also have to say we have never had so many helping hands in the kitchen before on an adventure, making mealtimes even more fun and relaxing!

On our last day after getting up and enjoying breakfast and saying goodbye to the fantastic Rawnsley Park we set off on the road back to Adelaide, but not without a few pit stops. The first was Geoff Morgan Museum, which proved to be a real surprise and delight! It consisted of 360 panoramic paintings of the ranges, allowing us to sit back and look at everything we had seen and achieved over the previous few days. We then enjoyed our last meal together at Germain Pier, the longest pier in the Southern hemisphere. Some of us even had a quick dip in the ocean which was delightfully refreshing on sore muscles.
This adventure wasn’t always an easy one, and everyone approached it from different fitness levels, and levels of bushwalking experience. It takes a lot of courage to take on a journey such as this with a group of strangers, however everyone became so close many even started planning their next adventures, asking other members of the group if they would be coming along as well. We had many fun jokes between the group, and we all saw baby Emu’s in the wild for the first time, our driver even did a brilliant job avoiding hitting them along the way as we started to spy more and more out the windows.
This trip wasn’t always just a hike, sometimes it was a scramble. The scenery was unlike what many of us are used to with the hot sun and vivid blue skies contrasting against the red desert of the Australian outback and dry creek beds. The sunshine itself was a part of the joy everyone felt as it had been so long since many of it felt it!

It doesn’t matter what the achievement – It’s always awesome no matter what!

It doesn’t matter what the achievement – It’s always awesome no matter what!

Never put down or dismiss your own sense of achievement just because you think someone else achieved something bigger and better. Do not be your own buzzkill!

Humans need serotonin, which comes from so many things, including physical exercise. The good old ‘happy hormone’ seems to be something most people consider as less important than most aspects of daily life, which shouldn’t be the case!

Being proud of yourself is perfectly OK. Especially if your achievement is something you had been working towards, or never, ever saw yourself doing. Just because you ran 5kms when your friend ran a marathon, maybe they have been running every single day for ten years, and you only started running this year. Particularly with social media, it is very hard not to compare yourself to others and feel your self esteem taking a bit of a hit as others one-up your achievement without even trying to.

Always feel worthy of your achievements, no matter what it is it takes bravery and courage! Never forget the story of Eric the Eel at the Sydney 2000 Olympics:

A swimmer from Equatorial Guinea, Eric had never seen an Olympic-sized swimming pool until it was time for his heat in the 100m Freestyle at the Olympics. He swam the race in an unprecedentedly slow time of 1:52.72. This was the slowest time in Olympic history, and Eric had trouble finishing the race. Despite this, he won his heat after both his competitors disqualified themselves by jumping early. While Eric’s time was still too slow to advance to the next round, he set a new personal best and an Equatoguinean national record. He later became the coach of the national swimming squad of Equatorial Guinea.

Always be proud of what you have done, you never know what may be coming next!

Beating the Busy Syndrome of Term 4

Beating the Busy Syndrome of Term 4

Term four is arguably the busiest of the year! As we emerge from Winter everyone starts feeling a little social again, and more to the point all the Christmas parties begin! Being busy almost becomes like a syndrome, and the first things to go are usually your routines of self-care, health and fitness.

It becomes very hard to maintain a good balance, with all the nibbles and glasses of wine that come your way during this time of year, and the later nights making it harder to get up early for your session.

Here are our top 5 tips to stay focused during Term 4, and into Christmas.

  • Choose your party and event wisely. Everyone will be having a party, but you don’t honestly have to feel obliged to say yes to everything! If you can, find a way to make them active whether it be some backyard cricket with the kids, or choose events that you can walk to.
  • Alternatively driving to events can also be a great decision so you don’t drink to much and then make bad food choices, or stay in bed rather than getting up to go to the gym the next morning.
  • Stay away from the H’orderves or bread, you will always eat more of these than you think, especially if there is a whole plate just sitting there drawing you in!
  • Book in your sessions and have a goal, don’t let the weeks get ahead of you! If you are locked into your sessions it will be very hard to make excuses, especially when you realise how much better sweating out the toxins can feel!
  • Just because you blow out for one day over the weekend doesn’t mean the rest of the year has to keep going that way! Be nice to yourself! You are allowed a slip up every now and again, and the harder you are on yourself, the worse you will feel.

If you want to get yourself locked into a fitness regime before the parties really start filling up the calendar, send us an email to hello@takeshape.com.au and we can help you get your fitness goals organised and on track.

Quinoa and Cauliflower Salad

Quinoa and Cauliflower Salad

Ingredients:
Pumpkin
Cauliflower
2 cups of cooked quinoa
Half a cup of cranberries
1 cup of coriander
2 cups of spinach leaves (optional)
half a cup of slivered almonds(optional)
half a cup of sunflower seeds (optional)
Dressing:
half a cup of lemon juice
¼ of olive oil
salt and pepper

Method:
Chop pumpkin and cauliflower into small bits, place in a roasting dish then spray with olive oil, turmeric salt and pepper. Roast in oven until soft.

Cook quinoa as per instructions on the packet and fluff up. Once cooled add in roasted Pumpkin and Cauliflower, and all other ingredients.

Mix dressing ingredients together, and add in, mix everything together.

Mindful Living

Mindful Living

We’ve discussed your health from mindful eating through to mindful exercise, so the next thing is to look at overall wellbeing through mindful living.

In the same way you should consider each mouthful of food, and chew it, and use mealtime as time without screens and technology, life in general sometimes needs the same consideration. Time to sit back and smell the roses so to speak.

We spend so much time shut in the confines of offices, houses, cars, and even for the kid’s classrooms, breathing in stale air under fluorescent lights, staring at screens. Each and every day you need to spend time outside. Even when the weather is horrible, some fresh air can’t hurt you! Getting yourself to a park, and being able to listen to the wind in the trees, birds singing, and (hopefully!) some warm sun on your face. It may sound cliché, but give it a go as you breathe in deeply and as you feel suddenly peaceful and happier, you’ll admit that sometimes cliches are worth it!

Live in the moment. We are all so caught up in what we have to do next, what bills are coming up, stressing about things that may or may not happen. Forward planning is important for busy lives and busy families, but every now and again you have to enjoy what is right here, right now.

Mindful living is also about remembering to do something for yourself. Go for that run, or gym class. Cook the meal that you most want to eat, take yourself out on a date! When you have to get chores done, make it time for meditation. Find something that makes you feel calm and allows you to recharge for a while, it could be knitting, baking, yoga, it is something purely for you.

Red Soup

Red Soup

Ingredients:
3 sweet medium sweet potatoes
4 carrots
1 cup of red lentils
2 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste
1 can of tomatoes
Stock of your choice

Method:
Cook potatoes and carrots until soft.
Once soft add lentils and cook for another 20 minutes. Be wary of burning on the bottom.
Add tomatoes and curry paste.
Blitz until you are happy with the consistency!

Mindful Exercise

Mindful Exercise

As we discussed last week this buzzword mindfulness is very relevant (or should be more relevant) to just about every aspect of your life, from eating through to helping you keep your patience in traffic. This week we are going to be talking about mindful exercise.

Mindful exercise doesn’t just mean going to yoga, and meditating (although both of these things are great!). It is about considering that exercise and health are not linear, it isn’t always about setting goals and achieving them. It is also about simply exercising because that is what you are doing, it is about being in the moment and allowing the serotonin to kick in, and forming healthy habits and routine.

Many people look at exercise as a chore, they do it because the doctor, the health bloggers, or their friends say they should. We live in a society where many people hate exercising, and yet there is also a lot of pressure to be exercising regularly. Exercise can be fun and enjoyed by everyone! There are so many options out there now you can’t honestly say a blatant “I don’t enjoy exercise” simply because you don’t like running or team sport. Mindful exercise is about finding your niche and learning to love it.

Mindful exercise is also about not punishing yourself for taking a day off when your body is aching or you are tired. We need to learn to listen to our bodies and rest when it is needed and well deserved. Remember there are two types of pain in exercise, muscular pain caused by a damn good workout, and injury pain. It is about learning to tell the difference and pushing through one and learning to ask for help if you feel something is not right.

Remember exercise, like eating mindfully is about mind over matter, so remember these tips and get out there and start pushing yourself that little bit further!

If all of a sudden exhaustion is taking over while you are running, or your whole body is shaking as you do weights, this is the time to truly focus. Focus on your breathing thinking about long, slow inhales and exhales. This is also the time when you need to be concentrating on your form and technique the most as tiredness is when we become sloppy. The more time you spend thinking about your breath and considering your technique the less time you will be spending thinking about your body’s exhaustion!

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