Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Surf Star Sally Fitzgibbons on Strength Training, Body Image & Living Well

Sally Fitzgibbons

creamy healthy chicken wrapSally Fitzgibbons is synonymous with surfing. Funnily though, she excelled at athletics, touch football and soccer in her teens. It's fair to say, if it required energy and sportsmanship, Sally was into it and mastering it. I had the pleasure of interviewing her for my iTunes podcast, Core Integrity With Cat, today. In light of her book, Summer Fit All Year Round, which I really enjoyed and am still referring to for recipes and body weight training ideas, I took the opportunity to ask Sally about how the book came to be, the role of athletes and authors in sharing their fitness and nutrition programs and how to do this responsibly.
pesto kaleAs you may suspect of an elite athlete, who rises at 5am to train and has a singular dedication to being the best she can be, Sally is an intelligent and articulate interview subject. She's also funny and energetic and inspiring. I may come to regret this, but I was so enthused by her I agreed to a trade of yoga training for a surf lesson. I fear I'll need more than one!

Here's some recipes from Sally's book. I've posted them as downloadable PDF so you can print and paste up on the fridge! Yes, old school.









Monday, 8 January 2018

Make Friends With Veggies & Kick Sugar To The Curb


We're already in the second week of the New Year - that's approximately 168 hours you've had to lapse on your New Year Resolutions. So, how's that going?

In the first week of January, I asked my barre class, "IF we were making resolutions, which we're not, what would they be?"


The Vegetable Book Recipes
I was surprised that almost everyone said their resolution was to eat less sugar and more vegetables. Surprised, because I love vegetables and find it easy to incorporate them into my daily meals. I suppose I take it for granted that I don't have any desire for sugar either... I think we can change our palate and what we desire to eat when we change our habits with persistent and dedicated focus. Choice by choice. This doesn't mean a life of no joy at all - and certainly, there's a number of naturally sweet foods that are extremely good for you! Some zealous celebrity trainers and insta-nutritionists will carp on about fruit being detrimental to healthy weight and body but that is absolutely baseless and irresponsible. Any food, in excess, isn't healthy. I hate to be boring, but remember that quote, "Eat, not too much. Mostly plants."

Yes. And I'd add to that, ENJOY what you eat because guilt tastes bitter and toxic and no amount of "clean" eating will eradicate that bitterness. 

So, in the spirit of supporting you to get excited about vegetables, here is a recipe from The Vegetable by Caroline Griffiths & Vicki Valsamis (Simon & Schuster). 
Zucchini mint cheese fritters


Raw Is More Recipes
I also want to recommend another book that I received over the holiday period and that I am VERY excited about. Raw Is More by Eccie and Gini Newton (Simon & Schuster). As some of you know, I'm studying to be a Raw Food Chef with the Raw Food Institute of Australia. I get so excited by the amount of delicious and flavourful food that can be prepared and shared: all raw. Anyone who has been to Ubud, Bali has discovered a world of raw, plant based food menus, where colour, freshness, flavour and nutrition are bursting off the plate morning to evening. Bring a bit of that raw, wild, colourful energy into your daily life here.


Just to keep you inspired and dedicated to adding veggies to your day, I've designed you a 7 Day Vegetable Commitment planner! All you need to do is circle at least three vegetables you've eaten that day. It is also a list that gives you a huge range of ideas for when the only idea that vegetable conjures up is brussel sprouts and lettuce. Free download (PDF).




Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The Free Apps & Tools I Use

Free Apps For Content Makers

There is no debate over this. If you don't have a digital space where you communicate your work, your ideas, your services and how to get in contact with you, then you aren't being realistic about what it takes to run your own business. If you think you don't HAVE a business, then you're wrong. As long as you have knowledge, experience and something to express, teach or offer, then you have a business.

It took me much longer than I desired it to, but I finally organised my own website last year. My site CatWoods.me is home to information on Ballet Sculpt, my writing portfolio, my blog, my business as a content creator and my podcast. It also enables people to communicate directly with me and also links to my social media platforms. I designed it using Squarespace, which is super simple to use and enables you to embed existing content from blogs to podcasts, YouTube and so on. It makes the process of choosing a domain name and publishing your site simple for non tech people.

I use Canva to edit and create images for my website, social media, blog and and events. It is an easy-to-use layout with drag and drop function. Again, you don't need to be a whizz to choose a template then add your own elements. Canva has a new function in enabling video editing (great for Instagram short videos!).

I use Mailchimp to create email newsletters. Like Canva, this is a simple template-based site where you can choose how you want your end product to look and then take your own images and content (video, audio, text) and drop it in the right places. When you're done, you can track how people interact with it from how many people open it, to how many people click on the links and also, how many people unsubscribe! You can also choose whether to send the newsletter to a select group from your email contacts or to an entire list. You can have multiple lists. So perhaps, you have a list for the yoga participants who you want to update about your workshops for the month, and you also have a list of friends and family who you need to update about your travel plans.

I use Audacity and Voice Recorder to make my podcasts and my music comes from Creative Commons, where artists specify how they'd like their work to be credited when you use it and whether there are any limitations or restrictions around how their work is used (ie. only for personal use, or only for commercial use where they are openly credited).

I use Issuu to publish my work as PDFs that are readable online and this is also a great way to ensure your articles are stored somewhere beyond your hard drive.

Need a fancy new font and Helvetica just isn't rocking your boat any more? I go to DaFont. Icons are at DryIcons

When you need some creative inspiration or a tutorial, try Creative Bloq

If you would like me to set up your website for you, assisting with content creation, or even setting up your podcast or YouTube channel, let's talk. You can reach me via the form on my website.




Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Cut The Caffeine - Why & How

You get up, you have a coffee. Maybe two.
Midway through the working morning, everyone else is having one so why not? It's the communal thing to do. Then maybe one with lunch or even mid afternoon to fight the fuzzy head.

Ultimately, by early evening, you have had anything from 3 to 6 coffees and if you're like me, you feel totally normal, but this is your body on caffeine. It adapts, despite this being a natural drug. A stimulant.

Look, I'm not big on New Year resolutions, but anything that wakes us up and makes us change a habit that is long overdue for change is very welcome. For me, the coffee dependency has to be challenged. Mind you, I'm not going cold turkey! That morning coffee is my kickstart and I'm keeping it. It's the afternoon or even post-dinner coffee (guilty) that really has to go.

I'm not being cruel here - I'm not saying DON'T DRINK COFFEE, WATER IS GOOD. Even though is is. I'm saying, cut the coffee down to one or two a day as a challenge for two weeks. Line up your alternatives and have them at the ready for when you get antsy for a coffee fix. Here's the alternatives and also the reasons you want to join me on the #TwoWeekCoffeeCut


  1. You'll save money. Whatever arguments you come up with (but it's free at work, I buy in bulk, etc, you will still come out on top)
  2. You'll prove to yourself you can break a habit. This is powerful. You build muscles to resist habits and you can flex these muscles again and again
  3. Your hormonal regulation and balance will reset. Caffeine amps up your cortisol level, which not only makes you feel flighty and stressed, but also plays a part in weight gain, anxiety and overall energy. For all that caffeine makes you feel like you can fly, there's an inevitable falling.
  4. Your sleep will improve. This isn't a quick-fix! It will take time for your body to flush the caffeine and adapt to your new habits. Even if you fall asleep at 10pm like a baby, if your caffeine habit is regular, chances are that you wake up throughout the night or feel restless in the early hours.
  5. Lower blood pressure. Your heart won't be working on the double, drugged up on coffee, so your blood pressure will naturally lower. You'll feel calmer.
  6. Weight maintenance. If your coffee comes with a few sugars and milk (or any other fancy flavour additions), these add up if you're doing it several times a day. Studies have proven that sugar & caffeine together make for a potent addiction. 
  7. Cutting preservatives and toxins. Not so much in the organic, fair trade java you buy from your bearded barista each day, but if you have a lust for energy drinks, be aware that they are choc-full of nasty chemicals for flavour and the energy kick (whether it's the full or diet version). Carbonated caffeinated drinks will leave you both anxious, buzzing and also bloated and lethargic.
  8. Happy teeth. A constant coffee habit will inevitably stain your teeth and weaken the enamel. Even if you have an expensive dental whitening, then return to coffee, you'll only be weakening your enamel with a whole load of chemicals and caffeine in unison. Lay off the coffee and amp up your water and milk intake (whatever type of milk you're into).
  9. Happy kidneys and happy bones. Calcium is leached from your bones when you drink caffeine and your kidneys work overtime to flush it out of your system. Not only is calcium vital for strong bones but it is also vital in muscular contractions, enabling you to lift strong, run hard and build muscle.
  10. Discover healthy ways to up your vitamin and minerals & get a natural glow. If you have a green juice or a watermelon juice, or herbal tea instead of coffee, over time you'll find your complexion is much clearer and your hair and skin respond to less caffeine and thus less hormonal and physiological stress. Do it for your face.

  1. Organic herbal tea. My pick is Melbourne based tea gurus, The Loose Lips Tea Co. Everything from sencha green tea to special blends to aid in anxiety, sleeplessness and skin trouble. In the heat of Melbourne summer, I like to make a strong brew then allow it to cool and refrigerate for iced tea. 
  2. Watermelon juice. Throw some chunks of watermelon into a blender and whizz into pink, juicy yumness. Perfect to put into a large thermos for hot days, whether you're on the beach or in the office.
  3. Ginger Beer. Need I say more? If you have a tendency, like I do, to not stop at one, you might want to take my lead and buy the diet version. Keep in mind though, all carbonated drinks are going to make you bloated and damage tooth enamel so keep it to the occasional indulgence!
  4. Vegetable smoothies/juice. An ideal way to get a solid vitamin dose while also staying hydrated, I recommend adding as many greens as possible. I'm not a big fan of kale, but spinach, cucumber, celery with a sweetness hit from carrot and beetroot are always a winner. Add a big chunk of ginger if you like a bit of a zing (who doesn't?)
  5. Kombucha. Whether you make it yourself or buy it (and there's loads of great options in health food stores and at markets), kombucha is a fermented drink that strengthens your gut lining and aids in promoting good bacteria for immune and digestive health.
  6. Milk. Dairy, almond, soy, oat, coconut...whatever you fancy. Ultimately, I recommend going for a milk that has high calcium because your bones and muscles need it. Some almond milks are calcium enhanced - you can always do comparisons using the nutrition table on the back of bottles or cartons. Dairy milk has the highest calcium, and almond and soy milk with higher calcium are good options, but everything else is pretty unimpressive. 
What's are your tips for laying off the coffee? Can you commit to a maximum of two coffees a day before 2pm? Join me - share your tips on instagram, twitter and facebook using #TwoWeekCoffeeCut
The Loose Lips Tea Co Sencha Tea




Monday, 27 November 2017

Music For Yoga Practice

I am an unashamed lover of Om Aloha on Soundcloud. By the way, are you following me? Do It Now.
In the meantime, have a listen to Dances of Unity - sure, it's an  ideal soundtrack for practicing your headstand, but it also doubles nicely for writing articles (everyday), tuning out your co-workers (occasionally) or responding to emails (every hour!)

Friday, 17 November 2017

Beauty Foods: The Recipes, The Aussie Skincare Brand To Know & Fake Tan Tried & Tested


Every year at around this time, beauty and fitness experts make their predictions for what will be trending in the next 12 months. I won't bore you with my magical predictions but I will champion some trends that have begun this year and will pick up pace into 2018 because they work.


Beauty Supplements are nothing new - Hair, Skin and Nails tablets and capsules have been around forever but now the trend is for wholefoods, herbal and protein rich powders that can be added to smoothies, infused in water or diluted in juices. Elle McPherson brought out her own brand, The Beauty Chef has her own custom blends and now Vita-Sol have brought out a range of wholefood powders. Each blend combines organic superfoods, traditional and ayurvedic herbs and plants with pure protein to slow down the ageing process. I've been taking the Infinity Blend (vegan, gluten free) with collagen powder and almond milk every morning. I also take Swisse supplements for skin and liver function.

Eating for health, strength, muscular and joint integrity and with an awareness that our skin, hair, nails and overall beauty is inherently the result of how we eat, move, sleep and work. I think the whole "clean" eating moral judgements on food is toxic, don't get me wrong. But there is a lot to be said for choosing foods that we love and also have nourishing properties for our bodies: unprocessed veggies, fruits, seafood, meat, legumes and a moderate amount of coffee (working on that!). I've been luxuriating in Beauty Food by Lola Berry. Recipes are below.



Every day I try to take a moment or several to remind myself I'm very fortunate to live in a time, place and in circumstances that allow me to take care of my body and my mind with freedom. I shower, I moisturise, I dress and I appreciate that for all the criticisms I've had of my own body, it is mine. I live in this skin, I've grown up in this skin, this body is much more valuable than I sometimes remember. I treat my shower and moisturising and makeup and dressing each day as a ritual of preparation for living. As a way to look after my body because she does a lot for me. I've been using new Australian skincare from Olive Oil Skin Care Co. The Rose Geranium Body Wash and Citrus Revival Body Butter smells gorgeous and the packaging is divine.

This time of year it gets super hot, super fast. As someone with naturally pale and an inability to naturally tan (straight to red!) I fake it. My parents have had multiple skin cancer scares and I don't have any desire to risk it. Plus prolonged sun exposure is ageing - I don't need that. I've used a zillion tanning products and there's only a few I truly recommend because they are streak-free, completely natural looking, easy to apply and they don't go all streaky and uneven as they fade. The pick of the pack is absolutely Bondi Sands (Ultra Dark please) and Eco Tan by Sonya Driver.

Recipe Time. Get Beautiful From The Inside Out (Happy Thoughts Will Radiate From Your Skin Like Sunbeams)

Recipes and images extracted from Beauty Food by Lola Berry, published by Plum, RRP $24.99, available now. For further information visit: https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781760552671/





Monday, 23 October 2017

Nourish - Two Superfood Salads to Love

From my new cookbook of choice, Nourish by Amber Locke (published by Mitchell Beazley, $24.99), two recipes that you can add to your lunch or dinner repertoire. Excellent for a solo meal or make it for family, friends or the workmate who has the same, boring ham and cheese sanga every day. 

Edamame Bean Salad Vegan

Edamame beans are young soya beans that are picked before they start to harden so they’re tender and fresh – a bit like young broad beans. They’re a great source of protein and are a general all-round nutritional super-food, and are particularly beneficial in a vegan diet.
They’re combined here with poppy seed-specked avocado and served on a bed of matchstick carrots (I’ve used purple, orange and yellow carrots).

Any citrus or creamy dressing, or the spicy Rose Harissa Dressing would work well with this salad.

  • 3–4 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled
  • 1–2 ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 300g (10½oz) shelled edamame beans
  • dressing of choice

Cut the carrots into fine matchsticks (there’s no need to peel them if they are organic) using a mandolin or julienne peeler, or coarsely grate them – they’ll taste just as good. Place them in a serving bowl.
Halve, peel and remove the stones of the avocados, then cut the flesh into large chunks. Put the avocado chunks in a bowl and lightly coat in the poppy seeds.
Place the edamame and avocado on top of the carrots, pour over the dressing of your choice and mix well to combine.

Protein boost...
Seared, poached or barbecued salmon goes well with this salad. Cooked, shredded tofu also an option.

Mango Beetroot Kale Radish Salad

For this salad you can either chop the kale finely or break it into pieces and massage it in the mango dressing. It can get a bit messy, but tastes delicious! I’ve cut the yellow beetroot and pink watermelon radishes into decorative shapes for the photograph, but slice, grate or shave them as you prefer. If you’d like to serve a dressing with this salad then I recommend the Orange Vinaigrette (see page 127).

  • 2 large bunches of kale
  • 2 teaspoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ripe mangoes
  • 1 large raw yellow beetroot, scrubbed or peeled
  • 1 large watermelon radish or 5–6 regular radishes, trimmed
  • Orange Vinaigrette (optional)

Tear the leafy parts of the kale away from the stems (save these for juicing) and remove any tough veins in the leaves. Tear the leaves into 2.5–5cm (1–2in) pieces and place in a large bowl.
Anoint the kale leaves in the olive oil and start to massage and scrunch them with your fingers. It will take a while for the leaves to yield but they will gradually start to soften and become more pliable and tender. They’re done when they feel silky soft.
Peel and stone the mangoes. If the mangoes are really ripe it’s a good idea to massage them into the kale as they may be difficult to cut up neatly. Simply mush them up with your hands and get going.
Slice, grate or shave the beetroot and watermelon radish, or cut into decorative shapes and scatter them over the salad just before serving.
Pour over the orange vinaigrette, if using.





Surf Star Sally Fitzgibbons on Strength Training, Body Image & Living Well

Sally Fitzgibbons is synonymous with surfing. Funnily though, she excelled at athletics, touch football and soccer in her teens. It&#...