So you’ve been easing out those tight spots, focusing on improving your core strength, avoiding the fish and chips shop and fueling your body with more fruit, veggies and lean protein. Your energy levels are shooting for the moon and you’re feeling on top of the world. Right?

You should be giving Popeye a run for his money by now!


But what if you’re not? What if you’re still feeling achy and lethargic? More often than not there is a lot more contributing to the ‘run down’ feeling than not taking on board enough quality calories.

Get Adequate Sleep

 “The beginning of health is sleep” – Irish Proverb

You wouldn’t get much work done in a day if you forgot to recharge your power tools, would you? And if you let the battery run out on your mobile phone you may find yourself cut off from your office, your customers and your suppliers. That would certainly put a dent in your productivity for the day.

So what about recharging your batteries! Are you getting enough sleep? Your body grows and repairs itself whilst you rest. Since you’re on the go all day you need to get the most ‘bang for your buck’ whilst you sleep. Whilst sleeping you move in and out of shallow and deep sleep. During periods of deep sleep (known as REM sleep) your body releases human growth hormone (HGH) – this is responsible for growth and repair.

Make sure you get enough zzzz'z on a regular basis
Make sure you get enough zzzz’z on a regular basis

How much is enough? Sleeping times vary from person to person but current research show that most of us require an average of 7 to 9 hours sleep a night. Sleeping less than six hours a night can cause a 40 per cent drop in sensitivity to insulin, which bumps up your risk of weight gain and diabetes type 2.

Living in the fast lane? Too wired to sleep? All that stress can give you a jelly belly both from exhaustion and from making you hungrier. When you’re stressed you’re adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol, which makes you store fat.

This fat can become concentrated in your most active fats cells around the abdomen, which are highly sensitive to stress hormone receptors. Fat storage here is the most dangerous because it quickly drains to the liver, combining with cholesterol in your bloodstream, also increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes type 2.

Maybe it’s time to give the late night TV shows a miss, fluff up that pillow and catch some REMs.

Avoid Alcohol Abuse

Australians are a country of drinkers but unfortunately 95% of the population don’t know how many standard drinks per day is a safe limit. Did you know that alcohol kills 5,554 Australians a year. That’s over 15 deaths a day.

The Heart Foundation advises that too much alcohol is bad for your heart health. It recommends a maximum of two standard drinks per day for men and one standard drink per day for women. They also suggest it’s a good idea to have at least a few alcohol free days a week.

Make sure you know your limits. Alcohol overuse can wreak havoc on individuals and those around them.  For more information on ‘how much is too much?’ watch this video from the Better Health Channel

(if you can’t see the video on your iPhone or iPad, this link should open the video directly in YouTube  Alcohol – how much is too much?)


Quit Smoking

15 per cent of the Australian population smokes every day and most people who smoke want to quit. Perhaps, like Popeye, you are one of them.

Tobacco smoking is the single largest cause of preventable illness and death in Australia. Smoking causes a range of cancers, as well as heart disease, stroke and emphysema. It causes more illness and death than any other drug. Smoking kills around 15,000 people every year. 76 Victorians every week. This is estimated to be about 90 per cent of all drug-caused deaths.

One in two lifetime smokers will die from their habit, half of those in middle age.

Stop while you can before you run out of time
Stop while you can before you run out of time

(For more information about the effects of smoking on your entire body there’s a very informative article at

Well that’s my final blog for this month – Tradies month! As well as strength training my passion has always been to educate people on Health and Fitness. Francis Bacon said “Knowledge is power”.  If you have learned one thing from reading my blog that you didn’t know before then I have empowered you and achieved my goal. If you would like further information on Health and Fitness please contact me at Steps2Strength.

Thank you Dolphinworxs for inviting me to be your Guest Blogger for August.

Maxine Hearn