Exercise has endless benefits for overall health and longevity. There are endless ways to add in activity and exercise into our daily lives. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improves health and mood
  • It can help manage your body weight
  • Strengthen bones and muscles ( especially resistance training)
  • Improves heart health and reduces the risk of heart diseases
  • Improves sleep
  • Help lower blood sugar level
  • For pregnant mums, it can help reduce pregnancy complications such as Pre-eclampsia, Gestational Diabetes as well shorten the length of labour and push time
  • It can help speed up postpartum recovery
  • For those with arthritis, it can help ease joint pain and stiffness

As you can see, endless benefits!!!

While exercise is a good tool for helping us with our weight loss goals, achieving a calorie deficit is what truly matters and exercise can affect that in a negative way.

For us to understand this better, lets take a look at the components of the energy balance equation ( shown on the right). ————>


RMR (BMR) makes the biggest chunk of our daily calorie expenditure, followed physical activity and then TEF.

BMR (basal metabolic rate) are the calories we burn for vital functions ( sometimes referred to as RMR, resting metabolic rate), NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) are the calories we expend through spontaneous movements and activities of daily living such as fidgeting and doing chores, EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis) are the calories we burn through exercise and TEF (thermic effect of feeding) is the cost of digesting food ( Protein digestion burns more calories than fats and carbs).

As you can see above, a large chunk of our calorie expenditure is from RMR followed by physical activity ( combined EAT and NEAT).

Now, as mentioned earlier, exercise is great for us but can it actually stop us from losing weight if not designed to suit our end goals? The answer is, Yes it can!!!

A research was conducted where 34 women were put in a 12-week brisk walking program. Some women experienced improvements in weight and health markers and increased their physical activity but others decreased it! Di Blasio et al, (2012)

How? why? coming to that shortly.

There are other 3 different studies where adolescent obese individuals were put in high intensity exercise (70%+ VO2 max) but they failed to increased their daily energy expenditure. Thivel et al, (2014)

This brings about the question as to why even though in these studies individuals were put on activity inducing programs (so we’d think they would burn a lot of calories, right? ) but were unable to increase their daily energy expenditure.

To answer this, lets dive into the calorie expenditure part of the equation. We have BMR, NEAT, EAT and TEF. Of all these components, NEAT is the one component that research has shown over and over again to have the biggest impact on our daily calorie expenditure and achieving a deficit. For many of us, there are a few factors that make it difficult to hit that deficit including:

  • Having the mentality of “oh i worked out for an hour and i don’t need to move anymore and can eat however much i want”. The fact is, we don’t burn nearly as many calories as we think through exercise and mostly end up eating back all the calories, which can lead to even more weight gain
  • Workouts that leave you exhausted and diminish the chance of you moving around for the rest of the day leading to reduction in your NEAT ( this could also be your body’s way of regulating your energy expenditure)
  • The more weight you lose, the more efficient your body becomes in expending energy. This means you start to burn less calories for the same activities ( compared to before the weight loss). Resistance training can combat this increase in efficiency and allow the body to waste more energy and therefore expend more calories

Exercise is just ONE of the tools to help us expend energy but its not the one that matters the most as far as weight loss is concerned (again, we should all exercise for its other gazzilion benefits). A calorie deficit is still the game changer for weight loss goals!!!!! Improve your chances of achieving that deficit by:

  1. Focusing on your nutrition
  2. Exercise but also ensure that your exercises are inline with your goals and don’t over exhaust you so you can still keep your NEAT high else your body will try to conserve energy by spontaneously reducing your daily movement

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Yes I get it, life is hectic, life is busy so we try to do the best that we can to make things easier. We build habits and routines to make life easier, however some of this habits can actually do more harm than good. Below are some of the most common habits that I am sure we’ve all engaged in at some point or the other and it’s about time we stopped doing them.

1) If you have ever travelled with a toddler then you know the pain of looking for a toilet in the middle of nowhere when they need to go or the moment you start driving off is the moment they need the loo..urgently!! And because of this, what do we do? we tell them to go toilet before leaving the house, before they have the urge to go urinate. We need to STOP doing this! Our bladder has two modes, storage and empty. When the bladder is full, it lets us know that “hey empty me” and that’s when we get the urge to pee. However, if we go and urinate, just in case before its full, we are actually affecting the bladder’s capacity to fill up and function as it should hence leading to a bladder dysfunction. So, no more just in case peeing! if we have to find the toilet in the middle of nowhere then we will just have to do that for the sake of our bladders 😃😃😃

2) What do many of us do when we need to go pee in a public toilet? we hover to pee. Another thing we need to stop! During the bladder’s release stage i.e peeing, the pelvic floor muscles need to fully relax in order for the urine to flow properly. However, if you do this while hovering or in a squat position, the pelvic floor muscles won’t be able to fully relax because they are postural stabilizers and this could lead to things like prolapse due to straining. So make sure you sit down.

3) Don’t stop and start mid stream, this affects the peeing process because as mentioned before, the pelvic floor muscles NEED to stay relaxed. Starting and stopping could cause the bladder to not fully empty, which again, affects its function.

4) This is common amongst us mums, if we are up in the night with the baby, we tend to go toilet just in case just so we don’t have to wake up again when baby sleeps. Again, this just in case peeing affects bladder function. Wait until you have the urge to go pee.

5) Don’t strain! this is why you should ONLY go when you get the urge to urinate. If you go before the urge, you may be forced to strain to get the bladder to empty and this again can cause problems such as prolapse as well as bladder dysfunctions

Our body knows what it needs, it gives us cues and clues so lets listen to those.

Did these tips help you? Join the fitshatzi community and receive content like this delivered directly to your inbox every week. Let me help you navigate through this world of health and fitness filled with misinformation by busting out myths and presenting you with just facts. The best part: It’s 100% free. Click here to sign up.

Your Healthy is NOT my Healthy…

I have written before about the biases, the confusion, the Keto vs Carnivore diet wars that exist in the current health and fitness industry. Heck, it’ll put you off the health and fitness journey that you have been wanting to start for so long for good because you’re going be bombarded with so much contradicting information that will literally make your teeth ache…yes, seriously. It’s happened me!

Here is what you need to know, while yes, it’s not as simple as it sounds, it’s pretty much all that it’s about…CALORIE BALANCE!

You want to lose weight, burn more than you consume i.e eat = Calorie Deficit

You want to gain weight, burn less than you consume i.e eat = Calorie Surplus

You want to maintain your weight, burn the same amount as you consume = Calorie Maintenance

Therefore, to achieve your goals its absolutely crucial to eat according to those goals. Someones “healthy” peanut butter shakes, loaded with about 800 kcal of very little protein may not be the healthy option for you if your goal is to lose weight. My 4 egg, 3 tomatoes, 1 bell pepper breakfast is perfectly healthy for me but that doesn’t mean it’d be healthy for you.

We get bombarded with so many of the so called “healthy meals” ideas and just because it has the word “healthy” on it, we are all over it. Those healthy meals are often the most calorie loaded meals and they may not even leave you satiated. Why opt for an 800 kcal Keto shake that you may not even enjoy if you can have a grilled chicken burger with a delicious bean salad on the side for the same amount of calories?? which one will leave you fuller for longer? yup, go with the one that will leave you fuller for longer.

Whether its Keto, Intermittent fasting, Atkins…or any other diets out there, the only reason they will work for someone is because it allows them to go on a calorie deficit/surplus and that works for them but it may NOT work for you. Find what works for YOU.

Questions to ask yourself:

What are my goals? What kinds of food do I enjoy? what does my body like to eat? what is healthy for me? how do I enjoy these foods while sticking to the calorie target that I need for my goals? what strategies can I put into place that’d help me get to my goals?

Answering these questions will help you put an action plan together and give you an excellent start towards your journey.

Let’s stop consuming every healthy shake, every healthy snack, every healthy meal advertised just because someone says its “healthy”. Yes, it may very well be healthy but is it healthy for YOU?

Did these tips help you? Join the fitshatzi community and receive content like this delivered directly to your inbox every week. Let me help you navigate through this world of health and fitness filled with misinformation by busting out myths and presenting you with just facts. The best part: It’s 100% free. Click here to sign up.

Navigating the murky waters of fitness….

“Don’t do cardio, it’s a waste of time, lift weights instead”

“Stop lifting weights, it’s going to make you look bulky, just get a treadmill to use at home”

“The treadmill Is useless, Walking is better”

“Walking is useless because it doesn’t raise your heart rate too much, do HIIT workouts, much shorter and more effective”

“Research shows too much HIIT will catabolise your muscles, lift weights instead”….


And the cycle continues!! This can be very confusing  and overwhelming especially for someone just starting out. 

I have learnt one thing  from my decades of experience in this field, from training different clients, from implementing different training techniques on them and on myself too is that, there is  NO one training style that is suitable for everyone.

Just as each style is unique, so is each person and therefore each one will get different results. 

There is however something out there for EVERYONE, something that you enjoy doing, something that you can adhere to  and  stick to. You just have to find it.  Now, I am not going to sugar coat things and say “oh only do what you like” because that’d be a lie. Sometimes  you may have to suck it up and do what you may not necessarily think is “fun” but it may be crucial to your goals’ success. However, you can choose the majority of your training style to be something you truly have fun with.  It may take a while for you to figure out but don’t worry, you will get there!!

Below are a few tips to help you started on this journey:

  1. Be READY and I mean not just physically ready but mentally ready because if you think your journey is going to be easy, well, it’s not.  I am not saying scare yourself out of working out, not at all, exercising is a necessity for everyone. However, most people fail before they even truly begin because they underestimate the amount of commitment and dedication that you need to put into it. So before you just on the fit train, have a little chat with your inner self to remain strong, committed and determined.
  2. Choose something that you ENJOY. As mentioned above, choosing a training style the you enjoy will make your workouts more fun. This will increase adherence and consistency which in turn will bring you results. So if you like dancing, dance away, if you enjoy lifting, lift, if you enjoy walking then walk daily, if you enjoy animal flow then do your thing! Whatever it maybe, do it and stick with it. We all know who we enjoy doing  so if you are confused with regards to where to start, start there. 
  3. While it’s important to choose something you enjoy, it may be equally important to add some aspects to your training that you may not enjoy very much. Your specific goals will guide you towards the most effective training style for you in order to achieve them. For example if you enjoy cardio but your goal is fat loss then Ideally you want to focus on resistance training. You see, while cardio may burn calories during the workout, resistance training burns calories even while not working out. Resistance training ( e.g. lifting weights) allows you to build lean mass ( muscles) , the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn (even when not working out), the more calories you burn, the higher the calorie deficit you can achieve, the higher the calorie deficit you achieve, the greater your fat loss. So while you may not necessarily enjoy lifting weights, it’d be a smart move to add it to your training program.
  4. Keep it SIMPLE. In fact, this could be one of the most crucial point to try and remember. which heart rate zone is better for results, how many kilos to lift, how many sets is best for fat loss, how many reps is best for hypertrophy, exercise tempo etc etc. While there are a lot of variables to think about and you will in the future, some being more important than others, you don’t need to worry about these when you are starting out. Unless you are a competitive athlete, which heart rate zone to stay at isn’t something you should focus on. You want to know what’s best for you? A heart rate that’ll make you feel like you killed your workout, a set and rep range that’ll allow you to put in 110% effort into your workouts and a weight that will keep you challenged. The longer you hang around, the more you’re going to learn about your body and what works best, the more you’re going to learn about fitness and the more you can fine tune these details to keep getting results. However, in the beginning, keep it SIMPLE!
  5. Regardless of the training technique/activity you end up choosing, stay CONSISTENT! Whether its weight lifting, cardio, yoga etc consistency is key towards achieving ANY health and fitness goals. Starting and stopping will only make your journey longer, will only demotivate you and make the whole process overwhelming. Trust the process, do the work, stay consistent, stay determined and you WILL see results. Oh, and have fun 🙂

While sailing through the murky waters of the fitness world may be confusing, rest assured, once your path is clear, with hard work, discipline and consistency, your goals are within your reach. Just, never give up. If you’d like some help kick starting your journey, feel free to contact me.

Did these tips help you? Join the fitshatzi community and receive content like this delivered directly to your inbox every week. Let me help you navigate through this world of health and fitness filled with misinformation by busting out myths and presenting you with just facts. The best part: It’s 100% free. Click here to sign up.