Thousands of Australians stick with the same diet and exercise regime all year round.
And while this works for a select few, failing to switch it up during the cooler months can significantly hinder results and lead to a burnout or perhaps even weight gain.
Here, Australian fitness model and former Ninja Warrior star, Katie Williams, speaks to FEMAIL about her go-to fitness routines and reveals her top exercise, diet and wellbeing tips for the months ahead.
Australian fitness model and former Ninja Warrior star, Katie Williams, spoke to FEMAIL about her fitness routines and revealed her exercise, diet and wellbeing tips for the months ahead
‘If you are counting down the seconds on treadmill and dreaming about that glass of Rosè then it’s time to change it up,’ she said
‘We must have variation. It keeps the body and mind guessing,’ Katie, 24, said.
‘If you are counting down the seconds on treadmill and dreaming about that glass of Rosè then it’s time to change it up.
‘Make it fun, learn a new skill, jump into a different class at the gym, or set a new goal. Training a variety of exercises increases motivation and reduces boredom. A variety of exercises allows the body to perform differently, adapt and of course progress.’
‘Make it fun, learn a new skill, jump into a different class at the gym, or set a new goal,’ Katie said (pictured on Ninja Warrior)
HOW SHOULD EXERCISE ROUTINES CHANGE IN THE COOLER MONTHS?
‘Throw In some hot yoga and add in new classes at the gym,’ Katie, a sports scientist, said.
‘Train inside and change up your routine. Training outdoors in winter is tough, and I avoid it when I can, more so because I get more out of my body when my muscles are warm.
‘My routine is two kickboxing sessions, one boxing/HITT session, one long run or stair run and usually two gym sessions a week. Gym will be body weight and core.
‘Train inside and change up your routine. Training outdoors in winter is tough, and I avoid it when I can, moreso because I get more out of my body when my muscles are warm,’ Katie said
‘I’m hoping to get back to the running track soon for some sessions.’
Katie said that the cooler weather does in fact impact our ability to exercise.
‘Cold weather makes it much harder to run, move and also sweat,’ Katie said.
‘I run all year round and winter is my least favourite however it makes you stronger. If you can avoid the cold outdoor training sessions I would, but if you can’t, just layer up with skins and thermals.’
‘Cold weather makes it much harder to run, move and also sweat,’ Katie said
How to prevent over-training
Use the rule of ten: Increase distance, intensity, weight, speed or length of any exercise activity by no more than ten percent per week
Schedule rest days: Five days of exercise per week is substantial. If you’re exercising more than that, make sure some days are easy days and take at least one day off per week.
Skip a day: Don’t lift weights or do resistance exercises on the same muscles two days in a row. Weight lifting causes tiny tears in muscle fibers. They get stronger from healing.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN TRAINING?
Katie said over-training is the number one thing she would warn against.
‘Over-training means that a person exercises at an intensity, quantity and duration that is more than their body can recover from,’ Katie said.
‘It can cause a syndrome of physical, mental and psychological symptoms that reflect an imbalance between training and recovery. It’s more than just one extra-tough workout.’
Katie said signs of this include chronic pain, frequent colds and infections, fatigue, elevated resting heart rate, excess weight loss and appetite loss.
Katie said over-training is the number one thing she would warn against
HOW DO YOU GET STARTED WITH A NEW HEALTH REGIME?
‘Smart small with one healthy habit a week and then add another per week,’ Katie said.
‘So many people start off the 1st of January with no alcohol, a new gym membership, cutting sugar and meal prepping. All these changes for the average person are far too drastic to maintain and often people will quit within a few weeks.
‘Create small daily goals that will lead to your big goal. If your goal is a half marathon, you are not going to run 21 km on your first session, you’ll break it up into smaller runs and slowly increase the load, speed and intensity.’
‘Smart small with one healthy habit a week and then add another per week,’ Katie said
HOW SHOULD OUR DIETS CHANGE IN THE COOLER MONTHS?
‘Opt for meals that nourish you. Get veggies that are in season, it’s the perfect time to make hot soups, stews and warming foods,’ Katie said.
‘A simple to trick to warding off winter weight gain is to include top-quality, low-fat protein in your meals, such as lean meats, fish, chicken, eggs, and legumes.
‘These foods have a thermogenic effect, which means they help the body burn fat during digestion (the body burns 90 calories digesting a 300 calorie chicken breast).
‘Protein-rich foods also regulate blood sugar levels and help to promote fullness. The serving size is about the size of your palm.’
‘Opt for meals that nourish you. Get veggies that are in season, it’s the perfect time to make hot soups, stews and warming foods,’ Katie said
Katie said another way to stay lean is to limit high fat and creaming sauces and adding flavour through spice instead.
‘Spices are super low calorie and have some profound health benefits. Most spices are rich in antioxidants and spices like chili and cayenne will fire up your metabolism,’ she said.
‘Want to assist your body’s inflammation? Try some ginger and turmeric. Got a cold coming on? Throw in some garlic.’
Katie said another way to stay lean is to limit high fat and creaming sauces and adding flavour through spice instead
WHAT ARE SOME FOOD SWAPS THAT CAN IMPROVE THE DIET?
Non Alcoholic Beverages: Swap soft drinks and prepackaged fruit juices, for sparkling water with lemon, freshly made juices with 3/4 veggies, and herbal teas.
Coffee: Swap your 2 + coffees a day with one coffee before 10am. I recommend a piccolo or a long black. If you’re guilty of squashing the 3pm slump with another caffeine hit, opt for a chai tea, green tea or dandelion root tea as an alternative.
Sugar: Swap your sugar, honey and artificial sweeteners to stevia or cinnamon – these alternatives are lower calorie, low fructose and won’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Carbohydrates: Swap processed, starchy carbs for wholegrains and vegetables such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, sweet potato and pumpkin. Try swapping your white potatoes for a cauliflower mash.
Chocolate: Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate, anywhere between 80-90%. Not only does it contain less sugar and more antioxidants, but I find the richer taste more satisfying. This is a perfect dessert option.
Swap packaged foods to wholefoods that are fresh and locally sourced where possible. Not only will you be supporting the local farmers, but you’ll save your pennies as well,’ she said
Alcohol: Swap the sugary cocktails and soft drink mixers with a glass or two of red wine or clear spirts such as vodka or gin with lemon juice, fresh lime and sparking water
Milk: Swap your non-organic dairy to either organic dairy or homemade nut milks. Almond milk is full of nutrients and is a great alternative as it contains minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
Sweets: Swap any kind of packaged sweets or high-sugar junk foods to a naturally sweet snack such as fresh dates with nut butter, fresh berries or whole fruit. Try blending frozen bananas to create banana ice cream – it’s almost the same texture as soft serve and without the nasties!
Oils: Swap your vegetable oils such as canola or sunflower to olive oil (low temperature cooking and salad dressings), coconut oil or macadamia oil in your cooking.
Packaged foods: Swap packaged foods to wholefoods that are fresh and locally sourced where possible. Not only will you be supporting the local farmers, but you’ll save your pennies as well.
‘I meditate daily for 10 minutes, do yoga once a week or once every two weeks to unwind and release muscle tension and I swap the Netflix and blue light from my phone by reading at night,’ Katie said
What foods should we add to our diet?
Oats: Fibrous, packed with protein, they keep you full and energised for the day. Put down that sugar landed cereal box and load up on steel cut oats. Not only are they a healthier option, but they are also cheaper, have a less sugar, fewer calories and a lower GI than regular cereals.
Avocado: Avocados are must have for your grocery list! Full of almost 20 different vitamins and minerals, this high fibre fruit is loaded with good fat. It’s high fibre and rich in potassium. Slice some on some sprouted bread with lemon and pink salt, add them to your smoothies for a creamier texture or, my personal favourite, mash them to make your own guac!
Oily Fish: Oily fish is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and omega-3s and is fantastic for heart health. Throw some salmon and tuna into your shopping list. They are perfect for sandwiches, in salads, roasted or seared with some vegetables, aim for two serves of fresh oiley fish per week.
Berries: Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries…. Fresh or frozen, whatever your heart desires. The antioxidants in berries can help your body fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals that can lead to illness. Frozen fruit is incredibly nutrient-filled. Picked ripe and snap frozen it’s perfect for when fresh berries are out of season!
Almond Butter: Full of muscle building protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and nutrients such as vitamin E, almond butter is the perfect condiment for celery sticks, rice cakes and sliced banana. With less sugar and fat than peanut butter, it’s the perfect cupboard staple.
Coconut Oil: The health benefits of Coconut Oil are endless; it aids in digestion, and can boost immunity against many infections and diseases. It’s an incredible source of fatty acids and has shown positive effects on your body such as weight loss and improved blood cholesterol.
Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, collard greens, you name it, they are all loaded with the vitamins and minerals our body thrives off. Greens are useful in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C and K, potassium and magnesium. They are very low calories, but nutritionally very dense. Leafy greens are a must have for optimal heath, and are perfect to add to your smoothies, salads, stir fries and fritatas.
Katie recommends cutting out all carbonated drinks, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and colours and processed foods in favour of fruits and vegetables, organic lean proteins, omega 3 fatty acids and water.
WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO RITUALS?
‘I meditate daily for 10 minutes, do yoga once a week or once every two weeks to unwind and release muscle tension and I swap the Netflix and blue light from my phone by reading at night,’ Katie said.
Step 1: 10 mins vedic meditation
Step 2: Plan my day from meetings, to training to socializing
Step 3: Warm water and apple cider vinegar
Step 4: Almond milk cappuccino double shot
Step 5: 9.30am most days I do kickboxing
Step 6: Listen to 1 or 2 podcasts in the car on the way to meetings/events
· Cup of tea, peppermint or chai
· Dinner no later than 8pm. I don’t like going to bed too full
· Metamusil and spirulina mix at night, to amp up digestion
· Turn on lava lamp and turn off lights
· I’m trying to get into reading at night, to cut out the stimulating blue light, although I’m very partial to a Netflix or YouTube binge
‘Begin each day with the intention of making the best and most of it. It may not always go as planned, but it can go more smoothly if you put it in perspective,’ Katie said
‘Part of living a well-balanced life is learning how to deal with adversity, unforeseen events and uncertainty,’ she said
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE?
‘Begin each day with the intention of making the best and most of it. It may not always go as planned, but it can go more smoothly if you put it in perspective,’ Katie said.
‘Part of living a well-balanced life is learning how to deal with adversity, unforeseen events and uncertainty.
‘If you practice not letting things get to you, you will not only learn to live a well balanced and less stressful life, you will learn to live in and savor the moment. Once you’ve done everything you can within your control, let your life unfold. Be prepared for the future, but don’t worry about it.’