Guest post: How to avoid over-training and exercise-related injuries

29 Apr

One of the great aspects of exercise is the rush of endorphin that you get after a workout. In fact, that rush can make exercise somewhat addictive, which is surely a good thing seeing as it’s so good for us. However, fitness fanatics beware – it’s easy to fall into the trap of overtraining. Here’s how to make sure you can continue exercising safely and avoid overtraining or injuries from exercise.

Are you overtraining?

Injuries from exercise are pretty obvious, but overtraining can be a little trickier to recognise if you’ve never experienced it before. Here are some of the signs:

  • No longer seeing results from exercise…
  • Or have even reversed somewhat
  • Loss of motivation
  • Gain in fat
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Decreased immune system

Fuel your workout

A good diet is especially important for avoiding both injury and overtraining. It’s easy to get preoccupied with whey protein, particularly when trying to build muscle mass, but carbohydrates are essential too, as are other types of proteins. Without carbs, your body may instead use that very muscle mass you’re trying to build for energy when you exercise.

Here are some great foods for runners, and weight lifters should take a look at this article.

Short and sweet

Of course a three hour workout will feel like a great achievement – and it is! However, completing workouts of this length too regularly can lead to overtraining. It takes about an hour for our testosterone levels to dip, and cortisol to rise. Testosterone is good for training, as it enables our muscles to grow, but cortisol can cause weight gain, so extra long sessions at the gym can do more harm than good.

Take a look here for a great hour long cardio workout.

Swap dumbbells for your duvet

allowing time to recover after a workout is essential, but as well as planning in rest days it’s important that you get a good night’s sleep. As well as being a great way to avoid overtraining and injury, sleeping well is one of the best ways to recover from overtraining. Try to make sure that you get at least seven hours per night, preferably nine if possible.

This article offers some great advice on sleeping soundly.

Warm up and stretch

It’s such a basic part of a workout that often we can underestimate the vital importance of the warm up and cool down. Taking five minutes to warm up the muscles before exercise can make a huge difference to how they’ll perform, and forgetting to complete a warm up can lead to injury. Always make sure that you plan an extra ten minutes into your workout time – unless you want to spend even longer resting an injury.

Take a look here for a basic warm up routine, and here for useful stretches you can perform after exercise.

About Me

Hi there, my name is Jonathon. I work at Nature’s Best and I am something of a fitness fanatic. I love reading and writing about nutrition and I also enjoy running and picking up heavy things. I have been known to overdo it, so I am more than familiar with the risks of over-training.

Thank you Jonathon for your contribution to Grainddiction! It certainly has expanded our knowledge on over-training and exercise-related injuries! We hope to have your writing again one day.


don’t give up.

12 Apr


hope everyone is well.

today, i want to share a little about weight loss journey.

we all have been there. we wanted to lose weight so badly and when the scale doesn’t move at all… we gets disappointed and discouraged .

i mean… many of you have succeeded to lose weight in one attempt? some people do lose the weight on their very first attempt. unfortunately the second, third…and following weight loss are not easy as the first one. but today, i just want to point out that it is okay to fail. and it is okay to try again. don’t give up. know that weight loss does not happen over night, and be aware that it does take a lot of effort, and it requires full commitment and consistency from you.


okay, the first thing i want to say is that a healthy weight loss is about 0.5-1kg loss per week. too dramatic weight loss often only leads you to weight regain. also, too fast weight loss may indicate water and muscle loss, which are not what we really want. we want fat loss, not muscle loss. we want our muscle to be present and strong to do our daily activities, and it’s getting more important as we get older, to live healthy and independent (to stay at our own house longer, and delay moving to nursing home).

a couple months ago, the Dietitians Association of Australia released If at first you don’t succeed- try, try again, say dietitians. and I can’t agree more. a new survey has shown that most Australians (25-49yo) have attempted weight loss in the past year, however only 2 out of 10 were happy with their results. women and those aged over 40 yo found it hard to be in a healthy weight range.

based on the survey, 1 in 4 adults (who tried losing weight in the past year) had tried 1 of the 9 listed popular diets (meal replacement shakes, fasting and Atkins diet)- and men and women were equally likely to have tried one of those diets. this is not surprising, really. from experience, most clients i saw have tried losing weight using those methods. and as we can see ourselves, those fad diets may work for a short period of time, however more often than not, the weight will creep back on.

so, what do we do? just like when we try to quit smoking, it is expected to be more than just one single attempt. don’t expect miracle to happen overnight. and just like that- you won’t lose weight in 1 night. so, start small. expect about 0.5-1kg of weight loss each week. and put it in perspective, start sooner than later. if you know you have wedding to attend in December, don’t wait until November to start losing weight.

a wedding/party/overseas trip may be a great motivation to lose weight, but remember, always think about all the health benefits you get from weight loss! put your health first. i think this is a very important key that people often forget. weight loss is not only about getting into a size 8 dress or to be skinny. think about it as lifestyle change. this mindset is more likely to sustain than a “diet”. you need time, consistency and perseverence in weight loss.


a healthy weight loss diet should always include all the core food groups: fruit, vegetables, breads and cereals, dairy and alternatives, and meat and alternatives. there is no need to avoid 1 particular food group because they all provide us with different health benefits.

AGHE 2013

lastly, get support. get as much support as you can, from your family and friends. support is important. speak with your local dietitian to work out a healthy, sustainable and individualized meal plan that is tailored to you. this will keep up your motivation, too!

APD Logo_PMS_348good luck!


Have you had your 2 serves of fish this week?

10 Apr

Hello everyone 🙂

I’m back! Hope you all are well.

Today, I’m going to update you about fish. no- not about the fish that I have in the tank. but the fish that was on my dinner table tonight.


This post will be based on a Melbourne study, published in the Dietitians Association of Australia’s journal of Nutrient & Dietetics. see reference for the article.

The study compared two groups. one group simply ate two x 150g fresh salmon per week, and the other group took 2 fish oil capsules 6 days a week. Both group did it for 12 weeks. Both group also had wash out period, meaning they went back to their usual diet (no supplementation) before swapping across to the other treatment for a further 12 weeks.

This study’s paricipants were 11 patients with existing heart disease, and mostly working-age males with no smoking history and a moderate alcohol intake.

The researcher, Catherine Itsiopoulos concluded that fresh fish intake may have extra heart health benefits over fish oil capsules for people with heart disease. This may occur because fresh fish does not only provide us with omega-3 fats but also other nutrients like taurine and selenium. Also, by including 2x fresh fish in our weekly food intake, it reduces the chances of having less healthy foods.

Including 2 serves of fish in a week is in line with our Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines. I always recommend my clients to have at least 2 nights of fish, 2 nights of lean red meat and 1 night of vegetarian dish in their weekly diet. By doing that, it help in balancing our diet. There is no need to avoid one particular food (except if you’re allergic or intolerant to it) because every food has different characteristic that provides unique health benefit. Also, if you can’t fit in fresh fish, you can try having tinned fish (tuna, salmon, sardines) in your sandwich for lunch. Again, increases your omega 3 intake and reduces the chances of choosing less healthy foods (bacon/sausages/ham in your sandwich). I’m not saying that you can’t have them, however try to alternate your lean ham/grilled chicken sandwich with tuna sandwich. It’s about balance!

Oh my gosh, I can keep talking and talking about this all day.

Anyway, that was my update for the day. I hope you find it interesting!

Take care 🙂



Australian guidelines recommend healthy adults eat 500mg/day long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn3PUFA), and for people with heart disease, this rises to 1,000mg/day. But the last National Nutrition Survey suggests Australians do not meet the recommended intake, with an average intake of 246mg/day.

Brazionis L, Ting E, Itsiopoulos C, Wilson A, Hodge A. The effects of fish or fish oil on the omega-3 index. Nutr Diet 2012;69:5-12.

Wiley Press Release. 2014.

More about diabetes type II. STOP it!

24 Mar

hi everyone!

hope all is well. it’s quite a Monday here in Sydney. it has been all gloomy since morning- and now it’s pouring.

i have started running diabetes education group session at the clinic i work- Mt Druitt Medical Centre. If you have type 2 diabetes, and if you’re interested, do give us a call.  or you can drop a comment and i’ll follow up.

since i am the one who is running the group, i have been researching a lot about diabetes and it’s management. so i would like to share it with you.

i have talked about diabetes in the past. read here.

so, as we all know, diabetes has its complications. generally, if we have diabetes type II and we control our diabetes well, our risks of complications are minimal. however, most people i have met in my practice do not control their diabetes well. it can be damaging to our health.

we probably don’t feel it now, but having uncontrolled diabetes may cause many severe complications later on in life such as:

1. kidney damage (nephropathy), can lead to kidney failure

2. eye damage (retinopathy), can also lead to blindness

3. nerve damage to the feet and other parts of body (neuropathy), can also lead to amputation

4. sexual problems

we also cannot disregard that as we have diabetes, our risk of developing heart disease are much greater. this is because we often have abnormal lipid profile- meaning we have high blood cholesterol/LDL/triglycerides.

so what do we do?

healthy lifestyle is essential in diabetes management. proper diet and exercise has significant impact on our blood glucose control. our GP or endocrinologist will be able to tell us our blood glucose target. once we know our target, then we aim to achieve them through diet and exercise.

healthy eating has been shown to: improve blood glucose control and modify cardiovascular risk factors. modest weight loss (<10% body weight, for example if you weigh 90kg, a modest weight loss is 9kg) in overweight/obese person has been shown to: improve insulin sensitivity, improve blood glucose control, reduce body fat percentage, improve blood pressure and other cardiovascular factors, may reduce or even eliminate the need for medications and may reduce insulin dose. 

basic healthy eating:

1. eat regular meals: 3 main meals and 1-2 snacks

2. evenly spread your carbohydrate intake throughout the day. it is unnecessary to eliminate all carbohydrate from your diet. carbohydrate is main source of energy for us. be consistent and eat mostly from complex carbohydrate such as whole grains, legumes and vegetables.

3. portion control. a healthy plate consists of 1/2 plate of vegetables, 1/4 plate of low GI complex carbohydrate and 1/4 plate of lean protein.


4. switch to healthy fats, from oily fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, canola oil, avocado.

be sure that you go to your GP regularly- every 3 months to check your HbA1C which shows your glucose control in the past 3 months. and check your sugar level at home daily if you have the equipment.


so, to be a healthy diabetic:

1. achieve normal and stable blood glucose control (target should be discussed with your GP/endocrinologist)

2. achieve normal lipid profile (tot cholesterol <4.0mmol/L; LDL cholesterol <2.0mmol/L; HDL cholesterol >1.0mmol/L; triglycerides <2.0mmol/L)

3. achieve normal blood pressure (<130 systolic /90 diastolic)

4. eat healthy

5. be active (try to exercise every second day, as simple as walking- and work your way up gradually)



Diabetes. 2011. Better Health Channel.
Diabetes facts. 2010. Australian Diabetes Council.
Mahan and Escott-Stump. 2008. Krause’s food and nutrition therapy, 12e. Canada: Elsevier.
Mann and Truswell. 2007. Essentials of human nutrition 3rd edition. US: Oxford University Press Inc

how to make your push up even harder!

19 Mar

helllo everyoneeee!

hope you are all well~ now it’s been ages. i’m sorry for missing in action for such a long time. it has been a few things happened since then, and i just don’t think i am fully recovered yet. but i’m getting there 🙂

what can you do- you just live your life as it comes and try to put a smile on your face every single day.  ok. i’m trying to be really positive here.


i just want to quickly share with you what i came across today. as you may or may not know, i am renovating Grainddiction. i am adding a few new tabs and moving the blog posts to a separate tab. so i am on the net all the time, browsing and all. so here it goes what i stumbled upon.

it’s a few ways to make your push up harder. okay i lied. it’s actually MANY ways to make it harder. it takes some time for me to scroll down the article- so imagine how it feels to master all those variations!

it’s worth to try though. we need to change our routine every now and then. it’s good for our mind and body. and that way we can keep going with our weight loss too. it’s not unknown that after week 12 we mostly face that stagnant point- where the weight sort of stuck and not moving down. by changing our routine (diet and exercise), we can shift it again! so, do give it a try! mind you, i’m still working on the first ten and boy oh boy it is hard! be gentle though- take it easy and slowly move your way up (or in push up world, down down down).

click on this link! it’s from Greatist- if you haven’t followed them yet- do follow them! they have the most creative articles.

until next time! ciao

Images from:

References (Greatist):

medical check-up in our lifetime. what to do and when!

28 Oct

dear readers

hope you’re doing well. it’s almost Summer in Sydney- and the temperature has started rising significantly.

we’ve been having days of 30 degrees and above. hot.

and unfortunately the bushfire happened too. my heart goes out to all who were affected.

today i just want to quickly share with you a very nice-looking info-graphic by Greatist. you can probably tell by now that i love Greatist! they’re really creative in summarizing information. and they put it nicely in graphics too. what’s not to love?!

this time is about medical check up. what to do and when. 20s, 30s, 40s up to 70s and beyond.

ignorance is bliss. but in term of our health- there is no such thing. the earlier we know the better it is. so we can act accordingly, treat appropriately.

Get health and fitness tips at, one of the best health blogs online.

Hope you find it useful! I really did and that’s why I’m sharing it with you all. and you should share it with your loved ones too.

health is something that we only feel ourselves and we’ve got to look after too!

ciao- have a nice day!



The Greatest Team. 2011. A lifetime of medical check ups (infographic).

oh baby! the ultimate guide to contraception

26 Oct

dear readers

hope everyone is doing great 🙂

i came across this info quite a while ago- and i thought it’s worth sharing with you guys.

it’s got nothing to do with my usual dietetic or nutrition stuff- it is a bit different.

it’s about contraception- to be exact- different kinds of contraception methods.

there are many methods out there- and i did not have a clue.

this info-graphic sum it up really well- and can be a quick and easy guide to read- before you decide which method is right for you.

Get health and fitness tips at

just to be clear- i am not an expert in any way in this matter- i simply wanted to share this info-graphic with you!

play safe ;P


The Greatist Team. December 2012. The ultimate guide to contraception.

October Recipe Redux: take it slow with your chocolate cake.

21 Oct

hi everyone!

how are you? it’s October 21st!

not only today is our recipe redux time- but also ten days to Halloween! (and of course- upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas!)

the theme of October recipe redux is so much fun- definitely challenged our creativity!

The No-Casserole Crock Pot: Some of us grew up on casseroles out of a slow cooker – but now home cooks are using that same slow cooker to roast a chicken, bake bread, make homemade yogurt and for other creative dishes. Show us how you are using the slow cooker to craft a new healthy recipe. And if you don’t have a slow cooker, borrow one from your neighbor or pick one up at a second hand store!

isn’t it fun!? i can’t wait to see fellow recipe redux-ers’ creation!

as for me- i tried ‘crock’-ing up a chocolate cake from my slow-cooker! who would have thought we can make dessert in the slow cooker?!

this recipe was based on Chocolate Mud Cake recipe from Spoonful website. I modified the recipe so that you can enjoy this recipe without having to worry about the kilojoule, fat and sugar content. only the healthiest version for you, my readers!

Chocolate Cake in Slow Cooker


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons salt and fat reduced margarine
60g or 1/3cup dark chocolate
1/2 cup sugar (1/4 cup & 1/4 cup, added separately)
3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (as a variation I used 3 tablespoons of cocoa and 1/3cup Milo)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup low fat milk
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups hot water
low fat Greek yoghurt (Vanilla or fruit flavoured) and/or any fruits you like


  1. Coat the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray or oil. (Note: the cake’s cooking time and final appearance will vary depending on your crock’s size.)
  2. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, melt the margarine and chocolate over a pan of simmering water and mix well.
  3. Whisk in the 1/4 cup of sugar, 3 tablespoons of cocoa, vanilla extract, salt, low-fat milk, and egg yolk. Add the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Pour the batter into the slow cooker and spread it evenly. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, cocoa (I used Milo), and hot water until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Pour the mixture over the batter in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the crock pot. (Mine took 1 hour 20 mins).
  6. Even when done, the cake will be very moist and floating on a layer of molten chocolate, but you’ll know it’s ready when nearly all of the cake is set and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pot. (As you check, try not to let the condensed steam from the lid drip onto the cake.)
  7. When it’s done, turn off the power and remove the lid. Let it cool for 25 minutes, then serve it in bowls topped with low fat Greek yoghurt and/or fruits.

I was a bit worried when I saw how it looks like in the slow cooker. It was looking very dark and its edges look like it’s burnt. And you’ll understand why..after you see this picture.


however- as I removed the cake from the slow cooker, the cake is actually looking ‘normal’ as if it was baked not slow-cooked 🙂 and I was -and am- happy then.


First bite: very very moist! it’s like a combination of steamed cake and pudding. as i ate my piece, it took me to a cold winter night, relaxing on my couch, sipping a cup of tea and jazz. it’s the warmth of the cake. yummm.

Second piece of the cake: (this time, the cake is no longer warm). texture wise- it’s not as light as when it’s warm. when it’s at room temperature, this cake tastes exactly like steamed brownies. personally, if i were having it at room temperature, i would not need the yoghurt and fruit. would be happy with the cake as it is. however, when it’s warm, it goes really well with yoghurt (and honey, maybe) and fruits (stewed maybe?). 🙂

hope you enjoy this recipe- better yet- hope you enjoy your experience slow cooking a cake 🙂



info-graphic: the complete guide to workout nutrition

15 Oct

dear everyone

hope everyone is doing well 🙂

i stumbled across this info-graphic from Greatist website. i love, love, love this info-graphic!

it is so easy to follow- easy to understand. stick it on your fridge (next to your meal plan- or the picture of the model you look up to lol) and you’re good to go!

i hope you enjoy this as much as i do!

Get health and fitness tips at


The Greatist Team. 2011. The complete guide to workout nutrition (infographic).

the almond myth-busters!

6 Oct

Hi everyone!

Just following my previous post about almonds, I thought I share with you some myths around almonds.

Image from

These might be true for other nuts too!

1. I’m trying to lose weight. Does it mean I can’t have nuts?

That is nonsense! Latest research shows that enjoying a handful of nuts regularly as part of a healthy diet can help with weight management. If you’re trying to lose a few cms doesn’t mean you can’t eat nuts. Enjoy a handful of nuts, along with 2 serves of fruits and 5 serves vegetables and you’re on your way!

2. My cholesterol is through the roof. I heard that nuts are very fatty hence I should avoid them.

The fats in nuts are healthy fats- predominantly unsaturated fats that help reduce your risk of heart disease. It does not increase your cholesterol level- in fact, almonds can lower total and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, as confirmed by one study which shows that a 73g serve of almonds each day reduced LDL cholesterol by almost 10% while 37g (a handful) reduced by around 5%.


Almond. Nuts For Life.

Strahan ™. Nuts for cardiovascular protection. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(suppl):S33

%d bloggers like this: