We all need a Miyagi to stay strong, focused…I’ll share mine with you!

Exercise – work – eat – run – sleep – fly – hens: eat, sing, dance – work – run – fly – wedding: eat, sing, dance – repeat!

Let’s be clear, I’m not complaining! This period of madness is exciting, uplifting and challenging – autopilot has kicked in and I’m in for the long haul!

A couple of months ago, I embarked on training for a half marathon…my maiden halfa! But…love (and stork) came to town and I’ve had two of my close girlfriends’ hens and weddings and my sister-in-law’s baby shower all in this last month before race day – my training efforts are being successfully (enjoyably) hamstrung!

But these are the occasions that reward you the most! Two amazing girls farewelling their bachelorette ways and saying ‘I do’ to their knights in shining armour, and celebrating the impending birth of my first niece or nephew!

All the runs in the world cannot replace the joy that these events bring – these are the occasions that give you balance, reverence.

So now, more than ever, fitness and good food (minimal booze…I’ll try) will see me through to race day and get me ready for the warmer months – boy do I need a kick in the tush to ramp up my fitness efforts!

And do I have just the man, Michael Tsigolis (or as I like to refer to him as, Mr Miyagi), FitnessFirst Personal Trainer and Manager, to help challenge our nutrition mindset, moves to shift some post-winter-comfort-food-hugging and tips to motivate and reenergise our fitness routines for whatever your goal!

“Don’t let your fear kick in your excuses. Stay positive and focused and you will have your reward once you’ve positioned yourself in line with your vision!”

Having previously trained with Michael, I know this man coaches to get results and practices what he preaches!

So here, for MWG readers, are Michael's insights!

Let’s start with the basics, how will you achieve the body you want?

What is the single most important element in achieving your physical goals?

Drive. Want.

It’s when your vision and the image you see for yourself goes from being a dream or a want to a must!

We all live busy lives so achieving your goals will require you to set aside time for your training into your weekly schedule.

This should eliminate excuses.

There are basic principles to all program designs for training and one of the most significant is periodization, meaning taking how you are training now and making it harder usually month to month so that there is a normal adaptation by your body to each program and hence development whether its fat loss or muscle tone or gain.

To keep it balanced and realistic, knowing most people can only allocate maybe four training sessions a week, your training should be a combination of resistance/weights and cardiovascular exercise, flexibility and adequate rest.

Cardio can be structured to 2 x interval training sessions and 1 x long slow distance session per week.

Interval meaning going slow to fast like jog to sprint at a rate of 2:1 or 1:1 for a total of 20 -30 minutes depending on your current fitness levels.

Long slow distance means go for a long walk or jog but for a time that exceeds 45 minutes or an hour, preferably an hour and a half.

Now for resistance training. Lets start with some rules first.

Most, if not all exercises, must be free weight (ie. dumbbells).

Compound exercises are a priority unless focusing on particular muscle groups.

Compound meaning exercises that involve more than one joint moving per exercise, hence more muscles being used per exercise, meaning more energy utilized by the body and a lot more functionality to relate to every day to day living.

Remember to progress program monthly, depending on your training age.

So a beginners program would look like this, considering we would like to have a full body workout per session and would incorporate compound exercises.

Day 1
    • Squats
    • Dumbbell bench press
    • Bent over row
    • Pronated grip wide Lat pull down
    • Shoulder press
    • Sit ups
    • Plank

    Day 2

      • Lunges
      • Incline dumbbell bench press
      • Seated row
      • Lateral raises
      • Supinated narrow grip lat pull down.
      • Leg Raises
      • Side bridge

    On my first day walking into the Sydney’s Bond Street FitnessFirst studio (a few years ago), Rockie’s anthem ‘Eye of the Tiger’ would not be out of place – I knew I was dead (wo)man walking! I thought I was relatively fit…ummm no! A lack of weights based training and any intense cardio saw my heart race, breath strangled and muscles bulged and flinch in agony…but what results! and life changing attitude towards health and fitness. Thanks Michael!

    OK, I’m off to run my halfa this Sunday! Good luck to everyone running this weekend! Keep me posted on your efforts!

    I’m making a list and checking it twice…

    I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I don’t make wild-life-changing-unattainable-sweeping-statements at the stroke of midnight on Dec 31.

    …I do that enough during the year!

    But rather, I prefer to set goals for the year ahead.

    Here’s my distinction, resolutions are promises that you make to yourself to start doing something different on the first day of the year. And this rings true, if you look into the history of New Year’s resolutions. Around 2000B.C. Babylonians held semi-annual festivals around the spring and autumn equinoxes. Back then, people marked the beginning of a New Year by paying off debts and returning borrowed goods. This practice carried over into Roman times with worshippers offering resolutions of good conduct to a double-faced deity named Janus, the god of beginnings and endings. When the Roman calendar was reformed, the first month of the year was renamed January in honour of Janus, establishing January 1 as the day of new beginnings.

    Goals, on the other hand, are ongoing, planned, strategic and requires discipline. Remember the ‘ol SMART principal, goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely, and there’s a lot more to do than just write them down! See link for guidance on each of the SMART principals.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, once wrote,

    “I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

    In heeding Fitzgerald’s words, on the eve of my 30th birthday last year, I made a very strong, personal resolution to change an aspect of my life. And, as I stepped through the door to my 30’s, I felt lighter (metaphorically speaking), happier, more powerful and determined and I can hand on heart say, over 12 months later, I’ve stayed true to that resolve.  So not all is bad with having a resolutions, the kicker is turning them into goals.

    Russell Brand, yes, I just made an outrageous leap from Fitzgerald to Brand but bear with me, talks in his latest clip,
    Time for a spiritual revolution about the power of humanity with the primary premise being, “we’re all one, all together, and every individuals rights need to be respected.” Now I’m not overly spiritual, but I feel there is some honesty and provoking truth to his messages, “we need to create a cultural narrative of love, unity and togetherness.”

    So as 2013 draws to a close, I want you to stop and think about your own life for a moment. Because, life is precious!
    From farewelling a close relative this year to seeing the purest euphoria on my brother’s face at the birth of his new son, it’s made me stop and think, what’s really important in my life? What makes me happy? Where’s my passion? What do I want to be known for? Where can I make a difference? What’s holding me back?

    As I reflect back on 2013, it’s been a year of discovery and learning.

    I can’t wait for 2014! Goals are set! It’s been a HUGE six months since launching MY{WEDDING}GUESTS…and I can’t wait to show you what I have in store for next year! Some tweaks to enhance your and your wedding guests’ MWG experience, more personal and wedding inspiration, amazingly talented suppliers, and theme daily alerts:

    • Motivational Monday  {start the week on a high with some inspiration from renowned business and life leaders}

    • I heart Tulles-day  {all things Tulle! I am obsessed}

    • Well-being Wednesday  {everything from health and fitness to philanthropy}

    • Trending Thursday  {what’s happening in the world of fashions, beauty, music}

    • Phew…Friday!  {the weekend in here! Where to head…bars and restaurants reviews, must do weekend activities}

    • “I do” Saturday  {all things weddings}

    • Jet-set Sunday  {ideas for holidays, wedding venues and destinations weddings, honeymoons, hen’s dos}

    So a big Christmas hug to you all! Have a wonderful break, stay safe, embrace your family and friends, and appreciate everything you have.

    You are unique and wonderful! Go get what you want!