hether you’re a mom taking care of your family or a highpowered career professional, each of us faces the complex challenge of having more and more demands made on our time. Even schoolgoing children today have schedules that adults would find gruelling.

All of us to a certain extent chase the need to fulfill certain societal expectations at all costs. Whether it’s being the perfect mom, the superstar at work or a distinction achieving over-achiever, we all feel the pressure to achieve and excel at life. Worryingly though, this constant pursuit which places these demands on us doesn’t factor in the downtime – and more importantly,quality sleep that we need have to be able to face daily life.

In her groundbreaking book The Sleep Revolution, editor and founder of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington says after collapsing from exhaustion in 2007, she began her crusade to educate people about the importance of sleep.

“We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, and this has profound consequences on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness,” Huffington says. What is needed, she boldly asserts, is nothing short of a sleep revolution. “Only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.”

Mariza van Wyk, a research neuropsychologist at the Constantia Sleep Centre, says: “Sleep is not only essential for maintaining physical health, it is also important for optimal cognitive functioning and emotional wellbeing. All aspects of life are affected when we are sleep-deprived. Lack of sleep results in lack of concentration and memory difficulties, which will affect work performance, and may also result in irritability and low moods, which might affect inter-personal relationships.”

Van Wyk notes that as human beings living in a modern world we have become so used to taking sleep for granted that we don’t even know its benefits.

“Sleep restores homeostasis to the body and brain through various processes, for example cell reparation and removing waste products,” says van Wyk.

So a fair question to ask is how much sleep do we need to avoid the above mentioned potential effects of sleep deprivation?


Van Wyk says: “Seven to eight hours of sleep should suffice for most individuals. Teenagers typically need more than eight hours, and older adults typically sleep less than eight hours. With proper planning this is not only achievable but worth implementing.

“If the benefits of sleep are things like achieving higher creativity, lower stress levels, a healthy weight, and lower inflammation levels which stave off things like premature aging, diabetes, stroke and arthritis then this is a movement and band wagon we should be scrambling to get on,” Van Wyk says.



Why should you get it?

The saying goes: you are what you eat. Our choices in food are one of the most important aspects to maintaining our health and this is where this app comes in handy. This clever app was created by The Livestrong foundation and delivers one of the most user-friendly ways to keep track of the food you’re eating. Myplate calorie counter has a database of more than two million foods and can tell you which ones you consume has the highest calories. It provides you with your ideal daily calorie intake while also allowing you to create custom meals. Best of all the app also connects you to a community of people who are also on a weight-loss journey and who can be valuable support.

Why should you get it?

If you’re a runner or cyclist, this is the perfect road companion for you. Strava loads the times clocked by all people who use the app and then allows you to compare your times with other users.This app is really great for competitive personalities who are motivated by what other people are doing.

Why should you download it?

By allowing you to donate $0.21 for each mile you clock while running, this app will give a new kind of purpose to your workout. The app has 37 charities available on its platform and donating towards a worthy cause is as easy as selecting your workout, the charity you are contributing toward and hitting the road. The only downside with this app is that it only currently lists US-based charities such as Habitat for Humanity and the World Wildlife Fund. Hopefully it will reach SA shores soon because we could all be doing some good while getting healthy.

Why should you get it?

Most of us believe that if we were to have expert help in our workout routines we would achieve better results. While this is true, most of us either find the cost of expert help unaffordable or can’t find a trainer whose schedule is flexible enough to fit our hectic schedule. The Gym Trainer app is the personal trainer in your pocket who puts workouts from experts in the palm of your hand. The app also offers workouts tailored to the goal that you are trying to achieve with your workout. Busy moms and hard-working professionals will particularly enjoy this access to personal raining at the tap of a button.

Why should you get it?

A healthy body and a healthy mind make a formidable combination and the Calm app will teach you how to meditate through its guided meditation sessions that last three, five, 10,15, 20 and 25 minutes. Psychology Today magazine lists some of the benefits of meditation as stress reduction and boosting happiness and health through improving immune function. The app also offers relaxing music to play at bedtime to ensure that you can really get a good night’s sleep.

Why should you download it?

Music is one of the best workout motivators. The FitRadio app gets the music going while helping to get your fitness and health levels up. It provides you with playlists for all types of workouts from running to cycling to weight training sets. The app is so savvy that it can even match the music to your pace so you hit the right note with every step. Last but not least, it also offers you the option to get the perfect playlist and a coach through the workout.

Why should you download it?

Working out at home is one of the best ways to ensure that you stick to your fitness goals and this app will help you get the best workout right in the comfort of your living room. The work-out app provides fitness and exercise routines that are all performed without any gym equipment and are recorded by fitness experts in a home setting.


says: “Seven to eight hours of sleep should suffice for most individuals. Teenagers typically need more than eight hours, and older adults typically sleep less than eight hours. With proper planning this is not only achievable but worth implementing.

“If the benefits of sleep are things like achieving higher creativity, lower stress levels, a healthy weight, and lower inflammation levels which stave off things like premature aging, diabetes, stroke and arthritis then this is a movement and band wagon we should be scrambling to get on,” Van Wyk says.


Fitbit Ionic and Fitbit Charge 2


Even though the Fitbit is commonly known for tracking workout stats like how many steps you’ve taken in a given day this device can also give you access to groups of motivating likeminded athletes. It offers various virtual communities you can join, all with varying interests from running to hiking to yoga and more.
PUREPULSE® HEART RATE: Continuous, automatic, wristbased heart rate tracking without an uncomfortable chest strap.
ALL-DAY ACTIVITY TRACKING: Track steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and hourly activity.
AUTO SLEEP TRACKING: Automatically track how long and how well you sleep and set a silent vibrating alarm.
MULTI-SPORT TRACKING: Easily record runs, biking, weights and more with real-time stats on display.


f you’re keen to try a new type of workout this year, consider putting boxercise on your workout schedule. You don’t need to be a Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao to enjoy boxing and the benefits that come along with it. All you need are gloves, a boxing bag and in no time after sweating it out you can whittle off inches through boxing.

This fat-burning cardio workout was started in the ’90s by UK boxing coach Andy Wake, who runs what is claimed to be the world’s number one fitness boxing course.

Boxercise is a high intensity interval training (HIIT), which makes use of training techniques from traditional boxing – and it has taken the fitness world by storm. Grant Sutherland, owner of Jab Boxing club based in Fountainbleau, Johannesburg, says: “Boxercise is a derivative of boxing, incorporating the skills, aggressive and defensive techniques of boxing into different fitness-training regimes and circuits. Though strongly related to boxing, Boxercise is typically a non-contact (no competitive fighting), fitness and core sport/training.”

Boxercise’s increased popularity has been driven by various factors – one is the increase in attention it has gained from highly publicised fights like the Mayweather vs Pacquiao bouts and people’s increased appetite for new forms of workouts. Grant explains that boxing “has always been a popular sport, more so internationally. An increased spotlight on boxing, MMA and competitive fighting has increased the attention on the sport.

“More and more people want to find an alternative to the mundanity of the standard gym and club environment, where many members are more concerned about the mirror than the actual training,” says Grant. “Once the bug has bitten you, it becomes a necessity to one’s everyday life. The endorphins, the results, the feeling of exertion, the discipline,the release of tension are all among the large list of reasons to participate.”

Although boxercise can be enjoyed by all types of people of all fitness levels, the people who really enjoy this sport all share a desire to challenge themselves. In his club, Grant has seen the benefits of this workout. “There is no fitness like boxing/boxcercise. On average between 800 to 1 100 calories are burnt per class (we have recorded this). As long as a person puts in the hours and the commitment, the results will show – whether it’s for fitness only or boxing skill. One of our most committed members lost 27kg in the span of five months,” adds Grant.

According to London-based boxing coach and former British and European boxing champion Clinton McKenzie as quoted in The Guardian newspaper: “A typical Boxcercise session class can take a variety of formats, but a typical one may involve shadow-boxing, skipping, hitting pads, kicking punchbags, pressups, shuttle-runs and sit-ups. Most boxercise classes are aimed at men and women of all ages and fitness standards. As no class involves the physical hitting of an opponent, it is a fun, challenging and safe workout,”

The HITT workout-category that boxercise falls within is great for weight loss because it forces your body to use more muscles, achieve a higher heart rate and helping you burn more calories faster. Besides the great cardio, boxercise is also good for your core muscles and because it also engages all of the body’s muscle groups it will deliver that total body workout we aim for all in one go.


But it is important to note however the benefits of boxercise go beyond weightloss. These, according to Grant, also extend to personal wellbeing benefits such as its ability to boost self-confidence and discipline. The element of it being mentally challenging also results in selfempowering benefits. On a practical level it increases hand-eye coordination – but perhaps most importantly, because it’s a highly social sport, it presents a great opportunity to meet and engage with others.

Overall, with this type of exercise people can set and achieve their health and fitness goals. “Consistent training will help you achieve a greater level of stamina and endurance, not only for training but for everyday life as well. Increased stamina means increased energy, increased energy means the ability to work harder and concentrate better for longer.

“The combination of boxing/boxcercise with a weight training regime and healthy diet can help anyone achieve their weight and fitness goals, of that I have no doubt,” says Grant.

JAB boxing and fitness club, Unit 17, 84 Maria Street, Fontainebleau,Fountaingate Centre






Rebounding as a discipline has been in SA for about 10 years. I first came across it about six years ago while interviewing local rebounding experts, Justine and Keith McFarlane, for a TV show I was presenting and producing. While I have had a rebounder in my house since then and used it on and off, it was only at the end of last year after having a baby that I really experienced the benefits of rebounding firsthand, and decided to create my own products and workouts.


At the moment we are a one-trick pony, because the rebounder is really all you need! In the future, we will be bringing you the T-bar – a support structure for beginners or for more versatile training – as well as a rebounding case and possibly a kiddie’s rebounder, but the rebounder is really the hero here. I’m a firm believer in holistic health, though, and we will be launching a number of wellness programmes early next year that complement the rebounder workouts impressively. The Elimin8 Programme will be launching in January next year, and is a 10-day cleanse that supports the body’s natural detoxing processes, helping you regain energy, identify unhealthy food habits, incorporate more wholesome foods into your diet, allow the body time to function at its best and hopefully assist you in losing weight too, if you need to. Since rebounding offers such powerful support with lymphatic drainage, releasing excess water and tackling cellulite – a cleanse like Elimin8 is a perfect hand-in-hand programme to supplement it. My women-specific My Body Back Programme will also be launching early next year – helping moms regain their bodies safely and sustainably after birth. That will be followed shortly by The Belly Book, which is a unisex, universal guide to tackling the dreaded belly fat once and for all.


The beauty of rebounding is that it is universal. Men and women, kids, beginners, those with injuries, those who are overweight, the elderly, those suffering with arthritis, osteoporosis or other chronic illness – or the super fit and active too – will all benefit from exercising on a rebounder.


This is such a versatile exercise. Rebounding can be done as a full cardio workout, part of a circuit, a HIIT workout, with light weights, and can be used in big gyms, at home or outside. When you purchase a Lisa Raleigh rebounder, you’ll also get four free workouts to try out, so you can see for yourself what works best for you.


Off the bat, it is a more effective per minute than most other forms of cardio. It promotes lymph drainage, reduces cellulite, increases your heart rate, tones the whole body – even the skin, provides resistance without impact, repairs tissue and boosts circulation. Moms will rebuild deep core strength and Kegel muscles. Even five minutes on a rebounder provides impressive health benefits!

People interested in purchasing a LR rebounder and the supplementary workouts can e-mail or purchase it on her website’s estore.

Twitter: @lisaraleighSA

FB: Lisa Raleigh
IG: lisaraleigh


ugar is a crystalline carbohydrate of which there are various types like sucrose, glucose and lactose.

According to Medical News Today, an every day tablespoon of sugar consists of sucrose and milk lactose and fruit and vegetables contains fructose.The pervasiveness of sugar is what makes controlling consumption of sugar, which can be harmful when consumed excessively, quite challenging.As humans living in an information age where almost every single answer is a Google click away, we all have access to even the most intricate details of the negative effects that consuming sugar can have on our bodies.

This knowledge has in part contributed to the massive opposition against sugar consumption and made the mere mention of the word sugar almost shameful. It was not long that we all debated issues about salt and how it affects our health.>Just as in the case of salt, the consumption of sugar is a complex issue and the conundrum is how we can avoid a substance that is in almost everything.

This makes the quest for a sugarless life somewhat challenging, even unrealistic.Cara Ronquest, a dietician at Nathalie Mat Dietitians, explains: “It is not necessarily realistic to cut out all sugars especially the natural ones.However, it is realistic to reduce the overall amount of added sugar.” Still, the not-so-sweet truth is that sugar does have negative effects and how we consume it requires monitoring.

“The World Health Organisation has recommended that both children and adults of all ages should reduce their overall intake of free sugars. “Ideally free sugars should form less than 5 to 10% of one’s total daily energy intake. This is approximately 6 to 12 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Most sugar sweetened beverages achieve or exceed this recommendation easily,”adds Ronquest.

In the context of the above, the relevant question becomes: if we are bound to have some sugar in our diets, then how much is too much? And if we do consume it, is it necessary to feel the guilt now associated with it?

Thankfully for most of us who will always have those weak moments where we cannot guarantee that we will be able to say no to dessert on healthy diet cheat day Cara says: “I would not recommend that one cuts out all food sources that contain natural sugars, especially fruit, vegetables and unsweetened milk and yoghurt. “These foods contain natural sugars while providing the overall diet with fibre, vitamins and minerals.”

Whether you believe the movement to go sugarless is something we must all be a part or that it’s a fleeting trend that everyone feels pressured to join, the rise of this movement has definitely had its positive effects on society.

The most important of these effects is perhaps that we are now constantly aware of sugar and how much we used to consume and encouraged us to debate how we could reduce consumption in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.Cara recommends that we at least start by “reducing the total amount of free sugars added by limiting the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages or the amount of sugar added to hot beverages.

“Ideally, the total amount of sweetener used from sugar or artificial sweeteners should be reduced over time”, Says Cara. One could also reduce the intake of processed foods and replace these with more natural foods such as wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, she adds.

The Association for Dietetics South Africa (ADSA) also recommends limiting the overall intake of sugary drinks. They highlight that one should be reading food labels to look for clues of added sugars, most commonly corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fructose, treacle, molasses or fruit juice concentrate. When it comes to fruit they suggest, eating fresh fruit rather than consuming juice as nutrients are often lost in the juicing process.

They also point to choosing minimally processed foods and drink such as milk and natural honey. Last but not least they advise that we make our own sauces as opposed to using pre-packaged sauces and condiments which contain a lot of sugar.


here are often varied personal reasons that make people choose to eat less meat, but top among these are ethical reasons, the environment or maybe the health benefits.
The latter includes weight loss, lower blood pressure and less chances of developing heart disease and strokes.
If you’re yearning for a lower meat lifestyle let’s help you get settled into the lifestyle.


“Flexitarians” enjoy the
benefits which come with going
meatless but they’re not entirely
ready to commit to a life without
meat. They eat a mostly plantbased
diet, but also eat meat,
poultry and fish now and then.
Pesci-vegetarians don’t eat
meat or poultry, but do eat fish,
dairy and eggs.
There are many types of
vegetarians. Vegans don’t eat any
animal products or processed
foods with ingredients that come
from animals.
In lacto-ovo vegetarianism,
which is the most popular type
of vegetarianism, you don’t
eat meat, poultry and fish, but
do incorporate eggs and dairy
products into your diet.




Fill your basket with the
ingredients for the type of
vegetarianism which appeals the
most to you.
Generally speaking though,
meat is a major source of protein
that we need to maintain good
A lower meat diet needs to be
supplemented with plant-based
proteins such as nuts, lentils,
beans, legumes, vegetables and
The good news is these
actually often have even higher
levels of protein than meat. There
are also a wide range of tasty
alternatives now available.






To lessen the shock to your
system consider having a meatfree
day in your lifestyle.
This will help you see that
this change doesn’t have to be
daunting and over time as you
gradually increase the meat free
days, you’ll get your palate used to
the absence of meat.











When eating less meat we
mostly manage to get the same
amount of vitamins from nonmeat
sources but, there’s still a
case for ensuring that you get
enough vitamin B12 and iodine.
This vitamin is important
for healthy brain and nervous
system function and is especially
important for vegetarians who
are vegan because it is a nutrient
which is only found in animal
Iodine on the other hand
is important for a healthy
metabolism and plant based diets
are often low in iodine.
Try to incorporate foods
like sea weed or take an
iodine supplement.





Visit your local library or
bookstore and get acquainted
with who some of the most
popular vegetarian chefs are so
you can read up on the type of
meals they whip up.
If the bookstore is too far,
use the net to find vegetarian
bloggers who are sure to be clued
up on some of the best vegetarian
recipes out there.


Keep your diet exciting by
trying out a new vegetarian meal
or recipe every week. This will
ensure you don’t feel like there
isn’t enough variety in your diet.






The reality is at one point or
another we all eat out with
friends and family where you may
be anxious about what to order
when everyone else is choosing
their meal. The good news is that
most restaurants nowadays offer
some type of vegetarian
meal option.




Read up on the best places to
shop for vegetarian products you
need, such as vegetarian staples
like grains, beans and nuts.
What’s great about these items
is that they can also be stored over
some time so you can buy them
in bulk.





shepi Sennelo is an ultramarathon runner who has done the Comrades marathon six times. She got into running when her personal trainer, who was also a runner, convinced her to take it up.
“I’d been going to the gym for a while and I wanted to do something new so I started running,” she says.

Her first ultra-marathon, the Old Mutual Om Die Dam, was gruelling because it was her official transition from a marathon to an ultra-marathon.
“You think that you can run a marathon fine, but the ultra goes from 42km to 50km and that extra eight kilometres is challenging to get used to.
“I started too fast because at the time I hadn’t mastered how to pace myself. At 30km my legs were literally done, but I still had 20km to go.
“I didn’t give up even with sharp pain in my legs.” Om Die Dam helped build her running confidence and ultimately lead her to her doing her first Comrades. “I saw that I could do this because I finished in six hours and 30 minutes, before the seven hour cut-off, even though I had literally walked the last 20km. This motivated me to ultimately do the Comrades marathon in 2011 for the first time.”

Leading up to Comrades she was anxious because people say it’s hard. The nerves lasted until the moment before the race started when she happened to have a conversation with a fellow runner which completely changed the way she saw the race.


“He asked if it was my first Comrades. He then told me to forget what everyone else had told me and just remember that I’ve got 12 hours to have fun and finish the race, make friends along the way and if those friends aren’t moving as fast as I want them to, then move on and find people who are moving at my pace. That calmed me down.

“I finished on 11h 57 with the floodlights on with a crowd cheering. My most recent and sixth marathon I did in 10h 37.”

On average Tshepi does four 15km runs a week. Running helps her unpack life’s stuff. “I love that when I run I leave all my issues on the road. It also helps me focus,” adds Tshepi.

Jason von Berg is an ultradistance triathlete who was convinced by his friends to enter a triathlon. “As someone who has always enjoyed exercising, this was the perfect excuse to commit. I trained pretty hard for the race, it’s just in my nature to go all in. A week before the race, my dear friends decided they weren’t ready, but I wanted to prove to myself that I was and that I could do it. I kept my entry and participated in my first sprint distance triathlon, which was amazing, challenging and exactly what I was after in terms of fitness. In a similar manner to running, the more comfortable you get with the training, the more you challenge yourself by pushing more distance. So in the triathlon sense, I went from sprint to Olympic distance and in 2014, I did my first half Ironman in East London. It so happens to be the second most difficult 70.3 in the world, but I can say I’ve successfully completed it three times.”

It’s had a positive impact on the way he views health and fitness. “I know my body, I know what works and what doesn’t. I know where I can improve and I’m constantly working on that to get better and stronger. It’s a motivating factor, it keeps me fit, healthy and it’s a good break from work when necessary,” adds Jason. Being a triathlete also has a bearing on his nutrition which he views as the petrol to the car that is his body. “I try to eat clean as much as possible. That includes a high protein diet, with lots of vegetables and fruit. My go-to for training and race days is Futurelife and Enervit. I also try and drink as much water throughout the day as possible. I’m not a ‘carbophobe’, but rather I just watch the amount and type of carbs I consume.”


eaching your full potential in 2018 requires an inside out approach. Have you ever taken note that a lot of what we experience in our daily lives has its foundations inside of ourselves. Take for instance how when you’re feeling anxious inside everything around you begins to be stressful. Yet when you feel calm inside everything around you tends to appear calmer. In an article in Psychology Today author, speaker and educator Diana Raab, PhD, talks about the Buddhist principle of the “monkey mind” which refers to being unsettled or restless which we must overcome and quieten. According to Raab, “When considering how to quiet your mind, try to sit still for a minute and think about what calms you. Contemplate how you can incorporate these activities into your daily life. Even just a few minutes of a walking meditation or mindful breathing can bring you into the present moment. In addition to incorporating mindfulness into your day – even when standing in line at the bank – it’s wise to practice mindfulness before sitting down to write. My day always begins with meditation, sometimes even before I have my coffee. And then, sometimes I do a shorter meditation later in the afternoon to give me a boost of energy.”

Next on the list should be getting your diet right because when we eat well, our bodies tend to work that much better. More than just aiming to get onto a diet, the aim should be to make healthy eating a lifestyle.

According to the World Health Organization, “Consuming a healthy diet throughout the lifecourse helps prevent malnutrition in all its forms as well as a range of diseases and conditions. The exact make-up of a diversified, balanced and healthy diet will vary depending on individual needs (e.g. age, gender, lifestyle, degree of physical activity), cultural context, locally available foods and dietary customs. But basic principles of what constitute a healthy diet remain the same”.

A healthy diet should be complimented with a great fitness routine. If you enjoy a high impact workout go for high impact options like running cycling or HITT. If this isn’t your cup of tea try less intense forms of working out like yoga or swimming that achieve similar health benefits for your body. Keep in mind though that the most important consideration when choosing your fitness routine is to go for activities and routines that you enjoy and are more likely to stick to.

Last but not least should be taking time out to self-care. Whether you do it through sleeping more, having more manicures or taking time out to read books, the importance of taking care of ourselves, this one and only vehicle, which we have to navigate through our lives cannot be stressed enough.

TheCitizen TheCitizen