The shoulders and the hips tie the arms and the legs to your body, don’t you think?

But in order to function properly, a knot cannot be too loose. It comes undone and your shoe comes off, or it’s too tight, and you can’t untie it to even get your shoe off. In order to have a functioning knot you must have a perfect balance of strength and flexibility.

We must be like flexible steel. It’s strong like no other, a force to be reckoned with. And flexible steel bends, but does not break.

And the most flexible steel I will try to get is in my hips and shoulders. The points where those knots really work their magic. Because I’ll always get a very big bang for my buck if I can make even small improvements in these key areas.

And then there’s the bow tie of those knots. My thoracic spine or tspine. Not over tight, never over flexible (tho I’m sure there just be people out there who are?!). Any gains I can make here come from those shoulder and hip knots. They’ll inevitably get tighter or stronger than each other as life happens but through mobility practice daily I can take them all through their motions and in doing so free up one of all of our postural, structural, emotional holding body parts, the tspine. Then I can truly breathe easy: my lungs are right underneath right?!

Tight muscles are not functional on the outside and especially not on the inside of our body. Mobile muscles are both strong and flexible: resilient for helping us help ourselves through each day no matter which way it turn.

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, patted dry
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients except choc chips which you can mid in once combined. Pour into muffin tins and cook at 350f/180c for 20-22min or until knife comes out clean. Yum

(Zucchini) Jaffa muffins
Print Recipe
(Zucchini) Jaffa muffins
Print Recipe
Share this Recipe
 
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Observing others is a big step towards becoming more conscious of your own movement habits. That’s gotta be one of the biggest perks of the job as a movement teacher: that you get to keep learning every session. And you can be too. Obviously you don’t want to be the suspect perv who’s obviously leering at people from afar… But try to subtly be more mindful of the people around you, and how they move. How they breathe, how the walk, how they hold their posture and how it changes with motion (& emotion!).

I can’t help but notice how people move. I have always wanted to become stronger, faster, climb big mountains, run huge distances, flip and cartwheel, jump high, limbo low, surf, skate, ski, play tennis, soccer, dance. But like so many similarly sporting insatiables before me I eventually became involved in teaching my own movement classes. I want to see the moment others see what it feels like to really move and that when you can, you can move even more. And you’re free!

I have watched clients begin their movement journey rolling, crawling on their elbows or hands and knees, or on their backs no hands or feet at all and not doing anything for them except describing what it might feel like and seeing them click. I’ve overheard them telling friends about a class they did ‘doing things that look like you should be able to do them really easily that turned out in fact to be really hard’. What one guy could blast through, another could even get his body to the ground to even begin. What a guy should’ve been able to do and couldn’t yet his office compatriot smoked him and she didn’t even try.

Our bodies are made to move but somewhere along the way we get ‘set in our ways’. Maybe that’s getting really into one sport (or just getting good at sitting!).

Climbers for instance seem to have shoulders that belong on people four times their age, rolled forward, heads carried forward with them, and hands that should’ve rested on the side of their thighs on the fronts and almost turning inwards!

Surfers are similar to climbers because of a similar overarm reach and strength to paddle, add in tight neck and middle back from lifting to surf and then under or over use of their low back to try make up for what their paddling posture can no longer get them doing.

Actually that’s not fair cos the posture is common to most of us. Forward head, rounded shoulders, caved chest and tight neck and mid back and just sore low back (& mostly dysfunctional abs).

It’s interesting (and in some ways quite sad) to see how movement capacity deteriorates – from the toddler with unlimited potential, to people in their 30s and 40s starting to hunch and feel the aches and pains, all the way up to those of us that have all but curled up like prawns.

But what’s even more interesting is that more and more I’m seeing people bursting out of their skins to move, climb, skate, bounce and flip everywhere I go and it really makes me smile.

What body shape are you? Which will you be next?

I think I am now in the business of freedom. That sounds like a grand sweeping statement and if you know me I’m pretty humble even by humble standards.

But coming home to Australia I have met with a lot of clients I’d trained before I’d left (tho I still see a lot of them too which I love!). One group still meets up and trains together using old (and new online) sessions we did, another has an in house fitness offering as standard. One guy now does world masters triathlons, another is bucket-listing travel she dreamed about in her forties, and a now retired couple are taking their kids and grandkids around the circuit they’ve set up around their farm home. I’m a pig in mud.

Because what started with freeing people up from their rib cages, helping them rediscover a posture other than the one their body is melding towards (the one that fits a chair) and my favorite, confidence building, helping people help themselves to their health, curiosity, exploration and potential longevity, truly is right now as I write this. I count these stories as some of the biggest things I have achieved. And they give me the warm and fuzzies for sure.

Because I think we should all begin working on the user manual to our own machinery. And I’m not saying that I have all the answers, cos you do. I’ve just helped some pretty cool people committed to exactly that find their own way there.

What I do offer I have fought against for a long time. I’ve dabbled. In so much. Gymnastics. Dance. Climbing competition and teaching. Fitness and personal training. Holistic life style coaching. Chek practitioning. Massage therapy. Yoga practice and teaching. Functional movement. Natural movement. Movement nutrition and biomechanics. Nutritional therapy. Mobility exploration and flow. And I say dabbled because I feel in the fitness industry especially we tend to specialize. But I never want to stop learning new things and broadening that offering. Of generalization. Because I am proudly a jack of all trades, master of none, which I feel makes perfect sense if we are talking about exercise and longevity.

In society, we admire the specialists who dedicate insane amounts of time and effort perfecting a practice but in the long run, it’s just not sustainable. After a period of time, the highly specialized body starts to suffer from extreme specialization, just as the sedentary body specializes in doing very little: they both get too good at that one thing and things begin to break.

A study from the University of Oxfordmeasured how white matter changes while someone learns a new motor skill like juggling. After 6 weeks, they found that white matter increased almost 6%. But what’s more interesting is that this increase is not strongly correlated with the performance but correlated with the amount of time spent training.

So I think it’s safe to say that learning new things and trying lots of things is a worthwhile endeavour, not just for your body but for your mind too. Yours and mine! Join me in taking your first steps into becoming your own teacher, beginning working on the user manual to your own machinery and move because you can, for as long as you.

1¼ cups almond flour
5 tbsp ground psyllium husk powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1¼ cups boiling water
3 egg whites

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another then combine. It should resemble dough (if not add small amounts more almond flour). Wet your hands and make 10 small rolls. Bake at 350f/180c for 45min. 😋 

Gluten free bread rolls
Print Recipe
Gluten free bread rolls
Print Recipe
Share this Recipe
 
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

In 2019, just getting people moving is not enough. Humans evolve. Fitness has too. I feel like it’s my job to unearth that story in each of us.

I’ve never really understood why we insist on doing what everyone else is doing given we’re all different. If we do what everyone else is, what we think we should, what we hear is the latest corrective, class, fat burner workout, there’s a pretty hit-and-miss-chance we’ll get near what we need? Good enough for you? Not me!

Not only do we all have different personalities, different goals, and different styles, but physically, we all obviously have different appearances. Tall or short…curvy or lean and different genetic and cultural traits. It is not hard to “figure” out that we come in figures of all shapes and sizes. Just take a look around you! Everybody is different…and every BODY is DIFFERENT.

Even if everyone started eating the same things and did the same amount of exercise for a whole year, we would not all look the same at the end of the year. This is because each person’s genetic inheritance influences their bone structure, body size, shape, and weight differently.

Because it seems we’ve decided that the way we look or the numbers on a scale is our ‘ideal’. If there is such a thing or if it’s attainable maybe that’s more when you feel strongest and your most energetic and you lead a healthy, normal life. You are not too tired, too easily frustrated, too anxious or angry, and you have the energy to talk to your friends, participate in movement for its own sake to feel even better, and concentrate on your work.

My physical appearance does not define me or my ability to be my best self. Being skinny doesn’t mean I’m healthy. Having abs for a picture doesn’t make me fulfilled. Do your looks all resolve with how you look and numbers on a scale? Charts, formulas, and tables cannot dictate what’s ‘ideal’ for me.

Yet my physical ability has become a way for me to explore and experiment what I can do, unlimit my beliefs, set baselines for where I’m at and benchmarks for where I could go. Because my body’s structures are unique to me. My tissue quality. Coordination. Strength. My confidence. There is no one me-er than me! So it’s my job to look and listen to what I need, don’t you think?

Luckily I’ve also years of education, practice thru clients and ever increasing years practicing on myself! I always start with educating and layering progression (and regression if needed, esp with injury but also with restarts) to create more awareness. From there we can understand the principles and apply it to a process appropriate to each of us as unique as we are. It’s like storytelling for everyone I meet. And I love it.

So June is upon us and our hanging challenge begins. It’s winter here in Australia and everyone is hunching their shoulders, contracting their muscles every way to stay warm as it descends on us pretty quickly after such a long warm summer.

Today is day two, but it’s never too late to join in! The goal is to hang for a cumulative time of 5min a day for 30days. Why? To improve spine and shoulder health by decompressing vertebrae, strengthening grip and letting gravity do the work of opening up your shoulders and hips.

As our name suggests, at Fitbynature we feel the need to move more and to implement it into our daily lives. We’re not a fan of the pure fitness approach of ‘training it’; we prefer the ‘move it’ approach any day of the week. And that goes most for hanging, especially from our arms.

Hanging should be brought back into fitness and daily movement fashion. I wonder if we implement hanging work throughout our lives, from young age and into old age and without taking too large of a break what would be the results over the now lost ‘overhead reach’ range and shoulder injury rates. I suspect we would have little need to ‘stretch our shoulders’ any further. Of course shoulder integrity, elbow and wrist/hand/finger health can benefit tremendously from daily hanging as well.

By simply allowing gravity to ‘do its thing’ in the passive hanging work or ‘fighting it’ in the active hanging work – we can send a very intense adaptation producing signal into all our structures. Like standing is for walking, hanging sits as a prerequisite for so many movements like climbing and pulling. A deficiency in hanging work will become evident at a certain stage – some get stuck early unable to develop even a single chin up (a very common female problem).

Already in to day two of the challenge, I’m finding opportunities for hanging, rather than feeling I am limited because I’ve no chin up bar. Trees, kids park equipment, door frames and skirting boards, fencing. We do also have a chin-up / pull-up bar set up in our house, encouraging hanging every walk through. If you can’t do the same, set up anchor points in and near your home – a closed door on two tea towels (taking care they’re secure on that closed door), from your ceiling (or your office one), in your garage, a nearby park not too far to incorporate into your daily healthy spine needs. By having it readily available, your children, loved ones or fellow office workers may join in. And you’ll all realise you don’t need to go to the gym to do fo your daily hanging, your daily spinal health check (remembering each vertebrae of your spine each has different nerves from different organs)!

I am hoping by asking you to join in this challenge that you too will see the amazing benefits (we’re already feeling them in day two!) but also that we need to see hanging appear in our daily lives – spread out and practiced shortly but often, and shift so much of our movement into a paradigm of – ‘I am not training’ but ‘I am moving’ – all the time.

First things first – install some anchor points. Do it now. And start your hanging challenge. Do that now too.

We get two sets of teeth, our skin sheds, our cells regenerate, our nails regrow but we only get one set of feet. Yet they’re furthest from our eyes which means they’re also often furthest from our mind. Here’s why repairing your feet now is such a big deal. 
The foot is the platform for your entire body: the muscles have to be strong enough to keep your entire body moving as smoothly as possible. The current state of your feet is the future projection of how well you will be able to move as you get older. 

Our foot is made up of twenty-five percent of the body’s bones and muscles and have the potential to deform subtlety, sending valuable information to the body’s center of mass (located in the pelvis). The tiny stretches in between every one of each foot’s twenty-six bones are a gold mine of proprioception that allow the pelvis to make three-dimensional positional adjustments based on these tiny movements. Simply, your low back pain could be a better foot strike away!

Optimal foot health, however, has been compromised by the use of footwear over our lifetime. The limitations footwear places on motion of the foot (along with motion of the ankle, knee, hip and sacrum) are not equal across all types of shoes. The healthiest footwear is one that interferes little with your natural body movements. Barefoot is best but, like any health protocol, we need to take our time getting back there: little steps at a time has never been so punny and so true. 

Before you go baring it all, keep in mind the supporting structures of the feet have been, for the most part, inert for the bulk of your life. Loading fresh arches on long walks after removing a lifetime of support can stress and strain tissues. It is important to think about building strength in the musculature of the feet just as we would with any other part of our body. Start with smaller doses of barefoot walking and make sure you do lots of foot stretching in between walking sessions. Pamper your feet, which will help them be happier as they cart you around: A coconut oil foot massage and nontoxic pedicure can be a mini-vacation. 

Try some of these:

1. Trace your foot and put the pic next to your shoe

– How does your foot-shape compare to your shoe shape?

– How do you think this affects your feet?

– try some of the exercises below and redo the drawing next month and see how much you can change your foot shape thru movement!

2. Write your name with your foot. Ok now left footed!

There are two types of nerves in the feet: motor (those that tell the toes and feet to move) and sensory (those that the toes and feet feel the environment with). Let’s test each:

3. Test the motor nerves: Starting in standing position, have them see if they can:

– Lift your big toe by itself.

– Lift each other toe by itself.

– Spread the toes away from each other.

– Spread the toes away from each other without lifting them off the ground 

4. Test the sensory nerves: Sensory nerves measure environmental factors like temperature and surface textures. Many people expose their feet ONLY to the sensation of socks, the same pair of shoes, and the flat surfaces inside their home. How can we remedy this? 

– Create an indoor texture box or a clean space in your yard for texture walking. A cobblestone mat works too

– Collect items from around the house with various texture, like a washcloth, sandpaper, a toothbrush (of some unlucky person), some pebbles of various sizes, a set of silverware (to be washed before putting back, especially if you have me over for dinner), an ice cube and something warm. You’ll also need a blindfold. Can you guess?

Let’s just keep getting outta our shoes and into our feet.

We prioritize a bikini body in spring in preparation for summer, but just as important in autumn is prioritising rest, whole body movement, as well as nutrient dense and seasonal produce for managing our energy levels as the seasons change for winter

1. We need more sleep in winter months. Give yourself permission. 

Our body wants more sleep in the cooler seasons. The first has to do with less light and our natural sleep hormone production. The lack of natural light in autumn and winter suppresses the release of melatonin, the hormone that tells our body it’s time to get ready for sleep

In summer, when sunset is later, our melatonin signals come later. Going to bed later is our bodies natural response to light cues. But because nightfall is earlier in winter, and there is less light overall, we are genuinely more tired earlier in the dayGoing to bed earlier is our bodies natural response to light cues. 

And should be our response too! More often than not, at this time of year, you may find yourself wanting to burrow under your covers. Yet a lot of us don’t. We push through with our exercise regimes, waking up at 5.30 am for that boot camp forfeiting that extra hour of sleepThis may be negatively impacting your health more than you realise. And I’m a fitness trainer saying this 🤣 but I firmly believe in it. It’s health and fitness in that order! If your natural instinct is to keep charging through your routine the next time you feel low on energy, give yourself permission to sleep.

2. Our movement patterns change with the changing light but we too can go with the flow 

Our movement patterns change when it is dark, cold or raining. It’s harder to motivate yourself to get outside and exercise. This often means we are more sedentary in the cooler months.

Which affects our energy because the benefits of movement extend far beyond weight loss and movement:  it’s important for full activation of our lymphatic system to help the body’s detox pathways, healthy body systems critical for mood balancing and increased insulin sensitivity. 

If you struggle to include daily movement of any sort as the season’s change, find a form of indoor exercise you like or you can even do a little home yoga or workout session. I love to string 2-3 mobility exercises together with interesting transitions and try and ‘flow’ then 3-5 times thru. Try adding music and keep up with the rhythm. 

3. Up your warning, nutrient and digestive density in winter foods 
Did you top up your vitamin D this past summer? Vitamin D controls the DNA of our cells and helps control belly fat through the role of insulin. It plays a key role in the production of pancreatic enzymes and controls the level of calcium in the blood and bone.

We absorb vitamin D from the sun through our skin. However few of us realise that this can only happen, in summer, during the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. This is because the UVB sun rays are only effective in penetrating the atmosphere and our skin’s thickest layer when the sun is at its highest strength.

So as the seasons change it’s important to get enough:

– Vitamin D from food sources such as sardines, mackerel, egg yolks and organic pork lard

– Try to include warming spices and herbs such as garlic and ginger which both have proven medicinal qualities.

– Include slow cooked means and steamed vegetables in your diet – as opposed to salads – to give your digestive system a break. My favourite way to eat seasonal produce is to saute them in bone broth.

Bone broth contains healing compounds such as glutamine, collagen, proline, glycine and gelatin. These are essential amino acids and trace minerals that work within the intestines to help seal the gutThey’re easily absorbed, allowing them to provide cells with the direct building blocks needed to heal the gut lining.

Easily digestible and very soothing, bone broth is also great for bone health, your skin and also helps support the immune systemHere’s my favourite bone broth recipe.


The changing weather conditions affect more than our routine outdoor time and activities — it actually disrupts some of our body’s natural processes too. Take the time to slow down and check in, up your nutrient density and digestive strength and listen to the earlier waning sun and chill out this winter for long term nourishing health. 

  • 2 1/2 cups macadamia milk
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup pistachios
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  1. Pour the mixture into a loaf pan, top with extra chopped pistachios, and freeze overnight.
  2. Slice with a not knife and serve
  3. Or let thaw for 10-15 minutes until soft enough to scoop.
  4. Or if you want it SUPER creamy, break into chunks and re-blend until smooth
Pistachio avocado (n)ice cream
Print Recipe
Pistachio avocado (n)ice cream
Print Recipe
Share this Recipe
 
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe