Monthly Archives: March 2016

My dad used to love cinnamon buns and my hubby loves them too. They always seemed so hard to make though, but I have stumbled upon a really quick and easy recipe for delicious cinnamon buns! There are some fairly unhealthy ingredients here, so don't judge OK!

Ingredients & Equipment:

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250 m Castor Sugar
3 tablespoons of Powdered Cinnamon
400g ready rolled puff pastry
Margarine
Milk
Flour

Rolling pin
Measuring jug
Serrated knife
Baking paper
Baking tin

 

Method

Step 1: Set your oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Step 2: Sprinkle flour onto a clean flat surface, large enough for your puff pastry sheet to be rolled out on. Put the puff pastry onto the flour and roll it out a bit into a neat rectangle until it is about 2mm thick.

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Step 3: Rub a layer of margarine onto the pastry. You can use butter, but I am allergic to butter so I use margarine. Sprinkle a layer of castor sugar onto the butter and then coat with a layer of cinnamon.

 

Step 4: Carefully roll your puff pastry into a roll and then cut the roll with the serrated knife into 8-12 even pieces (less pieces means higher buns).

Step 5: Line the cake tin with baking paper and put the rolls you cut into the cake tin. They expand in the oven so you can leave a little bit of room between them.

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Step 6: Bake the buns for 25-30 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees Celcius. While the buns are baking, make your cinnamon icing by mixing half a cup of castor sugar, a tablespoon of cinnamon and a little bit of milk into a creamy paste. Make a second batch of white icing by mixing half a cup of castor sugar and a little bit of milk into a creamy paste.

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Step 7: Take your cinnamon buns out of the oven and while they are hot, pour the cinnamon icing over them. Then let them cool.

Step 8: once cooled, pour the white icing over the buns and serve.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and the cinnamon buns! Let me know if it worked for you!

Lots of love,

Elsabé

What is success? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, success is "a :  degree or measure of succeeding b :  favorable or desired outcome."

successEveryone wants to achieve something, be it to be fitter, healthier, smarter or whatever it is that we are working towards. The only way in which we know if we are getting any better at achieving our goals, is by measuring our progress against where we started from. It is the same for your fitness transformation journey. It is critical that you take your benchmark measurements before you start and then measure your progress at regular intervals. It is also important that your tools and techniques for measurement stay consistent, so that you get an accurate measurement of your progress.

There are a few things to consider in measuring your fitness progress:

1. Set a benchmark

Before you start your fitness journey, take all your measurements and record them. Do this without negative self talk, just try to be objective. This is your starting point and while you may not like what you see at the moment, you will be grateful that you will be able to see how far you have progressed in the future, because you recorded your benchmark now.

2. Use the right tools

The important tools you will need are a basic scale, a measuring tape and a bodyfat caliper. Most of these can be purchased from your pharmacy or sport equipment shop. You may have noticed that your weight can vary if you weigh on different scales. The key  is to consistently use the same scale in the same place to weigh yourself. Note your weight.

3. Use consistent measurement technique

This is what I call "the good stuff where the magic happens". With the emergence of more and more online transformation coaching services these days and the availability of internet resources, fitness clients are often expected to measure themselves. It is only on rare occasions that a physical training or fitness coach is available in person to assist. The measurements can be scary if you have never done these before, but don't worry - I will show you how.

First, a few important tips:

  • Measure each measurement in the same place every time. If you move the tape or caliper slightly up or down, you will not get consistent measurements.
  • Pull the measuring tape tight when measuring girths, but not so tight that it makes a fold into your skin.
  • Squeeze the caliper on the skin fold to take the measurement. It does pinch but you will know when the pinch is too severe.
  • It could help to measure in front of a mirror, or ask a family member or friend to help. Some of the measurements are difficult to do alone.
  • Measure on the right hand side of your body (except where you specifically have to measure left and right).
  • All measurements are to be done on relaxed muscles - do not flex the muscles while measuring!

Now for the good stuff. The following is a chart of female anatomy I found online, and which I marked up to show the skin fold and girth measurement sites. (Male progress measurements work exactly the same way).

JPEG Measurements
Hint: you can print this chart to help you identify the measurement sites

 SKINFOLD MEASUREMENTS

A. Chest skin fold

Grab the skin fold just below your shoulder and above your armpit in the site as indicated on the diagram above. Put the caliper on the skin fold and note the measurement. chest skinfold

B. Subscapular skin fold

If you can not easily see the shoulder blade, bend your arm behind your back. Measure about 2 cm down and diagonally towards your side from the sharp point of your shoulder blade. Grab the skin fold diagonally with the body fat caliper and note the measurement.

subscap

C. Triceps skin fold

Find the middle point between your shoulder and your elbow at the back of your arm. Grab the skin fold and test that you have not also grabbed muscle by bending the arm forwards and then letting it hang back down in a natural, relaxed position. Now measure the skin fold with the body fat caliper and note the measurement.

D. Abdominal skin fold

Measure about 2 cm to the right from your belly button. Grab the skin fold horisontally. Measure with the body fat caliper and note the measurement.

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E. Suprailiac skinfold

To measure the suprailiac skin fold, locate the top of your right hip bone. Now measure about 2 cm down and to the left. Grab a diagonal skin fold, measure with the body fat caliper and note the measurement.

suprailiac3

F. Thigh skin fold

Relax your right leg completely by putting all your weight on the left leg. Find the middle point between the thigh/hip joint and your knee. Grab a vertical skin fold. Measure with the body fat caliper and note the measurement.

thigh

G. Calf skin fold

This measurement can be done seated. relax your calf muscle completely. On the inside of the calf, find the middle point between the knee and the ankle. Grab a vertical skin fold. Measure with the body fat caliper and note the measurement.

calf

Congratulations! You now know how to measure your skin folds! It may take a bit of practice but it will become easier, I promise.

GIRTH MEASUREMENTS

H.Neck girth

Simply measure around the neck, using the measuring tape. Try to make sure the tape is straight. Note the measurement.

neck

J. Shoulder girth

You will need help with this measurement. Measure around the shoulders, making sure the tape is straight. Note the measurement.

K. Chest girth

Measure across the nipples and around the back, making sure the tape is straight. Note the measurement.

L. Waist girth

Measure where your waist is, usually around  2 cm above the belly button but can vary from person to person. Make sure the tape is straight and that you measure in the same place every time. Note the measurement.

M. Hip girth

Measure in line with the widest part of your hip bones. Make sure the tape is straight and that you measure in the same place every time. (Normally, this will align with your belly fold). Note the measurement.

N. Bum girth

In many people hip girth does not cross the largest part of the gluteus maximus (your bum). Measure over the widest part of your bum. Make sure the tape is straight and that you measure in the same place every time. Note the measurement.

O. Bicep girth

Remember no flexing! Relax the arm and measure over the "belly" of your bicep. Make sure the tape is straight and that you measure in the same place every time. Note the measurement.

P. Forearm girth

Measure across the widest part of your forearm. Make sure the tape is straight and that you measure in the same place every time. Note the measurement.

R. Thigh girth

Measure over the middle of your thigh, between the hip joint and the knee. Make sure the tape is straight and that you measure in the same place every time. Note the measurement.

S. Calf girth

Measure over the middle of your calf, between the knee and the ankle. Make sure the tape is straight and that you measure in the same place every time. Note the measurement.

4. Progress Photos

Every week, take progress photos in the same bikini or sport top and shorts. You want the abdominal area to be exposed for the photos, but remember you may want to use the photos in the future to show your progress made - so smile and keep it decent!

5. Consistent Measurement Intervals

It is important the you measure your progress weekly, at the same time, using the same tools. I like to measure on Friday mornings before breakfast, but you can pick a day which suits you. Just keep it consistent. If you move the day, then you will have decreased or increased your measurement period and the results could be affected. If you measure at different times in the day, you may also get inconsistent results, as our bodies can retain water and food later in the day, which will make for different measurements than first thing in the morning. This is why I recommend you always measure first thing in the morning.

NOTE: please do not obsess about your measurements! Do not measure more than once a week. Weekly progress measurements over time are sufficient. Daily measurements will drive you insane. (Seriously). Our bodies fluctuate constantly and progress takes time to see. It is not instantaneous!

6. Record-keeping

This is the last (and my least favourite) part. There is no point in measuring every week, however, if you do not keep a record of your measurements. This is why it is important to make this part fun and stay disciplined with it. Personally, I like to keep it all in a diary, hand-written old school style, so that I can also note other things of interest. I note when I am stressed, tired, or ill or perhaps injured. These things can affect my progress. I note when things are not going so well with my nutrition. I also note if things are going really well, if I have had an amazing workout or feel energetic and fantastic. All of this helps me tremendously in figuring out what works for me and what doesn't.

So now you should be fully able to record your own progress, but I am only an e-mail away if you would like to ask some questions! Contact Us

Fit.STRONG clients can go  Back to Fit.STRONG Workouts Home Page  here. 

Have a super day!

Elsabe.

weight-loss-cartoon-joke

Since the UTCT two weeks ago was the first race I have ever not completed, I decided the best thing to do was get straight back up there. I entered us into the Brauhaus 45 km mountain challenge

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On Friday we drove to Rustenburg where we camped at a lovely campsite called Bergheim and scoped out the Brauhaus am damm, a delightful german brewery and restaurant where the race finish was set up.

The race registration pasta evening at Milhoro Lodge (the race start) was lovely! Sharon and Paul are veterans of this mountain and they gave us valuable advice on the best ways to get across the mountain safely. For those who dont know - this race is self navigated, there are no markers to show the route. It was both our first unmarked route and our first time on that particular mountain.

On race morning, armed with our Garmin Fenix into which Clint had programmed our waypoints and our fully stocked hydration packs, we lined up with around 90 other runners. Excitement was high as the gunshot rang and we were off! It was a 5 am start and the trail of little lights going up into the mountain towards checkpoint 1 was a magical sight. The trail was fairly easy going and steep jeeptrack. At Checkpoint 1 we were feeling strong. It was light enough to pack away our headlamps.

We set off on the first unmarked portion of the trail to Checkpoint 2. There was no path and we literally picked our way through the veld. Parts of it was runnable but some parts were very rocky. We followed our gps and all was well until... We had to choose between following other runners or going over a steep mountain. We chose following the runners since they had done this race before. Wrong choice. We found ourselves negotiating a forest at the bottom of a gorge and then literally having to climb up to checkpoint 2! Lesson learnt - you always want to be at the top of the mountain for this race!

After some much needed refreshment and once my quads stopped squealing, we set off to checkpoint 3. Checkpoint 3 was back at the same location as Checkpoint 1. This time we followed our gps and found the route much easier! At Checkpoint (19 km done) we were given a beautiful buff which we were required to show at Checkpoint 4.

The journey between Checkpoint 3 and Checkpoint 4 was by far the longest and most challenging part of the race. It is hard to describe the vastness of the 20 km between the two checkpoints. We seemed at times to be completely alone in the world, occasionally glimpsing other runners far away. There are no trail markings, no people, no water points. We followed our gps track and hoped we were right! A wrong turn gets you stuck in a gorge or on the edge of a cliff. The weather was fortunately good - fairly strong wind but at least not very hot like we had anticipated. Except for one brief encounter with a small gorge in the last few kilometers before the "elephant", our navigation was perfect! I had a little emotional breakdown - legs were shattered, mountain seemed endless... had a good cry on Clint's shoulder and then we pressed on.

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The "elephant" is a ridge that climbs higher and higher, both sides steep mountainsides with gorgeous views. It is an "on top of the world" feeling being up there. There was a footpath that we followed and scary climbs from mountain hump to hump. At one stage some baboons crossed the path in front of us. Finally we reached the "elephants head". I was elated! We would finally be climbing down the trunk!

The climb down the mountain deserves a paragraph of its own. It was loose rocks and slippery sand all the way! On shattered legs, I found this very tough! At the bottom we found a path that led to the dam wall, through a foresty bit and finally- Checkpoint 4! What a feeling! We had made it across the mountain and we had only about 5 km to go!

The last 5 Km's took us past the yacht club, through the bottom of the town where we were chased by little dogs (seriously?!), through a plowed field, a reed bed and finally more plowed fields at Brauhaus! That last bit of lawn were the sweetest meters I have ever run!

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Thanks to my amazing husband, Clinton and my wonderful son, Adrian, for all their support! Thanks as well to Brauhaus and to Sharon and Paul for putting up one hell of an amazing adventure!

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Special mention to Stewart Chaperon, coached by Clint, for running this race in record time! You are super tough Stewart, congrats!

To all our fellow trail enthusiasts - If you haven't done this race yet, put it on your list right now!

 

Let me start by saying that the UTCT was by far the hardest race I've ever tried. It was my first attempt at an ultra. It was on my dear departed dad's birthday and I decided to dedicate my race to him. It was also the day before our wedding anniversary and in the tradition Clint and I started - this year's anniversary adventure. I went into the race well prepared (I thought) and full of first timer's bravado. At registration we were told that the weather forecasts were favourable for the next day. Of course, the one thing that can not be controlled is the weather...

On race day we arrived at the start to be greeted by rain. It was cold, but the anticipation was that it would clear up later in the day. We set off through the city streets towards Signal Hill. The excitement was palpable! People from all over the world were running and everyone was in high spirits. The rain was gentle but persistent, and so started my first challenge. I wear prescription glasses. By the time we went onto the trail it was like I was looking through glasses of water. I was better off without my glasses, which meant I could only see about 5 m ahead of me.

Still, the trail was wonderful and we continued on schedule as per our plan. Eventually we reached PlatteKloof and started the serious climb into the mountain. The rain started belting down and it got colder and colder. Our water resistant jackets were soaked in no time. The progress going up was also slower than anticipated and we started slipping on our plan.

On top of the mountain, we encountered ice rain and howling wind. The trail became an ankle deep rivulet and the cloud was so thick we couldn't see other runners or the next marker. We were freezing, quite literally, and lost feeling in our fingers and feet. The terrain was slippery and treacherous. Clint slipped and twisted his ankle and his knee. His muscles cramped and wouldn't release. It was the first time I was truly scared that we would not survive a race. I knew the longer we stayed in those conditions the worse it would get. I rubbed Clints leg and coaxed him up. A friend shared a salt tablet with him and that helped too. We hobbled along for a bit until he could jog again. Then, we lost the trail! After searching around, we found the trail again. By now we had spent vastly more time than anticipated on the mountain.

After what seemed like an eternity we started the climb down. This should have been a relief but it wasn't. I don't know if it was triggered by the cold or the extra exertion of navigating the slippery terrain half blind, but my arthritis in my right knee flamed up. The descent became Increasingly painful. By the time we reached the Constantia Neck check point I could no longer run. I decided to walk to the next check point at Groot Constantia to see if the knee would ease up. Unfortunately my knee just wasn't having any of it.

At 7:23:59 and 32 km in, I had to concede that I was defeated. The disappointment burned in my heart and I couldn't type this race report until now. My husband was absolutely amazing through the whole experience and next year when I try again (yes your eyes are not deceiving you), I can't think of anyone else I would rather have by my side.

Lessons Learnt:

Of course, I believe we either win or we learn. The UTCT was rich in learning for me and I will share some of that here:

1. Never trust the weather
2. When things go wrong, dont panic. List your options and pick the best one.
3. The compulsory kit can save your life. Don't ignore it.
4. To run mountains you have to train on similar mountains.
5. Run with a partner you trust and have trained with, understanding each other is important.

Things that were positives:

1. The UTCT race organisation is sublime. The water tables are postively luxurious and manned by competent and caring volunteers.
2. My 32Gi endurance fuel was fantastic. I had enough energy at all times.
3. My Inov-8 roclite 295 saved my skin and neck on the super technical slippery terrain.
4. My amazing supportive and understanding husband.

I look forward to my next attempt in 2016, hopefully better equipped and prepared. And yes, I have already entered!