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Fat Loss and Weight Maintenance are Skills II

Our brains are wired for comfort. It will do everything in its power to get you to avoid pain, seek pleasure, and conserve energy.

And when you think about it, fat loss is the exact opposite.

We need to train (it involves an element of pain), we need to eat less of the foods we love when they are not serving our goal (less pleasure), and we need to move our body more through increasing our NEAT (Non-Exercise-Activity-Thermogenesis), which is the opposite of conserving energy.

So when we experience difficulty in the process of dropping unwanted fat, it is because our brains are literally hard wired for the opposite.

In the previous Gift Box I talked about learning the piano. It is a skill that requires time, repetition, and a heck of a lot of patience.

Fat loss is a skill that requires time, repetition, and a heck of a lot of patience.

And part of developing a new skill is the understanding of what makes challenges the new skill brings, so that we can pre-empt them, and make a plan to work around those challenges.

Developing the following daily actions are a great place to start:

  1. Preplan your food ahead of time using a Reverse Food Diary
  2. Book in your times that you will go to the gym for the coming week
  3. Focus on hitting your protein target
  4. Review at the end of each day and see what you should start doing differently tomorrow, what you should stop doing moving forward, and what you need to continue doing.

These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.

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Fat Loss and Weight Maintenance are Skills

For years and years I thought something was wrong with me. I couldn't figure out this whole weight loss thing, and I certainly couldn't keep the weight off that I DID actually lose.

I figured it was my brain that was stopping me from succeeding long term, and just kinda gave up on my goals of being lean, fit and healthy.

This went on for about 15 years, in fact: my weight went down, it went up, it went down, and it went up again.

Here's the thing that I was missing.

Losing weight, and then the maintaining of that weight loss, I believe, are skills.

The definition of 'skill' is: a learned power of doing something competently : a developed aptitude or ability.

So when you look at it this way, the first thing that is required is knowledge. Knowledge of how, what and why.

Now knowledge alone is not enough. That knowledge needs to be applied for it to be powerful and effective, but one of the biggest things that is missing in a lot of modern diets is the fact that the 'why' behind the 'what' is not taught.

This in turn means that the knowledge required for that skill to be competent is not complete. So essentially if we are told what to do without the knowledge and understanding of why, we are just robots repeating a mindless routine.

This isn't helpful.

Allowing yourself time to learn the principles of weight loss is the first part of the requirements to develop a skill.

The second part is then making a decision to follow through on the action, no matter what. And that requires commitment to repeatedly and consistently practice the necessary actions over time.

This is what develops into a strong skill.

Weight maintenance is no different. It is a new set of skills that need to be learned. Being at your goal weight doesn't mean you have arrived and can 'let go'.

It is simply a land mark on your map, which requires a new set of skills of how to navigate the new terrain.

These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.

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Why Protein, and How Much Exactly?

I have three eating habits that I teach to help women lose fat and build muscle.  And eating more protein is one of them.  Here’s why.

1. Protein changes the levels of weight regulating hormones  

2. Digesting and metabolizing protein burns calories

3. Protein makes you burn more calories - 80-100 more calories per day in fact!

4. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you eat fewer calories  

5. Protein cuts cravings and reduces desire for late-night snacking

6. Protein makes you lose weight, even without conscious calorie counting

7. Protein helps prevent muscle loss and metabolic slowdown  

So Sal, you’re saying protein is a good thing?  Yes, yes I am.  So jump over to my podcast and listen to power of protein for weight loss. I’ve also got a free Tip Sheet on how to eat more protein for you to download too.  

These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.

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Celebrating our femininity

I love being a woman.  I celebrate my femininity every day.  I also have a quiet strength and fierceness in my values that I do not apologise for.

I guess you know this - my entire online women’s program is called ‘Feminine & Fierce’.

I also recognise that being a women doesn’t come without its challenges.   Once we hit child-bearing age, every single month we have a reminder of what separates us from the other half of the population.  This is often painful, uncomfortable, and usually quite inconvenient (to say the least).

Then, if we are blessed enough to have children, we spend 9 months growing that life, only to then move through a rather life changing experience as we give birth.

Then, our ‘girls’ have the life sucked out of them as we nourish our newborn child.

For the next 35 or so years, we relive this reminder 12 times each year, that we are fiercely feminine, before moving into the next season of our lives.

Wow, what a ride. 

Enter Peri-Menopause and Menopause.

This season marks the permanent end of our monthly cycle (and therefore our fertility), with most of us women experiencing these changes between the ages of 45 and 55.

As we enter menopause, our oestrogen and progesterone levels begin to drop. 

Because oestrogen acts as a natural protector of our bone strength, this decrease in oestrogen contributes to the development of osteoporosis.

Okay, so what EXACTLY is Osteoporosis?

Let me first explain what a healthy bone could be described as. 

You know what a honeycomb looks like?  It has small spaces all throughout it, right?  Well, the inside of healthy bones have small spaces just like that too. 

Osteoporosis increases the size of these spaces, causing the bone to lose its strength and density. Think of a honeycomb with more air / space than honeycomb.  There isn’t a lot of density there.  To make things worse, the outside of the bone grows weaker and thinner as well.


If you fall when your bones are in this state, they may not be strong enough to sustain the fall, and they’ll break. 

And if, just if, osteoporosis is severe enough, fractures can occur, even without a fall (or other trauma).

So what can you do about it?

Well, up to around 30, our bodies create more bone than it loses.  Excellent news.

But after the ripe ol’ age of 30, bone deterioration occurs more rapidly than bone creation does. 


So what this means is that the net effect is a gradual loss of bone mass. So if you step back and think about that, when you reach menopause, the greater your bone density is, the lower your chance of developing osteoporosis is.

In simple terms? 

Prevention is definitely the key.  Think of your body as a bank. You spend your younger life building or “saving up” bone mass. The more bone mass you have at the start of menopause, the less quickly you’ll “run out.”

‘But Sal, I’m way over 30 - what can I do?’.

So glad you asked.

You can start an exercise regime that is focused on resistance training.  It is the best form of prevention of this awful disease.  

If you already have a diagnosis of osteoporisis, resistance training will still benefit you.  Build up strong lean muscle to support a weakened frame, and that will hold you in much better stead than if you stay sedentary.  Not only will it improve your overall strength to increase your resilience to potential falls, it will help improve your balance and posture as well, which could help prevent a fall later in life. 

If you have a diagnosis of osteopenia (early stages of osteoporosis), good news!  This is reversible.  A well structured resistance training program will help to improve the density of your bones.  The spaces in the honeycomb will start to decrease, bringing increased density.

So if you are under 30 - start resistance training.  Don’t delay.  Your future, wiser self will thank you for it.

If you are over 30, guess what?  The same applies to you.  Give your future self a gift of strength and vibrancy that is resilient to any nasty falls or fractures.

These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.

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What does it take to succeed?

There have been many conversations over the years where every reason, excuse and belief under the sun have risen to the surface when I ask questions like, 'what is holding you back?' or 'why do you think you haven't achieved X, Y or Z?'.

And almost every time, the answer has come from looking into the past.

Many years ago, a wise man gave me an incredible perspective about our past.

He told me that our past can be viewed like the rear vision mirror in our car. When we want to go forward, we don't drive constantly looking at that rear vision mirror.

Instead we are looking forward to where we are going, not to where we have been.

He then explained that a quick glance from time to time at that rear vision mirror is a reminder of how far we have come.

But it is not a guide for where we are going, or evidence that the direction we are heading is possible or not.

Ask yourself this question.

'What is holding me back from achieving my goals?'

Then compassionately observe your answer.

Are you looking to your past, or your current circumstance for evidence of why you can't move forward?

Or are you looking at the place you want to be?

View your goals from a place of vision; from a position like you have already achieved that goal.

These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.

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How Should You Train As A Woman Approaching 40 and Beyond?

It is a really good question. 'Should I be training differently now that I am approaching that number?'

The answer comes down to 3 things:

  1. What is your goal?
  2. Do you want results?
  3. Do you want results?

Yes, it's not a typo. I put that in twice to grab your attention.

I coach women online and in person. I have been doing so for nearly a decade now. And probably 95% of those women have wanted to drop fat, 'get toned', and become stronger.

So for the purpose of this Gift Box, I'm going to assume that is what your goal is too. Heck, it's my goal! It always is. Who doesn't want to get stronger? Look more toned?

With that as the grounds for your goal, you HAVE to ask the question, what is the best way to train now that I am approaching 40 (and beyond), as a woman?

Well, it is definitely a point of frustration for me, because I see it daily in the gym. I see it online...

...And that is the thinking that you HAVE to end up on the floor, a sweaty mess, all huffy and puffy at the end of your workout.

I haven't trained that way for years. Seriously, I haven't.

If you want to lose unwanted fat, your nutrition will drive those results.

If you want to tone your body and get stronger, your training will drive those results.

So train in the right way for THAT goal.

It is called progressive resistance training. Or I prefer 'Tension Progression'.

Imagine doing a bicep curl with no weight (try it now while you are reading).

Feel your bicep muscle, it's not overly working hard, it's still a bit relaxed, there is not a lot of tension on the muscle.

Now imagine you are curling 20 pounds / 10kg. The muscle will have a lot more tension running through it as you lift the weight up, right?

This tension that is created is what drives muscle growth, and progressively increasing that tension over time keeps muscles growing.

THIS is where you will achieve a toned, strong body. Not by doing HIIT. Not by being a sweaty hot mess on the floor, all out of breath and what not...

So this is where the right training plan is vital, because it needs to make sure you are lifting heavier, or increasing the tension in your muscles, over time.

Now there are several ways that you can do this. The first one is fairly obvious: You add more weight.

But you can only add more weight for so long, right?

So how can you continue to follow the principle of Tension Progression over time?

A well structured training plan will help you do this in how it is programmed.


These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.

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Body Composition Importance Pyramid

Most of us have seen the food pyramids the government puts out, where it shows us to eat bread, cereals and pasta mostly (they are on the bottom of the pyramid), then fresh fruits and veggies, then lean meats and dairy, then at the top, minimal fats and oils.

After 1992 more and more research showed that, 

"the USDA pyramid was grossly flawed. By promoting the consumption of all complex carbohydrates and eschewing all fats and oils, the pyramid provided misleading guidance. In short, not all fats are bad for you, and by no means are all complex carbohydrates good for you."

Then, they developed the 'My Plate' where the plate is divided into 4 equal parts, each having a portion of veggies, fruits, grains and proteins (with a glass of dairy on the side).

Fascinating stuff, because the research seems to be way more advanced that what the government has in place at a given moment (thank you red tape).

First of all, this is not enough protein if you are on a mission to transform your body, be that via fat loss, or muscle gain, or both.

And secondly, it leaves questions like nutrient timing (ie when you should eat), supplements, calories, food composition as a bit of a mystery.

So today I am going to clear up what the research tells us is important for body composition change (which by the way is different to eating for health). So my focus will be body recomposition. In a future VFGB, I will talk specifically about health.

There are 5 nutrition principles, that are required for body composition change.

When I say 'body composition change', I am referring to a change in body fat percentage and lean muscle mass.

Now this may or may not include your body weight on the scale.

To explain this concept further, if you are eating at your maintenance energy value (the energy you eat equals the energy your body needs), every day when you stand on the scale, your weight will stay the same (give or take).

But this does not indicate any kind body composition change. It simply means that your total body weight is the same.

If you are training hard at the gym doing progressive resistance training and therefore increasing lean muscle mass as you build beautiful tone, AND you are dropping body fat at the same time, those scales will potentially still stay about the same.

This is called body recomposition, or body composition change.

Back to those 5 principles: (I've put how important they are as a percentage of the big picture)

Number 1: Calories Matter 50%

Yep. No matter what you've heard, this is the number one principle you must understand. If you want the scales to move in either direction, you must consider how much energy (calories) you are putting IN to your body, and how much energy your body is putting OUT.

Number 2: Macronutrients Matter 30%

Protein, Fat AND Carbs ALL matter. They all have a role to play, and unless you have a medical condition, you don't need to exclude any one of these macronutrients to achieve your goal. Protein is the most important macro when it comes to body composition change.

Number 3: Nutrient Timing 10%

Do you eat 3 meals a day, or do you eat 6? Guess what? It doesn't really matter THAT much, unless you are a top end athlete and looking to absolutely optimise your nutrition on every single tiny little details. So I always say, do whatever helps you achieve a long term approach.

Number 4: Food Composition 5%

Does it come out of the ground / off a tree, or does it come from a packet. Yes, it is something to consider if you are also desiring a healthy body and a healthy life, but isn't as important as the previous 3 principles, sitting at only 5% importance of the overall big picture.

Number 5: Supplements don't matter too much 5%

... not when it comes to changing your body composition. Okay, so 5% of the big picture is still 5%. But have you ever picked up a 'fat blaster' supplement and read the fine print? "Works well with a calorie controlled diet". Yep - say no more.

So when you are wondering if something you desire to eat is going to move you towards your goal or away from it, think about these 5 principles. Rank them in order of importance, and know that the lower 3 principles matter only a little bit, while the top 2 are super critical to your success.


These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.

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Periodized Fat Loss

Fat loss can feel overwhelming, especially if our goal is big.

If we have more than 20 pounds we want to lose, it can feel like 'forever' before we get even close.

Sometimes this feels unachievable and definitely a tad depressing when we know what it means we have to do in order to see the scales move in the right direction.

And more often than not, we give up short of our goal because its too hard.

My approach to fat loss and achieving your body composition goal looks a little different to most.

I use what I call a periodized approach.

Shorter bursts of concerted effort, followed by a short rest.

So your fat loss journey might look like this:

4 weeks fat loss, 1 week break, or

6 weeks fat loss, 2 weeks rest, or

2 weeks fat loss, 2 weeks rest.

And there are several reasons I teach this methodology:

  1. It gives you a break physiologically; it allows your hormones to normalise again and helps maintain a healthy metabolism
  2. It gives you a break psychologically; need I say more?
  3. It breaks down your overarching goal (that can sometimes feel out of reach), to a much more manageable, smaller goal.

So if fat loss is your goal, why not break it down into more manageable time frames.

These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.

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Clean Slate

What is a clean slate policy?

A clean slate policy is a philosophy I believe very strongly in because of the shift it makes internally within us as we fiercely pursue our goals.

What it means is that each day, we wipe our slate clean, forgive ourselves of all our 'sins', and start fresh.

When we are planning our food for the day to come, it is our human nature to have the best intentions.

We set out with high expectations of ourselves that we can 'not fall off the wagon' that day, and 'today is the day it will all change' etc etc.

But then as the day progresses and we start getting tired from all the decisions we've made throughout the day, it becomes more and more challenging to stick to our plan, and our best intentions get thrown out the window.

Then, to make things even worse, we start beating up on ourselves for being 'so weak', or we question our inner strength and wonder why we can't ever stick to anything we set out to achieve.



You are human, and very normal.

Instead of beating up on yourself, reset. Wipe your slate clean and start again fresh. Stop beating up on yourself and show yourself some grace.

Every moment is a new opportunity to turn things around and move in the right direction. You don't even have to wait to tomorrow.

Wipe the slate clean, reset now.

Clean Slate Policy. It is definitely worth it.

These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.

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Why Prevention Is Better Than Cure

I spent 3 and a half years at Uni studying the science of how our bodies work, how disease makes them break down, and how the physiology and anatomy of our human bodies is literally insane.

We have been created in the most incredible, unique, amazing and intelligent way, it is difficult not to marvel at the human body.

After nursing some of the most unwell individuals on the planet due to horrific terminal disease, I came to realise that prevention is so much better than the cure.

Medical science has taken us so far, but not far enough to cure any disease.

So for the last 15 years, I have learned as much as I could about strengthening the body not just physically, but mentally as well.

Over that time, I have learned about nutrition, including supplements. And I have seen that there is plenty of misinformation about supplements that lead people to believe that the supplement itself, as a stand alone, is the be-all-and-end-all to health. Particularly for fat loss.

So I have created a Supplements Guide for you which is based on science. It is based on research. You may have already grabbed it off my website, but in case you haven't, you can grab it below.

I have taken all BS marketing out and presented the science of supplementation.

These workouts are designed to be done in the gym environment where you have the use of equipment. They take only 30 minutes with each workout following on and building upon the previous.