10 minutes of nothing to unlock everything

Mindfulness could be the key to accelerate fat loss, overall health and a
happier you.

Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to any specific stimuli but nothing
else. It is learning to focus on the present moment, non-judgmentally and
becoming aware of internal life.
Basically, mindfulness induces a relaxed mental state, which can reduce stress,
blood pressure and blood sugar levels. As we already know decreasing these
factors can lead to enhanced fat loss. Other benefits include: Increased brainpower
, increased attention and focus, increased immune function and
increased clarity.

Here are 2 of my favourite ways to try mindfulness.

1. Set a timer for 10min and play calming music (river sounds work well),
lie down and start to focus on the sounds around you (including voices,
music, birds and any other sounds). When you notice that your mind
starts to wonder and you lose attention just bring the attention back
into the sounds, it’s okay to wonder. Once the timer goes off, take some
time to slowly return to everyday life.

2. Take as much time as needed (I like 10min), find an empty and quiet
space and spend some time writing down any thoughts you have. This
can be anything that comes across your mind. Work, home or family
related, even about a dream you had. Aim to clear your thoughts and
just empty the mind. This is great at either the morning (Setting up a
great day) or before bed to (clear the mind before sleep)

Don’t let your calories be too low

The issue with over restricting calorie intake with the goal to lose fat.  ( Please note, a calorie deficit is necessary for fat loss, however we do not recommend being in a deficit forever.)

Many people who decide they want to lose weight, immediately turn to calorie counting and reducing the energy intake, this normally works for quick weight loss goals, however, becomes a major issue when attempting to keep it off! When fat loss is the goal you should focus on speeding up the metabolism rather than decreasing your calorie intake which can lead to a slower metabolism.

Adaptive thermogenesis is the process of your body adapting to lower calories and as a result, burns fewer calories, at the opposite side your body will burn more calories when there is more to do so. It's just the process of fueling your body for everyday life, especially if your exercising. The real issue with adaptive thermogenesis is that if you consistently eating at a calorie deficit then your body will adapt to that, so as time progresses you will need to cut calories again to lose weight, basically meaning you are always eating less and less, which can't be maintained.

PS: We do talk about the importance of a calorie deficit as it is the best way to lose weight, however, we don't recommend you maintain as a lifestyle, it should be used for a short period of time to accelerate fat loss. Just noting this again.

Coach Zac​

What is success in fitness?

What Does Success Look Like?

Success in the gym environment comes in many shapes and forms, some are obvious, and some not so. Quite often we look at person, visually eye them up and down and make a decision of “success” based on that, have they lost or gained etc etc

On any given day just remembering to bring your water bottle is a success, but who notices that, right? We often don’t notice or realise what success can often look and feel like, it’s not just a visual, it comes in many different forms, and yeah remembering your water bottle is an absolute high five success!

Sometimes the hardest thing is to choose the right water bottle.

At the time for me success was a lot of little things that I was doing well all added up together, this involved but not limited to, setting my clothes out the night before, setting an alarm for 5:50 am which in a previous life for me was still considered last night! Getting up out of bed in the morning, especially in winter! remembering my water bottle, yes that chestnut again, walking out the front door at home and actually walking through the front door of the gym, once I was in everything was going to be alright! As time went on these things became habitat and routine which made it easier to do. Once I had nailed the above and formed those habits I was able to enjoy and get the most out of the sessions here at the Big 5 gym in Yarraville. We’ll take about nutrition, sleep habitats and other things a different time, these will also help you too!

Success initially for me was a formation of a habit, I didn’t realise it at the time but now with time to reflect it was my biggest success. It was frustrating at times for sure, however without them I wouldn’t be typing this. When I thought about my initial goal to lose weight, get rid of back pain and be stronger I’d never considered that setting clothes out, getting up, remembering my water bottle would be hard and the key to unlocking my success.

What does it look like for you? Setting an achievable goal is a great way to start, ask yourself the question “if I had a magic wand what would my success be “and from there we can break it down so you can achieve it. Sharing with others, writing it down and talking about with others will help solidify it. We can help here at Big 5 Fitness, we still have and are working toward our goals even as coaches, and we’ve all forgotten our water bottles too.


Two fat loss foods

Yes you can eat both of these foods and get lean. Neither of them will help more than the other to burn fat, however there might be a preferred option for your health.

What’s the best diet?

Well here's what I think.

Drink coffee and lose fat

I love coffee.

That's why I had to change my coffee drinking habits to not drink too many unnecessary calories.​

Tips & Tricks for Healthy Eating Out

Everyone loves eating out. It’s a great way to unwind, catch up with friends and family and indulge in all the wonderful things that a talented chef can create. Unfortunately, the magic coming out of the kitchen of your favourite restaurant probably won’t match up with your nutritional and diet goals. So, does eating out have to be canceled out of any healthy eating plan?

Please note that we do believe you can have anything you want in your diet—enjoy everything—however, if you’re after fat loss and have a particular goal that you want to reach, sticking to some of the suggestions below might be a good idea.

Is There Such a Thing As A Healthy Restaurant Choice?

Yes, of course there is. The healthy eating trend has been blowing up for a number of years now and chefs are taking notice. You can guarantee that your favourite restaurant will have at least a small section of its menu devoted to healthy creations. However, you still have to know what to look for and what to avoid.

A Few General Rules for a Healthy Restaurant Experience

Ask for an entrée size or share with a friend:  European cuisine, particularly Southern European cuisine, is full of fats and carbs but their obesity rates are far lower than ours and that’s because they have mastered the art of portion control. If you’re going to indulge cut the size of the meal and you won’t have to pay as bigger price on the treadmill.

Skip the sides: There’s no point matching that perfectly cooked steak with a huge side of fries or mashed potato—they’ll add a heap to your waistline. If you want to add something to your main ask for a side of steamed or grilled vegetables with a dash of olive oil.

Make sparkling water your new best friend: Nobody likes sipping on tap water at a restaurant but sparkling water is incredible refreshing and will even help you with your digestion. The best part is, it won’t add to your calorie count. So, instead of downing an entire bottle of Prosecco just stick to the one glass and order a San Pellegrino instead.

Look for the keywords: If you’ve been doing your healthy eating research a few keywords will be burned into your brain. Look for proteins when selecting your meal and then match your protein with other keywords like roasted and grilled. If you see ‘grilled fish,’ or ‘roasted lamb’ you can be sure what you’re eating is relatively healthy. If your protein is teamed with a bad keyword like ‘fried,’ it’s probably one you should avoid.

KISS: When it comes to eating healthy when you are out at a restaurant you really do need to Keep It Simple Stupid. Grilled Lamb with Sautéed Greens is a perfect choice. Molasses Glazed Lamb with Gorgonzola and Sweet Pea Risotto isn’t a good choice. Sometimes the word count says a lot about the calorie count.

Never eat out starving: All of us are guilty of this one. You know you’re going out for dinner so you starve yourself all day to ensure you can fit as much food in as possible. This is the worst way to control your portion sizes. If you’re trying to cut your intake you should have a light snack or even a low-calorie protein shake before you head out – just to make sure you don’t order half the menu by the time you leave.

Ignore the breadbasket: The breadbasket is the perfect example of empty calories. The bread you find in restaurants is usually simple white bread that won’t do you any good and will do your diet goals a lot of harm. Say no or ask for a bowl of warm olives or pickled vegetables instead.

Ask yourself where you’re at: These rules are aimed at people who are at a critical stage of their diet and are looking to make big changes. If you’ve mastered your diet and have been living a healthy lifestyle for a period of time don’t deny yourself the occasional indulgence.

Fitness models have their cheat days and you deserve them too. If you haven’t so much as looked at a simple carb or a fatty protein for a couple of months enjoy that pasta or risotto – just make sure you do the work in the gym and in the kitchen the next day.

Are All Calories Created Equal?

Here at Big 5, we’re often asked whether all calories are created equal. While this question may sound simple, the answer is a little more complicated. Yes, the properties of all calories are equal, at least on paper. However, each body breaks down different calories in food uniquely, meaning they have a different effect on each individual.


As well as being an energy source, fats can also slow digestion, deliver important vitamins to the body, which in-turn provides integral properties for our cells to build off of.

All fats in our diet provide approximately 9 calories per gram; however, some fats are obviously better than others. Artificial trans fats can lead to increased inflammation and heart disease, compared to polyunsaturated omega-3 fats that have protective, anti-inflammatory properties.


The primary role of protein is to not only slow our digestion, but to also regulate and create new cells. Protein plays the largest and most significant role during childhood, early adulthood and also during pregnancy, as this is when the body is growing and adding new tissues.

All proteins comprise approximately 4 calories per gram, however this can vary depending on the quality. If your protein is of a higher quality (fish, eggs) then it can help to reduce your appetite, while assisting in muscle recovery and repair. However, if your protein is comprised of lower quality materials (burger meat), then it may be loaded with amino acids, which have been linked to insulin resistance and related metabolic diseases.


Out of all calories in food, carbohydrates are the most complex. This is mostly due to the face that our bodies use various carbohydrates (fibre, sugar, starch and so on) in various ways.

The brain, liver and muscles predominantly use carbohydrates as a quick source of energy, providing four calories per gram. However, there are varying degrees of healthiness to various carbohydrates, which depends mostly on its quality.

Fibre is considered a high quality carbohydrate, as its properties slow digestion and allow you to feel fuller for longer, all while moderating the absorption of other nutrients. For this reason, high quality carbohydrates require little processing, compared to lower quality carbohydrates, which lack fibre and can add empty calories to our diet.

As evident, the calorie from a carbohydrate is not the same as one from a fat or protein. Not all calories are created equal. Each individual processes a differing degree of absorption and digestion, it is important to follow this simple rule of thumb: that majority of your calorie count should come from minimally processed foods. This is because the quality of what we consume, determines the quality of calories that we consume, which cannot only impact our weight, but our overall health and well being.

Understanding Portion Sizes

In order to maintain a healthy weight, you need to do more than just select a balanced mixture of foods. You should also be conscious of your portion sizes, which includes how much you eat at a time.

To give you a helping hand your portion sizes and portion control, we’ve created a guide to help you understand your food sizes, so that you eat enough to keep you full for longer, without over-eating.

Keep in mind that the portion sizes outlined below are very general in nature. If you’re working towards specific fat loss goal, then these sizes may need to altered slightly. Similarly, portion sizes for women differ to that for men, as do portion sizes for people that lead extremely active lifestyles compared to people who are more sedentary.

At BIG 5 we like to do measurements of food by using our hands (a thumb of good fat per day, a palm of protein per serve), but here’s another example of portion size control that can be useful.

Fruit and Vegetables

As a general rule of thumb, you should consume 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day, at roughly 80 grams each. While a lot of fruits are already in single-portion sizes, many are a little more complicated. In order to get the most out of your diet, this is a rough estimate of the portion sizes that will help you get your 5 a day:

  • Vegetables – The size of 1 cricket ball
  • Salad – 1 medium sized cereal bowl
  • Medium sized fruits (apples, oranges, bananas) – 1 piece of fruit
  • Small fruits (mandarins, plums, kiwis) – 2 pieces of fruit
  • Berries – The size of 1 tennis ball


Dairy can be a great way to get the nutritious vitamins and minerals that your body requires throughout the day. Many dairy-based products are high in protein, iodine, vitamin A, calcium and riboflavin. When trying to balance your portion control sizes, try to adhere to these general rules:

  • Milk – A small glass, or 200ml
  • Cheese – A matchbox size
  • Yoghurt – One small pot serving 


While meat can be necessary when maintaining a healthy diet, it is often over-consumed in a standard portion size. Reducing our meat intake can aid our own health, as well as the health of our planet. Follow these guidelines to ensure you aren’t overdoing the meat with your portion sizes:

  • Meat or Poultry – The size of 1 deck of playing cards
  • Fish – The size of 1 checkbook


Carbohydrates generally contribute to about a third of our diets, as they provide us with the essential energy and stamina to keep us going throughout the day. While necessary, carbohydrates are often overdone, as we tend to indulge in more than the recommended serving size:

  • Pasta, couscous, and rice – 1 tennis ball
  • Potatoes – 1 computer mouse
  • Bread – 1 large roll or 2 slices
  • Noodles – 1 cricket ball

Nuts and Legumes

Generally speaking, nuts, beans and legumes are a great way to incorporate veggie-free protein, and heart-healthy fats into your diet. However, it is important to watch how much you are eating, due to their high fat content.

  • Whole nuts – 1 golf ball
  • Beans and lentils – 1 light bulb


Saturated and monounsaturated fats find a way to creep into our everyday diets. While they are okay in moderation, it is important to control the portion sizes in which we consume them.

  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Salad dressing – 1 shot glass
  • Butter – 1 postage stamp

Healthy Dessert Recipes

Desserts are delicious. In fact, desserts are so delicious they function as a cruel reminder of the harsh injustice of life. Amazing, addictive tastes; undesirable and unsustainable health consequences.


Whilst desserts are delicious, they don’t have to be bad for you. This blog is all about celebrating two dessert recipes that hold health and delicious in equally high regard.

Healthy Desserts: Overnight Brownie Oats

This really is a game-changer. There are lots of healthy dessert recipes flying about, but there’s something special about the concoction we have here. This dessert is great to split between two, and can be served in a little glass jar for a cute finishing touch.

This recipe is completely clean, with no added sugars, preservatives, chemicals, or unhealthy oils.


  • One ripe banana
  • Half a cup of quick oats
  • Cocoa Powder (unsweetened, to taste)
  • One cup of almond milk
  • Two tablespoons of full fat Greek yoghurt
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. Peel the banana and place into your glass jar.
  2. Mash the banana with a fork.
  3. Mix in the Greek yoghurt.
  4. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir well.
  5. Put a lid on the jar, shake well, and place into a fridge for 12 hours.
  6. Enjoy!

This healthy treat can double as a breakfast that’s really worth getting up for. In fact, this ‘dessert’ is really more of a delicious meal that works at any time of the day. To mix things up, and trust, you’ll want to, try adding in frozen raspberries for some serious decadence.

Healthy Desserts: Banana Ice Cream

If I told you that ice-cream could be made from just one ingredient, would you believe it? Well you should. With this ridiculously simple recipe you can really change the way you think about healthy desserts. Let’s run an ingredient list, just for a laugh.


  • Frozen bananas (however many you can handle)

Got that? I hope so.

The trick is all in the method, but you’ll need a food processor for this one. The how to goes a little something like this:


  • Whack your frozen bananas into the food processor.
  • Turn the damn thing on.
  • You want to get these bananas whipped into as smooth a substance as you can. Depending on the strength of your food processor, this can take between two to five minutes.
  • You may have to scrape along the side of your food processor if the banana gets whipped up too high in its attempt to escape the blending.
  • Once you have a nicely whipped banana mush, you can go ahead and serve, right to the bowl.

This one is simple, but it’s really worth a try! You can add in a sprinkling of cocoa powder during the blending process if you want to choc things up a bit.