Ironman Nutrition Checklist by Michelle Bruce Dietitian/Nutritionist


Buy your race nutrition now – Don’t leave this till the final days before and be hunting around at the event expo or popping into every bike shop within cooee! You don’t need that extra stress and you definitely don’t want to have to break the golden rule of sports nutrition, which is to never try anything new on race day!

Study the course – Know what nutrition is provided on course and when. How frequent are the aid stations? What order will the drinks be in at the aid stations? Where is special needs? Are there any technical parts of the course that may limit opportunity to fuel per your intended plan?

Check out your accommodation – Are you staying in a self-catered apartment or a hotel, or perhaps a hostel or even camping? Know what options you have available for food storage (Is there a fridge? Or a freezer?), food preparation (bench space, knives, cutting boards, pots & pans, any other utensils you may need) and cooking facilities (Microwave? Oven or stovetop? BBQ? Toaster? Only tea & coffee making facilities?). These things will impact upon your food choices in the days leading up to and after the event – will you be able to prepare all your meals and snacks (including your ideal pre-race dinner) with the options available to you, will you have to bring some things with you, or should you be considering alternative options?

Suss out the local shops – Do you know where the supermarkets and other options for groceries are? Are they likely to have what you need? Sometimes the simplest things can be the hardest to find – banana shortages are common during Ironman week! Will you need to eat out on occasion? If so, try and make any restaurant reservations early as with so many athletes in town, your choices may be limited if you just wing it, and no-one wants to deal with a stressed out, hungry, tapering athlete!

Taking the time to consider these things now, before you travel, will help you have a hassle-free race week, and allow you to focus on relaxing and conserving your energy for race day.

All the best!


Focus on Rainbows: A Mindfulness Activity by Michelle Bruce Dietitian/Nutritionist

Where thoughts go, energy flows. Focus on the rainbows, not on the rain. 

When our minds are so preoccupied with thoughts of the trials & tribulations of everyday life, we often stop paying attention to the beauty all around us. Mindfulness can help us to connect with the present moment and put our fears and worries aside. This gorgeous rainbow that I saw recently reminded me of a simple mindfulness activity that can be practised just about anywhere.

All you need to do is to go outside, start walking and look for something in each colour of the rainbow. Tune into your surroundings and start noticing things that you may often walk straight past. Look at the flowers, the wildlife and notice the details in your surroundings. Once you have found something in each colour, start all over again.


Poor Posture?

Improving and correcting your posture is one of the healthiest things you can do for your spine and your whole body. Not only does good posture make us look great, but it is a key aspect to better health and a pain free body. Correcting bad posture does take discipline, but there’s no doubt the benefits are well worth the effort. The first step is to understand which of your lifestyle habits promote bad posture and then taking small steps to address these. Pesco et. al. suggests that once you have postural awareness, there is a significant decrease in upper back and neck pain1.

Some experts say that as many as 80% of us will experience a back problem at some point in our lives2, not merely due to injury or trauma. In my opinion, prolonged poor posture has over 50% to do with the back and neck problems we see every day in clinic. Poor posture places unwanted pressure on the joints and discs of the spine, as well as the surrounding muscles and tissue structures. Prolonged poor posture can lead to spinal degenerative arthritis and degenerative spinal disc disease. Chiropractic can help alleviate the problems associated with poor spinal health such as neck, back, and muscle pain, and help reduce the risk of developing permanent spinal degenerative changes that cannot be correct once they have occurred.

Chiropractors are experts at assessing the spine, examining posture, and locating problems. Through the use of adjustments, mobilizations, and soft tissue releases, Chiropractors can identify where the spine is not moving correctly, treat and correct these areas, help improve posture, alleviate any associated symptoms, and guide and motivate you to make beneficial lifestyle changes to maintain good spinal health and good posture. A healthy, flexible spine, is key to maintaining a healthy, pain-free, life. Imbalance of body posture can be a sign of imbalance in the spine. If you see any imbalance, it is important to see one of our Chiropractors and get it looked at and treated.

Poor posture can lead to:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Scoliosis
  • Muscle and mental fatigue
  • Muscular and ligament injury
  • Respiratory difficulties

What can you do to help your posture:

  • Be consciously aware of your posture in daily life activities – i.e. picking up kids, cleaning and household duties, work/office posture, gardening, exercising, carrying heavy items, driving
  • Move, move, move! – regular walking breaks, exercise, and stretching
  • Have an ergonomic assessment
  • Visit one of our Chiropractors Nicole, Elisabeth, or Mel, or our Exercise Physiologist Stacey to assist you and correct any postural ailments to help alleviate any problems that poor posture can cause such as back and neck pain.
  • Maintain a healthy weight range. Our nutritionist Tess can help you with this if you need any guidance and motivation
  • Download apps such as the CAA Back App from the Apple App Store or on Google Play and easily set up regular postural reminder alerts on your phone to use at the office, or at home.

Good posture checklist:

  • Head high and chin tucked so that your ears are in line with your shoulders
  • Shoulders pulled back and down
  • Stomach pulled in
  • Squeeze bottom tight
  • Feet turned out 5°
  • Balance weight equally on both feet when standing
  • Avoid slouching
  • Avoid sitting for prolonged periods – brief breaks involving regular stretching and walking is a great way to avoid this

 Want more information or your posture checked? Call Padstow Chiropractic on 9792 3135

 Written by: Dr Melanie Xabregas – Chiropractor


  1. Pesco MS, Chosa E, Tajima N. Comparative study of hands-on therapy with active exercises vs education with active exercises for the management of upper back pain. J Manipulative PhysiolTher. 2006;29(3):228-35
  2. Vallfors B. Acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain: Clinical symptoms, absenteeism and working environment. Scan J Rehab Med Supply 1985; 11:1-98

I did it!

As many of you are aware last month I completed my first ever Ultramarathon. Never ever would I have believed I could achieve such an accomplishment 12 months ago. But it is a true testament to mental strength and what the mind believes the body can achieve. My training for this event surely had its ups and downs. My relationship with my program was tested on many levels. Early on you will recall I put a stress fracture in my femur which stopped me running altogether but this road block wasn’t going to stop my determination and as frustrated as I was of not being able to run I found a different avenue to continue towards my goal. I took up swimming and strength training as part of my cross training and after enough rest from running I gradually increased my running load again.

Training was tough. I was up 2 mornings a week at 4.30 am to fit in my long runs of 30+ kms and get to the gym to work on strength. It was HARD to find time to train with a business to run and three little monkeys at home to take care of. I had to push my limits where I could. I ran to work, I ran home from work. I would run to friends houses and also run before my interval training. I have become familiar with the Royal National Park having run plenty of tracks during my training and became friends with the Honeymoon Stairs. If you haven’t endured the stairs they are no way a Honeymoon!

Three weeks out from Ultra trail Australia 50 I entered in the Anzac Day Challenge which would be my last long run before the big event. It was a 40k run around St Ives and Bobbin Head. It was tough, the day was extremely cold and it rained sideways for most of the run. I didn’t feel up to scratch before the run but was committed to finishing it. It took 5 hours and 15 min to complete and my body was a wreck.

A few days later I was suffering terribly with hip pain and back to the beginning could barely walk and had deep hip pain. My first thoughts were “here we go again” all I could think about was is this going to be another stress fracture? So off I went for an MRI on the left hip to rule out the worst case scenario. Three long days of waiting for results and the good news came in that there was no fracture but I did have a grade 2 tear in one of my hip muscles. This was not going to stop me, I had trained so hard, given up all of my valuable time to train. I trained in the dark, in the rain, in the cold. I had even gone home early from events as I had to train the next day. I WAS DETERMINED TO GET THIS DONE.

On May 14th 2016 I lined up with my running buddies to compete in my first ever Ultramarathon. I had no idea what was ahead of me as I had only had trained once on the course and it was the back end of the run. I was as nervous as anything but excited that I had made it onto the start line. 20160514_071911

For those of you reading this that are not familiar with the course the event is held in the Blue Mountains. The course runs from Scenic World past the Fairmount Resort to the Old Queen Victoria Hospital on the Kings Table Land. It then descends into the Jamison valley and returns past the Three Sisters and back up to scenic world.

The first 20m is stairs. Thank God I did not know that before entering the course. A half marathon of stairs greeted us before we even got into the valley. My legs were on fire by the time I finished the first part of the course. I remember saying to myself I don’t want to see another stair for the rest of my life! Once we passed the Queen Victoria Hospital I was in familiar territory as I had done this part in a training run so I knew what was ahead of me. It started with a 8km descent into the Jamison valley that tested every ounce of leg strength I had left and then once we had reached the bottom it was the march back to scenic world. The march was all I could muster for the 20 km up hills. It was tough and all that was running through my mind was just put one foot in front of the other and don’t stop. Often I would count my steps just to take my mind off the massive hills we had to walk up, they were relentless and nothing like hills here at home.

At the bottom of the Furber stairs I could hear the finish line. I could hear the cheering and bells at the top and just wanted to finish this event. I was exhausted and had 951 stairs to climb to get there. The stairs almost broke me but I just kept going. I passed people cramping horrendously and at least one vomiting. People were struggling but I was not giving up. I marched up those stairs and got the top in under 20 minutes. Once at the top the adrenaline kicked in and after 49km and 951 stairs I started running again. I was met at the top by all my running buddies cheering me on. I couldn’t believe the support and love I received from my friends that supported me and helped me get to this point. They stood in the cold with cameras making sure they did not miss me finishing my first ever Ultramarathon. Please see the picture below to gain perspective of my elation. PS it took me 9 hours 15 min to complete.

So what now? If the body achieves what the mind believes what is in for me next? 100km I hear you saying!!


Listen to your body

12744167_10153857994074373_1076584369808374915_nIt has been quite some time since my last update on my running journey to Ultra trail Australia 50 km event. As most of you know I have been working hard on my fitness and strength o ensure that when it comes to race day I am fit and strong enough to finish the event.

Late last year I was diagnosed with a Femur stress fracture. Yep that’s right I managed to put a break in the largest and strongest bone in my body. An MRI finally gave me the bad news as I had been unable to run and had been limping for a while. 8 weeks no running was my recovery with 4 weeks gentle resuming back into it. I am happy to say it has been 12 weeks since I found out and I am back into training.

Sunday was my biggest run to date. 33km of trail running starting out in the National park with a head torch at 5.15am and finishing up 5hours later. I am still tired today 2 days after running but the endorphins are still flowing. After a long time off running I was starting to lose my motivation for it all. It had taken 18months of hard work to get to where I was before the diagnosis of a stress fracture and basically all that work was undone in 12 weeks. Lucky for muscle memory it wont take as long to get there but gosh is it hard work.

So how did I end up with a stress fracture?? Running is more than physical fitness for me. It clears the head and gives me goals and something to focus on. I have a goal to do an ultra marathon in May and I freaked out that training more before that event would see me finish the event with ease. I am a driven person and like succeeding at anything I put my mind too. I probably got myself carried away with too much training and not enough rest in between runs which left me physically unable to repair small damage I was causing myself every time I ran.

We have a lesson to learn from our mistakes and trust me I am always learning! My lesson hear was that I need to listen to my body, our bodies send us powerful information that our minds can over rule. My body was fatigued and telling me to slow down but my mind would overrule and I would tell myself no pain no gain in the end my body failed me beyond my mind and so it won at the end of the battle.

If you have read this to the end a lesson you could probable learn from this is we all need to be more intuitive with our bodies and the messages it tells us. We shouldn’t ignore niggles, aches and pains because it is our body trying to tell us something. If you have an ache or pain or something niggling or you have digestive issues etc. get them checked out. Your body is trying to communicate with you.

Feeling Bloated?


Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the general term for a group of chronic inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract including Crohn’s disease (CD) and Ulcerative colitis (UC).

IBD is characterized by recurrent inflammatory involvement of specific intestinal segments, resulting in diverse clinical manifestations.  CD can affect various parts of the gastrointestinal tract and symptoms include pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fatigue, weight loss, constipation, fever, peri-anal fissures and loss of appetite.  UC is restricted to the rectum and colon and includes proctitis (inflammation of the anus and the last portion of the rectum) and symptoms include urgency, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, rectal mucus, weight loss, lack of appetite, fever and abdominal pain, however urgency, bleeding and diarrhea are the most common symptoms of UC.

One of the modern medical approaches to these conditions is to suppress the symptoms with anti-inflammatory drugs, either steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).  Unfortunately both steroids and NSAIDs including Aspirin are associated with a range of side effects and long-term use is difficult so there is a demand for a more natural approach and herbal medicines work very effectively here in providing symptom relief and reducing the severity and incidence of exacerbations.

There is evidence to suggest that there are several contributing factors to the underlying cause of IBD and these can vary in each individual.  These include, but are not limited to:

Viruses (cytomegalo virus, rota virus, Epstein bar virus)

  • Bacteria (mycobacteria, e. coli)
  • Immune dysregulation
  • Leaky gut, inflamed gut wall
  • Increased number of bad bacteria in the gut and a reduced number of protective bacteria
  • Gastrointestinal infections e.g. candida
  • Poor diet (increased incidence in cultures following a Western diet)
  • Family history

Malnutrition often occurs as a result of IBD due to poor intestinal absorption of nutrients from food ingested, this can present as weight loss in approximately 65-75% of IBD patients, fat malabsorption – a decreased absorption of fat soluble vitamins and minerals and iron deficiency due to chronic blood loss associated with IBD.  Dietary advice and specific nutritional supplementation where there is a need to correct nutrient deficiencies has a powerful influence on correcting malnutrition and this can have a positive effect on both UC and CD.

Herbal and nutritional medicines can help to reduce inflammation involved with IBD, regulate the immune system, help to heal the gut wall and reduce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with these conditions.  A qualified Nutritionist & Medical Herbalist can help to addressing the underlying causes contributing to either UC or CD and can provide much needed supportive treatment to complement and enhance the medical approach. Book an appointment to get to the underlying causes of your tummy trouble today 9792 3135


  • Principles and practices of phytotherapy: 2ndedition.  Bone, K & Mills, S, 2013. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
  • The clinician’s handbook of natural medicine: 2ndedition. Pizzorno, J, Murray, M, & Joiner-Bey, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
  • Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Hechtman, L. 2012. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.




How does your body hold stress?

Everyone holds stress and reacts to stress in different ways. For example, one person may hold stress in their shoulders, lower back or neck, others hold stress in their gut (commonly associated with IBS and reflux) and others suffer from headaches when under stress. There are many more presentations or symptoms of stress.

Lets face it…we are all stressed! The bad news is that experiencing stress is inevitable! The good news is that there are many natural ways of managing stress and just as importantly to reduce the effects of stress on the physiological function of the body i.e. reducing the way that stress affects normal bodily functions therefore reducing the impact that chronic stress has on the incidence of disease. In other words…stress wears out the body!

Here are some ways we can naturally manage stress and maintain wellness:

  • Walking or any form of exercise you enjoy – this releases endorphins and enkephalins (feel good chemicals and stress relievers)
  • The practice of meditation or mindfulness
  • Herbal medicines can be prescribed to support the healthy function of the adrenal gland (this gland regulates the stress response and is often poorly functioning in chronic stress) and reduce the effects of stress on the body.
  • Eating a wholefood, nutrient dense diet

If you feel worn out, stressed and overwhelmed your body may be crying out for some TLC. Nip stress in the bud and if you need support and effective treatment to assist your body in coping with stress and reducing its damaging effects I encourage you to book in for a Nutritional/Herbal Medicine consultation to start feeling better today! 9792 3135

Pleasure or pain?

One of my mantras has always been that life is led by choice and not by chance. It’s true that we cannot always control the cards we are dealt in life but what we can control is how we choose to play them.

It’s not the events that happen to us that count but the meaning we associate with them, how we respond and who we choose to become as a result that determines how successful and fulfilled we ultimately are.

We all have choices ultimately we can choose to be victims of chance or learn and grow from chance and make choices about how we are going to move forward and deal with them.

From my previous blog you would have learnt that running for me was not natural and rather something that I chose to do following the breakdown in my marriage. I could have chosen to curl up in a ball and rock backwards and forward in the corner of the room or look at this situation from a different perspective. I chose to take up running as a way of getting away from my stresses and keep the negative thoughts out of my head.

We can chose to lead our lives by our circumstances or learn from them and make better choices.

More recently I have upped my running. To a point that I have had to take a weeks rest as I was running way too much. In fact rather than running for fitness I was running away from my problems I had created in my head. Running is a natural endorphin and I was getting my high each time I went running however I was simply masking pain. So by choice I haven’t run for a week and I am dealing with my mental pain. Almost punishing myself by overtraining and punishing myself for not being perfect. Here is me emotional and not dealing with my head and running way too much.


Where to now? my week of rest is almost complete and tomorrow instead of running to work I am jumping on my bike. The round trip to work and back will be about 24kms. Cross training at this point is imperative if I want to maintain flexibility and strength. I cannot afford mentally to not run as it is part of my over health and wellbeing but I must learn balance and not run away from my head. With just over 5 months until my ultramarathon I must stay focused on training properly and not let my emotional brain take over.

For anyone looking at getting back into exercise I can recommend booking with my Exercise Physiologist Stacey here at the Padstow Chiropractic. She is making me accountable and keeping me as focused as she can. 9792 3135

Tess Quirk Nutritionist

strawberry-banana-breadThe strawberries are awesome at the moment and this new recipe for paleo banana & strawberry bread is in!

Here it is:

•2 ripe bananas, mashed
•2 ½ cups of natural almond meal
•¼ cup of flaxseed meal
•½ cup of organic coconut oil
•4 free range eggs
•½ cup of chopped strawberries
•¼ cup of honey
•1 tsp of bicarb soda
•1 tsp of vanilla extract
•½ tsp of cinnamon
•½ cup of organic shredded coconut and extra to sprinkle on top of loaf

1.Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan forced)
2.Chop the strawberries in halves and place aside.
3.In a large mixing bowl combine the coconut oil, mashed banana, honey, vanilla, cinnamon by whisking these ingredients together well until combined.
4.Whisk the eggs in one at a time until well combined.
5. Whisk in the almond meal, flaxseed meal and bicarb until the mixture is smooth and lump free.
6.Stir through the shredded coconut.
7.Place in a loaf tin, lined with baking paper, sprinkle on the extra shredded coconut and place the strawberries on the loaf.
8.Bake for 45 minutes until cooked in the centre.


Where’s your head at?

I have always loved the song “Where’s your head at? by Basement Jaxx. It has been a great running song for me with an upbeat tempo but the title itself has rung true too. My running journey originally began after a horrible breakdown of my marriage. It was my only escape where I could run and get away from the life I was living. I would run often angry, emotional and overwhelmed. Even as I type these words I am filled with emotion as this journey has been far greater than I could of imagined.

~12079230_793121680793433_7947084112940430826_nRunning has been a gift to me, although not born naturally a runner it is the only thing that has challenged me beyond my greatest capabilities. “When our world begins to fail us we must look inwards to find the answers“. I set myself what I thought was a very unrealistic goal earlier in the year when I joined a running group called Runlab. The only goal I set myself when asked by my coach was to run a half marathon. I set no other goals. I completed that first goal in the 4 months after joining my running group. On a high post race when the endorphins are running high I signed up for more and to date I have completed 2 half marathons, City to surf, Sutherland to Surf, Kamay 20km Trail run and 29km Coastal Classic. Although proud of my physical achievements it is my mental strength that I am most proud of.

~This journey has always being about mental toughness for me. You may beg to differ but I am not the confident type and have struggled my whole life with my self image and self esteem. Running removes me from this. The negative self talk that we all endure is loud when I am not running. Very recently I found myself again pushed backwards, negative self talk was loud, confidence hit an all time low again and failure set into my mindset. The negative self talk was loud and although I was running the running wouldn’t make it go away. The voices were loud ‘you are not good enough, you are a loser’, the voices were following me so I decided it was time for a new goal, shift the mindset and give focus to what seemed darkness. So in a moment of madness I signed up for my first Ultra Trail Marathon.

“Where’s your head at?” Is what I have asked myself on numerous occasions since booking my place in this 50km ultra trail marathon in the Blue Mountains in May next year. I can do this, I know I can and its this attitude I have carried my whole life that will get me through this. So is this a mental test or a physical test I am setting myself?

I am blogging my journey from beginning to end not only to provide inspiration but to also be someone to be admired for overcoming hurdles that may not always be evident on the outside. If I inspire one person I will be satisfied. So here I am Nov 1st 2015. I hope you enjoy my journey as it will be as raw as I can possibly be.

Coastal Classic 2015