Paddles and the World Championships

Only one week to go until racing starts at the 2017 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Racice, Czech Republic.  I am very proud to be representing my country at my 4th World Championships and will compete in the women’s Paracanoe individual KL2 (kayak) and VL2 (outrigger canoe) races.  Time will tell if all my hard work at training, in the gym and on-water, over the past year will lead to improvements in my performance.

Last year was so incredible with the sport of Paracanoe making it’s debut at the Rio Paralympic Games.  I will never forget hearing the crowd cheering loudly as I crossed the finish line, feeling completely exhausted but relieved and elated in the knowledge that I just made history winning Australia’s first ever Paracanoe medal at Paralympic level!  It’s a hard act to follow…

Consequently, this year I have made a few changes in the hope to shave off those few crucial seconds that make all the difference in sprint racing.  I also have some new equipment that I am very excited about! I am so grateful for the support of The Paddle Shop, who have supplied me with a new outrigger canoe paddle – the Quickblade V Drive.

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The Paddle Shop is Australia’s leading supplier of water craft, paddles, clothing and accessories.  They are passionate for all things paddling and are happy to help assist you with exactly what you need whether you are a professional or beginner. They have a wide range of stock at their Mooloolaba showroom, on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast, that allows you to compare brands, styles, and products.

Can’t get to the shop? You can also see their product range online at their website; www.paddleshop.com.au They ship around Australia and world-wide! Also join me in following them on Facebook for all the latest news, upcoming events, blog post, and general paddling information.

I am so impressed by the The Paddle Shop for their service, friendliness, product range and prices. They really are a one stop shop for all your paddling needs!

www.paddleshop.com.au

Photo credits:  North Coast Foods.

 

 

Eco Friendly Foods Initiative

The Eco Friendly Foods Initiative or EFFi for short, is a great company producing nutritional snacks as well as supporting philanthropic projects and campaigns.  I have always had a keen interest in nutrition and even studied sports nutrition in 2011. Nutrition is a crucial part of sport performance and is also very important for everybody’s general health and wellbeing.  The benefits of a balanced nutritious diet are the driving force behind the EFFi food’s dream, as experienced by creator Carina Ayden.

Carina suffered serious trauma to her spine at seven years old while training as a figure skater. This left her with chronic pain. Over many years she had to undergo numerous surgeries on her spine and during her time in hospital she learnt about the role of nutrition in medical recovery, which was the starting point of her EFFi foods journey. Read Carina’s full story.

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EFFi provides plant-based snacks that meet healthy food standards without sacrificing great taste. I personally love the Probiotic Care Bar as a snack between training sessions. With three flavours to choose from, the Probiotic Care Bar combines fiber, protein, antioxidants, and a non-dairy probiotic that aids in digestion and immunity.

Another favourite of mine is the Probiotic Nut Clusters, which is a grain-less granola mix that uses nuts, seeds, and fruit for their nutritional value and delicious flavour. Plant-based superfood Sacha Inchi is the key protein in EFFi’s Probiotic Nut Clusters, as well as delivering healthy fats, vitamins and fiber.

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EFFi not only produce great food products, they are committed to sustainability, with all operations of the company guided by the principles of a regenerative, restorative, and circular economy. EFFi also support philanthropic causes in the areas of human rights, the environment, education, and nutrition.

See the full EFFi foods range at their website and learn more about how your purchase helps support people in need.

www.effifoods.com/

Photos: EFFi Foods.

Hila Upcycle – saving our planet!

One of the many things I love about kayaking is that I get to train on the beautiful waterways around the Gold Coast and Brisbane.  During a session, I usually see a range of wildlife enjoying the water from ducks, swans, cormorants, kingfishers and other birds, to water dragons (lizards) and numerous unidentified fish that unexpectedly jump out of the water and scare the life out of you!

Unfortunately, I also see a lot of rubbish floating around in the water mostly, glass bottles and plastic materials.  So, I did a little research and discovered that inorganic waste such as plastic and glass takes a very long time to decompose, if at all! According to the Clean Up Australia website, glass is estimated to take one million years to break down into smaller pieces!

To combat these shocking statistics recycling makes an enormous difference, with glass products able to be recycled infinite times.  Another more sustainable and creative way to reduce waste is upcycling.

Defined by Wikipedia, upcycling is the process of transforming discarded objects or waste material into a useful product of a higher value and quality with minimal impact on the environment. And unlike the recycling process it uses less energy and produces less emissions and pollution.

I came across Hila Upcycle while searching for gift ideas on Pinterest.  They are a family owned business with 3 generations of experience in the glass industry.  Hila Upcycles’ mission is to create a more sustainable future by offering products that utilise more creativity and less electricity, and reworking materials rescued before ending up in landfill.

And they really do deliver on their promise with a wide range of handmade glass products from drinkware and platters, to jewellery and home décor.  I was absolutely amazed by the creativity and artistry that goes into every piece! With upcycling not only do you get a interesting and one-of-a-kind, handcrafted product, you are contributing positively to our planet!

www.hilaupcycle.com.au

 

“Imagination is the beginning of creation” – Hila Upcycle.

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Photo: Hila Upcycle.

Motivation with Fitbit

A question I often get asked as an athlete is… how do you stay motivated?  Motivation is what drives you into action to achieve a goal. I believe that motivation comes when we see results from our efforts. To stay motivated you need a way of measuring your progress which will help you continue on track to reaching your goals.

The great news is the incredible technology to track everyday activity is already available! A great tool that I love for keeping track of my fitness and health goals is my Fitbit Super Watch. I own a Fitbit Surge and I highly recommend it as the ultimate tool to help you stay motivated.

This watch has so many notable features like GPS, heart rate monitor, SmartTrack activities (including daily steps counter), silent alarms and auto sleep monitoring just to name a few.

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Here, I want to highlight three of my absolute favourite things about my Fitbit Surge, but for full details and for help choosing the right Fitbit device for your personal needs check out their website.

Firstly, I love that the Fitbit Surge has a large touchscreen display so I can view my stats in real-time and get feedback during an activity! And for additional information the watch wirelessly syncs to an App on my phone or computer so I can analyse all the data in more detail and view it over time. The watch provides more than enough information for you to see real progress and through the App you can choose a range of goals that you can achieve daily.

Secondly, In the gym I love using the heart rate monitor to track my workout intensity. The watch uses a green LED light which reflects off the skin to detect changes in blood flow and measure heart rate. This feature is great to ensure I am hitting the right intensity for my particular workout. And from personal experience, I can say it is much more comfortable wearing a wrist watch than a heart rate monitor strap.

Lastly but not least, an outstanding feature of the Fitbit Surge that I love is the automatic sleep tracking. I believe good quality sleep is crucial for recovery and enables you to perform at your best day in and day out. My Fitbit Surge not only records the duration of my sleep but also the quality of sleep and combined with the App I can arrange my sleep targets and alarms to get the best rest and recovery.

Check out the Fitbit website if you are interested in getting your own Fitbit to help you stay motivated and achieve your goals.

www.fitbit.com

Photos: Fitbit.

HorsePLAY

What do athletes do in their down time? Well something I love to do to relax and have fun after a long day training, is host an old fashion board game night with family and friends!

Charity Op Shops are great places to find inexpensive board games, while supporting a worthy cause. One unique game that also supports charity, and that I happily recommend as a family-friendly favourite is… HorsePLAY.

An Australian made and award winning product for its revolutionary design and quality, HorsePLAY is an adventure trivia game and coffee table book all-in-one durable and portable box! It features stunning imagery along with entertaining brainteaser questions. Even with my solid horse knowledge I learnt some new interesting facts while playing this game!

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The passionate creator of HorsePLAY, Jacqueline Thompson, has her own incredible story of survival to tell, after her life was saved by a brave 13-year-old girl who found her alone, unconscious, and with serious head injuries after falling off her horse in a National Park.

Her young rescuer, Rachel Higgins, called an ambulance and made the life-saving decision not to remove Jacqueline’s helmet, something which the young hero learnt at Pony Club. After waking from a coma, Jacqueline had to re-learn basic things like walking and talking, but thankfully made a full recovery from her injuries.

After her near-death experience, Jacqueline has a deep appreciation for organisations such as Pony Club and Riding for the Disabled (RDA) and has generously offered to support my favourite charity The McIntyre RDA Centre.

So, with every HorsePLAY game purchased a $10 donation will be given to The McIntyre RDA Centre or a Pony Club of your choice. To find out more visit the HorsePLAY website and don’t forget to nominate The McIntyre RDA Centre for your charitable donation.

www.horseplaygame.com

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Photos: James Pittman, HorsePLAY.

Sweet treats from The Stable Co

I must confess I have a sweet tooth. As an athlete, I try my best to eat healthy most of the time but one can’t say no to the occasional pleasurable treat. So, I am always on the lookout for something to soothe my cravings without the guilt!

I stumbled upon The Stable Co and there range of vegan friendly, 100% certift ied organic raw dessert mixes on Instagram. Their gorgeous photos of raw desserts had me wanting to find out for myself… can this really be so easy to make and taste good?

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To satisfy my queries I tried the Macadamia & Coconut Bliss Balls as a Christmas treat! A little box wrapped in brown paper arrived at my door. The Stable Co have a zero-waste policy with all the packaging recyclable or compostable. The box contains everything you need to create your goodies, with a few addition fresh ingredients that you need to provide… in this case lemon juice and coconut oil.

It was indeed easy and simple to whip up using my high-speed food processor. A few minutes in the fridge to chill and my unbaked raw dessert was ready to devour. And… YES, they pass the taste test with high distinction! Tasty coconut flavour and sweetened naturally by the medjool dates included in the pack.

Find the full range of hand-packed raw mixes from The Stable Co website and give them a go yourself!

www.thestableco.com.au

Photos: The Stable Co.