It’s a marathon, not a sprint

I am my own motivation. This is a photo of me from the end of 2011 when I felt my fittest and healthiest. After a lot of trial and error over the lady few years I finally feel like I am on the path back to optimal health and balance.

Personally my #1 trip up is always not getting where I want to be fast enough (gen y and all that). I would either
A) not see results fast enough, get disheartened and start my unhealthy habits again or
B) see results and think “yay all my hard work it paying off, this little [insert snack] won’t hurt” but actually would start the snowball effect to eventually undo my progress and end me up where I was. Pretty standard yo-yo-er.

Now however I am not in such a rush and I am enjoying the journey towards a healthy balance. I am learning from slip ups instead of being hard on myself and focusing on what I want and what makes me feel good long term instead of what I want right now. Even if I don’t see changes physical changes as fast as I want to, I know I am getting fitter and faster every week and the physical changes will come.

The saying ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’ could not be more relevant ūüėä.
Happy hump day babes xx

Monday Motivation – Ever wondered about body building? Have a read about Dominique and her journey to stage :)

This is the first post in our new series ‚ÄúMonday Motivation‚ÄĚ.¬† In this series Kettlebells and Cookies will do a bit of an interview with people we find interesting or want to learn more about.¬†

If you would like to be part of this series, or know someone who would be a great read, we would love to hear from you Р you can get in touch with us here.

To kick off our series, we have an interview with our friend Dominique.¬† Dom has recently got into body building (and is doing pretty well so far!!) and we thought you might all like having a read of the dedication, hardwork and guts it takes to get up on the stage and ‚Äėflaunt it‚Äô in front of everyone. ¬†And, the fun she has with picking bikini colours and hairstyles (hey, what girl doesn‚Äôt like that side of it!).


Take it away Dom…..




What is body building and the different categories etc? Is it all big muscles and brown skin?

“Bodybuilding¬†is the use of progressive resistance exercise to control and develop one’s musculature”

So basically training your muscles to look¬†aesthetically¬†pleasing ūüôā ¬†There are multiple classes and federations, so there is pretty much something to suit every body type, from a slim build bikini body to a more muscular¬†physique¬†body for women,¬†and beach body to massive bodybuilders for men.

Who/what/How did you get into body building?
A couple of people suggested it actually – to be honest it’s not the easiest sport to get started in. ¬†There’s not much money in bodybuilding, so their websites are only as good as they can manage on a tight budget, so the information isn’t that easy to find. ¬†I actually emailed Jess Coate (a well know figure competitor) and she was super lovely and answered all the questions that I had. ¬†You can also email the presidents of the federations, (INBA, IFBB, NABBA, NABBA/WFF) and they can generally put you in touch with someone in your area to get you started.
What did you do exercise wise prior to body building?
I’ve given pretty much every sport a go, but most recently rowing and crossfit have been the sports that I’ve put a lot of time and energy into, and they’ve really helped build up my muscle.

How has your diet changed since starting body building?
Pretty drastically, I’ve always eaten pretty healthily, Mum bought us up to eat well, but I have the worst sweet tooth, so I’ve had to try and keep that under control. My coach has me a on a macro based diet – so he’ll tell me each week what amount of carbs and protein I can eat each day (fat always to a minimum) and then I work out what I eat around that.

So, what do you eat on a typical day?
I LOVE food Рso I put in a lot of effort for my food prep to make sure I have food that I really enjoy eating.  I set aside half my day on a Sunday to prep my meals for the week.

Brekkie; Oat protein pancakes with berries or  kumara/ham fritters or an omelette.

Lunch: Brown Rice/Wholemeal pasta/Kumara/Wholemeal pita with chicken/lean beef and salad/veges – i just mix up how I prepare everything to keep it interesting

Afternoon tea (pre gym) another meal similar to what I have for lunch

Dinner: generally steak/chicken and a salad – with carbs if I have any left for the day

Supper: a protein bar or plain unsweetened yogurt with berries – again dependent on if I have and macros left.
And, do you ever eat lollies?
Yes!  I have a high carb day every 4 days, so I let myself have a few lollies then, it stops me going on crazy sugar binges (though I am human, this does still sometimes happen)

What would be your 3 favourite snacks for on the go?
I don’t really snack too much since I’m so organised with my meal prep, but Horleys Carbless protein bars are my personal favourite – otherwise a small handful of nuts or a piece of fruit.

How often do you exercise and what do you do?
I train 9 times a week (yes it’s a lot, but I love it)

  • 2 x ¬†8km runs
  • 2 x HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions
  • 5 x body part specific weight sessions

My coach will also add in more cardio if it’s necessary.
Do you have help from anyone? (Eg: A trainer/nutritionist)
Yes definitely.  My coach tells me my macros and how much I should be training.  I send him pictures every week and he alters things based on my progress.

I also see a PT once a week to keep me on track, and to help me with my weaknesses – he helps keep me looking ‘balanced’ and also helps with my posing.
What do you do to get ready for stage? Getting your body ready and the make up/pretty side of things?
This is the super fun part! ¬†you get to pick a bikini fabric, and get a bikini made that best suits your body shape and find stage heels (pretty much clear sparkly ‘stripper’ heels).

On the day you’re best to let professionals help you with your tan and makeup – there’s nothing worse than going through all the effort of training and dieting to go on stage with a streaky tan and a different colour face. ¬†Plus they’ll make you look like a million bucks ūüôā ¬†You’ll generally get 2 spray tans plus a top coat – so you look like an oompa loompa offstage, but once you’re onstage the lighting dulls it down and you look good!

What would you say to any ladies (or guys!) out there thinking of giving it a go?
Do plenty of research and find someone who’s done it before to talk to, put in some hard work, and go for it! ¬†It’s honestly the best feeling getting on stage to show off all your hard work.

Biggest thing you have learnt from body building and biggest achievement to date:
That it’s the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s really taught me a lot about how mentally tough I can be.

Also that everyone cheats on their diets, if you have a binge, enjoy and start fresh the next day, feeling guilty about it doesn’t help anything.

I just recently won first place in International figure at the INBA South Pacific Champs, which I was completely blown away by given it was an open class, and only my second competition – but to top it off I’ve been selected to represent NZ at the Natural Olympia in San Diego this November. ¬†If you’d like to help me get there, please visit my give a little page ūüôā

Here are a couple of pics from my last show, and also a couple showing the progress I’ve made between my first show last year to this year. ¬†Follow me on instgram – dominiquetennant – if you’d like to keep following my progress on my bodybuilding journey x










What a difference a year can make…in the not so good way

2011 Before

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†‘After’ losing 26kg

Ive written about how in 2010 I lost 26kg. These are my ‘after’ photos as a result of cleaning up my diet and learning to run and love racing. By¬†mid 2010 I was the healthiest, fittest and happiest I had ever been. I had found the balance of eating, exercise, work, friendships and relationships that worked for me and I was fizzing – i felt like I had all engines running in peak condition. I hadn’t cut anything from my diet – I was eating a sensible range of real food with the odd big night out and indulgence and did a was regularly¬†running, cycling, boxing or¬†weight training.¬†

In mid¬†2011 I got a new job – it was a step up and I was excited for the challenge. My new job was great – I met Jane and a bunch of amazing, talented individuals, I got exposure to a new and very interesting industry and added a number of new skills to my growing professional ‘tool belt’. Things were great – i.e nothing really changed in my life. I was running to and from the office, logging off at 6pm and had an amazing 3 week trip around South East Asia with my best friend at the end of the year.

Jan 2012

On top of the world – January 2012


But slowly I got out of balance, waaaaaay out of balance. Jane and I both started on an exciting project that was a great opportunity for us both but had high demands under tight timelines. My drive to run up the corporate ladder overpowered all other instincts to log off at a decent hour and go for a run or sit down for a nutritious¬†dinner instead of eating lunch/dinner again at my desk and working till 2am. Because we were based offsite 35km out of the city I went from running the 4km to and from work to being picked up and dropped off at home by the car pool. I was¬†¬†attached to my phone and laptop 24/7 and was in a 8-way relationship with my colleagues on the project (not really but you get the gist) as we were all working as hard as each other. In other words, I would put¬†anything work needed ahead of any commitment I had made to my friends or family, chasing the idea that it would all be worth it ‘soon’. Jane and I were regularly working 70-80 hours a week throughout¬†2012 and 2013 and while our diet and exercise¬†was not thaaat bad, we were in a constant cycle¬†of trying to manage high stress with little sleep and relying on high sugar and caffeine to get us through the day and repeat. We were as Dr Libby would say ‘rushing women’ and displayed all the symptoms that go with that. The photo below speaks for itself….

Before and after 2012

The top photo is a photo of Jane and I at the cure kids adventure race in April 2012. The bottom photo was taken at a friends wedding in December 2012. Can you believe this is only 8 months difference?! These photos are shocking and sad and the reality of what constant stress and adrenal fatigue does to ones physical appearance. And this is nothing compared to how you feel on the inside. When Jane and I saw this comparison the first thing we both noticed was that we had both lost the sparkle in our eyes and joy in our face in those 8 months. To us, that was more scary than the weight gain. 

I can’t tell you how many¬†exercise regimes, diets and detoxes I started between 2012 and 2014 to try find the healthy¬†weight¬†I was at¬†from¬†2010 to mid 2012. When you work till 1am you¬†have to choose 4 hours sleep or¬†an extra hours sleep instead of the gym – to me this seemed like a lose lose. I was always either angry at myself for getting a little more sleep and missing the gym or being a walking zombie for trying to exercise and work on 4-5 hours sleep. This was my mentality for the better part of 2 years. It never occurred to me to say no to work, log off at 9pm (or earlier) and try fit in work and personal commitments (like the gym, run or dinner with friends).¬†You might ask ‘why didn’t i just eat/exercise the same way i did when i lost the weight?’. I did! I tried eating the same way I did in 2010 but it just didn’t work anymore – the weight loss equation is so much more than just what goes in your mouth and how much you exercise out. I read a quote in Dr Libbys new book (the calorie fallacy) that ‘you don’t have to lose weight to be healthy – you have to be healthy to lose weight’. This really hit home to me because no matter how much I exercised (i was training for the NY marathon in 2012 and put on all this weight in the process) or how clean and healthy I ate I wouldn’t lose weight while I was on the stress and coffee merry-go-round.¬†

This is why Ketllebells and Cookies was born Рwe know there are many many other professionals out there dealing with the same issues and priority clashes Jane and I have been through over the last few years. We have learnt SO much about ourselves and developed a number of tools and techniques we use every day to better manage our time, work more productively and effectively and find a better healthy balance. 

Check out my post¬†Progress Update – July¬†to read how my quest to get to healthy weight and healthy balance. At the moment, my main goal is getting marathon fit to run the NY marathon on the 3rd November (in 9 weeks time) and lose as much weight as possible so I’m not carrying too much extra weight ¬†for 42.2km around the Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan!¬†


Goals review

In June I posted some goals I was working towards and thought it was about time for an update (and to re-look and reset for some I know I haven’t quite achieved yet).

goals tick

1. Get a 100kg back squat.  Achieved.
I got this about a month or so ago (and then not related have had a sore knee so haven’t squatted heavy pretty much since! Knee is now on the mend and big volume squats start again this week. ¬†Bring on 10x10s! ūüôā ). Bonus – I am starting to enjoy squats! (they have always been my weakness since starting crossfit – go legs go!).

2. Get promoted to Manager at work. ¬†Not yet…
I was a bit hesistant about posting an update about this as I was pretty sure I was going to get it last round (June), but some things aren’t always completely in your control despite how hard you work. As was pointed out I had only been in my current position for 6 months and a year is usually the norm. Anyway, I should get it in November and that will be that. ¬†Moving on.

3. Get a ring muscle up. ¬†Work in progress ūüôā
This was always going to be a longer term goal.  Ultimately I want one consistently by the Crossfit Open (March) so I have a bit of time. That said, I still want it NOW! Haha. I have skills in my programme 3 times a week and you can bet this is number 1 on the skills roster to practice.

4. Lose 5ish kg. Achieved.
As I said in my goals post I don’t like to focus toooooo much on weight, but I think as females we naturally look at the number on the scales and some let it define our mood way too much (mental game anyone?!). Anyway, as of a few weeks ago I was 5kg down. It was pretty easy, we all know consistency is the key here. I have become pretty aware of my nutrition and aside from a few minor incidents with the marshmallow jar (LOL!) have been tracking everything and the weight easily came off. For me the biggest change was being aware of my protein intake and keeping it around 160-180g a day. ¬†I wrote more about my nutrition and tracking my macros here.

5. Ring grandma every week. Achieved.
I was a bit slack at this to start actually! ¬†Then I re-read my goals and upped my game! ¬†My aunty is away for 6 weeks and she is usually very good at keeping in touch with grandma if Katie and I are not. ¬†With her away it is now our job (that sounds bad) to check grandma is ok and to do some shopping for her each week. ¬†Being 94, almost blind and living by herself up a HUGE path, she does very well but can’t do everything herself so it is important we keep in touch.

Funny story actually. On Friday I was in the office and get a call to my cellphone. I look down and it is my grandma ringing!!! I didn’t even know she knew what a cellphone was let alone what my number was and how to dial it!!! Anyway, I answer (very shocked “how on earth did you call me?!!”) and she is ringing to give me her grocery list. ¬†I go into a meeting room at work and she reads it out. ¬†It goes something like this:

– 2 carrots

– 4 brown mushrooms

– a few grapes…

etc – you get the jist. ¬†She then carries on having a grand ole chat about the political debate on tv last night and everything else in the world (all the while I’m like “Yes grandma I will see you tomorrow and we can chat, uh huh, ok… i reeeeeally have to do some work now”). ¬†When I finally get off the phone to her, someone asks “Was that your grandma?” – turns out our new meeting rooms aren’t very sound proof and everyone heard the conversation. ¬†Hahaha! Looking forward to this Friday’s call with the shopping list too! ūüėõ

So there it is, updates on my goals since June.  I have a few more goals now I am working towards, but will get them up in a separate post.

Do you track your goals?  How often do you review and reset them if required? 

Jane xx

September Squat Challenge

The first day of spring is here and the sun is starting to make an appearance.  With not long till summer we thought a squat challenge would be a great way to get ready for bikinis and short shorts! (YUSSSS!).

Following on from the hugely successful¬†Junk Food Free August¬†the challenge for this month is aptly named the ‘Squat September’ challenge. ¬†We want to carry on the good work from the August challenge (nope, don’t get into that pack of chocolate just yet) and add to it with some exercise. ¬†If you weren’t part of our August challenge, that’s ok, you can join in now and clean up your eating – check out the post about it to see what we got up to!

The below schedule has a rep scheme for you to do over the month, with one full rest day per week.


Note: ¬†this won’t be possible for everyone (it is a lot of reps!) so please listen to your body and know what you are capable of ūüôā ¬†The below has a list of some guidelines for the challenge, so have a read and do what works for you! ¬†Yes, we want it to be challenging, but we also want it to be achievable!



Also if you haven’t already, make sure to join ‘Team Kettlebells and Cookies’ and be part of a closed group that‚Äôs full of support, motivation and suggestions on how to smash this challenge and make it work for you ūüôā¬†


Good luck guys and girls – keep us up to date with your progress!


Jane and Laura xx