Category Archives: Health

Don’t Believe The Hype

If there’s one piece of advice I could get people to listen to when it comes to health and fitness, it would be this. Don’t believe the hype. It’ll save you time, money, injury and disappointment.

There is no quick fix, magic formula or miracle pill. After all my years in the industry I can tell you it doesn’t exist. Sorry. Nothing works for everyone. I could have a dozen competitors in one competition and they’d all be on different programs, yet with the same goal, to be symmetrical, conditioned and lean on stage.

You can’t surf the net without being bombarded by ads for food that fight fat, the ultimate diet or quick fix workout program. Don’t buy into it, literally. Save your money. Do some research and know that there isn’t a secret you need to pay for. You just need to put in the time and effort.

Beware the “new, revolutionary” diet or exercise program.

I’m a big fan of Pinterest, but I cringe every time I see a quick fix workout pasted on a picture of a super fit model. First, behind those quick fix workouts are links to sites either selling something or getting paid to advertise something. Second, those models in the Pinterest photos did NOT get their physiques by following the 10 minute workout that’s posted along with their photos. I’m not saying all the workouts aren’t valuable, any time you’re getting up and moving, it’s a good thing, but it’s also false advertising. What’s the harm in that? This is what happens. Someone with the best intention does the 10 minute workout diligently for a month, maybe more. They being to get discouraged because they’re not looking like the model in the picture they’ve been staring at every time they work out and inevitably they end up quitting.

A lot of the Pinterest programs have you overtraining, as though pushing you to more than your max is going to make you feel like you’re “really” doing something and you’re going to get in shape fast. What actually happens, however, is your body gets overtrained, which means you lose your appetite or desire to eat healthy, you lose your desire to work out, you get injured, you experience sleep loss or experience extreme fatigue.
Go ahead, browse those workouts, but be aware of what’s behind them. Those pictures link to websites that are trying to take your money. DO USE COMMON SENSE.

The health and fitness industry is big business with the goal of making money.

Writers need to be wary of agents who approach them and say if the author pays them x amount of dollars, the agent will get them published and make them famous. The same thing applies to anyone trying to take your money. I think because it’s the health and fitness industry, people believe what they see. How could anyone possibly steer someone wrong about their health? Sorry, but there are cutthroats in the fitness industry too.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

But it’s not, and they’re not. If it were easy, broccoli would taste like ice cream. If it were easy, there wouldn’t be diet pill scams and no one would need help from a trainer or nutritionist. It is hard, acknowledge that and know that you can do it anyway.

There is no magic pill, there is no magic food, there is no magic workout. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Consumers beware, as they say. Remember the health and fitness industry is a business, like any other and their goal is to make money. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, people who are passionate about health and fitness and who want to help people. Helping people live healthy lifestyles are what they do for a living (says the personal trainer) but those people will tell it to you like it is. They won’t try and sell you a pill or a quick fix. They’ll tell you the same thing I am. It takes time. It takes dedication and even sacrifices to get true lasting results.

Save your money, go out and do a physical activity you enjoy and eat a sensible diet. Or, do some research and find someone who will give it to you straight up and won’t try to sell you a quick fix. Instead, they’ll give you an opportunity to make permanent changes toward a healthier lifestyle.

Adapted excerpt From: Sandra Wickham. “Health and Fitness for Creative People.”



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Filed under Diet, fitness, Health, Health Ally, Nutrition, Pro Tips

Health and Fitness for Creative People, the Ebook

I’m thrilled to present my new ebook to the world!

Health and Fitness for Creative People has been something I’ve wanted to put together for several years because I do believe that stronger in body is stronger in mind. Feeling better, being healthier is going to improve a person’s production, energy levels and their creative endeavours will benefit.

It took a lot longer to write than I had initially thought because there was just so much information I wanted to include. I’ve given presentations by the same name at conferences and never seem to have enough time to tell the participants everything I wanted to. With the ebook I got to include everything I wanted and it is packed full of what I believe to be valuable information for creative types looking to improve their level of health and fitness, their craft and their overall well being.

If you stumbled across this blog post and don’t know who I am, I competed in Fitness for 10 years, including 4 years in the IFBB Pros and have trained over 150 athletes to the stage, plus hundreds more individuals seeking better health. I have a black belt from Master Gee’s Black Belt Academy and am working my way toward my second degree black belt. I am a published author, blogger, speaker and avid crafter, always seeking to produce higher quality and quantity of my work. I have helped authors and artists reach their fitness goals and decided I wanted to help as many as I could.

It’s available on my site, you can view more information there. I also managed to get it up on and! Big shout out to Jill Flannagan for help in that new adventure. I might get some of my other manuals up there in the future.

Thanks to Diana Rowland for the great cover blurb, as well as to Howard Taylor and Chadwick Ginther for their kind words. Of course, I have to post their blurbs here to show them off. I’m also going to add to the end of this post a list of what you’ll find in the ebook. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the ebook before you rush out and purchase it (I know you all want to!) feel free to email me at!


“Sandra Wickham’s counsel on health and fitness has been invaluable to me for the last five years. She’s an expert here, and she’s a class act besides. ”

—Howard Tayler, Writer and Illustrator



“I knew a lot of the information in HEALTH AND FITNESS FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE–most of us do–but I kept it compartmentalized in such a way so as not to do anything with that information. HEALTH AND FITNESS FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE kicked down those walls and delivers all you need to know to feel better and create more art in one well-researched volume. (And I’m not just saying this because Sandra has me in an armbar.) ”
—Chadwick Ginther, Author of Thunder Road



What you will find in this Ebook

  • This is a ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-ONE PAGE manual, complete with everything you need to improve your health
  • Straight talk on why this is important for every creative person.
  • Help with finding your motivation to start and to continue improving your level of health and fitness.
  • Lots of geeky apps, suggestions and resources to satisfy your creative geek.
  • A section on proper posture for sitting or standing desks, including simple to do exercises to improve your overall posture!
  • Thorough information on cardiovascular and strength training so you know what to do and how to do it.
  • Helpful nutritional information covering everything from weight loss, to eating out and healthy snacking.
  • Also included are tips on getting enough sleep, and a section for those over 65.
  • Finally, a Now It’s Your Turn section including:A Quick Stretching Routine
    A Five Minute Creative Break (away from your desk)
    A Desk Break (you don’t even have to get up, but you’ll feel better!)
    Tips for Fitness and Health on a Budget
    A Sample Treadmill Workout (to shake things up a bit!)
    Tips on How to Avoid Overtraining
    Many Different Motivational Tools
    Inspiring Quotes of All Sorts to See You Through

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Filed under Creativity, fitness, Health, Health Ally, Inspiration, Nutrition, Nutrition Tips, Sandra's Writing, Training Tips

Still Looking for the Quick Fix?

I don’t think I’m posting a spoiler if I say that when it comes to health and fitness, there is no such thing as a quick fix. You’d think by now, this would be common knowledge, with plenty of fitness experts out there trying to get the message across.

Unfortunately, millions of dollars are being spent right now by people who are looking for the fastest results with the least amount of work. Diets, workout equipment, all the craziest things you can think of, if someone is selling it along with a promise of instant success, people will buy it. Sadly, they will be disappointed. The secret to success is small steps and small, permanent changes.

What the focus really needs to be on is a change of habits to healthy ones. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you stick with it, you will reap the benefits. It’s so important to remember it’s all relative to where you start, what your goals are and what success means to you. Getting yourself to a level of health with which you feel comfortable, proud and satisfied is what it’s all about.

Set realistic goals. Don’t be in such a hurry to see results that if you don’t see any, you give up. Be patient with yourself. Do it because you deserve it and because you’re worth the time and effort.

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Filed under Diet, fitness, Goals, Health, Health Ally, Pro Tips

Sometimes We Get Sick

It happens. You’re cruising along really great with your workouts and healthy eating and then WHAM! You get struck with sickness. For whatever reason, you’ve caught something nasty and now you feel awful. So, what do you do? Tough it out and push through your workouts because you don’t want to lose any ground you’ve gained? What about those people who swear that “sweating it out” is the best cure for being sick?

Maybe for some people, at certain points of some sickness, doing some exercise might help them get rid of whatever it is they’ve got, but most of the time, the best thing really is to rest. Whatever illness your body is fighting against, working out will likely wear you down further. You’re making your body’s energy go to the workout and repair from that workout, rather than getting you healthy again. The last thing you want to do is drag out your sickness or make it worse. Rest up! Don’t feel guilty for missing workouts, that’s never worth it. The workouts will still be there when you recover, and your body will thank you.

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Filed under fitness, Health, Health Ally

100 Happy Days

I’ve just started participating in the 100 Happy Days Challenge. It’s a simple concept, you take a photo every day of something that makes you happy, for one hundred days in a row. The one hundred part is a bit daunting, but I figure if I can do 100 pushups, 100 sit ups and 100 deep squats for my black belt fitness test, I can do this.

Day One: Making preemie caps for the hospital

Day One: Making preemie caps for the hospital

I’m in the early stages of 100 Happy Days and right now it seems easy. I find myself excited to pick something to post and even thinking ahead to what I can post the next day, and the next day. That’s the point, really, to get yourself focused on the good things in your life. We’ll see how I feel about it when it’s day seventy, but I hope to see this out to the one hundred day finish line. Wish me luck. And also happiness.

My Mom

My Mom

Uncle Fatih's pizza on cheat food night.

Uncle Fatih’s pizza on cheat food night.

Today’s is easy. I’m currently at our Ink Club meeting for January, something I started up to give writers, artists and creative people of all types, the peer pressure nudge to sit down and actually be productive! This is our sixth meeting, I absolutely love it and I think everyone else does too. The atmosphere is fantastic, we get to socialize with like minded people during our breaks and work hard on our creative endeavours. No question, it makes me ridiculously happy.

Ink Club!

Ink Club!

Ink Club!

Ink Club!

Have I sparked your interest in it? Check it out over at All you have to do is sign up and start. You can post your photos to twitter, facebook or instagram, or if you don’t want to publicize them, you can email them in to 100 Happy Days. Let me know if you decide to join in! We shall all be happy together. Big thanks to Andrea Westaway for bringing this to my attention. I know she’ll finish her 100 days and it will be spectacular.

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Filed under Creativity, Health, Inspiration, Random Wickhamness

Ninja test number two, passed!

Okay, so I realize I’m not and never will be an actual ninja, but it’s still fun to say. Last month we were tested on ten combinations and two forms. Our second one was last Saturday, the big test that everyone fears from the first time they hear about it, the fitness and endurance test. Here’s what it looks like, and yes, this is all in one day, in a row:

1 mile run in under 8 mins
100 pushups, 100 crunches, 100 squats
Sparring the black belts
Reaction drill
Self Defence
Board Breaking

I survived and I passed! Here’s a few pictures my brother snapped during our sparring with the black belts. I know it’s really hard to tell, but that’s me, honest, fighting one of our past instructors in the white tank top. I love how concerned my fellow apprentice belts (on the left in the background) look while watching me. The girlfriend of one of my training partners also video taped my sparring, I’m thinking maybe I’ll see if I can do a montage of all my best bits and of course take out the parts where I’m getting kicked in the head. 🙂




Next up we have anatomy testing, a written essay (going to nail that part, or at least, I better) and then our final show in December. If all goes well, I will receive my black belt by mid-December.

For now, it’s back to class, including our Saturday morning two hour apprentice class we’ve been attending since January. Phew! It’s a tough road, but it’s going to be worth it. As the juniors say, “What’s our goal? Black belt! Around our waist and in our hearts.”

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Filed under Health, Health Ally, martial arts

A Break from the Weights

This year I’ve had to cut back on my weight training in order to focus on martial arts. Now I have my black belt testing starting later this month until the end of December. In particular, the fitness testing day comes in about six weeks. Due to the strenuous training needed to pass the tests, I’ve decided to stop weight training for the entire six weeks.

Aaaaaaaaah! *Insert freak out here*

I haven’t taken more than one to two weeks off from weight training since I was about nineteen. I am pretty sure I’ll go through some mental and emotional withdrawal, but I know my body will be the better for it.

This month to begin our black belt testing, we’ll be tested on two forms (katas) and ten combinations. Next month, our fitness testing will go something like this:

8am-10am Apprentice Class
Noon: 1 mile run on the track
100 pushups
100 crunches
100 deep squats
Sparring with the black belts, repeatedly
Nine Reaction Drills
Self Defence
Board Breaking

This is the day I’m training for. I’m acutely aware that my body cannot recover from training for this and weight training. I’m living the example I’ve been trying to convince people of for years, that more is not better. Our bodies are not machines. I’m going to have to sacrifice my weight lifting but I know the day I put that black belt around my waist, it will have been worth it.

(Wish me luck!)

With training partner Jennifer on the day we received our Apprentice Belts.

With training partner Jennifer on the day we received our Apprentice Belts.

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Filed under fitness, Goals, Health, Health Ally, martial arts