Category Archives: Nutrition Tips

Tips for a healthy diet!

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

Before and After Ads Have Always Pissed Me Off

Whenever I see those Before and After ads for the latest and greatest supplement, my eyes roll and I want to scream at people not to fall for it. I always think, sure, take a bodybuilder (or fitness/fitness/bikini competitor) when they’re off season, bloated, have them wear completely unflattering clothing under bad lighting,  then retake a picture when they’ve been dieting and training, wearing a flattering outfit with a tan, make up, hair done and of course they’re going to look better! I guarantee you it’s NOT from the supplement being advertised. It makes me Hulk angry, because no one but the Hulk transforms that fast!

Andrew Dixon took that a step further, and in a blog post he called “Seduced by the Illusion,” he decided to see if he could do instant before and after shots. From his blog, “I decided to take my own transformation photos to see what was possible with just a few easy tweaks. About 6 months ago I was around 185lbs and about 16% body fat. I was feeling particularly bloated on the day, so I asked my girlfriend to take a before shot. I then shaved my head, face and chest and prepared for the after shot, which was about an hour after I took the before shot. I did a few pushups and chin-ups, tweaked my bedroom lighting, sucked in , tightened my abs and BOOM! We got our after shot.”

Andrew says, “There is no doubt that we live in a world of manipulation, false promises and exaggerated claims. This is especially true in the fitness industry. I’ve been a personal trainer for over 11 years, and clients and friends are always telling me about the next amazing diet or exercise program.  Like Insanity or P90X hold the secrets to fat loss.” I could quote his whole blog, it’s fantastic, reflects my thoughts and anyone working on transforming their physique should definitely go and take a look at it here. 

But wait, you say, you have before and after pictures of your clients on your website! Yes, I do, but those are competitors. We show their stage after photos (not on the beach or in their own house) to show that they have done ALL the intense work required by a competitor (proper nutrition, cardio, strength training) over a long period of time (at least 16 -20 weeks, some an entire year!) to get to the point they’re at, including a fabulous stage suit, hair, make up and FAKE stage tan! They trained and dieted to extreme measures to be competitive. It wasn’t a quick fix, there was no miracle pill.  No illusions, just hard work.

National Level Fitness Competitor Antonia Before Competition Training and After On Stage

Which is the point of Andrew’s blog. Wisely he tells us, “Forget about the quick transformations and focus on a life of healthy eating, well managed stress levels, quality sleep and plenty of movement.”

I concur. It’s not a race. Don’t believe the hype.  Focus on making lifestyle changes that will help you reach your goals of living a healthier lifestyle.


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

Health Tips I Learned from my Cats

1. Sleep whenever you can.

It’s always a good idea to get enough sleep, but often we don’t get the sleep we need at night. If you don’t, well then if the opportunity presents itself, take a nap! I used to feel guilty about taking naps, like I was being lazy and/or not being productive. Turns out, I feel better and get more done when I can fit in a power nap.


2. After sleeping or sitting, always stretch.

You’ve all seen this, when cats get up, they have to stretch (usually at least twice) before they do anything else. Stretching is great for our bodies, to get out the kinks, get circulation back and to have our bodies functioning better. What if you were to do a nice big full body stretch every time you got up from your computer? You’d feel more cat-like and agile, I’ll bet.


3. Don’t eat too much or too fast.

If you do, you’ll upset your tummy. (and if you’re a cat, your quickly eaten dinner may end up on the floor) Sound advice, right? I think too often we forget that, though. Take your time, enjoy your food, and you’re less likely to overeat.


4. Bathe regularly and with great intent.

I mean it! Obviously good hygiene is important, but so is relaxing your body and brain. Relax, have a bath or a shower, or if you’re lucky to have access to one, enjoy a soak in a hot tub. Or just relax with your favourite downtime activity.


5. Run around like crazy at least once a day, just for fun.

Whether you pretend you’re chasing someone or being chased, it doesn’t matter. Get up, move around, have some fun. (ie, move your body!)


6. Don’t take life too seriously.

Last, but not least, enjoy life and don’t take it, or yourself too seriously. Your mental and physical health will improve greatly.


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No Such Thing as Spot Reduction

This isn’t something most people like to hear. When someone asks me how they can lose the weight on their stomach or get rid of the fat from their thighs, the answer is, lose weight all over! Unfortunately, you cannot spot reduce. We do not get to choose where the body fat comes off of. You can work on a particular area to increase the strength and muscle mass of a part of your body, however, that will not affect the levels of body fat on that area! No style or number of abdominal exercises is going to give you a six pack. You need to lose body fat from your entire body for that to happen. So, you can definitely ignore all those “1 tip for a flat belly” ads you see splashed all over the internet.

Another side to that coin is that your body has a “first on, last off” system, wherein you are going to burn your newest body fat before you get to the stores that have been around the longest. For most people, that means if you naturally carry your body fat around your middle, it’s likely that’s where you’ve had it the longest and it will take the longest to come off.

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, I want to tell you that there is indeed hope! All it takes is a rounded health and nutrition program of eating properly, as well as cardiovascular and strength training. You can make the changes you’re after but it’s important to go into a program with the right expectations. Let’s say, for example, all someone wants to do is  lose weight on their stomach. So they  do 100 crunches every day (which, by the way I do not recommend at all! Abdominals are like any other muscle and can be overtrained, affecting your entire neuromuscular system, leading to injury, sickness etc..but, I’ll leave the topic of abdominal training and six packs for another day) but don’t change their eating habits, or add any other cardiovascular or strength training to their life. What happens? A few weeks (or days) into it, they don’t see any results and they quit. Balance is the key to results.

If you want to improve any area of your body, start a well rounded program combining healthy eating, cardiovascular training and strength training. Your entire body will thank you and you’ll get the results you want!



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Combat Late Night Snacking

Many people I talk to don’t have too much of a problem sticking to a healthy meal plan during the day, but then at night, all that goes out the window! Why? Why do those snack cravings hit? Suddenly all those good intentions and efforts of the day are blown in a frenzy of late night munchies.

Unfortunately, there is no way to make gains in your health and fitness plan if you’re only eating well during the day and then losing all control at night. The same goes for eating well for the five days during the week and then eating anything and everything all weekend! But that’s another post..

Here are a few suggestions that have helped me.

Eat enough during the day!

Often when we’re trying to lose weight, we restrict ourselves too much, dropping our calories too low for what our bodies need.

If your body isn’t getting enough calories throughout the day, it is going to tell you about it at night and you’re going to find yourself going back to the refrigerator and cupboards again and again! Or, sometimes during the day, we get busy and forget to eat enough, then when we get home and have to rest for a minute, our body screams at us to remind us we haven’t eaten enough. That’s when we run for the quick, easy and not always healthy snacks.

Try to focus on eating smaller, frequent meals throughout the day, balanced with healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins. That way, your body won’t be demanding extra calories in the late night hours.

Keep your hands busy!

Do you sit infront of the TV and eat, without even realize how much you’re eating?

Sometimes it’s just a habit we’ve created and it can be uncreated! I multi-task at night when I’m watching TV in order to keep my hands busy and away from the snack food. I work on craft projects, work on my to do lists for the upcoming day, write in my journal, play on my ipad, anything to keep my hands busy. Just because you’re sitting in front of the TV doesn’t mean you have to be snacking!

Make the snack visible!

If you ARE going to have a snack, don’t eat it straight out of the bag, box, or whatever container it comes in. If you’re eating straight out of a bag of chips, for example, you don’t SEE how much you’re eating, and it’s easy to overeat. Pour a specific amount of chips out onto a plate and you can SEE how much you’re eating and you can stop when your serving is done. Leave the bag in the cupboard, with a lock and key if you have to! 😉

Go to bed!

I don’t even remember where I first read about this or heard about it, but it has helped me enormously and it is SO SIMPLE.

At night, our insulin levels rise as our body prepares us to go to sleep. Unfortunately, the other side effect of that is we think we want to eat! We interpret that as being “hungry” instead, and keep making trips back into the kitchen. When you start feeling like this, get yourself ready for bed, read a book and go to sleep! No need to stay up to watch tv and eat!


Filed under Health Ally, Nutrition Tips

Functional Nerds Podcast Interview

The Functional Nerds is a podcast for nerds, by nerds. I’m thrilled to have been invited to write a column there as the Fitness Nerd and I have a new post up about the importance of drinking water: Drink Up! It’s summer time for most of us, this is important information, so go check it out! 😉

The gentlemen at Functional Nerds also asked me to be a guest on their show and that interview went up today. To give you an idea of what the interview includes, here’s the write up directly from the Functional Nerds website:

“In episode 63 of the Functional Nerds, Patrick Hester and John Anealio sit down to chat with Author and Fitness Nerd Sandra Wickham.

With Sandra, we discuss: fitness, water, carbs, discipline, working out, writing, word count, staying fit, exercise, calories, tracking your goals with apps, the InkPunks, being the Fitness Nerd, competition and transitioning into writing.”

I had a great time talking to Patrick and John, I hope you’ll check it out. To listen to the interview, CLICK HERE!

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Filed under evolve, fitness, Fitness Nerd, Inkpunks, Nutrition Tips, Training Tips

Fit4Success Network has a Sponsor!

Our health and fitness network has a sponsor!!

As some of you may know, up until recently, Ning networks have been a free service. The one I created was something I was doing just for fun. I wanted somewhere people could come to encourage and support each other, as well as get more informatoin on
living a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Things changed and Ning is no longer free. Through their site I found a link to WEGO Health Portal, offering to sponsor health networks. I applied, and we’ve been accepted!!! Hooray! That means we can continue the network with ALL the features we’re used to.

So, a huge thank you to WEGO Health, you can visit them here:

In honour of our new sponsors, I’d really like to increase content and participation, as well as the number of our members. So, please come by and check out the network, and if you like what you see, join up!! 🙂


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Filed under fitness, Goals, Nutrition Tips, Training Tips