Creamy Vegetable Soup

300g potatoes or kumara

1 tomato

1/2 onion

1 garlic glove

400g mixed veges (carrots, turnip, leek)

2 sprigs parsely

1T homemade vegetable stock

600g water

20g butter

  1. Chop onions and garlic
  2. Saute onions and garlic in butter
  3. Boil water
  4. Add onoin, garlic, chopped vegetables and remaining ingrediants to water
  5. Cook on medium for 25mins- stirring throughout
  6. Once all veges are tender (but not sloppy) pour into blender
  7. Whizz until desired consistency

Can add any veges you have- just add more or less water for the quantity and texture you like.

Dark Chocolate Bliss Balls

1 cup Cashews Nuts or Almonds

1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder

1/2 cup dates

1 T vanilla essence

1/2 cup chocolate or vanilla protein powder

Splash of water depending on consistency

Coconut to roll balls in

Blend ingrediants well. Scoop mixture with spoon and roll in hands into balls.

Roll in coconut.

Place in fridge to harden.

Cashew nuts are rich in vitamin E and a good source of minerals, particularly magnesium and zinc. They are high in healthy fats- so these are a good replacement for a sweet treat or chocolate bar. They will leave you feeling satisfied, rather then craving more. Perfect for that mid arvo snack with a herbal tea!

Check out our Salted Caramel Bliss Balls here: Salted Caramel Bliss Ball recipe

Want to be part of our next Health and Fitness Retreat? Find out more here Renew, revitalize, relax Retreat

Striving for Greatness – again….1 year on

Well those that are new to Activ8 within the last year might not realise the dumb stuff I do every now and then- I call it having no fear, most call it just being an idiot. If we rewind to just over a year ago, my goal was to strive for greatness and achieve a Burpee-Backflip; well that kinda ended up with me smashing my knee to pieces basically, requiring 2 surgeries over 3 months and including another knee reconstruction. Read about my struggle here

1st alignment surgery

I had already had a ACL reconstruction in the same knee 8 years ago, but because I had done it again and even worse this time, rehab would take me 1 year until I was ‘allowed’ to do every exercise again. So what have I learnt and where to now for lil ol Shayno?

I don’t know if our mindset is the same but when you can’t do something- all you want to do is that one thing your not allowed to, I guess it’s like when your mum as a kid said you can’t do something and you just did it anyway – no just me, ok. So for me this was running. I never liked running and never will like running, but because I couldn’t run that is all I wanted to do. As you all know I’m a little height impaired, so the bulky weight I was carrying never allowed me to be the best runner aesthetically and bio-mechanically. So over the past year I have completely changed my mindset on how I see myself and what my goals are. Fast forward to today, I’ve rehabed, I’ve worked hard, I’ve shredded out 10kg of unneeded bulk and am the fittest I’ve ever been – without losing too much strength. I run a lot, most of it offroad and up hills and damn it feels good, I don’t necessarily enjoy it, but it feels good to be back.

So for those that come up to me and say they have an injury or had surgery particularly the knee and say they can never run or jump again and I smile or laugh at you now you know why. Excuses and laziness is all it is, if you work for it anything is possible, if you don’t you can cry in your own self pity but you wont get any sympathy from me until you have tried your best to rectify it – just being honest. Yes it might take up to a year of hard rehab and seeing everyone pass you by but you can get back to where you were and what you were doing. Or if you are like me, it created a drive that has made me way better than I ever have been. You have to be able to mentally and physically come to terms that you need to look after yourself, but not stop, let it become a stepping stone to creating a burning desire to get back to or better than you ever have been. We’ve all had injuries but how we deal with them is very dependent on the person you are. If you roll over and use it as an excuse to stop everything then that’s just weak, you’ve basically given up on yourself – harsh but true. You need to move, physio is very important, and if you baby it,  it can actually become worse.


Muay Thai Camp in Thailand

So remember at the start of this blog I said I do dumb stuff every now and then – well its time to do some more dumb stuff again. In March, Amz and I are off to Phuket, Thailand for 2 weeks to partake in one of their infamous Muay Thai kickboxing camps. If you’re not sure what Muay Thai is youtube it, its pretty brutal. Muay Thai, MMA, Jujitsu, Crossfit are just a few things we will be putting ourselves through up to 5 hrs a day and did I mention its in Thailand- so 40degree heat with no aircon. This will be a whole new experience for the both of us, but we are willing to push our bodies to the absolute extremes to see how far they can go. I can’t wait for a trained Thai fighter whose being doing it since birth to be kicking me straight in the knee I’ve just rehabed and got back to full strength – see what I mean by doing dumb stuff.

The Burpee Backflip goal I will put on the backburner just for now, so whats the next goal then you ask?

For those that have read my blogs before and going by the burpee backflip know I don’t make easy goals for myself so whats my new one – Half Ironman (2km Swim, 90km Bike, 21km Run). Kai Iwi lakes Triathlon done and dusted time for the real training to start. To finish I’ll say it again- it’s a new year, strive for your own individual greatness, stop coming up with crappy little body goals and strive for something that is an actual achievement – body goals will come with it. It doesn’t have to be as extreme as mine just push yourself to something you thought you could never do. 2019 could be a year you never forget.




Cashew Crunch Bliss Balls

50g Flaxseeds

1T Coconut Oil

180g raw undalted cashew nuts

100g hazelnuts or almonds

90g pitted dates

1T Tahini

1T Maple Syrup

30g cocoa

  • Place flaxseeds, oil and nuts into blender.
  • Blend on high speed
  • Add remaining ingrediants, feel free to add any seeds or nuts you prefer
  • Roll into balls
  • Coat in coconut or sesame seeds or cocoa, as desired.
  • Put in fridge for 30min before serving


  • These cashew crunch bliss balls are good to keep in freezer as a treat

Linseed is the same thing as flaxseed- it has many health benefits, the main one being its high content of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. These have heart healthy effects including reducing your risk of heart disease, cancer and strokes. It is also high in fibre which is great for a balanced diet.

Love our Cashew Crunch Bliss Balls? Check out some more of our Bliss Ball recipes


Raw Chocolate Nut Slice

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Raisins
  • Peanut Butter
  • 1/4c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4c cocoa
  • 1/4c chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2c coconut
  • Can add extra nuts and seeds depending on your liking

Blend nuts and seeds until well-combined

Add the remaining ingrediants and whizz until well-combined. Should be a sticky mixture- if too dry add some more coconut oil.

Either roll into balls, or press into slice container. Set in freezer for 15mins before cutting up.

Enjoy this slice with a cup of peppermint tea, or in the kids lunchboxes- the mix of healthy nuts and chocolate, with not much dried fruit, means it is a great snack to give you a hit of nutrients without the blood sugar spike….enjoy!

I’m Fat – Let’s Do Some Abs!

I’ve posted a blog similar to this one before but the topic has again reared its ugly head. If I can teach anyone anything in this world that would stop them wasting their time its this; DOING AB EXERCISES DOES NOT MAKE YOUR TUMMY SMALLER!!!!!. When I used to work at a traditional gym nothing grinded my gears more than watching overweight people come in and just do abs. Just because you are working your mid region does not mean you are losing body fat from your mid region and I’m going to tell you exactly why. So I’m hoping you spare 5mins to read my whole blog because this 5mins could potentially save you hours of your time and completely change the way you think about everything.

I’m going to warn you now this will get a bit scientific but I will try and translate it as well as I can.

So, how do we lose tummy fat then? Well first I need to explain how the body burns fat. Within every muscle cell there is a hard working engine called Mitochondria and within this Mitochondria there is a process with oxygen that transforms stored fat into a chemical compound called ATP. Wow, wow, wow this is already over my head your thinking, but that’s ok all you need to know is that ATP makes a muscle contract, any muscle. The more ATP that is created means potentially more body fat is being burnt by the bodies muscles moving(taking into account that carbs and proteins can also be utilized).

So what, that doesn’t mean ab exercises don’t burn tummy fat?

Your right, it doesn’t, but is it efficient? The bigger the muscle group the more mitochondria there is which means more burning of fat to create ATP. I used the train analogy last time this time I’m going to use cars as my way of explaining physiologically why doing ab exercises does not make your tummy fat disappear. Petrol is your stored fat, Mitochondria is the engine in your car, abdominal’s are a Mini and your chest, back and legs are a Top-Fuel Dragster. WHICH BURNS THE MOST PETROL OVER THE SAME DISTANCE???? Exactly, and that’s exactly how the body works as well.

Have you ever wondered why we do so many push ups, so many rows, so many squats well now you know. The bigger the muscle group being worked the bigger the potential of fat being burnt.

Still not convinced???? Well I’m going to crush your dreams in one sentence…….You cannot choose where fat comes off, and if your doing heaps of ab exercises you are essentially growing your abs so that’s going to make you look even bigger round the tummy. Sorry but true, how many hrs have you wasted doing ab exercises to try and get your tummy smaller?? Hold on but what about all the infomercials that sell ab machines, why would they sell something if it doesn’t work….I don’t have an answer other than to make a dollar PLEASE DO NOT WASTE MONEY ON AB MACHINES THEY DO NOT WORK!!! All the transformations you see are from people that have changed their nutrition not from doing 100 crunches on a Ab King Pro.

But then why do we do ab exercises?

That’s easy because the trunk or abs play such a massive role in movement, stability and functionality. We never give you ab exercises to decrease body fat its there to build a solid foundation for your upper and lower third of the body. Have you ever wondered in your PT or bootcamp why there’s never really anything longer than 5mins of abs? That’s because that’s all they need, if you have been doing exercises working the big 3 (chest, back & legs) you have already been using your core. The abs role is to twist and bend you so without a strong core that’s where back issues can come into it.

How the heck do I get abs and decrease my tummy then Mr Ruin Everything?

NUTRITION, NUTRITION, NUTRITION!!! Exercise does not give you abs, it helps, but its all about what you put in your mouth. Everyone strives to have the perfect body with a 6pack but to achieve this you need to find the right mix between so many factors including exercise, food, hydration, sleep etc. To visibly see your abs males need to be sub 12% body fat and females sub 20% and generally speaking the majority of males fit between 15-22 and females 23-30%. If you eat right (in its simplist form energy input vs energy expenditure) and expend more energy than you input you have to burn body fat and this doesnt necessarily mean by movement either. If you eat 1500 calories worth of food it doesnt mean you need to get on a rower and row till you get to 1501 calories the body burns the majority of calories by just functioning normally called your Basal Metabolic Rate. So your BMR might be 1000cals per day so you need to burn 500calories from physical exercise not 1500, hopefully that makes sense.

Why don’t I just starve myself or just run 20km every day that burns heaps of calories, doing weights will make me bulky and muscley? OK, OK, OK I need to break that down in 2 parts. The first part why don’t I just starve myself to get my body fat down or run heaps that burns heaps of calories…..Yup you are 100% right BUT what happens when you stop that or have a bad couple of days eating??? Theres no muscle there to help burn excess IT ALL TURNS TO FAT. We see it so often people get amazing results from running heaps or doing a crazy limited diet but what happens when they stop you see them back to where they were or even worse (dont tell me you dont know someone this has happened to it might even be yourself). The second part I dont want to get bulky doing weights, simple answer is you wont and you cant. How many times have we given you a weight that is that heavy that you can physically only do 8 reps and need atleast a 2min rest?? Never. To bulk up your weights need to be that heavy that you can physically only do 5-8reps anything over 10-15 is muscular endurance/weight loss & toning you cannot bulk.

Take home message, Stop doing ab exercises at home to try and make your tummy smaller!!!!!!!



Coconut Berry Smoothie


1.5 cups almond or coconut milk

2/3 cup frozen blueberries

1 Tbsp olive oil or Flax oil (or hemp oil)

1 small pinch of sea salt

2 scoops Protein Powder (I use 180 Superfood protein)

A couple handfuls of greens or 1 scoop of greens powder

1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter

1/4 of an avocado (optional)

Sprinkle with sunflower or chia seeds

Blend all ingrediants in a blender- enjoy.



Matts Reality Check PLUS his 5 Top Tips to get you where you want to be

We live in the infomation age- there is so much infomation out there and a lot of it is conflicting.  So what do we listen to?  Who do we trust?


First I will tell you who not to trust.  Google searches and Facebook articles.  Now I am not saying these are all wrong and often they have experts backing them up- but they generally only tell one side of the story.  Not many answers are black and white, yes or no- especially in the health and fitness sector.  Most answers lie in the grey area- what is right for one person may not be right for you.

So we trust the experts, people who have delivered results to others in the past and who have actually studied the stuff!  These people are Personal trainers, Dietitians, Physios, Nutritionists,  Expert speakers, Doctors … the list goes on.  They tell us their opinion based on what they know- on what we need to do to help us, yet very few of us take the actions suggested, or if we do, we do them for a very short time and then fall back to our habits.

My opinion (and it is only that-my opinion) is that people are not taking responsibilities for their own lives.  We are all to quick to blame our situation.  We all think our lives are too busy, there is too much stress, work is crazy, the kids aren’t sleeping.  Everyones’ list is different – but it’s the same message. It is never anyones fault -it is their situation.

We are responsible for our own lives, we are responsible for our own stress levels, our own health, our own happiness and our own results.  And I can already hear all the parents out there saying “no, my kids come first”, of course they do- but if you can not keep your stress, health and happiness in check what kind of role model are you going to be? What kind of messages are you sending to them about the world we live in?

So when you ask your physio or your trainer what you need to do to to get yourself where you want to be, then Top Tip #1:  you need to listen to the answers. Top tip #2:  You need to make the changes they suggest. Top Tip #3: There are no excuses.

If you cannot commit to the changes needed – then what you are wanting to achieve is not important enough for you (at the current time).   If your goals ARE important ENOUGH – then you will make the changes.  I know this from experience- with my clients, but more importantly from myself.  I have many goals I want to achieve, and I know what I need to do to get there, but do I always do what is needed?  No.  But what I have realised (and it has taken me some time) is that it is one persons fault…….. mine.

So it is one thing to know that our situation is a sum of our own actions and choices.  And it is easy to want changes or want better, but, in reality it can be hard, scary and almost impossible to see a way out.  Deep down most of us know what we need to do to get where we want to be (body wise, health wise, life wise etc), don’t just ask for advice- but ask for support.  If you really want more- ask for accountability, ask for help, get others that are close to you to support you on your quest.  The other thing that is crucial for improvement and success is

SELF CONFIDENCE, SELF BELIEF & POSITIVE THINKING that you will get to where you want to be.

My experience with 100’s of clients from all back grounds, is that the ones who truly believe that they can do it and have a good attitude- achieve more results.  Faster than those with little belief and a negative attitude.  Over 90% of our body functions are controlled by our subconscious- therefore if you are always saying to yourself “I am still fat, lazy and tired,” then your subconscious hears this and makes you feel even more like this. This process reinforces this idea and makes it harder to lose weight, gain energy, create new habits…compared to the process which happens when you give yourself positive self-talk. You will physcially release different hormones and your subconscious will work in a way in which you will actually lose weight, feel more energy and stick to your goals.

To change your attitude towards yourself – start with gratitude.  Be grateful for what you do have.  Help others in their quest, it is amazing how much positive energy you will get from others once you start helping them.  Not every day is going to be amazing, but look for the good every day, in yourself and in your life.

Matts 5 Top Tips to get you where you want to be:

1) Be Grateful

2) Be positive / Believe in yourself

3) Get expert help but more important get expert support (from everyone)

4) Surround yourself with positive people.

5) Stop blaming your situation – take responsibility for your life.  This is not a dress rehearsal – we only get one shot – make it awesome.

Old African proverb:

“To go fast go alone, to go far go with many”.

Lets go far! Together.



If you liked this blog you may also like:

So Who Do You Trust?

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Does the Wild Kiwi beat Matt 2018?

Wild Kiwi 2018 we owned it!

Last year after failing miserably at the Wild Kiwi race, I wrote a blog about how failure is awesome and how it can drive you to succeed and do better…..12 months has passed and a large number of Activ8ors have smashed the Wild Kiwi in the weekend. (Read Matts 2017 post here: Failure and why its fricken Awesome )


Truth be told you never smash the Wild Kiwi – it smashes you. Every event option- the 8k, 15k, 21k, or the multi-sport is next level, the half marathon is the hardest in the country (there are stats to prove this).

After the race last year, I was so disappointed in myself- firstly because I was too cocky and didn’t put in the training, and secondly because there are things I got wrong during the race that caused me to be slow (and I should know better). Those feelings subsided over time, but come Christmas time- I thought it’s now time to get stuck in and train hard for Wild Kiwi 2019. I trained hard and specific for the Kiwi over January and then life got busy. I was still training hard but not specific. Not biking enough (truth be told between Jan and April I did 1 ride before the Kiwi), and not kayaking enough. 3 weeks out, I got Kayak scared (2017 I fell out at least 17 times and wasted a ton of energy getting back in), I started sneaking kayaks in where every I could.


So truth be told – 2018 I was only a little more prepared than 2017. But confidence was high leading into the Kiwi, and come Friday night I was excited and amping. I woke up early got out there in the dark ready for action. I had arranged 2 kayaks and ending up taking both down to the start line, only choosing the fast tippy one (the same green machine from 2017) 2 mins before the start of the race.

The Kayak leg was changed on the day due to rough weather and I was really neverous about my descion to take the tippy kayak. But typical Matt- go hard or go home. It turned out I was pretty fast (comparing myself to 2017 Matt), I was in the top 20, 1/3rd into the race, then had to go around a point that had a rough patch of water, fell out 4 times and lost 20 odd places. Started thinking here we go again- but then thought NO, I got this, I was smarter this year, didn’t get angry (really hard to stay in your boat when you are paddling angry). The next 30 odd mins I stayed in the boat and clawed 20 odd places back. When I got back to the dreaded corner I slowed down, took my time and only fell out once. Not dropping much time. Finishing the kayak feeling really good.

This year I found the bike awesome – it went fast and the views on the Mt Bike course are world class. I hit the running feeling good and positive about the race. Over the first 2 hours of the run my head was in a good space. It was hard and I was hurting but love that feeling and pushed on. Around the 2 hour mark everything changed. I had been out there for 5 1/2 hours and had loved every second. The remaining part of the course was hell- my body packed in- major cramps, sore knees, twisted ankle (from the week before) started effecting my running. I had a sore neck and shoulders, back was aching and had chafe on my arms. Worse than my body packing in- my head started to go. The next 40 mins and 6 odd ks was a night mare and at the time I am not 100% sure I would finish. Those that know the course the last 6ks is the easiest in terms of hills and difficulty but to me it felt like running on glass through brick walls.


Near the end – our team Activ8 ‘HYPEMEN’ found me on struggle street and pushed me back. Running over the finish line to a bunch of awesome Activ8ors and my family was amazing – but I was still really struggling.



I had to lie down for close to an hour without moving and a top over my head. I struggled talking to anyone and the thought of food, water, poweraid or even a beer made me nauseas. After that lie down, I got some food and poweraid in and felt (mentally, not physically) a lot better. It was then that I started to care about how others had got on, once started moving around the Activ8 family group I found out that everyone had done awesome- there was a real buzz and sense of achievement. For 6 hours I was in my own world and it was all about me. But talking to all those others who had gone through their own battle, I realise we had all achieved something great.


As I said at the start you don’t smash the Wild Kiwi – it smashes you. Entering events like this is what it is all about. It tests us on so many levels- physically, mentally, emotionally- you coming out knowing what you can and can’t handle (which is way more then mentally perceived).  Those around Activ8 have been talking about their race- what went well and what didn’t, all week. For the 50+ Activ8ors who completed the race, well done, don’t underestimate your achievement. We all have our own Everest to climb, to some you may have done that in the weekend, others it maybe a great stepping stone on the way to our ultimate prize.

I also want to thank all those amazing volunteers out there on the course – you guys were amazing- always so positive and supportive- and am sure some were out for a long time. Well done for getting behind a great event and giving some of your valued time.


The other reason I love events like this is the realisation that you can do anything. I couldn’t walk properly for 3 days after the race, but now (6 days later) I am close to 100%.

                                                     “Pain heals – glory lives for ever”

Those that did the race and have beaten personal demons along the way – I expect more of you now. You know your body and mind can go to those dark places and come out the other side alive. Now you don’t have to go there every single workout (that’s not healthy or wise), but now and then you can. Expect more from yourself, demand more from yourself. Keep training hard team, keep training smart, and when the opportunity comes to test you – jump at it – find out what you are made off.

See you there 2018!

For the record – I was 1 hr 12 mins fast than last year.

2017                                 2018

Total time: 7:20:51        6:08:38
Kayak 1:47:13                 1:27:20
Mt Bike 2:30:38            1:56:42
Run – Mt 2:42:08          2:18:40
Run – Road 0:20:55      0:25:58


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