10 tips on how to stop Sugar Cravings

Sugar has not only been found to contribute to a number of health issues but research shows that it can be even more addicting than cocaine. Scary right?
It has been found that the link between sugar and addictive behavior is due to the fact that sugar stimulates the same reward circuits in the brain that are activated by cocaine.
Dehydration can cause cravings. Make hydration fun by enjoying sparkling spring water with a squeeze of orange, lemon, or lime or a herbal tea.
It’s way harder to say no when it is staring at you every time you open the pantry. Remove the tempatation and that is the first step.
Sometimes when we have a craving, a change in state can make it vanish almost immediately. Go for a walk,call a friend, listen to music, or read a book.
Stress management is essential to a healthy lifestyle. If you had a demanding day at work, instead of reaching for a chocolate bar or bag of lollies-  take a bath, meditate, exercise or cook a healthy meal instead. Do something that helps you relax and allows your body to find calm.
This could be berries with cream, a bliss ball or a piece of 100 percent cacao chocolate. Find a healthy option that satisfies you.
When we nourish our bodies with whole, REAL foods, cravings tend to disappear….trust me- they do!
Cutting all sugar out cold turkey works well for some. However, for others, it leads to immediate failure.
If this is you, then allow yourself one small treat daily. After the last bite, call it quits. Finding a way to indulge occasionally so it can become a lifestyle is critical to long-term success.
If you consume anything from a package, read the ingredients and look at the number of grams of sugar per serving. Sugar is hidden in everything and may not always be obvious as it can fall under many different names.
On a piece of paper, write down your “why” for eliminating sugar from your life and set a goal for what you want to accomplish by eliminating it. Place it on your fridge or a place where you will see it every day, and at the end of each week celebrate your sugar-free successes.
If you find there are failures, don’t be too hard on yourself. Re-set your intention and goal and determine one thing you will do differently going forward.
Affirmations are wonderful for so many reasons and can even help you shed your addiction to sugar. The words “I Am” are powerful and show us that we can do anything.
Our beliefs are habitual thinking patterns, and when we are constantly telling ourselves we need to have sugar, it becomes a habit. Bad habits can be broken and replaced by habits that serve us in a more beneficial way. Pay attention to the thoughts and beliefs you have around sugar. Each day spend a few minutes saying affirmations such as, “I am determined to eat more greens.” and, “I am in control of my choices.”
If you need support in making these healthier choices- join us in our 6 week Wellness Challenge through our Inspire Mind, Body and Health group Inspire Body, Mind, Health with Activ8.
Check out some of our sugar free but delicious recipes: Snacks

Chocolate Fudge Bliss Balls


  • 4 T Coconut oil, melted
  • 2 T maple syrup (optional)
  • 6 T cacao powder, sifted
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 8 T smooth almond butter, or just blend up almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • water if needed for consistency


Combine all ingredients until well blended.

To dry to roll? Add water at end (if needed) to get a mixture that will roll easily.

To sticky? Chill in fridge for 30min.

Line tray with baking paper. Roll into small balls- can roll in coconut or chopped nuts as a topping.

Transfer to fridge and chill for 30min. Store in fridge. Can also freeze.

These are a delicious snack- the almonds mixed with cacao make it high in nutrition. Cacao is high in magnesium, zinc and iron. Magnesium is great for helping muscles relax before bed- making these good for that after dinner ‘treat’. Almonds are high in protein and healthy fats- meaning these small balls will keep you feeling fuller for longer, as well as give you that sweet hit- without all the refined sugar.

Remember they are high in energy so only have 1-2 per snack. These are perfect to take out for dessert- chilled straight from the fridge. Just make sure they don’t stay out for long, as they might soften due to the coconut oil.

Remember to share your baking with us #activ8blissballs

See more of our recipes: Snacks

My Journey – Kilimanjaro – Fighting the devil within and out

Day 2

Day 3 – Just before Lava Tower – 1st real look at the Peak

No matter what I say in this blog I will never be able to use words to explain the out of world experience that is Mt. Kilimanjaro. I could easily write 5000words but I’m going to keep it as short as I can. For those of us living in NZ who have never seen one of the great peaks in person before do not look at the token Kili photo with giraffes in front of it……it looks nothing like that at all!! Picture been in your car looking out the window with your neck bent back as far as it can go, looking up above the clouds and picturing the largest thing you have ever seen – that is what Kilimanjaro really looks like! Our American guide Shaun told me that every person has a ‘Holy Sh*t moment’ when walking up Kili –  you literally do think “holy sh*t what have I got myself into?!”  Luckily enough on our drive in to Kili it was cloudy and we couldn’t see the mountain because damn that would have been all of our holy sh*t moments for sure. NZ has nothing even remotely close to seeing that mountain in the flesh (NZs highest point, Mt Cook, is a whole 2.2km lower) so just as well we didn’t actually see the mountain in her entirety until we were leaving, but that made it so much more special to think “damn I just climbed that thing”. As we drove away we all just could not stop staring at it in awe.

I’m going to summarise day 1-5 up pretty easy. There was one saying the guides said in Swahili that was repeated more to us than any other saying and that was “Pole Pole” which means “Slowly Slowly” in English, and wow did they mean it! From the first step we took, to the last at the summit, it was the slowest walk you can imagine. There is method to their madness as the slow pace is used for acclimatisation, but was pretty painful in some areas. “ClimbKili” the group that took us were absolutely amazing in every aspect. The guides were so knowledgeable and attentive to everyone. I know for a fact that a few clients would have not got through the experience without the guides. The porters, wow!  Every morning they were amping us up with song and dance, and then they had to break down our camp and carry it, including our gear, to the next camp. Now, myself and Matt would normally rate ourselves with the weights, but these little chicken legged guys put us to shame carrying 20+kg on their heads up that mountain 3times as fast as us! The cooks! How they managed to feed this big group too much food I’ll never know, even Matt and I couldn’t finish it all. It was always quality and the right type of food to keep us going. One of the great things about Kilimanjaro is that you move through a different eco system everyday so no 2 days look the same – which is great for the mind keeping yourself on track, but in the back of your mind is always the thought that  summit night is getting closer and closer. Over the first 5 days you really got to see the group come together a lot closer which was awesome, we all started to learn about everyones backgrounds etc and all this helps make summit night so successful. The camaraderie between us all was needed and it was great to see the group come together to help each other.

Day 4 – Just completed Barranco Wall

Alright the bit everyone wants to know….the infamous Summit Night.

Wild Kiwi broke me physically, I had the worst cramp possible everywhere and every movement hurt but the mind was still strong and, even if I had to crawl, the last 10km I would –  you know where the end is and how to get there. However, on Kili you can’t physically go any slower than you are already going and you have no idea where the end is.  Add in altitude and no sleep since 5am the previous morning this is when the fun starts (by fun I mean not fun – we start walking at 11pm and trek through the night). Now I definitely don’t want to paint this experience as horrible, so lets just say it was out of this world.  Before Stella Point (crater edge but not highest point) I literally do not remember the last 3 hours – I don’t know if I was actually sleep walking or had mentally blocked it out. I do remember at one point just staring at the persons calves in front of me hallucinating big time. Both Matt & I had the role to help get all our clients to the top – provide motivation in order to help them out when things got tough, and mentally change their mind-sets when the mind started giving up. Never did I think we would both need to be giving ourselves the very same pep-talk to just keep going without showing the clients that we are actually struggling along with them. The devil inside you says just stop, just fall asleep, and rest, but the rest of you says not today mate I’ve got something to conquer then I can do those things. Each step is 1 step you never have to do again, Kili you might be the devil right now but I’ve (we’ve) got you.

The Glory – Uhuru Peak – Top of Africa

Spewing, crying, hallucinating, severe headaches, being the coldest you have ever felt, are all perfectly normal and accepted on summit night and within our group we experienced it all. Did we stop and turn around? Heck no! Everyone pushed through it all, absolute exhaustion and mental fatigue. This is 2years in the making and 5days of trekking everyone knows that this will be temporary pain to get the ultimate glory and that was the mentality that was portrayed. From this the only conclusion I can reach is we NZers are some damn tough, stubborn idiots (Our summit night: Group of 6 Americans 0 summited, group of 7 Malaysians 2 summited, OUR GROUP OF 30 KIWIS 29 SUMMITED).

Not really selling it am I?

Well here we go then, was it worth it? Not a single doubt in my mind! The last one hundred metres to the Uhuru Peak sign with our now super-close group but in particular hand in hand with my wife Chani, good friends Scott & Tania and Matt cuddled with his mum Jo is a moment that I (we) will cherish forever. Not only the ultimate achievement, but being able to do it with your best friend(s) even better! And the views – indescribably amazing. Its one of those things you need to witness yourself in your semi-hypoxic state and just reflect on its physical awesomeness. Words, vids and photos will never give it justice, then add in the journey it’s taken to get you there…Kilimanjaro you were out of this world, thank you for the memories.


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!!!!!!!