Category Archives: Fitness and exercise

The latest news from Pegasus Golf Course

Guest post from Brett James, General Manager at Pegasus Golf & Sports Club

We’ve had some exciting news here at the Pegasus Golf Course this month, with Golf Australia Magazine recently naming its top 25 New Zealand golf courses. We came in at 8th place overall and the number one course in Canterbury.

Here’s the review –
It’s not often you get a touring professional offering unsolicited compliments about golf courses but Australian touring pro Lindsey Wright did just that during an interview recently.
“Pegasus is beautifully presented but it’s the kind of course where you have to really think about your playing options, which I really like,” Wright said of the venue for her 2012 Women’s New Zealand Open victory.
I have to agree with her. Pegasus is an impressive newcomer to the NZ golf scene and after two growing seasons it is offering the kind of playing surfaces you might expect at a course where the green fee is twice the price.

I’m very proud of my team, there is a really good buzz around the place at the moment, and rightly so. It goes to show that hard work really does pay off and not only were we rated 8th but we are also excellent value for money at $50 and everyone is welcome at our course.

In other news, we will be holding the inaugural Pegasus Golf Open on 17th June. We’ll have free use of the driving range prior to the tournament starting at 10am. I am really looking forward to kicking off the event for the first time and hopefully this will become an annual fixture on our club’s competition calendar.

To download the entry form go to our website –


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A golfing tip from our Pegasus pro

Guest post from our Golf Professional at Pegasus Golf & Sports Club

This week our pro Aiden Berry lets you all in on a little secret.

Sick of hearing “keep your head down”? The more you try to keep it down the more it seems to pop up? The problem lies in your feet. If your weight falls to the heels your hips will drop causing your upper body to arch up (thus the term “head is lifting”). It simply lifts due to it being at the top of your spine.

So the next time a fellow golfer tells you to keep your head down, focus on setting and keeping your weight on the balls of your feet (feet flat to the ground).

Good luck out there!


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Weighty Matters

Guest post by Paul Dunn, Personal Fitness Trainer at Pegasus

“I’ve been exercising for a long time, but I’m still the same weight. Why haven’t I seen any results?”

It’s a question I get asked fairly often and my response is almost always the same. “A scale doesn’t tell the whole story”, In fact your body is no doubt making small changes every day and you don’t even notice it. The bathroom scales can’t always be a reliable measure of these small changes. So if that’s the case, how do you know if you’re making progress?

Track Your Body Fat

Scale weight can be a useful number to know but, even better is knowing what your body fat percentage is. It is important because scale weight doesn’t always tell the whole story. An individual can be “over-weight” and not “over-fat.” An All Black rugby player, for example may be 8% body fat and yet at 120kg may be considered “over-weight” by a typical height-weight chart (BMI).

Knowing your body fat percentage can give you a better idea of how much fat you really need to lose and, even better, whether you’re making progress in your program things your scale can’t tell you. It’s possible for your scale weight to remain the same, even as you slim down, especially if you’re losing fat and gaining muscle.

A healthy body fat range is 25 – 31% for women and 18 – 25% for men. Keep in mind that most health clubs offer some type of body fat testing.

Use the Scale

As I mentioned above, scales don’t always give you the whole story about your body or your weight loss progress. For that reason, scales (when used alone) are my least favorite method of tracking weight loss. Another reason to dislike scales is what I like to call ‘Weight Loss Fixation’ or the tendency for otherwise rational people to abandon all reason, lock themselves in closets and/or ditch any and all healthy behaviors because why bother if the scale doesn’t change?

The problem with body weight scales is that they measure everything, fat, muscle, bones, organs and even that sip of water you just had. The scale can’t tell you what you’ve lost or gained, which is important information if you’re trying to lose weight and what we really mean by that is fat loss.

Here are just a few things that can increase your weight, causing it to fluctuate as much as 2 kg in one day:

  • Water. Because the body is about 60% water, fluctuations in your hydration levels can change the number on a scale. If you’re dehydrated or have eaten too much salt, your body may actually retain water, which can cause scale weight to creep up. Similarly, many women retain water during menstrual cycles, which is another thing that can make that number change.
  • Food. Weighing yourself after a meal isn’t the best idea simply because food adds weight. When you eat it, your body will add that weight as well. It doesn’t mean you’ve gained weight, it simply means that you’ve added something to your body (something that will be eliminated through digestion over the next several hours).
  • Muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat and it takes up less space, so adding muscle could increase your scale weight, even though you’re slimming down.

That doesn’t mean the scale is useless. In fact, it’s a wonderful tool when you combine it with your body fat percentage. Knowing both of these numbers will tell you whether you’re losing the right kind of weight…fat. Simply multiply your weight by your body fat percentage. For example, a person who weighs 70kg with 21% body fat has 14.7kg of fat and 55.3kg of lean tissue (70 x .21 = 14.7kg of fat, 70 – 14.7 = 55.3kg lean tissue). Keeping track of these numbers on a weekly or monthly basis will help you see what you’re losing and/or what you’re gaining.

Try these tricks to make weighing yourself a useful and more positive experience:

  • Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.
  • Weigh yourself once a month instead of daily or weekly to give your body time to respond to your weight loss program. The scale won’t reflect small changes happening in your body composition.
  • Remember, the scale weighs everything! Just because your scale weight hasn’t changed doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress.
  • Use scale weight along with body fat percentage for a more accurate view of your progress
  • Make changes with nutrition and increase exercise for better results (you cant expect anything to change if you don’t change your habits.

If the scale freaks you out and body fat testing isn’t an option, your next best choice is taking your measurements.

Take Your Measurements

Anyone can do it and its my favorite way of tracking progress because it doesn’t require any fancy equipment. Taking your measurements at certain areas can give you an idea of where you’re losing fat, which is important since we all lose fat in different areas and in a different order. Taking your measurements can help reassure you that things are happening even if you’re not losing fat exactly where you want just yet.

Start by wearing tight fitting clothing (or no clothing) and make a note of what you’re wearing so you know to wear the same clothes the next time you measure. Here’s how to do it:

  • Bust: Measure around the chest right at the nipple line, but don’t pull the tape too tight.
  • Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist
  • Hips: Place tape measure around the biggest part of your hips
  • Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh
  • Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow

Picture It

It may seem obvious, but don’t overlook one of the simplest ways to track progress–how you look and how your clothes fit. You may want to take a picture of yourself wearing swimming togs and keep it in your weight loss diary. Each month, take a new picture…you’ll be surprised at how many changes you notice in a picture as opposed to just seeing yourself in the mirror. You can also use your clothes to keep track of your progress. Choose pants, shorts and a shirt and try them on every week or month to see how they fit.

The bottom line

  • Use one or all of the methods above to keep track of how you’re doing
  • Set realistic goals (essential for your success)
  • It takes time to lose weight (don’t panic if you don’t drop 1kg in a week)
  • If you’re losing weight the right way, your progress will be slow and steady.
  • Make positive changes to the way you eat and exercise. 

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Interval Training – A great method to improve performance

Guest post by Paul Dunn, Personal Fitness Trainer at Pegasus

If you want a new, fresh and challenging approach to your gym workouts Interval training could be a great method of training for you!!
It is not a fad, but rather a sound method of training, with its foundation based on exercise physiology (proven scientific principles)

What is Interval Training?

Interval training involves alternating periods of high-intensity activity with periods of rest (inactivity) or recovery (low intensity activity). It relies on the principle of rest and recovery to allow you to work harder but in a smaller timeframe.

For example, if walking outdoors is a regular part of your exercise routine, you might include short periods (between 1-2 minutes) of jogging into your walk between lower-intensity periods of walking. A good way of doing this is to jog three lamp posts and then walk for 3 or 4. If you are just starting to exercise, you might simply walk faster between a few lamp posts, allow yourself to recover and than repeat the higher intensity walking. If you are very fit, you might add in sprints to your daily run.

 The Benefits of Intensity Interval Training

  • A more varied and interesting cardio workout
  • More calories burnt in less time
  • Improved cardiovascular endurance
  • Decreased muscle catabolism/increases in lean muscle mass
  • In many cases it is highly sport specific and thus beneficial in improving performance.

 How to Start your Interval Training

The best way to commence Interval Training is to choose a cardiovascular exercise that you perform on a regular basis and yes, that you ENJOY!

There are numerous ways to increase intensity — especially if you are performing Interval Training on our Life Fitness cardio machines such as treadmills, summit trainers, X- trainers or recumbent/stationary bikes:

  1. Increase the resistance of the machine for 1-2 minutes. On a treadmill, you can do this by increasing the incline. The goal here is to try to maintain your previous speed, despite the increase in incline.
  2. On X- trainer machines, steppers or stationary bikes, you can also increase the resistance on the machine, which will require you to work harder in order to maintain the same speed as before you made the increase in resistance.
  3. Another method of boosting intensity is to simply increase the speed on the machine, while using the same level of resistance as you do during your low or moderate-intensity cardio. For example if you are normally jogging on a treadmill at 10 KPH, you increase that to 12.0 or 13.0 KPH  for 1 minute, and then return to your normal speed for 2 minutes to allow you to recover. Once this becomes too easy, you begin to increase the time you run at 13.0KPH, and reduce your recovery time at 10KPH. That’s interval training at its best!!

Who should not undertake Interval Training

With any form of physical activity there are obviously circumstances in which an individual shouldn’t participate. In the case of interval training these are:  

  • If your GP has prescribed low or moderate intensity exercise
  • If you shy away from warming up before exercise. This is more important than ever when interval training.
  • If you have only recently started a cardiovascular exercise regime and you are still building a sound fitness level.

So if you don’t fit into one of the above categories put your new found knowledge about interval training into action.  I guarantee it will give you renewed enthusiasm about your cardiovascular training. Remember the same old training methods will give you the same old results.

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Drive for dough and putt for more dough

Guest post by Craig Mitchell, Head Golf Professional at Pegasus Golf & Sports Club 

There is an old saying in golf that you drive for show and putt for dough, but in my opinion you drive for dough and putt for more dough.
Let me expand on that – if you can drive the ball in the fairway more often at any level, you are in the game, you feel great, you feel confident and all feels well with the world.

To help you with your driving, just follow the tips below:

1. Tee the ball at least 50% above the top of the club

2. Play the ball forward in your stance (inside your front foot)

3. For the right handed golfer tilt your spine a little to the right (your front shoulder should feel high)

4. At address have your hands even with the ball (not in front)

5. Try and sweep the club into the back of the ball (avoid chopping down on the ball)

 As a Golf Pro for longer than I care to remember I know these tips work.  Everyone I have coached over the years has improved their golf and even remember these simple tips after many years.

Craig Mitchell (NZPGA Golf Professional)

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Fighting the infomercial messages on fitness

Guest post by Paul Dunn, Personal Fitness Trainer at Pegasus

One of the major challenges one faces in the fitness industry is the huge number of training myths. These fallacies are fuelled by unfounded emotional opinion, personal beliefs, but in the main by    television infomercials.  However, the world of health and fitness is based on proven scientific principles not gimmicky machines. The anatomy and physiology of the body dictates what will occur in response to exercise. Here are just a few myths you may have heard, which are completely fictional.  

Women who lift weights will get big and bulky…. this is just not possible .Women just simply do not have the levels of the male hormone testosterone and human growth hormone required to increase their muscle mass radically.  The vast majority of women will only have the means to replace muscle that they have lost naturally since they turned 20.  At most, women may achieve an increase of 1-2 kilograms of muscle mass, above and beyond what their genetics predetermine. This is, however, only in a very small percentage of women.

Lift low weights for high reps to ‘tone’… a common misconception closely linked to the fallacy above.  Toning is essentially a slang term for adequate amounts of muscle that can be seen under small levels of body fat. Maintenance of muscle, or, an increase in muscle can only happen if the muscle is placed under overload (this is best done with low reps and higher weight).

Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training, in other words, a regular increase in the weight that you are lifting. As your body becomes stronger, as it will in response to a regular weight training regime, you will need to lift more weight to create an overload. Completing the exercise with more repetitions will force your body to endure more weight but there will no longer be an overload. Same old weights = same old results.

You can spot reduce fat from specific areas with certain exercises… does this sound familiar. I’m sure you have heard of machines such as the Ab King Pro which promise you the famous “six-pack” with just three minutes of exercise a day. Unfortunately, this theory is completely mythical and goes against every scientific principle of exercise physiology.

 We cannot choose where we want to lose fat. Where from and how quickly is different for each individual depending on your genetics and general body shape. Exercises that work one body part at a time, such as crunches and side leg raises are popular but relatively ineffective. Think of it like this, if you chew gum, you don’t get skinny cheeks!!

Big bang exercises or functional compound exercises are the best exercises to maximize the health and fitness benefits from your regular workouts. Exercises such as press-ups, squats, lunges to name just three. They have great capacity to elevate your metabolism as they require a number of joints to operate efficiently. They therefore burn a lot more calories, which one needs in order to burn off that excess body fat. They also teach all the muscles to work together rather than isolating them to work independently.

 Go on a diet to lose weight…the list of diets are endless – Atkins, cabbage soup, low carb, high fat, and the grapefruit diet just to name a few.  All these diets are unrealistic and based on extreme calorific restriction that promotes the loss of muscle. A loss of muscle results in a decreased metabolic rate, which causes extra fat gain long term. The enzymes responsible for the storage of fat in the cell will increase in concentration during a diet, especially in women. This is the body’s protective response, it wants you to survive. In most cases, diets are unsustainable due to the physiological and psychological hardship you experience. Once resuming normal eating, it is likely you will gain extra body fat due your lower metabolic rate and alteration in the fat storage levels. So stay away from these fad diets, and instead think of the words – balance, moderation and sustainability. A good healthy eating pattern should encompass all of these qualities.

Men and women need different exercise programmes… both men and women require progressive overload to stimulate the human body becoming bigger, stronger, or faster than it was before. Progressive overload is the cornerstone of any persons exercise programme regardless of their gender. Therefore men and women’s exercise programmes, including their strength training programmes, should in the main be the same. There are no special exercises that women should do instead of men and vice versa. We have the same muscles and they need to get stronger. The only difference is men have a higher capacity to increase their muscle mass due to higher hormonal levels as discussed earlier.

Paul Dunn, Tailor Made Training, Personal Fitness Trainer at Pegasus Town, Ph: 0211405785

Want to hit the golf ball further?  Have more energy to play with the kids? Wear the clothes you want to?

 I will personally tailor a fitness and lifestyle  programme to suit you, and with my support you will receive the direction, advice, and motivation to accomplish your short and long term goals.

 Qualifications: Bachelor Degree in Physical Education and Executive Personal Training Certificate.

Specialist Areas: Golf and sports specific training, core conditioning, cardiovascular training for weight loss, general fitness and strengthening.

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