In Profile: Esther Toh

A former ‘model’ who speaks 4 languages, Esther has some lofty goals alongside working full time and a mum of one…

Name: Esther

Nickname: The Bomb

Age Group: 40-49F

Lives: Gladstone Park, Vic

Targeted Sport: Triathlon

Years in the Sport: Since 2000!

How I got started: This is so long ago. Back in my Uni days, we had triathlon as one of the activity studies. I was not too fond of it back then as I didn’t know how to ride a bike or swimming – I’m from Malaysia and being a city girl. After graduation, I got a job in Singapore and I was lonely and started to do some form of exercise and got into a group of cyclists. Then, one thing led to another and started racing there and in Malaysia. I continued to race when I came back to Melbourne – and I’m still going !

Why I choose CPC: I was attending an online course about the Female Health & Performance. I was interested to know how to train “properly” as an endurance athlete and around the female menstrual cycle. I proposed this question to the presenter and didn’t quite get the answer from her. An attendee suggested Sarah and I looked her up. I am amazed with Sarah’s knowledge and I always admired female athletes that could juggle with family, business, training, etc and still perform so well. I have been racing for many years on my own due to most triathlon groups training sessions doesn’t suit me and don’t understand my needs. Sarah is able to plan a program that suits my working schedule and most importantly able to match up my menstrual cycle which is awesome.

What I ‘get’ from my sport: Discipline and commitment.

Ultimate Goal: Top 10 in my aged group. A podium finisher would be nice.

What I couldn’t live without: Peanut butter as a pre-fuel before training!

Biggest love: I love the commadarie of the sport that I managed to make some friends and race together.

Pet peeve!: Minimal movement !

Interesting fact about me: I speak 4 languages – English, Malay, Cantonese and Mandarin. I had an opportunity modelled for 2 magazines when I was working in Singapore – In Style and Women’s Weekly.

Follow me…
Feel free to follow me with my work as an Exercise Physiologist.

A day on my plate… Coach Sarah

I was asked recently whether I’d be up for sharing what a day on my plate looked like. An athlete was interested in seeing what I eat pre/post training and for the remainder of the day to support my training, recovery and overall health and immunity. She suspected that she was a chronic ‘under eater’ and thought that maybe she wasn’t alone. So I thought i’d give you a look into a day on my plate (obviously every day is different, but give you an idea) and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

My Stats:
Age: 38 (yes! getting close to the big 40 now!) 😉
Height: 157cm (or 5foot1 if you prefer)
Weight: ~52kg.
I tend to not fluctuate much, my lightest race weight has been 47kg – which looking back now was probably a touch too low. I still raced well, but my mood and energy throughout the day wasn’t great plus my recovery post racing was HARD. It would take me 2 weeks to recover from a sprint, and 4-6weeks to recover from a half. (not ideal!) I find a good healthy happy medium for me is around 50kg. BUT in saying that I don’t stress over this, and certainly not right now am not focusing on it. I look at food as FUEL for my body, so it can support my training, my racing, my recovery and my health and immunity.


I firstly wanted to say – that, just like training, you need to do what works for YOU. Not just doing something because someone else does it. Yes of course, take away some general principles, some tips for good eating habits, ensuring you are fueling sufficiently for training, recovery and general health, but what works for ME doesn’t mean it is right for YOU. If nutrition is something you want to focus on a little more, then I recommend working with a naturopath or sports nutritionist. We have a number of specialist we work with in this area, and in particular for those who may have sensitivities, stomach issues or underlying health conditions. The most important part as always – is listening to your body. How does something make you FEEL when you eat it? How do you feel 1-2hours after? Do you have any symptoms? How are your energy levels throughout the day? Do you have regular bowel movements? If you think something isn’t right for you, then maybe it’s not..

And on a side note – just because as endurance athletes we train more than the average person, it doesn’t mean we can eat average. As a general principle: Eat a mostly wholefood diet filled with a variety and abundance of vegetables and fruits (think the colour of the rainbow!) include some supporting gut health including cooked and cooled sweet potato, fermented foods, bone broth etc, and don’t forget your good quality carbohydrates, quality protein and good sources of fats.

My food philosophy.

I’m not vegetarian. I’m not vegan. Nor am I paleo or low carb. I simply work on eating an all round nutrient dense whole foods, mostly plant based diet to support my health and my training. I supplement in areas I know I need to or have been tested for and I enjoy chocolate. 😉 So I eat lots of vegetables, and a sprinkling of fruits. I do my best to understand where our meat and animal products come from and I do what works for me and my family. So do your own research, and do what works for YOU, but I do believe we should all eat more plants, more often.


AM 1.5+hour strength + high intensity indoor training ride (hard session)
Day time walk with the kids + 30min strength/core
PM 1hr Endurance based resilience run

Pre AM Training Session:
Glass of water, just to wake me up!

During session: 1/2 – 1 banana + water with salt/lemon OR Koda Electrolytes Tablet
I’ll generally have a banana on hand to help fuel the session. This can depend sometimes on what (and when) I ate the night before. But given this sessions is longer in duration (1.5+hrs) plus includes intensity, I like to include some fueling during the session as I know my glycogen stores will start to become depleted. Given we aren’t near racing, I aim to consume whole foods rather than gels etc as I’m not working on training my gut / practicing race nutrition.
Another option here: my home made chocolate sweet potato brownie or a home made / quality bar, or some homemade banana bread etc. And don’t forget the hydration! With more indoor trainer session, there’s a lot of sweat going on !

Post Session: Green Protein Smoothie OR Loaded Oats & Chia Porridge
My Green Protein Smoothie is my go to Smoothie, packed full of goodness including carbohydrates, protein and fats, and all round balanced post training fuel. I generally have this within half an hour of finishing my session – or when kids allow. 😉
But some days I don’t feel like a smoothie, or it’s a cold morning and there’s nothing like a big bowl of warm oats to warm you up and fill the belly after a big session. My loaded oats & chia porridge has all of that and more and keeps me full all morning.

~2-3hours post session/smoothie : Egg bowl / Omelette OR leftovers
Around 2-3 hours post smoothie (or a bit later if I had porridge) I’m ready for my next re-fuel. My favourite go-to is an egg bowl or omelette. Basically 3 eggs, tossed in with some pre roasted vegetables plus a handful of spinach, some goats fetta, a side of sauerkraut and a dollop of my Green Basil Veggie Pesto and/ or my Homemade Hommus and sprinkled with hemp seeds and nutritional yeast. And I don’t skimp on the salt or pepper either. 😉 (see here why food prep is king?!)
Omelette is basically the same, but it’s just whether I can be bothered / have the extra time to make the meal into an omelette. You can also add a quality bread or sourdough to boost up the carbs if you don’t have many root vegetables included. If you aren’t working from home / don’t have the time to whip something like this up, part of your meal prep could be a delicious frittata filled with roasted vegetables and simply add the rest as a side. But really anything goes with eggs! Just make sure there are plenty of greens and a variety of colour.
If i’m not vibing eggs that day, and I have left overs from the previous nights dinner, then leftovers it is for lunch!

Mid-Afternoon Snack: Once lunch has settles, kids are asleep, some work has been done, I’ll generally do a mid-day strength/core and/or mobility session. After this I’m looking for a light top up for my PM run session. Given on this day my PM run session isn’t a key / long or intense session, I’m just looking for some additional fuel for my day, rather than to fuel the session itself. Generally around 1-2hours before my PMsession I’ll have something like a small bowl of berries with Greek/Coconut yogurt topped with nuts and seeds, or a slice (or two!) of home made banana bread with yogurt/berries on top, a sliced up apple with peanut butter, or if I’m looking for something a bit sweeter, my chocolate peanut butter slice or No Bake Choc Bites ! An afternoon tea goes down nicely here too! 😉 Anything here goes really and it can really depend on how I feel, but I’ll always have something. OH – and that reminds me, I don’t drink coffee… In case you were wondering. Not for performance or health reasons, simply because I can’t stand the smell let alone the taste! (yes – go ahead and judge me!) haha

Dinner: Mexican Burrito Bowl
I could pick any of my dinner favourites to add here for dinner, but one of my favourite things for dinner is to have a dinner ‘bowl’. Basically a lot of different veggies, combined with some protein and carbs and you have a bowl full of goodness. Here I share my Mexican Burrito Bowl. I aim to have a lot of my dinner prep already done before I head out for my PM session so it’s easy to whip together once I get back (and especially with kids, you need to be organised for dinner time!)

Post Dinner: I’ve got into a habit of enjoying a nice little sweet treat post dinner alongside a sleep time tea. My favourite pre dinner tea at the moment is Pukka Night Time Tea.
My favourite store bought dark chocolate at the moment is Green & Black Organic Dark Chocolate, Loving Earth, and Pana Organic (dairy free). Also when I get around to it, I love to make my own Raw Chocolate – if you have never made your own chocolate before, give it a go!

Supplements: Currently I am supplementing with a Womens multi with Activated B’s, Magnesium, Vitamic C and Zinc. And I don’t skimp on quality. (ie practitioner only brands) I don’t always have all of these all year round, and sometimes I need to add in others based on blood work (which I recommend all athletes get on a bi-annually or annually basis) and top up in other areas as needed / i’m deficient in so I’m not just chugging down tablets or wasting money. Remember though, we as athletes are generally training longer, harder (or both) than the general population, so ensuring your body is getting all the vitamins and minirals it needs for not just optimal performance, but optimal function is so important. And sometimes we simply can’t get enough from the foods we eat and/or additional can help with better recovery.

So there you have it – it’s always hard to choose just one day to share, as each day for me is very different, and I try to eat a variety of foods daily – not to get stuck into a ‘food routine’, but instead have a suit of meals and snacks that you can draw on to create diversity.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

Sarah is the Director & Head Coach at Complete Per4mance Coaching. Born out of the desire and passion to not just coach but to educate athletes, Sarah shares her 10+ years of coaching and racing experience, knowledge and education with athletes of all levels to help them achieve their optimal performance while maintaining a balanced, happy and healthy life.

Contact Sarah to discuss training options for you.

Athlete Profile: Faz Zamani

A self confessed endurance junkie, Fazzy / The Faz / Fazzo loves the outdoors and a good challenge !  Oh and not to mention a long lost Persian warrior Princess!! 

Name: Farinaz Zamani (Faz)

Nickname: I have so many! Fazzy, The Faz, Fazzo, Faztastic, Fazzles… you get the drift! 🙂

Lives: Brunswick, Victoria

Sports growing up: Swimming! My mum used to take me to swimming every week when I was really young and growing up in Iran. It was the only sport you could do really as a girl and only at private pools where no men were allowed and only female teachers could lead the class. Loved it and I’ve always had a soft spot for it 🙂

Chosen sport nowKind of two sports: Cycling – though not sure it’s a choice as much anymore. Secretly I would choose running over cycling, but don’t tell anyone! 🙂

Years in Sport: Running – about 4 years and cycling about 3. I dabbled in triathlons in between as well.

How did you get started in the sport: started running after I did a freakout entry into my first triathlon race! It was also part of massive weight loss campaign where I ended up losing close to 40kgs. In training for my first triathlon race I started to fall in love with running and went on to run four marathons (Melbourne, Paris, Berlin and Chicago). After a while I stated to really enjoy the cycling leg of triathlons as well and continued that into recreational road cycling.

Why I choose CPC: Because Sarah is the best! And also because she has coached me for a very long time and I have always found her guidance and support paramount in my ability to excel as an athlete and as a human 🙂

What is your ultimate goal? Ohhhh good question. I used to be very goal oriented when I first started becoming active. Not sure I concentrate on set goals as such anymore (e.g. races and PBs). To be honest my ultimate goal would be to enjoy an active and healthy life 🙂 Secretly I would love to one day run all five world major marathons – I have NYC, London and Boston to go.

Running / Cycling in 3 words: Running = freedom, solitude, endorphins! Cycling = mates, adventure, fun!

What couldn’t you live without: Oh god! Um … do I have to choose one thing? My family for sure! And maybe sparkling water 🙂

Biggest love: Travel! Even if it’s a quick weekend adventure. If I spend too long in one place I start going a little crazy. I have to get out and about and see/experience the world! #sagittarius

Pet peeve: People who speak during a movie in the cinemas. Not cool.

Guilty pleasure: This is a weird one and doesn’t tend to happen often but on a rare occasion when the planets align I get to do a workout early in the morning (running or cycling) and I come back to have enough time to shower and get back in my PJs and back into bed for a sleep in. DON’T JUDGE ME! ;-P

Interesting fact about meWhen I am super tired and sleepy I like to play with my ears. I know – I’m weird. Oh and apparently my great great great grandfather was a tribal leader of some sorts back in the day during the Persian Empire – so I think I’m some kind of Persian warrior princess! 

Shameless plus – how can we follow you?
IG: @fzashni – my gram is mostly cycling related but I have that same handle for my twitter account which is a lot more Human Rights oriented! Whatever floats your boat – would love to connect 🙂

Athlete Profile: Narelle Crooks

A founding CPC Member, Narelle is a stalwart in the endurance game. Not to mention signing up for her first IM when her baby was just 6 weeks old  !

Name: Narelle Crooks

Nickname: Crooksie

Lives: Elwood, Melbourne

Sports growing up: Netball and tennis

Chosen sport now: Triathlon

Years in Sport: 8 years 🙂

Ultimate goal: I would love to get on the podium in a race that has a swim in it!

Triathlon in 3 words: Challenging. Rewarding, Friendship.

Why I choose CPC: I was fortunate to train under Sarah a few years ago when I had my most rewarding races and exceeded my expectations.

What couldn’t you live without: Coffee !

Biggest love: Nathan and Mitchell….and my three Cervelo bikes!

Pet peeve: Commuting cyclists rolling through red lights! argh!

Interesting fact about me: I signed up to do my first Ironman when Mitchell was 6 weeks old…crazy!

Athlete Profile: Kara Landells

A triathlete, ultra runner, thrill seeker, adventurer as well as a Triathlon & Endurance Coach AND Strength & Conditioning Coach, Kara has it all !

Name: Kara Landells

Nickname: Karz

Lives: Killy! (Kilcunda, Bass Coast)

Sports growing up: Netball for 10 years, Volleyball for 7, AFL for 5…

Chosen sport now: Triathlon ! 🙂

Years in Sport: I’ll say 7 years on and off / inconsistently

Ultimate goal: Compete in as many overseas triathlons (both big and small) as possible

Triathlon in 3 words: A driving/life force   OR   Drive, Discipline, Determination!

Why I choose CPC: My coaching philosophy resonates with Sarah’s, it’s all about the balance!

Biggest love:  I would say it changes depending on what phase of training/life I am in but generally speaking, it’s educating others on how to live their healthiest life whether that be in area’s of fitness or wellbeing – it’s all about the balance!
Blueberries if thinking food, waves if thinking outdoors, feeling the power of positivity if thinking ZEN 😉

Pet peeve: When people are constantly negative – massive downer!

What couldn’t you live without: Food ( more specifically peanut butter, chocolate and blueberries!) and also Nature! I live for the outdoors – surf, hike, MTB, clean air, trees, and primarily – the Ocean.

Interesting fact about me: I’m the black sheep of the community in many ways..

Shameless plug:
My business: I am the owner and Sole strength and conditioning & Triathlon coach of Bass Coast Fitness
Instagram: karalandells_fitness
Facebook : Bass Coast Fitness