GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “chocolate”

MyProtein Discount!

Hi there!

After an amazing and indulgent weekend I’m back! My sister has (unfortunately) gone home and I’ve now got 3 weeks to kill before my next visitors to Madrid! I got a supply of protein delivered to me (good flavours, cheaper delivery to the UK) but miscalculated how many scoops I will need between now and my return home in May. So I looked to MyProtein to help me out! I managed to get £26.56 worth of protein related goodies for £12.52 today, including delivery!

MyProtein is absolutely brilliant for quality protein in great flavours for great prices. My sister and I both use it, my sister finds it is the only protein that doesn’t upset her stomach! I usually buy Chocolate Smooth but have gone for Unflavoured this time because it’s cheaper and I don’t mind the unflavoured version at all, so I might as well save a bit!

So, my order consisted of ;

1kg Unflavoured Whey Protein
9 x Pro Milk Zero Chocolate
MyProtein Blender Bottle

I then applied the following code;

20% entire order when you order certain “Goodies” (in this case it was the Pro Milk Zero -£2.63)
Automatic discount of the Pro Milk Zero (-£12.99)

Then just add £1.99 standard delivery and I had an amazing deal on protein!

I really recommend MyProtein!

Gym Bug

Note; this was no way sponsored by MyProtein, these voucher codes are accesible by anyone!

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Valentine’s Day

Hi there!

This isn’t going to be a post about how amazing this day is. I don’t have anyone special to celebrate it with and I know I’m not alone on that one. So I thought I’d just say this;

Treat yourself today by improving your health.

Don’t sit and gorge on ice cream, wine and chocolate “because it’s Valentine’s Day”. I’m having a nice burrito dinner with some wine tonight but I’m not crying at Love Actually because I’m single. I’ve already been to the gym this morning! Love yourself and make yourself happy with you. If you don’t love who you are, no one else will.

Changes are not easy but the difference it could make is incredible. Trust me. I put on heaps of weight in my first semester at University and looking at photos I hated it. I was uncomfortable with myself. I was not obese or overweight but I was bigger than I had ever been and it was because I let my emotions get in the way. If you feel uncomfortable with yourself then make a change! Set yourself a promise that on Valentine’s Day 2016 you’ll be different!

It’s not about being skinny it’s about being fit, healthy and strong.

That heart of yours will thank you for it. A box of chocolates and a flower for one day won’t make it quite so happy in the long run.

Treat it right. No one else will.

Treat it right. No one else will.

Gym Bug

Oats!

Hi there!

Warning: I will use oats and porridge interchangeably.

I’ve already done a post on Stoats, which is a great porridge company based in Scotland. I love their oats and recommend trying their flavours to mix breakfast up! However, if you prefer making your own delicious oats, I’ve made a list of easy toppings that you can cook into the porridge (just cook the toppings with th oats) or throw on after cooking. I usually cook my oats in the microwave also a make it slightly drier.

  • Banana; very simple. If you microwave your oats the banana disappears and creates a delicious and creamy mix.
  • Banana and honey; bit sweeter.
  • Pineapple; this becomes insanely hot in the microwave, but it’s a great sweet and sour flavour. Add some dried/fresh coconut to make a tropical breakfast.
  • Dried fruit; cranberries, raisins, sultanas, apricots, dried coconut, the list goes on! Bananas and raisins are also delicious.
  • Cinnamon; powdered cinnamon is brilliant, throw it in with bananas, apples, raisins for even more flavour.
  • Apples; cook them with the porridge too for delicious, hot breakfast.
  • Berries; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. Again, add these on top or cook into the porridge. Cooking them creates a lovely compote.
  • Peanut butter; on its own, with cinnamon, bananas or apples.
  • Jam; a bit more fruit (and a bit more sugar).
  • Peanut Butter and Jam; watch the portions here, but it’s a delicious treat.
  • Dark chocolate; a couple of squares, great if you’re craving some chocolate.
  • Cocoa powder; not as tasty as dark chocolate but better if you’re watching your calories.
  • Yoghurt; I really enjoy cooking up a nice, hot bowl of porridge and adding a tablespoon of low-fat natural or fruit flavoured yoghurt.
  • Granola; top your bowl with a modest amount of granola for a lovely crunch.
  • Almonds; adds a nice crunch and delicious flavour. Best add these in and cook for the final 20 seconds or crush them into your porridge.
  • Protein Powder; I recommend mixing up the protein and milk in your shaker then adding that to the oats before cooking to make sure the protein dissolves well.

You can also make porridge savoury, but I’ve never tried this (yet) but here’s a list of recipes from Shape to try if sweet porridge is not your thing!

If hot porridge is not your thing then try mixing your oats (typical 40g portion) with yoghurt in an airtight container (I use Weight Watchers individual pots, one per breakfast, great flavours), throw in some toppings listed above  and leave it overnight. Next morning you’ll have delicious cold oats, they must be left overnight however to ensure the oats soften. I’ve already mentioned overnight oats before with a recipe for Bircher’s Muesli that my mum makes.

IMPORTANT; porridge doesn’t need to be just for breakfast. Porridge can be a brilliant recovery food. Over the Christmas holidays I enjoyed cold, overnight oats post-run. You can get a great balance of carbohydrates and proteins and some sugars to help your body recover.

I’m a huge fan of porridge in case no one noticed.

Gym Bug

Brace yourselves; Summer is coming

Hi there!

So Christmas and New Years have been enjoyed and now it’s time to focus on one thing; summer. People are now turning their heads to the sunny months of skimpier clothes and more skin on show.

This means a lot of people are sitting there thinking “right, restrict my calories for x number of weeks/days so I look great in my bikini/swim shorts/summer clothes”. It’s all good and well in theory, but the issue with this “summer starve” is that you’re very likely to put the weight (if not more) back on after you’ve been on holiday or achieved what you wanted to achieve. This means you’ll have to repeat it next time you want to get into a bikini/swim shorts and that’s just not a healthy way to live. It’s also not particularly fun.

So this short post is to tell you not to do it. It’s not easy, but by developing healthy,life-long habits you’re setting yourself up for long lasting results. You won’t have to cut back your calories dramatically for a week or so, instead you’ve made a change that you can continue and that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

It’s simple steps. Start by looking at what you’re eating and make small changes. Have brown rice instead of white. Go for a banana instead of the chocolate. Go for a 30 minute walk everyday. Get active. Slowly but surely you will start to notice a difference and you will start to develop these changes into habits. Then as you become more informed about healthy lifestyles, healthy changes, exercise etc. you’ll soon be able to start making bigger changes, which will see you improve dramatically.

Don’t do the summer starve. Use this summer to start a new, healthier lifestyle and forever have that beach body you want AND the incredible healthy benefits of a long term, healthy lifestyle.

It’s small steps, you can do it.

Gym Bug

New Year’s Resolutions

Hi there!

Big gap in posts, I’ve been busy eating, socialising and studying! Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and are looking forward to ringing in 2015 soon!

This post will be about the dreaded question; What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
My older sister works in a sports shop and has many people come in and say “Getting back into it for the New Year”. We all know the majoriy of these people won’t stick it out. It’s the well known scene of walking into the gym anytime in January and it being absolutely packed. Come February, it’s back to November population. New Year’s resolutions are a great idea but I believe given the horrible “it’s going to fail” mentality, people don’t stick to them.

That’s why I think that anyone planning on doing a New Years Resolution related to getting fit and healthy should NOT SAY IT OUT LOUD. Don’t say it’s your New Years Resolution! Think of another resolution to give to people when they ask. A healthy lifestyle is exactly that a lifestyle. Not a challenge to be tackled because it’s a new year. I also don’t think you should start your fitness regime bang on January 1st. You’re probably still staring at festive treats, may have some social occassions to attend? My advice would be to set yourself a date after the first week of January (for example, I know someone who’s set January 10th) and then tell yourself that’s the date you get back on track. It’s not a New Year’s Resolution, it’s a deadline to enjoy the last of the holidays and indulge. I’m not saying only eat chocolate from now until your personal deadline, but enjoy it and relax. The festive period only comes round once a year, so you should enjoy it!

Happy New Year readers and let’s get ready for an excellent 2015!

Gym Bug

Christmas Temptations…

Hi there!

It’s almost time! The countdown is now on; advent calendar has been busted open. It is December 1st. So, Christmas sweets and treats may already be circulating your house or office or social circles. What to do!? Resist and sit grumpily as everyone else tucks into delicious Quality Streets, Celebrations or Christmas cake? Pass on that glass of Champagne? No! Don’t be silly. I have no intention of doing that this Christmas. I just plan on trying to make good choices. The question is how? Here are a few tips I’ll be keeping in mind;

  • Have water nearby at all times. Keep sipping it regularly, especially if sweets/treats are lying around. Have a couple, enjoy them, and savour them and then stop. Use the water to fill yourself up a bit more before eating them so you don’t go crazy and end up finishing the box in one sitting.
  • Keep exercising. Don’t let the cold stop you in your tracks. Even going for a walk every day is great. Just keep moving throughout the holidays.
  • Don’t stress. This is Christmas. A time to relax, be merry and spend time with loved ones. So enjoy it. Don’t worry about putting on some weight. Accept you might, but don’t go crazy and un-do everything you’ve done.
  • Everything in moderation. Golden rule. Live by it.
  • Dark chocolate is better than milk or white. So when the chocolate box is cracked open, try get in for the dark chocolate.
  • Red wine is actually beneficial in moderation, as is white.
  • Alternate between an alcoholic drink and water. Follow a ratio of 1:1. 1 alcoholic beverage, 1 glass of water. It will slow you down, keep you clear(er) and might stop a food binge later on or the morning after!
  • If you’re at a Christmas buffet, don’t stand at the table and try everything. Select what you really want, put it on your plate and go and sit down and enjoy it.
  • Savour your treats. Make them an event. Having some Christmas cake? Have it with a cup of tea and enjoy it. Watch a film, chat with family, and make it special.
  • The most important point; have a great Christmas and don’t worry. You can go hard in January to lose any weight you put on. You don’t want to come away from this special holiday with regrets because you stressed!

25 days! Yippee!

Gym Bug

Cravings

Hi there!

Today’s post shall about something I’m sure we’ve all experienced. CRAVINGS. Horrible, potentially mood ruining thoughts in our mind that can cause us to scoff a whole chocolate bar within seconds. It can leave us feeling full, sick, frustrated, guilty or just downright sad. I’ve been there, sometimes it’s not even on bad food. Last night for example I was stuffing my face with oats and cornflakes, which aren’t super unhealthy. It was the fact I just didn’t control it that annoyed me so much, plus I felt sick. However, there are ways to combat cravings, because the actual craving itself is typically short-lived, so it can be overcome. Here’s a few tips I’ve come across either through talking to people, reading or my own learning.

  • Drink water. If you start craving an extra line of the chocolate bar or third helping at dinner take a big, long drink of water first. This will fill you up and hopefully keep your brain reminded that it is fully and does not want that food.
  • Walk away. If you’re near whatever you’re craving just walk away for a little bit and do something else. It can be anything, watch a film or video, listen to music, talk to someone, read a book, do some squats. Just distract yourself until you’re back in control.
  • Don’t tell yourself “I can’t have that” or “No”, you’ll want it even more. A great tip I’ve learned from the excellent documentary “Foodmatters” is to say to yourself “I can have it, but I don’t want it”. It sounds stupid, but it actually works. I recommend getting your hands on a copy of the film. It’s excellent.
  • Have a little bit. If you’re really craving it and it’s not passed, then cut a piece off, take a spoonful, whatever. Just portion it out, walk away from the main source and sit down and enjoy it. Then don’t go back until you’re sure you won’t have more.
  • Consider why you might be feeling the way you do. It sounds silly but seriously consider are you hungry, upset, angry, thirsty, stressed? Is there something else going on causing you to crave that entire cheesecake? (been there).
  • Don’t let yourself get too hungry. You’re then more likely to lose control later on when you do eat and give in or not properly control portions.
  • Be aware they might mean something else. The infographic below sums it up perfectly. I have pinned it on Pinterest also if you use it.

Cravings

My final point will be it’s okay if you’ve given in. Whilst it’s not great to give in every single time. The occasional slip will not ruin your long term goals. Best thing to do? Shake it off. Accept it happened and move on. This is something I’m terrible at however and most definitely need to work. Cravings are a nasty thing to deal with and can be so frustrating. But sometimes we have set-backs. It’s not the end of the world.

Rejoice! It’s Friday. Weekend has arrived! Have a good one.

Gym Bug

The Raw Chocolate Company

Hi there!

This is a post that may help those searching for Christmas gifts/treats/stocking fillers! There’s less than 6 weeks left until Christmas, so here’s a gift to buy for your loved ones!

Okay, so living off of super healthy food and plenty of exercise can be fun and delicious, but sometimes it’s also great to have a treat from time to time. It’s also even better if that treat doesn’t make you feel awful, right? With Christmas just around the corner, some people may be thinking how they’re going to resist all the tempting chocolate, Christmas cake, mince pies and other delicious treats. I get some of these treats as presents too, and whilst they’re amazing and I enjoy them, I would also love to have some treats that are healthy and you may know someone who feels the same. I have discovered the perfect gift for them then!

They’re called The Raw Chocolate Company. They produce natural, raw chocolate bars. Raw? Yes, raw. They’ve produced chocolate using sun dried cocoa and have used minimal processing to create delicious, natural products. This minimal production method also makes their chocolate vegan. They take extreme care selecting and processing (minimally) all their ingredients and producing the chocolate. They take 3 times longer than normal chocolate producers to grind their ingredients. It really makes a massive difference to the texture.

Now, for some, reading “minimally processed” might mean “super, dark and bitter chocolate”. I can tell you now, after being kindly sent some bars from the Raw Chocolate Company, this puts dark chocolate on a whole new level.

 

Ta-dah!

Ta-dah!

Being the RAW Chocolate Company, they’re chocolate uses raw cacao. Raw foods provide amazing health benefits such as containing friendly bacteria, higher nutrient levels (than cooked food) and have enzymes that help aid digestion (some of these get destroyed when you cook them).
Cacao also provides plenty of health benefits and recently, dark chocolate has been recommended to have as part of a balanced diet. This is because dark chocolate helps lower blood pressure, can help manage certain diabetic symptoms, great source of energy and can make you feel happier! It truly is a good treat in more ways than one!

So, back to The Raw Chocolate Company. They kindly sent me one of each of their chocolate bars, and below I have reviewed them. I would like to note I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of reviewing these bars. They’re all great gifts and they’re all great for leading a healthy lifestyle.

Perfect Christmas gift!

Perfect Christmas gift!

  • Vanoffe;
    If you can’t bear dark chocolate, then go for this one. It’s their “white chocolate” bar. It’s vanilla-toffee flavoured. I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate so I find this a little bit sweet, but for those of who prefer milk or white chocolate, this bar is definitely for you. It’s also smooth and creamy, yet completely vegan! It has that distinct chocolate flavour, yet you’ll be reminded more of white chocolate than dark. It’s very unique (in a good way).
  • Vanoffe Dark;
    Yummy! It’s based on the Vanoffe bar above, but they’ve packed in extra cacao to make it a darker chocolate bar at 55% cacao. This one is closer to a milk chocolate (could easily replace the high fat, high calorie, highly processed stuff). This could be my new favourite milk chocolate.
  • Pitch Dark;
    72% cacao. It is the perfect “post-Christmas meal binge” sweet treat. Gloriously dark and smooth. A couple of squares is the maximum, which makes it even better, you’re not going to over-indulge, but you’ll be very satisfied with your little treat.
  • Goji & Orange;
    This is award-winning and I can see why. This is by far my favourite. I actually purchased this once and it’s what got me interested in the company. 69% cacao it’s great for anyone who enjoys dark chocolate but can’t face 72% cacao. The goji and orange are perfectly balanced to create a luxurious, sweet and sour experience that’s completely unique. It’s not an overpowering citrus flavour and the goji berries make for an interesting texture.
  • Mint with Xylitol;
    After-eight fans out there? You’ll love this, because it’s even better than After-eights in more ways than one. This is a 70% cacao bar with Xylitol, to give it a zingy mint flavour. The best part? This bar is sugar free and Xylitol is great for teeth. This could be another post-dinner treat to break out after Christmas eating. Or to break out on boxing day as a healthy treat. The mint isn’t overbearing, rather it’s more a subtle offering of mint, rather than blasting your taste buds.
  • Orange with Xylitol;
    Another sugar free bar at 70% cacao. This one is the perfect gift for anyone who loves a bit of tang. It’s perfectly subtle but leaves a refreshing taste. Again, the citrus doesn’t overpower the chocolate. It’s definitly a chocolate bar, with a nice tone of orange to finish it off. It’s a great way to get into dark chocolate as the zing at the end helps take the edge off the bitter side of dark chocolate.

These can all be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet. They also provide natural health benefits! The Raw Chocolate Company is an excellent example of how to make healthy eating delicious.  All of these bars are available in their online store. They are also all available in Vegan options.

The company also produce and sell raw chocolate covered goji berries, mulberries and raisins, as well as vanoffe mulberries. Perfect on-the-go snacks that is convenient and healthy. Honestly, it’s the perfect package.
These raw chocolate covered snack options are also available without chocolate with some other supreme foods too. They sell goji berries, mulberries, hemp protein powder, acai powder, hemp seeds, chia seeds, lucuma fruit powder, cacao butter, coconut palm sugar and of course cacao powder! These are what they use when producing their products, so like their chocolate bars and berries, it’s all Fairtrade! We love Fairtrade!

They’re an award-winning, Fairtrade, charitable company who are dedicated to delivering healthy, delicious chocolate to the world. Go and grab a bar, for yourself, as a Christmas gift, anything! It’s a Do-Good, Feel-Good, Eat-Good type of purchase.

They are perfect stocking fillers for health conscious chocolate lovers (trust me).

You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. They’ve got some amazing recipes for their products as well as some great, useful information.

Christmas is a time for sharing, so share some healthy treats!

Gym Bug

Basal Metabolic Rate

Hi there!

This is a post you’ll find on my old blog. I’m re-posting because I still think it’s important, that whilst this is NOT a full-blown accurate measure, it might give you a general ide of where you’re at roughly. You will also see I’ve added a new category titled “learning”. Here I shall share interesting bits of information that could help all of us lead healthier lifestyles.

So, I see a lot of things flying around about foods & exercises that boost your metabolism. It got me thinking. What is my basal metabolic rate (BMR)? You can get this professionally tested, which is the most accurate, however, it can be very expensive. I did a bit of research and I found a calculation in a book I own called “Sports Nutrition for Women” by Anita Bean (it’s brilliant).

BMR is the number of calories burned during rest that enables your body to continue to function (heartbeat, breathing, maintaining body temperature etc.)  This can really useful to know when trying to keep fit and healthy as it gives an indication of the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain/lose/gain weight.

The quick calculation is as follows (for women);
BMR= weight in kg x 22

If I do that I get my BMR is  1265, however, this doesn’t take into account your PAL (Physical Activity Level). So Anita Bean also provides a slightly more lengthy calculation that gives a marginally more accurate result, it’s as follows;

BMR= 665 + (9.6 x W) + (1.8 x H) – (4.7 x A)

Where W=weight in kg H=height in cm A=age in years

Once you have calculated your BMR you need to multiply that by your PAL, which you can workout as follows;

PAL                             Description                                           Example

1                                      Inactive                                                    Sleeping/lying down
1.2                                  Sedentary                                                 Mainly sitting/ desk job
1.5                                  Moderately active                                   Some walking
1.7                                  Active                                                        Daily walking/ gentle exercise
2.0                                 Very active                                                Moderate daily training or sport
2.2                                  Extremely active                                     Strenuous daily training or sport

I calculated mine with a PAL of 2.1, I believe I am very active (exercise 6 days a week) but I would describe is between moderate and strenuous, so I went for in between 2.0 and 2.2. My result is 2927 calories. I’m not going to lie, it’s surprising and a lot. The difficulty is in estimating your PAL, it’s not an easy thing to judge at all. I would say to ask yourself and then ask others. Ask people who knows your workout regime/intensity, then compare with yours and go for in between.

All in all, if you want a general idea of roughly how much you should be consuming to lose/maintain/gain weight then this is a good place to start, but take it with a pinch of salt. It’s not accurate and humans are notorious for overestimating their activity level (I could be way off). If you want a more accurate BMR reading then go and speak to your GP and ask about getting an accurate BMR reading.

Take a look at Anita Bean’s books on Amazon. She has loads on sport nutrition for everyone and books on weight training and exercise, she’s written excellent books for the general human being, not just professional athletes.

In terms of carbohydrate consumption you should be looking at roughly 5-7g per kg body weight on low-moderate training days and 7-10g per kg body weight for high intensity days.

For protein if you’re an endurance athlete aim for between 1.2-1.4g per kg body weight per day. If you’re a strength athlete, it’s a bit more, about 1.4-1.7g per kg body weight. Here, you could look at protein shakes.

Again, please let me emphasize, if you get a reading for 3,000 calories, chances are it’s slightly above. But you also shouldn’t then consume 1,200 calories. You’ll know if you’re eating enough depending on how you feel and whether you’re gaining muscle, fat or becoming skeletal.

Take it one day at a time, some won’t be as good as others, but don’t give up, you’ll get there. I, for example, just scoffed a 200g cadbury dairy milk in 3 days flat, but it was delicious.

Gym Bug

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