GymBug

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Archive for the tag “easy”

Snack time!

Hi there!

Sorry I’ve been absent, the weather is gorgeous and I’ve been spending a lot of time outside getting my daily dose of Vitamin D!

Getafe

Can’t help but be outside.

However, yesterday I discovered a new delicious, quick and healthy snack! It’s pretty basic but tastes like apple pie!

Ingredients;

  • 1 apple, chopped (go for any type you want)
  • 1/4 cup of oats
  • 1/4 cup cornflakes/bran flakes/crunchy cereal
    Watch what you choose, remember some are high in sugar and calories
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon

Method;

  1. Add the oats, apple and cornflakes/bran flakes/crunchy cereal to a bowl.
  2. Add as much honey and cinnamon as you like.
  3. Enjoy!
  4. Optional; if you’re looking for a punchier snack, add some greek yoghurt to it (proteeeeeein).
Om nom nom

Om nom nom

I know it doesn’t look like much but I swear it’s delicious!

Happy snacking!

Gym Bug

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Foodie Challenge #6

Hi there!

Another Foodie Challenge post! This time it’s a side dish I prepared last night to go along with some grilled chicken breast and sweet potato. I had plenty leftover and enjoyed the rest for lunch today. This recipe is based off of what I fancied at the time!

Ingredients (for one);

  • 1/2 apple, cubed.
  • 1 beetroot, cubed.
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped (you can have more, but I’m not a huge fan of red onion).
  • 1/2 orange, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded.
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.
  • 1 garlic glove.

Method;

  1. In bowl/jar/bottle mix the salt, pepper, garlic (which has been squashed but not chopped), olive oil and balsmic together. Set to one side.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients into a bowl.
  3. Pour over the dressing (as much or as little as you want).
  4. Done. Easier than mixing up a protein shake.

I’ve included this one in my foodie challenge series because it’s a recipe I’d never tried before using an ingredient I’d never used before; red cabbage. It’s super simple, cheap and healthy! It’s also really colourful!

Apple, Beetroot, Walnut Salad

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

Getting Motivated

Hi there!

Hope everyone is enjoying the New Year! Since it’s a New Year you may be looking to change up your training, do something different, explore a new way of fitness? Well, I have a few challenges you may be interested in trying out to get that extra kick you need to make 2015 a great and healthy year!

I’ve already written about Spartan Race and Tough Mudder and I recommend checking those posts out! (of course I do) but there’s also plenty more motivational challenges to take up!

If getting super filthy and electrocuted is not your thing there are plenty others to take a look at. If you’re a Rock ‘n’ Roll fan (or just keen to run) then ‘Rock and Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon & 10K’ could be right up your alley! They have events all over the world! I’m going to enter the Madrid 10km in April. Check it out!

Not a runner? No problem! What about doing a combination of cycling, climbing and canoeing in the Lake District? This one is a lot more expensive (£195 plus min. £2,000 sponsorship) but it looks incredible and all money raised goes to Action Medical Research (helping families cope with early babies, disabled children or caring for a child with a rare disease). You join a team of 3 other people to cycle 50 miles through the Lake District before climbing Mt Helvellyn and then finishing off with a canoe trip to Lake Thirlmere. Sounds tough!

If you’re more of a water baby then why not give the Great Swim a go? It proudly boasts the fact that it’s Europe’s biggest open water swim series in clean lakes, lochs and urban docks all over Britain. It’s the first year it has an official charity which is the phenomenal Macmillan Cancer Support, but you can raise money for any charity you wish. It’s throughout Britain between June and August.

For those of you that are up for a tough, gruelling triathlon that also raises money for blood cancer research then the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Blenheim Palace Triathlon is for you! (What a mouth full!) Again, it’s more expensive (but it’s a great cause) Registration costs from £82.50 and you need a min. sponsorship of £300. It takes place in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. You can race individually or as a team.

You should take a look at local runs too. Park Run is a brilliant organisation that free, weekly, timed 5km races around the world. The linked website is specifically for the UK but Google it to find out about any in your area! It’s a great way to meet runners and set yourself a weekly motivational goal!

This is literally a teeny, tiny teaspoonful of what’s out there in terms of charity sporting events, take a good look and pick your motivation! I’ve got Spartan Race in a few months and it’s constantly motivating me to keep pushing a little harder. With my injury my aerobic fitness is plummeting but with the knowledge that I have to endure a grueling 8 mile obstacle course I know I’ll be fighting fit again in no time!

So choose your challenge and get going!

Gym Bug

Tom Tom Runner Cardio GPS Watch

Hi there!

A while ago, for my birthday, I was given the Tom Tom Cardio GPS Watch. It’s been months since I received it but I wanted to give it a really good go before I spoke about it. And, since there’s been a couple of gaps in posts and I’m wide awake at 6am I thought I would tell you a little bit more about it! What appealed to me about it was the fact that it has a heart rate monitor, which is a more accurate measure of calorie burn and fitness improvement. It’s a great way to keep track of how well you’re doing throughout your training and that was a major appeal to me. The heart rate monitor is also not a strap around your chest (which I’ve heard can be annoying). The heart rate monitor is placed underneath the watch face and is an optical monitor. A rather bright green light (do not look into it) will appear when the watch is active and this measures your pulse on the top of your wrist to measure your heart rate. Another appeal is the GPS tracking device that is very accurate and can be paired with an app on your laptop, smart phone, tablet etc to get a really nice looking presentation of each of your runs and your progress.

Fit The fitting of this watch is important. The heart rate monitor will not work properly unless it’s placed in the correct place on your wrist, which is just above the wrist bone. It’s not uncomfortable fortunately, even though you have to fasten the watch in such a way the watch fits snugly. The fit is tighter than I wear a normal watch, but the wide strap makes it more a comfortable fit . The strap is wide and fastens very securely, so there’s no movement on the run (at least there shouldn’t be it you’ve tightened it enough). Once fitted, the watch is pretty quick at detecting your heart rate.

image image image

Use Once you’ve excitedly torn the watch from it’s impressively sturdy plastic box you need to charge it. It’s a relatively quick process and once it’s charged it’s very easy to get started. You can fill in all your details regarding your age, height, weight and gender to get accurate readings. It is also possible to have it in pounds or kilograms, miles or kilometres and centimetres or feet. Once fully charged the battery lasts between 4-6 hours, depending on length of your runs. Using the watch is really easy. There is one large button underneath the watch face that you use to navigate through the menu. There’s 3 options for running; run, treadmill or stopwatch. You can custom the run into sprint, speed, endure, fat burn and easy. It’s a super easy watch to navigate which is brilliant. Also, I know other runners who have touch sensitive watches and running in the rain makes it a nightmare sometimes to use them, this one does not have this problem! It is also waterproof (although I do not recommend showering with it on). The GPS element of the watch is also quick. I typically don’t initiate the GPS loading until I’m outside walking towards my gate and usually by the time I’ve gotten to the gate (about 30 seconds) the watch is ready to go. Once you start running you can have the watch display calories, distance, time, heart rate or average pace. If you have customised your run, for example to sprints, it will beep and vibrate to inform you of when to speed up or slow down, so you don’t need to be constantly looking down to monitor your pace (which results in a time check, which can be hard). During your run you can pause the run very easily by holding down the left button for 3 seconds, then to re-start the run you press the right button. The screen moves fluently through the menus and is easy to read whilst bobbing up and down. You can also activate a light by touching the actual face of the watch, the back light is powerful and brilliant for less than ideal visibility. Post-run you can check your run statistics on numerous channels. The first is the actual watch, via the ‘History’ option, you can also sync it via bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet if you have the Tom Tom Sports app (recommended). You can also set it up on your laptop or computer and plug it in via USB. The bluetooth connection takes a bit longer than the USB but sometimes it’s less hassle to sync via bluetooth than boot up a laptop! Monitoring your progress is very easy with the Tom Tom app (laptop/smart phone/tablet version) interface. You can see all your runs in chronological order and by clicking on it you can see a map of where you ran plus graphs showing elevation, speed, calories and average pace. It also very easy to use.

Overall This is my first running watch, but I’ve used a couple of Garmin watches in passing and I’ve got to say, the Tom Tom experience for me has been a lot better. I find it a lot easier to use and the built-in heart rate monitor is the real deal breaker or me. I can’t imagine having to wear a chest strap (a sports bra is enough, thank you). The watch fits well, doesn’t rub and gives me an in-depth analysis of my run. You can also connect the device to websites such as The Running Bug, which allows you to track your runs and exercise on a social network. It’s both brilliant for the gym and running outside.

I won’t lie, I had issues with this watch regarding the heart rate monitor. Upon arriving in Spain the heart rate monitor started to cut out when I got sweaty (which was very quick, given it was 30°C or higher). However, I contacted Tom Tom support, who very quickly got the watch repaired for me! Tom Tom’s quick and careful service ensured I would actually review this watch. I can accept sometimes things malfunction and Tom Tom’s professional handling of the mistake makes me believe the watch is definitely worth buying because if something doe go wrong, Tom Tom will help.

So, if you’re looking for a new running watch and want good, accurate readings, go for this one! You can also get it’s sister Tom Tom Multi Sport Cardio GPS Watch, which has additional settings for cycling and swimming. The Runner comes in black and red or red and white and whilst it does have a high price (standard RRP of £219.99, I got mine on Wiggle for £190 on offer) it is worth it if you’re really focused on training and improving. The watch can also be a great source of motivation as it pushes you to keep trying to improve your performance. Looking at your progress on the app and seeing it displayed run by run really motivates you to try “shaves those last few seconds off”. It also helps you get the most out of your workout. I really love my watch and it’s easy use, comfortable fit and sleek technology definitely make it one of my better purchases! Last minute Christmas gift, anyone?

Hope everyone has an excellent Friday and an even better weekend!

Gym Bug

2-Ingredient Pancakes

Hi there!

Last night was pancake night! A friend and I had decided to make some pancakes to give ourselves a break from studying. However, we used a recipe neither of us had tried before. I was slightly sceptical, there is literally 2 ingredients in these pancakes but they were actually really, really good.

Ingredients; (for one person, about 3-5 pancakes)

1 large, ripe banana
2 eggs
Cinnamon (optional, we actually forgot)

Method;

  • Mash the eggs, bananas and cinnamon (if using) all together to form a smooth batter.
    You could use a blender here if you have one.
  • Heat a little oil in a pan (on a medium heat).
  • Fry the pancakes until browned on each side, about 2 tablespoons per pancake works well.
  • Serve with your favourite toppings!

We had jam or honey or a bit of dark chocolate on ours, but try with yoghurt, fruit, dark chocolate drops, maple syrup, whatever you love on pancakes! They are sweet because of the banana, so watch out for that!

A couple of cooking notes;

  • The ‘batter’ will be quite thin if you leave your bananas slightly chunkier (like we did), it still works really well, plus you get delicious hits of warm banana through the pancake.
  • They are paler than normal pancakes, to ensure the egg is cooked leave about 2-3 on each side.
  • If you’ve left banana chunks in there; you will find wetter parts through the pancake as you are eating it, the pancake is cooked (if you’ve left it long enough) it’s just the banana making it a bit more moist.
  • Next time I think I’ll add some raisins or dark chocolate drops to add to these a bit.
  • If you’re looking to bulk them up a bit add some peanut butter in there or any nut butter (or you could use these as toppings).
  • Chocolate craving? Cocao powder in there.
  • These average out at about 25 calories per pancake (untopped), that’s about a 20 calorie saving per pancake compared to generic pancakes!

These were such a great mix up to my usual boring dinners! Love them! There are some photos below (on my iPhone, apologies about the quality) of them cooking and one finished pancake!

Pancake Cooking

Pancake cooking

One completed pancake

One completed pancake

The set-up

The set-up

It’s a Monday! Did you get your Monday off to a great start with a workout!? I did not, the gym is closed so I went yesterday instead! But if you can go on a Monday I recommend it! It sets you up for the week!
Here’s to a great week.

Gym Bug

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