GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “enjoy”

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

Hi there!

I never used to enjoy coffee. I found it bitter and pointless. I was also accutely aware of it’s addictive capabilities and didn’t want to become reliant on a morning coffee to get going. However, whilst here in Spain, I’ve developed a taste for it and in moderation it can help speed up metabolism, boost concentration and productivity and just give you a little boost when you need it! It also doesn’t need to be calorie-laden! If you can stomach it, go for black everytime, or opt for semi-skimmed/skimmed milk, no sugar, soy milk (or other alternatives) to cut the calories!

I’ve just started using Pact Coffee and I’m about to get a delivery of freshly ground coffee from Toledo! It asked me a few questions about how I like my coffee and funnily enough is sending me Spanish coffee! It’s got 70% dark chocolate and the grounds themselves are from Columbia. They’ve got tons of coffees to try and they can send you a different one weekly or fortnightly! It’s £6.95 a pack but if you use my referral code HANNAH-KZMZEQ your first bag is £1!

So, give it a try. I never thought I’d like coffee but it’s actually a great drink to have socialising or as a pick me up!

Have a fantastic week guys! We’re half way through!

Gym Bug

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How I drastically cut my 10km run time

Hi there!

When I started running consistently it was during my Christmas break of 2012. I had put on weight in first year (the ‘fresher’s fifteen’) and was really uncomfortable with how my clothes felt and how unfit I was generally. I started running with my dad who had been at it for a while. When I ran my first 10k it was brutal. My time was around 1 hour 15 minutes. It was a struggle the whole way and my evening was spent with me on the couch. It was here I realised just how unfit I had been.

I started running regularly and more and more I started to enjoy my Dad’s and I’s Sunday 10k sessions. By Christmas 2013 we were running 12k’s and made the mistake of doing a 16k too (no one won that one). Our 10k always hovered around the 1 hour mark. My dad is over 50, so we never pushed it.

Fast forward to Summer 2014. I went on a family holiday to Nerja (below you see the view from our villa, which indicates the length of the hill I had to run up). It was here my sister introduced me to hill sprints. Brutal, heart-pounding hill sprints. We only had to do roughly 20-30 minutes to be as worn out as a solid 45 minute run! I fell in love with the new high intensity element, something that I had generally lacked in my running. I continued to do hill sprints when I got home over the summer and I noticed my 10k runs with my Dad were becoming easier and easier (but not faster, because my Dad is over 50, I was warned).

I joined a gym within my first couple of weeks of moving to Madrid for a year abroad for University. I started off with just using the bike, doing some intervals and things. Then I went onto the treadmill and slowly started incorporating more and more intervals and HIIT into my cardio. I now combine HIIT on the treadmill and the bike for 2 cardio sessions a week, I do about 45 minutes each session.
Important; my first stint in Madrid was September-December, and I lost far too much weight. A key part of this was doing too much HIIT and not fuelling my body properly. Even with weight training I ended up being scrawny and unhealthy. If you do HIIT, ensure you’re fuelling your body correctly too. This means good carbs, protein and fats.

Now, onto Christmas 2014. I was limited to my exercise routine because I was putting on weight (because it was absolutely necessary). However, I did go out with my Dad for a 10k during my tme at home. The second we were out the car he said ‘Just you go on and run at your own pace’. I initially resisted, because I enjoyed the time we spent together running, but he refuses to accept it wasn’t my fault we ran a 16k!
It ended up being a mistake anyway, I ran so far ahead he tried to reduce the distance between us and pushed himself to far. However, I ran 11k in 57 minutes! I couldn’t believe it. I thought back to what caused my sudden incrase in speed and realised it was the HIIT. Whilst I did not fuel myself, my fitness and times improved dramatically (the lack of fuel is really bad and embarassing, I’m not endorsing my stupidity, if you do HIIT or speed work, fuel it right)!

My most recent 10k which I did on a treadmill clocked in at 47 mins 35 seconds. I altered my incline and speed throughout to achieve this and I wasn’t wiped out by the end! (I was tired, don’t get me wrong).

So, after this long (hopefully not boring) story, what’s my point? My point is if you want to cut your time and improve your fitness, logging kilometers and kilometers of steady running will not do it quite the same as using HIIT, hill sprints and lots of intervals. You need to speed train to improve your times!

Here’s an example of what you could do on a treadmill;

Warm-Up; 5 minutes at 9km/h

Sprint; 1 minute at 13-15km/h (wherever you feel you won’t come flying off the treadmill)

Rest; 1 minute at 9km/h

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Cool-Down; 5 minutes starting at 9km/h then reducing by 0.5km/h every minute.

I do this often, I also mix it up with inclines in place of a sprint. The point is to challenge your body and your speed. You also don’t need to workout for as ong when doing HIIT because your sending your heartrate into a higher zone (if done correctly. Check out my HIIT post for more information on HIIT and routines!

Gym Bug

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

Working out sore muscles; Yaay or Naay?

Hi there!

I’m sure we’ve all been there. We’ve lifted heavier, pushed harder or returned to training after a break. We wake up the next day and feel like we’ve been hit by a bus. The question some of us may ask is; Can I (or should I) work out? I read an article recently from Greatist that discusses this. The pain is called Exercise Induced Muscle Damage (EIMD) and typically results in the onset of Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness (DOMS). I’ve been there, worst DOMS I experienced was after Tough Mudder, which I completely expected given I ran 11miles and tackled 25 gruelling obstacles. I had to take 2 days off from intense exercise to recover. Greatist also mentions that if your muscles are restricting your movement or limiting your strength then it’s probably best to listen to your body and give it a break.

The reason for taking a break? The muscle pain you feel is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibres and overworking these can make it much worse and lead to greater injury, which would see you out of training for a long time (trust me, I’ve been there).

You can opt for light exercise, such as walking or low-intensity cycling. Just make sure it’s low-impact. You can also work different muscle groups, focusing on those that don’t hurt, this is good also for ensuring you have a varied routine to ensure all muscle groups are worked.

Other methods Greatist mentioned to alleviate muscle soreness is ice baths, a massage and good old-fashioned stretching! Personally, I usually go for stretching and foam-rolling to help my achey muscles. I also use a massage bar from Lush which works wonders!

A key thing to mention and trust me, it’s solid advice you must adhere to; do not exercise if the pain is intense, on-going or highly restrictive. You should seek a doctor or a physiotherapists advice if you experience intense pain during, before or after a workout. I found myself with a grade 2 groin strain in January 2014 and was unable to do cardio for 8 weeks and once I could do cardio, it was light cycling for a few weeks before I could build it up. I also had to endure sports ‘massages’ from a physio (unpleasant to say the least). That extra workout when you’re sore is not worth it. Listen to your body. Plus, a sneaky extra rest day is always enjoyable (and good for the mind and motivation).

http://amandastonebarger.com/2014/05/04/mile-806-why-you-shouldnt-feel-guilty-about-rest-days/

Gym Bug

Image source; http://amandastonebarger.com/2014/05/04/mile-806-why-you-shouldnt-feel-guilty-about-rest-days/

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

Pancake Day!

Hi there!

Today is Pancake Day (Shrov Tuesday) which is celebrated as the day precensing Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is a day observed by many Christians and for those who do not identify as Christian it is an excuse to eat pancakes! However, instead of having a heavy stack of unhealthy pancakes filled with preservatives, sugar and other potential nasties why not try making your own!?

Here ar some links to previous posts I did about pancakes;

1) 2-Ingredient Pancakes

One completed pancake

2) Protein Power Pancakes

Protein Pancakes

Both these posts have some topping inspiration too! However, there are literally loads of great recipes out there! Check out

Found this interesting post about pancakes around the world! Not the healthiest inspiration but sometimes a treat is good.

Have you got any special recipes to share?

Gym Bug

Foodie Challenge #4

Hi there!

Trying lots of recipes recently! Classes are about to start so it will likely become less frequent but I will try maintain my one new recipe a month! Last nights dinner was a delicious Sweet Potato and White Bean stew, I got the inspiration to this from this recipe but made many edits. What’s great about this is it uses any leftovers from last Foodie Challenge #3!

Ingredients (for one);

  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into chunks.
  • 1 carrot, chopped.
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped.
  • 1 cup spinach.
  • 1/2 cup aubergine, cubed.
  • 2-3 mushrooms, sliced.
  • 1/2 cup brocoli.
  • 100g white beans.
  • 200g tinned tomatoes.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes.
  • 100ml red wine.
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed.
  • Crushed black pepper.
  • Olive oil

Method;

  1. Heat some olive oil in a pan and soften the garlic and onions (use a lid to do this).
  2. Add the cumin, black pepper and chili flakes and stir to coat over the onions.
  3. Add all the vegetables, sweet potato and tinned tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Add the beans and the red wine and stir it well.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook gently on a simmer for 40-50 minutes until the vegetables are tender, the sweet potato is soft and the stew has thickened.
  6. Taste and season further as required.

This takes longer to cook than my other recipes but it’s delicious, filling and healthy!

It looks very similar to yesterdays post but it's sweet potato not prawns in it!

It looks very similar to yesterdays post but it’s sweet potato not prawns in it!

Not going to lie, I’m really enjoying this challenge!

Gym Bug

Foodie Challenge #3

Hi there!

Another Foodie Challenge post today. This was last nights dinner and was based on Runner’s World Complete Guide to Nutrition recipe for Prawns and White beans. I edited the recipe slightly to add more vegetables to it.

Ingredients (for one);

  • 200g tinned tomatoes
  • 100g white beans
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Crushed black pepper
  • 10 prawns, cooked (you can add more or less also mine just needed their shells removed)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup brocoli, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes

Method;

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onions and garlic.
  2. Place a lid on the pan and soften the onions.
  3. Add the tomatoes, paprika (both kinds), chili, black pepper and peppers, stir everything together.
  4. Place a lid on the pan and allow the mix to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the spinach and the beans and stir together well.
  6. Add the prawns and allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes to make sure the prawns are hot.
    (Taste the sauce and add any additional seasoning if desired)
  7. Sprinkle the brocoli over the top, remove from heat and allow the dish to sit for 1 minute.
    (Here you can boil the brocoli if you prefer it soft, but I enjoy brocoli raw and crunchy)

That’s it! Nice and healthy and very easy. It’s also relatively cheap (the prawns may not be) but you can replace the prawns with chicken! Just add the chicken with the onions in step 1 and ensure it’s cooked through before serving!

Prawns and Beans

I love prawns and the extra kick from the chili gave a nice heat to it!

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

A Foodie Challenge

Hi there!

So I’m back in Spain with mixed feelings. I’m missing home majorly but my whole family is visiting me at some stage this semester so I better get my act together! But in an attempt to keep myself busy I have set myself a challenge and I recommend you all to try it to!

I’ve decided that at least once a month I’m going to tackle a new recipe. Whether it’s from trust Pinterest, a cookbook, online or a nutrition book my sister gave me I want to try a new recipe every week. I shall be posting updates of new recipes I try out here on my blog so keep your eyes peeled! I say ‘once a month’ because I know that I wouldn’t be able to manage once a week once classes start again!

I intend to start this next week after my last exam (I really need to knuckle down for this one) so there may not be much activity between now and Wednesday (the date of the exam).

But if you decide to try out the Challenge keep me updated! I would love recipe inspiration too!

Gym Bug

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