GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “enjoy”

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

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

12 Days of Christmas

Hi there!

So Christmas is almost upon us! Which means chocolate, cake, alcohol/soft drinks and an incredibly indulgent Christmas dinner! Cannot wait! However, you don’t want to un-do heaps of hard work in a few weeks so here’s a little Christmas challenge! It’s the 12 Days of Christmas.

12 Days of Christmas will start on the 26th December. It’s the day after you’ve eaten until you literally can’t eat anymore. Presents have all been opened, merriment was had, games were played and everything. One thing? Time to get back to business. It’s not a difficult challenge at all. It’s just a way to keep motivated and do a little something each day to keep in the swing of exercise.

It’s very straightforward, there are 12 exercises listed below. Each day choose a different one and do 100 repetitions of it through the day. I plan on doing 10sets of 10 repetitions throughout the day sporadically. I’m not going to set an order because I think being told exactly what to do makes it so much easier to convince yourself not to do it.

The Moves

  • Push ups (modified or normal)
  • Tricep dips
  • Superman (Total of 10 minutes throughout the day)
  • Plank (Total of 10 minutes throughout the day)
  • Squats #
  • Calf raises
  • Kick-backs (100 each leg)
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Lunges (100 each leg)
  • Bridge
  • V-sits *
  • Side plank pulses (100 each side)- this is where you are in the side plank position, then pulse upwards 10 times each side. *

That’s it! 100 repetitions for 12 days! Not so hard right!? If you’re feeling adventurous, exercises with a * can be made harder with dumbbells and exercises with # can be made harder with a kettlebell.

Merry Christmas everyone and have a fabulous New Year! Posts will become more sporadic from now until after Christmas because I have exams and then I’m off home! I promise to try be as active (in more ways than one) as I can though.

Gym Bug

Pickled In Scotland

Pickled In Scotland

Hi there!

Today is a post about another excellent Scottish company called ‘Pickled In Scotland’ who are based in Edinburgh. They produce vegan friendly preserves, free from artificial preservatives, colours or flavour enhancers. They also never use concentrates.

They have a great selection of cordials, fruit drinks and fruit cheeses to try. What’s fruit cheese I hear you ask? It’s a way of preserving ripe fruit with sugar and forming a ‘cheese’ round that’s then left to mature. It was used in the past when there was no fresh fruit around. Typically, they were eaten with dairy products like cheese, but I reckon they’d be brilliant on oatcakes or some toast too!

Pickled In Scotland use Scottish fruits, so you’ll find delicious rhubarb, gooseberries, quince, raspberries, strawberries and more! A delicious way to get your fruit.

I’m not going to lie I don’t have a lot of experience with their range, I sampled some of their fruit cheeses once however, and they are amazing. They were so fruity and natural; there was nothing artificial or fake about them. They’d be a great new way to get more fruit into your diet. Their cordials are also really fresh and refreshing.

I recommend checking out their website and trying a few of their products. I’d love to be able to sample more of what they’ve got so I’ll be poking around their website too and hopefully I’ll spot them at a local place one day too!

Fruit cheese could be a great addition to any Christmas cheese platter or an interesting addition to Christmas breakfast? Cordials are great in cheeky cocktails too. Or even buy them as presents!

This is a great shot taken from the homepage of their website. I do not own this image.

Just beware not to get your recommended dose of fruit and veg purely from fruit, it does contain sugar!

Gym Bug

Adoring Avocados

Hi there!

It’s almost Christmas (as I’ve said, I know, but I’m so excited). Which means delicious food circling and lots of opportunities to show off some (healthy) cooking! These recipes are not just exclusively for Christmas though so keep a note of them for future opportunities to use them! They’re great for dinner parties, appetisers or just a healthy dinner!

A big health food in my house is avocado. We love them! They’re in season May through to August (but you can still get some now) and are brilliant sources of good fats (poly- and monounsaturated fats) which when eaten instead of saturated fats can help lower cholesterol. Some avoid avocado because they are high in fat and therefor calories, but again, good fats. They are very easy to chop up and throw in a salad, put on some ryvita or crispbread or whip up some guacamole! Here are some recipes below my family enjoy.

Guacamole

1 avocado
1/3 red chili, deseeded and chopped
1/2 red onion
1 clove of garlic
3 cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper

  1. Blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor until to the desired consistency.
  2. Add salt, pepper, more chili to taste.
  3. Store in an airtight container, keeps for roughly 3 days (ensure to leave the avocado pip in with the guacamole to prevent browning)

Avocado Salad Dressing

1 avocado
1/2 tablespoon honey
2- 3 drops of Tabasco
Handful of coriander
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoon of cider or sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion
Juice from 1 lime
3/4 cup of water
Salt and pepper

  1. Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until you get a smooth, creamy texture.
  2. Season as required to your own personal taste, add more Tabasco if you like the kick.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for around an hour before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
  4. This will keep for around 3-5 days in the fridge, stored in an airtight container.

Caeser Salad Dressing-this is a great, healthier alternative to a mayonnaise based dressing, you can also use fat-free natural or greek yoghurt (about 5 tablespoons)

1 avocado
2 tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper

  1. Blend the avocado in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the olive oil.
  3. Add the olive oil last and stir briefly.
  4. Season if desired.
  5. This will store in an airtight container for about 3 days in the fridge.
You can play around with the quantities of all of these recipes to get the desired flavors and consistencies. Honestly, when I make them I just go with it until I get the flavor I’m looking for. Beware with the Avocado Salad Dressing, the honey can be very distinctive and make the dressing sweet, best go for less at first then add if desired.
Parmaham, Avocado and Balsamic Salad
1 pack parmaham
1 avocado
50g pine nuts
150ml balasmic dressing
200ml extra virgin olive oil
As much rocket as you like
Salt and pepper
  1. Wash the rocket thoroughly and pat dry, lay out on a large, flat plate.
  2. Toast your pine nuts by laying them on a frying pan (no oil) on a medium-high heat until they start to brown (some may have black patches, that’s fine) remove from the heat and allow to cool in a dish.
  3. Mix the balsamic and olive oil together, we place it in a  glass bottle with an unpeeled clove of garlic, salt and pepper and shake thoroughly (you can store it in this bottle in the fridge for salads too).
  4. Peel and slice the avocado, best to cut the avocado in half, remove the pip then slice length ways to keep the curved shape in each slice.
  5. Scatter the avocado across the rocket, tear the parmaham and scatter it too then sprinkle over the pine nuts.
  6. Drizzle some of the dressing (not all of it) over the plate and allow others to add more dressing if desired (remember that dressing can be used for all salads).
  7. Best eaten then and there, but will keep in the fridge for a day or 2, make sure to keep the avocado pip and pop it on the plate/in the container when you store it.
Creamy Avocado Pasta (for one)- this is a super simple, cheap pasta dish that’s very quick and healthy!
1 avocado (the riper, the better)
70g wholewheat pasta
1 garlic clove
1 red onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
50g peas
Chicken or prawns (optional)
Salt and pepper
  1. Start cooking your wholewheat pasta, it takes slightly longer than normal pasta, best give it around 12 minutes, at around minute 9 or 10 throw in the peas to the water.
  2. If you’re having chicken cook it now any way you wish and slice it into manageable chunks, if your prawns are raw cook them now.
  3. Chop the garlic and onion and put in a food processor with the avocado, chili powder, olive oil,salt and pepper and blitz until you get a smooth, creamy sauce.
  4. Once your pasta and chicken/prawns are ready, drain the pasta and throw in the chicken/prawns and stir in the avocado sauce (I do this in the pot the pasta was cooked in to heat the sauce up a bit)
  5. For vegetarians you could try adding tofu or quorn (never tested this myself).

Guaranteed the Parmaham, Avocado and Balsamic salad will make an appearance in my household over the festive period (or at least a variation of it). Give them go and always be willing to tweak them as you see fit (and healthy).

It’s the weekend! Have a great weekend everybody!
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

The importance of a well-earned rest

Hi there!

Sunday is my scheduled rest day and I thought it was an opportune time to do a post about why these rest days are so important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I take one rest day a week (on average) but recommended exercise is between 3-6, so you can take more depending on your schedule, goals and other variables.

The type of recovery I’m discussing here is long-term recovery. Which refers to the scheduled planning of rest days throughout the exercise schedule. This will be the focus of the post.
Short-term recovery refers to the recovery immediately after your work-out and includes active recovery. Active recovery is doing low-intensity exercise to help the body recover immediately after intense exercise and also the days after.

So what makes them so important?

Professional athletes take rest days too. They appreciate the importance in allowing the body (and the mind) to recover, repair and strengthen. For those who do not complete on a professional level, it’ also a great way to maintain  a better balance amongst leisure, work and family life.
Recovery and rest is when the real training happens. Your body is able to adapt to the stress of exercise, replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues (for example, the breakdown of muscle).

Not allowing for adequate recovery opens a very wide door for injury, fatigue and illness. Lack of recovery leads to overtraining. Continuous training can actually hinder your performance. Overtraining results in depression, lack of energy, feeling drained, muscle and/or joint pain, insomnia, headaches, decreased immunity, injury, loss of appetite amongst other things. Overall, rest days are critical if you want avoid overtraining. By going too hard, you risk taking yourself completely out of exercise for an extended period of time, which is exactly what you don’t want.
I can give a personal example of this when I engaged in solid rowing training for 7 days a week for weeks on end. By the time January rang around I was struggling to walk without considerable pain in my right leg. Two doctors appointments and a physio visit later, I was diagnosed with a Grade 2 Groin Strain. 8 physio sessions and weeks off of cardio had me feeling annoyed, frustrated and disappointed. Trust me, it’s not worth it.

Rest days are also good for you mentally. I can’t imagine anything worse than having to get to the gym every single day. Whilst I love the post-exercise feeling I do value being able to lie-in and relax a bit more on my rest days. It keeps the gy from being repetitive, monotonous and downright dull.

How should I incorporate it into my schedule?

There are different methods for incorporating rest days. You can do what I do and select a specific day to have off, changing it as required by your commitments. You can also just pick and choose week by week depending on your mood (I’d be wary of this, as you may end up taking more than planned).

Men’s Fitness have a great article about rest days and recovery for weight training. Whilst this is a male fitness magazine I think the principles are applicable to both genders in their weight training schedule. To sum the article up, they suggest having “deload weeks” every 4-6 weeks, where you reduce the intensity to allow the body to recover. They also recommend incorporating stretching, core exercises and bodyweight movements into these weeks.
They also suggest taking 1-2 weeks a year for “rest weeks”. Here they emphasise a focus on doing things you enjoy, not exercise. Go walking, hiking, leisurely cycle, socialise, etc. These are really for after very intense sessions such as a marathon. However, I think it’s a great addition to any workout calendar. You get to escape the gym!

Women’s Health Magazine (keeping the balance) also recommend rest days. They state that strength does not come from training, it comes from the body rebuilding itself after the training. Their recommendations for rest and recovery include 1-2 rest days a week, alternating between intensities (e.g HIIT one day a week, endurance another), nourish your muscles (sleep right, eat right, stretch).

Again, rest days are needed, being a “gym rat” will not see you lose weight faster. It’s possible you may even retain more weight. Exercise releases the stress hormone cortisol which encourages fat storage. If you put your body under intense stress 7 days a week, you’re increasing the levels of cortisol in the body, encouraging your body to hold onto precious fat as a survival instinct.

Active recovery is a good way to allowing your body to recover too. On your rest day you could go for a walk as a way to get out the house, get some fresh air etc. You can also engage in low-intensity classes such as pilates and yoga. This way you are allowing recovery without any need to feel guilty. However, having a rest day is  NECESSITY so guilt shouldn’t really come into it (but I get that it can). Personally, especially when I’m home, I do some form of active recovery because I own a dog, so I walk him.

So, evidence has proven you do not need to confine yourself to a gym 7 days a week! Rejoice!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend and preparing to crack open their advent calendars tomorrow!

Gym Bug

Sources;

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/overtraining/a/aa062499a.htm

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sampleworkouts/a/RestandRecovery.htm

http://www.builtlean.com/2012/06/05/overtraining/

 

 

 

Water- Liquid Gold

Hi there!

So, water. It’s actually really important if you’re looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A lot of you are probably thinking “Yeah, duh, Miss State-the-obvious” but sometimes it needs said!
We lose water throughout the day through sweating, breathing and going to the bathroom and we need to make sure we consistently replenish our water levels throughout the day. This doesn’t mean downing a glass of water every hour, you also get hydration from foods and other non-water beverages.

Why is it important?

Hydration is essential for any form of physical activity. Poor hydrations causes muscle fatigue, reduces coordination, makes us light headed and can cause muscle cramps. Also, if you become dehyrated during sports or physical activity, you reduce your body’s ability to cool-down through sweating. Not to be extreme, but it can lead to heat stroke which has some very serious consequences.

Hydration is also essential for weight loss. Water (particularly the cold stuff) can help boost our metabolism. Also, it can help curb cravings, overeating and boredome eating. If you’re about to sit down for a meal, have a glass of water first, it will reduce your chances of tucking in for more than you nee by filling your stomach up a bit. Proper hydration also reduces bloating.

Dehydration is also a main cause of headaches and fatigue. Keeping hydrated is essential to allow your brain to function normally too and is important for concentration, cognition and general ability to function at a normal level. It also helps the heart pump blood more efficiently around your body and is general good for the function of all muscles.

But how much do we need?
We all have heard the “8 Glasses a Day” rule. But that’s no longer applicable. My water needs might be very different from yours and it is possible to overhydrate. This occurs when you drink so much you’re constntly back and forth to the bathroom and you’re removing nutrients from your system that you need (e.g salt), so watch out. You need to consider things such as climate, exercise intensity and duration, what you’re wearing, sweat levels and so on to get a reasonable idea of what you should be consuming.
DO NOT RELY ON THIRST. This is key because if you’re thirsty, then you’re already dehydrated.
A way of measuring how much you need is to weigh yourself before and after exercise, to see how much “water weight” you’ve lost. However, if you’re like me, you avoid scales because they do not always give accurate readings of your health (muscle weighs more than fat, but seeing an increase in weight is never fun).

I keep a bottle of water on me at all times and sip it periodically throughout the day. I also consume a lot of fruit and veg and drink green tea. Typically, I find I remain pretty well hydrated throughout the day as a result. Although I now can’t go anywhere without my water bottle.

Symptoms of Dehydration
These are things to look out for that indicate you may be dehydrated and should get some water pronto;

  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Dry mouth, lips, eyes
  • Passing small amounts of urine infrequently
  • Passing urine that is dark in colour (basically, the clearer the better)

Sever dehydration has some pretty serious symptoms (I won’t go into them, check out NHS for a list) so try keep any of these symptoms to a minimum in terms of frequency!

And there we have it! A little educational lesson on the importance of water and why it is liquid gold.

I understand that there is probably people out there who genuinly do not like water (we’ll not start the “it’s got no flavour” debate) so here’s some ways to get water into your life!

  • Fruit-infused water (just add some lemon, lime, oranges, strawberries, apples etc to your water overnight to give a fruity flavour!)
  • Tea (it’s literally flavoured hot water, best go caffeine free)
  • Fruits and vegetables with high water content (lettuce, cucumbers, apples, oranges)
  • Other beverages (thinking milk, limited amounts of fruit juice and things)

I don’t know this as some innate knowledge, the sources I used are listed below if you want to have some extra reading. I have also included a fun info-graphic to break up the monotony of text-only posts!

Got to love it!

Got to love it!

Have a great evening!

Gym Bug

P.S One month until Santa makes an appearance…

Sources;

http://www.livestrong.com/article/438279-the-importance-of-hydration/

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Staying-Hydrated—Staying-Healthy_UCM_441180_Article.jsp

 

Power Up Pancakes

Hi there,

Another transfer from my old blog, but these pancakes are incredible so they must be shared. Best part? They’re good for you. Excellent post or pre-workout fuel and they’re very easy and quick to make

Ingredients:
50g oats (Stoats Original work perfectly)
100g cottage cheese
2 eggs
Your favorite pancake toppings

Method:
1) Blend all the ingredients together (easiest to do with a food processor).
2) Split the batter into two equal portions and spread into a pan.
3) Cook until golden brown on each side.
4) Top with your favorite toppings!

I topped mine with fresh raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, banana, a little golden syrup and some raspberry fat free yoghurt. It was amazing.  The photo below shows an example of what you can do with the pancakes in terms of toppings. This particular photo was taken on Friday when my two sisters made them.

Some suggestions for healthy* toppings;

  • Banana and greek yoghurt
  • Berries (fresh or frozen, you could even whip up a quick fruit compote)
  • Peanut butter (just watch the quantities)
  • Fat free yoghurt (keep an eye out on the sugar content)
  • Golden syrup (again all about moderation)
  • Tinned fruit (aim to buy tinned fruit in it’s own juice not syrup)
* you might consider some of these unhealthy, but things in moderation are okay, and let’s face it, these pancakes deserve decent toppings!

Start the day with a protein punch! Or have them as a post-workout snack!
Check out my Pinterest page for othe healthy recipes I’ve found (and some little treats), when I tried them out I’ll post about them!
Gym Bug

Fat- What’s going on

Hi there!

As I’ve mentioned before, I hit a low point in my life where I lost too much weight. I was boney, drawn and pale. A key issue (as pointed out by my sister) was my lack of fats in my diet. Unfortunately, I had fallen victim to the villainisation of fats in the media. All the hype about having a low fat diet to be healthy had more of an effect than I’d realised and I had not only reduced by intake of saturated fat, but of the healthy fats my body needs to function properly. So, let’s take a look at fats.

Saturated Fat
This is considered as something we should try cut down on. Recently, there’s been stories flying around the media about saturated fat is actually not as bad as previously thought. Saturated fat has forever been associated with weight gain and is found in processed foods, meats, butter, cheese, cream and confectionary. We’re always told not to eat too much. For example, the British Dietic Association recommends no more than 30g per day for males and no more than 20g per day for females. Whilst there are numerous opinions regarding saturated fats and the negative health implications high consumption has, there is no sound, scientific evidence supporting them.
I view saturated fats as something to consume in moderation. I can enjoy a cheeseburger once in a while, or a chocolate bar but not four. I think more research needs to be done into saturated fats, especially whether there is a causal relationship between high consumption and disease.
Please do not take this as an excuse to chow down on fatty meats and not be concerned about putting on weight. Fats are high in calories, and excessive consumption may lead to unhealthy weight gain! Also fatty deposits in your arteries.

Trans Fat
Another fat not to indulge excessively in. This type of fat is found naturally (in low levels) in meat and dairy products and found in foods containing hydrogenated vegetable oil. There are associations between trans fats and raised cholesterol, so it is recommended nt to consume more than 2g per day (for an adult). Good news is a lot of food manufacturers have removed hydrogetaed vegetable oils from products, so we don’t actually consume a lot of it!

Unsaturated Fat
We like this one, we need this one. These are the healthy fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. They’re categorised as mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated. These provides our bodies with nutrient for basic function. Eating these fats can also help lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol. It also helps you from looking like a gaunt ghostly character (as I discovered).

Fat, like carbohydrates and proteins, should be an integral part of our diet. The key is balance. You need to try maximise your intake of unsaturated fats and limit your intake of saturated/trans fats. It’s better for your health to consume 200 calories of nuts than it is of chocolate, so try and make healthy  choices that help try maintain this balance. Ofcourse, don’t cut the “bad” fats out completely, have a cookie or a chocolate bar or a burger but try maintain a balance. It’s all about moderation.

Also, remember fats are high in calories, so watch portion sizes even with the unsaturated fats. Too many calories means weight gain and that can be unhealthy in some circumstances, especially if it is excessive weight gain.

Here are some healthy snacks with healthy fats that I enjoy;

  • Avocado on wholegrain toast
  • A handful of mixed nuts and seeds
  • Olives
  • Olive oil based dressings
    A firm family favourite is simple 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar, clove of garlic (not peeled or chopped but lightly squashed) and pepper

Just keep it in balance and try get a wide, varied diet to ensure you get all your nutrients for a healthy lifestyle! Simples. (I wish)

Gym Bug

Post Navigation