GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “health”

Veggies- Cooked or Raw?

Hi there!

I’m sorry (again) for gaps in posts! i have been studying and enjoying the wonderful weather Spain has been blessed with! However, I suddenly realised that something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is something you might find interesting! There are forever new articles coming out about the raw food diet (exactly as it sounds, raw food). And whilst I do enjoy some food raw I don’t like it all raw and started doing some research into what foods are better cooked and what foods are better raw! I don’t have an exceptionally long list, but they are staples in my meals so might come in handy for you too!

In the cooked corner;

  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Aspragus
  • Mushrooms
  • Cabbage

In the raw corner;

  • Peppers
  • Broccolli
  • Garlic
  • Beetroot
  • Onions

Have it either way;

  • Spinach

This is a list I will continue to update as I find more information about but the idea behind the ‘optimal methods’ for consuming these depends on the nutrients and what best preserves them. For example, according to BBC Good Food, heating up the foods listed above makes it easier for our bodies to enjoy the benefits from some of their protective antioxidants. Essentially, it helps us better absorb nutrients, like lycopene in tomatoes.
On the other hand, some vegetables like those listed in the raw section are better kept raw because heating them up can damage an enzyme which results in the strength of anti-cancer compunds (glucosinolates) being reduced.

So, here’s a list (that’s incomplete) on how to best prepare your veggies! Let me know what you think and if you know of any others!

As always, I’m a GN Academy member and if you need some protein or any brilliant qualiy supplements/snacks/a lot, lot more then check Go Nutrition out! Use my referral code A5CJC for free 250g of protein when you spend £10 or more!

Gym Bug

Advertisements

My first 10k race

Hi there!

I did it! This morning at 8:30am in Madrid I began my first ever 10km race at the Madrid Rock n Roll event. It was really different from my usual 10k runs (obviously) mainly because I set myself a target of 50 minutes. I’m so glad and proud to say not only did I not surpass this target, I was under! According to my Tom Tom Cardio GPS Watch I completed the 10k in 00:48:13, my official time (shown below) registered me at 00:49:48 with my “net time” being 00:48:21. This placed me 558/5408 overall, 48/2468 women and 4/128 category A!

Madrid Rock n Roll (4)

I’m not entirely clear on their timing method because some people with the same ‘official time’ but longer ‘net time’ were placed ahead of me in the official rankings! But it doesn’t matter! I ran a personal best for outdoor 10k (I ran 10k in just over 47 minutes on the treadmill) and I completed my first race, so I’m very pleased.

Madrid Rock n Roll (3)Madrid Rock n Roll

The atmosphere was brilliant. There was so many people cheering, great volunteers handing out water, medals, bananas, High5 taster packs and so on! Brilliant event that was well attended and everyone was in fantastic spirits despite the rain!

Madrid Rock n Roll (2) Madrid Rock n Roll (1)

I can’t recommend organised races enough! My next one is May 30th for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10k event!

Huge congratulations to all the racers today. And especially those who ran the marathon or half marathon, true inspiration!

Gym Bug

Earn rewards for working out!

Hi there!

So there’s been a gap in my posts because my parents were out visiting me for Easter! After a phenomenal week I’m devastated to say they’ve now returned home but I will be seeing them again in 45 days! People say time flies when you’re having fun, I can now definitly vouch for that one. After my brilliant holiday it’s now to get back on track. 3 weeks until my first 10k and I have my final visitor in between (which is another 4 days off exercising, not a bad thing though) so need to say focused.

Today, I discovered Bounts which is an app that allows you to collect points for exercising. Paid to exercise!? That sounds too good to be true! You collect points through your work out (for example, you earn 15 points for a 20 minute workout on MapMyFitness if connected to Bounts). You can then redeem these points for vouchers at places such as Waitrose, Starbucks, M&S and New Look! You can connect loads of apps and fitness trackers!

If you do sign up use referral code white327 and you’ll get 50 points straight away!

Money for keeping fit? Win. Win.

Gym Bug

The scales

Hi there!

This won’t be a long post but hopefully help some people who, like me, tie too much relevance to the a number on the scales!

I decided to weight myself everyday I worked out for a week to see the fluctuations. I weighed myself directly after my workout! Here are the results;

Tuesday 54.4kg
Wednesday 54.6kg
Thursday 54.2kg
Friday 54.5kg
Saturday 54.6kg
Sunday 54.5kg

As you can see my weight never stayed steady, nor did it continuously increase or decrease. I went up and down throughout the week. These numbers were from last week and today I weighed in at 54.7kg (I usually weigh myself every Friday whilst I’m putting on weight, to make sure I don’t lose anymore). The key thing to notice here is that the scales aren’t everything! If you are looking to lose weight, then use the scales occassionally to ensure you’re staying on track but don’t use only the scales.
Take measurements of your waist, thighs, chest etc. These will be a better indicator if whether you’re shifting any excess fat whilst maintaining muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat so the numbers on the scales won’t give you any form of decent indication as to your overall health when you get to a point were muscle mass becomes more important than your fat.

Also, don’t just rely on measurements and numbers. Set performance goals like running a 5k in 30 minutes, squatting x amount of kilos, completing a Tough Mudder. All of these little goals can not only help you see improvement but can help keep you motivated.

Scales are inherently unrealiable and can make us feel rubbish!

Have an absolute blast this weekend guys, hope the weather is as nice as it is here in Madrid!

Gym Bug

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

A step too far in tackling obesity?

Hi there!

I was on DailyMail (out of boredom, I don’t use it as my key news source) and the following article popped up; “Snacking ‘should be as shameful as smoking’. The article explains that Professor Susan Jebb has said that snacking on unhealthy foods and any meals served without vegetables should be seen as negatively as smoking in doors.

This is opening an already wide open door to socially obliterating obese people. It’s unfair. It’s also further widening the very dangerous door of social media inducing eating disorders such as disordered eating, anorexia, orthorexia nervosa and so on. By shaming people from having ‘an unhealthy meal’ or having ‘an unhealthy snack’ a stigma is being created surrounding these foods. A stigma I’ve fallen victim to myself.

Now I completely understand that we need to start doing something about the obesity  problem. It;s giving rise to a generation of overweight children, increasing the instances of diseases and is a heavy burden on public spending in the UK. But I do not believe making unhealthy foods ‘shameful’ is the way to do it. What about the people who live a healthy, balanced life? Are they not allowed to go out and enjoy a burger or a donut or a slice of cake? I know for a fact when I turn 21 this year I’ll be enjoying a delicious slice of cake and other little, delicious extras!

I believe the key to changing lifestyles is making it clear what health risks obese individuals face, the impact it has not only on themselves but their families, educating these people about how to deal with the issue and trying to life these stigma’s around foods. It’s also important to highlight how easy it can be to make small, healthy changes and start living a healthier lifestyle.

For example, make this more widely available

                                                                       The Eat Well Plate (UK)

There’s also some great resources out there that many proably do not know about. For example, there’s Change4Life in the UK offering tips, recipes, vouchers, information on local activities and support! Eat To Perform is another excellent source for information and some hard to hear facts that are incredibly motivating. (Side note, they’re articles help me deal with having to put on weight).

Now, I’m not saying this is the easiest thing to do. But it’s a lot easier than people think! It’s not about dieting (terrible word and I hate it) it’s about making healthy, sustainable changes in your life. Going for a walk everyday, having an apple instead of crisps (potato chips) at lunch, walking to the next bus stop, the small changes you can make today are endless! It’s also important not to be ashamed of not “eating 100% clean, 100% of the time”. What does that even mean-clean? Google ‘clean eating’ and I guarantee you’ll get numerous definitions!

Just try focus on eating good food, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, protein and good fats. Get in a bit of cardio and weight training. Enjoy that slice of cake! Keep highly processed foods to a moderate amount, but don’t go cold turkey, trust me you’ll end binging, it’s not worth it!

If life becomes all about food and exercise (or not doing it) then it’s no fun. Again, trust me. I’m still coming out of some food and exercise related issues but I’m slowly learning food is to be enjoyed and 6-pack abs aren’t necesary to be happy!

Gym Bug

Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2015

Hi there!

I’ve already mentioned in a post a while that I was running the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10K with my family, but I thought I’d tell you a little more about it!

There are 6 different events taking place on Saturday May 30th and Sunday May 31st. On Saturday the 10K, 5K and Junior Races take place. On the Sunday it’s the Marathon, Half-Marathon and Marathon Hairy Haggis Team Relay runs. There really is a distance for everyone!
Prices vary and can be found on their website. The price includes the run itself with all associated entertainment, a technical wicking finisher’s T-shirt, medal, accurate chip timing, training plan, online results and a race recovery pack! There is also stalls in the finisher’s area with companies marketing their products as well as delicious food and drink to be purchased! The course also has numerous water and energy stations, providing hydration and energy gels (the energy gels are for those running the Half Marathon or Marathon).

EMF 2015

The whole event is in support primarily of MacMillan Cancer Support, who you can choose to run and fundraise for when you sign up. You can of course choose to run for your own charity! It’s a great way to raise some money and get fit! My family are fundraising as a group for MacMillan because cancer has hit our family quite hard and we all know the value of support for the sufferers and their loved ones. I know it’s a big ask, but if you can spare anything please donate on our JustGiving page.

MacMillan are a brilliant chairty seeking to provide help and support. I can’t describe them any better than they have on their website;
“No one should face cancer alone. So when you need someone to turn to, we’re here. Right from the moment you’re diagnosed, through your treatment and beyond, we’re a constant source of support, giving you the energy and inspiration to help you take back control of your life.”

                                                                      Enough said.

As someone who has watched loved ones go through diagnosis, treatment and (unfortunately not everytime) recovery, I know how important a solid support system is and how valued it is by everyone involved. MacMillan deserve funding and are a key source of care for those suffering cancer and their loved ones.

So if you’re looking for some fantastic motivation, go for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2015! Get your running shoes and get going!

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

Getting to sleep; An experiment

Hi there!

So, last night as I lay in bed wide awake at 2:30am, fully aware of my 8am alarm I got an idea for a new experiment. I am going to try, for the next week, 7 different methods to fall asleep quicker that I have found on the internet. I will report back everyday with whichever one I have tried the previous evening and let you know how it went. Why am I doing this? Because I struggle to sleep more often than I’d like and sleep is key to a healthy lifestyle. I also imagine I’m not the only one who struggles to get to sleep!

Here are my 7 sleep remedies;

  1. A 10-minute yoga routine from Greatist.
  2. Inhale through my left nostril (this seems absurd) from the author of Sleep Better With Natural Therapies.
  3. Avoid any screens (laptops, phones, tablets, TV) 30-minutes before bed.
  4. Loosen my muscles, group by group from WikiHow.
  5. Follow a specific breathing routine, again from WikiHow.
  6. Count sheep.
  7. Listen to music.

I will go through each of these, starting with number 1 tonight (February 27th) and shall update you tomorrow on how it went! I’ll tag each relevant post with SleepExperiment to keep track in my archives.

Sleep

Gym Bug

Image Source; https://media.giphy.com/media/Eccdry010Mj1m/giphy.gif

Foodie Challenge #7

Hi there!

I had a night out on Friday for Carnival here in Spain and offered to cook dinner for myself and 2 friends. I wanted something that would be bulky enough for us to be able have a few drinks and not leave the contents of our stomach somewhere embarassing or wake up feeling like we’d been ran over (some of my friends did wake up like this, but anyway). I decided to cook something I haven’t eaten in a while and never cooked before; gnocchi. Gnocchi is essentially potato dumplings that feel more like a pasta based dish. So it ticked the boxes of being carb heavy to line our stomachs! My family make it with mascarpone, tomatoes and spinach but dietary requirements of one friends ruled the mascarpone cheese out, so I decided to wing it.

Ingredients (this served 3 of us with a dash leftover);

  • 400g of gnocchi
  • 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of aubergine, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • Crushed  black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Couple of sprigs of fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • 100ml red wine

Method;

  1. Mix the aubergine with the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and red wine.
  2. On a medium heat, put the lid on the pan and allow the onions to soften.
  3. Add the tomatoes and all the seasoning, tasting and adjusting accordingly.
  4. Allow the sauce to simmer for around 5 minutes then add the gnocchi and spinach.
  5. Put the lid on and allow the gnocchi to soften in the sauce, takes about 5-10 minutes, stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  6. To check if the gnocchi has cooked properly, you can slice one open and it should be soft through the centre and hot.
    Note; alternatively, you can boil the gnocchi in water for 2-3 minutes, then add to the sauce.
  7. Tear up the basil and sprinkle on top before serving.

Gnocchi

It’s tasty, simple, cheap, quick and it’s healthy! We had a side dish of caeser salad with ours. You can also add peppers in with the tomatoes to add more vegetables (going to try that next time).

I’m finding that I’m enjoying just winging recipes with new ingredients but I will return to using recipes too! I have a rather long bucket list awaiting my attention!

Gym Bug

Post Navigation