GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “healthy lifestyle”

Fuel your day!

Hi there!

I’m going to try and get more regular posts out now! I’ll be a bit more room bound now that exams are racing round so will have a bit of time to sit down and write! Today, I’d like to post about breakfast. My favourite meal ever and I love trying out new things to give me a great, healthy kick start to the day! I thought I’d share a couple of my favourite recipes! Unfortunately, there are no photos, except ones of breakfasts I’ve already posted! Unless otherwise stated, all recipes are for 1 person.

1) My Rock n Roll 10k breakfast; I made this just this weekend to prepare me for my first 10km race. I ate it about 1 hour 30 minutes before I started and it kept me powering through! It needs to be left in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients;

  • 1 portion of natural/greek yoghurt (your preference here)
  • 1 protein scoop of oats (this is about 25g worth of oats)
  • 6 frozen strawberries
  • Optional; 1 teaspoon cinammon/agave syrup/golden syrup

Method;

  1. In a resealable tub, mix the oats with the cinammon (if using).
  2. Chop 3 of the frozen strawberries into chunks and pile on top of the oats.
  3. Add the yoghurt.
  4. Cut the remianing strawberries and place them on top of the yoghurt.
  5. Drizzle the agave syrup/golden syrup on top (if using) or sprinkle more cinammon (if using).
  6. Leave this covered in the fridge overnight.

2) Power Up Pancakesfollow the link for the recipe!

Protein Pancakes

3) Avocado & Egg Toast; oats aren’t everybodies cup of tea, so here’s a more savoury option for those dreary mornings!

Ingredients;

  • 2 slices wholegrain bread
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 2 medium eggs
  • To season; ground black pepper, smoked paprika, salt, tabasco, you’re condiment of choice

Method;

  1. Slice the avocado into strips.
  2. Scramble the eggs (try use olive oil rather than butter here).
    If you want, feel free to boil/poach/omlette your eggs!
  3. Toast the bread whilst the eggs are cooking.
  4. Put the avocado on top of the toast first.
  5. Add the eggs on top.
  6. Season.
  7. Devour.

4) Super fruit bowlfor a fresher, lighter start to the day!

Ingredients;

  • 1 small banana
  • 1 small apple
  • Handful of berries (you choose)
  • 1 portion of natural/greek yoghurt
  • Optional; cinammon, golden syrup, agave syrup, cocoa powder

Method;

  1. Chop all the fruit and pile into a bowl.
  2. Mix the yoghurt and any optional toppings you fancy.
  3. Simples!

These are 4 super easy and healthy recipes you can whip up for breakfast to keep the day starting right! I always find if I start the day on a good, healthy note, then maintaining my healthy eating throughout the day is so much easier. I also feel more energetic and have more energy right through to snack time.

Have a great week guys! Anyone else counting down the days until summer!?

Gym Bug

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

Healthy snacks for on the go!

Hi there!

I’m one of those people who needs snacks handy for work, university, being out and about because I hate buying things out (I’m always tempted by unhealthy choices) and I always find them to be sort of dissappointing. So I thought I’d list some of my favourite on the go that you can prepare at home and grab and go! This particular post is for those snack that require no cooking! Once I start exprimenting when I’m home (and have access to an oven) I’ll do some snacks that you can cook.

  • Hummus and vegetable sticks (celery, carrots, cucumber, courgette etc).
  • DIY Trail mix (mix bran flakes, raisins, nuts. other dried fruit for a great, protein packed snack).
  • Ham slices wrapped around cucumber or carrots sticks (can bring some hummus long too).
  • One yoghurt pot mixed with 2 tablespoon of oats (best allow the oats to soak in the yoghurt for an hour or more).
  • One yoghurt pot with grapes, banana, apples etc.
  • Handful of pretzels (watch the salt content of the pretzels you buy).
  • Soreen.

These are a few of my personal favourite snacks. I really love makng a big tuperware full of trail mix and putting some in a little tub! Also, Soreen is something I wish I could eat all day!

Gym Bug

Why is child obesity so high?

Hi there!

I’m exhausted today since I was exploring a new city yesterday! Salamanca is gorgeous by the way if anyone is looking for somewhere to visit. Maybe not yet, it’s freezing. I think I’ve had a better workout shivering than an hour at the gym! But today I read a disturbing news article. It was from the Daily Mail so I looked around for better, more reliable sources to confirm the claims. Unfortunately, I didn’t struggle. Child obesity now affects 1 in 3 of Britain’s children. Whilst these levels appear to be ‘leveling off’ un under 10’s according to the BBC , it is still a shockingly high number. Obesity brings all sort of health risks including diabetes, heart disease, increased risks of cancer, high blood and more.

It’s not just children either, UK obesity rates in the UK have almost trebled (see the ‘more’ link above). This is shocking, especially with such focus now on leading healthier lifestyles! What can we do? Unfortunately, we can’t change a nation. But you can make small changes to yours and your families life to start leading a healthier lifestyle and (if required) lose weight! It requires hard work and focus but once you’ve made these little changes and turned them into habits, you’ll notice a huge difference. There’s so many little things you can do!

  • Walk to work if you’re close enough.
  • Get off/on at an earlier bus stop if you can.
  • Walk if these trip is 20 minutes or less.
  • Don’t bring temptation into the house (buy one chocolate bar if you’re craving it, not a multipack, for example).
  • Never grocery shop hungry.
  • Fit in at least 20 minutes of physical activity every day (a walk, for example).
  • Have a salad or soup at lunch.
  • Swap the crisps for an apple.
  • Eat porridge for breakfast to fuel you up until lunch.

Little steps like this can make a huge difference. Obesity does not need to be such a problem. We can change and we can help others change too. If you’ve got a group of friends who always complain about feeling overweight or uncomfortable then start a group and challenge yourselves! Doing things with a friend typically helps motivation because you feel a sense of commitment and don’t want to give up before the other (a little friendly competition never hurt anyone). Make some healthier choices to change your life!

What are your thoughts on obesity?

Gym Bug

Calorie Requirement Calculators

Hi there!

I decided to take a look at online calorie calculators that are supposed to give an indication of how many calories you need to consume to lose weight. I’ve done this to show you that these can be widely different but can give you a very rough guide to the number of calories you should consume (not including exercise unless stated)

My Calorie Counter; 1942 calories

Calorie King; 1100 to 1300 calories

Fitness Magazine; (with exercise level included) 2395 calories

WebMd; (with exercise level included) 2000

Anita Bean’s Calculation; (with exercise level included) 2788 calories

These are 5 of many different ways of calculatng your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and required calorie intake. However, these are clearly vastly different from each other. It seems I should be aiming for around 2000, which is the guideline daily amount for adult females. You can also get it professionally checked by having a test conducted to measure your BMR using heart rate, CO2 production and working you to exhausting which is significantly more accurate.

I just wanted to let you see that these calculators cannot be taken as the law for losing weight! Eat well and exercise regularly and you can do this!

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

Brace yourselves; Summer is coming

Hi there!

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

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

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

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

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

It’s small steps, you can do it.

Gym Bug

Fit Not Thin

Hi there!

In the midst of my revision I stumbled upon this article (it’s in Spanish) which talks about the editor of de Revistas de El Mercurio (Mercury Magazines). She has decided that they will no longer photoshop any photographs featured in their publications, only use models who are 18 or older and not use any model with a BMI below 18.5. BRILLIANT.

I understand there’s this constant pressure for people to be thin or incredibly muscular, I’ve felt it and it’s horrible. What this magazine is doing is perfect and something that needs to be done by all of them. People have been saying for ages it’s time to change the way the media represents what’s socially accepted as ‘beautiful’.

If you’re looking to be slim, this blog is not for you. Healthy? Then I’d like to think some of my experiences, posts and insights can help you. It’s so easy to make small changes to start you on your path to becoming FIT AND HEALTHY;

  • Reduce saturated fat intake; swap semi-skimmed/whole milk for skimmed milk, for example.
  • Reduce refined sugar intake; as simple as having an apple instead of a chocolate bar as a snack.
  • Fit in exercise; it can be a 7-minute HIIT session or a 30-minute walk. Check out my post on HIITLIIT  (lower intensity interval training) or have a look at strength workouts (one example linked for a bodyweight workout) for more information.
  • Make smart swaps; wholewheat pasta/rice/bread instead of white, refined bread/pasta/rice, for example.
  • Do a bit of trial and error; there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ plan for leading a fit and healthy lifestyle, try things out, do some research.
  • Do it with friends/family; it’s added motivation, you don’t want to stop until they do and chances are they feel the same so you won’t stop until you’re done.
  • Don’t give up; you will slip up, you’re allowed, just make sure it doen’t completel demotivate you and stop you from reaching your end goal.
  • Set a goal; fit into that pair of jeans, get to a healthier weight, tone up a bit. Whatever it is, set it and tell people what it is, that way you’ll find more motivation to stick with it and avoid being a ‘quitter’. Setting challenges such as a marathon, 10k, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race etc are also great motivators (you don’t really want to be photographed as a pile on the floor, you want to be photographed holding that medal or tackling that obstacle).
It doesn’t have to be a huge mountain, small steps can make big changes.
Gym Bug

Breakfast; The Most Important Meal of the Day

Hi there!

Today I shall be discussing the most important meal of the day; BREAKFAST. Studies have repeatedly shown breakfast is vital if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Literally, Google the importance of breakfast and see what happens!

The whole idea behind ‘breakfast is the important meal of the day’ relates to the fact that you haven’t eaten for a considerable amount of time whilst you’ve been sleeping. It’s roughly an average of 5-7 hours. That’s a long time for your body not to receive fuel. Yes, your metabolism is not running at such a high rate when you’re sleeping but you are still burning calories to breath and function, right? Eating breakfast gives you the energy to perform better, concentrate, exercise and generally tackle the day better. It may also reduce hunger throughout the day, leading to weight loss or management. Overall, breakfast is a must-have if you’re looking to make healthier lifestyle choices. Plus, it’s absolutely delicious and it can be quick if you need it to be!

Here are some excellent breakfast options;

  • Porridge
    A huge favourite of mine. I usually have this for breakfast every day and I never get sick of it. The best part about porridge is that you can change it up all the time. Try it with sliced banana, apple, berries, pineapples and more fruit! I love cooking the fruit in with the porridge to soften the fruit and get the juices mixed with the oats. You can also add honey, agave syrup, seeds, cacoa powder, dark chocolate drops, nut butter and cinnamon! Also if you’ve made it rather thick, a good spoonful of yoghurt is delicious too. Porridge is a low glycaemic index food which means it’s slow releasing, keeping you fuelled and focused until lunch (or maybe snack time).
  • Pancakes
    I’ve done two different pancakes posts; Protein Power Pancakes and 2-Ingredient Pancakes. There are literally hundreds of recipes out there though and you can make variations on both these recipes. The best and most versatile thing about pancakes though is the toppings. Go for fruit, syrup (watch the quantities), nut butters, yoghurt, some cinnamon to make them sweet. If you’re wanting something a bit more savoury pancakes are great with eggs (maybe not the two recipes listed above, but a more neutral pancake mix), bacon, sausage (not the healthiest options), even have them with some ham and tomato or avocado.
  • Overnight oats
    I have had Bircher’s Muesli that my mum made once and it’s phenomenal, I’ll post the recipe below for you to try but overnight oats are becoming insanely popular. These are great if you need a grab’n’go breakfast.
  • Eggs
    Have them scrambled, boiled, poached, in an omelette, however you like them! These are a great source of protein which will keep you going until lunch. Have a veggie omelette, veggie scramble, boiled eggs with whole wheat toast, scrambled eggs and avocado, again the possibilities are endless!
  • Muffins
    You’re probably thinking I’m crazy, it sounds strange but you can create some delicious and healthy breakfast muffins for another grab’n’go breakfast. It’s all about preparing the night before and making sure you’re not buying your breakfast muffin! Here’s a recipe below I found for delicious Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins.
  • Smoothies
    Another grab’n’go one here. Through in your favourite fruit, some low-fat yoghurt, oats and blitz it! You can also make vegetable juices or through in some spinach, kale etc to make different combinations of smoothies. Freeze the fruit for an ice-cold serving of breakfast. Also, if you’re taking protein feel free to through in a scoop of your powder to really get a packed breakfast.

These are but a few options. Here’s a link to my Breakfast board on Pinterest for more inspiration  I’m constantly updating it with new finds and I’ll post on here when I use new recipes and let you know the verdict!

Now for the Bircher’s Muesli (for 6, overnight recipe)

Ingredients;
1 cup rolled oats
1 ¾ cups water or milk
1 green apple
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 ½ cups plain yoghurt/non-fat greek yoghurt/ low-fat fruit yoghurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Method;
1. Combine the water or milk and oats, cover and leave overnight.
2. The next morning make sure your oats are nice and soft.
3. Core and grate the apple into the oats.
4. Add the honey, yoghurt and (if using) the cinnamon to the oats and apple.
5. Stir until all is well combined.
6. Serve as it is or with your favourite breakfast toppings.

Some favourite toppings; banana, dark chocolate drops, berries, raisins, nuts.

This is a delicious breakfast and one I’m sneakily hoping will be prepared at some stage when I’m home, I may even make it myself!

With all these amazing recipes why would you want to skip breakfast!?

Gym Bug

Documentaries; Odd Source of Motivation?

Hi there!

Weekend is almost over but fear not I have developed a list of educational health, related documentaries for you to look forward to watching next weekend (or to fill your relaxing Sunday)! Yaay for educational activities! Okay, you probably think I’m really sad but these documentaries are actually really interesting and they really opened my eyes up to different health concerns, food production issues and other things. If you have a chance to watch them I recommend doing so! It’s really is interesting and motivational. You may find some of these have you changing what you eat, how you eat, how you view food and how you view the media’s view of “perfect and healthy”. Click on the titles of each movies to see the trailer.

  • Food, Inc; this is about the food production industry and is really interesting (and at times a little upsetting). It’s all about the multinational corporate control of food production and how profit seeking has led to poor health standards and treatment of animals and workers.
  • Fork Over Knives; this is about how degenerative diseases can be controlled (and in some cases reversed) by changing what we eat. The focus of this documentary is rejecting our current go-to diets of meat and processed foods.
  • Food Matters; this is about mass food production making the world sicker and how the constant promotion of “healthy foods” that are actually pumped full of very harmful chemicals.
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; this follows one man’s journey to regaining his health. Joe Cross (our overweight, sick man in question) not only devotes himself to a 30 day diet of fruit and vegetable juices, he interviews over 500 Americans about food and eating habits. There’s also a special bond created between the main man and someone who shares the same illness as him.
  • I Want To Look Like That Guy; one man’s journey to getting those “magazine perfect” abs. This is great insight into the intense dedication required to get the types of bodies our media (unfortunately) perpetuates as being perfect. It’s an eye-opener and helped me accept that my own limits. However, make sure to read around it, there is some speculation as to the time-frame with this one. None the less, an interesting watch.
  • Bigger, Stronger, Faster; a more intense look into the world of bodybuilding and the unfortunate high use of steroids. It looks at the pressures of making it in the industry. It’s interesting to see how intense it is and the dangers of taking it too far.
  • Supersize Me; we’ve all heard of this one but it took me a long time to watch it. It was not pleasant but very interesting and McDonalds has never been the same for me! It’s a must-see if you’re going to make your way through this list (just don’t eat when watching).

There we have it! This list is not exhaustive; you can find heaps of documentaries related to health and fitness all over the web. I enjoy looking through Films For Action, they have some great ones. They also have a huge variety, so you can find any type of educational or informative movie or documentary for any interest!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Gym Bug

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