Categories
My story

Pretty Huge Life Update

Soooooo this is happening!

I’m writing this blog to let you know of a rather huge life change that I am making. Even as I’m writing this I’m feeling really nervous but what doesn’t challenge us, doesn’t change us and frankly, I haven’t really challenged myself for many years!

Those of you who know me IRL know that I have a Canadian boyfriend. We met in Mexico in April 2016 (playing volleyball in the pool haha!) and essentially fell in love over WhatsApp with me going over there in September 2016 to see him and decide whether or not this was the ‘real’ deal. Well it turns out that it was and I’m moving over to Canada at the end of June! It’s been a long and fairly stressful process (although not as stressful as most immigration processes so I have been very lucky) but it’s finally happening.

On Friday the 31st May, I am leaving the job that I’ve been in for eight and a half years to pack up and dispose of a lot of my belongings (most of them sob!) and make my way over to the New World. I’ve given myself just under a month off to sort everything out, but then me being me I’ve also booked myself a lovely holiday to Greece in the meantime because I’ve never been! I have to say that although I’m really ready to leave my current role, and this is part of the reason why we decided that I should be the one to move, I’m pretty anxious about my last day in work because it makes it all feel pretty real!

When I arrive in Canada, I’ll be moving in with my boyfriend, who is a lifelong batchelor so he’s going to have some adjustment too. I’ll also be on the job hunt in Canada. Although Canada is very similar to the UK in a lot of ways, it is also pretty different and they don’t have the same social security system (or even similar) to what we have here so I’ll also be taking a new career path. I’m hoping that I will soon qualify as a personal trainer and that I’ll be able to do that. I love working out and I also really feel the need to work in a job that helps others (as this is what my whole career has been about to date) so I’m hoping that working as a PT will be a really good fit for me.

Aside from leaving my friends and family in the UK (including my gorgeous, cheeky, young nephews), I’m also leaving my cat, at least for the time being. I really want to bring my cat over but he’s 10 years old, really anxious and he’s pretty territorial. My boyfriend has a cat (and his friend who lives upstairs has a dog) and I’m really worried that the flight will stress him out and then when he gets to Canada he’ll have the ordeal of having a step-brother who he fights with. The whole ideal of sorting the cat out was adding to my stress levels so we decided that he’s going to stay with my ex-boyfriend who he knows and loves very much. I’m intention is to come back and get him but it gives me a bit of time to work things out and to decide what is best for all of us.

But basically that’s it! It’s very exciting and very terrifying at the same time. On the other hand, my boyfriend and I have done the long-distance thing for three years and it really is time to see whether it works on a full-time basis. So it’s a huge risk, but I feel like I’m at a point in my life when I need to go hard or go home.

What’s the scariest thing that you’ve done?

Categories
Food

Easy High-ProteinYoghurt bowl

This is a delicious yoghurt bowl which is ideal for breakfast or as a delicious snack

This is a yummy yoghurt bowl which is a really good way to start your morning, or it’s a nice way to end the day. It’s really handy if you’ve got to the end of the day and realised that you haven’t managed to squeeze enough protein in. If you make a batch of the jam the night before, then it’s a super quick, healthy breakfast. You could even add some fresh fruit if you fancied.

To make the compote

Ingredients:

  • 1 big bag of frozen, mixed berries
  • 1 generous glug of maple syrup (you can always add more to taste later)
  • three tablespoons of water
  • three teaspoons of chia seeds

Method:

  • Throw all the ingredients into a pan and heat on the stove;
  • mash up the berries with a fork;
  • leave to cool.

Ingredients for the Yoghurt Bowl

  • Three tablespoons of Greek yoghurt;
  • 30 grams of protein powder of your choice – I used salted caramel (Bulk Powders – it’s soo good!)
  • Granola (I used the high protein stuff)
  • Compote from above

To make the Yoghurt Bowl

  • Mix the Greek yoghurt with the protein powder in a bowl;
  • spoon on the compote (as much as you want – it’s delicious);
  • Sprinkle on a small handful of granola;
  • Add whatever toppings on that you want – half a banana would be lovely (freeze other half for smoothies!)

I hope you enjoy this recipe – let me know if you try it and what you use as your toppings! Enjoy!

Categories
Fitness

Progressive Overload in Weight Training

If you were training for a marathon you I’m assuming that you wouldn’t just go out and run 26.2 miles, you’d train for it right? You’d probably start with an achievable distance like 2 miles and work your way up by adding a mile a week. If you were sensible then you’d probably schedule some deload weeks (weeks where you reduce your training volume). This principle transfers directly to resistance training too but for some reason people tend to ignore this.

It’s no good going into the gym and deciding to deadlift 100kg in your first session. Equally, you’re not making the best of your time if you’re just picking up the same weights and doing the same exercises week in, week out. Instead, you should be striving to ensure that you are making your workouts harder so that your body doesn’t get used to them and plateau. The progressive overload principle tells us that in order to get stronger or to grow our muscles, our bodies need to be stressed (by lifting weights) beyond what they are normally stressed by.  You can do this in many ways but the simplest ways to incorporate this principle into weight training is to:

  • increase repetitions (reps)
  • increase sets
  • increase training frequency
  • increase weight

You can also do other things like supersets, pyramid systems, eccentric training and forced reps. However, these are more complicated and they aren’t really necessary as adjusting the elements above will get you there. 

Let me know how you get on and if you have any questions, post them below. Happy training!

Categories
Food

Potato and Spinach Curry

So the other night I came home from the gym and realised that I had a few potatoes that were on their way out and a HUGE bag of spinach which I was never going to get through in my salads alone. I looked through my store cupboards (which to be fair are very well stocked) and I came up with this delicious curry. Not only is it really tasty, but it’s packed full of vegetables and it’s vegan too!

It’s delicious served with brown rice but you could also add a cheeky naan bread on the side if you fancy it!

Now, this list does make it look like you need a lot of ingredients (I tend to avoid recipes like that), but it was genuinely all stuff that I had in my cupboards – and you probably have most of them too.

This recipe is going to make about four servings if you have it with rice, or two to three servings if you have it on it’s own.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 largish potatoes chopped into cubes
  • 4-5 handfuls of spinach (washed)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped chili (I used lazy chilly)
  • a good chunk of ginger (grated if fresh or a good few strands of lazy ginger if using that)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of curry powder of your choice (I used Madras)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of coconut oil

Method

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot (I used a cast iron one) and add the mustard seeds, wait for them to start ‘popping’.
  • Add the onions and sauté for about five minutes. When nearly done add the garlic and the potatoes.
  • Add the spices, ginger and chili then stir well so that the onions and potatoes are covered. Cook for a minute or so.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, swilling the can out with a small amount of water and pouring into the pot.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Stir through the spinach and allow it to wilt on the heat for a minute or so.
  • Enjoy!

Let me know if you try this recipe and don’t forget that you can mix it up. Adding chickpeas would be a good addition and you could always add other vegetable too!

Categories
Fitness

How Many Time a Week should I Train?

One of the commonly asked questions that I get is how many times a week do I need to train for the training to work? I have the attitude that any training is better than nothing, but realistically you should be aiming to train a minimum of twice a week and actually you will benefit from training more than this (as long as you aren’t training so much that you can’t recover from it).

For beginners, I would suggest aiming to train three times a week and working your whole body in these sessions. Make sure these sessions aren’t on consecutive days. Whole body sessions are ideal for burning the maximum amount of calories possible in the time that you have (which is good for fat loss) and also for strengthening your muscles. As you get more used to the gym and you wish to progress, you can then add in a forth session – this can help you to get over a plateau later on and ensure that your training still continues to challenge you.

However, if you are struggling to find the time to train, then first and foremost you need to look at how many times a week you can realistically train consistently. It’s no good deciding that you are going to train six times a week when in reality you are only going to have the time to train twice. I recommend writing down all the things that you need to do in a week and working out when you can do them all. The have a look at what time you have left for training. Can you move some things around so that you make time for training? Or cut down on your TV time? Only plan exercise session that you will realistically have time for, then make sure that you are going to make sure that your whole body is being trained at least once in those sessions. To do this, you need to decide on your training split. This is going to be dictated in part by how many times a week you are going to be training. See my blog on the different training splits to decide which would be better for you, or drop me a question here if you need help with deciding.

Ultimately, you need to train the amount of time that you can stick to. When it comes to training, what you can do consistently is what is going to make the difference as you need to be in it for the long-haul so be realistic and be disciplined. 

Categories
Fitness

Have I had a good Workout if I’m not sore the Next Day?

Many people believe that they did not have a good workout unless they experience pain and soreness the day after their workout. Hashtags on instagram such as #sorenotsorry promote this new but is this actually true? Or is it another one of those instagram trends that is frankly, a load of rubbish? 

The soreness that you get the day or two days after exercise is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS for short) and it is caused by microtrauma (small tears) to the muscle. It either comes on the day after your workout or the second day and it doesn’t generally last more than two to three days although if you gone all out, it could last up to a week.

You are more likely to get DOMS if you are new or returning to exercise or if you are doing something that you do not usually do. If you are experienced then you may get DOMS when you increase the intensity of your workout.

In terms of whether you have had a good workout if you do not get DOMS then the answer is yes! While being a little sore (or ‘aware’ of the muscles that you worked) is perfectly normal, you should not be so sore that you are struggling to walk down stairs or put your coat on. This is a sign that you have pushed your body too far and if you do this continually then you are likely to overtrain, get injured or give up on exercise. In my opinion, severe DOMS is actually going to sabotage your fitness goals. When you are sore are you more likely to do more activity and continue to move the following day or lie on the sofa watching Netflix and eating junk? If you are training to lose weight specifically, then the whole aim of the game is to burn more calories  than you are taking in. There is only so much that you can do in a designated ‘exercise session’ so what you really need to do is to incorporate more movement into your daily life. If you make yourself sore from a your workout then you will be sedentary for 1-2 days and the amount of calories that you are expending will reduced.

What can I do to Reduce DOMS?

So this advice has come to you too late and you already have DOMS, what can you do to speed up your recovery? 

Firstly try to keep moving as much as you can. This is going to increase the blood flow to the muscles affected so they get increased nutrients and this will speed up the rate of your recover. 

You can also try some gentle stretching. Your muscles are going to feel really tight so take it slowly and ease into any stretches – now isn’t the time to get any flexibility personal bests.

You should also make sure that you are eating plenty of protein. Your muscles have been damaged and they need to protein to grow and repair (did you know that your muscles and vital organs are actually protein?). By ensuring an adequate intake you should suffer a little bit less.

If you can stand it, then foam rolling or a massage may help. However, I personally find these painful (especially foam rolling) on the best of days so if you do go for a massage just make them aware that you are sore and ask them to use lighter pressure.

You could also try a warm bath, try putting some Epsom salts in as these are meant to help relax the muscles due to the magnesium content. I don’t think that this method is 100% proven but some people swear by it and it is unlikely to harm.

Do you have any tips and tricks for dealing with DOMS? I’d love to know what you think.

Categories
Food

Catalan Chicken

Catalan chicken with diced roast potatoes

With the weather brightening up, I thought that I would give you a lovely Spanish inspired recipe to brighten up your week. That said, this recipe is basically a stew so it also works well in winter. Heck, you’ll want to eat this all year round it’s so easy! Subject to a few minor adaptations, you can make this in your slow cooker so that it’s ready for you when you get home from work.

If you don’t have smoked paprika you can use normal paprika. This will give the dish an earthier flavour which is also good but I do highly recommend that you use the smoked version as that smokey element really compliments the chorizo and is, frankly, delicious.

Ingredients

8 boneless chicken thighs (or however many are in the packet) I also like to use shredded chicken for this recipe

Chorizo cut into small chunks 

1 red onion thinly sliced

1 red pepper sliced

1 yellow pepper sliced

2 cloves of garlic

1 carton of passata

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Method

Fry the chicken thighs (if using) in olive oil for a couple of minutes on both sides

Add the onion and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened

Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes

Add the chorizo and cook for about a minute until it is cooked through

Add the smoked paprika and stir through, immediately add the passata, if using shredded chicken then add it now.

Pop the lid on the casserole (or saucepan if using) and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.

My serving recommendations include rice, cous cous and diced, roasted potatoes. I also like to have a bit of fresh bread to hand because, trust me, you’re going to want to mop up that sauce!

Enjoy! Please let me know if you make this and what you think!