Listen to your body

Happy Monday fitfam.  Hope you have had a fab weekend.  I was in final rehearsals for a showcase all weekend that we performed to an audience on Sunday night, which was great as it helped take my mind off having to miss the gym.  Last week I was unfortunately both unwell and struggling from a pulled hamstring.  It happened on Wednesday and I have not made it back to the gym since but I know, like I always tell you guys, that I have to ‘Listen to my body’!

This is something I talk about a lot and I think it is so important when trying to maintain good health and physical fitness.  It is, however, so much easier said than done.  Listening to your body relates not only to injury but to diet… when to eat more or less calories or more of a certain food group… when to add more cardio, more weights etc.  Sadly, this is something we have to take responsibility for as individuals, there is no one size fits all, or even one size that fits just you!

Pushing myself at the gym is my therapy and not being able to do so is crappy but after feeling deflated last week I have decided to concentrate on the things that I am thankful for and for those things I can still do right now.  So this week I will be factoring in some physical activity, whether this is walking, yoga, light cardio, stretching or upper body weights. 

On a positive note, when I was feeling sorry for myself on Saturday I decided to try out a new breakfast, Blueberry French Toast, and it was delicious!  Below is the video I posted on Instagram (which, I admit, is pretty shaky and out of focus but please bear with me while I perfect the art of cooking and filming).

Video IMG_4807

Blueberry French Toast
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Toast
  1. Olive Oil Spray
  2. 2 egg whites
  3. 2 slices Gluten Free Bread
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Ginger
  6. Nutmeg
Filling
  1. 1/2 cup Greek Yoghurt
  2. 1 Tbsp natural Blueberry Jam
  3. Stevia
Toppings
  1. Be creative! I (obviously) used peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Spray Oil into pan and place on a medium heat.
  2. Separate two egg whites into a bowl & add your spices to taste.
  3. Coat both sides of the bread in the egg mixture and fry on each side until golden brown.
  4. Mix together your yoghurt, stevia & Jam.
  5. Layer your toast with the filling.
  6. Finish by adding your toppings.
  7. Enjoy!
Ideas for topping
  1. Fresh Fruit
  2. Nut butters
  3. Maple syrup/honey
  4. Applesauce
  5. Chocolate protein sauce
My Big Fit Diary http://www.mybigfitdiary.com/
I’ll definitely be making this again and you should join me in getting creative with our fillings and topping for this.. like my favourite Oatmeal, the possibilities are infinite!

If you have any good ideas, make sure to comment below!

Alison x

As I said on my blog at the beginning of the month, I have been challenging myself to complete a new exercise/workout each week.  This week I have actually gone even further and tried not one but two totally new workouts… I’m obsessed with the feeling of completing something I was either once scared of doing or something I once couldn’t do!

Earlier this week on Instagram the lovely @fitfelicia24 posted a 500 rep leg workout which had me sweating in minutes…  I used a lower weight than usual but still pushed myself as far as I could.  The workout included 100 box jumps, which have had me aching for days; especially since I was forced to use the tallest box at my gym (all the others were taken!).  I was so buzzing that I achieved all 500 reps that I wanted to reiterate to you guys that it is so important to push yourselves.  Our bodies are so much more capable then we think they are, I honestly believe that;

‘The body achieves what the mind believes’

This week I also came up with my own tabata workout, using the ropes, to finish off my chest & shoulder day. 

Tabata is a style of training where you work intensely for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds; this is done 8 times to complete 1 round.  You can keep it as short as 4 minutes (1 round) or carry on for as long as you want.  I tend to do either 2 or 4 rounds depending on how much time I have free.  I absolutely loved using the ropes in a tabata style workout, as to me this is so much more fun and interesting than doing regular cardio and it will seriously raise your heart rate and burn you out.

If you want to try out either of these workouts, you can get mine below or @fitfelicia24 ‘s over on her Instagram page (Go follow her while you’re there!!)

rope

You can also get a Tabata app on your iphone or smartphone to help you keep up with timings.  It will beep to signal you to change so you can put your all into your workout without having to keep stopping to check a stopwatch.  There are a variety of apps but I have the following which is so simple to use!

tabata

Enjoy your Thursday guys and I will be back tomorrow with a brand new recipe for my new Foodie Friday feature!!!

Alison x x

Goji, acai, flax, spirulina it seems like not a year passes without a new superfood arriving on the block and this year is no different!  It’s the year of the
CHIA SEED…

It may already be gaining popularity in America but ask most people in the UK and the word Chia would be alien to them.

So, what is Chia?

Chia (Salvia hispanica.) is a species of flowering plant from the mint family.  It is native to central and southern Mexico & Guatemala and was once a staple in both Mayan & Aztec diets.

Chia Facts & benefits…

  • One serving of Chia (1tbsp) will generally include 60kcal, 4.5g Fat, 5g carbs & 3g protein.
  • More Omega-3 fatty acids then Salmon
  • Full of antioxidants and minerals
  • Gluten Free
  • Fibrous (making it great for digestion & healing digestion problems)
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves heart health
  • Stabilises blood Sugar
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Helps build muscle
  • Helps maintain healthy skin and hair

Chia is commonly eaten in breads, salads, puddings, yoghurts & dressings.  It also makes a great egg replacement for a Vegan diet when mixed with water.

Of course this one food alone will not keep you healthy and many Superfoods are largely overestimated.  Eating these foods can definitely help keep you healthy, but remember this will only happen when eaten along with a varied diet.

I personally welcome these superfoods to the spotlight as it makes for a great change, rather than the processed ‘junk’ foods that are normally pushed upon us.  I love to use Chia seeds sprinkled on my salads or even more so to make a simple
Chia Pudding that can even be eaten for breakfast, like my recipe below.

Chocolate Chia Pudding
Serves 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. ½ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (or chocolate almond milk)
  2. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  3. ¼ cup chia seeds
  4. 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder (leave this out when using chocolate almond milk)
  5. 1 tbsp Maple syrup
  6. ½ cup raspberries or fruit of choice
Instructions
  1. Method.
  2. 1. Blend the almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract & cocoa powder.
  3. 2. Pour into a jar, add your chia seeds and shake until fully mixed.
  4. 3. Add your peanut butter in small amounts (you could blend this in step 1 but I like it in chunks)
  5. 4. Refrigerate overnight (or for at least 3-5 hours)
  6. 5. Top with your fruit and enjoy!
My Big Fit Diary http://www.mybigfitdiary.com/

Hope you all give this a try this coming weekend… you won’t regreat it.

Alison x x

 

 

Happy Monday lovelies.  Hope everyone had a fabulously fit weekend.  I spent my first weekend without my hubby since we got married so decided to pass the time meeting as many friends as possible and throwing myself into a new fitness adventure.

I signed up for a newbies introductory offer of 10 consecutive days at my local Bikram Yoga studio. Bikram yoga is a style of yoga carried out in a heated room (105°F / 40.6°C) over a 90 minute class.  It was developed from Hatha Yoga by Bikram Choudhury and it is said that the 26 postures you go through in the class will work every part of your body, giving it everything it needs to sustain ‘optimum health and maximum function’.

I headed to my first class bright and early on Saturday morning with an open mind (albeit a scared one).  I met my friend and we headed inside hand in hand.  We were greeted by a friendly instructor who helped to put us at ease and made sure we had everything we needed to complete the class.  Within a few minutes of stepping into the heated studio the first bead of sweat started to form on my forehead and I instantly knew I was in for a tough 90 minutes.  The class starts off with a standing deep breathing exercise (Pranayama), which sounds simple right? Wrong!  After my first inhale/exhale I felt like I was struggling for air.  At first I put it down to the heat but after more consideration I decided it was due to being out of practice breathing.  It may sound silly, of course we have to breathe to stay alive, but do we really pay attention to it when it is such a natural thing?  No, but we should, especially when deep breathing not only helps increase our lung capacity but it is also such a great, all natural, stress reliever.

After the first of the 2 breathing exercises we were on to our first pose…

…90 minutes and 26 poses later and I had considered puking, fainting, crying and running for the hills…

…however, I had also considered how flexible I actually was, how I had worked hard to try and hold every single pose and every single set and how finally, I am not a quitter and would without a doubt be back the very next morning.  And I was!  Feeling all the more energised and motivated for it.

 

My handy hints for your Bikram class!

  1. Hydrate For obvious reasons make sure you drink enough leading up to your class, either during the day of or if you go in the morning the night before.  Additionally, the more you hydrate before the class the less water you will need during, meaning you will have more time to concentrate on the poses.
  2. Eat 2-3 hours before.  Don’t eat a heavy meal before class as it may make you feel nauseous.
  3. Sip your water.  If you gulp or drink too much water it may also make you feel sick (plus you don’t want to have to relieve yourself during)
  4.  Get there early.  You will need to sign some forms if you are new but also allow yourself time to ensure you are fully ‘in the room’, relaxed and ready to start.
  5. Go in with an open mind – you may think that the deep breathing exercises are boring or the poses are easy, but believe me they aren’t and every single one serves a purpose.
  6. Take breaks.  If you feel light headed or unable to carry on make sure you are breathing properly and sit on your mat facing the instructor so they can see that you are okay.
  7. Don’t walk out. Stay in the room, you will feel better for it and it will get easier next time.

Afterwards…

  1. Rehydrate. Make sure you put all the water you have lost back into your body.
  2. Eat.  Have a healthy, balanced meal.  It is likely you haven’t eaten for a fair few hours and you need to refuel.
  3. Go back within 48 hours.  Your body needs time to adjust to this new thing it’s doing, so the sooner and more often you go back; the more opportunity it will have to do this.

I have to say the classes are quite expensive but they are well worth it.  After my 10 days I will definitely be keeping up with the yoga at my gym & even continuing with Bikram when I am feeling flush.  For me not only will it be a great stress reliever but it will also help increase my flexibility making weightlifting (particularly getting low in those squats) one hell of a lot easier.

If you decide to try good luck and remember if you have any pre-existing medical problems be sure to consult a doctor before you start…

…most of all – HAVE FUN!

Autumn is here

I do love the first of a month, especially when it’s my favourite season!!!  Today was the first day I put my coat on since summer began and it felt all snuggly & warm.  It isn’t quite chilly enough yet but I love it when it gets all crisp outside and the leaves start to fall from the trees.  There is nothing better than coming in from the cold, getting into my PJ’s, making a lovely hot meal and cuddling on the sofa with a box set!  In honour of my favourite season I have made a filling Pumpkin Chilli and it is divine… I’m looking forward to snuggling up tonight with a bowl and working my way through the Game Of Thrones box set.

To make the Pumpkin Turkey Chilli you will need,

  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 500g Turkey Mince
  • 2 peppers (chopped)
  • 2 cups mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 tsp Chilli Powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin Pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s)
  • 1 tin black beans
  • 1 tin Kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  1. Add the oil to a pan on a medium-high heat and brown off your mince then drain if needed
  2. Add the onion & garlic along with the spices
  3. Add the remaining veg (you can also add other veg if you like) and cook for 5 mins
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and pumpkin puree and bring to the boil
  5. Reduce to a low heat and cook for 20mins
  6. Drain the canned beans, add to your chilli and cook for (at least) a further 10minutes
  7. Serve with brown rice & Greek yoghurt.

Notes:  I find the longer I cook my chilli for the better it gets.  You can also add more or less chilli powder depending on taste and can even add fresh or dried chilli & even some pumpkin spice for a more Autumnal taste.  Finally, if your macros/diet allows… add some cheese.  Delicious!!

The start of every month is also a great time to set ourselves mini goals.  They help keep us focused and will also help us to reach our long term goals!  This is the first time I have documented my monthly goals and I hope you will all hold me accountable.  I’m going to give you updates as I go along and then at the end of the month a round-up of my achievements.

October Goals…

  • To perform my first EVER non-assisted pull up
  • To reach 80kg in my deadlift
  • To try a new exercise/workout each week
  • To stick to 4 weeks of IIFYM (I will do a blog post on this next month)

I could go on and on with what I would like to do but the idea of mini goals is to keep them simple.  Long term goals are where the real challenges come to play!  Please comment underneath with your goals and we can hopefully inspire each other to accomplish them.

I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish in October!

Remember: ‘The body achieves what the mind believes’

X x