Posted in Exercise of the month, fitness

Exercise of the month: Curtsy lunge

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This months exercise is a weighted exercise you can do at home if you have dumb bells (or filled water bottles), or in the gym. I have posted it slightly early as this is for November but the next few weeks will be pretty busy for me. They can be carried out with just body weight also, having your hand on your hips whilst doing it this way will help with balance and posture.

I did my best to capture myself carrying out the move although maybe still not the best demonstration but you get the idea. With regards to my body, it’s not carrying as much muscle mass as I’d like at the moment. I know I’m carrying more fat in the stomach region but uni placement has taken over a bit and I am going to the gym a lot less. I am happy with the way my body is just now and that is the important thing.

Anyway back to the exercise. This exercise is great for mainly the quadriceps but also other leg muscles such as the glutes.

Hold dumb bells or a plate into your chest and stand with feet just outside your hips in set stance. Then bring one leg diagonally behind you like you are curtsying (well actually this is exactly what you are doing) and then bring back up to set stance. Repeat on the other leg.

Try and go for 10-12 reps on each leg for around 3 sets.

Have fun trying this exercise out!

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Posted in food, Uncategorized

Sunday brunch.

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I met up with my parents in Edinburgh over the weekend and had a great time! It involved a lot of food, drink and importantly walking to burn some of the calories off.

On Sunday we went to a lovely Italian deli and cafe for breakfast. I went for my classic choice of smoked salmon and eggs. It was served with a sourdough style toasted bread. The portion was huge so did me breakfast and almost lunch too. But was so yummy.Full of good fats (and some saturated but you’ve got to get the balance).

I had a flat white on the side to fulfill my much needed caffeine requirement in the morning.

After breakfast we walked around the old and new town and managed to achieve a mega 21000 steps without meaning too. If you are aiming for a step goal, be a tourist and walk round a city for a day. You’ll manage it without even feeling like your putting in much effort I promise you.

Hope you all had a good weekend too!

Posted in food, Uncategorized

My new found porridge recipe.

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Porridge, oats whatever you want to call it, it features a lot on my blog. It is defintely my go to breakfast most days.

I usually go for pro oats (porridge with a scoop of whey protein) topped with banana. But today I decided to up the fruit content by adding some frozen berries. Simply add a small handful of frozen berries to the oats and milk and put in the microwave. Heat up and stir until you get this cool purple coloured porridge. Then add a scoop of whey protein. Vanilla or unflavoured whey is probably the best to use so you don’t end up with a strange flavour.

I find just eating the porridge like this a bit sour so added a bit of honey. Was delicious!

Still the same breakfast I have most days of porridge but mixed up a bit!

Posted in food

An easy healthy meal: Fajita chicken.

As a student I love cooking but on week nights what I love even better is quick healthy food! I always come home starving especially right now whilst I’m on placement and want something that will be ready quickly and I can eat asap.You may have noticed this has been a running theme in the meals I’ve posted on my blog. If any of you are students and want quick cheap healthy meal ideas then I am happy to help.

One of my favourite foods is definitely chicken. I could eat it almost every night as you can be so diverse when cooking which chicken. This was an easy dinner though which chicken and fajita spice. Fajitas are just great, I’ve done a blog post on how I make my fajitas which you should go and check out!

For this meal I chopped up onion, courgette and peppers, cooked chicken in some sunflower oil then added the vegetables and around a teaspoon of fajita seasoning. It was yum! To mix it up a bit and because I didn’t buy any wraps I served with brown rice. Using rice kept the calories down too as I usually have two wraps which are not the lowest in calories. Saving around 190kcal!

Macros for this meal:

456kcal

8g Fat (1g saturated)

54g CHO

32g Protein

Posted in Exercise of the month, fitness

Exercise of the month: Face Pulls.

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A weighted exercise this month and one of my new faves to do at the gym!

I did try and get some footage of myself carrying out the exercise to demonstrate how it’s done but unfortunately the camera wasn’t at the best angle, and you couldn’t really see the upper half of my body which is kind of needed for this move. Note to self get better  at camera angles!

Anyway this is a great move for an upper body workout to isolate the shoulders and the upper/middle back. Simply step back from the machine and grab hold of the end of the ropes (shown in the picture above). Set your feet around shoulder width apart and bend the legs slightly. Pull the rope back until almost at your face and your hands are almost at your shoulders then lengthen your arms and repeat.

The ropes can be pulled slightly higher above your head or at head level, it’s a matter of personal preference and what muscles you are aiming to work.

One thing I have discovered is that the gym I currently go to only has one set of ropes which can make carrying out this exercise difficult if I’ve planned it into my routine and someone else is using them. So a word of advice if you are in the same boat: Grab them when you can!

Posted in food

Recipe: Turkey and sweet potato curry.

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Made another new delicious dish in bulk for the freezer last night. I had one portion for dinner last night and it tasted so good!

Full of veg so it is very nutritious and a great source of protein.

(Yes I know I managed to get food almost everywhere in the process of cooking this. Think I needed a bigger pan!)

Ingredients:

400g diced turkey breast

1kg sweet potato

I can chopped tomatoes

1 medium onion

1 red pepper

About an inch of ginger

20g mild curry powder (add more or less or go for the hot depending on personal preference)

1 tbspn sunflower oil

10g olive oil based spread

1tbspn cinnamon

Brown the turkey in some oil and set aside. Fry the onion and spices, then add the pepper.I half cooked the sweet potato in the microwave to begin with as they can take a while to soften! Then add the chopped tomatoes and sweet potato and leave to simmer. You will know its ready when the sweet potato is soft. Serve on its own or with rice/ naan bread or some natural yogurt.

Macros (per portion):

384kcal

7.1g Fat (trace saturated)

51.5g CHO

29.1g Protein

Posted in food, nutrition

2 Chocolate Energy ball recipes.

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When you have a free Saturday afternoon with nothing much to do, what’s the best thing to fill your time? Experimenting with baking of course! (well in this case it’s no bake recipes).

There are so many recipe ideas for energy balls all over the web. I tend to use recipes I find and adapt them if the ingredients are difficult to find or expensive (student life and all). That’s exactly what I did with these two energy ball recipes!

The first (to the top right of the plate) are brazil nut protein energy balls and the other is sunflower seed peanut energy balls. A food processor is the best thing to use to make these as fine food particles are created easily. I used my Breville VBL062 Blend-Active Blender which actually worked well!

  1. Brazil nut protein energy balls

Makes 5.

Ingredients:

35g Brazil nuts

40g Dates

25g Cocoa powder

2 tspns vanilla essence

1 scoop (25g) unflavoured protein powder

Around 2 tbspns water (depends on dryness)

Firstly blend the brazil nuts until a very fine consistency remains almost like flour. Then add the dates and blend again. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla essence and blend. Finally add the whey protein and 1 tbspn water and blend. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and if too dry add up to 1 tbspn water until the mixture is easy to roll into balls in your hand.

Macros (per ball):

114kcal

5.8g Fat (1.9g saturated)

7.7g CHO

6.3g Protein

2.Sunflower seed peanut energy balls

Makes 8

Ingredients:

50g Oats

60g peanut butter

50g Honey

1tspn vanilla extract

35g sunflower seeds

25g cocoa powder

Blend the oats to begin with again until a fine flour like consistency is produced. Add the other ingredients and blend again. It doesn’t matter which order the ingredients are put in. Again then transfer to a bowl and roll into balls.

Macros (per ball):

132kcal

6.2g Fat (0.6g saturated)

14.8g CHO

4.6g Protein

 

 

 

Posted in fitness, nutrition

Whey protein: Good or Bad?

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Whey protein, something my friends and family are always asking about “Do you really need it?”. My opinion is if you struggle to get enough protein from your diet alone for your activity level then you may need it. If you have a high volume of muscle mass you are also likely to need it as eating your whole protein requirements can be quite difficult and time consuming compared to drinking a protein shake. I would always say try as hard as you can to get your protein from food sources and not supplements. Use supplements as a last resort! If you rely too much on whey protein you are likely to be causing unnecessary deficiencies such as calcium, iron and  B vitamins all found in food protein sources such as eggs,meat and beans. Do Not use them as a meal replacement!

Remember building muscle or getting “toned” takes effort in the gym. Taking a protein supplement alone will not do this and will be a waste of time.

I usually only consume whey protein on a day that I know I am going to be training, or a recovery day after I have trained as I need an increased protein intake for muscle repair. I am not a huge fan of protein shakes and prefer to add whey protein to my porridge in the morning to increase the protein content of that meal.

Anyway, enough of the important facts and more about my favourite whey proteins!

My favourite brand is muscle food as they also sell other branded products like my fav nut butter so I tend to try and save money and buy all these things in one order. My favourite has got to be Cherry Bakewell. Keeping in the theme of a previous blog post I do love cherry bakewell flavoured products and bakewell tarts as a treat! I also currently have Unflavoured which I sometimes use for baking or is great with porridge and some honey. I also have Cappucino which is tasty but slightly sweet for my liking.

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My second favourite brand is good old Myprotein. Chocolate peanut butter is by far my favourite flavour of theirs! It contains flavours of my fav foods so I knew it was likley to be a winner before even trying! Myprotein also have Stevia options instead of sucralose if you prefer the taste or prefer a natural sweetner.

Before you buy whey protein think if you really need it or could you get protein from more food sources in your diet? Speak to your GP/ dietitian if you are unsure.