I hope you all had a great Christmas with lots of tasty food and chill time with friends and family! There’s a cheesy pic of me on Christmas Day.
Due to it being the festive season, it’s been over a week since I’ve done any form of intense exercise. I have done a lot of low intensity exercise in the form walking when working (averaging at 11 000 steps a day and I’ve been working most days due to the busy festive period) so I guess it’s better than no exercise at all.
Socialising over the festive season has taken over and not having a gym membership at the moment hasn’t helped either. For this reason however I am going to start afresh in 2017, and get back into my regular fitness regime. I’ll be back at uni in January meaning the gym will be very easily accessible and it will be a great way to destress. I am excited to get back into Les Mills Bodypump again too.
Take this post as advice that it’s perfectly fine to overindulge slightly and exercise less over the festive season, as long as you get back into regular training and healthy eating in the new year. Setting fitness
goals for the new year just now can be a great way to ensure you will definitely be motivated to get back into routine. Try not to make this January one of those years that you exercise lots at the beginning of the year and it then fizzles out as we get into February. Find something that really motivates you to exercise such as going along to the gym with a friend or trying a new class. It may seem a strain to begin with me but trust me exercise can be loads of fun!
On Sunday I raked out the old running shoes and away I went running. I tend not to run outside in winter as much due to the cold air hurting my lungs (hence why I’ve not been out in 4 months). But the gym was just too much of an effort to get to and I was in desperate need of a workout after starting to indulge in festive foods.
I started off quite fast as usual and lasted 2K before having to stop and walk. I then started to run again but again ran too fast and had to stop shortly after. My 5K run as usual turned into interval runs. However this works best for me and really gets that heart rate up and sweat pouring.
Interval runs have the same affect as HIIT training as you are effectively working hard for a short period of time then rest for a short period of time before doing the high intensity short interval again. The rest periods train your body to recover quickly before exercising again. Research evidence shows that interval training is just as effective, if not more effective than moderate activity over a long period.
So if you’re like me and struggle to pace long distance running try interval running. It helps improve fitness level so you should be able to run longer distances in the long run!
Experimenting with ingredients to make energy balls is one of my favourite things to do. Chocolate and nut butter are two of my favourite foods, so I thought why not combine these flavours to make delicious balls of goodness?
I’m living at home now after my uni placement for Christmas and put these in the fridge yesterday morning after making them. I went back to eat one this morning to find that 5 of the balls had been demolished by my family. It shows they must be tasty!
To make these you’ll need:
20g cocoa powder
20g smooth peanut butter
I used my usual Breville VBL062 Blend-Active Blender and pretty much shoved all the ingredients in and blended them up. I started with the oats and dates to make sure they were in the finest small pieces then added the other ingredients. Once everything is blended put the mixture into a bowl and mix with your hands. I’ll warm you this does get quite messy! Then form 9 balls of equal size and enjoy!
Average macros per ball:
2.1g Fat (trace of saturated)
As part of my leg and back workout yesterday I started with a squat pyramid. This is basically when you increase the weight to a certain amount then decrease it back down to your starting weight. For example I started with 20kg then did 40kg, then 50kg, then went back to 40kg then 20kg. The idea is to do fewer reps on the higher weight and more on the lighter weight, however I did the same number of reps for each weight except the 50kg which I struggled with a bit.
I find that reducing the weight after going high allows you to do more sets, as you don’t give up when the weight gets too heavy. You are therefore working the muscles slightly harder.
My squat max is quite a lot less than its previously been due to having an irregular training pattern. It just shows that you’ve got to keep the work up regularly to maintain strength! I’m looking forward to having a more regular gym regime now I’m back home from my placement!
If I get the choice of where to eat for lunch when out, I will most definitely choose Pret A Manger (that’s if there is one in the area of course!) I love the diversity of their choice of products and you can always find something healthy. They also have lots of high protein options such as the “egg and spinach protein pot” great for fitness fanatics like me!
On Sunday whilst doing some Christmas shopping in Edinburgh I popped in for lunch. As sad as this sounds, I was glad I was on my own because the place was so busy and I managed to grab the only seat by the window. Because it was the weekend and I was in a Christmassy mood I decided to treat myself and opt for something that wasn’t the most healthy. I went for the classic super club sandwich, chocolate corn cakes (I had two with lunch and saved one for later) and of course an Americano with milk. I can never resist caffeine!
Pret do have their popular Christmas menu at the moment but I have to say I’m not a fan of cranberry sauce or stuffing which most of the choices had in them. I am also “boring” with coffee and just like a plain Americano. Some of these special coffees can also be misleading and contain very high quantities of sugar.
Although this lunch wasn’t the most balanced I did have a healthy breakfast and my morning snack consisted of fruit. It’s all about the weekly balance though and being able to have the occasssional treat. Over the festive season it can be very difficult to be healthy all the time which is perfectly fine. As long as you keep up the exercise and get back on track in January!
Instead of my usual porridge for breakfast I was a bit more adventurous and went for scrambled eggs on toast. As I’ve said before I have porridge everyday for breakfast and never get bored of it. It’s all about being diverse with what you serve it with, but this weekend I decided to mix things up a bit.
I’m not really sure why but this week I have been craving scrambled eggs so I cured the craving for Sunday’s breakfast. I added some veggies for extra vitamins and of course served it with coffee. I always need the morning caffeine kick even if it is the weekend.
I just cooked the eggs with a splash of milk, a bit of black pepper and 1/4 of a chopped red pepper in the microwave. I put this on two slices of seeded bread topped with an olive oil based spread and baby spinach.
This was delicious! It’s not a breakfast I would have on a weekday as I am very much a person of routine and time is limited on work and uni mornings. But it’s something you can all try out even on a weekday if you have a bit more time in the morning than I do.
Today was my only time at the gym this week. Shocking I know but I’ve just not had time to go during the week due to the tiredness my university placement brings, the cold weather doesn’t help either. I have made sure I have done HIIT or home weighted workouts every night though. I feel exercise is a great way to de-stress. Once you get the endorphin’s going you forget that you even felt stressed.
So today’s workout is definitely one you need time on your hands for. If I was doing an isolated gym session such as legs or back I would take about 20-30 minutes less than I did today. It was great though to work every body part and be able to take my time with each exercise.
Here’s a run down of my routine:
Squats – Just the bar (20kg) for 10 reps, 40kg for 10 reps, 50kg for 2 sets of 8 reps then back down to 40kg for 10 reps
Straight legged deadlifts – 30kg for 3x 10 reps
Upright rows – 20kg for 3x 10 reps
Overhead press – 20kg for 3x 10 reps
Curtsy lunges – holding a 10kg plate for 10 reps on each leg
Bicep curls – 5kg for 3x 10 reps
Tricep pull downs with ropes (set up pictured above) – 10kg for 3x 10 reps
Face pulls – 12.5kg for 3x 10 reps
2 1 minute planks
I finished with some static stretching to cool the muscles down. I would say I was in the gym for about an hour and a half so definitely not a short session. I am already feeling my back and shoulders so wish me luck for tomorrow. I guess as the saying goes “no pain no gain” though!
I’m coming to the end of my university placement now so most of my meals from now on will be whatever is left in my freezer, fridge and cupboards.
Of course frozen mixed veg is included in this meal. They are an absolute must have! They are great if you forget to buy fresh vegetables (or run out of them like in my case). They also do not involve any preparation with regards to chopping and washing. I added a bit of baby spinach for extra veg. My carbohydrate base was rice because I bought loads of the stuff when I first moved in and will definitely have more leftover. My protein source was smoked haddock. I feel that white fish is so underrated, oily fish gets all the attention because of it being rich in omega 3 (good fats). But white fish is also a great source of nutrients.It is rich in calcium, B vitamins and vitamin E. A balanced diet should include both white and oily fish.
I cooked the rice and vegetables then added a bit of paprika and mixed herbs for flavour. I oven baked the haddock in foil with a bit of sunflower oil and dried basil, then simply placed on top of the rice and veg .
This meal is so simple and takes minimal effort, a perfect student meal!