Posted in fitness, Uncategorized

Ab exercises.

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Today was my leg workout of the week at the gym. I finished off with some ab work. I love changing up the exercises I do to isolate my abs, as quite frankly people are right they can be boring to work on.

The picture above was taken after I had done one set of sit ups and thrown the plate in front of me desperate for a rest! I usually use a 10 kg plate or the heaviest medicine ball I can find to do any of my ab moves. Here are some ideas for you:

  1. Classic sit ups – this is the move I do most often, holding a 10 kg plate
  2. Russian twists – usually holding a medicine ball. These involve twisting the body so work the obliques. That is where I feel it most anyway!
  3. Planking – I usually go for the classic plank and hold for as long as possible, however there are many variations to the classic plank.
  4. Partial sit up – I do this holding a 10 kg plate. Sit in a sit up position but hold a 10 kg plate up above your head and do a partial sit up holding the plate up.
  5. Knee crunches – I usually do these just body weight
  6. Toe taps – No weight is needed for this one either. Lie on the ground with knees up and feet on the floor. Reach to one side at a time aiming for to touch your toes.

Have fun trying these out!

Posted in fitness

Increased squat max and the importance of rest days.

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So Thursday was my lower body workout for the week. I worked really hard. So hard in fact that my legs are still hurting now! Was planning on working out today but I think a rest for the legs is well and truly needed!

I haven’t really rested my legs properly after the workout due to having a cheeky night out with the uni girls on Thursday night. If I don’t do it now when I’m a student when can I do it? Student life and all! Anyway yesterday was my usual 8 hour shift at work where I almost did 20 000 steps, so again my poor legs did not get to rest. Today they will get their rest and I’ll be back at the gym tomorrow.

The good news is I managed a new squat weight max for 2017. I am finally getting there and will hopefully be back up to my old max soon. I did 55kg for 3 reps 3 times. I remember the days when I could do 10 reps at 55kg no bother but these things take time and effort.

My full routine was

Squats: 40kg for 10 reps, 50kg for 10, 50kg for 5 and 5, 55kg for 3, 3 and 3

Lunges with 10kg plate – 2 sets of 10 on each leg, then 1 set of 15 pulses on each leg

Curtsy lunges with 10kg plate – 10 on each leg

Pull throughs 3 x 10 at 12.5kg

Leg press – 3 x 10 at 80kg, 85kg and 90kg

Stretches and ab work to finish

I think from this experience it shows how important rest days are. Don’t go and workout if you do not feel fully recovered, doing this may result in injury. Take an extra day even if it goes off your workout plan as muscle recovery is hugely important!

Posted in fitness, Uncategorized

January fitness motivation.

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I trained at the newly renovated gym just down the road from home this week. It has the slogan pictured above painted on the wall in big letters “#nae excuses” or no excuses for those of you who don’t understand Scottish slang. This got me thinking about different ways you can motivate yourself to go to the gym when you are having one of those down days, or reaching that January slump.

Firstly I have been finding it difficult to constantly find motivation over the past week due to being run down with two colds. January really is the worst time of the year for catching the common cold. You just can’t avoid it when out and about, that’s why it’s even more to important fill yourself with good nutrition! If you are feeling a bit under the weather I would advise you to have a day off training and rest up to help that illness go away. The gym will still be there when you are feeling better and you will perform much better having rested!

Anyway enough on icky colds and more on how I motivate myself to get to the gym in the winter.

  1. If I am going to the gym on a day I’m at uni, I take my gym clothes with me or wear my gym clothes to uni. That way I won’t go home and have to deal with the effort of going out into the cold again.
  2. On days that you are at home, as soon as you get up change into those gym clothes! That way you are already half way there and dressed the part.
  3. Think of how good you will feel after the workout. Even if you don’t have a particularly good workout you will still feel a whole lot more energised and  optimistic than before you worked out!
  4. Take a friend a long so you can motivate each other.
  5. Make a goal for summer. Whether it’s to lose those extra few pounds put on over Christmas or gain muscle mass, working towards that goal will motivate you.
  6. Lastly enjoy it. Exercise is great fun if you find what works for you!

I hope these ideas helped for those that are struggling to find the motivation!

Posted in fitness

Nike Flex Trainer 6 Review.

So I got an exciting present for Christmas which was a pair of the Nike Flex Trainer 6’s. My family know me too well. If you buy me anything fitness related I will be very well pleased.

These trainers were on my Christmas list however due to me realising my feet were not best supported when weight training in my other shoes. My other trainers are running trainers designed with a chunky sole to allow the foot to have appropriate cushioning and flexibility when running. Where as the Nike Flex Trainer’s are designed with a flatter sole which means your feet are directing more of a force into the ground rather than into the heel of the shoe at an angle. Basically running trainers are designed to absorb shock  to reduce impact with the ground when moving, but with weight lifting you are better supported the more contact you have with the ground. This is why some people even train bare feet as they have complete contact with the ground and feel their performance is improved. I for one would be more paranoid that I would drop a weight on my foot. And knowing how clumsy I am I probably would!

I have noticed a big difference mostly with squatting as this is the only big compound move I do as part of my routine at the moment. I feel I have more contact with the ground wearing these trainers and can really drive that force from my heels in a more comfortable manner when squatting. They have been designed to “adapts to its demands” and “the forefoot locks the foot down, delivering adaptive, responsive wear that’s essential for swift, sudden movements”. With regards to performance I couldn’t say if they  have allowed me to lift any heavier. I feel that’s something you yourself are responsible for and the right trainers will only help by aiding correct form and technique.

I also love the look of these trainers. I went for black with a rose gold Nike tick which I thought was different but very cool looking! I would recommend these trainers if weight training is your thing! They come with a moderately expensive price tag however so may want to save up the pennies!

Posted in fitness

Leg day.

Yesterday was my leg workout for the week. I wasn’t sure how well I’d manage it due to still recovering from Les Mills body pump that I did on Sunday. Second day DOMS can be a killer!

Sunday was the first time I’d done body pump in about 4 months so boy did it work me. My weights were down for just about every track but I’m determined to build them up again. Body pump is a great class for those who want to start weight lifting as it teaches you the technique for most compound moves such as squatting, deadlifts and chest press. It involves using weights and cardio and incorporates the rep effect (lower weight for high reps). There is a track for each body part so no muscle group is missed.

My legs were probably still recovering slightly from the class which may have affected my performance but I didn’t do much worse than my leg session the previous week.

My routine consisted of

5 minute warm up treadmill jog

Squat pyramid from bar to 50kg (only managed up to 5 reps on 50kg)

2 x 10 10kg lunges on each leg

1 x 20 10kg pulse lunges on each leg

2 x 20 courtsy lunges holding 10kg plate

3 x 10 stiff legged deadlifts with 30kg barbell

3 x 10 pull throughs set at 12kg

3 x 10 sit ups with 8kg medicine ball

3 x 10 ab pulses with 8kg medicine ball

20 Russian twists with 8kg medicine ball

Stretches to cool down 

Just got to keep with the current routine to increase my strength!

Happy lifting guys!

Posted in Uncategorized

Liebster Award 2017

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Thank you so much to fitnessgrad who nominated me for a Liebster award. I have to admit I wasn’t entirely sure what this meant when I first got the notification but after reading up on it I feel it’s a really good concept. It’s a great way to promote your blog when you are an upcoming blogger and more importantly help to get blogs you love recognised and receive the attention they deserve! 

fitnessgrad blog is one you must follow for help on your fitness & health journey! Having a degree in exercise science she definitely knows what she is talking about and can give advice from a great evidence base. She states in her bio  “one of my goals entailed reaching out to various people around the world to speak on fitness/health” and she is doing this right now through her blog. I get great workout ideas from her blog as she shares lots of her workouts.Help her reach her goal even more by giving her a follow! 

The questions given to me by fitnessgrad were:

Have you ever lost passion for something you once loved doing, what was it and why?

I lost my passion for sprinting when I was younger. Not entirely, but a bad injury meant I couldn’t train as much and this made me slow down a good bit. Don’t get me wrong I still love running, I just don’t compete or sprint at the same level I did in my younger years.

Was there ever a time you were scared enough that it made you cry? what was it?

I am a person who really dislikes birds and has a fobia of them so once a seagull flew down and almost attacked me. Luckily I ran out of the way, I didn’t cry but I guess that was a close call!

Do you think it is difficult to be an adult? why?

I guess it can be with all the responsibility, but having responsibility for all aspects of your life can be really enjoyable. Just don’t overthink things and for certain things in life – grow up in your own time not when people tell you to.

How do you handle the days that bring you to your knees?(the really, really bad days)

I’m quite lucky or just maybe an optimistic person but I don’t have many really bad days. But when they do happen exercise usually sorts me out, getting myself of to the gym and weight training helps a lot. Or just surrounding myself with friends and family.

How would you spend 10.00 dollars if that was your last 10.00 dollars? 

Probably on food, typical me!

If time machines existed, would you use it?

Yes I would to go back in time, I think the future is best left alone.

What do you think life exist outside the planet earth? – humans, aliens, animals.. etc

I really have no idea about this one.

What is Giant Spiders became reality (the movie 8 legged freaks)? 

That would be terrifying!

Which would be worse, watching someone you love die, or killing someone you love in order to save your own life?

Definitely the latter! I don’t think a justification is needed.

If you had the opportunity to be the next President of the United States, would you do it or not? and why? 

Well this is not likely to happen due to the fact I’m Scottish and live in Scotland but no I wouldn’t.

I am not going to choose a favourite blog because honestly I have more than one, but my nominations are all great blogs to follow!

I nominate:

A Peaceful Diabetic

esl269

Boodiba

Simone McKenna

Even More You

The Wholesome Hiker

Ecstatically Em
What to Do if Nominated for the Liebster Award:
Back in 2011 the rules were a simple case of acknowledgement of the nominator and to nominate 5 more. Now in 2017 it is a little more involved and will continue to evolve as blogging becomes more accessible.
If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you should do the follow:
Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.

Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.) go to The Global Aussie for a whole lot of images you can use for your 2017 Liebster Award.

For the 2017 Liebster Award they will be shaking things up! Write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.

Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (This year I’m making this optional. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.)

Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link by to this post.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post or mine if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it.

My questions for my nominees are:

  1. What made you want to start blogging?
  2. If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life what would it be?
  3. Where is a country you really want to visit?
  4. Cats or dogs?
  5. If you could have one super power what would it be?
  6. If you have a fobia, what is it?
  7. What really motivates you on days that you feel slightly de-motiavted?
  8. Do you prefer Summer or Winter?
  9. Do you love or loathe Harry Potter?
  10. What is one piece of life advice you would give anyone?

To my nominees – Do not feel obliged to answer these questions if you don’t want to. I know how busy life can get and it can be difficult to find the time to write your own blog posts from time to time!

Happy Blogging!

 

Posted in food

Almond oat energy balls. 

That’s right another energy ball recipe! But I love making (and eating) these. They are so easy to make and a great healthy snack that taste more like a treat.

I totally winged this recipe and just combined ingredients that I thought would work well together.

This consisted of 6 tablespoons of oats, 2 tablespoons of honey, a teaspoon of cinnamon and 40g almond butter. Pretty much blend everything up together and then roll into balls, I made seven balls. If you find the texture quite dry then try adding a tablespoon of water. 

When I nutritionally analysed the recipe I discovered that a satisfying portion would probably be two of the balls. It might be worthwhile making bigger balls in a smaller quantity!

Macros per ball (makes 7):

87kcal

4g Fat 

10g CHO

3g Protein

Posted in food, nutrition

Batch meal prep 2: Chilli.

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Chill is one of my favourite meals to batch cook! You can choose how spicy you want it and have a choice of any veg too, most vegetables go very well in chilli. Make sure you choose one of the leanest beef minces you can find in the shops. I went for Asda’s “typically less than 12% fat mince”. They also have a “typically less than 5% fat mince” within their range but it is completely down to personal preference. You may feel that lower fat options compromise on taste, I would however recommend choosing what I did and go for around 12% fat. Remember Fat isn’t bad, if you eat too much of it it is but the same goes for carbohydrates and protein. Try not to exceed 70g of red meat per week which beef is included within.

It’s all about my favourite word at the moment – BALANCE. It’s about finding the balance of macronutrients that works for your body. Generally no more than 11% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat, which beef mince is high in. Adding lots of veggies to the sauce such as carrot, onion and pepper, and choosing to make the sauce form scratch and not a jar – all make the meal healthier. Kidney beans increase the protein content and also add fibre!

Ingredients:

500g 12% beef mince

15ml sunflower oil

1 carrot

1 red pepper

1 onion

400g kidney beans

400g chopped tomatoes

2 tspns chilli powder (the quantity completely depends how spicy you want you’re chilli!)

2 tspns mixed herbs

Method:

Brown the mince, add the veggies until semi-cooked, add the chopped tomatoes until boiling. Add herbs and spices. Add the kidney beans and let it simmer for 10 minutes stirring in between. Portion up into 5 portions, let it cool and freeze!

Average Macros:

313 kcal

15g Fat (5g saturated fat)

15g CHO

30g Protein

Posted in fitness, Uncategorized

Workout 2 of 2017: Upper Body.

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Yesterday was upper body workout day, man my shoulders and arms are hurting today. That’s what happens when you take too long off training  over Christmas! I got to use the exciting new cable machine at my gym for face pulls and tricep push downs. I finished with a bit of ab work and again my best attempt at a run. My legs were still pretty sore from lower body day this week, so running wasn’t the easiest but I lasted 10 minutes at a slightly slower pace than I’m used to.

My routine:

Light jog for 5 minutes on the treadmill as a warm up

3 x 10 reps upright rows with a 20kg barbell

3 x 10 overhead press with a 15kg barbell

3 x 10 curls with 6kg dumbbells (pictured above)

2 x 15 side rasies with 3kg dumbbells

3 x 10 Cable tricep push downs at 11.5kg

3 x 10 Face pulls at 12.5kg

2 x 10, 1 x 6 (My arms were burned out by this point!) Overhead tricep pull down holding a 10kg plate

3 x 10 body weight raised press ups using a step

Some sit ups with a 10kg plate etc to finish

Cardio: 10 minute run at 5-5.5mph

 

Posted in food, nutrition

A healthy lunch idea.

So we’re five days into January now, how is everyone’s healthy diet and exercise regimes going? All I can say is I have upped the exercise, I have been to the gym twice this week so far and have started eating my usual diet again. I have not cut out chocolate or  biscuits completely. I mean how can I when there are still lots left over from Christmas still needing eaten? It’s all about the B word – balance. Eating healthily all the time and cutting out indulgences in life such as chocolate works for some people. But for the majority of people it just doesn’t and we need those indulgences as treats to make us feel good! I’m not saying go out and eat a 300g bar of chocolate but the odd 45g bar is perfectly fine.

To help with the balanced eating I have shared a lunch idea which was my lunch yesterday. It still tastes great and is full of the vital vitamins and minerals needed for optimum bodily health.

Avocado on toast has appeared to make a great name for itself in the world of blogging and instagram but I’m so glad it has. Avocados are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats – around 15g per half avocado, also a great source of vitamin K and folate. Scrambled egg are my favourite way to eat eggs (probably because I cannot poach eggs very well!) and I find it goes well with avocado and another great source of  monounsaturated fat.But also quite high in saturated fat so don’t eat them in large quantities. The egg acted as my protein source for the meal too. I added my fav salad veggies/ fruit on the side – cherry tomatoes and cucumber to up the nutrients.

For dessert I sliced up an apple and added some almond butter and cinnamon. Was like Christmas again with the cinnamon but tasted so good!

All together this lunch comes to around 460 kcal and  17g protein.