Posted in food

Smoked salmon and crème frîache pasta.

I don’t know about you guys but smoked salmon is one of my ultimate favourite foods. Cold in a sandwich, on a cracker, in a salad I will try and eat it when I can. But in moderation of course!

I was shopping in Aldi with my dad and when we saw smoked salmon trimmings for a very good price     we just had to purchase these and thought they would go great in a pasta!

We had a joint effort to come up with a sauce to go with it and cooking the final result. We used a mixture of plain spaghetti and linguine because it was all we had in the house. It can be made healthier by using wholewheat pasta but we decided to treat ourselves with this meal. You can also have a side of salad to up the micronutrient content. 

Ingredients (for 3):

225g pasta of your choice (long thin pasta like the ones I used go best)

1 tspn olive oil

80g crème frîache

100ml chicken stock

150g peas

Mixed herbs to season

Boil the pasta. Whilst cookin the pasta, place the olive oil in a pan, add the peas and crème frîache until basically boiling. Add the salmon and herbs to taste.

Advertisements
Posted in fitness

Workouts with more cardio and a 60 kg squat.

Yes yes this weeks workouts did include an outdoor run! 

My pacing is pretty awful so as usual my attempt at a 5k turned into interval runs. I think it will take practise to be able to run a full 5k again and get the fitness level up. 

I did manage to do 2km without stopping and this was in 10 minutes 50 seconds then I had active rest in the form of walking for 30 seconds, I then basically sprinted my third km with a stop of 10-20 seconds active rest in the middle of this km, and finally did the same with the last 1.66km. 

I did enjoy the run except the cold air affected my lungs slightly (and probably the fact that I’m not as fit as I want to be just now – oops). 

My other two workouts were the same as last weeks upper body and lower body workouts. Except I managed to get back to the old 60kg squat for 3 reps! I am trying to incorporate a cardio workout a week now so hopefully the weather stays nice and I keep up the outdoor runs!

Happy Monday everyone, have a great week of workouts! 

Posted in fitness

The importance of stretching.

Hope you are all having a week of great workouts!

I thought I would take the chance to talk about stretching. There are so many people I see that do not stretch in the gym, I mean maybe they go home to stretch but it is important to do stretches as part of a cool down at the gym to prevent injury. For one, I definitely notice a difference in my mobility after stretching. It helps get rid of the muscle tightness caused by lifting weights and improve flexibility!

Everyone is different and it is a matter of personal preference if you prefer stretching out with a foam roller or just carry out your own movements. Personally I do not own a foam roller and have never tried to use one so I can’t say if they work for me or not. I find static stretches work for me though. I do these at the end of a workout and on most rest days now especially if I feel tightness (mostly in my legs and back).

I have pictured some of my regular stretches above. The furthest left picture stretches the inner upper leg muscles so the abductors mostly, but also the back when you lean forward. If you push down on your legs with your elbows a more dramatic stretch will be felt. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet touching and bring them in to your groin as far as you can. Reach over your feet with your arms so your back is arched over your legs. Hold for around 15 seconds. This is my favourite stretch as my inner thighs get quite tight after training legs!

The middles is mostly a calf and quadricep stretch. Sit with legs open and straight, grab one foot or if you can’t get quite as far as the foot, as far as you can go, with both hands. Hold this for around 15 seconds before switching to the other leg. With time and doing this stretch regularly you’ll probably find you can reach further.

Third is a tricep stretch, the harder you push down on the elbow the more of a stretch you will feel. Place the palm of your hand on your back so your armpit is basically in your ear. With the other hand push down on the raised elbow. Again hold this for 15 seconds.

These are just three examples of stretches, there are millions of different stretches out there. But trust me you will notice a difference in your flexibility if you start stretching!

Posted in music

New Music: A totally different kind of post for me.

I thought it was about time I shared one my other passions in life as well as fitness, MUSIC!

I am ashamed to say I do not play any musical instruments, which many people find surprising when they meet me considering how wide my music knowledge is, and how often you’ll find me listening to music. I know the basics of guitar and piano but nothing more than that.

From a young age my passion has been indie/ alternative music, growing up listening to the likes of Oasis and The Stone Roses. As I have aged my horizons have broadened and I now listen to a variety of genres. With the recent increase in the popularity of R&B and rap, I have found myself joining the band wagon slightly with the likes of Drake and Kanye West featuring in my listening more regularly.

When it comes to working out at the gym I NEED music. If I have forgotten my earphones I already know my workout will not be as high quality as normal. For working out I usually listen to dance and electro style music just to get in the right mood and pace.

Anyway that’s a brief overview of my music taste, now I would like to share some of my favourite music from the last few months and some recently discovered artists:

  1. The XX – I See You (album)

This was the first full new album I listened to in 2017. As with most albums some tracks are better than others. My personal favourite is “Dangerous”. The male and female vocals compliment each other well. Check it out if you haven’t already.

2.  Circa Waves – Different Creatures (album)

This is a new release from the band, quite different from their first debut album in that the mood is more real and emotive. But still a great sound.

3. Anteros (band)

It was a total coincidence that I have seen this band live twice this year at the only two gigs I have attended so far. They played support to both Two Door Cinema Club and White Lies. Their image reminds me very much of Blondie. They are of a catchy indie pop sound and I would say ones to look out for. Give the tracks “Breakfast” and “Anteros” a listen!

4. The Hunna (band)

An indie band I have recently discovered. The song “Piece by Piece” came up on my Spotify discover playlist last week and being the indie fan girl I am it definitely appealed to my taste. “Bonfire” is my fav song of there’s at the moment.

5. Lana Del Rey – Love (song)

I would be lying if I said Lana is not my girl crush. Her voice gives me chills every time. Her new release “Love” did not change this. A highly emotive track that you must give a listen.

Posted in fitness

This week in workouts.

17392828_10211243337792211_1542796574_n

This week consisted of three workouts: lower body, upper body and cardio (well the best at cardio I could do). My energy levels were quite high this week which definitely helped me perform optimally at the gym.

Lower body workout:

Warm up on the treadmill for 5 minutes

Stationary lunges – 3 x 10 on each leg with 10 kg plate

Curtsy lunges holding 10 kg plate 2 x 20

Squats – 40 kg, 45 kg, 50 kg and 55 kg – 10 reps for each

Pull throughs with cable- 3 x 10 at 12.5 kg

American dead lifts with 30 kg barbell – 3 x 10

Hip thrusts – 3 x 10 with 10 kg dumbell then 2 x 10 pulses

Stretches to finish

This order of this workout was changed slightly due to the squat rack being in use when I first got to the gym but needs must, got to give your fellow gym goers a fair workout too! I usually start with squats first due to theses being a compound movement and my heaviest lift. Doing these first allows all your energy to be put into this exercise and hopefully lift as heavy as you possibly can.

Upper body workout:

5 minute warm up treadmill run

Upright rows 3 x 10 with 20 kg barbell

Overhead press 3 x 10 with 15 kg barbell

Face pulls 3 x 10 up to 16 kg

Cable tricep extension 3  x 10 at 12.5 kg

Tricep dips on Reebok step – 2 x 15

Press ups on Reebok step – 5 full, 5 on the knees x 2, 10 halfway pulses

Sit ups with 10 kg plate – 3 x 10

Russian twists with 7 kg medicine ball – 20 twists

Stretches to finish.

This workout was a bit of  a mish mash of exercises I had a feel for on the day. I actually really enjoy press ups as crazy as this sounds, but they are fun to carry out elevated on a step. Plus they are the only chest exercise I do!

Cardio:

My treadmill run is pictured above. Yes it took me 13 minutes run a mile! Long distance treadmill running just isn’t for me, and by long distance I mean 3 miles – haha. I admire those of you who can keep the run going for even 20 minutes. I just begin to get bored. This is a negative on my part and my poor attention span. Outdoor running is more enjoyable for me and I am determined to get an outdoor run in this week and to turn this into a weekly occurrence!

Hope you all had great workouts this week!

 

 

 

 

Posted in fitness

This week at the gym. 

This week my gym workouts have taken a slight detour from my usual routines. I still did an upper body and lower body day, just had to change up the excercises a bit.

First of all I went to do legs on Tuesday afternoon but the gym was packed. I thought this was unusual for 3pm but I realised some sports and exercise students were doing some strength and conditioning training. Anyway I wasn’t able to start with my usual exercise of squats but it was good to change up the routine a bit. Here’s what I did:

Stationary squats holding 10 kg plate – 15 reps on each leg x2

Curtsy lunges – 15 reps x2

American deadlifts with 30 kg barbell 3 x 10

Squats – 20 x 30 kg with weighted barbell (not on rack), 10 x 40 kg, 10 x 45 kg 

Hip abductors 3 x 10 at 70 kg

Stretches to finish 

A shorter and sweeter leg day but actually left me feeeling more sore than usual, perhaps due to working different muscles in some of the exercises. 

Today was upper body day and again the gym was pretty busy so I didn’t get a shot on the cable machines, but still managed a good quality but short workout:

5 minute warm up jog

Upright rows 3 x 10 at 20kg

Overhead press 3 x 10 at 15 kg

Overhead tricep extensions 3 x 12 holding 8 kg medicine ball

Press ups on a Reebok step  2 x 15

Sit ups with 8 kg medicine ball 2 x 15

Russian twists with 8 kg medicine ball 2 x 20

Stretches to finish. 

Today’s workout was more about listening to my body and just doing any exercise I felt like. My legs were still sore from Tuesday so I avoided any lower body work and stuck to the plan of upper body. 

Hope you’ve all had great workouts so far this week! 

Posted in fitness

A YouTube HIIT workout type of day.

Capture

Okay so I have a confession to make. This weekend wasn’t the healthiest of weekends due to it involving a night out. Being a stereotypical Scottish person and also a student, I obviously went all out but felt pretty awful for it yesterday. Seriously hangovers do get worse with age even only at almost 22 they are so much worse than when I was 18. Anyway for this reason I had to get a lot of uni work done today that should have been done yesterday! I only have myself to blame – haha.

I did not have time to go to the gym without using up more time to do uni work so a home HIIT session it was. The FitnessBlender YouTube channel is one of my go to’s for HIIT workouts. Seriously check it out, they have loads of different workouts both weight and cardio based. A great way to get physical activity in if you don’t have a gym membership or are just looking for exercise ideas.

I chose a HIIT cardio and abs workout which really got me sweating. Great for sweating out that excess alcohol which I know should not be there in the first place! This workout did not include the same exercise more than once so there were a few exercises that were new to me and took a bit of time to get the hang of them. Plyo push ups for example are tough, I have only just recently got the hang of normal push ups never mind adding a clap in. Definitely something I’ll have to work at. Altogether a great quality home workout.

I hope this post has inspired some of you to try out FitnessBlender workouts!

Posted in food

Chicken pepper and onion kebab recipe. 

I saw someone’s blog post of a dish similar to this and I was so tempted to try it. A combonation of seeing that post and a friend telling me about an amazing Greek restaurant they had visited, had me craving humus and pitta bread! 

I decided that onion pepper and chicken kebabs were the perfect combo to go with this. I just had to come up with a marinade. I wanted something with lemon for zing and oregano one of my favourite herbs, so I made up this marinade:

50ml rapeseed oil

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 dessert spoon of lemon zest

1 garlic clove 

1 tablespoon oregano 

I mixed all the ingredients in a bowl and added chopped chicken breast and left for around an hour. I then fried this off. I’m quite skeptical about putting raw chicken straight in the oven in case it’s not cooked thoroughly. I then added the chopped onion and pepper so they could absorb some of the marinade. The pepper onion and chicken was assembled onto skewers and then placed under the grill for around 10 minutes. This was served with warm wholemeal pitta bread and humus. 

I couldn’t have been more pleased with the result. The flavour was so tasty. This also satisfied my craving of humus and pitta but made it healthy! 

Posted in fitness

My first try at dead lifts.

16934300_10211011728842132_666699246_n

I finally made the time to give dead lifts a go at the gym and they are great! I have tried a few times with the weighted barbells but have only gone up as far as 30 kg so I went the full effort this time and tried up 50 kg.

I watched a few YouTube videos on technique before trying them out with a higher weight just to ensure my form was correct to help avoid injury. The trick is to ensure your lower back is straight, if you bend here you may strain your back. Bend your knees and reach down for the bar making sure you keep that back straight, then lift the bar and raise until your legs are straight.Drop it back down in a controlled way similar to how you lifted the bar in the first place. Keep that lower back straight at all times! I cannot stress this enough.

I am eager to include dead lifts weekly in one of my workouts at the gym. They work a variety of muscles but mostly the back but also a lot of leg muscles. If you really squeeze the glutes when bringing the bar up you will feel it here!

My tips for doing dead lifts for the first time are to definitely practice form with a low weight such as 20 kg and build up from there. If you do other compound movements such as squats or bench press do not exceed your max for this the first time you try them out. Although with time and effort dead lifts should be your heaviest lift, to avoid injury it is best to start with a low weight.

Hope I have inspired some of you to give dead lifts a go!