31/12/2015

Refresh Your Run!



As the clock strikes midnight on the 1st of January, more than two-thirds of Brits will have vowed to improve their fitness[1] – but by the beginning of February, only one in five will have stuck at it[2].

Motivation is a common problem when it comes to regular exercise, and no more so than for runners during the cold winter months. Grace Aloe Refresh, a refreshing Aloe Vera drink made with real aloe vera pieces and juice, teamed up with personal trainer and running coach Joe Shepherd to uncover how you can make 2016 the year that you complete that 10k or master that tricky six-minute mile.

First, explains Joe, you have to accept that fitness has no finish line. “Choosing to improve your fitness and health is a worthy decision, but there are no quick fixes. It requires constant goal setting to ensure sustainable and lasting changes.”

Set yourself targets, but ensure they can reasonably be achieved. And never break the ten-percent rule: only increase your mileage by 10% each week to avoid injuries and burnout. “It’s a tale as old as time,” says Shepherd, who has completed more than twenty-five marathons to date. “People
often get anxious thinking about the task and commit to over enthusiastic training regimes, resulting in muscle strain and joint pain such as runners' knee or shin-splints. Try to avoid this – if you ran 10 miles last week, then this week you should be aiming for 11! Also ensure that you do plenty of stretching.

Shepherd also stresses the importance of rest days, explaining, “They’re just as much a part of your training regime as the days you head out for a run. Giving your muscles
enough time between runs to recover actually leads to a phenomenon called ‘overcompensation’, where recently trained muscle gets stronger to prepare for future exercise!

And don’t forget to log your exercise! Whether you keep a log on your calendar or 
through apps and wearable tech, it’s a great way of looking back over how far you’ve come.


Grace Aloe Refresh is a great tasting and refreshing new, reduced-sugar soft drink, made with real aloe vera pieces and juice, natural flavours and natural colours, to enjoy as part of a healthy lifestyle! Available in Original, Mango and Strawberry flavours and rich in the antioxidant Vitamin C, which helps the immune system to function normally and which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Contains 100% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C and less than 100 calories per 500ml bottle. Suitable for vegetarians and gluten-free, it is available to buy in Tesco, ASDA, The Co-Operative, WHSmith travel sites and independent stores nationwide. Find us in the Juices aisle.

For more information, please visit:

 


[1] Research from British Military Fitness <https://www.britmilfit.com/about-bmf/bmf-news/new-year-new-you-brits-quit-the-gym-before-the-month-is-out/>
[2] Wiseman, Richard, (2010) Hertfordshire University


30/12/2015

Blondie & Brunettes Top Tips 2016!!


 
 
To help you (& us) kick off  2016 with a healthy bang I've teamed up with my dear friend, writer of www.allthegear.uk & fellow gym bunny Victoria to share with you our top living tips not just for January but for all of the year!

Meet Victoria! I'm the girl that always skived off PE. No form of exercise found me until my mid-20s when I took up ballroom dancing. Seeing how this could change my body got me hooked on doing more, so I started running & going to the gym. I don't dance any more, but instead in the last 6 months I have been focused on packing on muscle & building up strength. I have ambitions to compete in a bikini comp in 2016, gains permitting! Here are my top 10 tips!

 


1. Don't Sweat the small stuff - Make a promise to yourself to not get caught up in small dramas, worrying over little things you don't have any control over or the way other people might behave towards you. Not only does it risk distracting you from achieving your goals, cortisol levels rise when you're stressed, which is not a friend of fat loss. Breathe and let it go.

2. Stand More - For someone desk-bound from 8 until late (let's face it, 9-5 doesn't exist), this one is actually surprisingly challenging. Whether you're a fit & active person or not, I firmly believe this is one of the most obvious but kindest things you can do for your body and countless studies show how bad it is for us to be sat on our bums all day long. Stand up every hour for just a couple of minutes at minimum, have a move around and activate your muscles and joints. You haven't got to start busting out lunges in the middle of the office, but a bit of movement will be gratefully received by your body.

3. Try something new every month - Whether it's a new class at your gym, having a go on a new piece of equipment, a new recipe (or even a new food), or a new running route, embrace the new! It helps keep you pushing boundaries, builds confidence (crucial in training) & the chances are you'll unlock a load of great new things in your world.

4. Keep your bladder on its toes - This is basically 'drink plenty of water' in disguise. We all know we should be doing it, but if you consider it'll help you greatly with achieving Tip 2, it's like two birds and one stone. Hydration is so important to your body, concentration levels, skin, the works. Seriously, get sipping. There are apps to help remind you, but my best tip is get yourself a nice water bottle, keep it topped up all day, and don't let it leave your side!

5. Stretch, rattle & roll - For those regularly training, the best possible recovery from your sessions - whether strength training or cardio - is a combination of dynamic stretches to warm up and static stretches to cool down. But, give yourself a rattle and roll too. The rattle is from a power plate, if you have access to one at your local gym. Ask someone to show you how to get started if you're not sure, but I've found them to be hugely beneficial after long legs & back sessions. Sitting your aching glutes on a vibrating plate is top drawer!
And finally, my favourite - foam rolling! You can pick one up for about £15 from Amazon, but it's fifteen quid well spent as far as your recovering muscles are concerned. It's a pleasurable discomfort, and allows you to apply a bit more pressure than you'd be able to apply yourself.

6. Rest regularly - Yep, you heard me. I'm the worst person to be around on a rest day, I get so restless (ironically). But it's so valuable to your body.
Personally, I'd say that we should write off at least 1 if not 2 days a week to rest. By all means, go for a walk - you don't need to sit still. But leave the weights and the running shoes alone. They need rest too ;)

7. Ditch the food detox - Temptation to throw your body through some kind of cleansing programme will never be more rife than at this time of year. But it's better to come up with a sustainable, longer term, healthier eating programme. I like the 80/20 split of 80% whole (or 'clean') foods, with 20% of the cheekier stuff. Some people like a cheat day, I stave off the sweet cravings by allowing myself a bit of something each day, so long as it doesn't account for more than 20% of my daily macros.
A detox is a short term fix, and you'll probably find yourself binging on stuff the moment it's over, because you've gone through a period of deprivation. Just cut back the sugary treats to a minimum, rather than cutting out 100% - and remember that most sweet stuff is empty calories (even when it tastes damn good!)

8. Be a swapper - Instead of cutting things out of your life altogether and making yourself miserable, swap things out. Courgetti was a buzzword in 2015, and I'm sure it's here to stay as a replacement for oodles of noodles or plenty spaghetti. Get spiralling! I can't (and won't) give up flavoured syrups for coffee, so I swapped the sugary ones for TRKG's Jordan's Skinny Syrups. They come in all manner of flavours and have zero calories. Starbucks, who?!

9. Plastic fantastic - One of the main reasons I used to fail to prep wasn't actually not having the right ingredients, it was the faff of finding matching lock & lock boxes and lids, having the right size. Treat yourself to some new Tupperware, and make sure you've got all manner of sizes and shapes for meals, snacks, breakfasts to hand. Give yourself no reason to shirk the prep!

10. Work it out - One of my greatest lessons learned in my last 6 months of training is the importance of working out your plan before you step onto the gym floor. Be clear with yourself what you're going to do, what rhythm patterns, set patterns, areas of the body, rest periods you'll take etc. Having a plan will help motivate you to get onto the gym floor and know exactly what you're going to achieve, and save you from bunking off between sets ;)

& from the Blonde:
1. Organise your life -  I got 3 diaries this Christmas, I plan to use all 3. Diary 1 – Work holidays, meetings, blah blah. Diary 2 – Personal bits, birthdays, addresses, planned nights out. Diary 3 – my work out schedule, days I plan to see my boyfriend Gym, what activities are going to make me sweaty so I can track what I’m doing, switching it up, changing my routine every 4-6 weeks to ensure I don’t plateau.

2. Do detox negative energy - Unfortunately we live in a world where so few people genuinely want you to succeed. Or they want you to be successful, but not as successful as them. These are the kind of people that plant seeds of doubt in your mind because their lives are full of self-doubt. Make a conscious decision to distance yourself from anyone that has a mentally negative impact on you.  Aint nobody got time for that!

3. Don’t be afraid to go it alone -  I work out for two reasons. 1) for a healthier physique 2) mental therapy. Gym time is my ultimate ‘me time’ and for that reason 80% of the time I happily train alone. Every so often it’s nice to train with someone - learn something new, but you don’t Need to have a gym partner to hold your hand along the way and it’s not healthy to depend on someone else to keep in line with your schedule.

4) Invest in your gym wardrobe -  Like you needed an excuse to shop… ;0) It’s proven (by me) that the more comfortable you are in what you’re wearing the less attention you will pay to how you look over what you’re doing in the gym. Besides if you train 5-6 days a week, wearing the same old thing gets a little dull… give yourself options. Always opt for comfort flexible attire and watch out for those evil camel toe leggings!!

5) Remember, you are not on a diet - if you really want to get fit and healthy, it is a lifestyle. It is choices you will make day after day, when you reach your targets you then have to maintain. There is no quick fix; it takes dedication and mindful behaviour.

6) Eating out – Lunch meetings, dates, nights out with the girls, with busy social lives and hungry tummies its tough not to let your eyes be instantly drawn to buffalo wings and fries whilst profusely drooling. I recommend a good cheat meal once a week to shake your metabolism up and help you get passed those cravings. The rest of the week there will always be plenty options to eat clean on the go, it’s just a case of looking for them. Quite often restaurants will happily cater for your macro requirements, so don’t be afraid to ask the waiter to hold the creamy peppercorn sauce on the steak or swap the fries for sweet potato wedges.

7) Utilizing Social Media -  Instagram and Youtube have been just amazing motivators and sources for inspiration. Sharing my story through this blog and social media has helped me keep on track, record my progress and find like-minded friends that are experiencing the same daily challenges as me. The amount of work out tips, recipes I have found through Youtube never fails to keep me inspired.

8) My Fitness Pal – by far my favourite application, you can scan the foods you’re eating or add them by ingredient and it calculates the macro’s and calories against targets that you set by putting in your weight/weight loss goals. Use this alongside some form of calorie burning monitor like the Polar heart rate watch and you can balance what you eat against what you burn. I even use my fitness pal now that I’ve reached my weight goal and am gaining muscle mass. Purely to ensure that I’m eating enough calories. If I don’t eat enough I don’t allow myself to work out. Simples.

9) Just smile – sometimes it’s a genuine smile; sometimes it’s a poker face. Either way, if your smiling, the world smiles back and somehow everything just seems that little bit better. Promise. ‘Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain.’

10) Believe you can, and you will. (I’m changing my name to cat woman by dipole tomorrow)



 
May this new year all your dreams turn into reality and all your efforts into great achievement's! Happy New Year!!
 
 
 

24/12/2015

Keep Your Head Held High!

"Don't beat yourself up or allow negative people to add gibberish and debris to your character, reputation, or aspirations. 
Most haters are stuck in a poisonous mental prison of jealousy and self-doubt that blinds them to their own potentiality. They will NEVER be more than a hater (period) If haters had better things going on in their own lives, they wouldn't have the time to sit around and talk about you. 
So stay positive, leave your head held high and keep all of your dreams alive. If all I did was sit behind a screen and cyber bully people on the internet, I wouldn't be where I am today - I can guarantee you that. 
Instead I choose to use my time to spread positive energy, to conquer my goals and to better myself everyday! I choose to lift people people up, not tear them down for my own selfish reasons. I'm better than that. 
Eventually those haters with unhealthy tongues won't have any other option but to infest themselves with their own diseases because everything comes back full circle and they might not see it now but trust me, they'll wallow in the repercussions. 
If people are trying to bring you down that only means that you are above them.
Press on!!!"

~Paige Hatheway xo


16/12/2015

Simple Pecan bites!

Toward's Christmas we host a series of office events to raise money for a selected charity, from terrible tombola's to fancy auction's and bake offs.  This year we are donating the proceeds to The British Heart Foundation. A cause close to our own hearts.
With little time on my hands but wanting to contribute some form of sweet treat I spent 15 minutes in the kitchen last Sunday and threw these together. Now they don't win any beauty competitions, but they did go down pretty well in regards to flavor. So I deem the recipe worth sharing, the combo caramel, chocolate with the sea salt, it just worked. It's not all about appearance.. thankfully..

On a grease paper lined baking tray spread out half a bag of sea salted Pretzels and layer with Nestle Rolo's, bake at 180 degree's for 4 minutes, remove from the oven and push some Pecans on top before refrigerating for 10 minutes to set. 

~ Soooo Simple, not pretty, but tasty!



14/12/2015

Christmas Breakfast Muffins!!

As a kid my mama bear always used to make us eat breakfast before the opening of any presents could commence on Christmas morning, despite hating it in my younger years, it is a tradition I took with me when I moved out so I am always on the look-out for new and exciting things to start my Christmas day with!!
What I like about this recipe (courtesy of lady Nigella) is the fact it can be prepped ahead and whipped together quickly in the morning, or you could make them on Christmas Eve and enjoy them cool in the morning.

Ingredients:
• 250g plain flour
• 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
• ½ tsp. bicarbonate of soda
• 100g caster sugar
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg (or good grating of fresh nutmeg)
• 2 clementines (or satsumas)
• approx. 125 ml full fat milk
• 75 ml vegetable oil (or melted butter left to cool slightly)
• 1 large egg
• 175g dried cranberries
• 3 tsp. demerara sugar (for the topping) 


How we do:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF. Line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers or (as I have here) silicone inserts.
2. Measure the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl; grate the zest of the clementine/satsuma over, and combine. If you are doing this in advance, leave the zesting until Christmas morning.
3. Squeeze the juice of the clementines/satsumas into a measuring jug, and pour in the milk until it comes up to the 200ml mark / halfway between the ¾ cup and 1 cup marks.
4. Add the oil (or slightly cooled, melted butter) and egg, and lightly beat until just combined.
5. Pour this liquid mixture into the bowl of dried ingredients and stir until everything is more or less combined, remembering that a well-beaten mixture makes for heavy muffins: in other words a lumpy batter is a good thing here.
6. Fold in the cranberries, then spoon the batter into the muffin cases and sprinkle the demerara sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the air should be thick with the promise of good things and the good things themselves golden brown and ready to be eaten, either plain or broken up and smeared, as you go, with unsalted butter and marmalade.

Recipe Source - 'Christmas' recipe book by Nigella Lawson.

Happy Holidays!

11/12/2015

Naughty Halloumi & Sausage Bake

I'm all about the bakes this week! I secretly wish I was baking in the Cyprus heat right now... Ok it's no secret, I always wish for that. So I can't get to Cyprus right now, but I can bring a little bit of Cypriot delishiousness to me! & You!
Ingredients to feed two:
6 x Good quality sausages, I personally really like Tesco's Finest spicy chipolata sausages but any good quality bangers will do the trick!
1 x Block of Halloumi, this beautiful Cypriot cheese is my absolute favourite, for this recipe I usually stick with the standard or lighter version if I'm trying to be good. I have all the spice I need in the Chipolata's but if you pick basic sausages you could always spice your meal up by selecting the sweet chilli halloumi! It's gooooood!!
0.5 Jarred roasted red peppers (drained) readily available in most good supermarkets these sweet soft peppers are a great addition to any salad should you choose not to scoff the entire jar (accident's happen) in this one meal.
1 tbsp. Garlic infused olive oil... I know I say you shouldn't cook with olive oil in high heats, but for this meal there just is no replacement that tastes as good. Once in a while wont kill you.
How we do:
Heat your oven to 200c, set out a roasting tray. Spread the sausages & red peppers along the bottom of the baking tray before scattering sliced Halloumi across the top &  drizzling the garlic olive oil across the top of that!
Bake for 20 minutes et voila, dinner is done!
I serve mine on a bed of rocket and cherry tomatoes!

09/12/2015

Sweet Potato Supper!

I found this beauty of a recipe in Nigella’s book ‘Kitchen’. I added cherry tomatoes and used Rapeseed oil instead of Olive oil but other than that, the recipes a match.
What I particularly like about this recipe other than the fact it is utterly scrumptious is the fact I can pop it in the oven after the gym, clean the kitchen, freshen up & get ready for an evening of snuggling in front of the box while it’s cooking. The prep is minimal but the flavor isn't!
 
Ingredients:
2 baking sweet potatoes sliced into quarters
200g bacon lardons
A pack of asparagus tips
6 cloves of garlic
Rapeseed Oil
Fresh Tyme (just a small hand full)
To Serve:
Sweet chilli sauce
A bed of rocket salad
 
How we do:
In a large roasting tray lay out your sweet potatoes
Surround them with half of the bacon lardons, the asparagus and the cherry tomatoes before adding the remaining half of bacon lardons, drizzle over your rapeseed oil & fresh tyme and put into the oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes.
Turn the sweet potatoes at and bake for a further 30 minutes before serving on a bed of rocket salad with the sweet chilli sauce to compliment.


07/12/2015

Blondies Chickadee & Sweet Potato Salad!

The following recipe is one of my favourite clean eats, it was a chuck together whatever's in the fridge one night and see what happens... Oh it worked. Looking for an excuse to use my new Flavor God seasoning my friend Simone & I went through drama's to get hold off (US customs, you kicked our Butt's!) tonight I figured I'd share my scrummy salad with you!
 
Ingredients to feed two:
2 handfuls of washed spinach
2 handfuls of washed rocket
0.5 small punnet of fresh baby plum tomatoes halved
0.5 green bell pepper sliced
0.5 yellow bell pepper sliced
1 sweet potato peeled & diced
0.5 butternut squash peeled & diced
400g chicken breast diced
200g cubed pancetta
1 tbsp. coconut or rapeseed oil
4 tbsp. seasoning of your choice, try and keep it low sodium. I used FlavorGods Season All.
 
How we do:
In a microwave  or a food steamer we're going to start by steaming your diced sweet potato and butternut squash for 10 minutes until tender but not soggy. While this is steaming prep your salad bowls with a layer of spinach, rocket, peppers & tomatoes. Slice your chicken and melt the coconut oil over a gentle heat in a large frying pan. Once your root veggies are steamed set them aside to settle for a minute or two. Add your sliced chicken and pancetta cubes to your melted coconut oil and coat with the seasoning of your choice. Light fry these for around 10 minutes stirring often.
On a griddle pan brown your steamed root veggies with a little pink salt and pepper for 5 minutes and add to your salad before then adding your cooked chicken and pancetta ~et voila! Your done!
 
Extras... Olives, sundried tomatoes, corn, steamed asparagus, spring onions, beets...



 

05/12/2015

Moments

1. The moment you realize that the person you cared for has nothing intellectually or spiritually to offer you, but a headache. 

2. The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes.

3. The moment you stop comparing yourself to others because it undermines your worth, education and your parent’s wisdom.

4. The moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do. People’s opinions don’t matter. 

5. The moment you realize that no one is your enemy, except yourself.

6. The moment you realize that you can have everything you want in life. However, it takes timing, the right heart, the right actions, the right passion and a willingness to risk it all. If it is not yours, it is because you really didn’t want it, need it or God prevented it. 

7. The moment you realize the ghost of your ancestors stood between you and the person you loved. They really don't want you mucking up the family line with someone that acts anything less than honorable.

8. The moment you realize that happiness was never about getting a person. They are only a helpmate towards achieving your life mission.

9. The moment you believe that love is not about losing or winning. It is just a few moments in time, followed by an eternity of situations to grow from.

10. The moment you realize that you were always the right person. Only ignorant people walk away from greatness.

~Shannon L.Alder

 

04/12/2015

My New Best Friend Maqui!

It's been a crazy couple of week's, area's of my personal life have taken a few unexpected twists and turns.... this isn't a dear diary moment so I wont bore you with the details however it's safe to say I've been here, there and everywhere emotionally lately.
Throw in a few wild nights of partying with friends & enjoying a few too many naughty treats and here we are.. on the road to recovery and detoxing, the body and soul. 

I have a new detox best friend... her name is Maqui.. she's dinky, purple and originates from the south of Chile. She's considered one of the strongest antioxidants and is prized for her long enhancing and anti aging powers! I love her already...



Maqui berries can give up to 300% more Anthocyanin's & nearly 150% Polyphenol's (you know, the power antioxidants that give red wine that good rep for it's immune boosting power's) than wine or any other fruit and vegetable known to man! 
These high levels give the berry its super healing power providing the body with the antioxidants it needs to free us of the damaging free radicals that weaken our skin cells and internal organs causing premature aging & diseases.
I mean who doesn't want to stay young forever?
These little gems can only be found in Southern Chile and a small section of Argentina, because of the harsh heated environment the berry is forced to produce and store these Phytochemical's to ensure it's own survival. These higher nutrient levels then passed through humans are able to deliver a diverse array of health benefits. As well as looking after your internal organs and cells they are known to reduce inflammatory responses decreasing pain allowing you increased flexibility and mobility (great for those of us into our fitness & also for those suffering with arthritis). 
So there you have it, my secret weapon to feeling young and vibrant even when times are destined to make me feel otherwise. Lady Maqui. 

Now, obviously... I didn't travel to Chile & soak up the sun whilst getting a hit of these beaut's.. luckily my friend Daniel over at Simply Supplement's recommended their high strength 2000mg Maqui Berry tabs to me when I asked for a little health boost earlier this month. Better yet they are 50% off at the moment at £8.99 for 180 tablets & just 3 a day will keep those wrinkles at bay! It's not what you know, its who you know! Thanks Dan!

Link below, highly recommended, I feel much better in all area's of my life when I take control by taking that little bit extra care of my health. 



                                     






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