Monthly Archives: July 2014

My Top 10 Tips for Fitness and Weightloss

I’m no expert, or fitness/nutrition professional (so, clearly, these are just my opinions & observations of my own journey), but I have managed to shed over 4stone and drop almost 4 dress sizes, since January – and you know what, it really hasn’t been that difficult!

Here are my top 10 tips on how to get fit and lose/maintain weightloss:

  1. Get in the ‘zone’;

There is absolutely no point you reading any further if you are not 100% ready to do this. You need to look at your end goals and how you want to achieve them. If you want to starve yourself for 3 days and hope that it works, it won’t, you’re doing it wrong.

Look at yourself like a car – you need fuel to function, so starving or heavily restricting your diet is rubbish, you will just eat away at any muscle you have & store fat, so it’s a lose lose situation. Work out why you want to lose weight. For me, I was fed up of looking like a lard meatball, a flabby, unrecognisable heap of my former self (for the record, I have NEVER been ‘skinny, but I could at least shop in the high street stores before!).

You also need to move to keep working. Think of the last time you saw a car that has been parked up for an age – rusty, bits fallen off, won’t start – yup, you want to avoid that scenario where possible! My goal has never been to be ‘thin’ it is to be healthy, and that is where the difference lies.

2. Be time efficient;

“I don’t have time to exercise”

“I’m too busy”

“It’s too hot/too cold”

“I’m tired”

I definitely used to say these, there was always a good ‘reason’ as to why I was fat and why I didn’t do any exercise. Well, here is the answer to those ‘reasons’:

“Those that really want to do something find a way; those that don’t, find an excuse”

Occasionally, I find myself trying to think of excuses to get out of running, doing a workout or cycling, but you know what? Nothing is MAKING me do any of it, I CHOSE to do it, so I don’t have to get up and move my ass, but if I don’t, what would make me get up the next time? I find that excuses lead to excuses. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to have rest days, you don’t have to kill yourself every day, but think of even walking to the shops as a mini workout – just get moving a bit every day.

Get up half an hour earlier and do a workout. Do a mini workout whilst watching the TV in the evening. Do some weights or squats when you’ve got 5minutes spare (& yes, EVERYONE has at least 5 spare minutes in a day – even ‘very busy’ people). Ride a stationary bike whilst reading a book.

Find. The. Time.

3. Fuel yourself;

It is so important to eat right if you want to change & if you want to see any kind of results. I do do quite a bit of exercise now (you wouldn’t have read that from me last year!!), but if I was still drinking a bottle of wine a night and eating take out every day, I wouldn’t see much change. You need to take a holistic approach to it, so food and fitness go together.

Don’t restrict your foods or calories drastically, you will fail, or make yourself ill. The biggest annoyance for me is when people say, “oooh, which diet are you on?!” – well, I’m not on any diet. I can eat whatever I want, I just eat less & I try to make good food choices, for example:

WANT CRISPS – have some popcorn

WANT CHOCOLATE – have a cocoa nakd bar

WANT WINE – have sparkling water

WANT CHIPS – make carrot chips, or, just have a half portion of chips if you really really want them.

I also give myself ‘cheat days’ – typically at the weekend, because we usually see friends or family, so I can have wine, I can eat chips, I can have dessert, I can have cocktails and cheese, but you know what, I just eat less than I would have done when I was bigger and I try to offset it with exercise.

I also try to really focus on eating more protein – I’d rather have 2 helpings of protein and then either none or a half helping of carbs – I’m not on a low carb scheme or anything, but I KNOW that protein will help to keep me full and will help with building and retaining muscle tone, in combination with exercise. (I ADORE QUEST & CLIF BARS!!)

4. Gear yourself up;

If you are totally serious about getting fit, then there are a few things that I would totally recommend buying or downloading:

  • myfitnesspal app (free) – allows really easy tracking of foods and nutrition, tailored to your weight and goals
  • fitbit (£) – I have a flex, it is BRILLIANT – read my review here
  • 30 day shred DVD (£) – I CANNOT recommend this highly enough
  • freeletics app (free version) – for when you have been working out for a little while!!
  • a piece of gym equipment (£) – I have a stationary bike and a crosstrainer. I would totally recommend getting a little fold up exercise bike, not too costly (especially if you grab it in a sale, or secondhand)
  • get some hand weights (£) – you’ll need these for 30 day shred anyway, but you can use them independently, you know, for your 5minute workout.
  • enter a race (£) – set yourself a real challenge. Race for life is a good starting point. I completed my first last month – read about it here.

5. Hydrate;

Water. Just drink lots of water. You don’t need energy drinks, you need good food & lots of water (and sometimes a berocca tablet!).

6. Dump the Car and Move it;

Quit driving everywhere. Use your legs to walk. Walk to the shops, carry your shopping back in a rucksack!

My 3 year old can walk pretty far now as we traipse about everywhere, plus, we get to have silly chats on the way.

If you have to drive to work, park further from the building, use the stairs. Get off the bus a few stops early etc etc. See everything as a possible challenge. Do it. Move it.

7. Donate or sell your ‘fat clothes’;

Every time I try on some clothing that is too big, I put it in a charity shop pile. When I get a nice little stack of clothes together, I take them round to our local charity shop. This takes away my safety blanket, I can’t get bigger again, because I’ll have no clothes & I really really don’t want to have to buy bigger sizes again. Plus, it’s always good to give to charity, much better than chucking them out or hoarding them in the loft! 😉

If they are fancy or expensive clothes, you could also try your hand at selling them, then using the money you make to buy new, smaller clothes.

8. Involve your friends and family;

It is much easier to stay on track with your new lifestyle, if everyone around you is involved. I’m not suggestion that you get Grandma up and running a marathon with you, but she might like a stroll (or push, if she is in a wheelchair) around the park.

Feed your family whatever you were planning to eat – my hardened carnivore of a husband, now actually likes ‘meat-free meat’ and tofu, my 3 year old will eat fruit and vegetables till the cow comes home!

Get outside as much as you can. See if your sister or brother want to come with you to a race, even if it is just to spectate.

The more you all move about, the easier and more natural it becomes 🙂

9. Don’t Beat Yourself Up;

Remember, YOU are the one that is choosing to do this, NO ONE is forcing you. If you choose to have a day off, then do. If you choose to eat an entire chocolate bar, then fine – your choice. But try to look at things in the long-run. If having a rest, or eating something a bit naughty & delicious will stop you from reaching your end goal completely, then don’t do it, but, hey, we’re all allowed a day off here and there.

This is a lifestyle, NOT a temporary diet.

Which leads me on to…

10. Never, ever, ever quit;

Progress is progress, no matter how slow. But quitting will stop you from reaching your goals, always.

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St. Michael’s Hospice Moonlight Walk

Confession: I’m becoming an addict.

medals

From essentially being a total couch potato last year (unless lifting crisps or wine to my mouth was exercise…?!) to now, I have developed a bit of an obsession with exercise and, especially event exercise.

It started with getting out of my chair, stepping away (a little bit) from my wine glass & getting some training done.

My first event came in the shape of a race for life & I was determined that I was going to run the whole thing – which I totally did btw, yay me! You can read about that here. The second event took place on Saturday and was a 6mile moonlight walk in aid of raising money for St. Michael’s Hospice.

The route took us – us being my sister and I and a bunch of other people, suitable dressed in pirate wear – from Bexhill, right along the coast, past rows and rows of beach huts, up on to the promenade in St. Leonards, straight along in to Hastings, down to the really, very beautiful old town & circling back up to the White Rock Hotel.

SMH

1. Start Point, Bexhill. 2. Turning Point, Old Town. 3. End, White Rock Hotel. [credit: google maps]

The walk was great. Not too hard, not too fast & not too long. We did get split from the group a bit as a couple were further ahead and lots were far behind, so we did look slightly  very amusing to everyone we passed, dressed in our pirate wear!

I managed to grab this very fuzzy shot of Hastings in the distance - I refused to break my stride to take a better pic!

I managed to grab this very fuzzy shot of Hastings in the distance – I refused to break my stride to take a better pic!

We managed to slam the 6miles down in just 90minutes, score!

There was a little buffet waiting for us at the end point and lots of water, which was very much needed. We got a little medal, which I’ve added to my tiny, but growing collection. Then we walked home*.

*Note to self, don’t walk the half hour home after a 6mile walk.

Next event on my radar is a dirty dozen 6k military obstacle race – this may just finish me off!

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The Enormous Turnip (Stack)

Once upon a time, there was a woman with a child, the child had read ‘The Enormous Turnip’ and wanted, very much, to grow turnips of her own. The woman, without thinking, agreed to this. Now here is the tale of what they did with ALL THOSE DARN TURNIPS!

turnips

We picked turnips, quite a lot of turnips, but really, only about half of the turnips from the plot. We have way more to go!

So, the question is; what do you do with a bounty of turnips that no-one wants to eat?! My first thought was jars, lots and lots of jars. This recipe actually started out as a nicely spiced turnip jam (I know, what the hell?! I was giving the turnips way too much credit there), but of course, it tasted quite a lot like jam, with turnips in it – not ideal! So, I fiddled about with it, until it became… wait for it… TURNIP CHUTNEY! (stick with me).

Whilst it isn’t something you’d expect to find on a fancy restaurant menu, it is actually pretty tasty. So, if like me, you have foolishly ended up with an enormous supply of turnips – give this a go!

Spiced Turnip Chutney:

(Makes 3(ish) jars)

Ingredients:

  • 1kg turnips
  • 400ml water
  • 100ml apple juice
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 10tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 10 cloves, crushed
  • 1tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 500g white sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper

Method:

  1. Peel and chop the turnips into around a 1-2cm dice.
  2. Pop the turnips in a pan with the water, apple juice, lemon juice, spices and salt & pepper.
  3. Bring up to a boil and simmer until the turnip is tender (approx 20-30mins).
  4. Mash the mix, trying to not leave too many big chunks of turnip – unless you really like the flavour of turnip, in which case, leave it chunky!
  5. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  6. Add in the vinegar and bring to boil. Allow to simmer for a good hour or so until the mix resembles a lovely thick chutney that thickens when it cools (chuck a bit on a plate and see if it looks like chutney after a minute or so!)
  7. Taste it to make sure you are happy with the balance of sweet, sharp and spice – feel free to fiddle about with it.
  8. Pour in to hot, sterilised* jars whilst still hot and seal immediately.

I found that this chutney was perhaps a little too sweet, probably from where it actually started out as a jam, but I think it will go really well with a mega aged, sharp cheddar and some oatcakes.

You know, if you find that you still can’t stick the taste of turnips, even when disguised with sugar, vinegar and spices, well, you’ve just made yourself a stack of lovely homemade Christmas presents to give to your inlaws! 😉

Go and give it a go and let me know what you think! My next batch of turnips are going to be pickled, so there will be another recipe coming up soon!

*There are heaps of ways to sterilise jars – just drop it in to a search engine & you’ll get loads of different methods. I personally just wash in hot soapy water and bung them in a very low oven for about 20mins.

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Freeletics – High Intensity Workouts

Good grief! Now THIS gives you a workout!

freeletics

I totally stumbled across freeletics, by chance, on twitter. It is a free workout plan that can be accessed via an app on your phone – at least, that’s how I use it. The basis of freeletics is that you can complete various high intensity plans using nothing more than your own bodyweight – no high cost equipment, win win!

Don’t make the assumption that by not using weights, resistance bands, or any machines, that it will be a walk in the park. It WILL try to kill you!!

I’m relatively new to fitness still, only really starting in January of this year, so I’m certainly not one of the crazy fit, flexible, beautifully toned & ripped people that you see doing the exercise demos on the app. So maybe it is tough work for me and my fitness level – BUT, the beauty of these types of workouts is that you get out what you put in. There are hard and easy versions of each move & the only restriction is your own ability – you can go as fast or as slow as you like (looking at my scores up there, I’m pretty freaking slow!!).

The planned workouts are pretty bloody evil. Don’t expect to be able to walk/move/breathe for a little while after doing one (p.s. you will also be feeling the pain the day after!). There are also ‘Max’ workouts, which I love – this is essentially you against you, trying to beat yourself to do more sit ups or squats, etc. There are leader-boards available to view and you can get your friends to sign up too, for added competition.

There is a premium service available – this is obviously one that requires payment, but it is apparently tailored to your needs. I’ve not tried this, so I can’t comment on it, but the free app version is great!

Search ‘freeletics’ in your app store and feel free to add me if you can find me (I’m the slow one, at the bottom!) Who wants a squat-off?! 😉

*This is not a sponsored post, I just loved the app!*

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