Category Archives: Fitness

6 Post Work Out Meals

It is so Important to fuel your body correctly when exerting. I see far too many women starve themselves and this is not healthy. When you have spent time doing rigorous exercise you release free radicals which damage the body making you age. It is therefore important that you nourish your body with plenty of antioxidants and nutrients. These six meals are healthy and simple to make.

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Steamed Broccoli and Baked Salmon

Ingredients

A handful of tender stem broccoli

1 salmon fillet

Season the salmon with olive oil, himalayan salt and pepper and place in a preheated oven at 180C and cook for about 20 minutes. Oven times will vary according to different ovens. While the salmon is cooking place the broccoli in the steamer and steam for 15 minutes. Serve on a plate drizzling them with olive oil and tamari and enjoy with the salmon.

 

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Lentil and Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients

400g Lentils – organic tinned or you can soak them overnight

1 small sweet potato peeled and boiled

1 garlic clove chopped finely

2 spring onions chopped finely

10 cherry tomatoes

A handful of parsley

A handful of coriander

A tablespoon of mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower and sesame)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 a teaspoon of bouillon powder

ginger finely chopped

Salt and pepper to season

For the dressing

Olive oil and tamari

If using lentils that you have soaked overnight place in a pan of water with the bouillon powder on low heat and cook for 30 minutes. Once cooked you can sauté them. If you are using tinned lentils you can place them directly in the pan with the olive oil, garlic, spring onion, ginger and parsley. Add two tablespoons of water and sauté for 5 minutes. Once ready set to the side and allow to cool. Once cooled you can add the sweet potato cut into small pieces, cherry tomatoes, coriander and mixed seeds. You can eat this salad warm or cold. Add olive oil and tamari and enjoy.

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Quinoa Chocolate Pancakes

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of quinoa flour

1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder

1/2 banana

1\4 teaspoon of baking powder

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

100ml of water

1-2 teaspoons of sweetener of your choice ( I have mine without but depends how sweet you like your pancakes. You can use xylitol or raw honey)

For the topping

Strawberries, banana and raw cacao nibs

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately then combine together and whisk. Grease a non stick pan with some coconut oil and heat over medium heat. When using banana in your pancakes you want t keep them small otherwise they will end up all mushy. Place two pastry rings or egg rings in the middle of the pan and pour the batter in. Once bubbles start forming remove the rings and flip over. You should cook the pancakes for 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with fruit of your choice, coconut chips and raw cacao nibs.

 

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Spirulina Smoothie

Ingredients

1 banana

1/2 avocado

2 dates

1 cup of almond milk

1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder

1 tablespoon of almond butter

1 heaped teaspoon of spirulina powder ( spirulina is a blue green algae rich in protein, B12, iron and magnesium)

For the topping:

Bee pollen

Strawberries

raw cacao nibs

Place all the smoothie ingredients in the blender and blend until lovely and smooth. You can add ice. Pour into a glass and add been pollen, strawberries and raw cacao nibs on top.

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Omelette with Sautéed Mushroom

2 organic eggs

A handful of parsley finely chopped

I punnet of champignon mushrooms finely chopped

Olive oil

Cayenne pepper

1 garlic cloves

Sautee’ the mushrooms in olive oil, garlic and cayenne pepper and set to the side. Grease a non stick pan and place on medium heat. Beat two organic eggs add salt and pepper and pour in the pan. Should take the omelette about 3 minutes to cook. Once cooked lift one side and flip it over. Serve with the mushrooms and sprinkle parsley on top.

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Quinoa with Sautéed Spinach and a Poached Egg

Ingredients

1 small cup of cooked quinoa

Spinach

1 organic egg

1 garlic clove

cayenne pepper

Himalayan salt

Sautee’ the spinach in olive oil, garlic and cayenne pepper or chilli peppers. Put a generous amount of spinach as they tend to shrink when cooked. To make the poached egg place a pot of water on medium heat. There should be enough water to cover the egg. When the water is boiling add some white vinegar to the water, lower the heat slightly and place the egg in the water. I normally crack my egg in a small glass and then pour it in the water. Cook for 3 minutes then take the egg with a spoon and place it on a plate with some tissue paper to absorb the water, Place the egg on top of the quinoa and spinach and season to your liking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Reasons to Strengthen Your Core

A strong core is the key to longevity and fitness. Your core affects all your movements. A strong core improves posture, balance, back pain and athletic performance. Working your core is much more than just looking good in a bikini. The good news is that you do not need any fancy equipment to work your core. You can do core exercises from the beauty of your own home. The core really is the centre of your body.

Protects your back

This is very important. How many of us after a workout or all day sitting at our desks end up with terrible back pain?! Working your core protects your back muscles and reduces pain. If you have a weak core it means that your back muscles will have to work harder thus placing a strain on your back. Working your core will also encourage spinal alignment and better balance helping you with certain yoga poses.

Enhances athletic performance

A strong core helps with all sports from tennis, football, running, golf etc. You need core strength to play a sport. If you have a strong core you can run for longer without your legs and arms getting tired. If you do a lot of squats or work with weights if you have a week core you will be placing all the pressure on your knees forcing them to be over worked. A strong core will protect your knees and joints. A strong core protects both your upper and lower body giving you the best results when doing any form of physical activity.

Protects during pregnancy

As mentioned before a strong core protects your back. During pregnancy as your baby bump grows it can place an enormous amount of pressure on your back causing pain. If you have strengthened your core before falling pregnant you will not experience this, also a strong core will help with labour too and will prevent the ab muscles from dividing into two which can happen during pregnancy.

Improves posture

A strong core will make you look taller and thinner and improve spinal alignment. If you spend hours sitting at your desk in front of a computer you will no doubt be compromising your back muscles and posture. It is important to take regular breaks. Exercises like yoga and pilates will help strengthen core muscles and improve posture.

Improves your everyday movement

A strong core is not only beneficial in sports but in your everyday life. It will help you when you have to lift something heavy in the house or carry heavy shopping bags. Holding a baby in your arms can place a strain on your back but with a strong core that will be easier.  Your core affects all your movements  which is why it is so important. A strong core will make all chores easier and keep you injury free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

No matter your level of fitness, you want to make sure that you get the most out of your workout. Here below are a few tips that will help you to achieve best results.

Stay hydrated

I discussed the importance of drinking water in my previous post. You should drink before, during and after exercising. Dehydration will lead to muscle weakness and fatigue. If you are tired you will not be able to make the most of your workout.

Get a personal trainer to prepare your fitness programme

Join a gym and get a personal trainer to give you a bespoke fitness programme. No matter what level of fitness you are at,  you will always benefit from a personal trainer. You tell them your goals, which area of your body you want to focus on. Not only will they show you the correct way of performing exercises but they will constantly be giving you new exercises to challenge yourself.

Plan your workout

Write down your goals and exercise plan for the next two weeks. By writing your workout programme it will encourage routine and you are most likely to stick to the plan. The plan should include the time you intend to workout, what activities you plan on doing each day and the duration.

Don’t forget to stretch

It is so important to stretch before and after any physical activity. So many people do not stretch enough. Stretching prevents soreness and muscle, joint and tendon injuries. Have you ever suffered from a low back pain upon waking up in the morning?  If you stretch before and after you won’t have any pain. I know from personal experience. I always used to stretch very little at the end of my workout and I suffered terrible lower back pain. This pain disappeared the minute I started stretching more. Stretching also improves flexibility.

Make sure to warm up before any physical activity

This is just as important as stretching as it helps to prevent injuries. by warming up you are preparing the muscles for a vigorous workout. Warm up should be light, you are warming up the body so no need to wear yourself out. Save your energy for the actual workout. I normally always do 10 minutes light cycling as my warm up followed by stretching.

Mix it up

Do not always do the same things. Not only will your body get used to it but you will end up getting bored of doing the same exercises day in and day out. To see results you have to challenge yourself and try different exercises. Try cardio, resistance training, yoga, HIIT, boxing etc. The more the better.

Calorie intake

Are you eating too little or too much? Healthy eating is essential if you want to get the best results in the gym. However starving is not the solution. Too often I see women not eating enough because they fear putting on weight. If you do not fuel your body correctly and eat too little, the body will feel fatigued and will not be able to perform at its best. Consuming too many calories is also not good. Having a big workout does not mean over indulging in junk food. Moderation is key. You should be having 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks a day. Make sure you have protein after your workout.  If you eat the right foods you will have an abundance of energy thus gaining maximum results from your workout.

Watch your form

No point in doing lots of repetitions if you are not performing the exercises properly. You risk injuring yourself. Best to do less but correctly. Form is everything. If you are new to exercise or not sure about a particular exercise please ask a qualified personal trainer who will be more than willing to help you.

Change your exercise routine 4-6 weeks

If you want to see changes in your body you have to change your workout regime every 4 – 6 weeks. It is important to keep challenging yourself. Not to mention you will get bored of performing the same exercises. You want to keep pushing yourself. You want to feel the burn when you exercise. By performing the same physical activity your muscles will adapt and you will not see results

Foam rollers

Foam rollers are truly great as they iron out your muscle. It is like having a deep tissue massage releasing knots and is used by athletes. It improves cellulite, posture, range of motion, flexibility and improves athletic performance. I did a  previous blog post on the benefits of foam rolling and how to use them with exercises.

I hope the above tips help you to achieve the best results!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beginner’s Guide to Exercising

Since January seems to be all about cleansing , detox but also exercise, I decided to do a blog post for those of you who are new to exercise or have not exercised in a long time and do not know where to begin. There is a lot of pressure especially when the new year comes to suddenly    change and throw ourselves in diets and exercise. Sadly most tend to give up within a week because maybe they do too much too fast. I am a firm believer in eating healthy and exercising to live a longer healthier life, however if you have never exercised before do not decide to suddenly run a marathon. It is better to start slowly and be consistent. It is best to do a little exercise each day rather than burn yourself out the first day and then decide exercise isn’t for you. Here below are a few tips I hope will help you.

Get an exercise buddy

Exercising with a friend is an excellent way to start exercising especially if you are new to an active lifestlye and feel intimidated at the idea of stepping foot into a gym. Finding a working out partner will motivate you and push you harder to persevere and not give up. Find someone that is positive and full of energy. Being around positive people is always a bonus. You want to be be motivated.

Find the exercise that is right for you

This is very important. Experiment to see what you like. You can do running, walking, swimming etc. Try joining a gym and doing their classes or get advice from a personal trainer. Were you good at sports at school? Join a team. Try yoga which is very relaxing. Experiment by trying different classes and  sports to find out what you like. Dancing is also another great form of exercise. It is important to find what suits you and remember you have to enjoy it in order for it to be fun. No point going to the gym if you hate it. By doing something you enjoy you are likely to not give up.

Walk wherever you can

Try to walk more. For example get off the bus a few stops earlier and walk to work. Instead of taking lifts go for the stairs. Do not drive short distances you can walk in 15 – 20 minutes. Try to move as much as you can to get into the routine of exercising, especially if you do not have time to join a gym. Once you get used to it and want something a little more challenging then you can look at exercising for longer periods. Use the weekends to go to the park and walk or cycling.

Start Slow

Exercise is good. I tend to exercise a lot because for me it is a hobby, passion and way of life. For me exercising is a natural thing to do. It makes me feel confident and alive. If you are new to exercise I would strongly suggest you start slowly. If you go crazy and exert yourself for hours the first day, you will end up being extremely sore the next day and this is when most people tend to give up. I would suggest starting with 30 minutes a day. This can be a brisk walk outdoors. From 30 minutes you can eventually increase to 60 minutes. If you decide to do a class, start with a beginner’s class, you do not want to be carried out on a stretcher.

Plan an exercise Schedule

Planning in advance is a great way to start the week right. Jot down on a piece of paper all the activities you would like to do. This can be anything from walking, swimming, playing tennis, dancing, yoga to joining a gym. Have a look at the nearest classes to you and book. Join a gym. Then purchase a planner that you put on your wall and fill it in with all the planned physical activity for the weeks ahead. Writing things down, having a diary or a planner is always a good idea. It adds structure and it allows you to see the progress you have made.

Buy some new Sports gear

There is nothing like sexy sports gear to make you feel confident. If you buy pretty work out clothes you will look forward to wearing them and working out.  I am not saying to go crazy and buy tons of gear but do invest in a few good pieces.

Hope the above advice helps you to embark on a new fitness journey.

Kneel to Standing

This exercise works your lower body especially your glutes. To make this exercise more challenging you can use weights.

Begin by kneeling on the mat, one knee up and the other one on the mat. Push up with the leg that is up on the mat coming to a standing position on the front of your mat. Both feet should be together. Go back to kneeling on the opposite leg and step up. This is one rep. do 2-4 sets 20 reps.

 

Reverse Plank

The reverse plank is another great exercise that works the core. It targets the muscles at the back of the core and the obliques.

Sit on your mat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Straighten your arms and have your fingers pointing forward towards your toes. Push up using your arms with your hips lifting towards the sky.  If you have weak wrists come down on your elbows. Hold your core tucked in and remember to breath. Try to hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. To make it more challenging you can lift one leg up.

Fitness Dvd’s and Websites

I decided to do this post for all the women who do not have access to a gym, are stay at home mums, are going away on a holiday or  feel intimidated going to a gym and prefer working out at home. I divide my time between London and Italy. When in London I do endless classes of yoga, spin, pilates and go to the gym on a daily basis. However when I am in Italy, I am  isolated.  I have no access to a gym so I rely on runs on the beach and hikes. I like to mix up my fitness routine by doing different things. I like to do yoga and total body work outs so have found some wonderful dvd’s that make me push myself that little harder.

Here below I have chosen a selection of dvd’s and websites that I use. There are many stay at home mums who do not have time to go out to a class or a gym, so this is ideal as you can exercise while your child is sleeping. Also if some one wants to start yoga but feels the prospect of joining a class daunting then these yoga for beginners dvd’s are perfect.

Debbie Sieber’s Slim in 6

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This was the first dvd that I bought and it is still one of my favourites. It is value for money and it comes with a diet plan and 3 dvd’s: Start it up, Ramp it up and Burn it up. Any one can start and the idea is to slim and tone in 6 weeks starting with dvd 1 which is excellent for anyone knew to exercise, progressing to dvd 2 and 3. There are also bonus workouts that last 15 to 10 minutes like slim and limber which stretches you and Slim & 6 pack which is my favourite ab routine that I do rigorously 6 days a week. Sim in 6 also comes with a resistance band which is my favourite equipment for sculpting the arms.

Jillian Michaels Ultimate Box Set

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This box set is great as you get 5 dvd’s and you do have to be fit to do these dvd’s as they are tough! You also get the impression that Jillian Michaels will jump out of the screen to tell you off if you dare to not finish a workout. She is tough but great at motivating you to push harder. My favourite is the One week shred which is perfect for an up coming event and Yoga Inferno which is a very vigorous yoga practice. Each dvd has 2-3 work outs and they guarantee a sweat and they work your entire body!

Elena Brower Yoga for Beginners

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This is an excellent workout and even though it is for beginners it is still challenging. It really gives your body a good stretch and it is also ideal for anyone that is new to yoga and would like to do a class but feels intimidated. This work out lasts for 40 minutes so it is prefect if you do not have much time, Elena Brower has a very soothing voice and at the end of the routine you will feel both stretched and relaxed. I try to do this every morning.

Shiva Rea Yoga Shakti

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This yoga dvd is for experienced beginners and intermediate yogis. what makes this dvd unique is that it has “a yoga matrix menu” where you can create your own yoga flow. There are  also 4 pre-set practices in this dvd: The basic flow (30 mins), solar flow I (90 min), solar flow II (90min) and lunar flow (45min) All these practices are challenging but great at strengthening, toning and stretching the body.

When ever you start any new fitness regime please be careful and listen to your body. Do what feels right for you.

Here below are some websites I enjoy:

www.beachbody.com

www.barrecore.co.uk

www.fitnessglo.com