09 Mar

Healthy Guilt Free Chips

 

 

 

Most people love chips. They are versatile & go with most meals but they can be calorie dense & full of sugar depending how they are prepared.

You can still have them on the odd occasion & enjoy them guilt free with the recipe below.

 

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake:  25 – 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch strips 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 f. In a large resalable plastic bag, combine the ingredients. Add sweet potatoes; shake to coat.
  2. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking tray coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, 25 -35 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, turning occasionally.

Serves 4

Nutritional Facts

1 serving: 256 calories, 8g fat , 39g carbohydrate & 3g protein.

08 Mar

Building Better Calf Muscles

 

 

Calves. A muscle group that are neglected by many or those who do train them may experience slow muscle growth. Here are the 2 most useful principles I have used & given to others that you can apply to your own routine.

Train calves through a full range of motion

Some muscles can be trained very effectively through a partial range of motion but the calves are not one of those muscle groups. We use the calf muscles quite a bit in daily activity and they are used to moving the weight of your body around many hundreds if not thousands of times a day. It is going to take an extraordinary stimulus to really make the calves want to grow. It is therefore crucially important to emphasize a full range of movement.

Don’t get fancy with calf exercises

Variety is overrated when it comes to calf work. Find a couple solid calf exercises that you like, stay with them and pound them. Standing calf presses are the old standby that work so well I am convinced that it is the single best exercise for gastrocnemius growth. Seated calf raises are easily the most effective exercise for building the soleus muscle. Between these two, almost anyone can build a very good set of calves over time.

Both of the above are not over complicated or anything ground breaking but will hopefully reemphasis just how important it is to execute them both.

 

08 Mar

Curried Chicken Sauté Recipe

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 400g boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 sliced bell peppers
  • drizzle light coconut milk
  • 1 lime

 

How to Make It

Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper over chicken. Coat pan with cooking spray.

Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add peppers and remaining 1/2 teaspoon curry powder to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add coconut milk, and bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened.

Cut lime in half. Squeeze 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime half; slice other half into 4 wedges. Stir juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt into bell pepper mixture. Cut chicken across grain into thin slices. Serve chicken with bell pepper mixture and lime wedges.

 

 

07 Mar

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

 

 

 

Nearly all of the clients I  have trained over the many years as a trainer all generally work long hours & are highly stressed. I can not tell you, how many times I have heard ” I feel so much better” , once we have finished training. Not just physically but more importantly , mentally.

 

Exercise and depression

Countless studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side-effects, of course. In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing.

Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energise your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

Exercise and stress

Ever noticed how your body feels when you’re under stress? Your muscles may be tense, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain, or painful headaches. You may feel a tightness in your chest, a pounding pulse, or muscle cramps. You may also experience problems such as insomnia, heartburn, stomach-ache, diarrhoea, or frequent urination. The worry and discomfort of all these physical symptoms can in turn lead to even more stress, creating a vicious cycle between your mind and body.

Exercising is an effective way to break this cycle. As well as releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind.

Exercise and anxiety

Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Anything that gets you moving can help, but you’ll get a bigger benefit if you pay attention instead of zoning out.

Try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. By adding this mindfulness element—really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise—you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head.

It can also assist in :

Sharper memory and thinking

The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline.

Higher self-esteem

Regular activity is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and powerful. You’ll feel better about your appearance and, by meeting even small exercise goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement.

Better sleep

Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.

More energy

Increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go. Start off with just a few minutes of exercise a day, and increase your workout as you feel more energised.

Stronger resilience

When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you cope in a healthy way, instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs, or other negative behaviours that ultimately only make your symptoms worse. Regular exercise can also help boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress.

 

 

23 Feb

Healthy Turkey Burgers

 

 

 

Who doesn’t like a burger? but they can be calorie dense food that. You can look at different alternatives that are healthier & lower in calories.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2-3 spring onions
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 6  Gluten free hamburger buns, split
  • 2 firm, ripe tomatoes, sliced
    1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. In a griddle pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the spring onion until just softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, season with the salt and black pepper and let cool. Stir in the sour cream and Worcestershire sauce then add the turkey and mix gently until just combined. Form into 6 patties.
  2. Heat a grill to medium-high. Mist grill with cooking spray or line with foil and cook burgers 5 minutes. Turn and grill until almost cooked through, about 3 minutes more. Top each burger with some of the blue cheese; cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until burgers are just cooked through and cheese is melted.
  3. Arrange burgers on buns and top with sliced tomato, avocado and red onion.

Nutrition Information

Servings Per burger : 6
PER SERVING: 370 cal., 13 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 29 g carb. , 35 g pro.

 

20 Feb

How To Deadlift Correctly

 

 

Why Deadlift?

It’s always important to start with why. Why? Because having a good reason for doing something makes planning easier.

So, why deadlift? Quite simply, the deadlift is one of the most effective exercises for developing the pure strength that’s a precursor to bodily size and athleticism. Since it’s a full-body exercise that recruits a lot of muscle mass, the deadlift also builds total-body muscle. It’s also one of the few exercises that directly targets the hamstrings, a group of muscles often neglected.

The deadlift also improves posture. We live most of our lives in front of our bodies, ignoring our rears. In turn, we develop bodily frames without balance, leading to a host of postural issues—hunched shoulders and weak backs, for example. Deadlifting reintroduces us to our body’s backside. Posterior training balances the body, giving us cause to stand taller and with greater strength.

In short, deadlifting will support your aesthetic goals, help you build better posture, correct various strength imbalances, help you build total strength, and turn you into a total gym badass. After all, there’s nothing quite like ripping heavy weight from the ground.

 

How to Deadlift

Look on YouTube and you’ll find a multitude of videos of folks doing their best one-hump camel impersonations while dragging a barbell up their legs. These well-intentioned lifters are not to be emulated. Every time you deadlift, you should be totally focused on good form

Good form’s main purpose is no secret: It reduces injury risk. The risk is never completely eliminated, but good deadlift form distributes the lift’s stress evenly across tissues rather than placing a destructive load on a specific area—the lower back, for example.

Secondary to limiting injury risk, good form also boosts performance: The right muscles work at the right times to crane the bar from the floor to the lockout position. When you lift with good form, the bar follows a path that allows for efficient use of the legs, hips, and back.

What does good deadlift form look like? Your feet should be spaced hip-width apart with your grip just outside your legs. Your back should be flat—neutral spine—from start to finish. The bar should remain in contact with your legs for the entire range of motion. Your hips and knees should move in concert to transfer the bar from the ground to an upper-thigh, locked position.

If you can’t maintain a flat back when setting up to deadlift from the floor, don’t deadlift from the floor! There’s no rule that says you have to. Elevate the bar on squat-rack pins or jerk boxes to a position in which you can flatten your spine. This wonderful deadlift variation is called a “rack pull,” and it’s especially good for those with mobility issues that limit their deadlifting range of motion.

 

 

16 Feb

Spinach and Strawberry Smoothie

 

Ingredients:

  • 150g low fat vanilla yoghurt
  • Around 200ml water
  • 1 medium banana
  • 100g strawberries / sliced
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach

Instructions:

In blender, combine yogurt, water, banana, strawberries & spinach. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

Per serving:

Around 120 calories, 5g protein, 2 g fat , 25 g carbohydrate & 4 g fibre

 

09 Feb

Quick Chili Lime Cod Dinner

 

 

 

Cod is an excellent source of protein as it practically has no carbs or fats in. But, many find it a little bland.  Fear not, here is a really easy recipe you can use to make sure you are eating your protein.

Ingredients:

  • 250g wild caught cod
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a bowl, crack and beat an egg. In a shallow bowl, add coconut flour and get rid of any clumps.

Soak each fillet of cod in the egg for about a minute on each side.

Then press each side of the fillet into the coconut flour.

Arrange the fillets on a cooking sheets and season with the spices. Squeeze the juice of a lime all over each fillet for some amazing flavour.

Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. S

tick a fork into one of the fillets and twist. If the fish flakes easily, it’s ready!

Serve immediately with a side of creamed spinach. Enjoy!

 

 

 

06 Feb

Strong Hamstrings – Strong Legs

 

 

Many gym goers will spend a lot of time training their quadriceps by doing squats, leg press & lunges but neglect their hamstrings. The hamstring are just as important as the quadriceps because your hamstrings cross the knee and hip joints, they work to bend your knees and draw your hips backwards. When executing explosive movement, these muscles play an important part in shifting the load from your knees to your hips.

They also contribute to your ability to absorb the shock of movements involving high velocity or force. While your hamstrings contribute to functional motion, such as walking, they help you to achieve speed, power and agility in many sports. For example, a sprinter’s performance pivots on strong hamstrings.

The movements below are the best you can do to develop thick, strong hamstrings.

Move No. 1: Romanian Deadlifts

RDLs torch the hamstrings in the most athletic way possible, as a hip extensor and contributor to a properly functioning posterior chain. I generally keep reps between 8-10 when doing this exercise, try going heavier rather than lighter.

 

Move No. 2: Eccentric Glute Hamstring Raises

The reason many sprinters injure themselves is because of their hamstrings’ poor ability to decelerate the lower leg to stop it from extending. Exercises that focus on the eccentric strength  of the hamstrings are a crucial strength tool. The best news is that you can achieve this using bodyweight only. Assume a tall kneeling position, with your heels secured under anything immovable. Without bending forward at the waist, contract your hamstrings and dig in hard with your heels as you slowly let your body descend toward the floor for a 5-8 second negative rep. You should land gently on the ground in a push up position. At this point, push yourself back up to the start position using your hands to help, and repeat.

 

Move No. 3: Barbell Hip Thrust

Hip thrusts are the best way to get a heavy hip without large amounts of stress on the lower back. These can be a saving grace while you’re recovering from an injury. Sure, primarily they’re meant to target the glutes , but the hamstrings’ contribution is just as important to making the lift successful.

 

Move No. 4: Box Squats

The truth is, hamstrings are like the triceps of the legs. Their development is the key to true leg size, and their strength translates to plenty of other strong moves in the gym. It goes beyond just jumping on the hamstring curl machine and going to town. Here are the moves that deliver the most bang for their buck.

 This sounds like a shocker, but properly executed box squats can recruit a ton of hamstring tissue. For this particular purpose, they beat squatting to full depth because there’s less quad involvement due to lower-knee flexion and greater hip flexion. What matters most is that you come to a full stop on the box while staying tight. The second you let go of your tension through your lower and upper back, this becomes an unsafe movement. Remember to use a slightly wider, toes-out stance when squatting this way too. This will ensure that your shins stay more vertical to shift the emphasis away from your quads.

 

01 Jan

Setting Realstic New Years Resolution Goals

 

best-happy-new-year-pictures

 

 

Firstly, Happy New Year. I hope you enjoyed the festive season with friends & family.

It is officially the new year which means one thing, new years resolutions will be starting in the coming few days of which for many will be losing weight.

I have already witnessed some horrific advertising this morning. Ridiculous diet regimes & training programmes that claim to burn 3-4 x the amount of calories etc etc.

I thought I would give you some realistic & sensible guidelines which will allow you to approach this sensibly & look at this long term.

If like many, you have spent the past few weeks eating & drinking more than usual. Drastically reducing your calorie intake is NOT the answer. The best & most simple way of approaching this is to work out your calorie/macronutrient breakdown just to maintain your weight. Once , you stuck to this principle for a few days or a week, I would then start to slowly reduce calories/macronutrients as your weight starts to reduce & monitor this on a weekly basis. I do this with all of my clients & it is a much more productive way both short & long term.

The same rule applies to heading to the gym. The number of weekly training sessions I normally do dropped in December as  many people are out socialising more than normal or too busy at work trying to get as much work done before the Christmas break. If you have done none or very little exercise for some time, heading to the gym 5-6 x a week is not the answer. 2 – 3 x a week is enough to start again. If you feel after a week or two you wish to increase the frequency/intensity then do so.

Both of the above should NOT be seen as a chore. Look at this as a fresh start & a positive step towards a healthier you. This whole process should be seen as a long term investment rather than being “healthy” for a month & going off the rails once January is over, which normally results in gaining weight. This is a marathon not a sprint.

DO NOT BUY IN TO BS propaganda. There are NO short cuts with this. If there were, we would all being doing them with miraculous results. Prime example being, detoxes. Nobody did this until a few years ago, now a massive majority of the general public rush to this in January. Many of these claim 10lbs weight loss in a week, reduce/cure serious illnesses. If you like coffee for example, not having any for a month is pointless. You are depriving yourself of something you like but instead of always having 4-6 cups a day of it a day reduce it to 2-3 permanently. Your body does not need to detoxify from coffee you just probably need to drink less of it.

Eat a variety of foods. Eating a chicken salad or chicken, broccoli with sweet potatoes countless times a day / week is not the answer, it’s dull & boring. Make sure you are eating plenty of  vegetables, foods enriched with protein & essential fats.

Eat real food. Many run out & buy loads of pointless supplements some of which make some bold statements in regards to their results. Protein shakes/bars are ok & very popular but try to get as much of your daily calories, macronutrients from REAL food.

YOUR BODY NEEDS CARBOHDRATES. Eating no carbohydrates is ridiculous & not healthy long term. If you are looking to lose weight, then yes, slowly reduce them but having none for weeks on end is not an answer.

Sticking to the basics in the gym. Adding squats to your training routine is far more productive than using a leg adductor/abductor machine. A squat will work the quadriceps & hamstrings in one movement which is a lot more functional to the body & will burn more calories.

My final point may annoy or upset some people but below are your kidneys & liver. Their prime function is to detoxify & cleanse your body. If they do not function properly you end up on dialysis or you die. Please do not think by drinking a herbal tea, taking a slimming tablet etc etc will do the same function as these 2 vital organs in your body.

 

kidneys