30 Day Challenge

30 Day Challenge

Well, the summer is coming, so it’s that time of year – Challenge time!!

So, over the next 30 days, I will be posting a 30 min workout for each day of April that, if you choose, you can try out.  The aim of the challenge is simple.  Complete each workout in order to get yourself into a ‘me time’ routine.  Looking after your body by treating it to some exercise – Summer body starts here.  All you will need is the following:

  • Comfortable training kit
  • Positive attitude
  • 30 min of ‘me time’

It’s now your time to achieve the unthinkable 🙂

Post Race Evaluation

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As athletes, we are always critical of our performances.  Post race evaluation seems to become second nature to us, but how many of us concentrate on the negatives?  I could have done better.  I could have pushed harder.  If only I had done this/that differently.

I raced at the weekend, my first triathlon for nearly 4 years and my first race since my return from a long road recovering from injury.  As always, I evaluated my performance, but tried to concentrate on the positives.  This was my conclusion from my performance analysis:

I finished the race – injury free.  It was a massive achievement for me.  Thinking back, this was my first race that I have not had tight calves at the end of the run.  Testament that my training has been good and the adaptations have worked.

I have renewed confidence.  I now know that my body can go through the rigors of a triathlon again.  This is my first step to my main goal of completing Outlaw Holkham Half in Jul.  If I keep my training going at the pace/level that it is currently going at, I will achieve my main goal.

I have faith in my training.  Triathlon training is a continually adjusting process.  Progression and if required regression is paramount to achieve goals.  The training that I have prescribed myself seems to be working, so I am happy.

Negatives.  None.  There’s no point in what could’ve beens.  I know that with continued training, my fitness and therefore my triathlon ability will improve.

Post race evaluation can be a very cruel process, especially if we concentrate on the negative components.  Concentrating on trying to see where all the improvements can be made can cause a negative mindset and the potential for over working, over training, and potentially injuries and decrease in fitness.  However you do in a race or event, concentrate on the positives, learn from them and you can achieve the unthinkable 🙂

 

Creamy Asparagus Lasagne

IMG_0312wtmkAfter the glutenous Easter weekend, it’s time to get back on track so tonight’s dinner is a comforting, healthy, nutritious lasagne.  This tasted really delicious and fresh, not at all stodgy and simple to make.

Ingredients:

  • 500g asparagus spears
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 leeks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Low cal cooking spray

For the tomato sauce:

  • 500g carton passata
  • 1 red onion – finely diced
  • Good glug red wine vinegar
  • Bunch fresh basil – finely chopped
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 400g butternut squash
  • 50g Raw cashew nuts (soaked in water for a couple of hours)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 heaped tsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 3 tsp of Tamari (or low salt soy sauce)
  • About 100ml of water (add more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp of Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and lots of pepper

Other ingredients:

  • Lasagne verdi sheets
  • Cheddar cheese or diary free option of choice (for topping)

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Directions:

For the béchamel sauce:

Steam butternut squash until soft (I steamed mine in the microwave for about 7 min) Once cooked, pop all ingredients in a blender (I used my Nutribullet) and blend until smooth. It should be lovely and creamy.

For the tomato sauce:

Saute onions in a saucepan until soft.  Add the crushed garlic.  Add red wine vinegar and passata.  Cook through and then add the fresh basil.

For green vegetables:

Saute the onions, leek and garlic.  Add the asparagus (I snapped mine into little bits).  Cook through for a further 5 min.

For the lasagne:

  • Layer a lasagne dish with some of the béchamel sauce and top with a layer of lasagne sheets.
  • Add some of the green vegetables and tomato sauce.
  • Add another layer of the lasagne sheets.
  • Continue with layers until final layer of béchamel sauce.  Top with cheddar cheese or dairy free option of choice.
  • Bake in oven at 150C for 40 min or until golden.
  • Serve and enjoy.

We topped ours with low fat cheddar cheese which was used as a healthy extra.  This dish serves 6.  Total syns for the recipe – 18; per portion – 3 syns.

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Broccoli and Stilton Soup

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Well, after taking some time off for Easter, I thought it was about time that I took over the mantle of chef from Tracee and made this Broccoli and Stilton Soup.

This is a quick and easy recipe, providing a rich and creamy soup that gives a really cheesy hit.  Very few ingredients, a great opportunity to use up fridge leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Broccoli heads
  • 1 small red onion
  • 150g Stilton cheese
  • 500ml water
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients into a soup maker.
  • Set soup maker to 21 min smooth setting.
  • Serve and enjoy.  If using a saucepan, saute the onion, add remaining ingredients.  Wait until broccoli florets are cooked.  Blitz and serve.

We served ours with homemade croutons.  Not very slimming, but considering its the Easter holiday, I thought a treat was in order – can’t be saintly all the time 😉

 

Another Angelic ‘Dirty Burger’

It’s been a beautiful morning here in the UK. We took advantage of it by potting some vegetable seeds in the garden. Can’t wait to have an abundance of delicious home grown veggie’s. We opted for a quick lunch today as didn’t want to miss out on any of the sunshine. We decided on tofu burgers. I’ve never made burgers with tofu before but these turned out to be really nice. We found this recipe by Jamie Oliver, click here. I did amend slightly and because I’m lazy put all my ingredients in the food processor. I also added 2 spring onions and 1 red chilli; we didn’t add the egg as once blitzed up I felt it didn’t need it. We also added rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs and added some salt and pepper. I served mine in a multi-grain flatbread and topped with salsa and salad, you can top with whatever you like. If following the slimming world plan like I am, I used the oats as my healthy extra and added 5 1/2 syns for my flatbread.

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Ingredients I used (this will serve 2-4 depending how big you want your burgers):

  • 396g pack of tofu. Squeeze as much liquid out as possible and wrap in a clean tea towel with heavy plate on top to drain out more water.
  • 1/2  cup/50g rolled oats or whole-grain breadcrumbs
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 tsp of marmite

I blitzed in the food processor and then made into 4 patties dusting lightly with flour. Bake in the oven at 150c until golden or pan fry in a little frylight.

Are you being serious right now?

My husband decided to cook tonight as I have been slaving away in the kitchen.  He asked me what I would like and I told him to surprise me, just as long as it was meat free.  Now we have an array of vegetarian and vegan cook books in our house.  We are also blessed with high speed broadband where you can find anything on the internet.

This is what he came up with!! Gotta love him for trying! 🙂

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See video below for the families reaction……………

 

 

 

Circuit Training

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Throughout my career as a Physical Training Instructor I must have taken 1000s of circuit lessons. Yet, I am still learning today and always look at ways of improving a circuit to get the best out of the training. But what are the benefits of circuit training and how do you formulate a circuit training session that works?

Benefits of Circuit Training

Circuit training can be a low cost, highly effective way of training restricted only by the ability of thought. Find a clear area and you can formulate a circuit. Circuit training is a great way of training alone, or training a number of athletes at the same time. It can be individualistic whilst incorporating a generic exercise approach, ie, everyone completes the same exercise, but individuals are pushed dependent on their fitness capabilities. It is a great way of incorporating both aerobic and resistance training, and with thoughtful manipulation, can provide quick fitness gains in a relatively short time period. By controlling exercise intensity and reducing recovery time, significant fitness improvements can be gained in a short exercise period. It can be used as a fitness marker, with improvements in fitness evident with increased number of exercises over a specific time frame. Circuit training is also a great way to lose weight.

Formulating Circuit Training

There are a number of variables that need to be considered in order to facilitate a productive, effective circuit training session. Whist not an exhaustive list, below are a number of variables that should be considered when formulating a circuit:

  •  Real Estate – There is no requirement to have a lavish training area. A location that is safe and provides the opportunity to train is sufficient. Areas such as the local park are ideal locations. They are free to use and have many features that can be incorporated into your training.
  • Exercises – When selecting exercises to incorporate within a circuit, you must be mindful of what your training goal is. The type of exercises may effect your training goal. Be aware of how fatiguing the exercise is and also, be aware of your current fitness level. Almost every exercise can be progressed or regressed to suit your fitness level. When I choose exercises I make sure that I am fully aware of my client base. If I am training multiple clients, I always chose exercises that I can progress and regress. There is nothing worse than seeing somebody struggle with an exercise. This can deplete motivation, and more importantly may lead to injury.
  • Exercise Order – When conducting circuit training there will be an accumulation of fatigue on the body that will affect performance. Care should be taken when prescribing exercise with primary exercises being completed at the start of the circuit. The order of exercise has the potential to affect the training effect desired.
  • Training Time – This again is very dependent on a) your fitness level and b) what you want to achieve. There is ‘golden’ training time, so you need to be able to manipulate your training to gain the most of your workout and achieve the training response you desire.

To conclude, circuit training is a fantastic low cost, high effect principle that should be incorporated within all training programmes. It is a process that will elicit greater fitness responses in less time when compared to resistance training Whole body aerobic resistance training has been proven to elicit greater fitness response with less time commitment when compared to a traditional resistance programme combined with aerobic exercise.

So, add circuits to your training programme and achieve the unthinkable.