Thursday, 15 May 2014

An Apology

After a manic week last week preparing for my conference on Thursday, a long 'recovery' weekend and crazy week this week, has meant no time to update my blog.

Suffice to say, I've worked out every weekday except Thursday, Friday and Monday over the last 2 weeks. :)

Currently feeling particularly exhausted after riding in and then doing my full upper body routine, circuits class at lunchtime, walking down the High Street (and back up the hill) twice, and eyeing up my pre-ride snack before heading home...

The scales have finally started shifting again, along with my renewed enthusiasm for exercise and watching what I eat, so hoping to get that ball rolling again properly as well :)

Fingers crossed I'll be able to update properly tomorrow!

Today's Workout(s):
Cycling (av speed = 11 mph) = 27 minutes (uphill to work)
Upper body routine = 37 minutes (including 8 minutes of rowing intervals)
'Body Blast' = 25 minutes
Cycling = 25 minutes (estimated ride home)

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Fair Weather

I'm going to put both hands up and admit that right now, I am very much a fair weather cyclist.
I took one look at the rain out of the window this morning and decided that I'd get the train, rather than brave the torrential downpour before hitting the gym - and fortunately, the train was playing ball today and actually arrived when it was supposed to! This gave me enough time to surprise myself with a slow but non-stop, 25-minute run on a slight incline. I'm determined to complete my first Parkrun this month, so was quite pleased with this, considering I've not run for a week. :)

Yesterday morning I had my induction with Rayen, our new PT and Gym Manager at work.
I'd already said I was most interested in learning to lift properly and that the previous PT was dead-set against it, so was pleased to hear Rayen wanted to take me back to basics to build a good foundation to go forward from.

My new programme uses the equipment we have downstairs, which means I have cancelled my second gym membership, and for the next 4 weeks I'm going to see how I get on with it.
There's now a healthy mix of compound bodyweight, machine and freeweight exercises, divided into Upper and Lower body workouts and taking into account my cardio and ride to/from work.

I suspect it's probably going to kill me for the first week and that I might have to leave home a bit earlier (at least initially) until I know the routines better, but really looking forward to getting started next week! :)

Yesterday's Workout:
Cycling (average speed = 10 mph) = 26 minutes
Arc Trainer (Level 5, 130+ rpm) = 25 minutes
Rowing Machine (Level 9, 32+ spm) = 10 minutes
Cycling (average speed = 11 mph) = 24 minutes

Today's Workout:
Running (slow, 5.2 mph, 0.5 incline) = 25 minutes (5 min walk warm up / cool down)
Body Blast & Stretching clinic = 50 minutes

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Just a Quick Note

Crazy busy at work again so yesterday and today's updates are combined and a little brief!

Apparently I'd pulled my left quadriceps muscle over the weekend so I opted to get the train in yesterday morning.
BIG mistake! As I was waiting on the platform, [the train which was supposed to be] my train, went whizzing past empty and without stopping, despite the signs saying it was running to time and not cancelled. This wouldn't have been an issue if the next train wasn't due for another 40 minutes... grr!
Cue lots of waiting around getting cold, and a very pissed off girlie as I couldn't really do much in the gym either. I ended up doing just 10 minutes walking on the treadmill with a bit of gentle stretching afterwards.

Today my thigh was a lot better for the time off, so I was back on the bike again this morning - just taking it nice and easy. There were a lot more bikes on the road today (assuming because of the tube strike), and I was overtaken a few times by very enthusiastic roadies! I did still get to the office in 26 minutes though, which gave me enough time for 20 minutes on the Arc trainer.

I was taking it fairly easy again today as tomorrow morning I've got an induction session with Rayen, the new PT at our gym, who is going to put together a new weights programme for me! :)

Today's Workout:
Cycling (average speed = 10 mph (according to MapMyRide)) = 26 minutes
Arc Trainer (Level 5, 130+ rpm) = 20 minutes

Plus ride home: Cycling = 25 minutes(ish)

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Recipe: Spiced Apple Cake

This post is a little late in coming...
Some time ago I was the lucky recipient of Tamzin's (at Salad and Sequins) Coconom coconut sugar giveaway and I'd promised to post a recipe I'd made using it.

Coconut sugar is made from evaporated coconut palm sap, and is 'naturally rich in macro and micro nutrients which include; Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, twelve (12) of the essential vitamin B complex and amino acids. The minimal processing of Organic Coconut Sugar preserves it’s nutritious components making it one of the most nutritionally superior sweeteners available. It’s complex carbohydrates are also believed to provide a slower release of the sugars into the bloodstream, offering sustained energy without the “highs” and “lows” of refined, commercially available sugars and sweeteners.'

I made a banana sponge cake a while ago, but I'll admit, it wasn't very photogenic and needed a bit of work. I also used the ginger-infused sugar to make some slow-cooked BBQ pork belly, but again, the recipe needed some tweaking before I'd consider posting it.

This weekend the sugar had its third outing as I thought I'd make a spiced apple cake for my mum's visit over Easter; the result? Pure delicious awesomness!! I've been very, very impressed by the sugar and will definitely look to get hold of some original (rather than flavoured) as I suspect it will be used more often! :)

The recipe below is lower in fat than a standard apple cake, dairy free, made with wholemeal flour for extra fibre and is slightly enriched with Pulsin's Natural Whey Powder for an extra protein boost (and because that stuff is awesome!).

The finished cake is really moist so doesn't keep for more than a few days, but to be honest, it's so good it probably won't last that long anyway ;-)

You will need two 20cm round baking tins - preferably loose-bottomed or springform as this cake could be tricky to get out otherwise!

Preheat the oven to 190 C

500g Bramley (or other cooking) apples, cored, peeled and finely sliced
(toss in 1 tsp lemon juice to prevent them browning!)
250g Wholemeal flour
100g Coconom ginger coconut sugar
250ml Unsweetened almond milk
75ml Groundnut oil
1tsp Baking powder
1tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla paste
2 Large eggs (I used 3 small (with only 2 of the yolks), as my girls lay little ones :) )
40g Pulsin Natural Whey Powder
2 tbsp Smooth Bramley apple sauce
2 tbsp Demerara sugar (to sprinkle on top - optional)

1) Mix the flour, whey powder, baking powder and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
2) Whisk the coconut sugar, almond milk, oil, vanilla and eggs in a separate bowl until frothy.
3) Carefully mix the wet ingredients into the the dry until well-combined and smooth. The mixture will seem very wet.
4) Stir the apples through the batter so they are well covered, and split the mixture between the two cake tins. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of one of the tins (if using) to give the finished cake a nice crunchy top.
5) Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes. The cakes should be risen and an inserted skewer should come out clean with no firmness left to the apples.
6) Allow to cool before removing from the tins.
7) Spread one of the cakes (the one without the demerara) with the apple sauce before carefully placing the second cake on top.

8) I dusted a tiny bit of icing sugar over the finished cake before serving, but naturally this is entirely optional!

Ta dah! x

This will slice into 12 generous servings at 212 cals, 32g carbs, 7g fat and 6g protein per portion.

Another awesome workout day today - I had DOMS in my hamstrings and shoulders after yesterday's yoga, so my ride in was a little slower. After having left 15 minutes late anyway, I only had time for a quick 10 minute run before showering and heading to my desk. That probably wasn't a bad thing though, as I signed up for the 'Body Blast' and Stretching Clinic classes over lunchtime.
Body Blast had me doing mountain climbers, push-ups, burpees, step-ups, punches, lunges, kettlebell swinging and bunny hops in a rather intense 20-minute circuit. It's the first time I've ever done anything like it since school and although I hated it at the time (f'kin burpees!!!), I've felt great afterwards! The stretching was also good and it feels like I've straightened some of the kinks out in my neck that I hadn't realised I had!

Think I might have to take it a little easier tomorrow though - it seems my motivation is a little more enthusiastic than my body after the Easter break!

Today's Workout(s):
Cycling (av speed = 11 mph) = 27 minutes (uphill to work)
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 7 minutes (5, 2)
Running (slow, 5.4 mph) = 10 minutes (10 non-stop)
'Body Blast' & Stretching = 45 minutes
Cycling = 25 minutes (estimated ride home)

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Putting on the Ritz!

Last year my (not-so-little) sister bought me and my mum a voucher for afternoon tea at the Ritz.
We had agreed to book our tea for the Easter Monday as mum was coming down to London anyway, so on Monday we dressed up on our posh frocks and headed into town for a rather extravagant overdose on sandwiches, scones and cakes (not to mention the glass of champagne and my jasmine tea).

Over Easter weekend I knew I wasn't likely to stick to my calorie limits (or do any exercise), but took it relatively easy on myself by aiming to stick around maintenance TDEE. I did go over a little, but overall I wasn't too unhappy with only having gained less than 1lb.

In other news, I baked a gorgeous Spiced Apple Cake over the weekend, and made a seriously good Minestrone Soup - will try to get the recipes and pics up next week!

Then to top things off, after my ride into work this morning, I thought I'd give running a try as my feet seem to be better, and  instead of doing the 2x slow (5.1mph) 10 minute runs I'd planned, I managed to run for the 20 minutes straight up AND felt I could easily have done more if I'd had the time! Definitely ready to start lifting again! :-)

As the office is incredibly quiet this week, I took advantage by popping down to one of the classes at the work gym. We have (another) new PT downstairs and I was (possibly a little over)excited to learn that she's an Olympic weightlifter(!) and is happy to put together a programme that I can do from downstairs (with the limited free weights section) - which also means I won't have to pay for a second gym membership! She's also hoping to get a power rack or cage for the gym (instead of us just having the Smith machine...). Fingers crossed...

Today's Workout(s):
Cycling (av speed = 12 mph) = 27 minutes (uphill to work)
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 10 minutes (5, 2)
Running (slow, 5.1 mph) = 20 minutes (20 non-stop)
'Power Yoga' = 45 minutes
Cycling = 25 minutes (average ride home)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Riding to Work: Day 3

No pictures today as I think it was even colder today than it was yesterday!

Seriously, it wasn't fun riding with my fingers balled up into my palms to try to keep them warm, and I don't think I had full circulation until a couple of miles into the ride!

No major update today as I'm busy sorting stuff out before the Easter break; I finish this evening for five wonderful days off!
Hopefully will get a bit of time to work out, but my mother is coming down for a few days which usually limits what I can do :(

Today's Workout:
Cycling (average speed = 10 mph (according to MapMyRide - included slow cycle path)) = 30 minutes
Arc Trainer (Level 6, 130+ rpm) = 20 minutes
Lateral pulldown, squats and bench press = 10 mins (not particularly heavy as work gym doesn't have the right equipment)

Plus ride home: Cycling = 30 minutes(ish)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Riding to Work: Day 2

Padded shorts were definitely a good investment as my bum bones felt a little bruised this morning! Admittedly, the cold didn't help because although it was beautifully bright and sunny, there was a light frost on the ground as I rode over the Common. I think I also need to get myself a pair of full-fingered gloves as my fingers took ages to warm up as well!

On my way home last night I tried taking a local cycle route home, which was a beautiful route, marred by the the Easter holidays (ie, loads of kids and dog walkers). I rode it again this morning hoping it would be quieter at 7am and wasn't disappointed; I just saw 2 dog walkers. It does seem to be a bit slower than riding the roads though, as it's a bit more technical with cycle path barriers and narrow bits! :)

Not sure which way to go back this evening - the dilemma!

When I got to the office, I then did a quick 20 minutes on the Arc trainer and 8 on the rowing machines to give my arms a bit of a workout. Gonna try to get back on the Stronglifts programme after Easter though, after my somewhat heavier cardio focus recently.

Today's Workout:
Cycling (average speed = 8.8 mph (according to MapMyRide - included slow cycle path)) = 31 minutes
Arc Trainer (Level 6, 130+ rpm) = 20 minutes
Rowing Machine (moderate speed, 32+ spm) = 8 mins

Plus ride home: Cycling = 30 minutes(ish)