Friday, 28 March 2014


Well today's been very enlightening in more ways than one. :)

1) I wore my HRM for the full cardio workout this morning:  Although I appreciate the training zone is only a guideline, by the time I hit 20 minutes running my heart rate was already 'out of zone' and by the end it was a full 20 bpm above my recommended level. I ended up trying to slow down my running and bike speed to bring it down a little.

2) I burn a lot more calories than I realised. On my cardio days, using a combination of MFP and Fitbit adjustment I usually get about 450 calories added. Today using the HRM, I burned 614 calories

 3) I finally managed a full 30 minute run AND could probably have done more if I hadn't wanted to get some bike time in as well! Seriously happy with this. I suspect dropping my running speed to help manage my heart rate, contributed to my being able to run for longer. Funny that...

4) Apparently I can't eat as much as I used to be able to!
I was very kindly invited to join a colleague at the Wimbledon hospitality tasting session today, where I ate ALL the things! Unfortunately I didn't manage to try Albert Roux's lobster because by that point I was just too full and still had desserts to taste!! Currently feeling very full and verrrry sleepy...

5) My new electric blue slingbacks seem to attract a lot of attention! (but they are purdy though!)

Today's Workout:
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 10 minutes (5, 5)
Running (slow, 5.5 - 5.8 mph) = 30 minutes (30 non-stop)
Stationary Bike (moderate, 90+ rpm, L6) = 18 minutes

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Baby Guns!

Very pleased to report that I managed to bring all three components of my HRM to the gym this morning!

I was even more surprised to find that my 45 minute Stronglifts workout burned about 100 calories more than the MFP values. As MFP has a reputation for overestimating burns, this was particularly welcome news - I can eat even MORE food on non-cardio days! :)

Finally, feeling somewhat pumped up by my workout, I wanted to have a bit of a flex in front of the mirror to see progress - and look! Baby guns!

I knew that I'd been losing weight on my arms as they definitely don't feel as loose and flabby as they used to, but I was still pretty surprised to see these babies have emerged. Apparently they're shedding off their cocoon of fat nicely! :)

Seems like I'm at the 'bite 'point for Stronglifts now, where I'm finding the weights where I can't just do 5 straight sets so have to repeat the weights. I'm quite glad though, as it's nice to see where my more natural 'baseline' is as the programme starts you by just lifting an empty bar.

So as it currently stands (since starting on 5 Feb):
Squats = 45kg (I doubt I'll complete 5x @ 50kg)
Bench Press = 35kg (didn't complete 5x)
Rows = 42.5kg (didn't complete 5x)
Overhead Press = 25kg (didn't complete 5x)
Deadlift = 60kg (still easy)

Cardio day tomorrow! :)

Today's Workout (Stronglifts 5x5):
Squats = 45kg
Bench Press = 35kg
Rows = 42.5kg

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

HRM Fail...

I failed!
Fully intending to try out my new HRM for this morning's cardio session, I dropped the transmitter part in the car on my way to the station so got to the gym at work and couldn't find it. :( At least I hadn't dropped it between the car and the station though, which is what I was worried about!

I was back on form again with this morning's cardio session - I've been trying out a friend's trick on the treadmill of sticking my towel over the time so I don't know how long I've run for, and this morning I made it to past the 20 minute mark before I started to feel tired, and finished at 25 minutes (once my song had finished - Aerosmith's Pink - LOL!). I was actually quite surprised as it's been 2 weeks now since I did a non-stop run of 'reasonable' length, so I was expecting to struggle this morning. To be honest, I could probably have run for longer but I wanted to spend some time on the bike as well today.

This week I've started to do some research into bikes so I can look into both cyclecommuting the 5 miles to work, and also start getting into mountain biking. I've volunteered to be part of one of my work's two Great Escape Challenge teams, so I need to get some training in if I'm not going to be the weakest link! - exciting times!

Today's Workout:
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 10 minutes (5, 5)
Running (slow, 5.6 - 5.8 mph) = 25 minutes (25 non-stop)
Stationary Bike (moderate, 90+ rpm, L7) = 13 minutes

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

You Know You're Hooked When... find reasons for buying yet another piece of fitness gear... Oops?
After 'uhming and ahhing' about buying one for months now, I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a purdy pink Polar FT4 to be able to track my non-step workouts better!
Looking forward to trying it out tomorrow :)

 In other news, after finally getting over my latest cold this winter, I had planned on getting back into the gym yesterday morning. However after missing my train (by seconds!) and thus having to wait 40 minutes for the next one(!), I only ended up having 15 minutes to play with in the gym. :(

Today I fared a little better and headed over to my other gym to play Stronglifts. After lifting 42.5kg in squats and 25kg in overhead presses, I had to wait a while before one of the bars on the floor was free to do my deadlifts. Was worth waiting for though, as I started lifting the previous guy's weight - 60kg. I quite like the raised eyebrow effect ;-)

This week has also been full of lovely eats!
The ladies have finally started laying again which means our egg basket is looking great (and I get lots of super-fresh poached eggs!)

[left to right: Jaffa, Gabbi and Boo]

After seeking inspiration from my MFP buddies, I made this uber-healthy taco salad for dinner last week (the tortilla bowl works a treat!).

Then equally colouful, was Friday night's saltfish fritters (recipe to come this week) with plantains, baked sweet potato and salad. I think after feeling poorly, my body just wanted the good stuff. :)

Today's Workout (Stronglifts 5x5):
Squats = 42.5kg
Overhead Press = 25kg
Deadlift = 60kg

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Then and Now - 3(ish) Months' Progress Pics

Yesterday I finally got around to taking some progress pics so I can compare how I looked at the start of my journey (okay, I only got around to taking my first pics after I'd been losing weight for a month and a half) and now.

It's actually quite enlightening, especially given the fact that I never used to think that I looked particularly fat, even though the scales said that I was technically obese.
Although despite there being a stone (14lbs) in difference between the two sets of pictures, I don't think the difference is as marked as it is for some people. For reference, I am 5'2" and 31 years old and working out 5 times per week for 45-60 minutes. Currently on 3 days of cardio and 2 of heavy lifting until I've lost a little more and meet my 5k running goal, then I'll reverse days so I do 3 of lifting and 2 of cardio.

What does seem to be apparent, is that I seem to have been losing weight relatively evenly from all over my body, perhaps with a slight emphasis on my back, shoulders/upper arms, tummy and waist. This tallys with the fact that I've gone down both a clothing and bra size over this period. My face also looks less chubby, and my jawline is a little more defined.

Most importantly though, I feel so much fitter! I've gone from struggling to do 10 minutes on the cross trainer and running for just 60 seconds got me out of breath, to being able to run for nearly 30 minutes. I can squat and lift 40kg with relative ease. There's a spring in my step, my skin and hair are loads better and I am in love with my morning exercise endorphines!

At this point I've still got about another 20lbs to go before I class as a 'healthy' weight, which at 1 lb per week with a little leeway, means I should hit target and be able to drop another clothes size before my sister's wedding in August. Result!

Today's Workout:
No gym workout today as I'm streaming with cold (my nose is running more than I can/will today). May go for a walk later :)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

WIAW: The Barefaced One

I think I'm coming down with Man Flu.
P has had a nose like a tap for the last few days so it's pretty much inevitable I guess, but I was hoping my immune system would have shaken the bugs off :(

As a consequence, today's workout wasn't as great as I'd hoped, but I did manage to do 10 minutes' running at 6mph (yay - finally at 10 min mile speed!) with a slight incline, but because I was feeling crap, the rest of the treadmill session was 5 minute intervals at 5.8mph with 0.5 or no inline, and 60s walks in between for the rest of the 40 minutes. I did follow up with time on the bike as well :)

There seems to be a social media trend going around today for 'cancer awareness'. Although I can't seem to find out where it originated, I'm more than happy to raise awareness for this horrible disease so have joined in the #nomakeupselfie trend.

Because awareness isn't everything, I also paid for my Race for Life entry today as well - a friend and I will be running it this year in June (instead of walking it, as per last year!).

Want to help? Please consider donating to your local Cancer Charity!

Last week I failed miserably with WIAW so made an effort to take pics this week.
Today's post is therefore brought to you by Thursday :)

Breakfast was the current favourite and one I keep going back to: fresh mango and pineapple with 0% Fat Greek Yoghurt and a drizzle of honey - yum! Sometimes I have a sprinkle of cinnamon as well. :)

 I will have to apologise for the next pic (well no-one can say it was photoshopped to look good!) as I got most of the way through my lunch before remembering to snap it!

This was leftover dinner from Wednesday, and was The Hairy Dieter's low-cal Pan Haggerty (a lovely one-pan dish of bacon, potatoes, cheese and carrots) from their second recipe book. I have to say, both of their diet books are brilliant and well worth buying. Some recipes are a little obvious and simple if you're a keen cook anyway, but worth it for the inspiration!

I posted about Thursday's dinner separately because it was also really, really good. This was a Caribbean-spiced 'Cottage Pie' with fried plantains - a veg (actually a fruit), that I've never cooked before and definitely will do again!

So all in all, a pretty good day of eats and not at all 'snacky'!

Now I'm off to go see what everyone else has been eating! :-)

Today's Workout:
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 8 minutes (5, 1, 1, 1, 5)
Running (slow (but getting faster!), 6.0 and 5.8 mph) = 25 minutes (10, 5, 5, 5)
Stationary Bike (moderate, 90+ rpm, L8) = 13 minutes

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Quick Update

Crazy busy again today so no time for a full lunchtime blog post :(

Today was a Stronglifts day - weights were 40kg for both Squats and Rows, and 35kg for the Bench Press.
I really struggled with the Bench Press today, so will be sticking at the same weight next week...

In other news, I had an impromptu run down the high street after my workout this morning as I'd forgotten to pack a regular bra - doh! Apparently my size is really popular as M&S had hardly anything, so I ended up having to buy one of the 2-pack sets. Grr! On the flip side, I also picked up a lovely new black sports bra, which means I won't have quite such a rush trying to get my other one washed and dry so regularly.

Today is also notable in that I registered for Parkrun!
Aiming to run my first 'official' 5k in 3 weeks' time with a friend at Nonsuch Park. Go me!!!

Today's Workout (Stronglifts 5x5):
Squats = 40kg
Bench Press = 35kg
Rows = 40kg

Monday, 17 March 2014

Week in Review: ending 16-03-14


'This week, I 'ave been mostly...'

Getting my hair cut. And I don't mean just getting the same cut as I did last time, and the times before that, but actually thinking about what I wanted doing and trying something a littel different. Granted, there are only so many things you can do with short hair, but I'm really pleased with this cut. My hairdresser is awesome!

After much deliberation, I resubscribed to Graze. I spend too much money on healthy snacking, but this lets me budget for it a little better, plus I get a lovely variety of different things to try in each box.
Although we've been tinkering with it for a couple of weeks now, this week P and I completely geeked out and worked on our model railway so it's now looks less like a toy layout, and is heading towards looking like a proper set. (I'll admit, I'm not all that into the trains, but I've been having fun creating buildings and designing the landscape).

I tried cooking something completely new!
I've never cooked plantains before but I think I'll definitely be doing them again - not least because I've got another one in the fruit bowl! These twice-fried Tostones were lovely with the Caribbean 'Cottage' Pie.

I completed three 20+ minute runs this week. I've still put c25k on hold for now, whilst I focus on getting more comfortable running for this length of time and increasing my speed. I'm now up to running at 5.8mph, which is a vast improvement from the 5mph that I started at!

I squatted 32.5kg. Still baby weight by many standards but again, I only started lifting properly in February so am pretty chuffed how well it's going. I'm still struggling to up the weight on my overhead, but I'm sure it'll get there slowly. Have to say I LOVE how it's helping to change my body shape!

I managed to lose another lb despite eating ice cream! As you may be aware, during the week I take my exercise very seriously but come the weekend, I tend to slip somewhat. As a general rule though, so long as I stay below my TDEE calories, I'm not too worried about going over my target calories for weight loss. This means, that despite eating more than I should (and this weekend, that included Ben & Jerrys Half Baked ice cream and chocolate brownies), I still lost weight, which goes to prove that there is definitely some flexibility with the scales and that the food you eat, it not all that affects your weight!

How was your week? :)

Friday, 14 March 2014

Recipe: Caribbean 'Cottage Pie' with Green Plantain Tostones

I didn't manage my 20 minute run this morning: apparently my squats and half an hour rowing yesterday played havoc on my legs so they ached like mad today. :( I still managed to run for the full length of time, but had to break it up into a 10-minute and two 5-minute runs interspersed with walking. But I guess that's better than nothing, and I did manage some time on the bike afterwards as well.

Although I've got a couple of recipes to post waiting in 'draft' form, they need a little tweaking first, so I thought I'd post this one today, of what I created for dinner last night because it was unbelievably delicious!

I love to spice meats up with Jerk spices before cooking, and thought I'd create a fusion recipe using some of my favourite ingredients - Lo and behold, the Caribbean-influenced Cottage Pie was born.

This used lean pork mince with jerk spices, topped with sweet potato mash. We went the whole hog and had it with twice-fried plantains (aka tostones) as I've never cooked them before, and some sugar snap peas. Plus there was plenty left for me to have it for lunch today as well :)

450g lean minced pork
400g sweet potato (cubed)
1 medium onion (diced)
80g frozen peas (I used petits pois)
1 chicken stock cube
1 tbsp jerk spice (add to taste)
1 tbsp cornflour
Salt & pepper

Preheat over to 180 C

1) Boil the cubed sweet potato in salted water until tender, drain, mash and set aside.
2) Stir-fry the pork mince and onion in a non-stick frying pan until browned, before adding the peas.
3) Crumble over the stock cube and then thoroughly stir through the jerk spice, cornflour salt and pepper.
4) Add enough water to create a little 'sauce' coating the meat mixture.
5) Transfer the pork to an oven dish and top evenly with the sweet potato mash. Place in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes or so until lightly crispy on the top.

This will make 4 regular servings at 322 cals, 29g carbs, 12g fat and 25g protein
(or 3 hungry-person servings at 430 cals, 39g carbs, 16g fat and 33g protein)

Optional: Whilst the cottage pie is in the over, make your tostones!

1 large plantain
Oil for frying
Sea salt

6) Slice the top and tail off a large plantain. Peel, and slice into half-inch rounds.
7) Heat 2 tbsp oil (I used groundnut, but coconut would also be good) in a frying pan and fry the plantain slices on each side for about a minute. Remove to a couple of pieces of kitchen roll.
8) With the back of a wooden spatula or spoon, flatten the slices to about half their height and return to the pan, adding a little more oil if required and frying until golden brown.
9) Drain onto fresh sheets of kitchen roll to remove excess oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt before serving.

Enjoy! x

Today's Workout:
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 23 minutes (7, 5, 5, 5)
Running (slow (but getting faster!), 5.8 mph) = 20 minutes (10, 5, 5)
Stationary Bike (moderate, 90+ rpm, L7) = 13 minutes

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Excuses, excuses...

These days I tend to get really, really frustrated by conversations with my mother.

When my little sister announced her wedding date last year, like me, my mum decided that she wanted to lose weight to look good in the photographs.

I went ahead and started cutting back my calories and then hopped onto the fitness wagon at the start of November (having decided that fitness and figure was more important than weight loss) and since then, I've lost 17lbs (nearly half of what I originally set out to lose), can now run for 25 minutes (aiming to run my first 5k this summer) and have started lifting heavy(ish) weights (come on, I'm only a beginner there!). I've gone down at least a whole dress size and most importantly, I feel absolutely amazing.

My mother on the other hand, has (allegedly) lost 7lbs in that time. I concede that it's better than nothing, but whenever I suggest she might want to try logging her calories or exercising more, there's always some excuse as to why she can't (age, injury, lack of time, social events etc, etc, blah, blah blah....). To be honest, I think we all know someone like this - I can name another few off the top of my head in an instant - people who say that they want to lose weight or get fit, but at the end of the day, do very little about it. The only conclusion can be, that it's obviously not that important to them, because if you really, truly want something, you will go out of your way to make sure it happens.

The other worrying thing is that even if they just want to be slimmer, they aren't willing to put in the hard work to get there and only want a quick fix (my mother commented that if she's not lost weight a bit nearer the time of the wedding, she may try raspberry ketones - I mean... seriously?!).

I've given up pointing out to her that there is no quick fix or magic pill as a shortcut for weight loss. It takes people time to get overweight and unfit, so reversing the process isn't not going to be an overnight miracle - it's going to take dedication and hard work to get there, and all I can do is show her by setting an example.

Today's Workout (Stronglifts 5x5):
Squats = 32.5kg
Overhead Press = 22.5kg
Deadlift = 50kg

Rowing Machine (moderate speed, 30+ spm) = 28 mins

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Review: Graze Snack Boxes

Once upon a time (in January 2010 to be precise), I signed up to receive my first ever Graze box.
The concept of snack boxes was still new and I don't believe at the time, Graze had any real competition, so the idea of having a box of random yumminess delivered directly to you was incredibly appealing (for those who may have been living under a rock for the last few years, the graze boxes are letterbox-sized boxes full of four 'healthy' snack packs which can be delivered conveniently to your home or workplace). I was a subscriber for a couple of years but cancelled my delivery when I changed jobs.

Fast forward four years, and I've just resubscribed. You may have seen that I like to keep my work snack drawer topped up, but I've missed the random element of being sent healthy(ier) snacks derived from a list of things that you specify you like/don't like on their website. For that reason alone, despite checking out Nutribox and Saviour Snackboxes and liking their principles, I won't be ordering from them.

When I snack, I'm quite specific in what I like: I'm not (shock horror) a fan of dried fruit and plain nuts or seeds. I usually prefer savoury to sweet, but when I do fancy something sugary, I want 'real' sugar (or honey/maple syrup etc) and not just fruit. I love olives but as a PA, I don't want ones flavoured with garlic oil! And I've not found a cereal or snack bar yet that I like enough to want regularly (perhaps I've just not tried enough yet). So basically, I like having the option to pick and choose what I want in my delivery, and if there's something I particularly want in my next box, I can request it. Simples.

All boxes come with a full nutritional breakdown of your snacks and conveniently, most are already in MyFitnessPal. :)

My first box since resubscribing has 'Punchy Protein Nuts', Moroccan Harissa Olives, Mango Chutney with Black Pepper Dippers and Summer Berry Flapjacks (which I gave to P to take to work). Yum!

UK readers - Want to try your first one for free (plus your 5th and 10th boxes)? Click Here :)

Today's Workout:
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 11 minutes (6, 5)
Running (slow (but getting faster!), 5.8 mph) = 20 minutes (20 non-stop)
Arc Trainer (Resistance 25, 100+ rpm) = 12 minutes

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Good Intentions

Regular visitors will know that I prefer my morning weekday workouts rather than evening ones, and on weekdays, it works out great for me as P drives past the station on his way to work, which means I can grab an early train and get into the gym (either the one downstairs at the office for cardio, or the one around the corner from work for weights) for about an hour before work.

On weekends however, as he works in construction and is very physically active in the week, the last thing he really wants to do at the weekend is more physical stuff. As our primary hobbies tend to involve computers, that usually turns out fine, except for me feeling a little guilty in having 2 UBER rest days.

So last Friday I ordered myself a few home workout DVDs, with the intention of getting my (somewhat fitter) ass into gear during the weekends. After recommendations from a few buddies, I bought Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred, Hulaerobics (I will get around to learning how to use my hoop!) and the Elements of Yoga set.

Despite my good intentions, I failed to do any of them this week! P and I have recently started a new (and also incredibly geeky hobby) which ended up taking up most of our weekend... Oh well! Might have a play with them in the evenings and put my new ToeSox to use! :)

On the flip side, P used to be a very keen mountain biker and now the weather (and ground) is a lot drier, we're planning on getting me up to speed on the bikes very soon!

Today's Workout:
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 10 minutes (5, 5)
Running (slow, 5.7 mph) = 20 minutes (20 non-stop)
Stationary Bike (moderate, 100+ rpm) = 18 minutes

Friday, 7 March 2014

Time Waits for No Man (or Woman)

Another very, very busy day at the office so no update today other than my workout, log as working through my lunch break. :(

In a nutshell though, I had a good cardio workout today. I've decided to give myself a couple of weeks running 20-25 mins at a time until I'm comfortable with that time, before stepping back on with the c25k programme. I have been slowly increasing my speed and running cadence though, so am now up to 5.8 mph (I started at 5 mph).

In other news, I've just bought a couple of workout and a yoga DVD to try out at home at the weekend to try to mix things up a bit :)

Today's Workout:
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 10 minutes (5, 5)
Running (slow, 5.8 mph) = 22 minutes (22 non-stop)
Stationary Bike (moderate, 100+ rpm) = 18 minutes

Thursday, 6 March 2014

A Little Catching Up...

Playing catch up on a few of the things I'd meant to share this week...

Somewhat belatedly, these are the awesome Smoked Salmon, Crayfish and Spinach pancakes that I had for Pancake Day (smoked salmon trimmings, crayfish tails, 2 tbsp low-fat creme fraiche, 1 tbsp lemon juice and black pepper, with a handful of young spinach leaves in each). I had 3 of the blighters, followed by a couple of Lemon and Sugar ones, plus a Nutella one because I felt like it - then spent the rest of the evening feeling VERY full!

 This has been my breakfast all this week so far... :) I'm hooked on these Finn Crisp Thin Rye  Crispbreads and they're especially nice with the Philadelphia Salmon and Dill cream cheese.
Not quite as much protein as I'd like for brekkie, but still really good.

 Today I finally got around to taking a selfie at the gym! :-) Thursday mornings seem to be lovely and quiet, so no waiting around for the rack, bench or the bars, so I was warmed up and through the Stronglifts workout in 30 minutes today.

Still relatively baby weights, but getting there slowly.
Would probably help if I did more than 2 lifting sessions per week, but I'm currently focusing more on my running and cycling at the moment, so am doing a 3-day cardio, 2 day weights breakdown which I'll probably switch around later in the year once I've lost a bit more weight.

And speaking of weight, the t-shirt in the picture used to be a much snugger fit than it is these days! It's actually pretty loose now! :)

Today's Workout (Stronglifts 5x5):
Squats = 35kg
Bench Press = 32.5kg
Rows = 35kg

Stationary Bike (Moderate speed, 90+ rpm) = 7 mins

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Recipe: Squid, Mozzarella, Olive, Tomato and Spinach Pasta (WIAW #fail)

This week I officially failed for What I Ate Wednesday...

Left my phone at home this morning which has had a cascade of consequences: I had nothing to read on the train to work this morning; I had no *decent* music to listen to in the gym today as no access to Spotify; my Fitbit won't sync until I'm home later so MFP is currently giving me a massive calorie adjustment and therefore making it hard to plan for my meals today; all the pictures I've got on my phone for this week's WIAW post are inaccessible until later, as are the ones for a couple of recipes I've got planned to post and the ones I took of last night's amazing pancakes; and it's going to be tricky to hook up with P later for my lift home... #fail.

On the flip side, I did still get to work in time for the gym today for a decent cardio workout (to burn off some of last night's 7 pancakes) and today you get a lovely lunchtime recipe for Squid, Mozzarella, Olive, Tomato and Spinach Pasta.

I confess that I cheated and used pre-bought tomato and mozzarella salad, but this will work with fresh mozzarella and sundried tomatoes in its place.

150g Wholewheat Fusilli (uncooked weight)
5 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
60g Sundried Tomatoes
100g Mini-Mozzarella Balls
75g Black Pitted Olives
100g Young Leaf Spinach, roughly shredded
2 tbsp Lemon juice
100g Squid Pieces In Olive Oil
1 tbsp Pesto
Salt & Pepper to taste

This is so simple that I'm not sure it really needs instructions, but...

1) Cook the pasta according to instructions, rinse under cold water to cool and drain well.
2) Put pasta and all ingredients into a large bowl, mixing thoroughly. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Total (Serves 3): 968cals     104g C     34g F     59g P
Per Serving: 323cals     35g C     11g F     20g P

Today's Workout:
Walking (brisk, 3.8 mph) = 9 minutes (5, 4)
Running (slow, 5.5 mph) = 20 minutes (20 non-stop)
Stationary Bike (moderate, 100+ rpm) = 18 minutes

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Busy, busy...

Phew... little on the busy side today so I've not time to post anything other than today's workout :(

Squats = 32.5kg
Overhead Press = 22.5kg (only completed 3 sets at this weight)
Stationary Bike (moderate speed, 90+ rpm) = 12 minutes

Monday, 3 March 2014

Week in Review: ending 02-03-14


'This week, I 'ave been mostly...'

Giving myself permission to roll with my hormones and enjoy foods that my body wants.  This has involved a Monster Salad, Japanese-style curry, Chinese takeaway, lots of beautiful, locally-made pistachio ice cream and testing an idea for a quick microwave banana sponge pudding recipe with almond milk custard... This week has also seen me allowing myself to get very irritable, but also to cry with laughter.

ENJOYING getting muddy on my second ever outdoor run on the local common. Apparently ankle-deep mud is fine, as are wet feet, but toes so gold they go numb, aren't good at all and were the main reason I legged it back home again before...

Walking for over 10 miles around London whilst viewing conference venues for work. My route took me across and along the River Thames from Battersea to Pimlico, and then the 25-minute walk across Regent's Park to London Zoo. Back across the Park to Marlebone and then from Vauxhall along the Thames' Albert Embankment. It was a beautiful sunny day but damn my legs ached that evening and the following day!

I finalised my recipe for chewy Chocolate Protein snacks for my man, to give him something better to nibble on through the day than regular chocolate bars.

I got around to making myself a BIG box of luverly wholewheat pasta salad for work lunches this week - recipe to come next week. :)

How was your week? :)

Recipe: No-bake Chocolate Protein Balls / Cookies

I have just had a very, very lazy few days....
P and I both booked Friday off work as part of our plan to have a series of 'long weekends' rather than whole weeks off work, but I find when I'm at home, I'm far less inclined to exercise. P works in construction so is very physically active throughout the week, which means the last thing he wants to do at the weekend is anything particularly energetic. I on the other hand, being predominately desk-based have loads more energy come the end of the week.

Because he is so active at work and rarely has time to eat, getting enough food into him during the week is often a challenge. He has a horrible habit of munching his way through chocolate bars because they are quick and convenient, but because they don't fill him up and he's just living off the sugar high, he's really not doing himself any favours.

A couple of weeks ago I created a recipe for some high-protein chocolate snacks that he could take to work with him. This weekend, after a little recipe tweaking (nearly typed twerking then - cue mental image of these babies shakin' their pert bootays... sheesh!), he's confirmed that the new recipe is, I quote, 'quite literally, the bollocks'.

I'm not going to pretend they are low fat, low calorie or sugar free, but they can very easily be adapted and they are a damn site more healthy than most chocolate bars and with 16g of protein in each one, they do seem to be keeping him fuller for longer. :)

I made the initial batch into cookie shaped treats and the texture was just like eating a soft, chewy cookie, but because it was so hard to get the chopped nuts to stick and when he ate them, they kept falling off, P suggested that a roll or ball would probably be easier - so in came MkII - the Chocolate Protein (not Salty) Balls...

4 scoops Chocolate-flavoured Protein Powder (I used Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Double Chocolate)
4 tbsp Cocoa Powder 40g Hazelnut Butter
50g Ground Hazelnuts
50g Rice Flour
4tsp Set Honey
4 tbsp Hazelnut (or almond) Milk
25g Chopped Hazelnuts
20g Milk Chocolate Chips

I found these much simpler to make using my food processor, but they can also be made by hand.

1) In the bowl of a food processor, add the protein powder, rice flour, ground nuts and cocoa powder and blitz a few times to mix.
2)  Add the hazelnut butter, honey and hazelnut milk and mix on a low speed for 1-2 minutes. You should find as you keep mixing, the mixture goes from a breadcrumb-like texture, to gradually forming a soft, mallable ball of chocolatey goodness.
3) Remove from the processor bowl and gently knead, incorporating the chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
4) Divide equally into 8 pieces and roll into balls. (tip - if you coat with a little rice flour before rolling, it helps stop the finished product from sticking together).
5) Store in an airtight container in the fridge - they should be good for a few days.

Each ball (weighing approx. 60g) is worth 221 calories, comprising 14g carbohydrates, 11g fat and 16g protein.
Compared to a standard 48g Mars Bar (245 cal, 26g carbohydrates, 13g fat and 5g protein), I think these weigh up pretty well!

P says although they do work without the chocolate chips and nuts, the balls are much nicer with them as they give a bit more variety in texture!

Today's (post-lazy weekend) Workout :
Rowing (moderate speed, 32rpm) = 10 mins
Walking (moderate speed, 3.6mph) = 5 mins
Running (slow speed, 5.7mph) = 10 mins
Arc Trainer (level 7, 160spm) = 12 mins