Plyometrics

Plyometrics are ‘explosive‘ moves which put maximum force on your body in a really short space of time, they get your heart thudding and you shouldn’t be able to do lots of repeats; the focus is quality rather than quantity. These jump moves combine speed and strength to give you a really powerful calorie burn in a short space of time. Some of my favourites are

Jump squats
Burpees
Kettlebell swings
Plie squat jumps
Lateral lunge jumps
High knees
Plank jacks

Plyos consist of stages, the exercises involve rapidly stretching a muscle (eccentric phase) and then rapidly shorten it (concentric phase). They have many benefits including better vertical jump performance, increasing muscle strength and joint protection. If you don’t have much time for a workout, throw a few of these moves in and you will get your heart beating in no time at all.

 

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Prepping your pins

Seems like I have overheard many conversations recently regarding “getting my summer body ready” or “preparing for that holiday“. Unsurprising at this time of year, just remember that your body is YOUR body, not Gisele Bundchens (sigh). Make the most of what you’ve got and wear it with confidence, the tan will help!

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A couple of leg workouts from recently, I do my run first then follow it with the bodyweight training. I tend to add some plyometric exercises to keep my heart rate up. If you do this immediately after your cardio with minimal rest intervals then be prepared to sweat! I do all my strength/ resistance moves with weights, go with what feels right as it is more important to get your form right before moving on to using weights.

  • 100 jumping jacks
  • 100 lunges (50 each leg)
  • 100 jump squats
  • 100  leg lifts (50 each)
  • 15 burpees
  • 100 squats
  • 50 high knees
  • 50 dead lifts
  • 50 crossover (elbow to knee) jumps
  • 100 side lunges (50 each)

 

  • 50 squats
  • 15 burpees
  • 100 side lunges (50 per leg)
  • 15 burpees
  • 100 curtsy lunges (50 per leg)
  • 50 squat jumps
  • 50 dead lifts
  • 50 kettlebell swings
  • 100 split squats (50 each leg)
  • 15 burpees
  • 50 calf raises and hold
  • 100 donkey kicks (50 each side)

Damn Runner’s Knee

A typical injury for runners is the dreaded “runner’s knee” (or patellafemoral pain syndrome for those doctor types out there). Pain essentially is caused from inflammation under the kneecap.

Why does it happen?

  • Girls in particular (we have wider hips) are susceptible to bio-runners-kneemechanical issues
  • Muscular problems; weak glutes mean your lower leg is less stable and so under more pressure; weak quadriceps can make it difficult for the kneecap to track properly, and finally, a big one for me is tight hamstrings, which shift some of running’s impact to the knees.
  • Overtraining and lack of adequate recovery
  • Flat feet

What Does Runner’s Knee Feel Like?

Symptoms of runner’s knee are:

  • Pain behind or around the kneecap, especially where the thighbone and the kneecap meet.
  • Pain when you bend the knee — when walking, squatting, kneeling, running, or even sitting.
  • Pain that’s worse when walking downstairs or downhill.
  • Swelling.
  • Popping or grinding sensations in the knee

What to do?

Don’t despair, although it mind end up as a re-occurring problem there are some things you can do to ease it. I had to lay off running intervals for a few months, but am back on them now and sprinting faster than before.

  • Foam roller; invest, or use one at the gym. Yes it may be crippling pain but my god it will help relax your hamstrings
  • Stretch properly, hold for 20/30 seconds starting from when you feel the stretch. If you can do it more than once a day, then even better
  • Take anti-inflammatory painkillers, the long lasting ones are great
  • RICE; rest, ice, compress, elevate

Pearl Barley Risotto

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I needed something really satisfying after a run and box fit, and this filled the gap perfectly.

Homely, warming, nutty, and so nutritious.

  • Around 30g pearl barley
  • Chicken stock
  • Peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Leeks
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Sprinkling of low fat cheese
  • Herbs; I used thymes, chives, and some bay leaves (remember to remove before serving)

Pour your stock so it just covers the pearl barley and begin to simmer for around 40 minutes, keep an eye on this, topping up with more stock if it looks dry and stirring occasionaly. Meanwhile,  lightly fry your veggies with the garlic and put to the side.

When the barley is almost cooked stir in your veggies and herbs, mix well. Serve in a deep dish and sprinkle with cheese. Nom nom.

 

Chickpea Cookies

Been meaning to make these for EVER but was waiting to get my hands on some PB2. Looked at lots of recipes, made some tweaks, and produced these little beauties. Can’t believe they are so healthy, low calorie and moreish.

  • 200G drained chickpeas
  • 1tsp dark chocolate stevia
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 2tbsp PB2
  • 2tbsp water

You could also add some chocolate chips, honey …

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Chickpeas are often underated as just another ingredient in hummus, but these little beauties

  • Like other beans, Chickpeas, are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, this means they are easily digested and passes easily through your body. They also keep you fuller for longer which might prevent you reaching for the biscuits.
  • Chickpeas are a good source of protein
  • source of the trace mineral manganese, which is important for energy production and antioxidant defenses. 
  • These little babies also boost your energy because of their high iron content, which is really important for girls around a certain time of the month… Iron is a key component of hemoglobin (which transports oxygen around the blood) and is part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.
  • Soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels and provide slow-burning energy. They have low GI value of 28 – 32, which means the carbohydrate in them is broken down and digested slowly.
  • Regular intake of Chickpeas can lower LDL (bad) and total cholesterol. Basically they are good for your heart!

Fancy French Toast.

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Looks quite decadent doesn’t it. But the whole thing is low in calories, gives you a dose of protein, and some lovely vits in your system.

  • 3 slices nimble wholemeal bread
  • 2 egg whites
  • Splosh of almond milk
  • Sprinkling of splenda/brown sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tbsp raisins
  • 2tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter
  • Any fruit you like, could also add yogurt- I have drizzled it with Waldens Farm zero calorie chocolate syrup

Make like simple eggy bread- whisk two egg whites and the splash of almond milk. Briefly soak the bread in the eggy mix and then lightly fry in a pan. Top with your PB2, raisins, fruit etc..

Bloody Mary Mussels

If you haven’t tried Jamie’s 30 minute meals, then I really encourage that you do. They are so easy, quick, and you can often alter the ingredients slightly so that you don’t need to buy anything out of the ordinary. When I lived at home me and my mum used to experiment with them every other week, it’s so lovely to have real quality dishes that you have made yourself- and so can easily tweak to be even healthier!

Jamie’s 15 minutes meals followed the 30 minute series, however I personally wasn’t quite as keen as they often required lots of specific ingredients which aren’t easily accessible, or cheap!

  • 1kg of mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 300ml passata
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of hot horseradish sauce (you can tone this down to taste)
  • 1 small dried chilli
  • 3 stalks of celery , finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • A good glug of port (I omitted)
  • An even bigger glug of vodka (of course I didn’t omit)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

If you don’t fancy preparing the mussels yourself, then buy the pre-packed ones, but I would recommend going for it. 002

Namaste

Yoga is often perceived as fashionable and modern, or as some weird ‘hippy shit’ and a waste of time. In my opinion, it’s not really one or the other. It is completely what you want it to be.

Yes, celebrities seem to love it, there is a ‘spiritual’ side, but there is also so much more. Take from it what you want, but yoga really helps calm those racing thoughts, stretch tight limbs, reflect, relax, challenge your body, improves posture, digestion, eases aches and fatigue.

I have also found it great as a hangover cure.

Now I won’t pretend to be a yoga guru, but I have had a fair few years experience with different instructors and working at home. This page will simply give an insight into that.

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Pretend Pizzas

I am a lover of pizza. Proper takeaway cheesy stuff, with mushroom and sweetcorn to be precise. But due to being a health conscious nut job I desperately seek a replacement. Over the past few weeks I’ve tried three:
Cauliflower pizza base

  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 1 egg
  • basil, garlic, salt and pepper + any other Italian herbs you like (oregano works well)
  • low fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
  • toppings! 

Grate 2 cups of raw cauliflower
Microwave for a few minutes to soften
Ring out any excess water
Mix in one egg, a tbsp low fat cheese (mozzarella is best for pizza taste), 2 tsp basil, one chopped garlic clove, salt and pepper
Bake on baking paper for around 20 minutes until firm, then heap on your tomato sauce, toppings and cheese.
Grill until crispy and gooey and GORGEOUS

Courgette/ Zucchini Base Pizza– repeat instructions as above but replace cauliflower for 1 whole courgette. Ensure you really ring out the excess water. This was my least favorite of the three, the zucchini still wasn’t firm enough for my liking.

Tortilla Pizza Base

  • 2 small wholewheat tortillas
  • Cheese, tomatoes, herbs and toppings same as previous

Toast your two tortillas under the grill, load up with tomato, toppings and cheese then grill until crispy. Quick, easy and my favourite!

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Oh Nandos.

An old favourite, simple, quick, pretty cheap and (can be) healthy! After a long 2 hours of experimenting for our psychology practical we decided to fill our growling stomachs full of chicken.

For the first time ever I had plain, nothing to rave about, I would stick to mango and lime! Try to avoid having chips and more bread and all the heavy stuff, mix in some veggies and go for the sweet potato mash. Oh and the halloumi…

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