What weird times for everyone around the world. Regardless of where you live, job, wealth, it would have effected you.I know people who love it and I also know people who are really struggling to cope with the lack of routine and lack of social contact.
Through this time I have been lucky enough to still have contact with my clients via zoom. Sharing this time with them has been great, especially knowing that they haven't used the lockdown as an excuse to do nothing. It may not be the same as seeing them in person but they have still sweated, huffed and puffed their way through their sessions in the same way they always have.
The one thing that is clear to every single client at the end each session is how important physical activity is for the body and mind. One client recently thanked me at the end of their session stating he needed that.
It has been fantastic seeing so many people out and about running, cycling, walking and training in any outside space available during this lockdown. I know alot of people have alot more time on their hands and I just hope they continue to find that time for themselves at the end of this.
Stuff to buy doesn't matter, the latest episode of a soap doesn't matter but what does matter is being as fit and healthy as possible to give us all the best chance against any illness not just covid.
Life is an event...... more than ever....its back to basics!
Yes I know its been a while since I blogged...... I have been busy doing anything but looking at a computer screen but with Christmas fast approaching I thought I would pop a few of my thoughts about the festive season down.
Alot of people struggle during the festive season because of the amount of invites, food, lack of routine and booze. Its almost accepted that you can gain weight over the festive season but why not take the opportunity to do the opposite? I have a client who is going on holiday but she has already made plans with the local gym to train whilst she is away. Great forward thinking and great control!
Its not about not having fun. It's about changing your mind set so you don't pile on the pounds but go into the new year feeling great about yourself. Choose those one or two things that you love. The ones where the calories are worth consuming. Start looking at everything you are eating instead of accepting that you can eat everything because its justified because its Christmas.
It's ok to say no to food items. Nobody is going to judge you for it, infact people will respect you for it.
Also be aware that your daily output may be less. You may not be walking to the bus stop or out at work all day so you wont need as many calories. Just being thoughtful of this will make you ask the question before you eat something. It may get you out and about more and who knows you may love walking, running, cycling etc?
Added weight doesn't appear over night but it certainly wont disappear over night either so being mindful of your output and what you eat will keep you on track into 2020.
Life is an event, Mince pies aren't!
Well it's been quite some time since I last posted a blog. Busy, family, life......got a dog! So in honour of Mabel I will write this blog about her.
She is a six month old Jack Russell who needs a lot of exercise! Perfect for our family because we can't sit still. It's mine and the children's first dog so it has been a learning curve. The thing that stands out as the major bonus of having a dog is the walking. Rain, wind, cold, sun.....walkies it is. No excuses, she needs walking. From a fitness point of view I consider myself fit but it has made me realise I don't do the basic thing of walking enough. We are lucky to live near a forest where we can disappear for hours at a time and see no one. The kids love it, running around after her. She loves it and so do we because we actually spend family time together doing something active. Yes we ride, swim or run together but those activities rarely lead to an in depth conversation.
Now you don't have to have a dog to go walking. I am sure most people under estimate walking and the benefits, mentally and physically. Weight loss thus reducing the risk of major illness, improvement of cardio vascular health so everyday life if easier, vitamin D and the most immediate thing of all a change of scenery, taking time to look around and just be in the moment.
Go for a walk.......life is an event.
I went to the supermarket today to get some root vegetables for a fantastic hotpot recipe that I have fallen in love with-thank you waitrose magazine!-see below. I got to the till and the girl pointed to the turnips and asked what they were. I informed her that they were turnips at which point she shrugged, saying they don't get much of them through the tills. I said that they are really very nice and that she should buy one and give it a go to which she replied " I don't eat vegetables" I started my next sentence with "well you should....." With the plan to follow that up with some useful nutritional info with the hope of convincing her to try.I stopped at " well you should" very abruptly, making me appear quite rude. I started to wonder what the point is in explaining it to her. She struck me as an intelligent girl who can make up her own mind after listening to all available information. I then started to ponder why with all the rock hard substantial information available that a nutritious, non processed diet is of great benefit, physically and mentally- why are people still choosing to ignore this information?
Everyone seems to believes that they deserve to be able to eat anything they want. That the food products in the supermarkets/KFC or similar has to be ok for us to eat or they wouldn't be able to sell their product. That the government's job is to help us so any totally unhealthy products or dangerous food would be banned by the government-right? Sorry- wrong!
It's about money much more so than our health. The sugar industry is huge and have links or fingers in pies to so many people and industries that it's in our governments interest to keep that industry fuelled.
The marketing world is able to directly push a product to us via adverts etc stating facts about a product that may be true e.g contains iron/calcium etc etc but is able to gloss over the fact that the sugar content is so high that one small portion of their product will total half of your daily recommended sugar allowance. Again we all presume that these claims must be helpful to us and their product will be good for us-wrong again.
Thinking about it in basic terms-the least amount of processes your food goes through to get to your plate the better.
It's all about proportion. No one is suggesting that someone's love of a crunchy every now and then is going to kill them but that crunchy every now and then coupled with a daily intake of low nutrient rich food will eventually cause problems. Eating well most of the time allows you have that crunchy every now and then.
Your challenge this week is to think about every piece of food you eat and consider its nutritional benefit to you. Why eat a crunchy when you can eat a carrot? More than ever this time of year is a challenge to most. No one is suggesting being miserable because you can't eat what you want on Christmas Day but get it into proportion. Christmas Dayis one day, enjoy it and get back on it the next day.
Life is an event
Roasted root vegetable, chickpea and Cavolo Nero bake
1 tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil
750g mixed root vegetable-sweet potatoe, turnip, celeriac, parsnip, carrot, swede)
1-2 tbsp onion marmalade( I used red onion instead)
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
400g can chickpeas
500ml veg stock
200g Cavolo Nero
Scrub and chop the vegetables
Fry the onion until soft
Add the vegetables and stock
Bake for 30 minutes
Add the chickpeas
Bake for 15 minutes
Add the Cavolo Nero
Return to oven for 15 minutes.
Do you find people, things, places or events inspirational? Do they get you motivated to want to do things differently and better?
My job allows be to be inspired on a daily basis because of the people I come into contact with. Be it the mother of three, with 2 jobs who is running London Marathon on Sunday or the person who has achieved 5 burpees or the 5amer because that's the only time she can smash it.
All of these people make me want to be fitter and healthier so I am able to help them stay fitter and healthier. I also get the opportunity to talk about the most interesting things be it the education system in Switzerland, the arts, The Police system in Columbia or fashion which takes me outside my life in the UK every single day.
I look at people all the time and see something they don't see. People don't know they are inspiring unless they are told. Mostly it's just their life and it ticks along day after day but sometimes people's daily lives are a total inspiration. Take my in-laws. My farther in law is 81 and my mother in law is 76 and they are both fighting fit. They exercise daily, eat healthily (with the odd treat and at that age why not!) and have a positive outlook to life. Just because they are older they haven't just stopped and thought ' Well that's it then, we have my house....we will live here for ever. I have my sofa-why replace it? I can still sit on it. This is my lot, I'm done' Not at all, they are constantly challenging themselves mentally and physically, learning and embracing new things.
There is something inspirational in everyone. Look at your life and inspire yourself and then change something for the better.
Go on...life is too short and it is an event after all.
A lot of people set themselves goals, whether it is to earn a certain amount of money, to
work less, to have more 'me' time or to run a marathon but how many of us are losing sight
of the long term goal?
Surely our biggest goal is to be happy, healthy and alive for as long as possible. I know
someone recently who became very ill and just after becoming ill they came into some
money. Their exact words were ' What's the point of the money when I don't have my health.'
Are we all too busy chasing money to even live right here, right now let alone think years
down the road? If we take a bit of time out to look at our lives right now-today then we
could make massive changes every day that will keep the future ticking over without much thought
which will allow us to concentrate on the here and now and enjoy it. Making tomorrow's
here and now enjoyable and the day after that and .............
The best quote that sums this up was made by the Dalai Lama
"He was asked what surprised him most about humanity- Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die and then dies having never really lived"
So what can you change that will make that a ultimate goal be achievable without having to
go through a whole load of grief, heartache and pain to potentially not achieve it? If I gave
you two choices today which one would you take-
Choice 1- live a happy healthy productive life, be able to achieve basic physical challenges
for years to come and be able to constantly challenge yourself.
Choice 2- slowly start to find basics of life harder. Be unable to perform to your best and
have to limit your daily goals well before you have to.
Both of these choices are mostly pre- determined by your life choices made now. Not tomorrow, or next year but now.
If you chose 2 then the only question I have is why?
Remember-You will never be as young as you are today!
So the Transtamuntana TT4500 has finished for 2015 and the training has already begun for 2016! My client has come away from the event with a mixture of emotions about the event-a sense of pride, a sense of disappointment, frustration and determination to name a few. Doing any event for the 1 st time is always the hardest because your mind gets filled with things that really aren't to do with the event, How to get there, Registration, Where is the start line? Where are the toilets? And that's before you start to worry about your own ability to be able to complete the event.
My client arrived at the 1st time cut off with an hour to spare. 'It is brutal' were his exact words. I think he found the beginning hard but acceptable and this lured him into a false sense of security because he took too long at the 1st stop for a comfort break, food and water. Doing any event for the 1st time, no one knows quite how hard they can push themselves because of the fear that at mile 87 you will hit the brick wall and you will be finished is always at the back of your mind and makes you keep something in reserve, probably too much.
The next leg was a tricky stage with 40 km and a one hour extension of cut off. He then has two punctures which set him back. He then missed the next time check by only 10 minutes, He continued determined to make up that time and made it to the next time check 3 minutes short! Argghh can you imagine the frustration!!!There were alot of teams taking part but our man was alone so he had to do all the work himself apart from the odd mile here and there. There is a bus that starts to collect people not making the time checks because it starts to get dark and on the very winding roads with no street lights it becomes dangerous. 8 hours in they requested that he got into the van. He said that people were happily getting into the bus because they wanted to die but with his total determination he refused and him and two others continued on determined that they will complete it. They did complete it in 10 hours and were awarded the official t-shirt for completing it but not the medal. 600 cyclists started only 100 finished, this gives you some idea just how hard this event is. The biggest thing that was learnt from this event is to talk the same distance language. Trying to calculate miles into kilometres whilst battling up a very long hill is difficult.
So guess where he will be around about the same time next year?
Are you one of those people that do things seasonally. Do you give up drinking for January, Start a New Year's resolution every year by joining the gym and go twice before the end of February, Stop smoking in October, Train in the lead up to the summer so you look better on the beach. Walk a marathon with friends to then stop walking all together after the event. Are you sick of the constant wave you are on, always thinking about the next thing you have to tackle 'for your health.'
I will tell you a secret that isn't actually a secret-It doesn't have to be like this. Yo Yo dieting doesn't work, so why do it? Hitting the gym hard for a few weeks won't keep you in shape, so why do it? Counting calories or restricting your daily calorie intake isn't fun so why do it?
What if I told you that you can achieve your ideal weight, health and fitness goals and have more time to do what you want and enjoy, what would you say to me?
It isn't a magic pill that I have. I can't cast a spell either but I can suggest that you stick to two simple rules that will do all of these. Eat clean and exercise regularly. It is a simple as that! You don't have to work yourself up into a panic as the sun starts to shine through the clouds because it means summer is on the way and that means holiday and that means bikini because if you follow these two principles you will be ready for your holiday and bikini fit. You won't have to spend time trudging around all the local gyms in the cold pretending you will start your New Year's resolution just to find them all pretty much the same because they are all pretty much the same and do the same thing(only if you use them)
So ask yourself what is stopping you from getting off that wave? Start making exercise as important as sleeping, eating and breathing and all of the above won't be an issue to you anymore and all of a sudden you will have more time, energy and control of your life.
Life is an event-Don't ride that wave.
With about one month to go I wanted to post an update about my client who is riding the Transtramuntana TT4500. I have spent the last few weeks talking him out of not doing the event.
He has felt because of work commitments, family and life in general getting in the way he just has not had the time to train like he feels he should have. This has presented a massive physcology block for him and he has panicked.
The pressure of doing a big event is half of the battle because you never feel like you have done quite enough preparation or that you have done it well enough. It does add pressure to your life because you know there is something at the end of it, it isn't just being fit.
So I have reassured him and told him the plain honest truth, which is that him not doing it isn't actually an option(caring I know!) His character make up which allows him to enter events such as this is also the same character make up that would beat him up for ever if he didn't do it and didn't give it his all.
So thoughts are turning to Tapering, prep and organisation.
I will let you know how gets on.
I know a lot of people who scoff when I mention running 'Oh no I don't run' they say or they don't exercise because they are unfit! Or just don't like exercise but have they ever really stopped to wonder why they don't........ can't.......... won't?
Is it because it makes them uncomfortable, pushed them outside their comfort zone, Scares them?
There is an activity out there for everyone, something that makes you sweat, something you enjoy doing but most people will opt for the thing they find easy, are good at and doesn't push them to the edge of their limits.
The biggest thing that all these people have in common is not being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The human body is lazy, it will always try to find the way out, the easy option, make you believe that for one reason or another something isn't possible. With running it's not being able to breath, panic sets in and you stop. With cycling it's your legs burning like nothing else you have experienced before and then you stop. With a deep squat it's having to push like your life depends on it, using muscles you never knew existed, being scared of failure so you stop. As soon as you become comfortable with being uncomfortable it all clicks into place.
At the point of sweating a lot of people find they are uncomfortable. In day to day life we as adults go out of our way not to sweat so why would we feel comfortable with sweating? It's only when we get that association: exercise=sweating + pushing yourself=feeling good that we seek it out, Crave it and realise it is our window to success, achievement and freedom. Listen to your body but don't always believe what it says. Take control and start telling it what you expect of it. Give it goals and aims and mostly tell it that it is ok being uncomfortable.
You will start to find things that push you to become uncomfortable because it's only then that you know that you have pushed yourself.
Life is an event, it won't always be comfortable.
One of my clients has recently signed up for the Transtramuntana TT4500.
It takes place in Mallorca in October so the Maximum temperature will be approximately 27 degree C, over the highest mountains in the Balearic Island. Mallorca has fantastic road conditions and some of the highest peaks imaginable.
AND......it is 235km (146 miles) long!
Luckily for him and me he already rides to a high standard and has taken part in many Time Trials so I won't be training him from scratch but what is interesting during his training period is the distance and altitude as he lives in a relatively flat location.
The good thing about this client is I know that he has determination in spades so that isn't a hurdle that he and I have to get over. He wants to achieve this because he has promised himself an ice cream if he completes it!
I will be blogging about his progress regularly, his up's and down's- literally and let you know how he gets on. Bearing in mind that in 2013 only 35 riders actually finished.
So how do you prepare for a distance like that? Being specific is the only way it can be done. Exactly as the old saying goes 'Train as you race.' It is no good focusing on all over body conditioning or your run pace when the main area of focus is going to be the legs on a bike. Power and stamina are the two components that will give my client the edge.
He has started getting longer rides done as getting used to the physicality of being in the saddle for approximately 11 hours is something that will need some getting used to. He isn't intentionally trying to lose weight but this is something automatically happening as he is upping his base level and will certainly help with not carrying any excess weight for the ride.
Nutritionally he is doing great and is very dedicated. Lots of protein, whole grains and eating clean is the focus for him. Correct fuelling will make a huge difference to any training plan and could mean the difference between finishing or not so there is no point whole heartedly training to precision and then eating energy sapping processed food.
Due to the length of time of the ride getting his fuelling right on the day is also crucial. It's never a good idea to start using a new product on the day as you never know how you may react to it. Many have high sugar contents which, if your body is not used to, can expel pretty quickly and trying a caffeine shot gel during the race for the 1st time could end in disaster. The best thing to do is buy a selection of different makes, flavours and delivery methods (gel, blocks, bars etc) and trial them. Do take into account other factors whilst trying them so you get an accurate comparative. How tired are you? What time of day is it? How much and what have you eaten? But with all the bought products out there a bit of what you fancy whilst doing an event like this won't go a miss! Ham sandwich, Ginger nut or flapjack. Certainly he will need to watch his Electrolyte intake so salt sticks are a must, again something to be tried before a race.
Hydration is another component that needs to be taken very serious. Especially whilst eventing in a hotter climate than you are used to. Luckily my client is training through the summer, Ok the British summer won't be anything like Mallorca but...Getting to know your own body is a key issue because no two people are the same. Starting hydrated is a must and maintaining that is important so small amounts frequently is a good idea. Not being worried to stop for comfort break will stop any serious de-hydration problems.
Being prepared will give the mental edge of belief.
Life is an event, train for it!
Being the Outsider
There are two types of person- the type that trains and the type that doesn't. The type that love's it and the type that hate's it, The type that gets it, the type that doesn't.
If someone loves training, has dedication, enthusiasm, a desire to better themselves it's hard to be around people who don't have the will to do any of these things. I used to feel like the outsider, I had jokes made at my expense because I priorities my training over a lot of other things and have and will turn down invitations to events because I am training or have a firm training plan for the next morning. I turn down doughnuts, don't go or take my children to fast food restaurants-not even as a 'treat.' Don't quench my thirst with a fizzy drink and I eat clean.
It got me thinking about how many people want to stop doing these things, change their lives but the peer pressure is too great? If they take the leap & quit smoking who would they hang out with at lunch time? How would their lives change? Would the kids be upset that Friday night's is no longer take out night, Would they lose their friends? Being an outsider isn't fun, Peer pressure even as an adult is a hard thing to cope with and most people don't want to stand out from the crowd, it's human nature.
But where do you start when you actually do want to make that change but still want to maintain your current life.
Making small changes can go unnoticed by others but make a drastic difference to your life and your self belief. Start small & do one thing a week that you know will change your life for the better. Give up that lunch time can of fizz, take the stairs, refuse that doughnut. These things will then become normal, part of you. The next week make another change, whilst maintaining the previous weeks change. These things that felt like and seemed a big deal at the beginning will stop appearing that way after a while and slowly you will gain control, become empowered and the larger things that you would like to achieve- running for the first time since childhood, changing your body shape, training for an event will seem more achievable
Life is an event-start somewhere.
Roasted Butternut Squash and pepper Soup
1 Butternut squash
2 red peppers
1 Garlic bulb whole
1 tin of chickpeas
• Peal & dice the butternut squash
• Cut the peppers into segments, removing the seeds
• Toss is a little avocado oil and put on a baking tray
• Cut the top of the garlic bulb off and place in a silver foil parcel with a small amount of Avocado oil
• Place both into a pre heated oven at 200degrees for 35 minutes, half way through remove the peppers and peel the skins off.
• Blitz all ingredients with a hand whisk or blender, adding pepper and chilli flakes(careful not too many) If you prefer your soup more watery then add water as you go along.
This will then keep nicely in your fridge. Add the chickpeas when you heat it up on the hob and the spinach, a lot of spinach.
Protein boost-Add some roasted ripped up chicken.
Everyone beats themselves up over not being able to exercise the amount they feel they should, need to or want to and whilst exercise is important and a massive part of achieving goals the biggest part that people don't stress enough about is their nutrition.
Don't get me wrong, people worry that they shouldn't be eating this or that but they don't give enough thought to the real reason that they are eating the wrong thing which is that they don't prepare enough in advance.
As a mother of two I think constantly about my children's meals and my husbands packed lunch but I am the same as everyone else because I don't think about myself. In reality if I thought about myself just for a small amount of time each week then this would allow me to have more time to train and do other things.
Example - one hour lunch break, chicken salad bought from home. Train for 40 minutes, run, swim, gym-what ever you want to do. Eat salad....boom back to work.
Example- one hour lunch break, no food prepared. Que in a coffee shop, café etc to buy an over priced carb fuelled sandwich, costing a fortune, taking up quite a lot of time. This also adds temptation-it's been a bad day so that muffin does look good. You now have 35 minutes left of your lunch break to eat and train- admit it, it just isn't going to happen. Or you sacrifice food for training, get too hungry and go straight for that muffin later in the afternoon.
Dedicating time to cooking food, whilst cooking other food, for the evening meal for example would allow your time to be regained. You can either cook extra of what ever you are cooking or prepare a selection of different meals, store them in Tupperware boxes so you can pick and choose your daily lunch break meal.
A good example of things to have in your fridge to prepare a nutritious meal from is chicken, lightly cooked vegetables, olives, boiled eggs, feta, salad, peppers, cucumber, quinoa, rice. Go the the super market, grab a load of fresh ingredients and see what you come up with.
I keep a selection of food in the fridge because although I am often working from home I know I won't give my self enough thought and when it comes to the time I am hungry I won't be prepared.
Life is an event, prepare for it!