MUFFINS MADE EASY! What you’ll need 1 cup of almond flour or almond meal (or substitute, coconut flour) 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey ¼ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar Go plain or add in your favourite healthy extras such as apple and cinnamon. Cook (or microwave) your apple until soft before popping it into your muffin mix for extra melt-in-your-mouth factor… or ditch the apple and add dark chocolate or berries instead! What you’ll do Preheat your oven to 180° Combine almond flour/meal and baking soda together in a bowl In a separate bowl, combine eggs, syrup / honey and vinegar Stir dry ingredients into wet, mixing until combined (+ add any ‘extras’) Scoop batter into paper muffin cups, or a lined tin Bake (still at 180°) for 30 minutes, until slightly browned around the edges Allow to cool in the pan before serving with a little bit of organic butter! ENJOY!
How to boost your performance and maximise your results by Nardia Norman (Fitness Network’s PT of the year 2014). Tips on enhancing your performance whilst training. It’s a good idea to ensure your basic health is good before embarking on a training regime as well as ensuring it’s looked after throughout –whether that be a new Personal Training regime or training for a particular event e.g. a long distance run. Some may say, “Well, I’m starting PT because I wanna get fit!” – TRUE, but there’s still a few things that would be helpful to address in the early stages which will also enhance your progress rather than hinder it. I was thinking about what I would want a client to do and check prior to training them, if I were their Personal Trainer – so, the following are just a few things worth checking in the bloods as well as factors to address during your training. This is not a comprehensive article relating to sports nutrition – but just some helpful tips that certainly helped me during the marathon training as well as factors commonly addressed when seeing patients in the clinical setting. All within the realms of a little blog post- some lifestyle/nutrition factors and some recommended blood tests. Lifestyle/Nutrition factors CLEAN UP THE JUNK! First and foremost, a clean diet is a huge part of your exercise regime. As they say, “abs are made in the kitchen not the gym!”. Of course, your sweat and tears will help as you aim to sculpt that core, but nutrition is at least two thirds of the story. I won’t repeat the usual stuff you have heard…OK- just very briefly in case you need a reminder! – lots of veggies (ensure anti-oxidant rich berries), some fruit, cut down on gluten/processed foods (gluten especially wheat damages the gut lining in virtually everyone- regardless of whether or not you have gluten intolerance or have coeliac disease), protein at every meal, good fats (absolutely essential for our cell membranes and functioning; caution with “low fat” diets- the other stuff put in there could be relatively crap processed carbs) , adequate hydration and finally – reduce or stop alcohol! STRESS High cortisol levels will contribute towards muscle loss and fat gain – hence counteract the effort. Although we can’t escape our daily work lives, ensure adequate stress management techniques- whether that be going for short walks, some stretching, meditation- little things that can be incorporated at work as well as scheduling things after work or weekends. SLEEP We need sleep for our rest and restoration. Simple. The critical hours are between 10pm and 2am. Humans spend a third of their lives asleep- it must be important! Various hormones critical here including growth hormone (helps repair after exercise), DHEA and melatonin (anti oxidant and anti aging). ANTIOXIDANTS Apart from eating from a rainbow- i.e a variety of different fruits and veg, consider taking extra vitamin C or other antioxidant supplements like NAC (N-acetyl cysteine, a precursor for glutathione- one of our most important endogenous antioxidants). This of course also depends on the level of activity and training. ALKALISE Exercise is a stress to the body, where free radicals (oxidative stress) and lactic acid is produced. So ensuring you get a good intake of fruit/veg esp green ones is important. You could consider a green antioxidant powder. MAGNESIUM / B Vitamins Most of us are probably deficient in magnesium- it is necessary for over 300 biochemical reactions. Consider taking when training and especially if doing endurance/long distance training like running. Common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include tiredness, muscle spasms/cramps, anxiety, irregular heart rhythm, eye twitching, headaches and insomnia. PROTEIN Important for any type of training –not just for building muscles. We all need around 1g/kg of body weight worth of protein – apart from the obvious like muscle growth and repair, we also need protein to make all our hormones including thyroid hormones which are critical in our metabolism. Although best to get from protein rich sources, vegetarians may also need to consider a good quality protein supplement. WATER Obvious but still easy to overlook! Ensure adequate hydration especially between meals. Although 2 litres is usually given as the standard intake, this can certainly vary amongst individuals- an easy way to see if you are getting enough water is that the colour of the urine should be almost clear. Blood tests 1.FULL BLOOD COUNT(FBC) AND IRON – The FBC shows if you have anaemia (low haemoglobin) which can contribute towards symptoms like tiredness, breathlessness, dizziness, poor immunity and poor recovery from training. However, this may be normal but the iron levels could still be suboptimal. Iron is not only needed in relation to carrying oxygen around in the blood (part of haemoglobin), it is also in the myoglobin of muscles, is needed to convert glucose to energy and important in liver detoxification and thyroid health as well as the production of neurotranmitters and hormones. Iron can be low due to poor dietary intake, especially if vegetarian/vegan but can also be lost through the gut if there is “leaky gut” – hence the importance of gut health and diet! Replacement can be via oral liquid/tablets but injections and creams are also available. Note that vitamin C is required for iron absorption. 2.THYROID TESTS – This could be a whole chapter! – will keep it brief here. Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is much more common than overactive. Common symptoms include tiredness, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, cold extremities, cold intolerance, palpitations, dry skin, dry hair and hair loss, low mood, heavy periods and chronic constipation. Standard testing only allows for a test called TSH (which least corresponds to thyroid functioning) – even if it is in “normal” limits, there could still be a thyroid issue and further tests are needed- this includes both medicare and non- medicare functional tests . So if you have been told your “tests are normal” , this may well need to be looked into further. Other clues that the thyroid may be underactive is high cholesterol. Underactive thyroid is also associated with adrenal fatigue (stress related), oestrogen excess and insulin resistance. Unfortunately, so many people are underdiagnosed and continue to suffer symptoms because their tests are “normal”. Or they may be treated for depression (anti – depressants), high cholesterol ( statin), heavy periods (painkillers or the contraceptive pill) – and various other drugs to treat the other symptoms- a complete misdiagnosis and failing on the part of the medical profession! It doesn’t necessarily have to be like this! Please ensure you get tested properly if you have concerns. 3.VITAMIN D – there are vitamin D receptors in every cell of the body; the role of vitamin D is crucial. It has roles in not just calcium metabolism, but also thyroid function, cardiovascular function, weight management, diabetes, gut health and cancer protection. Despite the ozzie sun, people can still be low in it- inadequate exposure or just not getting converted properly to its active forms via the kidney and liver. Once again, normal levels are not necessarily optimal. Aim for 100-150 in the blood tests (as per Vitamin D council recommendations.) 4. B VITAMINS –B12, FOLATE – these are the two B vitamins that commonly get measured. Low B12 can cause various symptoms including tiredness, weakness, dizziness, sore tongue, tingling/numbness of extremities, confusion – and can also be associated with other disorders like pernicious anaemia and gut disorders where the vitamin cannot be absorbed. Again, it can also be low in vegetarians/vegans. Folic acid (vitamin B9) is absolutely critical for every cell. It is used to convert carbs/proteins/fats into energy/ATP (Krebs cycle), make red blood cells, protect DNA, neurotransmitter and hormone production (serotonin, dopamine, melatonin) and it has a role in the recycling of homocysteine- a known independent risk factor for conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, migraines, recurrent miscarriages, infertility and Alzheimers disease. Abnormal B12/Folate results can also imply problems with a process called methylation, an important biochemical process in the body. Both vitamins need to be converted to their active forms by our genes/enzymes- if there are genetic defects, we cannot do this and hence we have a functional vitamin deficiency- in such a scenario, it would be necessary to have active B vitamins to bypass this roadblock –normal B vitamins may not suffice. 5. GLUCOSE / INSULIN LEVELS – In non -diabetics, a borderline glucose can indicate insulin resistance. In those with early insulin resistance, the insulin level could be raised before the glucose has become abnormal -this is relevant as action can be taken so this doesn’t develop further into diabetes. Apart from diet, certainly the nature of the training program will be important- and will be a good parameter to monitor. When there is insulin resistance there is rationale for resistance/weights training , as opposed to just cardio. For women, it may also be associated with polcystic ovaries, oestrogen excess as well as thyroid and adrenal issues- they all affect each other and it is important to address all of these appropriately. The basic blood tests can be ordered by any health care practitioner. Further testing (e.g thyroid, adrenal hormones, nutrients ) may need to be ordered via an appropriate health practitioner. So… just a few things to think about as you embark on training for an event or if you are already training – optimise your fitness and health and enjoy the challenge!
330 g raw whole almonds or walnuts 20 fresh dates, pitted 3 generous tablespoons cacao powder 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 orange coconut, goji berry, cacao, nuts for rolling Throw almonds into the food processor with cinnamon, a little orange zest then process until the mix looks crumbly. Add dates, vanilla extract then process again until the mix starts to come together. Add a splash of water if you need to so that mixture is soft and forms a soft ball. Form into 14 decent sized balls. Roll in coconut or any other of my suggested coatings and store in the fridge until you feel like a snack or quick meal on the run. Store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks if they last that long. ENJOY!!
Green Renewal Juice This is an enzyme-rich green juice. It’s great for providing energy, detoxifying and alkalising your body It’s quick and easy to make. Ingredients:- 1 bunch English spinach 1 handful mint 1 handful parsley 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, cut in half lengthways A few lettuce leaves 4 celery stalks 2–3 cm (3/4–11/4 inch) knob of fresh ginger, peeled 6 ice cubes Preparation:- Feed all the ingredients except the ice cubes into a juicer one at a time. Pour into a drinking glass, add the ice cubes and sip slowly to enjoy its benefits. ENJOY!
Summer Bodies……Only 65 days to SUMMER! Have you started your bikini body exercise plan? NO…? Well, it’s not too late! Start by writing down your goals and your time frame. Then, write a plan on how you are going to reach your goals. Plan your start date, your finishing date, the days that you can exercise and your daily food intake. PLANNING is the key! Good Luck! Nat
H.I.I.T is the way to train High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can include exercises you already know or new ones. The difference between HIIT and a regular workout is that HIIT alternates between periods of intense activity and periods of low activity or even rest. With a regular workout you’d get sustained effort throughout the entire process. Not just time-effective But how would the HIIT approach help you more than the classic workout? One of the most important benefits of HIIT is that it’s highly efficient, which makes it perfect for people with busy schedules. HIIT It might hurt a bit, but it’s worth it! Researchers are strongly backing up the benefits of HIIT training as it can help you burn more fat than a regular, lengthier workout. Through the high-bursts of intense effort you’ll maximize the quantity of oxygen (VO2 MAX) used by your body during exercise. After your body got in the VO2 MAX area, it will continue to consume oxygen for hours after the workout. HIIT training also boosts your metabolism for as long as 48 hours after your training routine has ended having a longer, more powerful effect than you’d get from a regular workout. HIIT also helps you gain lean muscle mass easier. Gets you into shape faster Another great thing about HIIT, is you can increase your fitness level faster that using the classic, sustained effort type of workout. It’s great for people that are trying to quickly get back into shape, as well as for individuals that are already active but fell they’ve reached a plateau. Keeps your heart healthy What happens during the high intensity time intervals is that your heart gets pushed to maximum (or close) effort, something most of us are not getting at all. A 2006 study proved that after 8 weeks of short-term sprint interval training the subjects were able to bicycle 2x longer than before the study, while keeping the same pace. One of the most versatile forms of training Because pretty much any form of exercise can be incorporated into a HIIT routine you can still do your favourite types of workouts. Anything from running, cycling, swimming, climbing, rowing and CrossFit training to weight-lifting and body weight exercises you can do at home. A few interval training methods Tabata : 3 minute warm-up; 8x 20 seconds high-intensity/10 seconds rest. Total time: 4 minutes Varied : 3 minute warm-up; 12x 60 seconds high-intensity/75 seconds low-intensity. Total time: 27 minutes Mix it up: 5 minute warm-up; 8-rep weight training sets/1-2 minute of cardio exercise, repeated for up to 45 minutes. Start H.I.I.T’ing today!