Chilli

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 (jar) x pepperdew peppers

  • 1 x kidney beans (400 grms)

  • 2 x courgette

  • 2 x tinned tomatoes (400 grms)

  • 500 grms beef mince

  • Ground Cumin

  • 1 x red onion

  • Cinnamon Stick

Chop the onion and gently fry in the cooking spray until white/translucent. Add the mince until browned. Add the kidney beans, 1 tbsp of cumin, cinnamon stick and tinned tomatoes to the pan. Simmer for 60 minutes until the water has reduced.

Serve with brown rice (palm sized) and a fresh salad.

Enchilada Brunch

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 (jar) x pepperdew peppers

  • 1 x kidney beans (400 grms)

  • 1 x butter beans (400 grms)

  • 1 x tinned tomatoes (400 grms)

  • 50 grms chorizo

  • 4 x wholemeal tortilla wraps

  • 1 x red onion

  • 1 x avocado

  • 50ml lime juice

  • paprika

  • 4 x eggs

  • white wine vinegar

  • cheddar cheese

  • cooking spray

  • spinach

  • tomatoes

  • cucumber

  • foil

Chop the onion and gently fry in the cooking spray until white/translucent. Dice or slice the chorizo and add to the pan. Add the kidney beans, pepperdew peppers, butter beans, 1 tbsp of smoked paprika and tinned tomatoes to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes until the water has reduced.

Place the avocado in the food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the lime juice to soften into guacamole.

Line an oven tray with foil, spray with cooking oil to make sure the tortillas don’t stick. Place a tortilla on the tray, line the tortilla with avocado down the middle. Then add a spoon of the tomato, bean and chorizo stew to the tortilla and close. Repeat until all 4 tortillas are in the tray. Cover with 20 grams of cheddar cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees (fan assisted).

Poach the eggs. Fill a large pan with hot water and get up to the boil. Put a splash of vinegar into the pan. When the water is bubbling, cracking an egg into a bowl and then gently pour into the hot water and cook for 3 minutes. The water should always be simmering, never boiling. Remove and place on a plate with kitchen towel to drain the fluid from the egg, then place on the plate with the enchilada.

Remove and serve with the spinach, tomatoes and cucumber.

What sports drinks should I use for re-fuelling?

What sports drinks should I use for re-fuelling?

This is a really great question I was asked by a client training for a half-marathon. When I researched into the topic, I was surprised to find how complex the energy drink market had become. There was a lot of jargon, but very little information on the difference between the 3 main types of sports drinks available on the market. These are: isotonic, hypotonic and hypertonic. Below are some of the key facts about sports drinks and what to look for.

What are the difference between the 3 types of drinks?

  • Isotonic - same volume of water and sugar (quenches thirst and supplies a little energy)
  • Hypertonic - more sugar than water (supplies energy)
  • Hypotonic - more water than sugar (quenches thirst)

What should I use if I exercise for under an hour?

If you exercise for under an hour, water or a hypotonic drink is fine. You can also used a hypotonic drink to help quench your thirst.

What should I use if I exercise for more than an hour?

If you exercise for over an hour, an isotonic or hypertonic drink/gel would work well as long as you have water available, too. Most brands (Lucozade) have a range, so you'll need to have a read of the packaging to see which variation they are.

Examples of the different drink types:

https://www.lucozadesport.com/products/sport/ = Hypertonic = Good for endurance

https://www.lucozadesport.com/products/sport-elite/ = Hypertonic = Good for endurance

https://www.lucozadesport.com/products/fit-water/ = Hypotonic = Good for less than an hour of exercise (basically looks like water)

https://www.lucozadesport.com/products/sport-lite/ = Isotonic (I think) = Good for 1-2 hours of exercise, but you'll most likely need to have a Hypotonic too

How often should I take a hypertonic drink if I'm competing in an endurance sport e.g. running a half marathon, cycling a sportive?

The general rule is that your stomach can digest approximately 60 grams of cabohydrate/hour. Therefore think about having 30grams of carbs/30 minutes.

How do I know my nutrition is right for me?

At the end of your endurance event check how you're feeling.

  • If you feel like you're pumped, you probably had the right nutrition
  • If you're feeling exhausted, probably not enough, so add an extra 5-7g of carbs per 30 minutes
  • If you stomach feels uncomfortable, probably too much carbs/try a different brand.

Happy Training!

If you experience upper/mid back and neck pain, these stretches are a must

If you experience upper/mid back and neck pain, these stretches are a must

Kyphosis is the excessive convex curvature of the spine and you may find that you suffer from symptoms related to kyphosis.

May people who work in an office find that their upper and mid backs ache after long hours in the office. Throw in family life and lifting children up and you may end up with chronic (long term) back and neck pain.

Symptoms include mid/upper back pain, neck ache, head ache at the base of the skull.

Signs include the head jutting forwards, shoulders forwards of the ears, thumbs rotated inwards.

These stretches will help stretch out tense tissue, which can feel tired after a long day sitting at a desk. Try to hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. If they become too uncomfortable, then come out of the stretch and go back in when your body feels a little more comfortable.

Childs Pose:

You should feel this release along the length of your spine, under your arm pits and possibly in your shoulders.

In a kneeling position, sit back on your feet, place your hands out in front of you and try to get your glutes to touch your feet.

In a kneeling position, sit back on your feet, place your hands out in front of you and try to get your glutes to touch your feet.

Chest Stretch:

As we all work at desks all day, our chest muscles get very tight. This can be seen in both men and women. This stretch works on releasing the pec and shoulder muscles.

Lie on your chest, with your arms out to each side, with the palms down. Rotate around your spine so one hand faces towards the ceiling. You should feel a stretch through your chest and possibly your shoulder.

Lie on your chest, with your arms out to each side, with the palms down. Rotate around your spine so one hand faces towards the ceiling. You should feel a stretch through your chest and possibly your shoulder.

Traps Stretch:

The traps are a long line of muscles that start at your neck and reach down to your pelvis. This stretch targets upper traps.

Bring your chin to your chest, drop your head and place your hands on the back of your head to add a little pressure.

Bring your chin to your chest, drop your head and place your hands on the back of your head to add a little pressure.

Levator Scapulae Stretch

This is a particularly good stretch for people who perform a lot of rotational movements e.g. cyclists, drivers. 

Place an arm behind your back. Rotate your head in the opposite direction until you reach 45 degrees. Drop your chin to your chest and place a hand on the back of your head. You should feel a stretch down the side of your neck.

Place an arm behind your back. Rotate your head in the opposite direction until you reach 45 degrees. Drop your chin to your chest and place a hand on the back of your head. You should feel a stretch down the side of your neck.

Sports massage can help improve your flexibility and range of movement by efficiently stretching the muscles. This is by far more efficient that you stretching on your own.

Don't over stretch your body, this can lead to a tear or rupture of a muscle.

Before starting an exercise routine, you should seek medical advice if you haven't exercised for some time or have recently had an operation, are pregnant or have recently given birth.

The Benefits of Exercise after giving birth and 3 simple exercises for core and pelvic floor strength

The Benefits of Exercise after giving birth and 3 simple exercises for core and pelvic floor strength

Why you should exercise after giving birth?

  • core recovery allows our spine to regain stability
  • reduction of postnatal injury – leg cramps, oedema, CTS, altered blood pressure, constipation
  • pelvic floor – reduces incontinence
  • posture – reduced lower back pain
  • improves our stamina and energy levels
  • natural high – improved positive mood
  • improves sleep – exercise results in our body releasing relaxing hormones
  • fat burning – activity increase metabolic rate, which helps burn fat
  • improved self-image – reduced post natal blues

When is it safe to exercise?

There are certain conditions after you've had a baby when you should seek medical advice before starting an exercise programme. I've listed these below. However, in general, if you had a natural birth you can:

  • start exercising your core and pelvic floor 24 hours after birth (gently)
  • start active (walking/small jogs/body weight exercises) 6 weeks after giving birth

If you had a caesarean section you can:

  • start exercising your core and pelvic floor as soon as you feel like you are healing well
  • start active (walking/small jogs/body weight exercises) 12 weeks after giving birth

Exercises to avoid:

  • —Plyometric
  • —High intensity
  • —High impact
  • —General population classes (post birth classes for mums are not included in this)
  • —Prolonged stretches
  • —Flexion exercises (bending forwards)

If you have one of the below conditions, it is advisable to seek medical advice before commencing an exercise programme:

  • —Severe or chronic conditions
  • —Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes
  • —Extreme morbid obesity
  • —Extreme low weight
  • —History of sedentary lifestyle
  • —Poorly controlled hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • —Poorly controlled thyroid disease
  • —Heavy smoking
  • —Before 6 weeks if natural birth
  • —Before 12 weeks if caesarean section
  • —Any unstable condition
  • —Resting tachycardia
  • —Blood pressure over 160/100

Core/Pelvic Floor Exercises:

Four Point Vacuum -> lifting hands -> raising arms -> raising legs (baby underneath)

Four Point Vacuum -> lifting hands -> raising arms -> raising legs (baby underneath)

Lying on back, squeezing core -> Sliding Leg along floor -> Holding one leg above floor and sliding other leg -> Holding both legs above floor and sliding both back and forth (baby on chest)

Lying on back, squeezing core -> Sliding Leg along floor -> Holding one leg above floor and sliding other leg -> Holding both legs above floor and sliding both back and forth (baby on chest)

Glute Bridge -> hands pressed down into floor -> lifting hips and squeezing core, pelvic floor and glutes. Gently lower. (baby on chest)

Glute Bridge -> hands pressed down into floor -> lifting hips and squeezing core, pelvic floor and glutes. Gently lower. (baby on chest)