Thursday, 30 May 2013

Back from the Beach

After a week of sun, swimming, good food and relaxation I am finally back in the not-so-sunny United Kingdom. I'm really sorry for the lack of posts whilst I was away - my laptop decided to break just before I went on holiday so I wasn't able to schedule any! Thankfully it seems as though it's fixed now thanks to the boyf so hopefully I'll be back to blogging like normal!

I was super eager to get back to the gym and  also to get back to a cleaner diet as although I did watch what I ate and made use of the hotel's gym and spa facilities, it's never the same as being in more familiar surroundings! I've had so much time to think about my current gym routine and my lifestyle in general while I was away, and I've made the decision to shake it up quite a bit as my goals and reasons for exercising have changed a lot compared to this time last year. This means that I also have the opportunity to shake up my blogging schedule as well, so keep an eye out for a few little changes that will be appearing on the blog over the next month or so! :)

Anyway, I'd best get off to the gym/go for a run (I haven't decided which yet!) before it gets too late and I lose all motivation! Hope you all had a great bank holiday weekend, and have had a great week so far - not long until the weekend now! :)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Recipe | Protein Porridge

Not quite sure if I can really call this a recipe since it only has a couple of ingredients but I really wanted to share it with you guys so I thought I might as well bung it in with all the other culinary concoctions that I'm loving!
Since it has been my breakfast of choice for the past couple of months, I think protein porridge definitely deserves a post of it's own. Not quite sure how I came about it, but after deciding to whack half a scoop of vanilla whey protein into my brekkie I now can't imagine eating porridge without the stuff. It allows me to reduce the carby calories by using water instead of using milk with porridge by providing the sweetness whilst adding more hunger-curbing protein!
I've actually now worked up to having a whole scoop of protein powder (my current favourite is the bog standard vanilla whey by MyProtein), but I would advice mixing it in slowly to your (already cooked!) porridge to make it combine better.
To make porridge with water is super simple - all you have to do is use double the water that you do oats. I usually use 1/2 cup oats to 1 cup water and then cook over a low-medium heat on the hob in a saucepan. Once it's cooked just slowly mix in the protein powder and then fruit, peanut butter or any other extras you fancy! :)

N.B I wouldn't recommend using water to make porridge if you're not going to add any flavouring to it - it'll more than likely taste more like wallpaper paste than breakfast!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Recipe | Halloumi & Chickpea Salad

Definitely one of the yummiest salads that I've ever created! I can't remember for the life of me where I found this recipe as I have a tendency to scribble ones I find in magazines and online into a little recipe book which I have - I think it was from the Good Food Magazine though? ANYWAY. I thought I'd share my take on this dish as I did decide to add a couple of ingredients! :)

What you'll need:
  • 2 handfuls rocket salad mix (I used 1 handful rocket & 1 handful spinach)
  • 2 tbsp tinned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 80g green beans (blanched and chopped)
  • 1 tbsp grated carrot
  • A few sundried tomatoes
  • Some semi-sundried (I think!!) red peppers
  • 2 slices grilled halloumi ( I used low fat)
  • 1 tbsp low-fat dressing (I used low-fat balsamic)
My sundried tomatos and red peppers also had some feta and mini mozzarella balls thrown (advantages of using the deli counter at Tescos!) but I'm a huge cheese lover so just used it as an excuse for a bit of a treat. The rest is easy - simply throw it all together in a bowl, give it a toss and chuck the grilled halloumi on top!
If you've never cooked halloumi before it's super easy, just cut a couple of slices that are about 3-5mm thick, spray some low-cal spray into a pan and fry on a medium heat for a minute or two each side. Halloumi is also great at BBQs because you can grill it on there as well without it going all gooey and soggy!

I love recipes like this as it is SO easy to add and drop ingredients depending on what food you have in your cupboards and fridge. I also fed this to the boyf although I added some chopped-up chicken breast, and also replaced the balsamic dressing for some Sriracha sauce to spice things up a little which he really enjoyed! I even got the highly acclaimed comment of "You're starting to get pretty good at cooking to be honest.." which is high praise indeed coming from this fussy eater! (Love you really!!)

So there we have it I guess! If you have any recipes that you think I should give a go, then leave them in the comments below!! :)

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Busy As Busy Can Be

I absolutely love this quote! I'm naturally a really busy person - I love to keep myself occupied with challenges and tasks I've set myself. I guess it's probably why I fell in love with fitness the way I have. - there's always another goal that you can set yourself, or an obstacle you can overcome. For me at the minute it's getting a respectable 5km running time!

I do feel as though it's been a lifetime since I last posted on here so I'm really sorry for abandoning you all! Things got pretty hectic as soon as the boyf got back from his deployment that I haven't really had the opportunity to sit down and actually write something. So I guess it's time for a little catch-up with you lovely lot - although it won't be for long as I'm jetting off to Tenerife with Ryan & some of his family for some much needed sun and relaxation before he goes back to work! Hopefully (time permitting!) I'm going to be scheduling a few posts to go live whilst I'm away so you can still get your Barbelle fix ;) Although I'm sure I'll bec back before you know it! :)

After the disaster that was my first attempt at hitting 50 miles-worth of running during April, I definitely seem a lot more on track this month having almost matched my mileage last month already! I'm still nowhere near running the distances that some other fitness bloggers run, but I'm noticing so much progress which is really spurring me on. :)

Ryan being back also means that I have someone else to test out all my food creations which I have been practicing whilst he's been away - and I can't wait to share them with you! My aim is to cook at least one new meal that I haven't made before every week so I think I'm going to try to revive my Diet-in-a-Day posts or perhaps something along the lines of Cantara's Weekly Eats posts.

Hope you're all having a fab week! I shall speak to you all again soon!! :) 

Friday, 3 May 2013

Review | MyProtein BCAA & MAX Elle Thermopure

Whilst I attempt to eat clean as much as possible, I do also have a place in my diet for health and fitness related supplements such as protein shakes and vitamin/mineral tablets. I've been taking multivitamins, cod liver oil capsules and also having protein shakes for just over a year now, and they have really helped me get any nutrients that I was struggling to get and I do feel as if they have really made a difference to my overall health!
Personally I am extremely brand loyal to MyProtein with regards to their whey protein as I genuinely think they're amazing value for money as well has having heaps of amazing flavours to choose from! So when Hassan from MyProtein approached me asking if I would like to give any of their other products a go I couldn't resist! After telling Hassan my goals of reducing my body fat whilst trying to maintain the muscle which I has already gained, he recommended that I try their Berry Blast BCAA* and their Elle Thermopure* capsules. I had heard of both of these before, and had actually almost bought the Thermopure on more than one occasion but had never actually bitten the bullet and pressed 'Confirm Order', as I was worried about wasting my money!
So, what are they???

What is BCAA?

BCAA stands for Branched-Chain Amino Acids, and are recognised as being the three essential aminos which humans need in order to survive. Unlike other nutrients, BCAAs are metabolised directly in the muscles instead of in the stomach, and help build lovely lean muscle tissue as well has helping prevent the breakdown of existing muscle mass (known as catabolism).
This makes BCAA super good for those who are on a calorie-deficit or those who are on fasting programmes such as Lean Gains to lose weight, as it will help prevent your body from breaking down muscle to use as energy when your carbohydrate and fat levels are low. This means that you will maintain that higher metabolism from maintaining your muscle mass, which will allow you to burn more calories even when you're body's at rest!

What is Thermopure?

Thermopure is slightly different in that it is based more around aiding the reduction of fat stored in the body through a fusion of natural herbs and ingredients. Ingredients include Green Tea Extract which has been proven to reduce the amount of fat yo are able to digest and store, as well as increasing the rate at which body fat is burned for energy. This is combined with other ingredients such as raspberry ketones, cayenne and caffeine to boost your metabolic rate meaning that more calories are able to be burned during your workout.
MyProtein have also added some B Vitamins into the mix will will help you keep your muscles working for longer, by increasing the release of energy to your working muscles.

My Experience

Starting with the BCAA, my experience as a whole was a good one. I was sent the Berry Blast flavour which I took once a day (due to me using it in conjunction with Thermopure) with a serving being a 5g scoop of product combined with 250ml water. The flavour was nice as it wasn't too sickly sweet - something I hate in a drink - and tasted just like a fairly dilute mixed berry squash/cordial.
The main thing that let this product down was that it was really hard to get some of the granules to dissolve properly and although I wasn't too bothered by it, I could see that it might be a problem to some people! MyProtein do have the option of BCAA capsules as well so if you are worried then you can always give those a try instead!
With regards to how it affected my exercise, I didn't feel that much of a difference at first, but after a week of using it I noticed that my I could push myself further with my workouts as I could lift more weight/run further before my muscles began to tire, something which I has never experienced in quite the same way before.

I've also seen a noticeable difference in my body since beginning to take Thermopure with my body looking a lot leaner since I started two weeks ago, as well as my body feeling super pumped for workouts. I have been taking the capsules every day, consuming 2 before a workout plus one later on in the day, and also having three spread out across the day on rest days. It literally gives me so much energy that combined with the BCAA I feel as if I can go forever!
Because it raises your heart rate, you do get A LOT sweatier during workouts when you have Thermopure beforehand, so make sure you have plenty of water with you so you stay hydrated. Because it contains caffeine I also wouldn't recommend taking it too close to bed time either or you may struggle to sleep as I found one time!

Would I Recommend Them?

In short, yes definitely! If you are attempting to lose body fat then I would definitely recommend giving them a try if you've reached a bit of a plateau and need that little something extra to give your body a little kick into motion again.
I'm going to be continuing to use both of these products in the run up to my holiday in a couple of weeks to help me shed some of that extra fat that's preventing me from getting that beach body, whilst still allowing me to weight-train effectively!

Some Important Last Notes

Overall I have had an amazing experience with both the BCAA powder and the Thermopure capsules but I do want to reiterate to you guys that these sorts of products should only be used as part of a healthy, balanced diet! I would never suggest that any supplement product should be used in replacement of 'real' food, and that they should only be used to give you that little extra boost when required.
In my opinion, I wouldn't suggest taking Thermopure for any real length of time unless there are considerble breaks in between. This is because you don't want your body to end up relying on the caffeine and other ingredients to keep going, or you'll start going backwards with your progress when you do stop taking them! I'm going to stop taking the capsules after my holiday and probably won't use them again until I next go on holiday, trying to reduce my body fat naturally in the mean time.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

May Fitness Aims

Wow I can't believe that it's May already! April seemed to absolutely fly by in a tornado of birthdays, coursework hand-ins, and everything else in between - if this is how busy my life is going to be then bring it on because I'm really feeling up to the challenge at the minute.
May is also going to be a busy one for me, with my boyf coming back from his tour (literally the longest 4 months of my life!), holidays and starting to prepare for my placement year. I've also got heaps planned on the blog including a (very belated!) 100 follower giveaway! I'm just sorting out the rest of the prizes, and then it'll be up quick as a flash.

Exercise-wise I did pretty well throughout April, although I am a little disheartened that I didn't manage to run all of the 50 miles that I pledged myself in this post. I won't let it get me down though, it's just given me even more drive to get there this month!
Other fitness aims for the month is to complete Cassey Ho's Blogilates calendar for this month on top of my usual gym routine (it hasn't gone live yet, but hopefully it'll be a good'un!). I'm going on holiday on the 19th May so I really want to give it that last push to get on top of my fitness so that I look super awesome in my bikini!

Anyway! I'm off to enjoy a green smoothie (I'm thinking banana, blueberry and raspberry!) and maybe some fruit and greek yogurt before heading off to the gym before work! Hope you all have an amazing fitness-filled week with lots of yummy, clean food! :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...