June 2017 favourites: What have I been loving this month?

One Sweet World – Ben and Jerry’s

ben and jerry's one sweet world review
I called into Asda on the way home from somewhere in the hope of picking up the new tub of Mars bar ice-cream that my sister had been raving about. No such luck. Instead of leaving empty handed I saw this flavour of Ben and Jerry’s which I haven’t been able to get hold of before. Coffee, salted caramel, marshmallow and chocolate pieces. YUM. I had relegated Ben and Jerry’s to second spot after Haagen Dazs recently, but I think this may have just reignited my love for the stuff. Definitely my new favourite Ben and Jerry’s flavour, and probably a good thing that I haven’t been able to find it in any of the supermarkets near me. I justified the purchase as research for my 30 ice cream flavours before I am 30 task!

Caramel Pecan ice cream – Perfect World

caramel pecan perfect world review
This is a more macro friendly ice cream alternative. Found in Tesco, this ice cream is gluten free, dairy free and no added sugar. I didn’t have much hope for it, as usually when the first ingredient on a tub of ice cream is water the texture and flavour isn’t all that good. This surprised me though and the flavour of caramel is really strong. Obviously not as creamy and luxurious as ‘real’ ice creams, but if you are wanted a lower calorie alternative then I think this is a good option. I found it in Tesco and it was on offer for £2 a tub I believe, I think you can get it in Holland and Barretts also.

Aldi filled peppers and spinach and cauliflower burgers.

Aldi vegetarian burgers
A past client had posted a photo of these on Instagram so I had to go and search them out for myself. I have found myself eating slightly less meat recently, not on purpose, it has just happened for some reason. I will usually have at least one day a week now when I don’t have any. These peppers are great. I found that I had to add a little extra feta cheese on top, as it was only a bit of a measly sprinkling when I opened the packet. Great as something different to have for dinner. You could replicate them easy enough and it is a recipe which I am going to have a go at doing myself soon. About 100 calories and I think I paid no more than £1.50.

The burgers were lovely as well. They had some indian spices in them so weren’t super boring or dry which I have found with other vegetarian burgers. Great if you are heading to a BBQ this ‘summer.’ I think these were about 150 calories each and a similar price to the filled peppers.

Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

shoe dog phil knight review
My sister gave me this book to read as she had really enjoyed it. It is the story of the development and growth of the company Nike. From the idea of Phil Knight to multi-billion dollar worldwide company. It is amazing. I honestly had no idea where Nike had come from or how fast it grew as a company to become the biggest sports brand in the world. It was so interesting to read about how they overcame adversity after adversity. Banks kicked them out for having no cashflow and being a risk, they were scammed by suppliers, a huge fight with the US government over millions of dollars of unpaid taxes. It almost seemed like it was one problem after another and a lot of companies would have just given up. But instead it was Phil Knight’s dream and he persisted, and it was certainly worth it. Such an inspiring read and I would highly recommend it to anybody, even if you are not interested in sport, the story is incredible. Another book to tick off my list! Do you have any recommendations?

Love Island
I have said on numerous occasions before that I simply don’t watch tv. I prefer to watch videos on youtube instead if I decide to watch something. However, I was told by quite a few friends that I had to watch Love Island this year, having never seen it before it has definitely become my guilty pleasure these past few weeks! I catch up with it the following day (9pm is past my bedtime!) usually when I am having my breakfast and lunch! Gabby and Marcel are my favourites to win, I used to love Blazin Squad! Yes i know it is rubbish, but it is just entertainment and gives me something to talk about with clients!haha!

What have you been loving in June 2017? Anything which you think I need to get my hands on? If so please let me know!

Love Abi xxxx

 

week 24 : what have I been learning about this week? Plus the trials and tribulations of a Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur in training

Right let me update you on what has been going on in Abi’s world…week 24…

This week has been very similar  to the same time last year…about 5 /6 weeks until people go on holiday, so they are starting to worry about getting in shape and I have had multiple people contact me in regards to training! This is great, but is something which I really want to stop next year!! Fitness and health should not just be a 6 week quick fix in a panic before your summer holiday every year. It needs to become just a part of your lifestyle; something which you do every day, every week, throughout the year; so that when it comes to the end of June/July and days in the sun are looming, you are not desperate to make changes and look for that quick fix to get you in shape!

abi durrant fitness

I have been able to take on a couple of new clients, but unfortunately my books are now full until September. I feel so guilty turning people down, but I simply could not offer the service which my current clients and myself have come to expect of me. This has had my brain whirring, I needed to come up with a solution! So the idea of ‘Abi at Home’ has been born. It is still in the really early planning stages, however it is something which I am hoping to roll out soon. A subscription area with different workouts to do, recipe ideas, meal plans, exercise guides etc. Like I said this is still in the preliminary stages, but if this is something which you would be interested in then please let me know!

newsletter

In the meantime I would love  you to subscribe to my weekly newsletter! This is a new string to my bow, where I am hoping to share with you every Sunday morning my best pieces of content as well as any up coming news and ideas!

In last weeks newsletter, I asked everybody to focus on a couple of goals for July. My goal was to try and get out at least once a week for some ‘switch off’ time, away from my laptop, phone, daily life. I joke that if you need me you will find me in the gym, at my kitchen table, in morrisons or in bed. I find myself getting so wrapped up in what I want to achieve that I sometimes just forget to ‘live.’ So on Monday, after speaking with a client earlier in the day, I took myself off to Flamborough Head for a couple of hours. It was lovely and much needed. As I go to London this week to see my sister my diary is looking pretty full beginning of the week but I will do my best to get some time in somewhere!

flamborough head

I went to a seminar last Thursday at Yorkshire in Business, which was ran by Mark Simpson of Boostly and was all about how to use Facebook for business. Although a lot of the information wasn’t new to me, it was still great experience and I am sure i picked up a couple of nuggets which I can use to help! It is amazing some of the things which you can now do on Facebook!

I then was able to catch up with Mark on Friday for a coffee as he has been such a help in terms of having somebody outside of the ‘Abi bubble’ to talk business and strategy with. We discussed a few new ideas which I am hoping to put into place in the coming months! (We met at Costa, which is not a patch on Espresso Yourself, my favourite coffee shop in Scarborough!!)

I uploaded a video to my Youtube channel in the week answering a question which I frequently get asked in regards to meal frequency and meal timing. Go and check it out if this is something which you have ever wondered before! YOUTUBE. 

abi durrant youtube

Training has gone really well this week. I completed a circuit by Andy McKenzie on Friday afternoon, to mix things up but I felt great afterwards! Have a go if you fancy something different this week!

As I mentioned briefly above, I am going to visit my sister in London Thursday – Sunday. This will tick off another of my #30B430 goals for the year. My best friend Charlotte also lives there so will be seeing her on Friday, and she has already txt me to see if there is anywhere in particular I want to visit to get some good Instagram photos! I don’t think we have made any plans, so if you have any recommendations on places to go, things to eat then send them my way! I am hoping to get in a couple of different workouts if possible as you know that this is one of my favourite things to do when travelling.

Countdown to holiday is now less than 5 weeks….

So time to show you what I have learnt in week 24!

25th: In York it is still legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow on any day apart from a Sunday!

26th: A puffin’s beak (or bill) changes colour during the year. In winter, the beak has a dull grey colour, but in spring it blooms with an outrageous orange! It’s thought that the bright colour helps puffins assess potential mates.

27th: Chocolate is best eaten at 18-20 degrees.

28th: The coldest UK June on record was 2015, when average temperatures were only 11.5degrees. (today felt like it should have been the coldest June day ever!!!)

29th: The lotus flower symbolises growth, rebirth and overcoming adversity. This is because the roots are in based in mud, it then submerges every night into murky river water, and—undeterred by its dirty environment—it miraculously re-blooms the next morning without residue on its petals.

30th: The Bermuda triangle covers an area of 440,00 miles at sea. At least 1000 lives are lost within the last 100 years. On average, 4 aircraft and 20 yachts go missing every year.

1st July: Trimethylxanthine is the chemical name for caffeine. 400mg is the recommended safe amount for adults to consume daily. A regular cup of coffee contains about 100mg.

 

Love Abi xxxx

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newsletter

Nutrition Pyramid : What is it and why should we pay attention to it?

The Nutrition Pyramid was published and made famous by Eric Helms, a highly respected source of knowledge and research within the fitness industry. There is in fact a full e-book explaining each level of the pyramid in much more detail than I am going to do here. This is the link if you are interested in learning more!

The book was written to give ‘a set of guidelines, principles, and theories to create a framework for athletes.’

I personally think it is the best visual to show that you should concentrate on the bigger picture as opposed to the small minutia.

You need to get your big rocks in place first, before worrying about the smaller ones.

 

#1 On the bottom level of the nutrition pyramid you have ‘CALORIES.’

nutrient pyramid
Whatever your goal, calories matter. Whether you are trying to lose fat or gain weight, you really do need to get some sort of handle on how many calories you are consuming on a day to day basis. No, this doesn’t mean that you have to use myfitnesspal for the rest of your life, but I do recommend that the majority of people should spend some period of time accurately tracking what they are eating.

Once you are able to see what you are consuming, it is then a lot easier to make changes as opposed to just having a bit of a stab in the dark! If you are maintaining your weight on 2000 per day but want to decrease your body fat, then you know to maybe decrease this to 1800 and see how you get on. Conversely, if you want to put on some muscle, then you need to get into a calorie surplus and maybe shoot for 2200 calories.

Calories are the most important metric for the high majority of people in terms of body composition.

#2 The next stage up of the nutrition pyramid is ‘MACRONUTRIENTS.’

nutrient pyramid

What are macronutrients?
Macronutrients are what all food is made up of: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat.

There is no optimal ratio of these, some people function better with a higher carbohydrate diet, whereas some will prefer a higher fat diet.

You may need to experiment in order to see what works best for you. How does it effect your mood, your energy levels, your output at the gym, your hunger levels? There are many metrics to measure this by and you will only find out what works best for you by experimenting.

#3 After macronutrients you should concentrate on your ‘MICRONUTRIENTS.’

nutrient pyramid
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals which are in our foods and we need in trace amounts in order to function optimally.

We all know that when we eat more fruit and vegetables we feel a lot better. So even though we may be able to meet our calorie and macronutrient needs with ‘junk foods’, we should all be aiming to eat more fruit and vegetables.

I usually advise clients to aim for 5-8 portions of vegetables per day and 1-3 portions of fruit. A wide variety of different colours is optimal in order to cover all bases in terms of the different vitamins and minerals which they contain. Plenty of dark leafy veg is always great.

#4 Next up the nutrition pyramid is ‘MEAL TIMING.’

nutrient pyramid
This is towards the top of the pyramid for a reason. Until you have the previous layers in check, when you eat your meals is not going to have too much of an effect!

Should you eat carbs in the morning or evening? Should you eat breakfast? What time should you have snacks? Can I eat carbs after 6pm?

These are all questions which I hear on a regular basis as a Personal Trainer and they are all perfectly valid ones. The problem is that they usually come before the more important questions as mentioned previously.

There are 3 parts to this section as discussed by Eric Helms.
> how should you distribute your calories and meals over the course of your diet?
> how many meals should you consume per day?
> what is the best peri-workout nutrition strategy?

Some people can go Monday through Friday following their nutrition plan perfectly, yet when it comes to the weekend it can all go out the window. In this instance they would be best spreading their calories out over the week. Eg if this person knows that they need to eat 2000 calories per day in order to lose weight, what they could do is eat 1800 Monday to Friday, and use the extra 1000 calories over the weekend when they know they maybe will want to eat more.

Diet breaks or reseed days can also work for people who are dieting for long periods of time (3 months or more) or if they are already at low body fat levels (<15% for males and <22% females). These are structured periods of time when calories are increased, usually through carbohydrates. Helms recommends an increase of around 500 calories, but this will depend on you and is not a strict figure. This is done to help mentally, but also to upregulate certain hormones which may have down regulated during the diet process.

How many meals per day is best? This depends on you and your goals. 3-5 is my usual recommendation and is one which i have found works for myself but also clients. If in a fat loss phase, the key here is to keep extreme hunger away whilst working within your lifestyle. Some people may prefer less meals, some may prefer more.

Peri workout nutrition is an area with a lot of research but no definitive results! It can now be said with some certainty that the post workout window is bigger than we have been led to believe, ie you have about 1-2 hours to get in a meal, you don’t have to immediately pour yourself a protein as soon as you drop the last weight! Pre workout will depend on you, some people need to eat before hand, whereas some don’t; find what works for you! I see so many people sipping on Lucazades during their working when quite frankly the smallest percentage of people really need one. You should have enough fuel in the tank from previous meals or body fat to workout. Unless you are doing an intense 2 hour workout including some form of HIIT cardio, it is highly unlikely that you will need any form or intra workout.

#5 The highest level of the pyramid is given to ‘SUPPLEMENTS.’

nutrient pyramid
These are exactly that, a supplement to your diet.

Supplements should only be used to plug any gaps which you have in your nutrition. I usually recommend a multi-vitamin, vitamin D and Omega 3 fish oil, as I tend to find that these are lacking in the majority of people’s diets. However, they are still just a supplement, you should be trying to get them from food first.

Do you need supplements? No.

If you do want to start taking supplements, make sure you do extensive research beforehand. The best website which I have found for information is www.examine.com.

There is something else in addition to the levels of the nutrition pyramid which also need to be considered and is something which I have spoken about a lot, not just in this article. ‘BEHAVIOUR AND LIFESTYLE.’

‘THE BEST DIET IS THE ONE WHICH FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE AND YOU CAN ADHERE TO.’

nutrient pyramid

Behaviour and lifestyle, in a practical sense, is probably the most important subject in terms of the nutrition pyramid. You can have a lot of theory and knowledge, but not get to where you want to go if you are unable to apply it and make it work for you and your lifestyle.

A few key things to think about in regards to behaviour and lifestyle:

Experiment
>It is unlikely that you will hit upon something which works for you straight away, if you do you will be in the small minority! It will likely need a little bit of experimentation and tweaking as you go.

Tracking
>You will need to have some method of tracking to see if what you are doing is actually working. This can be done through scale weight, body measurements and/or photos. You will need to track calories for a while and this may mean investing in a food scale so you can accurately measure what you are consuming. Don’t just estimate if you are new to tracking, you will be surprised at how far off you may be with certain foods.

Accuracy, Flexibility and Consistency
> Chances are you will not have to be 100% accurate 24/7 in order to get the results you want, in fact this would almost be impossible. The extent to which you implement these three things will have a huge effect on length of time it takes you to get to the desired results though. A balance of these three things is what we are really after. Accurate enough that you are able to be consistent, yet flexible enough not to damage your consistency.

Support System
>Don’t underestimate the support and help of your family and friends. It will be really important to help keep you on track if everyone knows how important your goals are and can help you get to them, as opposed to sabotaging you at every corner! Key to this is communication.

Food Relationships
> You want to be aiming for an inclusive diet as opposed to an exclusive one. Get out of the habit of thinking that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. You should be able to follow a moderate approach in order to reach your goals so as not to develop a bad and damaging relationship with food. There are no ‘bad’ foods which are harmful to you but there are foods which are better for you, and foods which just contain empty calories.

Alcohol
> You can reach your health and fitness goals whilst still consuming calories. You just need to realise that alcohol does contain calories and as such must be accounted for. A glass of wine on a weekend is not going to be that damaging, but a big binge every Saturday night will probably not be the best! (Here is a blog post I did on best alcohol options! )

Mindset
> Have an open mindset. There is no one correct way of doing things. Do your own research, ask questions before having an opinion.

That wraps up my breakdown of the nutrition pyramid. I know that there is a lot of information to digest in this piece, so don’t get overwhelmed! Go back through and read each section thoroughly. Send me any questions which you may have and I will do my best to answer them for you!

Love Abi xxxx

 

week 22 : what have I been learning about this week? Plus the trials and tribulations of a Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur in training

Right let me update you on what has been going on in Abi’s world…week 23…

I am going to one of those really annoying people and say that I have been doing a few things this week which I need to keep secret! All will be revealed soon enough…

I can tell you about one of the projects which I have been working on though! I sent out my very first newsletter this morning! This is something which has been in the pipeline for a while. I wanted another way of connecting with you and collating my best pieces of content in one place. There will be recipes, workouts, tips, and a few other things included every week. If you are interested in being added to the mailing list then please let me know! Leave a comment or send me a message. If there is anything which you would like me to include on these weekly emails then I would love to hear from you also!

Abi Durrant Newsletter

Training has gone really well this week. I have incorporated a couple of HIIT sessions, and actually put my all into them! On Friday I did 5 sets of 10kcals on the rower…I hate the rower, but I will admit that I felt great after doing them! Then on Saturday I finished up an upper body session with some battle rope slams, 10 sets of 15-20seconds max output. I was pooped for the rest of the day!

week 23 rower sprints

My weight finally dropped a bit towards the back end of the week, as well as my measurements. I also feel better when looking in the mirror which is really my main focus. It is now less than 6 weeks until I go away. This has happened despite finding a new favourite flavour of Ben and Jerry’s….and eating a Lotus Krispy Kreme donut… #flexibledieting

I have uploaded two Youtube videos this week. The first one was my favourite exercises using a resistance band in order to get a better bum! You can check this out down below! There is also a new daily vlog on the channel.

My to do list today is as long as my arm so I best get on with finishing up week 23 strong!

Here is what I have learnt this past week!

18th: Hay Fever effects around 13 million people in the UK. (Including me now apparently!)

19th: Apple’s co-founder sold all his shares for $800.Today, they would have been worth US$35 billion.

20th: 8.7% of Facebook users ate fake!

21st: The whole of Liechtenstein can be rented for US$70,000 a night, for a minimum of two nights. It sleeps 900.

22nd: Tennis balls were white until 1972, when they were changed to yellow to make them easier to see on tv.

23rd: In the U.S., as much as 40% of produce grown is never sold or eaten because it is too ugly.

24th: A group of bears is called a sloth.

Until next week…

Love Abi xxxx