week 25 : 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 25…

I am currently in London so this weeks update will only be what I have learnt and I will do a proper one when I can (probably on the train home later on today!!) It has been lovely to get away however I can feel myself getting a bit anxious at the amount of work which I will have to do on my return. It is less than 4 weeks until i go away and the list of things to do is growing by the hour!


learn something 25


2nd: There is a river in Peru where the temperature of the water reaches boiling point and will boil alive anything which falls in!

3rd: On average 7 Postmen are bitten by a dog every day!

4th: The Spanish Paralympic basketball team from 2000 had to hand back their medals because 10 of them didn’t have a disability.

5th: A formula 1 car changes gear 50 times quicker than a human eye can blink.

6th: Google receives 54,000 queries a second which equates to 90 billion per month.

7th: It costs the city of London £3.8million to clean up litter from the square mile.

8th: London Pride takes place every year on the Saturday closest to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969.


I will no doubt update this post later on and fill you in properly on what I have been up to so stay tuned……


Love Abi xxxx


Week 19 : The trials and tribulations of  Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur ‘in training’

Week 19 began after a whistle stop 30hour trip to Stockholm in order to see Bruno Mars in concert at the Globe Arena. My friend Laura really wanted to go and see him, so as non of the UK dates were possible for us both, we investigated whether it would be possible to jump on a plane and see him elsewhere; hence why we ended up in Sweden’s capital for the night. He was incredible live. I wasn’t all that fussed about seeing him to be honest, but he surpassed my expectations and then some.

Stockholm is a beautiful city, and we were extremely lucky with the weather, sunshine and 24 degrees meant just walking around the city was so lovely and pleasant. We stayed on a boat. Yes you read that right. Our hostel was STF AF Chapman, an old ship which had been renovated and is now a hostel! Our ‘cabin’ was bunk beds. It was such a lovely setting on the water, spotlessly clean and certainly an experience. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Stockholm, check them out for sure! People had told me it would be expensive, and all I will say is I am glad we were only staying one night! But the people, the food (see restaurant recommendations down below!) and the ambience were fabulous and I would highly recommend to anyone (just make sure you have some deep pockets!)

stf af chapman

The weather has been absolutely beautiful in England this week, unfortunately I think I have only managed about 40 minutes sat outside though due to work and clients. However just having the back door open and the sunshine streaming in has been so nice and my mood certainly alters with the weather. I walked to work and back for the first time this year and it is something which I need to start doing more. Just the simple act of popping on a podcast and 10 minutes in the fresh air does wonders for me.

I don’t know whether it was the sunshine or just one of those weeks but I had more than a few client cancellations this week. This is quite rare for me. It makes me question everything and probably gets to me a lot more than it should. There is usually a valid reason for the cancellations and they do all get rebooked in again, but it just reminds me not to get too complacent as this is my livelihood, if I don’t have clients then I don’t get paid. It has forced me to really think about my business model this week and what I could be doing better to ensure things like this don’t affect me as much.

Speaking of business, I have been working away at planning for my group sessions which took place again in week 19. More new faces amongst returning regulars has been brilliant. I put so much pressure on myself to make these sessions amazing, waking up in the middle of the night fretting and worrying that they won’t be good enough and people will leave disappointed. When planning I can sometimes just stare at a piece of paper for hours and not get anywhere, but then other times inspiration will take over and I will come up with something which I am proud of.

I really do enjoy putting these sessions on. The ability to be able to get in front of and help more people is one of my goals. Without giving too much away, there may be something on a larger scale in the pipeline sometime soon…..

Week 19 was rounded up by an extremely proud moment for myself. My sister was home this weekend and took part in her very first powerlifting competition; Lift for Cancer at Scarborough Spa. Hannah has been training for this for months and she did absolutely brilliantly. It was a Bench Press and Deadlift only competition. There were a couple of hiccups in the Bench Press, but she came away with a 42.5kg lift which is brilliant. In the afternoon, she hit a new PB of 125kg on the deadlift which was one of her goals so we were both incredibly happy and chuffed. I train Hannah online, she is probably one of the best clients I have in terms of adherence and following a plan! But seeing her succeed and being so happy got me all emotional.

I am so proud of her.”

lift for cancer

What have I been learning in week 19?

21st: There is a car accident every 18 seconds in Barcelona

22nd: In 1903, Australia became the second country in the world to grant the vote to women, New Zealand was the first, granting it in 1893.

23rd: One in every three people sitting in jail in Berlin are there because they didn’t pay their fare on transport system.

24th: 95% of black people who go to Ivy League Universities in America come from Africa for their further education.

25th: 60% of the US population have less than $1000 in savings. 60% of NBA professional basketball players go bankrupt once they have retired. 40% of divorces in America cite money problems as one of the main reasons.

26th: Nestle uses a different chocolate recipe in each one of its chocolate bars.

27th: The most expensive flower in the world is the Kadupul Flower which is only found in Sri Lanka. It is a white flower which blossoms at night and survives mere hours, meaning catching even a glimpse of it is next to impossible. This near-mythical species has never been up for sale, making it literally priceless.

Love Abi xxxx

This week has been tinged with huge sadness after the events of Monday night at Manchester arena. All acts of terrorism are completely barbaric, but this one certainly seemed to hit home and affect me a lot more. The number of concerts I have been to at that venue and used that exit to get out, I would have been in that exact spot had I been to see Ariana Grande that night. A concert is supposed to be a fun night, an evening enjoyed with friends and family, not something which we will forever be worried about going to. Frightful of what may or may not happen. My heart is heavy thinking about the number of lost lives and their affected families. May they rest in peace. 

Stockholm Restaurant recommendations:

Barrels, Burgers and Beers: We had one of the best burgers I think I have ever had at this little restaurant in the old town of Stockholm. It was hugely popular but luckily we got there early and were able to get a seat without much waiting! You can also get your burgers ‘naked’ i.e. without the bun and served up in a huge lettuce leaf.

week 19 update - greasy spoon stockholm

The Greasy Spoon: This little cafe is run by two english guys who saw a gap in the market for a proper breakfast in Stockholm, and it most definitely is not what you think of when you hear or see the words ‘greasy spoon’! We had read reviews online and knew that this was the place for us. Serving up classics like Eggs Benedict or your full english, but with a modern twist, this hugely popular spot was just great. There was a waiting list when we arrived so we knew it must be good. I had the Eggs Florentine and then we shared the Apple Pie pancakes special. Hunt this place down!

Pharmarium: Fancy a cocktail to remember in a backstreet swanky bar? Then this is your place. We found this little gem out after the concert for a late nightcap. The bar also serves food, but the cocktail menu will blow your mind. I don’t think I recognised over half of the ingredients on the list, but on recommendation from one of the waiters I opted for what would be ‘The Best Espresso Martini you will ever have!’ After the first sip, I agreed. Must visit for sure if you are in Stockholm!

Week 18 update and what I have learnt this week!

I will throwback to last weekend (I mentioned a little bit in my Week 17 update but I was tired and probably should expand more!!) when I went to Birmingham for the Bodypower expo at the NEC. This was the fourth year which we have visited and it is something which I really enjoy. I usually come back really motivated after being around other people in the industry and speaking to them; this year was no exception. I was able to network with and speak to people who I had previously only followed on social media which was great. The most beneficial chat was probably with Jamie Alderton, I follow a lot of his work on multiple platforms but it was so interesting getting to actually speak to him, bounce ideas and get a lot of invaluable information to help my business going forwards.

Week 18 - Jamie Alderton Bodypower 2017

I personally don’t think the expo was as good overall as previous years, and in fact think it may start to decline in coming years as number of big companies decide against going, including GymShark. But who knows, I may be proved wrong and I would hazard a guess that I will still be there next year!

I went with my sister and we stayed over Friday night and had the day in Birmingham on Saturday with the intention of going shopping, however it always happens that when you want to spend money you can never find anything!! We ate out at an Indian on Friday which wasn’t great, but then had a couple of good meals on the Saturday. In the last blog post I mentioned that we would hopefully be visiting Emporium Gym for a training session, and we did do just that. It was one of the best training sessions I have had in ages, there is something about a new gym with different people in it which I love! If you want to check out my full vlog from the weekend then head on over to my Youtube channel!  Abi Durrant Fitness.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were so busy I barely had chance to catch my breath, let alone speak to anybody! But one of the key things which I have been told by my mentors is to not neglect working ‘on’ your business, rather than just ‘in’ it. Therefore I am going to be making a concerted effort to try and take half a day each week in order to try and do just that. This week it was Wednesday afternoon, unfortunately all I managed to do was catch up on client plans, youtube edits, social media posts, emails, and didn’t get chance to do anything else! I know I need to develop a better system but it is just finding the time!

It was National Vegetarian week this week and I made an effort to choose more plant based meals. I made another youtube video with a full day of eating vegetarian which I would love you to check out too!

This weekend I have another exciting one planned as I head to Stockholm on Saturday for the night to see Bruno Mars in concert! Another new country to tick off my list as I work towards my #30B430. goals.

What have I learnt in Week 18?

13th: In America, the most popular baby names in 2016 were Noah and Emma.

14th: Sellotape was developed by the merging of glue and cellophane.

15th: It took 5,127 prototypes before James Dyson believed the technology was ready to go in the vacuum cleaner using the ‘new’ dual cyclone concept.

16th: KitKats used to be called the Chocolate Crisp.

17th: The UK’s biggest export commodity is Gold (9.8%), followed by cars (9.6%).

18th: Nootropics are substances that enhance or stimulate certain mental abilities such as cognition, memory, attention, concentration, motivation, learning and generally many of the functions related to intelligence. This word, derived from the Greek word “nous” means mind and “tropes” address refers, first, to natural components found in foods and plants.

19th: The most popular names over the last 500 years are Mary and John. Most popular names in 2016 were Oliver and Olivia.

Hope you have all had a good week!

Love Abi xxxx


Do I need to cut out dairy?

Do I need to cut out gluten?

Do I need to cut out chocolate?

Do I need to cut out alcohol?

Do I need to cut out fizzy drinks?

Do I need to cut out carbs?

Do I need to cut out X/Y/Z?

I must have been asked this question or similar 100s of times, and the simple but annoying answer is….it depends.

No food should be classed as bad for us, just the same as there are no super foods. Obviously some foods are better for us than others, but no way should we be labelling foods good or bad, it just creates the wrong mindset when it comes to eating and life.

There was a certain amount of uproar a few weeks ago when the programme regarding ‘clean eating’ was aired on TV. I thought the presenter did a brilliant job of putting across the facts and thus enabling the viewer to make his or her own opinion.

‘You do not need to eat clean in order to be healthy or reach your goals, whatever they may be.’

One of my favourite quotes regarding the clean eating debate is from Alan Aragon, one of the most well respected nutrition researchers in the world; “if you are defining foods as clean and dirty, then celery would of course be classed as good and ice cream would be classed as bad. However if you were on a dessert island and could only survive by eating only one of these foods, which one would you choose?” (sic)

It depends.

Context is key to any of the questions above.


Gluten and Dairy
If you are intolerant to dairy or gluten, then yes you should go a period with cutting it out of your diet completely and see if this improves your health. Dairy, gluten and sugar are not the killer foods which the media likes to label them. On their own, they are not the reason for the obesity epidemic which is sweeping the world.

“A recently published study in the journal Digestion found that 86 percent of individuals who believed they were gluten sensitive could tolerate it. Individuals with celiac disease, a hereditary autoimmune condition that affects roughly 1 percent of the population, must avoid gluten.”

Swapping regular bread or pasta for gluten free is also expensive if you don’t need to do so! I see people choosing things like ‘gluten free cake’ as they think it is healthier than regular cake….it definitely isn’t. Therefore if you don’t have an intolerance, and you like the taste of a glass of milk, or a slice of toast then continue have it!

ryan reynolds gluten quote

Chocolate and treats
If your goal is fat loss, then yes there is the possibility that you will need to cut down on your chocolate consumption or similar palatable tasty foods (!) Chocolate is a calorie dense food, therefore if you are trying to sustain a calorie deficit, which is the most important thing for fat loss; you want to be sticking to nutrient dense and low calorie foods to fill you up as well as hit your nutritional targets. BUT that does not mean you need to cut it out completely. If a square of chocolate is going to keep you sane at the end of the day; on track with the rest of your diet and able to sustain a calorie deficit by including some, then go for it. I know I include some every single day.

Morrisons Slted Butterscotch Milk Chocolate

Alcohol and fizzy drinks
Similar to above, if your goal is fat loss then yes the chances are that you will have to cut down on your alcohol consumption if you want to reach your goals quicker. People don’t realise the amount of calories in alcohol, it all still counts. I just had a client text me yesterday shocked at the amount of calories in vodka as she was planning a night out! This does not mean that you need to become a hermit and stop drinking altogether, it just means you need to become a bit more aware of what you are consuming and fit it into your life and diet accordingly.

A couple of drinks a week is not going to kill you or completely derail your progress. But a bottle of wine a night, or a big binge on a weekend (plus the kebab on the way home) will put a halt to any fat loss goals.

Check out my blog post on best alcohol options if you are going out.

Fizzy drinks; this is a controversial one. I think Scott Baptie has written the best blog post which I have seen on the topic so head on over to his site if you want to read more.

Non diet fizzy drinks such as regular Coke, Sprite or even Lucazade should be avoided if fat loss is your goal. There is absolutely no need to be taking in that amount of calories from a drink, especially when there are zero calorie alternatives available. The number of people I see in the gym drinking a bottle of lucazade, which probably contains more calories than they are even likely to burn off during that session, is way too high. Key here is to realise and take notice of what you are putting into your body.

That said, I don’t think that having a Diet Coke, or any other zero calorie drink every now and then will do you any harm. Yes there have been some studies published to show that artificial sweeteners may in fact be detrimental to our health, however this is not substantial and as yet there is not enough data to fully support these claims.

Get into the habit of drinking water when you can, but if having a diet coke is going to suppress your appetite and stop you over consuming calories, then I cannot see it being a problem.

Carbs and Fat
Your diet is made up from the main three macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat.

‘Macro’ = you need them in larger amounts.

Hopefully you can see the problem if you are thinking about cutting a whole macronutrient out of your diet? This is completely the wrong thing to do. It seems that Fats and Carbs interchange roles as the ‘baddy’ in the media, but the simple truth is that you require both in certain amounts in order for your body to function optimally. You need carbs for energy (amongst other things), you need fats for brain function, and to regulate your hormones (amongst other things!), therefore cutting them out entirely will have a huge effect on your well being.

Both need to be eaten in accordance to your personal goals.

I hope from reading this blog post you can see why my answer to all of the questions at the beginning will be ‘it depends.’ It really does come down to context.

There is no ultimate fat loss diet. The optimal diet is the one which you enjoy and can stick to for a period of time.

You do not need to cut anything out.

There are no good or bad foods.

I know how confusing nutrition can be, there are so many conflicting things published or spoken about every day. I want to banish these theories for good and bring it back to the basics and make it simpler for you to understand and implement yourself.

Don’t get caught up in fad diets or the latest craze.

Think about things sensibly. Do your own research. I actively encourage you to go away and read up on anything which I have said and form your own opinion!

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

Love Abi xxxx

I had tried to make a low carb lasagna in the past using sheets of courgette, however if I am honest it just turned into a little bit of a gloopy mixture rather than having the lovely distinct layers like a Lasagna should. When I saw that Sainsbury’s had upped their creative vegetable game and brought out these butternut squash sheets, I knew I had to give it another go.

Roasted Vegetable and Butternut Squash Lasagna

The butternut squash is more of a robust vegetable and will therefore hold its shape when made up with the different layers. You could of course slice your own, but I went for the cheat version and the packet was £1.50.

Butternut Squash Sheets Sainsbury's

We made a roasted vegetable and gorgonzola version last Saturday afternoon. I was a bit apprehensive as to whether it would work and whether the flavours would meld together like I imagined they should in my head. It smelt delicious as it was cooking, and my fears were completely unfounded once I dished it up! It tasted as good as it smelt.

This comfortably made two portions and both myself and my sister have big appetites! The calories are really low, and mainly come from the different types of cheese which we added. The protein comes from Quark which is a high protein, low fat dairy product which you can use as an alternative to soft cheese, creme fraiche or mascarpone in a lot of recipes. It is now available from most supermarkets.

Roasted Vegetable and Butternut Squash Lasagna

We did add gorgonzola to ours for extra flavour, but you could leave it out. The trouble with solely using low fat cheese is its inability to melt and go that nice gooey consistency, this is why we added some parmesan on top as well. But once again you could use whatever you have in the fridge but just adjust the calories accordingly.

You could make so many different variations of this dish, but here is a run through of how I made mine, the ingredients and a calorie breakdown!

Happy Cooking!

150g Butternut Squash Sheets
100g Passata
50g Pepper
50g Cherry Tomatoes
50g Mushrooms
100g Courgette
50g Red Onion
Low calorie cooking spray
Ready Chopped Garlic
125g Quark
30g Gorgonzola
200g Spinach
20g Low Fat Cheese
10g Parmesan

Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees (fan). Chop your vegetables up into small pieces and put into a roasting dish with half a teaspoon of ready chopped garlic and a few sprays cooking spray. You can season with just salt and pepper, or we added in some ready mixed season-all from Schwartz. Pop in the oven and roast until soft and tender which should be about 20-30minutes but keep an eye on it.

Roasted Vegetable and Butternut Squash Lasagna

Add the passata to the vegetables once cooked and mix well. Have a taste and adjust seasonings if you need to.

Steam your spinach in a pan until it has wilted down.

In an ovenproof dish, it is time to start layering! This is how we did it:

Vegetable Mixture
Butternut Squash Sheet
Butternut Squash
Vegetable Mixture
Butternut Squash
Mixed Cheese

Then dish goes into the oven for 40-45 minutes. I would recommend keeping an eye on it, as you my need to cover with foil to stop the cheese from completely browning and turning hard!

This dish will also keep in the fridge and probably taste just as good and if not better warmed up the next day!

Roasted Vegetable and Butternut Squash Lasagna

High Protein, Low Carb, Low Calorie, Delicious, Healthy Dinner.

Love Abi xxxx

Cals: 450 cals
Fat: 17g
Carbs: 32g
Protein: 36g

January Blog a Day 19/31