Weekly Round Up | 30

Firstly….I huge apology for not keeping this space updated whilst I was away. I had good intentions, and have no excuse other than I wanted to spend my time away doing things rather than sat at the laptop!

Travelling Europe was amazing. We saw so many wonderful sights, ate beautiful food, met interesting people, and just enjoyed some much needed time off.

weekly update 30

However, I am back and what a week it has been!

It as been an amazing first week back and catching up with clients. I kept in touch with them whilst I was away to check that they were getting on alright and answer any questions which they may have had. But it isn’t the same as seeing them in person. They have all done so well, kept up with all of the programming and made some great progress.

I have met with a few potential new clients, and I am looking forward to welcoming them on board next week.

September can be a bit of a funny month. You have just got back from your summer holidays, the kids go back to school, the days start getting that little bit shorter, we still have some warm days but Christmas feels a while away. It is almost a little bit of a transitional period and I know a lot of people struggle with setting goals and targets at this time of year.

A big goal of mine at the moment is to move people away from always being concerned about fat loss and dieting. You simply cannot sustain this mind set 12 months of the year. It is tiring and not healthy.

Fitness should enhance your life and be done because you want to enjoy it, it shouldn’t be a chore.

 

Why not use this next month to try out something new; join a club, give a different class a go, switch your training up, try and focus on one exercise which you want to improve, set PBs…

So what am I changing this month?

TRAINING

> I have always been a big fan of a bodyweight split style of training, ie alternating lower and upper body training. It has worked really well for me in the past and has fitted in with my schedule and time available at the gym. But I am going to move towards a full body style of training and give that a go this month.

> I want to improve my overall fitness and athleticism, so will be looking to incorporate different movement patterns, exercises, sets, reps, tempos etc. I have had a bit of a play this week to see what I want to do and will get together a programmed block of training this weekend at some point.

> You may have noticed that on holiday I went out and ran. Yes, I ran. This is so unlike me as I have always said how much I hate running. I have never been good at it, find it boring, and really really hard. But rather than just not do it, I want to get better at it. So one of my focus points this month will be to improve my 5km time. I have a couple of benchmarks from when I was away but I want to see what I can do now that I am home and actually training properly.

> Mobility and stretching is something which I need to improve on, so I am going to make a concerted effort to increase the frequency which I am doing this each week!

NUTRITION

I have a facebook post going up about this at some point in the week. There is no one diet fits all. For the past few months I have essentially been ‘winging it.’ I have been counting calories for so long that I know what is in food, what a portion looks like, and how much of it I ‘should’ be eating. Note the use of the word ‘should.’ All too often I have been having that extra square of chocolate, an extra handful of popcorn, taken the spoon to the ice cream tub. Basically I have not been doing what I advise my clients to do. Then on holiday I just ate what I wanted, when I wanted; which was absolutely great and I felt no guilt whatsoever. But a large gelato everyday, as amazing as they are, is not going to get me to my goals.

“I need some form of structure and a plan to stick to.”

I could give you a list of 100 diets which would all work to some extent, but if they are not the right fit for you and your lifestyle then they are not going to give you the results you are after.

I have been guilty of incorporating too many ‘flexible’ foods, because they fit in with my calorie goals. But I am going to go back to basics; focusing on whole one ingredient foods. Lots of meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, grains etc. They are better for my body and I know that they make me feel good.

Don’t get me wrong, if I am absolutely craving some ice cream I will probably have some, but for the most part I am going to strip it back and simplify everything.

September is going to be a crazy month for me, for reasons which you will find out about soon…. but I am going to do my absolute best to make some progress and will keep you updated on how I am getting on!

I am thinking of redoing the format of the weekly round up, if you have any ideas or would like me to include certain aspects then just let me know!

 

Love Abi xxxx

PS I am afraid my Learn something new everyday fell by the wayside whilst I was away too. I did tick off some of my #30B430 list though! 🙈

Exposed: The truth about skinny tea….and other fad diets

The BBC showed a programme entitled ‘Clean Eating – The Dirty Truth.’  It created quite a stir in the fitness and health industry so I thought I should write up a blog post with my personal feelings.

Clean eating is just one of the many current ‘fad diets’ which are popular in the health and fitness industry. There are 100s, so in this blog I just want to address a few which I think need to be wiped out!

Fad diets | the truth.

Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs.
A carb is a carb. Once eaten, your body digests them all in the same way. It has no idea if you have had brown or white rice. It is a carbohydrate and will process it as such and provide energy for you to function. The only difference will be fibre content. So if are getting enough fibre from other sources and you prefer the taste of white rice, then eat white rice. But again, if you prefer brown rice, have that.

white rice or brown rice

Sugar is what is making you fat.
It is not solely sugar which is making you fat. In fact, over the past few years as the rate of obesity has increased, our consumption of sugar has decreased… ‘But I am addicted to sugar.’ How many people do you see eating teaspoons of sugar, or downing glugfuls of honey? You don’t. They are not addicted to sugar, they are addicted to the combination of sugar and fat in these highly palatable foods such as doughnuts, cookies, cake, chocolate etc. Cut down on these, and yes you will be cutting down on calories, which will lead to fat loss. But don’t single out sugar as the main culprit.

sugar is making us fat

Juice Detoxes/Cleanses
I touched on the word detox in a previous blog post earlier this month. Essentially, your body detoxifies itself, so why do you need to follow a certain plan of only drinking juices to do it for you? You don’t. If you are just drinking these juices everyday and avoiding all other food, then you will be missing out on a serious amount of important nutrients and calories. They are expensive, and surely you miss the taste of actual food rather than just a drink?

Skinny Teas
AKA a laxative in a mug. Tea will not make you skinny. It won’t. There is nothing magical about them at all. They may contain the smallest amount of green tea which some science has shown to improve fat burning (although that is also a bit of a contentious subject, this study is a good starting point to read.), which enables them to be labelled as fat burning. If you are drinking this tea but continuing eating as usual then I’m afraid you are just throwing money down the drain.

Fat Burners
Go in to Holland and Barrett and there is no doubt a shelf dedicated to a range of these tablets and capsules, in fact they are now making their way into your average supermarket as well. Again, they may just contain a small amount of green tea and/or caffeine which enables them to be labelled as fat burning. They are not. If you are after caffeine then just have a cup of coffee instead.

raspberry ketones truth in regards to fad diets

Gluten Free
Unless you have a food intolerance or allergy, then there is absolutely no reason to go gluten free. Bread will not kill you. Pasta is not the devil. A lot of people take these foods out of their diets and say that it is the best thing they have ever done for fat loss. They don’t mention that they haven’t actually replaced these foods with anything else, therefore they have unintentionally created a calorie deficit which of course will lead to fat loss! If you are replacing these types of foods with gluten free alternatives then you are just having the same amount of calories but with less of the taste for no reason….

*But if you do have a diagnosed intolerance or allergy, do not consume.

I just want to finish off by saying that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, there are no ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ foods. Use your brain and think about it logically. Of course some food choices are going to be better for you than others, but labelling them as bad or dirty isn’t right.

Eat what makes you feel good on the inside.
Eat food which makes you perform optimally.
Eat food which will get you closer to your goals.
Eat food which you enjoy.

best diet food

Don’t be scared of food, or overcomplicate things. Do your research before opting for the latest diet which you have read about in your weekly magazine, or what some Z-list celebrity is endorsing.

There is no quick fix. If there was I am pretty sure the NHS would be handing out prescriptions for it.

Fad diets are just that; a fad.

Love Abi xxx

January Blog a Day 20/31

So this week you have heard me talking about creating habits, making goals and setting yourself up for 2017 in the best possible way. A lot of you will have made the conscious decision to try and improve your eating habits and diet. One way to do this, and one which I like my clients to adopt is through meal planning and being prepared.

Meal Planning

If you have ‘healthy’ food in the fridge and cupboards, and you have planned what you are going to be having to eat that day, then you are a lot less likely to ring for a takeaway or pick up a ready meal on the way home from work as you cant be bothered to think what to have.

Set aside some time once or twice a week and think about what you are going to have that week. You don’t have to come up with fancy ideas, or different meals for every day. Keep it simple. Then when you might have more time on the weekend, experiment and cook new recipes. We are all busy during the week, so last thing we want to do is spend hours in the kitchen.

Have a few ‘go-to’ meal ideas which you enjoy and can use every week. For me these are Bolognese with rice or spiralised veg and chicken roasted veg and sweet potato. I will have these pretty much every night during the week. Similarly for breakfast and lunch, I will have the same things every day. They meet my nutritional needs, are quick and easy to prepare and I enjoy eating them.

I have made up a simple weekly meal planner, which you can download and fill in.

Weekly meal planner

Week Meal Planner

Don’t overcomplicate things.

If you do struggle with time during the week, then you could spend an hour or so actually prepping food ready. This could be in the form or batch cooking a chilli or some soup; roasting a chicken to strip, chopping vegetables etc. Every little helps and will stop you using the excuse of lack of time.

Food Shopping

When it comes to food shopping, have a plan. How often do you go at the moment? Are you somebody who keeps barely anything in the house and ends up shopping everyday? Or do you go once a week and buy everything that you will need? There is no right or wrong way, but I would suggest you always try and have food at home as it is much more tempting to purchase the ‘bad stuff’ if you are hungry and just popping in to pick something up on the way home.

So after you have planned what you are having for the week, make a shopping list. I have made one for you and separated items in food sources. I am sure you will agree that if you go into the supermarket with a list it makes for a much quicker and more enjoyable experience!

Healthy Supermarket Shopping List

Shopping List

Fruits and vegetables – You should be aiming to get in at least two portions of these per meal. Make sure over half of them are green but try and get a good variety of sources throughout the day and week. Ie eating 5 portions of strawberries doesn’t count.

Protein Sources – Focus each of your meals around a protein source. This could be meat, fish, dairy. Protein is so important so make sure you are getting enough.

Carb Sources – Please don’t cut carbs out completely. This won’t help in the long run. Just be conscious of portion sizes, you may have to take a few extra minutes when preparing meals to weigh out what 100g of rice looks like. But this will save time and unnecessary calories in the future. Bread isn’t bad. White rice isn’t bad. Choose carb sources which you like the taste of and know make you feel good.

Fat Sources – You need fat to function optimally. But once again, just be wary of having much you are having. Don’t just pour olive oil into a pan, use a spoon and measure it out. Weight out what a portion of nuts looks like, don’t just take a bag to work and sit and chomp through the lot. Get your fat from a variety of food sources, but you may also need to look at supplementing if you don’t get enough Omega 3 fats in your diet. Avoid trans fats which usual come from processed foods.

Everything else – I have put random items here you may use to make up meals.

THIS LIST IS NOT EXCLUSIVE!!!!!!

You don’t need to buy everything on it, and you don’t have to avoid things which aren’t on it. This is just an example and a starting point. Add your food preferences and scribble out ones which you don’t like to make up your own personal list.

Hopefully these two resources will help you with achieving your goals this year!!

Let me know how you get on!

Love Abi xxxx

Downloadable Files:

Shopping List

Week Meal Planner

  • January Blog a Day 6/31

It has been a bit of a funny month for me, with being in and out of hospital, juggling clients and then preparing to go away again in a week. I have definitely felt a bit unsettled and unsure of myself. It has been frustrating not being able to spring back to normal. I am not great at sitting about and resting, so having to do exactly that and then ease myself gently back into work and training has certainly been a bit of a struggle.

img_1114

I began training again very lightly last week, since being ill I have lost nearly 5kg, the majority being muscle as I didn’t lose my insatiable appetite at any point! So obviously strength has taken a huge hit and I feel almost like I am just starting out again in regards to lifting weights. But I know that it will only be a matter of time until I am back feeling me again, my health is the priority at the moment, not how much I can deadlift or workout! (Although I did find myself doing laps of the hospital to still try and get my 10,000 steps in a day! Just couldn’t help myself.)

I have still managed to discover a few new products during this time and would like to share with you all!

Warburton’s Thin Bagels (Usually on offer somewhere for £1)
My tastebuds went all out of whack with the amount of antibiotics which I was on, I couldn’t stomach coffee or yoghurt at all, which are two of my daily staples! All I was craving was bread, which is really strange for me as it isn’t something which I ever usually want or eat at all! I don’t not eat it because I think it is ‘bad’ for me or ‘will make me fat’, but simply because I prefer other types of carbs! However this month I have rediscovered my love for bagels.

A regular bagel contains around 200-250 calories before you add any toppings or fillings; but these bagel thins are only 120-130 calories and are more than ample! I have been enjoying the plain ones toasted and with my eggs in a morning, and the cinnamon and raisin ones just toasted or with a cheeky spoonful of nutella on! I am going to attempt to make french toast with them some point soon so will let you know how I get on.

Ribena Light (Currently £1 in Morrisons) & Asda’s Apple and Elderflower High Juice (£1.25)
Diet fizzy drinks have taken a bit of a backseat this month in favour of these juices. If you struggle to drink enough water throughout the day, added no sugar juice is a great way of making them that little bit more enticing and palatable.

img_1235

I am pretty sure everybody loves Ribena so that takes no describing! But I came across the Apple and Elderflower Cordial in Asda and figured I would give it a try. I used to assume that anything elderflower flavoured would be quite perfumed in taste so always used to avoid it….until it was an ingredient in a cocktail which I had in Leeds a few months ago! This drink is really fruity, and you can definitely taste the elderflower, it doesn’t take a backseat to the apple. I have also mixed this is with some sprite zero for a refreshing drink with my dinner and makes a nice change to the usual flavoured juices.

img_1161

Ribena – Morrisons £2
Apple and Elderflower High Juice  – Asda £1.25

Marks and Spencer’s Sour Cream and Red Pepper Sweet Potato Snacks

I mentioned these on a Facebook post a few days ago, but thought it was appropriate to mention them again here as I did like them so much! I love vegetable crisps, and luckily they are becoming that bit more popular as new versions and flavour varieties keep cropping up on the shelves. I spotted these on one of my escapes from hospital for supplies, and at only 92 calories per bag thought I would give them a go. Normally with low calorie bags of crisps you get about 5, however this bag was plentiful and I didn’t scoff the lot in under 10seconds. They are baked and not fried, which means the fat content is much lower than regular bags of crisps. I would recommend picking some up next time you are passing and picking up some lunch on the go.

Calories = 92
Protein: 1.6g; Carbs:13.4g; Fat:2.9g.

Aldi Cinnamon Chocolate
Pretty sure I have never seen cinnamon flavoured chocolate before, so when I spotted this bar on a recent trip to Aldi, my curiosity/greediness got the better of me and I had to give it a try. It is a milk chocolate and there is a strong flavour of cinnamon throughout which packs a punch. Really creamy and good quality. It was in the specials aisle so I am hoping that when I am next in there will still be some left and it wasn’t just a one off!

img_1165

Exercise – Defranco Shoulder Shocker
Seated Plate Raises x 8-12
Seated Side Raises x 8-12
Seated Clean and Press x 8-12

I have been easing myself back into training gently, and after seeing this superset floating about on social media I decided to give it a go myself and it certainly works! I like the fact that by performing it seated, you are taking the tendency to ‘swing’ and ‘cheat’ out of the exercises, which really forces you to focus on just using your shoulders. I have prescribed it to a few of my clients in their programmes this month, and have seen some brilliant ‘pain’ faces because of it! I like using heavy weights, but for this set it isn’t needed at all. Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Here is a link to the video on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/abidurrantpt/

shoulder-shocker

Social Media Presence: Clean Eating Alice
I follow a lot of fitness people on the various social media platforms, however recently I have begun to delete a few of them; either because I don’t agree with their message or I am sick of seeing endless edited selfies everyday. Boring. You may think that the name of Alice’s social media handle goes against the majority of what I preach, and you would be correct. I am all for balance, and don’t label any food as ‘dirty’ or ‘clean’. But Alice made this her instagram name years ago and it has stuck with her as a brand, even though she now preaches balance and similar values to myself.

clean-eating-alice

I think she is a brilliant example to follow, especially for girls of how to live a happy, healthy lifestyle. She shares such delicious photos of her food on Instagram, (especially her breakfast!) but then on snapchat you will see her happily tucking into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s on a Saturday night or a bar of Lindt chocolate. She posts workout videos, informative information and always has the nicest gym gear on which I am so jealous of! In general she just seems like such a lovely, genuine and friendly person. I love seeing what she is getting up to each day and would definitely recommend that you follow her on twitter, instagram or snapchat!

Twitter: @alice_ldnm
Instagram: @clean_eating_alice
Snapchat: Alice Liveing

 

Right so that’s it for September. I have my fingers crossed that October will be a better month for myself, positive thinking! As I mentioned at the beginning I am actually going away again so I am hoping to be able to film tons more content and exciting things!

Like always, if there is anything you think I should try and you have spotted on the shelves then let me know!

Love Abi xxx

The health and fitness industry is full of so many contradictions and unnecessary nonsense that it can be so hard to know what to believe and what not to believe, especially when it comes down to nutrition.

Not a day goes by when the Daily Mail doesn’t publish an article on ‘The latest superfood’, or ‘Which foods will give you cancer/live longer/be happier/lose weight faster/etc etc.’ The latest tabloid magazines print a different diet every week to follow. Celebs on social media push products which they have been paid to promote, which quite frankly are usually a bag of doodoo.

There is no wonder you are confused. So here I am just going to bust just 5 nutrition myths which I have heard countless times and want to put a stop to!!

#1 Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
No it isn’t. If you don’t like breakfast or cant eat first thing in the morning, then don’t force yourself to eat it. Overall calories are king, do what works for you.

#2 Eating clean is the only way to lose fat.
No it isn’t. Firstly, there is no such thing as clean and dirty foods. Secondly, you can still overeat ‘clean foods,’ especially the higher fat ones such as avocados and nuts. Yes, what we deem to be ‘clean’ foods such as meats, fish, vegetables, fruits etc are much higher in nutrient value and therefore are going to be better for us. But overall calories are of most importance when trying to lose fat, so you know that clean healthy protein bar which contains over 300 calories, swap it out for a protein shake and a bar of Dairy Milk and be happier.

#3 Carbs are the forbidden fruit.
No they aren’t. We need carbohydrates to function, they are our brains main source of energy. So don’t automatically cut out ALL rice, potatoes, bread, pasta etc, eat them mindfully and in accordance with your goals.

#4 You have to avoid sugar.
No you don’t. It would be near on impossible to cut out all sugar from your diet. When I hear people saying they have cut out sugar from their diet yet are still consuming huge fruit smoothies every day, or even eating vegetables, then I shake my head a little inside. Sugar is not the devil, and it is not the reason you are putting on fat. It usually comes down to the combination of sugar and fat in the highly palatable foods such as brownies, cookies, doughnuts etc. So don’t cut out sugar thinking it will work, it wont, you will just end up moody and grumpy.

#5 You need to eat little and often.
No you don’t. I feel like i am a broken record, but once again overall calories are king. If you prefer smaller more often meals then great, go for it, but if you prefer larger meals with no snacks, then great go for it. Diet is all about personal preference so find what works for you and your life and you are more likely to stick to it!

Hopefully this brief little article will have cleared up any confusion which you may have had but any questions then please let me know and I will do my best to answer them!

Love Abi xxx