Instagram is the social media platform of the moment! We all like flicking through the pretty photos, being nosey and seeing what everyone is up to! But there is a lot of value and learning which can be taken away from certain accounts!

 I follow a LOT of fitness instagram accounts so it was hard just choosing these top 5. But I think you would all gain something from following them all!

Alex Gildea Personal trainer

@gildeafitness
Alex was my first trainer when I joined the gym for the very first time when i was 17 and trying to get fit for a hockey tour to Australia. He has since moved away and now works in London. He uploads workout videos on the daily. They are always entertaining to watch and are brilliant for helping with workout ideas and exercises to try (some are certainly more achievable than others!) He tends to forget his shirt quite a bit too….

Clean Eating Alice. Instagram to follow

@clean_eating_alice
Alice currently has 481,000 followers on Instagram, so if you are interested in fitness then the chances are you are already following her! But if you are not then you should be! Her page is full of yummy recipe and meal ideas, as well as some workout videos. She is extremely likeable and relatable too. Downside is, whenever she posts food it always makes me super hungry!!

Hazel Wallace. The fOOD mEDIC instagram to follow

@thefoodmedic
Hazel is a full time Junior Doctor as well as fitness blogger and youtuber. How she fits everything I genuinely do not know! Her posts are also a mixture of foodie ideas and workout snaps. If I am ever in need of some motivation then I usually head to her social media as it shows me what is possible with my time and to just get on with it! If you have a crazy work schedule too and struggle to fit in work and prep food, then I suggest you go check her out as she is always giving tips on maximising workout time as well as what is in her lunchbox!

Amanda Bucci Fitness Instagram to follow

@amandabuccifit
Amanda is an American youtuber based in Los Angeles. She is a bikini competitor and is about to enter her first power lifting competition as well. I really enjoy the content of her videos and instagram, as she is always trying to give you information on a certain topic. She doesn’t just go down the line of posting the standard ‘booty shot’ every time she enters the gym. Her captions are usually pretty long and worth taking the extra few moments to read!

Bret Contreras Best Fitness instgram to follow

@bretcontreras1
The Glute Guy. I am not sure he needs any more of an introduction! He is my go to for choosing the best glute exercises as he is scientific based so everything he talks and writes about is research and evidence backed. If you see me performing a weird and wonderful exercise in the gym, then 9 times out of 10 I have got the idea from him! He tends to write up a lot of his own workouts as well as those which he does in ‘the Glute Lab’ and it is always really interesting to see what he is currently doing but also why!

PS. If you are not following me on there yet, then i would love you to do so! I share a lot more of my daily happenings over there! Click this link to see!

Who are your favourite instagrammers and why?!

Love Abi xxxx

January Blog a Day 13/31

I would hazard a guess that 99% of people are feeling a bit sluggish and ‘meh’ after the festive period, myself included. So I wanted to share a few of the things which I like to do to get myself back on track and hit the ground running in 2017!

#1 Set goals
I am big on setting goals in case you hadn’t already realised.

How do you know which road to take if you don’t know where you are going?

Passion Planner Diary for setting goals

I like to set long term goals and then break them down into smaller ones. I love my Passion Planner Diary which makes laying out these goals and targets even easier, from yearly to monthly to weekly to daily. I like having structure and this really helps me and focuses my mind on what I want to achieve and what steps I need to take in order to get there. Take a look at the blog which I published yesterday on how I like to come up with my own goals!

#2 Drink Water
Cliché, yes I know. But I cannot stress the important of this one. (I have a whole blog post on the subject here.) Make sure you are getting in your 2 litres a day. If you are retaining any post festive water weight this will help flush it out. Your skin will thank you for it and in general your body will just start functioning a whole lot better. I am guilty of letting my consumption drop when I get busy and especially when it is cold outside, so I have got myself a new water bottle to carry around and ensure I am fully hydrated. And sorry, it will mean you will need the toilet more.

#3 Schedule your gym sessions
This is now a big one for me. Ever since returning from LA in October I have been scheduling my workouts into my diary and blocking out that slot to stop me from arranging anything else. This has made me so much more accountable and I haven’t missed a session from doing this yet. Write down when you intend to go to the gym and stick to it!!

Abi Durrant Personal tRAINER

New year also means a new gym split and workout for me to freshen things up and keep me motivated and progressing. I recommend you do the same. Have a look online for ideas or get in touch and I am sure I can help!

#4 Eat Fresh whole foods
I am a huge advocate of flexible dieting and not restricting yourself, however I know myself I can bend the rules a little too much and be a bit excessive on the chocolate consumption or helping myself to a handful of crisps if they are open and making it ‘fit my macros.’ I feel 10x better when I focus on making all my meals from whole foods sources. So this week I will be cutting out the ‘crap’ and getting all the goodness back into me.

The Butchers Daughter, Los Angeles

#5 Go for a walk
Nothing clears my head like going for a walk. I love just plugging my earphones in, putting a podcast on and stretching my legs. I definitely don’t do cardio as much as I should, for no other reason than I use the excuse that I don’t have time. Getting a sweat on, as much as you maybe don’t want to, will release those feel good endorphins and afterwards you will feel amazing. I am going to make sure I do some sort of cardio whether its just a walk, some sprints or some conditioning in the gym a couple of times a week.

Runyon Canyon, LA

BE CONSISTENT

I have saved the most important point for last. Above all, if you want results consistency will trump perfection every time. (PS Perfection doesn’t even exist!) If you are consistent with your efforts day in and day out you are much more likely to reach your goals rather than trying to be perfect at everything, failing and throwing the towel in.

There is no short term fix for success.

In a world where we all want instant gratification this can sometimes seem hard to fathom, but at the end of the day if you really want to make a change, things have to change and there has to be some sort of sacrifice on your part; start off small and you will soon be flying towards your goals!

Get in touch if you need any more help!

Love Abi xxxx

-January Blog a Day 2/31

I get asked this question A LOT, and as some of you may know I do have a little bit of a thing for buying new trainers… so figured it would make a good topic for the blog!

There is also still a little bit of time to get in some last minute Christmas present hints, as well as it nearly being the January sales; so thought it was as good a time as any to get this written and published (plus I just ordered another pair ?).

First things first, you do not need multiple pairs of trainers if you are simply a recreational gym goer, nor do you have to spend a lot of money. There are so many different options out there that you will be able to find the perfect pair for you.

Nike flyknit free run

Nike Free Flyknit = good all round gym trainer

Having the right pair of trainers is important, not only for looking good (hmm don’t discount this reason!) but also for performing at your best.

Reducing the risk of injury is the number 1 reason as to why you should spend a little bit of time thinking about and purchasing the right pair.

Wearing the wrong style shoe can alter significantly your body’s alignment and in turn how it moves when shifting weights in the gym. Take the squat for example,I see so many people squatting in your regular running trainers or a pair of the newest Nike Air Max, this is a problem as you see their knees caving in (which you don’t want!), heels coming up off the floor and/or they aren’t able to squat to proper depth. Sometimes they are just better off squatting in their socks and I will advise them to do so!

Nike Black Air Max Thea

These trainers would be AWFUL to deadlift/squat in.

I was once told that deadlifting (or lifting any significant weight in general), is like doing so on a cloud if you are wearing shoes with some sort of heel; when you really want to be lifting on a sturdy flat base so you can really feel and push the weight through your heels in order to exert maximum force. Imagine trying to lift weights whilst stood on your bed….you definitely aren’t going to be able to lift as much as if you were standing on the floor. That same principle applies to lifting in the wrong trainers.

So do you need to buy proper lifting shoes?

No.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, you do not need to purchase expensive lifting shoes such as the Nike Metcons or Adidas Adipowers if you are simply somebody wanting to get fitter in the gym. If you begin to get a little bit more serious, then yes these may come in useful further down the line but for a beginner they are certainly not necessary.

Nike Metcons

I love my Nike Metcons – however I would say I more of a gym enthusiast than most.

So what do I recommend?
What I usually tell people to look for is a flat soled shoe, this will then cover all bases in terms of gym work. Every brand sells suitable ones so
Let’s look at a few examples:

NIKE FREE TR6 £62 (currently on sale!)

Nike Free TR6

REEBOK CROSSFIT NANO 6.0 £89.95

Reebok Crossfit Nanon 6.0

REEBOK CROSSFIT SPEED TR £64.95

Reebok Crossfit Speed TR

ADIDAS ADIPURE FLEX SHOES £49.95

`Adidas Adipure flex shoes

NIKE METCON 2.0 £110

Nike metcon Rose Gold 2.0

What are your favourite pair of trainers?!

Love Abi xxx

*This is just my personal opinion. I am not qualified to give concrete recommendations on what shoes to wear; if you would like more advice please seek out a professional before purchasing.

**Please note that these are my recommendations for lifting in the gym; if you are a runner/crossfitter/sportsman or participant of any other activity then please seek further advice on what the best options would be for you.

So here is a little run down of some of my favourites from the past few weeks! Hope you enjoy 🙂

The Happiness Project By Gretchen Rubin

I have spoken before about how much I enjoy listening to audible books whilst on the go, makes me feel like I am accomplishing something during what would usually be dead time. This month I downloaded and have been listening to ‘The Happiness Project.’ I feel like a review of this book could be a separate blog post by itself as I feel like I have so much to say about it!

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No I am not unhappy, in fact I am not sure what actually drew me to this book, but I am so so glad that I did purchase it. I have been recommending it to so many people.

Gretchen, the author and narrator of the book decided to embark on a 12 month happiness project to determine what true happiness is. She herself wasn’t unhappy, but thought that there must be ways in which to make herself happier. Each month was dedicated to different resolutions and tasks. These varied from love and marriage in February, leisure and play in May to mindfulness in October. I don’t think there is one chapter which I didn’t enjoy.

At the beginning of the book she also set out her ‘Twelve Personal Commandments’ which included ‘Be Gretchen’; ‘Let it go’; ‘Identify the problem.’ She also told us her Secrets of Adulthood; ‘People don’t notice your flaws as much as you think’; ‘What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you;’ ‘Try not to let yourself get too hungry;’ are just a few of my favourites  which spring to mind!

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The very first chapter, January, had me making small changes to my lifestyle straight away! Things like decluttering your apartment (*bedroom): so I went through all my gym clothes, was ruthless and threw out anything I hadn’t worn in the past month. Don’t postpone any task which takes less than a minute: i have been doing simple thing like putting my plate in the dishwasher instead of just putting on the side; filing away my recipes instead of leaving in a pile to do at the end of the week. ‘Act the way you want to feel’. This was a big one for me this month, any time I felt down or tired I would go have a word with myself (usually in the toilets at work) and it would actually work. We are in charge of our own feelings, we only have ourselves to blame if we are in a bad mood. So I have been really working on trying to not let things get to me and be in charge of how I feel, and so far I have been seeing really good results.

Throughout the book there are so many words of wisdom, some which got to me so much that I would actually pull the car over and make a note of them in my phone. You may see a few of them over the coming weeks in my ‘motivation Monday Instagram posts!

“never start a sentence with the words ‘no offence’”

“It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.”

“…arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate. – enjoy the process”

“To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right.”

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It makes you really question how you live your life. What are you doing to make yourself a happier human being, but also make those around you happier. I also feel like it is a book which I am going to have to listen to again as there will certainly be key points which I have missed, but also I want to enjoy it again and see if I have taken anything away and made a part of my own lifestyle.

Because ultimately isn’t happiness what we are all after?

Rolo Yoghurts

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At only 80 calories a piece these are a perfect little snack if you fancy a sweet treat. But a little hack which I have been doing with them this month is to pop them in the freezer. This way I have a serving of ‘ice-cream’ without the temptation of eating the whole tub! If you take out and leave on the side for a couple of minutes before eating, the texture becomes less ‘icey’ and more reminiscent of your usual frozen yoghurt/ice cream.
I have also tried the milky bar and mint aero versions! The milky bar one is lovely, but personally found the aero mint one a little but artificial in taste and the texture remained icey as you ate it. Still a good treat though!

Aldi Sea Salt Dark Chocolate and Lindt Coconut Intense

I have chocolate every day without fail. It is one thing which I will not remove from my ‘diet.’ It is usually in the form of a square (or two) of dark chocolate right before I go to bed, and one of my main sources of fat. The usual go-to bars have been Lindt 85% or the individual bars which you can get from Aldi, which again are great for portion control.
But this month has seen me add a couple of new bars to my collection. I am a huge fan of anything ‘salty/sweet’, so when I saw the ‘Sea Salt Dark Chocolate’ I had to pop some in my basket to give it a try. For one bar it is 130 calories (2g Protein; 13g Carbs; 8g Fat). It is so good. It is slightly higher in carbs than fat, which is a bit unusual for dark chocolate, but hasn’t swayed me from adjusting my macros to fit it in!

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I saw the Lindt Coconut Intense bar for the first time in Sainsburys, and i got a little excited once again! It was on offer for £1.50 so no excuse not to get some to try! I used to absolutely hate coconut flavoured anything, but I guess as we get older our tastes mature and it is now one of my favourite flavourings. This chocolate isn’t just coconut flavoured, it has actual fleas of coconut in it. So, so delicious. Get some if you see it!
A square is about 10g which comes to about 53 calories (0.5g Protein; 4.7g Carbs; 3.4g Fat), and 1 or 2 squares is plenty, promise, even coming from a chocolaholic like myself!

Freeze-Dried Strawberry and Pineapple (The Snack Organisation)

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I am always on the lookout for new and exciting snacks to try. I spotted these in Tescos for £1 each. They are 100% natural , with no added oil so are suitable for vegetarians and those of you which are gluten free. Per serving which is the whole packet, they are 67 calories which is mostly carbohydrates. I prefer the strawberry ones, but both are lovely. I have been having just a couple sprinkled over some fruit and yoghurt for an extra tang and crunch rather than just eating the bag in one go. Just livens it up a little…the simple pleasures!

Front raised reverse lunges

I used to do this exercise quite a lot during my leg day sessions, but it had been forgotten about amongst the many other leg exercises which I have saved up in my exercise archive. However a couple of weeks ago I brought it back from the exercise graveyard and gave it a go, and boy did I know about it for the following few days! Major leg doms occurred! It is great as gives you a bigger range of motion than just a standard flat lunge, and targets a different part of your legs to the more common rear elevated lunge.
You want to have your whole foot up on a step, and then lunge backwards, stepping slightly out if you struggle with your balance.

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You can do with or without a weight. I personally did a dropset; 8 reps on each leg holding a weight in each hand, before dropping the weights and doing a further 8 reps each.
There isn’t just one way to do a lunge!

Deadbug ball holds

Another exercise favourite which I have been loving/hating this month is this strangely named Abs exercise. The regular dead bug just involves laying on your back and holding your arms straight up and your legs at a right angle in order to target your core, this is pretty hard in itself. Now trying adding a medicine ball into the mix!

By holding a medicine ball between your elbow and your knee you are seriously intensifying this exercise and the effect on your abs. 15seconds and you will be done! May take a little getting used to the balance and coordination aspect but it is worth the extra hassle! Give it a go!

 

Another month wrapped up! With me going to Indonesia for the majority of August I am so intrigued to see what my favourites list will include next time!

Love Abi xxxx

A frequently asked question… ‘What can I snack on?’

I must get asked this at least once a week. I find it a little bit difficult to answer as snacking isn’t something which I do all that often, I personally tend to stick to bigger meals across the day which I have found keeps me more satiated and full.

But I recognise that this isn’t the case for everyone so here are some of my top tips for snacking.

Protein
One of the main problems I see is the lack of protein in peoples diets, one way of increasing this is by swapping one of your snacks out for either a protein shake or a protein bar. My current favourites are the Snickerdoodle Protein powder by PEScience or Chocolate Caramel from MyProtein. In terms of protein bars, here is a link to the blog I wrote on my top 5! (pssst Cinnamon Twist Combat Crunch is number 1!)

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Vegetables
Not quite as easy as fruit to have on hand to snack, but if you are prepared then chop up some carrot, cucumber, celery, red pepper, and pop in some tupperware to have at hand if you get a case of the nibbles. You can always add a little bit of hummus or peanut butter as a dip.

veggie-snacks

Fruit
I would recommend whole fruit here over smoothies or juices. Somebody told me they had made up a juice with a banana, an apple, some strawberries, two kiwis, some frozen blueberries and orange juice. Could you eat that all in one go? Nope, but I bet you would down a juice in no time. Eat your fruit, don’t drink it. My favourites include strawberries, melon and apples.

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Low Carb options
Rice cakes, Alpen Light bars, mini bags of popcorn, rich tea biscuits, fibre 1 brownies. All of these options will come in at under 100 calories and feel a bit more ‘treat like.’

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Others:
10 Calorie Jelly – Strawberry and Raspberry are my favourites. Tip into a bowl with IMG_0115a serving of fromage frais or greek yoghurt for a filling snack.

 

 

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Weight Watchers Layered Fromage Frais yoghurts – I like these because they have a balanced profile of protein and carbs, only 50 odd calories per serving. The cherry one is my favourite.

 

 

Untitled design-58Aldi Mini Milk Lollies – At less than 40 calories, these are my go to if I just want something cold and refreshing.

 

 

 

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Dark Chocolate – I try and buy the mini bars from Aldi to engage some form of portion control. The higher cocoa content the better, but I also like the Sea Salt version which they do.

 

 

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Diet Drinks – Sometimes just having a glass of diet Lilt, or Pepsi Max will get rid of any cravings I may have.

 

 

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Cottage Cheese/Babybel/Laughing cow triangles – strange one, but works.

 

 

 

What are your current favourite snacks? Is there anything I need to rush out and try? I am always on the lookout for new products to try and share with my clients so let me know!

 

Love Abi xxx