Dear Katie: Starting out the year right

Dear Katie,

I promised I’d check in and hold myself accountable for my 2018 New Year Goals, so here I am.

It’s been a week, and a pretty good one at that, but then I guess most people come out of the gates strong in the first week of January only for it to head south rapidly after that. I suppose only time will tell. Anyway, this is the summary of this my efforts this past week for your delectation:

Goal One: Run a half marathon

  • I still hate running. But we’re signed up to the Reading Half so I’m committed. Was delighted not to massively embarrass myself at the training day on Saturday…
  • …however, some of the photographs that were taken that day have hammered home my need to reduce my waistline. Motivation!
  • I have a new found respect for people who run. It’s hard! My fitbit tells me it gets my heart rate up better than any other exercise I do and my legs are in tatters after two days of training!
  • Realising recovery is key means I’m actually using my foam roller and stretching more!

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Sweating it out – are you replacing your minerals?

The sun is finally out and I (and everyone else, don’t lie) am SWEATING a lot. Especially if you are doing any kind of sport. I sacked off track partway through the session last night because a) it was the hardest sessions EVER (6 x 1 mile) and b) it was the hottest day ever.

Now, I obviously know when you sweat, you lose electrolytes and that is a bad thing. You don’t perform as well, you don’t recover as well, you get cramp. That is why companies are constantly peddling electrolyte drinks, vitamin water (I drink it because I like the taste rather than any nutritional benefits), protein coconut water (still tastes as bad as normal coconut water vom) to get you to replace lost salts and minerals.

So that is a form of supplementation – but supplements as a whole, I’ve never really felt the need to delve into…It’s a combination of

  1. thinking I don’t need to (and I know best obviously)
  2. remembering a nutrition module in my degree with the conclusion of you don’t really need to if your diet is sufficient
  3. every study showing the benefits having an opposite study that refukes the claim (again, side effects of a sports science degree)
  4. I always forget to take them.

Pharma Nord got in contact a few months back to ask if we would like to try out their Bio-Magnesium tablets, and I have to say, I was easily convinced by the claims of magnesium in reducing DOMS and aiding recovery. I rarely feel like I’m not in a state of DOMS (to the point that my legs always hurt walking up stairs.end of) so this was a BRILLIANT way of convincing me.

What role does magnesium play in the body?

Magnesium regulates A LOT of reactions in the body (over 300 enzymatic reactions!), from protein synthesis to blood pressure regulation. It is also probably fairly low in the list of “top things you would think about supplementing” – with iron and sodium tending to be near the top of the list for endurance athletes, but its role must not be ignored.

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Gluten-free chickpea blondies

I think this is a first for this blog. A actual recipe. We’ve not broached this area before, tending to keep things behind closed kitchen doors and have you all guess what we’re whipping up. But here we go.

Post long run this Sunday I decided that I had some serious cravings, and wanted to make something that made myself feel vaguely better about the fact I would be spending the rest of the day on the sofa with Netflix. And also something that didn’t require several layers of baking and waiting for completion – I’m looking at you, Millionaire’s Shortbread.

Enter these beauties. Gluten-free, flour-free, chocolate-heavy and with a healthy dose of pulses (and a healthy dose of peanut butter, but apparently not everyone would put peanut butter on the list of key components of a balanced diet). Chickpea blondies. Stop rolling your eyes already about the fact chickpeas have gone into a dessert. It’s a thing and you can’t escape it. The fact that I went for gluten-free baking is nothing to do with dietary intolerance, they just taste nice.

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The New Year Bandwagon – Ditch the detox and kick-start healthy habits instead

It’s January. I had a hectic December and, much like everyone else, ate and drank waaaaay too much. On top of that, I am four months in to a significant change of lifestyle, i.e. student life, and playing a lot less sport as a result. Things were beginning to look grim. Not to mention wobbly. Something had to give, so here I am shamelessly piggybacking off Katie’s recent post about Dry January and friendly sabotage to talk about the January Bandwagon.

It’s still one of the most popular New Year’s resolution in the UK – “I will lose weight”, so people up and down the country part with wodges of cash to join gyms (a lot of Twitter angst was felt towards this by regular gym bunnies) and slimming clubs. Now, I’m not in dire straits by any stretch, so paying to have someone weigh me once a week and talk about ‘syns’ or ‘points’ wasn’t something I felt I needed to do, and as someone who already hits the gym of my own accord I felt fairly well equipped to take myself in hand, but having stood on the scale on New Year’s Eve morning to be faced with 69kgs it was clear I needed to do something. Now.

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Dr. Weight Loss; or, How I Learned to Start Writing and Love the Pen

I have to admit, this post has no intention of cleverly satirizing the fad diet by drawing comparisons between burning belly fat and the Cold War… I’m just a massive nerd and have been wanting to crow-bar a blog post into Dr Strangelove’s title for some time. And now I have.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve lost about half a stone in weight (just over 3kgs, for those of you who deal in non-anachronistic units of measurement). I haven’t gone out of my way to do so – I haven’t gone on a calorie controlled diet, or gone mad in the exercise stakes, but I have started blogging. I am almost certain that there is a direct correlation between these facts.

Yes, I'm a nerd. No shame.

Yes, I’m a nerd. No shame.

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10 superfoods every health conscious 20-something should rely upon

1. Peanut butter. Actually any form of nut butter. Full of protein and healthy fats, the benefits of which multiply by 100 if you choose the ‘eating it from a spoon’ method. Also exponential benefits related to the size of tub purchased.

PB

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My week in eats (and wine)

OK, so I promised last Sunday evening that I would document what I was eating this week as an attempt to vaguely undo any cheese-and-wine-and-beer-and-all-the-food related damage from a week in Chamonix. However, as I mentioned during the week, this is kind of a necessity when skiing because a) I ski hard and b) I am not working a season and doing this every week for 5 months and c) HOLIDAY EXERCISE = CALORIES DON’T COUNT

However, I am conscious that I’ve been a bit lax recently even before skiing because I’ve been injured, work has involved a lot of late nights and takeaway sushi, I’ve got to move out of my flat so there has been some mega stress there, far too many nights out recently……but these are pretty pants excuses so I have decided that I need to get a bit of a handle on things for a while as there is a difference between intuitive eating and ‘throwing all your toys out of the pram because sod it, I can do what I like and surely that’s better than obsessing over everything I eat’

Also apologies for all my pants iPhone photography.

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