I literally do not care about Christmas food guilt

Ah, the usual holiday posts are back. “Do 5,000 burpees followed by a 27 mile swim in a lake and then run to Dover and back to burn off your Christmas dinner”, “how many calories are really in the entire box of Lindor truffles you just ate”, “did you know the average person eats 15 times their usual calorie allowance in the 3 days over Christmas”, “if you go shopping for 7 hours you can drink one glass of Baileys” (some of those may be embellished, but you get the gist) – you would think people had suddenly discovered calculators and infographics for the first time.

zzzzzzzzz.

Do.Not.Care

I like food. I like exercise. I don’t always do one to counteract the other. Sometimes, yes, maybe I do think about it – but the countless other benefits far outweigh the extra mince pies I’m going to be eating for the next few days (who am I kidding, I mean the ones I’ve been eating for the last 4 weeks already)

I’m thinking about doing parkrun on Christmas Day. Is it because I’m worried about eating too much and having to get myself into a calorie deficit? No, it’s because I love the idea of getting out to parkrun on Christmas Day! (and if it was, promise me, I’d be running more than 3.1 miles, clearly)

I went for a bike ride (aborted due to double puncture) and then for a run in the 6 inches of snow we had last weekend. Was that because I couldn’t face sitting inside all day? No, it was because I literally had SO.MUCH.FUN.  Have you ever been mountain biking in the snow? If not, you should try it. Ever been running through fields where you can’t hear anything because of the silence of snow, and the fact the closest dual carriageway is closed? You should. It’s incredible. And if it’s proper, fresh snow, it’s really likely to be not that dangerous. (Ice however, is another matter)

Food and exercise are not purely there to balance each other out. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always seem to be the mainstream media case. Did you see the tweet below from Laura Thomas?

Yeah. That says a lot. Katie’s (Cake Vs Scales) post earlier this year said a lot around this – if you pick up a men’s health and fitness magazine, the focus is completely different. Yes, there will still be a focus on becoming healthier – but it’s not purely about weighing less, or eating 1,200 calories a day.

Remember – it’s OK to take some time for yourself. You don’t have to be perfect every day. Heck, you don’t have to be perfect ever. And you would have thought that this time of year would be a great opportunity to embrace that. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, this time at the end of the year is a good opportunity to recharge your batteries, take a break (if you want) and just do what you feel like doing. If I want to spend three hours on my bike, that’s fine. If I want to spend a day in my pyjamas sleeping on the sofa, that is also fine. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. See friends, see family – and if you don’t want to, you don’t have to please everyone.

There’s a lot of pressure to be “always on” and you know what, sometimes you don’t have to have a reason to say no. If you don’t fancy going out for Christmas drinks 6 days in a row, don’t force it. It takes a bit of guts first time round (and you’ll always be questioning that people think you are boring) but rejoice in making your own decisions. It’s taken a while, but I’m at an age now (god that makes me feel old) that I know what I like doing and I’m perfectly fine with that – and don’t feel the need to be trying to keep everyone else happy.

You also don’t have to give an excuse. I used to be full of “I’m sorry I can’t make it because of xyz” when really, I just meant “I actually don’t feel like coming”. So now, I’ll just say “sorry I can’t make it” and that is totally fine. And now, I will stop being negative and telling you all to avoid any social engagements or activities of any form – do what makes you happy and remember it’s OK to be a little bit selfish, whatever time of year!

Look after yourselves and have a good end of year break.

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Mini Recipe Book: Healthy, nutritious meals from Body FX

We were delighted when Body FX approached us to make a couple of contributions to their recipe book designed to “help you understand the principles of eating for optimal health and supporting cellular function for targeted fat loss or muscle building gains”. This ain’t no diet plan, y’all, it’s a 45 page book of tasty, nutrient-dense recipes that are easy to follow and prevent you falling into the “chicken and broccoli trap”. Because man cannot live on broccoli alone, y’hear!

Click here to get access to the ebook (which, by the way, is FREE)

A whole bunch of awesome fitness enthusiasts and fitness bloggers such as Richard Scrivener, Danielle (Take the Lunge),  Amanda Bootes, Kara Godfrey, Jennifer Helen, Laura White, Stephanie Grace and Emma Campbell have provided recipes, as well as us. But you, our awesome followers, can find a little sneak peek of what the book has to offer below… Continue reading

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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Dry January and friendly sabotage

OK OK I’m putting my hands up. I’m on the wagon. I do not plan falling off it as I have not done so in previous years. It really isn’t that hard. No, I’m not doing it for charity because frankly, I don’t think giving up alcohol is the right thing to do to raise money. No, I’m not doing it because I want to lose weight. No, I’m not doing it because everyone else is doing it. And no to whatever other reason you think I’m doing it for.

I’m doing it because I know it makes me feel better, sleep better and train better (and, very handily, save money) However, as per previous years, comments are already cropping up left right and centre about why I’m doing it, if I’m drinking on certain occasions, why in preaching about it to everyone (I’m not, but if you ask, I will tell you) and I feel like I am CONSTANTLY having to defend my corner and my decision.

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Breaking the running rules…guilty

I got thinking as I ran through Hyde Park the other night about the fact it was actually quite dark in places, despite there being several lights and lots of people doing the same…and it got me thinking – what is the limit as to where I would stop ‘just nipping through’ and stick to the main roads? It then made me think about the countless other things I do before/during/after running that apparently are AWFUL and should never been done.

Yes, I do understand about running safety, and yes, you could say I am being naive because thus far, I’ve been extremely lucky and not had any incidents – and I want to say up front that there is no way I am trying to downplay anything from a personal safety perspective but isn’t running ultimately about enjoying yourself and feeling free?

How did people train before the days of mobile phones, of Oyster cards that get you back from anywhere in a very large SW London radius, of shoes specifically designed to make you less likely to roll an ankle? I mean they were still doing it and managing to survive – so are we trying so hard to do things ‘right’ that we forget how to do things ‘fun’?

What could make me a bad runner…? Continue reading

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 things to do now the days are longer

So, the clocks are back and I’m finding it easier and easier to get out of bed to go running in the morning……

But the motivation to spring out of bed and pound the pavements isn’t always everyone’s idea of fun, so we have put together a list that provides you with a multitude of activities, some of which involve being active and some which involve a very very loose link to being active….

(Realised a lot of these also rely on it actually being warm, which in the UK is very questionable)

1. Wear fewer clothes. Go running in a sports bra (!) GET SOME VITAMIN D. Buy some snazzy new sunglasses to hide your running face of pain. All these are now totally acceptable given its not 2 degrees and drizzly.

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Escape to the Country: 5 Reasons West Wales is Brilliant for an Active Stay-cation

I admit I may be a tad biased, given I grew up there, but New Quay, Ceredigion, on the west coast of Wales really is the most beautiful place in the world.

Photo by Janet Baxter

Photo by Janet Baxter

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