From the journal

How to fuel your workouts...

It’s officially summer and this is the month of sport and exercise... 

With the Tour De France, the Netball World Cup and the British Golf Open it’s about time we start talking about nutrition and exercise. You don’t have to be a pro golfer, professional netball player or world class cyclist for this information to apply to you.

Quite the opposite really. This KNOWLEDGE BITE is all about helping you to understand how to eat around different types of workouts. So whether you’re a early riser or a night owl, a flexible yogi, a regular weight lifter or a casual walker there’s information here for all of you.

Are you an early riser? Eating around your morning workouts…

If your morning session is a lower intensity yoga or pilates session you don’t necessarily have to eat something first although it you’re someone who can’t leave the house without breakfast then go for something light like a yoghurt, a banana or a large medjool date (just enough to provide you with some energy but nothing too difficult for your gut to manage).

After your morning workout go for something light packed with some protein and veggies e.g. eggs and greens or avo, natural yoghurt topped with berries, seeds and cinnamon or a quick smoothie.

For those of you who are smashing a HIIT workout or heavy strength session in the early hours of your day then ideally you should fuel up before (note: everyone is different and some people workout better on an empty stomach so do what works for you). A banana or a small bowl of porridge is perfect to provide you with some fuel.

Following these types of workouts you need to replenish your glycogen stores so load up on complex carbohydrates and protein to support optimal recovery. Breakfast examples include: porridge topped with some berries and nut butter, scrambled eggs or peanut butter on toasted rye bread or a fully loaded protein shake with banana or oats, peanut butter, milk (or milk alternative) and a good quality protein powder. Eggs are rich in leucine which helps with muscle repair and so perfect if you have the time. Although if you’re finding breakfast prep difficult then try out The Transformation Chef breakfasts which can ensure you’re supporting your workouts and help to keep you fuelled throughout the morning.  

Are you a lunch time gym go-oer?

For those of you who are time poor and time savvy and try to fit your workouts in at lunchtime then it’s advisable you have a larger breakfast and a light snack mid-morning to ensure you have some fuel for your workout. An apple with nut butter, Greek yoghurt (or yoghurt alternative) and berries, some nuts or our energy balls are perfect.

Following your workout, opt for something high in complex carbohydrates, protein and a range of vegetables. Exercise produces free radicals (a very natural reaction) and so consuming your vegetables can help to neutralise the free radicals as they’re super high in antioxidants.

A quinoa salad with chicken, salmon or tofu is a great post-workout lunch option as is a mixed bean salad or even a wholemeal wrap with hummus, halloumi and mixed vegetables. Why not try our Spiced Tilapia with Quinoa as the ideal post workout meal. Throughout the afternoon you may also be aware that your appetite can increase in response to your workout. Make sure to opt for a protein rich snack to keep you fuller for longer. Roasted beans, boiled eggs or hummus and crudités are all good options.

Are you the night owl exerciser?

If an after-work workout is more your style then try snacking on a carbohydrate rich snack in the afternoon around 1-2 hours prior to your session The Transformation Chef matcha and vanilla vegan blondies are a great way to keep your energy levels high to see you through your workout.  Alternatively opt for a banana smoothie, dates with almond butter or rice cakes with mashed banana.

Following your workout opt for a protein and complex carbohydrate rich dinner. E.g. bolognaise over a jacket sweet potato (or a mixed bean bolognaise for a plant-based option), grilled meat or fish with brown rice and veggies, a root vegetable frittata or even a tofu stir-fry.

Finally, make sure you’re getting enough variety in your diet and surrounding your workouts to ensure you’re obtaining a varied micronutrient and amino acid profile. Finally, ensure that you’re staying hydrated throughout the day as dehydration can contribute to lower energy, irritability, headaches and impaired cognitive performance.

 

Struggling to find the time to meal prep?

Check out our healthy, pre-prepared meals that we'll deliver direct to your door.

Read more

It’s officially summer and this is the month of sport and exercise... 

With the Tour De France, the Netball World Cup and the British Golf Open it’s about time we start talking about nutrition and exercise. You don’t have to be a pro golfer, professional netball player or world class cyclist for this information to apply to you.

Quite the opposite really. This KNOWLEDGE BITE is all about helping you to understand how to eat around different types of workouts. So whether you’re a early riser or a night owl, a flexible yogi, a regular weight lifter or a casual walker there’s information here for all of you.

Are you an early riser? Eating around your morning workouts…

If your morning session is a lower intensity yoga or pilates session you don’t necessarily have to eat something first although it you’re someone who can’t leave the house without breakfast then go for something light like a yoghurt, a banana or a large medjool date (just enough to provide you with some energy but nothing too difficult for your gut to manage).

After your morning workout go for something light packed with some protein and veggies e.g. eggs and greens or avo, natural yoghurt topped with berries, seeds and cinnamon or a quick smoothie.

For those of you who are smashing a HIIT workout or heavy strength session in the early hours of your day then ideally you should fuel up before (note: everyone is different and some people workout better on an empty stomach so do what works for you). A banana or a small bowl of porridge is perfect to provide you with some fuel.

Following these types of workouts you need to replenish your glycogen stores so load up on complex carbohydrates and protein to support optimal recovery. Breakfast examples include: porridge topped with some berries and nut butter, scrambled eggs or peanut butter on toasted rye bread or a fully loaded protein shake with banana or oats, peanut butter, milk (or milk alternative) and a good quality protein powder. Eggs are rich in leucine which helps with muscle repair and so perfect if you have the time. Although if you’re finding breakfast prep difficult then try out The Transformation Chef breakfasts which can ensure you’re supporting your workouts and help to keep you fuelled throughout the morning.  

Are you a lunch time gym go-oer?

For those of you who are time poor and time savvy and try to fit your workouts in at lunchtime then it’s advisable you have a larger breakfast and a light snack mid-morning to ensure you have some fuel for your workout. An apple with nut butter, Greek yoghurt (or yoghurt alternative) and berries, some nuts or our energy balls are perfect.

Following your workout, opt for something high in complex carbohydrates, protein and a range of vegetables. Exercise produces free radicals (a very natural reaction) and so consuming your vegetables can help to neutralise the free radicals as they’re super high in antioxidants.

A quinoa salad with chicken, salmon or tofu is a great post-workout lunch option as is a mixed bean salad or even a wholemeal wrap with hummus, halloumi and mixed vegetables. Why not try our Spiced Tilapia with Quinoa as the ideal post workout meal. Throughout the afternoon you may also be aware that your appetite can increase in response to your workout. Make sure to opt for a protein rich snack to keep you fuller for longer. Roasted beans, boiled eggs or hummus and crudités are all good options.

Are you the night owl exerciser?

If an after-work workout is more your style then try snacking on a carbohydrate rich snack in the afternoon around 1-2 hours prior to your session The Transformation Chef matcha and vanilla vegan blondies are a great way to keep your energy levels high to see you through your workout.  Alternatively opt for a banana smoothie, dates with almond butter or rice cakes with mashed banana.

Following your workout opt for a protein and complex carbohydrate rich dinner. E.g. bolognaise over a jacket sweet potato (or a mixed bean bolognaise for a plant-based option), grilled meat or fish with brown rice and veggies, a root vegetable frittata or even a tofu stir-fry.

Finally, make sure you’re getting enough variety in your diet and surrounding your workouts to ensure you’re obtaining a varied micronutrient and amino acid profile. Finally, ensure that you’re staying hydrated throughout the day as dehydration can contribute to lower energy, irritability, headaches and impaired cognitive performance.

 

Struggling to find the time to meal prep?

Check out our healthy, pre-prepared meals that we'll deliver direct to your door.

Read more


Health benefits of Chocolate...

In light of World Chocolate Day we wanted to give credit where credits due!

Chocolate can sometimes get a bad rep. It’s commonly referred to as a ‘guilty pleasure’ and there appears to be a common misconception that eating indulgent food that tastes good must be terrible for your overall health. However, as we hope you are aware by now. Nutrition doesn’t have to be black and white. As cliché as it may sound… it’s all about #balance.

It’s not rocket science to know that consuming a family pack of chocolate on the regular isn’t the smartest plan, although a little bit of chocolate here and there may not be quite so terrible after all! Let us explain…Chocolate comes in all shapes, sizes and with many fillings. So whilst a crème egg might not be your best friend, a few squares of dark chocolate has actually been associated with some health benefits.

So what’s dark chocolate got that milk chocolate hasn’t? Well to start with milk chocolate is often higher in refined sugar, additives and saturated fats and as a result it can often lure you into consuming way more than you originally had planned or wanted. On the other hand dark chocolate is richer, lower in refined sugar and additives meaning that it’s actually harder to over consume as it’s slightly more bitter and richer in taste.

Aside from the fact it’s not loaded with the same ingredients as milk chocolate it’s actually also got some health benefits. It’s at this point you’re likely wondering what they are…

Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

The key component in chocolate is cocoa which is rich in flavanols (a natural chemical found in plants). Flavanols have been found to help increase the elasticity of blood vessels which stimulates vasodilation (this is the widening of blood vessels), improves blood flow and consequently helps to reduce blood pressure. This can prove beneficial in reducing risks associated with cardiovascular disease. 

Mood enhancer

Chocolate contains an amino acid known as tryptophan which is required for the production of serotonin (also known as the happy hormone). It’s no wonder you feel a little bit happier with every bite! 

Increased alertness

Cocoa contains a combination of caffeine and theobromine (a natural chemical compound) and when combined caffeine and theobromine block the uptake of adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter which is released slowly throughout the day and contributes to sleepiness. When adenosine uptake is blocked, tiredness is delayed and alertness is increased.

Improved cognitive function

Some studies have suggested that chocolate has been associated with a lower risk in cognitive decline. However, these studies are correlational which makes it difficult to conclude that chocolate will have a direct impact on cognitive function but it’s still an interesting and promising theory! This may also be due to the role of caffeine and theobromine and their effects on alertness as mentioned above.

Improve cholesterol profile

Surprisingly chocolate has been found to reduce oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) these are the types of fat droplets in the blood which can contribute to atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque in the arteries which over time can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease). It has also shown to increase HDL (the good cholesterol). Higher levels of HDL are beneficial to your total cholesterol profile.

Whilst all of these factors sound great and there certainly is some benefit to eating small amounts of dark chocolate the key is moderation. Opt for high quality dark chocolate where possible and enjoy it in moderation!

 

Keen, C. L., Holt, R. R., Oteiza, P. I., Fraga, C. G., & Schmitz, H. H. (2005). Cocoa antioxidants and cardiovascular health–. The American journal of clinical nutrition81(1), 298S-303S.

Martínez-Pinilla, E., Oñatibia-Astibia, A., & Franco, R. (2015). The relevance of theobromine for the beneficial effects of cocoa consumption. Frontiers in pharmacology6, 30.

Moreira, A., Diógenes, M. J., de Mendonça, A., Lunet, N., & Barros, H. (2016). Chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Journal of Alzheimer's disease53(1), 85-93.

 

Read more

In light of World Chocolate Day we wanted to give credit where credits due!

Chocolate can sometimes get a bad rep. It’s commonly referred to as a ‘guilty pleasure’ and there appears to be a common misconception that eating indulgent food that tastes good must be terrible for your overall health. However, as we hope you are aware by now. Nutrition doesn’t have to be black and white. As cliché as it may sound… it’s all about #balance.

It’s not rocket science to know that consuming a family pack of chocolate on the regular isn’t the smartest plan, although a little bit of chocolate here and there may not be quite so terrible after all! Let us explain…Chocolate comes in all shapes, sizes and with many fillings. So whilst a crème egg might not be your best friend, a few squares of dark chocolate has actually been associated with some health benefits.

So what’s dark chocolate got that milk chocolate hasn’t? Well to start with milk chocolate is often higher in refined sugar, additives and saturated fats and as a result it can often lure you into consuming way more than you originally had planned or wanted. On the other hand dark chocolate is richer, lower in refined sugar and additives meaning that it’s actually harder to over consume as it’s slightly more bitter and richer in taste.

Aside from the fact it’s not loaded with the same ingredients as milk chocolate it’s actually also got some health benefits. It’s at this point you’re likely wondering what they are…

Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

The key component in chocolate is cocoa which is rich in flavanols (a natural chemical found in plants). Flavanols have been found to help increase the elasticity of blood vessels which stimulates vasodilation (this is the widening of blood vessels), improves blood flow and consequently helps to reduce blood pressure. This can prove beneficial in reducing risks associated with cardiovascular disease. 

Mood enhancer

Chocolate contains an amino acid known as tryptophan which is required for the production of serotonin (also known as the happy hormone). It’s no wonder you feel a little bit happier with every bite! 

Increased alertness

Cocoa contains a combination of caffeine and theobromine (a natural chemical compound) and when combined caffeine and theobromine block the uptake of adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter which is released slowly throughout the day and contributes to sleepiness. When adenosine uptake is blocked, tiredness is delayed and alertness is increased.

Improved cognitive function

Some studies have suggested that chocolate has been associated with a lower risk in cognitive decline. However, these studies are correlational which makes it difficult to conclude that chocolate will have a direct impact on cognitive function but it’s still an interesting and promising theory! This may also be due to the role of caffeine and theobromine and their effects on alertness as mentioned above.

Improve cholesterol profile

Surprisingly chocolate has been found to reduce oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) these are the types of fat droplets in the blood which can contribute to atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque in the arteries which over time can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease). It has also shown to increase HDL (the good cholesterol). Higher levels of HDL are beneficial to your total cholesterol profile.

Whilst all of these factors sound great and there certainly is some benefit to eating small amounts of dark chocolate the key is moderation. Opt for high quality dark chocolate where possible and enjoy it in moderation!

 

Keen, C. L., Holt, R. R., Oteiza, P. I., Fraga, C. G., & Schmitz, H. H. (2005). Cocoa antioxidants and cardiovascular health–. The American journal of clinical nutrition81(1), 298S-303S.

Martínez-Pinilla, E., Oñatibia-Astibia, A., & Franco, R. (2015). The relevance of theobromine for the beneficial effects of cocoa consumption. Frontiers in pharmacology6, 30.

Moreira, A., Diógenes, M. J., de Mendonça, A., Lunet, N., & Barros, H. (2016). Chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Journal of Alzheimer's disease53(1), 85-93.

 

Read more


Health and Wellbeing Top Tips

This week is world wellbeing week and at Transformation Chef we’re passionate about taking a 360 degree approach to health and wellbeing. Our mission is to make healthy eating as delicious, easy and convenient for you. Unfortunately, we can’t take complete control of your health and there are some additional habits which you can incorporate into your daily routines to support your mental, social and physical wellbeing.

You don’t have to tackle these all at once. Finding your version of health is often a journey and not something which occurs overnight. Wherever you are along your road stay consistent, mix things up and start or continue to look after yourself in the best way you know how.

Get your 8 hours 

Sleep is very much underrated when it comes to overall health and during busy periods sleep is often the first thing to go. Sleep is essential for repair and recovery and is even more important if you’re a regular exerciser. Poor sleep has been associated with altered appetite related hormones. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation increases ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and decreases leptin (the satiety hormone) meaning that you’re more likely to consume more food. The research has also shown that you’re more likely to crave high sugar foods to help boost your energy levels too. Try and ensure that you’re sleeping around 8 hours per night.

Time out

With so much going on in today’s society it can feel near impossible to take time out for yourself. Although taking time out is vital for your overall health. Chronic stress can lead to risk of deficiencies, risk of adrenal fatigue, poor mental health and prolonged excess food intake. It’s so important that you manage your stress levels as much as possible by taking time for yourself. Do something everyday you enjoy – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Reading a book, sitting down with a cup of tea, taking a bath or just going for a walk.

Healthy gut

There is a lot of research now to show the strong link between the gut and the brain. The relationship is by directional although more messages are sent from the gut to the brain than vice versa. Aside from digestive function gut health has also been associated with mental wellbeing. Impaired or unbalanced microbiota in the gut can cause poor mental wellbeing. We also know that 90% of serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced in the gut, consequently if you don’t support your gut health you’re at risk of impaired serotonin production which can have lasting affects on your mental wellbeing. Support your gut by consuming a wide range of plant and fibre rich foods. Ensure that you’re also consuming some live cultures in the form of yoghurt, kombucha, kefir and fermented foods.

Move your body

Exercise is vital for your overall wellbeing. We know that exercise releases endorphins which are also referred to as ‘the feel good’ hormone. Exercise also helps to maintain a healthy weight, support your bones, joint and heart health for later on in life. You don’t have to pound it out in the gym if that’s not your style. Instead try and Yoga class, a YouTube pilates session, a walk in the park or a play with the dog! It all counts.

Make small dietary changes

As there’s so much information around nutrition in the media and on social media it can seem all too confusing. Before making a complete overnight overhaul to your diet try making small changes which are more likely to be sustainable in the long run. Whether this be increasing your water intake to 2L per day, hitting your 5-aday, consuming 30g of fibre per day, reducing your alcohol intake or limiting your sugar consumption. Try tackling one goal at a time and you’ll begin to notice big differences.

Remember start small, this is a journey. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself and remember to enjoy the process.

 

References:

Crispim, C. A., Zimberg, I. Z., dos Reis, B. G., Diniz, R. M., Tufik, S., & de Mello, M. T. (2011). Relationship between food intake and sleep pattern in healthy individuals. Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 7(6), 659.

Golem, D. L., Martin-Biggers, J. T., Koenings, M. M., Davis, K. F., & Byrd-Bredbenner, C. (2014). An integrative review of sleep for nutrition professionals. Advances in Nutrition, 5(6), 742-759.

 

Read more

This week is world wellbeing week and at Transformation Chef we’re passionate about taking a 360 degree approach to health and wellbeing. Our mission is to make healthy eating as delicious, easy and convenient for you. Unfortunately, we can’t take complete control of your health and there are some additional habits which you can incorporate into your daily routines to support your mental, social and physical wellbeing.

You don’t have to tackle these all at once. Finding your version of health is often a journey and not something which occurs overnight. Wherever you are along your road stay consistent, mix things up and start or continue to look after yourself in the best way you know how.

Get your 8 hours 

Sleep is very much underrated when it comes to overall health and during busy periods sleep is often the first thing to go. Sleep is essential for repair and recovery and is even more important if you’re a regular exerciser. Poor sleep has been associated with altered appetite related hormones. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation increases ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and decreases leptin (the satiety hormone) meaning that you’re more likely to consume more food. The research has also shown that you’re more likely to crave high sugar foods to help boost your energy levels too. Try and ensure that you’re sleeping around 8 hours per night.

Time out

With so much going on in today’s society it can feel near impossible to take time out for yourself. Although taking time out is vital for your overall health. Chronic stress can lead to risk of deficiencies, risk of adrenal fatigue, poor mental health and prolonged excess food intake. It’s so important that you manage your stress levels as much as possible by taking time for yourself. Do something everyday you enjoy – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Reading a book, sitting down with a cup of tea, taking a bath or just going for a walk.

Healthy gut

There is a lot of research now to show the strong link between the gut and the brain. The relationship is by directional although more messages are sent from the gut to the brain than vice versa. Aside from digestive function gut health has also been associated with mental wellbeing. Impaired or unbalanced microbiota in the gut can cause poor mental wellbeing. We also know that 90% of serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced in the gut, consequently if you don’t support your gut health you’re at risk of impaired serotonin production which can have lasting affects on your mental wellbeing. Support your gut by consuming a wide range of plant and fibre rich foods. Ensure that you’re also consuming some live cultures in the form of yoghurt, kombucha, kefir and fermented foods.

Move your body

Exercise is vital for your overall wellbeing. We know that exercise releases endorphins which are also referred to as ‘the feel good’ hormone. Exercise also helps to maintain a healthy weight, support your bones, joint and heart health for later on in life. You don’t have to pound it out in the gym if that’s not your style. Instead try and Yoga class, a YouTube pilates session, a walk in the park or a play with the dog! It all counts.

Make small dietary changes

As there’s so much information around nutrition in the media and on social media it can seem all too confusing. Before making a complete overnight overhaul to your diet try making small changes which are more likely to be sustainable in the long run. Whether this be increasing your water intake to 2L per day, hitting your 5-aday, consuming 30g of fibre per day, reducing your alcohol intake or limiting your sugar consumption. Try tackling one goal at a time and you’ll begin to notice big differences.

Remember start small, this is a journey. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself and remember to enjoy the process.

 

References:

Crispim, C. A., Zimberg, I. Z., dos Reis, B. G., Diniz, R. M., Tufik, S., & de Mello, M. T. (2011). Relationship between food intake and sleep pattern in healthy individuals. Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 7(6), 659.

Golem, D. L., Martin-Biggers, J. T., Koenings, M. M., Davis, K. F., & Byrd-Bredbenner, C. (2014). An integrative review of sleep for nutrition professionals. Advances in Nutrition, 5(6), 742-759.

 

Read more


Fitness Tips for Females from Gym 66

With years of experience and thousands of coaching hours Gym66 takes a no-nonsense approach to getting clients results, giving them what they need and not what they want to hear. So here are some top tips to getting started with lifting weights...

Ditch The Cardio:

Yes, going to the gym and spending an hour trudging away on the cross trainer is better than not going to the gym at all, but it’s not the best bang for your buck… and its definitely no fun!

We work with women wanting to lose fat and build strong, sexy legs and better bums. To do this, you need to work out with intensity! You need to get a sweat on, get out of breath, and work hard.

If you insist on sticking to your cardio machines, choose interval training over a steady state session. If you really want to step it up a gear, then keep reading.

Don’t be scared to lift weights:

“I don’t want to get too big” and “will I look like a man?” are questions we hear working in the fitness industry all the time. It couldn’t be further from the truth… especially if you pay attention to our third tip.

Resistance training (lifting weights) is a fantastic way to burn a lot of calories in a short space of time, build muscle in areas you want to look good, and keep your training interesting for longer!

We would recommend training the muscle groups you want to improve 2-3 times per week. Focusing on maintaining perfect form and working in the 8-12 rep range to start.

Focus on the areas you want to look good:

Far too many people fall short of their goal, because they are not actually working towards it! Sound crazy? Let us explain.

Let’s say you want to build a perkier bum, neither sitting on a bike for an hour or copying your boyfriend’s weights programme is directly training your glutes (bum). So although you’re hitting to the gym, you’re not working towards YOUR goal and will be disappointed with the results.

Using our example, we would recommend you train your glutes directly using exercises such as glute bridges, lateral lunges and side lying abduction 2-3 per week.

Have a Plan:

You’ve decided to ditch the boring cross trainer sessions and give weight training a go. You know that you need to be training the muscles you want to look good directly. And you might throw in some interval training every now and then to get your heart rate up… Now its time to make a plan!

Decide how many times a week you can train, what exercises you are going to do on what days, and stick to it. Record what you do, and try and push a little harder each week. Consistency is the key!

 

Photo credit: @Fionacolephotography

Read more

With years of experience and thousands of coaching hours Gym66 takes a no-nonsense approach to getting clients results, giving them what they need and not what they want to hear. So here are some top tips to getting started with lifting weights...

Ditch The Cardio:

Yes, going to the gym and spending an hour trudging away on the cross trainer is better than not going to the gym at all, but it’s not the best bang for your buck… and its definitely no fun!

We work with women wanting to lose fat and build strong, sexy legs and better bums. To do this, you need to work out with intensity! You need to get a sweat on, get out of breath, and work hard.

If you insist on sticking to your cardio machines, choose interval training over a steady state session. If you really want to step it up a gear, then keep reading.

Don’t be scared to lift weights:

“I don’t want to get too big” and “will I look like a man?” are questions we hear working in the fitness industry all the time. It couldn’t be further from the truth… especially if you pay attention to our third tip.

Resistance training (lifting weights) is a fantastic way to burn a lot of calories in a short space of time, build muscle in areas you want to look good, and keep your training interesting for longer!

We would recommend training the muscle groups you want to improve 2-3 times per week. Focusing on maintaining perfect form and working in the 8-12 rep range to start.

Focus on the areas you want to look good:

Far too many people fall short of their goal, because they are not actually working towards it! Sound crazy? Let us explain.

Let’s say you want to build a perkier bum, neither sitting on a bike for an hour or copying your boyfriend’s weights programme is directly training your glutes (bum). So although you’re hitting to the gym, you’re not working towards YOUR goal and will be disappointed with the results.

Using our example, we would recommend you train your glutes directly using exercises such as glute bridges, lateral lunges and side lying abduction 2-3 per week.

Have a Plan:

You’ve decided to ditch the boring cross trainer sessions and give weight training a go. You know that you need to be training the muscles you want to look good directly. And you might throw in some interval training every now and then to get your heart rate up… Now its time to make a plan!

Decide how many times a week you can train, what exercises you are going to do on what days, and stick to it. Record what you do, and try and push a little harder each week. Consistency is the key!

 

Photo credit: @Fionacolephotography

Read more


Eat for a Healthy Heart

It’s no secret that what you eat can play a role in how healthy your heart is. In fact, this is something which we have been aware of for many years although the messages in the media seem to have become very muddled, confusing and conflicting. In light of The British Heart Foundation’s Healthy Eating Week we thought we would share our top tips for small dietary changes which you can make to support your heart health.

Eat Your Monos

We’re often hearing about healthy fats but sometimes it can be difficult to identify what makes a fat healthy. Monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown to have heart protecting benefits as they lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and help to boost HDL (the good cholesterol). Foods such as olives, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds are all rich in monounsaturated fats. Aim for 1-2 portions per day to support your heart health.

Omega-3

You may have heard about omega-3 for brain health but it’s also crucial for supporting a healthy heart. Omega-3 is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid and has been found to reduce triglycerides (fat droplets) in the blood, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Ensure that you’re consuming at least 1 portion of oily fish per week and try and incorporate almonds, walnuts and seeds into your daily diet to boost your omega-3 status. Our Harissa Roast Salmon dish is a great way to pack in your omega-3.

Fibre

Fibre is commonly associated with supporting healthy digestion and gut function although it can also play a vital role in supporting your heart health too. Fibre can be found in two forms insoluble and soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is particularly important in helping to lower cholesterol levels.  Beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables are all key sources of fibre. You should be aiming for around 30g of fibre per day to support a healthy gut and a healthy heart.

Beta-glucans

Beta-glucans are a type of soluble fibre which have been found to have profound effects on reducing cholesterol levels as they help to bind to cholesterol to prevent it being absorbed. Oats, wholegrains and sea vegetables are rich in beta-glucans. Our banana and hemp pancakes are a simple way to increase your beta-glucan consumption as they’re made with oat bran.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is very much underestimated when it comes to supporting your heart health. When your body is sufficiently hydrated it’s easier for your heart to pump blood around the body to the working muscles and organs. On the flip side when you’re dehydrated or hypo-hydrated (if we’re getting technical) your heart is required to work much harder to deliver the same blood around the body and you’re increasing the strain on your heart. Aim for around 2L of water per day although if you’re exercising you will need to adjust this accordingly.

There you have our top tips for supporting a healthy heart. Remember you don’t have to do all of these all at once but try and take on one of the challenges. Your heart will thank you for it in the long run!

Read more

It’s no secret that what you eat can play a role in how healthy your heart is. In fact, this is something which we have been aware of for many years although the messages in the media seem to have become very muddled, confusing and conflicting. In light of The British Heart Foundation’s Healthy Eating Week we thought we would share our top tips for small dietary changes which you can make to support your heart health.

Eat Your Monos

We’re often hearing about healthy fats but sometimes it can be difficult to identify what makes a fat healthy. Monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown to have heart protecting benefits as they lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and help to boost HDL (the good cholesterol). Foods such as olives, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds are all rich in monounsaturated fats. Aim for 1-2 portions per day to support your heart health.

Omega-3

You may have heard about omega-3 for brain health but it’s also crucial for supporting a healthy heart. Omega-3 is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid and has been found to reduce triglycerides (fat droplets) in the blood, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Ensure that you’re consuming at least 1 portion of oily fish per week and try and incorporate almonds, walnuts and seeds into your daily diet to boost your omega-3 status. Our Harissa Roast Salmon dish is a great way to pack in your omega-3.

Fibre

Fibre is commonly associated with supporting healthy digestion and gut function although it can also play a vital role in supporting your heart health too. Fibre can be found in two forms insoluble and soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is particularly important in helping to lower cholesterol levels.  Beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables are all key sources of fibre. You should be aiming for around 30g of fibre per day to support a healthy gut and a healthy heart.

Beta-glucans

Beta-glucans are a type of soluble fibre which have been found to have profound effects on reducing cholesterol levels as they help to bind to cholesterol to prevent it being absorbed. Oats, wholegrains and sea vegetables are rich in beta-glucans. Our banana and hemp pancakes are a simple way to increase your beta-glucan consumption as they’re made with oat bran.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is very much underestimated when it comes to supporting your heart health. When your body is sufficiently hydrated it’s easier for your heart to pump blood around the body to the working muscles and organs. On the flip side when you’re dehydrated or hypo-hydrated (if we’re getting technical) your heart is required to work much harder to deliver the same blood around the body and you’re increasing the strain on your heart. Aim for around 2L of water per day although if you’re exercising you will need to adjust this accordingly.

There you have our top tips for supporting a healthy heart. Remember you don’t have to do all of these all at once but try and take on one of the challenges. Your heart will thank you for it in the long run!

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