Tuesday, 22nd December

This time of year makes you realise that it’s the ideal time to improve your fitness. Gyms are usually a lot quieter this time of year, and suddenly you have a lot more room and time to “get good’ at those things you may have been putting off for a long time.

This is the time to “experiment” between what makes you feel good and what sucks the energy out of you.

You will soon realise that an exercise session, however short, will automatically bring your energy levels back to life and make you feel alive again.

You must know of many gym-goers who right now are having time off, planning a whole array of over the top meals (pizza and chips etc) on a daily basis, along with setting records for most boxes of chocolates consumed.

This is the time you get to know you body. If you are still exercising on a regular basis, you will notice how eating and drinking badly will affect your performance in the gym.

Eating rubbish “party” food for example, will immediately hit your performance, make you feel nauseous at times in your workout and usually hit your strength workouts too. Eating this kind of food immediately makes you crave good quality “clean” food straight after your workout, which is yet another reason to keep on training.

Nothing wrong with having a blow out over christmas, but turning it into a two week or even one month all out blowout will mean only one thing.

Once you get back to training in january, not only won’t you have any energy, drive or your usual ambition, but your immune system will be down too. You will be susceptible to colds and other illnesses (this is why there are far more adverts by drug companies for their products such as lemsip etc this time of year) which will further detract you from your “recover after christmas” efforts.

If you just stay more active, get more fresh air, and keep a core of healthy foods and snacks amonsgt the unavoidable treats, then you wont go far wrong and stay strong into the new year.

Monday, 26th October

So many of you are now approaching week 4 in your programme. You have learned how to go flat out on your programme, and what’s ahead in the next four weeks will require a brand new demand on your energy systems.

You have different energy systems and we will be using all of them as we go through all sorts of different programmes.

It’s vital this week then that you give it everything, you give it your very best and find out how far you can really go in these 4 weeks.

Your food is ultra-important right now, the energy demands are vast so you need to be ready and up for it at all times. The old saying is that you can “never out-train a bad diet” being very true.

If you’re not properly hydrated (drinking enough water), then your workouts will always be a big struggle, and you are not going to recover as quick too.

If you are sleeping poorly or not getting to bed as early as you should after a tough workout, then your body will not recover as quick, and there’s no way you will be energised for your next day’s workout either.

Your workouts are vital, but the support you give them through proper nutrition and sleep are absolutely paramount so let’s prepare even more and take your performances and results to a whole new level!!!

Wednesday, 19th November

Keri’s Leaner faster stronger

Seasonal and local – day 2

Is out of season food healthy or not?

Unless you live a life like Barbara and Tom from the good life, tending to your fruit and vegetables day in day out, you probably have little knowledge of seasonal food and it’s health benefits.

Since eating within the seasons is the advice given by health professionals these days, it makes you wonder if eating out of season food is in fact healthy or bad for us?

From a health perspective, food that’s not in season has been grown in huge greenhouses or shipped from warmer climates travelling thousands of miles before arriving in our supermarkets. This has many consequences for the consumer. Firstly, they are picked before ripeness so that it can endure the long distance shipping experience. This means that it’s nutrient profile is lower than a local and ripe product. Vitamin C for instance, which is abundant in most fruit and vegetables, is notoriously unstable and so would be lost in transit so to speak, making out of season food less nutritious.

Also transporting produce sometimes requires them to be zapped by a burst of radiation to kill germs. Preservatives such as wax is also added before refrigeration.

Taste wise there is absolutely no comparison. Locally grown food tastes amazing, has great texture and looks appetising. Most local food grown by farmers are also healthier due to having less pesticides and chemicals used for preservation too.

Air miles is another issue for many people. Local food usually travels only a few miles from farm to table ensuring less pollution to the environment.

Another quite interesting argument for eating seasonal is the fact that our bodies actually crave seasonal food due to the weather. Have you noticed how you fancy salads in the summer and crave stews and soups made of root vegetables in winter?

It’s all great saying that local and seasonal is better,tastier and cheaper, however how practical is it to eat like this all the time? If you lived in Italy or California, it wouldn’t be much of a problem, Burry Port however?

Unless you love pigging out on carrots and caulis for the whole winter, you are going to get pretty bored very quickly. Not many fruits are in season in cold and wet Wales in winter.

Our advice would be to try and eat as much seasonal food as you can to get a good amount of natural vitamins and nutrients, as well as getting a tastier and better value product. However supplement with imported fruit and veg as well. We have no intention of giving up bananas anytime soon as they are a great addition to the sports diet.

Seasonal food are in abundance in supermarkets these days, as they do try and cater for popular demand. Many supermarkets buy produce from farmers in Wales and the UK these days, you can usually find the grower written on the label.

Another option for tired and busy workers is frozen fruit and vegetables.

Studies show that these are actually healthier in terms of vitamins and nutrients than many fresh out of season produce, due to the fact they have been picked and frozen within hours, and so have not lost any of their nutrients. It also means you can eat strawberries for instance all year round.

Choosing frozen also means less wastage for the family too. No more shrinking yellowing broccoli lurking in the back of the fridge, which everyone forgot about!

Here is a list of what’s in season in November, helping you to make good seasonal and local choices in the supermarkets and small local shops.

Eat to train,

Nicola.

Monday, 17th November

Keri’s Leaner faster stronger challenge

Seasonal and local – day 1

What is seasonal food?

For a long time now we have been hearing posh celebrity chefs and health food experts telling us to eat seasonal and local. This can be extremely frustrating since they rarely explain exactly what that means and how you go about it.

We have been brought up in a generation of supermarkets and processed foods that come in a frozen box or plastic bag. The truth is that we have, as humans lost our connection with nature and more importantly with our food and where it comes from. Walk into any supermarket aisle on any given winter’s day and you will see an abundance of every fruit and vegetable from root vegetables, to asparagus to strawberries and cherries.

However what we don’t realise or understand anymore is that most of those produce doesn’t naturally belong there. Have you ever bought a punnet of strawberries around christmas time, only to find the flesh really hard with a strange white cap near the leaves, instead of the all soft red luscious flesh you would get in the height of summer? One taste of the cardboard like flavour leaves you disappointed and unsatisfied at best. Worse of all, you have ended up spending your hard earned cash on a substandard, tasteless product brought in from abroad only to keep the consumer happy all year round, and money in the till for the supermarket.

The reason the strawberries taste so bad? They are not naturally in season in winter.

Fruit and vegetables naturally grow in cycles, and ripen during a specific season each year. When fruit and vegetables are allowed to ripen naturally, they are at their nutritional best and taste fantastic.

Cherries are ripe and juicy in June so cherries are ‘in season’ in June. Asparagus grows and ripens in spring whilst tomatoes and red berries late summer.

Modern technology means we can buy produce such as strawberries and tomatoes all year round, however this is only possible because they are grown in massive greenhouses, or flown from warmer climates such as Spain, Egypt and Israel. In this case, they are picked before they are ripe and have fully developed their flavours, making for bland and nutritionally substandard produce.

Tomorrow – Out of season food – should I eat it or not?

Eat to train,

Nicola.

Meals in a flash

Meals in a flash

We all have nights when we haven’t been shopping, the kids are screaming and everyone is hungry. So before you grab your keys and head to the local chippy here are some ideas. They are not rocket science but they make great meals with all the elements of a good workout meal.

Omlettes – eg. cheese, mushroom, tomato and onion, cheese and onion. Fill half the plate with salad such as tomato, spinach and avocado. Two slices of wholemeal bread on the side.

Boiled eggs – These are simple to make. Two slices of bread lightly spread with real butter on the side with some spinach and avocado

Beans on toast with a fried egg (olive oil for frying) or better still scrambled eggs.

Poached eggs with vegetable stir fry. Mushrooms, onion, peppers and spinach stir fried with a little Olive Oil and a splash of Soy Sauce. Add two slices of wholemeal bread very lightly spread with real butter.

Baked potatoes – Wash the potatoes and prick all over. Place on a 1microwavable plate and for four large potatoes give them 10 mins in the microwave on full power. Please check them at this point as they may need more or less with your particular
microwave.

Fillings for the potatoes –

Tuna and sweetcorn with a teaspoon of low fat mayonnaise.

Cheese and beans

Prawns and lighter mayo but not swimming in it

Stir fried vegetables with half a tin of tomatoes, cheddar cheese grated on top.

Again add a salad to the plate for a balanced, healthy meal.
Nicola