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

Tuesday, 24th June

Everyone gets great training days, but there are also times when things don’t go exactly to plan either.

You may have had a poor night’s sleep, the kids may have been up all night, work pressures may be getting you down, relationship stress may be spoiling your concentration, or your body may need a rest full stop, whatever it is you have to take the rough with the smooth.

As long as you are having more good days than bad days, then that’s going to be a victory and you are likely to progress quickly still.

There are ways to minimize bad days though.

1. Make sure you have enough sleep on a regular basis. Staying up late in the week just watching TV and then missing out on the sleep you need will compromise your training efforts full stop. Getting to bed early helps your performance just when you need it most

2. If you are training every single day, 7 days a week, then you need to stop right now and have at least one to two days off. Your body needs to rest and recover and too much training can be overkill. You will feel better with more rest too, and come back after your day off with renewed enthusiasm.

3. Change up your workout. If you train for a long time in your usual session, then try to stay in the gym less but work harder. If you normally do an hour or more, then try cutting it down to 45 minutes but hit everything harder and bring a new intensity into your training. Ask me for ideas.

4. Make sure you eat right. When you train hard, your body cannot sustain these big efforts UNLESS your nutrition is right. Also, you won’t recover quickly if you don’t put enough good food into your body, which is screaming out for good food right after your workout, the need for good nutrients is extremely high for those of you who are training really hard.

These should make a big difference, but if they don’t then of course I want to hear about it as your whole programme may need a fresh look.

Sunday, 22nd June

Most women carry at least 10% less muscle than they should for all sorts of health reasons due to modern lifestyles, meaning lack of exercise and lack of proper nutrition.

This is why our programme concentrates so much on you getting stronger, making you build lean muscle tissue just to get you to recommended levels, and help you burn calories much faster 24 hours a day than you probably are now.

Your body needs lean muscle to become leaner, and the strength training will have a big added benefit of strengthening your bone density. Osteoporosis is a very real threat to all of us, in particular for women, so a large part of our training focuses on countering that, along with balance and coordination.

You need to forget about the scale too. Please do it. This is the most distracting way of making you doubt your progress when the pounds are not dropping dramatically. If you build lean muscle, you will actually become smaller and more shapely, your clothes will fit much better and according to every single female we train, you are very likely to drop a couple of dress sizes, or several dress sizes even in many cases.

The new health and fitness indicator is your CLOTHES, and it has always been so with me and all the people I train. The sooner everyone changes their benchmark of true success in changing their body the better!

Most weight loss and media focus purely on weight-this is madness and leads to false expectations and can lead to women going on crazy diets that focus on dangerously low levels of calories. This is why large parts of the weight loss industry is extremely dangerous and always lead to misery in the end for the person who buys their “products”.

Would you rather having a lean, strong athletic body that looks great on holiday too, with great internal health and look unbelievable in clothes, often fitting into a clothes size you previously thought impossible and you can go into any shop and pick anything, even if you didn’t have a massive loss on the scales?

OR

Become obsessed with the weighing scales, hardly eating anything just to please the scales, doubting yourself all the time, being miserable and if you don’t train the weight loss will do nothing for “bingo wings”, and a soft, unfit body in general.

Losing weight is great but if you still have the loose skin afterwards, you are still not going to be happy displaying that body without clothes?

Focus on your health, use your clothes as your barometer of success, and focus on increasing your physical performance rather than starving yourself on faddy dangerous diets.