Confessions of a Fitness Blogger / #1

OK, maybe not the worst. I’m sure there is worse than me, but I certainly couldn’t be described as good. People often mistake the fact that I cook a lot for that meaning that I’m good at it. I mean, if you like overcooked chicken [this happens more often than not], normally covered in too much chilli sauce with some broccoli, then sure I’m your type of girl. 
I’m not adventurous and when I try to follow recipes I get impatient & then moan that it doesn’t taste how it’s meant too. 
I tend to avoid cooking for people, simply because I eat whatever, it doesn’t really matter what it tastes like, I’ll probably still eat it, so whether I’ve got crispy salmon or dry chicken, I’m too lazy to start again, so just eat it. However, because of my lazy, boring, eat-whatever approach to cooking when I cook for others they are normally repulsed. I once made a ‘healthy flapjack’, my best mate Zoe nearly threw up and it was left in the Tupperware box for a good few weeks until I realised no one was going to eat it…
It’s when I go to my dad’s house which is where I get to try all the amazing, healthy snacks. My Stepmum is a great cook, that must follow the recipes because she makes some of the most incredible snacks from book likes Deliciously Ella & Get the Glow by Madeline shaw.
 [Follow me on Instagram, to see some of the foods I’ve tried when I visit]
Maybe in the words of Take That, I should have a little patience when it comes to my cooking.
Doubt I will though.

The Thoughts / March



It’s finally spring! The weather may not show it but the countdown to summer has begun and it’s time to up our game…


Quitting smoking/

A study found that if you’re trying to quit smoking the it turns out going cold turkey is the best. So chuck ’em out and spend your money on something healthier this spring. Source

Long Working Hours & Heart Disease/

University of Texas Health Science Centre’s study team analysed health records for 1,900 individuals during a long-term study about the work environment and conditions. They found those who worked 55 hours a week had a 16% high risk of Cardiovascular disease than those who worked 45 hours, with 35% higher risk for those working 60 hours a week. So, with the days getting longer, it’s time to relax a little a longer too. source


Crank up the Music/


The Journal of Positive Psychology found that listening to music “can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent,” according to Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., from London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education. So, sack off the pre workout and get listening to a decent playlist… My favourite workout playlist at the moment is ‘Rage Radio’ on Spotify. source


Say Bye to Sugar/ 

Single mum of 3, Janey Holiday, set up ‘making things easy.com’ to help ladies live a healthier and happier life, offering motivational podcast’s to keep you on track as well as nutritional facts, this lady keeps you inspired and motivated through out the whole course. You can quit sugar and get fit using my favourite cardio! High-intensity interval training with this SUGAR HIIT programme, is sure to torch fat, increase your fitness and stable your mind. Start your sugar HIIT journey here.

HIIT it with NetWod/ 

Online workout’s are no longer a thing of the past, however, have you ever done a live HIIT class from the comfort of your own home? Now you can, Netwod.com offers professional coaching via a two-way video. You can grab a 7-day free trial which is even better, everyone loves a free trial. Join me & start your Network journey…

Top Picks / London Health Show

London… the centre of all new products coming onto the market & a place I really love.
Back in Jan, I got invited to the London Health show as press, grabbing my trusty camera and notebook, missing one train & spilling porridge down me, I made my way to Olympia stadium & had a great day of networking and trying out new products.

Here were my top picks from my day at the show & what you all definitely need to try:

The Carob tree, or otherwise known to my family as ‘The Sperm Tree’. These poo like fruity pods grow on tree’s in places like Austrailia, Italy and our family friends having one at their home in Spain. Having no idea what the tree was, it was soon declared ‘the sperm tree’ after someone said it apparently ‘smelt like sperm’… hmm. Anyway, on our holiday, we had absolutely no use for them apart from chucking them in a bucket as part of a game.
At the show, they caught my eye and I was so shocked I was like  ‘oh my god the poo bits from the sperm tree!’ Anyway, turns out they are fruit pods which are amazing for energy, with this brand boasting that their carob products are allergy-free. Turns out, the carob powder is often used as a substitute for chocolate in cakes, & it has Gallic acid which apparently works as an analgesic, anti-allergic, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral AND an antiseptic… so turns out the sperm tree is a supertree after all….

100% pure argan oil – this stuff I was a bit sceptical at first but I went, tried it and honestly it works. My hair is so soft and nowhere near as dry from all my dying. It helps with scars apparently too, that’s what I’ll try it on next! You can buy yours here….

Sorry what! Camel’s milk?! Full of nutrients and flavour, this stuff tastes good too, slightly saltier but really smooth and just like other milk. Not only tasty but also better for the environment, with the ratio of cows to camels 18,000:1, check out ‘Cowspiracy’ if you haven’t already to learn about how damaging cows really are. Read here for even more camel milk benefits… it’s more interesting that you may think.

The lords of the nut butter. I’m honestly obsessed with Pip & Nut with the almond butter and the peanut butter being my faves, I’m also partial to the coconut almond butter I must say. A nut butter with no sugar, no palm oil just pure nuts blended and made it’s a gooey amazing mess. I smother on top of rice cakes or just sit with a spoon in the jar. You can get yours and read more here

 A truly inspirational woman, Dr Barbara Mariposa holds no secret of the stressful life she has led and offers her expertise in mindfulness through courses. At the show, she gave us a small insight into what mindfulness means and where she has come from… a lady of pure mindful knowledge! See here…

Have you seen any interesting things on the market recently?

Chlo’s new challenge

Oh here we go, yeah it’s me setting myself yet another challenge. But before you all get on your high horse, this one is a genuine challenge, with genuine PTs and all that Jazz.

I introduce you to, Rhea Gayle, a 4x 1m British Diving champion and my new PT. *Smug face*

After lots of thought, joining the new gym and starting my second year, I’m in the best place mentally so thought why don’t I push myself and document it on here… and the world of Vlogs.
I’ve been so scared of vlogs but after working with the film students this year… I’m kind of excited to start, so watch this space.

Anyway, back to the 8 Week Challenge…

– PT sessions with Rhea
– Strict diet
– Hard exercise/ 6 times a week
– Strong discipline
– Lots of blog posts
– 1 cheat meal a week

After my consultation, my measurements and filling in the forms signing my life to Rhea for the next 8 weeks, my first PT is Friday and my challenge started yesterday.

Yesterday consisted of:

30 mins cycle – 15 glute work – 15 min abs – 5 min cooldown. 

Coffee – two eggs – orange – 4 egg white omelette – apple & peanut butter – chicken stir fry.

I’m not too impressed with my diet, I hadn’t prepped which is the biggest school girl error … but today’s a new day.

My aim: To cut fat and tone up while giving myself extra knowledge to keep up the training after.

Here’s to the next 8 weeks.

The Paleo People

Paleo has taken the fitness industry by storm and eating like our ancestors has become more popular than ever before but like many, I spent a lot of the time feeling very vague about what paleo actually entails.
If you follow me on Instagram (@chlohodgkinson) you would have seen Samba in the sun with the Paleo from A to Z book a few weeks ago and over the past few weeks I’ve spent my holiday and quiet times at work being nose first into this book. Written by Darryl Edwards, an international speaker and a definite expect on the paleo lifestyle this little genius has written a dictionary-like book for everything you need to know about the paleo diet.
What is a calorie? What’s the connection with cancer and paleo? How does mindfulness play a role?
You name it this book can answer it, well when it comes to paleo that is, don’t try find out who the first man on the moon was.
Personally, I try to live as paleo as possible especially when I’m training hard. Fruit, nuts, veggies and meat and eggs are what builds the main part of my diet. However, my biggest challenge is how to keep the cravings and binges at weekends under control. I’m still young and love to go out and have a few drinks which my body seems to be able to cope with but what it doesn’t cope well with is excess carbs and processed food which is my biggest battle when I’m hungover on a Sunday morning. But if there is anything that’ll keep you motivated to stay clean on a hangover it’ll be this book.
This week I’ve taken the week off training hard. I’ve had an ear infection so a rest was advised, but my diet has been shocking, not by eating junk food  but in a not eating at all way.
Feeling queasy all week, my stomach has growled at me all day everyday but I just haven’t been able to eat, so I may have lost my holiday weight but not in a good way – bring on Monday when I should be back in full health, back training and embracing Paleo like it’s never been embraced before.

Hope you’ve all had a great week, trained hard so you can party harder on this mega messy bank holiday and if you fancy giving paleo a go you can get this book Amazon and for more on Darryl Edwards you can read his blogs on Fitness Explorer.

Beating the Bulk

Excuse the dodgy strap – my heart rate monitor doesn’t seem to stay in place.

For those of you regular readers (basically my Nan & Grandad) it won’t be a surprise to hear I’ve set myself another challenge. I tend to set myself challenges to keep up my motivation, one of my most recent challenges has been to gain strength. I wanted to be able to lift more than I ever have been able to and I’m so proud of myself that I can honestly say, I’m lifting more than ever (with thanks to the best gym buddy, Ruth, for pushing me). Through hard work, sweat and a lot of painful morning afters, I kept pushing myself and slowly adding more and more weight in body pump.

Gaining strength has definitely played a huge part in how my body is now shaped. I’m musclier and more toned but also ‘bigger’, I look bigger and personally that’s something I didn’t want to gain… pardon the pun. Clothes are more difficult.. my waist is smaller, but my legs and bum are much bigger. This leads me on to my next challenge…

2 weeks till holiday and 3 weeks till a friend’s big birthday weekend, so 3 weeks to get smaller. I’m going to be upping the cardio more to slim me down and drop my weight training down to 1-2 a week instead of 5 which is what I have been doing recently. I’ll be back running now my shins have fully repaired, only taking it slow as I can’t afford to get injured again.

Diet wise, i’ll be upping the protein using PHD women’s protein, eggs and lean meat.
Cutting back the carbs, trying to only gain carbs from fresh fruit and veg.
Upping the veggies.
Drinking around 6L of water a day (my 2L bottle filled up three times, this is partly because i’m so active and drinking more water I have seen a huge improvement on my skin – but that’s for another blog post)

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact i’ve managed to shape my body and love weight training and the burn you get from it, but getting in a bikini is my worse nightmare right now. I have less fat but when you look in the mirror and aren’t happy, that’s when you know you need to change, it’s not other peoples opinions but how you feel, everyone feels different and everyone’s bodies are different.

Macro Madness

Move over calories, it’s all about the macros.

It’s time to forget counting the calories and start measuring your macros.
It seems the world has gone a bit nuts for macros, but it still has many like a rabbit in headlights, with the constant calculations and meanings, but turns out it isn’t all that scary.

Macros are your proteins, carbs and fats. Your body works at its best when your macros are on point, this means you’re eating the correct amount of macros. So a day full of honey popcorn probably isn’t best, even if it homemade. Damn.

The exact number of macros you need all depends on your height, weight, amount of physical activity and whether you’re looking to loose, maintain or gain weight.

When it comes to nutrition food prep is key and if that’s not hard enough, trying to weigh out macros appears to just add extra stress and hassle. Working out how many grams of protein and whether this breast of chicken takes me up to that amount I need for that day is definitely something I had to get used to.
HOWEVER, for those you of who fancy working out your macros and fancy joining the macro hype you can do and so easily by purchasing the macro food recipe book.
Daniel Wheeler and co-author Monica Bravo have got this book just perfect, an easy step by step guide to working out your own macros and then incredible recipes for you to follow, with guess, what… their macro count in them, so you can put your scales away as they’ve done the hard work for you.

You can purchase the macro recipe book here:  http://www.danielwheeler.co.uk/the-macro-recipe-book-vol2

Follow me on Instagram – chloehodgkinson, to have a look at some of the recipes I will be creating this week as part of my macro count and food prep.

Happy Monday and Happy Cooking

Turkey isn’t just for Christmas

If you follow my Instagram I posted a picture of my food prep the other week – turkey stir fry with stir-fried kale and spinach. Turkey is an incredible source of protein that is cheaper than chicken so is definitely my go-to meat and what’s amazing is that, like chicken, it can go with so many dishes.

The turkey stir fry is my fave, quick, cheap and too amazing to keep for myself so I thought I would share with you guys.

Ingredients

/ Lucy Bee coconut oil (I use Lucy Bee, but any coconut oil is fine)
/ 1 onion chopped
/ 1 chilli chopped
/ Turkey mince
/ Fajita Spice

Extra for stir fry, you can add any veg,
but I used:

/ 2 Peppers chopped
/ Mushrooms
/ Runner beans chopped
/ Tomatoes Chopped

For Kale and spinach side:

/ Kale
/ Spinach
/ Salt
/ Pepper

Method

Using a wok or frying pan, heat the coconut oil and add the onions and chilli.
Cover the turkey mince in fajita spice and add to the pan.
Add the veg for your stir fry including a little bit of kale or spinach if you wish.
Keep stirring until fully cooked – add more fajita spice if you wanted I always do at this stage.

Once cooked move to a separate dish and meltdown more coconut oil.
Add the spinach and kale and coat in salt and pepper.
Serve with the turkey mince and enjoy.

Is Juicing Really All That Great?

Shoot me, go ahead because I’m one of the 1000s guilty of trying every diet out there and yes, I have given the whole ‘juicing’ craze ago. For me, it was a recipe for disaster, being a massive foody I rebelled and ate everything in my sight within 6 hours of starting and the thing is, it seems I’m not alone. When it comes to juicing it appears there are three types of us around… the detoxer, the snacker and the meal replacer.
We’ve all jumped onto a bandwagon for a health kick at some point or another and if you haven’t then tell me you’re secret because I’m a sucker for an advert. The thing is though with all this detox juicing around is it really all that good? I’ve done some research so you don’t have too… thank me later.

It’s not a secret that fruit and veggies are packed full with vitamins, minerals and whole bunch of fibre but the problem that has been found with juicing is that simply sucks the juice out of the fruit and veg and leaves the majority of the goodness behind. Say whaaaat? So that juice we all thought was full of vitamins and minerals… erm, well probably isn’t. Soz about that.

What’s more is that people tend to be scared of a ‘veg juice’ the thought of glugging down something bright green or even worse, brown, makes many of us gag so why would we put ourselves through it? Well, it’s because veggies have a lot fewer calories/carbs/sugar and more protein so all in all are actually better for you and more likely to help you lose weight… if that’s your aim of course.
Honestly, that brown stuff isn’t all that bad – the more you try something the more your taste buds get used to it. My body has got so used to me trying weird foods, it took a while but now it’s now kind of like ‘ oh christ here she goes, brace yourselves guys’ and my tastebuds just deal with it but…if you’re throwing up, it’s probably best to try a new blend. Try my everyday smoothie here.

The idea that juicing is a great detox is actually flawed. There is no scientific evidence that suggest that juices help with eliminating toxins from the body [sparkpeople.com]. In addition, yes, juicing will help you lose weight fast but how long can you keep that going for? What about your protein intake? What about the minerals you get from eating the whole fruit and veggies instead of just sucking the juice out of them? The sad thing as well is that, if you don’t have enough of the stuff and you’re constantly hungry,  you could put yourself into starvation mode – the fat storing mode. Damn it.

I’m certainly not trying to tell you no to juices, they are great way to hydrate and a 1000x better alternative to fizzy drinks and squashes but what I am saying is maybe swapped your juicer for a blender. My Nutri bullet is my love, using it every day and the blades blend all the veggies and fruits together keep all the vitamins and minerals you need and is great for a quick snack not necessarily as a meal replacement. Keep an eye out for my Food diary that I will be posting next week to see where smoothies, not juices fit into my diet.