27 May 2016

Fitness Friday: #InShapeMyShape with Women's Health

"Healthy isn't a one size fits all concept!" Women's Health
   With summer approaching, the majority of us women will be panicking over achieving the pinterest perfect '#BikiniBody'. Well this year, I am here with Women's Health to tell you to stop! After a worrying study showed that over 74% of women judge other women's bodies (as well as our own), it is time for a much needed shake up of social perception. It's time for a new age of #SummerHappiness & #BikiniConfidence instead.
   This summer, Women's Health has started a new body loving campaign #InShapeMyShape, to celebrate health & fitness in every form & at every level. They're calling time on body shaming, to focus on what we love about our amazing bodies & to show some appreciation for just what our bodies can achieve! With the help of celebrities & fitness personalities, this campaign aims to reshape our internal narrative, so that we begin to focus on what makes us confident, instead of what doesn't!
That through hard work & dedication, I am now seeing, as well as feeling, my progress. I am no longer aiming for that 'perfect body' that was inside my head, instead with each & every sweaty workout, where I have really worked for it, I feel more confident & happy within my own skin! This is me #InShapeMyShape.
Carly Rowena
@carlyrowena    Health & Fitness Blogger (One of my favourites! haha) & PT
"Social media is incredible, but one negative comment can confirm your worst fear. Mine was that my muscles made me look like a man & people have told me as much. But I've learned to ignore it & be proud of what they say about my strength."
Adrienne Herbet
@Adriennetmm    Fitness & Lifestyle Journalist & PT
"During pregnancy, I watched my belly grow from chiselled abs to the size of a space hopper. It was pretty awesome. In short, I love my body because it carried my son!"
Kim Hartwell
@kimhartwell    PT
"The body part I love is my back! By focussing my training on my back its allowed me to feel so much stronger. My training has (eventually) made me strong enough to be able to do exercises like pull ups. It's such an awesome feeling to know you can lift your own bodyweight. I feel more powerful as a whole & my posture has definitely benefited from it. Baby for back!"
Natalie Goodchild
@theblondeethos    Health & Fitness Blogger & Fitness Enthusiast
"I used to dislike how my tummy looked: messy with scars from life-saving surgery when I was a baby. Now, I love that they're part of me - a sign of something that made me stronger. Through healthy living I've learnt to appreciate the strength under my skin far more than what's on the surface. My tummy now says more about how I train & nourish my body than my illness."
Madeleine Shaw
@madeleine_shaw    Health Coach & Yoga Teacher
"IBS ins't a very sexy topic & people often feel embarrassed, but it's very common. It felt really good when I started to talk about having it & doing activities like yoga & meditation - it changed my body from the inside out."
Binky Felstead
@binkyfelstead    Made In Chelsea star & Fitness Lover
"I'm not ashamed to say I love my legs. I definitely inherited them from my mum & am lucky she had those long-and-lean genes. My tip for loving them even more? Fake tan!"
Hannah England
@hannengland_    Athlete
"I love my strong core that supports me in the toughest of races."
Joslyn Thompson Rule
@joslynthompsonrule    Nike NTC Master Trainer
"I love my shoulders because I've never worked on the specifically, but they are a result of consistent compound strength training!"
My 3 Tips to a Healthier Happier You!
1. Drink More Water
Hydration is one of the key aspects to health & happiness. Water is not only great for hydration, but it can reduce bloating & help flush out unwanted toxins in the body. Add lemon to it for taste & for added health benefits! Plus swapping soda, juice or a Starbucks for water means you're instantly cutting calories & processed sugars!
2. Replace Processed With Fresh
Try swapping flavoured ready made porridge for oats & honey, or ready made bolognese sauce for tinned tomatoes, onions & spices, or ready meals for hand made meal prep meals, or swap your packaged rice/white pasta/white bread for brown bread/rice/pasta... You get the idea! Where it is processed, try swapping it for a more natural source of food & you'll feel less bloated & leaner for doing so. There are tones of clean eating recipes online to inspire you - my favourite being Fit Men Cook.
3. Do Exercise You Actually Enjoy!
Stop forcing yourself to go for a run, to the gym or to that exercise class your friend loves - if you really don't enjoy it, try something new! First you need to find something you enjoy, then you can progress & challenge yourself within that field. For me, cardio alone used to bore me so much, but now that I focus on weight training, I am excited to get started & try new things - this is how you should feel too!
I hope this campaign inspires you as much as it has me, to love & appreciate our bodies more, because they are great! Please feel free to share what you love about your body with the hashtag #InShapeMyShape & help inspire a positive change!

23 May 2016

Clean Eating, Weight Training + Progress - Week 4 on Get Fit with Davina

The Food
   I am over half way through now & have already found that eating cleaner is making me feel fantastic & lean! My energy levels have balanced themselves out & I am no longer craving sugar quite like I was to begin with, so I can really feel the progress. I am finding my eating habits during the weekend - when I'm not following the meal plan - are a lot more concious & am making healthier decisions overall. I find that knowing I will be eating normally (75% healthy 25% treats) over the weekend keeps me on track with the diet plan, as I know I have a little treat to look forward to. So here's a break down of last weeks meal plan...
Breakfast: Scrambled Egg on Toast 5/5 I took out the butter, as I did not need it, swapped the rye bread for wheatgerm bread because of price & served with black pepper - so simple yet delicious!
Lunch: Prawn Pasta 4/5 Served with broccoli, cauliflower & a teaspoon of parmesan, this meal had so many delicious flavours in it, the only complaint was that it didn't hold all it's flavour throughout the week, as I prepare my weeks food on a Sunday.
Dinner: Wholemeal Spaghetti & Pesto with Chicken 4/5 Served with peas, corn on the cob & a tablespoon of parmesan, this meal was tasty, but perhaps could have used a little more seasoning.
Snacks: Apricots & Almonds 5/5 I decreased portion size to 3 apricots & 15 almonds, as I found my body was not particularly hungry to begin with, I was more eating to maintain energy levels & to increase certain macros.
Dessert: Low Fat Greek Yogurt with Honey & Cinnamon 5/5 One of my own choices, simple, easy to make & delicious! A great low fat, low cal, low sugar treat to boost energy & satisfy a sweet tooth.
The Exercise
   During week 3, I did 4 1hr+ weight training sessions at my gym, including a personal training session, instead of Davina's workouts & home bodyweight workouts. It felt refreshing to be back at the gym after a 2 week break from weights & I felt stronger for it too. My workout plans included 1 session for core, 1 for legs, 1 for back & core & another for legs, glutes & core.
My Cheats
   As usual, I had my daily extras - as listed in Week 1's Meal Plan - & had a weekend of eating my usual diet. My cheat meal for week 3 was Simply Grilled Chicken & an eton mess cheesecake from Harvester - oh how I have missed my cheesecakes!

Meal Plan
My weekly food shop for week 4 came to a total of £16.66 shopping mainly at Lidls & using a few leftovers (bread, oil, herbs etc) from my cupboards.
 I have reduced ingredients, only using 1 banana, 2 eggs (instead of 1 for more protein) & a splash of coconut milk for the pancake mix, cooking in low cal coconut oil spray instead of oil & added a tspn honey & cinnamon to serve.
 I am using 2 slices of wholemeal healthy bread instead, due to staying on budget & low fat soft cheese instead of ricotta for preference. I have swapped raspberries for strawberries because of cost, will be using only 40g salmon because of packet size & have chosen not to add butter.
 I will be adding a tbsp (15g) peanut butter to my apple, as I am only have 1 snack & love this combo for an energy boost.
 I always use low cal coconut oil spray instead of oil, as its lower in calories & fat & also coconut oil has great health benefits too! I have swapped courgette & celery for 48g kidney beans per day as they're cheaper, less prep involved when cooking & higher in protein. My chosen meat is 90g (1/5 of the packet) 7% fat turkey mince & served with a handful of salad.
The same as last week - simple & easy. 100g low fat greek yogurt, 1 tspn honey & cinnamon.
My total macros (not including drinks & my additional extras) for the day are as follows:
Calories  1375 (805 leftover)    Carbs  169 (101 left)    Fat  39 (33 left)    Protein  78 (30 left)    Sugars  82 (0 left)

Exercise Plan
   This week I will be combining Davina's 7 minute workouts, bodyweight home workouts & weight training. I hope to do 3 sessions of 21 minutes with Davina & 40 minute bodyweight workouts & 2-3 1hr+ weight training sessions at the gym.

We're almost there - keep up the hard work! And remember you can still get 4 WEEKS FREE on Get Fit With Davina here.

16 May 2016

7 Day Meal Prep & Exercise Plan - Get Fit With Davina Week 3

My WEEK 2 Review
The Food
   I am starting to get used to the program now; my body is no longer feeling tired from where I have cut down on sugars, instead I am feeling more energized & a lot happier with the cleaner eating. I am however still having to add extras to allow my body enough energy for working out. As for the meals...
Breakfast: Greek Yoghurt, cinnamon, honey & banana 5/5 I don't have the biggest appetite in the mornings, so I saved my banana for a mid day snack with a tablespoon of peanut butter. The yoghurt combination was delicious & filling though!
Lunch: Broccoli, cauliflower & ricotta frittata 4/5 I love all the ingredients in this, however as I cooked enough for 5 days, it unfortunately lost a little flavour throughout. I swapped out the asparagus for the broccoli & cauliflower & added a small sprinkling of parmesan when serving.
Dinner: Creamy mushroom chicken 3/5 I swapped the steak for chicken, due to preference & added a tablespoon of apple sauce for sweetness. A little too much mustard for my liking, but overall a filling, nutritious meal.
Snacks: Almonds 4/5 The portion size was a little too big, where I could have replaced some almonds with raisins for variation, but I do love almonds.
Dessert: Strawberries, ricotta & honey 5/5 I chose not to make the dessert this week, but to use the ricotta as a clotted cream substitute, slice the strawberries on top & drizzle a teaspoon of honey over - it was delicious & for the same amount of calories!
The Exercise
   Last weeks exercise was on the easy side for my fitness level, however Get Fit With Davina has done a very good job at listening to whether I found each 7 minute workout easy or not & has gradually got a little more challenging & hopefully this will continue week by week. I have added 40 minutes of intense bodyweight workouts again with Davina's 21 minutes a day & have done so for 5 days this week. My extra commitment has already made me feel both stronger & leaner with this exercise plan.
My Cheats
   I added the same daily additions to my meal plan as I did in Week 1's Meal Plan - this was to increase my energy for the day, my protein when I worked out & a little treat to stop me going off the rails & binging randomly! My main cheat meal came in the form of a deliciously indulgent home cooked shepherds pie & garlic bread during a night in with friends - it was perfect!
Meal Plan
   My meal plan for week 3 cost £19.84, shopping mainly at Lidl, with a few groceries leftover from previous weeks. The macros are calculated with My Fitness Pal & although it may not always be 100% accurate (nutritional labels are a guide, all food varies slightly), it is a great guide to let you know what you can eat within a day. So here is my meal plan for week 3, ideal for meal prep on a Sunday, with any changes I made along the way...
I have substituted rye bread with 1 slice of healthy wheatgerm bread & have not used butter.
 The last two weeks I haven't needed a second snack between meals, but it is included in the daily meal plans if you want it! I am having 20 almonds & 3 apricots instead of the recommended amount, purely because apricots are pricier than almonds for me.
I used low calorie coconut oil spray instead of oil, because it's lighter & has a tone of health benefits, as well as helping to break down fat stores around the body! I have used 60g prawns instead for the extra protein, used herbs instead of chicken stock & served with 80g of broccoli & cauliflower.
Once again I used low calorie coconut oil spray instead of oil, 75g of chicken breast for more protein & replaced the tomatoes with half a corn on the cob. I will add more veg if I am extra hungry! I also used store brought pesto due to cost & a different brand of wholemeal spaghetti to that of lunch, after running out, which has more carbs, but this has not made me go over my daily macros.
Instead of a Davina dessert, I decided to have 100g low fat greek yoghurt, honey & cinnamon!
My macro's for a day, eating the plan above; I will be adding a few healthy snacks prior to workouts, protein shakes, a small tasty treat & a home made cappuccino too, to give me more calories, carbs & protein, but still with a reasonably healthy calorie & carbs deficit to lean out.
Exercise Plan
I plan to continue with Davina's 3 x 7 minute workouts each day with my 40 minutes bodyweight workouts, 5 times a week.

Hope you are already feeling stronger & more energized for week 3 & remember you can start your 4 weeks free trial on Get Fit With Davina today!

8 May 2016

What I Ate This Week - Get Fit With Davina Week 1 Review & Week 2 Meal Prep!

   Overall, so far so good. I have been following the program for 5 days, with 2 days off, allowing me to eat normally (about 80% clean food, 20% treats) & include a slightly indulgent cheat meal. I already feel a lot leaner & a lot less bloated thanks to all the clean food. The menu's kept me full & I even found I did not need both snacks during the day. The exercise however was not challenging enough for my level of fitness, so I added more to it.
The Food
   The meals were both interesting & filling, however I did find trouble with the Refried Kidney Beans recipe, so I made my own healthy chilli sauce to go on top, which really improved it. As for drinks, I stuck mainly to green tea, black coffee & water during the day. My ratings for each meal are as follows... 
Breakfast: Scrambled Egg & Smoked Salmon 5/5 Although had to add bread to increase carb intake.
Lunch: Refried Beans & Slaw 3/5 My chilli sauce saved this meal, otherwise it would be quite bland - I think there was an error in the recipe. However the kidney beans were a good substitute for meat or mince which can be high in fat.
Dinner: Creamy Mushroom & Quinoa Risotto 5/5 Loved it, especially with a little teaspoon sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Snacks: Peanuts & Raisins 5/5 A good source of long lasting energy.
Dessert: Raspberry Fool 4/5 Loved the taste, very sweet, however the texture was that of a smoothie, not as thick as I had expected, so I put it in the freezer overnight, making it much nicer.
My Macros
   As I am not trying to loose much weight, just loose stored fat & reduce bloating, I was quite low on some of my macros. This meant I could both add healthy things to increase certain macros - like 1 slice of un-buttered wholegerm toast in the morning to increase carbs & energy - but I could also add in a couple of treats too. I also did not need the peaches as a second snack, as my meals kept me full all day, which allowed me more macros in other places.
My Cheats
   I knew during the week that I had enough calories to add in a couple of not so clean snacks, without going over my macros. These included a homemade cappuccino (much lower in sugars, fat & calories compared to having one at Costa etc), 1 square of dark chocolate (as it's good for your blood), a small slice of malt loaf in the evening with a milky sugary tea & 4 mini eggs. I still had quite a good calorie & carbs defiticit, to help me loose that stored fat, without dropping half my calorie intake all at once, which can be quite unproductive over a long term period. Over the weekend I ate my normal 80% clean, 20% treat diet, with a cheat meal thrown in too. I didn't over do it when eating treats, otherwise for those two days off, I'd undo all the good work achieved during the week.
The Exercise
   Personally, I found the exercise on the website to be to easy for my fitness level, as I have been training hard for quite a long time. However after each 7 minute workout, you're asked how easy/hard it was, in order to tailor it more to the individual. So for me, the workouts began to get a little harder as the week went on, however I have been doing my usual 40 minutes of intense bodyweight workouts after Davina's workouts. I have been working out 5 days out of 7.
My Stats
   As promised, I went to get myself weighed during the week; I went to Boots & for 70p their scales tell you your weight, height, BMI & body fat percent, taking into account your age & gender too! So here are my stats, to help me truly compare the before & after...
Weight: 9st 5lb    Height: 5ft 2.9"    B.M.I: 23.3 (Ideal Weight)    Body Fat Percentage: 20.3% (Excellent)
Meal Plan
   Here is my meal plan for week 2, as always it is tweaked & tailored to me. My total cost this week came to £15.07 from shopping at Lidls - however I did already have leftover salad & eggs among other little bits.
I will be having 1 banana instead of 2, as I don't think I'll need more, but I may replace it with a healthy snack later IF I get hungry.
30 Almonds was the recommended portion size, however I may have a little less depending on my hunger.
I don't like asparagus, so have swapped it for broccoli & cauliflower & have increased portion size for veg, as I did not have 2 bananas at breakfast & am using low calorie coconut oil instead of regular, so I am getting my energy & nutrition from another source.
Like last week, I probably won't need the second snack, but just in case, I have the tinned peaches leftover from last week!
This meal looks amazing - however I am not a fan of steak! I was going to replace it with a lean pork steak, but chicken was cheaper, is higher in protein, leaner & easier to cook/softer when cooked! I'm cooking 150g of lean diced chicken breast per portion to increase my protein intake, replaced oil with low cal coconut oil spray & added 125g broccoli & cauliflower instead of the dried mushrooms as they were cheaper & easier to buy & are more filling!
Raspberries had sold out, so I brought strawberries, which were also cheaper!
   All macros seen above are calculated with My Fitness Pal App from Under Armour, however macros are not always 100% correct, so just listen to your body, if it is not hungry, don't stuff yourself with everything on the meal plan, likewise if your starving, add a healthy snack! My macros for the week with just Davina's food are bellow - I have not included the peaches, as I don't think I will need them. I will also be having my little additional extras throughout the day, so that I meet my protein, have a few more natural carbs & so my calorie deficit is a little less, as cutting my calories in half is too drastic & would not have a long term effect - either I would crash after a week & gain weight or would be so low on energy that I would not be able to work out!
Exercise Plan
   I will be working out 5 days again, continuing with Davina's 3 x 7 minute workouts per day, as well as my 40 minutes intense bodyweight workouts. If you want inspiration for such workouts, I use Popsugar Fitness on Youtube with Anna Renderer - she's a great trainer!
Hope week 1 went as well as mine, stay strong & good luck with week 2!
Start Get Fit With Davina today for your 4 Weeks Free!!!

2 May 2016

Let's Get Fit With Davina - Review & 4 Weeks Free!!!

   Summer is approaching & although the '#BikiniBody' has been truly shunned this year (and quite rightly, we are all unique), I don't believe '#BikiniConfidence' is going anywhere. After all, there is always that trouble area that we wish we could tweak - even if no one else sees it - & I don't believe that it's a vanity thing, it's a confidence thing! We all wish to have that bikini confidence so that we can wear what we want, enjoy the summer weather & have fun without having to worry about our body hangs up - we just want to be care free! So when I was approached by Davina's team, I decided to grasp the chance of finally achieving my bikini confidence this summer! And I hope that some of you will join me in this journey, with a 4 Weeks Free Trial!
My First Reactions
   I love Davina anyway, so perhaps I'm a little bias, buts what not to love about her? She's kind heated, hard working & beautiful! So my initial reaction was excitement. I found the website easy to use & welcoming; it took into consideration all my personal details, fitness levels & was 100% customisable.
    As I began to explore a little more, I found the program easy to follow; it gave me 66 Davina points to eat per day, which was easy to create my week's meal plan around, using the meals on the website. The meals of which were exciting, not at all bland & some quite familiar. One thing I was a little concerned about was the amount of exercise - I normally aim for 5/6 45min bodyweight workouts or 1 hour gym sessions per week, where this has recommended me 21 minutes per day. However, like the meal plans, you really have to listen to what your body tells you, we are all so different. If you are really lacking the energy, it's ok to add in a healthy snack, don't starve yourself if your body needs more or add more to the workouts if that is what you are used to, since its all about progressing. All in all, I look forward to the first week!
My Current Fitness Level
   I thought it would be useful to anyone joining me on this venture & for the review to give you a little overview of my current fitness level.
   My Workouts: I have been been going to the gym & doing bodyweight workouts for about 4 years now & have started weight training 6 months ago, to build my strength & muscle, try to blast the last of my stored fat & because it's so much more fun than cardio! I currently aim to workout 5/6 times a week & prefer the majority of them to be weight training, with a little cardio & bodyweight thrown in for good measures.
   My Food: Before this program I was eating about 80% clean as I like my sugar, but I was still counting my macro's to ensure I wasn't exceeding to much of the bad stuff & getting in enough of the good stuff like protein. I find its a great way to maintain my weight & it gives me enough energy to workout, so that I can burn fat but still have enough to build muscle at the same time. I do additionally have a cheat meal once a week to keep my cravings at bay. It will be interesting to see how Davina's program fits in with the macro's I can/should be eating each day.
   My Stats: 
Height: 5ft 3".
Weight: I honestly don't know & when I weigh myself I'll get back to you!
Measurements: Personal, but I'll reveal the changes in week 5!
Body Fat Percentage: Coming soon.
BMI: Why I don't measure this? I am naturally short with big boobs & bum, of which can massively outbalance your BMI. Also muscle weighs more than fat & my aim is to gain muscle (not bulk though!!!), so I am not worried if my weight increase for this reason, hence why a body fat percent is more accurate for my goals.
My Personal Goals
   I am really hoping to loose some of the stubborn stored fat that can be so hard to get rid of, especially around the abdomen, the hips & thighs. I hope to do this by using Davina's program to force me to eat cleaner & healthier. In turn I hope to start seeing more of the progress I've been making at the gym & to give me even more motivation. Something I really like already about this program, is that in the 5 weeks Davina aims to train you to continue with healthy habits, rather than just being another crash diet that has no real benefit for your body. It is also great how she acknowledges that a healthy diet & fitness goes hand in hand when it comes to progressing, no matter what stage you are at.
Week 1
   Here is my meal plan for the week, my overall daily macros & any changes that I make to tailor the program to me! I opted to go for the same meal each day, as it was cheaper & easier to meal prep. I'm eating with the program 5 days a week & this week cost me £21.74, shopping mainly at Lidl.
Breakfast: Smoked salmon & scrambled eggs - I added 1 slice of plain wholemeal toast, as I still had almost half my carbs left for the day & didn't want to get low on energy! I also used leftover coconut milk (from the pudding) instead of milk & butter in the eggs.
Snack: Peanuts & raisins 40g 
Lunch: Refried beans with slaw - I'm pretty sure the recipe was incorrect here, as in the image the beans appear to come with a chilli/tomato sauce, but in the recipe it was purely just seasoned beans on a plate?!? So I made my own spicy sauce with a can of tomatoes, paprika, chilli powder, pepper & 100ml of Lidl Peri Sauce, which is surprisingly healthy & low in everything! Feta was also used instead of goats cheese - once again, the photo looks more like feta & I personally think it goes better.
Snack: 100g Tinned peaches in natural juice (not syrup) as peaches weren't available.
Dinner: Creamy mushroom and quinoa risotto.
Pudding: Raspberry fool - With coconut milk instead of water because of budget & with cream cheese instead of quark because of availability.
   I use My Fitness Pal app to help record my macros normally, on the program I  am quite low in certain areas for the week. The calorie & fat deficit is good considering Get Fit with Davina is predominantly for weight loss. However I may look at increasing my protein by adding lean chicken to the risotto & the fact I am so low on my daily allowance allows me to add an extra snack if I feel my energy levels crashing & maybe a tiny treat once a day too!
Something to Get You Started
   To help get you motivated, I have designed a print out fitness tracker for your 5 weeks, so you can record your progress, write down your goals, plan your meals & make note of any changes you're making to your own 5 week journey. If you would like an original copy, leave a comment & email bellow & I'd be happy to send one.
My 3 Personal Tips
1. A summer body is made in the winter.
Be under no illusion, start now & you'll gain the confidence you've longed for. However it takes time & dedication, so don't leave it 1 week before your holiday & expect results!
2. "Abs are made in the kitchen, sculpted in the workout.'
- Anna Renderer, personal trainer. It is so true! You can work out as hard as you like, but if you don't eat right, the results will never quite show through.
3. Don't be disheartened if you see no results after 1 week!
Once again, progress takes time. Be patient & work hard & only compare results at the beginning, half way & at the end. Photos can sometimes help to, but try to wear the same clothes & be in similar lighting for a fair before & after photo.

   I hope some of you join me in my 5 week journey - I will be reviewing it every week, so stay tuned & please do get in touch if you are doing it too! Let the 5 weeks programme to summer confidence begin with your free 4 week trial. Good luck & have fun!