28 June 2016

Get Fit With Davina - The Ultimate Guide + End Review!

   So I have completed Davina's 5 weeks of clean eating & exercising! Plus an extra week of my own choosing. Did I learn anything from the experience? I learnt how to eat even healthier & how great you feel for it. I've learnt a routine that's perfect for me, to continue with a healthier lifestyle. Plus I've discovered some great recipes that I will use again & again! Did the program deliver what it promised? For me, I'd say yes. I wanted to feel stronger & leaner & I do; best of all I understand why I do & how to continue my progress. So here is my ultimate break down of the Get Fit With Davina experience...
   With an easy to follow plan & point system, the program allowed you to plan your daily meals without having to worry about macro or calorie counting - I counted myself & didn't go over my macros, other than sugar occasionally. The point system was tailored to  your weight & end goals & encouraged you to have smaller portions of 3 meals & a couple of snacks each day, which was a great way to keep hunger at bay. The recipes themselves showed that eating clean could be both tasty & fun, rather than bland! Most of them were delicious, however some were a little bland for my personal taste - my advice would be to read the recipe & ingredients first, if you think something is missing (e.g. tomatoes in the chilli sauce or added lean chicken to increase protein for workouts & prevent hunger) then go with your instinct if it is a clean food, if it's processed... try to resist! The main focus is to keep on track with clean eating, of which the recipes help to ease you into! After just a week, I noticed a difference!
   As with the food, the exercise was tailored to your experience & your end goals. Each 7 minute workout allowed you to rate it's difficulty, so that it could progress with you. Personally, I have had quite an active lifestyle these past few years, so I used the exercise with Davina as an add on to my original routines. At first they were quite easy, but within days, Davina picked up the pace & made them a little more challenging. The workouts were each themed around areas such as cardio, HIIT training, abs, legs, boxercise & even a little introduction into weights, which kept the exercises exciting & allowed you to try different types of workouts from the comfort of your own home, helping you find out what you enjoy doing. The rating is my personal rating; due to my experience level I found the workouts could have been more challenging, however it is a great program in general.
   A brilliant website, with all the support you would need for starting a new, healthier lifestyle. From the moment you sign up, the website is completely tailored to your starting point, your progress & your end goals. With 4 main sections - Eat, Work Out, YouSocial - it caters for all your needs. The Eat section contains hundreds of recipes, a guide to healthy foods & what to eat if you eat out. The points system makes it very easy to plan your daily meals, without having to worry about exceeding your macros, as long as you stay within or meet your daily points. The Work Out section shows you your daily workout plan & the exercises involved, while the YouSocial sections helps you keep track of your progress & connect with others also doing the program for support or to share tips. The website is almost like having an online personal trainer & nutritionist; it keeps you motivated & helps teach you a new, healthier lifestyle.
   As my goal was not to loose a lot of weight, just to lean out, I decided to do with program for 5 days a week, eating normal (80% clean 20% normal food) at the weekend, with a cheat meal & working out on average 5 times a week. This was perfect for me, as it has encouraged me to take the routine into the long run. Why? because I now know how easy it is to eat clean during the week & normal at the weekend, plus I feel so much healthier & more confident within myself, which is something I wish to continue with. Davina's recipes were easy to follow & exciting to experiment with, plus the exercise was a great addition to my workouts. This program was definitely a worthwhile experience, one that I would consider doing again, if ever my healthy lifestyle got stuck in a rut, to help motivate & focus me again.
   In case you don't believe my review, the results should speak for themselves. My aim at the beginning was to get leaner & stronger, not necessarily loose weight, just loose excess fat & to take a step towards eating cleaner. I definitely find it a lot easier to eat cleaner now & found that doing this for 5 days a week, is a much more attainable method for me. As for getting stronger, I feel stronger, I can lift more weight when training & I have noticed more definition. As for loosing excess fat, here are my before & after stats - 6 weeks apart.
                                                    BEFORE        AFTER
WEIGHT                                    9st 5lb             9st 2lb
B.M.I                                           23.3                 22.7
BODY FAT PERCENT             20.3%             21.2%
WAIST                                        66.5cm           63.5cm
LOWER ABDOMOND            77.5cm            73cm
HIPS                                           85.5cm            76.5cm
BUM                                           97.5cm            96cm
THIGHS                                    59.5cm            57.5cm

   You may notice my body weight percent has actually increased - which upset me at first. However, after looking at my measurements, I was more reassured, as everything else has decreased, plus I feel a lot leaner. So I decided to look into why my fat percent may have increased - turns out it can fluctuate a lot in a day, much like weight, depending on how much you drink beforehand (water weight & fat are less dense than muscle, so will both measure as fat), what you've eaten before & if you've exercised (which actually decreases it because of sweat!). As a result, I am not going to worry too much, just try to monitor my changes on a more regular basis, making sure I eat/drink/workout etc the same each time, to help my progress further. I definitely feel leaner, which is the main thing!
   One of Davina's main goals, is that Get Fit With Davina will encourage people to pick up healthy tips along the way, to develop a healthier lifestyle, rather than just a healthy 5 weeks. Personally, I plan to eat clean during the week, trying to stick to my daily macros. I will continue to try to workout between 5-6 times a week, but have learnt not to beat myself up about missing a session when life gets too busy. Plus I will be monitoring my progress better, to ensure my goals adapt as I progress, but I have also learnt not to obsess over measurements either, just use them as a guide. Get Fit With Davina has taught me a lot about living healthier; I would encourage anyone to at least try it & I would definitely use it again, if ever I needed a nudge in the right direction!
Still haven't started your fitness journey yet? It's not too late to sign up for a 4 weeks free trial on Get Fit With Davina now!

16 June 2016

It's Cupcake Day! Matcha Cupcake Recipe

Happy Cupcake Day! To help you celebrate a (guilt free) cupcake day, I thought I'd share with you one of my favourite new recipes, from Iron Chef Shellie! They taste delicious, look stunning & they contain all the goodness of a cup of green tea!

150ml milk
4 green tea teabags
2 1/2 tsp matcha (green tea) powder
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g granulated sugar
2 large eggs, free-range or organic
125g self-raising flower
120g plain flower
Buttercream Icing
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
1 tsp matcha (green tea) powder

1. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat & add teabags. Cover with clingfilm & let the mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cases. Remove teabags from the milk, squeezing out excess milk into the pan. Add the green tea matcha powder & stir.
3. In a bowl, with an electric mixer, mix the butter & sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs, mixing them into the mixture. Sift the flours into a separate bowl & stir well. Add one-third of the flour mix  to the creamed butter & sugar & beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk/tea mixture & beat again. Repeat until all the flour & milk has been added.
4. Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cases, so they're about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for a bout 25 minutes, until raised & golden brown.
5. Leave the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract & half the icing sugar until smooth, for the icing, gradually adding the remainder of the icing sugar & green tea powder.  When the cakes are completely cool, ice them & sprinkle a little green tea powder on top.

14 June 2016

Eat Clean, Shop Cleaner? 6 Steps to Making Your Gym Kit as Clean as Your Diet! With Sundried Apparel.

   These days, we treat our bodies with such care, paying close attention to what we put into it, so we can be the strongest, healthiest versions of ourselves. But have we considered paying as much attention to what we are inhaling on a daily basis? With the levels of air pollution rising dramatically, imagine the damage it is having on our 'clean bodies'! And what would you say if I was to tell you that the fashion industry has the second largest carbon footprint? And here's why...

1. It all starts with the material
Large factories produce cheap, low quality fabrics, using harmful gasses & toxins in the process & using tonnes of water.
2. From cheap fabric to even cheaper labour
Cheap overseas labour sees poor, unsafe working conditions, long hours for minimal pay & child labour, all to boost the profit margins. These factories are also notorious for their pollution, due to cutting costs at every turn & insufficient production.
3. Airmiles
The garments must then be transported from where they are sewn to the company, of which they will be distributed to stores & continuously moved around until sold, wasting high amounts of energy.
4. The fast fashion effect
The garments are sold cheap, are poor quality & last the season, before being discarded.

   BUT there is hope! The fashion industry is responding to your demands for a more ethical, sustainable future, with the active wear market being one of the leaders in this movement, including some of the companies bellow...
"How can you be a fitness & wellbeing brand when you are not promoting a healthy lifestyle throughout the production cycle?" - Sundried.

   Sundried is one of key active wear lines supporting the sustainable movement. Partnered with The Low Carbon Innovation Fund, the premium quality British brand is a benchmark for ethical apparel; handmade in Portugal (to lower the carbon footprint), by happy workers in sustainable production, each item sold then donates a certain percent to the charity Water for Kids. And the cherry on top of the cake, the team all have an active lifestyle, from personal trainers to athletes.
I have teamed up with Sundried to give you our
6 tips to becoming a guilt free, ethical fashion consumer!
1. Pressure apparel brands to reform!
Sign petitions for better working rights, embarrass the companies on social media for poor ethical standards & ask the questions that they may not want you to know. Force the companies to be transparent with their manufacturing process & embarrass them publicly for bad conduct - some high fashion companies have been publicly shamed for their treatment of animals - in order to use their skins/fur, others on their amount of waste, & by publicly disgracing them, it has forced them to change.
2. Expect Longevity
Buy clothes that will last, not just in quality but also aesthetically, not just seasonally. It may cost a little more, but it is an investment, rather than buying ten times more.
3. Only buy if you will wear it at least 30 times
This encourages you to buy less, spend less & waste less.
4. Wash Cool & Sun Dry
Did you know a cotton t-shirt can use up to 2,700 litres of water in it's lifespan (according to the WWF), of which 80% of it's impact occurs after purchase, with water use, energy use & immissions from washing & drying. Plus imagine the money you could save on bills by filling the washing load, using a shorter, cooler wash & air drying...
5. Reuse, Recycle & Resell!
If you don't want something, either sell it on, give it to charity or recycle it! There are recycling banks that will resell wearable clothes with proceeds going to charity & unwearable textiles will be remade into fibres & reused.
6. Rebuy Recycled Garments
Companies have now started marketing their ethical lines & are quite transparent with how they've reused fibres from unwanted textiles. M&S do a high quality line with Oxfam, H&M are known for their ethical collections & even official football shirts have been made out of fibres from recycled plastic! This is called a closed circuit, where the recycled items have successfully found a new use.
I hope you have found this of interest, it is a matter close to my heart & an important issue to be tackled. If you would like to learn more of Sundried, visit them at https://www.sundried.com/

10 June 2016

5 Steps to Bikini Confidence This Summer! With Kendall + Kylie Swimwear

   I don't mean to be repping the Jenner/Kardashian clan, but HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW KENDALL & KYLIE SWIMWEAR AT TOPSHOP?!? I have been searching long & hard for a new bikini for the summer, only to buy 2 within an hour of seeing their collection! And why? Not because of the celebrity connotations, but because of their strong, confident cuts & how complimentary they are to the female form, without trying to hard. Seeing the girls radiate confidence in their new line, made me reflect on just how far I've come, since last year, to achieve true body confidence. And here's how I did it...
1. Find exercise you love & stick to it!
Don't start expecting results too soon, apply yourself, enjoy the feeling of your body getting stronger & the results will follow in a couple of months. Set achievable short term goals & plan how you'll achieve them, to help keep the motivation up.
2. Eat well, not less...
Be aware of your daily macro allowance, eat clean & you will find you can eat a lot more than you'd think. My top tip, allow yourself a treat a day to keep yourself going & a cheat meal a week. Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up for indulging or 'slipping up', just get back to working hard the next day! Honestly, by sticking to this, you'll feel leaner, cleaner & healthier than ever.
3. You are what you drink
Drink fizzy - feel bloated, drink juice - feel sugary, drink Starbucks fancy pants coffee - feel stodgy. One or two a day won't make any difference, but try to stick to drinks that are good for you & not containing lots of sugar. Water & lemon to flush out unwanted toxins & water weight in your system, green tea to encourage debloating or a couple of black coffees to increase the metabolism, for example.
4. Love your body!
Easy enough to say right? Treat yourself to some pampering or buying clothes that suit your body, to help you feel your best. For me I feel my best after shaving, exfoliating, moisturising, putting on my make up & a pretty dress. If I was going out in a bikini, I would probably use a bit of tanning lotion too. Treat your body & you'll immediately feel a boost in confidence.
5. Believe in YOU
If you fall at a hurdle, get back up & try again. If you set yourself a goal, you can achieve it with a little hard work. If you feel good, don't let that silly voice in your head tell you otherwise. If someone pays you a compliment, believe it. Pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, hold your posture tall & walk proud. Just by believing in yourself, you'll find your self confidence grows a great deal. Also everyone is different, so stop comparing or judging yourself & others, as this will forever hold you back.
And just remember, work hard, keep at it & you'll soon feel the benifits...

7 June 2016

Week 5.1 - Clean Eating My Way to Bikini Confidence with Get Fit With Davina

   Despite the fact I was travelling on 6 days last week, from Oxfordshire to Kent to Surrey to Cornwall & back to Surrey, I planned in such detail that I think I was drove everyone around me crazy! HOWEVER, by planning exactly what I would be eating, depending on whether I could cook or was travelling, it was one of my cleanest weeks so far & was far easier than expected. So there's no excuse for me in the future!!! Here's a break down of what I ate last week...
Breakfast: Porridge with Honey, Cinnamon & Coconut Milk 5/5 While I was travelling I had overnight oats (oats & milk left over night & you don't even need to heat it up!) which was just as tasty.
Lunch: Spinach & Feta Frittata with Salad 4/5 Could benefit from a few more ingredients within the frittata instead of a side salad, but tasty otherwise. This became a salad, using the exact same ingredients, other than adding half a can of tuna & raisins instead of tomatoes & eggs.
Dinner: Grilled Lemon Chicken with Potatoes & Salad 4/5 A perfectly clean meal, the chicken was delicious, but would prefer veg instead of salad. This turned into a salad too, using the same ingredients, adding the egg from earlier & half an apple, instead of the potatoes.
Snacks: Banana & Peanut Butter 5/5 Always a good energy boost!
Dessert: Greek Yoghurt with Honey & Cinnamon 5/5 One of my favourites!
Definitely made up for last week & worked even harder this week - I completed 1 set of Davina's 21 minutes & 40 minutes of bodyweight workouts, then a further 4 weight training sessions at the gym, all at least an hour, for core, glutes, arms & legs.
Despite all the travel, I stayed very clean this week - no specific cheat meals. I did enjoy some wedding cake & a couple of drinks to celebrate, as well as an M&S meal deal, but the weekend was more about celebrating with friends & having the occasional treat, rather than one indulgent meal.

WEEK 5.1
Why week 5.1? So Get Fit With Davina recommends a 5 week plan, however last week was so busy & unusual, that I have decided to do a second, more controlled week 5, including the cheat meal!!! Haha. So here goes...
My weekly food shop cost only £20.35 from Lidl, with the addition of a few leftover bits at home.
 With 2 eggs, 2 slices of wholemeal toast & no butter.
With virgin coconut oil spray instead of oil & broccoli & cauliflower instead of beans & nuts.
 With extra chicken for added protein, cooked in virgin coconut oil spray & served with cauliflower & broccoli instead of a salad.
I decided to have cashew nuts instead, just for preference & reduced the amount to 15 nuts, as I felt the suggested portion was too much for me.
Greek yoghurt again!!! Yum, yum, yum!

I plan to workout 5-6 times this week, mainly 21 minutes of Davina's workouts, followed by 40 minutes bodyweight workouts, with hour long weight training sessions instead when I have the opportunity to go to the gym.

Some of you may have already finished your 5 weeks - if that is you congrats on all the hard work! If you're joining me on week 5.1 - it's not long now & hopefully you too are feeling the great effects its having. And for those of you who are thinking about starting Get Fit With Davina? Get 4 WEEKS FREE NOW, to kick start your way to bikini confidence this summer.

2 June 2016

Bank Holiday's, Busy Lifestyle & Keeping on Track - Week 5 on Get Fit With Davina

   The program is really feeling more like a lifestyle now, rather than just a 5 week thing - which was one of Davina's aims, to encourage healthier long term habits. It has become much easier for me to eat mainly clean food throughout the day & I am really enjoying just how much I can eat of the right things, without blowing up my macros. So here's a quick breakdown of my meals from last week:
Breakfast: Banana Pancakes/Crepes 5/5 I decided on pancakes & swapped the orange for some cinnamon & honey. Despite taking a little extra time, this breakfast is one of my all time favourites - it's delicious & filling!
Lunch: Smoked Salmon, Avocado & Soft Cheese on Toast 5/5 I decided to swap in 2 slices of healthy wholemeal plain toast here & use cream cheese & strawberries due to budget instead, but this lunch was simple, filling & beautiful.
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese 5/5 Wow another 5/5, this weeks menu was definitely delicious. I did swap the veg for kidney beans & added more turkey mince for more protein - this is a classic meal & even better being so healthy.
Snacks: Apple & Peanut Butter 5/5 I actually only needed a snack once this week, as the other meals lasted easily throughout the day.
Dessert: Low Fat Greek Yoghurt, Honey & Cinnamon 5/5 I love this dessert & don't think I will ever bore of it, hence why I'm having it for 3 weeks in a row.
   I did not complete quite as many workouts as I had hoped, but the ones completed where completed with my fullest effort. I did 2 sessions of  21 minute workouts with Davina followed by 40 minutes of intense bodyweight workouts, as well as a 90 minute weight training session at the gym for my glutes, legs & a little bit of abs. Despite not reaching my target of 5/6 workouts, I will not beat myself up over it, as I still worked very hard & sometimes life is too busy to always fit in workouts, so don't stress & let it ruin your progress, just push on harder the following week!
   As it was a bank holiday weekend & I was visiting my boyfriends family, my cheat meal really turned into a cheat weekend. Although we didn't eat too much, we had some beautiful home cooked meals, a couple of desserts & perhaps a couple of drinks... But nothing too gluttonous, just hearty home cooked food!
As I have been travelling a lot this week, my plan for week 5 has had to adapt - sorry that it's late! But here is what I have been eating so far this week...
My weekly food shop for week 5 came to £19.39 - shopping at Lidl & Asda. Due to travelling over bank holiday, my food shop & meal prep was a little jumbled this week, but I picked up the clean eating again on Monday evening.
I decided to swap the berries for cinnamon here, as I was quite high on sugars this week, used honey as it is more natural than maple syrup & swapped milk for coconut milk, mainly because it adds a beautiful sweet taste. I am also having 60g porridge to keep me full!
 As always I swap oil for light coconut oil spray, added 1/4 red pepper & tablespoon sweetcorn to my salad & used Asda's light honey & mustard salad dressing instead of making my own, to avoid all that oil! Do check with light salad dressings though, as sometimes they're very high in sugars & salt!
 Served with a tablespoon of peanut butter naturally!
 Cooked with light coconut oil spray instead, served with 1/4 pepper & tbsp sweetcorn instead of cucumber & tomatoes, with my Asda light honey mustard salad dressing. Here I used 150g chicken breast to increase my protein intake.
My favourite desert once again! 100g low fat greek plain yogurt, 1 tbsp honey & cinnamon.
I plan to complete 5/6 workouts this week, with a mixture of Davina's 21 minutes, followed by 40 minutes bodyweight workouts & gym workouts - hopefully a minimum of 3 weight sessions, so that I can break them down into upper body, lower body & core.
So, with only 1 week to go of the recommended time frame, I am feeling pretty positive. I am feeling stronger & leaner, which were my main objectives. So I will be working harder than ever this week. However, how do you stay on tack when travelling, socialising or celebrating? Well I will be both travelling a lot & attending a wedding this week, so what's my plan? 
1. Stay focused...
...with the meal plan & exercise at every available opportunity.
2. If I don't have a gym available?
I'll work out in my room. 
3. If I don't have time?
I'll eat cleaner that day, do a shorter more intense workout or have a rest day.
4. If I'm going to an event, travelling or socialising?
I'll prepare food for the day, eat clean all day, eat a clean filling meal before hand (if there isn't a meal, only snacks served) & try to limit myself on nibbles when I'm there.
5. If I'm staying at a hotel?
Prepare a couple of meals & healthy snacks to take with me, bearing in mind that there may not be a fridge or microwave. I'll also ask if they have a gym - if they do, I'll take full advantage!
Remember plan ahead to succeed & avoid failure!

As we head into week 5, stay strong & focused, as you've only got a week to go! And if you haven't started your journey yet, what are you waiting for? Head over to Get Fit With Davina now to get 4 WEEKS FREE!