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August Favourites

Beef Steak with a citrus marinade and Chimichurri dressing- M&S Spirit of Summer
Okay, so one of my clients Shaf had been telling me about this steak for weeks and how good it was, boy do I wish I had listened to her sooner and bought it. It is incredible. If you like steak you have to go buy it. Do it. Now. I have stocked my freezer as with it being a spirit of summer product I am worried about it being taken off the shelves some time soon! It is absolutely delicious, melt in the mouth. The chimmichurri dressing comes separate for you to pour over after it has been cooked, and it is 100% worth the fat macros. Super tasty.IMG_0668

Sea Salt and Caramel Chocolate – Lindt 

I mentioned last month that I dont think a day goes by where I don’t have some sort of chocolate, i always have one bar open in the cupboard. I usually try and stick to the darker stuff as excellence_sea_salt_caramel.pngI know that it is better for me, not only in terms of calories but the high cocoa content as well. I bought this bar at the same time as the Coconut flavour, and i can safely safe that ne
ither of them lasted very long in my house. I love the salted caramel flavour combination which is everywhere nowadays so i don’t really know why it took me so long to try this one out. I think I was expecting a layer of smooth salty caramel within the bar, but instead it is actually crunchy almost toffee like pieces. The saltiness comes through though and like every Lindt product the chocolate just melts in your mouth. I will be repurchasing.

Chocolate Brownie Combat Crunch Protein Bar – Musclepharm
A new flavour protein bar from one of my favourite makes. These were a saviour whilst travelling on holiday and whilst I was in hospital. They are reminiscent of an actual chocolate bar rather than a protein bar. I don’t think they have overtaken my number one favour which is cinnamon, but they come pretty darn close. WAY nicer than the quest chocolate brownie bar. It is like a brownie encased in a chocolate coating. The macros are so good as well, only 210 calories; 20g Protein; 25g Carbs (12g fibre) ; 7g Fat.
They have a few other new flavours out as well. I tried the Birthday Cake one = big no no from me. But I need to get my hands on the ‘Cookies and Cream’ and the ‘Chocolate Coconut’ ones at some point.

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Peri Peri Chicken Soup –  New Covent Garden Soup Co
I am not normally a huge advocate of soups. I know a lot of people think they are great if you are trying to lose some weight as they (*some) contain a low amount of calories. But in this case low calories = low in protein and I like to make sure to get a good source of protein in at every meal. If my clients do like soup for lunch then I usually recommend that they add some cooked chicken or make sure they have it alongside a protein shake for example.IMG_0671

However, whilst I wasn’t 100% last week it was what I was craving so a visit to Morrisons and a quick look in the fresh soup aisle and I decided on this flavour. I like all things spicy, it was fairly low in calories and wasn’t the absolute worst in terms of protein content. It tastes delicious with plenty of chunky pieces of chicken per serving. Half the carton is supposed to be a serving but in all honesty I definitely could have eaten it all as I was still pretty hungry afterwards. If you do enjoy soup then I would recommend this flavour, but I would also advise looking at the nutritional labels of your favourites to see what they contain before buying. I like this brand and have been known to use their mushroom soup as a sauce for some dishes in the past as well.
One serving = 93 calories
6g Protein; 10.5g Carbs; 2.1g Fat.

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I finalllllly invested in a new camera to help improve the quality of my blog and videos, and what better time to test it out than on holiday. I went for the Canon G7X Mark ii, and I am loving it. I do still feel a bit like a photography virgin, and I still have no idea what over half of the functions do but think I am slowly getting there and I was pretty impressed with some of the photos which I was able to snap whilst away. Fingers crossed you start to see a slight improvement soon as I begin to use it more and more for work purposes over the coming months.

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Just a couple of my favourite snaps from my travels.

Most of the other items which I have been loving this month were in Bali (BTW their version of a Twister lolly is WAY superior to ours!) so unfortunately not the best examples to give here! But I will be back with a full list once again next month! Remember if there is anything which you think I need to try then be sure to get in touch and let me know!

Love Abi xxxx

Hand sketching Myths or Facts concept with white chalk on blackboard.

5 Nutrition Myths….Busted!!

The health and fitness industry is full of so many contradictions and unnecessary nonsense that it can be so hard to know what to believe and what not to believe, especially when it comes down to nutrition.

Not a day goes by when the Daily Mail doesn’t publish an article on ‘The latest superfood’, or ‘Which foods will give you cancer/live longer/be happier/lose weight faster/etc etc.’ The latest tabloid magazines print a different diet every week to follow. Celebs on social media push products which they have been paid to promote, which quite frankly are usually a bag of doodoo.

There is no wonder you are confused. So here I am just going to bust just 5 nutrition myths which I have heard countless times and want to put a stop to!!

#1 Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
No it isn’t. If you don’t like breakfast or cant eat first thing in the morning, then don’t force yourself to eat it. Overall calories are king, do what works for you.

#2 Eating clean is the only way to lose fat.
No it isn’t. Firstly, there is no such thing as clean and dirty foods. Secondly, you can still overeat ‘clean foods,’ especially the higher fat ones such as avocados and nuts. Yes, what we deem to be ‘clean’ foods such as meats, fish, vegetables, fruits etc are much higher in nutrient value and therefore are going to be better for us. But overall calories are of most importance when trying to lose fat, so you know that clean healthy protein bar which contains over 300 calories, swap it out for a protein shake and a bar of Dairy Milk and be happier.

#3 Carbs are the forbidden fruit.
No they aren’t. We need carbohydrates to function, they are our brains main source of energy. So don’t automatically cut out ALL rice, potatoes, bread, pasta etc, eat them mindfully and in accordance with your goals.

#4 You have to avoid sugar.
No you don’t. It would be near on impossible to cut out all sugar from your diet. When I hear people saying they have cut out sugar from their diet yet are still consuming huge fruit smoothies every day, or even eating vegetables, then I shake my head a little inside. Sugar is not the devil, and it is not the reason you are putting on fat. It usually comes down to the combination of sugar and fat in the highly palatable foods such as brownies, cookies, doughnuts etc. So don’t cut out sugar thinking it will work, it wont, you will just end up moody and grumpy.

#5 You need to eat little and often.
No you don’t. I feel like i am a broken record, but once again overall calories are king. If you prefer smaller more often meals then great, go for it, but if you prefer larger meals with no snacks, then great go for it. Diet is all about personal preference so find what works for you and your life and you are more likely to stick to it!

Hopefully this brief little article will have cleared up any confusion which you may have had but any questions then please let me know and I will do my best to answer them!

Love Abi xxx

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July Favourites

So here is a little run down of some of my favourites from the past few weeks! Hope you enjoy🙂

The Happiness Project By Gretchen Rubin

I have spoken before about how much I enjoy listening to audible books whilst on the go, makes me feel like I am accomplishing something during what would usually be dead time. This month I downloaded and have been listening to ‘The Happiness Project.’ I feel like a review of this book could be a separate blog post by itself as I feel like I have so much to say about it!

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No I am not unhappy, in fact I am not sure what actually drew me to this book, but I am so so glad that I did purchase it. I have been recommending it to so many people.

Gretchen, the author and narrator of the book decided to embark on a 12 month happiness project to determine what true happiness is. She herself wasn’t unhappy, but thought that there must be ways in which to make herself happier. Each month was dedicated to different resolutions and tasks. These varied from love and marriage in February, leisure and play in May to mindfulness in October. I don’t think there is one chapter which I didn’t enjoy.

At the beginning of the book she also set out her ‘Twelve Personal Commandments’ which included ‘Be Gretchen’; ‘Let it go’; ‘Identify the problem.’ She also told us her Secrets of Adulthood; ‘People don’t notice your flaws as much as you think’; ‘What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you;’ ‘Try not to let yourself get too hungry;’ are just a few of my favourites  which spring to mind!

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The very first chapter, January, had me making small changes to my lifestyle straight away! Things like decluttering your apartment (*bedroom): so I went through all my gym clothes, was ruthless and threw out anything I hadn’t worn in the past month. Don’t postpone any task which takes less than a minute: i have been doing simple thing like putting my plate in the dishwasher instead of just putting on the side; filing away my recipes instead of leaving in a pile to do at the end of the week. ‘Act the way you want to feel’. This was a big one for me this month, any time I felt down or tired I would go have a word with myself (usually in the toilets at work) and it would actually work. We are in charge of our own feelings, we only have ourselves to blame if we are in a bad mood. So I have been really working on trying to not let things get to me and be in charge of how I feel, and so far I have been seeing really good results.

Throughout the book there are so many words of wisdom, some which got to me so much that I would actually pull the car over and make a note of them in my phone. You may see a few of them over the coming weeks in my ‘motivation Monday Instagram posts!

“never start a sentence with the words ‘no offence’”

“It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.”

“…arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate. – enjoy the process”

“To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right.”

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It makes you really question how you live your life. What are you doing to make yourself a happier human being, but also make those around you happier. I also feel like it is a book which I am going to have to listen to again as there will certainly be key points which I have missed, but also I want to enjoy it again and see if I have taken anything away and made a part of my own lifestyle.

Because ultimately isn’t happiness what we are all after?

Rolo Yoghurts

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At only 80 calories a piece these are a perfect little snack if you fancy a sweet treat. But a little hack which I have been doing with them this month is to pop them in the freezer. This way I have a serving of ‘ice-cream’ without the temptation of eating the whole tub! If you take out and leave on the side for a couple of minutes before eating, the texture becomes less ‘icey’ and more reminiscent of your usual frozen yoghurt/ice cream.
I have also tried the milky bar and mint aero versions! The milky bar one is lovely, but personally found the aero mint one a little but artificial in taste and the texture remained icey as you ate it. Still a good treat though!

Aldi Sea Salt Dark Chocolate and Lindt Coconut Intense

I have chocolate every day without fail. It is one thing which I will not remove from my ‘diet.’ It is usually in the form of a square (or two) of dark chocolate right before I go to bed, and one of my main sources of fat. The usual go-to bars have been Lindt 85% or the individual bars which you can get from Aldi, which again are great for portion control.
But this month has seen me add a couple of new bars to my collection. I am a huge fan of anything ‘salty/sweet’, so when I saw the ‘Sea Salt Dark Chocolate’ I had to pop some in my basket to give it a try. For one bar it is 130 calories (2g Protein; 13g Carbs; 8g Fat). It is so good. It is slightly higher in carbs than fat, which is a bit unusual for dark chocolate, but hasn’t swayed me from adjusting my macros to fit it in!

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I saw the Lindt Coconut Intense bar for the first time in Sainsburys, and i got a little excited once again! It was on offer for £1.50 so no excuse not to get some to try! I used to absolutely hate coconut flavoured anything, but I guess as we get older our tastes mature and it is now one of my favourite flavourings. This chocolate isn’t just coconut flavoured, it has actual fleas of coconut in it. So, so delicious. Get some if you see it!
A square is about 10g which comes to about 53 calories (0.5g Protein; 4.7g Carbs; 3.4g Fat), and 1 or 2 squares is plenty, promise, even coming from a chocolaholic like myself!

Freeze-Dried Strawberry and Pineapple (The Snack Organisation)

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I am always on the lookout for new and exciting snacks to try. I spotted these in Tescos for £1 each. They are 100% natural , with no added oil so are suitable for vegetarians and those of you which are gluten free. Per serving which is the whole packet, they are 67 calories which is mostly carbohydrates. I prefer the strawberry ones, but both are lovely. I have been having just a couple sprinkled over some fruit and yoghurt for an extra tang and crunch rather than just eating the bag in one go. Just livens it up a little…the simple pleasures!

Front raised reverse lunges

I used to do this exercise quite a lot during my leg day sessions, but it had been forgotten about amongst the many other leg exercises which I have saved up in my exercise archive. However a couple of weeks ago I brought it back from the exercise graveyard and gave it a go, and boy did I know about it for the following few days! Major leg doms occurred! It is great as gives you a bigger range of motion than just a standard flat lunge, and targets a different part of your legs to the more common rear elevated lunge.
You want to have your whole foot up on a step, and then lunge backwards, stepping slightly out if you struggle with your balance.

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You can do with or without a weight. I personally did a dropset; 8 reps on each leg holding a weight in each hand, before dropping the weights and doing a further 8 reps each.
There isn’t just one way to do a lunge!

Deadbug ball holds

Another exercise favourite which I have been loving/hating this month is this strangely named Abs exercise. The regular dead bug just involves laying on your back and holding your arms straight up and your legs at a right angle in order to target your core, this is pretty hard in itself. Now trying adding a medicine ball into the mix!


By holding a medicine ball between your elbow and your knee you are seriously intensifying this exercise and the effect on your abs. 15seconds and you will be done! May take a little getting used to the balance and coordination aspect but it is worth the extra hassle! Give it a go!

 

Another month wrapped up! With me going to Indonesia for the majority of August I am so intrigued to see what my favourites list will include next time!

Love Abi xxxx

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BUT WHAT CAN I SNACK ON???

A frequently asked question… ‘What can I snack on?’

I must get asked this at least once a week. I find it a little bit difficult to answer as snacking isn’t something which I do all that often, I personally tend to stick to bigger meals across the day which I have found keeps me more satiated and full.

But I recognise that this isn’t the case for everyone so here are some of my top tips for snacking.

Protein
One of the main problems I see is the lack of protein in peoples diets, one way of increasing this is by swapping one of your snacks out for either a protein shake or a protein bar. My current favourites are the Snickerdoodle Protein powder by PEScience or Chocolate Caramel from MyProtein. In terms of protein bars, here is a link to the blog I wrote on my top 5! (pssst Cinnamon Twist Combat Crunch is number 1!)

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Vegetables
Not quite as easy as fruit to have on hand to snack, but if you are prepared then chop up some carrot, cucumber, celery, red pepper, and pop in some tupperware to have at hand if you get a case of the nibbles. You can always add a little bit of hummus or peanut butter as a dip.

veggie-snacks

Fruit
I would recommend whole fruit here over smoothies or juices. Somebody told me they had made up a juice with a banana, an apple, some strawberries, two kiwis, some frozen blueberries and orange juice. Could you eat that all in one go? Nope, but I bet you would down a juice in no time. Eat your fruit, don’t drink it. My favourites include strawberries, melon and apples.

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Low Carb options
Rice cakes, Alpen Light bars, mini bags of popcorn, rich tea biscuits, fibre 1 brownies. All of these options will come in at under 100 calories and feel a bit more ‘treat like.’

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Others:
10 Calorie Jelly – Strawberry and Raspberry are my favourites. Tip into a bowl with IMG_0115a serving of fromage frais or greek yoghurt for a filling snack.

 

 

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Weight Watchers Layered Fromage Frais yoghurts – I like these because they have a balanced profile of protein and carbs, only 50 odd calories per serving. The cherry one is my favourite.

 

 

Untitled design-58Aldi Mini Milk Lollies – At less than 40 calories, these are my go to if I just want something cold and refreshing.

 

 

 

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Dark Chocolate – I try and buy the mini bars from Aldi to engage some form of portion control. The higher cocoa content the better, but I also like the Sea Salt version which they do.

 

 

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Diet Drinks – Sometimes just having a glass of diet Lilt, or Pepsi Max will get rid of any cravings I may have.

 

 

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Cottage Cheese/Babybel/Laughing cow triangles – strange one, but works.

 

 

 

What are your current favourite snacks? Is there anything I need to rush out and try? I am always on the lookout for new products to try and share with my clients so let me know!

 

Love Abi xxx

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Guest Recipe…Moroccan Kebab

This weeks recipe comes courtesy of my little sister Hannah. She comes up with some really good meal ideas! I think half of the photos we send to each other on whatsapp must be of food we have either made or would like to try! In fact, when we go to LA in October, I am pretty sure it is just going to be a tour of various restaurants, supermarkets and food outlets! (In between trying out all the cool gyms and workout classes over there!)

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We have similar taste buds and this is defo something which I shall be trying upon my return! The photos even make it look super summery! Hannah used lean minced beef but I am sure it would work out great with chicken, turkey mince or lamb. The tzatziki adds a fab freshness to the dish. A couple of my clients have been making this to go with some of their meals recently too, a great option if you like to have a ‘sauce’ with your meals.

You could replace the ‘cauliflower’ rice with regular cous cous or rice if you prefer, or even some quinoa.

Ingredients

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*Pitta filling:
100g meat (I used lean mince beef)
moroccan spice mix
lemon juice
fresh coriander
cumin
salt & pepper
paprika
30g red onion
50g pepper
50g courgette
25g asparagus

*Cauliflower rice:
spinach
100g cauliflower rice
10g sundried tomatoes
50g salsa (ready made)

*Salad
50g cherry tomatoes
50g grated carrot
50g cucumber
salad/lettuce
25g pomegranate

*Tzatziki
50g greek yoghurt
40g cucumber
3g crushed garlic
Lemon juice
fresh mint

Method
Mix the meat with the spices, coriander and lemon juice, and allow to marinate. I left for an hour, but would recommend longer if possible!

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For the tzatziki, add the juice of half a lemon, 40g cucumber and a small amount of crushed garlic to 50g greek yoghurt

Mix your meat with the asparagus, onion, courgette and pepper, and more seasoning (same as used for the marinade), and place under the grill

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Whilst this is cooking, make up your salad. I used grated carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, spinach and lettuce, topped with some pomegranate to get that sweet/summery taste. Add some coriander, lemon juice and black pepper to season.

Fry the cauliflower rice with some sundried tomatoes and spinach at the same time
Toast your pitta bread, and cut in half

Add some mint to the tzatziki, and spread a little inside each half of the pitta. Then add some of your salad, finishing with your grilled mix. Repeat with the second half of the pitta

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If you have any grilled mix left over, simply mix into the remainder of your salad!
Enjoy!

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Thanks again to Hannah for helping me out with this post.

If you have a recipe which you think people would like, then let me have it to share! Meal ideas are always appreciated by everyone!

Give this a go.

Love Abi xxxx

#trainwithabs