April Favourites

So it is the May next week…when I went out to my car this morning it was -1degrees!! Whaaat is with this weather?! I am already counting down until my holiday in August when I can get some much needed Vitamin D, 13 weeks today!

This bunch of favourites are a little bit random but really hope that you find the post entertaining and useful in some way!

Flav Drops – Myprotein

These natural flavourings with sweetener from Myprotein. They come in a vaIMG_8467riety of different flavours but I have only had the toffee and vanilla ones so far. You only need a few drops of them to really change the flavour of whatever you are adding them to! In coffee they are delicious, especially the toffee one with the cinder toffee flavoured beanies coffee (see here for my full review on all the flavours); this has been my go to drink at 5am in a morning before I head out the door to work! But I have also been adding them to fromage frais and my protein ice cream to make them taste that bit better and a little bit sweeter! (I have also tried the toffee one mixed into carte d’or light vanilla ice cream and can confirm that it was also lovely!)
£3.99 from www.myprotein.co.uk(however there is always an offer on so never pay full price for anything on their website!)

Vimto Zero
Aldi ‘Lychee and Strawberry’ and ‘Raspberry and Mint’  flavoured sparkling waters

Calorie free drinks are great to satisfy that sweet tooth rather than reaching for that bar of chocolate that you are craving. My previous go to in the fridge was lilt zero, but this past month I discovered that Morrisons sold Vimto zero and it has become my current favourite. This was also my drink of choice mixed with Vodka at my friends Hen Weekend!
I noticed the new flavours of sparkling water in Aldi a couple of weeks ago and decided to give a few of them a go as they are a bit different to the usual flavours which you see. At first I honestly couldn’t decide if i liked the lychee and strawberry one or not! But the taste certainly grew on me and I have repurchased since which is always a good sign. The raspberry and mint one is also delicious, the mint isn’t too overpowering which is what I was a bit apprehensive about. I also bought the St Clementine flavour, but I was not overly keen at all.

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Don’t let the sunshine fool you, it was still 3 degrees when I took this photo!

*Disclaimer* I am certainly not saying that these types of drink are ‘healthy’ for you, but despite all the scare-mongering which you may have read or heard about, moderate consumption from time to time is not ‘unhealthy’. However, if your goal is fat loss, then reaching for a Diet Coke rather than a regular Coke or a food alternative such as a Mars Bar, is going to be more beneficial in terms of reducing your overall caloric intake which in turn will lead to your waist line becoming smaller.

Plank on stability ball

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When developing programmes for some of my clients, they mentioned that regular planks would hurt their wrists a little bit; which is understandable as it can be a lot of pressure on such a small joint. Rather than omit planks completely, I have turned to the plank using the stability ball as an alternative. This exercise still hits your core muscles hard and you also have the increased difficulty of keeping your balance and not falling into a heap on the floor to contend with! Whilst doing any plank movement it is really important to focus on your breathing and contracting your core so that all the muscles are working as they should be. If you are performing correctly you shouldn’t be able to hold the plank for much longer than 20-30seconds!! A lot of my clients have been amazed at how much more they can feel it in their mid section with just a couple of tweaks of form!

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How to do:
1)With your feet on the ground, place your elbows on a Swiss ball.
2) Raise your hips off the ground, keeping your bum down to form a straight line from your shoulders down to your feet.
3) Brace your abs, imagine that you are pulling in your belly button to your spine. Squeeze your glutes really hard.
4) I recommend doing for just 20seconds at a time!

Seasonings

I am a huge advocate of making your food taste good! Your diet should be something you enjoy, and one of the easiest ways to do this without adding excess calories is by flavouring your foods whilst cooking with different herbs and spices. My collection just continues to expand week by week as I want to try everything! This month I have come across a couple of new ones which have been a welcome addition to some of my meals.

‘Marks and Spencer Smoky Firepit Rub + Dust’
M&S have an incredible selection of new products especially in time for summer. I tried out some of their new summer salads mid month and they were absolutely delicious, and a little bit out of the ordinary which was fab for a change. At the same time I saw they had a new range of seasonings so picked this one up to try. Apart from salt and pepper, if I could only choose one spice to use for the rest of my life it would be smoked paprika, so I was always going to be drawn to trying this one first! There are two parts to each tin, the top part you use to marinate the meat, and then once cooked you use the bottom bit to dust on top and ‘intensify the flavour.’ The instructions suggest to marinate with some olive oil but I have done it without and has been absolutely fine! This one tastes really smokey and bbq like, I have found that it goes well on chicken and beef, but I have also had some sprinkled onto my omelette in a morning. Other flavours which I will be getting to try include; Herb Garden; Firecracker and Middle Eastern. They are a little bit more on the pricer side at £3 per tin, but they do last a long time.

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Schwartz ‘Spicy Italian’ and ‘Reduced Salt Season-all’
I have had the regular ‘Season-All’ before, but when it came to repurchasing they only had the reduced salt version so figured I would give it a try. It tastes completely different; but in a good way. There is a much more ‘herby’ taste to it, and you can really taste the dried lemon peel. I have been enjoying this with practically everything; eggs, chicken, vegetables!
The ‘Spicy Italian’ one I have found goes really well with tomato based sauces, or again with my eggs in the morning!haha!

PaIMG_8472rmesan Cheese
This is not a spice or a herb but I have put it into this section as it is another great way that I have found to add flavour to dishes. No it isn’t calorie free, however you only need a rally small amount for tons of flavour. If you are somebody who struggles to enjoy the taste of vegetables, then 5g of parmesan sprinkled on top can help them become a bit more palatable.
Just 5g works out at only 25 calories; 1.8g Fat; and 2.3g Protein.

Favourite Book/Podcast
#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk

I have still really been enjoying listening to audio books whilst out driving or walking. I only came across Gary Vaynerchuk through the further education Personal Training course which I am doing. He is an extremely successful business man from America, who has made his money from growing a family wine business but also from investing in companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Uber. He hosts a show on YouTube where he answers questions from the public on marketing, growing your business, anything to do with social media, building a brand etc; all based on his own knowledge and experience. He knows how to make things happen and be successful.garyvee.jpg

I had never seen his show before but was recommended the book. It is FULL of useful information and ideas which I have already been putting into practice. He obviously understands consumer behaviour, and is somewhat of a marketing genius. His no nonsense style of delivery is great and something which I have really enjoyed. He hosted an event last week in London, which I was absolutely gutted at not being able to go to as I think it would have been even more beneficial to witness him talk in real life.

For anyone who is interested in growing their business and/or building their social media presence, I would say that this book is essential, you will learn an absolute ton of invaluable information which you will be able to take action on.

 

Anything you have been loving this month which you think I need to try out? Let me know!

 

Love Abi xxx

#trainwithabs

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