What have I been loving this month? My May 2017 favourites.

I love doing these posts as it always forces me to try and find new things to try in order to share with everyone! I try and include a few food items, usually a mix of macro and non macro friendly, books, podcasts, clothing and just random bits in general which have come into my life!

Mixed Berries Frozen Yoghurt – Morrisons
I am always on the look out for new macro friendly frozen treats as it is no secret that I love my ice cream! Morrisons have released two new frozen yoghurts for summer. I have tried them both and have to say that the mixed berry one is my favourite! The fruity ripple which runs through it is so lovely. Per serving it is only 106 calories and there are 4 servings per tub, so technically you could eat the whole thing for just over 400 calories, not that I am recommending that you do! Priced at £2.

morrisons mixed berries frozen yoghurt

Liberté Greek Style yoghurt with a layer of kiwi and apple/strawberry.
I am not a fan of greek yoghurt by itself, i find it way to thick and even a little bit sour. But i spotted these pots in Sainsbury’s with a shiny ‘new’ sticker on them and couldn’t resist picking up to try. They are really good. My favourite is definitely the kiwi and apple flavoured one, perhaps because it is a flavour combination which you don’t find too often. The fruit compote at the bottom makes the yoghurt not quite as claggy in your mouth when eating it. per 100g it is 85 calories, a bit higher in carbohydrates then a regular greek yoghurt due to the fruit but it is worth it! I got mine for £1 from Sainsbury’s.

liberté greek style yoghurt kiwi and apple

Salted Caramel – Fibre One Bars
I didn’t like these the first time I had them, much preferring the chocolate version, but for some reason picked them up again and I have changed my mind! (I featured the chocolate version back in my June favourites last year!)They have been my go to mid morning snack the past couple of weeks with a cup of tea! No, they don’t taste quite as good as a regular brownie, and yes they are expensive for a pack of 5 if they aren’t on offer somewhere, but they taste good! 83 calories per brownie, they taste good straight from the packet or warmed up in the microwave. If you just want something small but sweet then they are perfect to throw in your bag or packed lunch, or have after dinner with a small scoop of ice cream!

salted caramel fibre one bars

Rhubarb and Rose Hand Cream – Molton Brown
I used the hand wash in this scent for the first time at my beauticians, and knew I had to get some for myself. My hands get so dry from constantly washing them throughout the day, as well as having some very attractive calluses from lifting all the weights, so I was in desperate need of a hand cream to make them nice and soft and girly once again! If you haven’t smelt this scent yet then you are missing out, it is absolutely beautiful. I treated myself to some whilst I was in Birmingham, and then my lovely client Natalie also gave me some as a gift. Link to purchase here.

rhubarb and rose molton brown hand cream

Unbalanced Single Arm Row – Favourite Exercise
I first saw this exercise being performed by Amanda Bucci whilst training with PJ Nestler, thought to myself; ‘That doesn’t look too hard, i’ll give it a go.’ Boy was I wrong. The idea behind having one leg in the air and doing this exercise on a bench is to really make you engage the muscles which you are working. You back, arms and core will all be contributing to this exercise. The single arm row has been a staple in my programme as well as with clients, so I have been loving incorporating this version as well.

If I could tell you just one thing – Richard Reed
Richard Reed is the owner of Innocent drinks, he started selling his smoothies on a market stall and has built it up into one of the biggest and most well known brands in the UK. Every time he comes into contact with an influential person, he asks them for one piece of advice, just the one thing which they would share with people. He has spoken to the likes of entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and Simon Cowell, TV stars like James Cordon, current and former politicians including Bill Clinton, top sports stars such as Andy Murray, basically ‘some of the most remarkable, inspiring and game-changing people in the world – in business, tech, philanthropy, politics, sport, art, spirituality, medicine, film, and design.’ It has been such a good listen, not only to hear what advice people would give, but to actually hear the background stories, albeit briefly, to some of these people, many of which I am ashamed to say I had never heard of. I think the idea of the book is wonderful and have been telling everybody about it! Purchase from amazon here.

if i could tell you just one thing review - may 2017 favourites

So those are my May 2017 favourites, a good mix of things I think this month. I already have a list of a couple of things to share with you next month! But as always if you have anything which you think I would love, tell me! I would love to know, be it a food product, a book, something for the gym, leave a comment down below and let me know!

Love Abi xxxx

> May 2017 Favourites : what have I been loving.

WHY DID I BECOME A PERSONAL TRAINER

I hope that I am able to help a lot of you who read the information which I post on my page on a regular basis.

‘The whole reason I became a Personal Trainer was to help people.’

I was fed up of seeing all the contradictory information in the news, on the television, in magazines, on social media etc etc. My main goal was to strip everything back to basics and inform people on what really matters, and what really works.

This is still my ethos today.

personal trainer

It is the reason I work so hard.
It is the reason I put in upwards of 14 hour days.
It is the reason I feel embarrassed but do it anyway and record youtube videos.
It is the reason there is an imprint of my bum on a chair at the kitchen table/my desk.
It is the reason I continue to try and improve my knowledge.
It is the reason I invest in learning and continued education.
It is the reason my alarm is set for 4:30 every day (and I mean every day.)

It all boils down to me wanting to help.

I want to help as many people as I can.

Am I succeeding?

I don’t know.

All I know is that if I go to bed having had an impact on just one person’s life that day then I have done something right.

personal trainer

I have bad days. I have days when I question everything which I am doing…
Have I shared the right information?
Have I programmed the right exercises?
Did I explain something clearly enough?
Am i a bad example?
Do people find what I am sharing useful?
Is my youtube channel a waste of time?

However, I am privileged to be able to do what I do and I am grateful every day that I have this platform and opportunity to share what I know and have learnt.

Love Abi xxxx

Week 19 : The trials and tribulations of  Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur ‘in training’

Week 19 began after a whistle stop 30hour trip to Stockholm in order to see Bruno Mars in concert at the Globe Arena. My friend Laura really wanted to go and see him, so as non of the UK dates were possible for us both, we investigated whether it would be possible to jump on a plane and see him elsewhere; hence why we ended up in Sweden’s capital for the night. He was incredible live. I wasn’t all that fussed about seeing him to be honest, but he surpassed my expectations and then some.

Stockholm is a beautiful city, and we were extremely lucky with the weather, sunshine and 24 degrees meant just walking around the city was so lovely and pleasant. We stayed on a boat. Yes you read that right. Our hostel was STF AF Chapman, an old ship which had been renovated and is now a hostel! Our ‘cabin’ was bunk beds. It was such a lovely setting on the water, spotlessly clean and certainly an experience. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Stockholm, check them out for sure! People had told me it would be expensive, and all I will say is I am glad we were only staying one night! But the people, the food (see restaurant recommendations down below!) and the ambience were fabulous and I would highly recommend to anyone (just make sure you have some deep pockets!)

stf af chapman

The weather has been absolutely beautiful in England this week, unfortunately I think I have only managed about 40 minutes sat outside though due to work and clients. However just having the back door open and the sunshine streaming in has been so nice and my mood certainly alters with the weather. I walked to work and back for the first time this year and it is something which I need to start doing more. Just the simple act of popping on a podcast and 10 minutes in the fresh air does wonders for me.

I don’t know whether it was the sunshine or just one of those weeks but I had more than a few client cancellations this week. This is quite rare for me. It makes me question everything and probably gets to me a lot more than it should. There is usually a valid reason for the cancellations and they do all get rebooked in again, but it just reminds me not to get too complacent as this is my livelihood, if I don’t have clients then I don’t get paid. It has forced me to really think about my business model this week and what I could be doing better to ensure things like this don’t affect me as much.

Speaking of business, I have been working away at planning for my group sessions which took place again in week 19. More new faces amongst returning regulars has been brilliant. I put so much pressure on myself to make these sessions amazing, waking up in the middle of the night fretting and worrying that they won’t be good enough and people will leave disappointed. When planning I can sometimes just stare at a piece of paper for hours and not get anywhere, but then other times inspiration will take over and I will come up with something which I am proud of.

I really do enjoy putting these sessions on. The ability to be able to get in front of and help more people is one of my goals. Without giving too much away, there may be something on a larger scale in the pipeline sometime soon…..

Week 19 was rounded up by an extremely proud moment for myself. My sister was home this weekend and took part in her very first powerlifting competition; Lift for Cancer at Scarborough Spa. Hannah has been training for this for months and she did absolutely brilliantly. It was a Bench Press and Deadlift only competition. There were a couple of hiccups in the Bench Press, but she came away with a 42.5kg lift which is brilliant. In the afternoon, she hit a new PB of 125kg on the deadlift which was one of her goals so we were both incredibly happy and chuffed. I train Hannah online, she is probably one of the best clients I have in terms of adherence and following a plan! But seeing her succeed and being so happy got me all emotional.

I am so proud of her.”

lift for cancer

What have I been learning in week 19?

21st: There is a car accident every 18 seconds in Barcelona

22nd: In 1903, Australia became the second country in the world to grant the vote to women, New Zealand was the first, granting it in 1893.

23rd: One in every three people sitting in jail in Berlin are there because they didn’t pay their fare on transport system.

24th: 95% of black people who go to Ivy League Universities in America come from Africa for their further education.

25th: 60% of the US population have less than $1000 in savings. 60% of NBA professional basketball players go bankrupt once they have retired. 40% of divorces in America cite money problems as one of the main reasons.

26th: Nestle uses a different chocolate recipe in each one of its chocolate bars.

27th: The most expensive flower in the world is the Kadupul Flower which is only found in Sri Lanka. It is a white flower which blossoms at night and survives mere hours, meaning catching even a glimpse of it is next to impossible. This near-mythical species has never been up for sale, making it literally priceless.

Love Abi xxxx

This week has been tinged with huge sadness after the events of Monday night at Manchester arena. All acts of terrorism are completely barbaric, but this one certainly seemed to hit home and affect me a lot more. The number of concerts I have been to at that venue and used that exit to get out, I would have been in that exact spot had I been to see Ariana Grande that night. A concert is supposed to be a fun night, an evening enjoyed with friends and family, not something which we will forever be worried about going to. Frightful of what may or may not happen. My heart is heavy thinking about the number of lost lives and their affected families. May they rest in peace. 

Stockholm Restaurant recommendations:

Barrels, Burgers and Beers: We had one of the best burgers I think I have ever had at this little restaurant in the old town of Stockholm. It was hugely popular but luckily we got there early and were able to get a seat without much waiting! You can also get your burgers ‘naked’ i.e. without the bun and served up in a huge lettuce leaf.

week 19 update - greasy spoon stockholm

The Greasy Spoon: This little cafe is run by two english guys who saw a gap in the market for a proper breakfast in Stockholm, and it most definitely is not what you think of when you hear or see the words ‘greasy spoon’! We had read reviews online and knew that this was the place for us. Serving up classics like Eggs Benedict or your full english, but with a modern twist, this hugely popular spot was just great. There was a waiting list when we arrived so we knew it must be good. I had the Eggs Florentine and then we shared the Apple Pie pancakes special. Hunt this place down!

Pharmarium: Fancy a cocktail to remember in a backstreet swanky bar? Then this is your place. We found this little gem out after the concert for a late nightcap. The bar also serves food, but the cocktail menu will blow your mind. I don’t think I recognised over half of the ingredients on the list, but on recommendation from one of the waiters I opted for what would be ‘The Best Espresso Martini you will ever have!’ After the first sip, I agreed. Must visit for sure if you are in Stockholm!

Fitness Trackers. There are so many of them on the market now as the health and fitness industry is still riding the crescent of a wave. But a new study published this week in the Journal of Personalised Medicine, from a team of Stanford researchers states that there is a much higher margin for error than perhaps the majority had thought.

The study looked at the accuracy and reliability of 7 of the most popular trackers on the market; the Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn, and Samsung Gear S2.

60 participants were asked to wear the fitness trackers and were monitored while sitting, running, walking and cycling, whilst being simultaneously assessed via telemetry and indirect calorimetry.

The results were quite shocking.

‘Don’t rely on fitness trackers to track number of calories burned.’ The Register 26 May 2017

‘Why your personal fitness tracker may not be all that accurate.Consumer Affairs 25 May 2017

‘Fitness tracker fail: Research shows devices off by as much as 93 per cent when counting calories’ National Post 25 May 2017

I have always been very cautious over recommending fitness trackers to clients or anybody who asks my opinion, especially when it comes down to relying on them for how many calories you have burnt. But even I was shocked to read that when tested, the margin for error for calories burnt was between 24-90%!!! That is a whopping difference, especially for those people who use them to ‘eat back their calories.’

An acceptable error range would be 5%, so even 24% (which was the Fitbit Surge) is very high.

The study stated that the devices ‘adequately’ tested average heart rate, but there was still margin for error beyond what you might expect.

In my personal experience (I do not own one but some clients do), I think they are great for encouraging you to get more active, to strive towards the recommended 10,000 steps per day, to remind you to get up and move if you have been sitting for too long. However I have never liked the calories burnt aspect of them, and usually disregard what they say and tell clients not to use it as an excuse to eat more.

Example:
Somebody checks their fitness tracker at the end of the day and discover that they have burnt 1200 calories that day, when in actual fact they have only burnt 900. They may have an extra piece of cake or a glass of beer since they think they have done well that day and met their target. Overtime though this adds up, that is an extra 2100 calories every week which the user thinks they have ‘deserved’. If your goal is losing fat then this is could certainly be counterproductive.

SO SHOULD WE JUST THROW FITNESS TRACKERS AWAY?

No.

Hold your horses.

I am not saying fitness trackers are useless and should be resigned to your top drawer. I am just suggesting that you start using them with a little bit more caution. Track your steps, make sure you are being active. If you like seeing what calories you have burnt, great, but don’t use it as your tracking for food. Use it in conjunction with other measurements and look at trends over time.

Do you own a fitness tracker? What has been your experience with one?

Love Abi xxxx

Ps Have you read my April favourites blog yet? Click here. 

 

Week 18 update and what I have learnt this week!

I will throwback to last weekend (I mentioned a little bit in my Week 17 update but I was tired and probably should expand more!!) when I went to Birmingham for the Bodypower expo at the NEC. This was the fourth year which we have visited and it is something which I really enjoy. I usually come back really motivated after being around other people in the industry and speaking to them; this year was no exception. I was able to network with and speak to people who I had previously only followed on social media which was great. The most beneficial chat was probably with Jamie Alderton, I follow a lot of his work on multiple platforms but it was so interesting getting to actually speak to him, bounce ideas and get a lot of invaluable information to help my business going forwards.

Week 18 - Jamie Alderton Bodypower 2017

I personally don’t think the expo was as good overall as previous years, and in fact think it may start to decline in coming years as number of big companies decide against going, including GymShark. But who knows, I may be proved wrong and I would hazard a guess that I will still be there next year!

I went with my sister and we stayed over Friday night and had the day in Birmingham on Saturday with the intention of going shopping, however it always happens that when you want to spend money you can never find anything!! We ate out at an Indian on Friday which wasn’t great, but then had a couple of good meals on the Saturday. In the last blog post I mentioned that we would hopefully be visiting Emporium Gym for a training session, and we did do just that. It was one of the best training sessions I have had in ages, there is something about a new gym with different people in it which I love! If you want to check out my full vlog from the weekend then head on over to my Youtube channel!  Abi Durrant Fitness.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were so busy I barely had chance to catch my breath, let alone speak to anybody! But one of the key things which I have been told by my mentors is to not neglect working ‘on’ your business, rather than just ‘in’ it. Therefore I am going to be making a concerted effort to try and take half a day each week in order to try and do just that. This week it was Wednesday afternoon, unfortunately all I managed to do was catch up on client plans, youtube edits, social media posts, emails, and didn’t get chance to do anything else! I know I need to develop a better system but it is just finding the time!

It was National Vegetarian week this week and I made an effort to choose more plant based meals. I made another youtube video with a full day of eating vegetarian which I would love you to check out too!

This weekend I have another exciting one planned as I head to Stockholm on Saturday for the night to see Bruno Mars in concert! Another new country to tick off my list as I work towards my #30B430. goals.

What have I learnt in Week 18?

13th: In America, the most popular baby names in 2016 were Noah and Emma.

14th: Sellotape was developed by the merging of glue and cellophane.

15th: It took 5,127 prototypes before James Dyson believed the technology was ready to go in the vacuum cleaner using the ‘new’ dual cyclone concept.

16th: KitKats used to be called the Chocolate Crisp.

17th: The UK’s biggest export commodity is Gold (9.8%), followed by cars (9.6%).

18th: Nootropics are substances that enhance or stimulate certain mental abilities such as cognition, memory, attention, concentration, motivation, learning and generally many of the functions related to intelligence. This word, derived from the Greek word “nous” means mind and “tropes” address refers, first, to natural components found in foods and plants.

19th: The most popular names over the last 500 years are Mary and John. Most popular names in 2016 were Oliver and Olivia.

Hope you have all had a good week!

Love Abi xxxx