How to stay motivated

All Things Fitness

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As the mornings get colder and stay darker for longer the temptation to just stay curled up in bed can be all too much sometimes. Everyone loves to train in summer when it’s lighter and warmer but motivation tends to dip towards to winter months. I’m forever being asked how I stay so motivated so I’ve come up with a few tips to help you stay motivated.

• Set your self SMART goals- Specific, Measurable, Agreeable, Realistic, Time (timeframe to achieve your goal)

• Set one big goal- this will be the bigger picture to always keep in mind

• Set smaller achievable goals along the way. Eg if your main goal is to lose 10kg or fit into your old favourite jeans but you only go to the gym once a week, a smaller achievable goal might be to up your gym attendance to 2-3 times per week to start with. Or say you want to be able to do 3 unassisted pull ups in 12 weeks, you might set yourself a target of being able to do one in six weeks.

• Surround yourself with people who lift you up and motivate you, perhaps these people do it without even realising.

• Give yourself a reward for when you achieve your goal. Preferably not food based…. Nice one you’ve lost 12kg here’s a dominoes and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s well done…. No! Perhaps it’s some new gym kit or a spa break or a new dress or activity tracker. I don’t know, something that’s going to make you work that little bit harder.

• Train in a way that you ENJOY! If Boxfit isn’t for you then don’t force yourself to go because you aren’t going to enjoy it and are less likely to be consistent in going and give it your all. If you LOVE the sweat and burn of the Stairmaster then do that!

• Be prepared- prep your food and your gym kit the night before. This way when you wake up you can just grab your things and go. Especially with your food, if you’re prepared you’re more likely to stay on track

• If you listen to music while you train, create a playlist that really gets you fired up and motivated

Most of all make sure you are doing it for YOU!

These are just a few of my tips to help keep you motivated through your training. If you feel a dip in motivation have a look and see what’s changed around you. It could be the weather, it could be a change in your work hours so you’re having to find new times to train but so long as you’re doing it for you and you truly WANT to be training and ENJOY your training, you can make it work.

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You’ve got this, I believe in you!

Love Char xxx

Mince Pie Toasties

Recipes


It may not even be November yet but I can’t be the only one craving Christmassy foods already. If you LOVE mince pies like I do, this is the recipe for you! This winter breakfast is indulgent and probably best saved for a nice Sunday morning or a cheat day/meal rather than a daily feat. These are delicious, far cheaper than mince pies and can be enjoyed pretty much as soon as you fancy something festive.

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Ingredients:

Two slices of bread

1 heaped tsp Vegetarian mincemeat

Vegan butter/ butter

3 squares dark chocolate (optional)

Icing sugar to dust

 

Method:

1. Turn on toastie maker/george foreman to heat

2. Butter one side of each slice of bread

3. Spoon mincemeat onto the non buttered side of one slice

4. Top with dark a chocolate squares

5. Top with the second slice of bread, butter on the outside

6. Place in the toastie maker and cook!

7. Dust with icing sugar and devour!

(Leave to cool for a minute or so, the filling will be piping hot!)


Don’t fancy them for breakfast? Maybe make them to have with an episode of Corrie in the evening accompanied by a Baileys hot chocolate. Now we’re talking!

Enjoy!

Love Char xxx

Method in pictures:


All images are my own and not to be used without permission

Trick or Treat with Total Sweet

Recipes
This recipe has been created in collaboration with Total Sweet Xylitol

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The season is here for things sweet and spiced and everything nice. So I teamed up with Total Sweet Xylitol to bring you these Orange Spiced chocolate chunk sandwich cookies.

Total sweet is a natural sugar alternative. Unlike other alternatives Total Sweet has the same texture and bakes/cooks in the same way as sugar just with fewer calories and carbs. Erm hello?! Is this not the dream?! I thought it was too good to be true too so I gave it go in these gorgeous Halloween inspired cookies.

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They aren’t my usual healthy protein creation but we all deserve an actually slightly naughty treat here and there. Now you can enjoy them too by following this recipe:

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Makes 40 cookies/ 20 cookie sandwiches

Ingredients

Cookies:
500g gluten free self raising flour
500g dairy free butter
500g Total Sweet xylitol
Egg substitute- Equivalent of 2 large eggs
1 bar green and blacks dark ginger chocolate
1 heaped tsp cinnamon
2-3 tsp orange flavouring
1 tsp vanilla extra

Filling:
125ml Alpro soya cream
1 large bar bourneville chocolate

Topping:
1 large bar dark chocolate
Icing sugar
Water
Orange colouring
Orange flavouring

Method:

Cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
2. Grease large baking trays
3. In a mixing bowl cream together butter and Total Sweet Xylitol
4. Make up your egg substitute and add to the mixture
5. Add orange and vanilla extracts
6. Mix in the flour and cinnamon
7. Break up Green and Blacks into small pieces
8. Spoon mixture onto baking tray and press chocolate chunks into each cookie
9. Bake for approx 15 mins or until golden

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Filling:
1. Finely chop one bar of bourneville and place in a bowl
2. Heat cream- but do not boil
3. Pour cream over chocolate, leave it and let it melt
4. Stir the mixture to combine the chocolate and cream
5. Leave to stand and then chill in the fridge

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To finish:
1. Spoon filling between two cookies to sandwich together
2. Place in fridge to set together for approx 20-30mins
3. Melt the rest of your dark chocolate
4. Dip cookie sandwiches into the melted chocolate at one end.
5. Make up a thick orange icing using the icing sugar, water, orange flavouring and orange colouring
6. Drizzle icing across the top of the cookies and leave to set
7. Arrange beautifully and take photographs (optional)

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The recipe can be used just to make the cookies if you are after a slightly smaller treat or have less time. They are very delicious ! (even if I do say so myself)

The Total Sweet worked just like sugar and I can’t believe how happy I am with the final product. I will definitely be continuing to use it throughout my baking. You can find it in large supermarkets.

Why not head over and check out their website here.

Let me know if you make these and what Halloween inspired baking you are getting up to!

Love Char xxx

Dr Zak’s Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

All Things Fitness, Recipes

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Before I started following a plant based diet I was partial to a Reese’s in any form- Cups, Pieces, Nutrageous bars. What I’m trying to say I guess is that I have a long standing love affair with Chocolate and Peanut Butter. In my opinion they’re a match made in heaven so when Dr Zak’s sent me some of their powdered peanut butters I knew exactly what I was making.

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I chose to use powdered peanut butter because it’s lower in fat than your run of the mill jar of nut butter. It’s also really convent as you just mix it with water and ta-dah peanut butter. Have a look at the comparison below mine is the chocolate powdered peanut butter so it is higher in carbs but just look at the difference in fats per 100g.

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If you’re following a low carb, high fats diet then this probably wouldn’t be substitution for you, just stick to your fave nut butter but for the rest of us the substitution is great. They’re super yummy so here’s the recipe:

Serving size- 1 cup

Ingredients:

2 heaped tablespoons Dr Zaks Chocolate Powdered Peanut Butter
Dash of water
1 bar Sainsburys Basics Dark Chocolate (easy peasy and cheap!)
You will also need 4 cupcake cases

Method

1. Melt your dark chocolate
2. Make up your peanut butter to a thick consistency
3. Spoon some dark chocolate into each cupcake case and draw the chocolate up the sides also
4. Spoon in your Peanut butter on top of the chocolate dividing the mixture equally
5. Using the rest of the chocolate, spoon into each case so that all nut butter is covered
6. Place either in the fridge over night or in the freezer for a couple of hours to set

Voila! Easy peasy, lower in fat and far cheaper than shop bought peanut butter cups!

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In comparison to a Giant Reese’s Peanut Butter cup

Macros: (each)

Mine:

Kcal- 153
Carbs- 13.4g
Fat- 8.5g
Protein- 4g

Reese’s:

Kcal- 190
Carbs- 22g
Fat- 11g
Protein- 4g

Enjoy!

Love Char xxx

Farfetch X Barrecore Event 

All Things Fitness

A couple of weeks ago Farfetch invited myself and a selection of other blogger down for a Barre and Breakfast event. We were celebrating the launch of new activewear lines to their site. It was instantly a yes from me. Activewear, Barrecore and breakfast yes please!

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We headed to Mayfair to start our morning with a class at Barrecore. At this point I was 11weeks into my prep- so 2 weeks out from my competition. I walked in feeling pretty confident that as a dancer and in comparison to my other weights sessions, the class would be a breeze. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The class brought about a new stimulus for my muscles and a lot of isolation work for legs and glutes. Having trained legs the day before it is safe to say I found it rather difficult and experienced that really great burning sensation through most of the exercises. I would definitely recommend Barrecore to anyone, whether you’re a serial class pass user or just fancy trying something different, you’re in for a great workout!

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After Barrecore we made our way to NAC for a beautiful breakfast! Luckily for me it was a high carb day and due to being on prep I had to pick something from the menu that was close to what I would usually have in my plan. I opted for an apple Bircher topped with poached quince and a cinnamon and star anise drizzle. It was BEAUTIFUL! Definitely something I’m interested in trying to make myself for sure, I washed it down with a strong black Americano- of course!

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It was so lovely around the table talking blogging, fashion, photography and lifestyles with all of the other amazing girls and the Farfetch team. A very inspiring morning full of new experiences and celebrations. I can’t wait to give my new Varley crop top and Nike trainers a test drive.

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If you’ve never tried Barrecore before and it interests you head over to their site here and get yourself booked in! Also make your way over to the Farfetch website and get filling your basket with all of the gorgeous activewear they have up now!

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Thank you Farfetch for an amazing morning! If only every Wednesday started like this!

Love Char x

Images in this post are a combination of images taken by myself and by the official event photographer- not to be used without permission

Death by pancakes

All Things Fitness, Recipes

Now we’ve all seen protein pancakes all over Instagram, and most of us have had a pop at them. Let’s face it they aren’t difficult to make and are actually very tasty and filling.

After being on prep for 13 weeks I decided to act on one of my foodie fantasies and make STUFFED PROTEIN PANCAKES. Yep that’s right! You cut into them and the filling just oozes out! Since I’m such a lovely person, I thought you might like to make them too, so here’s the recipe!

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Ingredients:

•1 scoop chocolate protein powder
•1 scoop oats
•1.5 scoops self raising flour
•0.5 tsp baking powder
•Approx 250ml chocolate milk- I used chocolate oat milk
•Dark chocolate chips
•1 heaped tsp peanut butter
•1 heaped tsp chocolate spread
•1 Oreo

Method:

• mix all together in a bowl (except nut butter, chocolate spread and Oreo) consistency should be similar to American style pancakes, so thicker than crepes

•Spoon mixture into a small frying pan, place Oreo in the centre of the mixture, cover with more mixture – cook on a medium temperature so it cooks through without burning the outside.

• Once you see the mixture has cooked around the edges, flip and cook on the other side

• Repeat these steps with a spoon of PB and Chocolate spread (or desired fillings)

•I also topped mine with melted dark chocolate…

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Then devour and slip slowly into a food coma!

ENJOYYYYYYY

Love Char xxx

Auto Pilot

Competition Prep

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Pretty much on a daily basis I have people questioning how I keep going, how I stay motivated and how I have the get up and go every single day to work as hard as I am. I’ll admit that some days are easier than others by a HUGE amount! Lucky for me, I’m the sort of person where if I have a goal to achieve or a set target I have to meet I will work hard until I’ve achieved it. Having a goal in mind definitely helps, mine being my competition. I have an end goal, I have a set date that I need to achieve this by. I’ve said this before, I’m training for something I’ve wanted to do for so long and never thought I’d be able to do so, that for me is enough motivation in itself.

It isn’t always as easy as that though. Some days especially the second day into a calorie drop, I’m tired and I just go into auto pilot mode. It goes something like this:

I wake up at 7am. Kind of wondering who I am, what day it is, where I am.

I go into the kitchen and pop the oven on ready to make my food for the day. In go my Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausages. While they’re on, it’s shower time. Time to exfoliate and prep my skin ready for my competition tan. 

Out of the shower and back into the kitchen, on goes the veg and soybean spaghetti. Out comes the Tupperware, time to box it all up for the day.

Now for breakfast. A strong black coffee and Protein porridge with all the toppings!

I always give myself time to properly enjoy my breakfast, that’s my me time at the start of the day… Make sure I know who I am before leaving the house!

Time to get ready, gym clothes on. Do I even own normal clothes? Nope not sure I do! 

Off to the gym, session one with Artur. If I’m tired I’ll not talk much and just get on with what he’s asking of me. But I’ll always text after and apologise if I’ve given any sass, cried or just not spoken. 

Break time. Food. Shake. Write. 

Now for cardio. 10 mins of interval sprints. 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. It doesn’t get any easier the more I do it. The speed goes up, it’s always challenging. 

After some single leg glute bridges it’s abs time. Love abs! 

Time for more food. 

Off to work I go. I get to work early so I can eat again before I start. 

Work is over in a flash and it’s time to head home.

I’m home before I know it almost like I blinked and missed it because by this point I’m tired.

Time to eat one last time, in bed, with an episode of House on Netflix to wind down. More often than not I fall asleep with the episode still playing and wake up about 10mins later so confused. I close the MacBook and go to sleep. Alarm set for 7am to do it all again. 

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That’s how it is maybe once, twice a week max. I get home and into bed and feel like the day just happened around me and I wasn’t quite present in any of it. 5-6 days a week I am full of beans LOVING every minute feeling so motivated to be working towards my goal! It’s just those few days where I’m in autopilot mode and it just happens.

Get yourself motivated by finding somethings you’re truly passionate about. Whatever that is, set some goals within it. One large one and a couple of smaller goals to achieve along the way to keep yourself going allowing little pats on the back as you achieve them!

I’m five weeks out, very happy with my progress and extremely excited about the 23rd April! I’m very lucky to have so much support around me from family, friends, acquaintances at the gym and even people I don’t know wishing me well through Instagram and the blog etc. Those messages, comments and well wishes really help so thank you guys!

Char x

Looking After Your Own Happiness

All Things Fitness

I have posted before about ‘choosing happiness‘ but I recently had a conversation with a very good friend of mine about the importance of looking after your own happiness.

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It is so important to look after your own happiness to then be able to be truly selflessly happy for others. It’s a bit like the saying ‘you need to love yourself before you can love anyone else’. When you start looking after your own happiness you can be fully supportive and happy for others without the element of competition. We should be supporting each other and growing together.

When talking to people and catching up with friends/family you haven’t seen in a while it can be so easy to get caught up and compete to prove who is happier. It isn’t a competition and when you realise that, a weight will be lifted and you’ll stop trying to prove and convince everyone that you’re happy and instead you’ll just actually BE happy!

So it’s time to be selfish and focus on you. Find what makes you happy and do it, it may take some time, it won’t happen overnight but one day it will just click and you’ll wonder why you’ve never taken the time to work it out before. People are always going on about Mindfulness and it is easy to go ‘ugh, not for me thats just a fancy word for meditating and I’m not into that’. When you realise that that is not what it’s all about and that trying to live life mindfully is actually really important and a gateway to your own happiness and looking after that, you’ll feel great!

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Here are a few of my tips on trying to live mindfully:

  1. Focus on YOU! What makes you truly happy?
  2. Take time out to relax, away from your phone, away from social media. Whether it’s just chilling with your favourite tea, or diving into your favourite book for 5minutes or 5hours. If it feels good, do it!
  3. Surround yourself with good people and good energy. It’s okay to remove yourself from toxic friendships if they’re taking away your happiness.
  4. Is what you’re doing making you happy? no? Stop doing it!
  5. Get outside. Take a walk in a park, go for a run, sit in the garden for five minutes. It is amazing what some fresh air can do!
  6. Maybe find a new hobby, or get back into something you once loved. An activity that is all about you and doing it makes you happy!

 

I am by no means saying that I am a master of mindfulness or that these things will instantly make you happy. What I am saying is you need to look after your happiness and put yourself first to do so!

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Here is what I am NOT advocating…

  • Do not intentionally ruin someone else’s happiness for the sake of your own
  • Do not spend your life just trying to please other people. You will NEVER please everyone. Once you realise that, you will be able to breathe a little easier and do what makes you happy.

Three things I try to live by:

Inhale the good, exhale the bad. Surround yourself with good people. Try to live each day mindfully.

Namaste.

Char x

How do you eat yours? 

Lifestyle

In terms of my diet I like to try and mix things up a bit like Banana and Marmite on Toast for breakfast.

I’ve been Vegan for about a year now.  In the summer of 2014 Jessica and I decided to go vegan for the summer whilst she was home from Dance College. ( we do weird things like this you see) So from the July to the September we were fully fledged Vegans and then went back to eating a normal Meat eater’s diet until January 2015 when we took part in Veganuary. This is a campaign that is set out to try and get people I to try being Vegan for one month in a bid to save some animals. Whilst yes it is wonderful that less animals are at risk from myself being vegan, I do it for my health and for how I feel by being vegan.

After Veganuary Jessica and I decided to stay vegan. Purely because of how great we felt from adapting this lifestyle. I have more energy, I sleep a little better, my metabolism is sky high, I don’t really get bloated and my food digests quickly and efficiently. Sure, you can still eat a high fat, super unhealthy diet being vegan which I’m sure some people do because it’s easy, but I try to lead as much of a healthy life as I can. Also due to training in the gym a lot, I want my diet and my exercise to compliment each other to give my body just what it needs because what some people don’t realise is that you can’t out exercise a bad diet.  You may be slaving away in the gym but you won’t see massive results if you aren’t taking care of yourself from the inside out.

Now, this does not mean that I deprive myself! Absolutely not! Much to my delight Oreos are Vegan, so many packets may have been consumed in moments of weakness…..However, like I said, I like to try me keep things and healthy as possible (without going overboard) so my latest Vice is a Pulsin Raw Choc Brownie. Delicious and nutritious especially on the go. My absolute favourite is the Almond and Raisin one, and it’s one of your five a day so surely you can’t need much more convincing…..

What I have been doing lately if I feel like I need something a little more indulgent and dessert like is to pop one of these Pulsin Raw Chocolate Brownies in the microwave for about 30secs. Absolutely gorgeous! Tastes just like a hot chocolate brownie that is normally really naughty but this is filled with so much goodness! Go on give it a try! I even tweeted Pulsin about this and they had never tried it before. Now they’re hooked! Next I want to try it with some Almond dream Vegan ice cream and with a Caramel Alpro Dessert pot (on separate occasions ofcourse!)

Have a look at their blog post that features my serving suggestion at this link:

http://www.pulsin.co.uk/blog/general/news-from-the-bloggersphere-3/
I honestly had no idea no one had tried this before! Crazy!

As everyone is SO concerned about my protein intake, if I feel I need a protein pick me up I’ll grab one of these. It’s a Pulsin Orange Choc Chip Protein Snack. Absolutely to die for!

So this is what I’m hooked on at the moment when it comes to healthy indulgence and pick me ups. I’m sure I’ll share with you soon my next obsession too!