So you want to compete?

All Things Fitness, Competition Prep

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The tan, the sparkle, the muscles, the photoshoots, the prizes, the trophies  … It all looks very glam doesn’t it…

Over the past year or so it seems to have become quite ‘trendy ‘ to enter bikini competitions and I’ve seen so many people go about it in great ways but also some very dangerous ways also.

First off the big question…. why do you want to compete?

• because the girls on Instagram are doing it?

• for the likes and follows on Instagram?

• for the free stuff you might get along the way?

• because you hate your body?

 

All of the above are the wrong reasons!

 

 

Competing isn’t something to be taken lightly. It isn’t easy. You have to love your body In your off season as well as when you’re on stage otherwise no improvements will be made. In order to build muscle effectively you need to be in quite a calorie surplus so 1500 calories in your off season just isn’t going to cut it. You have to trust the process that it isn’t going to happen over night,  it’s going to take time, it’s going to test your patience and it’s going to take everything you’ve got.

You HAVE to be strong willed and in a good place mentally. It is very much a psychological journey as much, if not more than a physical one. If you can’t fathom being near to a maintenance calorie level or a surplus at all, this is not the sport for you. It isn’t all about dieting and cutting.

You HAVE to do your research. Which federation do you want to compete with? Which coach can get you there? Which coach has good experience prepping people for that show? What category do you want to enter? What’s your budget?

There are some very dangerous coaches out there who have girls on 500-1000kcal per day with hours of cardio…. THAT IS NOT SAFE. I’m not even sure how these girls function. Do your research!

So you’ve found yourself a coach….

They know their shit. If they’re telling you to eat x amount of calories and do x amount of training, you do it and if you’re concerned talk to them and they’ll be able to tell you their reasonings. Otherwise you’re wasting your money, your time, their time and you’ll be moaning that you aren’t seeing progress but it’s actually really your own fault. If you’re straying from your plan, stay accountable, you are to blame. There’s a reason they’re your coach. Listen to them and TRUST THE PROCESS.

There probably will be mornings close to show day where you have to get up at 5am to sneak in the extra cardio, or night’s where you have to stay up just a little bit later to prep your food. It’s just part of it.

I LOVE the whole process, seeing my body build, learning more about myself and about training every single day, surrounding myself with other people just as passionate as I am. I have got the best and most supportive team behind me and I really feel part of something. I know my nutrition plans and trainings plans are made for me and aren’t a ‘one size fits all‘ job.

Sometimes the days I don’t feel like training actually turn out to be the best sessions and I just get in and get it done.

Sure, I have more opportunities now than ever before with brands/ photographers/ other athletes etc but that’s because you can see it’s something I’m truly passionate about. When I get in the gym I train HARD, I don’t just move things around. At the end of the day you’re only going to get out as much as you put in.

Have I won a trophy yet? no. Is that okay? YES! I’m working for bigger things and always bettering myself, you’ve not seen the best of me yet…

You are not in for an easy ride.

If you’re doing it for the Instagram likes. Don’t.

If you’re in it because it’s something you really truly honestly want to do. Then you’re in for the best time of your life.

 

But before you make any decisions just ask yourself…. why?

 

 

lots of love, Char xx

Here are some proud competing moments:

1.Me on stage

2. Zoe winning twice at the UKBFF at Fitcon

3. Curtis and Rico winning their categories at the Coleman Classic

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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

Dating a non-ethical Vegan…

All Things Fitness

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This post is some-what different to what I normally post but still relevant and fairly amusing in my opinion.

I’ve been single for some time now and that’s not a problem for me whatsoever. I have so much going on that going out of my way to find someone to try and connect with like that just isn’t up there at the top of my to do list right now. (But if something was to naturally and organically  happen, that wouldn’t be a bad thing…)

HOWEVER in some experience of going on dates and/or being asked on dates since being vegan it has become very apparent how the word VEGAN can change everything….

Here’s how one story went while I was working at the pub (entirely paraphrased but you get the idea)-

Guy: here’s my number we should go out some time, text me

Me: *blushed* *giggled* thanks

Lost said phone number, didn’t text guy


Guy comes back to the pub another day…

Guy: you didn’t text

Me: erm lost your number and figured if it wasn’t just a drunk thing, you’d be back…

Guy: fair, well let me take yours and we’ll grab some food soon

We make plans that end up falling through because we both have work… We don’t rearrange, conversation fizzles. That’s the end of that then. 

Turns out we have a mutual friend who brought me up in conversation one day and asked what happened. His response- but she’s vegan and I like steak. My friend laughed at him (rightly so) and was like- you can still have steak just because she won’t doesn’t mean you can’t …

So that’s how that went…

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A little about me and my reasons for being vegan. I’m a non ethical vegan-I do it for health reasons, sure it’s wonderful that it helps the animals but you don’t need to worry about me marching outside your house with a protest board. My body is good at being vegan and works better being vegan and especially with all my training, it’s great. I also eat a lot! So even though I’m a vegan for health reasons, I don’t only eat salad and kale. This girl is not afraid to eat!

What does it mean for you if you date me?…

  • You can’t eat meat
  • You can’t wear leather
  • You can’t drink alcohol (filtration process isn’t vegan)
  • You can’t have eggs
  • You can’t have dairy
  • You can only have salad and Kale

 

I’m totally kidding!

 

What it actually means for you:…

  • Eat whatever you like
  • I will cook for you, including meat, I’ll just make myself an alternative so we can eat together
  • Wear whatever you like
  • Drink whatever you like
  • Just be you
  • Respect that I don’t eat those things and you won’t change my mind just like I won’t try and make you vegan
  • Be open minded- I make wonderful bakes and treats and just because an ingredient might seem odd, if I hadn’t told you it was in there you wouldn’t have known and said it was delicious! (Avocado choc mousse, sweet potato brownies…)

So there we have it. The word vegan is not scary, not limiting to anyone else doesn’t change me as a person!

 

Char x

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*disclaimer: I have no problems with ethical vegans and their beliefs, ways of life and mean no offence when I say I’m not one, but I’m not an ethical vegan and have no problems with making non vegan food for others*