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

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

Cherry and Cinnamon Baked Oats

All Things Fitness, Recipes

Hi I’m Charlotte and I’m an oats addict!

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Sundays are my rest days and my high carb/refeed days so I always take my time over my precious oats. This Sunday I decided to try making baked oats. I’ve seen baked oats all over instagram but have never tried making them before so I thought why not today! I didn’t follow a recipe, I just tried it my own way and my god they were good! Now you can make them too!

 

Ingredients:

  • Cherries- fresh or frozen
  • 50g oats
  • 20g chia seeds
  • 400-500ml Unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 medium courgette grated
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more depending on preference)
  • Optional- 1 tablespoon coconut flour

Method:

  1. To be completed the night before:
    1. Mix together the oats, milk, chia seeds, courgette and cinnamon
    2. chill in the fridge overnight
  2. Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees C
  3. Mix in protein powder, baking powder and optional coconut flour to the overnight oats- consistency should be thick
  4. Line your oven safe dish with cherries
  5. Pour oats mixture on top
  6. Press more cherries into the oats
  7. Top with a sprinkle of loose oats to toast on top
  8. Bake for approx 30mins (the longer you bake, the thicker and more ‘cake’ they will be)

 

Oh my goodness, these oats were incredible! Actually incredible! img_8304img_8308img_8327

Let me know how you get on making them!

Love Char xxx

Unplug || Wait || Reset || Go

All Things Fitness

That’s what we do with our electronics when they aren’t working properly right?! So why shouldn’t we do the same with ourselves? Sure we aren’t robots, we aren’t electronic BUT for those very reasons only it should mean that we do need rest and cannot go on forever at full speed.

Since I started my competition prep training I have been actively trying to pay close attention to making the most of my rest days and time off. Before, I was very ‘team no days off’ I would be working 15 hour days AND training and always doing something on my days off too. It didn’t take very long before I ended up really sick with two weeks off work and on a cocktail of different medications. Fortunately for me, that was a while ago now and I’ve learned my lesson.

I train 6 days a week and I also work on those 6 days. The great news here is that my rest day also falls on my day off from work so where possible I will take full advantage of this and either do nothing or make sure I plan something that makes me truly happy.

After accidentally walking 12 miles on my last rest day, I decided this week it was time to switch off, relax and reset.

I didn’t set an alarm and just let my body wake naturally. I then made myself the best big bowl of protein zoats which I look forward to so very much throughout the week! I took them back to bed and just relaxed to the entire showing of Sunday Brunch. Sheer bliss.


The only activity I took part in was a walk to Sainsbury’s to buy most of my food for the week. This day was for me to relax so for the first time in a LONG time I even did a face mask and nose strip.


Being in the gym, on the tube and constantly on the go means that my skin comes into contact with some awful stuff on a day to day basis. I am very low maintenance when it comes to my hair and skin so don’t normally put a lot of time into it, my skin didn’t quite know what was going on when I was paying it some attention Sunday but my goodness it loved me for it! I’ve never felt it so smooth!


After feeling like I was getting sick on Saturday I have awoken on Monday feeling fresh as a daisy and ready to attack another week.

Taking your rest day to do nothing but focus on you as a whole will not hinder any training, it will help you on the whole. The last thing we need is to shutdown involuntarily and if you’re not careful and keep ploughing through each day at full speed it will inevitably happen.

Look after yourself; mind, body and soul. YOU are the most important project you will ever work on. Allow yourself to press pause from time to time, your body will thank you for it.

(c) Rees Thompson

Love Char x

Why I shouldn’t be your #bodygoals

All Things Fitness

As a health and fitness blogger I try and keep to a rounded selection of content from food, to supplements, to training, to recipes, to my body…. At the moment it has been VERY competition prep based. Why? Well that’s my life right now I am 5 weeks out from my next competition, surrounded by others on prep and if I don’t make it my life and throw everything into it, there’s no real point in doing it. I’m very all or nothing and if I get relaxed about my prep, well it’s self explanatory, the results won’t come!

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So why shouldn’t you want your body to look like mine?

My body is sitting at around 10% body fat and I’m 55kg- that means that of my entire body only about 5.5kg of that is fat. It is recommended that women shouldn’t have a body fat percentage lower than 10% as that is the lowest necessary level for normal body function. But let’s take a moment to remember that I am in prep for a purely aesthetics based competition and to be a serious contender I need those lower levels of body fat. A normal healthy woman shouldn’t really be striving for this level of body fat.

It can happen at different levels of body fat for different girls BUT I have now stopped having my period. This is just one example of how my body is dealing with what is being thrown at it. At first when it happened for a couple of months I started taking pregnancy tests because of the paranoid person that I am even though I knew it was impossible for that to be the answer, given where my romantic status is right now… (You catch my drift- oh hey immaculate conception…)

After this competition I am looking to take a year until I compete again for a couple of reasons:

• my body needs a break and to work its way back to a healthy state of internal homeostasis

• I want to build more muscle and if I’m constantly cutting and in a calorie deficit then that cannot happen

So while I LOVE competing and competition prep, if I want to keep doing it for quite some time I need to be sensible and strategic about it.

I post progress pictures and flexed six pack pictures because I’m proud of myself. I am proud of what I am achieving, the progress I’m making and how I’m getting on in my competition prep. Whilst I am super proud of myself this doesn’t mean you should want my abs, or my new found back muscles and pecs.

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So if I don’t want to inspire you with my body, how do I want to be inspiring you?

I would love you to be inspired by my positive outlook on life, my attitude towards goal setting and smashing those goals, my ideals of uplifting people and supporting each other even if they are your competition and if I can have this attitude in life, you can too!

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After my competition I will be progressively gaining some more body fat to a healthy and maintainable level and maybe once I’m there, my body could inspire you to get that butt in the gym. But for now I shouldn’t be your body inspiration.

If I can inspire you to make healthy changes and life choices, encourage some more body confidence and self love then I will be one happy bunny.

Please just remember I am prepping for a bodybuilding bikini competition that is purely aesthetics based and only maintainable for a short period of time.

Big love Char xxx

Chocolate Orange Mocha Zoats with Little’s

Competition Prep, Recipes

This has to be one of my favourite oaty recipes to date!

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Currently on my competition prep, I get porridge/oats twice a week so I like to make the most of them and spend time over them.

Let’s cut to the chase, here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 50g oats- I used 30g Jordan’s Chunky Jumbo Oats and 20g Quaker rolled oats
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Protein- I used Sun Warrior
  • 1 medium Courgette grated  (optional)
  • 10g chia seeds
  • Alpro Unsweetened Almond Milk – I use around 300ml
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder- Game changer!!
  • 1 tsp Little’s Chocolate Orange Coffee
  • Optional Squeeze of a fresh orange
  • Topped with 40g Vanilla Coyo- optional

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Method:

  1. Pour oats, baking powder and milk into a saucepan
  2. Cook on medium until soft and fluffy
  3. Optional- add courgette
  4. Continue to cook and stir
  5. Add in protein powder, coffee and chia seeds
  6. May need to add more milk- I like might less thick
  7. Add orange juice and stir – if using
  8. Take off of the heat and leave to settle for two minutes
  9. Pour into your favourite bowl
  10. Top with yoghurt or anything your heart may desire!

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These are SO tasty!

Why courgette and baking powder?

They both work to make the bowl bigger…. I am ALL about volume. Like I said, I only get oats twice a week so I will do anything I can to make them last as long as possible!

What are your favourite go-to Sunday breakfasts?

 

Love Char x