International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange

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This March 8th is International Women’s Day; a day of empowerment for women and girls everywhere. International Women’s Day is a day for recognising female achievement globally and striving for equality across all genders.

IWD was first celebrated in the early 1900’s which coincides with a huge year for women in sport, the first Olympic games to include female athletes.

Women are still a minority in a lot of sports but we are slowly closing this gap. So many of the main sports in the UK are dominated by males; football, rugby, cricket. Women are forced to move to America to pursue a professional football career as the sport is ‘taken more seriously’ over there. But that doesn’t have to be the way, the more women take part in sport and support other women the bigger we can make this. With campaigns like #ThisGirlCan promoting female sporting and exercise and MyProtein’s own take on the #BeBoldForChange campaign we can encourage more and more women to get active and strive for their own excellence. Click here to see their truly inspiring video depicting the history of females in sport.

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So if you do anything this International Women’s Day, get active. Go for a run, find a local women’s club or if you don’t fancy it yourself, go to see a women’s sports team play. The only way we can fix this is by bridging the gap.

I’m sure many of you are wondering why we still need International Women’s Day…I mean we’ve come so far. But we’re not there yet. IWD is not only about fighting for yourself but fighting for equal rights for all women all over the world. No more inequality, globally. Together we can do this. #BeBoldForChange

 

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Staying Fit at University

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Student life is famous for hangovers, Domino’s and countless cups of coffee. But having been at university 6 months now I’ve uncovered a few tricks on surviving uni the healthy…ish way, and on a student budget. I’m still in the process of finding anything more comforting that chocolate but I’ve learnt that by choosing the healthy option 90% of the time I don’t feel guilty when I do go out and enjoy myself or have that bar of chocolate instead of an apple. Going to university doesn’t have to make you feel sluggish and spotty, take advantage of your new found freedom and embrace the opportunity to become your inner fitness freak.

Food Prep

This is the most important tip I have, prep your food before you’re going to eat it. Personally, I’ve been cooking two-three meals at once and then popping them in the fridge ready for when I need them. If you take lunch with you, you’re less likely to buy something that will not only be expensive but is also highly likely to be unhealthy. It might not be as appetising as a slice of pizza after a three hour lecture but you’ll feel less stodgy and it’ll work out cheaper in the long run. I’ve been using muscle food for their pre-cooked food but you can make whatever you want, put it in a tub and you’re good to go.

Hydration

If you’ve read my post on hydration, then you will know how important water is and how much you should be drinking. If you haven’t I suggest you go and read it now here. Hydration is important not only for your general health but especially if you’re going to be drinking regularly. So buy a big water bottle and never let it leave your side. I put slices of lemon or fresh fruit in mine so that it tastes nicer but drinking weak cordial or even tea is just as good for you. So bottoms up.

Exercise

University is possibly the best opportunity for exercise you’re ever going to get. There are countless teams and sports clubs to join so take advantage of this. Not only will joining a team keep you fit it will also introduce you to new people who aren’t on the same course as you. Most universities also have an on campus gym which is really convenient for a quick session between lectures. Also, be sure to look out for student deals at your local gym, make the most of student discount!

Planning

Despite all this, health isn’t just about your body. Try not to get overwhelmed. It may feel like you’ve been thrown in the deep end but you’ll get there. Make sure you plan enough time in your day to get everything done and make the most of your time. Don’t panic if you have to miss a night out to finish an assignment, you’ll feel better in the long run. Eat pizza and go on a night out, but also make sure you look after yourself. Most importantly, have fun!

Healthy Snack Favourites

I LOVE food. And as you may know I’m currently on a mission to increase my size which means I need to be in a caloric surplus, basically eat a lot more food! While this may sound easy in theory it has proven to be rather difficult as I, like many others, have a really busy and varied schedule. Some days I’m at home and can eat what/when I want but other days I am on the go and may not have thought ahead to meal prep or have the opportunity to eat full meals. This is where snacking has come in handy for me. While I would prefer to eat larger more nutrient dense meals, I have found some (not so unhealthy) snacks that do the trick.

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First up is The Food Doctor, spicy chipotle soya and corn crisp thins. These are so much better for you than your average bag of crisps and are the most morish snack in the history of the planet! I get these from WHSmiths and they last me about 0.5 seconds. Not only are they low in fat but their protein content is high which means you have no reason to feel guilty for digging in.

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Next up is for all those chocoholics. These Kallo chocolate rice cake thins are amazing! They’re not as heavy as chocolate while still hitting that sweet tooth spot. The rice cake means they’re satisfying but not sickly and they’re a perfect for dipping on your tea break.

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If you follow me on Twitter then you know that I have recently found a real obsession with Pip&Nut nut butters. Especially, the coconut and almond butter (I didn’t have any left for the picture…too yummy) which I’ve been having on just about everything at the moment. These sachets that they come in are perfect for popping in your bag and squeezing on fruit, rice cakes or just in your mouth! And, they’re palm oil free which is something that is very important to me when choosing a nut butter.

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Nakd bars have always been an obsession of mine, my favourite is the cherry bakewell but this latest discovery has been creeping close behind. Nakd bars will always have a place in my heart as they’re so convinient and so refreshing, unlike a cereal bar or chocolate bar.

 

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Last on my list is a drink…but also an obsession! I have been going crazy for Liptopns raspberry iced tea recently. It’s so refreshing and delicious that I struggle to not drink it all in one go. Definitely find one of these in your local shop and try it! They’re not ideal as they do have sugars and unnatural sweeteners in them but every once in a while won’t hurt you.

How to survive the down days

Everyone has down days, days where no matter what you do you don’t feel yourself. The most important thing to remember on days like these is that it’s okay. You’re allowed to not always feel 100%, but I know it’s not ideal to spend your days wallowing so here’s what I do to help myself relax when my mind is going 100 miles an hour.

Don’t be alone

Find some time to see the people who’re important to you, see friends or catch up with family. Being alone only promotes overthinking and, while I do not promote repressing emotions, it can be nice to take a break from stressing to surround yourself with those who love you.

Find something you enjoy

Today, I wasn’t feeling great so I called my little brother and we went and baked cookies at my dads house. It was so nice to get out of the house and be do something fun, rather than be stuck inside doing housework all day. It’s so important to take time out of our busy schedules to have fun!

Relax

Take a bath, put on some relaxing music and chill out. Everyone needs to take time to find their off button and just take a step back from the real world whether that’s for an hour, or just 5 minutes. Try to find a bit of you time in everyday, I really like the Headspace app and love their guided meditations…although I definitely don’t take time to do these enough.
It’s so important to know how to look after your head, and everyone is different! So take some time and try to find what makes your brain happy.

Protein Milkshakes?!

I’m sure you’ve all seen the hype over the new Mars and Snickers Protein Chocolate Bars. I personally have been dying to try one since their release, what I didn’t know was that they have also released Mars and Snickers Protein Milk Drinks…Protein Milkshakes!

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I tried the Mars drink and my boyfriend had the Snickers, both bought for £2 in Tesco. We used the drinks as a bit of a pre-workout pick me up and I can honestly say I was pleased with the result. Today was leg day so I needed all the energy I could get. While they don’t quite taste the same as a Mars Milkshake they aren’t far off, the only downside being a strange slightly tangy aftertaste, but nothing that abnormal to the average Whey Protein user.

Here’s how they fared up when compared to MyProtein Whey (Coffee Caramel flavour):

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So despite being a hell of a lot higher in Fats and Carbs they do have a high Protein level. If you’re trying to loose a bit of body fat I wouldn’t suggest them everyday but for a treat or for a bit of a change once in a while, why not swap that protein shaker for a milkshake?

Top Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun

While this may come as a shock to some of you, in the past few weeks England has been lucky enough to witness near 30 degree heat! This glorious heat wave has however, meant that a large portion of the population are now suffering with sunstroke. Us Britton’s aren’t used to the blistering sun, especially not in our own country, so here are my tips on staying safe in the sun this summer.

  1. SUNCREAM! This should seem obvious but I know that I for one get caught out regularly, especially as I am so fair skinned, even if you’re ‘just popping to the shops’ make sure you put on suncream. Sunburn is hugely overlooked as a severe problem in the UK but “8 in 10 cases of serious skin cancer could be prevented through enjoying the sun safely and avoiding sunburn.”  (cancerresearchuk.org) Stay safe and don’t risk it. 
  2. DRINK UP Hydration is so important when staying healthy, especially when your body is at risk of overheating. (Read my blog post all about hydration here.) Drinking more water will help your body to avoid dehydration which can lead to heatstroke if you’re not careful. So, if you feel tired, dizzy, if your mouth feels a bit dry or you’re just thirsty, go and grab a glass of water.
  3. STAY IN THE SHADE I know everybody wants a tan but try not to spend all day in the sun. By exposing your body to direct sunlight for hours of end you are upping your risk of sunburn and heatstroke so take breaks, sit under a tree or sit under a parasol, anything to break up your time in the sun.

But do have fun! I know these are cliche tips but by simply looking after yourself you’ll find that the sun isn’t all bad, it is a great source of vitamin D and is perfectly safe if you look after yourself. So lather on the suncream, pack a water bottle and go and enjoy the sun while it lasts!

Adidas Gazelle| Review

So this past weekend I have finally got my hands on a pair of the Adidas Gazelle’s! I’ve loved the look of these shoes for a while now and I can honestly say they’ve lived up to my expectations. The shoes are so comfy, low rise leather and suede trainers with a slightly built up sole. One feature I wasn’t so sure on initially was the in built arch, on the inner sole of the shoe. The arch comes slightly higher than my natural arch, however after walking around in them for a few days I came to discover this is not a problem at all. The suede isn’t ideal if you’re looking for waterproof footwear but this can be rectified by buying a waterproofing spray. My only complaint isn’t necessarily to Adidas themselves, but the shoes have obviously been so popular that when I went to buy a pair they only had one colour in my size, so I didn’t have as much choice as I would have liked. They aren’t the cheapest of shoes but given the quality and how beautiful they are, I’d say they were worth it.

Monthly Favourites…FOOD EDITION!

Now if you follow me on Instagram it’s no secret that I LOVE food! Over the past month I’ve been experimenting with some quick and easy meals that are… somewhat healthy. I am currently in the middle of  figuring out what my body needs, maro-nutrients wise, and these meals seem to be the best ones for energy, and over-all health so far…

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Meal 1 is the old classic, Burger and Chips! For this I used a Linda McCartney veggie burger (as always!), a slice of red onion, both cooked in coconut oil and some light cheddar cheese grated on top. By having the burger on a bed of spinach rather than bread I was reducing the carbs and fat, which I then replaced with extra home cooked chips! To make the chips simple cut up a potato, here I have chosen chunkier wedge style chips, and put them on a tray in the oven with a splash of oil and some chilli flakes. Take them out of the oven when they begin to go brown and crispen up and enjoy!

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Meal 2 is actually a favourite breakfast of mine at the moment which again features…a veggie burger! For this I scrambled some 2 whole free range eggs, and just as the start to go slightly brown I added a table spoon of cottage cheese. I know what you’re thinking…cottage cheese…really? Personally, I hate the stuff but as a vegetarian I am constantly looking at new ways of getting in my protein levels and cottage cheese is so full of protein that I figured…why not! Anyway, mixed in with the eggs and a dash of Jamaican Jerk spice, you can hardly taste it, it just makes for extra creamy eggs. I then added my greens, string beans, which were steamed until they went nice and soft. Yummy!

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Finally, the ultimate…protein oats. I don’t always have this much chocolate on my oats but I  was feeling adventurous. For my day-to-day oats, add 70grams of oats to your bowl, add enough boiling water to cover them all up and leave for about 2 minutes for them to go all fluffy. Then, add 1 tablespoon of your favourite peanut butter and…1 or 2 Reece’s peanut butter cups…and enjoy! This isn’t the healthiest of recipes but if you are just trying to maintain general health then having a small amount of chocolate doesn’t hurt and if you’re going to eat chocolate then make it Reece’s because that stuff has bare amount of peanut butter protein in it…

My 10k Experience  

As you probably know on Sunday I ran the Hull 10k. Now if you read my latest post you’ll know I was struggling with a hip injury and was out of training in the run up to the race. After a week and a half of resting I began training again with low impact cardio. I walked 10-30 mins on the treadmill (inc 6 speed 6) 5 times a week for the final run up to the race.

It was a 10am start to the race and while the weather wasn’t perfect it wasn’t all that bad. I managed to complete it in 1:21:25 which is a time I’m proud of, considering I didn’t really train properly.

During the run up to the race I had talked myself out of running in the future, but after seeing what I could do with almost no training I’m so excited to see how I would have fared up with proper training. So I have every intention of entering another 10k next year with the aim of crushing my time!

I know my body wasn’t ready, after the run I began suffering with joint pain in my hips and knees and aches in the back and ribs; but these are all things that would be better had I prepared for the run. I don’t think I’d ever run further than 10k but the experience was lovely and everyone there to support were so nice cheering and shouting to everyone running.

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or like me, don’t run, I highly recommend it; even just a fun run round your local park! If you have any runs coming up this summer, good look and enjoy them!

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Roll on next year!!

Should you be drinking more water?

Why is water so important? Your body is 70% water, it uses water to regulate your temperature, lubricator your joints and to assist in the passage of food through the body, to name a few. A huge number of people don’t drink enough water and in a world where you have clean water readily available we need to take advantage and drink up.

You can recieve some water through foods, like soups, cucumbers and oranges, but most of our water intake comes from drinking water and other beverages.

Water is lost throughout the day through bodily functions, like sweating, crying or peeing, even through breathing! So we need to keep our body rehydrated.

But you need to be careful, while you may think you’re obtaining water by drinking things like coffee or tea or alcohol you’re actually losing water as these cause the body to lose water.

Water is used to ensure your kidneys are functioning properly and to move minerals and nutrients around the body, so with my water, everything flows easier.

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So how much should you drink? 

It is currently suggested that males should drink around 3 litres a day and females should drink around 2.2 litres a day. That may sound like a lot but by drinking little and often throughout the day you can achieve that in no time.

If you’re exercising it is incredibly important to stay hydrated, especially as it’s getting hotter so try out this Hydration Calculator to see how much you should drink before exercising to ensure you don’t become dehydrated.