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!

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Juices vs Smoothies | Pros and Cons

We’ve all heard the debate, should we be drinking juice or smoothies? What is going to be better for us in the long run? Well the answer isn’t that simple, this all depends on your body and what you want from you drink. The main differences are the fibres. Juicing removes the pulp of your fruit/vegetable, which is why it has a thin consistency. Your smoothie however, has nothing removed and is the whole fruit/vegetable just in liquid form. 

First, a little explanation about fibres, so the rest makes sense. Fibre is found in many foods but predominantly in whole grains, seeds and nuts, legumes and fruits and vegetables. It is recommended that you consume around 30g of fibre a day, for a healthy diet. There are 2 types of fibre; insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fibre is removed when juicing, and is vital for keeping your bowels and your digestive track healthy. This fibre does work as a sort of filter to your bloodstream, which slows down the rate your body can absorb nutrients from the juice. Soluble fibre however, remains in your juice after the pulp is removed. This fibre absorbs water, creates probiotics and then supports good bacteria living in the digestive system. 

Now you know the basics we can compare the 2. 

Juicing, I think is so much tastier than drinking a smoothie, but is far more hassle. A juice is far lighter than a smoothie so you can drink more, which means consuming more nutrients. Because juicing removes the pulp, and the insoluble fibres, your body can quickly absorb 100% of the nutrients from your juice. This is great and is what gives you that glowing feeling after you drink a big glass of green juice! Be careful though, despite being a pain making your own juice is far better for you as shop bought green juices (and smoothies!) are often filled with sugar and other hidden nastys, so make sure you check the label. 

Now I don’t mean to make you scared of smoothies because they too have their place in your diet. The pulp that is kept in the smoothie works with your bowels and digestive track to keep your insides healthy. And the thicker texture means you are kept fuller longer, perfect for breakfast! (Watch this space for a breakfast smoothie recipe!!) And, just because the smoothie contains insoluble fibre it doesn’t mean you don’t absorb nutrients, just less than from your juice.

Personally, I love both smoothies and juices, just at different times of the day but now I know how they are different I can choose more wisely. If I’m feeling a bit bloated I personally prefer a juice, but if I’m looking for a quick on the go breakfast a smoothie is perfect! Let me know your favourite, especially if you’ve made it yourself! 

Failed Veganism? | Update and lifestyle changes!

As you will know if you’re reading this I have decided to revamp and relaunch my blog! I thought i’d give you a little update.

I have recently firmed an unconditional offer to go to university next year! I will be studying Sports and Exercise Nutrition starting in September. I’m so excited to get started and learn about something I’m passionate about. I will definitely be writing a university series closer to September with some tips and tricks about moving out, shopping and handling your food shopping!

As many of you will know, in late June last year I decided to go vegan. Now I’m gonna be honest, I’m not still following this diet, because about a month ago I chose to start eating dairy again. This isn’t just because I missed having a bar of chocolate to get me through college, although I did! While I had thoroughly researched veganism and planned healthy balanced meals which gave me all of my protein and fats, I wasn’t following through on this. I was eating more and more meals which consisted of meat replacements and bread, rather than kidney beans, quinoa and sufficient veggies. I wasn’t giving myself enough fats and was therefore craving carbs and fatty foods, like my vegan sausage sandwiches. Now don’t get me wrong, in no way am I slating the vegan diet or saying it’s unhealthy as I know plenty of healthy vegans. It just didn’t suit me. I am an avid gym goer and I just wasn’t seeing the same results as before when I had the protein from dairy in my diet. Even with protein supplements from pea or soy I wasn’t happy. So, to start with, I introduced eggs back into my diet. I decided I wasn’t going to buy my eggs from the supermarket as I wanted to be completely sure they were from good healthy chickens. Now the only way to know this is to go to a farm and see for myself, so that’s what I did. Luckily for me there’s a farm in the village near to where I live so bright and early Sunday morning Paul and I pulled up outside the farm and went to meet some chickens.  Not only were the eggs cheap at almost 3 dozen for £6!! There is such a difference in quality to ordinary free range eggs. I know it’s not always convenient to buy your eggs from a farm, but it is easier than you think and setting out time once a week to go, buying in bulk and organizing your meals will make this easier.

I’ve chosen to change my diet this way because my current goals are to bulk and gain weight, muscle and size. I’ve joined started training with Muscle Honeyz and they’re really helping me to focus on my goals. I want to get bigger and stronger and I’m working my arse off to reach these goals. In a few months I’ll do  progress post so you can all see how far I’ve come!

Following A Diet Plan

In my bid to regain a healthy lifestyle I purchased two magazines: Muscle & Fitness and Runners World. These were both full of great recipes, workouts and advice so I’d recommend them both. While Muscle & Fitness is predominantly a male magazine there was a 16 page Women’s section on training and diet that I found really interesting. In this female section is a 14 day diet plan for women who work out. After reading the plan my boyfriend and I decided to set ourselves another challenge. Gym 5 days a week, run 1 day a week and follow the diet plan for 14 days.

On the Sunday we bought the magazine we wrote a shopping list to sort out who would buy what food. There were some things we weren’t going to buy (like the plain nachos and salt free dip) as we wouldn’t eat the full bag and it was to be eaten along side a main meal, as a side. When we swapped out food we either didn’t eat it, like the nachos, or replaced it, for example instead of a steak, i don’t eat steak…, we bought quorn burgers which are actually less fatty and better for you. When following a diet plan, unless it has been tailored to you, there is nothing to say you can’t change it up a bit. If you don’t like a food replace it with something with similar carbs/fats/salts. As long as you are careful this should be okay.

Along side this diet plan i have decided to drink only one drink a day that isn’t water. I haven’t been drinking enough water lately and i am aiming to drink a minimum of 2 Litres of water a day. Water is so important in keeping your body working well, your brain active and giving you clear healthy skin. It’s also very important if you’re trying to lose weight, by stopping your intake of sugary drinks you could easily drop a few pounds.

It’s now wednesday and i have been following the diet plan for 2 days and i can already see a difference. I feel less bloated, more energetic and i’m happier. I have had my 2 best workouts in a long time and i’m excited to get back to the gym today for Bi’s and Shoulders.

Now i’m going to make my tuna salad and get ready for the gym. I will keep you all updated on how the diet plan is going and how it is affecting me.

Again, Thank You all for your support!!