How to have a happy holiday

South Coast

Don’t stress out before your holiday embrace your body and enjoy the trip

It’s that time of the year again, the Leaving Cert nearly over and holidays maybe booked to an island resort or further afield. Maybe the thoughts of a bikini or lounging shirtless on the beach all day has you feeling anxious and under a bit of pressure. We’ve all been there but this summer can be different. I’m here to bust the myths on celebrity body trends and give you some advice to help you feel your best on holidays.

The lifestyle, training and diet needed to get results you see on Instagram takes months of dedication and consistency not to mention great genetics. For example, the thigh gap, many people don’t realise that the shape and anatomy of the thigh bones affect a person’s ability to even have a thigh gap. The low body fat percentages needed to have the bikini bridge or the ab crack can be unhealthy and in most cases unsustainable. The average healthy body fat percentage for women is 25-31%. For a chiselled six pack women need percentages of 16 or less, that’s a big reduction.

For guys, beach bodies tend to be all about the chest, shoulders and biceps, the so-called mirror muscles. Like the ladies, these “gains” take months of training and optimum nutrition to achieve. A few reps of the bench press is not going to build a defined chest. The main message here is that drastic actions are not going to help you achieve the look you want.

So with a few weeks to your holidays how do you look your best? A little mindfulness when it comes to your diet and a few more active days will benefit your waistline and mentality. Try to choose your meals wisely both at home and away by picking lean protein and leafy greens. Making a chicken or tuna salad and bringing it to work will not only save you calories but the extra money can be used on your holiday. Similarly, when you are on holidays try to be as active as possible, ever tried surfing? What about stand up paddle boarding? These activities will help you to burn excess calories from alcohol and food and look pretty cool in photos! Lastly, with the tide turning towards positive body image and ending body shaming embrace your holidays. Take the time to relax and destress, practice gratitude every day and leave the negative body images on social media.

Dad’s Healthy Full Irish

Healthy Full Irish

Spoil Dad with a healthy brekkie

There is something about a fry that just reminds me of big days and special occasions. There is something very comforting about warm breakfasts with pots of tea. Typically, frys are not the healthiest of breakfasts but they have all the elements of a balanced meal. The sausages provide the protein; the toast, beans and mushrooms are excellent sources of carbohydrate and provide one of your five a day. So why not make Father’s Day extra special with my tips for a healthy full Irish!

Let’s start with the main ingredient, the rashers and sausages. There are many options here and a variety of ways to cook these little gems. My top picks for healthy options would be:

  1. Head to a butcher for the sausages. They are full of natural ingredients, tend to have more pork and you are supporting local businesses.
  2. Read the food labels. The percentage of pork used is stated on the ingredient list, Clonakilty and Denny which have 63% and 60% respectively. Turkey sausages contain about 60% meat but are lower in calories and saturated fat. Chose sausages with a higher pork content.
  3. Try some turkey rashers. These can be a healthier alternative to the pork variety with less calories, saturated fat and salt.

A fry wouldn’t be the same without beans, mushrooms and toast with proper butter. Again there is a healthier version of these traditional features.

  1. Skip the tinned beans and choose Irish made Cool beans instead. Their products are refined sugar free and are a source of protein and fibre. They also come in three delicious flavours; original tomato, smokey paprika and hot chilli!
  2. Mushrooms are a source of protein and boost the nutrient quality of your brekkie. Get adventurous with Portobello, Button or Chestnut mushrooms for something a little different. These can be dry fried in a non-stick pan and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. The finishing touch for me has always been the toast. With so many people with gluten sensitivities or intolerances, the humble sliced pan has been given a bad reputation. Sourdough bread is fermented and takes longer to bake so is kinder on the tummy. Alternatively, wheat substitutes such as rye offer options for those trying to avoid gluten. Another Irish company BFree do excellent wheat, dairy and egg free breads and wraps.

After choosing your healthy ingredients it’s time to cook up a feast. Simple tweaks in the cooking method will result in lower calories and healthier choices. Poached eggs are a simple way to eliminate the need for oil and are delicious. By grilling the sausages and rashers you also cut down on the amount of oil used.

To balance the full Irish, we need to add a healthy fat. This will help keep us fuller for longer and supply some all-important Omega 3s into the meal. The main ingredient I would use it the ever-popular avocado. This can be mashed with a squeeze of lime juice, seasoning and a hint of chilli to make Dad feel like one in a million. Serve on the side or slather on the toast for a real wow brekkie.

So there are my tips to help you make a healthier full Irish for your Dad this Sunday. Wishing all Daddies everywhere a Happy Father’s Day.

Gifts for Healthy Dads

So with Father’s Day coming up in this weekend I thought I would bring you some gift inspiration. If your Dad is a fitness fanatic or just getting started there is something for every man and if he is into his healthy food I have you covered too.

First up is all things running. There is loads of local races coming up in the summer months check out Run Ireland for a full list of fixtures. So if your Dad is an avid runner or needs a push to get him going why not get him a race entry? If he is looking for some new clothes or runners but you are not sure of his size a gift voucher is a thoughtful gift.

If swimming is more of your Dad’s style gym membership with a pool is a great option. Many pools also offer adult swimming lessons to get him off to a great start. If Dad enjoys exercise on two wheels, why not check out your local bike shop for some accessories or even a voucher to get the bike serviced before the busy summer season!

If your Dad is more foodie there are some great cook books out to help him whip up that healthy family dinner. The Happy Pear duo based in Greystones are the poster boys for healthy Dad’s. Their recipes are vegan but can be modified to add meat. Kitchen utensils are a great gift idea that can be a healthy addition to Dad’s kitchen. Powerful blenders have a multitude of uses from desserts to healthy dips and nut milks! Another two utensils I would be lost without would be a steamer and a slow cooker. These can be picked up from Argos so no excuses!

On the day, why not head outdoors for some fun family activities. With many lakes, parks or mountains on our door step here in Ireland it’s the perfect opportunity to work up an appetite for a special brekkie! To really help Dad on his health journey why not check out my next post on a healthy Irish fry!

WellFest 2017

So over the weekend, me and a few friends headed over to WellFest in Herbert Park, Dublin. This is a health and  well being festival that covers everything from Pilates and yoga, healthy food and cooking demonstrations, TRX and bootcamp workouts! So fair to say something for everybody. There were also talks about mindfullness, smarter training and nutrition. I worked on the Saturday as a volunteer so got to see the work and organisation that goes into putting on an event like this!

What we ate

So on the Saturday I got to catch some of the events on the main stage and the main guy Joe Wicks had the place packed out. I really admire people who can make healthy eating and exercise popular with millions of people world wide!

I also got to sample the amazing samples from Irish producers. My winners in the deliciousness category was:

  • The Boutique Bake – their protein bites are so easy to make and are gluten and sugar free. You can find these in SuperValus, Dunnes or at their online store
  • BFree Foods – I’m currently in a process of eliminating eggs, dairy and wheat but I’m really missing my toast. Cue BFree Oaty Loaf! This gorgeous bread is wheat, gluten, dairy and egg free! It is dense but two slices are equal to a whole bowl of porridge. These can be found in Tescos, SuperValus and Dunnes. They can also be purchased on line at their online store
  • Broderick’s BC bars – These are Paleo treats that are delicious! The bars range in protein content from 7-9g per bar which is pretty decent. The flavours are Apple & Cinnamon, Cocoa & Hazlenut and Peanut. My favourite was the Cocoa & Hazlenut bar it was sweet chocolatey and relatively healthy. Not sure about the availability of these but you can get them on line at their online store and in health food stores.

Glenisk were GIVING AWAY yogurt pots all weekend! (That’s a lot of free product!) And you could top these with berries or granola, because I’m off dairy I didn’t try them but my friend said they were delicious. Its great to see so many Irish companies producing great nutritious food!

What we did

So food out of the way, what activities did we do? On the Sunday we managed to catch The Happy Pear cooking demo which was great. We then chilled out in the sun and took in some Pound classes. This is a cardio based class done to drum beats and was mega fun! We scheduled the rest of the day and I head off to get some supplies and do some networking. With plenty more samples I headed off to do some yoga with Art McHeart in the fairy light lit tent! The atmosphere was chilled and fun and I loved it.

Yoga Tent 2

Yoga tent at WellFest

Next up was a catch up with my bestie who had saved me a spot in an advanced TRX class! Here we did lots of single leg work, my poor glutes, chest press and rows! This was a strength based class and I really enjoyed it. Its been ages since I done TRX and my muscles were feeling it on Monday morning. TRX is a fantastic workout because your muscles work harder to stabilise yourself against gravity and the instability of the straps.

TRX overhead lunge

Me doing the TRX overhead lunge

After the class we head back down to the Well Village and grabbed some acai bowls with banana and granola to enjoy it the sunshine. So WellFest 2017 done and dusted and my verdict? I can’t wait for next year! Let me know if you ventured to WellFest and what you got up to?

Summer Workouts to Get You Beach Ready

Last week’s article focused on how proper nutrition is the biggest factor in losing weight. This week I have some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises to help you burn some more calories and build some lean muscle. By building muscle, you get toned shapely legs and arms. It also boosts your metabolism meaning that you are burning calories even when you are doing nothing!

So what is HIIT training? HIIT training is short bouts of intense exercises. It is designed to ramp up your heart rate but is very demanding so is not safe for beginners. If you have been exercising for a while and need to shake up your routine, why not give the exercises below a try?

HIIT 1

This is a simple running HIIT interval it can be performed on a treadmill or while running in a park. It’s important that you do a good warm up so depending on your fitness, a few kilometres or a few minutes of steady running. After this your aim will be to sprint for 10-20 seconds and recover for 30-60 secs, repeat for 3-10 rounds. Start on the lower end of the scale and progress as you get fitter.

HIIT 2

This circuit is performed with no equipment and can be done at home or in the local park, weather permitting! All exercises should be completed for 30 seconds with 15 seconds rest. Do 3 rounds of this circuit to get started.

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Mountain climbers
  3. High knees
  4. Squats
  5. Side shuffles
  6. Jab, cross, kick – this exercise works your arms and includes some abs as well with the kick.

HIIT 3

This is slightly more advanced for those who have been working out for a while and are looking for a challenge. There are more explosive moves and some single leg exercises so be careful if you have balance issues! In the beginning set your timer for 30 seconds work with 15 seconds rest and repeat the rounds.

  1. Push-ups
  2. Squat jumps
  3. Side hops or lateral lunges
  4. Reverse lunges
  5. Burpees

As you get fitter you can extend the work intervals on these circuits or add in extra rounds but remember to keep the rest short. These exercises are all designed to be done with little or no equipment and in under 20 minutes! Why not give them a try this week?

The Quick Guide to Getting Fit and Healthy This Summer

So summer is just around the corner and if you didn’t stick to your New Year’s resolution you might be starting to worry about beach season. But there are some quick ways to help you look your best self on holidays this year.

First things first diet. It is common knowledge that abs are made in the kitchen and you can’t out train a bad diet so having a healthy balanced diet is paramount to getting results. Start by making a food plan either for the week or a few days at a time. Knowing what you are going to eat eliminates the default mode of takeaway. By having a healthy plan and food shop done, you can pack filling and nutritious lunches for work.

Next up eliminate all sugary drinks, this includes fizzies, smoothies and juices. Often these drinks are loaded with sugar and you end up consuming empty calories which contribute to fat storage. Instead try water flavoured with your favourite fruits. If you can’t live without smoothies invest in a blender and make your own! Frozen fruits and even smoothie packs are on sale in supermarkets and make it easy to whip up a healthy drink.

Make your own meals and avoid processed foods as much as possible. By substituting homemade with store bought foods you can control the sugar and salt content plus you avoid any additional nasties like artificial colours or preservatives.

Healthy salad

Healthy homemade salad

There is a lot of confusion surrounding weight loss and breakfast. Is it essential? Should you be fasting? In my opinion it’s about mindset, a good breakfast sets you up for the day. It means you are productive and focused in work, you avoid the pastry tray at 10am and maybe again at 3pm and most importantly you make that gym session, class or run after work. By skipping brekkie you are more likely to make poor food choices as your blood sugar levels plummet. By making breakfast the night before and taking it with you to work is how I manage to eat a nutritious breakfast everyday.

Healthy Snack

Brekkie on the go

With diet done lets talk hydration! We need more water than we think and it is so important to stay adequately hydrated. By investing in a BPA free bottle and continuously sipping throughout the day drinking 2 litres is very achievable. This will also save you money in the long run as you avoid the cost of constantly buying bottled water.

So the last point is your exercise plan. My biggest tip is to find and exercise you like. Just because your friends are into crossfit or some other fitness regime doesn’t mean it will suit you. If you like getting physical and working up a sweat how bout boxercise? If you are more endurance based but the knees are cranky when you run, check out your local cycling club. Once you enjoy it will be easy to stick with it!

As you can see your nutrition is the main factor in losing weight, it won’t happen overnight but if you are consistent you will see results! My next post will look at some fun HIIT intervals for you to try!

Stay healthy X

 

Be Kind to Yourself

 

Be KIND to YOURSELF.

Being kind to yourself leads to long term healthy change 

So Easter is over and you might have seen those posts about how many calories are in a cream egg or how many burpees it will take to burn off that Cadbury Easter egg. Maybe your beach holiday is only a few weeks away and you have just joined the gym to get bikini fit. Either way your plan is to go all out with the high intensity workouts and super restrictive with your diet, pass the kale smoothie please!

After overindulging, it is only natural to want to cancel out the negative actions as quickly as possible. But this deprivation and demanding workouts are not beneficial overall. Instead you set up a negative thought process whereby you punish yourself for indulging at the weekend or during holidays. There are a few things that you can do to rebalance yourself and get back on track.

The first step is to return to your normal eating behaviour as soon as possible. Don’t restrict the foods that your normally eat but be mindful to not have takeaways or processed foods for the rest of the week. Try to nourish your body with lots of fresh vegetables in a variety of colours. This will provide essential nutrients and support the body. By eating well you will have the fuel for life and exercise. It is also important to drink plenty of water to rehydrate. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics so if you’ve over consumed these this weekend you might need to consume more water. Water is great way to banish bloat and help the body to eliminate toxins.

You can of course add the high intensity (HIIT) workouts into your exercise routine. But it is important to ease into this type of training. HIIT style exercises should only be done 2-3 times per week and not on consecutive days. This could be as simple as sprint intervals on the treadmill or using kettlebells routine. The goal is to elevate the heart rate and get the after burn effect. This will help you to burn more fat in the long run. If your chosen exercise is running a typical week with some HIIT sessions would look like:

  • Easy run on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays
  • HIIT on Mondays and Fridays
  • Rest days on Wednesdays on Sundays

The main thing is that you remember to be kind to yourself by nourishing your body with whole foods and moving every day. Punishing yourself with workouts and restrictive diets will set up a negative mindset that can affect your long term goals.