Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Practice random acts of fitness!

Tuesday Tip: Practice random acts of fitness! 🏋🏻

I know how difficult it can be to fit everything you want to in to your days especially in the current lockdown working from home and maybe homeschooling too, and sometimes it’s exercise that suffers. As I’ve said in previous tips and to my clients, it’s not just those “big” workouts that matter though when it comes to losing or maintaining weight and fitness, it’s the rest of your day that matters. So as well as being generally active and try to get outside for a walk, try to practice some random acts of fitness!

Sneak things in to your day whenever you can – lots of day to day tasks actually burn a good few calories – gardening, hoovering, washing the car, carrying the shopping from the car (try to bring as much as you can in one go to increase the intensity), unloading the dishwasher (as fast as you can!) etc for example. Or try adding in some little bits of fitness throughout the day e.g. ten squats before you sit down, marching your feet while you watch tv, or setting challenges for each other while you watch – one push-up for every advert in the break etc… have you got a skipping rope? .. then how about one min of skipping before you make dinner (or virtual skipping if you have no rope!)…. or maybe a game of catch with your children (or fetch with the dog)…. 30 secs of fast feet in the kitchen while waiting for the kettle to boil…. single leg squats while you brush your teeth…..That’s just a few ideas, I’m sure you lot have loads more!

Don’t think that just because you can’t devote 45 mins or an hour to the workout that it doesn’t count.. it does! It’s still really valuable and a great thing to do when you’re busy and can’t fit in your usual workout. You could easily burn an extra 200 – 300 calories a day with these random acts… that’s the deficit you need to lose weight…

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Vitamin D and COVID-19

Tuesday Tip: Vitamin D and COVID-19 🦠

There are mixed messages in the media about the link between Covid 19 and Vitamin D so I thought it was worth a quick overview.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble steroid hormone and is important for bone health, and regulation of the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to numerous health problems including muscle weakness, various cancers, MS, Asthma, TB, heart disease, type I and II diabetes, depression, Alzheimers etc. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, so sun exposure is the main way that we obtain this vitamin. Even before the pandemic the recommendation was that people should consider taking vitamin D supplements between October and March (darker months) as there is a high rate of deficiency in the UK.

Many studies have shown that vitamin D can reduce the risk of getting acute viral respiratory tract infections and pneumonia, and can help with common colds and flu. So what about COVID-19? Studies are limited but a recent study found that 82.2% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were deficient in vitamin D. This was compared to the healthy control group of people without COVID-19, where 47.2% of people were vitamin D deficient. Studies have shown a correlation between lower vitamin D levels and higher levels of COVID-19 cases in the population. Some studies have also shown a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 severity and mortality. There are now 30 or so studies showing that optimal blood levels of vitamin D reduces the risk of covid-19 risk of infection, risk of severe disease and risk of dying. Many researchers now regard the evidence as ‘overwhelming’.

More research is needed, but there is little to be lost in supplementing with Vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and have low risk of toxicity but do bring significant benefits, not just in relation to COVID-19, but to overall health and well being. So what dosage should you take? You need a minimum of 10 micrograms a day (or 400 IU (international Units)), and the maximum daily safe dose is 100 micrograms (4000 IU), so something in between is a good place to aim for.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Just a walk…

Just a walk… 🚶🏼‍♀️

I shared this back in the summer but as this second lockdown progresses I’ve noticed a lot of my clients are beating themselves up over not doing “enough exercise”. In many cases they’ve been trying to work from home again, and run the household etc. Some days they’re managing to fit in a workout, others they’re not and they’re feeling guilty about it, and worrying about the loss of those activity calories they “should” be burning.

During this time one thing most people are can manage is to walk more, making the most of the allowed outdoor exercise. This is often not viewed as something which contributes to those activity calories, but it’s actually doing more good.

It’s natural to associate cardio workouts with burning loads of calories; you feel sweaty and breathless so you feel like you’re working hard. A 45 min HIIT for example is very tough and regardless how hard you’re working you’re going to be feeling it. However, it may be hard to motivate yourself to commit to a 45 min session at home when there are so many other things shouting for your attention (children (literally!), work, house chores etc). In contrast an hour’s walk doesn’t feel particularly strenuous, it may be something you do anyway to walk the dog, get the shopping or get out the house for bit, and it in fact burns more calories than the workouts.

I did this experiment on myself back in the summer so the numbers will vary according to your age, height, weight and fitness levels but the principal is the same (independent studies show this too). A one hour walk a day will burn significantly more calories than a 45 min HIIT workout. So if you’re not managing a workout every day – don’t stress, especially if you’re managing to go for a walk. In addition 7 days of HIIT workouts is actually NOT a good idea – studies have shown these workouts impact negatively on sleep if you’re doing too many a week. Obviously there are cardiovascular and health benefits to the HIIT workouts which are equally as important as calories burnt so don’t ditch them completely but my point is that you shouldn’t feel guilty if all you manage is a walk on some days.

🤗

Xx

Recipes

Biscoff Berry Porridge

As it gets colder I am drawn to warm, comforting food and porridge ticks the bill for me!

This combo of biscoff and berries works really well! It comes in at around 350 cals (using water not milk) for a portion so a good hearty brekkie or even a lunch option.

You will need:

50g porridge oats

1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

Water (or milk if you prefer to use that for porridge)

Handful of berries (I used blackberries, raspberries and blueberries)

20g Biscoff spread

20g Berry jam (optional – I used the low calorie skinny jam – available here)

Mix the cinnamon with the oats and then prepare your porridge using water (or milk) as you normally would. I often use boiling water from the kettle for speed but you can use a saucepan of course.

Once at a consistency you like transfer to a bowl and add the blackberries (or whatever berries you have), mix them up a little to release the juices.

Then add the other berries and biscoff spread. If using the jam add that too.

Pop in the microwave for 1 min (optional – this just helps to melt the biscoff and release the fruit juices – you could also do all this in a pan on the hob)

Enjoy! 🙂

Xx

Recipes

Shakshuka – Tomato based stew with poached eggs

This is a quick and easy light brunch or lunch. You can have it as it is, or serve with toasted pitta, crusty bread, new potatoes or just some green veg.

This serves 2 and it’s around 230 cals per portion. You can prepare the tomato base in advance and either store in the fridge or freezer and then just add the spinach and eggs when you want to eat it. And for those who can’t eat peppers – just leave them out and double the cherry tomatoes.

I was kindly given some home grown chilli peppers so I used a fresh one but you can use chilli powder if not.

You will need:

4 eggs

100-200g Spinach

1 large onion

1 garlic clove

2 peppers (red, yellow, orange – your choice)

400g Chopped tomatoes

200g Cherry tomatoes (or 400g if not using peppers)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp chilli powder or 1 fresh chilli (to taste)

1/2 tsp paprika

Pinch of sugar

Juice of half a small lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Slice the onion, peppers and tomatoes. Add a little oil spray to a large frying pan and throw in the onion, garlic and peppers (including the chilli pepper if using fresh chilli).

Sauté over a medium heat until they start to soften and cook through for 8 – 10 minutes.

Add the spices and cherry tomatoes and cook through for 2 mins or so.

Then add the chopped tomato, pinch of sugar and lemon juice. Mix well. Cook gently for 5 – 10 mins until it starts to thicken.

At this point you can stop and pop in the fridge or freezer for another day (or as I did, take half the portion away as it was just me having it for dinner). When ready to eat continue.

Add the spinach and cook through on low heat for 5 mins or so. Season to taste.

Using a large spoon create 4 wells in the mixture (or 2 if using a half portion) and crack an egg into each. Season the eggs and then pop a lid over the pan and simmer over a low heat for 6 – 8 mins (or until the eggs are as you like them).

Remove and serve with toasted pitta, a crusty loaf or veg of your choice!

Enjoy!

🙂 xx