Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Pre-workout coffee?

Tuesday Tip: Pre-workout coffee? ☕️

Coffee as a pre-workout is something that’s often recommended social media and fitness blogs but does it really help?

A recent study found that consuming even a small amount of caffeine before and during exercise can help people exercise almost a third longer. A study tested found that those who consumed caffeine whilst cycling were able to keep going for longer than those who drank water, delaying fatigue by up to 60%. The only drawback is that caffeine is also a diuretic, so it can cause dehydration. Other studies have however shown the dehydrating effect to be minimal and the consensus is that moderate consumption of caffeine is ok.

Other studies have shown that caffeine can trigger muscles to start using fat as an energy source, but this is only occurs when other energy sources are depleted. In endurance athletes for example, caffeine is used to get extra energy out of the body’s reserves during an event So in isolation it won’t magically burn body fat for you sadly.

Researchers have also found that caffeine can help reduce muscle pain. The study in The Journal of Pain found that caffeine (compared to a placebo) reduced thigh-muscle pain during exercise (which can mean being able to continue for longer) .

So overall caffeine does indeed enhance performance and makes it ‘easier’ to put in more effort during exercise. These effects are more noticeable during endurance exercise (over 90 mins). Caffeine also plays a role in helping contribute to clearer thinking and greater concentration. The effects are greater in those that rarely have caffeinated drinks as tolerance is built up, and the effect varies wildly from person to person.

So do you need to start necking an espresso before you workout? Probably not, but it could help on days when you need a little extra boost to get through your workout. However, caffeine can also have unwanted effects and its use can result in caffeine jitters, headaches, upset stomach or insomnia, and excessive consumption can have serious health risks, so best to use it only if you’re already a caffeine drinker.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Recipes

What the cluck Veggie Stir Fry

This is a super easy dinner or lunch option. There are lots of vegetarian chicken alternatives out there but this is one of the best I’ve tried. It’s absolutely delicious, not dry like some can be, with a fab texture. It’s good enough to pass as chicken in this dish (in case you have any fussy eaters you want to get this past!).

This comes in at around 263 cals for a portion. You can obviously add rice or noodles if you wish but it’s a massive portion so you won’t need it! You can use any veg you have, or make life easy and grab a pre made bag of stir fry veg. You can have it plain, with soy sauce or if you like you can add hoisin sauce.

You will need:

1 pack of veggie ‘chicken’ (I used ‘what the cluck’ from the vegetarian butcher’

1 small onion

1/2 red pepper

Handful mushrooms

Assorted greens (or do what I did and use a pre made mix!)

Soy sauce to taste (or hoisin sauce if you prefer)

Chop the veg.

Heat a little oil on a wok or frying pan and sauté the onions.

Meanwhile pop the veggie chicken in a separate pan (you can do it with the veg but I prefer to brown it separately to ensure it’s nice and crispy)

Add the peppers and mushrooms to the onions, cook for a couple of mins.

Add the other veg and stir fry for a few mins and then add the soy sauce to taste (or hoisin sauce) and cook through.

Add the chicken pieces and then serve!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Recipes

Hoisin Pulled Veggie ‘Pork’

If you’re a Chinese takeaway fan this is a great lower calorie, home-made option for you! You can use any veggie alternative – there are pulled pork, pulled chicken and pulled jackfruit options available now. I happened to have the Linda McCartney pulled fake chicken in my freezer so that’s what I’ve used.

This serves 3-4 people and comes in at around 230 cals per portion (before rice etc).

You will need:

1 pack of veggie pulled ‘meat’

1 small onion

1 clove garlic

1 stick of celery

1 small red pepper

1 small red chili (optional)

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp black bean sauce

1 tbsp water

Small handful of cashew nuts (optional)

A couple of spring onions (for garnish)

Place the pulled fake meat in a bowl and add the soy sauce and sweet soy sauce – leave to marinate.

Chop the vegetables up into small pieces and add the onion, garlic and celery to a hot wok or pan with a little oil (or oil spray to save calories)

Add the peppers and chili if using.

While the vegetables sauté add the hoisin and black bean sauce and water into a small bowl and mix together. Set aside.

Add the marinated pulled fake meat to the wok and fry it for 5-7 mins.

Meanwhile, if you’re using the cashew nuts roast them in a dry pan.

Add the sauce mix to the pulled meat and cook through for another 2-3 mins.

Serve with the cashew nuts and spring onions sprinkled over the top, with rice or noodles.

Enjoy 🤗

xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

What you track vs what you actually eat…

What you track vs what you actually eat… 🥜 🥄

If you’re hoping to lose fat in a sustainable way you need to be aiming for a deficit of around 200-300 cals a day. So you have your calorie goal, and you’re tracking your calories and weighing your portions. You diligently weigh your peanut butter for your slice of toast … 30g – that’s 169 cals – all tracked, all good. But what about the little bit you just scrape off the side of the jar as you’re getting that spoonful… or that bit that dropped on the plate that you wiped off with your finger.. or the bit you lick from the lid….

All that can add up to another 15g – that’s an extra 84 cals.

84 cals in itself isn’t going to ruin your progress, but if you’re having a couple of slices of toast a day that’s 168 extra calories a day or 1,176 cals a week! And that’s assuming that’s the only “extras” you have. That can easily stop you progressing or slow it down. And to be honest you probably don’t even realise you’re doing it.

So if you’re tracking cals and hoping to lose fat then perhaps double check you’re actually tracking what you’re eating, especially with calorie dense foods like nut butters etc.

🤗 xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Bread is bad! 🍞

Bread is bad! 🍞

I’ve lost count of the number of times people tell me they need to stop eating bread, or that they’ve had a bad week with too much bread, or their main weight loss issue is their love of bread…..

There seems to be a common misconception that bread is inherently bad and that having it means you can’t lose weight. Bread in itself (white or brown) is not that high in calories – a typical slice of hovis is 88 cals, and even a small sourdough is only 120 cals or so. Bread in itself is not a problem, what you put on it is the problem. The scraping of butter that you barely notice almost doubles the calories that slice of bread/toast will give you. Butter and 30g jam nearly triples the calories, as does a serving of Nutella (without butter underneath)! If you’re a peanut butter fan then that 40g serving (without any butter underneath) brings that piece of toast up to 349 cals. A snack of a little cheese on toast (no butter) is around 255 cals whilst a brunch of toast, 75g avocado, egg and a little ketchup comes in at 324 cals ….

Technically it is of course possible for bread to derail you if you’re eating a huge amount, like any food, but it’s far more likely to be what you’re putting on the bread that’s doing the damage. Bread isn’t the devil; in fact it’s a great source of carbs, which we all need. It tastes good and it’s also a really convenient food for a snack or lunch (as a sandwich) etc and there’s no need to cut it out of your diet to lose weight, but it may pay to be aware of what you’re putting on it and consider some lower cal toppings if you are trying to watch the calories.

Enjoy bread responsibly 🤣

🤗 xx