Jump 4.2 – Week 1

This week I started two weeks of Paleo based eating.  I’m currently on day 5 and feel like I’m starting to get into a rhythm with it.  The first couple of days I find hunger always hits a little no matter how much I eat and I often feel a bit of a drop in energy as my body adjusts to not having some of the things it’s used to.

I’ve tried to keep my meals varied with eggs, chicken, pork, salmon, different vegetables, salad and fruits as well as nuts and so far haven’t missed chocolate too much- although all the nice cakes and biscuits people keep leaving in the kitchen at work don’t make this easy!  Thankfully I normally drink black coffee so the lack of milk isn’t too much of an issue.

The reason I’m doing this is that I’ve decided to work through the 8 week Jump 4.2 Programme with Ricky Long.

I’ve trained with Ricky for a couple of years and his coaching has always extended beyond simply giving you a training plan, so he has encouraged the formation of numerous habits and mindset shifts for me in that time.

This has allowed me to be in a position where I am able to be involved in helping support those who are going through (and have previously gone through) Jump.

I realised however that what I haven’t yet done however is actually fully work through the full 8 weeks from start to finish in the format and order the programme lays them out in myself.  This is something I felt would be both useful in allowing a greater understanding of the challenges within the programme so I can provide more support whilst also continuing to work on my own mindset, habits and fitness.

I haven’t started the workouts or mindset work as yet but plan to get going with that this weekend.

I’m committing this down on my blog to hold myself accountable to you for the next 8 weeks and plan to keep a regular diary of my progress on here over the coming weeks.

If you have any questions about what I’m doing please contact me and I’ll be happy to answer anything you may want to know.

The Ten Best Chocolate Bars

They say you should write about what you know, and I have years of experience in eating chocolate so here you go the ten best chocolate bars in order of brilliance.

10) Maltesers – The lighter way to enjoy chocolate apparently.  Basically feels like you didn’t even eat them, good for letting melt in your mouth.

9) Galaxy – Smooth and silky chocolate, makes you feel like you might be a grown up eating it.

8) Double Decker – Part chewy, part crispy – good for those of us with slightly erratic mood swings who never really know what we want.

7) Wispa – If you put a piece of this on your tongue all the bubbles will start to melt.  Downside is one rarely feels like enough and they should come in double packs really.

6) Flake – The most seductive of chocolates, that it really does flake makes it both great and annoying in equal measure.  Wins extra points because you can have little ones in a Mr Whippy Ice cream.

5) Smarties – I like bright things, also they have a lovely mixture of crunchy and smooth at once.  Shaking the tube builds anticipation which makes eating them better,

4) Kit Kat Chunky – You can work out if someone might be a serial killer by how they eat a Kit Kat.  Everyone knows you have to nibble all the chocolate off first.  If you start dating someone who just bites into one, dump them quickly because it will never work.  Added bonus when they have a peanut butter filling.

3) Twix – A solid chocolate bar.  Biscuit, caramel, chocolate in one.  I like the fact you get two fingers in a pack- size matters.

2) Snickers – You’re not you when your hungry and Snickers always fix that.  Peanutty and chocolaty in one, they just feel like the most substantial and reliable of chocolate bars.  I would like to meet the man version of a Snickers bar.

1) Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut- Obviously.  If you are feeling a bit sad, on your period slobbing on the sofa, having a brew, watching a good film, imagining you’re Bridget Jones or pretty much any other occasion – this is the chocolate bar of choice.  They also come in decent size bars, apparently for sharing but we all know portion sizes on products are always unrealistic.

Of course this does not take into account biscuits or cake which are equally as important food groups, and fully deserving of a blog int heir own right.

10 Things I Wish Someone Else Would Write a Blog About

Because I have zero idea!

  1. How to not to eat EVERY.SINGLE.PIECE.OF.CHOCOLATE.I.SEE.EVER (I’ve just stolen someone elses advent calender chocolate. True story!).
  2. How do people get up on their first alarm? I mean if it’s possible why was the snooze function invented?
  3. How do you put eyeliner on without looking like you’re a member the living dead?
  4. How do Les Mills Instructors learn their releases weeks before launch date? #lastminute.com.
  5. How to stop your laundry basket from overflowing. Seriously as soon as I almost get it empty it’s full again!
  6. Gardening for idiots.
  7. How to flirt without looking like you’re having some kind of fit.
  8. What to do with protein powder you really don’t like the taste of but have purchased 4 million kilos of.
  9. How to get bendier when you are built out of the least bendiest thing you can think of.
  10. How to use the toasters when you go down to breakfast in a hotel (they scare me).

If you have written a blog about any of these please point me to it!

One for the Ladies

Solidly aimed at 50% of the population this one.  Sorry.

When I’m on my period I literally crave fatty, sugary, salty foods.  When you spend a lot of time trying to eat well this is pretty annoying so I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time looking into why and what I can do to try and make myself feel better (because I suffer from horrible cramps most months and bloat enough to feel like I may actually be pregnant with a baby Elephant) without giving into eating 10,000 calories of pure fat and sugar a day.

Just before and during our periods our Serotonin levels lower (less feel good hormones), our stress hormones spike (not helping in the feeling good department) and our bodies use more calories making us feel hungry more often.  It’s therefore not hugely surprising we want to comfort eat- but apart from eating too much of the crap stuff affecting your body shape aims (I won’t say weight!) eating too much sugar will also cause a spike followed by a crash and burn which also doesn’t make you feel good in the long run.

I’ve therefore been making an effort to read up on what foods will help make me feel better without having a negative affect on looking after myself in general to try and implement them more into my diet .

Foods To Eat:

  1. Water – Not really food but hydrating well helps keep skin clear, prevent bloating (the better hydrated you are the les likely you will retain water) and reduce cramps.
  2. Almonds – also sesame seeds / flax seeds- these have calcium in them and calcium (but not dairy) can help reduce cramps.
  3. Dark chocolate – A little dark chocolate can help relax muscles and so reduce cramps, it will also help release some happy hormones.
  4. Celery – Full of water but not full of calories so a good option if you feel the need to constantly graze!
  5. Hummus- This one may be a bit controversial. I have read that chickpea’s can help you sleep better and also help improve mood. I have also read however that they can be classed as a Legume and cause bloating so perhaps eat in moderation.
  6. Pineapple – Help relax muscles (less cramps) and reduce bloating
  7. Bananas – Helps relax muscles (reduce cramping) also contains Vitamin B6 which can help improve your mood. Banana’s are also good at helping to regulate the digestive system, which some women can have problems with during this time.
  8. Tea – Yes it has caffeine in it, but it’s apparently better for you than coffee (which can increase anxiety levels and cause you to and retain water). Other types of tea can also help: Green tea for instance provides a little caffine still, peppermint tea can help soothe an upset stomach, Chamomile tea is relaxing and can help reduce anxiety.
  9. Spinach / Kale- These Superfoods have Calcium in them which assists in alleviating cramps. They are also Iron rich (our iron levels can drop whilst we are on our period hence why we crave iron rich foods).
  10. Salmon – This is full of omega 3 and Vitamin D. If you can eat it the week before you are due on it can have an anti – inflammatory effect.
  11. Oranges – Provide Calcium which can help relax cramping muscles and Vitamin D (can help regulate your mood).
  12. Brocolli – Full of Magnesium, potassium, Calcium, Vitamins A, C, B6, E – Good for improving your general mood and fighting fatigue.

Foods To Avoid:

  1. Fizzy drnks – Can cause bloating, plus sugary.
  2. Processed foods – Tend to be high sodium – sodium boats. Making food from scratch can reduces salt intake).
  3. Fried foods – Can elevate estrogen levels.
  4. Legumes( – I mentioned this before – some things I’ve read say hummus can help, others say avoid Kidney beans, blackbeans et.c due to their bloating effect.
  5. Refined grains (- refined foods can interfere with blood sugar levels and regular control of appetite, so whole grains are a better option than cookies, white bread etc.
  6. High fat foods – Can affect hormone activity and contribute to inflammation (and cramps)
  7. Coffee – Can increase anxiety / stress levels and contribute to water retention.

Really, this list is not too different to the type of foods I’d want to eat more of / avoid at any other time of the month but if you tend to feel a bit rubbish at certain points in your cycle knowing how you can help manage those symptoms (painkillers and hot water bottles aside) thinking about your diet isn’t a bad starting point.

Note- I’m not a trained nutritionists this is simply based on my own research about something that affects me- I would always recommend you see a qualified dietitian should you need advice!

My Personal 10 Commandments for a Healthy Life

  1. Aim to hit a 20% calorie deficit across the week. Find a system for doing this and stick to it- don’t be swayed by new fads. My system is to eat to Paleo principles (not strict Paleo) 4 days a week and then allow myself three days where I can enjoy treats (read cake).
  2. Start your calorie week on a Friday. You are more likely to have a calorie surpluss at the weekend – this allows you Monday to Thursday to pull back and still hit that 20% weekly calorie deficit if that does happen and stops you feeeling like you are being overly restricted.
  3. Eat at least 2g protein per kg body weight every day (for me 160g). This will make you feel full, help your body recover from training and means Carbs and Fat will look after themselves.
  4. Drink 3.5 litres water a day (this is based on based on 30ml water per kg of body weight plus 500 ml for every hour of exercise – I just average out based on my normal training week).
  5. Drink a max of 3 coffees per day.
  6. Take a multi vitamin and fish oil supplement every day.
  7. Have a little bit of dark chocolate each day when on your period if you suffer with cramps (magnesium can help relax muscles reducing cramps, and sugar can boost your serotonin levels which can drop – hence feeling like you want to cry). I believe Kale can also help reduce cramping but for some reason doesn’t hold the same appeal as chocolate!
  8. Train in a way that suits your life and your week. I don’t lift as heavy as many and my sessions are shorter than most people I know – but they fit into my working life allowing me to stay consistent enough to see results. If it’s going to be tough one week to fit in your training – adjust your plans to feel successful.
  9. Stretch every day.
  10. Get up 30 minutes early and develop a morning routine that helps set you up for the day. I like to get some day light, drink a large glass of water and read a chapter of a book (as I don’t get much ‘me’ time during the rest of he day).

Credit – Ricky Long, who bullied me into most of these things – but they work!

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Easter eggs and the art of patience

Happy Easter.

Probably my favourite holiday.

Because I like Easter Egg chocolate more than any other chocolate

And I get four whole days off of work.

Thats four lie ins, four days with no classes to teach (well that’s a lie I’m teaching a Body Pump tomorrow night but almost four days), four days to slow down, do the bare minimum, do it at a leisurely pace, drink too much champagne in my pajamas on a whim because I can.

I have trained each day too – just 30 to 60 minutes – because I wanted to.

Friday I did weights and went for a short run

Yesterday I did Murph (I don’t like Murph, I’ll write about that one day)

Today I did 30 minutes of HIIT in my living room.

So far I have eaten 3 easter eggs. Plus a fair few mini easter eggs. I still have one left.

My calorie intake this week will probably be double my energy expenditure.

I don’t feel guilty about this. It’s just one week.

After I trained this morning I looked at myself in the mirror and saw some definition in my stomach.

Only a little (and excuse the mismatched outfit i threw on – i wasn’t planning on taking a selfie!) but it’s progress. And this was after I’d eaten a whole easter egg for breakfast.

This was my breakfast today by the way.

You can not have the perfect diet, not be the best athlete in the world, not be 100% ‘on it’ all the time and still get results.

The fact is lasting results take time. Lifestyles have to be compatible with your actual life and sometimes you will have days where you aren’t as ‘on it’ as others.

Consistency is a word banded about in gym land a lot. It’s important. So is patience. Most of us have no patience. I know i’m often guilty of this. But I also know I’m starting to see real results – from a years worth of hard work. Not 6 weeks or a few months but from not giving in after a few weeks because I didn’t already have a six pac. Patience.

When i started writing this post I wasn’t really sure what it’s point would be.

I’m still not. I was just feeling reflective. Sometimes you need to reflect a bit to gain some perspective.

Now excuse me whilst I go and find that last easter egg…