Just so you know – I’m on holiday and I’m not doing any of those things.
Yesterday I ran my first long distance run for a year. I used to run quite often so had my race day routine finely tuned to suit me so found it relatively easy to get myself back into the swing of things even after some time.
This is what I did to fuel my body on race day.
2 Turkey rashers, 2 poached eggs, 1/2 avacado, mushroom, asparagus and grilled tomato; Pint water; Coffee
My race was at 2 pm so I had a late / leisurely breakfast around 11 am. I’m a fan of a reasonably big breakfast before a race, and if I’d have been running for over an hour would have added some more carbs, such as some toast or a bagel but for a 10km run this filled me up well and remained within my calorie goals for the day. There can be an urge when you have a race day to eat lots and lots because, well you’re running a long way, but you need to bare in mind that run won’t burn more calories than your training runs or normal training sessions in the gym so you need to be mindful not to over estimate how many calories you need in comparison to normal.
Tip: Eat one of your normal breakfasts – before a race is not the time to try something new – you want to know your stomach can handle running on what you eat.
Tip: Have plenty of water the day before and when you get up to hydrate then don’t drink for an hour before you run so you don’t need a wee half way round!
During the Run:
I sipped about 250ml water on the way round to stay hydrated. It wasn’t very warm and I was running for an hour so there was no need for any additional fuel as my body was already well fueled.
Tip: Gels are not necessary unless you are running for over an hour if you are sufficiently well fueled and hydrated leading up to the run. For longer runs an energy gel after the first hour may help, but try them in training runs first and stick to the brand you practiced with on the day (again you don’t want to risk your stomach objecting!). Jelly babies act similarly to gels in giving ou a boost on longer runs.
TGI Friday’s Sesame Chicken Strips with fries, Frozen Irish Coffee, 500 ml water
After a run you want to eat a soon as possible – ideally within a 30 minute to an hour window. I planned to eat at home but ended up facing an hour wait for my train so found somewhere in the station to eat. I ideally look to replenish with a meal that has both protein and carbs. You always want to eat something that feels like a treat after a race too so my go to post run meals are chicken and chips or a roast dinner. No roasts around in the station so this was the best thing I could find! Alcohol should be consumed in moderation – although it’s always nice to have a celebration tipple, but try and have some water as well.
Tip: Look to eat asap after you run, and to get something with carbs and protein in it. Chips are not the devil.
Pint water with electrolytes
When I got home I made sure I drank lots of water and the first glass I had I added a scoop of electrolytes to replace any salts lost.
Tip: A hydration tablet or similar product can aid recovery.
Last Saturday I got my eyelashes tinted for the first time.
I always get my eyebrows tinted at the same time as getting them threaded but have always chickened out of getting my eyelashes done because I hate anyone going near my eyes.
The thought of no more mascara was appealing though! So I bit the bullet.
Result? Highly disappointing! Half my bottom lashes are still blonde and I still need to wear mascara.
I don’t think it was the eyelash technicians fault. I have very very very blonde eyelashes and in hindsight it was unrealistic to expect them to go super black and noticeable (although I also have blonde eyebrows and these always look very noticeable after tinting – serial killer like in fact – so you can see why I thought they would!).
The issue was my expectations. I expected results that were unrealistic for my natural colouring. I considered trying again next month and seeing if it perhaps came out better, then I stopped myself. Why would I waste more money on something that isn’t likely to give me the results I desire – not because the product is bad because it just isn’t suited to me.
How often do you do this with your diet or training? You see a solution advertised somewhere and think that could give me all these amazing results. Then it doesn’t work, you’ve lost money and still aren’t where you want to be.
Now sometimes this could be because you invested in a product that is basically a fad (diet pills, shakes etc.).
But sometimes it’s because you signed up for something that could work for you but your ambitions are just not realistic. You can get leaner, gain muscle but some things about your body will be difficult or impossible to change. Therefore you might actually be getting results but you don’t see them or appreciate them because they aren’t the ones you envisaged as your ideal body.
My eyelash are too fair to be tinted the way I would like them to be. I could continue to get them tinted in different places month by month in the hope I one day find the perfect place. Or I can accept I need to use mascara if I want visible eyelashes.
You could chase after the ideal figure that you have in your head, trying diet and training plan after diet and training plan. Or you could find some eating and training habits that work for you and make you happy and enjoy the results you get from this.
If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen my stories over the last week, where I’ve recorded what I’ve been eating.
Most of the time I try and eat food I’ve made myself at home and I’ve had lots of messages asking me for the recipes of the meals I’ve been posting.
I love this so if you ever want to know how I made something DM me and I’ll let you know (some of my favourite meals have come from seeing random pictures on Instagram and asking the person posting how they made it!). And if you don’t follow me on Instagram it’s @heather.sherwood
Recently some of my meal ideas have been coming from Chris Ward of Ward Fitness, a Personal trainer from Liverpool, who offers a service where you get 15 new recipe cards emailed to you each month for just £5 per month (a mixture of smoothies, breakfasts, main meals and snacks). Being honest I can easily spend a fiver on chocolate without thinking so for me this is one of my best value purchases each month as it gives me ideas for things I wouldn’t normally try and make and has made me more adventurous in trying out my own ideas too.
Given that I’ve had lots of requests for recipes I thought it might be nice to share a few of the ones I’ve really enjoyed with you here (Chris has given me permission!).
So here are four of my favourites for you to try.
I’m not the best cook but I’ve found all these recipes simple to follow, plus none of them are time consuming (I generally manage to food prep for the week in about 2 hours) so if you are looking for inspiration I can highly recommend giving this a go.
Follow @wardfitnesspt message him any questions and if you want to get your own set of ideas emailed to you every month you can sign up here.
If you do give any of these recipes a go let me (and Chris) know how it goes!
Affordable protein and supplements with quick delivery times and regular offers.
My favourite product is the Whey Protein Powder in Vanilla which you can use in cakes and smoothies as well as on it’s own. I’m not a huge fan of protein shakes and tend to use them as an addition when I need a quick boost of calories and / or protein but I am a fan of adding protein powder to homemade muffins, energy balls and smoothies so a plain flavour like vanilla works well as it complements most recipes.
Added bonus if you do like drinking them as a stand alone drink and want to experiment this product comes in a wide variety of flavours so you don’t have to get bored.
I also really like their seamless leggings range, which have a gym shark feel without the same price tag- definitely squat proof, look good and are super comfy and long (useful for long legged people like me)!
Check them out here – My Protein
Good quality meats for an excellent price (and let’s face it meat is expensive).
Buy one of their bulk packs and freeze! I like the chicken in particular because it doesn’t shrink when cooked!
They also do nice protein packed cheat style meals (like protein pizza) – now generally if I’m going to have a pizza I’d prefer to have a full on stuffed crust loaded one, but if you want to get the taste at a fraction of the calorie cost these could be a good alternative.
Check them out here – Muscle Foods
They have also recently started doing a meal prep style offering where they deliver your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks weekly and also provide you with workout plans and an online support group.
You can opt to get 5,6 or 7 days worth of food.
I haven’t tried this so my opinion on this service i purely based on looking through their website.
I think I would want to add some extra vegetables and fruit to this plan personally (and tend to prefer and recommend homemade / freshly made meals wherever possible) and I haven’t tried the exercise plans so can’t comment on them, but if you are struggling to meal prep and find yourself buying a lot of your meals off the shelf / living off ready meals this could be a possible way of staying in control of your calorie intake that is quite cost effective.
Have a look below. They are currently offering £10 off your first order using the code UNTHINKABLE
What are your favourite fitness product websites and why?
How often do you think about food in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’?
You have a 2,000 calories to eat in a day.
You eat 2,000 calories of pizza and chocolate.
You eat 2,000 calories of oats, chicken, salad, fish, rice, vegetables, fruit and nuts.
Either way you’ve eaten 2,000 calories.
So really there are no good or bad foods.
There are foods.
Now that isn’t to say you’d feel the same after eating nothing but pizza and chocolate than if you’d eaten the same number of calories from a variety of largely unprocessed foods.
Generally your body will probably react more positively to the unprocessed foods.
But sometimes you’ll feel better for picking the pizza!
Overtime a diet of nothing but pizza would probably start to make you feel pretty bloated and lethargic.
There was a man who lost weight by eating nothing but McDonalds for 30 days. He was still in a calorie deficit. Another experiment involving McDonalds, Supersize Me (which had a a different focus and was designed to shine a spotlight on the American Fast Food Industry) highlighted how aside from weight solely eating this type of food affected the participants cholesterol, sex drive, skin, mood and so on.
The point is you aren’t likely to eat nothing but McDonalds.
Nor are you likely to never eat it EVER. AGAIN.
A happy diet isn’t that polarised.
Some days you’ll eat chicken and brocoli from a Tupperware box. Sometimes you’ll eat fried chicken from a bucket.
There’s that saying you’ll see on memes about this being called balance.
Most people struggle because they haven’t got to grips with energy in v. energy out.
They eat too much or not enough.
It isn’t that they aren’t eating the right sort of foods.
If you have this down 100% then looking at what you eat and the specific nutrients in those foods could enhance how you feel. If you want to compete in a show or top-level sport you perhaps need to do this.
For the rest of us (and I include me in that) just hitting those calorie goals (and protein goals if you want to go one further) will be enough to make us feel pretty good and bring results.
So actually from this logic there are no good or bad foods.
Following on from my earlier blog this week I thought I’d re post an old blog about foods that may help with PMS and some which you may want to avoid.
Now a) I’m not a nutritionist, this is all from general research I’ve done on a subject that affects me and b) I’m not saying these will stop period pain or that you should never have the things on the avoid list – just that theoretically there may be some foods you want to try and eat and others less so if you suffer from cramps etc.
Here’s the re post…
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:
- Water – Not really food but hydrating well helps keep skin clear, prevent bloating (the better hydrated you are the less likely you will retain water) and reduce cramps.
- Almonds – also sesame seeds / flax seeds- these have calcium in them and calcium (but not dairy) can help reduce cramps.
- Dark chocolate – A little dark chocolate can help relax muscles and so reduce cramps, it will also help release some happy hormones.
- Celery – Full of water but not full of calories so a good option if you feel the need to constantly graze!
- 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.
- Pineapple – Help relax muscles (less cramps) and reduce bloating
- 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.
- 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.
- Spinach / Kale- These foods 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).
- Salmon – This is full of omega 3 and Vitamin D. If you can eat it the week before you are due on it may have an anti – inflammatory effect.
- Oranges – Provide Calcium which can help relax cramping muscles and Vitamin D (can help regulate your mood).
- Brocolli – Full of Magnesium, potassium, Calcium, Vitamins A, C, B6, E – Good for improving your general mood and fighting fatigue.
Foods To Avoid:
- Fizzy drnks – Can cause bloating.
- Processed foods – Tend to be high sodium – can cause bloating. Making food from scratch can reduces salt intake.
- Fried foods – Can elevate estrogen levels.
- Legumes (I mentioned this before – some things I’ve read say hummus can help, others say avoid) e.g Kidney beans, blackbeans et.c due to their bloating effect.
- 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.
- High fat foods – Can affect hormone activity and contribute to inflammation (and cramps)
- 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!