Three Diet and Fitness Plans You May Want To Try by Jennifer Dawson

Not everyone likes the idea of following a specific plan to lose weight or get fit, but others are reliant upon it. A plan can help focus your goals and get you there more quickly and there are hundreds of options on the market. Obesity rates in the UK outstrip the rest of Europe and finding a plan, a sport or a nutritional programme which suits your needs can really be the start of the change needed to beat these statistics.

Food is absolutely key to any fitness regime. From proper meal planning to finding and recognising those foods which are problematic for you can really help in your journey. Having a specific plan or regime to stick to can be a step in the right direction, as can actually learning how to diet, which many people struggle with.

Tried and Tested Diet and Fitness Plans

It is no exaggeration to say there are hundreds of diet plans to choose from. Many comprehensive diet and fitness programmes are designed with the average person in mind while others are tailored to specific groups.

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Here are just three you may want to consider if you’re looking for a structured approach to weight loss or a healthy lifestyle:

Cruise Control Diet

Designed with fat loss in mind the Cruise Control Diet really makes you think about what you’re putting into your body. As with all structured programmes you need to simply follow it step by step without missing a single stage and you’ll get the results you want. The Cruise Control plan encourages us to “eat natural” and restrict foods which cause inflammation and bloating such as processed and packaged food. One of the bonuses with this plan is that it recognises our need for “cheat meals” and builds them into the plan in a sensible and manageable way.

Whole Body Vibrations Workouts

If you regularly use the gym or have even just been a couple of times you’ll have seen the vibration machines. Using power plates and other similar technology it is possible to tone and work on specific areas of your body. Described as passive exercise these kinds of work out are dependent on the vibrations as much as where you position yourself and they can be a gentle way of getting into exercise if you’re unsure where to start, or particularly self-conscious.

 

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Fat Loss Factor Diet and Fitness Programme

The Fat Loss Factor Programme is the creation of Dr Charles Livingston. It is a structured, stage-based programme which involves some degree of detox to get you started and then a more relaxed approach from then on. It has a loose basis around Low GI foods and focuses on ensuring you fill up on good quality lean proteins and fats.

Choosing a diet plan isn’t for everyone but if you are the kind of person who likes to follow rules, it could be your best bet at achieving the lifestyle you’re looking for.

 

Jennifer x

Present shopping for fitness lovers…

Happy October. I’m kinda proud of myself for doing this post already.. cos yeah, Christmas seems like a lifetime away, but with the way this year has sped by, it will soon be upon us. As a fitness fanatic myself, I know that fitness gifts will definitely please people like myself. However, if fitness isn’t your forte, then this post is here to help! So, read on to find out more!

  1. Sweaty Betty/ Lulu-lemon gift voucher; although this seems like quite a boring idea, there is so much to choose from on these websites that allowing the person you are giving the gift to to choose their present, takes a lot of pressure off of yourself and gives them the opportunity to decide!
  2. Adidas Ultra Boost trainers; I LOVE MINE and now feel that no other trainers will suffice and by that I mean NO OTHER TRAINERS. They look cooooool, they’re super bouncy to workout in (I mean, they got me box jumping) and they come in so many different colours! adidasMedia
  3. Workout bands; no gym, no problem. These bands are ultra portable and mean you can do a muscle burning workout wherever you are! They’re cheap too, so a great stocking filler! Unlike cumbersome weights, they won’t clutter up your home and there is much less danger of injury from dropping them. Another one of those fitness gifts that is incredibly adaptable to different situations, resistance bands can be used to focus on specific muscle groups, to mirror sporting manoeuvres and in conjunction with dumbbells.
  4. ‘Healthy’ cookbooks; there are SO many on the market and they all show great, versatile ways of using simple ingredients. They aid with meal prep to help reach fitness goals and can allow for people to strive to head in the right direction after the Christmas chaos. I love Clean Eating Alices books, the Body Coach’s books, Madeline Shaw includes some brilliant recipes in her recipe books anddddd so many more!
  5. Health food supplements; I’m talking protein powders, BCAA’s (try Women’s best), Pre-workouts. You name it, the fitness friend/ girlfriend will want it! A lovely brand is whey box for protein; a monthly subscription of multiple flavours of whey protein. If its vegan protein you’re looking for, MissFits Nutrition are great!
  6. Head Phones; I love Sudio Sweden or any that are noise cancelling. Head phones are great as they really help you get in the zone when you are in the gym!
  7. Heart rate monitor; I have a Garmin watch and LOVE it! It shows me exactly when I am pushing myself! Whatever the sport a heart rate monitor can give you a greater insight into you cardiac performance, allowing you to push yourself to the limit and even map your fitness as your heart gets used to strenuous exercise.
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    I love the Garmin ForeRunner 35! Great for tracking runs and workouts! 
  8. Kettlebells; home workouts are the best. You can get a sweat on whenever and wherever you fancy. Kettlebells make for a great total body workout and can reallt torch the calories.
  9. A yoga mat; The amount of people taking part in yoga sessions has dramatically increased in recent years, with classes seemingly popping up everywhere. The only equipment you need is a mat, either a cheap one from a supermarket or a rather more luxury one like the one pictured. While not usually an aerobic activity, yoga does improve flexibility, muscle strength and provides a moment of calm in the hustle and bustle of modern life. I personally LOVE my Lulu Lemon mat.
  10. A gym bag; this means you can travel to and fro the gym in style. I love Sweaty Betty and Lulu Lemon bags, however, Active in style have some great, slightly more affordable bags.
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The Sweaty Betty Lux Bag is my favourite! 

How to feel good? 3 easy steps… (Guest post by Just Josi Health)

We all want to feel good right? But sometimes it’s easy to feel down and we just don’t know why. Sometimes we get stuck in a bit of a negative rut and can’t explain what has caused it but we just know it needs to stop. I’ve found a couple of things really help me if I’m feeling this way and they may be easier to implement in your life than you realise.

  1. Self-care

This is so underrated and I know so many people struggle to find the time to make this a priority but as they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup! Giving yourself time to recharge is so important and comes in a variety of ways for different people – personally if I have a nice long shower, moisturise from head to toe I use the Aveeno moisturiser and honestly it cannot be beaten!), put some amazing hair treatment in and sit on the sofa with a cup of peppermint tea.

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I’ll either just put some nice music on or watch vlogs on Youtube to switch off my brain from any stresses. Even just one afternoon of this every couple of weeks is enough to keep me going, but I think it’s important we all keep an eye on ourselves and make sure we know when to take a break as everyone is different!

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  1. Unfollow negativity

This may sound a little controversial but I really don’t think it is talked about enough. Not everyone is compatible with everyone, it’s not meant to be that way, as they say you could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches. It is so easy to compare ourselves to things we see, especially on social media, so if seeing someone’s posts is constantly getting you down, what is stopping you from removing that negative influence? They may not even mean to do it but that doesn’t mean you should continue to feel down as a result of their posts or comments. Even if it is someone you used to be friends with, if their presence in your life is a constant negative then have the strength to move on. Neither of you need that in your lives, in the long run it is better for everyone.

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  1. Compliment someone

There is no better feeling than making someone’s day and I’m sure that the more happiness you spread, the more you feel it. Of course it’s normal to have down days but if you make a conscious effort to smile and pay compliments, it will become so natural and you will find yourself making people’s day regularly without even meaning to. That positivity will rapidly spread and you will be surrounded with a group of people all lifting each other up which is bound to make you feel good!

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What do you do to feel good?

J x

Outfit by Sweaty Betty

You can pick up the Aveeno range at Hello Skin (use code HELLOJOSI for a discount!)

Photography by Anna

 

Easter French toast skillet

Skillets are one of my favourite breakfasts; you can easily mix it all together and then pop it in the oven. Simple! I love this one as it is seasoned with cinnamon and filled with mixed dried fruits; a healthy take on an Easter favourite!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 crumpet (shredded),
  • 20g of coconut flour,
  • 50g of egg whites,
  • 100ml of milk,
  • 30g of dried fruit,
  • 1 serving of protein powder,
  • ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon.
  • You will also need one skillet or baking dish!

 

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 160C,
  2. Combine all of the ingredients together until well combined,
  3. Pour the mix in to your skillet,
  4. Pop the skillet in to the oven for 25minutes or until golden on top!
  5. Enjoy!

Hannah x

 

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Vegan Chocolate Nests (Guest post by @faceless_fitnessuk)

As a minimalist baker, I like to use very few ingredients in my recipes. Some may say its lazy, but once you have tried this recipe you may think differently.

I present to you these delicious Vegan Chocolate Egg Nests. With just 3 ingredients and a prep time of less than 10 minutes.. there is no excuse not to make them.

Vegan Chocolate Egg Nests

Prep Time: Less than 10 minutes

Chilling Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 6 large nests

  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Wheat Free

Ingredients:

  • X7 Coconut Nutribrex
  • 15g Coconut oil
  • X2 Bars of Moo Free Chocolate (200g total)

Method:

  1. Break up the chocolate into squares and place in a bowl with the coconut oil over a pan of simmering water. Stir until completely melted.
  2. In a separate bowl break up the Nutribrex into small pieces.
  3. Once the chocolate has melted, mix together all of the ingredients until the cereal is fully coated with the chocolate mix.
  4. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and shape into a nest shape. (If you have a cupcake tin, use this to give you the perfect shape)
  5. Place the tray into the fridge and allow to set for at least 15 minues.
  6. Once they are ready, top with anything you like.. marshmallows are my favourite.

If you like the sound of this recipe, then head to Instagram and follow Lauren there!

 

Hannah x

March favourites…

I find it slightly crazy, and very scary, that we have come to the end of yet another month. March has been a super busy one, full of exciting ventures and some slightly scary, big decisions! However, it has also been filed with many delicious food and recipes and  fun fitness events, so I just had to share them with you!

Pip and Nut and Propercorn popcorn; these two make for the dreamiestttttttt combination.  Pip and Nut is 100% my favourite nut butter (in allll the flavours); it is so creamy and tastes as natural as it is, yet is delicious!  Propercorn is the ideal combination with this; especially the almond butter flavour! It makes a great, low GI and low calorie snack (or flex bowl topper), and tastes really naughty!

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Muscle Mousse protein pancake and muffin mixes; okay, no word of a lie, these are DELICIOUS. As in, I was happily eating the mix without adding anything to it, or even cooking! They are so simple to use; you simply add water and you’re done! They’re also really macro friendly; low carb, low fat and high protein; ideal for rest day treats!

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Laid bare skincare; I loved the results I saw in my skin after just a few weeks of using this skin care and making it a part of my daily routine! The mask is exfoliating but gentle at the same time so is perfect for my sensitive skin! I use the DIY cleanser and toner in the evening to remove make up and the 9-5 moisturiser every morning and evening to moisturise my face!  The other thing I love is that it is really good value; some skincare is so expensive which I really don’t think is necessary.

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My Skillet; I LOVE my skillet; for both sweet and savoury dishes! But, I mainly use it to make my weekend breakfasts seem so much more luxurious! I love a skillet cookie, brownie, pancake, crumble, cobbler; you name it, you can make it in a skillet! Head to my blog now to find more recipe ideas!

Hannah xxx

Parsnip Brownies…

The ingredients in this chocolate and parsnip brownie work beautifully together – I dare you to try it. The sweetness of the parsnip perfectly complements the rich, dark chocolate. Plus, if they have parsnip in, they surely count as one of your five a day, right?

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Serves 8
Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 150g of chopped parsnip,
  • 50g of Doisy and Dam Chocolate (any will be fine for this),
  • 120g of egg whites or two whole eggs,
  • 50g of sweetener (I used a granulated one but honey, or similar, would work fine),
  • 100g of Buckwheat flour,
  • 100ml of milk (I used a strawberry flavoured one),
  • 2 tablespoons of cacao powder,
  • ½ a teaspoon of baking powder.

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Method:

  1. Grease and line a small baking tin (I actually used a loaf tin),
  2. Pre heat the oven to 160C,
  3. In you blender, pop all of the ingredients.
  4. Blend until they are well combined,
  5. Now pour the mixture in to your prepared tin and pop in to the oven for around 30 minutes or until the brownies are firm to touch,
  6. Take out of the tin and then leave to cool on a cooling rack,
  7. Once cooled, use a sharp knife to cut in to squares.
  8. ENJOY!

UFit drinks… my thoughts.

The sports nutrition industry has become littered with new brands that claim to be the best and provide you with the nutrition to produce ultimate performance. So, when it comes to know what to buy, how good it is and if you can actually trust the brands claims, it can all become a bit mind boggling. So, when I received a lovely looking parcel of protein shakes from UFit drinks, I wanted to see if their ‘on-the-go high protein health & wellness drinks for active men & women’, were as good as they look on the bottle.

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The taste test:

  • When trying the drinks, I based their taste on what I feel the flavour ‘normally’tastes like and, coming up trumps, for me was the banana flavour. It tasted SO good; like I was drinking an actual banana shake.

The texture:

  • The chocolate was thick and creamy, just as I like a shake to be
  • None of the shakes were runny, so as a meal replacement, they are ideal because you feel as if you have actually consumed something of substance.

The nutritional content:

  • In the ‘normal’ size bottle, the drinks contain a whopping 22g of protein, 11g of carbs and around 3g of fat; ideal to help you recover post work out.
  • In the UFit 50 drinks, there is 50g of protein for only 336 calories! FIT PRO50 is naturally rich in essential amino acids, the building blocks of your body. Essential amino acids cannot be produced by your body, meaning they must be obtained from foods and drink.  They also contain vitmains and minerals and are low in fat, again, ideal post workout!

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Baking, making and creating with UFIT:

  • The drinks are SO versatile to make things with; you can sub any liquid in a mixture for the drink and can make the ultimate protein pancakes.
  • To make the pancakes, simply blend a banana, one UFIT drink and some flour together and then cook in a frying pan!

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The price and where to find them:

 

February Favourites.

Who else is in agreement that February went so (too) fast? But, before March rolls around, I thought I’d go over some of my favourite products I’ve been eating and using this month.

Food:

Ripped Kit; I love these boxes as they open your eyes to the best of the massive range of protein bars on the market. Every month you get a delivery of the newest and most delicious protein based snacks to help keep you on track to reach personal fitness targets.

This month, the box contained the new grenade bar; one that I have been dying to try and it didn’t disappoint. It has also opened my eyes to other protein bar options on the market; I particularly like the Fulfil bars and, in last months box, the battle-oats bar which was a great, quick breakfast on the go!

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Two Chicks products; chirps and egg whites: I love this brand (and the lovely lady behind it).  The egg whites are just so handy; 17 calories and 0 grams of fat per serving and SO versatile. I use them in my baking, breakfasts, to make egg fried rice, pad thai, mug cakes.. the options are endless (See below)! And the chirps? Well, they are a great, low carb, high protein, delicious snack to have on the go. My favourite flavour is the sea salt and cracked black pepper but they are all super tasty!

That Protein: are an organic protein company who produce THE tastiest protein. Thatprotein create protein that is made from premium organic plant protein powders and superfoods combined in to one product. The protein is natural, organic, cold pressed and pure and never processed by heat over 40 degrees. Alongside this it is ALSO dairy free with no added sugars, non GMO, no sweeteners AND free from anything artificial; literally no negatives about it.

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Having been lucky enough to receive a lovely, surprise package of their Chirpy Chirpy Choca Mocha Super Protein, I didn’t hesitate in trying it out. The Chirpy Chirpy Choca Mocha Super Protein is:

  • Made from brown rice protein; a complete plant protein that helps support healthy muscles, skin, hair and nails.

  • Made from Raw Cacao; a top source of antioxidants and packed full of iron and magnesium.

  • Contains caffeine to wake you up in the morning or pre-workout.

So, after all that, I have also developed a simple, delicious and nutritious breakfast/snack/pudding for you as a Choca Mocha Protein Mugcake.

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Recipe:

  • 25g of Chirpy Choca Mocha Protein Powder,

  • 50g of Two Chicks Products egg whites,

  • 1 tablespoon of Nurtriseed UK cacao powder,

  • Optional teaspoon of Maca Powder,

  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder,

  • Enough water to make a batter like consistency,

Simply grease a mug or small bowl with coconut oil, put in all the dry ingredients, add in the egg whites and mix it together and then slowly add in water until you have a batter like consistency.

Pop cling film over the top and microwave for 30 second sessions until it is bouncy/ firm on top!

Then top with whatever you desire.

Optional extras to mix in the batter are endless.  I’ve tried:

  • Cacao nibs,

  • Nut butter (make the mixture, drop in a teaspoon of nut butter and then microwave),

  • Dried nuts and fruit,

  • Berries (do the same as with the nut butter)

Fit Kitchen: Don’t get me wrong, I love meal prep- I find it so therapeutic- but sometimes you just don’t have the time. And, this month has gone that way; work has been crazy and available time has been minimal.  Therefore, these delicious, protein packed, low calorie meals have come in so handy; keeping me full until snack time and the hunger pangs at bay. My personal favourite is the Pad Thai Chicken with zesty sauce; only 288 calories, all natural ingredients, 3 of your 5 a day and most importantly DELICIOUS.

Fitness:

My Fitbit Blaze; I loveeeee my blaze and have @whenharrymetsalad to thank for having one! It tracks my steps (making sure that I am active throughout the whole day, not just at the gym), my running routes (this means that I can make sure I am progressing run by run, week by week, in order to meet my pace goals), my weight training sessions (making sure I keep my heart rate up at all points; not just when I’m warming up) and most importantly tells me how many calories I’ve burned (I’m currently cutting, so this helps me to stay in a slight calorie deficit).

Lifestyle:

Sunday walks with those who matter the most; this might sound such a silly one, but taking the time to spend quality time with those you often take for granted is a must in life. My Mum, sister and I have been making sure that we go on long, country walks on a Sunday to forget our worries and just let the world go by.

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Grab your wellies and get out in to the countryside!

Hannah x

The importance of meal prep.

I am a big supporter of meal prep. You don’t have to be a body builder, or even a gym goer, to partake, and it saves so much time in the week when you’re busy and making meals for the next day is the last thing you want to do! I know it seems like a gargantuan task, but it’s importance in achieving your goals (however big or small) really can’t be underestimated. Knowing what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat and then preparing your meals is one of important aspects of achieving a healthy, balanced diet.

The key to getting it right is finding a few staples that are quick and easy to prepare yet packed full of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates. I have a few staple foods (chicken, vegetables, oats and protein powder) that can be used in many, more adventurous ways that don’t allow me to get bored of my midday meals!

Why meal prep?

  1. Save money; buy going on just one food shop, with a list, per week you are not going to be tempted by things that are on offer that you don’t reallllly want!
  2. Save time; cook all your meals in one fowl swoop and that’s it, you’re done!
  3. Keep your meals clean and nutritious so that you stay on track with ease.
  4. Save mid-week stress; you can just come home and relax!

How do I meal prep?

For this, you simply have to make meals in bulk!

  1. The simplest way, for lunch, is to double up your meal from the night before.
  2. Roast a tray of your favourite veg and then separate in to individual tupperware.
  3. Make a meal and freeze it in portions; curry is a great option for this!
  4. Roast multiple chicken breasts and refrigerate until you need them!

Meal prep ideas:

Breakfast:

  1. Overnight oats; there are so many options to find online! I like a simple mix of cinnamon, oats, vanilla protein, milk, berries and a sprinkle of granola!
  2. Pancakes/Waffles; a nice treat in the week! You make these in bulk and refrigerate or freeze and then just get out when you want them! Find my staple pancake recipe here! Instead of the lavish toppings, I serve with yogurt and fruit!
  3. Breakfast cookies and loaves; again, I make these on a Sunday to have on both Monday and Tuesday! So quick and simple to make! Head to the loaf cake section on my blog!

Lunch:

  1. Bro food; roasted chicken breast with steamed veg and spinach. Sometimes I add in a hard boiled egg for extra protein.
  2. Fritattas/egg muffins; mix together any eggs and veg that  you fancy, tip in to a muffin tin or baking tray, pour over whisked egg and oven cook until firm to touch!
  3. Chicken, quinoa and veg.
  4. For a vegan option; buddha bowls are great. A mix of roasted veg, lentils and hummus.

Snacks:

  1. Hard boil eggs,
  2. Make energy balls; I love these! Find my favourite recipes here.
  3. Carrot and cucumber sticks dipped in nut butter,
  4. Melon and nuts,
  5. Seeds,
  6. Chirps are great; they are packed full of protein and keep me full for a long time,
  7.  Paleo bakes; blondies, brownies, cookies etc.
  8.  Mug cakes; a mix of egg whites, protein powder, coconut flour, mashed banana and baking powder. Pop in the microwave for 1 and half minutes and then you’re sorted!

How do I know what to buy/prep?

Make a plan! I get out all my favourite cook books, decide what I want to eat that week, make a list and shop away!

 

I hope this has been of some help!

 

Hannah x