Friday, 30 November 2012

What's Next?

So… the other day my mum was asked a question that made me realise she may not fully understand why I train like I do, and that I am not only training and eating like I am for this 12 weeks.

She asked

“Will you slow down and take time off after the challenge is done?"

I replied (with a smile)

“Well Sunday is my rest day, but I’ll be in with Jord (my PT) again on Monday to start the plan for the next goal”

Training hard and clean eating is part of my life now; I missed out on it for so long that now I am only just starting out on my true fitness journey and I’m pretty excited about the future!!

There is sooo much that I still want to try, area’s that I want to develop, and lets not be na├»ve here – once I have achieved one thing there will be something else I want to work on – that’s how you grow, learn and keep evolving.

What does 2013 have in store? Some BIG plans!!!

Once I have completed this challenge I will be putting plans into motion for an 8 hour CrossFit Endurance Challenge for charity, and will be joined by my fellow Spartan Warrior Terri :)

For a long time I’ve wanted to do an event for charity but haven’t been in the right place to do something so challenging and I really wanted to do something different to the usual marathons etc.

If things go to plan it will be happening in June; giving us 6 months to train, raise awareness and money and hopefully get support from organisations to really make it a big event.

 

I’ve chosen to do the challenge for BEAT (an eating disorder charity), mainly to raise awareness of eating disorders, to show people that you can overcome the illness, and to highlight how it was fitness that really helped me(and Terri)  fully recover from Anorexia. 

I also want to try and reduce some of the negative viewpoints of sports supplements, as I feel they have received a lot of bad press recently. These sports supplements have helped me massively in building my body up – there was a lot of damage done from the past 5 years, and without USN supplements helping me hit my nutrient goals, recover from intense training, and helping me build my body back up, the whole process would have been MUCH harder!

 
So that’s goal 1 – Goal 2 will be…..competing in Miss Galaxy Universe in Autumn.

After following Carly Thornton’s preparation for the stage recently, I was inspired to get on the stage myself.  The hard work and dedication that she put in each day to achieve the physique needed was amazing!

So after the CrossFit challenge I will be gunning for that stage. What is great about the Galaxy Universe show is that there’s a great support network of girls, and even better – A fitness element too!! I think after training to complete 8 hours of CrossFit, I might be in with a chance of beasting that section ;)


And yes, there are a few more goals too…

 
From a physical point of view I obviously want to keep building on all aspects, increasing lean muscle mass, but with particular focus on my rear delts, legs and of course my abs.

I want to continue improving my Athleticism, which I hope to do whilst training for CrossFit.

I want to continue building up a career in Fitness – helping others achieve their goals, work on developing recipes to produce a clean eats e-book and keep learning about different supplements and how they can benefit people with different goals to maximise their performance.

 
And the biggie – I want to continue working hard to be able to work for USN one day. Be it for the company internally or as an Ambassador/Hero. They are a company that I admire not only for their top class supplements, but their Body and Lifestyle Challenge has not only helped me change my life for the better, but countless others too and I would love to be a part of supporting others on their journey - Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?!

 
So there you have it, the plan for 2013. I guess to answer my mum’s question – No, I won’t be slowing down :)
(I will have a de-load week to get my body back in balance)


“A person can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm”


“Don’t limit your challenges – Challenge you limits – It’s all about results”

 
Have a great weekend – I’ll be back on Sunday with an update and overview of this week.

It’s been a big learning curve!!

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Pressure is ON!!!

Hey :)

Can you believe it's week 11 of the USN challenge?!! I can't - only 2 weeks to go and I'm starting to feel the pressure.

It's all pressure I put on myself, to do my absolute best, but if I didn't put this pressure on I wouldn't be who or where I am today - It's that passion and dedication to succeed at this that has kept me working hard for the past 10 weeks.

I won't skirt around the fact that the last 10 weeks has been one hell of a journey, and after the last 2 weeks I am pretty tired.
This weekend has probably been the hardest one so far - the cold, rainy weather doesn't help when you are starting to crave things you wouldn't normally crave due to reducing carbs and calories, whilst bumping up training; and living with a family who decides Indian Takeaways and Sunday Roasts are on the menu for them. Normally this wouldn't phase me, and I would happily continue to eat my own clean meals but boy was I nearly ready to crack!!

BUT...I didn't. When I wanted to sleep all day Saturday, I got up, got straight into my gym gear and had a beast of a session. When I wanted to cram every carb I could into my belly on Sunday, I stuck to the plan, had plenty of vegetables and got comfort from Green Tea.

I am NOT going to let anything derail the progress I have been making - my measurements this week again were stellar and I am really happy with how things are looking, and that is all the motivation I need to dig deep and keep going. These choices are mine, and that makes the journey even more rewarding. Knowing I have put in 100% at every stage makes me proud, and also makes me a stronger person.

Everybody has tired days, hard days, days where they want to eat for England, days where they would rather stay in bed....but getting through these hard days is what makes you successful.

Hard days are the best because that's when champions are made. -Gabby Douglas
 
Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't. -Jerry Rice  
 
So...I can only imagine the next 2 weeks are going to get that bit harder, I'm probably going to get that bit more tired, and I'm going to get through it and work that little bit harder everyday. Why? Because I want to be the best that I can be, and that isn't going to happen if I take the pressure off now!
 
2 weeks will fly by just like the first 10 weeks has and I want to live every minute of it - I will be experimenting this week with different nutrition strategies to get me looking in top shape for my final photo and will continue training as I have been doing for the last 2 weeks (fasted a.m cardio and p.m weights on weekdays, Saturday full body circuit, Sunday rest).
 
Bring it on!!!!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

I Came, I Fought, I Conquered!!

Hello :)

I'm going to warn you now that this may be a long post! It's taken me quite some time to get together what I want to say; and to be honest I've been having a blast working so hard with training, nutrition, my day job and fitting in time for clients and advising my amazing supporters, that this is the first time I've managed to sit down and put it together.

So...I am now in week 10 of the USN Challenge - It's gone so fast and I cannot believe how much I have changed, grown and developed.
My whole outlook on life is amazing and I can't wait to continue on this journey.

Many of you reading this, and those who have read 'my story so far' will know that the past 5-6 years haven't been amazing to say the least. Having an eating disorder is basically like existing without a life; no happiness, no passion - just a hollow existence.
I don't want to get all wallowing and go on about the ins and outs of it, but, I chose to fight the illness! There have been good months, bad months and many months where I was stagnant but I never once gave up the fight. I just dug deep, took a different path and continued on the road to recovery.

When I started this challenge I was still caught in a battle with anorexic thoughts - no where near as frequent or bad as previous years - just occasionally the voice would be there trying to stop me following my dreams, knocking my confidence and putting doubts in my mind as to whether I was really good enough to fulfil my dreams and passions.

10 weeks on...I can confidently say that I have WON the battle!!
At around week 8 I was talking to my parents about the challenge and how its caused an unbelievable change in me. They agreed that I am a whole new person.

I am no longer controlled by this negative illness - I Came, I Fought and I Conquered Anorexia!!
It's by no means been an easy process, but worth it? Absolutely.

I seriously can't thank USN enough for holding this challenge, and for all their team and athletes supporting me throughout it. When Dave Titterton tweeted about me being part of Team USN, and having a drive that will make me succeed, EVERYTHING changed!! I am forever grateful for that - it gave me that final boost of confidence to believe in myself and fight to the end.

Without this challenge I could guarantee I wouldn't be where I am now. I would have got here eventually because it's not in my nature to quit (my PT likens me to a terrier!), but this has been my catalyst to change, and I am going to continue putting 100% into my training, nutrition and development so I WILL achieve everything I want to achieve (there is a lot!)

So here's to a new chapter, a brighter, healthier, fitter future.

At this time I can't think of anything better to say than - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

It's All About Results!

(I also want to thank everyone who has supported me so far during this challenge - it means the world to me and I am humbled by everyones kind words and help. I never thought I'd be someones idol, but hey, I'll take that!)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A Healthy Cake!!!

Happy Sunday :) Hope you've all had a great weekend and either trained well or taken a well deserved rest!

I've done the latter today, caught up with friends, prepared food for the week and had a nice long dog walk to get the blood flowing (can't sit still to save my life!).

Just a quick update before I share with you a beauty of a recipe that is clean, healthy, quick to make and ever quicker to eat :). This was week 9 of the USN challenge and my first week of following a carb cycle, overall reduction in calories and a revamped training program, described in more detail in this post. As you may know Sunday is the day I 'weigh in' and take my measurements, so today I got up and got to work recording my stats. I was a little apprehensive as I wasn't sure what the results would be (body distortion, and seeing yourself everyday makes it difficult to see changes)

However, it was GREAT NEWS!!! The carb cycling has worked a treat this week - my weight has dropped slightly, my body fat % has dropped as has my stomach measurement BUT, my thigh has increased 0.5cm since last week, as has my chest and my arm circumference has stayed the same.I'm sooo happy with this, essentially I have managed to drop body fat (and probably a bit of water) but increased lean muscle mass, exactly what I was wanting from this phase.
So the plan will stay the same this week - why fix something that isn't broken at the moment.

Right, on to the recipe. This is a single serving Chocolate Protein Cake!! Made with very few ingredients, and flavours can be modified (cinnamon is lovely).

Ingredients
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 Tbl spn Coconut Flour
  • 1 Tbl spn Dark Cocoa Powder (Green&Blacks is great)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Apple and pear spread/Apple Sauce/Sugar Free Jam

All you need to do is:
Put everything in a bowl and whisk to combine (it doesn't look pleasant at this stage but keep going).
Transfer to a smallish microwaveable tub
Microwave on full for approx 1 minute (leave to cool slightly before removing from tub - it's hot)

That's it! I always like to put a topping on mine to give it a boost and make it even more delicious. My faves are:

USN Premium Casein Frosting (1 scoop mixed with a small amount of water)
Almond Butter
Greek Yogurt + 1/2 scoop chocolate USN 100% Whey Protein

Keep an eye out this week for a big update post, I have something I want to discuss but it's taking some time getting it together and I don't want to blab on for hours!!

xx

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Update - Training and Nutrition

Hi :)

Who has tried the Protein Ice Cream from the last post yet? Seriously you need to give it a go, you won’t regret it!

I wanted to give an update on my training and nutrition plan for the following 4 weeks. It may be tweaked slightly according to weekly results but I have hopefully come up with a plan that will help me tighten up whilst preserving as much muscle mass as possible; I've trained and eaten hard for this muscle and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m not at a stage to do a complete cut.

Training:

5 x Fasted Cardio (30-45 mins)

3 x Weight Training with Personal Trainer (45 mins, Complexes)

2 x Full Body Circuits, 1 with weights, 1 body weight – Abs to finish (45-60 mins)

1 x HIIT session (sprints/rower – 30 mins max)

Sunday REST

 
So I will be going back to 6 sessions per week, although if I feel like my body needs more recovery I’ll adjust the schedule and take an extra days rest when needed. I will be setting my alarm extra early for the fasted cardio and will be doing it every weekday, allowing me to get a bit more sleep on a weekend (much needed) and I tend to hit the gym on Saturday mornings. Sunday will be a day for food preparation, spending time with friends and family and a long dog walk.

The sessions will be done around work as usual; some scheduled for lunch breaks, some after work, and some later in the evenings depending on my schedule and whether I have PT or Massages to do. As I see it, there are no excuses to missing sessions. Yes, I may be tired sometimes but I will always bring 100% effort and dedication and will stick to the plan each and every day. It's what I love to do!
 
Nutrition:

Carb Cycle

3 x High days

4x Low days


I dropped my calories gradually over the weekend from 3500 to 2500, which is the level I will stay at for this week (I was gaining roughly 1lb per week at 3500). After the first week I will take my measurements as usual on Sunday and make any necessary adjustments. 2500 may seem quite high to some but I naturally burn through calories so really have to be vigilant that I don't drop too low.

In terms of Macro’s I’ll be keeping Protein high (2g per 1lb body weight). Carbs will be higher on the 3 days I Weight Train with my PT and the remaining days will be low carb. Fats will then be adjusted daily to take me to the calorie requirements for the day (higher on low carb days/lower on high carb days) As always I will be aiming to drink 2 litres of water per day.


So that’s about it – if anyone would like to know more about the foods I will be eating, meal timings, pre/post nutrition or what supplements I will be using and when please get in touch. I'd love to go into more detail – I've been doing lots of research and learning about different supplements, what's best to take for different goals and timing them optimally. As I said before I LOVE this stuff.


Hope you're all having a great week.

Keep training hard and eating clean – It's all about results!!


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Protein Ice Cream!!

Hey :)

Today I was going to write a post about my training and nutrition program for the next 4 weeks but I had to share this recipe and a variation.

It was fellow fitness dudette Terri who shared this recipe with me on twitter so this is a shout out to her - I am officially addicted!

I know it's freezing outside but you honestly need to try these - put an extra jumper on and make a mug of Green Tea to warm you through afterwards.

Strawberry
  • 2 scoops Strawberry USN 100% Whey Protein
  • 2 tblspn Flax, Goji, mixed Seed (linwoods)
  • 2 cups Frozen Summer Fruits
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 scoop USN Glutamine
  • 200ml (approx) Coconut Milk (canned or kara)
Place all ingredients in a blender or smoothie maker and blitz
Transfer into a plastic tub with a lid and put in the freezer
Every hour take a fork and mix the ice cream mix (this will help keep it creamy)
Once it's at the consistency you like (or if you can't wait any longer) DIG IN.

Like Terri said, all the ingredients are wholesome, healthy, aid recovery and help reduce inflammation.

Here's my variation I made today (I missed out the Glutamine as I get it in USN Power Punch - orange)

Pistachio (serves 1)
  • 1 scoop Pistachio IGF-1
  • 1 tblspn Flax, Goji, mixed seed 
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Ripe Avocado (slightly frozen)
  • 100ml Coconut Milk (canned or Kara)
Follow the same instructions as above and enjoy! 

I am currently planning more variations like Chocolate Banana, Vanilla and Chocolate Peanut Butter.

I hope you try these recipes, they taste just as good if not better than regular ice cream but without all the sugar, and nasties - just good clean ingredients and obviously the best Protein Supplements (where else can you get Pistachio flavour with nutritional stats like IGF-1?!!)

Happy eating :)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Decisions

HAPPY FRIDAY - Who's ready for the weekend?!
I know I am :)

It's been a busy but amazing week again, and I absolutely love it. This post is going to be fairly brief (if I can stop myself from talking).

This has been the last week of my 'gaining' phase - I'm really pleased with my progress and development in the first 8 weeks, gaining lean mass with a reduction in body fat levels (big smiles). The next 4 week phase I had planned to follow a traditional 'cut' thinking that my gains in the first phase would have brought along a little fat but this hasn't been the case.

As of Tuesday this week, the planned phase has been getting to me. It's taken 5 months of solid eating and training to get my muscle mass to where it is now - starting to look more athletic - and I didn't want to jeopardise it by following a severe 'cut' as i lose weight extremely quickly.  After lots of deliberation, mind changing, and grumpiness (sorry mum) I talked it all through with my trainer and the lovely and very helpful Melinda at USN, and have decided to follow a carb cycle to help drop water and fat but retain as much muscle as possible.

Once the decision had been made and I had calculated my macro's for higher and lower carb days, I felt relaxed again and I'm confident that this is the right process for me.

I guess what I have learnt this week is that you have to do what is right for you! My goal is to be strong, fit and athletic, and at this stage a traditional 'cut' would not  be right for me. I am at the start of a long process of growing and developing my physique; I must trust my body and do what I know is right for it.
This challenge has been a significant turning point for me, and I want to look in the best shape I can for my final pictures.

So now is the time to keep going and trust the process! It's worked well so far and I know I have put everything I have into it, and will continue to do so - that drive and desire is never going to change.

I'll be back on Sunday to update you on my training and nutrition strategy - now it's time to go and get some rest - I have a big session planned for the morning :) can't wait!!

Here's to the next 4 weeks - It's all about results!

"Even the greatest was once a beginner - Don't be afraid to take the first step"

Monday, 5 November 2012

The USN Influence

Here we go, week 8 of the challenge!!! It's unbelievable how much this is changing my life, I'm like a whole new person :)

It's not just been the last few months when USN have had an impact on my life - it stems back to the illusive BodyPower Expo earlier this year in Birmingham.

At the time I was struggling. Physically I had go to a weight that I felt was 'safe' (still underweight). I was overdoing the cardio, and under eating massively again. I had just started to get into weight lifting but obviously as I was not fuelling myself properly, no progress was being made.
Mentally I was slipping, heading back down a path I didn't want to go back down, but struggling to move forward.

Until THAT day.

I travelled down to Birmingham with two friends, excited to feel the buzz of BodyPower. What greeted me as soon as I walked through the doors? A huge USN booth with Jenny Pacey on the stand giving out advice, and the impressive figures of Ryan Terry and Dave Titterton with crowds around them.

Highlight of my day :) both super friendly guys!
 
From that moment I knew I had to move forward. If i was ever going to live the fitness life I wanted so much, I had to take action - stop talking, start doing!
Seeing those Athletes was the best thing that could have happened. They inspired me then and still do now, and sparked my biggest goal of all - One day i want to be representing USN on that booth!
 
After that weekend I went home, cancelled my plans to move out from home and put my money into something more important, hiring a new Personal Trainer, who I still train with 3 times per week now.
We clicked immediately and I put my trust in him, following what he suggested in terms of calorie and carb consumption (fearful stuff at the time) and training (more lifting, less running).
 
I set myself a goal for 3 months, to build strength and confidence. It was difficult - mainly dealing with the 'fat' feelings etc, that come along with battling an eating disordered mindset and bulking - but I kept focusing on the image of BodyPower and my ultimate goal.
 
After those 3months were up I had made great progress but had only just begun!! I had the bug and researched everything (and still do) about training and nutrition. I'd reached a place physically and mentally where I could sign up to the USN challenge and be able to tackle what ever it threw at me and could put everything into it.
 
And here I am now, at week 8, developing, learning and growing every day, with no intention of stopping and every intention of working even harder to make my dreams a reality!
 
Thanks again USN!!
 
"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work"