Monday Motivation - A Little Wisdom From Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the best you've got anyway.

You see, 
in the final analysis it is between you and God;
it was never between you and them anyway.


Thursday TakeOver - A Personal Trainers View - James Travis

The Bad in each other .. 
 Whenever I sit down to write about fitness I try hard to be inclusive, I try not to make sweeping general controversial statements, I never write about things I don't understand or have no direct experience of or that which I am not prepared to enter into debate about.  
It's tough these days to bite your tongue - Internet experts with zero experience or accountability spout myth as fact and are inaccurate at best and downright dangerous at worst . I have no issue with enthusiastic amateurism in fact far from it - I believe healthy discussion and acquisition of knowledge are essential to self growth .  
However there is a lot wrong with the perception of fitness and what it does and should mean. I've written before about how aesthetics have taken over from health, quick fixes from hard work and all in a land where quick ignorance has become bliss .

Here is my view on the top things that are skewed within this industry of fitness .  

1) Bad ,bad ,bad awful advice - there is opinion of course - but ask yourself this - is it yours ? How was it formulated ? Do you have the nous to apply it to someone else ? Did it come from personal experience or from some column filling article fodder. There are some exceptional sources out there . Incredibly talented smart pioneering people who can break subjects down and make difficult concepts easier to understand . There is also some dross - try this diet / this workout plan / this leg routine / these supplements merchants - all objectivity, zero subjectivity . It is the latter that causes the fog of uncertainty that so many of you flounder in and fill accident and emergency and physio offices . Everyone has a plan until they don't know how to change the plan.  
 2) Bad ,bad ,bad awful coaching - To be completely honest most personal trainers are bang average . There are some awesome people in the industry - who care deeply about their clients and are extraordinarily good but like any job there are those that at best go through the motions . When you factor in the amateur layer below this, the whole ' you don't want to do it like that mate ' brigade then there is a whole culture of sub-standard gym work taking place. Being good at training is not the same as being a good trainer - knowing what a squat should look like is not the same as knowing why it doesn't . Knowing how to programme effectively - plan - change and adapt training to suit the individual whilst meeting their goals and emotional needs whilst the whole time keeping form and intensity at the right level and interesting enough . That is coaching - not training . This difference eludes a lot of people and to be fair it's because of bad PT's that they think it - it's not at all an easy job if it's done correctly .  
 3) Impatience - basically your whole life you have caused the problems you are now experiencing . Years of bad habits formed and ingrained into every ounce of your being . But yet you want to solve it in 4 weeks oh and you still want to go to that party on Friday and get hammered , then it's Gill's birthday meal so there will be cake - what's the best exercise for this ( holds up arm ) - I go on holiday In 5 weeks .
At some point there has to be a reality check - the purpose of coming to see someone like me is hopefully to speed up that road to Damascus moment .

I remember a guy once coming to see me in his mid 40's after some fairly serious spine surgery a few years prior . He wanted to lift weights - as 20 years before he had been fairly useful in the weight room . However now he could barely stand up straight and even squatting without weight caused pain and distortion in his movement. I explained how we could rebuild him through mobility exercises and realignment techniques to improve his physiology . He smiled nodded , completely ignored me - 3 days later he was standing under 100kg in the squat rack . I saw him about a year later in the supermarket after he had recovered from a spinal fusion . It's ok to want results - it's not OK to be unrealistic - oftentimes the flimsiest of self image is built upon the sands of quick results . 
Lay a foundation and build and develop -it really is the only way.  
4) Stop believing everything you read and hear - listen all food is super as long as it's not processed . Cavemen didn't live very long - you aren't a warrior ( probably , maybe weekend ) . The sheer unregulated nature of fitness and diet is actually frightening - companies use massively inflated claims to sell magazines / supplements / food based wonder cleanses . They will have very little if any scientific independent credence and will be based on whispering circles of friends who don't want to admit they have been duped so on it goes - or those so desperate for results they will do anything to get them . 
It is the same for exercise plans that will lift your butt in 30 days by simply repeating one exercise over and over ( that's my job gone ) or beach ready in 6 weeks type articles - all the worst kind of bullshit - praying on your fears and your readiness to part with your hard earned. 
Question it ? If it looks like a duck it's a duck but as the fitness industry proves time and again - the bigger and easier the lie, the more people believe it . 
 5) That it has to be fun ... Now for some of you this statement is unpalatable . Let me hit you up with this one final nugget of truth before I leave ;) . We live in a society privileged with free healthcare in a world where others die and fall ill because they do not have that privilege , that honour. Yet for most of you , the basic ability to maintain your own body is totally beyond you and someone else's responsibility. Going to the Drs office for every cough and cold to get handouts of medicine and equally valuable time taken away from the genuinely infirm and vulnerable and wondering why you can't get an appointment. You have a personal responsibility to look after your health not just for you but for everyone . If this means doing what you need to rather than what you want to .. Then guess what suck it up ;)  
- James

James is an experienced personal trainer who works from his own gym in South West London - he can be reached via his Instagram Page @JTravis_PT email james_travis@hotmail.co.uk & on Facebook. 
Skype Consultations available! 

Lesson of time - Karma

When a bird is alive, It eats Ants and when the bird is dead, Ants eat the bird.
Time and circumstances can change at any time. Don't devalue or hurt anyone in life. 
You may be powerful today. But remember Time is more more powerful than you.
One tree makes a million match sticks. Only one match stick is needed to be burn a million trees. 

So be good and do good always!!!


Style Icon - Olivia Pope

Scandal is by miles my faaaaavvvv TV show. Politics, Forbidden romance, kidnappings, murders, cover ups, government agents, daddy issues, there's so much going all the time it actually makes me feel quite intelligent just being able to keep up!

Kerry Washington portrays Olivia Pope as this fiercely independent, savvy and intelligent woman. She's classy, sassy and a lil smart assy! 

From her classic Prada totes to her perfectly pointed heeled courts, pinstriped suits and peplum's Olivia's style makes a powerful statement of it's own! I think every woman should have a little bit of 'Olivia Pope' in their wardrobe!


Motivation Monday! Fav Instagram Accounts!

As previously mentioned, I get a lot of my inspiration and motivation from like minded people on Instagram.
So I thought I would share 4 of my favourite #InstaStalks that I look to when I need a little motivational kick in the butt: 

Alexa Jean Brown (@alexajeanfitness) is a young mum, fitness enthusiast and Shredz Ambassador from Arizona, Alexa designs her own work out programme's (one I follow is Sore to the Core) and healthy eating plans that are available to purchase as Ebooks on her website/blog http://www.alexajeanbrown.com/

Jen Heward (@hunnybunsfit) runs the gym Life Alterning Fitness Inc (http://www.lifealteringfitness.com/) with her partner, she is a Personal Trainer, Diet Coach and Fitness Model based in California! Jen is also an ambassador for Stance!

My Fav two accounts for #CleanEats are: 

My friend Caroline who helped me a hella lot with getting this Blog together! @Low_Carb_Caz is a professional cake designer/maker who runs her own business, she's also a blogger with a love for cocktails and fine food over at www.cocktailsandcaroline.com & my goodness can she put together a plate of healthy deliciousness!!! 

& last but not least, this girl is one of the first health and fitness Instagram account's I started following when I started my journey, @clean_eating_alice is from my neck of the woods here in south east England, an ambassador for @ldn_muscle Alice uses simple clean ingredients and creates masterpiece dinner's that I would happily pay for in a restaurant.

Double Detox Green Smoothie!!


Unlike many others, I am a Monday LOVER!!! The smell of potential in the air.. it's a fresh week free to shape however you like! I kicked off my week with this Green Tea Smoothie: 


1 x Green Tea bag brewed in 300ml of hot water and then left to cool (I like Pukka's Matcha Green Tea - it's the stronger of the many different kinds of green tea you can get and the purest). Green Tea is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins which function as powerful antioxidants - and that's just one of the many benefits - I'll write more on Green Tea in a later post. 

70g of fresh baby Spinach (great source of vitamin K, A, B6, E, Zinc, Protein - need I go on...)

1 x Banana frozen overnight and then left to thaw for 10 minutes (great source of Potassium)

1 x Tsp of Raw Manuka Honey for sweetening (also great for your digestive system)

Blitz it all together in the blender and Bish Bash Bosh! You've got yourself a highly nutritious breakfast to go! Simples!

Excuse the grin...


The Organised Blonde - Sunday Routine

Sunday is by far my favorite day of the week! 
Unless it's a special occasion it's rare that you will find me out in public, it's my day to relax, reflect, prep and organize myself for the week ahead. 
They say a weekend well spent brings a week of content and it's soooo true!! 

I like to get up reasonably early at the weekend's to make sure I get the most out of my time off, well I say early 7.30am-8am is early to most people, in comparison to my week day 5.15am wake up call it's a pretty good lay in. I rarely drink (booze) and if I do I'll only have the one glass, so I don't even remember what a hangover feel's like... I do know it's one of the reasons I don't drink though!! 

Sunday breakfast usually consist's of a hearty but healthy 'fry up' Egg's fried in coconut oil, garlic mushrooms, Grilled Bacon, Asparagus and  tomatoes. A cup of tea and a glass of juice!

If I'm making a roast for lunch then I tend to skip the breakfast in favour of a green shake! 

After breakfast I write my to do's out and get started .. looks a little like this: 

1)  select work wardrobe for the week - iron anything that need's it. (I must admit when it come's to picking out clothes in stores I do weigh up the cuteness of the item against whether it will need ironing - it's not my favorite chore...)

2) packing my gym bag, I find if I miss my Monday work out session, it will throw me off for the entire week. So I've started packing my bag and keeping it in the car. I can then get changed at the office and shoot straight to the gym after! Sorted!
3) Food Prep - anyone who's into health and fitness know's how important it is to be organised with your food. Preparation is Key to ensure you're on plan with your Macro's. 
I mix up what I'm eating for my lunches each week, last week I was having Greek salads with Pitta's and chicken, sometimes I like to have a sweet baked potato with tuna and spinach salad, Mackerel and bean salad...the list goes on! This week I'm having open sandwiches (toasted seeded wholewheat bread, mashed avocado mixed with chilli flakes in place of butter, turkey ham, Leerdammer light cheese and tomatoes.)
I'll make the sandwiches at work  so this week it was just my snacks to keep me away from the vending machine that I had to prep ahead.

This weeks snacks and drinks consist of; Smart Water, Lemons for hot lemon water, SKYR fat free high protein yogurts, Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Quest Bars, Pukka Green Tea and Berroca vitamins!

4) Last thing I always do each weekend is a little pamper session to ensure I'm feeling my best for the start of the week. Face mask (I'm loving quick fix facials Mega moisture mask for dry and thirsty skin at the moment - you can pick up a bottle in boot's for around £3.50) Nails - I have a huuuuuge collection of nail polishes from Rimmel to Essie and Nubar I am obsessed with having different and fresh nails. It drives me scatty when I have chipped nail, to the point I won't pay for someone else to put Gels on me because I wouldn't want to have to depend on them fixing a chipped manicure! At the moment I'm loving the Essie lighter shades such as 'Back In the Limo & Fiji). 

So that's pretty much it, those are my main to do's! The rest of my Sunday is spent cooking a nice meal, relaxing with the mister & watching movies!

J xoxo


The Power Of Protein!

It is often underestimated the importance of protein, as something that is naturally incorporated into the majority of meals (so long as you don’t only eat junk food), if you’re not exercising 3-5 days a week then relax – You’re probably already filling your daily needs.
If you are or are thinking about getting into on a high intensity basis I would recommend you keep an eye on your macros to ensure you’re giving your body the fuel you need to get the most out of your work out and to also help your body recover after.

I follow ‘The Zone’ Macro count so I aim to incorporate 30% of protein into my daily diet using my fitness pal to track what I’m putting into my body.

So what is protein?
Proteins are a group of 20 kinds of amino acids which together create a compound; known as macro-nutrients they contribute energy to your body, they are used as enzymes which kick start reactions in your body such as your metabolism, cell repair and growth (hello long healthy nails) Proteins are also essential for forming structures and muscles. So that protein shaker you see the gym buffs and bunnies clinging onto after a workout – that’s their secret weapon.
Higher protein meals will also keep you fuller for longer making you less likely to reach for the biscuit tin half way through the afternoon and ruin your hard work!

10 protein packed foods that should be in your shopping trolley:

Eggs – the protein in eggs is the highest quality of protein found in any food. Watching your cholesterol?  Skip the yolk! 80% of the protein can be found in the white alone so try Mixing  1 whole egg with 2 whites and a dash of black pepper to make your morning scrambled eggs.
Chicken (Lean)
Fish – Salmon, Trout, Tuna, Mackerel, Prawns…
Pumpkin seeds
Nut butter (my personal favvvv)
Mixed Beans
Cheese – Parmesan containing the highest amount of protein, Low fat swiss cheese, and Low Fat Cottage cheese.

Random Fact:

Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, which forms a helical shape. This protein has sulfur bonds, and the more sulfur links it has, the curlier a person’s hair will be!


Clean Eats Turkey Chilli!

In a lot of homes Turkey is like the estranged family member that only shows their face at the dinner table for Christmas, putting the festive seasons aside its lack of popularity makes it one of the most inexpensive natural low fat sources of protein you can buy in the supermarket for the rest of the year.  
Here’s the recipe for my veggie loaded turkey chilli that makes a regular appearance on our dinner table! (Approx 250 calories a serving) I promise you the home cooked comfort fuzzy feeling in your tummy without the added inches to your waistline!

400g Turkey breast mince
3 cloves of crushed garlic
1 whole red chilli finely sliced
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
2 tablespoons of mild chilli powder
1 courgette diced
1 red onion finely sliced
4 medium mushrooms peeled and chopped (I usually buy a bag of pre chopped mushrooms for £1 in Tesco’s, use half in the chilli and the remaining half with breakfast the next morning)
1 Tin of chopped tomatoes (with or without herbs)
½ Tin of kidney beans
A generous table spoon or 2 of tomato puree (helps thicken up the sauce)
1 beef oxo cube – crushed (optional)
A tablespoon of oil for cooking, I mostly use either coconut oil or garlic olive oil
If you like it Super-Hot (I tend not too because my other half accuses me of trying to ‘blow his face off’) add extra chilli flakes.
A small handful of fresh coriander

There’s a few different ways of doing chilli, You could brown the onions and bang it all in the slow cooker (I recommend you use thigh mince for slow cooking as it stands less chance of drying out) or if you have the afternoon at your leisure you could start it on the hob and then pop it in the oven for a couple of hours on a low heat (if you fancy a little treat pop some mature cheddar on the top before putting it in the oven.)
The majority of the time that I cook it I tend to make it on the hob but will make it the night before I want to eat it so the flavors have chance to infuse as it rests.

So, put a frying pan on the heat with your selected oil, diced onions, ground cumin and crushed garlic and lightly fry for 3-5 minutes until the onions are softening, add in your mushrooms & courgette for a minute or 2 and then add in your ground turkey, oxo cube and remaining spices. Once the turkey is starting to darken add in your chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans & coriander give it a good mix, bring to the boil and then let simmer, covered for 25 minutes. I then let it cool for a couple of hours before popping into the fridge for dinner the next day.
Heating turkey chilli is really easy you can do it on the hob for 5-7 minutes, or put it in a microwaveable steam pot and zap it for 5 minutes.
This recipe serves 4 people, most of the time I make it for just Dan and I and have the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Best served with steamed brown rice but if you’re having a no/low carb day it tastes great poured over some steamed broccoli! 


My Relationship With Food

Ok first off lets just get this out there - I LOVE A BIG FAT GREASY BEEFBURGER. 

Ahh feel's good to get that off my chest. Now, on to the healthy stuff. 

I've always had a really good relationship with food, I've always eaten anything that's been put in front of me and never been particularly fussy. The problem was that I would eat literally ANYTHING that was put in front of me. 'Who wants the last krispy kreme in the office?' I did. Forget my breakfast? No problem I'll just get something out of the vending machine, a bag of walkers and a snickers bar later and I thought nothing off it. 
For years I got away with eating like that and it wasn't until I turned 24 that it started sitting on my hips. 
So back in early 2014 weighing in 2 stone heavier than I felt comfortable with, I went on my first real diet - Slimmingworld. Now before I go on I want to categorically state that this is purely my story, I know women who have lost 4-5 stone with SW so I'm not for knocking it for one second. SW just didn't work long term for 'me'. 
So anyways, I bought all the books, magazines, tried a lot of different recipes (I still make overnight oats and SW chips, they are just too dang good!)
See the thing that enticed me to start following SW is that you can eat as many carbs as you like, you can have unlimited potatoes, white pasta, white rice, pretty much any white carb other than bread. So I found that I would fill myself up on all of those things not knowing that eating carbs on that level just doesn't agree with me, I would end up feeling bloated and uncomfortable. 
Slimmingworld does train you not to eat fat, your highly sinned on anything that contains fat. The bad thing is that some fats ie avocado, nuts, olive oil they are essential to a healthy diet, healthy skin & healthy nails. The last thing that doesn't work for me on SW is the amount of artifical and processed food's your aloud to have. I like to know that the majority of the fuel I put into my body is natural, clean and not chemically manufactured. 

 I think I lost about 8lbs with SW before I hit my 2 month Plateau. 

So when I came to the conclusion that SW wasn't for me, around about the same time I started working out regularly I did a whole lot of research about different foods, the Paleo way of eating, the green juices, things to look out for in labels, which foods are high in protein, which fats are good for you, complex carbs.. coconut oil, rapeseed oil, PEANUT BUTTER - HALLELUJAH!!!! I started using my fitness pal to measure out my Macro's I follow Jennifer Anistons rule of 40% complex carbs, 30% healthy fats and 30% Protein. Rarely do I get it perfect but that's my goal when I set out my meals each day. 
Monday to Friday I do my best to avoid the birthday cakes at work, the free biscuits our stationery supplier's send in and I try to keep my diet as clean as possible. 
Saturday and Sunday are my 'cheat days' where I can guilt free indulge in my beloved Reeses peanut butter cups or take a visit to Gourmet burger. If I have an event during the week I will miss out on a cheat day at the weekend. Some weekend's I skip the cheat meal entirely purely because I enjoy my clean eats so much and I just fancy some baked seabass and green salad instead of a Chinese take out.  
Obviously I have the odd day during the week where I trip up and fall flat on my face in to a bag of marmite crisps and that's okay so long as I pick myself back up and get back on track for the next day. 

So part of this blogging thingy will be sharing different clean foods/ meals that I enjoy and think/hope you will too!

J'z homemade turkey chilli! Recipe coming soon! 

My Journey to Fitness

When I was growing up I was never the athletic type whilst I loved all things a tomboy (no seriously I don’t think I owned a pair of heels until I was at least 16) did, I didn’t have an athletic bone in my body. In gym class I was the last to be picked for the team, you could sense the disappointment when I was the last one left for sides on netball. To be fair to those choosing teams I really couldn’t blame them. I would head butt the netball or rather just let it slam into the side of my face. Long jump I would skid and fall over before I even made it to the sand pit, high jump my bum would hit the post every single time, even on the low jumps. Of all my sporting events that I tried to participate in I won just one race, it was an 800 metre run and the poor lass next to me started to vomit. Thinking back I should have stopped to help her but I was so excited at the prospect of finally winning something I just pegged it to the finishing line. My proudest sporting moment was a pure fluke.

Needless to say my continuous failures and humiliations didn’t create a love for sports or general fitness; it was an enemy of mine. So I never thought I would be writing about my journey to fitness. Had I not put on 2 stone of love chub, you know that little tummy pouch you gain when you meet someone and become happy and settled, I probably still wouldn’t be writing about this.

My first attempt at getting into fitness was in 2009 – I had been with Daniel for around 6 months and anyone who knows my other half knows that unlike me he has always been an avid sports partaker, king of the football field at school and always the first to be picked to run for the school track team. So this one day I agreed to go jogging with him. Well, I got to bus stop at the end of the road before I collapsed into a blue heap of mess. I couldn’t breathe, I had stitch & I couldn’t see straight. And that was the end of that.

In January 2014 in 6 months of being content in our new home, making lots of tasty homemade meals & cakes for the mister (and clearly myself) I had mastered being a housewife on top of working full time, but I had also put on 2 stoneSo I decided it was time to do something about it. At first I did what everyone does, I went on a diet. I’ll talk more about my relationship with food in a later post, but long story short, the diet alone did not work, and it only got me so far before I hit a plateau. After months of me moaning about the scales not moving and having to buy bigger sized clothes, my other half convinced me to try the local gym.

So, the first gym session… we walk in and there’s this super buff male personal trainer there to show me the ropes, instantly I felt intimidated and want to walk my wobbly butt right back out of there. But no I sucked it up, sucked my belly in and completed the induction.  I wouldn’t say I was instantly in love with the gym, it was a progression. Daniel assisted me for my first couple of months (he has his own gym personally designed for his goals). I had a few, (ok a lot) of hiccups, the first time I did planks for example I fell flat on my face in front of about 10 people, the first couple of times I tried doing squats my knee’s would go over my feet and Daniel would have to correct my posture telling me I would do my back in (and that’s before I started lifting). It took me months to learn how to control my breathing. Around 2 months into going to the gym twice a week I started to see small results. I find going to the gym also helps you control your eating because you’re cautious of ruining the hard work you’ve put in. When I started seeing the results I upped my game and started going to the gym 4 nights a week - religiously. The burn became an addiction, I slept better in the evenings, and I was genuinely less stressed in life. After 3 months of not giving up I had learned to love it, to need it in my life. The gym became my safe haven and my therapist. I felt like I had more control over my life than I ever had before.

Generally I work out alone, just me myself and my Spotify playlist, but I find you get to recognise faces after a while. This familiarity is comforting.

I learn a lot of the different exercises I do from watching other peoples personal training sessions, YouTube & I follow a big group of different fitness fanatics on Instagram which I not only learn from, but I’m inspired by them. They help to keep my game strong and my mind focused.

Even after learning what I have and working out as often as I do, I still don’t find it easy; I don’t think I ever will. After a year of gruelling work outs, good sessions and bad I finally lost the 2 stone of love chub.

I don’t want to lose any more weight, in fact I am slowly putting it back but on in muscle. Even after hitting my weight loss target I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of my fitness journey. I want to tone, define, and maintain what I have built.

There’s no quick fix, just hard work and dedication. There is no end game; this is a healthy way of life, for life. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

May - December 2014