Build Muscle

Healthy Choices I Made Today

Throughout our day we’re faced with several choices that affect our health.  Here’s just a couple of decisions I made in one day that left me feeling great….

I ate breakfast

I have gone through phases of skipping breakfast and experimenting with Intermittent Fasting. Occasionally I’ve felt a benefit but more often than not my adrenals just aren’t really up to it. Being self-employed, juggling lots of projects, studying and living with my in-laws gives me little down time and so I’m conscious of being constantly wired and needing to keep my blood sugar levels in check.

Having breakfast 30-40 minutes after waking really makes a difference to me especially in terms of my energy levels for the rest of the morning. Usually a large bowl of Frosties does the trick….aha…. had you there! I haven’t touched cereal in years and urge everyone out there to do the same. I always opt for protein based breakfast, a healthy serving of protein at breakfast has been proven time and time again to provide excellent health benefits especially in terms of weight loss, energy and appetite regulation.

For me its’s usually something along the lines of…..

  • 2 slices of egg & courgette loaf   (Beat 6 eggs add 1 grated courgette, fresh rosemary and handful of sundried tomatoes. Pour into a loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper and bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes, 2 slices is a meal one is a snack).
  • 1 fillet of salmon steamed with a poached egg and half an avocado.
  • Mackerel and sweet potato omelette (trust me it just works!)
  • Turkey and fresh tarrogan burgers with mashed avocado wrapped in a lettuce wrap  (grab two of handfuls of turkey mince mix with lots of fresh chopped tarragon, using hands bind and form into burgers and bake on 180 degrees for 20 minutes (I do this the night before – crikey otherwise I’d be up at 4.30am!) 

I ate lots of fish

Recently I’ve been making a concerted effort to eat more fish. I love meat (grass fed, wild, lean, fatty, organ meats, etc) and encourage people to include it as part of a healthy diet. However, I’ve noticed that fish is much easier for me to digest. So during the week when I’m pretty much eating to live and don’t have time to sit down and really appreciate my food I stick to fish for lighter meals and snacks. This keeps me really energised and also ensures I get my dose of essential omega 3’s.  I rotate  sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon……and I’m building up to herrings (bleugh!)  I really notice a big difference in my skin and concentration levels when I eat more fish, this could just be a coincidence as it doesn’t seem to have the same effect on Matt 😉  At the weekends when my meals are more of an occasion and I can take my time to enjoy them I will have a generous serving of roast lamb or a big grass fed steak.

I exercised

But not as much as you might think! Right now I’m lucky if I make two sessions a week. My relationship with exercise has changed massively over the years. I love exercise and the endorphin hit used to be my addiction, training almost every day.  Whilst I’m still passionate about exercise and love mastering new training skills and challenging my body, I’m much more sensible about things.  At the moment I have a lot of work on and rather than add more pressure by cramming in training goals and programs I’ve come to find a routine that works for me (….until I have time to take on a new training challenge that is).

Here’s what I do. Twice a week I lift heavy, usually as part of a class as I love training with people.  I enjoy the banter, the laughter and really push myself being part of a team. It’s usually full body strength training involving deadlifts, squats, variations on pressing and bodyweight training.  I work hard and feel it for days after.  In addition to this I might go for a run or bike ride but this more to get outdoors. I run or cycle along the Thames taking in all the London sights . It’s at my pace, in my time with no pressure and if I feel like stopping and taking in the view I do so.

What I do go out of my way to do everyday is walk, as much as I can.  It’s a means of getting fresh air, daylight and exercise with little inconvenience to my day.  I walk to different client appointments but even days where I know I’ll be stuck at my laptop or sat in lectures I get off the train early to incorporate an extra 30 mins/1 hour walking into my day.  Some weeks if I’m a bit run down I scrap all training and just fit in as much walking as I can.  I find it really keeps my mood elevated and helps me sleep better in the evenings.

I went ‘au naturel’

I rarely wear make-up now as I don’t really need to and I prefer to allow my skin to breathe. Most products we use on our skin have added chemicals that we absorb doing us more harm than good, just look at the list of ingredients in your daily moisturiser.  A friend recently gifted me a facial and the beautician commented on how clear my skin was and enquired about my beauty regime. I explained I wash with a natural tea tree soap and hot water and that’s it …no cleanser, toner or moisturiser (seriously I save a fortune compared to years gone by!)  This hasn’t always been the case but after carefully studying the science I now use nutrition and detoxification to manage my skin, lots of good fats, vitamin A, E and zinc rich foods, sleep and exercise/sauna’s to sweat out toxins. One observation I’ve made is any more than one glass of wine and without fail I’ll wake up with a blemish (and dark circles under my eyes) the next day. I try and use this as an incentive to stick to one glass….but it doesn’t always work 😉

I went to bed early 

When I first started out as a personal trainer I survived on 5-6 hours sleep and got away with it for a few months but soon noticed I started to look like crap. Not a look you can really get away with in this industry.  It also left me suffering from a continuous stream of injuries as my body simply wasn’t getting the rest and recovery it needed.

Sleep is so vital for optimal health. It’s our bodies chance to burn fat, build lean mass, detox, repair and allow thousands of metabolic processes to take place. It’s such an easy, quick win in terms of any health goal I never understand people’s reluctance to get to bed early.  I’m up at 5am most days so I get to bed as soon as I can. Sometimes 8pm and boy does my body thank me for it. Some evenings I just skip dinner and go straight to bed, often it actually helps me to sleep better (of course I tuck into a hearty breakfast as soon as I wake up). On the odd occasion I even wake up before my alarm and feel ready to get up so I know I’ve hit the magic number.

So there you have it just a few simple ways I keep healthy through my week, it’s not always the case and in my next blog I promise to detail my less healthy choices so you can be reassured I’m human after all.