Health & Fitness

 

How To Ensure You Eat Well All Week Even If You Have Limited Time To Cook

One of the biggest barriers to eating well is not having enough time. I hear it from our clients, and well anyone who is embarking on a fitness journey, “I don’t have time to cook meals and it’s hard to stick with my plan”.

So I thought today I could give you an idea of how to do this in the simplest most efficient way. So that even if you are rushed off your feet all day, you always have something healthy that you can eat.

 

Let’s talk about preparing your meals in advance…

So instead of getting home, opening the fridge and thinking… what on earth can I make with 1 egg, a lettuce and a block of cheese? You open the fridge and you have waiting for you a healthy, nutritious meal that you can just throw in the pan for 10 minutes to heat up. How much better does that sound?

 

So, let’s say you have 2 days off in a week, first, you can start the day with a shopping list, the one provided in your nutrition plan or….if you don’t have one, just make it based on what you plan to eat during the week. Having a plan is literally 80% of the battle. With a plan you know what to buy, you have the right food in the fridge and you’re ready to roll.

Make sure you include the healthiest option of foods that you enjoy. So now we have a base, you have a plan!

 

I would suggest buying a good quantity as you will be cooking a large quantity. I mean you can always freeze stuff. 

Let’s say you cook a chicken broth with vegetables, chicken/ lean beef/ turkey meat oven roasted with herbs and a little olive oil, 1 kg of sweet potatoes boiled or oven roasted and boiled or oven roasted veggies (whatever you like, best if it’s a nice colorful mix).

That could be your dinners for the next 3-4 days.

You could then boil a bunch of eggs and make a big pot of oat porridge and your breakfast is all done as well. Most of this foods as you can see are easy done and you can let them cook while you can do whatever else you need to do.

All your meals are ready now in no more then 2 hours.

 

Remember The Containers

You are going to need some plastic containers so that you can split your food into portions and stick it in the fridge or freezer.

 

I Don’t Want To Eat The Same Thing 4 Days In A Row

I know you’re thinking it, everyone always does. That’s why you could make a selection of meals or… if you do this for a few weeks and make several meals of each, then by the time you get to week 4 you could have 4 different meals in the freezer ready to roll. Just batch make one core meal every week and you will always have variety!

 

What About Snacks?

I know when on a fitness journey avoiding unhealthy snacks seems really tough. Well its even tougher if you don’t have healthy snacks around you. So again this comes down to having a plan. Make sure you always have fruits in the fridge, a big bag of mixed nuts, and serve a portion between meals if hungry. Again put the nuts into a small container int he morning and there is your afternoon snack.

 

This Feels Like It Will Take A Lot Of Time & Effort

Does it take some time… yes. But probably much less time than getting home each night, thinking about what you are going to cook, going to the shop, buying it, coming home, cooking it. This will SAVE you a lot of time in the process and effort too.

 

Coaches Favourite Batch Meals

I also thought I would ask the other coaches their favorites batch meals, so here is some more inspiration…

Chris:  I love a good chilli, day 1 with rice, day 2 turn it into a pie with either potato or filo pastry, love it!

Claire: Chicken and broccoli bake

Antony: Sweet potato lasagna

 

I hope that’s given you some inspiration, we would love to know your favourite batch cooking meals, leave us a comment below…

 

Alina xx

 

 


If you are interested in finding out about our programmes here in Esher, and how we may be able to help you get fit, lose a few pounds and inches, then click and here and request a complimentary consultation or give us a call on 01372 231002.

 

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Food Intolerances

Food Intolerances

 

What is an intolerance?

An intolerance refers to your digestive system and how well it can digest certain foods. If you are intolerant to a certain food it may irritate the digestive system. An intolerance may have similar symptoms to a food allergy, however, they are not the same. When you are intolerant to a certain food, symptoms usually begin within a few hours of eating it.

 

However, symptoms can be delayed by up to 48 hours and last for hours or possibly days, which makes it very hard to pinpoint the offending food. On the other hand, you may not even notice the symptoms, or if you are frequently consuming the foods which you are intolerant to, it may be hard to associate the symptoms to the specific food.

 

Food Intolerance Symptoms

 

While symptoms of food intolerances vary from person to person, they mainly involve the digestive system, skin and respiratory system. Common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • A runny nose
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Rashes

 

What’s the difference between an intolerance and an allergy?

 

A food allergy occurs when there is a reaction from the body’s immune system, as it sees the food as an attack. This will then cause an allergic reaction, which in return the immune system will release chemicals like histamine. This can cause a variety of symptoms from mild reactions to life-threatening situations. In comparison, food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and are often only cause discomfort.

 

Symptoms of a food allergy include breathing problems, throat tightness, coughing, abdominal pain, vomiting, hives, swelling or lowered blood pressure.

 

What foods are people most likely to be intolerant too?

 

1) Lactose (Dairy)

Many people are lactose intolerant, making it one of the most common food sensitivities. Lactose is a sugar, which is found in milk and dairy products. It is broken down by an enzyme called lactase, which is necessary for the lactose to be digested and absorbed properly. Being lactose intolerant is caused by a shortage of lactase enzymes, as a result, it can no longer be digested properly and can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and nausea.

 

2) Gluten

There are several conditions related to gluten, these include celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten refers to the proteins which are found in wheat, rye and barley. If you are intolerant to gluten you can experience symptoms such as: bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation, headaches, fatigue and skin rashes. Because gluten is common in many foods, it can be difficult to avoid as it is found in bread, pasta, cereals, beer, baked goods, sauces, dressing, gravies and especially soy sauce.

Celiac disease involves the immune system. If gluten is eaten the immune system attacks the small intestine, which can cause serious harm to the digestive system. They have similar symptoms to gluten intolerances.

 

3) Caffeine

Many people have an intolerance to caffeine. It is found in many beverages like coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and energy drinks. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it reduces fatigue and increases alertness.  This happens by blocking the receptors for adenosine which is a neurotransmitter that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

 

Most adults are able to consume 400mg of caffeine a day safely without any side effects, this is about 4 cups of coffee. However, some people are more sensitive to caffeine and can experience symptoms even after consuming a small amount. These symptoms can include, increased heartbeat, anxiety, jitters, insomnia, nervousness and restlessness.

 

4) Alcohol

After consuming alcohol it is fairly common to experience allergy symptoms (not just hangover symptoms)! This can happen when your body is reacting to a particular type of alcohol. For example, those with an intolerance to gluten may not be able to drink beer without similar reactions when eating gluten. Other ingredients in alcohol which can cause issues include histamine, yeast, flavourings and other additives.

 

5) Eggs

If you are intolerant to eggs, you may not be able to handle the egg white, or the yolk or both. It’s important to remember that chickens are fed a soy-based diet, so, therefore, you may be sensitive to soy, rather than eggs. Choosing eggs from grass-fed, free range and organic animals can help you determine which element you are sensitive to. Eggs are found in baked goods, pasta, mayonnaise, ice cream and some bread. If you do suffer symptoms, tofu, flax seeds, bananas and yoghurt make great egg alternatives.

Will removing food intolerances help my training?

Yes! As written above, there are many symptoms which could be affecting your training. By removing these foods your sleep patterns may improve and also energy levels. You may also see improvements in skin health, mental clarity and improved performance in and out of the gym. It’ll also increase your ability to reduce body fat as you’ll have the energy to complete each workout. With bloating, fatigue, brain fog and indigestion now not occurring on a daily basis, you’ll not be forced to skip a workout as the food intolerance has been removed.

 

Food intolerances differ from allergies. Although intolerances are usually less serious than food allergies, it is important to take the steps to identify food intolerances in order to prevent unwanted symptoms and health issues. You can begin by using the elimination diet or look out for our blog next week all about Life Lab Tests.

 

** If you are experiencing any severe symptoms we advise you to consult your GP**

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Our Top 10 Home Exercises to Strengthen Your Core – Part 2

Our Top 10 Home Exercises to Strengthen Your Core – Part 2

 

This weeks challenge: Complete all 5 exercises with 10 repetitions, 3-5 sets. Once again, this should only take 10 minutes a day to complete, so no excuses! Having spent last week strengthening a building your core and abs now we have increased the intensity.

1. Dead Bugs

Start by laying on your back on the ground, ensuring your back is flat on the ground throughout. To allow this to happen, your core should be braced the whole time, ensuring the movement is completed slowly and controlled. Hold your arms and legs straight in the air, slowly lower your right arm and left leg until they are around 1 inch from the ground and return to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

 

2. T Hold

Begin in a pushup position and shift your weight to your left hand which will allow your body to rotate. Keeping your feet stacked on top of each other, raise your right arm into the air so that your arms form a T shape. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds and then return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

 

3. Plank Jacks/Taps

Start in a plank position, with your forearms on the ground, ensuring that your elbows are beneath your shoulders. Tighten your abs to ensure your body is straight from head to toe. Whilst keeping your torso tight hop your feet out wide and then back to the starting position. If at first, you find this a little challenging, simply tap one foot out to the side and repeat on the other side.

 

9. V Ups

Begin by laying on your back with your arms and legs extending. Keeping your knees and elbows locked, Lie faceup with legs and arms extended. Keeping knees and elbows locked, raise your upper body and lower body together, whilst trying to touch your fingers to your toes.

 

10. Boat

Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent, slightly lean back (ensuring your back stays straight) hold your arms out in from of you and then raise your feet off of the ground making sure your legs stay together. If you can extend your legs out straight so that your body forms a V shape this is great! If not, practice this move with your knees slightly bent and straighten them as you become stronger. You can also raise your arms and open your legs to make it harder.

 

 

I hope by the end of the second week, you’ll be feeling fitter! Send us your best photo of your favourite ab exercise.  

 

If you didn’t see last weeks post click here!

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Our Top 10 Home Exercises to Strengthen Your Core – Part 1

‘Ab’ A Fab March!

 

Here at Pursuit Fitness Training, we are often telling our clients to ‘hold their core’ or ‘squeeze those abs!’ But, what actually is your core or abs? Your core refers to the midsection and is made up of many different muscles around your trunk and pelvis which work together to stabilize your entire body.

Having a weak core can mean that you are more susceptible to poor posture, muscle injuries and lower back pain. Strengthening core muscles can not only help to improve back pain, it can also lead to better balance and stability which is very important in many daily activities.

As well as a well-rounded fitness program, the core element is also important to focus on. Pursuit fitness training has put together 10 of our favourite core & abdominal exercises, which you can do from the comfort of your own home.

 

This week challenge: Complete all 5 exercises with  10 repetitions, 3-5 sets. This should only take 10 minutes a day to complete. Next week we shall be sharing with you 5 harder abdominal exercises for you to try.  

1. Bird Dog

Start by balancing on your hands and knees (on all 4’s). Lift your right leg and left arm and extend your right leg to the rear and reach forward with the left arm, hold this for 3 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite arm and leg and you have completed 1 rep.

 

2. Reverse Crunch

Begin by lying down flat on the floor with your lower back pressed into the ground. Extend your hands alongside your body and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor with your knees at right angles. Contract your abs and raise your knees towards your chest and slowly release so that they return to the starting position.

 

3. Superman

Begin, by lying facedown on the floor with your arms out in front of your body, palms facing down. Contract your abdominals, tighten your glutes and lift your arms, chest and legs off of the ground. Pinch your shoulder blades together and the top and slowly return to the ground.

 

4. Scissor Kicks

Start by lying on your back with your legs extended and feet together. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows wide and contract your abdominals so that you are in a crunched position with your shoulders off of the ground. Raise your right leg to the ceiling whilst keeping your left foot a few inches from the ground and switch legs.

 

5. Plank with Alternating Arm and Leg Raise

Begin in a pushup, lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously, ensuring that your shoulders and hips do not move. Hold for 3 seconds and return to the starting position, repeat on the opposite side.

 

Look out for next weeks post which will have 5 more great ab exercises to add to your workouts.

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Beat Your Sugar Cravings!

8 Healthier Alternatives

Sugar cravings can take over as soon as they hit, it is important to be prepared so therefore you have healthier alternatives to eat instead. If you plan ahead then you will not be tempted to grab the first chocolate bar you see.

If you were to grab a 53 gram Mars Bar it contains 244 calories. To burn all of those calories, you’d have to walk for almost two hours to use up all of the chocolate fuel! By eating naturally sweet food, not only will you cut down on the processed carbs and sugars,  you’ll also be eating vitamins and minerals which will help your body to function and will not cause a spike in your insulin levels.

Pursuit Fitness Training has put together our top 10 healthy alternatives to avoid eating those empty calories.

 

1. Popcorn

A small bowl of homemade popcorn is perfect for when those sweet and salty cravings hit. Try adding a pinch of salt or a dusting of cinnamon or cocoa powder. Popcorn is low in calories (around 30 kcals per cup) and is also high in fibre.

 

2. Fresh Fruit

Fruit is naturally high in sugar so is perfect to fill those sugar cravings. It is definitely the healthiest choice and you’ll get added nutrients and fibre into your diet too.

 

3. Dark Chocolate

Always opt for 70% or more cacao as it can be a healthy treat in moderation. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and it can help to regulate the stress hormone. By sticking to dark chocolate you’ll be avoiding all the added fat and sugar which is present in milk chocolate.

 

4. Banana Ice Cream

This is the perfect after-dinner treat with only one-ingredient! Simply cut bananas and place them into the freezer. Once frozen, blitz them so they become creamy and voila!

 

5. Chocolate Covered Strawberry

Dip strawberries into melted chocolate and leave in the fridge until the chocolate hardens. This treat will not leave you uncomfortably full or sluggish and is perfect for those sugar cravings.

 

6. Yogurt Parfait

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, protein, zinc, potassium, and vitamins B6 & B12. Add a choice of toppings from granola, nuts, and fruit is great for a healthy sweet snack.

 

7. Smoothies

Smoothies are great for filling those cravings, simply blitz fruit and enjoy. They are great for a breakfast alternative, or a snack or dessert. By adding avocados it’s a great way of adding vitamins and nutrients like antioxidants, vitamin B & potassium into your diet. You can also add Chia seeds to thicken the mixture, but they also add a good amount of fibre, healthy fats and protein.

 

8. Trail Mix

This snack is one of our favourites, by eating a mix of nuts like almonds and pistachios which some dried fruit like cranberries or cherries makes a great snack which excellent nutritional value too.

 

By swapping to these healthier alternatives, they’ll soon become a part of your daily routine. Therefore, you will not crave a cheat meal which will help you stay on track with your training and goals. We are always looking for easier behaviours which can easily be implemented to everyone’s lifestyles to ensure everyone can lead a healthy life.

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