Saturday, 26 September 2015

Abs are made in the Kitchen

Hey Sparkle Finders!

We're a week into training and so far so good...

This week I started my personalised nutrition plan and, as most seasoned active-folk are aware, what you eat is just as important as how hard you train when aiming for something like a marathon; you get out what you put in as they say!

I was really looking forward to starting my meal plan but there was a key issue. I am one of those people who has to work their life around 'people' and the most important people in my life are my family. It is important for me to state that I am dedicated to doing this marathon but not to the point where it makes life hard for the people around me, that is not fair.

This meal plan is great, and in an ideal world I would follow it to the letter, however, one of the most important things in my family is that we all sit down to dinner together.

It is an hour every evening (or as often we can) where we can talk about our day and enjoy each others company. If I complicated that by refusing to eat the lovingly prepared (Slimmer's World - I might add) meal because I had to have chicken and asparagus instead, that would just be a right pain in the glute!

So I had to adapt the meal plan bit to fit in with my lifestyle. As I mentioned above they are Slimmers World meals, and while they are a tad heavier on the carbs than the meal-plan options, its not exactly going to through me hugely off track.

So, for the rest of the time I have been following the plan and I actually feel amazing! There is A LOT of protein and brown rice but I have so much more energy and the food actually fills me up!

This is my absolute favourite snack right now, I had it topped with pomegranate seeds too... mmmm!!

The initial investment was a tad pricey but I didn't mind that so much.

I got my recommended supplements from Holland and Barrett; Cod Liver Oil, Well-Woman Multi-Vitamins and then some REAL peanut butter...nom nom nom!!

I opted for the jar first time round but they sell it in buckets, by the Kilogram! I still think thats 'nuts'... (sorry!)

Then I went to the gym-bunny's equivalent of ASOS... the fitness addicts nirvana ...


Like, it was not okay. I had never heard of 'Apple Fibre' but I suddenly wanted it in my life! I wanted try every protein cookie/bar they stocked and it took me a full 20mins to decide which protein flavour to go for (a lot of review reading).

I finally opted for 'Natural Chocolate' and restrained myself from filing my trolley with any more (it was the last week before payday). To top it all off I got a free vest-top which is actually really nice and I couldn't resit wearing it for the legs session that night.

So once I stocked up on all my goodies I had no excuse not to be a pinnacle of health.

I have to say, breakfasts are my absolute favourite (if I could have breakfast for every meal I would) and I did have a few lovely ones this week...

Happy Oats

Pr-oats with Blueberries

Almond Flower Porridge (with a Protein Shake)

Scrambled Eggies on Toast

A word of warning, when making Pr-Oats (protein powder with porridge oats) please whisk the protein powder in water first to get rid of lumps, mine was a bit of a funny texture and I am not convinced I liked it. The second time protein and oats was prescribed for breakfast I opted to have the protein powder in shake form, separately, but I might try again next week.

All in all I have been really proud of myself this week. I have stuck to my 'No more than 2 cups of caffeine a day' rule (hard) and I haven't touched a drop of alcohol (yet) all week and I can honestly say I haven't missed it.

I am feeling more energetic and I now have the energy to put in the training (which will be the subject of the next post), I am loving it!

One piece of advice though...don't shake your protein shaker too vigorously while wearing a white dress... it is not a good idea to accessorise with chocolate-flavoured liquid.

If you want to follow my journey on Instagram you can find me at 'emilyaclark93'

Em x

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Pursuit of ... A Marathon

Hey Sparkle Finders,

Once again its been a while and I have to admit it is because I lost my sparkle a little bit.

So to get it back, I have set myself a goal, a real goal and one that I am investing time, effort (and money) in. In 6 months time I WILL run a Marathon.

I haven't really had a hobby since I was a child when I did all the normal (if rather middle-class) extra-curricular activities; Ballet, Horse Riding, Gymnastics, Piano etc... But as a fully grown adult I haven't got one.

If I had been asked over the last year 'what are your hobbies' I am very ashamed to say that the answer would probably have been working and drinking wine with friends. I didn't have anything that I could really say 'Yes this a constructive activity I partake in outside of work'.

So why a marathon?

Over the last 6 months I have been going to the gym, in between work and drinking wine with friends, it is something I enjoy. Going about 3-4 times a week I did the odd class, but mostly I stuck to the treadmill. I know running, I am good at running and I could feel myself getting stronger as I ran.

When I run, it is one of the very few times that I actually feel proud of my body, which is very unfair given the cr**p i have put it through in the last 5 years. But there you go (!)

So when choosing a hobby, why should it not be something I do already? But here is the rub, I had plateaued. I could run 10 km in a good time but I wasn't getting any fitter and my body wasn't getting much stronger so what now?

It was becoming a bit of a 'running' joke at the gym (pun intended), I was known as the girl who runs, on the same treadmill, and that's all I do. Quite a few times I was told by the gym instructors that I needed to warm-up and cool down and also add in weights to my training.

But no, I just kept running...

I mean, I did start doing an Abs class every week and I do love a good Zumba session, but the whole weights thing.... I didn't get it. That was up until I gave into Louis, a PT, who offered me a weights induction session and, in spite of myself, I loved it.

I could feel my muscles again and that sense of strength came back. I was sold. I wanted to learn more about weights and structure it into a real training plan rather than plodding along as I was doing just running and doing the odd class.

So I signed up with Louis and I became one of those people who can now smugly say 'oh well my PT says...'- you know those people you want to punch in the face (yeah that's me sorry guys).

Now when it came to setting goals I was very clear that I didn't want to lose weight (not after last time - see posts circa 2012/3) but I needed something to aim for, something I could set my sights on.

I had already signed up for the London Marathon for 2016 (but I don't find out if I get on it until October) nevertheless there is also a Marathon in Leeds in May so the goal is there and I have no excuse not to reach it.

So this is the beginning of the 6-month marathon journey; a goal to aim for & a reason to write again.

Time to buy a protein shaker..

E x