Stronger than before #2 getting back on track

Nearly a week since trying to back into a normal routine has had its ups and downs. I had the gym program and a fridge full of food so the focus of the week was to:

  • Prepare ALL meals in advance
  • Gym at least four times
  • Count marcos
  • Daily 2.2 litres of water 
  • Sleep 7+ each night

The reality with work and studying for an exam in August looming things got a little shook up.

The reality:

  • Meals prep only lasted me until Friday (5/7 days is good for the first week back)
  • Gym will only be 3 times this week ( with 1 or 2 low sessions of low intensity walking in the fresh air)
  • Went over on my macros on Friday (blame Star Trek)
  • Plenty of water
  • Lots of sleep

All in all I’m happy with how the week went.

I wasnt expecting to pick up exactly were I left off. Mostly because I knew:

  1. The first week back is always hard. 
  2. That too much at once will most likely result in failure and leave me feeling miserable.
  3. We are all human and therefore mistakes are made.
  4. Regimented routines and restrictions suck  (enjoy what you do, live in the moment and adjust to suit your needs)

My main focus was a guideline of what I wanted to achieve during the week. Regardless of success or failure I would accept what happens and move on.

I gave it my best and stuck to about 75% of my original focus. Most importantly it was an enjoyable (even post leg day) and productive week and it didn’t feel as if  there where any restrictions in terms of food. 

Sunday will consist of going the gym, food shopping, cooking and making a plan and a new focus for the week ahead. Then head out for the rest of the day and get some fresh air by the coast. 

By aiming to improve on what I started at the beginning of this week the result is to become stronger than before by getting back on track one step at a time and not over complicating the process.

Shane.

Staying sharp without cutting a hole in your pocket #2 27℃ with rain

The Scenario

Hot, humid and wet!! Rainforest conditions are most definitely among us this week. For many that means not having a clue what clothes to wear, myself included.

Do I take the risk of wearing light clothing and getting drenched if it rains? Or risk the extra layer and STILL get soaked in my own sweat? The solution?… I suppose it means finding a common ground of the two evils.

Something that is light and breathable but enough to stay dry should the heavens decide to open.

After breakfast I walk back upstairs and begin to think if it rains I’ll just step indoors, anywhere will do, probably Easons and read a few magazines from the shelf and leave once it stops.

The Outfit

Jacket €40 H&M

Jeans €25 River Island

T Shirt €2.50 Penneys

Runners €10 Penneys

Sun Glasses €1.50 Penneys

I bought the jacket in H&M about 3 years ago and wore it twice. The reason being that I swapped jeans for chinos and it didn’t go so well with the latter.

Now that I have a nice pair of (not to tight) skinny jeans I decided to give the jacket another shot.

White t-shirt is from penneys along with the runners.

Finished the look with brown sunnies, brown belt and a brown strap citizen watch.

Perfect for getting around town in the heat and versatile enough so that if it gets really sunny just take the jacket off and roll up the ankles.

Stronger than before #1 press reset

This time three weeks ago we swam in the Caribbean and drank like pirates. At the same time soaking up all of the sunshine that we could get.

Mexico was more than just a holiday. It was a D-load from life that allowed both my girlfriend and I to take a step back from reality and really appreciate a moment in time that we know will standout forever as paradise.

I had every intention of hitting the gym out there, but because it didn’t open until later in the day nothing ever developed and resulted in falling off the wagon (resuming old habits that involves indulging on anything not nailed down).

Since returning home the holiday continued as we hit up our favourite pizza and burger joints across Dublin (more on these in the future I promise) followed by a BBQ in the countryside over the weekend.

I have gained at least a stone in the last 3-4 weeks having just stepped back on the scales on Monday morning.

It is time to pickup the pieces and get back on track with the gym, food, study, work, life which is cool because I enjoy doing what I do. 

Falling off the wagon went on for longer than expected but it was totally worth it having gotten loads out of my system.

Although physically I may be below par, mentally I have comeback feeling stronger than before. I kept my finger on the reset button for just a little longer which I know will help me get in shape over the next couple of weeks.

During my time away I did keep my ear to the ground and researched a lot of training routines online which would suit my goal of shedding pounds and gaining muscle. In addition, something that was manageable and flexible that would allow for an easy transition so as not to become to overwhelmed. [Settled for Rob Lipsetts L/P/P routine which involves a combination of compound and isolated workouts for the special process of €9.99] Bargin!!

I recalculated my macros to give me more control of food portions and help plan meals for the week along with a huge food shop and a trip to the butchers.

All of this ensures that when the time came I was ready to hit the gym and with a bang.

Having everything ready to go we smashed a decent leg and core session in Flyefit Coolock on Monday evening. With temperatures of 30℃ in Dublin throughout the week it would be a shame not to do some cardio outside.

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Thank you and stay tuned,

Shane.


Staying sharp without cutting a hole in your pocket #1 Final piece of the puzzle

If your in college and not broke are you really a student??Two years into a business degree with two years to go and although the dust has been gathering on the debit card life is not all that bad in terms of still being able to live and buy nice things.

It’s just a matter of being smarter with the cash and spending on what you need rather out of excess and more importantly what same items you can recycle to make a new outfit.

I love new clothes, mostly because they make me feel good and I like to dress nice for special occasions.

However, like many others I do not have the luxury of new threads on a regular basis because of the financial situation (of being a student).

So, in order to keep the reading short and snappy I will compile a list of different outfits and where to buy them etc. rather than one big entire list.

The main thing I try to stay consistent on is the basics with a split of about 80/20. In other words, 80% of what I buy is relatively cheap and in large quantities most of the time, with 20% being more high end and in smaller quantities less frequently.

The outfit about cost just over €50. Yes, that is a good amount to spend but I didn’t buy it all at once and I can rotate each piece of clothing with another and wear them again at a later stage.

The shoes and the shirt I bought for a recent holiday, the top I have from 2 or 3 years ago and the jeans being the most recent purchase completed the look.

The occasion – outdoor family BBQ/Birthday party in mid July in the Irish country side can be unpredictable in terms of rainfall. So I put this outfit together that looks like there was some effort put into it but is still comes across as being effortless and chilled out. 

More importantly it is light enough to be comfortable for a day of eating and drinks and because of the the layers I stayed warm as the night went on and became cooler.

I finished the outfit with a watch from Daniel Wellington (Christmas present) that has a gold exterior, brown strap and white face along with a brown belt in order to bring it all together. 

The shirt does not have a traditional collar (which I love in terms of fit and comfort) so it just peaks out above the top, the same goes for the cuffs just sticking out and rolled back and pulled up to quarter arm length. Rolling up the jeans to the ankle to give off a more summer vibe.

Shoes €10 – Penneys

Shirt €22 – H&M

Top €11 – Penneys

Jeans €13 – Penneys

[Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post, all of the clothes I purchased myself with my own earnings. I do not have any endorsements or affiliations with any of the brands, this is just my own twist on how style for less].

FFCreations #3 Chocolate Brownies

Everything in moderation right? These Brownies have come to symbolise a special occasion amongst the family. 

Birthdays & Christmas come to mind when I blow the dust off the old recipe book and whack out a batch of beautifully rich chocolate Brownies.

Accompanied with a bottle of wine or heated and served with ice cream this recipe has never failed in the oven or getting people talking about how much they would enjoy just one more bite. 

Far far away from ever fitting into anyone’s macro allowance (unless your The Rock). But that’s no problem because it is only on special occasions that I make these which is a reminder that the occasional indulgence is okay. 

Best made at least a day before the event because they cool better in the fridge and are easier to cut when a solid.

Preparation & cooking time approx 1 hour.

Makes 2 trays.

Ingredients:

750g dark cooking chocolate

750g salted butter

500g caster sugar

200g cream flour

10 eggs

300g chocolate chips

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. First things first, begin by weighing out all of the ingredients to make life easier, instead of fumbling around looking for stuff.
  2. Heat up a pot of water roughly halfway & place a metal bowl on top, then turn the heat to low.
  3. Preheat the over to 160℃ gas mark 5.
  4. Start by melting together the chocolate & butter in the bowl sitting over water.
  5. Meanwhile in a separate bowl mix the sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  6. When the chocolate is melted add it into the egg mix slowly at a time so as not to scramble the eggs.
  7. Sift in the flour and gently mix/fold
  8. Add in the chocolate chips.
  9. Line two baking trays with grease proof paper (butter around the tray helps the paper to stick better).
  10. Divide the mix between two trays and back for 45 – 60 mins.
  11. Use a skewer to poke the centre of the brownie, if it comes out clean then they are done, if not then give more time.
  12. Once cooked, allow to cool before cutting up.

FFCreations #2 How to burger

Continuing on from the first post is as follows, the nutritional information of the burger in the picture that I made during the week for dinner and how I made them can be found below.

So as not to in undo all of the hard work and exercise in one sitting I have put together a few simple ingredients to make a burger that is macro friendly, and tasty too. All of the ingredients can be found on myfitnesspal. The weekly shop for vegetables etc. are from Aldi and the meats are from Kerrigans in Malahide. Alternatively if Kerrigans don’t have the mince, then any lean mince from the butchers or Aldi’s less than 5% fat will do. 

Usually we buy Kerrigans pre made burgers that are 120g. Since both of us like them a bit bigger I mix them all up in a bowl and weigh them out again at 226g. Yes you could just save the hassle and eat two of the pre made burgers but that extra bit of meat doesn’t fit in the bun and gets a bit messy.

Macro Breakdown for one burger:

  • Calories – 595
  • Protein – 75.6g
  • Carbs – 29.5g
  • Fat – 18.5g

Ingredients used to make one burger.

  • 226g (1/2 pound) lean mined beef 
  • 2 lean bacon medallions 
  • 1 slice low fat cheese
  • 1 brioche bun
  • 15g lighter than light mayonnaise
  • 15g reduced sugar ketchup
  • 5g yellow mustard
  • Few slices of red onion 
  • Sliced pickle
  • Baby gem lettuce
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Rock salt

Method:

  1. Heat up a griddle pan (no oil is needed).
  2. Mix the meat up in a bowl with the salt & pepper.
  3. In your hands roll 226g of meat into a ball.
  4. Then shape into a paty by pressing it down and shape it until nice and round.
  5. Griddle pan should be hot, so place the burger in the pan & cook away on a medium/high heat on each side for a 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add the bacon medallions and let them cool for a few minutes.
  7. Let the meats cook. In the mean time slice up some red onion, pickles and lettuce and get the buns and cheese ready.
  8. Place the cheese on the burger and let it melt.
  9. Toast the buns and then be ready to assemble (I toast them on the pan, as it gives a cool rustic look).
  10. To assemble:  bottom bun, mayo, lettuce, beef, onions, pickle, ketchup & mustard, top bun.

It seems like a lot of work but after making these once or twice then the pattern becomes more familiar and much easier in the future. Practice makes perfect eh?..

Over time you will take out and add ingredients to make it the way you like. Which is great because burgers are so versatile you can do whatever you want. I will be sure in the future to make a few variations using turkey mince. 

Most of all, enjoy what you eat.

Thanks,

Shane.

       

      FFCreations #1 Next in line to the throne 👑

      Hands down a good steak (with or without all the trimmings) wins the title as the king of food. However, next in succession is its younger sibling “the burger”.

      Made properly, these mouth wathering creations are packed with lots of flavour and are much more forgiving if overcooked.

      In addition, good quality minced meat is not going to break the bank either compared to a decent sized ribeye or fillet. Of course steaks are great IF you can afford to buy one nebermivd teo every night of the week AND give it the attention it deserves to cook it properly.

      Efficient food shopping should be about getting good value for your money, feeding on more for less and using fresh healthy ingredients.

      On average, one 8oz fillet will cost €9 and will feed one, whereas you can buy double the amount of mince and still pay less without sacrificing great taste. [when you factor in the cost of buns, cheese etc the cost is more although these should be part of the weekly shop anyway]

      On average:

      – Steak 8oz =225g = 0.5lb = €9

      – Mince 16oz = 453g = 1lb = €4

      The same applies when eating out. Burgers are always going to be that bit cheaper on the menu and they taste just as good as a prime hunk of meat.

      I always go for a burger when eating out. I really do enjoy when they arrive with cheese, bacon, mustard, pickles and served in a soft but crispy bun and accompanied with some fries and garlic mayo. It’s an awesome combo!!

      Although a juicy steak remains the crown jewel of food heaven for some, there is no denying that with the increasing amount of burger chains operating successfully around the city the Burger has become a close contender for the crown, falling just short sitting next in line to the throne but definitely a force to be reckoned with.

      Happy eating,

      Shane.

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