Tag Archives: nutrition

Training & Nutrition: a new beginning

It’s the kind of situation when you say to yourself “but if only I started sooner I’d be x by now”. As I looked at myself in the mirror those were the kind of thoughts that once consumed my mind. That was back in January of this year – a blowout in the months leading up to the New year meant that I was now a stone heavier than I was six months previous and all of it was my own doing.

To be fair I wasn’t excessively overweight by any means anyway. But my belly was beginning to grow out from my waist and clothes that once fit comfortably where starting to feel a little tight. For the first time that I can remember I was beginning to feel uncomfortable in my appearance and that was spilling over and negatively impacting others areas of my life.

Having turned 27 in November of 2016 it wasn’t the end of the world by a long shot. Time is in my side – I get that. However, finding myself in that situation was still far from ideal and I knew that some changes needed to be made so in perhaps in 3 years time at the ripe old age of 30 I can look back and say “I’m happy I started sooner!”

Having envisioned my future self as an unhealthy, overweight, inactive human being was a bit of a shock if I’m honest. I love being outdoors having fun, hiking hills and spending time with family and friend’s. Being unable to experience life like that due to poor mobility, unhappy etc. was a disturbing prospect and something that wasn’t far off should I continue making the same silly choices while expecting everything to be fine.

Things were not going to be fine, the days of late teens/early twenties extremities, heavy drinking minus the hangovers, binge eating rubbish food and staying up all night had now run it’s course (athough some of this had been diluted over the years and became less extreme). The body was beginning to respond with signs that this way of living cannot continue without dire consequences to my health. Something clicked and that vision really hit home and provided a glimspe of what life could be like continuing down that path. There had been attempts in the past to get “fit & healthy” usually due to external forces such as holidays abroad or weddings. Events like these are planned way ahead of time allowing a time frame to be set and a target to be achieved which (for me) usually conclude in a blow out and falling completely off the wagon for weeks if not months on end. This time it was different. The feeling for change came from the inside. Not only was there a need for change but a desire to “want” to change. Not for holidays or weddings or … instead for me, to feel, move and look better. No more half-arsed attempts. This time is real, now more important then ever before. At this age there’s still a good chance to write some wrongs, get my shit together and become a better version of myself.

Accepting the long road

Fully accepting that change doesn’t happen overnight was like a revelation when it occurred. The journey ahead was going to be a long one. No quick fixes!! I didn’t want to change overnight either. I want to see progress overtime. Slowly the results will show and in that I will also have the time to make amendments when needed.

Most importantly I wanted to enjoy the process and of course learn from it too. No doubt there will be setbacks but that’s the challenge I want. There is no rush. Time is on my side, for now anyway. I say that because I’m not interested in just becoming “shredded” that will hopefully come as a result of being a fitter and healthier person. First and foremost health, be it physical or mental is my primary goal. Physical in reference to mobility and functionality of the body. Mentally – simply being happy. Looks and appearance: although they are secondary I’m not completely writing them off either 😉

January 2017 – all of this excitement of change is very encouraging and the initial reaction is to jump headfirst and balls deep into it changing everything overnight. Which is all well said and done until it starts to become undone 3 weeks when the excitement wears off and reality starts to begin.

Having been through this before I knew it was coming so the plan was to pace myself and not get to ahead of to quickly. Small changes and small wins will become big changes and big wins overtime. Consistency is key, not perfection. Sounds corny?! Recently I read in a book that eventually your thoughts become your actions and your actions become your habits. No doubt that remembering these phrases or others like it have been a source of motivation towards staying on the right track.

Having not done any physical activity/training in the previous 3-4+ months it was going to be a struggle to get going again. Establishing a routine around eating, sleeping, hydration and training alone can sometimes feel like a part-time job. What’s more is a fulltime unpaid internship and part-time minimum wage job had now began peeking over the horizon. I was already feeling overwheled. Adding all of this on top was throwing fuel on the fire. The next 15 weeks from January – April would be a challenge. The hardest thing for me to do now was actually get my head down and in the game. First things first make a plan of action.

To be continued in part 2. How I intended to plan my meals and the food that I eat. Training splits and finding a personal trainer.

FFCreations #7 Peanut Butter Cups

If you have a Reeses addiction like me then these peanut butter cups are a delicious guilt free alternative… kind of…

I say kind of, because they are quite high in calories due to the amount of fat from the oil and peanut butter. 

However, all of the ingredients used to make these are all natural and organic and not highly processed like actual Reeses which makes them a lot better in terms of their nutritional value. The recipe is by Roz Purcell aka NATURAL BORN FEEDER.

It’s so simple to make these and requires so little effort that I didn’t even bother weighing oit ingredients or anything.

Be sure to put the baking case onto a flat try that will fit into the fridge before filling up. Otherwise it is very tricky to pick them up while hot.

Ingredients:

Coconut oil

Maple syrup

Raw chocolate powder

Peanut butter

Method:

Simply melt equal quantities of the coconut oil and maple syrup in a small pan.

Mix in the chocolate powder until it incorporates to a smooth rich syrup.

Put the backing on a flat tray and fill up halfway.

Put them into the fridge for 10-15 mins.

Take the tray out and fill with peanut butter.

Top off with the remaining melted chocolate and chill them for at least 1 hour.

If the chocolate in the lan starts to go hard, put it back on the heat for a few minutes and it will begin to loosen up. Of not add more of the oil.

Stronger than before #3 no secret formula

Hard work and good nutrition. For me thats all that’s too it. I’m not a PT with any qualifications of the sort.

The only experience I have is a background cooking in a professional kitchen combined with an interest in staying fit and active.

I tend not to follow fad diets like paleo or vegan and remain open to every kind of food. The main thing for me is to hit my daily protein, carbohydrates, fats while also being flexible enough to enjoy something nice too.

When it comes to information regarding diets, training and nutrition I usually try and find sources from those in the fitness industry that have been academically approved (Rather than some celebrity toe rag opinion who’s only interested in the money and fame).

Although the information obtained from books and online is very valuable YouTube and podcasts are also aslo great ways to learn more and pick up new ideas. 

No fancy supplements, fat burners or weight gains. Just solid consistent graft with a healthy balanced diet, keeping everything in moderation which suits my lifestyle and level of activity.

In addition, remembering that it’s not a one size fits all,vat times programs and food intake need to be individually tailored is important in order to be flexible.

Simplicity is key in order for me to stay on track with nutrition. Training and eating real food should improve a persons life, not become a hindrance. 

Personally I find when my activity levels decline my sleep, mood, appetite, motivation all go to shite. So I try to keep it consistent which means keeping it simple and not getting to caught up in the finer details. 

As the saying goes – trust the process.

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.


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.