Sunday, 25 June 2017

Chocolate Protein Brownie Recipe

Cutting is hard, especially if you're trying to take away sugar from your diet. I'm always looking for healthy alternative snacks and foods to give me that little taste of chocolate, while containing good, wholesome ingredients to make me fuller for longer. I stumbled across a beetroot brownie recipe and changed some of the ingredients to add more flavour and that all important protein. First thoughts are usually beetroot in a brownie? But trust me, it gives an amazingly moist texture and obviously helps to keep you fuller for longer, no sugar spiking here. Read on for the recipe:

250g of beetroot (I used the vacuum packed stuff)
3 scoops of protein powder (I used vanilla)
50g of pitted dates
50g of cacao powder
2 eggs
25g of squeezy honey
1/2 sp of baking powder
Sprinkle of cinnamon
A few drops of vanilla flavouring (or any of your choice)

In a food processor blend up the beetroot and dates (it helps to heat the dates in a pan before to soften them). Then whisk together the eggs and add these to the food processor, along with the honey, baking powder, cinnamon and flavour drops. Then mix together the rest of the ingredients until you've got a smooth batter (you can also add chocolate drops here but I steered away). Line a tin with baking paper or coconut oil and pour in the mixture to bake for 20 minutes on 160 degrees celsius. 

The topping is optional and is quite an acquired taste. I basically used vanilla quark and cacao powder and mixed them together until it formed a good consistency and was chocolatey enough to my taste. Then when the brownies are done allow to cool before spreading the topping! Yummy and only around 100calories per square and over 8grams of protein (depending on the size you cut them). Let me know if you have a go and any other protein snack recipes you have. 

Love Laura 

Friday, 2 June 2017

My First Workout Video | Booty Day Routine

A while back I created a youtube channel to post beauty videos. However, as many of you will know I've moved away from the beauty blogging and my blog now has a focus on fitness. My recent posts have been really successful, which is brilliant that so many of you are supportive and I thank everyone of you for your positive comments and praise. But it's hard to express workouts in writing. Which is why I have decided to start filming workout videos for you all. No, I'm not a personal trainer or do I claim that this is 100% the right thing and the only thing to do if you want to build a booty. But this is what has worked for me and I want to share these exercises and my routines with you. So here we go, this is my first workout video; my booty day routine. Let me know your thoughts and feedback and as always if you do like it, please like and subscribe and continue the support. 

Love Laura 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Flexx Fit | The Perfect Gym Leggings

I remember when low rise pants were the best thing ever. Having the top of your jeans and trousers just graze the bottom of your hip bones was the trend and high waists were so Grandma. But times have quickly changed and now I'd only ever chose a high waist. This also goes for gym leggings and I'm so thankful it's here to stay. Being a girl with a big behind, low waists were so difficult to wear and the gape at the back was just too much. But now I'm in love with my Topshop Joni jeans and my gym leggings that pull my stomach in and make my bum look high and round. Lulu Lemon are definitely leading the way with these high waist tight fit leggings but recently I came across a very reasonably priced alternative.

Flexx Fit have their range of Let's Go Higher leggings. They're perfectly stretchy and have that seamless appearance and are amazing for pulling you in at the mid-drift but stretchy enough not to be too tight on the rear. They also have a little concealed pocket at the back, perfect for your gym key! I own the Cranberry and Pearl grey and my sizing is XS even though I do wear a size 10 in jeans, I have a small waist and found that sizing down allows them to sit comfortably. One thing I would say though, is how my grey pair differ from my cranberry. The cranberry fabric seems much thicker and silkier? I'm not sure if they have changed the fabric (to the cranberry one) but I definitely approve and I must add, they're completely squat proof! They're so affordable too at £29.99 and they are currently in the sale you can pick them up here. I'm hoping they release more colours shortly I would love to get my hands on a navy blue style. But definitely let me know if you have any gym legging recommendations, as I do literally live in mine.

Love Laura 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Women Empowering Women

This has been playing on my mind a lot recently and it's about time I shared my thoughts and feelings about women empowerment. Throughout my life I have been compared constantly to other women, not just by men but by women too. Life can sometimes feel like a constant competition, the other girl's photos who the guy you're seeing is liking, the girls you sunbathe next to and the best dressed on a night out. But in my mind i'm no longer comparing, I'm appreciating them. 

Let's talk about the free weights area. So, my gym is probably 95% males in the free weights, most of the time i'm the only female in the weight area. But when another woman comes in to do her thing i'm wanting to applaud her. To say well done girl, you made it and keep going, not to be intimidated by anyone in that area. I know myself, when you first start lifting you begin to make comparisons: What are they lifting? Why are they doing it differently? Should I be wearing that? But we have to remember everyone is on a different journey, and progress for individuals should not be measured by the same stick. If you're a girl in the gym, don't feel intimidated that I'm hip thrusting twice my body weight. We all need to remember everyone starts somewhere and you're doing amazing by having the confidence to even go there. Because gyms can be intimidating enough, never mind what can seem like a very scary male dominated weight area. But go in, do your thing and smile to those doing their thing too and if you get the chance, admire their strength and congratulate them on lifting that weight!

However, we know it's not all that simple. Yes i've been subjected to derogatory comments from other women, from sniggers when I do my cable pull throughs. But why? I'm not competing with anyone but myself, so please don't make me feel uncomfortable on my own journey. It's sad that a minority of women can be cruel and my message to those is to remember everyone is on their own individual journey and you don't know anybody's story so please just be kind. My experience with some women has been very negative. Involving ex-boyfriends and girls making degrading comments about me in order to make themselves look better. But why? Why should you have to bad mouth someone else to make yourself feel better? Can't you accept your differences and celebrate one another? See, once women start to do it to each other, this is when men feel it's ok to do it to them too. I've learnt a thousand times over that my girls are more important than any man could be and when men see women sticking together amazing things happen. So to every women who has stuck up for other women, I applaud and thank you.  

I feel there are enough people in this world tearing us down. I love seeing women exercising together, admiring progress and encouraging one another. We don't need nasty comments or to be told to stop taking selfies or that we're too muscley. Social media can be brutal, but it also can be an amazing platform to find like minded women and build each other up on love and shared interests. For me it's been amazing to find girls following similar journeys and not to compare but applaud their journey's and when you mutually build each other up it's a fantastic feeling. To all those women who are constantly empowering others and celebrating each other's success I love you all!

Love Laura 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Kayla Itsines BBG | My Thoughts

If you're a female and you're interested in health and fitness, I'm sure you've heard about Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (BBG). It's basically a workout guide created by Australian P.T Kayla Itsines, which now consists of 2 guides with 12 weeks of workouts and a meal plan which you can purchase too. The workouts consist of plyometric exercises and body weight exercises, which aim to make you exert the maximum amount of energy over a short period of time. Each workout focuses on an area of the body (legs/arms and abs/ full body) and consists of 7 minutes of work 4x over, which is 28 minutes total workout time. Seems pretty easy and quite straightforward, I mean 28 minutes is nothing right? 

I will openly admit I loved the guides. I started the guides in around 2015 and saw my body massively transform to be a leaner version of myself (see above). This was great when I wanted to lose weight and have abs for my holiday. It also meant I was only having to commit around 4 days a week to exercise, 3 workouts and a HIIT or LIIS session, great for busy lives. However, after learning so much about exercise and how our muscles and bodies work It seems my views on the guide have changed. 

Kayla has a huge following and a big community of BBG girls, just try searching the hashtag 'BBG transformation' and you'll come across a huge following, with transformation pictures which speak for themselves. Don't get me wrong, the transformations are amazing and what some women have done with their bodies and overall health is amazing. Although, is this a sustainable lifestyle? The workouts are very intense on your body, even though it's under half an hour of actual work, the strain on your body is immense. For example, one workout may consist of jump lunges, skipping, burps, broad jumps, x-hops, along with weighted exercises. Yes you're exerting a huge amount of energy, therefore burning calories, but the strain on your body, muscles and chances of injury are huge. 

One of the biggest issues with the plan though is the diet plan. The amount of calories the plan suggests, for the high intensity workouts your doing is just ridiculous (i'm talking 1200 calories). I know for a fact that if you're committing to such high intensity workouts your body is going to need fuel to first of all do the workouts, but then to repair muscle and replenish energy supplies you've lost. The plans do not offer enough calories, therefore we enter muscle burning phase instead of fat burning. Which personally, when I shredded down on fat I noticed i'd lost muscle mass on my legs, due to the small amount of calories i'd been consuming. I thought that as i'd been using small weights, my muscles would be building up too but this wasn't the case. My body didn't have enough energy to sustain itself so was using my muscles in order to gain energy. The saddest thing is, I didn't realise this until I began to be more interested in weight lifting and began to follow personal trainers who specialised in this. 

So would I recommend this programme? I personally think the 2nd guide is better as there are less plyometric moves and more weight based exercises. However, I would strongly encourage you to look at other guides based around weight training, download the app 'aflete' and check our their guides instead. I'm not saying don't do BBG, it's great to lose fat, to get you into fitness and as a community it can be motivating. But please don't follow the diet plans, find out your macros and track instead to make sure you have enough energy to actually do the workouts. But if you are wanting to build muscle and to weight train, this isn't the best guide for you. I just want to conclude by saying this is just my opinion, from completing the guides and seeing those changes in my own body, ultimately you do never know until you try yourself. But if I help just one of you to make an informed decision about your fitness choices then my job's done.

Love Laura

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A Trip To The Lakes - Applegarth Villa

Applegarth Villa and Restaurant
Surprisingly the Lake District is somewhere I've never visited, even though I've travelled far, I feel I've neglected what's on my own doorstep. With it being my first visit I wanted absolute luxury and to enjoy a lovely, relaxing few days away. Which is when we came across Applegarth Villas. A beautiful boutique hotel, including newly opened hot tub suites with their own little sun terraces. Situated right in the centre of Windermere it was perfect for a walk to the local shops and restaurants and a 5 minute drive to the lakeside. 

We booked last minute and opted for a Luxury room with an amazing, colour changing jacuzzi bath and a TV with netflix (always a winner). All the rooms are different, which is a really nice touch, so whether you're looking for a 7-foot bed, 4 poster, hot tub or balcony they'll be something to take your fancy. The breakfast was beautiful too, with the cute little jam pots and perfectly cooked eggs. The staff were super friendly and very attentive, with our champagne flute requests and ice buckets. We also had an evening meal there one night, the food was amazing more like a 5 star restaurant, not your typical hotel dinner. 

All in all we had a lovely stay here. The hotel itself seemed very quite, we hardly saw anyone but the staff for the two nights we were there. If you're looking for a boutique hotel, with a great location and absolutely beautiful rooms this is your place. You can even take your dogs now too! Perfect for that break with your pooch in the lakes. 

Have you visited the lakes before? Can you recommend any luxury boutique hotels?

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Starting Out

Three different gyms, same selfie 

Fitness is a huge part of my lifestyle and I don't just do it for aesthetic benefits but to actually get the rush of endorphins in the gym, feeling better in my skin and reaping the benefits from a healthy lifestyle. First of all it's important to decide what your goals are. Do you want to build muscle? lose fat or do you just want to lead a healthier lifestyle, or all of the above. Understanding your goals and choosing a gym that helps you to achieve those goals is just one part of starting out.

Working out at home is great, you don't have to travel and you're in your own home comforts, however there's only so much you can do. Since I've been home from travelling, I've tried 4 gyms. 2 Xercise 4 Less, Bannatynes and an independent exclusive health club. One Xercise 4 less was amazing, huge weight sections, plenty of machines and big studios however the other the opposite. Small, cramped and I felt completely out of my comfort zone. The independent health club was Iveridge Hall, which I was kindly given a weeks pass to. It was great, lots of classes, outdoor area and super friendly staff. However, I didn't feel it would be suitable for my goals, yet seemed brilliant for someone who loves classes and boot camp style sessions. 

So 4 gyms and a lot of days later, I decided Bannatyne's was the one for me. Recently refurbished, with a great weights section which never gets too busy it seemed perfect for me. I also felt comfortable around the people training there. It's hard to judge a gym just by walking round, so always try out their day passes and try out for good deals. Price is also a big factor in the choice, however for me, joining a cheap gym where I didn't feel motivated to go was a bad choice. However, spending that little bit more for somewhere I enjoy going and spending time is a tiny sacrifice. So if you're starting out, be clear on your goals. Do you want a great weights section or good quality classes? Think about distance, nobody wants to travel in traffic just to get to the gym. Also, ask your friends. It's good to have a buddy to workout with for extra motivation. If you want to make these changes, it needs to be somewhere you feel comfortable. 

Have you tried a number of gyms before settling? What do you think about your own gym now?