All posts by gb-admin

Food and exercise during your period

Food and exercise during your period

I get lots of questions about strength training or cardio during your period and what is recommended or what is the best to do.

Firstly, as you all know I’m not a certified trainer so any advice is just that and before taking ANY advise, particularly if you are new to exercise, have any underlying illness or are planning on are are pregnant, you must speak to you GP before embarking on any new program.

Now, all the boring stuff is out of the way, what does our cycle actually mean and how we can plan more effective programs around our period.

EXERCISE DURING YOUR PERIOD

Day 1-7

Progesterone is low and estrogen is low. Try strength training but don’t over-exert. Most people feel quite weak on day 1 and day 2, in particular. During this time in our cycles, we have a higher pain tolerance and a quicker recovery time BUT we are also more injury-prone.  Yikes.

Day 8-13

Our levels of both progesterone and estrogen is higher. We can increase our cardio and HIIT or interval training like sprints and jump squats. Throw in some free weights or a kettlebell too to keep up your strength levels. Your body looks and feels good now so it’s time to push and challenge yourself!

Day 14 &15

This is the time of ovulation for most people. Estrogen is at its highest- time to build some lean muscle and stay in tune with your body- think Pilates or Yoga! Levels of both progesterone and estrogen are even higher.

Day 16-24 (ish!)

Progesterone is now at its highest and your estrogen levels will have dropped. Think lighter aerobic activities, like a simple hike or swim or body weight exercises with slower movements. Your body prefers fat as opposed to glycogen so try working out at lower intensities.

FOOD TO DURING YOUR PERIOD

Always an unwelcome or unwanted visitor each month BUT a sign of a good healthy body! Keep those hormones in check with some of the following foods and lay off the caffeine, too much sugar or processed foods as they will make you feel like death;

Kale, oranges, salmon, brocolli, dark chocolate, chai tea, bananas, watermelon- all super foods to help you feel a little more human on those days you feel a lot less than.

TIPS:

  • Increase your water intake and avoid salty foods!
  • Try supplementing with chromium the week of your period to help stabilise blood sugar.
  • Add magnesium to your night-time routine to ensure you have more rested sleep and to help keep you asleep at night.
  • Try to opt for homemade treats like these to beat any nasty cravings!
Surviving or thriving

Top Tips for Healthy Living

People often feel overwhelmed trying to balance life, work, loved ones, fun, holidays, and endless to-do lists.

HOW, you ask, am I also expected to eat HEALTHILY???

You see, timing isn’t really the thing here.

Priorities are.

I speak to lots of people who say they are too busy to cook or too busy to opt for something healthier when they do have time to watch two or three episodes of a favourite series on a given night.

Sound familiar?

I get that people (I am 100% guilty of this!) are often too busy so end up grabbing something on the run- nibbles, protein bars, processed snacks…

But realistically, if this is happening as your ‘norm’ something has to give. And your health should always be pretty high up on your to do list. You need energy and your health to look after  yourself and your loved ones.

Here are some simple ways you can start to become a little more self-centred in a very good and healthy way- in order for you to start feeling as BEST you can:

1. Drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Get up in the morning and start your day with a pint of water. End your day with at least a 250 ml glass of water and you’re a third of the way there! Carry the rest on your bag and swig as needed!

2. Carry healthy snacks. If the temptation is there and you’re not prepared, you will find it harder to resist. Carry almonds, nut butter, rice cakes, dark chocolate, fruit, greek yoghurt etc…

3. Eat breakfast. It sets you up for the day and will keep you focused, less likely to crave caffeine and sugar all day for energy and it will help balance your blood sugar if it contains a good mix of protein and fat!

4. Add green veggies to every meal. And mix it up. Think courgetti with green beans and some spinach- all tossed in garlic and olive oil. YUM!

5. Avoid sauces where possible. Keep it simple instead. Olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Delicious.

6. Don’t be afraid of fat. Fat is needed by all of our cells. It is not optional. It is a requirement.

7. Supplement. Very few people actually get the correct amount of micros and macros for their needs on a daily basis. For example, if you are taking a contraceptive pill, you should be supplementing with a decent b complex. The pill depletes your levels of vitamin b. Scary stuff.

8. Take breaks. Go for a walk, get some air, go for a coffee, listen to a podcast, read a book. Whatever your ‘thing’, go do it.

9. Love yourself. Go easy on yourself. Be gentle on yourself.

10. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, think nice thoughts and value your word. If they don’t deserve you, don’t stoop to their level.

Notice that the last three of these aren’t even about food or nutrition.

Just you taking care of #1.

X

hiit training for fat loss

HIIT for fat loss

Hands up who HATES cardio?!

MEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

So always keen to hear how time can be cut in half but maximize efficiency and output/results.

Hello HIIT.

HIIT is basically high-intensity interval training, a form of cardio intervals of all-out exercise, like sprinting or fast-paced body weight work with recovery periods of either low-intensity exercise, such as walking at a slow pace, or total rest. It’s a huge change from cardio, as we know it, that being continuous steady-state, slow-and-steady  at a moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes.

Nope.

Give me HIIT any day over steady state  cardio (despite me getting the odd notion that I can run from time to time obvs).

So what are the benefits you say?

Well, for one, your workouts will be shorter, and you’ll have improved cardiovascular fitness AND better results in less time.

Originally developed for elite athletes to improve performance, HIIT has exploded into the world of fitfammers and has been adopted by PT’s globally due to evidence-based research and sound scientific reasoning with excellent results to boot!

Less time, more efficient ways to move your body turn your body into a fat-burning machine for up to 24 hours after your workout!

Getting the timing right…

Now the trick is that during the high intensity periods, you don’t just pick up the pace a little- you go all-out. During rest periods, you slow the pace substantially (usually keeping the muscles moving) and then give it hell for leather again.The suggested times for your workouts are only a guiding light- everybody works at a different pace but usually a good place to start is 20 sec on, 40 seconds off, totally a minute each time. Ie you could do 10 minutes HIIT on your bike but actually it’s only 20secs x 10 mins = 200 secs = 3.33 minutes of exercise! Ideally you’d incorporate some form of HIIT 2-4 times per week and increasing your exercise or active time vs your rest time when you feel more capable.

 

Examples of exercises you could try as part of your HIIT program are:

– Jump Squats

– Air Bike

– Sprints

-Sprinting on the spot

– Skipping

– Burpees

– Jumping Jacks

-Squats

Example of a Program you could try at Week 4 of this kind of Training (if you already train!):

15-minute-HIIT-workout

The list is endless and is up to you what type of movement you chose but do try and keep it as challenging as possible. For example, I love jumping jacks as I find them easy but I tend to do more of the ski machine in my gym as I really feel the burn. That or static bike. PUKE.

So why not give your workouts a supercharge and finish each session with 10 minutes of heart-pumping HIIT? You will see results in next to no time and you will leave the gym with a glowy (sweaty!) face and a happy mind…

Trust me

X

Sunsweet 2

Prun-tein Energy Balls with Sunsweet

I’m constantly looking for little wins in my day-to-day nutrition plan.
Some foods might have a reputation of a less than ‘sexy’ name but do not underestimate this handy little food for its yummy taste and notable health benefits to boot! From helping improve bone density to acting as a natural appetite suppressor, these are my new secret weapon…

Sunsweet 3

What caught my eye was the fact that an average portion of 4/5 of these little bad boys is only 100kcals. Not that I’m too bothered by calorie counting, as you guys know, but worth keeping in mind! So rather than nibble on (let’s be honest) boring rice cakes, I’ve started nibbling on some prunes dipped in crunchy nut butter- in a word…DIVINE!!! They have even become my go-to cinema snack!

Known for their (emmm….) help in ‘aiding’ digestion of food to our colon, these sneaky little jewels also pack a mean punch for the following health benefits:

They can improve bone health- rich in calcium and vitamin D.
They are also rich in magnesium (which held us sleep and relaxes our muscles), boron, copper, vitamin K (blood clotting!) and potassium (nervous system and blood pressure regulation).
They are high in fibre – 3g per serving-(something us ladies really need to improve on!)

Despite their sweet taste, they are actually low in terms of their glycemic index and load meaning your body doesn’t go crazy with elevated blood sugar levels (and they are absorbed slowly by the body too!) when you eat them. I always tell my readers and followers to try and incorporate a healthy fat or protein when eating any sweet foods, but you don’t need to be worried when it comes to eating prunes in terms of your blood sugar response, if eaten in moderation.

Sunsweet 4

How I use prunes in my day to day food plan is either eating them straight out of their packaging dipped in nut butter OR I use them as a really nutritious sugar replacement for making snack bars, protein balls, cookies or anything yummy, homemade and delicious. In terms of savoury food, I also use them in stir fries to add a little natural sweetness and chopped into teeny chunks on top of my porridge in the morning- and if you let it sit for a while, they go a little gooey and kind of syrupy which is HEAVEN…
In general, they are super easy to cook or prep with- and are in essence an alternative to fat/sugar in your recipes. I’ve swapped out my dates for any of my sweeter recipes now as believe it or not dates have a much higher sugar content than prunes!

Here’s one of my favourite little prune recipes for you to try- ideal for lunch boxes, office tea breaks and on-the-go! You can also find loads of other tasty ways to incorporate these sweet little jewels into your diet here.
Prun-tein Balls

Prep Time: 10-15 mins

Ingredients
3/4 cup almonds or cashews
1 cup Sunsweet® Pitted Prunes, chopped
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp raw cacao
Scoop Lean Whey Protein Powder
2 tbsp crunchy almond butter
1 1/4 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
*Optional 50g 85% dark chocolate, melted
Instructions
1. Blitz almonds in a food processor until mixed well but not fully ground.
2. Add the chopped prunes, protein powder, chia seeds, cocoa powder and almond butter and pulse until well mixed together.
3. Add in your melted coconut oil and pulse until your mix holds well together as you will be forming it into little balls.
4. Roll into little balls- I recommend about a spoonful for one ball.
5. Roll the little balls in your coconut or in some melted chocolate.
6. Pop them onto greaseproof paper- just to avoid getting too messy with the dark chocolate and you can eat them in about 45 minutes-ish-
7. Try not to eat the whole batch like I always do with my other half eek! If, and I do mean IF they last that long, pop them into an air-tight container and off you go :)

NOTE: Refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes to set. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Approx 100 kcals per ball!

Sunsweet 1

If you’re anything like me, take it that you will eat at least 4 or 5 though oops!

Enjoy

X
NOTE:
This is a paid post in collaboration with Sunsweet® but I genuinely LOVE this product :)

mango smoothie

My new daily habit to beat fatigue

We can all feel tired of our day to day schedule quite easily, particularly if it’s been a while since you took a break and stopped the hectic running around, in lieu of some well-needed downtime.

I, for one, am really terrible at relaxing- I almost feel guilty on the days I chose to do ‘nothing’ and can find myself taking everyone and everything way too seriously when I keep this up for a few weeks in a row.

Sona, Ireland’s oldest and largest producer of vitamin and mineral supplements has over 33 years’ experience in formulating some really great quality vitamins and herbal remedies. They seemed to sense that I was stressed and tired and in need of a boost with their spidey supplement sixth sense to see where and how they could help!

s137a-somega-adults

They approached me to try their new SOMEGA 3 Smoothie fish oils, ideal for women leading a busy lifestyle who needs a little boost in terms of their general fatigue, feeling tired etc, and to sharpen their focus and concentration.

I jumped at the chance, so for the next two months, each morning, I’m going to try their recommended 1 tablespoon of SOMEGA 3 Smoothie fish oils which (so Sona tell me!) contains my 100% RDA of Omega 3. They also contain vitamin b12, folic acid and d12 which help with stress levels, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and PMS. Yikes. Where have you been all my life!? Oh and to flag, they don’t repeat at all on you and they taste like a gorgeous mango smoothie or cocktail which you can take directly or mix with your porridge or smoothie.

mango

For any of you out there interested in giving this a try too, you can grab you SOMEGA 3 Smoothie fish oils at pharmacies nationwide. They are also ideal for anyone looking to conceive and indeed those who are already pregnant as they contain DHA which has been found to be essential for both neuroulogical and early visual development for your baby!

I’ll report back as to how I’m doing over the coming months or you can follow my journey over on @gymbunnydublin on Instagram.

 

NOTE:
This is a paid post in collaboration with Sona.

getting-back-on-track-

Onwards and upwards- how to get back on track

The snow has literally turned the whole country into carb-craving zombies who want to stay inside and never leave the couch…or maybe that’s just me.

And this is taking into account that the snow has now melted AND it’s about 10 degrees celsius today. So why aren’t we counting down the days to summer…?

Well, I can only talk for myself but work has been a little crazy, which, for me, usually means less sleep or disrupted sleep patterns. This in turn makes our poor brains crave sugar as our cortisol levels are elevated when we don’t sleep and we crave the bad goodies.

So what, pray tell, can we do to reverse science?

Well, we can start with tracking our steps, either on our phones or our FitBit, trying to aim for approximately 10k each day. I work in an office and usually mine sticks at around 8k only but I’m tracking on my phone and I don’t always carry it with me! It has made me more conscious to take the stairs though :)

Secondly, to mitigate those terribly poor sleeping patterns try taking a good magnesium supplement before sleep, about 1 hour before you hit the sack. Better still, have  a bath with magnesium salts and soak up as much as you can!

Next up you want to make sure you are staying hydrated- brain fog anyone?!- and eating regularly so you don’t end up depending on sugary drinks or caffeine to stay awake.

Start your day with a high fat, high protein breakfast to keep any cravings at bay and try supplementing with chromium for about 1-2 weeks (around when you  have your period v when you start having any PMS symptoms) to help balance your blood sugar levels.

Allow yourself a treat too at the weekends or your poor brain will be driven demented- BUT only if your health professional recommends you to do so. Some people who are on a fat loss program due to pre-diabetes or obesity may need to restrict sugar completely until they reach a healthy body fat %. Always consult your GP in these kinds of cases.

Try and avoid eating out too often- I’m terrible at this and have a big appetite so it can be hard to know what’s in your food and sometimes when enough is enough- yikes!

Try and get outside for at least 20 minutes each day to move around, stay active and get some vitamin d. When  our immune system is down, we are more likely to crave sugar, which leads to further inflammation which makes us more likely to get sick. Why brain WHY!

Finally, I also find, if budget allows it, that booking a little sunny break gives us all something to stay motivated for. It doesn’t have to cost the sun moon and stars either! I booked Villamoura in Portugal for mid-April for a few days to train and eat nice fresh sea food and accommodation for four days was just €120 (between two!)  flights around €140 each so an easily justifiable few days for me :)

Any excuse eh?

X

 

Woman exercising at home

Snow Day = Inside Gym Time

We’ve all started off super excited that we can work from home and stay inside and only go out when absolutely necessary.

BUT when you’re like me and can’t drive even in normal weather and your car is a little banger, taking to the the roads would be suicide!

So, rather than put any of us in danger, here is a little at-home exercise program for a snow day, a no going out day and a cabin-fever break from your annoying loved ones!

WARM UP

30 Sec Sprint on the Spot

20 Jumping Jacks

PROGRAM

15 Burpees

20 Squat Jumps

12 Full Push ups

24 Jump Lunges

20 Full Sit Ups

Repeat x 4 (sec rest in between)

Happy Snow Day

X

spoon with dietary supplements on fruits background

A little boost for your immune system

Wondering how to keep the nasty bugs at bay?

EVERYONE seems to be sick at the moment- at work, friends, family…and sometimes, when we are so caught up in work and life in general, we tend to forget to take a good vitamin or mineral supplement.

I have two stashes of all of my ‘usuals’- one in my work bag and one at home. I always start the day with a mineral supplement like Quinton Tonic or Revive and literally flit between the two depending on how I’m feeling or what time of the month it is!

I then have my breakfast (usually eggs, ham, veggies or just eggs and coffee!) and follow that with fish oils probiotics and a good multivitamin (I flit between a few brands actually now!).

As I said, I find keeping an extra stash in my work bag (particularly like Berocca or pure vitamin C) really handy for an afternoon pick-me-up at work that is much kinder at 3pm than a large americano!

At night then I drift off with some magnesium and some casein for a gentle ease into a good night’s sleep.

The above works for me and I rarely get sick to be honest. If there is a flu going around I take some pure vitamin C and creatine (just a small dose- like half a scoop) and I’ve found it definitely helps keep me feeling tip top!

None of these are ADs- I genuinely love and use these products and they come highly recommended by my boyfriend and family who have all started using them too (and who lead active but very different lifestyles!).

It’s time to start feeling 150%- give it a go…

X

*Note I’m not a qualified Nutritionist and am merely passing on some tips I feel work for me. Always talk to your GP before taking any new supplements particularly if you suffer from a chronic illness or are pregnant or trying to conceive.

blueberry protein pancakes

Blueberry Protein Pancakes

Juicy, warm, gooey and satisfying- oh and guilt-free for anyone trying to be a little cleaner this Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Tuesday.

Ingredients:

1 scoop vanilla protein

3 egg whites

1/2 cup oats

1/2 medium ripe banana

1/2 cup blueberries

2tsp baking powder

 

Method:

  1. Place the uncooked oats into a blender until it resembles flour.
  2. Add the eggs, banana, protein and blend until smooth.
  3. Chuck in the berries using a spoon.
  4. Place a pan on medium heat and scoop out about 2 tbsp per pancake
  5. Cover pancakes as they cook to ensure the middle is all cooked through. They should take about a minute on the first side then about half a minute on the flip side.
  6. Serve with 0% Fage Greek yoghurt and a trickle of honey.

 

Enjoy

X

 

gymbunydublin running tips

Hate Running? Me TOO!

If you hate running, you are in good company right about here lads.

I huff and I puff and I get relatively nowhere.

You see, weights for me as easy peasy. I enjoy the challenge of lifting heavier and testing myself. Cardio, on the other hand, I could take or leave…

So when my coach Chris said he wanted me to start running I was NOT impressed, but actually, would you believe I am already seeing lots of nice changes in myself since he ramped up the dreaded cardio…

This is what I’ve noticed:

  1. I’ve shaved time off my rowing and don’t feel as breathless
  2. I started running with no headphones and find it WAY easier. Typically I’d have to run to Prodigy or very up tempo dance tracks but when a song came on that I didn’t like, I tended to slow my pace. No music, no problem. In fact I like that it makes me clear my head properly with no distraction now except my breath.
  3. I run at night. Mostly because I hate other people seeing me run. Yeah. yeah I know. But I also hate running behind someone or having other people run behind me. Empty footpaths are my new therapy.
  4. I feel more trim, a little tighter and my mood is better. 3 pretty important changes.
  5. I’m actually starting to LIKE running. I know- who am I???

 

Now don’t go getting any fancy notions of me running a marathon, but I do like the changes I’m seeing- and hoping to see some nice changes in my legs too as that’s where I have the most difficulty in stripping body fat, regardless of how much weight training sessions I do- WAH!

Do you have any running tips for me?

X