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The importance of setting goals

One thing that I have learnt since I started taking my fitness seriously, is to never underestimate the importance of having a goal to focus on. Time after time I would aimlessly wander into the gym and do the same thing every day (cardio, of course) and wonder why I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted. I now know this was because I hadn’t considered a specific goal to focus on, and so I wasn’t working towards anything.

Since setting myself goals (both aesthetic and strength) I began to notice improvements with my body and mind. My long-term goals have been to improve my strength when lifting, strengthen my abs, and of course work on the booty. With these goals in mind, I started researching as to how I could achieve them. However, I do understand that it’s not as easy as that, with so much conflicting research it requires trial and error, but you will eventually find a way of achieving your goals that is best suited to you. With my long-term goals in mind, I will then make a mental note of what I want to achieve in the short-term to help my progress towards the goal e.g to deadlift/squat a certain weight.

If this method isn’t for you, you might consider setting yourself ‘SMART’ targets. This is a way to set a goal that encourages you to deconstruct your goal to make it more achievable;

Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time

Once you have a goal in mind you can begin to think about the ways in which you can achieve it, measure your progress, and keep on the right track to reaching your goal whilst ensuring it is manageable. The key thing here is how you interact with your goal – it’s something that you should be investing energy and focus into.

I know some people may think that having a goal takes the fun away from getting fit and staying healthy, but I love how flexible you can be with your goals. They can be long-term, short-term, generic, or specific, the important thing is to have something to work towards which will help you to see those results! My experience is that a goal helps to keep me motivated as I’m so determined to achieve it.

Setting yourself a goal also has other benefits, such as providing you with a sense of achievement, and helps you to keep track of your progress by forcing you to see how far you’ve come – something we could definitely all acknowledge and appreciate more!

To wrap this post up, if you’re not seeing the changes that you want to get I would seriously recommend coming up with a long-term goal or area to focus your efforts on, then work out how you are going to achieve this by setting attainable short-term goals to keep you in the right direction.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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We aren’t all self-obssesed…

Probably one of the most important blog posts that I’ve written, and I think this is something that needs to be said. Along with the fitness lifestyle comes the association that those who dedicate themselves to living this way, are self-centered, self-obsessed, and vain. Here’s why this simply isn’t the case.

First of all, I feel that there are far worse things that someone can dedicate their time to, and a healthy lifestyle is by no means one! This lifestyle is seriously misunderstood, and although it may appear that going to the gym frequently, being mindful of what you eat, and generally investing time in your own health and wellbeing, is ‘self-obsessed’, I question if this really is the case? Arguably, a healthy lifestyle is time-consuming and requires a degree of focus, but I don’t feel this warrants a person being considered ‘self-obsessed’ for trying to become a better version of themself. This to me is a fault in our society, that we feel the need to comment on another’s healthy lifestyle just because it is different to our own.

Having taken my fitness and health seriously in the past two years I have seen first-hand the benefits it can bring to your life, not only do you feel physically energised, stronger, and fitter, but I feel this way of life does wonders for your mental health. Exercise is a proven way to help better manage stress levels, it can also act as a distraction from anxious feelings as during your workout you are essentially practicing mindfulness by focusing on the present and forgetting about any worries.

However, in truth, I think the stereo-type manifests from what people see online, and by this, I mean certain Instagram accounts. Admittedly, Instagram is full of ‘progress pictures’ posted by fitness influencers and accounts, which involve sharing the physical progress that someone has made. This is where I feel confidence gets confused with arrogance. I understand the importance of progress pictures as, depending on your fitness goal, the scales only show an increase due to the muscle mass gained (especailly if you are into weightlifting). Therefore, progress pictures make a great solution for this as they give you a physical reference to compare against to see how you are doing in relation to your goals. Moreover, when you live, eat, and breathe this lifestyle it can be very hard to notice your own progress as often we can become so fixated on a goal that we forget to recognise the milestones that we have passed. Below are two progress pictures that I took. The righthand picture was taken in my first year of university, and the lefthand picture was taken towards the end of my second year. If I didn’t take these two pictures, I wouldn’t have recognised just how much my body has changed over the past two years.

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Personally, I see no wrong in sharing your achievements through progress pictures when it comes to fitness, as it is so much more than an ‘arrogant’ picture, it’s symbolic of the hours of time and effort that someone has put into this lifestyle, and this should only be encouraged.

I guess the main point of this post was to give an insight into the level of commitment required to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I feel this dedication should only be encouraged rather than tarnished as arrogant and self-obsessed.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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How to Stay Organised at Uni

Uni is 50% organisation and 50% hard work. If you manage to stay organised, and on top of essays, presentations, and exams…I can assure you, you will be fine!

What with exams only a few weeks away for most uni’s, I thought this post would be very relevant. It is crucial to stay organised, as there is so much you have to think about at uni, that it can get really overwhelming if you don’t. Although organisation can take some time to do, and feel like a chore at first, it soon becomes part of your routine. Also, the organisation helps you to work effectively which is definitely key when you’re trying to manage your time.

Here are a few of the ways that I stay organised at uni…

1.Plan your week

I do this using a desktop sticky-note app. I write down when my lectures are, what time I plan to go to the gym, and any other events or activities I have planned for the upcoming week. This really helps me to visualise what my week will be like so that I can allow extra time for things such as revision and coursework. As my lecture times are constant, I hardly have to update this so its a low maintenance way of staying organised!

2. Plan your mealsdiners

I discussed more on this in my post about how to stay healthy at uni, but I swear by it! I think there is nothing more important than a good diet when you’re wanting to perform well, and often round exams it can be a chore to spend time thinking about what to eat. To overcome this, I will plan my meals so that I know my body is getting the nutrition that it needs. Also, it’s cheaper to do this, as you’re not wasting food and you’re guaranteed to eat something healthy.

3. Write down all your goals before the week has begun

To me, this is the most important one, as it gives my week a sense of direction in terms of what I want to achieve. I also find this keeps me motivated, as I have a target that I can work towards. I will simply list all the things that I want to get achieved in the upcoming week. I list them all on sticky notes on my computer, so whenever I use my computer I’m reminded of what I need to do.

4. Make a revision timetable near exams

Call me the timetable queen :’) I’ve created so many of these, that I think I have an obsession.  Sometimes I’ll create a timetable of the content that I need to cover day by day, and other times I will create a more detailed timetable of everything I need to do in a particular time frame. The timetable below is the one I am currently going by to revise for my second-year uni exams.

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5. Utilise your uni breaks

Admittedly, the least appealing one here but, it will help you in the long-run! I’m not saying that you should do a 9-5 and study like crazy on your easter/Christmas break, however, you will feel more relaxed about things knowing that you have started to write an assignment due in, or started revision for an upcoming exam. It’s all about getting the balance between feeling refreshed on return to uni, but also having accomplished something to give you a head start for when things inevitably become more stressful.

Wishing you all the luck if you have exams or dissertations due,

Jazzy B ❤

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How to Feel Confident in a Gym

I completely get that Gyms can be scary places at times. There is nothing more intimidating than when you’re first starting out, and it feels like everyone else around you knows exactly what they’re doing, how to work everything, and you really don’t. But everyone feels like this initially, the key is to keep going. I’ll be sharing my tips on what makes me feel confident in the gym so you can get rid of those pre-gym nerves.

1. Realise that everyone has an equal right.

I know this sounds very simple, but once I realised that everyone in the gym pays the same amount as me, it gave me a sense of entitlement. When I first joined the gym, I found myself only sticking to cardio machines, such as the cross-trainer and treadmill, as I felt self-contained and like I wasn’t going to get in the way of those serious ‘gym-goers’. Then I realised I’m paying the same amount as everyone here, and so I’m just as entitled to use everything. This also applies to those who feel put off by the weights section…just go for it and stand your ground!

2. Plan your workout.

I think half of some of the trouble is not that people don’t know how they are going to complete their workout, it’s what this workout will entail. I never step foot into the gym unless I’m completely certain of what my workout will be, and how many sets/reps of each exercise I’m planning on completing. This gives me a sense of direction and allows me to get the most out of my gym session, plus it takes some of the stress out of thinking what to do next, as it’s all there in front of you. Typically, I’ll write my workout in the note section of my phone so I can refer back to the same workout whenever!

3. Wear something that makes you feel confident.

This could be your favourite pair of gym leggings, or some new trainers, or anything else that makes you feel good and ready to complete an amazing workout. I’m not saying that what you wear will get rid of the worries you have about the gym, but it certainly will help in making you feel good! I believe if you feel good within yourself, your self-confidence will follow.

4. Go with a gym partner

So many people do this, and I think it’s a great idea when you’re new to the gym and still figuring out how everything works, and what machines work best for you. Despite offering many benefits, such as providing motivation and checking your form, a gym buddy can help you to figure out how all the machines and equipment work. Also, this one will help if you want to venture into the weights section.

4. Focus on yourself.

Don’t forget why you go to the gym in the first place. For me, I’m there to better myself, to improve my health and fitness, and to become the best version of myself – don’t let anyone get in the way this. I really focus on the quality of my workout when I’m at the gym, my form, and so many other things, that often I lose track of my surroundings and drown out what everybody else is doing or saying. Also, I know it may feel like people stare in the gym, but they might actually be taking inspiration from your workout – just be confident in yourself ❤

I hope this has inspired some of you to join the gym, if this is the reason why you have been putting it off, and for those of you that already go, to have an amazing care-free session,

Jazzy B ❤

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Foodie Finds – December 2017

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and new year! To me, every Christmas has a different feel to it, this year it most certainly was a busy one spent with lots of family and friends…So busy in fact, I’m a bit late on posting this blog. Nonetheless, it’s here and packed full of goodies that I hope you want to give a go…

1) PHD nutrition protein bar 26829505_1777633395644245_1948590545_o

I’ve always wanted to try these bars, and I’m very glad I did. I tried the cookies and cream flavour which was so good. The macros are very good with 20g of protein per bar, and also it is low in impact carbs. For me, nothing can beat Grenade, although these are still well worth a try.

26828075_1777112902362961_1908502013_o2) Off the Eaten Path, pea and pinto bean sticks

Probably the best ‘healthy’ crisps I’ve tried. I found these in my local Sainsbury’s, they also have a good range of flavours to choose from, this pack is caramelised onion and balsamic vinegar. I love that they’re made out of something different other than potato, and plus the packaging is so cute!

3) Hike mince pie protein bar26735389_1777111982363053_1243747164_o

Personally, I wouldn’t describe this as a protein bar, it’s more like a natural fruit bar as its made mostly out of dates. Each bar contains 10.5 g of protein, which is fairly low compared to some of the others. But… If you like mince pies, then you can’t fault the flavour of this bar!

 

26772527_1777527892321462_1234427835_o4) Bulk powders honeycomb malted chocolate

One of THE best flavour of protein powder that I have tried. Bulk powders definitely need to make this a permanent one in their collection, as it tastes amazing. Unlike others flavours, this one really did taste like what it says on the packaging, it’s just a shame that it’s limited edition, otherwise I would definitely be placing another order!

5) Sweet Freedom caramel choc shake26828247_1777670438973874_1000653239_o

You know you’ve made a good milkshake when you just can’t put it down, this new product from sweet freedom is a milkshake game-changer. I love that it’s so quick and simple to make, and literally only requires you to mix a tablespoon of the chocolate into some milk. Also, it tastes even better when you forth the milk! I’ve noticed they do a banana flavour, which I will be giving a go.

 

26782094_1777673552306896_1147944537_o6) Moser Roth Salted caramel dark chocolate

Becuase what would Christmas foodie finds be without a bit of chocci involved?! Seriously this stuff is amazing, the dark chocolate and salted caramel go so well together…I think I’m addicted!

 

 

7) Wholewheat noodles 26828352_1777663452307906_1527648070_o

I picked these up from Tesco recently, and they’re fab. They only take 6 minutes to cook (either stir-fry or boil) and when flavoured well, they make the perfect addition to a stir-fry. Noodles are so great to incorporate into your diet as they are high in protein, and vegan-friendly, what with ‘veganuary’ now in full swing!

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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Cooking with Quorn

If you couldn’t tell already from my Instagram page, I am OBSESSED with Quorn. I think they offer such as a large variety of meat-free substitutes, that it makes it so much easier to stop/reduce your meat consumption.Whenever I talk to people about cooking with Quorn, they’re always a bit skeptical. So this blog post is for those of you who are unsure as to how to incorporate this fabulous food into your diet.

There are so many advantages to cooking with Quorn, a few include:

  • Cheaper than meat
  • lower in saturated fat than meat
  • very versatile – can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • high fibre content
  • guilt free

Cooking with Quorn is so simple. I love the innovations that the company is always coming out with, they now even do a whole vegan range. Also, they have bacon, chicken slices for sandwiches and snacks such as scotch eggs and cocktail sausages (which taste amazing!) It makes committing to these dietary choices so much easier, knowing that you can still have something that will provide you with protein, and far less saturated fat per serving.

Cooked BreakfastIMG_6755

Who doesn’t love a nice cooked brekkie?! For me, veggie sausages make a cooked breakfast SO much better, you also don’t feel bad for eating them as they a great in terms of macros. Plus, they make the best sausage sandwiches.

 

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Roast Dinner

A nice Sunday roast with all the trimmings, please. Yep, still possible with Quorn. On my roast, I will have a Quorn chicken fillet with everything else that usually goes on a roast! Also, it makes cooking a roast far easier if you only have to put a Quorn chicken fillet in the oven.

Spaghetti Bolognese24321736_1727072897366962_2087718851_o

This is a classic midweek winner, that you don’t have to miss out on if you’re vegetarian.  According to the Quorn website, when this dish is made with Quorn mince, it contains 90% less saturated fat than regular mince! When I make this dish for friends or family…I always tell them it’s made with real mince,  and half the time they don’t even notice 😉

24818822_1730014770406108_37254609_oChicken Curry

Curry is another classic that I couldn’t live without.  Quorn chicken pieces are great in curries, and reduce the cooking time by a lot…a win-win ;). The recipe for this red lentil and chicken curry dish can be found here, I highly recommend this as a mid-week dish as it is so easy and cheap.

 

As you become used to cooking with Quorn, you’ll realise that the possibilities are endless, you don’t have to stick to vegetarian recipes either, as Quorn work perfectly when subbed into recipes that would normally contain meat. Thank you for reading, and I hope I’ve inspired you to give Quorn products a go, even if it is only for one meal per week,

Jazzy B ❤

 

Recipies, Treats

Chai Spiced Banana Bread

Yep. It’s another banana bread recipe because I love it so much! This time, I’ve spiced it with all of the warming flavors from a chai latte such as ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

This is refined sugar-free and doesn’t use any butter also, I’ve added spelt flour which has many benefits such as stimulating the immune system and encouraging healthy digestion. What I like most about this recipe is that it’s not too sweet, unlike traditional banana bread, which allows for the spice combinations to be tasted.

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Chai spiced banana loaf, topped with pecans, walnut halves and a drizzle of honey.

Ingredients

Dry mix:

  • 65g oats blitzed into a flour
  • 80g of spelt flour
  • 1.5 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of ginger
  • 1.5 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp of mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Wet mix:

  • 2.5 very ripe bananas
  • 2.5 tbsp of honey
  • 1/3 of a cup of milk
  • 1/4 of a cup of melted coconut oil

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Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and grease a loaf tin with coconut oil
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, mash the banana until they form a pulp, then add the eggs, vanilla extract, coconut oil and milk
  4. Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry and fold together
  5. Pour the batter into the loaf tin, and top with slices from the leftover banana, and pecans and a drizzle of honey
  6. Place in the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean

Tip: if the pecans start to brown too much, then place tinfoil over the loaf tin.

Nutritional Info

serves 12, per slice

  • Calories – 121
  • Carbs – 17.9
  • Fat – 4.35
  • Protein – 2.8

I hope you enjoy this autumnal take on a classic treat,

Jazzy B ❤