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‘Beach body’ ready – is there such a thing?

First of all, I would just like to say that getting ‘summer ready’ shouldn’t be your only focus when it comes to going on holiday and enjoying your summer. I think we are so quick to focus on getting ‘bikini ready’ these days, rather than looking forward to the actual holiday itself. Remember, you’re on holiday too, you have every right to be carefree and body confident! However, I do understand the desire to want to look and feel your best when on holiday, especially as for most of us in the UK, it’s the one time in the year that we can whip out the sassy swimwear ;).

I set myself a goal, 4 weeks prior to my holiday, to work on defining my abs more, whilst keeping the progress that I had already made (the struggles :’). I didn’t want to drop my calorific intake too much, as I think I’ve found my maintenance level, but I did want to make my abs more defined. In order to achieve this, I increased the amount of cardio by doing treadmill sprints for 10-15 minutes for one session, stairmaster for another, and LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) for my final cardio session. Also, I included supersets on leg day (where you perform two exercises back to back) which really increases the intensity, and therefore the number of calories burned. Another thing I aimed to do, was to ensure I was snacking on healthy foods. For example:

  • Avocado on brown toast
  • Greek yoghurt and berries
  • 30g of oats mixed with a scoop of whey protein
  • Fruit
  • A handful of nuts
  • Banana and nautral peanut butter on toast

Below are a few tips that I would recommend if you wanted to shape up, however I do believe this should be something that is done way in advance of your holiday, as short-term weight loss plans are often so drastic and unattainable.

1) Are you actually hungry?

Our bodies are very clever when we are dehydrated at tricking us into feeling hungry when in actual fact we are thirsty. If you think you’re hungry you might actually be thirsty, have a drink and wait 10 minutes, if you’re still hungry after treat yourself to some food (healthy, of course ;))!

2) Increase your cardio

The thought of doing cardio is not as bad once you’re actually sprinting for your life, and the endorphins are keeping you company :’). HIT is the best for using up those energy reserves and helping you to get your sweat on!

3) Diet is key

Eating a healthy and nutrituos meals will do wonders for your wasitline! It really is that simple – eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and snack healthy and you will be well on your way!

I don’t think that there is anything wrong with working towards getting your body ready to a point that you feel body confident, as I state in my blog post all about setting yourself a goal – this is a perfect example of that, and can be a good motivation. But what I do believe, is that we should go about this in a healthy and sustainable way, besides there is far more to life (and holidays) than looking good in a bikini. Be confident, be happy, and enjoy your summer break,

Jazzy B ❤

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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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Foodie Finds – June 2018

Thank you, UK for actually giving us a nice summer this year! This is the first summer that I’m actually thankful that I’ve booked a holiday for later in the year, so to make the most of this lovely weather! Overall, June has been a pretty good month…and not a bad football score either (not including the recent match… still all to play for yet! :’)). Also, I’m currently on my summer break from uni, so stay tuned for some interesting blog posts. Let’s get into this months foodie finds…

1) Livias Kitchen Nugglets36357148_2012027658871483_2468014707953369088_n

Probably my favourite Livias kitchen product that I’ve tried! I love the raw chocolatey flavour that they have and that they have no refined sugars in them. They are coated in chocolate also, making them so tasty.  I would definitely give them a go if you are looking for a healthier alternative to satisfy your sweet cravings! If you’re looking to buy these, I got mine from Sainsbury’s, but Boots also sell them.

36224627_2012028325538083_1544847028532543488_n.jpg2) Tesco Naan Crackers

I am so obsessed with these things, and I’m not sure why as they aren’t exactly anything special :’) They literally are crackers that taste like Naan bread…I think it’s because I love the flavours of Indian cuisine (especially naan bread) so these were bound to be a winner from the start. I have tried both the multiseed naan crackers and the tandori crackers and both are divine. For £1.35 I would give them a go, and see if you become as obsessed as I am :’)

3) Pikelets36320218_2012027678871481_2544576571633565696_n.jpg

I had never heard of these before and had to give them a try. They are a cross between a pancake and a crumpet but taste more savoury than a pancake with the texture of a crumpet. Overall, I’d say they are very plain tasting but the concept is novel!

 

36258397_2012027892204793_3033838703165308928_n4) Hartleys Cloudy Jelly 

I saw these in Tesco and as the flavours sounded different I wanted to try them out! I picked up the raspberry lemonade and the elderflower lemonade flavours. My favourite flavour was definitely the elderflower one as it wasn’t too sweet, but both make perfect summery flavours.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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Foodie Finds – May 2018

Where is this year going?! It is crazy to think I have nearly finished my second year at uni! With that being said, I am more than ready to have a break! :’) I managed to find some unusual treats this month such as Mochi, cacao nibs, and edamame pasta. Here are my foodie finds for May;

33691138_1961611787246404_8929202309343215616_n1) Bulkpowders Chocolate Orange Cookie

Yum. This is a soft protein cookie, containing over 27g of protein, that tastes so good! I love the chocolate and orange combo so this was bound to be a winner for me, but if that’s not your thing they also do a white chocolate and raspberry cookie. If you like soft cookies, you will love this. It costs £2.49 for one cookie, and although this may seem a bit pricey you do get a lot of protein for that…think of the macros! 😉

2) Sunwave Mochi Assortment33661822_1961612090579707_3655008531716767744_n

I first had Mochi ay Yosushi! and I honestly loved it so much I had to get some more. I actually bought this from Amazon (Here is the link if you’re curious ;)). The flavours here were red bean, peanut, and sesame.

Although this isn’t as nice as fresh Mochi, it still resembles it very well. I think I like this so much because it is the weirdest food I have ever had as the texture is so strange and chewy! Mochi is a soft ball of ground rice which is typically filled with a red or black bean centre and dusted with either cocoa powder, matcha powder, or potato starch. It originates from Japan, where they value the texture just as much as the flavour, which is what makes it so unique!

33657762_1961611887246394_350614015916900352_n3) Bulkpowders Wholemeal and Oat  Bagel

I love this idea of a high-protein carb, as it makes post-workout snacks so much easier! You get four in a pack, which costs £3.49, and each bagel has over 21g of protein. However, they are quite dry if you were to eat them without toasting them and topping them with something tasty. Nonetheless, I would get them again just because it makes life easier! I topped my bagel with almond butter, banana slices, desiccated coconut and cacao nibs.

4) Livias Kitchen Raw Millionaire Bites33464576_1961611797246403_1088987952878452736_n

These are so dreamy! They are chocolate orange flavoured mini brownies, with an oat base, a date ‘caramel’ centre and are topped with a raw chocolate brownie. Healthy alternatives to unhealthy treats are the best, especially when they taste as good as this. You get three in a pack, and although they are quite small they are very rich and so this makes them perfect to satisfy your sweet cravings!

33830480_1961611973913052_4659049895565459456_n5) Edamame Pasta

I actually posted a recipe for this last week using mackerel, olives, tomatoes, and lots of others yummy ingredients. If you want to check that out, I’ll link it here. You can get this spaghetti virtually anywhere now such as Holland & Barrett, Tesco, and Aldi (where I get mine from costing £1.99). It’s so versatile you can literally sub it for pasta if you’re looking to up the protein and lower the carbs of any dish. Other kinds of spaghetti similar to this include soybean and black bean, which both taste equally as good!

6) Bulkpowders Organic Cacao Nibs33766983_1961611920579724_966858865599578112_n

I promise this post isn’t sponsored by Bulkpowders…they just had a very good sale on at the time I placed my order :’). Although they do sound a lot like cow nips, these are actually a raw, chocolate superfood. They come from the seeds of the fruit of the cacao tree. In terms of antioxidants, they have more than green tea, blueberries, and goji berries also, they are rich in sulfur and magnesium. A lot of people get confused between cocoa and cacao, so to clarify cacao is a more natural form of the cacao bean, that undergoes less processing than cocoa which dramatically increases the nutritional benefits. So cacao nibs are just one form that cacao beans can take. I will top my porridge with them or add them to Greek yoghurt for an intense chocolate hit.

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 – February 2018

My foodie find for February, 2018! This month sees lots of goodies (mainly cookies and biscuits :’) ).  I hope you enjoy ❤

1) Weetabix ProteinIMG_1257

If you’re a fitness freak who loves their Weetabix, then this is the one for you! The taste is exactly the same, but with added wheat protein making achieving those macros a lot easier. This tastes great with blueberries, banana, and peanut butter. Also, unlike a lot of cereals, this one is very low in sugar.

IMG_12992) Alpen Jaffa Cake bars

Jaffa cakes have always been my weakness …apparently, I used to hide boxes of them under my bed as a child, like a dirty little Jaffa secret! :’D. But Jaffa cakes and fitness certainly don’t go hand-in-hand, so I was very pleased when I discovered these. They’re only 70 calories per bar and actually taste like Jaffa Cakes.

3) Aldi Brown Lentil SupermixIMG_1267

I actually only picked this up as an alternative to Quorn mince, but really enjoyed it! It contains brown lentils, peppers, red onion, and tomato. It’s such a versatile product and can be added to any dish to up the micronutrients and the protein. Also, I love the fact that its pre-flavoured, making meal times that bit easier. I used this to flavour up my Buddha bowl, but I think this would also taste amazing in a wrap, too!

IMG_15384) Siro Sugar-Free Biscuits

 

These are like guilt-free hobnobs, what is not to like? Don’t let the fact that they are sugar free put you off…they are so moreish and make a great sweet treat. Also, I noticed this brand has some other fab sugar free foods such as cookies and digestives…count me in!

 

 

5) Quest Lemon Cream Pie BarIMG_1385

Personally, I find Quest bars so hit-and-miss, and this one was definitely a miss! It tasted like lemon bathroom cleaner, and so I definitely do not recommend this flavour! I think its best to stick to chocolate flavours where Quest is concerned!

 

 

IMG_14706) Battle Oats Protein Cookie

Amazing. This has the texture and flavour of a regular cookie and contains 10g of protein too #winning ;). It tasted SO good, you need to treat yourself to this!

 

 

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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Foodie Finds – January 2018

Finally, January is drawing to a close (I swear January feels like it lasts forever!). I hope you’re still smashing those new years resolutions!? Start how you mean to go on 😉 Here are my favourite goodies that I found this month, hopefully, there is something in here that you’d like to try!

1) Cashew butter 27606311_1804433356297582_1207497849_o

There are so many nut butters available it’s starting to make peanut butter look boring! I found this in my local Tesco for £2.50 which is not a bad price at all! They also do a crunchy version, if that is your thing. I love how sweet this tastes, compared to peanut butter. It tastes even better when on some toast topped with banana and blueberries.

2) Somebody Watermelon Water27651210_1804433069630944_1282670357_o

Curiosity got the better of me on this one 😉 Admittedly, it is not as sweet as I thought it would be, however, I do like that fact that it has added L-carnitine ( know for its fat loss properties). Although don’t expect to lose weight when drinking this, as it is added in such a small quantity! :’)

 

3) Tetley Matcha Green Tea27605114_1804433236297594_1647706051_o

I love green tea. To me this doesn’t taste a lot different to regular green tea, it definitely has a smoother taste, however.  I’ve always wanted to try matcha green tea, but it’s so expensive, so I think I’ve found my solution ;). Whatsmore, with added Matcha, it makes drinking a cup of this a day even more beneficial to your health! definitely worth a go, if you’re wanting to try the whole matcha thing!

4) Meridian Peanut and Cocoa Bar27651286_1804433089630942_1641019658_o 

This tasted amazing! It has a really nice chocolatey taste to it, and you can really taste the peanuts. The two complement each other really well! Also, it’s not bad on the protein front with 6g per bar, making it the perfect chocolate treat.

 

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.

 

IMG_7269

 

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 ❤

 

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Buddha Bowl

Although very appetizing, Buddha bowls can be super expensive. So I’ve created this budget-friendly bowl so you can Buddha until your heart’s content 😉

IMG_3026
Turmeric Bulgar wheat with raw tomatoes and cucumber, stir-fried peppers, broccoli, courgette, onions, Quorn chicken, and a side of spinach, topped with avocado, feta, and chili flakes.

Buddha bowls are all about the combination of lots of wholesome ingredients, giving you a dish with texture, colour, and flavour – and that’s what I love most about them. The main ingredients that constitute a buddha bowl include some form of protein, grains, and vegetables, but my advice is to tailor it to what you like, as you’ll enjoy it far more! It’s actually impossible to get bored of a Buddha bowl with the limitless number of flavour combos. Below are a few of my favourite bowls.

When I make these bowls, it’s always a question of how much I can actually pack in the bowl! They are a fab way to get in most of your 5-a-day and much-needed micronutrients…in fact, the whole bowl literally represents the ‘Eatwell plate’…#winning 😉

IngredientsBuddha

Grains:

  • Soya mince, brown rice, bulgur wheat, quinoa, couscous, buckwheat or barley.
  • You could also make cauliflower/broccoli rice if you wanted a lower carb option.

Protein:

  • Lentils, egg, Quorn chicken, beans (kidney beans, black beans, butter beans etc), tofu, or seafood.

Vegetables:

  • Sweet potato, cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, courgette, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, red onion, mushrooms, beetroot, aubergine, and sprouts…if you’re feeling festive ;).
  • Usually, some of the vegetables will be left raw such as tomatoes, cucumber, and carrots, to add to the texture.
  • Also, you could make your own veg slaw.
  • To add some sweetness to your bowl, things such as blueberries, mango, apples, and strawberries are a great choice.

Extras:IMG_3902

  • Toppings: sesame seeds, cashew nuts, feta, pumpkin seeds, croutons, parmesan flakes, olives, avocado slices, chia seeds, chives, spring onions.
  • Spices/ herbs: chili flakes, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, parsley.
  • Sauces: houmous, BBQ sauce, tahini, light mayonnaise, light salad cream, light soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sweet chili, sriracha – and there are so much more. But it also tasted just as good without the addition of these, as you can taste the flavors more.

I hope that the Buddha bowl becomes one of your weekly faves,

Jazzy B ❤