Friday, 28 February 2014

Feel energised! Get Fit Friday

Happy Get Fit Friday people! Are you all feeling energised after making healthy choices today?

My Friday started with a 7am cardio and ab workout at the gym. I love working out in the morning and feel like I get more out of my workout. Although I might feel a bit tired during the day, as long as you pack in lots of energy boosting foods into your meals post workout, it's so worth it. There are infinite mental benefits to regularly doing a simple workout too; it boosts your mood, brain activity levels, confidence, self esteem and motivation.. it provides great stress relief and releases endorphins which are the little guys in your body that create feelings of happiness. So, despite a workout being the first thing on your mind after a hectic day at work or school, exercise is proven to help you overcome stressful times. Plus you'll also be able to relax easier in the evening after tiring yourself out at the gym.

I usually spend around an hour in the gym, two thirds of which I probably spend on my cardio workouts. My routine consists of around 45 minutes in total on the treadmill or stairmaster, followed by some ab exercises on the gym mats. I like to use the gyms' medicine balls to get a better ab workout, with the use of some added weight you can tone up muscle more efficiently and push yourself further. I do use the gyms weight machines too although I try and alternate my workouts so this mornings didn't include these.

Even half an hour of working out is still beneficial to you and the results of regular exercise are 100% worth the hassle of hitting the gym a good few times a week. If you do become a regular you run a good chance of making gym buddies too which increases motivation and will keep you going back. It's always good to have a buddy on board to make you get more out of a routine!

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen a few tweets about healthy diets and detoxing. I am trying some new food supplements and trying to cut out "empty calories". Empty calories are basically calorific foods which don't have much, if any, nutritional value. Why waste you energy burning these off when they aren't even doing your body any favours? Instead, I'm cutting out bread, amongst other obvious rubbish food types in favour for natural, fibre and vitamin rich alternatives.
New foods/supplements in the shopping basket this week have been;

Spirulina, a blue green algae food supplement in a powdered form, brilliant for adding to smoothies and recipes. Be prepared for the mixture to go a "pond green" colour. The powder also has a strange pondwater/fishy smell to it too.. but thankfully you cannot taste this supplement at all when mixed into a smoothie. Spirulina is an amazing superfood, holding many many health benefits. Being 65-71% complete protein, that's 3-4 times higher than red meat or fish, it's brilliant post workout. The benefits of this superfood also include; a boost to the immune system, anti-inflammatory properties, support to the liver and it naturally cleanses the body... With so many other incredible properties too, this superfood is one you want to get to know. Research and try it!

Flaxseed, a supposed "wonder" food with evidence that it may help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.. I want in. I have tried this before, it comes powdered and is widely available also in supermarkets as well as the expected health stores. You simply add a tablespoon or more to smoothies or any recipes. With this, I feel it has a slightly nutty, malted flavour and is also nice sprinkled on top of soups or granola. Flaxseeds' most beneficial properties are that it contains Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and is an excellent source of fibre. Another food to look into and try, to keep yourself in tip top shape!

Today I whipped up a simple smoothie straight after my workout and included both of my new food supplements.
I used half of a fresh papaya, strawberries, one sliced banana, 100ml of almond milk, a pinch of spirulina and a tablespoon of flaxseed. This resulted in a beast of a green smoothie, an off putting colour but a lovely taste and an all natural, vitamin packed, energising smoothie to set me up for the day ahead.
The reason I incorporated papaya today is because papaya enzymes are renowned to be extremely good for you; they can help reduce inflammation after workouts and because the fruit contains so many different vitamins, it is great for digestive health and protection against heart disease, macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis.

I am going to be making smoothies most mornings and having these as my main breakfast. This smoothie contains a whopping three of your five a day, protein, vitamins and energy.. much more nutritious and beneficial than a bowl of cereal or a slice of toast. Make it your goal this week to make one of my smoothies for breakfast and see if it can help you feel more energised throughout your morning! Comment below and let me know, if you have any alternative recipes of your own and why you like them.

Thank you for reading and keep tuned for the next Get Fit Friday post!

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