Thought for the day


Life is so ironic, it takes sadness to know happiness, noise to appreciate silence and absence to value presence. Everything has a lesson for us to learn. So stay open and say #yes to it all and then let go!

-Make your mark

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Bulking Up, where to start


There are a lot of articles and advice out there about losing weight and cutting down but what if you have the opposite intentions, bulking up is in my opinion just as difficult if not more.

I have put a few tips below to help out, let me know what you think

1. Eat more

If you want to gain more muscle then you need to up your calorie intake, which means eating more. If you aren’t consuming more calories than you are burning throughout the day, you won’t be able to put on any muscle. Your diet should be made up of nutritious, unprocessed foods that are rich in complex carbs, protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and important nutrients needed for muscle growth, energy production and good health. Steer away from processed, sugary and fatty foods that will only mess with your blood sugar levels and promote fat gain.

2. Increase your protein intake

Protein is essential for providing your body with amino acids, which are vital for building and repairing muscles. Have some good quality protein with each meal and with snacks. Having protein with each meal and with snacks will help increase amino acid levels to optimize muscle growth. Choose healthy, lean protein choices such as lean meat, chicken, eggs, fish, legumes and low-fat dairy foods. Healthy protein-rich snacks include nuts and seeds, quinoa, yoghurt, muesli and protein bars and balls, and hummus with wholegrain crackers.

3. Protein powders are a great way to boost your protein intake

There are lots of different protein powders the market. If you find whey-based protein powders difficult to digest, and you suffer from bloating and gas when you consume them, go for a brown-rice-based protein powder instead, that is still a fantastic protein source without the tummy upset. You don’t need to go overboard with protein either as excessive amounts of protein can put you at risk of putting on fat.

4. Don’t forget to have some complex carbs with each meal

You need carbohydrates for energy, and to fuel your muscles when you train to stimulate muscle growth. Choose complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, whole oats, grainy breads and root vegies like sweet potato. These types of carbs will supply you with sustained energy.

5. Eat 5-6 smaller meals

Eating 5-6 smaller means throughout the day ensures that your body is getting a good constant supply of fuel and amino acids to build and repair muscles. Having a protein shake (that also contains some carbohydrates) around 30 to 60 minutes after weight training will help encourage muscle development by upping the production of anabolic hormones. Protein fruit smoothies are another healthy post-workout snack, made with healthy ingredients like low-fat milk, banana, berries, chia seeds, yogurt and protein powder.

With all the above I would also recommend a resistance training program to get those muscles moving.

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Common choices include:

  • Body weight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try pushups, pullups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.
  • Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store.
  • Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools.
  • Weight machines. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can also invest in weight machines for use at home.

Superfood Salad


Today we are in a healthy mood so this “superfood salad” is on the menu. Its quick and easy to make but its bursting with flavour and very filling. Did I mention very healthy? Try it out let me know your opinions.

Image result for superfood salad

  • serves: 4
  •  cooking: 15 min

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • approx. 100 g / 3.5 oz green salad (I used baby spinach leaves and kale)
  • small wedge of red cabbage, shredded thinly
  • 300g Beetroot
  • small broccoli, divided into florets
  • ½ cup frozen peas (or fresh if available)
  • small cucumber, sliced
  • ½ cup mung bean sprouts (or other sprouts)
  • 1 zucchini / courgette
  • 1 large spring onion, sliced thinly
  • a handful of mint and basil leaves, (chopped if you like)

METHOD

  1. Rinse quinoa and place it in a small pot that you have a glass lid for. Add a few pinches of salt and 1.5 cups of water (prefect quinoa ratio is 1:1.5), cover with a lid and bring to boil. Once the water boils, decrease the heat to low-medium and let the quinoa simmer until all the water has been absorbed. To check, tilt the pot slightly, keeping the lid firmly on. If you see no water seeping out from under the grain, it means you are good to go. Switch off the heat completely and let quinoa sit on a hot hob (with lid firmly on) for another 5 mins to finish off cooking in its own steam. Once ready, cool it down completely before adding it to the salad as otherwise the salad leaves will wilt.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil. Prepare a bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes and set it next to the stove. Once the water boils, add broccoli florets and frozen peas and cook for about 90 seconds. Once the time is up, drain the vegetables and immediately plunge them into the cold water so that they retain their beautiful colour. Place on a sieve to drain well. Lightly season with salt and pepper before adding to the salad.
  3. Prepare courgettes by either turning it into zoodles (use a spiralizer if you have one) or slicing it and grilling it on a grill pan. If grilling, brush each slice with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and arrange on a hot (that’s important) grill / griddle pan. Once the slices are browned on one side, turn them over and let them brown on the other side.
  4. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  5. Just before serving, combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over and scatter spring onions, sprouts and herbs on top.