Sunday 22 November 2015

Morning Workout Motivation

image credit:
I am not a morning person. By any stretch of the imagination. So you can understand why I find getting up for the gym in the morning before work a struggle. Especially in the winter when it's pitch black and bloody freezing.

..and your bed looks like this.

Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of getting up early before the masses; seizing the day and packing in a few extra hours of productivity or leisure (and isn't there something so unbelievably smug about doing this, hangover free, on a weekend?!), but I'd be lying if I said I found it easy.

Which is why I wanted to share my tips on how I drag my arse out of bed when the alarm goes off at an ungodly hour. I think it's especially relevant as we enter the festive period; there are post-work events and evening dos coming out my ears, tempting my post-work workouts away, making morning workouts all the more important.

1) Get everything packed and ready

Packing my bag the night before saves a good fifteen minutes of faffing in the morning (read, an extra fifteen minutes in bed), and means you can just throw your kit on and get out the door. 

I pack everything so my bag is ready to be grabbed in a bleary eyed hurry the next morning, without me having to think about whether I've packed a bra or deodrant (forgetting your towel and having to dry yourself with your sweaty gym leggings is never ok).

2) Don't wash your hair the night before 

Something I find that spurs on my morning gym routine is not washing my hair the night before. Is that gross?! I would never usually wash my hair on a weekday morning as it takes far too long. So, if my hair could *probably* do with (/really needs) a wash, I purposely won't wash it the night before, as it helps me get up and get to the gym, where I'll wash it quickly (for some bizarre reason I'm always about ten times faster in the gym shower than I am at home. Why?!?). Whereas if I have freshly washed hair I'm less likely to go. Bizarre, but it works for me.

3) Go with a friend

I went through a phase of going swimming before work, and my god it was made so much easier going with a friend. We'd arrange to meet at a particular time and go together. No one wants to be waiting on their own in the dark or cold, and no one wants to be that friend who lets your partner in crime down. 

4) Plan your workout 

If you know what you're getting up for, it instantly gives you more purpose and drive, I find. I tend to map out my workouts the night before, jotting down the areas of my body I'll focus on, and specific workouts to do. I find Instagram really useful for workout inspiration (hashtags like #wod, #workoutoftheday, #hiitworkout, and accounts like @thebodycoach are good places to start). 

5) Reward yourself with your favourite breakfast 

I always have a really hearty, tasty breakfast on training days. If I train in the morning I'll train fasted, and I always look forward to eating my overnight oats at the office! get to post smug Instagram photos such as the one below!

These points help me get up and at em on a weekday morning, you might have even better ones - I'd love to know if so!

Sunday 15 November 2015

Nutty Fudge

Oh my goodness. I came across this recipe on Facebook today, and set out to make it right away. I ended up tweaking a few elements and wanted to share my twist with you as it is obscenely good (and painlessly easy to make, ideal for lazy Sunday cooking).

Thank you so much to Kezia from Supernaturally Healthy for the original recipe - if you like the sound of this then definitely check hers out. As I sit here ploughing my way through this batch, it's safe to say you've made my weekend, Kezia!

I used: 

  • 150g coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 tablespoons smooth cashew butter (I use Meridian)
  • 3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (Again, Meridian)
  • 100g pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • Cacao nibs, to sprinkle on top. 

Melt the coconut oil in a pan. In the mean time, chuck everything else bar the cacao nibs into a blender - but don't turn it on. Once the coconut oil has melted, pour into the blender and turn it on, whizzing until everything forms a smooth paste.

I greased a tupperware box with coconut oil, but an oven dish will work here too, and spread your mixture out evenly. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and place on an even surface in the freezer. I kept mine in the freezer for two hours, but I think it would be fine after an hour.

These are a revelation for me; I crave something sweet after every savoury meal and the creamy, fudgey taste of these sweet nut butter squares is a god send.


Saturday 14 November 2015

Wedges & Weights Supper Club @ The Garden, Hale

If there's one thing I like, it's discovering healthy eateries. If there's another thing, it's spending a Thursday evening enjoying amazing food with a group of likeminded, lovely people (and it's always a bonus when the prosecco makes an appearance).

So when personal trainer, health coach and fitness blogger Hannah (aka Wedges and Weights) said she was hosting her supper club at The Garden, you could count me right in.

First thing's first. The food. Although the event was about more than 'just' food, I need to tell you about it because it was fan-bloody-tastic.

The menu theme was appropriately fitness related, and we started off with the 'Warm Up' course - the Power Plate - buckwheat tabbouleh with pomegranate, topped with falafel and beetroot hummus and a fresh lemon dressing. 

As you can see, a hearty portion size (girl after my own heart), and let me tell you - this was one of those dishes you didn't want to end. Perfect for a cold winter evening, the risotto like texture of the buckwheat was the perfect companion for a tangy beetroot hummus - the crispy outside of the falafel giving way to a fusion of warm spices (dramatic description, I'm aware, but it was so.good.).

Onto the main course - the 'Workout', if you will - Immunity Booster: chicken & sweet potato Thai yellow curry, served with cauliflower rice, spring greens & sauerkraut.

If you've read the post I wrote on my top five Thai dishes, you'll know that curry is one of my faves, so I was expecting great things. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed. The chicken was so succulent, and I would never have thought to put sauerkraut in a curry but it worked very well! The sauce was creamy and rich with a little kick, perfect for mopping up with cauli rice... and all of us round the table bonded over horror stories attempting to make cauliflower rice ourselves (I'd stunk my flat out for a weekend once using two tea towels to absorb the excess water.. and forgetting that they were sat soggy and unwashed in the washing machine - one of the worst smells imaginable...).

They say save the best till last and it was definitely the case for our 'Cool Down' course; Raw Indulgence - raw chocolate orange cheesecake topped with raspberries, drizzled in a homemade chocolate sauce (dairy and gluten free).

So everyone went absolutely crazy for this dish, you could see everyone's eyes lighting up as the staff teasingly brought each gigantic slab out one by one... politely smiling and chatting away as we patiently waited to start until all the table had had theirs, but inner monologues screaming 'PICK UP THAT SPOON AND GET IT IN YOUR MOUTH!'

I think that sums up how good it was. If not, just think rich, dense chocolate cream on a sweet, nutty base. God it was good.

Although the food was fantastic, we were also there to be wooed by words of wisdom from Hannah herself, who took us through her top tips on staying healthy over the festive period. It was refreshing, reassuring (and in my case, very realistic) to hear that balance and indulgence were two nuggets of advice, along with upping your daily water intake (especially with the extreme likelihood of a boozy month) and keeping to a routine as best you can; be it committing to a 20 minute home HIIT workout if you can't get to your gym over the holidays, or adapting to fit in with your surroundings, like getting out for long winter walks.

My favourite element of the evening though was being surrounded by a room full of funny, outgoing and really friendly girls - some I've known for a while now and others I'd only met that night, but regardless, the conversation flowed all night.

Vicki, Pam & I... Thanks for the pic Vic ;) (@vickimellard_pt)
There are loads of tweets, pictures and people's thoughts on the evening on the hashtag #WWGARDENSUPPER, so if you're a fan of screen-drooling over raw chocolate cheesecake, give it a click.

Massive thank you to Han for hosting such a fabulous evening (and for giving out an amazing goody bag!), to The Garden for having me, and to all the girls I chatted with - it was a pleasure!
© Frankie's Weekend. All rights reserved.