A HEALTHY LUNCH ???

This colourful fish recipe has all the key fuel your body needs at lunchtime to stay on track for the rest of the working day! It consists of only three simple ingredients; 1) Sweet potato to provide the slow release energy needed to keep going 2) Monkfish, a great source of protein, and a meaty fish at that, and 3) Kale, a nutrient-dense vegetable loaded with vitamins and minerals, with 0% fat content. But to understand why this recipe is so effective, I think you have to look at the ingredients in more detail:

1) SWEET POTATO – A DETAILED LOOK !
I once thought that anything with ‘sweet’ so clearly in its name, couldn’t possibly be healthy. I was wrong. Aside from being delicious, Sweet Potato’s also;
– a great source of beta-carotene (converts into vitamin A for healthy skin, an immune boost and strong vision)
high in dietary fibre (for effective digestion and absorption, along with heart & blood benefits from the vitamin B6 content)
super low GI, for slow-release energy throughout the day (with a glycemic load of 9, which is super-low for a food who’s calories come 93% from carbs!)
– very low in sodium, with practically no fat content (& 0g saturates).
– contains peonidins and cyanidins (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to maintain the body)
– high in potassium to lower blood pressure by banishing excess sodium, and regulating the body’s fluid balance

2) KALE – A DETAILED LOOK !
Kale is the superfood equivalent of Cara Delevigne’s eyebrows; all the rage right now, it’s versatile, and you see it everywhere. Why?:
– you can eat it raw, blend in a smoothie, steam it, stew it, or toss it in a salad or soup!
– it’s low in calories (28cals per 100g)
Incredibly low in saturated fat and cholesterol – 0% for both!
– a fantastic source of iron (crucial liver function and cell regeneration), with more than you find in the equivalent weight of beef!
– rich in vitamin K (essential to bone health and with anti-carcinogenic properties) and vitamin C (immune health).
– it’s also a strong anti-inflammatory, weighs in with a glycemic load of just 3 (!), and leaves you remarkably full for something of such mini calories!

3) MONKFISH – A DEEPER LOOK !
Once thought of as ‘poor man’s lobster’, this fish has since climbed to its equivalent ‘social elite’. The meaty texture makes it a perfect low calorie filler, plus:
– it’s a good source of lean protein (14g of protein per 100g, with just 2g of fat per 100g)
– the little fat it has is mono/poly-unsaturates inc. ‘Omega fatty acids‘ (can reduce risk of heart attack and stroke, and promote healthy neural function)
– a fantastic source of vitamin B6 (aids metabolism and the breakdown of fats, helps regulate blood glucose levels) and vitamin B12 (maintains the nervous system)

Enjoy 🙂 Faya x

CLICK HERE FOR ‘HOW TO COOK’

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NAILED IT !!!

It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday in London and I had the pleasure of getting my very own unique nail art painted by the immensely talented Jenny Pasha of 10 Blank Canvases – winner of this year’s Cosmopolitan blog award for ‘best beauty blogger’, and who is currently working with Elegant Touch and Little Mix. I love her art, and ended up basing this entire training ‘look’ on her monochrome nails – a thin black windstop top, monochrome training leggings and black shoes – a look which is always super easy-to-pull-off, flattering, casual and fairly chic in my view! I just added a splash of neon pink for fun!

After a blustery HIIT session (high intensity interval training, as you might remember from my post’hiit me again’, here) on sunny Primrose Hill yesterday, this super lightweight Castelli Leggera jacket proved to be ideal – totally windproof, impossibly lightweight and still comfortably breathable – practically as if I wasn’t wearing anything at all, so to speak! The leggings are from Bershka – quite fun and comfy for running :). Post-run, we went for some yummy lunch at Lemonia for a little protein – grilled swordfish, seared tuna, boiled veggies and steamed spinach!

See more pics from the shoot HERE. Faya x

Wearing:
Nail Art: Jenny Pasha ( www.10blankcanvases.com )
Trousers: Bershka two-toned leggings,
Top: Sweaty Betty ‘Athlete Workout Vest’
Jacket: Castelli Leggera jacket
Trainers: Nike Free Run+

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I’M GUILTY !!!

Time for a guilty confession… I LOVE chocolate. I always have done, and always will do. I realise that chocolate doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with your ‘fitness goals’, but I’ve been experimenting with simple but effective ways to legitimately work a modest amount of chocolate into my training diet. This post contains a real ‘cheat day’ treat which satisfies my cravings, whilst providing my body with the protein, essential fats and antioxidants that it needs. Guilt neutralised, body nourished!

Regardless, there are actually health benefits to be gained from eating high-quality, dark chocolate – as long as you don’t overdo it! Dark chocolate is high is antioxidants which work to reduce free radicals in our bodies and aid cellular repair. Dark cocoa, being densely calorific, is also said to improve energy levels without the need for sugar, and focus the concentration. I aim for a minimum of 70% cocoa, but if you can tolerate it 99% cocoa is optimal, as it has an incredibly low amount of milk, fat and sugar. Yes, at first the taste is bitter, and you might need to work your way up to the high 90s percentages, but give it some time and you’ll learn to love it’s super rich dimensions! In fact I now prefer dark to milk chocolate – and I never thought that would happen! Here’s my recipe for a slice of chocolate indulgence which is packed with protein and a lot healthier than your standard Mars bar.

The ‘treat du jour’ is my ‘Dark Chocolate, Banana & Seeds Protein Muffins‘. With the following ingredients, I made 9 yummy ‘fairy bun’ sized cakes but it completely depends on how big / small you go. Remember, this is not a low calorie miracle, so it needs to be a reward for a heavy training session, but it is rich in what the body needs to recover!

Read about the ingredients & my step-by-step ‘how-to’ guide, HERE!

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IN SEARCH OF INSPIRATION…

As a study in ‘fitness innovation’, I went to “the UK’s number one fitness, sport and nutrition exhibition”, Body Power Expo, at the Birmingham NEC. The place was vast, welcoming about 40,000 visitors a day; but when I was there it seemed they all came at once – it was absolutely rammed! Cue wall-to-wall stalls promoting old and new fitness products alike, supplements, training equipment, clothing and needless gadgets. Most of the people working there were half naked, oiled up and looked like they’d just come back from a 6month holiday in the Sahara. A few familiar faces were seen as well including WBFF Pro Fitness Model Shaun Stafford (pictured to my right, above), British Grand Prix Open Champion Shawn Rhoden, Mr Olympia James ‘Flex’ Lewis, and Ronnie Coleman. I went a bit shop-crazy and here are some of the inspiring goodies I brought back home, which are helping to flavour my fitness ethos at the moment!

Click HERE to see them in more detail:

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WOMEN’S FITNESS FEATURE !!!

Hugely excited and flattered to have been featured as the first blog in this month’s Women’s Fitness magazine, in their special feature on finding motivation online. It’s a journal that I regularly plunder for great tips and tricks on nutrition and workouts, and they always feature a pretty good fashion spread too, so to have been included in it is quite an honour indeed! Thanks guys x  (Article below)

PLAYING FOOTSIE ???

I’m a big fitness fashion junkie, and am especially a bit of a fiend when it comes to trainers (i’ll post a shot of my collection one day!). But aside from being spoilt for choice in terms of prints and colour, these humble gym-slippers also serve a far more functional purpose – to look after our poor old feet, knees and posture! Far too often, feet get neglected and suffer because of it. They work so hard for us every day, yet we pay very little attention to them – aside from the occasional indulgent pedicure. ‘Fashion over function’ doesn’t serve your long term interests with feet – if you exercise as regularly as I do, appropriate foot care is critical as the skin and bones are put under so much more stress. Above all, I think it’s worth paying extra attention to what kind of shoe you buy and for which occasion. A little gem that I’ve used for some time is ‘Runners Need‘ – they always have good descriptions, specs & reviews alongside the brand products, so I can be pretty sure that I’ll end up with the right shoe for the right purpose.

Another one I’ve recently stumbled across (no pun intended!) is Simply Feet. Due to an old knee-based running injury from a long time ago which flares up every now-and-again, I’ve been wearing ‘Rhythm shoes’ from Weil footwear recently. They’re super comfy – perfect for trekking around London – lightweight, breathable, with technical fabrics – but most importantly they’re podiatrist-designed, and feel like they support & stabilise my foot every step. Crucially for me, they don’t look like a piece of ugly medical technology; they look just as good as, for example, the Nike Lunarlon – my pair of Rhythm’s in the pictures here even have some coral pink girly detailing so I can coordinate them! If you have any back, heel, knee or leg pain when you run, or if you simply over-pronate, these relieve pressure & naturally re-align the foot.

I’m going to write a post on running socks too, as I think that completes the fitness-ready footcare regime! Keep your eyes open!

WEARING?? Nike Limitless Leggings, Bershka hooded waterproof jacket, Weil Rhythm Shoes in Silver / Coral, Mulberry ‘Henry’ gym bag. See all the pics from this shoot HERE.

Faya x

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MY CHEAT TREAT ???

I was recently invited to try out the Gym at London’s Corinthia Hotel, which recently opened at a reputed cost of £300m. Given that level of investment, I’d assumed the fitness facilities would be excellent, and unsurprisingly, I wasn’t disappointed. It’s invariably the largest and best equipped hotel gym I’ve been to, with an ample supply of soft fluffy towels and refrigerated bottled water on hand at a moment’s notice. Fantastic, great workout, good…

… But it’s not the gym that blew me away, unsurprisingly, since I spend most of my days in one! That was reserved, instead, for the Spa. Or more specifically, Espa Life at Corinthia. Living in a ‘never-sleeps’ buzzing city like London, it sometimes seems impossible to stop moving and take a deep breath. That’s never more apparent, I think, than when you go on holiday only to realise how exhausted you feel. But there are things you can do in the meantime to mask that dilapidation of the soul, and to ensure you don’t turn into a ball of stress and combust before you reach the beach!

Aside from the obvious – eating healthy, training regularly, sleeping well etc – spending a day at a spa is the ultimate indulgence for both man and woman! The mood is boosted by endorphin, dompamine and seratonin release, it promotes regeneration and healing, muscular relaxation as well as invigorating & energising, and expunging toxins in your body through the cycles of sweating and re-hydration. Plus it’s likely to make you sleep like a baby later that night! Espa Life is impossibly relaxing, blending outrageously ‘cool’ design (e.g. a sauna with no perceptible walls, sleek lines and fibre-optics) with all sorts of fabulous spa innovations, from heated-stone ‘anatomical loungers’ to effervescent ‘vitality pools’ and regenerative ‘sleep pods’. This hotel basically bisects Trafalgar Square and Embankment – both frantically stressful parts of the City – but you wouldn’t know that you within 500 miles of the nearest ‘Nelson’s Column’! The cavernous (but always intimate) 3,300 square meters of uber-luxurious spa space are spread over 4 floors (!!) which has to be verging on excessive indulgence! You can literally watch the stress receding.

Admittedly, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle takes planning, dedication and hard work; the pay back is without a doubt worth it, but sometimes a little reward to pat yourself on the back isn’t just allowed; it’s compulsory. Many find that staging a ‘cheat day’ once a week is a great option to keep you on track, especially knowing you’ve earned yourself some extra chocolatey calories. But for me, given that I spent 1 hour in the gym and 3 at the spa, there can be no better treat than this place!

Faya x