I’ve been writing Fitness On Toast for a year now – it’s been huge fun, the response has surprised me enormously, and has taken me on some fabulous adventures! A big thank you to everyone who has supported the blog, for reading, for browsing aimlessly, for your lovely emails and heartening comments… I’d like to propose a toast to fitness; let’s make 2014 the healthiest year yet! Now I don’t want to sound like a spoil sport, and a bit of a tipple is called for around this time of year, but to help you along, I’m reposting this “Alcohol vs Fitness” article I wrote at the start of 2013, as it’s totally relevant for this evening :D! HAPPY NEW YEAR xx (more…)
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Winter has well-and-truly hit in London – brrrr! – and now that Halloween is out of the way, the long run into Christmas is underway! I’m going to be posting plenty of ideas to help you stay on the seasonal ‘straight-and-narrow’, but in the meantime, it’s just about cold enough to get me thinking back to the summer.
In these pictures, I’m wearing another great tennis affair from my friends at Monreal London; I love the simplicity of the block white dress with the subtle blue detailing, and the elasticated rouching at the waist – comfortable, flexible and great for tennis. They were shot on the beach at Pamplonne, and Club 55 St. Tropez; to get there I stepped aboard a gorgeous specimen of a Riva ‘Super Aquarama’, and was motoring towards the restaurant at 55 knots! Once there, fresh grilled sea-bass and some fresh greens.
On this chilly London day, I REALLY miss the toasty sun of holiday, but luckily it’s only c.250 sleeps until the next dose of summer comes along 🙂
See MORE PICTURES from the day here. Faya x
This post focuses on tips & tricks for correct running technique. A couple of weeks ago, on a blog trip (a.k.a ‘excuse for a mini-holiday’) to the perma-sunny Quinta Do Lago, in Portugal’s Algarve, I indulged in some long, peaceful runs along the gorgeous sweeping beaches. I’ve always loved long distance running, and without sounding like a total hippie… (more…)
Another gorgeous fitness outfit crafted by the talented Caroline Greenslade, founder of British activewear brand Vevie, who I mentioned in my previous post, ‘Vevie La Revolution’. The outfit I’m wearing here, with it’s cute pink polka dots and fitted form, evokes a touch of ‘old world’ glamour. It’s very feminine and fun to wear, even for a bit of a ‘tom boy’ like me 🙂 I couldn’t imagine a more fitting place to go for a morning jog sporting this ‘retro-chic’ look than along the famous Cannes beachfront of La Croisette, where all sorts of timeless & classic ‘movie premiere’ glamour has unfolded at the Film Festival!
After my morning jog, I’d earned a well deserved breakfast at the Carlton Cannes. Breakfast is literally a time to ‘break the fast’ after a long nights sleep, so I always aim for a substantial meal to start the day right! On this occasion? Scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, mushrooms and skinny latte. And to top it off a delicious fruit salad. Bon ap! 🙂 Faya.
Wearing: Vevie’s Hertford Dotty Polka Flash Jacket, the Hertford Dotty Polka Racer top and the Hertford Dotty Polka Flash leggings. I particularly like the functional details of this jacket – the two front zipped pockets, the polka dot thumb loops and the inner dotted collar for a fabric contrast. The fitted leggings have a comfortable waist and two waistband pockets to store keys/phone/snack! All garments are UV protected – 50+ and are made from a breathable, technical fabric. Plus they’re cute 🙂
Click MORE to see all the pictures from the shoot, then maybe go for a run too?!
In a bid to make Fitness On Toast more practical / useful this holiday season, this is the first post in a line of travel-related fitness ideas which I’ll be posting over the coming months. The first part of the holiday can be the most difficult, as you relax and sink into ‘holiday indulgence mode’. Before even reaching your fabulous holiday destination, it’s not unusual to have eaten your body weight in tempting travel chocolates whilst waiting out a delay! Being stuck in an airport waiting – bored, hungry, tired and emotional – is no fun, and the odds seem impossibly stacked against you to stay healthy. It’s often the case of grabbing a quick bagel, bag of crisps and a soda. Junk foods, like air, can be found anywhere, anytime. But unlike air, they should be occasional treats and not meals of laziness. In the pic below (all of them shot in Paris, en route to the South of France on the TGV), I’m tucking into a healthy and exotic fruit salad – a travelling gift from FOT‘s friends at the fabulous Buddha Bar Hotel, teamed with a Starbucks tall Green Tea for a hydrating metabolism boost! If you can’t muster up the enthusiasm to make your own healthy travelling meal here are 8 tips & tricks to stay away from all the refined simple carbohydrates and filthy factory foods when you’re jetting off… Bon voyage 🙂 Faya x
1. STOCK UP: Make sure to have a nutritious, sustaining breakfast/lunch/dinner before you even leave the house.
2. DRINK UP: Stay hydrated. Recirculated air-conditioned airplane air is draining, and when you’re already dehydrated you’ll feel even hungrier as your body recognises that it needs *something*!
3. PLAN AHEAD: Bring your own snacks – you control the content – think nuts, seeds, fruit, water – at least until you get to your detstination and can enjoy a proper meal!
4. CHEW SOMETHING: Chewing Gum is a sweet stimulation, to simulate sugar intake, and trick the brain into thinking its meal time. Not great on a totally empty stomach though, as it raises acid levels.
5. GO GREEN: Salads with some protein are a totally fair option if available, but be sure to check fat/salt content of things like the dressing – often a hidden calorie bomb!
6. SIZE MANAGEMENT: Watch your portions – nibbling little and often is better for the body’s natural metabolic pace.
7. MEET THE CHALLENGE: Being a bit hungry isn’t the end of the world and won’t kill you. Many swear that it raises mental alertness as you head into ‘forraging’ mode!
8. SLEEP IT OFF: Low in blood sugar? Feeling tired? Zzzz… far better than scoffing a packet of crisps and chocolate bar for the sake of it!
Click HERE for more to see the rest of the pics from sunny Paris 🙂
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!
Be inventive and make your own protein powder recipes! But rather than some horrific chemical-tasting ‘banana’ concoction, why not try adding almonds, oats, chia seeds, hemp seeds, frozen or fresh blueberries, blackberries and plain yogurt to thicken the texture, diversify the flavour and inject some nutrients! In this post, I run through my two personal favourite protein recipes. They’re a great way to start the day, a strong boost before/during a workout, as well as an excellent reload after a tough session!
Protein enables so many vital functions in our bodies; it helps to regulate hormones (e.g. insulin to control blood glucose levels), maintains and repairs the body, regulates enzyme release (including that for digestion), and stimulates antibody production and muscle growth, to name just a few. In that light, it’s worth making sure you’re consuming not only the the right amount but also the correct quality of protein on a daily basis. If you’re a veggie it’s worth taking particular care to ensure you have enough ‘complete proteins’ in your diet (most plants are incomplete proteins meaning one or more of the essential amino acids are missing). One way to tackle this is to combine certain plants as they aren’t missing the same amino acids, and thereby forming a complete protein (such as beans, lentils, grains, nuts & seeds). If you’re not a veggie, then apart from what I just mentioned, then meat, dairy and eggs are the obvious sources of protein. A foodstuff will never be absolutely pure protein, so check into the quality quantity and saturated fat content of the product.
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?
Your daily protein requirement will depend upon your body weight and lifestyle, upon how active you are, and upon what type of training goals you have. Training puts the body under an increased amount of stress, following which it’s in need of repair and recovery. Almost all muscle growth takes place outside the gym (especially whilst you’re sleeping) and depends upon what and how much nutrition you provide your body with to initiate muscular repair. This is the time to ‘up’ the protein intake. I often get healthy stuff from the store next to my gym, Holland and Barrett. They have a vast selection of protein powders and offer good deals with things like their penny sale (buy one, get another for a penny). I do want to emphasise that these powders are supplements, meaning they are additive to an already existing complete and healthy diet – they are not replacements for meals! There is no precise science, but typically, nutritionists will calculate the min. daily protein requirement by taking your body weight in kg and multiplying that by 0.8 (if lbs, it’s x 0.37). The number you get is the number of grams of protein you should be eating as the daily minimum. So if I weigh 55kg, I should be consuming a minimum of 44grams of protein every day.
See my two favourite protein powder recipes here!
1) IF YOU MUST… Clients often ask what the ‘healthiest’ alcoholic drink is… My view is that if you must drink, make it red wine as a glass or two a day has been shown to decrease the risk of stroke, heart attack and cancer (elevates good cholesterol, lowers the bad cholesterol, rich in polyphenol antioxidants for cell health). But the emphasis is on “one or two glasses, only”! If red wine isn’t your cup of tea (like me), a straight spirit (vodka, gin or scotch) is fine. Avoid mixing them with juice, tonic water, coke etc. as these mixers are bursting with simple sugars (which will be quickly metabolised into fat) and will only increase the calorie content of your night out!
2) CONSIDER THIS: 1 gram of fat = 9 calories, 1g of protein = 4 calories, 1g of carbs = 4 calories, 1g of alcohol = 7 calories. So Alcohol is nearly as calorific as fat but it only has ‘empty calories’ with no nutritional value, and will in fact speed up fat storage! For reference: a double Gin and Tonic = 175 calories (c. 10% of a girl’s daily calorie intake – alot for something that doesn’t fill you up!). Here are the scores…
– Single Gin and slimline tonic = 75 calories.
– Glass of Champagne = 91 calories
– Can of Stella Artois = 247 calories
– Shot of straight Vodka = 55 calories
– A glass of Baileys = 133 calories
3) ALCOHOL’S EFFECTS ON MY TRAINING ? It can stop you reaching your goals by dampening performance, recovery and focus. Although it’s absorbed quickly, it metabolises slowly and can still affect the system up to 48hrs after consumption. It decreases strength, dehydrates (damaging to kidneys), exhausts the body (impairs liver function, as it metabolises alcohol at the expense of glycogen), disturbs sleep (crucial for muscle recovery), slows down reaction time, disrupts the body’s balance and co-ordination, impedes cardio exercise (raises blood pressure so the heart works harder to pump blood through the body) etc.
A typical night out will likely involve 3+ drinks and perhaps some cheesy chips as well. That could amount to 1250-1500 calories in itself, (>60% of your daily calorie allowance, on top of what you’ve already had that day). No wonder next day you’ll feel bloated and tired, so perhaps try to avoid the hangover fry-up – you don’t need the calories!!!
Having a nice Peppermint tea before bedtime; apart from finding it very relaxing, it’s clinically proven to have a sedative effect, which helps send you off to the land of nod peacefully! Extra-perfect this time of the year, as it can strengthen your immune defenses against cold and flu (the mint leaves contain potassium, calcium and vitamin B) whilst the restorative sleep adds another barrier.
One further benefit is that it simulates the sensation of being full (I’m looking at you, late night snacker!!) when it’s basically just 100% water (hydrating, good for skin, good for blood pressure etc.) and best of all, contains a waistline-busting 0 calories, with no fat, carbs or salt! Did I mention it’s naturally caffeine-free, great for stomach pain and aids digestion? Try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon or perhaps some fresh ginger to the mix, for additional taste and digestive benefits! Mint Tea; not superfood, superdrink!
Good night! Faya x