Muscle: Your Longevity Organ

Benefit from the feeling that comes with moving and performing everyday tasks better.

Jumping out of a car with confident swing in your step, bending to pick something up out without feeling any twinges or aches and putting pants on without tumbling into the nearest solid object.

These are the everyday things we can take for granted when we are young and mobile.  As we age these basics become harder to perform with ease. It does not have to be this way. Yes, if you don’t use it, you lose it. If you do however, these tasks will just scratch the surface of your movement potential.

Training therefore should transcend the bounds of the gym, and beyond movements that improve our aesthetic. After all, most our lives are lived outside the gym. A well-designed program that you can stick to will deliver the muscle growth and movement efficiency that comes with it.

Support muscle growth and healthy tissue

This is done by:
– Ensuring adequate protein intake (.8-1.2g Protein/kg of body weight a day)
– Eating a variety of colours, and high quality, unprocessed foods.
– Avoiding excessive alcohol, sugar and other highly processed foods that hamper muscle growth and harm healthy tissue.

– Getting 7-9 hours quality sleep every night.
For more information on sleep, find the following past article.

Improve your metabolism, Not just by increasing your rate of metabolism (fat burning) but optimising nutrient use too.

Your resilience to injury: Not only does having adequate muscle prevent falls and improve our movements, muscle acts as a shock absorber too. So if you do get into a bit of a scrape with a bench or slippery surface, your muscle can act to bear the brunt of the force and so protect your more delicate joints and bones.

Offsets the decline associated with ageing: As we age we are more susceptible to a process known as sarcopenia whereby you we lose muscle which results in poor metabolic function and decrease. movement quality.

Experience Can Work One of Both Ways.

You can either let the years and knowledge build you up or let it weigh you down. It can either feed or deplete your determination and the ultimate thing it comes down to is having an enthusiastic mindset. If you don’t feel like you have enough experience you will want more and this will feed into your energy levels and the way you attack things. If you feel you have enough you get complacent and that breeds boredom and if you’re bored you are doing it wrong and you will not get results. 

Mindset tip 1: 

Balance between confidence in your knowledge and and the willingness to learn. Have the recognition that you could aways do things better. It will serve you and any project you tackle. After all, there are probably many day-day as well as higher achievement tasks that you do better now than you did before. You have learned to optimise and you can apply this to other areas of your life.

“A man who thinks the same at 50 as he did when he was 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

Muhammad Ali

Mindset tip 2: 

Takes breaks. Two good reasons to take breaks. One is, it feels so good to miss things and let yourself reset and recover. If you go to the gym to do the same style of training every day you will never miss it. If you eat the same things you may become sick of them. Time off will keep you keen and excited.

Reason two (though there are more) it can be hard to see things from too close up. Step back and you can get a look at the bigger picture and so fine tune where things are better to be placed to make the whole more enjoyable, effective as well as sustainable. We often don’t feel ourselves burn out until it’s too late. 

Mindset tip 3:

You are not too experienced or cool to be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm takes you to what people mean by “above and beyond”. If you show up to work early it means you are there because you want to be, not because you have to be. You have entered a zone of deliberate action with that decision and your performance and achievements then flow from there. If you put in the extra reps on an exercise you are doing it because you love it, because you want to see what you can do, not because it’s written on your program. Being keen is attractive and apathy gets you nowhere. 

Key takeaways: 

  • Let experience be an advantage, something that fuels your enthusiasm rather than dimming it over time. 
  • Chase your better version of you and how you do things.
  • Find balance to keep yourself from burning out by taking breaks so you will keep wanting to show up early and put that extra effort in when you are there. 

Thank you ❤️
This article is dedicated to my partner who never ceases to amaze and motivate me with his enthusiasm, mindset and balance.
– With love

Baked Trout Platter W Chilli Basil Mousse

A fillet of fish baked alongside vegetables whilst you whip up a bulk batch of dip to keep in the fridge for the rest of the week.

This is an incredibly worthy investment of 30 minutes of your time, most of which you can spend doing other things while the vegetables bake and do their thing.

Ingredients for 2 serves

  • 1 200-300g fillet of trout
  • 250g sliced pumpkin (or more if you want to do a bulk roast for weekly lunches)
  • bunch of asparagus
  • dill, salt and pepper to season
  • lemon slices to garnish and enhance
  • Ingredients required for mousse found below

Method:

  1. Set your oven to preheat on 200 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with paper.
  2. Arrange thinly sliced pumpkin on tray, season with salt and pepper and pop in the oven (not too close to grill that it goes too crisp) for 15 minutes, you may need a tsp drizzle of olive oil, not if using an airfryer.
  3. Clean and season your fillet with the a pinch of salt, pepper, and dill (to taste) and chop the woody ends off the asparagus and then into halves.
  4. Carefully remove the tray of pumpkin from the oven after its time and flip over, scooping it aside so there is room for the fillet and asparagus. Arrange on tray together and pop back in the oven for 15 minutes, again, if not using an airfryer you may need to use a wee bit of olive oil to maintain that succulent moisture.
  5. In the meantime, whip up the chilli basil mousse as per the instructions found by following the above button.
  6. Once all is baked to perfection arrange on a platter and share with a loved one or devour solo and pack some away for your next day’s lunch.

Macros:

The below is per serve as does not account for extra olive oil which packs extra calories, eat for you goals and of what serves you best 🙂

Each: 267 cal 26gP 7.4gF 24gC

Tip: I do the pumpkin for 20 minutes and the fish for 10 minutes if using an air fryer at 200degrees celsius

Tip: Add a cup of rice for some extra macros: Calories: 214 •Carbs: 45g •Fat: 2g •Protein: 7g

Morning Mindset

If you’re fortunate enough to be in work that fosters within you a passion and ambition then you are absolutely in the winners circle. Maintaining this lead or gaining it however, requires balance and a resilient mindset.

A solid morning routine can absoltuly help you achieve it. How you start the day has a profound influence on all the decisions and actions that follow.

The mornings are powerful incubators of potential and finding your own fire starter is a worthy venture.  Routines like making the bed before finding something soft and soulful on Spotify to practice 10 minutes of yoga, wander outside for some barefoot tea drinking or a good walk before the day unfolds.

Practice 1: Hydrate & Move

Physically as well as psychologically beneficial.
The importance of hydration & stretching transcends  appetite regulation and healthy body function. It is the deliberate prioritisation of choosing to look after yourself and making health focused decisions that gets to the self-esteem of you.
Healthy self esteem is fertile ground for nurturing the ambition and confidence it takes to tackle projects and be present with all those you’ll interact with throughout the day.

Practice 2: Gratitude & Connection
Even in the throes of  winter whereby sunlight may only appear around 8am try get yourself  outside. Tune your circadian rhythm with the morning’s light shift and connect to your environment. Message a friend or family member something kind before thinking on  something you’re grateful for. Maybe you want to journal it, maybe you’re happy just sitting and thinking on it. Starting the day like this will nurture a positivity and awareness focused mindset as well as just giving you a premium dose of the warm fuzzies.

Practice 3: Prioritise & Assess Goals
Decision fatigue is a thing. Too many, “how should I spend this 1/2 hour?” or “What project do I tackle first?” can cost you momentum and results. To-do lists provide direction & clarity. Get clear on what you want to achieve with your day by writing some specific goals and schedule it in. When distractions arise ask yourself  “does this contribute to the days goals?”  Find empowerment in rendering these distractions in black and white, in knowing what you want and saying no to what you don’t.

Key Take Aways

A routine that starts with wellness actions sets the tone for your self-worth which is highly motivating.
Practicing gratitude and tuning into the natural world fosters an ability to be present and in the moment.
Be clear on what you want from the day and write your goals down accordingly.

Mustard Pumpkin Soup W a Lemon Thyme Hit

Flavours of the season, grown from the earth and cooked together to bring a harmony of flavour and warmth.

This is a bowl to gather round and let sit in your hands and close to your nose. Let the scents assail you before you dunk hot toast into the heart of the bowl, getting a good bit of the tahini dip topping smothered upon. Close your eyes and listen to the crunch of it.

Trade the recipe with your neighbours for more lemons and get onto your own thyme pot for the coming season so you have a ready supply.

Base Ingredients:

  • 1kg chopped pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond (or other milk of your choice) milk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp dired thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Toppings:

  • Tahini
  • more thyme, salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Once pumpkin is chopped and seasoned with salt and pepper, roast at 200 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven.) Ensure the pieces are spread evenly on your roasting tray.
  2. In a blender, add the garlic, thyme and mustard
  3. Once pumpkin has been carefully taken out the oven and allowed to cool, add the pumpkin to the blender with the cup of milk. Blitz until smooth before transferring to a pot and heating back up to bubbling point
  4. Pour into bowls and follow by dolloping a tsp of tahini, sprinkle with more thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

Macros:

The above makes 2 serves, the macros described are per serve and do not include toast:

Each: 135cal 5gP 3gF 22gC

This Soup is an excellent example of a nourishing snack to include in your meal plan if weight loss is your goal. This can be turned into a meal with a side of protein and serve of carbohydrates.

If you would like more advice on your nutrition then reach out for a free 15 minute consult, I would love to help you reach your goals!

Activate your Glutes. Work Your Glutes

Why Glute Activation is not just aesthetically game changing but performance enhancing and critically; a predictor or potential pain or dysfunction in the body

Many Lower Body Dysfunctions stem from an inability to recruit glutes into key movements such as running, cycling, walking and of course; lifting (squats, deadlifts, lunge etc)

What happens when the glutes aren’t firing optimally?
Other muscles come in when they shouldn’t (hip flexors, Piriformis, etc)  they become tight, over-active and a source of pain. This is simply because they were never mean tot be the prime movers, for various reasons, they are forced to take on a job that was never meant for them and so become a bit ‘burnt out’ and do not do the job effectively.

Common Example: Iliotibial Band Syndrome (feels like knee pain)
It begins with: a Lack of glute recruitment
Which then causes: increased hip internal rotation and knee adduction (which is just the joints not moving optimally)
This movement pattern then encouragers the Tensor Facsia Latae (a hip flexor) to come in and try to help move the body as efficiently as possible. The problem then arises when the TFL gets super over-active and tight.

Connective tissue, runs through these muscles, specifically your iliotibial band, that runs through the TFL and along your knee. It gets ‘squeezed’ by your TFL.
You then experience this as knee pain.

There are many more examples and activating & developing  your glutes to ensure they are working as they should through exercise can prevent this issue.
Correct technique and ‘biasing’ technique to load the glutes will also serve you well, now and for your long game.

If you are experiencing pain, know that you shouldn’t accept it, that steps can be taken to alleviate and help if not solve the problem all together.
Also know that these things do take time, it took time for your body to develop a compensatory pattern and it will take time to unwind it. So take the time, for you and future you. You are so 100% worth it.

For a program designed for you, to get you moving past pain and at the peak of your performance reach out for a free consultation and we can get you started with programs Including:

  • At home stretches and activation techniques
  • Gym programs
  • Advice and support

Further reading and resources

  • Phillip Page, Clare Frank, Robert Lardner, Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance: The Janda Approach C 2010 Benchmark Physical Therapy, Inc.,
  • Dr Mike Clark and Scott Lucette, “NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training” C 2011 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
  • Iliotibial band syndrome: evaluation and management
  • Eric J Strauss 1Suezie KimJacob G CalceiDaniel Park

Iliotibial Band Syndrome in Runners: Biomechanical Implications and Exercise Interventions

Robert L Baker 1Michael Fredericson 2

Modifying the hip abduction angle during bridging exercise can facilitate gluteus maximus activity

Sun-Young Kang 1Sung-Dae Choung 2Hye-Seon Jeon 3

The Silkiest Peanut Chocolate Mousse There Ever Was

What a 5 minute joy this was to whip up! Yessss it takes a bit of time, letting it do it’s thing in the fridge a few hours but this dairy free delight that packs a mad protein punch is so worth it.

Base Ingredients:

  • 250g silken tofu
  • 1 banana
  • 2 heaped tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 heaped tbsp collagen (leave out if vegan/vegetarian)
  • 25ml maple syrup
  • dash of vanilla essence

Topping options:

  • I used 2 tbsp runny peanut butter
  • berries
  • sliced banana 
  • any other kind of nut or nut butter
  • cacao nibs
  • granola

Method:

  1. Blitz the base ingredients in a blender till smooth.
  2. Let a tablespoon of peanut butter drip along the surrounds of a clean 250g (or close) jar.
  3. Fill the rest of the jar with silky, chocolatey goodness.
  4. Bedazzle with other toppings as you like, being aware of your goals with high calorie options.

Macros:

The above makes 2 serves, the macros described are per serve and do not include toppings:

Each: 197cal 14gP 4gF 26gC

You Don’t Need to Miss Ice Cream

Sweet cold treats needn’t be gone from your life. A ripe banana, frozen ahead, a blender and nut butter are all you need to turn your frosty dreams into scoop-able realties.

I make mine chocolatey and top it with crunchy bits of granola, this recipe offers options to be as creative as you like or strip it back to something you can whip up in minutes.

Base Ingredients:

  • 1 banana, frozen when ripe and chopped into small pieces (blacker, the better)
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (raspberries seem to work the best but blue or straw are great options too!)
  • 1-2tbsp nut butter (I used peanut)
  • 2 tbsp collagen powder (or protein of your choice)
  • 2-4 tbsp cacao powder (depending how dark you like your chocolate)
  • dash of water
  • Optional extras
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon

Toppings:

  • berries
  • sliced banana 
  • more nut butter
  • granola
  • cacao nibs
  • cinnamon

Method:

  1. This bowl is a super good opportunity to practice delayed gratification! Buy banana, forget it about it till it’s super ripe, chop into small bits and into a sealed bag or container, freeze over 12 hours.
  2. In a small blender (magi mix or the small vessel for a magic bullet work best) add your frozen banana and 1/2 cup of frozen berries, let soften 15 minutes. Add nut butter and the cacao & cinnamon if using. Then the dash of water. Blitz intermittently, you may need to stop, shake it up, scoop down the sides and blitz again until smooth.
  3. Once you have achieved creamy and dreamy; Scoop into a bowl and get creative with toppings but realise that toppings, whilst tasty, can be calorie bombs. For example, you get a good 120calories per tbsp of nut butter. So decorate according to your own nutritional needs.

Macros:

The above makes 1 serve, the macros described are per serve and do not include toppings:

Each: 258cal 34gC 17gP 6gF

Hot Tips

  1. These bowls are super versatile and a good way to use up fruit that has gone a bit ripe. Mango and avocado also work super well. You need not make it chocolatey and they can be a brilliant vessel for protein powder.
  2. it is tempting to use more water but try to avoid if you want a thicker texture and something not too watered down.
  3. If possible, enjoy outside.

Garden Tea Party Featuring Chocolate Oats

What could be more English than hot oats at a tea party? We all love porridge on a winters day… chocolate-afying it along side berries and tea takes it to the next comforting level.

Base Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked steel cut oats
  • 2-4 tbsp cacao powder (depending how dark you like your chocolate)
  • 4 tbsp collagen powder (or protein of your choice)
  • pinch of salt

Toppings:

  • berries
  • sliced banana 
  • peanut and other butters
  • maple syrup
  • cinnamon

Method:

  1. Adding one cup of uncooked steel cut oats and 2 cups hot water to a pot, I let get to the boil for a minute and then reduce my heat to medium for a further 5 minutes or until softened to my liking. The beauty of steel cut oats is they are a little chewier which I find adds to the satisfaction factor.
  2. Once softened, add the cacao, protein and pinch of salt, you may need to add a little water here, depending how it has reduced down. Stir through well.
  3. Scoop into a bowl and get creative with toppings but realise that toppings, whilst tasty, can be calorie bombs. For example, you get a good 120calories per tbsp of nut butter

Macros:

The above makes 2 serves, the macros described are per serve and do not include toppings:

Each: 230cal 18gP 4gF 30gC

Hot Tips to save energy and time

  1. Should I be making a cup of tea that morning, as I usually do, I pour the remaining hot water from the kettle into a pot to let my oats soak before I cook them, this saves me time, gas and is good use of water that has been boiled anyway.
  2. I let my bowl (it’s big enough and I am careful when removing it, as you should be) sit on the pot in place of a lid to heat up so my oats stay warmer for longer in it once served.
  3. Batch cook, scoop into jars and tick off your meal prep list to-do.
    Want more Meal prep tips? Find them below

Your Meal Prep Game

Making time to healthily can be hard but it is such a game changer! If you want to live a healthier lifestyle and enjoy the benefits that come with that understand that it takes committing time into what you eat. It comes down to evaluating your priorities and determining what you’re willing to put into it. You can be smart about it and meal prepping is one way of doing that. Meal prepping will save you time, money and help you avoid emotional eating by giving you the mental food security that prevents against impulse of binge eating later. If breakfast is set and you know what you’re getting for lunch and dinner then you will be less likely to give into other temptations throughout the day.

Tip 1: Don’t over complicate it

New recipes with interesting sauces and complex cooking techniques can be super fun to get involved with and if cooking is a passion for you then go for it! For many of us though; the time crunch means implementing these fancy ideas into our everyday meals isn’t going to work. My meal prep involves whipping up and then putting together a few key elements.
1. First is a massive batch of hummus or other kind of dip/sauce* You can find a recipe below 🙂

2. Then I roast a whole chicken or some fillets of salmon. Along side plenty of seasoned vegetables. More recipes below

3. I prep some overnight oats
4. Batch cook rice or quinoa, depending on what’s knocking about my pantry or what made it onto my shopping list

– Lunch box it up and hey presto!

For me this is sustainable, I enjoy the food I eat and it saves me time. It also saves me money I can reinvest in other things; like better quality, organic ingredients and active wear…

Tip 2: Meet your nutritional goals

Once you have worked out the nutritional needs that will deliver your goals do your research on the nutritional value of the foods you want to be eating as well as research on new foods* that will help you get your micro nutrients in. Start with your protein, then a high quality fat** load up on vegetables for volume and micro nutrients and then get a good bit of what ever condiment/dip takes your fancy on there. Following this guide as well as trying to get as many colours as possible in is a fail-safe way of ensuring satiety and getting in the variety of nutrients that you need.

Need help working out what you need and what you don’t need to keep/get your self in top condition?

Tip 3: Be flexible

Consider your lifestyle and how much you really need to be prepping. Maybe you fast in the mornings and share dinner with your family every night translating to a prepped lunch and snack 5 days a week.

Maybe you want to plan your meals for 6 days a week and wing it on your day off. Work out what will work best for you in terms of keeping track and staying on top of your diet, give it some thought and make sure it’s sustainable. If your partner surprises you with a dinner out then go for it! Remember you can always freeze what ever you prepped for another day. Make smart choices of the restaurant’s menu or make adjustments for the rest of the week, swapping a treat meal out on your day off.

Learn the difference between discipline and obsession and what that looks like for you personally. Saying no to frequent take outs in favour of nourishing pre-prepped meals serves you. Missing out on spontaneous dates because you’re too attached to your meal plan doesn’t serve you. Check in with yourself and be kind. Reward your consistency and effort with flexibility and indulgence to make your prepping a solid part of your long-term lifestyle rather than a short term diet that makes you miserable.

*Super greens, cacao powder, collagen, turmeric as well as sprouted and fermented foods are my favourite options for delivering the best nutritional value per calorie.

**Avocado, a tahini based dressing, nut butters or ghee are a few good examples. Just be aware of portions and additional calories.

Example:

Breakfast: Chocolate overnight oats with nut butter, a great post-workout option
Lunch: Roasted chicken, 1/4 cup hummus, 1 cup roasted veg. A perfect balance carbs, fats and protein
Snack: Peice of fruit and 1 protein ball
Dinner: A bowl of tempeh and vegetables with something fermented in a bowl