Thursday, 23 April 2015

Kitted out

Having a good source of motivation is key to maintaining a good fitness routine, and we find that a good way to gain this is through buying good quality gym gear.

We both love Nike, especially their leggings and sports bras as they are all well made, and their bright selection of colours provide a great range of choice! We especially love their trainers, and their Nike Free Runs are so comfortable, perfect for running and wearing in the gym.

Cheaper retailers have also started creating some really good yet affordable fitness wear, some of our favourites being H&M and Primark - which we strongly recommend if you are looking for some new clothes but are on a student budget like us! Even supermarkets such as Tesco are starting to jump on the bandwagon in offering affordable workout gear. 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Mixing up the cardio!

It kind of goes without saying that when it comes to exercise, the best way to stay motivated is to mix it up and keep it fun.  So fitness classes are the obvious option, and with so many different classes available it is easy to find ones that you enjoy and give you a great workout. Classes enable you to try new things and really push yourself, there is definitely no room for slacking!

Circuits is a personal favourite. It is definitely the most fun class due to the variety and the amount of people doing it creates such a great atmosphere.  The fact that you are constantly moving between different exercises makes this class a perfect boredom buster, and the combination of strength and cardio creates a really fun and interesting workout.The hall is divided into three sections; legs, core and upper body and you work you way round each section twice, spending 40 seconds at each fitness station.  

Examples of exercises


·      Squat jumps
·      Box jumps
·      Lunges
·      Sprints with core bags
·      Kettle bell swings
·      Burpees
·      Viper lunges
·      TRX squats
·      High knee sprints


·      Crunches
·      Bicycle crunches
·      Mountain climbers
·      Spiderman push-ups
·      Twisting sit-ups
·      Plank
·      Reverse abdominal curl
·      V sit-ups

Upper body:

·      Dumbbell lateral raises
·      Core bag clean and press
·      Bench press
·      Bent over rowing
·      Bicep curls
·      Seated dips
·      Shoulder press

The list could go on and on, circuits can include so many different exercises which is one of the great things about it! Aside from being incredibly fun, there are so many benefits to circuit training. The class is highly energetic and motivating, and is brilliant for developing strength and endurance. There is little time for rest in this class, meaning that your heart rate is elevated for the entire period of the class, maximising the volume of work done in a short period of time. The combination of weight training and increased cardiovascular effort makes it a perfect high calorie burning class, that targets the whole body; you will definitely be able to feel the effects on your muscles the next day, they tend to ache a lot! 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The smart way to eat out

So like many people we love going out for meals, but a lot of the time this can somewhat put our health kick on pause! However, after trying out a few different places we have discovered that eating well whilst on the go can actually be easy and delicious if you pick the right meal - here are a few of our favourites!

Bill's - We both love this place. We are regulars for their brunches, and cannot recommend them enough - especially their 'Eggs Royale' which consists of sour dough toast, smoked salmon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, alongside their Green juice. Their lunch menu also leaves us spoilt for choice, and a few of our favourite dishes to share include their Cous cous which comes with grilled halloumi, pomegranate seeds and salad, and their crab and prawn chilli fishcakes.

Pizza Express - This may seem a strange place to go when attempting to live a healthier lifestyle, but they actually offer a variety of light options perfect for keeping up eating well. We love their Superfood salad which comes with mozzarella, beetroot, butternut squash, avocados and more delicious components - and for a salad under 350 calories it is super filling! Their Leggera menu also offers a variety of pizzas with a salad in the middle for under 500 calories which is the perfect way to treat yourself to some pizza whilst maintaing a balanced diet.

Jamie's Italian - Another favourite of ours, we recently visited with a couple of our friends and were spoilt for choice with their menu. Although we could have easily opted for one of their amazing sounding pasta or pizza dishes, their quinoa salad caught our eye over all of these! This dish contains a huge variety of ingredients including quiona, smoked salmon, avocados, feta cheese and more and is so filling and satisfying.

As well as these chain restaurants, we have also discovered a few hidden gems, such as 'The Maytree'. They have the a delicious menu with so many fresh fish choices, making it easy for those eating clean to enjoy a meal out. A favourite has to be their grilled salmon salad glazed with a lemon and herb dressing on a giant bed of mixed leaves, cucumber, tomato, peppers and homemade croutons, it is absolutely delicious and healthy!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Fitness first

Nothing beats the feeling after a good workout. Fact. It really does leave you feeling so relaxed and stress free. Yes it is a lot of effort to get into workout clothes and trek to the gym, but that is normally the hardest part, once you are there, you will actually probably enjoy it and you will definitely feel a hundred times better after. Not that the gym is the only way to achieve an active lifestyle, of course there are many other ways to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle; you just have to find what suits you best.

We like to include a mixture of gym sessions and fitness classes. Ok, admittedly we are guilty of being cardio bunnies when it comes to working out in they gym, but that’s only because we find the swarm of boys dominating the weights area a tad daunting! So generally we stick to the cardio equipment and save resistant training for the safety of classes such as pump and tone. These classes are literally so fun and motivating, and a great way of ensuring that we get a good balance or cardio and weights.  Aside from our workouts, we walk, a lot! Walking everywhere is such a great way of exercising without even realising, especially if you try to walk as briskly as possible to raise your heart rate that bit more. For us this is normally unintentional as it is due to being late for a lecture so we have no choice but to power walk!

A lot of people aren’t keen on polar watches as they are “calorie counting” but we find that they are a great way to track our workouts and ensure we are working to our full potential. As we both have polar watches, we are able to make a comparison at the end of our workouts or fitness class to see who burnt the most calories. This makes us so much more motivated to work hard as we become competitive and determined to beat each other!

This year we have set ourselves the 
goal of completing a half marathon.  Eeek. Pretty daunting but we are determined to do it.  We have both never ran that far before but we are so excited; the sense of accomplishment will be unreal! So now that spring is here, there is absolutely no excuse to be cooped up in the gym, we are taking our marathon training outside. How much nicer is running outdoors anyway? The fresh air, the beautiful surroundings and the sense of freedom is just incomparable.  And with loads of different parks and trails right on our doorstep, we will be running various routes, gradually increasing the distance as our endurance improves. 
Hopefully this will prepare us for the 13 miles!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

We thought we would start off our blog in the same way that we start our day...with Breakfast! Before we started eating more nutritious food, we were those kind of people who didn't see the importance of breakfast, but since eating healthily we are now fully on board with the claim that it is 'the best meal of the day'. Here are a few of our favourite breakfast options that we alternate on a weekly basis:

Porridge - A popular choice of breakfast amongst those into their fitness. Porridge oats are a slow releasing carb that allow you to maintain your energy levels throughout the morning, and keep you going until lunchtime. We like to combine ours with almond milk and half a mashed banana per person, before baking it in the oven for around 6 minutes on a medium heat. Using the oven creates a more crispy effect, that actually makes the porridge taste almost like a dessert! We like to mix and match our toppings but a few of our favourites include apple and cinnamon, blueberries and dried fruit. 

Granola - There is a common association that Granola is always full of sugar, but if you search around there are many on the market with much more natural ingredients, having said this Granola should generally be eaten in moderation as it still remains higher in calories then other breakfast alternatives. Add your own sweetness through ingredients such as fresh fruit or cinnamon for a tasty way to start your morning.

Pancakes - Like most people, we love pancakes. However, we have discovered a much more nutritious recipe, that we both genuinely believe is so much tastier! To make our protein packed pancakes combine one egg with a splash of almond milk, a handful of oats and one mashed banana until you get a fairly liquidy consistency. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook on one side where you can add any toppings, we love blueberries! Then flip them over until cooked through, and serve with any extras.

Eggs - This option is more of a 'Brunch' choice for us, which we love to have after a lie-in or before a gym session. We either poach our eggs for a few minutes, or scramble them with almond milk using 1 whole egg mixed with 1-2 egg whites per person. We love to combine this with a source of protein such as Omega rich Smoked Salmon, and the meal goes perfectly with some sort of fruit or vegetable source such as half a sliced avocado or wilted spinach which we love to combine with chilli flakes for an added metabolism boost.

Smoothies - We love fruit, and smoothies are the perfect way to get some way to your five a day. Buying fresh fruit can be expensive, so we usually use a combination of fresh and frozen. We generally buy a bunch of bananas and chop them up when fairly ripe before freezing them, as they are always useful to have stored. We love a range of fruits in our smoothies, such as berries, mangos and grapes, but it really is adaptable. For a 'greener' blend you could try adding vegetables such as spinach, celery and kale which creates a lovely fresh tasting smoothie. Simply blend the ingredients with almond milk and you should be left with a delicious, fresh breakfast.

Everything needs a starting point

Health and fitness is a major part of our lives, and has especially been over the last couple of years. Having read a whole collection of fitness and lifestyle blogs over this time, we have been inspired to share our own ideas and interests regarding a healthy and happy lifestyle.
We are both 19 year old students at Cardiff University, so trying to go against the stereotypical uni student stigma - who generally has a poor diet and struggles to fit exercise into a tight schedule - can be slightly difficult at times. However, in meeting each other and finding our mutual interest in fitness, it has actually been fairly easy in discovering it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle at uni with the right attitude.
We both love to workout as it leaves such a good feeling and acts as the perfect means of escape. We have also discovered a wide range of new forms of exercise whilst becoming students, such as weekly classes ranging from 'Boxercise' to 'Pump and Tone' which mean our workouts are never monotonous. Whilst we have never been great in the cooking department, we are gradually learning and developing the confidence to create more healthy and delicious dishes.
So together we want to share our fitness goals and healthy recipes with you all, we hope you enjoy!

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