Are You Training in the Right Shoes?

When I first started running, I bought at least four different pairs of running shoes. I got a pair of Under Amour running shoes in orange and another pair in pink/purple (so I could change as a function of what I was wearing, naturally!) and I treated myself to a pair of black Nike Free RN Flyknits on a trip to Nike Town in London, and I got some grey/black UltraBOOST adidas trainers (though I will admit I use them more as lifestyle trainers nowadays). Likewise, when I started learning to play tennis, I also invested in a few pairs of tennis shoes as I knew I couldn’t play tennis in running shoes. They just don’t have the necessary lateral support. But for some reason, I have spent the past couple of years doing HIIT workouts in the wrong trainers. When I would train weekly with a personal trainer (you can see one of my workouts on my YouTube videos here), I often wore my running shoes. I didn’t injure myself, but I certainly could have, and I do now wonder if my progress was in any way impeded by not training in the right shoes.

I stopped doing those workouts about 6 months ago, and I enjoyed the break as I had never really enjoyed them. I mean, does anyone really enjoy burpees, jump squats, scissor jumps and push ups?! However, during that time I worried I would be more likely to get injured when playing tennis if I wasn’t training my muscles (as they say, you should train to do a sport, no do a sport to train!), so one of my resolutions this year has been to do more workouts at home.  On the 1st January I downloaded the Sweat app so I could do the famous BBG workouts by Kayla Itsines. The BBG workouts are full of plyometric moves, and whilst I really do NOT enjoy jumping I know they are great for tennis players, as we need that explosive power on the court. They also include a number of weight-lifting exercises with dumbbells and medicine balls. During the first week I really struggled with some of the exercises, such as walking lunges, and I really felt my feet were unstable. I assumed this was just due to a lack of muscles, and I was sure it would get better with time. However, by the third week it suddenly occurred to me that the reason I might be so wobbly could also have something to do with my shoes. So I do some research and picked up these asics Gel-Fit Yui shoes, and during my first legs workout, I finally felt that my shoes were supporting me through the workout! I can’t believe it took me so long to realise that I would need specific shoes to train in, just as I need the right shoes for running and tennis…

Are you training in the right shoes? If not, check out some of my favourites styles for training, running and tennis below and make sure you are matching your shoes to your workout (as well as your outfit!).

[shopr_shopthepost collection=”Training-shoes” size=”large” title=”Shop my fave training shoes”]

[shopr_shopthepost collection=”Running-shoes” size=”large” title=”Shop my fave running shoes”]

[shopr_shopthepost collection=”Tennis-shoes” size=”large” title=”Shop my fave tennis shoes”]

[Remember that you can get 10% off at Tennis Warehouse Europe with my VIP code 40ISHLOV10!]

 

 

Why Am I Doing a Weekly Wellness Challenge?

Weekly Wellness Challenge

Last year I did both Dry January and Yoganuary and this year I am doing Veganuary. Apparently there is evidence that it takes between 3 weeks and a month to develop a habit, but I have to admit that I did not actually continue abstaining from alcohol after Dry January, and I can’t really say I kept up a regular yoga practice throughout the whole of last year. So despite sticking with both these activities for a full month, thoroughly enjoying the experiences, and finding them fairly easy to implement, they did not develop into habits. But why? Well, I think the reason is that when you give up something completely, or try and do something every single day without fail, it becomes difficult to keep up such extreme habits when everyday life starts to get in the way. And as soon as you start to slip, it gets easier and easier to fall back into your old habits. That said, things might be different when you have a very strong motivation for making a change. I feel a lot more passionately about eating a plant-based diet than I did about abstaining from alcohol or practicing yoga (and it wasn’t such an extreme change as I had already been eating a predominantly plant-based diet for about 2 months prior) so I think I am very likely to carry on Veganuary past February…

Right now I’m not really looking to make any more big changes to my life, but I have learned from these experiences that I really enjoy challenging myself. I don’t think it makes sense for me to wait until next January to try out something new and so, purely for fun, I have decided to test myself throughout the year and implement a Weekly Wellness Challenge. Each Sunday I will set myself a health and wellness related challenge or goal for the coming week, and I will share my progress on my Instagram stories with the hashtag #40ishloveWWC. Some of these wellness habits may stick, many probably won’t, but by sharing these challenges on social media I will be motivated to try out a number of new healthy activities that I probably wouldn’t otherwise bother to try. I won’t put myself under any pressure (as I already have a fairly busy fitness life with tennis training twice a week, tennis matches, Pilates and Kayla Itsines’ Sweat app!), and instead I’ll use it as a learning experience, to see if there are any healthy practices out there that I would actually like to implement more regularly in my life. I have already been brainstorming about the types of challenges I will set myself, and they cover various topics from food to fitness to flexibility to feelings. I’ll be looking to Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for inspiration, and if you have any suggestions on what I could/should do, just let me know in the comments below! For week one I have decided to work on my tight hamstrings and I plan do ragdoll for 3 mins each day (as described by Cat Meffan on one of her YouTube videos). Remember to follow me on Instagram to see how it goes!

Actually, why don’t you join me on the challenge?! If you subscribe to my newsletter using the form at the bottom of this page, you will receive my newsletter every Sunday and I’ll share the upcoming Weekly Wellness Challenge with you!

 

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup

Carrot, sweet potato and chickpea soup

Carrot, sweet potato and chickpea soup

Carrot, sweet potato and chickpea soup

Carrot, sweet potato and chickpea soup

It has been snowing, it is cold, the snow is turning to slush, my feet are cold and wet from inadequate footwear (as the frequency with which it snows does not justify investing in a pair of moon boots), and that excited feeling I got when I saw those first snow drops has quickly evaporated. So to warm (and cheer) myself up today I decided to make my favourite carrot, sweet potato and chickpea soup.

Carrot soup was the first soup I ever made, and I was surprised that I could make something so tasty with such little effort. It is quite difficult to get anything wrong with this recipe, perhaps the only issue can be working out how much water you need, but I think it is best to use a bit less and add more at the end if it turns out to be too thick.

By the way, I am really enjoying the fact I have expanded my blog to include recipes from my new plant-based diet as I just love  taking photos of food, even if my partner does tell me I look ridiculous cooking with a camera around my neck, and he laughs at me as I take the food to the bathroom to take a photo for Instagram (it has the best white background and lighting, ok?!).

Ingredients (serves 4)

500g carrots

1 medium sweet potato (mine weighed 250 g)

Half an onion

1 400g tin of chickpeas

1 vegetable stock cube

125 ml of boiling water

Chilli flakes

Pepper

Method

Peel and chop up the carrots, sweet potato and onion and add to a pan.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas (this is important to remove all the added salt and preservatives that are added to the water they are stored in) and add to the pan. You can keep half of the chickpeas aside if you would like to add them whole to the final soup.

Put the lid on the pan and allow the vegetables to ‘sweat’ for a few minutes over a low heat. Then add the boiling water, the vegetable stock cube, chilli flakes and pepper (to taste).

Bring the water to boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes (or until the carrots and sweet potato are soft). Remove from the heat and blitz with a hand blender. If you kept the chickpeas aside, add these to the blended soup and put the pan back on a low heat for a couple of minutes.

Add some chilli flakes on top if, like some, you like it hot!

5 Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

I have had an iPhone for about 8 years, but it was only recently that I clicked that purple Podcasts app for the first time, and I can’t believe it took me so long! I am now hooked. I listen to podcasts whilst driving, whilst walking along the river, as I am doing the weekly food shop (especially if it is really busy and I need to ‘zone out’), while I am doing a home workout, and always, always when cooking dinner. So I have put together a list of the podcasts you should be listening to right now if, like me, you enjoy fitness, health and humour.

The Rich Roll Podcast

This was the first podcast I subscribed to after seeing Rich Roll on a Netflix documentary, where his accomplishments as a plant-based ultra athlete were described. I tend to skip the first 10 minutes of the podcast as there is always a long introduction featuring some adverts, but once it gets going, the conversations he has with guests from various backgrounds (typically health-related, both physical and mental) are both meaningful and informative.

The WheyBox Podcast

This is a new podcast led by fitness influencer Tally Rye. She featured on my best Instagram accounts post, and, as I wrote there, she speaks to you as though she is your best friend. She is extremely natural at interviewing people and really keeps the conversation going. There has only been one episode so far, but I am confident I am going to continue to enjoy listening to her talking to other professionals in the health and fitness industry.

TEDTalks Health

I don’t really know if this is officially a podcast, as it just seems to just be TED YouTube videos, but its on the app, so I have included it here. As it features talks which can have visual material, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to follow if you don’t look at the screen, but I generally find I can get most of the information just from listening. Researchers and doctors share recent breakthroughs related to health, and I have so far enjoyed learning about telomeres, gut health and how we might sleep better in the future.

The Doctor’s Kitchen

This is another new podcast by someone I follow on Instagram. The Doctor’s Kitchen is Dr Rupy Aujla, an NHS doctor who believes that food is the most important health intervention anyone can make. How refreshing to listen to a medical doctor with deep knowledge of nutrition!

My Dad Wrote a Porno

I obviously left the best ‘til last! This podcast is hilarious. Jamie Morton’s dad has written a porno and he has decided to read out each chapter to the world. I just spent an hour walking along the river listening and laughing out loud to the first few episodes. Thanks Jamie!

 

Which podcasts do you think I should be listening to? Let me know in the comments below.

What I Eat in A Day: Plant-Based Diet

I recently transitioned to a plant-based diet and probably the best thing about it so far has been the enjoyment I am taking from experimenting with so many new ingredients and recipes.

Here is a typical ‘what I eat in a day’ with a couple of options for each meal and snacks. I try to eat a variety of legumes for protein, but I certainly eat less protein than I used to, but I am not so worried about it. The options below include protein powder, but I don’t actually have it every day. My percentage of carbohydrates has certainly gone up, but they are such good carbs – full of healthy fibre. I keep reading that it is very difficult to be deficient in protein, but a large majority of us really are deficient in fibre. Rather than focusing on what I am removing from my diet, I am instead thinking about the vegetables/legumes/tofu I have never bought before, how I can cook them, what spices I can add to make them taste great etc.

So read on for my ‘what I eat in a day’ and buon appetito!

What I Eat in a Day

Breakfast

Porridge or overnight oats made with almond/soya/coconut milk with a number of different added ingredients (not necessarily all at the same time!): vegan or hemp protein powder, peanut/almond butter, flak seeds, chia seeds, cranberries, pine nuts, raisins, walnuts…
or
Smoothie made with frozen banana, vegan protein power, a handful of spinach (you really can’t taste it!), peanut butter, flak seeds

Lunch

Mashed white beans with garlic, green olives and sun dried tomatoes on toast (made with a nice seedy bread) with chilli flakes on top
or
Vegan piadina pizza – see recipe here!

Snacks

Raw brownies (Deliciously Ella’s recipe) made with medjool dates, almonds/pecans, raw cacao powder and maple syrup
or
Pita bread and hummus (I still haven’t got round to making hummus myself, but that is next on my ‘to do’ list)

Dinner

A hearty soup with lentils, beans, chickpeas, vegetables (e.g. cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, leeks, courgette) and some crusty bread to dunk.
or
Portuguese Pasta (well, this is the name my Portuguese partner has given it, as Italians would never cook pasta this way!): onions, peppers, courgettes, peas and tomatoes are cooked in salted boiling water and then the pasta* is added and cooked together with the vegetables to create a yummy pasta soup.

(* I have also experimented with chickpea, lentil, and black bean pasta which are all high protein and very tasty)

Bean mash on toast

Lentil soup

Raw brownie