Thursday, 5 April 2012

It may not be easy but it really is simple.

If you are determined to make a change for the better, then this is what you need to do:

Eat clean, do more, sleep well, get outside.  

It's so simple, right?  I didn't say it was necessarily easy but it is simple.

And the good news is you don't need to join a gym or run anywhere to get fit!

You can do a great body-weight workout at home and if you want to up it a bit, you can get an inexpensive resistance band for around a tenner or invest in a set of free weights.

If you want to burn fat, body-weight workouts need to focus on major muscle groups, so if you want to trim down, tone up and improve your strength, endurance and balance, you can't do better than squats, lunges, planks and press ups.  You get a full body workout with these exercises.  If you can chuck in some pull ups, all the better.  You can also isolate your triceps (bingo-wings, ladies) by doing triceps dips on the edge of your stairs, bed or sofa - the longer the lever you make with your legs, the harder they will be.

If you have access to a resistance band, you can include all sorts of other exercises, like rows, bicep curls, triceps pull downs, lateral hip extensions etc.

If you have a set of free weights, you can do endless exercises and increase the intensity much more easily!

Along with resistance work, you need to include some cardio, for a number of reasons.  It improves your cardiovascular health, meaning reduced risk of coronary heart disease; lowers blood pressure and improves performance.  It also releases masses of endorphins so makes you feel really good.   The good news is that going for a long, brisk walk, fast enough to get you hot and sweaty, can raise your heart rate enough to burn fat and improve lung capacity and resting heart rate.

If you like to run, swim or cycle, they are excellent cardio too, but walking can be enough!

Of course, if you lack the motivation, a personal trainer is a great way to make sure you stay focused and on-track and they can design a program specifically to fit your lifestyle and goals but simply getting a friend along with you can be enough to keep you motivated.

Getting fit and healthy isn't rocket science.  It might not be easy but it is simple.  Anyone can do it if they have the determination to do so.  So change your priorities and push your health and wellbeing further up that list!

And remember: eat clean, do more, sleep well and get outside!

Krish x

Easter cake doesn't have to you see what I did there?

Fun-free Simnel cake.

Here is a recipe for fruit cake that involves no flour and no refined sugar.  It isn't, however, calorie free, so you still have to exercise a little restraint...

1 cup of halved glace cherries
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of currants
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup mixed peel
1/2 cup of brandy

You can add whatever you like to the mixture as well, in the way of other dried fruit and chopped nuts etc.

Soak fruit in brandy overnight in a covered bowl.

250g ground almonds
1 eggs
squirt of agave nectar or honey

Mix these ingredients together to make the almond paste. Put aside.

1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 tin black beans (or kidney beans at a push) drained
1 cup milk powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
60 g cocoa powder
1 cup ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp olive oil
3 eggs

Add beans and chickpeas to food processor and whizz until smooth.  Add eggs.  whiz.  add dry ingredients and olive oil.  whiz until just combined.

Tip into a bowl and add brandy-soaked fruit.

Pour half the mixture into a lined tin.

Roll out half the almond paste (you need to use some ground almonds to prevent the paste from sticking to your surface and rolling pin) to the size of the tin and place on top of the mixture in the pan.

Pour the rest of the cake mixture on top.

Bake in a preheated oven at around 150 degrees for around 1/2 an hour, until a skewer comes ut clean and the top bounces back.

Wait for the cake to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Roll out the rest of the almond paste, reserving a little for the 11 balls on the top.  Brush top of cake with jam and place the almond past circle on top.  Stick 11 almond past balls around the top and grill until golden.

Krish x