Duck & Dry

5EBB7611-2098-457D-A43E-6C9CB4BCE7A5As part of my ongoing commitment to feeling good from the inside out, I have made a point of focusing some more energy into doing things that are good for me, mind, body and soul.

I don’t know about you but when I feel good on the outside it helps me to feel good on the inside. Spending time pampering myself, a face mask, an indulgent soak in the bath, all helps contribute to feeling good.

7ADB891F-EADE-4234-8C76-6214ED4CA81BIt’s the same as diet and training, when I’m not on a good path with my diet, and I’m eating rubbish food, I feel rubbish. When I don’t prioritise time to work out, I feel sluggish and uncomfortable in my own skin.

Since becoming engaged I’ve made a point of focusing on all of the above. It might be something symbolic about entering a new phase of my life, but I want to enter into my married life feeling the best I ever have. I don’t want heat damaged hair and greasy skin. I don’t want to feel like I’m carrying an uncomfortable amount of excess weight, or that I’m out of breath running up the stairs because I haven’t been doing any cardio.

As part of my commitment to feeling good I’m taking time to do things I enjoy and that make me feel the best me.

If one thing is bound to make me feel good in myself, it’s getting myself all glammed up. A nice bouncy blowdry and putting on a bit of makeup and a nice outfit. It might seem vain, but I truly think making an effort with myself to look good on the outside helps with how I feel on the inside.

569352ED-F629-4011-92BA-516EEDD1E356

One place I know I can go to that will guarantee me that “feel good” feeling when I leave, is Duck & Dry.

If your based in London or ever up town for a night or day out, and fancy a little pamper, I cannot recommend Duck & Dry highly enough. The first time I discovered them I went with a group of my best friends for one of their birthdays. We had blowdrys and Prosecco, there was even dancing.

Now fast forward to later in the year, and I always make a point of going for a nice blow dry whenever I need a little beauty boost. Because they just focus on blowdrys and braids, their staff are fantastic at them. Did I mention they serve Prosecco.

I’m booked in again with my friend who’s coming down from Glasgow for the weekend, it’s important I show her all of my favourite places in london, and Duck & Dry has fast become my go to place before any occasion.

Check out http://www.duckanddry.com for more info and to book an appointment.

 

Matts Sweet potato brownies

61723A89-68C5-438C-848D-79956257A1A8.jpegI first met Matt (@buildandbakefitness on instagram check him out) when he stepped on the BNBF stage alongside my boyfriend Luke. Natural bodybuilder, youtube vlogger and brownie baker. Since then hes been drooling over my bagels, and I have been hearing lots of good things about his brownies. Luke came home after meeting with Matt to train, raving about how good these brownies were…we’re still yet to organise a physical brownie/bagel exchange, so a recipe swap was the next best option.

Today I decided it was time to give them a go, and I promise you, you need to do this too. Best brownie recipe I’ve ever worked from hands down. Gooey, but with a decent crust, soft, moist (eeeew I hate that word). But really they’re perfect. Race out to Sainsburys and grab yourself the ingredients!

This recipe made me 20 brownies and the macros will  reflect that, feel free to make big fat chunky ones, or as Matt does make 25/30 bitesize ones.

Get baking and don’t forget to share your creations with me and with Matt!

Ingredients: 

  • 400g Sweet potato
  • 200g Medijool Dates (I used Whitworths bake with chopped dates)
  • 150g Ground Almonds
  • 75ml Coconut oil
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 30g Chopped walnuts (this is my addition to Matts standard recipe. Optional)

Matt sometimes adds 150g chocolate protein powder, but I didn’t this time. He also plays around with lots of naughty additions, and adaptations so feel free to experiment…I certainly will be!

Method: 

  1. Boil your sweet potato until cooked thoroughly, drain and leave to cool slightly.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4 and line a brownie tin with baking parchment.
  3. Separate the egg whites from the yolks, adding the yolks to a large mixing bowl and fluff up the whites in a separate bowl, either by hand or I just used my nutribullet. Put the egg whites in a separate bowl and set them aside, you will fold them into the mixture later.
  4. Add your ground almonds, baking powder and cocoa powder to the egg yolks.
  5. Melt the coconut oil if needed, and the chocolate, and add them into the mix.
  6. Take your blender/nutribullet style blender, and add into it the sweet potatoes and the dates. Blend until a fine pulp.
  7. Add this sweet potato pulp mixture to the main mixing bowl mix and stir thoroughly to combine.
  8. Gently fold in the fluffed up egg whites.
  9. Finally add the chopped walnuts.
  10. Bake for 25/30 minutes, and make sure you don’t open the oven door to peek.
  11. Allow to cool in the tray for 10-15 minutes before cutting into brownie squares with a sharp knife.

MACROS: per 1 brownie 186kcal/11.8g Fat/15.4g Carbs/4.6g Protein

 

 

 

 

Eat Lean Cheese Bagels

thumbnail_IMG_9505Now I hate to toot my own trumpet but I am not exaggerating when I say these bagels are unbelievable. I decided to learn how to make bagels, as bread is something I have never managed to master, so with a little help from a bread baking pro on instagram, I got the top tips and aced it. As soon as I started there was no stopping me, I wanted to make bagels at any free opportunity. Luckily they’re low fat, made with super cheap ingredients, and keep well…not that they need to in my house with the way my boyfriend goes through them.

This recipe is the plain white bagel recipe, adapted to include Eat lean protein cheese, and honestly do it because the cheese creates something else entirely, they toast so well and the cheese is just…ok ok I love them a lot, but try the recipe for yourself and it wont disappoint.

Please don’t let the length of the method put you off, they take a couple of hours because of proofing time but they’re actually really simple to make and well worth the effort.

Tag me in your creations I would love to see them @cakesweightsandproteinshakes, go forth and make bagels!

Get your Eat lean protein cheese here and use code GRAINNE10 for 10% off!

Ingredients:

  • 450g Bread flour (I used Allisons strong white bread flour)
  • 7g Sachet of dried yeast
  • 4 tbsp Sugar (I used golden caster because its what was in the cupboard)
  • 2tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 75g Eat lean protein cheese grated

Method:

  1. You will need two large bowls. Tip the yeast and 1 tbsp of the sugar into one of the bowls and pour over 100ml of warm water. Leave for 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  2. Pour 200ml water into the bowl, then stir in the salt and half the flour. Measure out the rest of the flour into a small cereal bowl and start adding it slowly to the mixture mixing first with a wooden spoon, before keeping one hand dry on the bowl and mixing with your hands. You may not need all the flour and you may need an extra couple of grams, you want to create a soft but not sticky dough.
  3. Whilst still in the bowl, add the 75g of grated cheese a little at a time, you need to try and get the cheese combined within the dough so it takes a little patience.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, prepare your other bowl by lightly oiling, I use fry lite spray, and place the dough into the oiled bowl. cover with a clean tea towel or cling film and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. This should take around an hour, I go for 1hour 15.
  5. Heat oven to 200 degrees or gas mark 7. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. To help you shape the bagels, I like to bring the dough pieces into balls by pinching it in a round and smoothing, you want the cheese to be mostly inside your smooth-ish ball. The area where you have pinched the dough together to create a ball will be where you make your hole. Dip your finger in flour and push through the dough to make your hole. The hole needs to be way bigger than you expect as it will shrink back and even more so after baking. I’m talking around a 3cm hole.
  6. Meanwhile bring a large pan to the boil. Tip the remaining sugar and 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda into the water. Slip the bagels into the water a couple at a time, there needs to be enough room for all  the bagels to sit on the surface so in my pan that’s two bagels. Leave for 1-2 minutes before using a slotted spoon to turn the bagels. Allow to puff up in the water and a skin to form before removing and draining away access water. max 2/3 minutes in the water maybe 1 minute or so each side.
  7. Once all of your bagels, or enough that will fit on your baking tray are off the boil, place on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden in colour. When you tap the bottom of the bagel it should sound hollow and you’ll know they’re ready.
  8. Leave to cool on a rack, or just eat them!

MACROS: 217Kcal/ 1.3g FAT/ 40.3g CARBS/10.6g PROTEIN

Who ate all the pies?

image1Pies…pretty much off the menu when dieting, so you would all think. Square Pie have changed all of that with their ‘Proper little pies’. Available to buy from the frozen section in Waitrose, these beautifully created perfectly balanced pies are perfect for a snack, a light lunch, or two for dinner. Over the last week or I’ve been eating pies, and I have been LOVING it!

Pie with salad, pie with mash…even pie and chips made in the Actifry, its been fantastic to eat something so satisfying, and still being safe in the knowledge that I’m not eating something crammed full of unnecessary calories.

The pies come in 3 flavours; Steak and Ale, Chesnut mushroom and borlotti bean, and Spinach, goats cheese and sweet potato. The pies are mini, and come in packets of 4, they bake in around 15-20 minutes and are all under 200kcal a pie.

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My favourite of the three flavours has got to be the Steak and Ale, flakey butte

ry pastry and a truly indulgent filling. It reminded me of a seriously good pub lunch pie, and was a really satisfying dinner….AND at only 156kcal per pie!

If you like a good pie I can certainly recommend you give square pie a try….oooh I’m a poet and I don’t know it!

Check them out on social media too @squarepie on instagram and see lots of tasty pictures of pies and pie meal ideas.

More meal ideas, recipes, and blogging to come soon!

Coconut Mocha Roll

6BCB9703-78F5-4DEA-A8DA-6969F4BA0492This is my entry for Mulitpowers annual Healthy baking bake off. I got to use two different flavours of protein power to create something that looks good, tastes good, and uses their protein powder in the mix. I used Multipower Caramel coffee flavour protein and Rich Chocolate protein, to create this delicious mocha coconut roll.

Ingredients:

  • 200g Ground Almonds
  • 200g Oats blended to a flour
  • 150g Dates
  • 65g Cacao powder
  • 2-3tsp Instant coffee
  • 15g Caramel Coffee Whey protein
  • 15g Rich Chocolate Whey protein
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk (chilled overnight)
  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 1tbsp Desiccated coconut

NB. Coconut milk in a can will separate when its cold enough, separating the creamy fatty layer from the water. Sometimes in the winter you will find it does it at home without even being chilled, sometimes you can feel that its separated in the supermarket from being chilled when you give the can a shake. To make the cream for this recipe you will need the can of coconut milk to have separated, so either give the cans a shake in the supermarket, or chill it in your fridge overnight before you get baking.

Method:

  1. Start by preparing a rectangular baking tray with baking parchment. The parchment will need to cover the whole tray and hang over the ends slightly to aid with rolling.
  2. Using a blender blend your oats into a fine flour, then combine this with your ground almonds in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Boil the kettle and dissolve 2/3 tbsp (depending on how much you like coffee) in approx 130ml of water. Add this mixture into a blender with your dates and whizz it up to form a paste.
  4. Combine this coffee and date paste with the cacao and the two flavours of protein powder.
  5. Mix the date paste into the oat and almond flour mix and combine all of these ingredients together to form a sticky dough.
  6. This might take some time to form and you will need to get your hands in there, add a little water at a time as needed.
  7. Tip your dough onto your prepared tray and wash your hands. Take your time to slowly spread the dough into the corners and fill the tray evenly.
  8. Pop your tray into the freezer to chill and begin to prepare your cream.
  9. Once chilled, your coconut milk should have separated the fatty creamy layer from the watery layer. For this recipe all you want is the hard top layer. Scoop this out of the can and whip it up in a bowl like cream. You can add vanilla or a sweetener of your choice but I like mine as is.
  10. Remove your roll from the freezer, spread on the cream and gently begin to roll it up, use the baking parchment to help you. Don’t worry if there’s a few crack the chocolate will cover that.
  11. Once rolled up put back into the freezer again and melt your dark chocolate.
  12. Remove frozen roll from the freezer and cover with the melted chocolate, it should set quite quickly on the cold roll, sprinkle on your desiccated coconut, and your good to go. One perfect protein coconut mocha roll.

 

My post bulk diet so far…

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 20.36.41I am now 6 weeks into my weight loss post bulk, and I am 8lbs down. I was aiming for around 1lb per week so I am pleased with my slow but steady weight loss. A big thing I have began doing again is reintroducing cardio back into my lifestyle. Something I have found in the past to be not my favourite thing lets say.

I decided to try and look at some new ways of getting cardio in, ways that were more enjoyable. I started by trying a spin class, working out with friends, and then me and my friend Joy went along to this amazing class at newly opened 9Round Deptford, in South East London. Its a 30 minute kickboxing based circuit HIIT class, with no class times, just turn up and jump into the circuit. Trainers are there to guide you through the circuits and keep you motivated. It was an absolute killer but we loved it. Check out Joy’s Youtube channel  video we made of the session and head over to 9Rounds website for more info. I would also note, I can already massively see that I have lost weight since we made this video a few weeks ago, so it makes me really pleased to think I am seeing results.

I have also bought myself a little second hand bike, after only learning to ride a bike in Bali last September, I  thought it was a good idea to get back on it, and treated myself. The weather has been so lovely in London these last few weeks so getting out on my bike has been really enjoyable, I’m sticking to the park for now don’t worry! But cycling is a great way of getting cardio in, and the wind blowing in my face keeps me cool while I ride around instead of getting puffed out on a treadmill in the gym.

Diet wise I decided not to reduce calories too quickly. I am keeping my fats and proteins the same as they have been on my bulk, and just slowly decreasing my carbs. I was on 200g carbs during my bulk, so decreased down week 1 to 180g, then to 160g, then week 3 went down to 140g. I found I was losing weight quite quickly and then stuck on 140g for the next 3 weeks until weight loss began to stall. I just finished my first week on 120g carbs and I am feeling great for it. I will definitely not drop down again yet until weight loss stalls as I want to keep overall calories as high as possible while managing to lose weight slowly.

I have struggled somewhat getting my head back in the game this time around. I think I was so used to that 6 long months of bulking, and not having to think about the odd treat here and there, knowing it would all even itself out and hey I’m bulking, eat the ice cream. That even though I was excited to get strict, its been hard to. Only 6 weeks in i’m craving dirty burgers and nachos with all the cheese. But that’s ok, its not all about being some super hardcore person who doesn’t crave things, because I’m so damn good at this, I’m not ashamed. Its just about being dedicated, not necessarily motivated to reach my goals, and I WILL.

So that’s about it for now, I am starting to see the changes in my body slowly but surely, and I am so excited to see what I will look like in just another 6 weeks. It is so exciting to have that security of KNOWING not just hoping. I know that in 6 weeks I will be looking better, leaner, more defined. Dieting is a science, it can be a tough science to follow but if followed it will create results. When I drop my calories to 100g carbs I think I will start to carb cycle again so we will see how that goes for a few weeks, but like I said I wont be dropping unnecessarily, so if I continue to lose 1lb a week on 120g carbs I wont reduce any further.

Watch this space!

End of bulk reflections

2E0F0903-BC1F-47C3-8033-833EF0A58EEA.JPGI’m finally here, I made it 6 long months eating in calorie surplus. There have been tears, tantrums, and times I wanted to give it all up completely, but here I am staring at the finish line.

My weight is 11st7 which is 1st7 more than my leanest. This is comprised of not only new muscle built, but definitely a good portion of fat. Certain areas of my body seem to gain fat really quickly, such as my hips and arms, where as other areas like my legs have hardly gained any fat at all.

I wanted to write a final blog piece exploring the ups and downs, good times and bad, and summarising what I have learnt and would change next time.

Having always been slightly or quite majorly overweight all through my teens and early twenties I was delighted when I reached 10st and slipped into size 8 clothes. It really was something I never thought would be possible for me, so taking the decision to start gaining weight on purpose was a really tough one. I liked how I looked at the end of my diet last year but there was still improvements to be made, and once you get the bug for improving your body, I am sure a lot of you will relate, you will keep pushing the goalpost back. At first I just wanted to lose weight, then I wanted to look fit, then I wanted to look strong and now I want to look even stronger. The only way to build muscle is by eating in a calorie surplus and of course working hard lifting weights in the gym. However I have learnt a few things during this bulking season that will change how I enter it next time.

I have learnt that my body is very carb sensitive, and although some girls can get away with hundreds and hundreds of grams of carbs a day during a bulk, this season at least, that is not me. Next time I decide to bulk I will make sure to really slowly bring those carbs up. I think I jumped up a bit too quickly which meant in those first few weeks I gained weight a little quicker than I wanted. This then definitely leveled out for a long time and I began a more steady increase, but I think going into it slower is very important.

I have also learnt it is very easy to get relaxed and have a few too many treats. Diet mode for me is quite easy, when your heads in the game its a straight no. But with bulking you find you can actually fit those things in, or almost fit them in, and hey ho I’m bulking anyway it will all go to my booty. Next time I want to be stricter with the ‘extras’ shall we say, and minimise fat gain that way.

I can hardly believe I got through this when I look at some of the bad days. In the beginning I think I struggled the most. I saw my faint abs disappearing, and my hips instantly began to cling to the fat. For the first few months my size 8 clothes still fitted me fine, but as the months went on I was squeezing into them or wearing the few size 10’s I still had. There have been days where I have cried physical tears, told my boyfriend I was fat and ugly and hated myself and didn’t want to continue, but it wasn’t true, I was just slightly fatter than before, but also I was hugely stronger.

At my leanest in the summer I was bicep curling with 5kg and at a push 7.5kg dumbells. Now I am curling with 10kg and 12.5kg on my strong days.

My deadlift before my bulk was 70kg for reps 80kg one rep max. It is now 100kg for reps and 105kg one rep max.

Seeing my strength increase was what spurred me on, that and all my constant support from you guys reading my blog and writing to me on instagram.

When I started having those feelings of hating my body I reminded myself of what this body could do. I got into the gym and smashed a personal best and the feeling that gave me reminded me what it was all for. All this hard work has been for a reason…to gain new muscle, to get stronger and to look stronger. Shaping my body from the inside. Its hard to appreciate that when its covered in a layer of fat, but I do get moments when I realise how strong I now am. Carrying a heavy bag for a friend, going to the gym with one of the girls, lifting my heavy weekend bag into the overhead lockers on the airplane. It feels good to be strong, and this bulk has helped me become stronger both inside and out.

I weighed myself this morning and instead of panicking that I am nearly the same weight as I was when I was a size 12/14 and hating myself , I simply wrote the weight down and accepted it. Its just a number, my body is not the same as when I was bigger before. I’m still in my size 10 jeans that I couldn’t have dreamed of fitting into before my fitness journey began, and now to move on to the next phase. I have never been so excited in my life to diet.This time I know I can do it, I know how to do it, and I know exactly what works for my body. This time I am not scared of failure or worried I can’t maintain the weight I lose, I’ve done it before and I will do it again, this summer revealing an all new slimmer more toned than ever before version of me.

 

Making healthy eating easy

img_2550As I am approaching the end of my bulking phase and preparing to diet, I wanted to take time to reflect on what has actually been the most helpful thing when it comes to diet.

Dedication to your diet and to your goals of course plays a huge role in success, but there are other factors at play that can make staying dedicated far easier.

Preparation is key, so they say, and this I definitely agree with, but to what extent you need to be prepared depends on many factors.

Some people prep a whole weeks worth of meals each Sunday, others prep the working weeks lunches, or prep for 2/3 days. For me the prep that I do is simply planning out my meals. This is made possible by having the convenience of Live Lean UK delivering my meat to my door each month in bulk orders.

When my meat delivery arrives I start to jot down exactly what meals and how many meals the delivery will allow me to make, and what extra foods I will need in order to make them. At the start of each week I do my food shop to accommodate those meals and each evening defrost the meat required for the next night. Who says eating healthily needs to be expensive? With a bundle from live lean and fresh veg bought weekly, eating bulking calories, or eating a clean high protein diet doesn’t need to be another excuse to not reach your goals.

Personally I don’t like cooking a weeks worth of chicken and leaving it in tuppaware, and for me its just not necessary as I make sure I have time in the mornings to prep a quick lunch. My George Foreman grill makes cooking my chicken quick and easy, and doing it that way keeps the chicken juicy until lunchtime.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot even remember a time when I bulk bought meat in this way from the supermarket. For one its extortionately expensive, and I also feel in that supermarket setting with all of the other foods around me I would easily get distracted. Ordering my meat in bulk from Live Lean keeps my order to a  budget, enables me to order exactly what I want, or opt for a money saving bundle, and means I only need to then buy the essentials each week which in my case is usually just veg.

As for shipping meats, I appauld them for their skills in keeping the delivery fresh with frozen bags inside. Deliveries come the day they say it will, and if your not home can be left in a safe place where it will stay cool until you get home! If you haven’t yet tried preparing your meals this way to implore you to give it a chance, it really is a game changer.

Use my discount code: CWPS for £5 off and get your healthy eating in order.

http://www.livelean.co.uk

 

 

 

Slendertone Connect Abs belt – Product review

slendertoneFirst thoughts:

When Slendertone contacted me about reviewing one of their ab belts, I was initially very skeptical. I have always thought these sort of products were a bit of a gimmick, but after doing some research I saw that there’s actually a lot of good reviews out there for them and decided there was no harm in trying one out myself. As the saying goes ‘be firm about your goals and flexible about your methods’.

I am going to do a weekly log on how I get on with my belt, and I have committed myself to using it for 30 minutes 5 days a week.This version of the well known belt, the Slendertone connect, comes with bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with a really cool app that I have downloaded onto my iphone. The app allows you to control the belt remotely as well as tracks your progress.

When I opened the app I set my activity level as ‘very active’…must have been feeling pretty full of myself that day, but anyway, and I chose the ‘fitness’ program. The app also asked you to pick your motivation, here I chose ‘to strengthen my core’ as that was actually one of my goals for 2017, which prompted Slendertone to contact me.

Week 1:

After a few slightly scary sticky moments getting the gel pads fixed right, I got the belt on and opened up the app on my phone. It was so simple to connect and I love that you are able to change the intensity simply on the app.

The program I selected does tell me how many days and minutes they recommend I wear the belt, however I didn’t see anything about recommended intensity to start on. I suppose everyone is different and its a bit of trial and error. I went for 40 to start with which I felt was a level where I was feeling something going on, but could cope with the contractions and it wasn’t too intense, letting me get used to the sensation.

It is a bit hard to get used to initially, especially when the sensations change. It actually had me giggling at one point because the sensations were so strange, but after a few contractions you get used to the new movement pattern.

Over the week I took the intensity up to 60 then back down to 50. By the end of the week my abs, especially my obliques are definitely feeling like I have had an ab workout, although I don’t, and wouldn’t expect to see any real change in definition just yet.

I will report back next week and let you know how I’m getting on.

Week 2:

I’ve found it slightly harder this week to get my 5 sessions in, hopefully by next week I will get into more of a routine. I would say its probably best to pick a set time and commit to that as when you use it. I have discovered this week that the app actually lets you set reminders, how fantastic is that! Its certainly not something that is difficult to find time to do, however some days with work, the gym, and everything else on top its easy to only remember laid in bed late at night. I have started wearing mine when I cook dinner, as I find that the belt feels more comfortable to wear and is less intrusive when I am standing as opposed to sitting down.

Looking more at the app it has something called fit points, and a weekly target. I haven’t quite worked out what they are yet or what they mean, but its nice to see the numbers going up. The app also gives you the stats for each session showing your max intensity. I have stuck to 60 this week, but have been consistent with it, I plan on trying to up that next week. It is possible to change the intensity level mid tone, but I haven’t played around with that much yet.

All in all its been a good week. My abs have been aching like they would had I done an ab workout, so I do feel like something is going on under there, however I haven’t and wouldn’t expect to see any visible results just yet.

Reporting back next week with more progress!

Week 3:

This week is the first time I actually needed to charge my battery on my abs connect belt. I almost forgot it would need to be charged so I am very impressed with the battery life. The app very helpfully reminded me that it needed charging, and I’ve got to grips with using the app a lot more this week. I also learned this week what the F.I.T points on the app stand for:

F – Frequency- How many sessions you’re doing per week.

I – Intensity – The intensity level you are reaching in those sessions

T- Time – The length of your sessions, as directed by which program you selected.

One thing that I do find odd about the app is that the ‘weeks’ run from Friday to Thursday, which means on my stats some weeks I have only done 4 sessions and others I have 5/6 because of the days I used the belt. This might be because I downloaded the app on a Friday? But I didn’t actually start toning until the Monday, but hey its not the end of the world. Its still a great way to track how you’re doing and you can see a breakdown of every day of the week.

I played around with changing the intensity during the program this week, and found it really easy to do and very effective. During the less intense portions of the toning i managed to go up to 70 and then lowered to around 60/65 in the harder parts. I have really found my obliques especially are feeling the effects.

Overall I am really enjoying using the belt, I find it makes me feel like I  have accomplished something each day I use it, and its so easy to pick up and put on whilst cooking dinner.

Looking forward to seeing how the next few weeks go.

Week 4 & 5:

So these two weeks have been interesting. I went on holiday bang in the middle of the two weeks, so I have merged these two weeks reviews together. I didn’t take my belt away with me due to only having a very small hand luggage, although I think it is such a slim belt if I had had a little more luggage it’s definitely the sort of thing that you could throw in a weekend bag and take away with you.

I made sure I used the belt every day before I went away and have used it every day this week since I got back. I did find that after a few days off my core was definitely weaker and I found it hard to go straight back up to level 60 intensity, so spent a few days on 50.

I suppose it’s the same as exercises in the gym, if I don’t do flat bench press for a week or two I find I come back into it much weaker, so using the belt is something I think is definitely beneficial the more you keep up using it.

Overall 5 weeks in I do feel my core is feeling pretty strong and I am noticing my obliques are popping out a bit more than they were before I started using the belt.

What I also found this week was that having the app meant that Slendertone emailed me to remind me to use my belt after a few days not using it, which I think is amazing.

All in all I am really enjoying using the belt and look forward to dedicating the next 3 weeks to using it strictly the 5 days a week with no interruptions, and seeing the final results after 8 weeks use.

Week 6:

This week marks officially the end of the app’s 6 week ‘fitness’ program, although I will actually be reviewing the Slendertone Connect belt for 8 weeks. To be honest I wasn’t very pleased with myself, my FIT points were not what the app targets for me, and when I saw  that on the screen I was rather disappointed. One thing I would say is that the FIT points seem like  great idea but I lacked direction in how to get them up. I think I should have tried upping the intensity a bit more, and utilising the app to change the intensity during the programs a bit more.

Now I have seen that however it has spurred me on to make these last two weeks really count. I am going to embark upon a new training program, this time I chose ‘Advanced Toning’ sounds pretty good to me. The description calls it ‘The most intense program in the range, delivering 192 powerful contractions to challenge the most advanced toners’. Well hey, I may not be an advanced toner quite yet, but I plan to be.

After 6 weeks I have noticed that my oblique muscles seem to be more visible, which on a bulking body can only be a good thing, and I can truly say I have enjoyed using the belt. After my 8 week review I intend to continue with the belt in order to finish this advanced toning program.

Only two more weeks to go, time to up my intensity and reach those goals.

Week 7:

One more week to go and I’m loving this new program ‘Advanced Toning’. It is quite tough but I think I’ve learnt that if I keep myself busy when I’m wearing the belt, cooking dinner, putting a wash on, I seem to be able to handle a higher level of intensity. Really been working my way up on intensity this week in this new program and currently managing 65/67. I would love to hear what you guys go for in terms of levels?

I had to change my pads on the belt this week, they began to get a bit sticky and started leaving a residue on my stomach. This was at the expected time to change them and also means you can get through a whole 6 week program with one set of pads.

All in all I’m really enjoying using the belt, it makes me feel like I’m doing something productive whilst I’m doing something more mundane, it allows me to feel like I’m getting stronger even when I’m not in the gym. In my research into the belt before I accepted this challenge to review  it I found a lot of research and reviews commenting on people’s emotional satisfaction and how using the belt acted as a mood elevator. I can certainly agree with those findings.

One more week to go before I reveal my before and after photos and see if we can spot any differences. Watch this space!

Week 8:

TO CONCLUDE

My 8 week review of the Slendertone ab connect belt has finished! However my journey with slendertone certainly won’t. I have thoroughly enjoyed trialling the belt, and with the final result photos in I can definitely see more definition in my obliques particularly. Considering I have been at the end of a bulking phase it’s surprising to see any result at all, and I really feel a program when I’m leaner would see even greater results. I will most definitely be continuing to use the belt and will share updates on how my abs are looking with the help of the belt when I have finished my cut.

No the slendertone ab belt isn’t magic, it’s not going to make you lose weight or give you a 6 pack of abs on its own. What I have found though is that it helps tighten up that area and after consistent use I have found I could increase the intensity levels and found my core definitely has been left feeling tight and strong, even despite the extra fat I’m currently carrying.

Using the belt is an enjoyable experience, and like so many studies have proven is a great mood elevator and helped with motivation and confidence. Just by using the belt I felt like I was doing something productive with my time, and getting stronger. Having a strong core is one of my main goals for 2017 so I will certainly be continuing to use the belt along that journey.

I wouldn’t reccomend slendertone to someone who just wants a quick fix or wants to see huge results with no effort, but if you live a healthy balanced lifestyle are relatively active and slim and want to see that extra bit of definition for your holiday, or feel stronger in your core then the belt is definitely for you.

I have loved using the belt and I hope you have enjoyed reading about my journey. For more info or to buy yourself a slendertone connect, check out their website http://www.slendertone.com

Before and after photos taken 8 weeks apart!

 

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Chocolate Raspberry brownie bites

img_2425It’s been a while since I created something truly gooey and naughty. For months I’ve been all about the savoury food, so when foodie flavours contacted me to try out their high strength all natural food flavourings I got all excited at the prospect of sweet clean treats again. I started by trying their raspberry flavouring, after a few not so successful creations I finally created these…and boy oh boy are they something. Gooey, delicious and so low calorie….these might be my favourite creation yet.

Please excuse the way they look, it took some time to perfect the recipe, so when I got it right I just went with it. I also am currently lacking a brownie tray so I had to make mine as brownie bites in a cupcake tin. But if I were you I would go brownie tray.

Recipe makes 9 crazy low calorie brownie bites….low enough you could easily cut them double size and double the mixture.

Ingredients:

  • 200g Very ripe bananas
  • 80g Applesauce
  • 60g Cacao
  • 40g Pea protein powder
  • 30g Raspberries
  • 20/30 Drops of raspberry foodie flavours flavouring
  • 10g Truvia

NOTE. If your protein powder is flavoured you may not need the extra sweetner. I wouldn’t recommend using whey, but a vegan blend would also be fine.

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4 and prepare your brownie tin.
  2. Put the ripe bananas, applesauce, cacao, protein powder, Truvia and flavouring into a blender and blend thoroughly until the bananas are no longer visible. This will be a very thick mix so may take some blending but perservere.
  3. Chop up your raspberries into small pieces and gently mix into your stiff brownie mix.
  4. Transfer to your prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let them cool, they get a real fudge texture when cooled so don’t be afraid to refrigerate them and keep a few for another day. If you can keep your paws off them.

MACROS: 55kcal/0.5g fat/10g carbs/4g protein