Breakfast Like A King……but try and avoid processed carbs….

Happy mid January everybody!

I am on a mission. It seems like nobody eats breakfast these days, and this seems especially true of those who are trying to lose weight. So many of my new clients are skipping breakfast and then of course over snacking during the day, and subsequently beating themselves up about it. Those that do eat breakfast generally eat some processed sugary cereal which is almost as bad as having nothing at all. See the link for  details about why breakfast and in particular a protein rich breakfast is important. http://www.nolimitsfitness.co.uk/food.php

So, I am on a mission to spread the word and furthermore create a list of breakfasts that are quick and easy to prepare, won’t break the bank but are still tasty and nutritious. Can you help? If you have any suggestions at all please do share,  You might be a foodie, a gym bunny, fit bod, nutritionist, vegan. It can be gluten free, raw or paleo. All suggestions are welcome either here or post at https://www.facebook.com/NikkiCarrolFitness

I’ve started the list below but look forward to receiving more exciting ideas …

Take care

My Favourite Breakfasts

Egg White Omelette
Using just the egg whites, add peppers, onions, spinach and feta to make a tasty, filling breakfast

Avocado, Toast and Egg
2 lightly toasted slices of wholemeal bread, topped with smashed avocado, seasoned with salt and pepper and then topped with slices of hard boiled eggs.

Cottage Cheese with Fruit
Nice and simple. Bowl of cottage cheese and add your favourite fresh berries and fruit.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Blend 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1 cup almond milk and a couple of ice cubes. You can add a scoop of your fave protein for that extra protein boost.

Baked Eggs and Avocado
Slice avocado in half, scoop out the pip and enough flesh to hold your egg snugly inside. Tightly pack your avocados into a baking tray. Crack an egg into the avocado half, and bake for 15 – 20 mins or until the egg white is set. Season and garnish with pepper and herbs.

Veggie scrambled eggs or omelettes
Add your favourite veggies to scrambled eggs. Veggies that work well include spinach, broccoli, kale,tomatoes and onion.

Fruit and Yoghurt Smoothie
Blend 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt with 1 cup frozen fruit (bananas and berries work well) with 1/2 cup of milk, juice or coconut water.

Quinoa or Oats
Quinoa is a great source of protein as well as iron, fibre and calcium
Use quinoa flakes to make porridge. You can add pieces of fruit or honey to taste. Alternatively use good old fashioned oats and add fruit or nuts.

Breakfast Bowl
Cut up slices of lean turkey or smoked salmon and add to spinach, scrambled eggs and apple slices.

Yoghurt and Quinoa Parfait
Add quinoa to Greek yoghurt with your favourite berries and nuts. Pecans and blueberries work well.

Avocado and Egg Pizza
If you love love love avocado and pizza..
Mash up half an avocado and spread it onto healthy wholewheat tortilla (avoid the ubiquitous white tortilla) Top with a fried egg and season with pepper and chives….

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So another New Year , and this time I WILL achieve all of my dreams…honest!

I wonder if I am the only one who woke up on the first of January, with lots of great ideas, good intentions and an absolute foolproof plan for my work and personal life, a plan that will this time completely deliver all of my dreams.

Well, it’s only the 10th January and I’m already behind schedule  grrrr!!!…so much for new beginnings and well laid plans…however I am now on it and I still have more than 11 months to complete my list so I am going to beat myself up ….well not yet anyway ….

One of the things that I had planned was a much bigger push on my own training as well as working with my clients but if I am completely honest it took me a while to get back in the gym even though I knew that when I finally got there it would make me feel great. It took me several days to find my mojo but I finally found it and now there is not stopping me. Isn’t it funny how we stop ourselves from doing the things that we know are good for us, even when we enjoy those things.

Anyway I’m now completely absorbed in the fitness industry and I am absolutely loving it but I do find some of the things I see quite contradictory.
Some things are quiet amusing, for example right now of course so many people are embarking on new fitness journeys and motivations are so varied. Of course, many people go to the gym because they feel unfit and they want to get healthy or they want to lose weight. For a few people though its more about aesthetics. There is nothing wrong with that but it is quite interesting to see some of the methods people take to achieve the healthy body beautiful. For example, people will take steroids or lots of supplements…for every person who chugs down protein drinks and supplements there will be another who swears blind that you can get all the nourishment you need from REAL FOOD and that actually ingesting anything that is processed is unhealthy. If you have ever competed in a body building competition you will know all about reducing your water intake to trace amounts in your last week of preparation and the benefits of drinking red wine before you actually compete! Then of course you have the muscle heads who can lift all day long but cannot run up a flight of stairs without doubling over or the cardio enthusiasts who struggle to bench a fifth of their bodyweight .

Other things are more concerning though. I have a client with a BMI of over 40 and her GP referred her, not to an exercise specialist or a nutritionist but to a weight loss group who’s focus is counting calories, excluding food groups and buying “special” foods… mmhhh. Now I am not dissing those kind of groups as I do think that they do some good work and there are lots of benefits to attending such groups but I think that we all know that in order to lose weight and keep it off, we need to change our lifestyles and learn new habits that we can sustain, rather than embark on a “diet” which at some point we will come off and then of course put the weight back on.
Also there is so much in the news and on the TV at the moment about the growing obesity crisis, obese people claiming disability, obese people not working. On the TV in one week you can watch Fat Surgeons, Fat Families, Shut Ins- Britains Fattest People , Embarrassing Fat Bodies, Weighing Up The Enemy. I Used To Be Fat, My 600b life, Benefits – Too Fat To Work…and I know that the list goes on…but where are the programmes about nutrition, healthy eating, healthy lifestyles. Lots of adverts about fast food, ready meals and alcohol but what about real healthy economical, easily accessible and practical food?
There is so much scaremongering but not enough real help or advice. I know that some will start muttering about a nanny state but I think that it is surprising how little people do know about real food and also there is a lot of misleading information out there.
Anyway I had better get off my soap box as this was only supposed to be a short, happy new year blog. Next time I will actually talk about some of the misleading dietary information out there especially when you look at the national strategies for obesity and diabetes but now will shut up, wish you all a great new year and speak soon.

Take care

Fat or carbs, cardio or strength: an enigmatic riddle wrapped in mystery!

Over the last few days I have had several conversations with people who are thinking about embarking on a weight loss journey and are confused about lots of things. Subjects that keep coming up are whether one should reduce carbs or fat for weight loss, the impact of slimming clubs and “special” low fat food,   whether one should do cardio or strength training, which is  better for weight loss…

There are so many myths, misleading instructions, conflicting advice. It’s a minefield out there. I would say that unless you have a specific goal like body building, power lifting or entering physique comps you should keep it simple and this is especially true if you are a beginner to exercise or embarking on a new healthy regime.

So fat or carbs? Well the simple answer is that a reduction of carbs is more effective than reducing fat but only a small reduction is required and one should concentrate more on the  source or the carbohydrate rather than the quantity, lentils, beans etc rather than cake, biscuits, white bread. Carbs are essential though as they are your main source of energy so don’t cut them out PLEASE.  For more on food and weight loss http://www.nolimitsfitness.co.uk/food.php

So Cardio or Strength training?  Cardio will get your heart racing, will make you sweat and will improve your health and fitness. Strength training will help your muscles become stronger and more powerful and ultimately is a more efficient way to lose weight as this type of training will increase your muscle mass and the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn.

If you are new to exercise then I would always recommend cardio as an introduction. It gets you fit, your heart will be stronger and ultimately cardio will prepare you to work at a higher intensity but I would introduce strength training as soon as whether this is with weights or your own body weight. If you need to lose weight then you need to do strength training. For more on the benefits of exercise click http://www.nolimitsfitness.co.uk/exercise.php

Oh, and just to reiterate if you are female and wanting to get “toned”,  you will not get bulky by lifting dumbbells, I promise you that…dumbbells alone will not make you big so get lifting!