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Monday, 4 August 2014

Dreams, Fitness & Mental Health























Oh haiiii! It's been a long while since I last posted on my beloved blog but now, I'm baccckkkkk! 

Over the summer, I've been fulfilling my dream of becoming a personal trainer! Woop! It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride, I must say! A few ups and downs were thrown into the mix but at the end of it all, I've gained some fantastic knowledge, met some amazing people and learnt a lot about myself and my own fitness as well as many other kinds of fitness & nutrition from my class mates. 

My dream of helping people live a better life is becoming more and more real everyday now. Being a personal trainer to me is not just showing somebody how to work out and eat right, it's showing people how to look forward to and love every day of their life. It's helping them become who they really are by finding their inner strength, confidence, self love and determination to achieve their own dreams. It's helping them to find passions, not just for fitness but for other things they've always wanted to try and never had the confidence to do before. It's helping people appreciate health, good food and an active lifestyle. It's helping people love themselves, their bodies, their uniqueness, their qualities, their personalities, their importance to the world. It's helping people feel alive. Last of all, it's helping people see that looking after themselves shouldn't be looked at as a chore but more of a necessity to a better, healthier, fabulous life.

As you may have read previously, I'm really passionate about raising awareness for mental health issues. Without going into too much detail today about my own mental health, getting into fitness two years ago has really helped turn my life completely around. Not just because I transformed my physical appearance, but the things I want to help people with that I have stated above are exactly what fitness has helped me with. It has improved my life in all of these ways and many more! What fitness has done for me is exactly how I want it to help other people. To become who they really are.

It's so wonderful that I have inspired people to get fit and change their lives just by sharing my story, but to now do this as a career really rocks my world!

On a final note, I just want to say there is no shame in having a mental health problem. It doesn't make you any less of a person and it certainly doesn't mean you're weak, worthless and invisible to the world. You may not even realise anything is wrong or you may constantly try to deny it to yourself and other people. You may think people won't want to talk to you anymore or you're not good enough to be somebody's friend. This is NOT the case. You should always talk things out with somebody you trust and you may even find that that person can totally relate to what you're going through. Mental health issues are not uncommon. If we all talked about things a little more, mental health issues wouldn't be such an 'awkward subject' as many people believe it to be. 

That's all for now.

Jen 

P.S You can follow me on Instagram @JenFitness for life advice, workout tips, recipes and just general wackiness. Maybe I'll make you smile, who knows. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Chewy Chocolate Chip & Raspberry Oatbakes




Oh haiiii!

I randomly bought some freeze dried raspberries from the baking aisle in Sainsbury's & thought I'd love to use them in something. I love the dark chocolate & raspberry combination so cooked up these little divine creations. Oats & banana are great base ingredients for a lot of things and there are so many variations! You can of course omit the raspberries if you don't have them or experiment with other fruits (freeze dried or normal) I may try these with some juicy blueberries next time.


Ingredients

1 med-large ripe banana
Half a cup of oats
1 heaped teaspoon of natural nut butter (I used peanut)
A good handful of dark choc chips
A good sprinkle of freeze dried raspberries (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

2) Mash the banana in a bowl & then mix in the oats. Stir in the nut butter.

3) Add the chocolate chips & freeze dried raspberries if using. If mixture seems a bit dry, add a few drops of water.

4) Spoon small amounts with a teaspoon onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and put in the oven for 15 mins. That's it!

I managed to get 10 small oatbakes out of this mixture. They're simply divine & are great in the morning, before & after a workout or just as a snack with a coffee. Store in an airtight container.

Jen

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Dark Chocolate Dreams




Oh haiiiii! 

Just a quick post today to share some healthy little treats I've been making lately. I'm a keen baker of all things clean and healthy so I decided to experiment in the kitchen a little with fantastic results!

I made a healthy version of the Reese's Chocolate & Peanut Butter cup using just 3 simple ingredients. Dark chocolate, coconut oil and natural peanut butter. They are incredibly easy to make!

Ingredients (Makes 6)

100g good quality dark chocolate. (At least 70% cocoa)
2 big tablespoons of natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
2 tablespoons of coconut oil.

1) First melt the chocolate either in a bowl on the stove over a pan of hot water or in the microwave. Stir in one of the tablespoons of coconut oil.

2) Next, melt the other tablespoon of coconut oil & stir it into the peanut butter in a separate bowl. Set aside.

3) Using either paper or silicone cupcake cases, put a tablespoon of the melted chocolate & coconut oil mixture into each case to create a base then freeze for about 5-10 mins until it sets.

4) After the chocolate has set, spoon the peanut butter & coconut oil mixture into the cases. Then, spoon the rest of the chocolate into each cup coating the peanut butter.

5) Put back in to freeze and that's it! I recommend storing these in the freezer until you want to eat them. Before serving, leave them to thaw out for 5 mins before eating. You can also try these with different nut butters!


I have also been making some frozen dark chocolate thins with raspberries and blueberries. It's the same chocolate and coconut oil mixture poured into the silicone/paper cases in small amounts with raspberry and blueberry bits and then frozen. The juices from the berries infuse into the chocolate making these a luxurious after dinner treat. Try them! They are so simple! 




That's all for now! Happy Chocolate Making!

Jen

P.S I get my coconut oil from Sainsbury's, it's called LucyBee! The natural peanut butter I use is by Whole Earth Foods which can also be found in Sainsbury's! Oh and I got my silicone cases from Asda for £2!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Power Of Words




Oh haiiii! How are all my wonderful friends out there? Hope everyone is okay. 

I've been meaning to write this post for a while but what I want to say is all a bit muddled. Quite like my mind and moods! I think the last time I posted about mental health, I was just coming out of a low, crap, depressive cycle. Ugh, not what I want in life but as you know, there's no telling when these things will happen. Anyway, for the last couple of months I've been better. A few ups and downs here and there but much better than before. 

My outlook on life has changed significantly too. When feeling down, it's so easy to think negatively about everything and everyone. I don't know how many times I've felt somebody is 'out to get me' or something bad will happen if I leave my house today. When you come out of that low mood, you're thinking what was all the fuss about? Most of the time, things really are all in your head. They're not real. Your mind is forcing you to believe these things. A depressive cycle is like a storm. Starts with a little rain and before you know it, it's full blown bloody thunder. 

There are so many things that being down unfortunately brings you, but there is one thing in particular that I wanted to talk about. Have you ever gotten a strong, overwhelming sense that somebody doesn't like you? A feeling that you're unable to shake which makes you feel bitter, confused, a bit sad and disgustingly negative? This might not apply to everybody but that 'somebody' could quite possibly be YOU. Those negative vibes you're feeling may not be because of what somebody else doesn't like about you but things YOU don't like about yourself and your life. I have had those strong feelings and it was amazing when I worked out what my issues were. These thoughts were things I had buried in the back of my mind and instead of taking to social networks to release them, I wrote them down in my own personal journal. 

While I think releasing thoughts on social networks is a great way to get what's bugging you out of your system, there are some things which are too personal for you to put out there. Sometimes, when something is eating away at you so much, you don't know how to get the monkey off your back. When that happens you end up being negative about everything! You pick pointless little things to be negative about but that way, you're not addressing what the real problem is. Funnily enough, amongst other things, this is one of the things I didn't like about myself. 

Writing my thoughts down privately has helped me massively. I write them down but I don't look at them again. Why? Well, they are not worth stressing over. When they start coming out of you, you realise that they're not that big a deal, even though it may feel like it when you go to write it down. Sometimes they are a big deal and you have to make the decision whether you want to change it or not. If it's something really negative, you might be able to put a positive spin on it. You see, that's the beauty of it. It helps you understand yourself a bit more and the more you do it, the more in touch with yourself you get. 


Never underestimate the power of the written word. 

My mind has been so much clearer since I started writing things down privately. I feel happier about life and I'm a much more positive person. I think deep down I've always been that positive person but well...remember what I said about the storm? Mental health issues just take over and it's so hard to be yourself. I feel since I started, I know myself a bit better and I think that's very important. Although I have my up and down moods, I am able to remember the positives in my life and that's all because of my free mind. It's kind of like the storm passing. The sun shines through a little bit. 

So my message to you is to try it for yourself. I believe it can really help you understand how your mind works, like who you are more and appreciate the little things in life. Just let the words flow out of you, don't overthink what you're writing. Release it. You'll be happy you did. Who doesn't want to be happy?

Eliminate negativity. Smile more. Believe in yourself. Have a lovely day.

Jen

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Nature's Power Bar by Multipower





Oh haiiii!

My friends over at Multipower have launched an amazing new product and I have been lucky enough to test it out! I was very excited to receive the bars in the post recently and didn't hesitate to taste one as they look so delicious! Nature's Power Bars are quite possibly one of my new favourite snacks.

These bars come in 3 lovely flavours. Salty Cocoa, Cranberry & Strawberry and Honey & Seeds. They are all simply divine but being a chocolate fiend, my favourite has to be Salty Cocoa. Such a perfect alternative to a chocolate bar. They all are! They are a great healthy snack which is perfect to have before and even during training. Each bar contains 25.2g of carbs, 5.2g of protein and 2-4g of fat. They're packed full of natural ingredients such as seeds, oats and natural sugars but unlike a lot of other bars, they don't contain any nuts. Good news for people with nut allergies! Having no nuts in them will also help promote better digestion. They are also suitable for vegetarians. With so much goodness in one bar, you can't go wrong!

The mixture of fast and slow releasing carbs and protein in these will provide you with a rapid yet long lasting fuel to get you through your training and helps to improve glycogen replenishment. We need that energy! Whatever training you do whether it's strength, endurance or a mixture these bars will provide you with just that.

I took the Honey & Seeds bar with me to the gym the other day for leg day and for such a tough workout, the power bar really did help get me through it. When I got to that point where I felt like I couldn't do any more, I just took a little break, drank some water and ate my bar. It gave me that little boost of energy I needed to complete my workout which was really satisfying. There's nothing better than leaving the gym knowing you had a great session! 

Think you might want to give them a try? The Nature's Power Bars are available to buy now here at £32.99 for 24 40g bars. They also have a new Fruit Power bar too! Make sure you have a good browse of the Multipower website too as they have regular offers and deals on for their other great products!

A tip from me: Savour every bite! It's really hard not to gobble it all down because they taste that good! 

Jen

*Thank you to the people at Multipower for sponsoring this post. You are awesome!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Hi-Tec Haraka Lightweight Trainers Review




Oh haiiii! 

You may remember from my previous post that I received some funky new running trainers from the wonderful people at Hi-Tec. I've now had the chance to put them to the test in more ways than one! Read on for my full review of my Haraka lightweight trainers

Being into all sorts of fitness, I think it's very important to have a really good pair of trainers. What do I mean by good? Well...comfort, quality and appearance of course. Roll all of that into one and you get the Hi-Tec Haraka lightweight trainers. I could not recommend these enough and at a bargain price of £34.99, you can't go wrong. I am very impressed with how comfortable they are! They're so comfortable I forget to take them off when I get home. Haha! I also love the snazzy appearance of the particular colour I received (Dark Aqua Blue, Pink & White), they really do brighten up my fitness wardrobe. The quality is fantastic! Even though these trainers are lightweight, the sole is very sturdy so they're perfect for running outdoors and on the treadmill. The upper shoe has mesh linings so they're breathable and airy which I think is necessary for fitness. They also accommodate my feet well. I have major problems with finding footwear that isn't too tight but these fit like a dream.





I have been wearing the trainers all week as I love them so much! I've worn them doing plyometrics at the gym and as some plyometric exercises can be very quick-footed and bouncy, I found I was able to work out with ease. I even did some outdoor Yoga in them! With Yoga, you don't wear anything on your feet but I was able to get through my poses without any problems. Just yesterday I took my neighbour's dogs to Hampstead Heath for a long nature walk. Hampstead Heath has a lot of trails through woodlands and hills and tends to be the number one spot for most north west Londoners to go for a stroll. I walked for a good couple of hours in these trainers! 





So I can say with confidence that these trainers are perfect for the gym, yoga, long walks and just a trip to the shops. I'm off to the Heath again tomorrow so looking forward to a nice long walk in my cool, colourful kicks! They did get slightly dirty yesterday from my walk but they were super easy to clean. Another bonus!

I highly recommend the Hi-Tec Haraka range to anyone who is looking for an affordable shoe that's suitable for their fitness activities. They come in three different colours for men and women to suit your taste, starting from size 3 up to 13. Free delivery too from the online store! Take a look, you won't be disappointed.

Jen

*Thank you so much to the wonderful people at Hi-Tec for sponsoring this post. You are awesome!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

New Gym Kicks



Oh haiiii!

I was so excited to receive these awesome lightweight trainers from the Haraka Hi-Tec range this morning! Woop!

On first impressions, I absolutely LOVE the colours and I'm thinking they're just what I need to brighten up my gym wardrobe. They're so pretty! Who says fitness wear can't be fun? These trainers also come in 2 other lovely colours so go and have a look! They are incredibly light weight and I can't wait to put them to the test! I like to do a lot of walking outdoors as well as training regularly in the gym, so I needed a comfortable shoe for such activities. These will be perfect for my plyometric workouts as they involve a lot of high intensity exercises where I have to be quick-footed like a bunny, so I'm sure these will suit me very well.

Look out for my full review coming soon! 

Jen

P.S Guys, they also have men's trainers in the Haraka range with a selection of colours. Check them out!

*Thank you so much to Hi-Tec for sponsoring this post. You are awesome!