5 Ingredient Protein Balls | Recipe

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-8-02-24-pmIt’s time to share my easiest, most loved protein balls. These are great to have when you’re craving a little chocolate but want to stay on track or post workout. Do you have a recipe that tops mine on the taste test – please leave me a comment and tag me in on Instagram

  • 1/2 a cup of cashews
  • 2tbs coconut oil
  • 2tbs of your favourite nut butter
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 scoop of protein powder – I’ve used myprotein natural chocolate whey

Now for the fun part…

  1. Pop all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix together, (or let your blender do the work)
  2. Use the palm of your hands to roll the mixture into small equal sized balls and then drop into a bowl of desiccated coconut and roll
  3. Finally pop them into your fridge for as long as you can keep your hands away, should keep for around four or five days if you can resist!

HOW TO AVOID 3 MOTIVATIONAL MINDFIELDS

Motivation can be a tricky thing, it comes and goes and can be a wonderful tool or a terrible obstacle depending on the context. One of the most destructive elements I’ve encountered over the years, and that can cripple a persons progress if they’re not careful, is starting out with unrealistic expectations regarding progress. You see, as time goes on it is all to easy to destroy morale with the realisation that things might be slower and more difficult than previously imagined. There are a whole host of influences that can result in a person believing they will achieve more than they will over a specific timeframe, so I thought I’d list a few of the ones I’ve come across in the hope it might help a few of you to avoid them.

 

1. Expecting the same results as somebody else…

Be it a transformation photo on the internet, or that shredded physique presented by your favourite athlete, it’s all too easy to set your expectations based on what another has achieved. For the vast majority of people this is a mistake. There are numerous and varied reasons for this as you are only seeing what has been presented without any accompanying context. How long did their journey actually take? What are their genetics like? What were the social pressures they faced while they achieved it? What kind of job did they have and how much stress do they have to deal with?

My point is that without further information presented in an honest and direct way you will simply have no way of knowing the full story, particularly if all you have to base your opinion on is a few social media posts. Regardless how much you respect a fitness professional it is also impossible to second guess their personal agenda. When presented with a dramatic transformation remember that the person doing so is often trying to present that they possess the key to overcoming the complexities of such an achievement, hence why you should buy their product. Or with the example of the professional physique athlete they will likely avoid some of the negative elements (like drug use, low libido, health issues) required to achieve their year round shredded state so as not to negatively impact their following, sponsorship and income.

In short, it’s fine to be inspired by another persons achievements, but likely detrimental to expect you will make similar progress without a good understating of the similarities between you and them. Instead, focus on what you can personally do by making the changes that will provide decent bang for buck and you’ll have a much higher chance of sticking with your program long enough to really see results.

 

2. Believing the promises of supplement companies…

Marketing in fitness can suck. Unrealistic promises, the capitalisation on people insecurities and misleading headlines are all used in abundance by health and fitness companies. Nowhere is this more rife than with supplement providers. Some of the results that I have seen promised over the years are downright ludicrous. One company a few years back at a consumer show I attended had a mass gain product that promised over 20 lbs of lean muscle could be gained over a few months. Anyone with a basic understanding of physiology would know immediately that this is a ridiculous statement, but most consumers sadly don’t.

In short don’t believe what somebody trying to sell you something says about their product, particularly with regards to results. Supplements will have practically no impact if your nutrition and training aren’t on point, so worry more about getting that right than the latest super mass gaining triple filtered ultra absorbed uber shake and you’ll stand yourself in good stead.

 

3. Thinking that it’s just a matter of hard graft…

I have to admit, I’m not a fan of the whole ‘go hard or go home’ mantra that is all over social media these days. Whilst I would be the first to admit a good level of effort is required if you really want to maximise progress, I have encountered a huge number of people who believe that results are just about how ‘hardcore’ you are in your training.

Let me clarify: a good training and diet plan is about attaining an economy of effort, or in other words putting in effort where it will provide the most benefit. What does this mean? Well if you are trying to get lean without taking measures to ensure you are in a calorie deficit you will find yourself up a certain creek without a paddle. No amount of ‘clean eating’ or cardio will counter this fact despite how strongly somebody wants it so. Similarly going into a training program thinking it all about doing as much as possible often leads to mediocre results and a higher chance of injury.

Instead a better approach is to try to improve with the least amount of effort required. That way it’s easier to stick to, has less impact on your body and for many is a lot more enjoyable. Sure, a close eye has to be kept on progress to keep things focused, but you get the gist. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s easy, as it’s not, but it is pretty simple when you cut out the noise and focus on what counts.

So there you have it, these are some of the most common mistakes I’ve come across over the years that can knock a persons motivation. I hope that those of you reading this can use my experiences to help you avoid some of the pitfalls listed. With just a little foresight you can really increase your chances of realising whatever your goals may be, so get real and get to it!

Wholewheat Banana Bread | Recipe

Seriously one of the best banana breads ever!

  • 200g wholewheat self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 over ripe bananas

*Note: This can be made with gluten-free flour but ensure you add 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder

bananabread-front

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C and grease a tin
  2. Combine flour (or gluten-free flour with baking powder), and cinnamon in a bowl and gently whisk together
  3. Melt coconut oil in a saucepan or in the microwave – leave to one side
  4. Mash bananas in a separate bowl, then whisk in eggs and honey/maple syrup
  5. Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture, once mixed, fold in the coconut oil
  6. Pour into greased tin and bake for 30-40 minutes
  7. Once baked leave to cool

 

Perfect with a cup of tea and try not to eat it all in one day!

Enjoy!

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10 FITNESS TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

TIP 1.

You can never out-train a bad diet. Starting a new training regime can be hard work, requiring a lot of time and effort. However when it comes to changes in body composition, a larger component of change is diet. Analysing a person’s diet is the first port of call when designing a sustainable plan to achieve a body composition change. First ensuring adequate protein, fat and carbohydrate intake for health and then giving an appropriate calorie deficit is mandatory when it comes to fat loss. Without this, a fat loss result is impossible.

TAKE AWAY: CALORIE DEFICITS ARE NEEDED FOR FAT LOSS. START BY ENSURING THAT YOUR PROTEIN NEEDS ARE BEING MET AND GO FROM THERE.

TIP 2.

Train for the goal you want. Very often beginner trainees can resort to what they know when it comes to their fitness routine. An overused cliché tells us the definition of insanity is to the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome. Often this can be ignored when we return to the same programme over and over. If fat loss and body composition changes are your goal resistance training using compound lifts like squat, deadlift, bench press or sprint intervals and HIIT (high intensity interval training) will help you. If you’re looking to run a distance race then of course cardio training will take up a large portion of training, combined with a strength programme to ensure balance and prevent injury.

TAKE AWAY: RUN FOR RUNNING, LIFTING/ HIGH INTENSITY FOR FAT LOSS

TIP 3.

Do yourself a favour, have a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed) plan. Don’t set yourself up to fail! Before you start exercising always have a plan, ALWAYS!
We can’t leave our exercise selection up to the whim of our mood or whatever looks good. One of the worst mistakes we can make is embarking on a programme we do not understand or cannot

achieve. This often results in failed attempts that were either too difficult to be sustainable or something our current fitness or movement abilities made impossible to follow.

TAKE AWAY: HAVE A SMART PLAN THAT IS SUITED TO YOUR ABILITIES

TIP 4.

If at first you don’t succeed….. Try doing what the plan said in the first place. We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to being strict with ourselves. Rewarding our “good
behaviour” whether in our programming or diet with poor adherence to what we have planned for will only balance the scale to mediocrity, dulling what could be a potentially large step towards a goal.

TAKE AWAY: “CONSISTENCY IS KEY TO SUCCESS”

TIP 5.

Make the most of your time. Time is often the big limiting factor for those wishing to embark on a new fitness regime, but it doesn’t have to be. By choosing exercises that give you more bang for your buck will insure those fitness goals are achievable. Choosing Multi joint exercises such as Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, HIIT (high intensity interval training) protocols like Tabata or sprint intervals ensure a high rate of work for those short on time.

TAKE AWAY: SPRINTS AND INTERVAL TRAINING WILL MAKE THE BEST USE OF YOUR TIME FOR MAXIMUM BENEFITS.

TIP 6.

Stay motivated by setting yourself mini goals. These goals are often the building blocks to something life changing. Keep these goals small enough to be achieved regularly always moving closer and closer to that ultimate big goal. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

 

TAKE AWAY: MINI GOALS KEEP YOU MOTIVATED AND FOCUSED ON YOUR ULTIMATE BIG GO

TIP 7.

Benjamin Franklin said “Never put off until tomorrow, what you can do today”. Even with the grandest intension we can often fall victim to unexpected complications in our work schedule, social life, relationships or family life. If our routine is heavily loaded towards exercise later in the week where most of our socialising or family time is, it’s easy to see why we may be setting ourselves up to fail. By planning our exercise around the start of the week we give ourselves a better chance of fitting in all of the sessions planned that week. Try accomplish the most time consuming parts of your programme early in the week, giving yourself more manoeuvring room by late week to finish strong.

TAKE AWAY: NEVER MISS A MONDAY! START EXERCISE EARLY IN THE WEEK.

TIP 8.

Find a training partner. Training with a friend can yield several benefits, the most obvious of which is motivation. I refer to the motivation to start and remain consistent to the programme. It can also provide added accountability by having another person to answer to when we may have otherwise allowed ourselves to skip out on a training session. By having a friend to share and celebrate your success with it will provide encouragement to continue on your road to success and beyond.

TAKE AWAY: TRAINING WITH A FRIEND HELPS KEEP YOU CONSISTENT

TIP 9.

What are you doing this for? And I mean REALLY why? When it comes to changing your lifestyle to achieve your new goal is there enough “why” to keep you going? There are many quotes one can ream off, “Change is difficult” or “If it was easy everyone would do it”, nevertheless individuals who have the foresight to question why they are really undertaking a new fitness regime have one clear advantage. A clear picture of why they are doing something at the forefront of their mind and

an exact vision of where they want to go is a constant source of inspiration, motivation and of course reward.

TAKE AWAY: FIND THE “REAL” REASON FOR YOU FITNESS GOALS AND USE IT DAILY!

TIP 10.

Be aware of the biggest liar in the Fitness Industry…. The scale! Never have more fitness casualties been turned into funerals than when the scales enter into the story. More often than not, the progress expert called weighing scale can do major damage and derail a new trainees best efforts if it shows little or no movement. We must keep in mind that the scale only reads weight. Not fat. During initial weeks of training it is not unusual for trainees to gain valuable metabolic booting muscle to help burn fat. Then time and again a scale is used to monitor progress when we have significantly better information at our disposal…. Pictures. Why settle for digits when a picture tells a thousand words. Let your eyes, clothes and mood show you what progress you’ve made before consulting the scale.

TAKE AWAY: DITCH THE SCALE AND TAKE PHOTOS INSTEAD.

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