Marvellous Mango Smoothie

This one is going to be pretty brief, I know a lot of people get miffed when they go on a recipe blog post and there are hundreds of words describing the process...when really all you want is the bloody recipe. And to be quite frank, it's just a smoothie, the process is simple, blend.

So, without further adieu, here is my marvellous mango smoothie recipe: 

You will need: 

1/2 cup frozen mango, chopped 

1 banana 

2tbsp greek yoghurt 

1 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder 

1/4 cup of water (approx) 

Method (Serves 2): 

1. Chuck everything in the blender and pulse until smooth. 

2. If the smoothie is too thick, add small amounts of water until at the desired consistency. 

3. Serve and enjoy! 



Covid -19 and IBD

I don't usually write blog posts about problems I personally have, or a medical issue in my life, however I thought I'd share how the global pandemic has effected my inflammatory bowel disease. Which, for that matter, has been in a surprisingly good way. 

I have a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) called Ulcerative Colitis. It is estimated that around 1 in every 420 people in the UK have UC, so it's a pretty common disease. For those of you that don't know what it is, it's a chronic condition of inflammation in the colon and rectum. If you are turned off by talk of colons and rectums, don't be, because most of us have them. 

The main symptoms of UC include: 
-Blood in stools 
-Tummy pain 

This list goes on, and the symptoms vary is severity depending on how much of your colon is inflamed and whether or not you're going through a flare up. Fortunately I only have mild symptoms compared to others where the disease can become extremely dangerous and life-altering. 

Anyway, before Covid, my daily routine included working as a PT 6 days a week, leaving the house at 5:30am and spending most of the day out. This would be out PTing clients, going to my yoga studio and taking part in other classes. Basically, i'm a very busy bee, which has always led to a lot of unnecessary stress. I would often eat on the go, eat at random times in the day and pick up protein bars and other very artificial foods to keep me going until the next meal. On top of this, I was constantly in a stress about finance, pushing my business and getting clients through the door. 

Then Covid happened....

Now obviously, this has been an awful and distressing time for many. Too many lives have been lost and the world has been turned upside down. For many of us, it has also been the opportunity to pause from everyday life and reflect on the parts of your life you love, and maybe don't like so much. 

I love my job, but rolling out of bed in the early hours and heading straight to a loud gym just wasn't doing me any good. The same goes for constantly being out. If you have UC, you probably know what I mean when I say your tummy gets nervous being out all day. Long days usually cause my tummy to bloat and flare up, leaving me in a nasty mood. This also isn't helped by irregular meals and running around stressing. 

Before this, people would tell me to cut foods out of my diet, try calmer exercise, and I'd read several articles on the best supplements to take when suffering with IBD. However, it turns out that solving the problem was simple...slow things down. Stress was the thing that was causing more flares and discomfort. Spending every waking hour constantly trying to be at the next destination was putting a lot of mental strain on me, which was also clearly effecting my gut. 

Now i'm really not a medical professional, so please don't take any advice, this is just my experience. That being said, I have made no changes to my diet, I eat dairy, wheat (plenty of it) and I don't really take an supplements regularly, and my flares have reduced and possibly subsided. 

So, this got me thinking about how much of an effect stress has on our mental and physical wellbeing. Maybe we all need to take a look at our lives and open our eyes to the fact that stress may be the cause, or a factor in many of the ailments and anxieties that we suffer from... 


Your Menstrual Cycle & Exercise

Online you'll hear everything about workouts, nutrition, stress factors, but you hear very little about hormones and how your menstrual cycle has an effect on your life and fitness. I don't know if this is because people find it 'awkward' to talk about, because they really shouldn't as half of the population are female and most likely have had an experience with periods. Or possibly because the fitness industry is primarily male and this doesn't affect them, either way we're gonna talk about it now. 

Do you ever just feel like shit? You don't want to exercise, you're fatigued and want to use a shovel as a spoon for that tub of ice cream. It happens to the best of us, and especially when you're going through certain cycles of your menstrual cycle. That's because your period has a wealth of effects on your body, not just physical, but hormonal and mental too.  

Exercise is good during your period

First things first, exercise is good for you during your menstrual cycle. As you may already know, exercise makes you feel good by releasing endorphins, improves your mood and can also help reduce fatigue. It might also be possible that exercise could reduce your menstrual pain too. 

The best thing to do is find a type of exercise that suits you and makes you feel good. Just be cautious about over exerting yourself at times when you feel more fatigued. The most important thing to do is listen to your body and take part in whatever exercise feels right for you. 

Exercise during each phase 

The average cycle lasts around 28 days, however this can fluctuate depending on the person. During the first few days of your period, your progesterone and oestrogen levels drop to their lowest point and this can lead to a lack of energy. On top of this, you often bleed during this phase and this can also cause physical problems depending on how heavy your period is. If you energy levels are low then it may be best to participate in more restorative and calming forms of exercise such as Yin Yoga and walking in-order not to place too much stress on the body. 

In the follicular phase, the follicle stimulating hormone alerts the ovaries to release the egg and you may feel a new surge of energy. With less fatigue, it may feel better to return back to more intense exercises, and the same goes during the ovulatory phase. Your oestrogen and testosterone levels peak here and you will be feeling strong. This could be the best time to hit a PB in the gym or get your trainers on and crack your fastest 5k time. 

Finally there's the luteal phase. You may be at risk of higher cardiovascular strain during moderate exercise. Your progesterone levels are at their highest and you may be experiencing a little more fatigue again. This is also the phase where you are most likely to have disrupted sleep which will have a huge impact on the intensity of your training. 

Over training and the menstrual cycle 

Although not common, it is possible that over training can cause you to lose your period, which is pretty serious. Now, only 2-5% of women suffer from Amenorrhea, but it is definitely something to be aware of as it is particularly prominent in women that train for bodybuilding competitions, which have become increasingly popular. 

How does this happen? Well when you train excessively, you need to be fuelling your body to cope with the exercise. More often than not this doesn't happen and if you are training A LOT and not eating enough, this can put you in a severe calorie deficit. With a lack of calories and nutrients this can mess up your hormones and bring your periods to a holt. Going long periods without menstruation can have an effect on bone density and leave you at more risk of fractures. 

What to take from this 

Listen to your body. If you feel great and you're ready to smash out a workout then do it. If you're feeling a little tired, but you know a session will make you feel better, do it. If you are drained, allow your body to rest, or try restorative exercises. No one can tell you exactly what to do because your body is unique, just work with it.