Hands up if Bank Holiday sent the healthy eating plan awry!

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We’re with you – hands up. Saturday night curry (and Prosecco) followed by Sunday picnic (and cake) and Monday (cookies). Whatever the slip, it leaves us all feeling like we need to remake that decision on a Monday (or Tuesday!) – do we want to get back on the healthy eating wagon? YES!

Now let’s get something straight – we LOVE food, we LOVE a glass or two and we want to eat the cake sometimes. Here’s the thing though, we need to get over ourselves (all of us) and move on. Having a bar of chocolate on a Friday needn’t mean spending the whole weekend eating badly. In fact, we need to get over this crazy idea that weekends don’t count. WEEKENDS DO COUNT!!

We’re all about balance at Mums in Real Life, so have come up with a few ideas to help limit the damage we so often do at the weekend:

  • Plan your food for the weekend. By knowing you’re going to eat pizza on Friday night, then you can save your calories during the day.
  • Make healthy choices. Want a curry? Go for it, but make your own (see our recipes for ideas). That way you can ensure they’re not laden with fat, sugar and salt and tuck in to a guilt-free curry.
  • Alcohol calories count too! Perhaps save your ‘wine’ calories for the weekend and stick to soft drinks and fruit tea during the week (your liver will thank you for it, too). If you know you’ll be drinking at the weekend, adjust your calories to allow for the extra from your wine. A good swap is to try clear spirits too with a low calorie mixer – we love a gin and Fever Tree tonic!
  • Feel like a bacon sandwich for Sunday brunch? Go for it – grill your bacon, remove the fat if you want to, and opt for malted or wholegrain bread. You can also buy ‘zero sugar/salt’ ketchup if you like your bacon butty with tomato sauce. Remember these calories during the day – it will mean your other meals should be lighter on the carbs and fat.
  • Got a hangover? Avoid greasy hangover foods and make yourself a pick me up smoothie, full of antioxidants and vitamins. Your stomach (and skin will thank you for it later).
  • Remember to reset the next day – draw a line, and get back on the wagon! Don’t let a bad day sabotage your eating for the entire week.

Just tried a new smoothie recipe which was absolutely the pick-me-up I needed, so will share it with you later today along with Tuesday’s exercise card. Don’t forget it’s bootcamp day today!

Happy Tuesday lovely people. x

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Focus Friday: Introducing Lydia Havers-Allan

We’ve had so much fun talking about all the brilliant women in our lives, there are so many fabulous role models, we are swamped with ideas about who to showcase. With that, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Lyds Havers-Allan, PT and fitness expert, mum of two and all round inspirational woman.

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About Lydia

Lydia is a mum of two who launched her PT business, LA Personal Fitness in January of this year. She runs classes locally to Maidstone in Ditton, Aylesford, Pegasus Fitness, Maidstone and Marden. Lydia runs Kettle Bells and Circuit Classes for everyone – whatever age or fitness level. When we were chatting about her classes, she said to me “Fitness shouldn’t be exclusive. It’s for everyone.”

This ethos underpins her approach to fitness, that it’s not about having a lot of money, or being a certain age or sex. Everyone can get fit. Everyone!

Lydia decided to train as a PT back in 2016. She was planning her wedding, working as a teacher, and getting into shape for the big day when shockingly, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Although the wedding was put on hold, Lydia was determined to stay fit and healthy through her chemotherapy and maintained her PT sessions throughout her chemo (this must have been so tough!).

Lydia’s PT asked her what she’d do when she finished her Chemo, and said she’d make at good PT. That was the point when she decided that’s exactly what she’d do. Fast forward three years, and that’s exactly what she did!

Lydia studied during her chemo, and used the time to focus on her studies. She smashed her exams, and became a qualified PT in October 2018.

Lydia is an advocate for healthy living, clean eating and a sensible approach to diet and exercise. She’s a refreshing antidote to the vanity surrounding fad diets, sugar-laden diet supplements and the ‘hip-dip’ and ‘thigh gap’.

We’re hoping to collaborate with Lydia to bring some fitness inspo to our Mums in Real Life, so watch this space! You can find out more about Lydia on Facebook or Insta

She’s also got together a team ‘Lyd’s Luscious Ladies’ (I’ll be running) to run Race for Life Pretty Muddy on Sunday 7th July, and we have a fundraising page here:

Got an inspirational person you’d like the world to know about? Please share with us anybody in mind who’s an inspiration to you! Tag us on Insta using #mumsinreallife #everydaybrilliance #focusfriday or send us an email to hello@mumsinreallife.co.uk 

We’d love to hear from you!

Happy Friday lovely people. X

Shake It Off Prep For Day 2 – Strawberry & Banana Oat Smoothie Plus Exercise Plans

Today was day 1 of our ‘Shake It Off’ plan and we’re feeling great!

Starting off our morning with a Kiwi & Banana Oat smoothie was a good way to go. Tomorrow we’re going to get motivated with this lovely Strawberry, banana and Oat smoothie. Check out the ingredients below:

Ingredients:

3-4 Strawberries

1 banana

20g oats

200ml Skimmed milk

100ml Almond Milk

1 ice cube

Method:

Roughly chop the fruit and place into a mixing bowl/jug. Add the remaining ingredients and blitz.

Pour and enjoy!

Meanwhile, here are some previous smoothies and exercise cards/plans  that we’ve recently shared and personally follow on a daily basis (accredited by a fully qualified PT)   Click on the links to take another look:

Super Slick Strawberry & Oats Breakfast Smoothie

Banana & Kiwi Breakfast Smoothie

Monday Motivation! Here’s your beginners circuits card…

Exercise cards are coming soon!

Fitness

Simple Running Plan

Shake It Off – Breakfast Smoothie And Exercise Plan

Are you looking to push the reset button and get back in the driving seat of your fitness plan? Here at Mums In Real Life, that’s precisely our intention from this point onwards!

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We’ve got loads in store for the week, HIIT, boot camp, Zumba, running and some regular gym sessions in between! We can’t wait to shimmy and sweat away our week with exercise!! Want to join us? Head on over to our website to see the exercise sheets available – more will be available soon: www.mumsinreallife.co.uk

What better to way to kick off the day with this super tasty oat, kiwi, banana & honey breakfast smoothie. Made with 150ml Almond milk and 250ml skimmed milk. This is what we’ll be making tomorrow morning to get us going (usually I’d only use 350ml Milk & 20g Oats but I have keen little kiddies who like to try some too).

Ingredients:

150ml Almond Milk (optional)

250ml Skimmed Milk (or 400ml if not using Almond Milk)

1 banana – peeled and roughly chopped

2 kiwi fruits – peeled and roughly sliced

40g Porridge Oats

1 Ice cube

1tbsp honey

Method:

Blitz all of the ingredients together for a few pulses and serve.

Give it a go and let us know how you get on!

Marathon Countdown: Day 2

It’s been a warm and fuzzy kind of Tuesday

Well, what a day it’s been today. I plucked my sleeping beauties out of bed this morning at 7.45am to plop them in the car and drive to the Chiropractor, where the lovely Charlotte clicked, manipulated and stretched my poor body back in to some recognisable form. Note> Charlotte is the most amazing Chiropractor and also the loveliest. She happily welcomes my three into the treatment room (and has done since they were teeny – and actually since there was only one of them, my big little). Today was no exception – Charlotte welcomed Stitch, Pikachu and Poppy from Trolls in with her usual beaming smile and disarming manner. Pretty great start to the day.

We arrived home to get stuck in to breakfast (oh – that reminds me, I’m meant to be talking about Marathon nutrition here. Have you realised yet that my mind is some kind of pinball game. Will get on to that in a bit – promise!).

Here’s what popped through the door next…these incredible flowers from Bloom & Wild.

I was so thrilled to get these from a lovely friend who has a lot more on her mind than sending me flowers. If you’re reading, thank you – you made my day.

Then I popped on over to Mum’s and dropped the Littles off and scooted over to see another lovely lady who does sports massage & remedial therapy for an hour of Neal’s Yard scented bliss – my aching muscles were rubbed and stretched and massaged until I felt almost normal. In fact, I left feeling a million dollars and all psyched up for the Marathon on Sunday. Looks like we will be smashing it, after all!

Right, sorry. Will stop blathering now (nearly). To top the day off, we also reached the milestone of 500 fab followers on Instagram, and launched our Facebook page, which is growing as we speak. I just wanted to say thank you to all the lovely people who are in my life – you make each day so much brighter.

Right – here’s today’s Marathon fodder!

  • Breakfast: Porridge with grated apple, mixed seeds and almond milk
  • Lunch: Wholegrain toast with poached eggs, topped with mixed rocket/watercress
  • Afternoon snack: Bakewell tart Naked Bar
  • Dinner: Salmon & Mediterranean Veggies
  • Evening snack: Creme Egg (result – found one I’d hidden that nobody scavenged!! I’m going to miss my extra Marathon chocolate next week!)

Happy Tuesday, lovely people.

Tahlia x

Exercise cards are coming soon!

So, I’ve been busy working with our mate Craig at Keeling Fitness to bring you some beginners workout cards, to help you get started with circuits, and help with technique (and to make sure you’re using the right muscles!).

I’ve been a bit hampered by the sick bug from school this week, but wanted to share with you the pics we’ve been taking of the workouts ready to create the cards for you. I’m excited!

Carly and I are talking about a six week challenge to kickstart our summer bodies and to reset some of the naughty habits that have set in over the Winter (goodbye 4 o’clock Mars Bars, it’s been fun.)

Keep watching for more news, and I’ll post the cards as soon as they’re ready!

Hope your Wednesday has been a good one lovely people.

Tahlia x

Monday Motivation! Here’s your beginners circuits card…

Happy Monday lovely people. The sun is shining, time to get your gear on and work out! (Actually, it’s Monday, I needed a caffeine injection to get my butt out of bed, and I have a cold.) Luckily my gorgeous running buddy is feeling more motivated and is dragging me out to get the miles in tonight (its’ 13 days until the M word). So, for the sake of putting my money where my mouth is, I’m going out in the garden to have a quick circuit.

As promised, our mate Craig from Keeling Fitness has put together a simple beginners circuit for you lovely people, so now’s the time to get the lycra out and the trainers on…

This is a beginners circuit and is designed to ease you in to circuit training/bootcamp type activities. You can do it at home, ideally with a mat and a small weight but similarly a towel and a can of beans will do for starters! Try doing 4/5 repetitions, work through the list three/four times to start with – see how you get on!

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Press Ups (on your knees)
  • Side Steps
  • Leg Raises (try one leg at a time if both together is too much)
  • Mountain Climbers (Hands on a box)
  • Shoulder Press with weight (or beans!)
  • Plank (on knees) for 15 seconds

For more detailed instructions, you can download the workout card here. I’ll also be creating some cards to demo the moves for you – so keep an eye out!

Who’s in? Have fun and keep fit. See you tomorrow lovely people.

Tahlia x

Want to get fit? Today is the day!

I’ve spoken to a few lovely friends over the last couple of weeks, who have been following the blog (hello, and thank you!). They’ve spoken to me about wanting to get back in to fitness, but perhaps they’re are a bit rusty when it comes to exercise, have had an injury, or just want to work on their fitness levels a little before they launch themselves wholeheartedly into Bootcamp or other associated group exercise sessions.

Thinking back on what got my fitness mojo going, there is a combination of things that have helped me to get fit (fitter at 39 than at 19!) and to remain motivated to keep pushing myself. I actually think that when you can find the right exercise, the right crew and the right attitude then you can be fit for life.

My top tips to start your fitness journey

Turn up – commit yourself to every session. Turn up consistently and keep going. The results will happen, but don’t expect them to be overnight. It’s taken me nearly 5 years of regular training and exercise to get to the fitness level I’m at now, and I’m not about to stop!

Change your mindset. “I just can’t lose weight”, “I’m not fit enough to try this”, “I am too old/unhealthy/my knees are weak”. Basically, you’re just setting yourself up to fail. To get fit for life you have to shift your negative mindset and focus on what you can achieve. You’ll be amazed.

On the “I can’t lose weight” front, do not confuse exercise and weight loss. To lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit (which you can contribute to with exercise) but simply relying on exercise alone will not show you results if you’re looking to lose a few pounds or so. My favourite PT statement on this matter is “It’s what you put in your mouth that counts”

Cut out the crap. If you eat processed foods you will feel bloated and even if you are slim you could still be “Skinny Fat”. Stick to natural and unprocessed foods and ditch the carb-heavy alternatives like bread, pasta, biscuits etc. I’m not saying you have to deny yourself but be honest about your eating and track your calories using an app like My Fitness Pal daily – you might be surprised about what you’re eating on a daily basis.

Keep pushing yourself to achieve – set clear and realistic goals for your training e.g “I want to run 10k” or “I want to strengthen my arms”. Then WORK towards these goals. It is hard work, but it’s worth it!

Find your crew. I always bang on about this, but my fitness family are the best. They pick me up when I fall down (literally) and motivate me to train on days I’m just not feeling it. On other days I help to motivate them. We genuinely look out for each other and keep each other going. (Seriously, I love you all.)

In conclusion, I really hope this doesn’t sound sanctimonious – I’m sharing the honest conversations I have in my head every day (particularly when it comes to diet). If you are really committed to getting fit and staying fit then today is the day, let’s go!

After the Brighton Marathon I’m going to refocus on strength training, and am going to build myself a 6 week plan which I hope you’ll follow along with me. We’ll create recipes, training plans and help to motivate each other to succeed in our goals. We’re in this together!

I’ve also spoken to our mate Craig the PT, and he’s come up with a simple circuit for you to follow at home. It takes 10 minutes, needs only an exercise mat and some weights.

We’ll be taking some pics at training on Monday to help you with the moves and I will post the training card then too. Watch this space.

Work hard, have fun and let’s do this! Happy Friday lovely people.

Tahlia x

HOW TO HANDLE LONG RUNS

SO, let’s start with the good news…we did it! We nailed our long run last week, running a thigh-aching 29 kilometres (that’s about 18 miles). I feel like we might be ready for this marathon. My knees ache, my Achilles insists on clicking after every long run and I have a proud collection of beautiful sweat spots.

I’m going to be honest – 29k felt like a bloody long way. It felt like we were running for days on end (it was more like three hours). We took Percy Pigs and electrolytes to help with energy levels (and run into Burger King, drive-by style to grab an apple juice at kilometre 25, startling shocked lunchtime burger-eaters and the young boy behind the counter).

Anyway, despite looking like loony running maniacs, it got me thinking. This marathon lark is so complex – running is just the start of it. Just one element. You need to gear yourself up so emotionally, build your body up physically with training, and also understand your physiology to work out how much water, gels, carbs etc you need to keep going.

So, I started looking in to the science of taking on board water during a marathon. Should I just grab a cup at every water point (and risk of taking on board too much water) or should I put in place a strategy to drink a certain amount for each mile I run? It’s fair to say I’m pretty confused by the recommendations…

Well, research varies quite a lot! There doesn’t seem to be one particular method which is the best – if you take too much you’re risking your health, if you don’t take enough you’re also risking your health. Results can also be improved with the optimum hydration, but do you take in a measured amount, or just drink as you go? For runs totalling more than an hour, it’s a good idea to hydrate before and after according to an article from Runner’s World

However when it comes to longer runs, there is differing advice: some camps say you should work out how much you dehydrate on a run by measuring your before and after weight, and work out how much fluid to replace when racing – others, like this article I found from the London Marathon suggests you will need 400-800ml of fluid per hour (and also has a few good tips for maintaining fluid levels). The main takeaway is you must be hydrated properly at the start of your marathon – that doesn’t mean gulping down water immediately beforehand, but ensuring your water intake is sufficient in the week, days and hours leading up to the big day.

Ensuring you’re sufficiently hydrated is also key to great performance, and some articles also suggest that being insufficiently hydrated is as detrimental as not putting in the hours running beforehand.

Having sufficient Glycogen levels on race day is also important (Glycogen is a form of sugar that can be easily stored by our muscles and liver) and I found another article from Runner’s World which helped me to understand how best to approach this beforehand and on the day.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while now, you’ll have started to realise that I’m the slummy one in MIRL! I’m also not an athlete or a runner, I’m just a mum who set herself a challenge, and I’m not one to shy away from that. What I’m also not is a sports scientist, specialist or expert. So, I was pleased to find another article by Runner’s World called ‘The World’s Simplest Hydration Plan’, which says I can just go with my thirst. Grab a drink at the stations, and give myself 10 seconds at each water station. Being one for a simple life – I’m going with that option!

I’m always keen to hear your thoughts, so if you have any tips for hydration before or during the marathon, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Happy Wednesday lovely people.

Tahlia x

It’s Bootcamp day (again!)

So, Tuesday rolls round again which can mean only one thing – Bootcamp! Today we mixed it up (actually, Craig forgot the gloves and pads) so we had a bonus circuits session instead. It was really challenging, great fun, and involved quite a lot of running so we burned more calories than usual too.

Today we did 1-10-1 which sounds simple, but is a really challenging workout. If you’re starting out, just work from 1-10 or set yourself a time limit e.g 20 mins and see how far you can get. Most of us managed to get from 1-10 an back to 8 – setting the benchmark for next time!

In other news – am running the 20 miler tomorrow with my running buddy. I’m absolutely bricking it (as my nephew might say) but have treated myself to a beautiful new water belt so I can rehydrate along the way.

I’ll keep you posted on progress tomorrow – wish me luck!

Tahlia x

PS: Thanks to those of you who’ve been following the plans with us! As promised, Craig is writing a custom plan for beginners so keep your eyes peeled, it will be ready soon!