Muscle recovery

I went to my first Body Pump TM class on Thursday, and although I am a strong, active 30-something year old, warmed up/ cooled down properly, and was sensible about what weights I used, I am still feeling it! 

A quick Google search comes up with 5 top tips to aid muscle repair:

  • Warm up and cool down properly
  • Hydrate (water is found in highest concentrations in active tissue like muscle. Water helps transport waste out of the body, and helps lubricate our joints too!) 
  • Rest (as well as having a rest day which is an important part of our training programs, sleep is vital as this is when the body repairs itself. You probably know that muscles grow because when we work them, they get microscopic tears. Our amazing bodies fix these tears while you sleep.)
  • Stretch -yoga, swimming, a soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil
  • Refuel- yes you need protein to repair muscles, but did you realise carbs are important to? It seems obvious: carbohydrates are the body’s energy store. However we are under pressure today to “cut the carbs”, go for the “skinny” option, etc. Research shows that some specific foods may be beneficial: blueberries, cherries, pomegranates, acai, cranberries and ginger have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Well for me I’m struggling to get 8 hours of sleep per night so I think that has something to do with the reason my arms still feel sore and heavy 3 days later. I’m going to make a nice antioxidant smoothie, and maybe I’ll go for a swim later!

Coconut energy balls

Saturday mornings are my favourite. I do four of my favourite classes at the gym, back to back. My body does need refuelling though, and I’ve taken to making some natural raw sweets to take along as they are really convenient- lots of power in a bite, and no smelly banana skin to dispose of.

You can buy ready made energy balls like Bounce, but they are also pretty simple to make (and a lot cheaper!) I wrap them up in a bit of greaseproof paper, and pop one in my gym bag when I know I’m going to be in need of a pick-me-up. They seem to last ages (like, several weeks!) in the fridge without spoiling. They can also be frozen.

Here’s my recipe: (makes 12)

  • 1/3 cup cashew nuts
  • 1 cup oats
  • 10 dates
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

I don’t have a food processor so I used my #nutribullet to powder the nuts and oats. I used a mini chopper to process the dates and coconut oil, then added the rest of the ingredients. I added a dribble of water to make the mixture come together. 

When I got the right consistency, I rolled the mixture into small, bite-size balls in my hands before finishing by rolling in a further 1/4 cup coconut. I put them in a airtight container in the fridge to set.

Nutritional* information:

I was pleased to discover that my recipe is lower calorie than the shop bought versions. They also contain some beneficial macronutrients which I struggle to get enough of in my diet.

Per 1 ball:

  • Calories 141
  • Fat 4.4g
  • Potassium 217mg
  • Fibre 3.3g
  • Protein 2.9g
  • Calcium 2.1 % RDA
  • Iron 5.3% RDA

*according to MyFitnessPal

My favourite green juice recipe

There are tons of juice recipes out there. Sometimes I find some of them too bland, bitter, or (even worse) fibrous for my taste, or I haven’t got all the right ingredients. This one’s great since I’ve pretty much always got the ingredients in my cupboard or fridge, and it tastes amazing! You get an unusual, grassy (though very pleasant) taste from the parsley.

Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar and keep cravings at bay, whilst the combination of vitamins derived from the other ingredients are excellent for your complexion and immune system.

  
Add the ingredients to your juicer and blitz with water:

  • 1 handful spinach leaves
  • 1 handful parsley (stalks and all)
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 Apple (core removed)
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 small handful blueberries
  • A knob of fresh ginger
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder (optional- this adds a bit of protein, and apparently can help cleanse the blood)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon