Easy take-away alternatives

We usually get a chinese takeaway once a week, and spread it over Friday and Saturday nights. I vary what I get, sometime beef and black bean sauce, something king po chicken, sa-cha chicken or chicken satay.

Our local Chinese is sadly shut, due to coronavirus but there are a few others locally that we’ve managed to get meals from.

Anyway, two weekends ago I thought I’d buy my own beef and ingredients and make my own beef n black bean sauce. I had it with cauliflower rice and it all went down well. It was easy to make and very tasty.

Very simple – meat, the veg you like and either cauliflower rice or basmati rice.

It’s about 500 cals with cauliflower rice and about 600 with basmati rice.

Here’s the macros and splits for the beef n black bean sauce with cauliflower rice:

And here’s the ingredient list (leeks or onions, similar thing really).

This weekend I made myself chicken satay, and had just normal rice this time.

Here’s the split of macros for the chicken satay.

This is the ingredients and how I made them:

Chicken satay with veg
Or beef and black bean sauce with veg
Two portions

– 2 chicken breasts / 300g
(Could be stir fry beef)
– 50g frozen onions
– Two handfuls frozen peas / 80g
– 100g chopped mushrooms (or your favourite coloured pepper chopped) – Small handful of spring greens (optional)
– Uncle bens basmati rice (or cauliflower rice for lower calorie option) – Amoy satay sauce (120ml pouch)
(Could be Amoy black bean sauce pouch)

1. Chop the chicken up into small pieces and brown in a large frying pan. (Or beef).
2. Once cooked through, add in onions, peas, mushrooms (or peppers) and spring greens (if you want them in it). 3. Once the veg is cooked, add the sauce, simmer and cook through. 4. Cook the rice.
5. Serve two portions (or split up and keep one for the following day).


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New Under Armour capris!

I treated myself to a new pair of capris the other week and they are soooo comfy.

Size large for me, about a size 12.

Here’s the link to them:

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Energy for life notes

We had a zoom session in work today called Energy for life. I thought I’d share the notes I took from it here with you.

Things in life drain us and energise us. Below are some things that can help fuel us and be well.

Sleep – focus on getting good quality sleep Try to get 8-9 hrs a night, go to bed and get up at the same times, get a routine, we sleep in 90 min cycles. Dark cold room. Reducing late stimulation / light / devices.

Hydration – drink water, keep hydrated. Keep a bottle with you, drink and refill. Pee should be light coloured, if it’s not, you may be dehydrated and this could affect your performance and the way you feel.

Routines – We love routines – get in touch with your daily rhythms and routines. Sleep, exercise, eating, working, socialising etc.

Watching caffeine intake – no caffeine after lunch time, 300mg max a day. Remember it’s a diuretic. Your body tries to get rid of it as soon as it comes in. It makes us more alert but does not provide energy. Limit to 4 coffees or 7 teas max a day, ideally before lunchtime.

Fuel well – good quality, healthy, natural, unprocessed foods. Get the energy in early and keep energised throughout the day. Plan and prep your food / fuel. Be careful with sugar intake. Fuel more in the morning, then less at lunchtime and less again at dinner time (opposite to what most do).

Positive mindset – can help us to be motivated (negative mindset can be draining and can lead to anxiety and depression etc).

Being active – exercise energises us, makes us feel good / opportunity to be out in the open / socialise / chat. Be kind to yourself and include rest and recovery.

Prioritising – Focusing on one thing at once, and having time to plan and do.

Planning – Decide what we need to do next, energy into the right stuff. Make time to plan and prepare if you can. Eat, exercise, work, family time, play, socialise, etc.

Take action – Identify things or something you’d like to do, get a list and make and action plan to get it done.

Actions today

– Start doing something to put energy in.

– Stop doing something which drains you.

– Continue to do something that your already doing that gives you energy.

– Have a call, zoom call or a chat with someone today and see if you can positively zap someone with your energy. Have a positive mindset. Share and solve problems together – carry the burden together.


– How to boost energy?

– Individually – what not to do – not a quick fix, ie red bull etc. How to – good food intake, sleep, hydration, activity, as above.

– Team – look for opportunities to encourage each other. How can we act as energy boosters, optimistic chats, to increase each other’s energy. Share and communicate your positive energy on zoom, chat and calls. Consider impact of sending emails – don’t send emails which will drain people.

– Other resources?

Check out TED lectures and watch in timeout.

Books / audiobooks

Do an assessment of where you’re at – and decide where and how can you make improvements.

What can you can do for more energy – see the start, stop, continue above.

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Hill Street hill reps

The other week we ventured out on a walk which took us up the back / North of Sauchiehall Street, along a street which was aptly named ‘Hill Street’.

Just off of Charing Cross, some new build flats have been built there and there’s a nice stairway and footpath which leads up to them.

As we were climbing up the stairs that day, I thought to myself, these would be good for hill reps – so that’s what I went and did this morning. Hill reps at Hill Street, Charing Cross.

I had thought about using more of the many hills there, doing maybe three reps of one hill, then running on to the other hills / streets in the area, but I decided to stick to this hill and run up one side of it, recover down, then run down and up the other side of it. And it worked well.

It took about 14 mins or so to run up to the stairs, along past SkyPark, the Clydeside expressway, and up past the M8 through Charing Cross. I was struck by how noisy it was, even with the limited cars on the road just now and at about 7:30am.

As I was running alongside the M8… who builds a motorway through a city?… ha… I should have expected the noise really. And there was a low constant drum of noise when ones doing my hill reps too. Maybe I should have worn my airpods to block out the noise instead of my aftershokz.

Glasgow – up on a wee hill… the M8 right next to you… church like buildings to the West, and green bushy trees mixed with urban streets and roads. Glasgow how I love you.

Anyway… I didn’t know how many hill reps id do… 10 maybe? 5 times up and down 2 hills maybe. I did the first set, and it took about 3 minutes.

It was 30 secs running up 44 stairs and to the top to a wall, then recover down the other side, and about a 40 second sprint back up to the wall, and recover down to the bottom of the stairs again.

My heart rate was pushing up to about 165, then a short walk to recover and I’d jog again once it was at about 150.

After about 15 mins of hills, I got to about 10 reps (5 times up and down x2) and I was feeling strong and figured I might as well go for 16 reps (8 times up and down). It ended up being about 24 mins of hills, and I felt good for having done them.

My HR maxed at 171, average 141, but my heart got a good workout with it going up and down 16 times in 24 minutes. 🤮 Cool elevation and heart rate graph above. 😎

Running back home I realised it was down hill most of the way – yippee… and I chose a slightly different route back, which took about 13 mins.

Less traffic too – although I did meet another male on a bike 🚲 on the pavement, who then made me go into the road down Finnieston. 😡 I still managed to socially distance the whole way, but some of that was covering the same ground at the hills.

The numbers were a little cool – 5.2 miles in 52 mins exactly … 10 min miles. (Or maybe that’s the endorphins talking again 🤪).

At the top of the hill, there was some chalk drawings, thanking the NHS etc and look what I found (not sure why I’m smiling, must be the endorphins at the end).

Hill reps are good, you can push as hard as you want, and it’s a good workout.

If you would like to try them… here’s my tips:….warm up with a 10-15 min run to a hill or two, or some stairs somewhere, then run up and down them a few times… 3, 4, 5 times or sets…

Sprint up them, then walk for a bit down them to recover, and jog to the bottom, then repeat. I mark a split on my watch once I’ve done a set.

Then when you’re still feeling strong, decide how many you’ll do… and try to keep running strong… I went for 8 sets of 2 hills.

Then once you’re done, jog home as a recovery cool down. It could be 10:20:10 or whatever works for you.

Mine today was:
14 min warm up
24 mins / 16 hill reps
13 min cool down
52 mins

The pace and distance doesn’t matter, it’s how hard you make yourself work and how quickly you recover. Enjoy, and let me know if you do do them.

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Training & nutrition for next two weeks onwards

I’ve been a bit lax with posting what I’ll do training wise… well here’s what I’m planning for the next couple of weeks.
Wk21 – 18 May
Mon: 3M walk or run / Spin & Strength
Tue: Hills
Wed: 3M walk or run / Spin & Strength
Thu: 4M easy
Fri: 3M walk or run / Spin & Strength
Sat: 10M progressive
Sun: Rest

Wk22 – 25 May
Mon: 3M / Spin & Strength
Tue: Intervals (or hills)
Wed: 3M / Spin & Strength
Thu: 5M easy
Fri: 3M / Spin & Strength
Sat: 12M
Sun: Rest

The 3M walks or runs will be either 2 or 3 makes, and if I run them I’ll include some strides, 3-4 x 100m where I pick up the lace and recover in the middle. Probably around the Clyde as the norm right now for me.

For the spin I’ll do either 1 2 or 3 tabatas… 2 mins warm up, then 8 sets of 30 secs at 100rpm, then 10 secs at 80rpm and a 2 min recovery (either once, twice or three times).

Onto strength, and I’ll either do my usual Squat, Deadlift or Clean n Press sessions, kettlebell strength, body weight or runners strength or this one below, which I’ll do with barbells, dumbbells and a kettlebell tomorrow:

1×6 & 1-2xAMRAP
Press up AMRAPs between
A1 Squat 46-69
A2 Sh Press 18-28
B1 Deadlift 52-82
B2 Clean 26-36
C1 Bench 22-29
C2 Rows es 12-20
3 rounds of a finisher, eg:
KB swing 20
/ Single Leg Deadlifts 10
/ Carry 1 min / Pull ups

In terms of food, I’ve been tracking it during most of lock down and for the first 5 weeks I was taking just under 12,000 calories a week, or on average about 1,660 a day. With a weekly deficit of about 2,500. I was doing about 11-12,000 steps a day on average, but my sleep could have been better at times.

That lost me about 5lbs in weight (incl 4lbs fat), and 3cm off my waist, in 5 weeks.

In the last two weeks I’ve eaten more, about 13,000 calories a week, or about 1,860 a day. It was a weekly deficit of just -40 calories last week, and about -1,350 this week. I ate more and did less, but my sleep was really good, and I was still active with walking and had some good rest days.

My steps dropped to on average 9-10,000 per day, but my sleep was much better, with only one night under 8 hours, and the majority 9+ hours sleep. Yas. Lockdown + flexibility = more sleep. This last week has been 9-10 hours each night.

My weight has still gone down in the last fortnight, down another 0.7lbs, but not much movement in body fat. 2cm off my waist and 4cm off my hips.

I’ve been aiming for the following splits in macros –
carbs : protein : fat = 40 : 30 : 30,
and I’ve been getting around 43 : 28 : 29 for the first 4 weeks,
these last two weeks were – 39 : 32 : 29.
Nice and balanced, (and being wary not to eat too much sugar).

After 7 weeks of a bit of focus in lockdown I’m at:

134.1lbs, 15.5% / 20.8lbs body fat
80.9% / 108.5lbs lbm
73cm waist / 97cm / 0.75

(From 140.5lbs / 17.4% 24.4lbs / 79.1% 111.1lbs)

Down 6.6lbs since the start of the year anyway. 👍🏻

I have 2 more weeks of this block, then I say art again with a 4 week block of training.

I’ll aim for my intake to be around 1,600 calories per day, the same macro splits as above… quite high protein of around 130-160g. But I’m aiming for about a gram for every lb if body weight, more if I’ve done a lot of exercise that day.

To get this I eat my usual breakfast with plenty yoghurt, and protein powder. Along with having protein with every meal (ie chicken, fish or meat), and I eat protein bars, along with apples or bananas for snacks.

Eggs are good too – soft boiled, I’m dipping rolled up dairylea light slices or fridge raider chicken into them. 😂

I’m aiming for that amount of protein for four reasons, 1. Fuelling and recovery, 2. To get the satiety from it so that I eat less overall, but I’m still satisfied (and not reaching for snacks / chocolate), 3. To be more balanced with my intake, 4. For the thermic effect.

Hopefully this isn’t too boring for you, but with the time and flexibility at home I have with lock down, I thought I’d take the opportunity to learn what works for me to lose weight, but also train well and be fuelled for my training, and performing at my best.

It seems to be working anyway, and I’ll now see what the next 5 weeks before my birthday will bring.

Sleep is key, as is eating well to fuel my training and trying to stay in a deficit (aka not eating everything 😂). Should be easy enough with the amount of training I have planned (as long as I do it, and if I don’t, I’ll just eat less).

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9.5 miles not really in the rain

I woke up this morning to the first day of rain in a long time. I was nearly put off going for my 9 mile long run, then I remembered, I don’t melt when it rains. I had a leisurely morning, did some bits and pieces, then had my usual breakfast and a couple of black coffees.

By about 10am I still wasn’t up for running in the rain… and toyed with the idea of doing a session in the (dry) gym instead. I pottered about a bit more, including noting down my stats for the week / weight and measurements etc.

I measured my waist and hips and saw that in 6 weeks I’ve lost 3cm from my waist and 4cm from my hips. I’m down about 5-6lbs still, and even with a couple weeks of easing off / recovering, things are going in the right direction.

After that, and once my breakfast had gone down, I felt up for a run. The rain had gone off a bit, and by 11:15 I was in my shorts, T-shirt, white waterproof and cap, and trainers and out the door for my run.

I decided after sort of failing to social distance by going into Pollok Park last week, I would run along Paisley Road West and back to do about 9 miles or so. It’s not the most awe inspiring route and it’s also pretty flat, but the roads are wide, and I’m able to get onto the roads to be able to socially distance, so that’s what I did.

Out for 4.5 miles, against the wind, and the little rain there was, then a turn and back for 4.5 miles strong / at marathon heart rate pace (with the wind behind me too). It wasn’t really raining much, or not that you’d notice anyway. With my cap on, and then my jacket on until I took it off at 6 miles, I was dressed fine for it.

At about 3 miles in, I passed Martin with his two dogs, but I don’t think he recognised me. Then just after that I ran along side (me on the road) a colleague JJ from work. He was dressed in every day clothes and as if he was running towards his car for a shop.

I was on the road away from him, but we were both going in the same direction. I said hello and asked him if he wanted a race, lol. He was a little surprised to see me, then took me up on it and we sort of raced to the corner. I think we might have made each other’s days a little. Ha.

After that I was running along Paisley Road West, thinking I could pop by and see Debbie, as I was very near to where she lives, but of course I decided against it. Booooo. I then noticed all of these nicely done drives, many the same as if a builder or landscaper had got loads of business from the same street.

I managed to avoid everyone I passed, usually by me hopping on the road. Twice to avoid people on bikes who were on the pavement… grrrr. And there was only one clash I had, with a taxi who was starting to move into the inside lane, when I was on it so I could avoid another pedestrian.

I tried to gesture that I was trying to be 2m away from the other person, but him in his car would likely think he was right. I was in bright colours anyway and he wouldn’t have missed me.

After turning around I sort of had the wind at my back and was feeling good. With breakfast, a couple of coffees and a SIS caffeine shot in me, I decided not to take the energy gel I had with me. At about 6-7 miles I took off my jacket, and wrapped it around my waste.

I was at marathon heart rate from about miles 5 to 9 and feeling good. Finished off with a short 0.5 mile cool down near my house. I ended up doing a negative split, 38 mins out, 36 mins back. 5.0 garmin aerobic training effect.

All in all a good run and I’m glad I remembered I wouldn’t melt in the rain (there wasn’t much of it after all). Eggs for lunch and a rego sis milkshake for recovery too.

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Wk20 into Wk21 in lockdown

Strange days still… but the strange days seem to becoming the norm. The last couple of long runs I did took it out of me a little… the first one was fine, but Monday’s 15 miler laid me up a bit… in need of some rest, so I took it.

Without guilt or feeling bad about it, I skipped the gym all week, and did a couple of runs, a few walks and had a couple of days where I really not a lot but work from home. On Thursday I hardly left the house, except for going about 1m into the garden at one point.

My sleep has been good though, and I’ve relaxed a bit on my food intake – eating a bit more and taking the pressure off for a couple of weeks.

After 4 weeks in April where I was training a lot and being careful to get a calorie deficit… I managed to lose about 5-6lbs in 5 weeks. This last week or two my weight and fitness has maintained, and I’m about to start a new training cycle.

It’s 5 about weeks til my birthday, so I’m going to mix cardio (running and walking) with some intervals work (running and spin) and some strength again. Back in the garagym… for hard sessions lifting heavy stuff.

My weeks will look a bit like this:

Mon: Spin & Strength / 3M (walk or easy run)
Tue: Hills or interval run
Wed: Spin & Strength / 3M (walk or easy run)
Thu: 4-7M easy run with strides
Fri: Spin & Strength / 3M (walk or easy run)
Sat: 8-14M long run
Sun: Rest (Or swap with another day)

I’m going to follow a marathon training plan I’ve created in the next 16 weeks, the same one I’ve planned for Brighton and see if it works for me. It has me doing a marathon at the start of September with some long runs in July into August, but we’ll see.

In terms of nutrition, I’ll be eating around 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbs… it’s what I’ve got used to doing and I found this more balanced than the 50-60% carbs suggested by some. You could say it’s high protein, but it’s not really… it’s just not high carb (and I’m trying not to eat all sugar!)

I’ve been reading the book Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor and I’ll likely start to try to include more veg in my intake, and maybe some milled flaxseed along side my usual meats, fish, yoghurt, berries, eggs, and apples etc. Just seeing what taking in different types of food does in terms of health and well being, energy and body composition.

I made some tasty beef and black bean sauce with peppers, leek and mushrooms the other day. It was tasty and simple. Lots of vitamin C in the yellow peppers apparently.

I’ll start my strength work in the gym again on Monday, with some simple compound movements, squats and shoulder presses, deadlifts and press ups, rows and bench presses, along with some Single leg deadlifts, KB Swings and finishers. I love it when I get into it.

This Tuesday I’m gong to do hill reps… I think over near Sauchihall Street… up down up down repeat repeat.

My garmin says I’m recovering right now, so once I’ve had a bit of this recovery, hopefully next week will feel good to be a bit more active and build my training again.

I say I’m bored, but I’m not really. I sort of wish I could go places, see friends and family, and plan holidays and things, but these things are on hold for the foreseeable. Everyone is in the same boat and it’s important we do what we can.

I’m totally conscious that I have it very good, I’m fit and healthy and have everything I need. Even though my hair is quickly turning into lockdown hair, getting longer and greyer by the week. Lucky I don’t care too much about that.

So let’s roll into the last 5 weeks of my 30s in lock down, and see what happens. Maybe I should plan a cake and party on our own in our garden for my birthday on the 21st June? Ha.

Here’s today’s picture from our two mile walk around the Clyde… the pictures are maybe becoming a bit repetitive (like life just now), but we’re lucky we live close to some nice areas and the centre of Glasgow, or some nice residential streets or parks.

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