Chia seed overnight oats with peanut butter & banana

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Not to blow my own trumpet but I still can’t get over how incredible this was!

I have been wanting to try overnight oats for ages after lusting over various pictures on Instagram.

If you’re on Instagram or read various health/fitness magazines and websites you might have also seen that chia seeds are incredibly popular in oats and smoothies for example. I decided to combine the two and satisfy my interest in them in this breakfast creation!

This is a seriously nutritious breakfast packed full of protein, healthy fats and vitamins. Here’s a breakdown of why these ingredients are such a great way to start the day.

– Chia seeds are high in fibre, rich in calcium and iron as well as antioxidants which help to absorb the toxins in your digestive system.
– Bananas are rich in potassium, fibre, magnesium and add a natural sweetener to this breakfast. They are also a good source of carbs.
–  Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which help to boost your immune system to protect against illness. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.
– Peanut butter (although it has to be healthy peanut butter!)  has plenty of protein which helps to build and repair muscle fibres and will help you to feel fuller for longer. It is also packed full of good fats which will also fill you up and stop mid morning snacking!

This powered a long run for me and it had everything I needed to fuel a good training session. Not to mention it’s a fab way to jazz up regular porridge! Basically, eating this will fill you up, keep you full of energy and give you that warm satisfied feeling of deliciousness!

You will need: 
– 1 large ripe banana
– 250g oats
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 240ml of unsweetened almond milk (or sweet if you have a super sweet tooth!)
– 1/3 jar of Meridian’s smooth peanut butter (or a 1/4 if you want less of a peanut butter taste & add 1 tsp of agave nectar honey- I like the Groovy Food Company’s)
– For the topping you can add anything you want – I topped mine with some more banana, blueberries and a little bit of crunchy granola because I am addicted to granola.

To make:

– Mash the banana in a bowl and in a separate bowl add the rest of the ingredients (apart from the toppings of course.)

– Add the banana to the main mixture and stir thoroughly. Make sure that peanut butter is mixed in well as it has a tendency to clump together.

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– Pour the mixture into individual airtight containers (I like the clip glass jars) and pop in the fridge overnight. If you don’t have jars then put in to bowls and cover tightly with cling film. Enjoy in the morning with your favourite topping!

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Enjoy! 🙂

Tag me in your creations on Twitter and Instagram with #hannahshappypace

 

 

 

Clean Carrot Cake

“This feels like a naughty treat.” 

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Those were the words of my boyfriend Dane as he ate a spoonful of my freshly baked carrot cake, shortly followed with “now can I have a cup of tea!”

Yes, this cake has no flour, no added sugar and even the “icing” is clean. As you may have noticed if you’ve read some of my other recipes, I like to keep things simple and this cake was no exception. It’s super easy to make and doesn’t require any overly fancy ingredients.

You will need: 

For the cake:
2 red apples
250g of oats
2 tsp of cinnamon
2 heaped tbsps of grated carrot
2 large eggs
4 tbsp of agave nectar honey
1 tsp baking powder

For the icing:
One small tub of natural fat free Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp honey

To make:
– Start by peeling the apple and chopping it in to small pieces before putting in a pan with a couple of tbsp of cold water. Cook on a medium heat and add the cinnamon, stirring occasionally. As the apple begins to warm and soften mash it with a fork.
– Once the apple is soft and is partly mashed then take off the heat and set to one side.
– In a food processor add the oats, eggs, honey, and grated carrot before adding the apple and baking powder as well. Blend until thoroughly mixed and well combined. It’s definitely best to use a food processor or a blender here rather than just a mixing bowl and spoon as the oats need to be blitzed a little bit to represent flour in the cake.
– Grease a cake tin and add the mixture before popping in the oven at about 180 degrees for minimum of 20 minutes. To test when the cake is done poke the middle with a knife and if the knife comes out clean then the cake is ready.
– To make the  frosting add some of the yoghurt to a bowl before adding the icing sugar and honey. Be careful about how much yoghurt you add as it depends what size your cake is and it shouldn’t be so runny that it runs off the cake!
– Make sure the cake is completely cooled before you put the icing on.

The "icing"

The “icing”

Enjoy 🙂

Tag me in your creations on Twitter & Instagram using #hannahshappypace

Yoga month: good for running, CrossFit & your abs!

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It’s that time again when another challenge month has come to an end and it’s on to the next. February was yoga month where Dane and I did at least 10 minutes of yoga every day.

We decided on ten minutes because it seemed like a manageable amount of time to fit in to our day and could easily be done in the morning, before bed or as a way to stretch after training.

We usually ended up doing more though and I downloaded two yoga apps and went on YouTube for tutorials. After a week or so though I had learnt enough combinations to create my own routine.  Check out Dane’s website – All Things Movement –  where he will soon be posting a 20 minute yoga routine guaranteed to get that blood pumping and those muscles working.

As a runner I have inevitably tight hips, tight hamstrings and poor shoulder mobility from the repetitive motion of pounding the pavements but after 28 days of yoga I saw noticeable differences.

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Here’s what I noticed:

– Positions such as classic downward dog helped me to improve the flexibility of my hamstrings and over the course of the month simple moves such as forward bends became easier and I could gradually go forward that little bit more. I do think it’s important to say that without pushing myself during some sessions I might not have improved as much and yes it is painful but like any other training the pain is worth it.

– My general mobility and range of motion improved. I noticed that my squat depth improved as I had been struggling with this after the marathon due to majorly tight hip flexors. Not only that but the range of motion in my shoulders improved too which I am thrilled about as it’s something I really need to work on. Again, I’m not going to lie this was painful at times and I had to push myself.

– Yoga isn’t painful all the time though! It gave me new ways to stretch after running, a way to relax before bed and a better way to start the day with that wonderful yoga feeling. If you’re a CrossFitter, yoga can help to counter some of that soreness after a tough metcon WOD as well. I also slept better which, although I can’t be sure, I believe was helped by yoga.

– Holding a pose or stretch and feeling that “burn” makes it easier to push through the pain of a long run – obviously don’t push through if you’re injured – but it can help you to focus and work through it when you’re struggling. It takes your mind (and body) to a place where you can access that endurance when you need it most during a race or training run.

– Practicing yoga helped me to breathe more efficiently when exercising and is something I think is particularly beneficial to runners. It can help with efficiency and eventually your breathing will naturally match your pace.

– I became more aware of where my body was/where I was placing my weight. My balance improved and I was aware of how I needed to adjust the weight to improve my balance and performance. This not only helped with my running but also in CrossFit with elements such as engaging my shoulders when doing an overhead squat and squatting in general thinking about which part of my foot I was putting my weight on.

– Yoga helps to improve strength and most definitely your core strength as you have to stay tight during each pose.

I definitely think that to keep seeing these benefits I need to keep some yoga in my training routine. I won’t do it every day but I will try and aim for one or two 30 minute sessions a week – I really enjoyed it! 

Dane and I decided to round off yoga month with some acroyoga and I’m still laughing at our attempts! My abs certainly got a good workout from all the laughing as well!

We did manage to nail a few poses though and it was so much fun! I definitely think that the 28 days of yoga prior to that helped with my strength, mobility and flexibility.

Here’s what we managed to do… (keep reading for a hilarious acroyoga fail video.)

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Acroyoga fails….(I’m still laughing now!!)

On the second one watch how quickly Dane manages to get his legs in to that lotus position!!

March is handstand month – follow @hbryan91 on Instagram and @hannahbryan91 on Twitter to see what we’re doing. I’ll post a piece soon on the handstand progressions I’ll be doing!

🙂

 

Avocado & sundried tomato stuffed burgers

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I’m a massive fan of home made beef burgers because they’re so easy to make and you know exactly what you’re getting.

If you use lean minced beef it cuts down on that fatty content as well which is always good. Now on to the best bit, sundried tomato and avocado! Who wouldn’t want that stuffed in a burger!? It’s a match made in heaven in my opinion and the result was a taste sensation.

If you make a big batch of these you can keep them in the fridge and take some for lunch the next day as well.

You will need:

– Pack of lean minced beef
– Two ripe avocados
– 1 small tub of sun-dried tomatoes (from deli counter so no oil if possible)
– Juice of one lemon
– Coriander (chopped, to taste)
– Salt & pepper to season
– Garlic (one/two cloves chopped depending on how much you like)
– One egg
– Coconut oil

To make: 

– In a large mixing bowl add the beef, egg, chopped garlic, coriander and salt and pepper and combine well.

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– In a separate bowl mash the avocado, chopped sundried tomatoes and lemon juice.

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– Using your hands, make two thin-ish burger halves (these are going to make one burger). It is easier to shape them on a surface lightly dusted with flour to stop them from sticking.

– Put one heaped tsp of avocado mixture in to the middle of one burger half and then add the other burger half on top, pinching the sides to form the burger and to keep the avocado in. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used.

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– Add a tsp of coconut oil to a frying pan and fry the burgers on each side for about 10 minutes/until thoroughly cooked. Alternatively you can grill the burgers. I wouldn’t advise cooking them in the oven though as that will dry them out.

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– Serve with sweet potato wedges, crispy kale and corn on the cob.

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Enjoy and don’t forget to tag #hannahshappypace in your creations! 🙂

 

Super easy, clean chocolate mug cake

If you’re looking for a quick, easy and healthy pudding then look no further because this chocolate mug cake hits all the right spots.

With just a handful of ingredients and made in less than five minutes it’s the ideal healthy pudding when you fancy something sweet or want a chocolatey dessert.

It’s paleo as well!

We added a cheeky Cadbury’s Creme Egg which is not so paleo/clean but Easter is fast approaching after all!

Check out this video below of how to make it.

Hope you enjoy it & make sure to tag #Hannahshappypace in your creations on Twitter & Instagram! Enjoy 🙂

 

Thursday night training run

11 miler

It will be six weeks on Sunday until the Manchester Marathon and I think it’s fair to say that my training has not gone to plan at all due a knee injury.

However Thursday nights training run was a success so I thought I’d share with you where I’m at right now.

This was my longest run since the Yorkshire Marathon back in October, yes, OCTOBER! I can’t quite believe it has taken me this long but like anything else where injury is involved these things take time and it’s best to do it right.

Anyway, I was going to try either 10k or 10 miles on Thursday night; there was literally no plan other than go out and run and see how I felt.

I mapped a route out in my head, strapped on lady Garmin and off I went in to the night! I got to 10k and felt good so thought I may as well carry on to 10.

However I’d misjudged the route and ended up doing 11 and even though I had done 10 miles on Sunday that extra 1 mile was HARD.

It felt great to get the miles in my legs and it’s also a confidence boost too knowing that I am still capable of running far and it’s just a case of building it back up.

I also managed to beat my 10 mile time from Sunday by a minute as well, happy days.

Here’s a breakdown of my timings & mile splits:

Total time: 1.30.11
Distance: 11.01 miles
Average pace: 8.11/mi
Calories: 1087

Mile splits:
1- 8.35
2 – 8.17
3 – 8.07
4 – 8.17
5 – 7.37
6 – 8.14
7 – 8.10
8 – 7.38
9 – 8.13
10 – 8.13
11 – 8.41

If I averaged 8.11/mi pace for a marathon I’d be finishing in 3.34.

Looking forward to pushing myself harder as I get back to track soon and start doing some shorter, faster runs at half-marathon pace/quicker than half-marathon pace with Dane. 

Hope you all go out and find your happy pace this weekend! Tag me in your pictures @hannahbryan91 or #hannahshappypace on Instagram. 🙂

Why it’s good to be nuts about nuts

Nuts are such an underrated snack.

Different types of nuts offer different nutritional benefits but they’re all packed full of goodness including plenty of fibre, good fats and protein. Yes, they are high in fat and 100g cashews typically contains 553 calories but before you vow never to eat a handful again let me tell you why nuts ARE in fact good for you and although high in fat, it’s good fats and fat like this is our friend to use a tired but true cliché.

30g is the ideal snack size for nuts so try and stick to that. I’m talking about unsalted, non-honey coated nuts here too!

They’re so easy to snack on as well. You don’t need to keep them in a special Tupperware and they have a long shelf life which is perfect if you want to buy in bulk.

I’ve put together a bit of info to highlight the nutritional benefits different nuts offer.

Let’s start with…

 Almonds:almonds
These nuts are packed full of fibre which is good for your digestive system. They’re also rich in vitamin E which is a great antioxidant and is good for the skin. If you’re avoiding dairy then stock up on almonds as they’re calcium and phosphorous rich. Finally, these nuts are especially good for your heart if they have their skin on as it is full of heart-protecting nutrients.
Try them in porridge or add ground almonds to home-made energy bars.
30g contains roughly 173 calories.

casjhews  Cashews:
Cashews are a definite brain booster as they contain lots of magnesium which is supposed to help with age –related memory loss. Some studies have even gone as far to say that eating cashews can help to warn off Alzheimer’s. Not only that but these nuts are also rich in iron and zinc which is good if you’re a vegetarian and lacking minerals usually found in red meat.
Try them in this really easy to make Pad Thai dish.
30g contains roughly 166 calories.

brazil nuts  Brazil nuts:
If your immune system needs a boost then grab a couple of Brazil nuts. They’re a good source of selenium which boosts immunity and also helps those who have a low thyroid function. It has also been suggested that selenium might help to prevent certain cancers including prostate and breast cancer. An ideal serving would be 3-4 Brazil nuts, it’s important not to over-do it with these.
Perfect simply as an afternoon snack or on your cereal.
30g roughly contains 197 calories.

hazelnuts  Hazelnuts:
We all love a hazelnut shot in our coffee but like other nuts these boast a high amount of good fat. Hazelnuts in particular are full of mono-unsaturated fats which can  improve heart health. The nutrients in hazelnuts help to balance out homocysteine levels – amino acid homocysteine has been linked to heart problems according to medical research.
Try them in home-made crunchy granola.
30g roughly contains 184 calories

walnuts  Walnuts:
They can often look like a brain and the image fits as these nuts are rich in omega -3 and mono-unsaturated fats which are both food for the heart. They are also a good source of calcium, iron, selenium and magnesium. Calcium and iron will help with strong bones whilst selenium is a fantastic anti-oxidant. Walnuts have also been proven to help lower cholesterol.
Try them in a salad with raisins or grapes and feta cheese.
30g roughly contains 196 calories

 

Friends who train together, stay together

Not every gym session has to be programmed and followed rigidly, sometimes it’s good to just hit the gym with your friends and do what you fancy. Not only is it fun but it also reminded me why I love training so much. I laughed whilst trying to hula-hoop, exhausted myself on the battle ropes and flipped a 60kg tyre around the gym floor with my best friend – what could be better than that!?

Kicking off 2015 with two training sessions on New Year’s Day my friend Liana and I headed to her gym (Virgin Active) for a training session where we pretty much spent an hour and a half working on technique and discovering new, fun ways to train. It had probably been a good six months since I had trained in a commercial gym so I was like a little kid in a sweet shop when I got there, jumping on boxes, checking out the free weights area and getting my feet all caught up in the TRX bands.

Laughing as we got caught up in the TRX bands

Laughing as we got caught up in the TRX bands

Liana and I started by going back to our primary school roots with a hula hoop session. The last time I picked up a hoop I was probably in Year 3 with my hair in a high pony tail and wearing ankle socks…not much has changed really! Although we were just having a laugh it is actually a really good workout. Hula hooping is great for your core as it requires you to keep your abs engaged at all times. It can also be used to help tone the rest of your body. For example try spinning the hoop on one arm held straight up above your head whilst keeping your abs engaged. To tone the lower half of your body try and spin the hoop around your knees whilst keeping the glutes and abs tight to reap the rewards of this fun exercise.

Next we headed for the battle ropes. This was the first time I had been able to try these and I was excited to do so after seeing lots of workout videos on Instagram of people using them, particularly ultra runner Bec Wilcock. Using battle ropes is a great low impact training method yet it can still yield big results. It puts less stress on your joints but still gives you a really good workout which builds muscle and burns fat simultaneously. Not only that but you can also take them outside and tie them anywhere which means that come summer time it’s the perfect excuse to ditch the gym and train in the park.

We also worked on our squat technique before moving on to one of my favourite exercises, pull ups. I’ll never forget the day I did my first pull up, mainly because it was on my birthday, but also because it was a goal of mine to do at least one before 2015. Liana also got her first one on New Year’s Day which was very exciting for both of us.

We finished our New Year’s Day workout with a three minute power plate blast with some running intervals in between which was a lot tougher than it sounds, trust me! Basically, we started 2015 as we mean to go on with plenty of training but also having lots of fun whilst working hard. Bring on the rest of the year 🙂

Grab life by the bells with the January kettlebell swing challenge

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Who actually keeps New Year’s resolutions?

If you’re screaming ME at the computer right now then please let me know – I want whatever you’ve got.

I’m not a quitter by any means but there’s something about New Year’s resolutions that I struggle to stick to. It might be something to do with the fact that at the start of the New Year people tend to go BIG. I think this is where I, along with a lot of other people, probably fall down.

It’s great to have goals but making your resolution something which you know deep down isn’t going to be manageable or even achievable is essentially setting yourself up for a fall.

I’ve decided to take a different approach this year and break my resolutions down in to month long goals to take on a different challenge or adopt a new habit each month.

Dane suggested the idea after we completed just over three weeks of the 100 burpees challenge (blog post to come on that soon). I love the idea of pushing my body and at the same time improving my fitness and endurance so this was the perfect idea.

I declare January as Kettlebell Month.

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Taken from Dan John’s 10,000 Swings Kettlebell Workout, our challenge will be to complete 1,000 swings a week which works out at something like 142 a day.

I’ll be doing mine with a 20kg bell whilst Dane will be using a heavier one and we’ll be doing Russian swings.

Dan John suggests breaking the swings up in to manageable sets and increasing the number of reps each time. For example 100 swings is broken down like this:
Set 1: 10 reps
Set 2: 15 reps
Set 3: 25 reps
Set 4: 50 reps

He also suggests introducing a low volume strength movement between sets such as tricep dips, goblet squats or chin-ups. It would work like this:
After set 1 – 1 rep
After set 2 – 2 reps
After set 3 – 3 reps
After set 4 – 4 reps

Rest 3 minutes or so after the entire four sets are completed with 30-60 seconds rest between sets.

You might not feel as though you need 30 seconds rest between set one and set two but trust me, when set four rolls around you’ll be glad of the rest. 50 unbroken swings after the other 50 is harder than it looks.

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So that’s Kettlebell Month – I can’t wait to get started. Other monthly challenges for 2015 will include swimming, yoga and handstands. I won’t be neglecting my running though as 2015 is going to be a BIG year running wise for me.

Here’s what I achieved in 2014:
– I ran my first marathon in 3.53
– I took part in my first 24 hour race, the Adidas Thunder Run 24 Hour and ran 31 miles.
– Along with my friend Jim I completed my first trail half-marathon, the Dalby Forest No Ego Run.
– I can officially say I’m a Tough Mudder
– I joined a running club and I started CrossFit.

Here’s what I want to achieve in 2015:
– Remain injury free!
– Run a sub 3.45 marathon
– Run a marathon abroad (Guten Tag Berlin Marathon!)
– Run my first ultra-marathon

Let me know what your 2015 goals are. You can Tweet me @hannahbryan91 email me hbryan91@gmail.com or follow me on Instagram @hbryan91

Happy New Year 🙂

Tackling common running injuries

Sometimes, just sometimes, I hate running.

I soon fall in love with it all over again but there is one element which makes me truly hate it sometimes. It’s not hitting the wall in a race, nor is it dragging myself out on long runs in the cold, dark and wet weather, it’s injury.

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That dreaded word strikes fear in to the hearts – and legs – of runners everywhere. Ask any runner, or any athlete for that matter, and they’ll probably tell you that the most frustrating thing you can be told to do is rest. Yes, it’s the sensible thing to do but when it’s what you love and what you do then being told you can’t perform for a while is devastating.

This blog post comes after a disappointing training run which basically ended in tears of frustration at a year old knee problem rearing its ugly head again.

So after a pep talk from Dane we decided that for a while it’s going to be lots of swimming, cycling and trail running rather than road running. He has also designed me my very own injury prevention programme which I’m excited to start.

If you say so, Ryan...

If you say so, Ryan…

Post pep talk I turned to my new bible. Ready to Run by Dr Kelly Starrett explains how to prevent and deal with injuries, how to tap in to your running potential and how to turn your weaknesses in to your strengths. Not only that but he also writes about how to equip your own home mobility gym and lays out a set of mobility exercises for restoring optimal function and range of motion to joints and tissues.

We should see injuries as messages about what’s missing in our mechanics and range of motion according to Starrett and by doing this we will be able to run faster, for longer and better.

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Starrett has a two-stage plan of attack for tackling common running injuries such as runners knee, ITB syndrome and shin splints.

1. When chronic pain rears its ugly head, study your mechanics and positions to determine the root cause of the problem. Go through the position standards: neutral feet, a good squat, hip flexion, hip extension and the mobility of your feet and ankles.
2. Position and mechanics come first; treating the symptoms is your second priority. Work on the problem area but also above and below the problem.

Starrett’s point is simple: “all human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.”

As sports technology has developed we have been drawn in to a world of fancy trainers and innovative gadgets all boasting to enhance running performance but we need to be able to run without these items. Equip yourself with the tools and knowledge of how to maintain the best possible running form and technique and according to Starrett we will be Ready to Run.