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Sunday, 13 August 2017

MY FITNESS JOURNEY


I titled this 'My Fitness Journey' because fitness isn't a destination or something you eventually achieve. To me, fitness has been a journey, a discovery and something I've been absolutely taken in by. Now I haven't lost a great deal of weight, I haven't been through a diagnosed eating disorder. I have however had unhealthy relationships with food and used exercise as punishment, which in itself is a disorder. So here's as much of my fitness journey that I can condense into one blog post.



Teenage years are awful. Fighting a battle with your inner demons and school friends/foes to look the best and fighting off those nasty teenage comments. I wasn't unhappy with my body growing up, but when I reached 17 I began to develop unhealthy habits. Binging on junk food (particularly crisps and Chinese food) and then punishing myself by not eating for a day and doing a Davina DVD. I found that it was really easy for me to lose weight, but then to gain it again very easily. This unhealthy relationship continued quite the way through uni too, where alcohol was the obvious choice over food and I lost a lot of weight from this. My university halls even had a gym, but I didn't know what to do in there and the only time I had used the gym was for the treadmill and cross trainer.


When I finished Uni I went into a full time job. Teaching was very stressful and I began to find that the stress was overcoming my health along with my sleep. Something had to change. Being desperately unhappy in a job which takes over your whole life isn't the way. So I joined a gym as a way to relieve myself from the stresses off my day to day life. I began going to classes like body pump, spin and HIIT, loving the feeling of those endorphins flowing and forgetting about my job for all the while I was there. Then I signed up for something bigger, the Great North Run. I did this in memory of my Great Grandma, who lost a battle with Alzheimer's. Training was hard, running with my Dad (who had ran a marathon before) was tough and I'd never even ran past two lampposts! But it's incredible what your body can do and I did it, even more inspired.


After I left my job, I began to put my health first. I invested in Kayla's BBG and began learning about  nutrition. Turning from cardio to resistance based exercises allowed me to see changes in my body but there's no way you can sustain those guides forever. Then I made the move to work at sea, on cruise ships. There was little time to exercise and the food choices were terrible, not protein sources and just carbs carbs carbs. But it was January this year where I decided something had to change. I left sea and came back home. Joined a gym and began following Grace Fit's guide. It was amazing, I had finally discovered lifting and I mean lifting heavy weights, barbells and working damn hard. 


I had finally found something I loved doing, getting stronger and fitter. Along with this I began closely tracking my macros, learning more about the make up of food and how to fuel my body properly in order to get the best out of my lifting sessions. Cardio was long gone, up until last month when I started adding in LISS like 20 minutes on the stepper and short HIIT sprints, just for my holiday cut. Now I've been going it alone making up my own workouts, using an upper/lower split and training around 5 times a week. I'm learning to pull up my own body weight, squat more than my body weight and hip thrust double. I no longer track macros, but eat intuitively, now that I have a good knowledge of food. I balance a flexible approach to eating with training progressively in the gym and I couldn't be happier with the way my body has changed. After my holidays I'll be beginning a bulk, which is a first for me. Fitness hasn't only helped me look stronger, but it's helped me to feel stronger on the inside and fight my own mental health issues. It's now that I am stronger I feel I can talk about what i've gone through and how training and the dedication helped me to overcome this. I've felt my strength carry me and it's continuing to do so. Fitness isn't just about losing weight, it's a journey, a commitment to bettering yourself, for you! I'm so excited to continue this journey and share it with you all, even if I can just help one person feel better about themselves.

Love Laura
x


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Friday, 4 August 2017

MY FAVOURITE GYM LEGGINGS


I know the struggle when it comes to finding leggings. Too big around the waist, too tight around the booty or maybe just really poor quality. Having been through my fair share of leggings, I've come to find the perfect ones to fit my body shape, withstand a routine of weight lifting and cardio and look pretty good in a selfie. The best thing about them is that no pair comes in at more than £40, so you can save your pennies for protein shakes and grenade bars.

1. MERAKILO | AMENITY LEGGINGS 
I usually save the best until last, but being my favourite leggings I couldn't wait to boast about them. They come in a range of colours, but the light blue (as pictured) being my favourite. The best thing about these leggings is the fit, they're high waisted meaning they pull you in at the waist yet allow for extra booty gains. Squat, proof, sweat proof and they look amazing, use my code LAURA15 for discount meaning you only need to part with £21!

2. FLEXX FIT | LET'S GO HIGHER LEGGINGS
High waisted, sweat proof and with a handy little pocket for your gym key or card are the flexx fit cranberry leggings. The high waistband really sucks your waist in and creates that silhouette we're all desiring. What you'll also find is these leggings are super soft, but can be a little tight, so if you're inbetween sizes then size up.

3. GYM SHARK SEAMLESS LEGGINGS
I think it's fair to say these leggings and this particular brand are all over social media right now. Their marketing techniques are outstanding, making us all want the latest gym wear before we get serious FOMO. The seamless leggings are in my top 5 because of the fit and the style, which you can probably guess by now that I like booty enhancing leggings. Their contours do exactly this and even though they have been pointed out for bad quality, I haven't had an issue yet.

4. PRIMARK LEGGINGS
It's a real shame Primark don't market their gym wear, because it is actually exceptional. One of my favourite pairs being the ombre grey leggings. They fit perfect, are seamless and super soft and yes 100% squat proof (unlike their everyday leggings). Keep an eye out in Primark for the gym stuff because it's surprisingly good, especially for £5!

5.  H&M GREY LEGGINGS
Another high street store which isn't the usual go-to for gym wear is H&M. I managed to find these in store a while back and the amount of compliments I get when I wear these is amazing. I love the high waistband and the shape at the back really enhances the booty. They also have one of those cute little pockets that I love for my gym locker key. If you click the link you'll find similar, but it's a shame what's in store isn't always online. So keep an eye out on your next visit.

Love Laura 
x




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Thursday, 13 July 2017

HOW TO MASTER THE MACROS



First of all if you have never heard the word macro, like me a while back, then let me introduce them to you. Macros is a shorthand for Macronutrients, which is used to describe the key food groups that our body utilises (carbohydrates, proteins and fats). So you can adjust your macros according to your own body goals, by tracking each gram of macros consumed per day. Tracking is helpful for those of us who don't have a great understanding of what particular foods are made up of or a rough estimate of the amounts of calories we consume. It's finding the balance between your intake of food groups in order to produce results, whether that's looking to lose fat, gain for a bulk or just maintain.

Using a macro calculator (iifymkaty hearn fit) you can find out your macro goals according to your own measurements and personal goals (cutting, maintaining or bulking). Once you have your macros you can start by downloading a macro tracking app like myfitnesspal. I definitely advise using this as it's so easy to scan foods and keeps a diary of everything you have eaten. You can also save meals with ingredients you have thrown together so you don't have to input every ingredient every single time. Once you download this, you have to set your macros in the settings tab according to your macro calculator results (for the non-premium version just slide the bars so the percentages are as close as possible).

So, how do you make sure you hit your macro goals? My protein is pretty high and not eating red meat, I find it hard to hit my protein intake. Having protein in my breakfast is so beneficial and means I don't have to rely on protein shakes and bars. I have around 1gram of protein for each lb of bodyweight. When it comes to carbs, they are most certainly not the enemy and provide you with vital energy to actually perform everyday, especially at the gym! It's all about finding what suits you best, some bodies will lose fat easier with less fats, some with less carbs. Trial and error is key with macros, if you go a week on certain macros and don't see your measurements decreasing, then cut 50-100 calories and try again.

My typical meals (as pictured above) are super simple to make and I don't overcomplicate things. I aim to have eggs, heck chicken sausages or turkey bacon in my breakfasts, if not all of the above. For lunches I will again base my meal around a protein, usually chicken and then add in lots of salad or veg and either rice or a jacket potato. I try to avoid pasta because it's very easy to misjudge a standard portion of pasta and load up on the calories, especially as pasta swells when it cooks. Dinner again will be protein (fish or chicken) with lots of veg and carbs (especially after the gym). Snack wise I tend to eat grenade protein bars, protein shakes, carrot sticks and hummus and rice cakes. But if you are snacking, make sure you track it! Also another tip is track your sauces. If you're starting out you'll be surprised about the amount of calories in particular sauces, tracking will make you realise which sauces you can have and which you should probably reconsider or enjoy little and often.

This is just a basic guide to macros, for those of you starting out tracking. I definitely recommend tracking for a month or so, to really understand the makeup of food. Then once you're more knowledgable it's all about intuitive eating, knowing if you do have that chocolate bar then maybe you'll have to eat less later on. Never restrict yourself though, completely cutting out food groups is ludicrous and not sustainable. Crisps, chocolate, ice cream and sweets can all be eaten it's just portion size and frequency. Let me know how you get on, if you already do track macros and also if you have any questions, as always get in touch via my links! 




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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A Trip To The Peaks | Dovestone Holiday Park












I love a trip to the Lake District. However, it's very much a tourist destination and I love to find those quieter yet just as beautiful places hidden in our British countryside. The peak district definitely gets overlooked when choosing a little weekend away. Situated across the penines, spanning from Derbyshire to Greater Manchester there are plenty of beautiful getaways hidden along this peak. Along the edge of the Peaks, situated on Saddleworth Moore is the luxurious Dovestone Holiday Park.









Along the idyllic Dovestone Reservoir are the luxurious lodges and also the very glamorous clamping pods. For four nights, one of these beautiful lodges was our home and it very much had the cosy, log cabin feel. Every night was a BBQ and hot tub night, the lodges are equipped with all the necessities from pots and pans to heart shaped plastic champagne flutes (hot tub friendly). With a double room with en-suite and a single room with a main bathroom they're also brilliant for all the family or a couple of friends too. Pets are allowed, which is brilliant for my little sausage dog Digger, he loved his first holiday and was thoroughly shattered after his long walks around the reservoir.

It's a really good quiet location with a walk just up the hill to the reservoir which then leads onto a further 2 reservoirs and lots of routes for walking. They also have lovely little picnic spots and it would be perfect for a bike ride too. If you fancy getting out there's also the lovely village of Saddleworth or you can take a drive to Holmfirth for their cute boutique shops. I had a lovely relaxing stay here and cannot recommend the lodges enough. Digger also approves!











Love Laura 
x
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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Chocolate Protein Brownie Recipe



Cutting is hard, especially if you're trying to take away sugar from your diet. I'm always looking for healthy alternative snacks and foods to give me that little taste of chocolate, while containing good, wholesome ingredients to make me fuller for longer. I stumbled across a beetroot brownie recipe and changed some of the ingredients to add more flavour and that all important protein. First thoughts are usually beetroot in a brownie? But trust me, it gives an amazingly moist texture and obviously helps to keep you fuller for longer, no sugar spiking here. Read on for the recipe:

250g of beetroot (I used the vacuum packed stuff)
3 scoops of protein powder (I used vanilla)
50g of pitted dates
50g of cacao powder
2 eggs
25g of squeezy honey
1/2 sp of baking powder
Sprinkle of cinnamon
A few drops of vanilla flavouring (or any of your choice)

In a food processor blend up the beetroot and dates (it helps to heat the dates in a pan before to soften them). Then whisk together the eggs and add these to the food processor, along with the honey, baking powder, cinnamon and flavour drops. Then mix together the rest of the ingredients until you've got a smooth batter (you can also add chocolate drops here but I steered away). Line a tin with baking paper or coconut oil and pour in the mixture to bake for 20 minutes on 160 degrees celsius. 

The topping is optional and is quite an acquired taste. I basically used vanilla quark and cacao powder and mixed them together until it formed a good consistency and was chocolatey enough to my taste. Then when the brownies are done allow to cool before spreading the topping! Yummy and only around 100calories per square and over 8grams of protein (depending on the size you cut them). Let me know if you have a go and any other protein snack recipes you have. 

Love Laura 
x
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Friday, 2 June 2017

My First Workout Video | Booty Day Routine






A while back I created a youtube channel to post beauty videos. However, as many of you will know I've moved away from the beauty blogging and my blog now has a focus on fitness. My recent posts have been really successful, which is brilliant that so many of you are supportive and I thank everyone of you for your positive comments and praise. But it's hard to express workouts in writing. Which is why I have decided to start filming workout videos for you all. No, I'm not a personal trainer or do I claim that this is 100% the right thing and the only thing to do if you want to build a booty. But this is what has worked for me and I want to share these exercises and my routines with you. So here we go, this is my first workout video; my booty day routine. Let me know your thoughts and feedback and as always if you do like it, please like and subscribe and continue the support. 

 
Love Laura 
x
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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Flexx Fit | The Perfect Gym Leggings



I remember when low rise pants were the best thing ever. Having the top of your jeans and trousers just graze the bottom of your hip bones was the trend and high waists were so Grandma. But times have quickly changed and now I'd only ever chose a high waist. This also goes for gym leggings and I'm so thankful it's here to stay. Being a girl with a big behind, low waists were so difficult to wear and the gape at the back was just too much. But now I'm in love with my Topshop Joni jeans and my gym leggings that pull my stomach in and make my bum look high and round. Lulu Lemon are definitely leading the way with these high waist tight fit leggings but recently I came across a very reasonably priced alternative.

Flexx Fit have their range of Let's Go Higher leggings. They're perfectly stretchy and have that seamless appearance and are amazing for pulling you in at the mid-drift but stretchy enough not to be too tight on the rear. They also have a little concealed pocket at the back, perfect for your gym key! I own the Cranberry and Pearl grey and my sizing is XS even though I do wear a size 10 in jeans, I have a small waist and found that sizing down allows them to sit comfortably. One thing I would say though, is how my grey pair differ from my cranberry. The cranberry fabric seems much thicker and silkier? I'm not sure if they have changed the fabric (to the cranberry one) but I definitely approve and I must add, they're completely squat proof! They're so affordable too at £29.99 and they are currently in the sale you can pick them up here. I'm hoping they release more colours shortly I would love to get my hands on a navy blue style. But definitely let me know if you have any gym legging recommendations, as I do literally live in mine.

Love Laura 
x

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