Post workout bliss

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Today I FINALLY managed to drag my butt off the sofa and go and collect my gym membership. So now I have a 3 month membership at a gym close by, same place where Crossfit classes are held. I mainly joined the gym to do some cardio training. I know, going out for a jog is more fun than just running on a treadmill without getting anywhere. But it’s winter and cold and rainy so I had way too many excuses to stop me from working out. Now I have none. So I got to suck it up and work out.

Today I went for a quick workout, a 30 minute jog and 15 minutes on the exercise bike. Not too bad. So now my work out schedule should be more complete, with both weight training at Crossfit and cardio at the gym, hooray!

Speaking of Crossfit, yesterday’s session was particularly fun. We started out with a warm up: 3 rounds of 20 seconds L-sit, 20 butterfly sit ups and 20 hollow rocks – seriously core-tasitic. This was followed by 6 rounds of the following: hand release push ups, sumo high pulls (20kg), wall balls (6kg) and kettlebell swings (16kg). For each round, we worked out for 30 seconds and then rested for 30 seconds and so on, until we performed 6 rounds of each exercise. Then we moved on to the next movement and so on and so forth. I managed 70 push ups, 72 sumo high pulls, 80 wall balls and 83 kettle bells. Admittedly, I could have done better especially towards the end since at first I was being a bit cautious as not to tire myself out too soon. But I should have tried harder towards the end.

So as you can see, my life is all about baking and working out at the moment. And thank goodness for that post workout bliss. Without it, there would be absolutely no happiness in my life.

Carrot Cupcakes

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So it’s time for another healthy goody. I made these some time last week but I was feeling too lazy to update my blog. Oh and I was sick as well, big fun! So I spent most of last week coughing like crazy and whining about being sick of being sick. Nope, not a good week. But these carrot cupcakes sure made my day (week)!

You’ll need:
300g ground almonds (I used 250g ground almonds and 50g dessicated coconut because I forgot to buy ground almonds)
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
0.25 cup olive oil
0.5 cup honey
5 eggs
225g grated carrot
200g sultanas or raisins

Method:
1. Whisk lightly by hand the wet ingredients: eggs, oil and honey until they’re completely combined
2. In another bowl mix the dry ingredients: ground almonds (and coconut in my case), spices, salt, bicarbonate of soda, carrots and sultanas
3. Add the dry mixture slowly to the wet mixture and mix thoroughly until the mixture is homogeneous
4. Line a muffin tin with cupcake paper cases
5. Place about two heaped tablespoons of mixtures in each paper case
6. Decorate using dessicated coconuts and/or almonds
7. Bake for about 25 minutes in a pre-heated oven, at 170 degrees Celsius, until a toothpick comes out clean

I loved how tasty, moist and soft these cupcakes turned out to be. They’re not very sweet so you can add more honey if you wish, or maybe more dried fruit. Obviously this will increase the calorific value of each cupcake so be careful. These cupcakes will spoil quickly so unless you intend to devour them within a couple of days, store them in the freezer and just thaw some whenever you wish. Happy baking!

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More sickness

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So I’m sick again. I have no idea what’s happening to me. I never used to get sick this often. I mean it was normal for me to catch a cold every winter, sometimes followed by a secondary infection which requires antibiotics. But I’ve never been sick twice in less than a month. It’s crazy, I’m really fed up! Crossfit was horrible yesterday, I wanted to breathe but my whole respiratory tract was on fire. Not sure I should go tomorrow, maybe I need a rest, I don’t know!

It all started last Monday morning when I woke up with a dry cough. By the end of the day, and after a lot of coughing, my throat was all sore. Because I’m a crazy person I still went out for a jog in the evening and by Tuesday I was coughing like crazy. Now I’m still coughing, congested and very, VERY irritated. And cold and possibly feverish. It sucks that I can’t work out, firstly because I’m still eating so I’m probably taking in more calories than I’m using. Secondly because I have nothing to do, nothing! I’m just staring aimlessly at my laptop waiting for 10pm when I can just crawl into bed and sleep. Hopefully sleep because even sleeping has been impossible over the past few days. Argh!!

And I was meant to join a gym this week, I was meant to pick up my membership yesterday but not sure I should be working out in this state 😦

More workouts and stuff

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So in a month or so I will be running my first half marathon. Crazy right? I’m still not sure how the hell I’m going to survive because I don’t have much time left to train and my current runs rarely exceed 6km. So as from tomorrow I’ll be trying to clock as many kilometres per week as possible. OK not as many as possible, I did find some training plans on the internet and will follow those. My aim is to participate, have fun and hopefully finish before the organisers start dismantling the finish line. I don’t intend to try beating the National record.

Thankfully this  year we’re having a very mild winter so I have no excuses to keep me from going out for a jog in the evening. Last year was awful. It rained almost every day for most of January and February with temperatures rarely exceeding 10 degrees Celsius. Yes 10 degrees Celsius during the day is a very low temperature for us Maltesers because we’re not equipped to mitigate the cold. We have no central heating so we rely on air conditioning units, LPG gas heaters and fire places. Also our buildings are made of limestone which absorbs rain water making our houses humid, damp and ridiculously cold. I’m hoping for some nice dry weather for the next few weeks so that I can run freely without the need to join a gym.

Also I have another option, in case I don’t manage to train enough. Some people, including our coach, from our Crossfit box will be taking part in the half marathon as well, however they will ‘Crossfitalise’ their run with some exercises every mile or so. This will probably be harder than just running the actual thing but it will be more fun.

In the mean time I will do my best to get as fit as possible by Crossfitting, running, eating healthy and go easy on the booze. Yesterday I went out for a 4km run while today I went for a Crossfit session. As a warm up we went through 3 rounds of 20 pistols (one legged squat), 10 snatches (using a 16kg kettlebell) and 20 seated ball tosses (these involve sitting down sideways on the floor and throwing a medicine ball at the wall by twisting your upper body towards the wall… fun stuff but don’t try this at home!). Then for our metcon (that’s metabolic conditioning for all you non Crossfitters) we had 12 minutes to finish 40 kettlebell swings, 15 burpees, 30 kettlebell swings, 25 burpees, 20 kettlebell swings, 25 burpees, 10 kettlebell swings and 15 burpees. I used the 20kg kettlebell and boy it was tough! I did manage to finish on time (11 mins 27s) with some encouragement from the rest of the guys. This workout was a bit heavy on the wrists, especially since I’m not the most graceful person on earth and literally throw myself at the floor during burpees. The fact that I’m not exactly tiny doesn’t help either. So my right wrist is feeling kind of funny at the moment. Hopefully it’s no big deal but I did have some problems in the past so I’m hoping it’s nothing this time. But all in all I’m quite happy with my performance today, obviously there’s still plenty of room for improvement but at least I’m getting somewhere. Considering that working out is the only thing which makes me happy, I’d better stick to it!

Choco-coco muffins

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As part of my ‘healthy eating’ regime, this year I’m trying to cut down on sugars and refined carbohydrates. The problem is that I tend to be a comfort eater, I have a sweet tooth and if I don’t watch it I tend to expand uncontrollably in a ridiculously short period of time. So in order to cut down on these bad carbs I am trying to bake some healthy goodies which should keep me away from the biscuit tin throughout the week. The good thing about them is that they are made from natural ingredients and contain little or no preservatives and artificial thingies. The not so good thing is that they’re not very low in calories. Still they classify as low carb but if you’d like to lose weight, I’d go easy on these yummy muffins. Here goes the recipe:

Ingredients:

100g dessicated coconut (ideally unsweetened)
100g ground almonds
70g dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100ml olive oil
5 eggs
0.5 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method:
1. In a machine, at a low speed, blend all the wet ingredients: eggs, honey, olive oil and vanilla extract
2. In a separate bowl, use a tablespoon to mix together all the dry ingredients: dessicated coconut, ground almonds, cocoa powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda
3. Slowly add the dry mix into the wet mix whilst stirring continuously
4. Prepare a muffin tray by lining it with cupcake paper cases
5. Once the mixture is homogeneous, pour about 2 tablespoons of mixture into each paper case. Sprinkle some dessicated coconut flakes on top if you wish
6. Place in a preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius
7. Check with a skewer periodically after 20 minutes of baking since ovens may vary and we don’t want to ruin these little yummies 🙂

Easy as pie right? You can also add a handful of chocolate chips before baking, either as part of the mixture or sprinkled on top, instead of (or in addition to) the dessicated coconut flakes. This mixture should make about 15 medium sized muffins. I only managed 12 biggish ones since the batter tasted amazing and I was erm, a bit hungry. My mum and brother couldn’t keep their hands off it either so… 🙂

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Weekend blues

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It’s Sunday night again, meaning the weekend is almost over. It was a horrible weekend. Not only I didn’t work out at all but also I ate like a pig. The worst thing about living with parents is that they buy all shorts of shit like biscuits, cakes, pasta, chocolates, bread and so on. So I’ve been paying frequent visits to the kitchen, devouring every piece of junk in sight.

I’m really starting to hate weekends. I find nothing to do and no one to do it with. On Friday evening I went out for a jog and then I wasn’t in a mood to go out. My friends went out for drinks at 11pm and I was already fast asleep by then. We’ve been doing this ‘drinks at 11pm’ every Friday and Saturday at the same place for the past five years or so and I’ve had enough of it. Same thing on Saturday evening but this time I forced myself to dress up and join them. I was fast asleep in bed by 2am. I spent Sunday afternoon in my car, driving aimlessly around the island and reading in Gnejna, a beautiful bay in the north.

This evening my friends went out for drinks again but to be honest I’m in no mood to dress up, go out and socialise. I wish I knew what the hell happened to me! I practically have no one left to rely on, no one to go out with and no one to cheer me up when life continuously throws shit at me. Maybe I should lock myself up in a gym somewhere and just live there considering that the only times I’ve been happy over the past few months were either alcohol induced or post-work out highs.

I was never a people’s person. I’ve always been quiet and a bit of a loner. However I used to enjoy hanging out with my friends and opportunities to meet over a cup of coffee, watch a football match, or just go for a walk were rather frequent and tended to be fun. As soon as we left university, most of my friends left the Island and have now settled all over Europe. I stayed here for no particular reason but I don’t think this has worked out so well after all.

I wish I knew what went so wrong and how the hell did I end up so alone. In the meantime, where the heck is my chocolate?!

Working out in 2013

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As to build up on last year’s progress and hopefully improve, I intend to take fitness as seriously as possible in 2013. So far, so good. I spent the first three days of the year sick in bed and the following two days recovering and lazing around. But on Sunday I put on my big girl pants, braved the cold evening and went out for a jog. It was ok, I took it easy and jogged for about 4km. Not a bad start. I felt very relieved and relaxed afterwards, I was in a very happy place. That’s the best thing about working out: the post work out feeling. Throughout 2012, it was probably the only thing that kept me going. That and hope. Well the hoping part didn’t work out so well. Now I quit hoping, I’m just plain bitter.

Anyways, back to the working out bit. Following the successful jog on Sunday, I went again on Monday though I had to opt for a shorter route since I had to go out in the evening and was running late, for a change. Again it went quite well though I had to stop jogging and walk at one point because of a dog who was roaming around without a leash. I love dogs and I’m not scared of them at all but it was quite dark and couldn’t know whether the dog was aggressive. So I just approached slowly and gave the cutie a quick pet on the head. Turns out he was as docile as a lamb. So I jogged on and just around the corner I saw this guy with his Rottweiler. I have a big crush on Rotties, I think they’re gorgeous dogs and would love to own one some day. So every time I bump into this guy I end up staring at his cute not so little pooch. The poor kid probably thinks I’m giving him the eye but it’s the pooch I fell in love with, sorry kid. To be fair I have no idea what the guy looks like, maybe I should have a better look next time around and give him one of my dashing smiles.I intend to start timing myself as from next week: I need to set targets and improve every day, otherwise, I’m not going to get anywhere.

Tuesday I went for my first Crossfit session for 2013. It was a tough one but nothing out of this world. I wanted to die after the first round of course but hey, that’s what Crossfit is all about right? After the warm up, which was quite tiring in itself, we had 15 minutes to go through as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the following routine: 18 kettlebell swings, 15 sumo high pulls, 12 box jumps and 9 burpees. Surprisingly enough, the box jumps were the easiest part, even though I really hate them. To be fair I chickened out and used the 16inch box and not the 20inch one, that would have been harder. I used the 20kg kettlebell for  both the swings and the sumo high pulls which is not bad for a female. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s sore muscles, I truly am!

Oh and I’m also keeping a workout log book this year. Let’s see how long this will last 🙂