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Keeping you up-to-date with Total Training news and my thoughts and opinions on all things health and fitness related

By megansianprosser, Mar 21 2016 09:48AM


Last week, in my opinion, was a significant one in the world of health and fitness. From a variety of different directions it was acknowledged that, a) we do have a health and fitness crisis on our hands in the UK (levels of activity too low and levels of obesity too high), b) we know things need to change to address this, and c) there are lots of people who want to make this change.


Firstly, the controversial sugar levy on soft drinks. I appreciate there are holes in the policy e.g. that it doesn't apply to fruit and milk based drinks, unless they dilute the drink which would actually make them healthier- less sugar- and then they would be applicable for the tax. Or the fact that it could increase consumption of diet drinks that have artificial sweeteners in like aspartame that are thought to be very bad for your health. But the overall message that soft drinks with high levels of added sugar are bad, is a point that needs to be amplified, as sugary soft drinks are the biggest contributing factor to child obesity. And, if you increase the cost of a product/ service people buy less, so it's definitely a positive step in my mind.


Plus it's twofold; the money generated from the tax levy will go towards funding more sports in schools. So to all those people who are slating the sugar tax, just think, even if the tax doesn't have that much of an impact on level of consumption at least money it generates will get more kids active and playing sport. Now surely everyone has to agree that's a good thing?!


The second thing that happened last week was Public Health England released an updated Eatwell Guide. This is a user friendly, visual set of guidelines outlining what a healthy diet should include. The previous version was out of date and therefore probably not used that widely due to lack of current relevancy. The new guide (although I don't think bagels should be included in the list of good carbs) is pretty good and I really think it could help many people understand what a balanced diet looks like and where they need to make changes.


Finally, it was Sport Relief over the weekend, which saw the country get sporty to raise lots of money. There were over 1,000 events across the country, with the public walking, running, cycling and swimming thousands of Sport Relief miles. As well as the more extreme challenges by the likes of Eddie Izzard's Marathon Man – an epic 27 marathons in 27 days and Jo Brand's Hell of a Walk – 135 miles in 7 days!


I love the concept of Sport Relief as it gets people active and participating in sport to raise money so more people can live a happy, healthy and active life. The money is split 50/50 to help people in the UK and people in the world’s poorest communities. This year they've so far raised an amazing 56 million!


So all in all, with the doom and gloom that seems to fill our news feeds, last week was a breath of fresh air, and made the future look a little less rotund and a bit more active. Let's hope it wasn't just a one-off week!



By megansianprosser, Dec 1 2015 11:43AM

Most of you will have heard of clean eating, a term and lifestyle choice that's grown in popularity over the past few years. Clean eating is pretty much exactly what it says; eating cleanly by avoiding 'dirty' foods such as anything processed, and opting for whole and fresh foods.


With Christmas, comes a month of social events, indulgence and eating and drinking scenarios out of the norm. So can you get through the festive period without becoming a 'dirty eater'?!


I'm an advocate of clean eating and I do pretty much stick to it. I rarely eat processed foods, I cook most of my meals from one ingredient items, as in from scratch: no packets or jars, and I eat whole foods and lots of fruit and veg. Having said that I'm also an advocate of the 80/20 diet, being good 80% of the time and then letting your hair down 20% of the time. It's all about balance, don't you know!


So how am I feeling about the festivities on the horizon, as there will be way more than six days (20% of the month) where there is festive fun to be had.


Well firstly I'm excited – I love Christmas. And secondly a little anxious of the inevitable slip up in my health and fitness levels. This anxiety has been amplified the last couple of years by worrying about squeezing into a made-to-measure bridesmaid dress for a wedding on New Year's Eve last year, and this year heading on a beach holiday on the 27th December. But I do think you can have a clean Christmas.


Eating clean doesn't mean no treats or tasty stuff, it just means thinking and picking a little more wisely when it comes to food. Clean eating isn't about calorie counting, it's about the quality and the balance (in terms of macronutrients e.g. the ratio of carbs, proteins and fats) of food you're putting in your body. So there can still be over indulgence but just the right type of over indulgence! Think salmon rather than salami, dates over doughnuts, roasted chestnuts over chocolates, you get the picture.


There is one thing I haven’t mentioned though, alcohol. Clean eating, unsurprisingly, encourages reducing alcohol consumption… I'll just make sure I drink it in that 20% 'letting my hair down' window and it'll all be fine!




By megansianprosser, Oct 6 2014 02:28PM


I like reading about it, I watch programmes on it (loving Great British Bake Off at the mo and always a MasterChef fan), I talk about it (a lot), I cook it, and most importantly, I consume it. At my flat, friends' houses, restaurants, cafés, pop-ups, parks, I'll consume it anywhere really. I have to admit, I love and am a little obsessed with food!


I have always loved food, but in recent years my relationship with it has changed. This is partly due to being more involved and interested in it due to becoming a fitness professional, which has led me to understand and eat a more nutritious and balanced diet. But also the increasing availability and easiness to develop and nurture this inherent interest of mine. On social media I follow food reviewers and bloggers, health food shops, restaurants and the list goes on. Instagram provides millions of 'food-porn' photos to inspire and drool over. And yes, I am one of those annoying people who post photos of my dinners, often featuring quinoa, tofu or fish– you get the picture!


I get over excited about all food, but I love healthy eating. I'm a fruit and veg fan so that helps, but I genuinely would rather cook a cauliflower base pizza than a normal one. I prefer wholemeal rice/pasta/bread (I'm now making my own bread rather than the rubbish in shops or ridiculously over priced artisan bread you can get). I consume a ridiculous amount of kale, mainly because I grow it so have an abundance of it. I prefer almond butter to peanut butter, rather dark chocolate to a kitkat, cook with coconut oil, have at least 10 different types of nuts and seeds in my kitchen, and so on.


I really enjoy healthy eating and it's not just because I think that's what I should eat. Yes that helps and encourages me as I know the 'fuel' you put into your body will effect what you get out, performance wise and generally with the way you look and feel: but I actually like it.


However, as with many things in life, it's all about the balance! Every nutritionist would advise variation in your diet, this helps you get the range of nutrients, covering all the macronutrients – protein, carbs and fats, as well as micronutrients – minerals and vitamins, that you need. So use your common sense to both enjoy and eat a balanced healthy diet.


I find planning, preparing, cooking and eating food is a pleasure. The process is relaxing and enjoyable and I love the social aspect of it; I rarely do anything sociable that doesn't involve eating!


This is why I find the thought of Soylent, a nutritional drink used as a substitute for food, absolutely bizarre. Soylent is not marketed as a weight loss product. It's for people who don't want to or don’t have time to make or eat meals. In their own words it was “developed from a need for a simpler food source... after recognizing the disproportionate amount of time and money spent creating nutritionally complete meals. ” But, if you hadn't guessed from my rambles above, I think there should always be time made for the love, appreciation and enjoyment of food!




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