Nutrition made easy

There are plenty of fitness facts you can argue over, but the fact that abs are made in the kitchen is not one of them. When it comes to body fat reduction – 20 per cent of it is fitness – the other 80 per cent is diet. That’s a big proportion!

But lets face it – there’s ALOT of confusing information out there! So I’ve put together my top nutrition tips, which will promise slow yet sustainable progress; no going hungry, no cutting out food groups and most of all no crazy diet to stick too.

A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive – all you need is a few tweaks here and there and you can have a healthy lifestyle the smart way.

 

  1. Eat regularly, so you don’t go too hungry 

Not eating all day and then going mad at dinner is not cool. It simply leaves you ravenous and open to making the wrong choices because you’re so darn hungry. On average I tend to eat every three hours – or whenever I feel hungry. I tend to wait until I’m approximately 70-80 per cent hungry because otherwise I’d just be constantly picking and not giving my body a rest from the digestion process. I rarely allow myself to get too peckish because that’s when I’ll reach for something naughty to try to hit the spot quicker.

Eating little & often means I make healthy food choices and drip-feed my body sensibly throughout the day.

 

These Dark Chocolate Energy Boosters are a great healthy snack, and keep well in the fridge! – Recipe available in my eBook!

 

  1. Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water

Yes I’m talking about four litres a day – sometimes more if I’ve had an intense training session! It’s so important to stay hydrated because every part of your body – muscles, cells, and organs require water to perform at their optimum level. What’s more, hunger can often be mistaken for thirst, which means you could actually be thinking your hungry but actually all you need in a big glass of water.

 

  1. Stay away from caffeine after 4pm

If you find it difficult to switch off at night – it could be down to caffeine! I never have coffee after 4pm because I know I’ll be tossing and turning until gone midnight instead of falling asleep at my usual time between 10 & 11pm.

So what does my coffee schedule look like? Well I always start the day with a mug of hot water and lemon, which feels really cleansing and is good for digestion after a night of fasting (when you sleep).

It’s around an hour after I wake that I enjoy my first coffee. I’ll then have one or two more throughout the day, especially on the days I workout as I would rather use coffee as a pre-workout as opposed to a synthetic or sugar-laden energy drink.

Not everyone is the same, as everyone has a different level of tolerance to caffeine but if you find yourself not sleeping too well at night, have a think about your coffee intake and timing throughout the day, it could make a huge difference.

 

I just love this Electrolyte Blend from NutriStrength…get 15% off with my code MIRELLA15

 

  1. Get plenty of sleep

Have you ever had a bad nights sleep and then found yourself hungry for comfort food and sugar the next day? We’ve all been there – especially us mamas! Basically lack of sleep has a massive impact on your body’s capability to produce enough leptin, the hormone that makes you feel satisfied, whilst encouraging your body to produce excess ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry. To make matters worse, feeling tired can also have a huge impact on how you train, whilst impairing your muscle’s recovery! Phew!

That said, I always try to get an average of 7 to 8 hours a night. Any less than this and I will start to feel quite drained after four or five days and need a big top in the form of a very early night – or lie in. Everyone is different, some people need more sleep, some need less but I find being in bed by 11pm and getting up between 6am & 7am works well for me.

 

 

  1. Fill up on veggies

If you like a big plate of food to make you feel satisfied then make veggies your best friend! Not only are they packed with fibre and vitamins and minerals, but they can also help massively with satiety, meaning you feel more full and less likely to need anything after dinner – yes including that calorific pudding! My fav has to be broccoli – a staple in my house because it is full of vitamin K (good for bone health) and vitamin C (great for skin and helping to reduce wrinkles by helping to produce collagen!) and leaves you feeling fuller too!

 

Simple but healthy & delicious: oven-roasted chicken, quinoa, broccoli & sauerkraut!

 

  1. Don’t fear fat

There’s a common fear that fat will make you fat – it won’t, as long as you stick to healthy fats found in the likes of nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil and avocados  – and not the trans fats found in processed junk! In fact, a diet rich in healthy fats is absolutely essential to a healthy diet – plus the right types of fats can help you lose weight, build muscle, balance your hormones (especially your thyroid!) boost your immune system whilst providing your body with a steady stream of energy throughout the day.

I tend to eat oily fish twice a week in order to get enough essential fats in my diet, plus I will also include good fats in the form of avocado, almonds and olive oil into most meals and snacks.

I also take 1g of Metabolics Omega 3 every day, which are great for improving brain function, your mood, the quality of your skin (think clearer and softer – yup!) and are just great for your general health and immunity.

 

Check out Metabolics range of quality supplements HERE

 

  1. Avoid Alcohol

Sorry to be a kill joy but alcohol will have a massive impact on your results – not because of the (empty) calories but because of the effect it has on your hormones, sleep, energy, and appetite.

You basically need to work twice as hard to burn off alcohol before you can tap into burning your body’s fat stores because it interferes with the absorption of nutrients, plus it is the first fuel to be used by the body, which therefore postpones the fat-burning process and contributes to greater fat storage. Alcohol can also affect your sleep quality, your ability to build muscle, your recovery, increase your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and make you more likely to crave comfort foods and carbs. Have I convinced you yet?

I’m not saying don’t go out and have fun, but if drinking is a regular occurrence and you still want to see results from your training, then perhaps switch to sparkling water with a slice of lime – you could always pretend it’s a gin and tonic! Or how about just having the tonic and “rim” the glass with gin! (I learnt this tip from a friend!)

 

Tonic without the gin 🙂

 

  1. Eat protein with every meal

Protein not only plays a huge role in building muscle, but it also helps to keep you feeling full by suppressing the hunger hormone ghrelin while optimizing the satiety hormone leptin. Aside from that, the very act of eating protein gives your body a metabolic boost as you expend calories digesting it – it basically has more of a thermogenic effect than any other macronutrient!

I aim to have one portion of protein (30g) with every meal and snack – especially breakfast (around 4-5 small meals per day basically). Protein in the form of protein pancakes or eggs (my breakfast staple) definitely helps regulate my appetite for the rest of the day and helps replenish my protein stores, which therefore protects my lean muscle tissue after a good nights sleep.


If you struggle to increase your protein intake, NutriStrength protein powders are fantastic for making protein smoothies & Atari loves them too! 🙂

 

Learn more about nutrition from me and how to use it to achieve your own body goals by signing up to my next 8 Week Fitness Journey starting 10 July. Click HERE for details!

My Ibiza FitRetreat – a life changing week for all!

Have you ever wondered what goes on at one of my Ibiza FitRetreats…take a look!

Held just twice a year – a lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into the organisation of one of these. Guests come from far and wide to have a week filled with the best training, the best food and the best memories – and I aim to please! The purpose of this week is to inspire, motivate and empower women to become stronger, happier and more confident versions of themselves and from the feedback of this retreat – I think I did just that!

Here’s a sneak peak at what our week looked like – one that won’t be forgotten for a while!

Day 1

Arrival day!

Half of my guests arrive to another glorious day in Ibiza, but first things first – FOOD – prepared by our own Personal Chefs Wild Thymes Ibiza!

We all get to know each other over a lunch of spicy turkey burgers, raw slaw and pita bread before a quick rooftop HIIT workout to blow away the cobwebs.

A few more guests arrive in the evening just in time for dinner, which is a balsamic & garlic marinated beefsteak served with polenta chips and a large salad.

It’s then early nights all round in the luxurious villa to prepare for an action packed day tomorrow.

 

Warming up ready for our 1st workout!

 

Day 2 

With 10 of the 12 guests now checked in, we hit the beach first thing for a HIIT workout and sprints. It’s then back to the villa for a replenishing breakfast of scrambled eggs, rye bread & tomatoes, plus granola, yoghurt, fruit and of course coffee! The girls then have a few hours to relax before a Pilates class with Louise, Carte Blanche Body Balance, which is fuelled by a NutriStrength pea protein vanilla, pineapple & banana smoothie.

It’s then time to enjoy the sunshine and the pool before lunch.

In the afternoon we make yummy protein balls with one of our Chefs in preparation for our hike the next day. Reluctantly – they all go in the fridge. Definitely one to look forward too!

We finish the day with a lower body workout on the roof before enjoying a delicious BBQ dinner, made up of mackerel parcels with fresh chilli, lemon, dill & local fennel, chicken & chorizo, spicy bean burgers, chargrilled veg, an almond pesto dressing and a large salad.

 

Hitting the beach early for an energising morning workout!

 

Day 3

This morning we wake ourselves up with a 45 minute upper body & core workout before heading down to breakfast; a protein-packed egg frittata.

We’re then all ready for an 8km hike. Our backpacks are loaded up with homemade flapjacks prepared by our Chefs, and of course the protein balls, and a picnic lunch of baked falafel, raw slaw made with carrot, coriander, red cabbage & orange and flatbreads, which we enjoy on the beach.

The hike takes around 4 hours and it’s hot – so some downtime by the pool is in order for the afternoon, before yoga on the roof with Emma David, Spiritual Gypsy, for a good old stretch. It’s a very emotional practice with the girls embracing in a heartfelt group hug at the end. I love a bit of girl-power! It was like the class had lifted so many of our stresses – a really powerful and emotional feeling and a great way to kick of open-air cinema night!

The evening started with a Spanish tapas dinner (cod in ratatouille, chilli & garlic prawns, tomato turkey meatballs, beetroot alioli, salad) followed by the movie ‘Lion’, which we watched on huge beanbags with blankets, whilst snacking on popcorn and sipping a glass of cava. Work hard – play hard, right?

 

How we do movie nights in Ibiza!

Day 4

Tuesday kicked of with a full body session on the roof (keep an eye on my YouTube for my promo video coming soon, as all the action from Day 3 and this morning’s workout was filmed by Infin8), followed by a breakfast of plum tomatoes cooked with chilli & garlic with baked eggs on top – delicious. There was quinoa porridge too.

Some of the guests then went for a wander around Ibiza Town, whilst the others joined a talk with Soul Empowerment Coach Abi Fox – From Self-Doubt to Self-Love.

It was all back to camp for Spanish-style chicken kebabs served with roasted Mediterranean veggies, black olives, cherry tomatoes and capers, and a rocket, pickled beetroot and walnut salad. That afternoon we hit the pool for a glute workout with a difference before Paella night! The ladies were shown how to cook a seafood and mixed Paella, which we then tucked into and thoroughly enjoyed.

 Dining al fresco every night!

 Day 5

Our last full day started with legs and glutes on the roof, focusing on strength (squats & deadlifts) and metabolic exercises like squat jumps and box jumps! This was followed by a delicious breakfast of poached eggs with turkey and chicken pieces, toast, quinoa porridge and fruits.

It was then Yogalates with Louise by the pool, before a soothing massage to help revive their tired muscles – very well deserved after all their hard work!

For the rest of the afternoon we all had fun lounging in the sun by the pool and recharging for the night ahead – our farewell dinner!

Everyone got dressed up for an amazing meal at a Lebanese restaurant called Patchwork, which overlooks the sea in Talamanca Bay and is just beautiful. We wined and dined with delicious healthy foods and enjoyed cocktails and vino (and socialised out of our lycra!); an absolutely fantastic end to a perfect week!

 

 Don’t we scrub up well! Not sure who the guy in the background is though lol

 Day 6

Leaving day. We enjoyed one last breakfast together before saying our goodbyes. Some ladies were off home – whilst some stayed in sunny Ibiza for a few more days. It was hard saying goodbye to such an amazing group of women but I hope to see some of them again soon on my next FitRetreat in September 22nd-27th – click HERE for more info!

If you are interested in joining in the fun, I only have a few spaces left. Contact me if you’d like to take advantage of my current special offer.

I’ll hopefully look forward to seeing you soon!

Why I lift weights – and why you should too! Part 2

Last week we talked about the benefits of strength training (read Part 1 here) but I wanted to finish it off with a part 2 and some other reasons why I love training with weights – there’s so much to say!

When I first picked up a (heavy -ish) barbell ten years ago I didn’t realise its diversity. I’ve used strength training to help me win the 2013 World Beauty Fitness & Fashion Inc (WBFF) championship, to help me lose fat, to help me sculpt curves, to help me through my pregnancy – and to help me bounce back again! You name it – weights have helped me in every way – and I love the fact that I’ve been able to mould my body to exactly the way I want it to look through training.

 

10 years later, 10kg heavier & x10 happier!

 

So how do I maintain a womanly shape when lifting? This is a question I get asked A LOT!

I personally don’t train my upper body much other than adding on a few shoulder & back exercises onto one of my lower body workouts each week – after years of competing, I find that my upper body responds so much faster to training than my lower body and as I have an athletic shape, rather than hour-glass curves (we can’t have everything right!) my priority is to build my legs and glutes to give me the proportions I prefer. I’m definitely a smaller top half and a bigger booty type of gal!

 

Thanks to Kisaiya for the beautiful outfit for hosting my Ibiza FitRetreat

 

I basically use weights to bring out the shape I desire by focusing mainly on an area I want to improve. For example I tend to lift with a range of high rep and lighter weights when I’m trying to “tone”, and then a low rep range and heavier weights when I’m trying to “build”. It all depends on what body goals I am looking to accomplish at that time.

Why not give one of my WORKOUTS a try!

There is so much more than body composition when it comes to strength training too…

  • The post-workout buzz is so much more fun, motivating, inspiring and empowering.
  • Your metabolic rate will stay heightened for 48-hours as opposed to just a few after cardio, which means you burn more fat even at rest!
  • I can get a really good workout in in just 45 minutes – but feel the buzz for hours after!
  • It can help with stress. Just throwing some weights around and lifting some heavy $hit can be a real mood lifter!
  • It makes me feel strong and empowered.
  • It helps clears my mind – a bit of ME time!
  • It’s made me love my body!
  • It’s helped me meet some of my best most genuine friends – especially when I was training for my first WBFF competition.
  • It keeps me focused and disciplined.
  • It helps me set new goals – and inspires me to improve and challenge myself.
  • It keeps me strong – a must when you’re a busy mama!

 

With my Diva Sisters and friends for life!

 

Have I inspired you yet? If so, here are some of my top tips for cracking the weights section of the gym. Good luck – and enjoy the burn!

1. Get your form and technique right

If you aren’t confident in what you are doing then you should seriously look at hiring a good PT. They will be able to teach you the basic principles of lifting, whilst helping you to determine what your limits are and actually make sure that you are lifting heavy enough whilst keeping good form. If you feel that you aren’t lifting enough – then chances are you aren’t! There’s nothing more satisfying than pushing past your comfort zone!

2. Mind to muscle connection

Every time you lift you need to make sure that you are really connecting with the muscle you want to be working. It’s all too easy to lose focus when chatting with your workout buddy, or not thinking about what you’re doing and just going through the motions. Engaging and contracting the muscle as you work will bring about the results you are after, and more quickly!

3. Focus on the tempo of the exercise

Slowing down the speed of an exercise will not only recruit more muscle fibres (which ultimately burns more calories) but it will also give you the opportunity to find any flaws or weaknesses in a movement and really focus on the task at hand.

4. Focus on big compound exercises to help build your strength, plus accessory work to shape your body.

Big moves like Squats and Deadlifts are essential exercises and each workout should ideally start with a “big” effective exercise like this; combinations such as Squats to Press or a Lunge with a Twist will not only work your glutes, legs, arms and shoulders but also recruit your core, whist getting your heart rate up – giving you more bang for your buck! Most of my workouts are based around big moves like this – with extras like glute kick-backs or single leg hip thrusters to help lift and sculpt my booty…

…such as THIS!

5. Have a plan and keep a record of the weights you lift so you can keep track of your progress.

Walking into a gym without a plan of action is like walking into a supermarket without a shopping list! Buy yourself a pretty journal or scrapbook and jot down everything you do in the gym – there is nothing more motivating that seeing your progress in black and white!

 

So there we have it – the beauty of strength training and why I totally LOVE IT!

If you need any more advice on the subject please contact me and I will try my best to reply to you or cover your question in a new blog post or on my Instagram stories.

Or why not join me on my next 8-week Fitness Journey – or my next Ibiza FitRetreat in September, where I will guide you through fun workouts using – wait for it – weights in beautiful Ibiza surroundings. It’s a full on but fun and life-changing week! I hope to see you soon!

 

My awesome Ibiza FitRetreat Crew of Strong Women! (May 2017)

 

 

Why I lift weights – and why you should too! Part 1

Many people ask me what my top tips are for fat loss (especially for women) and one of my top ones has to be lifting weights! Now don’t be alarmed – it’s not as scary as it seems – let me explain further!

So…years ago (well 10 to be exact!), I was a Cardio queen! I trained cardio pretty much every day of the week…swimming, cycling, spinning, circuits, running – you name it. I was addicted to burning out. I also had issues with food and went through periods of restricting myself of calories, particularly good fats (the days when we were told that “fat makes us fat”!) I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror – and no amount of training was changing that!

 

Skinny V Strong

 

So when and why did I turn to lifting weights?

It all began in my early thirties when I started working out with a PT and got into using kettlebells and more strongman type equipment.

I always had real problems accepting my body and was never happy with it. With my background in cross-country and long distance running I was always pretty lean but I also had body dysmorphia issues, where I always saw something else in the mirror not the real reflection staring back at me – I was almost punishing my body with all the cardio!

Weights changed all that. Within a few months I saw the difference in my body and how cutting back on the cardio and lifting weights helped add some curves! Plus I loved the fact that I could get a really good workout in around 45 minutes and feel the buzz for hours after! It wasn’t quite the same with cardio!

 


Love to lift!

 

I now lift 3-4 times a week for around 45 minutes and go as heavy as I can. Am I worried about bulking up? Absolutely not! It’s very hard for women to bulk unless you’re eating a ton of calories and doing a lot of specific hypertrophy training (a method of strength training intended to induce the fastest muscle growth). We also don’t have the testosterone levels to build bulk, which is why I encourage women to simply use weights to help create curves in all the right places and most importantly to feel strong and empowered – there’s something really motivating about going into a gym and being able to lift heavy or to do a chin-up!

 

One of my favourite “heavy lifts”!

 

I truly believe that lifting weights has been the main catalyst for my change in mind-set, which is why I focus so much of the spare time on helping other women to learn how to love their own bodies via my online coaching. These days I wouldn’t dream of counting or restricting calories (unless I was to step on stage again!) – and I don’t need to because building muscle helps to speed up your metabolism, resulting in more effective fat loss. Basically the more muscle a woman has, the more calories she will burn at rest.

On another note women tend to atrophy (lose muscle) as they age so it’s important to work with weights to prevent this from happening. This means we stay stronger as we age and can look after ourselves for longer – one of my main priorities as a mama!

 


My ‘Body Ibiza’ Squad!

 

Now that I’ve convinced you to pick up those dumbbells (hopefully!), here’s a little workout that you can do at home. All my workouts tend to take 45 minutes or less, and with 1440 minutes in a day hopefully you won’t have to break your neck to get it done – even if you try getting up half an hour earlier. There is always a way – and you’ll feel so much better for it I promise!

This workout took me just under an hour and was intense but lots of fun!

 

A1 Barbell wide squats, 12 reps

A2 Kettlebell romanian deadlifts, 20 reps

A3 On & Off step jump squats, 20 reps

4 sets, 10 seconds rest between each exercise, 60 seconds rest between each set

B1 BB step-ups, 12 reps e/leg

B2 KB single leg romanian deadlifts, 12 reps e/leg

3 sets, 20 seconds rest between each exercise, 60 seconds rest between each set

C1 Cable squat to row, 20 reps

C2 Arm/shoulder combo, 15 reps

C3 DB bent over rear delts, 15 reps

3 sets, 10 seconds rest between each exercise, 60 seconds rest between each set

 

You can also watch the video HERE.

If you’re not following me on Instagram…here I am @mirella_strongbeatsskinny…please check out my profile.

Each week I post workouts that you can follow and are easy to squeeze into your day. You can also apply for my next 8-week Ibiza journey HERE, which starts on the 19th June and will guide you through lifting weights sensibly and creating a lean and toned figure that is maintainable and totally bikini-worthy! Already on round two of the challenge, I have seen some fantastic results from women all over the world – are you in? Summer is just around the corner!

My Go-To Afternoon Snack

Do you ever find yourself raiding the kitchen come 3pm looking for something sweet and energising?

Yup you’re not alone but thankfully this Granola recipe comes to my rescue every time!

It’s packed with gluten-free oats and nuts and seeds for slow-release energy, and honey and cacao nibs to take the edge of my sweet tooth and keep me going until dinner – and especially through Atari’s crazy hours before bed. Why do they do that?

Atari loves helping mama in the kitchen!

 

Give it a go and let me know what you think.

I like to serve mine with kefir yoghurt and stewed apple, and always tend to eat it around 4pm. Eating little and often definitely fuels my energy better. I hate to feel too full with food, especially with all the running around I have to do each day, so eating until I’m around 90% full makes me feel more energised and comfortable. I also don’t eat until I feel hungry, which means I really enjoy my food – but obviously NEVER let myself get too hungry (hangry!) that I’m ravenous and then reaching for the whole jar of granola!

 

To make around 20 portions, you will need;

* 3 cups organic gluten-free oats

* 1/2 cup mixed nuts (I used hazelnuts, almonds & cashews)

* 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

* 2 tbsp maple syrup

* 2 tbsp honey

* 4tbsp coconut oil (liquid)

* 1 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)

* Pinch of Himalayan salt

* 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries & chopped apricots)

Granola before adding the dried fruit

Directions:

Heat an oven to 140 Celsius.

Mix all these ingredients together (except for any dried fruit because adding this too early and it will burn!) and put on a baking sheet.

Put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Take out, give it a quick mix around and now add the dried fruit. Then put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. It just needs to be slightly toasty!

When done, take out and leave to cool.

Store in an airtight container.

 

Rough Macros per portion:

Calories 4000/203

Carbs: 475g/24g

Fats: 189g/ 9g

Protein: 90g/5g

Your kitchen will smell heavenly when you’re finished!

 

This recipe is certainly one of the favourites amongst myself and my clients BUT (sorry – always a but) it’s fairly calorific, so make sure you implement some portion control by either dividing it up into small portions once it’s baked – or locking it in a cupboard once you’ve had your first serving because you could easily indulge in the whole lot – it’s so damn tasty! I tend to have it as a little healthy treat rather than eating it everyday!

For more healthy meal and snack ideas check out Instagram or my Sweet Clean Eats eBook available on my website!

 

Out Of Action; How to stay on track when injured

In the last year an umbilical hernia operation and a smashed up big toe (yes I stubbed it on a speed bump in Thailand) has seen me out of action for a few weeks.

Does it drive me crazy not being able to exercise? Of course it does! I was hoping to explore some of the gyms in Thailand when I was there and do some Muay Thai but instead I had to keep my foot dry and live in flip-flops thanks to the sexy bandaging I had around it. I was also on pretty strong antibiotics and in quite a lot of pain. So what’s a girl (and guy) to do when injured?

Well, rather than sit on the sofa – (or sun lounger in my case!) feeling sorry for yourself, find ways to turn a negative into a positive. Here’s how…

Firstly don’t give up and self-sabotage!

It would be so easy to say sod it – I’m just going to take full advantage of the rest and eat what I want – but DON’T! It’s true what they say – abs are made in the kitchen and being out of action doesn’t mean you will have to lose them!

Focus on eating clean nutritious food (you can find some recipes to satisfy a sweet-tooth HERE and listen to your body. I tend to lose my “normal” appetite when I’m not training as much and actually crave things like fruits, salads and vegetables rather than carbs and protein. Although it becomes easier to eat more “junk foods” when you’re not feeling the buzz and “feel good” feeling from exercising!


I hate not being able to exercise so eating well is really important when I’m injured – it stops me from feeling like crap, gives me energy I’d otherwise find in a good workout and makes me feel better about burning less than I’m typically used too.

Use this time to also tune into your appetite and get an idea of what foods your body does and does not tolerate. Nutrition has always been key for me to stay on top of my health and body goals, workout – or no workout!

Stay Positive – and enjoy the rest.

Your body needs time to heal so take some time to relax and take a forced rest – we can all do with this from time to time! You will probably come out of the other side feeling stronger and refreshed, and it could even help you to break out of a plateau, especially if you haven’t been seeing results for a while!

Also know that your injury isn’t forever and if you eat smart and move as much as you can around the injury you won’t put on weight or lose focus! Enjoy the ‘R & R’ and before you know it you will be back on your feet and rearing to go!

Set new goals

Having a goal and a focusing on what you want once you start training again will help give you focus and get you excited for what’s to come once your back on your feet. Look for an event that excites you, or sign up for my next Body Ibiza 8 week Fitness Journey. Making a commitment will keep you motivated and keep you accountable.

Modify, Don’t Quit

Sitting around when injured was simply not an option for me – and it doesn’t have to be for you either! For instance when I hurt my toe I still managed to train my abs and glutes during the day when Atari was taking her afternoon nap, and as it started to feel better I made sure I did lots of walking (with my toe bandaged up to protect it) with Atari in the buggy. The Thai heat saw me really work up a sweat and I felt like I was staying really active. I also did lots of power-walking up and down the hills and always took the stairs to my hotel room!

Depending on the type of injury, there should always be a way of getting a workout in. Just make sure you check with your doctor or trainer – the last thing you’ll want is to delay your recovery time!

Don’t be scared of weight gain!

If you eat smart by making healthy choices and only eat when you’re hungry – you won’t put on body fat!

If you stay hydrated and don’t get into the habit of comfort eating (which can be all too easy if you’re unhappy and feeling crap about not working out) – you won’t put on body fat!

Use your down time to focus on hydration (Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger!), sleep (this will help to keep your cravings under control and help your body recover quicker), staying positive (think of those new goals) and eating intuitively (don’t restrict your eating so you end up with crazy cravings and reaching for the biscuit tin!) and you won’t put on body fat – I promise!

Lastly and most importantly – take each day at a time! Appreciate that you are on a journey and these things happen. Focus on the positives and always look at the bigger picture – before you know it you will be exercising again like you used too – and feeling super excited about it too!

 

 

 

 

My Day on A Plate

All good things must come to an end – i’ve had a fab time traveling but it’s time to knuckle down and get back on the ‘healthy eating wagon’ and do you know what? I’m actually excited about it!

After all the traveling i’ve done lately, I felt quite sluggish and soft but I’ve got a whole new motivation for training and eating well again and luckily I know that within a week or so of sticking to plan I’ll be back to where I feel at my happiest with my body composition. Thankfully I have 23 girls i’ll be joining on my new 8 Week Fitness Journey which starts this week so there really is no excuse!

 

So what do I eat on a normal day?

 

I usually get up at 6.30am and always start the day with a Nutristrength coconut & pink salt electrolyte blend with hot water & fresh lemon – it’s the perfect wake-up drink for hydration and digestion and helps massively with my energy levels.

I’ll then have some healthy pancakes with Atari, which are made with 1 egg, 2 egg whites, 60g oats and 1 small banana. I top them with peanut butter, coconut syrup and some raspberries, which gives me the ultimate combo of protein, slow-release carbs and fruit. They taste amazing and fill me up for the morning, whilst helping to tame my sweet-tooth!

Then it’s work for a couple of hours whilst sipping on a NutriStrength protein smoothie made with chocolate pea protein, coconut water, espresso and 1 medjool date. This gives me my caffeine hit (it tastes like salted caramel too!!) and gets me ready for my midday workout, which I try to do before I pick up Atari from nursery.

Post workout I’ll try and have my lunch al fresco with Atari, which is tuna with broccoli and avocado. I drizzle it with some garlic oil for an extra dose of good fats which help keep my afternoon cravings under control (plus some carbs if I have managed to get a workout in…usually quinoa , rice or potatoes) – I then either get on with some more work if Atari takes her usual afternoon nap or workout if I didn’t get chance to whilst Atari was at nursery. If she doesn’t sleep then it’s usually playtime in the garden, around the house or we head out to see friends.

I always try to make healthy choices to satisfy my sweet-tooth and one of my favourite afternoon snacks has to be my homemade buckwheat granola & oat milk. I make this using buckwheat, dates, figs, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup, honey, coconut oil and also throw in some nuts. I always wash it down with a large glass of H2O to help me hit my 3 litres. I’ll have a new batch prepared this week as it never lasts long in my house, so keep an eye on my IG stories for the action in the kitchen!

 

I then end the day with some herb-seasoned chicken with a big green salad, tomatoes & avocado, which I will eat once Atrai goes to bed. If I need something after dinner, I will have a small bowl of porridge or a dark chocolate rice cake, and have some more water. I often sleep better with more carbs in the evening! I’ll then have a Clipper “sleepy tea” & 400mg magnesium glycinate, which helps me wind down before bed.

 

So, that’s me! I love to eat and I eat to fuel my lifestyle and my workouts and try to eat a wide range of foods which differ on a daily basis so I feel excited about food and not bored.

 

If you want to find a way of eating that works for you then get in touch or check out my Instagram page for food and fitness inspiration. You can also purchase my StrongbeatsSkinny Sweet Clean Eats eBook  which is full of ‘cleaner’ and ‘healthier’ treats, which won’t undo all your hardwork!

 

If you haven’t yet tried NutriStrength and want to give it a try, use this code for 15% off anything on their website MIRELLA15 😉

How to get fit without a gym

As you may know from my Instagram and Facebook page, it’s very rare that I go to a gym. As a busy working mama, most weeks it would be impossible to get there, as often I can only manage a spare hour to workout – and the return travel time to the gym would be just that!

Working out at home means I can nip out to my gym in between work or when Atari is napping  – it makes life so much easier and I’m more likely to do it!

 

 

Now do I miss the gym environment? You bet I do! I miss the buzz, I miss the social interaction – and having no distractions – there is always something to be done at home! So how do I motivate myself to get my workouts done – and how can you too?

Here are my Top Tips!

Kit yourself out

Firstly know that there are plenty of bodyweight exercises that can produce a fun and effective full body workout, like this one here. You honestly don’t need much kit! Resistance bands can provide enough resistance if you are on a budget – and they are also really easy to carry around which is great when travelling!

For home workouts it’s also worth investing in just a few pieces of kit that will help keep you motivated and challenged. Think kettlebells, a mat, some adjustable barbell and dumbbells, a gym ball and even a medicine ball. The whole lot will probably cost you around £200 – the equivalent to a few months of a gym membership. Not bad eh?

Start with a few pieces of kit and invest when you can – you don’t need it all at once!

 

 

Schedule it in

Life with a toddler, trying to manage and run my business, general mama & housewife duties…there is always a very, very long to-do list and there will always be something else that I could be doing when at home. But do you know what? Working out is my special “me time”! I eat better, I sleep better, I feel better and my mood is better when I train consistently, so at the start of every week I make a realistic commitment and schedule three workouts in – and these will be done no matter what! A home gym is always open – so if I don’t get time in the day – there are no excuses – where there’s a will, there’s a way!

However, how I feel post-workout is what really spurs me on to get my workouts done. I feel a massive sense of accomplishment and it keeps me buzzing for at least 24 hours! Even if I don’t feel like it, I know I will feel great afterwards! Capture that feeling and remember it!

 

 

Create a workout space

If you have a place to go, your workout will feel more official and you’ll be more likely to workout – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy! Mine is split between the veranda and the garage, plus I use the garden. I love being outdoors and admiring the view we have.

Once you have your space – Place your mat on the floor and neatly store your kit where it’s easy to get too and make sure you have access to some good music and a drink. Make the space yours – embrace it and look forward to visiting it and getting into the ‘zone’ when it’s time to workout!

 

 

Have a plan of action

There’s nothing that wastes time during a workout like figuring out what to do next. Without the motivation and pressures you’ll find in a gym it’s easy to just breeze through your workout – just go through the basics and not push yourself! We’re all guilty!

Make the most of your time and always make sure you have a plan. Know what exercises you are going to do, lay out your kit and be ready to go – this will help you to establish a routine and make the most of your time.

If you need more of a push – then think about an online coach or sign up to a challenge like my 8-week Body Ibiza Programme – The Body For You, which will provide you with some structure and accountability.

It starts on 17 April 2017, and my last batch of ladies got some Amazing Resultshere & here & HERE – gym or no gym!

I really hope that this post has inspired you to workout no matter where you are! If so, here is a 20-minute workout that you can do using some of the kit I have recommended. Enjoy!

 

“Everyday is a new opportunity to keep pushing the boundaries, making improvements and working towards a stronger self.”

Seconds on the lips, forever on the hips…tips for a fitter healthier Christmas!

One the hardest things about Christmas is the over indulgence of food!

The Baileys…

The mince pies…

The Trimmings…

This list could go on!

In fact, Christmas is near on impossible to avoid putting on a couple of extra pounds right?

It’s true that you can’t out-train a bad diet! But you can set some good habits in place to help combat the festivities and to stay a little fitter & healthier over the Christmas period.

Here are my Top 5 Tips on how to not lose sight of your goals by adopting the right mindset over the holidays:

  1. Try to maintain an 80/20 balance of healthy foods v Christmas treats. You don’t want to get to January and then have to spend the first 2 months of the year feeling rubbish and suffering whilst you try to get back into your favourite jeans. One of my top tips on how to do this would be to save any treats until later on in the day. If you start on the Baileys & mince pies for breakfast, it’s highly likely you will continue like this for the rest of the day. A lot of people talk themselves into the fact that they’ve already eaten this & that, they may as well carry on. Trouble is, a lot of people forget what they have actually eaten. We can call it “denial”! Try starting the day with a healthy nutritious breakfast, a well-balanced lunch, and look forward to enjoying some Christmas treats in the evening. If you have eaten well for most of the day, don’t use this is an excuse to binge though. It’s amazing how many calories you can over-consume when picking at higher calories foods and treats. Everything in moderation!
  2. Keep active! This is where “damage limitation” comes in. If you can hit the gym a few times a week over the holidays, then you will really earn your Christmas treats. Cardio, whilst better than nothing, will leave you in the “fat-burning zone” with a higher metabolic rate of approx 2-3 hours post-workout. Great to do first thing thing in the morning and what I have been doing most days over the holidays leading up to Christmas. If you can squeeze in a really productive lifting session, or even a high intensity workout at home, then this will leave your body more of a fat-burning furness for the next 24-48 hours! Any form of exercise will leave you feeling great, boosting your mood, mindset and eating habits for the rest of the day. If you want some bodyweight workouts to do at home over the holidays, head over to my Instagram to view my weekly workouts.
  3. Mindset is the biggest thing that you can really focus your energies on over the Christmas holidays. If everyone around you has their head buried in the Roses tin and is on an eating mission because it’s Christmas, then this is more than likely going to influence you to do the same. It is very hard not to join in with everyone else and convince yourself it’s okay because hey…everyone else is eating and drinking that! Remember, Christmas is not all about the food! Although it becomes an easy excuse. Think about it…are you going to be happy with yourself once all the festivities are over and you no longer feel comfortable in your clothes? Probably not. Don’t use Christmas as an excuse for gluttony. The more seconds of naughty pleasure on the lips, it will be tougher than ever to get off the hips post-Christmas!
  4. Stay hydrated! Too much booze and not drinking enough water…two of the things most likely to occur over the Christmas period for a lot of people. When your body is dehydrated, you are more likely to feel sluggish, tired and irritable. And then the last thing you will feel like doing is working out. Plus, booze and the aftermath often make us crave lots of fatty, salty & sugary foods. It is the Party Season so by all means enjoy yourself but remember to drink plenty of water, and if you do enjoy some mulled wine, Baileys & the odd G&T, just remember to drink a glass of water before and after each alcoholic drink. This will help minimise any impact and hangover!
  5. Avoid too many late nights – late nights and lack of sleep are a common cause of us wanting to eat all the wrong foods! Just like booze, it can affect our energy levels and you will want to eat things that give a false sense of comfort and spike in energy. Not only that but you will not have the energy or motivation to workout!

You may or may not know that I have an 8 week fitness challenge starting in January. If you want my help to shake off the Christmas indulgence and to get in to the best shape of your life, join us!

And I will be flying the winner out to Ibiza to spend the day training with me! 🙂

 

Making a comeback…from baby to #8 in the World Pro Fitness Model in 1 year!

blog-1

So I’m going to go right in there and be blatantly honest with you, I have felt in a sort of “black hole” for the last few months since I stepped off stage this summer. It’s only now I can look back on my journey this year and appreciate how freaking hard it was. Not just hard, it was intense!

To recap, after competing in 2014 and placing 2nd in the World in the WBFF World Championships, I fell pregnant. My desire to become a mummy had been growing for a long time and I had the choice to either continue with my competing career or recognise that I wasn’t a spring chicken anymore. At 34 years old, I wanted to start a family. I didn’t want to leave it much longer. In July 2015, I achieved the greatest goal of all, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl Atari Maya. It was never in my mind that I would be stepping on the World stage again a year later.

Just 6 months after giving birth, I knew I had to have a new goal for myself. Becoming a mother is the most amazing gift but it’s also an extremely overwhelming time. It’s all too easy to lose sight of who you are, your identity and to give up on things for yourself because society (and old lingering traditions) make us feel like we must now put our children and family first, our needs last.  I’ve spoken to many of my mummy friends and for some reason there is this all-consuming guilt when we want to do anything for ourselves. Then there is the time aspect, and a huge lack of it! There is never enough time for yourself anymore once you become a parent. “Me time” ha what is that? I was determined to prove that it doesn’t have to be this way.

blog-3

For me, having this fitness goal, this ultimate physique goal, taking my passion for health & fitness to a higher level, was an extremely important commitment I wanted, and needed, to make with myself. I wanted to get back into my training and I wanted a good enough excuse for doing so. My love for it wasn’t going to be enough now I was a mummy and had this little person to prioritise. I had to have an excuse to prioritise time for myself too. And why not? I could still be “me” and a good mummy. I could continue to chase my dreams, which would in turn help to inspire this little person who will be looking up to me.

It had been 2 years since I’d stepped on stage and I tell you, the pressure was great! But I had to get myself in the right mindset. I placed the bar so high in 2014, this year wasn’t about placing higher, it was about competing with myself. I was a mummy now and if I completed this challenge, I had already won. After all, competing is about the journey, not the trophy, and it can shape you in so many ways as a person, you just need to embrace it in the right way. As I said before, it is important to go into a journey like this with the right mindset. The dedication and commitment is either within you or it isn’t. You have to want it bad enough. I thrive on pressure and having a challenge, the bigger the better, I wanted this badly, even if it broke me, and this time it almost did break me.

blog-7

I was having to work my butt off each day of my prep. I’d be up at the crack of dawn with Atari. She would need her milk, breakfast, changing, teeth-brushing, all before the nanny arrived. I needed to put as much time into my online business and was also seeing 121 clients also…a nanny doesn’t come cheap and neither do competitions! Then I would have to find the time for myself during my day to train. I was training 5 times a week but some of my lower body sessions would take me 2 hours. I’d have the nanny until mid-afternoon, then it would me “mommy-daughter” time. I’d take Atari swimming, we’d play in the garden, go to the beach or meet friends. Quite often I didn’t feel very social. Prep takes a lot out of you…the dieting, training and overall tiredness, all impacts the way you feel, both mentally and physically. I made a conscious effort for this not to impact on Atari in any way at all, and funnily enough, I always found the energy to give to her. She was what kept me going most days.

Some days I would have been quite happy to just lie down in a dark room and be with myself, but yeah that didn’t happen! I look back now and I think I must have just been on auto-pilot, going through the motions and trying keep my eyes on the goal, whilst doing my best to manage the chaos around me. My evenings would be taken up with never-ending food prep. Cooking dinner for my husband, my daughter, all whilst trying to cook, weigh, count & track all my food for the next day. Then catching up with emails and online clients before falling into bed always later than I had planned. My days were quite simply relentless.

Anyway, you get the gist. Back to the now.

Finally, I feel I am out of this “black hole” I have been somewhat at the bottom of over dan-galicthe past few months. After the competition was over, I no longer had a focus. I’d lost my mojo with my diet and training, and didn’t at all feel my usually happy, productive motivated self . However, these feelings weren’t new for me. This was my 4th time on stage and I’ve been here before. I had to ride out this storm and I knew I’d eventually come out the other side a stronger person. Here I am 🙂 And thanks to a good friend who gave me a good talking to whilst I was in the UK the other week, I am well and truly back and ready to tackle some new challenges!

Competing is a big part of who I am. It’s not about jumping on stage, but more the emotional rollercoaster that it takes to get there. There is something very powerful about hitting the gym and staying on track when everything in your body says stop. A very small minority of people can actually do it, especially whilst managing everything else in life at the same time.

blog-6If there is one thing that I get a kick out of though, it’s challenging myself. Setting my sights on a goal in order to take my strengths to the next level. Once I have that goal, I’m not one to back down. I don’t like failure. The sense of achievement I know I will feel once it is over is what keeps me motivated. A lot of people fail before they’ve even started because they put barriers up.

I’m hitting the gym 4 times a week now. Not as much as I’d like but it’s a realistic goal for myself with everything i’m currently juggling. Most days my workouts will only be 30 minutes but they make me feel great! We can all find a spare 30 minutes for ourselves a few days a week, right?

If you’re not yet following me on Instagram, please check out my profile @mirella_strongbeatsskinny. Each week I am posting bodyweight workouts you can do at home, or anywhere, with no equipment. Or you can throw in some weights if you wish to advance the workouts. These will take you 20-30 minutes. Easy to squeeze into your day, even if it means getting out of bed half an hour earlier.

I am also very excited to be launching an 8 week fitness challenge, where I will fly one lucky winner out to Ibiza to come and train with me for a day and show off your new curves on a sunny beach…just sign up at www.mirellafitness.com/challenge and join my IBIZA BODY CHALLENGE kicking off January 2017.

jan-2017-fitness-challenge-fb-banner

I hope my daughter reads this article in years to come and feels the same inner strength, drive and determination to be the best version of herself too.

I found this quote today that really resonated with me. I hope it does with you too x

“Every woman has infinite potential to achieve anything she wants. She just needs to stop underestimating herself and discover her true inner strength. She will find within her an unlimited capacity to achieve” (Aarti Khurana)