Friday, 16 June 2017

What protein powders do I use?

Two things I get asked a lot:

1. Do I take protein supplements and if so, when?

2. Which protein supplements do I use and why?


Simple answers to those questions:

1. Yes.

If you've seen my Instagram you'll know my favourite breakfast is protein zoats (the recipe is here). Breakfast and bed time oats are the only times I really use protein supplements.

I use it at breakfast because it's quick and if I'm running really late I can even just make it and put it in tupperware to eat on the way to work. Easier than trying to package up soft poached eggs with smashed avo on toast IMO.

After dinner I always have dessert and 9.5 times out of 10 it's a bowl of proats. The main reason I add protein to my oats on this occasion is for flavour and to help curb that late night sweet tooth. So usually it's only 1/2 a scoop of protein and 10 million toppings.

I will very rarely have a shake after training unless I can't have a meal for a few hours (e.g. when I've just finished a class in central and have some errands to run). If I can then I much prefer to eat within 30-45 mins of training. The general consensus is that it's ideal to consume some form of protein and carbs 30-90 minutes after training. However, my above time frame is mainly because I get extremely hangry if it's any longer than 45 mins..!)


2. Below are my favourite protein supplements to take. They're all vegan because over time I have found that whey supplements not only make me slightly more bloated but moreover they make my skin breakout and become more oily. I also find that vegan protein keep me much fuller for longer. I am literally hungry again in 30 mins after whey!

As I am not actually vegan, I will still have the odd protein bar containing whey just for convenience, as nearly all whey bars are higher in protein than vegan bars - very handy if you're on the go and really struggling to find a healthy-ish snack.

The switch over to vegan was somewhat difficult as you have to retrain your tastebuds to adopt the earthier vegan taste. I now love vegan protein though and find whey protein SO sweet that it's almost unpalatable! Each to their own though and this is just my opinion of what works for me and a pick of the best!



VIVO LIFE RAW PLANT PROTEIN & BCAA


FAV FLAVOURS:
Raw Cacao
Salted Maca Caramel
Acai & Blueberry

Vivo Life was the first vegan protein I fell in love with when I first switched from whey to vegan. I absolutely adore Vivo Life as a company and cannot praise them enough for the work they put into their products.

Every single ingredient has a positive impact on performance - from the anti-inflammatory turmeric to the rehydrating himalayan pink salt. Their proteins are not just vegan proteins but serious superfood products designed to enhance your performance and recovery to the max!

Their protein does have a slightly more earthy taste than other vegan brands. However, this is likely due to the superfood additions (such as chlorella and spirulina in the cacao flavour and maca in the salted caramel). For me, I love it. But if you're new to vegan protein you may notice it more!




MISSFITS NUTRITION PEA PROTEIN 

FAV FLAVOUR:
Vanilla

MissFits Nutrition have designed their range of protein specifically for women. However, of course men can use it too! I think their brand is a great concept to debunk the myth that women:
a) don't need protein
b) will get 'bulky' if they take it *eye roll emoji*

Again, they have some brilliant ingredients packed into there such as glutamine to reduce recovery time and zinc and bamboo extract to keep skin, hair and nails healthy!

MissFits started out having just pre portioned sachets but they now have larger bags of protein. I still do love their sachets for travelling though and have taken them on all my recent holidays - they're lifesavers post holiday workout or when protein is few and far between on aeroplanes!

Using code jesssriv5 will also get you £5 off your first order.




PURE BLEND CO. WHITE HEMP PROTEIN 

FAV FLAVOURS:
Raw Cacao
Matcha & Madagascan Vanilla


Needless to say that Pure Blend Co won me over straight away with their matcha flavour! I also love the creaminess of this protein.

They also do whey versions in the same flavours, which are delicious. I'd recommend these too if you take whey as its such high quality protein that it's actually lactose free. They produce their whey using double milk filtration at cold temperatures so it doesn't contain any of the cheese derived peptides or enzymes that many of us react to. This gives it a superior amino acid profile compared to so many other whey proteins and is what makes it lactose free.

So why don't I use this whey? All in all, I still prefer the taste, texture and satiety vegan protein provides. I also prefer my protein a little less sweet. If you don't though - this whey is the dream!




NEAT NUTRITION VEGAN PROTEIN

FAV FLAVOUR:
Naked

Bizarre I know, but the naked flavour is genuinely my favourite from Neat Nutrition. They use thaumantin to sweeten this protein and I think this and the xanthan gum addeded for thickness gives it such a great taste and texture!

The naked flavour also allows you to customise it as you wish - or just leave it naked as I prefer to do!










VEGA CLEAN VEGAN PROTEIN AND VEGA ESSENTIALS

FAV FLAVOUR:
Chocolate 

Vega protein has been my latest discovery and quite possibly one of the best! They do two types of protein - both of which I adore.

The more 'complete' of the two is Vega Essentials, which is amazing in the morning and so delicious in oats or smoothies. It contains ingredients made from leafy veg and green algae too, which makes it higher in minerals and vitamins. The flaxseed also gives it a great boost of omega 3 and fibre. Moreover, it's one of the best proteins I've tasted!

The second of the two is Vega Clean Protein. This is lower in calories than the Vega Essentials but also contains BCAAs so is perfect as a post workout protein but can be used any time of the day as I do.

I do also love the vanilla flavour in both the Essentials and the Clean Protein. Great products!



All opinions here are my own and are completely unsponsored. I hope you've found it somewhat useful and as always, if there's any questions I haven't answered, don't hesitate to ask in the comments or via email.

Jess x
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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Reset Luxury Fitness Retreat, Marbella



This time last week I was experiencing my first ever fitness retreat with Reset Retreats in Marbella, Spain. I was so incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to travel somewhere like this as I actually won the trip via Lilly Sabri's 100k Instagram giveaway. I never win anything so the 3 days spent at the retreat were literally 'pinch me' moments!

I took one of my good friends, Max, and we arrived on the Wednesday evening so we were ready to start the day at 7am the next morning with some fasted cardio.. (I know, I was petrified/horrified at the thought of this too)

Arriving at the villa was literally like coming into a hotel as not only was it absolutely beautiful as you can see, but we were also warmly welcomed by Lilly and the two main hosts, Dean and Michael. We were then treated to some amazing refreshments and a light meal before bed, all cooked by the unbelievable domestic goddess, Mia. More to come about her wonderful culinary skills later!




Training 

Post morning cardio endorphins kicking in!
The day started with morning cardio at 7am with some pre workout and coffee ready and waiting for us. There was also some fruit or energy balls for those that wanted it but most of us just went for the pre workout to get us pumped and ready for the jog followed by hill sprints!

I'm not going to lie, as someone that doesn't run, the thought of this was HORRENDOUS, especially after a late flight. When that 6.30am alarm went off (equivalent of 5.30am UK time), I just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep more than anything! But I was only there for 3 days so I needed to get up and experience the retreat in full.


Boy am I glad that I did.


Watching that incredible sunrise at the top of the hill was just breathtaking. Combined with the sense of achievement from doing something I would never ever normally do with a group of people that were also in the same boat as me was just amazing. 





Watching that sun rise after surviving the hill sprints - just unbeatable
We jogged back to the retreat ready for a stretch session with Lilly followed by breakfast. Never has a breakfast felt so well earned as that one!

There was then some time to yourself before lunch where we hung around the pool topping up the tan and listening to music through the multi room sound system in the villa. Epic.

The next session of the day was weights based and was with one of the PTs you're assigned to before your stay at the retreat.

I was with Ingmar, which turned out to be the perfect match with my aim to strengthen my posterior chain and this being his speciality!

I learnt things I've never been taught before, which shows that even when you've been training for some time (including training with various PTs in London), there is always room to broaden your knowledge. I know my weaknesses in training but I've not always known how to improve them until Ingmar showed me. I got to sit down with him on the last day and write down everything we had done and everything I needed to work on. It completely inspired and motivated me to smash my training as soon as I got back to London - the learning never stops and this was great proof of that.

The weights session was followed by 15 minutes of abs with the queen of ab work - Lilly Sabri. Lilly showed us how to properly activate our cores, which proved to be invaluable. Exercises that I have always done suddenly became 10x more difficult because I was now engaging the correct muscles rather than absentmindedly contracting my abs and hoping for the best! Lilly is in the process of getting together some incredible content for her new YouTube channel and website. I can't wait to follow it through after the taster I had at Reset Retreat!

After this session we then had more time to relax before dinner. The last session of the day was stretch and meditation at 9pm on the roof of the villa and it was literally the perfect end to the day.

Each day followed a similar routine but I had an old hip flexor injury which prevented me from running (not really complaining..!) So in the mornings (to avoid FOMO) I still got up at 6.30am and got driven up in the car to the top of the hill to join in with the HIIT workout before driving back down. Slightly less energy expenditure but for someone that only trains 4-5 times a week, I think training more than once a day anyway was quite enough exercise for me!


Nutrition 

Herby salmon and avocado lentils - UNREAL.
The meals at Reset were SO delicious I can't even begin to explain! 

The chef, Mia, was amazing at catering to our dietary requirements and came up with the most magical meals. 

Breakfasts ranged from overnight almond, coconut and chia oats with stewed fruit to eggs and the most incredible paprika roasted potatoes I have ever had.

An example lunch would be chicken and turmeric quinoa as shown below.

Dinners were also wonderfully varied. One of my favourites was this dish on the left - pan fried herby salmon with avocado lentils and asparagus. I took down the recipe and made it the day after I got back. It's just dreamy!

There was also healthy dessert made each evening - one of my favs was this dark chocolate rocky road.


Better than your average: turmeric quinoa and chicken
Steak, butternut squash mash and turmeric roasted cauliflower


What did I gain?

I went to the retreat expecting to just enjoy some sun and train more than I usually would!

However, what I gained from the retreat was so much more than that. I have met some amazing people and shared experiences with them I never dreamed I would (yes, I'm still talking about that morning cardio!)

I have been completely and utterly inspired by Lilly and Ingmar especially, as they were the two people I spent the most time training with.

Ingmar has given me tips and tricks to improve my form and technique in a way that will no doubt accelerate all my posterior chain work from here on out. Hellooo booty gainz *waving emoji* *peach emoji*


Stretching out those sore muscles whilst watching this sunrise - amazing



Lilly has taught me to activate my core in ways I haven't done once in 25 years! 

Small, simple movements that okay, I still won't be looking like Lilly any time soon, but I can really feel the difference already. I know I will become so much more mindful of this in every day life, not just during training, which will hopefully pay off in the long run.

Lastly, I am so grateful to Mia for giving me a huge passion for creativity in the kitchen again - I have already made that lentil and salmon dish twice and Ive only been home three days..!!

I really can't put it into words how much I've loved and benefitted from this retreat. 

As I said at the start, this post is obviously completely unsponsored and all opinions are 100% honest, as always. So when I say it's been good, it's been bloody good!





Would I do it again?
In short - absolutely. 

I've seen numerous fitness and wellbeing retreats and heard lots of feedback from people that have been on them. However, with Reset, I feel like they're breaking the mould and completely stepping up the game when it comes to fitness escapes.

I like a bit of luxury when I go away and this retreat was definitely that. I mean look at that villa! Michael and Dean really have put everything into it and considering it was their first ever retreat, it was brilliant.

Going forward, Reset will be hosting retreats at different locations around Europe and I believe their next one is in September. To get in contact with the organisers, you can email Michael and Dean at info@resetyourself.co.uk or DM them on Instagram.

They can then sign you up to their mailing list for information and exclusive offers on the upcoming retreats - I know I will be..!

Any more questions about my experience then please don't hesitate to ask or use the contacts for Michael and Dean above.

Jess x
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