Christmas can take its toll on our immune system as a lot of us eat more and move less.

If you are tired of cooking and entertaining I have the perfect recipe using shitake mushroom that’s not only quick and easy but nutritious and delicious too.

Shitake Mushroom’s are known not only for their great taste but they’re packed with B vitamins and have the power to fight cancer cells, cardiovascular disease and infections. They have anti bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. During the winter months they are one of the few foods that provide vitamin D and they also help to boost energy and brain function.

As we move into January our food becomes even more important as many of us struggle with low mood and feel a bit of a crash post Christmas. It’s important to remember that January is a month for selfcare and not crazy resolutions. It’s still the middle of winter, which is the gestation period for both nature and us. It’s a month for inward reflection as we prepare for the year ahead.

To do this we need nourishing food, nourishing thoughts and nourishing rest. Pop in some movement and air and you will be ready for Spring where you will emerge stronger ready for the year ahead.

Try this simple recipe, which is great for all the family and it will help you to ease into the new-year with comfort and calm.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

3 Cloves garlic

Large handful of shitake mushroom’s (see video)

1 Lemon

Handful of Basil

Fresh Parmesan

Salt/Black pepper

Barilla Spaghetti

DIRECTIONS

Boil water and put in pasta with some salt

  • Heat the pan and add oil and garlic
  • Add chopped shitake mushrooms and cook until softened (5-8 mins depending on mushrooms)
  • Add in ½ a lemon zest
  • Squeeze in ½ juice of lemon
  • Save a cup of water from the pasta
  • Add pasta and then parmesan and stir through
  • If it’s a little dry add some of the water
  • Plate and serve with fresh black pepper and parmesan shavings

Barilla calling on students to unlock their inner TriHero

triheroes, shitake mushroom, barilla, recipes, schools, exercise, selfcare, shitake mushrooms, sport, pastaPrimary and secondary schools are being encouraged to register for TriHeroes, a schools triathlon programme which brings together the lifelong activities of swimming, cycling and running to inspire, motivate and challenge children to participate in a healthy and active lifestyle.

The TriHeroes programme, delivered by Triathlon Ireland and supported by Barilla, a family owned Italian food company and advocate for a healthy lifestyle, helps teachers introduce triathlon activities in a safe and positive environment.

Delivered by Triathlon Ireland’s development team, the programme is typically run over six 90-minute training sessions with students taking part in a mini triathlon at the end of the programme giving students a taste of this hugely popular sport and exposing them to three sports that could see them excel in the Leaving Cert and later life.

Primary and secondary schools can find out more about the TriHeroes programme at www.triathlonireland.com and register their interest at schools@triathlonireland.com.

A gourmet selection of recipes, perfect for budding triathletes and prepared with seasonal ingredients for vegetarians, as well as meat and fish lovers is available at www.barilla.co.uk.

As we move out of the winter months we might want to put a spring in our step by upping our physical game. With the best of intentions the winter simply doesn’t lend itself to a lot of physical exertion due to dark nights and cold mornings. After winters gestation period spring is an opportunity and a time for rebirth. It’s a chance to look at the world through fresh eyes and also try something new.

When it comes to exercise I like to switch up my routine as we enter a new season. To be honest I get bored and I love to challenge my body by switching up my classes.

I’m a huge fan of Reformer Pilates and I can credit these classes with helping me to regain my post baby body a few years ago. It’s been quite a while though since I took a class though but I decided to return to Pilates Performance Ireland (PPI) in Dundrum and see if the passion was still there.

reformer pilates, positively physical, exercise, full body workout, pilates performanceThe Reformer is a bed like frame with springs and straps attached! Don’t let that frighten you because the best thing about this exercise is that your back and body are supported by the bed at all times which is great for me as I have a bad back from a car accident. The Reformer gives you a full body workout and it also helps to build a very strong core. Half way through the class I felt a huge smile appear on my face as I realized just how much I missed these classes.

I felt grounded and really connected to my body as the instructors encourage you to really use your breath with each movement. It’s a potent destressing exercise for many reasons. The deep breathing helps to calm your central nervous system and the movements help to really move your energy through your body. Your circulation gets a boost, your spine and muscles are stimulated and of course those feel good hormones wake up and start to flood your body too.

Because of the strong focus on core strength your balance and posture will also be improved and in an age of computers where we sit at desks for long periods of time I welcome any exercise that helps with that. Your flexibility will also increase and what I like is that it really helps to give you a lean shape and stretches out the muscles as opposed to bulking them.

IMG_1893 Pilates Performance Ireland offer a wide range of classes suitable for all levels and abilities. You can also book personal sessions which I would advise anyone who has injuries or back problems to do as the owner Sarah MacLachann who is a Pilates master is excellent and can really help you to get to the root of your problems and work slowly with you to build your strength back up.

**As printed in Positive Life Magazine

I like trying new and different exercise classes, primarily because I get bored and my body does too. Recently I have been trying lots of new and interesting exercise classes and styles in London. Here are two of my recent favourites Calisthenics and TRX Yoga Core.

BLOK LONDON

blok london, fitness, classes, london fit fam, be complete, feelgood, wellness, wellbeing, alison canavan, gyms london, ethos, calisthenics, TRX, yoga

I had heard a lot about Blok London and met them at the Jack Wills press morning back in January so I was eager to get down there and try a class.

I decided to try a Calisthenics class, primarily because I had never heard of it and before I took the class I had absolutely no idea what to expect. As you can see I like the element of surprise and boy was I surprised but in a good way. Calisthenics is a Greek word meaning beauty and strength and it has four components basics, conditioning, strengthening and freestyle!

blok london, fitness, classes, london fit fam, be complete, feelgood, wellness, wellbeing, alison canavan, gyms london, ethos, calisthenics, TRX, yoga

It’s a full body workout using your own body weight. It was a very interesting class for me personally as I learnt a lot about how I feel in my body in a very different way to yoga and Pilates. Some fears crept up and even though I tried to push through I realized I have some body confidence work to do.

One of the reasons I like to add variety into my life and not just stick to the same routine is because I find when you get used to something it becomes boring and mundane. Also when you challenge yourself and switch things up you learn something new about yourself and we never stop learning, growing and evolving in this lifetime. It’s like a little shake up to keep things interesting.

 

blok london, fitness, classes, london fit fam, be complete, feelgood, wellness, wellbeing, alison canavan, gyms london, ethos, calisthenics, TRX, yoga

BLOK CAFE

I really tuned into my body in the class and noticed areas of weakness and pain and felt motivated to work on different things and push myself that bit harder.

The Calisthenics class really brought me into the space of mindset and how limiting it can be for us. Getting our body and mind to work together is so important and understanding that our mind can be a limiting factor in our growth and potential is the first step towards understanding that we can change it.

The teacher Jermaine Hunter has an amazing approach to fitness and wellbeing. He looks at everything through a 360 lens, which I love. He reads the class and pushes you to your own individual potential. I’ll definitely be back and I look forward to the day when I can do a handstand too!!

ETHOS

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The next morning the sun was shining and I was up bright and early to try out a TRX Yoga Core class at Ethos in Spitalfields market in East London with Lisa Hood. I was intrigued at how yoga and TRX could be merged or if it was even really a possibility. I absolutely loved it though and I was pleasantly surprised at the nice flow I managed throughout most of the class.

Again I tuned in to stronger and weaker aspects of my strength, which leaves me encouraged to keep working on my upper body strength. I struggled a lot at the end of the class with core work and exercises that moved us towards a headstand. Hopefully one day soon I will blog about finally managing to do a great headstand!

blok london, fitness, classes, london fit fam, be complete, feelgood, wellness, wellbeing, alison canavan, gyms london, ethos, calisthenics, TRX, yoga

Just like the Calisthenics class the TRX/Yoga mix really worked your entire body. I

always try and work with my breath to go deeper with any exercise I do. I used to hold my breath a lot, which I only realized when a teacher pointed it out to me. Your body moves easier with your breath. Think of yourself as one big team: mind, body and spirit and your breath is like the glue that ties it all together. So use your breath wisely both in and out of exercise class!

I try and push my body a little further each time I exercise but I have learnt that it’s about beating my personal best and not looking around the room like I used to. Like anything in life there will always be people better and worse than you. When you make yourself the competition it’s a game changer.

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The Ethos at Ethos – I love the last one!

Both gyms have great juice and smoothie bars. After my class at Blok I had some bone broth which is rich in mineral that support the immune system and a green detox smoothie full of yummy goodies like spirulina, pineapple – apple – spinach – kale – ginger – lemon – chlorella – wheatgrass and barleygrass. I topped that off with a turmeric latte, which is my new hot drink obsession.

blok london, fitness, classes, london fit fam, be complete, feelgood, wellness, wellbeing, alison canavan, gyms london, ethos, calisthenics, TRX, yoga

Cafe at Ethos

At ethos I had a wake up shake up (it was 7AM!), which was so tasty. It had bananas, strawberries, oats, almond milk and vanilla protein.

blok london, fitness, classes, london fit fam, be complete, feelgood, wellness, wellbeing, alison canavan, gyms london, ethos, calisthenics, TRX, yogaI’m really enjoying my little exercise ventures! Next up Reformer Pilates and Barre, I can’t wait!

 

Keep Moving and Shining Bright

 

Ali xxx

For this week’s Wellness Wednesday I’m chatting to Activities & Resources Manager with Pure Results Bootcamp Niall O’Callaghan. Pure Results Bootcamp is owned by TV Presenter Kathryn Thomas and I recently had the pleasure of being part of a wellness event in Arnotts with both Kathryn and some of her team including Niall. As a Fitness Instructor, Strength & Conditioning Coach and Life Coach, Niall has a varied role and quite a different one from his Engineering & Project Management background.

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Niall also now runs his own Fitness Classes and provides the Corporate World with activities and workshops to help motivate people to be active and to be at their best, both for themselves, their families and everyone else around them! He loves to participate in Road Races, Marathons, Adventure Races & Triathlons. He works alongside his wife Jennifer, a Nutritional Therapist & Health & Wellness Coach and together they provide the complete package for everyone looking to make improvements in Health, Fitness & Wellbeing area of their lives. So just how does he balance it all? Read more to find out!
wellness wednesday, fitness coach, strength coach, life coach, coach, alison canavan, niall O'Callaghan, pure results bootcamp, inspiration, motivation, lifestyle quiz, balance
How would you describe your lifestyle?

I would consider my lifestyle a really exciting one. I’m really proud to say that I live an extraordinary life with lots of excitement, adventure, challenge, love, fun and really good people. Since I have started working with http://pureresultsbootcamp.com/ & Kathryn Thomas, I have found that I really enjoy what I do, and that lots of other exciting opportunities are coming up, which are all in line with how I want my future to pan out.

What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice.

I love home cooked food (something simple like a homemade turkey bolognaise) or a stir fry with lots of vegetables. I especially like these after being away from home for a few days. I’m also very lucky that Jen is always experimenting with new foods for her Nutrition Workshops so I get to try new and exciting foods (and some treats of course). I also love dark chocolate and a big treat for me is a double chocolate muffin (gluten free of course).

Do you exercise and if so what do you do to keep fit?

I exercise nearly every day, I’m a strong advocate of everyone getting some exercise, even if it’s a 20min walk, everyday. It’s also good to have a rest day from intense exercise at least once per week. I’m lucky that training is part of my job with Pure Results Bootcamp and I also have my own classes and clients.

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I go through phases of my own training. I focus on the next event that I want to complete like a 10-mile road race, a marathon or an adventure race and base my activity to suit. It gives me a good variation and I like that. I love to do a marathon every 2-3 years so that when it comes around again I’m really hungry to do as well as I can. I really enjoy the training and lead up then.

How do you find balance in your day-to-day life?

I think it’s all about planning and preparation. If I’m very busy, I’ll try to get some exercise done in the morning and I’m tending to prefer the mornings now for exercise. This may mean getting up really early but that’s ok once I get enough sleep. I do get 7 hours quality sleep most nights. To keep a balance, I also like to have some quiet time for meditation, just 10-15 mins in the morning does me.  I also like to have some time everyday to spend with Jen to catch up on what’s going on or just to chill out.

How do you manage stress in your life? Do you meditate? Have you ever tried it?

Yes, a good day for me is a day when I have meditation as part of it. I also recently started a new technique called priming. This really gets me in the zone! A little stress can be good when it’s causing me to go outside my comfort zone. I’m lucky that I don’t think I have much stress in my life at the moment. I heard recently that when you are very busy doing something you don’t like, its stressful, but when you love what you do, being busy is just “living with passion!”.

People often set goals or intentions as they go through life. Is this something you do?
Definitely, I have a workshop that I give which is based on Goal Setting and creating Habits for Success. I always set intentions as to how I want to approach something and how I want things to work out for me. I believe it’s good to have small and big goals but the intensity or focus of these may change. It’s good to sit back and reduce the high intensity at times too.

How do you unwind after a busy day?

I enjoy getting out for a walk with Jen where we can catch up on the day’s event. I also love to get to the pool and a few minutes in a Jacuzzi is always welcomed! A good comedy always helps to switch off the brain also.

It’s the weekend, what do you do for fun?

Fun is based around exercise a lot for me. I really enjoy events like races and get a great buzz from them. The weekend is also time to catch up with family and relax with them.

What’s your top health tip for our readers?
Be active and eat well. These bodies of ours were built to move and they will perform better when they do move. Sometimes it takes a big kick-start to change a habit, and that’s what’s great about Pure Results Bootcamp, as it provides that Massive Action to get the ball rolling. The momentum for this can then last for a long time. There is lots of wisdom available on exercise and nutrition, which is provided at Pure Results, and I’m very proud to be a part of this amazing team

Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means…

Being of great service by preparing well, working hard, celebrating and recovering….

YOU CAN FOLLOW NIALL ON

TWITTER

or his website dynamicsuccess.net

YOU CAN FOLLOW JENNIFER O’CALLAGHAN, Pure Results Nutritional Therapist on her website www.nutrition4living.ie

Check out Pure Results Bootcamp by Kathryn Thomas here www.pureresultsbootcamp.com

We all let our hair down over christmas but you can exercise damage control and have fun too and to be honest you just simply feel better when you get up and get moving even if its just for 20-30 minutes a day. I train in Body Byrne so I asked them would they share some healthy holiday tips with my readers. So thank you Mike for these great tips and exercises!

General health tips for the holiday season:

Eat as close to nature as possible

If organic food is not available look for free range options

Use coconut oil, olive oil, or rapeseed oil as all are healthier cooking options.

Talk to your local butcher about where they source their meat and produce from.

Eat enough to be satisfied but not stuffed; remember that leftovers are just as good!

Substitute dark chocolate for milk chocolate

Always try and use real brown sugar as opposed to low-fat or synthetic versions

*TOP TIP: Our bodies need fuel to convert to energy, the better the quality of food the better our engine will run.

EXERCISE:

If possible start your day with a 30 min to 60 minute walk, followed by one or all of the exercises below.

1st SET

  1. All fitness levels (ages 13 & up)
  2. 1st thing in the morning 3 forearm planks/ 30-60 seconds dependent on fitness level.  15 second rest in between.
  3. 3 sets of press-ups 10-20 reps each. The option here is to be on your knees to make it easier.
  4. Chair dips: please be careful to make sure the chair or bench is secure and safe to handle the weight! 3 sets 10-20 reps each.

2nd SET

  1. All fitness levels (ages 13 & up)
  2. Mountain Climbers 30 seconds/ moderate pace. 3 sets
  3. Body weight squats/ Chest up, brace your core, sit back making sure knees do not come over your toes! Push up through your heels! 3-sets of 12 reps each.
  4. Body weight lunges/ Chest up, brace your core, push through your front heel! 3 sets/12 reps each.

BUT ABOVE ALL HAVE FUN AND A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE XXXXX

This week we’re doing pressups and each week we’ll take you through exercises that are easy to do at home.

Do 3 sets of 12 reps for these press ups and believe me you’ll feel it!

 

Don’t be alarmed by how terrified I look. We are 50 minutes into a training session so I’m pretty beat! This exercise is great for targeting your bingo wings and are actually quite easy and simple to do at home. Siobhan recommends 3 x sets of 12 reps to start and watch those arm get nice and toned!