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Showing posts from August, 2017

Ode to the glory of the tin of fish.

If you are a regular here, you might be aware that I have a bit of a thing for tins of fish, and I felt it was time we took a moment to explore this most excellent foodstuff.

The tin of fish is a divisive snack option. I remember tucking into a tin once when working at a school and being asked if I was eating cat food (erm, noooo). I also recall bonding with my fellow students while studying for my Personal Trainer qualifications : "TIN OF FISH, Awesome snack!". Then I knew I had found my people.


What is a tin of fish?
There are all kinds of variants on a tin of fish, it might be round or square, it might contain tuna, sardines, mackerel or salmon. It might be in sauce, or not. The only prerequisite is that it is oily fish, preserved in a tinned format. That said, when I use the term, I will be referring to mackerel in plain tomato sauce (not spicy, because some brand's idea of what makes a "spicy tomato sauce" leaves much to be desired) in a flat tin with a ri…

Becoming a powerlifter - training for gains

Continuing in adventures in powerlifting,  today we are looking at training. I've really enjoyed chatting to other people in powerlifting training and the way they train can be very varied. Some train 5-6 days a week, some less. Some to other sports alongside. Some train all the lifts every session, some split them. Some do their own programming, some have a coach, some follow an off the peg programme.



While previously I was managing all my own programming (with a bit of CrossFit to throw me out of my comfort zone), my meet preparation is mostly outsourced. 
I started Jen Sinkler and JVB's Unapologetically Powerful programme before I made the decision to compete, because I wanted to see how JVB worked in terms of balancing accessory movements and building strength over a relatively short, focussed period. The best way to understand a programme, is to train in it.
The programme is based around 3 lifting days a week, each one focussed on one of the competition lifts (squat, benc…

Caught short - how to avoid "blowing the diet" when life surprises you

It becomes clear, the more I work with clients on their nutrition skills, that knowing what to eat to meet their health goals is rarely their real sticking point. Most people who are aware enough to seek out a nutrition coach know what to eat; they just have trouble making that happen consistently. Life gets in the way.

A little while back I wrote about how our social obligations can sabotage our healthy eating plans. Today I want to look at what happens when life throws a curveball and you get the opportunity to go off plan.
Planning and Preparation Prevent Profuse Profligacy
So yes, you might know what you would like to do with your nutrition, but how are you going to achieve that?
The first rule of nutrition, is that if the food is there, you will eat it. If it is not, then you cannot eat it.
Because of this, shopping, meal planning and food preparation are the most important skills for anyone wanting to work on their eating habits.
So lets say we have identified that you have a te…

Becoming a powerlifter - women who lift and body image

Since getting to know the online powerlifting scene, one thing that has really struck me is the way female lifters regard their bodies.

Even the healthier side of fitness writing and community can be a world full of lean, ripped, dehydrated fitness models and figure competitors. We know athletes come in all shapes and sizes, but it's not what we see out there, illustrating articles, on Instagram, in the catalogues where we buy our leggings.

The fitness world often says "sure, women can be strong and fit, but they must also be small and lean and young".

One of the things I really enjoyed about my taster of The Bigness Project is that it celebrates and is completely unapologetic about women taking up space.

Women are often discouraged from taking up space, we need to be small, so much so that we are told not to fuel our bodies and succumb to permanent hunger in order to achieve it.

When I entered the online social world of women in powerlifting, I found a very different ou…

Fairytales from the gym: Rest days are for wimps

Busting those gym myths... one by one!


I've always been aware of the misconceptions and "bro-science" that dominates fitness. Sometimes it's amusing and ridiculous, but mostly it is unhelpful at least - it stops people from being able to reach their goals with poor, unproved advice. Sometimes it even hurts them. At the top end of things it stops our industry from being as effective as it should be - and it stops us being taken as seriously as we should be.
As fitness professionals we are the front line of preventative healthcare - we owe it to the world to put things straight.
Today I am going to finally cover the gym myth that triggered it all. I was reading through the comments of a fitness thread on social media. I tend to follow these, but don't often contribute - because arguing with people on the internet is a bit like mud wrestling with pigs most of the time, and I am always conscious of my commitment to be reasonable.
In this particular conversation, one …

Becoming a powerlifter - Feeding the strength

I don't often write about my personal "fitness journey" - I'm pretty sure that's the term we use nowadays to talk about what we eat, how we train and where it gets us - because I don't think such specific navel gazing is particularly helpful for other individuals.

That said, if you really do want to know more about the intricacies of my dinners and workouts, you should totally follow me on Instagram.

#lunch chipole shredded beef wraps with goats cheese, black bean, #quinoa and beetroot salad. #foodisawesome #protein #recoveryday A post shared by Claire Salem (@firelotusfitness) on Jul 13, 2017 at 4:52am PDT
But I did promise to take you on my powerlifting adventures with me, so it's only fair we talk about my favourite bit of training - fuelling it.

Prepare for a nerd-out

My maintenance diet
Before I started meet preparation in earnest, I was working with a slight calorie deficit (200 calories - ish) as I was still working on adjusting my body composition …