This month’s issue:...
Hello healthy people,
OMG, we’re halfway through the year already! I swear the years go quicker as I get older... What a busy month June was, with workshops for Leith Festival, Festival of Cycling and Fit Festival. Looking forward to a more chilled July and I currently have some off-peak (weekday daytime) availability if you’d like to get fit over summer. Drop me a line.
Foodies Festival ticket giveaway
I have two pairs of Foodies festival tickets to give away. Foodies Festival is on 7 - 9 August in Inverleith park, and is a personal favourite. I like to go around and chat to the small producers and stock up on fancy chutneys and condiments. I got some very nice smoked pink peppercorns one year, and divine balsamic vinegar too. To win a ticket, simply reply to this newsletter with your favourite variety of potato (see recipe below).
Easy Seasonal Recipe: Tracy’s Special Potatoes
Lovely fresh new potatoes are now in season. Potatoes have had bad press over the years, but can be a valuable source of energy. Get fresh dirty potatoes from Tattie Shaws, Elm Row (top of Leith Walk) or grow your own and leave the skin on for extra nutrition. I like to serve ‘Special Potatoes’ as a side with an omelette and salad, perfect for long summer evenings. It’s also OK if you make too many as they are tasty cold chopped up into a green salad. I’m not afraid of using a bit of fat from time to time, and by pre-cooking the potatoes, you can use less oil than usual.
A handful of small potatoes per person
A dollop of your preferred cooking oil
Ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste
Fresh herbs from the allotment (parsley, oregano, rosemary, savoury etc)
- Scrub potatoes and chop into wedges.
- Steam or microwave until just soft but not quite cooked.
- Allow to cool, tossing to they don’t stick together.
- When you’re ready to cook, heat a glug of your preferred cooking oil in a good quality non-stick frying pan to a medium heat (they better the pan, the less fat you’ll need).
- When the oil has reached temperature (it will sizzle), toss the potatoes in and gently cook each side.
- Toss in finely chopped fresh herbs near the end.
- Drain on kitchen towel before serving, and sprinkle with more fresh herbs.
Aerobic Exercise: High intensity or Steady state?
There has been a lot of press coverage recently regarding HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as being a fitness quick-fix. HIIT is, as it says on the tin, intervals of very intense aerobic exercise. A brief timed burst of very intense cardiovascular exercise (i.e. burpees), followed by a short rest period, repeated a set number of times. This has become more popular partly thanks to the BBC’s Dr Michael Mosley, he of the 5:2 fasting diet fame. HIIT has been proven to burn body fat effectively, if done correctly.
The argument is that it’s quicker to do with better results than ‘steady state’ cardiovascular exercise. ‘Steady state’, or LSD (Long Slow Distance) aerobic training involves the heart rate being slightly elevated (i.e. the feeling of being a bit puffed, rather than going to collapse) for at least half an hour continually. An example of steady state aerobic training is going for a fast walk, or for fitter folk, a steady jog. So, is it better to go ‘hell for leather’ for a shorter time, or slower for a longer time?
There is a relatively easy answer to this. I always recommend my clients invest in a heart rate monitor and get out and about Edinburgh with their heart rate elevated to ‘slightly puffed’ for 30 minutes or more, every other day, or three times per week. This helps build a good aerobic base. My approach is that a client needs to be comfortable with having their heart rate slightly elevated for half an hour before we start on the more intense cardio work. If you think about it, moving at a ‘steady plod’ regularly is what we used to do before cars, remote controls and other labour-saving devices.
Many people forget that the heart is a muscle, so it needs training like any other muscle. If you overload a de-conditioned heart, you have a recipe for disaster. I am a big believer in building up intensity with time. I certainly do HIIT with some of my established clients, but I need to be confident that firstly, they are already fit enough to endure it, and secondly, they have the positive mental attitude required to work at a maximal heart rate for short bursts (in other words, it ain’t comfortable). Sprinting intervals certainly are an excellent method of building up speed once an individual is running comfortably. However I usually don’t do sprint intervals with clients who have heart conditions, lower leg injuries or a distinct lack of motivation.
Fitness should be achievable and fun, and I truly think if you’d like to do the HIIT thing and you are already fit, go for it. However if you’re a bit out of shape, it’s wisest to get back in shape before ‘beasting’ yourself!
And Finally... The Scottish Running Guide reinvented
Like running? The Scottish Running Guide now goes under a new name RunABC Scotland - your guide to local races, running blogs and much more! Check it out at www.scottishrunningguide.com
© Copyright all material Tracy Griffen 2015