Want the sweet deliciousness without the unnecessary sweetness then this is the recipe for you. #eatcleanraceclean

Lets Do Lunch

Me and my chocolate cake recipes, right?!?  I just can’t help myself especially as they are the easiest recipes to make up from what you have in your cupboard.  This cake however is smothered in real chocolate icing – which rather ironically is the reason for baking the cake.  I had left over icing from baking a “full-fat” birthday cake for my boss and wanted to use it up so I invented a super healthy cake for a super un-healthy icing!

I’d prefer you smother your cake in a healthier version of icing, for example extra light cream-cheese mixed with good quality melted chocolate = chocolate cheese cake topping. Or what about mixing peanut butter with cocoa and agave nectar?  For a runny sauce heat coconut milk, truvia blend and honey in a saucepan – simmer for 10 minutes and allow to cool.  Yum!

Ingredients
140g brown truvia baking blend (or Tate…

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Healthy Chocolate Cake

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Best Ever Butternut Soup

Nutrition is an essential part of the ironman Journey. This delicious, nutritious butternut soup not only replenishes the body but its warm buttery goodness soothes a tired soul ~butternutsoupforthesoul

Lets Do Lunch

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I can’t believe I haven’t blogged my ultimate soup recipe yet!  I always have a few Tupperware pots of various versions of this soup in my freezer for a low-cal, nutritious and delicious dinner when I run out time or ideas for dinner.  And I always bring a small pot of left-overs for my work lunch and simply don’t grow tired of it.

Since making this soup, I am constantly floored by anyone’s need to put cream, butter, milk or any other fat laden ingredient into a soup.  There is no need and my recipe is proof of that.

This post features butternut, but I’ve also made the soup with different combinations of sweet potato, courgette, carrot, broccoli, peppers and any other left over veggie I have in the fridge.  I always add the lentils not only to thicken the soup, but add to its nutritional content.   As always, any…

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Illness and Injury, Ironman 70.3, Training

Illness and injury…. A comedy of errors

It was a terrible end to 2014

After an amazing year of accomplishments and a fabulous holiday in Marakesh  I started my campaign to Ironman 70.3 with a spring in my step, happy heart and an indomitable desire to smash my training.

Of course the universe has other plans :0) one being to test how solid your resolve really is.

First my achilles tendons. Okay in all fairness this was a lot less to do with the universe and more with me making the following classic (weekend warrior) errors

  • Poor/inconsistent  stretching: Yep, I am one of those guys. Love to train – the adrenaline, the pump of blood through my muscles, the feeling of awesomeness as I increase my P.R week on week. I also don’t like the stretch as much – slow, sedate, hurts (not in the nice way)
  • Poorly conditioned muscles (who would have thought lol): Here’s something I learned from my subsequent trips to the physio to get this issue sorted, Apparently as a minimum standard of conditioning a runner should be able to complete 3 sets of 10 reps of slow/controlled/full range sgl leg calf raises…mmm again not one of my favourite exercises
  • Changing your running style without adequate coaching and conditioning: Yep not only did I not stretch and not condition adequately I also in my infinite wisdom decided that I was – in my quest to be more efficient and faster in my running – going to change to forefoot running.

I must admit that I was very glad to find out that I am not alone in this matter. Thanks James Dunne from Kinetic Revolution for your insight into this :0) Forefoot running for athletes, This actually led me to a fourth sin

  • Pushing through a strain: So I went for my first forefoot run and about 2.5 km in picked up a serious strain in both calves, Not wanting to let my gorgeous running partner (and wife) down – okay I didn’t want to look like a woosy – I simply change back to my heel strike and continued on the course. Of course when I got home what did I not do? Stretch

So there I was beginning of November and no more running for four weeks. Okay I can live with that I thought, I can ride and do strength conditioning and stretching.

Of course if only it was so simple. Next came the flu – I alluded to this in previous post. The flu this year has been crazy it never seems to clear, one day your good the next your throat is on fire the next your coughing a lung…grrrrr I hate being sick

Achilles injury? check!

Cold and flu? check!

Then I went an put the nail in the coffin.

  • Do not watch white colour boxing, drink copious amounts of beer and then wrestle with your mates! If only I took my own advice :0( because I went and did exactly that and ended up popping my knee in the process. Medial ligament as the primary strain, 6 weeks of rehab

So here I sit beginning of January two months into my planned program, 7 months away from D day and no activity.

Thankfully I am almost at full strength and mobility. I have managed to start training again and cant wait to get fully into it again

First major change. On the 20th January I am booked onto a running workshop to maximise my efficiency and speed on the run, cant wait!

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Conditioning, Illness and Injury, Motivation

The universe is conspiring against me

Sick

Its funny how the moment you commit to a goal, the universe conspires to test your will. Last week 3 days into starting my training for Ironman 70.3 the dreaded ‘Man flu’ struck and I have been man down – no running; cycling, swimming, weights and conditioning. Not a great start…grrrr

There was a time when I was a young pup that I would have pushed through and sweated the nasty lurgy (South African slang) but luckily wisdom (and longer recovery time) has prevailed and nowadays I choose to retreat and live to fight another day. Anybody reading this might be asking themselves “Why the fuss, you have 9 months?”

Great question! Here’s my conundrum – Hyper-obstructive Cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart muscle) is a sudden death condition. When I was diagnosed my cardiologists opening statement was

“You have H.O.C.M, Stop exercising or die”

The road back to where I am today has been a long, long road made up of two steps forward, one step back. A road which has forced me to learn to listen to my body, accept my limitations and celebrate each small improvement as a major victory. Each day that I miss my scheduled program means that the next session I have to play catch up which increases stress.

Does this mean I have been idol? Not at all, there is always something I can do which will help me achieve my goal. At this point flexibility and balance is the bain in my life so I focussed on and successfully completed each required day of the 30 Day Challenge

Having things around me to keep me motivated and eyes on the prize really helps when I am down. This clip really kicked &$ss the first day I lay pitifully in bed feeling sorry for myself

Thankfully my decision to rest has worked I am feeling 80% better and should with a great nights rest be at 100% which means I can get back to the program and also start

STAGE 2: Basic Strength & Core Training

Here’s Day 7’s session

Strength Exercises

  • Split Squat (video) – 2 x 10 each leg
  • Hip Thruster (video) – 3 x 10 reps
  • SL Straight Leg Deadlift (video) – 2 x 10 reps each leg

Today’s Core Exercise

  • Mountain Climbers (video) – 2 x 20 (10 each side, alternating)

Cant wait to get going again

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Conditioning, Motivation, Off season

Building self discipline

Day 2

A little harder to get up this morning. Bed is all warm and cozy, its slightly colder than yesterday and I am already stiff from yesterdays leg session…Its just stretching, I can have just five more minutes…

“The difference between those who succeed in life and those that do not is that those who succeed always do what is most beneficial for them at any given moment whether they feel like it at the time or not”

This saying (author unknown to me) pounds into my conciousness. Darn, this self discipline thing is a tough gig :0)

Up I get, downstairs, stretch mat out, 30 Day Challenge Day 2 on the laptop. I start my routine and breathe

Basic Mobility Drills

  • Hip Flexor Stretch (video) – 3 x [20sec hold + 20 active reps] each side
  • Hamstring Stretch (video) – 3 x 20 reps each side
  • Adductor Stretch (video) – 2 x 10 reps [7sec contract : 10sec relax + stretch]
  • BONUS DRILL – Low Back Mobility (video) – 2 x 20 [10 each side alternating]

Today’s Balance Drill

  • Single Leg Balance – Eyes Closed (video) – 2 x 30sec each side

Mmmm don’t know if the stretch and balance drills from yesterday are feeling better or worse (I have this thing about getting results super fast) and todays bonus drill again highlights my level of inflexibility and tightness but I keep reminding myself “success is a journey not a destination” and my key focus at the moment is doing what I plan.

Gym session was awesome, a good friend and training partner is back from a business trip – partners really help to push intensity, its amazing how much more you can do just having somebody stand by you going ” you can do one more”

Todays session

  • Warm up

Stretch, strength routine

Pullups, Dips, Handstand Push Ups, Wall sits (each week increase by 1 or 2 reps; each day different style of pull up)

  • Main

Lat Pull Down 2 x20 (start at 65% of max, each week increase weight by 10%)

Straight arm push down 2 x 20 (as above)

Weighted Pull ups 5 x 5 (same as above)

Bent over row 5 x 5 (as above)

Barbell clean 1 x 5 (practising the movement)

  • Warm down

stretch, roller

Tomorrow swim/bike

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Motivation, Triathlon

A little motivation goes a long way

I love to see people succeed. I get a buzz from watching people attempt acts of bravery and courage. The focus, determination and triumph of pushing through physical and mental pain to achieve their goal. Here’s a cool Youtube clip from World Triathlon

What motivates you?

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Conditioning, Off season, Training, Triathlon

Its all about that base(ics)

Its funny how every time I write this title a song by a very similar title comes to mind. Is it the combination of catchy beat and tune, easy to sing lyrics or the talented Meghan Trainor? Either way its in my head as I write this post so I thoughts why not share the love. (I probably am going to get into trouble from some high powered music executive for promoting this song and artist without agreeing copyright or paying loyalties or something. If so I apologise, please let me know discreetly and I will remove immediately from this post)

All about that base

Right now that you are suitably motivated (or annoyed) lets get back to the task at hand – Setting the foundations to an injury free season.

As I promised myself yesterday I completed Day1 of the 30 Day Challenge (here’s the link again in case you missed it yesterday)

30 day

This mornings focus was on Basic Mobility and Balance Drills and the session comprised of

Basic Hip Mobility Drills

  • Hip Flexor Stretch (video) – 3 x [20sec hold + 20 active reps] each side
  • Hamstring Stretch (video) – 3 x 20 reps each side
  • Adductor Stretch (video) – 2 x 10 reps [7sec contract : 10sec relax + stretch]

Today’s Balance Drill

  • Single Leg Balance – Eyes Open (video) – 2 x 30sec each side

Over all thoughts – Man I am in big trouble! The stretches really highlighted how tight my posterior and anterior chain is (my Hamstring stretch was pitiful) and the single Leg Balance activity (there are 3 separate movements, all very cool) bust my cahoonies. I have NO, I repeat NO balance in my right leg. Lol, I think the only thing that kept me upright when on the right leg was how my toes were so scrunched up into the mat that they acted like a set of claws :0) Not a pretty picture right

Any case, really cool and cant wait to see what tomorrow has install

Onto the main session then

Till February I am following an ‘Off season’ ethos and focusing on strength development (typically a 5×5 format, Complex moves, one muscle group a day, Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri) with a swim/ride on a Wednesday and a cycle/run on a Saturday. The run is on hold for the moment till my calf/achilles injury is sorted and then I will throw in 2 morning runs (station to work 2.3 miles, slow and easy – Remember my run is my biggest challenge)

In case you are following this and are interested in what the exercises comprise of, here is the session

  • Warm up

Stretch, strength routine

Pullups, Dips, Handstand Push Ups, Wall sits (each week increase by 1 or 2 reps; each day different style of pull up)

  • Main

Single leg leg press 2 x20 (start at 65% of max, each week increase weight by 10%)

Barbell squat 5 x 5 (same as above)

Snatch to over head squat 1 x 5 (practising the movement)

Walking barbell lunges 5 x 5 (same as above)

  • Warm down

5 minutes cardio (row, glider or bike)

stretch, roller

So far so good  looking forward to tomorrow

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