Health & Fitness Blog

Chocolate Coconut Crispie Squares

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IMG_3851I think these are my new favourite snacks when I need a chocolate fix. They taste great! The contain healthy ingredients, but they are quite high in calories so be careful not to eat too many!

Makes 16 squares

Total time 20 mins, plus chilling

The squares keep for about 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge

50g natural cacao powder
50g coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing
3 tbsp Pip a Nut coconut almond butter (alternatively, you can use Meridian coconut and peanut butter)
1 tbsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp maple syrup (or you can use date syrup)
3 balls of stem ginger, very finely chopped, plus 3 tbsp syrup from the jar
100g puffed brown rice
50g goji berries or dried cherries, chopped
40g pistachio kernels, roughly chopped

For the top layer
150g coconut oil
80g natural cacao powder
6 tbsp maple syrup
1 In a large bowl, mix together the cacao powder and coconut oil until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Stir in the nut butter, turmeric, maple syrup, diced step ginger and syrup until completely combined.

2 Add the puffed brown rice and three quarters each of the goji berries and pistachios. Carefully stir together until the mixture is evenly covered in chocolate.

3 Tip the crispie mixture into a lightly greased 20cm square non-stick baking tin, and flatten the mixture with the back of a large spoon. Put in the fridge to chill for 1 hour, or until set (or put in the freezer for
20 minutes).

4 Meanwhile; for the top layer, heat the coconut oil in a small pan until just melted. Stir in the cacao powder and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the maple syrup and leave to cool and thicken slightly. Spread over the set crispie mixture in the tin and sprinkle with the rest of the goji berries and pistachios. Return to the fridge until set. Loosen the crispie cake at the edges then cut into 16 squares.

Tortilla Pizzas 🍕

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If you love Pizza and haven’t tried these tortilla pizzas yet, you must give them a go!

They contain way less calories than normal pizzas and taste just as good 😋 They only take a few minutes to put together and take 8 minutes to cook!


1 wholemeal tortilla
1 tbsp tomato puree
Dried oregano (optional)
Hand full of mozzarella cheese, grated
Topping of your choice (if you choose meat make sure it’s pre-cooked because the pizzas are only in the oven for 8 mins)


Pre-heart oven to 200 degrees.

Lay the tortilla on a pizza tray and spread the tomato puree evenly over the tortilla using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle over the oregano if using. Then spread the grated mozzarella evenly over the pizza and finish by placing your toppings on top. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

Plus Size Workout – 5 Min Low Impact HIIT

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The aim of this workout is to work for 5 minutes without rest.

However, take a rest if you need it. Make a note of how long you have been working for and next time you try this workout make sure you beat your time.

Complete the 3 exercises below continuously without rest.


If you complete the workout and still have energy left, have a rest for 1 minute and complete another round of 5 minutes work.

Sunderland Echo Workout 26/4/17

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This weeks HIIIT workout is split into two parts. The first part is for your lower body (legs and bum), and the second half is for your upper body (arms, chest, shoulders and core).


Round 1 (lower body):


The aim is to complete all 8 exercises for 20 seconds each without rest in between them.


20 seconds SQUATS

20 seconds SQUAT KICKS

20 seconds SQUAT JACKS


20 seconds LUNGES



20 seconds SPEED SKATERS


Rest for 1 minute.


Round 2 (upper body):


20 seconds PRESS UPS

20 seconds PLANK


20 seconds T-PLANK

20 seconds PLANK GET UPS


20 seconds TRICEP DIPS

20 seconds 1 ARM PLANK


Rest for 1 minute.


Aim to do this twice, so that you complete two lower body rounds and two upper body rounds.



Sesame Chicken Strips (Healthy Chicken Goujons)

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These Chicken Goujons are crispy and succulent and even more importantly, they are healthy!  These are perfect for kids! For a real treat, dip them into some Garlic Mayo or Sweet Chilli dipping sauce.


Serves 8:


120g ground almonds

70g sesame seeds

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

2 eggs, whisked

800g chicken breasts

Himalayan Salt



Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.

Combine the ground almonds, sesame seeds and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the melted coconut oil and whisked egg.

Cut your chicken into finger-sized pieces. Use one hand to dip a piece of chicken into the egg, then use the other hand to dip it into the almond-sesame mixture. Using separate hands will stop the mixtures clumping. Repeat with each piece of chicken.

Lay the chicken out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Flip them after about 20 minutes.

Plus Size Workout 20/4/17

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If you goal is to lose weight, but you have problems with your joints or you have low fitness levels, then give this workout a go.

It will raise your heart rate, which is needed to burn calories, without putting to much pressure on your joints.

The aim is to complete the eight exercises below for 20 seconds each with no rest in between them….

20 seconds SEATED SQUATS
20 seconds 4 STEP SHUTTLE WALK
20 seconds BRIDGES
20 seconds CRUNCHES
20 seconds PLANK
60 seconds rest.
Aim to complete at least 4 rounds. Ideally 5 or 6 😃👍

Sunderland Echo Workout 19/4/17 – BURPEE CHALLENGE

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Today’s workout is simple. There’s only one exercise and it only take 5 minutes to complete. But, it targets all parts of your body. Legs, bum, core, and upper body.


Your aim is to work for five minutes, completing 8 BURPEES as quickly as possible at 30 second intervals.


For example, start the clock, perform 8 BURPEES as quickly as possible. If you complete them in 20 seconds, you get 10 seconds rest before your next set.


Complete 10 sets in total.


So overall, you will perform 80 burpees in 5 minutes.


It’s important that you get the technique correct so go to for a demonstration. There’s also a demo of a beginners burpee in case you find them too difficult.

Plus Size Workout – 13/4/17

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This workout is a progression pyramid designed to raise your heart rate without putting too much pressure on your joints.

30 seconds STAR JUMPS
1 minute SQUATS
90 seconds BRIDGE & CRUNCH
2 minutes 4 STEP SHUTTLE
rest for 1 minute.

Complete 4 rounds in total 💪💪💪


Enjoy 😁

6 Ways To Stay Healthy At Easter 🐰

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I love Easter time, there’s lots of fun to be had. Easter egg hunts, crafts, baking, chocolate eggs, hot cross buns. It’s always an action-packed couple of weeks with the kids.


But diet wise, it’s a time of year that I dread!


I’ve just about got back into shape after Christmas and now I’ve got to deal with all of the temptations of Easter.


For weeks, supermarkets have been tempting us with their Easter aisles filled with chocolates, sweets and hot cross buns. They are so clever with their marketing and positioning that it almost feels like they are being forces upon us.


But, you don’t have to give in. Easter can be a heathy time of year, without sacrificing fun.


As a personal trainer and lover of health, I have several fitness tips for a healthy Easter:


  1. Quick workouts.

    Easter can be a busy time; entertaining the kids, preparing meals and visiting family. It may seem as though you don’t have time for exercise. But, if you keep your workouts intense you can get it done in 10-15 minutes. Try my Pyramid Workout in the Workout section of this page.

  2. Make Healthy Eating Choices

    If you remain diligent about eating healthy as the days lead up to Easter, you’ll be able to indulge a little bit on the big day.

    Nobody wants to turn down a lamb dinner and a chocolate egg, so if you make healthy choices until Easter arrives, you should be able to eat a little more indulgently without ruining all of your goals.

  3. Get Outside

    The arrival of Easter means spring has sprung and now is the time to get outside. Even if you’re not going out for a ten-mile run, there are lots of opportunities to get moving outdoors, which will help you burn calories and get fit. Try a walk in the park with the dog, play Frisbee with the kids, walk to the shop instead of driving. You’ll be moving more and enjoying the spring fresh air too.

  4. Register For A Race

    A race is a great motivator because you have to be ready for it. That means you have to put in the time and effort necessary to train. Not only will that help you tone up and slim down for Easter, but you’ll have something fun to look forward to as well. These events are coming up in the Sunderland area:

    Sunderland City 10k – Sunday 7th May.

Sunderland Half Marathon – Sunday 7th May.

Sunderland Big 3K Run – Sunday 7th May.

Pier to Pier Run – Sunday 14th May.

Sunderland Big Ride – Sunday 11th June.


  1. Use Moderation

    I am not going to say you should not eat a single piece of chocolate on Easter because this rule is unrealistic. Get real with yourself and set limits. Several pieces of chocolate will not break the scales, but a whole box of chocolates can break your healthy eating plan. So, focus in life in moderation.

  2. Choose Your Drinks Carefully

    This is a rule that you should follow every day, not just as we get closer to Easter. Drinks can really ruin your healthy fitness goals because many of them are loaded with sugar and calories.

Choose water (with a little bit of cordial if you have to), instead of fizzy drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices which can have heaps of sugar and hundreds of calories in them.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

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If you like dips then you have to try this!

When we have friends over for food and drinks we normally opt for ‘picky foods’. It’s a lot more relaxed than sitting down for a three course meal. One of the first things on the list is this Roasted Red Pepper Dip. Everyone loves it!

It’s healthy, it’s easy to make, it tastes amazing, and it goes with so many things.

Try dipping carrot or celery stick in it.
Use it as a sauce by tossing it with wholewheat pasta.
Or as a dip on the side of your plate.

Caroline will kill me for giving her secret recipe away, but here it goes…


400g Jar Roasted Red Peppers
1 1/2 Wholemeal Pitta Breads
10 Cherry Tomatoes
1 Green or Red Chilli (chopped)
1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar


Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Then transfer to a dish and serve immediately. Keep leftovers covered over in the fridge.

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