A few lunch suggestions

For my clients on the Get Energised plan, we talk about how food can work with us rather than against us. I love really simple yet effective lunch ideas, so here are a few of them:


Easy Humous

Ingredients: 1 can chick peas, 1 tub Quark, 1 teaspoon tahini

Method: blend together

Serve as: dip for carrot sticks, sandwich filling, wrap filling


Easy fish pate

Ingredients: 2 smoked mackerel fillets (or hot smoked salmon), 1 tub Quark, 1 dessert spoon drained capers

Method: blend together

Serve as: spread on Melba toasts or oat cakes, dip for sliced cucumber, wrap filling, sandwich filling


Quick salmon pasta

Ingredients: pasta, courgette, smoked salmon, light crème fraiche

Method: while the pasta is boiling, fry the sliced courgette until it is lightly browned on both sides. Drain the pasta. Mix the pasta, chopped smoked salmon and crème fraiche into the courgettes and quickly warm through

Serve as: main dish


Chorizo spinach mix

Ingredients: chorizo, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, spinach, mozzarella

Method: fry the sliced chorizo, when it’s cooked add the halved cherry tomatoes and pine nuts, after a minute, stir through the spinach until it wilts, make dents in the mix and divide the mozzarella into them. Serve when the mozzarella has gone gooey

Serve as: main dish


Chilli, garlic and prawn linguine

Ingredients: 1 bird eye chilli, 1 clove garlic, raw prawns, 1 dessert spoon rape oil, linguine

Method: while the linguine is cooking, lightly fry the chopped chilli, and add the finely chopped garlic. Before either browns, add the prawns and mix the cooked pasta through

Serve as: main dish


Simple salmon

Ingredients: salmon fillet, bag of stir fry veg, lime juice, soy sauce

Method: put the salmon fillet in tin foil with some lime juice and soy sauce, make the foil into a parcel around the salmon and cook in the oven for about 15 mins. In the man time, heat some oil in a pan and stir fry the veg. As it’s nearly done (takes about 5 mins in total to stir fry, usually) add some lemon juice and soy sauce. Serve the veg with the salmon fillet on top

Serve as: main dish


Avocado and salmon open sandwich

Ingredients: hot smoked salmon, avocado, sour dough bread, rocket

Method: toast the bread, mash the avocado and spread it onto the toast, sprinkle hot smoked salmon and rocket on top. If you’re feeling really indulgent, add a poached egg.

Serve as: main dish



Ingredients: basil, pine nuts, roasted garlic, olive oil, cheese (ideally parmesan)

Method: blend all the ingredients together to taste

Serve as: a pasta sauce, a topping on salmon fillet, an alternative to butter in a mozzarella and tomato sandwich, a drizzle on a salad.


If you’d like help with your food ideas, please do contact me.



Success stories

Being terribly British, I’m not one to sing my own praises. However, as my clients’ biggest supporter I am desperate to sing their praises and share their successes. While I may have shoved these clients in the right direction, only they have ultimately made the changes in their life. That’s pretty cool, right? I am privileged enough to be involved in big changes. Wow.

I am genuinely honoured when people choose to start their fitness journey with me. I’m touched beyond belief when someone who has always considered the exercise world to be out of their reach trusts me enough to make the little changes I suggest. I could do a happy dance every single time someone does something they had always believed was beyond their reach, something “other people” do.

Give us some examples then, Emily…

Client A – she sidled up to me at a networking event about 6 months ago and quietly said “I think I need your help”. We started working together a few weeks later, when the time was right for her. At that point she was battling various health issues and had to allow 45 minutes to walk to work partly to give her time to catch her breath, partly because her knees were so sore. After only a couple of months of us doing a 30 minute session a week and her then doing shorter sets while dinner was cooking (with an emphasis on building leg strength so her knees were supported), and with some small switches in her food, she had a medical follow up which showed she had lost 7% body fat. Wow.

Fast forward another 3 months and we ran together for the first time. I think she had expected we’d do maybe 1km, or that after a couple of minutes she’d be crawling on the floor gasping for breath. Nope. 3.5km in half an hour. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Oh, and that walk to work – now takes 7 (SEVEN) minutes.

Client B – she has always felt exercise was for those fit people. She never felt it could possibly be enjoyable. It was some sort of torture people did, and the effort of even getting to a gym or other fitness gathering point was tiring enough to mean the class she might have set out to take part in would be off the cards by the time she arrived. In an early Skype conversation she mentioned her husband has a stationary bike “he goes on there for an hour at a time, you’ll never get me on there”. I suggested it might be a good warm up. For 3 minutes, before doing some other exercises at home. Maybe while listening to a podcast.

A couple of months later, and after a pause when life, family, cake, got in the way, we got back to speaking regularly and establishing where we were with the stationary bike. 2 mins was enough, with a short at home session after it. We’re building back up. What she didn’t notice was that the other day when we spoke on Skype she answered downstairs and so had to walk up 2 flights of stairs to get to her office, where we always speak. No being out of puff; she kept chatting to me the whole way up the stairs.

Client C – she has wanted to make some changes, to get more active, to work with her body again. We started out with some at home exercises, including doing some sessions together over Skype, so she stayed accountable. Then, a couple of months ago, she decided it was time to face her fear (phobia, fear belittles it) of swimming. Working with a life coach friend, Debi, she addressed the phobia, and then she gave me the great honour of being the person she wanted in the water with her when she first took a dip.


I am passionate about helping people get started. I can’t put into words how amazing it feels to hear and see these wonderful women discover that actually they CAN.

It may be odd to say, but I don’t want to work with people who are already going to the gym. For me, there’s no fun in that. There are lots of people who do that. But being trusted with someone’s first foray into getting more active? For me, that’s just awesome.


Of late I have found myself having quite a lot of conversations in which the topic of willpower has come up. It’s got me thinking about the wider implications of the word.

There is a widely held belief (or certainly it’s portrayed in the language we use) that things fall into “good” and “bad” or “naughty”. Take food, for example: I regularly have people confessing to all the “bad” or “naughty” food they have eaten recently, as though in telling me they’ll somehow absolve themselves. Or maybe I’m expected to berate them and be pious about the fact I never eat anything “naughty”. This conversation inevitably leads to the confessor reaching their own conclusion that they have no willpower and therefore they’re a failure.

Here’s the thing. I don’t ever eat anything “naughty”. I enjoy salads, I enjoy pizzas, I enjoy wine, I enjoy chocolate. I don’t like coffee or tea. I don’t like pineapple. The difference is in my labelling of these things. Over the years I have learnt that my internal language is the only thing that helps or hinders me. If I tell myself I have no willpower because I eat chocolate, I will eat more chocolate, feel guilty, feel a failure, eat more chocolate. And repeat. If I tell myself I can have some chocolate, I will eat the amount I want AND THEN STOP. Because I have permission to eat all of it.

The same goes with exercise. I don’t have any willpower for exercising. I go for a run because I enjoy running. But (unless I’m training for a specific event, and need to cover a specific distance) I am allowed to turn around at the top of the road. If when I get to the top of the road I want to carry on, then that’s what I’ll do.

Am I rambling? The point I’m making is that the word willpower needs to go in the should box. It’s an external pressure “oh well I should do some exercise, because, you know, society thinks I should” vs “I want to do some exercise because I want to be more active”. External pressures inevitably lead to guilt because we can’t ever meet the expectations of this external someone who is applying the pressure. And so we believe we have no willpower. And so we feel guilty. And so we have some more chocolate and do no exercise. Cos, well, we have no willpower, right?

My biggest piece of advice for having willpower is to stop requiring willpower. Reword your inner monologue. Get rid of ALL SHOULDS. Replace the ones you like with WILL, and get rid of the ones you don’t want in your life.

I should go for a run = I won’t go and then I’ll feel guilty and tell myself I have no willpower.

I will go for a run = I will run because I have chosen to, and I didn’t need willpower.

Everytime you catch a should creeping in, ask yourself if the sentence is right with will in place of should. If it isn’t, don’t do it. There’s no guilt, it just wasn’t right for you right now.

Permission granted to say no when things aren’t for you and to feel zero guilt for it.


A sugary treat?

One of the things that led me to become a personal trainer was the wish to help people feel better about themselves, primarily through exercise, but also through food. Now let me set this straight from the start: I am no nutritionist, but I do have basic nutrition qualifications, so when I analyse clients’ food diaries I am looking for little tweaks they can make so their food works with them, not against them; things like spotting where there’s a blood sugar slump during the day and advising on healthier snacks that could be eaten to ward that off, or advising on healthy yummy breakfasts that will see my clients getting through the morning at work without needing to reach for the biscuits.

For more detailed food work I look to two friends, one I see as my female hormone and energy level guru, the other I view as my sports nutrition guide. They are actually both qualified the same and can advise on each other’s areas, that’s just how I fit them into my little world.

Anyway, last week Health Coach friend, Kathy Payne, who runs Kathy Payne – Hormone Health and Fertility, ran a facebook challenge called Curb Your Cravings. Every day she set us a challenge, some easier, some harder. The one that really got my ears pricked up was her sugar day. We were challenged to add up our sugar intake (either all sugar or just refined sugars, it was for each of us to choose, I went for all sugar, including those from fruit, veg, etc) as we went through the day until we reached the daily recommended amount for an adult woman, which is 30g. 30g of sugar. That’s about 5 teaspoons. That’s nothing!

OK. Breakfast – soya yogurt, muesli, ground linseed, mixed berries. Yep, I’m feeling pretty smug. Oh. The muesli is 9g sugar/100g. OK, have a look at the other box of muesli in the kitchen. Oh. 14g sugar/100g. Breakfast in total was 10g (I went for the lower sugar muesli and had nowhere near 100g of it).

Lunch – right, let’s do this. Made a veggie/chickpea/spinach thing 3.3g sugar/100g. Smugness back. 1 apple. 12g!! What????? OK, mental note to self, stick to berries when wanting fruit. Total 15.3g

Mid afternoon – OK, I’ll have some mixed nuts, they’ll be fine, right? 4g sugar/100g. Wow. But you know, nuts are good fats and all, so I’ll still have them, just add them to my sugar tally. Total 4g (ish, didn’t weigh the nuts)

Dinner – cod on a tomato and butter bean sauce, with tenderstem broccoli. About 10g

So on a day WHEN I WAS FOCUSING ON MY SUGAR INTAKE I got to 39.3g. Nearly 10g over the recommended daily intake. Granted I was counting fruit and veg sugar, not just the refined stuff, and had I only counted the refined stuff I’d have been at about 9g over the day, but what an eye opener.

Interestingly nutritionist friend, Claire Doherty, who runs Namaste Nutrition, is running a sugar challenge on facebook in September. I may report back. If I survive a low to no sugar September!

Live Happy

*Advance apologies for a ranty post*

I was cycling this morning and spotted a sign from a well known weight-loss club headlined “Live Happy”. The message of course being that if you are overweight you can’t possibly be happy, and that your only route to some holy grail of happiness is via this fat club.

Excuse me while I step onto my soap box.

So, we can’t be happy if we aren’t lining the pockets of the fat club? We can’t be happy unless we’re parting with £5 a week to stand on some scales? We can’t be happy unless we label all foods as “good” or “bad”? We can’t be happy in our own skin? Happiness is found in diet drinks and Muller light. Happiness is found in deprivation and guilt. Happiness is found in being “good” while other people enjoy their meals.

Erm, OK. But what about the fact that the vast majority of people who diet put the weight back on, with interest? How about the fact none of these fat clubs address WHY their clients are making the food choices they are. Well, obviously, if you address the WHY then people might stop coming. They might lose the guilt. They might make their own choices.

And what happened to generally living a healthy lifestyle? If your only measure of “healthy” is the number on a set of scales, there’s a lot that is being overlooked. Your blood pressure could still be through the roof, you may still have no energy, you might be at risk of seriously injuring yourself when you walk up the stairs, your mental health might be being neglected as you continually find yourself failing. And who decided what number was right for YOU?

I have a good friend who is the same height as me and wears the same dress size as me, but weighs 3.5 stone less than me. Hang on… same dress size but 3.5 stone difference? Indeed, just looking at my own weight (for interest, not for scales-obsessive reasons) I gained 6.5lb in a day according to the scales a couple of weeks ago. Imagine the guilt and self-loathing I would have had to go through in class for that!

The number on the scales is NOT a good measure of how you are doing health-wise, exercise-wise, energy-wise. It is a good measure of how fat clubs can find reason, week on week, to rob you blind.

Right, could someone give me a hand off this soap box? I need to go and  release some more feel-good endorphins (diet coke doesn’t do that, by the way), before I enjoy my barbecue this evening.


Oh, and all my clients will vouch for the fact I don’t use weight as a measure of success with them any more than I do for me. We work on fitness levels, energy levels, how clothes fit. Of course I’ll offer advice for clients who want me to review their food diary, but I am ALWAYS looking for positive changes that can be made, never guilting people into giving things up.

** Cheeky edit to add: wherever you are in the world, have a look at my Jumpstart – it just might be the key to helping get you or your friends out of the diet cycle 🙂