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Sunday, 5 October 2014


I have now moved my blog to Wordpress so that I can organise it a lot better. It is now easier for you to access recipes, workouts and challenges. Click on the below link to keep following.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise

A photo by Lea-Ann Ellison caused a lot of controversy and sparked the debate should women continue to exercise during pregnancy and is it safe.  In many articles Lea-Ann Ellison was heavily criticised and called "selfish" for putting her baby in danger. 

In response to harsh critics, Lea took to her Facebook fan page writing: " I hope to inspire other ladies to be healthy and fit while pregnant and after. If you don't like it, sit your ass on a couch and eat a donut".

"I know for me, that keeping strong and fit during pregnancy, and eating a diet full of fresh organic food has been key to my success in gaining my figure back. And no sugar! Sugar will keep a mommy tummy on a lady forever".

"Five days before Skyler was born, I completed 40 pull ups without assistance" adding that she did have to decrease her weight and scale back on her workouts.

Lea-Ann is not the only person exercising while pregnant. Kelly Rowland and Jessica Ennis to name a few have been very open about exercising during their pregnancy.

Follow Ashley Horner on Instagram for exercise tips during pregnancy! 

Previously, pregnancy signalled the end of a woman's exercise program but nowadays exercise is not only considered safe but beneficial. Your primary goal during pregnancy is maintenance. You should not be setting new goals. Those four to six a week intense exercise programs will be replaced by two or three light workouts per week.

Nicole Crawford speaks about the benefits of cross fit and weight lifting for her third pregnancy. In summary the three benefits she listed were:

1.Mental Toughness- strength training helps build confidence in your body and your body's ability.
2.Decreased Pain and Pregnancy Discomfort- Prevents Back Pain
3.Benefits During Labour- improves physical stamina

Bodybuilding lists the advantages of working out when pregnant:-

  • Fewer problems experienced during childbirth
  • Enhanced post natal recovery
  • Lower incidence of backaches and less severe headaches
  • Enhanced body image
  • Feelings of wellbeing and happiness, and a positive self image
  • Increased energy levels
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • Better circulation of blood to the extremities
  • Greater muscle strength and coordination, which helps with adjusting to increased bodyweight and changes in balance.
  • Pregnancy-related constipation avoidance
When to Start?

It is recommended that if you have never worked out before, the best time to start is during your second trimester. The various hormonal changes that begin during the first time semester often leads to nausea. If you have previously been lifting weights prior to pregnancy you will need to scale back on the weights that you lift. 

When to Stop

This a grey area. Many women continue to exercise up until a couple of days before delivery. Others find by the sixth or seventh month a combination of fatigue and lower back stress necessitates they stop exercising. 

What exercises?

In a book I was reading "Body Fitness for Women" they have a Moms-To-Be Program. However, it recommends that you check with your doctor before following the exercise program.

Try 2 to 3 rounds of 12-15 reps

Leg Extensions- much safer lower body exercise to perform while pregnant as it doesn't produce the same blood pressure build up and don't put stress on the lower abdomen like a leg press.

Seated Leg Curls- The advantage of the seated leg curl is that you can use it right up until you stop training unlike lying leg curls which will quickly become uncomfortable as the baby grows.

Pulldowns- Do not pull the bar behind your head.

Incline Chest Press- Incline press are recommended over flat press as it puts less pressure on the developing foetus. Even the incline bench will become difficult as time goes on.

Shoulder Presses

Tricep Pushdowns-later in the pregnancy this exercise may become difficult.

Seated Dumbbell Curls

What to avoid?

  • ballistic movements
  • exercises with legs locked straight
  • hyperextensions of the spine
  • stretches that stress the lower back
  • exercises that risk hyperextension of the joints- pregnancy causes increase of the hormone relaxin. This hormone allows the hip joints to become more flexible this allowing delivery of the baby. Every joint is affected to a degree not just the hip joints. It is recommended as the pregnancy progresses to avoid exercises that greatly increase blood flow- squats, bent over rows, deadlifts.
  • Your heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute- a significantly elevated body temperature can cause foetal damage. The most vulnerable time is the first trimester. To counter any potential problems drink plenty of water before, during and after training. Avoid training in hot humid environments and stop often during the session to stabilise temperature
  • Avoid all supine (facing upwards) movement from the program.
Post Pregnancy Exercise

  1. Body Fitness for Women warns that the hormone relaxin is still in the body post pregnancy so the connective tissue surrounding the joints is still overly flexible. Perform all movements in a slow and controlled manner. 
  2. Your goal is to ease back into training. Pregnancy places an incredible demand on the body. It takes a couple of months to get back to peak efficiency.
  3. For the first couple of months weight train with 60-70% of the maximum you can lift. Choose light dumbbells to start.

So rather than stop completely, continue on training, using suggested modifications and reap the benefits.

Sunday, 14 September 2014


This is a dish my other half made me on Friday. It was a dish his mother cooked regularly when he was growing up.

Kedgeree is originally a traditional British breakfast from colonial India with a nice balance of spicy and smoky flavours. It makes a tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner. I loved it (although he still reckons his mothers recipe is still tastier). It is always nice to try something different rather than the usual chicken and salmon each evening. 


200g brown rice
400g Smoked Haddock
4 Free Range Eggs
8 Spring Onions
1 clove garlic
Red Chilli Pepper
2 teaspoons of ginger
2 teaspoons of turmeric
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
100g peas
2 tablespoon of parsley or coriander
Black pepper


  • Cook the brown rice in a saucepan for 30-35 minutes until tender.At the same time, put haddock in a large frying pan and cover with water. Simmer for 5-6 minutes. Drain, discard skin and any bones and flake the fish into large chunks.

  • Boil the eggs for 8 minutes. Cool in cold water and shell them.
  • Heat a large frying pan and add the spring onions, garlic, chilli and ginger for 4-5 minutes.

  • Drain rice and add to the frying pan and add turmeric  cumin and peas. Cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes , then stir in the haddock and parsley. Season.

  • Serve with quartered eggs.

Yummy Banana Cupcakes

On Friday I made these tasty cupcakes from  They didn't last too long but I will be definitely making them again. Perfect with a cup of green tea.


1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup ground almond
pinch of pink rock salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
5 free range eggs
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 bananas
2 tablespoon of cocoa nibs
1 tbsp chia seeds
5 dates
1/4 cup agave


  • Mix coconut flour, almond meal, salt,vanilla essence, baking soda, cinnamon cocoa nibs and chia seeds.

  • In a blender add eggs, coconut oil, bananas and agave syrup.

  • Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine.

  • Fill cupcake cases half way and pop into pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes.

  • Once baked, all to cool.

  • Add various toppings such as peanut butter and cocoa nibs; almond butter and cocoa nibs or smother in dark chocolate. I am not a massive peanut butter fan but it was definitely my favourite topping. They are even delicious with no topping.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wedding Style

Wedding season over for this year! So many beautiful brides (and flower girl). Lisa Buckley you are up next!

Thanks to Kirsten and Mick Clancy for a beautiful wedding in Dingle. Mick is one lucky guy!!!

With so many weddings this year it is just not affordable to be spending a fortune on every outfit. Especially when you will probably never wear it again. I couldn't find a dress I liked so I went with a skirt and top that I found on ASOS for under 60 pound:-

Navy Top- ASOS- 
Floral Skirt- ASOS
Pink sandals- ZARA

Sunday, 24 August 2014

What is your body type? What exercise should you be doing for your body type?

Why is important to know your body type?

It is very important to identify your body type (soma type) as you base your nutrition and exercise around it. All somatypes react differently to nutrition and exercise.

What body type are you?

Your somatype is your body type. Original somatypes were described under three categories:-


Ectomorphs are generally known as "skinny" and tend to have long and thin bones. They have a fast metabolism and find it hard to gain weight. Unfortunately they have a difficult time putting on muscle. Ectomorphs usually have narrow shoulders, low body fat. They have a slender shape with narrow hips and chest and thin arms and legs.

Typical traits

  • small delicate frame
  • flat chest
  • small shoulders
  • thin
  • lean muscle mass
  • finds it hard to gain weight
  • fast metabolism

What should I be doing?

Ectomorphs need a huge amount of calories in order to gain weight. Workouts should be short and intense focusing on big muscle groups. Supplements are definitely recommended. Ectomorphs should eat before bed to prevent muscle catabolism during the night.


Mesomorphs are naturally muscular and slightly stocky. They have large bones and have no problem putting on muscle mass. They put on fat easier than ectomorphs but also put on muscle easier.

Mesomorphs have attributes such as broad shoulders, smaller waists and an athletic look. Mesomorohs tend to hold fat in their hips and thighs.

Typical Traits:

  • Athletic
  • Hard body with well defined muscles
  • rectangular shaped body
  • strong
  • gains muscle easily
  • puts on fat more easily than ecto morphs

What should I be doing?

The mesomorph usually responds best to weight training. Gains are seen relatively quickly. Downside is that they gain fat more easily than ectomorphs. Usually a combination of weight training and cardio works best for mesomorphs.


Endomorphs have large bones,carry more fat cells and are generally short to medium height. They don't have a tough time putting on muscle but do have a tough time losing fat. Endomorphs traits are short legs, big bones and high body fat percentage.

Typical Traits:-

  • Soft and round body
  • gains muscle and fat very easily
  • generally short and stocky
  • round physique
  • finds it hard to lose weight
  • slow metabolism
What should I be doing?

When it comes to training endomorphs can gain weight easily. However, a large portion of the weight is fat not muscle. To keep fat to a minimum, endomorphs must always train cardio as well as weights. Supplements not required if the person as a high protein intake in their diet.

However, very few people are classified as strictly belonging to one of the above three categories. Kyle Leon speaks of somatyping becoming more accurate in recent years. The latest somatype combinations include

Ecto-Mesomorph- skinny but with more muscle building traits than a true ectomorph

This is my body type- I have majority of ectomorph traits and a few mesomorphic ones. Ecto- morphs usually have a frame that is slightly heavier and tends to carry more muscle mass than a true ectomorph. Their metabolism is not as lightning fast as a true Ectomorph.

Typical Traits:-

  • Small delicate frame 
  • can build more muscle than a true ectomorph
  • flat but defined chest
  • medium shoulders
  • thin
  • lean muscle mass
  • finds it hard to gain weight
  • can have well built legs
  • relatively fast metabolism
What should I be doing?

Ecto-mesomorphs find it difficult to gain weight. They have a fast metabolism which burns up calories quickly. Ecto-meso's need a huge amount of calories in order to gain weight but do not need a drastic deficit to lose weight. Workouts should be short and intense focusing on big muscle groups. Supplements are recommended which looking to gain muscle. Ecto-meso's should eat before bed to prevent muscle catabolism during the night.

Meso- Ectomorph- naturally muscular but still skinner than a true Mesomorph

This body type has mostly mesomorphic traits and a few ectomorphic ones. Meso-ectos can easily gain muscle mass but can lose it quicker than a true Mesomorph.

Typical Traits:-

  • Athletic
  • Hard body with defined muscles
  • Rectangular shapes body
  • Medium sized frame
  • Average to good strength
  • gains muscle easy
  • gains fat more easily than ectomorphs or ecto-mesos.

What should I be doing?

The Meso-Ecto responds well to weight training. Gains are usually seen pretty quickly. Downside is that they tend to gain fat more easily than ectomorphs or ecto-mesos. They must watch their calorie intake. A combination of weight training and cardio works best.

Meso- Endorph- muscular with a tendency to gain fat

A frame that is heavy or medium build. This body type has excellent muscle building capacity but has a slower metabolism than a true Mesomorph.

Typical Traits:-

  • Athletic Broad Shoulders
  • Big muscles that are somewhat defined
  • Rectangular shaped body
  • Abdominal fat
  • Strong
  • Gains muscle easily
  • Gain fat more easily than mesomorphs
  • Carbohydrate sensitive-must keep them low
What should I be doing?

The meso-endormorph responds best to weight training AND cardio. Gains are usually seen very quickly but are usually covered in a layer of fat. Keeping carb intake low especially later in the day is a must. 

Endo- Mesomorph- gain fat easily but have good muscle building traits

People under this type gain fat easily. They have wide hips, round faces and a heavy frame but tend to be strong although heir muscles are usually hidden under fat.

Typical Traits:-

  • Soft and round body
  • Relatively broad shoulders
  • Gains muscle and fat very easily
  • Tend to have defined chest
  • short and stocky
  • Round physique
  • Finds it hard to lose fat
  • Medium to slow metabolism
What should I be doing?

When it comes to training Endo-Mesomorphs find it very easy to gain weight. Most of this weight consists of fat not muscle. Try to keep fat to a minimum, endo-mesomorphs must always train cardio as well as weights.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

No Access to a Gym? Find out how to get lean abs, arms and legs at home

I decided last minute to go to Ireland for a week to visit my family. In Ireland I don't have a car and no access to a gym so I do my own workouts in my sitting room. I always bring my gym boss with me as it allows for a more intense workout. I also bring my skipping rope as it doesn't take up much room and its a great full body exercise which gets your heart rate up between isolated exercises.

Lower Body

I try to do two or three lower body exercises a week as the lower body is the hardest part for a girl to gain defined muscle. Even though I didn't have access to heavy weights, I still created a tough body weight workout which had my glutes burning. Its good to exercise with light weights or no weights sometimes so you can focus on techniques for example trying to squat really deep.

5 rounds

1. Air Squat- 20 reps
2. Bulgarian Split Squat (L) -15 reps
3. Bulgarian Split Squat (R)- 15 reps
4. Back Leg Lunge (one leg at a time)- 15 reps each
5. Curtsy Lunge (one leg at a time)- 15 reps each
6. Hip Bridge - 20 reps

If you want to get your heart rate up between exercises add in 30 seconds/ minute of skipping between exercises

Upper body

I incorporate lots of compound exercises which work the whole body and create lean toned arms-push ups, burpees, mountain climbers, star jumps, mummy kicks etc. Try incorporate a compound exercise (an exercises which works various muscle groups at the same time) with an isolated exercise (which works one muscle at a time) e.g. biceps curls, hammer curls, shoulder presses etc.

3 rounds for beginners
5 rounds for advanced

1. Dive Bomber Push Ups- 20 reps
2. Shoulder Press with dumbbells (grab something heavy like milk cartons)- 15 reps
3. Half Burpee Push Up- 20 reps
4. Lateral Raises- 15 reps
5. Mountain Climbers- 20 reps
6. Front Raises- 15 reps


No need to focus too much on abs all the above exercises work your core and your obliques to give you that lean look. If you have a lot of weight to lose I would focus on doing lots of cardio HIIT workouts as above and when you have leaned out then focus more on abs. If you are quite lean add in a three minute abs exercise after your HIIT cardio or incorporate it into your workout e.g. Push up and abs tucks or Mountain climbers etc

If you are looking for more home workout ideas check out my Bikini Challenge which contains weeks of workout ideas. Copy and paste the below link or click on the bikini challenge on the top right hand side of the blog page.