Making Fitness Look Good On A Budget − A Guide for the Inveterately Lazy

This is a guest blog by Stacie Field 

I used to live with a woman who was naturally good. I’m not talking morally (although she was as upright and trustworthy as can be) and I’m not talking socially either – though she was consistently funny and  delightful in about equal measure. No, I am talking instead of her natural desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle. She was the kind of woman who, on a summer’s day when the sun shone beatifically and there was just the whisper of a breeze in the air would exclaim: “Ooh! I’ve really got the urge to go jogging!” And here’s the thing: she would actually go.

Reader, I have a confession to make. I’m really not like that at all. If I had my druthers, a beautific summer’s day would not mean a hearty run in the park followed by a salad populated with local organic produce. No, my ideal time would be to draw the curtains, and become one with my Arrested Development box set and a multi-pack of Mars Bar ice-creams. I cannot help it, I am not one of nature’s exercisers. Still, I genuinely envied my housemates’s lust for life, the outdoors and healthy living. We talked about it, over some organic sweet potato hash browns and I was surprised to learn that she had not always been the Jane Fonda-esque dynamo that I knew, loved and was psychotically envious of. The key, she assured me, was to ‘work a combo’ that is to say, combine an unpleasant activity (running) with something that makes you inescapable joyful, and then make one seem unimaginable without the other. For her, it was getting the moment after a run where she could jog into a newsagent and buy herself a Mini Milk. A Mini Milk is a small milk-flavoured ice-cream stick that is only 30 calories, contains a nice gram of protein, and, according to my housemate, “tastes exactly like my childhood.” It was a special reward for her hard work and diligence and it went some way to helping the muscles rebuild after her exertion. “All you have to do is find your Mini Milk.”

After careful consideration and watching my housemate head out the door dressed in an oversized and rather stained  pink t-shirt that proclaimed her participation in the  2006 North Norfolk Marathon, I decided that my Mini Milk would have to be fashion. If I was going to claw back some well-being by sputtering round the park, red-faced and exhausted, my outdoor clothing was going to have to be without peer. My goal was to look stylish and possibly a little bit from the future. Luckily, in recent years, fitness clothing has undergone a bit of a renaissance and there have been a million different designers, working to make getting sweaty that little bit more sexy. I knew I needed to find the outfit that was going to get me outside and a little closer to the fitness dynamo that I know resides in me somewhere. Stella has been designing some very glorious and very expensive fitness outfits for Adidas in order to commemorate the 2012 Olympics, so I feel very much like I’m riding the sport fashion zeitgeist when I heartily recommend something like this:

If you have the budget and would quite like to look like a young gazelle effortlessly running along a romantic cliff face then this aqua hoodie, sports leggings and overcoat ensemble will see you right. The trouble is that it’s difficult to justify spending £70 plus on leggings. It’s pretty easy to replicate this look when you’re on a budget. The key is to concentrate your spending power on the shoe (believe me, you don’t want cheap running shoes – I speak not as a Carrie Bradshaw figure, but as someone who has known the horror of shin splints) and then improvise the rest. Why not bring that Portlandia thrift-store aesthetic to your fitness wear? Try and imagine Courtney Love in spandex. Let it happen. You’ll thank me.

For instance, this running top is from Adidas too but it costs £15 instead of £95 and is in a cheery canary yellow. Just grab yourself a Sharpie (approx cost £1.99) and draw yourself some designer slogan-ry and presto! Instant indie fashion cachet.

This is just in concept form but I think you’ll agree it hits the right inspirational notes. I feel more active already. I feel like I could run fast and run far. Well, at least to the shops and back.

Stacie Field is a comedian, a blogger and loves the outdoors.   From a distance. Having said that, she is quite fond of her Berghaus fleece.

Muscle Chow | Healthy Receipes in 30 Minutes or Less

Healthy Recipes just got wicked good!  Say hello to…

Muscle Chow – Healthy Recipes for Every Occasion

If You Want Healthy Recipes and You Don’t Have This Book… Get It!

  • If you are a bodybuilder looking for quick and easy to make healthy receipes to build muscle and conscious about preventing weight gain, this book is for you.
  • If you are just somebody looking at changing eating habits that doesn’t involve being a bodybuilding chef, this book is for you.
  • If you want to pack on mass and cook healthy recipes but the whole nutrition thing has your stumped, this book is for you.
  • If you know healthy eating is something you want but don’t know what to eat and even less how to cook it, this book is for you.
  • If you don’t have a lot of money to spend but need some ideas for 30 minute healthy main dishes, this books is for you.
  • If you want to learn how to make healthy sauces, healthy dressings, healthy soups, healthy appetizers and my favorite … healthy desserts, you need to read Muscle Chow.

Desperately Seeking Healthy Recipes

Before I found this, I kinda went from the cooking light magazine searching for how to cook healthy. Or to overly complicated cookbooks that had a lot of easy diet recipes for overweight people but not for bodybuilders trying to get lean or build muscle. Greg Avedon nailed it with this and wrote to the married guy or single guy (not married to Rachael Ray) who can’t cook but wants to cook healthy meals in order to build muscle. It was so incredibly simple to follow. I am not a cook or chef by any means. Planning meals was grilled chicken and burgers. This is so stinking simple to use. It doesn’t have a ton of ingredients and you’ll find that many of the recipes use the same foundations. Meaning, less big trips to the store. Many of them are only 4 steps. They taste great and are low in fat and sodium. Perfect for that health and nutrition conscious person.

It’s not that I didn’t know what to eat as I’ve made plenty of healthy side dishes (albeit a bit boring). It’s not that I didn’t know how to cook it. My main problem is similar to many of you. I get too caught up in making this sport or lifestyle more complicated than it needs to be and when it comes to creativity in terms of healthy recipes or even some off the beaten path ideas like vegetarian recipes, I tend to stick to the same old things. I want something easy to make (I do not want pre-made Jenny Craig type meals), that tastes good that doesn’t take 60 minutes to do. I don’t want a huge mess in the kitchen and I don’t want to be in the kitchen for 2 hours each time (Hint: I don’t like to cook).

The biggest problem anybody will face when it comes to building muscle, burning fat and making the changes they need to enhance their body is all done thru health nutrition. And the biggest problem we all face, unless you are OCD or love to cook is that you don’t have too many healthy recipes ideas and cooking isn’t enjoyable probably because you don’t have many easy food recipes at your disposal.

Cooking Isn’t Enjoyable (to me and maybe to you)

I’m not a food person.  As Tom Venuto said in his Body Fat Solution, people he’s interviewed see food as fuel.  A way to get the energy necessary to live and workout.  But that’s it.  I see food as fuel.  I don’t like cooking or else I’d not have issues with eating often, eating enough and having plenty of healthy food recipes socked away in my kitchen junk drawer (everybody has one of those right?).

My guess is that you don’t like to cook either! You don’t like being in the kitchen for hours. You have few healthy recipes ideas but not nearly enough.

But if you do like to cook but just don’t know what to cook that fits into the category of healthy recipes, this book will solve it for you.  Healthy cooking is about to get really easy.

It’s your guide to losing weight and your guide to packing on muscle. As much as that sounds crazy, it’s the only thing in 10 years that literally changed my life in the kitchen.

“Do you sit down to every meal with a calculator in hand?  No?  Me neither.  Any diet that requires more than basic counting skills is a diet that is way too complicated and will ultimately fail.” - Page 3 of Muscle Chow

A Small Sample of Healthy Receipes in Muscle Chow

The Key Lime Pie that I pulled out of Muscle Chow took hardly any effort to make and was arguably one of the better healthy dessert recipes you could have given the circumstances. Those circumstances being I love Key Lime Pie! But it’s proof that diets that work can be quick and easy and things like pie you don’t think would be good for you can still classify as healthy food recipes. One of my go-to baked chicken recipes is Mustard Roasted Chicken.

There’s over 150 quick healthy receipes in Muscle Chow that even somebody on the Weight Watchers program could easily use. They are broken down into several categories that includes healthy fish recipes (You are getting your Omega-3′s right?!). It’s more than enough ideas to get you lean and muscular and you won’t be in the kitchen long enough to setup your own food network show! These are 30 minute meals or less. In fact, too many ideas is a bad thing. It leads to indecision and in the bodybuilding world, too many choices means you can’t plan for your specific needs and ultimately no action leads to unfulfilled dreams.

The real secret to meal planning is advanced planning. Knowing what you will eat before you eat it is the concept behind those pre-packaged meals like Nutrisystem. Not tracking it after the fact and realizing at 9:00pm that you’ve missed your target by 1000 calories or ate too much. Planning in advance is key and healthy food recipes that are geared towards your goals is what this book is about.

What Makes Muscle Chow Different?

It’s not just a healthy foods cookbook or some random collection of 30 minute weight loss recipes. It’s not a bodybuilding diet. It’s healthy receipes that integrate into a healthy lifestyle (one of the rare diets that work is the one you’ll do for life). You can use it to burn fat, build muscle. It’s not complicated. It’s low in sodium which is a factor for some. It’s lower in fats but higher in healthy fats. There’s even vegetarian recipes and low carb dinner recipes that are skewed towards the person who wants to build lean muscle.

If you don’t have Muscle Chow, go get it. It’s a fantastic healthy food recipes resource loaded with 30 minute meal ideas and should be in your kitchen right now. And you can pick it up at Amazon or Barnes and Nobles for under $20.00. The first thing I’d do is look thru the healthy breakfast recipes and pick one. Before you know if, your friends will be calling you the Rachel Ray of the group

To Your Good Health,

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”

P.S. - I wish Muscle Chow was a sprial book as I’ve got 2 copies.  And both are coming apart at the seams because I use it that much.  This was my first introduction and love into the world of healthy receipes.