Have yourself a happy, healthy Christmas

Have yourself a happy, healthy Christmas

There are plenty of traditions associated with Christmas and a good few of them revolve around food. Is yours a turkey or ham sort of household? Then what’s for dessert? Mince pies, Christmas pudding with brandy butter, Tunis cake? And that’s before you’ve even thought about all the little chocolates and nutty snacks that seem to flow so freely at this time of year. The song is quite right, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we all deserve to kick back, relax and treat ourselves a little. But if you’ve spent the past 12 months getting in shape, the last thing you want is for all that effort to go to waste in one big Christmas backslide. Bitesize Christmas chunks That sort of fear is understandable when you read the terrifying statistics on just now much weight some people put on over Christmas. However, according to nutritionist to the stars Gabriela Peacock, a little over-indulgence shouldn’t do any harm to your overall health, fitness or weight management. Gabriela told Grazia magazine: “Christmas only lasts a few days so doesn’t need to jeopardise your good intentions.” Therein lies an important point. Those who find themselves a stone heavier by twelfth night are the ones who started on the pretzels, chocolates and cheesy footballs in early December and are finally coming off a month-long binge. Gabriela recommends breaking things up and ensuring you return to normality between Christmas and New Year: Set yourself up with a healthy, hearty breakfast; cut back on the gluten, sugar, caffeine and alcohol; make sure you are properly hydrated and try to get...
Are you ready for the Stockport Ten?

Are you ready for the Stockport Ten?

Make 15 December a date for your diary! Up to 1500 runners will be setting off on the annual Stockport 10 race at 10AM and Focused Nutrition is pleased to be sponsoring the event. Let’s find out a little more about the race, including the route, its history and most important of all, this year’s charity. About the Stockport Ten As the name suggests, this is a ten-mile race and was first organised by the Stockport Harriers running club back in 2002. Since then, the race has grown in scale and popularity and today, it is one of the biggest events of its kind in the area. Over the past 17 years, the race has been hosted at different venues, but now, Woodbank Park, where the Harriers are based, feels like its permanent home. The route has also seen some variations. Past events have been around Edgeley to the south west of Stockport, but this year, it takes the familiar circular route through Offerton, Foggbrook and Bredbury that was first used in 2014. There will be plenty of ups and downs on the undulating course, so runners will need to keep their energy up with high-energy snacks along the way. The two biggest ascents are at the five-mile and 8.5-mile points, but after that, it’s downhill all the way to the finish. The course is primarily on roads, with around 1.5 miles on unmade tracks. Past winners The race is open to all, and of course it is all about taking part. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some fierce competition, particularly among the club runners leading the...
Focused Nutrition Powering Katherine For The Long Run

Focused Nutrition Powering Katherine For The Long Run

Focused Nutrition is delighted to announce that it will be supporting endurance runner Katherine Wood with fuel and encouragement! Katherine is working towards her dream of representing England, with an ultimate goal of selection to take part in the Commonwealth Games. Staying fuelled up with the right nutrition is absolutely vital for distance running success. We are pleased to be in a position to assist Katherine in a practical way by providing nutritious flapjacks to keep her going. We caught up with Katherine to discuss her journey so far. Can you explain to the uninitiated what endurance running entails? Endurance running is any distance of three kilometres or more. I specialise in half marathons, full marathons and ultramarathons. An ultramarathon is a distance that’s longer than the standard 26.2 mile marathon distance, and includes things like the 50K and 100K. That sounds absolutely terrifying. Where and how do you train? I live in Manchester and I’m a member of Sale Harriers, Running with fellow club members is what it’s all about, but that is only part of my training regime. I’m lucky enough to have an amazing coach in Liz Yelling. She represented the United Kingdom in the marathon at both the Greece and China Olympics, as well as bringing a medal home from the 2006 Commonwealth Games, so she’s a great inspiration. My training plan is very intense. As well as a mixture of long tempo runs, interval and threshold sessions and easy recovery runs, I also do a lot of cycling, swimming, weights and strength and conditioning work. Oh, and Pilates, too. Tell us about your achievements...
The growth of the healthy snacking market is good news for everyone

The growth of the healthy snacking market is good news for everyone

Earlier this year, the news, lifestyle and business pages were all shouting from the rooftops about healthy snacking. As a business sector, the healthy snacks market is predicted to be worth almost $33 billion by the year 2025. The interesting question is why? People enjoy being healthy and they enjoy eating snacks, there’s no news flash there. So what is it that’s caused this sudden increase in healthy snacking? According to the researchers, the answer is a simple one that will resonate with anyone who knows anything about marketing in the digital age. It’s a combination of consumers being better informed and products being more easily available. Meeting market demands It’s the same old story across multiple sectors from banking to gaming to driving. Understand what consumers want, provide a product that gives it to them and watch the business grow. It sounds ridiculously simple, but with healthy snacks in particular, that first point can be as slippery as an eel. Understanding that people want to be healthy and at the same time to eat something delicious is the easy bit. Establishing that connection with a specific oat based snack is not always so straightforward. However, this is called the information age with good reason, and consumers are better informed today on what food choices they need to make than ever. Healthy is the new normal Perhaps the biggest shift in healthy snacking, then, is one of perception. Why would someone actively choose an unhealthy snack, any more than they would choose one that tasted unpleasant or that was needlessly expensive? Snacks that are high in salt, sugar and...
Keeping you fuelled for the long run

Keeping you fuelled for the long run

A recent article in the Independent newspaper reported that there are some two million people in the UK who run on a regular basis. These range from those who are just starting on a fitness journey with a gentle jog round the block each morning to serious long-distance athletes to the thousands who fall somewhere in between. As well as rapidly becoming the nation’s most popular way of keeping fit, running is also a method of choice when it comes to raising essential funds charity and at Focused Nutrition, we are always eager to support worthy causes. But wherever you run and for whatever reason, our nutritious snacks are just what’s needed to keep you going. Let’s see where they fit into your body’s broader fuel needs when you are planning on hitting the road, track or trail. Understand your needs When you run, your body burns approximately 100 calories per mile. So if you’re running 20 miles per week, you’ll need to increase calorie intake by about 2000. Of course, if the idea is to lose a few pounds, you might want to decrease that slightly, but don’t overdo it or you simply won’t have the energy to perform. Don’t try running on empty There’s nothing like a run first thing in the morning to blow away the cobwebs and get you ready for the day. It can be tempting to leap out of bed and into your running shoes and get out there to cover some miles before breakfast. You’ll certainly work up an appetite, but “running on empty” in this way is not going to do...
Cooling but nutritious food ideas to survive the summer heatwave

Cooling but nutritious food ideas to survive the summer heatwave

As the UK takes a deep breath after one of the hottest July heatwaves in memory, it’s worth remembering that there is still plenty of summer still to come. In hot conditions, your body is placed under increasing strain. We all know the importance of hydration, but it’s also vital to keep your nutrition levels up if you want to stay alert and at your best. After all, tempting though it might be to take an afternoon siesta in a shady spot, it’s a luxury few of us can afford, so it is vital to do all we can to avoid that 2PM slump. The problem many of us face is that as well as being energy-sapping, hot weather can also give the appetite a hit. When the mercury hits the 30s, the last thing on most people’s minds is a big plate of food. Here are some tips for keeping nutrition levels up from morning till night. Rough up your smoothie for breakfast When there’s a scorching day ahead, few breakfast options look more tempting than a smoothie. Cool, hydrating, delicious, light and full of vitamins and minerals – what’s not to like? The only downside to a smoothie for breakfast is that you are likely to be feeling hungry again an hour or so later. Here’s a cunning trick from those in the know. Oats are a breakfast staple, but enjoying them doesn’t have to mean diving into a bowl of steaming hot porridge. Try adding some to your smoothie to give it a little more substance and texture. You will find that you stay comfortably full...