Wednesday, 22 April 2015

British Championships 2015

This year the British Champs in London weren't exactly amazing, but I guess that was part of the plan. My aim was to swim well in the 400IM – my main event – at the end of the week, but I didn’t realise how hard it was to focus on the end of the week whilst trying to swim through the first few days not feeling 100%. This week I learnt a lot about what it’s like to race when you’re not feeling your best when it matters. I guess I could wake up on race day at the Olympics and just not feel my best so at least now I know I can pull it out the bag if I need to like I did on 400IM day. Ross Murdock said to me at the beginning of the week ‘It's not about how you race on a good day, but how you race on a bad day’ – safe to say I definitely remembered his words of wisdom!

Talking about Ross… I was so so so so annoyed that I missed the mens 100m Breastroke last week where Ross finished second to Adam Peaty. I was already tucked up in bed at 8pm getting ready for the next days racing! Usually at a British Champs the event has a live stream (which I would have been watching if it was available as I am a huge swimming geek), but this year there wasn’t. There are many reasons that all organisations have been using as to why this is the case, but I just think it’s such a shame that only a handful of people witnessed that race live. For those of you that don’t know what happened, Adam Peaty won the race and doing so broke a WORLD RECORD! AND I MISSED IT!
The BBC not to long ago showed the GB athletics trials for their world championships live on TV, yet swimming doesn’t make the cut. Many of you might think swimming is boring, but I say us swimmers deserve the same coverage as other sports. When you look at the ranking of many GB swimmers in the world there are many of us ranked 1, 2, 3 in our chosen events. The thing that bugs me, and correct me if I am wrong, but I am convinced there are probably the same number, if not more  world ranked athletes in swimming than there are in athletics. 
Same goes for football and many other sports that have been made popular by the media.  
My tweet on the issue last week got over 300 favourites, so there must be some people out there who agree with me. All I am saying is that GB swimmers as a collective had their most successful commonwealth games, and European championships in 2014 but it wasn’t enough to earn TV rights at the British trails which host the best GB has to offer... And not forgetting this year was held at the London 2012 Olympic Pool! I think it really is such a shame – But hey… Maybe one day!

Since last week I feel like all I want, and need, to do is sleep!
You don’t notice how much a big week of racing takes out of you, even though you nap every day! Alongside sleeping I’ve been doing a few sessions in the pool and the gym to keep me ticking over and help get me back in the swim of things while being at home. I woke up this morning after a pretty hard days training yesterday to killer DOMS! And I mean – the worst! (no joke)
But I can’t let that stop me, as I need my legs to function soon as I’m off to Paris tomorrow for a well deserved break with my boyfriend. It’s nice to have something to look forward to mid season, but I guess I couldn’t get too excited up until a few days ago as I had the trials to think about first.

The team is announced for the World championships soon and I’m hoping I did enough to earn my place on the team! We’ll soon see!


Sunday, 5 April 2015

World trials

With just over a week to go until British Swimming Championships things are heating up and getting a little bit more exciting. This year the British champs doubles up as the trials for the World Championships in Russia at the beginning of August, which I’m aiming to qualify for.
This year the trails will be in my HOME POOL and as you all probably know by now, is the London 2012 Olympic Pool!! Obviously there will still be the usual pre trails nail appointment, but this time I wont be preparing for the week by packing my swim stuff, but doing a food shop… and not having to take my pillow anywhere as I’ll be sleeping in my own bed.

The Olympic pool is one of the most tranquil pools I’ve ever swum in. Picture this – It’s 7 am, its quiet with the sun shining through the glass, and even though it is freezing cold 9 times out of 10 I cant really complain tooooo much about diving in for training. BUT… next week it’ll be the complete opposite. With most of the sessions sold out, the event is going to be huge! The last time any British athlete raced at the Olympic pool was at the Olympic Games; so no doubt their will be many memories that come flooding back.

The final push is over and now it’s time to rest up, sharpen up and get excited about the event ahead. I will be racing, 200 Butterfly, 400 Frontcrawl, 200 Individual Medley and 400 Individual Medley so be sure to keep an eye out, and if you can, pop down, and steal one of the few remaining seats.

Some of my new teammates, alongside some of my old ones will be racing next week too. All with different goals in mind; be sure to keep an eye out for Team LAC swimmers and of course my little Middlesbrough Stars!

That’s all from me for now! No doubt as you read this I’ll be sleeping, eating, or chilling out trying to find something to watch on TV. I’ve just finished watching Sons of Anarchy so I’m a little bit lost now…
Any recommendations for a new series to watch throw them this way – I need a new obsession!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Towards the end of January I raced at the Flanders Speedo Cup where I represented GB. I race at this meet every year and each time I love it. The pool isn't amazing, the swim down pool isn't ideal and all my main event fall back to back in the programme, but for some reason I just love the chaos of it all. 
This year I swam pretty well :) I won 2 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze over the weekend and all in fairly quick times for this time of the season - so I was pretty happy! 

Since then I've been working hard again and preparing for the BUCS championships. The BUCS are next weekend in Sheffield, and i'm looking forward to representing the University Of East London again. The BUCS judo, boxing, and athletics are all on the same weekend so i'm pretty excited to watch my Uni team-mates when I'm not racing.

Back to my second love after swimming - FOOD! 
Last week I made myself a killer smoothie, and doing so broke my blender. I definitely need to get myself a new one ASAP. 

For this smoothie you will need- 

2 tbsp of Total Greek Yoghurt,
a handful of Frozen berries, 
Lime juice, 
1 Scoop of protein powder, 
A splash of Almond milk,

This smoothie is perfect post gym as its packed full of protein! Try it yourself and throw in some of your favourite fruits!  

Monday, 19 January 2015

Two different types of “cakes”

Since Christmas my work load in the pool and in the gym has increased. I’ve been swimming a lot further than normal, doing extra sessions here and there, and lifting heavy in the gym. This means I’ve been eating a bit more than normal to make sure I’m getting the calories I need to fuel the extra training.
My breakfast after training has increased the most. By the time I get home from morning training it’s normally about 11 o’clock and I have already been exercising and on the go since 6.30, so I’m usually pretty hungry. Recently I've been getting really bored of eating the same old for breakfast – either porridge or scrambled eggs on toast. My favourite thing to make at home after training with my sister when she used to swim, was always pancakes. I thought I’d try making some protein packed pancakes instead, to keep the nutritionist happy. 

I was a bit cautious at first when I found a recipe online, as it didn’t sound anything like the sort of pancake I was used to making, but decided to give it a go anyway and add a few of my own touches.

They turned out to be amazing!

To begin add 1 cup of oats, 1 egg white, 2 scoops of protein powder (any flavour),
2 large tbsp of greek yoghurt with a splash of milk and 1 tsp of cinnamon, into a blender and blitzed together. That’s the hard part done. You want the mixture to be fairly thick.
Then simply pour the mixture into a hot pan with oil (I use coconut) so the mixture forms into small or large pancakes. Whilst the mixture starts to cook, simply press 4 or 5 frozen blueberries into each pancake. After a couple of minutes flip the pancakes and cook for a further few minutes.

Serve the pancakes on a plate with a large dollop of Total Greek Yoghurt, peanut butter and some more berries! 
The antioxidants in the berries help with recovery, so after a hard session the more the merrier… And that’s that!

As I am also a student at university alongside my swimming career, I like to use all the food that’s going out of date in my fridge. Although my fridge is far from a stereotypical student fridge, I did have a bag of carrots that were due to go out of date. I decided to make some carrot cake to eat first thing on a morning before training, to fuel my morning of exercise.
The carrot cake I made had no sugar and no butter in it, making it the healthiest cake I’ve ever eaten. I also really don’t like bananas (I know they’re good for you, but I just can’t stand the taste) and this recipe even included a few.
So here is the recipe:

3 eggs
1-2 ripe bananas
10-15 fresh dates (without seeds)
6 tbsp sunflower oil
1 cup gluten free flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
3 carrots (medium size, grated)
½ cup coconut flakes
1 cup walnuts (roughly chopped)
½ cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 175c. Whisk the eggs in a medium sized bowl. I used blender to mix bananas, dates and oil into a thick cream in another bowl. Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and stir it together with the eggs and the banana-cream. Add grated carrots, coconut flakes, walnuts and raisins and stir it until it all comes together.

Pour it into a cake pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes. Let it cool. I then added a small spoon of peanut butter on the top and added a few walnuts. And thats that!

I was actually amazed that this cake tasted so nice without any sugars. It turned out a little bit like a malt loaf so I absolutely love it. I usually go though one a week as a pre training snack but this week I’ll be eating carrot cake instead. J

Friday, 9 January 2015

Becoming a chef...

Christmas this year was very different for me, as I didn’t spend the lead up to the festive period at home. Normally I’d be helping my mum putting up the Christmas tree with the  Christmas tunes on, but this year felt very different, but that’s all part of growing up. 

Since moving to London I've been sticking to a strict diet plan to get the most out of my training and gym work!! The worst part was I didn’t even have an advent calendar!! But there was definitely no devouring a whole tub of Quality Street to myself. (My favourite are the orange ones) However on Christmas day after doing my abs circuit I decided to treat myself to one day where I didn’t fully stick to my diet plan. I enjoyed a magnificent Christmas Dinner. You name it – it was on my plate. For dessert of course... Christmas cake with custard!! :) 

Boxing Day was a different story and I was back to eating healthy. Whilst the rest of the Willmott's tucked into a second Christmas dinner, I made myself a salad with left-over cold meats! All this junk food got me thinking….I want to eat all my favourite foods without straying from my diet. Surely I can make healthy versions of my favourite foods?

Since moving to London in September, my cooking skills have improved dramatically. Almost ready for Masterchef. However I have had some help from my boyfriend and together we've started to make some pretty tasty healthy food. As a swimmer, all I do is swim, sleep and eat. And if I'm not swimming, sleeping or eating, I’m at university. 9 times out of 10 the food I crave is chocolate, biscuits or anything that's within reach in the cupboard......I have a really big sweet tooth.

When I am eating to refuel after a training session, I want to make sure it tastes good to help get rid of the cravings!
Since the New Year I have really been craving fish and chips, so instead of giving in and getting myself a takeaway, I decided to make it from scratch myself. Not going to lie... it tasted amazing but best thing was, I stuck to my diet plan. I'll be posting the recipe below!!!

Throughout 2015 I’ll be posting a blog and keeping you up to date with my new hobby. Cooking! So I'll be making recovery snacks, hearty meals, smoothies, and breakfast ideas, so make sure you stick around to see what I’ve come up with. My next blog will feature the recipe for my amazing protein pancakes, for a post training delight!! 

I’ll also be posting pictures of my latest creations on twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #healthyjunk. So if you can’t wait until my next post go and check them out. 

If you would like me to try and make any of your favourite unhealthy foods, healthy, just leave me a comment.

So here's what your going to need for the healthy fish and chips;

2 fresh cod fillets 
1 med sweet potato
Mixed herbs
Sea salt & black pepper
Tin of mushy peas (optional) 
For the batter 
50g gluten free flour
1 egg white 
125ml water
Coconut oil 

Start with the sweet potato - this is simple, just chop them up into the thickness you desire. Add a pinch of salt, a good grind of pepper, a sprinkle of mixed herbs and give them a spray with 1cal oil. Place them in the oven at 180C for 45mins and give them a mix around half way through. If you want them extra crispy, finish under the grill. 

For the batter, 
Whisk the egg white until it goes frothy in a small bowl. In a separate large bowl, start with the flour and add the water, stirring continuous. Once mixed together, add the egg white and whisk the batter until frothy. Then add the fillets to the mix and let them soak in the batter.

Add 2 table spoons of coconut oil to a hot pan. Once the oil is hot enough, add the cod and follow the cooking instructions. 
Then serve up with mushy peas and a sauce of your choice!! Enjoy.

Aimee xo 

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