Category Archives: Paleo

Squats, squats and more squats

Squats are most definitely one of the best exercises you can do. Not only do they increase your heart rate thus helping to burn fat but they give you a really good bum! 

  
Far too many times I see people not doing squats properly, now I don’t claim to be the queen of squats and sometimes I’ve heard the ‘no rep’ from my coach but It is important to squat properly, to reap the benefits and to avoid injury.

  

I used to squat when I went to the gym by myself but never really knew how to complete a squat properly. You might think oh a squats easy, anyone can do it but you’d be wrong there can be lots of factors that prevent people from being able to squat.

After I started crossfit, I began to follow a programme with my partner Josh and soon saw my squat numbers increase by quite a margin. After all a good squat is crucial in so many crossfit movements from wall balls, olympic lifts to thrusters and even box jumps. If you know how to move well through a squat movement then you have a good base.

  I followed the Smolov program whilst training with my other half and my 1rm went from 100kg to 115kg which I was super happy with. If you want a link to Smolov have a look here, you work out your percentages and then go from there it’s a great programme that can help to increase your numbers. I followed the junior program.

Smolov
Ok so tips for a good squat. First you need to begin with a basic air squat.

Feet on the floor standing straight. Then push your bum backwards and squat down, you need to make sure your knees track in alignment with your toes and that your hips break parallel. If you struggle with the latter then try working on your ankle range and if you really find it tricky try squatting onto a bench or med ball first to develop better range. The ought the movement keep your weight on your heels and your back straight, try to engage your core. 

  
If you have a good air squat then build this up until your confident to move with a bar. Now I go for a high bar hold meaning I balance the bar quite high up on my back but this is just what feels comfortable for me you may prefer to have the bar resting lower.

Then complete your squat the same as you did with the air squat. Keep your core tight and knee tracking over your toes. You don’t want to see this at the bottom of your squat  

 
Here my left knee in particular is not where it should be!

Make sure you increase the weight only when you are comfortable with what you are doing. I rarely attempt 1rm but spend a lot of time working around 65-85% of my max. 

If you can squat and keep your heels flat on the floor then great, if you think you may need some help then invest in some lifting shoes but remember they don’t do all the work for you! 

Points to remember 

  • Knees tracking over toes
  • Feet shoulder width apart or wider if you prefer a ️Powerlifting stance
  • Engage your core
  • Tight back, engage your upper back
  • Weight on heels
  • Hips below parallel 



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Role models…

I’m writing this post because I recently posted a couple of photos on to my Instagram page hannah_j_lewis and was happily surprised at the response I got. I didn’t post it to get comments or anything but more to try and inspire other women.

  
The above is the photo! On the left I was 60kg and 20% body fat, I made sure I ran everyday and spent a lot of the time poorly. I skipped meals on a regular basis with the sole aim to be ‘skinny.’ That was my goal, I wanted to be under 60kg and punished myself for even eating a square of chocolate, not a healthy mind set at all.

Jump to the photo on the right, I’m now 10kg heavier at 70kg, I’m much healthier, I have more energy, better skin and nails and my body fat is even lower at 14%! 

What I’ve come to realise on my journey through weightlifting and crossfit is that skinny is not actually healthy. I used to look up to singers such as Cheryl Cole and think they look great but actually they’re a bag of bones, if that’s what you aspire to be then that’s fine but I want young women and girls to look up to be something healthy, strong and beautiful. 

I had lots of responses to my post, many girls thanking me for public ally saying it’s ok to put on weight/ muscle and to be heavier. I also had messages from girls who had eating disorders who also thanked me and that was really nice to see. 

The other day a girl I used to teach walked past me in my crossfit class. The next day her mum handed me a pencil drawn picture of me lifting weights with the words ‘when I grow up I want to lift weights and be strong like you Miss Lewis.’ This meant the world to me, if I can inspire any female no matter how old or irregardless of ability then I’ve done my job! 

I’m not saying it’s been easy, I still have mini freak outs that I’m heavier now but then i remind myself of what I can do, how functional I am and how healthy and I feel enpowered. I’m also lucky to be surrounded by a wonderful boyfriend, friends and family. 

If you’re reading this and struggle with your weight or body issues then please remember it’s more important to make yourself happy and to be healthy. Look up to those female sport stars not the catwalk models! 

After all if we were in the hunger games… Who would survive?! 

  


Blend blend blend

One of the best thing I have discovered this year is the good old fashioned blender! I had heard about the nutribullet but at roughly £84.99 thought it was a little pricey, I then found one that was very similar made by Breville and was only £29.50.

  
These blenders are brilliant because you add all of your ingredients straight into the bottle, therefore it minimises mess and washing up also! 

This blender has been a massive hit in my house with both my parents and my sister making themselves healthy shakes. I also like it for mixing my protein shake as it eliminates the yukky lumps you get from a shaker. The Breville comes with two bottles as well which is really hands, they have clip lids so are great for on the move. Simply plug the blender in, pour your ingredients in and then press go and it’s done. 

There are so many great shake recipes out there and so easy to make. I’ve included a couple of my favourite below. 

Chocolate protein & peanut butter

  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 banana 
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3-5 ice cubes

  
Blueberry smoothie

  • 2 scoops strawberry/ vanilla protein
  • 1 handful blueberries
  • 3-5 ice cubes
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

  
For more great recipes check out this website they have hundreds.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/proteinshakes.htm


Body fat measurements

I decided to have my body fat tested just out of curiosity, I am happy with my body now and have got used to my heavier, leaner frame but wanted to know the figures. 

A great, cheap way to have your body fat tested is through using calipers. It’s best to have a professional use them when they test you as they will really know how to carry out the measurements. 

  
The calipers work by taking measurements at various points on the body, these are then calculated to give you an overall percentage. 

  
So I had mine taken and was quite pleased that the person carrying out couldn’t seem to grab much on my legs and arms, back and tummy could’ve been another story though! 

Drumroll for the results… 14.7%! To say I was happy was an understatement i wanted to do cartwheels around the room, I was over the moon and a little shocked. I realised that all my hard work in the gym and actually increasing my food intake has had great results. 

  


Protein ice cream… Yum! 

Upon a recent visit to London I discovered wheyhey ice cream, I can’t believe I’ve never had it before! 

I have such a sweet tooth and love ice cream so I was excited to try this little tub of strawberry delight that contained 20g of protein. 

  
The texture was slightly different to ‘normal’ ice cream but the flavour was delicious and it still tasted great. The best thing is that it contains nothing artificial and no sugar, it uses an artificial sweeter called xylitol. 

  
I got my tub from a health food shop but having looked at their website it is now beginning to be stocked further afield, including in Odeon cinemas! You can also buy from muscle foods and ocado 

Check out their web page 

Wheyhey


Pb City

Apoligies for being quiet on here recently, I have been poorly. I took a few days rest as think I have been over training a little and not fuelling my body enough.

This morning was my first session and I decided to give olympic lifting a go as it wouldn’t get me out of breath and plus it’s my favourite. 

We worked on technique and one of the coaches told me to just go light and work form due to the fact I’d been poorly, I nodded and agreed. However, once I pick up that barbell I just want to go heavy I can’t help it! 

We started with snatch, a movement I really don’t like because I find it so technical. I started to feel pretty good, we worked on a slow first phase up to the knees and then a fast final phase. I needed to focus on staying on my heels and taking my time, I tried to do this and to push my knees out and started to feel better. I slowly built up to near my 1 rep max of 62.5kg, I got up to 60kg and failed. I explained to the coach I hadn’t gotten a PB in a while in my snatch, so he said to put 63.5kg on the bar and just pick it up.

I took this on board and instead of fussing around I just went for it and I finished it! Was super happy and my confidence was given a massive boost so I decided to take the plunge and put a further 4kg on and got up to 67.5kg. First attempt and I did it and it felt so easy because I concentrated on keeping the bar close and staying on my heels.

Tips for a successful snatch

  • Keep the bar close to your body at all times
  • Stay on your heels throughout the lift 
  • Engage your lats and flat back when setting up for your lift
  • Strong shoulders

Then we moved onto squat cleans which I really enjoy, I’m still quite nervous as I had a bad injury in May this year but I’m building my confidence.

I started off at 60kg and built up to a pb at 92.5kg, this was a 2.5kg pb but I wanted more so put 95kg on the bar and did it first time. I also managed to catch it on film too! Really wanting to get that 100kg clean. 

Tips for squat clean

  • Again keep the bar close and start with your lats engaged 
  • Drive through your heels 
  • When the bar hits your hips, drop quickly to get underneath the bar
  • Once you’ve gotten underneath the bar keep your core engaged and your elbows high

Vitacoco coconut oil 

I love social media and recently had seen lots of posts about the new coconut oil from the guys at Vita Coco.

I love the coconut water that this company too and enjoy it as a treat after training to refresh, it’s delicious! 

  
I went to a couple of boots stores and couldn’t see it so messaged the guys on Instagram @vccoconutoiluk and they replied promptly with where I could purchase it from. Brilliant service thank you guys! 

I headed there today and sure enough saw it on the shelves, only two left so it’s obviously doing well. 

  
The price was £9.99 for a jar of 500ml, however when I went to the til it had £2.50 off so was a real bargain.

Vita coco coconut oil
The coconut oil is 100% raw and organic and can be used as a moisturiser, in your hair or to cook with. I always cook with coconut oil because it’s healthier and very light. However, I was super excited that this Vita Coco coconut oil could be used on your hair and your body. 

Tonight I used it on my hair and I’m really impressed with the result, my hair is smooth and far less frizzy than normal I’ve also noticed my dreaded split ends are looking much better. I used it as a hair mask and left it in for 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. In addition coconut oil has said to be a great make up remover and also good as a lip salve, I can’t wait to try both of these things out. 

Anyone else tried it, let me know what you think 🙂