A few months back, I was extremely fortunate to have been invited to an exclusive event, Cooking With Quorn Ambassador Jessie Pavelka. For those who are not familiar, Jessie is a US Fitness Expert and Presenter most known for his appearances on The Biggest Loser and Obese: A Year to Save My Life. With his extensive knowledge as a personal trainer and former body builder, he has helped hundreds of people turn their lives around by encouraging them to lead a health conscious lifestyle through regular exercise healthier eating choices.
As well as getting to grips with making various delicious Quorn Recipes (more on that later) I also got the opportunity to ask Jessie a few fitness related questions for you beautiful people and my chosen topic for discussion was Working Out during Winter Months and How to Stay Motivated.
Working Out During Winter Months
During our informal chat, Jessie advised that we should not let the weather dictate if we complete our planned workout or not (especially if it’s running related) so dress for the elements, and pair up with a running buddy to ensure safety in numbers and get out there.
If you’d rather complete an indoor workout, Jessie favours High Intensity Interval Training by incorporating a mixture of cardioand strength based exercises. Strength based exercises does not always have to involve free weights or dumbells as bodyweight exercises can be just as challenging. Push-ups and Pullupsand tricep dips are great ways to build upper body strength whilst bodyweight squats, squat pulses and lungeswork wonders for the working the legs and bum. To work the core, Jessie recommends holding the plank for as long as you can for a full body workout.
If you find you can complete any of the above standard exercises with ease, Jessie suggests that you up the anti by adding challenging variations to these simple exercises in order to prevent plateau.
The Importance of Stretching Before and After Every Workout
More than 50 % of injuries gym goers and fitness enthusiasts experience can be significantly reduced by following these simple rules to working out safely. Jessie advises that a proper warm up and cool down is completed before and after a workout and suggests to complete joint mobility exercises starting from the feet up followed by dynamic stretches to prepare the body for exercise. After you have completed a few exercises to increase the heart rate (jogging on the spot etc) static stretches can then be incorporated. The entire warm up including joint mobility should ideally be between 10 – 15 minutes long.
Diet and Nutrition
As a personal trainer and fitness expert, Jessie spoke enthusiastically about the importance diet and nutrition play in our fitness regime. Whilst exercise is also key to staying in shape, it is what we consume that fuels our workouts and helps our sore muscles to ultimately recover quicker.
Whilst Jessie confesses to eating a juicy burger or a slice of cake or two every once in a while, he kindly shared his typical ‘day on a plate’ with me which usually consists of proteins such as eggs, poultry, meat Quorn andProtein Shakes. Complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, lots of vegetables (especially the dark leafy green types like Kale, Spinach, Romain Lettuce), pulses, grains and fruit.
Pregnancy and Exercise
Being a first time expectant mother I was extremely keen to hear what Jessie’s thought were on pregnancy and exercise and was pleased to learn that Jessie encouraged remaining active during pregnancy. He advised to use our pregnancy to explore other low impact forms of exercise such as swimming, pregnancy yoga / pilatesand walking.
This might of course be totally different to the high impact workouts and strength training we were used to completing pre pregnancy but the most important thing is to keep movingas an active pregnancy will greatly benefit both mother and baby!
Cooking With Quorn: Post Workout Meal – Durban Curry
As part of the event, we also got the opportunity to cook up a variety of dishes using Quorn Foods Products. For those not already familiar, Quorn is a great vegetarian alternative for anyone who wishes to increase their protein intake without having to consume the likes of meat or poultry, dietary or otherwise.
Made with primarily ingredient mycoprotein, which is part of the fungi family and sourced from parts of a mushroom, the taste, texture and appearance of Quorn will have you fooled into thinking you’re consuming actual meat! Quorn can be purchased in a variety of leading supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and online via Ocado. They have also very recently extended their range to include vegan burgers!
We cooked a pretty tasty Quorn fillet Durban Curry on the day, and have since been experimenting in the kitchen with their products kindly gifted to those in attendance and have come up with a Moroccan Inspired Quorn Fillet One Pot. For those interested in the recipe you will be able to view my creation via Quorn’s Website very soon and will endeavour to update this article to include the link.
Disclaimer: This article was in collaboration with Quorn. As always, all opinions and thoughts are honest and entirely my own.
Danielle is a 1st Dan Kickboxing coach / Assistant Instructor under the PKA Kickboxing Association who is also a health, fitness, green beauty, wellness and lifestyle freelance writer / digital journalist. Her passions include encouraging others to lead an active, health conscious lifestyle whilst leading her Breakin' Boundrez team on various fitness related challenges.