For the closing of Healthista’s Strong Women Fortnight, we ask top London strength and conditioning instructor, Laura Hoggins (otherwise known as Biceps and Bronzer), what healthy food essentials she uses to fuel those savage workouts
Laura Hoggins has been making a name for herself in London for the past three years with a mantra of ‘nothing looks as good, as strong feels’. A strength and conditioning instructor, she leads classes at The Foundry, Ministry Does Fitness and ONE LDN, passionately encouraging women (and men) to challenge their bodies to their absolute max – ‘if it doesn’t feel savage, push harder!’ she bellows over the music.
Everyone is keen to get a little insight into how she builds those envious biceps on such a tiny frame
When she’s not flexing, she’s motivating others, and with a following of over 3,600 on Instagram, everyone is keen to get a little insight into how she builds those envious biceps on such a tiny frame. Strength training and using weights is increasingly becoming shouted about, and whilst the benefits to health and fitness are endless, the tools required to do it safely and efficiently are not. Studios across London are offering popular classes for girl gains, but do you know your deadlift from your bent over row?
That’s why Healthista created the Strong Women video series, celebrated over the past two weeks. We have been posting tips and tricks from celebrity PT Nicola Addison at Eqvvs Training, on how to correctly weight lift.
But what about diet? So often with a dumbbell in hand, Laura Hoggins makes sure her meals are packed with fuel. She shares her healthy food essentials for strength training…
‘Because I do a lot of strength and conditioning training, about six times per week, it is important for me to get a lot of protein in my diet. I am pescatarian so I sometimes find it hard to get as much as I need. After a heavy strength session, I try to get in about 40 grams of protein from a shake.
My favourite protein powder is Cheeky, which is yet to launch but I have trialled. I particularly like the chocolate vegan – it is genuinely the best tasting vegan blend I have ever tried! Maintaining a high protein diet, and especially straight after a session, will help prevent my body from using muscle tissue for energy and helps encourage muscle synthesis, which will help my muscles build back bigger and stronger.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein synthesis, so in order to support my lean muscle development and improve body composition, I take 10 grams of Optimum Nutrition BCAAs [three essential amino acids] in water before and during every cardio and strength session. It can help with recovery, appearing to help speed up the process of muscle repair.
As much as I like lifting heavy, cardio conditioning is an essential part of training and all round fitness. I try to make it as fun as possible by going to different classes which maintain cardio endurance and intensity, like the Climb to the Beat Versa Class at BXR, or spinning at Psycle.
Protein fuelled meals
Again I try to ensure my meals are high in protein and give me enough fuel to work and train. Protein can make me less hungry and boosts metabolism. I eat four meals a day, two snacks, and a protein shake. I am on just under 2,000 calories a day, which ensures I have enough energy to train hard, feel good, and I can lose body fat relatively safely and sustainably if I am training well.
As a snack, if I need a bit of a boost, I would eat some protein balls or a Grenade Bar (Grenade Carb Killa Caramel Bar, £1.85 from Healthista shop). It’s not completely without sugar, but is relatively low carbs, so I can see it is a treat.
I get my protein shake from Protein Haus – Protein Haus is a full food prep service, where I currently eat 90 per cent of my meals Monday -Saturday. This is a mix of complex carbs, high protein, and good fats. There are lots of retail outlets in and around London, and in ONE LDN gym.
I try not to obsess over macros
If you are looking for lean gains or weight loss, you won’t lose weight if you don’t eat fewer calories than you burn. The calorie deficit is important to me but I won’t eat so little that my body isn’t able to function as it should. I try not to obsess over macros [macronutrients, protein, carbohydrates and fat ratios], but if I am looking to decrease body fat whilst gaining muscle, I need to watch my macro split quite carefully. On Sundays I make my own meals, where I don’t weigh or measure anything, I eat what my body asks for, and try to make good decisions but I always avoid sugar where possible.
Carbohydrates such as PH Cake from Protein Haus
Life is too short not to eat cake! I am a strong believer in working and training hard, but also practising a certain degree of balance. This is genuinely my favourite ever thing to eat and is under 150 calories with 11g of protein and 10g of carbs for a little energy boost. It looks and feels like a treat. How they managed to create this… I do not know!
Carbs are the body’s preferred fuel, and in order for me to train well, I need to ensure my bloody sugar levels are up and glycogen levels are full before a session. I eat the majority of my carbs around a workout, and on a rest day, I tend to eat relatively low carbs as I don’t want it to be stored as fat. But in general, we shouldn’t be afraid of carbs -our body needs it, we just need to understand when and how much to eat them. I tend to stick to complex carbs like rolled oats or sweet potato for slow energy release throughout the day.
we shouldn’t be afraid of carbs – our body needs it, we just need to understand when and how much to eat them
Nuts are a great way of keeping energy high, a good source of fibre, protein and good fats. I could eat almond butter all day. Pip & Nut Almond & Coconut Butter is amazing. I will have this with some 0% FAGE Greek Yoghurt, or with some protein pancakes, or even blended in with a protein shake.
My favourite protein pancake recipe is: two eggs, one tablespoon of low fat cottage cheese, 20g rolled oats, half a banana, a sprinkle of cinnamon powder, 20g protein powder, in a pan with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Then finish with a spoonful of almond butter, and some Greek yoghurt. Incredible – you have to try it!
Laura Hoggins Coach at The Foundry, FoundryFit.com: It was through discovering the benefits of strength and conditioning and weightlifting mixed with cardio, mobility and nutrition that helped Laura achieve her own results. She believes everyone discovers ‘fitness’ at some stage in their life but every individuals journey to health and wellness is very different. Laura’s fitness principles and programming are intense but efficient, with technique and form being of the highest priority.
How do you fuel your training? Share your advice by tweeting @HealthistaTV
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