THIS week I’m giving details about my warm-up and cool-down routines, plus I’ve got two delicious summer recipes to share with you.
My Salmon and Prawn Skewers and Sunburst Salad are perfect for any entertaining you might have planned this weekend or simply as a healthy dinner.
No matter where you are in your fitness journey or what level of training you are at, a warm up and cool down should always be a part of your routine. As a professional athlete, they were key components of any training session I did.
Warming up is important for loads of reasons: it reduces risk of injury, prepares the body and mind for exercise, increases the body’s temperature so muscles are more elastic and can move more efficiently and increases heart rate and directs more blood to the working muscles.
Recently I participated in a 5K run series in Phoenix Park in Dublin. It was amazing to see so many people, of all ages and abilities, moving together with the focus purely on participation and fun. Prior to the race, I led a mass warm up with fitness expert Karl Henry. It was quick but effective. I find it perfect to do this right before a run:
Five minute warm up on the spot:
After the race I did my usual cool down. There are loads of benefits to a cool down including gently slowing of the heart rate, increasing blood flow and nutrient delivery to muscles, aiding the disposal of waste products like lactic acid, and aiding recovery and reducing muscle soreness.
My cool down includes both gentle running and stretching. It’s important to stretch as it helps to improve flexibility, range of motion and posture while also relaxing the muscles and returning them to their resting length post workout. I love a good stretch!
10-minute cool down:
Foam rolling is another great addition to any warm up or cool down routine. It’s a self-massage technique that can help to increase circulation to your muscles and relax any tight muscles to prevent a build up of tension. I tend to aim for two to three times per week at a separate time to my workout and as I love a good chance to multi task I will often do it while watching my favourite TV show or listening to a podcast. My toddler see’s us rolling on the fowm roller so much that even she rolls on it!
Fitspo: My fitspiration for this week is @KaylaItsines. I recently bought her new book The Bikini Body 28-Day Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide and I really like it.
It’s beautifully laid out and is packed with recipes along with hints and tips on how to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
It also comes with a pull- out wall poster with some great workout ideas.
When the sun comes out, a good salad can really hit the spot. This one is bursting full of goodness with the most amazing dressing. The pomegranate seeds add a touch of sweetness and are full of nutrients and antioxidants. The orange also adds an extra hit of vitamin C. It’s easy to throw together and works well as a light meal or a side salad.
Prep time: 10 minutes
½ head red cabbage, shredded (quarter the cabbage, remove the core and slice)
1 pomegranate, cut and deseeded
1 orange, zest and juice
1 lime, zest and juice
3 oranges, peeled and sliced
Large handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
200g organic natural yoghurt
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for a delicious salad option.
This salad will go beautifully with BBQ meat or fish.
Salmon and Prawn Skewers
This recipe is easy, healthy and delicious. It feels very summery, especially when cooked on the BBQ and enjoyed al fresco with friends, but don’t worry if you don’t have a BBQ, they taste just as good when done in the oven.
I love fish and am always looking for new and easy ways to cook it. These skewers are hard to beat as they are packed with protein, minerals and fatty acids which our bodies love.
They pair perfectly with a whole host of side dishes but a simple green salad and baked potato with real butter are my favourites.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
500g salmon, diced
16 large tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
1 yellow pepper, chopped into large chunks
1 courgette, sliced into thick circles
8 long wooden/metal skewers, soaked in water
3tbsp rapeseed oil
1 lemon, juiced
1tsp sea salt
1tsp cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C or light the BBQ.
Load the skewers with the fish, prawns and vegetables, ensuring everyone gets the same amount
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon, salt and pepper dressing
Brush the skewers with the dressing
Oven: Place the skewers on a lightly greased tray and cook in oven for 10-15 minutes. Turn the skewers half way through to ensure even cooking and brush with more dressing.
BBQ: Place the skewers on the BBQ and cook for 10-15 minutes. Continuously marinade with dressing and turn regularly so they don’t stick to the grill.
Remove from the oven or BBQ and transfer to a serving plate.
Enjoy immediately with side dishes of your choice. My preference would be the Sunburst Salad from today’s column.
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