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 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Summer 2014

Earlier this year after the Commonwealth Games trials, I made a huge decision to follow my coach and enter a programme that basically didn't exist - The London Aquatic Centre Performance Programme. And so much has happened between then and now.

The first stop of the journey between then and now was the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where I won my first senior long course international medal. It was a Silver in my main event the 400IM. The event was something I hadn't experienced before. I wasn't nervous and I didn't know why. Although I couldn't eat the day of my race, (which never happens to me) I felt pretty calm and chilled out about the whole competition. I think it had something to do with the fact I had raced at the pool plenty of times before. I had won junior Scottish national medals, swam at UK school games in that very pool when I was 13 and of course swam the trails there 3 months before. There was just something about the place that made me feel comfortable. After my first medal... obviously slightly disappointed it wasn't a gold one, I went on to win 2 more. I was called up to help my team out in the heat of the 4x200 freestyle team, something I never get to be part of, and helped my team to qualify and win Bronze medal in the evening. I really enjoyed being part of team, not knowing how the race is going to pan out makes the pressure and excitement that much greater, and I loved it. My final medal came from the 200m Butterfly. I knew the race was going to be fast just from looking at the heat sheet. Earlier in the year if someone had asked me if there was a chance of me winning a commonwealth medal in 200m Butterfly I would have laughed. Not knowing what was going to happen was probably the reason why I enjoyed this race so much more than the others.
My most successful competition to date...

After Glasgow there was no time to celebrate as I had to knuckle down and concentrate on preparing for the European Championships in Berlin that were just a few weeks later. Racing at two huge meets in one summer was something I had never done before and british swimmers had rarely tackled. It what was even harder for the few selected athletes knowing that the rest of the GB swim team were enjoying their summer break, while we carried on training. This didn't really bother me too much and I'm so glad I got to race again, as I really really enjoyed Europeans. The whole team swam amazing taking home the largest medal haul we've ever had, and it was probably the most enthusiastic team I have ever been part of. I added to the medal haul by taking a silver in the 200IM and a bronze in the 400IM finishing my season on a high!

I've been like a yo-yo over the last couple of months since the Commonwealth games travelling here, there, and everywhere... and I even managed to squeeze a weeks holiday in. I'm currently studying at The University of East London, enjoying living in my new penthouse suit (as i like to call it) in a Unite accommodation tower block. Trust me when I say I can see the whole of London from my bedroom window. It's pretty spectacular.

I'm soon to be posting something brand new and exciting which I hope will be useful to some of you. So keep and eye out!


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