Spicy Venison Sausage & Chickpea Casserole

4 meals in under an hour! Not a bad return and a great balance of macros when served with a small helping of sweet potato or a wholemeal pitta. This dish works as a lunch or an evening meal. Delicious!




Ingredients (serves 4)

10 butchers venison sausages (I use thin medium sized)

1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil

150g red onion chopped

1 large red chilli finely chopped

1 red pepper chopped into sizeable chunks

1 yellow pepper chopped into sizeable chunks

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 litre beef stock

400g tin of chickpeas drained

60g chopped Spanish Chorizo

Low sodium salt & black pepper to season

Additional chilli flakes if required



1. Heat a grill or George Foreman & add the sausages. Once brown on the outside, remove and set aside (usually takes 5 minutes each side or 5 minutes total in George Foreman)

2. Heat the oil in a large pot or wok & toss in the onion, peppers & chilli. Keep the veg moving around the pan until the onion softens & the peppers start to brown



3. Add the chopped tomatoes, paprika & stock. Turn the heat down & keep the sauce bubbling away for 10 minutes

4. While the sauce is coming along, chop the sausage into bite size chunks then throw them in when the 10 minutes is up

5. Drain & rinse the chickpeas & get them in there too along with the chorizo

6. Season with salt & pepper & a few chilli flakes if you like it spicy

7. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes or until the sausages are cooked through

8. Enjoy!








The Benefits of Resistance Training

In some cases, and with certain medical conditions, a resistance training programme may not be advisable. If you are in any doubt about your suitability to partake in a resistance training programme, always first consult your G.P.


We most commonly associate resistance training with free weights and fixed resistance machines. However, strength can be increased in several ways using suspension, body weight, kettlebells and medicine balls to name a few. As long as the exercise challenges you, strength gains will occur.

 “Gone are the days when people thought weight training was just for body builders and power lifters – gone are the days of doing long, slow, boring cardio for fat loss!”


  1. Fat loss – Unlike steady state cardiovascular training, you will continue burning calories for 24-48 hours after a strength training session. This is due to the production of ‘post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC)’ aka ‘the after burn effect’. Get lifting and get lean!
  1. Improved sports performance & injury prevention – Resistance training increases muscular strength and endurance and strengthens connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) providing extra protection from the stresses of everyday life


  1. Increased bone density – As a result of resistance training, the skeletal system adapts to additional forces by producing extra minerals and proteins. The extra mineral and protein production decreases the likelihood of several bone disorders, such as osteoporosis, in later life
  1. Increased energy levels regular strength training increases energy output when performing everyday tasks making it easier to cope with the unpredictability of daily life. This is known as transferable or ‘functional training’
  1. Improved posture – A safe and effective weight training programme will improve posture and promote balance in the muscular skeletal system, thus alleviating a number of everyday aches, pains and soft tissue complaints



(November 2016)

Chicken, Prawn & Chorizo Paella

To make this tasty main course from sunny Spain even healthier, swap the paella rice for wholegrain brown rice and half the chorizo


Ingredients (serves 4) 

1 tablespoon olive oil

100g chorizo finely chopped

300g lean chicken breast cut into strips

15og brown onion roughly chopped

150g red pepper chopped (I like them chunky)

120g green beans rinsed and halved

2 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped

a few saffron strands

900ml chicken stock

225g paella rice

170g pre-cooked king prawns

reduced sodium salt and freshly ground black pepper

smoked paprika to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan or wok
  2. Add the chorizo and fry for 2-3 minutes until slightly crisp and it has released some of its fat, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside
  3. Add the chicken to the oil/chorizo fat and stir fry until cook through, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside with the chorizo
  4. Add the onion, red pepper and green beans and sizzle away tossing around the pan or wok constantly for 5 minutes until the veg starts to soften
  5. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes
  6. Add the saffron, rice and stock and bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes 
  7. Add the chorizo and chicken to the pan and continue cooking for 10 minutes on moderate heat or until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed
  8. Toss in the prawns, season with salt & pepper and continue cooking for 5 minutes
  9. Serve on warm plates with a sprinkle of paprika


Nutrition (per serving)

490 Kcal

Protein: 35g

Carbohydrate: 52g

Fat: 14g

Sugar: 5g

Ideal Rep Range



when teaching resistance exercises, be it body weight or free weights, is ‘how many reps should I do?’ Repetition or rep refers to the number of times you repeat a movement when performing a specific exercise.

A very good question! And my answer largely depends on several factors…

First, the number of repetitions and sets you perform ultimately depends on your training goals. For example, are you undertaking a resistance training programme to increase muscle mass? To correct muscular imbalances? To improve sports performance? Or is your primary goal weight loss (that’s right I just suggested that a weight training programme could be undertaken to promote weight loss – didn’t expect that did you!)


Second, once you have established your reasons for undertaking a resistance training programme, it can be useful to establish your ‘one-rep max’ on one, or several, exercises. The one-rep max is basically the maximum amount of weight you can lift correctly for one full repetition – as the description suggests.

There is a number pros and cons when it comes to using the one-rep max method, which I will talk more about in a future post. But for now, let’s assume you have safely and accurately established your one-rep max with the assistance of a trained professional.

The table below shows the ideal number of repetitions for different muscular adaptations to occur:

Fitness Goal % of one rep max  Number of repetitions Resistance
Strength/power 85 -95% 2 – 4 very heavy load
Strength 75 – 85% 4 – 8 heavy load
Strength + endurance 60 – 75% 8 – 12 Moderate/heavy load
Endurance 40 – 60% 15  & above moderate load

Third, and most important of all, RESISTANCE TRAINING AND MUSCLE BUILDING ARE NOT THE SAME THING. Body building or hypertrophy training is a separate discipline centred mainly on nutritional habits. STRENGTH TRAINING WILL NOT STIMULATE LARGE AMOUNTS OF MUSCLE MASS (don’t just take my word for it, any credible source will validate this point).


Avoiding resistance training because you are afraid of developing large muscles is like avoiding learning to drive because you are afraid of becoming a formula 1 driver.

To tone muscle tissue, ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres must be placed under regular tension. Fast twitch fibres are anaerobic in origin and require moderate to heavy resistance to be stimulated into action. By establishing your ideal rep range and applying the principle of progressive overload (increasing the demands on the musculoskeletal system by challenging the body to do more over time), adaptations will occur (assuming your nutrition is in place of course).


The American College of Sports Medicine recommend a minimum of 2 strength training sessions per week. Whether the resistance is from weight training (external) or body weight training (internal) is entirely up to you.

If your goal is to achieve a toned lean physique, cardio alone is NOT going to cut it. Swap the cross trainer for the squat rack and the results will speak for themselves!

Get lifting and get lean!

Want to know more about this and related topics? Subscribe to this blog and receive my next post ‘The Benefits of Resistance Training’ directly to your inbox.


June 2016

Tuna & Wasabi Burgers with Tomato & Onion

With a delightful balance of macros this dish can be served as a lunch time or evening meal, a post workout snack or to impress on a first date.


Ingredients (serves 2)

for the burgers

2 tuna steaks (average size 115g)

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 teaspoons wasabi paste

1 tablespoon flour

low sodium salt & black pepper

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil


for the topping

120g cherry tomatoes halved

120g red onion

medium strength red or green chilli (or a blend of both)

juice of 1/2 a lime

100g gluten free ciabatta bread



  1. Half the cherry tomatoes and finely chop the onion and chilli then set aside at room temperature while you prep the burgers




2. Place the tuna steak, sesame seeds, wasabi paste, flour and salt and pepper in a food processor and blend into a smooth paste

3. Remove from food processor and make into 4 patties with damp hands




4. Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan and cook the burgers for 3 minutes either side (or until cooked through)




5. Serve the burgers on lightly toasted ciabatta bread and top with the tomato, onion and chilli

6. Garnish with a squeeze of lime




Nutrition (per serving)

Kcal: 377kcal

protein: 39g

carbohydrate: 30g

fat: 10g

sugar: 6g








Who’s for lemonade?


SOMETIMES WHEN MY PAIN LEVELS ARE HIGH, I allow the grip of self-pity to tighten and I think of the (perceived) negatives in my life. I start to feel hard done by and I find myself focusing on what I DO NOT have.

I ruminate on how illness changed the course of my life and prevented me following a certain path (just one path that wasn’t pre-set anyway) and I see the world through the eyes of lack and limitation…

If only I hadn’t been robbed of my health these past two decades I would be more financially secure and would own my own property, I’d be able to work out more, develop my physique and train to become a high level martial artist as I had once dreamed about…I’d certainly be less dependent on others for my survival and I’d be well enough to start a family…the list goes on!

Then I gives myself a right good slap like they do in the old movies (sometimes a bit of tough love is necessary isn’t it!?) and I remind myself what I DO have; a brother who loves me, great friends, the good fortune to live in a beautiful safe part of the world, a job I love and a roof over my head.

Life has a habit of presenting us with circumstances out with our control. And it is entirely up to us how we respond to the hardship and adversity. We can either become bitter because it’s unfair and things haven’t worked out as we had hoped, or we can choose to create a life of meaning with the hand we have been dealt.

As the saying goes, ‘if life gives you lemons…make lemonade!’

I don’t know about you, but when my time is up I want to look back on my life and say “you know what, I made a difference”. I want to be able to say I did the best I could despite my circumstances.

I may never have or be the things above. But this does not mean I cannot become the best version of myself. It simply means I must find another path to access my unlimited potential and use the adversity to learn and grow in ways I never thought possible.

So, what’s the point in all this?

I have a question for you (actually I have two)…

WHAT HAS LIFE GIVEN YOU? And what do you intend to do about it?

Whatever your circumstances, you CAN be the person you want to be and every passing moment is a new opportunity to become that person.


April 2016

Chicken & Prosciutto Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

This dish epitomises ‘clean eating’. For extra protein add a chopped pre-boiled egg to the salad. To turn this flexible meal into a post workout carb refueller, boil 100g baby potatoes, leave to cool then mix through the green salad leaves.



1 slice prosciutto ham

150g free range chicken breast

10g soft goat’s cheese

20g basil pesto

70g juicy cherry tomatoes

40g green leafy salad (I use a blend of spinach, watercress & rocket)

100g asparagus tips & tender-stem broccoli

Small tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

low sodium salt & pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lay out the ham then cut the chicken breast widthways (leaving a hinge so that you can close the parcel once the filling is inside) and spread the goat’s cheese and pesto evenly inside, then season and close




2. Wrap the ham tightly around the breast and drizzle a small amount of oil over the outside. Place in a preheated grill (I use a George Foreman) until brown on outside (3-4 minutes should do it) then turn




3. Place breast on a foil lined baking tray with the tomatoes and drizzle half the balsamic and half the remaining olive oil over the top. Cover lightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through)

4. While the chicken and tomatoes are cooking, spread the salad leaves evenly on a plate and drizzle over the remaining oil and balsamic

5. When the chicken has 5 minutes remaining, steam the broccoli and asparagus then toss on top of the salad

6. Place the chicken and tomatoes on top of the greens, then pour the remaining juices left in the baking tray over the top




How can something so simple taste so delicious??



Kcal: 460

Protein:  46g

Carbohydrate: 9g

Fat: 26g







“You won’t worry about your fitness level at Alan’s classes. I had some fears before I begun but they have long since vanished. Alan will make you feel at ease and caters for everyone’s level of fitness. For the first time, I look forward to exercising and always feel good after a class. The group is very friendly, welcoming and encouraging which again is a contributing factor. Alan is serious and professional in his approach but we always have a good laugh. If anyone is thinking of coming to the classes I would highly recommend them” 

(Eilidh Ross)


“I enjoyed my first PT session – I’m going to be sore tomorrow! No pain no gain they say! Huge thanks to my instructor Alan Goodwin for putting me through my paces. If you want to get fit in a fun, welcoming and non-judgemental environment, this is for you. Check out the Facebook page. Here’s to a fitter new me”                     

(Colin Graham)


“If you are looking for a fun but meaningful workout, then Alan’s boot camps are what you need! A great mix of different exercises that will use the whole body and push you to your limits. Alan makes each class worthwhile – a great way to stay fit!”                       

(Stuart Mackinnon)


 “Alan’s friendly, engaging nature combined with his enthusiasm and knowledge of fitness makes for a unique and involving well-being and social experience. He provides an interesting and safe environment which pitches fitness at all levels of capacity and challenges the participants to better themselves while having fun! I would definitely recommend Alan’s classes to my friends” 

(Martin Devlin)                                                    


“Alan has helped me gain confidence in carrying out exercises I had avoided in the past due to lack of understanding of the exercises and the benefits of them. Alan is great at keeping everyone motivated and is quick to notice if you need any encouragement when your enthusiasm or drive dwindles. I have never felt bored and I now look forward to my sessions – something I have never been able to say about exercise in the past! Alan’s classes and 1-2-1 sessions, combined with his advice on diet and nutrition, has helped me lose 2 stone in four months”   

(Emily Shorten)


 “Just a note to say how much I enjoy attending Alan’s classes. The sessions are well laid out with a great variety of exercises and unlike many gym sessions I’ve attended, the outdoor scenery at the Boot Camps certainly made a welcome change. Alan is a keen, knowledgeable instructor who for me got the balance of exercises right. I would certainly be interested in continuing attending”   

(Barry Mackellaich)



Spicy Chicken & Chorizo Stir Fry with Tofu

This stir fry is light, high in protein & easy to prepare. And 50g brown rice and a handful of cashew nuts to transform it into a post workout refuel…

Ingredients (serves 1)

for the marinade:

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

180g free range chicken breast cut into strips

25g chorizo chopped into small chunks

pinch of chilli flakes

other ingredients:

thumb sized piece of ginger finely chopped

1 fat garlic clove crushed

2 shallots chopped

65g green beans halved lengthways

30g forestiere mushrooms roughly chopped

5og tofu cut into 1cm cubes

130g beansprouts or vegetable stir fry kit

low sodium salt and black pepper


  1. Mix the soy, fish sauce, chicken, chorizo and roughly two thirds of the sesame oil together in a bowl and massage together. Cover and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours


2. Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan, then toss in the remaining ingredients (minus the bean sprouts) and cook for 3-4 minutes on high heat, stiring constantly

3. Add the chicken marinade and continue cooking on high heat until chicken is cooked through (3-4 minutes should do it), then add the bean sprouts and cook for 1 more minute…


4. Season and serve!



610 kcal

55g protein

15g carbohydrate

35g fat

Roasted Peppers With Goat’s Cheese

This colourful recipe is packed full of vitamins and delicious flavours to get the taste buds watering!! Why not grill a chicken breast or salmon steak on the side for some extra protein/healthy fats?




Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 50g wholegrain rice
  • 1 red, 1 yellow & 1 green pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1 courgette diced
  • 75g cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 20g toasted flaked almonds
  • ½ orange zest finely grated
  • 3 heaped tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 50g mild goat’s cheese cut into chunks
  • low sodium salt and black pepper



  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Cook the rice in a pan of boiling water for 25 minutes, or until just tender, then drain.
  3. While the rice is cooking, cut the peppers in half from top to bottom and discard the seeds. Place, open-side up, on a baking tray and cook in oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the oil to a frying pan and cook the onion and courgette over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for 4-5 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned.
  5. Add the tomatoes, garlic, cumin and coriander and cook for a minute, stirring constantly, then tip into a large heatproof bowl and stir in the almonds and orange zest.
  6. Add the rice and parsley and season with a little salt and lots of pepper, then mix together.
  7. Fill the peppers with the rice mixture. Dot with the cheese and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the peppers are soft