Expert of the month | Gary Milligan |+ RECIPE

Expert of the month | Gary Milligan |+ RECIPE

If you have been around here for a while you will know the part of the blog called

‘EXPERT OF THE MONTH’ featuring personal trainers.

My three month trip to the USA last Summer and this pregnancy has meant things changed overtime. But here it is in a slightly different format which I am THRILLED about as it involves FOOD, something (if my stats are anything to go by) you all love.

Without further ado let me introduce you to Gary Milligan of Fitness Belfast

I came across Gary and his work on instagram

(My stream is to the right of this page or at the bottom of your mobile device. Gary’s instagram is here). I was immediately impressed by the vegetarian fitness meals he featured and his enthusiasm. I mean, look at that big grin in his photo above, it’s infectious!

Since becoming familiar with his bootcamps, personal training and unique recipes I knew I had to feature him on the blog.

As someone who runs their business from my website and is constantly looking for ways to improve I cannot tell you how impressed I was with Gary’s site.

Gary’s site is slick, informative, cheery and thorough which I LOVE.

Also he is consistent with his blogging (so many good recipes on there) and all news of his regular bootcamps.

Below is further explanation from Gary about his ethos and business.

Plus he shares a recipe with us, amazing!

Name: Gary Milligan

Age: 30

Occupation: Personal trainer/ nutrition & lifestyle coach / Kickstart Bootcamp leader

Interests (apart from the obvious): Yoga, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, pro wrestling and vegetarian and vegan cooking. I am a lifelong vegetarian, (although my brother Brian maintains that he fed me fish fingers as an infant I am keen to contest this), and I eat predominantly a plant-based diet, with occasional eggs, both those from a hen and those from the Cadbury’s bunny.

My ethos

I believe strongly that good food and regular exercise play a key role in boosting mood and creating a positive mind-set. I also believe that in order to successfully achieve your fitness goals you must first remove any stress you have developed toward achieving them. Exercise and eating good food should be fun, non restrictive and be based firmly within a health first mind-set. A healthy body and mind should be achieved first before embarking on elaborate weight orientated goals. Exercise intelligently, eat well and sleep deeply and the rest will follow.

What I do

I offer a range of supportive and educational styled one on one coaching packages  as well as my outdoor 8 week Kickstart Bootcamp programme. I work with a wide range of clients from retired businessmen and women, to Iron man triathletes and amateur footballers, to improve all aspects of their health including strategies to remove stress and improve sleep, to improving nutritional knowledge with a health first approach.

I also work closely with local mental health charity Aware NI in promoting events that demonstrate the profoundly positive effect that an active and healthy lifestyle can have on mental health.

Being a vegetarian

Stories differ from source to source as to why I would not eat meat as a child but it truthfully matters little to me now, I just don’t! – and I firmly believe that it plays a key role in keeping me strong in body and mind.

I enjoy an extremely wide and varied diet these days (although this hasn’t always been the case as demonstrated by the shy gym goer described in this early blog post  and worry and stress little about exact calorific amounts, I merely work toward eating as colourful a plate as possible and prefer to cook all my meals from scratch myself.

I ensure I get enough quality protein through nuts and seeds, grains like quinoa, freekeh and millet, occasionally eggs and probably too much nut butters, to allow me to exercise and recover in a consistent and varied manner. While I enjoy working with a wide range of vegetarian and vegan clients I am not restrictive and enjoy educating meat eating clients about the benefits of adding a few meat free meals each week.

Let’s be honest we can all eat more veg, and generally that’s where I come in.

See my most popular meat free burger recipe below – Gary Millligan |


All of the steps  in full for building a meat free burger is on my blog here – 5 simple steps to building the best meat free burger but I have also listed them below for you

Burgers generally get a bad rap, even the word conjures up images in my mind of all too sloppy and super unhealthy fast food, but it doesn’t have to be like that.

The following is a hopefully simple, step-by-step guide to building the best, perfectly healthy, meat free burger, as an alternative to the obvious or as a stable of a meat free lifestyle.


Step 1 – Roast the veggies

 Choose 1 or 2 from below:
Sweet potato, butternut squash, potato

Choose 1 or 2 from below: (some will go better together than others; check my spice guide for further info)
Curry powder, sweet paprika, Cajun, chilli powder, cumin, turmeric

Choose all from below:
Onions, garlic, fresh chilli, peppers (red probably best)

Chop each of the veg above into small cubes; add the spice and roast together in the oven until they are soft through.

 Step 2 – Add the beans

 Choose 1 or 2 from below:
Kidney beans, butter beans, black beans, chic peas, etc, maybe even sweet corn

Add to a large mixing bowl with some fresh spinach finely chopped.

 Step 3 – Mix the fork out of it

Add the roasted veggies to the large mixing bowl and mash all the ingredients together with a fork. Then add some salt and pepper to the mixture and use your hands to bind the mixture together before rolling burger shapes in your palm.

Step 4 – Coat the burgers

 Choose 1 from below:
Desiccated coconut, linseed, crushed nuts, crushed seeds, millet, quinoa, couscous

Place any of the above in a large bowl and roll the burger shape in it to create a crunchy order coating.

 Step 5 – Cook the burger

Pop the burgers in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes so that they bind and cook through, place in your favourite bun and enjoy with some homemade hummus on top.


Using the combinations above is an excellent way to start your journey toward building the perfect meat free burger.

As with many of my recipes, I have left the exact amounts required out of the process, as it really is trial and error based on the vegetables used. So don’t be afraid of failure and rest assured when you get that perfect combo it will be super easy to replicate it, time and time again!

More info from Gary

Gary Milligan Fitness Belfast India

Gary and his wife at a friends wedding in India – the land of vegetarian food – heaven!


About Gary’s Kickstart Bootcamp

I’ve been doing indoor & outdoor Kickstart Bootcamps for around 5 years now, and every year or block of sessions, it’s hugely satisfying to see the different levels of progress & confidence.

In a nutshell, Kickstart Bootcamp is 60 minutes of feel good progressive interval training

in a fun & educational environment – perfect for any fitness level, from novice, to experienced #BootcampSuperstar.


It provides a hugely supportive foundation for those who may be nervous

about commencing a new active lifestyle or may be overwhelmed with where to start. Everyone on board works hard, however the classes are structured on sweating and smiling in equal amounts!

I’m currently taking sign ups for my latest Kickstart Bootcamp –

Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 6.15pm starting Tuesday 19th & Thursday 21st April 2016 for 8 weeks (finishing Thursday 9th June) in beautiful Ormeau Park, Belfast (on the grassy area directly behind Ozone car park).


Check out for more info, or to sign up.


How to reach Gary

I encourage interaction through all the usual social media channels, and I write a meat free blog and newsletter regularly that you can subscribe to on my site.


Gary’s Website







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