carbs

Simple Food Swaps to Help You Save 15,000 Calories this Month

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, carbs, fat loss, food, goals, health Leave a comment

 

A lot of you now know that there are 3,500 calories in one pound. To lose that pound, we therefore have to find a way to burn that many calories just to see the scale drop. Sounds like a lot of work. However, it is actually very easy, and definitely possible to cut loads of calories in the next 30 days and lose up to four pounds this month.

All of this can be done through small nutritional changes over the course of this month. This will then set you on your way to long-lasting results, because you’re substituting healthier versions of the foods you love without depriving yourself of them completely. These kinds of tweaks also keep you from feeling restricted (and consequently binging) or yo-yo dieting.

So here, 10 swaps you can make to start helping you save 15,000 calories (or more) a month and lose about a pound each week.

  1. Sparkling water instead of Soda

330ml Soda Water = 0 Calories

330ml (1 Can) Coca-Cola = 139 calories

Saving = 139 Calories

You can see clearly that you will be saving yourself loads of calories if you start to cut out the fizzy drinks. For example, if you normally have one can of coke per day and then substituted it for soda water, you will be saving yourself 2780 calories per month. Plus, you will be cutting out SO much sugar as well, which your body will love you for in the long run.

  1. Apple instead of Dried Cranberries

50g Apple = 52 Calories

50g Dried Cranberries = 154 calories

Saving = 102 calories

You would think that dried cranberries (or any dried fruit for that matter) would be healthy since they are fruits, but they pack in a lot of calories. Dried fruits are have a huge concentration of sugar compared to fresh fruit. Furthermore, apples have much greater fibre content, which is great for keeping you fuller for longer.

  1. Greek Yoghurt instead of Flavoured Yoghurt

100g Greek Yoghurt = 96 calories

100g Flavoured Yoghurt = 132 calories

Saving = 36 calories

It is often a very quick and convenient option when you are on the go to just pick up a flavoured yoghurt and wolf it down. But if you can set aside a couple of minutes earlier in the day to whip up your own mix (greek yoghurt with some raspberries), then you will save yourself plenty of calories and also really reduce the amount of sugar you intake.

  1. Nori (seaweed) sheet instead of tortilla wrap

1 Nori Sheet = 5 calories

1 Tortilla Wrap = 122 calories

Saving = 117 calories

By making this small change, you can really reduce your calorie intake quite quickly each day. It also offers up a little bit of variation for your lunches. The dried seaweed offers up to three grams of fibre, which helps keep you full, energy-boosting iron, and vitamin A. A for Awesome!!

  1. Greek Yoghurt instead of Mayonnaise

30g Greek Yoghurt = 29 Calories

30g Mayonnaise = 200 calories

Saving = 171 calories

Looks like everyone needs to start becoming Greek yoghurt’s number one fan. For starters, it’s rich in calcium and protein, which help maintain weight loss. Plus, the probiotics in yogurt make sure your gut bacteria are properly balanced to help you de-bloat and digest food properly.

  1. Orange slice in water instead of Orange Juice

Orange Slice in 150ml Water = 0 Calories

150ml Orange Juice = 72 calories

If you love a bit of OJ in the morning, then try and make this swap. You will be thankful for it, as you will save a bunch of calories and a load of sugar. All that sugar can spike your blood sugar and lead you to become really hungry later on, putting you at risk of eating even more calories than you need to. Also, by drinking water instead of juice, your body soaks that h2o up to replenish the water you lose during the day.

  1. Butternut Squash Spaghetti instead of Spaghetti

100g Butternut Squash Spaghetti = 39 calories

100g Spaghetti = 360 calories

Saving = 321 calories

This is such a good alternative it is untrue. Traditional white spaghetti is another one of those wheat based products that again can really spike up your blood sugar and get you hungry later on again. Similarly, it is another one that can cause you to feel really bloated and sluggish throughout the day if you are slightly intolerant. Furthermore, butternut squash is just so tasty and vibrant that it would be rude not to try this super healthy alternative.

  1. Cauliflower Rice instead of White Rice

100g Cauliflower Rice = 40 calories

100g White (Long Grain) Rice = 356 calories

Saving = 316 calories

Here is another must when it comes to healthy food swaps. Cauliflower rice is a revelation that you can turn into a faux starchy carb for major craving satisfaction. By cutting off the heads, boiling them, and putting the florets into a food processor (or chopping them up finely), you can create a rice substitute that slashes calories.

  1. Chicken Sausages instead of Pork Sausages

100g Chicken Sausages = 106 calories

100g Pork Sausages = 202 calories

Saving = 96 calories

Opting for chicken sausages will save you lots of saturated fat and extra calories that come with pork. Also, ditching the refined carbs in a bun for a lettuce cup will keep your blood sugar stable.

  1. Blueberries instead of Raisins

50g Blueberries = 19 calories

50g Raisins = 158 calories

Saving = 139 calories

A quarter-cup of blueberries has four grams of sugar. Raisins have 21. What more do I have to say?

So here are just a few swaps you can start to make to help you really bring those calories down and help you achieve the physique you want.


How To Spot A Fad Diet That Will Never Last

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, carbs, fat loss, food, goals, health, mindset Leave a comment

the-ultimate-diet-plan-1327892

Fad diets. There are so many around that it is unbelievable. But the crazy thing is I am sure most if us have tried the majority of them or at least know someone who has.

Lots of fancy marketing ads, amazing testimonials, transformations and promises about how this is the best diet under the sun. Must be all good then, let’s go for it.

So we hop on the bandwagon, motivated and ready to begin.  We buy all the products, hoping for life-changing results, only to end up feeling hungry, tired, demotivated and cheated from not getting the results you were supposed to get.

So how do we spot these Fad diets before they can suck us in?

Here are our top tips:

  1. Certain foods are FORBIDDEN

As many of us know, there are certain foods that are clearly much healthier than others (lean meats, fruits and veggies for instance). Whilst there are other foods that are pretty calorie-packed with little nutritional value. But there’s no reason to completely ban any food from your plan. They can all have a place.

If we ended up completely banning certain foods, then adherence levels would be very poor and it would be very hard to stick to. You also find that most end up getting very frustrated at not having certain things, and so they end up completely falling off the wagon and binging like crazy. So we need to avoid this and keep our diets as flexible as we possibly can.

  1. Cheat Days

As mentioned before, we want to avoid the situation where we feel the need to ‘cheat’ or ‘binge’ on certain foods to force our way through a tough week of dieting.

Cheat meals are a bad idea! With ‘cheat meals’ people often binge and consume a gross excess of calories which eradicates their calorie deficit that they’ve achieved during the week. Instead, we need to be more flexible with your diet during the week and enjoy the food we eat on a day-to-day basis. Otherwise, you will end up going through cycles of diet then cheat, diet then cheat and your results will be either really slow or non-existent.

  1. There are lots of ‘Stages’

Any diet that has lots of stages that emphasises specific foods, or bans others is, without doubt, a fad.

Imagine it. During the ‘detox stage’ all you can have are ice cubes and lettuce.

Forget it!! Who the hell is going to want to do that and keep to it, even if it is for 10 days. Even if you did do it, just imagine how badly some may binge once they finish it because they have found it so hard.

There may be times where you may need to be a bit stricter with your diet, especially if you have a short-term goal. But in general it should be very consistent throughout.

  1. Apparently buying their supplements is essential

No supplement is essential for you to make long-lasting changes to your health and fitness. There are some that are really useful (e.g. protein powder, fish oil), but their purpose is to “supplement” an already healthy diet.

But no supplement in the world is going to make that much of a difference that it is ‘essential’. If there was, then the inventor would be the richest guy ever, because we are all looking for that magic fat loss pill right?

So don’t be duped into buying anything, do your research and make your own decision whether you think it will help or not.

  1. If it sounds too good to be true.

Honestly, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Any healthy eating approach that’s sustainable, practical and healthy can get results quickly, but won’t have you dropping extortionate amounts of weight in a short time frame. Doing so can be incredibly unhealthy, and you will sacrifice energy levels, concentration, productivity, etc.

  1. You must change the way you live for it to work

If there is a diet out there asking you to completely change the way you live, then this is certainly not a diet you will stick to.

Your diet and training need to work around your lifestyle, not the other way around.

  1. It Sounds Horrible

Do you enjoy the odd glass of wine or beer?

Can you not go without coffee?

Love your pasta?

If so, and your diet restricts alcohol, caffeine and pasta, are you really going to stick to it?

While you do need a degree of discipline when dieting, it should also be relatively enjoyable, and allow you to eat foods you like, otherwise, there’s no way you’ll stick to it.


Are Your Diet Habits Really That Healthy?

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, carbs, fat loss, food, health Leave a comment

coconut-1327503

Coconut oil. Almond Butter. Both ‘clean’ foods, so we should be able to have as much as we want right?

Wrong.

Despite being ‘clean’ foods there are certain things we need to watch out for despite our best intentions of being healthy. Here are just some of the hidden pitfalls in seven ‘good-for-you’ foods of the moment

  1. Beware of the coconut products

Coconut products are billed as super fat burning foods, because the fats found in coconut (fresh, oil or milk) could promote thermogenesis, the process whereby calories are burnt off as heat rather than stored as fat.

Sounds pretty good right?

However, coconut is itself a very high-calorie food (1tbsp = 117 calories). So if you find yourself using coconut a lot of the time, you may find that rather than a shrinking waistline, you may end up with an expanding waistline.

So by all means eat some coconut as they are very healthy, but be very careful of the amount of calories you may be consuming when you do.

 

  1. You’re nuts for nut butter

Who doesn’t love some peanut or almond butter?

When I have some peanut or almond butter I find it very hard to stop at just the one mouthful, and for you it may be easy to find yourself slipping one nut butter into a morning smoothie and eating another as a snack later in the day.

But, given nut butters contain around 600 calories per 100g, this isn’t the best idea for your waistline.

The bottom line? Enjoy nuts or nut butter – they provide essential fats, protein, fibre, magnesium vitamin E and iron – but keep to one 30g portion (of one or the other, not both), per day.

 

  1. You’ve embraced gluten free

Going gluten-free is all the rage at the moment, with around 15 per cent of UK households avoiding gluten and wheat according to a Mintel report. However, only 0.5 -1 per cent of us truly have a medical need to do so (if you are coeliac, just one small crouton is enough to trigger an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine).

In a lot of cases, there is no need to remove gluten. Many people have drawn the conclusion that gluten is bad for no particular reason. This this just makes dieting needlessly restrictive. Removing a largely harmless substance from your diet should never be a blanket recommendation as it makes dietary adherence difficult, and serves no practical purposes.

So why eliminate gluten if there you suffer no ill symptoms?

 

  1. You eat dark chocolate for health reasons

Dark chocolate is full of flavonoids and antioxidants which can help with blood flow. This super food has also been shown to increase mood as it can be eaten as a treat.

This has been many a dieters’ saviour on many weekday evenings. A real reason to enjoy a lovely bit of chocolate.

But it’s also important to know that calorie content can be higher in dark chocolate can be higher than in milk. If you take as an example Green & Black’s Organic Milk Chocolate, with 37 per cent cocoa solids, it has 565 calories, 36g fat, 21.5g saturated fat and 45.5g sugar per 100g. In contrast, Breen & Black’s dark chocolate, with 70 per cent cocoa solids, has 580 calories, 42g fat, 25g saturated fat and 28.5g sugar. The 85 per cent cocoa solids version has 630 calories and 53.5g fat, 32g saturated fat but just 13.5g sugar.

There might be less sugar in darker chocolate, but there are still plenty more calories to make up for it.

As a guide, sticking to no more than a square or two of dark chocolate daily seems a good compromise of which gives you your chocolate fix, but not too much to put your weight loss progress in jeopardy..

 

  1. You glug olive oil over everything

We have all seen and heard that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest around, and olive oil is a central part of their diet. But, despite its central place in the healthy Mediterranean diet, olive oil is no dieter’s friend, with 135 calories in the average tablespoon. On the plus side, the more predominant type of fat in olive oil is monounsaturated, which is good for your heart and helps to keep cholesterol in check. And, like most plant-based oils, it provides essential fatty acids, vital for healthy skin. As rule of thumb, a balanced diet shouldn’t normally include more than two tablespoons of any oil per day, so it’s always a good plan to measure rather than just glug.

 

  1. You make smoothies every morning

Smoothies are a great way to up your fruit and veg intake really easily and quickly – and with high-powered blenders that have no trouble breaking down seeds and skins, all the fibre is retained. But when you blitz fruit and veg you release sugar from the once intact plant cell and this now becomes ‘free’ sugar. The guidelines are to keep to only 25g of free sugar per day. However, if you whizzed 100g mango, an orange and 25g spinach – that adds up to releasing around 28g free sugar very easily without you probably realising.

Now I am not saying to completely cut out your smoothies, as it’s obviously still nothing like as bad as having sugar from a bag of sweets, as a glass will contribute to your 5-A-day and provide useful amounts of vitamin C, folate and potassium. But these sugars, once liberated from the cell are just as likely to harm your teeth and raise blood sugar and insulin levels.

Smoothies can also pile on the calories, especially if you’re adding ingredients such as nut butters, coconut oil and chia seeds.

 

  1. You have recovery supplements after a workout.

Protein is the big thing now, and rightly so as it has so many benefits that help with improving body composition, improved workout recovery and increasing lean muscle tissue. As a result, high protein products are all the rage and therefore many people are starting to believe that anything ‘high protein’ is beneficial to them and their goals.

But for example, if you’re burning 300 calories during a half-hour run, you could easily cancel that out with a protein bar which may also contain up to four teaspoons of sugar. WOW!!

So don’t get into the habit of buying high protein bars or snacks for something to eat post-workout. If you are not planning to exercise again for another 24 hours, then an immediate post-workout protein hit is not essential. As long as you get your daily requirements in before your next bout of exercise, then that is fine.

Spread your protein intake out. A 60kg woman who exercises regularly may require around 90g a day, but if this is split into three equal 30g portions (say two scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast, a chicken salad sandwich with yogurt for lunch and a couple of lamb cutlets for dinner), you won’t need any sports supplements with the extra calories they bring.


The Pro’s & Cons Of Different Approaches To Dieting

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, carbs, fat loss, food, goals, health Leave a comment

There are so many different diets that use a huge variety of different ways and rules and restrictions to help you all achieve one common goal – fat loss. But as soon as you give a dieting system a name you create rules, and rules breed rigidity.

By only looking at the name, and the ‘prescribed rules’ we risk taking a diet too far, and risk suffering for the sake of adhering to arbitrary restrictions laid down by whoever wrote the first book. Any diet with a name was not created for YOU, it was created for the creator because it worked for the creator. This all well and good for them, what about you.  You are going to need your own UNIQUE set of rules and guidelines to follow because you need something that is going to work for YOU.

This means that you may need to investigate what different diets can offer and how we may be able to combine each of their positives and aspects you personally prefer, to create our own UNIQUE diet with its own UNIQUE set of guidelines and rules, of which is created to guide only YOU towards your goal.

Let’s take a look at 3 popular dieting approaches and see what we can take from them, starting with the diet in vogue at the moment:

 

PALEO

 

spit-1-1326586

WHAT IS IT?

The overarching theme of the Paleo diet is that we only eat foods which were around 10,000 years ago, before agriculture. This means it places a lot of emphasis on food quality (as described by the above rule and a few others, including organic and local in some circles) but not on quantity.

WHAT ARE THE PROS?

The focus is on whole foods, and there is a strong emphasis on a high protein intake and eating a amount of vegetables. This helps to reduce intake of added sugars, highly refined grains and sweetened beverages. Improving the quality of your nutrient intake and also reduces the risk of over-eating by a significant amount.

WHAT ARE THE CONS?

The Paleo diet, in it’s strictest form, advocates the removal of many foods which can in fact be beneficial, such as whole grains, legumes and dairy. It also pays little or no attention to calories and therefore will only ‘work’ in terms of weight loss for those who happen to be able to control their eating and portion sizes effectively. Finally, it’s highly restrictive and will make it very difficult to take part in numerous social situations.

 

WHAT SHOULD WE TAKE FROM PALEO?

A whole foods approach should generally be the foundation of your nutrition in general, and protein, vegetables and fats should be the main things you pay close attention to with your overall food intake, adding carbohydrates after that according to lifestyle and athletic requirements. This will improve your health, energy levels and athletic progress.

 

IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros)

what-s-on-your-plate-1307607

 

WHAT IS IT?

Essentially IIFYM controls how much you eat, but not what and when. So long as your macronutrient needs are met by the end of the day, you can pretty much eat what you want.

What are the proposed benefits?

This dieting strategy promises guaranteed results with no restrictions on food choices. Lose fat while eating burgers basically.

 

WHAT ARE THE PROS?

Simply, it works. If you hit your numbers, your body composition will more than likely make predictable changes. There are also no restrictions on foods or timings, meaning that you should theoretically fit this way of eating into any lifestyle.

 

WHAT ARE THE CONS?

With IIFYM, even though you could potentially live on protein bars, protein powder and jelly babies if you wanted to, and likely meet your physique goals. Other aspects such as energy levels, nutrient deficiencies and dental health would likely suffer. Furthermore, this approach can lead to people obsessing about hitting their numbers and, consequently, living a life which is no longer flexible because if a food cannot be weighed, it cannot accurately be tracked.

 

WHAT SHOULD WE TAKE FROM IIFYM?

Calorie and macronutrient control matters if you want to optimise body composition, and we cannot rely simply on hoping for the best when it comes to energy balance. Furthermore, there really aren’t any foods which must be universally avoided in order to maintain optimal health. Healthy eating involves including more variety, rather than excluding ‘bad things’.

 

INTERMITTENT FASTING

clock-1418836

 

WHAT IS IT?

Simply, Intermittent Fasting is where you would go through a period of ‘not eating’ for a certain amount of time. This often ranges from 24-36 hour full day fasting, to 16 hour daily fasts which amount, more or less, to skipping breakfast. Other pseudo fasting protocols exist, too, which involve eating 500-600 calories for 1-2 days per week.

 

WHAT ARE THE PROS?

Intermittent fasting is basically just another way of calorie restriction. By not eating for a prolonged period of time, you will generally reduce your calorie intake without thinking. The claims made about hunger are true, too, because the feelings of hunger you get initially will go away after a short while as your body gets used to your new way of life.

This also makes life a whole lot easier. If you are safe in the knowledge that you can get up and just work until 1-2pm without having to break for food, you get a lot more done.

Additionally, Intermittent Fasting can be an extremely useful tool for those who are obese or very overweight for one reason in particular – Intermittent Fasting helps you understand hunger. Many people go through life avoiding hunger at all costs: we have snacks in the car, at our desks and in our pockets so that, should hunger ‘strike’, we can strike it down straight away. Foods are promoted as filling, and as a great way to live a life without hunger, but the fact is:

Hunger isn’t a bad thing, and if you are going to lose fat, you are going to be a little bit hungry some or a lot of the time.

Allowing people to experience hunger is a good thing, as it helps you to understand the way it comes and goes in waves rather than increasing over time, and it helps you realise that just because you are hungry, nothing particularly bad will happen. This sounds like a small thing, but it can be critical for fat loss success.

 

WHAT ARE THE CONS?

It may sound all good so far, but Intermittent Fasting isn’t all roses. First of all, we need to think of meeting all of our nutrient requirements. If you are eating 1-2 meals per day it can be difficult to consume the same wide range of micronutrients (i.e. vitamins, minerals, etc) as you would eating 3-5 times. This can lead to issues down the road, and potential nutrient deficiencies.

Finally, most Intermittent Fasting protocols don’t control for calories and this can lead to binge-like behaviour. Some people simply don’t deal well with hunger and once they start eating, they struggle to stop. This means that if you give someone a 4 hour eating window, this can be more than enough time to offset 20 hours of fasting, and of course a full day fast can be knocked out during normal days because the dieter may think they can eat whatever they like.

 

WHAT CAN WE TAKE FROM THIS APPROACH?

Intermittent Fasting teaches us that skipping meals isn’t the end of the world. It also shows that hunger isn’t the devil and if we get hungry nothing bad actually happens. Also, other intermittent fasting approaches like 5:2 can be very useful for sedentary populations who would struggle to reduce calories enough to lose weight given their already rock-bottom maintenance intakes, and of course the cons of Intermittent Fasting teach us that, once again, calories do count – regardless of what you do.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Your nutrition needs to be ever evolving, and if we view these array of dieting approaches as a set of tools then we can look and see what works and what we don’t need. There are lessons we can take from everything: Herbalife teaches us that people like easy, the cabbage soup diet tells us that even the most stupid thing you can think of will ‘work’ in the short term and not kill anyone, veganism teaches us that you can build muscle eating beans, and Slimming World teaches us the value of accountability and community.

Use what is useful, discard the rest, add what is yours.


Want to LOSE FAT for Summer? Here is EXACTLY what to do

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, carbs, fat loss, food, goals, health, mindset, weights Leave a comment

summer-1405218

Pay attention ladies!!

We are only 12 weeks away from the official start of summer. This means we need to start doubling down our efforts and finally get ourselves into the beach body we want for the summer holidays.

Good news though, we have plenty of time if we start now to get the body you want. Here are our top nine tips on how to do just that.

  1. Exercise the BIG Movements

If you are looking for ultimate fat loss, then we need to start exercising the most ‘Bang for your Buck’ exercises which work the biggest muscles in the body. This means lots of squats, presses and pulls. These exercises involve much more muscle and burns a lot more calories when you do them compared to things like bicep curls. This means you will be burning more calories during your exercise, but you will also be enhancing your metabolism by preserving a large amount of your muscle tissue.

  1. Try out intervals

In an effort to spark some form of weight/fat loss, many people turn towards long distance running. This is mainly because it is very to start doing compared to other forms of exercise. However, this type of running is very time consuming, not very effective and can easily become boring. As an alternative, try doing shorter, intense bursts of 30-60 second of exercise followed by rest. This style of training is much more time effective and it will also enhance your fat burning because it gives you a large after-burn effect so that your body burns calories at an accelerated rate during the 24-48 hours post workout recovery period.

  1. Get your Shuteye

You may not realise it, but sleep can very often be linked to the reason why some have such a large body fat percentage. This is because if you deprive yourself of decent sleep then your cortisol levels will rise up. Increased cortisol levels increases your appetite and can trigger cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods. To make sure you get some good sleep then, you need to make sure your room is completely dark and quiet with a cool temperature. This will give you a better chance of getting a really good sleep.

  1. Higher in Protein, and Lower in Carbs

Protein is super important when it comes to creating an awesome physique because it reduces hunger, makes you feel fuller for longer and preserves your muscle whilst you are eating in a calorie deficit to lose fat. Also it is important to limit the amount of unhealthy carbs you consume, as these can mess with your hormones and lead to over-eating. So ditch the cake, biscuits, crisps, bread, pasta, sweets, chocolate and keep to your healthy carbs like sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, white potato, pumpkin and chickpeas.

  1. Veggies at EVERY MEAL

When it comes to fat loss, vegies are massively important. Firstly, veggies are not very high in calories (34 calories in 100g Broccoli) and so you are able to eat a large amount of them without eating that many calories. This will help to keep you full and not starving whilst in a calorie deficit. Secondly, they will give you lots of fibre, vitamins and minerals that will get your body thriving and feeling good with consistent energy levels. So plan to get you leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, peppers, cucumbers, berries, etc to ensure you get some really good quality nutrition in you.

  1. NO Meal Skipping

Another common tactic used to lose weight/fat is to skip meals. The theory is simple, eat one less meal and I will eat less calories. Resulting in fat loss right?

Technically yes, but this tactic often backfires. Because those who often try and skip complete meals will suffer much greater cravings and desires to binge, of which will set everything you are working for back again.

  1. No Low Calorie Diets

Similarly to skipping meals, another futile tactic used is to go super low with calorie intake. This never really works (not in the long run anyway) because the body follows suit and down regulates its metabolism and starts to send messages to the brain to limit physical activity. This means you start to feel lazy, tired and hungry very quickly.

  1. Do the little things

Doing the little things will take you a long way towards your awesome physique. Building up some good, healthy habits is always helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and body. Three habits that I highly recommend you start are being mindful of portion sizes, writing a food diary and chewing each bite at least 10 times. Doing this will be much better for you and your body than skipping meals or dropping calories super low.

  1. Be the boss of your choices

When it comes to fat loss, and quickly, is that some can become impatient, lose focus and give up. As a result, it is common for some to start blaming others or their situation for the lack of results they have seen. But if you want to build habits that are going to mean something and really stick, then you have to take make the decision and take responsibility for them. This eliminates guilt with the decisions you make about food because you have made the conscious decision to eat certain things and makes you entirely responsible for your own actions.


Are You Asking The Right Questions?

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, carbs, fat loss, food, goals, health Leave a comment

splatter-question-1171359

The majority of the clients that I deal with on a day-to-day basis are quite often beginners when it comes to nutrition and exercise, but with a big enthusiasm to make a change. However, I often find myself being confronted by some very advanced questions, for example:
• What is the best fat burner to take?
• What are pre-workout supplement should I be having?
• How long do I leave it before I have my post-workout meal?
• How do I lose fat from just my lower abs?
• How many meals should I be eating?
• When should I have my protein shake?
As I said, a lot of these questions come from relative beginners who have not yet mastered the foundations of their own general nutrition and habits.

Asking these types of advanced questions is not of any real use to these people yet because, this is a little bit like wanting to be a professional swimmer and then:

• Looking at race tactics..
• Breathing techniques…
• Stroke critique…
• Assessing your competitors…
• Picking out swimming caps and goggles…
• Buying your ticket to the next Olympics…

And you haven’t even learned to swim yet.

The answers to these questions will be of absolutely no use to the average Jane looking to begin her weight/fat loss journey. So before we get anywhere close to even thinking about these types of questions, we need to focus on the basics and get the foundations of nutrition and exercise right.

So what questions should I be asking?

When starting out we need to start firstly finding out where we are currently and then how to start gradually improving the foundations of our new healthy habits and how we can make them stick. So things like:

• Am I eating too much junk food?
• Am I eating too much?
• Am I eating enough fruit and vegetables?
• Do I eat enough quality protein?
• Do I crave certain foods?
• Do I binge eat?
• How much sleep should I get each night?
• How much water should I drink?

These are the types of questions that will help guide you towards improving your nutritional habits and begin leading a healthy lifestyle that will help with:

• Achieving your health and fitness goals
• Improving your sleep
• Improving your energy levels
• Improving productivity at work
• Reducing stress levels

Furthermore, if you can start asking these types of questions to a coach, then they will be able to provide you with the tools and information to help guide you on the right path to improving your habits and building a healthier lifestyle.

So before you start to ask crazy advanced questions, try and get the basics mastered and get the foundations of your nutrition right.

Basically, don’t try and run before you can walk.


How To Stay Healthy With Only A Microwave

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, carbs, fat loss, food, health Leave a comment

microwave-1241692

Now I am sure most of you have read all over the internet all the best ways to eat healthy, what the best ingredients are, how to get the most nutrients ever in one mouthful and other stuff like that. Now I have written many articles that are similar to these, but I understand that sometimes this is not always practical and a lot of the time isn’t really that helpful in the real world. In the real world people have work, limited resources, limited time, a budget to work with, and lots of other things that make trying find ‘the best’ of something, impractical. Most of the time we have just got to try and deal with what we have got and do the best we can, for example, when you only have a microwave to help you make your meals.

There will be lots of you like myself, who work in an office and the only way of cooking anything between 9am and 5pm is a microwave. It could be worse, but having only a microwave to work with can really limit your options in regards to your meals. Because of this, many people just say ‘fuck it’ and they opt for the classic meal deals which is often made up of a hefty sandwich, packet of crisps, chocolate bar and a sugary drink. Not the healthiest, and this is definitely not going to help when it comes to losing weight or toning up. But there is a way to stay healthy with just your microwave. After months of practice, I have found a way to remain healthy armed with only a microwave between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

Firstly, we have to keep things pretty basic and not too complicated, one because it is expensive, two because that takes time (which none of us have) and three because the microwave doesn’t do complicated.

Therefore, my first meal is very often a Protein Porridge. I go for this because it is quick and easy to make.

  1. 1-2 scoops of protein powder in your bowl
  2. Chuck in a load of oats
  3. Pour in some water and stir until mixed well
  4. Chuck in the microwave for 2 mins, stirring halfway through
  5. Done!

I bloody love my protein porridge, it is warm, fills me up really well and sets me up for a long period of the day, meaning I never really feel the need to snack in between this and my next meal. It also tastes bloody lovely. But when it comes to nutrition, it also gives me lots of good protein and also some really good, healthy carbs to keep my energy up and also helps fuel my workouts for the day whilst also giving me lots of good fibre, helping my digestive system in the process.

When it gets to lunchtime I am still in the office, still with my microwave, but now it is time for meal number 2. My lunch a lot of the time often consists of LOTS (specifically 480g) of leeks and cabbage which I get from my local supermarket for £2. Now this might a bit much for you to have in one meal, but the reasons I do have it all in one meal is because firstly it fills me up for ages, again which stops me snacking. Secondly it gives me basically all the micronutrients (i.e. vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) I need for the day because I am often unsure what other good source of veg and micronutrients I might be getting in through the rest of the day. The way I make it is simple. Pierce one hole in each bag of veg, then microwave each bag separately for 4 minutes, then bosh it all on a plate. This is not always to the benefit of my co-workers when they smell what is cooking. But to be honest, fuck ‘em.  I feel eating well and remaining healthy is much more important than what they have to smell for a few minutes each day.

If I feel adventurous I may also buy a 50p packet of seasoning, you know like the Colman’s or Old El Paso packets, to give it a bit more flavour.

If you don’t want to have all this veg in one meal, then you can easily save a load for another meal later in the day.

To accompany my cabbage and leeks I have lots of turkey breast pieces (specifically 300g) for £3. This might not be the best turkey in the world, but it isn’t bad, and when you are on a budget and trying to eat healthy then finding that slightly cheaper alternative can be really helpful. This also gives me another massive hit of protein which is crucial if I want to keep my metabolism up and firing, as well as keeping my muscles strong. Protein is also very filling and so just like the other bits, really helps me to avoid snacking from here until I get home later in the evening.

All of this veg and turkey could probably be split up into two or three meals instead of just one big meal (up to you). If you do, then it will be a very cost effective way (£5 altogether) of giving yourself two or three healthy meals for a day or two.

You are probably thinking that these are odd eating habits and probably a bit boring, but I do it because I know everything about these meals. I know what is in them, what they do for me in terms of energy and nutritional benefits, I know calories. Because I know all this, I have complete control over what I am eating every day and so I know I am at very little risk of gaining weight or body fat. But I also know that it sets me up for the whole day really well with some really healthy nutrition that fills me up and makes me feel awesome. The same goes for you guys, the more you know about your food and what it does for you, then the more control you have over your weight and body fat.

All of this with just a microwave!!!

So now you know how I do it with just a microwave, now it is your turn to try it out. You don’t have to copy me. You might find your own ingredients and meals to make, but now you know it can be done and there are no excuses for not eating healthy with just a microwave.


Why Does Weight Loss Slow Down?

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, carbs, fat loss, food, goals, health, weights Leave a comment
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WHY AM I NOT LOSING WEIGHT?!?!

We have all had it before, initially when you begin trying to lose weight the or where you have just decided to take nutrition a little more seriously and consider exercising, you may find a progress a little slow.

This is all a very new approach and probably still unsure of what you should be doing, and so the initial weight loss is small.
But after a little while you ‘get good at this’ and start to see fat loss happening REALLY rapidly. At this point you might be losing 1, 2 or even more pounds per week and endless other changes in your body and energy levels
This kind of progress is REALLY motivating, and helps you feel amazing.

Unfortunately, though, every pound you lose is a little harder than the last. The less fat you have, the less happy your body is about losing it, and this means that things slow down.

2lbs per week becomes 2lbs per month and you might not feel that you are making progress as well as before.

But Why Does My Weight Loss Slow Down?

It’s an absolute certainty that fat loss will slow down after the initial ‘honeymoon period’.

The reason for this is because as we lose weight our metabolism and requirement for the same amount of calories reduces. This means that the less you weigh the less calories you need to maintain or lose weight.

The reason this happens is because as we lose weight we are losing metabolically active tissue (fat and possibly some muscle) which means we are burning less calories at rest compared to when you were heavier. Also, because we may have lost some weight, we may be carrying around a lot less weight when we are moving about. As a result, we then are also burning less calories even when we are moving around because we are moving less mass and therefore require less energy to do so.

Overall, as we lose weight we burn less calories and so require less calories to keep ourselves going and maintaining weight. So if you want to continue losing weight it is a case of having to further adjust the nutrition side of things.

How Do We Overcome This Plateau?
Adjust Nutrition

As mentioned above, to continue losing weight you must begin to adjust your nutrition. In particular, you must continually bring down the amount of calories you eat as you lose weight.

However, be careful not to do this too quickly as you will start to see energy levels, performance and other things start to deteriorate. So make your nutrition changes very gradual reductions in calories.

A good way to do this is to start to replace some of the higher calorie carb options for lower calorie carb options. This will help to bring the calories down without sacrificing the volume of food you eat. For example, potatoes, are a very low calorie density food.

100g of potato provides around 20g of carbs, that’s roughly 80kcals.

Compare this to rice that provides 75g of carbs for the same 100g serving, that’s a whopping 300kcals, or 220kcals more than the potato.

So rice is a higher calorie dense carb, compared to potatoes, so if you are trying to lose weight and reduce calories, it may be worth choosing lower density carb foods like potatoes.

This allows you to eat more volumes of food, thus keeping you fuller for longer, without consuming higher amounts of calories.

 

Increase Exercise Intensity

As you progress, you want to also maintain good progression with your fitness. This will help you to keep a focus on something other than weight, but also help with your weight loss.

The more you can do or the harder you can work each time you exercise, the more calories you will be able to burn and the stronger your muscles will become. This is important if you also want to keep your weight loss progress continuing as it will mean you burn more calories per session, but also it will enable you to maintain a portion of your resting metabolic rate because your stronger muscles require more energy.

So ways you can start to increase the intensity of your workouts may be:

  • Lift heavier weights
  • Aim for more reps
  • Take less rest between sets

 

Focus On Other Measures

There are many other measures for you to focus on besides the scales. For example, clothes sizes are a really good thing to look at because they actually help translate how your results show in real life. It is no good being the weight you want to be on the scales if your jeans are still too small.

Furthermore, find things to motivate you outside of your results – how you feel day to day, your energy, your improved sleep quality, a group of likeminded people around you, improving fitness levels.

If your only motivator is seeing the scales drop rapidly, then maths dictates that you’re going to struggle eventually.

Focus on the process and enjoy what you do.

You got this.


How To Love Your Food & Look Great

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, carbs, fat loss, food, health Leave a comment

Food can have very different meanings and connections with different people. Often those who are athletes and dedicate themselves to something like bodybuilding look at food as only fuel. However, there are others (myself included)who see food as enjoyable and something which allows them the chance to be imaginative.

If you have the ability to look at food as just a fuel source, then cool. Your choice. But just to let you know, this blog is directed to those of you that really do love to eat!

 

TRAIN SMART, EAT SMART

Training and eating can be combined really well together to help you achieve your physique goals, whilst also being able to enjoy some seriously nice food.

I am not starting to say that you can now go away and gorge on a ridiculous amount of calories just because you’ve now started exercising 3x per week. But we can combine your love of food and training sessions while also working towards your weight loss goals.

Now I can imagine there are quite a few of you out there who have very sedentary jobs. This means being forced to sit for most of your working day. As a result, not many calories are being burned on a day-to-day basis due to the lack of movement done during the day. We then also have much less freedom to eat more of the nicer foods that many of us enjoy, as this could have significant repercussions on the waistline.

But what happens if we start to incorporate some good, consistent exercise?

For example, let’s say we train 4 times a week, with 2-3 of these being resistance based (weights) training and the other 1 being a form of cardio exercise; so running, swimming or long walks.

Our bodies then start to become much more active and we also are starting to burn more calories, giving us that freedom to enjoy those nicer foods without the impact on the scales or our waistlines

You see you don’t have to change your love of eating, the only thing that  will put you in the minority is that you use this ‘love of food’ to work really hard in sessions allowing the ability to eat a great and appropriate mix of proteins, fats and carbs that leave you feeling awesome and mostly full of energy.

 

THE BASICS IN A NUTSHELL

So for those of you that love your food, here are a few things that might help to guide you in the right direction to unloading that unwanted weight:

  1. TRAIN/EXERCISE

Don’t worry so much about what exercise you do just get up and move. The ideal would be to exercise 3-5 times a week, but even if you could just get to 2 workouts then that is a start. Over time you can build up your exercise frequency and make your exercise more specific; whether it’s lifting weights in the gym to a decent endurance ride on your road bike. Just this alone will put a dent in those calories consumed.

 

  1. CHOOSE MORE WHOLE FOODS OVER PROCESSED FOODS

Making some smart changes with your food is a very good place to start, and likely you’ll start to feel a ton better and your energy will most likely increase, meaning you will be able to train harder. You’ll also recover better and have more vigour throughout the day.

 

  1. WASH THAT FOOD DOWN WITH PLENTY OF WATER

Help move those micronutrients around your body and keep up your concentration and energy levels by drinking plenty of water; water is something we can’t do without so get it down you! Just make sure you chew and swallow your food first…

 

  1. KEEP THAT PROTEIN CONSISTENT

If I could give you one tip regarding your nutrition, make sure you keep up with your protein. This can come in the form of all meats, plant based foods, eggs and whey protein. Ensuring you get a decent amount of protein in your diet will help with keeping your lean muscle tissue. This will keep your metabolism super revved up, while also helping you feel fuller for longer.

 

  1. GET THOSE CARBS AND FATS RIGHT

These are your fuels and also help with your hormones. Consuming these in the right amounts, in conjunction with your training is going to be the key to getting you to your goals. A simple format is lower carb, higher fat on rest days and higher carb, lower fat on training days.

 

  1. USE THIS LOVE OF FOOD TO SLEEP BETTER

Sleep soundly at night while knowing that you’ve nailed all the above. Do all you can to help yourself when it’s time for beddy-byes. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep in a dark room. Then if you can try and avoid screens in the last hour before bed, but focus on your 7-8 hours first.

HOW A COACH CAN HELP

All the things I’ve mentioned above are why plenty of lovely ladies we work with are able to eat more, whilst still being able to maintain weight, look great and feel great. However, this needs to be  done over time remember, so take time to understand what you’re doing or enlist the help of a coach to guide you through this journey.

For those of you who are unsure of where to start or just starting your journey and are not sure where to go, if you feel that I or another member of the Fitterbody Bootcamp team can help with this, please don’t hesitate to talk to us; this is what we do, this is our trade.

So good luck and get building those healthy habits.

Kristian


The Dangers Of Rapid Weight Loss

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, carbs, fat loss, food, goals, health, mindset Leave a comment

dangers-rapid-weight-loss (257 x 260)

Now this title may not be what you want to hear, as I imagine you would like to lose the weight you want to get rid of as quickly as you can. However, despite the idea of quick weight loss being just what you want, it is more than likely not what you need…..especially if you want it to stay off.

The thinking of trying to drop your calories really low an often be a thought process that is problematic when it comes to getting long-term results. Here’s why:

 

You Eat More Than You Think

If you have never really paid a lot of attention to how much you eat each day or specifically tracked what you are eating, I can see why you might think your total calorie intake is low. The problem is, unless you track what you eat then you will more often than not be consuming more calories than you think. Just a few examples for you to highlight the point:

 

Breakfast

2 slices of toast with butter and jam and a coffee with milk – 521 calories

 

Snacks

1 handful of nuts – 150-200 kcals

 

Lunch/Dinner

Small portion of pasta with pesto – 535 kcals

 

It is pretty surprising how quickly it can all clock up. You might not have eaten that much food, but due to the high calories those foods you have eaten contain, the calorie intake can really build up.

Furthermore, if you add some extra snacks and drinks into the mix (and any chocolate, sweets, alcohol or other indulgences) , and you’ll have consumed way more than you anticipate each day.

So at the extreme end of the spectrum, the 1500 calories you may think you’re eating each day might be more like 3000!

If this is the case and you set the starting calories on your diet around the 1500 mark – you could well be putting yourself into a massive caloric deficit, which is both unnecessary for fat loss and will set you up for failure and a heavy rebound further down the line.

 

Your Results will not be sustainable:

Dropping your calories to a low level is both physically and psychologically difficult.  That’s just one of the reasons we aren’t all walking round looking like cover models the whole time.

You can make the whole processes much, much easier on yourself by reducing calories slowly and in small increments. Yes, the process will be a little bit slower, but you’ll feel better, your performance in the gym will be better (which will have a positive effect on results) and you will be much more likely to stick to your diet.

The affect that being in a severe calorie restriction has cannot be underestimated.

Trying to undergo a massive drop in calories over the long-term can result in big drops in fat, muscle, and total weight.

However, just some other side effects of a large calorie deficit can be:

 

Extreme fatigue

Decreases in strength and stamina

Obsession with food (dreaming about it, thinking about it constantly)

Decreased sex drive

Depression

 

This is exactly why fad diets and short terms fixes are doomed to fail. They are completely unsustainable and will have potentially serious implications on your health and well-being.

 

 Dieting Doesn’t Work

In pure fat loss or weight loss terms, dieting is effective, but the psychology associated with the term can put you into a vulnerable position.

A diet is perceived as something with a fixed start and finish.

I am sure you may have planned to ‘diet’ for your holiday or get in shape for a wedding or special occasion. The focus is always on a short period of time (4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks) and the end result. The thought and focus is always about how great they’ll look and feel on the beach.

But how do they plan on maintaining that physique after their holiday?

This is when they then start to fall right back into old habits and the weight creeps back on (often with a little extra!)

To have a short term focus is good, as it can be daunting to think too far ahead. But you need to recognise that consistency in the long-term will yield far better results than intense dieting for a short time, followed by a period of relaxed eating.

I am sure most people who have struggled with their weight will recall a successful stint of dieting followed by the inevitable weight gain, and then how the cycle all starts again.

 

 Getting results, and keeping them

These cycles of losing and gaining weight I am sure will take its toll and leave many people sick and tired of dieting hard, feeling miserable and then losing all the results within a week.

If this is you, then you need to shift your perspective and start focusing on a lifestyle you can maintain.

You don’t need to starve yourself to get results. Ask yourself the question – can I see myself eating like this in a year’s time? If the answer is no, then how do you expect your results to be sustainable? Of course dieting requires some sacrifice and hard work, but if each day is unbearable, you’re doing it wrong.

Focus instead on introducing healthy lifestyle changes that you can keep going in the long term. Base your diet around:

 

Plenty of vegetables and some fruit

Quality sources of protein

A wide variety of whole foods

 

Allow yourself the occasional treat (you don’t have to forego all of your favourite foods!) and remember that moderation is king, and the results will come.

Once you have the basics nailed – by which I mean you’re eating regularly, consuming the foods mentioned above and have broken the cycle of severe dieting – you can look to get more advanced and pay closer focus to things like your macronutrient intake, which will make a big difference to your results.