Posted on by Ricky in Articles, fat loss, food, goals, health, mindset Comments Off on Flawed


I’m on holiday and not working, but sitting by the pool today I read a really good book, Flawed by Cecelia Ahern, one of my favourite authors.

In the closing acknowledgements she says if there is one message I hope this book portrays, it’s this; none of us are perfect.

Let’s not pretend we are.

Let’s us not be afraid that we are not.

Let us not label others and pretend we are not the same.

Let us all know that to be human is to be flawed.

Now whilst Cecelia is not referring to how we  look, as I people watched round the pool all afternoon, I see ladies from many different European countries, of all ages, all different shapes and sizes, some mums, some grandparents, some in tiny bikinis, some in full swimsuits, some overly conscious, some not with a care…

But it did make me think, what is perfect?

Why is size 10 perfect? Or even size 8 or 6?

Why do we aspire to look like the images portrayed in magazines or on TV? That perfect size or perfect shape?

Looking around, it’s certainly not average, the opposite in fact.

What we need to learn ladies is to love ourselves for who and what we are. And the only aspiration we should have is to be better today than we was yesterday, better this week than last week.

To be fitter, faster, stronger.

Perfection is not paramount.

I’m happy to be flawed!

Just be you 🙂

Julie x

It Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin! – Not Always

Posted on by Ricky in food Comments Off on It Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin! – Not Always

“It does exactly what it says on the tin” colloquially means that the name of something is an accurate description of its qualities. It originated in a series of television advertisements by the woodstain and wood-dye manufacturer Ronseal, initiated in 1994 and still being broadcast today.

The slogan was created by Liz Whiston and Dave Shelton at the London advertising agency HHC and the idea of the phrase was to emphasise that the company’s products would act and last for the amount of time exactly as described on the tin can.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for all adverts when it comes to the health & food industries, so you need to be careful. The example I’m using was shared on our group page last week and immediately several ladies excitedly got baking:

Blueberry and Almond Cake. No Sugar. No Butter. No Flour.

This blueberry and almond cake has no sugar, flour or butter, but it still tastes great! Make it at the weekend and serve with berries and Greek yogurt.

Makes one loaf


6 eggs
150g desiccated coconut
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder*
1 tsp vanilla extract
Small pack of blueberries (150g)


Looks amazing yes?

To be exact, this cake has a total of 1680 calories, 150g of fat, 80g of which is saturated, and 28g sugar.

If the health industry was more truthful like Ronseal, the advert would have read No flour and less calories, fat and sugar than some other cakes. But how many of you would have followed the link and eagerly started baking??

And how many of you would just eat one slice (say 10th)??

You need to be careful as unfortunately not all headlines are 100% truthful.

The same goes for ‘healthy food’ packaging, where the large writing on the front may say ‘low-fat’ or ‘healthy option’, read the nutritional breakdown to ensure you understand the amount of calories, fat & sugar before buying.

Have a great day 🙂


Foods To Eat After A Workout!

Posted on by Ricky in food Comments Off on Foods To Eat After A Workout!

I was asked a very good question by one of our Ladies after a session this morning, what are the best foods to eat after a workout to help with weight loss?

Losing weight isn’t easy, so give those stubborn pounds a punch by taking your post-workout snack or meal to the next level. After exercise, your body needs specific nutrients to repair muscle and stabilise blood sugar. This means the right mix of foods can improve your recovery while revving your metabolism.

The following combos put you on the fast track to weight loss. Aim to eat something within an hour of finishing your workout, when your muscles are primed to absorb nutrients most efficiently.

Whole-wheat wrap with turkey and veggies
During that fitness class your body burns carbs for fuel. The wrap’s fibre-rich grains and veggies replenish these stores while keeping your blood sugar levels steady. The result: You’ll feel energised instead of drained, so you’ll be less likely to overeat later on. Pairing those carbs with protein-rich turkey may help you recover more quickly. Protein also helps your body repair and build muscle, which boosts your metabolism.

Almonds and an orange
If you have to dash out after your workout, take this with you. Not only do the nuts serve up protein and healthy fats, but they can also take the edge off your hunger. Snacking on almonds curbs appetite, so you won’t undo all of your hard work by overindulging later on. Meanwhile, oranges deliver carbs, immune-boosting vitamin C, and hydration in one convenient package. Because your body absorbs vitamins and minerals readily after exercise, it’s the perfect time to load up on nutrient-rich foods.

A Smoothie made with avocado, berries, and protein powder
Quick to whip up and easy to digest, smoothies are an ideal post-workout treat. Shake things up by adding few slices of avocado. Not only does it add satisfying creaminess, but it also can help you stay fuller, longer. The healthy fats in avocados also support your joint function. To sweeten, mix in a handful of antioxidant-rich frozen berries and a scoop of your favourite protein powder. Or, if you prefer, swap in Greek yogurt, which contains 11 grams of protein per half cup.

Salmon mixed with celery, and grapes
Salmon contains omega-3’s which lessen some of the post-workout muscle inflammation that causes soreness. Also this healthy fat can help boost fat burn. For a delicious meal, add chopped fresh or canned salmon into a quick salad. Add celery and grapes for carbs and fibre serving it on top of spinach or asparagus.

Eggs with black beans and peppers
If you worked up a sweat first thing in the morning, reward yourself with this breakfast of champions. The black beans add fibre-rich carbs, while the peppers serve up vitamin C. But the star of the show is the protein-packed egg, which can keep you from overeating for the rest of the day. If you are short on time, keep hard-boiled eggs in the fridge on hand, and have two with some sliced ham for an on-the-go breakfast meal.

Have a great day 🙂


Should I Have A Protein Snack Before Bed?

Posted on by Ricky in food Comments Off on Should I Have A Protein Snack Before Bed?

Following on from my Blog last week, Snacking – Should I Shouldn’t I? I was asked the question at Bootcamp this week, should I have a protein snack before bed?

The short answer is yes. If you want to optimise building muscle and strength as quickly as possible, you should eat protein before bed but….

You need to have the fundamentals in place or it will make no difference whether you snack or not, or whether you snack on protein or carbs. The fundamentals being:

Properly calculating and counting your calories…
Including weights in your training…
Following a sensibly designed workout programme…
And ensuring you are getting enough sleep…

If you don’t have these, when you eat protein simply won’t matter. And nor will many other things, like what types of supplements you take, how many carbs you eat, how “clean” your diet is, and much more.

Once you have the fundamentals though and you’re looking for ways to get more out of your training, then it makes sense to start thinking about optimising and the below will help.  It’s a little bit ‘techi’, but I hope I have made it as easy as possible to understand.

Does Protein Before Bed Prevent Muscle Loss?

If you eat your last meal at, let’s say at 6pm, your body will have finished processing it by midnight (if not earlier), which leaves it without nutrients for many hours. Muscle growth requires two things: a stimulus and the raw materials.

Training your muscles is a stimulus, of course, but so is eating protein. Both of these things tell your body to build and repair muscle, and you need both to increase your total lean mass over time.

Amino acids, which are obtained through eating protein, are the raw materials that muscle tissue is built from. If no amino acids are available for use, your body can’t build any muscle. This is why research has shown that, if protein isn’t eaten before bed, protein synthesis rates are quite low when we sleep.

This, then, leads us to how eating protein before bed helps you build muscle and strength faster: It gives your body amino acids to use for repair while you sleep. This means that instead of having to put protein synthesis “on hold” while you sleep, your body can continue building and repairing muscle tissue. And as most people spend about 1/3 of their day sleeping, you can see why this adds up over time.

Is Eating Protein Before Bed Good for Weight Loss?

Yes would be slightly misleading but… What will help you lose fat faster, though, is a high-protein diet, and one of the reasons relates to this “energy cost” of food. Now, when you allot a large percentage of your daily calories to protein, you burn more of those calories while at rest. And this is one of the reasons why a high-protein diet is great for losing weight. If someone is eating a low-protein diet, a serving of protein before bed isn’t going to help them lose weight faster.

This is why it’s misleading to say that protein before bed helps you lose weight faster. A more accurate statement would be that protein before bed can help if you follow a high-protein diet, which can help you lose weight faster.

What Kind of Protein Should You Eat Before Bed?

Many people have whey protein before bed. This is better than nothing but it’s not quite ideal because whey is digested and absorbed fairly rapidly.

Best choices are (cooked) egg protein or casein protein, which are absorbed much slower. For egg protein, you can eat eggs or egg whites, and for casein, you can eat a casein-rich food like cottage cheese or Greek yogurt.

The Bottom Line on Protein Before Bed… You don’t have to eat protein before bed to make good progress in building muscle and strength, but research clearly shows that it helps. So include slow-burning protein like egg into your daily meal plans.

But more importantly, back to the beginning, ensure you have the fundamentals in place to start with.

Have a great day 🙂


Snacking – Should I? Shouldn’t I?

Posted on by Ricky in food Comments Off on Snacking – Should I? Shouldn’t I?

Lots of conversations at Bootcamp with the Ladies are around the topic of snacking, so the focus on today’s blog is this very topic.

People often graze and snack too much throughout the day, which can lead to an excess of calories and means blood sugar levels are constantly elevated. Often people snack mindlessly which will disrupt natural hunger and signals that you are full!

Whilst you don’t want to go hungry as you may end up overeating at meal times, you need to be smart about snacking. Where possible implement a 3-5 hour gap between meals and only snack if you genuinely feel hungry.

I personally try to opt for 4 smaller meals each day rather than 3 larger ones. This really helps cutting out the snacking as times between meals is shorter. I have to fit meals around morning and lunchtime classes but I appreciate your work & other commitments may not allow for this.

However, the first question to ask yourself when you feel you are ready for a snack between meals is am I thirsty? Down a good size glass of water and wait 15/20 minutes. You will be surprised how often you confuse thirst for hunger feelings!

If you are still hungry, I would suggest more protein and fat-based snacks to keep your appetite satisfied and avoid fuelling any cravings. Whatever you do, avoid the biscuit tin!

Try one the following:

A boiled egg
Ham wrapped around carrot sticks
Cooked chicken
Celery sticks with humous
Half an avocado
Small handful of nuts or seeds
A yogurt with berries

Experiment a little to see what works best for you, if your meals are packed with good nutrition you shouldn’t need to snack more than 1-2 times across you day. Also ensure you eat enough for breakfast to keep you fuller for longer.

Have a great day 🙂


One Bad Meal Won’t Transform Your Body – HABIT Will!

Posted on by Ricky in food Comments Off on One Bad Meal Won’t Transform Your Body – HABIT Will!

After a conversation after class this morning with a few of our Ladies which included the normal chat, what do you snack on? What do you have for breakfast? …. I read a really interesting article that I thought I would share as it pretty much summed up most of our conversation and includes some great advice from Trainer – Jonathan Ross.

“Loosing weight isn’t just about push-ups, crunches, and burpees.

“One bad meal won’t transform your body, just like one good meal won’t equal immediate results; the body builds itself from habit.”

If you’re curious to know which habits matter in the long run, Jonathan offered up his rules for things you should always – and never! – do when it comes to eating.


Eat vegetables and protein at every meal: We’re not talking fried, cheese-covered, or canned vegetables, either. Not only are fresh vegetables rich in vitamins and antioxidants, but their water and fibre content also help keep you full. If the thought of eating veg all day long makes you gag, then get over it, says Jonathan. “Healthy food tastes boring for a little while. Your taste buds adapt.” Alongside those vegetables, make sure you have protein. Jonathan cites several studies showing that a diet rich in protein helps control cravings while also helping to build lean muscle mass, adding to the body’s fat-burning potential.

Eat healthy fats: Forget what you think you know about low-fat diets; it’s all bunk, says the trainer. Good-for-you fats help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and boost your HDL (good) cholesterol; they’ve also been shown to reduce belly fat. Look to incorporate monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats into your meals while avoiding saturated and trans fats. Avocados, olive oil, and nuts are all great options.

Plan, prepare, pack: The best way to maintain a healthy diet is to be in charge of it yourself. Jonathan recommends cooking meals at home and packing your lunch whenever possible. Another tip: keep water and healthy snacks in your purse, car, and gym bag. This way, you won’t be tempted to order out when you’re on the go.

Be kind to yourself: Even with the best intentions, binge-eating might happen. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up, warns Jonathan. “Handle slipups as nothing more than they are,” he says. Consuming yourself with guilt can make things worse; part of sticking to a healthy diet involves feeling good about yourself and the choices you make.


Drink calories: You’ve heard it before, but fizzy drinks, juice, and other store-bought beverages are some of the biggest obstacles when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. They contain no real nutrition and are basically nothing but sugar, the trainer adds. The one exception Jonathan makes for this rule are healthy smoothies. Look for recipes that contain fibre, protein, and healthy fats.

Skip meals: When you want to change your body, nutrition is key. “Fill your gut to lose your gut,” says Jonathan. “It’s the best way to lose weight and keep the body going.” Jonathan also advises to eat “real food” — the more you know about where it came from or what it’s made of, the better. Eat four to six small meals each day, and make sure that protein is a component in everything you eat, he says.

Eat fried foods: Yes, Jonathan did say that occasional indulgences are OK, but fried foods are something he almost always steers clear of, saying they’re “completely destructive to the body.” Fried foods are widely available (and cheap), making them hard to steer clear of, but the amount of trans fat they contain should be enough to scare anyone, he says.

Eat sugars or grains at night: While Jonathan is a huge fan of whole grains, he says to avoid them at night, along with sugar and starches. Just like trainer Bob Harper, Jonathan believes that breakfast should be the heartiest meal of the day; from there, gradually lighten as you get closer to dinner. Starches and grains are more calorie-dense and unneeded at night when the body is winding down, says Jonathan.”


A great piece of advice, I hope you agree.

I will only add that the secret to long term success is in the title – HABIT! The first thing I did when I started my journey last April was read Ricky’s Transformation Success Manual and the very first change I made was a mindset change away from the word diet to healthy eating, healthy lifestyle and I promise my success has been made 80% in the kitchen and 20% at the gym!

Have a great day 🙂


Three Breakfast Rules To Follow to Loose Weight!

Posted on by Ricky in food Comments Off on Three Breakfast Rules To Follow to Loose Weight!

Many of us are trying to eat better, move more, and lose weight. I sit and listen to many conversations at Bootcamp and breakfast is often a conversation. It’s a time constraint or simply out of ideas.

Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast every morning.

Many studies show how that eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, so it’s an easy way to kick-start your healthy eating efforts.

But when it comes to breakfasts, not all of them are created equal. In fact, some of them can actually derail your weight-loss efforts if you’re not careful. Instead follow these breakfast rules to help you slim down.

Eat right away

Studies have found that eating breakfast helps keep your metabolism revved, so be sure to eat within 30-60 minutes of waking to take advantage of your body’s full fat-burning potential.
Eating first thing helps ensure that you don’t feel so starved later in the day that you end up making bad eating choices for lunch or dinner.
But what if you’re not a breakfast person? If the thought of eating something that early in the morning turns your stomach, try sipping your breakfast with a Wake-Up Smoothie.

Load up on protein

A breakfast high in protein, things like eggs and Greek yogurt, can ward off hunger pangs, helping you eat less and ultimately lose weight.
One study found that women who ate egg breakfasts lost twice as much weight as women who started their days with cereal or toast.
The protein in eggs increases satiety and decreases hunger, which helps you eat fewer calories throughout the day.
High-protein options are also a great choice for feeling full and energised all day long since they digest more slowly than other breakfasts.

Add a banana

Eating a breakfast that’s high in Resistant Starch (RS) can help you stay full and help you burn more calories since it prompts your body to use fat for energy.
RS is found in foods like bananas and oats, so try a Banana Nut Oatmeal for a seriously satisfying and delicious breakfast!

And if you are like me and attend an early morning class at the gym, eat a banana on route and take a protein shake to sip afterwards!

I just have to repeat it, whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast!

Have a great day 🙂


The 6 P’s!

Posted on by Ricky in food Comments Off on The 6 P’s!

I went on a time management course a few years ago, and one thing which has stayed with me ever since is The 6 P’s.  P**s Poor Preparation equals P**s Poor Performance.  Now whilst this is true in work, it’s also very true when it comes to healthy eating.

Whether you are just starting on your Fitter Body journey, or you are struggling to stay on track, one thing I can highly recommend is prepare, prepare, prepare when it comes to your food.

Sunday, my day of rest 🙂 is all about me preparing for the week ahead, and if you spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon/evening preparing your food for the week, not only will you save so much time during the week but you will be far less tempted into impulsive purchases and bad ‘quick food’ decisions.

Key purchases should include; a couple of packs of different sized stackable airtight containers; a pack of plastic beakers with airtight lids. You don’t need to spend £££’s on the latest Nutri-bullet, a cheap hand-held blender and a jug will work just as well.  I found the Breville blender for £17 in the supermarket and it came with two sports top style bottles which are really handy.

Many foods can be pre-prepared, but here are a few of my favourites 🙂

Breakfast Muffins                            10 minutes prep, 20 mins baking

These will keep in the fridge for 3 days (2 each morning for breakfast) in airtight containers or freeze.  My personal favourite is mixed pepper, tomatoes & paprika smoked chorizo.

Vegetable soup                                15 minutes prep, 20 mins simmering, 2 mins blitzing

Use chicken stock (lo-salt) 900ml for more flavour and base with 3 sticks of celery and 3 carrots, then add your favourite vegetable, chopped up into thumb size pieces.  900ml will make 4 mug size portions of soup and keep in the fridge for 4 days in an airtight container, or freeze in individual beakers with lids.

Chopped salad/vegetables          15-30 minutes prep

Salad foods good for pre-chopping & storing in airtight containers in the fridge include radish, celery, peppers, lettuce, carrots.  It’s then very quick to add a tablespoon of each into your lunch box.  Enjoy with cooked chicken breast, prawns or poached salmon for a lush lunch 🙂

Smoothies                                          15 minutes prep

Chop up your favourite vegetable with some fruit to sweeten and blitz.

A few of my favourites are; Kale, celery & apple; Spinach, cucumber & pineapple; Carrot, beetroot & pomegranate; Parsnip, carrot & mango.

I chop the vegetables up quite small and put into portion sizes (1 cup measures) and as a general rule, add one fruit portion to 4 vegetable portions. Again, smoothies will keep in the fridge in airtight containers for 2/3 days.

Protein pancakes                             5 minutes prep, 5 minutes cooking (a batch)

Whisk 2 eggs with 2 scoops of protein powder (flavoured works best), using a hot frying pan and minimal coconut oil, lightly brown on both sides (don’t burn they taste yuk!).  Pancakes will freeze or keep in the fridge for 2/3 days.  I like mine with a ½ teaspoon of honey or some blueberries and a tablespoon of natural yoghurt.

So remember, a couple of hours preparing will help keep you on your ‘healthy choices’ track.

Happy chopping! 🙂


Release Your Animal Instinct!

Posted on by Ricky in food Comments Off on Release Your Animal Instinct!

I was driving along the lane to Bootcamp this morning and to my delight (it was early) I saw an ‘animal fest’, a fox, a deer, lots of rabbits, a sparrow hawk and 2 suicidal ducks!

But it did get me thinking – When do you ever see a fat fox?

Foxes only eat when they are hungry.

Foxes don’t have access to takeaways or fast food (not in the countryside anywayJ)

Foxes work hard for their food, burning off more calories than they consume.

Foxes get a great source of protein.

Think about it…

Do you know how many calories you need to function on a normal day?

Do you know how many more calories you need on a workout day?

If you don’t, release your animal instinct – book in with us for a Skulpt session to get on track!


10 Complete Proteins – Not Just For Vegetarians!

Posted on by Ricky in food Comments Off on 10 Complete Proteins – Not Just For Vegetarians!

I was talking with one of our lovely ladies last week and she mentioned she was a vegetarian and going vegan. I quickly realised I couldn’t offer too much nutritional advice needed to do some research on the subject, and what I found was both really interesting and could definitely be applied to all our diets.

The term ‘complete protein’ refers to amino acids, the building block of protein. There are 20 different amino acids that can form protein and 9 that the body cannot produce on its own – essential amino acids.

Meat is not the only contender, eggs & dairy also fit the bill which is an easy option for vegetarians but not vegans – but there are plenty of other ways to get complete proteins, and here are some:

1. Quinoa – 8 grams protein per 1 cup serving cooked
Quinoa looks a lot like couscous but its way more nutritious. Full of fibre, iron & magnesium, Quinoa is a terrific substitute for rice, but can also be used to make muffins, fritters & cookies.

2. Buckwheat – 6 grams protein per 1 cup serving cooked
Buckwheat is not a type of wheat but is related to rhubarb! Buckwheat is usually used either ground as a flour substitute or in kernels similar to oatmeal.

3. Soy – 10 grams protein per ½ cup serving (firm tofu)
Whilst beans are normally low in amino acid, soy is a complete protein. The firmer the tofu, the higher the protein content.

4. Mycoprtein (Quorn) – 13 grams per ½ cup serving
Quorn was originally developed to combat food shortages and it’s made by growing a type of fungus in vats and is usually bound together with eggs whites, so whilst not strictly vegan, you can buy some vegan products.

5. Rice and Beans – 7 grams protein per 1 cup serving
One of the simplest and cheapest vegan-est meals and one of the best sources of protein. Most beans are low in methionine and high in lysine (the opposite of rice), so together they have protein content on par with meat.

6. Hummus & Pita – 7 grams per 1 while pitta & 2 tablespoons of hummus
The protein in wheat is low in lysine, but chick peas are high in lysine, so together they are a great source of ‘complete protein’.

Close but Not Quite a Complete Protein!

7. Hempseed – 10 grams protein per 2 tablespoon serving
Hempseed provides significant amounts of all nine essential amino acids, though it’s too low in lysine to be considered complete. It also contains plenty of magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. They are also a rare Vegan source of essential fatty acids.

8. Chia – Protein: 4 grams per 2 tablespoon serving
Chai seeds are the highest plant source of Omega3 fatty acids and they contain more fibre than flax seeds or nut. There are like Hempseed too low on lysine, but Chai is also a powerhouse of iron, calcium, zinc and antioxidants. Chai seeds also go gloopy when mixed with liquid which makes them great for making healthy puddings, thickening smoothies or replacing eggs in vegan baking.

There are also some great recipe idea using all the above here.

Happy cooking!


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