My top 5 tips for New Year fitness success.

Starting the New Year with a fitness resolution? Here are my top 5 tips for New Year fitness success.

DITCH THE ALL OR NOTHING MENTALITY.

Just because you cracked and ate a full packet of Hob Nobs it doesn’t mean that you have to write off the entire day. Just adjust your calories and macros to account for it, train a bit harder / longer if you have time and move on. It’s NOT all or nothing!

IT’S ABOUT RATIOS NOT PERFECTION.

Get your ratios right. Have you seen the IG accounts of people who are in amazing shape? They train hard, they eat well and they still have “a life”. They have the occasional donut. They have the occasional pizza. They have the occasional drink. The key word is “occasional”. Get your ratios right (70/30 80/20 90/10 whatever works for you) and you can be in great shape and still have “a life”.

PROCESS VS RESULTS.

Try to find a balance between what you enjoy doing and the things that will get you results. If you like running then run daily and lift weights 3 times a week. If you like weight training then lift weights daily and go for a run 3 times a week. If you don’t like any of it then don’t do it, but don’t complain about the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do.

KEEP SCORE.

Nothing is more motivating than seeing the numbers improve. Ran 5k in 35 minutes? Record it! Try to beat it. Bench pressed 50kg for 12 reps? Write it down and go for 15 reps next time. It’s amazing to look back at the numbers and see that what was a struggle 18 months ago is now a warm up!

FLY WITH THE EAGLES.

Find your fitness family. People who have similar goals. It’s hard to nip out for a run if your other half resents it so try to get the important people on board. Explain to them how important it is to you. Encourage them to join you. Join a club or group (running, CrossFit, Zumba, bootcamp etc) so you can hang out with like-minded people.

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What should I to eat to get toned?

Weight Loss and Toning Up

According to the NHS, losing weight “means sticking to a calorie limit of no more than 1,900kcal a day (men), and 1,400kcal for most women“.  If you want to be “toned” (i.e. not just skin and bone) when you lose weight, then you’ll also need to integrate some resistance training into your weight loss strategy and be sensible with your calories and macros.

There are so many variables, such as training volume, daily activity (work, family etc.), height, age, weight, hormones, genetics, etc. that determine the optimal calories and macros that will allow you to lose body fat without losing muscle.

In order to build and shape your body i.e. get “toned” your nutrition plan should accomplish these 3 goals:

  1. Allows you to eat as many calories as possible whilst losing body fat at the desired rate.
  2. Promotes long-term, healthy and sustainable eating habits.
  3. Has a balance of healthy fats, carbohydrate, fibre and protein.

Fat Loss Meals

The meals my Fat Loss Coaching clients eat are usually straight forward and take little effort to make. The quantity of food they eat is enough to prevent hunger – in fact I’d be willing to bet that, for many people, this will be a significant increase on their usual food volume. The meals contain plenty of protein, which is a proven weight loss facilitator and is essential for building muscle. They also eat lots of fruit and veg, which is essential for fibre, micronutrients and antioxidants,

All this adds up to a fail-safe day of eating that will lead to fat-loss, weight loss, increased muscle definition and phenomenally good health.

Tracking Calories and Macros

Use My Fitness Pal (MFP) to track what you’re eating. You can do this in advance by planning and preparing your meals and entering the data into MFP or you can enter them as you eat them, which is pretty much what I do.

If MFP tells me I need more protein I can decide whether I fancy chicken or fish. If I also need more fat I might choose something that is rich on both protein and fat, such as salmon, steak or eggs, I could combined foods such as tuna (protein) and avocado (fats). Or, for protein and carbs I might have a bowl of oats chocolate protein powder mixed in (“proats”).

  • Protein has 4 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram
  • Fat has 9 calories per gram
  • Alcohol has 7 calories per gram (Remember that lager etc. contains carbs and alcohol)

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Can you eat bread and pasta and still lose body fat?

I regularly get questions like this:

“Can I have bread, pasta, biscuits, crisps, alcohol etc?”

“Can I have regular milk in coffee or should I have almond milk?”

“I’ve seen these ready meals, they look okay. Am I ‘allowed’ them?”

My answer is always the same..

“Yes! As long as you can stay within your calorie target and hit your macros”.

There are two main issues here:

1: Calories

Convenience foods, especially ready meals, often contain a lot more calories for a lot less food, which can make it harder to stay within your calorie limit.

But if you can integrate them into your diet and still hit your calories and macros, without being hungry and fed up, then go for it!

2: Hyper-palatability

Hyper-palatability basically means they taste amazing!! They are moreish! You can’t stop yourself! These food usually come in the form of carbs!!

So it’s not cutting out the carbs themselves that makes a difference, it is going from calorie-dense carbs to low-calorie vegetables that help you to (1) not to go mad with the taste of them and have seconds, thirds and finish off what’s in the pan, and (2) reduce the calories in the meals you do you have by switching from a big pile of carbs to a big pile of veg.

So…if you can have one biscuit, or one slice of pizza, or a small packet of crisps without going into a Tasmanian Devil frenzy and eating your own body-weight in junk food then by all means go for it!! I can’t so I abstain until I fancy a bit of a binge!

But remember that, usually, the more palatable something is, the more calorie-dense it is, so that links back to number 1! Calorie-dense + hyper-palatable = massive dietary f*ck up!

So, the same rules apply here…if you can integrate them into your diet and still hit your calories and macros, without being hungry and fed up, then go for it!

Summary and caution

The reason I recommend that the majority of your diet should be made up of meat, veg and some fruit is that you get a lot more bang for your buck and won’t go hungry whilst maintaining a consistent calorie deficit.

However, if you want to and are able to integrate some convenience and junk food into your diet then as long as it meets the following two criteria then I’m absolutely fine with it.

A: You can still hit your calories and macros consistently.

B: Using your calories in this way doesn’t make you hungry and affect long-term sustainability.

The only word of caution I would offer is to be aware that extra calories from ready meals and ‘junk’ are calories that are not then available for healthy but calorie-dense options like oily fish and avocado. Be sensible! 😉

This is how you get to have your cake and eat it!

5 tips for a healthy but fun festive period

Christmas doesn’t have to mean weight gain! You can enjoy a few festive treats without resorting to pure piggery. Here are 5 tips to help you have a healthy but fun Christmas and New Year.

1, Keep an eye on calories. If you’re going to eat Quality Street and Matchmakers then do it as part of your allotted calories rather than going crackers (pun intended! 🙄).

2, Keep active with the family. Walks in the crisp winter weather are wonderful this time of year. Take the kids out geocaching or chasing Pokemons 👹 (or should it be Pokemen?. Explore your local area.

3, Do the festive parkruns 🏃🏼‍♀️. There are parkruns on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. New Year’s Day is the only day of the year that you can do TWO parkruns (check the parkrun website for start times). If you’re asking, “Who would do a parkrun on New Year’s Day?” The answer is thousands of people all over the world! It’s that lifestyle thing again!

4, Weigh yourself. Don’t stick your head in the sand and end up putting on a stone. Keep a track. But remember that if you’re eating more carbs (Christmas is all about carbs – mince pies, chocolates etc) then you’ll weigh more just because of the high water content in carbs. So as long as you’re sticking to your calories most of the time you shouldn’t need to panic if you add a few pounds.

5, Keep hydrated – especially if you’re drinking alcohol. Water is essential for health and well-being so, by all means have a glass of red, but have a glass of water too. Let everyone else do the Christmas Coke thing! Save your sugar allocation for something worthwhile…like purple Quality Street! 👌

Click HERE to get started with your Fat Loss journey.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing this Christmas!

One of the things I keep hearing is “I’ll start at New Year” or “Oh it’s a bad time of year to start my nutrition – I’ll be on it in Jan“.

First things first – I’m not bashing New Year’s resolutions! The start of a new year is a great time to draw an line under the past and make a fresh start but here’s why I think delaying it due to Christmas isn’t the right thing to do.

Because it’s an all or nothing approach! It’s really common – you’re either on it or off it, but in reality life isn’t like that!

Do you think I’m “on it” 24/7? No! Do you think Fat Loss clients Roman, Heidi, Claire, or Natalie who have lost 14 stones between them are on it all the time? No! It’s all a matter of degrees and ratios!

The difference is that when we have a family meal or an evening out with friends – it’s not the end of the world and a signal for a six week lay-off until we feel like we’re “on it” again!

So, if you’ve said, “Oh I’ve got Christmas and New Year coming up” (yeah, you and the other 2 billion people!) then let me ask you this:

Are you planning to do nothing but eat and drink 24/7 for the next 14 days? No way! You’ll have a few days when eat, drink and be merry – fine, enjoy it – but you don’t have to totally stop your training and nutrition.

The meals that aren’t a big family feast don’t have to be “bad” – you can eat well for those.

From 24 Dec to 2 Jan you have 30 breakfasts, 30 lunches and 30 dinners. Out of those, you can probably have 28 healthy breakfasts, 25 healthy lunches and 25 healthy dinners – that’s 78/90 meals that you can get right. I’ll be a bit more on it than that – I might do 28/27/26 = 81/90 and Claire will do 30/29/27 = 86/90 (Miss Goody Two-Shoes!) but, either way, why let the prospect of a few blow-outs get you in an all or nothing state of mind!?

Yes, enjoy your Christmas and New year! Eat some cake, drink some wine, but if you totally eschew health and fitness because you want total break from it then, if I’m honest, you really haven’t made it part of your lifestyle as we constantly talk about. If that’s the case then you’re just “dieting” and, as we all know, dieting doesn’t work!

So, why not join my 1-2-1 Fat Loss Coaching programme to help you through this festive period and prepare you to hit it hard in January!

 

How to gain size without gaining lots of unwanted body fat

Most of my clients have some form of weight loss or fat loss goal. But not everybody wants to get smaller!

If you are naturally slim and are what is termed a “hard gainer” (you struggle to put on any significant bulk or size but you do put on a little bit of fat around your waist occasionally) then here are a few tips to help you grow!

If the main issue with losing weight is eating fewer calories than you are expending then the opposite is true for gaining muscle and size, especially if you are naturally slim! You need calories!!

One of the main struggles for people who are trying to lose that skinny look is that they struggle to eat the amount of HEALTHY food that is needed to provide the calories in order to grow.

Therefore, just as I advise people who are trying to lose weight to choose nutrient-dense low-calorie foods that they can eat a lot of without going over their calorie limit, I advise clients who are trying to gain weight to do the opposite.

If you are trying to consume 4000-5000 calories a day then you are going to make yourself sick trying to do it from chicken and broccoli! You need more calorie-dense meals so that you are not over-facing yourself with mountains and mountains of food every day!

So, what’s the solution – Mars Bars, Kebabs, and Doritos with lots of dip? Well, no, that’s if you want to stay healthy and increase your size without putting on too much extra fat (a little extra body fat is pretty much inevitable when trying to increase muscle but there are ways to ameliorate fat gain during the process).

Here are four nutrition tips to get bigger whilst minimising fat gain

1: Set an initial body weight goal. Don’t just eat like mad and see where you end up. That’s a recipe to end up fat and unhappy. You can adjust this goal up or down as you progress.

2: Don’t go mad! In the same way that losing body fat should be a lifestyle approach, gaining muscle should be just the same if you want to maintain it. Don’t treat it as a free for all, eating pizza and takes 24/7, putting on two stones in a month. A couple of pounds a week gained is plenty.

3: Don’t guess your way to success! Be a scientist! Track everything. Track your calorie intake, your macros, your body weight, your body measurements, your body fat, your appearance. Find what works and work it!

4: Choose healthy calorie-dense foods to increase your calories and improve your health. Fats have 9 cal per gram, compared to protein and carbs, which both have 4 cal per gram, so healthy fats are a great way to increase your calorie intake without needing to feel stuffed.

Foods such as avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, full fat Greek yoghurt, pork, beef, lamb and eggs can all be added to your normal meals to increase your calorie intake without having to resort to KitKats and Monster Munch!

So, there you have four tips to help you increase your muscle mass and stay healthy without ending up looking like a space hopper!

Start YOUR Fat Loss Journey

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  2. I’ll contact you to confirm your payment and discuss your goals.
  3. I’ll send your nutrition plan and advise you how to get started.
  4. We’ll check in every day and I’ll help you through the practical and psychological process of getting the body you want.
  5. We achieve REAL, LONG LASTING, RESULTS! #teamwork
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The No 1 Reason That Belly Fat Won’t Go

The No 1 Reason People Can’t Lose Their Belly

The number one reason people struggle to lose body fat is that they eat too many calories. Sure, the sources of those calories are important in body-recomposition but calories in vs calories out is the primary concern.

So, here are two key reasons that people tend to eat too many calories:

1: They confuse healthy eating with being in a calorie deficit. 2500 calories a day of salmon, quinoa, nuts and avocado won’t get you lean if you only need 1600 calories.

2: They get hungry when eating the number of calories they need to lose weight. The main reason they get hungry is that they refuse to eschew the calorie-dense things in their diet. 300 calories from a bagel and peanut butter will fill you up less than 200 calories of chicken salad will.

So, here are three tips for maintaining a calorie deficit and losing body fat, long-term.

1: Decide whether or not losing body fat is more important to you than eating and drinking what you want. If not then let it go and enjoy life! If it is then move on to tip number two.

2: Choose nutrient-dense foods over calorie-dense foods. For example, a 350 calorie serving of lean steak with a generous helping of broccoli, asparagus and red peppers will preserve muscle and help you to maintain a calorie deficit much better than a 350 calorie bowl of Special K will.

3: Be a fat loss scientist! Track everything – your food, your weight, your body measurements, your body fat, your appearance. Only by tracking what you’re doing can you determine whether or not it’s working.

So, if you are trying to lose weight or reduce your body fat without any luck, chances are you are eating too many calories. Apply those three tips for 6-8 weeks and you’ll be well on the road to success!

Start YOUR Fat Loss Journey

  1. Click on the checkout button and sign up.
  2. I’ll contact you to confirm your payment and discuss your goals.
  3. I’ll send your nutrition plan and advise you how to get started.
  4. We’ll check in every day and I’ll help you through the practical and psychological process of getting the body you want.
  5. We achieve REAL, LONG LASTING, RESULTS! #teamwork
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3 Tips for Reducing Body Fat

When trying to lose body fat and “tone up” in a sustainable and long-term way, your three main concerns should be:

– Maintaining a calorie deficit
– Preserving as much muscle as possible
– Staying healthy in the process

Here are three tips to help you achieve all of the above.

1: Replace high calorie carbs with fibrous veggies.

Carbs are not bad and they are the most accessible source of food energy. However, vegetables are less calorie dense than carbs such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. So you can fill up on them to prevent hunger, keep you healthy and reduce your caloric intake.

Choosing vegetables can also help to regulate blood sugar and prevent insulin resistance.

Basically, in terms of satiation and micronutrients, veggies give you more bang for your buck per calorie!

2: Eat protein with every meal.

Try to get the majority of your protein from whole foods such as eggs, meat and fish. Protein powder is a handy way to boost your protein intake and makes a nice treat to ensure you get a decent protein hit in your snacks.

3: Don’t drink protein shakes!

“Hang on you said to use protein powder!!?”

Yes I did! But I didn’t say to drink protein shakes. I mainly use protein powder to mix with other things and not as a drink.

If you are trying to maintain a calorie deficit then you don’t want to be drinking your calories because you will soon get hungry. That’s just one of the reasons why I’m not keen on Juice Plus or Herbalife programmes.

Here are just a few of the ways that I use protein powder to give me a sweet hit and boost the protein content of my meals.

– Chocolate protein powder and oats.
– Banana protein powder and quark.
– Vanilla protein powder and low fat Greek yoghurt.

So, there go! Three simple tips, which, if you apply them on a daily basis, will help you to reduce body fat and maintain muscle mass, which are both vital elements in getting that beach body!

Start YOUR Fat Loss Journey

  1. Click on the checkout button and sign up.
  2. I’ll contact you to confirm your payment and discuss your goals.
  3. I’ll send your nutrition plan and advise you how to get started.
  4. We’ll check in every day and I’ll help you through the practical and psychological process of getting the body you want.
  5. We achieve REAL, LONG LASTING, RESULTS! #teamwork

 

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Fish Oil Buying Guide

Overview

Are you supplementing with fish oil? If not then chances are that you should be! With scientific evidence of benefits ranging from depression treatment to reducing triglycerides (too many can lead to heart problems).

Benefits of Fish Oil

– Triglyceride reductions in the range of 15-30%
– Fish oil supplementation has been noted to be comparable to pharmaceutical drugs (fluoxetine) in majorly depressed persons
– Supplemental DHA above 300mg appears to be effective in reducing ADHD symptoms in children when supplemented
– May decrease blood pressure in persons with high blood pressure, but does not appear to have efficacy in persons with normal blood pressure

What to Look For

However (and this is a big however), many of the fish oils that are available in supermarkets are so low in the active ingredients (EPA and DHA) that it significantly reduces their benefits. You can usually tell by the price. A quality oil containing 1000mg (1g) of EPA/DHA is likely to cost around £25-£30 for 90-120 capsules. Compare this to a cheap version containing 150mg EPA/DHA, which costs around £2.50 for 120 capsules.

The thing is, when faced with myriad of different products, containing different ingredients, at different prices, it can be confusing and time consuming trying to find the best one to buy.

But…I’ve done the hard work for you! Here are a random selection of six products. When you account for the active ingredient content you’ll notice a price difference of 375%!

Product Comparison

HealthAid Omega 3 Capsules
www.ebay.co.uk/itm/311986594277
425/325 (750) per capsule.
£17.24 for 60
Price per 1000mg = 38p

Impera Nutrition Omega 3 1000
www.ebay.co.uk/itm/222599695274
500/250 (750) per capsule.
£17 for 120
Price per 1000mg = 19p

Tesco Cod Liver Oil 550Mg 90’s
www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/273127421
?? per capsule. Not stated – says it all!
£1.75 for 90 / £3.50 for 180
Price per 1000mg = ?

Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil High Strength
www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/251034875
86/69 (155) per capsule.
£5.00 for 60 / £10 for 180
Price per 1000mg = 36p

Bulk Powders Omega 3 Fish Oil Soft Gels
www.bulkpowders.co.uk/omega-3-fish-oil-softgels.html
180/120 (300) per capsule.
£12.94 for 270
Price per 1000mg = 16p

Peak Supps Super Strength 1000mg Fish Oils
www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271497339770
180/120 (300) per capsule.
£24.95 for 1000
Price per 1000mg = 8p

Summary

  • Fish oils have many health benefits
  • Not all fish oils are the same
  • Price of the pack is a good indicator of quality (cheap pack = not good)
  • Compare products to get the best value

Sources

www.examine.com/supplements/fish-oil

Start YOUR Fat Loss Journey

  1. Click on the checkout button and sign up.
  2. I’ll contact you to confirm your payment and discuss your goals.
  3. I’ll send your nutrition plan and advise you how to get started.
  4. We’ll check in every day and I’ll help you through the practical and psychological process of getting the body you want.
  5. We achieve REAL, LONG LASTING, RESULTS! #teamwork

 

GET STARTED