Successful weight loss, muscle gain or optimal health are all achieved by a balanced nutrition plan combined with exercise – keep on exercising and we will look to get your nutrition right, even if we have to take it back to the basics. Let’s start from the beginning and then we can progress from there.
Step 1 – Good Nutritional Habits
We will break this down into three areas for you to concentrate on – Water, Breakfast and Junk Food.
Water: Drink more water. Not squash tea or diet coke – WATER. Filtered is preferred but simple tap water is easily accessible and plentiful. Keep a bottle with you at all times and drink regularly throughout the day, not just when you’re thirsty.
Personal Trainer Anthony Rogan has clients lose in excess of 1 stone by training twice a week and ensuring they drink a minimum of 2 litres of water per day. Very often hunger is actually thirst, and drinking water reduces calorie intake and makes the body more efficient.
Breakfast: ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, you’ve all heard that saying? And I don’t want to bore you with everything you’ve heard before, BUT……
Since the age of Google everyone has become an expert in nutrition, but whether your goal is fat loss, muscle gain or improved health, tell me where there are studies to show missing breakfast is a good idea?
Studies do show eating a healthy breakfast can help promote
- A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in vitamins and minerals.
- Improved concentration and performance.
- Increased strength and energy for physical activity.
Now when it comes to weight loss, breakfast-skippers are not usually successful at losing weight, this is not a good strategy to follow. Here are some theories that suggest the benefits of breakfast for weight loss
- Breakfast reduces hunger throughout the day and helps people make better food choices at other meals. Typically breakfast-skippers eat more at lunch and throughout the day.
- Starting the day with breakfast including wise food choices and balancing calories with exercise promotes a healthy lifestyle, studies have shown people who lose weight with exercise are far more likely to keep it off than those who diet alone.
I am amazed when I speak to members on the gym floor at a 6pm class, their nutrition for the day typically consists of….no breakfast, no lunch, a coffee with some cake at 3pm and then they’re training to ‘burn the cake off’. These are usually clients who struggle with their weight loss, they are also typically high earning, successful city centre professionals – your nutrition powers your mind and ensures you perform optimally physically and mentally. Can you be making good decisions and performing optimally at work on zero carbs?
Optimal Breakfast Choices.
Ideally breakfast should consist of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and some essential fats – ‘great’ you’re thinking…. what does that mean? I would always say that something is better than nothing but here are some great choices…
- Avocado and scrambled egg on wholemeal toast.
- Porridge oats with blueberries.
- Smoked salmon with poached egg.
The most common reason people miss breakfast is time. Breakfast on the go choices include……
- Smoothie – we will look at recipes in another blog.
- Last night’s leftover pizza – remember something is always better than nothing for breakfast.
Junk: Eat less junk food, Definition of junk food – food containing high levels of calories from sugar or fat with little protein, vitamins or minerals. Use of the term implies that a particular food has little “nutritional value” and contains excessive fat, sugar, salt, and calories. Junk food can also refer to high protein food containing large amounts of meat prepared with, for example, too much unhealthy saturated fat. Let’s concentrate on foods (and drinks) that everyone knows is ‘junk’ and look at strategies to reduce the intake of these. These include…
Sugar, Takeaways, Chocolate & Sweets, Fizzy Drinks, Alcohol
Sugar: Take unrefined white sugar out of your diet or drastically reduce. For teas and coffees, reduce your sugar to one teaspoon as opposed to two – better still use Stevia (never aspartame based sweeteners), coconut sugar or organic honey to sweeten drinks. On all foods be cautious about high sugar content, checking food labels will prevent this.
Takeaways: The best quote I have ever heard ‘I ate a Chinese takeaway, but that’s got lots of veg in it so it’s good for me?’ That quote was said to me by a client.
- We have all eaten a takeaway and will do it again, limit it to once a week and even better once every other week. If you are looking at weight loss, muscle gain or optimal health, then a takeaway is never the best option.
- Keep a plentiful supply of quick and easy foods in the house for the long days at work so you know you can grab a pitta bread, some salad and some tuna that can be prepared in 5 minutes when you get in as opposed to the temptation to go for the convenient late night takeaway.
- Take snacks to work including nuts and fruit and look at your overall nutrition strategy, usually takeaway addicts skimp eat throughout the day and will very often be breakfast missers.
Chocolate & Sweets: Water is a great way to reduce your chocolate and sweet intake, very often hunger is mistaken for thirst. Also up your intake of nutrient dense foods and especially your fat intake in the morning, I have found supplementing clients with Udo’s oil with breakfast and lunch as an effective way to reduce sugar cravings and stabilising blood sugar levels. Sugar cravings usually come from a slump in energy caused by a calorie deficit. Eat breakfast, drink water and eat little and often. Put these strategies in place and they will improve your will power.
Fizzy Drinks: Water my friends, drink more water!
Alcohol: Personal Trainer and body transformation specialist Kieran Quinlan said
‘They are willing to do whatever I ask them, cardio in the morning, Udo’s oil, vitamins, high intensity weight sessions and a strict nutrition plan. Then I tell them they can’t drink wine….and they look at me like I’m mad’
Alcohol contains huge amounts of calories and is the vice of many nutrition plans, we are told that alcohol in moderation is ok (not good) for us – since when is a bottle of wine per night moderation? Reduce your alcohol intake to a maximum of one night per week and preferably less. I have upset many clients by informing them that when they are drinking every night of the week they have an addiction, otherwise known as an alcoholic – something that usually invokes a change in behaviour…..or them joining another gym!
Ok, you’re now armed with the start of your nutrition strategy. I will look at a blog next week for those who want to take it to the next level. For now, keep on training and follow these very simple rules
Drink More Water – a minimum or 2 litres per day.
Eat Breakfast – everyday, preferably one containing lean protein, complex carbs and some essential fats
Eat Less Junk Food – Takeaways and alcohol limited to one day per week, reduce sugar intake, reduce sweets and no fizzy drinks.
Good luck guys, email me with any feedback you have.