Lets look at the western diet, the 3 things that people have issues with when it comes to digestion.
Wheat – Gluten – Lactose
Lets look at a traditional western breakfast.
Cereals with milk, or Toast.
All 3 are present.
Yeah thats porridge too.
Multigrain, wholegrain, all these words are to make you think ‘oh this one is healthy’.
I love this one, oh but Andrew my breads Gluten Free – that doesn’t mean its good for you, it can in most cases mean its worse. Food companies are putting out propaganda to lead you into purchasing their product without guilt.
Where they remove gluten they will replace with other shite.
We have seen this before with Low Fat and Sugar Free.
Gluten is no exception, amigo.
Lets look at a few other basics
I am a big fan of introducing REAL foods into peoples diets, you know, the old fashion stuff that rots and breaks down.
If a food doesn’t break down sitting in your cupboard you can bet your digestive system is going to struggle.
The FORTIFICATION process of cereals is where food companies refine it and remove enzymes from their food to STOP IT BREAKING DOWN, this is to improve shelf lives and improve their sales.
This food now also removes nutrients. Which is why you were eating it right?
(they add iron and riboflavin in powder form so they can put extra on the box to make you buy it too)
All at a detriment to your digestion.
You’re feeding this to your kids too!
(who now are having more gut problems than ever before)
But why’d you care about digestion (and the gut)?
Your digestive system and your immune system work closely side by side, well in fact all your systems do.
If you put your digestive system under strain you’re directly affecting your immune system too.
Which in turn is going to have an affect on your endocrine system (which is all your hormones)
Now ladies, you can appreciate how a slight flux in hormones can alter your mood.
Gents, when you leave the gym with your testosterone through the roof feeling great and like the alpha male of the gym wanting to beat your chest like a Gorilla.
These are small changes in hormonal levels yet a big knock on affect to how you feel.
Lets think about a hangover, where in turn you’ve really put your systems under strain though lack of sleep, lack of recovery, toxins… to name a few.
I’ve had hangovers where I feel like I am going to die!
What goes into our digestive track has a HUGE affect on how we FEEL!
If you’re going to take home anything from what I just said let it be this:
Hormones sit at the centre of how we feel, our ability to lose fat and build muscle!
Look at the side of a cereal box!
Its a HIGH CARB FOOD CHOICE
Its a LOW PROTEIN FOOD CHOICE
For the rest of your day you’ll be chasing your tail getting that levelled out.
Almost everyone I meet has too many carbs and not enough protein in their diets.
Whether for fat loss, muscle growth or healthy living.
Cereal is an awful choice.
Yet it sits at the epicentre of our western diets.
Wait: The early rising heroes who are up “too early” to make eggs.
In my opinion: you’re better off skipping breakfast and going straight to lunch (albeit a bigger one), your digestive track will thank you for the greens and meat/fish/poultry with low GI carbs and you’ll feel a hell of a lot better.
Ok Ok Ok I’m finishing up now, this has been longer than I anticipated!
Cereals, oats, grains, breads all shoot it up, way up.
Where Insulin has to bring it down, way down.
You go hyper (too high) where you feel pretty good about the food.
You go hypo (too low) where you feel tired, sluggish lethargic and reach for another espresso pronto.
Insulin is our storage hormone, where do you think its going to put all that excess blood sugar?
Especially if you’re sat on your arse all day.
Erm, not really, would be my answer.
“They are beneficial but not essential.”
However, post intense exercise you’re just not going to get a better bang for your buck than a Whey protein shake.
You deplete your body of a load of stuff during a workout.
A protein shake ensures a fast delivery of almost all of them.
So why wouldn’t you have a protein shake? I suppose would be my question.
We very rarely have an appetite in the window after exercise so having it in a drink format makes sense.
I would place money that 1% of the audience reading this gets in enough dietary protein.
So yeah, I think you should get a protein shake in you.
You don’t have to.
But then again.
You don’t have to get a full night sleep.
But I’d advise that before a eyeballing what protein shake to get.
Here are my 3 rules I enforce with my clients when they DO get protein powder.
1) Do NOT replace meals with shakes.
2) Do not have more than 1 shake a day (similar to rule 1)
3) Don’t be a awkward, just get Whey.
However, as mentioned briefly before.
If you’re considering purchasing some protein to up your recovery time and aid your ‘gainz’ in the gym.
Look into your sleep, the amount of time you spend on your smartphone and your training intensity and methodology in the gym.
Its a free way to improve your results without spending a penny.
Heard this come out of my mouth and it actually sounded worthy of being article written.
I get asked.
“Andrew, what should I be eating?”
I can give you a list, I literally could write out a long ass list of foods and say to you.
“Pick out of them, see ya later.”
Not my approach though (amigo).
Firstly you need to distinguish between food and processed foods.
This should help you get clear:
Walk into a supermarket, well most anyway.
In front of you are usually 2 isles.
Groceries, Veg, Fruit, Meat, Eggs, Poultry and sometimes Fish.
All these foods are ‘single ingredient’…
A potato is a potato, an aubergine is an aubergine, chicken is chicken.
Getting my drift.
ASK YOURSELF THIS: When did you last overeat a ‘single ingredient’ food.
‘Dave, you shouldn’t of left me with the carrots alone I just ate 34 of em!’
Nah, doesn’t happen does it!
Now look at the other 8-10 isles.
Its in a can, a bag, mixed with other foods and derived of anything that actually enables us to digest it properly.
Here is my approach.
Eat more from the first 2 isles.
I don’t care about how much you’ve been eating.
Just get MORE from those 2 isles.
Then continue to do so.
Until you’re at about an 80/20 split.
When 20% of your diet consists of pizza, ice cream and alcohol.
You know what?
For those of you who want chiseled abs or sub 10% body fat, go speak to a competition coach.
Because I am not your man and we won’t get on.
I haven’t got time for dealing with peoples eating disorders and obsessions with fat calipers.
I just want you to eat more of the stuff you need, little less of the stuff you don’t.
Then enjoy that 20% guilt free, any less than that and your life still start to suck.
Trust me, its not worth it either.
Here's a truth bomb, you may not like it.
No one gives a shit you got abs, they really don’t!
Not your Mum, Dad, Sister or Friends…
You think your mates are jealous but chances are they’ll actually just resent you after a while.
The way my mind works its all about aiming for that 80%.
No cheat meals! I don’t get hung up on food, but if you see me doing my food shop.
I’ll spend most my time buying things I haven’t tried before in those first two isles.
Then fill my basket with 20% of some shitty foods like Chewits and the odd chocolate bar and give absolutely zero fucks.
Right so I want you to imagine if you will a weekly shopping van.
One that turns up at your house with your weekly shopping.
This represents the amount of calories you consume each week.
(FOOD IN SHOPPING VAN = CALORIES)
I want you to imagine kitchen cupboards
(KITCHEN CUPBOARDS full/not full = MUSCLES)
I want you to imagine your freezer, where you store food.
(FREEZER = BODY FAT)
So here we go.
When your usual weekly shop comes, you grab it from the door and take it into the kitchen.
From there you’ll put it in the cupboards, find space for it all right.
So, lets imagine you have a bit of a shit month with your diet.
More calories than usual = bigger food shop.
You come into the kitchen and plop it all on the floor, there’s not enough room in the cupboards so you have to put it in the freezer to store it.
Ok, so here’s the magic bit.
Next month you’re like that’s it, I’m going to exercise more!
You use your muscles more than usual, this represents the cupboards remember.
So what happens is the cupboards get emptied MORE than usual.
Which means when your weekly shop comes in to the kitchen.
You fill up the cupboards, but there’s still space.
So what do you do? You go to the freezer and defrost your shit and put it in your cupboards to ensure they’re full.
Makes sense right?
OK, so here’s the best bit.
I want you to imagine this.
You decide to DECREASE the amount you buy in your weekly shop.
Then you vow to EMPTY your cupboards as much as physically possible.
Baron and empty cupboards, which means a lot of foods from the freezer needs to be transferred, defrosted and put in the cupboards to make ends meet.
That is where you’ll find the ULTIMATE mix of dietary restrictions (reducing calories IN) and more exercise (spending calories OUT) brings you the best results for fat loss.
How easy was that?
So here is what I want you to do....
1. Write an action plan for each day. I don't care how busy you are.
2. Move more day to day
3. Track calories on 'myfitnesspal'
4. Train as many muscles as possible on a regular basis
5. Drink more water
6. Check out my teams testimonials
7 Reasons you don't need supplements
Right, disclaimer: Some of you may benefit from supplements, sure.
But the vast majority of you reading this (my demographic) won’t.
Here’s 7 reasons why...
1. Protein Shakes
Fuck me, protein shakes and fitness. Right let me explain it for you, protein is a requirement by the body, we all need differing amounts to be obtained through a varied diet. Protein shakes are good to supplement a diet deficient in protein and they can be a good idea post workout in shake form. However TOO MANY OF YOU seem to think that you have a shake post workout or with your porridge and that’s your protein for the day done.
I reckon 95% of people who take a protein shake DO NOT GET ENOUGH PROTEIN IN as they’re relying on the damn shake. Are they beneficial, yeah in some cases. Most of the time you just need to eat more of it.
It’s filtered milk people, FILTERED MILK.
Well done for paying £60 for a tub though.
For the top athletes perhaps, research isn’t solid surrounding pre, intra or post use.
But your hero who’s ripped and shredded takes them… It’s called an endorsement
Well done for believing that it was his BCAA’s that got him in that shape (not testosterone.)
3. “Fat Burners”
In most cases a stimulant that increases the amount of calories you would use in that typical period of time. All legal varieties prove to make little to no difference to a bad diet.
Best way to burn calories is not to eat them when you don’t need to.
Besides, drinking enough Boo Tea and you’ll shit the bed, literally.
4. Gainer Shakes
How did fat people get fat? From eating too much food.
If you’re looking to gain size, try more food, not a gainer shake.
Easy ways to obtain calories would be full fat milk and butter, you ever buttered your veg, it’s fucking fantastic, you’ll be hyper-caloric in no time.
(that’s an excess of calories to build muscle, you need to be hyper caloric for muscle growth.)
5. Pre Workouts
Good way to head straight first into adrenal fatigue, they have their place but you don’t need them.
Let’s talk human evolution, we have a fight or flight response whereby under the right stress we can fight to the death against anyone at any time.
Yet you can’t get up for a gym session??
Maybe it’s not the fact that you need a pre-workout, maybe you’re just not that up for this whole lifting weights thing. Try a coffee before you train, if that’s not enough go play Tennis instead or something.
Also to be found in: REAL FOOD!!
Stop eating shit, clear up your diet and eat more greens and you’ll be all good.
This one actually is a fantastic supplement, it makes you stronger, last longer, bigger to name a few.
You need to take it all the time, not just when you fancy.
But here’s a question to ask yourself…
Are you a strength athlete?
Are you even an athlete?
Do you need it?
Chances are probably not, if you’re a 24 year old girl who works in PR and trains occasionally in the evenings, you’ll be fine without it.
Varied diet you’ll get it.
Supplements, massively understood.
“To supplement your diet, not add on the side of a below par diet to expect above par results.”
In my opinion, no absolutely not.
Firstly I’ll make one thing clear, it’s my opinion.
Secondly, when I work with people’s diets I ensure they’re hitting sufficient calories, they get their protein, fibre etc. sorted. I’m not advocating diet coke as a diet!
All of us fitness people greatly differ on opinions but we all want the same thing at the end of the day.
To make loads of money… oh and to help people get in shape.
So, last week I finished at the gym and purchased a diet coke.
Because I’m trimming down right now,
So I’m on a calorie controlled diet and I fancied something cold and fizzy.
Another trainer mentioned:
“Why the Diet Coke?”
Obvious response was, “it contains less calories.”
We then took the conversation to Facebook Messenger so it didn’t look like we were bickering but I thought best to put an article up for everyone.
Let me set straight the differences.
Regular Coca Cola = A lot of sugar / Carbs
Diet Coke = Sweeteners / Aspartame
Right, so yeah you could argue ‘just drink water, both Coke options are bad for you’.
Cheers for the input but I wanted something cold and fizzy.
If my clients ask me what’s best for them I usually say have a Diet Coke…
Because they came through the door WANTING TO BE LESS FAT.
Some people say they want to be healthier, 10 minutes later in conversation it turns out THEY WANT TO BE LESS FAT.
Some say they want to feel better, 10 minutes into conversation it turns out they want to look good in a dress for their Sister’s wedding by WANTING TO BE LESS FAT.
I am a ‘Fat Loss & Strength Coach’
Not a health guru, or you’d be sprinkling Ginseng on your ‘erbal virgin vegan oats each morning.
So to clarify about what I do:
People pay me their hard earned money to create a caloric equation that puts them in a deficit.
More Exercise & Less Calories = Fat Loss
So why the fuck would I tell them they’d be better off with a full fat Coke?
That’s 126 calories, that would take around 13-15 minutes on a cross trainer to ‘burn off’.
What’s the point?
At the end of the day the studies behind sweeteners aren’t solid, nor have they been prevalent in our diets for long enough to make a solid conclusion.
BUT THE BEST BIT IS THIS.
People are saying “don’t drink diet drinks, they’re bad for you.”
Yet the majority of the British public get hammered on booze at the weekend, smoke socially and bang a few lines of cocaine up their nose before having unprotected sex.
Yet they’re pointing the fingers at sweeteners being unhealthy, give me a break.
Top tip: Drizzle that diet coke over a glass of ice for a more enjoyable experience
I don't think people really understand what muscle tone is.
Muscle tone is not a thing, there is no type of training that is best for muscle tone.
What you need to understand is that muscle tone comes from 1 of 2 things...
MUSCLE, YOU NEED IT!
So you need to lift weights to stimulate muscle tissue.
No I don't mean body pump,
I don't mean jogging every day.
Your diet needs to be on point to maintain muscle
In the scheme of things, way harder than losing body fat.
This brings me to point number 2
In most cases the reason your muscle is not visible is because it's covered in to much fat.
To reduce fat you don't need...
You just need to 'diet',
the fact is you already have a diet.
You need to concentrate on your current eating habits rather than trying to look for the next 'health magazine bullshit' article.
If you don't already track calories, start. I recommend using http://www.myfitnesspal.com
You don't need breakfast!
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
No, it’s not.
We’re talking fat loss here so let’s look at the basics.
You need less calories.
You need to eat less.
Is removing a meal going to help?
Of course it is.
Nutrient timing plays a very small roll within fat loss, not that important.
Calories are THE MOST important!
Now I am not saying don’t have breakfast but what I am saying is you don’t really need it.
Especially not if you’re planning on eating shit like cereal bars, cereal or crumpets.
You’re throwing calories into the equation for the sake of it.
If you’re hungry eat, have something proper.
But if you’re late, working away or just ‘don’t have time’ then hold out for a few hours.
We can go days without food, you’ll make it to lunchtime mate.
For most, breakfast is one of the meals that lets you down the most as far as NOT containing ANY nutrients.
It's usually loaded with Wheat, Gluten and Dairy.
The 3 things the western world are most intolerant to.
Funny that, use your brains!
BOOM! It’s Friday!
As it’s been a busy week, let your hair down and have a few drinks in the sun this evening. BBQ over the weekend and maybe have a cheeky take-away in front of the tv tomorrow.
That’s cool but remember that your body doesn’t know it is a weekend, or even that a ‘week end’ exists.
All it knows is that extra calories are coming in and it has to deal with it.
So lets not eat like a twat.
If you are on a diet and have stuck to a rigid structure throughout the week, don’t go bonkers at the weekend as all your hard work will go straight out the window!
By this I mean, if you are working at a calorie deficit throughout the week, don’t then have a huge surplus at the weekend, as all that hard work and sacrifice will go to waste!
My 2 pennies’ worth, have a few bits that you wouldn’t have during the week and enjoy yourself.
Don’t go overboard as you still have a goal in mind.
The bigger your goal and depending on your time frame, have your luxuries to scale that. Most of all, be happy, smile and look out for one another.
Oh and enjoy your weekend 😉
Sugar cravings are when presented with a choice of foods, we chose the ones which are sugary, not always the ones we should.
Why is this?
Poor willpower? Usually not!
OK firstly you need to understand something called HOMEOSTASIS
It means the body is always in a state of balance:
- You get too hot, you sweat and cool down.
-You get too cold, you shiver and warm up.
This happens all over the body in much more complicated circumstances.
All foods have a different affect on our blood sugar level, this is the amount of sugar in the blood, it circulates around the body.
Some foods elevate our blood sugar fast. (High Glycemic Index G.I)
Some foods elevate our blood sugar slow. (Low GI)
You have probably heard you should eat carbs low in GI.
Most “whole” foods are of low GI.
Many processed foods are high GI.
Sugar is like cocaine to the bloodstream, it elevates it incredibly fast.
Its breakfast time, you fancy some corn flakes with a bit of sugar and skimmed milk.
That is a lot of sugar.
Sugar content enters the blood stream quickly and causes your blood sugar level to rise very fast.
The bodies response is to secret insulin, in an almost unnatural manner, its going ape shit to control it in most cases as it needs to bring your blood sugar down.
(If blood sugar goes too high you can lose a foot, eyesight etc. from lack of circulation. These are the dangers to diabetics from being hyperglycemic (high blood sugar).)
So in most cases in non slim people (politically correct haha) do not secrete the right amount of insulin for how much sugar is in the blood, besides you went a little ape shit to control all that sugar so chances are you have driven your blood sugar down too fast and too much.
So – its now about an hour after your breakfast and you’re feeling sluggish.
Insulin makes you sluggish.
You’re feeling tired and reaching for a cup of coffee, you have brain fog.
This is probably the low blood sugar, now…
Your bodies evolutionary response kicks in…
RAISE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR TO OPTIMUM LEVELS
It sends you a signal, eat something that will raise it.
Now you have your willpower vs an evolutionary response.
Usually you can guess who wins…
So how can you avoid this?
Eat less foods that elevate blood sugar.
THIS is why we want to avoid sugar, not because ‘it makes us fat’ but…
Because it kicks off a huge chain of high and low blood sugar, false hunger and shit food choices.
Which usually messes up your diet for the day… Which I am sure you will start again tomorrow…
This is why I am such a big advocate of avoiding carbs in the first part of the day during breakfast.
ALSO – You are more sensitive to insulin first thing in the morning, where it can do more bad than good.
It's not just all poor will power after all, just poor food choices that lead to poorer food choices.
We all know leading up to Christmas is a time where we find it hard to resist the temptations of over-indulging, often leading to feelings of guilt, anger and disappointment if we lose the battle of the bulge. So what do many of us do?
We resolve to kick-start the New Year with a plan to trim that added weight. Unfortunately, this act of conceding to the Christmas festivities and waiting until the New Year (termed Waiting List Effect) is nothing short of an excuse to avoid some simple mindful efforts. Efforts we could easily implement to help curb our excesses or weight gain. More importantly, by implementing some mindful strategies, especially this time of the year, we can avoid the discomfort associated with allowing ourselves to fall so far into despair where regaining our true form seems almost impossible, rather than possible or even probable. Consider implementing some of these simple ideas that require only a modest amount of effort and notice the results for yourself!
Self-Awareness: Hunger versus Appetite
Increasing self-awareness of undesirable behaviours (i.e., making us more consciously aware of our actions) can help progress our well-meaning intentions into a formal plan. However, if there is not a means for execution, then any plan (no matter how well-intentioned) will most likely fail.
One effective strategy for improving self-awareness is to first differentiate hunger from appetite. Appetite appears to be the root of many cases of over-eating. While key differences are presented in the following table, hunger is essentially a biological response reminding us to replenish depleted energy reserves for physiological purposes, whereas appetite is a desire or interest to eat specific foods. Appetite can be triggered by various stimuli (i.e., smell of freshly baked bread, sight of a large dessert buffet) in the absence of hunger that oftentimes results in impulsive consequences. In other words, you may eat due to your appetite even though you are not technically hungry.
Although we have some conscious awareness to various eating triggers, most influence our sub-conscious mind, frequently driving us to eat mindlessly. Researchers demonstrated this when surveying individuals who believed they only made approximately 15-food related decisions on a daily basis. These researchers determined that we actually make approximately 200 food-related daily decisions, reinforcing the notion of a sub-conscious influence (1, 2). Therefore, improving self-awareness to these stimuli offers a critical opportunity to exercise greater conscious control of eating. The fundamental idea for success is focused around awareness of the triggers in our own lives. Start with your dietary danger zones (e.g., times snacking at your desk, while driving, when bored, at social events or restaurants, etc.) and begin recording a log of any events, experiences or situations that act as a trigger (e.g., meeting with your boss, meeting your friends for happy hour). Over time, this aggregated information should reveal problematic areas that can then be addressed with a plan to control them.
Another effective strategy is to learn to recognise and manage our own hunger levels, preventing unnecessary over-eating that can lead to increased body weight. Although hunger and appetite are quite different, they are often confused when trying to lose weight. Managing and not ignoring hunger is critical to weight loss. The practice of ignoring hunger should always be avoided because it significantly slows the body’s metabolic rate, which can impair any weight loss strategy.
Use the hunger scale presented below – aim to remain within the four-to-six score range as much as possible to avoid overeating and control unnecessary snacking (3). We have numerous biological responses that work to preserve energy reserves in the body and they push us to eat when those reserves become depleted (to some extent). Allowing your hunger scale to drop below a score of “4” will increase the tendency for binge eating as the body aggressively aims to restore energy reserves. An interesting observation in the U.S. (where obesity is an issue), is that Americans tend to stop eating at a score of “7” whereas in leaner nations, individuals tend to stop eating at a score of “6”, eating less calories (1). Numerous reasons can be identified for this overeating that includes large portions sizes, our ‘clean the plate mentality’ and abundance (value) of available cheap food.
Success at changing our eating behaviours involves small initial victories that build our self-efficacy, which can in turn influence our attitudes and beliefs. Therefore, before telling clients what they should or should not eat, stop for a moment to explore whether you actually understand why certain choices are made (i.e., seek to understand before being understood). Why would you ever tell someone to eliminate a food that may be connected to some deeply rooted emotion or experience? Remember, eating is a social and experiential behaviour that needs to be fully understood before making any change. Given this logistical challenge, perhaps we should consider tackling existing eating behaviours in a simpler way; by reducing portion sizes.
Portion sizes have steadily increased by 15 – 70% over the past 40 years due to various economic, social, technological and other reasons. As portion sizes have slowly increased during this time, we have sub-consciously lost track of a standard serving size, and now consume more calories than ever before (4). Coincidently plates and cups have also become larger to accommodate bigger servings, so mini-size your plates and glasses (e.g., use side plates). Researchers using Chex Mix®served in various sized bowls found that individuals consumed 59% more calories when eating out of the larger bowls (5). Another study using 5-day old popcorn (described as tasting like Styrofoam®) also found that even with horrible-tasting food, people eating out of the larger containers consumed 53% more food (6).
By strategically mini-sizing eating utensils (using smaller plates and glasses), the perception of food eaten can be positively influenced as illustrated below. This can reduce total caloric intake. Researchers have also determined that reducing portion sizes up to 20% usually go unnoticed, whereas reducing portions sizes by up to 30% or more creates more conscious awareness to the reductions and increased perceptions of being deprived of food and choices, which can lead to
threats to change (1).