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21 Good Questions About Fitness and Weight Loss Answered

Earlier this week, I got interviewed for a national publication, their questions were really good, so I thought I'd share the transcript:

1: Are Nuts Healthy?

Most experts seem to all agree that nuts are very healthy, but they 
seem to have a lot of fat in them. Won't eating high fat foods like
 nuts make it more difficult to lose weight?

People seem to focus on and single out one food type and ask if it is good or bad.

My experience is that someone asking is usually asking about their favourite food, or one they just can't give up; nuts being a very popular food in this case. Instead of looking at whether nuts are good or bad, we are best off looking at the bigger picture – are they eating a balanced diet with some protein and plenty of greens. If so, and in this context, nuts are good.

But if someone is eating a whole packet of nuts by themselves while they watch a movie after eating a pizza... then the answer is no.

But to answer the question directly, will eating unsaturated fats as part of a balanced diet make it more difficult to lose weight and the answer is no, simply because fat makes you satiated (full), and is essential as part of a clean diet.


2: How Much Rest Between Workouts?

How long should people rest in between workouts?

That depends on the type of workout and the intensity. Within 3 hours if they are training for endurance, 48 hours if training for hypertrophy (getting bigger) or upwards of two weeks if they are training for strength.

General rule of thumb is to leave 3 days between body parts for weights, and 24 hours for cardio.

3: Should Children Lift Weights?

Should children lift weights?

Kids lift weight all the time, and more than most adults. Think about how often a kid climbs up a tree or jungle gym. They are lifting their entire body weight. When they piggy back one another, they carry a friends' entire body weight on their back whilst running.

If your kid shows an interest in lifting weights, let him try lifting a light weight – he probably just wants to copy your movements.

If it's too heavy, he just won't lift it anyway – there is no way a kid will keep straining, they're not motivated by ego like us oldies.

A broomstick is a great substitute for a curious kid.

4: Where to Start

Who should the average person talk to about which exercise program would be best for them?

A good personal trainer will find out their goals, their time commitment, their limitations and put together a realistic exercise program that will facilitate their achievement within the parameters.

5: Should I Disclose My Medications to My Fitness Trainer

Should a personal trainer know all of the medications someone is on?

Absolutely.

Why?

When training with a personal trainer, a person is being pushed beyond their perceived limits. Sometimes those limits are real ones, and the reason being chemical, not mental or physical.

If a client has fully disclosed their medications, a personal trainer can then know which exercises to avoid due to the limitations that drug imposes on their body.


6: How Important Is Nutrition

How important is nutrition if someone works out consistently?

You can't out train a bad diet.

7: Should I Work Out Under Stress?


Is it a good idea to workout when feeling mentally stressed?

Yes, definitely.

​Why?

Exercise releases endorphins, which will calm you down. It is also best to channel that stress into something productive like exercise than to unleash it on your spouse, kids, dog or self.


8: Obesity and Lifting, is it Safe?

Is it safe for obese people to lift weights?

Yes, natural, functional movements are safe and encouraged for obese people. The only thing to keep in mind for an obese person is that their organs are being crushed by their visceral fat, so have to work harder, therefore intensity must be managed to prevent organ trauma.

When they do lose their weight however, previously obese people can become phenomenal athletes because of how powerful their organs have had to become.


9: Will weights make women bulky?

Should women lift weights if they don't want to get bulky looking?

If
 yes, how can they lift weights and not get that bulky/masculine look?

Body type and levels of testosterone determine how a person will respond to weights. 99% of women will respond to weights in a feminine way. i.e. they will tone up and harden up, not bulk up. Unless they are taking steroids, a person will only reach their genetic potential, and for most women, that is an athletic looking body that will definitely turn heads for how sexy she is, not how manly she is.

To address to 1%, if do find you are looking manly from doing weights, try supplementing more cardio, and change your weight program to one that has higher number of movement repetition per set, with a lower weight.

10: why do some people lose weight faster?

Is it true that some people naturally lose weight faster than others?

Yes, there are many factors but the main two are predisposition to stress, and metabolism.

The first one is (in non-nerd speak) the way someone reacts to stress. People will either eat more (comfort eaters) or eat less. In this busy world, stress plays a major role in body composition, and whether a person is a comfort eater or food avoider when stressed will determine their predisposition.

Metabolism (in my opinion) is secondary.

If someone has a high metabolism (uses more energy to stay alive) then they will naturally lose weight faster than a person with a lower metabolism.

Age and gender are the major contributing factors to metabolism; a younger person has a faster metabolism than an older, and a man would have a faster metabolism than a woman.

In saying that, of every 100 people who lose weight quickly, 99 will put it back on. Consistency is far more important in a weight loss journey than speed.


11: Old-age precautions

What precautions should seniors take into consideration, when starting a new exercise program?

Be aware of and manage structural and mobility issues, such as injuries, weaknesses, tight spots.

Be aware of your limitations, for example, arthritic knees would be a limitation, so running ultra distances would not be as wise an exercise as say swimming, which has much less impact on the knees.

Another issue to be aware of is low blood pressure.  If this is the case, avoid any overhead exercise.


12: Faster results outside the gym

What are some simple things that people can do, in their day to day
routine, besides working out, to see results faster? 

  • Get rid of all the junk out of your pantry and fridge. This includes sugar and any wheat related product.
  • Tell your friends you are lactose and gluten intolerant (allergic to milk and breads) so they won't offer you any.
  • Buy your food on the internet and get it home delivered. If you must go to the store, make sure you don't go hungry.
  • Always have enough of the right food in the house to ensure you don't have to make a trip to the fast food store.


13: Same workout subsequent days

Is it true that it's not a good idea to do the same exercises during
 each workout session?

This depends on how long between doing the same exercise and the intensity of that exercise. The goal is to work the muscle frequently enough that you get a good result, but also to give it enough time to repair.

Remember, exercise doesn't make you stronger, fitter or faster. It is in the recovery period after exercise that your body repairs back stronger, fitter and faster.


14: when to change a fitness program

How frequently should people change their workout routine?

When they become bored, or their results plateau.

 

15: I'm at my goal, now what?

After someone has reached their fitness goals, how should their workout and nutrition plan be altered if they no longer wish to lose weight or build additional muscle?

Great question, a lot of people diet and exercise until they reach their goal. Once they are there, they generally relax their eating and slow down on their exercise.

It is true, that there is a tipping point where you don't have to exercise even half as much as before, but the problem is that people go overboard, feeling like they need to treat themselves, starting them back on the food addictions and sedentary lifestyle downward spiral.

To combat this, come up with another goal, an event that you would like to complete, such as a marathon or a triathlon, then change your training to suit that goal, and your eating to support that type of training.

You should always stay active, always eat healthy.

When you reach your goal and feel like it is time to relax, let your hair down and take a breather, the demons of slobbery creep unnoticed into your life. When you recognise them, attack with everything you've got.

For once they take hold, they slowly strangle you like a python – every breath out, and the python tightens its grip, making it harder to fight. little breath out; tighter grip, little breath out; tighter grip, until your organs are being crushed and you lose your mobility.

Attack that cowardly monster lurking in the dark.

16: Working out with mates?

Is it a good idea to work out with friends or family or does that
 create a distraction?

It is a great idea to work out with a friend, as they challenge you when you need to be challenged and support you when you feel weak. Working out for the vast majority of the population is a chore that can so easily be avoided, so combining it with catch up time with your friends will make it more fun, and more likely that you will actually go.

17: Stubborn Belly Fat

Why do people have such a hard time losing belly fat?

Genetically, we are no different to the hunter gatherers wandering the plains of Africa thousands of years ago. At that time, there were no lunch tins.

You know how your mother insisted on you taking your lunch tin with you to school every day?

Well back then, mother nature insisted on you taking your lunch tin with you every day. Your belly fat is actually your lunch tin; just a couple of sandwiches in case you get hungry.

Mother nature is insistent that it stays full in case of an emergency. So the last bit of fat on your belly is actually an essential part of your anatomy, according to your genetic code. The problem is that mother nature likes to keep stuffing the lunch tin every chance she can get, resulting in some people's whole buffet stashed in theirs.

18: Cheat days

Is it true that it's good to have a "cheat day" where people can eat whatever they want once a week? Why is this a good or bad idea?

The goal of a rest day/cheat day/recovery day is to repair yourself and come back stronger for the next week.Unfortunately most people use this day to 'treat themselves' by pumping their system full of fat, refined sugar and additives, so that they are forced to use the day-after-the-rest-day as the recovery day, the “recover from poisoning myself” day.

What they don't know is that this type of recovery can take anywhere from 3-10 days, stunting or even diminishing their intended results.Speeding up the recovery period is therefore key to rapid physiological change.

There are a few creative and very effective methods to recovering faster, but the most tried and tested method is to take a forced rest day at least once a week, and if it is not enough, take another.

To ensure that your rest day is in fact a recovery day, you need to think like a body engineer; i.e. think what does my body need to recover as fast as possible?

The answer: lots of water and antioxidants to get rid of the broken bits, as well as enough protein to rebuild the muscles.

19: best exercise for fast results

What are the best types of exercises for getting the fastest results in the shortest period of time?

Big, strong, full body movements by far outstrip any other kind of exercise. Combine it with high intensity interval training and you have a recipe for some devastatingly good body shape change.

Question 20: diabetes and weight loss

Is it true that people with diabetes have a harder time losing weight?


Many type 1 and 2 diabetics who, through consistent monitoring and management of their insulin, have lost a lot of weight safely and kept it off. It is also true that you can reverse type 2 diabetes, so no – there are far better excuses than diabetes.

Question 21: I need to lose weight in 3 days


If someone needs to quickly lose a few pounds for a special occasion, what's the best way they can do this?

Eating nothing but protein for three days will help drop a lot of water weight. It's not healthy, nor is it sustainable, but it works very well.

Many commercial diets recommend this as a first step so that they can show that they have produced results and their customers don't ask for a refund.

Just remember that it is only temporary, you lose very little fat, and you will put the water weight back on once you start to eat normally again. Probably best to not get into a state where you need to lose weight quickly...

How to make the perfect meal plan for your goals part 2

Mastering MyFitnessPal

In part 1 of How To Make Your Perfect Meal Plan, we calculated your diet calories, and your macros.  Now we're going to turn that into something you can actually eat!

To recap, we ended up part 1 of the meal plan creation process with something that looks like this:

example macro breakdown

It is essential that you have your calories and macros calculated.  If you haven't got them done, head back to part 1 of How To Make The Perfect Meal Plan.  If you've got it, then let's move on!

Step 5: ​Input your calories and macros to MyFitnessPal

We've been using MyFitnessPal for over a year, and we've found nothing else that compares to it's ease of use for tracking food and (for us) creating meal plans.

MyFitnessPal tracks your calories and macros for ​every food that you input.  You can put meals in or you can put individual ingredients in or even just scan the barcode on packaged foods.  MyFitnessPal automagically inputs the calories and macros in for you!

​Customising Your Calories And Macros On
The MyFitnessPal Mobile App:

  • step 1
  • step 2
  • step 3
  • step 4
  • step 5

change your macros by clicking any of the percentages

customising myfitnesspal step 5

​Customising Your Calories And Macros On
The MyFitnessPal website (desktop):

click this link to open MyFitnessPal to the customisation page (make sure you're logged in first) - this will open a new tab for you so you can stay here too.

Once you're in, change your calories to your diet calories (1), then your macro ratios (2).  Then click "Change Goals"​ to save your customised goals.

customising myfitnesspal desktop

MyFitnessPal only allows macro percentage increments of 5%.  So if you have numbers that aren't multiples of 5, just round up or down and make sure they still add up to 100%

Step 6: Add Your Meals

Now that you have your calories and macros in MyFitnessPal, you just have to add in your meals that you want to eat.  This is where you can get creative.  Eat whatever you want, but make sure that the daily calories and macros match your goals.

adding food to myfitnesspal desktop

In the example above, I used a Big Mac Combo.  That was on purpose.  You can literally eat anything you want, as long as it fits within your macros, and your body composition goals will be attained.  You'll be shredded to the bone...

...But...

You may not be healthy.​  You'll look like a magazine model, but you'll feel like shit.

You'll look like a magazine model, but you'll feel like shit.

Click to Tweet

sooooooo....​

Step 7: Nutritionalise!

Once you've got your ideal meal plan, just swap out ingredients for healthier ones.  Keep going until you've got a plan that is delicious, filling, healthy and sustainable. 

We like to make our meal plans so filling that you'll literally struggle to finish them, and so nutritious that you, like Jamie, will feel 10 years younger.​

Bread and vegetables both fall into the carbohydrate category.  Swap bread for vegetables and you'll increase the volume of your feed dramatically, and the nutritional benefits will go through the roof!

That's a pretty obvious example, but here's one that you may not have thought of:

Swap spaghetti for zucchini

Print that out and stick it on your fridge!  (or you can just repin it!)

There are plenty of little calories saving food volumisers you can use and we recommend.

If you'd like us to do the work for you​

If you'd like us to calculate your calorie and macro needs, and create a meal plan that's customised just for you... your goals, your body, your food likes and dislikes, then click here to order yours now:

We love making meal plans, so click the link above if you want one for you.



How to create the perfect meal plan for your goals

A step by step guide to making the perfect meal plan.

Want the perfect meal plan for your goals?  If you want to know what successful bodybuilders and fitness models do, read on...

​We're really, really proud of our meal plans.  If you have been lucky enough to have got one, you'll know why.  Nowhere else will you get a comprehensive, fully customised 40-50 page document all about you.  

How much fat you want to lose, how long it will take, how many meals to eat, what meals to eat and recipes for every single meal.

If you keep missing out, or you want to do it yourself, or you want to learn about how we create the perfect meal plan, read on. ​

​Step 1: Find out about you

The first thing we need to do is to find out about you.  We need to know where you are now, and where you want to get.  The meal plan is the bridge between the two.  We calculate the difference between you now and you at your goal.  

where you are

how to lose weight
perfect meal plan

we fill in the steps in between

where you
want to be

we do this using a document we call the meal plan questionnaire.  You can download a copy for yourself here

​Step 2: Work out how much you can eat

  • A: MAINTENANCE
  • B: BODY FAT
  • C: TIME FRAMe
  • D: HOW MUCH

​We calculate your maintenance calories using one of two equations, then multiply it by an activity factor based on your exercise as well as your job/lifestyle.

We can use this method to estimate how much you could eat every day without gaining or losing weight.

​Step 3: Define your optimal macros

Let's say you've worked out that you need to have 1,500 calories of food per day to reach your goal in the timeframe you want.  What do you eat?

In a very basic sense, we divide the calories into proteins, fats and carbohydrates:

​Calories per gram of each macronutrient:

4
Protein
9
Fat
4
Carbs

As you can see, carbs and protein give the body the same amount of energy, but fat gives the body more than double.  To find out your optimal macros, we start with protein.  

What we do is calculate, based on your activity, how many grams of protein per day you need.  For universality we map it to your lean muscle mass (how much you'd weigh with NO fat at all).

Optimal protein (grams per kg of lean muscle mass)

1

protein grams per kg LMM

3

Your optimal protein will be somewhere between 1g per kg of lean muscle mass and 3g per kg of lean muscle mass.  Put simply, the more gym time you have, the more protein you'll need.  If you have no idea, start with 1g per kg.

We then do exactly the same thing with fats.  The optimal fats are actually different from proteins though, since the body has different requirements for them.

Optimal fats (grams per kg of lean muscle mass)

0.5

fat grams per kg LMM

2

Your optimal fat will be somewhere between 0.5g per kg of lean muscle mass and 2g per kg of lean muscle mass.  This is gender specific.  Women need less fats than men.  If you're a woman, start at the bottom end.  If you're a man, start at around 1g.

​Step 4: Calculate how many calories are left - and distribute them to carbs

​We previously showed you that protein has 4 calories per gram.  Fats have 9 calories per gram and carbs have 4 calories per gram.

All you do is:

  • add up how many calories have been made up of fats and proteins
  • subtract that number from the diet calories
  • Divide the remaining number by 4

This will give you a number of grams of carbs you can eat each day.

Pretty simple, right?

​Here's an example directly from one of our meal plans:

example macro breakdown

If this is all just too hard...

Let us do all the work for you!  We can do all of your calculations for you and create a meal plan you'll love, based on the foods that you like!

Step 5: We'll cover step 5 and beyond on the next page...

Click here for part 2 of How To Make The Perfect Meal Plan