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3 burning carb myths that need to die!!!!

Posted on March 2, 2017 at 12:49 PM Comments comments (82)
3 burning carb myths that need to die!!!!

Q1. Do carbohydrates make you fat?

Answer) In a calorie, controlled environment, with ample storage capacity and the right amount of exercise no!!! ... Is it that simple?

Actually no...

As we’ve previously mentioned peoples tolerance to carbohydrates can differ, so for most finding the right amount will be case dependent. This is where we look at ones health (stress, conditions), and daily activity in and out of the gym.

Q2. Are there good carbs and bad carbs?

Answer) There are no good or bad foods, only bad diets that lack the essential nutrients (proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals), and actually thinking this way over time has many psychological disadvantages, which can lead to future eating disorders. At the simplest level our bodies extract what’s required to optimise all bodily functions and performance, and has no clue what a bowl of ice cream is, or a sweet potato, just the nutrients they contain once digestion starts, and foods get broken down into smaller particles. Your body thinks survival..

As I've mentioned previously, simple carbohydrates aren’t bad, but on their own provide little to no satiety during, and between meals, and lack the essential nutrients required to function optimally, but may provide performance benefits when taken appropriately, when a fast acting fuel source is required, so build your knowledge, ensure you are eating plenty of nutrient dense foods, to reduce calorie requirements, and allow more wiggle room for the days that mean the most with the people you love.

The only times certain specific foods would be bad are when someone has an allergy, sensitivity, or condition such as celiac or lactose intolerance.

Q3. I’ve heard you shouldn’t eat your carbohydrates after 6pm, is this true?

Answer) Again untrue, our bodies are much smarter than we’d like to think and if you are needing food again with ample storage then you won’t get a telling off for eating at night, think performance.

If total calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are the same by the end of the day then for the everyday individual it doesn’t really matter when you have them, you are depleting and replenishing energy stores all the time, storing and losing fat all the time (we have storage space in the muscles, liver and blood stream).

Nutrition can then be based around performance and personal preference, but bare in mind that the total amount, and what you pair them with may have a positive and negative effect on energy levels and performance. It’s important to keep a log and assess how certain foods make you feel.

7 reasons why most women are not in the shape they want to be yet, and how to fix it

Posted on February 17, 2017 at 11:02 AM Comments comments (57)
Here are 7 reasons in my opinion that may be holding you back from achieving your goals, and how to fix them.
1.       You focus more on quantity over quality
The problem: Doing more does not equate to more fat loss, or a better physique, and will only fatigue you over time. Your body is very efficient, and much smarter than you give it credit for, and all your doing is wasting whatever energy reserves you have just moving, instead of focusing on preserving. When dieting, your goal should be to preserve as much muscle mass as possible, as this will ensure your losing mostly fat. Muscle is way more active and requires way more calories than body fat to survive and all your doing is giving your body a reason to retain body fat, and utilise your hard earned muscle mass as fuel source, which will slow down your metabolism, limit your food intake, and makes it much harder in future to lose any weight.
Not lifting anywhere near your true potential is not only a waste of energy when used as your sole form of exercise, but also very energy depleting.  If your body is not fed properly, it will gladly waste muscle mass to survive.
My solution: train smart, big compound lifts, all over body 3-5 times per week, with the focus being on progressive overload (getting better over time).
 If you’re getting stronger on a diet, there's no way your losing muscle mass, and whatever does come off will be mostly body fat.
I would use classes as a form of cardio or to spend time socialising with others as it's ok to also do the things you like.  
In my experience training this way with supersets, giant sets, reduced rest and lots of variations (think moving from the ground to a squat, rotations etc) will elicit the best results, especially with female clients.
2.       You focus more on variety over consistency
The problem: I get it, variety keeps you from getting bored, but here's the problem. You’re not allowing the body to adapt to the training stimulus, and through adaptation we evolve, build muscle, and make physical changes.
Q. But wait, does variety not keep the muscles guessing?
A., You cannot, I repeat cannot trick a muscle, you’re only changing the training stimulus forcing new adaptation. Muscles only know how to contract and relax and again cannot be tricked.
My solution: have one main lift per body part where you focus on strength and skill, every other exercise should not only be focused on skill, but maintaining excellent form, constant tension, and perfect execution. Once these are met you can add a little variety or intensifiers which are extended sets. Once you cannot add weight, reps or improve on form, have a look in the mirror, and I guarantee your body is changing.
Stick with a program for at least 4-6 weeks (advanced), and 8+ weeks (beginners), as this will probably be the amount of time you'll need to adapt, respond, and reap the benefits
3.       You fear failure
The problem: looking at a weight, and while lifting the weight assume that if we can't complete a certain amount of reps, or lift a certain amount of weight then you've failed or underperformed, when in fact you’re getting stronger and forcing adaptation within the rep range.
Lifting 12’s on a chest press for 6-8 reps doesn't mean you've failed because you couldn't do more, it means you can lift 12’s for 6-8 reps. Now if you lifted 10’s you could maybe perform 8-10 reps, 8’s for 10-12 reps and so on. So, more weight = less reps, less weight = more reps
1-5 reps = strength, power, muscle growth
6-15 reps = strength, muscle growth
15+ reps = muscle growth, endurance
It's important to note you can grow in any rep range providing the total volume is sufficient, so 5 sets of 6 reps won't make you bulkier than 3 sets of 10, volume is volume.
Now that's cleared up, for our bodies to make a physical change we need to push to mechanical and physical failure over time, this is how we adapt, respond, and grow.
If you’re not pushing some form of failure, and stuck in your comfort zone, then your muscles are already capable of lifting that weight, which will not be enough to stimulate more muscle growth, restrict performance and physical development, and potential fat loss over time (again your basically just moving with weight)!
The solution: Don’t be afraid to fail, get good at it, take rest, and go again. Learn from failure, it's how we evolve in to a better version of ourselves. Just make sure you focus on excellent form and the strength and physique will come.
You can also have different exercises for each body part that focus on different rep ranges
Squats 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps (strength, muscle growth)
Pull ups 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps (same as above)
Incline DB chest press 2-3 sets of 9-12 reps (muscle growth)
45-degree hip extensions 2 x 15-20 (muscle growth, endurance)
When working in the lower rep ranges always stop 1-2 reps from failure, and as the reps go higher push for some form of muscular failure (burning in the muscles, or failure to move lol)
4.       You care too much about what other people think
The problem: unfortunately, as time goes on there’s still a certain stigma with weight training that needs to die!! Most relate the free weights area to a man cave, or the grunt box, and think there being judged for stepping into the realm. Thinking this way will not benefit your goals one bit, and is a complete waste of time and energy, but then again I also understand why you think this way, especially if your relating weight training to grumpy men with classic shitting dog posture lol.
The solution: take one step at a time, do the things you like.  Remember this is your body, your journey, and no one is judging you, if they are having a look at them, there not evolving, and I guarantee they look exactly the same as they did last year! Trust me, most men today are more self-conscious than the women, and a lot of my female clients lift better than the guys, especially when it comes to technique! Never let anyone come in the way of you reaching your full potential!
5.       You’re not eating enough when it matters the most
The problem: I see it all the time, women who live on poverty calories, and caffeinated beverages all day, finish work and head to the gym, perform two classes back to back, then wonder why they're not getting stronger, nor seeing change, then wonder why they start to raid the fridge at night, and overeat at the weekends. It’s not that you don’t have willpower, your blood sugar levels are low and need to be replenished with something fast, high fat and sweet. Therefore your still hungry post dinner time, you've not eaten all day, trained for 2 plus hours and your bodies saying feck off.
What your doing is unsustainable!!!
Consuming less calories doesn't always equate to better results, and there will come a point when your body starts fighting back by slowing down metabolism (think exercise, hormones, digestion, the immune system, and day to day life), and all bodily functions (so you’re basically just moving slower), which will also shunt your fat loss efforts.
Therefore you feel your eating more on other diets. Your still in a calorie deficit, but a minor one which is enough to shift fat and keep things running. Don't be fooled into thinking by eating more you'll lose more, your still in a deficit and cannot lose fat in a calorie surplus.
Extreme dieting is not sustainable, unnecessary and will mess with your progress long term, not to mention binging and any future eating disorders.
To perform optimally you need calories and within those calories specific nutrients, and the good news is you can meet this nutritional quota or the RDA when dieting.
My solution: 3 balanced meals per day containing all 3 macronutrients, with either 2 cups of veg, salad or fruit in each, as this should balance your blood sugar to prevent overeating. Eat a complete meal 2-3 hours pre, and post training and keep ¼ of your total carbohydrates around the training window. This should help again balance blood sugar and replenish deleted energy stores, which again should stop the need to excessively overeat later.
Even when dieting your main goal should be performance, and getting the most from your body, as long as physically possible.
6.       You don't believe in yourself
The problem: we have such high expectations of ourselves along with fixed mindsets. We believe we can't be successful without suffering, and believe we're not working hard enough if we're enjoying our training.
I get it, you've been here before, you've been very active and healthy at a younger age and believe to be healthy you need to do as much as you previously did. Your Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with people who preach “the grind”, and drill this nonsense into your head that the only way to diet is plain chicken breast and salad, mixed with battle ropes and every workout you don't like. The best training and diet plans are the ones you like and can stick to, these will elicit the best results over time.
My solution: hire a coach to help alter your mindset to match your belief system, let him educate and teach you exercises that you can perform and give 100%. Work together to build a nutrition plan that matches your needs but optimises performance and moves you further towards your goals, and start to include, and replace instead of exclude and cut out.
Most people should only focus on a calorie deficit first, as this is all that's really needed.
7.       You fear getting muscular on a diet!
This will be a short one…..
You cannot I repeat cannot gain muscle mass on a diet, think about this for a bit! There's not enough food available to grow for a start.
Would you really be bothered if you gained 3 pounds of muscle over a year but lost 2 stone of fat???
My solution: train with the aim to grow. The muscles will re develop which will show their tone but not increase in overall size. You'll get stronger muscles, build strong bones, reduce fat, boost key reward hormones (preventing depression, overeating) and look amazing.

When you train your body see’s survival only, so take advantage of this and train to hold onto muscle mass and ditch as much fat as possible. 

The 4 pillars of good health, dial them in to get the body you want!

Posted on December 13, 2016 at 7:44 AM Comments comments (68)
Listen up....

Are you CONSTANTLY fatigued?

Lacking motivation?

Have a reduced or heightened appetite?

Not getting enough quality, efficient training sessions?

Here is a some things to have a look at....


Are you getting enough good quality uninterrupted hours each night?
lack of sleep may over time lead to under recovery, heightened appetite, weight gain/water retention, loss of memory, poor training performance and motor skills, sickness, an imbalance in hormones and heightened emotions,

Lack of sleep can even lead to an increase in appetite and cortisol which is our stress hormone!! 

You know the deal 6-8 hours per night!!


If you are consistently under eating you will be malnourished, especially if you are not eating enough nutrient dense foods.

A lot of people just don't get or realize that what they eat plays a major role in their daily lives.

Sure there are certain vitamins and minerals and nutrients we can produce and store in the body but there are also essential vitamins and nutrients we cannot, including essential fatty acids from dietary fats, essential amino acids from dietary proteins and 13 vitamins.

Not matter what you think you are not running optimally in the gym, throughout life including family matters and work if you are not fueling your body, your life will be affected.

If dieting, or maintaining weight when very, very lean, over time lack of food and nutrients combined with poor food choices will effect you overall performance!

Lack of food will also effect sleep and increase cortisol production due to food deprivation!!


Lets face it, we all have stress in some way, shape or form, a little can be healthy, especially in times when we need fuel as cortisol's primary function is to break down energy (think nutrients to fuel training) but chronic low grade stress can cause numerous issues such as...

Lowered immunity which protects us from the outside world and aids in recovery.

Digestion - which breaks down nutrients and kills off any bugs or nasty's that get into our system.

Sleep quality (everything relates), our circadian rhythm, poor mood, increase cravings (think of the main function here), reduce satiety, increase blood pressure, lack of inelegance and hormone imbalance.

Exercise, mindfulness practice, breathing techniques and better preparation will benefit.

Trust me you do have the time, all it takes is a little practice at changing your habits!


Your either not training enough to maintain health or training too much and inefficiently while not eating adequately to support the amount you are doing over a period of time.

Either way again look at your nutrition and lifestyle choices, assess if both these factors can first support, and if not devise a plan that you can optimize through current nutritional strategies and lifestyle choices.

Why not consider a diet break???

Anytime you are not feeling 100% look at these four factors and I guarantee something is a little out of place!! If all else has failed and you are doing everything with excellence then please consult your GP.

Prevent high blood pressure (Hypertension)

Posted on November 12, 2016 at 2:03 PM Comments comments (59)

High blood pressure or hypertension affects 26% of the population worldwide. In the UK, 5 million people are said to be unaware they have high blood pressure yet it affects more than 1 in 4 adults, accounts for 12% of all visits to GP’s and is one of the biggest risk factors for premature death and disability in England. It is estimated to cost the NHS over £2 billion every year.

High blood pressure can lead to diseases including heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia and chronic kidney disease.

So, what can we do to help reduce and prevent high blood pressure?


Reduce your sugar intake -  Reducing refined sugars and sweetened beverages may help reduce your blood pressure. I’m not saying sugar is bad for your health, but we must look the whole diet and if you are getting most of your calories from refined sugars while avoiding animal proteins, dairy, fruits, starches and vegetables then you’re not going to optimise your vitamin and mineral intake which may affect health.

The end of the day once fully digested sugar is sugar, but if we eat foods that contain natural occurring sugars such as fruits you’ll also increase your daily intake of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibre, not to mention slowing down digestion and improved meal satiety.

Eat potassium rich foods – A diet high in potassium can reduce the risk of hypertension or a stroke and possibly prevent heart disease, heart failure and kidney disease.  A dietary reference intake of 3500-4700mg per day is recommended, but most average Americans and Brits consume only half that while over consuming refined salt, again sodium isn’t bad and is essential to life, and reducing or cutting completely may be just as hazardous as too much. Getting the balance of sodium to potassium correct may be a deciding factor in whether or not your salt consumption is helpful or harmful.

The recommended intake for sodium is 1.5-2.3g per day and by consuming unrefined sea salt you will also be getting additional minerals such as silicon, phosphorus and vanadium.

Potassium is present in all fruits, vegetable, meat and fish. Other high sources included sweet and white potatoes, bananas, avocados, parsley, milk, chocolate, beet greens, all nuts, dried apricots and bran.

Cold water fish – There are numerous benefits of EPA and DHA, the omega 3 fatty acids found in cold water fish, especially DHA which has been shown to help reduce blood pressure. Consuming cold water fish 3 times per week has been shown to decrease your risk of hypertension, and can be just as effective as taking a fish oil supplement.

Magnesium – A diet rich in magnesium has been shown to reduce blood pressure, and one study found significant decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure among people with hypertension after taking a magnesium supplement for just 12 weeks. The recommended intake for magnesium is 3-400mg per day. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic functions within the body including energy production, action of your heart muscle, formation of bones and teeth, relaxation of blood vessels, bowel function and blood sugar regulation. Other sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, avocados, almonds some beans and peas.


There are numerous other ways to prevent high blood pressure including weight and stress management, daily exercise, adequate sleep, and relaxation techniques such as meditation, and deep breathing.

Also, normalising vitamin D levels with exposure to ultraviolet light “via natural sunlight or tanning beds” increases nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator, helping the blood vessels to relax which in turn lowers blood pressure, but as we already know too much sun exposure can also be harmful so there may be a benefit to consuming 1-2000iu of additional vitamin D3, especially during the winter months. Other roles of vitamin D include calcium and phosphorus absorption, bone and immune health, B vitamin formation in the gut and B12 absorption via the stomach.

The macro-nutrients, how to read food labels!

Posted on October 26, 2016 at 3:27 PM Comments comments (46)
Nutrients are substances we humans use in large quantities, and are needed for all bodily functions, including energy production, tissue growth and repair.

Depending on the nutrient, these substances are needed in small or large amounts. Those that are needed in larger amounts are called macronutrients.

There are three macronutrients that the body requires. These are proteins (amino acids), carbohydrates (sugars), and fats (lipids). Each of these macronutrients provides energy in the form of calories.

In proteins, there are 4 calories per gram.

In carbohydrates, there are 4 calories per gram.

In fats, there are 9 calories per gram.

This means that if you consumed 20 grams of protein or 20g of carbohydrates within a meal both foods would contain 40 calories each, if you had them together the total would then become 80 calories.

Food labelling, what you need to know.

Nutrition labels can help you choose between similar products and keep a check on the amount of foods you are eating. This can be highly beneficial to say a diabetic who needs to watch their overall sugar intake, or the athlete, bodybuilder or dieter looking to track their overall calorie/macronutrient intake.

Knowing what nutrients, you are consuming can help you create a balanced meal, making you aware of each specific nutrient within a certain food group.

Also, being able to track specific nutrients, will allow greater flexibility within the diet, as you’ll be able to vary food sources daily while hitting your overall calorie target and even macronutrient, or fibre intake. No more worrying that a food is high in fat, sugar or salt, as by knowing your daily energy requirements you can balance each meal accordingly to suit individual needs.

Most pre-packed foods have a nutritional label on the back or side of the packaging. These labels include information on energy in kilojoules (KJ), and kilocalories (Kcal), usually referred to as calories.

Labels also include information on proteins, carbohydrates, of which sugars, fats, saturated fats, fibre, sodium (salt). Some labels are even more specific providing information on various types of dietary fat, vitamins and minerals. All nutrient information is provided per 100 grams and then a recommended serving size.

Some companies also highlight the energy, fat, saturated fat and salt content on the front of the packaging alongside the reference intake for each, you may notice some of the information highlighted in red, amber and green light coding, which can also help you determine if a food is high, medium or low in a specific nutrient.

Most products will also contain an ingredients list which will allow you to know what they contain.

The ingredients are listed in order of weight with the main ingredients in the package first so you’ll know if a product is predominantly sugar based, fat based etc.

Some thoughts to keep in mind,
Just because a product is low in fat, does not make it any more nutritious as most companies will replace said fat with additional sugars, sweeteners, and thickeners.

Once you know your overall calorie requirement don’t be overly concerned if a food group is high in proteins, carbohydrates and fats unless your diet is macronutrient specific or tailored to suit.  Looking at your diet while understanding that everything equates over the day, will allow you to have more flexibility.

If a product you are eating contains 20g of fat, and labelled in red as being high, wouldn’t matter if your overall fat allowance for the day was say 60g, you’d just tailor the diet to suit.

There are many benefits to balancing out your meals and one’s overall nutrition, these include satiety during and between meals, muscle protein synthesis, stable blood sugar, better digestion, nutrient absorption and bodily functions we will get to over the next few weeks.

Remember food labelling can be off 20-25%.

Quite simply if you over consume calories and expend less energy you’ll gain weight, or if you under consume calories you’ll not gain quality muscle mass.


Inclusive" vs "exclusive"

Posted on September 9, 2016 at 11:07 AM Comments comments (39)
Often when embarking on a new health journey we spend too much time cutting so many different food groups out of our diets. 

These include all wheat based products such as bread and pasta because we believe they're "fattening", or different fruits as you were told that any sugar is "bad for you", or certain whole grains and pulses due to their phytates. 

Any form of dairy as it maybe causing your "acne" or "bloat", even red meat and eggs get a bad rap for the fear of their saturated fat content and all foods that contain cholesterol!

Sure there are people with allergies and intolerance's but most of us believe it or not do not, I repeat do not have these food related issues. 

You may not only leave yourself with a brand spanking new eating disorder, deficient in specific nutrients, deprived and unsatisfied, while binging and splurging, but with the inability to digest these food groups over time due to enzyme down regulation. 

So I invite you to think a little differently...

Instead of being exclusive and removing all the food groups that you've read in your favorite magazines, or from your latest guru's Facebook post, be inclusive and include new food groups that will benefit you as a whole. 
These include all fruits and vegetables, whole grains, a variety or meats and dairy, oily fish, beans, and pulses. 

Doing so will not only add more variety to ones crappy diet, but provide a much wider variety of nutrients that nourish your body and optimize all of its functions including hormonal support, digestion and absorption, and the big one "detoxification". 

Ensuring your covering your vitamin and mineral needs will allow you to enjoy some of the finer things in life, like a little hot sauce, some gravy on your roast potatoes, sugary custard, some pots of joy, dam I could go on and on. You wont get a guru's gold star for eating any more additional nutrients as you'll just secrete anything that's not needed!

Instead of looking at each individual food as say fattening or high sugar, it would be better to look at your nutrition as a whole and learn how much protein, fats, carbs and fiber you actually need to function at your best. If you ate a certain food that was say 30 grams of fat that wouldn't matter much if your fat allowance for the day was 70 grams. Learning what certain foods provide will allow for a greater degree of flexibility and the freedom to chose the foods you want to eat!

Now more chicken, broccoli and sweet potato or a shitty plain tuna salad!

At some point you'll need to realize that it's not the foods themselves that's making you gain the unwanted pounds, it's simply poor eating habits! 

We simply lack the knowledge to balance and vary our meals, which leaves extreme calorie drops and weekend binges, while wasting hard earned cash on the next health supplement, or juice diet. 

  • Yes this is why your training may suck!
  • Yes this is why your weak and lack strength!
  • Yes this is why your constantly deprived, unsatisfied and yo yo dieting.
  • Yes alcohol and fiber do count towards your targets!

  • No saturated fat isn't bad, an imbalance of specific fats could be!
  • No eating foods containing cholesterol will not give you high cholesterol, get the balance right, eat some fiber rich food as it binds to cholesterol!
  • No sugar will not cause you harm when calories, protein and fiber are in check, and no maple syrup, honey are not sugar free!
  • No red meat is not bad for your heart, but a lack of B12 and other vital nutrients can cause way more harm in the long run, including anemia, red blood cell degeneration, or elevate homo-cysteine. 
  • No bread and pasta are not fattening, the added calories from the creamy sauce or the pizza the next day on top of your maintenance calories were fattening!

Really think about where your at, and question if it's working? If not put in the time and effort to making it work, and build your knowledge of specific food groups. 

Be mindful, aware and accountable for your own goals and others. Accept responsibility for everything in life, not just the times you thought you were "good".

Just think how you'd feel to actually know why your feeding your kids and loved ones the way you are, nourishing their futures.

Calories, what are they?

Posted on September 9, 2016 at 9:37 AM Comments comments (54)

So what exactly are calories?

A calorie is a little bastard that creeps into your room at night and sews all your clothes tighter. My closets are infested with the little shits lol.

Only joking....

No seriously?

Ok, to keep things simple a calorie is a measurement of energy.

Calories in refers to the amount of food we eat, therefore you are taking 'in' those calories, you are taking 'in' that energy.

For instance when you eat 100g of banana your taking in around 89 calories, and when you eat 100g of chicken breast, your taking in around 165 calories.

When your body uses energy think of this as calories out.
Everything your body does to stay alive requires energy.

These can include...

  • Day to day functions and bodily maintenance.
  • Food digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  • Activities like walking, jogging, lifting weights, and gardening.
  • Fidgeting, shivering, even during sleep as we recover.
  • Your body is complex, no doubt about it. And there is a lot going on as you move, sleep, digest and exercise throughout the day. Your body is repairing cells, building muscle, basically keeping you alive. 

Day in day out your body will utilize different types of calories in many different ways. 

If you eat more calories than your body can use, you will store the excess calories in the muscles and liver, or create new unwanted fat stores.

In theory if you eat less calories than you expend then the opposite should happen and you should start to lose weight.

But is it really as simple as calories in vs calories out?

Hell no!!!

Let's just say there is a difference between losing weight and losing fat, and the type of calories you consume in the form of protein, fats and carbohydrates will also play an important role in deciding where the weight loss is actually coming from. 

Other factors include;

How foods are prepared, cooked, and stored.

Ingestion (chewing), digestion (breaking down), and absorption, as well as stress levels, gut health and physiological makeup. 

Whole minimally processed foods are harder to break down thus absorbing less calories  but requiring more energy to process. Processed foods are easier to break down meaning you'll extract more calories but burn fewer digesting as the process is pretty much done already.

Incorrect food labelling, some as much as 20-25%.

Energy burnt at rest (RMR), daily physical activity such as walking, and weight training (PA) and non exercise activity which includes household work, fidgeting, thinking, standing, blinking, basically anything that doesn't involve meaningful exercise (NEAT).

As you can see there are many different factors that influence how a calorie is utilized within the body and its up to you to find the right balance to suit your overall goal.

Water, why so important?

Posted on September 8, 2016 at 9:32 AM Comments comments (42)
Water is one of the most important aspects of our everyday lives.   One could argue that water is the most important nutrient we actually consume or don't consume enough of.

So why is this nutrient so important? 

How much do we actually need? Lets get down to some basics.

Water makes up around 60% of our total body weight. Two thirds are found within our cells as intracellular fluid, and one third or the remaining is extracellular fluid found bathing our cells. 

Our muscle tissue is a little more than 70% water by weight, 64% of our skin is water, our bones hold around 22%, and even our fat stores hold around 10%.

Extracellular fluid includes both the fluid between our cells and also the plasma portion of our blood (where our energy is produced, proteins are transported etc).

As the most abundant substance within us, water provides the body with an environment for all other substances to be either dissolved, suspended or bathed in water. Substances such as the macro nutrients which you may have learned previously and electrolytes dissolve in water very well. The B vitamins and vitamin C are also water soluble nutrients. Fats and fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, K are not, and require lipids (fats) and specific proteins.

Water helps regulate our body temperature, and has the ability to absorb heat to keep us from overheating (hypethermia) as well as keep us from over cooling (hypothermia).

Water also provides the basis for lubricating substances found in our joints, helping to cushion and reduce the physical stress and friction between the bone and the joint. Water is the basic of amniotic fluid that cushions and protects the fetus during pregnancy. Our urine, bile (breaks down fats), saliva (starts digestive process and the breakdown of sugars), mucus, lacrimal fluid (out tears) and digestive secretions (breakdown foods) are all water based. A typical adult will lose as much as 2 to 3 litres of water daily,that's 0.9-1.4lbs.!

Water and the removal of waste products.

About 1 to 2 litres are lost in urine when removing waste products of our metabolism. With every process in our body there are byproducts that can be harmful and have to be eliminated, for instance the byproduct of protein break down during exercise is ammonia which is then sent to the liver to be packaged into a less harmful product which can then be excreted. Other substances in excess of our needs include excess sodium, blood sugar, water, vitamins, and minerals (remember we spoke about this previously?). 

Sweating can also help remove extra body heat produced by normal cell production.

Water also helps moisten our poo, improving transit, which may reduce constipation thus improving regularity.


Ok enough with the science stuff, let's take a look at dehydration.

As little as a 2% loss of body weight as water we can become thirsty and may experience a slight reduction in strength. By the time we reach 4%, muscular strength and endurance is significantly hindered. A 10% reduction is associated with heat intolerance and general weakness. If dehydration continues life itself becomes threatened and if we lose 20% we can become susceptible to coma and death. 

Water requirements

As a general rule for clients I recommend whatever you weigh in pounds in ounces then half and convert into litres, for instance someone around 70kg  would need to consume around 2.3ltrs of water per day, that's 9 to 10 cups, Another proposed easier way of estimating water intake is to consume 1ml for every Kcal of your diet. So, a person consuming 3500kcal a day, would have 3.5litres, before then adding in more for exercise and if doing so add around 500ml for every 30 minutes. 

Where else can we get water from?

As you can see to the left we can also get water from a variety of foods such as fruits ad vegetables which will supply our bodies with the highest amounts. 

Other foods such as chicken and meat contain between 60 and 70% water, cheese and bread between 35 and 40%. 

Also adding water to coffee, tea, oats, and rice will also count, and although beneficial I would still use the above recommendations before counting food sources.

Can you consume too much? Can it cause harm?

Now you know the benefits of daily water consumption, with everything in life too much of something isn't always a good thing, and excess water can do a lot more harm than good. Hyponatremia or "insufficient sodium in the blood" can lead to water intoxication, an illness whose symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, frequent urination and mental disorientation.

Excess water can also mess with our electrolyte balance, and put a lot of pressure on the kidneys where only a certain amount of fluids can be processed at any one time. The kidneys control the amount of water, salt and other solutes leaving the body, and every hour the kidneys can excrete around 0.8 to 1 litres of water which from the research seems safe. 

This means that you can’t just endlessly knock back litres of water, be mindful, stay hydrated and keep water consistent everyday to prevent any of the above, including water retention from believe it or not a lack of. 

Again a very rough guideline is to have 500ml per half hour of exercise and then to sip water regularly throughout the day.

Drink up!

Why you need stir fries in your life and two awesome recipes.

Posted on September 6, 2016 at 12:14 PM Comments comments (39)
There are a couple of things to consider when trying to reduce body fat.

First we need to ensure that we are progressively and consistently hitting all our targets including calories and macro's, training and recovery, stress management, cardio, and posing if we are competing. 

Now I could get in a big conversation here explaining the benefits of each but instead I'll share some quick tips along with two slight variations of my favorite go to meal of the day.

Tip #1 - Nutrient density

Nutrient dense foods are foods that have a lot of nutrients but  contain fewer calories. These types of foods in my opinion are crucial when dieting as they'll supply the body with essential nutrients necessary for all bodily functions. This will serve you well especially when the calories begin to drop and we get deeper into a deficit, ensuring you are still at least hitting your micro-nutrient targets.

Some great examples of nutrient dense foods weighing 100 grams would be... 

Spinach 24 calories, broccoli 35 calories, carrots 28 calories, baby potato 75 calories and sweet potato at 86 calories. 

Other benefits to consuming these types of foods will include their fiber content which will improve satiety, help with digestion and keep your gut healthy, plus their water content which will improve hydration and fullness.

Tip #2 - Food volume

It's a no brainer that food volume is essential when it comes to dieting, and eating foods low in calories but with a higher food volume will also help improve satiety so try adding other high volume low calorie foods like mushrooms, butternut squash, courgette spaghetti, beans, legumes or even cauliflower to meals that would normally contain rice or pasta. 

This means that for the same volume of food you're consuming fewer calories. so win, win, wheres the nut butter!

So here are two of my favorite examples of favorite stir fries.

Coconut, maple syrup, butternut and baby potato stir fry 

What you'll need
570g mixed veg (large bag from tesco)
Your favorite protein (chicken, turkey, beef, egg white, venison) 
250g butternut squash
200g baby potato 

The sauce
50ml rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar 
15ml coconut aminos (Amazon) 15g balsamic vinegar 
15ml maple syrup 
1-2g powdered garlic 
1-2g ground ginger 

1. Pre heat the wok and use a low cal spray such as fry lite.
2. Add a full pack of mixed vegetables and cook for 4 minutes, constantly mixing.
3. Mix your sauce, add to the wok with your favorite meat (chicken and venison are my choices), squash noodles and heat for another 3-5 minutes
4. Slice pre cooked baby potato and cook for another 60 seconds 
5. Season with sea salt and serve.

Version #2 

Chicken, cashew and coconut stir fry

Here's what you will need

200g of pre cooked chicken breast
1 pack of your favorite vegetables
100g of pre cooked wholegrain rice
50 ml red wine vinegar
30g cashew butter
10g coconut oil

1. Pre heat the wok and add 5g of coconut oil.  
2. Add a full pack of mixed vegetables and cook for 4 minutes, constantly mixing.
3. Add red wine vinegar to the wok with the chicken breast, and pre cooked wholegrain rice heat for another 1-2 minutes
4. Add the cashew butter, season with sea salt, serve and enjoy.

Both meals are under 400 calories and will completely fill any plate, so why not give them a try and leave a comment below?

Have a great day!


MCT's, the saturated fat for fat loss!

Posted on May 13, 2015 at 4:41 AM Comments comments (52)
MCT's, could this saturated fat boost your fat loss?

MCT’s or Medium Chain Triglycerides are a type of saturated fat found in coconut oil that provides the caloric density of a fat without the same detrimental effects of having too much fat in your diet (depending on goal of course).
Unlike conventional oils MCT’s are taken straight to the liver via the hepatic portal vein before they even get a chance to be stored as fat. MCT’s also do not require digestive enzymes that other fats do from pancreatic lipase. You see MCT’s behave like carbohydrates in the body with some studies showing they are absorbed and utilised as rapidly as sugar without increasing insulin levels.
MCT’s from coconut oil contain lauric acid, which has tremendous anti – microbial properties that help to fight infections and viruses from bacteria.
90% of coconut oil is made up of saturated fats, the remaining 10% polyunsaturated, with 60% of the saturated fats also being MCT’s and the rest LCT’s (long chain triglycerides), 50% of the fat being lauric acid you can see the
So for those who are on a lower carbohydrate approach, supplementing with MCTs may be beneficial at preserving lean muscle mass while shedding the unwanted pounds. Trying to gain muscle mass? Adding MCT's to meals can help boost caloric intake but prevent additional unwanted body fat providing you dont go overboard lol, and this can be done before, during or after training using either
1.     A large coffee with coconut oil and 20g whey pre training
2.     MCT oil and BCAA’s during training
3.     Your favourite whey shake topped with coconut milk post workout
(1)One study showed that MCT consumption might stimulate greater total energy expenditure than LCT’s (from olive oil). EE was taken 30 minutes before a meal and 5 ½ hours post prandial. The results showed a greater loss in bodyweight in individuals consuming MCT’s than LCT’S. (2)Another study found that breakfasts containing MCT’s over LCT’s (from corn oil) improved satiety and reduced food intake acutely (lunch) in overweight men.
(3)In another study researchers found that combining MCTs with chilli powder increased diet-induced thermogenesis by around 50% compared to other combinations, also showing improvements in satiety and decrease energy intake
(4) Supplementing with MCT’s has also been shown to benefit patients with Alzheimer’s. Their seams to be a decrease in the brains ability to utilise glucose as its principal energy substrate, and researchers found that supplementing with MCT’s may improve cognitive functioning in older adults with memory disorders but more research is needed.
Other sources of MCT’s are
·       Palm kernel oil
·       Cheese (if you tolerate dairy)
·       Butter
·       Milk
·       Yogurt
1. Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue 2. Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men.
3. Combined medium-chain triglyceride and chilli feeding increases diet-induced thermogenesis in normal-weight humans.
4. Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults.