I practice what I preach when it comes to nutrition…..

Nutrition is key to success whether it be in sports performance or weight loss. I get asked regularly to share what I eat with my clients to help inspire them with their diet. I don’t cut anything out from my nutrition and instead I have everything in moderation. Control is not something I have always had over my diet, as a teenager, for 7 years I suffered from an eating disorder.  I was severely under weight, food controlled my life and I did anything I could to avoid eating. Now, I appreciate the value of a healthy, balanced diet and the importance it has on my mental well being and active lifestyle as a mother and personal trainer.  

As a mother, I hope my son and daughter enjoy their food and have different cultural influences, expanding their experience and knowledge in order to make informed decisions about what is a healthy diet. As a personal trainer, I want my clients to identify the importance food has on improving their mental and physical health and and reduce the risks of diabetes, heart disease, cancers and obesity;  all of which are on the increase in the UK and associated with poor diets and lack of exercise.

All clients with Fit + Fabulous complete food diaries on an online application which I monitor and analyse weekly. My analysis is based on UK government and NHS guidelines in conjunction with my knowledge of sports nutrition. I am looking for each client to gain an understanding of portion sizes, food groups (fats and sweets; dairy; meat fish and alternatives; fruit; vegetables and pulses grains and cereals) and macros (protein, fat and carbohydrate). Each client depending on their energy intake are allocated a recommended portion amount per food group which replaces counting calories. All of this is related to weight loss or enhancing sports performance.

For the last week I completed my own food diary to give an example of what I persevere as a balanced diet for an active female with my build. I class myself as very active, doing at least an hour of moderate to intense exercise per day. My macros change daily depending on the exercise I undertake, for example on the days I lift weights my protein levels will increase to help aid recovery and build muscle.  Portion sizes are not given as this would be individualised depending on your personal statistics. Please note that this is for example purposes only and not to be copied. Please get in touch for your own personal analysis.

Monday

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, wholemeal bread, tea with milk

Snack: Cashew and brazil nuts with dried mixed berries and coffee

Lunch: Giant couscous and quinoa salad and oven baked chicken breast

Snack: 4 seafood sticks, peanut butter with breadsticks and coffee

Dinner: Pasta in a home made tomato and spinach sauce with chicken and green beans

Snack: Melon and grapes

Tuesday

Breakfast: Weetabix minis fruit and nut, skimmed milk and tea with milk

Snack: Sunflower and pumpkin seed mix, 300mls skimmed milk and banana protein shake

Lunch: Spiced lentil warm salad with breast of chicken and mango

Snack: Black grapes, peanuts, banana and coffee

Dinner: Baked salmon fillet, sweet potato, broccoli, peas and mangetout

Wednesday

Breakfast: 2 poached eggs, wholemeal bread, tea with milk

Snack: Carrots, sweet peas and low fat hummus, coffee

Lunch: Homemade chicken and vegetable soup with wholemeal bagel and banana

Snack: Frozen strawberries, raspberries and pineapple, 300mls skimmed milk protein shake, coffee

Dinner: Homemade lasagna with mixed vegetable medley

Snack: Dark chocolate and ginger biscuit with green tea

Thursday

Breakfast: 2 poached eggs, wholemeal bread and tea with milk

Snack: Apple, brazil and cashew nuts with dried berries, coffee

Lunch: Oatcakes, homemade smoked mackerel pate with cherrie tomatoes and mixed leaves

Dinner: breast of chicken, bulgar wheat and bean salad with sweetcorn, peas and carrots

Snack: Grapes, melon and green tea

Friday

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs on wholemeal bagel and tea with milk

Snack: melon and avocado with coffee

Lunch: Brie, cranberry and bacon wholemeal seeded toasty with side salad

Snack: Homemade banana loaf and coffee

Dinner: Homemade beef and mixed bean chili, basmati rice, corn chips with cheese and 250ml glass of red wine

Saturday

Breakfast: Eggs Benedict and glass fresh orange

Snack: 1/2 danish pastry with coffee

Lunch: New potato, prawn and avocado salad

Snack: Cashew and peanuts with coffee

Dinner: Homemade tuna stir fry with egg noodles and 300ml of white wine followed by creme brulee

Sunday

Brunch: Grilled tomato, portobello mushroom, 1 slice bacon, 2 scrambled eggs with coffee

Snack: Mixed berries and seed protein smoothie

Dinner: Homemade fish pie with peas and crusty bread

As you can see I try and eat a variety of foods from each food group to ensure that I am getting as much vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables and the appropriate amount of non saturated fats, proteins and carbohydrates I need to fuel and recover from exercise.  Drinking water regularly throughout the day also helps me feel hydrated, carries those essential nutrients to the working muscles and avoids me mistaking thirst for hunger.  I eat every 3-4 hours a day to avoid fatigue from drop in blood glucose levels. This helps me curb any cravings for high sugar foods. I eat a mixture of low to high glucose index foods to ensure I get enough fiber in my diet and when required quickly replace carbohydrates that I burn through exercise.  glucoseindex.com

The following chart gives a good indication to what the UK guidelines are for tallying up your own portions per food groups to see if you are getting a healthy balanced diet.

foodIf you would like further information on macros or portion sizes or have any comments regarding the blog please get in touch as I’m keen to hear from you.

A puppy is not just for Christmas….

“I want to run a 10km in September.”

“We get married in the Autumn and we both want to lose weight.”

“Its my 40th birthday in June and I want a six pack.”

Just some examples of client’s goals when they come to Fit + Fabulous for personal training. These are perfectly normal short term goals and achievable for most if they apply hard work and dedication. However, if this is you, ask yourself what happens after my holiday, wedding or birthday party? Do I apply all my effort to achieve that goal and then return to my previous state?

I feel a more advantageous view should be longer term and, dare I say it, more of a lifestyle change. We all live for the moment, driven by busy and demanding lifestyles with fads and trends dictating our culture. But what about our future? I want to live long enough to play with my Grandchildren, if I’m blessed enough to have any. I want to create more beautiful memories with my frienddads and family and not have to worry about illness, medication or treatments. Yes, I have short term goals  to keep me motivated and some a little crazy, but they are all part of my long term plan; to live a healthier lifestyle, creating memories and teaching the next generation that health and fitness can be fun and exciting. One of my biggest joys, is a morning cycling on my road bike with my father aged 68 before stopping for coffee and a cake; its a real honor!

Exercise is not a new phenomenon nor should it be intimidating or hard to get started; it should be exciting! I’m naturally impressed by the elite in the fitness industry, who isn’t? Exercise is for everyone and everyone has to start somewhere. What impress me more is when one of my clients, family or friends try something for the first time. They might not like it but at least they have given it a shot and created a memory for themselves. I challenge you to try something new and exciting this year. Something that you have never done before or haven’t done in years.

A good Personal Trainer should encourage their clients, constantly demonstrating empathy, offering support and encouragement along the way. As a personal trainer, I like to suggest trying something a couple of times and not giving up on the first hurdle. If you don’t succeed, if you have done your best, then you have not failed.  Try again! Try approaching it from a difference angle the next time and give it another chance.

 

Fit + Fabulous measuring success.

My previous blog was all about how to make goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed) so lets turn “I want to lose weight” into a SMART goal:

I would like to reduce my waist circumference from  87cm to 77cm by adding cardiovascular training twice a week in the form of running and HITT; and core resistance once a week.  I will start a daily food diary and reduce the amount of fats, oils and sweets I eat from 4 portions to 2 and increase my fruit and vegetable from 1 to 5 portions per day. I would like this to happen for my holiday in June which is in six months time.

On the assumption that I have established that is is a achievable and healthy goal for you I would look at different methods of measuring your success during the Fit + Fabulous personal training programme over short, medium and long term periods:

Physical Measurement Assessments.

Physical measurements can be assessed to monitor progress and make adjustments to the end goal if required. Measurements such as BMI, body measurements, waist to hip ratio, photographs, body composition using skin caliper or bio-electrical impedance and scales are all methods used to help monitor weight loss. For example, by taking physical measurements at the start of the programme and agreeing re-test dates such as 2 months, 4 months and 6 months, these figures can map the progress of hitting that all important end goal.  Don’t make your weight the only assessment as it is not the most accurate; ditch the scales and purchase a tape measure.

How to take body measurements:

body

 

It is easier if you get a friend or partner to do the measuring if you don’t have a personal trainer.

Stand tall with your feet together and try and find an identifiable mark like a mole or scar that you can use to re take the measurements again.

Do not hold your breath and breath in, your only kidding yourself!

Exercise.

From the SMART goal we want to establish what you enjoy doing; if its not what you enjoy then there is little chance that its going to be sustainable and you will lack motivation. Exercise for weight loss should be a combination of cardiovascular, resistance and flexibility exercises. A balanced approach will enable the reduction of fatty tissue, tone muscle and improve flexibility within the muscles and around the joints.  It is about being inventive and continually increasing the difficulty of each exercise throughout the course of the programme.

For running, there are different training methods that can be used rather than continuously running which add variety. Fartlek and Interval training are excellent ways of fat burning, training different energy systems and muscle fibre types and increasing aerobic fitness. There is also an excellent assessment to monitor general cardio-respiratory endurance for trained clients which is called the Cooper Test. This involves running the fastest sustainable pace for 12 minutes on treadmill or flat course then comparing your statistics to the relevant norm chart.

There are multiple assessments that can be used to assess muscular strength or endurance, depending on your goal. A common example would be working out your 1 repetition maximum (1RM) which is the heaviest weight you can lift once. For weight loss, muscular endurance tests would be more applicable and these generally involve high repetition of an exercise over a period of time. Lets say we apply the sit up test for you, as its specific to your weight lose and toning goal around the waist. This involves doing full sit ups for 1 minute in a correct and fluid movement and comparing it to the norms chart.

Flexibility can be monitored using many different assessments depending on what area of the body. There is no mention of flexibility in the above goal however I can guarantee if probed a little there will be an area that requires improvement whether its movement at specific joints or muscle groups.  A good test to try is the sit and reach test to assess lower back, hip joint and hamstring flexibility.

Nutrition.

I have said it before and I will say it again “Food is Batman and exercise is Robin!” What do I mean? You can do as much exercise as you like but to get the best outcome whether it be weight lose or sports performance, food will play a vital role in the end result. To change your diet and introduce exercise is no mean feat and really what you are looking to do is completely change your lifestyle. That is not easy and takes time however it is very achievable. Nutrition is about balance and finding something sustainable, not a quick fix.

Start with small steps and change one thing at a time.  For example, if you only eat once piece of fruit a day increase that to 2 and continue with this for a week, then add in another fruit or a vegetable until you hit your goal. Write down all the fruit and vegetables that you can think of, pin it in the kitchen and experiment with them in your diet; make it fun!  To assess your eating take a food diary and plan your meals in advance. The Eatwell Guide is a great starting point of reatwell plateeference.

Assessing progress over short, medium and long term periods enables keeps you motivated and map progress more closely.  Why not give some of the assessments a go for your own 2017 resolutions and keep track of results. For any enquiries please get in touch. Good luck!