I wanted to do something a little different for this blog post so I asked our clients on what topics they would like covered…. Well, the old chestnut of post workout meals surfaced and I for one was excited as I have read so many contrasting ideas over the years.
Firstly, I should preface by letting you know that there is no ONE perfect post workout meal. The meal content will depend on a few different variables including the type of exercise and your goals. A person trying to build lean muscle mass will differ in their meal demands from an endurance athlete who has just done steady state exercise for an extended period.
If my goal is to build lean muscle and reduce body fat then I actually want to aim for 2 post workout meals. The first is a liquid meal with protein. My ideal recommendation would be a protein shake in water. I would then wait another hour and consume a balanced meal with a good source of protein, plenty of vegetables, some good fats (avocado, coconut oil) and some starchy carbohydrates (sweet potato, brown rice or quinoa).
This is really ideal after a strength based training program. However, this changes if you are doing lots of endurance based exercise and are training for long periods of time. I would then recommend that you have a protein shake but add some carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index (instant oats, rockmelon or wholemeal bread). You actually want to consume more carbohydrates than protein in this case.
There are some definite no nos as well when it comes to eating post exercise. One of these is caffeine. Caffeine is brilliant before a workout (a blog post for another day) but definitely not what you want after to a workout. The reason is that during a workout your body produces a lot of cortisol (stress hormone) and once your workout is done you actually want to get rid of that as soon as you can. Caffeine can accelerate cortisol production so it is best to be avoided post training. The other big no no is alcohol post training. Not only will it dehydrate you but it will slow down recovery and will undo your hard work.
A proper strategy with your post workout nutrition is paramount to maximising your gains. If you need any further ideas or advice then we are only too happy to help.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard ‘I’ll just stop eating carbs to lose weight’ then I would be a VERY rich man. There is a definite belief and perception out there that carbs are the root of all evil things and are the cause of our excess body fat and weight……
I can actually understand where this comes from because I do believe excess carbohydrates are where people go wrong. I also believe people consume WAY too many bad carbohydrates. BUT, carbohydrates are essential for living and we do need to consume them. I just believe we need to know the difference between good and bad and how much we should consume.
It is ironic to think that the Food Pyramid was or still is in some circles the system we base our eating on. The system was flawed as it completely over exaggerated the quantity of grains we need. It didn’t acknowledge good fats or proteins nearly enough and this lead people astray. The reaction was to go anti carb and abandon them all together. However, there is a happy medium that will leave you feeling great and will not have you gaining unnecessary body fat.
Now, let’s clear a few things up…. Firstly, we need carbohydrates because they are HIGH in fibre. Fibre is needed to keep our Blood sugar and LDL cholesterol (the bad one) in check as well as helping us feel full. It also helps prevent several cancers and ensures our number 2’s are not a form of torture (what’s a blog post without a poo joke). Secondly, carbohydrates can be a great source of energy and we need these when we train hard. Lastly, lots of carbohydrates are full of essential minerals, vitamins and nutrients.
Our problem is that we ignore the carbohydrates that give us these benefits and instead consume simple carbohydrates that are essentially sugars. We eat too many refined products like white breads, cakes, sugary sweets, drinks and just sugar in general and not enough vegetables, fruits, brown rice, oats and amazing grains like quinoa, millet and spelt. These simple sugars don’t leave us satisfied and we crave more of them.
Personally, I like keeping my carbohydrates on the lower end as I feel and look better. However, I include good carbohydrates in at least two of meals and I make sure I eat lots of quality fats and proteins. This ‘diet’ stops me overeating and gives me great energy.
So my challenge for you is to honestly assess the source and quantity of your carbohydrates and improve your intake by decreasing the simple carbohydrates. You will be amazed at the dramatic changes you will see by doing this.
One of the biggest excuses I hear in the studio in regards to unsuccessful attempts at losing body fat is client dinners or work events. Granted this can be a challenge but it is not a REAL reason for not getting the results you want…..
I have been called obsessive and one dimensional over the years and despite the name calling I actually believe in BALANCE. I love a good night out at a restaurant with friends and I don’t believe my endeavour to be healthy stops me. Does it mean I make different decisions in regards to my meal choices? Yes it does but I don’t for one minute feel like I am missing ANYTHING.
If I am going out then I will prepare accordingly. It may mean that I just go all out and have a pizza and a couple of beers. However, I will do that once in a week and eat really clean the other 20 meals. It may mean that I organise an intermittent fast following the indulgence. Either way, I will not make it a habit without it being part of my bigger plan to be healthy.
I also make SMARTER choices. I will do little things like not eat bread preceding a meal, have a side of vegetables and have a big piece of protein as my main.
This is great but how about those situations where we don’t have that luxury….. I am sure we have all been in that situation where we are confronted with just a number of unhealthy options…. It may be a restaurant or a food court but we have all been there. Here are five 5 little tips to assist:
- Ask for an extra side salad or serving of vegetables. Every restaurant, sandwich bar or café will have vegetable and/or salad in the kitchen
- Swap some of the sides like chips for salad or vegetables. Even McDonalds and KFC have salads! I know because I ran a workshop the other day and despite my evil conscious wanting fries I had grilled chicken and salad.
- Ask for an open sandwich with just one piece of bread.
- Limit the alcohol pre-meal so you don’t CRAVE food. Restaurateurs are smart and know fuelling you up with alcohol before a meal will have you reaching for any food in sight.
- Be demanding. Restaurants should cater to your needs and if that means grilling instead of frying or less sauce or extra protein portions then they will do it.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Losing body fat and acquiring the body you want doesn’t mean putting your life on hold. Far from it! It just means that you need to develop some small smart habits and it is the collection of these small habits that will produce BIG results.
I was conducting a consult two weeks ago when I was floored by a question by the prospect. He asked me ‘what makes clients more successful than others with their results’. It was a big question and one that I certainly had some ideas about. My answer was sufficient enough for the prospect to identify with and he committed to training. I thought long and hard after the session and I thought I would convey these ‘success traits’ in a coherent format. I have trained and observed clients for over 6 years and I have seen LOTS of successes but I have also seen clients that didn’t achieve their goals. So, what is the magic formula? I believe it is a combination of the following:
1. You need to WANT it! If you TRULY and DEEPLY want a certain result then you will ACHIEVE it. These results need to resonate with you and get you excited. It needs to be big enough to conquer the inevitable obstacles that will arise. It needs to consume your thoughts, emotions and energy. It will mean constant sacrifices and contentedness with these sacrifices. It will mean discontent with who you are and an excitement for the journey you will embark on.
2. You need to overcome CHALLENGES. We are all confronted with challenges but it is the RESPONSE that determines success. The successful client will meet these challenges head on and will embrace them. They will make the necessary changes but will not deviate from the plan. Injuries, work and family demands and finances will alter the plan but the necessary changes will be made and will not deter the client from success.
3. You need a PLAN. ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. Without a plan then you are working aimlessly even with the best intentions. You need to know when to progress, how to progress, strategies for plateaus and best practice methodology. Too often I see people who are motivated and hungry for success get disheartened because they didn’t work to a plan! They trained with the best intentions but didn’t do it smartly.
4. You need to take RISKS. You will be committing time, money and energy and it will involve you stretching your comfort zone. You will be asked to do things you didn’t think were possible and you need to do these things to reach greater success. You will be amazed about what you are capable of.
5. You need to be EXCITED. It’s related to my first point but you do need to approach the plan with excitement. It doesn’t mean you will enjoy all the exercises or workouts but you will get excited by your progress and the achievements along the way.
I am not saying you need all these things to exercise successfully or just be generally healthy. But, these are the traits I see in people that have achieved MASSIVE success. They have this incredible drive that I find so inspiring.
If I want to get results in anything I do whether it is business, health, nutrition or a type of training then I consult people that have a proven track record and have achieved results in that particular field. I want to see that they have done it themselves and coached or inspired others to terrific results. This has been a method that has helped me enormously in expanding my studio. I have paid LOTS of money for mentors that have built successful studios that generate great results for their clients.
The same logic must apply when choosing a personal trainer or fitness facility. I am entering my first ever kettlebell competition (I am really scared) in May. This will be one of the most physically demanding events I will ever endure. I want to ensure that I am physically and mentally prepared to the best of my ability. I need a qualified and experienced coach that will inspire me to get the best out of me.
Personal trainers are everywhere….. in fact, it is not hard to become a personal trainer so there is more and more entering the industry at a rapid rate. Like all professionals there is a HUGE disparity in quality. There are the rookies that have completed their 6 week course and wanted to become a trainer because the hourly rate was attractive (these people find out that it is HARD work and are gone within 12 months) and then there is the other side of the spectrum. There are trainers that have years of experience, university degrees, a tonne of testimonials and before and after photos and genuinely CARE for their clients.
I own a personal training education business where we up skill personal trainers nationally. I travel the country teaching these trainers and I see both lots of trainers. I also have a team of 8 trainers and I need to discern which category the trainer fits into when recruiting. So if you want to get REAL RESULTS with your training and really achieve your goals then you need to know if you are in good hands.
So what should you look out for……
- Do they GENUINELLY care when talking to you? Are they present in the conversation?
- What is their approach to diet and exercise? Do they look the part? I don’t mean that they need to look like fitness models but they should look fit and healthy
- Are they continually up skilling? Have they invested in their further education? What books are they reading?
- What RESULTS have they have helped their clients achieve in the past?
If a trainer fits these criteria then you are in VERY good hands and you have increased your chances of SUCCESS significantly.
I will unashamedly take the opportunity to let you know that we have an AMAZING team at Coastal Bodies. We have decades of experience, several qualifications and dozens of before and after photos and testimonials. You can see the impressive team here.
Last Challenge for 6 Months
We have our LAST 8 week challenge for 6 months starting on Feb 25th. You would have seen the AMAZING results from the challenge in these newsletters. If you have thought about it for a while then now is your opportunity to get results. Click here for more information.
Females only Pilates Class starting next week
We have a brand new class starting next Tuesday (Feb 26th) at 10 am. It is for females only and is a mat class. The class will run for 45 minutes and conclude with a coffee at our new coffee bar.
My training philosophy is a simple and effective one; lift weights, eat clean and undertake regular interval training. It is a philosophy that has seen LOTS of people transform their bodies and achieve terrific results. My clients lose lots of fat, look toned and become strong and fit. However, I have regularly received lots of questions and doubt about weight training from females.
I can understand this as you can see how some guys look with their muscles…. They look like freaks with muscles growing on muscles. What female would want to look like that?
Well here is the good news:
It is IMPOSSIBLE for females to look too muscly as they simply do not have the testosterone levels. Males have 20 times the testosterone as males and this explains not only their ability to put on muscle but a lot of their other erratic behaviour.
I can hear the female readers ask ‘Well what about those muscly women we see in body figure competitions?’ Well, the truth is that they have had testosterone injections and this is the only possible means that women can look like that. I have no idea what motivates these people as it looks unnatural and unattractive and actually does female weight training a massive disservice. I would be scared of any woman that looked like that and you know you have issues when you like the less masculine one in the relationship!
Rather, women can look like healthy, lean and toned with weight training. In fact, weight training is essential for women. Women CANNOT have a nicely shaped, toned athletic figure without weight training. Women need to lift weights IF they want a toned and shapely body.
Apart from the aesthetics there are other important reasons why women must lift weights. They are:
- Improves posture with a specific emphasis on training the muscles of the core.
- Rehabilitates muscles after injuries
- Builds bone mass. This can help counteract osteoporosis.
- Improves central nervous system functioning
- Improves the size and strength of ligaments and tendons. This can increase joint stability and reduce the risk of sprains and dislocations.
- Women have greater difficulty than men burning muscle glycogen stores. Pushing your body into its glycogen states occurs with resistance training.
- Hormonally, resistance training is more advantageous than long slow aerobic training. Constant aerobic training can suppress thyroid hormone functioning. This slows down your metabolism. This doesn’t occur with resistance training.
You can see that there is a plethora of benefits both aesthetically and physiologically… Weight training can be daunting and potentially dangerous for a novice. This is why I recommend supervised instruction when commencing a weight based program. You will feel empowered, confident and strong after only a few sessions. So what are you waiting for?
Have you ever had that feeling where you are totally starving and the only options are a service station meat pie, a sandwich or a pack of chips? I have often been caught out where I have been hungry enough to eat a horse and will demolish ANY food that is within a 1 metre radius. The main problem arises when the food options are CRAP! I will usually take the option of eating crap rather than being starving if given a choice between the two.
So my solution to this problem…. be prepared! The better prepared you are with your food the better you will eat. It is that simple! I purchased an overpriced food planner from Kikki K (a blank piece of paper will do) that lists all the days and the meals I will consume. Whilst it may sound anally retentive, the process works wonders!
I make sure I have all the ingredients I need in advance for my breakfasts, snack and dinners. I have lunch out and I plan my day to allow 45 minutes eating at one of my preferred eateries (Mad Mex is making a fortune from my right now! A naked burrito with no sour cream and cheese is the da bomb and healthy). The snacks are important as they prevent the temptation from naughty stuff when ordering a coffee like egg and bacon rolls and muffins (yes I am human and are tempted by these wonders regularly). My snack choice is homemade protein balls. They are full of protein and good fats and a little sweet (I have a killer recipe if anyone is interested, just e-mail email@example.com and it is all yours). A handful (yes I said handful) of raw nuts is also a great snack choice.
When it comes to breakfast, you really just need to give yourself the appropriate time. Wake up 15 minutes earlier to make an omelette or eggs and I guarantee you will be alert than if you slept in the extra 15 minutes. When it comes to dinner there are a few strategies I employ. Firstly, have my wife cook dinner (that won’t be happening anymore if she reads this!). Secondly, have some simple options that take 10-15 minutes such as grilled steak, chicken or fish with steamed vegetables. Lastly, cook a big batch of 1 meal and have leftovers in the fridge or freezer (chilli con-carne is my choice here; e-mail me if you would like the killer recipe).
I hope this helps and prevents you from inhaling some crappy food from a dodgy servo or café. I have some great recipes that are easy to cook (even I can cook them and I burn water) if you need some inspiration.
I was at a family dinner on the weekend and my lovely mother in law and dad were discussing their daily walking habits. They are both keen walkers that do it consistently and for long periods of time. They were proud of their habits as they should be but I decided that I should inform that walking was in fact no good for fat loss and they could be using their workout time more efficiently.
Retrospectively, I was a little discouraging but was I correct in my opinion? I am a big believer in high intensity interval training, resistance training and generally discourage long forms of continuous activity. Research strongly supports my bias towards these views but after reading a mountain of research I have found a number of positive studies that show that walking can indeed be a form of exercise that aids in fat loss.
So why did I dismiss walking? Well, it isn’t as effective as the aforementioned methods of training because:
1. Walking isn’t as effective for burning calories
To burn off 200 calories it would take close to one hour with walking while with high intensity exercise it would only take 20 minutes.
2. It doesn’t boost your post exercise metabolism for long
Your post exercise metabolism with walking only remains elevated for 1-2 hours at most. Compare this with high intensity exercise where your metabolism can be elevated for over 24 hours and you can see why I favour the latter. This can make a significant impact on body composition.
3. Walking doesn’t deplete muscle glycogen
Muscle glycogen is your body’s energy stores. Excess consumption of calories will be stored as fat if you have excessive amounts of muscle glycogen. Walking only slightly diminishes muscle glycogen stores while high intensity exercise uses a lot more.
As you can see if you really want to change your body composition then you need to adopt high intensity interval training that includes resistance training. Walking alone will not produce the same results. However, walking is still a form of exercise that is good for the cardiorespiratory system, mind and body. I would recommend supplementing your program with walking on your ‘easier’ days.
There has been a great debate amongst health professionals and the role of fruit in a weight loss program. There are many weight loss diets that don’t contain fruit at all but then we constantly hear how important it is for general health and well-being. So what is the truth here?
Fruit intake is vital in a well-balanced diet. Fruit contains many nutrients including vitamins, fibre and antioxidants. Fruit contains vitamins such as potassium, folate and vitamin C – all which contribute to good health. For example the potassium found in many fruits can help to lower your blood pressure, whilst the vitamin C found in fruits can assist with growth and repair of body tissues. Dietary fibre found in fruit helps to reduce blood cholesterol as well as promotes healthy bowel function. Fruits are naturally high in powerful antioxidants that protect the body from aging and chronic diseases.
The problem arises when people eat too much fruit. Fruits themselves will not make you fat if you eat a balanced amount of them on a daily basis (2 pieces per day). Because people believe that fruit is healthy there is the tendency to over consume them. Fruit like other foods still contains calories and an excess of calories will lead to weight gain. Fruit is also naturally high in fructose (fruit sugar) and this is not very good for regulating your appetite. Have you ever found yourself eating piece after piece of fruit and still feeling hungry? This is because fruit doesn’t trigger an insulin response. The release of insulin is our body telling us that we are full. Without this trigger we then have the capacity to overindulge.
So what is the right approach to consuming fruit? If you are looking to maintain your current weight then aim to consume 2 pieces a day as part of your meals or snacks. Include the calories as part of your overall calorie intake. If you are looking at lowering your body fat then aim to limit the intake to following fruits: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, lemon, lime and honey dew melon. They are not as high in fructose and are still nutritionally packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants. You can still enjoy the odd apple or banana but just be wary of over consumption.
I am huge believer in the power of setting goals, whether it is for fitness, career or financial. A good goal will bring enormous results and the process is a great learning experience.
Every personal training client at Coastal Bodies has to set 3 health and fitness goals. The goals can be around an event (run, Tough Mudder etc), body composition changes (fat loss, wearing a size 8 again etc) or lifestyle (regularly committing to 5 sessions per week). I have had clients set goals for years now but I came to a realisation that I hadn’t yet tapped into this powerful process for my own health and fitness. Don’t get me wrong I exercise 5-6 times every week and eat a clean diet. But that is more for my general well-being and it wasn’t towards a future goal.
So, I decided to set a goal and it was a big one…… I wanted to be one of 10 people worldwide with a Level 3 International Kettlebell Coaching Qualification. Like most participants I failed my exam 2 years ago as I wasn’t as prepared as I could’ve been. So the process started….
Firstly, I needed to be definite and future paced in my setting of the goal ‘It is November 3 and I am a Level 3 Kettlebell Coach’. I read this goal daily and actually visualised myself successfully conquering the assessment.
I knew it was an achievable goal but at the same time incredibly challenging! That is the key with a goal. It needs to be achievable so it doesn’t lead to disappointment or disillusion but it must be something that takes immense effort and sacrifice to achieve. This makes the achievement all that more satisfying.
The next step was developing a plan. The assessment was an incredible physical feat and I needed to be strategic in my approach. I hired a coach and we put together session plans for a 3 month training cycle. He also helped me refine my technique so I was as efficient as possible. He managed my physical workload as my preference is to overtrain and we couldn’t have that.
The third step was being flexible with our plan. Inevitably challenges arise and you need to change your approach to meet your goal. I had a sore throat one week and needed to half my sessions so I didn’t get really sick. I also have moderate elbow tendonitis in both elbows and I needed to shorten the workouts when they became inflamed. It was all about seeing the bigger picture.
The final step was telling people about the goal. This was a great accountability measure for me as people were constantly asking me about my goal. I wasn’t drinking alcohol and I was eating a strict diet and it helped when people supported me and made this easier.
There were many times when I felt like throwing in the towel. The sessions were tough and laborious. Persistence towards the bigger goal here was central. I needed to keep focus on the main goal and push through when it was difficult.
I write this not to boast but rather to encourage. I have seen incredible results from my clients when they have a definite purpose. I have now experienced this first hand and it is my desire to see more people achieve incredible health and wellness goals. Follow the process above and I can assure you that you will experience great success.