Truth


Last week I experienced some bad writer’s block, it happens sometimes, I sit and stare at the screen and wonder what the hell there is left to talk about. It’s hard to come up with content that reiterates the staples (diet, training, calories, cardio etc…) without becoming mind numbingly repetitive.

So I took to social media to ask what you guys want me to write about, and was immediately inundated with great suggestions…also the odd question about cardio, which I may have to ignore so I don’t bore everyone to actual death, starting with myself.

Before I start trawling through some of the gooduns though, I just wanted to update you all on where I am currently, as I often do this when I’m leaning up, but not so much when I’m gaining a little or maintaining.

At the moment there are no shoots on the horizon. No holidays. No reasons at all to get naked in front of more than one person, who lucky for me couldn’t care less if I have a six pack or not.

This is rare for me, a luxury in my constant quest to best my last photoshoot.

I still do fasted cardio every morning, steady cardio for 20-45 minutes depending on how I feel and how busy I am that day. I enjoy it, and I need it, because in case you haven’t guessed yet I am slightly mental.

I still lift weights every evening, going heavy and training a different body part each day.

I still eat clean and healthy, track my calories and macros every day to make sure I’m not going off the rails.

HOWEVER, one or two days a week, I’m just not interested. I want to lie on the sofa with my boyfriend and not move for 12 hours straight. I want to order pizza and eat half a tub of ice cream and wobble off to bed in a food coma. I want to go out with my friends and drink a bottle of wine over dinner. And I have no reason not to right now.

Yes, I miss my abs. Of course I do. I WISH I could do all of the above and still be a shredded little lean bean – but I can’t. There are some people who CAN, and I am disgustingly jealous of them, but I am not there yet, and I might never be.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE ABS OR BE ‘SHREDDED’ TO BE FIT, STRONG, HEALTHY AND A GYM BAD ASS.

You can be all of the above and carry a little fluff sometimes, if you don’t believe me, look at your fitness idols in their ‘off season’.

I currently have a great balance, probably about 70/30, of carelessness and focus. I feel sane, happy, fit and healthy…without a single ab in sight.


Personalising your Fitness Plans


I’m receiving a lot of emails from people asking what they can and cannot change with regard to the 12 Week Fat Loss Plan, and even other plans they are currently following.

I promise you that it is largely about using common sense, but I know that some people are hesitant to follow their own approaches, so I wanted to share 2 key points that will help you personalise any and every fitness plan you decide to follow.

  • MONITOR YOUR BODY TO MAKE SURE YOUR TRAINING PLAN IS DOING WHAT YOU WANT – After a few weeks of training (weeks, NOT days), you will start to actually SEE your body changing. When this happens, you will be able to assess your strong and stubborn areas. When you know what these are, you can edit your training plan, so long as you don’t COMPLETELY neglect certain areas. For example, I will do 2 leg days a week because my butt is a stubborn old girl, and 2 ab days a week because you can only really see my abs when my body fat is low and they have a bit of pump. I train my back once a week and my upper body once a week because these areas grow strongly and consistently, so require less attention from me.
  • MONITOR YOUR BODY TO MAKE SURE YOUR NUTRITION IS RIGHT FOR YOU – While it is normal to crave foods at the start of a fat loss plan, or feel A LITTLE lethargic towards the end of it, you should absolutely NOT be starving OR crying from exhaustion every day. If you find that this is happening, you need to up your calories and / or look at your macro splits. For example, I can go about 4 days on a low carb diet, but by day 5 man alive do my legs start to give out on me. I FEEL it happening and it feels MISERABLE. This is when I will take a rest day AND refeed, usually with 4 or 5 bowls or protein oats throughout the day (because I LOVE it), before then getting up for fasted cardio and smashing legs later on the following day.

The 12 Week Plan Calorie Deficit


Hello Fondues!

I haven’t posted in a few days which really annoys me, but I’ve been very busy trying to get a couple of exciting fitness projects off the ground which I really hope you guys will benefit from.

Every so often I receive an email which questions and contests my advice and what I stand for. When it happens it’s bittersweet, I get frustrated, angry and upset, but I also feel motivated, inspired, comforted and reassured by people who are so passionate about responsibility in this industry. There isn’t enough of it to be honest, and I bite my tongue every day trying not to call people out – it’s not my style to be inflammatory towards others so instead, I scream as loud as I can about what you SHOULD be doing.

Yesterday, such an email ended up in my inbox, and I wanted to share it with you all for several reasons…

Firstly, I am a stickler for giving responsible advice and being held accountable. Sometimes I really struggle with this because, as I frequently reiterate, health and fitness and serious aesthetic results are 2 very different things that require 2 very different levels of commitment. I try to make this as clear as I can as often as I can, and I will continue to do so in the hope that people aim to maintain health and fitness, every so often pushing for serious aesthetic results IF they happen to love it as much as I do.

The truth is, AESTHETIC results take a hell of a lot of effort to achieve and are CERTAINLY unhealthy to maintain for women. What I mean by this is that training 6-7 days a week, weighing out food and watching your social life take a MASSIVE hit – these things are what athletes do, not your average Joes. Athletes are mentally and physically trained and prepared for this and are guided through it by huge teams of qualified professionals. Going it alone can be stressful on the body and mind.

Once women’s body fat DOES drop so low that they are ‘shredded’, it’s only a matter of time (a few months at best) before you mess up your hormones and you need to start slowly, gently and healthily reversing the process.

I happen to be one of those people that loves health and fitness, but every now and then I like to really push it and see exactly what my body and my mind is capable of. That means more training, and lower calories.

I only do this for a few weeks at a time, and then I’ll slowly start to rest more and eat more while still training and eating healthy, just without focusing on aesthetics.

Yesterday, I received an email from a woman, a brilliant woman in my opinion, who called into question the calorie count on the 12 week fat loss plan.

She said the women’s was coming up at around about 1500 calories and it was unhealthy to train on that for 12 weeks solid. She said I no longer had her respect, and I was contradicting myself about calories being 100% subjective (they are by the way).

I wanted to put my reply on the site so that you guys can understand why the nutrition is set out the way it is…

First of all, the plan I have devised has a constant, healthy and balanced stream of food intake throughout the day.
From breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, from protein, vegetables, fats and timed starchy carbs around training, this is a very healthy and balanced meal plan.
I also include weekly rest days and refeed meals in the plan so that the body can rest and refuel.

Yes, the plan ranges at around about 1500 calories for women, depending on what the participant chooses to eat (for example lean mince would have more calories than fish etc).
I did this to A, ensure fat loss from a calorie deficit and B, after a schlep through various client’s BMR records, I determined that most women sit around the 2000 calorie a day mark (some just over, some just under).
I believe that from your BMR count, you should gradually decrease calories over a period of weeks, down to around about -500. However, this is very much a generic fat loss download and so that is where the calorie count starts and stays.

I absolutely say and believe that calorie counts, macros etc ARE subjective, and I explain this in the plan, as well as in various posts about the plan on the site.
The fact of the matter is, a fat loss download is a fat loss download. It has training and a clean, low calorie diet in order to get people results in A HEALTHY way.
As I said, there are also weekly refeeds included.

Lastly, I would like you to know that 2 separate nutritionists looked through the plan before it went live, and all of them came back to me with various measurement suggestions and finally in agreement that it was an effective plan that was NOT unhealthy nutritionally.

Guys, the fat loss download is designed to get you the results you payed for in a HEALTHY way over a 12 week period. It is very nutritionally balanced and nobody should struggle with it – other than turning down dessert at restaurants it’s pretty easy to do. You are not going to mess with your body on this diet, I promise, I would not have put it out there if you were.

However, if you just want to be fit and healthy, you can play around with the measurements on the download and have more fun with the training, there is no harm in that.

I hope to always be honest and accountable to you all, and I hope you all call me on it if ever I fail.


Frequently Asked Questions


Hello little Fondues.

Before I begin this post I want to illustrate that I am SO grateful for every single one of you who supports, encourages and takes an interest in what I do.

It’s a dog eat dog business, and my goal is to be 100% honest, accountable, responsible and reliable for the advice I give, in order to inspire, motivate and inform anyone who wants to try it, too. It seems to be working, and that’s because you guys really listen, and I cannot tell you how good that makes me feel.

I often get asked really interesting questions from you guys that inspire posts on this site and even make me readdress what I’m doing. Finding an audience for FF was the dream, and man alive did I get lucky with the audience I got. So really, thank you, your support absolutely does NOT go unnoticed.

So, apologies if this post comes across as a little ranty, that is NOT my intention (for a change), but I want to go through some of the more frequently asked questions…

I get inundated with emails and social media every day asking me the same questions, which truth be told I address almost weekly on this site. If you don’t get a reply to a long email filled with questions about health and fitness, it’s because I get hundreds every day and the questions that you’re asking are answered in detail, and then some, on this very site.

So, I’m going to go through some of them now, and I hope it helps some of you out…

1. DO YOU DO CARDIO? FASTED? HIIT? STEADY? FOR HOW LONG? HOW MANY DAYS A WEEK? Yes. I do fasted cardio (before breakfast) for anywhere between 20-45 minutes most days, depending on how I’m feeling and what my schedule is like that morning. I do this as steady cardio, usually walking, jogging, the stair master etc. I do it because I enjoy it, it’s a good start to my day, it’s good for anxious people (me) and of course for fat burning. I also do 20 minutes of HIIT after weights sometimes because my weight sessions are usually short and sharp and I enjoy HIIT.

2. DO YOU LIFT WEIGHTS? HOW MANY DAYS A WEEK? FOR HOW LONG? – Yes. I lift weights 6 days a week and I do Hypertrophy training, which is the muscle building range. I usually hit anywhere between 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps per exercise. I train a different body part every day. Legs, abs, upper body, back, then legs or abs again. I can be done with a weight session in 25 minutes, I can go for up to an hour, it all depends on what exercises I choose to do, and what exercises I choose depends on how I see my body that day!

3. IT’S NOT REALISTIC FOR ME TO TRAIN LIKE YOU OR GET YOUR BODY BECAUSE I HAVE A JOB / KIDS – OK, this really pisses me off, for several reasons. Firstly, I HAVE A JOB! Sweet Jesus, I cannot tell you how annoying it is that I slog my ass off every day but because I have famous parents, apparently I don’t work. If I had become a doctor or a lawyer I’m sure people would shut up, but I’m not. I own a business, I am a PT, I am a free lance journalist, and lately it would seem that I have become somewhat of a fitness model – yay me. I WORK EVERY DAMN DAY OF THE WEEK. Also, please remember that it is my job to stay in shape so I HAVE to make training a priority. I do my cardio at 6.30am most mornings and my weights around 7pm most nights, BEFORE AND AFTER I WORK. The kids thing, this I get is a legit comparative problem. A lot of commercial gyms have creches and play groups though, I know mine does, so maybe look into that. Also, don’t forget that circuits, skipping ropes, resistance bands, kettle bells, there is plenty of cardio and resistance training to be done at home WHILE staring into the eyes of your danger ridden child.

4. DO YOU EAT CARBS? – Yes, and you can eat carbs every day too. You should really keep them clean (oats, sweet potato, brown rice, wholegrain rice cakes etc) and in moderation, ideally timing them around your workouts (pre and post). I do something called ‘Carb Cycling’ which is an advanced dieting method, and you do NOT need to do it unless you train every day, have serious aesthetic goals and are already most of the way there. I do low carb days (3 days ) followed by a high carb day (day 4), which allows me to burn fat and train effectively. HOWEVER, a lot of your results will come down to your simple daily energy input / output – aka calories.

5. HOW DO I GET ABS? – Cardio, calories, weight training and PATIENCE. Abs are impossible unless you commit 100% for a LONG time, so if you cannot do that, I suggest you reassess your goal.

6. IS THE 12 WEEK FAT LOSS PLAN OK FOR VEGETARIANS / VEGANS / GYM GOERS / NONE GYM GOERS / MEN / WOMEN-  As long as you have a protein source, a fat source and a carb source you will be totally fine and the plan will work for you. And yes, gym and none gym workouts are included. And yes, men and women can do the plan, there are sections for both as diets etc vary.

7. I AM INJURED / UNWELL, CAN I DO THE PLAN – It would be grossly unethical and immoral for me to answer this. If you are injured or unwell, you need to ask your GP, physio, surgeon, specialist PT what you can and can’t do. I cannot tell you without seeing you, and even then I might not be able to give you an answer. I am not a doctor.

 

 


Fitness Newbie? What to Expect…


 

If you want aesthetic results, you need to nail BOTH your diet and exercise routine. Not one or the other, BOTH, and you need to stay CONSISTENT. 

This will happen with time and through trail and error. You’re probably not going to jump into training your ass off 6 days a week on week 1, and you’re probably not going to nail a spotless diet for a little while…even if you THINK you are.

You are NOT going to understand what your body responds best and quickest to when you are 1 day in, and you probably still won’t know when you are 1 year in.

Yes, there are the basics – calories, cardio, resistance training, macros etc – HOWEVER, aesthetic results are so very subjective. For example, I know fitness models who balloon on a high fat high protein diet, but stay shredded on a high carb intake. I know girls who literally will not see their abs unless they do a serious carb cycle for weeks on end. I know men who can eat 5000 calories a day, pick up a weight and maintain an exceptionally low body fat. I know men who only do HIIT and look like they lift weights daily.  EVERYBODY IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

I talk about this all the time but still get asked questions via email and social media every day that I honestly cannot answer, such as ‘What exercises do I need to do to get abs?’. Answer? ALL OF THEM, COUPLED WITH A SRTICT AND CONSISTENT DIET.

When I started, it took me 3 weeks to look in the mirror and say, oh, my body has changed. It took me 1 year to realise I had some real muscle on my back. It took over 2 years before I saw my abs, properly, and believe me they have come and gone since then. If I knew week 1 what I know now, I probably would have done it all in a matter of months, but to know everything I know now THEN? That would have been totally impossible.

So be patient. Give yourself time to train and diet and get it right. You will get there, if you want to, you will. Period.


Training for Your Goals


I realise that I talk a lot more about diet than I do training.

This is partly because diet really IS the most important factor when it comes to changing you body, but also because it really DOES tend to be where people go wrong.

Now I’m going to talk about training for your goals:

HEALTH, FITNESS AND WEIGHT LOSS – If you’re trying to get fit and healthy or lose a few lbs, you should be doing some form of exercise at least 3 days a week for about an hour. Try and get some cardio and resistance training in on these days. Circuits are a really great way of killing 2 birds with one stone, you are resistance training by using your body against gravity which will challenge muscle, and you have to keep up the pace which will burn fat. There are great circuit training classes at most gyms, there are also circuits mapped out in the 12 week fat loss plan at the top of this page.

FAT LOSS – If fat loss is your goal, you need be training 5-6 days a week and you need to try and find a balance between cardio and resistance training. 30 minute steady cardio sessions before breakfast and or 20 minutes of HIIT after resistance training are the best ways to burn into that fat. You need to be doing resistance training to get that ‘toned’ look, so once your fat starts to shift you don’t just look ‘skinny fat’. Building a bit of muscle is also a massive metabolic booster and will put your calories to good use. Again, I got through this all in the fat loss plan at the top of this page.

MUSCLE BUILDING – If muscle is your goal you need to be lifting weights 5-6 days a week, training a different body part a day or doing split sessions where you train 2 body parts a day. You need to be doing about 3 sets of 8 reps, as heavy as you can while keeping your form right. Try to increase the weights every few weeks, if you have to drop a rep in order to do so, that’s fine, just keep trying to work your way back up up 8 reps. I will be releasing a muscle building download at the end of September so keep your eyes peeled.

I won’t be posting next week as I’m away, although I will still be answering emails but be patient with me, it may take a few days to hear back.

 


Carbs and Tricks


If loss is your goal then yes, you do need to be mindful of starchy carbohydrates…

Firstly, starchy carbs should be 100% CLEAN and all natural foods. Cut out the processed white breads, pastas, rice, wraps, pastries etc.

You want oats, sweet potato, brown rice and things like wholegrain rice cakes to be your go to starches.

Secondly, yes, you need to keep an eye on how often and when you are eating them, but you absolutely do NOT need to cut them out, ESPECIALLY if you are training.

If you are following the 12 week plan, which I know a lot of you are, then you will know that I time your starchy carb intake for you. They are included as a breakfast option for energy release throughout the day and training, and are also required in your post workout meals to feed glycogen stores in the muscle and aid growth while you are in anabolic (muscle building) mode.

Here’s a really good place to start when it comes to carbs:

  • BREAKFAST – This is a really good time to get some oats in, or bash up a couple of wholegrain rice cakes with some unsweetened almond milk and make a SUPER healthy, lean breakfast cereal. You can sweeten both with protein powder or cinnamon, agave syrup is also a good option.
  • POST WORKOUT – You NEED clean starches post workout to feed your muscle while it’s in anabolic mode. You need to replenish the glycogen stores so you don’t fatigue in the following days. Do not be scared to eat starches post workout.
  • REST DAYS – If loss is your goal, rest days are the days you can stick to lean protein and veg based meals. You don’t need starches when you’re chillin. If you’re muscle building, this does NOT apply to you. Clean starches and proteins should be a daily occurrence.
  • TRICKS – If you’re like me and your world revolves around carbs, YOU NEED TO LOOK INTO COURGETTI AND CAULIFLOWER RICE! I grate a courgette or 2 every day and fake a pasta dish, the same goes for cauliflower rice. These veg are also FULL of fibre and are very filling, so no it’s not like eating lettuce and pretending you’re full, you genuinely will be.

 

I’m receiving a lot of emails from people on the plan who are losing lbs like crazy and I want to say I am SO proud of you all. It takes HARD ASS WORK to stay committed to daily diet and training when life is hectic enough as it is.

KEEP GOING, what is a struggle now will soon become routine!


Goals and Balance


So, a lot of you ask how I stick to my diet and don’t cave on the weekends or at social events…

First of all, let me express that I only stick to my diet 100%, 24/7, when I want aesthetic results. The rest of the time, my ‘normal’ time, I find a healthy balance.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, aesthetic results and health and fitness are 2 very different things.

If I have some fat to shed, a shoot coming up, a holiday on the horizon, whatever reason it is that needs aesthetic results, I give my diet 100%, 24/7,  for weeks, sometimes months on end, without any cheats whatsoever. I don’t make room for excuses or give myself breaking points. It is what it is and I get on with it.

Last week I was doing an interview and the journalist asked me if the weeks / months of restriction strains my relationship with food, and I replied that yes, it absolutely does.

I told her that I remember when I would wake up, eat a slice of toast, go to work, eat a sandwich, come home, eat a bowl of pasta, have a glass of wine and a chocolate bar and go to bed. Was that physically healthy? Absolutely not.

But is it mentally healthy when I have to track every single thing I eat? Absolutely not.

Is it mentally or physically healthy that on a ‘cheat day’ after long periods of restriction I will eat pizza, pasta, ice cream, cake and chocolate all in one day? Absolutely not.

It really IS all about finding a balance. I LOVE it when I don’t have to get lean. I still train every day because I love training, and I eat healthy every day because it makes me feel really good, but every few days I’ll go for dinner with friends or family and order whatever I want. Every few days I’ll walk past a cafe and get a coffee and a slice of cake. It’s a very healthy and very balanced life.

If you want aesthetic results, stop breaking your diet and GET the aesthetic results. NO CHEATS. NO EXCUSES. End of story.

If you’re trying to lose a bit of weight, get fit and healthy or gain some muscle, you can absolutely do all of the above by training regularly, eating healthy and having a treat every few days.


The Simple Steps


OK, no word vomit today, here are the simple steps you need to follow to change your body:

1. Clean up your diet – Meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, whole grains, potatoes, and the only sugar you should be consuming is the fructose from fruit. This will take a few weeks to get used to, but keep going, you’ll get there.

2. Cardio – Start with cardio before breakfast 3-6 mornings a week for 20-30 minutes. This will burn fat, get your metabolism firing for the day and start to get you fit for real training.

3. Resistance Training – Whether it’s body strength in the form of circuits, or weight lifting, start to challenge your muscle. It will tear, and it will grow. Why do you want it to grow (I’m looking at you ladies)? Because cardio will only get you so far. You NEED to build muscle for that ‘toned’ look, to get your metabolism firing like crazy and to burn calories even at rest.

4. Calorie count – After a few months of the above, your progress will be evident and may start to slow. This is when you can look into calorie counting. Do NOT go nuts here, look up the Harris Benedict Formula and calculate how many calories a day your body needs (this is 100% subjective). If you want to lose, cut 100 calories off your number, and monitor it for a few weeks. Continue this process but never drop your calorie count more than 500 calories less than your calculated number or you will mess with your metabolism, and life will get very hard for you. If you want to gain muscle, do this process in reverse.

5. PATIENCE – This is where the vast majority go wrong. You are not going to change your body in a week. You are not going to change your body in a month. It takes months of CONSISTENCY, so be patient and don’t give up. Don’t mess up your diet with constant treats, but don’t mess up your life by never treating yourself either. Don’t slow your progress by missing workouts, but don’t slow your body by over training either. Make this a life within your life, find your balance, and BE PATIENT.


Issues


Issues. We all have them, especially with regard to how we look, and I want to talk about mine…

Some days, I look in the mirror or I read a complimentary comment on my social media, and I think, I look great. I’m fit, healthy and strong, and even though I don’t consider myself beautiful, I actually really do look great. In fact, I look so great  I’m going to wear tight fitting clothing today!

Some days, I look in the mirror and think, this is such a farce. I’m not in shape at all. When will I look like my fitness idols? Will I ever? Why am I even trying? I don’t want to anymore. It’s not working. 

If your emails are anything to go by, this happens to most of you guys, too.

I train every day. I do cardio, I lift weights, I sweat and I get DOMS.

I monitor my food every day. I eat clean, I don’t over eat, I don’t under eat, I have a good understanding of the macronutrients and calories my body needs to train and change, and I stay within that range every day.

I’m fit and I have muscle, sometimes it’s under a layer of fat, sometimes it’s not, but either way, I have muscle.

I LOVE what I do.

So why then, at 4.40am the morning of a photo shoot, did I wake up, panic, cry and want to pack it all in? The alcohol infused dehydration probably didn’t help, but the fact of the matter is, I felt like I was full of it and I just couldn’t try anymore.

My boyfriend, who is nothing but honest and just as good at tough love as compassion, told me that while I may not be as lean as I have been, I am ABSOLUTELY, 100% in shape.

Of course I didn’t cancel, I wanted to do the shoot desperately and even if I didn’t look in shape, I could use it to show people that sometimes you CAN be fit and healthy, and NOT be as lean as a little string bean.

So I arrived, stood there naked for a bit and pretended to be a bad ass model. I slowly shifted over to the monitor, and saw what my half naked body ACTUALLY looks like…

I have to say, I was astounded.

What I have done to my body over the last 3 years is nothing short of amazing, and even though I wasn’t SUPER lean, I looked similar to a super hero.

All I could think about is where I started, where I was a year later, where I was in Feburary and where I am now. Screw being lean, I have progressed phenomenally, and I have progressed because I work HARD and I DON’T give up.

So to those of you who work your socks off and have yet to see results, or have had results in the past, I say this…

You are not ALWAYS going to be in the best shape of your life. The best, by its very nature, is temporary. It will come and it will go. It will come again, and it will go again. KEEP WORKING FOR IT, BECAUSE IF YOU DO, WHAT WAS ONCE YOUR BEST WILL SOON BECOME YOUR SECOND BEST.

Maybe, the reason you are panicking is because your goal posts of success have shifted, and that NEW goal is STILL a work in progress…which is exactly how a new goal should be.