Answering Your Questions – Injuries


I’m not going to lie to you all, lately I’ve been staring blankly at my computer screen a lot.

In the last few months I’ve been focusing on the staples – clean eating, calories, macros, carb cycling, cheat meals, what cardio to do, when to do it, weight training, supplements, my own progress…I know there’s hundreds of topics I have yet to cover and hundreds more that you guys are interested in, I just can’t seem to come up with any!

So to social media I went, and hey presto, I was inundated with questions. I’m going to answer them one by one, which hopefully will give me enough time to get my creative juices flowing and will also help each and every one of you out. So, without further ado…

@iamamyholmes Have you ever had any injuries and if so, what did you do to work around them and did you manage to stay positive?

@leadan91 I train / rugby 4 x a week and if I pick up a niggle (usually shoulder, back or knee) I get so down as the advice is usually don’t do anything strenuous for X amount of weeks.

@sherryd82 Are weights a good way to fix a dodgy shoulder? Mine is weak and clicks and clunks. X-Rays and ultra sounds show nothing. On bad days I can barely lift my arm.

INJURIES

Please bear in mind that the below is the advice of a PT and fitness professional, not a qualified physiotherapist or doctor. It goes without saying that any injury should be seen to by a professional.

Yes @iamamyholmes, I have been injured and I am currently, funnily enough!

What inspires me to stay positive? I don’t give myself a choice. Period. I find a solution, I find an alternative, I stay patient with my body and I absolutely refuse to take no as a final answer. For example…

The first injury I ever got was shin splints from running, which may not sound like a real injury, but trust me, when you’re mid sprint and your shins tighten up like frozen chewing gum, the pain is so intense it makes you feel sick. The first time it happened I had to sit on a park bench for an hour before I could hobble back home. I rested my legs for weeks, iced them, bought new trainers and special insoles, but that was it, they were gone and I could no longer run without pain. Sometimes that’s the case, you just have to stop doing that one specific activity completely. For me, running is now a once in a blue moon event and man alive do I feel it for days afterwards.

The second injury I got was tendonitis in my forearms from pull lifting. I had to go very light with my pull weights for a while and spent a LOT of time icing and massaging my forearms, but eventually I got stronger, my arms adapted, and now I no longer suffer the problem.

The third is my current injury – a stress fracture of my middle metatarsal (foot bone). I cannot cycle, row or use the cross trainer currently, but anything that allows me to stay 100% flat footed I can manage – so the Versus Trainer and Stepmaster are getting all my love right now.

And that pretty much sums up your 3 outcomes when it comes to injuries. You may have to accept that a certain physical activity is out of bounds for you, period. You may find that by strengthening the surrounding muscles the injury will become obsolete. Or you may just have to find an alternative activity until you heal…

Which brings me to you @leadan91 – if you have a niggle and you are playing a contact sport like rugby, that will absolutely have to take a back seat until you are healed. The fact of the matter is, if you have a bad back or knee, you are risking A LOT by taking big hits. Don’t get down about this, your body should be your number one priority as an athlete and you should be patient and with it. Seriously, rest and injury is as much a part of the sport as the sport itself, get used to it and don’t be hard on yourself. HOWEVER, your training absolutely doesn’t need to stop. If a certain area is playing up, don’t train it for a few weeks, ice it, stretch morning noon and night and it will get better. There is always an alternative on that gym floor, look for it and you will find it.

Which finally brings me to you, @sherryd82 . As I have said above, rest injuries, ice them, stretch them within their means and they will get better. HOWEVER, if your shoulder is not injured but very problematic, you are a candidate for strengthening the muscles AROUND the shoulder and it will eventually ease up. So really focus on your traps, upper back and upper arms, and your shoulder can take a bit of a break.

To end this piece I want to say this – injuries suck and initially it is scary and annoying that your training will take a hit. HOWEVER, as I have said above, REST AND INJURY IS AS MUCH A PART OF SPORT AS SPORT ITSELF. Get used to it, accept it, and go easy on yourself. Rest now, recover later, you do not want the injury to become a permanent fixture.


An Email from a Fondue, her Battle, and THAT Poster…


I was reading your latest update on Fitness Fondue and I completely agree with what you’re saying. YES the media, fashion industry, celebrity world, modern society etc have a lot to answer for in influencing men, women, boys and girls on body image (especially impressionable younger generations). BUT, as you said, people are not taking enough responsibility for themselves and their own feelings.

The amount of times I’ve heard the same response from adult women in the past week with regard to the Protein World ad that caused so much controversy – “It MADE me feel so fat!”-  I’m sorry, a poster MADE you feel fat? An inanimate object forced a feeling on you? I find that highly unlikely. More likely is that you already felt unhappy with your body and this advertisement unfortunately brought that feeling to light. Yes, that sucks, but take some responsibility for yourself if you are feeling that way. No person, no object, certainly no poster can make you feel anything; you feel your own feelings, and only you dictate that. Don’t give a poster power – it’s just paper. 

I may sound like that Protein World poster doesn’t bother me in the slightest, and truthfully, it doesn’t. It’s not that I think I’m “beach body ready” (or whatever it was all about), it’s just that I’m FINALLY confident and happy with what I have. With my lot. And I’ve worked hard to get here. At age 29 I’m finally at a place where I actually am proud of my body and I never thought I’d get to this point! How did I get here? Well, therapy, which in itself was obviously hugely beneficial (goodness knows where I’d be without it) and helped me learn to ACCEPT my body and teach me how to have a healthier relationship with food. It can still be a bit of a battle at times (long time habits die hard) but finally the light has gone on in my head – I want to treat me body with respect, I want to nourish it, take care of it and make it the healthiest it can be. I don’t want to punish it or destroy it anymore. If I saw a friend treating their body the way I had been treating mine, I would call them crazy – why on earth would they be trying to kill themselves? Why do they hate themselves so much? But I couldn’t see that I was doing that to myself. Like so many people out there, I just thought I was doing what I could do to keep my body where it was and not gain weight. I didn’t see how much I actually hated myself. Eating disorders have a magical way of pulling the denial curtains over a person’s eyes and not allowing them to see the true extent of the damage they’re causing.

ANYWAY, I’m digressing a tad here…so yes, therapy set me on the right path to finally allowing me to accept my body. Which is a miracle in itself after spending half my life battling my body.

I’ve always been a complete cardio junky – running junky really. After buggering up my ankle training for a marathon a couple years ago, I had to find something else to tide me over while running was a no-go zone. I’d always been under the misconception that weight training was for men. It made you bulky. It didn’t really keep you fit. It certainly wasn’t for girls – especially girls with eating disorders who wanted to be the skinniest wee thing. What utter bollocks. In the past couple of years I have been constantly learning, working, training, achieving new goals with my weight training. And through it I have felt stronger, fitter, happier and ultimately more confident than I ever have.

Sure, it’s tough as hell. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices along the way. Goodbye alcohol. Goodbye processed food. Goodbye late nights. Goodbye sugar. I could go on, BUT, what I keep reminding myself of, when I have those moments of “Oh, its not fair, I just want to have a big slice of cake/bag of sweets/*insert most delicious food item imaginable here*” is that this is my choice. My decision. My responsibility. No one is forcing me to chose this lifestyle – similar to how no one can force me to feel any which way. I can easily go out, get drunk, eat as much as I want to, lie in front of the TV all day and do sweet FA. But I choose not to – I choose to get myself out of bed at 5:45am every morning to train. I choose to plan my meals ahead. I choose to spend my money on gym kit and supplements instead of girly clothes and beauty treatments.

And why? Because I love feeling strong, healthy and fit. I love learning new exercises and techniques and trying them out. I love seeing my body develop and refine itself. I love how when I started, I had no upper body strength whatsoever, now I am continually amazed at how it can push itself further and further. I love looking in the mirror and seeing a 6-pack staring back at me (when my lower abs aren’t feeling shy…the buggers).

There is no ‘end game’ with this, I can’t imagine I will get to a point where I think “ok, that’s me done now”. Because it’s not just about the aesthetic results (although yes they play a huge role) it’s also about how this has made me feel mentally stronger. When you see your body changing and evolving in a way you never thought possible it really makes you think “Damn, I’m pretty strong, I can really focus my goals and achieve what I want to achieve” and that can tap into all aspects of your life.

It’s such an ace journey (even though I might grumble and moan at some points from hunger/tiredness/achiness), and thats exactly what it is – a journey to keep learning, and keep training.


Paleo Chef


The rise of interest in healthy eating has seen a rise in the amount of healthy food delivery services now available to us.

These companies provide foods and / or meals that are designed to fit into our healthy eating plans and nutritional needs without any of the hassle of shopping, cooking or prepping.

If you are too busy to shop, cook and meal prep, food delivery services are a great option for you. If you are happy to do the latter but have no idea how to start eating clean or proportionately, a trial week is a great introduction to the kinds of meals, snacks and foods you should be consuming on a daily basis. If you are bored of your day to day meals and are looking for some food inspiration and recipe motivation, giving them a try for a few days could be the refresher course in cooking you’re looking for.

Even if you can’t afford a delivery service long term, they are certainly worth a few day’s trial, as I found out recently…

When I’m in training for a shoot, holiday or something of the like, my meals are pretty standard and repetitive. I eat a lot of oats, protein powder, nuts, nut butters, eggs, Greek yoghurt, chicken and green veg. That’s pretty much my exact diet. However, last week PaleoChef approached me and asked if I’d be interested in a trial week…

My boyfriend is an avid supporter of food delivery services, and unfortunately he is in far better shape than me, so I thought I’d give it a shot and see if it really did make life easier…

I’m not one who has a problem with food shopping, cooking or meal prepping. Truth be told, I enjoy being in the kitchen and even though the staples of my diet are pretty boring, that doesn’t mean my meals are. I always spice them up and throw in random bits and bobs to keep them interesting, but if I’m going to be totally honest, my cookery skills have nothing on PaleoChef!

During my trial week, I stuck to my own breakfasts, but my snacks and afternoon meals were taken care of. My snacks included marinated chicken legs, nut bars and protein balls (the protein balls in particular were out of this world), and my meals included sweet potato and salmon salads, tender strips of beef and grilled vegetables, soups, marinated chicken breasts, spiced fish, pesto courgetti (where that’s been all my life I do not know) and the most amazing marinated meatballs I’ve ever had. 

I was excited for lunch and dinner every day, and absolutely gutted when my week came to an end!

As I’ve said above, I do appreciate that not everybody can afford a weekly delivery, but if you are a little bit stuck or looking to spice things up a bit, give it a go for a week (£120) and reignite your passion for clean eating!

Take a look at PealoChef here – http://www.paleo-chef.co.uk


Female Fitness in the Media


The fact of the matter is, the fashion industry, film industry, music industry, fitness industry and mass media all have a huge say in the way women feel they ‘should’ look.

The blame is not on any one organisation, model, celebrity, TV show or newspaper alone. Truthfully, we have allowed outside influences alter the way we see ourselves and each other, and seemingly enjoyed it in the process.

While I agree that the above culprits are all at fault, I also feel frustrated that we as men and women take no responsibility for allowing it happen, and that change, however insisted upon it may be, is only really in our control.

As anyone who follows my fitness journey will know, I get a hell of a lot of flack on social media, gossip websites, and in the press for both the way I look, and for what I have chosen to do with my life.

A few years ago, such criticism would have torn me apart. But today, I love what I do, I love how I look, and I could not care less what my critics think of it.

If you love being curvy, be curvy! If you love feeling skinny, feel skinny! If you love having muscle, build muscle! The only thing I’d say is try to do all of the above in a healthy way. There are ways to do all of the above and still eat healthy foods and avoid under or over exercising. 

If we can all individually make the choice to look how we want while making health a priority, if we can start supporting each other instead of tearing each other down, and if we can side line the critics, we can actually have an impact on society and body image.

Eat clean most of the time, treat yourself sometimes, move your body, sleep well, drink water, and achieve your own aesthetic goals.

 


Stomach Fat, Thigh Fat, Arm Fat = FAT


Every day I receive emails and comments on my social media from men and women looking to ‘spot fat reduce’.

To ‘spot fat reduce’ means to shed fat from target areas, such as your stomach, legs, arms, back etc…

This is quite a divisive topic amongst fitness professionals, but I am of the opinion that it is IMPOSSIBLE to do.

In both my personal experience of training myself and professional experience of training others, I have come to find that when we shed fat, we shed it evenly from all over our bodies, the more stubborn areas being the last to go.

Stubborn areas are hormonal and genetic footholds of fat, and they WILL respond eventually if you are 100% on point with your diet and training. However, they are often the reason people give up prematurely, and I cannot stress enough that full body transformation IS POSSIBLE if you STAY CONSISTENT!

You need to get your diet and training right, which takes time and research, but if you can get a handle on it, that last roll of belly fat WILL disappear eventually. Trust me.

Still to this day my lower stomach FIGHTS me. It’s always first thing to pop up by the third day of a holiday the last thing to go when I’m getting back into shape. But I’ve shed it before and I know I can do it again, so I stick with it.

So, how do you get rid of your problem area? Diet, exercise, patience and consistency.

There is no magic pill, there is no fitness genie, it is up to you, so DO NOT GIVE UP!


Fat Burning


In the wake of the tragic death of 21 year old Eloise Aimee Parry, I wanted to write once again about fat burning.

The aim of this piece is to explain all of your options if fat burning is your goal, and to try to illustrate how unnecessary fat burners are if your diet and training is 100% on point.

By the same token, they are totally irrelevant if your diet and training is NOT 100% on point. In which case you have a LONG way to go before you start researching supplements…

RESEARCH - you will see this word time and time again in this piece. It is how I got good at what I do, and how you will too.

I will talk about the ingredients most fat burners contain and the fat burners I sometimes take in the build up to a shoot…

 

  • IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT/FAT – DIET AND EXERCISE IS ALL YOU NEED! 

If you want to lose weight/fat the simple fact is that you need to move your body, eat CLEAN (aka all natural) foods, eat small portions of said food and STAY CONSISTENT!

When people say “I’ve tried and tried and I CANNOT lose weight!”, the truth of it is that they tried and tried for a short time and then gave up because it was too hard.  Or they tried inconsistently, and the results didn’t come because there was no SIGNIFICANT change. Don’t get me wrong, there can be problematic factors, Thyroids and medications being the most common, but generally speaking if you want to lose weight/fat, you absolutely CAN.

  • IF YOU WANT TO RAMP UP YOUR RESULTS, DO SOME RESEARCH INTO HEALTHY DIETING!

I know this to be true because it applies to me. When I started 3 years ago, I ate 100% clean and trained 6 days a week and it was HELL. I cried, I was tired, I was grumpy. I simply wasn’t used to it. My body didn’t know what to think. And this is why I got such great results in a matter of weeks.

HOWEVER, said results started to slow after a few months – why? Because our bodies and very clever and trust me, they will adapt and they will get into a happy and healthy pattern and settle down. If you want aesthetic results, this is when you need to start to do some RESEARCH as to how to advance your diet.

If you do your research properly, you will probably move on to calorie counting first. PLEASE DO THIS IN A HEALTHY WAY, TOO LOW CALORIES MEAN YOU WILL HAVE NO ENERGY TO TRAIN, YOUR BODY WILL GO INTO A CATABOLIC (MUSCLE EATING) STATE AND YOUR TRANSFORMATION WILL START TO LOOK VERY WONKY INDEED.

Or, research could lead you to do a rudimental carb cycle first, so clean starchy carbs pre and post workout only, the rest of the time protein and veg.

The next step will probably be macro splitting within said calorie count. Most start on a 40% protein, 30% carb, 30% fat split and tweak from there over the course of a few months.

And lastly, more advanced carb cycling is probably the last step (that I’m aware of at least), so a calorie count first, macro splits within said calorie count second, and a carb cycle third. It took me 3 years to get to this point, and if health and fitness wasn’t my job, I probably would have stopped at rudimental carb cycle. In fact, I definitely would have.

  • IF YOU WANT TO RAMP UP YOUR RESULTS, DO SOME RESEARCH INTO TRAINING!

Fasted cardio (cardio before breakfast) is a great way to burn fat.

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a great way to burn fat.

Lifting weights builds muscle, and increased muscle means more calories burned even at rest.

Training 6 days a week will get you better results than training 3 days a week.

Switch up your training! If you’re starting to plateau, change your sets/reps/weights/overall routine.

DO. SOME. RESEARCH! THERE ARE OPTIONS!

  • BE PATIENT AND BE CONSISTENT, IT MIGHT TAKE A FEW WEEKS OR EVEN A FEW MONTHS, BUT IF YOU STICK WITH IT, THE RESULTS WILL COME!

This is the number one problem both personal trainers and their clients have.

IT IS HARD TO TURN DOWN JUNK FOOD EVERY DAY.

IT IS HARD TO TRAIN MOST DAYS.

So why do we do it? Because we have a goal, we want something, and some things take WORK…

SO WORK!

  • FAT BURNERS SHOULD ONLY COME INTO THE PICTURE IF YOU ARE ADVANCED WITH YOUR DIET AND TRAINING, ARE DOING ALL OF THE ABOVE AND HAVE BEEN FOR A WHILE, AND YOU HAVE DONE YOU RESEARCH!

Research research research.

How many people take fat burners and have no idea what’s in them? I’d venture to guess most. Why on EARTH are you swallowing tablets if you don’t know what is in them?

How many people take fat burners, can tell you what’s in them, but have no idea WHY? Do you realise that most fat burners are straight caffeine, which you can get from black coffee? Do you realise most fat burners have green tea extract, which you can get from, shock horror, green tea? Do you realise illegal fat burners contain ephedrine, which you can get from taking speed? Do you want speed as a part of your daily diet? No. No probably not.

BOTTOM LINE: If your diet and training isn’t 100% on point, why on earth are you popping fat burners?

Because I don’t believe the ‘CELIBACY PREVENTS PREGNANCY’ theory, I am going to tell you about the fat burners I will take in the weeks leading up to a shoot. Please bear in mind that they are not a daily, weekly or even monthly fixture in my diet, they are a last ditch effort pre fitness shoot.

Also, the fat burners I take are tested to athletic standards, meaning they are 100% safe…

HELLA 

UnknownBefore I start talking about Hella, I should probably flag that this IS my boyfriend’s product (which is how I came across it in the first place), but I am by no means pimping it for him.

The reason I like Hella is because it doesn’t make me feel shaky or sick like a lot of pre workouts do, it just focuses my training and makes it feel very energetic while I workout. This is probably because it’s 100% natural ingredients.

 The fat burning effects are visible after a few weeks, which again is a rarity, and it’s tested to athletic standards which means it’s a supplement athletes are totally fine to take.

Have a look here if you’re interested: http://www.jhbodyfire.com/products.html


Weeks 6&7/12 , 132lbs


Hello Fondues!

First off, thanks for being so patient with me these last 2 weeks, I missed the last fortnight of updates because I was up to my eyeballs in training and shoots, and then took a much needed family holiday.

So…

Week 6&7 of 12:

Week 1 – 137lbs

Week 2 – 135lbs

Week 3 – 134lbs

Week 4 – 132lbs

Week 5 – 132lbs

Week 6 – 132lbs

Week 7 – 132lbs

 

Week 7 and my weight hasn’t dropped 1lb in 4 weeks. But I cannot tell you how relieved I am that I haven’t gained…

Since week 4 I have had shoots every week. Imagine going on holiday with your new boyfriend for the first time, and your best friend with the perfect body is coming along too…that’s what it feels like when you prep for a shoot!

So for 4 weeks I was 100% on point:

  • Training every day (fasted cardio a.m., weights p.m.)
  • 1600 calories daily
  • Carb cycling (no carb – high carb every 3 days to shed fat but keep me fuelled for training)

By week 5 I was in shoot territory and feeling great.

When I prep for a shoot, I drop my water intake and drink a few glasses of white wine the evening before. I then don’t eat or drink anything the day of the shoot. This isn’t because I have an eating disorder, although it isn’t particularly healthy either, it’s just that in order to look your best after weeks of diet and training, it’s a good idea to dehydrate your body and of course, not have a food baby when half naked in front of a camera.

The weeks leading up to shoots are intense – mentally and physically. The day itself is intense, you are desperate for water, thinking of the most disgusting food man has ever created, and ready to get the whole thing over and done with as soon as humanly possible.

After the shoots, I allow myself a cheat night. These nights usually consist of a 3 course meal with some form of snacking after. I then have a rest day the following day before jumping back on the wagon for the next shoot. So when people tell me I am obsessed with diet and exercise, or feel bad that they can’t commit the same amount of time or effort, take a minute to consider that it is my job, and I have a career that is dependant on me staying in shape.

The above happened over weeks 5 and 6, and then week 7 was a family holiday, where I really surprised myself…

For the last 7 weeks, my boyfriend has been suggesting to me that I try a more flexible approach to my dieting. I have told him that this is how I do things, and to mind his own perfect 6 pack business, because I am not built like him, and I do not have testosterone.

When I went on holiday, I did fasted cardio every morning in the form of a 30 minute swim, followed by a few ab exercises.

I would be perfect with my diet all day, have another swim in the afternoon, and then go out with my family in the evening. My dinner choices were healthy, but I did drink a lot with my brother, and by the time we crawled home from some random Portuguese club, I normally snacked on ice cream or chocolate before passing out in bed.

This was my pattern every day for 5 days, and when I weighed in yesterday morning, I was truly shocked that I didn’t gain a single pound.

However, regardless of my relief, I have the biggest shoot of my fitness career approaching at the end of May, an I’ll be damned if I’m still at 132lbs when it gets here!

So off we go again, same routine, but I am going to drop my calories from 1600 to 1500, just to re shock my body and get the scales to start moving again. I will not go lower than 1500. Period.

As a last little comment, I would like to thank you all for your support and hilariousness over the last few days…

 

 

this post is dedicated to Katie Hopkins


Portion Control and Food Measurements


Last week I received an Instagram comment from a girl who was desperate to know more about portion control…

This is actually something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now. My dieting methods (calorie counting, macro splitting within said calorie count and carb cycling) are extremely advanced and honestly do NOT need to be done in order to get results. 

I personally exercise these methods because I have been progressing my body over the course of 3 years now, and I am constantly researching, learning and practising new methods as part of my job.

I am my own fitness guinea pig, and my methods are things that I try, respond well to, and am able to put into practice at the right times, over the right periods, for the right reasons.

For example, I would NEVER count calories, measure my food, carb cycle or avoid cheats if I didn’t have scary photo-shoots coming up. I would be on a completely different and a much simpler eating plan, consisting of clean foods in macronutrient balanced portions. 

So, without further ado, here is what I would do if I wasn’t getting 100% naked 100% of the time, and what I recommend my clients do:

ALL FOOD SHOULD BE 100% CLEAN – aka all natural

BREAKFAST

It’s totally true what they say, breakfast really IS your most important meal of the day, and what you choose is actually more important than people think.

You ideally want a CLEAN starchy carb for energy release throughout the day, and a protein source if you train.

If fat loss if your goal, I would recommend 20 minutes of fasted cardio before breakfast, but if that’s not possible for you DON’T PANIC! Just do your cardio as HIIT (high intensity interval training) later in the day (AFTER weights if you lift).

  • Small/Big bowl of oats – Portion size depending on gender/goals – Sprinkle with cinnamon to sweeten, or if you lift, throw in a scoop of protein powder
  • 2-4 eggs with 1-2 slice wholemeal toast – Portion size depending on gender/goals
  • 1 pot Greek yoghurt with 1 banana

 

LUNCH

You want to keep ALL your meals protein based, with a load of veg for fibre. Additions such as fats and clean starchy carbs should be dependent on training and goals. For example, if you’re lifting that day, have a small amount of clean starchy carb like brown rice or sweet potato in your pre and post workout meals. If you’re not, stick to fats for energy like nuts, eggs or avocado.

  • 1-2 portions of any lean protein source (such as 1-2 chicken breasts) – Portion size depending on gender / goals
  • WITH…
  • 2 LARGE handfuls any veg
  • WITH…
  • A small amount of clean starchy carb (brown rice, sweet potato etc) OR fat (egg, nuts, avocado)

 

DINNER

You want to keep ALL your meals protein based, with a load of veg for fibre. Additions such as fats and clean starchy carbs should be dependent on training and goals. For example, if you’re lifting that day, have a small amount of clean starchy carb like brown rice or sweet potato in your pre and post workout meals. If you’re not, stick to fats for energy like nuts, eggs or avocado.

  • 1-2 portions of any lean protein source (such as 1-2 chicken breasts) – Portion size depending on gender / goals
  • WITH…
  • 2 LARGE handfuls any veg
  • WITH…
  • A small amount of clean starchy carb (brown rice, sweet potato etc) OR fat (egg, nuts, avocado)

 

LUNCH/DINNER ADDITIONS

It’s a huge myth that eating clean is boring eats. Look, it IS hard to turn down the junk food every now and then, OBVIOUSLY, but your actual meals can be great if you want them to be! Soups, stews, roast dinners, stir frys, currys…same old meals just without the crap!

  • Lemon is a great natural fat burner and squeezed on chicken or fish will give an added kick
  • Tobasco is also a great fat burner that adds a kick
  • Herbs and spices, any and all. Cajun is one of my favourites, as is cinnamon to sweeten things up a bit
  • Greek yoghurt is a great replacement for creams
  • Chopped tinned tomatoes are a great idea if you like more tomato based sauces
  • Soy sauce and/or sesame seed oil will make your protein and veg into an instant stir fry
  • Homemade stocks are a great idea if you like your soups and stews

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE BORING!

 

SNACKS

You can have 2 snacks a day:

  • Mid morning
  • Mid afternoon

Try to keep it protein based (Greek yoghurt snack pot or lean meat like a snack-pack of chicken), but if you are feeling energy zonked have a small piece of fruit OR some fats (handful nuts, half avocado, 1 boiled egg etc).

 

DRINKS

Drink water all day every day.

Green tea is a great option.

Coffee and tea are fine but stay away from sugar.

STAY AWAY FROM FIZZY DRINKS, FRUIT JUICE AND ALCOHOL

 

Above all else, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! You already KNOW if a portion looks too big or too small. A chicken breast, some veg and a small addition of brown rice is perfect if you’re trying to lose, but probably on the small side if you’re trying to gain muscle. And always remember to factor your training into the equation.

There will be a new download plan on the site soon that will go into much more detail when it comes to measurements, macro timing and training for your goals, so do keep an eye out. In the meantime, this is a GREAT place to start! 


Week 5/12, 132lbs


Week 5 of 12:

Week 1 – 137lbs

Week 2 – 135lbs

Week 3 – 134lbs

Week 4 – 132lbs

Week 5 – 132lbs

  • Still on 1600 daily calories
  • Still carb cycling (high carb every 3 days)
  • Still performing 20 minutes fasted cardio 4-5 mornings a week
  • Still lifting weights 6 days a week followed by 20 minutes of HIIT cardio

As I mentioned previously, last Monday I had a photo-shoot, after which I had a cheat night and the following day was a rest day, both of which I needed and I have no regrets whatsoever.

The rest of the week I was spotless, but come Saturday I had another cheat night (boyfriend’s birthday) followed by another rest day on Sunday (disgusting hangover).

When things like this happen – cheat nights, birthdays, boozing etc – you really cannot expect to lose any weight or see any progress whatsoever. To be totally honest, I am shocked that I didn’t GAIN.

A good idea is to go into special occasions and cheats EXPECTING to gain and to bloat. It’s a very BAD idea to think great training will outsmart a bad diet. TRUST ME IT WON’T.

Another good idea is to give 100% to your diet and training, knowing EXACTLY when your next break is. Whether it’s a special occasion or a simple night off, give your ALL until it arrives, have your break, and then go again.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again now, I PERSONALLY like to give 100% for long stretches of time (a few weeks / months) and then give 0% for shorter periods of time (a few days). For me, it allows me to stay on track with health and fitness and stay on track with my sanity.

However, I do know many people who never face plant ice cream or pizza, and they are obviously inspirational aliens to my weak little brain.

While I’m on this point, I want to talk about something I read the other day…

It’s really interesting to me that some people feel fitness fanatics are judgemental of others who aren’t remotely interested in it, or have serious struggles with it. The term coming full circle comes to mind…

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If the person who works their butt off to get to the top of that circle manages to get there, you better believe they are standing closest to the person who struggles so much that they are terrified to try.

Why? Because fitness fanatics know what it takes and they are reminded of it every, single, day. They make the sacrifices and trust me it does NOT go unnoticed.

Now I’m going to hit you with some of my own personal issues…

I have a problem with chocolate. You probably just laughed. But no, I mean a real problem. People roll their eyes – women are expected to have a problem with chocolate aren’t they? We coined the term chocoholics didn’t we? Aren’t all the Galaxy chocolate adverts themed on this universal truth?

No, I don’t mean I wish I could have a chocolate bar or 2 every day and not get fat like most of us do. If I am around it, the only thing I can liken it to is being an alcoholic in a bar. It is so hard for me not to cave it physically hurts me…no, really. But if I do cave, I can’t have a bar or 2 or even 3, I basically will go and go until I am almost sick. Clearly, there’s some trigger in my brain that I have no control over.

I actually didn’t realise it was a problem until last Christmas when my brother said something about me eating an entire tin of Quality Street in a matter of minutes. He watched me do things like this over the course of a few days and eventually told me that I had a very obvious problem and I needed to think about what I was doing to my body. This coming from someone who’s never dieted a day in his life and has a pretty questionable food intake!

On my cheat night after the photo-shoot I did it, and I realised that actually, enough is enough. I am going to have to cut it out completely, or it’s only going to get worse.

So, are the people who dedicate their life to health and fitness completely ignorant to eating disorders, food issues and complete lack of will power? No. If anything, we understand it more.

Here’s to another week, let’s hope I can stay on track this time!


Week 4/12, 132lbs


Good afternoon Fondues!

So, week 4 of 12 and my results are as follows:

Week 1 – 137lbs

Week 2 – 135lbs

Week 3 – 134lbs

Week 4 – 132lbs

Last week, I was finding my 1600 daily calories more than sufficient to fuel my 20 minutes fasted cardio and later weight lifting sessions. Because of this, I knew I could afford to add 20 minutes of HIIT cardio after my weighted sessions to ramp up my results a little.

I predicted that with the added HIIT I would lose around 2lbs and / or look leaner by the end of the week, and I seem to have been bang on. Not only did I start to feel leaner after 2 or 3 days, I also dropped 2lbs in 1 week, which I am extremely happy with.

Because of this result, I’m not going to change anything at all this week. I will keep my calories, fasted cardio, weight sessions and HIIT the same.

However, on Monday of this week I had a photo-shoot, which I dehydrated and depleted for over 24hours. That evening, I refuelled and allowed myself my first cheat night in 4 weeks. The following day, I had my first day off training. Because of this, I predict a small loss of 1lb by next week, if any at all.

And this brings me to a good point I want to raise with you all. I frequently receive emails from online clients who are confused when the scales stay still or even rise. You must understand that CONSISTENCY IS KEY and if you miss a workout, mess around with your water intake or indulge on a cheat night, the scales WILL be effected. You have to be realistic about your results and what to expect, and don’t think that just because you had a hard schlog in the gym that week, it will show on the scales.

The scales will be effected by the following:

  • INCONSISTENT DIET
  • INCONSISTENT TRAINING
  • INCONSISTENT WATER
  • INCONSISTENT SLEEP
  • THAT TIME OF THE MONTH

While keeping that in mind, please remember what I have said previously:

The scales are a way to measure progress and should not be the ultimate goal. If you want to look good, the ultimate goal should be how you LOOK. If you want to feel good, the ultimate goal should be how you FEEL. If you want a low number, then frankly a frustrating relationship with the scale is going to be your only achievement.

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Some Selfie Truth


Good morning Fondues!

ARE YOU READY FOR ME TO HIT YOU WITH SOME TRUTH?!

Every time I post a selfie, I get messages and comments that tend to fall under 2 categories…

‘Nobody cares! Go get a job!’ (You cared enough to open, read and comment, and I have a job, three actually, but thank you anyway.)

‘Amazing! I will never look like this! (cry emoji)’ 

OK first of all, let me just INSIST that you absolutely WILL look like this if you learn how to eat properly, train properly and be consistent properly.

I’ve been training for 3 years now, and I didn’t look anything like I do or train anything like I do for the first 2, that’s for sure!

Add to that, I would probably be further along if I cut out all the holidays and weeks off in between, in fact, I definitely would.

TIME, RESEARCH AND CONSISTENCY ARE KEY TO CHANGING YOUR BODY!

Secondly, I want to show you something…

The image on the left was me earlier that morning BEFORE training and with a bladder full of liquids (sorry).

The image on the right is me after 20 minutes of  fasted cardio and several ab sets, having forgotten my water bottle and feeling dehydrated as hell.

 

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I can’t remember the last time I used a filter, although I definitely used to, but I realised in order to be accountable and allowed to preach and rant about my body, I had to be real about what my body looked like.

I’ve NEVER used photoshop, although I probably would have if I knew where to find it!

Time of day makes a HUGE difference to aesthetics. You’re going to look lean if you take a selfie first thing in the morning and you’re going to have a pump if you take a selfie directly after training. You’re NOT going to look lean after a day full of food and water. I certainly don’t.

I wanted to write this because the fact of the matter is, we ALL look at the photos our ‘fitspos’ post and want to crawl into a pizza filled hole and give up. But don’t be too convinced. A lot of these people use filters. A lot of these people are on very naughty supplements. A lot of them will only take selfless at a specific time of day. And most of them have been training for YEARS.

The moral of the story is this: Focus on your OWN journey and don’t concern yourself with others’. YOU WILL GET THERE TOO … I did.


Week 3/12, 134lbs


Hello Fondues!

Sorry I haven’t been posting as much lately. Being self employed means that some days I get to bombard this site with content and annoy you all on social media, and some days I find myself running around like a headless chicken until bedtime…which has been happening a lot lately!

So, week 3 of 12 and my results have been as follows:

Week 1 – 137lbs

Week 2 – 135lbs

Week 3 – 134lbs 

I said this last week and I’ll reiterate it now – I don’t understand when my clients get upset at having lost 1lb in a week…

First of all, any loss in the space of a week is an achievement.

Second of all, THE SCALES ARE ONE OF MANY WAYS TO MONITOR PROGRESS, A NUMBER SHOULD NOT BE YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL IF YOU’RE TRAINING FOR AESTHETIC RESULTS.

What I mean by that is that if I looked in the mirror and saw the end result I wanted, and the scale had shot up, I’d be thrilled.

So, 1lb in 1 week. I’m happy with this and I’m on track, but my body is definitely enjoying the 1600 calories I’m on and consequently training has been a breeze.

SO, leaving my nutrition the same (both calories and macros), I am now going to ADD another 20 minute cardio session to my workouts. 

Currently, I am doing 20 minutes steady state fasted cardio every morning on the step mill, and coming back later in the day to lift weights.

Now, I will add 20 minutes HIIT cardio AFTER my weight sessions to help me shed more fat.

I can do this because I know that my calories (although at a good number for fat loss) are high enough, because it’s being reflected in my training. As I said in a previous post, I want to keep my calories as high as I can for as long as I can in order to keep my metabolism, hormones and muscle firing at 100%.

By next week, I expect to be another 2lbs down and / or looking more defined…if I achieve either I will be keeping everything the same.

This applies to all you fondues out there too – IF IT’S WORKING, DON’T INTERFERE WITH IT!

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Week 2/12, 135lbs


So, 2 weeks into my 12 week ‘get my body back‘ overhaul, and I’m 2lbs down from 137 to 135.

I find it BIZARRE when some of my clients get upset at having ‘only’ lost a pound or two at the end of a long, hard week of diet and exercise. Firstly, the scales are NOT a trustworthy way of monitoring aesthetic changes. Yes, they can measure fat loss, but they can also measure water retention and muscle gain. Secondly, in case you missed it, this is what 1lb of fat looks like…

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At this stage, I’m immensely happy with 2lbs in 1 week, so I’m not going to change a thing with my diet or training.

I will still be performing cardio 4-5 x per week for 20 minutes, either fasted or after weighted sessions.

I will still be lifting weights 6 days a week, going as heavy as I can while hitting 4 sets of 12 reps. I actually managed to hit PBs (personal bests) on EVERY exercise last week, despite the fact that I’m in quite a high set and rep range. The only thing I have lost post The Jump is the ability to do unassisted chin ups and pull ups. Luckily, my gym has assisted machines so I’ve given myself a sub goal of 2 weeks to pull my body up again!

My calories will stay the same at 1600 daily and I will still be carb cycling, 3 days low carb (from fibrous veg only so LOTS of it) at a macro split of 50% protein, 40% fats, 10% carbohydrates. Day 4 is high carb (from oats mainly as I am a little obsessed with porridge) at 50% protein, 40% carbohydrates, 10% fats.

I don’t know if I’m LOOKING leaner, but I’m certainly FEELING it, and that’s all I really care about at this stage.

Week 1 down, 11 to go, still loving every minute of it…

 

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Week 1, Day 5


Hello Fondues.

Earlier today I posted an image of my mid morning snack…OK so steak and eggs is more of a meal than a snack but it fits my macros perfectly (12g fat, 26g protein) and is pretty calorie dense (224 calories), so I’m counting it as a snack!

It lead someone to ask me what exactly I eat, and I realised that in my last post I was quite detailed with the numbers and science behind my diet, but I didn’t actually talk about the MOST important thing…WHAT I eat.

I say it is the most important thing because food absolutely is. Forget calories, macros, training etc, if you get your ACTUAL food intake right, you can change your body with that alone.

I have said it over a hundred times on this blog and I will never stop saying it – CLEAN UP YOUR DIET AND YOU WILL BE AMAZED AT THE RESULTS!

When I say ‘clean’, I mean eat all natural foods. I’m talking fruit, veg, pulses, meat, eggs, nuts, etc…

So, without further ado, here is what my diet is made up of:

 

FATS: Eggs, avocado, nuts, nut butters. Infrequently but sometimes dark chocolate, oils and cheese.

PROTEINS: Eggs, chicken, fish, protein powder. Infrequently but sometimes red meat, protein bars and Greek yoghurt.

CARBS: Veg (any and all kinds, all day every day) and oats (high carb days only – I am OBSESSED with porridge!). Infrequently but sometimes sweet potato, brown rice and fruit.

 

There is obviously a hell of a lot more to choose from, but the fact is I know what I like and what hits my macros.

Just as a side note, do not be scared to eat in restaurants! There is usually a protein and veg option on the menu which you really cannot go wrong with. Don’t be scared to order something without the fries or bread, there’s no shame in eating healthy!

Happy eating!


BALANCE


For those of you who follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you saw this rant coming a mile off…

Earlier today I received a few Tweets from a man who seemed to be of the opinion that I shouldn’t be offering fitness advice because when I was in Austria (working my soaking wet socks off), I indulged in some Apres Ski activity. How, he mused, could I POSSIBLY dish out the fitness spiel, if I didn’t LIVE for it 24/7?

Well, here is how…

From day 1, I have ALWAYS been 100% upfront and honest about MY personal approach to health and fitness. I like to knuckle down, eat clean as a whistle, train hard as an ox, feel amazing and see exactly what my body is capable of for a few months at a time.

 

I love training. It is the BEST part of my day and I honestly cannot go more than 2 days without it before I start to get squirmy. I love eating clean, waking up in the morning and actually feeling AWAKE. Clear skin, deep sleeps, energetic days.

As someone who suffers from anxiety, I love the feeling of self control, accomplishment and VISIBLE reward that comes with aesthetic results.

I love getting PBs at the gym and throwing a weight above my head when my favourite song drops.

In finding health and fitness, I have found what I want to do with my life, and I feel immensely lucky.

HOWEVER, I also love the other aspects my life. My friends, my family, travelling, reading, watching movies, eating chocolate popcorn and scoffing a KFC family meal deal all to myself.

I like to take a week or two off and go back to frivolity every now and then, eat whatever I want whenever I want and enjoy the social life that I have spent the last few months controlling beyond measure.

Why? Because I love drinking wine with friends and family. I love eating cake in cafes with my boyfriend. I love it when I see macaroni cheese on a menu. I love celebratory chocolate – Santas, Easter eggs, massive round discs that say HAPPY BIRTHDAY in white icing. I love MASSIVE pizzas. I love lying in bed for an entire weekend watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer while dunking biscuits into my tea…

You get the point.

YES, of course it is much easier and much more sustainable if you make it a permanent lifestyle change – but I honestly feel that I have done that. Just because I have a week off here and there, does not mean I am some fair-weather fitness phoney.

I said this in my Instagram post and I’ll say it again here…

The meaning of the term health and fitness encompasses mental health, physical health, medical health and emotional health. If you can only tick the physical box, you cannot claim to be fit and healthy.

Be happy. Be healthy. Eat well. Move your body. Take care of your body. Take care of your brain. Take care of you.


Week 1, Day 4


Hello again Fondues!

It feels so good to be back! Day 4 of morning cardio, weighted evenings, taking everything I eat into account and loving every second of it! I know my results will gradually take shape as the weeks pass, and I’m so excited to watch it happen.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently doing 20 minutes of fasted cardio 4-5 mornings a week to burn fat. I don’t want to do more than this right now as I’m at the very beginning of my 12 week plan and I want to have somewhere to go if my body plateaus.

I am also weight training in the evenings 6 days a week, training a different body part each day. I’m currently doing 4 sets of 12 reps with short rest periods, which is a good fat burning zone to be in. However, I am trying to increase my weights a little as I go as I want to start tearing and growing muscle. Again, as I mentioned in my last post, this is somewhat controversial as the shared opinion amongst fitness professionals is that you cannot shed fat and build muscle at the same time. However, I want to experiment a little and see how I get on. That is the beauty and luxury I have as a non-competior; I can afford to experiment.

Obviously, a huge factor in all this is diet. I am starting on 1600 calories a day which is an appropriate deficit for fat loss considering my training. I’ll be eating around 5 meals a day which will fuel me throughout. Like the cardio, I don’t want to go too nuts this early as I need something to play with down the line. On top of this, I actually need to keep my metabolism firing high, and in order to do that, I need to avoid dropping my calories low.

I would MUCH rather increase my training than decrease my calories for metabolic reasons. If anything, I’d like to get to a stage where I can stay lean and continue to increase calories on a monthly basis. However, this takes years and tons of acquired muscle mass to achieve, so I’m not holding my breath just yet! 

I am carb cycling, so I will do 3 days high fat, high protein, low carb (fibrous veg only so LOTS of it) and 1 day high carb (clean starches such as oats and sweet potato). I know from experience that carb cycling works well for me as a good fat burning tool – it allows my body to burn glycogen stores, fat stores, and then replenish so I can keep training effectively. HOWEVER, I would NOT recommend it if you do not train. I would also like to point out that it is VERY subjective. It does not work for everyone. I know tons of fitness models and competitors who are eat starchy or simple carbohydrates DAILY and are shredded to high heaven. Honestly, my best advice is to experiment. Try it for 2 weeks and see how your body looks.

So that about sums up my week 1 game plan! I am sure the game plan will change as the time passes, I am sure I will have bad moments and good moments, strong days and weak days, but that is all part of this crazy journey to find my abs!

On a final note, I am now taking online clients again, which is perfect timing as I will be in sugarless hell alongside you. If you are interested, the plans are £50 for 12 weeks and you can find out more by emailing info@fitnessfondue.com 

 


JHBODYFIRE.COM asks some questions…


When it comes to muscle building, I consider myself more than capable of training both men and women alike. Hypertrophy training (muscle building) is what kickstarted my own obsession with health and fitness, and anyone who knows me will tell you it’s sort of my specialist subject.

However, looking at athletes such as James Haskell, there are clearly some tricks that I have been missing. So, I bombard him with questions, and in exchange let him interview me for his own health and fitness website http://www.jhbodyfire.com

Watch the video below and take a look at his site if he got what you want…

 


Week 1/12, 137lbs


Hello my lovely little Fondues!

Having been off the FF radar for exactly 2 months now, I have a lot to get through in this post, so please bear with me!

First of all, I would like to wholeheartedly apologise to you all for my both my absence from the site and from the online training of some of you…

When I first started FF, I had a team of 4 or 5 people behind me. However, as the time passed, I became more and more protective over the advice we were offering, the plans we were writing and the brands we were endorsing. This resulted in myself being the last one standing…

While I feel this is absolutely how it should be right now, there is no getting away from the fact that when other areas of my life take off, this site (along with its followers) takes a hit.

As many of you know, on January 1st I was flown to Austria as a last minute replacement for an injured Ola Jordan on the TV show The Jump.

It goes without saying that being flown to Austria and taught how to ski, snowboard, ski jump, air jump, skeleton, bobsleigh and snow skate was a dream come true, and I am beyond thrilled that I got to have such an incredible life experience. However, being thrown in at the deep end meant that this site and its followers were left in the lurch, and for that I am truly sorry.

I would like to thank you all for the incredible emails, Tweets, Instagram comments and Facebook messages that showed me nothing but love and support. It really made me feel like I had people cheering me on, and that is a feeling I cannot put into words. Needless to say, it is special.

Now, a bit about The Jump…

Well, I can tell you that my injuries were plentiful. I got whiplash, concussion, tendonitis, a broken toe, hyperextension of both knees, pulled hip flexors and enough bruises to last a lifetime. But they were nothing in comparison to the exhaustion…

Which brings me nicely onto my next point; weight gain!

I was in Austria for 6 / 7 weeks in total and by week 3 / 4, that exhaustion started to take over. I was great with my diet in the first few weeks, although I definitely had the odd glass of wine before bed, but my weight was pretty stable. By the half way point though, we were all struggling. I could feel my body starting to shut down, literally screaming from the inside for sleep, rest and recovery. The problem was, sleeping, resting and recovering were simply not options available to me. It was full on, full time. I knew that in order to keep my body functioning as close to 100% as possible, I had to eat, and I had to eat A LOT.

Because of the relentless physical activity, I was burning off thousands of calories a day, which meant every time I was off the slopes, I was eating every source of fat, carbs and protein I could get my hands on, and I didn’t gain TOO much weight…

In that last month, I gained 10lbs, pushing my weight up to 140lbs.

Since I’ve been back, I have been training and starting to clean up my diet. I knew fitness was going to be hard to come back to, and truth be told, both have been a real struggle. Wanting to catch up and spend time with my family, friends and boyfriend does not lend itself well to dieting and training. Not to mention the hangover from the exhaustion, which has only just subsided. However, small steps DO count…

In the last 2 weeks I have lost 3lbs and I’m ready to start pushing it now. I FINALLY feel back to my old, determined self again.

So, this picture shows my start weight of 137lbs. I am now hoping to lose 10lbs in 12 weeks, so by June. HOWEVER, I am guestimating a goal weight here. I have gained a lot of muscle in the last 3 years and this figure may shift and come up as I watch my body changing. WEIGHT LOSS ISN’T MY GOAL, IT’S A FORM OF MEASURING MY PROGRESS.

To begin with, I will be performing cardio 5 x per week for 20 minutes. I will either do this first thing in the morning before breakfast (aka fasted cardio) or after weighted sessions. Both of these options will burn more fat as my body will be starved of its glycogen stores from lifting of the lack of food before breakfast.

I will be lifting weights 6 days a week. I want to go as heavy as I can so I can build muscle (hypertrophy training) while keeping my sets and reps high to burn fat (endurance training). This is a bit controversial as the general consensus amongst anyone who understands health and fitness is that you cannot both build muscle and shed fat at the same time. However, my body has become quite apt at building muscle after 3 years of training, and I’m interested to see if I can, in fact, do both.

I will leave the diet for another post as I think that is quite enough rambling from me for one day!

For those of you who are interested in online training, I will be taking on more clients soon and I will post to notify you all in the next few days.

Thank you for being so patient and supportive, I cannot wait to start this adventure with you all again!