Author Fitness Fondue


Do I Need to Track Calories and Macros?


My followers sometimes get confused because even though I personally track my daily calories and macros on MyFitnessPal, my books do not use this specific form of dieting…

Instead, my books instruct:

  1. A clean diet (healthy eating and calorie control)
  2. Specific portion sizes and recipe suggestions (calorie control)
  3. High protein, high fibre, moderate fat, carb cycled meals (macro manipulation)

Essentially, my books are all meal plans created to get you results without you having to overthink anything.

Why have I given you something different to what I do?

Because weighing out your food and tracking your daily calorie and macro intake is not for the faint of heart. Initially, it is very time consuming, very hard, and not at all fun.

Eventually, it does become second nature, but this can take a few weeks or even months of trial, error and all consuming food preoccupation.

In short, I do not recommend it to most people.

So what do you need to do if you want to lose fat but you don’t want to track?

  1. Eat clean foods for health and (with the exception of excessive fats like nut butters etc) lower calorie foods
  2. Eat smaller portions to ensure you are not in a calorie surplus throughout the day / week
  3. Focus on having protein and veg in every meal, but time your carbs pre and post training, replacing them with fats the rest of the time

These simple rules will work WITHOUT you having to drive yourself mad.

Always remember that just because one person is doing one thing, does not mean that it will work for you.

Tracking works for me, but most of my clients would throw in the towel within a few days.

Juicing may work for some, but I can safely say I will never do it (unless an external factor like illness forces me to).

Atkins will work for many, but if you lift heavy and train hard, I recommend you always find a way to fit carb bumps into your week.

Dieting…a million and one options…only one you.

 

*if you are interested in learning about tracking, download The Food Philosophy Guide at the top of this page*


Training for Your Goals


When it comes to my clients, both online and in the flesh, they tend to come with 1 of 4 goals…

  1. Get fit and healthy
  2. Get fit for an event (marathon / triathlon / Iron Man)
  3. Fat loss
  4. Muscle building

1 of 2 problems usually arise…

  1. They tell me they want to get ‘toned’
  2. They tell they want all of the above

So, keeping this in mind, I want to talk you through some things…

  1. If you want to ‘get fit and healthy’, this does NOT look like marathon training, or a fat loss plan, OR a muscle building plan. Getting fit and healthy requires fun, functional training. Training you will enjoy, training that will constantly be changing, training that is going to get you limber, cardiovascular fit, strong and active. A fat loss plan will not do all of this, a marathon plan will not do all of this, and a muscle building plan will not do all of this.
  2. Getting fit for an event like a marathon or a triathlon or a rugby game requires functional training that reflects the sport. HIIT, endurance, specifically targeted areas of muscle – this is what you need to be focusing on – NOT how you are going to LOOK in 4 weeks time.
  3. If you want fat loss, you are going to need to implement a calorie deficit via cardio or diet – ideally a bit of both so you are not over-training or under-eating. Ideally, a fat loss plan will come off the back of a muscle building plan because the more muscle you have, the better your metabolism will be. You SHOULD continue to train your muscle on a fat loss plan, but that is NOT the point of a specific fat loss plan.
  4. If you want to build muscle, you quite simply have to lift heavy weights and eat the right food at the right times. This means protein and carbs, and A LOT of both, pre and post training. The rest of the time, you can reduce your carb intake slightly (but still keep it in there), and add in some fat. You should be in a calorie surplus, which means you will most likely gain body fat, but this is ABSOLUTELY NOT a problem, the fat loss goal comes LATER.
  5. If you want to get ‘toned’ – and this is really important to remember – THAT MEANS YOU WANT MUSCLE BUILDING AND FAT LOSS. ‘Toning’ isn’t a thing. It is not ONE goal, it is TWO.

Whatever plan you embark upon, I implore you to give it AT LEAST 4 weeks BEFORE you decide if it is working or not.

Changes, be they aesthetic or internal, can take some time to materialise.

Be patient, and if you are not happy in 4 weeks, you can start to alter something in your plan. Chances are, you will instinctively know what needs to change (more food / more cardio / etc etc…).


Dieting Time Lines


When I released my first body transformation book, The 4-Week Body Blitz, I briefly addressed what I wanted Blitzers to do when all was said and done.

However, once the book had been out for a few months, I realised that the 2 pages I had written should have filled an entire chapter. Without a doubt, the post 4WBB question was the question I received the most.

In my new book The Fat Loss Blitz (available for pre order on Amazon now), I do go into much more detail re when to start a diet and when to call it quits. I talk at length about why this is important and also instruct on how best to do it.

However, when there are points that I want to ram down people’s throats like this one, I also like to throw up a blog!

So, please continue reading for my thought on dietary time lines…

*please note the below does not apply to those following intolerance based diets, or to those currently in / recovering from a diseased state*

  • IF YOU HAVE BEEN ON ANY TYPE OF ‘DIET’ FOR A PERIOD OF MONTHS OR YEARS AND YOU CAN NO LONGER GET YOUR BODY TO RESPOND, IT IS TIME TO STOP…

If your diet has been restrictive in any way, be it carbs, fats, calories or solids, and you have been struggling to get a response for a period of months with no success, it is time to stop.

This is because when you restrict your nutritional intake via macros and calories, your body can only respond for so long before it adapts. Initially, fat loss will occur. Usually, muscle loss will follow. All in all, your lean body mass will come down. Once this happens, you have a brand new dietary start point that requires a brand new calorie deficit…

The way to get that loss moving again is to slightly  decrease your calories once again for another few weeks. While this is completely fine for a period of time (gradually over the course of a few months), as your low intake stretches further and further out, there does come a point where there is no further to go, you will stop responding and you will have to come up with a new plan.

Studies show that 6 months is when the majority of ‘dieters’ hit both a mental and physical wall, and at this point, you have 2 options (potentially aim to do both in succession)…

  1. Take a ‘diet break’ – When you have plateaued at a low calorie intake for more than a few weeks, raise your calories by a significant amount for 1-2 weeks, before continuing on in your deficit. This will help you mentally and may well refuel your metabolic and hormonal responses, getting you continued results over the course of the next few weeks / months.
  2. Begin your ‘reverse diet’ – If you have been at a low intake for a period of months / years and you haven’t been responding for months, it is time for your body to recover. You need to slowly start adding in food (calories) each week, over a period of months, before you can even think about starting up another diet. Initially, you will probably see some impressive aesthetic progress. After a few weeks, you will probably find that you are feeling better in your own skin and if you train, you will see huge improvement in your sessions. Eventually, you will start to regain some body fat and THIS IS A GOOD THING! Your body needs body fat to function at OPTIMAL LEVELS. You cannot start a diet if you have minimal body fat to lose and you cannot start a diet if you haven’t given your body a BREAK beforehand.

Please do not think that dieting is forever, it is not, it does not work forever and you will not be happy in a deficit forever.

Please do not be scared to let your body recover, to feed it, to fuel it, and to see it take its more natural shape.

There is a time and a place to push, and there is a time and a place to pull back.

The more cyclical you can be with ‘dieting’, the more long term your results will become.


How Often Should I Train?


How often should I train?

How many rest days a week should I have?

How much exercise do I have to do in order to see results?

These are the questions I receive time and time again across all my platforms, and the truth is, it is goal dependent…

  • IF MUSCLE BUILDING IS YOUR GOAL then I personally would recommend weight lifting 4-5 days a week, implementing a short, sharp HIIT session (15-20minutes) on 2 of those days.

  • IF FAT LOSS IS YOUR GOAL I would recommend training 5-6 days a week, doing a mixture of resistance training and cardio. This would look like a session of weight lifting, followed by a short, sharp HIIT session (15-20minutes) on some days, and slightly longer sessions of LISS / MISS on others.

Rest days are important ESPECIALLY if you are trying to build muscle. Your muscle cannot recover and grow effectively if you are overtraining it day in, day out, week in, week out. Train hard, eat well, rest and recover.

If you are in a fat burning phase, you should know by now that you need to implement a calorie deficit.  These low calories and / or long cardio sessions will see you flail at certain points, especially when the fat burning really kicks in. Again, by denying your body windows of recovery time, you can halt progress by drastically increasing your cortisol levels and never letting your body catch up with itself.

You will not ‘lose’ results by taking a rest day, you will probably fuel them.

As long as you stick to your diet, taking a few rest days when you need to is NOT going to undo all your hard work.

 


Holiday Advice


Hello again Fondues, it’s been a minute!

As most of you will know, I tend to have bursts of content on FF followed by weeks of radio silence.

This is usually because I’m either on holiday, or work has gotten a little hectic…

Between training myself 6 days a week, training clients 7 days a week, photoshoots, writing books, writing articles and writing downloads, writing blogs can sometimes feel like I am gladly walking into the ninth circle of hell.

Needless to say, I avoid it!

However, the next few weeks should see some more-than-usual quiet time for me, so I will be uploading content as often as I can.

The first thing I wanted to share with you was an online client check in I had this weekend…

This client, who I wont name for privacy reasons, came to me 8 weeks ago.

She knew how to track calories and macros on MyFitnessPal, and she knew how to lift weights,  yet she was struggling to train and diet effectively, if at all.

In short, she was a dream client – she had the foundation of knowledge, but she was a blank canvas.

She is currently 8 weeks into the plan I wrote for her and has already lost a significant amount of weight and inches, only having 1 day off plan so far for her birthday.

The reason I wanted to share the below with you is because this client is about to go on holiday.

I know this will apply to many of you in the following months, so I wanted you to be able to read some of my advice as an online coach.

We talked about diet breaks, training and tracking over a few emails before settling on the below…

I totally understand that you want to stay on diet while you’re away, and the beauty of tracking is that you will probably find if you are good from breakfast through to lunch, you will feel more comfortable during the day and have more room to play with at dinner…

For me personally, when I stay on track on holiday, I usually start the day with yoghurt and / or eggs for breakfast, usually a chicken salad and maybe a glass of wine at lunch, which brings me out at roughly 500kcals.
By dinner, a starter of prawns, a main of fish with a side of rice and another glass of wine will bring me up to roughly 1000kcals.
That’s when I will usually decide on a little more wine, or share a dessert with my fiancé, or both depending on my numbers.
However, you know what structure works best for YOU, so I encourage you to make this as easy as possible on yourself.

Re your ‘no gym’ and ‘small pool’ training dilemma, here’s some ideas for you:

1. Because of the reduction in training (weight lifting / hypertrophy) on holiday, I want you to increase your cardio from 20minutes to 30minutes a session.
This added 10minutes will make up for some of the caloric burn being lost without weight training.
Keeping your calorie intake and expenditure roughly the same will ensure you stay on track.

2. FAT LOSS APP – I know you have my Wieghts4Women app, but definitely download my 15 Minute Fat Loss app if you want to train on holiday without any equipment.
This will see you using your muscle and cardiovascular systems for 15 minutes a pop.
You could do 2x circuits (30minutes total) in the morning before breakfast, anywhere inside or outdoors.

3. POOL – Even in the smallest of pools, if you try to do an entire length underwater, you will soon start blowing (aka, ideal cardio zone!).
So, a good idea would be to gently warm up for a couple of lengths, and then try to do an entire length underwater.
Come up for air as soon as you need to, and go back into a gentle swim until you are fully recovered.
Repeat this process for 30minutes total.
This will really challenge you, AND swimming is a great way to use every muscle in your body in a very gentle way.

4. HILL WALKS – A great idea!
If you do this, again, get up a bit earlier and knock out 30 mins before breakfast.

Feel free to do a mix of all of the above!

Don’t be scared to take a rest day if you need one.

Lastly, the reason I say get it done before breakfast is so you can really relax during the day, and enjoy your holiday to the max.