There is dieting and then there is dieting. To claim you are ‘’dieting’’ doesn’t tell the whole story, let me explain. If sub 10% body fat is the goal as a male, or sub 15% as a female then every single calorie you put into your body counts. Having said that, I hate to use the word ‘’calorie’’ in fear this will be misinterpreted and taken out of context. Just in case, the nutrients you eat are the most important thing not the number of calories. Every nutrient has a different effect on hormone response within your body, and ultimately how your body is able to burn body fat. Today I wanted to ask you a question, ‘’how far do you go?’’ as I share with you some key changes you can make to reach your fat loss goals faster.
Do you take milk?
Recently you may have noticed the influx in commercials promoting the benefits of milk and why we should drink it. Whilst there are an array of health benefits to drinking milk, when fat loss is the main goal it is a no go zone. ‘’Not even skimmed?’’ I hear you cry! The fat content isn’t really the issue with milk, which is what ‘’skimmed’’ relates to it is the carbohydrate content. Contrary to what many people believe milk is predominately a carbohydrate food source. It is very rich in lactose; just 100ml of fully skimmed milk contains 5g of sugar!
With that said if fat loss is high on the agenda I suggest you begin to start liking black tea and coffee. This is something I do when every ounce of body fat has to be fought for and you should too if you are serious about getting results.
Do you take sugar?
Sometimes I am completely gobsmacked when people make a great deal of effort with their diet only to drink tea and coffee all day with sugar. This is no different to grabbing a chocolate bar or two off the shelf of the local filling station.
Don’t get me wrong; in an ideal world I would be able to drink 10 cups of coffee a day with full fat cream and two sugars. Unfortunately, the world we live in is far from ideal and following my desire for creamy coffee would have me looking pretty fat, pretty quickly. However, I do manage to retain some of the glory by having Stevia instead of sugar. With just 2 calories per teaspoon, and with the same degree of sweetness as sugar it is the perfect replacement!
Sure you are working hard, you have been completely faithful to yourself, but for some reason that nagging craving just won’t settle. So what do you reach for? If you are on a diet whereby calories are counted then you need to make sure whatever you are about to eat won’t take you over the daily threshold. If it passes that test, then the next is what kind of nutrients it contains.
I despair when I hear people say ‘’I was hungry so I ate something, but I was good because I ate fruit’’ – this is NOT good. Remember earlier I was talking about being choosy when it comes to where you get your calories from and how different nutrients affect the body in different ways? Well, fruit is generally rich in fructose which is a sugar carbohydrate. So as you are satisfying your cravings with some juicy pineapple say hello to the huge influx in insulin secretion, and bye-bye to your fat burning momentum you have gained.
In this instance, 20-25g of nuts would be ideal because the healthy fats will help stabilise blood sugar levels which can help avoid insulin spikes and turn off your craving switch. Be warned; with 9 calories per gram of fat make sure this snack won’t take you past your calorie deficit point!
Personally, I choose macadamia nuts because they are great for a number of reasons. They taste amazing, they have an array of healthy fats, and they are a great source of potassium.
So how far do you go? Are you going far enough to help your body shift that body fat to get those skin popping abs or not?
Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or the tastiest day of the year. These are all names which can easily be associated with today’s date. However, more often than not as a dedicated athlete I find myself missing out on stacks of pancakes drizzled in maple syrup, draped in chocolate sauce or lemon juice with sugar. Even though I am currently watching my diet because I have a TV show to shoot in 3 weeks, I will not be forgoing the pleasure of eating pancakes today. These pancakes will also be caked with chocolate sauce, have I gone crazy? Not quite, because as I keep saying dieting doesn’t have to taste bad. This is probably one of the best examples to prove my point. Try out this very easy recipe and see if you don’t agree with me.
4 egg whites
½ glass of water
100ml of skimmed milk
6-8 teaspoons of Stevia (natural sweetner)
Blend until you are left with a runny mixture
Fry using 1 cal extra virgin olive oil spray
How easy was that? This mixture will give you between 12-15 scotch pancakes which will certainly fulfil your pancake needs I am sure! This is only half the recipe though, remember I said mine will be swimming in chocolate sauce? They will, and I guarantee it tastes better than anything else you have tried.
50g Quark cheese
1 scoop of chocolate protein
1 tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter
1 teaspoon of Stevia
Add approximately 2-3 tablespoons of water, and then mix thoroughly. This mixture is very similar to chocolate cake mix or a chocolate mousse. It tastes unreal and right now my shopping list always has Quark cheese on there!
With your pancakes on a large plate, butter them with the chocolate sauce and enjoy. Remember to take a photo before though, because you can show your friends how you enjoyed something so tasty which is kind to your abs!
Very often I will read about a ‘’healthy’’ recipe and after the first two ingredients it is apparent that it is anything but. Making something ‘’healthier’’ doesn’t make it healthy, or conducive to your physique goals.
So with this recipe what kind of nutritional content does it contain?
Carbohydrates – 35g 202 calories
Of which sugars – 5g
Protein – 40g 198 calories
Fats – 7.5g 95 calories
Of which are Saturated fat – 1.3g
Total calories – 495
This can be divided between 2 people if you want to keep the calories lower depending on your nutritional needs.
Whilst the calorie count may sound high the majority of them are from healthy sources including un-saturated fats, low GI carbohydrates and of course protein. Sugar and saturated fats are the two nutrients you really want to limit, and this recipe certainly does that. Compared to your average pancake recipe and all the dressings to go with it you will be saving yourself a lot of guilt. To really enjoy this recipe head to the gym and push yourself beyond the limits and then chill-out with this stack of pancakes as your post-workout meal.
Going off track is never an option for the committed and with recipes like this you don’t need to either.
Being a business man or woman can mean that you have very little free time on your hands. If you are always tied down by work and under a lot of pressure to complete tasks etc then the gym and diet may be one of the things in your life that suffers as a result of this. I have helped a lot of people in these kinds of jobs with easy diets and training plans that don’t take up too much time and are very flexible. If you are struggling to find time to eat a diet for fat loss or get to the gym then here is one example of a 12 week plan that I did that may work well for you.
The first thing you will need to sort out to lose bodyfat whilst maintaining or building muscle is diet. Everybody is different, with different base metabolic rates, different body types, burn more calories in the day with their jobs etc so it is impossible to have a diet that will work for everyone. Here is an example diet consisting of 1700 calories on non-training days and 1850 calories on days where you perform a weight training routine. The diet was written for an 85kg male with an office job so did fairly little exercise during the day.
- 6 eggs / 3 whole / 3 whites/ semi skimmed milk (scrambled) = 520kcal – (22/5/15)
- 150g chicken or other meat/fish = 250kcals (45/0/6)
- 40g nuts = 250 kcals peanuts or almonds(11/8/18)
- 150g chicken or other meat/fish = 250kcals (45/0/6)
- 150g chicken or other meat/fish = 250kcals (45/0/6)
-100g Veg – Frozen: Broccoli/carrots/peas = 35kcals – (4/3/0.7)
- 1 scoop phd Diet whey = 100kcal (18/3/2)
As you can see this is a relatively basic diet but in my opinion the more simple you keep it the easier it is to follow. You need very little preparation with this and all foods are available from a supermarket so you can get them whenever you need them. This is important to someone who has a busy lifestyle as food preparation can be time consuming. You can easily go into tescos or asda and pick up 150g pack of plain chicken, ham or beef. All of these foods (except for the eggs and veg) are available, ready made from most shops. Also there is no meal timing so you can work it into your busy schedule. Just make sure that you eat all of it.
On training days you will also be allowed 150g sweet potato in the meal before you work out. The nuts can be eaten as snacks throughout the day but make sure it is only 40g as nuts are very high calorie.
The protein shake on there is the one that I would strongly recommend for anyone dieting and trying to lose body fat. Phd diet whey is fantastic. It has a great nutritional breakdown and tastes fantastic so is a wonderful bed time treat that will also help with muscle repair and growth.
There are some key points in regards to the diet that will help.
Rule number one – “IF IT ISN’T WRITTEN DOWN ON YOUR DIET, DON’T PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH!!”
I apologise for the obnoxious capital letters but that one is an important one. If someone offers you a chocolate bar or a raisin, if it isn’t written down or follows the nutritional pattern of the diet you don’t eat it. That rule sounds easier than it actually is.
- You can also substitute any other meats or foods into the diet to replace one of the meals if you get really bored of it, but make sure that they are the same nutritional breakdown with the same protein, carb and fat contentf. For example you could have turkey or tuna instead of chicken, or peanut butter instead of nuts. Adding 500 calories worth of cheese to replace 250 cals of chicken wont work I’m afraid.
- There are a couple of things that really helped me in my last diet. Sugar free jelly is amazing. It will satisfy your sweet cravings and is very very low calorie. You are allowed 2 pots per day. They sell them in all supermarkets. Make sure it is definitely the sugar free ones when you buy them though. The other thing is diet fizzy drinks. You can drink 500ml of diet coke per day to satisfy your taste as well.
- You may drink 3 cups of black coffee per day as well. No sugar or milk obviously.
- You get one cheat meal per week. This is not a starter of a full pack of cookies, followed by a main of 4 pizzas and dessert of 2 tubs of ice cream. A main and a dessert of reasonable size is adequate. A pizza and a bar of chocolate for example. The cheat meal needs to be under 1500 calories really so try not to go too mental. I also recommend eating it near the end of a day as you will be tempted to just keep eating and eating all day if you do it early on.
The diet will need adjusting and the calories dropping as the 12 weeks go on due to your body adapting to the diet. You can do this by simply making some of the meals slightly smaller as the weeks progress. Don’t drop the calories too low though as your metabolism may slow down and you will stop losing weight. It is better to increase calorie expenditure than to drop calories too low. A minimum of 1400 for mean and 1000 for women is adequate as a very rough guide.
Your training schedule is based on weekly cardio volume and a 2 day weight training split. Due to the fact that you wont be able to go to the gym regularly and certainly not on the same days each week I will just split the body up into 2 days that you will simply alternate between each time you go to the gym.
Weight training split -
Day 1 – Chest, Back, shoulder
Day 2 – Legs, biceps, triceps
The workouts are as follows:
Day 1 -
Machine chest press – 3 x 12 reps
Medicine ball press ups – 3 x to failure (as many as you can do)
Dumbbell flyes – 3 x 12 reps
Lat pull down – 3 x 12 reps
1 arm dumbbell row – 3 x 12 reps
Standing barbell shoulder press – 3 x 12 reps
Seated dumbbell shoulder press – 3 x 12 reps
Lateral raises – 3 x to failure
Day 2 -
Squats – 3 x 12 reps
Dumbbell lunges – 3 x 12 reps
Leg extensions – 3 x 12 reps
Standing barbell curls – 3 x 12 reps
Seated dumbbell hammer curls – 3 x 12 reps
Bench dips – 3 x to failure
Cable pushdowns – 3 x 12
The training plan is pretty simple and easy. If you don’t know how to perform any exercises on it you can ask a member of staff at the gym or look up the exercise on youtube. There are clear demonstrations of all of them on there.
The cardio you will be doing to start with is just 1 hour per week. You can either do 1 hour in the gym one day or you can split it up. You could do a 20 minute jog, 3 times a week after work or in a morning. It is totally up to you but you HAVE to do the full hour each week. You must simply find time to do it at any opportunity.
Every week the cardio will increase by 10 minutes until week 12 where you will be doing a total of 3 hours cardio in that week.
You must aim to do at least 2 weight sessions per week. If you can do more then do more. Same applies for cardio. Don’t stop just because you’ve done your weekly total. This is a minimum that you must stick to.
So that is the plan. Like I have stated above this is not universal and will needed to be altered and adapted to the individual. It is simply an example of a diet and training plan for a corporate employee or someone with very little time available to achieve a goal of lower body fat.
If anyone wishes to follow this plan or one similar to it then you can e-mail me directly with any questions. I can write a customized diet and training plan to suit your needs if you wish.