Monday, 30 January 2012

Healthy eating on a budget... Adapting to the financial strains of 2012

The world is a different prospect in 2012, the financial industry has changed and so has the thinking behind everyone's spending habits. People are no looking to better deals on everything from food to transport to PTs
As always i get inspiration from my blogs from conversations with my clients and this is no different.One of my clients was asking me how they could create a healthy eating packed-lunch and stop spending S$20-30 (about 15 pounds) a day on lunchtime food/coffee - and luckily its something i have always done. Why?
1) Because i really dont have the extra cash to throw for food
2) I like to know what im eating

If this man serves your lunch, you're probably fat.

When to do it
Everyone claims they have 'no time'. I really dont believe that. Believe me that there are people in the world who have less time and get more done - its just a question of allocating a certain time for food preparation sometime the day before. For me this is usually 9-930pm (maximum). So a key element for success is the speed of which you can create these healthy lunches. The foods/snacks below can all be made within 15-20 minutes so its only a question of having the energy to WANT to create these meals. If all else fails - get your maid to do it!

For those in the UK, US and Australia that may seem like a joke. For those in the Middle east an Asia its a reality. Maids can create any food you ask for, thats their job.

Instant snacks
These healthy foods need no prep time at all so if you cant be bothered to buy them then you deserve to be overweight and alone!
Walnuts (raw) - awesome nutrition, taste is down to preference
Almonds (raw) - awesome nutrition, great snack to accompany green tea
Sunflower seeds - great ingredient for healthy seed mix
Pumpkin seeds - great nutrients and perfect ingredient for homemade trail mix
Brazil nuts - high in selenium and zinc
Mackerel - if you like them then they are an amazing addition to any diet
Tuna - a time-tested muscle building superfood
Sardines - you may scowl but its the best kept secret in lean snacking
Sliced turkey - super low in calories, high in protein
Sliced ham - Great tasting and goes well with most things to create a super-snck
Smoked salmon - A bit up market but salmon is one of the super-foods we should all try to eat
Olives - great source of quality fats
Fruits - believe it or not, not perfect for fat loss but much better than starchy carb snacks
Raw vegetables (Carrots,Tomatoes, Celery, etc)
Organic nut butters (almond, peanut) - perfect on rye bread for snack
Rye bread - also available in 3-seed and flax
Oatcakes - low calorie snack fix which are great on their own or with nut butters

Steamed Veggies take no effort to make and are an amazing fat loss food

Quick snacks (1-5mins)
These can be created with little effort and time at all.
Rye bread open sandwiches - ham, chicken, nut butters, hummous, Tuna to name a few
Healthy tuna mayo - use organic mayo with tuna (in water), add pumpkin seeds
Scrambled eggs - Yes they take 3 mins to make from start to finish. Add almonds for easy power snack
Fruit salad - take 2/3 pieces of fruit and chop them into pieces. Add some natural yoghurt if needed.

Open sandwiches... Millions of scandanavians cant be wrong!
Longer meals (5-20mins)

These take slightly longer but no more than 20 minutes, admit that your not THAT busy for 20 minutes?

Vegetable omelette - i have on average 4-5 of these per week, easy and nutritious
Steamed protein sources - fish, beef, chicken, turkey, eggs
Steamed Veggies - all sorts. You can steam a ton of veg while you create other snacks?
Boiled Quinoa - cooks like rice but its much better for you

Putting it all together... A 20 minute kitchen prep session

Here's how to do it:

- chop all your vegetables up and place into a steamer along with 3 eggs, set for 15 minutes
- whisk 3-6 eggs in a bowl then add to medium heated pan (grapeseed/olive oil) and scramble
- grab a handful of walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and organic raisins - throw in a box
- wrap 3 slices of turkey into foil and (optional) wrap a piece of rye bread
- grab a banana and a apple
- get 2/3 green tea bags
- remove eggs and veggies from steamer after 15 minutes

You now should have:

A tupperware box of steamed veggies with 3 hard-steamed eggs
Home-made trail mix
3 slices of turkey, (with optional) piece of rye bread for open sandwich
2 pieces of fruit
2/3 green tea bags

Done! a super-healthy and balanced packed lunch, perfectly designed for office workers with low calorific demands each day or those with higher energy demands who are looking to drop some body fat/weight.

If you're looking at this and thinking "this is boring" then i don't think i can help you out. You need to really look at your relationship with food and:

"Learn to eat what you need, NOT what you want"

If you don't plan your lunches, you will end up in the same old places eating the same old "carb-heavy' ingredients. I know this because it happens to me when i don't prepare my lunch and fancy a change from sushi and fruit.

Look at your energy needs for the day, if you work in an office - ask yourself the following questions;

How much food do you really need in the working day? not that much

Are you consistently eating too much during the day when you do no physical activity? Yes

Are these daily behaviours stopping you getting the weight/fat loss you work hard to achieve? Yes

Start making your own lunches and be in charge of your own calorie intake, this will translate to feeling brighter at work and hopefully decrease the size of your waist in no time!

Until the next blog :)

Its Fat loss February next month! so watch out for the 2012 Green Faces 7 day challenge week (7th-14th)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

"Take me to the next level"

...Not my words, but the first welcome words of atleast 3 of my clients this week.

Hi all,

What a start to the new year, well its was good, lets not overdo it. I personally started a new training plan which im testing and mentioned before so will update later and in future blogs. Also, a few of my badass clients stormed in the Gym, pushed past all the fat people stretching on the mats, grabbed me by the collar of my tight-fitted gym shirt and yelled:

"quit f*cking around... take me to the next level!"

Im slightly exaggerating (pushing fat people off the mats is totally true) of course but improvement does seem to be the common trend of my guys this year. and so it should be!

Adopt Shark theory... Move forward or die!

So im taking time away from my beginner salsa lessons and writing my guide (for normal gym users and PT clients) to "take it to the next level", hope you enjoy it, use/agree with the advice or identify where you are and what you need to do to make a step forward in the gym.

Step 1: Nutrition

Seriously am i still asking you to eat better? Kids eat rubbish then they grow up. The angry Nath doesn't even want to say anymore but 'kind 2012 buddhist-reading' Nath says 'show them the way'.

Ok, this is the basics...

A) Stop eating Carbs if you're not moving around. Earn your carbs people! Eat according to your daily needs. If you dont train and you work in an office, guess how much carbs you need per day to 'fuel' your body? NOT MANY AT ALL

People always ask me about rice... "can i eat rice?'  "i cant get rid of it' or 'all my family eat rice'

"If you cant stop eating rice then you better start competing in regular triathlons"

Rice is popular around the world because it low in price and energy dense, great if you have zero money and no options to survive, not so great (in fact, lets be frank - its shit) for fat loss! The other problem is what rice is served with. Unless you're some bland-food loving moron then you gonna need sauce and other nasties on that white, hip-maker. DONT DO IT, simples.

B) Eat more veggies. veggies can fill your plate and are low in calories, they combine well with all foods and there is great variety. If thats not enough for you they are full of vitamins and minerals and in my opinion (when it comes to losing weight/fat) far superior to fruit.

C) Liquids. Keep it simple, keep it sugar-free. Black coffee, Green tea, herbal teas and water. Think thats boring? your waist-line and the girlfriend/wife/mistress or all three will disagree in about 6 weeks time when you're undoing smaller trousers..... better stop there.

DO NOT frequent starbucks for white mocha frappacino's. I only use that example because thats my once-a-month treat. I really do enjoy it but im not stupid enough to go back every day and pretend im not eating a liquid dessert, because thats what your doing. 1000 calories in 5 minutes - cheers!

If it looks f*cking unbelievable, then its probably high in calories!

Water intake. How much do you drink? i would say 90% of people could drink more. Its healthy for the body and will fill the gaps that you have kept for dirty snacks. Get into water. If you dont drink any... you are a mong and deserve to fall over.

No water... No live

Step 2: Alcohol (think anti-nutrition)

In James Duigans "clean and lean diet" he says the following:

"As a rule of thumb i advise my clients to avoid alcohol until they have reached their target weight"

Simple and amazing advice and sort of a cool challenge? Dont allow yourself a drink until you've reached a target weight loss for that month - that would definately get people working hard and eating better.

If you cant give up Alcohol then i cant be accountable for any fat loss results you want to achieve. I can certainly help but i 100% cannot gaurantee results. Thats my own version i tell clients.

Alcohol is possibly the biggest de-railer of them all

Ok, Half time. Lets re-cap:

Step 1: Nutrition - are you on top of that? Its kind of important. Sort it out quickly or the rest of this list will not matter at all.

Step 2: Alcohol - could you go a month without drinking? Try it. If you have been drinking for the past 15 years (i have) then i dont see the issue with having a small break in destroying your liver? im not being all holy, its true. Bars and pubs will still be there next month and more than happy to take your money in return for a headache.  If you cant stop, dont expect dramatic change quickly. Alcohol is anti-progress for all things in the body, plus it makes you want to eat toxic foods - double bummer!

Step 3: Activity Levels

How many hours a week are you training? ok up that to over 5 hours right now.

How are you training? If you are doing 5 hours per week and still overweight, honestly ask yourself why you think that is. I watched a very overweight person walking at 3kmph on the treadmill last year. And before you tell me "well atleast she is in the gym" I disagreee. She could have spent that time working out a great food shopping list and got better results. Why should walking slow in a gym be classed as good? its really not.

My point is if you aren't changing your gym shirt every time you train then you probably haven't worked hard enough. Be honest and put some hard work in. After all the heart rate testing we have been doing, its amazing the difference in heart rates when you try hard instead of just going through the motions. Put it in. If you dont then you'll be re-reading this next year and trying to kick-start yourself again after another failed year in the gym.

Step 4: Buy a heart rate monitor and be accountable for every minute of every session.

I did a standard 'bodybuilding' session with one of my clients last week as a change-up. I burned 217 calories in an hour - lifting decent weight, upper body exercises (superset fashion). I was shocked at how low that is, its really not enough. So doing that workout 5-6 times a week (max 1500cals burned/week) and eat a shitty diet and you can see why most guys in the gym are big shoulders-big waist. Worrying about muscle size when your waist is around 38" is stupid.

I think the next quote sums it up nicely. I would love to say its mine, but i saw it on facebook last week:

 "Dont Look at the sacles, look in the mirror. Bitches dont ask what weight you are when you take you're shirt off!"

Yeah grandma, i just said 'bitches' - deal with it

Step 5: Change the way you train/exercise

'If you always do what you always do, you will always get what you always got'. There are other similar quotes but you catch my drift? Im always surprised when people tell me they've trained the same way for years and still aren't in the shape they want. success leaves clues. If it was the best way to train you would be happy. Is it time to look at another method?

Always done weights? try some cardio once in a while

Love taking classes? Maybe try a sterngth and conditioning program.

Always doing the same style/intensity training? (shameless plug) Maybe its time you hired someone who knows better or buy a well-known program that will get help you get to your goal.

Recently i changed styles, moved away from what i thought was best from me and towards something new - the results have been amazing! Try something different or try harder at the things you do now. Both will work.

"Everything you ever wanted is waiting for you outside your comfort zone"

Step 6: Consistency

Put the work in and be patient. Commit the next 6 months in the gym to reverse about 10 years of your life. If you think you can cheat your body into getting into great shape then you've been watching too much shopping channel infomercials!

Check out the youtube video of the 'tug-toner' - pretty funny!

Trust if it vibrates... need to tread carefully here... its not gonna melt the fat off your trouble areas. Fads which require little or no effort for amazing results are music to fat, lazy people's ears. Get real and DO WORK.

Final thoughts

If you're ready to really step up the fitness efforts this year:

- Commit to eating foods that will improve your health and decrease your waistline
- Drink only liquids that are sugar-free, preferably herbal teas, black coffee and water
- Cut out alcohol until you hit a target weight
- Up your physical activity to 5 or more hours per week
- Buy a heart rate monitor and be accounatble for every second of your training efforts
- Change the way you train or seek out ways/people that will optimize what you are currently doing
- Be in it for the long haul. Its 6 months until summer - see you on the beach! speedos not welcome.

Happy new year all, share this blog with Facebook friends or via email. spread the word :)