Jump 4.2 – Week 1

This week I started two weeks of Paleo based eating.  I’m currently on day 5 and feel like I’m starting to get into a rhythm with it.  The first couple of days I find hunger always hits a little no matter how much I eat and I often feel a bit of a drop in energy as my body adjusts to not having some of the things it’s used to.

I’ve tried to keep my meals varied with eggs, chicken, pork, salmon, different vegetables, salad and fruits as well as nuts and so far haven’t missed chocolate too much- although all the nice cakes and biscuits people keep leaving in the kitchen at work don’t make this easy!  Thankfully I normally drink black coffee so the lack of milk isn’t too much of an issue.

The reason I’m doing this is that I’ve decided to work through the 8 week Jump 4.2 Programme with Ricky Long.

I’ve trained with Ricky for a couple of years and his coaching has always extended beyond simply giving you a training plan, so he has encouraged the formation of numerous habits and mindset shifts for me in that time.

This has allowed me to be in a position where I am able to be involved in helping support those who are going through (and have previously gone through) Jump.

I realised however that what I haven’t yet done however is actually fully work through the full 8 weeks from start to finish in the format and order the programme lays them out in myself.  This is something I felt would be both useful in allowing a greater understanding of the challenges within the programme so I can provide more support whilst also continuing to work on my own mindset, habits and fitness.

I haven’t started the workouts or mindset work as yet but plan to get going with that this weekend.

I’m committing this down on my blog to hold myself accountable to you for the next 8 weeks and plan to keep a regular diary of my progress on here over the coming weeks.

If you have any questions about what I’m doing please contact me and I’ll be happy to answer anything you may want to know.

My Favourite (Fitness) Websites (and why)

My Protein

Affordable protein and supplements with quick delivery times and regular offers.

My favourite product is the Whey Protein Powder in Vanilla which you can use in cakes and smoothies as well as on it’s own. I’m not a huge fan of protein shakes and tend to use them as an addition when I need a quick boost of calories and / or protein but I am a fan of adding protein powder to homemade muffins, energy balls and smoothies so a plain flavour like vanilla works well as it complements most recipes.

Added bonus if you do like drinking them as a stand alone drink and want to experiment this product comes in a wide variety of flavours so you don’t have to get bored.

I also really like their seamless leggings rangewhich have a gym shark feel without the same price tag- definitely squat proof, look good and are super comfy and long (useful for long legged people like me)!

Check them out here – My Protein

Muscle Food

Good quality meats for an excellent price (and let’s face it meat is expensive).

Buy one of their bulk packs and freeze!  I like the chicken in particular because it doesn’t shrink when cooked!

They also do nice protein packed cheat style meals (like protein pizza) – now generally if I’m going to have a pizza I’d prefer to have a full on stuffed crust loaded one, but if you want to get the taste at a fraction of the calorie cost these could be a good alternative.

Check them out here – Muscle Foods

They have also recently started doing a meal prep style offering where they deliver your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks weekly and also provide you with workout plans and an online support group.

You can opt to get 5,6 or 7 days worth of food.

I haven’t tried this so my opinion on this service i purely based on looking through their website.

I think I would want to add some extra vegetables and fruit to this plan personally (and tend to prefer and recommend homemade / freshly made meals wherever possible) and I haven’t tried the exercise plans so can’t comment on them, but if you are struggling to meal prep and find yourself buying a lot of your meals off the shelf / living off ready meals this could be a possible way of staying in control of your calorie intake that is quite cost effective.

Have a look below.  They are currently offering £10 off your first order using the code UNTHINKABLE

Muscle Food Meal Prep

What are your favourite fitness product websites and why?

Ways to Create a Calorie Deficit- Part Three – The Hand Job Diet

I spent much of December preaching that if you want to lose body fat you need to create a calorie deficit.  Then it occurred to me that’s fine as long as you know how to do that.  I’ve pretty much always gone by the school of thought that people know what thy should do it’s just hard to actually do it.   I have had lots of conversations recently however which have suggested that actually people are confused.  There are so many different fads around, plus products advertised like Skinny Coffee, Fat Loss shots, magic fat busing pills, ideas that you should only eat fruit before 11 or not carbs after 6 that a lot of people are genuinely confused.

So I decided this month I’d cover some ways you can create a calorie deficit.  So far I’ve covered Paleo and Intermittent Fasting.

Here’s what I see as the difference between a fad and these systems.  A fad requires you do things like cut out food groups completely, eat them in silly combinations, supplement what you eat with products that really just tend to act as a laxative.  They are plans that are not sustainable and are likely to cause binges at some point.

Paleo and Intermittent Fasting are simple systems of eating that help you control calories (obviously people have other reasons for doing them and they can have additional benefits on top of calorie control but for my purpose here I’m only thinking in terms of calorie deficits).  They have rules, yes,  and will not suit everyone, but they don’t require cutting out whole food groups, are safe and, if someone finds they suit their lifestyle, are perfectly sustainable long term.  They can also be done part time (as I do Paleo just four days a week) and still help create a calorie deficit.

Esssentially, if you want to create a new lifestyle habit the easiest way to do this is create a system that allows you to implement this habit into your life.

Now so far I have covered quite specific methods.  You can however create a calorie deficit with much more simple systems and today I want to cover ‘The Hand Job Diet’.

This method invented and named by a coach I’ve worked with a lot over recent years, Ricky Long.  Ricky favours training and eating to live, not being overly restrictive and not being a slave to counting calories and tracking macros when you don’t have to.

He recommends to client’s a simple method of having three meals a day consisting of:

  • One handful of protein
  • Two handfuls of veg (at least two colours)
  • Once a day add in one handful of a big carb such as rice, pasta, bread
  • Add in some snacks each day as need
  • If you feel hungry you need more food so consider adding in another meal
  • If you feel tired you have eaten too much

This allows for no restriction, you could snack on low calorie foods such as fruit but also allow some snacks to be your favourite foods (cake, chocolate, crisps).

You can adjust depending on results – so if you aren’t getting the results you want you may need to be honest about how many snacks you are having and how many calories each one contains.

It could also stop you craving certain foods as no food is off limits, thus reducing the urge to binge.

If your diet is not brilliant at the moment, these small changes will probably create a big difference and easily create a calorie deficit.

If you like food though, such relaxed rules may be hard to follow.  I’m the kind of person who needs some structure to my daily meals or I could just eat constantly for 8 hours each day, so again this won’t work for everyone but it is a way of creating a calorie deficit with minimal thinking or rules to follow.

I’ll repeat, the fundamental characteristic of all fat loss methods is creating a calorie deficit.  The Hand Job Diet is another way to manage portion control thus help keep you within a calorie deficit (without actually counting calories).

I have to credit Ricky Long on this method – if you like the idea and want to have a look into some of his other fitness and nutrition advice check him out on instagram @Rickylong42, Facebook (Ricky Long) or at his website here

 

 

Ways to Create a Calorie Deficit – Paleo

I’ve written before about my own nutrition and how I mainly eat a Paleo based diet.

I say Paleo based because I don’t follow Paleo eating at all in the strict sense or all the time and I adjust it to suit my own needs.

Essentially Paleo is eating what cavemen ate so basing your diet on meats, veg, nuts and seeds.   It’s high protein and fats and low in carbs and dairy free.   I eat largely like this with some exceptions (I include potatoes and often some chocolate milk after my classes in the evening).  This is largely because my job means I’m very active so it wouldn’t be sensible to stay low carb.  I try and do this 4 days a week with three days where I eat freely (although often along the same lines just with the addition of some bread and maybe pasta or rice and some sweet treats).  If there is a social occasion on one of the days I’d normally eat Paleo I just don’t do it for that period of the day / that meal.  Some months I just keep a check on my calories because that’s how the mood takes me.

So if I’m not strict about it that begs the question why do I bother.

Quite simply it is a way of keeping myself within my calorie requirements that suits my lifestyle and reduces the need for me to count calories.

I know I eat more at the weekend.  I’m not in the office and more likely to go out for food or get a takeaway and eat chocolate whilst I’m sat on the sofa etc.  By slightly reducing my calorie intake Monday – Thursday whilst still filling up on lots of protein I leave myself room for three more calorie dense days.  This happens without even thinking about what I’ve eaten and how many calories is in it.

My message here is Paleo is one method of eating – it can have many benefits (and equally some drawbacks depending on your activity levels and lifestyle) but whatever way you look at it, it is one way you can reach a calorie deficit.  So if you lose weight with it this isn’t because of a magic combination of food just a general reduction in your calorie intake.

For me personally it’s still the best way of eating most of the time as it reduces how often I think about food and encourages me to eat more homemade and less shop bought.  Sometimes the idea of banning certain foods (even though it’s just foods and not food groups and even though it’s only ever for a few days each week!) is bad for my mindset so I will have periods where I don’t follow this and just eat to a bog standard calorie deficit.  Not getting hung up on what foods you do or don’t eat is more beneficial to your long term health than cutting out bread to feel less bloated will ever be.

So it might suit you, it may not, but the habits of eating less processed foods and getting enough protein whilst keeping in a calorie deficit are all positives however you chose to eat.

Ten ways to get ‘fitter’ in 2019

  1. Work out how many calories you burn a day on average and eat this many (to maintain weight) or 20% less (to reduce weight)
  2. Swap one of your sugary snacks with a healthier replacement (e.g. a piece of fruit) each day. And yes I know fruit has some sugar in it but a banana over a Mars Bar will help you cut calories and provide less of a post sugar slump.
  3. Stop having cheat meals. Cheat meals create a restriction / binge / food as a reward mindset.  Eat whatever you want whenever you want within reason without viewing food as good and bad.
  4. Eat protein. Aim to eat 1g of protein per kg of body weight. Will help you feel satisfied without overeating.
  5. Drink at least 0.033 litres water per kg of your body weight each day (so if you weight 60kg drink two litres a day).  Fat loss, performance – hydration is so important to your health.
  6. Don’t exercise at all at the moment? Aim to complete a 30 minute session every week for a month, two 30 minutes sessions a week the next month and three 30 minutes sessions the following month. Boom = Exercise habit created.
  7. Increase your NEAT. However much you exercise aim to increase your non exercise movement by at least 10% each day (i.e. walk more)
  8. Get more sleep. Enough sleep every night will help with weight loss, stress, energy levels.
  9. Learn something new. Want to learn to do a handstand, swim, play netball? Practicing towards mastering a skill will get you moving without exercise being the main goal itself.
  10. Set yourself a challenge. Run in a race, do a Tough Mudder, compete in a swimathon. Setting a challenge can give you the incentive to get to your training sessions and maintain focus.

10 Things I Wish Someone Else Would Write a Blog About

Because I have zero idea!

  1. How to not to eat EVERY.SINGLE.PIECE.OF.CHOCOLATE.I.SEE.EVER (I’ve just stolen someone elses advent calender chocolate. True story!).
  2. How do people get up on their first alarm? I mean if it’s possible why was the snooze function invented?
  3. How do you put eyeliner on without looking like you’re a member the living dead?
  4. How do Les Mills Instructors learn their releases weeks before launch date? #lastminute.com.
  5. How to stop your laundry basket from overflowing. Seriously as soon as I almost get it empty it’s full again!
  6. Gardening for idiots.
  7. How to flirt without looking like you’re having some kind of fit.
  8. What to do with protein powder you really don’t like the taste of but have purchased 4 million kilos of.
  9. How to get bendier when you are built out of the least bendiest thing you can think of.
  10. How to use the toasters when you go down to breakfast in a hotel (they scare me).

If you have written a blog about any of these please point me to it!

Meal Prep for Mr or Mrs Normal

One of the biggest barrier to eating well for me is being out of the house for around 15 hours a day Monday to Friday. 

If you have a job which leads to you being out of the house most of the day you will probably agree that when you get home the last thing you want to do is cooking, not only some food for that night but also lunch for the following day (unless you really enjoy cooking).  If you don’t make your lunch the night before though, the likelihood is you’ll end up going to Tesco to get a sandwich and packet of crisps which won’t be that filling or inspiring and won’t benefit your nutrition as much as a home prepared meal would.

Meal Prep tends to be something that immediately makes you think of body builders and chicken with broccoli. But, whether you go to the gym every day, twice a day or once a week preparing your meals for the week ahead can help you stay within your calorie goal, save money and keep meals tasty and interesting with minimum effort.  They don’t need to be just chicken, rice and veg either you can make any type of food you like that fits within your calorie goal for that day / week.

Recently I’ve taken this one step further and started to prepare a months worth of meals at a time but if your new to meal prep start with a few days and see what does and doesn’t work for you.

Benefits of Meal Prep

  1. Save time – a couple of hours cooking at the start of the week can save you having to spend half an hour every day making food. When you are busy or tired during the week you will have food that you ca pop in the microwave to heat up quickly.
  2. Save money – Unless every meal is fillet steak the chances are that making your meals for the week is going to be cheaper than going to the shop every day for a Meal Deal and getting takeaways or ready meals on the way home for dinner.
  3. Save calories – A homemade curry will often have fewer calories than a shop bought one – you can use chopped tomatoes and herbs to make sauces and pack in as much veg as you like. You will also be in a position to prepare food in advance that you know will fit your calorie allowance for the week – it’s much harder to keep to your targets if your going into the shop each day and picking food out whilst hungry.
  4. Save on boredom – Be honest, if you go and buy a sandwich everyday do you always pick the same one or two fillings. If you plan and prepare your meals you can add as much variety as you want.
  5. Save on stress – Once done that’s it for the week. No cooking in the evening or having to work out what you have time to pick up on your lunch break.  You can pick up your tupperware boxes in he morning and then just wack them in the microwave when your hungry.  Whilst I’m at it – home prepared meals are often more filling than your average Greggs or Meal Deal.

Meal Prep Tips

  1. Plan – Work out how many meals you need for that week and what you are going to take to hit that number of portions.
  2. Have the necessary equipment to hand- Tupperware boxes don’t need to be expensive. I buy the cheap boxes from B&M Bargains (10 for £1.99) which last for a reasonable amount of time but can be replaced cheaply when they break.  Sandwich bags are ideal for freezing food in.  A slow cooker is the god of meal prep in my eyes – it doesn’t need to be a fancy one, mine was £10 from Asda.
  3. Cook things in bulk- Make a curry / chilli / spag bol / casserole with 4-6 portions.
  4. But keep it varied – Eating casserole every day for a week is rubbish. Try making at least a couple of different meals at a time so you have some variety.  If that means you have excess portions left over you can freeze them for another week.
  5. Portion out your food – Separate food into portions so you know exactly how many meals you have for the week- it will prevent you eating more calories than you planned and stop you running out of food half way through the week.
  6. Freeze half your portions – Pop half the portions into tupperware boxes to store in the fridge, the rest can go in sandwich bags to freeze.
  7. Pot Luck or Plan? I tend to just chuck the sandwich bags in the freezer and take them out at random but if you like to know what you’ll be eating that day label up the bags as almost all meals look the same once frozen.
  8. Let food cool first – My main rookie error with freezing food prep was putting it in the freezer before it has totally cooled. This resulted in a very frosty freezer and an evening of defrosting it because I could no longer open the drawers.  Let everything sit on the side until it’s totally cool before putting in the fridge or freezer.
  9. Slow cooker anything and everything – Meat in a slow cooker will taste so much more tender than that cooked on the hob. You can throw almost anything in and just leave it for a few hours and come back to something with lots of flavour.  Amazing taste, minimum effort equals a meal prep win.
  10. You can meal prep breakfast too- I tend to only do two or three days at a time but if you eat breakfast at work instead of at home or are in a rush in the morning this can allow you to have a good breakfast without the fuss. Sausages and bacon taste ok cold (eggs can be microwaved when you get to work) as done banana and egg pancakes amongst other things.

Experiment and see what works best for you – once you find a routine that suits you it will become second nature to prepare al or some of your meals each week and this system / habit will free up so much time and help reduce the stress in your week.