Working in the fitness industry brings many challenges as we try and help our clients reach their goals. The majority of clients I assist are people seeking to lose weight and shape their body but I also assist athletes looking to build their strength to perform at their best and many triathletes looking to better themselves when competing. Whilst I could offer general advise that could cover everything from body building, weight loss, endurance and much more the purpose of this article is to provide a solid base of options to assist you in maximizing your weight loss through nutrition that supports your lifestyle and aids your recovery from exercise.
It must be noted that a ‘clean’ diet is required to maximize results as well as getting the bets possible nutrition you can to aid your body. If you do not get enough calories you affect your bodies ability to burn fat as well as if you get to many calories your body many not be able to burn the calories and you start storing the left over calories as fat.
I therefore give you some simple things you can follow to get maximum results.
Removed the unwanted
In today’s society we are bamboozled with terms like low fat, reduce fat, sugar free, low carb, high protein etc but what is really best for us. Whilst there are some great foods out there that come packaged “I love cheese and yoghurt” some if not most are best consumed in small quantities and/or on special occasions. Below I list the foods I suggest you remove or limit from your diet if you want to get maximum results with your fat loss.
- Milky Coffee
- Trans & Saturated fats
- Fast Foods
Add to your fridge and pantry
- Oats – Contain a wide array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and are a great source of protein, complex carbohydrates and iron. The high soluble fibre content leaves you feeling fuller for longer and may be useful for lower LDL cholesterol levels.
- Red Meat – Great source of protein and iron as well as zinc and B vitamins. Avoid cuts high in saturated fat.
- Coconut oil – contains short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a “healthy” form saturated fat compared to trans fat. It is also know to ease digestion, help reduce weight, support immunity, boost your metabolism and many other things. Start cooking with coconut oil today.
- Cinnamon – Studies suggest it may play a role in lowering blood sugar levels in diabetes.
- Chilli – Known to raise metabolic rate and high in antioxidants.
- Green Tea – Studies have shown it to increase metabolism as well as the bodies ability to burn fat thereby aiding weight loss. It is also high in antioxidants which can help reduce the risk of some cancers. Some studies also show reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and improved cholesterol profiles.
- Blueberries – Contains the highest levels of antioxidants of all fresh fruits and have been show to reduce belly fat and improve blood sugar control. They also promote urinary tract health, preserve vision, maintain brain health and prevent heart disease and cancer. Raspberries are another great choice.
- Celery – Promotes a healthy immune system due to high levels of vitamin C and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels due to its pthalides. Also contains coumarins which have been shown to prevent cancer and may have anti- inflammatory properties. It helps to flush out excess fluid and reduce belly fat.
- Cranberries – Very high in antioxidant content and a rich source of dietary fibre. Used for many years in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections, they are now also thought to help reduce the hardening of arteries and levels of bad cholesterol.
- Goji Berries – Contains all essentials amino acids and have the highest levels of protein of any fruit. Loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They also contain natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal compounds.
- Almond Milk – a fantastic milk replacement that is packed with good fats and is very tasty.
- Nuts and Seeds (Almonds Brazil Nuts Cashew Nuts Macadamia Nuts Pecans Walnuts, Chestnuts Hazelnuts Pistachios Pumpkin Seeds Sesame Seeds Pine Nuts
- Avocado – Can increase levels of good cholesterol and decrease levels of bad cholesterol as they contain oleic acid. Also contains high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin which protects your vision. They help to improve the absorption of other nutrients when included in meals and may offer protection against some forms of cancer.
- Sweet Potato – High in flavour they aid digestion and increase fat burning. Full of antioxidants which protect from cancer, boost the immune system and may have anti- inflammatory effects.
- Cottage Cheese – Nutrient rich, high in protein and low in saturated fat. High in calcium which can protect bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporisis.
- Goats Cheese – is far better than cheeses made from dairy, it’s lower in fat and calories, higher in protein, great for your brain and a metabolic booster.
- Acia Berries – High concentration of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Thought to combat the aging process and aid in the absorption of fish oils.
- Water – suppresses appetite, speeds up metabolism, reduces water retention and calorie free.
- Eggs – High in protein. Studies now show that there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease and that in fact they may help prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attacks. They are a good source of choline which helps regulat the brain, nervous system, cardiovascular system and contain lutein and zeaxanthin which protects vision.
- Fish – Rich in omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to the health of the brain and eye tissue as well as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. May also lower the risk of developing depression and help diabetics control their sugar levels. May relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and autoimmune disease.
- Dark Chocolate – Contains multiple compounds which promote the release of endorphins having a positive effect on your mood. High in antioxidants which protect from cancer and aging as well as flavoniods which help control blood sugar. Promotes blood flow to the brain and can help lower blood pressure, and as it contains caffiene may also boost metabolism.
- Broccoli – High in vitamin C, folic acid and fibre as well as calcium. As such it aids iron absorption, prevents catoracts, improves immunity, may help to control high blood pressure and cholestorel levels. High in antioxidants and has a strong, postive impact on the body detoxification system.
- Black Coffee – you enjoy your workout more, research has found. It can also enhance your energy and reduce post-exercise muscle soreness. Black coffee is rich in antioxidants which protect against cancer and ageing as well as a metabolism booster. Can improve athletic endurance and performance and promotes digestion. Can help to treat headaches and decrease the risk of depression and Parkinson’s disease.
You need to exercise
My most important tip is to find an activity that you enjoy doing. You are much more likely to stick with it if this is the case, whether it is walking, running, swimming, boxing, or aerobic classes. Once you find something you enjoy doing you just need to make sure that you do it at a moderate intensity level (you should feel slightly short of breath but still able to carry on a conversation) in order to maximise your fat burn.
If you want to increase your muscle mass, and therefore your metabolic rate you can also add in some resistance exercise. This does not have to mean lifting heavy weights, even light resistance exercise can have benefits. However It is important to have the right technique to prevent injury with these exercises, so if in doubt make sure you seek assistance from someone trained in the field.
To optimize your performance, you need to eat a minimum of 1-2 hours before. Research has established that carbohydrate intake during exercise delays the onset of fatigue and improves endurance exercise performance. This happens because carbs enhance the availability of blood glucose to active muscle. Roughly 70% of the energy in your pre-workout meal should come from carbs, but choose low-glycemic carbs like oatmeal, veggies or sweet potatoes instead of simple sugars or lollies to avoid wild fluctuations in your blood-sugar levels. Protein is the next important nutrient to consider in order to decrease muscle breakdown during and after your workout. Fat takes the longest to digest, so a pre-workout meal should be relatively low in fat.
A meal of 150-300 calories depending on how you feel, how quickly you digest and how close to a workout you are is ideal for a pre workout feed.
Some examples are
- A bowl of oats with some berries
- Yoghurt and berries
- Coconut water
- Some sweet potato and chicken (this is great post workout too)
- Black Coffee
It need not be complicated, just have a wholesome afternoon snack a few hours before you workout and you should be just fine.
I usually suggest to my clients that after a workout to consume a protein shake to start the process of replenishing and repair their muscles. I also encourage that they consume food 30-60minutes after their workout to maximize the fat burning process.
Unless you have the goal of gaining muscle where I suggest you consume carbs post workout I recommend a good Whey protein be consumed. A whey protein is usually enough for most people to recover. With whey protein the increase in melatonin causes a stress response but it is a good source of glutathione. However you cannot beat a post workout meal if you are not into liquid meals. You get the calorie burn form the actual digestion without the negative effects of liquid meals. I recommend something like chicken, a bunch of greens and sweet potato after a workout.
I think it is important to remember that there are a multitude of diets and each to their own on what they follow as long as it is safe. I like to keep things pretty simply. Healthy unprocessed foods daily in the right portion sizes and I always feel satisfied. I do not tell my clients you need to consume 1200 calories per day I advocate healthy living. You can have great food without it being in a wrapper but if you must have something (and we all do) think about it, make plans for it, and look at what needs to be done to ensure it does not impact you (or your waist line).
Life is for living but eat right and make every training session count.