Could you answer these health, fitness and fatloss questions? Part Two

A few weeks ago, I presented my clients with a quiz to test their health and fitness knowledge.  The answers to the first half of the quiz were posted HERE

There were lots of correct answers (of course as i”ve been educating them for years on this stuff) but there were a few questions where there was some confusion.  Lets go over the rest of the questions and the answers:

Can you keep training if you’re injured?

The answer to this is ‘it depends’.  At FitterFaster probably about 40% of our clients have some injury or condition that prevents them from completing a workout exactly as programmed on any given day.

However, they have alternative drills they can perform in most cases and MOST injuries can be worked around. Its best to speak to your coach in consultation with your physical therapist or doctor/specialist to determine if YOU can continue training in any way.

What is the minimum number of high intensity training sessions recommended to produce the best results?

The minimum recommended number of training session each week is 3.  Spacing  your sessions fairly evenly through the week is also important because if you leave too long (more than a couple of days) between sessions, you won’t make good progress.  This especially applies to newer trainees.  People that have been at a higher fitness level for a longer time will be able to hold fitness better with occasional longer spells between training.

The next two questions produced a variety of responses:

Are nuts classed as a fat, protein or carbohydrate food?

The answer is, a fat source.

Yes, they do contain small amounts of protein and carbs too, but are classed as a fat source in the FitterFaster Nutrition Programs.

What about legumes?

These are a high energy carb.  Many answered ‘grain’ but legumes are not grains.

Again, they contain smaller amounts of protein as well, but the carb content is high in comparison.  They are also not an excellent source of protein so additional protein is required in a meal that contains them.

How many high energy carbohydrate serves should you have on  a non-training day and a training day if your goal is fat loss?

One serve on days where you do not train and an additional one for each high-intensity training session lasting approx. 40 mins or more per day.

This confused a lot of clients, many of whom answered ‘none’ for non-training days. For most people, it is important to have some high energy carbs each day.

Give 3 examples of one high energy carbohydrate serve

1 banana

1 slice of any bread

3/4 cup of peas or corn

1 cup cooked pasta

1/2 cup cooked rice

1/3 cup uncooked oats

15-20 grapes

1-2 tablespoons of dried fruit

100g flavoured yoghurt

1/2 cup legumes

1 medium potato of any type including sweet potato

Are all examples of ONE serve of High Energy Carbs

If you don’t want to bother with good nutrition, can’t you just train hard 6-7 times per week and get good results?

NO!!!!!

I will answer the last few questions in my next post.  Keep an eye out and don’t forget to check the answers from the first part of the quiz HERE

 

Answers to Confusing Health, Fitness & Fat Loss Questions

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Recently at FitterFaster I sent out a quiz to clients to see how much they have learnt/or know about healthy eating, training and just generally being healthier.

I was quite surprised by some of the answers, both with the knowledge you all displayed and also at the common confusion about a few  of the questions.

Hence, this blog post.  I’ll provide the answers to some of the 25 questions and follow up with the rest in further posts.

How many hours of sleep should you aim for on average?

7-8 hours.

How many serves of protein should you aim to eat per day on a ‘perfect’ day.

Female  – 5

Males – 8

A serving being approx. 25g of protein.  Or approx. 100-120g of any lean red or white meat, 2 eggs, 100g of low fat cottage cheese etc

What should all of your meals contain?

Protein and Carbs was the correct answer.  This is assuming you’re following the FitterFaster Precision Nutrition Program and are eating 5 meals/snacks per day with an optional 6th one for males.

There was a variety of answers to this one, with lots stating Protein, Carbs and Fats.  I recommend adding a serve of healthy fats to  just 2-3 meals or snacks per day. Although we do require healthy fats every day, eating too much fat, even if its healthy will result in weight gain or inability to lose excess body fat, just like with any other macronutrient.

With the recent obsession with ‘Paleo’, this has become a common error and usually means a lack of results.    While eating a Paleo based diet is highly recommended.  (The FFPNP could pretty much be described as Paleo with a couple of adjustments)

Just because something is ‘healthy’ doesnt mean you can eat too much of it.

What’s the best oil to cook with?

Coconut oil for most uses.  Other healthy oils are better for use in dressings etc as they lose their health benefits or are degraded by overheating.

List 3 things you could do to stop yourself from eating everything in sight when having cravings.

There are many, many ‘correct’ answers to this question.  I’ve listed some of your ideas and some of mine below:

  • Have a coffee instead
  • Make a healthy snack that is part of your nutrition plan and eat it now, even if you’re not supposed to have your meal yet
  • Get busy.  Go outside, clean, go for a walk, visit a friend, hang out the washing, etc.  There are heaps of ways to get busy and distract yourself.
  • Do a workout.  This could be a full training session, or just 5-10 minutes of activity to get you over your craving
  • Have a herbal tea

What are the best indicators that your fat loss program is working?

The choices listed were:

  • Body weight going down
  • Tape Measure
  • Clothes fitting better
  • Comments from friends or family
  • More energy
  • Feeling fitter and able to do more
  • Less headaches
  • Sleeping better

There were lots of varieties of answers for this one.  The correct answer was all of them, except the first one.

Scale weight is not a good indicator of your program working.  Especially if its not moving.  I’ve done so many assessments this week where clients were disappointed that the scales had only moved by 1-3 kg.  Yet, after a full assessment, measurements and body fat percentage had moved considerably.  Relying on the scales alone is not a good idea.

How do you determine how much training you should do each week?

There were once again a variety of answers and most of them were spot on.  You should determine your training frequency by your recovery and your goals.  You should be getting enough sleep and eating properly before in increasing to more than 3 sessions per week.

What are some signs of overtraining or under-recovery?

This leads from the prior question.

A variety of choices was given and are listed below:

  • Sleeping really well
  • Lack of energy
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Extra hungry
  • Lack of hunger
  • Getting sick often
  • Headaches or other flu like symptoms
  • Ongoing niggling injuries
  • Unable to shift bodyfat

All of the above answers are correct except the first.  You could be extra hungry or lose your appetite.  You may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.  You may get sick more often or have niggling injuries that wont go away or keep recurring.

If you had to choose one supplement to recommend to the average person wanting to lose body fat and improve their health, what would it be?

The correct answer is fish oils or another Omega 3 supplement.

Quite a few answered ‘protein powder’ but this is incorrect.  You do not need a protein supplement to improve health or lose weight.   A protein supplement is simply a source of protein and has no health benefits or fat loss benefits(unless you are under consuming protein)

I hope this helps you with some of the confusing questions.  Keep an eye out for more answers in another post soon

Dangerous oils and sugars

There’s so much new research (and old stuff that was ignored coming to light) that is teaching us about the good and bad effects different foods and components of foods have on our bodies.

To date, nutritional information has been confusing, misleading and contradictory.  That is mostly because parts of studies or findings are taken out of context and blown out of proportion by the media.  If anyone actually took the time to read studies that are quoted by the media, most times, they’d see that the findings were not at all what the media is saying.

But boring, uninteresting facts don’t sell papers and magazines.  And it is hard to promote a miracle product when the science doesn’t support it.

So marketers, promoters and the general media (and anyone else with a product to sell) will pull sentences and ‘facts’ out of studies (and even totally contradict the study) if it helps them to market their product.  Even if what they are saying is totally false.

Today I’m discussing two things you need to avoid as much as possible, or even eliminate from your diet if you can.

One is a sugar and one is a fat.  So here we go.  Bare in mind, I’m not selling a solution to these, I have no product to replace them and I have no vested interest in you eliminating them, besides the fact that I want to help you to improve your health.

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Fructose

Here’s a short list of SOME of the ways fructose will destroy your body:

  • It rots your teeth
  • It makes you fat (in more ways than just excess calories)
  • It can create high blood pressure
  • It can destroy brain cells
  • It feeds cancer
  • It can increase depression and anxiety
  • It destroys your liver and messes with your kidneys
  • And more.  It has no health benefits and is not essential for you body

In short, fructose begins a series of diseases caused by the fact that fructose is turned into fat in your liver.  This can lead to type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, obesity (yes, you get fat), heart disease, liver disease and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Also, due to the uric acid created when the fructose is turned into fat it also causes gout, high blood pressure and kidney disease to name a few.

If you’d like more information about this, 2 great reads are by David Gillespie: Sweet Poison and Eat Real Food. Take a look at these easy to read books.  They’ll explain a lot and reference studies too.

In the meantime, remember that all the things that fructose does to your body can be reversed.  So that’s good news.

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Polyunsaturated Fats

Unfortunately, this is not true with the conditions and diseases caused consumption of polyunsaturated fats.    These are largely permanent!

Some of the ways polyunsaturated fats can cause harm are:

  • Cause cancer
  • Contribute to making you blind
  • Can contribute to Parkinsons Disease
  • Increase osteoporosis
  • Major cause of allergies and asthma
  • Give you rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases
  • Help fructose to cause heart disease

The David Gillespie book Eat Real Food also explains this in detail; the why and the how.

What foods contain fructose and polyunsaturated oils?

Here’s a list of foods to avoid:

  • Dried Fruit
  • Margarine
  • Fruit Juices
  • Vegetable Juices
  • Jams and honey
  • Tomato and BBQ sauce (and similar)
  • Lollies and yep, chocolate
  • Flavoured waters
  • Flavoured yoghurts
  • Pre-mixed spirits and ciders
  • Vegetable/seed oils
  • Ice cream
  • Cakes and sweet biscuits
  • Most breakfast cereals (including the ‘health section’ ones)
  • Soft drinks
  • Marinated meats/fish/chicken
  • Marinades
  • Most premade jars of pasta or other sauces

Wow, that’s a large list and for lots of you, may have just drastically reduced your grocery bill.

You should also reduce your use of artificial sweeteners too.  In fact, cut them out all together.

What can I eat then?

  • Meat, chicken and fish
  • Seafood (not crumbed or battered)
  • Eggs
  • Whole fruit, especially berries
  • Whole nuts and some seeds (keep seed consumption low)
  • Vegetables of all kinds including all types of potatoes for those going to ask.
  • Unsweetened and unflavoured greek or natural yoghurt
  • Water
  • Real butter and coconut oil
  • Oats – whole rolled – not flavoured varieties

For a comprehensive list of foods that you can eat, fill out your details below

And don’t forget to check out those books. They’re both an easy read with lots of information written in an easy to understand format complete with study references.

 

Easy Ways To Get Fatter

What could you do on a daily or weekly basis to gain body fat? It’s pretty simple really and most of these things can be done without even thinking about them:

  • Drink your calories. This is an easy one. Never choose water and instead, drink soft drinks, cordials, fruit juices and even load up on diet drinks. The only way to drink your water if you want to gain body fat, is to choose flavoured varieties.
  • Go on a strict diet where you cut your calories really low. This is just about guaranteed to get your eating way too much at some point and also will aid you to make bad food choices because you’re so hungry. Can also cause drops in blood sugar which are great for increasing cravings too.
  • Go to bed too late, watch telly in bed, take your phone to bed or develop any other bad sleeping habit. This will cause havoc with your hormones, increase cravings and also cause you to overeat due to a lack of energy and focus. Whatever you do, don’t get more than 6 hours of sleep per night, or, if you must, make sure you get at least 9 or more hours as getting too much sleep can also cause you to overeat. Watching TV or using a computer or other device at night is also a great way to waste time that could otherwise be spent sleeping.
  • Snack or choose foods for meals according to whatever is most convenient and easy to get. Do not under any circumstances try to be organised or prepared. Just grab the easiest thing available especially if it can be ordered and delivered or you can order and pick up within 10 minutes or so. Take away food is great for piling on the kilos. Ditto for being organised during the day with food when away from the home. Do not under any circumstances preprepare snacks and take them with you. Just be sure to grab whatever is available.  Do not pack your own lunch for work, just grab whatever is easiest, quickest or cheapest from the closest cafe or take away shop.
  • Do not undertake physical activity unless it involves taking it easy, having long rests and not overexerting yourself. Best not to do anything though just to be sure.
    If you do anything physical, make sure you undo at least some of the benefits by consuming energy/sports drinks and protein/low carb/energy/etc bars. In case, you accidentally burn any calories while exercising, make sure you replace them with calorie laden flavoured drinks and snacks. Energy/sports drinks are especially good for this.
  • Drink alcohol as often as possible. Even a once per week binge will ensure that fat stores are laid in your body and remain there.  If possible, have at least a glass or two of beer or wine (or other favourite alcoholic drink) most nights as a ‘wind down’ because you deserve it.
  • Have a cheat meal/snack most days. If you can’t force yourself eat whatever you want for an entire day, even just one massive cheat meal per week will undo a lot of what you’ve achieved during the week if you forgot to make bad food choices on a daily basis.
  • Don’t think about what you’re eating and drinking and most definitely don’t record it. Choose solely on availability and taste. Do not think about nutrient content, protein content, calories, fats, chemical additives etc. Just shove it in, in as larger quantities as possible.
  • Eat as much as possible of ‘diet’ products. Anything labelled ‘non-fat, low fat, diet, skinny, lite, light etc’ is great in large quantities. You know you can eat extra of this to put on extra body fat at any time.
  • Be sure to hang around the tea or lunch room at work especially when it’s someone’s birthday or the boss shouts morning tea. Other great places to hang are at kids birthday parties, right next to the food table or at the buffet when out. And always make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand on your desk at work. Especially lollies, choccies and other nibbly food that’s impossible to eat just one of.
  • When you’re feeling bad/upset/angry/lonely/bored, make sure you have on hand an assortment of rubbish foods to medicate yourself with. These are guaranteed to make you feel worse (and guilty) so that any thoughts of making good choices are thrown totally out the window in favour of eating even more crap.  You know you’ll feel bad once you start, so make sure you have plenty to keep going on with.

So there you have it.  Easy ways to put on body fat.  Which ones are you doing?

It's easy to get a belly like this
It’s easy to get a belly like this

Reality Check – You’re Probably Fat

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As a population, we are getting bigger and bigger, heavier and heavier. Yep, that’s you and me and our families. That’s US, not someone else. WE ARE the population.

3 out of 5 people are overweight, with another 1 out of 5 being obese. That’s 4 out of 5 people over a healthy weight! In many areas (including my location) the figures are higher. More like 3 out of 5 are obese and 1 is ‘just’ overweight. And we are getting fatter and fatter.

Are you one of the 1 out of 5 that’s a healthy weight? Or one of the 4? How do you know?

If your BMI is over 25, you are overweight (I know BMI is not accurate for a small portion of the population, but it’s easy for you to calculate yourself: BMI CALCULATOR)

For a more accurate measure, you can get your bodyfat tested and know for sure (contact me if you’d like a free Body Composition assessment)

Did you calculate your BMI? If not, click the link and do it now

Under 18.5?

You’re underweight and need a program of training and nutrition designed to help you put lean weight on (and possibly some body fat too) You most likely need some health improvements too, but some of those issues will sort themselves out with a program that combines healthy eating and training NOT designed to burn tonnes of fat, but to increase your lean weight.

Between 18.5 and 24.9?

You have a healthy weight and should concentrate of health and athletic performance – yes, even if you’re not an athlete. Staying in this range won’t just ‘happen’ by itself. You need to concentrate on maintaining/improving your health and being as strong and fit as you can.

25 and over?

You’re overweight!! You should be concentrating your training and nutrition on losing body fat. Increasing strength and muscle are NOT what you should be concentrating on. While an effective fat loss program will increase lean mass and strength if you’re just starting out, these should be secondary goals till you lower your body fat. Yes, you should still resistance train, but most of your focus should be on losing excess body fat and improving your nutrition to lower it as soon as you can.

What’s the big deal? I’m happy with my body

While a healthy self-esteem is fantastic, (and something I hope all my clients achieve sooner rather than later) there are many other reasons to get to a healthy weight range. Your body composition is indicative of your overall health status. (That’s why it’s called HEALTHY weight range)

When I do a body composition assessment, you are given a relative disease risk reading for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Included in the calculation is your age, your waist to hip ratio and your body fat percentage. People are usually surprised at their increased risk of these diseases simply because of their excess body fat. And if they have a family history of any of these conditions (which is not included in the calculation) their risk can be even higher. Add to that alcohol consumption, smoking and inactivity and the risk increases substantially.

If you’re overweight, sooner or later, you will suffer from problems related to that excess body fat; heart disease, stroke and diabetes are 3 examples. Others are some cancers and joint problems (yep dodgy knees, hips etc) are 2 more.

There are so many different programs and diets and many of them are good. But the one thing that determines your success in any of them is your ability to stick with them for the long term Yep, your compliance and consistency are what counts the most.

Here are some basic tips that you need to follow regardless of which plan or program you decide to follow:

 

CUT OUR JUNK FOOD AND ALCOHOL

What a tip to start. Yes, if you’re overweight and you want to lose that body fat, which you should, you need to stop eating take away (of any kind) and stop drinking alcohol (sorry, it’s bad news for body composition changes, unless you’re trying to get fatter)

TRAIN

An exercise program on its own won’t keep producing fat loss for long. But…….. part of your program should be to improve your health and your athleticism. So you need to move. Depending on your exact health history, your weight and body fat levels and any injuries or other conditions, exercise for you could mean walking, group fitness, boot camps, CrossFit, personal training, gym or exercising at home with an online training program or videos. Of course, my best suggestion for workouts that increase athleticism and decrease body fat are my own at FitterFaster Check out these options (and others) that we have just here in Maryborough.

EAT MORE SALADS AND VEGETABLES

Your mum was right. Veggies are good for you. No, they are great for you. If you’re not eating them, you’re not achieving great health. Adding more veggies and salads to at least your 3 main meals every day will help you to lose body fat, and improve your health without doing anything else. Don’t skip this. You need lots and lots of veggies and salad every day.

There are no magical secrets to losing excess body fat and improving your health. It takes commitment and consistency, especially if you’ve been overweight for some time. It may take longer than you’d like, but that’s okay. If you’re making progress, that’s what counts.

You can start any time at FitterFaster but I am running a 12 week transformation challenge from February 1st 2016. It’s called the Transform Together Project and you can find details here Registrations close on January 23rd

consistency is key

Why You Keep Giving Up Your Exercise Routine

consistency is key

If you’ve ever started on a new fitness kick, you’ve most likely at some stage, also given up.

We’ve all experienced this.  You’re all excited. You buy new gear, you plan it all out and you stick with it religiously for a few days or maybe a few weeks and then you fall off the horse for whatever reason.

It doesn’t mean your ‘bad’ or ‘hopeless’ or whatever else you’ve labelled yourself.  It is hard to start something new and I’ve got lots of ways to make it much more likely that you’ll stick with it and get results.

1. Do Something Other People Are Doing

You probably already know this, but sticking with any new habit is much easier if you’re doing it with someone else.

It could be your partner, your best friend, a work colleague or another relative.  It doesn’t really matter.  Being part of a community of people working towards similar goals works even better.  Having a coach is another way to stick with your new training program.  Whether that be a personal trainer/coach online or in person.

This is why I do group training at FitterFaster.  Even my PeakFit Personal Training sessions are held in small groups.  Turning up to train with the same group of people  builds a camaraderie and a sense of belonging to something bigger.  This is why teams work so successfully.  It’s human nature to work in groups/teams towards something bigger

2. Make The Process The Goal

If you make a goal to be able to run 5km non-stop,be able to lift a certain weight or to lose a certain number of kilos by a set date, you really don’t have total control over that outcome.

What you can control, however, is the PROCESS and HABITS you undertake to achieve your outcome goals.

You can control how much time and effort you put in each day and each week.  All outcome goals are achieved by completing a habit or process over and over again.  Focusing on the outcome and forgetting about the process is a common mistake.

So make process goals such as; I will workout for 10 minutes every day, I will run 4 times per week, I will practice my weight lifting for 3 x 30 minutes each week or I will attend FitForce Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays etc.

Fitness results magically happen when you focus on doing what you need to do each day rather than on your larger outcome goal.

3. Make the Process Small Enough So You Are Certain You Can Achieve It

Pretty much nothing is too small.

Depending on your current fitness level, you could decide to walk for 10 minutes each day and that could be enough to see results.

More often than not, we simply set out to do more than we realistically may be able to achieve each day or each week.  Promising yourself you’ll run every day is probably unrealistic, especially if you have just started running.

Deciding to attend FitterFaster 5 times per week at the beginning of your fitness journey is unrealistic too.  Even if you’ve rounded up a friend to attend with you and you’re both highly motivated, starting out with such high expectations will most likely result in a failure to complete every session and a high chance you’ll give up quickly.  Not to mention the high risk of injury if you do too much too soon.

Consistency is THE KEY to results

Set small process/habit goals as per the point above.  I want to start running, so I’ll start out by run/walking for 20 minutes 3 times per week and walking for 20 minutes 3 other days.  It’s realistic, is less likely to cause injury and because you’re going to be able to achieve it and tick it off, you’re so much more likely to be in the right ‘success’ head space and stay there.

4. Do It Often Enough To Make It A Habit

While you need to set habit goals that you know  you can achieve, you can’t say something like, I’ll train once per week, surely I can do that.

It’s just not regular enough to become a habit.  For something to become a habit, you need to do it at least, a few times per week, maybe even more often.

Using my example above of attending FitterFaster, while expecting yourself to be able to attend 5 times per week at first, is unrealistic, setting a five-times-per-week training schedule is not.

You may decide to attend FitForce 3 days per week and on the other weekdays, go for a walk, or do a short little workout or stretch at home – just 10 minutes is enough to make doing something a habit.

If you’re starting out on your own at home, you’ll be much more successful in the long term if you decide to workout for 20 minutes 5 days per week, than 3 times per week for 60 minutes.  Even though it’s less time overall.

Once you’ve built your habit (and by this, I mean it’s automatic and you just ‘do it’) then you can increase the time or frequency to see continued improvements.

Remember that being consistent is absolutely the number one key to results when it comes to fitness improvements.

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