Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of The Day?

A lot of people think they are saving calories by skipping breakfast.  But you should think again.  What usually happens is that you end up starving  by mid-morning, are unable to think clearly and concentrate and you will more than likely replace those missed calories and more sometime later in the day.

Eating more earlier in the day (within reason of course) usually means eating less later in the day.

I see this time and time again in food journals. The binge more happens more often than not, after skipped morning meals because you simply got hungry due to the lack of calories consumed early in the day.

Having said all that, it’s important not to overeat at breakfast time too and you can do that by eating low energy density foods.  This basically means choosing foods that have a high volume/lower calorie ratio.  Or, in other words, they are filling but provide less calories than other choices.

This is the basis (along with eating real food) of all the FitterFaster meal plans.

Yep, eat heaps and lose body fat because calories are lower overall.  Never be hungry because you are simply eating too much food.  The biggest and most common complaint I hear is; “There’s too much food, do I have to eat it all?”

So what does this mean in practical terms?  What should I eat for breakfast?

Higher fibre foods are great.  Foods with high water content are great.  Real foods are fantastic and if you combine all these, you’ll get the ideal breakfast for everyone.

A well balanced meal includes ample protein, low energy carbs (usually in the form of vegetables or fruit) and healthy fats.

One of FitterFaster clients’ favourite recipes is FitterFaster Muesli.

FITTERFASTER MUESLI

100g greek or natural yoghurt

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup almonds/walnuts or 1 tbs of FF Seed MixIMG_0827

1 serve of quality protein (chocolate and vanilla are awesome)

1 cup berries (fresh or frozen)

 

Mix everything together, adding the berries last so you don’t squash them.

A fantastic option for breakfast is eggs. You’re probably thinking you don’t have time to prepare eggs, but there are ways around this.

I make a massive quiche on weekends for my kids to have for breakfast a few times during the following week.  You may scale this down for your family:

 

BUTLER BREAKFAST QUICHE

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40 free range eggs (we have our own chooks)

3 large carrots grated or diced finely

10-15 mushrooms sliced thinly

half a large bag of spinach roughly chopped

1kg tomatoes diced

bacon (we use anywhere between 500g – 1kg depending on what I have on hand)

2-3 large onions diced

2-3 large capsicum diced

any other veggies I have on hand, all diced

I simply chuck everything in and mix it well.  Add salt and pepper and sometimes I also add some spice mix.  I have used the Morrocan spice from Masterfoods but other good ones come from the Your Inspiration At Home range that I’ve just started using.  Mix it up for variety.

I grease my roasting dish with butter and cook in a 180 degree oven for anywhere from 55-70 mins. As you can imagine, a 40 egg quiche takes some cooking.

I take it out just before the centre sets and let it sit in the dish till cooled.  It’s always cooked perfectly without being burnt on the edges this way.

The kids just cut a piece off in the morning and heat in the microwave.  They also sometimes have it cold.

My favourite breakfast takes just minutes to cook and I usually do it while I’m making school lunches.

JO’S BREAKY SCRAMBLE

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I roughly dice up 1-2 zucchini and chuck it in a warm pan iwth coconut oil.  After about 1-2 minutes, I add half a bag of spinach.  That cooks for about 30 seconds and then I crack 2 large free range eggs on top.  By then the pan is nice and hot, so a couple of quick tosses and a scramble with the spatula and the eggs are done. Its a big green-eggy-scrambly mess that tastes delicious.

Again, I turn off the heat just before the eggs are fully cooked.  That way if I need to leave it in the pan because I’m busy (who isn’t in the morning) it won’t overcook.

If I feel like it, I chuck in some herbs or spices, mixing it up each day or having it plain.

You could do this with any veggies and its super fast and very easy.

One last breakfast idea is the PLM. Or Precision Liquid Meal.  This is a ‘shake’ made from real food with the addition of protein powder to round it out.

PRECISION LIQUID MEAL

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1 serve protein powder

1 cup fruit (banana or berries are my favs)

1 tbls flaxseeds (linseeds) or 1.4 cup almonds/walnuts

Whiz the seeds or nuts till ground well.

Add the fruit and protein along with 150-200ml water. Blend till smooth. A magic bullet, nutri-bullet type machine is best for this.  Adjust the water to suit you. Do  you prefer to eat with  a spoon or drink?

So there you have it. Some easy ideas for the perfect breakfast.


The Formula For Success

I have good news and bad news.

First the bad news: you can’t do it all.

That long to-do list you have staring at you? Working harder, longer and more frantically will not help you get all your boxes checked. The reason is because more tasks, more responsibilities, and more activities keep piling on. But the harder you try to do everything, the more frustrated you become.

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The hard truth is that there simply isn’t enough time to do everything there is to do.

Of course we know this intuitively, but for some reason we keep on trying to do it all—probably because we don’t really know what else to do.

And if you are like most people, one of the first things to go is your own fitness and health. Who has time to go to the gym when you are buried under 6 weeks of backlogged to-do’s?

Now for the good news: there is a way out.

You see, when you try to do everything, the most important tasks get mixed up with the least important tasks. The result is that you end up spending precious time on things that do not move you toward your goals.

If you are doing things that do not move you toward your goals, you are, in fact, moving away from your goals.

You only have so much energy, and you only have so much time. The key is to make sure that you are focusing on the most important tasks.  How??

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Set goals

The only way to sort through your to-do list and decide which tasks are the most important is to know where you are headed.

What are your goals?  What things do you want to change?  Where do you want to be in 6 months, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years?

What is your goal in relation to your kids, your wife, your job?

How is your health? How fit and healthy do you really want to be?

We’re looking at your top goals right now: the big ones.

This doesn’t mean that you do not have other goals, but these are the ones that get priority no matter what else is going on.

Stop doing some things

Once you know what your goals are, you can take a critical look at how you spend your day.
Each day, you do a lot of things and you expend a lot of energy.

Where are you focusing most of your best energy and concentration?

Every task can be assigned a value—it is either a high value task or it is a low value task.

High value tasks are those tasks that move you in the direction of your established goals.

Low value tasks are those tasks that do not move you in the direction of your goals.

It’s that simple.

So in order to reach your goals, you must open up more time for those high value tasks that propel you forward. And the only way to do this is to stop doing some of your low value tasks.

Of course, this is easier said than done.

Some of those low value tasks may be important, just less important than others. This is where you will have to get creative.

If you can eliminate it, just toss it out.

For example, if your goal is to decrease your diabetes medication by exercising more, get rid of the low value hour you spend daily checking facebook and watching the nightly news.

Think efficiency: can you systematise it?

Checking email may be important, but checking several times a day uses valuable time and energy.  This is something I’ve done which literally saves me hours each week. I check first thing and then 2 other times per day during the week. I’ve stopped checking in the evenings too and honestly, I’m so much more efficient.  Weekends I usually just check once per day now.

Let your clients/work mates know that you will only be checking email twice a day, and tell them what time you will be doing this. This will free up time for more valuable activities such as working out or preparing nutritious food.  Make sure that you actually close your email account and turn off notifications so that you’re not tempted by that little red circle with the number in it.

Pass it along: delegate it!

There are some things you can stop doing because you hand them to someone else. Can your son start mowing the yard for you? Can you hire someone to do some of your tasks more cheaply than you can do them yourself?

Remember: every second you spend on activities that do not move you toward your goal takes you in the opposite direction from your goal. Live intentionally!

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Now GO!

You are now positioned for success. You have set your goals, you have stopped doing the things that don’t move you toward those goals, and you have freed up energy and time to focus on the highest value tasks.

Your to-do list should look a lot different now. It should be, well, doable as opposed to a bottomless pit of never finished pressures.

The only way to get fit is to make it a top priority.

It should feel urgent. It should be one of your top goals. Why? Because if you squander your health, you will be forced to give up much of what you love and enjoy. But keep your health and you stay positioned for success.  Great health and fitness does not happen by accident.  Make it a priority or you’ll never get there.

Spend time TODAY deciding what you can stop doing so that you have the time and energy to live with intention and direction.

Get ready to change your life.


Fat Loss is Easier Than You’ve Been Told

The number one, simplest way to lose bodyfat is to keep a food journal.  When I started FitterFaster way back in 2008 I discovered this.

I put it into practice and without fail, those achieving the best (or any) results, are those who keep a food journal.

So why don’t you keep one??

Some things move you towards your goals and some things move you further away.  You’re practically never staying still, and all you need to do is work out  which things are which.

And that’s what I’m here for.  As your coach (if you’re a client of mine) its my job to make sure  you know what to do, when and of course, what not to do and how to do it, step by step.

AND I WILL DO THAT WITHOUT JUDGEMENT

I don’t care if you skipped breakfast, had a block of chocolate for morning tea, chips for lunch and 2 minute noodles for tea.   I am not going to judge you.

Or if you ate the ‘picture’ perfect menu today but lost the plot yesterday.

What I do care about is simply knowing what you did, so I can help you to fix it.

If you are judging your food journal, you need to stop it.  The journal is simple a recording of what happened.  Its not a confession or admission of guilt.

Its simple a log of habits that enable us to know exactly where you are at and what we can change or what we should change to make your habits better.

And its not just as simple as saying; “stop eating this and eat that instead, and while you’re at it, stop snacking at supper time ”

The Food and Training Journal can tell me so much more.

For instance;

  • that on days when you skip the protein in your breakfast, did you notice you crave (and eat) more carbs at lunch?
  • or that on days when your water consumption was down, your training sessions were not as energetic and you had headaches?
  • that on days when you had lots of high energy carbs in your lunch, you were tired and lethargic and craved junk food all afternoon?

A detailed food journal points all of this out.

So as per my email, get that journal started today.  I promise I won’t judge you and you should stop judging yourself.

Let me take a look inside your daily habits so that we can work together to decide what you should work on first (the one thing that will give you bang for your buck, but be easy to achieve)

Once you get that sorted, we can move onto the next thing and so on.

Comment below if you want to get great results and you’re going to get your journal started.

 


Do I Really Need To Give Up Alcohol?

Many clients have made the move to eating better and training frequently and consistently with proven training methods. They are seeing improvements in their body composition, their energy levels, they’re sleeping better and they are getting fitter. Some however are not quite seeing the results they desire and for some of them, alcohol is the culprit.

I get asked a lot:

“Can I still drink?”

“What about just sometimes?”

“I only drink on the weekend.”

“I just have one while I get tea ready.”

“It’s not every night.”

“I really need it to relax.”

“But I enjoy having a drink with friends/hubby/partner etc, that’s okay isn’t it?”

Well yes, and no. Yes if you’re happy with how things are going for you. And no if you want better outcomes.

In a targeted fat loss program, no amount of alcohol is okay-sorry!

I’ve reproduced a blog post I wrote a couple of years ago which highlights just some of the affects alcohol has on our bodies. Once you reach your fat loss goals, you may be able to introduce some alcohol back into your diet, but always making sure it’s occasional, controlled and with the knowledge that every single drink is going to set you back.

I know it sounds harsh and like I say at the end of the article, it can be hard to imagine that you could actually enjoy friends’ company or a night out without alcohol-but it can be done and it’s not a hardship.

It feels so good to be lean and healthy, to have energy to burn, good skin, and to be able to wear clothes you love. The feelings of being a bit tipsy are outshone by all of this, you’ll be on a high all the time once you reach your goals.

Here’s the article:

Alcohol is a toxin. It is essentially a poison that must be detoxified by the body. Some blood types handle alcohol better than others. The common O blood type handles it the worst of all blood types.

And women process alcohol far less efficiently than men.

Alcohol also suppresses the body’s ability to burn fat.

Apart from the fact that alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and includes no nutrients, it also does not satisfy hunger and weakens your resolve when it comes to avoiding foods that should not be part of a healthy diet either.

This is probably the main reason why alcohol makes you fat, and the reason behind the famous ‘beer belly’ even on drinkers who don’t eat a lot.

The body has no storage capacity for alcohol like it does for carbohydrates and fats, so it must be digested and processed immediately by the liver. Because it is a poison, the body must metabolise it as quickly as possible.

While the liver is metabolising the alcohol, the utilisation of fats, carbohydrates and protein has to be temporarily suppressed.

The burning of fats is suppressed the most, because the body metabolizes carbohydrates and proteins first. In short, alcohol puts fat metabolism on hold. When alcohol is in your system, your body will simply convert more of the food you normally eat into fat (instead of into energy, as it is ‘too busy’ dealing with the alcohol). And since most people usually consume their alcohol in addition to food and not as a substitute for it, the accumulation of extra body fat is the result.

Alcohol also interferes with the absorption of most nutrients.

Alcohol irritates the sensitive lining of the stomach and intestinal tract. This interferes with proper digestion and absorption of vital nutrients. It also destroys some of the good strains of bacteria that live in the intestinal tract. These bacteria assist in digestion, absorption of vitamins and in keeping harmful bacteria under control.

An excess of harmful bacteria in the gut causes gas, bloating, yeast infections, stomach cramps and a disruption of the body’s pH levels (link to Acid-Alkaline Balance) and can lead to more serious health problems if not rectified. Drinking regularly never gives the good bacteria a chance to re-establish themselves, which is another good reason to limit or stop your drinking.

The metabolisation of alcohol by the liver uses up the B vitamins thiamin and niacin. Alcohol also decreases the body’s ability to metabolise zinc. And it also suppresses testosterone, vital for muscle-building and optimal health for both men and women.

Excessive alcohol consumption has been associated with numerous health problems and degenerative diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiomyopathy, abnormal heart rhythms, liver disease, cancer, decreased resistance to infections, gout and hypoglycemia.

The common advice is to ‘drink in moderation’ – 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks for men. However, it is not a good idea to drink every day – 2 drinks a day adds up to 14 drinks a week, still a lot of alcohol for the liver to process.

Alcohol destroys the good intestinal flora in your gut, and drinking every day or even just a few times per week, never gives a chance for this to recover. Drinking regularly also builds on the habit of drinking. We are naturally creatures of habit and this is one habit that will not serve our quest for health and a long, disease-free life.

As anyone who has ever tried to stop drinking knows, there is tremendous social pressure to drink and this can be a problem for some people.

It’s possibly a little easier for women but can be very difficult for guys. The harsh truth is, if it’s a major problem, you may need to consider who you spend time with. You will always become like those you spend time with. 99% of the world doesn’t care that you are trying to improve yourself. The only ones who do care are those people who are trying to improve themselves as well.

One way of doing it is to have a story prepared beforehand for when people ask (and they will). It’s pointless trying to give the real reason!

Try something like, ‘I’ve just found out I have a genetic liver disorder, I wish I could drink with you, but I just can’t take chances’ or ‘my doctor says (it’s amazing what people believe if you use these magic words!) I don’t have the enzymes to digest alcohol, so the toxins build up in my liver and other organs’.

Of course, most of us can’t even imagine saying these things to friends, and why should we have to. But really!  Saying “I just don’t want to drink” just doesn’t cut it with most friends and relatives.

If you just keep saying no, eventually people will get used to it and stop hassling you to drink. And I know it sounds like you won’t have any fun if you don’t drink, but believe me, you still have just as much fun AND you feel better in the morning!!


6 More Ways To Have Meals Ready Days Ahead

Do you get home from work or stop at the supermarket on the way home and think “what will I cook for tea tonight?”

Do you rush around in the morning thinking “I just don’t have time to organise a healthy breakfast?  Coffee (or worse, some processed breakfast cereal) will have to do”

What about lunches?  You didn’t have time to pack a healthy lunch before you headed to work, school or wherever you’re going today.  So now you’re stuck trying to make the ‘best’ choice from a load of unhealthy choices available at the canteen, cafe or take away shop.

And as for snacks, well.  You’re just grabbing whatever is easy.  And often, you’re starving and ‘easy’ becomes absolutely anything at all, because you skipped breakfast or lunch for the above reasons and you are starving!

You may have even said this about yourself or your children; “well I had to have something, it was better than nothing”!

Often times, ‘something’ is NOT better than ‘nothing’.  What IS better than nothing, is something healthy, yummy and satisfying.

I’ve always said that the key to success is to be organised and prepared.  Winging it just does not work.  You know this because one of the most common things you tell me is that you just don’t have time to cook healthy food.  That you don’t have time in the mornings to get  a healthy breakfast, that you can’t buy healthy lunches easily and that you don’t have time for complicated recipes at tea time.

And don’t forget to check out my recent post QUICK TO PREPARE MEALS AND SNACKS which also lists heaps of meals, snacks and other ways you can get organised on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead as well.

So here’s my latest list of ideas.  Seriously, these work, so use them. No more “I don’t have time!”

1. The Night Before Chia Breakfast Bowl

This one is  simple way to have breakfast ready when you get up the next morning.

Makes 1 serve

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 vanilla protein supplement serve mixed with about 2/3 cup water (if you prefer, you could use coconut or almond milk but this will increase the fat and calorie content substantially.

1 small banana – mashed – optional but gives it a lovely sweet taste (and adds those High Energy Carbs)

Cinnamon and or nutmeg to taste

This is so simple.  Just pop everything in to a bowl, mix, cover with glad wrap and pop in the fridge overnight.  If you forget, you can also get up early and do this, leaving it for 30-45 minutes to soak.  Its much better overnight as it really thickens up well.

If its too thick, add a little water to loosen and mix well.

You can make multiple serves at once by doubling, tripling etc

Made as per above, it includes 1 protein serve, 1 high-energy carb serve and a fat serve too. So allow for this fat serve as one of your 2-3 daily serves.  If you don’t use a protein supplement as per the recipe, remember to make up for it by having an extra protein serve of some sort either with this meal or at another meal or snack through the day.

 

 

2.  Boil Eggs In Advance

Hard boiled eggs are a super convenient protein source if you do some ahead and have them ready to go in your fridge.  I’ve mentioned this tip lots of times, but it really is so easy and hard boiled eggs are a great go-to option as a protein source that your whole family will love.

I’ll often grab one or two, a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts as an ‘on the go’ snack on my way out the door.
Here’s how to hard boil them successfully. I do a dozen at a time

  • Start with room temperature eggs and cold water to help prevent cracking
  • Just cover the eggs with the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil quickly.
  • Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for about 10 mins
  • Run them under cold water and peel straight away
  • Cool them as quickly as you can once they’re cooked because they’re harder to peel if they cool slowly.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge

3.  Use Frozen Vegetables

There are some great vegetable mixes available in the freezer section of your supermarket.  They chopped and ready to go.  Simple pop them in the microwave or steam them in a pot on the stove while you prepare the rest of your meal.  Less than 10 minutes and you have your veggies done.

I’ll often use frozen veggies in slow cooker recipes (added towards the end so they don’t go too soggy) or in stir fry meals if I”m in a hurry and really don’t have that extra 5-10 minutes to chop fresh ones.

Look for the brands and varieties that have a good mix of fibrous veggies and NO SAUCE.  I’ll often mix them up, so half  bag of a mixed variety and a full bag of frozen cauliflower and broccoli for instance.

4.  Make recipes such as Egg BreakFast Muffins

I have a great recipe for BreakFast Muffins that you can find HERE

Or here’s another one.  Make these in batches and you have breakfast, lunch or snacks ready.

Egg and Veggie Muffins

4 cups of grated or very finely chopped veggies.  Carrots, capsicum, onion, broccoli, asparagus are all good, but use your favourites

10 large eggs

1 bunch of finely chopped fresh chives or spring onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 180C and grease your muffin trays really well, or use silicon trays.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and spoon into your greased muffin tins.

Cook for about 15-18 minutes checking regularly that they are cooked through, but not burnt.

Take them out and let them cool in the trays.

The recipe makes about 6 serves.

 

5. Garlic and Lemon Chicken and Veggie Packs

On a Sunday (or any other day that suits you) cook up some meals so you have all your lunches (or snacks ready in advance)

You can do the whole lot in your oven, so saving dishes, time and energy.

Grab your selection of veggies.  Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, brussel sprouts, green beans and capsicum are great.

Chop them into pieces according to how quickly they are going to cook.  Beans, capsicum and quick to cook veggies should be cut bigger.  Place them on lined baking trays in single layers. Drizzle with a little melted coconut oil or olive oil and sprinkle with your favourite herbs or spices.  I love Moroccan Spice mix for this.

In the meantime, chop up chicken thighs (about 120g per serve-twice that for men) into large pieces.  Combine them with a mix of lemon juice, garlic, melted coconut oil and fresh chopped rosemary.

Place the chicken on a lined baking tray, and place into a preheated 190C oven.  After about 5 minutes, pop your trays of veggies in as well.

Cook for about 15-20 minutes longer till chicken is cooked through.

Place into individual plastic containers and keep in the fridge ready for grabbing and go.

 

6.  Make batches of soup

This is one of my best ‘be organised, do-ahead’ tips.  You’ve most likely read this one before.

Make a batch or two of soup on the weekend or on a week night when you do have time to cook and use it for a family meal the next day or for lunches for a few days.

 This blog post has some soup recipes you can download and use that are complete meals, contain both your protein and your carb content.  They are also easy and everyone in your family will love them

Good luck with your meal and snack preparation.  Make sure you fully read this post and the ones I”ve linked to and choose the options that are going to work best for you.

Make sure you share this post on Facebook with your family and friends if you found it useful-thank you


I Want To Provide the Best PT Service In Maryborough

A couple of years ago, I integrated what is known as the Functional Movement System into my program design at FitterFaster.

Integrating this system into the group format program design has been nothing short of amazing. I really believe that this form of screening and standardizing movement is essential for safe and effective results.

The amazing thing about how I’ve integrated it, is that most clients wouldn’t even know I do this. I am able to assess and correct throughout a session by watching your body, your face, listening to things you might say and reading your body language as you train.

How does this help you, the client?

Pain should not be present while performing basic bodyweight movement patterns at any time. If there is pain associated with these basic movement patterns, movement patterns will be compromised and substantially increase the likelihood for developing further injury to the site of pain. Also, this could lead to a secondary injury from the body compensating to avoid the pain or restricted movement. This is so, so common and usually, when pain is present, the injury that caused it in the first place is nowhere near where the pain is occurring.

Having limitations within basic movement patterns, even if they’re pain free, can create compensations and general weaknesses that may lead to a greater likelihood of injury.

Basic unilateral movement patterns should be symmetrical on both right and left sides of the body. Meaning in simple terms, you should be able to do exactly the same thing with both sides of your body. One shoulder shouldn’t be stronger than the other and drills like side planks etc should be equally as strong and have equally good technique on both sides.

My goal at FitterFaster is to provide the best personal training services in Maryborough.

Using the Functional Movement Screening Systems, I am able to establish a solid screening system to better help manage and prevent injury to the musculoskeletal system. Also by establishing this, I am able to monitor and track progress to ensure that the right drills and exercises are being implemented for every individual-even within the group environment.

All of this screening, assessing, and implementing the right mix of exercises into my programs helps to keep FitterFaster’s clientele safer and healthier for long periods of time.

While I realize that injuries may happen, it’s my job to reduce the likelihood.

After all, if someone gets injured during training, their outlook and thought processes about exercise can be compromised for the rest of their lives.

Exercise should be enjoyable…Exercise should be well thought out and serve a purpose…Exercise should help you meet and exceed your goals…Exercise should help improve movement patterns and make daily activities more enjoyable.

This training philosophy is the foundation of my personal training and FitForce program design at FitterFaster. This may mean that instead of performing some drills and movements that others in the group may be doing, you may be performing corrective or alternative exercises instead during the training sessions.

The reason for taking certain exercises out of your program all stems back to getting results whilst NOT INJURING YOU or making existing injuries worse.

It’s my job to get you the best possible results and keep you injury free.

It’s all about the quality of the movement, not the quantity.

So don’t be surprised if you’re taken aside to learn corrective drills and stopped from doing certain movements. It will all be temporary and will lead to better results in the long term for YOU.

If you’d like to learn more about the fitness programs at FitterFaster and how you can get started and try everything for just $49, fill out your details below and I will send you some more information