Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Addicted to fitness

I don't know about you, but I have seen quite a few people on social networking sites saying how addictive fitness is, and it's the best addiction you can have. Well, can you actually become addicted to it??

I think you can.

If you become addicted to something, its because it gives you a feeling that you love (each to their own, I am not saying the following things are good!). Alcohol - being drunk, not caring about anything, having a 'good time'. Eating chocolate - the sugar rush, boosts your mood. Drugs - similar to alcohol really, takes your worries away (until you 'come down') makes you feel happy. I think it's the same with fitness. When you workout, its tough, but after, you have that feeling of satisfaction, that you have done yourself good, working on your body - which will boost your happiness. Seeing your body changing is one of the best things you can feel and see, and that feeling becomes addictive.

Unlike drugs, you won't get addicted after one or two workouts (well, I suppose you can, but a lot of people quit after 1 or 2 workouts). But when the time comes that you start to feel the difference within yourself, seeing results, having people compliment you on your progress, that is when the addiction can kick in. The amazing thing about this addiction, is there are no side effects, health wise. I say that because if you become too addicted, and fitness starts to take over your life, then a few things can start to happen.

If fitness starts to control you, you could find yourself alienating friends and family, saying things like - 'sorry, can't make it, I'm in the gym that day', to friends or family about a loved ones birthday. You don't want to get to the point where you are missing important events, losing friends, annoying family members, all because of fitness. How do you avoid that? Make sure you keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. Go to the gym regularly, but always remember that life is more important than the gym. You're not going to lose your gains if you miss the gym for a couple of days. Surround yourself with good things, and you won't want to let them go. Some people could have grown up around nothing but 'bad', and they needed to get away from it, so they turn to fitness. That is a bit different, as those people have nothing currently around them that is 'good', so they stay in the gym as much as possible. But that doesn't mean that the 'bad' in their lives can't change to 'good'. So never let other parts of your life slip away, just to workout.

Train hard, eat well, but remember, there is more to life than fitness (but it is a dam good thing to have in your life!)

Lee Gregory Fitness 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Saturated fats

Hi guys, just wanted to do a quick post today about saturated fats. They have been demonised for a long time now - most people just think they are bad because they make you fat, but they are actually good! let me explain..

'Back in the day', people were told that if you increased your intake of saturated fat, that would lead to an increase in cholesterol, and that would then lead to an increased risk of heart disease. That makes sense right? more fat - higher risk of heart problems. It's not entirely true. If you are someone that doesn't exercise, doesn't have an active job, sits around a lot, and then you start eating saturated fat, yes - you will gain fat and it can lead to health issues. But is that the saturated fats' fault?? I don't believe it is. Saturated fat is actually important to human bodily function. For example - it can help to improve your immune system and your bones need saturated fat to maintain good health, so if you cut out all saturated fat, then you will have a higher risk of bone related problems such as osteoporosis. Now, I'm not saying that all saturated fats are good. If you pop down to your local takeaway and think 'hmm, Lee said it's fine to have saturated fats, bring them on!', that is not what I mean at all.

Here is a question for you - what is your brain made of?? any guesses? I'll tell you, it's made of fat and cholesterol (and a few other bits and bobs). So if you go on a super low fat diet (which may seem healthy) your concentration, focus and overall mood will drop, because in a way you are (a little bit) starving your brain. Look at it this way, your muscles are made up of proteins - you want to 'get stacked', what do you do nutrition wise? you eat a lot of protein. To be honest, a number of organs need fats (including saturated fats) in order to function properly, those include the brain (above) lungs and liver. Now you maybe realising just how important fats are and saturated fats are. As mentioned above, saturated fat is needed for bone health, as it is required for the intake of calcium to bone. Who tends to have problem with bones? older people, why? because they are worried about their intake of fats as they are older and their metabolism has slowed down and they can't exercise how they used too. The problem with this, is by avoiding certain foods (such as saturated fats) other things can go wrong. I completely, 100% get it, it sounds crazy to think eating saturated fats means you are healthy, but it does. The one thing that I want to seriously stress to you guys reading this, is that you have to be SMART! there is no point eating saturated fats if you are lazy day in, day out. Everything with health is a balancing act, and you need to balance out your fat intake to your activity levels.

Bodybuilders consume a lot of fats, and are they fat? hell no! they have like 3-6% body fat! How is that possible you ask? because they train very hard, they are very active, and they are strict with their nutrition. I myself am not a bodybuilder and am never going to go down that path, but I do compare nutrition with them, because they are very healthy in fact (the ones who train and eat properly that is). They don't eat junk food, they don't eat processed food, they don't get drunk every week, they are extremely good with their nutrition (I will be doing a post about bodybuilding nutrition in the near future).

I'm not saying you can eat tons of saturated fat (even good sources) a day, that would be stupid. I would say anywhere from 15-50g per day depending on your goals (health/bodybuilding/sport etc). The great thing about nutrition is that everyone is different and you can work out what you need for you, so experiment!

So, if you can't eat junk food for the fat content, what fats are good?

Saturated fats that are good are - butter, coconut oil, egg yolk, beef, pork, cheese, milk, wild salmon

Always check where your food comes from! junk food/cheap garbage/processed foods - all BAD!

Grass fed meats/organic/fresh - GOOD!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Monday, 28 April 2014

The best fat loss exercise

Want to know what the BEST fat loss exercise is??? Well.....there isn't one - and by that, I mean there isn't just 'one' best fat loss exercise.

I have seen numerous posts from bloggers, trainers, nutritionists, gym enthusiasts, stating an exercise that is 'the best' at burning fat, and I just don't buy it. There are many exercises that are great at shedding unwanted pounds, but if you just did one, nothing would happen, you need to do a variety. Also, the problem is, if you told someone that (lets say for example) squats are 'the best' fat burning exercise, what do you think people will do? They will most likely just focus on squats - then what happens? they neglect other body parts and end up with an 'uneven' body.

This may come across as blunt, but people need to realise that its not just 'one thing' that will turn you from fat to thin, it takes a variety of things and a lot of hard work. There is no 'quick fix' for fat loss, and there certainly isn't just one exercise that will blast your fat away.

You want to concentrate on performing a variety of exercises, hitting all body parts, train hard, good nutrition, and then you will be burning fat. If you just stick to one or two exercises then you're not going to get the results you want. Some magazines/articles write things such as 'best fat burning exercise' / 'best fat burning foods' / 'best fat loss pill'. I won't dispute the exercises or foods that they say burn more fat (because the articles I have read that say that, have been right) but fat loss pills? you know where to go.... But people take things like that to seriously, and think they have to always do that exercise otherwise they won't burn fat. You need a variety, you need to work on all body parts, and you need to train hard.

Don't believe everything you read, and with nutrition and fitness - not just 'one thing' tends to be the best....

Lee Gregory Fitness

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Sunday Supplement!

Welcome to Sunday Supplement! First of all, I apologise for not doing one last weekend, my computer decided to annoy me and wouldn't work! Anyway, today I want to talk about Glutamine.

Glutamine is an amino acid, and a popular one at that, but it's not an essential amino. Most of the glutamine you store in your body is found in your muscles and lungs. Glutamine has many benefits, and is the main carrier of nitrogen.

Glutamine has become very popular among athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. It is known for aiding recovery after strenuous exercise. I personally use glutamine, pre and post workout, to help aid my recovery and avoid muscle breakdown. It has been proven that after a hard workout, glutamine levels reduce, and since amino acids form proteins which build new muscle, your body will need glutamine (and other nutrients) to help it to recover. Some people say take glutamine before a workout, some say after, and some say before and after. If you 'pre load' your body with glutamine before an intense workout, it will be there ready to start protein synthesis and avoid muscle breakdown.

Sources of glutamine:

- Beef
- Pork
- Poultry
- Milk
- Eggs
- Cottage cheese
- Raw spinach

Your body can produce enough glutamine for everyday needs. However, if you are training for muscle mass or sporting performance, you may well need more. Do not exceed 40g per day, I would stick to a few grams pre workout, and a few grams post workout. You can find glutamine in powder form as well as capsules. The powder is what I use, and seems to be the most common - as its easier to mix into shakes and you tend to get a little more. There are two types - L glutamine, and glutamine peptides. L glutamine simply means it is not attached to any other amino acids, and the peptides are. The peptides seem to be the most popular, but a lot of studies about the effectiveness of glutamine have used L glutamine - a little strange, but there we go!

I would recommend trying glutamine, as it can be very beneficial.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The benefits of Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt has got a very good reputation, but why? Here are my thoughts on why you should give this product a try.

I personally have Greek yogurt, usually with fruit. Most yogurts on the market today, are saturated with unnecessary garbage - for flavour, for shelf life and so on. If you are someone who wants to get in shape, especially if you want to build muscle, then get buying Greek yogurt! Here are some of the main benefits:

- PROTEIN! Greek yogurt has around twice as much protein as regular yogurt. Protein is what makes you feel fuller for longer (helps to stop snacking), and of course, helps to repair damaged muscles after training. The protein can vary between 13g and 20g per serving.

- CARBS - WHAT CARBS?? Greek yogurt is low in carbohydrates - around 7-9g per serving. Regular yogurt has around double that.

- FLEXIBLE! Probably the most common use for Greek yogurt will be to mix it with fruit or to put it in smoothies. But there are far more uses for it. I personally have it with fruit, or if I'm having a bit of a 'treat', then I will have some with a little bit of cake or something. People also use it in baking and cooking.

- PROBIOTICS! Greek yogurt contains probiotics - microorganisms that help to improve your digestion and immune system.

So, the above shows a few of the benefits of Greek yogurt (the main ones I would say). It's a fantastic swap for regular yogurt. Yes, it is a little more expensive, but I believe the benefits outweigh the little extra cost. Whether you are looking to lose fat or build muscle, Greek yogurt can be a great addition to your everyday diet. Not only will it help with your goals, it can help your insides too, which will make you feel a little better. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

'Happy being fat'

Today, I read an 'article' (wasn't published in a magazine or anything, but was shared around Facebook) and it really tested my nerves. It was a post that a woman created about being overweight and gyms.

I won't re-write the whole thing, but it was basically about a woman 'preaching' that being overweight is okay. There was a picture of an overweight woman posing attached to the post, but she said it wasn't her (which I actually believe). She went on to say that she went to a gym and there were pictures of women in shape with a slogan of (it was coming up to summer - beaches, sun, sea etc) 'do you want to be a mermaid of a whale?'. I do think the slogan is a bit harsh as calling a woman a whale is not nice at all, so I don't really like what that gym done there. However, from reading what she wrote, it seems like she didn't actually use the gym at all, but carried on with her little 'rant'. She named reasons why she would rather be a whale than a mermaid. Obviously, the gym used the word mermaid for those women who are in shape, and whale for those who are not in shape. This woman said that she would rather be a whale any day - being able to eat ice cream and other things.

She also stated that she loves what she see's in the mirror everyday. I cannot remember the word she actually used, but she said she isn't fat, shes 'something' (it was something like curvy). I totally agree that having curves is a good thing - if you look at some female fitness models, they have shape, they have curves, but they are in proportion and in the right places. Women are who overweight sometimes use the term 'having curves' and saying they are 'curvy', but its not how it should be. Some women will always be 'bigger', even if they train hard, have a low body fat percentage, muscle tone etc - that's just their frame, not everyone will have a frame like Mila Kunis. But (and some overweight women have admitted this to me) saying you are curvy when you are overweight, is just a defence mechanism - trying to convince people (or actually yourself) that being curvy isn't fat.

I should have really saved the web link, as it's annoying that I can't remember everything, but the one thing that I, and others, found strange, is that if she was happy with herself, eating ice cream, loving what she see's in the mirror, then why on earth did she go to a gym?? This is actually a problem with society. You get some people (overweight celebrities too) that go on and on about how great it is having 'curves', and 'big women are sexy' and 'weight means nothing', and other people seem to believe it. I'm not saying that if you are overweight, you aren't attractive (not saying that at all!) but being overweight, not only affects people's confidence levels and self esteem, but it also brings health issues. I remember that I saw a TV program about celebrity weight loss stories, and I would say 50% of the celebs on it, started off by claiming how they love their bodies, how they love being big and curvy. But then they went on a dramatic weight loss diet and fitness plan. If you are happy, genuinely happy, then you wouldn't ever go and lose the weight. So to me, that proves that many people who are overweight, aren't actually happy. I have seen many 'transformations' on TV, read many, many weight loss stories, and there is one thing that always pops up - and that is the people who lose the weight admit they were not happy at all being overweight - hated looking in the mirror, hated not being able to wear the clothes they wanted/bikinis/suits/wedding dresses etc etc. I do find it hard to believe that over weight people are 100% happy. I'm sure there are some people that are 100% happy and are over weight, but I am talking in general terms as I don't know everyone on this earth.

There tends to be a common trend with overweight individuals - they call themselves 'bubbly' and are usually the character of the group, the joker, the funny one etc. I have known quite a few people that used to be overweight, some obese, and are now slim, healthy, in shape, and its not like they changed from being funny, a joker or what not, but they were just so much more confident in who they are. They no longer had to just 'hide' behind the wall of jokes and laughter, but instead that's who they are and it came out even more when the weight came off. I remember one guy I know who lost weight (not going to name him) but he used to put on the 'bubbly' face, but he used to suffer from depression. He used to cry whenever he was alone, worry that he will never meet a woman, worry about his health, worry if he would drop dead one day if he couldn't stop his eating problem. Now, hes in a happy relationship, and has got engaged. I remember a line he said to me - 'people always hide something, me? I was hiding who I really was, a depressed, overweight loser - but now I'm the happiest I could ever be'.

People may come across as happy, but being overweight is something that really affects people. Everyone can lose weight and be healthy - everyone is different, but everyone can do it. If this post is talking to you, and you're reading this thinking 'hmmm thats me...', you're not alone, but if you take that first step to becoming healthy, then you have done one of the hardest parts.

This has been a slightly different post, but it was something that I wanted to share. As always, not everyone will agree, but hey.....its my blog and my opinion ;)

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Almond milk

I don't know about you, but I always see in health & fitness magazines, online, on the TV, in the news - 'healthy replacements' for common foods/drinks. One that has become really popular is almond milk - which has been classed as a 'healthy' alternative to regular milk (even though regular milk isn't unhealthy....). But, is it good or bad?

Almond milk has many benefits and has been utilised by those who are health conscious, as well as those who want to build muscle mass. Here are some of the benefits:

- It contains less than 50% of the calories in regular milk (around 60kcal per cup, regular milk has between 100-140 calories per cup) - which is great if you are on a calorie controlled/fat reduction diet.

- There is zero percent saturated fat and no cholesterol in almond milk. It is high in healthy fats and low in sodium.

- While almond milk has a lot less protein than regular milk, it is very beneficial to those wanting to build muscle, as it is packed with B vitamins which are important for muscle growth.

- You don't actually have to put almond milk in the fridge. You can store it in a cupboard and is fine to take to work with you and leave it on your desk. Some people will still want to put it in the fridge, either out of habit or because they don't believe you can store it outside of the fridge. I personally put my almond milk (yes I drink it!) in the fridge as I prefer it cold.

- No lactose!! If you are lactose intolerant, then this is a super swap for you!

- Almond milk is low in carbs, and the carbs it does contain are low GI - meaning they won't shoot your blood sugar levels up - helping weight loss!

As you can see above, almond milk is very healthy and beneficial to people who are health conscious, weight conscious and those wanting to build muscle. Give it a try!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A 'must do' for fat loss

This is a quick post on a 'MUST DO' thing if you want to lose fat. Everyone knows that to lose fat, you have to exercise and eat healthy, but most people tend to just change a couple of things.

Today, there are thousands of products out there, thousands of people preaching how to lose fat, and so on, but most of it is utter rubbish,

A 'fat loss pill' is not going to give you the body of your dreams

A specific food that is known to help with fat loss, is not going to give you the body of your dreams

Doing Zumba once a fortnight is not going to give you the body of your dreams

Notice a pattern? its not just one thing that will change your body, you have to put the hard work in and actually change your lifestyle. Are you fed up with being overweight? do you look in the mirror and wish you were slimmer? are you tired of not being able to wear the clothes you want to wear? then use that, use the reasons why you want to lose weight as your motivation, but you HAVE to change your lifestyle.

What do I mean by change your lifestyle? Well, flip your diet around - no more sugary foods, no more processed foods, no more junk food, reduce or stop the booze, and so forth. Start eating lean meats, lots of vegetables, fruits, lots of water. Get exercising! - Whether its joining a gym or going for walks/runs/bike rides/hiking, just get moving! The more you exercise, the more calories you are going to burn. Combine that with a healthier diet, and you WILL lose body fat. But its a combined effort, not just one thing.

If you really want to look and feel better, than you need to kick yourself up the backside and get going, because it IS possible, you CAN do it, and you will thank yourself for the rest of your life. I have had clients say to me some of the most common reasons for not losing weight - 'dieting doesn't work', 'its in my genes to be fat', and I have told them that those are just excuses, not reasons, and you know what? when they lost the weight, they admitted they were excuses. Anyone can lose weight, but it takes hard work and commitment. Do you have to be super strict forever? no, why? because it's a lot easier to maintain a healthy weight than it is to get down to a healthy weight.

I hope this has inspired some people, and anyone reading that doubts themselves or has their own 'reasons' (excuses), you CAN DO IT!!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Being healthy does NOT have to be expensive

This is a slightly annoying subject for me, because many people say things like 'I can't afford to be healthy', but they spend a fortune on bars, clubs, holidays, sunbeds, clothes, gadgets and so on. Being tanned is nice, having the latest phone is nice, going on 4 holidays a year is nice, having great clothes is nice, but you want to know what's better? being healthy and loving who you are.

To me, its about choices. If you are happy spending your money on clothes, clubbing, holidays, gadgets and so on, then don't bother moaning about PT's prices/gym fee's and healthy food. They are not that expensive (certainly not as expensive as the latest iphone!) Now, I'm not saying everyone can afford the healthy lifestyle, as there unfortunately some people that don't have any of the luxuries mentioned above, and still can't afford to go to a gym or shop for healthy food. But! you can still exercise and you can eat a little healthier than you currently are. Everyone can always make changes.

I don't want this post to be a 'rant', but it does bother me when people tell me or I see people saying being healthy is too expensive, but they are off buying this, that and the other. So if you do splash your cash on things like designer clothes, clubbing and holidays, then don't moan about not being in better shape, because you are making the conscious decision on how you spend your money.

You don't always need a gym membership, but you do always need to eat healthier - so start there! Change the food you eat - stop eating junk food (which is actually quite expensive...) cut out the sugary foods, and begin eating fresh, healthy food. That in itself can make a big impact on how you feel, and you will start losing weight. Running, walking, hiking are all free, and cycling is a minimal expense, and are all great for starting your weight loss journey.

Being healthy takes commitment and also requires you to make decisions. What will you spend your money on? superficial things? or your health? YOUR choice! 

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Welcome to Sunday Supplement!

Today I am going to talk about creatine. It's an extremely common supplement used by many fitness enthusiasts. But what is it? how does it benefit you?

Creatine is naturally produced within the body from the amino acids - glycine, arginine and methionine, and takes place within the kidneys, liver and pancreas. Creatine increases your body's ability to produce energy, therefore enabling you to train longer and harder. If you can lift more weight, or lift for longer, you will get stronger, quicker! Because if replenishes your ATP stores, it is best used with explosive movements - weight lifting or sports that require short bursts of energy. Some people do use it for endurance events, but there is far less studies and evidence backing any benefits.

So, as it helps to increase your energy production, you can clearly see that it can benefit you if you want to pack on muscle. Building muscle is hard work, and even with a great diet, some people might need that extra 'boost', and that's where creatine can help. If you start using it, you will gain a little weight (usually a few pounds) very quickly, but that is just water weight. But that isn't going to continue, so any weight you add on after, will be muscle mass (or fat if you're diet is bad). But you will only benefit from creatine supplementation if you train hard. If you start using it, and go to the gym and train 'half hearted', then you're not going to see much in return. Because of the extra energy, you will be able to train harder for longer, and that is when you will get the results. If you watch bodybuilders train in the gym, you will soon see that they don't train 'half hearted'.

There are however, some side effects.

Some people can experience an upset stomach, needing to go to the bathroom a few too many times, or both. These aren't common, but they can happen. The side effects usually happen if you take too much creatine. Some people don't follow the guidelines and think they know best, which is not the way to go - always follow the guidelines. If you stop using creatine, you can see a little drop in weight, as the fluid side of the weight gain will decrease. Also, as you won't be able to train as hard or as long, your workouts could decrease in tempo a little bit.  There have also been reports in skin reactions, but again, they are rare, and usually because those people have taken creatine incorrectly or too much.

Food sources of creatine:  The best food source is red meat (pork, beef). Fish (salmon, tuna, cod) is also a strong holder of creatine.

Supplementation is very common, and as far as studies show, it is safe to use. It's always best to get it from food, but if you are training hard, then use a supplement. (always follow the manufacturers guidelines and get the all clear to use creatine from your GP).

Friday, 11 April 2014

Prevent weight gain at work!

One part of 'losing weight' that people struggle with, is having a full time job, and how it can quite easily ruin your diet. I can understand why it is hard to avoid eating junk and taking the easy options when you are in the office (or wherever you're working). So, here are a few tips to help avoid those binges at work, and help to keep losing the pounds.

1) Take food to work with you

Many people tend to eat out when they go to work, for convenience and the social aspect. A problem with this, is that the other people might not want to eat at a healthy restaurant, and would prefer to go to somewhere like McDonald's, which wouldn't be great for your goals. So the easiest way to get around that problem is to take a healthy lunch with you (you never know, people may follow suit!). You don't have to eat in the office though, you can take your lunch to a nice park) I know it seems childish to take a 'packed lunch' when you're an adult, but it is actually far, far more common than you think. Some people have decided to do it since the recession, and some people do it for health reasons. You want to pack a lunch that has a good chunk of protein in it, as this fills you up and can stop you from snacking in the afternoon. Try and get some salad or veg in with your lunch, as well as a piece of fruit. By getting 'goodness' in you at lunch, you are packing in plenty of nutrients that can help you feel full, more alert, happy, focused, all of which will help you at work. If you eat junk, you can easily feel sluggish, which will make you irritable at work.

2) Stay minty!

By either cleaning your teeth or chewing gum (sugar free!) you can help to suppress your appetite. Its a trick that many trainers (good ones) use with their clients. You will be surprised how easily having mint in your mouth can keep you away from snacking.

3) Stay hydrated

Many people think they are hungry, when in fact they are actually thirsty. By keeping your hydration levels up, you will help to keep your hunger at bay. So take a bottle of water with you to work, sip it throughout the day, don't just down it within the first half an hour of being at work. This will ensure that you stay hydrated throughout the day, which can help your hunger.

4) Exercise at noon

If you have a lunch break, which most people do, try and go for a walk, or get in the gym. A lot of banks/law firms and others alike, have gyms within the building, which obviously makes it a heck of a lot easier to have a workout. If you haven't got one in your building, then see if there is a gym nearby that you could go to for a half hour workout everyday. But going for a walk is free, super easy, gets you out of the office and gets some exercise in.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Meal replacement shakes - are they good?

'Shakes' are incredibly popular in the fitness world, and for good reason, but there are a few different types of shakes. Today I want to talk about meal replacement shakes, and these are typically a shake consisting of protein, carbs and fats. There are a few companies around that sell meal replacement shakes for fat loss, and they can be bad.... because they are very low calorie, and its not ideal to use meal replacements all day, every day. So, I want to talk about meal replacements in terms of fitness and muscle building.

Lets use an example - a guy wanting to build muscle, but has a full time job mon-fri. A common problem would be, not being able to get enough calories in throughout the day, and that's where meal replacements are great. It's easy to take a shaker with the powder into work and just add water or milk. They also come in handy for people that struggle to put on size.

Meal replacement shakes can also be known as 'mass gainers'. You can make them yourself or you can buy them. Making them yourself would be better, as you can put fresh food into them, rather than powder. But whether you are making it yourself or buying, you want to make sure you get a good one. Some meal replacements are cheap and cheap for a reason - they are made with more fats (usually not good fats!) and carbs, with less protein. That's not what you want. You want a good balance of protein carbs and fats. Depending on your requirements, the ratio's can be different. On average, a good shake for someone wanting to pack on muscle and size would have around 40-50g protein, 90-100g carbs and 25-35g fats (good fats!). On average, that shake would be - 830kcal. That is probably bang on average, as I have seen some topping 1000kcal and some at 600kcal. Again, it does depend on your goals, as some people might need more calories if they struggle to put on size. As I always say, try your best to get your calories from real food before turning to shakes. But if you are in the position of not being able to get fresh food in you, then a shake is the next best thing.

Now, some people seem to rely on these shakes and neglect real food, and that's a waste of time and money. Yes, the shakes contain protein, carbs and fats, but that's it. If you have a fresh healthy meal containing protein, carbs and fats, it will also contain a lot of other vitamins and minerals (which you don't have in the shakes). So try and stick to food where possible, but if you need help with your calorie intake, then go for a shake but check out the ingredients and ratio's of them. A good meal replacement/mass gainer is the 'hi-calorie mass gainer' from Hench Nutrition. (discount code - HNBKHM1H)

As mentioned above, there are 'diets' out there that are literally 3 shakes a day, and that's it! That is just insane, a waste of time and money, and a con. If you do that, you may well lose weight, but its not going to be mainly fat loss, and as soon as you start eating food again, the weight will come back. A meal replacement shake 'diet' is not sustainable, therefore it will not work long term. Stick to healthy, fresh nutrition, as that is sustainable and does work long term. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

'Juice fasts' are BAD!

A little while ago, I watched a video blog about juice fasts, and it made me want to give my opinion.

What are juice fasts? Well, it's a 'diet' that consists of just juices, sounds healthy right? well it's not. I have seen a variety of juice 'diet's, some use only fruits, some use vegetables, some use a mixture, and I even saw one that sold powdered fruit?? unbelievable....

People seem to go on these 'diets' (Yes I am saying 'diets' like that because it's an absolute joke of a diet) to either lose some weight or for a detox. If you go on a juice fast for fat loss, then you will lose weight, that is almost guaranteed, but a lot of it will be fluid and muscle tissue, not much fat being lost. But what happens when you stop the 'diet' and start eating real food again? you will find your weight increasing, why? because your body has just been starved! So when you eat real food again, its going to grab onto it and hold it. Also, I read a comment made by a well respected nutritionist, who said - "the human body is not designed to be starved, not designed to live on an extremely low calorie intake. If you do that, you are leaving yourself open to numerous health issues, and also, if you start eating whole food again, you will put weight on. If (bless them...) young children living in a poverty stricken countries, got given good nutrition for a couple of months, they will put weight on, you're body simply isnt made to be 'skinny'".

What is the one thing that people who care about weight, want? a great body! So how on earth will a 'juice fast' give you that? Yes you will lose weight (fluid and muscle loss), but you aren't going to be gaining a great figure, the right curves, low body fat percentage and look better. It is not healthy for you, and the negatives completely out weight the, I suppose, one positive (and that is being generous!).

Now, if you are using juice fasts for a detox, then, I advise you to stop. People seem to think by going on a juice fast, then you are going to detoxify your body far better than if you just eat healthy. To detoxify your body, mainly a few organs, one being the liver, you need certain amino acids. Where do amino acids come from? well, your muscles, and protein from food! If you are only taking in juices or even powdered shakes everyday, where is your protein coming from? nowhere! You don't want to lose muscle mass, as it can cause you to be more metabolically inefficient, which is not going to help you in any way. By only taking powdered drinks or juices every day, you are losing a heck of a lot of nutrients that you NEED to stay healthy AND to detoxify your body, because you're not eating real food. If you don't provide your body with the right nutrients, it cannot possibly detox itself.

So, in summary - juice fasts/diets are a complete and utter waste of time and money! Look at the people are are the most healthiest - they eat healthy, a variety of foods, hydration, exercise etc etc. If these juice fasts were so good, and the way to go, don't you think nutritionists and trainers would either sell them/advise you to go on them? or they would be out of a job because these 'diet' companies would take over!

I didn't want to make this too long, and I have undoubtedly missed a few points, but I like to keep my posts short-ish. I hope you like this post and gives you an insight into the bad world that is juice 'diets'!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Protein porridge review


I just want to put a quick review up of Hench Nutrition's protein porridge. I got given this quite a while ago, but have only recently started to use it - I put it in my supplement cupboard and genuinely forgot it was there! (that's my memory for you...) But you know what? I love it! I wish I started eating it sooner!

I find this to be a great breakfast, but also, a great snack. I have had it in the morning, afternoon and also evening! The flavour I have is vanilla and honey, and on its own, I really do like it (and I'm someone that has never really liked porridge before). I've experimented with different toppings - nuts, fruit, spices, even a little coco powder!

So, what's in it?

The ingredients consist of - Rolled oats, Protein blend (milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate), Flavouring, Sucralose.

What's the nutritional info?

Per 75g serving:

- 272 kcal
- 22.7g protein
- 5g fat
of which sat fat - 0.9g
- 32g carbohydrates
of which sugars - 1.4
- 5g fibre

Everyday porridge is a very common breakfast, but for those looking  to build muscle and size, or to stay lean, this protein porridge is a great swap. It contains high protein, good amount of carbs, low fat and low sugars - a perfect breakfast or snack.

Do I recommend this? I sure do! The price is very competitive, and as always with Hench, the customer service is brilliant!

Visit their website and check out their range of products - - use my discount code - HNBKHM1H

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sunday Supplement


today, I want to briefly talk about Zinc.

Zinc is an essential element to human health, and it's vital for many biological functions and plays a crucial role in the human body. On average, you have about 2-3g of zinc in your body, and can be found in organs, tissue, bones, fluid and cells. However, the bones and muscles contain most of that zinc.

Zinc is known for its importance in growth and development, and that's why it is vital for pregnant women, toddlers and young children. From articles and studies that I have read, it seems to be another mineral that people tend to be deficient in.

What is the 'thing' that helps us fight against infections and illnesses? out immune system! and zinc helps to strengthen ouR immune system. Increasing your zinc intake has been proven to help fight against pneumonia, diarrhea, reduce the duration of a cold and fight back against other infections. It is recommended to up your intake of zinc in the winter (where colds are obviously more common).

Zinc can help a number of other aspects of our health, including - skin, hair, nails, our vision, our taste and smell and fertility.

What foods contain zinc?

- Red meat
- Eggs
- Fish
- Nuts
- Poultry
- Green vegetables
- Oysters

Because the above foods (minus oysters) are very common and easy to add into your everyday diet, it is best to go to food instead of supplements for your daily zinc intake. However, there will be some people that can't/won't eat those foods above and will require a supplement, which is the right thing to do.

I have found a few different stats on how much zinc we need per day, and have found on average:

Infants - 5mg
Children - 10mg
Women - 12mg
Pregnant women - 15mg
Lactating women - 16mg
Men - 15mg

If you are deficient in zinc, you may have one or more of the following:

- A weaker immune system (could become ill more often)
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea
- Reduced fertility
- Poor sleep
- Loss of taste or smell

The above symptoms do depend on the severity of your deficiency.

I hope you have found this post helpful! Check out my website and sign up for FREE to access more tips and advice -  

Friday, 4 April 2014

Coconut water - awesome!

I want to do a quick post on coconut water, as it has skyrocketed to fame in the health world.

First, what is it?

Well, it is derived from young green coconuts and has many benefits to your health. Some people call it 'mother natures sports drink', and has been promoted by athletes and celebrities. It contains easily digested carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes. It has less calories and sodium than many of the current, well known sports drinks on the market today, but has more potassium. Here are some stats from a study I found between coconut water and Gatorade:

1 ounce of:

Coconut water -  5.45 calories, 1.3g sugar, 61mg of potassium, 5.45mg of sodium.

Gatorade - 6.25 calories, 1.75g sugar, 3.75mg potassium, 13.75mg of sodium.

Drinking coconut water is very good, but it does contain calories, unlike water, so just be careful not to drink too much.

Because of its hydrating benefits, it has now become a very popular 'post exercise' drink, to ensure good hydration after exercise. The only draw back of drinking it after exercise, is that we actually lose more sodium than potassium during exercise, and as you can see above, Gatorade has more sodium. But you can combat this by adding a little sodium into your drink, or, as a friend of mine does, combine coconut water and Gatorade into one drink. You can always add a little sodium into the coconut water if you wish.

But overall, coconut water is far better for you, I have only found one draw back and that's the smaller sodium content, and that only matters if you use it post exercise. But, the amazing thing about coconut water, is that it is NATURAL, whereas other sport drinks are artificially made. Natural is always better.

Give it a try, it can really benefit you and is a great substitute for sports drinks that tend to have a lot of added 'garbage' in them. 

Why people tend to QUIT a weight loss plan

I think we all know someone that has gone on a diet or weight loss plan and soon quit before giving it a real go. Why do people do that? Well there are two common answers, I think anyway.

First of all, there are diets that are designed that pretty much starve the body by reducing the calorie intake. These are what you call 'con diets', because they will never promote long term weight loss, and as soon as you come off of them, the weight will come back. Initially, you will start losing weight, but it will be mostly fluid, muscle tissue and a little fat. So to start with, you're going to be happy and you will see your weight dropping, but there will be a plateau. The problem with those diets, is that it doesn't make you 'look good', because it simply 'drains you', rather than transforming you. You may weigh less, be thinner, but you will have no real shape to your body. Once the initial weight loss is over, that's usually the time when people start stressing and thinking its not working, and quite often they quit. Quitting is never good, but they were doomed to fail as soon as they signed up to one of those 'con diets'. Its really not the way to go....

The other reason, that I believe anyway, is down to a lack of will power. You could have someone that signs up for the gym, hires a nutritionist or purchases a real nutrition plan, but they just don't have the will power. They will find themselves snacking when nobody is looking, not giving the exercise 100%, and then blame it on their genes, or age, or having no time to do it, or even blame the nutritionist/trainer for no results. Now, it is more common than it should be, but you do get personal trainers that just suck, and are useless at their job, but if that's the case, its down to you to hire someone else, not to continue and then just moan about it. You also find that some people say they can't not have their packet of crisps, or chocolate bar, or ice cream, of biscuits, or cake.... you see a pattern? That's all in the mind, and it can be changed, you just have to put the hard work in to 'retrain your body' to prefer healthy foods instead of fatty, sugary foods. But if you just quit, even when you have the right resources, then that is nobody's fault but your own.

Some people do say that 'overweight people are just lazy', and in some cases, I believe that, but in others I don't. You do get some people that are just plain lazy - won't go shopping for healthy foods, won't stand in the kitchen preparing a healthy meal, won't make time to go and exercise, would prefer to just sit on their backside and eat crap. But also, a lot of people are just not educated enough about healthy living, and its also outside factors that do not help. Coming through a recession, people are tight for cash, what adverts do you see? fast food, sugary foods, junk food, processed foods, all at low prices (because they are just awful and fake) and people say 'I can't afford to eat healthy'. I've seen many articles and even a TV show proving that a lot of the time, takeaways are MORE expensive than buying and cooking healthy meals, it just takes effort. Personally, I remember when I was with my brother a while back and we were thinking of having a takeaway as we had nothing in the house (yes... a takeaway... such a low point in my life!) and the prices were insane!! So instead, we hopped in the car, bought some ingredients and made a healthy meal.

Losing fat and getting in shape takes effort, commitment, dedication, and will power. If you quit, you are only going to hurt yourself.

There is a quote from a motivational speaker that I love - 'Don't cry to give up, cry to keep going, don't cry then quit, you're already in pain, you're already hurt, get a reward from it'. So when it gets tough, when workouts are burning, when temptation is in front of you, fight your way through it, because a lighter, slimmer, healthier you is at the other end, but you have to battle your way there, it is NOT easy, but it IS doable!

Have a great weekend, tune in on Sunday for 'Sunday Supplement' ! 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Skimmed VS whole milk

Just want to do a quick post about milk, as it is such a common item on people's shopping list, but some people don't know the difference between whole and skimmed.

Whole milk is simply milk that has had nothing removed from it, so it will contain more fat. But it is the most natural milk as it hasn't been 'messed with'. Whole milk contains around 4-5% fat.

Skimmed milk is where the cream has been removed, and can also be labelled as 'fat free'. It contains less than 0.5% milk fat.

So, what are the benefits or each?

Whole milk has been demonised for a long time because of its higher fat content, but it's actually more nutritious for you. By cutting out the fat in milk, you are also losing fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, which are important in keeping your immune system healthy, fighting back against free radicals and keeping your bones healthy. It's not actually a 'high fat' product, as it's only on average 5% fat, whereas actual 'high fat' products can be 20+%! So, if you are eating a healthy, balanced diet and staying active, having a glass of whole milk a day is not a bad thing, it's actually a good thing!

Skimmed milk's benefits are fairly obvious. With the lower fat content, you will have less calories and can help if you're wanting to lose a few pounds. With the 'skimming' process, nutrients such as protein, potassium and calcium are in fact increased a little, still keeping all of the other benefits of milk (minus the loss of fat-soluble vitamins).

What are the downsides?

Whole milk obviously has more calories because of the increased fat content. So if you are wanting to lose fat, then you might be better off with going for skimmed milk (if you drink a lot of milk that is, as a small glass a day won't be too much of a problem).

Because skimmed milk loses the cream, it also loses vital vitamins A, D, E and K (with vitamin D being very important and many people lack it). Yes it has a higher fat percentage, but its still not a high fat product. With these vitamins that are lost, if you are a healthy, active person, whole milk is a good option.

So, what should you buy?

It all depends what you like and what your goals are. If you are an active, healthy person, then having a glass or two a day of whole milk is not going to make you fat, and you will be getting those vital vitamins. However, if you want to lose body fat, and your current diet isn't as good as it could be, you're not exercising that much, then I would say go for the skimmed version. Try and bump up your intake of vitamins A, D, E and K to make up for them being lost in the skimming process.

I hope that has given you some useful information and help you make a choice between whole and skimmed milk. Its not always about fat content... 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

What does 'being healthy' actually mean?

I first got asked this question when I was in college. The teacher brought up the topic of health, and asked us what we thought it actually meant, and back then I didn't have a full answer, but now, I do have my own opinion.

If you asked a lot of people what they thought 'being healthy' means, I would take a guess that most of them would say 'eating healthy and exercising', and they would be right, to an extent. I have thought long and hard about this topic, and here is what I believe 'being healthy' means.

I strongly believe it's a combination of a number of things, so while eating healthy and exercising is important to health, I think it's a lot more than just those two things. In a sentence, I think being healthy is when you have all things in your life in a positive state - eating healthy, exercising regularly, having a low body fat percentage, in a happy relationship (whether that's marriage or a partner) being independent, working in a career that you love and look forward to going to work everyday, being organised, having a loyal circle of friends and being able to sit back and not wanting to change much at all, if not anything, about your life.

Now, that may seem like a lot of things to have in place, but here is my reasoning. If you are slim, eating healthy and exercising, but you hate your job, that will cause a lot of stress, which is not going to make you happy, which could then even lead to little binge eating session. On another side, if you had a career that you love, you enjoy going to work, but you are overweight - you're not going to be happy, you will be stressed - so you wouldn't be in a 'healthy state'. That's why I believe that its a number of things, and with having all of those things working in harmony, you will be happy, content and healthy.

It is very hard to have all of those things working together, but that's why good health is hard to come by. You can help yourself with a few things though - you can move into a career that you love, even if it is hard work and it may take a while, but it would be worth it. You can control your weight by watching what you eat and make sure you exercise regularly (which exercise itself is a stress reliever). By controlling your weight, you can reduce a lot of stress and increase your confidence - which can help you with things such as your career.

Some things you can control, and some you can't. With the things you cannot control, you need to try and not worry about them, because they can soon play on your mind 24/7. If you can't control them, you can't make them better, and sometimes in life you have to rely on pot luck.

I hope you have enjoyed my thoughts on 'being healthy', I'm sure some people will disagree, but nevertheless, this is my opinion and I hope you liked it.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

5 ways to cook eggs

I myself love eggs, and have them for breakfast every day, and it seems that many other people do too.

Why are eggs good though? Well they are packed with goodness - vitamin D, choline, folate, calcium, iron, selenium and protein! They contain on average over 10g of protein per egg, and are low in calories, so a real lean source of protein!

Here are 5 ways to cook eggs:

1) Fried

This is one of the most common ways to cook an egg, and probably the easiest. Simply crack the egg in a hot pan, reduce the heat and fry for 4-6 minutes.

2) Scrambled

There are two ways to cook scrambled eggs, in a pan or in the microwave. For the pan - crack a couple of eggs into a jug, whisk, add a splash of milk and pour the eggs in a preheated pan. Don't stir the eggs, simply turn and fold with a spatula until the liquid is set. Microwave - crack a couple of eggs into a jug, add a splash of milk, stir, microwave for 90 seconds and serve.

3) Poached eggs

Fill a small pan with about 3-4 inches of water and boil. Crack an egg gently into the water. When the whites turn solid, that's when the yolk is starting to harden. Lift out with a slotted spoon.

4) Hard-boiled

Place a couple of eggs in a saucepan, cover by about an inch of water, and boil. When the water is boiling, remove from heat and let the eggs cook for about 12-15 minutes in the water. Then remove, peel, and serve.

5) Omelet

A common recipe is a mushroom omelet. Simply whisk a couple of eggs together in a jug and add a splash of water. Slice the mushrooms and place into a preheated pan. After a couple of minutes, pour the egg mixture into the pan. Once solid, fold in half and serve.