Nutrition and Calorie Tips

“But I need to have a protein shake to get enough protein…”

“But I need to have a protein shake to get enough protein…” 🥤

I’ve talked about whether you really need protein shakes or not before. There’s often an assumption that to get “enough” protein when you’re working out that you need to start having protein shakes. I’ve spoken about these before but this is a nice illustration of why they’re not really necessary for most people unless you actually want to have them.

Protein itself is essential, especially for maintaining and building muscle, so it helps with recovery and is also great at keeping you feeling full. But most people’s diet includes more than enough protein as it is and it’s pretty easy for most people to eat the required amount, with no shakes or powders required. Unless you’re an olympic athlete or a serious body builder you won’t need to be taking in excessive amounts of protein anyway. If you do however want to have a protein-rich snack or meal then a great option is 0% greek yoghurt – same calories as a generic protein powder serving and actually has more protein! And for many people it’s a nicer option than a shake. And it’s real food which is also an added bonus (plus it’s delicious with fresh fruit).

So if you don’t fancy protein shakes you definitely don’t need them! If you like them and they’re a handy way to get a snack in then go for it though! Just don’t believe the marketing hype!

Enjoy 🤗 xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘I’ve switched to dark chocolate because it’s healthier ’…..

‘I’ve switched to dark chocolate because it’s healthier ’….. 🍫

Dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate because it’s healthier right? So it must be better for weight loss right? Maybe not! There is some merit to choosing dark chocolate over other types in terms of some minor nutritional benefits. Dark chocolate provides more antioxidants, whilst tending to contain less sugar, but when it comes to calories you’re often taking on far more than you would have with a typical ‘unhealthy’ chocolate bar. And let’s be honest – even dark chocolate is still a treat so if that’s you’re main source of antioxidants then you probably need to rethink your diet.

Chocolate is not a ‘healthy’ food, but neither is it an ‘unhealthy’ food – it’s just a food to be enjoyed in moderation. As you can see the calories in dairy milk are actually lower than the same quantity of Lindt dark chocolate. So if you love dark chocolate – great! Have it. If you love milk chocolate – have it! If you’re trying to lose fat just ensure you factor it in to your calories and you’ll be fine. But if you’re tucking in to dark chocolate thinking it’s healthy and not even considering the calories it contains you may want to think again.

And if you’re eating it when you don’t like it just because it’s ‘healthy’ then don’t bother – if you want some chocolate have the type you want, in moderation as part of a balanced diet 🤗 🍫

Enjoy xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Pre-workout coffee?

Tuesday Tip: Pre-workout coffee? ☕️

Coffee as a pre-workout is something that’s often recommended social media and fitness blogs but does it really help?

A recent study found that consuming even a small amount of caffeine before and during exercise can help people exercise almost a third longer. A study tested found that those who consumed caffeine whilst cycling were able to keep going for longer than those who drank water, delaying fatigue by up to 60%. The only drawback is that caffeine is also a diuretic, so it can cause dehydration. Other studies have however shown the dehydrating effect to be minimal and the consensus is that moderate consumption of caffeine is ok.

Other studies have shown that caffeine can trigger muscles to start using fat as an energy source, but this is only occurs when other energy sources are depleted. In endurance athletes for example, caffeine is used to get extra energy out of the body’s reserves during an event So in isolation it won’t magically burn body fat for you sadly.

Researchers have also found that caffeine can help reduce muscle pain. The study in The Journal of Pain found that caffeine (compared to a placebo) reduced thigh-muscle pain during exercise (which can mean being able to continue for longer) .

So overall caffeine does indeed enhance performance and makes it ‘easier’ to put in more effort during exercise. These effects are more noticeable during endurance exercise (over 90 mins). Caffeine also plays a role in helping contribute to clearer thinking and greater concentration. The effects are greater in those that rarely have caffeinated drinks as tolerance is built up, and the effect varies wildly from person to person.

So do you need to start necking an espresso before you workout? Probably not, but it could help on days when you need a little extra boost to get through your workout. However, caffeine can also have unwanted effects and its use can result in caffeine jitters, headaches, upset stomach or insomnia, and excessive consumption can have serious health risks, so best to use it only if you’re already a caffeine drinker.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

The real problem…

The real problem… ☕️ 🍪

When you’re trying to lose weight its often easier to fixate on the main meals, planning out breakfasts, lunches and dinners and focusing on them. That’s great and that will definitely help, but often that’s not actually where the issue lies.

An average breakfast of 250 – 350 cals, a lunch of 500 – 600 cals and a dinner of 600 – 700 cals gives you around 1,400 – 1650 cals per day. For most people this will be perfect for weight loss or maintenance (obviously it’s age, gender, height, weight, and activity dependant so this is just an example). But what about all the extras? Those things that you have every day without perhaps even realising it. The couple of cappuccinos (380 cals) you have throughout the day, and those biscuits you grab from the staff room (168 cals).. or maybe that smoothie you have to go with your lunch (it’s fruit right?) – that’s another 351 cals. Perhaps it’s the handful of “healthy” cashew nuts you grab in the afternoon (167 cals), or the mocha latte you treat yourself to as it’s been a tough day (455 cals)… or the chips you grab from the kid’s plate while they’re having their tea… (250 cals)… This little lot of extras racks up a whopping 1,771 cals! And you can easily see how it could happen without really noticing.

Now I’m definitely NOT saying you need to cut out all coffee, or biscuits, or not treat yourself to things BUT it’s definitely worth examining all these little extras when it comes to trying to create a calorie deficit. You’ll probably find that your main meals are actually fine and it’s some of the extras that are where the extra calories are coming in.

🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Eating out, on track

Tuesday Tip: Eating out, on track 🍽

With restaurants reopening I know a lot of people are heading back our for meals etc. So I thought it would be useful to go over a few tips to help you stay on track, when when eating out.

Look up the menu in advance and decide what you will have, or a few options that you fancy. Then reverse engineer your day around it – log the meal, and fit your other meals around it.

You may want to prioritise lean protein for your main course e.g. steak and salad. But be mindful that restaurant portions are 2-3 times bigger than those you’d have at home, so consider a doggy bag.

Try to choose 1 or 2 courses rather than 3 if you can. Remember you’re the customer – if you want starter and dessert, or 2 starters, or even 2 desserts you can do that! You don’t have to go for starter, main and dessert.

Avoid extras – bread, olives, nibbles, oil, dressings etc. Ask for sauces on the side and you can decide how much you want to use. Ask for your veggies without butter etc too and be mindful of liquid calories (both alcoholic and non alcoholic).

Choose your indulgence – perhaps it’s booze, or the dessert, or the bread basket – whatever it is (for me it’s always dessert!), rather than having them all! It’s ok to enjoy a meal out but if you want to stick to your calorie targets then you can’t have it all.

Focus on the company and conversation – that’s what you’ll remember from the meal. It won’t be the food or that glass of wine, it will be the laughs and stories with your friends or family that you remember in months and years to come, not whether you had dessert or not!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx