Hi fitness fans,
This article is all about healthy eating and keeping the kilojoule count low, so that you can lose those last few kg’s before summer truly begins. Right, so you’ve gotten yourselves back into the gym and you’re full steam ahead with your pre-summer training plans. BUT are you complimenting your workouts with the best possible eating?
Sometimes we think we are eating healthy (and we are) but portion sizes are important as well. We often indulge in too much good food, thinking ‘it’s healthy, so no harm there’.
Our bodies have a metabolism which naturally burns calories everyday without us doing anything! Isn’t that great news? It is indeed but we need to boost that metabolism by eating right and training hard to achieve our fitness goals. For the average woman, her basal metabolic rate will be around 1800-2000 kCal per day and 2100-2300 kCal for the average guy. This means that every day, without doing anything else other than being alive, your system is burning off around 2000 calories.
If we exercise regularly, we add to that daily calorie expenditure. Say for instance, you go for a run and burn 500 calories. The exercise combined with your basal metabolic rate means that you would have burned +- 2300-2600 calories. Now, all foods contain calories, so if you are eating healthy and consuming around 1800 calories per day, then you will not lose weight. If you add in exercise and burn 500 calories a day, then you will start to lose weight as you now have a deficit of 500 calories. If you eat healthy foods and take in only 1400 calories per day; and couple that with exercising off 500 calories per day, then you will have a deficit of 900 calories per day. This will result in losing weight even faster!
Now, I know there’s a lot of maths and numbers involved here but hang in there – it doesn’t have to be complicated! You just need to be aware of how many calories you are roughly taking in per day. Here is a great link to a website showing average calorie values of common foods: http://www.weightlossforall.com/calorie-content-of-foods.htm. On the website you can search for all your favourite foods with calorie values.
I have included a healthy eating plan below, which you can follow. It will help keep the calories down while you train hard at gym. You are welcome to replace a meal with a nutritional/protein shake, if you enjoy your shakes. But be careful of drinking the shake in addition to your normal food intake, unless you want to build muscle and gain some weight.
Healthy Eating Plan:
Please note: Portion sizes are important. Protein portions are roughly the size and thickness of your palm. Free vegetables (consisting of any non starchy veg like butternut, sweet potato etc) may be used to bulk up dinner portions instead of adding extra protein or carbohydrates. Please switch to low fat/fat free milk and no more than 1 teaspoon of sugar in coffee/tea during the day.
The point of this meal plan is to try and cut down on fatty foods and excess carbohydrates but also to try and spread your meals throughout the entire day. You should be eating around 5-6 times a day or every 3 hours during the course of your day.
- Breakfast: Choose a breakfast cereal (Special K, bran flakes or oats) to have on the majority of your mornings (before or after gym depending on your preference). Eggs may be eaten 2-3 times a week, scrambled or poached.
- Snack: 2 small pieces of fruit OR handful of nuts OR small fat free yoghurt.
- Lunch: Tuna/chicken/roast veg/salmon/egg salad with balsamic/olive oil OR sandwich on healthy low GI bread/crackers.
- Snack: More fruit or a few pieces biltong.
- Dinner: NO starch (potato, rice, pasta). Try and bulk up dinners with FREE VEG. Include fish 2-3 times per week. Steaks should have NO FAT on side ie. fillet OR ostrich fillet and only have twice a week. Chicken is a great option as well but stick to skinless thigh or breast meat. Watch the portion sizes in the evenings, as its easy to overdo it and that’s why it’s important to be eating all the other meals throughout the day! Try and stick to 220 grams fish, 180 grams chicken OR 150 grams of red meat per meal.
- Drinks: Plenty of water throughout the day – up to 10 glasses! Try and stay away from all soft drinks like Coca-Cola, TAB etc.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me on my email, firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss your eating a bit more in depth.
Richard Alger is based at Body Excel, a private personal training gym in the heart of sporty Newlands. He specialises in weight loss, functional strength and endurance, core stability and balance, plyometrics and pre and post pregnancy fitness. For more information or to book a session, email Richard on email@example.com or phone 079 8544645.