Only the Strongest Will Survive!

So I reckon by now with the constant rounds of Christmas shopping, Christmas parties and excessive mince pies to be eaten some of you are already starting to feel the strain?

Well if you want to make it through the season still in one piece and ready to take on the new year all guns blazing then it’s time to take action.

Firstly, you need a plan! Write down anything you still need to do/buy and go and do it! Do not leave it until Christmas Eve I promise you’ll thank me for it when you’re sat chilling on the sofa with friends or family drinking a glass of something fizzy, whilst other people are tearing their hair out battling the shops.

Second and most importantly is keeping your health on track. All that rich food, alcohol, late nights will play havoc with your immune system as well as your gut.

So we will start with your immune system. If you want to survive the rest of 2014 intact, listen up.

When you are not out partying, try and keep your diet full of wholesome, nutritious food. That’s lots of fruit and veggies and good quality protein (poultry, fish, meat, eggs, pulses etc.). This will help to keep your energy up!

Then, I suggest if you don’t already adding a multivitamin plus extra Vitamin C to your daily routine. I personally like a dissolvable Vit C – like Berocca, because it also encourages me to drink plenty of water. If your are likely to be overdoing the alcohol, (Making my disapproving face but I know your ignoring it) then consider adding a Milk Thistle supplement too as this will help to support your liver.

Where possible make sure you are still getting plenty of sleep, drinking plenty of water and generally taking care of yourself.

It is also helpful to at least try and keep up some form of exercise (no dancing at midnight fuelled by champagne does not count………….or does it?). Continue to pre plan your workouts so you know where they will fit into your week. If you really don’t have time for your regular workouts, make time for some short circuits maybe 10-20mins that you can do most days, if you need some inspiration send me an email. I promise that 10-20mins will be worth it when you don’t feel like a slug on 1st Jan!

Right so I think that’s my mum style lecture over (Not my actual mum she is more likely to be handing out the wine).

Bullet Points!

  • Make a Plan
  • Eat plenty of fruit and veg
  • Take some extra supplements
  • Sleep
  • Drink Water
  • Fit in some exercise


Nailed it!


Nicola x

12 Days of Christmas Workout!

So since you are all probably well into festive bulking season by now, I thought it only right to try and encourage you to do a workout.

So here goes my 12 days of Christmas workout – I expect you to sing along as you do it!

  • On the First Day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me A tuck Jump and a Burpee
  • On the Second Day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me 2 Jumping Lunges and A Tuck Jump and a Burpee
  • On the Third day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me 3 Tricep Press Ups, 2 Jumping Lunges and a Tuck Jump and a Burpee
  • On the fourth day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me 4 Mountain Climbers, 3 Tricep Press Ups, 2 Jumping Lunges and a Tuck Jump and a Burpee
  • On the Fifth day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me 5 Squat Swiiiiinnngsss! 4 Mountain Climbers, 3 Tricep press Ups, 2 Jumping Lunges and a Tuck Jump and  burpee
  • On the 6th Day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me 6 1 leg deadlifts, 5 squat swings, 4 mountain climbers, 3 tricep press ups, 2 jumping lunges and a Tuck Jump and a Burpee
  • On the 7th Day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me 7 Plank Twists 6 1 leg deadlifts, 5 Squat swings, 4 mountain climbers, 3 tricep press ups, 2 jumping lunges and a Tuck Jump and a Burpee
  • On the 8th Day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me 8 Reverse Lunges, 7 Plank Twists, 6 1 leg deadlifts, 5 Squat swings, 4 mountain climbers, 3 tricep press ups, 2 jumping lunges and a Tuck Jump and a Burpee
  • On the 9th day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me 9 Hand walkouts, 8 reverse lunges, 7 plank twists, 6 1 leg deadlifts, 5 squat swings, 4 mountain climbers, 3 tricep press ups, 2 jumping lunges and a Tuck Jump and a Burpee
  • On the 10th day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me 10 Perfect Press Ups, 9 Hand walkouts, 8 reverse lunges, 7 plank twists, 6 1 leg deadlifts, 5 squat swings, 4 mountain climbers, 3 tricep press ups, 2 jumping lunges and a Tuck Jump and a Burpee
  • On the 11th Day of Christmas my Trainer gave to me 11 Dorsal Raises, 10 Perfect Press Ups, 9 Hand walkouts, 8 reverse lunges, 7 plank twists, 6 1 leg deadlifts, 5 squat swings, 4 mountain climbers, 3 tricep press ups, 2 jumping lunges and a Tuck Jump and a Burpee
  • On the 12th Day of Christmas my trainer gave to me 12 high squat jumps, 11 Dorsal Raises, 10 Perfect Press Ups, 9 Hand walkouts, 8 reverse lunges, 7 plank twists, 6 1 leg deadlifts, 5 squat swings, 4 mountain climbers, 3 tricep press ups, 2 jumping lunges and a Tuck Jump and a Burpee
Phew! Workout Done!
And if your seeing me this week, yes this might be in your session, no I won’t be doing the singing!
Nicola x

Festive Damage Limitation

Well, as the advent calendars have been cracked open the official Christmas countdown has begun! I don’t have one this year although I’ve noticed my mum has bought the dogs one each…………………………we’ll be having words!

Anyway, it is traditionally the time of year when everyone throws the diet out the window, let’s their hair down in a string of social events telling themselves they will start again in January. Yes, you the know the 1st of January every year when you wake up hung over, bloated and several pounds heavier than you were in November? Do you really want to be there again this year?

I’m hoping the answer is no you don’t! Now I’m not saying you should remain a Teetotal Rabbit fooder (is that a word?) throughout the festive season. But you do need to decide how much of a blowout is really worth undoing all your hard work this year.  If you’re happy with seriously loosening your belt and then having to get your graft on in the New Year then that’s fine, it’s your choice and as long as you are ready to commit to putting the work in come January then I don’t really think there is a problem with having a few weeks off the healthy wagon. But it really is important not just for your waistline but for your overall health that you rein back in once the festivities are over.

But what if you don’t want to undo your hard earned results, but you don’t want to become a social hermit? Well, in that case it’s just about putting some what I call “damage limitation” strategies in place to help you stay on track.

Firstly, I know I sound boring but keeping your alcohol intake in check will help A LOT! Decide whether you really need to drink at every event you attend. After work quiet drinks, maybe you could just stick with lime and soda and save you’re drinking for the full work party?

Christmas Eve? Maybe just have one or two to save yourself from a hangover for the big day and you can enjoy your glass of compulsory breakfast fizz rather than using it as hair of the dog (you know you’ve done this!)

And then there’s the food! Now most of you will know, I’m not a big drinker but food is my weakness! And many of my clients have already said your offices have started to fill up with tins of chocolates, mince pies etc. which make sticking to healthy eating really difficult. Now I can’t really do anything about your companies obsession with trying to fatten you up like Christmas turkeys, and aside from me stalking you in the office to intercept any mince pie incidents ( I am available to hire for this service though…..) you are just going to have to do your best to avoid them. Maybe just pick your favourites and allow yourself a little treat on a Friday. Try not to just eat sweets because they are there. Ask yourself if you are hungry, do you even really like those sweets, and how will they make you feel? If the answer is probably a bit sick and bloated along with a potential sugar crash, back away! Honestly, you’ll feel great about that decision later!

How about taking the initiative and taking a fruit basket into work, more people than you think will be grateful for it!

Right, diet morals lecture over for now, I just want you to keep on the clean eating as much as you can, we still have a few weeks to go until the day itself and I don’t want you feeling bloated  before dinner in your sparkly Christmas day dress……..fellas. So keep that in mind when you pass the quality street tin!

Nicola x

PS.  I have to issue a formal apology to some of my male clients, as more than one of them has sent complaints that due to my advice serious consequences have arisen. Apparently, following my advice has caused throughout this year several clothes shopping trips (the most hated of shopping trips known to man!) as current wardrobe items where now too big, and it may also be an idea for me to start offering a discount at a good suit shop. Sorry guys! I think to prevent this becoming an issue in future I will have a T Shirt printed-“Warning this Personal Trainer May cause Weight Loss”


Healthy Breakfast Recipes

Breakfast is considered one of the most important meals of the day. To be honest I would have to agree a good breakfast can help to get your energy levels up and raring to go, as well as keeping you satisfied to prevent overeating or cravings for sugary foods later in the day.

But it can also be a minefield of unhealthy options if you go with one of the many commercial options. Cereal – massive sugary filled thumbs down, breakfast bars/biscuits-don’t even get me started and well a round of toast just doesn’t really cut it in the raring to go energy boosting, craving stopping stakes.

So what to do? Well I’ll be honest it does require a little forward planning and some preparation but I promise it will be worth it. Once you realise how much more energised you feel and much less hungry on a good breakfast, toast or cornflakes won’t cut it for you anymore either.

It is really important to get some protein and good fats in early in the day, this is what helps to keep your hunger levels at bay and boost your energy levels preventing the dreaded 10.30 am biscuit o’clock slump. It is also a good idea to put some veg in your breakfast, firstly for their many anti-oxidant and health benefits but also to help fill you up.

Most of you will know that I am rather partial to Steak, Eggs and green veg (green beans, broccoli, spinach…….) for breakfast and some of you may think that is madness. “Steak for breakfast? But that is an evening food!” erm says who? The food police? Although I have already converted a couple of you to the idea of erm “evening meats” at breakfast time some of you may still need some convincing, go on I dare you to give it a go.

Don’t fancy steak, well this week I’m eating beef mince with roasted butternut squash, shredded cabbage and a sprinkling of goats cheese, this could easily be done with turkey mince if you prefer and any other veg you fancy. We mix and match to keep things interesting-purple carrots anyone?

Perhaps you’re just not a big meat eater?

Well how about fish? There are so many different kinds of fish you could be mixing it up for months. Try tuna, salmon/smoked salmon, mackerel, kippers, river cobbler, trout………

You could have fish with eggs and some veg of your choice, minus the eggs if you just want veg, you could even have salad (I know a lunch food at breakfast-madness) trust me it isn’t that weird! Or there is a Kedgeree recipe below which is a great one to bulk cook and have prepared for all week.

How about good old fashioned bacon and eggs, you could try turkey bacon if you fancy a change, maybe add some mushrooms and tomatoes. Just doesn’t deep fat fry it, use coconut oil or the grill please!

Or maybe an omelette with bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach whatever you like. I also like to cook them in a muffin tin to eat on the go, or pre prepare a big vegetable frittata and slice it up to go into a box to take with me.

And if you still hanker after the traditional cereal based option how about porridge, you could add some seeds and fruit to up the health benefits.   Or why not try Bircher Muesli –see below for recipe. It is traditionally made with oats but I find they don’t agree with me so this is the recipe I will be using which is from Hemsley and Hemsley The Art of Eating Well and uses Buckwheat instead. But you could still do it with oats if you don’t have an issue with them.

And for those of you that just can’t face food, how about a smoothie. These are really easy to make with any fruit you like, berries, bananas, peaches whatever, just add some milk or natural yoghurt, blend and you’re done. Although I find they aren’t particularly filling done this way so it is best to add maybe a tablespoon of peanut butter, coconut oil,  flaxseeds, handful of oats or a protein powder make it more satisfying. Try to get a protein with very few ingredients like absorb nutrition, or most vegan hemp or pea proteins have very low levels of rubbish added.  (Taste ok when mixed into a smoothie-not so ok on their own!)

Let me know how you get on!


Also just before I sign off  I wanted to share with you this video from a guy who I have a huge amount of respect for he is my go to nutrition guru Ben Coomber, highlighting what our diet industry is doing to our increasing obesity epidemic.


Nicola x

PS. Amazing news this week that my lovely client Sam has managed to lower her previously high blood pressure to normal in just 3 months purely by changing her diet habits. It’s amazing what can be done without drugs. Well done Sam I’m really proud of you!


Bircher                 Muesli – serves 2

60g Buckwheat Groats (soaked overnight)

2-3tbsp of seeds (any you like-pumpkin, sunflower etc.)

125g Natural yoghurt

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp raw honey

1 large apple, grated with skin on

Optional desiccated coconut to serve

In the morning mix all the ingredients in a bowl and you’re done!



Cranberry Quinoa Breakfast Bars-Great to make at the beginning of the week so you’re well prepared.

2 bananas

250g Quinoa (soaked overnight

2 tbsp. chia seeds

100g desiccated coconut

100g coconut flour

60g butter or coconut oil

40g sesame seeds

1tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp sea salt

2tbsp maple syrup

50g dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 180°c/gas mark 6. Butter a baking dish.

Mash the bananas in a bowl then add the rest of the ingredients plus 100ml water (if you are using a food processor leave the cranberries out until the end).

Pour mixture into a dish and spread out evenly.

Bake for 50mins until lightly golden brown on top. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

You can then slice into bars, and you can also freeze them to keep them fresh and just take one out the night before for defrosting. They also make a great on the go snack.


Choc muggins-I know chocolate! I’ve clearly gone soft!

25g almond meal

2 tbsp. desiccated coconut

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

½ teaspoon stevia

60ml milk-any kind

Plain yoghurt to serve.

This is too easy it feels wrong, but basically all the ingredients (except the yoghurt) mixed in a mug, microwave on high for 1 ½ – 2 mins and then serve with yoghurt.


Kedgeree – serves 2

1 tablespoon butter

¼ onion finely chopped

100g Basmati Rice

1 teaspoon Curry Powder (any heat you like)

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 medium eggs-boiled

100g hot smoked salmon flaked into chunks

Chopped Parsley

Heat the butter and onion until just soft, add the rice and stir until coated in butter. Add curry powder and turmeric and stir. Add 200ml water and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn down heat and simmer for about 10-12mins – check the rice is cooked through. Add the salmon, parsley and the chopped boiled eggs, mix through and serve.

You could make this in advance and have it boxed up and ready to go for the next few days ahead.


Be the Person you Aspire to Be

It has been said in business circles for many years that you should dress for the job you want not the job that you have, referring to the fact that just because you make the tea if you aspire to a higher position you should dress professionally in order to be taken seriously.

Unfortunately for me that would have meant swapping my suit for lycra whilst still working in a law firm-wouldn’t have gone down well but I did start my business around my full time job, went to the gym myself before work so I guess that was me getting into role in a more appropriate fashion.

I think this analogy also works well in terms of health, fitness and weight loss. If you want to be a healthy, fit person then you need to act like one, adopt the daily habits of one and guess what??? That will mean you are one!

If you are currently a bit of a couch potato and aspire to be a healthy, fit, athletic individual then you need to ask yourself.


What would a healthy person eat?

What daily habits would a fit, healthy person adopt?

How would an athlete structure their training?


The answers are the things that you need to start doing right now!

You need to adopt the habits of the person you want to be in order to become them.

So start today.

Want to lose weight?

Have a look at what people who have previously lost weight (and kept it off easily) eat. Adopt the eating habits of people who don’t struggle with their weight. You will probably find they eat 3 balanced meals a day, only eat if they’re hungry and fill most of their diet with fresh vegetables and fruit, protein, healthy fats and some carbs depending on their activity level.

Improve your fitness?

What sort of exercise regime does a toned, lean machine have? Not a sporadic on off one, but a consistent effort maybe 4 x per week. Start exercising regularly, whether that be walking, dancing or cross-fit, just get into the habit and things will start to change.

So if you want to be a better version of you, start to change your habits even if it’s just a little at a time and you will start to become that person-I’ll let you in on a secret……………………………you already are that person you just need to let it show. #BETHEBESTYOU!

And boy’s that does not mean showing up to work meetings in a Spiderman suit………………

So if you need some help with your health, fitness and weight loss, give me a call on 07917681666 to see how Nicola Stuart Personal Training could help you. NS-PT provide Personal Training across Liverpool, The Wirral, St Helens and surrounding areas in your own home or local park.

Nicola x

PS. So now the temperature has well and truly dropped, I love to go for a cold, muddy run with my pooches if not only for the excuse to warm up with a well-earned hot chocolate at the end. But a chemical laden options just won’t cut it. Here’s how to get some health benefits in your hot chocolate without compromising on taste.

1 cup whole milk (Cows, Goats, Sheep, Almond, Coconut whatever milk you like!)

1 TB coconut oil

1/2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 tsp honey (use more or less depending on how sweet you like it)


Just heat all the ingredients together over a medium heat, whisking as you go! Once hot, pour in mug and ahhhhhh.




Personal Trainer on Motivation

So now Halloween/Bonfire Night is over we begin the official countdown to Christmas (my mum has been counting down the Fridays to me since around September so I feel like it’s been happening a while, including today there are 6 in case you are wondering).

This is the time we are all contemplating throwing the healthy eating and exercise plan out of the window to be dusted back off again in January.

I think it is important at this time to remember why you are on this health journey. I want you to ask yourself the question WHAT IS YOUR WHY?

I ask people this in their initial consultation as it is an important part of goal setting. Knowing exactly why you want to lose weight, get fitter, give up smoking whatever it is, knowing your exact reasons for doing it will help to keep you on track long term.

Now so many people underestimate the importance of a specific answer. I regularly get “well I’d like to lose weight because I will be happier as a size 10” or “well I just want to tone up”. Not gonna cut it I’m afraid! Firstly, because if you believe your life happiness boils down to being a size 10 you are wrong, but also because the reasons for wanting to lose weight have far deeper impacts than that. Usually what you really mean are, “I won’t feel embarrassed getting changed at the gym, I will be confident on holiday in a swimsuit, or I want to be able to run around with my kids without needing to sit down after 5 minutes” These are your why!

And this theory I use to apply to my work life too. When I am finding things tough, maybe struggling for some motivation or working some really longs days I remind myself why I do what I do.

  • Because I love my job, I love helping people improve their health and achieve their goals
  • Because having had one, I know there are way worse ways to earn a living than this (I’m in my pj’s with a cat sat next to me as I write this, so it’s all good)
  • My long term vision of where I want my life to be-back to that goat farm in the sticks but with a broadband connection so I can work.
  • And my daily WHY??? Because I want to provide for my little Princess Pearly Pony, my two goats, aforementioned kitty and collie dogs as well as Bernard (technically Chris’s but therefore still one of my children) and my horse Lizzie who doesn’t need me because she has an army of staff/an entire family looking after her at her loan home but if she needed me I’d like to know I could be there. My animals are my why, they are the reason I do everything I do and I remind myself of that when I need some motivation.

So, whether it is a health or fitness goal or something else identify your why, be specific and write it down somewhere prominent to keep your going when the journey gets tough.

And if you need an extra kick up the…….well you know where I am!

Nicola x

PS. Mr A is under 15st for the first time in years so he needs a special mention because he has and continues to work really hard on his weight loss journey.



Liverpool Personal Trainer on Weight Loss

A few weeks ago I went on a Donkey Behaviour Course run by a guy called Ben Hart. He is a human and equine behaviourist who works on teaching people the science of behaviour and then helping them to communicate more effectively based on that.  I struggled to train Mr A like a donkey (standard evening in or house!) Now you’re wondering where is this going……….

He also uses a tool called a shaping plan. This is where you set yourself an end goal and then plot the small steps you will take along the way to reach your end goal. If at any time you fall off the plan you just go back to an earlier step and get right back on.

This theory of goal setting ng and plotting the actions to reach it is not revolutionary however it is one that we seem to forget particularly when it comes to weight loss.

For example, Mrs Jones decides she wants to lose 2 stone, so she immediately throws out all the food in her house, begins eating only cabbage soup and goes to the gym for 2 hours every day. Now depending on how much willpower (or stubbornness) Mrs Jones has she is not likely to stick to this plan for much more than a week. And she then goes back to her old eating habits, probably kicked off with a binge and the gym membership a distant memory.

Now at some point Mrs Jones decides she will get back on that horse to lose 2 stone but this time she comes to see me.

Many new clients are very surprised when they begin embarking on their journey with me that I don’t give them some crazy diet to follow or ask them to suddenly start exercising 6 times a week. Instead I ask them to put in one new good habit a week starting with drinking more water, moving onto adding more vegetables to meals, add in 10 mins extra exercise and so on. And over time these small habits build up to some very big changes but they are now as I stated HABITS! Now you will just naturally drink more water, have some fruit instead of chocolate, add loads of green veg to your meals and do 10 mins of exercise.

And of at any point you fall off the wagon, you just go back to a step you feel comfortable with and start the process again.

The shaping plan method can be applied to any goal you want to reach health and fitness related or not, the principle stays the same. Write down your goal, plot out small steps to get you there and follow accordingly.

If you need any help with a shaping plan for your health and fitness goals feel free to contact me.


Nicola x

PS. Is it just me that struggles to drink more water when the temperature drops? So that I’m still taking on plenty of fluids and not just coffee I have been trying out some herbal teas. (The proper ones not the dodgy fruit ones!)

Some of my favourites so far are.

  • Higher Living Sweet Chai
  • Pukka Three Tulsi (Good for high blood pressure apparently)
  • Pukka Peppermint and Liquorice

Let me know if you have any favourites, it’s like cocktail sharing for the health conscious!

Personal Trainer Pumpkin Soup Recipe

So over the past couple of weeks with the theme of nutrition targeted for your specific body type I have been asked how to deal with preparing meals when the parties are opposite body types or as would be in most cases have different calorific needs.

I guess it is fairly straightforward in our house in that both myself and Mr A are operating on a low carb, high protein, high fat diet so from that point of view it does make things simpler, however Mr A is considerably bigger than me in both height and weight so obviously has to eat more calories to maintain his awesomeness.

The simplest way to deal with this could be that you simply prepare smaller portions for one party, although what we actually do is Mr A has other snacks with his meals like a protein bar with lunch or has higher calorie snacks throughout the day. He’d never get away with serving me a small portion………

But what if say one of you is eating high carb the other low carb? I guess the easiest way around this would be to make the same meal but alter the components slightly for each person.

For example, if your meal was pasta bolognaise you could still serve the bolognaise but just give pasta to the high carber and give the low carber some extra veg or perhaps just a very small serving of pasta if they wanted some.  In reality you may well in some circumstances cook different meals but I think with some imagination most meals can be adapted in some way with either portion size or adding more veg to bulk out a meal instead of adding starchy carbs like potatoes, pasta etc. and just changing one ingredient for each person’s desired macronutrient ratio.

To be honest if you just concentrate on serving good, nutritious meals full stop the rest will fall into place whatever the macronutrient ratio.

I feel like that’s not much to say on that but if anyone has any tips of they adapt meals this way then let me know!

Short and Sweet for a Change!

Nicola x

PS. With it being Halloween I feel the need to bestow on you a Pumpkin based recipe.

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

1 Large Onion

1kg Pumpkin

450g Sweet Potatoes

2tsp Coriander

1.5 Litres Stock

In a large saucepan, heat some butter or coconut oil and add the onion and cook for 5 mins, Add in chopped Pumpkin,  Sweet Potato and Coriander and fry for 1 minute. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until vegetables are tender.

Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.




Personal Trainer Talks Protein

So after the last couple of weeks outrageous bombshells that eating more fat can help you lose body fat and that eating carbs after 6pm won’t make you gain weight, I’m moving onto our final macro nutrient……………………..drum roll………………protein.

So first what is protein?

Proteins are made up of amino acids – which help to build our bodies!

There are two main categories of amino acids in the body. There are 9 essential amino acids which the body cannot manufacture and therefore we must consume through our diet.

There are then 4 conditionally essential, our body can make these however in times of stress, illness etc. our bodies cannot make enough and will therefore require extra through diet.

And lastly we have got 6 nonessential amino acids which the body can make itself.

So as mentioned we need protein and its resulting amino acids as they produce important enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and antibodies, without which we cannot function at all.

Protein replenishes our cells, transports various substances throughout the body, and aids in growth and repair of muscles.

Now listen in if you’re interested in weight loss. Protein in your diet can also increase levels of the hormone glucagon, and glucagon can help to control body fat. This is because Glucagon is released when blood sugar levels go down which causes the liver to break down stored glycogen into glucose for the body to use as energy.

It can also help to liberate free fatty acids from adipose tissue (the fat layer under your skin). So ladies if you’re struggling with the dreaded cellulite despite eating clean and training mean, try increasing your protein.

How much protein you need depends on a few factors, but one of the most important is your activity level.

The basic recommendation for protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram (or around 0.36 g per pound) of body mass in the average healthy adults.

However, this amount is only to prevent protein deficiency i.e. it’s the absolute minimum you should be eating.

Now as mentioned we need protein for optimal body function and a good immune system so eating just the minimum amount is actually doing our bodies a disservice. If you are looking for optimal health and/or are exercising it would be wise to increase your intake to at least double the recommended amount i.e. 1.6-2grams per kg (0.70-1g/lb).

It is also important to consider when you eat protein.  After training it is particularly important to eat protein as your body will have broken down its protein stores to fuel your muscles during the workout and it is therefore important to top them back up. This will help you recover and come back stronger next time. This is why many people use protein shakes post workout; it is essentially a convenient way to put protein back in the body.

So, in terms of actual food, what protein sources should you be eating?

Well true to type I suggest sticking to natural sources such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs (yolks included don’t be disrespecting my hens! And that’s actually where the bulk of the nutrition is).

As mentioned in previous posts, try different amounts and see how you feel, are you energised on more protein, or do you feel sluggish? Try also varying your source of protein and note how they make you feel. You are indeed a unique snowflake and although the basic science principles will be a good starting point you may need to tinker with them a little to find an optimal prescription for you.

So off you go to order your Friday surf and turf and call it getting your macros in!

Nicola x

When should you eat Carbs

So after the earlier controversial saturated fat episode, whilst I’m tucking into my breakfast steak with my coffee and coconut oil I will continue our macro nutrient journey.

Carbs have a bit of a bad reputation with most people, and with most diets advocating cutting them out it seems that people think that the key to all weight loss is cutting out carbs.

The truth is, whether we are using fat as an energy source or not we still need carbs. They support your metabolism and help to regulate your thyroid. Avoiding carbs completely over a period of time can damage your metabolism which will seriously affect your fat loss-the very thing that made you think carbs where the devil in the first place.  But some of us should eat more carbs than others.

If you have been following the body type nutrition posts then you will understand that your bidy type will be a good indicator on whether cutting back on carbs may well help, or if it could be the worst thing you could do. The key is first to decide how carb tolerant you are and then consider whether you function better or certain carbs over others.

This is basically done by trial and error. Keeping a food and mood diary helps. If you have eaten porridge for breakfast and feel energised and satiated until lunch, great this works for you. If you feel a bit sluggish or are starving 2 hours later, then clearly this isn’t the breakfast for you.

It also appears to be very much forgotten that there are carbs in fruit and veg, albeit usually of a much more nutritious kind. So just because you’ve cut out bread doesn’t mean you’ve gone low carb. This is why the atkins diet advocated only certain very low carb veg. So again try different kinds of carbs. I don’t do great on your standard starchy carbs like potatoes, rice, pasta, bread (gluten free for me) they make me feel a bit sleepy so I don’t cut them out I just eat them in my evening meal when I’m going to sleep soon after. I eat quite late due to my working hours so it’s a great way of getting me to feel tired! But I am fine on veg and some fruit so I eat veg with both breakfast and lunch and sometimes have a piece of fruit as a snack, particularly after a workout.

So there are some general guidelines as whether you are most likely carb tolerant or not based on your body type: Ectomorph-High Carb Tolerance, Mesomorph-Moderate Carb Tolerance, Endomorph-Low Carb Tolerance. But as I have said before you may be a mix of two body types as well as being genetically unique to you so some trial and error may still have to come into force to figure out what works best for you.

It is also important to consider the timing of your carbohydrate as this can have an effect – as per my eating starchy carbs at night or fruit post workout. This again should be tailored to your body type.

So If you are carb tolerant eating a lot of carb-dense foods throughout the day will be great for you. And also make sure you time carbs around your workout for fuel and recovery. As a rule have the majority of carbs around workouts and less carbs throughout the rest of the day. Also, if you are eating a lot of carbs you will have less need for fat in your diet as it will not be required for energy.

If you have moderate carb tolerance you should plan your carbs around your workout. The rest of the meals would consist of less carbs and higher intake of lean proteins, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds.

If carbs just don’t rev up your energy levels it is best to only have carbs post workout to refuel glycogen stores. And keep the rest of your eating to mostly fruit and veg , lean proteins and fats. You will probably find a high fat diet gives you the most energy, but again trial and error.

And no matter what your body type/carb tolerance you should ensure you are eating good, clean carb sources. Just because you are carb tolerant doesn’t mean you should fuel on biscuits!

Good  Carb sources include Oats, Rice and other grains (buckwheat, Quiona etc) Potatoes (I have no issue with the standard white I just find people eat them to excess) Sweet Potatoes,  Butternut Squash and of course all other fruit and veg.


Nicola x