So here we are again: cooped up inside, trying to cope with everything that life’s throwing at us. It’s tough.
But rather than letting lockdown get the better of us, it’s the perfect chance to get into good diet and exercise habits that will make us feel happier and healthier today and way beyond this challenging time.
My approach to nutrition and fitness, which I’ve set out in my new book, 30 Day Kick Start Plan, will do just that, and I’m going to be sharing it with you over the next four days.
I’m not promising a radical fat-loss transformation, but that’s not my gauge of success.
Having worked with hundreds of thousands of people, I’ve come to realise that the things you can’t see are more important and powerful than the things you can.
Instead, I guarantee that you will sleep better and have more energy, and feel happier, less stressed and more motivated every day, which is what we all need right now. Unlike faddy diets, these positive vibes will help you make changes for good.
I’m talking simple and achievable lifestyle changes that you can adapt whether you’re new to fitness and healthy living or you’ve recently fallen out of your positive routine.
There are four main pillars to my philosophy: nutrition; exercise; sleep; and motivation, and they are equally important. For example, poor-quality or too little sleep will affect your motivation to set goals, prepare healthy food and exercise, so putting effort into all of them is key.
Today, we’re going to talk about nutrition.
Most diets focus on food intake but rarely emphasise the relationship between physical activity and energy expenditure. They ignore how important it is to create the energy deficit that allows the body to burn fat, and that’s key to my approach.
If I’m eating way more food than I need and not exercising consistently, I will have an energy surplus and start to gain body fat like anyone else.
The extra energy I consume has to go somewhere, and it usually gets stored around my tummy and lower back.
If I want to drop body fat, I do two things: I eat a bit less (cut out pudding or alcohol, snack less and focus on healthy home cooking) and get active to burn more energy. By simply removing some of those foods and increasing my daily activity, I start to tip those energy balance scales into a deficit and I get leaner.
What this isn’t about is calorie-counting. I’ve never tracked or counted calories myself.
Of course, you can lose weight this way; it’s a personal thing and if you’re target-driven, maybe it’s right for you.
But if you already find it a challenge to balance food shopping, cooking, avoiding junk food and exercising regularly, your focus should be on daily lifestyle changes and consistency.
As a result, you will start to intuitively feel how much food is too much or too little for you. I want you to fuel your body and eat the foods you love, not deprive yourself. I want you to enjoy treats and not feel guilty or upset.
Gallery: 20 healthy ways to burn fat (Espresso)
So I encourage you to have three delicious and nourishing meals a day, as well as two healthy snacks.
A typical day could include pancakes for breakfast, cod and smashed avocado for lunch, chicken and chorizo pie for dinner and crackers loaded with hummus as snacks.
We’ll be sharing these yummy, healthy recipes — and more — today and into next week. As with all things, it’s about balance and consistency, and you should combine this way of eating with regular exercise.
We’ll talk more about the latter on Monday, but it’s essentially about eating low-carb meals on non-exercise days, then higher-carb meals on days when you work out to replenish your muscles. It’s that simple.
So are you ready to kickstart your life? Are you ready to own it and be in control? Let’s do this!
How To Get Energy Deficit
Trying to create an energy deficit might feel hard when you’re stuck at home; it’s difficult to exercise more and eat less.
The key is to try to think about creating a small energy deficit over a week or a month.
Don’t panic and cut meal sizes in half for a quick result if your body isn’t changing, as it won’t be sustainable.
Instead, try reducing your portion sizes slightly and see how your body responds after a week or two. Or, if you’re hungry and low on energy, simply make your portions a bit bigger or have an extra snack during the day.
The main factor in sustainable fat loss and creating an energy deficit is simple: consistency.
This means regular exercise, sensible portions and cutting down on processed foods, fizzy drinks, fast food and alcohol.
Hit your happy half hour
Exercising regularly is the key to feeling amazing inside and out.
By being more active, you expend more energy and you will feel happier. Do this consistently for weeks and months, and you will achieve the transformation you want. Over the next few days, I’m going to show you a mix of fun and easy ways to work out that will fit into even the busiest person’s life, and that you can do whether you’re new to exercise or a seasoned pro.
You don’t need fancy equipment — some exercises, like today’s, which is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, use your body weight to challenge you, while others just involve weights.
Give them a go and find what is right for you. Aim to do four to five sessions a week — block out the time so you stick to it. Struggling to fit all the workouts in? Do as many as you can. That goes for the length of your workout, too. And remember: rest days are as important as exercise days to give your body a chance to recover. So what are you waiting for? Pull on your trainers and something comfy and let’s go!