Ebooks for Fat Loss, Fitness and Health!

I’ve just published 2 new ebooks that WILL get you results!
Both books are over 65 pages in content, so you can rest assured I’ve put time and effort into both!

The first, is a BodyFit “Home” Bootcamp ebook. It contains 11 workouts you can do at home, in the park or the gym, with zero equipment required. There is a nutrition plan that will help you drop a clothes size in 21 days, supplement info, and a 2 week food plan to follow!
Click here to view/purchase!

The second, will work equally well alongside the above, or by itself – Over 50 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It also includes a 4 week, day by day food plan to ensure health, better energy and fat loss. At just £15 this is a steal.
Click here to view more or purchase!

5 TOP Nutrition tips


1. Breakfast – as you’ve often read, it is THE most important meal of the day. You wake up, and blood sugar levels are low. The worst thing you can eat now is a sugary bowl of cereal that will drive blood sugar levels sky-high, resulting in an energy crash an hour or so later, and will start the fat storing process with it. Aim for a balanced breakfast of Pink grapefruit and a rice cake with organic peanut butter, some berries (now is the time to eat these antioxidant rich foods!) and handful of cashew and brazil nuts, scrambled egg on wholemeal toast, wheat-free museli with rice milk. Aim to drink a large glass of water, and substitute that morning caffeine stimulant with a cup of green tea.

2. Plan your snacks. Too many people leave snacks to chance. This will result in grabbing the nearest thing (often a packet chocolate bar, pastry or biscuit) when hunger strikes. Chop up some enzyme rich, raw vegetables the night before and store in a Tupperware box in the fridge –carrots, cucumber, pepper, celery, and graze on these mid morning and afternoon. The enzymes in raw vegetables with help your digestive system function correctly, and the fibre will keep you fuller for longer. You also won’t get he dreaded insulin/blood sugar highs and lows.

3. Lunch – Summer is perfect for salads. They don’t have to be boring, like most things they are limited by your imagination. Start with a base of rocket and watercress and add colour! Peppers, beetroot, radish, tuna, pine nuts, mango, sundried tomato, goats cheese, olives. The better it looks to the eye, the better it will taste. This is a great way to get food that will digest easily, keep you topped up with nutrients, but is low in calories – perfect for that slimmer waist!

4. Evening meals – Keep portion sizes smaller than normal, stay away from starchy carbohydrates like potatoes and rice. Aim for meat and vegetables. Also look to cut out alcohol during the week. Alcohol is just a form of sugar to the body, which will cause bloating, will feed your body useless calories it cannot use, and will encourage your body to store weight on your “love-handles” Also, people that drink at night tend to snack more (on junk food too) than those who don’t.

5. Aim to drink 2-3 litres of fresh, filtered water. We’re looking to rid toxins in the body and get the body processing all of the nutrient rich foods above. Without water (your body is made from over 65%) these jobs will not be as effective, and you’re slowing your results down!

10 Top Tips to lower your BMI!

Following my discussion with BBC Radio breakfast presenter Nick Wallis this morning, I’ve continued the theme by listing below 10 tips to reduce or get your BMI down!

  1. Ensure you eat breakfast, and that it is nutritionally balanced. Your body needs to kickstart it’s metabolism in the morning after a night’s sleep. What you eat will determine your energy levels for the next few hours, and also how your body will function. Miss breakfast and you will be sluggish, and will set your body further into fat storing mode. Eat a high sugar breakfast like a pastry, or sugar added cereal (honey nut, coco- xxx, frosties etc) and you will get a massive blood sugar spike, resulting in the release of insulin, which can be a fat storage hormone. You will also feel hungry sooner , and energy levels will crash. Aim for porridge, low sugar museli, fruit with mixed nuts and live bio yoghurt, eggs, grilled bacon, tomatoes.
  2. Water! Our bodies are made from over 65% water, and it has many jobs, including the delivery of nutrients around the body, but also the removal of toxins and fat cells. Being dehydrated can often lead to over-eating, fatigue, and headaches. Keep a bottle with you throughout the day and refill each morning. Aim to drink at least 1 ½ litres a day.
  3. Leave out carbohydrates from mid afternoon. Carbs aren’t bad, it’s just that we tend to eat too many! Their primary job is to be broken down into glucose, stored, and used for energy. But if you aren’t expending energy, possibly through a sedentary job, these carbs have to go somewhere, and so get stored as fat. By carbs I’m talking pasta, bread, potatoes etc.
  4. Aim to leave no more than 4 hours between eating. This can take the form of a snack like an apple and a 3-4 nuts, chopped raw veg, or some oat cakes. By leaving longer, your body will go into starvation mode, releasing hormones which will store the next food consumed as fat. Prepare your snacks the night before so that they are ready, and planned. NOT sugary snacks.
  5. Try not to eat after 8pm at night. Your metabolism slows down during the afternoon to evening time and so it will take longer to break down food from here. Evening meals should consist of protein and vegetables. Definitely stay away from potatoes, breads and pastas at this time. Where possible, have your larger meal at lunch time which will assist this process. If you feel ‘snackish’ in the evening aim to eat some chopped carrot or celery which is low in calories, high in fibre and will make you feel fuller. Also drink more water!
  6. Cut out added sugar! Everything that ends in an xxxxOSE is sugar! This is cakes, biscuits, sweets, in hot drinks or cereals. It is refined and causes high levels of insulin to be released, as described in point 1. The whole key to fat loss is keeping a high metabolism and  balanced blood sugar levels. Sugar will not help!
  7. Aim to limit/swap/cut out cow’s milk and cheese. Many people, without knowing it are lactose intolerant. In our stomach we have masses of different enzymes which assist in breaking down the various food groups. The sugar in cows milk is lactose, and the enzyme responsible for breaking this down is called lactase. Some people produce less of this enzyme and so therefore the lactose is not broken down properly, and turns into a toxin, which in turn causes bloat or stomach cramps. Switch to soya or goats milk which is easier on the stomach. I have, and can vouch that it has given me more energy, and easier going on the stomach.
  8. Cut back on wheat based products. This includes bread, cakes, pies, pasta. The gluten contained within these products again causes toxic issues in the body, resulting in bloat, and stomach issues similar to lactose intolerant people. When you do have these foods, aim to have wholemeal versions which are better nutritionally and not bleached or devoid of nutrients like their white versions. Try to limit to 2-3 times a week.
  9. Cut out the packaged/processed and take away food. This stuff is often high in calories, and specifically the packaged meals, are pretty empty on vitamins and minerals. Food needs to be natural and fresh to contain vitamins and minerals. If stuff has been pasteurised, processed etc, it has been altered. Be it for storage or looking after that best before date, it isn’t fresh!
  10. Eat for your day! Food is our energy source –  If you have a sedentary job, or day ahead, look to reduce the number of calories you consume. Food, in particular carbohydrates, are your main source of energy, and if you are not expending the calories, they will be stored as fat! So if you will be taking the train or car to work, then sitting at a desk most of the day, eat small, graze, every 3-4 hours, and don’t digest large, calorific meals. Your body will not burn these calories, and you will gain weight! If this is the case, really look to cut back on carbohydrates from lunchtime, and consume protein and vegetables (raw carrots, cucumber etc at work) for the rest of the day. TRUST ME – if you don’t burn the calories, your WILL gain weight!

Combine the above points with some regular exercise and you will be feeling and seeing the benefits. A qualified Personal Trainer or outdoor exercise sessions like BodyFit Bootcamps will ensure you are doing the right exercises, with the right intensity, coupled with qualified nutrition advice. This will ensure that the 2 main areas for continued fat loss and health are covered.

It’s not too late!

If you’re in the UK, then you already know the last 2 weeks have been troublesome with the snow. (Ok, compared to some countries it wasnt alot, but when we’re not used to it!)

Most people have not been able to get to work, I know my clients and bootcamps have suffered, and even I have got bored the last few days with the limiting weather conditions.

In fact my New Year healthy eating plan even had the bottom fall out. Yep that’s right a few extra alcoholic drinks slipped in, and a few too many carbs during the day!

However, it’s never too late to get back onto the wagon. Everyone has hiccups, weak moments, but the thing is to ensure that these moments are the minority, and the majority of the time you are focussed, in control, and eating the right, natural foods.

This way you will get results.

So…..start today, work out what you want, what you’re going to change and stick to it.  After all, you’re in control of your own choices!

Fat Loss Tip #5 – Healthy Snacks

snacks

A lot of people go wrong here, by making the wrong choices, either through a lack of planning or self-control.

How many times have you been hungry mid-morning or afternoon, are in a rush and reach for the nearest item, often something pre-packaged like a bag of crisps, chocolate bar or biscuit, or the vending machine?

The snacks are often high calorie, contain high levels of sugar (tip#1) and contain minimal beneficial calories. Chances are you’ll soon be hungry again in a few minutes and will reach for the next fix/stimulant.

Aim for snacks which are likely to keep you feeling full til the next meal, but also something that will be of benefit to the body, both in nutritional content and balanced for your insulin levels.

Great choices would be;

– chopped raw vegetables

– A protein bar or protein ball (see this post on my blog https://markpt.wordpress.com/2009/05/10/your-own-protein-bounce-ball/)

– a piece of fruit or some berries, along with a few nuts or a piece of goats cheese(this ‘good’ fat will slow the release of the fruit sugars into the body, minimising insulin release)

– Celery with peanut butter

– Oatcake or Ryvita with cottage cheese

– Small pot of greek yoghurt with berries and seeds

– Parma ham with melon

– Crudite with hummous

All it takes is some preparation the night before, and you will have no excuses for going “off-track” and you’re energy levels will thankyou for that extra prep!


Essential for fat loss

Keeping Insulin level for fat loss results

Insulin is stored in the pancreas, and is released everytime you eat carbohydrates(which get broken down into sugar) with it’s main job being to ensure blood sugar levels do not get too high. It is a storage hormone essentially, and if you’re glycogen stores (the name for stored carbohydrates) are full, it will convert these sugars to fat. Therefore it makes sense to keep insulin levels to a minimum. To do this;

1)    NEVER eat carbohydrates by themselves, this includes fruits – always eat some protein or fats with it, to slow the sugar release in the body (small piece of goats cheese, few nuts, peanut butter, protein powder, ham/meat, eggs)

2)    Keep sugar intake and sugary products to a minimum or remove them – not only will they spike blood sugar levels, but they are fat storage in a hit. They will also affect energy levels, by raising blood sugar levels, giving you an immediate energy lift, then as insulin does it’s job and pulls things out, you’ll get the energy crash.

3)    You could try supplementing with Chromium or fenugreek which are known to balance out insulin levels. I’m experimenting with both at the moment, and will keep you updated with results.

Remember, carbs aren’t bad, it’s just how, and when you eat them.

10 Exercise and Nutrition Myths

10 common Nutrition and Exercise Myths!

10. Women will get bulky from lifting weights

Women cannot get big and bulky for one very good reason…their bodies don’t produce enough testosterone to build the large bulky muscles. Testosterone is a key ingredient to putting on muscle mass, and the only way women can get this type of big bulky look is by taking steroids and hormone injections. This is why you see bulky female body builders. I know from personal experience how hard it is to put on muscle, and that is lifting heavy, regularly, consuming lots of protein and calories and being committed! Your 2 sessions a week with weights won’t get you big! So don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights if you’re a woman. Lifting heavy will make a woman strong, not manly. It will give you shape, and you more defined.

9. Carbohydrates make you fat Rubbish.

Excess calories make you fat. Gaining weight is basically consuming more calories than you are expending. This could be protein, fat, or carbohydrates. Carbs are needed as an energy supply, not just for your muscles, but your brain and bodily tissues. The main problem lies in that we eat too many carbohydrates. Nowadays, most processed/packaged food is high in carbohydrates, and often high in sugar. Once your muscles and liver is full (the main storage area for carbs) there is no where else for them to go, so the excess will be broken down and stored as fat. Look to limit your carbohydrates on non-exercise days, to natural ones (fruit, vegetables, small portions of rice) and you and you’re body will benefit from them. Aim to consume more protein and good fats and you will be on the right track.

8. 2 sets of 15 is all you need for each exercise

This often happens with a gym induction. You are put on all the gym machines, and are told to do 2 sets of 15, often with a weight you could perform 25 or more with. Yes, if you’re new to resistance work, work around the 15 rep range, but ensure reps 14 and 15 are getting challenging. After around 4-6 weeks, look to increase the weight so that you are performing around the 12 rep range. Once you have completed about 8 weeks, look to change the whole workout and add new movements.

7. If I exercise, I will get where I want to be without changing my diet.

If you think this, you’re heading down the wrong path! How would you expect to lose weight, put on muscle, get healthier if you’re still eating the same rubbish that helped you gain the weight in the first place?! The idea of exercise and balanced nutrition, is to get you and your body healthier, leaner, and in better condition. What you put into your body will determine this. Take this example – Look at builders and brick layers etc. Now, doing such a physical job day in, day out, all that lifting, they should have bodies of a greek Adonis? But what do they eat? Fry ups, pasties, crisps, all manufactured foods, and therefore they end up having a belly, high blood pressure, and probably a poor immune system. Let me make this clear, you will only get health and fitness results if you pay attention to your diet. I would go as far to say that weight loss, muscle gain etc is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. Yep, now you see the need for quality food?

6. Machines are safer than free weights

Again, gym inductions are often to blame. These machines are a waste of time. Firstly, they move in a specific range of motion, meaning you will work the same muscles in the same line every time. Secondly you are sitting down, so muscles from your core down are switched off. This not only means you are limiting your work capacity, but you are burning hardly any calories. Surely it is better to work for less time and be more productive? Ask for dumbbell and free weight exercises, and you will soon be sculpting a good looking body!

5. Running, or cardio is the way to lose fat.

No. Cardio exercise should be just one part of your workout routine. When adding cardiovascular exercise, you should look to perform intervals, whereby you work at and easy pace for a period of time, then put up the resistance or speed, and work hard for a shorter period of time. You often will have two to three times more rest period than work. The idea of interval training is you can train for less time, but burn more calories, as it ramps up your metabolism, puts a greater workload on your body, and will get you ‘fitter’ quicker than steady state cardio. Too many people stick to the cardio machines, spending hours during the week on them. Yes you will burn calories, but you’ll also burn muscle because of the long, slow intensity. This in turn robs you of body shape, and will slow your metabolism. In the business this is known as “skinny fat” – you may be slim but you’ll have a high body fat % as you have minimal muscle.

4. Targeting specific muscle groups is the best way to lift.

How many times have you heard “Today I’m doing arms” or “Monday is chest and back!”? How you plan a resistance training program depends on several factors, but the above is pretty much setout for bodybuilders and can workout for long periods (often through enhancements), have a long training background, and consume a good number of calories. This kind of training is not functional. It will not help to give you a generally strong body that will help in everyday tasks. You will see guys at the gym who follow this type of programme, with hunched over shoulders where their chest muscles are over tight from too much bench pressing, and other such muscle imbalances, which in time, will give postural problems. You should look to perform exercises which use multiple muscles and combine the 5 body movements – Walk or lunge, squat or bend, push, pull, rotate.

3. You need supplements to get in shape

Supplements should be used only for what they’re name implies: to “supplement” an already nutritious diet. Pills, powders, potions, will not give the results often portrayed by magazines and adverts, it will just burn a whole in your pocket. What supplements do I consider worth using? A good multi-vitamin and an omega-3 supplement is about it. A protein powder is about the only other if you are working out strenuously, to help build or maintain lean muscle. Natural wholesome food is what your body is designed to consume, and that is what will give you the best results – guaranteed.

2. Cutting calories down will help me lose weight

When you dramatically reduce calories, your bodies metabolism slows down. This is the engine to your body. Also, if you go too long without consuming a decent amount of calories, your body will start to release fat storing hormones called Lipoprotein lipases. These will float around your blood system, and next time you eat, they will grab the nutrients and store them as fat – your bodies last possible source of energy, as it thinks you are in starvation. Eat little and often, every 3 hours and you’ll keep your metabolism high. If you are going to cut calories in an attempt to lose weight, start by just 300 calories a day, possibly moving to 500 if you see no results are a week.

1. Crunches will get rid of your belly fat

One of the most over rated exercises for sure! In a very broad sense, getting rid of fat is a simple factor of expending more calories that you take in. And doing a crunch, which moves the body through a minuscule range of motion, is not going to expend many calories. Plus you’re not going to see any benefit from them if you have a layer of fat over the top. Eat Clean, lift weights, perform intervals and you’ll start to get where you want to be!