Your results

Have you ever set a health and fitness goal?  Maybe to lose some fat?  Get fitter?  Get stronger?  Have more energy? Perhaps you have tried to achieve ALL of these things simultaneously.

Things go well for a while. You see some progress, then bang, you’re straight back to where you started, or sometimes in worse shape.  Can you relate? 

This doesn’t happen because you are lazy or that you just don’t want it enough.   When this happens, its simple feedback, letting you know that the person you’re showing up as right now does not match the thoughts, actions and habits of who you say you want to become. 

All too often we meet people who say they want to have more energy, less fat and get fit.  But at the same time, they are chugging down pints of lager 3-4 times a week, eating takeaways and spending most of their day sitting on their ass.  Nothing wrong with any of those things, but they ain’t gonna get you slimmer, healthier and fitter.  And they certainly won’t give you more energy. 

Your daily habits will always determine your success.  And you can only change your daily habits if you upgrade your self-image.  And this takes a bit of time.  You have to get clear on who you want to be, what you want your body to look like and how you want to feel. 

If you hang on to your current self-image, then you’ll always have to rely on grit, willpower and motivation to get you closer to a better body and improved health.  And eventually, willpower and motivation run out.  Change your self-image, change your life. 

Jonny & Veera.

Do calories matter?

With Spring approaching there is no need to panic and jump onto the latest fad-diet bandwagon, whether you are looking to drop a few pounds or make a bigger lifestyle change, the key to success is setting some realistic goals and keeping the motivation going beyond the first few weeks or even days!

So, what’s the best way to lose body fat? As a nutrition and fitness coach, this is the question I get asked the most – and do I have to count every single calorie that goes into my mouth?

The answer may annoy you, it annoys most of my clients. Here it is…

“It depends.”

Most things in the fitness and nutrition world ‘depend’ on some or many things.  This may seem like a cop out answer but please bear with me. Over the past 12 years, I have been helping people get into shape whilst looking and feeling better. When it comes to nutrition, I have used a variety of approaches to achieve this.

For some clients, the thought of punching in their daily meals into myfitnesspal makes them more anxious than squeezing into gym Lycra however for some, they love the power and control of managing and tracking their food intake. Eating out with friends and enjoying foods they love becomes less stressful, if they know that they are on track calorie wise.

Calorie counting is an imperfect practice however it is a practice worth practicing. People don’t lose weight because they are meticulously totting up nutrition labels, they lose weight because it forces them to pay close attention to the food they eat and how much of it they are eating. Paying attention to calories helps you become more aware of nutrition and forces them to make educated and healthier choices.

Sustainable weight loss requires you to adopt a new set of behaviours; we all know them – eat less, eat better, do more.  For some, tracking calories is a great place to start because it triggers a mindset change in sacrificing and substituting food – and if you know you have calories in the bank at the end of the week for a cocktail or cake, then what’s not to like?

But what if you don’t want to track my food? Not to worry.

Many people get so stressed out when asked to count calories.  They obsess over every gram and macronutrient ratio.  When this happens, a different approach is needed.  More stress means the person has a harder time dropping body fat and staying on track with their goals is going to be very difficult.

Some simple rules to follow if you don’t want to count calories.

Precision nutrition have put together these easy to apply, effective and simple rules when it comes to eating for fat loss.

1 – Eat a protein source with every main meal

2 – Eat a portion of veggies or fruit with every main meal

3 – Have 1-2 thumb sized portions of fat with each meal

4 – Have starchy carbs either post workout or with your evening meal

5 – Drink water or low calorie beverages to stay hydrated

You can see more about their portion control recommendations here –

Meal frequency is largely a personal preference, some people like 3 meals and 2 snacks, some like 2 large meals and a snack in between, this is something you will have to play around with and see what works well with your lifestyle and training regime.

But eating carbs at night gets you fat right?

I used to think that way too and avoided carbs like the plague after 6pm!  The truth is you’re probably going to enjoy your carbs later at night and doing so will help you sleep better due to the release of the hormone serotonin. If you sleep better you eat better, you eat better you recover better, you recover better, you feel better. Carbs at night are better.

So, lets wrap up the calorie debate….

Personally, when I start working with clients, I do like to get them counting calories at some point, mainly because it educates my clients and makes them aware of the energy values of everyday foods. The ones that can’t stand counting calories tend to get on just fine with the rules and guidelines I mentioned earlier.

Do remember that calorie counting is flawed, we cannot know 100% for sure the exact amount of nutrients and energy we are taking in from each and every food. However, it’s the act of counting calories that leads to a better awareness of food intake and choices.

There are pros and cons to counting calories it just ‘depends’ (sorry) on each individual and what they prefer.

I’d like to hear more about your experiences with counting calories and tracking foods.  Is it something you do?  Or does it stress you out? Say

Do you make this training mistake when you want to lose weight?

Over the past 12 years, I have been helping people get into shape whilst looking and feeling better. When our guests arrive at our fitness and wellness holiday retreat in the Algarve – almost everyone tells me they need help to shift stubborn fat despite trying various diets and training programmes at home.
So why do busy people with more stress in their life struggle dropping unwanted body fat? Think about all the stress factors in your life and picture putting them all in a ‘stress bucket’.

Stress could come from:

–       Poor diet

–       Over consumption of alcohol

–       Increased sugar and carb intake

–       Lack of hydration

–       Too much coffee

–       Relationship stress

–       Work stress

–       Financial stress

–       Emotional stress

–       Time pressure

Now if your stress bucket is pretty full with some of the above and you want to lose body fat, spending 4-5 hours a week in the gym is actually not the best things for you to do.

Exercise is a stress after all.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s a good stress.

If you apply exercise in the right amounts at the right time, exercise is a wonderful thing.  Your muscles, heart, mindset and posture will all be positively impacted by the right kind of exercise. However, too much exercise ON TOP of your current stressful life will get you nowhere fast.

We see this a lot with people who are keen runners and spend all of their training time just jogging.  There is nothing wrong with running, it has many benefits.  But if you use it as your only training tool, you are going to elevate your stress levels and really hit a plateau with your results.

Whenever busy, stressed people come to us to lose stubborn body fat, I always try to deal with some of the factors in the stress bucket first. This can be achieved with some simple techniques such as reducing coffee and alcohol, eating more protein and vegetables, adopting some meditation techniques or some deep breathing work.

Once there is some space in your mind – and your day, I would suggest introducing short and intense exercise routines that do just enough to stimulate change in the body without over stressing the system.  Adding in some low intensity walking and stress reducing yoga routines are good options also.

The sympathetic nervous system is often overworked and the stress hormone Cortisol is chronically high.  Cortisol isn’t necessarily a bad thing! We need it to live!  It allows us to generate fuel for movement and life. Too much of it however, can lead to low energy, a sluggish metabolism, loss of muscle mass and an increase in body fat, particularly in the stomach and hip area.

Are you one of those super-stress people who can’t shift stubborn fat no matter how hard you train? Perhaps, it is because you are just adding more stress to a stressful life?  What stressors can you remove or reduce from your life?

You can achieve great results just doing 4-5 fully body workouts a week – each work out takes 12-15 minutes and uses mainly bodyweight exercises. Is your current training regime working for you or do you need to make some changes to start seeing better results?

I’d like to hear more about your experiences,  is this something that has happened to you? Say