Activity Levels & Nutritional Tips  – Lesson Two

As you know, I believe we humans are designed to move and be athletic.. and training every day, pushing yourself and regularly learning new skills is an essential part of this.

‘Exercise’ can sometimes be fantastic, and sometimes it can be frustrating. It can also be playful… it can educational, and it can be totally mindless or mindful. It can also be sweaty, it can be smart.. and it can be brutal! .. I believe our exercise regimes should be varied not just because of the functional and aesthetic benefits.. but also because mentally, it’s far more interesting for us all. Reducing training down to challenging or easy, or fun or boring is too simplistic. I want you to embrace all the emotions. Training should be like theatre.

The workouts in this Bootcamp may feel challenging.. but this week is still just ‘practice’ for next week!. As things get tougher I will be reminding you to NOT let your mind give up before your body does. On the flip side… If an exercise is easy, then use it as an opportunity to try and master the skill and think of your posture, breathing, tempo, positioning, etc. My point is, you’ll ll get more out of this Bootcamp experience if you’re 100% present.

In addition to exercising; Your, ‘activity’ which I define as all other movements you do daily, is a crucial variable to feeling athletic and being healthy and energised. For those of you that want to focus on weight loss, your activity levels are MORE important than how well you exercise.

Now, If you want to lose more than 4kg of weight or are feeling sluggish and lethargic then now is the time to prioritise ‘activity’ and add more movement into your daily routine. Taking up a new Sport, Walking while on phone meetings, Cycling/running to work, Dancing more, never taking escalators/lifts and committing to hitting a steps target per day are all examples of how you can increase your daily activity. While it’s not an exact science, as a coach, I have found it extremely useful to separate peoples movement by exercise and activity and set separate goals for both elements.

I want to carry on thinking about your Nutrition, but also think about your activity levels and make some new decisions. To help focus your mind, please answer my questions after some of my nutritional hacks below.

Nutrition – 10 tips from Dan

Whatever your fitness, wellness and body goals, and however they change in the future – eating healthily and appropriately for YOU and your goals make sense right?. As I expressed in Tuesday’s lesson, I want you to have a great relationship with food and treat your body with love. Food nourishes us, and it’s there to enjoy too! But sometimes, we can become slaves to bad choices and habits that result in being underweight or overweight and feeling anywhere from sub-optimal to becoming seriously unwell.

We should care about what we put into our bodies, and I think you should research what you’re eating and understand the science of nutrition to help you make good choices that suit your lifestyle, morality and sensibilities. I want to keep my advice practical… so here are ten of my opinions about food and dieting that I think you’ll find useful.

  1. We need a certain amount of new calories each day to function correctly. If you are overweight, you are overeating for your lifestyle (and if you are underweight, you are eating too little for your lifestyle). A calories deficit is needed to drop excess fat… You can therefore eat less or move more to reduce excess size/fat. In my experience, a combination of the two is preferable, but most people focus too much on dieting and not enough on increasing activity and training harder (which is way more fun and empowering).
  2. Food has macronutrients (i.e. the big stuff .. Protein, Carbs and Fat) and micronutrients (i.e. the smaller stuff such as Vitamins and Minerals). We should eat nutrient-dense foods (at a macro & micro level) to optimise how our body works.
  3. As different foods all have a different balance of nutrients, a varied diet is preferable. When training hard, often we need to up our protein as the amino acids directly help our cells recover. (Training breaks muscle down, eating, good nutrition helps them build them back up stronger and firmer). If you are doing the daily exercise in this Bootcamp, I recommend eating 1 to 1.2g of protein per kg of your goal body weight… If you’re also doing a lot of endurance work of heavy lifting, then I’ll up this to 1.7-2g per kg of goal bodyweight. This can be hard to do naturally. There are only so many egg whites, chicken and fish and nuts you and handle before you feel a bit ropey…and that’s where protein powders come in handy. Whey protein is best as it has the highest biological value. PhD Nutrition usually has the most popular flavours amongst my private clients in London.
  4. Carbs are not evil, they’re needed in your diet. If you want to lose weight lowering carbs usually makes sense.. and if you really want to gain weight, increasing carbs (and protein) usually makes sense. The glycemic index/load is a handy tool to see which carbs give you energy quickly and slowly and you should base your quantity and types of carns you ingest around what your body needs. A day behind a desk requires much less energy than a day playing football all day … Your carb intake and total calories should fluctuate according to your movement decisions.
  5. Fat – we need it! ..Oily fish is a great source of fat (and protein) as are nuts
  6. Snacking. When my client’s want to lose weight..99% of the time, I recommend eliminating snacking and sticking to 3 meals a day. This is because often snacks make it easier to over-eat and I don’t want your body to be digesting food all day and I don’t want your mind thinking about food all day either. If you want to lose weight.. and/or be free of food addiction/issues.. the answer isn’t always is thinking about it more! Am not a Psychologist, but in my experience as a Coach – focusing on problems doesn’t always magically bring about solutions. Focusing on solutions is more efficient (I’ve seen this with weight loss, ED’s and also with athletes during rehab).
  7. Orthorexia; where we obsess over healthy eating, is on the rise. Obsession about exercise, healthy eating… about anything is often problematic!. BUT… If you are training to get in the Bolshoi Ballet for example then you will have to be a bit obsessed with exercise and diet..  in the same way, that Elon Musk Probably works ‘too many’ hours a week….. or does he.. too many for what? The way I see it, obsession when it’s creating art or changing the world is admirable, understandable and really cool….. but be aware there are always consequences and sacrifices for extreme behaviour… I don’t want to tell you to be ‘balanced’.. as personally, I would rather run 20 miles and then eat 2 massive family size Pizzas straight after (which I did last month) than go for a 3k jog and eat a salad. So you just do you! yes, be healthy but stay aware … watch out of you not getting obsessed by accident.
  8. Mindful eating where you chew your food more, enjoy the taste (and ideally cook the food to begin with) is a good idea for all of us.
  9. Hydration is vital. You want around 2.5-3 litres a day during this Bootcamp. Mainly through water please. Soft drinks & cordials are for kids, not you and if water is boring, try infusing a slice of fruit, have rea or fizzy water, or just deal with it!
  10. I prefer the terms feeding or nourishing rather than eating. This subtle shift affects our minds. The connotations of ‘feeding ‘ are much more positive. I find it helps my clients make better choices. Imagine waking up and asking yourself.. ”how shall I nourish my body this morning? (pro tip – when doing grocery shopping – ask yourself that question.. and NEVER shop when hungry. Do your grocery shopping right after a workout when you’re feeling particularly virtuous!).
  • ..and what do you want to do about it?