The Cheat Day: How To Do It Right?

The fitness and diet world is torn on the subject of cheat days. Some believe that 'You need them to stay sane.' While others claim 'Why would you reward a good habit with a bad one?'

To be fair, both have strong arguments, but as the holiday season approaches, the issue has been coming up more than ever. Here is everything you need to know about cheat days.

What A Cheat Day Does To Your Body?

On cheat days you can have your cake and eat it, too!

A cheat day in its' most basic form is you giving yourself permission to indulge. Since indulging typically involves fast food, sweets, and alcohol a lot more often than it does celery, its pretty much certain that you will consume more calories than you need.

Just for reference, your typical visit to a fast food restaurant (burger, fries, and a drink)  will pile on around 1000 calories. Hearty home-cooked dishes although better in nutrients, aren't much better in terms of calorie intake.

Let's face it, even with the best intentions the next few weeks are going to see you consume significantly more calories than you use and this extra energy will be stored in the form of fat.

So what do you do? Do you just decide to get fat in December before you get fit in January?!

I actually believe that a cheat day is a good thing for a number of reasons, but let me first of all explain the science behind it all...

First off, you need to be following a strict eating plan to something to cheat on!

I believe the key to any success with your fitness or diet goals is to know your body. The process of following my 30 day elimination programme is to find out how your body reacts to certain foods more so than just to drop a few pounds.

When most people try to lose weight they follow a calorie restrictive diet.

It's simple right? Less calories in = weight loss!

Well on paper yes, but we need to be aware of hormone levels and in particular a hormone called leptin which is found in the fat cells and is responsible for telling your brain when you are full.

When we follow a calorie restrictive diet leptin levels drop, your brain then senses starvation and the cravings kick in! This is why most people give up on a diet after just a few days. Their body is simply doing everything it can to restore balance. Therefore harnessing the best way to manipulate this process could be the key to success with your fat loss goals.

Your First Month Of Healthy Eating

Those of you that have seen my diet plan know that it is quite a strict process. You will by no means be starving but a lot of your favourite junk food won't be an option. The point is to reset your body to enjoy healthy food once again. But cravings are still a very real problem. Here is how I recommend you deal with them:

  • Experiment with food. Prepare tasty and nutritious meals for your family. Check out that new healthy restaurant. Restricting junk does not mean restricting flavour.
  • When a craving inevitably comes up, just acknowledge it. Understand that it's there because you are burning fat and tell yourself you are just delaying gratification.
  • Finally, at the end of the process, enjoy a cheat day. You will get a massive energy boost and your body will actually appreciate the shock. After that I recommend that you book in your cheat days once per week.

The Perfect Cheat Day

First off, you need to have a good healthy breakfast. I highly eggs and they have been proven to lower your appetite throughout the day. However, anything rich in protein and low in fat and fast carbs will do. You're going to cheat but the you don't need to go completely mad!

Next, whip out that cravings list. Which ones do you really want right now? Circle them and head over to the supermarket. Bear in mind, that whatever you buy you need to eat on the day. That holds true for parties, too, and we both know you will be going to quite a few over the next few weeks! No matter how much your host insists, you are not taking that doggy bag back home with you! You don't want anything tempting you during the week.

Eat freely, whatever your body has craved over the last few weeks - indulge!

If you love your junk food then removing it permanently is just going to make you miserable. It is my belief that all elements of health and fitness should be an enjoyable process and as you see the results of following my nutritional principles I guarantee that the cravings will become less and less.

Cheat Day Psychological Benefits

Internal organs align

The reality is most people will only really stick to a diet about 80% of the time. Over my many years of working in the fitness industry I recognise that instead of forcing my ideas onto clients I need to meet them where they are at. I want commitment but I understand that sometimes life can just get in the way and it is pointless trying to change others if I cannot be adaptable myself.  The cheat day offers a great solution for most people to achieve great results without feeling as though they are depriving themselves.

Instead of failing with a diet plan and turning a minor slip-up into a major set back you can simply accept that you will fall off the wagon manage it appropriately and continue with the diet as planned. A short break from your restricted diet can also really boost your mood and enhance your long-term motivation.

How To Be a Great Cheater!

I believe that a cheat day is a really positive move - as long as you've earned it!

The key to a lean and toned physique is in being strict with your diet - There's no getting around that. You get fit in the gym but you lose weight in the kitchen. Get into great habits, learn how your body reacts to the fuel that you feed it see the results and then be strategic with how you maintain them.

If you eat a clean healthy diet 80-90% of the time then you can get away with eating pretty much anything the rest of the time!

With that in mind... Let the Christmas Party season begin!

So those are my guidelines for a successful (or at least not as damaging) cheat day. If you have any questions or suggestions for future articles, please don't hesitate to share them in the comments below!

Cheers,

David


The Untold Truth of The Ketogenic Diet

In the last few weeks, a lot of people have asked me about the ketogenic diet. I mentioned it briefly in a previous article and I thought I would go into more detail here.

The ketogenic diet has been getting increasingly popular over the last few years. It's not a new concept per se but to the general public, keto seems novel. So much so, in fact, that it's quickly turning into a fad diet. And there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding it so let's try to clear a few up!

What Does A Ketogenic Diet Look Like?

Diet usually implies cutting out some foods and/or swapping them with others. With the keto diet, however, it is just about the macronutrients.

These can be broken down into:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Proteins

Usually, dieticians and nutritionists will have you eat 40-50% carbs, 30-40% protein, and 20% fat. Your calorie needs are something very individual but the carb: protein: fat ratio for these calories remains the same. If your calorie budget is 2000, you would get 800 - 1000 of them from carbs.

On the ketogenic diet, the amount of fats you consume goes up to 60 or even 70%. This is to the expense of the calories in carbs. So in practice, the ketogenic diet would have you cut out foods like pasta and bread and eat more nuts, avocados, and fatty fish. It is definitely not just about eating more fat.

How Does It Help You Lose Weight?

There is a quick science lesson before you can understand it.

The reason why such a large portion of your daily calories should normally come from carbs is because your body just loves glucose. Carbohydrates contain glucose in different forms. Some are easier to digest and the glucose is more readily available, others not so much. This is where we distinguish simple (e.g. Fruit juice) from complex carbs (e.g. Vegetables).

Glucose gives your cells energy. They could also use fats to produce energy but the process takes a lot longer and is more complicated. Hence why your body prefers glucose.

When you consume less carbs, your body has to search for them, first off it uses up the glucose in your bloodstream. Then you move on to the glycogen (which is just glucose stored in our muscle tissue). These are quickly depleted, though, typically in the first 20 minutes of exercise or after just a couple of hours without carbs.

Then your body moves on to a substance called oxaloacetate.

The State Of Ketosis (And Why It's Good For Slimming Down)

Oxaloacetate is found in your liver. When your glucose and glycogen stores get depleted, your body's plan A is to produce more glucose. Oxaloacetate can be turned into glucose and that is exactly what your liver cells begin to do.

At the same time, your adipose cells start sending over fats and the oxaloacetate turns the fats into ketone bodies. The ketone bodies move with your blood and carry energy just like glucose does.

Once this happens you're in the state of ketosis which basically encourages your body to use up fat stores instead of craving the carbs it is not getting. Therefore your body will burn more fat than you would on the same calories but with a different macronutrient ratio.

The Fine Print On Ketosis

Here is a little something people don't tell you about the ketogenic diet. Ketone bodies are not your primary energy source for a reason. They are acidic, meaning that they also turn your blood acidic. Changes to the pH inside your body can be detrimental to a lot of the processes that are essential to survival. On a biochemical level, that might mean blocking enzymes or getting unwanted side products from reactions.

Overall, the state of your body being more acid than normal is known as (surprise-surprise) acidosis. Some common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Shallow breathing (your lungs trying to normalise the pH)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Strong headache

In diabetics, acidosis can be life-threatening. It happens to them because they can't use the glucose and their bodies produce ketones instead. When you are on the ketogenic diet, you are essentially forcing your system into the same state.

That is not to say that you would suffer all of these negative consequences. It is just a warning that the ketogenic diet can't be used on the long term, as beneficial as it may be for short term fat shredding. As I say with all of my articles, I'm just here to inform and not prescribe. Nothing is ever one size fits all, the Keto diet may work amazingly well for one reader and have negative effects for another. Just be aware of the potential dangers before you jump on the Keto bandwaggon.

More Safety Issues With The Ketogenic Diet

The acidosis is not the only possible negative effect of eating keto.

Glucose is essential to building new protein. When you are trying to gain muscle mass, building new protein is the name of the game. With less glucose in your system, though, there will be very little gains. That is why this isn't a long-term diet plan and you should switch between keto and a higher carb diet if you want to get slimmer AND stronger at the same time.

The kind of fats you choose also matters. In my experience, when clients first start the ketogenic diet, their performance drops. That is the acidosis plus the drop in glucose but it's also the fats they consume. Often it is saturated fat, which is unhealthy both in the short and long run. You should be careful to choose the right fats. Focus on high-quality, polyunsaturated, non-processed fats for best results. Try to get this from nuts, avocados and oily fish.

Practical Tips (And My Favourite Ketogenic Diet Recipe)

In practice, the ketogenic diet is best applied for a couple of weeks at a time. Plan ahead and use a calorie/nutrient tracking application to make sure you are lowering the carbs along with the increased fats. Meal prepping is a tedious but probably essential, especially for beginners. That way, you don't fall into the trap of consuming unhealthy fats.

An easy, keto-friendly recipe I swear by is my keto green smoothie. It is packed full of healthy fats and the greens add some extra antioxidant goodness. The basic ingredient list is:

  • A cup of baby spinach (organic)
  • Half a cup of full-fat coconut milk
  • 5-6 almonds
  • A couple of brazil nuts
  • One tablespoon chia seeds
  • Half a cup of water (or kombucha for some probiotics)

I like to add protein powder, too, especially in the morning. My favourite is hemp protein powder and I even did an article about it if you want to learn more. You could also throw on some berries for extra antioxidants.

As a bottom line, the ketogenic diet could be a great way for you to lose some weight. It is much more than a fad diet and, if done correctly, is safe and healthy. Be smart and maintain some common sense and you should be fine!

If you have any questions you would like me to answer, or any article ideas, I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Cheers,

David


MCT Oil: What Nobody Is Telling You About The Ultimate Body Hack!

MCT oil has been around for a few years now and has recently gained huge popularity via Dave Asprey and his bullet proof coffee. 

However it wasn't that long ago, that all fats were being deemed unhealthy. So what has changed people's minds so much over the last few years and why should you take MCT oil every day?

Let's dive right in:

What Is MCT Oil?

MCT oil has plenty of benefits to your physical and mental health. Yes, that also includes better cognition.

Your body functions on three fuel sources; carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Lipids include fats (also known as triglycerides).

Protein has always been viewed as the building blocks for muscle growth, carbohydrates as our fuel to move and fats as something to avoid at all costs!

I'm sure by now, you now know that fat doesn't make you fat, in fact it is vital for numerous bodily functions.

An example of the "good fat" your body thrives on is triglycerides which are made up of glycerol and three fatty acids attached to it. The glycerol is the backbone and you have the fatty acids sticking out from it. It is found naturally in coconuts, coconut oil and in butter and other high-fat dairy products from grass-fed cows and goats.

So what is so good about MCT Oil?

To digest triglycerides, you need enzymes and bile salts. These transform the fat so it can enter your bloodstream. With medium-chain triglycerides, however, you don't have to do that. They already have the correct structure, to begin with so they are much easier to digest and absorb.

Not only that, but MCT oil can also improve protein metabolism and induce ketogenesis. - another buzz word at the moment.

Ketogenesis is simply another way for your body to distribute energy but has gained popularity recently as the process has been marketed as "turning your body into a fat burning machine!" Part of this statement holds some truth, however there are some side effects to ketosis.

This is a whole other subject that I will go into in a later article but basically, as your body burns fat, the liver produces ketones out of fats. Ketones cross the blood-brain barrier very efficiently, which is why MCT oil is sometimes called brain food.

Here's the key thing, a fat deficiency can seriously tamper with your hormones. Your body needs fats in order to produce oestrogen, testosterone, and a bunch of other incredibly important hormones. When you avoid fats in your diet, you risk an imbalance.

This is why I see first hand how so many female clients now have screwed up their bodies as a result of following poor dietary advice over the years. They have been badly advised to avoid ALL forms of fat in their diet and as a result they now have a hormone imbalance and symptoms such as weight gain, mood swings, lowered immunity, poor physical and mental performance, the list goes on and on.

Consuming MCT oil changes all of this. It gives your body and brain the energy boost it needs, it supports your digestive system and even has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.

 

The Reason I Put MCT Oil In My Coffee Every Morning

When people ask me how do I like my coffee, they rarely expect to hear 'With oil in it'. Bulletproof coffee is the real deal when it comes to boosting energy, improving my performance, and giving me a variety of other health benefits.

Obviously, it gives me all the antioxidants black coffee has anyway which are quite impressive. It lowers your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, prevents Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, not to mention coffee lowers appetite and it can help with weight loss.

Another great reason to have MCT Oil in your coffee is that caffeine is also soluble in fats. When you drink coffee on an empty stomach, the caffeine in the water will get absorbed fairly quickly. The MCT takes a little longer to be absorbed. That is why adding it to your morning cuppa gives you lasting energy (and by lasting energy I mean 4-5 hours at least).

Finally, To Sum Up The MCT Oil Benefits...

You have the energy boost and the coffee benefits, but Bulletproof coffee also gives you all the goodness of medium-chain fatty acid supplementation. That means:

  • An easy to digest source of energy. And it is the kind of energy that your brain loves, which improves your cognition visibly (even after your first cup of Bulletproof coffee).
  • Hormone support and imbalance prevention.
  • Burning more calories and an aid in weight loss. MCT oil is popular in the fitness community because it's a fat that helps you burn more fat.
  • Immune and gut health. There is evidence that MCT oil is beneficial to your gut microbiome. It helps balance out the bacteria by fighting the pathogens and supporting the good microbiome species. Since your gut health is related to virtually all other aspects of your well-being (including mental wellness), MCT oil has some major health benefits for your system as a whole.

So there you have it - the reason why I take my coffee with a teaspoon spoonful of MCT oil.

Do you agree with all this?  Do you have any Bulletproof coffee tips and hacks? Or do you just have a question to share? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Cheers,

David

 


Woman drinking protein shake

The Best Dietary Supplement You’ve Never Heard Of: 9 Amazing Benefits Of Hemp Protein Powder

Every week I get asked numerous questions covering anything from my favourite pieces of training equipment, my own health care, my nutritional programme and some of my unique training methods that I use with my celebrity clients in London. I thought it would be a good addition to post about some of these here on my blog in this new section I have titled: The Can Do Review.

I'm going to start things off here with my take on Protein shakes...

 

Protein Powder. These days everyone seems to have it in their kitchen cupboard. 20 years ago only professional bodybuilders would start their morning with a protein shake– today protein powder is as much of a kitchen staple as fruit and veg.

The problem is I see so many people that haven't followed a steady workout plan in years but still drink protein smoothies religiously, as though that would magically put more muscle on them!

The question I want to answer here is, are protein powders necessary or even healthy?

In this article, I want to address the common misconceptions about whey protein and why I believe hemp protein powder is much a better alternative for you.

Protein Shakes And Your Performance

Speak to most personal trainers and they will often be quite obsessive about  the amount of daily protein that you should aim to consume. A popular number is 46 grams per day for the ladies and 56 grams for men. But that is way too big of a generalisation. For most people the simple approach of consuming real foods and aiming to add a bit more protein to their diet has incredibly positive affects on their body composition.

Benefits of Protein Powders

So do protein powders actually work? well yes, especially when they have branched-chain amino acids which fuel muscle growth and improve performance exponentially. What is more, a higher protein intake helps maintain muscle strength even during times where the client is working out less meaning that getting back in shape after a holiday becomes much easier.

Finally, protein smoothies (as opposed to protein shakes) are an easy way to add other healthy foods into your diet, for instance green leafy vegetables.

The Dark Side Of Whey Protein

Whey protein cons

Although more protein is great for your body, not all protein powders are. Let’s start with something very basic:

What is whey?

I am sure 99% of gym rats don't actually know the answer to this! Let me explain...

To make cheese, you add acid to the milk. This separates the solids (curd) from the liquid (whey). Most of the fat is left in the cheese, while whey contains the protein which normally helps the calf grow. You know what else helps the calf grow? Hormones.

The hormone balance is one of the most delicate and underestimated systems in your body. Throw that off and you are risking issues like extreme weight gain, mood swings, and horrendous skin problems to name a few.

Hormones are present in our milk and some of them pass into the whey as well. Most of them are peptides (a.k.a. small chains of amino acids) and they make it to the final product in very high concentrations. This can disrupt your hormones dramatically and completely negate any positive effects the powder might have.

More Problems With Whey

Sadly, the hormones aren’t the only problem with whey powders. They are also detrimental to your gut bacteria. Damaging this can cause chronic inflammation, which is a risk factor for virtually all chronic diseases (cancer and heart disease included). If that long-term risk is not enough, gut health issues have also been linked to poor athletic performance. Yes, your workout supplement might actually be ruining your progress.

Don't believe me?

Ask ANYONE that's ever consumed a whey protein shake if they've encountered some flatulence issues or an upset stomach as a result!

To add insult to injury, the very proteins found in whey powder are not typical for the human body. Bovine milk (and whey) contains large globular proteins that are supposed to make the calf put on up to 80 lbs per month. When these same proteins enter the human body, they disrupt our entire system, causing an immune response, as well as unexpected consequences to our metabolism.

Finally, I am yet to meet a client that prefers plain protein powder to the chocolate-flavoured one. The artificial sweeteners in these products have been shown to increase inflammation, induce sugar cravings, and cause weight gain. And don’t even get me started on the flavour-enhancing agents.

Hemp Protein Powder To The Rescue

hemp protein powder

You want to increase your protein intake but now I've told you that whey powder does more harm than good.

A lot of people aren’t even aware that there is an alternative. Hemp protein powder is clean, natural, plant-based, and it contains all the amino acids you need.

Also, hemp is a sort of super plant. It’s one of those rare cultures that doesn’t need pesticides and fertilizers, and it isn’t ever genetically modified, either (it does pretty well on it’s own). You can use it to make textile, biofuel, materials for the automobile and construction industry. And, of course, you can eat it. Hemp seed are rich in proteins and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. They can be consumed on their own (and they have some amazing heart and liver health benefits) or processed into other products.

Benefits Of Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp seeds are processed into plant milk, which can then be turned into hemp protein powder. Here are all the amazing benefits it has (and why I always recommend it to my clients):

  • It’s a whole protein. Hemp contains all 21 amino acids, including the essential ones that your body can’t produce.
  • Hemp protein powder is rich in branched-chain amino acids. These fuel your muscles directly, with very little processing required.
  • Hemp is a safe and clean plant source – no GMOs or dangerous chemicals here.
  • The processing doesn’t involve harmful compounds like hexane that are often found in whey protein.
  • Hemp protein powder is easier to digest.
  • It doesn’t damage your gut flora.
  • The proteins found in hemp protein powder are ones your body is used to recognising and using. They will not cause an immune response.
  • There are no hormones in hemp protein powder. It doesn’t encourage inflammation but rather prevents it.
  • Hemp protein powder can be just as affordable as whey but with a much higher quality.

How To Choose And Use Hemp Protein Powder

I do have a favourite brand and product that I usually recommend. Remember that a protein powder is simply a supplement, though. Nothing can replace a diet rich in real, wholesome food. Try using hemp protein powder in nutrient-rich recipes, rather than just mix it with water. Some of my favourites are in porridge (with some oats or quinoa), green smoothies, or in a protein-packed omelette.

The Review:

Product: Purition Raw Vegan Hemp Chocolate Protein Shake

 

Suitable for: I honestly would recommend this to all of my clients. It is a very common theme for my female clients to consistently fall below their daily protein consumption requirements. As a post workout shake or as part of a breakfast smoothie this product solves that issue in the healthiest possible way. As a vegan source this product is also an excellent meal supplement for those not getting all essential amino acids in their diet.

Value for Money: At around £20 per kilo it's certainly not cheap, but like most things in life you get what you pay for. You can find plenty of really cheap protein powders online but if you've taken the time to read the article above then you'll now know that the low budget price also comes with high levels of animal hormones, sugar and artificial sweeteners that induce inflammation and cause sugar craving and weight gain!

This is the best protein supplement I have been able to find and I believe it represents a good value product.

My thoughts: It actually tastes very good and even better as part of a smoothie. There's no chalky texture or strange after taste that you get with numerous protein shakes and it is a genuinely great source of nutrition. The price may put some people off, but what price do you put on your health?

The Can Do Review: 4/5

 

 

Hemp Powder Smoothie Recipe

Here is my trusty morning smoothie, featuring hemp powder and more healthy goodness:

2 tablespoons hemp protein powder

1 medium banana

1 cup of pineapple (skip it if you want to cut the carbs)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 cup of baby spinach (always buy organic)

A handful of berries (fresh or frozen depending on the season)

Liquid of choice (I love plain Greek yogurt for the good bacteria or almond milk)

If that is all you are going to be having for breakfast, add half a cup of soaked oats and a nut butter you like (my favourite is almond butter) for some extra energy. Enjoy!

 

I would love to hear your thoughts and personal recommendations, as well as any questions you might have. Share them in the comments and I will be sure to respond!

 

Cheers,

David


Body Fat Percentage Calculator

It's well established that being fat is terrible for you. It's bad for pretty much every biological system in your body, it places unnecessary stress on your vital organs (including your heart) and makes you look less than your best. But. What can be measured can be changed. And that's why I recommend that all my clients trying to lose fat get their hands on a body fat percentage calculator.

This is what 5lb of fat looks like - disgusting isn't it? - this is at at the lower end of what you can expect to lose on my Can Do Chef diet (below).

The bottom line is it's well worth it and it's best to have your own at home so you can keep the time and conditions consistent each and every week so that you get an accurate, reliable reading.

The body fat percentage calculator scales I recommend are these ones

 These ones are wireless and connect to bluetooth and are low profile for ease of storage.

I'm sure you've seen them around. They look like regular scales but do so much more and link up to your phone so you can track your progress.

If you're still using simple scales to weigh yourself week in week out, you're missing out on key indicators regarding your body composition that your overall bodyweight alone will not reveal.

For instance, if you are trying to lose weight by following a weight training regime, you could have lost fat and gained muscle but still be the same overall bodyweight on traditional scales.

A good fat loss calculator, on the other hand, will give you a full panel of data that explains the numbers.

Traditional scales are almost certainly giving you imprecise results

What does a body fat percentage calculator tell you and how should you interpret the results?

Getting down to the nitty gritty of the data, a body fat percentage calculator can tell you a lot about your overall health. I'm going to pick out the key indicators I use with my clients:

One of my female clients kindly agreed to share a screenshot of her doing well on the Can Do Chef!

  • Weight - a body fat percentage calculator will give you an accurate and exact total body weight which it will use in combination with your height to give you your BMI.
  • Your BMI - your body mass index, the universal measure used by doctors to determine if you are underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.
  • Body fat percentage - useful for measuring actual progress in fat loss and excludes water weight and changes in muscle volume density - unlike traditional scales.
  • Body water percentage - how well hydrated are you, this number is usually around the 50% -65% mark  if it is much less than 50% then you probably need to recover better with proper hydration.
  • Visceral fat - this is the nastier kind of fat that hangs around around your vital organs and has a higher likelihood of causing conditions such as diabetes. Avoid.
  • Muscle mass - increased muscle mass starts a positive feedback loop for fat loss, the more muscle you have, the more fat you will burn. Weight training is shown in countless studies to be excellent for your physical and psychological well being.

One of my male clients agreed to share his overall health indicators before starting the Can Do Chef

Things to remember when buying a body fat percentage calculator

  • Don't mess around trying to write things down on paper to record them, you'll lose/forget your details.
  • For this reason, you'll want one that has bluetooth and connects to your phone.
  • Always be consistent and weigh yourself under the same conditions in the morning before breakfast.
  • Don't weigh yourself more than once a week, it'll create an emotional rollercoaster. If you keep the time of your weigh-in consistent it's something to work towards. I like to recommend my clients use their body fat percentage calculator on Monday morning first thing.
  • It should go without saying you shouldn't be wearing much other than underwear when you weigh yourself!
  • Use an app so that it instantly sends the results to your phone. That way you can always have easy access to a list of your results and the full data to track your progress in your phone.
  • Get scales that allow multiple family members to use the device during the same period where individual data is stored for each person.

I find the 1byone  interface to be the most user-friendly for tracking progress

Cheers,

David

P.s. the body fat percentage calculator scales I recommend are these ones.

P.p.s....

Lose Fat By Following the Can Do Chef

To get the most out of body fat percentage calculator scales you need to use them in conjunction with a tried and tested diet regime (you get fit in the gym but you lose weight in the kitchen).

Earlier this month I put together the 'Can Do Chef' a very specific diet programme I now insist all of my clients in London follow when they begin working with me. It's designed with the general population in mind (rather than endurance athletes and power lifters). I've since made it available for free online (below).

The thing that works about the Can Do Chef is that it is an exact programme. Nothing is left to chance. There are no cheat days. That's the only requirement is that you stick to the full 30 day programme. During that time most people will lose 5lbs - 8lbs of body fat (depending on your starting point).

The point is you can't just leave things to chance by eating salad and 'health foods' and expecting the scales to move in your favour. You have to be exact (at least at first) and then get the specific data by using a body fat percentage calculator in order to track progress and move forward.

Get the Can Do Chef - 30 day elimination programme


Beach Body Challenge - The Can Do Chef

So summer is in full swing (Not that you’d know it in London this weekend)! The perfect time to launch my beach body challenge and Can Do Chef companion PDF.

Maybe you’ve been on the beach or by the pool this summer, margarita or ice cream in hand?…

Those New Years resolutions are now a distant memory.

Maybe you didn’t quite achieve what you set out to at the start of the year to look your best on the beach. But, there is still time to dramatically improve how you look and feel in just 30 days and eek out the last of the summer sun with my beach body challenge!

The Can Do Chef beach body challenge – will you stick to it? 29 pages of a diet that is PROVEN to work IF you stick to it.

The Can Do Chef – Beach body challenge

That’s why i’m launching a ‘beach body challenge’ in my new North London fitness studio, a 30 day nutrition programme I call The Can Do Chef.

This is something that I’ve been tweaking with a number of clients over the last year or so and now I’m happy that when followed exactly this programme will produce some amazing results.

It will not only get you great results, it will also allow you to discover just how your body works. Which foods your body thrives on and which foods are causing you to become tired, bloated, irritable and fat!

The best part? I want to give it to you for free.

The rules of The Can Do Chef’s beach body challenge

The Can Do Chef comes with a few big promises that must be kept:

  • You acknowledge from the very start that this programme is not going to be easy, it is not a quick fix. I’ve spoken many times before about why false promises and quick fixes are the lifeblood of the fake fitness industry. This is the real deal.
  • You take 100% personal responsibility for following the diet during those 30 days. That means there are no cheat days or deviations from the exact foods and amounts I prescribe within the guide.
  • If you cheat on the diet don’t listen to other experts that tell you to ‘forgive yourself’ – I want you to dwell on what you’ve done wrong otherwise the next week, you’ll do it again.
  • No booze is allowed on this programme (along with a host of other toxins that are holding you back).

Why does the Can Do Chef work so well?

  • It targets inflammation in the body by eliminating the vast majority of foods that could possibly be throwing your body off balance (wheat and dairy are just the tip of the iceberg). This is great if you haven’t had a food allergy test to find out for sure.
  • You’ll lose a lot of unnecessary water weight (particularly if you have been consuming excess carbohydrates) initially in the first week so expect the first week’s results to be the most dramatic.
  • It’s a prescriptive programme. If you follow this word for word you will get fantastic results, I promise.
  • The flip side of that is there are no grey areas, you must follow it exactly, you can’t cheat. If you cheat on the diet at the end of the 30 days other people who have followed it to the letter will look and feel great and you’ll be left wondering what went wrong.

How many people start something in life and by the start of week one they’ve dropped off? I hope I’m not talking to you. So let’s get started.

Download the Can Do Chef for your beach body challenge

Here is it, the programme in full. I suggest you print it out or access it from an iPad. Take time to familiarise yourself with the programme as a whole so that you are well prepared.

Get the Can Do Chef - 30 day elimination programme

Put your email address in the box below and the full 29 page PDF will be sent to you immediately so you can get started.

Although I don’t promote any quick fix solution I do believe that it is vitally important that any great trainer has the tools and abilities to achieve rapid body makeovers with their clients.

For any trainers reading this, feel free to use my programme and start your own beach body challenge.

This is one of those tools that I like to use with my personal training clients and in fact I won’t work with clients unless they are prepared to follow this programme.

For me the primary objective for this comes down to educating my clients on proper nutrition and emphasising the fact that you simply can’t out train a bad diet. I hope you enjoy the programme and more importantly the amazing results that you will see over the next 30 days…

The Can Do Chef was designed with the general population in mind and I guarantee this programme will get results for 90% of you.

If you have any underlying medical conditions then I would recommend that you speak to a nutritionist and look into food allergy testing. This diet also won’t be ideal if you’re training for an endurance event, you will need a more specific nutritional programme for that.

It’s for the average person, who perhaps works out 2-3 times a week, looking to lose at least 5-7lbs of fat. If you want to get really detailed you can look into calculating the amounts of your foods with a macros calculator, readily available online but the aim of the guide I have put together is to keep things as simple as possible so that you stick to it!

Good luck!

David


Broccoli Sprouts - are you missing out?

Begin:

Day 5:

Day 8:

Broccoli Sprouts - anti-cancer, anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, anti-fat. Are you missing out?

  • The mason jars to make broccoli sprouts that I use (Shown in the video) are these ones, I recommend buying a total of 4-8 jars to produce a big enough batch each month
  • The seeds I use (shown in the video) are these ones.

If you haven't heard already, Broccoli sprouts are *incredible* for your all-round health. I was told about them by an old friend a couple of months ago.

He raved about their benefits, and he was right. This isn't just another cool fitness fad, these are the real deal backed up by a whole library of scientific research.

How to make broccoli sprouts
Grow broccoli sprouts with the top of the mason jar facing down

Just after I take them I always feel an incredible boost of energy, strength and vitality.

I did a bit more research - it turns out that broccoli sprouts are scientifically proven to prevent and fight cancer, detoxify your body, reduce inflammation and super charge your overall health in every other respect. The superfood of all superfoods?

I don't think the amazing benefits are all too common knowledge in the health world (yet) (at least I haven't heard them mentioned once in face to face chats with fitness pros in the UK) so I thought i'd share what I've learned to date in a written guide on the subject, including how to incorporate them into your daily meal or diet plan.

Scientific papers supporting the amazing properties of broccoli sprouts

The days of 'bro-science' on the internet are over. I don't support or endorse anything that doesn't have a weighty amount of scientific literature behind it - thats why I am a big fan of time under tension training. Broccoli sprouts are no exception. Here are the papers I read before trying these things and incorporating them into my meal plans with clients:

Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens

Broccoli Sprouts, cancer prevention and detoxification

Sulforaphane and Other Nutrigenomic Nrf2 Activators: Can the Clinician’s Expectation Be Matched by the Reality?

Antioxidant capacity of broccoli sprouts subjected to gastrointestinal digestion

Broccoli Sprouts Cheat Sheet

Sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts
Sulforaphane - where the magic happens
  • To get the science bit out of the way, the magic 'ingredient' in Broccoli sprouts is something called Sulforaphane.
  • In scientific study after scientific study Sulforaphane has been shown to have an incredible number of health benefits (including preventing and fighting many types of cancer and tumours).
  • The volume of scientific literature supporting Sulforaphane makes the health benefits of broccoli sprouts (which are very, very high in Sulforaphane) incredibly difficult to ignore or deny.
  • Broccoli sprouts are baby plants (i.e. not fully matured vegetables) that contain 100x more Sulforaphane (the good stuff that your body loves and that fights cancer) than normal broccoli.

Ready to give them a try?

How to make Broccoli Sprouts

 

You'll start to see proper signs of life in your broccoli sprouts after about two days - keep it up
Day 2 - You'll start to see signs of life after about two days

What will you need to make broccoli sprouts?

  • Mason jars x 4-8 (if you are preparing them for the entire family (highly recommended to help them all stay healthy - you will need more) - this will save you time.
  • Organic broccoli sprouting seeds - these are dirt cheap and probably the single best coniferous vegetable you can eat, worth every penny!
  • A cool, dark space to store them.
  • A little tender loving care ;)

Instructions - How do you make them? (It's easier than it sounds!)

  • These refrigerate well for about 2-3 weeks so make sure you prepare enough broccoli sprouts to maximise efficiency.
  • Start by taking a mason jar and filling it with two tablespoons of broccoli seeds, don't exceed this amount since the seeds grow and will be overcrowded if you use too much.
  • Put the sieve lid on the mason jar, make sure it is on tightly.
  • Rinse the seeds with a small amount of water by swilling the water around, make sure all the seeds are well rinsed;
  • Drain away all excess water;
  • Repeat this process 4-8 times with a new jar each time - depending on the amount you want to make (4 jars usually lasts me just over a fortnight but if you are cooking for a family you will need more).
  • Put all of the jars into a cool, dark place such as a kitchen cupboard.
  • It is very important to position the jars using the angled bracket around the lid so that the top is facing down to allow all excess water to drain - if you do not do this your seeds will mould and you'll lose the magic;
  • Put a waterproof tray like this one underneath the jars so you catch any excess water, clean this every now and then to remove any old water;
  • Each day you must rinse the seeds by topping up the jar with a little water and swilling and draining - twice a day else they will go mouldy (I set an alarm on my phone to do this at 6a.m. (when I wake up) and 8p.m. (just after I come home).
  • By day 8 you should rest the sprouted seeds in their jars in indirect sunlight on a window sill - this will give them a nice green apperance.
  • Day 9/10 - refrigerate them, they are good to use now for around two weeks!
  • The whole process takes about 10 days but boy, is it worth it.

 

Here is an update from day 5 of the process (half way!):If you have any questions about broccoli sprouts, please leave them in the comments below and i'll get back to you ASAP!

Cheers to your good health!

David


Failure is good

Is your job DESTROYING your body (Part 2)? - Sugar, Alcohol and Vitamins

In Part 1, I discussed the importance of aligning your job to your life’s mission and how the demands of a busy job can send your sleep cycles and caffeine intake spiralling out of control. I also suggested micro actions, 'Do One Thing' actions to take to address these issues.

In part two we move onto addressing sugar intake, alcohol consumption and nutritional deficiencies while holding down a busy job.

Fuelling yourself on sugar

Doughnuts and the vending machine are a constant temptation in the modern corporate office

Just as it's now common knowledge that weightlifting (even if you're a girl) is amazingly good for you, it's also received wisdom that refined sugar is bad, very bad.

With that being said, everyone’s human. We all bend the rules now and again and give in to the box of doughnuts that conveniently appear in the office. Fighting against this and trying to eliminate sugar and carbs in all forms just makes you, well, a little boring and for most people, it's unachievable.

Unless you are on a strict ketogenic or paleo diet for a specific nutritional or health reason, my general recommendation is to plan to have a moderate amount of carbs and naturally occurring sugars, especially if you are in a demanding job.

If you're too idealistic and do not accept that you WILL FAIL and ahead of a busy day, you'll need to refuel properly with at least some carbs, you're much more prone to cheating in a big way at the vending machine which is not good at all.

None of these will come as a surprise to you but my favourite ‘good’ carb sources are:

  • sweet potato
  • gluten free oats
  • brown rice
  • quiona

What works for some may not for others but the benefit of the above list of ‘good’ carb options is that they avoid triggering a state of inflammation in the body and causing problems with food allergies in the vast majority of people. Try to avoid pasta, bread and other carb sources containing gluten - they tend to cause problems for a number of my clients, especially if their jobs demand long periods of intense focus.

You should take your carbs in the evening with your evening meal, contrary to popular belief, there is no fat loss downside to eating carbs late in the day. You'll feel strong and alive the next day if you eat properly the night before and it gives you the option to have a relatively light breakfast such as a meal replacement shake (I am currently using this one which I highly recommend and gives me everything I need to start the day) which I find works well for many of my clients. A stodgy breakfast has the potential to slow you down all day as you digest it.

Protein in the morning, through a meal replacement shake or high protein foods such as organic eggs, really suppresses the appetite and dampens sugar cravings for the rest of the day.

Do One Thing Action item:

Aside from the other tips in this section, a good strategy if you regularly find yourself at the vending machine for a hit of sugar is to invest in some mini bars of high cacao dark chocolate and take a stock of these to work with you at the start of each week like these ones. Go for at least 70% cocoa solids. You'll get a sweet tasting hit and it will increase your alertness. If you try to eliminate all sugar as a busy person in a busy job you're setting yourself up for failure!

Alcohol

Switch to spirits instead of wine or beer to help your performance and sugar intake

Alcohol is bad for your body and performance in every single respect. But alcohol, like sugar, tends to be very difficult to avoid if you're in the corporate world, especially with obligatory work functions where bottomless champagne and beer are a feature.

Again, I acknowledge that a certain amount of alcohol consumption is inevitable. Punishing yourself with a spartan teetotal existence if you really enjoy a glass of wine a few times a week is actually likely to do more harm than good. It's controversial, but even the occasional binge boozing session can keep you sane and on the straight and narrow during office hours.

I recommend at a minimum you focus on completing a dry January every year, the peer pressure at this time to go out will be vastly reduced and you'll feel like this is quite achievable. Your body will thank you. If you're more committed to this, taking the first three months of the year ‘off’ the sauce when drinks invites in the corporate world are much more limited will set you up amazingly well for the year ahead.

Do One Thing Action Item

In terms of a quick action to take regarding your alcohol intake, if you currently drink wine or beer, switch to spirits like gin or tequila with a zero cal mixer and fresh lime if you fancy a drink of an evening. If you love the taste of wine, opt for a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc.

Nutritional Deficiencies

When it comes to supplements - don't follow the written advice of health and fitness professionals - get tested by a doctor!

A lot of the items on this list are 'difficult to fix' but this one is much simpler to address. There are key nutrients our bodies need to have energy and to stay in shape. If you're feeling run down by your job and tired all the time there might be a wider cause than just 'too much work’ or ‘tiredness’'.

There are a few vitamins to monitor here (don't self medicate, get tested!):

Vitamin D3

D3, the vitamin you can only get naturally from the sun, is in short supply in your fluorescently-lit corporate building where there is no natural sunlight (especially if you live in the UK with its three days of sunlight a year!). D3 impacts on the expression of hundreds of genes in your body. If you're low, your doctor will recommend supplementation. In general it's a good idea to get out in the sun for as much time as you are able to.

Zinc and magnesium

In men, Zinc and Magnesium is critical for testosterone production and whilst women need a lower dose, is also important to regulate their sleep cycles and muscle recovery. Again, you should get tested to establish if you do have a deficiency and if you do, supplementation should be considered. It is a very common deficiency so don't be surprised if you're affected.

The B vitamins

B vitamins are key for energy production and a whole load of other health markers. If you feel tired, get tested. Sometimes, if you have a digestive complaint or your diet is not up to scratch, you can suffer from a depletion of vitamin B which can throw you off balance. Go to your doctor and get tested if you feel more than just a little tired after a day of work, if you've got a problem your doctor will prescribe either injections or tablet supplementation to get you feeling right again.

I have a bit of a problem with health and fitness professionals “prescribing” these type of supplements to clients without the medical data to back this up. As I have discussed, a large number of you reading this MAY be deficient in the above nutrients, but please get tested by your GP to make certain.

Conclusion

The truth is, keeping fit and most importantly healthy, whilst tackling the demands of work, life and family is a tough ask. Poor nutrition and sleep deprivation lead to a reliance on caffeine and sugar to pick us up and alcohol and prescription medication to bring us down. Our working environments deprive us of essential nutrients and place additional stress upon our bodies that promote illness not wellness.

The contents of this post and Part 1 describe a world in which we are effectively surviving, but not thriving. An idyllic world without the daily stresses of work and family, where a private chef can accommodate your every nutritional requirement and a live in trainer can sculpt the perfect body are not achievable for most!

However the simple actions outlined above performed consistently can take you away from a survival state and towards a life where you can thrive in all areas!

If you like what you’ve read so far then stay tuned as I’ll introduce you more to my concept of Do One Thing each day to achieve the health and fitness you’ve always dreamed of.

Cheers,

David


Is your job DESTROYING your body? And small changes to make to improve

 

Introduction; Do One Thing; Your Mission; Caffeine Intake and Sleep Deprivation

Juggling a demanding career and taking proper care of your health can be a real challenge. I have been in situations in my life where starting and running a fledgling business and staying fit and healthy has felt like an uphill battle. Often, this was down to a combination of reasons and not just a single thing I needed to fix.

In my new book, I talk about the early years when I had just started my new business. I am lucky enough to have some great support around me now but in those early days, I was doing everything: I was the personal trainer and the owner; I was also the accountant and the tea boy!!

It wasn't easy and I felt my health suffer with each 'all nighter' I pulled trying to keep all the plates spinning.

The good news is there *are* ways to fix this overwhelming situation. How? Set out below are a number of common problems people have when their job is getting the better of them and their bodies (some of which they may not already be aware of).

The secret to making progress? Do one thing.

At the end of each heading below is a micro action-item that can be completed in under an hour that will improve your health while holding down a busy job or running a business.

I appreciate more than most people that these problems are not easy fixes and can take a very long time; the key is to start small with concrete actions that move you along the curve towards progress. Do one thing in each area and things will improve.

Your Mission

Define your personal mission

This sounds like a grand topic but I've met hundreds of lawyers, bankers, accountants and other professionals who can no longer, hand on heart, say they enjoy what they are doing. They've lost the passion for their careers that they once had. They drag themselves into the office each day and just seem to have lost their purpose.

The emotional impact of this is not to be underestimated. If you're doing something you're not suited to, or is at odds with your personality, you'll feel like everyday is an uphill struggle. The result? Stress and frustration.

My strong recommendation is to write a list of everything you love doing (in career terms!) and everything you dislike doing. If you're stuck in a job you don't like and have the flexibility to move, find something that will involve more of the things you love.

If for whatever reason you are bound to your current employer, there are usually ways you can tweak your job to do more of what you love and delegate more of what you don't. It's all about pinpointing the source of your stress and frustration (see the action item below) by writing things down.

Do One Thing Action Item

Write a list of things you love doing in your career and a list of things you loathe - writing things down helps enormously and will help you delegate or distance yourself from the things you really dislike doing - a major source of stress. If you're considering a career move, take a side of paper and in one column write down all the benefits of staying in that role and all the benefits of leaving the role - this will really help in making an informed decision.

Caffeine

Legend has it that London was built on cups of tea. The performance enhancing effects of caffeine are no secret. I personally love a cup of coffee to start the day and I'm sure you've read plenty of press articles promoting coffee as a cancer fighting miracle.

Coffee is a great performance enhancing drug but don't overdo it

However, a number of people that I have met in demanding roles have far too much caffeine which sends their cortisol/stress levels spiralling out of control. The corporate world is on a constant drip feed of caffeine and, if you abuse it, caffeine can lead to some very undesirable side effects for your body.

Cortisol is the body's stress hormone. Your body produces a certain amount of this naturally, according to its natural rhythm but caffeine gives you an extra spike and provides energy and alertness. If you have too much, though, you'll crash. In the long term this will lead to burnout, throwing your hormones off balance and making you store unwanted body fat. Not good.

Do One Thing Action Item

Impose a total ban on caffeine in all its forms  past 2p.m. each day to help you sleep. Ideally limit yourself to two shots of espresso at 10am (your body naturally spikes cortisol first thing in the morning, so it makes more sense to have your cup of coffee after those levels have settled down in the morning).

Sleep and Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is vital to your all round health and ability to perform at work

Sleep is critical. It is well known that If you don't sleep, your body doesn't have time to repair and recover - this will make you fat, among many other health problems. If you work in the corporate world it can be incredibly difficult to get enough sleep. One of the the first places to look if you are feeling run down is sleep deprivation.

Did you know that this is the primary time when your body produces key hormones that keep you in shape? If you're a man that skips proper sleep, your testosterone production will be diminished (responsible for creating muscle mass and giving you a lean physique). If you're a woman, sleep deprivation can play havoc with your monthly cycle and disturb your hormonal balance. Add chronic stress to that equation and you'll never be able to lose that body fat.

Do One Thing Action Item

this is a tricky one (particularly if you have kids where sleep is a previous commodity). A key mindset to have if you can't sleep is not to try and 'force yourself to sleep' - just accept your situation and let you mind wander. Worrying about not sleeping is a stressor is itself!

If you have cut down on your caffeine intake, and followed the other steps in this article, your insomnia should improve. There are a host of other reasons for insomnia such as nutritional deficiencies (such as low magnesium and zinc) which need to be diagnosed by a doctor with a blood panel.

Once you've taken the bitesized item actions above in week one, you can move on to my Do One Thing advice to limiting your sugar intake, moderating alcohol, addressing nutritional deficiencies and improving gut health. That's all to come in Part 2.

Often, the above issues are interconnected and take time to get right. It's important to move yourself further along the curve towards success rather than attempt to solve everything at once. Some problems may be unsolvable (for example if you're the breadwinner in your family). That is why I recommend bite sized actions for you to take. A little incremental progress will go a long way.

If you have any questions please leave them below and I will answer them.

Check out Part 2 of this article here.

Don't work too hard.  :)

Cheers,

David