Snacks to get you ripped

Low calorie snacks…

If, like me, you want to snack but you don’t want to waste your calories then this is the guide for you.

You see, I like to eat light in the day so that I can slam a massive meal at night because I can’t sleep when I’m hungry.

The problem with always being out & about is that so much food is so calorically dense that it makes it a pain to snack on foods. For example,  a Mars bar is 250 calories, in fact, most chocolate bars are over 200 calories and I like to eat light and use my calories sparingly.

mars

A couple of chocolate bars and I’ve already eaten 500-750 calories. Three chocolate bars isn’t sufficient in getting me to my big at the end of the day; therefore, through trial & error, I have compiled a list of low calorie snacks which are all under 200 calories including chocolate bars.

 

#1 Chilli Milli – Asda – 70 calories – 29p

chilli

#2 Nature Valley popcorn bar – Tesco – 95 calories – under £1

nature valley

#3 Propercorn – Tesco – 120 calories – under £1

propercorn

#4  Chewitts – Sainsburys – 115 calories – under £1

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#5 Apple – anywhere – 80 calories – under 50p

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#6 Fudge – Tesco – 114 calories – 25p

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#7 Curly Wurly – Tesco – 118 calories – under 50p

curly wurly

#8 Chewing gum – anywhere – negligible calories – 50p

chewing gum

These rockets have made dieting a piece of piss for me. Being a student on a budget,  making wise choices both financially and calorically speaking, is the key for me.

 

I hope this helps you on your journey!

 

-S

 

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Do I lose muscle if I miss my protein?

Picture this: you’re at your calorie budget. You ate everything you wanted but when you checked your MyFitnessPal, you saw you didn’t get in your protein.

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Shiiii…..

 

So you either do one of two things.

 

You go over your calories to get your protein in because you don’t want to lose any muscle.

 

Or…

 

You think screw it and you decide to take the risk anyway, despite the alarm bells ringing in your head.

alarm

You wake up the next day and start checking yourself out to see if you’ve lost gains. Nothing there. You proceed to step on the scale and your weight has dropped, of how much is muscle, who knows! You check your waist and that has also gone down.

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So what happened…?

 

Well, although your muscles are in a catabolic state from the deficit, missing protein for a day doesn’t really matter. It’s what you do over the course of the week/month. That’s what truly matters.

 

But still you want to know, well, test your strength at the gym. Has it drastically decreased, say a couple of kg or 5lbs?

 

Side note – It’s important to note that a decrease in strength usually does occur during dieting, for me usually around 5th or 6th week into my cut.

 

In addition to that, if you’ve only lost a couple of reps on certain sets then you’re probably ok as this could be down to a number of things such as inadequate sleep, water, carbohydrates etc.

 

And…

muscle loss blog

If you did, I wouldn’t worry. Muscle memory is a real thing – as quick as you lost it that’s how quick you can regain it back.

muscle memory

So even if you did lose a bit of muscle, you can almost certainly rebuild it back in no time.

gain train

All aboard the ‘Gain Train’, next stop ‘Gain City’

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You feel me homie?

Until next time

-S

Should I go to the gym if I am sick?

Should I cut/train when I’m sick?

 

So you’ve been dieting week in week out, you’ve been training hard. You keep making progress and nothing looks like it can get in your way.

 

Then one day you wake up, you feel like crap, head pounding, body sweating buckets and you have 0 appetite.

food poisoning

Sucks right?….

 

Now I have my own strategy which I myself have found to be the most effective in getting back on track, with that being said one way doesn’t work for all, every person has their own way of dealing with shii….

 

Some of you will keep cutting and will keep training, pushing through all the pain because it will make you feel stronger (mentally). Whilst others will either give up or tone it down a notch.

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Fair play to you all, mate if you do choose to keep pushing bear in mind that being in a caloric deficit already puts your body under a lot of stress, so training and cutting will only make recovering take that extra bit longer.

 

Let’s call this person,  ‘A’,

 

A – he doesn’t see obstacles he sees the finish line and does whatever it takes to get there. His ship is headed for impending doom but he doesn’t care.

 

Some of us give in – ‘Person B’ – Will give up, a pattern that can be seen throughout their life.

skipped

B -You see, as humans we naturally want to choose the path of least resistance. Robert Fritz, the author of this book says that in any given situation we gravitate towards what we know; what has been tried & tested because that is what is true for us, so we always choose the easiest way out.

 

So person B will get sick and he will use that as an excuse to skip the gym and skip his nutrition because it’s the easiest way, why? Because they have done that all their life.

bitch

Person B jumps ships the first chance he gets…

jump ship

Now we have our two types of people, I am going to introduce another type:

 

Person C –

 

C- Skips a workout because they actually feel like crap and they need to stay in bed. However, they continue to go on the other days because they feel up to it.  They also eat to maintenance because their body is already under a lot of stress from the deficit so they want to ensure they can recover as soon as possible.

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C – can see the obstacles but knows how to navigate around ensuring he reaches his final destination the safest way.

My experience

 

Now, I rarely get sick but when I do, everything but the kitchen sink gets thrown at me. I mean I’m so sick I can’t move without making it worse.

 

So each time,  I do the same thing. I skip a workout and if I am able, I eat to maintenance but if I have 0 appetite I fast 24 hours.

 

A 24 hour fast can help eliminate toxins from your body which can help to eliminate future illnesses. It aids the digestive system to repair itself – this is more important if you get food poisoning.

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In turn, it helps me to consume loads of water. Research has shown drinking more water is highly beneficial as it improves cognitive functioning, eliminates toxins, increases energy levels, improves mood and headaches etc…

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In addition, by eating at maintenance I make sure my body has the correct amount of energy to do everything it can to restore me back to 100%. If I have no appetite then I try to make sure I get in a bowl of vegetables with plenty of protein and a portion of fruit. This ensures I preserve my lean muscle whilst still getting in plenty of vitamins without having to force myself.

 

Following this, I usually am back in the gym, cutting the following day or two.

 

You see, the point I’m trying to make is a more lifestyle approach is more beneficial. Some people like to blow full steam ahead, however it isn’t necessary. Human beings are the only species that actually go against what their bodies are telling them.  

elephant

Skipping a day of working out or not eating at a deficit isn’t going to make the blindest bit of difference, because you would still have been in a deficit longer than you were in a surplus.

 

A lifestyle approach is far easier to follow. Gym and nutrition should come secondary to overall health.

 

I hope this aids in your recovery.

 

That’s all folks

 

-S

How do I know if I should lose weight

Welcome back chief,

So you want to know if you should in fact actually lose weight.

So you wake up one day, look in the mirror and your face is round like a melon, your stomach presses against your t-shirt and the three pairs of jeans you own no longer fit.

Trainer measures overweight man
Trainer measures overweight man

None of your friends, peers or family have said to you to lose weight except your mother because, well let’s face it, she’s your mum and when you were slim she said get bigger. Lesson one: don’t take health advice from your mum.

Anyways, I digress. You asked a few of your friends if you should lose weight and they said you look fine but as they were saying it you eyed them up and down and realised actually they need to lose weight.

Here is the thing about that:

Jim Rohn said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time”. What does this mean? Well if all your friends are overweight then that’s probably why you are too. Why? Because gaining weight or being “big boned” is the direct/indirect result of that behaviour.

 

 

fat friends

Aside from fitness, look at successful people. They rarely ‘hang out’ with ‘unsuccessful’ or ‘unmotivated’ people because that would impact them in a negative way. If you constantly surround yourself with people who have goals and have plans then that will influence how you approach your day to day.

 

With that being said, if you ask for your friends’ honest opinion and if that ‘friend’ truly cares about you, he will tell you to lose weight. If he doesn’t, ask someone outside of your circle.

#1

If still you don’t get the response you are looking for buddy, that’s a cause for concern because firstly, you aren’t content with their response meaning you were looking for them to give it to you straight. Secondly, you are reading this right now and something triggered inside of you.

That is the single most important indicator. You no longer feel happy with the way you look. We’ve all seen those memes saying you should love your body, which is true. You should love your body enough to know what you are currently doing is impacting your health more.

slim belly

Some of these health risks include but are not limited to, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and so on…

Again, I am not saying you need to have abs and be shredded like a fitness model, you just need to get into the 12-15% body fat range and all of those drastically improve.

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Other indicators include any form of activity become substantially more difficult like walking. If you are out of breath from short walks or the walk itself now becomes a chore.

 

#2

 

Your joints ache, the more weight you carry the harder it becomes to walk around. Imagine weighing around 70 kilos and then walking around with a barbell, then add 10kg on each side.  Traditional barbell weighs around 20 kilos (44 lbs) so you are looking at 110kg (240lbs).

 

This is something I also noticed as I dropped fat – the leaner I got, the easier things became. I felt like I was flying when I was walking. I was no longer out of breath and the pain in the my joints completely disappeared.

 

#3

 

You have to go out to buy new clothes or you can’t make it to the first notch in your belt.

Fat
Fat woman trying to wear jeans

You find that you buy larger clothes not just because of your weight but because you are still self conscious about yourself. You want to wear looser clothing so your belly, in all its glory, doesn’t shine through.

 

#4

 

You just don’t feel great, energy levels are low, you feel bloated and huge all the time and you yearn to be skinnier.

 

If any of these sound like you and you’ve tried fad diets like juice cleanses, tea diets and waist trimmers but nothing has worked, then click here to another post I wrote on how to actually lose fat.

juice diet

You see, there is a lot of misinformation out there and I was in a similar position whereby the diets weren’t working, in fact I was actually gaining weight. A little research and I discovered the real truth. With that being said, if you are ready to start losing weight, check out my article and take the first step to a better you.

 

-S

 

 

GOMO – How to make it your summer!

I just want to start this post by saying, you are your biggest obstacle!

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”

― Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation

What does he mean? Well, if you are somebody who refrains from attending social events, you like to keep yourself to yourself, an introvert who would rather sit at home watching tv shows but still kind of wants to get out of their shell, then now is the perfect opportunity.

Eventbrite have launched a campaign called GOMO (going out more often) instead of FOMO (fear of missing out). This could be your defining summer. I can’t express how much regret I have with the summers of fun I missed out on. The experiences I missed out on, the friendships I could have made and the places I could have been.

I personally find that there is nothing worse than being asked what did you get up to and you replying “bugger all”. You just sound lame and boring. The reality of the situation is, you want to be the guy/girl who lists all the amazing things they do.

I get it, you don’t have anything to prove, you are a great person and well fun to be around. People just need to take the time to get to know you. With that being said, if you never show it how will anyone ever know, right?

Use this summer to not only have fun but to become a better version of you. The people you could potentially meet will not only help you grow as a person but will give you perspective on what you actually enjoy doing.

Here are some things you can do this summer!

Walks

Go for walks – I can’t explain how regularly I do this and how each time I go for a stroll, the better I feel. I find it very soothing and relaxing especially with the weather being so great.

summer walks

Exercise

I find exercise to be the single most relieving thing you can do. It really helps me unwind. I feel great all day and we now know that exercise can release endorphins which is why we feel great after.

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Volunteer

There are tons of volunteering schemes you can do throughout London. A simple search will show a whole array of things to do, for example, you can volunteer at bikeworks. If that doesn’t take your fancy, there are other areas you can volunteer in.

volunteer

Festivals

There are so many great festivals you can go to. Grab a friend and make them go or if you have the cash, buy them a ticket. Here is a list of the top festivals happening this summer.

festival

Holidays

If you have the cash, go on a road trip with your friends. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. This summer, me and my friends are road tripping across Europe. Specifically, France-Belgium-Germany. Road trips are always so much banter and I’d rather be out and about exploring and making a fool of myself than sitting at home trying to decide what to watch!

beach

To Do list

If there is something you know you have been wanting to do for a while but because you’re a mug and you keep putting it off, now is the perfect chance to do them. I knew I wanted to start a blog, so I did, hi guys 🙂

 

I also wanted to hit a new personal record at the gym and I did! Strive for the little progression each week in whatever you want to do, over time it will add up and you will only have yourself to thank.

Get in shape

I have written articles on how to get into shape. If you’ve always wanted to be slim this could be your chance. There is a lot of misinformation out there when in actual fact losing fat is so easy and the best part is you don’t have to give up foods or skip socials.

 

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Whatever it may be, use this free time to do something. You will be so happy at the end of the summer that you did something positive and you won’t be that person who has nothing to add to a conversation.

If you are feeling extra confident, organise your own event. Eventbrite will provide you with the means to sell tickets!

Yours

-S

 

 

 

  

Champneys Body Butters Review

Champneys Distant Shores Body Butter & Champneys Citrus Blush Body Butter

So, I purchased these body butters a little while ago and thought I’d give them a try. Now, I’m one of those people who love the smell of body butters and the packaging and then when it comes to using it regularly, I can get a teeny bit lazy. But, not with these 2.

The Distant Shores one smells wonderful and has a sweet fruity fragrance of tropical fruit and mangoes. The Citrus Blush also smells quite sweet but has a proper citrusy scent.

The body butters themselves are thick in texture so a small dollop will go a long way. My skin was thoroughly moisturised when I applied it and it really does smell as if you’ve travelled to a distant shore.

The butter is hydrating and even after water has run over your skin, some of the cream remains leaving your skin smooth, unlike some creams where after water runs over your skin it becomes somewhat dry again.

If, like me, you sometimes get lazy or forget to apply it because it’s on your shelf, or even because you’ve already gotten dressed after your shower so don’t want to get stains on it, here’s a tip: leave it in the bathroom so the minute you come out of the bath/shower and dry yourself off, it’s already in front of you ready to apply before you get dressed. And it’s also readily absorbed so no need to wait until it’s dry, unlike some body butters that can leave your skin greasy.

I bought mine from Boots when they were both on offer for £5 each as usually they are quite pricey. I believe the body butters are usually £10 each so essentially I got 2 for the price of 1, but they are huge tubs so will last a long time! Not to mention, they come in a tub as opposed to a bottle so you can scrape every last bit – good value for money! It seems like Boots have now stopped doing these 2 butters unfortunately, however, you can still find them on Amazon or eBay:

Distant Shores : Amazon and Ebay

Citrus Blush: Amazon and Ebay

Can’t wait to try more from the Champneys range 🙂

-K

How to train/lose weight during Ramadan

Last year I was in the middle of my cut down of 10lbs and Ramadan had come sooner than I expected. Far too soon.

Fitness had become so much a part of my life I really didn’t know what I was going to do, the idea of ballooning up again terrified me. Especially after I had worked so hard to get down. So, I began searching for a full proof method that I could adhere to during this holy month for Muslims.

I found some posts but none that had really resonated with me. You see, some said train before the fast opens, I tried that and well to be honest I felt like crap and I was so dehydrated within minutes of working out that I gave up and went home.

Another suggested to do light weights and I’m not about that life…

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Flickr – Chuck D

However, there were some that really hit the nail on the head.  I stumbled on an article that suggested doing it after opening my fast with water and a real light meal saving majority of your calories post workout and prior to bed.

Now, I chose to not eat immediately after opening my fast. Instead, I had a cup of black coffee and a litre of water before making my way down to the gym, why?

So that I could capitalize on all of the benefits of course…

#1 – Decrease in insulin –  for those of you who don’t know. When insulin is high your body is not using your fat stores as fuel, it is using the food.

 

#2 – Increase in human growth hormone – HGH increased by 2 or 3 x in a fasted state. HGH can help increase lean body mass as well as reduce body fat.

 

#3 – Your body uses the time to remove waste material from cells

 

#4 – Can help with stemming the growth of a tumour as well as other benefits.

 

An abstract from the linked article –

 

Sirtuin family proteins whose functions are involved in specific aspects of longevity, stress response and metabolism. Sirtuins, particularly SIRT1 and SIRT3, can be activated by fasting and further exhibit their effects in insulin response, antioxidant defense, and glycolysis”

 

In short, the benefits of fasting throughout the workout far outweigh snacking before working out.

 

At the time, I was doing 6 days a week, cardio 4 times a week and I was consuming 225g protein, around 200g carbs and 64g fats so it was safe to say I was stuffed whilst hitting my caloric deficit.

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Flickr – UNE Photos

 

It was great, although the cardio was excessive and unnecessary as well as the 6 days a week of strength training. However, I have opted for a far more sustainable approach where I walk an hour before opening the fast with water on rest days and on the other days go to the gym. Strength training is the primary focus to ensure you retain as much muscle as possible in a deficit, this is done 2-3 x a week.

So for example:

Monday – Strength train

Tuesday – Walk for an hour

Wednesday – Strength train

Thursday – Walk for an hour

Friday – Strength train 

The weekend – Walk for an hour each day.

I then eat all my calories post workout; I’m happy, full, satisfied and I sleep great.

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Flickr – Rusaila Bazlamit

 

The most important thing I learned was to do what works for you. If you can’t workout fasted, don’t. It has to become a part of your life, you’ve got to be able to do it like clockwork. Yes, you will have to be disciplined; if it was that easy, everybody would be doing it.

 

Instead of immediately throwing the idea out the window saying “I can’t do this”, try. You will be surprised how capable your body is and the only obstacle in your way, is you.   

 

With that being said, if you have been waiting for the right time to start losing weight, NOW is as good as a time as any. Work out your calories, get optimal protein, a portion of vegetables and a serving of fruit and like magic fat will start melting off.

myfitnesspal

You could be down 10lbs by the end of the month and well on your way of fitting into your brand new Eid clothes that you bought a month in advance.

 

If you want to take the first steps into losing weight, I have already written an article in an earlier post on how to do this.

 

If you are still unsure, leave a comment and I’ll help you.

 

That’s all folks

 

-S