I thought I would talk about Intermittent fasting this week because strangely two clients have started using this approach to their nutrition and I too have been using this approach to manage my calories recently.
So what is intermittent fasting? It’s an extended period of time where you go without food. Typically most will fast for around 16-18 hours, giving them a 8-6 hour window to consume their calories for the day. For example you may eat your last meal for the day at 8pm and then your first meal the next day won’t be till midday.
The reason some of my clients and myself have recently started utilising this technique is because its a useful way to manage your calories for the day, especially if you are on a restricted amount of calories. It is by no means a magic diet, its just a strategy to help ensure your remain in a calorie deficit if fat loss is your goal.
Ask yourself this, do you eat breakfast in the morning out of habit or are you actually hungry? If you do it out of habit try a few more hours until you break that fast (breakfast), however, if you are actually hungry in the mornings and need something to start your day then this style of intermittent fasting may not be for you. BUT you could try the other way around, for example eating the majority of your calories between the hours of 8am and 4pm, if you are the kind of person who doesn’t get hungry in the evenings.
If you are working out make sure to have some form of nutrition around your workout, whether that be before, after or both, as we want to be fuelling our workouts and recovering properly.
So, to recap, intermittent fasting can be an effective tool to manage your calories for the day, it is not a magic diet that is going to burn more fat.
If your goal is fat loss, try it, see how you get on and let me know!
CHEAT DAYS – ARE THEY HINDERING YOUR FITNESS GOALS? LETS TALK – EP2
I use to have a cheat day every week, well actually, it started as a cheat meal which eventually developed into a cheat day. But I stuck to my diet all week so I ‘earned it’ right?
Come on, even reading that sounds ridiculous. Eat a healthy balanced diet all week and then essentially binge for a day, thats a recipe for disaster right there.
I now don’t have ‘cheat days’ at all. If I’m craving something, I’ll just incorporate it into my weekly diet. Having a cheat day at the end of the week is a terrible idea, you’re rewarding yourself with food, creating an awful relationship with food. Just like they say don’t binge drink, drink a couple of glasses of wine through out the week rather than hammering a bottle or two on a Saturday night. Having a cheat day can offset some rather terrible habits and most certainly effect your hard earned progress.
Balance. A word that has kind of been overused and lost its meaning recently. But my take on balance is where different elements are of equal proportions. Use a flexible approach with nutrition so when you crave something that you may bank for your ‘cheat day’, have it when you crave it, a chocolate bar, a slice of cake, some ice cream, some pizza. By nipping that craving in the bud as soon as you get it your much more likely to stick to your diet and keep on progressing towards your goals. Remember to follow the 80/20 rule, 80% of your diet should be made up of wholesome, nutritionally dense foods and the remaining 20% can be whatever you like.
You want to be able to adhere and sustain your diet it for a long time, so make it enjoyable, don’t suffer. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Any questions or diet advice please get in contact with me, I’m always here to help!
At least once a week I will upload a blog post that could be about a variety of different topics from, workouts, nutrition, supplements or just a general chat. These won’t be too long as I know you are all very busy.
Hopefully you will walk away with some extra knowledge from these posts to help you on your health and fitness journey OR even just get to know me a little better.
We are kicking off Episode 1 of LETS TALK with a little story about my first month as a personal trainer.
IT’S NOT ALL SUNSHINE A RAINBOWS
Although I have been personal training now since the new year, I would say the month just gone (March) was my first proper month of personal training, where business has just got started. The reason for that is because the baby stages of being a personal trainer are slow and can even be a little disheartening, you have all this knowledge, all these skills to help people but no body wants your help, but you have to tell yourself, why would they?
I may have the qualifications, knowledge and belief that I can essentially change someones life, but what have I got to show for it, what proof do I have? That was the first thing I learnt, you are fighting an uphill battle from the start. You need to get clients to show what you can achieve with them, but thats the first hurdle, YOU need to get clients.
So, lesson number 1, you have to a lot for nothing, to hopefully do a lot for something. For both 1-2-1 and online coaching I launched free coaching, yup, entirely free. But what this did was firstly get me clients, because who doesn’t like free stuff, but it also highlighted to me how much I love what I do. Mini wins from clients on a daily/weekly basis and them sharing it with me filled me with so much joy and sense of well being, I still can’t quite believe this is my ‘job’.
Lesson number 2, you have to WORK and I mean really work. Im yet to have a day off, I don’t mean to say that in the sense that, ohhhh look at me, the hustle, the grind. Its more to the point I haven’t quite figured out a structure where I have a day off. I will never have a day off where I just do nothing all day, thats torture to me, but doing slightly less work needs to be factored in, otherwise I know I will burn out fast.
Lesson number 3, my clients are nothing like me. Im very regimented and if someone tells me to do something I’ll do it, with no real questions asked, my coach AJ must love me. But what I have learnt is clients may not hit their macros everyday, they may only be able to train 3 out of 4 sessions, they may even lie, because they don’t want to feel like they have let me down. But what you have got to remember is what they are doing now, is most likely a hell of a lot better than what they were doing previously and they are going to get amazing results from that. It may not be perfect, but as long as they are happy with the results they are getting, thats the main thing.
Those are probably the top three things I have learnt in my first month as a personal trainer. Trust me, there are a hell of lot more lessons learnt, but I don’t want to bore you. I think you get the picture by now. Starting out as a personal trainer is hard, but once you get going, boy does it feel good to know you are changing someones life for the better. I’ll check in with you again in a few months down the line, and report on how things have hopefully, progressed.
Deloads, possibly one of the most neglected aspect of weight training, yet a very simple concept when applied will help you to continually progress towards your training goals. When put like that it almost sounds like a magic pill right? A simple method that allows you to train hard consistently, so why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, the reality is taking a rest day is often a push, so taking a full week off… you have got to be kidding me. BUT..
In my opinion the periods that we don’t train, rest days, deloads, scheduled time off, essentially all recovery periods are just as important as the training aspects. To some deloads may seem like a waste of time, just a period to be lazy, well let me explain why deloads may be the missing ingredient to your training.
What is a deload?
Put simply, a deload is a short period of recovery time, usually around 7-14 days. Rather than taking actual time off from training, you continue to train, however you reduce the ‘load’, load not just meaning weight, hence the name de-load. Essentially you still train, but you make your workouts easier through single or multiple methods.
There are many different protocols you can apply in order to effectively deload, and if done properly, all will achieve the desired effect, a reduction in fatigue and increase in recovery. The most common ways of deloading are to either reduce your training volume, intensity or both. All of which will be broken down further later on, but firstly, when/why do you deload?
Why do we deload?
Now that we have established what a deload is, we need to know why, what’s the purpose of a deload. Week to week we accumulate fatigue, so in order to reduce this and recover we take rest days, however, as time goes on and we get deeper into our program, days off don’t quite cut it. This is known as overreaching, a point at which your increases in fatigue are greater than your increases in fitness and performance begins to decrease.
A deload provides us with an opportunity to drop that fatigue, a period of time to repair, allowing your performance to rise again and if done correctly you will feel refreshed and ready to progress to new levels.
Think of it like this, in day to day life we work hard in our jobs and weekends give us that opportunity to relax, de-stress and get ready for the week ahead. However, sometimes weekends just aren’t enough, and you need a holiday to fully recover, a week or two to re-charge the battery’s and hit the ground running when you get back.
When to deload?
So we know what a deload is, we know why we do it, but when should we do it? Many programs will have a deload scheduled at a set point in the program, for example train for 6-8 weeks and week 9 is a deload. For me this has its disadvantages and advantages.
It’s great because it forces individuals to deload regularly as most will just continue to train at a high intensity until they burnout, if that’s you, don’t worry, I have been there too. However, on the other hand an individual might be scheduled a deload in week 6 but they are still fine to train at the intensity they are currently training at and don’t really have an accumulation of fatigue yet.
While deloading early may not necessarily be a bad thing, (we would much rather that then it be too late) it may cause an individual to pause their progression right when they are performing perfectly.
For that very reason I feel the best method is to go by feel and look out for a few symptoms. If I’m feeling great, sessions are progressing well then I will continue to push on. However, if I am feeling physically and mentally fatigued, each session I need more and more motivation to train, you’re constantly sore, your sleep is getting worse, those are red flags to deload.
Typically that’s how I would approach a deload. However each person is different, and you need to be smart enough to know when to actually deload. If you are the kind of person that doesn’t know when to stop, then programming a deload might be the best approach for you.
How to deload?
As explained earlier you can deload via a reduction in volume, intensity or both. So let me break it down for you.
When deloading via volume your main goal is to continue using the same amount of weight you was previously using whilst reducing the total number of sets and/or reps you complete, typically a reduction of 70-50%. For example if your workout has a total of 24 sets, you do 12-16 sets total. If an exercise has 4 sets, you do 2-3. If you normally do 12 reps, just do 6-8.
When deloading via intensity, you maintain the total volume being done however the weight lifted on each exercise is reduced to about 60-75% of what you would typically lift. For example say you bench 100KG for 8 reps, now you bench 60-75kg for 8 reps. It’s that simple.
Deloading via both volume and intensity is applying both of the above principles together. For example if you normally bench 100KG for 3 sets of 8, now you bench 60-75KG for 2 sets of 6/8.
So which is best? To be honest, it’s entirely dependent on the individual, yup, that classic response of it ‘it depends’. Try all three methods out and see which one works for you, pay attention to whether you are fully recovered after the deload and figure out which is the most ideal for you.
For me, I prefer the combination of reduced volume and intensity. I go into a deload with the mentality that it’s a holiday for my body, and thus I want to reduce all stressors. It’s boring, but afterwards you will be thankful for it.
If you need a little more clarification on anything that has been discussed or just have a question make sure to follow me on Instagram @andyhillocks and drop me a DM.
Ohhhhhh, I have outdone myself this time. I have made ALOT of recipes, all of which I love (obviously) BUT this one tops them all. If you are going to try any of my recipes make sure you give this one a go. Trust me, once you make these healthy high protein blondies you will being making them every weekend!
Recently I did a little poll on my Instagram (@andyhillocks if you’re not following me already…) to see if you guys prefer healthy recipes or high protein recipes. High protein won by a rather high margin, so I set on the mission to make some high protein blondies, but conveniently these are super healthy, soooooo, win win right!
This recipe contains a brown sugar alternative called Sukrin Gold, made out of polyols (sugar alcohols). You can get it from most super markets now days and a little goes a long way and its kinda a must for this recipe, which is kinda handy because it means you can just keep on making blondies! ;). Okay, thats enough talking, time for some blondies!
Yields: 12 Blondies
1 400g can of Chickpeas (drained and washed)
100g Smooth Peanut Butter
50g Flour (I used oat flour, but plain flour is fine)
80g Sukrin Gold
60g Protein Powder (I used vanilla)
70g Chocolate Chips (I used reduced sugar dark chocolate ones)
1/2 Tsp Bicarbonate Soda
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
4 Tbsp Milk (I used Almond Milk)
The beauty of this recipe is it’s a throw it all in the food processor kind of job. Firstly pre-heat your oven to 180ºC and line a 35×25 cm non stick tray with greaseproof paper. Next chuck everything except the chocolate chips into the food processor and blitz until smooth. Depending on the protein powder you used you may need a little more milk, the mixture should be just dropping off a spoon. Put the mixture into a bowl and add 3/4 of the chocolate chips and stir in. Transfer the mixture to the lined baking tray and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake in the oven for 12-18 minutes until slightly golden round the edges and a little soft in the middle as you want these to be fudgey. Allow to cool before removing from the tray and slicing into squares. These are when they are at their best, slightly warm and fresh. These will keep up to a week in the fridge in an air tight container!
The people have spoken! If you’re following me on Instagram you will know I put a question up the other day asking which is your favourite, apple or rhubarb crumble. To my surprise apple won by a staggering 85%, personally I’m more of a rhubarb kinda guy, but you guys asked for it so you guys are gunna get it, apple crumble coming right up.
To be honest with you whatever crumble it is, as long as it has custard along side it I’m a happy bunny. Nothing really beats a crumble on a winters day, the sweet fruit topped with a rich, buttery, crunchy topping, the ultimate comfort food. Now, how do you make a crumble healthy? Well, you’re half way there with the fruit, but the real challenge lies in the topping, how to get a rich, buttery like topping, without it going dry.
In my opinion I’ve absolutely nailed this recipe, don’t tell my mum, but I actually prefer my version to hers… If she reads this you may never hear from me again. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding, so lets get on with it!
Yields – 4 Servings
100g Oat Flour
50g Rolled Oats
40g Coconut Oil (melted)
30g Maple Syrup (Or honey/agave syrup)
4 Large Eating Apples (Peeled and chopped into bitesized pieces)
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
Firstly Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC. Next place your peeled and chopped apples in a large saucepan with the water, cinnamon and nutmeg and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the apples begin to break down when pressed with a spoon. Whilst your apples are simmering away place all your dry ingredients in a bowl and add the coconut oil and maple syrup and start to combine. If the mixture is too dry add the milk a little bit at a time until the mixture just begins to clump together, you may need a little more or less then suggested. Once your apples have softened pour into a baking tray and then sprinkle with your crumble mixture. Don’t worry too much if the crumble mixture doesn’t fully cover the apples, it will just add to the texture later on. Place in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until the crumble is golden on top. Now it’s a simple case of serving it up with what ever your heart desires, cream, custard, ice cream, yoghurt, go for it!