When dieting eating out can be a stressful situation, you don’t want to ruin your diet but also want to enjoy yourself. Well know this, you can eat out, stress free and enjoy yourself, just apply a few simple steps.
Plan ahead. If you know you are going out for something to eat, browse the menu in advance and plug it into myfitnesspal. For example if I knew I was going to have a burger, I would add this to myfitnesspal with separate ingredients. I would log the bun, the burger, the cheese, the mayo all separately, although not perfect, it gives you a rough estimate of how many calories you have to play with for the rest of the day. In some situations, places like Nando’s, or chain restaurants have the macros on myfitnesspal, or on the website, so you can just add these straight in. But use your sensible head, if you go to log a cheese burger and its claiming its 200 calories, it’s pretty obvious this is wrong.
Eat smart. Lets be honest we all know the bacon Mac and cheese is going to loaded with way more calories than the seafood pasta with tomato sauce. Again, its about using a degree of sensibility, cheesy, creamy and fried foods are going to be the most calorific options. Try opting for leaner meats, and instead of chips, swap for some seasonal vegetables, if something has a dressing, ask for it on the side, so you are in control of how much you have.
Eat to your appetite. Going out for a meal doesn’t mean you have to eat to the point of bursting, you know, like Christmas Day where you have to un do a few buttons…Eat till you’re satisfied.
Don’t drink your calories. Liquid calories are the silent killer, nobody really takes them into consideration, obviously the healthiest choice is to stick with water, but if you do enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with your meal, keep it at that, a glass or a pint.
Now, I’m going to go against everything I just said and say as long as its one day, you don’t go mad, just eat out and enjoy it. All the above are tips for those of you who know you are better off controlling what you have otherwise you will just over indulge.
Social occasions are there to enjoy, 1 evening out isn’t going to ruin all your hard work, just like 1 day of dieting isn’t going to get you instant results. Yes, if its something that happens regularly throughout the week then you will need to control it. But a couple of times a month, enjoy it, don’t stress about it.
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.
A bowl of oats a day keeps the doctor away… Am I right!?! BUT, and thats a big but, I couldn’t think of anything worse in these summer months than a steaming hot bowl of oats, cue chilled overnight oats. Chilled overnight oats are exactly what it says on the tin, they are oats that you make up and leave overnight in the fridge and in the morning you are welcomed by a delightful creamy bowl of goodness!.
This is a very basic but versatile recipe of which you can tweak to make your own. For example I like my oats quite thick so If you like slightly runnier oats then just add more liquid. And these by no means have to be protein oats, just remove protein powder all together and again add a little less liquid. The best thing about this recipe is there are so many flavour concoctions to try, so get creative and let me know the flavours you put together.
Serves: 2 (Or if you’re like me, a greedy 1 😉 )
100g 0% Fat Greek Yoghurt
10g Chia Seeds
250ml Almond Milk (or a milk of your choice)
1 Scoop of Protein Powder (I use PEScience Select)
This will be my simplest methods section yet. Add all the ingredients to a container and mix till everything is combined. Place in the fridge overnight and then add toppings of your choice. Nut butters and berries are my favourites!
With regards to fitness there is a lot of information out there, and it can be rather overwhelming. Keto diets, juice detox’s, tea detox’s, gluten. Many want results fast and companies within the health and fitness industry are well aware of that and will try to capitalise on it. Im here to help and hopefully point you in the right direction and probably save you a few pennies in the process.
Eating a gluten free diet is healthier right? Wrong. Unless your part of the 1% of the population that suffer from coeliac disease (gluten intolerance), then going gluten free will have no added benefit to you. In fact, gluten free products are normally packed full of nasties to try and make them taste like the real thing.
This one will probably ruffle some feathers but a ketogenic diet is no better then any other diet. You will hear many individuals say they lost X amount of weight on the ketogenic diet, forgetting the fact that no matter what diet they do, as long as they eat less calories then they are expending they will lose weight. This isn’t me mocking the ketogenic diet, if it works for you and you can adhere to it, thats great, but its no better then other diet. At the the end of the day, you will lost the same amount of weight eating for example 2000 calories on the ketogenic diet as you would eating a 2000 calorie regular diet.
Here I’m talking about the juice detox/cleanses where by your expected to drink juices all day for like a week and you will be miraculously cleansed of all toxins in your body. Even writing that sounded to good to be true. These little and might I add expensive juices are packed full of micronutrients, which is great, but that doesn’t mean thats all you have throughout the day. Incorporating them into your daily diet is fine, but don’t make them the ONLY thing in your diet. As to the cleansing, your liver will sort that all out for you.
Yes, even I was guilty of buying these when I first got into health and fitness. Pop a pill a day and in weeks I will have the body I have always desired. The large majority of ‘fat burners’ are just thermogenics, meaning they make you sweat more. Im sure there is some research out there making bold claims that fat burners will change your body. But lets be honest, if a magic pill did exist, wouldn’t we all be taking it?
No Carbs After 6
Another bold claim that if you eat past 6pm your body will store it as fat and gain weight. In reality the timing of your meals is irrelevant and has little to do with weight gain/loss. Eat when best suits you and your lifestyle, morning, noon or night, it doesn’t matter, just make sure your not over consuming.
Long story short…
Does it sound to good to be true? Guess what, it probably is. Being consistent, exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods are the answer to long term results. Work your socks off and the results will come.
Hope that helped. Any questions then please ask away.