I have been touching on the subject of meal prep and food prep this week on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/walkthetalkfitness) and posting photos of food I’ve been creating, how I’ve made it and sometimes posting the recipe. I get asked a LOT of questions on food/meal prep as well as how I manage to eat so well on a budget. So I’ve put it into this blog for you guys!
This is a blog designed for people who don’t have time to cook. Yes, you read that right. It is also a blog designed not only for the athletes among us, but for those who are just starting their journey to optimal health through nutrition.
A lot of people are surprised when they find out that I spend the majority of the first two weeks training someone sorting out their diet. You are starting a journey that is going to one of the must fun and challenging journeys you’ve ever been on – and we must always strive to be better than we were yesterday. If you look around your gym – you will see that most people are following some sort of structured program. Most of the time they will plan this program meticulously ahead of time so that when the day comes – and you walk into that gym – you know EXACTLY what exercises you’re going to be doing and on which body parts. Why then, do we fail to prepare our nutrition in advance?
Fear of failure? No idea where to even start? I won’t lie to you – to be successful at meal / food prep – you’re going to have to be committed, work hard and be dedicated to what you’re doing. Day in, day out. Week in, week out. That is, of course, if you’re serious about getting the best results from your workout program (which is already planned, right??!).
WHY BUST YOUR ASS IN THE GYM EVERY DAY IF YOU’RE SPOILING ALL YOUR HARD WORK BY UNDER RECOVERING? By under recovering I mean not providing your body with the nutrients it needs to repair and grow muscle tissue that has been broken down in the gym. Failing to replenish muscle and liver energy stores properly thus feeling tired, sluggish and prone to injury and illness. It’s time you got your diet sorted. Stop pissing around pretending that you know what you’re doing and ask for help! Or read the rest of this blog, and it might become a bit clearer.
Planning your meal prep –
I’m going to tell you how I prep. You can take from it what you will. The way you prepare your meals will completely depend on your schedule. Let me give you a typical day for me:
06:00 – Wake Up
07:00 – Lifting in the gym (1.5 hours)
09:00 – PT Clients (3-4 hours)
13:00 – Work from home – admin/writing
16:00 – PT Clients
17:00 – Group Fitness Classes
21:00 – Home
…and everything else in between.
I meal prep 3 days in advance. A Sunday is my meal prep day and I spend around 3-4 hours doing this each week. However, I live alone and do not have any dependents so, if you have a family – I would recommend that you plan your meals for the entire week. It’s actually a lot easier than it may initially seem.
1. Write it down. Get a notebook, or make a chart on the computer if you’re in geek mode (I always use the old fashioned method because I love writing on paper). Headings should be days of the week – split into 3-6 meals (again depending on your situation). Write down what you’re going to have for each meal. It sounds simple because it is. If you have kids, it might be an idea to make a separate list for them to include packed lunch ingredients and snacks, if different to yours. There is absolutely no reason why you can’t meal prep for the kids too. Stop making excuses.
2. Once you determine the number of meals you’re going to have in the week (or days depending on how many days you’re prepping for) – you can start to write your shopping list for the supermarket. Ultimately you want to walk into the supermarket with your list, like a Boss, and know exact quantities of what you need and where to get it. This is going to save you time AND MONEY. So make your list ACCURATE and SPECIFIC. For example, if you’re making a big bolognese to feed the family, write down 1kg steak mince. Don’t just write steak mince.
3. Save money where possible. We all have this misconception that eating healthily needs to be ridiculously expensive and I’m here to tell you that this is complete and utter bullshit. You can hit a quick Google search for “in season fruit and vegetables” and you can sure as hell bet that these will be the cheapest in the store at this given moment. For example, asparagus is about to come into season here in the UK – it’s going to be dirt cheap. So eat asparagus. Don’t spend a bloody fortune on some shit that’s not in season and has been genetically this, genetically that and flown from the other side of the planet for £10 a kilo! It’s always a good idea to source your meat from local producers – and in bulk. Often your butcher will sell you 5kg of chicken breast for example for almost half what it would cost to buy say 5 lots of 1kg. Buy in bulk and freeze – this is the best way to save money. Also, check out websites like http://www.paleowales.co.uk which always have great offers on meat, game and poultry. Cupboard essentials like rice, quinoa, bulgar, wholemeal pasta, tins of chickpeas, tinned tomatoes, tinned beans like kidney, butterbeans – they’re all pennies and keep forever! They can be added to any meal to enhance the nutrient density. I will touch on this in more detail later.
Invest in Tupperware (or similar)
It seems like a given, but it’s really critical to your meal prep success that you invest in some really good tupperware. If you’re like me and you love kitchen shopping, then this should be fun! (I love this stuff: http://www.black-blum.com/homepage/). Make sure your meal containers are dishwasher and microwave proof. You don’t have the spend a fortune, just get some bloody tubs!
Keeping your food –
Bro-Tip: I like to slightly undercook my veg, so that when I go to heat it up again – it cooks through. There’s nothing worse than soggy broccoli. Most food will keep for between 4-6 days in the fridge, but if you freak out leaving something in the fridge for just one day, freeze and take out the night before!
Which leads me to…. – freeze some. Make double what you need for one week, freeze the rest and BOOM suddenly you have two weeks worth of food prep!
Microwave your food when the time comes to eat it. If you’re as busy as me, you will know that the last thing you want to do when you come home from work at night is start cooking a full meal. Then you’re sitting down to eat at 10pm and lying in bed feeling horribly full. So now that your meals are all prepared and in the fridge – just microwave them (make sure they are piping hot before you serve). Believe it or not, and despite any other bullshit you have heard – microwaving food DOES NOT KILL THE NUTRIENTS!
Now I’m going to go into some depth on how your kitchen should look. You can’t meal prep without some decent equipment. Don’t fuck around making things difficult for yourself by not having the correct tools. That’s like giving a gardener a spoon and asking him to dig a hole. Fuck that. Here’s a list of things that I think are critical to food prep success:
Set of frying pans (different sizes)
Set of good pans (different sizes)
Sharp chopping knives
Tupperware (discussed above)
Store Cupboard ingredients that I always have and that you should always have:
Dried spices & herbs (A-Z!! Always good to pimp the taste of a meal)
Sea salt & flavoured sea salts
Chilli powder (I add this to just about everything!)
Nut butters (almond, cashew, peanut)
Tinned chick peas
Tinned kidney beans
Tinned Tuna (lasts forever & a quick snack)
Meat, Fish & Poultry
I touched on this above in regards to sourcing this stuff from local producers. I truly believe that we should be supporting our local farmers by buying produce locally. Try to obtain free range and grass fed where possible financially and logistically. You will often find that if you take your prepared list to your butcher and give it to him/her – he will cut you a deal. If they don’t, ask them to! Don’t be afraid to haggle prices. Don’t be afraid to ask for the origin of the meat. If you are on a more restricted budget – try places like Costco who do a lot of bulk buy meat. Please, try to stay away from frozen food shops who sell bags of frozen chicken for super cheap. They’re dirt cheap for a reason – the chicken is pumped full of saline (salty water) to make it bigger. It’s just not good for you. Stay away.
My favourite fish that is dirt cheap – trout. A really good alternative to salmon for those on a budget like me (plus I hate salmon so that works out well). Right now, trout will cost you approximately £2 for about 150g fillet. That’s really not bad at all. Canned fish is also a really good option and it keeps for ages in the cupboard.
Fruit & Veg
There are a couple of fruit and veg companies who delivery locally in my area. One of whom is Orchard Produce run by Ken Reid:(https://www.facebook.com/orchard.produce). You can actually make a list (from your meal prep list of course) that matches your weekly requirements and give this to Ken – he will supply you with everything you need directly from the Glasgow Fruit Market straight to your door, weekly. Alternatively, take your list to the supermarket and fulfill your requirements that way. Remember – find out what’s in season and eat it in abundance!
Tracking your Macros –
If you are a client of mine, or are thinking of joining me for some training, or even if you’re just going to have a right good crack all this nutrition stuff yourself – I suggest you download and use an app on your smart phone called “MyFitnessPal”. I use this religiously to track my nutrition AND plan my entire week in advance. Yes, I could tell you what I’m going to eat on Wednesday. Why? Because I plan meticulously. For example, at the moment I am on a cut – which means that I am eating less calories than my body requires. This is in order to drop body fat. But don’t get all caught up with numbers because that isn’t your job. If you would like me to help you with fat loss and nutrition please just get in touch with me (firstname.lastname@example.org) because everybody is individual and I cannot give out generic recommendations. I use MFP to create all my recipes for my clients – so they know exactly what is in them nutrition wise, and they can adapt them to suit their goals. Easy peasy and lightening fast.
On the go…
So one of the main questions I get asked is – how do I stay on track when I’m out and about? At work all day, out shopping all day etc etc etc… My answer is plain and simple every single time.
If you know you’re going to be working on Tuesday from 7am until 10pm – then you really have no excuse to get caught out. Plan your snacks in advance and have them ready the night before to take with you. That way, you will not get to that horrible stage of hunger along with feelings of “oh I’ll just grab something from the vending machine – just this one time” or ” I’ll just wait until I get home otherwise I’ll wind up eating shite”. NO. Just NO! If you have prepared in advance – this will never happen.
Eating out is a difficult one for me to write about, because I rarely eat out at the moment. However, I always advise my clients that most restaurants now have their menu ONLINE. So do your research before you go, decide what you’re having depending on your goals and calculations – and go out and enjoy yourself. Food needs to be enjoyable and flexible – otherwise life would be pretty fucking boring. Research the menu, plan what you’re having, have it. Simple right?
So finally, and I hope you’re still with me at this point, I would like to share some really basic tips that I use every single day in order to stay successful.
1. Prepare the night before. So, you’ve got all your meals prepped for the next few days right? I like to organise what I’m eating the following day, the night before. So I’ll literally put all my food into a bag and into the fridge for that specific day – so that it’s just grab and go in the morning. I even go right down to measuring my almond milk for my protein shake and putting it in the shaker along with the portion of protein I need (Smart Shake is awesome for this as it has compartments). Wake up, coffee down the hatch, grab stuff and get to the gym.
2. Car snacks. Have small tubs of snacks in your car for emergencies. A great idea is to keep a box of mixed nuts, dried fruit and seeds in your glove compartment for emergencies. This has saved my life a few times.
3. Bottled water. I always ALWAYS have a multipack of mineral water in the boot of my car. That way, there is no excuse not to be hydrated at all times. Hydration is seriously important, especially with summer coming in. Get it sorted.
I hope this blog has been of some use to you. If you need any other help with planning your meals according to your goals and you would like to get specific – please just shoot me an e-mail – email@example.com.
Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to have dinner….
Hey! This blog is going to be a bit different. You may have read my previous blogs, or you may not. Either way – I thought I would write a short blog this week to tell you a little bit about me. Inside info – some related to the business – some not! Just for fun – as I don’t like to take life too seriously! So here’s 20 things you might not know about me…
1. I know it’s hard to believe but I’m 29 years old (I still get ID’d for buying a lotto ticket – this amuses / impresses me). I’m a Virgo – a typical one at that. I was born at 00:07 on Wednesday 29th August 1984. I’ll be 30 this year!
2. I grew up living with my mum & dad in a small country village in a lovely bungalow in a quiet residential street which reminds me of Ramsay Street!I have one sister who is 3 and a half years younger than me – although I have always been the least mature of us both.
3. As long as I can remember I have been a bit weird, strange, different to everyone else. From a very early age I recognised that I was different from all my friends because I never wanted to settle. I am a leader not a follower.
4. I’m gay. I’ve known I was into girls for as long as I can remember. At least from high school anyways. I’m completely transparent about it – I don’t find it difficult to talk about. I haven’t found the person I want to spend my life with yet – I have very high standards and I don’t want to settle for flings or stupid one night stands.
5. If I like you, you will know about it. If I don’t like you – you will know about it. I distance myself from people I dislike and I do it quickly. If things aren’t working out for me – I am very good at letting them go – and this includes people! I’m very direct and straight to the point and you will always know where you stand with me.
6. I’m a perfectionist. Which means that I sometimes find it very difficult to get things done. I get really frustrated when things are not done perfectly the first time. I have grammar OCD and I’ll probably read this over a million times before publishing it even though I know it’s correct.
7. If I like someone (romantically or otherwise) – I will dive in head first and give them 100% of my attention. I will drop everything for them and open up completely. I don’t like this trait in me as it has opened me up to abuse and hurt in the past. I find it hard to trust people nowadays.
8. I spend the majority of my time working, thinking about work or studying. The rest of the time I’m listening to music and writing (usually simultaneously as I am now). I’m can be very anti-social and can easily spend hours, days and weeks by myself if I want to. I have diaries written going back to 1996 – I write a LOT. Most of it doesn’t make sense to me anymore. I listen to all sorts of music and take inspiration from people I follow on Spotify, Instagram & Facebook. Music is a huge part of my life and always has been since I was a kid. I can read music and I can sing pretty well. I just don’t.
9. My favourite colours are purple and luminous pink
10. I am materialistic. I like things.
11. I believe that you should burst your arse for what you want and never settle for less. I believe that you should ignore what other people say when it gets in the way of your dreams. If you believe it can happen – it will. It may take months, years, decades to manifest – but it will.
12. I have lived in London and Sydney.
13. In my late teens and early twenties I travelled a lot – I loved backpacking. I have travelled all over Europe, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, all through Southern France, Czech Republic, Sweden,Greece. I’ve also travelled to Thailand 3 times, and Australia twice. The second time I went to Australia I settled there for a year or just over a year. If there is one thing I could change about my life so far it would be coming back from Sydney. But one cannot think in hindsight. This year I will travel to America for the first time to LA / Hollywood / Las Vegas and Huntington Beach / Long Beach Orange County.
14. I have anxiety. Not the kind where you get butterflies in your stomach because you’re nervous but true diagnosed anxiety. It’s a constant battle every day inside your head fighting irrational fears and only those who have it, will ever really understand. I have achieved a lot in the last decade despite my GAD. Not everybody understands but those who do, stick around, and those who don’t – can fuck off.
15. I don’t trust easily but I will open up to you and give you a chance. I can be quick to judge. My gut feeling has never been wrong before. I am attracted to girls who are similar to me but polar opposite. I will not be interested in you unless you like being in a gym often. 😉
16. I have done a sky dive in Australia but I’m too scared to do a bunjee jump. I don’t like rollercoasters but I do like spinny things like waltzers – but I WILL be sick.
17. I have 8 tattoos. I’m having my left arm half sleeve completed next week. It represents some deep stuff from inside my head.
18. As I write this I’m listening to Frightened Rabbit – an indie rock back from Scotland. It makes me instantly smile inside and out.
19. My favourite food is pizza but I don’t eat it often. Infact I haven’t had any this year. I should probably sort that soon.
20. My favourite place in the world is the lighthouse at Turnberry, Scotland. Especially on sunny days, to just climb over the fence, sit on the rocks and listen to music and write (funnily enough). I have a lot of really good memories here.
Welcome people into your life who accept you for who you are and what you believe. Don’t settle for less.
You were not born to be ordinary, average, run of the mill, mediocre, common… You were not born to “blend in”. It was not meant for you to stand at the back of the crowd, hoping that nobody will notice you. You were not born to FIT IN. You were born to STAND OUT.
Ordinary people go about their daily business, day in, day out with such routine that if anybody was to change anything, they would FREAK the fuck OUT. They use the phrase “same shit different day” quite often when asked how they are but then do nothing to change it. They complain frequently about how shit their job is, or how boring their day has been, or how annoying their colleagues, workmates, family are; yet do nothing to change it. They have dreams and visions of doing something that they have always wanted to do, but are too busy worrying about what other people would think of them if they did it, that 5, 10, 20, 50 years pass and suddenly that vision just becomes a grey scale rough image at the back of their minds. What COULD have been, if they had been bold enough to do something about it. It is NEVER too late to follow your dreams. NEVER EVER TOO LATE.
FUCK ORDINARY. You were not put on this planet to ENDURE daily life, working in a job that you hate, not living your dreams for fear of what others think of you. You are here because you have a purpose. You have dreams – but you’re too scared to live them. You have desires but you are too afraid to fulfill them for FEAR of what might happen, what people would think if you just DID IT.
FUCK ORDINARY. It is NOT NORMAL to wake up every day WISHING that it was bedtime again. You DO NOT NEED TO FEEL LIKE THIS!
I want you to decide RIGHT NOW, that you are no longer going to be ordinary. You are going to accept the fact that average is not good enough and you are going to chase a dream and not fear ANYTHING. Dream without fear.
Stop saying sorry. Stop saying “no offence”. We say sorry far too often. Sometimes we even say sorry before we’ve even spoken the sentence that we’re about to speak. Sorry but I’m not going to make it… Sorry but, I’m sorry for what I’m about to say but… STOP SAYING SORRY! Be confident in yourself and stop worrying about what other people might think about your decisions! It’s your life, you do what you want to do. Be bold.
Start STANDING OUT TODAY:
1. Surround yourself with POSITIVE people in a POSITIVE environment. If someone inspires you, follow them (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). If someone is constantly negative, remove them from your news feeds, unfriend them or block them. It really is that simple. And before you say it – who gives a fuck what they think?
2. Set goals for yourself. Fitness, health, business, life, family goals. Set goals. Make your goals public – tell people about the goal you have set and why you have set it. Make yourself accountable to succeed.
3. Write things down. Invest in a couple of nice notebooks – whichever one takes your fancy. Colourful, pretty, big small – I don’t care. Start writing things down. Write down how you’re feeling, how your day was, and then write down a small list of 5 things every day that you are grateful for. This is especially powerful when done just before bed. No matter how shit your day has been – find 5 things that you are grateful for and write them down. Keep a diary.
4. Surround yourself with people who appreciate you, and who want to see you succeed. Say goodbye to anyone who is jealous of you because of your success. Only give time to people who give time to you.
5. Invest in yourself. Stop spending money on shit you don’t really need – and start investing in yourself in ways that will help you get to your goal. If your goal is optimal health, invest in organic food, a personal trainer, a nutritionist – whatever you need to make you succeed.
6. SHARE YOUR SUCCESS with friends, family, those POSITIVE people who appreciate you. Be proud of yourself.
If your goal is optimal health and you are taking advice on changing your diet to reach your goal – take some of this advice.
When you walk into work with your packed lunch chicken salad, soup or whatever and your colleague automatically says “Oh, you back on a diet again” or “Ew that looks disgusting, do you want something from Greggs while I’m out?” you need to understand that because you have taken the decision to STAND OUT – people automatically bring you down because you have found the balls to do something about getting to your goal. And they, well, they have not.
We all need to learn to stop treading on eggshells around other people all the time for fear of upsetting them, for fear of what they might think of us and our decisions. It may be cliche – but you only get one life. How would you feel if you were sat here reading this in 30 years time and you think… god I wish I had done this, I wish I had done that; why did I never follow that dream? If you want to travel, TRAVEL. If you love someone, TELL THEM. If you’re unhappy with how things are – CHANGE IT. Yes, some people may get hurt in the process, but in the end if you are doing the right thing by YOU, then the outcome will be right for everyone else involved.
Life will not wait for you. You have to go out RIGHT NOW and grab it by the balls and start living! Fuck being ordinary.
Suck it up ladies – you need to start lifting some weights…!
Perhaps you’ve already dabbled in the weights section of the gym, picked up some dumbbells and done a couple of curls, or even picked up a barbell. Maybe you have a set of dumbbells at home, but every time you lift those weights you feel a little insecure, unprepared and maybe you have no idea whatsoever what it is that you’re actually meant to do with them!
You’ve heard horror stories about what happens when you start lifting weights, right? Lifting heavy weights make women bulky and gain loads of muscle, it’s bad for your joints; it’s dangerous and worst of all – if you stop lifting weights that bulky muscle will just turn to fat!! This is all bullshit, and now I’m going to explain why.
If you’re serious about your fitness goals, and you want to lose fat and change shape – then lifting weights in an essential part of the program – for both women AND men. Don’t get me wrong – other types of training like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and cardiovascular training have their place as well but for now I will focus on those barbells and other fun stuff! Here are a few reasons why we should be lifting weights:
1. Lifting weights burns fat – there is no two ways about it, if you want to burn fat from your body – lifting weights is the way to go. You may think that lifting weights is only for people who want to gain size and muscle, and yes it will build lean muscle tissue; but you will burn fat both DURING and AFTER a session too. A heavy weights session will create an “afterburn” or EPOC (post-exercise exercise consumption) effect whereby you will continue to require additional oxygen in the hours (even days) after the workout thus fat burning.
2. Lift weights = more lean muscle tissue = more calories burned. Lean muscle tissues burns more calories at rest than adipose (fat) tissue and let’s face it – we spend the vast majority of our days “at rest” whether that be sitting at our desks, sitting at the computer, driving, sitting reading a book or sitting watching television. As you increase your strength and lean muscle mass by lifting weights you will increase the number of calories you burn while you’re at rest. Yet another reason to pick up the barbell girls (and boys)!
3. Increased energy. As I explained above, a good weight lifting session will cause you to have increased energy expenditure AFTERWARDS – so instead of grabbing that energy drink, perhaps it’s time that you hit the gym and picked up something a bit heavier.
4. Lifting weights contributes towards a HEALTHY HEART. Picking up the dumbbells can reduce your risk of heart disease AND has been approved by the American Heart Association as a healthy form of exercise for those at risk. Pumping iron can reduce your risk of high blood pressure too.
5. Healthy bones are made in the gym. Girls, as we age, we are more at risk of developing osteoporosis – a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile in some cases due to a reduction in production of the hormone oestrogen. By training against resistance, you will decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis and increase your bone health. Still undecided if lifting weights is for you? I have one last reason and I’ve saved it to last because it’s my favourite.
6. Lifting weights relieves STRESS. Believe it or not, lifting weights and exercising in general has been found to greatly relieve many symptoms of stress. So next time you feel like you need to blow off some steam, hit the gym and lift some weights instead of diving head first into a cinema sized bag of maltesers. Got it?
I hope you have learned a few things about why lifting weights is important and why we should all be doing it! Remember if you need help you can go to >> http://www.walkthetalkfitness.co.uk <<
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of shopping for ‘healthy’ foods, you’re not alone. One of the most common complaints I hear about sticking to a new eating programme is that people can’t afford to keep buying healthy foods. The short answer to the predicament is that yes, often a healthier diet can appear more expensive. The slightly longer and more accurate answer is that your previous diet was jam-packed with cheap nonsense which has no right making its way into your body, and that if you want to see genuine improvements in your health and wellbeing you are going to have to invest a little more than you have in the past, and this investment may come in the form of a few shopping trips.
The rewards you will reap from these shopping trips however will save you more than just money in the course of your lifetime. How about cutting your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, increasing your fitness levels and life expectancy to name a few? Are these really to be so quickly dismissed at the thought of a cheaper food bill? With that said, there are definitely ways to cook and eat more efficiently in order to stick to your plan and not spend unnecessarily.
For a start, your should stop buying pre-made versions of foods like salads, sandwiches, microwave meals and soups. They may seem convenient for lunch but adding the cost up over the month (a sandwich and a drink per day is about £5 which amounts to £100 a month) will definitely push you over your food budget without you even realising it. Instead spend less than a tenner and pick up a lettuce, a bag of carrots, some peppers and a whole chicken and make enough lunches to last you the week as well as some easy dinners.
Often protein can be the most expensive ingredient when people start eating healthily, as processed meats are deemed as more convenient and often less preparation is involved. Incorporating that all important protein into each meal can be made more affordable by using some of these tricks. Canned fish is a great option and can be kept on hand for those moments when you realise you have nothing in the fridge but vegetables. Eggs aren’t just for breakfast – omelettes, pancakes or scrambled egg served with leftover vegetables is a quick and cheap option for lunch or dinner. It’s also a good idea to boil a batch of eggs at the start of the week and use them to add extra protein to any meal. Frozen prawns are also reasonably priced and can be quickly defrosted to make salads and stir fries at the drop of a hat.
Fruit and vegetables an essential part of a healthy diet, but don’t get sucked into buying the more expensive varieties. Pre-chopped packets are often twice the price of regular versions and will spoil quicker in left unused. If you like your vegetables ready prepared, spend one day a week washing and chopping up all your veggies and store in airtight containers ready for use. Frozen vegetables are a much cheaper option and can usually be cooked in minutes. Frozen fruit is also a great addition to homemade smoothies, yoghurt and pancakes.
Most households will have some waste, but planning effectively should make sure you minimise this as much as possible. Keep a notepad in your kitchen and write down anything that you throw in the bin and the reason why. You might find that certain foods go off quickly, in which case you could plan to eat these earlier in the week before they spoil. You might find that a bag of carrots always lingers as you only use one or two a week, so you could plan to make soup with them in future or use them as an extra snack to take to work. On the other hand, you may just find you are bored with eating the same foods all the time and need to get some inspiration before hitting the aisles next week.
Remember to set a budget every week and work around a meal plan to ensure you don’t pick up anything you don’t need at the supermarket. Get familiar with the reduced isles, look out for deals and buy in season fruit and vegetables for optimum freshness. Try shopping in the same store regularly and take advantage of any points schemes they have to get even more money off. Remember, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. Not to mention those pounds and inches dropping off your waistline!
This guest blog was written by Fiona Reid – you can find her blog at http://www.fionalikestoblog.com.
If you’re thinking of getting a personal trainer to help you achieve your goals there are a few things that you need to take into consideration. You are about to make an investment in your health, lifestyle and fitness and it is vital that you find the right personal trainer to help YOU achieve YOUR goals. Here are a few things that you should take into consideration:
> Ask Questions: when you are looking for a personal trainer, chances are you’ve Googled it, or gone by a recommendation from a friend, family member or colleague. When contacting a personal trainer, or personal training company for the first time you should ask for a free consultation so that you can interview the trainer and ask questions. If they do not offer this service, find someone else. All trainers should be willing to meet with you, free of charge in the first instance. Here are some questions you could ask:
- What kind of experience and qualifications do you have?
- What sort of motivational techniques do you use? How will you keep me accountable?
- What sort of workout plan would you devise for me based on ….. goals?
- How often will my workout plan change?
- Do you have current clients I could speak to regarding your training?
> Reputation – You’ve most probably been given a few recommendations from friends as to who or what company you should go to for personal training. It’s really important that you check these out by looking at their website for testimonials from their current or previous clients. If your goal is fat loss for example, and you see positive testimonials from previous clients who have had success in this area then the next step would be to give this trainer, or company a phone call. Don’t be afraid to ask for contact details of some of their clients so that you can speak to them, ask them questions and get real LIVE testimonials. Any reputable personal trainer will be more than happy to do this.
> Experience & Qualifications – Make sure your personal trainer is fully qualified and EXPERIENCED in their chosen field (relating to your goals of course, be that fat loss, strength and conditioning, weight gain, body building etc). Ask to see their qualifications if you are unsure. It would also be a good idea to ask to see examples of their previous successes with clients. Be aware that anybody can become a “qualified personal trainer” in around 6 weeks nowadays with fast-track courses. This does not mean that they are qualified to be giving you advice on your goals. Experience is priceless. If you are looking for advice with your diet or nutrition – make sure the personal trainer you choose is QUALIFIED to give you this advice as this does not come as standard with a personal training qualification. The job title “Personal Trainer” is not regulated and your next door neighbour could call themselves this without any qualifications.
> What sort of training packages do they offer?
- What kind of packages do they offer? Normally, the more sessions to buy in advance, the cheaper it becomes per session. Also ask for payment options – do you need to pay the full amount up front or can you pay in installments?
- Can you buy individual sessions?
- What is the refund policy?
- Do they offer group training sessions? If you can find a couple of friends to train with that have similar goals, it is going to cost you less per person if you train as a group. Most Personal trainers offer this option.
- If you buy a package, make sure you ask if it has an expiry date on it. Make sure you are able to use all the sessions you book before the block expires. Most personal trainers have an expiry date on block bookings so make sure you check.
- Make sure your personal trainer can commit to training you at times that suit you. If they can’t commit – find someone who can.
- What sort of fitness assessments will you be required to undertake? Your personal trainer should keep you accountable for your results but taking measurements or asking you to take measurements and record these. How will you be kept accountable for them?
- What is their cancellation policy? Most personal trainers will have a 24-48 hour cancellation policy whereby if you cancel a session at late notice, you will be required to forfeit that session.
> Do You “Click”? – So you’ve had your free consultation, you’ve asked the questions you need to ask and got some answers. How do you feel about the person sat across from you? Do they interact well with you, are they chatty, do they seem interested in your goals? What is your gut feeling saying about them? Would you trust them? If the answer is yes, then it might be time to check out their testimonials, speak to current clients and find out a bit more. If your gut feeling says no, walk away and start the process again. There are lots of different types of personal trainers out there, and you need to find one that you connect with otherwise you will be wasting yours and their time.
Warning Signs to Look Out For
The first warning sign to look out for is a personal trainer who tries to sell you supplements of any kind. Many trainers earn commission for the products they sell, which could be a conflict of interest. For the vast majority (excluding body building), supplements including protein powders, fat burners including but not limited to raspberry ketones, CLA, T5s and others should never be necessary to achieve your goals. These are not regulated nor have any valid scientific backing to prove they do what they say on the packet. Your trainer should focus on you getting all your nutritional needs from a healthy and balanced diet. Find a trainer who isn’t going to push these kinds of products in order for you to achieve your goals.
I hope this has helped you in your search for your personal trainer… and if all else fails – pop to http://www.walkthetalkfitness.co.uk. You can trust us to change your world.