Saturday, 28 May 2016

Are you getting enough calories?

What are calories? 
Calories (Kcals) are simply an expression of energy in our food, scientifically illustrated it's the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a litre of water by 1 degree celsius.

Why do you need them?
I often get frustrated when I hear people compare their body to a car. yes, a car requires fuel as does your body BUT (and it's a big BUT!) when you turn off a car engine it stops burning fuel. Your body is different, it's burning fuel from the moment you were conceived until you die, regardless of additional energy expenditure. This means that even if you were to sleep for the next 7 days your body still requires lots of energy to breathe, for your heart to beat, to support restoration and for your organs to function (this basic calorie requirement is known as your basal metabolic rate or BMR).

What is Metabolism?
In simple terms metabolism is the rate at which your body converts fuel into energy for use (metabolic rate).

What influences my metabolic rate?
Many factors influence metabolic rate, including
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Muscle mass
  • Illnesses or disease
  • Medication
  • Level of activity
  • Exercise
  • Environmental temperature
  • Thermic effect of food
  • Body composition

The maths, How many calories do I need? 
These days there are many apps and websites which offer calculators, the problem with this is you never know how the figures are generated. I would suggest using the formula below: 

The Schofield Calculation:

18-29yrs    BMR= 15.1x weight (KGs) + 692     SEE=    156
30-59yrs    BMR= 11.5x weight (KGs) + 873     SEE=    167

18-29yrs    BMR= 14.8x weight (KGs)+ 487     SEE=     120 
30-59yrs    BMR= 8.3  x weight (KGs)+ 846     SEE=     112 

SEE (Standard error of estimation: The calculation may be too many or too few by this amount). 

BMR x1.4 inactive men and women (this applies to most people in the UK)
BMR x1.6 moderately active women
BMR x1.7 moderately active men
BMR x1.8 very active women
BMR x1.9 very active men     

THE SIMPLE WAY (Bagley 1996; Glynn et al 1999):
 BMR = 25 kcals/kg body weight 

I want to lose weight, can I simply slash my energy consumption and lose weight? 
Energy consumption should not be slashed in order to lose weight it should be reduced in a measured way which will vary from one person to another. Simply eating 500 Kcals per day will not work, this is well below BMR for a human regardless of the variants above (the only people that can recommend this sort of action is a nutritionist, dietitian or suitably qualified health care practitioner). Eating too few calories for a long time will cause a number of issues: 
-Fatigue: Tiredness, No fuel in = unable to expend energy.
-Mood swings: feeling deprived, unable to concentrate, twitchy.
-Hormonal in balances: Not having enough energy from calories causes confusion in homeostasis (your natural chemical seesaw). Particularly Leptin (the hormone that tells you when you are full up) and Ghrelin (which tells you when you are hungry). 
-Reduced metabolic rate: A confused body without fuel has no idea where it's next energy is coming from so stores some energy in case it goes into stress or an adrenal/ shocked state (over time this becomes an issue called adrenal fatigue AKA metabolic damage).
-Undernourished: Eating way below caloric requirement is likely to mean you just aren't eating enough, variety in the diet is lacking, which means you aren't nourishing your body.

So how do I lose weight?
Create a reasonable calorific deficit, generally 10-15% lower than your calorie requirements. This must be done, carefully. Starting a "diet" on Monday and hoping to lose 16lbs by the weekend, simply isn't reasonable. PLEASE NO MORE SETTING YOURSELF UP TO FAIL. 


What should I do if I am currently eating well under my calorie requirements, and trying to lose weight
Many of our clients here at Three Pillars of Fitness require help with metabolic repair, this is  a really difficult principle to accept "YOU AREN'T EATING ENOUGH TO LOSE WEIGHT!!" Many clients who fall into this category are also exercising, really hard. In this case we work really closely to coach a new mentality towards health: MIND: DIET: EXERCISE. A plan consisting of 6-8 phases is developed according to the individuals requirements, beginning with reducing exercise and slowly introducing more nourishment, energy and calories.  If you are struggling to understand your energy requirements, reach out and book yourself a FREE CONSULTATION by clicking here.



Monday, 16 May 2016

Macro nutrient tracking.....

Macro (large) Nutrients are the extremely important key nutrients which our bodies need to function and perform properly. They are Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats........ BUT (I hear you cry!) A McDonald's meal contains all of those: Protein (in the meat) Fat (in the meat and the fries) and Carbohydrate (in the bun, lettuce and gherkin). "We all know that McDonald's is unhealthy!" So let's make this a little clearer: The issue is not with beef, with Bread, or with fat.... It's with the processes which take that item of food from the farm to the shop. Let's look at all of the nutrients first:

 Protein Yeah brah! (4 Kcals per g): 
Protein is required for your body to heal and rebuild, which is why everyone in the gym is taking protein supplements. Aside from supplements (usually whey protein) you will find protein in the following foods: 

Animal (full Amino acid profile- High biological value to your body).......
Meats: Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Pork,  Game & Eggs.

Vegetable (partial Amino acid profile- Lower biological value)......
Chickpeas, Beans, Lentils and Legumes.

Active individuals (depending on goals will require up to 1.5G per lb).

Carbohydrate, is not the enemy! (4 Kcals per g)
All carbs are sugars! All sugars are grown! At some stage the granulated sugar which you may be putting in tea and coffee was a crop, sugar cane! Yes that's right... planted, tended, harvested and sold. Your body loves carbohydrates it can break them down easily and use them for energy, it can also store them incredibly easily (as fat!).


Fruit and vegetables:
Fruit and vegetables are carbohydrate, so they contain sugar, called fructose. Are fruits and vegetables unhealthy? No absolutely not! (However limiting to 2 or three pieces of fruit is a good idea). Fruit is full of fibre, water, and micro (small) nutrients AKA vitamins. Vegetables tend to contain less fructose than fruits, meaning that generally they are the best carbohydrate choice.

Provided your grain is whole (containing fibre) its is a reasonable carbohydrate choice. These days we are incredibly lucky to be able to source whole grain/meal: bread, rice, couscous, pasta etc. The problem here is volume, when was the last time that you cooked spaghetti for a family of 4 and ended up with enough for 8?  BEWARE! It's VERY EASY TO OVER CONSUME THIS FOOD GROUP!


"What is fibre and what difference does it make?" 
Fibre is the outer "skeleton" of carbohydrate. Think of a baked bean, if you squeeze a baked bean between your fingers the "husk or skeleton" you are left with is the fibre. 
When our body metabolises a grain it has to break down the fibre to get to the sugar, meaning a delay in changes to blood sugar. Now we are into the realms of Glycaemic index and load, which I will save for another blog. Note: Consume fruits and vegetables in their skin wherever possible and choose whole grains instead of refined (processed items).


Fat: people usually respond, "I've got plenty of that! (9 Kcals per gr):
For many years as I battled with obesity myself, I believed that fat, makes you fat and would try to avoid it at all costs. In reality the opposite is true, we need fat to provide us with insulation, to help with cell activity particularly the brain and we need it to process micro nutrients (vitamins A, D, E and K). Fat can be categorized in the following ways: 

Healthy fats: Are grown in crops, Olives (incl oils), nuts and avacado's

Omega 3 & 6 (Essential Fatty Acids/ EFA's):
EFAs have to be consumed. The two essential fatty acids that the human body cannot make are the omega-3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid, which are important for brain development, immune system function and blood pressure regulation. EFA's are found in: Flaxseed, Walnuts, Sardines, Salmon, Beef, Tofu and Shrimp.

Unhealthy fats: Are grazed fats/ animals fats, too much of this causes elevated cholesterol (fat in the blood stream). At room temperature an animal fit is solid!

Processed fats: These fats are subjected to heat or hydrogenated (literally hydrogen gas is added to fat to either change its consistency or increase it's volume). This means more profits for the manufacturer. As a child I remember buying biscuits in the supermarket, as a treat they were sold for roughly the same price as today- believe me, in 1990 £1.00 for a packet of biscuits was a lot of money. Today we demand the same volume of food for £1.00, so it's delivered using the lowest quality of ingredients possible and food is produced in vast vast quantities. processed fats are found in cakes, sweets and biscuits, they are also found in deep fried foods, where the oil has been continuously heated and cooled. Remember the old "chip pans" you would always see a nasty brown mark over the pan on the ceiling which is because the oil has been heated to such an extreme it moves from liquid (room temperature) to a gas and literally gets transferred onto the ceiling!



Take home point:
As I travel to deliver nourishment classes across the South Coast, I ask people to consider: PRICE, QUANTITY AND QUALITY of food purchased. Clients often ask, is it worth me monitoring Macro consumption? The answer is yes! It's a great way for you to begin to understand your own body. You don't need to do it forever more, but your body awareness is likely to change, as is your attitude toward the separate nutrient groups. It's also a great way for you to track nourishment and will play a big part in pursuit of your health and fitness/ composition goals.
Each of our bodies is different in the way it deals with energy. For instance someone who is insulin resistant and overweight may benefit from a large amount of fats in the diet. Someone who is an endurance runner will require more carbohydrates, etc etc.

This blog is intended as a guide only, if you are making changes to your Macro splits it's worth considering using an app (for convenience) but remember the guides are just that! ALWAYS think: How does Macro monitoring make me feel? Do I feel Energetic? Lethargic? Content? Bloated? Moody? Headaches? If any of these things surface it's worth revisiting the guidelines and tweaking them to suit your body, lifestyle and goals!!

Here at Three Pillars we have helped hundreds of people to improve their nourishment and exceed their goals. If you would like professional help yourself please click here to book a free telephone consultation.


Friday, 13 May 2016

5 ways to hire a Great Personal Trainer......

Hi my name is Andy Payne, I am the Director of Three Pillars of Fitness, based in the (sometimes) sunny City of Brighton (an hour south of London). Three Pillars is born out of my own journey of weight loss. The Pillars are Mind : Diet and Exercise.
Here at Three Pillars we pride ourselves on coaching the things you'd expect such as movement and nourishment BUT we also help with sleep, restoration, relaxation and stress, as well as possible hormonal influences. We do this by building bespoke plans for each of our clients based on an agreed list of priorities.
Over the years I have worked with many Fitness Professionals, all of which do things their own way, when it comes to choosing a PT the market is saturated, so here's our guide to help.........

 1. Shop around.....
Buying the professional services of a Personal Trainers is not a cheap business, it's no different to choosing any other professional. How would you employ a builder, a solicitor or any other professional. Our industry is saturated with thousands of trainers, of various qualities and skill sets. Contact at least three Personal Trainers and consider these things:

2. Personality......
Make contact with Trainers in your locality. An e-mail or generic "contact" request through the Trainers website will get the ball rolling, but don't leave it at that, make sure you speak in person, and always meet them before your first exercise session. Ask as many questions as you like, you are the client. Don't be afraid to ask even the simplest is the time.
-Once you have met them, ask yourself how did they make you feel? Note: you should be full of hope and looking forward to the first session, if you aren't you need to ask more questions.
(remember when you were at school? the subjects you did well in were the ones where you liked your teacher!)

3. Knowledge......
The barriers to entry into the Personal Training industry are pretty low, meaning anyone who can spend a small amount of money and time on education can get in. Ask questions like:
- What sort of clients do you currently work with?
There's no point hiring a fitness professional who works with competitive athletes if you wish to lose weight. Ask for testimonials and possibly even ask to speak with someone who has worked with them before.
- What is your speciality?
A Trainer who implies that they specialise in Weight loss, Athleticism, Strength,  Hypertrophy, Yoga and Competitive sports is likely to underdeliver because they too are human and are unlikely to do all of these things well. Look for someone that has a couple of specialities which they are great at!
-  How do you continue to improve your knowledge of the Health and Fitness industry?
Our industry is ever changing, the fundamentals remain the same but industry leaders are constantly offering new ideas and training, make sure that your Trainer is continuing to learn -Every day is a school day!

4. Expectations.....
Your goals, are yours! Not your Trainers, but they must be realistic. For example you may be getting Married in 3 months and want to lose weight before the big day, 3 stone weight loss in this time would be unrealistic. Tell your Trainer your goals and ask them what's realistic and why -set your goals together!
-Trainers are not magicians, you have to be prepared to work. If you see them once per week, you have 168 hours between sessions, what you do in that time will shape your success. We are catalysts, we will support you to achieve your goals and exceed them but the work is down to you.
-What sort of support will your Trainer give you? Every client of mine has weekly homework, that can be anything from: drinking more water, to learning about the importance of a nutrient.
- How often will you speak with your Trainer and by what means?
Make sure that you can contact your trainer between sessions at a time that suits you. Possibly booking a telephone catch up mid week between your sessions, this is bound to keep you on track and excel your progress.
-Ask us for a contract, this way both parties understand what is to come and you know what you are buying!

5. Pricing.....
You can't buy a Mercedes Benz for Ford money..... Personal Trainers are there to enhance your life, your health, your relationships, your self esteem and your fitness. Don't employ us on the basis of cost alone. Ask us the questions above and make a decision about value. Tell us your goals and let us design a programme, which will make that happen and agree a suitable cost. I recently employed a Chiropractor, and paid her £750 but I no longer have back pain = True value.

If you would like to know more about how we work at Three Pillars of Fitness, please CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR FREE CONSULTATION. We look forward to learning more about you!